Battle of Champaubert
The Battle of Champaubert was the opening engagement of the Six Days Campaign. It was fought between a French army led by Napoleon and a small Russian corps commanded by Lieutenant General Count Zakhar Dmitrievich Olsufiev, after putting up a good fight, the Russian formation was effectively destroyed, the survivors escaped into the woods while Olsufiev became a French prisoner. Champaubert is located in France,46 kilometres west of Châlons-en-Champagne and 69 kilometres east of Meaux, Schwarzenbergs southern advance was slow while the Prussian field marshals march represented a more serious threat to Paris. Leaving part of his forces to hold off Schwarzenberg, Napoleon massed 30,000 troops to deal with Blücher, Allied lapses in communication and Blüchers overconfidence left Olsufievs corps isolated near Champaubert when Napoleons army lunged from the south to deal it a crippling blow. This setback seriously shook the French armys morale, each side suffered about 6,000 casualties but the Allied captured 50–60 artillery pieces.
The Allies were delighted by their victory, though it might have more complete if all their reserves had been committed to the battle. At this time, the Allied generals made the decision to separate their armies. Blüchers army would advance from Châlons-sur-Marne toward Meaux while Schwarzenbergs army operated on a southerly route from Troyes toward Paris. On 3 February, Napoleons army reached Troyes after completely breaking contact with the Allies the previous day, on 4 February, Schwarzenberg wrote his colleague Blücher that he was moving farther south in order to turn Napoleons right flank. The next day, Russian General Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly ordered Alexander Nikitich Seslavins scouting force from Schwarzenbergs right flank to the flank without notifying Blücher. Since the Prussian field marshal did not have an officer with Seslavins force he did not realize that no one was watching for French forces in the space on his left flank. Also on 5 February, Napoleon decided to abandon Troyes and fall back to Nogent-sur-Seine and he planned to contain Schwarzenberg with part of his army while attacking Blücher.
Having prepared for an assault on Troyes, Schwarzenberg found the place empty of French troops on 7 February. He decided to let his troops rest for the two days. The French emperor created a new VII Corps from two divisions transferred from the Spanish front and put Marshal Nicolas Oudinot in charge, at the end of January a 10, 000–11, 000-man French corps under Marshal Jacques MacDonald approached from the north. Supposing that Schwarzenbergs maneuvers would draw Napoleon away from his Army of Silesia, during the first week of February, the Prussian field marshal ordered Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburgs corps to pursue MacDonald along the main highway in the Marne River valley. Hoping to trap the French corps, Blücher sent Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sackens corps along the direct road through Montmirail. Blücher utilized Zakhar Dmitrievich Olsufievs small corps to link the two parts of his army, on 8 February, Sackens cavalry reached Viels-Maisons while his infantry was to the east at Montmirail
Battle of Montmirail
The Battle of Montmirail was fought between a French force led by Emperor Napoleon and two Allied corps commanded by Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken and Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg. In hard fighting that lasted until evening, French troops including the Imperial Guard defeated Sackens Russian soldiers, part of Yorcks Prussian I Corps tried to intervene in the struggle but it was driven off. The battle occurred near Montmirail, France during the Six Days Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, Montmirail is located 51 kilometres east of Meaux. Leaving a small force in the east to watch Blücher, Napoleon turned the bulk of his army to the west in an attempt to destroy Sacken, unaware of the size of Napoleons army, Sacken tried to smash his way east to join Blücher. The Russians managed to hold their ground for hours, but were forced back as more and more French soldiers appeared on the battlefield. Yorcks troops belatedly arrived only to be repulsed, but the Prussians distracted the French long enough to allow Sackens Russians to join them in a withdrawal to the north, the following day would see the Battle of Château-Thierry as Napoleon launched an all-out pursuit.
The two armies would be linked by Peter Wittgensteins corps and a force led by Alexander Nikitich Seslavin. Within a few days the cautious Schwarzenberg began pulling Wittgensteins troops to the south, believing the war was almost over, the Blücher pressed rapidly west after a smaller French force under Marshal Jacques MacDonald. Unknown to the Prussian field marshal, on 5 February Schwarzenberg switched Seslavins force from the flank to the extreme left flank without informing Blücher. Since he lacked a liaison officer with Seslavin, the Prussian was unaware that a dangerous gap yawned on his left flank, until 6 February, Napoleon planned to strike a blow against the Army of Bohemia. But that day the French emperor received intelligence that Blücher was moving on Paris, since MacDonald was too weak to stop Army of Silesia, Napoleon was compelled to deal with Blücher first. While sending out patrols to determine the whereabouts of the Prussian field marshals army. On 8 February these were joined by part of the Imperial Guard, on the same day MacDonalds patrols reported that Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg was near Épernay with 18,000 men.
When, on the morning of 9 February, Napoleon received news from Marmont that Fabian Wilhelm von Osten-Sacken was near Montmirail with about 15,000 troops, the French army lurched into action. Marshal Claude Perrin Victor with 14,000 men, consisting of his own corps, at this time, Napoleon had only 70,000 soldiers to confront about 200,000 Allies. With Victor and Oudinot watching Schwarzenberg, Napoleon decided to act against Blücher who he assumed to have 45,000 troops, however, Blüchers army was spread across a front of 44 miles and Napoleon might count on the help of the 10,000 men under MacDonald. Napoleon striking force numbered 30,000 men and 120 guns, mortier was ordered to bring up the rear. Fearing that Napoleon would offer battle near Nogent, Schwarzenberg asked his colleague Blücher to send Kleists corps south to help, the Prussian field marshal ordered Kleist and Olsufiev to converge on Sézanne on 10 February
Battle of Reims (1814)
The Battle of Reims was fought at Reims, France between an Imperial French army commanded by Emperor Napoleon and a combined Russian-Prussian corps led by General Emmanuel de Saint-Priest. On the second day, an overconfident Saint-Priest carelessly deployed his forces west of the city, too late, Saint-Priest realized who he was fighting and tried to organize a retreat. In the battle followed, the French army struck with crushing force. During the fighting, Saint-Priest was struck by a howitzer shell, on 9–10 March 1814, a 100, 000-strong Allied army led by Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher defeated Emperor Napoleons 39, 000-man Imperial French army in the Battle of Laon. The French lost 4,000 killed and wounded plus 2,500 men,45 guns and 130 caissons captured, the Allies admitted only 744 casualties. Another source stated that the Allies sustained 4,000 casualties while inflicting 7,500 on the French, early on the second day, Blücher was so ill with an eye infection that he temporarily handed over command to his chief of staff August Neidhardt von Gneisenau.
Though Blücher had issued orders to attack the French that day, Napoleon was able to disengage his battered army and withdraw almost unmolested to Soissons. Without Blüchers guiding hand, the Allied corps commanders began to clash with one another, ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg tried to resign his corps command and was only persuaded to remain by Blücher. At dawn on 11 March, Napoleons army began its retreat to Soissons where it formed for battle at 3,00 pm, only 1,500 Russians mounted a pursuit and they were easily kept at bay by the French rearguard. The right wing of Marshal Auguste de Marmont, whose corps had been routed at Laon, on 11–12 March Napoleon organized Soissons for defense and issued orders for his eastern garrisons to break out and harass the Allied supply lines going back to the Rhine River. Not only did the French army suffer heavy casualties at Laon, a new cavalry unit called the Converged Squadrons Division was formed and assigned to Sigismond-Frédéric de Berckheim. Napoleon disbanded the two Young Guard corps of Marshals Michel Ney and Claude Perrin Victor and Poret de Morvans provisional division, extra officers and non-coms were sent to Paris to recruit while the survivors were consolidated into the divisions of Curial and Charpentier.
After reorganization, Mortiers 10, 609-strong corps consisted of Christianis 2,034 men, Curials 2,796 men, Saint-Priest, a French émigré, led the Russian 8th Infantry Corps, which was made up of the 11th and 17th Infantry Divisions. Each division consisted of four infantry and two jäger regiments. At the beginning of 1814, the corps numbered 11,900 soldiers and formed part of Louis Alexandre Andrault de Langerons 43, on 31 December 1813, the 8th Corps executed a successful assault crossing of the Rhine River near Koblenz. After this operation the corps advanced to Dinant on the Meuse River, on 15 February, Saint-Priests corps was ordered to take over the Siege of Mainz. By early March, Saint-Priest had moved west to occupy Châlons-sur-Marne, fresh from the blockade of Erfurt, Jagow brought his Prussian brigade to join Saint-Priest. In 1814, Reims had a population of 30,000 and was one of the most important cities of France, the city was surrounded by a wall and the Vesle River flowed through the city from southeast to northwest
France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
Pierre Thouvenot was a French Army officer who served with distinction in the American Revolutionary War. He fled from France during the revolution but returned under an amnesty, Thouvenot was born on 9 March 1757 in Toul, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. He did not join the military until 1779, having spent the five years as a geographical engineer. He enrolled in Lécole dartillerie de La Fère, leaving as a cadet in the French artillery during December 1779 and he served for a time on the Île de Ré where he became a Second-lieutenant in 1780 before being sent to Guadeloupe. He distinguished himself in Bouillés attack on St Lucia in May 1781, Thouvenot received a promotion to Lieutenant in 1783 and continued to serve in the Caribbean following the Treaty of Paris. He was promoted to Capitain in 1788 and was made a Chevalier de Saint-Louis in 1791 and was appointed to the foundry at Indret, near Nantes, initially as an inspector but as the director. Towards the end of 1792, Thouvenot was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and was transferred, as director, some two months later, a warrant for his arrest was issued by the new government in France, Thouvenot was prompted to flee Belgium.
He was captured by Austrian soldiers and imprisoned at Treurenberg, after his release in 1794, Thouvenot sought refuge in the neutral country of Brunswick where he remained until an amnesty was granted by Napoleon in 1800. After his first major operation, Thouvenot recorded how, over a period, slaves were hunted down and shot. On hearing of the plot, Rochambeau accused the conspirators of stealing supplies and had them both deported, Thouvenot returned to France a few months having found passage via Cuba. Thouvenot served as governor of Würzburg in the Electorate of Bavaria, before taking up the post at Erfurt in Prussia. While on active service with Loisons division in 1807, he was wounded in the siege of Kolberg, on 18 January 1808, Thouvenot was sent to Spain, initially to serve as the governor of San Sebastián, in November, Vitoria. In 1811, Thouvenot was rewarded for his service, being made a Baron de lEmpire, in February the following year, Thouvenot was made governor of the city of Bayonne.
On 27 February 1814, having crossed the River Adour, Wellingtons army began to lay siege to the city of Bayonne, during the fight for the suburb of St Etienne, which the British required to complete their investment, Thouvenot was wounded by a bullet to the thigh. The British and their allies were slow to start their preparations and had failed to force the city to surrender when, on 13 April 1814. On the morning of 14 April, Thouvenot attacked the British siege lines with 6,000 men, the French sortie was defeated but with heavy losses on both sides. The Allies lost 838 men, including Major General Andrew Hay who was killed defending the church of St Etiene and Sir John Hope, French casualties totaled 905 men, including 111 killed,778 wounded and 16 missing. The siege of Bayonne continued obstinately until 27 April when written orders from Marshal Soult finally compelled Thouvenot to hand the fortress over to the British, Thouvenots actions were condemned by both sides as a needless waste of lives
Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube
The Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube was Napoleon’s penultimate battle before his abdication and exile to Elba. Encountering Field Marshal Schwarzenbergs larger Austrian force, Napoleon Bonaparte withdrew his French army after confused fighting, faced with converging Allied Armies, Napoleon decided to attack Field Marshal Schwarzenbergs Austrian troops before attacking General Blücher’s lines of communications on the upper Marne. Early on 20 March Napoleon set out for Arcis-sur-Aube in order to break out towards the Marne. By 11,00 a. m. on 20 March, Marshal Ney, by 1,00 p. m. Napoleon arrived along the northern bank of the Aube River and crossed the bridge. A bitter cavalry action developed in the afternoon and into the night. On one occasion the Emperor, protected only by a company of the Polish 1st Light Cavalry Regiment of the Imperial Guard barely avoided being taken prisoner. During the night Schwarzenberg brought up and deployed 80,000 troops to face the French. Schwarzenberg, suspecting a trap and yet unaware of his advantage, did not attack until 3,00 p. m.
on 21 March. He broke contact with the enemy and ordered most French troops to recross the Aube River. A French rear guard commanded by Marshal Oudinot bitterly held off the Austrians until 6,00 p. m. before falling back in good order and blowing the bridge over the Aube River up behind them. The Austrians made no effort to pursue the retreating French, the battle cost the French 3,000 casualties and the Austrians 4,000 casualties. On 25 March the Allies defeated Marshal Marmont and Marshal Mortier at the Battle of Fère-Champenoise, the Allies ignored Napoleon’s attempts to attack their lines of communications, and marched on Paris, which the Allies occupied on 31 March
Battle of Craonne
The Battle of Craonne was fought on 7 March 1814 and resulted in a French victory under Napoleon I against Russians and Prussians under General Blücher. Craonne is a village on the Chemin des Dames, in the département of Aisne, moving with speed and aggression, the French pushed the Allies over the Aisne river. While Blücher planned his counter with some 85,000 men, his army did not move fast enough and as a result. Napoleons aim was to pin the Allies and launch Marshal Ney, leading a mixed force heavily weighted towards cavalry, Craonne cost Blucher 5,000 casualties, while Napoleon lost some 5,400. The young French conscripted soldiers were called Marie-Louises because Marie-Louise signed the order for their conscription in Napoleons absence, history of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution to the Restoration of the Bourbons. Chandler, David G. Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, French Forces, Battle of Craone,7 March 1814. United States Army Combined Arms Center, russian Forces, Battle of Craone,7 March 1814.
United States Army Combined Arms Center, media related to Battle of Craonne at Wikimedia Commons Craonne - the bloodiest battle of Campaign of France in 1814 Illustrated article on the Battle of Craonne at Battlefields Europe
Battle of Brienne
The battle followed on the heels of reverses suffered by the French in both 1812, which had gutted the strength of the French Army, and 1813, where they fought against the Sixth Coalition. The Sixth Coalition had intentions of deposing Napoleon, dissolving the First French Empire, the battle took place near Brienne-le-Château, where Napoleon had attended military school in his early years. As the Allies advanced on France from three different directions, the French Emperor planned to attack and defeat each in turn, Napoleons first target was the spread-out force of some 17,000 Russians under Field Marshal Blücher. To battle his old adversary, Napoleon had a force of some 30,000 troops, Napoleon had tried to accomplish an envelopment of Bluchers whole force near the Aube River, but allied cavalry captured a set of the Emperors orders and Blucher avoided the trap. Additionally, rain had turned many area roads into mud, slowing Napoleons advance, Napoleon finally caught up with Blucher near Brienne.
The French emperor began the clash by pinning the enemy down while he organised a flanking attack, General Grouchys cavalry and horse artillery kept the Prussians occupied as marshals Ney and Victor secured both the town of Brienne and its chateau. About dusk, the chateau was captured by the French, when Blucher thought the battle was nearly over and his second-in-command General von Gneisenau only just managed to elude capture. During the heavy fighting Napoleon was almost taken prisoner by Russian Cossacks, the battle ended about midnight when the allies retreated. Blucher left behind some 4,000 casualties to Frances 3,000, the Brienner Straße in the Bavarian capital Munich is named after the battle to commemorate the Bavarian contribution in the battle
Battle of Vitoria
In July 1812, after the Battle of Salamanca, the French had evacuated Madrid, which Wellingtons army entered on 12 August 1812. Wellington spent the winter reorganising and strengthening his forces, by contrast, Napoleon withdrew many soldiers to rebuild his main army after his disastrous invasion of Russia. The French retreated to Burgos, with Wellingtons forces marching hard to cut them off from the road to France. Wellington himself commanded the central force in a strategic feint. Wellington launched his attack with 57,000 British,16,000 Portuguese and 8,000 Spanish at Vitoria on 21 June, after hard fighting, Thomas Pictons 3rd Division broke the enemys centre and soon the French defence crumbled. About 5,000 French soldiers were killed or wounded and 3,000 were taken prisoner,151 cannons were captured, but Joseph Bonaparte, erstwhile King of Spain, narrowly escaped. The battle led to the collapse of Napoleonic rule in Spain, the battlefield centres on the Zadorra River, which runs from east to west.
As the Zadorra runs west, it loops into a hairpin bend, on the south of the battlefield are the Heights of La Puebla. To the northwest is the mass of Monte Arrato, Vitoria stands to the east, two miles south of the Zadorra. Five roads radiate from Vitoria, north to Bilbao, northeast to Salinas and Bayonne, east to Salvatierra, south to Logroño, Jourdan was ill with a fever all day on 20 June. Because of this, few orders were issued and the French forces stood idle, an enormous wagon train of booty clogged the streets of Vitoria. A convoy left during the night, but it had to leave siege artillery behind because there were not enough draft animals to pull the cannons, Gazans divisions guarded the narrow western end of the Zadorra valley, deployed south of the river. Maransins brigade was posted in advance, at the village of Subijana, the divisions were disposed with Leval on the right, Daricau in the centre, Conroux on the left and Villate in reserve. Only a picket guarded the western extremity of the Heights of La Puebla, further back, dErlons force stood in a second line, south of the river.
DArmagnacs division deployed on the right and Cassagnes on the left, dErlon failed to destroy three bridges near the rivers hairpin bend and posted Avys weak cavalry division to guard them. Wellington directed Hills 20, 000-man Right Column to drive the French from the Zadorra defile on the side of the river. While the French were preoccupied with Hill, Wellingtons Right Centre column moved along the bank of the river. Grahams 20, 000-man Left Column was sent around the side of Monte Arrato
Campaign in north-east France (1814)
The 1814 campaign in north-east France was Napoleons final campaign of the War of the Sixth Coalition. Following their victory at Leipzig, Russian 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, following defeats in the Wars of the Fourth and Fifth Coalitions and Austria were forcibly allied with France during the Russian Campaign. When this campaign resulted in the destruction of Napoleons Grande Armée, the retreat from Russia turned into a new war on German soil, where Napoleon was decisively defeated at Leipzig. Most European countries turned against Napoleon and started to invade France, when the last of the French troops had crossed to the western bank of the Rhine, divided counsels made their appearance at the headquarters of the Coalition members.
The Army of Silesia, with 50, 000–75,000 Prussians and Russians under Prince Blücher, to meet these forces Napoleon, by the senatus consultum of 9 October 1813, had to draft anticipatively the conscripts from 1814 and 1815. These very young and inexperienced recruits formed the bulk of the new French Army and were nicknamed the Marie-Louise, hence less than 80,000 remained available for the east and north-eastern frontier. If, however, he was weak in numbers, he was now operating in a friendly country. Napoleon attempted to counter the incursion of the Army of Silesia shortly after their crossing but arrived too late, and engaged in pursuit. On 25 January Blücher entered Nancy, moving rapidly up the valley of the Moselle, was in communication with the Austrian advanced guard near La Rothière on the afternoon 28 January, on 29 January Napoleon caught up with Blücher and attacked. Blüchers headquarters were surprised and he himself captured by a sudden rush of French troops. Blücher accordingly fell back a few miles next morning to a position covering the exits from the Bar-sur-Aube defile.
At nightfall the fighting ceased and the retired to Lesmont. Owing to the state of the roads, or perhaps to the extraordinary lethargy which always characterized Schwarzenbergs headquarters, in the night his headquarters were again surprised, and Blücher learnt that Napoleon himself with his main body was in full march to fall on his scattered detachments. At the same time he heard that Pahlens Cossacks had been withdrawn forty-eight hours previously and he himself retreated towards Étoges endeavouring to rally his scattered detachments. Napoleon was too quick for Blücher, he decimated Lieutenant General Olssufievs Russian IX Corps at the Battle of Champaubert and this placed his army between Blüchers vanguard and his main body. Napoleon turned his attention to the vanguard and defeated Osten-Sacken and Yorck at Montmirail on 11 February, Napoleon turned on the main body of the Army of Silesia and on 14 February defeated Blücher in Battle of Vauchamps near Étoges, pursuing the latter towards Vertus.
These disasters compelled the retreat of the whole Silesian army, and Napoleon, leaving detachments with marshals Mortier and Marmont to deal with them, hurried back to Troyes