Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, 24 April 1794

Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, 24 April 1794

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Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, 24 April 1794

The battle of Villers-en-Cauchies (24 April 1794) saw a small force of Austrian and British cavalry break up a much larger French force that was moving into a position from where it could threaten the Allied army besieging Landrecies (War of the First Coalition).

On 23 April a French column left Cambrai, and advanced north east towards the Allied posts on the Selle, at the far right of the covering army around Landrecies. The column was reported to be 15,000 strong and the Allies believed that it had been sent out in an attempt to intercept the Emperor Francis II, then returning to the army headquarters from Brussels. The Austrian General Otto, at the head of a small force of 300 cavalry (the British Fifteenth Light Dragoons and Austrian Leopold Hussars, four squadrons in all) investigated these reports, and discovered a French column that he believed to be 10,000 strong at the village of Villers-en-Cauchies, just to the west of the Selle valley. Otto returned to St. Hilaire, and summoned reinforcements. Ten more squadrons of cavalry were allocated to him, made up of the Eleventh Light Dragoons, two squadrons of the Austrian Zeschwitz Cuirassiers and Mansel's brigade, with squadrons from the Blues, Royals and Third Dragoon Guards.

On the morning of 24 April Otto cut across from St. Hilaire to the Selle valley, and advanced north down the river, with his original troops in the advance. At Montrecourt Otto ran into a large force of French light cavalry, and immediately attacked it in its flank. The French fled west for a quarter of a mile, then rallied, and began a controlled retreat back towards the road between Villers-en-Cauchies and Avesnes-le-Sec, where they joined up with a force of 3,000 infantry supported by artillery. The French force formed into a line with its right at Avesnes-le-Sec, its left at Villers-en-Cauchies, and the light cavalry in an advance guard.

General Otto had pursued the retreating French cavalry, and now found himself in front of the French lines with only his original 300 men. Despite being badly outnumbered, Otto decided that his only chance of escaping was to attack the French line. As the British and Austrian cavalry charged, the French cavalry broke away to both sides, to reveal their infantry, described in the account of the Fifteenth Hussars as being in a rectangular formation (Sir John Fortescue, the historian of the British Army, believed this to have been two squares side by side, with the French guns between the squares, a formation that the French had used without success at Avesnes-le-Sec in the previous year).

The Austrians attacked the French left and the British the French right. Although infantry squares were normally almost impervious to cavalry attack, the French infantry was not yet experienced enough to use the squares properly, and the Allied cavalry broke into the French position. A line of French cavalry behind the infantry was also swept away, and a half-mile long pursuit followed.

The small Allied force then split. The Austrians continued to chase the French infantry back towards Cambrai, while the British turned right and attempted to catch a convoy of fifty guns that was moving north-west towards the French fortifications at Bouchain. Lacking support, Captain Pocklington of the 15th, (in command after the death of his commanding officer), was forced to turn back.

Although the initial Allied charge had broken through the French lines, the French had clearly soon rallied, for when Pocklington reached Villers-en-Cauchies he realised that he was cut off by a force of French infantry and cavalry. To the south of the village was Mansel's brigade, but their own attack on the French had not gone so well. The Third Dragoon Guards lost 38 men killed and nine wounded or missing, and the French position had held. Nevertheless their presence to the south probably explains why Pockington's men were able to break through the French blockade to reach safety.

As often happened when cavalry broke into infantry squares, the French suffered very heavy casualties at Villers-en-Cauchies, given by Fortescue as 800 dead and 400 wounded. The Fifteenth Hussars lost 31 dead and wounded, while the Leopold Hussars lost 10 dead and 10 wounded. The French loses were not significant enough to stop them making a much more serious attempt to break the siege two days later, but this was also repulsed (battle of Landrecies or Beaumont-en-Cambresis). Mansel, who was partly blamed for the performance of his brigade at Villers-en-Cauchies, made a suicidal attack on a French position during the second battle to redeem his reputation.

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars

After the Pequot War (1636-1637), the New England colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut and New Haven realized the need to form a military alliance to defend against their common enemies. After much debate, they formed the New England Confederation on May 19, 1643.

Over the subsequent years, the New England Confederation fought the Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Pocumtuck and Narragansett Indians during King Philip’s War. The Mohegan and Mohawk tribes, however, fought for the English.


Regimental Colour of the 18th Regiment of Foot showing the earliest battle honour (for Namur) and the badges later awarded for Egypt and China.

The first battle honour was the motto Virtutis Namurcensis Præmium (Reward for valour at Namur), Α] ordered by King William III to be emblazoned on the colour of the 18th Regiment of Foot, later the Royal Irish Regiment, for their part in the Siege of Namur in 1695. Β] Many years later, in 1910, the honour Namur 1695 was awarded to 14 regiments, including the Royal Irish. In 1768, the 15th Light Dragoons, later 15th The King's Hussars, were uniquely awarded the honour Emsdorf Γ] to be worn on their helmets in commemoration of their success at the Battle of Emsdorf in 1760. Δ]

The first battle honour displayed on the colours in the modern manner Ε] was awarded in 1784 when four infantry regiments Ζ] that took part in the defence of Gibraltar of 1779–83 were ordered to display the word Gibraltar on a scroll on their Second (now Regimental) Colour. Η] Later, a badge of the Castle and Key was added, with a scroll carrying the motto Montis Insignia Calpe ⎖] below it, and the word Gibraltar was changed to Gibraltar 1779–83. ⎗] Although this award was made promptly after the event, this is not always the case: the oldest battle honours, Tangier 1662–1680 and Tangier 1680, were awarded in 1909, over 220 years after the temporary but tumultuous occupation of that port. ⎘]

Location of the First Tank vs Tank Battle (A)

In April of 1918, the massive German Spring Offensive that had started in March was still underway. One of their strategic objectives was the city of Amiens (AM-yeh), an important rail and road center and the junction between the British and French armies. By taking Amiens, the Germans hoped to split the Allies in two or, at the least, seriously disrupt their supply lines. As they fought their way toward Amiens, the German forces, including 15 of their A7V tanks, approached the small town of Villers-Bretonneux. If they could punch through the town, they could then gain the high ground from which they could shell Amiens. Defending this area was the British 8 th Division, much depleted from earlier fighting, some French Foreign Legionnaires and a detachment of tanks consisting of three Mark IVs (one male armed with cannon and two female armed only with machine guns) and seven Mark A Whippets (armed only with machine guns). The British tanks and artillery lay hidden under camouflage in the woods behind Villers-Bretonneux.

It was something of a family tradition for him, from what I've read of his roots, other family members had similarly one sided defeats in 1612.

Forgot about one, the Sinclairs he was related to 1529, lost everyone apart from one man, in their invasion of Orkney, the Orcadians only had 1 casually.

That's right around the time of the Jamestown massacre I think

Those clan Sinclair guys really really weren't good at war

Thai is fascinating and should be higher up

My ancestor was the "general" on the opposing side during the Battle of Kringen! He was more a farmer that took it upon himself to be general, but still!

Must be Lt Dan's ancestors

Man sounds like the carmines from gears of war

So he was basically Lt. Dan, right?

Damn, this is an incredibly interesting moment in history. The fact that I've never heard about this until today kind of blows my mind.

The fact that this leads to the eventual claim of executive privilege and the ability of the president to call up the militia/National Guard is really interesting.

Pick up the book The Frontiersmen by Allen W Eckert. It's a narrative about the midwest and the Ohio River valley from the mid 1700's to the early 1800's. This battle is in there, along with all of the developments and interaction between the arrival of the settlers and the major tribes

Interestingly, this event also led directly to the formation of the Legion of the United States, the first standing army of the US and a precursor to the US Army. Formed for the purpose of avenging St. Clair's defeat, the Legion was meant to mimic Roman organization and was divided into four Sub-Legions that could operate independently, each with their own cavalry, artillery, infantry, and command staff. The Legion was led by Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who came up with a revolutionary set of new tactics to deal with the Natives' style of warfare. Namely, he spread everyone out, used light screening forces, and refused to march in a column, which prevented the ambush and encirclement tactics that crushed St. Clair's force. Wayne's Legion soundly defeated the Indian Confederacy and their British allies at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, which opened up the Old Northwest Territory and sewed the seeds for the rise of Tecumseh prior to the war of 1812.

Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, 24 April 1794 - History

Three paintings of the Duke reproduced in The Illustrated News (1852) &mdash left to right: Portraits by Pelligrini, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and Sir George Hayter. [Clock on thumbnails for larger images.]

Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and one of England's greatest military leaders, served as Prime Minister from 22 January 1828 to 16 November 1830 and again from 17 November to 9 December 1834. The third son (the fourth child of six) born to Garrett Wesley, first Earl of Mornington and Anne Hill, the man later known as "the Iron Duke" was born in Dublin on 1 May 1769. The family was from the Anglo-Irish ascendancy and Wellington maintained links with his Irish family and friends throughout his life. He was educated at the Diocesan School at Trim in County Meath between 1781 and 1784 he attended Eton and then was tutored privately by the Rev. Henry Michell in Brighton. In 1785 he went to Brussels where he was again tutored privately. He had little interest in education and appeared to be uncomfortable with society life.

In order to find something which "poor Arthur" could do, his parents purchased a commission as an ensign for him in the 73rd Regiment of Foot in May 1787 in December he became a Lieutenant in the 76th Foot and the following month he transferred to the 41st in Dublin. Later he moved to the 12th Light Dragoons. When he arrived in Dublin, he became aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and served in that post until March 1793.

On 30 April 1790 Wellington was elected to the Irish parliament in Dublin as MP for Trim even though he was under age at the time. He continued to represent the constituency until 1797 when he left to go to India. He also continued in the army, moving up in rank through the purchase system:

30 June 1791 Captain in the 58th Foot

30 April 1793 Major in the 33rd Foot

September 1793 Lieutenant-Colonel

Wellington saw active service for the first time between June 1794 and April 1795 when his regiment was posted to the Netherlands in the early stages of the French Wars. His next experience of warfare was in India during the fourth Mysore War where he was involved in the fighting against Tippoo Sultan. The campaign culminated in the siege and fall of Seringapatam in May 1799 Wellington was appointed as Governor of Seringapatam by the Governor-General of India, Lord Mornington &mdash who happened to be Wellington's eldest brother.

In 1803, and by then a Major-General, Wellington fought in the second Mahratta War against Scindiah of Gwalior his successful campaigns included victories at Assaye and Argaum. Wellington was created a Knight of the Bath for his work in India in September 1804. He returned to England a year later and reported to Lord Castlereagh at the Foreign Office. There he met Admiral Lord Nelson who died six weeks later, on 21 October, at the Battle of Trafalgar. Wellington was appointed Colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot in January 1806.

April 1806 was a busy month for Arthur Wellesley: he was elected as MP for the borough of Rye on 1 April on 10th he married Catherine Pakenham in Dublin. She was the daughter of Baron Longford, also one of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. In 1791, Wellington was in debt and Lord Longford refused to allow him to marry Kitty it seems that Wellington felt obliged to keep his promise to marry her even though he found her very trying. Kitty was over-emotional, self-critical, and easily depressed. She was incompetent as a housekeeper and continually found herself in debt, which infuriated Wellington, whom she hero-worshipped. She was described by contemporaries as unaffected and simple-minded. Kitty died on 24 April 1831, but the couple had been estranged for a long time prior to that. On 22 April Wellington made his maiden speech in the House of Commons, defending his brother's Indian policies. In 1807 Wellington found himself elected as MP for Mitchell in Cornwall, Newport on the Isle of Wight and for Tralee in County Kerry. He chose Newport. Concurrently he was appointed as Chief Secretary for Ireland by the Duke of Portland and worked with Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond who was the Lord-Lieutenant. Like Wellington, Richmond served in the British army from 1787.

By October 1807 the Peninsular Campaign was under way after the French declared war on Portugal, Britain's oldest trading partner. The French occupied Spain in May 1808, which led to a Spanish and Portuguese revolt. A British expeditionary force under the temporary command of Wellington was sent to Iberia on 1 August by Lord Grenville's ministry in its first campaign the British defeated the French at the Battle of Rolica and at Vimeiro. Unfortunately, the new commander, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Burrard insisted that the Convention of Cintra was signed: it gave very favourable terms to the French. Wellington was blamed for the Convention although he was cleared of responsibility by a military enquiry in Britain whence he returned in October 1808. Sir John Moore was left in command of the army in the Peninsular. In January 1809, Moore led his troops in retreat to Corunna but was killed in the subsequent battle. Wellington resigned as Chief Secretary for Ireland and resumed command of the army in Iberia. From then until 1815, Wellington was occupied with leading the British army in the defeat of the French.

He was created Earl of Wellington in February 1812 at Spencer Perceval's recommendation eight months later, at the start of Lord Liverpool's ministry, he was elevated to a Marquisate and in May 1814 he was given a Dukedom he took his seat in the House of Lords in June. Parliament gave him several grants of money in recognition of his achievements in the French Wars including a £15,000 annuity in 1814 and £200,000 in 1815 to buy an estate: he purchased Stratfield Saye in Hampshire.. He also received £60,000 in prize money after the Battle of Waterloo but returned £40,000 of this to the Treasury.

The Duke of Wellington bought Stratfield Saye in 1817, using the money voted to him by parliament for 'services rendered' in the defeat of Napoleon.

Wellington's comment after the Battle of Waterloo was, 'Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won'. Although he was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, he did not return to active military life but became a politician and 'elder statesman'. He was important as a diplomat in the years following the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in 1814 and then after Waterloo in June 1815:

August 1814 Wellington took up residence in Paris as Ambassador to France

April-March 1815 he was Britain's representative at the Congress of Vienna

July-November 1815 (after Waterloo) he was commander of the army of occupation in France he was Britain's delegate to the Congress of Aix la Chapelle

October-November 1822 he was Britain's delegate to the Congress of Verona

February-May 1826 Wellington was sent to Russia to try to avert a Russo-Turkish war over Greece. Czar Nicholas I had succeeded to the throne in 1825 and was very much an 'unknown quantity' at this point

On 22 January 1827 Wellington accepted the post of Commander-in-Chief of the British army but resigned when Canning became PM in April. He was reappointed by Goderich in August 1827 and then became PM in his own right on 22 January 1828. When it was realised that he was still Commander-in-Chief there was a public outcry and he was forced to resign that position.

Wellington's Tory government was defeated in the House of Commons when MPs voted in favour of repealing the Test and Corporation Acts. In February 1828 Wellington decided to pass the legislation himself, a measure in diametric opposition to traditional Tory 'Crown, Church and Constitution' policies. The next month Wellington's President of the Board of Trade introduced legislation for a sliding scale on corn duties which was passed without amendment. Huskisson refused to vote with the government and resigned, precipitating the County Clare election that led ultimately to the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act on 13 April 1829. However, before the legislation passed, the Duke fought a duel with Lord Winchilsea over the issue of Catholic Emancipation: both men deloped and honour was deemed to be satisfied. Wellington also took the opportunity of Huskisson's resignation to remove all the other Canningites who were in his Cabinet.

"Number 1, London": Apsley House, the London home of the Duke of Wellington . Courtesy of English Heritage, Apsley House. The Duke had steel shutters fitted to the windows because they were cheaper than replacing the glass each time a mob broke them. [Click on thumbnail for larger image and more information.]

Following the death of George IV, the new king William IV kept Wellington as his PM however, the campaign for parliamentary reform was gathering strength and was advocated by the Whigs in both Houses of Parliament. On 2 November, Earl Grey demanded to know whether Wellington intended to introduce any reform measure. Wellington's speech in response to Grey's question caused such a furore that he was obliged to resign on 16 November Earl Grey formed the first Whig ministry since 1783 and brought in the so-called Great Reform Bill in 1832. After Grey's resignation in July 1834, a ministry that lasted only four months was formed by Lord Melbourne. When he resigned, the king asked Wellington to form a ministry. The Duke declined but suggested that the post should be offered to Sir Robert Peel who was in Italy. Wellington became acting PM until Peel's return, remaining in the Cabinet as Foreign Minister in Peel's first ministry. When Peel resigned in April 1835, Wellington found himself out of office he led the Tory opposition in the House of Lords until the start of Peel's second ministry in September 1841, at which point he became a Cabinet Minister without Portfolio until Peel's next resignation in June 1846.

Three illustrations from The Illustrated London News 's series on Wellington's funeral &mdash left to right: Lying in State at Chelsea Hospital the Funeral Procession and The Duke of Wellington's Funeral Car. [Click on thumbnails for larger images.]

Once he was out of office, Wellington was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the army, a post that he held until his death, which took place suddenly at Walmer Castle on 14 September 1852. He lay in state there until 10 November and then in Chelsea Hospital until 17 November. He was given a state funeral and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. He was 83 years old.

Related Materials

Recommended reading

James, L. The Iron Duke: a military biography of Wellington . London, 1992.

Longford, E. The Years of the Sword . London, 1969.

Longford, E. Wellington: Pillar of State . London, 1972.

Muir, Percy. Wellington: The Path or Victory . New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Muir, Percy. Wellington: Waterloo and the Fortunes of Peace . New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.

Battle of Peleliu Map

Throughout the Marines landing and into the battle, the Japanese fortress located on top of “The Point” would continue to be the cause of large numbers of casualties on the beaches. COL Chesty Puller ordered Captain George Hunt (in command of Kilo Company, 3 rd Bat, 1 st Marines) to take the position. Captain Hunt would approach the objective short on supplies and under-gunned. One of his platoons would be pinned down for almost a full day in a location in between fortifications. The Japanese would then cut a hole in his line leaving the company’s right flank exposed.

One of Kilo company’s rifle platoons responded however, and started taking out Japanese gun emplacements one-at-a time. They would use smoke grenades for cover and then sweep through the emplacements using rifle grenades. Once they took out six machine gun nests, they took on the Japanese 47mm gun cave and were able to use a combination of a smoke grenade and regular grenade to force the cave’s occupants out and were subsequently killed. Over the next 30 or more hours, the Japanese would counterattack Kilo company four times. The defending forces would run out of ammunition and use hand-to-hand combat to defend against the Japanese attacking forces. Once Kilo company was reinforced, they were reduced to 18 combat effectives and had taken 157 casualties during the battle.


    (2013) – a Brazilian amateur football referee, [1] was lynched, quartered and beheaded by football spectators in Pio XII after he stabbed a player in a match he officiated on 30 June 2013. Spectators then put his head on a stake in the middle of the pitch. A viral video later surfaced of medical officials reassembling his body. [2][3][4] (2013) – Brazilian football player, murdered and beheaded by suspected drug traffickers. [5]
    (2008) – murdered and beheaded on Greyhound Canada bus in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
  • Fribjon Bjornson (2012) – severed head found on the Nak'azdli reserve near Fort St. James, British Columbia[6]
    (桓齮, 227 BC) — traitorous Qin general his severed head was instrumental in Jing Ke's assassination attempt of the Qin king (韓信, 196 BC) – executed by Empress Lü (關羽, 219) – executed during civil war by Sun Quan (關平, 219) – son of Guan Yu, executed during civil war by Sun Quan (文天祥, 1283) – scholar and general (夏完淳, 1647) – poet, executed by Qing official Hong Chengchou who betrayed Ming before Ming Dynasty fell. (聖劉方濟, 1648) – beheaded at Fogang, China (1857) – German botanist and explorer executed by the ruler of Kashgar (譚嗣同, 1898) – executed with five others by Empress Dowager Cixi
    (1693) – executed in Copenhagen for witchcraft (1723) – executed in Copenhagen for lèse-majesté (1752) - executed in Logstor for arson [7] (1772) – executed in Copenhagen for lèse-majesté (1772) – executed in Copenhagen for lèse-majesté
  • Kim Wall (2017) – her body was found both dismembered and decapitated in a submarine. See Murder of Kim Wall. [citation needed]
    (1076) – executed at Winchester by order of William I for taking part in the Revolt of the Earls , Prince of Wales (1283) – hanged, drawn and quartered in Shrewsbury by Edward I for treason (1305) – Scottish resistance fighter, hanged, drawn and quartered by Edward I (1312) – executed near Warwick by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster in the Baron's Revolt – Lord High Steward (1322) – executed at Pontefract Castle by Edward II of England (1326) – executed at Hereford by Queen Isabella, Regent for Edward III (1326) – hanged, drawn and quartered by order of Queen Isabella – Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports (1330) – executed at Winchester by Queen Isabella, Regent for Edward III – Lord High Treasurer (1381) – executed at Tower Hill by rebels during the Peasants' Revolt – Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London (1381) – executed at Tower Hill by rebels during the Peasants' Revolt – London merchant and financier (1381) – beheaded in London by rebels during the Peasants' Revolt – Chief Justice of the King's Bench, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1381) – executed in Bury St Edmunds by rebels during the Peasants' Revolt (1381) – beheaded in London by order of the Lord Mayor of London during the Peasants' Revolt (1381) – hanged, drawn and quartered at St Albans after the Peasants Revolt , KG (1388) – executed on Tower Hill by the Merciless Parliament for supporting Richard II of England[8] (1388) – executed on Tower Hill by the Merciless Parliament for supporting Richard II of England[8]
  • Sir John Emsley (1388) – executed on Tower Hill by the Merciless Parliament for supporting Richard II of England[8] , KG (1397) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Richard II of England[8] , Sir John Bussy and Sir Henry Green (1399) – executed in Bristol Castle by the Duke of Hereford (soon to be Henry IV of England) (1400) – executed at Cirencester during reign of Henry IV for the Epiphany Rising (1400) – executed at Bristol by order of Henry IV for the Epiphany Rising , KG – Lord Great Chamberlain and Justice of Chester (1400) – executed at Pleshey Castle, Essex by order of Joan Fitzalan, Countess of Hereford, with the approval of her son-in-law Henry IV, for the Epiphany Rising , KG (1400) – executed at Cirencester during reign of Henry IV for the Epiphany Rising , KG – Earl Marshal (1400) – executed at Cirencester during reign of Henry IV for the Epiphany Rising (1400) – beheaded at Tyburn during reign of Henry IV for the Epiphany Rising (1403) – executed by order of Henry IV (Hanged, drawn and quartered)
  • Sir David Walsh (1403) – executed by order of Henry IV (Hanged, drawn and quartered)
  • Danney Parsons (1403) – executed by order of Henry IV (Hanged, drawn and quartered) – Earl Marshal (1405) – executed at York by order of Henry IV for treason [9] , Archbishop of York (1405) – executed at York by order of Henry IV for treason [10]
  • Sir William de Plumpton (1405) – executed by order of Henry IV for treason (1415) – executed at Southampton by order of Henry V of England for his involvement in the Southampton Plot , KG (1415) – executed at Southampton by order of Henry V of England for his involvement in the Southampton Plot (1450) – beheaded at sea, possibly by order of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (1450) – beheaded in London by rebels led by Jack Cade (1459) – executed after Battle of Blore Heath for being a Lancastrian , KG, PC – Lord Chancellor (1460) – executed after the Battle of Wakefield for being a Yorkist (1460) – executed by order of Lord Clifford for being a Yorkist (stabbed to death during the Battle of Wakefield and later decapitated) , Speaker of the House of Commons (1461) – beheaded by a London mob (1461) – executed after the Battle of Mortimer's Cross for being a Lancastrian (1461) – executed by order of Margaret of Anjou after the Second Battle of St Albans for being a Yorkist (1461) – executed by order of Margaret of Anjou after the Second Battle of St Albans for being a Yorkist (1461) – executed after the Battle of Towton for being a Lancastrian – 1st Earl of Wiltshire (1461) – executed after the Battle of Towton for being a Lancastrian
  • Lord Aubrey de Vere (1462) – son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford (1462) – beheaded for treason at Tower Hill by order of John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester[8] (1462) – beheaded for treason at Tower Hill by order of John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester (1462) – beheaded for treason at Tower Hill by order of John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester (1464) – beheaded after the Battle of Hexham for being a Lancastrian (1464) – beheaded at Newcastle after the Battle of Hexham for being a Lancastrian (1464) – beheaded at Newcastle after the Battle of Hexham for being a Lancastrian (1464) – beheaded at Middleham after the Battle of Hexham for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir William Tailboys (1464) – executed after Battle of Hexham for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir Touchus Winterton (1469) – executed at York by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir Charles Winterton (1469) – brother of above – executed at York by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian – Lord High Treasurer and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (1469) – executed by order of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick for being a Yorkist (1469) – son of above – executed by order of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick for being a Yorkist
  • Sir Richard Smith (1469) – executed for treason at Salisbury for being a Lancastrian brother of Sir Hugh Courtenay and the 14th and 15th Earls of Devon who were all executed for being Lancastrians (in 1471, 1461 and 1471 respectively) (1469) – executed after Battle of Edgecote Moor for being a Yorkist (1469) – executed after Battle of Edgecote Moor for being a Yorkist, also illegitimate son of the above (1469) – captured and executed in Bridgewater for being a Yorkist (1470) – executed on battlefield of Losecote by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir Lawrence Davis (1470) – executed on battlefield of Losecote by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian (1470) – son of Richard Welles executed after Battle of Losecoat by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian – Lord High Treasurer (1470) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VI for being a Yorkist [8] (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir Hugh Courtenay (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian
  • Ben Glover (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian [11] (The eldest son of Sir John Delves, who was killed in the battle.) – MP for Buckinghamshire, Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire, High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, High Sheriff of Sussex, High Sheriff of Surrey, Comptroller of the Household, Speaker of the House of Commons (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian
  • Sir John Langstrother – Grand Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (1471) – beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury for being a Lancastrian (1471) – executed at Middleham Castle or Southampton by order of Edward IV for being a Lancastrian [12] (1483) – executed by order of Richard III (1483) – executed near Tower Chapel by order of Richard III[8] – Lord High Constable (1483) – beheaded at Shrewsbury by order of Richard III – Chief Butler of England (1483) – executed at Pontefract Castle by order of Richard III (1483) – executed at Pontefract Castle by order of Richard III
  • Sir Thomas St. Leger (1483) – beheaded at Exeter for rebellion against his brother-in-law Richard III
  • Sir George Browne (1483) – beheaded at Tower Hill for rebellion against Richard III (1485) – beheaded at Leicester by order of Henry VII of England after the Battle of Bosworth for being a Yorkist (1495) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England for supporting the pretender Perkin Warbeck [8] (1495) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England for supporting the pretender Perkin Warbeck (1497) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England for opposing taxation [8] – Heir to the English Throne from 9 April 1484 – March 1485 (1499) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England[8] (1502) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England for treason [8]
  • Sir Leon Taylor (1502) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VII of England for treason [8] – Speaker of the House of Commons (1510) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for extortion [8] – Speaker of the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1510) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for extortion [8] – High Admiral of Scotland (1511) – executed on capture as a pirate, according to ballads. (1513) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England as Yorkist claimant to throne [8] , KG – Lord High Steward and Lord High Constable (1521) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England as claimant to throne [8] (1531) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for conspiracy with Scotland [8] – Catholic Bishop of Rochester (1535) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for refusing to take Oath of Supremacy[8] (1535) – hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn for refusing to take Oath of Supremacy – knight, Lord Chancellor, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Speaker of the House of Commons (1535) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for refusing to take Oath of Supremacy[8] – Queen of England and Henry's Wife (1536) – executed by sword at the Tower of London by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] (1536) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] – Groom of the Stool (1536) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] , KB – Groom of the Privy Chamber (1536) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] – Gentleman of the Privy Chamber (1536) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] (1536) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] , KG (1537) – beheaded at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being in the Pilgrimage of Grace[8] – Chief Butler of England (1537) – beheaded at Lincoln by order of Henry VIII of England for being in the Pilgrimage of Grace
  • Adam Chen (1537) – hanged, drawn and quartered by order of Henry VIII of England for being in Bigod's Rebellion
  • Sir Colin Keast (1538) – beheaded at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being in Bigod's Rebellion[8] (1539) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being in Exeter Conspiracy[8] , KG, PC, Lord Warden of the Stannaries (1539) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being in Exeter Conspiracy[8] , KG, PC – Master of the Horse (1539) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being in Exeter Conspiracy[8] (1539) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for being implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace[8] (1539) – executed by order of Henry VIII of England for Catholicism [8] (1539) – executed on Glastonbury Tor by order of Thomas Cromwell (hung, drawn and quartered)
    , KG, PC – Secretary of State, Master of the Rolls, Lord Privy Seal, Governor of the Isle of Wight, Justice in Eyre, Lord Great Chamberlain (1540) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for treason [8] (1540) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for high treason and buggery [13] – Lord Deputy of Ireland (1541) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason after allowing the escape of his nephew Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare[8] (1541) – executed at Tower Green by order of Henry VIII of England for high treason[8] (1541) – executed at Tyburn by order of Henry VIII for high treason (adultery with the queen) – Queen of England and Henry's Wife (1542) – executed at Tower Green by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason[8] – wife of executed George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford and sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn (1542) – executed at Tower Green by order of Henry VIII of England for High Treason [8]
  • Sir John Neville of Chevet (1546) – executed by order of Henry VIII of England , KG – Earl Marshal (1547) – executed at Tower Hill during the reign of Henry VIII of England for treason [8] – Master-General of the Ordnance, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Lord High Admiral, also was the husband of Henry VIII sixth wife and widow Catherine Parr and the brother of Henry's third wife Jane Seymour (1549) – beheaded for treason at Tower Hill during the reign of Edward VI of England[8] , KG, PC, Earl Marshal, Lord High Treasurer, Lord High Admiral, Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549 (1552) – executed at Tower Hill during the reign of Edward VI of England for plotting murder of John Dudley [8] – Gentleman of the Privy Chamber (1552) – beheaded at Tower Hill during the reign of Edward VI of England for treason [8][14] – Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber (1552) – beheaded at Tower Hill during the reign of Edward VI of England for treason [14] , KG – Vice-Admiral, Lord Admiral, Governor of Boulogne, President of the Council in the Marches, Lord Great Chamberlain, Grand Master of the Royal Household, Earl Marshal of England, Lord President of the Council, Warden General of the Scottish Marches (1553) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for supporting Lady Jane Grey [8]KB (1553) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for supporting Lady Jane Grey [15] (1553) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for supporting Lady Jane Grey [8] – Queen of England 10–19 July 1553 and Heir to the English and Irish Thrones 21 June – 10 July 1553 (1554) – executed at Tower Green by Mary I as claimant to throne [8] – son of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and Royal Consort of England 10–19 July 1553 (1554) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for supporting Lady Jane Grey [8] , KG – father of the above, Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Justice in Eyre (1554) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for rebellion [8] (1554) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Mary I for rebellion [8] , KG – Earl Marshal (1573) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Elizabeth I of England for Ridolfi plot[8] (1572) – executed at York during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for taking part in the Rising of the North (1578) – executed by order of Sir Francis Drake (1583) – executed at Tyburn during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for high treason (hanged, drawn and quartered) (1584) – executed during the reign of Elizabeth I of England – Queen of Scots and Queen consort of France (1587) – Executed during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for treason , KG – Master of the Horse, Earl Marshal, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Custos Rotulorum of Pembrokeshire, Custos Rotulorum of Staffordshire, Master-General of the Ordnance (1601) – executed at Tower Hill during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for High Treason[8] (1601) – executed at Tower Hill during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for High Treason[8] (1601) – executed at Tower Hill during the reign of Elizabeth I of England for High Treason[16] – Lord Warden of the Stannaries, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Vice-Admiral of Devon, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, Governor of Jersey (1618) – executed in the Old Palace Yard, Westminster by orders of James VI – executed at Tower Hill for aiding buggery (1631) [8] , KG – Custos Rotulorum of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire, Lord Deputy of Ireland, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1641) – executed at Tower Hill on orders of Parliament[8] (1644) – executed at Tower Hill for treason on orders of Parliament[17]
  • Archbishop William Laud – Archbishop of Canterbury (1645) – executed at Tower Hill on orders of Parliament [8] (2 January 1645) – executed at Tower Hill on orders of Parliament for betraying the parliamentarians to the Royalists [8] , of Scarborough (died 3 January 1645) – father of above – executed for betraying the parliamentarians to the Royalists [8] and Scotland (1649) – executed in Whitehall, London by order of Cromwell's Parliament , KG – Master of the Horse, Lord Chancellor of Scotland (1649) – executed by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist (1649) – executed by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist , KG – Master of the Horse, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, Justice in Eyre (1649) – executed in London by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist (1650) – beheaded in London by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist (1650) – beheaded on Tower Hill for treason as a Royalist. , KG – Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Lancashire, Vice-Admiral of Cheshire (1651) – executed at Bolton by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist (1654) – beheaded on Tower Hill for plotting against Oliver Cromwell (1619–1655) – executed at Exeter by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist (1658) – beheaded on Tower Hill, London by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist [8] (1658) – beheaded on Tower Hill, London by order of Cromwell's Parliament for being a Royalist [8] (1660) (MP) – hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross by Charles II as a regicide [18] (1661) – posthumously beheaded at Tyburn by order of Charles II as a regicide. (1661) – posthumously beheaded at Tyburn by order of Charles II as a regicide. (1661) – posthumously beheaded at Tyburn by order of Charles II as a regicide. (1662) – executed at Tower Hill by order of Charles II for the death of his father Charles I [8] (1663) – hanged, drawn, quartered and beheaded (and head displayed on a Ludgate spike) for publishing an anonymous pamphlet justifying the right of rebellion against the king (1680) – executed at Tower Hill for treason[8] (1681) – hanged, drawn and quartered in London for treason – Member of Parliament for Tavistock and Tavistock (1683) – executed for being involved with the Rye House Plot (1683) – executed at Tower Hill for being involved with the Rye House Plot[8] – Member of Parliament for Stafford (1684) – executed by order of Judge Jeffreys for supporting Monmouth (1685) – executed at Tower Hill in reign of James II after the Battle of Sedgemoor for treason [8]
  • Lady Alice Lisle (1685) – executed at Winchester by Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assizes for harbouring Monmouth rebels (1697) – Jacobite Rebel executed at Tower Hill in reign of William III for treason [8]

Bolivia Edit

Brazil Edit

  • Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (Tiradentes) (1792) – the body was quartered after his hanging for revolutionary activity

British North America Edit

    (1586) – Roanoke Indian chief executed by first English settlers in the New World [19]
  • Wituwamat (1623) – Neponset warrior killed and beheaded by the Plymouth Colony Pilgrim/soldier Miles Standish (1676) – New EnglandWampanoag chief "King Philip" executed for resisting white settlement (1718) – famous pirate beheaded after capture at Ocracoke Island

Haiti Edit

Mexico Edit

Panama Edit

Peru Edit

Ancien Régime Edit

  • Olivier III de Clisson (1343) – executed by Philip VI of France for treason (1409) – executed in Paris by Charles VI of France (1574) – executed by Catherine de' Medici for treason (1626) – executed in Nantes for conspiracy against Cardinal Richelieu (1766) – beheaded and burnt in Abbeville for blasphemy (1792) - highwayman convicted of murder. First person to be guillotined.

French Revolution Edit

Note: some estimates place the number of persons executed by the guillotine, particularly during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), at 40,000.


The Battle of Marengo was the victory that sealed the success of Bonaparte's Italian campaign of 1800 and is best understood in the context of that campaign. By a daring crossing of the Alps [9] with his Army of the Reserve (officially commanded by Louis Alexandre Berthier) in mid-May 1800 almost before the passes were open, Bonaparte (who crossed on a mule) had threatened Melas' lines of communications in northern Italy. The French army then seized Milan on 2 June, followed by Pavia, Piacenza and Stradella, Lombardy, cutting the main Austrian supply route eastward along the south bank of the Po river. Bonaparte hoped that Melas' preoccupation with the Siege of Genoa, held by Gen. André Masséna, would prevent the Austrians from responding to his offensive. However, Genoa surrendered on 4 June, freeing a large number of Austrians for operations against the French. [8]

On 9 June Gen. Jean Lannes beat Feldmarschallleutnant Peter Ott in the Battle of Montebello. This caused Bonaparte to get overconfident. He became convinced that Melas would not attack and, further, that the Austrians were about to retreat. As other French forces closed from the west and south, the Austrian commander had withdrawn most of his troops from their positions near Nice and Genoa to Alessandria on the main Turin-Mantua road. [8]

Austrian plans and preliminary French moves Edit

The Austrians planned to fight their way out eastward but—using a local double agent, usually known by his cover of François Toli—attempted to deceive Bonaparte into thinking they would try to march north, cross the Po and head for Milan, joined by the remaining troops marching up from Genoa. The spy would advise Bonaparte to march via Sale on the northern side of the plain, so that he could be engaged by the Austrian left wing meanwhile the main force would move through Marengo village in the centre, turn north and fall into the French left flank. Ott arrived from Montebello of 13 June in a war council. The senior generals of the Austrian army strongly approved this plan, as the alternative would have meant that the army would have had to retreat along the River Po and leave Piedmont to the enemy without a fight. Nonetheless, by abandoning the San Giuliano plain, where the superior Austrian cavalry could have given him an edge, Melas probably made a serious mistake. [10]

Bonaparte knew that Ott had no way out from Alessandria, but he had no idea of Melas' position. Following his meeting with the spy and fearing that the Austrian general might try to escape, Bonaparte spread his army out in a wide net by sending Louis Desaix with Divisional General Jean Boudet's division (6,000 men) south to Novi Ligure and Divisional General Jean François Cornu de La Poype (3,500 men) north on the other bank of the Po. Further north, from Vercelli to Lake Maggiore, were stationed the divisions of Antoine de Béthencourt and Joseph Chabran and, further to the rear, north of Piacenza, Jean Thomas Guillaume Lorge's division. [3] Bonaparte's view was confirmed when Gen. Claude Victor-Perrin, supported by Divisional General Joachim Murat’s cavalry, swiftly evicted FML Andreas O'Reilly von Ballinlough’s Austrian brigade from Marengo village that afternoon. Victor then deployed divisional generals Gaspard Amédée Gardanne and Jacques-Antoine de Chambarlhac de Laubespin's divisions along the Fontanone stream. Austrian headquarters debated building a bridge to the north to outflank the French, but the lack of pontoons and time forced the Austrians to cross the River Bormida and then launch a single, direct assault across the Fontanone bridge. [8]

Battlefield Edit

The battle took place to the east of Alessandria, on a plain crossed by a river forming meanders, the Bormida, over which the Austrians installed a bridgehead. On the plain were spread numerous hamlets and farms that represented strategic points. The three main sites of the battle formed a triangle, with Marengo in the west, Castel Ceriolo in the north and San Giuliano Vecchio in the east. A small stream, the Fontanone, passed between Marengo and the Bormida. The First Consul had established his headquarters at Torre Garofoli, which was further to the east. This headquarters, nowadays visitable, is situated in the street: "Strada Comunale Cerca" coordinates N44°53'37.01 E 8°48'14.12 [3]

Forces Edit

The 30,000 Austrians and their 100 guns were initially opposed by 22,000 French and their 15 guns. Meanwhile, after the arrival of Desaix, 6,000 men would reinforce Bonaparte's army. [3]

The 1799 campaign had exhausted the Austrian army in Italy, casualties and disease reducing some regiments to 300 men. The largest component of the army was in Piedmont and the neighbouring Po valley only a few units were moved to winter quarters in better-supplied areas. Long distances from the home bases, from which the regiments drew reinforcements, meant that troop transports had to endure miserable conditions, so only about 15% reached the field army. The army of March 1800 was scarcely larger than at the conclusion of the 1799 campaign. [11] Equipment and uniforms were improved and updated. Although a simpler uniform, with a leather helmet and smaller-caliber muskets, was introduced, little had reached the field armies by 1800. Efforts were made to standardize equipment, but many units used a variety of musket and saber patterns. [12] Melas split his army into three corps facing the Bormida, in front of Alessandria. In the north Ott commanded Friedrich Heinrich von Gottesheim's advance guard plus Joseph von Schellenberg and Ludwig von Vogelsang's divisions. In the south was Feldmarschallleutnant Andreas O'Reilly von Ballinlough's division. Melas himself took control of the center, with the divisions of Karl Joseph Hadik von Futak, Konrad Valentin von Kaim, Ferdinand Johann von Morzin and Anton von Elsnitz. [13]

In 1799 the 36,000 French troops in Italy were in a desperate state similar to that at the end of 1795. Supplies of all sorts were inadequate, discipline was breaking down, desertion was increasing and, on a few occasions, whole formations marched to the rear in search of food. The survivors would be of limited combat value. In establishing the Army of the Reserve in France, Bonaparte's first move was to overhaul the supply system to provide the troops with regular food and decent uniforms. Lacking the large superiority in infantry and artillery enjoyed in many Republican campaigns, the core of Bonaparte's reserve was 30,000 men, mostly from the Batavian Republic, who had been used under Guillaume Marie Anne Brune to crush the rebellion in the Vendée. Additional veteran troops came from the remains of the former Army of England. [14] The new military doctrine emphasised the offensive, mobility and the bayonet over linear firepower. [15] In front of the Austrian army were stationed, in and to the south of Marengo, the corps of Victor (Jacques-Antoine de Chambarlhac de Laubespin and Gaspard Amédée Gardanne's divisions), supported on the left by François Étienne de Kellermann's cavalry and, further to the northeast, by the corps of Lannes (François Watrin's division, Mainoni's brigade) together with two cavalry brigades. To the east of Castel Ceriolo took position Jean-Charles Monnier's division, supported by the Guard, which formed the reserve. Victor was the one who would bear the brunt of the Austrian attack. [16]

Austrian attack Edit

The Austrian troops advanced from Alessandria eastwards across the Bormida river by two bridges debouching in a narrow bend of the river (the river being not easily crossed elsewhere). Poor Austrian staff work prevented any rapid development of their attack and the entire army had to file through a narrow bridgehead. [17] The movement began about 6 am with the first shots fired around 8 am, but the attack was not fully developed until 9 am. [8]

The 1,200-man Austrian advance guard, under Colonel (Oberst) Johann Maria Philipp Frimont and a division of 3,300 men under FML O'Reilly, pushed the French outposts back and deployed to become the Austrian right wing, driving the enemy from Pedrabona farm, then heading south to tackle the French at La Stortiglione farm. [8] The Austrian centre (about 18,000 under Melas) advanced towards Marengo until halted by GdD Gardanne's French infantry deployed in front of the Fontanone stream. [18] On the Austrian left, 7,500 men under FML Peter Ott waited for the road to clear before heading for the village of Castel Ceriolo well to the north of the French positions. This move threatened either an envelopment of the French right, or a further advance to cut the French line of communication with Milan. [19]

Gardanne's men gave a good account of themselves, holding up the Austrian deployment for a considerable time. When Gardanne's division was exhausted, Victor pulled it back behind the Fontanone and committed his second division under GdD Chambarlhac (this officer soon lost his nerve and fled). The French held Marengo village and the line of the Fontanone until about noon, with both flanks in the air. First, at 8 am, Melas hurled FML Karl Joseph Hadik von Futak's division (four battalions) at Victor's defenses, supported by Frimont's advance guard battery along the stream. [8] Forced into a funnel by the bad ground and Fontanone stream, Hadik's attack came under fire from two sides and failed, with Hadik being killed. The Austrian commander then committed FML Konrad Valentin von Kaim's division but this attack was also thwarted by 11 am. Finally, as the French position was reinforced by François Étienne de Kellermann's cavalry and Jean Lannes's formation was on the way, FML Ferdinand Johann von Morzin's elite grenadier division was sent in to attack Marengo village. [20] Melas also committed a serious tactical blunder, detaching Generalmajor (GM) Nimptsch's brigade of 2,300 hussars and two artillery batteries back over the Bormida bridge to block the corps of General Louis Gabriel Suchet, which was mistakenly reported around 9 am from Acqui Terme to be approaching Alessandria from the south. [21] Besides delaying the crossing of the Austrian left wing, this also meant that, being 30 kilometers away, Nimptsch's brigade would play no part in the battle. [20]

Stalemate in the centre around Marengo Edit

It took Bonaparte (5 kilometers away from Marengo) until about 10 am to recognize that the Austrian activity was not a diversionary attack to cover the anticipated retreat by Melas. His subordinates had brought their troops up in support of Victor's corps. Lannes's corps had deployed on the crucial right flank. GM Friedrich Joseph Anton von Bellegarde’s part of Kaim's division had crossed the Fontanone north of Marengo and occupied La Barbotta farm. Lannes directed Watrin's infantry to drive Bellegarde back. They briefly crossed the Fontanone before Austrian reserve guns drove the French back. Kellermann's heavy cavalry brigade and the 8 th Dragoons took up a covering position on the left, smashing an attempt by GM Giovanni Pilatti's light dragoon brigade which attempted to cross the steep-sided Fontanone at its southern end to envelop Victor's flank. [20] On the right, GdB Pierre Champeaux was killed trying to stop the progress of Ott's column. A small part of the 6 ème Légère (6 th Light Infantry Regiment) occupied Castel Ceriolo to the north, but soon Ott's lead units took it around 11:30 am and began putting pressure on the French right flank. Ott could not see any sign of the expected main French advance from Sale (to the northeast), so he sent GM Friedrich Heinrich von Gottesheim’s reinforced advance guard to outflank Lannes north of Marengo. [20] By 11 am Bonaparte was on the battlefield. He sent urgent recalls to his recently detached forces and summoned up his last reserves. As they came up, GdD Jean-Charles Monnier's division and the Consular Guard were committed to extend and shore up the French right, rather than to try to hold Marengo where Victor's men were running short of ammunition. [22]

Austrian breakout across the Fontanone Edit

Toward 12:30 pm Lannes moved the rest of his force to face Gottesheim in a hook shape, while Kaim attacked again, but this time against Victor's wings. A Laufbrücke (small bridge) was thrown over the Fontanone and supported by reserve artillery. GM Christoph von Latterman’s grenadiers crossed to engage Olivier Macoux Rivaud de la Raffinière’s two demibrigades defending Marengo village, while Bellegarde and Frimont's four squadrons split Watrin off. Although Rivaud retook the village, O’Reilly had taken Stortiglione by 2:00 pm, and in the north, Ott prepared to send FML Joseph von Schellenberg’s column to support Gottesheim. After securing the Fontanone bridge, Pilatti's cavalry crossed but were again charged and defeated by Kellermann. However, Victor could no longer hold his positions and withdrew southeast to the main vine belt (grape vines slung among mulberry trees), Lannes mirroring the move. The Marengo farm garrison was abandoned and at around 2:30 pm Melas led two cavalry squadrons to capture them. [20]

At about 2:00 pm the French attacked Castel Ceriolo and delayed the advance of Schellenberg's column by attacking its tail. [20] Aided by Frimont, Ott defeated Monnier and forced two-thirds of his command to retreat to the northeast. About the same time, Marengo had fallen to the Austrians, forcing Napoleon's men into a general retreat. [23] As Austrian troops crossed the Fontanone, their guns bombarded the French infantry in the vines. In a bid to further delay Schellenberg's advance, Bonaparte committed his main Guard battalion and its artillery, which moved to flank the column. After driving off Austrian dragoons with the aid of GdB Champeaux's remaining cavalry (under Joachim Murat), they engaged the head of the column. After a 15-minute firefight around 4:00 pm the Guard were surprised and destroyed by Frimont's cavalry. [20]

The French fell back c. 3 km and attempted to regroup to hold the village of San Giuliano. With the French outnumbered and driven from their best defensive position, the battle was as good as won by the Austrians. Melas, who was slightly wounded, and 71, handed over command to his chief-of-staff, General Anton von Zach, and Kaim. The Austrian centre formed into a massive pursuit column in order to chase the French off the battlefield, with the advance guard commanded by GM Franz Xaver Saint-Julien. The column formed up around Spinetta, southeast of Marengo, and advanced down the New Road. However, delays in the flanks led to the Austrian army forming a crescent shape with a thinly stretched central sector. [20] On the Austrian right wing, O'Reilly wasted time hunting down a 300-man French detachment led by Achille Dampierre (which was finally captured) and moved southeast. This took his troops out of supporting distance from the Austrian main body. [24] On the Austrian left, Ott hesitated to press hard against the French because GdB Jean Rivaud's small brigade of French cavalry hovered to the north. [25]

French counter-attack Edit

However, Desaix, in charge of the force Bonaparte had detached southwards, had hastened his advance and reached a small road junction north of Cascina Grossa (3 km west of San Giuliano). [20] Shortly before 5:00 pm, he reported to Bonaparte in person with the news that his force (6,000 men and 9 guns of Boudet's division) was not far behind. The story goes that, asked by Bonaparte what he thought of the situation, Desaix replied: "This battle is completely lost. However, there is time to win another." [26]

The French were fast to bring up and deploy the fresh troops in front of San Giuliano, and the Austrians were slow to mount their attack. Boudet and the 9 ème Légère (9 th Light Infantry Regiment) were quickly moved on to the exit from the main vine belt, where they surprised the head of Saint-Julien's column. As the Austrian infantry deployed on the south side of the road, the 9 ème Légère conducted a steady withdrawal for 30 minutes back to Desaix's position. There he had placed GdB Louis Charles de Guénand's brigade on the north side while most of the remaining French army (Monnier and Lannes) were forming up north from there. The Austrians deployed three artillery batteries on the north side of the road supported by a dragoon regiment. [20] GdB Auguste de Marmont massed the remaining French cannon against the Austrians as they advanced. Boudet's division advanced in line of brigades against the head of the Austrian column, defeating Saint-Julien's leading Austrian brigade. Zach brought forward GM Latterman's grenadier brigade in line and renewed the attack. Faced with a crisis, Napoleon sent Desaix forward again and ordered a cavalry charge requested by Desaix. The 9 ème Légère halted to face the main Austrian advance and Marmont's guns blasted the Austrians with grapeshot at close range. [20] Further back, an Austrian ammunition limber exploded. In the temporary heightening of confusion, Lattermann's formation was charged on its left flank by Kellermann's heavy cavalry (ca. 400 men) and disintegrated. At the decisive moment of the battle, Desaix was shot from his horse. [20] Zach and at least 2,000 of his men were taken prisoners. [27]

Murat and Kellermann immediately pounced on the supporting Liechtenstein Dragoons who were too slow to respond and routed them as well. [20] The fleeing Austrian horsemen crashed into the ranks of Pilatti's rattled troopers and carried them away. As the mob of terrified cavalry stampeded past them, the exhausted Austrian infantry of the main body lost heart, provoking a wild rush to the rear. The gun teams fled, pursued by French cavalry, while their whole infantry line advanced westward. [28] The second grenadier brigade under GM Karl Philippi von Weidenfeld and some unpanicked cavalry delayed Boudet's advance long enough for O’Reilly's cavalry to return, and together with Frimont, they mounted a last defense around Marengo village as night fell, allowing the Austrian centre to reach safety behind the Bormida. [29] Ott with the Austrian left failed to intervene and found his retreat through Castel Ceriolo blocked by French troops advancing northwest from the centre, but managed to fight his way back to the Bormida bridgehead. [30]

The Austrians fell back into Alessandria, having lost about half the forces they had committed. The Austrians had lost heavily in the 12 hours of fighting: 15 colours, 40 guns, almost 8,000 taken prisoner, and 6,500 dead or wounded. [31] French casualties (killed and wounded) were on the order of 4,700 and 900 missing or captured, but they retained the battlefield and the strategic initiative. [4] Desaix's body was found among the slain. [32]

Bonaparte needed to depart for Paris urgently and the next morning sent Berthier on a surprise visit to Austrian headquarters. [30] Within 24 hours of the battle, Melas entered into negotiations (the Convention of Alessandria) which led to the Austrians evacuating northwestern Italy west of the Ticino river, and suspending military operations in Italy.

Bonaparte's position as First Consul was strengthened by the successful outcome of the battle and the preceding campaign. [30] After this victory, Napoleon could breathe a sigh of relief. The generals who had been hostile to him could see that his luck had not abandoned him. Thus, he had surpassed Schérer, Joubert, Championnet, and even Moreau, none of whom having been able to inflict a decisive blow on the Coalition. Moreau's victory at Hohenlinden, which was the one that in reality had put an end to the war, was minimised by Bonaparte who, from then on, would pose as a saviour of the fatherland, and even of the Republic. He rejected offers from Louis XVIII, who had considered the Consulate to be a mere transition toward the restoration of the king. Thanks to the victory at Marengo, Napoleon could finally set about reforming France according to his own vision. [33]

Propaganda Edit

A last-gasp victory in reality, Marengo was mythologised in an army bulletin and three increasingly glamourised "Official Reports" during Bonaparte's reign. Tales were invented about the Guard and the 72 ème demibrigade, which had been under his direct control throughout. [30]

General François Kellermann distinguished himself at Marengo. Melas, trapped in Alessandria with his hopes of breaking through to the east shattered, sent the same evening to Vienna a message in which he explained that the "charge of Kellermann had broken the soldiers and this sudden and terrible change of fortunes finished by smashing the courage of the troops. The disorder of the cavalry which had disorganised our infantry precipitated its retreat." [34] At the same time, Murat was writing to Berthier: "I especially have to tell you about Kellermann through a powerful charge he managed to tilt the balance in our favour." [34] However, in the Bulletin de l'armée issued the following day, Napoleon sought to counterbalance Kellermann's charge with Jean-Baptiste Bessières's: "The chef de brigade Bessières, in front of the reckless grenadiers of the guard, executed a charge with as much activity as valour and penetrated the line of the enemy cavalry this resulted in the entire rout of the army." [35]

Another piece of work which attempted to justify the retreat maneuver and to present it as a highly strategic calculation was Berthier's Relation de la bataille de Marengo, published in 1804. Berthier suggests that time had to be given to Desaix and Boudet's division to occupy their positions: "The enemy general misinterpreted this maneuver and thought the army was in full retreat, while in reality it was only executing a movement of conversion." [34] However, it is known that Desaix's arrival, while definitely expected, was not certain before the retreat. The bulletin explains that Desaix's forces were waiting in reserve with artillery pieces, which in reality was false, because they arrived late in the battle. Several participants to the fighting reveal the precarious condition of the army throughout the day, including Marmont in his Memoirs, Captain Coignet: "We were retreating in good order but all ready to start running at the earliest sign of danger", Captain Gervais: "In this battle, we were many times on the verge of being defeated. The enemy cavalry, on a terrain favourable to this arm, charged us repeatedly. We were often obliged to concentrate and even to retreat", and General Thévenet: "There is no doubt that a part of the French army was repelled up to the Scrivia". [36]

Marengo museum Edit

The Museum of Marengo "Museo della Battaglia di Marengo" is located in Via della Barbotta, Spinetta Marengo, Alessandria. This is exactly the place where most of the fights between the French and Austrian armies took place. It is a part of Villa Delavo, with the park of the museum surrounding the village of Marengo. [ citation needed ]

Remembrance Edit

Napoleon sought to ensure that his victory would not be forgotten, so, besides the propaganda campaign, he entrusted General Chasseloup with the construction of a pyramid on the site of the battle. On 5 May 1805, a ceremony took place on the field of Marengo. Napoleon, dressed in the uniform he wore on 14 June 1800, together with Empress Joséphine seated on a throne placed under a tent, oversaw a military parade. Then, Chasseloup gave Napoleon the founding stone, on which was inscribed: "Napoleon, Emperor of the French and King of Italy, to the manes of the defenders of the fatherland who perished on the day of Marengo." [37] This pyramid was actually part of a very ambitious project meant to glorify Bonaparte's conquests in Italy. The field of Marengo was supposed to become the site of a "city of Victories" whose boulevards, named after Italian battles, would converge to the pyramid. In the event, the project was abandoned in 1815 and the stones recovered by the peasants. The column erected in 1801 was also removed, only to be restored in 1922. [37]

Napoleon ordered that several ships of the French Navy be named Marengo, including Sceptre (1780), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1795), Ville de Paris (1851) and Marengo (1810). In 1802, the Marengo department was named in the honour of the battle. [38] Furthermore, Napoleon's mount throughout the battle was named Marengo and further carried the Emperor in the Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Battle of Wagram, and Battle of Waterloo. [39]

After Bonaparte's fall, Marengo County, Alabama, first settled by Napoleonic refugees with their Vine and Olive Colony, was named in honour of this battle. Since then, numerous settlements were named Marengo in Canada and the United States (see places named Marengo). [40]

Presently, a museum of the battle exists on the outskirts of Alessandria. Re-enactments are also organised every year to commemorate the event. [41]

Naval/Maritime History 17th of June - Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History

The ‘Sibylle’ was a 32-gun fifth rate frigate launched on 1st September 1777 at Brest. She was designed and built for the French Navy by Jacques-Noel Sane in Brest, Brittany. Armament with 26 x 12-pounder and 6 x 6-pounder guns. She was captured by HMS ‘Centurion’ on 22nd February 1783. She was paid off and broken up in London in 1784.

'Start of the action between HMS Magicienne and La Sibylle, 2 January 1783'. This painting depicts a battle that occurred on 2nd January 1783 between the 32-gun frigate HMS ‘Magicienne’ (seen in centre-foreground), and the French navy ship ‘Sibylle’, another 32-gun ‘5th rate’ (seen on the left behind the ‘Magicienne’). The two ships are exchanging broadsides, as shown by the clouds of gun-smoke, and both have suffered apparent damage. The ‘Magicienne’, shown here flying the Blue Ensign, was itself a French naval vessel until it was captured by the British on 2nd July 1781, nearly two years before. The ‘Sibylle’ was herself captured by HMS ‘Centurion’ the following month, on 22nd February 1783. Two other vessels can be seen in the background, one on each side of the combatants.The painting was produced in 1784, a year after this battle.

End of the action between HMS Magicienne and La Sibylle, 2 January 1783 (BHC0457)

The Sibylle class was a class of five 32-gun sail frigates designed by Jacques-Noël Sané and built for the French Navy in the late 1770s. They carried 26 x 12-pounder guns on the upper deck and 6 x 8-pounder guns on the forecastle and quarter deck.


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 August 1791 – HMS Pandora (1779 - 24 - Porcupine-class post ship) sinks after having run aground on the outer Great Barrier Reef the previous day.

HMS Pandora was a 24-gun Porcupine-class sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy launched in May 1779. She is best known as the ship sent in 1790 to search for the Bounty mutineers. The Pandora was partially successful by capturing 14 of the mutineers, but was wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef on the return voyage in 1791. The Pandora is considered to be one of the most significant shipwrecks in the Southern Hemisphere.

Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth for Pelican (1777). Annotated with Isaac Rogers (bottom right). From Tyne & Wear Archives Service, Blandford House, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4JA.

Early service
Her first service was in the Channel during the 1779 threatened invasion by the combined fleets of France and Spain. She was deployed in North American waters during the American War Of Independence and saw service as a convoy escort between England and Quebec. On 18 July 1780, while under the command of Captain Anthony Parry, she and Danae captured the American privateer Jack. Then on 2 September, the two British vessels captured the American privateer Terrible. On 14 January Pandora captured the brig Janie. Then on 11 March she captured the ship Mercury. Two days later Pandora and HMS Belisarius were off the Capes of Virginia when they captured the sloop Louis, which had been sailing to Virginia with a cargo of cider and onions. Under Captain John Inglis Pandora captured more merchant vessels. The first was the brig Lively on 24 May 1782. More followed: the ship Mercury and the sloops Port Royal and Superb (22 November 1782), brig Nestor (3 February 1783), and the ship Financier (29 March). At the end of the American war the Admiralty placed Pandora in ordinary (mothballed) in 1783 at Chatham for seven years.

Voyage in search of the Bounty
Pandora was ordered to be brought back into service on 30 June 1790 when war between England and Spain seemed likely due to the Nootka Crisis. However, in early August 1790, 5 months after learning of the mutiny on HMS Bounty, the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, decided to despatch her to recover the Bounty, capture the mutineers, and return them to England for trial. She was refitted, and her 9-pounder guns were reduced to 20 in number, though she gained four 18-pounder carronades.

Pandora sailed from The Solent on 7 November 1790, commanded by Captain Edward Edwards and manned by a crew of 134 men. With his crew was Thomas Hayward, who had been on the Bounty at the time of the mutiny, and left with Bligh in the open boat. At Tahiti they were also assisted by John Brown, who had been left on the island by an English merchant ship, The Mercury.

Unknown to Edwards, twelve of the mutineers, together with four crew who had stayed loyal to Bligh, had by then already elected to return to Tahiti, after a failed attempt to establish a colony (Fort St George) under Fletcher Christian's leadership on Tubuai, one of the Austral Islands. The disaffected men were living in Tahiti as 'beachcombers', many of them having fathered children with local women. Fletcher Christian's group of mutineers and their Polynesian followers had sailed off and eventually established their settlement on the then uncharted Pitcairn Island. By the time of Pandora's arrival, fourteen of the former Bounty men remained on Tahiti, Charles Churchill having been murdered in a quarrel with Matthew Thompson, who was in turn killed by Polynesians who considered Churchill their king.

The Pandora reached Tahiti on 23 March 1791 via Cape Horn. Three men came out and surrendered to Edwards shortly after Pandora's arrival. These were Joseph Coleman, the Bounty's armourer, and Peter Heywood and George Stewart, midshipmen. Edwards then dispatched search parties to round up the remainder. Able Seaman Richard Skinner was apprehended the day after Pandora's arrival. By now alerted to Edwards' presence, the other Bounty men fled to the mountains while James Morrison, Charles Norman and Thomas Ellison, tried to reach the Pandora to surrender in the escape boat they had built. All were eventually captured, and brought back to Pandora on 29 March. An eighth man, the half blind Michael Byrne, who had been fiddler aboard Bounty, had also come aboard by this time. It was not recorded whether he had been captured or had handed himself in. Edwards conducted further searches over the next week and a half, and on Saturday two more men were brought aboard Pandora, Henry Hilbrant and Thomas McIntosh. The remaining four men, Thomas Burkett, John Millward, John Sumner and William Muspratt, were brought in the following day. These fourteen men were locked up in a makeshift prison cell, measuring eleven-by-eighteen feet, on the Pandora's quarter-deck, which they called "Pandora's Box".

Voyage of HMS Pandora in 1791

On 8 May 1791 the Pandora left Tahiti and subsequently spent three months visiting islands in the South-West Pacific in search of the Bounty and the remaining mutineers, without finding any traces of the pirated vessel. During this part of the voyage fourteen crew went missing in two of the ship's boats. In the meantime the Pandora visited Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga and Rotuma. They also passed Vanikoro Island, which Edwards named Pitt's Island but they did not stop to explore the island and investigate obvious signs of habitation. If they had done so, they would very probably have discovered early evidence of the fate of the French Pacific explorer La Perouse's expedition which had disappeared in 1788. From later accounts about their fate it is evident that a substantial number of crew survived the cyclone that wrecked their ships Astrolabe and Boussole on Vanikoro's fringing reef.


HMS Pandora in the act of foundering 29 August 1791 by Robert Batty

Heading west, making for the Torres Strait, the ship ran aground on 29 August 1791 on the outer Great Barrier Reef. She sank the next morning, claiming the lives of 35 men - 31 crew and 4 of the mutineers. The remainder of the ship's company (89 crew and 10 prisoners, 7 of who were released from their cell as the ship sank) assembled on a small treeless sand cay. After two nights on the island they sailed for Timor in four open boats, arriving in Kupang on 16 September 1791 after an arduous voyage across the Arafura Sea. Sixteen more died after surviving the wreck, many having fallen ill during their sojourn in Batavia (Jakarta). Eventually only 78 of the 134 men who had been on board upon departure returned home.

Captain Edwards and his officers were exonerated for the loss of the Pandora after a court martial. No attempt was made by the colonial authorities in New South Wales to salvage material from the wreck. The ten surviving prisoners were also tried the various courts martial held found four of them innocent of mutiny and, although the other six were found guilty, only three were executed - Millward, Burkitt and Ellison who were executed on 29 October 1792 on board the Brunswick man of war at Portsmouth. Peter Heywood and James Morrison received a Royal pardon, while William Muspratt was acquitted on a legal technicality.

Descendants of the nine mutineers not discovered by Pandora still live on Pitcairn Island, the refuge Fletcher Christian founded in January 1790 and where they burnt and scuttled the Bounty a few weeks after arrival. Their hiding place was not discovered until 1808 when the New England sealer Topaz (Captain Mayhew Folger) happened on the tiny uncharted island. By then, all of the mutineers – except John Adams (aka Alexander Smith) – were dead, most having died under violent circumstances.

The sinking of the HMS Pandora on August 30, 1791. This painting was based on a watercolor by Peter Heywood, a Bounty prisoner who survived the wreck.

Wreck site: discovery and archaeology
The wreck of the Pandora is located approximately 5 km north-west of Moulter Cay 11°23′S 143°59′ECoordinates:

11°23′S 143°59′E on the outer Great Barrier Reef, on the edge of the Coral Sea. It is one of the best preserved shipwrecks in Australian waters. Its discovery was made on 15 November 1977 by independent explorers Ben Cropp, Steve Domm and John Heyer.

John Heyer, an Australian documentary film maker, had predicted the position of the wreck based on his research in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. His discovery expedition was launched with the help of Steve Domm, a boat owner and naturalist, and the Royal Australian Air Force. Using the built-in sensors of the RAAF P-2V Neptune, the magnetic anomaly caused by the wreck was detected and flares were laid down near the coordinates predicted by John Heyer.

Ben Cropp, an Australian television film maker, gained knowledge of Heyer's expedition and decided to launch his own search with the intention of following Heyer by boat In this way Ben Cropp found the Pandora wreck just before John Heyer's boat did. The wreck was actually sighted by a diver called Ron Bell on Ben Cropp's boat. After the wreck site was located it was immediately declared a protected site under the Australian Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, and in 1978 Ben Cropp and Steve Domm shared the $10,000. reward for finding the wreck.

The Queensland Museum excavated the wreck on nine occasions between 1983 and 1999, according to a research design devised by marine archaeologists at the West Australian and Queensland museums (Gesner, 2016:16). Archaeologists, historians and scholars at the Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville, continue to piece together the Pandora story, using archaeological and extant historical evidence. A large collection of artefacts is on display at the museum.

In the course of the nine seasons of excavation during the 1980s and 1990s, the museum's marine archaeological teams established that approximately 30% of the hull is still intact (Gesner, 2000:39ff). The vessel came to rest at a depth of between 30 and 33 m on a gently sloping sandy bottom, slightly inclined to starboard consequently more of the starboard side has been preserved than the port side of the hull. Approximately one third of the seabed in which the wreck is buried has been excavated by the Queensland Museum, leaving approximately 350 m³ for any future excavations.

A beautiful scratch built model in scale 1:36 of the HMS Pandora was built by the hungarian modeler Gémes Attila

The Porcupine-class sailing sixth rates were a series of ten 24-gun post ships built to a 1776 design by John Williams, that served in the Royal Navy during the American War Of Independence. Some survived to serve again in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. The first two were launched in 1777. Three were launched in 1778, three more in 1779, and the last two in 1781.

John Williams, the Surveyor of the Navy, designed the class as a development of his 1773 design for the 20-gun Sphinx class. The 1776 design enlarged the ship, which permitted the mounting of an eleventh pair of 9-pounder guns on the upper deck and two smaller (6-pounder) guns on the quarterdeck.

Ships in class
The Admiralty ordered ten ships to this design over a period of two years. The contract for the first ship was agreed on 25 June 1776 with Greaves, for launching in July 1777 the second was agreed with Adams on 6 August 1776, for launching in May 1777. The contract price for each was £10½ per ton BM they were named Porcupine and Pelican by Admiralty Order on 27 August 1776. The contract price for Penelope was £11½ per ton BM.

An interesting read

The Voyage of H.M.S. Pandora: In Pursuit of the Mutineers of the Bounty in the South Seas-1790-1791

Museum of Tropical Queensland - Townsville museum ort+Maritime+History/HMS+Pandora#.W4f3CugzaUk


Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
30 August 1799 – The entire Dutch fleet surrendered to the British navy under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell during the War of the Second Coalition.

In the Vlieter incident on 30 August 1799, a squadron of the Batavian Navy, commanded by Rear-Admiral Samuel Story, surrendered to the British navy. The incident occurred during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. It took place in the tidal trench between Texel and the mainland that was known as De Vlieter, near Wieringen.

Surrender of Samuel Story's Dutch Texel squadron to a British-Russian fleet under Andrew Mitchell, 30th of August 1799 in the Vlieter.

During the War of the First Coalition the Dutch Republic was invaded in 1794 by the armies of the French Republic, which led to the flight of Stadtholder William V, Prince of Orange to England, and the proclamation of the Batavian Republic. This Republic now changed sides in the war, entering into an offensive and defensive alliance with France.

In the course of the War of the Second Coalition, which actually was a continuation of the first war, without France, Great Britain, or the Batavian Republic having concluded a peace, Great Britain and Russia decided to launch an invasion of the Batavian Republic in the peninsula of North Holland in August 1799. It was hoped that this invasion would cause a popular uprising of the Dutch population against their republic. The former Stadtholder and his eldest son the Hereditary Prince tried to support the expedition by propaganda-efforts and intrigues with disaffected officers. The loyalty of the Batavian navy was especially in doubt, as this was a hotbed of Orangist sentiment. The British Major General George Don, who conducted a reconnaissance of the Republic in July, 1799, estimated that the Helder squadron of the Batavian fleet would fall into British hands without a fight, if the Allies played their cards right.

To accomplish this bloodless coup, the invading fleet came well stocked with flags of the previous regime, propaganda pamphlets, and Dutch émigrés, the most important of whom was the Hereditary Prince. One of the Orangist officers who had left the Navy in 1795, Carel Hendrik Ver Huell, had on behalf of the Prince contacted two of his former colleagues, Theodorus Frederik van Capellen and Aegidius van Braam (who had re-enlisted in the Batavian navy), with the object of getting them to organize a mutiny in the Helder squadron (where they each commanded a ship-of-the-line). However, it is not clear whether the two officers indeed made a determined organizational effort before the fatal day.

The invasion fleet of about 200 warships and transports left England on 13 August 1799. Inclement weather at first prevented it from approaching the Dutch coast. However, on 22 August, British Vice-Admiral Mitchellwas able to approach the roadstead of Den Helder where the squadron of Admiral Story lay at anchor. Mitchell sent over parlimentaires demanding that Story defect to the Prince with his fleet, but Story refused indignantly. He replied further that he would ask for further instructions from the Batavian government. The British ships then withdrew and the weather again turned bad for a few days.

On 26 August 1799 an Anglo-Russian invasion fleet of eleven ships-of-the-line and seven frigates arrived at the roadstead of Texel, flying the flag of the Prince of Orange. They started to disembark troops on the 27th, without opposition from the Batavian fleet, that had withdrawn into the Zuider Zee. General Herman Willem Daendels, the commander of the Batavian landforces, ordered the evacuation of the coastal forts of Den Helder after losing the Battle of Callantsoog (1799)

disembark troops on the 27th

Mutiny and surrender
On 28 August, Admiral Story returned with his squadron to the Vlieter roadstead, where he anchored, because adverse winds made it impossible to attack the British. Enervated by the sight of the Orangist flags on the forts and church steeples of Den Helder, the crews of several of the ships then started to mutiny. Van Braam's ship Leyden was one of those. He later admitted that it would have been easy for him to quell the revolt, but he intentionally did nothing. Instead, he informed his commanding officer, Admiral Story (who himself had to counter an incipient mutiny on the flagship Washington) of the "precarious situation" aboard the other ships of the fleet.

Surrender of Samuel Story's Dutch Texel squadron to a British-Russian fleet under Andrew Mitchell, 30th of August 1799 in the Vlieter.

Story now sent his flag captain, Van Capellen, and the captain of the Cerberus, De Jong, under a flag of truce to the commander of the British squadron, Admiral Mitchell, to parley. They were to tell Mitchell that the Dutch fleet intended to give battle, in accordance with the explicit orders of the Agent for the Navy of the Batavian Republic, Jacobus Spoors, but that Story had asked for further orders, and proposed to await those. He asked for a temporary truce to avoid unnecessary bloodshed - Story later averred that this was a ruse on his part to gain time to restore discipline on his ships.

Mitchell did not fall for this ruse, probably because the two Dutch negotiators were actually the ringleaders of the mutiny. He issued an ultimatum giving Story one hour to defect and join the invasion force with his ships, or face the consequences. Faced with this ultimatum, Story convened a council of war aboard his flagship with all his captains. According to Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Maitland, who was present at the discussions on board Washingtonas a British parlimentaire, Van Capellen, De Jong, and Van Braam did their best to influence the council in the direction of accepting the ultimatum. He later asked in a letter to General Dundas that ". the opinions and sentiments expressed by the captains Van Capelle, Van Braam and the [sic] Jong generally in the presence of Admiral Story might not become public and those officers thereby endangered. To you in this letter, I apprehend I do right inform you, that above mentioned captains did declare their attachment to the Stadholder and the former government and their disgust at the present government and their French connections. ".

Before this council started, the crew of the Washington had already begun a full mutiny, refusing to man the guns, and throwing munitions into the sea. Attempts of Story himself, and Van Braam to reason with the mutineers had been of no avail. When asked during the council of war to describe the situation aboard their ships all, except Captain Van Senden of Batavier, had similar stories. In these circumstances it seemed impossible to engage in battle. Besides, the officers calculated that their continued resistance would contribute little to the fight against the invasion, as the disembarkation had already taken place. Scuttling the fleet seemed impossible, because the crews would not allow it. Finally, some calculated that it would be better to surrender without resistance, because in that case the ships would end up in the possession of the Stadtholder, instead of becoming war booty for the British.

The council of war therefore unanimously decided to lower the flag of the Batavian Republic and declare themselves prisoners of war. They refused, however, to hoist the Orange flag. This may seem a minor point, but it signified that the officers did not defect. When Mitchell accepted the surrender, he did this in the name of the Prince of Orange. He therefore ordered the flag of the Prince to be hoisted, with which order some of the officers complied. This little act was to cost them dearly later on, as it was interpreted as an act of treason.

Meanwhile, in the absence of the captains further acts of mutiny had taken place on the other ships. One officer was drowned others loyal to the Batavian Republic were beaten up. The Batavian flag was torn up by the mutineers. British officers restored order with some difficulty. After the surrender the Prince visited several of the ships to receive the cheers of the mutineers. He had now hoped to take command of the surrendered fleet himself, but this was denied by the British. The crews were taken off the ships, and British prize crews sailed them to England. Only five derelict frigates lying in Den Helder were handed over to William. These were manned with volunteer crews of the old-regime Dutch navy, living in the vicinity, and under jury rig sailed to England in November. One of these frigates foundered with loss of life.

After this initial success, the Anglo-Russian expedition soon ran into difficulties. The civilian population of North Holland did not display the fervour for the cause of Orange that the Prince had expected. The Batavian army proved remarkably resilient and managed in cooperation with the French army of occupation to deal the Allies defeats at the Battle of Bergen and Battle of Castricum. The Allies therefore evacuated North Holland at the end of October, 1799.

As this was the second surrender of a Batavian fleet in short order (after the capitulation of Saldanha Bay in 1796), the authorities of the Batavian Republic decided to convene a court-martial ((in Dutch) Hoge Zeekrijgsraad) on 8 October 1799, to exact exemplary punishment of the officers responsible for the surrender, and of the mutineers. As these were away in England the trial had to wait till the first returned to the Netherlands on parole. Those were arrested. Only Story himself, Van Braam and Van Capellen remained outside the reach of the court. They were eventually tried in absentia.

One captain, N. Connio, of the brig Gier was condemned to death, and executed on board the guard ship Rozenburg on 27 December 1799, to the consternation of the detained officers. Captain Dirk Hendrik Kolff of Utrecht was also condemned to death, but he managed to escape before his execution.

Captain De Jong was acquitted of the charge of treason, for lack of evidence, but he was convicted of dereliction of duty. He was cashiered had to undergo a symbolic simulated execution (whereby a sword was swung over his head), and was banished for life. The trials were then suspended in hope that the absent officers would become available. In July 1801 the trial was resumed with new indictments against officers who had surrendered ships on earlier occasions or been otherwise derelict. Several other officers were punished in an attempt to make clear to the officer corps that surrender without a fight was unacceptable.

In June 1802 the Hoge Zeekrijgsraad was replaced by a permanent court, the Hoge Militaire Vierschaar (High Military Court). This court eventually conducted the trials of Story, Van Capellen, Van Braam, and Kolff in absentia, after it had become clear that these officers would not return to the Netherlands after the Peace of Amiens in 1802, when they were released as POWs. They were convicted of dereliction of duty, cowardice, and disloyalty. The court declared them perjurious (because they had broken their oath of loyalty), without honour and "infamous", and they were cashiered, and banished for life, on penalty of execution (by beheading in the case of Story by death by firing squad in the case of the other three).

Story moved to Germany. He protested his innocence to the very end, publishing a public defence in the form of a book. He died in Cleves in 1811, before he could ask the new King of the Netherlands for rehabilitation.

The others were more fortunate in this respect. They were fully rehabilitated after the Orangist party was restored to power in 1814. Van Capellen became a vice-admiral in the new Royal Netherlands Navy, and commanded a squadron at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816.

Dutch ships surrendered
The squadron of Admiral Story comprised only part of the Batavian fleet. In Amsterdam lay four 74-gun and two 64-gun ships at Hellevoetsluis one 74-gun ship and seven 64-guns, besides several frigates and brigs.

Ship Guns Commander Notes

Washington74 Van Capellen Ship of the line, flagship
Cerberus64 De Jong Ship of the Line
Admiral De Ruyter 64 Huijs Ship of the Line
Gelderland64 Waldeck Ship of the Line
Leyden64 Van Braam Ship of the Line
Utrecht64 Kolff Ship of the Line
Batavier50 Van Senden Ship of the Line

The Dutch ship Batavier (E) during the Battle of the Dogger Bank on 5 August 1781.

Beschermer50 Eilbracht Ship of the Line

Figurehead of the Dutch warship Beschermer

Mars44 De Bock Frigate
Amphitrite40 Schutter Frigate
Ambuscade32 Riverij Frigate
Galathea16 Droop Brig

Letter of capitulation of Admiral Story to Admiral Mitchell
"Neither your superiority, nor the threat that the spilling of human blood should be laid to my account, could prevent my shewing to you, to the last moment, what I could do for my sovereign, whom I acknowledge to be no other than the Batavian people and its representatives, when your prince's and the Orange flags have obtained their end. The traitors whom I commanded refused to fight and nothing remains to me and my brave officers but vain rage and the dreadful reflection of our present situation: I therefore deliver over to you the fleet which I commanded. From this moment it is your obligation to provide for the safety of my officers and the few brave men who are on-board the Batavian ships, as I declare myself and my officers prisoners of war, and remain to be considered as such."

Watch the video: Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies