Date: August 2012
Creator: Hayworth, Jordan R.
Description: During the War of the First Coalition, the Army of the Sambre and Meuse, commanded by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, played the decisive role against Coalition forces in the Low Countries. Created in June 1794, the army defeated the Allies at the battle of Second Fleurus on 26 June 1794 and commenced the Coalition’s retreat to the Rhine River. At the end of the year, Jourdan led the army to winter quarters along the left bank of the Rhine and achieved France’s historically momentous “natural frontier.” Despite its historical significance, the Army of the Sambre and Meuse has suffered from scant historical attention. Based largely on archival research, this thesis provides a detailed examination of the army’s performance during the Fleurus campaign. In addition, this thesis pursues several broader themes. A detailed study of the Sambre and Meuse Army provides insight into institutional military change during the late eighteenth century. While historians traditionally argue that the French Revolution inaugurated an attendant “revolution in military affairs,” this thesis presents evidence of evolutionary changes and continuities. Another important theme is the question of the combat effectiveness of French field armies during the Revolutionary epoch. Although historians typically present the French armies as unique and ...
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