Siege of Neuss: Difference between revisions

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{{About|the 1474-14751474–75 siege during the [[Burgundian Wars]]|the 1586 siege during the [[Cologne War]]|Destruction of Neuss (July 1586)}}
{{Cleanup|date=June 2008}}
{{Infobox military conflict
|conflict = Siege of Neuss
|partof = the [[Burgundian Wars]]
|image = [[File:Belagerung von Neuss 1474-1475 - Conradius Pfettisheim.jpg|300px]]
|caption = The Siege of Neuss, from ''{{lang|de|Geschichte Peter Hagenbachs und der Burgunderkriege}}'' (1477) by {{ill|de|Konrad Pfettisheim}}
|date = 29 July 1474 – 27 June 1475
|place = [[Neuss]], [[Electorate of Cologne]], [[Holy Roman Empire]]
|casus =
|territory =
|result = Siege abandoned after relief by [[Holy Roman Empire|Imperial]] troops.
|
|combatant1 = [[File:Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] '''[[Duchy of Burgundy]]'''<br style="clear: left;">[[File:COA Kurkoeln.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Electorate of Cologne]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Arms of the Palatinate (Bavaria-Palatinate).svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Electoral Palatinate]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Geldern wapen.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Guelders|Duchy of Guelders]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Armoiries Clèves-Marck.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] Duchy of [[Duchy of Cleves|Cleves]]–[[County of Mark|Mark]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Wappen Juelich-Berg-Ravensberg.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Jülich-Berg|Duchy of Jülich-Berg]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Blason duche fr Savoie.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Duchy of Savoy|Savoyard mercenaries]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Royal Arms of England (1399-1603).svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Kingdom of England|English archers]]
|combatant2 = [[File:Wappen Koeln.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] '''[[Imperial City of Cologne|Imp. City of Cologne]]'''{{smallsup|a}}<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Emperor Frederick III Arms.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Holy Roman Empire|Imperial army]]
|
|commander1 = [[File:Arms of the Duke of Burgundy since 1430.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Charles the Bold|Charles the Bold,<br><small>Duke of Burgundy</small>]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Arms of the Palatinate (Bavaria-Palatinate).svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Frederick I, Elector Palatine|Frederick I,<br><small>Elector Palatine</small>]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Wappen Juelich-Berg-Ravensberg.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Gerhard VII, Duke of Jülich-Berg|Gerhard VII,<br><small>Duke of Jülich-Berg</small>]]
|commander2 = [[File:Wappen Koeln.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Hermann IV of Hesse|Herman of Hesse,<br><small>Admin. of Cologne</small>]]<br style="clear: left;">[[File:Emperor Frederick III Arms.svg|20px|left|alt=|link=]] [[Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor|Frederick III,<br><small>Holy Roman Emperor</small>]]
|strength1 =
|strength2 =
|casualties1 =
|casualties2 =
|notes = a: Cologne had been ''de facto'' independent of the [[Electorate of Cologne|Archbishopric-Electorate]] since the [[Battle of Worringen]] in 1288, but did not become ''de jure'' independent until granted [[Imperial immediacy]] in the aftermath of this siege.
|campaignbox = {{Campaignbox Burgundian Wars}}
}}
The '''Siege of Neuss''', from 1474&ndash;14751474–75,<ref>[http://www.kreis.aw-online.de/kvar/VT/hjb1999/hjb1999.16.htm Die Belagerung Ahrweilers 1474 -Episode aus der Kölner Stiftsfehde]</ref> was part of the [[Burgundian Wars]]. The siege, led by [[Charles the Bold]] against the [[Holy Roman Empire]] city of [[Neuss]], was unsuccessful. Charles was compelled by the approach of a powerful Imperial army to raise the siege.
 
== Prelude ==
[[File:Pfettisheim neuss.jpg|thumb|250px|right|The Siege of Neuss]]
Under Charles's father, [[Philip the Good]], the Duchy of Burgundy had allied itself to the cause of the newly elected [[Electorate of Cologne|Archbishop of [[Cologne]], [[Ruprecht of the Palatinate (Archbishop of Cologne)|Ruprecht]]. Ruprecht proved immensely unpopular, and by 1471 several major towns in the archbishopric, as well as the Kölners themselves, were on the verge of revolt. Attempts by the Emperor [[Frederick III]] to mediate the conflict failed, and in 1474 Charles the Bold signed a treaty with Ruprecht which stipulated that Charles would subdue the rebels and serve as Ruprecht's lifelong protector in return for 200,000 florins a year. To secure his western border, Charles concluded a treaty with [[Louis XI of France]] and then prepared to march into the Rhine valley; contemporaries suspected his real motive was the eventual reconquest of all of [[Alsace]].
{{Campaignbox Burgundian Wars}}
The '''Siege of Neuss''', from 1474&ndash;1475,<ref>[http://www.kreis.aw-online.de/kvar/VT/hjb1999/hjb1999.16.htm Die Belagerung Ahrweilers 1474 -Episode aus der Kölner Stiftsfehde]</ref> was part of the [[Burgundian Wars]]. The siege, led by [[Charles the Bold]] against the [[Holy Roman Empire]] city of [[Neuss]], was unsuccessful. Charles was compelled by the approach of a powerful Imperial army to raise the siege.
 
==Prelude The Siege ==
Charles's route towards Cologne led him past Neuss, one of the centers of resistance against Ruprecht. Fearing the threat Neuss would pose to his exposed rear if left uninvested, Charles prepared to lay siege to the city, and the investment began on 29th29 July, 1474. The Neussers, though they had had only a short time to prepare, laid in enough provisions to last until Christmas. They were led by [[Hermann IV of Hesse|Hermann, Landgrave of Hesse]], and had the support of many nearby towns and cities.
Under Charles' father, [[Philip the Good]], the Duchy of Burgundy had allied itself to the cause of the newly elected Archbishop of [[Cologne]], [[Ruprecht of the Palatinate (Archbishop of Cologne)|Ruprecht]]. Ruprecht proved immensely unpopular, and by 1471 several major towns in the archbishopric, as well as the Kölners themselves, were on the verge of revolt. Attempts by the Emperor [[Frederick III]] to mediate the conflict failed, and in 1474 Charles the Bold signed a treaty with Ruprecht which stipulated that Charles would subdue the rebels and serve as Ruprecht's lifelong protector in return for 200,000 florins a year. To secure his western border, Charles concluded a treaty with [[Louis XI]] and then prepared to march into the Rhine valley; contemporaries suspected his real motive was the eventual reconquest of all of [[Alsace]].
 
Charles's army set up siege lines to the North and West of the city; the South and East were guarded by the rivers Krur and Rhine, respectively. Two large islands lay in the Rhine, however, and Charles decided to capture them, reasoning that he would then control passage along the Rhine (and thus prevent the city from being resupplied) and the water supply to the city's moat. Several assaults in early and mid-August eventually captured the islands, though with heavy losses; soon thereafter a bridge to one of the islands collapsed, drowning many of Charles's Italian soldiers. The Burgundians were also harried by hostile peasants.
==The Siege==
Charles' route towards Cologne led him past Neuss, one of the centers of resistance against Ruprecht. Fearing the threat Neuss would pose to his exposed rear if left uninvested, Charles prepared to lay siege to the city, and the investment began on 29th July, 1474. The Neussers, though they had had only a short time to prepare, laid in enough provisions to last until Christmas. They were led by Hermann, Landgrave of Hesse and had the support of many nearby towns and cities.
 
In September Charles's Italians and English archers launched a 3,000-strong attack on one of Neuss' gates, which was repulsed. The next night, Kölners floated a fire-boat down the Rhine to destroy Charles's pontoon bridges, but the Burgundian river-fleet diverted it successfully. Shortly thereafter Charles's English archers, upset by the arrears of pay, began to cause trouble, and as Charles tried to calm them they opened fire. Charles was unharmed, but a rumor spread that the English had killed him, and enraged Burgundians began to slaughter the English until Charles presented himself to his army. Throughout the siege he worked tirelessly to keep up morale and to prosecute the siege, and it was a common belief that he slept fully armored for only a few hours a night.
Charles' army set up siege lines to the North and West of the city; the South and East were guarded by the rivers Krur and Rhine, respectively. Two large islands lay in the Rhine, however, and Charles decided to capture them, reasoning that he would then control passage along the Rhine (and thus prevent the city from being resupplied) and the water supply to the city's moat. Several assaults in early and mid-August eventually captured the islands, though with heavy losses; soon thereafter a bridge to one of the islands collapsed, drowning many of Charles' Italian soldiers. The Burgundians were also harried by hostile peasants.
 
The Neussers, bolstered by Hermann's Hessian troops and the support of Kölners, who skirmished with the Burgundians and smuggled provisions into the city while disguised as Italians, held out resolutely. Charles's men captured a German trying to swim the Rhine with a message that declared the Emperor Frederick was approaching with a huge army, and Charles redoubled his efforts, to no avail.
In September Charles' Italians and English archers launched a 3,000-strong attack on one of Neuss' gates, which was repulsed. The next night, Kölners floated a fire-boat down the Rhine to destroy Charles' pontoon bridges, but the Burgundian river-fleet diverted it successfully. Shortly thereafter Charles' English archers, upset by the arrears of pay, began to cause trouble, and as Charles tried to calm them they opened fire. Charles was unharmed, but a rumor spread that the English had killed him, and enraged Burgundians began to slaughter the English until Charles presented himself to his army. Throughout the siege he worked tirelessly to keep up morale and to prosecute the siege, and it was a common belief that he slept fully armored for only a few hours a night.
 
By May, Frederick was on the move, his army slowed by drunken brawls between soldiers from different regions of the Empire and by the need to recapture other cities from the Burgundians. But by the end of May he had arrived, and the Burgundians, after signing a provisional treaty, began to dismantle their siege works. At first, Burgundians, Imperials, and Kölners fraternized, but soon the Germans began to harass the Burgundians (the Kölners stole five Burgundian ships loaded with cannon), precipitating a sudden and violent assault on the unsuspecting Germans. Sporadic fighting continued until the papal legate present at the siege threatened to excommunicate both Charles and Frederick unless they ended the fighting; this threat, probably an idle one, enabled the two monarch to conclude hostilities without losing face. The siege was finally terminated on 27 June 27th, 1475.<ref>Pat McGill, Armand Pacou, and Rod Erskine Riddel,''The Burgundian Army of Charles the Bold: The Ordonnance Companies and their Captains''( Lincoln: Freezywater Publications, 2001), 8-158–15.</ref>
The Neussers, bolstered by Hermann's Hessian troops and the support of Kölners, who skirmished with the Burgundians and smuggled provisions into the city while disguised as Italians, held out resolutely. Charles' men captured a German trying to swim the Rhine with a message that declared the Emperor Frederick was approaching with a huge army, and Charles redoubled his efforts, to no avail.
 
The failure of the siege of Neuss was attributed by the inhabitants of the city to the intervention of their [[patron saint]], [[Quirinus of Neuss]].<ref>Richard Vaughan, Charles the Bold, London, Boydell, 2002, 312-335312–35.</ref>
By May, Frederick was on the move, his army slowed by drunken brawls between soldiers from different regions of the Empire and by the need to recapture other cities from the Burgundians. But by the end of May he had arrived, and the Burgundians, after signing a provisional treaty, began to dismantle their siege works. At first, Burgundians, Imperials, and Kölners fraternized, but soon the Germans began to harass the Burgundians (the Kölners stole five Burgundian ships loaded with cannon), precipitating a sudden and violent assault on the unsuspecting Germans. Sporadic fighting continued until the papal legate present at the siege threatened to excommunicate both Charles and Frederick unless they ended the fighting; this threat, probably an idle one, enabled the two monarch to conclude hostilities without losing face. The siege was finally terminated on June 27th, 1475.<ref>Pat McGill, Armand Pacou, and Rod Erskine Riddel,''The Burgundian Army of Charles the Bold: The Ordonnance Companies and their Captains''( Lincoln: Freezywater Publications, 2001), 8-15.</ref>
 
== The siege in popular fiction ==
The failure of the siege of Neuss was attributed by the inhabitants of the city to the intervention of their [[patron saint]], [[Quirinus of Neuss]].<ref>Richard Vaughan, Charles the Bold, London, Boydell, 2002, 312-335.</ref>
In ''Ash: A Secret History'' by Mary Gentle, the Siege of Neuss has the title character's mercenary company involved in a skirmish with Charles the Bold's forces.
 
== The Siege of Neuss in Popular Fiction ==
 
In Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle, the Siege of Neuss has the title character's mercenary company involved in a skirmish with Charles the Bold's forces.
 
== References ==
[[Category:Sieges|Neuss 1473]]
[[Category:1470s conflicts]]
 
 
 
[[als:Belagerung von Neuss]]