Capitulation of Stettin

Last updated
Capitulation of Stettin
Part of the War of the Fourth Coalition
Taking of Stettin by French troops 1806.PNG
Taking of Stettin by French troops in 1806
Date29–30 October 1806
Stettin, Prussia (now Szczecin, Poland)
Result French victory
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  France Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg  Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg Antoine Lasalle Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg Friedrich Romberg   White flag icon.svg
800 men, 2 guns 5,300 men, 281 guns
Casualties and losses
None 5,300 captured,
281 guns captured

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.


After Jena-Auerstedt, the broken Prussian armies crossed the Elbe River and fled to the northeast in an attempt to reach the east bank of the Oder. Following a two-week chase, Marshal Joachim Murat intercepted over 10,000 Prussians at the Battle of Prenzlau and bluffed them into surrendering on 28 October. The following day, Lasalle's and another French light cavalry brigade induced 4,200 more Prussians to lay down their weapons in the Capitulation of Pasewalk. On the afternoon of the 29th, Lasalle appeared before the fortress of Stettin and demanded its surrender. A completely unnerved Romberg, believing he was confronted by 30,000 Frenchmen, entered into negotiations with Lasalle and surrendered Stettin that night. Estimates of the numbers vary between 500 French hussars of the 5th and 7th French Hussars and 5,000 to 6,000 Prussians within the garrison. [1]

Within a week, the fortress of Küstrin capitulated and three isolated Prussian columns were hunted down and captured at Boldekow, Anklam, and Wolgast. This left only one Prussian corps at large between the Elbe and Oder, plus garrisons at Magdeburg and in the former Electorate of Hanover.


Emperor Napoleon I of France's Grande Armée shattered the Prussian-Saxon armies at the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt on 14 October 1806. In the wake of this catastrophe, the Prussian forces retreated to the Elbe River. [2] Feldmarschall Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, commander of the main Prussian army at Auerstedt, was fatally wounded and died on 10 November at Altona. [3] General of Infantry Ernst von Rüchel, badly wounded at Jena, left the army and later recovered. [4] The commander at Jena, General of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen assumed command of a large portion of the defeated Prussian army, while Lieutenant General Gebhard von Blücher took command of another column. [5] Lieutenant General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, who had missed Jena-Auerstedt, brought up the rear with 12,000 troops. [6]

Joachim Murat Murat2.jpg
Joachim Murat

At Magdeburg, Hohenlohe joined Lieutenant General Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg whose Reserve was routed by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps at the Battle of Halle on 17 October with heavy losses. [7] Leaving a large garrison in Magdeburg, Hohenlohe struck out for the Oder on 21 October. [8] Blücher and Saxe-Weimar crossed the Elbe at Sandau between the 24th and 26th. Oberst Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg fought a successful rear guard action at Altenzaun on the latter date against Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps. [9] Meanwhile, Murat's cavalry, Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's III Corps, and Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps marched east toward Berlin, with Marshal Pierre Augereau's VII Corps not far behind. On 25 October, Davout's troops marched through Berlin and headed east for Küstrin and Frankfurt an der Oder. Meanwhile, Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps began the Siege of Magdeburg. Seeing an opportunity to cut off Hohenlohe, Napoleon sent Murat, Lannes, and Bernadotte north from Berlin. [10]

Surrender of Prenzlau Prenzlau 1806 Surrender.JPG
Surrender of Prenzlau

Murat routed General-Major Christian Ludwig Schimmelpfennig's 1,300-man flank guard at Zehdenick on 26 October. After losing 250 men, the survivors fled along the highway until they reached Stettin. [11] [12] The next day, General of Brigade Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud got across Hohenlohe's escape route at Boitzenburg. After a three-hour action, Hohenlohe drove off the French light cavalry brigade, but not before Murat's dragoons captured most of the Gensdarmes Cuirassier Regiment Nr. 10 which was acting as a flank guard. [13] On 28 October, Murat finally ran Hohenlohe to earth at the Battle of Prenzlau. General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division cut a swath through the Prussian column of march, after which General of Division Marc Antoine de Beaumont's 3rd Dragoon Division captured the rear guard. With 3,000 of Lannes' infantry on hand in addition to Lasalle and the dragoons, [14] Murat bluffed Hohenlohe into surrendering his remaining 10,000 troops by falsely claiming that the Prussians were surrounded by overwhelming forces. [15]

After the surrender Lasalle rode on to Löcknitz on the road between Pasewalk and Stettin, reaching the village in the afternoon of the 28th. Milhaud's brigade marched north on the west bank of the Uecker River until he reached Pasewalk early on 29 October. Discovering Oberst von Hagen's force in the town, Milhaud demanded an immediate surrender. Hagen, finding Lasalle ahead of him and Milhaud behind him, surrendered 4,200 soldiers and eight guns in the Capitulation of Pasewalk. [16] [17]



Prenzlau-Lubeck Campaign Map, October-November 1806 Prenzlau-Lubeck 1806 Campaign Map.JPG
Prenzlau-Lubeck Campaign Map, October–November 1806

Lasalle marched to Stettin where he demanded its surrender in the early afternoon of 29 October. Lieutenant General Friedrich Gisbert Wilhelm von Romberg refused at first. At 4:00 p.m., Lasalle sent another summons to Romberg, this time with a threat of harsh treatment to the city. The French general claimed the Lannes' entire corps of 30,000 men was present. In fact, the V Corps advance guard got no nearer than Löcknitz that day. The elderly Prussian general entered negotiations and capitulated during the night of the 29/30 October. [18]

Antoine Lasalle Antoine Lasalle.JPG
Antoine Lasalle

Romberg surrendered the Stettin fortress, 5,300 troops, and 281 guns. The Prussian garrison was made up of the remnants of Schimmelpfennig's and other forces, plus the 3rd battalions of the Kuhnheim Infantry Regiment Nr. 1, Arnim Infantry Regiment Nr. 13, Brunswick Infantry Regiment Nr. 21, Pirch Infantry Regiment Nr. 22, Winning Infantry Regiment Nr. 23, Möllendorf Infantry Regiment Nr. 25, and Larisch Infantry Regiment Nr. 26. One hundred officers were released on their word of honor not to fight against France while the common soldiers became prisoners of war. Lasalle's entire force consisted of 800 horsemen of the 5th and 7th Hussar Regiments plus two cannons. [16]

Neither of two subordinate officers protested the capitulation, but instead agreed to surrender. These were General-Major Kurt Gottfried von Knobelsdorff, the fortress commandant and General-Major Bonaventura von Rauch, commander of Fort Prussia. In March 1809, Romberg was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for giving up Stettin without a fight. He died on 21 May 1809, two months short of his 80th birthday, before his punishment began. [19]

Historian Francis Loraine Petre concluded that Stettin's surrender was "shameful". Its adequate garrison and supplies would have allowed it to sustain a siege. Even if the fortress was indefensible, there was nothing preventing the troops from crossing to the east bank of the Oder, joining their Russian allies, and continuing the war. Lannes wrote to Napoleon, "The Prussian army is in such a state of panic that the mere appearance of a Frenchman is enough to make it lay down its arms." Napoleon congratulated Murat, [20]

My compliments on the capture of Stettin; if your light cavalry thus takes fortified towns, I must disband the engineers and melt down my heavy artillery. [20]

Other surrenders

On the 28th, Blücher's artillery convoy marched through Neustrelitz at noon and reached Friedland five hours later. Earlier, it had been delayed by "perverse orders" from Hohenlohe's chief of staff Oberst Christian Karl August Ludwig von Massenbach. Hearing of Hohenlohe's capitulation, Major von Höpfner altered his march to the northeast toward Anklam the next day. [21] At Boldekow, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of Anklam, [16] he encountered elements of Lannes' corps and surrendered on 30 October. [21] Altogether, the French captured the Reserve Artillery Park and Park Column Nr. 5 with 600 soldiers, 800 horses, 25 field pieces, and 48 ammunition wagons. [22]

Stettin in 1642 showing the old fortress defenses Stettin merian.JPG
Stettin in 1642 showing the old fortress defenses

General-Major Karl Anton von Bila's cavalry brigade, which was acting as Hohenlohe's rear guard, became separated from the main body. Detecting Milhaud's brigade to his right, Bila veered north toward Strasburg. Turning east, he crossed the Uecker north of Pasewalk and reached Falkenwalde (now Tanowo) northwest of Stettin late on the 29th. There he found out about Hohenlohe's surrender and, more importantly, that Romberg was negotiating the capitulation of Stettin. [23] One authority states that Romberg refused to allow Bila passage through Stettin. [16] Reversing his course, Bila headed northwest and reached Anklam on the morning of 31 October. At this town, he met his brother, who left Hanover on 20 October with one battalion, the treasure, and the archives. The treasure was convoyed to Wolgast where it was ferried to safety. However, the amount of shipping was inadequate to save the troops and baggage that arrived at the port. [24]

10th Dragoons, part of Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division Grande Armee - 10th Regiment of Dragoons.jpg
10th Dragoons, part of Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division

On the evening of the 31st, General of Division Nicolas Léonard Beker's dragoons located the Bila brothers near Anklam and attacked, driving them to the north bank of the Peene River. [24] Beker talked the Bilas into surrendering on 1 November with 1,100 infantry, 1,073 cavalry, and six colors. The units involved were the 1st battalion of the Grävenitz Infantry Regiment Nr. 57, Sack Grenadier battalion, Quitzow Cuirassier Regiment Nr. 6, one squadron of Bailliodz Cuirassier Regiment Nr. 5, and the remnant of the Gensdarmes Cuirassiers. Historian Digby Smith wrote that Beker's brigade was from General of Division Louis Michel Antoine Sahuc's 4th Dragoon Division. [22] Like Smith, Petre noted that Beker was the French commander, but states that on 1 November Sahuc's division was with Soult at Rathenow, far to the southwest. [25] According to Petre, Beker temporarily took command of the 2nd Dragoon Division when Grouchy became ill earlier in the campaign. [26]

Küstrin fortress fell on 1 November to General of Brigade Nicolas Hyacinthe Gautier's brigade of Davout's III Corps. The brigade, which belonged to General of Division Charles-Étienne Gudin de La Sablonnière's 3rd Division, included four battalions of the 25th and 8th Line Infantry Regiments. Oberst von Ingersleben commanded a garrison of 2,400 troops, including 75 troopers of Usedom Hussar Regiment Nr. 10 and the 3rd battalions of the Oranien Infantry Regiment Nr. 19, Zenge Infantry Regiment Nr. 24, and Prince Heinrich Infantry Regiment Nr. 35. Though he had 92 guns and ample stocks of food and ammunition, he quickly capitulated. Ingersleben was later sentenced to be executed for cowardice, but King Frederick William III commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. [22]

On 2 and 3 November, the 22nd Dragoon Regiment from General of Brigade André Joseph Boussart's brigade arrived before Wolgast and secured the capitulation of Oberstleutnant von Prittwitz. A total of 2,500 men, mostly teamsters and non-combatants, and 500 wagons of Park Column Nr. 8 fell into the hands of this unit of Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division. [27]


By 3 November, between the Elbe and the Oder, the only remaining Prussian field army was led by Blücher and Lieutenant General Christian Ludwig von Winning, who relieved Saxe-Weimar. There also were garrisons at Madgeburg, [21] Hameln, Nienburg, and Plassenburg. [28] Winning desired to march for the port of Rostock and try to escape by sea. This notion was overruled by Blücher, who wanted to march the 21,000-man force east. He planned to join forces with Lieutenant General Karl Ludwig von Lecoq in Hanover or march on Magdeburg. [29] Soult, Bernadotte, and Murat finally caught up to Blücher at the Battle of Lübeck on 6 November. [30]


  1. Emir Bukhari
    Robert Burnham
  2. Chandler, 498
  3. Petre, 159
  4. Petre, 197
  5. Petre, 200
  6. Petre, 195
  7. Smith, 226–227
  8. Petre, 226
  9. Petre, 231–233
  10. Chandler, 499–500
  11. Petre, 239
  12. Smith, 227
  13. Petre, 241–242
  14. Petre, 242–246
  15. Chandler, 501
  16. 1 2 3 4 Smith, 228
  17. Petre, 251–252
  18. Petre, 252–253
  19. Wehrmann, 412–418
  20. 1 2 Petre, 253
  21. 1 2 3 Petre, 255
  22. 1 2 3 Smith, 229
  23. Petre, 253–254
  24. 1 2 Petre, 254
  25. Petre, 264
  26. Petre, 222. Petre's narrative strongly suggests that the 2nd Dragoon Division was involved, not the 4th.
  27. Smith, 230
  28. Smith, 233
  29. Petre, 258–259
  30. Smith, 231–232

Related Research Articles

Battle of Jena–Auerstedt decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars, allowing the French Grande Armée to occupy Prussia

The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.

Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen German general

Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was a Prussian general.

Battle of Pułtusk

The Battle of Pułtusk took place on 26 December 1806 during the War of the Fourth Coalition near Pułtusk, Poland. Despite their strong numerical superiority and artillery, the Russians suffered the French attacks, before retiring the next day having suffered greater losses than the French, disorganizing their army for the rest of the year.

Antoine Charles Louis de Lasalle French general

Antoine-Charles-Louis, Comte de Lasalle was a French cavalry general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, often called "The Hussar General". He first gained fame for his role in the Capitulation of Stettin. Over the course of his short career, he became known as a daring adventurer and was credited with many exploits. Eventually, he fought on every front and was killed at the Battle of Wagram.

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.

Battle of Schleiz battle

The Battle of Schleiz took place on October 9, 1806 in Schleiz, Germany between a Prussian-Saxon division under Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien and a part of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps under the command of Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d'Erlon. It was the first clash of the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. As Emperor Napoleon I of France's Grande Armée advanced north through the Frankenwald it struck the left wing of the armies belonging to the Kingdom of Prussia and the Electorate of Saxony, which were deployed on a long front. Schleiz is located 30 kilometers north of Hof and 145 kilometers southwest of Dresden at the intersection of Routes 2 and 94.

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.

François Xavier de Schwarz French general

François Xavier de Schwarz or François-Xavier-Nicolas Schwartz was born in Baden but joined the French army in 1776. He became a cavalry officer during the French Revolutionary Wars, fighting with the 2nd Hussar Regiment in numerous actions including Jemappes, Fleurus, and Neuwied. After being captured in an abortive invasion of Ireland, he was promoted to command the 5th Hussar Regiment. He led the unit in the War of the Second Coalition, most notably at Hohenlinden and in the subsequent pursuit of the Austrians.

Ernst von Rüchel German general

Ernst von Rüchel was a Prussian general who led an army corps in a crushing defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806. He commanded troops from the Kingdom of Prussia in several battles during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793 and 1794. Afterward he held various appointments as a diplomat and a military inspector. In 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars he held an important army command but has been criticized for his actions at Jena. Wounded, he managed to escape the French pursuit, but never commanded troops in combat again.

Capitulation of Erfurt

In the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October 1806 a large body of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia under Lieutenant General the Prince of Orange surrendered to Marshal Joachim Murat of France, at the city of Erfurt. The Prussian soldiers were demoralized by their shattering defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October and unwilling to put up much resistance. The event occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Erfurt is located on the Gera River about 40 kilometers west of Jena.

Battle of Prenzlau

In the Battle of Prenzlau or Capitulation of Prenzlau on 28 October 1806 two divisions of French cavalry and some infantry led by Marshal Joachim Murat intercepted a retreating Prussian corps led by Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen. In this action from the War of the Fourth Coalition, Hohenlohe surrendered his entire force to Murat after some fighting and a parley. Prenzlau is located about 90 kilometers north of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany at the intersection of routes B109 and B198.

Capitulation of Pasewalk

The Capitulation of Pasewalk on 29 October 1806 resulted in the surrender of Oberst (Colonel) von Hagen's 4,200 Prussian soldiers to an inferior force of two French light cavalry brigades led by Generals of Brigade Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud and Antoine Lasalle. The Prussians were completely demoralized after a two-week-long retreat following their decisive defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Pasewalk is 110 kilometers north of Berlin and about 40 kilometers west of Szczecin (Stettin), Poland.

Siege of Hamelin

In the Siege of Hamelin or Siege of Hameln, First French Empire forces captured the fortress of Hamelin from its garrison composed of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia. The siege was begun by the VIII Corps under French Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier. The marshal initially left General of Division Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau in charge of operations. General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary soon arrived to conduct negotiations with the Prussian commander General Karl Ludwig von Lecoq, who was quickly persuaded to surrender. Technically, the operation from the War of the Fourth Coalition was a blockade because a formal siege never took place. Hamelin is located 36 kilometers southwest of Hanover.

Karl Ludwig von Lecoq or Karl Ludwig von Le Coq, born 23 September 1754 – died 14 February 1829, of French Huguenot ancestry, first joined the army of the Electorate of Saxony. He later transferred his loyalty to the Kingdom of Prussia and fought during the French Revolutionary Wars, earning a coveted award for bravery. While serving variously as a staff officer and diplomat, he became renowned as an expert cartographer. In 1806 he was entrusted with command of the forces in northwest Germany. Cut off from the main body of the Prussian army after the disaster at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, he concentrated his troops in the fortress of Hameln. After a brief siege, he surrendered his troops to an inferior force of enemies. For this, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he was later pardoned and continued his map-making until he went blind.

Battle of Waren-Nossentin

The Battle of Waren-Nossentin on 1 November 1806 saw soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by August Wilhelm von Pletz and Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg fight a rear guard action against troops of the First French Empire commanded by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Though forced to give ground, the Prussians successfully kept the French from inflicting serious loss or cutting off any units in this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Waren lies on the northern end of Lake Müritz, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Rostock. Nossentin is a small village on the Fleesen See about 15 kilometres (9 mi) due west of Waren.

André Joseph Boussart French general

André Joseph Boussart or André Joseph Boussard was a French soldier and general. He enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria as a youth. A Belgian by birth, he joined the Brabant Revolution against Austria and fled to France when the rebellion collapsed. He soon found himself fighting for France during the French Revolutionary Wars. Promoted to general officer during the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria, he returned to France where he held several non-combat posts.

Jena–Auerstedt campaign order of battle

The Jena-Auerstedt campaign order of battle is listed below. The order of battle includes units from the First French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia that fought each other in the campaign that included the decisive Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. The order of battle may be useful to trace the battles of Schleiz and Saalfeld, which occurred before Jena-Auerstedt, as well as battles and capitulations that happened after 14 October, such as Erfurt, Halle, Prenzlau, Pasewalk, Stettin, Waren-Nossentin, and Lübeck.

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.

The Reserve Cavalry Corps or Cavalry Reserve of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military formation that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1805, Emperor Napoleon appointed Marshal Joachim Murat to command all the cavalry divisions that were not directly attached to the Army Corps. During the Ulm Campaign, Murat led his horsemen in successfully hunting down many Austrian Empire units that escaped the Capitulation of Ulm. Murat's horsemen fought at Austerlitz in December 1805. Under Murat, the Cavalry Reserve played a prominent role in the destruction of the Kingdom of Prussia's armies after the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt in 1806. Five dragoon divisions of the corps were employed in the Peninsular War starting in 1808 and placed under the overall command of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières. The Cavalry Reserve was reassembled in 1809 to fight Austria with Bessières still in command. In 1812 the Reserve Cavalry Corps was split up into the I, II, III, and IV Cavalry Corps for the French invasion of Russia.