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The combat of Kreutznach (10 November 1795) was the second of two combats fought in a single day by General Marceau in an attempt to lift the pressure on the isolated Army of the Moselle and the Rhine in the aftermath of the Austrian breakout from Mainz. On 29 October an Austrian army under General Clerfayt, taking advantage of the failure of a French attack across the Rhine, emerged from the besieged city of Mainz, overran the French siege works and crossed onto the west bank of the Rhine. The Army of the Moselle and the Rhine (General Pichegru) was forced to retreat south away from Mainz, and lost touch with General Jourdan and the Army of the Sambre and Meuse. The failure of the invasion of Germany had forced Jourdan to retreat across the Rhine around Dusseldorf, and so his main force was far too north to intervene.
Jourdan was able to send General Marceau south towards Mainz in an attempt to force Clerfayt to split his forces. Marceau joined up with General Poncet in the Hunsrück, a minor mountain range that reaches the Rhine at the point where it turns north after flowing west from Mainz. The combined French force was around 15,000 strong. On 10 November Marceau fought his way through the gorge of Stromberg and advanced towards the River Nahe.
At the Nahe Marceau ran into another detachment from Clerfayt's army. The French forced back this part of Clerfayt's army and captured Bad Kreutznach, eight miles south of the Rhine, inflicting 800 casualties on the Austrians. At this point Marceau was only fifteen miles to the north west of Pichegru's left wing at Kirchheimbolanden, but the Austrians were about to force Pichegru to retreat south towards Mannheim (combat of the Pfrimm, 10 November 1795)
Clerfayt responded by sending reinforcements west, and by the evening Marceau was facing 18 infantry battalions and 30 cavalry squadrons and was outnumbered by two-to-one. Rather than risk a fight against overwhelming odds Marceau retreated north-west back through the gorge of Stromberg and back to his starting point.
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