Army of Condé - Action


This army participated in the War of the First Coalition from 1792 to 1797 alongside Austria, initially sharing in the unsuccessful invasion of France by the Allies under Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick. At Metz, 3-4000 French republicans faced an Austrian-Émigré siege force of 20,000. Expecting the fortress to surrender without a fight, the Austrians and émigrés under command of the Prince of Bourbon, did not bring any siege cannon. Although losses were slight (about 10 killed or wounded), the failure to take Thionville from 2 battalions of Infantry and some National Guardsmen rankled. In the previous 3 weeks, Austrians and Prussian forces had successfully forced the capitulation of Longwy and Verdun. Two weeks later, after the cannonade at Valmy, the émigré army and the Austrians, did not get to the battlefield until most of the fighting was over and the Prussians were withdrawing.

By 1795, the Army of Condé fought in conjunction with the Austrian army, under command of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. In 1794, through the negotiations of William Wickham, the British agreed to pay the Corps' expenses. In June 1796, the Condé's army and the Swabian Circle contingent guarded the Rhine river crossing at Kehl, but were pushed out when the French crossed the river in force on June 26. Afterward, the Condé's corps and the Contingent fought in Swabia, as part of the division of Karl Aloys von Fürstenberg. After the contingent was disbanded, the Corps remained in Swabia, participating in the summer fighting Swabia. In October 1796, at the Battle of Schliengen, the Corps made a spirited attack on the village of Steinstadt, which they took with a bayonet charge and remained there under severe artillery and musket fire for the rest of the daylight hours. Charles was so pleased with the performance of the Corps that he sent a formal congratulatory note to the Prince.

After the interim cease fire, the Corps garrisoned in the region of Lake Constance. The agreement negotiated between Conde and Wickham expired and the Corps entered the pay of the Tsar of Russia. In October, the entire Corps, numbering about 10,000, left the Bodensee region and marched toward Russia. In October 1797, Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio with the First French Republic, formally ending its hostilities against the French.

With the end of the First Coalition, the army marched to Poland, returning in 1799 to Switzerland under command of Alexander Suvorov. In 1800, when Russia left the Second Coalition, the English agreed once again to pay the Conde's army and it fought in Bavaria until 1801, when the Corps was disbanded.

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