Battle of Montereau

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Battle of Montereau
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition (Napoleonic Wars)
Battle of Montereau coloured.jpg
The Battle of Montereau
Date18 February 1814
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg French Empire Flagge Konigreich Wurttemberg.svg Kingdom of Württemberg
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg Napoleon I Flagge Konigreich Wurttemberg.svg Prince Württemberg
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Joseph Schäffer  (POW)
Strength
30,000, 70–80 guns 15,000–18,000, 40 guns
Casualties and losses
2,500–3,000 5,000–6,000, 2–15 guns

The Battle of Montereau (18 February 1814) 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.

War of the Sixth Coalition Part of the Napoleonic Wars

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.

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.

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

Napoleon 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.

Contents

Ordered to hold Montereau until nightfall on the 18th, the Crown Prince of Württemberg posted a strong force on the north bank of the Seine River. All morning and past noon, the Allies stoutly held off a series of French attacks. However, under increasing French pressure, the Crown Prince's lines buckled in the afternoon and his troops ran for the single bridge to their rear. Brilliantly led by Pierre Claude Pajol, the French cavalry got among the fugitives, captured the spans over both the Seine and Yonne Rivers and seized Montereau. The Allied force suffered heavy losses and the defeat confirmed Schwarzenberg's decision to continue the retreat to Troyes.

Montereau-Fault-Yonne Commune in Île-de-France, France

Montereau-Fault-Yonne, or simply Montereau, is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Seine river in France

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.

Pierre Claude Pajol French cavalry general and military commander during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and political figure

Claude-Pierre, Comte de Pajol, was a French cavalry general and military commander during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and political figure.

Background

Allied advance

On 10 February, the Army of Bohemia under Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg began advancing from Troyes. On the right, Peter Wittgenstein and Karl Philipp von Wrede headed for Nogent and Bray on the Seine River supported by the Guards and Reserves. On the left, Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg moved on Sens with the I Corps of Frederick Bianchi, Duke of Casalanza on his left. The left flank forces were backed by Ignaz Gyulai's corps. [1] The Allies were briefly checked at Nogent on the 10th by 1,000 French troops under Louis-Auguste-Victor, Count de Ghaisnes de Bourmont. [2] Sens was taken on the 11th after a skirmish between the Crown Prince and Jacques-Alexandre-François Allix de Vaux. [3]

Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg Czech nobleman

Karl Philipp, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg was an Austrian field marshal.

Troyes Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

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.

Peter Wittgenstein Russian army officer in the Napoleonic wars (1769–1843)

Louis Adolph Peter, 1st Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Ludwigsburg-Berleburg, better known as Peter Wittgenstein in English, was a Prince of the German dynasty Sayn-Wittgenstein and Field Marshal in the Imperial Russian Army during the Napoleonic wars.

Tasked with the defense of the Seine, Marshal Claude Perrin Victor held Nogent and Marshal Nicolas Oudinot defended Montereau. On the 12th the Allies captured Bray from a weak force of French National Guards as well as the bridge at Pont-sur-Seine near Montereau. Afraid of being surrounded, Victor evacuated Nogent and fell back. The appearance of troops under Marshal Jacques MacDonald did not stop the retreat and by 15 February the French were moving back to the Yerres River only 18 miles (29 km) from Paris. [4] Alexander Nikitich Seslavin led a scouting force of three Russian hussar squadrons and one Cossack regiment [5] well to the south to seize Montargis and threaten Orléans. Auxerre was stormed and its garrison wiped out. Cossacks roamed freely in the Forest and Palace of Fontainebleau. When Victor's wagon train appeared [6] at Charenton-le-Pont the Parisians were thrown into panic. Meanwhile, fleeing peasants reported that Paris would soon be attacked by 200,000 Cossacks. [7]

Nicolas Oudinot Marshal of France

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.

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

The National Guard is a French military, gendarmerie, and police reserve force, active in its current form since 2016 but originally founded in 1789 during the French Revolution.

Pont-sur-Seine Commune in Grand Est, France

Pont-sur-Seine is a commune in the Aube department in north-central France.

French counteroffensive

Campaign of 1814 map shows Montereau on the Seine at the lower left. EB1911-19-0232-a-Napolonic Campaigns, Campaign of 1814.jpg
Campaign of 1814 map shows Montereau on the Seine at the lower left.

Following his successes in the Six Days' Campaign on 10–14 February 1814, Emperor Napoleon headed southward towards the Seine to stop Schwarzenberg's threat to Paris. Forces under Marshals Édouard Mortier and Auguste Marmont were left behind to keep Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher's Army of Silesia under observation. Giving up his plans to finish off Blücher, Napoleon left Montmirail on 15 February with the Imperial Guard and Emmanuel Grouchy's cavalry. In an epic march, with some infantry traveling in carts and wagons, Napoleon's leading forces reached Guignes at 3:00 pm on the 16th after moving 47 miles (76 km) in 36 hours. [4] Another authority stated that some troops marched 60 miles (97 km) in 36 hours. [8]

Six Days Campaign conflict

The Six Days Campaign was a final series of victories by the forces of Napoleon I of France as the Sixth Coalition closed in on Paris.

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher Prussian field marshal

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.

Montmirail, Marne Commune in Grand Est, France

Montmirail is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France.

Hearing of Blücher's defeat and the approach of Napoleon, the cautious Schwarzenberg scrambled to put the Seine between his army and the French emperor. On 17 February, he ordered Wittgenstein to retreat to Provins while Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly massed the Russian and Prussian Guards near Nogent. He instructed Wrede to fall back to Donnemarie while leaving an advanced guard at Nangis. Württemberg and Bianchi were posted near Montereau while Gyulai held Pont-sur-Yonne and the Austrian Reserve was at Sens. If the Army of Bohemia needed to retreat farther, it was important to hold the position at Montereau. Matvei Platov was to the west at Nemours [9] where his 2,100 Cossacks captured 600 men of an Imperial Guard depot battalion on the 16th. [10]

Provins Subprefecture and commune in Île-de-France, France

Provins is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly Russian general

Prince Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was a Baltic German Field Marshal and Minister of War of the Russian Empire during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 and War of the Sixth Coalition. Barclay implemented a number of reforms during this time that improved supply system in the army, doubled the number of army troops, and implemented new combat training principles. He was also the Governor-General of Finland.

Donnemarie-Dontilly Commune in Île-de-France, France

Donnemarie-Dontilly is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Early on 17 February, Napoleon's leading elements under Etienne Maurice Gérard enveloped a Russian force led by Peter Petrovich Pahlen. [11] In the Battle of Mormant, Pahlen's 2,500 infantry and 1,250 cavalry were overwhelmed by the French, suffering 3,114 killed, wounded or captured. A nearby Austrian force led by Anton von Hardegg remained largely inert while its allies were being cut to pieces. Finally, Hardegg allowed 550 troopers from the Schwarzenberg Uhlan Regiment Nr. 2 to assist the Russians. The Reval and Selenginsk Infantry Regiments suffered such heavy losses that they were withdrawn from the campaign. [12] Next, the French struck Wrede's advance guard at Nangis and threw it back to Villeneuve-le-Comte. [11]

At Nangis Napoleon split his army into three columns. The right column including Victor's II Corps, Gerard's Reserve of Paris and cavalry under Samuel-François Lhéritier and Étienne Tardif de Pommeroux de Bordesoulle took the road south toward Montereau. The center column consisted of MacDonald's XI Corps, two cavalry divisions and the Imperial Guard. [11] This force headed for Bray. [7] The left column, made up of Oudinot's VII Corps and François Étienne de Kellermann's cavalry, pursued Wittgenstein east toward Provins. Pierre Claude Pajol's cavalry and Michel-Marie Pacthod's National Guards set out from Melun and advanced southeast toward Montereau. The divisions of Allix and Henri François Marie Charpentier moved south from Melun to Fontainebleau. [11] MacDonald and Oudinot pressed Hardegg's rear guard back, capturing some wagons. Victor came across one of Wrede's divisions drawn up on the heights of Valjouan near Villeneuve. Victor sent Gérard to attack the Bavarians in front while Bordesoulle circled to take them from behind. Soon the Bavarians were retreating in disorder and Lhéritier missed a chance to deliver the coup de grace with his cavalry. [7] Nevertheless, Wrede's corps sustained 2,500 casualties during the day. Victor's soldiers were exhausted, so he called a halt. [13] Napoleon was furious that Victor disobeyed his orders to press on to Montereau during the night and asked his chief of staff Louis-Alexandre Berthier to write him a harsh reprimand. [14]

Battle

Forces

Prince Frederick William Friedrich Wilhelm von Wurttemberg.jpg
Prince Frederick William

The Crown Prince's IV Corps consisted of an infantry division led by Christian Johann Gottgetreu von Koch and a cavalry division under Prince Adam von Württemberg. Ludwig Stockmeyer's brigade consisted of two battalions of King Frederick Jäger Regiment Nr. 9 and one battalion of Light Infantry Regiment Nr. 10. Christoph Friedrich David Döring's brigade was made up of two battalions each of Infantry Regiments Duke Wilhelm Nr. 2, Nr. 3 and Nr. 7. Prince Karl von Hohenlohe-Kirchberg's brigade included two battalions each of Infantry Regiments Nr. 4 and Crown Prince Nr. 6. Walsleben's cavalry brigade comprised four squadrons each of Duke Louis Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr. 2 and Crown Prince Dragoon Regiment Nr. 3. Karl August Maximillian Jett's cavalry brigade had four squadrons of Prince Adam Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr. 4. Attached to each cavalry brigade was one horse artillery battery while Döring's and Hohenlohe's brigades each had a foot artillery battery. All four batteries were armed with four 6-pound cannons and two howitzers. [15]

Attached to the IV Corps was Joseph Schäffer's Austrian brigade. This unit consisted of two battalions each of Infantry Regiments Gyulai Nr. 21, Esterhazy Nr. 32 and Josef Colloredo Nr. 57, three battalions of Infantry Regiment Zach Nr. 15, six squadrons of Archduke Ferdinand Hussar Regiment Nr. 3 and two-foot artillery batteries. Altogether there were 11,000 Württembergers and 4,000 Austrians present. [12] A second source credited the Allies with 18,000 troops in Montereau. [16]

Pierre Claude Pajol General Claude Pierre Pajol.jpg
Pierre Claude Pajol

Victor's II Corps had the divisions of Louis Huguet-Chateau and Guillaume Philibert Duhesme. Chateau's 1st Division was made up of 1st Battalions of the 11th and 24th Light and the 2nd, 19th, 37th and 56th Line Infantry Regiments. Duhesme's 2nd Division included 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 4th, 18th and 46th Line and 1st Battalions of the 72nd and 93rd Line and 26th Light. [17] Chateau's division numbered only 1,536 officers and men, since all units except the 477-strong 19th were sadly understrength, while Duhesme had 2,442 effectives. The 1st Division was supported by five 6-pound cannons and one howitzer while the 2nd Division counted eight 6-pound cannons and four howitzers. With 475 gunners and 135 sappers, Victor's total strength was 4,588 soldiers. [18] Gérard's Reserve of Paris included the divisions of Georges Joseph Dufour and Jacques Félix Jan de La Hamelinaye. [19] The 1st Division was made up of one battalion each of the 5th, 12th, 15th and 29th Light and the 32nd, 58th and 135th Line. The 2nd Division comprised the 26th, 82nd, 86th, 121st, 122nd and 142nd Line. [17] Gérard's force had 214 artillerists from three companies attached. [18]

Pajol led a provisional cavalry corps consisting of three small brigades, 460 Chasseurs à Cheval under Jacques-Antoine-Adrien Delort, 476 Dragoons under François Grouvel and 400 Hussars under Charles Yves César Du Coetlosquet. [17] Pacthod commanded 3,000 National Guards and there were 800 gendarmes (military police) with this column. [20] MacDonald's XI Corps counted three divisions led by Joseph Jean Baptiste Albert, François Pierre Joseph Amey and Michel Sylvestre Brayer. Lhéritier commanded the V Cavalry Corps which was formed from three mounted divisions. Hippolyte Piré's 3rd Light Cavalry Division included the 14th, 26th and 27th Chasseurs à Cheval and the 3rd Hussars, André Louis Briche's 3rd Heavy Cavalry Division the 2nd, 6th, 11th, 13th and 15th Dragoons and Lhéritier's 4th Cavalry Division the 18th, 19th, 20th, 22nd and 25th Dragoons. Bordesoulle's detachment numbered 500 horsemen from depot squadrons. [17]

The Imperial Guard consisted of the Old Guard Division of Louis Friant, the 1st Young Guard Division of Claude Marie Meunier, the 2nd Young Guard Division of Philibert Jean-Baptiste Curial, and the 2nd and 3rd Guard Cavalry Divisions. Marshal Michel Ney led the two Young Guard divisions while Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty led the Guard cavalry divisions. The 2nd Guard Cavalry was made up of the 1st Polish Guard Lancer, Empress Dragoon and Polish and 3rd Éclaireur Regiments. The 3rd Guard Cavalry Division had the Guard Horse Grenadier and Guard Chasseurs à Cheval Regiments. [17] According to one authority, units that fought in the battle included most of the regiments from the corps of Victor and Gérard, the Guard artillery, Guard Chasseurs à Cheval and 2nd Guard Lancers, 3rd Hussars from Jacques Gervais, baron Subervie's brigade, 18th Dragoons of Auguste Lamotte's brigade, 25th Dragoons from Jean Antoine de Collaert's brigade, 9th Lancers and 22nd Chasseurs à Cheval from Kellermann's VI Cavalry Corps and the 7th Lancers, 9th Chasseurs à Cheval and 7th Hussars from unidentified corps. MacDonald's corps and the Guard infantry were not engaged. [12]

Action

Pajol leading the charge at Montereau. Pajol.jpg
Pajol leading the charge at Montereau.

After issuing conflicting orders concerning the defense of Montereau, Schwarzenberg finally directed the Crown Prince to hold the town until the evening of 18 February. Meanwhile, Oudinot's leading troops found that Wittgenstein had withdrawn across the Seine at Nogent [11] while Wrede was across at Bray. [20] At both places, the Allies broke the bridges. [21] While Montereau on the south bank is in flat terrain, the north bank is crowned by a 150–200 feet (46–61 m) height with a steep slope next to the river and a gentler slope on the north side. [20] Atop the ridge, Surville chateau overlooks the bridges and town of Montereau, which was surrounded by vineyards and meadows to the south and east. [22] The Paris road approached Montereau from the northwest where there was a forest. The road from Salins came from the northeast and ran alongside the river from Courbeton chateau to the bridge. The hamlet of Les Ormeaux was a short distance east of the Paris road. The roads from the north join at the bridge which crosses the Seine to the eastern suburb, then immediately crosses the Yonne into Montereau. [23] The Seine bridge was the site of the Assassination of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy in 1419. [22]

Battle of Montereau map opens into two pages. Bataille Montereau 18 02 1814.pdf
Battle of Montereau map opens into two pages.

The Crown Prince deployed 8,500-foot soldiers, 1,000 horsemen and 26 field guns on the north bank of the Seine. [20] A second authority counted 12,000 defenders. [24] The left flank was anchored in Les Ormeaux, the center incorporated the Surville chateau and park while the right flank included the Courbeton chateau and blocked the road from Salins. Two Austrian batteries from Bianchi's corps were positioned on the south bank, one covering each flank. There was also a IV Corps brigade on the south bank near the eastern suburb at the Motteux Farm. [20] Schäffer's Austrians held the Surville park in the center. [25] The Allies were supported by a total of 40 field pieces. [22]

Napoleon ordered Victor to be at Montereau at 6:00 am but the first French forces to arrive were Pajol's cavalry and Pacthod's National Guards at 8:00 am. Aside from numbering no more than 4,500 men, the horsemen had almost no training while the National Guards were ill-equipped and ill-trained. They made no impression on the Crown Prince's defenders. Victor leading elements arrived at 9:00 am [20] and their initial attack was repulsed. When the divisions of Chateau and Duhesme reached the field they were thrown into an attack on Les Ormeaux. This was beaten back and Chateau, [25] who was Victor's son-in-law, [22] was fatally wounded. The Württemberg cavalry charged and drove the French horsemen back into the forest. Unable to make any progress by 11:00 am, Victor awaited the coming of Gérard's corps. Angry at the marshal's slowness, Napoleon replaced Victor and placed command of the II Corps in Gérard's hands. [25]

Napoleon aiming a cannon at Montereau. Napoleon.jpg
Napoleon aiming a cannon at Montereau.

Gérard led his troops up the heights but the Allied artillery was well-served and threw back assault after assault. In the afternoon, the Imperial Guard artillery arrived and 40 more guns were brought into action. [22] At 3:00 pm, Napoleon hurled three attack columns at Les Ormeaux and Surville and another one against the Allied right flank along the Seine. While the Guard remained in reserve, the French artillery unleashed a barrage at Surville chateau. The French finally overran Les Ormeaux, causing the Crown Prince to order Schäffer's Austrians to cover the retreat. As the Württembergers began pulling back, Pajol launched a cavalry charge down the Paris highway against the Allied left flank. At this time, French infantry rushed the Surville chateau and made its garrison prisoners. There were now 30,000 French troops on the field supported by 70 [25] or 80 field pieces. [24]

At first the withdrawal was conducted in good order, but the Allied soldiers became more disorganized as they tried to negotiate the steep slope. They fell into complete confusion upon encountering a sunken road. Soon, every Allied soldier was running for the Seine bridge. The Crown Prince tried to rally his men and was nearly captured by the French cavalry. The French emperor ordered 60 guns onto the Surville heights where they unlimbered and fired their missiles into the fleeing mob of Allies crowding the bridges. When Napoleon personally sighted one of the cannons, his guardsmen begged him to leave. He refused saying, "Courage my friends, the bullet which is to kill me is not yet cast". [24]

Pajol's horsemen charged into the fleeing mass of soldiers and managed to seize first the Seine bridge [25] and then the Yonne bridge before either could be blown up, though they were rigged for demolition. Duhesme's division rapidly crossed after the cavalry and helped clear Montereau of the Allies. [24] The beaten Allies joined Hohenlohe's brigade and began a disorderly retreat toward Le Tombe, a village on the road to Bray. The movement was covered by Jett's cavalry brigade. [21] Napoleon sent Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre and his own cavalry escort in pursuit toward Bray. An eyewitness wrote that Lefebvre foamed at the mouth and struck at Allied soldiers with his saber. [14]

Results

Statue of Napoleon stands between the two bridges. Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Statue of Napoleon - 2.jpg
Statue of Napoleon stands between the two bridges.

According to Digby Smith, the Allies had losses of 1,400 killed and wounded, of which the Württembergers lost 92 killed and 714 wounded; Prince Hohenlohe was killed. The French captured 3,600 men, two cannons and two ammunition wagons. Of these totals, the Austrians had about 2,000 casualties and Schäffer became a French prisoner. The French lost 2,000 killed and wounded. A source quoted by Smith gave 4,895 Allied casualties and 15 guns lost. [26] Francis Loraine Petre asserted that the Allies lost nearly 5,000 men and 15 field pieces. [21] David G. Chandler stated that the Allies suffered 6,000 casualties and lost 15 cannons; the French lost 2,500 casualties. [27] Another authority wrote that both the French and Allies lost 3,000 killed and wounded, while the French took 2,000 men, six guns and four colors. [24] Chateau died from his wounds on 8 May 1814. [28]

The victory failed to live up to Napoleon's expectations. He lamented, "The foe has enjoyed a stroke of rare good fortune, the heavy frosts permitted him to move over the fields – otherwise at least half his guns and transport would have been taken." [27] In his disappointment he turned on his generals. After the battle when Victor complained to the emperor about losing his command, Napoleon unleashed a storm of abuse on his hapless subordinate. He also raged against Victor's wife who he accused of snubbing Empress Marie Louise. Victor managed to blunt his sovereign's fury by recalling their military exploits in Italy and by reminding Napoleon that his son-in-law Chateau lay dying. Finally, Napoleon relented [29] and gave him the two Young Guard divisions of Charpentier and Joseph Boyer de Rebeval. [19] Other generals who felt Napoleon's wrath at this time were Lhéritier for failing to charge at Valjouan, Jean François Aimé Dejean for not providing enough artillery ammunition and Claude-Étienne Guyot for losing some cannons. [29]

Even before the battle started, Schwarzenberg ordered a general withdrawal to Troyes. He ordered Wrede to hold Bray until nightfall on 19 February and sent a dispatch to Blücher asking him to support his right flank at Méry-sur-Seine on 21 February. The Prussian replied that he would be at the rendezvous with 53,000 troops and 300 guns. [19] With Montereau in French hands, the position of the Austrians on the left flank along the Loing River became precarious. Under the guise of negotiations with Allix, [21] they retreated to join the wreckage of Schäffer's brigade at Saint-Sérotin. Seslavin was ordered to relinquish his far left flank position and take a position on the opposite flank. [19] Napoleon's pursuit was hampered by a lack of bridges and the Allies got a two-day head start in the march to Troyes. [30] The next action between the two armies was at Méry-sur-Seine on 22 February. [31] [32]

Battlefield Today

Currently, part of this historic battle site near the village of Montereau-Fault-Yonne is being developed as a theme park celebrating the life of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The park, Napoleonland, is set for completion in 2017. [33]

Footnotes

  1. Petre 1994, p. 77.
  2. Smith 1998, p. 494.
  3. Smith 1998, p. 495.
  4. 1 2 Chandler 1966, pp. 977–978.
  5. Leggiere 2007, p. 189.
  6. Alison 1842, p. 80.
  7. 1 2 3 Alison 1842, p. 81.
  8. Eggenberger 1985, p. 284.
  9. Petre 1994, p. 81.
  10. Smith 1998, pp. 497–498.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Petre 1994, p. 82.
  12. 1 2 3 Smith 1998, p. 498.
  13. Alison 1842, p. 82.
  14. 1 2 Chandler 1966, p. 979.
  15. Nafziger 1994.
  16. Alison 1842, p. 83.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 Nafziger 2009a.
  18. 1 2 Nafziger 2009b.
  19. 1 2 3 4 Petre 1994, p. 86.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Petre 1994, p. 83.
  21. 1 2 3 4 Petre 1994, p. 85.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 Alison 1842, p. 84.
  23. Petre 1994, p. Map II k.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 Alison 1842, p. 85.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 Petre 1994, p. 84.
  26. Smith 1998, pp. 498–499.
  27. 1 2 Chandler 1966, p. 980.
  28. Broughton 2006.
  29. 1 2 Alison 1842, p. 87.
  30. Chandler 1966, p. 981.
  31. Smith 1998, p. 499.
  32. Petre 1994, p. 89.
  33. Grossman 2012.

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The Battle of Craonne was a battle between an Imperial French army under Emperor Napoleon I opposing a combined army of Imperial Russians and Prussians led by Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. The War of the Sixth Coalition engagement began when the bulk of Napoleon's army tried to drive Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov's 22,000 Russians off the Chemin des Dames plateau to the west of Craonne. After a bitter struggle, Napoleon's attacks compelled Vorontsov's force to withdraw, but French casualties exceeded Russian losses. While the battle raged, Blücher's attempt to turn Napoleon's east flank ended in failure due to poor planning.

Battle of Montmirail battle

The Battle of Montmirail was fought between a French force led by Emperor Napoleon and two Allied corps commanded by Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken and Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg. In hard fighting that lasted until evening, French troops including the Imperial Guard defeated Sacken's Russian soldiers and compelled them to retreat to the north. Part of Yorck's Prussian I Corps tried to intervene in the struggle but it was also driven off. The battle occurred near Montmirail, France during the Six Days Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. Montmirail is located 51 kilometres (32 mi) east of Meaux.

Battle of Mormant 1814 battle in Europe

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.

Battle of Abensberg battle

The Battle of Abensberg took place on 20 April 1809, between a Franco-German force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a reinforced Austrian corps led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Louis of Austria. As the day wore on, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller arrived with reinforcements to take command of the three corps that formed the Austrian left wing. The action ended in a complete Franco-German victory. The battlefield was southeast of Abensberg and included clashes at Offenstetten, Biburg-Siegenburg, Rohr in Niederbayern, and Rottenburg an der Laaber. On the same day, the French garrison of Regensburg capitulated.

Battle of Château-Thierry (1814) 1814 Napoleonic battle

The Battle of Château-Thierry saw the Imperial French army commanded by Emperor Napoleon attempt to destroy a Prussian corps led by Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg and an Imperial Russian corps under Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken. The two Allied corps managed to escape across the Marne River, but suffered considerably heavier losses than the pursuing French. This action occurred during the Six Days' Campaign, a series of victories that Napoleon won over Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher's Army of Silesia. Château-Thierry lies about 75 kilometres (47 mi) northeast of Paris.

Battle of Fère-Champenoise battle

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.

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.

Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit

The Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit on 24 April 1809 saw a Franco-Bavarian force led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières face an Austrian Empire army commanded by Johann von Hiller. Hiller's numerically superior force won a victory over the Allied troops, forcing Bessières to retreat to the west. Neumarkt-Sankt Veit is located ten kilometers north of Mühldorf and 33 kilometers southeast of Landshut in Bavaria.

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.

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.

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 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.

Battle of Gué-à-Tresmes

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.

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.

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.

Henri Rottembourg French soldier and officer

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.

Six Days Campaign order of battle

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.

References

Coordinates: 48°23′07″N2°57′03″E / 48.3853°N 2.9508°E / 48.3853; 2.9508