In the history of the great battles of the world, Valmy in September 1792 is one of the crucial ones. If the French would have not won at this time, all the republican earnings will be delayed several more years by the absolute monarchies of Europe. Indeed, most of the good parts of the French Revolution would have been lost, together with the idea of a new citizenship. Even more the independence of Latin America would have a different route.
Francisco de Miranda was born in Caracas in 1750. By the year 1792 he was a military man trained in Spain with combat experience in the war of Independence for the United States, North of Africa and even in the Imperial Russia. In March of this year he was in Paris, the new Revolutionary Government was looking for defenders against Prussia and Austria Empires which were menacing the new France. The mayor of Paris offered him a rank of General.
In August of 1792, France is invaded by the northeast. Prussians capture Longwy and run to Verdum where his defender Coronel Beaurepaire commits suicide after his defeat on September 3. France Revolution looks missed and invaders march to Paris. Miranda is sent under the orders of Charles Dumoriez with 32.000 not well-prepared soldiers against 34.000 trained enemies.
The battle starts on a rainy September 20 at 11 a.m. near the village of Morthomme until 6 p.m. when the army of General Kellerman arrives at Briquenay town. A way to see how the armies fought in the XVIII century is remembering the movies Barry Lyndon (directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1975) or The Patriot (Roland Emmerich 2000); these were the years of the long lines of well dressed soldiers with the first imprecise rifles fired at once in order to maximize mortal effects on the enemies. Afterwards they recharge until the next round and finally use the bayonet or the rifle butt for close combat. Meanwhile cannon balls of 30 centimeters in diameter and 20 kilos bounce at 150 km/hour ripping apart everything at the battle ground. Most of the armies never move or run from the perfect lines.
In the Valmy Battle the fought started with a heavy artillery duel between the Prussians and the French, the defenders lost 400 men and the enemy less than 200. French soldiers began to be defeated but Miranda mounted in a horse brandished his sword and shouted not to surrender. Even more several soldiers sang La Marseillese and Ça ira. As it has been told by the Venezuelan historian Parra Perez in his book Miranda y la Revolución Francesa (1988) plus other digital sources, Miranda studied properly the area and agreed with the other general how to repel the attackers using the local topography and the woods.
At the end of the day, despite the losses, the enemies retired, and the French Revolution decreed the First Republic two days after the Battle. For this and the Battle of Ambers, Miranda have his name engraved on the Arc of Triumph in Paris. The German writer Goethe was in that battle, and declared: “A new time in history had begun”.