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Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

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Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 10th, 2016, 6:10 pm

Musee Wellington is putting on an interesting exhibition about the first battle of Mont St Jean, although they seem to call it the second.

http://www.museewellington.be/evenement ... -waterloo/

All of which is probably in JF's wheelhouse.

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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » October 11th, 2016, 8:39 am

"Mont-Saint- Jean, 6-7 July 1794 The French Victory at Waterloo"

H'm. Thanks, Josh. In fact, our member PaulD is the man to ask.

However, I have to say that musuem link is all a bit arras-about-face. Fleurus is, in fact, not quite 30 km south of Mont St Jean.

I guess it was too complicated to point out instead that Ligny is just five kms north of Fleurus.

What did happen at Mont St Jean, in May 1794, was a Council of War held by the Austrians and their allies, which was attended by the Duke of York, who was the only commander to dissent from the decision to abandon Flanders. Undertakings were given that the armies would continue in mutual support, which almost immediately the Austrians reneged on as a result of the inconclusive battle of Fleurus.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 11th, 2016, 10:44 am

Indeed? The museum would appear to be overestimating then to say the least.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » October 11th, 2016, 6:40 pm

Well, they got our attention. :geek: "No such thing as bad- (etc., etc.)
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Hope » October 12th, 2016, 3:43 am

According to M. Houssaye, Soult, head of Lefebvre's staff, defeated a combined Dutch/Austrian force at Mont St Jean early July 1794. Maybe this is the first battle of Waterloo.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » October 12th, 2016, 8:27 am

Thanks Hope, in fact I mis-spoke. I was on the move and wrote hastily.

Here is what John Fortescue wrote in British Campaigns in Flanders (1918) pp.361-362

[5th July] "On the morrow the leaders of the coalesced armies again met in conference at Waterloo, when it was decided that Clerfaye’s force should pass eastward towards Brussels, and that the army of the Allies should ultimately occupy a line from Antwerp, by Louvain, Wavre, and Gembloux, to Namur, but that until the 7th at any rate, the line in advance of Brussels, extending from Alost by Braine-e-Comte and Nivelles to Sombref, should be maintained. Ghent had already been evacuated, and accordingly on the next day Clerfaye’s force began its march to join Coburg, while Moira move to Alost and brought his troops for the first time under the Duke’s personal command. But meanwhile Jourdan was not inactive. On the 6th he attacked the whole line of the Austrians from B-l-C to Gembloux; and, though repulsed after hard fighting in the east, where a concentrated attack might have given him him possession of the Austrian line of comunications he succeeded in pushing Coburg’s right wing back from B-l-C and Nivelles to Waterloo. Thereupon Coburg warned the Duke of York that he must retire eastward and cancel the agreement made on the 5th…. On the 7th and 8th Jourdan renewed his attacks, directing the best of his strength against the Austrian left, which he forced back to Ramillies. He then immediately invested Namur; upon which Coburg, fearing to be cut off from the Meuse , ordered the whole of his army to retire upon Tirlemont… [and so on]"

So, there were attacks on a line 10km south of Mont St Jean on the 6th July, with the Austrian right pushed back to Waterloo. On 7th-8th the Austrian left was pushed back to Ramillies 40 km east of Waterloo. Whether there was a fight at Waterloo, I'm not so sure.

I don't think that's what the link claims. And I guess Ramillies was no more interesting to mention than Ligny...
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 12th, 2016, 11:02 am

There's a small book I saw yesterday online, called Mont St Jean, and it's looking rather a stretch that this action would have been called either Mont St Jean or Waterloo. B-L-C and Nivelles seems closer to the mark.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Dominique T. » October 12th, 2016, 2:14 pm

An interesting fact to remember is that the loopholes in the Hougoumont garden wall just MIGHT have been made by the French (royalist) defenders in 1794. They stayed long enough there, which is not the case for the 1815 defenders.

Very interesting exhibition.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » October 12th, 2016, 3:54 pm

An interesting thought, that the loopholes might have been there for 21 years before the Guards arrived.

Dominique, is it recorded which emigré unit it was that might have been posted in Hougoumont in July 1794?
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Dominique T. » October 12th, 2016, 6:21 pm

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