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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 182 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CAMPAIGNS IN THE NETHERLANDS The year 1793 opened disastrously for the Republic. As a consequence of Jemappes and Valmy, France had taken the offensive both in Belgium, which had been overrun by Dumouriez's army, and in the Rhine countries, where Custine had preached the new gospel to the sentimental and half-discontented Hessians and Mainzers. But the execution of Louis XVI. raised up a host of new and determined enemies. England, Holland, Austria, Prussia, Spain and Sardinia promptly formed the First Coalition. England poured out money in pro-fusion to pay and equip her Allies' land armies, and herself began the great struggle for the command of the sea (see Naval Operations, below). In the Low Countries, While Dumouriez was beginning his proposed invasion of Holland, Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg, the new Austrian commander on the Lower Rhine, Neer- winden. advanced with 42,o0o men from the region of Cologne, wlnd and drove in the various detachments that Dumouriez had posted to cover his right. The French general thereupon abandoned his advance into Holland, and, with what forces he could gather, turned towards the Meuse. The two armies met at Neerwinden (q.v.) on the 18th of March 1793. Dumouriez had only a few thousand men more than his opponent, instead of the enormous superiority he had had at Jemappes. Thus the enveloping attack could not be repeated, and in a battle on equal fronts the old generalship and the old armies had the advantage. Dumouriez was thoroughly defeated, the house of cards collapsed, and the whole of the French forces retreated in confusion to the strong line of border fortresses, created by Louis XIV. and Vauban.' Dumouriez, witnessing the failure of his political schemes, declared against the Republic, and after a vain attempt to induce his own army to follow his example, fled (April 5) into the Austrian lines. The leaderless Republicans streamed back to Valenciennes. There, however, they found a general. Picot (comte de) Dampierre was a regimental officer of the old army, who, in spite of his vanity and extravagance, possessed real loyalty to the new order of things, and brilliant personal courage. At the darkest hour he seized the reins without orders and without reference to seniority, and began to reconstruct the force and the spirit of the shattered army by wise administration and dithyrambic proclamations. Moreover, he withdrew it well behind Valenciennes out of reach of a second reverse. The region of Dunkirk and Cassel, the camp of La Madeleine near Lille, and Bouchain were made the rallying points of the various groups, the principal army being at the last-named. But the blow of Neerwinden had struck deep, and the army was for long incapable of service, what with the general distrust, the misconduct of the newer battalions, and the discontent of the old white-coated regiments that were left ragged and shoeless to the profit of the " patriot " corps. " Beware of giving horses to the ` Hussars of Liberty,' " wrote Carnot, " all these new corps are abominable." France was in fact defenceless, and the opportunity existed for the military promenade to Paris that the allied statesmen had imagined in 1792. But Coburg now ceased to be a purely Austrian commander, for one by one allied contingents, with instructions that varied with the political aims of the various governments, began to arrive. Moreover, he had his own views as to the political situation, fearing especially to be the cause of the queen's death as Brunswick had been of the king's, and negotiated for a settlement. The story of these negotiations should be read in Chuquet's Valenciennes—it gives the key to many mysteries of the campaign and shows that though the revolutionary spirit had already passed all understanding, enlightened men such as Coburg and his chief-of-staff Mack sympathized with its first efforts and thought the constitution of 1791 a gain to humanity. " If you come to Paris you will find 8o,000 patriots ready to die," said the French negotiators. " The patriots could not resist the Austrian regulars," replied Coburg, " but I do not propose to go to Paris. I desire to see a stable government, with a chief, king or other, with whom we can treat." Soon, however, these personal negotiations were stopped by the emperor, and the idea of restoring Assembly order in France became little more than a pretext of the Ames. for a general intrigue amongst the confederate powers, each seeking to aggrandize itself at France's expense. " If you wish to deal with the French," observed Dumouriez ironically to Coburg, " talk ` constitution.' You may beat them but you cannot subdue them." And their subjugation was becoming less and less possible as the days went on and men 'For the following operations see map in SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR.talked of the partition of France as a question of the moment like the partition of Poland—a pretension that even the emigres resented. Coburg's plan of campaign was limited to the objects acceptable to all the Allies alike. He aimed at the conquest of a first-class fortress—Lille or Valenciennes—and chiefly for this reason. War meant to the burgher of Germany and the 'Netherlands a special form of haute politique with which it was neither his business nor his inclination to meddle. He had no more compunction, therefore, in selling his worst goods at the best price to the army commissaries than in doing so to his ordinary customers. It followed that, owing to the distance between Vienna and Valenciennes, and the exorbitant prices charged by carters and horse-owners, a mere concentration of Austrian troops at the latter place cost as much as a campaign, and the transport expenses rose to such a figure that Coburg's first duty was to find a strong place to serve as a market for the country-side and a depot for the supplies purchased, and to have it as near as possible to the front to save the hire of vehicles. As for the other governments which Coburg served as best he could, the object of the war was material concessions, and it would be easy to negotiate for the cession of Dunkirk and Valenciennes when the British and Austrian colours already waved there. The Allies, therefore, instead of following up their advantage over the French field army and driving forward on the open Paris road, set their faces westward, intending to capture Valenciennes, Le Quesnoy, Dunkirk and Lille one after the other. Dampierre meanwhile grew less confident as responsibility settled upon his shoulders. Quite unable to believe that Coburg would bury himself in a maze of rivers and fortresses when he could scatter the French army to the winds DatVa/ampteenmo - by a direct advance, he was disquieted and puzzled ctennes. by the Austrian investment of Conde. This was followed by skirmishes around Valenciennes, so unfavourable to the French that their officers felt it would be madness to venture far beyond the support of the fortress guns. But the representatives on mission ordered Dampierre, who was re-organizing his army at Bouchain, to advance and occupy Famars camp, east of Valenciennes, and soon afterwards, disregarding his protests, bade him relieve Conde at all costs. His skill, though not commensurate with his personal courage and devotion, sufficed to give him the idea of attacking Coburg on the right bank of the Scheldt while Clerfayt, with the corps covering the siege of Conde, was on the left, and then to turn against Clerfayt —in fact, to operate on interior lines—but it was far from being adequate to the task of beating either with the disheartened forces he commanded. On the 1st of May, while Clerfayt was held in check by a very vigorous demonstration, Coburg's positions west of Quievrain were attacked by Dampierre himself. The French won some local successes by force of numbers and surprise, but the Allies recovered themselves, thanks chiefly to the address and skill of Colonel Mack,and drove the Republicans in disorder to their entrenchments. Dampierre's discouragement now became desperation,and, urged on by the representatives (who, be it said, had exposed their own lives freely enough in the action), he attacked Clerfayt on the 8th at Raismes. The troops fought far better in the woods and hamlets west of the Scheldt than they had done in the plains to the east. But in the heat of the action Dampierre, becoming again the brilliant soldier that he had been before responsibility stifled him, risked and lost his life in leading a storming party, and his men retired sullenly, though this time in good order, to Valenciennes. Two days later the French gave up the open field and retired into Valenciennes. Dampierre's remains were by a vote of the Convention ordered to be deposited in the Pantheon. But he was a " ci-devant " noble, the demagogues denounced him as a traitor, and the only honour finally paid to the man who had tided over the weeks of greatest danger was the placing of his bust, in the. strange company of those of Brutus and Marat, in the chamber of deputies. Another pause followed,Coburg awaiting the British contingent under the duke of York, and the Republicans endeavouring to assimilate the reinforcements of conscripts, for the most part " undesirables," who now arrived. Mutiny and denunciations augmented the confusion in the French camp. Plan of campaign there was none, save a resolution to stay at Valenciennes in the hope of finding an opportunity of relieving Conde and to create diversions elsewhere by expeditions from Dunkirk, Lille and Sedan. These of course came to nothing, and before they had even started, Coburg, resuming the offensive, had stormed the lines of Famars (May 24), whereupon the French army retired to Bouchain, leaving not only Conde but also Valenciennes to resist as best they could. The central point of the new positions about Bouchain was called Caesar's Camp. Here, surrounded by streams and marshes, the French generals thought that their troops were secure from the rush of the dreaded Austrian cavalry, and Mack himself shared their opinion. Custine now took command of the abjectly dispirited army, the fourth change of command within two months. His first task was to institute a severe discipline, and his prestige was so great that his mere threat of death sentences for offenders pro- duced the desired effect. As to operations, he wished for a concentration of all possible forces from other parts of the frontier towards Valenciennes, even if necessary at the cost of sacrificing his own conquest of Mainz. But after he had induced the govern- ment to assent to this, the generals of the numerous other armies refused to give up their troops, and on the 17th of June the idea was abandoned in view of the growing seriousness of the Vendean insurrection (see VENDEE). Custine, therefore, could do no more than continue the work of reorganization. Military operations were few. Coburg, who had all this time succeeded in remaining concentrated, now found himself compelled to extend leftwards towards Flanders,2 for Custine had infused some energy into the scattered groups of the Republicans in the region of Douai, Lille and Dunkirk—and during this respite the Paris Jacobins sent to the guillotine both Custine and his successor La Marliere before July was ended. Both were " ci-devant " nobles and, so far as is ascertainable, neither was guilty of anything worse than attempts to make his orders respected by, and himself popular with, the soldiers. By this time, owing to the innumerable denunciations and arrests,the confusion in the Army of the North was at its height, and no further attempt was made either to relieve Valenciennes and Conde, or to press forward from Lille and Dunkirk. Conde, starved out as Coburg desired, capitulated on the loth of June, and the Austrians, who had done their work as soldiers, but were filled with pity for their suffering and distracted enemies, marched in with food for the women and children. Valenciennes, under the energetic General Ferrand, held out bravely until the fire of the Allies became intolerable, and then the civil population began to plot treachery, and to wear the Bourbon cockade in the open street.. Ferrand and the representatives with him found themselves obliged to surrender to the duke of York, who commanded the siege corps, on the 28th of July, after rejecting the first draft of a capitulation sent in by the duke and threatening to continue the defence to the bitter end. Impossible as this was known to be—for Valenciennes seemed to have become a royalist town—Ferrand's soldierly bearing carried the day, and honourable terms were arranged. The duke even offered to assist the garrison in repressing disorder. Shortly after this the wreck of the field army was forced to evacuate Caesar's Camp after an unimportant action (Aug. 7–8) and retired on Arras. By this they gave up the direct defence of the Paris road, but placed themselves in a " flank position " relatively to it, and secured to themselves the resources and reinforcements available in the region of Dunkirk - Lille. 1 Coburg refrained from a regular siege of Conde. He wished to pin possession of the fortress in a defensible state, intending to use it as his own depot later in the year. He therefore reduced it by famine. During the siege of Valenciennes the Allies appear to have been supplied from Mons. 2 Henceforth to the end of 1794 both armies were more or less " in cordon," the cordon possessing greater or less density at any particular moment or place, according to the immediate intentions of the respective commanders and the general military situation. Bouchain and Cambrai, Landrecies and Le Quesnoy, were left to their own garrisons. With this ended the second episode of the amazing campaign of 1793. Military operations were few and spasmodic, on the one side because the Allied statesmen were less concerned with the nebulous common object of restoring order in France than with their several schemes of aggrandisement, on the other owing to the almost incredible confusion of France under the regime of Danton and Marat. The third episode shows little or no change in the force and direction of the allied efforts, but a very great change in France. Thoroughly roused by disaster and now dominated by the furious and bloodthirsty energy of the terrorists, the French people and armies at last set before themselves clear and definite objects to be pursued at all costs. Jean Nicolas Houchard, the next officer appointed to command, had been a heavy cavalry trooper in the Seven Years' War. His face bore the scars of wounds received at Minden, and Houctra .d. his bravery, his stature, his bold and fierce manner, his want of education, seemed to all to betoken the ideal sans-culotte general. But he was nevertheless incapable of leading an army, and knowing this, carefully conformed to the advice of his staff officers Berthelmy and Gay-Vernon, the latter of whom, an exceptionally capable officer, had been Custine's chief of staff and was consequently under suspicion. At one moment, indeed, operations had to be suspended altogether because his papers were seized by the civil authorities, and amongst them were all the confidential memoranda and maps required for the business of headquarters. It was the darkest hour. The Vendeans, the people of Lyons, Marseilles and Toulon, were in open and hitherto successful revolt. Valenciennes had fallen and Coburg's hussar parties pressed forward into the Somme valley. Again the Allies had the decision of the war in their own hands. Coburg,indeed,was still afraid, on Marie Antoinette's account, of forcing the Republicans to extremities, and on military grounds too he thought an advance on Paris hazardous. But, hazardous or not, it would have been attempted but for the English. The duke of York had definite orders from his government to capture Dunkirk—at present a nest of corsairs which interfered with the Channel trade, and in the future, it was hoped, a second Gibraltar—and after the fall of Valenciennes and the capture of Caesar's Camp the English and Hanoverians marched away, via Tournai and Ypres, to besiege the coast fortress. Thereupon the king of Prussia in turn called off his contingent for operations on the middle Rhine. Holland, too, though she maintained her contingent in face of Lille (where it covered Flanders), was not disposed to send it to join the imperialists in an adventure in the heart of France. Coburg, therefore, was brought to a complete standstill, and the scene of the decision was shifted to the district between Lille and the coast. Thither came Carnot, the engineer officer who was in charge of military affairs in the Committee of Public Safety and is known to history as the " Organizer of Victory." His views of the strategy to be pursued indicate either a purely geographical idea of war, which does not square with his later principles and practice, or, as is far more likely, a profound disbelief in the capacity of the Army of the North, as it then stood, to fight a battle, and they went no further than to recommend an inroad into Flanders on the ground that no enemy would be encountered there. This, however, in the event developed into an operation of almost decisive importance, for at the moment of its inception the duke of York was already on the march. Fighting en route a very severe but successful action (Isincelles, Aug. 18) with the French troops encamped near Lille, the Anglo-Hanoverians entered the district—densely intersected with canals and morasses—around Dunkirk and Bergues on the 21st and 22nd. On the right, by way of Furnes, the British moved towards Dunkirk and invested the east front of the weak fortress, while on the left the Hanoverian field marshal v. Freytag moved via Poperinghe on Bergues. The French had a chain of outposts between Furnes and Bergues, but Freytag attacked them resolutely, and the defenders,except a brave handful who stood Fall of Valenciennes. to cross bayonets, fled in all directions. The east front of Bergues was invested on the 23rd, and Freytag spread out his UunkI k. forces to cover the duke of York's attack on Dunkirk, his right being opposite Bergues and his centre at Bambeke, while his left covered the space between Roosbrugge and Ypres with a cordon of posts. Houchard was in despair at the bad conduct of his troops. But one young general, Jourdan, anticipating Houchard's orders, had already brought a strong force from Lille to Cassel, whence he incessantly harried Freytag's posts. Carnot encouraged the garrisons of Dunkirk and Bergues, and caused the sluices to be opened. The moral of the defenders rose rapidly. Houchard prepared to bring up every available man of the Army of the North, and only waited to make up his mind as to the direction in which his attack should be made. The Allies themselves recognized the extreme danger of their position. It was cut in half by the Great Morass, stretches of which extended even to Furnes. Neither Dunkirk nor Bergues could be completely invested owing to the inundations, and Freytag sent a message to King George III. to the effect that if Dunkirk did not surrender in a few days the expedition would be a complete failure. As for the French, they could hardly believe their good fortune. Generals, staff officers and representatives on mission alike were eager for a swift and crushing offensive. " ` Attack' and ` attack in mass' became the shibboleth and the catch-phrase of the camps " (Chuquet), and fortresses and armies on other parts of the frontier were imperiously called upon to supply large drafts for the Army of the North. Gay-Vernon's strategical instinct found expression in a wide-ranging movement designed to secure the absolute annihilation of the duke of York's forces. Beginning with an attack on the Dutch posts north and east of Lille, the army was then to press forward towards Furnes, the left wing holding Freytag's left wing in check, and the right swinging inwards and across the line of retreat of both allied corps. At that moment all men were daring, and the scheme was adopted with enthusiasm. On the 28th of August, consequently, the Dutch posts were attacked and driven away by the mobile forces at Lille, aided by parts of the main army from Arras. But even before they had fired their last shot the Republicans dispersed to plunder and compromised their success. Houchard and Gay-Vernon began to fear that their army would not emerge successfully from the supreme test they were about to impose on it, and from this moment the scheme of destroying the English began to give way to the simpler and safer idea of relieving Dunkirk. The place was so ill-equipped that after a few days' siege it was in extremis, and the political importance of its preservation led not merely the civilian representatives, but even Carnot, to implore Houchard to put an end to the crisis at once. On the 3oth, Cassel, instead of Ypres, was designated as the point of concentration for the " mass of attack." This surprised the representatives and Carnot as much as it surprised the subordinate generals, all of whom thought that there would still be time to make the detour through Ypres and to cut off the Allies' retreat before Dunkirk fell. But Houchard and Gay-Vernon were no longer under any illusions as to the manoeuvring power of their forces, and the government agents wisely left them to execute their own plans. Thirty-seven thousand men were left to watch Coburg and to secure Arras and Douai, and the rest, 50,000 strong, assembled at Cassel. Everything was in Houchard's favour could he but overcome the indiscipline of his own army. The duke of York was more dangerous in appearance than in reality—as the result must infallibly have shown had Houchard and Gay-Vernon possessed the courage to execute the original plan—and Freytag's covering army extended in a line of disconnected posts from Bergues to Ypres. Against the left and centre of this feeble cordon 40,000 men advanced in many columns on the 6th of September. A confused outpost fight, in which the various assailing columns dissolved into excited swarms, ended, long after nightfall, in the orderly withdrawal of the various allied posts to Hondschoote. The French generals were occupied the whole of next day in sorting out their troops, who had not only completely wasted their strength against mere outposts, but had actually consumed their rations and used up their ammunition. On the 8th, the assailants, having more or less recovered themselves, advanced again. They found Wallmoden (who had succeeded Freytag, disabled on the 6th) entrenched on either side of the village of Hondschoote, the right resting on the great morass and the left on the village of Leysele. Here was the opportunity for the " attack in mass " that had been so freely discussed; but Houchard was now concerned more with the relief of Dunkirk than with the defeat of the enemy. He sent away one division to Dunkirk, another to Bergues, and a third towards Ypres, and left himself only some 20;000 men for the battle. But Wallmoden had only r3,000—so great was the disproportion between end and means in this ill-designed enterprise against Dunkirk. Houchard despatched a column, guided by his staff officer Berthelmy, to turn the Hanoverians' left, but this column lost English. Miles o 3- 1 Contours ate intervals of 20 metres = ns.e's feel Fn I4.... Redrawn from a map in Fortescue's History of the British Army, by permission of Macmillan & Co., Ltd. its way in the dense country about Loo. The centre waited motionless under the fire of the allied guns near Hondschoote. In vain the representative Delbrel implored the general to order the advance. Houchard was obstinate, and ere long the natural result followed. Though Delbrel posted himself in front of the line, conspicuous by his white horse and tricoloured sash and plume, to steady the men, the bravest left the ranks and skirmished forward from bush to bush, and the rest sought cover. Then the allied commander ordered forward one regiment of Hessians, and these, advancing at a ceremonial slow march, and firing steady rolling volleys, scattered the Republicans before them. At this crisis Houchard uttered the fatal word "retreat," but Delbrel overwhelmed him with reproaches and stung him into renewed activity. He hurried away to urge forward the right wing while Jourdan rallied the centre and led it into the fight again. Once more Jourdan awaited in vain the order to advance, and once more the troops broke. But at last the exasperated Delbrel rose to the occasion. " You fear the responsibility," he cried to Jourdan; " well, I assume it. My authority overrides the general's and I give you the formal order to attack at once!" Then, gently, as if to soften a rebuke, he continued, "You have forced me to speak as a superior; now I will be your aide-de- Hondschoote. camp," and at once hurried off to bring up the reserves and to despatch cavalry to collect the fugitives. This incident, amongst many, serves to show that the representatives on mission were no mere savage marplots, as is too generally assumed. They were often wise and able men, brave and fearless of responsibility in camp and in action. Jourdan led on the reserves, and the men fighting in the bushes on either side of the road heard their drums to right and left. Jourdan fell wounded, but Delbrel headed a wild irregular bayonet charge which checked the Hanoverians, and Houchard himself, in his true place as a cavalry leader, came up with 500 fresh sabres and flung himself on the Allies. The Hanoverians, magnificently disciplined troops that they were, soon re-formed after the shock, but by this time the fugitives collected by Delbrel's troopers, reanimated by new hopes of victory, were returning to the front in hundreds, and a last assault on Hondschoote met with complete success. Hondschoote was a psychological victory. Materially, it was no more than the crushing of an obstinate rearguard at enormous expense to the assailants, for the duke of York was able to withdraw while there was still time. Houchard had indeed called back the division he had sent to Bergues, and despatched it by Loo against the enemy's rear, but the movement was under-taken too late in the day to be useful. The struggle was practically a front to front battle, numbers and enthusiasm on the one side, discipline, position and steadiness on the other. Hence, though its strategical result was merely to compel the duke of York to give up an enterprise that he should never have undertaken, Hondschoote established the fact that the " New French " were determined to win, at any cost and by sheer weight and energy. It was long before they were able to meet equal numbers with confidence, and, still longer before they could freely oppose a small corps to a larger one. But the nightmare of defeats and surrenders was dispelled. The influence of Houchard on the course of the operations had been sometimes null, sometimes detrimental, and only occasionally good. The plan and its execution were the work of Berthelmy and Gay-Vernon, the victory itself was Jourdan's and, above all, Delbrel's. To these errors, forgiven to a victor, Houchard added the crowning offence of failure, in the reaction after the battle, to pursue his advantage. His enemies in Paris became more and more powerful as the campaign continued. Having missed the great opportunity of crushing the English, Houchard turned his attention to the Dutch posts about Menin. Menlo. As far as the Allies were concerned Hondschoote was a mere reverse, not a disaster, and was counter-balanced in Coburg's eyes by his own capture of Le Quesnoy (Sept. xI). The proximity of the main body of the French to Menin induced him to order Beaulieu's corps (hitherto at Cysoing and linking the Dutch posts with the central group) to join the prince of Orange there, and to ask the duke of York to do the same. But this last meant negotiation, and before anything was settled Houchard, with the army from Hondschoote and a contingent from Lille, had attacked the prince at Menin and destroyed his corps (Sept. 12-13). After this engagement, which, though it was won by immensely superior forces, was if not an important at any rate a complete victory, Houchard went still farther inland—leaving detachments to observe York and replacing them by troops from the various camps as he passed along the cordon—in the hope of dealing with Beaulieu as he had dealt with the Dutch, and even of relieving Le Quesnoy. But in all this he failed. He had expected to meet Beaulieu near Cysoing, but the Austrian general had long before gone northward to assist the prince of Orange. Thus Houchard missed his target. Worse still, one of his protective detachments chanced to meet Beaulieu near Courtrai on the 15th, and was not only defeated but driven in rout from Menin. Lastly, Coburg had already captured Le Quesnoy, and had also repulsed a straggling attack of the Landrecies, Bouchain and other French garrisons on the positions of his covering army (12th).1 1 In the course of this the column from Bouchain, 4500strong, was caught in the open at Avesnes-le-Sec by 5 squadrons of the allied cavalry and literally annihilated. Houchard's offensive died away completely, and he halted his army (45,000 strong excluding detachments) at Gaverelle, half-way between Douai and Arras, hoping thereby to succour Bouchain, Cambrai or Arras, whichever should prove to be Coburg's next objective. After standing still for several days, a prey to all the conflicting rumours that reached his ears, he came to the conclusion that Coburg was about to join the duke of York in a second siege of Dunkirk, and began to close on his left. But his conclusion was entirely wrong. The Allies were closing on their left inland to attack Maubeuge. Coburg drew in Beaulieu, and even persuaded the Dutch to assist, the duke of York undertaking for the moment to watch the whole of the Flanders cordon from the sea to Tournai. But this concentration of force was merely nominal, for each contingent worked in the interests of its own masters, and, above all, the siege that was the object of the concentration was calculated to last four weeks, i.e. gave the French four weeks unimpeded liberty of action. Houchard was now denounced and brought captive to Paris. Placed upon his trial, he offered a calm and reasoned defence of his conduct, but when the intolerable word "coward " was hurled at him by one of his judges he wept with rage, pointing to the scars of his many wounds, and then, his spirit broken, sank into a lethargic indifference, in which he remained to the end. He was guillotined on the 16th of November 1793. After Houchard's arrest, Jourdan accepted the command, though with many misgivings, for the higher ranks were filled by officers with even less experience than he had himself, equipment and clothing was wanting, and, perhaps more important still, the new levies, instead of filling up the depleted ranks of the line, were assembled in undisciplined and half-armed hordes at various frontier camps, under elected officers who had for the most part never undergone the least training. The field states showed a total of 104,000 men, of whom less than a third formed the operative army. But an enthusiasm equal to that of Hondschoote, and similarly demanding a plain, urgent and recognizable objective, animated it, and although Jourdan and Carnot (who was with him at Gaverelle, where the army had now reassembled) began to study the general strategic situation, the Committee brought them back to realities by ordering them to relieve Maubeuge at all costs. The Allies disposed in all of 66,000 men around the threatened fortress, but 26,000 of these were actually employed in the siege, and the remainder, forming the covering army, wadi- extended in an enormous semicircle of posts facing gales. west, south and east. Thus the Republicans, as before, had two men to one at the point of contact(44,o0o against 21,000), but so formidable was the discipline and steadiness of manoeuvre of the old armies that the chances were considered as no more than " rather in favour " of the French. Not that these chances were seriously weighed before engaging. The generals might squander their energies in the council chamber on plans of sieges and expeditions, but in the field they were glad enough to seize the opportunity of a battle which they were not skilful enough to compel. It took place on the 15th and 16th of October, and though the allied right and centre held their ground, on their left the plateau of Wattignies (q.v.), from which the battle derives its name, was stormed on the second day, Carnot, Jourdan and the representatives leading the columns in person. Coburg indeed retired in unbroken order, added to which the Maubeuge garrison had failed to co-operate with their rescuers by a sortie,2 and the duke of York had hurried up with all the men he could spare from the Flanders cordon. But the Dutch generals refused to advance beyond the Sambre, and Coburg broke up the siege of Maubeuge and retired whence he had come, while Jourdan, so far from pressing forward, was anxiously awaiting a counter-attack, and entrenching himself with all possible energy. So ended the episode of Wattignies, which, alike in its general outline and in its details, gives a perfect picture of the character, at once intense and spasmodic, of the " New French " warfare in the days of the Terror. 2 One of the generals at Maubeuge, Chancel, was guillotined. To complete the story of '93 it remains to sketch, very briefly, On that day Coburg himself, with 6000 men under Feldzeugmeister Kinsky from the central (Landrecies) group, entered Tournai and took up the general command, while Mack's another reinforcement under the archduke Charles ""annmilmarched towards Orchies. Orders were promptly issued anon for a general offensive. Clerfayt's corps was to be Plan' between Rousselaer and Menin on the 16th, and the next day to force its way across the Lys at Werwick and connect with the main army. The main army was to advance in four columns. The first three, under the duke of York, were to move off, at daylight on the 17th, by Dottignies, Leers and Lannoy respectively to the line Mouscron-Tourcoing-Mouveaux. The fourth and fifth under Kinsky and the archduke Charles were to defeat the French corps on the upper Marque, and then, leaving Lille on their left and guaranteeing themselves by a cordon system against being 177 the principal events on the eastern and southern frontiers of France. These present, in the main, no special features, and all that it is necessary to retain of them is the fact of their existence. What this multiplication of their tasks meant to the Committee of Public Safety and to Carnot in particular it is impossible to realize. It was not merely on the Sambre and the Scheldt, nor against one army of heterogeneous allies that the Republic had to fight for life, but against Prussians and Hessians on the Rhine, Sardinians in the Alps, Spaniards in the Pyrenees, and also (one might say, indeed, above all) against Frenchmen in Vendee, Lyons, Marseilles and Toulon. On the Rhine, the advance of a Prussian-Hessian army, 63,000 strong, rapidly drove back Custine from the Main into the valleys of the Saar and the Lauter. An Austrian corps under Wurmser soon afterwards invaded Alsace. Here, as on the northern frontier, there was a long period of trial and error, of denunciations and indiscipline, and of wholly trivial fighting, before the Republicans recovered themselves. But in the end the ragged enthusiasts found their true leader in Lazare Hoche, and, though defeated by Brunswick at Pirmasens and Kaiserslautern, they managed to develop almost their full strength against Wurmser in Alsace. On the 26th of December the latter, who had already undergone a series of partial reverses, was driven by main force from the lines of Weissenburg, after which Hoche advanced into the Palatinate and delivered Landau, and Pichegru moved on to recapture Mainz, which had surrendered in July. On the Spanish frontier both sides indulged in a fruitless war of posts in broken ground. The Italian campaign of 1793, equally unprofitable, will be referred to below. Far more serious than either was the insurrection of Vendee (q.v.) and the counter-revolution in the south of France, the principal incidents of which were the terrible sieges of Lyons and Toulon. For 1794 Carnot planned a general advance of all the northern armies, that of the North (Pichegru) from Dunkirk-Cassel by Ypres and Oudenarde on Brussels, the minor Army Campaign of 1794 of the Ardennes to Charleroi, and the Army of the . Moselle (Jourdan) to Liege, while between Charleroi and Lille demonstrations were to be made against the hostile centre. He counted upon little as regards the two armies near the Meuse, but hoped to force on a decisive battle by the advance of the left wing towards Ypres. Coburg, on the other side, intended, if not forced to develop his strength on the Ypres side, to make his main effort against the French centre about Landrecies. This produced the siege of Landrecies, which need not concern us, a forward movement of the French to Menin and Courtrai which resulted in the battles of Tourcoing and Tournai, and the campaign of Fleurus, which, almost fortuitously, produced the long-sought decision. The first crisis was brought about by the advance of the left wing of the Army of the North, under Souham, to Menin-Courtrai. This advance placed Souham in the midst of the enemy's right wing, and at last stimulated the Allies into adopting the plan that Mack had advocated, in season and out of season, since before Neerwinden—that of annihilating the enemy's army. This vigorous purpose, and the leading part in its execution played by the duke of York and the British contingent, give these operations, to Englishmen at any rate, a living interest which is entirely lacking in, say, the sieges of Le Quesnoy and Landrecies. On the other side, the " New French " armies and their leaders, without losing the energy of 1793, had emerged from confusion and inexperience, and the powers of the new army and the new system had begun to mature. Thus it was a fair trial of strength between the old way and the new. In the second week of May the left wing of the Army of the North—the centre was towards Landrecies, and the right, fused in the Army of the Ardennes, towards Charleroi—found itself interposed at Menin-Courtrai-Lille between two hostile masses, the main body of the allied right wing about Tournai and a secondary corps at Thielt. Common-sense, therefore, dictated a converging attack for the Allies and.a series of rapid radial blows for the French. In the allied camp common-sense had first to prevail over routine, and the emperor's first orders were for a raid of the Thielt corps towards Ypres, which his advisers hoped would of itself cause the French to decamp. But the duke of York formed a very different plan, and Feldzeugmeister Clerfayt, in command at Thielt, agreed to co-operate. Their proposal was to surround the French on the Lys with their two corps, and by the 15th the emperor had decided to use larger forces with the same object. Sketch of Fs-ouch oos•kioas about Courtrai,Tourcoing & Lille May x6th.,x794 , ° Menu .) 6 .1 ) / / / Emery W&kcr sc• cut off from Tournai (either by the troops just defeated or by the Lille garrison), to march rapidly forward towards Werwick, getting touch on their right with the duke of York and on their left with Clerfayt, and thus completing the investing circle around Souham's and Moreau's isolated divisions. Speed was enjoined on all. Picked volunteers to clear away the enemy's skirmishers, and pioneers to make good difficult places on the roads, were to precede the heads of the columns. Then came at the head of the main body the artillery with an infantry escort. All this might have been designed by the Japanese for the attack of some well-defined Russian position in the war of 1904. Outpost and skirmisher resistance was to be overpowered the instant it was offered, and the attack on the closed bodies of the enemy was to be initiated by a heavy artillery fire at the earliest possible moment. But in 1904 the Russians stood still, which was the last thing that the Revolutionary armies of 1794 would or could do. Mack's well-considered and carefully balanced o a 4 {Miles Contours at intervals of 20 metres mas•elof et combinations failed, and doubtless helped to create the legend of his incapacity, which finds no support either in the opinion of Coburg, the representative of the old school, or in that of Scharnhorst, the founder of the new. Souham,who commanded in the temporary absence of Pichegru, had formed his own plan. Finding himself with the major part of his forces between York and Clerfayt, he had decided to impose upon the former by means of a covering detachment, and to fall upon Clerfayt near Rousselaer with the bulk of his forces. This plan, based as it was on a sound calculation of time, space, strength and endurance, merits close consideration, for it contains more than a trace of the essential principles of modern strategy, yet with one vital difference, that whereas, in the present case, the factor of the enemy's independent will wrecked the scheme, Napoleon would have guaranteed to himself, before and during its development, the power of executing it in spite of the enemy. The appearance of fresh allied troops (Kinsky) on his right front at once modified these general arrangements. Divining Coburg's intentions from the arrival of the enemy near Pont-a-Marque and at Lannoy, he ordered Bonnaud (Lille group, 27,000) to leave enough troops on the upper Marque to amuse the enemy's leftmost columns, and with every man he had left beyond this absolute minimum to attack the left flank of the columns moving towards Tourcoing, which his weak centre (12,000 men at Tourcoing, Mouscron and Roubaix) was to stop by frontal defence. No role was as yet assigned to the principal mass (50,000 under Moreau) about Courtrai. Vandamme's brigade was to extend along the Lys from Menin to Werwick and beyond, to deny as long as possible the passage to Clerfayt. This second plan failed like the first, because the enemy's counter-will was not controlled. All along the line Coburg's advance compelled the French to fight as they were without any redistribution. But the French were sufficiently elastic to adapt themselves readily to unforeseen conditions, and on Coburg's side too the unexpected happened. When Clerfayt appeared on the Lys above Menin, he found Werwick held. This was an accident, for the battalion there was on its way to Menin, and Vandamme, who had not yet received his new orders, was still far away. But the battalion fought boldly, Clerfayt sent for his pontoons, and ere they arrived Vandamme's leading troops managed to come up on the other side. Thus it was not till 1 A.M. on the 18th that the first Austrian battalions passed the Lys. On the front of the main allied group the " annihilation plan " was crippled at the outset by the tardiness of the arch-duke's (fifth or left) column. On this the smooth working of the whole scheme depended, for Coburg considered that he must defeat Bonnaud before carrying out his intended envelopment of the Menin-Courtrai group (the idea of " binding " the enemy by a detachment while the main scheme proceeded had not yet arisen). The allied general, indeed, on discovering the backwardness of the archduke, went so far as to order all the other columns to begin by swerving southward against Bonnaud, but these were already too deeply committed to the original plan to execute any new variation. The rightmost column (Hanoverians) under von dem Bussche moved on Mouscron, overpowering the fragmentary, if energetic, resistance of the French advanced posts, Next on the left, Lieutenant Field Marshal Otto moved by Leers and Watrelos, driving away a French post at Lis (near Lannoy) on his left flank, and entered Tourcoing. But meantime a French brigade had driven von dem Bussche away from Mouscron, so that Otto felt compelled to keep troops at Leers and Watrelos to protect his rear, which seriously weakened his hold on Tourcoing. The third column, led by the duke of York, advanced from Templeuve on Lannoy, at the same time securing its left by expelling the French from Willems. Lannoy was stormed by the British Guards under Sir R. Abercromby with such vigour that the cavalry which had been sent round the village to cut off the French retreat had no time to get into position. Beyond Lannoy, the French resistance, still disjointed, became more obstinate asthe ground favoured it more, and the duke called up the Austrians from Willems to turn the right of the French position at Roubaix by way of a small valley. Once again, however, the Guards dislodged the enemy before the turning movement had taken effect. A third French position now appeared, at Mouvaux, and this seemed so formidable that the duke halted to rest his now weary men. The emperor himself, however, ordered the advance to be resumed, and Mouvaux too was carried by Abercromby. It was now nightfall, and the duke having attained his objective point prepared to hold it against a counter attack. Kinsky meanwhile with the fourth column had made feints opposite Pont-a-Tressin,and had forced the passage of the Marque near Bouvines with his main body. But Bonnaud gave ground so slowly that up to 4 P.M. Kinsky had only progressed a few hundred paces from his crossing point. The fifth column, which was behind time on the 16th, did not arrive at Orchies till dawn on the 17th, and had to halt there for rest and food. Thence, moving across country in fighting formation, the archduke made his way to Pont-a-Marque. But he was unable to do more, before calling a halt, than deploy his troops on the other side of the stream. So closed the first day's operations. The " annihilation plan " had already undergone a serious check. The archduke and Kinsky, instead of being ready for the second part of their task, had scarcely completed the first, and the same could be said of Clerfayt, while von dem Bussche had definitively failed. Only the duke of York and Otto had done their share in the centre, and they now stood at Tourcoing and Mouvaux isolated in the midst of the enemy's main body, with no hope of support from the other columns and no more than a chance of meeting Clerfayt. Coburg's entire force was, without deducting losses, no more than 53,000 for a front of 18 m., and only half of the enemy's available 80,000 men had as yet been engaged. Mack sent a staff officer, at 1 A.M., to implore the archduke to come up to Lannoy at once, but the young prince was asleep and his suite refused to wake him. Matters did not, of course, present themselves in this light at Souham's headquarters, where the generals met in an informal council. The project of flinging Bonnaud's corps against the flank of the duke of York had not received even a beginning of execution, and the outposts, reinforced though they were from the main group, had everywhere been driven in. All the sub-ordinate leaders, moreover (except Bonnaud), sent in the most despondent reports. " Councils of war never fight " is an old maxim, justified in ninety-nine cases in a hundred. But this council determined to do so, and with all possible vigour. The scheme was practically that which Coburg's first threat had produced and his first brusque advance had inhibited. Vandamme was to hold Clerfayt, the garrison of Lille and a few outlying corps to occupy the archduke and Kinsky, and in the centre Moreau and Bonnaud, with 40,000 effectives, were to attack the Tourcoing-Mouvaux position in front and flank at dawn with all possible energy. The first shots were fired on the Lys, where, it will be re-membered, Clerfayt's infantry had effected its crossing in the night. Vandamme, who was to defend the river, had Bathe of in the evening assembled his troops (fatigued by a Tourcoing. long march) near Menin instead of pushing on at once. Thus only one of his battalions had taken part in the defence of Werwick on the 17th, and the remainder were by this chance massed on the flank of Clerfayt's subsequent line of advance. Vandamme used his advantage well._ He attacked, with perhaps 12,000 men against 21,000, the head and the middle of Clerfayt's columns as they moved on Lincelles. Clerfayt stopped at once, turned upon him and drove him towards Roncq and Menin. Still, fighting in succession, rallying and fighting again, Vandamme's regiments managed to spin out time and to commit Clerfayt deeper and deeper to a false direction till it was too late in the day to influence the battle elsewhere. V. dem Bussche's column at Dottignies, shaken by the blow it had received the day before, did nothing, and actually retreated to the Scheldt. On the other flank, Kinsky and the archduke Charles practically remained inactive despite repeated orders to proceed to Lannoy, Kinsky waiting for the archduke, and the latter using up his time and forces in elaborating a protective cordon all around his left and rear. Both alleged that " the troops were tired," but there was a stronger motive. It was felt that Belgium was about to be handed over to France as the price of peace, and the generals did not see the force of wasting soldiers on a lost cause. There remained the two centre columns, Otto's and the duke of York's. The orders of the emperor to the duke were that he should advance to establish communication with Clerfayt at Lincelles. Having thus cut off the French Courtrai group, he was to initiate a general advance to crush it, in which all the allied columns would take part, Clerfayt, York and Otto in front, von dem Bussche on the right flank and the archduke and Kinsky in support. These airy schemes were destroyed at dawn on the 18th. Macdonald's brigade carried Tourcoing at the first rush, though Otto's guns and the volleys of the infantry checked its further progress. Malbrancq's brigade swarmed around the duke of York's entrenchments at Mouvaux, while Bonnaud's mass from the side of Lille passed the Marque and lapped round the flanks of the British posts at Roubaix and Lannoy. The duke had used up his reserves in assisting Otto, and by 8 A.M. the positions of Roubaix, Lannoy and Mouvaux were isolated from each other. But the Allies fought magnificently, and by now the Republicans were in confusion, excited to the highest pitch and therefore extremely sensitive to waves of enthusiasm or panic; and at this moment Clerfayt was nearing success, and Vandamme fighting almost back to back with Malbrancq. Otto was able to retire gradually, though with heavy losses, to Leers, before Macdonald's left column was able to storm Watrelos, or Daendels' brigade, still farther towards the Scheldt, could reach his rear. The resistance of the Austrians gave breathing space to the English, who held on to their positions till about 11.30, attacked again and again by Bonnaud, and then, not without confusion, retired to join Otto at Leers. With the retreat of the two sorely tried columns and the suspension of Clerfayt's attack between Lincelles and Roncq, the battle of Tourcoing ended. It was a victory of which the young French generals had reason to be proud. The main attack was vigorously conducted, and the two-to-one numerical superiority which the French possessed at the decisive point is the best testimony at once to Souham's generalship and to Vandamme's bravery. As for the Allies, those of them who took part in the battle at all, generals and soldiers, covered themselves with glory, but the inaction of two-thirds of Coburg's army was the bankruptcy declaration of the old strategical system. The Allies lost, on this day, about 4000 killed and wounded and 1500 prisoners besides 6o guns. The French loss, which was probably heavier, is not known. The duke of York defeated, Souham at once turned his attention to Clerfayt, against whom he directed all the forces he could gather after a day's " horde-tactics." The Austrian commander, however, withdrew over the river unharmed. On the 19th he was at Rousselaer and Ingelminster, or to m. north of Courtrai, while Coburg's forces assembled and encamped in a strong position some 3 M. west and north-west of Tournai, the Hanoverians remaining out in advance of the right on the Espierre. Souham's victory, thanks to his geographical position, had merely given him air. The Allies, except for the loss of some coo men, were in no way worse off. The plan had failed, but the army as a whole had not been defeated, while the troops of the duke of York and Otto were far too well disciplined not to take their defeat as " all in the day's work." Souham was still on the Lys and midway between the two allied masses, able to strike each in turn or liable to be crushed between them in pro-portion as the opposing generals calculated time, space and endurance accurately. Souham, therefore, as early as the 19th, had decided that until Clerfayt had been pushed back to his old positions near Thielt he could not deal with the main body of the Allies on the side of Tournai, and he had left Bonnard to hold the latter while he concentrated most of his forcestowards Courtrai. This move had the desired effect, for Clerfayt retired without a contest, and on the 21st of May Souham issued his orders for an advance on Coburg's army, which, as he knew, had meantime been reinforced. Vandamme alone was left to face Clerfayt, and this time with outposts far out, at Ingelminster and Roosebeke, so as to ensure his chief, not a few hours', but two or three days' freedom from interference. Pichegru now returned and took up the supreme command, Souham remaining in charge of his own and Moreau's divisions. On the extreme right, from Pont-a-Tressin, only demonstrations were to be made; the centre, between Baisieux and Estaimbourg, was to be the scene of the holding attack of Bonnaud's command, while Souham, in considerably greater density, delivered the decisive attack on the allied right by St Leger and Warcoing. At Helchin a brigade was to guard the outer flank of the assailants against a movement by the Hanoverians and to keep open communication with Courtrai in case of attack from the direction of Oudenarde. The details of the allied position were insufficiently known owing to the multiplicity of their advanced posts and the intricate and densely cultivated nature of the ground. The battle of Tournai opened in the early morning of the 22nd and was long and desperately contested. The demonstration on the French extreme right was soon recognized by the defenders to be negligible, and the allied left wing thereupon closed on the centre. There Bonnaud attacked with vigour, forcing back the various advanced posts, especially on the left, where he dislodged the Allies from Nechin. The defenders of Templeuve then fell back, and the attacking swarms—a dissolved line of battle—fringed the brook beyond Templeuve, on the other side of which was the Allies' main position, and even for a moment seized Blandain. Meanwhile the French at Nechin, in concert with the main attack, pressed on towards Ramegnies. Macdonald's and other brigades had forced the Espierre rivulet and driven von dem Bussche's Hanoverians partly over the Scheldt (they had a pontoon bridge), partly southward. The main front of the Allies was defined by the brook that flows between Templeuve and Blandain, then between Ramegnies and Pont-a-Chin and empties into the Scheldt near the last-named hamlet. On this front till close on nightfall a fierce battle raged. Pichegru's main attack was still by his left, and Pont-a-Chin was taken and retaken by French, Austrians, British and Hanoverians in turn. Between Blandain and Pont-a-Chin Bonnaud's troops more than once entered the line of defence. But the attack was definitively broken off at nightfall and the Republicans withdrew slowly towards Lannoy and Leers. They had for the first time in a fiercely contested " soldier's battle " measured their strength, regiment for regiment, against the Allies, and failed, but by so narrow a margin that henceforward the Army of the North realized its own strength and solidity. The Army of the Revolution, already superior in numbers and imbued with the decision-compelling spirit, had at last achieved self-confidence. But the actual decision was destined by a curious process of evolution to be given by Jourdan's far-distant Army of the Moselle, to which we now turn. The Army of the Moselle had been ordered to assemble a striking force on its left wing, without prejudicing the rest of its cordon in Lorraine, and with this striking force to operate towards Liege and Namur. Its first movement on Arlon, in April, was repulsed by a small Austrian corps under Beaulieu that guarded this region. But in the beginning of May the advance was resumed though the troops were ill-equipped and ill-fed, and requisitions had reduced the civil population to semi-starvation and sullen hostility. We quote Jourdan's instructions to his advanced guard, not merely as evidence of the trivial purpose of the march as originally planned, but still more as an illustration of the driving power that made the troops march at all, and of the new method of marching and subsisting them. Its commander was "to keep in mind the purpose of cutting the communications between Luxemburg and Namur, and was therefore to throw out strong bodies against the enemy daily and at different points, to parry the enemy's movements by rapid Battle of Tournai. marches, to prevent any transfer of troops to Belgium, and lastly to seek an occasion for giving battle, for cutting off his convoys and for seizing his magazines." So much for the Jourdan's purpose. The method of achieving it is defined as movement on Liege. follows. " General Hatry, in order to attain the object of these instructions, will have with him the minimum of wagons. He is to live at the expense of the enemy as much as possible, and to send back into the interior of the Republic whatever may be useful to it; he will maintain his communications with Longwy, report every movement to me, and when necessary to the Committee of Public Safety and to the minister of war, maintain order and discipline, and firmly oppose every sort of pillage." How the last of these instructions was to be reconciled with the rest, Hatry was not informed. In fact, it was ignored. " I am far from believing," wrote the representative on mission Gillet, " that we ought to adopt the principles of philanthropy with which we began the war." At the moment when, on these terms, Jourdan's advance was resumed, the general situation east of the Scheldt was as follows: The Allies' centre under Coburg had captured Landrecies, and now (May 4) lay around that place, about 65,000 strong, while the left under Kaunitz (27,000) was somewhat north of Maubeuge, with detachments south of the Sambre as far as the Meuse. Beyond these again were the detachment of Beaulieu (8000) near Arlon, and another, 9000 strong, around Trier. On the side of the French, the Army of the Moselle (41,000 effectives) was in cordon between Saargemund and Longwy; the Army of the Ardennes (22,000) between Beaumont and Givet; of the Army of the North, the right wing (38,000) in the area Beaumont—Maubeuge and the centre (24,000) about Guise. In the aggregate the allied field armies numbered 139,000 men, those of the French 203,000. Tactically the disproportion was sufficient to give the latter the victory, if, strategically, it could be made effective at a given time and place. But the French had mobility as a remedy for over-extension, and though their close massing on the extreme flanks left no more than equal forces opposite Coburg in the centre, the latter felt unable either to go forward or to close to one flank when on his right the storm was brewing at Menin and Tournai, and on his left Kaunitz reported the gathering of important masses of the French around Beaumont. Thus the initiative passed over to the French, but they missed their opportunity, as Coburg had missed his in 1793. Pichegru's right was ordered to march on Mons, and his left to master the navigation of the Scheldt so as to reduce the Allies to wagon-drawn supplies—the latter an objective dear to the 18th-century general; while Jourdan's task, as we know, was to conquer the Liege or Namur country without unduly stripping the cordon on the Saar and the Moselle. Jourdan's orders and original purpose were to get Beaulieu out of his way by the usual strategical tricks, and to march through the Ardennes as rapidly as possible, living on what supplies he could pick up from the enemy or the inhabitants. But he had scarcely started when Beaulieu made his existence felt by attacking a French post at Bouillon. There-upon Jourdan made the active enemy, instead of Namur, his first object. The movement of the operative portion of the Army of the Moselle began on the 21st of May from Longwy through Arlon towards Neufchateau. Irregular fighting, sometimes with the Austrians, sometimes with the bitterly hostile inhabitants, marked its progress. Beaulieu was nowhere forced into a battle. But fortune was on Jourdan's side. The Austrians were a detachment of Coburg's army, not an independent force, and when threatened they retired towards Ciney, drawing Jourdan after them in the very direction in which he desired to go. On the 28th the French, after a vain detour made in the hope of forcing Beaulieu to fight—" les enclaves n'osent pas se mesurer avec des hommes lihres," wrote Jourdan in disgust,—reached Ciney, and there heard that the enemy had fallen back to a strongly entrenched position on the east bank of the Meuse near Namur. Jourdan was preparing to attack them there, when considerations of quite another kind intervened to change his direction, and thereby to produce the drama of Charleroi and Fleurus—whichmilitary historians have asserted to be the foreseen result of the initial plan. The method of " living on the country " had failed lamentably in the Ardennes, and Jourdan, though he had spoken of changing his line of supply from Arlon to Carignan, then to Mezieres and so on as his march progressed, was still actually living from hand to mouth on the convoys that arrived intermittently from his original base. When he sought to take what he needed from the towns on the Meuse, he infringed on the preserves of the Army of the Ardennes.' The advance, therefore, came for the moment to a standstill, while Beaulieu, solicitous for the safety of Charleroi —in which fortress he had a magazine—called up the outlying troops left behind on the Moselle to rejoin him by way of Bastogne. At the same moment (29th) Jourdan received new orders from Paris—(a) to take Dinant and Charleroi and to clear the country between the Meuse and the Sambre, and (b) to attack Namur, either by assault or by regular siege. In the latter case the bulk of the forces were to form a covering army beyond the place, to demonstrate towards Nivelles, Louvain and Liege, and to serve at need as a support to the right flank of the Ardennes Army. From these orders and from the action of the enemy the campaign at last took a definite shape. When the Army of the Moselle passed over to the left bank of the Meuse, it was greeted by the distant roar of guns towards Charleroi and by news that the Army of the Ardennes, Charleroi. which had, already twice been defeated by Kaunitz, was for the third time deeply and unsuccessfully engaged beyond the Sambre. The resumption of the march again complicated the supply question, and it was only slowly that the army advanced towards Charleroi, sweeping the country before it and extending its right towards Namur. But at last on the 3rd of June the concentration of parts of three armies on the Sambre was effected. Jourdan took command of the united force (Army of the Sambre and Meuse) with a strong hand, the 40,000 new-comers inspired fresh courage in the beaten Ardennes troops, and in the sudden dominating enthusiasm of the moment pillaging and straggling almost ceased. Troops that had secured bread shared it with less fortunate comrades, and even the Liegois peasantry made free gifts of supplies. " We must believe," says the French general staff of to-day, " that the idea symbolized by the Tricolour, around which marched ever these sansculottes, shoeless and hungry, unchained a mysterious force that preceded our columns and aided the achievement of military success." Friction, however, arose between Jourdan and the generals of the Ardennes Army, to whom the representatives thought it well to give a separate mission. This detachment of 18,000 men was followed by another, of 16,000, to keep touch with Maubeuge. Deducting another 6000 for the siege of Charleroi, when this should be made, the covering army destined to fight the Imperialists dwindled to 55,000 out of 96,000 effectives. Even now, we see, the objective was not primarily the enemy's army. The Republican leaders desired to strike out beyond the Sambre, and as a preliminary to capture Charleroi. They would not, however, risk the loss of their connexion with Maubeuge before attaining the new foothold. Meanwhile, Tourcoing and Tournai had at last convinced Coburg that Pichegru was his most threatening opponent, and he had therefore, though with many misgivings, decided to move towards his right, leaving the prince of Orange with not more than 45,000 men on the side of Maubeuge-Charleroi-Namur. Jourdan crossed the Sambre on the 12th of June, practically unopposed. Charleroi was rapidly invested and the covering army extended in a semicircular position. For the fourth time the Allies counter-attacked successfully, and after a severe struggle the French had to abandon their positions and their siege works and to recross the Sambre (June 16). But the army was not beaten. On the contrary, it was only desirous of having its revenge for a stroke of ill-fortune, due, the soldiers said, to ' Each of the fifteen armies on foot had been allotted certain departments as supply areas, Jourdan's being of course far away in Lorraine. the fog and to the want of ammunition. The fierce threats of St Just (who had joined the army) to faire somber les Mies if more energy were not shown were unnecessary, and within two days the army was advancing again. On the 18th Jourdan's columns recrossed the river and extended around Charleroi in the same positions as before. This time, having in view the weariness of his troops and their heavy losses on the 16th, the prince of Orange allowed the siege to proceed. His reasons for so doing furnish an excellent illustration of the different ideas and capacities of a professional army and a " nation in arms." " The Imperial troops," wrote General Alvintzi, " are very fatigued. We have fought nine times since the loth of May, we have bivouacked constantly, and made forced marches. Further, we are short of officers." All this, it need hardly be pointed out, applied equally to the French. Charleroi, garrisoned by less than 3000 men, was intimidated into surrender (25th) when the third parallel was barely established. Thus the object of the first operations was achieved. As to the next neither Jourdan nor the representatives seem to have had anything further in view than the capture of more fortresses. But within twenty-four hours events had decided for them. Coburg had quickly abandoned his intention of closing on his right wing, and (after the usual difficulties with his Allies on that side) had withdrawn 12,000 Austrians from the centre of his cordon opposite Pichegru, and made forced marches to join the prince of Orange. On the 24th of June he had collected 52,000 men at various points round Charleroi, and on the 25th he set out to relieve the little fortress. But he was in complete ignorance of the state of affairs at Charleroi. Signal guns were fired, but the woods drowned even the roar of the siege batteries, and at last a party under Lieutenant Radetzky made its way through the covering army and discovered that the place had fallen. The party was destroyed on its return, but Radetzky was reserved for greater things. He managed, though twice wounded, to rejoin Coburg with his bad news in the midst of the battle of Fleurus. On the 26th Jourdan's army (now some 73,000 strong) was still posted in a semicircle of entrenched posts, 20 M. in extent, round the captured town, pending the removal of the now unnecessary pontoon bridge at Marchiennes and the selection of a shorter line of defence. Coburg was still more widely extended. Inferior in numbers as he was, he proposed to attack on an equal front, and thus gave himself, for the attack of an entrenched position, an order of battle of three men to every two yards of front, all reserves included. The Allies were to attack in five columns, the prince of Orange from the west and north-west towards Trazegnies and Monceau wood, Quasdanovich from the north on Gosselies, Kaunitz from the north-east, the archduke Charles from the east through Fleurus, and finally Beaulieu towards Lambusart. The scheme was worked out in such minute detail and with so entire a disregard of the chance of unforeseen incidents, that once he had given the executive command to move, the Austrian general could do no more. If every detail worked out as planned, victory would be his; if accidents happened he could do nothing to redress them, and unless these righted themselves (which was improbable in the case of the stiffly organized old armies) he could only send round the order to break off the action and retreat. In these circumstances the battle of Fleurus is the sum rather than the product of the various fights that took place between each allied column and the French division that it met. The prince of Orange attacked at earliest dawn and gradually drove in the French left wing to Courcelles, Roux and Marchiennes, but somewhat after noon the French, under the direction for the most part of Kleber, began a series of counterstrokes which recovered the lost ground, and about 5, without waiting for Coburg's instructions, the prince retired north-westward off the battlefield. The French centre division, under Morlot, made a gradual fighting retreat on Gosselies, followed up by the Quasdanovich column and part of Kaunitz's force. No seriousimpression was made on the defenders, chiefly because the brook west of Mellet was a serious obstacle to the rigid order of the Allies and had to be bridged before their guns could be got over. Kaunitz's column and Championnet's division met on the battle-field of 1650. The French were gradually driven in from the outlying villages to their main position between Heppignies and Wangenies. Here the Allies, well led and taking every advantage of ground and momentary chances, had the best of it. They pressed the French hard, necessitated the intervention of such small reserves as Jourdan had available, and only gave way to the defenders' counterstroke at the moment they received Coburg's orders for a general retreat. On the allied left wing the fighting was closer and more severe than at any point. Beaulieu on the extreme left advanced upon Velaine and the French positions in the woods to the south in several small groups of all arms. Here were the divisions of the Army of the Ardennes, markedly inferior in discipline and endurance to the rest, and only too mindful of their four previous reverses. For six hours, more or less, they resisted the oncoming Allies, but then, in spite of the example and the despairing appeals of their young general Marceau, they broke and fled, leaving Beaulieu free to combine with the archduke Charles, who carried Fleurus after obstinate fighting, and then pressed on. towards Campinaire. Beaulieu took command of all the allied forces on this side about noon, and from then to 5 P.M. launched a series of • terrible attacks on the French (Lefebvre's division, part of the general reserve, and the remnant of Marceau's troops) above Campinaire and Lambusart. The disciplined resolution of the imperial battalions, and the enthusiasm of the French Revolutionaries, were each at their height. The Austrians came on time after time over ground that was practically destitute of cover. Villages, farms and fields of corn caught fire. The French grew more and more excited—" No retreat to-day!" they called out to their leaders, and finally, clamouring to be led against the enemy, they had their wish. Lefebvre seized the psychological moment when the fourth attack of the Allies had failed, and (though he did not know it) the order to retreat had come from Coburg. The losses of the unit that delivered it were small, for the charge exactly responded to the moral conditions of the moment, but the proportion of killed to wounded (55 to 81) is good evidence of the intensity of the momentary conflict. So ended the battle. Coburg had by now learned definitely that Charleroi had surrendered, and while the issue of the battle was still doubtful—for though the prince of Orange was beaten, Beaulieu was in the full tide of success—he gave (towards 3 P.M.) the order for a general retreat. This was delivered to the various commanders between 4 and 5, and these, having their men in hand even in the heat of the engagement, were able to break off the battle without undue confusion. The French were far too exhausted to pursue them (they had lost twice as many men as the Allies), and their leader had practically no formed body at hand to follow up the victory, thanks to the extraordinary dissemination of the army. Tourcoing, Tournay and Fleurus represent the maximum result achievable under the earlier Revolutionary system of making war, and show the men and the leaders at the highest point of combined steadiness and enthusiasm they ever reached—that is, as a " Sans-culotte " army. , Fleurus was also the last great victory of the French, in point of time, prior to the advent of Napoleon, and may therefore be considered as illustrating the general conditions of warfare at one of the most important points in its development. The sequel of these battles can be told in a few words. The Austrian government had, it is said, long ago decided to evacuate the Nether-lands, and Coburg retired over the Meuse, practically unpursued, while the duke of York's forces fell back in good order, though pursued by Pichegru through Flanders. The English contingent embarked for home, the rest retired through Holland into Hanoverian territory, leaving the Dutch troops to surrender to the victors. The last phase of the pursuit reflected great glory on Pichegru, for it was conducted in midwinter through a country bare of supplies and densely intersected with dykes and meres. The crowning incident was the dramatic capture of the Dutch fleet, frozen in at the Texel, by a handful of hussars who rode over the ice and browbeat the crews of the well-armed battleships into surrender. It was many years before a prince of Orange ruled again in the United provinces, while the Austrian whitecoats never again mounted guard in Brussels. Fleurus. The Rhine campaign of 1794, waged as before chiefly by the Prussians, was not of great importance. General v. Mollendorf won a victory at Kaiserslautern on the 23rd of May, but operations there-after became spasmodic, and were soon complicated by Coburg's retreat over the Meuse. With this event the offensive of the Allies against the French Revolution came to an inglorious end. Poland now occupied the thoughts of European statesmen, and Austria began to draw her forces on to the east. England stopped the payment of subsidies, and Prussia made the Peace of Basel on the 5th of April 1795. On the Spanish frontier the French under General Dugommier (who was killed in the last battle) were successful in almost every encounter, and Spain, too, made peace. Only the eternal enemies, France and Austria, were left face to face on the Rhine, and elsewhere, of all the Allies, Sardinia alone (see below under Italian Campaigns) continued the struggle in a half-hearted fashion. The operations of 1795 on the Rhine present no feature of the Revolutionary Wars that other and more interesting campaigns fail to show. Austria had two armies on foot under the general command of Clerfayt, one on the upper Rhine, the other south of the Main, while Mainz was held by an army of imperial contingents. The French, Jourdan on the lower; Pichegru on the upper Rhine, had as usual superior numbers at their disposal. Jourdan combined a demonstrative frontal attack on Neuwied with an advance in force via Diisseldorf, reunited his wings beyond the river near Neuwied, and drove back the Austrians in a series of small engagements to the Main, while Pichegru passed at Mannheim and advanced towards the Neckar. But ere long both were beaten, Jourdan at Hochst and Pichegru at Mannheim, and the investment of Mainz had to be abandoned. This was followed by the invasion of the Palatinate by Clerfayt and the retreat of Jourdan to the Moselle. The position was further compromised by secret negotiations between Pichegru and the enemy for the restoration of the Bourbons. The meditated treason came to light early in the following year, and the guilty commander disappeared into the obscure ranks of the royalist secret agents till finally brought to justice in 1804.
End of Article: CAMPAIGNS IN THE

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