Battle of Mensignac, 25 October 1568

The battle of Mensignac (25 October 1568) was a minor Catholic victory early in the Third War of Religion notable for the death of the Huguenot leader Paul de Mouvans.

The war had been triggered by a Royal attempt to seize the main Huguenot leaders, Condé and Coligny, at Noyers in Burgundy. This failed, and the two leaders escaped across France to La Rochelle. As they went they sent out messengers called their fellow Huguenots to arms. In Dauphine, Provence and Langedoc in the south-east of France a force of 25,000 men was soon in the field. The troops from Dauphine and Provnce crossed the Rhone, and joined the army commanded by Jacques de Crussol, Baron d'Acier, at Alès (to the north of Montpelier).

This combined army then began to move north-west, to unite with Condé at La Rochelle. By late October the Huguenot force had captured Angoulême, and was preparing to attack Pons. The army was rather badly scattered, with its detachments close enough to communication but not close enough to easily support each other. The Royal commander in the area, the Duke of Montpensier, attempted to take advantage of this and sent Brissac to attack Paul de Mouvans' detachment in its quarters at Mensignac (west of Perigueux).

This attack was repulsed. D'Acier had ordered Montbrun not to risk a pursuit until the main force arrived, but Montbrun ignored this advice. His small force ran straight into a Royal ambush in which Montbrun and around 1,000 of his men were killed.

Montpensier was not strong enough to take advantage of his victory, and d'Acier was able to contine towards La Rochelle, joining up with Condé at Aubeterre on the River Dronne (not far to the west of the battlefield) on 1 November. 

The French Religious Wars 1562-1598, Robert Jean Knecht. A useful guide to the complex series of nine French Wars of Religion, including an examination of who the wars began and the main players on both sides, narrative accounts of the wars, overviews of the most important battles and sieges. Also looks at the impact of the wars on France’s neighbours, many of whom got dragged into the conflict, and on a selection of soldiers and civilians. Supported by a series of maps that help show how complex the conflict was
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 January 2011), Battle of Mensignac, 25 October 1568 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_mensignac.html

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