Prince de Condé, Louis II de Bourbon
1621–86, French general, called the Great Condé, son of Henri II de Condé. Among his early victories in the Thirty Years War were those of Rocroi (1643), Freiburg (1644), Nördlingen (1645), and Lens (1648). In the series of outbreaks known as the Fronde he was at first loyal to the court, but his later intrigues and ambitions caused his arrest in 1650. This precipitated the Fronde of the Princes against Cardinal Mazarin, chief councillor of state during the regency of Anne of Austria. The nobles forced Mazarin to release Condé (1651), who became leader of the rebellious army of the princes and allied himself with Spain against France. After the disintegration of the Fronde and the return to power of Mazarin, Condé was (1653–58) commander of Spanish forces against France. In the final stage of the war he was defeated (1658) in the Battle of the Dunes. After the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) between France and Spain, he was pardoned and returned to court. He fought in the Dutch War for King Louis XIV, defeating William of Orange at Seneff (1674) and forcing Raimondo Montecucculi to retreat from the Rhine (1675). His last years were spent in retirement at Chantilly.
Vicomte de Turenne, Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne
1611–75, marshal of France, one of the greatest French commanders. The son of the duc de Bouillon, he was brought up as a Protestant. He began his military career in the Dutch army but soon entered French service. Turenne showed his great capabilities in the Thirty Years War, distinguishing himself under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar in the victory (1638) over the imperial forces at Breisach. In the successful battles of Freiburg im Breisgau (1644) and Nördlingen (1645) he served with the brilliant commander Louis II de Bourbon, prince de Condé; the lives of the two were thereafter intertwined. Turenne, who had been made a marshal in 1643, was-with the Swede Lennart Torstensson-the dominant figure in the last years of the war. His series of victories expedited the long negotiations leading to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). In the war of the Fronde of the Princes he was persuaded by Mme de Longueville, Condé's sister, to take the part of the rebels led by Condé and was defeated (1650) by government forces at Rethel. When the princes of the Fronde had been reconciled with Mazarin, Turenne again became a government commander. He defeated (1652) Condé roundly at the battle of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine near Paris and was again (1658) victorious over Condé in the Battle of the Dunes, when the latter was serving with Spain. In the War of Devolution he commanded (1667) in Flanders but had no part in the campaign (1669) of Condé (now reconciled to the government) in Franche-Comté. In the third of the Dutch Wars he marched with King Louis XIV and Condé into Holland, but the French were checked before Amsterdam by the opening (1672) of the dikes. On the Rhine, Turenne defeated (1674) enemy troops at Sinzheim and ravaged the Palatinate. He was killed in battle against the troops of Raimondo Montecucculi. His emphasis on mobility and surprise and his patient calculation, matched by his personal courage and his popularity with his men, won him much admiration. Late in his life he was converted (1668) to Roman Catholicism.
The French military engineer Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, born May 1, 1633, died March 30, 1707, was the renowned director of French siege-warfare during the wars of Louis XIV. Born of minor nobility, Vauban became a royal engineer in 1655, won the king's favor by his spectacularly successful siege (1667) of Lille, and formed and headed the separate army engineering corps after 1672. His innovative line of eastern border fortresses during the Dutch War (1672-78) provided unprecedented protection against foreign invasion. He eventually built or improved about 300 fortresses, superb examples of early urban planning, and captured about 50 others. Vauban was a military innovator, introducing ricochet fire and the socket bayonet. He designed roads, bridges, canals, dikes, and aqueducts. Vauban became a marshal in 1703. A prolific and thoughtful writer on military engineering and many other subjects of public concern, he lost favor at court after publishing (1707) a proposal for a universal tax without exemption for nobility or clergy.
VISIT ALSO: Site about Marshal Vauban:
Louis Joseph Duc de Vendôme
Born July 1, 1654, died June 15, 1712, a French general under Louis XIV, fought for Philip V, French Bourbon heir to the Spanish throne, in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). He commanded the French forces defending Philip's Italian territories and defeated (1705) Prince Eugene of Savoy at Cassano. In Flanders, Vendome was defeated (1708) by the duke of Marlborough at Oudenaarde. In Spain in 1710 he recaptured Madrid and defeated the Austrians at Villaviciosa.