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|Battle of Saint-Dizier|
|Part of War of the Sixth Coalition|
Castle of Saint-Dizier
|Commanders and leaders|
|30,000-34,000||10,000, mostly cavalry|
The Battle of Saint-Dizier was a battle during the War of the Sixth Coalition, fought on 26 March 1814, and is notable as Napoleon's last victory before he abdicated.
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.
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.
Blücher and Schwarzenberg agreed to attack Napoleon from both sides with all their united forces, and thus, if possible, to put an end to the war with one blow. Blücher, therefore, marched from Rheims to Châlons, Schwarzenberg from Arcis-sur-Aube to Vitry, in search of Napoleon: instead of falling back before him at some distance from one another, and thus giving Napoleon plenty of room, as he had expected, they boldly formed a junction of their several divisions behind him. The Allies hoped that Napoleon might turn back when he found his expectations foiled, and that they would then fight him in the great plains between the Marne and the Aube, where the Allies could make use of their numerical superiority in cavalry against the very inferior French cavalry. But Napoleon was already on his way to Saint-Dizier, and had only left a small division behind him, which occupied the villages along the road, close to Vitry.
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.
Karl Philipp, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg was an Austrian field marshal.
Châlons-en-Champagne is a city in the Grand Est region of France. It is the capital of the department of Marne, despite being only a quarter the size of the city of Reims.
On 24 March Schwarzenberg reached Vitry, meeting the King of Prussia and Tsar Alexander there. It was decided to march with the united force towards Paris and to leave the pursuit of Napoleon to the cavalry and horse artillery of General Wintzingerode, who was to harass Napoleon's troops. Taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, it is impossible not to praise it for great boldness. Napoleon had nothing but chosen troops with him, and could form a junction with the numerous garrisons in his fortified towns.
Vitry-le-François is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France. It is located on the Marne River and is the western terminus of the Marne–Rhine Canal.
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.
Alexander II was the Emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination on 13 March 1881. He was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.
Maison, in the Netherlands, had already joined his forces to those of Carnot, who was then threatening Brussels, and might at any moment render assistance to Napoleon. Behind the Allies the whole country was in a state of insurrection, which would naturally be increased by the approach of Napoleon. Marshal Augereau was at the head of numerous forces at Lyon, and could send troops from thence.
Nicolas Joseph Maison, 1er Marquis Maison was a Marshal of France and Minister of War.
Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.
Charles Pierre François Augereau, 1st Duc de Castiglione was a soldier and general and Marshal of France. After serving in the French Revolutionary Wars he earned rapid promotion while fighting against Spain and soon found himself a division commander under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy. He fought in all of Bonaparte's battles of 1796 with great distinction. During the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon entrusted him with important commands. His life ended under a cloud because of his poor timing in switching sides between Napoleon and King Louis XVIII of France. Napoleon wrote of Augereau that he "has plenty of character, courage, firmness, activity; is inured to war; is well liked by the soldiery; is fortunate in his operations."
Meanwhile, the Allied armies, plunged deeper and deeper into the heart of France, were separated from the sources whence they drew their supplies; the Allies were in the midst of a desolated country, without any point upon which they could fall back for their supplies or support, and were shortly about to appear before the capital of the kingdom, the population of which were perfectly capable of giving employment to, and even destroying, a whole army. All this was sufficient to excite the greatest anxiety; but in their determination the allies clearly took the right course, even had the results been less successful. Paris and Napoleon had now lost the importance which they mutually gave to one another.
The large Allied armies broke up their quarters near the Aube and the Marne on 24 and 25 March, on their way to Paris. On the 25th, near Fere-Champenoise, they encountered the united troops of Marshals Marmont and Mortier, who were on their way from Soissons to join Napoleon. After a short but bloody engagement the two marshals were beaten, their troops destroyed, and the march on Paris was resumed.
Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont was a French general and nobleman who rose to the rank of Marshal of France and was awarded the title Duke of Ragusa.
Soissons is a commune in the northern French department of Aisne, in the region of Hauts-de-France. Located on the Aisne River, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Paris, it is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones. Soissons is also the see of an ancient Roman Catholic diocese, whose establishment dates from about 300, and it was the location of a number of church synods called "Council of Soissons".
On the evening of 24 March Wintzingerode advanced with all his cavalry from Vitry towards Saint-Dizier, whither Napoleon had directed his march, true to his intention of drawing the allies away from Paris, and approaching his own fortresses.
The command of the advance guard was entrusted to Tettenborn, who had five regiments of Cossacks, one of Hussars, and eight pieces of horse artillery under him. The French had withdrawn from the neighbourhood of Vitry during that afternoon, and the Allies only came up with them at nightfall in the village of Thieblemont, where they had some sharp skirmishing with the French infantry.
Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Tettenborn was a famous cavalry commander in the Austrian and Russian armies during the Napoleonic Wars.
On the following day the pursuit was continued with increased vigour, and the Allies overtook a still larger French division at Saint-Dizier, where a brisk engagement took place. The French held possession of Saint-Dizier with infantry, so as to cover the march of the other troops who were there recrossing and marching along the Marne. From the direction which these troops were taking, it appeared certain that Napoleon intended again to attack the main Allied armies; he must, therefore, have received some intelligence of the direction they were taking towards Paris.
On the other side of the river the Allies saw compact masses of troops coming straight towards them, having changed their line of march; they advanced down to the banks, and then marched away up the heights on the left. Tettenborn immediately brought his guns close to the bank of the river, and commenced pouring a murderous fire of cannonballs and grenades upon the nearest French troops, which retreated into the woods with the loss of many men. As a regiment of Cossacks now crossed the Marne, and threatened to cut off the troops in Saint-Dizier, these men, who had bravely stood their ground until now, likewise fled to the woods. However, the French were not long exposed to this fire, as a portion of their artillery, placed on the heights of Valcour, commanding the road which lay through a narrow gorge, soon silenced the Allied guns.
The French held the heights of Valcour until evening, and then pursued their retreat towards Wassy. Tettenborn followed close at their heels, and drove them out of the village of Humbecourt, but found it impossible to penetrate further, as the adjoining villages were full of infantry, who offered the most obstinate resistance; a sure sign that the main body of the French army was close by, with the result that the Allied troops could not approach any nearer.
The skirmishing continued all the night, during which the Allies saw the whole surface of the country between them and Wassy lighted up with numerous watch-fires, which stretched a long way to the Allies' right along the wood, almost reaching their headquarters. Tettenborn passed the night in Eclaron, while General Wintzingerode fixed his headquarters in Saint-Dizier, and sent a considerable number of troops from Vitry towards Montier-en-Der, so as to secure the Allied right flank.
Early on the morning of the 26th of March Tettenborn found the villages which the French held on the previous day by no means deserted: on the contrary, the French advanced against the Allies. The Allies could clearly perceive large masses of troops in the distance, drawing nearer every moment, followed by still greater numbers; among them were considerable bodies of cavalry.
The French, numbering roughly 30,000 men, advanced against the Allies on all sides, forcing the Cossacks to retreat: considerable bodies of cavalry showed themselves on both sides of the Allied force. On first seeing these masses of troops, Tettenborn assured Wintzingerode that the whole French army had turned and was marching against the Allies. The advance of the French was so rapid, and their numbers so great, that to form any plan was useless.
The danger was imminent, the nature of the ground prevented the Allies using even one regiment of Cossacks with any advantage, and all the French had to do to entirely cut off the Allied force would be to capture the village of Valcour in the Allied rear before the Allies did. Nothing, therefore, remained but to retreat immediately across the Marne, which Tettenborn did, remaining as long as he could on the left bank of the river, to give Wintzingerode time to take such measures as he might think necessary. Whilst Wintzingerode was still doubtful whether Napoleon was actually approaching with his whole force, and hesitated to give full credit to Tettenborn's statements, he saw General Tschernyscheff suddenly driven back from Montier-en-Der, while he himself was attacked at the same moment.
The French poured their forces upon the enemy with incredible rapidity; troop followed troop, the whole plain was covered, and in a few minutes the engagement commenced on all sides. A large number of guns were brought on the plain and pointed against Saint-Dizier. The country was flat, but cut up with vineyards and hedges, and too much hemmed in on all sides by woods and low bottoms for the Allies' numerous cavalry to be used with any advantage.
It was still possible by a rapid retreat to avoid an action which the Allies would be sure to lose. Tettenborn tried to impress this upon others; but, unfortunately, 700 Russian chasseurs were stationed in Saint-Dizier; and as these were the only infantry which Wintzingerode had with him, he delayed his retreat in the hope of saving them. He therefore ordered Tettenborn to defend the road to Vitry, while Wintzingerode maintained himself in Saint-Dizier, intending to fall back upon Bar-le-Duc in case of necessity.
Meanwhile, the French had crossed the Marne between Valcour and Saint-Dizier, with large bodies of cavalry, infantry, and some artillery, and advanced without impediment towards the road to Vitry: the guns planted on the heights of Valcour had protected this movement. The Russian cavalry and horse artillery were distributed in the plain behind this road; in their rear was the wood, in their front the French, who poured a heavy fire into the Allied ranks.
The baggage and horses had not yet been sent to the rear, and caused considerable disorder. On one side of this road to the right, Tettenborn stood his ground with about 1000 horses, of which four squadrons were Hussars, the rest Cossacks. A body of at least 10,000 French cavalry had already crossed the Marne, and had forced their way between Tettenborn and Wintzingerode. Tettenborn was in momentary expectation of seeing these masses suddenly deploy and throw his men into utter confusion.
Meanwhile, bodies of infantry and artillery continued to cross the river, and to form. It was no use for the Allies to think now of retreating, as the cavalry was close upon them; a resolute front could scarcely check them, much less a retreating foe. Tettenborn, therefore, boldly formed his 1,000 men into a compact body, with which he charged the masses of French with reckless courage, just as they were about to deploy. The Hussars and Cossacks fell with the utmost intrepidity upon the French, and drove them before them: the first line was broken, then the second; and the contest was most bloody. But fresh masses of French cavalry deployed on both sides of him; more and more troops came from the back -ground, — the inequality of numbers was too great, and the greatest bravery of no avail.
The Allied troops came within the range of the enemy's guns, broke and were put to the rout along the road to Vitry; here the baggage and led horses, flying in all directions, caused indescribable confusion. Tettenborn, who with his officers had maintained the contest to the last, and had been in great personal danger, got his troops again into some order at the village of Perthe, skirmished a little with the French that same evening, and retreated during the night by Marolles to Vitry. His whole loss consisted of only forty men. The rest of Wintzingerode's cavalry, who were drawn up on the plains by Saint-Dizier, and who had waited till the French attacked them, without taking the initiative, had a far greater number of men killed, besides losing many cannon. After a heroic defence of Saint-Dizier, Wintzingerode left that town on the same evening and retreated to Bar-le-Duc, hotly pursued by the French, whom, however, he beat off when they pressed upon him too closely.
From the Allied point-of-view this battle, in spite of its unfavourable outcome, was most successful in its results: it led Napoleon into an error by which he lost three entire days, during all which time his capital was in imminent danger. Napoleon was convinced that Schwarzenberg's whole army was on his tracks, and Wintzingerode had taken care to strengthen this surmise by hiring rooms at Saint-Dizier for the Emperor of Russia and for the King of Prussia, and by giving out that his cavalry was merely the advance guard of the main army.
Napoleon, who learned all this from some of his devoted adherents in Saint-Dizier, halted at Vassy, recalled those troops which had already marched forward, and thought that he would fight a battle where the ground and the circumstances would be in his favour.
Even on the day after this action Napoleon could not be brought to believe that he was mistaken, and had been striking at a shadow; he persisted in advancing against Vitry, where the small garrison prepared to meet the storm. There, however, he suddenly learnt of Marmont's and Mortier's defeat at the Battle of Fère-Champenoise and the advance of the Allies upon Paris: he now hastily collected his weary, half-famished troops, and made forced marches by Troyes, Sens, and Fontainebleau, to relieve his threatened capital.
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German campaign of 1813 and involved 600,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.
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.
The Battle of Champaubert was the opening engagement of the Six Days' Campaign. It was fought between a French army led by Napoleon and a small Russian corps commanded by Lieutenant General Count Zakhar Dmitrievich Olsufiev. After putting up a good fight, the Russian formation was effectively destroyed; the survivors escaped into the woods while Olsufiev became a French prisoner. Champaubert is located in France, 46 kilometres (29 mi) west of Châlons-en-Champagne and 69 kilometres (43 mi) east of Meaux.
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.
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 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.
The first Battle of St-Dizier was fought on January 26, 1814, and resulted the victory of French under Napoleon Bonaparte against Russians under General Lanskoy. Napoleon and his troops had left Ligny the day before; Lanskoy held St-Dizier with 800 dragoons, and he left the town to join Blücher.
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.
The Battle of Paris was fought on March 30–31, 1814 between the Sixth Coalition—consisting of Russia, Austria, and Prussia against the French Empire. After a day of fighting in the suburbs of Paris, the French surrendered on March 31, ending the War of the Sixth Coalition and forcing Emperor Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile.
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.
The Battle of Reims was fought at Reims, France between an Imperial French army commanded by Emperor Napoleon and a combined Russian-Prussian corps led by General Emmanuel de Saint-Priest. On the first day, Saint-Priest's Russians and General Friedrich Wilhelm von Jagow's Prussians easily captured Reims from its French National Guard garrison, capturing or killing more than half of its defenders. On the second day, an overconfident Saint-Priest carelessly deployed his forces west of the city, not grasping that Napoleon was approaching with 20,000 troops. Too late, Saint-Priest realized who he was fighting and tried to organize a retreat. In the battle that followed, the French army struck with crushing force and the Allies were routed with serious losses. During the fighting, Saint-Priest was struck by a howitzer shell and died two weeks later.
The Battle of La Rothière was fought on 1 February 1814 between the French Empire and allied army of Austria, Prussia, Russia, and German States previously allies with France. The French were led by Emperor Napoleon and the coalition army was under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. The battle took place in severe weather conditions. The French were defeated but managed to hold until they could retreat under cover of darkness.
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.
The 1814 campaign in north-east France was Napoleon's final campaign of the War of the Sixth Coalition. Following their victory at Leipzig (1813), Russian, Austrian and other German armies of the Sixth Coalition invaded France. Despite the disproportionate forces in favour of the Coalition, Napoleon managed to inflict many defeats, especially during the Six Days Campaign. However, the Coalition kept advancing towards Paris, which capitulated in late March 1814. As a result, Napoleon was deposed and exiled to Elba and the victorious powers started to redraw the map of Europe during the First Treaty of Paris and during the early stages of the Congress of Vienna.
Jean Marie Antoine Philippe de Collaert led the Dutch-Belgian cavalry division at the Battle of Waterloo. He became an officer in the Habsburg Austrian cavalry in 1778 and later served in the Dutch Republic army until 1786. After the armies of the First French Republic overran the Dutch Republic in 1795, Collaert became a lieutenant colonel of hussars in the new army of the Batavian Republic, a French satellite state. He fought with distinction at the Battle of Castricum in 1799 and was badly wounded fighting the Austrians in 1800. He was promoted colonel in 1803. Under the Kingdom of Holland he became a major general in 1806 and colonel-general of the King's Bodyguard in 1808.
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.
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.