|First Battle of Polotsk|
|Part of the French invasion of Russia (1812)|
|Commanders and leaders|
| 18,000–44,000 men |
| 20,000–22,000 men |
|Casualties and losses|
1,800–4,000 killed and wounded
In the First Battle of Polotsk, which took place on 17–18 August 1812, Russian troops under the command of Peter Wittgenstein fought French and Bavarian troops led by Nicolas Oudinot near the city of Polotsk, halting Oudinot's advance toward Saint Petersburg.The First Battle of Polotsk should be distinguished from the Second Battle of Polotsk which took place during the same campaign two months later.
After the battle of Klyastitsy and several minor losses, Oudinot's Corps retreated to Polotsk. In the early morning of 17 August, the 1st Infantry Corps led by Wittgenstein attacked the French positions near the village of Spas, forcing the French to retreat. Oudinot transported additional units to the sector of the attack and also counterattacked in the centre. By the night both the French and the Russians managed to keep their positions. Oudinot was wounded and had to hand over the command to Gouvion Saint-Cyr.
The next morning Gouvion Saint-Cyr undertook a major offensive. He managed to mislead Wittgenstein about the area of the offensive, regroup his troops and suddenly attack the left flank and centre of the Russian positions. In the beginning the offensive was a major success, the French troops crushed the Russians and captured seven cannons.
When defeat seemed imminent, Wittgenstein organized a cavalry counterattack. It caused a scare among the French, who ceased the offensive and retreated. Wittgenstein retreated to the Drissa. For the next two months both the French and the Russians did not attempt to upset the balance of powers.
French-Bavarian losses numbered 6,000 killed, wounded. The Russians lost 5,500. Bavarian general officer losses were heavy. General of Infantry Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy was mortally wounded and General-Major Siebein was killed. General-Majors Vincenti and Raglovitch were both wounded. Among the French, both Oudinot and General of Brigade François Valentin were wounded. Russian Generals Berg, Hamen, and Kazatchkowski suffered wounds.
In the Battle of Lützen, Napoleon I of France halted the advances of the Sixth Coalition after the French invasion of Russia and the massive French losses in the campaign. The Russian commander, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, attempting to forestall Napoleon's capture of Leipzig, attacked the isolated French right wing near Lützen, Germany. After a day of heavy fighting, the combined Prussian and Russian force retreated; due to French losses and a shortage of French cavalry, Napoleon was unable to conduct a pursuit.
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.
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The Battle of Dresden was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle took place around the city of Dresden in modern-day Germany. With the recent addition of Austria, the Sixth Coalition felt emboldened in their quest to expel the French from Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a great victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg.
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.
Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr, 1st Marquis of Gouvion-Saint-Cyr was a French commander in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars who rose to Marshal of the Empire and Marquis.
The Battle of Kulm was a battle near the town Kulm and the village Přestanov in northern Bohemia. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition. 32,000 French troops under Dominique Vandamme attacked an army of about 50-60,000 Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Alexander Ostermann-Tolstoy, but were defeated with heavy losses on both sides.
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The Battle of (the) Berezina took place from November 26 to 29, 1812, between the French army of Napoleon, retreating after his invasion of Russia and crossing the Berezina, and the Russian armies under Mikhail Kutuzov, Peter Wittgenstein and Admiral Pavel Chichagov. The battle ended with a mixed outcome. The French suffered heavy losses but managed to cross the river and avoid being trapped. Since then "Bérézina" has been used in French as a synonym for "disaster".
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The Battle of Klyastitsy, also called Battle of Yakubovo, was a series of military engagements that took place in 1812 near the village of Klyastitsy on the road between Polotsk and Sebezh. In this battle the Russian corps under the command of Peter Wittgenstein stood up to the French corps under the command of Marshal Nicolas Oudinot. The result was inconclusive, with both sides suffering heavy losses and retreating along their communication lines after the battle.
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The Battle of Chashniki, sometimes called the Battle of Czasniki, was fought during Napoleon's invasion of Russia, on 31 October 1812, between Russian forces under General Wittgenstein, and the French army, commanded by Marshal Victor. This battle was a failed effort by the French to reestablish their northern "Dvina Line", which had crumbled as a result of Wittgenstein's victory at the Second battle of Polotsk just two weeks earlier.
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Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy from the Electorate of the Palatinate became a noted general officer in the army of Bavaria. His military career began shortly after the start of the Seven Years' War. During the French Revolutionary Wars he first served on the side of the Coalition against the French revolutionaries, then fought as an ally of the First French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Deroy and his colleague, Karl Philipp von Wrede, were dominant personalities in the Bavarian military during the era of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Jean-Pierre Doumerc, joined a French cavalry regiment at the beginning of the French Revolution and rose in rank to command a cuirassier regiment by the start of the First French Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars he first led cavalry brigades and later divisions in many of the important battles of the era. After retiring from the army in 1815, he briefly served again during the 1830s.
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 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.
Sigismond Frédéric de Berckheim became a French division commander during the last years of the Napoleonic Wars. Born into an old Alsatian family, he joined an infantry regiment at the age of 14. In 1807 he became the commanding officer of the 1st Cuirassier Regiment. In 1809 he led his cavalrymen at Eckmühl, Ratisbon, Aspern-Essling and Wagram. Promoted to general of brigade, he fought at First and Second Polotsk and the Berezina in 1812. He led a cavalry brigade at Lützen and Bautzen in 1813. Promoted to general of division, he led a cavalry division at Dresden, Leipzig and Hanau. He commanded a cavalry division at Arcis-sur-Aube in 1814. He became an inspector general and a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1815 and 1816. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 12.
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.