Siege of Maastricht (1793)

Course

It was the last of several French Republican sieges during 1792-1793. Inspired by military successes in the Austrian Netherlands, the French First Republic declared war on the Dutch Republic and England on 1 February 1793. General Charles-François Dumouriez invaded the Dutch Republic from the south-west, aiming for Breda, while Francisco de Miranda advanced along the river Meuse towards the heavily-fortified city of Maastricht. Miranda hoped to take the city in a few days with only 15,000 men and invested it from the Wyck suburb side. The Dutch garrison of 4,500 men were led by the governor of Maastricht, Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel. They were assisted by around 1200 French Royalist of the Armée des Émigrés, including 300 officers, under the command of Jean Thérèse de Beaumont d'Autichamp, a former cavalry general of the French royal army.

On 6 February, De Miranda completed the circumvallation of Maastricht and Wyck. Sapping took around two weeks, after which the city was heavily bombed for ten days. More than 800 buildings were destroyed.

After the Austrian victory at the nearby Battle of Aldenhoven (1793) on 1 March, the French Republican lines were themselves besieged by 50,000 Austrians and 20,000 Prussians, led by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Miranda ordered a retreat on 2 March, described by some as a "flight". On 4 September, the Prince of Coburg held a triumphal entrance in the city, followed by a Te Deum in the Church of Saint Servatius.

A year and a half later, Jean-Baptiste Kléber was more successful. He conquered the city in 45 days, after which Maastricht was part of France for twenty years.

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