Clerfayt, Or Clairfait, Francois Sebastien Charles Joseph De Croix, count de, an Austrian general, born at Braille, in the Low Countries, Oct. 14, 1733, died in Vienna, July 18, 1798. He entered the Austrian army at the age of 20, distinguished himself in the seven years' war and in that of the Bavarian succession, and in 1773 became a major general. He was afterward made chamberlain, but rarely showed himself at court, being opposed to the innovations of Joseph II. and to the measures which led to the troubles in the Netherlands in 1787. In 1788-'9, as lieutenant field marshal, he commanded an army corps on the lower Danube, successfully operating against the Turks, who threatened the banat of Temesvar and Transylvania, and subsequently aiding Marshal Lau-don in the taking of Belgrade. In 1792 he commanded the Austrian contingent in the war with France, made himself master of Stenai, and compelled the retreat of Dumouriez. After the battle of Jemmapes he conducted the successful retreat to Mons. In 1793 he distinguished himself at Aldenhoven, Maestricht, and Neerwinden, but was defeated at Wattignies. In the campaign of 1794, at the head of a corps of observation in West Flanders, he acted on the defensive against Pichegru, and was repeatedly beaten.
Succeeding the prince of Coburg in the chief command in the Austrian Netherlands, he met with new defeats, and was compelled to recross the Rhine. In 1795 he was made field marshal, with command of the troops on the Rhine, defeated Jourdan, and stormed the intrenchments of the French before Mentz, compelling them to raise the siege of that city; and on Dec. 21 he concluded an advantageous armistice with the French republic. He was recalled to Vienna in January, 1796, and honored with the collar of the golden fleece and made councillor of state; but his command was given to the archduke Charles.