From Academic Kids

Louis Joseph, duc de Vendôme (1654 - June 11, 1712), marshal of France, was the son of Louis, 2nd duke of Vendôme, and the great-grandson of Henry IV and Gabrielle d'Estrée.

Entering the army at the age of eighteen he soon distinguished himself by his vigour and personal courage in the Dutch wars, and by 1688 he had risen to the rank of lieutenant-general. In the war of the Grand Alliance he rendered conspicuous service under Luxemburg at Steinkirk and under Catinat at Marsaglia, and in 1695 he was placed in command of the army operating in Catalonia where he took Barcelona.

Soon afterwards he received the marshalate. In 1702, after the first unsuccessful campaign of Catinat and Villeroi, he was placed in command of the Franco-Spanish army in Italy. During three campaigns in that country he proved himself a worthy antagonist to Prince Eugène, whom at last he defeated at Cassano by his magnificent courage and command over his troops, converting the defeat that his indolent brother, the Grand Prior, had incurred into a glorious success.

Next year, after holding his own as before, he was sent to Flanders to repair the disaster of Ramillies with the result that his successors Marsin and Philip of Orléans were totally defeated, while in the new sphere Vendôme was merely the mentor of the pious and unenterprising duke of Burgundy, and was unable to prevent the defeat of Oudenarde.

He therefore retired in disgust to his estates, but it was not long before he was summoned to take command of the army of Philip in Spain, and there he won his last victories, crowning his work with the battle of Villaviciosa. Before the end of the war he died suddenly at Vinaros on the 11th of June 1712.

Vendôme was one of the most remarkable soldiers in the history of the French army, and second only to Villars amongst the generals of France of the 18th century. He had, besides the skill and the fertile imagination of the true army leader, the brilliant courage of a soldier. But the real secret of his uniform success was his extraordinary influence over his men.


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