20 September – On this day

The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. The action took place on this day in 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris. Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez stopped the advance near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne.

In this early part of the Revolutionary Wars—known as the War of the First Coalition—the new French government was in almost every way unproven, and thus the small, localized victory at Valmy became a huge psychological victory for the Revolution at large. The battle was considered a miraculous event and a “decisive defeat” for the vaunted Prussian army. After the battle, the newly assembled National Convention was emboldened enough to formally declare the end of monarchy in France and the establishment of the First French Republic. Valmy permitted the development of the Revolution and all its resultant ripple effects, and for that it is regarded as one of the most significant battles of all time.