Dienstag, 30. Juni 2020

The siege of Freiburg in 1744 (part 6)

Some will wonder why I write again about the siege of Freiburg. However I stumbled over some interesting aspects of the fortress and siege of Freiburg in 1744 during the last months. Therefore I don’t want to miss the chance to bring some notes to the attention of my readers.
A view on the area of the commander's garden today (2020). Photo by myself.
A magnificent view from the terrace on Freiburg. Behind the more darker hills on the right are a portion of the Kaiserstuhl-mountains. The low elevation on the left is a portion of the Tuniberg. Munzingen with the Munzingen castle, where Louis XV had his headquarters is in the Tuniberg area. You can even notice the Vosges-mountains in the far distance. We can assume that the commander could recognize from this position every enemy army aproaching at the town. (Photo: André Hanselmann)

The first topic is a more peaceful one. During the Corona-crisis I had the chance to find out more about the fortress, visiting some sights together with my kids. We often walked over the Schlossberg (the mountain of the former fortress of Freiburg). The “Kommandantengarten” was one of my son’s favourite places there, caused by the fact that you have a magnificent view from there on the landscape of the Breisgau towards the Kaiserstuhl mountain massif. After 1706 a garden terrace was erected in the French style under the “Ober Schloss” (fort Saint Pierre). Some paths connected the garden with the commander’s lodgings (the fort Carré) and the castle’s road leading to the main gate of the fortress. The garden was changed for several times, most prominently by colonel Melchior August de la Venerie, who was responsible for the fortification and strengthening of Freiburg’s fortress from 1707 to his death in 1739. De la Venerie planed a small “Maison de plaisance” for the garden. Although it seems that only a portion of the building was executed. Nevertheless we can today get some sort of an impression of a more different aspect of the life in a garrison there. It’s no doubt that this place was chosen for relaxation and a more gentlemen’s life for the commander of the fortress. Many clay pipes were found in the area of the commander’s garden indicating more about the common leisure activities of officers and soldiers[1]. We can imagine how the commander sit their together with his officers or other people of nobility discussing over contemporary topics and relaxing from the daily service.

A look in the area of the former commander's garden. Notice the significantly rising evalation at the right. Such aspects however often were integrated in 18th century gardens. (Photo: André Hanselmann, 2020)
The local plate shows a 18th century picture of the place. The steepness of the hillside is obvious. Please note the different paths from the garden to the main gate at the left and to the fort Carré at the right. There is a very tiny building too.(Photo: André Hanselmann)
The Elevation is still visible now after the large destruction of the fortress in 1744. A view from the garden up towards the fort Carré. (Photo: André Hanselmann)
A picture of de la Venerie's japanese-chinese style pavillion from the plate. (Photo: André Hanselmann)

The French siege had caused many troubles to the town. These destructions began before Coigny’s and Noaille’s army arrived. The Dreikönigshaus was one of the taverns outside the city’s fortifications before the war and was burned in 1744. In 1748 the destroyed building was replaced by a new one[2]. Halve of the tavern was effectively demolished by arson in 2015. The very nice architectural testimony of the building’s façade is visible even today. I had to remember Jeff Berry’s remarks about the French actions before the battle of Fontenoy destroying the civilian dwellings at Bourgeon and Peronne laying fire within the houses for getting a clear field of firing for his artillery and preventing places to cover for the approaching enemy[3].

A modern view on the tavern from the streetcorner Untere Scharzwaldstraße/Schwarzwaldstraße. (Photo: André Hanselmann)
I really much love nice tavern signs and this is a very good example. (Photo: André Hanselmann)
A good example for fine architectural components on profane 18th century buildings. (Photo: André Hanselmann)
A detail of the baroque door frame with the date 1749. It would be interesting to know if the owner of the tavern got any compensation for the destruction of his house and how he could rebuilt it in 4 years. (Photo: André Hanselmann)

Even places of worship were not saved from destruction by the battle. I found an example on a plate at the Anna-church (today officialy “St. Cyriak und Perpetua”) in Freiburg-Wiehre. The whole area often was demolished by the repeated attacks on Freiburg over the centuries. The Adelhausen monastery therefore was moved from the area of the Adelhausen village to a place within the city’s walls. But now I will include a translation of the text on the stone plate on the said church:

“In the year 1744 I was brought to the ground for a third time and to the honour of god, Maria and to the holy Cyriaciu and Perpetua erected again in the year 1753.”

The upper portion of the church. It was difficult for me to get a better picture from the side, where the stone plate was brought in. There are some exceptional old buildings around the church looking much like 18th century relicts. The place is very close and nice with high trees etc.. Please notice the impressive sculptures too. (Photo: André Hanselmann)

The plate itself, which kept my attention on the topic. There is a very nice baroque interior of the church, although closed today during the Corona-crisis. (Photo: André Hanselmann)
The French had shot 280.000 canon shots, 52.000 bombs and thrown 7.360 stone baskets on Freiburg during the siege, which was leading to massive destruction within the city[4]. During these days there are some relicts of the fortress and some glass handgrenades found by archaeologists, which are on show in the exhibition “freiburg.archäologie – 900 Jahre Leben in der Stadt”[5]. Dr. R. Johanna Regnath held a lecture about the important superior Euphemia Dorer talking about the stress suffered by the Usurlins not only during the siege, when they hold out within the town, but afterwards too, because the destruction of the city’s fortifications next to the Schwarzes Kloster (black monastery) led to heavy damage on their monastery[6].

The black monastery today. The area of the street today was occupied by the city's walls in 1744. (Photo: André Hanselmann, 2020)
A more detailed view on the monastery. The small Tower is part of the church St. Ursula. (Photo: André Hanselmann, 2020)

Besides a deep impact on the dwellings of the inhabitants of Freiburg, the distress by the terror of bombardment and some side effects like the plundering of civilian houses by the Austrian light troops during the siege[7], the siege had a huge consequence for the town’s economy too. Freiburg had a widely known reputation for gem work. Waldkirch and Freiburg got the monopoly on the import and processing of garnet from Bohemia since 1601[8]. The siege of Freiburg in 1714 had a great effect on the business. In 1718 only 28 masters were working, although there were 119 in 1606 and 40 in 1706. The rebuilt grinding mills were burned down during the explosion of the city’s fortifications by the French after the siege. The local administration had to invest a lot to erect again the mills at the “Gewerbekanal”. In 1753 1.400 people lived again from the boring and polishing of the garnets[9].

Considering such aspects it is clear why Freiburg’s population greeted the end of the fortress.

The town during the time of the fortress.
1: direction of the Dreiköngshaus.
2: direction of Adelhausen village.
3: The black monastery.
Picture of the Stadtmuseum, actually shown on a wall near the Stadttheater. (Photo: André Hanselmann 2020)

Text: André Hanselmann
Photos: André Hanselmann

[1] Text on the „Schautafel“ at the commander’s garden by the “Schloßberg Freiburg” organisation
[2] Please look on this photo for a better impression of the whole complex: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreik%C3%B6nigshaus_(Freiburg_im_Breisgau)#/media/Datei:Dreikönigshaus_(Freiburg)_jm4255.jpg
[3] Jeff Berry: „Fontenoy 1745“ – here: "Waiting for Cumberland“ http://obscurebattles.blogspot.com/2017/09/fontenoy-1745.html (checked on June 12th 2020)
[4] „Oesterrichischer Erbfolge-Krieg 1740-1748“ V. Band, Seidel & Sohn, Wien 1901, p. 591
[5] You can find more information about the exhibition on the museum’s homepage. The exhibition lasts from November 23rd  2019 until October 4th 2020: https://www.freiburg.de/pb/1430498.html (checked on June 12th 2020)
[6] You could find an article by Dr. Regnath in the publication of the lectures: R. Johanna Regnath (editor – with others): “Auf Jahr und Tag – Leben in Freiburg in der Neuzeit” rombach, Freiburg, 2019
[7] Porges/Rebrachta p. 549
[8] Marina Reiling: „Bevölkerung und Sozialtopographie Freiburgs i. Br. Im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert“ Stadtarchiv Freiburg, Freiburg, 1989, p. 62
[9] Marina Reiling, p. 64-65

6 Kommentare:

  1. Andre', I don't wonder why you expand on the siege of Freiburg. I always enjoy your travelogues and photo-journals. I learn something with each post. The view from the terrace is magnificent and I enjoy seeing period buildings and the landscapes. I like seeing interesting and old signage as well!

    1. I'm very happy that you like this stuff. I still hope to make photos of more such places. I would just need some books focused on the battle of Schliengen or Emmendingen. These are so close to my door (and some of them even made it on the Arc de Triomphe.

  2. Thank you for a very interesting post. You are lucky to have such fascinating places on your doorstep! It would be good to see more posts like this.



    1. I will do more, as the series about the siege Freiburg got a lot of attention compared to other posts.



  3. Hi André, I'm a later-comer to your blog having been brought here by Jonathan's post about your Bassignano game. I'm enjoying your posts about the War of the Austrian Succession. And this post about your walks around Freiburg is interesting too. I visited Freiburg briefly in 1983 - the weather wasn't as good as it is in your pictures, and sadly I don't remember much at all.

    1. I'm glad that you like it. I would suppose that Freiburg changed very much since 1983 except the Münster and some other locations. But the city itself is looking a lot more modern and even lost many of the old shops which I could see when I first came to Freiburg 18 years ago. However the history of the town is still visible and I'm happy if you share my interest in these things.