The Wauthy family...
Disclaimer: this page has an amount of opinion, assumption and deduction that makes the information susceptible to error. Readers should use due diligence in accepting anything shown as fact. This page has been provided with good intention and has been compiled on a "best effort" basis. Hopefully future discoveries will expand the fact base and any misinformation can be weeded out. The year the page was created is 2023.
I have also taken the opportunity to examine the life and times of these ancestors. We can't know what all they may have gone through in their particular lives, but some effort has been made to provide context.
Note: this story should be read in conjunction with the Thibeau family story.
The name Wauthy has German origins. Wauthy is a diminutive of Wauthier which is the Belgian version of Walters. Wikipedia: "The name "Walter" originates from the Old German wald ("rule") + heri ("warrior)." The name was brought to England with the Normans and to Belgium with the Franks.
Variations of the name include : Wauthy, Wauty, Wathy, Wautier, Wauthier, Wautiez, Wauthoz, Wautot, Hautier, .
Wikipedia: "Gauthier ... is a French name of Germanic origin, corresponding to the English given name Walter."
Incidence of use...
The Wauthy surname has its highest incidence of use in Belgium (of which 87% are in the Walloon region), with France and Canada and the U.S. the only other countries with any significant use. 1 in 25,662 Belgians have the surname Wauthy. In neighbouring France, 1 in 1,207,686 people have the surname Wauthy.
M. Wauthy, a relation who has done extensive research on the Wauthy family, (MW for short), states: "There was always an unsubstantiated understanding in the history of my family that maybe we ended up in Wallonia Belgium to escape Catholic persecution in England and to avoid the English Civil War. It would make sense why my paper trail starts in 1663 in Belgium."
In this image set of interactive maps from geneanet.org, one can see the progression over time and location of the incidence of the name Wauthy.
Time slider set to zero, should be showing the earliest use of the name.
Time slider set to 1800, shows the areas of expanded use of the name.
Time slider set to 1800, zoomed out to show how local is the use.
Excerpts from a brief history of Belgium, more at Eupedia...
The French language... "Around the 2nd and 3rd centuries, a Germanic tribe known as the Franks descended from Scandinavia toward the Low Countries. Surrendering to Emperor Maximian (250-310), the Salian Franks became Laeti (allies of the Romans), and were allowed to settle in Germania Inferior. They were the first Germanic tribe to settled permanently on Roman land, and thus the first to become latinised, integrating quickly, and providing numerous generals and consuls to the Empire. The Frankish way of speaking Latin eventually evolved into a new language, French."
Renaissance & Habsburg rule... "In the early 1500's, the monarchies of Habsburg (from Austria), Burgundy and Spain were united under the reign of Charles V of Habsburg, in the largest European empire ever since Roman times (which had ended 1000 years earlier) and until Napoleon (300 years later). It included present-day Spain, Austria, eastern France, the Benelux, southern Italy, some Northern Italian city-states, Germany and the newly acquired American colonies, from Mexico to Peru. Charles V was born in Ghent, in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, but was educated in French by his Burgundian entourage. He first ruled his empire from Brussels, then travelled extensively around his European possession and settled in Spain, where his stayed even after retiring, until his death.
The empire was subsequently divided between Charles V's son Philip II, who became king of Spain and its American colonies, Southern Italy and the Netherlands (i.e. most of the present-day Benelux), and Charles V's brother, Maximilian, who received the Holy Roman Empire and the Austrian Empire."
Independence... "Belgium remained under Spanish dominion until 1713, when it was ceded back to Austria following the War of Spanish Succession. The region was officially part of the Kingdom of Germany, within the Holy Roman Empire, until 1792, when it was annexed to France. The French completely reorganised the political division of the Low Countries into départements of similar sizes, which were the forerunners of the modern provinces.
In 1815, after Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo, 17km south of central Brussels, Belgium came briefly under Dutch rule in what was called the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
15 years later, the Catholic Belgians revolted against the Protestant-dominated Dutch administration and were granted independence. A German prince known as Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was elected to become the first King of the Belgians. He was the uncle of Queen Victoria of Great Britain."
Wallonia is the French-speaking southern region of Belgium. The east-west division is roughly 10 km. south of Brussels. All borders in Europe are quite irregular, unlike, say, the borders of Saskatchewan with Alberta or Manitoba, and unlike many U.S. states - for reasons of historical legacies, political agreements and treaties, post-war settlements, geography, ethnicity, language and commerce, I expect.
Wikipedia: "According to the region's official website, after Julius Caesar conquered Gaul, its inhabitants became the Gallo-Romans and were called the "Walha" by their Germanic neighbours, from whence the name Wallonia comes. The Walha started speaking Vulgar Latin instead of their Celtic dialects. At that time, Wallonia was on the border between Germanic-speaking and Latin-speaking territories." (The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 BC and 50 BC.)
Wikipedia: "Namur stands at the confluence of the rivers Sambre and Meuse and straddles three different regions: Hesbaye to the north, Condroz to the south-east, and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse to the south-west. The city of Charleroi is located to the west. The language spoken is French."
visitwallonia.com: Charleroi is the second largest city in Wallonia. (Liège is the largest.) "Founded by the Spanish Netherlands in 1666, and named after the king of Spain at the time, Charleroi once had a large fortress that presided over the Upper Town."
Austria's possession of the Low Countries...
To help understand the period of time from 1700 to 1815 Belgians lived through, I asked ChatGPT: "When did Austria come into possession of the Low Countries, and what happened after that?"
ChatGPT: "Austria's possession of the Low Countries, which include present-day Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of northern France, occurred during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). The sequence of events leading to Austria's control over these territories can be summarized as follows:
War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714): The War of the Spanish Succession was a major European conflict triggered by the question of who would succeed to the Spanish throne after the death of the last Habsburg King of Spain, Charles II. The war involved multiple European powers, including Austria (under the Habsburg Monarchy), France, Britain, and others.
Treaty of Utrecht (1713): The Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, was one of the peace treaties that concluded the War of the Spanish Succession. It had several provisions that reshaped the map of Europe:
The Spanish Netherlands, which included parts of the Low Countries, were ceded to the Austrian Habsburgs.
The southern part of the Spanish Netherlands became known as the Austrian Netherlands and remained under Habsburg control.
Austrian Rule of the Low Countries: Austria continued to rule over the Austrian Netherlands (parts of modern Belgium and Luxembourg) for most of the 18th century. This period brought relative stability and economic development to the region under Habsburg administration.
Brabant Revolution (1789-1790): In the late 18th century, during the era of the French Revolution, unrest and revolutionary sentiment began to spread in the Austrian Netherlands. The Brabant Revolution (1789-1790) was one such uprising, reflecting the desire for political representation and greater rights.
French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802): The French Revolutionary Wars, which included conflicts between France and various European powers, had a direct impact on the Austrian Netherlands. French revolutionary forces invaded the region in 1792 and occupied it.
Annexation by France (1795): In 1795, the Austrian Netherlands were officially annexed by revolutionary France, marking the end of Austrian rule in the region. The territory was incorporated into the French Republic.
Napoleonic Era: Belgium and the Low Countries remained under French control during the Napoleonic era as part of the French Empire.
Congress of Vienna (1814-1815): Following Napoleon's defeat, the Congress of Vienna aimed to reorganize Europe. As a result, Belgium was integrated into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, which combined the Northern and Southern Netherlands into a single entity.
This historical sequence outlines how the Low Countries transitioned from Austrian possession to French annexation during the late 18th century, ultimately leading to their reintegration into a larger political entity after the Napoleonic Wars."
A map of the County of Namur, Belgium, 1789...
This snip (below) is from a very high resolution map at davidrumsey.com. The map is dated 1789. Its title is A Map of The Austrian Possession in the Nether Lands or Low Countries. Navigating the map at its source will increase the details. Click either image to enlarge.
To make things easier to find, I added grid co-ordinates to the image. For these locations of interest, the co-ordinates are... <> Charleroi, G1,2 (streetview) <> Namur (the town), F6 (sv) <> Biesme, H3 (sv) <> Sart S'Eustache, H4 (sv) <> Gerpinnes, H3 (sv) <> Rienne, P6 (sv) <> Gedinne, P7 (sv). Gougnies, H3 (sv) is about the midway point between Sart S'Eustache and Gerpinnes on the map. Hymiée, I3 (sv) is about 1.5 km. SSE of Gerpinnes on the map. Fromiée, I3 (sv) is about 3 km. east of Gerpinnes on the map. There are many buildings still standing that are old enough to have been seen routinely by our ancectors.
Rienne can be found by association with Gedinne, it does not appear on this map as a name. Rienne is 4 km. west of Gedinne, about half the distance to Willerzie. Reinne is also 52 km. almost due south from Namur, and about 5 km. from the border with France. Biesme is about 23 km. southwest of Namur. Brussels is about 53 km. northwest of Namur. (All estimations as the kestrel flies.)
Grid squares are less than 5 km by 5 km., with some variance on the old map to a modern day Google map. Rienne does appear on the modern map at sufficient zoom.
In the bigger picture, Rienne is about 200 km. northeast of Paris. And Rienne is about 200 km. from the English Channel, the nearest body of water of consequence.
To use these places in a statement, an example would be: Sart-Eustache, in the municipality of Fosses-la-Ville, province of Namur (a county in 1789), Wallonia region, Belgium. Another would be: Rienne, in the municipality of Gedinne, province of Namur, Wallonia region, Belgium.
mindat.org: "Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is primarily French-speaking and accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory, but only a third of its population."
Use your browser's zoom percent feature when viewing. These are large images with lots of detail.
For the Google map (below): this link should produce an image showing all of these locations in relation to each other. Walking distance is 80 km., just 18 hours. Including Beauraing makes it a bit longer but keeps the route within Belgium. The distance from Biesme to Reinne is about 60 km (44 km. as the kestrel flies).
youtube video: European Regions, TV Series - Wallonia. (AER - Assembly of European Regions.)
ChatGPT: "In the 18th century, the area near Gerpinnes, Biesme, Fromeé, Hymiée, and Sart-Eustache in Wallonia, Belgium, was a picturesque and rural landscape. This region featured rolling hills, meandering streams, and dense forests, providing an inviting backdrop for the agrarian communities that thrived there. Quaint villages and traditional Belgian architecture, including charming churches and rustic homes, dotted the landscape. Life was deeply connected to the land, with agriculture being the primary occupation. The serene ambiance of the area offered a peaceful escape from the challenges of the time, allowing residents to embrace the natural beauty and simplicity of the Ardennes region in 18th-century Wallonia. The area near Rienne in Wallonia, Belgium, shares the same picturesque and rural charm."M. Wauthy: "My direct patrilineal line to the early 1800s owned small property and were not primarily farmers. They were business owners, government workers, intellectuals. I’m not sure what exactly was going on in the 1600s and 1700s. They were probably renters of land from the local lord. There is a Sart-Eustache castle where the local lord lived. He probably rented out his land to people like Remy Wauthy who primarily farmed it."
Connecting to the Wauthy family...
In the summer of 2023, I was sent information from Wauthy family member/researcher MW about a connection between the Wauthy family and the Thibeau family. MW had come to the conclusion that the Wauthy family of Wallonia, Belgium had a connection to a living descendant of the Thibeau family of River Bourgeois, Richmond County, Nova Scotia, and he wanted to know how this could be. The most I could offer at the time was information on the oldest person known in Thibeau ancestry in River Bourgeois. This person, Jean Jacques (Jacob) Thibeau, had been a dead end in this family for as long as I had known about him, 20+ years, with nothing known about his origins outside of appearing suddenly in the Cape Breton region around 1824.
Researcher Paul Touesnard regarded JJT as the literal father of all of the Thibeaus in River Bourgeois. "Paul Touesnard: "The Thibeaus of River Bourgeois: All of the Thibeaus from River Bourgeois are descended from one man: Jean Jacques (Jacob) Thibeau."
PT had few facts, most of which were drawn from an 1824 land grant petition for 200 acres of land in River Bourgeois. Jacob Chibaut, age 33 years, married with two children, had lived ten years in the province. (The signature on the actual petition plainly shows Thibaut, though.)
There was family folklore - about JJT's having been in the military, that he may have had a uniform and some memorabilia in the attic; and, that he had an accent that was hard to understand.
PT speculated that JJT may have been a deserter of either the War of 1812 or the Napoleonic Wars going on in Europe, or he may have been a migrant fisherman, perhaps from Spain. Having a Spanish connection would not be surprising for the times. With something he wrote, PT pointed me to the 1817-18 Nova Scotia which had an entry for Jacob Tiboo that aligned with the petition. It stated that JJT was American, which was either an enumerator's error or an attempt to mislead.
Over several days and many emails, I worked to expand this knowledge of JJT. MW added information from Harriet MacDonald, the wife of a grandson of JJT, that advanced the notion of a military connection, and, specifically, desertion for mistreatment on a naval warship. She also had stated plainly that the village name Thibeauville was in honour of JJT, and was centered on the original land grant. All but one other family who would live in Thibeauville in its short history would be named Thibeau. To read more about what Harriet MacDonald had to say, visit the Thibeau page and locate the section entitled "Hand-me-downs".
MW also provided a French army military record for a person named Jean Joseph Thibaut that he had concluded was about as close as one might come to finding a "Thibaut" to meet his requirements. Jean Joseph Thibeau (JJosT) was born in Wallonia, Belgium before the territory was annexed by France in 1795. JJosT was born in 1787, JJT was born in 1791 (1824 minus 33). JJosT had deserted, was given a five year sentence, and would have served the time by 1814. JJT purportedly arrives in Nova Scotia in 1814. Military and civil records of JJosT in France or Belgium after his sentencing in 1809 have not been found to date. No records for JJT reference anything before 1814. The problem? While there might possibly be a connection between JJT and JJosT, there is no DNA link from JJosT to any Wauthy family members, which is what the search was intended to find. MW was left to wonder if something happened between the two named families in Wallonia that could result in a DNA link between them, that would show a name change from Wauthy to Thibeau. Working from the direction of Thibeau back to Wauthy had not found anything.
For much more about Jean Jacques (Jacob) Thibeau, visit the Thibeau page.
MW has a Y-chromosome DNA test result that shows an "irrefutable conclusive" connection to a living sixth cousin once removed. Both individuals can be traced back to a common ancestor named Feuillen Wauthy, born November 17, 1696, in Sart-Eustache, Fosses-la-Ville, Namur, Belgium. MW and his cousin descend from different sons of Feuillen, though. The Thibeau descendant matches closer to the cousin.
The descendant that caused the name change from Wauthy to Thibeau (or had the name change happen to him) should be a descendant of the son of Feuillen Wauthy that is an ancestor of MW's cousin.
Since the Thibeau descendant can be traced back to 1814 immigrant Jean Jacques (Jacob) Thibeau, and there has yet to be a suitable Thibeau descendant candidate found in Wallonia, Belgium to pick the story up from, the search did need to swing over to finding a male Wauthy who:
This Wauthy male should also match up with things believed about JJT, keeping in mind that, for someone on the run or wishing to change his identity, the best lie is closest to the truth. He may:
And this is who MW had found...
Chronology of events for Louis Joseph Wauthy...
MW's candidate was Louis Joseph Wauthy, born April 6, 1788, in Biesme, Mettet, Namur, Wallonia - born there, lived there, had family there.
Louis can be traced back on a patrilineal line to Feuillen WAUTHY (born 1696, died 1747) through his father Pierre Joseph WAUTHY (born 1754, died 1807) and his grandfather Pierre WAUTHY (born 1726, died 1794).
LW was in the military. He was conscripted at the age of 19 into the occupying French Army, 19th Line Infantry Regiment, for the year 1808. He arrived at the corps on what appears to be September 19th, 1807. Registrant # 4,713 in a series of registrations numbering 3,001 to 5,973 that took place between June 28, 1806 and November 6, 1808.
SHD/GR 21 YC 171 - "service registers for non-commissioned officers and enlisted men of the line infantry (1802 to 1815)". LW is in YC 171. (Is YC a battalion within a regiment? Is GR group?)
For future reference, for any service person in France...
...the following is available. This is a difficult site, use a webpage translator if you need one...
The full page this was taken from is available at this external link (page numbered 287, it is the 290th page of the 554-page set). And it is also stored locally on this site. Pages 1 through 3 of this document set are bureaucratic instructions for filling out the forms. Notably, page one states that these registrants are for the "19 régiment d'infanterie de ligne" (19th Line Infantry Regiment). 6 records per page ending on full page 503, or 500 pages of registrations, but the last registration number is 5,973 so there must be some incomplete pages. (After a brief investigation, having two registrations numbering 3,755 and two numbered 3,756 doesn't help.) Page 504 has a form that looks like it is relieving someone of their duties. The last 49 pages have the surnames grouped by first letter, with the groups in alpha sequence.
|Taille (height) :||1.71 meters||(5' 7")||(average)|
|Visage (face) :||rond (round)||Front (forehead) :||bau, ban, bas (low)?|
|Yeux (eyes) :||grise (grey)||Nez (nose) :||long (long)|
|Bouche (mouth) :||moyenne (medium, average)||Menton (chin) :||rond (round)|
|Cheveux (hair colour) :||noir (black)||Sourcils (eyebrows) :||noir (black)|
Besides this subjective description, the record does show Louis Joseph Wauthy was 1 meter 71 centimeters tall, not quite 5' 7". The average male height in many European countries at the time was around 5' 5" to 5' 7" for common men. Nutrition, the availability of good food, and having the means to acquire it played a part.
Below his name is written: "fils de (son of) Pierre Joseph (Wauthy) et de Marie Julienne Dimanche". "né (born) le six avril 1788 à Biesme, canton de Fosses-de-Ville, department de Sambre & Meuse". A canton was a subdivision of a department.
The department of Sambre-et-Meuse is a former French administrative district whose capital was Namur. Created in 1795, dissolved in 1814, this coincides with the occupation of Wallonia by French forces.
"Dates of arrival in the corps, and last residence of the conscripts or their replacements; voluntary enlistments; requisitioners; and incorporated soldiers." "Battalion or squadron, and company." "Ranks, actions of brilliance, and certificates of honor." If he is in the infantry, there may be some sense to the rank "fantier".
In the column that may translate as: "Dates and Reasons for Excursions of the Corps. Death. Previous service. Wounds and war campaigns.", are details about LW deserting just 24 days after arrival.
This is the portion of the record that describes the desertion. Translated with assistance from MW: "Deserted September 25th, 1807. Judged in absentia October 30th, 1807. Acquitted June 19th, 1808." Different people made entries, it seems, which is why the handwriting is not uniform.
Why did he desert, and why was he acquitted? Both questions might be answered by the early death of his father.
"Pierre Joseph Wauthy died December 12, 1807, in Biesme, Mettet, Namur, Belgium, at age 53."
LW had just arrived on September 1st, and 24 days later he deserts. If his father had a serious sudden illness come upon him, like a heart attack or cancer, LW might have got wind of it and tried to get home.
The text goes on to say "jugé par contumace" (judged in absentia) October 30th, 1807. This may mean that LW hasn't been arrested yet or the judgment was handed down "in absentia", without legal representation or testimony by the accused. (This appears to have been overwritten on the words "acquitté le", as if the next line was being written in here out of turn.
ChatGPT: "Trial in absentia: If an accused soldier refused to attend the court-martial, was deemed unfit to stand trial due to illness or other reasons, or simply couldn't be brought to the trial for logistical reasons, (a trial) could proceed in their absence."
Being acquitted June 19th, 1808 may have cleared LW's name, but there is nothing conclusive yet to say he has returned to service until the next line, which appears to say that LW has been "passé au 22nd régiment de ligne", translated as "transferred to the 22nd Line Infantry Regiment", on May 16, 1811. Being transferred was not an individual event (i.e. not a personal request). Others in his unit have the exact same entry in their records.
While it first appeared that the 1807 desertion is the anticipated desertion of a Feuillen Wauthy descendant who would go on to change his name to Thibeau, this is not so. LW is still in the French Army.
In his brief time at large, LW would have experienced the difficulties in moving about as a fugitive. Anyone of his age would be expected to be in the army. One couldn't just walk about in uniform. Each man carried "livrets", identification papers, that would not be easily replaced or forged. He would have needed an alias. There would likely have been checkpoints on roadways and roving patrols. There may have been witnesses, people that LW told what he was about to do before he left camp. He would need food and shelter. His likely destination would be known. All of this would have contributed to quick capture.
ChatGPT: "During the Napoleonic era, French people typically carried identification papers known as "livrets." Livrets were small booklets or passports that served as personal identification documents. These identification papers were introduced during the French Revolution and continued to be used throughout the Napoleonic era.
Livrets contained essential information about the individual, such as their name, age, occupation, place of birth, and physical characteristics. They also included details about the person's nationality and sometimes their residence or travel permissions. Livrets were issued by local authorities, and citizens were required to carry them as a means of identification and to prove their identity when necessary.
Livrets were particularly important for military personnel, as they served as military identification documents and recorded an individual's service history, unit, and rank. For soldiers, the livret also contained records of their promotions, campaigns, and other military achievements.
Carrying a livret was mandatory in France during the Napoleonic era, and failure to present one when requested by authorities could lead to suspicion or legal consequences. The use of livrets was part of the French government's efforts to maintain control over the population, ensure security, and enforce conscription and military service during the tumultuous times of the Napoleonic era."
Three years in the 19th...
Initially, Louis Joseph Wauthy would have been instructed to report somewhere to begin his training. While there was a large center known as the Boulogne Camp on the Channel coast about 30 km from Calais that was training soldiers for a planned invasion of England, it is more likely that LW would have been told to report to a much smaller camp for new recruits closer to his home. Once basic training had been completed and he had been assessed and pronounced fit and ready, he would have been transported with others, or would have marched with others, to wherever his regiment was located at that time.
Napolun.com: "the mainstay of the French army throughout the Napoleonic wars was the long-suffering, hard-marching infantry regiments and battalions".
So, where was the 19th Line Infantry Regiment from June 19th, 1808 when Louis Joseph Wauthy was acquitted until May 16th, 1811 when he was transferred to the 22nd Line Infantry Regiment?
Regimental war record for the 19th Line Infantry Regiment: Battles and Combats.
Wikipedia: "In 1809, the French military presence in the Confederation of the Rhine was diminished as Napoleon transferred a number of soldiers to fight in the Peninsular War."
LW may have seen action in the theatre of the Confederation of the Rhine (Wagram, July 4th, 1809) before being relocated to participate in the Peninsular War with Spain and Portugal.
ChatGPT: "The 19th Line Infantry Regiment (first) arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 1808 as part of the French forces sent to support Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who had been installed as the King of Spain. Their presence was met with resistance from Spanish and British forces." "The regiment likely participated in various early engagements during the Peninsular War, including battles and skirmishes against Spanish guerrillas and British forces. These early years of the war saw a series of clashes as the French sought to establish control."
Notable events in 1810 include...
Astorga (Spain), April 20th, 1810. This appears to be a reference to the French forces taking Astorga initially. Wikipedia: "Astorga was located on the flank of the French invasion of Spain and Portugal, and was meant to be used as a headquarters during the campaign. For several weeks no attack took place, as neither side had artillery enough to fight well. Shortly after the French guns arrived, however, a hole was made in the wall and the city fell shortly thereafter. The French overpowered the Spanish garrison inside and took the city on April 20, 1810; with a loss of 160 men." What is known as the Siege of Astorga took place in 1812, a Spanish victory. More below...
Siege of Almeida (Portugal), July 25th, 1810. Wikipedia: "In the siege of Almeida, the French corps of Marshal Michel Ney captured the border fortress from Brigadier General William Cox's Portuguese garrison. This action was fought in the summer of 1810 during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida is located in eastern Portugal, near the border with Spain." For details about the retaking of Almeida, see below.
Battle of Busaco (Spain), September 27, 1810. See painting below. Wikipedia: "Having occupied the heights of Bussaco (a 10-mile (16 km) long ridge located at 40°20'40"N, 8°20'15"W) with 25,000 British and the same number of Portuguese, Wellington was attacked five times successively by 65,000 French under Marshal André Masséna. Masséna was uncertain as to the disposition and strength of the opposing forces because Wellington deployed them on the reverse slope of the ridge, where they could neither be easily seen nor easily softened up with artillery. The actual assaults were delivered by the corps of Marshal Michel Ney and General of Division (Major General) Jean Reynier, but after much fierce fighting they failed to dislodge the allied forces and were driven off after having lost 4,500 men against 1,250 Anglo-Portuguese casualties. However, Wellington was ultimately forced to withdraw to the Lines of Torres Vedras after his positions were outflanked by Masséna's troops."
The Lines of Torres-Vedras (Portugal). Wikipedia: "The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts and other military defences built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Named after the nearby town of Torres Vedras, they were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Colonel Richard Fletcher and his Portuguese workers between November 1809 and September 1810, and used to stop Marshal Masséna's 1810 offensive." National Army Museum: "In 1810, a large French army under Marshal Masséna captured the border fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, and advanced into Portugal. On 27 September, Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army checked them at Busaco. The French were driven off with the loss of 4,500 killed or wounded, compared to Anglo-Portuguese losses of about 1,250. Wellington's men then fell back behind the Lines of Torres Vedras. These defences were strengthened by a scorched earth policy to their north, which destroyed food stores and anything else useful to the French. Wellington's position was clearly impregnable. But it took Masséna six months, and the starvation of 25,000 of his men, before he decided to retreat."
This would see the French forces held outside of Lisbon until their retreat in the spring of 1811. This does seem to coincide with LW's transfer to the 22nd Line Infantry Regiment on May 16th, 1811. LW may have been one of many who were transferred to the 22nd to bolster their numbers for continued fighting in Spain. The battle of Albuera occurred on the same day suggesting the 22nd was either at that battle or the shuffle of troops involved more than just these two regiments. With the 19th withdrawing from the Lisbon area and the 22nd withdrawing from southern Spain, the transfer may have occurred somewhere along the way, perhaps near Salamanca where the 22nd would be the following year.
The 19th was pulled from Spain and is on record for being in Jacobouwo (Poland), Polostk and Borisow in 1812; Dresden and Leipzig in 1813; and Brienne, Monterau and Bar-sur-Aube in 1814 before ending the war at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The 19th could have been replenished in 1811 with new recruits after returning to France, to make up for losses in Portugal and for those transferred to the 22nd.
A painting by Charles Turner, Battle of Sierra de Busaco above St. Antonio de Cantaro, September 7th, 1810. Yale Center for British Art.
This illustration gives an idea of what a battlefield might have looked like. Highly visible Redcoats (English) and Bluecoats (French) in lines of fixed-bayonnet musket-firing infantry in all-weather open terrain near fortified positions. Insane heroic behaviour. Nothing like the trench warfare of WWI or the aircraft-centric warfare WWII evolved into. Today, weaponry reaches enemies often not seen with the naked eye, with terrifying force. One man with a modern military precision weapon could kill a hundred line infantrymen before they could get off a single inaccurate shot.
From the informative Ontario archives site about the War of 1812 in Canada... "The standard tactics used by the British infantry at this time was the line of battle. Men stood in two lines, shoulder to shoulder, and fired their smooth bore muskets in disciplined volleys. This tactic was dictated by the inaccuracy of the standard "brown bess" musket, and the need to achieve concentrated fire against a similar line of enemy troops. Also, a 19th century battlefield was a confused place. The muskets and artillery discharged a heavy white smoke that obscured opponents and messages from a commander to specific parts of the line could only be transmitted in writing or orally. It was not unusual for this "fog of war" to take control of the battlefield from the commanding officers and place it in the hands of chance and the individual soldiers. Theoretically one side would give way before the musketry or a final bayonet charge.
The fire of the infantry would be supplemented by light field artillery, these guns were identified by the weight of shot fired, from 3 pounds to 12 pounds, which were designed to batter defences or cut through the enemy infantry. At close range the guns could be loaded with "cannister" which turned them into large shotguns, spreading dozens of small iron balls or fragments in a wide path. First Nations warriors were employed as light troops which sought to turn the flank of an opponent."
Transferred to Napoleon's 22nd Infantry Line Regiment in Spain, May 16th, 1811...
In 1811, the 22nd Regiment, as part of the French occupying forces, would have found itself increasingly on the defensive as Wellington pushed the French out of Portugal and launched an invasion of Spain.
ChatGPT, paraphrased: "The British and Portuguese forces, with the support of Spanish allies, were implementing a strategy of attrition, gradually wearing down the French through a combination of defensive actions and periodic offensive operations.
The retaking of Almeida (Portugal), by the Allies, in May 1811. ChatGPT: "As part of their strategy to drive the French out of Portugal, the British and Portuguese forces embarked on a march towards the fortress town of Almeida, which had been under French control. The retaking of Almeida (eastern Portugal) took place (between April 14th amd May 10th, 1811), with British and Portuguese forces besieging the town. The siege eventually led to the capture of Almeida from the French."
Siege of Astorga (Spain), June 29th to August 19th, 1812. Wikipedia: "The Spanish troops of Lieutenant-General Francisco Gómez de Terán y Negrete, Marquess of Portago, started the operations, and laid siege to Astorga. The siege was part of the Allied offensive in the summer of 1812. The Spanish VI Army led by General José María Santocildes, by order of General Francisco Castaños, take the measures necessary for the recovery of Astorga. On August 18th, after a hard resistance, the French garrison surrendered to the Spaniards."
By June of 1812, Wellington was heading for Salamanca.
Battle of Salamanca (Spain), July 22nd, 1812. ChatGPT, paraphrased: "The Battle of Salamanca resulted in a decisive victory for the allied forces, primarily led by the Duke of Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army. This victory was significant in itself, but it also boosted the morale of the allied forces. Salamanca was a strategically important city in Spain. It was a major transportation and communication hub, with several key roads converging in the region. Its capture allowed the allies to secure an important logistical and strategic center.
The Battle of Salamanca forced the French, commanded by Marshal Auguste Marmont, to retreat from the Spanish capital, Madrid. This marked a turning point in the Peninsular War, as it allowed the Spanish to reoccupy their capital and significantly weakened French control in Spain. The defeat at Salamanca was a cause of concern for Napoleon, who recognized the strategic importance of the region. It forced him to divert resources to the Iberian Peninsula, which had implications for his campaigns elsewhere in Europe.
After the battle, the allied forces pursued the retreating French armies. The victory at Salamanca set the stage for a successful allied advance into Spain and the eventual liberation of large portions of the country from French control. The Battle of Salamanca showcased the effectiveness of the British and Portuguese forces in the Peninsular War, led by Wellington. It enhanced their reputation and demonstrated their ability to defeat the French in open battle."
The left map shows the possible route taken by Louis Wauthy as part of the 19th and 22nd Regiments. There would be at least one other location in Wallonia he would have been at for recruit training. This is a walking route - Google calculates the distance to be 4,122 km over 118 days if they marched an average of eight hours a day. The last leg is undrawn as it might be confusing at first, the 22nd would have been retreating in the direction of San Sebastián following their ouster from Salamanca. There would be many more points and diversions along this route that would have extended the distance over the four years that brought LW to the siege of San Sebastián.
The right map is just a portion of a period map from 1813 showing points of interest in the Peninsular War. Torres-Vedras, Almeida, and Salamanca have green dots. Busaco does not appear on this map but its location is indicated with two green dots. Follow this link to view the full map online (David Rumsey Map Collection) to assist with overall geographical comprehension. (The full map is actually larger than the modern Google map shown here.) Use the navigation controls provided (position, zoom).
napoleon-series.org has a great deal of information on the Napoleonic Wars, including details on all of the French Infantry Regiments - regimental history, officers, regimental war record, battle honours, etc.
Regimental war record for the 22nd Line Infantry Regiment: Battles and Combats.
For the 22nd, their regimental war record shows that their next notable action following Salamanca was July 7th to September 8th, 1813, the siege of San-Sebastián, but there is a gap of a year between Salamanca and San Sebastián - what filled it?
ChatGPT: "After the Battle of Salamanca in 1812, which resulted in a decisive victory for the Allied forces led by the Duke of Wellington, the Allies pursued a series of military and strategic actions in the ongoing Peninsular War against the French in Spain. Here are some of the key actions taken by the Allies after the Battle of Salamanca:
Pursuit of the French: Following the victory at Salamanca, the Allies pursued the retreating French forces, led by Marshal Auguste Marmont. This pursuit aimed to disrupt and further weaken the French position in Spain.
Capture of Madrid: The Allies continued their advance into Spain and retook the Spanish capital, Madrid, in August 1812. This was a significant achievement as it allowed the Spanish government to return to the city.
Siege of Burgos: After capturing Madrid, the Allies laid siege to the city of Burgos, which was held by a French garrison. Burgos was about half way between Salamanca and San Sebastián. The siege, however, proved to be challenging, and the Allies were eventually forced to lift it on October 31st, 1812.
Retreat to Portugal: Due to logistical challenges and the approach of a large French army under Marshal Nicolas Soult, the Allied forces were compelled to retreat from Burgos and eventually withdrew back to Portugal.
Reorganization and Reinforcement: During the retreat, the Allies reorganized their forces and received reinforcements. The retreat allowed them to regroup and prepare for future operations.
In 1813, the Allies again reentered Spain, continuing their campaign against the French. The Battle of Vitoria in June 1813 was a decisive victory for the Allies, and it further contributed to the liberation of Spain from French occupation."
These actions would explain how the 22nd LIR took until the summer of 1813 to begin their next major named engagement following Salamanca. At first, the 22nd's retreats would coincide with the Allies' advances. Fresh French forces, though, drove the Allies back to Ciudad Rodrigo, near the Portuguese frontier. By May 20th, 1813, after reorganizing and receiving reinforcements, the Allies were ready to confront the French forces again. Under Wellington, in an effort to outflank the French Army, an Allied force of 121,000 causing the French to retreat back to Burgos "with Wellington's forces marching hard to cut them off from the road to France". Burgos was as far as the Allies had advanced in 1812. Vitoria is about half way again to San Sebastián.
Battle of Vitoria (Spain), June 21st, 1813. The account at Wikipedia is quite compelling, worth the read. While the 22nd LIR may or may not have participated in this battle, its outcome affected them. "At the Battle of Vitoria... a British, Portuguese and Spanish army under the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army under King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan near Vitoria in Spain, eventually leading to victory in the Peninsular War. Because they had marched 20 miles earlier in the day before the battle, and because the French had abandoned their "booty" (estimated value $100 million in today's money), the Allies did not pursue the French that day. The 22nd was at San Sebastián when the allies laid siege to it, perhaps having been installed there from as far back as the year before.
Siege of San Sebastián (Spain), July 7th to September 8th, 1813. ChatGPT: "Following the Battle of Vitoria, the British and Portuguese forces besieged the city of San Sebastián, which was held by the French. The city eventually fell to the Allies, contributing to their overall success in the campaign."
The Siege of San Sebastián. (Watch an 18-minute documentary about this battle, entitled The Peninsular War: The Siege of San Sebastián (1813) and...)
Maritimeheritage.org: "...By the summer of 1813 the Peninsular War had reached a crisis. The Port of San Sebastián had to be captured fast if Wellington's British armies were to avoid a humiliating retreat due to lack of supplies. But in San Sebastián was the wily French commander Louis Rey. The scene was set for a classic siege campaign.
The British, Portuguese and Spanish armies of Lord Wellington had defeated the French in Spain and were poised to invade France itself. But the supply situation was critical. All of Wellington's supplies had to come from Britain to Lisbon and were then carried over bad roads, mountain ranges and dusty plains for hundreds of miles to reach the fighting front. Wellington needed a port with good harbour facilities close to the battle front. There was only one available, but it was held by a French force under the command of General Louis Rey who was desperately repairing and reinforcing the defences. The siege began on July 7, 1813..."
Wikipedia: "In the siege of San Sebastián (July 7th to September 8th, 1813), part of the Peninsular War, Allied forces under the command of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington failed to capture the city in a siege. However in a second siege the Allied forces under Thomas Graham captured the city of San Sebastián in northern Basque Country from its French garrison under Louis Emmanuel Rey. During the final assault, the British and Portuguese troops rampaged through the town and razed it to the ground."
Read a firsthand account of this time in The Journal of James Hale, by Sergeant James Hale, Ninth Regiment of Foot, published in 1826. Vitoria is first mentioned on page 104, San Sebastián on page 108.
Read a series of detail-rich volumes entitled History of The War in The Peninsula and in The South of France by W.F.P. Napier, C.B. Volume 6 has passages about the two sieges of San Sebastián in chapters I and III. PDF version is a selectable option that offers more control over the contents.
A sample passage, from page 233, about the acceptance of the loss of San Sebastián to the Allies and the leaving behind of the garrison holding the castle: "...in the course of the day (August 31st) general Rey's report of the assault on San Sebastián reached (Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult), and at the same time he heard that general Hill was in movement on the side of St. Jean Pied de Port. This state of affairs brought reflection. San Sebastián was lost, a fresh attempt to carry off the wasted garrison from the castle would cost five or six thousand good soldiers, and the safety of the whole army would be endangered by pushing headlong amongst the terrible asperities of the crowned mountain." The French who were left to fend for themselves surrendered.
A second passage predicts the next phase of the war. "The fall of San Sebastián had given Lord Wellington a new port and point of support, had increased the value of Passages as a depôt, and let loose a considerable body of troops for field operations; the armistice in Germany was at an end, Austria had joined the allies, and it seemed therefore certain that he would immediately invade France."
The Library of Congress has a map/document entitled Plan of the siege of St. Sebastián in the year 1813. It is incredibly high resolution and contains great detail in both image and text. In part, it states: "Right Attack continued. Operations against Castle - Batteries opened 8th September. Enemy capitulated same day."
This section is relevant to the stories of both Jean Jacques (Jacob) Thibeau and Louis Joseph Wauthy. It has been put in this frame as a duplication and correlation point.
Two remaining battles in 1813 would see the French army retreating from Spain. LW's window of opportunity for arriving in Nova Scotia in 1814, to fit the "10 years in the province" as stated on the land grant petition, should have LW leaving the continent in late 1813 or early 1814.
Battle of the Pyrenees, Spain (1813): This series of battles took place in July and August 1813 along the Pyrenees Mountains as the French retreated from Spain into France. The battles were fought between the Anglo-Allied forces and the French, and the outcome was generally favorable for the Allies.
Battle of Nivelle, France (1813): In November 1813, this battle was fought between the Anglo-Allied forces and the French under Marshal Soult. The battle resulted in a victory for the Allies.