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The hilly and widely afforested part of the country, charming site owes its fame to Orval's abbey. This abbey, all over the world famous, nested in the hollow of a valley was based in 1070, by Benedictines come from Calabria. She(it) became Cistercian in 1131. In 17-th century she(it) was connected with the order of the Trappist monks. During the centuries she(it) known for numerous adventures; wars, fires, plunders. The last destruction was that of the revolutionaries, on June 23, 1793. Ruins were often searched to find a hypothetical treasure. To date, ruins are always visible. One commemorated the 200-th anniversary(birthday) of the destruction of this impressive religious architectural set(group) to which becomes attached the legend of the Countess Mathilde de Toscane XVIe - XVII-th century, which having lost its wedding ring him(it,her) lives to put back(hand) to the source by a trout. She would have exclaimed: " it is a valley of gold " where from Orval.
Since the beginning of the revolution of 1789, the abbey close to the French border, in four leagues of MontmÈdy, seemed indicated(appointed) to the first knocks of the revolutionary armies. There was to it several causes:
1 The reputation of wealth which enjoyed this abbey and which gave birth to fantastic legends lighting(switching on) appetites and popular imaginations and a distant echo in a Paul Feval's moving novel , night errors " of which one can find dedicated to the History of the famous treasure hidden from Orval.
2 The name of this convent as possible refuge for the royal family in its flight(leak) called, also, an exemplary punishment.
3 Finally the assemblings of emigrated and of Austrian bodies which were held in it frequently by making(doing) an intermediate stage among MontmÈdy, Florenville, Virton and Arlon who worried by his(her) nearness the Agreement in the military point of view and took the appearance of a military exercise place intended to serve as home(foyer) of plot and strategic base for a moment of invasion.
It is acquired today that Orval's abbey was not the purpose of journey of Louis XVI, she(it) had been indicated(appointed) and proposed as place of refuge in the hypothesis where the royal family would have been forced to abandon France. After the arrest of King to Varennes, the Marquees de BouillÈ, believing the missed part(party) and its compromised situation runs away the same day from Orval, with his(her) son, chief warrant officer of the hussars and aid - de - camp of Vauglas and Soteux and several also compromised generals, of Kinglin, Heyman and Orflize, junior officers and German soldiers remained faithful to its fortune.
The first expedition against Orval had taken place on June 13, 1792 by a detachment of the army of Fayette then in Sedan, the story is there in a letter which was intended for Marie - Antoinette, found in his(her) secretary, on August 10 and published by the Universal Instructor(monitor) of next August 17.
" The 13 of the last month (June), a detachment of 800 men(people) of your army went on the lands of the Empire to Orval's abbey where there was no Austrian soldier. Monks, some domestics and women who cried were not difficult to subject, we are seized so proudly by the abbey, by the chapel, the kitchens, the cellars, the gardens and dependences and, during twenty four hours the red hat of Paris floated in this stay in the middle of the enthusiasm of the victorious warriors. Some months later to the Parliament of Sedan, the general Myackinski encouraged by it easy success and wanting to furnish its troops ordered, in September, a new expedition Orval, a column of thousand men(people) was formed to remove the grains(beads) of the abbey garaged to Margny but, the volunteers went only until Carignan whom they plundered of them better without growing more before. Week had not passed by that again the French troops made(did) their return under Orval's walls, they understood several regiments of cavalry, an infantry unit and numerous artillery. This detachment was commanded(ordered) by the general LOISON, native of Damvillers who presided over the destruction and over the plunder of the convent. "
Charles Pilard, in some one of its recollections of an old man Sedanais is more explicit and made(done) by Orval's plunder a full of imagery and very alive picture(table):
" We knew well that for a week Orval's abbey occupied by the brigade of the general LOISON was put in the plunder. Every day walked past our door, wagons of demands loaded with tools, furniture, mattress, chains, wood of panellings, edible foodstuffs, tables(pictures), statues, precious books and ornament of churches which one was going to sell by auction in the yard of the school (at present Turenne's school) but we thought only the national police would be called to contribute(compete) to this expedition. And we learnt(taught) by bringing in in city that the Austrians had gone out of Arlon and walked(worked) on the abbey, the General LOISON not wanting be given up in a valley was going to walk(work) in the North, the battle in good conditions while it(he) was going to fight(dispute), the national police of Sedan would keep(guard) and would stay up the abbey and in the searches(researches) for the treasures of the monks. One removed, of the abbey, spoils of any kinds(genres) numerous rests of which I saw in my youth; marble columns were half broken by the church, Mister Martini, monumental mason to Balan, possessed for a long time it two, priestly vases money(silver) produced more than 400.000 francs of sorts, now and, the treasure was never found. "
So dies this aristocrats' nest, of emigrated into conspirators, as example of reprisals Jean-Pierre Mangin in " the generals Meusiens of the revolution and the Empire " speaks to us about Louis - Henri LOISON:
" It is true that in 1787, at the age of sixteen years, it(he) had already made(done) a short military experience(experiment) but, is it its excess young age or the state of mind of the ancient(former) army that were the cause of its desolation? However it is only with the revolution that it(he) was enthused really over this career. The call(appeal) was made(done) in 1792 for the French youth, one of the first ones at the post of the honor found him(it,her). Orval's abbey quite close to the French border, in four leagues hardly of MontmÈdy, seemed for a long time indicated(appointed) to the first knocks of the revolutionary armies. The reputation of wealth which enjoyed the abbey to which one added the assemblings of emigrated which were held in it frequently, were the main causes of this hypothesis. Holy Maurice Remy, born in Damvillers in 1769, played a not unimportant role in Orval's plunder. Added to the general warrant officers of the armies of the Ardennes, attached(fastened) to the person of LOISON, he was in charge of by Kilmaine to steer on MontmÈdy, the evacuation of chains, wines and the other effects resulting from Orval's abbey, it was declared guilty of wastes and of flights(thefts) too, decreed by arrest by the director of MontmÈdy's district, on June 28, 1793 and, by the General Council of the MEUSE(MAAS), 5 in next July. It is a little time after the rise for the rank of general that take place the bombardment, the destruction and the plunder of Orval's convent, celebrates abbey belonging then in Netherlands. One claims that this destruction took place by virtue of an order of the Committee of Public Safety and another local tradition tells that it was caused by the resistance of the Austrian which were there and what it was necessary to dislodge in knocks of standard(cannon). It would be this bombardment which would have put, accidentally, the fire in buildings(ships). It is thirteen in June, 1793 when LOISON arrives on the heights which dominate and surround Orval, several regiments of cavalry, an infantry unit (N.D.L.A 600 men(people)) and numerous artillery accompany him(it). With the troops since Sedan, all the inhabitants of the nearby villages who attend the bombardment of the abbey and are engaged(surrender) then in the plunder of its wealth. The fire, the destruction and the plunder owed ten days and all who can be removed is steered on Sedan, MontmÈdy, Metz, Verdun, Marville, Damvillers, same Ecurey-en-Verdunois and Lissey. On this same June 13, 1793, the Bonaparte family landed in Toulon and asked for help the republic to remain. The circumstances of this destruction talk in the east of France, a feeling of real terror from which the recollection is not yet disappeared. They attach(fasten) in the name of the young general an unpopularity and a good name of bad quality which(who) were passed on of generations in generations. Moreover, until 1914 , families heirs of the looters got blaming for having participated in this immense destruction of one of most beautiful abbeys of the region. LOISON almost paid his(her) exactions of his(her) career and his(her) life and it is, by the supernatural luck(chance) that he escapes the rigours of the Committee of Public Safety, little soft for the generals light-fingered concussionnaires. It is presumable that the explanations given by LOISON did not convince MontmÈdy's district because, denounced(cancelled) and alerted(notified) by the rumor after an inquiry of his Mayor, arrest of LOISON to Damvillers where it was, this one refused to submit itself to this measure and stopped(arrested) in his turn, the officer of police force sent to imprison him(it). The Mayor of Damvillers and his assistant receive confirmation of the mandate of arrest of the general by waiting for the end of the current judicial inquiry and for the hearing of the numerous witnesses concerning this famous plunder of the abbey. All these incidents have no continuation(suite) and LOISON, free remainder, keeps(preserves) even his(her) rank of general in the army. The director of MontmÈdy's district tries to intervene with the General Kilmaine, major general, commanding(ordering) of the army of the Ardennes but, this big boss appreciates too much LOISON's qualities to sanction(punish) fairly the indisputable offences of the general and his family. The former(ancient) regime asserts itself as the revolution progresses. The expensive life, the popular push, the defeat of Neerwinden, 28 in March demonstrate that it is far from being ended. The war against Austria would not try to hide really the opposition of Tiers-Etat against the aristocracy. The doggedness against the responsibles for the ancient(former) monarchy(kingship), at the need the elimination by the illegality and the violence it(he) is for nothing in the behavior of the new elected members in the army. The truth is that war and revenge of the poor men on the rich are indissolubly bound(connected). All the reactions of the general LOISON does not justify its way of behaving to Orval but is not doubtless completely foreign to the successful orders. The spirit of a big part(party) of the population joined it widely, this one would prove him(it) enough in the attitude during the plunder. FranÁois LOISON, father of the general, former(ancient) representative, curious participating or collusive in his son in the plunder of Orval's abbey. This affair(business) dragged a little while then had no serious outcome no more for the main accused person, the general Loison than for his so-called accomplices or receivers. The judge considering, doubtless , of the fame of the accused persons in the region had concluded that the denunciations were unfounded. "