In 1793 the independent principality of Salm (town of Senones and its surroundings), enclosed inside the Vosges department, was annexed to France and incorporated into Vosges. In 1795 the area of Schirmeck was detached from the Bas-Rhin department and incorporated into the Vosges department. The Vosges department had now an area of 6,127 km² (2,366 sq. miles) which it kept until 1871.
In 1794 the Vosges was the site of a sizeable battle between the forces of Revolutionary France and the Allied Coalition. See Battle of the Vosges.
After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, 4% of the Vosges department in the extreme northeast of the department were annexed to the German Empire by the Treaty of Frankfurt on the ground that the people there spoke Germanic dialects. The area annexed on May 18, 1871 corresponded to the canton of Schirmeck and the northern half of the canton of Saales. Schirmeck and Saales had been historically part of Alsace. These territories, along with the rest of Alsace and the annexed territories of Lorraine, became part of the Reichsland of Elsaß-Lothringen. The area of the Vosges department was thus reduced to its current 5,874 km² (2,268 sq. miles).
In 1919, with the French victory in the First World War, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France by Germany at the Treaty of Versailles. However, Schirmeck and Saales were not returned to the Vosges department, but instead were incorporated into the recreated Bas-Rhin department.
While the west part of the Vosges is flat sedimentary land (great for mineral waters), the east is closed by an old granite mountain (top is Grand Ballon, 1424m).