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Brave French hussars! How can you doubt their courage? In the winter of 1795, they managed to capture the Dutch fleet, frozen into the ice at Texel. But damn it, doubts are still there. Maybe, in fact, everything was wrong?
"The fleet is captured!" To begin with - a quote from a classic (Valentin Pikul, "To Each His Own"): - The Paris Directory commissioned a new commander to manage the army in Italy, General Moreau, and he was one of the demoted, his head was nearly blown off in the Pishegru case. - Moreau ... Moreau ... - thought Suvorov, straining his memory. “Isn't this the Moro who made all of Europe laugh when his cavalry captured the Dutch fleet? - Yes, history did not know this: Moreau attacked the fleet in the harbor, his Lagur hussars drove onto the decks of ships and chopped up all the rigging with their sabers. - What a brave man! At the Kinburnskaya spit, I let the Cossacks in the water up to my belly, but I didn’t think of taking ships ... Yegor Borisych, - ordered Suvorov, - send Moro my greetings on the occasion of his appointment. In fact, the capture of the Dutch fleet was commanded not by Moreau, but by the colonel of the 15th hussar regiment Louis Joseph Laure, but this is not about that now. Was there a cavalry attack on ships at all? And what does it mean - "captured the fleet"? So, it all started with a note by the former captain and commander of the Dutch fleet, Herman Reintays, that the Dutch fleet, frozen in the ice near Texel in the winter of 1795, suffered a catastrophe - he received the decision of the State Council to surrender the fleet to the French.
With a heavy heart, Raineys carried out the order, thereby ending the war between France and Holland. In 1819, Antoine-Henri Jomini, in his work "The Military History of the French Revolution, 1792-1800." mentioned that the French hussars crossed the frozen canal on horseback and captured the Dutch fleet by attack. Did Jomini have a reason for this? No - not only did he not participate in the campaign in the Netherlands, but then he also did not serve in the French army.
Antoine-Henri Jomini entered the French service as a volunteer in 1804, participated in the invasion of Russia in 1812, was the governor of Vilna, in 1813 switched to the Russian side and became Heinrich Veniaminovich, a Russian baron - and even a mentor to his son Nicholas I. In France, Jomini served at the headquarters of Marshal Ney and, possibly, got his information from the stories of the famous "Prince of Moscow".
Further, two French historians Mignet and Lacratel, in 1824 and 1825, respectively, describe this case, completely reproducing Jomini, but at the same time coloring the dry account of the latter with bright colors.
This is understandable - the same Lacratel began his biography as a reporter for the Royalist newspaper and, undoubtedly, had a good style. Another evidence of a dashing cavalry attack on ships is given by the Scotsman Archibald Alison in his ten-volume History of Modern Europe from the French Revolution to the Fall of Napoleon.
He wrote it in the period from 1833 to 1842, and there again the story of the attack by the hussars on the ice on ships is repeated. It is symptomatic that Benjamin Disraeli, who had little sympathy for Alison, nicknamed him Mr. Wordy. Well, then off we go. Of course, the French were happy to accept such a presentation of events, especially since it was something unprecedented: the light cavalry captured the fleet!
The first report from the Dutch side followed only in 1845. Johan Cornelius de Jonge (the Younger) published the work "Collection of documents of the Dutch fleet" which presented a completely different picture. On January 18, 1795, the Dutch stadtholder William V of Orange fled to England.
Power remained with the Council of State, which, stunned by the pressure of the troops of the French commander Pishegru, ordered the remaining capable forces not to resist the French. In essence, it was an order to surrender. Reintays, then in command of the fleet, received this order on January 21st.
He had two options - either to bring the fleet out to sea before it was frozen into the ice near Den Helder, or to flood it so that he would not fall into the hands of the enemy. The French appeared at Texel only on the night of January 23-24.
giant ice floe
attempted military coup