Battle of Ostrołęka (1807)

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Battle of Ostrołęka (1807)
Part of the War of the Fourth Coalition
Date16 February 1807
Ostrołęka (now in Poland)
Result French victory
Flag of France.svg French Empire Flag of Russia.svg Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg A. J. M. R. Savary Flag of Russia.svg Ivan Essen
20,000 25,000
Casualties and losses
60 dead (including 1 general),
400-500 wounded
1,300 dead (including 2 generals),
1,200 wounded (including 3 generals), 7 cannons captured [1]

The Battle of Ostrołęka was fought on 16 February 1807 between a First French Empire force under General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary and a Russian force under Lieutenant General Ivan Essen. [2] The French defeated the Russians and forced them to retreat to the east to Wyoki Mazowiecki. [3] Weather conditions caused both sides to go into winter quarters immediately after the battle, which occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Ostrołęka is located in the northeast part of modern Poland, but in 1807 it belonged to the Kingdom of Prussia.

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.

Anne Jean Marie René Savary French general

Anne Jean Marie René Savary, 1st Duke of Rovigo was a French general and diplomat.

War of the Fourth Coalition part of the Napoleonic Wars

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.



See Battle of Mohrungen and Battle of Eylau articles.

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 Eylau battle

The Battle of Eylau or Battle of Preussisch-Eylau, 7 and 8 February 1807, was a bloody and inconclusive battle between Napoleon's Grande Armée and the Imperial Russian Army under the command of Levin August von Bennigsen near the town of Preussisch Eylau in East Prussia. Late in the battle, the Russians received timely reinforcements from a Prussian division of von L'Estocq. After 1945 the town was renamed Bagrationovsk as a part of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. The engagement was fought during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Savary was "in command of the 5th corps" "on the extreme French right" so as "to guard the approaches to Warsaw by the Narew and Bug, and to cover the right rear of the movement northwards." [4] After the French were "driven out of Ostrów" "on the 3rd February", "Savary received orders to abandon Brok and retire upon Ostrolenka, so as to strengthen his communication with the Emperor's army." [5] "Essen was ordered by Bennigsen to drive back Savary, who, at the same time, had made up his mind to assume the offensive." [6] Essen, with "25,000 men, advanced to Ostrolenka on the 15th, along the two banks of the Narew." [7] Savary "decided to hold Ostrolenka on the defensive", on the 15th February, leaving 3 brigades on the "low hills outside Ostrolenka flanked by batteries on the opposite bank, whilst he assumed the offensive on the morning of the 16th against the Russian force coming down the right bank." [8]

Narew river

The Narew, in western Belarus and north-eastern Poland, is a right tributary of the Vistula River. The Narew is one of Europe's few braided rivers, the term relating to the twisted channels resembling braided hair.

Bug River major European river

The Bug River is a major river mostly located in Eastern Europe, which flows through three countries with a total length of 774 kilometres (481 mi).


Early on 16 February General of Division Honoré Théodore Maxime Gazan arrived at the vanguard with part of his division. At 9 AM he "met the enemy on the road to Nowogród" and attacked and routed them, but at the very same moment the Russians "attacked Ostrołęka by the left bank." [9] General of Brigade François Frédéric Campana, with a brigade from Gazan's division, and General of Brigade François Amable Ruffin, with a brigade from General of Division Nicolas Charles Oudinot's division, defended the town. [10] Savary sent General of Division Honoré Charles Reille, his chief of staff. [11] The Russian infantry, in many columns, wished to take the city but the French let them advance halfway up the streets before charging them, leaving the "streets covered with the dead." [12] The Russians "abandoned the town" and took up positions "behind the sand hills that covered it." [13]

Nowogród Place in Podlaskie, Poland

Nowogród is a small town in northeastern Poland located about 13 kilometres away from the city of Łomża, in Łomża County, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, with 1,998 inhabitants (2004). It is centered on the area known as Skansen Kurpiowski which is an open-air museum, with several examples of mostly 19th century architecture from the region of Kurpie. The museum is dedicated to local Kurpie culture and is a popular folk tourist attraction. It was established by Adam Chętnik in 1927, and now features over 3000 items.

Ostrołęka Place in Masovian, Poland

Ostrołęka(listen) is a city in northeastern Poland on the Narew river, about 120 km (75 mi) northeast of Warsaw, with a population of 52,792 (2014) and an area of 33,46 km2. The town is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship, and it is the former capital of the Ostrołęka Voivodeship (1975–1998). Ostrołęka is currently the capital of both Ostrołęka County and Ostrołęka City County. Until the late 1980s, Ostrołęka used to be a local railroad junction, with four lines stemming from Ostrołęka railway station: eastwards to Łapy and Białystok, southwestwards to Tłuszcz and Warsaw, northwards to Wielbark and Olsztyn, and southwards to Małkinia.

Francesco Federico Campana was an Italian général de brigade who served in the armies of Napoleon I of France.

Oudinot and General of Division Louis Gabriel Suchet and their divisions "advanced" and by midday, the "heads of their columns arrived at Ostrołęka." [14] "Oudinot commanded the left in two lines", whilst Suchet commanded the centre and Reille, "commanding a brigade" of Gazan's division, "formed the right." [15] He "covered himself with all his artillery and marched against the enemy." [16] "Oudinot put himself at the head" of a successful cavalry charge, cutting the cossacks in the enemy's rearguard to pieces. [17] The exchange of fire was "brisk", with the Russians giving "way on all sides and was followed fighting for three leagues." [18]


Eylau Campaign Map. While the main armies battled at Mohrungen and Eylau in East Prussia, Savary and Essen faced each other at Ostroleka. Eylau Campaign Map 1807.JPG
Eylau Campaign Map. While the main armies battled at Mohrungen and Eylau in East Prussia, Savary and Essen faced each other at Ostrołęka.
Battle of Ostralenka commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe Battle of Ostralenka commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe.jpg
Battle of Ostralenka commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe

The next day the Russians were "pursued several leagues." [19] Two Russian generals and several other Russian officers were killed and three generals wounded. [20] The Russians left 1,200 wounded and 1,300 dead on the battlefield, with 7 cannon and two flags captured by the French. [21] Only 60 French troops were killed, including Campana whose death was much grieved by Napoleon, with 400 to 500 wounded including Colonel Duhamel of the 21st Light Infantry Regiment and artillery Colonel Henri Marie Lenoury. [22]

Henri Marie Lenoury, sometimes incorrectly called Noury, was a French general born in Craconville, France.

"Savary's action at Ostrolenka...had been useful in disclosing the fact the Russians were in no great strength on this side, and that Napoleon had little to fear from any attempt to strike his communications with Warsaw." [23]

Oudinot was made a Count of the Empire and given a 'donation' of million francs. Savary received the Légion d'honneur. [24]

Napoleon "ordered the 5th Corps to go into winter quarters" [25] "along the right banks of the Omulew and Narew down to Sierock." [26] "holding Ostrolenka with a detachment and repairing the bride there." [27] The thaw was "dreadful" and the season allowed for no more campaigning – the enemy had left their winter quarters first, and "repented it." [28]

The battle of Ostrołęka is mentioned at the galerie des batailles at Versailles and on the Arc de Triomphe and is a battle honour of several French regiments.


  1. Victoires, conquêtes, désastres, revers et guerres civiles des Français depuis 1792
  2. Markham, p. 146
  3. Petre, p. 215
  4. Petre, p. 213
  5. Petre, p. 214
  6. Petre, p. 214
  7. Markham, p. 146
  8. Petre, p. 215
  9. Markham, p. 146
  10. Markham, p. 146
  11. Markham, p. 146
  12. Markham, p. 146
  13. Markham, p. 146
  14. Markham, p. 146
  15. Markham, p. 146
  16. Markham, p. 146
  17. Markham, p. 146
  18. Markham, p.146
  19. Markham, p. 146
  20. 63rd bulletin of the Grande Armée, 28 February 1807 and Markham, pp. 146-147
  21. Markham, p. 146
  22. Markham, p. 146
  23. Petre, p. 216
  24. Markham, p. 147
  25. Markham, p. 147
  26. Petre, p. 216
  27. Petre, p. 215
  28. Markham, p. 147

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Coordinates: 53°05′00″N21°35′00″E / 53.083333°N 21.583333°E / 53.083333; 21.583333