Freiburg Im Breisgau
FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, an archiepiscopal see and city of Germany in the grand duchy of Baden, 12 m. E. of the Rhine, beautifully situated on the Dreisam at the foot of the Schlossberg, one of the heights of the Black Forest range, on the railway between Basel and Mannheim, 40 m. N. of the former city. Pop. (1905) 76,285. The town is for the most part well built, having several wide and handsome streets and a number of spacious squares. It is kept clean and cool by the waters of the river, which flow through the streets in open channels; and its old fortifications have been replaced by public walks, and, what is more unusual, by vineyards. It possesses a famous university, the Ludovica Albertina, founded by Albert VI., archduke of Austria, in 1457, and attended by about 2000 students. The library contains upwards of 250,000 volumes and 600 MSS., and among the other auxiliary establishments are an anatomical hall and museum and botanical gardens. The Freiburg minster is considered one of the finest of all the Gothic churches of Germany, being remarkable alike for the symmetry of its proportions, for the taste of its decorations, and for the fact that it may more correctly be said to be finished than almost any other building of the kind. The period of its erection probably lies for the most part between 1122 and 1252; but the choir was not built till 1513. The tower, which rises above the western entrance, is 386 ft. in height, and it presents a skilful transition from a square base into an octagonal superstructure, which in its turn is surmounted by a pyramidal spire of the most exquisite open work in stone. In the interior of the church are some beautiful stained glass windows, both ancient and modern, the tombstones of several of the dukes of Zähringen, statues of archbishops of Freiburg, and paintings by Holbein and by Hans Baldung (c. 1470-1545), commonly called Grün. Among the other noteworthy buildings of Freiburg are the palaces of the grand duke and the archbishop, the old town-hall, the theatre, the Kaufhaus or merchants' hall, a 16th-century building with a handsome façade, the church of St Martin, with a graceful spire restored 1880-1881, the new town-hall, completed 1901, in Renaissance style, and the Protestant church, formerly the church of the abbey of Thennenbach, removed hither in 1839. In the centre of the fish-market square is a fountain surmounted by a statue of Duke Berthold III. of Zähringen; in the Franziskaner Platz there is a monument to Berthold Schwarz, the traditional discoverer here, in 1259, of gunpowder; the Rotteck Platz takes its name from the monument of Karl Wenzeslaus von Rotteck (1775-1840), the historian, which formerly stood on the site of the Schwarz statue; and in Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse a bronze statue was erected in 1876 to the memory of Herder, who in the early part of the 19th century founded in Freiburg an institute for draughtsmen, engravers and lithographers, and carried on a famous bookselling business. On the Schlossberg above the town there are massive ruins of two castles destroyed by the French in 1744; and about 2 m. to the N.E. stands the castle of Zähringen, the original seat of the famous family of the counts of that name. Situated on the ancient road which runs by the Höllenpass between the valleys of the Danube and the Rhine, Freiburg early acquired commercial importance, and it is still the principal centre of the trade of the Black Forest. It manufactures buttons, chemicals, starch, leather, tobacco, silk thread, paper, and hempen goods, as well as beer and wine.
Freiburg is of uncertain foundation. In 1120 it became a free town, with privileges similar to those of Cologne; but in 1219 it fell into the hands of a branch of the family of Urach. After it had vainly attempted to throw off the yoke by force of arms, it purchased its freedom in 1366; but, unable to reimburse the creditors who had advanced the money, it was, in 1368, obliged to recognize the supremacy of the house of Hapsburg. In the 17th and 18th centuries it played a considerable part as a fortified town. It was captured by the Swedes in 1632, 1634 and 1638; and in 1644 it was seized by the Bavarians, who shortly after, under General Mercy, defeated in the neighbourhood the French forces under Enghien and Turenne. The French were in possession from 1677 to 1697, and again in 1713-1714 and 1744; and when they left the place in 1748, at the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, they dismantled the fortifications. The Baden insurgents gained a victory at Freiburg in 1848, and the revolutionary government took refuge in the town in June 1849, but in the following July the Prussian forces took possession and occupied it until 1851. Since 1821 Freiburg has been the seat of an archbishop with jurisdiction over the sees of Mainz, Rottenberg and Limburg.
See Schreiber, Geschichte und Beschreibung des Münsters zu Freiburg (1820 and 1825); Geschichte der Stadt und Universität Freiburgs (1857-1859); Der Schlossberg bei Freiburg (1860); and Albert, Die Geschichtsschreibung der Stadt Freiburg (1902).
Battles of Freiburg, 3rd, 5th and 10th of August 1644. - During the Thirty Years' War the neighbourhood of Freiburg was the scene of a series of engagements between the French under Louis de Bourbon, due d'Enghien (afterwards called the great Condé), and Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne, and the Bavarians and Austrians commanded by Franz, Freiherr von Mercy.
At the close of the campaign of 1643 the French "Army of Weimar," having been defeated and driven into Alsace by the Bavarians, had there been reorganized under the command of Turenne, then a young general of thirty-two and newly promoted to the marshalate. In May 1644 he opened the campaign by recrossing the Rhine and raiding the enemy's posts as far as Uberlingen on the lake of Constance and Donaueschingen on the Danube. The French then fell back with their booty and prisoners to Breisach, a strong garrison being left in Freiburg. The Bavarian commander, however, revenged himself by besieging Freiburg (June 27th), and Turenne's first attempt to relieve the place failed. During July, as the siege progressed, the French government sent the duc d'Enghien, who was ten years younger still than Turenne, but had just gained his great victory of Rocroy, to take over the command. Enghien brought with him a veteran army, called the "Army of France," Turenne remaining in command of the Army of Weimar. The armies met at Breisach on the 2nd of August, by which date Freiburg had surrendered. At this point most commanders of the time would have decided not to fight, but to manœuvre Mercy away from Freiburg; Enghien, however, was a fighting general, and Mercy's entrenched lines at Freiburg seemed to him a target rather than an obstacle. A few hours after his arrival, therefore, without waiting for the rearmost troops of his columns, he set the combining armies in motion for Krozingen, a village on what was then the main road between Breisach and Freiburg. The total force immediately available numbered only 16,000 combatants. Enghien and Turenne had arranged that the Army of France was to move direct upon Freiburg by Wolfenweiter, while the Army of Weimar was to make its way by hillside tracks to Wittnau and thence to attack the rear of Mercy's lines while Enghien assaulted them in front. Turenne's march (August 3rd, 1644) was slow and painful, as had been anticipated, and late in the afternoon, on passing Wittnau, he encountered the enemy. The Weimarians carried the outer lines of defence without much difficulty, but as they pressed on towards Merzhausen the resistance became more and more serious. Turenne's force was little more than 6000, and these were wearied with a long day of marching and fighting on the steep and wooded hillsides of the Black Forest. Thus the turning movement came to a standstill far short of Uffingen, the village on Mercy's line of retreat that Turenne was to have seized, nor was a flank attack possible against Mercy's main line, from which he was separated by the crest of the Schönberg. Meanwhile, Enghien's army had at the prearranged hour (4 P.M.) attacked Mercy's position on the Ebringen spur. A steep slope, vineyards, low stone walls and abatis had all to be surmounted, under a galling fire from the Bavarian musketeers, before the Army of France found itself, breathless and in disorder, in front of the actual entrenchments of the crest. A first attack failed, as did an attempt to find an unguarded path round the shoulder of the Schönberg. The situation was grave in the extreme, but Enghien resolved on Turenne's account to renew the attack, although only a quarter of his original force was still capable of making an effort. He himself and all the young nobles of his staff dismounted and led the infantry forward again, the prince threw his baton into the enemy's lines for the soldiers to retrieve, and in the end, after a bitter struggle, the Bavarians, whose reserves had been taken away to oppose Turenne in the Merzhausen defile, abandoned the entrenchments and disappeared into the woods of the adjoining spur. Enghien hurriedly re-formed his troops, fearing at every moment to be hurled down the hill by a counter-stroke; but none came. The French bivouacked in the rain, Turenne making his way across the mountain to confer with the prince, and meanwhile Mercy quietly drew off his army in the dark to a new set of entrenchments on the ridge on which stood the Loretto Chapel. On the 4th of August the Army of France and the Army of Weimar met at Merzhausen, the rearmost troops of the Army of France came in, and the whole was arranged by the major-generals in the plain facing the Loretto ridge. This position was attacked on the 5th. Enghien had designed his battle even more carefully than before, but as the result of a series of accidents the two French armies attacked prematurely and straight to their front, one brigade after another, and though at one moment Enghien, sword in hand, broke the line of defence with his last intact reserve, a brilliant counterstroke, led by Mercy's brother Kaspar (who was killed), drove out the assailants. It is said that Enghien lost half his men on this day and Mercy one-third of his, so severe was the battle. But the result could not be gainsaid; it was for the French a complete and costly failure.
For three days after this the armies lay in position without fighting, the French well supplied with provisions and comforts from Breisach, the Bavarians suffering somewhat severely from want of food, and especially forage, as all their supplies had to be hauled from Villingen over the rough roads of the Black Forest. Enghien then decided to make use of the Glotter Tal to interrupt altogether this already unsatisfactory line of supply, and thus to force the Bavarians either to attack him at a serious disadvantage, or to retreat across the hills with the loss of their artillery and baggage and the disintegration of their army by famine and desertion. With this object, the Army of Weimar was drawn off on the morning of the 9th of August and marched round by Betzenhausen and Lehen to Langen Denzling. The infantry of the Army of France, then the trains, followed, while Enghien with his own cavalry faced Freiburg and the Loretto position.
Before dawn on the 10th the advance guard of Turenne's army was ascending the Glotter Tal. But Mercy had divined his adversary's plan, and leaving a garrison to hold Freiburg, the Bavarian army had made a night march on the 9/10th to the Abbey of St Peter, whence on the morning of the 10th Mercy fell back to Graben, his nearest magazine in the mountains. Turenne's advanced guard appeared from the Glotter Tal only to find a stubborn rearguard of cavalry in front of the abbey. A sharp action began, but Mercy hearing the drums and fifes of the French infantry in the Glotter Tal broke it off and continued his retreat in good order. Enghien thus obtained little material result from his manœuvre. Only two guns and such of Mercy's wagons that were unable to keep up fell into the hands of the French. Enghien and Turenne did not continue the chase farther than Graben, and Mercy fell back unmolested to Rothenburg on the Tauber.
The moral results of this sanguinary fighting were, however, important and perhaps justified the sacrifice of so many valuable soldiers. Enghien's pertinacity had not achieved a decision with the sword, but Mercy had been so severely punished that he was unable to interfere with his opponent's new plan of campaign. This, which was carried out by the united armies and by reinforcements from France, while Turenne's cavalry screened them by bold demonstrations on the Tauber, led to nothing less than the conquest of the Rhine Valley from Basel to Coblenz, a task which was achieved so rapidly that the Army of France and its victorious young leader were free to return to France in two months from the time of their appearance in Turenne's quarters at Breisach.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)