Battle of Vitebsk (1812)
The Battle of Vitebsk, sometimes spelled Witepsk, was a military engagement that took place on 26 and 27 July 1812 during the French invasion of Russia. The battle occurred as Napoleon was trying to envelop the Russian First Army at Vitebsk, Barclays motivation to make a stand resulted from political pressures and from his own desire to improve the armys morale, after weeks of retreating without a fight. Barclays main concern for the day of 27 July was to keep the French at bay for long enough, in order to allow his main force to escape towards Smolensk, where he planned to unite with Bagration. Unbeknownst to Napoleon, the Russian army retreated during the afternoon and night, the Russian army made a hasty retreat and safely reached Smolensk, where they were able to unite with Bagration, just as planned. Towards mid-July, he launched a part of his forces in an enveloping action towards Vitebsk. There, a French force under Marshal Joachim Murat and General Etienne de Nansouty tried to pin down a superior force under Russian General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy.
While the Russians registered relatively high casualties, they were able to retreat in good order, the Russians themselves inflicted significant casualties on the enemy and crucially, delayed them for long enough to allow the concentration of significant forces around Vitebsk. Meanwhile, with the Russian army having continually retreated before the enemy ever since the campaign started an earlier, morale among the rank. Barclay was thus under pressure to fight and decided to do so at Vitebsk. However, Napoleons superior numbers and the weaknesses of Barclays battlefield position meant that the chances for a Russian victory were very weak at best. Konovnitsyn was extremely adept at leading rearguard actions and he managed to block all the attempts to advance. The French were thus unable to contact with the bulk of the Russian forces on 26 July. Meanwhile, at nightfall, Prince Aleksandr Meshikov, aide-de-camp to General Pyotr Bagration arrived at Barclays headquarters, Meshikov brought alarming news of the defeat of Bagrations Second Army at the Battle of Saltanovka, three days earlier, at the hands of Marshal Louis Nicolas Davout.
The Russians thus needed to abandon any plans to give battle, urgently break contact with the enemy and move southeast. Despite these considerations, Barclay still wanted to battle the next day and was only dissuaded from doing so by his advisers. That night, the commander issued orders for retreat, but the proximity of Napoleons force meant that a retreat would not be easy to operate. At daybreak on 27 July, Napoleon set his troops in motion, thrilled that he faced a massed enemy army. The battlefield at Vitebsk was a vast and flat plain and only the river Dvina separated the French forces from the Russians, who were occupying a slightly elevated position on the eastern bank
Polish Legions (Napoleonic period)
The Polish Legions in the Napoleonic period, were several Polish military units that served with the French Army, mainly from 1797 to 1803, although some units continued to serve until 1815. After the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, many Poles believed that Revolutionary France, Frances enemies included Polands partitioners, Prussia and Imperial Russia. Many Polish soldiers and volunteers therefore emigrated, especially to Italy and to France, the number of Polish recruits soon reached many thousands. With support from Napoleon Bonaparte, Polish military units were formed, bearing Polish military ranks and they became known as the Polish Legions, a Polish army in exile, under French command. Their best known Polish commanders included Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, Karol Kniaziewicz, the Polish Legions serving alongside the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars saw combat in most of Napoleons campaigns, from the West Indies, through Italy and Egypt. When the Duchy of Warsaw was created in 1807, many of the veterans of the Legions formed a core around which the Duchys army was raised under Józef Poniatowski, among historians there is a degree of uncertainty about the period in which the Legions existed.
Magocsi et al. notes that the heyday of their activity falls in the years 1797–1801, Davies defines the time of their existence as five to six years. The Polish PWN Encyklopedia defines them as operating in the period of 1797–1801. The Polish WIEM Encyklopedia notes that the Legions ended with the death of most of their personnel in the Haitian campaign, which concluded in 1803. Estimates of the strength of the Polish Legions vary and it is believed that between 20,000 and 30,000 men served in the Legions ranks at any one time over the course of their existence. The WIEM Encyklopedia estimate is 21,000 for the period up to 1803, Davies suggests 25,000 for the period of up to 1802–1803, as does Magosci et al. Bideleux and Jeffries offer an estimate of up to 30,000 for the period up to 1801, most of the soldiers came from the ranks of the peasantry, with only about 10 percent being drawn from the nobility. Frances enemies included Polands partitioners, Prussia and Imperial Russia, Paris was the seat of two Polish organizations laying the claim to be the Polish government-in-exile, the Deputation of Franciszek Ksawery Dmochowski and the Agency of Józef Wybicki.
Many Polish soldiers and volunteers therefore emigrated, especially to Italy, the Agency was successful in convincing the French government to organize a Polish military unit. As the French Constitution did not allow for the employment of troops on French soil, the French decided to use the Poles to bolster their allies in Italy. Jan Henryk Dąbrowski, a former high-ranking officer in the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Dąbrowski was soon authorized by the French-allied Cisalpine Republic to create the Polish Legions, which would be part of the army of the newly created Republic of Lombardy. This agreement, drafted by Napoleon, was signed on 9 January 1797, the Polish soldiers serving in the Dąbrowski Legion were granted Lombardian citizenship and were paid the same wage as other troops. They were allowed to use their own unique Polish-style uniforms, with some French and Lombardian symbols, by early February 1797 the Legion was 1,200 strong, having been bolstered by the arrival of many new recruits who had deserted from the Austrian army
Battle of Mir (1812)
The Battle of Mir took place on 9 and 10 July 1812 during Napoleons invasion of Russia. Three Polish Lancers divisions battled against Russian cavalry, ending in the first major Russian victory in the French invasion of Russia, the Polish general Alexander Rosnieckis forces clashed with Russian Alexander Vasilchikovs cavalry, resulting in hand-to-hand combat with fairly even losses. Followed by Uhlans, they swept through the village, attacking Platovs main force, a third Polish brigade attempting to join the fight was encircled and broken by Cossacks, after which the entire Polish force gave ground, driven back with the aid of Russian Hussars. After the arrival of Vasilchikovs Akhtyrka Hussars and other reinforcements, platov defeated the enemy there, and moved on to Mir, where he inflicted further losses on the enemy before tactically withdrawing. A complete rout was only averted by Tyszkiewiczs brigade, which covered the Polish retreat. The town of Mir and fort ruins were used as a headquarters by Jérôme Bonaparte, until he decided or had to leave the army, after retreating, the Mir Castle was destroyed with gunpowder
War of the Third Coalition
The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war and its client states under Napoleon I, defeated an alliance, from 1803–05, Britain stood under constant threat of a French invasion. The Royal Navy, secured mastery of the seas, the Third Coalition itself came to full fruition in 1804–05 as Napoleons actions in Italy and Germany spurred Austria and Russia into joining Britain against France. Victory at Austerlitz permitted the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, a collection of German states intended as a buffer zone between France and central Europe. As a direct consequence of events, the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist when, in 1806, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated the Imperial throne, emerging as Francis I. These achievements, did not establish a peace on the continent. Austerlitz had driven neither Russia nor Britain, whose armies protected Sicily from a French invasion, Prussian worries about growing French influence in Central Europe sparked the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806.
Europe had been embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars since 1792, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the armies of the First Coalition in 1797. A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, but this too was defeated by 1801, in March 1802, France and Britain agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years all of Europe was at peace, many problems persisted between the two sides making implementation of the treaty increasingly difficult. Bonaparte was angry that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta, the tension only worsened when Bonaparte sent an expeditionary force to re-establish control over Haiti. Prolonged intransigence on these issues led Britain to declare war on France on 18 May 1803, Bonaparte had already revived plans for an invasion of England in March 1803. Bonapartes expeditionary army was destroyed by disease in Haiti, and subsequently swayed the First Consul to abandon his plans to rebuild Frances New World empire, without sufficient revenues from sugar colonies in the Caribbean, the vast territory of Louisiana in North America had little value to him.
Though Spain had not yet completed the transfer of Louisiana to France per the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed on 30 April 1803. Despite issuing orders that the over 60 million francs were to be spent on the construction of five new canals in France, Bonaparte spent the whole amount on his planned invasion of England. The execution of Enghien shocked the aristocrats of Europe, who remembered the bloodletting of the Revolution. The statement is sometimes attributed to French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Sometimes the quote is given as, It was worse than a crime, pitt scored a significant coup by securing a burgeoning rival as an ally
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino was a battle fought on 7 September 1812 in the Napoleonic Wars during the French invasion of Russia. The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 70,000 casualties, Napoleons Grande Armée launched an attack against the Russian army, driving it back from its initial positions but failing to gain a decisive victory. Both armies were exhausted after the battle and the Russians withdrew from the field the following day, Borodino represented the last Russian effort at stopping the French advance on Moscow, which fell a week later. After a series of Russian retreats at the beginning of the campaign, Mikhail Kutuzov was appointed as his replacement. In a final attempt to save Moscow, the Russians made a stand near the village of Borodino and they fortified their positions and waited for the French to attack. The Russian right wing occupied ideal defensive terrain, so the French tried to press the Russian left for much of the battle, the highlight of the fighting became the bloody struggle for the large Raevsky redoubt near the village of Borodino.
The French managed to capture this redoubt late into the day, the Russians suffered terrible casualties during the fighting, losing over a third of their army. French losses were heavy, exacerbating the logistical difficulties that Napoleon encountered in the campaign. Napoleons Imperial Guard, the unit on the battlefield that saw no fighting, was available to swing into action at a moments notice. In refusing to commit the Guard, some believe, he lost his one chance to destroy the Russian army. The capture of Moscow proved a pyrrhic victory since the Russians had no intention of negotiating with Napoleon for peace. The French evacuated Russias spiritual capital in October and conducted a retreat that only ended in December. Historical reports of the battle differed significantly depending on whether they originated from supporters of the French or Russian side, factional fighting among senior officers within each army led to conflicting accounts and disagreements over the roles of particular officers.
The French Grande Armée began its invasion of Russia on 16 June 1812, in response, Emperor Alexander I proclaimed a Patriotic War and prepared to face the French. However, Phulls plan soon proved to be a mistake, as the enormous Grande Armée was more than enough to separate. Furthermore, the participation of Tsar Alexander I as commander caused more chaos in the Russian army, the Russian forces which were massed along the Polish frontier were obliged to fall back in the face of the swift French advance. Napoleon advanced from Vitebsk, hoping to catch the Russian Army in the open where he could annihilate it, the French army was not positioned well for an extended overland campaign, it was 925 km from its nearest supply base at Kovno. French supply lines were vulnerable and Cossacks, light cavalry, guerrilla forces and even French deserters attacked and seriously depleted French supply columns
Switzerland in the Napoleonic era
During the French Revolutionary Wars, the revolutionary armies marched eastward, enveloping Switzerland in their battles against Austria. In 1798, Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic, the Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, Gallen and Ticino became cantons with equal rights. The Congress of Vienna of 1815 fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality, at this time, the territory of Switzerland was increased for the last time, by the new cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. During the last years of the Ancien Régime the growing conflicts throughout the Confederation had weakened and distracted the Diet, during the next eight years revolts sprang up across the Confederation and unlike earlier many were successful. In 1790 the Lower Valais rose against the upper districts, in 1791 Porrentruy rebelled against the Bishop of Basel and became the Rauracian republic in November 1792 and in 1793 the French department of the Mont Terrible.
In 1795 St Gallen successfully revolted against the prince-abbot and these revolts were supported or encouraged by France, but the French army didnt directly attack the Confederation. In 1797 the districts of Chiavenna and Bormio, dependencies of the Three Leagues and they were quickly invaded and annexed to the Cisalpine Republic on 10 October 1797. In December of the year the Bishopric of Basel was occupied and annexed. On 9 December 1797 Frédéric-César de La Harpe, a member of the Helvetian Club from Vaud, seeing a chance to remove a feudal neighbor and gain Berns wealth, France agreed. By February 1798 French troops occupied Mulhouse and Biel/Bienne, another army entered Vaud, when the Lemanic republic was proclaimed, and the Diet broke up in dismay without taking any steps to avert the coming storm. On 5 March troops entered Bern, deserted by her allies, with Bern, the stronghold of the aristocratic party, in revolutionary hands, the old Confederation collapsed. Within a month, the Confederation was under French control and all the members of the Confederation were gone.
On 12 April 1798121 cantonal deputies proclaimed the Helvetic Republic, the new régime abolished cantonal sovereignty and feudal rights. The occupying forces established a state based on the ideas of the French Revolution. Before the Helvetic Republic, each canton had exercised complete sovereignty over its own territory or territories. Little central authority had existed, with matters concerning the country as a whole confined mainly to the Diet, the constitution of the Helvetic Republic came mainly from the design of Peter Ochs, a magistrate from Basel. It established a central two-chamber legislature which included the Grand Council, the executive, known as the Directory, comprised 5 members
War of the Sixth Coalition
After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France. The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, the even larger Battle of Leipzig was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleons 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, the French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration. This was not however the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815. In 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, 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 where the two armies fought a devastating but inconclusive battle. 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 refused to capitulate, leaving the French in the city of Moscow with little food or shelter and winter approaching. In these circumstances, and with no path to victory. Total losses of the Grand Army were at least 370,000 casualties as a result of fighting and the weather conditions. 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, 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 and Sweden. However, when Napoleon marched on Moscow, neither Britain nor Sweden would give any support to Russia. The alliance existed only on paper, according to the Treaty of Tilsit, Prussia had to support Napoleons invasion of Russia
Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Junot was born in Bussy-le-Grand, Côte-dOr, son of Michel Junot, a farmer and wife Marie Antoinette Bienaymé and he was studying law in Dijon when the French Revolution started. He joined a battalion, was twice wounded and made sergeant. He first met Napoleon Bonaparte during the Siege of Toulon in 1793 when he became his secretary and he was made a general of brigade at the beginning of the Egyptian campaign but was injured in a duel and captured when he was returning as an invalid to France. He participated in the coup of 18 Brumaire and he married Laure Martin de Permond, a long-time friend of the Bonapartes, in 1800. He was briefly ambassador to Portugal before hurrying back to serve under Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz, junots major command was during the Peninsular War. He commanded the 1807 Invasion of Portugal, setting out in November from Salamanca, his vanguard accomplished a bloodless occupation of Lisbon on 30 November.
For this feat, he was granted the victory title of Duc dAbrantès and was made Governor of Portugal. But when a British expeditionary force landed, Junot was beaten at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808 and he was cut off from France. He returned to France in October, narrowly escaping a court martial and he returned to the Iberian peninsula in 1810 in command of the VIII Corps under Marshal André Masséna and was badly wounded. In 1813 he was made Governor of the Illyrian Provinces but his mental instability led to him being returned to France. Many think he committed suicide in Montbard, during the peninsular war, he had a relationship with Juliana de Almeida e Oyenhausen, daughter of Leonor de Almeida Portugal, 4th Marquise of Alorna. ISBN 1-84176-055-2 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. Junot, Andoche
Joachim-Napoléon Murat was a Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. He was the 1st Prince Murat, Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808 and he received his titles in part by being Napoleons brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, as well as personal merit. He was noted as a daring and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant dresser and was known as the Dandy King. In 1789, an affair forced him to resign, and he returned to his family, by 1790, he had joined the National Guard, and when the Fête of the Nation was organized on 14 July 1790, the Canton of Montaucon sent Murat as its representative. Then he became reinstated into his old regiment, an ardent Republican, Murat wrote to his brother in 1791 stating he was preoccupied with revolutionary affairs and would sooner die than cease to be a patriot. This garnered for him the support of the Republicans, for he rejoined his regiment and was promoted to Corporal in April of that year.
By 19 November 1792, he was 25 years old and elated at his latest promotion. As a sous-lieutenant, he thought, his family must recognize that he had no tendency for the priesthood. One of the Ministers had accused him of being an aristocrat, confusing him with the family of Murat dAuvergne. In the autumn of 1795, three years after King Louis XVI of France was deposed and counter-revolutionaries organised an armed uprising, on 3 October, General Napoleon Bonaparte, who was stationed in Paris, was named commander of the French National Conventions defending forces. This constitutional convention, after a period of emergency rule, was striving to establish a more stable. Bonaparte tasked Murat with the gathering of artillery from a suburb outside the control of the governments forces, Murat managed to take the cannons of the Camp des Sablons and transport them to the centre of Paris while avoiding the rioters. The use of these cannons – the famous whiff of grapeshot – on 5 October allowed Bonaparte to save the members of the National Convention, for this success, Joachim Murat was made chef de brigade and thereafter remained one of Napoleons best officers.
Murat went with Bonaparte to northern Italy, initially as his aide-de-camp and these forces were waging war on France and seeking to restore a monarchy in revolutionary France. Thus, Murats skills in no small part helped establish Bonapartes legendary fame, Murat commanded the cavalry of the French Egyptian expedition of 1798, again under Bonaparte. The expeditions strategic goal was to threaten Britains rich holdings in India, the overall effort ended prematurely because of lack of logistical support with the defeat of the French fleet due to British sea power. After the sea battle, Napoleon led his troops on land toward Europe, the remaining non-military expedition staff officers, including Murat, and Bonaparte returned to France, eluding various British fleets in five frigates. A short while later, Murat played an important, even pivotal, role in Bonapartes coup within a coup of 18 Brumaire, along with two others, Napoleon Bonaparte set aside the five-man directory government, establishing the three-man French Consulate government
The Peninsular War was a military conflict between Napoleons empire and the allied powers of Spain and Portugal, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war started when French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, the Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española, which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas, the British Army, under the Lt. Gen. Arthur Wellesley, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen, in the following year Wellington scored a decisive victory over King Josephs army at Vitoria. The years of fighting in Spain were a burden on Frances Grande Armée. The Spanish armies were beaten and driven to the peripheries.
This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had provoked a total war. War and revolution against Napoleons occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion and restoration led to the independence of most of Spains American colonies, the Treaties of Tilsit, negotiated during a meeting in July 1807 between Emperors Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon, concluded the War of the Fourth Coalition. With Prussia shattered, and Russia allied with France, Napoleon expressed irritation that Portugal was open to trade with the United Kingdom, Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I, had declined to join the emperors Continental System against British trade.
After a few days, a large force started concentrating at Bayonne, meanwhile the Portuguese governments resolve was stiffening, and shortly afterward Napoleon was once again told that Portugal would not go beyond its original agreements. After he received the Portuguese answer, he ordered Junots corps to cross the frontier into Spain, while all this was going on, the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau had been signed between France and Spain. The document was drawn up by Napoleons marshal of the palace Géraud Duroc and Eugenio Izquierdo, the treaty proposed to carve up Portugal into three entities. Porto and the part was to become the Kingdom of Northern Lusitania. The southern portion, as the Principality of the Algarves, would fall to Godoy, the rump of the country, centered on Lisbon, was to be administered by the French. According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Junots invasion force was to be supported by 25,500 men in three Spanish columns, Gen. Taranco and 6,500 troops were ordered to march from Vigo to seize Porto in the north.
Capt. Gen. Solano would advance from Badajoz with 9,500 soldiers to capture Elvas, Gen. Caraffa and 9,500 men were instructed to assemble at Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and cooperate with Junots main force
French invasion of Russia
Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia, Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions. The Grande Armée was a large force, numbering 680,000 soldiers. Napoleon hoped the battle would mean an end of the march into Russia, plans Napoleon had made to quarter at Smolensk were abandoned, and he pressed his army on after the Russians. As the Russian army fell back, Cossacks were given the task of burning villages and this was intended to deny the invaders the option of living off the land. The actions forced the French to rely on a system that was incapable of feeding the large army in the field. Starvation and privation compelled French soldiers to leave their camps at night in search of food and these men were frequently confronted by parties of Cossacks, who captured or killed them.
The Russian army retreated into Russia for almost three months, the continual retreat and the loss of lands to the French upset the Russian nobility. They pressured Alexander I to relieve the commander of the Russian army, Alexander I complied, appointing an old veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, to take over command of the army. However, for two more weeks Kutuzov continued to retreat as his predecessor had done, on 7 September, the French caught up with the Russian army which had dug itself in on hillsides before a small town called Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow. The battle that followed was the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars until that point, involving more than 250,000 soldiers, the French gained a tactical victory, but at the cost of 49 general officers and thousands of men. The Russian army was able to extricate itself and withdrew the following day, Napoleon entered Moscow a week later. In another turn of events the French found puzzling, there was no delegation to meet the Emperor, the Russians had evacuated the city, and the citys governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered several strategic points in Moscow set ablaze.
Napoleons hopes had been set upon an end to his campaign. The loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to sue for peace, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow looking to negotiate a peace, his hopes fed in part by a disinformation campaign informing the Emperor of supposed discontent and fading morale in the Russian camp. After staying a month Napoleon moved his army out southwest toward Kaluga, the French advance toward Kaluga was checked by a Russian corps. Napoleon tried once more to engage the Russian army for an action at the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Despite holding a position, the Russians retreated following a sharp engagement
The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleons 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 phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July. Napoleon returned while the Congress of Vienna was sitting, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars pitted France against various coalitions of other European nations nearly continuously from 1792 onward. The overthrow and subsequent public execution of Louis XVI in France had greatly disturbed other European leaders, rather than leading to Frances defeat, the wars allowed the revolutionary regime to expand beyond its borders and create client republics. The success of the French forces made an out of their best commander. In 1799, Napoleon staged a successful coup détat and became First Consul of the new French Consulate, five years later, he crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I.
The rise of Napoleon troubled the other European powers as much as the revolutionary regime had. Despite the formation of new coalitions against him, Napoleons forces continued to conquer much of Europe, the tide of war began to turn after a disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812 that resulted in the loss of much of Napoleons army. The following year, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, Coalition forces defeated the French in the Battle of Leipzig, following its victory at Leipzig, the Coalition vowed to press on to Paris and depose Napoleon. In the last week of February 1814, Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher advanced on Paris, the Battle of Reims went to Napoleon, but this victory was followed by successive defeats from increasingly overwhelming odds. Coalition forces entered Paris after the Battle of Montmartre on 30 March 1814, on 6 April 1814, Napoleon abdicated his throne, leading to the accession of Louis XVIII and the first Bourbon Restoration a month later.
The defeated Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, Napoleon spent only nine months and 21 days in uneasy retirement on Elba, watching events in France with great interest as the Congress of Vienna gradually gathered. He had been escorted to Elba by Sir Neil Campbell, who remained in there while performing other duties in Italy. Equally threatening was the situation in Europe which had been stressed and exhausted during the previous decades of near constant warfare. The conflicting demands of major powers were for a time so exorbitant as to bring the Powers at the Congress of Vienna to the verge of war with each other. Thus every scrap of news reaching remote Elba looked favourable to Napoleon to retake power as he reasoned the news of his return would cause a popular rising as he approached. So threatening were the symptoms that the royalists at Paris and the plenipotentiaries at Vienna talked of deporting him to the Azores or to Saint Helena, at the Congress of Vienna the various participating nations had very different and conflicting goals.
Tsar Alexander of Russia had expected to absorb much of Poland and to leave a Polish puppet state, the renewed Prussian state demanded all of the Kingdom of Saxony