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|Battle of Dresden|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
Battle of Dresden
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|10,000 killed or wounded|| 38,000 killed, wounded, or captured|
40 guns lost
The Battle of Dresden (26–27 August 1813) was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place around the city of Dresden in modern-day Germany. With the recent addition of Austria, the Sixth Coalition felt emboldened in their quest to expel the French from Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a great victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
Dresden is the capital city and, after Leipzig, the second-largest city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the border with the Czech Republic.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
However, Napoleon's victory did not lead to the collapse of the coalition, and the lack of effective French cavalry units, caused by a very heavy loss of French horses during the past 1812 French invasion of Russia, precluded a major pursuit. Three days after the battle, the Allies surrounded and captured a French corps at the Battle of Kulm.
The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Emperor of All Russia Alexander I to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions.
The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm (Chlumec) and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition. 32,000 French troops under Dominique Vandamme attacked an army of about 50-60,000 Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy, but were defeated with heavy losses on both sides.
On the 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyr's corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and to serve as a possible base for his own manoeuvres. He planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength. He had a field army of 442,810 men and 1,284 guns in 559 battalions and 395 squadrons against Allied field forces totaling 512,113 men in 556 battalions, 572 squadrons and 68 Cossack regiments, and 1,380 guns.
A battalion is a military unit. The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. A battalion is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. In some countries, the word "battalion" is associated with the infantry.
The Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders as per the Trachenberg Plan. On the 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, Crown Prince Charles of Sweden (formerly French Marshal Bernadotte, Napoleon's own Marshal) defeated his old comrade Marshal Oudinot. On the 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher crushed Marshal MacDonald's army at the Battle of Katzbach.
The Trachenberg Plan was a campaign plan created by Allied commanders in the 1813 German Campaign during the War of the Sixth Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars, and named for the conference held at the palace of Trachenberg. The plan advocated avoiding direct engagement with the French emperor, Napoleon I. This resulted from fear of the Emperor's now legendary prowess in battle. Consequently, the Allies planned to engage and defeat the French Marshals and Generals separately, and thus weaken his army while they built up an overwhelming force even he could not defeat. It was decided upon after a series of defeats and near disasters by the Coalition at Napoleon's hands at the battles of Lützen, Bautzen and Dresden. The plan was successful, and at the Battle of Leipzig, where the Allies had a considerable numerical advantage, the Emperor was soundly defeated and driven out of Germany, across the Rhine back into France itself. The plan was an amalgam of two prior works: The Trachenberg Protocol and the Reichenbach Plan, authored by the Austrian chief of staff of the allied coalition, Radetzky and the Swedish Crown Prince Charles John whose experience with the tactics and methods of the French Army, as well as personal insight on the mind of Napoleon, proved invaluable. The combined, modified version of the two prior plans became known as the Trachenberg Plan.
Charles XIV John or Carl John, from 1818 until his death was King of Sweden and King of Norway and served as de facto regent and head of state from 1810 to 1818. He was also the Sovereign Prince of Pontecorvo, in south-central Italy, from 1806 until 1810.
Nicolas Charles Oudinot, 1st Comte Oudinot, 1st Duc de Reggio, was a Marshal of France. He is known to have been wounded 34 times in battle. Oudinot is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, Eastern pillar Columns 13, 14.
On the same day as Katzbach, Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg, the commander of the Austrian force of over 200,000 men of the Austrian Army of Bohemia and accompanied by Francis II, Alexander I, and Frederick William III, attacked Saint-Cyr. In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions. They hoped to last long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Sure enough, they got their wish. Napoleon arrived quickly and unexpectedly with reinforcements to repel this assault on the city. French counterattacks on the Great Garden in the southeast and on the allied center were successful, and by nightfall the French had regained almost all of Saint-Cyr's original positions.
The Großer Garten is a baroque style park in central Dresden. It is rectangular in shape and covers about 1.8 km². Originally established in 1676 on the orders of John George III, Elector of Saxony, it has been a public garden since 1814. Pathways and avenues are arranged symmetrically throughout the park. The Sommerpalais, a small Lustschloss is at the center of the park.
Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning on the 27 August, turned the allied left flank, and won an impressive tactical victory. The flooded Weisseritz cut the left wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai, from the main body. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of this isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians. men, and 15 colours. Gyulai's divisions also suffered serious losses when they were attacked by Murat's cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many battalions became an easy prey to the French cuirassiers and dragoons.A French participant observed, "Murat.... cut off from the Austrian army Klenau's corps, hurling himself upon it at the head of the carabineers and cuirassiers. .... Nearly all his [Klenau's] battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate." Of Klenau's force, Lieutenant Field Marshal Joseph, Baron von Mesko de Felsö-Kubiny's division of five infantry regiments was surrounded and captured by Murat's cavalry, which amounted to approximately 13,000
Johann von Klenau, also called Johann Josef Cajetan von Klenau und Janowitz, was a field marshal in the Habsburg army. Klenau, the son of a Bohemian noble, joined the Habsburg military as a teenager and fought in the War of Bavarian Succession against Prussia, Austria's wars with the Ottoman Empire, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars, in which he commanded a corps in several important battles.
Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was also the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815. Murat received his titles in part by being Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser, for which he was known as "the Dandy King".
A carabinier is in principle a soldier armed with a carbine. A carbine is a shorter version of a musket or rifle. Carabiniers were first introduced during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. The word is derived from the identical French word carabinier.
However, Napoleon's failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw and narrowly escape encirclement. The Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. French casualties totaled around 10,000. Some of Napoleon's officers noted he was "suffering from a violent colic, which had been brought on by the cold rain, to which he had been exposed during the whole of the battle."
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On the 27 August, General Vandamme received orders to advance on Pirna and bridge the Elbe there. This was accomplished in a pouring rain, without disturbing the Russians drawn up on the heights of Zehista. This advance by Vandamme resulted in the Battle of Kulm three days later. Napoleon's old rival Jean Victor Marie Moreau who had only recently returned from his banishment from the United States was talking to the Tsar (who wished to see Napoleon defeated) and was mortally wounded in the battle, dying later on the 2 September in Louny.
The author and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann happened to be in Dresden during the battle, being at the time employed by a locally based orchestra. On the 22 August, after the end of the armistice, the Hoffmann Family was forced to relocate from their pleasant house in the suburbs into the town. During the next few days, as the battle raged, they experienced the ongoing bombardments. As Hoffman later recounted, many people were killed by bombs directly in front of him. After the main battle was over, he visited the gory battlefield. His account can be found in Vision auf dem Schlachtfeld bei Dresden.
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German campaign of 1813 and involved 600,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
The Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube saw an Imperial French army under Napoleon face a much larger Allied army led by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg during the War of the Sixth Coalition. On the second day of fighting, Emperor Napoleon suddenly realized the long odds against him and hurriedly ordered a retreat. The French were able to disengage and withdraw to the north because of the hesitations of the Austrian Field Marshal Schwarzenberg. This was Napoleon's penultimate battle before his abdication and exile to Elba, the last being the Battle of Saint-Dizier.
The Battle of Brienne saw an Imperial French army led by Emperor Napoleon attack Prussian and Russian forces commanded by Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. After heavy fighting that went on into the night, the French seized the château, nearly capturing Blücher. However, the French were unable to dislodge the Russians from the town of Brienne-le-Château. Napoleon himself, making his first appearance on a battlefield in 1814, was also nearly captured. Very early the next morning, Blücher's troops quietly abandoned the town and retreated to the south, conceding the field to the French.
The Battle of Mormant was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition between an Imperial French army under Emperor Napoleon I and a division of Russians under Count Peter Petrovich Pahlen. Enveloped by cavalry led by François Étienne de Kellermann and Édouard Jean-Baptiste Milhaud and infantry led by Étienne Maurice Gérard, Pahlen's outnumbered force was nearly destroyed, with only about a third of its soldiers escaping. Later in the day, a French column led by Marshal Claude Perrin Victor encountered an Austrian-Bavarian rearguard under Anton Leonhard von Hardegg and Peter de Lamotte in the Battle of Valjouan. Attacked by French infantry and cavalry, the Allied force was mauled before it withdrew behind the Seine River. The Mormant-Valjouan actions and the Battle of Montereau the following day marked the start of a French counteroffensive intended to drive back Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg's Allied Army of Bohemia. The town of Mormant is located 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Paris.
In the War of the Sixth Coalition, sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.
The Battle of the Katzbach on 26 August 1813, was a major battle of the Napoleonic Wars between the forces of the First French Empire under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian Marshal Graf (Count) von Blücher. It occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia. With the involvement of more than 200,000 troops, it was one of the largest battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a Coalition victory.
Georges Mouton, comte de Lobau was a French soldier and political figure who rose to the rank of Marshal of France.
The Battle of La Rothière was fought on 1 February 1814 between the French Empire and allied army of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and German States previously allies with France. The French were led by Emperor Napoleon and the coalition army was under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. The battle took place in severe weather conditions. The French were defeated but managed to hold until they could retreat under cover of darkness.
The Battle of Fère-Champenoise was fought between two Imperial French corps led by Marshals Auguste de Marmont and Édouard Mortier, duc de Trévise and a larger Coalition force composed of cavalry from the Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, Kingdom of Württemberg, and Russian Empire. Caught by surprise by Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg's main Coalition army, the forces under Marmont and Mortier were steadily driven back and finally completely routed by aggressive Allied horsemen and gunners, suffering heavy casualties and the loss of most of their artillery. Two divisions of French National Guards under Michel-Marie Pacthod escorting a nearby convoy were also attacked and wiped out in the Battle of Bannes. The battleground was near the town Fère-Champenoise located 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of Châlons-en-Champagne.
Karl Philipp, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg was an Austrian field marshal.
Chlumec is a village and municipality (obec) in Ústí nad Labem District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.
Joseph de Mesko, Freiherr von Felsö-Kubiny was a cavalry general and lieutenant-general in Austrian service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
The German Campaign was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon and his Marshals, which liberated the German states from the domination of the First French Empire.
The Second Battle of Kulm or the Battle of Teplitz was fought on 17 September 1813 heights immediately above the town of Kulm (Chlumec) in northern Bohemia, by a Coalition army commanded by the Austrian field marshal, Prince of Schwarzenberg, and a French army under the command of the Emperor Napoleon. It resulted in an Austrian victory.
The V Cavalry Corps was a French military formation that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was created in 1813 and fought until 1814. Emperor Napoleon first organized the corps during the summer armistice in 1813 and it fought at Dresden and Leipzig. Samuel-François Lhéritier led the corps at first but was replaced by Pierre Claude Pajol. After Pajol was wounded at Leipzig, Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud commanded the corps at Hanau in 1813, and at Brienne, La Rothière, Mormant, Fère-Champenoise, and Paris in 1814.
The First Battle of Bar-sur-Aube was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition when Marshal Édouard Mortier, duc de Trévise's corps of French Imperial Guards defended against an Austrians corps under Ignaz Gyulai and a Württemberger corps led by Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg. After holding his main defensive positions in stiff fighting, Mortier withdrew his elite troops during the night and retreated to Troyes. Bar-sur-Aube is located 53 kilometres (33 mi) east of Troyes.
The Battle of Laubressel saw the main Allied army of Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg mount a three-pronged converging attack on the weaker army of Marshal Jacques MacDonald. The French forces under Marshal Nicolas Oudinot bore the brunt of the fighting, in which the Allies tried to turn their left flank. The French abandoned Troyes and retreated west as a result of the action. The village of Laubressel is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) east of Troyes.
Louis Victorin Cassagne became a French division commander during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1793 he joined a free company which was immediately absorbed into a volunteer battalion. Until 1795 he fought in the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees as a captain. In 1795–1797 he served in the Army of Italy, fighting at Loano, Lonato and Tarvis. In 1798–1801 he participated in the French campaign in Egypt and Syria, fighting at the Pyramids, Acre and Alexandria. In 1801 he was made commander of an infantry regiment. Cassagne was wounded an extraordinary number of times, especially during his early campaigns.