14 September 1672 The “Kuruc” rebels beat the Imperials at Enyicke and the fight at Györke in October

This battle took place around the beginning of the period when the Hungarians began to rebel in earnest against the Habsburgs.
The place of the battle was Enyicke (now Slovakia), not far from Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau).
Kassa / Kosice / Kaschau
The Habsburgs took heavy revenge on the Hungarians for the Wesselényi Conspiracy. Countless burghers, noblemen, peasants, and castle warriors fell victim to it, especially the Protestants and the wealthier ones. The warriors of the Borderland castles were sent away without pay, and the Protestants were forced to convert. Those who didn’t want to change their religion fled to Transylvania. Read more about the Battle of Gombás (1670) and the Wesselényi conspiration here:
Transylvania in 1664 (to the right side)
All these outcasts, Hajdú soldiers, noblemen, peasants, and warriors were gathered on the border between Transylvania and the Kingdom of Hungary. At the same time, the Protestant preachers incited the inhabitants of Upper Hungary against the Austrian occupying soldiers. This was the situation when General Paris von Spankau, the military commander of Upper Hungary, issued an order against them.
At the end of August 1672, eight hundred rebels, led by Petrőczy István, Kende Gábor, Szepessy Pál, and Szuhay Mátyás, attacked Upper Hungary. They also received some French financial support and 500 Ottoman Turks from Pasha Hassan of Várad Castle (Oradea). They were joined by the expelled castle warriors and the unpaid Protestant Hajdú soldiers, and soon their number approached 10,000 men. When Kővári Mihály, the captain of Kővár Castle, heard of their success, he and his 700 horsemen and 500 infantrymen attacked the Austrians. However, he was defeated by the German guards at Szatmár Castle on 20 September.
Hungarian “kuruc” rebels
The rebel army marched through Debrecen and Kálló, then crossed the Tisza River and approached Tokaj, Ónod, and Kassa in the north. By this time there were 15,000 of them. They were opposed by General Paris von Spankau and General Wolfgang von Cobb and their army of 8,000 men, some of whom were guarding the Borderland castles.
Kuruc vs. Imperials
The two columns of the rebels met at Szina (Abaújszina) on 13 September. There were also 8,000 of them, without any cannons. They camped south of Enyicke (now in Slovakia, Haniska). The next day they heard of some German raiding units, so 1,200 horsemen set off, led by Petrőczy and Szuhay. The vanguard of the Germans was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Soyer with his 300 dragoons. General Spankau was half a mile behind with his 2,000 soldiers, but the Hungarian horsemen knew nothing of them. Indeed, the Germans didn’t know how close the rebels were either.
When Petrőczy learned of Spankau’s advance, he sent for reinforcements. Then he routed Soyer’s unit. The lieutenant-colonel retreated with the remaining dragoons to Enyicke’s mansion and the rebels began the siege. Spankau attacked the besiegers and managed to push them back in a battle that lasted three hours. Petrőczy and Szuhay encouraged their soldiers and they rushed at the Austrians, pushing them back again.
Kuruc troops vs. Imperials
Seeing this, Spankau called up his reserves and regained the ground. At that moment, Szőcs János and his 2,000 horsemen arrived from the rebel camp and attacked the enemy. The tired Germans – who couldn’t use their muskets because of the wet weather – began to waver. Many died or were captured. Even Spankau was wounded and barely made it back to Kassa with the wreckage of his army.
Imperial soldiers (1686) by Somogyi Győző
As a result of the victory, the counties of Abaúj, Torna, Gömör, and Sáros sided with the rebels. The towns of Bártfa, Eperjes, Kisszeben, and Késmárk also opened their gates. Pika Gáspár also regained the County of Árva. The battle is worth mentioning because it was not only an “encounter” but also an open battle and a siege at the same time. There were many brave and trained soldiers among the rebels. They were able to withstand the overwhelming attack for several hours, which is only possible for an experienced, trained, and well-equipped army.
an Imperial cavalryman (by Somogyi Győző)
The lack of discipline and central command was also evident in the fact that only 3,200 of the 15,000 men could be mobilized.
The Austrian counter-attack in October, led by General Cobb, swept the rebels out of Upper Hungary, defeating them at Györke.

The Battle of Györke

After the victory at Enyicke, many people from the northeastern counties joined the Kuruc movement. Under the command of General Wolfgang von Cobb, 8,000 troops were sent against the Kuruc forces who were attacking the raiding cavalry units in the Eperjes (Presov) area. Although Petróczy had a chance of victory, he retreated, but the troops in Eperjes town closed the gates to the imperialists and fired cannons at them. The 800 footmen who broke through the gate also inflicted heavy losses on Cobb’s army.

Eperjes (Presov)

Petrőczy merged his army with that of Szuhay Mátyás, including the Turkish reinforcements from Várad. They now numbered about 8,000 men, but they were far inferior to the Imperial army. In addition, the enemy joined forces with Spankau’s army, whose combined force of 10,000 men already outnumbered the Kuruc troops. Their artillery was well equipped and the Imperial cavalry included 400 Hungarian soldiers of Barkóczy István.

Hungarian sabers in the Museum of Debrecen

After the battle of Eperjes on 23 October, the imperial troops camped near Rozgony two days later. Barkóczy proposed to reduce the army of the opposing Kuruc forces by promising them mercy. Many Hajdú soldiers left Petrőczy’s camp when they heard this promise. 

Hajdú infantrymen (Drawing: Somogyi Győző)

The next day, 26 October, the armies lined up against each other, but many of the Hajdús who had been in the front ranks fled before the battle. Other Hajdús followed, but the Kuruc troops behind them did not notice. Seeing the fleeing Hajdús, the Imperials advanced and the Kuruc troops rushed at them. 

Hungarian Hajdú soldiers (by Somogyi Győző)

A fierce hand-to-hand fight ensued, and Cobb, suspecting the return of the Hajdús, sent his reserves against the enemy. The overwhelming force soon surrounded the Kuruc forces, and while the Zemplén cavalry cut their way through the enemy, the heroic footmen were all put to the sword. Cobb lost 300 men, the Kuruc about 1500, four cannons, and 15 flags.

A “Kuruc” cavalryman
The disorganized Kuruc rebels, supported neither by the Turks nor by the Transylvanian prince Apafy Mihály, were defeated and pushed back to the frontier and the Partium region. However, the rebels kept on fighting until the great “liberation” of Hungary from the Turks began. Then, they all joined the Austrians in the fight, except Thököly, of course. After the end of the Ottoman wars, Prince Rákóczi II Ferenc began his freedom fight in 1703 which lasted until 1711. Freedoms that are not defended will surely be lost. Without these rebels perhaps no one would speak Hungarian here and now.
Source: Szibler Gábor
Note: I wrote a dramatized short historical story about this battle in my book “33 Castles, Battles, Legends”.

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