Battle of Pułtusk
The Battle of Pułtusk took place on 26 December 1806 during the War of the Fourth Coalition near Pułtusk, Poland. Despite their strong numerical superiority and artillery, the Russians suffered the French attacks, before retiring the next day having suffered greater losses than the French, disorganizing their army for the rest of the year. After defeating the Prussian army in the autumn of 1806, Emperor Napoleon entered partitioned Poland to confront the Russian army, preparing to support the Prussians until their sudden defeat. Crossing the River Vistula, the French advance corps took Warsaw on 28 November 1806; the Russian army was under the overall command of Field Marshal Mikhail Kamensky, but he was old and becoming infirm. The Russian First Army of some 55,000 to 68,000 men, commanded by Count Bennigsen, had fallen back from the Vistula to the line of the River Wkra, in order to unite with the Second Army, about 37,000 strong, under General Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden, approaching from Russia and was still several days march from the First Army.
However, realising his mistake in allowing the French to cross the Vistula, Kamensky advanced at the beginning of December to try to regain the line of the river. French forces crossed the Narew River at Modlin on 10 December, the Prussian Corps commanded by General-Leutnant Anton Wilhelm von L'Estocq failed to retake Thorn; this led Bennigsen on 11 December to issue orders to hold the line of the River Wkra. When this was reported to Napoleon, he assumed, he ordered the forces under Marshal Joachim Murat – the 3rd corps of Marshal Louis Nicolas Davout, 7th Corps of Marshal Pierre Augereau, 5th Corps under Lannes, Murat's 1st Cavalry Reserve Corps – to pursue towards Pułtusk. Meanwhile, Marshal Michel Ney's 6th Corps, Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's 1st Corps, Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières's 2nd Cavalry Reserve Corps turned the Russian right. Marshal Nicolas Soult's 4th Corps linked the two wings of the French army. Kamensky reversed the Russian retreat, he ordered an advance to support the troops on the River Wkra.
On the night of 23 and 24 December, Davout's corps forced a crossing of the lower Wkra in the Battle of Czarnowo. After engagements at Bieżuń on 23 December with Bessières and Soldau on 25 December with Ney, the Prussian corps under L'Estocq was driven north towards Königsberg. Augereau's corps seized a second crossing of the Wkra on the 24th at Kołoząb. Realising the danger, Kamensky ordered a retreat on Ostrołęka. At this time the old field marshal appears to have returned to Grodno. Bennigsen decided to disobey his superior's orders by standing and fighting on 26 December at Pułtusk, he had available the 2nd Division of Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy, the 6th Division of Lieutenant General Alexander Karlovich Sedmoratski, part of Lieutenant General Dmitry Golitsyn's 4th Division, part of Lieutenant General Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sacken's 3rd Division. To the north-west, most of the 4th Division commanded by Golitsyn and the 5th Division under Lieutenant General Dmitry Dokhturov fought the Battle of Gołymin on the same day.
The weather caused severe difficulties for both sides. Mild autumn weather had lasted longer than normal; the usual frosts, which rendered the inadequate roads passable after the muddy conditions of autumn, were broken by thaws. There was a thaw on 17 December and a two-day thaw on 27 December; the result was that both sides found it difficult to manoeuvre. Davout recorded. There were difficulties with supply. Captain Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcelin, Baron de Marbot, serving with Augereau's Corps wrote: Pułtusk lies on the west bank of the River Narew with a suburb on the east bank; the road from Strzegociz crossed the river by a bridge and ran north-west towards Gołymin. A second road from Warsaw entered the town from the south-west, ran along the west bank of the river towards Różan. Before it reached Pułtusk this road was joined by one from Nasielsk. Another longer route to Różan ran along the east bank; the final road was that to Markow. The town itself lay on low ground. To the north and west lay a plateau, narrowing to a wide ridge nearer the river.
A ravine cut into the plateau near the river. A large wood lay towards the village of Mosin. Further out from the plateau more woods covered the approaches from Warsaw. Lannes commanded two infantry divisions under Generals of Division Louis Gabriel Suchet and Honoré Théodore Maxime Gazan de la Peyrière. Suchet's 1st Division included General of Brigade Michel Marie Claparède's 3-battalion 17th Light Infantry Regiment, General of Brigade Honoré Charles Reille's 4-battalion 34th Line Infantry Regiment and 3-battalion 40th Line Infantry Regiment, General of Brigade Dominique Honoré Antoine Vedel's 64th and 88th Line Infantry Regiments, three battalions each. Gazan's 2nd Division comprised General of Brigade Jean François Graindorge's 3-battalion 21st Light Infantry Regiment and 2-battalion 28th Light Infantry Regiment and General of Brigade François Frédéric Campana's 100th and 103rd Line Infantry Regiments, three battalions each. General of Brigade Anne-François-Charles Trelliard led 12 squadrons of the corps cavalry, which consisted of the 9th and 10th Hussar Regiments and the 21st Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment.
General of Brigade Louis Foucher de Careil commanded the corps artillery, 38 guns in four foot and two horse artillery batteries at full strength. Historian Francis Loraine Petre wrote that Genera
Émile Jean-Horace Vernet was a French painter of battles and Orientalist subjects. Vernet was born to Carle Vernet, another famous painter, himself a son of Claude Joseph Vernet, he was born in the Paris Louvre. Vernet developed a disdain for the high-minded seriousness of academic French art influenced by Classicism, decided to paint subjects taken from contemporary life. During his early career, when Napoleon Bonaparte was in power, he began depicting the French soldier in a more familiar, vernacular manner rather than in an idealized, Davidian fashion; some other of his paintings that represent French soldiers in a more direct, less idealizing style, include Dog of the Regiment, Trumpeter's Horse, Death of Poniatowski. He gained recognition during the Bourbon Restoration for a series of battle paintings commissioned by the duc d'Orleans, the future King Louis-Philippe. Critics marvelled at the incredible speed. Many of his paintings made during this early phase of his career were "noted for their historical accuracy as well as their charged landscapes."
Examples of paintings in this style include his Four Battles series: The Battle of Jemappes, The Battle of Montmirail, The Battle of Hanau, The Battle of Valmy. Enjoying equal favour with the court and with the opposition, he was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome, from 1829 to 1835. Over the course of his long career, Horace Vernet was honoured with dozens of important commissions. King Louis-Philippe was one of his most prolific patrons, the whole of the Constantine room at the Palace of Versailles was decorated by him, in the short space of three years, his depictions of Algerian battles, such as the Capture of the Smahla and the Capture of Constantine, were well-received, as they were vivid depictions of the French army in the heat of battle. After the fall of the July Monarchy during the Revolution of 1848, Vernet discovered a new patron in Napoléon III of France, he continued to paint representations of the heroic French army during the Second Empire and maintained his commitment to representing war in an accessible and realistic way.
He accompanied the French Army during the Crimean War, producing several paintings, including one of the Battle of the Alma, not as well received as his earlier paintings. One well known and apocryphal anecdote maintains that when Vernet was asked to remove a certain obnoxious general from one of his paintings, he replied, "I am a painter of history, I will not violate the truth," hence demonstrating his fidelity to representing war truthfully. Vernet died in his hometown of Paris in 1863. In Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" Holmes claims to be related to Vernet, stating, "My ancestors were country squires... my grandmother... was the sister of Vernet, the French artist.", without further clarifying whether this is Claude Joseph Vernet, Carle Vernet, or Horace Vernet. Dayot, Armand. Les Vernet: Joseph—Carle—Horace. Paris: A. Magnier. Harkett and Katie Hornstein, eds. Horace Vernet and the Thresholds of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture. Dartmouth College Press/University Press of New England.
Ruutz-Rees, Janet E.. Horace Vernet. New York: Scribner and Welford. Sessions, Jennifer E. By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria. Cornell University Press. Media related to Horace Vernet at Wikimedia Commons Gallery of Paintings by Horace Vernet Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library numerous military lithographs and some original drawings by Horace Vernet. Works by Horace Vernet at Open Library
Capitulation of Pasewalk
The Capitulation of Pasewalk on 29 October 1806 resulted in the surrender of Oberst von Hagen's 4,200 Prussian soldiers to an inferior force of two French light cavalry brigades led by Generals of Brigade Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud and Antoine Lasalle. The Prussians were demoralized after a two-week-long retreat following their decisive defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Pasewalk is about 40 kilometers west of Szczecin, Poland. While retreating east toward Stettin on the Oder River, Hagen found his column trapped between Lasalle's brigade and Milhaud's brigade. Without attempting to break out, the baffled Prussian officer surrendered; the incident at Pasewalk came after a similar Prussian surrender after the Battle of Prenzlau the previous day. Within a week two fortresses would capitulate without firing a shot and a number of other Prussian columns would be hunted down one by one. On 14 October 1806, the Grande Armée of Emperor Napoleon I of France decisively defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt.
At Jena Napoleon's 96,000 troops smashed the 53,000-man army of Generals of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen and Ernst von Rüchel, while the 26,000-man III Corps of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout defeated Feldmarschall Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick's 49,800-strong army at Auerstedt. At Jena, French losses were 6,794 while Prussian losses were large but impossible to calculate; the Saxons saved only 23 of their artillery pieces, while losing 59. The Prussians lost at least 24 guns plus 12 colors. Davout estimated his losses as 7,000 at Auerstedt while his enemies suffered 10,000 killed and wounded and 3,000 captured; the Prussians admitted losing 57 guns from their artillery batteries, not counting regimental guns. So Davout's claim to have captured 115 pieces may be accurate; the Prussian army was so shattered by its defeat that it had not recovered cohesion by the next day. Shot through both eyes, Brunswick expired at Altona on 10 November; the badly wounded Rüchel made his way to Poland.
The retreating mass of Prussians resolved itself into three columns under Prince Hohenlohe, Lieutenant General Gebhard von Blücher, General of the Infantry Friedrich Adolf, Count von Kalckreuth. These forces marched through the Harz Mountains toward Halberstadt. Trailing behind was the 12,000-man corps of Lieutenant General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, which missed Jena-Auerstadt. On 16 October, French cavalry under Marshal Joachim Murat secured the surrender of 12,000 men and 65 guns in the Capitulation of Erfurt, it was only the first of a series of craven Prussian surrenders. The following day, Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte drubbed Lieutenant General Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg's Reserve at the Battle of Halle, inflicting 5,000 casualties on this fresh body of troops for a French loss of only 800; the columns of Hohenlohe and Württemberg rendezvoused at Magdeburg on 20 October. Kalckreuth joined his corps to Hohenlohe's soon afterward, he left for an assignment in Poland.
On the 20th, Soult and Murat were before Magdeburg. Murat demanded its surrender; that day, Davout seized a bridgehead over the Elbe at Wittenberg and Lannes seized a second crossing at Dessau. Having received orders from King Frederick William III of Prussia to march to the Oder River, Hohenlohe's army left Magdeburg on 21 October and reached Burg bei Magdeburg that night, he left 9,000 men to reinforce the garrison, so that, together with stragglers, there were 25,000 troops in the city. Hohenlohe reached Genthin at night on 22 Rathenow on the evening of the 23rd. To better feed his troops, he divided his command up into multiple columns. Leaving Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps to begin the Siege of Magdeburg, Napoleon ordered his right wing to march east for Berlin; the French right wing consisted of Davout's corps, Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps, Marshal Pierre Augereau's VII Corps, four of Murat's cavalry units. These were the 1st Cuirassier Division led by General of Division Etienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty, the 2nd Cuirassier Division under General of Division Jean-Joseph Ange d'Hautpoul, the 2nd Dragoon Division commanded by General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy, the 3rd Dragoon Division under General of Division Marc Antoine de Beaumont.
The left wing was made up of Bernadotte's corps, Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps, General of Division Louis Michel Antoine Sahuc's 4th Dragoon Division. Guarding the line of communications was General of Division Louis Klein's 1st Dragoon Division. Blücher crossed the Elbe at Sandau on 24 October. On the 26th, Oberst Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg held off Soult's advance guard at Altenzaun before safely crossing to the east bank. At this time Lieutenant General Johann Friedrich Winning relieved Saxe-Weimar in command. Hohenlohe marched to Neustadt an der Dosse on the 24th, his goal was the fortress of Szczecin on the Oder. To protect his right flank, he ordered General-Major Christian Ludwig Schimmelpfennig to move through Fehrbellin, between Neustadt and Oranienburg. Blücher took over the leadership of Hohenlohe's rear guard. On 25 October Davout's corps marched through Berlin while one of Lannes' divisions captured the fortress of Spandau with 920 men and 71 cannons. Hohenlohe's main body arrived near Neuruppin that evening, with Blücher's rear guard division still at Neustadt.
General von Schwerin's cavalry and Oberst von Hagen's infantry brigade bivouacked at Wittstock. General-Major Karl Anton von Bila's light brigade reached Kyritz north of Neustadt. Desiring to cut off the forces under Hohenlohe, Napoleon ordered Murat
Battle of Eylau
The Battle of Eylau or Battle of Preussisch-Eylau, 7 and 8 February 1807, was a bloody and inconclusive battle between Napoleon's Grande Armée and the Imperial Russian Army under the command of Levin August von Bennigsen near the town of Preussisch Eylau in East Prussia. Late in the battle, the Russians received timely reinforcements from a Prussian division of von L'Estocq. After 1945 the town was renamed Bagrationovsk as a part of Russia; the engagement was fought during the War of part of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon's armies smashed the army of the Austrian Empire in the Ulm Campaign and the combined Austrian and Russian armies at the Battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805. On 14 October 1806 Napoleon crushed the armies of the Kingdom of Prussia at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt and hunted down the scattered Prussians at Prenzlau, Lübeck, Pasewalk, Stettin and Hamelin. In late January Bennigsen's Russian army went on the offensive in East Prussia, pushing far to the west. Napoleon reacted by mounting a counteroffensive to the north, hoping to prevent their retreat to the east.
After his Cossacks captured a copy of Napoleon's orders, Bennigsen withdrew to the northeast to avoid being cut off. The French found the Russians drawn up for battle at Eylau. In a vicious evening clash the French captured the village, with heavy losses on both sides; the following day brought more serious fighting. Early in the battle a frontal attack by Napoleon failed, with catastrophic losses. To reverse the situation, the emperor launched a massed cavalry charge against the Russians; this bought enough time for the French right wing to throw its weight into the contest. Soon the Russian left wing was bent back at an acute angle and Bennigsen's army was in danger of collapse. A Prussian corps belatedly saved the day by pushing back the French right; as darkness fell, a French corps tardily appeared on the French left. That night Bennigsen decided to retreat, leaving Napoleon in possession of a snowy battlefield covered with thousands of dead and wounded. Eylau was the first serious check to the Grande Armée, the myth of Napoleon's invincibility was badly shaken.
However, the French would go on to win the war by decisively defeating the Russians on 14 June at the Battle of Friedland. With the Prussian army routed at Jena-Auerstedt, Napoléon occupied the major cities of Germany and marched east in pursuit of the remaining forces opposed to him; these were Russians under the command of the frail 68-year-old Field Marshal Count Mikhail Kamensky. The old marshal was unwilling to risk battle and continued to retreat, leaving the Grande Armée free to enter Poland unopposed; as the French pressed aggressively eastward across the Vistula, they found the Russians defending the line of the Wkra River. The French seized a crossing over the Wkra on 23 December at the Battle of Czarnowo. Russian resistance soon stiffened and on 26 December the two armies clashed at the Battles of Pułtusk and Gołymin. After these fierce engagements Napoléon's troops took up winter quarters in Poland to recuperate after a victorious but exhausting campaign. In January 1807 new Russian army commander Levin August von Bennigsen attempted to surprise the French left wing by shifting the bulk of his army north from Nowogród to East Prussia.
Incorporating a Prussian corps on his right, he first bumped into elements of the VI Corps of Marshal Michel Ney, who had disobeyed his emperor's orders and advanced far north of his assigned winter cantonments. Having cleared Ney's troops out of the way, the Russians rolled down on the isolated French I Corps under Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Tough fighting at the Battle of Mohrungen allowed Bernadotte's corps to escape serious damage and pull back to the southwest. With his customary inventiveness, Napoléon saw an opportunity to turn the situation to his own advantage, he instructed Bernadotte to withdraw before Bennigsen's forces, ordered the balance of the Grande Armée to strike northward. This maneuver might cut off its retreat to the east. By a stroke of luck, a band of Cossacks captured a messenger carrying Napoleon's plans to Bernadotte and forwarded the information to Gen. Pyotr Bagration. Bernadotte was left unawares and a forewarned Bennigsen ordered a retreat east to Jonkowo to avoid the trap.
As Bennigsen hurriedly assembled his army at Jonkowo, elements of Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps reached a position on his left rear on 3 February. That day General of Division Jean François Leval clashed with Lt. Gen. Nikolay Kamensky's 14th Division at Bergfried on the Alle River, which flows northward in the area; the French reported 306 casualties while claiming to inflict 1,100 on their adversaries. After seizing Allenstein, Soult moved north on the east bank of the Alle. Meanwhile, Napoleon threatened Bennigsen from the south with Marshal Pierre Augereau's VII Corps and Ney's forces. Kamensky held the west bank with three Prussian artillery batteries. After an initial attack on Bergfried was driven back, the French captured the bridge. A Russian counterattack recaptured the bridge; that night the French remained in possession of the field and Soult claimed that he found 800 Russian dead there. Marching at night, Bennigsen retreated directly north to Wolfsdorf on the 4th; the next day he fell back to the northeast.
By early February the Russian army was in full retreat, relentlessly pursued by the French. After several aborted attempts to stand and fight, Bennigsen resolved to retreat to the town of Preussisch-Ey
Battle of Lübeck
The Battle of Lübeck took place on 6 November 1806 in Lübeck, Germany between soldiers of the Kingdom of Prussia led by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who were retreating from defeat at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, troops of the First French Empire under Marshals Murat and Soult, who were pursuing them. In this War of the Fourth Coalition action, the French inflicted a severe defeat on the Prussians, driving them from the neutral city. Lübeck is an old Baltic Sea port 50 kilometres northeast of Hamburg. After their shattering defeat in October by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, the Prussian armies withdrew to the east bank of the Elbe River and marched northeast in an attempt to reach the Oder River. Aiming to annihilate his opponents' forces, Napoleon launched his Grande Armée in a headlong pursuit. A large portion of the fleeing Prussians took refuge in the fortress of Magdeburg where they were surrounded. Another large segment was destroyed in the Battle of Prenzlau; this event triggered a series of capitulations of Prussian fortresses.
Blocked from reaching the Oder, Blücher turned and raced to the west, chased by Murat and Soult. After a number of well-fought rear guard actions, Blücher's troops forced their way into the neutral city of Lübeck where they took up defensive positions. Bernadotte's soldiers broke through the city's northern defenses and overwhelmed the troops facing Murat and Soult. Blücher escaped from the city, though most of his staff was captured and Prussian casualties were enormous; the French brutally sacked Lübeck after the fighting. The next day, the French trapped the surviving Prussians against the Danish frontier and compelled Blücher to surrender; the French captured a small Swedish force during the battle. Bernadotte's respectful treatment of its officers and soldiers led to that Scandinavian nation offering its crown to the French marshal four years after this battle. On 14 October 1806, Napoleon crushed the Prussian field armies in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. In the chaos after the debacle, the shattered remains of the armies coalesced into several major elements.
General of Infantry Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen took command of one column that retreated through the Harz Mountains. General-Leutnant Blücher and General of Infantry Friedrich Adolf, Count von Kalckreuth, followed in Hohenlohe's wake with a 12,000-man column; these forces were trailed by 12,000 troops under General Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and General-Leutnant Christian Ludwig von Winning. The last-named corps missed Jena-Auerstedt. Meanwhile, the Prince of Orange surrendered at least 10,000 Prussians to Marshal Murat's Cavalry Corps in the Capitulation of Erfurt on 16 October; the 16,000 fresh troops of the Reserve commanded by Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg had remained at Halle since the 13th. On 17 October, the 20,600 men of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps mauled Württemberg's force in the Battle of Halle; the Reserve retreated to Magdeburg. Marshal Soult with the IV Corps and Murat reached the outskirts of the city that day and demanded Hohenlohe's surrender, which he refused.
On the 22nd, Soult and Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps invested the fortress on the west bank of the Elbe. After leaving 9,000 additional troops to man the fortress, Hohenlohe marched to the northeast via Burg bei Magdeburg, he was soon joined by Kalckreuth. Blücher moved northeast from Nordhausen, through the Harz Mountains, past Braunschweig, boated across the Elbe at Sandau on 24 October. Saxe-Weimar marched from Bad Langensalza to Mühlhausen, on to Osterode. After feinting at Magdeburg to trick Soult, he reached the Elbe at Sandau. Oberst Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg conducted a skillful action at Altenzaun on the afternoon and evening of the 26th; the Prussian rear guard held off Soult's advance guard until Saxe-Weimar's troops safely reached the east bank Yorck slipped away. At this time, Winning took over command of the column from Saxe-Weimar. Hohenlohe reached Neustadt an der Dosse on the evening of 24 October. After he crossed the Elbe, Blücher accepted command of Hohenlohe's rear guard. There was a network of canals, along with the Havel River, that ran east and west between the Elbe and Oder.
Hohenlohe's planned to send General-Major Christian Ludwig Schimmelpfennig von der Oye with a flying column to protect his right flank by destroying all the bridges along this stretch of water. By nightfall on 25 October, Hohenlohe's main body was between Neuruppin and Lindow, a little farther east. General-Major von Schwerin's cavalry and Oberst von Hagen's infantry brigade marched toward Wittstock. General-Major Rudolf Ernst Christoph von Bila reached Kyritz, north of Neustadt, with a cavalry-infantry brigade. Blücher's rear guard was near Neustadt after a clash with Bernadotte's leading troops. In an ominous development, French cavalry seized Oranienburg. On 26 October, Murat routed Schimmelpfennig's column at Zehdenick, sending the Prussians fleeing to Stettin after losing more than 250 cavalry from their 1,300-man force; the next day, in confused fighting at Boitzenburg, Hohenlohe overcame a French road block and pressed on to the east after losing a cavalry regiment. On 28 October, Murat attacked the Prussians in the Battle of Prenzlau.
One of General of Division Emmanuel Grouchy's dragoon brigades hewed a path through Hohenlohe's column. General of Division Marc Antoine de Beaumont and his 3rd Dragoon Division pounced on the now-isolated rear guard under Oberst Prince Augustus of Prussia and forced it to surrender. Murat succeeded in bluffing Hohenlohe into capitulating t
Battle of Czarnowo
The Battle of Czarnowo on the night of 23–24 December 1806 saw troops of the First French Empire under the eye of Emperor Napoleon I launch an evening assault crossing of the Wkra River against Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy's defending Russian Empire forces. The attackers, part of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's III Corps, succeeded in crossing the Wkra at its mouth and pressed eastward to the village of Czarnowo. After an all-night struggle, the Russian commander withdrew his troops to the east, ending this War of the Fourth Coalition action. Czarnowo is located on the north bank of the Narew River 33 kilometres north-northwest of Warsaw, Poland. Several other actions occurred during the same week. On the 23rd, Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières defeated a probe by Prussian troops at Bieżuń. On 24 December, an action occurred at Kołoząb and Sochocin where Marshal Pierre Augereau's VII Corps attempted to cross the Wkra; the French managed to secure a foothold on the east bank, forcing Major General Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly's Russian defenders to retreat.
On Christmas Day, part of Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps drove the Prussians from Soldau, forcing them to retreat north toward Königsberg. The Russians, were full of fight and two sharp battles occurred on 26 December. At the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806, Napoleon administered a terrible beating to the principal Prussian armies. On a single day, the French captured 25,000 Prussian soldiers, 200 guns, 60 colors. In subsequent operations the French inflicted crippling defeats on their adversaries at Erfurt, Prenzlau, Stettin, Lübeck and Hamelin. In early November, Davout sent General of Division Marc Antoine de Beaumont's 2,500 dragoons to scout east of the Oder River. Napoleon ordered his brother General of Division Jérôme Bonaparte to protect his southern flank by operating against Glogau in Prussian-held Silesia. Wishing to deny Warsaw to the approaching Russian army, Napoleon decided to secure a position on the east bank of the Vistula River before winter weather forced a stop to the campaigning season.
In December, the Prussians were able to field only the garrisons of Danzig and Graudenz. Field Marshal Mikhail Kamensky led the Russian army in Poland, which numbered about 90,000 men in two wings led by Generals Levin August, Count von Bennigsen and Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden. By now, Kamensky was showing clear signs of his physical unfitness to command. Buxhöwden, who outranked Bennigsen, led the 5th Division under Lieutenant General Nikolay Tuchkov. Buxhöwden's divisions were veterans of the Battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805 and were under strength. In total, his wing had 29,000 infantry, 7,000 cavalry, 1,200 gunners, 216 artillery pieces. Bennigsen commanded the 2nd Division of Ostermann-Tolstoy, the 3rd Division led by Lieutenant General Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sacken, the 4th Division under Lieutenant General Dmitry Golitsyn, the 6th Division commanded by Lieutenant General Alexander Karlovich Sedmoratski; the nominal strength of Bennigsen's force was 49,000 infantry, 11,000 regular cavalry, 4,000 Cossacks, 2,700 artillerymen, 900 pioneers, 276 guns.
Of these, between 55,000 and 60,000 were available for mobile operations. The Russians fielded an army of 18 divisions in 1806; each division consisted of six 3-battalion infantry regiments, ten squadrons of heavy cavalry, ten squadrons of light cavalry, two heavy foot artillery batteries, three light foot artillery batteries, one horse artillery battery. With 14-gun foot batteries and 12-gun horse batteries, each Russian division theoretically controlled 82 field pieces; the heavy batteries were made up of eight 12-pound cannons, four heavy howitzers, two light howitzers. The light batteries were mustered but with 6-pound instead of 12-pound cannons. Horse batteries were made up of 6-pound cannons. Five divisions under General Johann Michelson faced the Ottoman Turks in Moldavia; the 1st Imperial Guard Division of Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia was stationed at Saint Petersburg, while four additional divisions formed a reserve army in the interior. Napoleon pressed forward with Davout, Marshal Jean Lannes' V Corps, Marshal Joachim Murat's Cavalry Reserve.
As the French advanced, Bennigsen withdrew his troops from the Vistula. Murat occupied Warsaw on 28 November and Napoleon began turning the city into a center of operations. Buxhöwden's wing was still several marches to the rear and Bennigsen desired to join his colleague before facing the full strength of the French army; as the French crossed the Vistula in early December, Bennigsen had a change of heart and tried to retake his former position on the east bank. By now, Napoleon's second wave of corps was arriving and, after a few clashes, Bennigsen decided to pull back behind the Wkra after all. After peaking during the whirlwind campaign west of the Oder, the morale of the French troops hit a new low point in Poland; the bad weather and approaching winter made Napoleon's troops reluctant to continue the campaign. The Polish roads went from deep mud to frozen ruts; the emperor was forced to dispense a bonus in pay and extra shoes for his soldiers. So, French military discipline grew worse. At this time, Napoleon first used les grognards, to describe his troops.
Napoleon determined to mount an offensive. Led by Murat's cavalry, Davout and Lannes would drive north from Warsaw. F
Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen
In the Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen on 5 and 6 June 1807, troops of the Russian Empire led by General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen attacked the First French Empire corps of Marshal Michel Ney. The Russians pressed back their opponents in an action that saw Ney fight a brilliant rearguard action with his outnumbered forces. During the 6th, Ney disengaged his troops and pulled back to the west side of the Pasłęka River; the action occurred during the War of part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dobre Miasto is on Route 51 about 20 kilometers southwest of Lidzbark Warmiński and 24 kilometers north of Olsztyn; the fighting occurred along Route 580. At the beginning of June, Bennigsen launched an offensive against the forces of Emperor Napoleon I in East Prussia; the Russian commander planned to trap Ney's corps between several converging columns. To occupy the French troops on Ney's left, Bennigsen sent General-Leutnant Anton Wilhelm von L'Estocq's Prussians to attack Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's troops at Spędy and ordered Lieutenant General Dmitry Dokhturov's Russians to assault Marshal Nicolas Soult's men at Bogatynskie.
Although all three French marshals saw sharp fighting, the Russian plan failed to put significant numbers of French troops out of action. Afraid of being cut off in his turn, Bennigsen ordered a retreat on the night of the 7th as Napoleon instructed his forces to counterattack the Russians; the decisive Battle of Friedland was fought a week on 14 June. After the bloody Battle of Eylau on 7 and 8 February 1807, Napoleon's forces lingered in the vicinity so that the emperor could claim a victory. However, his soldiers clamored for an end to the fighting. Instead of the usual shouts of Vive l'Empereur, cries of Vive la paix were heard in the bivouacs when the emperor passed by. On 17 February the French began their withdrawal westward into winter quarters. By the 23rd the French reached their cantonments, with Maréchal Bernadotte's I on the left, Maréchal Soult's IV Corps in the center, Maréchal Davout's III Corps on the right. Maréchal Ney's VI Corps occupied an advanced position at Guttstadt, while the Imperial Guard and the Reserve Cavalry occupied the rear area around Ostróda.
Napoleon stationed Maréchal Lannes V Corps in a position to cover Warsaw. Maréchal Augereau's decimated VII Corps was broken up and its survivors were allotted to the other corps. L'Estocq's attempt to pursue the French came to grief at Braniewo on 26 February, when Bernadotte's corps drubbed his advance guard. In this action, the Russian-Prussian force lost 100 killed and wounded, with 700 soldiers and six guns captured. French losses were not reported but were light. Meanwhile, to the northeast of Warsaw, General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary's V Corps defeated Lieutenant General Ivan Essen at the Battle of Ostroleka on 16 February; the French lost 1,171 casualties including one general killed. Russian losses were 2,500 soldiers, seven guns, two colors. At the end of March 1807, Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier withdrew many of his troops from the Siege of Stralsund with the intention of using them for the Siege of Kolberg, his Swedish opponent, General-Leutnant Hans Henric von Essen pushed back the outnumbered besiegers.
Returning with the bulk of his soldiers, Mortier drove the Swedes north of the Peene River and the two sides concluded an armistice on 29 April. This freed many of Mortier's troops for other duties and allowed Napoleon to concentrate on reducing Gdańsk. Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre invested the fortress of Danzig on 10 March 1807. After a prolonged defense in the Siege of Danzig, General of Infantry Friedrich Adolf, Count von Kalckreuth surrendered on 24 May. Of the 370 officers and 15,287 men of the garrison, 3,000 were wounded, or died of disease. French losses numbered about 6,000 wounded, or died of sickness. French officer casualties were 105 wounded. On the 27th, the garrison were escorted to Baltiysk; the paroled Prussians promised not to fight against France for one year. With Danzig secured in his rear, Napoleon planned to launch an offensive around 10 June; when he received intelligence that the Russians intended to attack him, the emperor thought the enemy move "ridiculous" since they had done little to trouble him while Danzig was under siege.
By this time, Napoleon massed 220,000 troops in Poland against only 115,000 Prussians. Napoleon had 190,000 men under his direct command. Masséna's instructions were to cover Warsaw, guard the right wing, threaten the Russian strategic left flank. On 2 June Bennigsen advanced on Napoleon's lines; the Russian commander planned to destroy Ney's exposed corps in an overly complex operation involving six advancing columns. He sent the 1st Column with 24 battalions and 4 batteries through Orneta south, to drive the French troops from the east bank of the Pasłęka; the Russians would move south and take position near Eldyty Wielkie, thus preventing Soult from supporting Ney. Dokhturov commanded the 1st Column, which included his own 4,653-man 7th Division and Lieutenant General Peter Kirillovich Essen's 5,670-strong 8th Division. Lieutenant General Fabian Gottlieb von Osten-Sacken led the 2nd Column, which consisted of 42 battalions, 140 squadrons, nine batteries. Bennigsen desired the 2nd Column to strike Ney's left flank while supporting the adjacent 1st and 3rd Columns.