The Battle of La Roche-l'Abeille
forces of King Charles IX of France
commanded by the
and the Huguenots
commanded by the Admiral de Coligny
during the "Third
War" (1568-1570) of the French
Wars of Religion
The Third War of Religion saw an uprising of the Protestants and
the creation of an army under the command of Louis I de Bourbon,
prince de Condé
. This army had laid siege to several cities in
the Poitou region, and then Angoulême and Cognac.
the Battle of Jarnac
1569), the Prince de Condé was killed, forcing Admiral de Coligny
to take command.
to attack the royal army, Coligny directed the Protestant army
toward the Limousin region, hoping thus to regroup with 14,000
mercenaries being led by the Duke of
Zweibrücken ( ) and financed by Queen Elizabeth of
England. After a brief fight with a detachment of the
royal army, the Duke of Zweibrücken was able to cross the Vienne at Aixe, but died on
11 June at Nexon . The Protestant army
and the Duke of Zweibrücken's mercenaries were able to regroup at
Châlus, for a total
of 25,000 men.
army of 29,500 troops, led by the Duke d’Anjou (the future Henry III) were
stationed before Saint-Yrieix to protect the city.
The Protestant army surprised the royal troops, and this gave them
the initial advantage. The colonel-general
of the royal infantry,
, was however able
to temporarily save the situation, before an attack by Coligny –
threatening to encircle the army – forced the royal troops to
retreat before the Protestants.
Coligny's victory was far from being decisive, but it allowed him
to open a route toward the Périgord
region. The Protestant army took few prisoners, the most famous
being the colonel-general Philippe Strozzi.
days that followed, the Protestant army massacred hundreds of
people throughout the Limousin and Perigord regions, including 500 infantry men at
La Roche-l'Abeille and 250 peasants at La
Chapelle-Faucher , as retribution for the death of Condé and
Paulon de Mauvans.
That fall, the Battle of
(October 30, 1569) would see the Huguenots defeated
and Catholic forces participating in similar massacres against the
Notes and References
- This article is based in part on a translation of the
article Bataille de
La Roche-l'Abeille from the French
Wikipedia on 14 March 2007.
- Jouanna, Arlette and Jacqueline Boucher, Dominique Biloghi, Guy
Thiec. Histoire et dictionnaire des Guerres de religion.
Collection: Bouquins. Paris: Laffont, 1998. ISBN 2-221-07425-4
- Jouanna, p.181.
- Jouanna, p.183-4.