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Rezo Frolov
Rezo Frolov

Battle Of Valmy __EXCLUSIVE__

The battle of Valmy, 20 September 1792, was the first major battle of the War of the First Coalition, and saved the infant French Republic from early destruction. Ever since the start of the French Revolution France's neighbours had been watching events in Paris with increasing alarm. On 2 August 1791 in the Declaration of Pillnitz the king of Prussia and the Austrian Emperor had declared their intention of forming an alliance to restore the authority of the Bourbons in France. An official Austro-Prussian alliance had been formed on 7 February 1792, and Allied armies had begun to form on France's eastern borders, but the actual declaration of war came from the French, on 20 April 1792.

battle of valmy

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An early French invasion of the Austrian Netherlands ended in embarrassing failure (see battle of Baisieux), and the French army was generally believed to be in a terrible condition. Many of the best officers had fled France, forming the group known as the émigrés, who began to plot against the revolution from safe havens just across France's eastern borders. The troops no longer trusted the officers who remained, and a cry of 'betrayal' could easily lead to mass panic and the murder of any suspect commander. The Austrians and Prussians were confident that they would sweep aside the French armies and restore Louis XVI.

The Allied army passed through the Croix-aux-Bois, and then turned south to confront the French. The battle of Valmy was thus fought with the Allies attacking towards the east, with their backs towards Paris, and the French facing west, between the Allies and Germany. Brunswick could have risked a dash on Paris, but that was not his style of warfare. Instead he decided to attack the French at Valmy in an attempt to clear the road back to Germany.

The two armies remained in the vicinity of Valmy for the next ten days. Dumouriez attempted to open negotiations with the Prussians, in the hope that he could detach them from the Alliance against France, but on the day after the battle France officially became a Republic. Frederick William demanded the restoration of the monarchy as a first step towards peace, and in return the French demanded that the Prussians evacuate all French territory before negotiations could continue. Unsurprisingly negotiations were then broken off, and on the night of 30 September-1 October the Allied army began its retreat back towards the French border, crossing out of France on 23 October. By then Verdun and Longwy were already back in French hands, and the immediate danger to the Republic was removed.

The battle of Valmy ensured the continuation of the French Revolution. In its aftermath Dumouriez was free to carry out his invasion of the Austrian Netherlands, where he won a second important victory at Jemappes (6 November 1792). The Prussians would soon withdraw from the war, to concentrate on events in Poland. France was threatened by invasion again in 1793, but her enemies had missed their best chance to destroy the Republic.

Looking for reliable information or news facts about WW2? Do you want to create your own battlefield tour to sights of wars from the past? Or are you interested in war medals and their recipients? tells you more!

It's refreshing to see a battle from the late C18th in which the British aren't directly involved. This epic scene, from the Battle of Valmy in September 1792, depicts the Prussian forces under the Duke of Brunswick attempting to subjugate the French revolutionary army in what turned out to be a very decisive first skirmish in the French Revolutionary Wars. The whole of Europe was agitated after the success of the revolutionaries in France in 1789 and high on the political and military agenda was the need to ensure that revolutionary fervour didn't spill over into neighbouring countries. The Prussians were supported by the British in their attempt but failed in their aim to reach Paris, subjugate the insurrection and restore Louis XVI to the French throne.

Initial engagements seemed to confirm these doubts. General Charles Dumouriez hastily organised an offensive against Austrian-controlled Belgium in late April. It ended in disaster, with French revolutionary troops fleeing the battlefield and murdering one of their own generals.

The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars saw a shift from limited wars of maneuver by professional armies to decisive battles fought, in many cases, by massive armies driven by nationalism. One of the first indications of this shift took place at the Battle of Valmy. The Prussian army fought a mostly cautious battle, then withdrew rather than risk their expensive soldiers. The French army, by contrast, showed the first signs that they would replace the caution of 18th century warfare with the rapid movement, decisive battle, and willingness to absorb casualties that would come to define Revolutionary and Napoleonic warfare. Both sides claimed victory. While the Prussian leaders were not exactly wrong to do so, the changing character of war was already invalidating their perspective and creating defeat out of what seemed to be a victory.

Composed in April 1792, after war was declared on Austria, La Marseillaise began life as a rallying song. It called to combat the battalions of volunteers who had joined up since 1791. In these times of revolution, war no longer depended only on the king's will. It involved the whole nation in what was a major political event. This meant a new role for military songs, whose purpose was no longer merely to glorify the fury of battle, but also to forge a body politic in its volunteering zeal.

Like many others, the nobility in Auvergne hasn't chosen an only road to exile. Cultural and affective links, military discipline or, on the contrary, mad rush have scattered them mainly in England, Germany, Switzerland or in Spain. The Marquis Chateauneuf-Randon of Apchier will mope in the last mentioned. Isolated in a hostile society, he will suffer irreversible family heartbreaks (quite exceptional if we consider the use of divorces meant to save a landed property or to recover impounded goods) and will die in exile. On the contrary, the Count of Pontgibaud will choose to start a new life as a peddler and will become a rich patrician in Trieste. Montlosier, a convinced "monar- chien", is ostracized in London by the entourage of the Count of Artois in 1793. Before going to England, he has known the Coalition forces in Auvergne, an alliance sealed by the nobility two years before in Fribourg, many of them having met in the royal military school in Effiat. Like Montlosier, the Count of Espinchal took part in the battle of Valmy. Being a convinced monarchist and having emigrated in 1789, he is still critical about the Princes' ability to lead the fight. He also denounces the reconstitution of the closed, superficial and extravagant environment of the Versailles court abroad. The men in favour of the coalition who scatter in 1793, some of them trying to come back secretly in their department or in Vendee and still remaining in contact with Condé, are ready to fight for the Counter-Revolution, which was very active during the Directoire. Their networks finally become entangled with those of the emigrated bishop François de Bonal who, from Switzerland, organizes a forged currency traffic and the resistance of the non-juring priests. This will lead to the project of an uprising of the French South which will be stopped by the 18th Brumaire. 041b061a72


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