14 September 1672 The “kuruc” rebels beat the Imperials at Enyicke
This battle took place about the beginning of the period when the Hungarians began to rebel against the Habsburgs in earnest.
The place of the fight was Enyicke (now Slovakia) not far from Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau).
The Habsburgs took heavy revenge over the Hungarians because of the Wesselényi conspiration. 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, the protestants were forced to get converted. All who didn’t want to change religions fled towards Transylvania. Read more about the Battle of Gombás (1670) and the Wesselényi conspiration here:
All these outcasts, Hajdu soldiers, noblemen, peasants, and warriors got assembled at the border of Transylvania and Royal Hungary. At the same time, the Protestant preachers were instigating the inhabitants of Upper Hungary against the occupying Austrian soldiers. It 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 broke into Upper Hungary, led by Petrőczy István, Kende Gábor, Szepessy Pál and Szuhay Mátyás. They enjoyed some French financial aid and 500 Ottoman Turks from Pasha Hassan of Várad Castle (Oradea), too.
The sent-away castle warriors and the unpaid Protestant Hajdu soldiers joined them and soon their number approached 10,000 men.
Hearing of their success, Kővári Mihály, the captain of Kővár castle also launched his attack against the Austrians with his 700 riders and 500 infantrymen. Yet, he was defeated by the German guards at Szatmár castle on 20 September.
The rebel army was marching through Debrecen and Kálló, then they crossed the Tisza River and were nearing Tokaj, Ónod, and Kassa on the north. By then there had been 15,000 of them. They were opposed by General Paris von Spankau and General Wolfgang von Cobb and their army of 8,000 men but part of them guarded the Borderland castles.
The two marching lines of the rebels met at Szina (Abaújszina) on 13 September. There were also 8,000 of them, without any cannons. They made camp south of Enyicke (now in Slovakia, Haniska). The next day they heard of some raiding German units so 1,200 riders set out, led by Petrőczy and Szuhay. The vanguard of the Germans was led by lieutenant colonel Soyer with his 300 dragoons. General Spankau stood half a mile behind them with his 2,000 soldiers but the Hungarian riders knew nothing of them. It is true, that the Germans didn’t know the closeness of the rebels, either.
When Petrőczy came to know Spankau’s advance, he sent for reinforcement. Then, he cut down the unit of Soyer. The lieutenant colonel withdrew himself with the remaining dragoons into the palace of Enyick and the rebels began the siege. Spankau attacked the besiegers and succeeded in forcing them back in a three-hour-long fight. Petrőczy and Szuhay were encouraging their soldiers and they rushed at the Austrians and pushed them back again.
Seeing this, Spankau called his reserve forces and regained the ground. At this very moment, János Szőcs arrived from the rebels’ camp with his 2,000 riders and attacked the enemy. The tired Germans – who couldn’t use their muskets because of the wet weather – began wavering. Many of them died or got captured. Even Spankau got wounded and could barely get away to Kassa, with the wreck of his army.
As a result of the victory, the counties of Abaúj, Torna, Gömör, and Sáros have sided with the rebels. The towns of Bártfa, Eperjes, Kisszeben, and Késmárk have all opened their gates, too. Pika Gáspár was able to regain the county of Árva, too. The battle is worth mentioning because it was not only a “meeting fight” but also an open battle and a siege at the same time. There were many brave and trained soldiers among the rebels. They had been able to withstand the overpowering attack for several hours which is only possible in case of an experienced, trained, and well-equipped army.
The lack of discipline and central command became also visible because only 3,200 people could be mobilized out of the 15,000.
The Austrians’ counterattack in October, led by General Cobb, swept the rebels out again from Upper Hungary, by defeating them at Györke. The rebel (“kuruc”) forces 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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