The First Coalition (2)

1792 to 1797

Dumouriez attacked Saxe-Coburg at Neerwinden, but was sent into flight.

The Austrian advance then retook Brussels and when the political police travelling with the revolutionary armies accused Dumouriez of betrayal he fled to his former enemy's camp.

France's ruling Committee of Public Safety sent the unlucky General Dampierre to hold Saxe-Coburg, but he was killed in action.

Next they tried Custine but the demoralised French were no match for the Austrians at Valenciennes and Custine was guillotined for his troubles.

With paranoia gripping France, General Jean Houchard took over the Army of the North - which had been bolstered by the conscripts of the the newly introduced levee en masse - and sparked confidence when he defeated the Duke of York at Hondschoote.

He then went on to beat the Prince of Orange at Menin but, staggeringly, was alleged to have not tried hard enough and found himself a victim of Madame Guillotine.

General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan now took the poisoned chalice of leading the army, but the pressure was somewhat eased by Lazare Carnot, the Minister of War, who held supreme command.

Carnot sent Jourdan against Saxe-Coburg's force that was investing Mauberge and the French won the resulting battle of Wattignies.

It was the first of many pieces of good news. Toulon was recaptured from the Anglo-Spanish naval expedition that had held it for months, General Lazare Hoche refused to be put off by a loss at Kaiserslautern and beat a Prussian army at Froschwiller on 22 December and an Austrian one under General Dagobert Wurmser at Geisberg on 26 December.


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