Battle of Truillas

The Battle of Truillas was fought on 22 September 1793 during the French Revolutionary War between the French Army of the eastern Pyrenees led by Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert and the Spanish Army of Catalonia under Antonio Ricardos. This attempt by the French to exploit their success in the Battle of Peyrestortes ended in a Spanish victory. Part of the War of the Pyrenees, the battle was fought near the village of Trouillas in the French department of Pyrénées Orientales, 12 km southwest of Perpignan.

Battle of Truillas
Part of the War of the Pyrenees
Thumb

The Battle of Truillas by Jean-Baptiste Réville.
Date22 September 1793
Location
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
France French Republic  Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Luc Siméon Dagobert Spain Antonio Ricardos
Strength
22,000[1] 17,000,[1] 38 guns[2]
Casualties and losses
4,500, 10 guns[1] 2,000[1]

Background

Since invading French Rousillon in April 1793, Captain General Ricardos and his Spanish army won a string of successes over the defending forces of the First French Republic. The Siege of Bellegarde ended with a French capitulation on 24 June 1793.[3] Since June, the Spanish army maintained itself a few kilometers south of Perpignan, the department capital. In early September, Ricardos made a bid to isolate and capture the fortress of Perpignan by sending two divisions around its western side to cut the road to Narbonne. Meanwhile, he bombarded the city from the south. French troops under General of Division Eustache Charles d'Aoust and General of Brigade Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet attacked the positions of Spanish Lieutenant General Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarilas at Peyrestortes and Lieutenant General Juan de Courten at Le Vernet. The resulting Battle of Peyrestortes on 17 September was an important French victory. The badly shaken Spanish army regrouped near Trouillas.[4]

The day after Peyrestortes, General of Division Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert was appointed commander of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. Desiring to take advantage of the recent victory and urged on by Representative-on-mission Claude Fabre, Dagobert decided to attack Ricardos in his camp at Trouillas.[2]

Battle

Eastern Theater Pyrenees War 1793 to 1795
War of the Pyrenees, Eastern Pyrenees

Trouillas nestles in a plain on the Canterrane stream at an altitude of about 100 meters. Mas Deu, an establishment founded by the Knights Templar in medieval times, is located 2.4 km to the east. Thuir lies five km to the northwest. Ricardos defended these positions with a force of 17,000 soldiers and 38 cannons. The second battalion of the Barcelona Infantry Regiment arrived, but this reinforcement did not make up for the heavy Spanish losses suffered at Peyrestortes. Dagobert attacked the Spanish defenses with 22,000 soldiers.[2] The French order of battle included the 7th, 61st, 70th, and 79th Infantry Demi-Brigades, as well as the National Guards of Gers and Gard.[1]

Dagobert preferred to envelop the Spanish position from the west, but Fabre and the other generals persuaded him to make a frontal attack. So he sent General of Brigade Louis Antoine Goguet's division to assault the Spanish left flank at Thuir while sending a flanking column to attack that town from the west. D'Aoust's division was ordered to attack the Spanish right flank at Mas Deu, while Dagobert led his own division in an attempt to pierce the Spanish center. Believing that Thuir was the focus of the main French effort, Ricardos posted General Crespo and only 3,000 men to defend the Spanish right. He shifted the troops of LG Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and LG Luis Firmin de Carvajal, Conde de la Union to hold Thuir. Dagobert's attack pushed back the Spanish center and forced its way into the main camp at Trouillas. Meanwhile, Goguet ran into a concentration of Spanish infantry and artillery on the west flank at Thuir and was beaten. Ricardos personally led a cavalry charge to break up the flanking column, then he returned to the crisis of the battle in the center. D'Aoust merely skirmished with Crespo near Mas Deu and never mounted a serious threat to the Spanish right. This allowed Ricardos to mass his cavalry against Dagobert's division. After disposing of Goguet, de la Union marched to Trouillas to take the French center in reverse. Three French demi-brigades were surrounded and many prisoners taken. After an all-day battle Dagobert retreated northeast to Canohès.[5]

The Spanish victory was also helped by disorganization and poor logistical arrangements on the part of the French.[2]

Result

Though Dagobert admitted only 1,500 casualties, historian Digby Smith notes that the French actually suffered 3,000 killed and wounded, with 1,500 soldiers and 10 artillery pieces captured. The Spanish army lost a total of 2,000 killed, wounded, and missing. De Courten and General Diego Godoy also fought for the Spanish.[6] Representatives Fabre and Raymond Gaston removed the unsuccessful Dagobert from command of the army on 28 September and temporarily replaced him with d'Aoust. Dagobert returned to the Cerdagne with his division and sacked the Spanish town of Camprodon on 4 October.[7] Though Ricardos gained the victory at Trouillas, he soon found it expedient to withdraw to the Tech River. On 3 October, the Spanish commander and 15,000 troops repulsed d'Aoust and 16,000 Frenchmen at Le Boulou on the Tech. In that action, 1,200 French soldiers became casualties against only 300 Spaniards.[1]

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e f Smith, p 57
  2. ^ a b c d Prats, Trouillas
  3. ^ Smith, p 48
  4. ^ Prats, Peyrestortes
  5. ^ Rickard, Truillas. Rickard provides all the tactical details.
  6. ^ Smith, p 57. Smith also lists Louis-Nicolas Davout which is incorrect.
  7. ^ Prats, Dagobert

References

Printed materials

  • Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN 1-85367-276-9

External links

1793 in France

Events from the year 1793 in France.

Antonio Ricardos

Antonio Ricardos Carrillo de Albornoz (1727 in Barbastro – 13 March 1794) was a Spanish general. He joined the army of the Kingdom of Spain and fought against Habsburg Austria, the Portugal, and the First French Republic during a long military career. By embracing the Spanish Enlightenment, he earned the displeasure of conservative elements of society. He played an active role in reforming the Spanish military. Upon the outbreak of the War of the Pyrenees in 1793, the king sent him to command in Catalonia. He invaded Rousillon where he won several victories over the French. After his death in early 1794, the war went badly for Spain.

Army of the Eastern Pyrenees

The Army of the Eastern Pyrenees (Armée des Pyrénées Orientales) was one of the French Revolutionary armies. It fought against the Kingdom of Spain in Rousillon, the Cerdanya and Catalonia during the War of the Pyrenees. This army and the Army of the Western Pyrenees were formed by splitting the original Army of the Pyrenees at the end of April 1793 soon after the war started. Shortly after the Peace of Basel on 22 July 1795, the fighting ended and the army was dissolved on 12 October that same year. Many of its units and generals were transferred to join the Army of Italy and fought under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796.

In the first dismal months of fighting, the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees was beaten at Mas Deu and Bellegarde and forced back under the walls of Perpignan. Then the French repelled two Spanish attacks at Perpignan and Peyrestortes. Though the army was defeated again at Truillas and in other actions, the Spanish invaders withdrew to the Tech River in late 1793. Throughout the year the representatives on mission had enormous powers and used them to interfere with the military effort and to arrest officers that they deemed unpatriotic or unsuccessful. In 1794, the army's fortunes improved when Jacques François Dugommier took command. The army drove the Spanish army from France soil at Boulou and recaptured the Fort de Bellegarde and Collioure. After establishing itself on Spanish territory, the army won a decisive victory at the Battle of the Black Mountain in November during which Dugommier was killed. His replacement, Dominique Catherine de Pérignon soon captured the Sant Ferran fortress and the port of Roses. After these events the front became static and the last notable action was a Spanish victory at Bascara in June.

The war took a severe toll on the commanders of the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. Aside from Dugommier's death in battle, three were executed by the guillotine and another died of disease. Five officers from the army later became Marshals of France under Napoleon. These were Pérignon, Pierre Augereau, Claude Perrin Victor, Jean Lannes and Jean-Baptiste Bessières.

Battle of Collioure

The Battle of Collioure (20 – 23 December 1793) saw troops from the Kingdom of Spain attack a Republican French division during the War of the Pyrenees. The Spanish troops led by Gregorio García de la Cuesta were completely successful in ousting the French under Louis Pierre François Delattre from Collioure, Fort Saint-Elme and Port-Vendres. The contending sides were the Spanish Army of Catalonia commanded by Antonio Ricardos and the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees led by François Amédée Doppet and Eustache Charles d'Aoust. In September 1793, the French successfully defended Perpignan from Spanish attack but December saw a series of French defeats. One of the French representatives on mission, Claude Dominique Côme Fabre was killed during the fighting at Collioure. Aoust and Delattre were arrested, condemned and executed by guillotine for the disaster.

Battle of Peyrestortes

The Battle of Peyrestortes (17 September 1793) saw soldiers of the First French Republic fighting troops of the Kingdom of Spain during the War of the Pyrenees. Forces from the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, temporarily commanded by Eustache Charles d'Aoust and Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet, defeated two divisions of the Army of Catalonia led by Juan de Courten and Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas. This Spanish setback in an attempt to capture Perpignan marked the high point of their invasion of Roussillon.

The Spanish army of Antonio Ricardos had occupied part of Rousillon and made an abortive attempt to seize the fortress of Perpignan in July 1793. At the end of August, the Spanish commander sent two divisions on a sweep around the western side of Perpignan in an attempt to isolate the fortress and choke it off from resupply. After an initial Spanish success, the French army commander Hilarion Paul Puget de Barbantane, lost his nerve and fled from the area. D'Aoust and Goguet stepped into the command vacuum and led their troops to attack and rout the two Spanish divisions from their fortified camps. After the battle, the Army of Catalonia found itself back in its original positions. Ricardos successfully defended a Spanish foothold in France during the remainder of 1793. Peyrestortes is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northwest of Perpignan.

Battle of Sant Llorenç de la Muga

The Battle of Sant Llorenç de la Muga (in Catalan, in Spanish: San Lorenzo de la Muga) was fought on 13 August 1794 between an attacking Spanish–Portuguese army led by the Conde de la Unión and a French army commanded by Jacques François Dugommier. The local French defenders headed by Pierre Augereau and Dominique Pérignon repulsed the allies. The Spanish garrison of Fort de Bellegarde surrendered a month later.

Battle of the Black Mountain

The Battle of the Black Mountain (also Capmany or Sierra Negra or Del Roure or Montroig) was fought from 17 to 20 November 1794 between the army of the First French Republic and the allied armies of the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Portugal. The French, led by Jacques François Dugommier defeated the Allies, who were commanded by Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión. Though the Spanish right wing held, its left flank was driven back on the first day's fighting. On the last day of the battle, the French overran a key position and put the Spanish army to rout. The battle was remarkable in that both army commanders were slain. A Spanish artillery shell killed Dugommier early in the battle and Dominique Catherine de Pérignon assumed command of the French army. De la Union was shot dead while leading a cavalry charge on the last day of the fighting and was temporarily replaced by Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarilas. The French victory led to the capture of Figueres and the Siege of Roses (Rosas), a port in Catalonia.

Eustache Charles d'Aoust

Eustache Charles Joseph d'Aoust (27 February 1763, Douai – 2 July 1794, Paris) was a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars.

He started his military career in the Old Regime army and served on the staffs of three of the early army commanders and later fought in the War of the Pyrenees against the Kingdom of Spain. On three separate occasions he commanded the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, but he shared the fate of two previous commanders when he was arrested and guillotined by the Committee of Public Safety.

Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet

Jacques Gilles Henri Goguet (11 March 1767 – 21 April 1794) rose to command a French division during the French Revolutionary Wars before he was assassinated by his own soldiers after a defeat. Trained as a physician, he became a member of the French National Guard in 1789. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1792 and fought at Jemappes in November that year. In 1793 he was promoted to general officer and transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. In September 1793 when a Spanish army threatened to surround Perpignan, the French army commander fled, leaving the army leaderless. In the emergency, Goguet cooperated with Eustache Charles d'Aoust to win the Battle of Peyrestortes. A few days later he led a column at Truillas.

Goguet transferred to the Army of the North with the rank of general of division. He led his division at Le Cateau. In one of the operations during the Siege of Landrecies his troops were defeated by the Coalition army. During the retreat, a mutinous group of soldiers fired on Goguet and fatally wounded him. Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, then a chef de brigade (colonel), harangued the guilty regiment and convinced the troops to arrest the assassins. A captain was condemned to death for inciting his men to commit the crime.

Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas

Jerónimo Morejón Girón-Moctezuma, 3rd Marquis de las Amarillas, born 7 June 1741 at Málaga and died 17 October 1819 at Seville, became a general officer in the army of the Kingdom of Spain and commanded division-sized combat units during the War of the Pyrenees in 1793 and 1794. Though he attained high rank, he displayed limited military talent. Shortly after succeeding to the top command of the Army of Catalonia, he was dismissed for blunders made on the battlefield.

Juan de Courten (elder)

Juan de Courten (elder) or Juan Antonio Curten Massenet or Juan Courten or Juan Curten (10 October 1730 – 21 December 1796) began his Spanish military career in the War of the Austrian Succession at the age of 14. His father was a brigadier general of engineers who died in 1745. Courten fought in the Spanish–Portuguese War (1761–1763), the Invasion of Algiers in 1775, and the Great Siege of Gibraltar. He was the last Spanish governor of Oran in 1792. As a lieutenant general, he led an infantry division during the War of the Pyrenees against the First French Republic in several actions including Perpignan, Peyrestortes, Truillas, Boulou, and the Black Mountain. He was appointed Captain General of Aragon in 1795.

List of battles involving France in modern history

This is a chronological list of the battles involving France in modern history.

For earlier conflicts, see List of battles involving France. These lists do not include the battles of the French civil wars (as the Wars of Religion, the Fronde, the War in the Vendée) unless a foreign country is involved; this list includes neither the peacekeeping operations (such as Operation Artemis, Operation Licorne) nor the humanitarian missions supported by the French Armed Forces.

The list gives the name, the date, the present-day location of the battles, the French allies and enemies, and the result of these conflicts following this legend:

French military victory

French military defeat

Indecisive or unclear outcome

Ongoing conflict

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión

Luis Fermín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión (1752 – 20 November 1794) became a general officer in the army of the Kingdom of Spain. In 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars, he commanded the Spanish Army in a mostly unsuccessful effort to hold back the army of the First French Republic. He died in battle fighting the French.

Pierre François Sauret

Pierre François Sauret de la Borie (23 March 1742, Gannat, Allier – 24 June 1818) led a combat division under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Castiglione Campaign in 1796. He enlisted in the French army as a private in 1756. During the Seven Years' War he fought at Hastenbeck and Rossbach. He became a first lieutenant in 1789 and a lieutenant colonel in 1792. Assigned to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, served with distinction during the War of the Pyrenees against Spain. He was promoted to general officer in 1793 and became one of three infantry division commanders in the field army. He led his division at Palau, Boulou, Collioure, Black Mountain, Roses, and Bascara. He transferred to the Army of Italy in 1795. Bonaparte called him a very good soldier, but unlucky. He retired from active military service in order to enter politics.

Second Battle of Boulou

The Second Battle of Boulou (29 April to 1 May 1794) was a battle in the War of the Pyrenees, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. This battle saw the French Army of the eastern Pyrenees led by Jacques François Dugommier attacking the joint Spanish-Portuguese Army of Catalonia under Luis Firmin de Carvajal, Conde de la Union. Dugommier's decisive victory resulted in the French regaining nearly all the land they lost to the Kingdom of Spain in 1793. Le Boulou is on the modern A9 highway, 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the department capital at Perpignan and 7 kilometres (4 mi) north of Le Perthus on the France-Spain border.

The spring of 1794 found the Spanish army holding a slice of French territory south of the Tech River and north of the Pyrenees. The Spanish right wing on the Mediterranean coast was separated from the center and left wing by a mountainous gap. First, Dugommier mounted a successful feint with his right wing that drew Spanish troops away from the center. Then he launched powerful French forces into the gap. These forces circled behind the Spanish center and forced their adversaries to retreat across a difficult mountain pass. The Spanish suffered heavy losses of troops and abandoned their wagon trains and all their artillery.

Siege of Bellegarde (1793)

The Siege of Bellegarde commenced on 23 May 1793 and ended on 24 June 1793 when Colonel Boisbrulé's French garrison surrendered the Fort de Bellegarde to a Spanish army under the command of Antonio Ricardos. The capture of the fort gave Spain control of an important road through the Pyrenees. The siege took place during the War of the Pyrenees, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Fort de Bellegarde is on a height overlooking the border town of Le Perthus, which lies on the modern A9 autoroute and Autovía A-7.

War of the Pyrenees

The War of the Pyrenees, also known as War of Roussillon or War of the Convention, was the Pyrenean front of the First Coalition's war against the First French Republic. It pitted Revolutionary France against the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal from March 1793 to July 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars.

The war was fought in the eastern Pyrenees, the western Pyrenees, at the French port of Toulon, and at sea. In 1793, a Spanish army invaded Roussillon in the eastern Pyrenees and maintained itself on French soil through April 1794. The French army drove the Spanish back into Catalonia and inflicted a serious defeat on it in November 1794. After February 1795, the war in the eastern Pyrenees became a stalemate. In the western Pyrenees, the French began to win in 1794. By 1795, the French army controlled a portion of northeast Spain.

The war was brutal in at least two ways. First, the Committee of Public Safety decreed that all French royalist prisoners be executed. Second, French generals who lost battles or otherwise displeased the all-powerful representatives-on-mission were sent to prison or the guillotine with alarming frequency. Army of the Eastern Pyrenees commanders and generals were especially unlucky in this regard.

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