|Battle of Mesothen|
|Part of French invasion of Russia (1812)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Fabian Steinheil||Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg|
|4 battalions, 2 squadrons||5 battalions, 5 squadrons|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Mesothen took place on September 29, 1812, between the Russian Corps of Finland and the French-allied Prussian Auxiliary Corps. It was fought near the Latvian town of Mežotne (German : Mesothen), then part of the Courland Governorate.
Mežotne is a town in Latvia 10 km west of Bauska and 40 km south of the capital of Latvia, Riga. It lies in the historical region of Zemgale on the left bank of the Lielupe river near the Lithuanian border.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
Courland Governorate, also known as the Province of Courland, Governorate of Kurland, and Government of Courland, was one of the Baltic governorates of the Russian Empire, that is now part of the Republic of Latvia.
In September 1812, Russian troops of General Steinheil entered Mitau, Gross Eckau and Bauska without a fight. However, they were spread out and vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. The Prussian command deployed its forces to defend the artillery stationed at the Bauska Castle and sent small squads to the ford across the river Lielupe.
Jelgava is a city in central Latvia about 41 kilometres southwest of Riga with about 63,000 inhabitants. It is the largest town in the region of Zemgale (Semigalia). Jelgava was the capital of the united Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1578–1795) and the administrative center of the Courland Governorate (1795–1918).
Iecava is a village on the via Baltica in Iecava municipality, in the Zemgale region of southern Latvia. The village has a population of around 9,500.
Bauska is a town in Bauska Municipality, in the Zemgale region of southern Latvia. Bauska is located 66 km from the Latvian capital Riga and 20 km from the Lithuanian border on the busy European route E67.
On September 29, the Prussians launched a counterattack against the advancing Russian forces and attacked their vanguard at 5 pm. The struggle lasted until late at night and pushed the Russian troops back. On the same night, Ludwig von Wartenburg sent forces under the command of Friedrich Kleist against the troops of Alexander Belgard, which were chasing a retreating Prussian squad on the left bank of the Lielupe. The resulting battle was fought in darkness and involved only infantry units. Vastly outnumbering the enemy, the Prussians forced the Russian troops back and, after having received substantial reinforcements, went on the offensive.
Friedrich Emil Ferdinand Heinrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf, born and died in Berlin, was a Prussian field marshal and a member of the old junker family von Kleist.
As a result of the battle, Steinheil called off the advance and returned to Riga. Although a defeat, the battle eased some of the pressure on the Russian army of Peter Wittgenstein, helping it to eventually capture the city of Polotsk on October 20.
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Polotsk is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina River. It is the center of the Polotsk District in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people. It is served by Polotsk Airport and during the Cold War was home to Borovitsy air base.
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(in Russian) Отечественная война 1812 года: Энциклопедия (Patriotic War of 1812: an Encyclopedia). Moscow: РОССПЭН. 2004.