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Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne Turenne, vicomte de

Turenne, Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de (äNrēˈ də lä tōr dōvĕrˈnyə vēkôNtˈ də tərĕnˈ) [key], 1611–75, marshal of France, one of the greatest of French commanders. The son of the duc de Bouillon, he was brought up as a Protestant. He began his military career in the Dutch army but soon entered French service. Turenne showed his great capabilities in the Thirty Years War, distinguishing himself under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar in the victory (1638) over the imperial forces at Breisach. In the successful battles of Freiburg im Breisgau (1644) and Nördlingen (1645) he served with the brilliant commander Louis II de Bourbon, prince de Condé; the lives of the two were thereafter intertwined. Turenne, who had been made a marshal in 1643, was—with the Swede Lennart Torstensson—the dominant figure in the last years of the war. His series of victories expedited the long negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In the war of the Fronde of the Princes (see under Fronde) he was persuaded by Mme de Longueville, Condé's sister, to take the part of the rebels led by Condé and was defeated (1650) by government forces at Rethel. When the princes of the Fronde had been reconciled with Mazarin, Turenne again became a government commander. He defeated (1652) Condé roundly at the battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine near Paris and was again (1658) victorious over Condé in the Battle of the Dunes, when the latter was serving with Spain. In the War of Devolution (see Devolution, War of) he commanded (1667) in Flanders but had no part in the campaign (1669) of Condé (now reconciled to the government) in Franche-Comté. In the third of the Dutch Wars he marched with King Louis XIV and Condé into Holland, but the French were checked before Amsterdam by the opening (1672) of the dikes. On the Rhine, Turenne defeated (1674) enemy troops at Sinzheim and ravaged the Palatinate. He was killed in battle against the troops of Raimondo Montecucculi. His emphasis on mobility and surprise and his patient calculation, matched by his personal courage and his popularity with his men, won him much admiration. Late in his life he was converted (1668) to Roman Catholicism.

See biography by M. Weygand (tr. 1930).

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

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