Virée de Galerne

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Virée de Galerne
Traversée de la Loire Vendée.jpg
The wounded General Lescure crosses the Loire at Saint-Florent
Date From 18 October to 23 December 1793
Location Maine, Britanny, Normandy
Result Decisive Republican victory
France Republicans Kingdom of France Vendéens
Kingdom of France Chouans
Armée de l'Ouest
~ 50,000–100,000 (?)
60,000 to 100,000 people of which:
20,000–30,000 Vendéens
6,000–10,000 Chouans
30,000–60,000 non-combatants
(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.


Rout at Cholet[edit]

The rout of Cholet, by Jules Giradet.

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[edit]

Vendéen victories[edit]

The Chouans[edit]

The march on Granville[edit]

Battle of Dol[edit]

Retreat to the Loire[edit]

Rout at Le Mans[edit]

Destruction of the Catholic and Royal Army[edit]

Repression and reprisals[edit]


The course of the virée de Galerne.


  • (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

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]