War of the Sixth Coalition

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War of the Sixth Coalition
Part of the Napoleonic Wars and the Coalition Wars
MoshkovVI SrazhLeypcigomGRM.jpg
Battle of Leipzig
Date3 March 1813 – 30 May 1814
Location
Europe
Result

Coalition victory, Treaty of Fontainebleau, First Treaty of Paris

Contents

Belligerents
Original coalition

After Battle of Leipzig

After January 1814

Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French Empire

Until January 1814

Commanders and leaders
Strength
1813: 1,070,000 1813: 850,000
Casualties and losses

526,000 [1]

  • 391,000 killed and wounded
  • 135,000 captured and missing

668,900 [2] [1]

  • 103,300 killed
  • 320,600 wounded
  • 245,000 captured and missing

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.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867

The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

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.

Battle of Lützen (1813) battle during the War of the Sixth Coalition, 1813

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.

Battle of Bautzen battle

In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian–Prussian army, that was massively outnumbered, was pushed back by Napoleon I of France but escaped destruction, some sources claiming that Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. The Prussians under Count Gebhard von Blücher and Russians under Prince Peter Wittgenstein, retreating after their defeat at Lützen were attacked by French forces under Napoleon.

Battle of Dresden Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition

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.

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.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

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).

Hundred Days period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days 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.

Invasion of Russia

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.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

Continental System

The Continental System or Continental Blockade was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France against the United Kingdom during the Napoleonic Wars. As a response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enacted by the British government on 16 May 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on 21 November 1806, which brought into effect a large-scale embargo against British trade. The embargo was applied intermittently, ending on 11 April 1814 after Napoleon's first abdication. The blockade caused little economic damage to the UK, although British exports to the continent dropped from 55% to 25% between 1802 and 1806. As Napoleon realized that extensive trade was going through Spain and Russia, he invaded those two countries. His forces were tied down in Spain—in which the Spanish War of Independence was occurring simultaneously—and suffered severely in, and ultimately retreated from, Russia in 1812.

Battle of Borodino battle of the French invasion of Russia during the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Borodino was a battle fought on 7 September 1812 in the Napoleonic Wars during the French invasion of Russia.

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.

Mikhail Kutuzov Field Marshal of the Russian Empire

Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov was a Field Marshal of the Russian Empire. He served as one of the finest military officers and diplomats of Russia under the reign of three Romanov Tsars: Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I. His military career was closely associated with the rising period of Russia from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century. Kutuzov is considered to have been one of the best Russian generals.

Berezina River river in Belarus

The Berezina or Biarezina is a river in Belarus and a tributary of the Dnieper River.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Formation of the Sixth Coalition

Russia, Britain and Sweden attempt an alliance

Map of Europe in August 1813:
French Empire and allies
Sixth Coalition and allies War of the Sixth Coalition 1812.svg
Map of Europe in August 1813:
  French Empire and allies
  Sixth Coalition and allies

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. [3]

Swedish Pomerania historical domain of Sweden

Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts of Livonia and Prussia.

The Treaty of Saint Petersburg was signed in Saint Petersburg on March 24, 1812 between Sweden and the Russian Empire. The treaty established an alliance between Russia and Sweden against the French Empire of Napoleon.

Denmark–Norway personal union in Northern Europe between 1524-1814

Denmark–Norway, also known as the Dano–Norwegian Realm, the Oldenburg Monarchy or the Oldenburg realms, was an early modern multi-national and multi-lingual real union consisting of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway, the Duchy of Schleswig, and the Duchy of Holstein. The state also claimed sovereignty over two historical peoples: Wends and Goths. Denmark–Norway had several colonies, namely the Danish Gold Coast, the Nicobar Islands, Serampore, Tharangambadi, and the Danish West Indies.

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.

Defection of Prussia

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. [4] It would not declare war on France until half a year later, in August 1813.

Declarations of war

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. [5] 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.

War in Germany

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 he himself 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.

Battle of Hanau Vernet-Battle of Hanau.jpg
Battle of Hanau

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. [6] 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. [7] [8] 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. [9] [10] [11]

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. [12] [13] 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.

The charge of the Life Guards Cossacks at Leipzig The Charge of the Life Guards Cossacks by C Rechlin 1845.jpg
The charge of the Life Guards Cossacks at Leipzig

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. [14]

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. Napoleon adamantly refused. [15]

War in Denmark and Norway

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. [16] 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. [17]

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. [18] 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. [19] [20] 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. [21]

Peninsular War

All the participants of the War of the Sixth Coalition. Blue: The Coalition and their colonies and allies. Red: The First French Empire, its protectorates, colonies and allies in January 1813. War of the Sixth Coalition in World 1812.png
All the participants of the War of the Sixth Coalition. Blue: The Coalition and their colonies and allies. Red: The First French Empire, its protectorates, colonies and allies in January 1813.

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. [22] 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.

War in France

Battle of Toulouse, 10 April 1814 by Fonds Ancely. Battle of Toulouse - April 10th 1814 - Fonds Ancely - B315556101 A HEATH 015.jpg
Battle of Toulouse, 10 April 1814 by Fonds Ancely.

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). [23] [note 2]

Episode of the battle of Paris, by Horace Vernet Horace Vernet - La Barriere de Clichy.jpg
Episode of the battle of Paris, by Horace Vernet

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. [25] 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. [25] [note 3] At the Treaty of Chaumont (9 March) the Allies agreed to preserve the Coalition until Napoleon's total defeat. The Allies entered Paris on 30 March 1814 after a short battle.

Abdication and peace

Napoleon's exile to Elba, from a British engraving, 1814 Napoleon's exile to Elba3.jpg
Napoleon's exile to Elba, from a British engraving, 1814
Russian cossacks in Paris in 1814 Russian cossacks in Paris streets in 1814.JPG
Russian cossacks in Paris in 1814

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.

See also

Notes

  1. Duchy of Warsaw as a state was in effect fully occupied by Russian and Prussian forces by May 1813, though most Poles remained loyal to Napoleon
  2. There was one last bloody engagement in south-west France, when. under the orders of Thouvenot, the French sortied from Toulouse and fought the Battle of Bayonne (14 April 1814). [24]
  3. Hodgson gives no size for the Army of the North but estimates the Austrian Grand Army have 10,000 and the Army of Silesia 25,000 more men than Maud. [26]

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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.

Napoleonic era Wikimedia disambiguation page

The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France and Europe. It is generally classified as including the fourth and final stage of the French Revolution, the first being the National Assembly, the second being the Legislative Assembly, and the third being the Directory. The Napoleonic era begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The Congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French Revolution days. Napoleon brought political stability to a land torn by revolution and war. He made peace with the Roman Catholic Church and reversed the most radical religious policies of the Convention. In 1804 Napoleon promulgated the Civil Code, a revised body of civil law, which also helped stabilize French society. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals advanced in education and employment because of talent rather than birth or social standing. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.

Franco-Swedish War

The Franco-Swedish War or Pomeranian War was the first involvement by Sweden in the Napoleonic Wars. The country joined the Third Coalition in an effort to defeat France under Napoleon Bonaparte.

Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg Prussian Field Marshal

Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall instrumental in the switching of the Kingdom of Prussia from a French alliance to a Russian alliance during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Ludwig van Beethoven's "Yorckscher Marsch" is named in his honor.

War of the Fourth Coalition part of the Napoleonic Wars

The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several 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, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.

Battle of Paris (1814) battle

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.

Convention of Tauroggen Armistice during the Napoleonic Wars

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 Treaty of Kalisz was signed in Kalisz on 28 February 1813, between Russia and Prussia against Napoleon I. It marked the final changeover of Prussia onto the side against Napoleon.

Denmark–France relations Diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Denmark and the French Republic

Denmark–France relations refers to the current and historical relations between Denmark and France. Denmark has an embassy in Paris and France has an embassy in Copenhagen. Both countries are full members of NATO and of the European Union.

Battle of Möckern battle

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.

Campaign in north-east France (1814)

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.

German Campaign of 1813 conflict

The German Campaign was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon and his Marshals, which liberated the German states from the domination of the First French Empire.

Prussia and its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia, were involved in numerous conflicts during their existence as nation-states. During their military engagements they often fulfilled the role of a supporting power, especially in the 17th century. In the 18th century Prussia began to adopt an independent role in the conflicts of that time; at the latest by the time of the Silesian Wars.

The Treaty of Paris of 5 March 1812 between Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia established a Franco-Prussian alliance directed against Russia. On 24 June, Prussia joined the French invasion of Russia. The unpopular alliance broke down when the Prussian contingent in French service signed a separate armistice, the Convention of Tauroggen, with Russia on 30 December 1812. On 17 March 1813, Frederick William declared war on France and issued his famous proclamation "To My People".

Étienne Pierre Sylvestre Ricard French politician and officer

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.

References

Citations

  1. 1 2 Bodart 1916, p. 46.
  2. Bodart 1916, pp. 130–131.
  3. Barton, D. Plunkett (1925) Pp. 44-47.
  4. Palmer, Alan (1972). Metternich: Councillor of Europe (1997 reprint ed.), p. 86–92. London: Orion. ISBN   978-1-85799-868-9.
  5. Merriman 1996, p. 579.
  6. Barton, D. Plunket (1925). Page 74.
  7. Ibid, 74-77.
  8. Leggiere, Michael V (2015). Pp. 52-55.
  9. Barton D. Plunket (1925). Pp 76-77
  10. Chandler, David G. (1966). Pp. 900-901
  11. Leggiere, Michael V (2015). Pp. 52-53.
  12. Barton, D. Plunket (1925). Pp. 89-92
  13. Leggiere, Michael V (2015). Pp. 8-10
  14. Riley 2013, p. 206.
  15. Ross 1969, pp. 342–344.
  16. Barton, D. Plunket (1925). Pp.113-116
  17. Ibid, Pp. 114-117
  18. Scott, Franklin D (1988) Pp. 313-314.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Barton, D. Plunket (1925). Pp. 136-137
  21. Barton, D. Plunket (1925). Pp. 115-116.
  22. "Spanish Ulcer" Ellis 2014 , p. 100 cites Owen Connelly (ed), "peninsular War", Historical Dictionary, p. 387.
  23. Robinson 1911, pp. 95–97.
  24. Robinson 1911, p. 97.
  25. 1 2 Maude 1911, p. 232.
  26. Hodgson 1841, p. 504.

Sources

Further reading