Page:EB1911 - Volume 11.djvu/215
NAVAL OPERATIONS] 203
FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS
Bibliography.—By far the most important modern works are A. Chuquet’s Guerres de la Révolution (11 monographs forming together a complete history of the campaigns of 1792-93), and the publications of the French General Staff. The latter appear first, as a rule, in the official “Revue d’histoire” and are then republished in separate volumes, of which every year adds to the number. V. Dupuis’ L’Armée du nord 1793; Coutanceau’s L’Armée du nord 1794; J. Colin’s Éducation militaire de Napoléon and Campagne de 1793 en Alsace; and C. de Cugnac’s Campagne de l’armée de réserve 1800 may be specially named. Among other works of importance the principal are C. von B(inder)-K(rieglstein), Geist und Stoff im Kriege (Vienna, 1896); E. Gachot’s works on Masséna’s career (containing invaluable evidence though written in a somewhat rhetorical style); Ritter von Angeli, Erzherzog Karl (Vienna, 1896); F. N. Maude, Evolution of Modern Strategy; G. A. Furse, Marengo and Hohenlinden; C. von Clausewitz, Feldzug 1796 in Italien and Feldzug 1799) (French translations); H. Bonnal, De Rosbach à Ulm; Krebs and Moris, Campagnes dans les Alpes (Paris, 1891-1895); Yorck von Wartenburg, Napoleon als Feldherr (English and French translations); F. Bouvier, Bonaparte en Italie 1796; Kuhl, Bonaparte’s erster Feldzug; J. W. Fortescue, Hist. of the British Army, vol. iv.; G. D. v. Scharnhorst, Ursache des Glücks der Franzosen 1793-1794 (reprinted in A. Weiss’s Short German Military Readings, London, 1892); E. D’Hauterive, L’Armée sous la Révolution; C. Rousset, Les Volontaires; Max Jähns, Das französische Heer; Shadwell, Mountain Warfare; works of Colonel Camon (Guerre Napoléonienne, &c.); Austrian War Office, Krieg gegen die franz. Revolution 1792-1797 (Vienna, 1905); Archduke Charles, Grundsätze der Strategie (1796 campaign in Germany), and Gesch. des Feldzuges 1799 in Deutschl. und der Schweiz; v. Zeissberg, Erzherzog Karl; the old history called Victoires et conquêtes des Français (27 volumes, Paris, 1817-1825); M. Hartmann, Anteil der Russen am Feldzug 1799 in der Schweiz (Zürich, 1892); Danélewski-Miliutin, Der Krieg Russlands gegen Frankreich unter Paul I. (Munich, 1858); German General Staff, “Napoleons Feldzug 1796-1797” (Suppl. Mil. Wochenblatt, 1889), and Pirmasens und Kaiserslautern (“Kriegsgesch. Einzelschriften,” 1893).
The naval side of the wars arising out of the French Revolution was marked by unity, and even by simplicity. France had but one serious enemy, Great Britain, and Great Britain had but one purpose, to beat down France. Other states were drawn into the strife, but it was as the allies, the enemies and at times the victims, of the two dominating powers. The field of battle was the whole expanse of the ocean and the landlocked seas. The weapons, the methods and the results were the same. When a general survey of the whole struggle is taken, its unity is manifest. The Revolution produced a profound alteration in the government of France, but none in the final purposes of its policy. To secure for France its so-called “natural limits”—the Rhine, the Alps, the Pyrenees and the ocean; to protect both flanks by reducing Holland on the north and Spain on the south to submission; to confirm the mighty power thus constituted, by the subjugation of Great Britain, were the objects of the Republic and of Napoleon, as they had been of Louis XIV. The naval war, like the war on land, is here considered in the first of its two phases—the Revolutionary (1792-99). (For the Napoleonic phase (1800-15), see Napoleonic Campaigns.)
The Revolutionary war began in April 1792. In the September of that year Admiral Truguet sailed from Toulon to co-operate with the French troops operating against the Austrians and their allies in northern Italy. In December Latouche Tréville was sent with another squadron to cow the Bourbon rulers of Naples. The extreme feebleness of their opponents alone saved the French from disaster. Mutinies, which began within ten days of the storming of the Bastille (14th of July 1789), had disorganized their navy, and the effects of these disorders continued to be felt so long as the war lasted. In February 1793 war broke out with Great Britain and Holland. In March Spain was added to the list of the powers against which France declared war. Her resources at sea were wholly inadequate to meet the coalition she had provoked. The Convention did indeed order that fifty-two ships of the line should be commissioned in the Channel, but it was not able in fact to do more than send out a few diminutive and ill-appointed squadrons, manned by mutinous crews, which kept close to the coast. The British navy was in excellent order, but the many calls made on it for the protection of world-wide commerce and colonial possessions caused the operations in the Channel to be somewhat languid. Lord Howe cruised in search of the enemy without being able to bring them to action. The severe blockade which in the later stages of the war kept the British fleet permanently outside of Brest was not enforced in the earlier stages. Lord Howe preferred to save his fleet from the wear and tear of perpetual cruising by maintaining his headquarters at St Helens, and keeping watch on the French ports by frigates. The French thus secured a freedom of movement which in the course of 1794 enabled them to cover the arrival of a great convoy laden with food from America (see First of June, Battle of). This great effort was followed by a long period of languor. Its internal defects compelled the French fleet in the Channel to play a very poor part till the last days of 1796. Squadrons were indeed sent a short way to sea, but their inefficiency was conspicuously displayed when, on the 17th of June 1795, a much superior number of their line of battle ships failed to do any harm to the small force of Cornwallis, and when on the 22nd of the same month they fled in disorder before Lord Bridport at the Isle de Groix.
Operations of a more decisive character had in the meantime taken place both in the Mediterranean and in the West Indies. In April 1793 the first detachment of a British fleet, which was finally raised to a strength of 21 sail of the line, under the command of Lord Hood, sailed for the Mediterranean. By August the admiral was off Toulon, acting in combination with a Spanish naval force. France was torn by the contentions of Jacobins and Girondins, and its dissensions led to the surrender of the great arsenal to the British admiral and his Spanish colleague Don Juan de Lángara, on the 27th of August. The allies were joined later by a contingent from Naples. But the military forces were insufficient to hold the land defences against the army collected to expel them. High ground commanding the anchorage was occupied by the besieging force, and on the 18th of December 1793 the allies retired. They carried away or destroyed thirty-three French vessels, of which thirteen were of the line. But partly through the inefficiency and partly through the ill-will of the Spaniards, who were indisposed to cripple the French, whom they considered as their only possible allies against Great Britain, the destruction was not so complete as had been intended. Twenty-five ships, of which eighteen were of the line, were left to serve as the nucleus of an active fleet in later years. Fourteen thousand of the inhabitants fled with the allies to escape the vengeance of the victorious Jacobins. Their sufferings, and the ferocious massacre perpetrated on those who remained behind by the conquerors, form one of the blackest pages of the French Revolution. The Spanish fleet took no further part in the war. Lord Hood now turned to the occupation of Corsica, where the intervention of the British fleet was invited by the patriotic party headed by Pascual Paoli. The French ships left at Toulon were refitted and came to sea in the spring of 1794, but Admiral Martin who commanded them did not feel justified in giving battle, and his sorties were mere demonstrations. From the 25th of January 1794 till November 1796 the British fleet in the Mediterranean was mainly occupied in and about Corsica, securing the island, watching Toulon and co-operating with the allied Austrians and Piedmontese in northern Italy. It did much to hamper the coastwise communications of the French. But neither Lord Hood, who went home at the end of 1794, nor his indolent successor Hotham, was able to deliver an effective blow at the Toulon squadron. The second of these officers fought two confused actions with Admiral Martin in the Gulf of Lyons on the 16th of March and the 12th of July 1795, but though three French ships were cut off and captured, the baffling winds and the placid disposition of Hotham united to prevent decisive results. A new spirit was introduced into the command of the British fleet when Sir John Jervis, afterwards Earl Saint Vincent, succeeded Hotham in November 1795.
Jervis came to the Mediterranean with a high reputation, which had been much enhanced by his recent command in the West Indies. In every war with France it was the natural policy