The combat of Wilnsdorf (4 July 1796) was a minor French victory that came shortly after General Jourdan's second crossing of the Rhine in the summer of 1796. While Jourdan prepared to cross the Rhine at Neuwied, General Kléber was sent north to cross the Rhine at Dusseldorf. Kléber crossed the Rhine on 27 June, and on 30 June reached the lower Sieg, which flows into the Rhine opposite Bonn. The Austrians had not defended the Sieg, but it was possible that they would try and hold a line somewhere between the Sieg and the Lahn, and so Kléber sent General Francois Lefebvre to Siegen, forty miles up the Sieg, in an attempt to outflank the Austrians.
On 4 July Lefebvre advanced south-east along the road from Siegen to Wetzlar and Giessen on the Lahn. Five miles outside Siegen he ran into an Austrian force posted in a strong position at Wilnsdorf, under the command of General Paul Kray. In a battle that lasted most of the day Lefebvre forced Kray to retreat five miles further south-east, to Allendorf, taking 600 prisoners during the battle.
On 3 July Jourdan had crossed the Rhine. With French forces threatening both of his wings General Colloredo, the temporary Austrian commander, decided to retreat to the Lahn. On 5 July the main Austrian force pulled back to Leun and Wetzlar, while Kray retreated to Giessen. After remaining on the Lahn for a few days the Austrians continued to retreat, and they were soon back on the Main.
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