|War of the Sixth Coalition|
|Part of the Napoleonic Wars and the Coalition Wars|
The Battle of Leipzig
After Battle of Leipzig
After January 1814
Until January 1814
|Commanders and leaders|
|1813: 1,070,000|| 1813: 850,000|
|Casualties and losses|
In the War of the Sixth Coalition (March 1813 – May 1814), 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.
The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, Bautzen, and Dresden. The even larger Battle of Leipzig (also known as the Battle of Nations) was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleon's earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing. With their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile. The French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration.
This was not, however, the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815 (also known as the "Hundred Days"), until he was defeated again for the final time.
In June 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia to compel Emperor Alexander I to remain in the Continental System. The Grande Armée, consisting of as many as 650,000 men (roughly half of whom were French, with the remainder coming from allies or subject areas), crossed the Neman River on 23 June 1812. Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, while Napoleon proclaimed a "Second Polish War". But against the expectations of the Poles, who supplied almost 100,000 troops for the invasion force, and having in mind further negotiations with Russia, he avoided any concessions toward Poland. Russian forces fell back, destroying everything potentially of use to the invaders until giving battle at Borodino (7 September) where the two armies fought a devastating battle. Despite the fact that France won a tactical victory, the battle was inconclusive. Following the battle the Russians withdrew, thus opening the road to Moscow. By 14 September, the French had occupied Moscow but found the city practically empty. Alexander I (despite having almost lost the war by Western European standards) refused to capitulate, leaving the French in the abandoned city of Moscow with little food or shelter (large parts of Moscow had burned down) and winter approaching. In these circumstances, and with no clear path to victory, Napoleon was forced to withdraw from Moscow.
So began the disastrous Great Retreat, during which the retreating army came under increasing pressure due to lack of food, desertions, and increasingly harsh winter weather, all while under continual attack by the Russian army led by Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov, and other militias. Total losses of the Grand Army were at least 370,000 casualties as a result of fighting, starvation and the freezing weather conditions, and 200,000 captured. By November, only 27,000 fit soldiers re-crossed the Berezina River. Napoleon now left his army to return to Paris and prepare a defence of Poland against the advancing Russians. The situation was not as dire as it might at first have seemed; the Russians had also lost around 400,000 men and their army was similarly depleted. However, they had the advantage of shorter supply lines and were able to replenish their armies with greater speed than the French, especially because Napoleon's losses of cavalry and wagons were irreplaceable.
On 9 January 1812, French troops occupied Swedish Pomerania to end the illegal trade with the United Kingdom from Sweden, which was in violation of the Continental System. Swedish estates were confiscated and Swedish officers and soldiers were taken as prisoners. In response, Sweden declared neutrality and signed the secret Treaty of Saint Petersburg with Russia against France and Denmark–Norway on 5 April. On 18 July, the Treaty of Örebro formally ended the wars between Britain and Sweden and Britain and Russia, forming an alliance between Russia, Britain, and Sweden. However, when Napoleon marched on Moscow in June–September 1812, neither Britain nor Sweden was able to give any military support to Russia, which was left on its own. While the British and Swedes were not forthcoming with troops, Britain helped subsidize the Russian war effort while Swedish Crown Prince Charles John, formerly French Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, had struck up a friendship with Alexander, and gave him moral support, strategic and tactical advice on how to defeat the French, as well as valuable insights on Napoleon himself (having had much contact with Napoleon as a member of the extended Imperial Family), Russia essentially bore the brunt of the French onslaught alone.
After the French Grande Armée retreated from Moscow on 18/19 October 1812 and suffered heavy casualties due to extreme cold, food shortages and repeated Russian attacks, Napoleon did not seem to be as invincible as before. On 14 December, the last French troops had left Russian soil, and Paris' allies were seriously considering rebellion and joining the Tsar's side.
The Convention of Tauroggen was a truce signed 30 December 1812 at Tauroggen (now Tauragė, Lithuania), between Generalleutnant Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg on behalf of his Prussian troops (who had been compelled to augment the Grande Armée during the invasion of Russia), and by General Hans Karl von Diebitsch of the Russian Army. According to the Treaty of Tilsit (9 July 1807), Prussia had to support Napoleon's invasion of Russia. This resulted in some Prussians leaving their army to avoid serving the French, like Carl von Clausewitz, who joined Russian service. When Yorck's immediate French superior Marshal MacDonald, retreated before the corps of Diebitsch, Yorck found himself isolated. As a soldier his duty was to break through, but as a Prussian patriot his position was more difficult. He had to judge whether the moment was favorable for starting a war of liberation; and, whatever might be the enthusiasm of his junior staff-officers, Yorck had no illusions as to the safety of his own head, and negotiated with Clausewitz. The Convention of Tauroggen armistice, signed by Diebitsch and Yorck, "neutralized" the Prussian corps without consent of their king. The news was received with the wildest enthusiasm in Prussia, but the Prussian Court dared not yet throw off the mask, and an order was despatched suspending Yorck from his command pending a court-martial. Diebitsch refused to let the bearer pass through his lines, and the general was finally absolved when the Treaty of Kalisch (28 February 1813) definitely ranged Prussia on the side of the Allies.
Meanwhile, Austria's alliance with France ended in February 1813, and Austria then moved to a position of armed neutrality.It would not declare war on France until half a year later, in August 1813.
On 3 March 1813, after the United Kingdom agreed to Swedish claims to Norway, Sweden entered an alliance with the United Kingdom and declared war against France. On 17 March, King Frederick William III of Prussia published a call to arms to his subjects, An Mein Volk , and declared war on France as well. The first armed conflict occurred on 5 April in the Battle of Möckern, where combined Prusso-Russian forces defeated French troops.
Meanwhile, Napoleon withdrew some 20,000 troops from the ongoing Peninsular War to reinforce his position in Central Europe, which left his Iberian forces weakened and vulnerable to Anglo–Spanish–Portuguese attacks. On 17 March 1813, his brother King Joseph Bonaparte of Spain withdrew from Madrid, a clear sign of losing control. Wellington led a 123,000-strong army across northern Spain, taking Burgos in late May, and decisively defeating Jourdan at the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June. Marshal Soult failed to turn the tide in his large-scale Battle of the Pyrenees (25 July to 2 August).
In June, the United Kingdom formally entered the coalition.Initially, Austria remained loyal to France, and foreign minister Metternich aimed to mediate a peace between France and its continental enemies, but it became apparent that the price was to be the dismantling of the Confederation of the Rhine and the return to France's pre-Revolutionary borders. Napoleon was not interested in any such compromise that would in effect end his empire, so Austria joined the allies and declared war on France in August 1813.
Napoleon vowed that he would create a new army as large as that he had sent into Russia, and quickly built up his forces in the east from 30,000 to 130,000 and eventually to 400,000. Napoleon inflicted 40,000 casualties on the Allies at Lützen (near Leipzig, 2 May) and Bautzen (20–21 May 1813) but his army lost about the same number of men during those encounters. Both battles involved total forces of over 250,000 – making them among the largest battles of the Napoleonic Wars to that point in time.
The belligerents declared an armistice from 4 June 1813 which lasted until 13 August, during which time both sides attempted to recover from approximately quarter of a million losses since April. During this time Allied negotiations finally brought Austria out in open opposition to France (like Prussia, Austria had moved from nominal ally of France in 1812 to armed neutral in 1813). Two principal Austrian armies deployed in Bohemia and Northern Italy, adding 300,000 troops to the Allied armies. In total the Allies now had around 800,000 frontline troops in the German theatre, with a strategic reserve of 350,000.
Napoleon succeeded in bringing the total imperial forces in the region up to around 650,000 (although only 250,000 were under his direct command, with another 120,000 under Nicolas Charles Oudinot and 30,000 under Davout). The Confederation of the Rhine furnished Napoleon with the bulk of the remainder of the forces, with Saxony and Bavaria as principal contributors. In addition, to the south, Murat's Kingdom of Naples and Eugène de Beauharnais's Kingdom of Italy had a combined total of 100,000 men under arms. In Spain an additional 150–200,000 French troops were being steadily beaten back by Spanish and British forces numbering around 150,000. Thus in total around 900,000 French troops were opposed in all theatres by somewhere around a million Allied troops (not including the strategic reserve being formed in Germany).
During the armistice, three Allied sovereigns, Alexander of Russia, Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia, and Bernadotte of Sweden met at Trachenberg Castle in Silesia to coordinate the war effort. Allied staffs began creating a plan for the campaign wherein Bernadotte once again put to use his fifteen years of experience as a French general as well as his familiarity with Napoleon.The result was the Trachenberg Plan, authored primarily by Bernadotte and the Austrian Chief of Staff, Field-Marshal Lieutenant Joseph Radetzky, that sought to wear down the French using a Fabian Strategy, avoiding direct combat with Napoleon, engaging and defeating his marshals whenever possible and slowly encircling the French with three independent armies until the French Emperor could be cornered and brought to battle against vastly superior numbers. Following the conference, the Allies stood up their three armies: The Army of Silesia, with 95,000 Prussians and Russians, commanded by Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher, the Army of the North, 120,000 Swedes, Russians and Prussians under the independent command of Sweden's Crown Prince Bernadotte, and the primary Allied force in the field, with which the Allied sovereigns Alexander, Francis and Frederick William oversaw the Campaign, numbering 225,000 Austrians and Russians commanded by Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg.
Following the end of the armistice, Napoleon seemed to have regained the initiative at Dresden (26–27 August 1813), where he defeated a numerically-superior allied army and inflicted enormous casualties, while sustaining relatively few. However at about the same time the French sustained several defeats, first at the hands of Bernadotte's Army of the North, with Oudinot's thrust towards Berlin beaten back by the Prussians, at Großbeeren, followed by the Katzbach won by Blücher, and once again at the hands of Bernadotte's Prussians, aided by the Swedes, at Dennewitz.Napoleon himself, lacking reliable and numerous cavalry, was unable to fully take advantage of his victory, and could not avoid the destruction of a whole army corps at the Battle of Kulm (29–30 August 1813), further weakening his army. He withdrew with around 175,000 troops to Leipzig in Saxony where he thought he could fight a defensive action against the Allied armies converging on him. There, at the so-called Battle of Nations (16–19 October 1813) a French army, ultimately reinforced to 191,000, found itself faced by three Allied armies converging on it, ultimately totalling more than 430,000 troops. Over the following days the battle resulted in a defeat for Napoleon, who however was still able to manage a relatively orderly retreat westwards. However, as the French forces were pulling across the White Elster, the bridge was prematurely blown and 30,000 troops were stranded to be taken prisoner by the Allied forces.
Napoleon defeated an army of his former ally Bavaria at the Battle of Hanau (30–31 October 1813) before pulling what was left of his forces back into France. Meanwhile, Davout's corps continued to hold out in its siege of Hamburg, where it became the last Imperial force east of the Rhine.
The Allies offered peace terms in the Frankfurt proposals in November 1813. Napoleon would remain as Emperor of France, but it would be reduced to its "natural frontiers". That meant that France could retain control of Belgium, Savoy and the Rhineland (the west bank of the Rhine River), while giving up control of all the rest, including all of Poland, Spain and the Netherlands, and most of Italy and Germany. Metternich told Napoleon these were the best terms the Allies were likely to offer; after further victories, the terms would be harsher and harsher. Metternich aimed to maintain France as a balance against Russian threats, while ending the highly destabilizing series of wars.
Napoleon, expecting to win the war, delayed too long and lost this opportunity; by December the Allies had withdrawn the offer. When his back was to the wall in 1814 he tried to reopen peace negotiations on the basis of accepting the Frankfurt proposals. The Allies now had new, harsher terms that included the retreat of France to its 1791 boundaries, which meant the loss of Belgium and the Rhineland (in Germany). Napoleon adamantly refused.
Following the Battle of Leipzig, Bernadotte and his Army of the North parted ways with the rest of the Coalition armies, determined to see the guarantees over the Danish cession of Norway to Sweden enforced. In December 1813, Bernadotte's Army, now some 65,000, composed only of Swedish and Russian troops following the secondment of the Prussian troops to Blücher's army, attacked the Danish Army in Holstein.In a lightning campaign of only two weeks the Swedes subdued the Danes. General Anders Skjöldebrand defeated the Danes at Bornhöved on 7 December 1813. Three days later, the Danish Auxiliary Corps scored a minor victory at Sehested.
However, while the Danish victory managed to ensure the retreat of the main Danish army from immediate destruction, and brought about a three-week armistice, it could not change the course of war. Following a break-down of negotiations, the armistice concluded and on January 14, 1814 Bernadotte invaded Schleswig, swiftly invested and reduced its fortresses and occupied the entire province. The Danes, heavily outnumbered, could not prevent an Allied advance on Jutland or Copenhagen, and sued for peace. It would be the final chapter in the long and bloody history of conflicts between Sweden and Denmark with the former definitively victorious.
On 14 January 1814, the Treaty of Kiel was concluded between Sweden and Denmark–Norway. By the terms of the treaty, Norway was to be ceded to the King of Sweden. However, the Norwegians rejected this, declaring independence and adopting their own constitution on 17 May. On 27 July, Bernadotte and his Swedish forces (the Russians parted ways after the Danish Campaign) invaded Norway with 70,000 well-trained, well-equipped men, many of whom were veterans of the Leipzig Campaign. Facing them were 30,000 Norwegian militia, who were short on equipment and training but full of patriotic ardor and acquitted themselves well in the face of overwhelming odds.Following a short war, where the Norwegians fought well, winning battles at Lier and Matrand, but could not stop the Swedes from advancing, an armistice (the Convention of Moss) was concluded on 14 August. The terms of Union were generous to the Norwegians as Bernadotte and the Swedes had no wish to inaugurate the union of Sweden and Norway with further bloodshed. Norway agreed to enter into a personal union with Sweden as a separate state with its own constitution and institutions, except for the common king and foreign service. The Union between Sweden and Norway was formally established on 4 November 1814, when the Parliament of Norway adopted the necessary constitutional amendments, and elected Charles XIII of Sweden as King of Norway.
With his primary goal of detaching Norway from Denmark and binding it with Sweden achieved, Bernadotte and his Army of the North played no further major role in the war against the French beyond occupying the Low Countries and masking the French forces still garrisoned in Fortresses throughout northern Germany.
While events unfolded in the East, the Peninsular War in Iberia continued to be Napoleon's "Spanish ulcer" tying down hundreds of thousands of French soldiers.In 1813, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, finally broke the French power in Spain and forced the French to retreat. In a strategic move, Wellington planned to move his supply base from Lisbon to Santander. The Anglo-Portuguese forces swept northwards in late May and seized Burgos; they then outflanked the French army, forcing Joseph Bonaparte into the valley of the River Zadorra. At the Battle of Vitoria, 21 June, the 65,000 French under Joseph were routed by 53,000 British, 27,000 Portuguese and 19,000 Spaniards. Wellington pursued and dislodged the French from San Sebastián, which was sacked and burnt.
The allies chased the retreating French, reaching the Pyrenees in early July. Marshal Soult was given command of the French forces and began a counter-offensive, dealing the allied generals two sharp defeats at the Battle of Maya and the Battle of Roncesvalles. Yet, he was put again onto the defensive by the British army and its Portuguese allies, lost momentum, and finally fled after the allied victory at the Battle of Sorauren (28 and 30 July).
In the Battle of the Pyrenees Wellington fought far from his supply line but won with a mixture of manoeuvre, shock and persistent hounding of the French forces.
On 7 October, after Wellington received news of the reopening of hostilities in Germany, the Coalition allies finally crossed into France, fording the Bidasoa river. On 11 December, a beleaguered and desperate Napoleon agreed to a separate peace with Spain under the Treaty of Valençay, under which he would release and recognize Ferdinand VII as King of Spain in exchange for a complete cessation of hostilities. But the Spanish had no intention of trusting Napoleon, and the fighting continued on into France.
During the last months of 1813 and into 1814 Wellington led the Peninsular army into south-west France and fought a number of battles against Marshals Soult and Suchet. The Peninsular army gained victories at Vera pass, the Battle of Nivelle, the Battle of Nive near Bayonne (10–14 December 1813), the Battle of Orthez (27 February 1814) and the Battle of Toulouse (10 April).
After retreating from Germany, Napoleon fought a series of battles, including the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube, in France, but was steadily forced back against overwhelming odds. During the campaign he had issued a decree for 900,000 fresh conscripts, but only a fraction of these were ever raised. In early February Napoleon fought his Six Days' Campaign, in which he won multiple battles against numerically superior enemy forces marching on Paris.However, he fielded less than 80,000 soldiers during this entire campaign against a Coalition force of between 370,000 and 405,000 engaged in the campaign. At the Treaty of Chaumont (9 March) the Allies agreed to preserve the Coalition until Napoleon's total defeat. After defeating the French on the outskirts of Paris, on 31 March the Coalition armies entered the city with the Tsar Alexander I at the head of the army followed by the King of Prussia and Prince Schwarzenberg. On 2 April the French Senate passed the Acte de déchéance de l'Empereur , which declared Napoleon deposed.
Napoleon was determined to fight on, proposing to march on Paris. His soldiers and regimental officers were eager to fight on. But Napoleon's marshals and senior officers mutinied. On 4 April, Napoleon was confronted by his marshals and senior officers, led by Ney. They told the Emperor that they refused to march. Napoleon asserted that the army would follow him. Ney replied, "The army will follow its chiefs".[ citation needed ]
Napoleon abdicated on 11 April 1814 and the war officially ended soon after, although some fighting continued until May. The Treaty of Fontainebleau was signed on 11 April 1814 between the continental powers and Napoleon, followed by the Treaty of Paris on 30 May 1814 between France and the Great Powers including Britain. The victors exiled Napoleon to the island of Elba, and restored the Bourbon monarchy in the person of Louis XVIII. The Allied leaders attended Peace Celebrations in England in June, before progressing to the Congress of Vienna (between September 1814 and June 1815), which was held to redraw the map of Europe.
1814 (MDCCCXIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar, the 1814th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 814th year of the 2nd millennium, the 14th year of the 19th century, and the 5th year of the 1810s decade. As of the start of 1814, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
Charles XIV John or Carl John was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death in 1844.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
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 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 Hundred Days War, also known as the War of the Seventh Coalition, marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.
The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and were defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. The main coalition partners were Prussia and Russia with Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain also contributing. Excluding Prussia, some 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 with Prussian massing troops in Saxony.
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 Trachenberg Plan was a campaign plan created by Allied commanders in the 1813 German Campaign during the War of the Sixth Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars, and named for the conference held at the palace of Trachenberg. The plan advocated avoiding direct engagement with the French emperor, Napoleon I. This resulted from fear of the Emperor's now legendary prowess in battle. Consequently, the Allies planned to engage and defeat the French Marshals and Generals separately, and thus weaken his army while they built up an overwhelming force even he could not defeat. It was decided upon after a series of defeats and near disasters by the Coalition at Napoleon's hands at the battles of Lützen, Bautzen and Dresden. The plan was successful, and at the Battle of Leipzig, where the Allies had a considerable numerical advantage, the Emperor was soundly defeated and driven out of Germany, across the Rhine back into France itself. The plan was an amalgam of two prior works: The Trachenberg Protocol and the Reichenbach Plan, authored by the Austrian chief of staff of the allied coalition, Radetzky and the Swedish Crown Prince Charles John whose experience with the tactics and methods of the French Army, as well as personal insight on the mind of Napoleon, proved invaluable. The combined, modified version of the two prior plans became known as the Trachenberg Plan.
The Battle of Dennewitz took place on 6 September 1813 between the forces of the First French Empire and an army of Prussians and Russians of the Sixth Coalition. It occurred in Dennewitz, a village in the Prussian province of Brandenburg, near Jüterbog, 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of Berlin.
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 Laon was the victory of Blücher's Prussian army over Napoleon's French army near Laon. During the Battle of Craonne on 7 March, Blücher's army was forced to retreat into Laon after a failed attempt to halt Napoleon's east flank. Along the way to Laon, reinforcements from Russian forces under Ferdinand von Wintzingerode and a Prussian corps led by Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow joined the defensive. Blücher opted to face Napoleon at Laon because it was the site of a strategically important road junction, and because of its highly defensible position.
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 Convention of Tauroggen was an armistice signed 30 December 1812 at Tauroggen between General Ludwig Yorck on behalf of his Prussian troops and General Hans Karl von Diebitsch of the Imperial Russian Army. Yorck's act is traditionally considered a turning point of Prussian history, triggering an insurgency against Napoleon in the Rheinbund. At the time of the armistice, Tauroggen was situated in Russia, 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of the Prussian border.
The Battle of Möckern was a series of heavy clashes between allied Prusso-Russian troops and Napoleonic French forces south of Möckern. It occurred on 5 April 1813. It ended in a French defeat and formed the successful prelude to the "Liberation War" against Napoleon.
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.
The German Campaign was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition, including the German states of Austria and Prussia, plus Russia and Sweden, fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon and his Marshals, which ended the domination of the First French Empire.
Étienne Pierre Sylvestre Ricard was a prominent French division commander during the 1814 Campaign in Northeast France. In 1791 he joined an infantry regiment and spent several years in Corsica. Transferred to the Army of Italy in 1799, he became an aide-de-camp to Louis-Gabriel Suchet. He fought at Pozzolo in 1800. He became aide-de-camp to Marshal Nicolas Soult in 1805 and was at Austerlitz and Jena where his actions earned a promotion to general of brigade. From 1808 he functioned as Soult's chief of staff during the Peninsular War, serving at Corunna, Braga, First and Second Porto. During this time he sent a letter to Soult's generals asking them if the marshal should assume royal powers in Northern Portugal. When he found out, Napoleon was furious and he sidelined Ricard for two years.
The Six Days' Campaign saw four victories by the Imperial French army led by Napoleon over the Army of Silesia commanded by Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Between 10 and 15 February 1814, the French inflicted losses of at least 14,034 men and 52 guns on the Army of Silesia. A second estimate listed 16,000 casualties and 60 guns. A third estimate reached as high as 20,000 casualties, but a calculation by historian George Nafziger suggested that Blücher may have lost 28,500 soldiers.
The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement of 22 February 1814 by Austria, Russia and Prussia following a council of war with senior generals, Tsar Alexander I of Russia and King Frederick William III of Prussia. The treaty determined the movements of the Austrian and Prussian-Russian armies following a series of defeats during the invasion of north-east France. Despite dissent from the Russian and Prussian leaders Austrian General Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg secured support for a withdrawal ahead of the French forces of Emperor Napoleon I who was seeking to bring the allies to battle.
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