Battle of La Marfée

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Bataille of La Marfée
Part of Thirty Years' War
Date 6 July 1641
Location Plateau of La Marfée, overlooking the town of La Marfee in Sedan (present-day France)
Result Spanish-Imperial tactical victory
Belligerents
 France  Holy Roman Empire
Spain Spain
C o a Urbano VIII.svg Pope Urban VIII
Principality of Sedan
Commanders and leaders
Gaspard de Coligny Louis de Bourbon-Soissons
Frédéric de la Tour d'Auvergne
Strength
11,000 soldiers
2,000 cavalry
4,000 'Sedanais' soldiers
7,000 Spanish-Imperial soldiers
Casualties and losses
3,000 dead
5,500 captured
Nominal

The Battle of La Marfée was a battle of the Thirty Years' War near Sedan, France on 6 July 1641, between the troops of Louis XIII under Marshall Gaspard III de Coligny and those of the Holy Roman Empire under Prince Louis de Bourbon, the Count of Soissons and Dreux & Duke Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne, duc de Bouillon.

Causes[edit]

In 1640, the Principality of Sedan was an independent state, whose prince, Frédéric de la Tour d'Auvergne, welcomed French Protestants and other factions hostile to France and Cardinal Richelieu. He also took part in the "Princes de la paix" conspiracy with the comte de Soissons and Henri II de Guise, aiming to re-establish the privileges of the great feudal lords. Louis XIII sent an army to put an end to his schemes, and so Frédéric asked for help from his personal friend Ferdinand III, the Holy Roman Emperor, who duly sent it.

Course[edit]

Delayed by bad weather and muddy roads, the royal army did not arrive on the plateau until around 11 o'clock on 6 July, where the Sedanaise army was waiting. Battle commenced and the Sedanais withstood the first shock well. The Prince of Sedan, in personal command of the cavalry, bypassed the battlefield under the cover of the hills, and fell on the flank of the royal army. Thrown into utter disarray, Gaspard III's royal army abandoned its baggage. As early as noon, the battle was decided. The Prince comte of Soissons, was killed after the battle when one of his officers surrounding him fired a point blank shot into his helmet visor opening (3). This demonstrated the power of Cardinal Richelieu, who dared to assassinate a Prince of the blood of France and go against Pope Urban VIII.

Results[edit]

Despite this defeat, the royal army began to besiege Sedan, and Frédéric-Maurice de la Tour d'Auvergne negotiated his submission to France by a treaty with Louis XIII (4 August), which also gave Frédéric command of the armée d'Italie. However, after getting involved in a new conspiracy in 1642, Frédéric's principality was annexed to France in exchange for sparing his life.

Sources[edit]

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.
  • The History of France Under the Bourbons: A.D. 1589-1830, By Charles Duke Yonge, John Boyd Thacher Collection (Library of Congress), Published by Tinsley Brothers, 1866.
  • (3)History of France, from the Invasion of the Franks Under Clovis, to the Accession of Louis Philippe, By François Paul Émile Boisnormand de Bonnechose, William Robson, Published by G. Routledge, 1856. Pg. 358