Virée de Galerne
|Virée de Galerne|
The wounded General Lescure crosses the Loire at Saint-Florent
|Armée de l'Ouest
~ 50,000–100,000 (?)
|60,000 to 100,000 people of which:
(old people, wounded, women and children)
|Casualties and losses|
|~ 10,000 dead (?)||50,000–70,000 dead|
The Virée de Galerne was a military operation of the War in the Vendée during the French Revolutionary Wars across Britanny and Normandy. It takes its name from "gwalarn", a Breton word for the "vent de noroît" (northwest wind).
It concerns the Vendean army's crossing of the River Loire after their defeat in the battle of Cholet on 17 October 1793 and its march to Granville in the hope of finding reinforcements there from England. Unable to take Granville on 14 November 1793, it fell back towards Savenay (23 December 1793) where it was completely destroyed by Republican troops under Kléber. The battle of Savenay marked the end of what would come to be called the first war in the Vendée.
- 1 Course
- 2 Timeline
- 3 Sources
- 4 External links
- 5 Notes and references
Rout at Cholet
At the end of October 1793, after a campaign planned by general Kléber, the Republican forces of the Army of the West and the Army of Mainz managed to correctly coordinate their attacks and squeeze the Vendéen forces into a pocket. Encircled, the Catholic and Royal Army of Anjou and Haut-Poitou desperately attempted to resist and risked a decisive pitched battle at Cholet on 17 October 1793, at which they were beaten. They thus had no choice but to fall back on Beaupréau to the north, the only escape route still open, then to Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, where they were cornered in a bend of the river Loire.
The Republicans' situation
The march on Granville
Battle of Dol
Retreat to the Loire
Rout at Le Mans
Destruction of the Catholic and Royal Army
Repression and reprisals
- 18 October: The Vendéens cross the Loire at Saint-Florent-le-Vieil.
- 19 October: La Rochejaquelein elected generalisimo.
- 23 October: The Vendéens and Chouans take Laval, its 15,000 defenders beaten into retreat almost without a battle.
- 27 October: Battle of Entrames, Republicans crushed, Léchelle removed.
- 2 November: Capture of Mayenne.
- 3–4 November: Battle of Fougères.
- 4 November: Death of general Lescure.
- 9 November: The Vendéens are at Dol-de-Bretagne.
- 11 November: They are at Pontorson.
- 12 November: They reach Avranches.
- 14–15 November: Siege of Granville, Vendéens checked and about-turn.
- 16 November: Retreat to Avranches
- 18 November: Battle of Pontorson.
- 20–22 November: Battle of Dol.
- 23–24 November: The Vendéens take Fougères without a fight.
- 25 November: They retake Laval without a fight.
- 30 November: Battle of La Flèche.
- 3 December: Siege of Angers, Vendéens checked.
- 5 December: The Vendéens are at Baugé.
- 7 December: Retreat to La Flèche.
- 10–13 December: Battle of Le Mans
- 14 December: The Vendéens again return to Laval
- 16 December: They are at Ancenis; La Rochejaquelein, Jean-Nicolas Stofflet and 4,000 soldiers manage to cross the Loire.
- 17 December: Republican ships cut off the passage.
- 20 December: The Vendéens are at Blain.
- 23 December: Battle of Savenay, annihilation of the Vendéen army.
- (French) Jean-Clément Martin, Blancs et Bleus dans la Vendée déchirée, Découvertes/Gallimard, 1986
- (French) Reynald Secher and René Le Honzec, Vendée, 1789–1801, cartoon, éditions Reynald Secher.
- (French) Emile Gabory, Les guerres de Vendée, Robert Laffont, Paris 1989
- (French) History of the Vendée
Notes and references