The Chouannerie (from the Chouan brothers, two of its leaders) was a royalist uprising or counter-revolution in 12 of the western départements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the French First Republic during the French Revolution. It played out in three phases and lasted from the spring of 1794 until 1800.[1]

The uprising was mostly caused by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) and the levée en masse (1793) decided by the National Convention. A first uprising attempt was carried out by the Association bretonne to defend the French monarchy and reinstate the specific laws and customs of Brittany that had been repealed in 1789. The first confrontations broke out in 1792 and evolved to a peasant revolt, then to guerrilla warfare and eventually to full-scale battles until the Republican victory in 1800.[1]

Shorter peasant uprisings in other départements such as in Aveyron and Lozère were also qualified as "chouanneries". The petite chouannerie broke out in 1815 during the Hundred Days and a final uprising ultimately took place during the Vendean War and Chouannerie of 1832.


The defence of Rochefort-en-Terre,
painting by Alexandre Bloch, 1885
Result Republican victory
 France (Republic - Empire) Kingdom of France Chouan rebels
Kingdom of France Vendéen rebels
Kingdom of France Émigrés
 Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
Jean-Baptiste de Canclaux
Jean-Michel Beysser
Jean Antoine Rossignol
Jean Baptiste Kléber
Lazare Hoche
Jean Humbert
Guillaume Brune
Gabriel d'Hédouville
Pierre Quantin
Claude Ursule Gency
Georges Cadoudal Executed
Joseph de Puisaye
Jean Chouan 
Marie Paul de Scépeaux
Aimé du Boisguy
Louis de Frotté Executed
Pierre Guillemot 
Amateur de Boishardy
Comte Louis de Rosmorduc
Louis de Bourmont
Louis d'Andigné
Pierre-Mathurin Mercier 
Jean-Louis Treton
Guillaume Le Métayer
Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie Executed
Army of the West:
1795: 68,000 men
1799: 45,000 men
1800: 75,000 men
~55,000 men


In 1791, the adoption of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy caused the peasants around Vannes to rise in defence of their bishop Sébastien-Michel Amelot against the Republicans of Lorient who wished him to swear the oath of loyalty to the Civil Constitution. The following spring, in the area around Quimper, a justice of the peace led several parishes in a rising in the name of King Louis XVI against the local authorities.[2]

During the summer of 1792, incidents occurred in the districts of Carhaix (Finistère), Lannion, Pontrieux (Côtes-d'Armor), Craon, Château-Gontier and Laval (Mayenne), where the peasants opposed a levy of volunteers for the army. At Saint-Ouën-des-Toits, in the department of Mayenne, Jean Cottereau (known as Jean Chouan) led the insurgents. His nickname probably came from his imitation of the call of the tawny owl (the chouette hulotte) for a recognition-signal.[2] A reward was put on his head, but nevertheless he reached England in March 1793. The Republican administration recognised him and his brother as the leaders of the revolt.[3]


Episode Chouannerie
An episode of the Chouannerie, painting by Jules Girardet, 19th century.

First phase 1794-1795

In January 1794, the Vendeans of the Vendée militaire, following the setback of the Virée de Galerne, tried to resist the infernal columns of General Louis Marie Turreau. During this time, groups of Chouans north of the Loire took up arms again in the areas crossed by the Vendeans. The Chouannerie was born on the borders of the Mayenne and of the Ille-et-Vilaine, near Fougères, Vitré and Laval.[4] These small groups led by Jean Chouan, Aimé du Boisguy and Jean-Louis Treton (nicknamed Jambe d'Argent, i.e. "Silver Leg"), regrouped Chouans and Vendeans who survived the Virée de Galerne, leaders who were compromised in the peasant uprisings of March 1793 and even deserters.[5] Condemned to live in almost total secrecy, the Chouans knew that being captured by the Republicans would mean certain death. Most of them were motivated by a desire to avenge their relatives who had disappeared in the Virée de Galerne.[5]

In guerilla warfare, Chouans in groups of a few score or a few hundred men ambushed military detachments, couriers and stagecoaches carrying government funds. They attacked Republican towns, executed informers, constitutional priests and republicans, a large number of them administrators.

To oppose the Chouans, Republicans built strongholds or fortified towns which were defended by local territorial guards. They were led by General Jean Antoine Rossignol, chief commander of the Army of the Coasts of Brest. A law enacted on 23 March 1793 mandated that captured insurgents should be executed by firing squad or by guillotine within twenty-four hours. Rossignol also assembled groups of fake Chouan outlaws in order to do as much as possible to discredit the real Chouans.

Murders were carried out throughout the whole war with a varying degree of intensity. For example, in the district of Fougères, in conflict between some 2,000 Chouans and a fluctuating number of Republicans, 219 people were assassinated or executed by Chouans and 300 by Republicans. This did not include deaths during fights, summary executions on the battlefield, or executions following the expeditive revolutionary due process of law.[6]

The Chouannerie spread quickly to Brittany and reached the Côtes-d'Armor, dominated by the Chevalier de Boishardy. On 15 March it reached Morbihan where Joseph de Fay and Béjarry (former officers of the Vendean army) assisted by Pierre Guillemot incited a peasant uprising aimed at Vannes. The insurgents were easily countered by the Republicans at the battle of Mangolérian. However, in the Finistère and the west of the Côtes-d'Armor, the Basse-Cornouaille, the Léon and the Trégor did not take part in the uprising.

Georges Cadoudal and Pierre-Mathurin Mercier, nicknamed la Vendée, rescued from the battle of Savenay, moved to the Morbihan where Boulainvilliers was appointed general-in-chief of the département. However, Boulainvilliers defected to Ille-et-Vilaine with money taken from headquarters. Sébastien de La Haye de Silz succeeded him as general. Boulainvilliers foolishly returned a few months later in the Morbihan; he was captured and shot by Pierre Guillemot's men.

Other départements, however, did not stand as united as the Morbihan. In the north of Anjou, Marie Paul de Scépeaux de Bois-Guignot was named commander for the north of Maine-et-Loire. His authority later extended to Loire-atlantique, Mayenne and Sarthe. However, he commanded in name only: as in other départements, his authority as a Chouan chief only extended to his own canton. Joseph de Puisaye, a former officer compromised in the federalist revolts, realised the necessity of centralised command and attempted to assume the function of general-in-chief of the Chouans. Recognized by some chiefs, Puisaye embarked from Dinard to London on 11 September 1794 to meet future king Charles X of France. Major-General Pierre Dezoteux de Cormatin, his second-in-command, assumed command in his absence. Charles X favoured absolute monarchy and distrusted Puisaye, who advocated parliamentary monarchy. However, following the intervention of British prime minister William Pitt the Younger, Puisaye was appointed general-in-chief of the Royal and Catholic Army of Brittany on 15 October 1794 with the rank of Lieutenant general (thus entrusting him with the king's authority). His power thus extended to all the insurgent areas north of the Loire, including the Maine and Anjou, where Scépeaux appointed him general-in-chief.

Maximilien de Robespierre fell on 28 July 1794. Consequently, the Terror ended and the Convention nationale became more flexible and open to negotiation. The Agence royaliste de Paris asked the Chouans in the name of Louis XVIII of France (then count of Provence) to stop fighting. On 26 December, Brigadier General Jean Humbert and Chouan chief Boishardy met to discuss peace options. Puisaye tried to organise a landing from London, his lieutenant Cormatin assumed full command and negotiated the Mabilais peace treaty in April 1795. He was followed by a minority of local leaders.[7] Of the 121 leaders attending, only 21, including de Silz and Boishardy, signed the treaty.[8]

Second phase 1795-1796

Because neither side had negotiated in good faith, there was an increase in tension following the death of Louis XVII on 8 June. The peace was broken on 26 August 1794 as General Lazare Hoche, who succeeded Jean Antoine Rossignol as head of the Army of the Coasts of Brest, ordered the arrest of those who had refused to sign the treaty of the Mabilais. Hoche thought that Cormatin was trying to outsmart him: Cormatin was imprisoned (and would not be freed before 1802). Boishardy, who did not sign, was killed during the night of 17 to 18 June between Bréhand and Moncontour. Likewise, de Silz, who had taken up arms again, was attacked on 28 June at Grand-Champ by the troops of Adjutant-General Josnet. De Silz was killed in action and his men retreated.

On 23 June 1795 a British fleet led by commodore John Borlase Warren landed 3,500 soldiers of the émigré army in Carnac. They joined 15,000 Chouans led by Vincent de Tinténiac, Paul Alexandre du Bois-Berthelot and Jacques Anne Joseph Le Prestre de Vauban, great-grandnephew of marshal Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. However, disagreements between the general of the émigrés Louis Charles d'Hervilly and the expedition leader Puisaye cost the Royalists precious time.

A counter-attack by Hoche forced the Chouans back to the Quiberon peninsula. On 10 July, two columns of Chouan troops wearing English uniforms embarked on British ships from the peninsula and were landed behind Republican lines. However, the men from the first column, led by Lantivy du Rest and Jean Jan, scattered. The second column, led by Vincent de Tinténiac seconded by Georges Cadoudal, prepared to attack but received a message from the Agence royaliste de Paris requiring them to join a second British landing at Côtes-d'Armor. Tinténiac hesitated in the face of opposition from Cadoudal, but obeyed the order. He was killed on the way at Coëtlogon on 18 July. They reached the bay of Saint-Brieuc but no British fleet joined them, so they returned to the Morbihan and appointed Cadoudal as their general.

Siège Quiberon
The battle of Quiberon
Un épisode de l'affaire de Quiberon (An Episode of the Quiberon affair), painting by Paul-Émile Boutigny, 19th century.

During this time, in Quiberon, reinforcements of 2,000 men led by Charles de Virot de Sombreuil joined the émigrés. They attempted to attack on 16 July but were crushed. Hoche launched a final assault on 20 July and routed the émigrés. Louis Charles d'Hervilly was fatally wounded; Puisaye managed to board a British ship. The Republicans took more than 6,000 prisoners. 748 of them were shot by firing squad, including Sombreuil. The day before his execution he wrote a letter to commodore Warren denouncing the flight of chief general Joseph de Puisaye.

This letter had an enormous impact on the Chouans. A council of officers in Morbihan sentenced Puisaye to death in absentia. Puisaye returned to Brittany in autumn 1795, where he was arrested by Pierre-Mathurin Mercier and brought before Cadoudal. Puisaye defended himself vigorously and found he still had the support of the count of Artois. Cadoual and Puisaye were eventually reconciled.

Guerilla fighting resumed after the failure of the English royalist expedition and spread to Normandy where Louis de Frotté, freshly landed in France in 1795, organised the uprising.

Chapelle de La Madeleine à Malestroit
La Chapelle de La Madeleine à Malestroit (Morbihan) - 15 nivôse an III (The Chapel of La Madelaine in Malestroit), painting by Alexandre Bloch, 1886.

Puisaye had suffered some loss of reputation and blamed the Chouans of the Morbihan and their chiefs who, according to him, were hostile towards nobles and wanted to "establish equality under a white flag". Puisaye left the Morbihan for the Ille-et-Vilaine, where the division chiefs were of the nobility, and joined the Mordelles division led by Jean-Joseph Ruault de La Tribonnière. He did not receive much more support than he had in the Morbihan, but remained commander-in-chief thanks to the support of the count of Artois. Puisaye wanted a Chouannerie led by nobles and founded the company of the chevaliers catholiques. Several émigrés joined France to fight with the Chouans, but numerous disputes broke out between them.

In January 1796, Puisaye joined the Fougères division, the most important one in Ille-et-Vilaine, and appointed as his chief Aimé Picquet du Boisguy, chief general of the Ille-et-Vilaine and of the East of the Côtes-d'Armor. However, in practice, Boisguy only controlled the East of Ille-et-Vilaine; Frotté and Scépeaux acknowledged Puisaye as general-in-chief in name only.

To fight the Chouans, the Republican forces were organised in three armies. The Army of the Coasts of Brest, led by Lazare Hoche, based alternately in Rennes or Vannes, controlled the Finistère, the Morbihan, the Côtes-d'Armor, the Ille-et-Vilaine and the Mayenne. The Army of the West, led by Jean Baptiste Camille de Canclaux, based in Nantes, controlled the Loire-Atlantique, le Maine-et-Loire, the Vendée and the Deux-Sèvres. The Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg, led by Jean-Baptiste Annibal Aubert du Bayet, based in Saint-Malo, controlled the Manche, the Orne, the Calvados, the Sarthe and part of the Ille-et-Vilaine.

In December 1795, the Directoire named Hoche chief general of all the Republican forces based in the West and gave him full authority. The armies of the West, of the Coasts of Brest and of the Coasts of Cherbourg were merged to form the Armée des côtes de l'Océan (Army of the Coasts of the Ocean).

Despite the Quiberon disaster, the Chouans gained some victories in the coming months. However, Hoche changed tactics in the beginning of 1796. He set up mobile columns, promised amnesty to Chouans who surrendered, guaranteed religious freedom and strove to discipline the army. Many Chouans and Vendeans were amenable to these measures and laid down their arms.

Hoche's priority was to pacify the Vendée. Jean-Nicolas Stofflet was captured and shot by firing squad in Angers on 25 February 1796. François de Charette was hunted down, imprisoned, and shot on 29 March 1796. His death marked the end of the War in the Vendée.

Now that the Vendée was pacified, Hoche turned his attention to the Chouans. Faced by large Republican numbers, Chouan chiefs gradually surrendered. Scépeaux was the first to surrender, on 14 May.[9] Georges Cadoudal signed a peace treaty on 19 June,[10] Louis de Frotté refused to sign peace himself; he embarked for England and left his lieutenants to sign on 23 June. Aimé Picquet du Boisguy was the last to surrender, on 26 June.[11] Puisaye returned to England.

Third phase

The uprising lasted until Republican victory in 1800.[1]

Chouan leaders

The principal leaders of the insurrection were Georges Cadoudal, his brother Julian, Jean Cottereau, called Jean Chouan; Pierre Guillemot, known as the king of Bignan; Joseph de Puisaye, Louis-Charles de Sol de Grisolles, Auguste and Sébastien de La Haye de Silz, John-Louis Treton, nicknamed Jambe d'Argent; Tristan-Llhermitte, Michel Jacquet, known as Taillefer; Joseph-Juste Coquereau, Aimé du Boisguy, Boishardy, Pierre-Mathurin Mercier and Bonfils de Saint Loup.

In Brittany, the Chouans were supported by many nobles: Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie, the Chevalier de Boishardy, Count Louis of Rosmorduc, the Picquet brothers of Boisguy, as well as by commoners (the brothers Cadoudal). In Lower Normandy, Count Louis de Frotte had a dominant role. One of the lieutenants in lower Maine was Guillaume Le Métayer, who was nicknamed Rochambeau.

In the Vendee, the nobility were not able to play their normal military role. There was never any properly organised army; it consisted mostly of small elusive bands. The Chouan leaders were, above all, peasant farmers.

In contrast to the earlier War in the Vendee of 1793, the Chouannerie did not possess any territory, the cities and many towns having remained Republican, but some districts did rise in open revolt. There was also the Petite Vendée in lower Maine, controlled by the Prince of Talmont. The Chouannerie was very difficult to suppress as its fighting forces had not been beaten in the battles of the Vendee war, it had many leaders and its army units were small and dispersed.


Embuscade de Chouans à la bataille de La Gravelle (1793)
Chouan Ambush, painting by Évariste Carpentier, 19th century.

This rebellion is featured in the novel Les Chouans by Honoré de Balzac and The Man in Grey (short story collection), a collection of short stories about the Chouans by Baroness Orczy, as well as being the central action of the novel The Marquis of Carabas by Rafael Sabatini. It is also depicted in paintings and popular imagery.



  • Jacques Duchemin des Cépeaux, Souvenirs de la Chouannerie, 1855 ;
  • Émile Souvestre, Scènes de la Chouannerie, Michel Lévy, Paris, 1856;[12]
  • Abbé Jean-François Paulouin, La Chouannerie du Maine et Pays adjacents. 1793-1799-1815-1832. Avec la Biographie de plus de 120 Officiers., Monnoyer, Le Mans, 1875
  • Jean Morvan, Les Chouans de la Mayenne. 1792 - 1796, Lévy, Paris, 1900
  • Abbé Almire Belin (dir.), La Révolution dans le Maine. Revue bimestrielle, Imprimerie Benderitter puis M. Vilaire, Le Mans, 1925–1937
  • Marc Valin, Chouans de la Mayenne, Éditions Siloé, Laval, 1985
  • Jean Barreau, La chouannerie mayennaise sous la Convention et le Directoire, Imp. Martin, Le Mans, 1988.
  • Anne Bernet, Les Grandes Heures de la chouannerie, Perrin, 1993
  • Roger Dupuy, Les Chouans, Hachette Littérature, 1997.[13]
  • Anne Bernet, Histoire générale de la chouannerie, Perrin, 2000.[14]
  • Jean Lepart,"Histoire de la Chouannerie dans la Sarthe", in Revue Historique et Archéologique du Maine, Le Mans,tome CLIII, p. 13-64, 2002 and tome CLV, p 65-120, 2004.
  • Hubert La Marle, Dictionnaire des Chouans de la Mayenne, Éditions régionales de l'Ouest - Mayenne. 2005.[15]
  • Bernard Coquet, Le dernier des Chouans Louis-Stanislas Sortant, 1777-1840, Éditions Ophrys-SPM, Paris, 2007.

Works of fiction


  1. ^ a b c Albert Soboul (dir.), Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, Quadrige/PUF, 1989, p. 217, "Chouans/Chouannerie" entry by Roger Dupu.]
  2. ^ a b Albert Soboul (dir.), Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, Quadrige/PUF, 1989, p. 218, entrée « Chouans/Chouannerie » par Roger Dupuy.
  3. ^ There are at their head, wrote the procureur syndic of Ernée, on 28 April 1793, "two men whose surname is Cottereau, called Chouan. We have promised a reward to whoever arrests them, but people must take precautions for these two individuals are very brave and very determined. If on your part you could seize them, this would render a true service to the public cause."
  4. ^ Christian Le Boutellier, La Révolution dans le Pays de Fougères, Société archéologique et historique de l'arrondissement de Fougères, 1989, p.313
  5. ^ a b Roger Dupuy, les Chouans, p.36.
  6. ^ D'après Christian Le Bouteiller, Emile Pautrel, Notions d'Histoire et d'archéologie pour la région de Fougères, p.191
  7. ^ Albert Soboul (dir.), Dictionnaire historique de la Révolution française, Quadrige/PUF, 1989, p. 219, entrée « Chouans/Chouannerie » par Roger Dupuy.
  8. ^ Voir Quelques dates de l’histoire en France, en Bretagne, en Finistère et à Roscoff et l'introduction de Reynald Secher à la bande-dessinée Chouannerie, 1789-1815, Fleurus, 1989. Cadoudal, évadé de Brest, rejette cette paix.
  9. ^ Gabriel du Pontavice, les Armées catholiques et royale au nord de la Loire. Petite histoire de la Chouannerie, p.41.
  10. ^ Gabriel du Pontavice, les Armées catholiques et royale au nord de la Loire. Petite histoire de la Chouannerie, p.132.
  11. ^ Gabriel du Pontavice, les Armées catholiques et royale au nord de la Loire. Petite histoire des Chouans, p.113.
  12. ^ A journalist, Émile Souvestre researched the survivors and, without taking sides too much, entered two theses which always remain diametrically opposed. He gives us a better understanding of the birth of the Chouannerie movement.
  13. ^ Analyses the evolution of the Chouannerie during seven years of civil war in the western French departments. Its different facets (pré-chouannerie, guérilla chouannerie, military chouannerie...) are treated in detail. Besides the historical aspects, the author describes the "chouans au quotidien", or everyday chouans).
  14. ^ A general history of the revolt, integrating the Chouanneries in Mayenne, Normandy and Brittany and associating them with the War in the Vendee. It brings to life key characters at certain moments in their lives. At the end, there are two indexes (sixteen pages of first names, and nine pages of placenames) together with some illustrations, including an artist's impression of Jean Chouan.
  15. ^ The names and distinctions of around 4,000 Mayenne Chouans, officers, NCOs and men, as well as almoners serving in the Mayenne departement between 1792 and 1832. Biographical notes on the Chouans' military careers, a non-exhaustive list of around 3000 Chouans. It also contributes to rectifying two historical errors - the revolt recruited in the towns as much as in the countryside, and the army quickly organised itself first into companies, then legions, then divisions, in an increasingly highly-structured manner.

Further reading

  • Furet, François and Mona Ozouf, eds. A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution (1989), pp 3–10
  • Sutherland, Donald. The Chouans: The Social Origins of Popular Counter-Revolution in Upper Brittany, 1770-1796 (1982)
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.
Aimé Picquet du Boisguy

Aimé Casimir Marie Picquet, chevalier du Boisguy, sometimes spelt Bois-Guy, (15 March 1776 – 25 October 1839), was a French chouan general during the French Revolution. He was nicknamed "the little general" by his men due to his youth. Still a child at the outbreak of the Revolution, he signalled his precocity to fight on the Royalist side, joining the Breton Association at 15 and becoming aide de camp to La Rouërie. At 17 he was made leader of the chouannerie in the pays de Fougères, and a general at 19. Boisguy made the north-east of the Ille-et-Vilaine one of the most active areas of the Breton chouannerie, and showed himself an excellent tactician. Rarely beaten, the chouans there were among the best organised and best disciplined. Fighting in uniform from the end of 1795 and made up of elite troops, even so they suffered from a lack of cavalry and a near-total lack of artillery. The Republicans had to raise major forces to defeat them, and then only with difficulty. In both 1796 and 1800, Boisguy was the last general to surrender, making him one of the main figures of the chouannerie.

Army of the Coasts of Brest

The Army of the Coasts of Brest (French: Armée des côtes de Brest) was a French Revolutionary Army formed on 30 April 1793 by splitting the Army of the Coasts into this army and the Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg. The formation was first put under the command of Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux and charged with fighting the War in the Vendée, combatting the Chouannerie and protecting the coasts of Brittany against a British invasion. After successfully defending Nantes and suffering setbacks at Tiffauges and Montaigu, Canclaux was recalled on 5 October 1793 and many of the army's soldiers were absorbed into the Army of the West. Over the next few years, Jean Antoine Rossignol, Jean-François-Auguste Moulin, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Lazare Hoche and Gabriel Venance Rey led the army in turn. In June–July 1795 the army crushed a Royalist invasion at Quiberon. On 5 January 1796 the formation and two other armies were merged into the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean and placed under the command of Hoche.

Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier (1796)

The second Battle of Saint-Aubin du Cormier was a conflict between the anti-revolutionary Chouans and the French Republican forces during the Chouannerie. The First Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier took place in 1488.

A substantial force of 1200 Chouans under Gustave Hay de Bonteville moved to meet the small Republican force of 500 men, encountering them close to Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. The Republicans were taken by surprise, losing 90 men killed or injured to the loss of 2 Chouans and 12 injured.

Battle of Tournay (1794)

The Battle of Tournay (1794) or Tournai was fought on 22 May 1794 as part of the Flanders Campaign in the Belgian province of Hainaut on the Schelde River (about 80 km southwest of Brussels) between French forces under General Pichegru and Coalition forces (Austrian, British, and Hanoverian troops) under Prince Josias of Coburg, in which the Coalition forces were victorious.

In the course of the battle, the enemy forces changed possession of the village Pont-à-Chin four times, until finally the French had to retreat.

Battle of Verdun (1792)

The first Battle of Verdun was fought on 29 August 1792 between French Revolutionary forces and a Prussian army during the opening months of the War of the First Coalition. The Prussians were victorious, gaining a clear westward path to Paris.


Bignan (Begnen in Breton) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in northwestern France.


Bocage ( BOH-kawzh) is a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture characteristic of parts of France, England and Ireland, as well as in the Netherlands and Northern Germany, in regions where pastoral farming is the dominant land use.

Bocage may also refer to a small forest, a decorative element of leaves, or a type of rubble-work, comparable with the English use of "rustic" in relation to garden ornamentation. In the decorative arts, especially porcelain, it refers to a leafy screen spreading above and behind figures. Though found on continental figures, it is something of an English speciality, beginning in the mid-18th century, especially in Chelsea porcelain, and later spreading to more downmarket Staffordshire pottery figures.

In English, bocage refers to a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture, with fields and winding country lanes sunken between narrow low ridges and banks surmounted by tall thick hedgerows that break the wind but also limit visibility. It is the sort of landscape found in many parts of southern England, for example in Devon. However the term is more often found in technical than general usage in England. In France the term is in more general use, especially for Normandy, with a similar meaning. Bocage landscape in France is largely confined to Normandy, Brittany and parts of the Loire valley.

Catholic and Royal Army

The Catholic and Royal Armies (French: Armées catholique et royale) is the name given to the royalist armies in western France composed of insurgents during the war in the Vendée and the Chouannerie, who opposed the French revolution, hence they were counterrevolutionary by definition. They were also known as the "Red Army" on account of their emblem: the Sacred Heart.

Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie

Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie (French pronunciation: ​[ʃaʁl aʁmɑ̃ tyfɛ̃ maʁki də la ʁwaʁi]; 13 April 1751 – 30 January 1793), also known in the United States as "Colonel Armand", was a Breton cavalry officer who served under the American flag during the American War of Independence. He was promoted to brigadier general after the Battle of Yorktown. He is also known as one of the early leaders of the Breton Association (the Chouannerie) during the French Revolution.


Chouan ("the silent one", or "owl") is a French surname. It was used as a nom de guerre by the Chouan brothers, most notably Jean Cottereau, better known as Jean Chouan, who led a major revolt in Bas-Maine against the French Revolution. Members of this revolt (and even French royalists in general) came to be known as Chouans, and the revolt itself came to be known as the Chouannerie.

Geneviève de Brunelle

Geneviève de Brunelle, Marquise de Combray (1742–1823), was a French counter-revolutionary and royalist during the French Revolution and the first empire.

Alongside D'Ache, she was the leader of the royalist Chouannerie in Normandy, both during the French revolution and during the reign of Napoleon I.

In 1808, she was sentenced to pillory and 25 years imprisonment. She was freed by the Bourbon Restoration in 1814.

She has been pointed out as the role model of Madame de La Chanterie in dans L'Envers de l'histoire contemporaine by Honoré de Balzac.

Georges Cadoudal

Georges Cadoudal (Breton: Jorj Kadoudal; 1 January 1771 – 25 June 1804), sometimes called simply Georges, was a Breton politician, and leader of the Chouannerie during the French Revolution. He was posthumously named a Marshal of France in 1814 by the reinstated Bourbons. Cadoudal means in Breton language "warrior returning from the fight".

Invasion of France (1795)

The invasion of France in 1795 or the Battle of Quiberon was a major landing on the Quiberon peninsula by émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolt, beginning on 23 June and finally definitively repulsed on 21 July. It aimed to raise the whole of western France in revolt, bring an end to the French Revolution and restore the French monarchy. The invasion failed; it had a major negative impact, dealing a disastrous blow to the royalist cause.

Loose cannon (naval)

A loose cannon refers to a cannon which gets dislocated and moves about randomly on the decks of a battleship, creating a hazard to crew and equipment.

A famous literary depiction of a loose cannon appears in Victor Hugo's 1874 novel "Ninety-Three", whose plot is set during the French Revolution. In a well-known episode, a ship of anti-revolutionary French Royalists is sailing towards Brittany, to aid the anti-revolutionary Chouannerie rebellion. While at sea, a sailor fails to properly secure his cannon, which rolls out of control and damages the ship. The sailor risks his life to secure the cannon and save the ship. The Marquis de Lantenac, leader of the Royalists, awards the man a medal for his bravery and then executes him without trial for failing in his duty.The widespread publication of Hugo's book, both in the original French and in translation to various other languages, helped make the concept of a loose cannon more well-known. It has eventually developed a metaphorical meaning relating to a person who is acting in a wild and unpredictable manner and who constitutes as much danger to his or her own side as to the enemy.


Ninety-Three (Quatrevingt-treize) is the last novel by the French writer Victor Hugo. Published in 1874, shortly after the bloody upheaval of the Paris Commune, the novel concerns the Revolt in the Vendée and Chouannerie – the counter-revolutionary revolts in 1793 during the French Revolution. It is divided into three parts, but not chronologically; each part tells a different story, offering a different view of historical general events. The action mainly takes place in Brittany and in Paris.

Siege of Thionville (1792)

The Siege of Thionville was a conflict during the War of the First Coalition. It began at Thionville on 24 August 1792. A coalition force of 20,000 Austrians and 16,000 French Royalist troops under Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen failed to take the town, commanded by Georges Félix de Wimpffen, and raised the siege on 16 October. One of the French royalist troops was François-René de Chateaubriand, who was wounded in the battle. In the aftermath of the siege the National Convention declared that Thionville had "deserved well of the fatherland" - it named Place de Thionville and Rue de Thionville in Paris after the victory.

Sunken lane

A sunken lane (also hollow way or holloway) is a road or track that is significantly lower than the land on either side, not formed by the (recent) engineering of a road cutting but possibly of much greater age.

Various mechanisms have been proposed for how holloways may have been formed, including erosion by water or traffic; the digging of embankments to assist with the herding of livestock; and the digging of double banks to mark the boundaries of estates. These mechanisms are all possible and could apply in different cases.

Théodore Gosselin

Louis Léon Théodore Gosselin (7 October 1855, Richemont, Moselle – 7 February 1935) was a French historian and playwright who wrote under the pen name G. Lenotre. He wrote articles in publications such as Le Figaro, Revue des deux mondes, Le Monde illustré and Le Temps. He also produced numerous works dealing with the French Revolution, especially the Reign of Terror, constructed from his research into primary documents of the era. His work was recognized and admired by his contemporaries. Gosselin was made an officer of the Légion d'honneur and in 1932 was elected to the Académie française, but died before being able to sit in the Academy and never made the speech which he had written in homage to his predecessor, René Bazin.

His works include: Paris Révolutionnaire, La Guillotine et les exécuteurs des arrêts criminels pendant la Révolution; Un conspirateur royaliste pendant la Terreur : le baron de Bats; Le Vrai Chevalier de Maison-Rouge; La Captivité et la mort de Marie-Antoinette; La Chouannerie normande au temps de l’Empire; Le Drame de Varennes; Les Massacres de Septembre; Les Fils de Philippe-Égalité pendant la Terreur; Bleus, Blancs et Rouges; Le Roi Louis XVII et l’énigme du Temple; La Proscription des Girondins.

He also wrote for the theatre: Les Trois Glorieuses, Varennes, Les Grognards.

G. Lenotre died in Paris on 7 February 1935.

Upper Brittany

Upper Brittany (French: Haute-Bretagne; Breton: Breizh-Uhel; Gallo: Haùtt-Bertaèyn) is the eastern part of Brittany France, which is predominantly of a Romance culture and is associated with the Gallo language. The name is in counterpoint to Lower Brittany, the western part of the ancient province and present-day region, where the Breton language has traditionally been spoken. However, there is no certainty as to exactly where the line between 'Upper' and 'Lower' Brittany falls.

In many regards, Upper Brittany is dominated by the industrial and cathedral city of Rennes, seat of the University of Rennes 1 and the University of Rennes 2.

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