Battle of the Göhrde

Last updated

Battle of the Göhrde
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Date18 September 1813
Result Coalition victory
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  France Flag of Prussia (1892-1918).svg  Prussia
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russia
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of Hanover (1692).svg  Hanover
Commanders and leaders
Marc Nicolas Louis Pécheux Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn
3,000 men 7,800 men
Casualties and losses
1,000 men ?

The battle of the Göhrde was a battle of the War of the Sixth Coalition on 18 September 1813 between French and Coalition troops at Göhrde in Germany. The French troops were defeated and withdrew to Hamburg. [1]

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.

Göhrde Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Göhrde is a municipality in the district of Lüchow-Dannenberg, in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Hamburg City in Germany

Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million.



It occurred near what is now the site of the Göhrde State Forest (Staatsforst Göhrde), near Dannenberg, near Lüneburg. At that time this area belonged to the electorate of Braunschweig-Lüneburg (Hanover), which had been occupied by the French since 1803. The battlefield lies on the border between the modern-day districts of Lüneburg and Lüchow-Dannenberg, between Oldendorf an der Göhrde and Göhrde.

The Göhrde State Forest is the largest contiguous mixed forest region in North Germany. It lies in the districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg and Lüneburg.

Lüneburg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Lüchow-Dannenberg, Uelzen, Heidekreis and Harburg, and the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Lüchow-Dannenberg is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany, which is usually referred to as Hanoverian Wendland or Wendland. It is bounded by the districts of Uelzen and Lüneburg and the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt.


In spring 1813, Russian troops under Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn forced the French out of Hamburg and some northern areas of Hanover. In the wake of Prussia's reentry into the war against France, the eastern areas of Hanover also rose against Napoleon. Wallmoden then received overall command of all the Allied troops on the Lower Elbe: troops from Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Hanover, Hamburg, Mecklenburg and Sweden, including the Russian German legion, the Lützow Free Corps, the Hanseatic Legion and a part of the King's German Legion, under the overall command of Generalleutnant Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn. Part of the British contingent was the newly formed Rocket Brigade under Capt Richard Bogue. On 7 September Bogue marched with half his brigade to join the main Army of the North, near Wittenburg. The other half of the brigade, under Lieut Thomas Fox Strangways, [2] joined the 4th Cavalry Division of General von Dornberg under General Wallmoden. [3]

Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn Russian military commander

Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Tettenborn was a famous cavalry commander in the Austrian and Russian armies during the Napoleonic Wars.

Unterelbe river in Germany

The Unterelbe or, in English usually the Lower Elbe, refers to the lower reaches of the river Elbe in Germany influenced by the tides.

Lützow Free Corps Prussian volunteer force during the Napoleonic wars commanded by Ludwig von Lützow

Lützow Free Corps was a volunteer force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The Corpsmen were also widely known as the “Lützower Jäger“ or “Schwarze Jäger“, sometimes also "Lützower Reiter".

The Free Corps such as that from Lützow again and again attacked French supply lines and bases in the area around Mecklenburg, south of the Elbe. The XIII Corps there, under marshal Davout, had up to this point behaved quite passively, restricting itself to holding Wallmoden's corps in check. As an anti-skirmishes measure, in September Davout sent general Pécheux on the western Elbufer with a brigade of 50th infantry division and moved on Lüneburg with 3,000 troops. After completing his mission, Pécheux was ordered to rejoin the French troops in Magdeburg. Wallmoden's corps advanced on Dömitz on 15 September with 12,300 men, crossed the Elbe, marched toward the Frenchmen and set up camp in Dannenberg.

Mecklenburg Historical region of Germany

Mecklenburg is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Schwerin, Neubrandenburg, Wismar and Güstrow.

Marc Nicolas Louis Pécheux, was a French general during the Napoleonic Wars.

Magdeburg Large city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Elbe River.


Attack of 3rd KGL Hussars & Rocket Battery Battle of Gohrde.jpeg
Attack of 3rd KGL Hussars & Rocket Battery

The French division under Pécheux decided to attack the allies. On the early afternoon of 18 September 1813, it reached the Steinker Höhen (Steinker Heights) in Nahrendorf and gave battle. Whilst Wallmoden’s infantry attacked the centre, Dornberg with the KGL cavalry and artillery attacked the enemy’s left. However, Dornberg brought the guns and rockets into action at too great a range; their fire was ineffective and General Lyon’s infantry attack was held up. The French began to retire, formed in squares, and Strangways advanced to bring the rockets into action “close under the fire of the enemy’s infantry”. [4] The 3rd KGL Hussars broke two squares and the rockets spread such terror through the retiring ranks that order could no longer be preserved, and breaking, the French fled in all directions. [5]


The battle was the first victory over the French troops garrisoning Germany, and interrupted the link between XIII Corps under marshal Davout (with its headquarters in Hamburg) and Napoleon's main army (then in Saxony) and the French armies' supply-lines across Hanover from France to Magdeburg and Berlin. This result was critical for the outcome of the Battle of Leipzig soon afterwards. This was the first battle in which the newly developed Congreve Rocket had been successfully deployed in action. At the Battle of Leipzig, The Rocket Brigade, under Bogue and Strangways, would make a significant attack whilst attached to the Swedish Corps of Crown Prince Bernadotte.

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig.

Battle of Leipzig 1813 Napoleonic battle

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.


Memorial Gordeschlachtdenkmal ReiKi.jpg

A large stone monument stands as a memorial to the battle in 1839, at a site now north of Bundesstraße 216 about 2 km behind Oldendorf in Richtung Dannenberg.

1000 dead soldiers from both sides were buried in a mass grave in the forest, 100m from where the memorial is sited. This grave was rediscovered in 1985.

Rudolf von Bennigsen's father Karl von Bennigsen fought in this battle (as a lieutenant), as did the famous freedom fighter Eleonore Prochaska. She had disguised herself as a man and joined the Lützow Free Corps. During the battle she was wounded and soon afterwards succumbed to her injuries in the hospital at Dannenberg.

A reconstruction of the battle occurs every two years at Dahlenburg. At the Heimatmuseum in the town a diorama of the battle is on permanent display, with 1500 tin soldiers.

Related Research Articles

Hanover is a territory that was at various times a principality within the Holy Roman Empire, an Electorate within the same, an independent Kingdom, and a subordinate Province within the Kingdom of Prussia. The territory was named after its capital, the city of Hanover, which was the principal town of the region from 1636. In contemporary usage, the name is only used for the city; most of the historical territory of Hanover forms the greater part of the German Land of Lower Saxony but excludes certain areas.

Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow Prussian lieutenant-general

Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm Freiherr von Lützow was a Prussian lieutenant general notable for his organization and command of the Lützow Freikorps of volunteers during the Napoleonic Wars.

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.

Hugh Halkett British-Hanoverian general

General Baron Hugh Halkett, GCH, CB, was a British soldier during the Napoleonic Wars and later a general of infantry in the Hanoverian service.

Hitzacker Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hitzacker is a town in the Lüchow-Dannenberg district of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Elbe, approx. 8 km north of Dannenberg, and 45 km east of Lüneburg. The 2007 population of Hitzacker was 4,982, and its postal code is 29456. The mayor is Karl Guhl. The town is located on the German Timber-Frame Road and is part of the Samtgemeinde of Elbtalaue.

Battle of Teugen-Hausen 1809 battle in the Napoleonic wars between the French and the Austrians

The Battle of Teugen-Hausen or the Battle of Thann was an engagement that occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought on 19 April 1809 between the French III Corps led by Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout and the Austrian III Armeekorps commanded by Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. The French won a hard-fought victory over their opponents when the Austrians withdrew that evening. The site of the battle is a wooded height approximately halfway between the villages of Teugn and Hausen in Lower Bavaria, part of modern-day Germany.

Siege of Hamburg

The city of Hamburg was one of the most powerful fortresses east of the Rhine. After being freed from Napoleonic rule by advancing Cossacks and other following Coalition troops it was once more occupied by Marshal Davout's French XIII Corps on 28 May 1813, at the height of the German Campaign during the War of the Sixth Coalition from French rule and occupation. Ordered to hold the city at all costs, Davout launched a characteristically energetic campaign against a similar numbered Army of the North made up of Prussian and other Coalition troops under the command of Count von Wallmoden-Gimborn, winning a number of minor engagements. Neither force was decidedly superior and the war ground to a halt and resulted in a rather stable front line between Lübeck and Lauenburg and further south along the Elbe river, even after the end of the cease-fire of the summer 1813. In October 1813 a French column's movement towards Dannenberg resulted in the only major engagement in the North of Germany, the Battle of the Göhrde. The defeated French troops retreated back to Hamburg.

The Battle of Golymin took place on 26 December 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars at Gołymin, Poland, between around 17,000 Russian soldiers with 28 guns under Prince Golitsyn and 38,000 French soldiers under Marshal Murat. The Russian forces disengaged successfully from the superior French forces. The battle took place on the same day as the Battle of Pułtusk.

Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn Austrian general

Ludwig Georg Thedel Graf von Wallmoden was an Austrian "General of the Cavalry", best known for his training of light infantry and the refinement of the Tirailleur system.

Hanseatic Legion military unit

The Hanseatic Legion was a military unit, first formed of a group of citizens from Hamburg. They had met in 1813 on the instigation of General Friedrich Karl von Tettenborn, in order to fight in the War of the Sixth Coalition. This association of volunteers was joined immediately by volunteers from Hamburg's Hanseatic sister cities Bremen and Lübeck.

Eleonore Prochaska Female Prussian soilder

Marie Christiane Eleonore Prochaska was a German woman soldier who fought in the Prussian army against Napoleon during the War of the Sixth Coalition.

Göhrde station railway station in Nahrendorf, Germany

Göhrde station is a railway halt on the Dannenberg–Lüneburg railway in the northeastern part of the German state of Lower Saxony. The former through station in Breese am Seißelberge in the municipality of Nahrendorf was the destination station for imperial hunts in the nearby state forest of Göhrde. It was built in 1874 by the Berlin-Hamburg Railway Company on the old Wittenberge-Buchholz line at kilometre stone 196.3 and is a protected monument.

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.

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 Czarnowo

The Battle of Czarnowo on the night of 23–24 December 1806 saw troops of the First French Empire under the eye of Emperor Napoleon I launch an evening assault crossing of the Wkra River against Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy's defending Russian Empire forces. The attackers, part of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's III Corps, succeeded in crossing the Wkra at its mouth and pressed eastward to the village of Czarnowo. After an all-night struggle, the Russian commander withdrew his troops to the east, ending this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Czarnowo is located on the north bank of the Narew River 33 kilometres (21 mi) north-northwest of Warsaw, Poland.

Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen

In the Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen on 5 and 6 June 1807, troops of the Russian Empire led by General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen attacked the First French Empire corps of Marshal Michel Ney. The Russians pressed back their opponents in an action that saw Ney fight a brilliant rearguard action with his heavily outnumbered forces. During the 6th, Ney successfully disengaged his troops and pulled back to the west side of the Pasłęka (Passarge) River. The action occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dobre Miasto (Guttstadt) is on Route 51 about 20 kilometers (12 mi) southwest of Lidzbark Warmiński (Heilsberg) and 24 kilometers (15 mi) north of Olsztyn (Allenstein). The fighting occurred along Route 580 which runs southwest from Guttstadt to Kalisty (Deppen) on the Pasłęka.

The XIII Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military formation that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was formed in the spring of 1813 and Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout was appointed as its commander. The corps included three French infantry divisions and attached cavalry. In the spring campaign the corps was assigned to defend northern Germany. Accordingly, Davout seized Hamburg and prepared to defend it against the Allies. In September 1813, one brigade was defeated at the Battle of the Göhrde by the Allies. After Emperor Napoleon's decisive defeat at the Battle of Leipzig in October, the XIII Corps became isolated in Hamburg. An Allied army under Levin August, Count von Bennigsen initiated the Siege of Hamburg in December. Under Davout's leadership, the corps repelled three attacks in February 1814 and a fourth attack in April. Davout was only persuaded to surrender in mid-May by direct orders from the new French government after Napoleon abdicated. Thanks to the iron discipline of Davout, the behavior of the XIII Corps soldiers toward the citizens of Hamburg was exemplary, compared to the usual rough treatment non-combatants often received from French soldiers of the era.


  1. Chappell, Mike. The King's German Legion (2): 1812-16. Osprey Publishing. p. 7. ISBN   978-1-85532-997-3.
  2. a nephew of the 2nd Earl of Ilchester
  3. Page 173, II, L Ludlow Beamish, History of the Kings German Legion in 2 vols
  4. London Gazette, 1813 No 16784 – Walmoden’s dispatch
  5. Pages 194-198, II, Ludlow Beamish

Coordinates: 53°09′11″N10°50′06″E / 53.153°N 10.835°E / 53.153; 10.835