Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Louis Francois, Duc de Bouflers

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BOUFLERS, Louis Francois, Duc de, commonly called the Chevalier Bouflers, a peer and marshal of France, and a general of distinguished reputation, was born January 10, 1644. Having early entered the army, he was raised in 1GG9 to the rank of colonel of dragoons. In the con quest of Lorraine he served under Marshal de Crequy. In Holland he served under Turenue, frequently distinguishing himself by his skill and bravery ; and when that celebrated leader was killed by a cannon-shot in 1G75, he commanded the rear-guard during the retreat of the French army. After performing various military services in Germany, in Flanders, and on the frontiers of Spain, he was created, in 1690, general of the army of the Moselle, and contributed materially to the victory of Fleurus. In the following year he acted as lieutenant-general, under the king in person ; and during the investment of Mons, he was wounded in an attack on the town. He conducted the bombardment of Li6ge, which was defended by an enemy superior in numbers, and afterwards forced the allied generals to abandon Lux embourg. He was entrusted with the command against King William at the siege of Namur, and took part in the victory of Steinkirk. For these important services he was raised in 1693 to the rank of marshal of France, and in 1G95 was made a duke. In 1G94 he was appointed governor of French Flanders and of the town of Lille. By a skilful manoeuvre he threw himself into Namur in 1695, and obstinately held out for four months during which the besiegers lost 20,000 men. In the conferences which terminated in the peace of Ryswick he had a principal share. During the following war, when Lille was again threatened with a siege by the duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, Bouflers was appointed to the com mand, and made an obstinate resistance of four months. He was rewarded and honoured by the king for his defence of Lille, as if he had been victorious. It was indeed a species of triumph ; his enemy, appreciating his merits, allowed him to dictate his own terms of capitulation. When the affairs of France were threatened with the most urgent danger, Bouflers offered to serve under his junior, Villars, and was with him at the battle of Malplaquet. Here he again displayed his military skill, by conducting the retreat so as to lose neither cannon nor prisoners. He died at Fontainebleau in 1711.