facebook .gif twitter .pinterest .English version
















































































Home > History > 1870 war



The War of 1870


The Franco-Prussian War took place from July 1870 to the end of January 1871. This period marks the end of the second empire. This war opposed France to the kingdom of Prussia. France declared war on Prussia on July 19, 1870.

"They must know what we suffered in 1870 and try to erase the memory of it"
French General Niox - June 1, 1896


- Situation
- Collective memory
- Key dates





The Germans will mobilize 460,000 men and 1,500 guns on the front line, divided into 3 armies. The first army led by General Steinmetz, the second under Prince Frederick Charles, the king's nephew and the third army by Prince Frederick, son of King William.

France has a workforce of 375,000 active troops and 175,000 reserve troops. These young people fit for the service or the supervision of the troops did not receive any instruction. Military service in the active army lasted 5 years and 4 years for the reserve.


The Prussian soldiers

Photo credit, courtesy of M. Patrick Demerb - www.laguerrede1870


Collective memory

The Franco-Prussian war left marks in the collective memory. The Prussian soldiers entered Vignacourt on horseback wearing their pointed helmet. These facts were reported to us by our elders, this information has been passed on to us from generation to generation.

In a circular dating from 1870 of the regional prefect, it was stated: "if the Prussian horsemen are sighted, ring the bell to alert the police force" (National Guard and firemen…).

On the outskirts, the rumours circulated that the enemy was at Vignacourt with canons end January 1871.


war 1870 in Vignacourt

Credit photo private collection



Key dates

The fight of Wissembourg - August 4, 1870

Battle of Froeschwiller - August 6, 1870

Battle of Forbach (or Spicheren) - August 6, 1870

Borny - August 14, 1870 - Metz

Rezonville - August 16, 1870 - Metz

Saint-Privat - August 18, 1870 - Metz

Battle of Beaumont - August 30, 1870

Battle of Bazeilles - August 31, 1870

Battle of Sedan - September 1, 1870

Fights of Artenay - October 10, 1870

Ham - November 19, 20, 21, 1870

Amiens - Villers-Bretonneux - November 27, 1870

Battle of Hallue - 23-24 December 1870

Bapaume - 3 January, 1871

Saint-Quentin - January 19 - 1871