Articles on French Wars 1789-1815 - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1885-1892


Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Französischer Revolutionskrieg
French Revolutionary War. This war, which humanity has bemoaned for 9 years, in the annals of the world is not less noteworthy than the event which caused it. To what rage a fight heats up when it is caused by opiniona and prejudices, this has been experienced in other revolutionary wars, the most terrible scourge of the world, but the war of liberation, a performance not seen in centuries, provided scenes, the novelty of which in our days seemed to justify the belief in miracles. Quickly formed armies trained in tumultuary haste, unused to any order and discipline, held together by force and the fear of death, newcomers, torn away from the plow or the workshop, intermingled with old forces, defeated the most trained legions, accustomed to battles and victory, mocked their strategy, stormed their positions, took the most fortified places, flooded safe and well-defended countries, bury their constitutions under ruins. Men without education rise from the dust, develop the rarest talents of a military commander, a tactician, measure themselves with the grey disciples of Friedrich II. and Laudon, and cause the laurels of the latter to wither. The causes, which to a certain extent may explain the puzzle of these unprecedented events, may be seen in the following : the spirit of the French nation, their enthusiastic fervour for anything new, their skill in its adaptation, their predisposition for military exercises and gymnastic, their sense of honour, their firm belief in the invincibiliy of a nation fighting for her liberty, a belief supported by facts from ancient as well as recent times, further a government making use of all means, the terrorism of which places the coward between guillotine and the muzzle of a cannon, which does not spare men or money, because the mortified industry provides her with sufficient superfluent arms, the factory printing Assignas sufficient supplies, because it fights with the capitals of a suddenly enriched nation against thrifty and cautious governments, whom an exhausted treasury, miserable war taxes and reductions provide with only poor supplies; commanders who disregard traditional formalities, the conventions of international law, perhaps even sacred treaties, and the urge to give laws, who perceive bold cohesive plans not in parts, but as a whole, who implement the teachings of modern military arts without hesitation. To these one add the superiority in numbers, the advantage of the attack, mainly on the enemy's soil, the same harsh fate for deserters as well as prisoners, the responsibility of commanders, strict discipline in the field, and, amid the frequent change of governing parties in Paris, the rejection of foreign interference, general resentment of the thought of a partition, of which Poland gave a fresh example, inextinguishable hatred against the government of the nation among the mass of the nation, thus among 9/10 of the army, finally, at the beginning of the war, the frenzy of liberty of duped peoples which the French meet everywhere and which opens gates to them, fanaticism, greed; further disunity, contradicting plans, differences, divergent interests among the allies. One consider these factors with a cool head and ask oneself if one may see in the achievements of the New French the course of nature. his as an introduction o a short overview of a description of the military events.
[Beginnings] The cause for the war was given, as is well known, in part by the infringements on the rights of German princes, in part the lamentable situation of King Louis XVI., in part by the Convention of Pillnitz (1791) and the war preparations by the emigres not prevented by the German Emperor [!]. The second National Assembly confiscated the property of the emigres (February 9th 1792), when they did not return despite of several calls by Louis XVI. Now they acted more openly. Austria allied with Prussia. The declaration of Leopold II. (February 18th 1792) announced to the Jacobins and the ruling party that war was coming, and the latter coerce the king into a formal declaration of war (April 20th). Emperor Franz II., King Friedrich Wilhelm II. of Prussia, the Landgrave of Hessen-Cassel, the three ecclesiastic electors and the emigre princes hold consultations in Mainz (July 9th). The most famous Manifesto of the Duke of Braunschweig [in English usually called Brunswick] (July 27th) immediately precedes his invasion of France and increases emotions. The German armies advance through Luxemburg and Lorraine (August 19th), take Longwy (August 23rd), Verdün (September 2nd). La Fayette leaves the army on September 3rd - 4th; Dümouriez is his successor, to whose aid rushes Kellermann after the Battle of Grandpre (September 14th). Canonade of Valmy (September 20th), in consequence the Prussians quickly retreat. In the meantime Montesquieu takes Chambery in Savoy (September 23rd) and Anselme takes Nizza (September 28h). Cüstine invades Germany ant takes Mainz on October 21st. Dümouriez the great Battle near Jemappes November 6th against Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen. The result of this first campaign was thus, that the armies of the Coalition were repelled from French territory, that Savoy was conquered and annexed into France as a new departement, while Nice (Nizza) was annexed into the departement Alpes Maritimes, that Austria lost Belgium, and hat the German Empire [!] lost the left bank of the Rhine until Bingen.
The second campaign [1793] began for France under favorable auspices, but overall was one of the most unfortunate. Her enemies in addition to Austria, Prussia, Hessen and Sardinia were also Great Britain (since February 1st), and the hereditary stadholder of the United Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and the German Empire [!] (since March 22nd), Naples and all non-republican states of Italy (since September). Russia only participated by publishing threatening manifestos and by a squadron which crossed in the North Sea. But a civil war which broke out in the Vendee in March, and Federalism (since the end of May) tore France internally. The main events of 1793 were the taking of Breda (February 25th) by Dümouriez, the Battle of Neerwinden (March 12th) where Dümouriez was defeated by F.M.P. von Coburg, Mainz was conquered by the King of Prussia on July 22nd, Valenciennes surrendered on July 27th to the Prince of Coburg and the Duke of York, Lyon was conquered on September 9th by General Doppet, the French lines on the Lauter were overcome on October 13th, by the Duke of Braunschweig and General Wurmser, Battle of Wattigny October 15th to 16th, Jourdan victorious over Coburg, bombardment of Landau October 28th to 31st, directed by the Prussian crown prince (now king); Dümouriez takes Toulon December 19th, a part of the English [!] fleet is burnt, Hoche and Pichegrü overcome the Austrian lines on the Motter December 22nd, they break the siege of Landau Dec. 28th; victorious battles against the Vendeans near Mans, December 12th, and near Savonay under General Marceaus. Result of the campaign of 1793 : France loses all of Belgium, and three of its fortresses, Valenciennes, le Quesnoy and Conde, to Austria, Mainz to Prussia, a large part of the Eastern Pyrenees and the fortresses Colioure and Bellegarde to Spain (July 17th), to Great Britain Pondicherry in East India, Tobago in West India and the islands Miquelon and St. Pierre near Terre Neuve [Newfoundland]. Its only gain is the Princebishopric of Basel, which is annexed into France on March 23rd.
1794. France's enemies in 1794 were the same as before, only Federalism was curbed, but on both banks of the Loire the Chouans appeared as terrible enemies. Among the military events of 1794 the most important were : Battle of Landrecies, April 26th, where Emperor Franz II. was victorious, Battle of Tournay May 12th, where Pichegrü was victorious, Naval Battle of Ouessant, where Lord Howe defeats French Admiral Villaret-Joyeuse June 1st, great Battle of Fleurus, Jourdan victorious over Coburg. Scherer retakes Valenciennes on August 29th, Dümourriez retakes the fortress Bellegarde on September 18th, so that French territory is now cleansed of foreign enemies. Jourdan enters Cologne (October 6th), Pichegrü in Den Bosch [Herzogenbusch/Bois-le-Duc] (October 10th), Kleber conquers Maastricht (November 4th), the French under Pichegrü cross Maas and Waal on December 27th and invade Holland.
The result of the campaign of 1794 : France's conquests (a) the fortresses in the north, all of Belgium except Luxemburg, (b) the enire left bank of the Rhine except Mainz, (c) in Piemont the great and the small Sain Bernard, Mount Cenis, the Col de Trude, Oneglia, the coast from Genoa to Final and Valdo. Toward Spain : the fortresses Calioure and Bellegarde, a part of Catalonia, a part of Navarra and Biscaya. France lost to England [!] Corsica, in the West Indies : Martinique, Saint Lucia, a part of Saint Domingue.
1795. The year 1795 was an extraordinary year in the history of war. The Peace with Tuscany (February 9th) was the first proof that the French, since the middle of 1794, had returned to moderate views. It was followed on April 5th by the important peace with Prussia, concluded in Basel, in consequence the Prussian territories on the left bank of the Rhine should remain occupied by the Prussians [obviously a typo, should read : the French], and that until a general peace was concluded, no decision in their regard should be taken. Convention with Prussia over a line of neutrality May 17th. Alliance of the French and the Batavian Republics, concluded in Den Haag, May 16th; France annexes Dutch Flanders, Maastricht, Venlo and accessories on both banks of the Maas, further the exclusive right to keep a garrison in Vlissingen, the common usage of the port of Vlissingen, the right to garrison Den Bosch, Grave, Bergen-op-Zoom, in case of an enemy attack on Zeeland from the Rhine; in addition 100 mllion Dutch Guilders. In return France promises to provide the Batavian Republic with compensation for the ceded territories, and to include her in separate treaties of peace she engages in. On July 22nd peace was concluded between Spain and the French Republic under the following conditions : France gained the Spanish half of St. Domingue or Hispaniola. The borders in Europe still to be defined should follow the mountaintops, where the rivers begin, which flow through France and Spain. Peace with Hessen-Cassel concluded in Basel August 28th. Hessen-Cassel promises not to renew the subsidy treaty with Great Britain. The French remain in possession of St. Goar, Rheinfels and the Hessian lands on the left bank of the Rhine, until a definitive peace treaty is signed. France now has nine new departments, but in this year it gets new enemies in Italy, namely the Pope, the King of both Sicilies, and the Dukes of Parma and Modena. The result of the war in 1795, to the most remarkable military events belong the crossing by Pichegrü over the frozen Lek and his entry in Amsterdam (Jan. 19th), further the defeat and capture of an entire regiment of emigres by la Hoche (July 21st), Pichegrü's conquest of Mannheim (Sept. 20th), its reconquest by Wurmser (November 21st), also the French lines outside Mainz being overcome by Clairfait October 29th, consist in the following : the French under Jourdan conquered Luxemburg (June 1st) and Düsseldorf (September 6th), together with a part of Jülich until the Wipper, but have lost the upper left bank of the Rhine above Speyer. Their allies, the Batavian Republic, have lost the Cape (September 16th) and the island of Ceylon, and their trade. Everything is in the hand of the English [!].
1796, the 5th year of the revolutionary war, is characterized both by considerable changes and by important military events, but on another battleground. New independent states emerged which leant on the French Republic. A young hero from Corsica rose to prominence and outshone all his predecessors.
We begin with political changes. In the Truce with Sardinia (April 28th) the fortresses Coni, Ceva and Tortona are ceded to France, and in the peace concluded on May 15th France received Savoy (now called the Departement Mont-Blanc) and the counties Nizza and Tende (now called Alpes Maritimes). The fortresses of Suza and la Brünette are to be razed, France is always to be granted free passage through Piemonte into Italy. The Duke of Parma has to purchase the truce by 2 million livres (May 6th), the Duke of Modena for 1 1/2 million Livres in coin, 2 1/2 million in provisions and 20 paintings (May 30th). Naples got a truce without sacrifice on June 5th. All the more to pay had the head of Christianity. The price as 15 1/2 million in cash, 5 1/2 million in provisions, 100 paintings and statues, 500 manuscripts. All papal ports were to remain closed to the enemies of France, but France was to remain in the possession of the port and citadel of Ancona. The truce with Modena was broken already on October 8th by a proclamation of General Buonaparte, but on the following day a convention concluded wih Genoa according to which the republic closes her ports to the English [!], and, in addition to granting France an interest-free loan of 2 million, also donates it another 2 million. The peace concluded with Naples on October 10th in Paris is an alliance without burdensome conditions. The peace concluded with Parma on November 5th also in Paris concerns largely mutual trade. Also with the German Empire [!] in his year 3 truce treaties and 2 formal peace treaties were concluded : with Württemberg : (a) a truce on July 17th; the duke pays 4 million Livres, further supplies regulated by a separate treaty. b) peace treaty Paris August 7th, by which Mömpelgard (Montbeliard), Hericourt and other places are annexed by he French Republic. with Baden-Baden : (a) truce July 25th. The margrave delivers 2 million Livres, 1000 horses, 500 oxen, 125,000 ctrw. grain. In the (b) peace signed shortly afterward (August 22nd) he additionally cedes the county of Sponheim with six other districts, al Rhine islands, and 35 feet wide land on the right bank of the Rhine for French pullers of ships. The Swabian Circle purchases a truce on July 28th for 12 million Livres and 8,000 horses. A treaty with Prussia on August 5th fixes the line of neutrality. The Franconian Circle is granted a truce on August 7th for 6 million Livres in cash and 2 million in provisions. On August 19th an offensive and defensive alliance is concluded with Spain. The truce with Bavaria (September 7th) costs the latter 10 million Livres, 20 paintings, 100,000 pairs of shoes, 30,000 els of fine cloth etc.
We now get to the military events of the year 1796. The Vendeans and Chouans were completely defeated in March, and they submitted. Buonaparte becomes the hero of Italy, Moreau and Jourdan the terror of Germany. The former wins three large battles, on April 12th near Montenotte against Argenteau, on April 14th near Millesimo against Beaulieu, and on May 10th at Lodi against the same, and on May 14th as victor he enters Milan. The conquests of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena (June 19th) follow, the conquest of Livorno on June 28th. In the meantime Moreau crosses the Rhine near Kehl, Jourdan takes Frankfurt on July 14th. Great battle near Lonada and Castiglione August 3rd - 5th. Wurmser was overcome by Buonaparte. Naval battle at Cape Saldanha at the Cape of Good Hope. English [!] Admiral Elphinstone takes the entire Dutch fleet under Admiral Lucas. Moreau crosses the Lech and defeas la Tour near Friedberg August 24th. Battle of Würzburg September 3rd, Jourdan was defeated by Archduke Karl. Moreau victorious near Biberach October 2nd. Buonaparte wins a main battle near Arcole November 15th; a French fleet under Morard des Galles and Hoche leaves Brest December 16th to try a landing in Ireland.
Results of the 5th campaign : on the Rhine everything is as it was at the beginning of the year. In Italy the French hold all fortified places except Mantua, in the north Tyrol until Trento, a part of Venetian territory until the Piave, toward the south all landup to the Romagna. Corsica has been retaken (October 18th). A new republic, the Cispadan, has been formed under the creative influence of the French, the Transpadan Republic only awaits the proclamation of the French. in order to rise as a shining meteorite among Europe's republics. The Batavian Republic has lost the Moluccas in India, Demenaar and Essequebo in America.
In the course of the following war year 1797 the political negotiations were influenced by the course of the war; thus we first will list the latter. Kehl was taken by Archduke Karl on January 9th. Buonaparte wins, after a victory near Alvinzy, on January 16th the Battle near San Giacomo, enters Manua on February 2nd, is victorious for the first time over Archduke Karl at Tagliamento March 16th, then takes Gradisca, Trieste, Brixen, Klagenfurt, Laibach, and on April 8th Grätz. Hoche is also victorious at Neuwied (April 18th), Moreau on April 20th near Diersheim. Buonaparte on May 3rd publishes a violent manifesto against the Republic of Venice. A revolution erupts, the old aristocracy is transformed into a democracy (May 12th), and on May 16th Buonaparte victoriously enters Venice. At sea France's allies have to pay dearly; the Spanish fleet under Langara on February 14th was defeated by Admiral Jarvis, the Batavian fleet under Admiral de Winters near Egmond aan Zee on October 11th by Admiral Duncan.
Results of the campaign : the Italian army under Buonaparte has occupied Friuli, Carniola, Carinthia, Trieste and 2/3 of Styria; their avantgarde is at Leoben, 9 stations from Vienna. Spain has lost Trinidad to England [!].
Political events : the truce with the pope on February 1st was broken by the murder of the French emissary, Basseville. The holy father asks for peace, is given it and signs the peace on February 19th at Tolentino. The Papal State has to cede Avignon and the Venaissin; he has also to give up the legations Bologna, Ferrara and Romagna. Further he pays the owed sum of 10 million in cash, 5 million in valuables, antiquities, pieces of art; he disapproves of Basseville's murder, has 300,000 Livres paid to the injured persons and sets all persons free who have been imprisoned because of their political opinions.
Truce with Austria April 7th to 13th, preliminary peace signed in Schloss Eckerswald near Leoben April 18th; Austria cedes the [Southern/Austrian] Netherlands, which already had been annexed into France on October 1st 1795; it recognises the Cisalpine Republic and the borders fixed by decrees of the Convent. Belgium, with the lands ceded by he Batavian Republic, the Princebishopric Liege and 2 abbeys Stavelot and Malmedy) now together make up 9 departements. Revolution in Genoa May 22nd; a Ligurian Republic is organized on democratic footing, by the Convention of Monte Bello June 6th. A similar revolution is fermenting in Graubünden. The peace with Portugal, signed on August 10th in Paris, is not ratified by the court in Lisbon, and declared null and void by the French Directory on October 26th. On October 22nd the Cisalpine Republic annexed the Valtellina. Peace with Austria concluded on October 17th at Campo Formio near Udine. France is given Belgium and Lombardy, of which the Cisalpine Republic already has been formed, further the Venetian islands Corfu, Zante, Cephalonia, Santa Maura, Cerigo, further Butrinto, Larta and all Venetian possessions in Albania until the Gulf of Ladrino. Austria holds on to Venice, Vicenza, Padua, the lagoons, Istria, Dalmatia, the islands in the Adriatic sea, the lands between Austria and this Gulf etc. Austria further recognizes the Cisalpine Republic, which comprises of Milan, Mantua, Bergamo, the southern and western part of the former Republic of Venice, further Modena, Massa, Carrara, Ferrara and Bologna. Austria cedes the Breisgau to the Duke of Modena as compensation. It is agreed that within a monh a congress shal be held at Rastatt. On the fruitless negotiations and the sorry result of this congress see under Rastatt.
The following year, 1798, was rich in new republics and in adventures of all kind. At the end of the previous year the French General Düphot was killed during a tumult in Rome (December 28th). This murder sufficed to break the peace with the pope. Berthier moved against Rome. The pope fled to Siena. Rome became a republic on February 10th. Government is entrusted to 5 consuls, 72 tribunes and a senate of 36 members. The French troops remain in Rome. Benevento is sold to Naples, the lands of the Roman clergy are secularized, the amount of paper money in circulation reduced. On January 18th the Austrians take possession of Venice. The Batavian Republic is reorganized. It is divided in 8 departements which contain a population of 2 million, 2 chambers, one of 60, the other of 30 members, form the legislative body, a directory of 5 members is responsible for executive power. Helvetia also becomes a representative republic, but the French Party here finds determined resistance.
The English [!] try to land in Oostende, but this plan utterly fails. Oostende is bombarded, but Beguinot defeats the British and makes 1400 prisoners. An even greater adventure soon occupies the attention of the Europeans and Orientals. A strongly manned French fleet commanded by Buonapare leaves Toulon on May 22nd, takes Malta on June 12th, lands in Egypt June 29th; Buonaparte takes Alexandria July 1st, Cairo on July 23rd, but the French fleet under the command of Brüeye is attacked by Nelson in the Bay of Abukir and defeated (August 1st - 3rd). On land, fortune remains loyal to he French; Egypt is municipalized.
In the meantime General Brüne thoroughly transforms the Cisalpine Republic. The Grand Council is fixed at 80, the Council of Elders at 40 members.
The French, under the pretext of discovered hostile correspondence, break with the King of Sardinia, and take control of the citadel in Turin.
Their attempts to land on Ireland's coast fail (in August and October).
A Russian fleet of 12 ships on September 1st crosses from the Black Sea into the Aegean Sea, joins with the Turkish [!] fleet, takes several islands. Paul I. now taks on the title of Grand Master of Malta, and now wants to revenge the honour of the monarchs by the terrible conqueror of countries, Suvorov. The French declare war on the Sublime Porte, as much as it is threatened by Paswan Oglu.
On November 23rd a Neapolian army invades the Roman Republic and begins hostilities with the French in Italy. They conquer Rome on November 29th, link up with the English [!], the united forces take Civitavecchia and Livorno on the 28th. France now declares war on the Kings of Sardinia and Sicily.
Only the beginning of 1799 was favorable for France, subsequently the fortune of war failed them completely. They had to fight a large number of fresh enemies accustomed to victory; her own armies had shrunken, her finances exhausted, her troops scattered; the advantage of the offensive was taken from them, their best commander was in Egypt, want pressed her down. We want to give an overview of this eventful year by short chronological comments on the most noteworthy events. The Battle of Volturno (January 6th to 8th), in which the French were victorious, on the 10th resuls in a truce wih Naples, but it stirs up a rebellion of the mob in Naples. General Mack surrenders to the French, the Lazaroni vehemently attack the French, but are defeated by Championet. The victors on January 22nd enter Naples, and on the 25th proclaim he Parthenopean Republic.
The fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, in peacetime blockaded by the French, finally surrenders on January 27nd. In February the states of the King of Sardinia are republicanized. Jourdan on March 1st crosses the Rhine near Kehl, in order to defeat the German Empire, and to resist the Russian advance, which the French delegates at he Congress in Rastatt already on January 2nd declared a violation of the peace. Corfu is conquered by the Russians and Turks. On March 2nd Mannheim surrenders to Marshall Ney. The emissary of the French Republic in Regensburg, Bacher, is ordered by Archduke Karl to depart. Despite of his act, the French delegates in Rastatt declare the conference with the Empire as not terminated. Jourdan terminates the truce with Austria (March 20th). On the 21st the Battle of Biberach and Pfullendorf, where the French, overcome, have to retreat to Stockach, and on the 24th - 25th the murderous Battle of Tuttlingen is fought, where 2 Austrian commanders remain on the field. After several bloody battles the French are expelled from Tyrol (28th). Kray defeats them for a second time near Verona (April 4th). The Russians finally enter Italy (April 7th), and on the 14th Suvorov apprears in Verona.
In Rastatt the Imperial emissary breaks off negotiations; only the French negotiators insist to continue negotiations with the German Empire [!]. Finaly they depart without having been granted safe conduct on April 28th. Outside of the city they are attacked by Szekler Hussars, only one of them gets away. But the event does not make much of an impression.
In the meantime, a fleet of 25 ships with 25,000 men on board leaves Brest, to revolutionize Ireland. After several battles and conquests Suvorov defeats Moreau at Valence (May 12th). General Hotze conquers the Luciensteig and takes 3,000 Frenchmen prisoner (May 14th). On the 27th he finally unites with Archduke Karl. In the meantime, the French and Cisalpinians evacuate the citadel of Milan (the 22nd). In Syria Buonaparte lays siege to St. Jean d'Acre, which is defended from the seaside by Sir Sidney Smith. Suvorov, after he already had entered Turin, defeats MacDonald on the latter's retreat from Rome (with 10,000 men), at the Trebia and near Piacenza, June 19th. Bologna surrenders to the allies, all of Italy is in rebellion against the defeated French. The later leave Florence July 5th - 7th, evacuate Livorno on the 16th, Lucca on the 18th. The citadel of Alessandria is taken on July 21st by the Austrian General Bellegarde. Mantua surrenders to F.Z.M. Kray July 28th. The Cisalpine one and indivisible republic shatters into pieces. Paul I. on July 15th / 26th declares war on Spain, and Spain responds with a counter-manifesto September 9th. Defeat of the Turks near Abukir July 25th. Greatest defeat of the French near Novi August 15th, where Joubert falls. At the end of the month the Austrians evacuate Switzerland to make room for the Russians. The French advance in Germany (August 26th - 27th), lay siege to Philippsburg early in September, but lift the siege on the 11th. At the end of August the French conquer Canton Glarus, also in Holland they now are fortunate. English [!] expedition against Holland under Abercrombie and Admiral Michell August 27th. Landing at Den Helder August 29th - 30th. Handover of he Dutch fleet. After the landing of the Russians and a skirmish favourable to the English [!] near Alkmaar (October 2nd), in another skirmish (October 6th) the French and Batavians are victorious, and a capitulation between the Duke of York and the French General Brüne follows (October 18th). Suriname is taken by the English [!] on October 20th. Mainz Landsturm Sept. 1st. Rome is handed over by capitulation from Garnier to Trowbridge September 27th. Grea Battle on the Linth and on the Vierwaldstätter See; Massena victorious; Zürich taken by the French. Hotze falls. Suvorov moves on the St. Gotthard on the 24th, takes Glarus (28th), but since October 4th has to retreat. On October 9th Buonaparte and his general staff land near Frejus, on the 16th they arrive in Paris. In November (2nd - 8th) the Austrians are victorious on Neckar and Rhine, in Italy at Mondovi, Savigliano and Cuneo, on November 4th - 5th. Ancona surrenders to the Austrian General Frölich on November 15th, Coni to the Prince of Lichtenstein on December 3rd.
In terms of military events and their consequences, the year 1800 tops all preceding years. On March 7th the establishment of an army of 30,000 conscripts, which is to assemble at Dijon, is decided. Volunteers swell it to 50,000. In three columns it sets off to Geneva, crosses the Great St. Bernhard, one of the greatest enterprises ever undertaken by mankind, across the Simplon, the St. Gotthard and the Ticino. Murat on June 1st takes Milan. Buonaparte follows him. Duhem takes Cremona. The French win the Battle of Montebello on June 10th and take 6,000 prisoners. Genoa, long masterly defended by Massena, surrenders; the garrison moves off and strengthens the French forces. On June 14th the murderous, but decisive Battle of Marengo is won by Buonaparte against Melas. Three times the French gave in; ultimately the divisions Desaix and Monnier proved decisive. The Austrians lost 3,000 dead, 7,000 prisoners, 3,000 were wounded. Desaix, just arrived from Egypt, fell. With Melas a truce was concluded on June 15th. The Austrians hold on to all fortified places between Mincio and Po, and the cities Mantua, Peschiera, Ancona and Tuscany [!], they retreat in three columns with full military honours to Mantua; the French remain in the possession of all fortresses between Oglio, Po and the Chiesa. In Germany Moreau competes with the heroes of Italy. On July 3rd he wins the great victory at Stockach and Möskirch. Between him and Kray on July 15th truce is concluded, and on the 28th in Paris preliminary peace agreements between Austria and France are signed. A 2nd reserve army is formed under Murat, on August 13th Brüne is given the supreme command in Italy. On July 24th MacDonald is given the command over the 3rd reserve army. On September 6th, after Kray has been relievd from service, General Bellegarde is appointed supreme commander in Italy; Archduke Johann is seconded to him (September 7th). Brüne, after the expiration of the truce, renews the hostilities on the very day when the British take La Valetta on Malta (8th). Convention at Hohenlinden between Lehrbach and Moreau, by which Ulm, Ingolstadt and Philippsburg are handed over to the French. Truce in Italy between Brüne and Bellegarde September 29th. On October 1st France and North America sign a treaty of peace and friendship. Thugut leaves the Imperial ministry on October 3rd; a good omen for peace. Berthier is appointed French minister of war (October 8th). The French again enter Lucca and occupy Florence under Düpont October 15th, Livorno on the 16th, where all English [!] goods are confiscated. Novara is annexed by the Cisalpine Republic on the 29th. In Wetzlar on November 4th it is published that all Imperial estates, even without a separate treaty of peace, may enjoy the advantages of neutrality. Czar Paul I. declares on November 11th that he will maintain armed neutrality, and confiscates English [!] ships. After the truce expired in Germany on November 28th, the French occupy Würzburg on the 30th. Early in December MacDonald advances from Helvetia into Italy. A man-consuming crossing of the Splügen, accomplished in 14 days. The entire army is in Valtellino. Great Battle of Hohenlinden, won by Moreau and Richepanse, on December 3rd. 7,000 Austrians have been taken prisoner, they lose 80 cannon. Augereau victorious near Burg. Würzburg bombarded. Murderous battle near Salzburg, where the French pay dearly for their victory, on December 13th. Moreau enters Salzburg on December 15th. Archduke Karl resumes ciommand in Germany. Petersburg Convention, concluded by Russia, Sweden and Denmark on December 16th. Klenau and Simpschön expel the French from Nürnberg. In Italy the latter occupy Bologna. he Austrians retreat across the Danube, on December 19th - 20th. Truce concluded at Steyr between Moreau and Archduke Karl, concluded on December 25th. The Austrians evacuate W&uum;rzburg, the passes in Tyrol, Kufstein and Braunau. Franz I. signs the preliminary peace on December 27th; Cobenzl declares in Lüneville that he is empowered to negotiate even without the English [!] participating.
1801. The peace negotiations of Lüneville begin on January 1st. Gantheaume on the 7th sails from Brest to Egypt. England [!] confiscates Russian, Danish and Swedish ships. On January 16th at Treviso a truce is concluded between Brüne and Bellegarde; Mantua remains occupied by Imperial troops. The King of Prussia (on the 23rd) joins the Nordic Convention. The razing of the fortresses Kassel, Düsseldorf, Ehrenbreitstein, Alt-Breisach is decided on on January 27th. Peace of Lüneville between France and Austria, February 9th. Its basis is the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Emperor cedes the [Austrian] Netherlands, Milan, Mantua and his possessions on the right bank of the Rhine. He receives all of Istria, Dalmatia, the islands and lagoons, Venice and its territory until the Adige. The Duke of Modena shall be compensated by the Breisgau. The Duke of Tuscany cedes Tuscany to the Duke of Parma, but is compensated in Germany. Germany [!] is given the Rhine as its border. The princes who lose territory in consequence of this shall be compensated by secularisations.
Truce between France and Naples, concluded on February 18th for 30 days. The Neapolitan ports are closed to the English [!]. On March 8th Abercrombie lands at Abukir with 17,500 Englishmen, Abukir surrenders on March 18th. Menou attacks Abercrombie, but is repelled; the latter dies of his wounds and is Hutchinson takes command.
A Russian emissary arrives in Paris, after the French government already January 20th had given the order to treat Russian ships as friendly. Parker and Nelson appear in the North Sea with 47 ships (12th). Alliance between Russia and Sweden (13th). The sudden death of Paul I. (March 23rd) changes the political face of Europe. France and Naples conclude peace on March 28th. The King of Naples cedes Ponto Langone, Piombino and the Stato degli Presidii.
Hamburg is occupied by the Danes (29th). On the following day, the 30th, the English [!] fleet passes the Sound, and on April 2nd the great Naval Battle of Copenhagen is won by Nelson.
The Diet of Regensburg transfers the matter of compensation and secularisation to the Emperor, on April 30th. In Italy the French evacuate Genoa on May 20th. The Rhine Army returns in good condition, well-dressed and with 200 cannon taken from the enemy, across the Rhine. The French fleet under Gantheaume, which already had departed Toulon on March 21st, crosses [!] the Straits of Messina; English [!] Admiral Warren crosses in the Mediterranean to intercept it (May 28th), and Cornwallis appears off Brest (June 4th) to observe the French preparations for naval war. Portugal, on which Spain declared war on February 27th, loses the province Alentejo, which is occupied by the Spanish on June 6th, and on the 7th concludes a truce with Spain and France. On July 1st Gantheaume departs from Messina for Egypt; on the 5th Admiral Linois is victorious over the English [!] in Algeciras Bay. Toussaint l'Ouverture proclaims the colonial constitution of St. Domingo and the liberty of all its inhabitants, on July 7th. France and Bavaria conclude a treaty of friendship on August 10th and ratify it on September 24h.
In Egypt, where Rosette already had surrendered on April 19th, and Fort Ramanieh had fallen to the English [!] and Turks [!] (on May 10th), as well as Cairo had been handed over by French General Beliard on June 26th, English [!] General Hutchinson on August 17th began the blockade of Alexandria, which still was stubbordnly defended by Menou. The city surrendered on the 26th, and in consequence of the capitulation the French were to evacuate Egypt and to be transported to France on English [!] and Turkish [!] vessels, accompanied by their Egyptian friends. So this was the end of a great undertaking which aimed at nothing less than disrupting Anglo-East Indian trade, liberating, civilizing and politically renewing a large part of the Orient !
Toulon and Genoa are blocked by English [!] ships.
The Stato degli Presidii is transferred to the King of Etruria August 14th. The French hold on to Piombini. The French troops in Holland are reduced from 25,000 to 10,000. The peace treaty between Portugal and the French Republic is concluded on September 29th, and the latter, by this treaty, increases her possessions in Guyana. Finally the preliminaries of the long desired peace between France and England, [prospects of which] were spoled so frequently, were signed in Paris on October 1st. England [!] returned all its conquests to France, Spain and Holland [!], only holds on to Ceylon in East India and Trinidad, a Spanish island in West India. The Cape of Good Hope shall be open to ships of both nations. Egypt shall be returned to the Sublime Porte, Malta to the Knights of St. John, Portugal maintained in its integrity. The French are to evacuate the Papal State and the territory of Naples. The definitive peace shall be negotiated at a congress at Amiens.
Peace concluded between France and Turkey [!] October 9th. Peace between France and Russia concluded October 11th, ratified by the legislative body November 30th. The conclusion of a trade treaty is reserved.
The French consuls decide to dismiss 1/8 of the army. General peace celebration in France on November 9th. The French government approves the plans for a constitution for the Cisalpine Republic. The supreme consul is asked to appoint the offices. A committee of 384 Cisalpinians (62 of the clergy, 322 laymen) shall establish the new constitution with him, in Lyon.
The tribunate in France vociferously expresses its objection against the usage of the term "subjects" in the treaty with Russia, and resists the plans of the government to introduce the civil code.
The English [!] suspiciously observe the naval preparations in the French and Dutch ports, and hint that they may oppose the departure of the fleets to the West Indies. In the meantime the Spanish-French fleet, consisting of 25 ships, departs from Brest on December 17th, in order to, as it is said, spoil Toussaint l'Ouverture's plans which aim for the independence of St. Domingo.
1802 is noteworthy because of the Cisalpine Consulta in Lyon, which grants the supreme consul kind of supervision over the filial republic, in January (a fact which threatens to disrupt the peace negotiations in Amiens), because of Toussaint l'Ouverture's openly announced plans of insurrection which are spoiled by French military successes, because of the definitive peace withb England [!] at Amiens concluded on March 27th in which he preliminaries completely were sanctioned, and in which the independence of the island of Malta and of the Order is formulated by both nations in a number of clauses. Now the last fire of the conflagration of war, which ravaged the earth in the last 10 years, seems reduced. But a disturbing thought clouds the prospect of the future : Will peace, which has descended upon earth, last long ? Will the demise of almost 2 million men, who have been sacrificed to the god of war, appease his rage and guarantee an era of concord ? Has moderation, the return to the principles of a true policy sanctified by morality introduced peace, or has only the exhaustion of treasures, the fatigue of the nations drop the bloodied weapons out of heir tired hands ? Will the two nations, the policies and power-influence of which control the world, soon in the jostling of intertwined interests soon turn on each other again ? Will hey not subject the defenseless states by coordinated action, or squash them by their eagerness to dominate, in attack and counterattack ? Future alone can bring clarity to these fearful doubts. In the meantime, the doors of the temple of Janus are closed, ten years of costly experience in the misery and fruitlessness of war has made ears more susceptible to reason. Europe rests. All states require thorough recovery in order to heal their wounds. The collapse of finances threatens, to bury the most powerful states under its ruins, but the spirit of moderation waits at the rim of the abyss, to which an unfortunate jugglery has lead the rulers of the nations, while culture and enlightenment, unnoticed but uninterrupted, approach the goal where eternal peace is promising.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Russisch-Deutscher Krieg gegen Frankreich 1812-1815
Russo-German War against France 1812-1815
I.) Russia's War of 1812 until Prussia's Declaration of War against France in February 1813
A.) Causes and Preparations for War
Soon after the marriage of Napoleon I. with the Archduchess of Austria Marie Louise and the French alliance with Austria followed a rift in France's relation with Russia. Already when relations between France and Russia were good, in 1807, Alexander I. was worried that danger against him was emanating from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw created by Napoleon; these worries increased when by annexation of large territories the French Empire came closer and closer to the Russian Empire, when the holder of power in France had gained control of all Italian lands and coasts. It became more and more clear that Napoleon was intending a war with Russia to happen. He insulted the Czar personally, as the head of the House of Oldenburg, by depriving the Duke of Oldenburg of his territory. From that moment on the Czar no longer regarded himself obliged to stick to the Treaty of Tilsit, and in order to improve relations with England [!] on December 19th 1810 he permitted the unrestricted import of English [!] goods on neutral ships, but by a new customs tariffs of December 29th he forbade the import of the most important French goods; others were placed under high import tariffs. Then he protested against the expulsion of the Duke of Oldenburg and had his army take position opposite the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. There was a vivid exchange of notes formulated in galled diction, the French emissary in Petersburg, Caulincourt, expressed hope for the maintenance of peace, and handed over his post to Count Lariston, a strict, proud soldier. The Russian emissary in Paris, Prince Alexander Kurakin, was a weak diplomat sympathizing with France. In 1808-1812 Major Chernychev had been dispatched to Paris 12 times in order to reconnoitre the situation, and did so with success, as he reported already early in 1811 that the war against Russia had been decided. The diplomatic negotiations continued. Napolen complained more and more, but could not get Russia to give in. In April 1812 Kurakin demanded the reduction of the garrison of Danzig, the evacuation of the Prussian states and of Swedish Pomerania [by French troops], and declared that the admittance of neutral flags to Russian ports would continue. This decided the war; Napoleon travelled to Dresden on May 12th, and later to the army in East Prussia, and the Count of Narbonne, dispatched to Vilna to meet Czar Alexander I. was informed that France could not give in to Russia's demands. Napoleon, closely allied with Italy, the Confederation of the Rhine and King Joseph of Spain, persuaded the Emperor of Austria to join him in alliance and to provide 30,000 auxiliary troops, by guaranteeing him in the possession of Galicia and promising him an enlargement of his territory. The King of Prussia was forced by the situation, especially by the Russian srategy to await a French invasion, to conclude a treaty with Napoleon in Paris on February 24th, according to which it had to provide 20,000 soldiers, had to evacuate [the fortress of] Spandau, permitted the passage of French troops through her territory and only declared a part of Silesia as well as Potsdam as neutral territory. Only Denmark, Turkey [!] and, for the time being, Sweden, remained neutral. In order to be able to use his entire army, Napoleon had divided the National Guard in 3 banners, of the first of which (20 to 25 years of age) 88 cohorts of 1,000 men were assigned to domestic service, charged with the defense of the coast, the borders etc., the army of 275,000 moved on Russia. The Kingdom of Italy supplied 45,000 men, Switzerland 10,000, Spain and Portugal 6,000, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw 50,000, Austria 30,000, Prussia 20,000, Bavaria 30,000, Württemberg 12,000, Saxony 20,000, Westphalia 21,000, [Hessen-] Darmstadt 5,000, Baden 8,000, Würzburg 2,000, the smaller princes of the Confederation of the Rhine 15,000, the entire Confederation of the Rhine 120,000. In total the French army and her allies numbered 500,000 infantry and 95,000 cavalry, including artillery and engineers, not counting the troops of the artillery and engineer park, the train, the drivers of ammunition wagons etc. The number of cannon, including those for the siege of Riga, was 1372, the number of ammunition and transport wagons is calculated at c. 33,000, they served for the transport of bridgebuilding material, tools, army supplies, construction materials, mills, fire engines, spurs for ice, field hospital utensils etc.; entire companies of craftsmen, medics, gravediggers followed. This army was organized as follows : the main army, 204,000 men under Napoleon, stood on the Njemen near Kovno, it was composed of the Guard Corps (4 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry (except for the Darmstädters almost exclusively French)), 47,000 men, the 1st Corps under Davoust (5 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Frenchmen and 2 regiments Portuguese), 71,500 men, the 2nd Corps under Oudinot (3 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Frenchmen, Swiss, Illyrians, Portuguese and Poles), 36,800 men, the 3rd Corps under Ney (3 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Frenchmen, Württembergers and Poles), 38,000 men, the reserve cavalry under the King of Naples, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Corps under Nansouty, the 2nd under Montbrun, the 3rd under Grouchy, each of 3 divisions with 32,000 men. The army of the Viceroy of Italy, 60,000 men, also on the Njemen, comprised of the 4th Corps (4 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Italians, Illyrians and Spaniards), 44,000 men, under the viceroy, then under Junot; and the 6th Corps under Gouvion St. Cyr (2 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, all Bavarians), 25,000 men. The army of the King of Westphalia, 83,000 men, advancing on the road of Grodno, comprised of the 5th Corps under Prince Poniatowski (3 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Poles and Frenchmen), 36,000 men, the 7th Corps under Reynier (3 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Saxons and Frenchmen), 17,000 men, the 8th Corps under van Damme (2 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry, Westphalians), 18,000 men, and the 4th Cavalry Corps under Latour Maubourg (2 divisions Poles, Saxons and Westphalians), 8,000 men. The right wing was formed by the Austrian auxiliary corps under Prince Schwarzenberg near Lublin (3 divisions infantry, 1 division cavalry), 33,000 men, the left wing the 10th Corps consisting of the Prussian auxiliary corps and of one division of Poles, Bavarians and Westphalians, commanded by MacDonald, 32,500 men, near Tilsit. As reserves followed between Vistula and Elbe the 9th Corps under Victor (3 divisions infantry, one division cavalry, Frenchmen, troops of the Confederation of the Rhine and Poles, 33,600 men, and the 11th Corps under Augereau (4 divisions infantry, Frenchmen and troops of the Confederation of the Rhine).
At first Russia hurried to conclude peace with the powers with which it was at war, with England the Peace of Örebro was concluded on July 18th, as well as a treaty over large subsidies, for which Russia pawned her Baltic fleet as security (18 ships of the line, 12 frigates); with Turkey [!] the Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on May 12th, with Sweden a treaty of alliance was signed on March 24th, in which Russia guaranteed Norway to the former and promised an auxiliary corps of 25,000 to 30,000 men. With the Junta ruling in Spain on July 20th a treaty of alliance was concluded in Veliky Luki. Russia only remained at war with Persia. In 1811 and 1812 Russia had mobilised 195,000 men, and at the beginning of the war ordered the western governments to conscript 40,000 more. As not all of these reported to service, 2 % of the crown peasants and the same percentage from governments where hitherto no conscription had taken place were demanded, further, in response to calls on Moscow Gubernia and then on the other governments, the nobility of Moscow provided 80,000 men militia, St. Petersburg Gubernia 30,000, Kaluga 23,000, Smolensk 20,000, Vladimir and Nizhniy Novgorod 15,000 men each, the other governments also provided militias of considerable size. Grand Princess [!] Catherine at her own expense equipped a batallion, other grandes individual regiments. But most of these did not join the line immediately, but only about 40,000 men militia, mostly from the gubernias of Moscow and St. Petersburg, participated in the war of 1812, the others in part in 1813 followed the army to Poland and Germany, in part they were dismissed. The positions of he Russian army were : headquarters Vilna, to the 1st army of the west under Barclay de Tolly belonged : the 1st Corps under Wittgenstein (20,000 men) as the right wing near Schawle, the 2nd under Baggehusswudt (15,000 men) near Wilkomierz, the 4th under Shuvalov (16,000 men) near Troki, the 6th under Dokhturov (16,000 men) near Lida, the 3rd under Tushkov I (15,000 men) and the 5th under Grand Prince Constantin (18,000 men, among them the Guards), as well as the 1st Corps of heavy cavalry under Uvarov (12,000), the 2nd under Korff (10,000 men) and the 3rd under Count Pahlen (8,000 men) as reserves near Vilna. In total 128,000 men, about 1/3 of the size of the French army in positions opposing it. 20 miles distant was posted the 2nd army of the west, under Prince Bagration, near Slonim; it comprised of the 7th Infantry Corps under Rajewski (15,000 men), the 8th under Barasdin I (15,000 men), the 9th under Woronzow (15,000) and the 3rd Calalry Corps under Knorring, Stewers and Vassilchikov (25,000 men), in total 63,000 men. In Volhynia the reserve army under Count Tomasov was stationed, under him general lieutenants Markov, Kamenskoy and Lambert, with 47,000 men. he headquarters was Mozyr on the Przpiec. The avantgarde was formed by Hetman Platov near Bialystok. Opposed to him were stationed 122,000 men, outnumbering him almost 2:1. Prince Pahlen III of the 2nd Cavalry Corps was responsible for the communication between he 1st and 2nd army. Every Russian infantry corps comprised of 2 divisions (only the first of three, the 10th of only one), the reserve cavalry corps comprised of three divisions each (the 2nd only of two). Essen, with 10,000 men, was to protect Riga. On its march home was the Army of the Danube under Kutusov, 35,000 men strong, which had been freed by the Peace wih Turkey [!]. It consisted of 2 corps, those of Langeron and Markov, and of the cavalry corps under General Sass (two divisions each). To these has to be added the separate Corps Steinheil, 12,000 men strong, which marched on Riga from Finland, General Miloradovich who strengthened the main army at the beginning of September with 25,000 men militia, General Ertel who raised a force of 15,000 men near Smolensk and joined the army of Volhynia, and the militias of Petersburg and Tver (15,000 men), which supported Wittgenstein's army toward the end of the campaign. All of these included, the Russian army never had more than 315,000 men, and therefore almost always was 2/5 weaker then the French army, her reserves included.
Operations of the Main Army in Lithuania and Volhynia until the move into Recreation Quarters near Smolensk
On June 23rd 3 boats with tirailleurs crossed the Njemen, soon followed over three pontoon bridges constructd near the village of Alexioten near Kovno by the reserve calalry under Murat, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Corps and the guards, later the viceroy. Already on June 28th, after skirmishes near Troki and Waka, the French avangarde was in Vilna. Everywhere the Russians retreated, according to the plan of operation designed by General Phull, fighting, but not putting up serious resistance; they burnt all magazines. In Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, Napoleon remained for 14 days, had the city fortified and magazines established, and tried to get the Lithuaniansd to take up arms by promising to unify them with Poland. But only a few followed his call, the formation of 6 Lithuanian regiments infantry and 4 regiments cavalry proceeded slowly. The former mainly consisted of Russian deserters, the latter of discontent Lithuanian nobles. Slowly the King of Naples, supported by Nansouty with 1 Cavalry and 1 Infantry Division of the 1st Corps, from June 29th to July 6th pushed the main Rusian army into the camp of Drissa, MacDonald crossed the Dvina near Dünaburg [Dvinsk] and Drissa, in the course of which several cavalry skirmishes were fought. In the meantime, the 2nd Russian Army of the West, 15 miles distant from the 1st, had not been attacked. From Vilna Napoleon detached Davoust with 35,000 men against the right flank of the 2nd Army of the West via Oszmiana to Minsk, in order to prevent the combination of both armies. Davousts's avantgarde unexpectedly ran into Dokhturov and Pahlen III who marched on Vilna, which they still believed to be in the hands of the 1st Army of the West, and pressed Dokhturov on all sides, but the Russians with their lighter horses reached the Driszna and the Camp of Drissa on July 6th, while the French with their heavier horses got stuck on the bad roads. All the more energetically Davoust pursued his march on Minsk, and reached the city on July 9th, even before the 2nd Army of the West, which under Bagration in the end of June had begun the retreat, and had left Kamenskoy and Lambert behind in Volhynia, and who was pursued, although in a slack manner, by the King of Westphalia. Bagration moved in a curve from Mir via Nyesvich to Slucz and the fortress Bobruisk, where he crossed the Beresina, and on July 19th marched between Beresina and Dniepr to Mohilev. Davoust occupied this city on July 20th, while Grouchy further to the north already on July 15th had taken the walled city of Borisov, and Orsza on July 18th. During all these moves the French suffered great lack and lost many horses. The King of Westphalia since July 8th pushed harder, he daily fought cavalry skirmishes with Bagration, and only with difficulty did the Russians, by routing the Polish cavalry on July 14th near Romanov, gain some relief. Finally Bagration with 50,000 men attacked Davoust in Mohilev on July 22nd. Davoust, who had detached many regiments and who had only 15,000 men, was in a very precarious situation, but was so well positioned behind a swampy creek that Bagration broke off the battle, and, taking another detour, crossed the Dniepr near Bukhov and moved on its left bank toward Smolensk. Because of the inconsistency in his movements, Napoleon was angry with his brother Jerome and ordered that Davoust in his place was to take command over the left wing, Jerome only to command the 8th Army Corps, the Westphalians. Angered by this treatment, the latter left the army and handed command over the 8th Corps to Junot (because also van Damme, the military guardian of Jerome, had fallen in disfavour and had been recalled). During these operations of the right wing the left found itself opposite the strongly entrenched camp of Drissa on the Dvina. As it was too dangerous to attack the camp directly, Oudinot on July 13th and 14th launched a mock assault on the bridgehead near Dünaburg [Dvinsk]. (This assault, which accoding to Napoleon's intention, was not supposed to succeed, Petersburg was reported as a victory). The Russians did tout the cavalry brigade under St. Genie on July 15th near Druya, where St. Genie and 300 Frenchmen were taken prisoner. In the meantime the Emperor and the Viceroy, with the 6th Corps and the guards moved around the left flank of the camp, and the Russians no longer could doubt in the intention by Napoleon, not to march on St. Petersburg, but instead on Moscow. The War Council and Barclay de Tolly therefore had to give in to the voices of those, who regarded the system of hesitation hitherto implemented as a sign of weakness and cowardry, and decide to stand a battle. But it should only happen after the main army was joined by the 2nd Army of the West, therefore the 1st Army of he West on July 18th broke camp toward the camp on the Drissa, and moved up the Dvina via Polock to Vitebsk, where it arrived on July 24th, but here because of the fight over Mohilev was forced to turn to Smolensk. Czar Alexander went to Petersburg in order to push on preparations for a national war; Shuvalov as commander of the 4th Corps was replaced by Ostermann-Tolstoy In order to facilitate the crossing of the 6th Corps under Dokhturov - it alone among the Russians still was on the left bank of the Dvina - the 4th Corps (Ostermann) moved toward the viceroy, and on July 25th, 26th and 27th vivid skitmishes were fought near Ostrowno, in which either side lost 3,000 to 4,000 men, until the Russians on the 26th withdrew to Vitebsk, and on the 27th, with the entire population of Vitebsk, including the Jews. withdrew to Smolensk. Barclay de Tolly arrived in Smolensk on July 30th and here the 1st and 2nd Army of the West were joined. The French long were not certain if the Russians had moved to Smolensk or along the Dvina, the viceroy moved along the latter route, the King of Naples marched via Porjeczie on Smolensk, but he guards and Napoleon himself remained in Vitebsk. The troops recovered for about 8 days, as they had been much exhausted by heat and the lack of food.
On the French right flank in Volhynia, the King of Westphalia at the command of Napoleon had left the 7th Corps under Reynier behind in Slonim, to replace Schwarzenberg, who was to join Napoleon's army via Minsk. Napoleon, when summoning Schwarzenberg, probably was unaware of the full strength of the Russians in Volhynia, or calculated that Tormasov also was to retreat into the interior. But he held his position, in order to halt the advance of the French main army by moving in her back or flank. On July 25th detachments of Cossacks crossed the Bug near Horodle, roamed as far as Rubieska, Wlodowa and Krielow and caused panic in Warsaw. With great effort General Krasinski assembled a force of a few thousand peasants and drove the Russians back. Now Tormasov moved against Reynier, who had posted his outpost at Kobryn, which he had occupied with 2,300 Saxons under General Klengel. On July 27th he took Kobryn under heavy fire from three sides. In vain the cavalry tried to fight her way out. After 1000 men had fallen and all ammunition had been spent, General Klengel had to surrender. But Reynier hurriedly retreated to Slonim, and here on August 3rd he joined Schwarzenberg. On the French left flank MacDonald, crossing the Niemen on June 24th, had flooded Samogitia, and now advanced with the Prussians via Bauske and Eckau toward Riga, while Grandjean occupied the evacuated Dünaburg [Dvinsk], and razed the city's fortifications. On July 20th the Prussians under General Grawert, after they had stood a skirmish against General Lewis on July 19th, arrived in front of Riga. The governor of Riga had had the dilapidated fortifications brought in shape, had had palisades erected, bastions established on the other bank of the Dvina, had given order that every inhabitant was to supply himself with provisions for four months. In the night of July 24th, without having given the inhabitants advance warning, he had the suburbs burnt down; on August 1st Russian and English cannon boats arrived. Oudinot, who had the camp on he Drissa destroyed, at the end of July (26th) was in Polock beyond the Dvina, Witgenstein opposite of him in Osweia on the road to St. Petersburg. Both were weakened exertion and by diseases, so that Oudinot hardly had 45,000 men, Wittgenstein hardly 25,000. On July 28th Oudinot broke camp in Polock and Disna, to advance via Sebesh along the road to St. Petersburg. On the 30th Wittgenstein attacked him near Jakubovo and repelled him, on the 31st again at Polock, where Oudinot as repelled across the Drissa. Here the later took a covered position, from where he attacked the Russians which advanced under Kuiniev, whom he defeated without pursuing them.
C.) The March on Moscow. Operations of the Main Army
Until August 14th Napoleon concentrated his force, the guards, the 3rd Corps, the 4th Corps, the 1st Corps, 5th Corps and 8th Corps under Davoust and the reserve cavalry near Smolensk; on the right in Volhynia only Schwarzenberg and Reynier, to the left on the Dvina MacDonald, Oudinot and St. Cyr remained behind. The moves of the main army began on August 9th and ended on August 14th. Barclay planned an offensive move on August 12th, but immediately turned, when he observed the moves of the French. Between Liady, the last town on once Polish territory, and Krasnoy skirmishes took place, the Russians, 3000 men under General Neverovski, formed a square, and despite being attacked by the French cavalry more than 40 times, continued their orderly retreat on Smolensk. Smolensk was surrounded by a stone wall 20 feet thick, 40 feet high, flanked by towers. The inhabitants and the army demanded the city to be defended, declared further retreat to be treason. Therefore Barclay, who still was in command, had to give in and, at the head of 130,000 men facing 180,000, had to at least seemingly accept a battle; he wanted the city to be defended by the 1st Corps, while the main army on the right bank of the Dniepr was to cover the retreat. Communifaction across the Dniepr was maintained by three pontoon bridges. On August 15th and 16th Napoleon reconnoitred the position, and attempted the Russians to come out of the city, and when this did not succeed, the attack began on August 17th at noon. The 3rd Corps with the left wing lent on the Dniepr, then came Davoust with the 1st Corps, then Poniatowski with the 5th Corps, and Murat's cavalry filled the remaining room until the Dniepr. The 4th Corps (Eugen) and the guards were positioned behind the right wing and the centre in reserve. The 8th Corps (Junot) was to cross the Dniepr two miles above Smolensk, and thus flank the Russians and force their retreat; but they hesitated and arrived near Smolensk only in the evening around 10 o'clock. When Barclay de Tolly realized the size of this offensive force, he dispatched the 6th Corps (Dokhturov) to the defense of Smolensk, and personally took control of the city. 8,000 men stood in front of Dniepr and Krasnoy Road, forming the right wing. 15,000 men defended two barricaded suburbs, the left wing held two others occupied, until the Dniepr. Ney attacked the Holy Field, Davoust and Poniatowski the suburbs, Sorbieres commanded 60 pieces of artillery, the Russians responded with 40. Soon four suburbs had been taken, the longest the Russians held out on the Holy Field, reinforced by Barclay with the reserves, against Ney. But by 6 o'clock the Russiand had been reduced to the walled city, three batteries in vain tried to shoot a breach into the wall. At daybreak the French found the city evacuated; almost all inhabitants had left, the city was in flames, 250 cannon and mortars of heavy caliber had been left behind. The French losses are said to have numbered 10,000 to 12,000, the Russian losses 6,000 to 8,000. [The Russian retreat] .. the 6th and 7th Corps under Dokhturov followed, Korff formed the arriere. The Corps of Ney, which only in the night to August 19th had succeeded in crossing the Dniepr (as the banks had been defended by Russian artillery), formed the French avantgarde. Early on August 19th, about an hour from the Dniepr, a skirmish between the French avantgarde and the Russian arriere took place near the village of Valutina Gora (according to Russian sources on the creek Strachan near Lainchino; here Ney was supported by Junot; as Barclay appeared on the battlefield with the 2nd and 3rd Corps, and as Napoleon personally brought reinforcements, the skirmish became more intense. The Russians held on against a force double their size, until he evening, and then continued their retreat on Moscow. French losses 10,000 men, Russian losses 6,000 men.
Napoleon held a War Council in Smolensk, where he succeeded in convincing the majority of his generals of the necessity to continue the march on Moscow; the march was continued on August 25th. Murat, Davoust and Ney moved along the main road, the viceroy a few hours to the left, Poniatowski and Junot a few hours to the right, in parallel direction. All cities, villages and huts on a width of several hours were set afire by the retreating Russians, all inhabitants, with wife and children, either followed the army or moved sideways into secure areas; only a few remained behind. Dorgobush, Slavkovo, Vyazma, Gshatsk, which was readched on September 1st, were found in flames. At the Russian army, which had taken a fortified position near Czarevo Zaimisze, on August 29th the new supreme commander Kutusov arrived. He joined the reserves of Markov and Miloradovich with the main force, and at first took a position behind Ghatsk, then 27 hours from Moscow near Moshaisk behind the rivulet Kalocha, to stand a battle (Sept. 3rd). On September 5th the French army arrived in front of this position, the Battle of Moshaisk (according to others the Battle of Borodino, or on the Moskva) began on September 6th. The Russians were positioned in two lines behind the Kalocha, the right wing under Barclay de Tolly (the 2nd Corps and 6th Infantry Corps) stretched almost to the Moskva, and leaned on a steep slope and on the large village of Borodino, occupied by a strong Russian force, beyond the slope and the Kalocha, the center under Bennigsen (4th and 7th Corps) stretched over a gradually rising height, which only was strengthened by only two half-completed redoutes on both sides of a destroyed village. The left wing under Bagration (3rd Corps) stretched toward a forest near the village of Semenovskoy and was covered by strong, half-completed entrenchments. In front of this was a forward positioned redoute which covered the Kalocha valley. The guard, as reserve, was positioned behind the center and the left wing, deemed to be the weakest point, here also were positioned a cavalry reserve, an artillery reserve, the Muscovite and Smolensk militias. The new road to Moscow crossed through the right wing, the road to Kaluga through the left wing. Napoleon immediately realized that the point to attack was on the left wing of the Russians, on the evening of September 5th he had the redoute near Shevardino on the right bank of the Kalocha stormed by 2 divisions of the 1st Army Corps, and the rim of the forest in the direction of Utiza occupied by the 5th (Poniatowski); September 6th was spent to reconnoitre the enemy positions and to find proper positions for the French, in the night to eptember 7th these positions were taken. On the extreme right wing in the forest of Utiza up to the old road to Smolensk the Poles were positioned, they were followed in the front by the three divisions of Davoust, further behind to the west of the conquered redoute 3 cavalry corps, under Nansouty, Montbrun, Latour, from the redoute until the Kalocha Ney and Morand, in the second line the Westphalians; the guards behind the redoute, the Italians, the division Gerard and Grouchy stood on he other bank of the Kalocha toward Borodino. The French had 130,000, the Russians 120,000, among them 20,000 militia. In the morning of the 7th, 6 o'clock the French attack began on all fronts, the most intense on the Russian left wing. With a lot of effort Poniatowski penetrated deep into the forest, Davoust advandec along it to Semenovskoy, both had to be supported by the Westphalians. Davoust's intention was to take Bagration's large entrenchments, Ney followed to the left of Davoust against the same entrenchments, supported by cavalry. at 7.30 the first entrenchment was stormed, but then lost again. By 9 o'clock boh entrenchments had been taken. In the center the battle consisted of the exchange of artillery fire. At 6 o'clock the viceroy, in order to attract the attention of the enemy, attacked Borodino, took it, lost part of it again to an attack of Barclay, his further operations were directed against Rajewski's entrenchment, which around 11 o'clock for a short time came into his possession. At the same time on the right flank Semenovskoy had been taken, an act in which the Saxon cavalry won merits. At 3 o'clock Napoleon send the 4th cavalry corps again against Rajewski's entrenchment, from the back, and the Saxon brigade under Baron Thielmann finally succeeded in taking it. In vain, Kutusov and Barclay by several strong attacks attempted to regain the lost ground, with the loss of the great entrenchment the battle was lost for the Russians. The French reported their losses, the bloodiest ever fought in one day, as 49 generals and 28,000 men, the Russians theirs as 18 generals and 52,000 men. The French took 40 mostly damaged pieces of artillery, the Russians 13. On the morning of the 8th the Russians began their retreat via Moshaisk, which was in flames, toward Moscow.
In Moscow hitherto confidence in the invincibility of the Russian army and the optimistic proclamations of governor Count Rostopchin had kept the people in a feeling of security. But when the defeated army appeared on September 13th, when all administrations left the city, even police and 2100 firemen with 96 fire engines, and even Rostopchin himself, the remainder of the population followed, only 14,000 inhabitants (of 280,000) and 2,000 severely wounded stayed behind. On September 14th he French avantgarde under Murat appeared off Moscow, the last Russian unit on Sparrow Mountains retreated, the French entered the city around noon. No Russian soldier was in sight, not even a burgher; finally in front of the Kremlin a crowd of a few thousand persions was seen. They were dispersed with a few shots; Murat now entered the Kremlin, where he found 120 cannon and 60,000 rifles; his cavalry took a position a few hours east in the direction of Vladimir. In front of the barriers Napoleon waited for a delegation of the magistrate; as it did not come, the French rounded up a number of persons of the lower classes, who appeared in front of Napoleon as the representatives of Moscow. Now Napoleon moved into the Kremlin, and the guard into the city, the remainder of the French army bivouaced outside Moscow. Already when the avantgarde reached Moscow, the bourse, important warehouses and many depots of straw, hay and grain were on fire; in the night to the 15th fire broke out in the orphanage, but was extinguished, but by morning there were new fires. The fires burnt calmly on the 15th, but on the 16th a storm broke out at 9 o'clock, coming from the northwest, spreading the fire. To this came the mob, joined in with the plundering French, spread the fire, by noon the quarters on the Moskva were on fire, then the hospitals took fire, by evening half the city was on fire. In vain the guard looked for fire engines, and when the outer buildings of the Kremlin took fire, Napoleon left it and moved into Petrowski, an Imperial palace a mile to the north of the city, but returned on the 19th into the Kremlin, which for he larger part had survived the fire. Only on the 21st the fire was extinguished by rain, and the army tied to quarter itself in the houses which had remained standing. It has often been stated, as well as denied, that Rostopchev himself had ordered to set he city on fire; it only can be safely said that he had his own country residence outside of Moscow burnt, and theat he had taken measures to have the magazines destroyed, and thus has been the cause of that fire in the spread of which Russians and Frenchmen participated.
Kutusov at first retreated on the road to Ryazan, then turned right via Tula, moved across the Oka, sending a corps to occupy Kaluga. He had the road to St. Petersburg occupied by the weak detachment of General Winzingerode at Klin, the road to Yaroslavl observed by Cossacks. So Kutusov, in the right southern flank of the French, covered the rich southern provinces and the arms factories in Tula, was closer to Smolensk than the French, and prevented any undertaking against Vladimir or St. Petersburg, as in both cases he threatened their back. The French, in the course of the Moscow fire, forgot to pursue and observe the enemy, and only after a number of days the 3rd Corps advanced on the Vladimir Road, Murat toward Kolomna, Tula and Kaluga until the Bakhra, detachments of the 4th Corps until Tver and Yaroslavl. Only Poniatowski, who, following Murat, marched on Kaluga, on September 29th near Czerikovo met the Russian arriere, was attacked and had a difficult stand; the skirmish was ended by nightfall. On October 2nd and 3rd Murat, constantly held up by skirmishes, slowly moved on the Nara, where a truce for three weeks followed. In Moscow Napoleon tried to establish order, a governor (Lesseps) and a military commander (Milhaud) were appointed, the city divided in 20 quarters, a municipality established, the inhabitants invited to return, religious service resumed etc., but plunder and disorder of all kind continued. Soon bread, fodder and meat became scarce, potatos and cabbage were the only food available. To forage beyond the advanced posts was impossible because of the armed peasants and the Cossacks. Many horses fell, the cavalry had to give up horses for the transport of cannon. The governments in which the war raged now unanimously were for fighting for life or death. The Moscow fire, French plunder and arrogance caused the call for revenge, thousands of Frenchmen were murdered in the most horrible ways. Napoleon realized the impossibility to spend the winter in Moscow, but he hoped for Russian peace negotiators to show up any day. Therefore he wanted to instill in the Russians the conviction that he was to spend the winter in the city. The Kremlin was fortified, the army was given the order to supply itself with rations for two months. Kutusov knew too well which advantages a winter campaign would give Russia, and only tried to hold back the French in Moscow as long as possible. Rumours regarding disunity among the Russian generals were spread, of peace negotiators soon to be sent, of the Russians running out of provisions etc. Finally Napoleon sent General Lauriston into the Russian headquarters on October 5th, in order to propose peace conditions, but Kutusov claimed not to have the authority to engage in such, and promised to get orders concerning his actions from Saint Petersburg. On October 9th Lauriston came again to hand over letters to Czar Alexander, but Kutusov refused to accept them, claiming this wouls insult the dignity of his monarch, and also rejected the offer of a truce while the French were to withdraw across the Dniepr. On October 11th Lauriston had to return to Moscow without success; the withdrawal now was decided upon.
Events on the French right wing. The union of Schwarzenberg's and Reynier's forces on August 3rd near Slonim had increased the Austro-French force in Volhynia to 45,000 men, thus it was far superior to the force of Tormasov who had 30,000 men. Schwarzenberg, who assumed supreme command, took the offensive, attacked in two columns, the Saxons on the right, the Austrians on the left, continually fighting, advancing on Podubuie, where he attacked the Russians on August 12th, and by evening forced them to withdraw to Kobryn and behind the Przypiec, then he followed them to the Styr. The left, Austrian wing, the Division Mohr, moved on Pinsk and the Przypiec. But when it met the Avantgarde of General Eitel, it retreated toward Pinsk. Schwarzenberg received reinforcements in form of the force raised by General Krasinski in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and now lay in waiting until September 20th, observing the Russians, which were enfored by the Army of the Danube under Chichagov, 35,000 men strong, bringing their total force to 65,000 men. Chichagov took command, attacked Schwarzenberg, forced him to retreat across the Turia, and on September 27th also forced him out of this position. Now Krasinski retreated across the Bug to protect Zamosc and the southern part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, Schwarzenberg, as an Austrian general, did not want to abandon contact with Galicia, and therefore stayed in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, instead of turning north, and only recrossed the Bug near Drohiczyn on October 14th, when General Mohr who had reestablished contact taking a large turn via Bialystok. Here, beyond the Bug, finally the French Division Durutte, 8,000 men strong, linked up with Reynier. Although Chichagov, as Schwarzenberg did not move away from the Bug, could have interrupted the communication of the French with Germany, he limited himself to flood Volhynia and part of Lithuania with his light cavalry, and to have parties roam as far as Warsaw, until Schwarzenberg deployed the cavalry under General Frölich, and thus limited his actions. Now Dombrowski, who blocked Bobruisk with his division and with 2 regiments of cavalry, lifted the blockade on September 14th as General Ertel was advancing, and withdraw toward the 9th Corps under Victor, which, 25,000 men strong, which, in the mid of September, as a reserve of the Grand Armee took position near Smolensk.
On the left French wing on August 10th near Svolna Oudinot again attacked the Russians, was defeated, which caused him to retreat to Polock where he took in a position, which was attacked by Wittgenstein on August 17th. The attack on the center took place near the village of Spas, where Wrede and Deroy were standing. The Bavarians held on to the village; Oudinot was severely injured and harded command over to St. Cyr, who successfully attacked the Russians in the center on the 18th. Wittgenstein retreated on the Petersburg Road to the village of Nevel, and on August 19th concentrated on the Drissa near Obojarszina. The losses of the Russians numbered 9,000 dead and wounded, among them three generals, 1,000 prisiners and 21 cannon, that of the French 4 generals, 8,000 men, 500 prisoners and 2 cannon. Until mid October the two armies faced each other on the Dvina, St. Cyr retreated into the entrenched camp at Polock. Oudinot still had 35,000 men, Wittgenstein by taking in the Petersburg and Novgorod militia, had raised his force to 40,000 men; it was divided in two infantry corps under Prince Yashvil and under Steinheil, the militia formed a separate regiment under Mordvinov, the cavalry was commanded by Repnin. Wittgenstein on October 16th moved from Osveya against the French entrenchments, Steinheil crossed the Dvina near Drisna, St. Cyr with the baggage and cavalry crossed to the left bank of the Dvina, in he entrenchments he posted Wrede, who since the death of Deroy in the skirmish of August 18th commanded the 6th Corps, on the left to defend the Polota, Oudinot on the right between the Polota and the Dvina. On the 18th Witgenstein attacked, but did not succeed, but when Steinheil attacked the position of Uszacz and when Wittgenstein launched a strong attack on the bridgehead near Strudina, St. Cyr evacuated Polock. But Wittgenstein, in order to foil this move, had set fire to Polock. The Russian losses from October 14th to 20th were 12,000 men dead and wounded, among them 6 generals, those of the French 6,000 men. Already on October 21st Wittgenstein, by crossing the Dvina above Polock, forced St. Cyr to retreat further. The 2nd Corps, now commanded by Legrand, united on October 20th with the 9th Corps under Victor. The 6th (Wrede), more pressed by Steinheil, covered the camp near Danielowicze, where, little molested by the Russians, he remained until November 19th. During the retreat a Bavarian heavy battery had been detached to Uszacz, and here had fallen into the hands of the Russians, with 22 flags.
At the extreme left wing, MacDonald could not achieve anything against Riga, as long as siege artillery had not arrived, and as long as Wittgenstein hreatened his right. In August the Prussian General Grawert laid down his command because of illness and of disputes with MacDonald, and handed it over to General Yorck. On August 6th 19 English [!] and 10 Russian cannon boats sailed up the Aa to Mitau, and 1,000 Russians made a sortie from the fortress of Dünamünde [Dvinsk]. Both moves were foiled after a light skirmish. A sortie from Riga pushed back General Kleist on August 9th. On August 22nd a column 5,000 men strong, under Lewis, attacked the right wing of the siege corps under Horn, near Dahlenkirchen. Horn resisted courageously and retook Dahlenkirchen. Also the attempt by General Essen to take away the siege artillery positioned near Ruhenthal on September 26th, with the aid of the 12,000 men strong corps under Steinheil. Yorck had taken up a position near Eckau, Kleist and Massenbach with the cavalry appeared in time. York advanced, attacked the Russians on September 30th near Bauske, took 4 batallions prisoner, and pushed Steinheil back to Riga, inflicting losses of 2500 men dead and 2500 men taken prisoner on the enemy. A new sortie was repelled on October 17th. On October 20th the headquarters of Yorck and MacDonald was moved into Mitau, early in November the siege of Riga was lifted. The Prussian Corps retreated beyond the Aa to Eckau. Paulucci, who had been given command in Riga, wanted to pursue, but was repelled with losses on November 17th near Dahlenkirchen.
D.) The Retreat of the French from Moscow to the Beresina
On October 13th Napoleon decided on the retreat. On October 15th wagons loaded with the wounded who could be transported, the ill, the crosses taken down from the tower of the church of St. Ivan, with old weapons, flags, with the treasures of Poland and Russia took off. Still the infantry was 100,000 men strong, artillery had sufficien horses, only the cavalry suffered a severe lack of horses. On the old road via Moshaisk and Vyazma the 3rd Corps (Ney) was to retreat, Napoleon wanted to retreat on the free road via Kaluga and Smolensk. Therefore the main army (4th, 1st, 8th and 5th Corps, Murat's cavalry and the guards) were to concentrate on the Nara from October 15th to 19th, and then to operate against Kaluga. But when Kutusov observed Napoleon's first moves, when he realized this to be Napoleon's retreat, he took on the offensive. The Russian army already had been organized for this purpose. Supreme commander was Kutusov, chief of staff Bennigsen. Advance troops consisted of 20 pulks of Don Cossacks, 2 regiments mounted infantry, 2 batteries under Hetman Platov, further 8 Cossack pulks, 2 regiments hussars, 1 mounted battery and 5 roaming corps. The avantgarde (the 2nd and 7th Corps and the 2nd Cavalry Division) was commanded by Miloradovich, the main army under Tormassov, to it belonged the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Infantry Corps and the cavalry corps under General Uvarov. On the Dvina stood the corps of General Paulucci in Riga, further the army of General Wittgenstein, in Volhynia Chichagov with the Volhynian and Danube Army. Quickly the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Corps crossed the Nara (50,000 men) and at the daybreak of October 18th the attack on the French position at Vinkovo began, against the left wing of Murat (25,000 men), quickly several divisions were thrown back, but Murat wih his heavy cavalry launched an attack and covered the retreat, with a loss of 2,000 men, 2 generals and 38 cannon. Among the Russians, General Bagehosswudt was among the 1000 dead. Napoleon, when he learned of this mishap in Moscow on October 19th, ordered to march on Kaluga, and ordered Mortier, with 3,000 men of the young guard, to hold the Kremlin for a few more days. The march went via Fominskoe and Borovsk. The Italian army took the lead, followed by Ney, Davoust, Roguet with the guard, Morand formed the rearguard. Poniatowski maintained communication with Ney in Vereya. Kutosov saw from these moves that the aim was Kaluga, on the 24th positioned himself between Kaluga and the French and attacked the weakly occupied town of Malo Yaroslavets, from where he expelled the French. Now the fight raged over the burning town, which the French held in the end. Of the French, 3000 men had died or been wounded, among them 5 generals; the losses of the Russians were or the same size. When Napoleon left his headquarters on the 25th near the village of Gorodnya in order to renew the fight, Kaisarov's Cossacks launchd a bold assault on him and his retinue, took 11 cannon and came close to taking the Emperor himself prisoner. The attack was abandoned, the retreat via Moshaisk to Vyazma begun, which Napoleon reached on November 1st. The army followed; Chastel, commanding the rearguard, held Malo Yaroslavets. Near the battlefield of Moshaisk the column won control of the grand road. In the meantime the garrison of the Kremlin under Mortier again and again had been teased by the Cossacks, on October 22th Winzingerode had moved forward to the three barriers, but was taken prisoner because he had moved too close to the enemy. He claimed to be an emissary, but Mortier sent him to the headquarters. Napoleon sent him, a born Hessian, to Kassel to Jerome, to have him court-martialled. But Chernychev's Cossacks liberated him near Minsk. After Mortier on October 22nd had the Kremlin buildings still standing set afire, and blown up the fortifications, on October 23rd the last Frenchmen left Moscow. Immediately a swarm of Cossacks and armed peasants moved into the city, cutting down the wounded, the sick, and stragglers. From Moshaisk the retreat was organized in orderly fashion. In the front the wagons with trophies and the baggage train, then followed the guard, behind them Murat's cavalry, he 3rd and 5th Corps, then the 4th and the 8th, the 1st, commanded by Davoust, and supported by a division of Murat's cavalry, formed the rear. Already in Malo Yaroslavets, Napoleon, in order to hamper the enemy pursuit, ordered to devastate the land, to burn down all towns and villages. But instead of this being done by the rear, already the avantgarde burnt down everything, causing severe depravation for the rear, and were limited to the consumption of horse meat. In the beginning the retreat made decent progress. At night it was freezing a little, but at daytime temperature reached 6 to 10 degrees. Only the horses suffered much, as food and stables lacked, thousands fell in those days, the cavalry had to march on foot, in order to keep only the cavalry of the guard on horseback, the artillery and the trophy wagons of the higher officers pulled. When headquarters and the guards were at Dorgobush, for two days there was heavy snowfall, temperatures dropped to -8 to -10 degrees, and further fell to -18 degrees before the army reached Smolensk. The soldiers now for the most part threw away their weapons, marched in disorder, broke up in small groups of 6 to 10 men, everybody only worried about his comrades. Wagons and canon were abandoned in front of the smallest elevation. Until the Dniepr about 30,000 horses and 500 cannon were lost. When he miserable column reached the bivouac in the evening, the stronger ones collected firewood to prepare a meal from snow, a little grain grinded between stones and a bit of horse meat roasted on hot stones. Soon everybody fell asleep near the fire. Some in order to loosen their frozen limbs. Some burnt in their limbs, which had become numb, in the fire. Such unfortunate persons were left behind. Napoleon often left his wagon, insulated with fur, to speak friendly to those almost stiff because of the frost. When near Smolensk cold and lack had also consumed the horses of the guard, he formed the officers who still had horses into 4 squadrons, the so-called Holy Band, majors served as NCOs, generals as officers, Murat and under him Grouchy had the command.
Kutusov had Miloradovich's avantvarge (c. 20,000 men) pursue the French armies on the main road, and sent 8,000 cavalry under Platov, wh mostly operated to the north of the road; he himself marched slowly with the main army from Malo Yaroslavets via Yukhnov and Yelnya, but had ordered that Chichagov and Wittgenstein would push hard on Borisov, and by defending the crossing of the swampy Beresina, prevent the exit of the French army. Only on November 3rd a rear skirmish occurred on the Vyazma, where the 1st Corps got into grave danger, was thrown back into the 4th, and only saved by the 3rd. French losses 2000 dead and wounded, 2500 taken prisoner. Near Dorgobush on November 7th Napoleon detached the viceroy toward the right to Vitebsk, in order to contact the 2nd Corps under St. Cyr, while he hoped to find Victor and the 9th in Smolensk, and to move here into winter quarters. Already for 14 days Napoleon had been without news of this corps, and with France, as Russian roaming corps had interrupted communication, but when he arrived in Smolensk on November 9th, the 9th Corps had moved out to meet the approaching force of Wittgenstein, and Napoleon thus had to continue his retreat toward the Beresina.
Also the 4th corps under the viceroy, constantly harrassed by Platov's cavalry, had to leave behind baggage and artillery at the steep banks of the Wop, but found provisions in Dukhovshchina on November 10th, and as they learned that Vitebsk was held by the Russians, reunited with the main force in Smolensk. On November 9th the Division Baraguay d'Hilliers had been attacked by the Cossacks under General Orlon Denissov, and 2000 men had been taken prisoner. At the same time a large train of 1000 horses, 400 wagon and 1500 oxen was lost on the road from Mohilev to Smolensk. In Smolensk, where the large magazines were plundered, Napoleon held war council on November 14th. It was found out that the army still consisted of 70,000 men, but only 40,000 of them were under arms, and organized in regiments. As it now was to be feared that Kutusov was to reach Krasnoy, which the French had to pass, would reach earlier than the French, the war council decided to speedily continue the march toward Vilna. From the 14th to the 17th the army departed from Smolensk, after the fortifications there had been blown up. In he meantime, Miloradovich, turning left at Dorgobush, had reached Krasnoy on the 15th, and with 20,000 men, blocked the road to the French, while Kutusov camped only 2 hours away toward the side. When the French guard approached it was fired upon by the Russian artillery, on the 16th the 4th Corps, which after an unsuccessful attack on the heights reached the guards taking a turn to the right, and on the 17th the 1st Corps in the flank. The French lost here 2,000 to 3,000 men, many cannon, and 5,000 to 6,000 men taken prisoner. When Ney arrived with the rearguard, 8,000 men, 20 cannon, and 9,000 stragglers, on the evening of the 18th, he found that Napoleon, who had waited for him in vain for most of the day, had already departed and crossed the Dniepr near Orsha. Miloradovich blocked his way, and the Division Paskevich took his flank under fire. Ney rejected all calls for surrender, but two attacks on both wings dispersed the entire corps in wild flight; with effort Ney was able to organize 5,000 mn, with all generals, with whom he retreated for 3/4 of an hour on the road to Smolensk. At night he found a place on the Dniepr where the ice barely held to allow 3,000 men and 3,000 stragglers to cross, but the enire baggage train and artillery were lost. Not safe on the right bank either, because he was pursued by Platov's Cossacks, and often forced to attack, much weakened he reached the great road from Vitebsk to Orsha and the Italian Corps, with which he united. The Russian main army remained on the battlefield of Krasnoy and held a great victory celebration. Only the Generals Osorowski and Borosdin pursued the French early on with light troops. On November 23rd Miloradovich, on the 26th the main army between Kopyss and Mohilev, crossed the Dniepr and took up the pursuit of the French. The French army, now only 40,000 men strong, of whom only 8,000 men guard and 4,000 - 6,000 men of the remaining army were armed, and who had only 36 cannon and few horses to pull them, in a poor condition, on November 22nd departed from Orsha. Near Bobr the 9th Corps (Victor), the 2nd (Oudinot) and the Division Dombrowski of the 5th Corps, together 35,000 men, merged with the remnants of the others and covered the retreat. At this time Napoleon was reported by the cavalry which he had sent to the Beresina, that Chichagov with the Army of the Danube, held a position on the other side of the river and wanted to block a French crossing. There was no report of Wittgenstein's presence.
On Kutusov's order, Chichagov around October 27th, with three divisions infantry and two divisions cavalry, as well as the Division Kamenskoy and with half of Sacken's cavalry (c.35,000 men) marched from the Bug toward Minsk, 24,000 men under Sacken stayed behind against Schwarzenberg, who crossed the Bug near Mogielna on October 29th and 30th and pursued him. Reynier, on his march from Slonim, was strongly attacked by von Sacken near Rudnia on November 8th, and on November 13th pushed back to Lazcieca, on the 14th to Volkovisk. Here he held his position, was attacked in the night of the 15th, and was involved in a battle on the 16th when Schwarzenberg appeared with the larger part of the Austrians in the rear of Sacken. Sacken now hastily retreated, but he lost 3,000 men dead and 7,000 taken prisoner, while Reynier lost only 3,000 men. Schwarzenberg with Reynier pursued Sacken, but turned around on November 27th near Kobrya, and turned to Slonim. Sacken still had achieved his goal, had distracted Schwarzenberg from Chichagov and from supporting Napoleon's retreat, and the march of the Army of the Danube toward the Beresina could happen undisturbed. On November 8th Chichagov dispached Chernychev with a regiment of Cossacks to inform Wittgensein on the Ula of the approach of the Army of the Danube; he immediately went for the magazines of Minsk, which General Bronikowski with 3,000 unsuccessfully attempted to defend> Bronikowski, together with Dombrowski, who had come for the former's support from Igumen with 5,500 men, had to retreat on November 16th to Borisov. On November 21st the Russians attacked Borisov and its bridgehead and entered the latter, Dombrowski had to fight his way through. The French lost 2,000 men, the Russians 800. Chichagov now took position behind Borisov, the Beresina in the front, he sent the avantgarde under General Pahlen II forward to Borisov, detached General Orurk with cavalry downriver to Ushaloda, and followed him on the 26th with the Division Voinov; only the Division of Langeron, and the cavalry under Lambert remaned behind near Borisov. In the meantime St. Cyr had withdrawn to the Ula, where he merged [his force with that of] Victor to one corps of 36,000 men, and the Bavarians moved to Glubokoye, while Wittgenstein sent General Steinheil against the latter and other detachments to observe MacDonald on the lower Dvina, he himself with 40,000 men followed St. Cyr and Victor toward Czasnicki on the Ula and attacked them there on October 31st; the French did not accept battle and instead withdrew to Senno. Also, when Wittgenstein on November 7th sent General la Harpe to occupy Vitebsk, the French hurriedly withdrew to Smolensk, and split. The 2nd Corps, commanded by Oudinot, who had recovered, marched on Bobr, in order to occupy the great road and hold it against Chichagov; the 9th Corps under Victor remained in Senno and on November 15th attacked Wittgenstein at Smoliany, but was repelled with a loss of 1500 men.
E.) Further Retreat across the Beresina, the Niemen, the Vistula and the Oder
On November 27th the French army under Napoleon reached Bobr, after Dombrowski on November 24th repelled Chichagov's avantgarde across the bridge near Borisov, and had made 700 prisoners. Dombrowski still had 10,000 men under arms, Oudinot 20,000, Victor 20,000. Among several crossing points on the Beresina 100 to 150 paces wide Napoleon chose Veselovo, on November 26th directed Oudinot and all columns to Veselovo with the exception of the 9th Corps which moved to Borisov, in order not to give away the crossing point too early, and quickly troops of the 2nd Corps crossed at Veselovo, expelled the cavalry of General Chaplitz, built two bridges, one for wagons and cavalry, the other for infantry, and on November 27th the 2nd Corps crossed the Beresina. Chichagov on the 28th pressed up the Beresina, but his attack was repelled, the 2nd Corps took prisoners and cannon. Now the confused mass with Napoleon himself crossed. The poorly constructed bridges broke often, and thus interrupted the crossing, but a sense of order was maintained until the guards created a path for themselves through the stream of refugees; now absolute chaos ensued, as everyone wanted to get across the river, many died in the river which they tried to cros swimming or on horseback. The night only increased the confusion. On the morning of the 28th the rearguard, the Division Saendels and the cavalry brigade Fournier of the 9th Corps, arrived at the bridge. The Division Partonneaux and 2 regiments cavalry instead, during the night, had separated from the main column, and in the morning of the 28th, after desparate resistance (losses 4 generals, 4,000 - 5,000 men) were taken prisoner by the Russians. Only one batallion, the rear, reached the bridge. The rearguard still held the bridge, but in the end they themselves had to cross the bridge, and the last, the Poles, had to create a path for themselves through the mass of refugees with the bayonet. The artillery, which the Russians transported on sleds, began to take the bridge under fire, every bullet took down rows of defenseless, while the ones left behind pressed onto the bridge. Finally the last bridge broke, and the entire mass still left on the left bank, mostly stragglers, about 15,000 men, were taken prisoner, but 10,000 dead or wounded, among them Oudinot and 4 more generals. The baggage of the 2nd and 9th Corps, innumerable wagons with booty from Moscow, including the cross from the tower of St. Ivan and other trophies, as well as 20 cannon fell into the hands of the Russians. The remainder of the French army escaped because Kutusov, believing theFrench would cross at Ukoloda, had directed his forces there, in part because Wittgenstein had not established contact with Chichagov by a flanking manoeuvre. Napoleon collected his army on November 27th and 28th beyond the Beresina, from where he issued the famous 29th Bulletin, in which for the first time he confessed the immense losses. On November 29th the army, still 12,000 men under arms, 2,000 cavalry, 30,000 unarmed and 200 cannon strong, broke camp and moved on unpaved ways to Pleshchitsy , from there to Minsk and Vilna. The 9th Corps formed the rear. The Russians pressed strongly, first of all Platov and Miloradovich, they made many prisoners. With dropping temperatures reaching -30 degrees, the suffering of the army increased. The last resemblance of order seemed to disappear, when Napoleon, after the war council of December 6th handed over command to the King of Naples, and himself, accompanied by Cautincourt, Duroc and Lobau, via Warsaw, Dresden and Mainz, returned to Paris, where he arrived on December 19th, to personally conduct preparations for the next campaign. The Duke of Bassano sent the 13,000 men strong Division Loison, half consisting of Frenchmen, half of men from the smaller states of the Confederation of the Rhine, from Vilna to meet the army at Oszmiana, which here took over the role of rear guard. But within 3 days also this force, because of hunger and bitter cold had been reduced to 3,000 men, and in her place the Bavarians under Wrede, who began their retreat on November 29th from Glubenkoye and met the mass of refugees on the great road on December 9th, where they took over the role of the rear. But they also were in dissolution within 24 hours. In Vilna the appearance of the once so impressive army caused fright, because the Duke of Bassano so far had concealed the condition of the army [to the population]. On December 10th the French left Vilna, after the magazines had been plundered, only 14,000 exhausted, sick and wounded stayed behind. Just after Vilna the road lead up a steep slope near Ponary, which was covered with ice. Here baggage and cannon were left behind, the content of several regiments' treasury boxes was distributed among the troops. In Kovno the army crossed the Niemen on December 12th to 14th, 500 men (the Batallion Lippe) and the remnants of the Old Guard here defended a park of 20 cannon against Platov's Cossacks and evacuated the city only when they were threatened in the rear. In Kovno Murat, who was in Königsberg since the 18th, allocated rallying points to the various corps, the guards were to be reorganized in Königsberg, the 2nd and 3rd Corps in Marienburg, the 4th and 9th Corps in Marienwerder, the 1st and 8th Corps and the Württembergers in Thorn, the 6th Corps (the Bavarians) in Plock, the 5th Corps (the Poles) in Warsaw. A new corps was formed under Ney of the 3 divisions of the 11th Corps still capable of fighting, and one of these relieved the guard near Labiau and Wehlau as outpost. Over Danzig, Thorn, the bridgeheads of Marienwerder and Marienburg the state of siege was declared. Of 610,000 men who had entered Russia by and by, only 58,000 returned, of 1372 only 200, mostly Austrian and Prussian, were brought back. The entire baggage and supply train was lost. Russian losses have to be calculated at 300,000 men. Wittgenstein stood at the lower Niemen, Chichagov on the central Niemen near Tilsit. Only Platov followed on the great road from Kovno. General Tushkov II just took the 8th Corps to Slonim, where he assumed the Austrians to be.
Prince Schwarzenberg on the right wing, after the victory at Volkovisk, and after the pursuit to the Przypiec in the beginning of December, in order not to distance himself too much from the Bug, had returned to Slonim. Upon arrival on December 10th he learnt of the retreat of the French main army, and on December 14th he retreated via Bialystok to Putulsk, where, unpursued, he arrived December 30th. He remained here for 4 weeks, and sent roaming scout parties to Rozan on the Narev and Brok on the Bug. Simultaneously with him, Reynier left Roganna, crossed the Bug and struck camp in Vengrov. He and Schwarzenberg together were 30,000 men strong. Opposite to them, beyond the Bug, Sacken took in an observing position.
MacDonald on the left wing only on December 18th received orders from Murat to withdraw to Königsberg. His Corps counted 15,000 Prussians, 6,000 Poles and other troops (Grandjean). The Division Grandjean and 6 bataillons, 10 swadrons and 2 batteries Prussians under Massenbach opened the march, Yorck followed a day's march behind. The retreat was directed to Tilsit. The garrison of Riga did not disturb the march, but send a detachment to Memel and took the city on December 27th. MacDonald with Grandjean reached Tilsit on December 27th, where they awaited Yorck until December 31st, but the latter did not come. When Massenbach with his troops secretly left Tilsit, and when news arrived of the convention concluded between Yorck and the Russian General Diebitsch at Poscherau Mill near Tauroggen, he moved in a forced march to Königsberg where he arrived on January 3rd, and found the Division Hendelet for his support. On the evening of January 4th Murat, the guards, Ney and MacDonald left Königsberg. Several skirmishes were fought with Chernychev, who pursued them; Elbing was reached on January 10th. Here Ney handed over the command of the 4 divisions to MacDonald and travelled to France. The retreat, with skirmishes, continued to Marienwerder; here on January 13th MacDonald handed over the supreme command to Viceroy Eugene, and also traveled on to Paris. Eugene sent 3 divisions to Danzig and moved into Poland with the remainder. Napoleon was very dissatisfied with Murat's measures; he had expected that already the Niemen had to stop the Russians. Therefore he transferred the supreme command from Murat to Viceroy Eugene, he had Murat bitterly criticized in the Moniteur; so the latter departed for Naples.
The Viceroy now strove, by positioning the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Corps near Posen, and moved at the end of January Davoust with the 1st and 8th Corps and the Württembergers from Thorn closer to Posen, the 6th Corps under Wrede from Plock, to reshape these into a fighting force. At the same time he sent Victor with the 9th Corps to Berlin and Magdeburg to declare the state of siege in both cities, and moved the Bavarian Brigade Zollern to Thorn. So, after Davoust had moved to the Neumark, he concentrated a force of 8,000 to 10,000 men. Further, Schwarzenberg with 25,000 men stood near Putulsk, Reynier with the 7th Corps (10,000 men) and Poniatowski with 8,000 men Poles near Warsaw, the entire French force in the field thus numbered 50,000 to 53,000 men. The Russians followed slowly. Wittgenstein occupied Königsberg on January 6th, and with Platov proceeded to block Danzig. As it seemed dangerous to move away from the border with a weakened army, Kutusov decided to remain behind the Vistula. But in order to instill Prussia and Germany with courage with the appearance of an army, the Russian army in January continued her advance in 5 columns. Kutusov and Czar Alexander were with the 4th column, crossed the Niemen as Russia's border, on January 13th (Russia's New Years Day) and esablished their headquarters on January 27th in Willenberg. Among the advancing Russians, only Miloradovich, Dokhturov and Sacken (25,000 men) focussed on Warsaw, and could be supported by the main army, Vorontsov and Bakhmellev (32,000 men). Schwarzenberg with his 42,000 men could have taken on the defense of Warsaw, but to him the true interests of Austria counted more than the interests of France, he did concentrate his troops near Warsaw, but when Miloradovich's troops appeared there, he negotiated with the Russians r egarding the retreat of the Austrians from Warsaw. An armistice treaty was signed which declared the Pilica as the demarkation line and in which the Russians declared the inviolability of Austrian territory. Cracow remained occupied by the Austrians. Reynier and Poniatowski now were too weak to defend Warsaw against the Russians. The former withdrew to Kalisch, the latter to Perikau. An February 8th the Russians, according to accord, occupied Warsaw, which had been evacuated by the last Austrians on February 7th. Dokhturov was appointed military governor; his corps remained in Poland and surrounded Modlin, while the corps of General Radt under Mushin Pushkin on February 7th and 23rd tried to take Zamosz by surprise. Already earlier the right Russian wing had moved on the Oder, and the left wing followed. Wittgenstein now took 16,000 men toward the Oder (22,000 were off Danzig and Pillau). In front of him roamed Platov's Cossacks. On February 4th Chernychev attacked 1500 men of Davoust's Corps in Landsberg. Tettenborn and Benckendorff roamed further to the right toward Pomerania. Chichagov, surrounding Thorn, with Vorontsov moved on Posen; the disposable troops of the left wing (Miloradovich and Sacken) on February 10th also moved on the Warthe. On February 14th Barclay de Tolly took over command of Chichagov's entire corps, and Chichagov returned to St. Petersburg. Eugene retreated to the Oder fighting, with the Bavarians as the rear. Reynier (10,000 men) who arrived in Kalisch on February 12th was to form the right wing, but already on February 13th was surprised by Winzingerode and Bakhmellew (15,000 men), lost 1500 men dead and wounded and 2000 men prisoners. Among them were the Saxon General Nostitz with 2 bataillons, and escaped to Glogau. The Saxon General Gablenz, equally cut off, saved himself by moving via Schildberg to the Pilica, where he joined up with Poniatowski's Corps. The Russians lost 1 general and 1000 men. On the Oder, the right bank of which the French now gave up and only Poniatowski with Gablenz stayed behind on the Pilica, several reinforcements reached the Viceroy, so the Division Grenier (19,000 men), which from now on was called 11th Army Corps, and 3,300 other troops. So his force, without the garrisons of fortresses, increased to 45,000 men. In addition, Angereau commanded 5,000 men in Berlin. When Tettenborn crossed the Oder near Zellin on February 16th, soon followed by Benckendorff and Chernyshev, the Viceroy concentrated 20,000 men near Berlin and the remainder near Frankfurt. But Chernyshev went straight for Berlin, Cossacks entered the city on February 20th through the weakly defended Landsberg Gate, but left soon after, when the garrison assembled. Now the Viceroy withdrew behind the Spree, leaving behind only General Gerard with 5,000 men at Frankfurt. When Wittgenstein crossed the Oder at Güstenbiese near Zellin on March 2nd, and laid siege to Küstrin, when Benckendorff attacked Fürstenwalde and thus squeezed between Gerard and the main army, Gerard hurried via Mittenwalde and Jüterbogk to reach Wittenberg. In the night to March 4th withdrew from Berlin, moved via Wittenberg to Magdeburg beyond the central Elbe, and on March 9th established his headquarters in Leipzig; Reynier established his headquarters on the 7th in Dresden. The Russians occupied Berlin on March 4th, assaulted Spandau, and pursued the French to Wittenberg, where on the way on November [!, should read March] 6th near Kähnsdorf they fought a tough skirmish with the French rear.
On the lower Elbe on March 8th Morand (4,000 men) left Stralsund in order to withdraw to Hamburg. Already on February 24th the customs officers in Hamburg had met resistance; the unrest was suppressed with the aid of Danish troops, and six of the ringleaders were shot. But popular discontent was of such a scale, that the commander, General Carra St. Cyr, on March 12th left Hamburg with all the customs officers and withdrew to Bremen. Hamburg not was on its own, and Mayor Abendroth established an interim command consisting of 6 burghers who were to maintain order. The approaching French General Morand was suspicious of the spirit which prevailed in Hamburg, at the same time the Danish General Ewald, who stood near Altona with 3,000 men and 24 cannon, declared that he would not permit Morand entering Hamburg. Morand therefore withdrew to Lauenburg and to the ferry near the Zollenspieker, where he was attacked by Tettenborn on March 15th, with 1500 horse and 2 cannon. 6 cannon covered Morand's crossing of the Elbe, from where he joined up with Carra St. Cyr. After the old constitution of Hamburg had been restored, Tettenborn entered here on March 18th. Lübeck was occupied by Benckendorff; in Cuxhaven English [!] troops landed.
II. The Campaign of 1813 until the ruce of Poischwitz, June 4th
A. Political Events. Prussia Breaking with France, Armament.
The campaign of 1812 had destroyed the belief in the invincibility of Napoleon; Germany sensed that it could be free if it only wanted to. Prussia namely, since 1807 abused by the French, exploited and plundered, saw that the options now were only victory or ruin, because Napoleon's utterances and Maret's notes regarding Yorck's action proved that Prussia had to fear everything. The king could not openly speak his mind, because the land was still occupied by the French; publicly he disapproved of Yorck's action, whom he recalled, and he offered Napoleon new troops, but he left Potsdam with Hardenberg and the Prussian guards and went to Breslau. There, on April 3rd 1813 he published the famous call on his people to arm themselves for the coming war. He called upon those not underlying mandatory military service to join the army as volunteer mounted infantry, and on February 9th abolished a regulation according to which some were freed of mandatory military service. This call was answered with enthusiasm, almost the entire nobility, students, artists, state officials, merchants, craftsmen joined the armed force, even older men followed the call, as anyone in state service was guaranteed his post. 27,500 men of old troops under Blücher were in Silesia, 24,000 men under Bülow ready to fight in Pomerania, 13,500 men moved from Tilsit to Königsberg. The Pomeranian troops refused to follow the order by the Viceroy to join Corps Victor, as they did not belong to his contingent and were without instruction. After Prussia and Russia signed an offensive and defensive alliance at Kalisch on February 27th, and then both monarchs held secret consultations on the Silesian border, Czar Alexander on March 15th entered Breslau, and the Russo-Prussian alliance was made known to the public, on the 16th the French ambassador was notified, on the 17th proclamations to people and army issued, the Order of the Iron Cross established, the Landwehr established, every man obliged to serve in the Landsturm. According to the Treaty of Tilsit the Prussian army had been limited to a size of 42,000 men. However, in order to be prepared, the king had maintained a larger artillery than necessary (5,000 men), had had a large number of recruits drilled who were put on leave immediately after basic training had ended (see undr Krümper). So now a well-trained army could be raised, in front of the fortresses 41 reserve bataillons could be formed. In addition the volunteer mounted infantry, the Lützow Free Corps, Reich's Mounted Infantry, the national cavalry regiments of West Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia strengthened the army, and thus instantly Prussia had an army of 130,000 men ready to fight. Then there was a Landwehr of 130,000 men, formed of those not underlying military duty, of the married men. They were armed with rifles, and, where rifles were missing, with lances. They were employed in blockades. The other German states played for time; only the Dukes of Mecklenburg on March 25th and 26th declared to join the Russo-Prussian alliance. Schwerin provided a regiment of infantry and volunteers of mounted infantry, Strelitz a regiment of Hussars, combined 3,000 men. A weak Anhaltine bataillon also joined the German cause, as did a Ducal Saxon bataillon which had itself taken prisoner near Marksuhl, and then, as a Thuringian bataillon, entered Prussian service. At this time Austria attempted to mediate and, by putting 13 divisions on war footing, in part stationed in Galicia, in part in Bohemia, tried to dictate peace. The French were to retreat to the Rhine, and Austria, as it used to be, exert its influence over Germany and Europe. Who did not want this, should face war. The allies did agree, but Napoleon gave Emperor Franz an evasive answer, demanded 180,000 men as auxiliary forces from him and promised Prussian Silesia as reward. Austria rejected the proposal, and through Prince Schwartzenberg continued the negotiations. The King of Saxony, on he occasion of Napoleon's retreat had promised to remain loyal to the latter, had increased his army, and when the Russians approached, he went to Regensburg. There he gave in to Austrian proposals, traveled to Prague in mid April, from where he ordered General Thielmann, who stood with 8,000 men in Torgau, without written royal order to permit neither the French nor the Russians entry into the fortress (this is why he refused to grant Reynier, who was retreating, the right of passage. Bavaria called the 2nd class of the national guard to service inside the country. But it kept its army, with the exception of the Division Raglovich, in the country in order to observe Austria. Württemberg eagerly recruited, Baden and Hessen-Darmstadt increased their contingents, Westphalia and the other states of the Confederation of the Rhine did so with less eagerness. Also Switzerland completed the force of 3,000 men which it was obliged to provide to the French in the case of war. The Kingdom of Italy raised 16,000 men, but ent only one division to Germany; Naples called 8,000 men to service even before the last recruitment drive, but the tense relations between Napoleon and Murat lasted on. The greatest power France developed when the senate on January 10th instead of the 300,000 men requested by Napoleon granted 350,000. Later, after Prussia's declaration of war, further 80,000 men National Guard and 90,000 conscripts were granted. This force quickly was organized, all garrison bataillons, marine regiments, coastal artillery and whatever was available, was sent to thye army. In order to supply cavalry with horses, the gendarmerie had to hand over her horses.
........

source in German, posted by Zeno





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First posted on March 9th 2009

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