Battle of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), 2 March 1793

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The battle of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) of 2 March 1793 was the second of two defeats that destroyed the French position in southern Belgium, and forced them to abandon their first siege of Maastricht. At the end of February General Miranda was besieging Maastricht, while General Dumouriez was invading Holland. To the east of Maastricht was a covering army under General Lanoue, which had orders to defend the line of the River Roer.

An Allied (Austro-Prussian) army, under the command of Josias Graf Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (normally known as Saxe-Coburg), was preparing to attack across the Roer. The Allies hoped to lift the siege of Maastricht, and then advance towards Brussels, isolated Dumouriez in the north, and forcing him to abandon his invasion of the Netherlands. 

On 1 March the Allied army crossed the Roer, and defeated the Lanoue at Aldenhoven. On the following day (2 March) the Prince of Württemberg attacked the French at Aix-le-Chappelle.

Generals Dampierre and Stengel attempted to defend the town, and a violent street fight followed, but the people of Aix-la-Chapelle supported the Austrians, and Dampierre and Stengel were forced to retreat south to Herve.

A few hours later General Miaczynski, a Polish officer in French service, arrived at Rolduc, close to Aix-la-Chapelle, and launched a surprise attack on the Imperial forces. The Austrians were forced out of the town by this attack, but quickly returned in larger numbers, and Miaczynski was forced to retreat, abandoning four cannons and some prisoners. The French were forced to retreat to Liège, and then west along the road towards Brussels.

Dumouriez was forced to leave his army in the Netherlands and come south in an attempt to restore the situation. He joined the army in Belgium at Louvain on 13 March. Five days later, at Neerwinden (18 March), Dumouriez suffered a heavy defeat, followed by a second defeat at Louvain on 21 or 22 March. When the French government decided to remove him from his command, Dumouriez fled into exile in Austria.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 January 2009), Battle of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), 2 March 1793 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_aix_la_chapelle_1793.html

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