Battle of Halle

Last updated
Battle of Halle
Part of the War of the Fourth Coalition
Marktplatz Halle 2010.jpg
Fighting occurred in the Halle marketplace.
Date17 October 1806
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg First French Empire Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Marshal Bernadotte Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Duke of Württemberg
Strength
20,594, 34 guns 16,000, 58 guns
Casualties and losses
800 5,000, 11 guns

In the Battle of Halle on 17 October 1806 a French corps led by Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte fought the Prussian Reserve under Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg. The French defeated their opponents, forcing the Prussians to retreat northeast toward Dessau after suffering heavy losses. The clash occurred in the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The city of Halle is located about 30 kilometers northwest of Leipzig on the Saale River.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Dessau Stadtteil of Dessau-Roßlau in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Dessau is a town and former municipality in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it has been part of the newly created municipality of Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973.

Contents

Emperor Napoleon I of France invaded the Electorate of Saxony and inflicted two disastrous defeats on the Prussian-Saxon armies on 14 October 1806. As the beaten armies fled, Marshal Bernadotte's corps marched north and found Duke Eugene's unblooded Reserve located at Halle. At the beginning of the encounter, two French divisions rushed the bridges over the Saale on the west side of the city. They overran a weak defending force and quickly occupied the city. Later in the day, Bernadotte's troops stormed out of Halle and attacked Eugene's Reserve which was drawn up to the southeast of the city. The Prussians were driven from their positions and chased to the northeast. While this engagement was going on, Bernadotte's third division surrounded and captured a Prussian regiment isolated on the west side of the city. One of the few intact Prussian forces west of the Elbe River was now crippled.

Electorate of Saxony State of the Holy Roman Empire, established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate 1356

The Electorate of Saxony was a state of the Holy Roman Empire established when Emperor Charles IV raised the Ascanian duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg to the status of an Electorate by the Golden Bull of 1356. Upon the extinction of the House of Ascania, it was feoffed to the Margraves of Meissen from the Wettin dynasty in 1423, who moved the ducal residence up the river Elbe to Dresden. After the Empire's dissolution in 1806, the Wettin Electors raised Saxony to a territorially reduced kingdom.

Background

Political

Napoleon's decisive victory at the Battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805 profoundly affected the balance of power in Europe. After this event, Emperor Francis I of Austria sued for peace and Tsar Alexander I of Russia withdrew his crippled army from Austrian territory, ending the War of the Third Coalition. Prussia was caught at a diplomatic disadvantage since her emissary Christian Graf von Haugwitz was on the point of delivering an ultimatum to Napoleon when the war ended, a fact which the French emperor was well aware. [1]

Battle of Austerlitz battle of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France defeated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Emperor Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the town of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire. Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the Austrians later in the month. The battle is often cited as a tactical masterpiece, in the same league as other historic engagements like Cannae or Gaugamela.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first Russian King of "Congress" Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

War of the Third Coalition war

The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others.

Queen Louise Grassi, Josef Mathias - Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz.jpg
Queen Louise

In February 1806, Napoleon pressured a cowed Prussia into handing over several territories to France and her allies in return for the state of Hanover, which was under French occupation. The agreement pushed Prussia into a break with Great Britain whose king was the Hanoverian elector. [2]

Hanover Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.

Great Britain island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.

Napoleon began to remake the face of Europe. He created the Confederation of the Rhine on 25 July. He named his elder brother Joseph Bonaparte king of the newly conquered Kingdom of Naples, brother Louis Napoleon ruler over the Kingdom of Holland, and stepson Eugène de Beauharnais viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. Then he offered Hanover to Britain in exchange for peace, which infuriated Prussia. [3]

Confederation of the Rhine confederation of client states of the First French Empire

The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, which lasted from 1806 to 1813.

Joseph Bonaparte elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte

Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.

Kingdom of Naples former state in Italy

The Kingdom of Naples comprised that part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was created as a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate Kingdom of Sicily. Naples continued to be officially known as the Kingdom of Sicily, the name of the formerly unified kingdom. For much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Spanish dynasties. In 1816, it was reunified with the island kingdom of Sicily once again to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

The peace-minded Haugwitz was dismissed and, goaded by his beautiful Queen Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, on 7 August King Frederick William III of Prussia decided to go to war against the First French Empire. Prussia mobilized 171,000 troops, but its army had missed the changes that had overtaken warfare since the days when King Frederick II of Prussia's army was the terror of Europe. [4]

Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of Prussia

Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Queen of Prussia as the wife of King Frederick William III. The couple's happy, though short-lived, marriage produced nine children, including the future monarchs Frederick William IV of Prussia and German Emperor Wilhelm I.

Frederick William III of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Military

Jena-Auerstedt Campaign, 8-14 October 1806. Jena-Auerstedt 1806 Campaign Map.JPG
Jena-Auerstedt Campaign, 8–14 October 1806.

As the Prussians advanced into territory belonging to the Electorate of Saxony, they absorbed 20,000 Saxon soldiers into their army. The combined forces coalesced into three semi-independent armies under Feldmarschall Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, General of the Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, and General Ernst von Rüchel. [5] Brunswick took station at Erfurt in the center while Hohenlohe deployed near Rudolstadt in the east. Rüchel held Gotha and Eisenach at the western end of the line with General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach's division probing south toward Meiningen and the French line of communications. Eugene of Württemberg's Reserve was well to the north at Magdeburg. [6]

The Battle of Jena-Auerstedt shattered the Prussian armies, by Richard Knotel. Doppelschlacht bei Jena und Auerstadt.jpg
The Battle of Jena-Auerstedt shattered the Prussian armies, by Richard Knötel.

On 8 October, Napoleon launched 180,000 troops across the Saxon frontier. His troops were massed in a batallion carré (battalion square) made up of three columns of two army corps each, plus the Imperial Guard, the Cavalry Reserve, and a Bavarian contingent. [7] On 9 October, the leading division of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps and Marshal Joachim Murat's cavalry forced Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien's division into a withdrawal in the Battle of Schleiz. [8] The next day, Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps attacked the 8,300-man division of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia at the Battle of Saalfeld. The young prince was killed and his division took to its heels after the drubbing it received. [9]

Napoleon at Jena by Vernet Napoleon-imperial-guard.png
Napoleon at Jena by Vernet

Napoleon became convinced that his enemies lay near Erfurt, so he ordered his batallion carré to make a left wheel on 12 October. The Prussian generals opted to fall back. Brunswick was to take the main army north from Weimar to Merseburg, while Hohenlohe protected the move by standing on the defensive near Jena. [10] Rüchel's orders were to hold Weimar until Saxe-Weimar returned with his division. [11] On 14 October, the double Battle of Jena-Auerstedt occurred as Napoleon attacked Hohenlohe while Brunswick ran head-on into the III Corps of Marshal Louis Davout. Both Prussian armies as well as Rüchel's corps were driven in rout from the two battlefields. Brunswick's army suffered 13,000 casualties and its commander was mortally wounded, while the combined forces of Hohenlohe and Rüchel lost as many as 25,000. [12]

When Davout marched from Naumburg to glory at Auerstedt, Bernadotte refused to join his fellow marshal despite positive orders to do so. Instead, he executed an earlier set of orders to march to Dornburg and missed the fighting at both Jena and Auerstedt. [13] Bernadotte found himself in serious trouble with his emperor. In a conversation with General of Division Jean Rapp Napoleon guessed that Bernadotte's behavior was caused by professional jealousy. [14] The emperor remarked to General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary, "This business is so hateful that if I send him before a court-martial it will be the equivalent of ordering him to be shot; it is better for me not to speak to him about it, but I shall take care he shall know what I think of his behavior. I believe he has enough honor to recognize that he has performed a disgraceful action regarding which I shall not bandy words with him." [15] In the end, Bernadotte's career may have been saved because of Napoleon's fondness for his wife Désirée Clary, whom he almost married. [13]

Battle

Forces

Marshal Bernadotte's failure to support a fellow marshal infuriated Napoleon. CarlXIVJohnSweden.jpg
Marshal Bernadotte's failure to support a fellow marshal infuriated Napoleon.

At the beginning of the campaign, Bernadotte's I Corps consisted of 19,014 infantry, 1,580 cavalry, and 34 artillery pieces. [16] General of Division Pierre Dupont de l'Etang led the 7,000-man 1st Division, General of Division Olivier Macoux Rivaud de la Raffinière commanded the 5,600-strong 2nd Division, Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon headed the 5,800-man 3rd Division, General of Brigade Jacques Louis François Delaistre de Tilly commanded the corps cavalry brigade, [17] [18] General of Division Jean Baptiste Eblé commanded the corps artillery reserve. [19]

Eugene of Wurttemberg Eugenwuerttemberg1822.jpg
Eugene of Württemberg

The 1st Division consisted of General of Brigade Marie François Rouyer's 9th Light Infantry Regiment, three battalions, General of Brigade François Marie Guillaume Legendre d'Harvesse's 32nd and 96th Line Infantry Regiments, two battalions each, and two foot artillery batteries of 12 total guns. [19] The 2nd Division included General of Brigade Michel Marie Pacthod's 8th Light Infantry Regiment, two battalions, General of Brigade Nicolas Joseph Maison's 45th and 54th Line Infantry Regiments, two battalions each, and one horse and one foot artillery battery of 12 total guns. [20] The 3rd Division comprised General of Brigade Bernard-Georges-François Frère's 27th Light Infantry Regiment, two battalions, General of Brigade François Werlé's 94th Line Infantry Regiment, two battalions, 95th Line Infantry Regiment, three battalions, and one horse and one foot artillery battery of 16 total guns. Tilly's cavalry brigade consisted of the 2nd and 4th Hussar Regiments and the 5th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment, four squadrons each. In the artillery reserve there were one horse and one foot artillery battery of 12 total guns. [21]

French grenadier (left) and voltigeur (right) in 1808 Napoleon Grenadier and Voltigeur of 1808 by Bellange.jpg
French grenadier (left) and voltigeur (right) in 1808

Before 1806, a French infantry battalion was made up of nine companies. In September 1806, Napoleon decreed that each infantry regiment must have three battalions of eight companies each, including one of grenadiers and one of voltigeurs or skirmishers. [22] Each foot artillery battery normally numbered six cannons and two howitzers, while each horse artillery battery counted four cannons and two howitzers. The French utilized 4-pounder, 6-pounder, 8-pounder, and 12-pounder cannons, plus captured Austrian pieces. The 12-pounders were generally employed by the corps artillery reserve. [23]

Eugene of Württemberg's Reserve included two infantry divisions, an advance guard, and a cavalry reserve. General-Major Hans Christoph von Natzmer's 1st Division comprised the Natzmer Infantry Regiment Nr. 54, Kauffberg Infantry Regiment Nr. 51, and Treskow Infantry Regiment Nr. 17, two battalions each, the Schmeling and Crety Grenadier battalions, and one and a half foot artillery batteries of 12 guns. General-Major Balthasar Wilhelm Christoph von Jung-Larisch's 2nd Division consisted of the Jung-Larisch Infantry Regiment Nr. 53, Kalkreuth Infantry Regiment Nr. 4, and Manstein Infantry Regiment Nr. 55, two battalions each, the Vieregg Grenadier battalion, and one and a half foot artillery batteries of 12 guns. General-Major Johann von Hinrichs' Advance Guard included the Borell Fusilier battalion Nr. 9, Knorr Fusilier battalion Nr. 12, and Hinrichs Fusilier battalion Nr. 17, two squadrons of Usedom Hussar Regiment Nr. 10, one squadron of Hertzberg Dragoon Regiment Nr. 9, one squadron of Heyking Dragoon Regiment Nr. 10, and two horse artillery pieces. The reserve cavalry comprised eight squadrons of Usedom Hussar Regiment Nr. 10, four squadrons of Hertzberg Dragoon Regiment Nr. 9, four squadrons of Heyking Dragoon Regiment Nr. 10, and one horse artillery battery of six guns. In total there were 18 battalions, 20 squadrons, and 32 guns. [24]

In 1806, Prussian heavy cavalry regiments were made up of five squadrons, while light cavalry regiments usually consisted of 10 squadrons. Foot artillery batteries included six 12-pounder cannons and two 10-pounder howitzers, while horse artillery batteries had six 6-pounder cannons and two 7-pounder howitzers. An infantry regiment comprised three line battalions. Each line battalion had five 174-man companies, while each fusilier battalion had four 165-man companies. Each line battalion was assigned a 6-pounder cannon and four gunners to work the piece. The fusilier battalions did not go to war with their regimental cannons in 1806. [25]

Action

Action of Halle map by Francis Loraine Petre, 1907 F L Petre Battle of Halle Map.JPG
Action of Halle map by Francis Loraine Petre, 1907

At the close of the Jena-Auerstedt battle, Bernadotte had the divisions of Drouet and Rivaud near Apolda while Dupont's and the corps artillery remained at Dornburg. [26] On the morning of 15 October, Napoleon instructed Bernadotte to march to Bad Bibra, Querfurt, and Halle. [27] By the morning of the 16th Bernadotte's advance guard was about five kilometers north of Bad Bibra. He heard that the Prussian Reserve lay at Halle and planned to attack it. [28]

Prussian Dragoons, 1806 Knotel II, 16.jpg
Prussian Dragoons, 1806

At the beginning of the campaign, Eugene of Württemberg mustered 16,000 troops in the Reserve. On 10 October, as he was marching to Magdeburg, he received orders to proceed to Halle. On the 13th, the Reserve was at Halle, with a battalion at Merseburg to the south and another detachment at Leipzig to the southeast. The Treskow Infantry Regiment was to the northwest at Aschersleben, en route from Magdeburg. [29]

On the 14th, Eugene received an order to remain at Halle and that the main army was falling back in his direction. That day he heard the cannonade from the Jena-Auerstedt battles. It was not until the evening of the 15th that he heard about the military disaster. On the 16th, Eugene had received no further orders. He instructed the detachment at Merseburg, which had been reinforced to two and a half battalions, to pull back to Halle. The Leipzig force was also recalled, while he sent back a detachment to hold Dessau on the Elbe River. He deployed his main force on high ground on Halle's south side, with his battle line facing northwest toward the city and his left bent back. The two and a half battalions from Merseburg were left to defend the bridges on the east side of Halle, together with a dragoon regiment. The Usedom Hussars were nearby, at the junction of the Saale and the White Elster Rivers, just south of Halle. The Treskow Regiment was at Eisleben, to the west-northwest of Halle. [30]

Pierre Dupont de l'Etang General Pierre Dupont de l'Etang.jpg
Pierre Dupont de l'Etang

Before dawn on the 17th, Bernadotte's corps set out from Querfurt to the west-southwest of Halle. Before long, he received intelligence that a Prussian column was approaching from Eisleben. He left Drouet's division to observe the Eisleben column and hurried on toward Halle with Dupont and Rivaud's divisions. [29] On the west side of Halle, the Saale divides into three branches. In 1806, the road from Querfurt and Eisleben crossed these branches via a series of covered bridges, called the Hohe Brücke. On the west bank, to the north of the highway, stretched the Dolau wood. From Halle, which is entirely on the east bank, radiated roads to Magdeburg in the north, to Dessau and Wittenberg in the northeast, to Leipzig in the southeast, and to Merseburg in the south. The city gate to the northeast was named the Steinthor and the gate to the southeast was called the Galgenthor. [31]

On 17 October, Eugene of Württemberg counted 11,350 infantry, 1,675 cavalry, and 58 guns at Halle, not including the Treskow Regiment. Not counting Drouet's division, Bernadotte's force that morning numbered 12,190 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, and 12 guns. Beginning at 8:00 AM, Bernadotte's advance guard pressed back the dragoon regiment from Passendorf on the west bank. In response, Eugene sent four infantry companies and two guns to support the dragoons. Five more companies with four cannons defended the first island in the Saale. About this time, Eugene belatedly started his wagon train back toward Dessau. Fearing that the French were at hand, the teamsters panicked and fled up the road, abandoning many wagons. [32]

Prussian Horse Artillery, 1805 Knotel I, 23.jpg
Prussian Horse Artillery, 1805

Bernadotte determined to attack at 10:00 AM. Holding back his cavalry and the 96th Line, he sent Dupont's 32nd Line charging for the bridges, with one battalion of the 9th Light and three guns in support. Racing along the embanked road in columns and flanked by skirmishers, the French punched through the defenders to seize the first bridge and the island. The Prussians foot soldiers on either side of the road were cut off from the bridge and became prisoners. Those dragoons who did not pull back in time were forced to swim across the river. In less than an hour, Dupont's troops captured all three bridges and General von Hinrichs. They burst into the town, overwhelmed a Prussian battalion in the marketplace, and chased a second battalion out the Steinthor. Rapidly, Halle was occupied along with both the Galgenthor and Steinthor. Here the French paused to wait for the rest of Bernadotte's corps to appear. [33]

Deployed southeast of Halle, Eugene found himself in an awkward position with his line of retreat to the north stretching past the east side of Halle. He quickly shifted two battalions northward to face the Steinthor and prevent the French from cutting him off from Dessau. Reinforced by the remainder of Dupont's division, the French improvised defenses at the Steinthor and Galgenthor and in the gardens along the edge of Halle. When Rivaud's division began to arrive, led by the 8th Line, it was fed into the line near the Galgenthor. This allowed Dupont to mass his division, together with a hussar regiment, to the north near the Steinthor. The French skirmishers moved forward and subjected the Prussians to severe harassing fire. [34]

Jean Drouet General Jean Baptiste Drouet.jpg
Jean Drouet

At length, the French surged forth from Halle and attacked the Prussian line. In between the town gates, the defenders swept the ground with intense artillery fire. But at the Steinthor and Galgenthor, the attackers rapidly gained the upper hand and pushed back the Prussians. The Prussian cavalry, which deployed east of the Funckengarten, near the Steinthor, was flanked and fell back toward Mötzlich to the northeast. Eugene's formation split in two, his right wing retreating toward Dessau and his left wing toward Bitterfeld. The right wing fell back in good order, pausing at Mötzlich and at Oppin where a cavalry charge discouraged further pursuit. The left wing had worse luck, being chased by Rivaud's division and most of Bernadotte's cavalry. The Prussian horsemen managed to repulse the French cavalry near Rabatz, [35] but were driven off by Drouet's newly arrived 94th Line. [36] The French chased the left wing as far as Bitterfeld where the Prussians managed to burn the bridge over the Mulde River. [35]

General-Major Karl Peter von Treskow with his regiment, finding the highway blocked by Drouet's division at Nietleben, tried to reach Halle by moving to the north of the Dolau wood. As he approached the Halle bridges, Treskow's progress was checked by Maison and a few infantrymen of the 8th Line until Drouet arrived on the scene. The Prussians deployed with their left flank on the Saale and their right on a vineyard. Believing he had enough troops to deal with Treskow, Drouet sent the 94th Line and the 5th Chasseurs à Cheval to help Dupont and Rivaud. He then attacked the Prussians with the 27th Light, 95th Line, and two cannons. [36] Prevented from escaping through the Dolau wood by a blocking force left there by Drouet, Treskow retreated north along the west bank in two battalion squares. Near Kröllwitz, the Prussian force fell into confusion as it crossed a marshy area and lost all of its cannons. Soon after, Drouet pounced on the hapless Treskow Regiment and forced its surrender after inflicting 200 killed and wounded on it. [37]

Result

The Prussians reported 13 officers killed, 26 wounded, and 74 captured. Altogether, about 5,000 Prussian soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured. Four colors of the Treskow Regiment and 11 guns were captured, along with "many" battalion pieces. Bernadotte admitted about 800 killed and wounded. [19]

Historian Digby Smith writes that Eugene of Württemberg "dallied far too long in Halle". [19] Francis Loraine Petre faults Eugene's defense as "half-hearted and disjointed" [37] and writes that his defensive position south of Halle was "badly chosen" with its line of retreat exposed. [34] Petre suggests that too few troops defended the bridges, inviting defeat, and that the Prussians should have burned the bridges and held the east bank. Better yet, Eugene should have retreated to Magdeburg where his intact corps might have provided a rallying point for the shattered main armies. [38] Instead, the Reserve was half-ruined by the battle. [37]

On 18 October, Bernadotte rested his troops, who were worn out by a 28 kilometer march followed by a major battle. [38] Eugene's survivors crossed the Elbe at Rosslau and limped into Magdeburg on the 19th. [35]

Notes

  1. Chandler, David. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Macmillan, 1966. 443
  2. Chandler Campaigns, 447
  3. Chandler Campaigns, 449-450
  4. Chandler Campaigns, 454
  5. Chandler Campaigns, 456
  6. Chandler Campaigns, 459
  7. Chandler Campaigns, 467-468
  8. Petre, F. Loraine. Napoleon's Conquest of Prussia 1806. London: Lionel Leventhal Ltd., 1993 (1907). ISBN   1-85367-145-2. 84-85
  9. Chandler Campaigns, 470-471
  10. Chandler Campaigns, 472-473
  11. Petre, 139
  12. Chandler, David. Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Macmillan, 1979. ISBN   0-02-523670-9. 214-216
  13. 1 2 Chandler Campaigns, 496
  14. Petre, 174
  15. Bourienne, M. de. Memoires of Napoleon Bonaparte. Vol. II. London, 1836. 374
  16. Petre, 74
  17. Smith, 231. Smith gives the division numbers in his Battle of Lübeck article.
  18. Petre, 175-176. Petre gives the strengths of each division on 14 October.
  19. 1 2 3 4 Smith, 226-227
  20. Smith, 230. This data is from the Criwitz article.
  21. Smith, 226-227. In Smith's order of battle, which does not include Rivaud's division, there are six batteries with 40 guns. But his summary lists eight batteries with 36 guns. If the 12 guns with Rivaud are included, then Bernadotte's corps must have had 52 guns, many more than the 34 listed by Petre.
  22. Rothenberg, Gunther E. The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1980. ISBN   0-253-31076-8. 138
  23. Rothenberg, 143
  24. Smith, 227. The battalion pieces are not counted among the 32 guns, so the Prussians had more cannons.
  25. Rothenberg, 189-190
  26. Petre, 185
  27. Petre, 193
  28. Petre, 201
  29. 1 2 Petre, 202
  30. Petre, 203-204
  31. Petre, 204-205
  32. Petre, 205
  33. Petre, 206
  34. 1 2 Petre, 207
  35. 1 2 3 Petre, 208
  36. 1 2 Petre, 209
  37. 1 2 3 Petre, 210
  38. 1 2 Petre, 211

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The Battle of Golymin took place on 26 December 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars at Gołymin, Poland, between around 17,000 Russian soldiers with 28 guns under Prince Golitsyn and 38,000 French soldiers under Marshal Murat. The Russian forces disengaged successfully from the superior French forces. The battle took place on the same day as the Battle of Pułtusk.

Battle of Schleiz battle

The Battle of Schleiz took place on October 9, 1806 in Schleiz, Germany between a Prussian-Saxon division under Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien and a part of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps under the command of Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon. It was the first clash of the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. As Emperor Napoleon I of France's Grande Armée advanced north through the Frankenwald it struck the left wing of the armies belonging to the Kingdom of Prussia and the Electorate of Saxony, which were deployed on a long front. Schleiz is located 30 kilometers north of Hof and 145 kilometers southwest of Dresden at the intersection of Routes 2 and 94.

Battle of Lübeck battle

The Battle of Lübeck took place on 6 November 1806 in Lübeck, Germany between soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who were retreating from defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, and troops of the First French Empire under Marshals Murat, Bernadotte, and Soult, who were pursuing them. In this War of the Fourth Coalition action, the French inflicted a severe defeat on the Prussians, driving them from the neutral city. Lübeck is an old Baltic Sea port approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) northeast of Hamburg.

Ernst von Rüchel German general

Ernst von Rüchel was a Prussian general who led an army corps in a crushing defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806. He commanded troops from the Kingdom of Prussia in several battles during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 and 1794. Afterward he held various appointments as a diplomat and a military inspector. In 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars he held an important army command but has been criticized for his actions at Jena. Wounded, he managed to escape the French pursuit, but never commanded troops in combat again.

Capitulation of Erfurt

In the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October 1806 a large body of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia under Lieutenant General the Prince of Orange surrendered to Marshal Joachim Murat of France, at the city of Erfurt. The Prussian soldiers were demoralized by their shattering defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October and unwilling to put up much resistance. The event occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Erfurt is located on the Gera River about 40 kilometers west of Jena.

Battle of Prenzlau

In the Battle of Prenzlau or Capitulation of Prenzlau on 28 October 1806 two divisions of French cavalry and some infantry led by Marshal Joachim Murat intercepted a retreating Prussian corps led by Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen. In this action from the War of the Fourth Coalition, Hohenlohe surrendered his entire force to Murat after some fighting and a parley. Prenzlau is located about 90 kilometers north of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany at the intersection of routes B109 and B198.

Capitulation of Pasewalk

The Capitulation of Pasewalk on 29 October 1806 resulted in the surrender of Oberst (Colonel) von Hagen's 4,200 Prussian soldiers to an inferior force of two French light cavalry brigades led by Generals of Brigade Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud and Antoine Lasalle. The Prussians were completely demoralized after a two-week-long retreat following their decisive defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Pasewalk is 110 kilometers north of Berlin and about 40 kilometers west of Szczecin (Stettin), Poland.

Capitulation of Stettin

In the Capitulation of Stettin on 29–30 October 1806, Lieutenant General Friedrich Gisbert Wilhelm von Romberg surrendered the garrison and fortress to a much smaller French light cavalry brigade led by General of Brigade Antoine Lasalle. This event was one of a number of surrenders by demoralized Prussian soldiers to equal or inferior French forces after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October. Stettin, now Szczecin, Poland, is a port city on the Oder River near the Baltic Sea, about 120 kilometres (75 mi) northeast of Berlin.

Battle of Waren-Nossentin

The Battle of Waren-Nossentin on 1 November 1806 saw soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by August Wilhelm von Pletz and Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg fight a rear guard action against troops of the First French Empire commanded by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Though forced to give ground, the Prussians successfully kept the French from inflicting serious loss or cutting off any units in this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Waren lies on the northern end of Lake Müritz, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Rostock. Nossentin is a small village on the Fleesen See about 15 kilometres (9 mi) due west of Waren.

Jena–Auerstedt campaign order of battle

The Jena-Auerstedt Campaign Order of Battle is listed below. The order of battle includes units from the First French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia that fought each other in the campaign that included the decisive Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. The order of battle may be useful to trace the battles of Schleiz and Saalfeld, which occurred before Jena-Auerstedt, as well as battles and capitulations that happened after 14 October, such as Erfurt, Halle, Prenzlau, Pasewalk, Stettin, Waren-Nossentin, and Lübeck.

Battle of Mohrungen

In the Battle of Mohrungen on 25 January 1807, most of a First French Empire corps under the leadership of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte fought a strong Russian Empire advance guard led by Major General Yevgeni Ivanovich Markov. The French pushed back the main Russian force, but a cavalry raid on the French supply train caused Bernadotte to call off his attacks. After driving off the cavalry, Bernadotte withdrew and the town was occupied by the army of General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen. The fighting took place in and around Morąg in northern Poland, which in 1807 was the East Prussian town of Mohrungen. The action was part of the War of the Fourth Coalition in the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Czarnowo

The Battle of Czarnowo on the night of 23–24 December 1806 saw troops of the First French Empire under the eye of Emperor Napoleon I launch an evening assault crossing of the Wkra River against Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy's defending Russian Empire forces. The attackers, part of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's III Corps, succeeded in crossing the Wkra at its mouth and pressed eastward to the village of Czarnowo. After an all-night struggle, the Russian commander withdrew his troops to the east, ending this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Czarnowo is located on the north bank of the Narew River 33 kilometres (21 mi) north-northwest of Warsaw, Poland.

Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen

In the Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen on 5 and 6 June 1807, troops of the Russian Empire led by General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen attacked the First French Empire corps of Marshal Michel Ney. The Russians pressed back their opponents in an action that saw Ney fight a brilliant rearguard action with his heavily outnumbered forces. During the 6th, Ney successfully disengaged his troops and pulled back to the west side of the Pasłęka (Passarge) River. The action occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dobre Miasto (Guttstadt) is on Route 51 about 20 kilometers (12 mi) southwest of Lidzbark Warmiński (Heilsberg) and 24 kilometers (15 mi) north of Olsztyn (Allenstein). The fighting occurred along Route 580 which runs southwest from Guttstadt to Kalisty (Deppen) on the Pasłęka.

The Battle of Linz-Urfahr on 17 May 1809 saw soldiers from the Austrian Empire fighting against troops from two of Emperor Napoleon's allies, the Kingdom of Württemberg and the Kingdom of Saxony. An Austrian corps led by Feldzeugmeister Johann Kollowrat attacked General of Division Dominique Vandamme's Württembergers who held a fortified bridgehead on the north bank of the Danube opposite the city of Linz. As the combat got underway, Saxons led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte began reinforcing the defenders. This prompted Kollowrat to order a retreat, which was followed up by Napoleon's German allies.

II Cavalry Corps was a French military formation during the Napoleonic Wars. It was first formed in December 1806, but only enjoyed a brief existence under Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières. The II Cavalry Corps was reconstituted for the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and commanded by General of Division Louis-Pierre Montbrun who was killed in battle, as was his successor a few hours later. In the War of the Sixth Coalition, General of Division Horace François Bastien Sébastiani de La Porta led the corps in 1813. General of Division Antoine-Louis Decrest de Saint-Germain directed the corps in 1814. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon raised the corps again and entrusted it to General of Division Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans.

Johann von Hinrichs (1752–1834) received training as a military engineer. He served as an officer of Hessian jägers during the American Revolutionary War. He wrote a series of letters to his Minister of War which survive as an important historical record. Some time after the war, he offered his sword to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1806 he commanded a brigade in the Prussian army and was captured in one of the early battles.

The VIII Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. Emperor Napoleon formed it in 1805 by borrowing divisions from other corps and assigned it to Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier. Marshal André Masséna's Army of Italy was also reorganized as the VIII Corps at the end of the 1805 campaign. The corps was reformed for the 1806 campaign under Mortier and spent the rest of the year mopping up Prussian garrisons in western Germany.

The IX Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military formation that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was first formed in 1806 from German troops allied with the First French Empire and Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother Jérôme Bonaparte as commander. During 1807, elements of the corps besieged several Prussian fortresses. The corps was revived as an all-Saxon unit in 1809 and leadership given to Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. The corps fought at Linz-Urfahr and Wagram.

First Battle of Bar-sur-Aube

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.

References

Printed materials

This is an excellent source for the full names and ranks of French generals.

Coordinates: 51°28′00″N11°58′00″E / 51.4667°N 11.9667°E / 51.4667; 11.9667