Battle of Issy

Last updated
Battle of Issy
Part of the Napoleonic Wars (Seventh Coalition 1815)
Date2-3 July 1815
Location
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Kingdom of Prussia Flag of France.svg First French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Hans von Zieten Flag of France.svg Dominique Vandamme
Casualties and losses
unknown 3,000+ [1] casualties

The Battle of Issy was fought on the 2 and 3 July 1815 in and around the village of Issy, a short distance south west of Paris. The result was a victory for Prussian General von Zieten over a French army commanded by General Dominique Vandamme.

Hans Ernst Karl, Graf von Zieten Field Marshal of Prussia

Hans Ernst Karl, Graf von Zieten was an officer in the Prussian Army during the Napoleonic Wars.

Dominique Vandamme French general

General Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme, Count of Unseburg was a French military officer, who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. He was a dedicated career soldier with a reputation as an excellent division and corps commander. However he had a nasty disposition that alienated his colleagues; he publicly criticized Napoleon, who never appointed him marshal.

Contents

Prelude

After French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the armies of the Duke of Wellington, Field Marshal von Blücher, and other Seventh Coalition forces, advanced upon Paris. Wellington and von Blücher continued their operations up to the gates of Paris and, on the 30 June, had recourse to a movement which proved decisive to the fate of the city. Marshal von Blücher, having taken the village of Aubervilliers, or Vertus, made a movement to his right, and, crossing the Seine at Saint-Germain below the capital, threw his whole force upon the south side of the city where no preparations had been made to resist an enemy. [2] [3]

Battle of Waterloo Battle of the Napoleonic Wars in which Napoleon was defeated

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: a British-led allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blücher. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 18th and 19th-century British soldier and statesman

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was a British soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

This was a thunderbolt to the French; it was then that their weakness and the Coalition's strength were seen most conspicuously, because at that moment the armies of Wellington and von Blücher were separated and the whole French army was between them, yet the French could not move to prevent their junction. [1]

After the war Lazare Carnot (Napoleon's Minister of Internal Affairs) blamed Napoleon for not fortifying Paris on the south side, and claimed he had forewarned Napoleon of this danger. The French were thus obliged to abandon all the works they had constructed for the defence of the capital, and moved their army across the Seine to meet the Prussians. [1]

Lazare Carnot French political, engineering and mathematical figure

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite, Count Carnot was a French mathematician, physicist and politician. He was known as the Organizer of Victory in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

Although a Prussian brigade was defeated in a skirmish at Rocquencourt near Versailles, the movement of the Prussians to the right was not checked. [2] [3] On the morning of the 2 July, the Prussian I Corps under the command of General Graf von Zieten had its right wing positioned at Plessis-Piquet, its left at Meudon, with its reserves at Versailles. [1]

Battle of Rocquencourt battle

The Battle of Rocquencourt was a cavalry skirmish fought on 1 July 1815 in and around the villages of Rocquencourt and Le Chesnay. French dragoons supported by infantry and commanded by General Exelmans destroyed a Prussian brigade of hussars under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Eston von Sohr.

Meudon Commune in Île-de-France, France

Meudon is a municipality in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is in the département of Hauts-de-Seine. It is located 9.1 km (5.7 mi) from the center of Paris.

Attack

Zieten advanced on the 2 July towards the heights of Meudon and Châtillon and fought a sharp battle for the possession of Sèvres, Moulineaux, and Issy. [2] [3] The contest was obstinate, but the Prussians finally surmounted all difficulties and succeeded in establishing themselves firmly upon the heights of Meudon and in the village of Issy. The French losses during this engagement are estimated at 3,000 men. [1]

Châtillon, Hauts-de-Seine Commune in Île-de-France, France

Châtillon is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 7 km (4.3 mi) from the center of Paris.

Sèvres Commune in Île-de-France, France

Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 9.9 kilometres from the centre of Paris and is in the department of Hauts-de-Seine in the region of Île-de-France.

Issy-les-Moulineaux Commune in Île-de-France, France

Issy-les-Moulineaux is a commune in the southwestern suburban area of Paris, France, lying on the left bank of the river Seine. It is one of Paris entrances and is located 6.6 km (4.1 mi) from Notre-Dame Church, which is considered Kilometre Zero of France. On 1 January 2010, Issy-les-Moulineaux became part of the Communauté d'agglomération Grand Paris Seine Ouest, which merged into the Métropole du Grand Paris in January 2016.

Counterattack

At a French Council of War, which was held during the night of 2/3 July in Paris, it was decided that the defence of the capital was not practicable against the two Coalition armies. Nevertheless, the French Commander-in-Chief Marshal Davout was desirous of another attempt before he would finally agree to a suspension of hostilities. [4]

At three o'clock on the morning of the 3 July Vandamme, commander of the French III Corps, advanced in two columns from Vaugirard to attack Issy. Between Vaugirard and the river Seine he had a considerable force of cavalry, the front of which was flanked by a battery advantageously posted near Auteuil on the right bank of the river. The action commenced with a brisk cannonade, the French having brought twenty pieces of cannon against the front of the village which was then vigorously assailed by his infantry. The Prussians had constructed some barricades and other defences during the night; but these did not protect them from the sharp fire of case shot which was poured upon them by the French batteries, the guns of which enfiladed the streets. The 12th and 24th Prussian Regiments, and the 2nd Westphalian Landwehr, supported by a half battery of twelve pounders, fought with great bravery against the French. There was many losses on both sides. At length the French withdrew, but only to advance again, considerably reinforced. [5]

The 2nd Prussian Brigade was immediately ordered to join the 1st, and the whole of the troops of the I Prussian Corps stood to arms. Zieten sent a request to Blücher for the support of two brigades of Bülow's IV Prussian Corps and, at the same time, begged Thielemann to advance (in conformity with instructions conveyed to him from headquarters) from Châtillon and to threaten the French left flank. [6]

In the meantime the French renewed their attack upon Issy, which, however, again proved unsuccessful. This was followed by a heavy cannonade and by further assaults, without any decided advantage having been gained over the defenders. The French did not appear disposed to venture upon a more general attack, which would have offered them a much greater chance of forcing back the Prussian advanced guard; the French commanders probably considered that such an attack, if unsuccessful, might end with the suburbs of Paris being easily carried by storm. Accordingly, after four hours' continued but fruitless attempts upon Zieten's advanced position, the French fell back upon Paris, with the Prussian skirmishers following them until they came within a very short distance of the barriers surrounding the city. [6]

Aftermath

Issy was the final attempt of the French army to defend Paris and, with this defeat, all hope of holding Paris faded. The French high command decided that they would capitulate. [6]

Accordingly, at seven o'clock in the morning, the French ceased fire and Brigadier General Revest  [ fr ] (chief of staff to the French III Corps) was delegated to approach Zieten's Corps, which was the nearest to the capital of all the Coalition forces, to offer a capitulation and to request an immediate armistice. [7]

On hearing of the unilateral French ceasefire, Blücher demanded that the French provide delegates with full powers of negotiation before he would finally agree to a suspension of hostilities, and indicated the Palace of St. Cloud as the place where the negotiations should be carried on. He then moved his headquarters to the palace. [4]

Officers furnished with full powers by their respective chiefs soon met at St. Cloud, where the Duke of Wellington had joined Prince Blücher. The result of their deliberations was the surrender of Paris under the terms of the Convention of St. Cloud. [8]

Napoleon Bonaparte had already announced his abdication (24 June 1815); unable to remain in France or to escape from it, a few days later, on 15 July, he surrendered himself to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon and was transported to England. The full restoration of Louis XVIII followed the emperor's departure. Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he died in May 1821.

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After the defeat of the French Army of the North at the Battle of Waterloo and the subsequent abdication of Napoleon as Emperor of the French, the French Provisional Government repeatedly sent peace emissaries to British commander, the Duke of Wellington, who commanded the Anglo-allied army marching on Paris and others to Prince Blücher who commanded the Prussian army, which was also marching on Paris. The position of the Provisional Government was that now that Napoleon had abdicated and two days later that his son was not recognised by the Provisional Government as his successor, that the casus belli was ended so the Seventh Coalition had no reason to continue its armed invasion of France.

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Waterloo Campaign: Waterloo to Paris (18–24 June)

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Waterloo Campaign: Waterloo to Paris (25 June – 1 July)

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Waterloo Campaign: Waterloo to Paris (2–7 July)

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Reduction of the French fortresses in 1815

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Gifford 1817, p. 1505.
  2. 1 2 3 Gleig 1847, p. 301.
  3. 1 2 3 Siborne 1848, pp. 748–749.
  4. 1 2 Siborne 1848, p. 754.
  5. Siborne 1848, p. 752.
  6. 1 2 3 Siborne 1848, p. 753.
  7. Siborne 1848, p. 753–754.
  8. Siborne 1848, pp. 754–756.

Bibliography

Attribution

Further reading

Coordinates: 48°49′26″N2°16′12″E / 48.8239°N 2.2700°E / 48.8239; 2.2700