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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Dominique T. » October 12th, 2016, 6:30 pm

A visit to the exhibition in 2 minutes : https://www.facebook.com/waterlootv/videos/1073226629462505/
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » October 12th, 2016, 9:11 pm

Thanks for those links, Dominique. So, Légion Damas., possibly. I think, though, I will save my 23€ for now, the pound going the way it is.

To be clear, is it a fact that the Austrians (and it would seem French emigrés in Dutch service) took up a position on Mont St Jean, which was assaulted, and from which the allied forces were driven on 6-7th July 1794?
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby DaveH » November 2nd, 2016, 12:36 am

Interesting how the same places keep popping up - Mons, Ypres, Neerwinden etc. across the centuries - obviously due to their strategic positions, but perhaps reflecting history repeating itself.

Whereabouts was a certain Arthur Wellesley at this time? presumably, he might well have acquired his familiarity with the Waterloo area about 20 years before?
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » November 2nd, 2016, 12:24 pm

Dave, that had crossed my mind. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Wesley and his regiment, the 33rd, were to the northwest as part of Lord Moira's force bringing reinforcements for the Duke of York's army, which had landed at Ostend on 26th June.

Left as part of a rearguard force covering Ostend, Wesley and the 33rd later sailed round with the baggage to Malines and rejoined the main army in time for the withdrawal into Holland.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 2nd, 2016, 2:57 pm

By one of those mad quirks of fate, Wellesley was intimately acquainted with the area around Brussels. His mother had stayed in the Belgian Capitol when he was still a young, violin playing nobody. And during this campaign obviously got some experience campaigning there, learning what not to do and all that. Then in 1814 if you believe the story, while touring the countryside he had selected the Mont St Jean Position, or rather, the La Belle Alliance position as he had been looking at Napoleon's side of the field as a defensive position.

This last story I always think is taken a little over the legal limit. He did see the position, and because he had just ended his campaigning days, or so he thought, his eye was still looking at ground in terms of how defensible it was, or how difficult it would be to take, rather than seeing it as merely scenery. He therefore most likely pointed out the attributes of MSJ as a conversation piece, to his fellow tourists, rather than seriously considering it. Yet how queer a hand does fate play...

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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » November 2nd, 2016, 9:21 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:By one of those mad quirks of fate, Wellesley was intimately acquainted with the area around Brussels. His mother had stayed in the Belgian Capitol when he was still a young, violin playing nobody. And during this campaign obviously got some experience campaigning there, learning what not to do and all that. Then in 1814 if you believe the story, while touring the countryside he had selected the Mont St Jean Position, or rather, the La Belle Alliance position as he had been looking at Napoleon's side of the field as a defensive position.

This last story I always think is taken a little over the legal limit. He did see the position, and because he had just ended his campaigning days, or so he thought, his eye was still looking at ground in terms of how defensible it was, or how difficult it would be to take, rather than seeing it as merely scenery. He therefore most likely pointed out the attributes of MSJ as a conversation piece, to his fellow tourists, rather than seriously considering it. Yet how queer a hand does fate play...

Josh.


It has certainly become canonical... Do we in fact have something approximating a source for 1814. Or is it mid-C19th anecotage?
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby DaveH » November 26th, 2016, 8:49 pm

As I implied above, the interesting thing about the Belgian campaigns since Marlborough (and probably long before) is that the same names keep cropping up - there was a lot of fighting around Ypres in the 1792-4 campaigns and there were two battles of Neerwinden. Mons features in the communications in 1815. Jemappes, the first real battle of our period, was fought in November 1792 and the is really part of the city of Mons now - it lies about 50kms/35miles SW of Waterloo. It featured a French army attacking an Allied army (Austrian) by tackling its flanks to draw troops off prior to a mass assault on the centre. D'Erlon fought at Jemappes ironically enough.

However, either of the words Napoleon or Waterloo has to be included to get the attention!
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby Owen » February 3rd, 2017, 7:33 pm

Dear Josh et al,

Thanks for an interesting and informative thread, to which I hope I can add something of interest. As a collector of Waterloo and Peninsular/MGSM medals, I have an interest in and some knowledge of the actions surrounding both campaigns...well, from Copenhagen onwards. However, the early years of the 'Republic' and its engagements have escaped me.

To the point. I have begun to dust off and research a French military document, covering the period 1794 - 1800, which I have had for a while - it is confirming the service, wounds and character of a Brigadier (Corporal) Matburin GEORGIN of the 6e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval. This on his discharge as unfit for further service due to the wounds received. I have struggled to translate the document, but finally got there (well, close enough) and GEORGIN suffered several sabre cuts to the head in action at Quatre Bras on 14 June 1794 (assuming my translation of the Republican Calendar is correct). I had assumed that this was an action on the early periphery of the Battle for Fleurus, but am struggling to find such an engagement.

I do have several hundred French language e-books of the period (thanks to this forum), so I am going to plough through best I can.

Whilst its not this period,the second engagement at which GEORGIN received sabre cuts to the head was Zurzach, Switzerland on 22 May 1799. It was the effect of the wounds at both engagements which ended GEORGIN's service.

I will post the document and my translation at the end. Any help with translation errors, or other observations/comment on either the document itself, the 6e Regiment, or the action at Quatre Bras in June 1794, would be very welcome indeed. If I discover anything further, I will post a follow up.

Image

"We the members of the administrative board of the 6e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval, certify to all those who need to know that citizen Matburin Georgin, ex Brigadier of the Regiment and native of Thionville, in the Moselle, received in the action of Quatre Bras, on the 14 Jun 1794 (26 Prairial Year 2) several sabre cuts to the head, as well as in the action at Zurzag (aka Zurzach, Switzerland) on 23 May 1799 (4 Prairial Year 7), which makes it impossible for him to continue his service”

"We also certify that the above has served with the Regiment from 5th February 1794 (17 Pluviose An 2) to 22nd March 1800 (1st Germinal Year 8) and served on campaign during the years 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (1794 – 1799) and the beginning of 1800 (Year 8). He has always conducted himself with honour, probity, distinction and the utmost valour."

"We hereby deliver this certificate of service at Sedan on 20th August 1801 (2 Fructidor in Year 9) of the Republic”


Many thanks,

Owen
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby DaveH » February 3rd, 2017, 9:01 pm

A lot of these names are a bit geographically vague as maps were pretty basic and the army staffs were not always that familiar with the area in which they were fighting. What we call Teugn-Hausen from 1809 was called Thann by Napoleon and was still in use in Petre's time - there was no fighting in Thann itself, which is a few miles west of T-H.

These positions are known in retrospect, although they are attributed to the brilliance of the commander, who happened to finish up fighting on them. Or indeed, just passing through - Bourienne recounts Napoleon pointing to the Stradella position in 1800 - it is in fact the choke-point on the road from Alessandria along the south bank of the Po, a road napoleon would have to use after taking Milan and then crossing the Po to march towards Melas's army around Turin and Alessandria. The French crossed at the main crossing at piacenza and then marched west through Stradella to fight at Casteggio-Montebello, some 5 miles further west.
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Re: Fleurus and Mont St Jean.

Postby jf42 » February 4th, 2017, 2:42 pm

Owen wrote:Dear Josh et al,

Thanks for an interesting and informative thread, to which I hope I can add something of interest. As a collector of Waterloo and Peninsular/MGSM medals, I have an interest in and some knowledge of the actions surrounding both campaigns...well, from Copenhagen onwards. However, the early years of the 'Republic' and its engagements have escaped me.

To the point. I have begun to dust off and research a French military document, covering the period 1794 - 1800, which I have had for a while - it is confirming the service, wounds and character of a Brigadier (Corporal) Matburin GEORGIN of the 6e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval. This on his discharge as unfit for further service due to the wounds received. I have struggled to translate the document, but finally got there (well, close enough) and GEORGIN suffered several sabre cuts to the head in action at Quatre Bras on 14 June 1794 (assuming my translation of the Republican Calendar is correct). I had assumed that this was an action on the early periphery of the Battle for Fleurus, but am struggling to find such an engagement.

I do have several hundred French language e-books of the period (thanks to this forum), so I am going to plough through best I can.

Whilst its not this period,the second engagement at which GEORGIN received sabre cuts to the head was Zurzach, Switzerland on 22 May 1799. It was the effect of the wounds at both engagements which ended GEORGIN's service.

I will post the document and my translation at the end. Any help with translation errors, or other observations/comment on either the document itself, the 6e Regiment, or the action at Quatre Bras in June 1794, would be very welcome indeed. If I discover anything further, I will post a follow up.

Image

"We the members of the administrative board of the 6e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval, certify to all those who need to know that citizen Matburin Georgin, ex Brigadier of the Regiment and native of Thionville, in the Moselle, received in the action of Quatre Bras, on the 14 Jun 1794 (26 Prairial Year 2) several sabre cuts to the head, as well as in the action at Zurzag (aka Zurzach, Switzerland) on 23 May 1799 (4 Prairial Year 7), which makes it impossible for him to continue his service”

"We also certify that the above has served with the Regiment from 5th February 1794 (17 Pluviose An 2) to 22nd March 1800 (1st Germinal Year 8) and served on campaign during the years 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (1794 – 1799) and the beginning of 1800 (Year 8). He has always conducted himself with honour, probity, distinction and the utmost valour."

"We hereby deliver this certificate of service at Sedan on 20th August 1801 (2 Fructidor in Year 9) of the Republic”


Many thanks,

Owen



Just a thought, Owen. Is there any possibilty that there was more than one locality called Quatre Bras in the Belgic region; the
name being fairly generic (although I believe carrefour is the standard word for 'crossroads' in French)?
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