Flemish accounts of the action near Tournay and Mons

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The Political State of Europe for the Year MDCCXCII  (1792) 
Flemish accounts of the action near Tournay and Mons

The following is the Flemish Account of the preceeding Actions between the French and the Austrians

Brussels, April 30

The declaration of war which the National Assembly of France resolved to make against the King of Hungary, had hardly been declared when we received advice from our frontiers, that Marechal de Rochambeau had assembled the troops from different garrisons to form an army, with which he intended to enter this country.

Orders were immediately issued to all who were in the different towns of the provinces to leave them, and repair to the place of general rendezvous which had been appointed. The first of these had not arrived at the rendezvous before the advanced posts of Mons had announced the arrival of a body of French troops on the 27th, who had marched that day from Valenciennes towards Quievrechain and Crepin.

Lieutenant-general baron de Beaulieau reported, that on the 28th he had observed near these places several regiments of French infantry, and a regiment of dragoons forming an advanced guard, behind which there was a heavy train of artillery, followed by a considerable body of troops, which induced the said general to remove towards Boussut, the advanced posts he held in Quieverain. Intelligence was received from the other side that a detatched corps from Lisle had marched by Morquain towards Tournay. News soon after arrived, that this corps, after having obliged the picquets of the Tyrolean arquebruseers, posted at Morquain, to retire to this village, were advanced on the 29th at day break to this place, but that Major-general Comte d'Happoncourt, having marched a battalion of the regiment de Clerfayt, four companies of Dalton's, two companies of de Ligne, and four squadrons of de la Tours dragoons to meet them, and these having fired several pieces of cannon, the French had retreated in a cowardly manner, and had re-passed our frontiers with so much precipitation, that it was not possible or our troops to keep up with them, and they were only able [55] to take four pieces of artillery, some provlsions, baggage and implements for intrenching. The subjoined reports of this General, contains some further details of this affair.

Extract from the Report of General Comte d'Happencourt to Field-Marshal Baron de Bender, dated Tournay, April 29, 1792.

"The enemy's column were more numerous in cavalry than infantry, and were above three thousand when they came from Lisle.

"Our troops being conducted to take the enemy in flank, and having fired about a dozen cannon, before our infantry could make a single discharge, and before the cavalry were advanced sufficiently to protect them, the enemy took to flight. We pursued them in the greatest order, with drums beating, quite to the frontiers.

"They left on the field, which they had abandoned, two dragoons and a number of horses killed; about forty of their soldiers, of different regiments, have been made prisoners.

"We have had none killed, wounded, or missing; and the three chasseurs, who in the beginning were taken prisoners by the enemy's dragoons, but whom they left behind in their precipitate retreat, have returned to their colour.

"All the baggage, warlike stores, bread, forage, and ten horses, have been divided among the soldiers and the peasants.

"I have this moment entered this town with the troops, and all is perfectly tranquil."

Extract from the Report of General Baron de Beauleau to Field-Marshal Baron de Bender, dated April 29.

"This morning, about half past nine, the enemy coming from Quieverain and Quievrechain, presented themselves in a number of columns of infantry and cavalry, extending in the form of a half-moon round my front. I only had about 1800 infantry, and between 1400 and 1500 cavalry, with ten pieces (chiefly three pounders) of cannon; and thus I was greatly inferior to the enemy; but the position of my front insured me, and especially the good will which the officers and soldiers unanimously testified.

"The French begun their attack on Boussut, with which they were suffered to go on; I drew in my advanced posts, which were extended too far to be supported, as the ground was not so good as that I occupied.

"After ail the dispositions were made, I waited tranquilly for the enemy, but they did not come up; for when they had repassed Boussut, and attempted to form to advance, our brave [56] chasseurs de le Loup prevented them. These chasseurs were in the village of Quaregnon, which presented a ravine along my front with the houses and bushes, and though the French troops fired about eighty cannon to dislodge them, nothing could move them from their post. All this affair happened between the village of Quaregnon and Jemappe on our right, and Frameries before our left.

"The enemy not being able to pierce on this side, turned to the left, which is only a plain, with a small wood placed opposite the angle of our front.

"They shewed themselves in great numbers on our left; but having seen the cavalry which I placed on the flank, they confined themselves to making some manoeuvres at the distance of three thousand paces, and then imperceptibly retired towards Boussut and its wood, though however, they still remained in sight.

"Our chasseurs killed twenty of the enemy on the place, and amongst them were two cannoneers, a horse of a Lieutenant Colonel of French hussars, the rider wounded and made prisoner, and probably as many others were wounded.

"The French were in number eleven, twelve, or thirteen thousand men. It is easily perceived in every instance, that they are the aggressors.

"The enemy, who did not push farther that day, on the 30th began to march at day break to attack Marshal Beaulieu, who, on this side, having been reinforced with two battalions, had advanced part of his troops; he had a short engagement with them, an account of the most essential part of which is subjoined in the report at this brave General, and which terminated in the route of the French corps, who, at eleven in the morning had already re-passed our frontiers on their return to Valenciennes."

Extract from the Report of Lieutenant-General de Beaulieu, to Marshal Bender, dated the 30th of April, from the Windmill, at Boussut.

"I send you my Adjutant Reichel, a witness of the events of this day. At three in the morning the enemy attacked the right body of my army, at the village of Jamappe. The captain of Thierris's chasseurs informed me, that the enemy at the same time were marching towards Frameries, where he was with his chasseurs.

"I went immediately to the left flank, and saw a strong French column — a number of platoons of cavalry preceding them. I took my resolutions instantly; two battalions of [57] Sztaray, two 6 pounders and two obusiers, had arrived to my assistance, and I immediately formed the flank, of which I yesterday spoke, respecting Frameries, and nearly two hundred French chevaliers (emigrants) had come and placed themselves near us; besides which, I had got a 6 pounder and a howitzer in reserve. With this fprce, I suddenly marched up to the French column, which immediately withdrew; then ordered the Captain of Thierri's chasseurs to quit Frameries, and advance and force the village of Paturage, where there was a number of French infantry, and where I would support him: this was accordingly done. Meanwhile, my left wing was extended toward the village of Paturage.

"The French, who had remarked, that by this means I should take them in flank and behind, whilst they kept firing their canon at Quaregnon on my right, which was at Jemappe, were at the same instant removing all their cannon, which was a considerable number (for they wished to take Mons), and were sending the artillery away during my march, and whilst Captain Thierri advanced to the village, and was driving before him the chasseurs, he found all the French flying to save themselves.

"I then formed an avant guard to purfue them, of which I gave the command to Colonel Fisher, and followed with a battalion of de Briey's grenadiers, two divisions of Murray, and a considerable number of cavalry. I at the same time advanced some troops, not to lose the advantages I had; I took from the enemy three pieces of cannon, and a number of prisoners. The French army commanded by M. de Biron took to flight — five French four pounders are now in my possession, besides a number of prisoners, and we may have killed more than 250 French. My troop is in high spirits, and ready to march where-ever I lead them, with an astonishing courage, and I cannot praise sufficiently the officers and soldiers whom I had under my command on this day.

"These two first successes of the troops of the King of Hungary inspire with the greatest joy all his faithful subjects of this country, and crown with glory the brave officers and soldiers who have fought.

"The troops coming from distant parts are, in consequence speedily advancing towards the places of their destination, and there is every reafon to believe they are equally eager to be distinguished as those who have shewn their bravery on this occasion, and that they will contribute to repel the enterprises of the French, of which a second army, commanded by M. de la Fayette, formed on the Meuse, appears to meditate an offensive operation on this side. [58]

Proclamation and Notice, from the Commandant-General of the Army of his Apostolic Majesty, to the Austrian Netherlands.

"1st. All citizens and inhabitants are desired to maintain perfect harmony, order, and tranquility.

"2dly. If there are some mal-contents that excite disturbances against the subjects, attached to the sovereign, either by their conduct, or conversation, the soldiers have the strictest orders to make use of their swords and bayonets, and repel by force every assembling mob, if not dispersed on the first requisition.

"3dly. In case any persons guilty of the above crimes are arrested, the military have orders to act immediately in the manner the laws of war prescribed against every enemy, without the arrested persons being able to claim their usual judges. The military shall look upon such arrested persons as public enemies of the sovereign and state, and in case of urgency, the execution called Stant-recht shall take place against them.

"4thly. If such like excefies are committed in places where there is no garrison nor troops, the evil-minded must not flatter themselves that the preparations of an enemy that cannot frighten us, will prevent from detaching sufficient bodies of troops against them whether in towns, boroughs, or villages, to repress them, and to use against them all the means which the laws of war permit to employ against enemies in towns, boroughs, and villages.

"5thly. This advertisement will be published in both languages of the country, that nobody may pretend ignorance, and that the peaceful citizens may abstain from assembling, and be sheltered, in case the soldiers should be compelled to fire, unless they prefer arresting on the spot such enemies and disturbers of public tranquillity, and deliver them into the hands of the military, who will protect the honest and peaceful citizens.

(Signed) "Baron Bender, Marshal."

Bruxelles the 29th of April 1792.


"His majesty, seeing the state of war with France cannot tolerate in his country other subjects of that kingdom than such as fly the persecutions of the party that has usurped all these powers; he declares, that all the French who are in the provinces of the Low Coumries, and who have not made themselves known by an act in form to the commissioners of the French emigrants, established for this purpose here in Brussels, viz. thofe who are actually in this city, within forty-eight hours [59] from the publication of the present, and those that are in other towns or places of these provinces, within the space of a week, are to quit the states of the domination of his Majesty, upon pain of being made prisoners of war, after the expiration of said term.

Glven in Brussels the 28th April, 1792.