Valmy at 230

Bataille de Valmy Le 20 septembre 1792, painted by Pierre Victor Robiquet in 1907 to commemorate event. (C) Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image musée de l’Armée.

Today is the 230th anniversary of the engagement between Gen. Charles François Dumouriez’ Army of the North and Gen. François Christophe Kellermann’s Army of the Centre, which numbered about 54,000 effectives– only about half of which were veterans of the old Royal Army– met the Duke of Brunswick’s Coalition force of some 84,000 veteran Prussian, Austrian, Hessian, and Royalist French troops.

Sweeping through Verdun and the Argonne, the Coalition forces were only able to get about 30,000 to the field of battle between Sainte-Menehould and Valmy, where Kellermann met them with a roughly equal force and won the day, blocking the road to Paris by leading his men into battle with a raised hat and cry of “Vive la Nation.”

It was the first major victory by the French during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution and would set the stage for the Napoleanic Wars that would engulf the world over the next quarter-century.

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