|Battle of Laubressel|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|1,000–1,500||3,000, 7–11 guns|
The Battle of Laubressel (3 March 1814) 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.
Karl Philipp, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg was an Austrian field marshal.
Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st Duke of Taranto was a Marshal of the Empire and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
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.
After the French victory at the Battle of Montereau on 18 February, Schwarzenberg's army withdrew behind the Aube River. When Napoleon moved north against Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher's Army of Silesia, he left MacDonald and Oudinot to watch Schwarzenberg's army. After beating Oudinot at the Battle of Bar-sur-Aube, the Allies pressed the French back toward Troyes. At Laubressel, the Allies overpowered Oudinot's left wing. The Allies slowly pursued MacDonald's army, pressing it back to Provins before news of a victory by Napoleon brought Schwarzenberg's advance to a halt.
The Battle of Montereau was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition between an Imperial French army led by Emperor Napoleon and a corps of Austrians and Württembergers commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg. While Napoleon's army mauled an Allied army under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the main Allied army commanded by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg advanced to a position dangerously close to Paris. Gathering up his outnumbered forces, Napoleon rushed his soldiers south to deal with Schwarzenberg. Hearing of the approach of the French emperor, the Allied commander ordered a withdrawal, but 17 February saw his rear guards overrun or brushed aside.
The Aube is a river in France, a right tributary of the Seine. It is 248 kilometres (154 mi) long. The river gives its name to the Aube department.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
On 18 February 1814, Napoleon defeated Crown Prince Fredrick William of Württemberg in the Battle of Montereau. After this setback the Austrian general Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg ordered the Army of Bohemia to retreat to Troyes. Schwarzenberg also asked his ally Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher to support his northern flank at Méry-sur-Seine and the Prussian general immediately complied. The Austrian intended to fight a battle on 21–22 February near Troyes. However, bad news from his commander in the south, Prince Frederick VI of Hesse-Homburg soon changed his mind. Marshal Pierre Augereau threatened to recapture Chalon-sur-Saône while Jean Gabriel Marchand menaced Geneva. Schwarzenberg ordered Vincenzo Federico Bianchi to take the Austrian I Corps and a reserve division and march to Dijon where they would join Hesse-Homburg's command.
William I was King of Württemberg from 30 October 1816 until his death.
Troyes is a commune and the capital of the department of Aube in the Grand Est region of north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Paris. Troyes is situated within the Champagne wine region and is near to the Orient Forest Regional Natural Park. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town. Troyes has been in existence since the Roman era, as Augustobona Tricassium, which stood at the hub of numerous highways, primarily the Via Agrippa.
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt, Graf (count), later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall. He earned his greatest recognition after leading his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
At Troyes, Schwarzenberg's 90,000 troops and Blücher's 50,000 faced about 75,000 soldiers under Napoleon. Though he outnumbered the French emperor by nearly two-to-one, Schwarzenberg's intelligence services consistently overestimated enemy strength. His troops had worn-out uniforms and were short of food in an area that had been stripped of supplies by both armies. On 22 February the French probed the Allied positions from Méry to Troyes. Marshal Nicolas Oudinot's infantry cleared Méry of Allied troops and gained a foothold on the far bank, but they could not hold it against Allied counterattacks.In this clash, 3,600 men from Pierre François Joseph Boyer's division fought against 5,000 Russians from Alexei Grigorievich Scherbatov's VI Infantry Corps of Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken's command and 1,200 Prussians from Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg's I Corps. That night Schwarzenberg directed his army to withdraw behind the Seine River, except for Ignaz Gyulai's III Corps, which would move southeast to Bar-sur-Seine.
Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall instrumental in the switching of the Kingdom of Prussia from a French alliance to a Russian alliance during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Ludwig van Beethoven's "Yorckscher Marsch" is named in his honor.
The Seine is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre. It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the river banks in Paris, lined with top monuments including Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Musée d'Orsay.
Disappointed that his Austrian colleague refused to give battle, Blücher asked for and received permission to operate independently. He hoped to rendezvous with two corps under Ferdinand von Wintzingerode and Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow, and thus reinforced, advance on Paris by a more northerly route. Meanwhile, on 23 February Schwarzenberg's army fell back eastward covered by a rearguard under the Bavarian general Karl Philipp von Wrede. The Allies sent an emissary to Napoleon to propose a truce, but nothing came of this effort when the emperor's conditions proved unacceptable.Near Troyes, the 1,290 horsemen of Auguste Jean Ameil's 12th Light Cavalry Brigade and the 21st and 26th Dragoons clashed with Moritz von Liechtenstein's Austrian 2nd Light Division. The Austrian cavalry lost 311 men and three of their jäger companies were captured.
Ferdinand Karl Friedrich Freiherr von Wintzingerode was a German nobleman and officer in several different armies of the Napoleonic Wars, finally ending up as a general in the Imperial Russian army and fighting in the War of the Sixth Coalition against the French invasion of Russia and the subsequent campaigns in Germany and France. He appears in Tolstoy's War and Peace.
Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow, Graf von Dennewitz was a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars.
KarlPhilipp Josef, Prince von Wrede was a Bavarian field marshal. He was an ally of Napoleonic France until he negotiated the Treaty of Ried with Austria in 1813. Thereafter Bavaria joined the coalition.
In its withdrawal, Schwarzenberg's main body passed through Vendœuvres while other columns went via Piney on the north and Bar-sur-Seine on the south. In pursuit, Napoleon sent Étienne Maurice Gérard and the II Corps toward Vendœuvres and Marshal Jacques MacDonald and the XI Corps to Bar-sur-Seine. The French emperor held his reserves near Troyes so that he might react to Blücher's moves.On 26 February, Oudinot's troops occupied Bar-sur-Aube while MacDonald moved southeast to seize Mussy-sur-Seine. The next morning, Napoleon finally received reports that Blücher's army was advancing on Paris and had gained a 3-day head start.
Vendœuvres is a commune in the Indre department in central France.
Piney is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France.
Étienne Maurice Gérard, 1er Comte Gérard was a French general, statesman and Marshal of France. He served under a succession of French governments including the ancien regime monarchy, the Revolutionary governments, the Restorations, the July Monarchy, the First and Second Republics, and the First Empire, becoming Prime Minister briefly in 1834.
Napoleon ordered MacDonald to take command of 42,000 troops opposing Schwarzenberg by defending behind the Aube River. MacDonald would have the II, XI and VII Corps and the II Cavalry, V Cavalry and VI Cavalry Corps. Marshals Auguste de Marmont and Édouard Mortier had 10,000 men facing Blücher near Meaux. Napoleon took 35,000 troops and began marching northeast against Blücher's rear. Measures were taken to hide the fact that Napoleon was no longer facing Schwarzenberg's army.
The Austrian commander quickly guessed that Napoleon was not in front of him. On 27 February, Schwarzenberg defeated Oudinot in the Battle of Bar-sur-Aube when the French marshal deployed his troops in an exposed position on the east bank of the Aube. Though Oudinot was slightly superior in numbers, he was caught with most of his artillery and half his cavalry on the west bank of the river and brought only 18,000 troops into action, suffering 3,500 casualties.Another authority stated that the French lost 2,600 killed and wounded and 500 men and two guns captured. The Allies sustained 1,250 Russian, 400 Bavarian and 250 Austrian casualties.
The day after his defeat, Oudinot withdrew his troops to Vendœuvres, weakly pursued by the Allies. Unaware of Oudinot's setback, MacDonald advanced to Laferté-sur-Aube where the Allies had destroyed the bridge. On 28 February soldiers from Gyulai's corps attacked Michel Sylvestre Brayer's division at Silvarouvres, seizing the bridge there. MacDonald abandoned Laferté-sur-Aube and began pulling back to Bar-sur-Seine. Casualties were about 600 men on each side.On 1 March the Allies sent out two reconnaissance forces under Johann Maria Philipp Frimont and Peter Petrovich Pahlen. Frimont occupied Vendœuvres after some skirmishing with Gérard, while Pahlen operated on Frimont's right.
Feeling less anxious about his enemies, Schwarzenberg ordered an advance on Troyes for 2 March. That day, finding Gérard's troops holding the Guillotière Bridge, Pahlen moved north through the villages of Mesnil-Saint-Père and Géraudot to reach Dosches. His probes in the direction of Laubressel were chased off by French forces. Peter von Wittgenstein's Russian corps occupied Piney while Wrede's Bavarian-Austrian corps spent the night near Vendœuvres. On the southern flank the corps of Crown Prince of Württemberg and Gyulai pursued MacDonald's forces. They drove Brayer's division from Bar-sur-Seine at a cost of 500 Allied and 100 French casualties. Brayer fell back to join XI Corps.
On 3 March at 1:00 pm, Schwarzenberg planned to launch a major attack on his adversaries from three sides. He ordered Wrede's corps to attack west down the highway from Vendœuvres to Troyes and to occupy the Courteranges Woods. Wittgenstein was directed to move southwest from Piney and to meet Wrede's forces near Laubressel. The Crown Prince and Gyulai were instructed to press to the northwest from Bar-sur-Seine. To oppose the Allies, Oudinot ordered Guillaume Philibert Duhesme's division to defend the Guillotière Bridge. Henri Rottembourg's division was posted on the Laubressel plateau. The 2nd Division of II Corps linked the positions of Duhesme and Rottembourg, with Antoine Anatole Jarry's brigade on Duhesme's left. Oudinot's VII Corps and François Etienne de Kellermann's VI Cavalry Corps were to the northwest guarding the Saint-Hubert Bridge on the Seine. Closer at hand, Antoine-Louis Decrest de Saint-Germain's II Cavalry Corps was positioned at Saint-Parres-aux-Tertres. The XI Corps under Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor was near Saint-Parres-lès-Vaudes on the west bank of the Seine southeast of Troyes. Also to the south was Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud's V Cavalry Corps with outposts in Rumilly-lès-Vaudes and Fouchères
In the morning, Wrede's corps was led by Anton von Rechberg's Bavarian division and Anton Leonhard von Hardegg's Austrian division. The rest of his troops were at Vendœuvres with orders to move through Montiéramey. Wittgenstein's infantry began marching from Piney toward Laubressel, via the villages of Rouilly-Sacey and Mesnil-Sellières. They were preceded by Pahlen's advanced guard which quickly bumped into Rottembourg's French troops.Pahlen's infantry, supported by one cuirassier, one uhlan and one hussar regiment plus four field guns, began skirmishing with Rottembourg's troops. The rest of his cavalry circled to the north through Bouranton in an attempt to envelop the French left flank. Pahlen's cavalry reached the unguarded village of Thennelières in the French rear where it attacked a weakly escorted artillery park. Saint-Germain's cavalry appeared and recaptured most of the park but not before the Russian horsemen carried off 200 prisoners. Saint-Germain pushed Pahlen's cavalry back beyond Bouranton. Kellermann's corps moved up to Saint-Parres-aux-Tertres to replace the II Cavalry Corps.
At 3:00 pm Wittgenstein launched a two-pronged attack after he heard Wrede's guns begin bombarding the French positions. On the right, Duke Eugen of Württemberg led the Russian II Infantry Corps against Bouranton while on the left Andrei Ivanovich Gorchakov led the I Infantry Corps against Laubressel. The attack consisted of battalion columns led by skirmishers and well-supported by artillery. Eugen's 3rd Division easily took Bouranton and moved toward Thennelière, only to be counterattacked by Kellermann's cavalry, which had joined the fighting. Eugen's 4th Division had difficulty fighting its way up the vineyard-covered Laubressel slopes. After reaching the crest, the 4th Division had to withstand attacks by Saint-Germain's cavalry. Rottembourg's infantry were only supported by six artillery pieces and suffered losses from the 32 Russian field guns deployed against them.
Wrede sent four or five Bavarian battalions across the Barce near Courteranges. They moved through the woods to link up with Wittgenstein's Russians. With the Russians pushing Rottembourg off the Laubressel plateau, Oudinot issued orders to retreat. Gorchakov's advance had been slowed by the presence of 20 French cavalry squadrons, but now the Russian Kaluga Regiment launched an assault without orders. With King Frederick William III of Prussia watching, they took the heights in a rush. At the same time Antoine Alexandre de Bélair's brigade of the II Corps 2nd Division was hit by two Russian regiments in front and two more from the flank. Bélair's brigade dissolved and fled to the rear.
Seeing his flank turned, Gérard gave instructions for a retreat. Apparently Jarry was acting commander of the II Corps 2nd Division, because he and Rottembourg joined their divisions and made an orderly withdrawal after abandoning Laubressel. Their movement was supported by cavalry and artillery. Wrede chose this moment to directly assault the Guillotière Bridge with four Bavarian battalions while shifting other troops to his left. In the confusion, Duhesme missed the first orders to pull back and was nearly surrounded by enemies when Gérard sent them a second time. Hounded by the Austrian Knesevich Dragoons Nr. 3 and the Szekler Hussars Nr. 11, Duhesme's troops nevertheless fought their way back to Saint-Parres-aux-Tertres after suffering 400 casualties and losing two guns. The Crown Prince remained inactive on the left, allowing Molitor's XI Corps and Milhaud's cavalry to fall back without interference.
One source gave French losses as 2,600 killed and wounded and 460 captured while the Russians lost 1,200 and the Bavarians 300. Another source stated the Allies captured 1,500 French soldiers and seven guns, while sustaining about 1,000 casualties.A third source estimated that the French lost 1,000 killed and wounded plus 2,000 soldiers and 11 guns captured out of 20,000 troops engaged. The Allies lost 1,000 killed and wounded out of 32,000 troops engaged. MacDonald, who was sick, had only 21,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry to face the much larger Allied army. He determined to retreat in a deliberate manner so that his wagon trains could keep up.
Anxious that Napoleon might suddenly show up, Schwarzenberg ordered Wittgenstein and Wrede to attack the city at once. Gérard held out on the east bank of the Seine until 11:00 am when he withdrew into Troyes. The Allies fought their way into the suburbs but were stopped at the city walls.They brought up howitzers and began shelling Troyes. During a lull in the bombardment the French garrison slipped out and joined MacDonald's retreating army. Oudinot did not think a strong rearguard was needed in La Chapelle-Saint-Luc. Consequently, the Bavarian cavalry suddenly appeared behind Kellermann's cavalry, throwing it into panic. Luckily for the French, when VI Cavalry Corps stampeded their infantry held steady, but 400 prisoners were swept up by the Allies.
In Troyes, the Allies went on a 2-day orgy of pillage and violence. After they recovered from this, Wittgenstein and Wrede headed out after the French while the Crown Prince and Gyulai advanced toward Sens.Schwarzenberg himself stayed in Troyes until 12 March. By 16 March the Allies had pushed MacDonald's army back to Provins. That day Schwarzenberg found out about Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Reims and the French capture of Châlons-sur-Marne and his advance stopped.
|Corps||Division||Inf/Cav (Sporschil)||Inf/Cav (Fr. Archives)||Gunners (Fr. Arch.)||Guns (Fr. Arch.)|
Étienne Maurice Gérard
|Guillaume Philibert Duhesme||1,970||1,883||128||6|
|Jacques Félix de La Hamelinaye||1,800||1,027||134||6|
|Jean François Leval||4,365||4,021||249||?|
|David Hendrik Chassé||2,515||2,215||265||12|
Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor
|Joseph Jean Baptiste Albert||1,520||3,357||321||-|
|Michel Sylvestre Brayer||1,370||2,134||264||-|
|François Pierre Joseph Amey||2,681||772||70||-|
|Corps Cavalry: 13th Hussars||-||301||-||-|
|II Cavalry Corps:|
Antoine-Louis de Saint-Germain
|V Cavalry Corps:|
Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud
|VI Cavalry Corps:|
François Etienne de Kellermann
|Charles Claude Jacquinot||1,258||1,665||-||-|
|1st Division: Louis Charles Folliot de Crenneville||6|
|2nd Division: Johann Karl Hennequin de Fresnel||16|
|3rd Division: Prince Louis of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein||16|
Crown Prince of Württemberg
|Cavalry Division: Prince Adam of Württemberg||12|
|1st Division: Christian Gottgetreu von Koch||12|
|2nd Division: Christoph Friedrich von Döring||12|
Karl Philipp von Wrede
|1st Bavarian Division: Anton von Rechberg||14|
|2nd Bavarian Division: Karl von Becker||14|
|3rd Bavarian Division: Peter de Lamotte||14|
|1st Austrian Division: Anton Leonhard von Hardegg||6|
|2nd Austrian Division: Ignaz Splény de Miháldi||18|
|I Infantry Corps: Andrei Ivanovich Gorchakov||36|
|II Infantry Corps: Duke Eugen of Württemberg||36|
|Cavalry Corps: Peter Petrovich Pahlen||-|
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.
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The VI Cavalry Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military formation that had an ephemeral existence during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was created on 9 February 1814 and François Étienne de Kellermann was appointed as its commander. The corps was formed by combining a newly arrived dragoon division from the Spanish front, a second dragoon division and a light cavalry division made up of hussars and chasseurs à cheval. The latter two divisions included units from the former III Cavalry Corps. Kellermann led the VI Cavalry Corps in actions at Mormant, Troyes, Second Bar-sur-Aube, Laubressel and Saint-Dizier. After Emperor Napoleon abdicated in early April 1814, the corps ceased to exist.
The Battle of Gué-à-Tresmes was fought between 14,500 French troops led by Marshals Auguste de Marmont and Édouard Mortier and 12,000 Prussians commanded by Friedrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf and Friedrich von Katzler. On 28 February the French attacked and drove the Prussians to the north along the west bank of the Ourcq River. That evening and the next day Kleist tried to push the French back while Russian units under Peter Mikhailovich Kaptzevich tried to cross from the east to the west bank of the Ourcq; the Allies were unsuccessful. Gué-à-Tresmes is located where Route D405 crosses the Thérouanne stream about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northeast of Meaux.
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François Pierre Joseph Amey became a French division commander during the Napoleonic Wars. He enlisted in the French Royal Army in 1783 and joined a volunteer battalion in 1792. He won promotion to general of brigade in 1793 during the War in the Vendée. He held a command during the period of the infernal columns and his career became obscure until 1799 when he supported Napoleon's coup. He went on the Saint-Domingue expedition in 1802–1803 and later filled posts in the interior. In 1806–1807 he led a brigade at Jena, Golymin and Eylau where he was wounded.
Sigismond Frédéric de Berckheim became a French division commander during the last years of the Napoleonic Wars. Born into an old Alsatian family, he joined an infantry regiment at the age of 14. In 1807 he became the commanding officer of the 1st Cuirassier Regiment. In 1809 he led his cavalrymen at Eckmühl, Ratisbon, Aspern-Essling and Wagram. Promoted to general of brigade, he fought at First and Second Polotsk and the Berezina in 1812. He led a cavalry brigade at Lützen and Bautzen in 1813. Promoted to general of division, he led a cavalry division at Dresden, Leipzig and Hanau. He commanded a cavalry division at Arcis-sur-Aube in 1814. He became an inspector general and a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1815 and 1816. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 12.
Henri Rottembourg became a French division commander late in the Napoleonic Wars. He enlisted in an infantry regiment of the French Royal Army in 1784 and was promoted to first lieutenant by 1792. During the War of the First Coalition from 1793 to 1797 he fought mostly in the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. He was wounded at Verona in 1799 and fought on the Var and at the Mincio in 1800. He transferred to the Imperial Guard in 1806 before fighting at Jena and being named to command an infantry regiment. In 1809 he was wounded at Wagram.
The Six Days' Campaign saw four victories by the Imperial French army led by Napoleon over the Army of Silesia commanded by Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Between 10 and 15 February 1814, the French inflicted losses of at least 14,034 men and 52 guns on the Army of Silesia. A second estimate listed 16,000 casualties and 60 guns. A third estimate reached as high as 20,000 casualties, but a calculation by historian George Nafziger suggested that Blücher may have lost 28,500 soldiers.