Linselles 18th August 1793 – The French troops

Since my previous post I have undertaken some more detailed research into the French troops that held Linselles and Le Blaton when Lake’s Guards brigade attacked.

From the French perspective, the action at Linselles on the 18th August 1793, was led by three French Generals, Macdonald, Jourdan and Béru. Dupuis gives the order of battle for the French Army on the 30th July 1793. The infantry is largely organised into provisional demi-brigades comprising an old regular battalion combined with two Volunteer battalions.

The Camp of Madelaine to the north of Lille contained 8 such demi-brigades. In addition a new Division was created under the command of General de Brigade Béru. This division comprised the following units;

5th de Vosges Volunteers; 1st Bn/45th Infantry Regiment; 10th Paris Volunteers

10th Seine-et-Oise Volunteers; 1st Bn/47th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Vienne Volunteers

2nd Paris Volunteers

1st St. Denis Volunteers; 1st Bn/19th Infantry Regiment; 6th Paris Volunteers

Company of Light artillery with two 12pdrs, two  8pdrs and two howitzers

12th Chasseurs à Cheval

6th Cavalry

of these, on the 18th, the demi-brigade comprising the 1st St. Denis Volunteers; 1st Bn/19th Infantry Regiment; 6th Paris Volunteers together with the 3rd Franc battalion and the 15th Light Infantry battalion, from Jourdan’s command were dispatched to attack Roubaix under the command of General Desroques.

Chef de Brigade Etienne Jacques Macdonald advanced from Le Quesnoi to take Le Blaton from the Dutch, presumably with his own demi-brigade comprising the 5th l’Aisne Volunteers, 2nd Bn/2nd Infantry Regiment & 40th National Volunteers. Also present were the 2nd Finistere Volunteers.

It is known that Jourdan himself led the demi-brigade of the 1st/45th Regiment to Linselles, including the 5th Vosges and 10th Paris Volunteers.

This left Béru with the demi-brigade comprising the 10th de Seine-et-Oise Volunteers,  the  1st/47th Regiment  &  the 2nd Vienne Volunteers, together with the 2nd Paris Volunteers.

The 2nd Bn/12th Infantry Regiment and the 1st d’Allier Volunteers were sent by Adjutant General Dupont from the Camp de Madelaine, while the third battalion of the demi-brigade, the 8th Paris (Sainte Marguerite) Volunteers were at Mouvaux on this day.

The French sources thus suggests that they had 4 battalions at Le Blaton and that Jourdan and Béru had 9 battalions at Linselles itself.

The strengths of the 9 battalions at Linselles can be estimated from the Situations reproduced by Depuis;

Strength Strength
30/07/1793 15/10/1793
5th Vosges Volunteers 443 373
1st Bn/45th Regiment 450 385
10th Paris Volunteers. 470 444
2nd Bn/12th Regiment 392
1st d’Allier Volunteers 888
10th de Seine-et-Oise Volunteers 457 367
1st Bn/47th Regiment 471 379
2nd la Vienne Volunteers 437 381
2nd Paris Volunteers 813

To close here are some photographs of another game at a recent Sons of Simon de Montfort club night. In this game the French forsook the shelter of the defensive works in an attempt to overwhelm the Guards Brigade;


V. Dupuis, La campagne de 1793 à l’armée du Nord et des Ardennes,…. De Valenciennes à Hondtschoote, 1906, p. 10, 14-15, 199-214
V. Dupuis, La campagne de 1793 à l’armée du Nord et des Ardennes,…. D’Hondtschoote à Wattignes, 1909, p. 100
G. Dumont, Bataillons de volontaires nationaux (Cadres et historiques), 1914, p. 15, 104, 251, 363
C.L. Chassin & L. Hennet, Les Volontaires Nationaux pendant la Revolution, 1899 & 1902, vol. 1, p. 226-7 & vol.2, p. 114
L. Brayard, SEHRI, Les Bataillons de Volontaires et de Rde Réquisitions de l’Allier (1791-1803), Jan. 2017, p. 8, available at LINK