Monday, January 6, 2014

Hugging the Huguenots - My new wargaming passion Part 2

Colin Napier continues to chart the footprints of French Huguenots.

De La Meloniere's Regiment painted by Clarence Harrison with flags from Quindia Studios

As ever with the past it’s complicated especially when seen through the clouded, at times heated, prism of 300 years of opinion.  I’m no historian and have little time to spend with tertiary and secondary sources let alone mucking about with the primary ones, but here’s a quick attempt in four hundred words or less (all glorious follies and misinterpretations are my own). Those who know the period well may want to click away now…

Henry IV, the first Bourbon King, had been a Huguenot converting to Catholicism on his ascendency to the throne. As a sort of thank you to his Huguenot supporters he had declared the Edict of Nantes in 1598. Amongst a swathe of rights this had given the Huguenots freedom of worship within France. Over the next hundred years the edict had remained in place although most of the privileges afforded the Huguenots were gradually eroded, notably by Cardinal Richelieu when he wasn’t being thwarted by pesky musketeers. As time passed there was a gradual migration of Huguenots from France to Protestant lands particularly the Dutch Republic and England.

Louis XIV (him of the sunny disposition) initially pursued a policy of strict adherence to what remained of the Edict of Nantes coupled to a blind eye to ill treatment, most infamously the billeting of the more uncouth sort of Dragon with Protestant families. In 1685 this culminated in the revocation the Edict of Nantes which led to a period of forced conversions and persecution. It is hard to underestimate the impact this had on French society even as recently as 1985 Francois Mitterand issued an apology for the revocation.
The Huguenot Brigade approaches 'Bloody Hollow' at Aughrim.


There was even a stamp.

Protestant nations, naturally took a dim view of this development in France and made a show of support for Huguenot refugees. In the Dutch Republic although many of the more bellicose Huguenots had found their way into Dutch service over the decades (when not fighting for or against the French crown or indeed with each other) it was now that the Stadt Holder William III of Orange began actively appointing Huguenots to senior positions in the Dutch Army. As it turned out over the years 1685-89 he had plenty to choose from as within France the Huguenots had been well represented in the armed forces. By the time Schomberg (another with big Huguenot connections) landed his army in Ireland some historians estimate that Huguenots made up some 10% of the officer corps.

An example was du Cambon an engineer in the French Army when he moved to the Dutch Army in 1689 he found himself promoted first to head of engineers and then to the rank of Major General in 1689. Of course du Cambon was to be the colonel of one of the Huguenot regiments formed in that year and it’s these I’ll look at next.

Next time – a potted history of the Huguenots regiments. And that joke explained… I think…

11 comments:

  1. Beautiful figures and pictures!

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  2. But sadly for the Huguenot infantry they are about to get blown away by my Irish Jacobite dragoons and commanded shot 8-)

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  3. The picture you seem referring to shows the combined force of five leading members of the LOA:-) Bob's, Barry's and Dave's beautiful figures, Clarence's lovely designed Flags and Adrians superb Terrain! It all fits so well that it is always a joy to see those things together in one picture!

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    1. The photo is taken from our refight of Aughrim which we started on 28th Dec and are finishing on the 12th Jan. It's been a great battle so far and everything is still to play for although the Williamites have had a hard time of it so far.

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  4. They not only in Ireland and the Netherlands have settled. Many made ​​their mark in the history of Russia left one Jakob de la Garde is worth.

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  5. I took over 120 pictures in this shoot alone. I have worked on about 40 so far. They will feature in an 'Aughrim Season' of articles which we'll post up here in the blog over the next few weeks. Apart from an AAR and photos we''ll post a full orbat, the terrain layout, photos of the 'key' units both heroes and villains of the game plus I hope, a personal reflection from each of the players. I'll top all of that off with some photos I took at Aughrim last April.. should look quite nice as a package!

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    1. Or you could keep it back for the Irish supplement?

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  6. Could probably do a bit of both actually.. I have so many pictures to share we could never get them all into the supplement!

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    1. After the continuing action and the other 120 pics you've taken so far there's going to be enough to produce an Aughrim supplement in it's own right.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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