Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and it was an early colonial power, with possessions around the world. France originated as West Francia, the half of the Carolingian Empire. A branch of the Carolingian dynasty continued to rule until 987, the territory remained known as Francia and its ruler as rex Francorum well into the High Middle Ages. The first king calling himself Roi de France was Philip II, France continued to be ruled by the Capetians and their cadet lines—the Valois and Bourbon—until the monarchy was overthrown in 1792 during the French Revolution. France in the Middle Ages was a de-centralised, feudal monarchy, in Brittany and Catalonia the authority of the French king was barely felt. Lorraine and Provence were states of the Holy Roman Empire and not yet a part of France, during the Late Middle Ages, the Kings of England laid claim to the French throne, resulting in a series of conflicts known as the Hundred Years War.
Subsequently, France sought to extend its influence into Italy, but was defeated by Spain in the ensuing Italian Wars, religiously France became divided between the Catholic majority and a Protestant minority, the Huguenots, which led to a series of civil wars, the Wars of Religion. France laid claim to large stretches of North America, known collectively as New France, Wars with Great Britain led to the loss of much of this territory by 1763. French intervention in the American Revolutionary War helped secure the independence of the new United States of America, the Kingdom of France adopted a written constitution in 1791, but the Kingdom was abolished a year and replaced with the First French Republic. The monarchy was restored by the great powers in 1814. During the years of the elderly Charlemagnes rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of the Kingdom of the Franks, after Charlemagnes death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining political unity and the empire began to crumble.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 divided the Carolingian Empire into three parts, with Charles the Bald ruling over West Francia, the nucleus of what would develop into the kingdom of France. Viking advances were allowed to increase, and their dreaded longboats were sailing up the Loire and Seine rivers and other waterways, wreaking havoc. During the reign of Charles the Simple, Normans under Rollo from Norway, were settled in an area on either side of the River Seine, downstream from Paris, that was to become Normandy. With its offshoots, the houses of Valois and Bourbon, it was to rule France for more than 800 years. Henry II inherited the Duchy of Normandy and the County of Anjou, and married Frances newly divorced ex-queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, after the French victory at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214, the English monarchs maintained power only in southwestern Duchy of Guyenne. The death of Charles IV of France in 1328 without male heirs ended the main Capetian line, under Salic law the crown could not pass through a woman, so the throne passed to Philip VI, son of Charles of Valois
Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe
The following is the list of the names of the 660 persons inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. Most of them are generals who served during the First French Empire with additional figures from the French Revolution, underlined names signify those killed in action. DU MIDI ARMEES DES PYRENEES ORALES, GRANDE ARMEE Jensen, Nathan D. Appendix, Names on the Arc de Triomphe. Unfortunately, some names inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe are ambiguous due to individuals sharing the same last name. While most names are clearly honoring a particular officer, a few remain which are unclear
Saarlouis is a city in the Saarland, capital of the district of Saarlouis. In 2006, the town had a population of 38,327, Saarlouis, as the name implies, is located on the River Saar. It was built as a fortress in 1680 and named after Louis XIV of France, with the Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen in 1678/79, the Lorraine fell to France. In 1680, Louis XIV of France gave order to build a fortification on the banks of the river Saar which was called Sarre-Louis. Frances famous military engineer, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, constructed the city, the plans were made by Thomas de Choisy, in 1683, Louis XIV visited the fortress and granted arms. The coat of arms shows the sun and three Fleur-de-lis. The heraldic motto is Dissipat Atque Fovet, He dispels and heats, in 1697, with the Treaty of Ryswick, most parts of Lorraine gained independence again, but Saarlouis and the surrounding areas remained a French exclave. During the French Revolution, the town was renamed Sarre-Libre, with the Treaty of Paris in 1815, Saarlouis became Prussian.
Marshal Michel Ney, who was born in Saarlouis, was arrested and tried for treason after the failure of Napoleon Is Waterloo Campaign. Neys attorney tried to use the Prussian annexation to save his clients life, arguing that Ney was no longer a French citizen, Ney refused to cooperate, declaring himself to be French, and so was convicted and executed. After World War I, French troops occupied Saarlouis, the Saargebiet became a protectorate of the League of Nations for a period of 15 years. In 1933, a number of anti-Nazi Germans fled to the Saar. As a result, anti-Nazi groups campaigned heavily for the Saarland to remain under control of League of Nations as long as Adolf Hitler ruled Germany, long-held sentiments against France remained entrenched, with very few sympathizing openly with France. When the 15-year-term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935,90. 3% of those voting wished to rejoin Germany, from 1936 till 1945, Saarlouis was named as Saarlautern in an attempt by the Nazis to Germanise the town name.
After World War II, the region, was occupied by France. In a plebiscite in 1955, most of the people in the Saarland opted for the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany, in 1980, Saarlouis celebrated its 300th anniversary. Even today, the fortress dominates the citys hexagonal floor plan, beside the buildings made by Vauban, there are some constructions left from the 19th century when the Prussians got control over the town. Saarlouis was famous for its steel and iron ore production
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
Battle of Winterthur
The small town of Winterthur lies 18 kilometers northeast of Zürich, in Switzerland. Because of its position at the junction of seven cross-roads, the army held the town controlled access to most of Switzerland. By mid-May 1799, the Austrians had wrested control of parts of Switzerland from the French as forces under the command of Hotze, the French Army of Switzerland and the Army of the Danube, now both under the command of André Masséna, sought to prevent this merger. Masséna sent Michel Ney and a mixed cavalry and infantry force from Zürich to stop Hotzes force at Winterthur. Despite a sharp contest, the Austrians succeeded in pushing the French out of the Winterthur highlands, once the union of the Habsburg armies took place in early June, Archduke Charles attacked French positions at Zürich and forced the French to withdraw beyond the Limmat. Initially, the rulers of Europe viewed the revolution in France as an event between the French king and his subjects, and not something in which they should interfere, the French position became increasingly difficult.
Compounding problems in relations, French émigrés continued to agitate for support of a counter-revolution. On 20 April 1792, the French National Convention declared war on Austria, in this War of the First Coalition, France ranged itself against most of the European states sharing land or water borders with her, plus Portugal and the Ottoman Empire. The treaty called for meetings between the parties to work out the exact territorial and remunerative details. Convened at a town in the mid-Rhineland, the Congress quickly derailed in a mire of intrigue. The Austrians were reluctant to cede the designated territories, compounding the Congresss problems, tensions grew between France and most of the First Coalition allies. Ferdinand of Naples refused to pay tribute to France. The French invaded Naples and established the Parthenopaean Republic, encouraged by the French Republic, a republican uprising in the Swiss cantons led to the overthrow of the Swiss Confederation and the establishment of the Helvetic Republic.
The French Directory was convinced that the Austrians were planning to start another war, the weaker France seemed, the more seriously the Austrians, the Neapolitans, the Russians, and the English discussed this possibility. In mid-spring, the Austrians reached an agreement with Tsar Paul of Russia by which the legendary Alexander Suvorov would come out of retirement to assist Austria in Italy with another 60,000 troops. The French Directorys military strategy in 1799 called for offensive campaigns on all fronts, central Italy, northern Italy, the Swiss cantons, the upper Rhineland, and Holland. Theoretically, the French had a force of 250,000 troops. As winter broke in 1799, General Jean Baptiste Jourdan and the Army of the Danube, at a strength of 50,000
Battle of Friedland
Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting. The battlefield is located in modern-day Kaliningrad Oblast, near the town of Pravdinsk, the engagement at Friedland was a strategic necessity after the Battle of Eylau earlier in 1807 had failed to yield a decisive verdict for either side. The battle began when Bennigsen noticed the seemingly isolated corps of Marshal Lannes at the town of Friedland, Lannes held his ground against determined Russian attacks until Napoleon could bring additional forces onto the field. By late afternoon, the French had amassed a force of 80,000 troops on the battlefield, relying on superior numbers, Napoleon concluded that the moment had come and ordered a massive assault against the Russian left flank. The sustained French attack pushed back the Russian army and pressed them against the river behind, unable to withstand the pressure, the Russians broke and started escaping across the Alle, where an unknown number of them died from drowning.
The Russian army suffered casualties at Friedland–losing over 40% of its soldiers on the battlefield. Napoleons overwhelming victory was enough to convince the Russian political establishment that peace was necessary, Friedland effectively ended the War of the Fourth Coalition, as Emperor Alexander I reluctantly entered peace negotiations with Napoleon. The lands lost by Prussia were converted into the new Kingdom of Westphalia, Tilsit gave France control of the Ionian Islands, a vital and strategic entry point into the Mediterranean Sea. Some historians regard the political settlements at Tilsit as the height of Napoleons empire because there was no longer any continental power challenging the French domination of Europe, prior to Friedland, Europe had become embroiled in the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. Following the French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in December 1805, franco-Prussian tensions gradually increased after Austerlitz. Napoleon insisted that Prussia should join his economic blockade of Great Britain and this adversely affected the German merchant class.
Napoleon aimed to win the war by destroying the Prussian armies before the Russians could arrive,180,000 French troops began to cross the Franconian forest on October 2,1806, deployed in a bataillon-carré system designed to meet threats from any possible direction. On October 14 the French won decisively at the large double-battle of Jena-Auerstedt, a famous pursuit followed, and by the end of the campaign the Prussians had lost 25,000 killed and wounded,140,000 prisoners, and more than 2,000 cannon. A few Prussian units managed to cross the Oder River into Poland, Russia now had to face France alone. By November 18 French forces under Louis Nicolas Davout had covered half the distance to Warsaw, Augereaus men had neared Bromberg, when the French arrived in Poland, the local people hailed them as liberators. The Russian general Bennigsen worried that French forces might cut him off from Buxhoevdens army, so he abandoned Warsaw, on November 28,1806, French troops under Murat entered Warsaw.
The French pursued the fleeing Russians and a significant battle developed around Pułtusk on December 26. The result remained in doubt, but Bennigsen wrote to the Tsar that he had defeated 60,000 French troops, at this point, Marshal Ney began to extend his forces to procure food supplies
Battle of Berezina
The battle ended with a mixed outcome. The French suffered very heavy losses but managed to cross the river, since Bérézina has been used in French as a synonym for disaster. As the surviving masses of the Grande Armée struggled on for the safety of the west. The French had suffered a defeat just two weeks earlier during the Battle of Krasnoi, the Russians had approximately 61,000 troops at the Berezina, with another 54,000 under Kutuzov just 40 miles to the east who were approaching the river. Napoleons plan was to cross the Berezina River and head for Poland, while his enemies wanted to him there. The original plan to cross the river quickly proved impossible. The nearby bridge at Borisov had been destroyed and most of the equipment to build a bridge had been destroyed a few days earlier. Marshal Oudinot was given the task of drawing off the admiral, the plan worked, and Eblés Dutch engineers braved ferociously cold water to construct the vital 100-metre bridge. Hypothermic death in less than 30 minutes of exposure was likely, the four Swiss infantry regiments acted as the rearguard.
Cavalry quickly crossed it followed by infantry to hold the bridgehead, the Swiss suffered terrible losses, but managed to cover both positions and the retreat. This struggle is depicted in the Beresinalied, the Swiss heroic stand saved most of the French troops. A second structure opened within hours and cannons were taken across it to bolster the defensive perimeter and they arrived just in time, as Chichagov realised his error and attacked the 11,000 French troops. By midday of the 27th, Napoleon and his Imperial Guard were across, and the strategy now swung to saving the Swiss rearguard, one of the spans broke in the late afternoon, but more feats of engineering skill had it repaired by early evening. The corps of Marshal Davout and Prince Eugene crossed, leaving Marshal Victors IX Corps to hold off the enemy on the east bank, there is considerable disagreement regarding the numbers of casualties on both sides. While some 22,000 French men became casualties, these included a number of stragglers.
A higher estimate is provided by historian Jacques Garnier, who places French losses at 25,000 combatants,25 cannon and 20,000 civilian stragglers, of which around 10,000 were massacred by Cossacks. Russian casualties were high, and although a very moderate 19th century Russian estimate places them at 6,000 they probably amounted to 20,000 men. Historian Alain Pigeard offers more moderate figures, between 13,000 and 16,000 men for the French,13,000 men for the Russians, among the French casualties were three generals and four colonels, killed during this battle
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 Eylau
Late in the battle, the Russians received a timely reinforcement from a Prussian division of von LEstocq. The town is now called Bagrationovsk and is a part of Kaliningrad Oblast, the engagement was fought during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Of all Napoleonic battles, this is considered to be the most uncertain, Napoleons armies previously 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. Austerlitz forced the Austrians to sue for peace and their Russian allies to withdraw from the conflict, on 14 October 1806, Napoleon crushed the armies of the Kingdom of Prussia at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Eylau was the first serious check to the Grande Armée and the myth of Napoleons invincibility was badly shaken, the French would end up defeating the Russians in the year at the Battle of Friedland. In late January, Bennigsens Russian army went on the offensive in East Prussia, Napoleon reacted by mounting a counteroffensive to the north, hoping to prevent their retreat to the east.
After his cossacks captured a copy of Napoleons orders, Bennigsen rapidly withdrew to the northeast to avoid being cut off, the French pursued for several days and 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 even more serious fighting. Early in the battle, an attack by Napoleon failed with catastrophic losses. To retrieve the situation, the emperor launched a cavalry charge against the Russians. This bought enough time for the French right wing to throw its weight into the contest, the Russian left wing was bent back at an acute angle and Bennigsens army was in danger of collapse. A Prussian corps belatedly arrived and saved the day by pushing back the French right wing, as darkness fell, a French corps tardily appeared on the French left flank. That night Bennigsen decided to retreat, leaving Napoleon in possession of a snowy battlefield covered with thousands of corpses, with the Prussian army routed at Jena-Auerstedt, Napoléon occupied the major cities of Germany and marched on east in pursuit of the remaining forces opposed to him.
These were largely 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 almost unopposed. Nevertheless, as the French pressed aggressively eastward across the Vistula, 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 clashed at the Battles of Pułtusk and Gołymin. After these fierce engagements Napoléons troops took up quarters in Poland to recuperate after a victorious. In January 1807, the new Russian army commander Levin August, having cleared Neys troops out of the way, the Russians rolled down on the isolated French I Corps under Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte
The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the fall of Napoleon in 1814 until the July Revolution of 1830. The brothers of executed Louis XVI of France reigned in highly conservative fashion, and they were nonetheless unable to reverse most of the changes made by the French Revolution and Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna they were treated respectfully, but had to give up all the gains made since 1789. King Louis XVI of the House of Bourbon had been overthrown and executed during the French Revolution, a coalition of European powers defeated Napoleon in the War of the Sixth Coalition, ended the First Empire in 1814, and restored the monarchy to the brothers of Louis XVI. The Bourbon Restoration lasted from 6 April 1814 until the uprisings of the July Revolution of 1830. There was an interlude in spring 1815—the Hundred Days—when the return of Napoleon forced the Bourbons to flee France, when Napoleon was again defeated by the Seventh Coalition they returned to power in July.
During the Restoration, the new Bourbon regime was a monarchy, unlike the absolutist Ancien Régime. The period was characterized by a conservative reaction, and consequent minor but consistent occurrences of civil unrest. It saw the reestablishment of the Catholic Church as a power in French politics. The eras of the French Revolution and Napoleon brought a series of changes to France which the Bourbon Restoration did not reverse. First of all, France became highly centralized, with all decisions made in Paris, the political geography was completely reorganized and made uniform. France was divided more than 80 departments, which have endured into the 21st century. Each department had an administrative structure, and was tightly controlled by a prefect appointed by Paris. The Catholic Church lost all its lands and buildings during the Revolution, the bishop still ruled his diocese, and communicated with the pope through the government in Paris. Bishops, priests and other people were paid salaries by the state.
All the old rites and ceremonies were retained, and the government maintained the religious buildings. The Church was allowed to operate its own seminaries and to some extent local schools as well, bishops were much less powerful than before, and had no political voice. However, the Catholic Church reinvented itself and put a new emphasis on personal religiosity that gave it a hold on the psychology of the faithful, education was centralized, with the Grand Master of the University of France controlling every element of the entire educational system from Paris
Battle of Mannheim (1799)
The Battle of Mannheim was fought between a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and a Republican French army under Jacques Léonard Muller. Most of the French Army of the Rhine had retreated to the west bank of the Rhine River, despite assistance by Michel Ney, Laroches division was beaten and driven out of the city when attacked by Charles and a much superior force. The War of the Second Coalition action occurred in the city of Mannheim, in the summer of 1799, Mullers 18, 000-man army had the mission of drawing Charles Austrian army away from Switzerland, the central and western portions of which were held by André Massénas army. Moving south from Mannheim, the Army of the Rhine laid siege to Philippsburg, provoked by this threat to his strategic rear, Charles and 30,000 troops moved north against Muller, who quickly withdrew. On 4 June 1799, the First Battle of Zurich was fought between André Massénas 45, 000-strong Army of the Danube and a 53, 000-man Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen.
Austrian casualties numbered 2,400 and eight guns while the French lost 4,400 men and 28 guns, though the French held their ground, Masséna evacuated Zürich the next day and withdrew to a strong position overlooking the city. The 6th and 7th Divisions were supervised by Pierre Marie Barthélemy Ferino while Lecourbe controlled the 1st, included in Massénas command were Claude Juste Alexandre Legrand with 6,186 men and Claude-Sylvestre Colaud with 5,106 men watching the Rhine north of Strasbourg. The Army of the Rhine was formed on 5 July 1799 by Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, the French reported the strength of the army as 40,000 to 60,000 men, but this was a ruse to trick the Austrians. In fact, much of the strength was tied up in garrisons. The purpose of the Army of the Rhine was to lure the Austrian army away from Masséna and this could be achieved by menacing Archduke Charles supply line, which ran northeast from Switzerland to Ulm on the Danube River. The army was too weak to fight the Austrians in a pitched battle, meanwhile, an Austro-Russian army under Alexander Suvorov had cleared most of Italy of its French occupiers.
In the Battle of Novi on 15 August 1799, the Allies suffered 8,200 casualties, mostly Austrian, during this time, the Austrians were very successful in reducing the French-held fortresses in Italy. By 11 September, the only Piedmont fortress that remained in French hands was Cuneo, at this time there was a major change in Allied strategy which apparently originated with William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, the British foreign minister. According to the plan, Suvorov was to march north into Switzerland with 20,000 Russians to join 45,000 newly arrived Russians under Alexander Korsakov near Zürich and these soldiers would be assisted by 18,000 Austrians led by Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze. Meanwhile, the British agent William Wickham would raise an army of 20,000 Swiss, the mostly-Russian force was supposed to invade France across the Jura Mountains. As soon as Korsakovs army was situated, Charles was to move north into southern Germany with 60,000 Austrians, tsar Paul I of Russia and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor approved this plan and issued the necessary orders which arrived at Charles headquarters on 7 August.
In fact, the archduke was reluctant to carry out the plan, in the end, bad timing ruined the new scheme, Charles would leave Switzerland too early and Suvorov would arrive in Switzerland too late. However, Archduke Charles was not quite finished with Switzerland, the Austrian general tried to gain a bridgehead across the Aare River at Döttingen
Battle of Krasnoi
The Battle of Krasnoi was a series of skirmishes fought in the final stage of Napoleons retreat from Moscow. The Russians under General Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov inflicted heavy losses on the remnants of the Grande Armée, lacking sufficient artillery and supplies to wage battle, Napoleons object at Krasnoi was to collect his scattered troops and to resume his retreat. Despite the vast superiority of his forces, Kutuzov refrained from launching an offensive during the four days of fighting. The climax of the engagement occurred on November 17, when an aggressive feint by the French Imperial Guard induced Kutuzov to delay a potentially decisive final Russian attack, Napoleon was thus able to withdraw part of his army before the Russians seized Krasnoi. Despite Napoleons success in saving part of his army from destruction at Krasnoi, during the four days of combat Napoleons subordinate commanders suffered heavy defeats in individual actions, and large numbers of French stragglers were captured by the Russians.
The Grande Armée was compelled to abandon much of its remaining artillery, the condition of the Grande Armée was further degraded by sub-zero temperatures in the first two weeks of November. By the time the French arrived at Smolensk on November 9, only 40% men of what was left of the Grande Armée was still under arms at this point. Due to the condition of his forces and French defeats on other fronts, Napoleon realized his position at Smolensk was untenable surrounded by Russian armies. The new strategic goal was to put the Grande Armée into winter quarters further west, having lost contact with Kutuzov during the previous two weeks, Napoleon incorrectly believed that the Russian army must have been as devastated by the elements as his own. Napoleon left on 14th, Davout on 15th, Beauharnais on 16th, Ney on 17th, together with Joseph Barbanègre, thus the French approached Krasny in a piecemeal 53 kilometres long column of disconnected corps, not massed together in preparation for battle. On November 14, the corps of Józef Zajączek and Junot, as the vanguard of the retreating French army, passed through Krasny, the next day, November 15, Napoleon himself arrived at Krasny with his 16, 000-strong Imperial Guard.
Neys corps formed the rearguard and was not to leave Smolensk until November 17, marching between and around these French corps were nearly 40,000 troops who had disintegrated into mobs of unarmed, disorganized stragglers, looking for something else to eat than horsemeat. This made Napoleon stop further advance in order to bring up other echelons, however when on November 4 the Corps of Yevgeny Bogarne was approaching Krasnoye village, it suffered a strong attack inflicted by Miloradovich and was defeated. The same fate awaited Corps under Davout and Ney, without waiting for Ney’s rearguard, the French Emperor jointly with the Old Guard with the rest of the Davout’s Corps broke through the cover of Tormasov’s troops and moved to Orsha. During the same period, the main Russian army under Kutuzov followed the French on a parallel southern road, because this route passed through countryside unaffected by previous campaigning, the Russian army approached Krasny much less weakened by attrition than the Grande Armée.
Kutuzov therefore accepted a plan proposed by his officer, Colonel Toll. The Russian position at Krasny began forming on November 15, when the 3, the same day, the 17,000 troops of Miloradovich took position on a hill alongside the eastern road leading into Krasny. Kutuzov himself reached Krasny with the 35, 000-strong main army on November 16, in all, Kutuzov had 52,000 to 60,000 regular troops at his disposal at Krasny, including a large cavalry force and approximately 500 cannon