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1792, Prussians are in Longwy

The porte de France | Initsogan / CC-BY-SA
Fortification French Revolution Longwy fortifications

Prussians. Bombs. A siege. A traitor. Let me introduce Longwy siege, in August 1792! A siege which was part of the war of the First Coalition, during the French Revolution. The Revolution was here in France since 1789. But things speeded up when king Louis XVI was executed in January 1793.

A chock, in all Europe! Monarchies didn’t believe it. The French were regicides!! All Europe gathered and created this famous coalition: England, Russia, Spain, Prussia and Austria. Meanwhile, in 1792, a big army headed for Eastern France. The invasion began in July.

One month later, Longwy was taken by Prussian armies led by duke of Brunswick, on August 13th, after days of siege. The first attackers turned up in the morning, hidden in a thick mist. Soon, they arrived from all sides. Garrison of Longwy quickly divided on the city ramparts.

They brought canons, ready to shoot. Then, a duke’s emissary finally ordered to Longwy to surrender. The city refused, of course! So, enemies started to shoot. Fire!! Projectiles fell everywhere. But people kept watch and put out the fire. Thanks to them, the blaze didn’t propagate.

We read in the book Essai sur l'histoire de Longwy (1829) 6 bombs fell at the same moment on a lady’s house: one even fell on the bed where her 2 kids were asleep! Fortunately, everyone was safe and sound... Bombings grew more intense the next morning: 300 bombs!

This time, fires were everywhere, in the streets. But people didn’t lose heart, in Longwy. Inhabitants who helped the gunners even succeeded in destroying an enemy battery. Victory!! Well, not at all. People realized that other canons were brought. And in Longwy, they lacked munitions.

They gathered a county council... and decided the surrender. A capitulation accepted. But the story goes on! Afterwards, the French Convention blamed people from Longwy because they didn't defend their city: their houses were even condemned to be razed! They were traitors...

Well, no one died during the siege. But there was one victim: commander of Longwy city, Lavergne. He was arrested, why? Because he accepted his city’s surrender! He was executed, then, without a trial. The little story says his wife wanted to die with him! They refused. She finally yelled «Long live the king» and was finally arrested and executed...

In short! Prussian soldiers, after Longwy’s siege, made their way to Paris, in September 1792. It was victory of the Revolutionaries in Valmy, in September 1792, who put an end to Prussian occupation in Eastern France. And few days later, they proclaimed the day 1 of the French Republic!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!