Alsace has always been the scene of conflicts between peoples on both sides of the Rhine. One of them, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, particularly marked the territory of Alsace Verte.
From Wissembourg to Reichshoffen, which left its name to one of the most significant battles of this conflict, the battlefields are still visible today, marked by a very large number of monuments erected in honor of the men of the two camps that fell in battle, testifying to the particular destiny of this border territory.
For a complete immersion in this page of history, the Mobi'1870 application takes you and guides you on the battlefield!
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 pitted France, then governed by Emperor Napoleon III, against a coalition of German states led by Prussia, then ruled by King William I.er. It was France that opened hostilities by declaring war on the Kingdom of Prussia on July 19, 1870. Faced with a much larger German army, very experienced and perfectly equipped, the situation was not looking good...
The conflict reaches the North of Alsace on July 25, 1870 when the men of Captain Zeppelin in charge of doing a reconnaissance cross the border and advance to Niederbronn-les-Bains without meeting any French soldiers. During a stop at Schirlenhof, they are however surprised by a troop of Hunters on horseback: they are the first victims of this war which will prove bloody.
A few days later, on August 4, the German army rushed towards Wissembourg where it came up against General Douai's division during a furious battle on Geisberg hill.
Following this defeat, Marshal de Mac Mahon regroups the units still available (45 men) as quickly as possible and assembles them on the heights ranging from Morsbronn-les-Bains to Frœschwiller and Langensoultzbach. The Germans are posted on the hill opposite, on the other side of the Sauer valley between Gunstett and Goersdorf.
At dawn on August 6, the battle broke out somewhat by chance when soldiers from both sides, who had gone to get water on the banks of the river, exchanged the first shots. Mac Mahon commanding the French forces, launches his troops to attack a German army much more numerous, better prepared, better organized... The charges are incessant, the violent fights... This improvised battle ends at the end of the day after a last heroic charge of the cavalry, infantry and Turcos, these heroic Algerian skirmishers massacred during the clashes.
The French army must withdraw in the direction of Reichshoffen from where the telegraph is sent announcing the defeat of the French army to the Emperor Napoleon III; it is from this exchange that the name of this battle comes, without there being any shots fired at Reichshoffen!
Nearly 10 wounded and 000 dead lay strewn across the heights of Woerth. The brave soldiers were rounded up and buried by the requisitioned local population in 20 collective or individual graves. Countless uniforms, rifles, edged weapons, soldier's utensils, etc. recovered more than 000 years ago are today partly exhibited in the Museum of the Battle of August 700, 150 at the Woerth Castle. The “Sentier des Turcos” allows visitors to (re)discover and follow the battlefield and the 6 monuments and tombs that line it in memory of the tragic events of that day.
Museum of the battle of August 6, 1870
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Le Museum of the Battle of August 6, 1870, installed in the castle of Woerth, tells the story of the so-called Battle of Reichshoffen which took place on the territory that day.
This war ended with the armistice requested by France in January 1871 and it was the Treaty of Frankfurt signed on May 10, 1871 which definitively confirmed the German victory, leaving Alsace and Moselle to the German Empire...
The “Territoire 1870” association was created in 2020 to coordinate the celebrations of the 150e anniversary of the Battle of 1870 throughout the territory. It brings together the municipalities concerned by this theme and offers a program of events and commemorations each year.