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French Revolutionary Wars

War with Austria

On Apr. 20, 1792, France declared war on Austria. The French armies lacked organization and discipline, and many noble officers had emigrated. The allied Austrian and Prussian forces under Charles William Ferdinand, duke of Brunswick, quickly crossed the frontier and began to march on Paris. The duke issued a manifesto threatening to raze Paris should the royal family be harmed. This manifesto angered the French and contributed to the suspension of the king (Aug., 1792). The comte de Rochambeau, commanding the northern sector, and the marquis de Lafayette, commanding the center, resigned. Their able successors, the generals Dumouriez and Kellermann, turned the tide when they repulsed the invaders at Valmy (Sept. 20). Dumouriez advanced on the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), and he seized it after the battle of Jemappes (Nov. 6), while Custine captured Mainz and advanced on Frankfurt.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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