Battle of Toulouse (1814)
The Battle of Toulouse was one of the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars, four days after Napoleons surrender of the French Empire to the nations of the Sixth Coalition. Toulouse, the capital, proved stoutly defended by Marshal Soult. One British and two Spanish divisions were badly mauled in bloody fighting on 10 April, with Allied losses exceeding French casualties by 1,400. As Wellington pulled back to reorganize his shattered units, Soult held the city for a day before orchestrating an escape from the town with his entire army. Wellingtons entry on the morning of 12 April was acclaimed by a number of French Royalists. That afternoon, the word of Napoleons abdication and the end of the war reached Wellington. Soult agreed to an armistice on 17 April, the city of Toulouse was garrisoned by around 42,000 French troops, under the command of Marshal Soult, Duke of Dalmatia. Allied campaigning had gradually pushed French forces out of Spain during 1813, after Soults defeat by Wellington at the Battle of Orthez in late February 1814, the French Marshal retreated north behind the Adour River to Saint-Sever.
Soult was on the horns of a dilemma and he could defend Bordeaux to the north-west or Toulouse to the east, but he could not protect both. The French army would have difficulty obtaining food near Bordeaux and it would place the Garonne River in their rear, Soult elected to base himself on Toulouse. With Soult moving east, Wellington sent Beresford and two divisions to seize Bordeaux, the third-largest city of France, to make up for this subtraction of strength, the British general called up 8000 Spanish infantry and the British heavy cavalry as reinforcements. Fearful that the Spanish would plunder the French countryside and incite a war, Wellington put his allies on the British payroll. Meanwhile, the British-Portuguese-Spanish army pushed the French out of Aire-sur-lAdour on 2 March in a skirmish, Soult pulled back to Plaisance and Maubourget, facing west. A ten-day lull followed, during which time Wellingtons reinforcements began to arrive, on 12 March, Beresford captured Bordeaux without resistance.
Leaving the 7th Division as a garrison, he rushed back to join Wellington with the 4th Division, meanwhile, on 17–18 March, in a raid with 100 French cavalrymen, Captain Dauma circled the Allied armys south flank and attacked Saint-Sever where he captured 100 men. At the same time, Wellington launched his offensive, hoping to ensnare Soults army, by rapidly marching east to Saint-Gaudens and north-east to Toulouse, the French avoided the British flanking columns. Reaching Toulouse, Soult placed his soldiers behind the citys walls, the Toulouse 1814 Order of Battle lists the Allied and French units and organisations that were present at the battle. Toulouse lies on the Garonne, which runs into the city from the south-west, just east of the Garonne, the smaller Hers-Mort runs past the city from the south-east to the north-east, forming a narrow corridor
Battle of Paris (1814)
The Battle of Paris was fought on March 30–31,1814 between the Sixth Coalition—consisting of Russia 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, Napoleon was retreating from his failed invasion of Russia in 1812. With the Russian armies following up victory, the Sixth Coalition was formed with Russia, Prussia, Great Britain, Spain, after the battle, the Pro-French German Confederation of the Rhine collapsed, thereby losing Napoleons hold on Germany east of the Rhine. The Coalition forces, numbering more than 400,000 and divided into three groups, finally entered northeastern France in January 1814. Utilizing his advantages, Napoleon defeated the divided Coalition forces in detail, starting with the battles at Brienne and La Rothière and he launched his brilliant six-day campaign against the huge Coalition army, under Blücher, threatening Paris to its northeast at the Aisne River.
He successfully defeated and halted it, but could not seize the initiative back in their favor as Blüchers forces were still largely intact. The Austrian emperor Francis I and King Frederick William III of Prussia felt very demoralized upon hearing the setbacks brought about by Napoleons victories since the start of the campaign and they even considered ordering a general retreat. But the Tsar Alexander I was far more determined than ever to victoriously enter Paris whatever the cost, imposing his will upon Schwarzenberg and the wavering monarchs. He was successful in defeating this army, but it was not enough to halt it in time, after this the Coalition forces advanced yet again towards Paris. Until this battle it had been nearly 400 years since a foreign army had entered Paris, since the disaster in Russia and the start of the war, the French populace had been increasingly becoming war-weary. France had been exhausting itself at war for 25 years, and many of its men had died during the wars Napoleon had fought until then, the leaders of the Coalition decided that Paris, and not Napoleon himself, was now the main objective.
The Tsar intended to ride out to meet the Prussian king and they met on a road leading directly to Paris and the Tsar proposed his intentions. He brought a map and spread it to the ground for all of them to see as they talked about the plan, the plan was for the entire main Coalition army to stop pursuing Napoleon and his army and instead march directly to Paris. The exception was Wintzingerodes 10, 000-strong cavalry detachment and eight horse batteries which were to follow, as was usual, the king agreed as did Schwarzenberg. The main Coalition army began its march towards Paris on 28 March, while the main Coalition army attacked Paris, Wintzingerodes unit hotly pursued Napoleon and his rag-tag army to the southeast, but was beaten back by the latter. However, by the time the emperor knew of the subterfuge, he was too far away to the southeast of Paris. He would never reach the city in time, thus he could not participate in the battle for the city. The Coalition army totaled about 150,000 troops, assisting the French were the incomplete trenches and other defenses in and around the city
Battle of Feistritz
The Battle of Feistritz saw an Imperial French corps led by Paul Grenier attack an Austrian brigade under August von Vécsey. After putting up a resistance, the outnumbered Austrians were defeated and forced to retreat. The clash occurred during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, Feistritz im Rosental is located on the Drau River near the southern border of Austria, about 16 kilometres southwest of Klagenfurt. When hostilities commenced between the Austrian Empire and Imperial France, Johann von Hiller led an Austrian army to attack the Illyrian Provinces, when the Austrian general established a second bridgehead at Feistritz, Eugène sent Grenier to wipe it out. The minor victory only delayed the inevitable, and within a few weeks Eugène was compelled to abandon Illyria, in 1812, the best French and Italian units from the French Army of Italy were assigned to the IV Corps for the French invasion of Russia. The troops fought well under the command of Eugène de Beauharnais, to rebuild his army in Germany for the 1813 campaign, Emperor Napoleon transferred four more divisions from the garrison of Italy to join the newly established IV and XII Corps.
The emperor gave his stepson Eugène permission to organize a new out of French. By May 1813, the new army began forming around the French 46th, 47th, and 48th Divisions, the Italian 49th Division, and one cavalry division. In fact, only 13,000 French conscripts joined the army, since military equipment was scarce, some soldiers were sent to the front dressed in police uniforms. Nevertheless, the continued to expand and Eugène eventually renumbered his divisions 1 through 6. Meanwhile, the Austrian Empire prepared for war with Napoleon by expanding their army, while their main army was based in Bohemia, Austria stationed one army corps on the Danube and another in the Duchy of Carinthia. The troops in Carinthia were placed under the command of Feldzeugmeister Johann von Hiller, since it was considered a minor theater, Hillers army only counted 35,000 soldiers and 120 artillery pieces in August. This total was smaller than the number of troops in his opponents army, the Austrian general had veteran division and brigade commanders, but he was handicapped by a clumsy command system and large numbers of indifferently-equipped conscripts in the ranks.
Though the Danube corps remained in place, reinforcements were continually switched from there to the Army of Inner Austria throughout the autumn, the Advanced Guard had two Grenz infantry battalions and two hussar squadrons. Frimonts division had three brigades led by General-majors Franjo Vlašić, Ferdinand Daniel Pulszky, and August von Vécsey. Vlašićs light brigade comprised one jäger and one Grenz battalion and six squadrons, Pulszkys brigade consisted of four line battalions. Marzianis division was made up of a brigade led by General-major Johann Mayer von Heldensfeld with seven line battalions. Sommarivas division counted three brigades commanded by Generals-major Joseph Xaver von Stutterheim, Joseph von Fölseis, and Georg Johann von Wrede
Battle of Dresden
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 kick the French out of Central Europe. Despite being heavily outnumbered, French forces under Napoleon scored a modest victory against the Allied army led by Field Marshal Schwarzenberg, Napoleons victory did not lead to the collapse of the coalition, and the lack of effective French cavalry units precluded a major pursuit. A few days after the battle, the Allies surrounded and captured a French corps at the Battle of Kulm. On 16 August, Napoleon had sent Marshal Saint-Cyrs corps to fortify and hold Dresden in order to hinder allied movements and he planned to strike against the interior lines of his enemies and defeat them in detail, before they could combine their full strength. He had some 300,000 men and 800 cannons against allied forces totaling over 450,000 and 1200 cannons, but the Coalition avoided battle with Napoleon himself, choosing to attack his subordinate commanders instead.
On 23 August, at the Battle of Grossbeeren, south of Berlin, and on 26 August, Prussian Marshal Blücher defeated Marshal MacDonald at the Katzbach. In Dresden, French infantry manned the various redoubts and defensive positions and they hoped to last long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Sure enough, they got their wish, Napoleon arrived quickly and unexpectedly with reinforcements to repel this assault on the city. French counterattacks on the Great Garden in the southeast and on the center were successful. Although outnumbered three to two, Napoleon attacked the following morning, turned the allied left flank, and won a tactical victory. The flooded Weisseritz cut the wing of the Allied army, commanded by Johann von Klenau and Ignaz Gyulai. Marshal Joachim Murat took advantage of isolation and inflicted heavy losses on the Austrians. A French participant observed, Murat. cut off from the Austrian army Klenaus corps, nearly all his battalions were compelled to lay down their arms, and two other divisions of infantry shared their fate.
Gyulais divisions suffered losses when they were attacked by Murats cavalry during a rainstorm. With damp flints and powder, their muskets would not fire and many became a easy prey to the French cuirassiers. However, Napoleons failure to follow up on his success allowed Schwarzenberg to withdraw, the Coalition had lost some 38,000 men and 40 guns. Some of Napoleons officers noted he was suffering from a violent colic, on 27 August, General Vandamme received orders to advance on Pirna and bridge the Elbe there
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 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 Bautzen
In the Battle of Bautzen a combined Russian/Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon I of France, but escaped destruction, some sources claim, because Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. The Prussians under Count Gebhard von Blücher and Russians under Prince Peter Wittgenstein, the Prusso-Russian army was in a full retreat following their defeat at the Battle of Lützen. Finally, generals Wittgenstein and Blücher were ordered to stop at Bautzen by Tsar Alexander I, the Prusso-Russian army was nearly 100,000 men strong, but Napoleon had 115,000 troops. Additionally, Marshal Ney had 85,000 more men within easy marching distance, Wittgenstein formed two defensive lines, with the first holding strongpoints in villages and along ridges and the second holding the bridges behind a river bend. Napoleon had planned to pin down his enemies to their lines, due to faulty reconnaissance, he became concerned that the Prusso-Russians had more soldiers and held stronger positions than they actually did.
So Napoleon decided he would not set up his trap until they had been softened up, after an intense bombardment by the grande batterie of Napoleons artillery and hours of heated fighting, the French overpowered the first defensive lines and seized the town of Bautzen. The Prusso-Russians appeared to be buckling, by nightfall, the French were ready to cut the allies off from their line of retreat. But Marshal Ney became confused and his faulty positioning left the open for the Allies to escape. Fighting on the day, the 21st, was again hard and after several hours of setbacks. But these assaults were only intended to fix the allies in place so they could be cut off, once again, Marshal Ney became distracted and decided to seize the village of Preititz, and thus lost sight of the strategic importance of cutting off the allies. The Prusso-Russians were being pushed back across the river and, at 4 p. m. when the Imperial Guard was sent in, without Neys forces to seal them in, they again escaped the total defeat Napoleon had planned.
Losses on both sides totaled around 20,000, the French victory at Bautzen is therefore often called a Pyrrhic victory. Although a success for the French, Bautzen was not the decisive, Neys failure to cut the line of retreat robbed the French of complete victory. Once more Napoleon had to settle for a narrow, pyrrhic victory, to make matters worse, during the battle, Napoleons close friend and Grand Marshal of the Palace, General Geraud Duroc, was mortally wounded by a cannonball and died hours after the battle. Following Bautzen, Napoleon agreed to a truce with the Coalition. The Armistice of Pleischwitz was signed on 4 June, and lasted until 20 July, during this time he hoped to gather more troops, especially cavalry, and better train his new army. The allies, would not be idle, they too would mobilize and better prepare, and after hostilities were resumed, the Austrians joined the ranks of the allies. It is reported that Napoleon quoted, that his agreement to this truce was a bad mistake, the campaign would resume in August
Charles Pierre François Augereau, 1st Duc de Castiglione was a soldier and general and Marshal of France. After serving in the French Revolutionary Wars he earned promotion while fighting against Spain. He fought in all of Bonapartes battles of 1796 with great distinction, during the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon entrusted him with important commands. His life ended under a cloud because of his poor timing in switching sides between Napoleon and King Louis XVIII of France. Napoleon wrote of Augereau that he has plenty of character, firmness, Pierre Augereau was born in Faubourg Saint-Marceau, Paris, as the son of a Parisian fruit seller. He enlisted in the army at the age of seventeen in the Clare Infantry Regiment and he became a noted swordsman and duellist, but he had to flee France after killing an officer in a quarrel. For the next 13 years he drifted across Europe and he claimed to have served in the Russian army against the Ottoman Empire, afterwards deserting. He enlisted in the regiment of Prince Henry of Prussia.
He deserted by masterminding a mass escape and reached the border of Saxony where he taught fencing, in 1781, King Louis XVI of France proclaimed an amnesty for deserters, so Augereau returned to his native land. He joined the cavalry in 1784, and after serving in the carabiniers he was sent to the Kingdom of Naples as part of a military mission, while in Naples, he eloped with Gabrielle Grach and the two lovers traveled to Portugal where they spent the years 1788–1791. After the French Revolution broke out, the Portuguese jailed Augereau as a dangerous foreigner, somehow Gabrielle persuaded the authorities to release her husband and the couple returned to France. Augereaus unit was sent to put down the Revolt in the Vendée in April 1793, the German Legion proved useless in battle because many of the soldiers switched sides, and the officers, including Augereau and François Marceau found themselves in prison. Released, he served briefly in the 11th Hussars before serving as wagonmaster and he was assigned to train recruits for General Jean-Antoine Marbot at Toulouse.
Marbot liked his work and the Marbot family became Augereaus close friends. It is not clear when, or if, Augereau received promotion to general of brigade, but he transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, when Jacques François Dugommier became commander in January 1794, the army was thoroughly reorganized. After the victory at Boulou, the army advanced a short distance into Spain, at the Battle of San-Lorenzo de la Muga on 13 August, he skilfully repelled the assaults of 20,000 Spaniards with his 10,000 French troops. On 17 November, Dugommier launched an offensive against the Spanish at the Battle of the Black Mountain. On the first day, Augereaus attack crushed the Spanish left flank while other French attacks proved unsuccessful, Dugommier was killed on the second day, but after a days pause, the advance resumed and the Spanish were routed