Siege of Saint Antonin

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Siege of Saint Antonin
Part of: Huguenot War
Saint-Antonin with the bridge over the Aveyron;  the attack took place from above from the wood.
Saint-Antonin with the bridge over the Aveyron; the attack took place from above from the wood.
date June 1622
place Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
output Victory of the besiegers
Parties to the conflict

Royal Pavilion de la France.svg Catholics

Croix huguenote.png Huguenots


King Louis XIII

The siege of Saint-Antonin occurred in 1622 when King Louis XIII. made extensive efforts to defeat the Huguenots (referred to by himself as rebels).


After the unsuccessful siege of Montauban in the previous year, Louis XIII. his tactics and began to attack the less fortified Huguenot cities. After the pacification of the Poitou and the Saintonge , he left the blockade of La Rochelle to his cousin Louis de Bourbon-Soissons and marched with his troops towards the Languedoc .

The army passed Royan on May 16 and moved on to Mortagne . On May 17th, Mirambeau was reached. On May 18 and 19, the troops rested in Montlieu. They reached Saint-Aulaye on May 20, Guîtres on May 21, Saint-Émilion on May 22, Castillon-la-Bataille on May 23 and Sainte-Foy-la-Grande on May 25 . This was handed over to the king by Jacques Nompar de Caumont without a fight.

Louis XIII. continued his march, reaching Monségur on May 28th, Marmande on May 29th, passed Tonneins , which was burned to the ground by Charles II. de Lorraine , duc d'Elbeuf and Maréchal Pons de Lauzières , Marquis de Thémines, on May 4th, 1622 was. On May 30th the royal troops were in Aiguillon and on June 1st in Agen . Then the Garonne was crossed at Valence-d'Agen and Moissac was reached. From here the king sent the Marquis Valençay with the gendarmes de la garde and the regiment "Chevau-légers de Condé" to explore the Huguenot stronghold of Montauban, which he had besieged in vain the year before. On June 7th, the army bivouacked near Piquecos, about 2 Lieues from Montauban, in the hope of being able to lure the Montaubans out with the cavalry and thus force them into open battle. However, that did not succeed, the Montaubaner stayed behind their safe walls.

On June 10th, the royal troops appeared before Nègrepelisse , which they captured after a short siege and where they were then on the orders of Louis XIII. caused a massacre; all around 800 men in the place were executed.

Participating units (if known)

The siege

The Huguenot revolt within the Protestant bastion of Tarn and Garonne (1621–1628)

While the Nègrepelisse action was still going on, the town of Saint-Antonin had already been surrounded by the Régiment de Piémont and the Régiment de Normandie under the command of César de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme and the Maréchal de Thémines.

The Aveyron river was dammed by a weir and thus formed an insurmountable body of water on the waterfront city wall. To do this, the sluice gate of the mill had been closed to raise the water level further, as the Aveyron usually only had a depth of about 30 centimeters at this time of the year. The moat was flooded by the Bonette brook, which then flows into the Aveyron. The only possible access was protected by two bastions , a hornwork and three ravelins . The Contrescarpe was occupied by musketeers . The city gate was only accessible via a bridge that crossed the Aveyron and was covered by a flanking wall with two towers.

The Maréchal de camp Louis de Marillac began to divert the Bonnette brook to drain the moat. To do this, he deposited a large amount of gabions and palisades in the streambed in front of the hornwork, which Vendôme had selected as a target.

However, this was not the opinion of François de Bassompierre , whom Condé had commissioned on June 14 to investigate the fortifications

“One shouldn't take the fortifications of the cities like bulls by the horns. A good teaching in fencing was to avoid the point of the enemy's sword and look for weaknesses in order to overwhelm him "

As a result, he suggested breaking the mill's sluice gate, shooting a breach in the wall with the artillery, and then attacking the city through the river bed.

Condé did not want to hear about it and allowed the preparations for the attack that had begun in the valley of the Bonnette to continue. Henri de Schomberg brought his seven cannons into firing position there.

Louis XIII. had in the meantime met his court in Caylus (Tarn-et-Garonne), but came every day to a redoubt at the Bonnette to follow the progress of the attack. He personally set up a couleuvrine on the peasants who repaired the city walls.

On June 20, the explosion of a mine gave the signal for a general attack, in which 100 men of the "Gendarmes de la garde du roi" took part.

“It was possible to capture the hornwork and advance to the Contrescarpe, but there were more than 400 dead and injured, including Henri de Buade-Palluau Comte de Frontenac, Mestre de camp des Régiment de Navarre, and Baron de Paillez, Sergent de bataille in the Regiment de Normandie. The women fought and died like men, it was an inferno of iron, blood, fire and flames. "

On June 21, the Contrescarpe was undermined, the artillery had pierced the wall. The besieged doubts about further resistance and they began to negotiate a task.

"They wanted to appeal to the gentleness of the king to spare their lives, offer a ransom of 100,000 livres to avert looting and take up a garrison until the fortifications were razed."

This was so accepted by Ludwig that the city was spared a massacre like the one in Nègrepelisse.


After taking Saint-Antonin, Louis XIII continued. continued his march via Castelnau-de-Montmiral , Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe , bypassed Toulouse , proceeded via Belcastel (Tarn), Saubens to Caraman , which surrendered after the first cannon shot. The march continued via Cuq-Toulza, which could be stormed by only six companies, to Saint-Félix-de-Caraman, where a camp was set up on May 30th. On July 3rd the army came to Castelnaudary , where a rest of 10 days was necessary because of the sick. Then it went on to Montpellier , which surrendered after a seven-week siege.


  • Hardy de Périni: Batailles françaises. 3rd series: Louis XIII et Richelieu. 1621 à 1643. A. Majesté et L. Bouchardeau et al., Châteauroux et al. 1898.