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IN POLAND, 1 806-1 807 ^ 

OF PRUSSIA, 1806. With an 
Introduction by Lord Roberts 



TADOR ^ ^ ^ ^ 





.X' , :i3 




Tumbull b' Spears^ Printers^ Edinburgh 


THE author's first two volumes, on Napoloen's 
campaigns of 1806 and 1807, dealt with the 
Emperor at the culminating point of his military- 
genius. In the third, the campaign of 1809, 
signs of decline had already begun to appear, and the great 
master neglected the relentless pursuit of the enemy's main 
army which had hitherto been the guiding principle in all 
his wars. 

In the campaign of 1 8 1 3, described in the present volume, 
it is only at times that the flame of his genius burns with 
its old vigour. Time after time he seems to lose sight of 
the real objective, and to hanker after secondary objectives 
and the occupation of mere geographical points, the attain- 
ment of which would inevitably have followed on success 
in the true objective, the decisive defeat of the enemy's 
main army. 

Over Napoleon's opponents a change in the opposite 
direction showed signs of approach. They had learnt 
something from their great enemy, though they still too 
often hesitated and were lost. Yet now the hesitation was 
not, as heretofore, all on their side, and the picture of 
Napoleon sitting at Duben in doubt and uncertainty is one 
which could never have been imagined of the conqueror of 
Ulm, of Austerlitz, or of Jena. 

The whole character of the war against Napoleon had 
changed. He found himself no longer opposed to dynasties, 
but rather to whole peoples, encouraged by the examples of 
Spain and Russia to rise en masse against the tyranny of the 

One consequence of this was a vast increase in the 


numerical strength of the armies which opposed him, and a 
complete change in their spirit and enthusiasm. War 
assumed more the character of that of our own day. It 
became, not the war of one hired army against another, but 
of nations against nations. Leipzig was justly called " The 
battle of the Nations," and in the numbers engaged we 
must wait for the war of to-morrow to see it largely 

At the same time, it would be wrong to draw too close a 
comparison between 1 8 1 3 and war in the twentieth century. 
The immense improvements in range and accuracy of 
weapons necessitate the operation of modern armies on 
fields many times greater, even in proportion to their 
numbers, than those on which Napoleon fought in 18 13. 
This was brought very vividly before the author's eyes in 
the manoeuvres of the 4th French division, from which he 
has just returned. The general idea was the advance of 
Napoleon, in 1 8 1 4, to the battle of Craonne, and on to that 
of Laon. The troops engaged, representing Napoleon's 
army, were about one-third of his numbers ; yet they 
covered a front two or three miles broader than he did. 

Another point which gives special interest to the study 
of the campaign of 1 8 1 3 is the breakdown, under the new 
conditions, of Napoleon's centralised system of command. 
He was compelled, at least in the campaign of the autumn, 
to wage war with armies, not with an army of moderate 
dimensions always controllable by himself alone, as had 
been the case in his earlier campaigns. His marshals, who 
had served him well when they were only required to com- 
mand units of the army which the Emperor controlled in 
person, showed themselves unfitted, as some of them had 
already done in Spain, for semi-independent command. 
When the leading strings to which they had hitherto been 
accustomed were perforce relaxed, Gudinot, Macdonald, and 
Ney in succession showed themselves incapable of walking 
alone. Marmont, at least, had the wisdom to foresee the 
result when he wrote, " I fear greatly lest on the day on 
which your Majesty has gained a victory, and believe you 


have won a decisive battle, you may learn that you have 
lost two." It was but a few days after this was written 
that Napoleon, flushed with victory at Dresden, learnt that 
Macdonald had been disastrously beaten on the Katzbach, 
that Oudinot had been checked at Gross Beeren, and 
Vandamme destroyed at Kulm. 

All the maps and plans for this volume have been drawn 
by the author. The contours in the plans of Liitzen, 
Bautzen, Dresden, and Leipzig are taken from modern 
surveys, whilst the villages, woods, etc., are filled in from 
old maps representing them as they were in 1813. 

The contours in the plans of the Katzbach, Gross 
Beeren, and Dennewitz are only rough conversions from 
old " h^chured " maps. 

F. L. P. 

5M October 191 2. 


Author's Preface 



After Russia 


The New Grand Army of 1813 . . . . . 9, 


The Allied Armies ....... 21 

(i) The Prussian Army 

(2) The Russian Army 

(3) The Austrian Army 

(4) Swedish Army . 

(5) Anglo-German Troops . 

(6) Mecklenburg Contingent 

(7) The Allied Commanders 




Operations between Napoleon's Departure from and his 
Return to the Army ..... 


Napoleon's Concentration on the Saale 


The Battle of Lutzen or Gross Gorschen 





From Lutzen to Bautzen . . . . . . 9^ 

The Prbliminaries of Bautzen ..... io6 


The Battle of Bautzen . . . . . .116 

The Battle of the 2 1 St May . ..... 125 

From Bautzen to the Armistice ..... 142 

During the Armistice. Preparations and Plans of Campaign 160 

From the End of the Armistice to the Battle of Dresden . 185 


The Battle of Dresden ...... 200 

(a) The 26th August . , . . . . 200 

(<5) The Battle of the 27 th August ..... 214 

From Dresden to Kulm ...... 227 

The Katzbach and Gross Beeren . . . .250 




The Second Advance against Blucher, and Ney's Defeat at 

Dennewitz ....... 265 

From the 6th September to the End of the Month . . 279 

Napoleon's Quest of Bernadotte and Blucher . , .297 


The Battles round Leipzig on the i6th October . . 324 

(i) Wachau ........ 331 

(2) Lindenau ....... 339 

(3) Mockern ........ 341 

The Battle of Leipzig— i8th October .... 352 

The Storming of Leipzig ... . . . .373 


The Pursuit after Leipzig AND THE Battle OF Hanau . . 386 

The Battle of Hanau ...... 388 

Index ......... 395 




Insets: (a) Napoleon's March to the Saale in April 1813. 
(&) Positions of Both Sides on 30TH April 1813. 
(c) Diagram of General Positions, 7th October 1813. 
{d) Diagram of General Positions, i2th October 1813. 


(a) The Battle of Lutzen. 

(b) The Battle on the Katzback. 

(c) The Battle of Gross Beeren. 

(d) The Battle of Dennewitz. 

SHEET in. 

the battle of BAUTZEN. 

Insets: (a) The French March from Lutzen to Bautzen, and 
Positions, Evening of 19TH May» 
(6) Diagram of General Position of Both Sides at the 
Re-opening of Hostilities in Middle of August. 

(a) The Battle of Dresden. 

(6) Country South of Dresden — Battle of Kulm. 
(c) Prussian Passage of the Elbe on the 3RD October, 

AND Action at Wartenburg. 
{d) The Battles about Leipzig, i6th-i8th October. 

(e) The Battle of Hanau. 






THE amount of ground to be covered in 
describing Napoleon's Saxon campaign of 
1 8 1 3 compels economy of space in regard to 
events between the Emperor's departure from 
the remains of his army of 1812 and his reappearance, 
in April, at the head of the new Grand Army of 181 3. 
Still, some account, however brief, of the military and 
political situation^ consequent on the great disaster to his 
arms in Russia, is necessary to the understanding of the 
events of 181 3. 

On the 5 th December 18 12 the defeated Emperor set 
out from Smorgoni on his weary journey across Europe 
to Paris, leaving to Murat the command of the miserable 
remnants of over 600,000 men who had crossed the 
Niemen at one time or another in the last six months. 
His departure has been criticised as a disgraceful abandon- 
ment of the troops who had sacrificed so much for him. 
That view of his conduct can only be based on ideas of 
chivalry which he certainly never entertained. His vast 
ambition had as its goal an empire such as the world 
had hitherto never known. In 18 12 he had suffered his 
first great defeat, but his ambition still remained, and he 
was resolved on another effort to recover the power and 
prestige which, for the moment, he seemed to have forfeited 


in Europe. The question whether he should remain with 
his army or return to France was, from his point of view, 
entirely one of expediency. However much we may 
condemn his projects, it seems impossible to deny that, 
holding to them as he still did, he took the wisest course 
in hurrying back to France. If he did not altogether 
realise the magnitude of his disaster at the moment, he 
certainly knew that, for the next campaign, he would 
require a fresh army, which he alone was capable of 
creating, and the organisation of which demanded his 
presence at his capital. Moreover, he knew that his 
position in France was threatened in his absence by plots, 
and that only the magic of his personal presence could 
ensure its maintenance. 

Had he elected to remain with what was left of the army 
of Russia, he could have done nothing either to save it, or 
to alleviate the miseries of its inevitable retreat. Napoleon's 
journey across Europe was certainly not a dignified one. 
As far as Dresden he travelled in a sleigh, with infinite 
precautions to conceal his movements from the numerous 
bands of disaffected persons in Germany, who, had they 
known that the hated tyrant was passing through their 
midst almost without escort, might well have made an end 
of him. After a short halt, during which he endeavoured 
to reassure his ally the King of Saxony, and wrote to the 
King of Prussia and the Austrian Emperor demanding a 
fresh auxiliary contingent, he left Dresden in a carriage. 
He reached Paris on the 19th December, and at once set 
to work to organise his new army, a matter which will be 
dealt with presently. 

The political results of the Russian disaster were immense, 
though the terror of the Emperor's name still sufficed to 
keep the greater part of Europe outwardly submissive. 
Russia, of course, was openly at war with France, though 
even in that country there were two parties ; one headed 
by Kutusow, the Russian commander-in-chief, was by no 
means inclined, now that the invader had been driven from 
Russian soil, to follow him westwards, or to fight battles for 



the liberation of Germans and others who, willingly or 
unwillingly, had formed a large part of Napoleon's army of 
invasion. The Tsar Alexander, on the other hand, was 
quite inclined to play the part of Liberator of Europe, but 
found himself unable, during Kutusow's last days, to drag 
the old general in his train. 

Prussia and Austria had both supplied contingents to 
Napoleon's army of Russia, both really under compulsion. 
In both countries Napoleon was hated as the tyrant who 
had torn from each a large portion of its former possessions. 
In Prussia especially, he and the French soldiery had 
rendered themselves odious, and the country had long been 
preparing for, and looking forward to, the day of reckoning. 
But the king, Frederick William, stood in mortal terror of 
the conqueror of Jena, and was perpetually haunted by 
visions of the complete destruction of Prussia as an 
independent power. 

As it happened, the only parts of Napoleon's army of 
1812 which escaped comparatively uninjured from the 
great " debacle " were the right wing, of which the principal 
constituent was the Austrian contingent of about 30,000 
men, and the left, of which the Prussian contingent, under 
Yorck, formed the greater portion. Napoleon, when he 
left Smorgoni, and for some time even after he reached 
Paris, thought, or professed to think, that he could still rely 
on these two contingents, and even wrote from Dresden 
demanding an increased contingent both from Prussia and 
from his father-in-law the Austrian Emperor. The Prussians 
were the first to fail him. Yorck had been kept informed 
of the real state of affairs in the French centre when 
Macdonald, the commander of the whole French left wing, 
had been purposely kept in ignorance. Yorck's information 
was derived from the Russians in Riga. 

When, at last, Murat and Berthier found it necessary to 
enlighten Macdonald, and to recall him from Riga behind 
the Niemen, there was only just time for him to escape 
with his mixed division of Poles, Bavarians, and West- 
phalians. Yorck had managed to get separated with his 


Prussians from Macdonald, and though, as General von 
Cammerer remarks,^ there was no military necessity for 
his doing so, he concluded with his Russian opponent the 
famous convention of Tauroggen on the 30th December. 
By it the Prussians were nominally neutralised ; in fact, 
they practically passed over to the enemy, though, for the 
present, they took no active part against their late allies. 
Yorck concluded this convention with the rope round his 
neck ; for the French would probably have shot him if he 
had fallen into their hands, whilst Frederick William's 
dread of Napoleon induced him to disavow and publicly 
condemn the action of his general. Yorck's action was of 
supreme importance, for it was the first overt act of revolt 
against the tyranny of Napoleon, the signal for the gradual 
uprising of all Germany against the oppressor. 

On the other wing of the French army, Schwarzenberg, 
the commander of the Austrian contingent, characteristically 
acted with less boldness and openness than the Prussian. 
He would put nothing in writing ; nevertheless he presently 
came to a verbal understanding with his Russian opponent 
Miloradowich, under which the Austrians were to retire, 
not on Kalisch as ordered by the French commander, but 
on Cracow. The French general, Reynier, who com- 
manded a mixed corps of Saxons and French under 
Schwarzenberg, was left to shift for himself, and to retire 
on Kalisch, whilst Poniatowski, with his 8000 or 9000 
Poles, had to accompany Schwarzenberg to Gallicia. He 
took no part in the spring campaign, and it was only during 
the armistice in the summer that he was allowed to march 
back through Austria to rejoin Napoleon's army in Saxony. 

Austria now assumed a position of armed neutrality, 
posing as the mediator between Napoleon and his Russian 
and, later, his Prussian adversaries. 

Another prospective adversary of Napoleon was his 
former marshal, Bernadotte, now Crown Prince and Regent 
of Sweden. His conduct as a marshal of France had never 
been marked by straightness, and during the years 1812- 

^ Die Befreiungskriege, 1813-1815, p. 6. 


1 8 14 he appears in a peculiarly unfavourable light. In 
18 12 he had desired to filch Norway from Denmark, a 
project which Napoleon refused to countenance, the result 
being that Bernadotte turned for help to the Emperor's 
enemies, especially when Napoleon occupied Swedish 
Pomerania in January 181 2. In April 1812 a treaty was 
concluded with the Tsar Alexander, under which Sweden 
was to be compensated for the loss of Finland by the 
transfer to her of Norway. Though Bernadotte concluded 
another treaty with Great Britain in March 18 13, and 
shortly afterwards landed in Swedish Pomerania with 12,000 
Swedes, it was not till the reopening of the campaign in 
August that he was at last induced to take an active 
part in the war against Napoleon. The crookedness and 
selfishness of his conduct will appear in the course of this 

All Germany was seething with the spirit of revolt 
against French tyranny. Austria endeavoured to form a 
group of states to join her as armed neutrals, but, for the 
present, only had some success with Saxony, whose king 
was, however, soon wheeled into line on Napoleon's appear- 
ance at his capital in May 18 13. The French Emperor, 
therefore, in the early months of 181 3 found himself 
actively opposed by Russia ; Prussia was clearly contem- 
plating a junction with the Russians. Sweden, as repre- 
sented by Bernadotte, was only waiting to enter the lists 
against him until the Crown Prince could make what he 
considered a satisfactory bargain with Napoleon's enemies. 
England, of course, was still at war with Napoleon, and 
gradually pressing forward against his rear, thereby detain- 
ing in Spain a large army, which otherwise he might have 
used in Germany. He still maintained his hold on the 
Rhenish Confederation, though he did so only through 
force, and the whole population was hostile at heart. It 
was the same in his brother Jerome's kingdom of West- 

Austria was, for the present, neutral, but her conduct 
was more than suspicious, and it was impossible to say 


when she might openly join the side of Napoleon's enemies. 
Italy and Naples were, for the present, safe, and Denmark 
was being forced, by Bernadotte's schemes for robbing her 
of Norway, into active alliance with France. 

Napoleon's prestige in Germany had been terribly shaken 
by the Russian disaster, and nothing short of a decisive 
victory over the Russians, and the Prussians when they 
decided on hostilities, could restore it. Such a victory 
might yet right all, might ensure the continued fidelity of 
the states of the Rhenish Confederation, and might compel 
Austria to return to her French alliance. The result to 
Russia of such a victory would be to drive her back to the 
position she held previously to the late campaign. As for 
Prussia, a defeat such as Napoleon hoped to inflict on her 
and the Russians, must inevitably mean the end of her in- 
dependent existence, at least during Napoleon's life-time, 
and the dethronement of Frederick William. 



FOR his contemplated campaign in Germany 
Napoleon required practically an entirely new 
army. It was not a case of a reorganisation of 
the army of Russia, for that once great force 
had almost ceased to exist. On the right wing, when 
Schwarzenberg and his Austrians retired on Cracow, there 
was nothing left but Reynier's weak corps ; for Poniatowski 
and his Poles were for the present interned in Gallicia. Of 
the left wing there remained, after the defection of Yorck 
at Tauroggen, only one weak corps of 7000 or 8000 

It was in the centre that the destruction had been most 
complete. Davout's corps had crossed the Niemen in June 
1 81 2 with a strength of 66,345 officers and men; on the 
13th January 18 1 3 it counted only 2281. On the 21st 
December 18 12 there remained of the 50,000 men of the 
Guard only 500 fit for service, and 800 sick and cripples, 
of whom 200 were permanently disabled by amputations 
necessitated by frostbite or wounds. 

The I., II., III., and IV. corps had, in June 181 2, a 
strength of over 125,000 men; on the ist February 18 13 
their united strength was reported as 6400 combatants. 
There were a certain number of reinforcements in Germany 
which had never reached Russia, two divisions on the march 
from Italy, and the garrisons of the German fortresses, but 
it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the army of 1 8 1 2 
had ceased to exist. 

^ This chapter is based largely on Camilla Rousset's La Grande Annie de 
1813, and Die Franzosische Armies etc., published in Berlin in 1889. 



The Emperor's task, looking to the tremendous sacri- 
fices he had already required from France and his allies, 
was Herculean, but he faced it undauntedly, and his success 
in conjuring up, as if by magic, a fresh army is perhaps one 
of his most remarkable achievements. 

He had certain elements for his task in France, in 
Germany, in Spain, and in Italy. 

In September i8 12, when the calls on the conscription 
of 1812 had been practically exhausted, Napoleon had 
obtained a Senatus Consultum decreeing the levy of 120,000 
conscripts of 181 3, a number which he subsequently raised 
to 137,000 by assigning an extra 17,000 to complete the 
so-called " cohorts." The greater part of this levy had 
reached the dep6ts when the Emperor got back to Paris 
in December, but the men were naturally not ready for 

The force readiest to hand consisted of the "cohorts." 
This body had been instituted, in March 18 12, when 
Napoleon, about to leave France for the farther end or 
Europe, desired to leave behind him to protect the country 
something so nearly akin to the regular army that, in case 
of need, it might take its place in it. 

By a Senatus Consultum of the 13th March 18 12, the 
National Guard was organised in three " bans." 

(i) Those men of from 20 to 26 years of age, of the 
classes of the six years 1807-18 12, who had never been 
called up to active service. 

(2) Men of sound physique aged from 26 to 40 years. 

(3) Similar men of between 40 and 60. 

The decree ended with a demand for 1 00 " cohorts " 
(reduced next day to 84) from the six classes of the first 

These cohorts, which were not for service beyond the 
limits of France, were organised by Departments in the 
different headquarters of military divisions. Each cohort 
consisted of 6 companies of 140 men, a depot company, 
and an artillery company of too men. The officers were 
taken either from retired officers and men of the regular 


army, or from men of the National Guard who had served 
with the active army. Each cohort should have had a 
strength of 1080 officers and men, which would give about 
91,000 for the 84. As a matter of fact, the strength was 
about 78,000. 

After the Russian disaster the cohorts were induced, 
often by the exercise of considerable pressure, to volunteer 
for foreign service. A Senatus Consultum of the 1 1 th 
January 18 13 finally transferred them bodily from the 
National Guard to the active army. They were organised 
in regiments of 4 battalions. The number of cohorts 
having now been raised to 88, there were 22 regiments. 
Their strength, at 6 line companies and i depot company 
per battalion, should be 86,240. Once this strength was 
attained, future recruits would be available for other corps. 
The artillery companies (i to each battalion) were reduced 
to I per regiment, the rest being formed into 3 regi- 
ments of artillery " a la suite de I'armee." 

In addition to disposing of the cohorts, the Senatus 
Consultum of the i ith January authorised a supplementary 
levy of 100,000 on the classes of 1809-18 12. This was 
commonly known as the " levy of the four classes." Also a 
call of 150,000 was made, nearly two years in advance, on 
the conscription of 1 8 1 4. The levy of the " four classes " 
was called up at once; the other 150,000 were not 
demanded till February, as it would. Napoleon said, be 
inconvenient to arm too many conscripts at once. 

The Emperor, at the same time, induced the Depart- 
ments and large towns to come forward with an offer of 
some 15,000 to 20,000 men, mounted and equipped. 

The Municipal Guard of Paris had two battalions of a 
total strength of 1050 men. These were sent to Erfurt to 
form the nucleus of a new regiment. In the same way, 
4000 men raised by contributions from the Municipal 
Guards of capitals of Departments were amalgamated to 
form the new 37th light infantry. In the ports there were 
12 battalions of marine artillery standing idle owing to 
British supremacy at sea. These the Emperor split into 


24 battalions which, according to him, made up 16,000 
men. He raised them to a nominal strength of 20,000 by 
the addition of 2000 from the levy of the " four classes," and 
2000 from the conscription of 18 14. The actual strength 
was, however, only 12,080, of whom the marines were 8000. 

Yet another Senatus Consultum, of the 3rd April, 
authorised the following levies: (i) 80,000 men of 1807- 
18 1 2 from the ist ban of the National Guard, that is, 
from the source which had already supplied the cohorts ; 
(2)90,000 from the conscription of 18 14; these were to 
be replaced from the Garde Nationale S^dentaire of the 
South and West; (3) 10,000 mounted Guards of Honour. 
These last were so-called volunteers, young men of well-to- 
do families, whose real position was indicated by the 
soubriquet of " the hostages," given to them in the army. 

To sum up, the military elements which the Emperor 
sought to utilise in the first part of 1 8 1 3 were : — 

(i) Old Soldiers of the Paris and other Municipal 

Guards who had served before . . . 5,000 

(2) Artillerymen of the Marines, averaging 23 

years of age ...... 8,000 

(3) The cohorts, aged 20 to 26 years . . 78,000 

(4) Conscripts of the ist ban of 20 to 26 years 80,000 

(5) Conscripts of the "four classes," 20 to 24 

years . . . . . . . 100,000 

(6) Guards of Honour, and horsemen " offered " 

by Departments, 20 to 25 years . . 25,000 

(7) Levy of September 18 12, on the conscrip- 

tion of 18 13, 19 to 20 years . . . 120,000 

(8) Conscripts of 18 14, 18 to 19 years . . 240,000 

Total . . 656,000 

With the later levies of August 18 13 (30,000) and 
October (240,000) we need not concern ourselves, as they 
took no part in the campaign in Saxony. 

The 5000 at the head of the above list were old soldiers 
who had seen service ; the marine artillery had no experience 


of land warfare or infantry manoeuvres ; the rest were con- 
scripts of various degrees of efficiency, but all without 
experience of war. Of them St Cyr ^ says : " For some 
time past, and more than formerly, one had noticed that 
our young men were very delicate and unformed when they 
attained the age for conscription ; those who were two 
years younger were weak to a degree which was painful to 
behold." Marmont, on the other hand, speaking of the 
cohorts, says ^ that, though the officers were often too old, 
and generally indifferent, the soldiers were admirable. 
He adds that the four-battalion regiment drawn from the 
Departments was magnificent, as were the fifteen battalions 
of marine artillerymen whom he commanded. There was, 
as might be expected, a great dearth of officers, and various 
devices had to be resorted to to fill up the vacancies. 
When the remains of the Grand Army were formed into 
four weak divisions, the superfluous " cadres " were sent 
back to help with the new levies. Many young and 
inexperienced cadets from the military colleges were utilised. 
These were generally sent to the older regiments, where less 
leading was required. On the other hand, there was among 
the officers of the younger battalions a strong leaven of 
sergeants and corporals promoted to lieutenancies, men of 
long experience of war, though perhaps not likely to make 
really good officers. Many officers were drawn from the 
army in Spain, which was over-supplied in this respect. 

The Emperor decided on the following method of re- 
organising his infantry : — 

(i) The 36 regiments which had formed the first four 
corps in Russia were to be reconstituted with four battalions 
each. For these more than 100 " cadres de bataillon," over 
2000 officers, were required. 

(2) There were in France (besides depot battalions) 100 
battalions of regiments serving in Spain, Illyria, etc. These, 
being merely " cadres," were completed from the recruits 
of 181 3, and were grouped in twos or threes to form 
" regiments de ligne " or " regiments provisoires," according 

1 Hist. Mil, iv. p. 53. 2 Mint., v. p. 7. 


as the battalions belonged to the same or to different regi- 

(3) The cohorts, as already mentioned, formed 22 regi- 

(4) The marine artillery formed 4 regiments of marine 

(5) The 5000 veterans of the Municipal Guards formed 
2 regiments (6 battalions). 

(6) Two old regiments in Italy (9 battalions) were 
transferred for service in Germany. 

Of these elements the following corps were provisionally 
constituted : — 

(1) The Corps of Observation of the Elbe (afterwards the 
V. corps). General Lauriston ; 3 divisions (48 battalions). 
To assemble at Magdeburg between 15th February and 
15th March. These were all cohorts. 

(2) The 1st Corps of Observation of the Rhine (later 
the III. corps), Marshal Ney ; 4 divisions (60 battalions). 
To assemble about Mayence during March. 

(3) The 2nd Corps of Observation of the Rhine (later 
the VI. Corps), Marshal Marmont ; 4 divisions (50 battalions). 
Three divisions to assemble about Mayence at the end of 
March and beginning of April. The fourth was not ready 
till the end of May. 

(4) The Corps of Observation of Italy, General Bertrand ; 
4 divisions (54 battalions). These later became the IV. 
and XII. Corps. 

(5) The I. Corps ; 4 divisions (64 battalions). 

(6) The IL Corps ; 4 divisions (48 battalions). 

(7) Durutte's division of the VII. corps, to which 2 
Saxon divisions were to be added. 

(8) The Guard. One division of the Old Guard to be 
formed of what had returned from Russia, added to 3000 old 
soldiers drawn from Spain. Three divisions of Young Guard 
to assemble at Mayence. These were conscripts, differing 
in no respect from those who formed regiments of the line. 

(9) Two corps of reserve to be formed at Mayence. 
They were not ready till the end of August. 


The cavalry was still more difficult to constitute than the 
infantry. About 9000 or 10,000 had wandered back from 
Russia. For the rest, conscripts had to be taken. As far 
as possible, men were chosen who had some acquaintance 
with horses. It was decided 

(i) To reconstitute the Guard cavalry entirely. 

(2) To reorganise the 52 regiments of the late Grand 
Army in two corps under Latour-Maubourg and Sebastiani, 
altogether three heavy and four light divisions. " Cadres " 
were to be completed from the regiments in Spain. 

(3) A third corps, under Arrighi, was to be formed 
about the nucleus of one squadron supplied by each of the 
regiments in Spain. 

It is not within the scope of this work to enter into all 
the complicated details of the reorganisation of the French 
army. Those who are curious on the subject will find full 
details in the works referred to at the commencement of this 

But something must necessarily be said regarding the 
military value of the troops with which the great Emperor 
conducted this his last campaign in Germany. 

Colonel Lanrezac, on the whole, passes a more favourable 
judgment on the army than do Camille Rousset and the 
?iVi\hov oi Die franzosische Armee. He states the numbers 
of infantry present, according to a return of the 20th April, 
at 210,000, of whom 175,000 were French and 35,000 
Allies. Of the 175,000 French not more than 75,000 
were conscripts of 1 8 i 3 ; the rest were men of earlier years, 
for the recruits of the 18 14 conscription had not yet joined. 
Even the 1 8 1 3 men had four months' service, and averaged 
20 years of age. The weaklings and malingerers had 
dropped out on the way to the front. On the other hand, 
Camille Rousset tells of one detachment of 600 which had 
to leave 100 in hospital in Brussels, and another of 950 at 
La Rochelle, which had 300 in hospital and an excessive 
mortality. In the west of France it became necessary to 
hunt up the " refractaires " with mobile columns, and the 
commander of one of these reported that he was afraid to 


use his young recruits for this purpose. He would, he said, 
rather have loo old soldiers than 600 conscripts of 18 13, 
such as filled most of his companies. They had never had 
a musket in their hands before quitting the dep6ts, and 
were unfit for the necessary marches. The training seems 
to have been less than elementary at the dep6ts. There 
was an order which required that no conscript be sent 
forward till he had fired at least six blank and two ball 
cartridges ! Yet commandants of depots who tried to insist 
on this very rudimentary fire training often found them- 
selves censured for delaying their conscripts. Camille 
Rousset gives the following as a common type of report on 
inspection : " Some of the men are of rather weak appear- 
ance. The battalion has no idea of manoeuvring ; but 
nine-tenths of the men can manage and load their arms 

There was the wildest confusion in the depdts, where it 
seems to have been tacitly agreed that infantry depdts were 
equally liable to be drawn on for other arms. In the con- 
fusion training was neglected. It often happened that 
where there were four series of battalions to be reformed 
the fourth was ready first. There were bitter complaints of 
the state in which the " detachements de marche " reached the 
regiments. From Osnabruck General Lambardiere writes, 
on the 15th April : "These battalions arrive very fatigued ; 
every day I supply them with special carriage for the weak 
and lame. . . . All these battalions are French ; I must say 
that the young soldiers show courage and good-will. Every 
possible moment is utilised in teaching them to load their 
arms and bring them to the shoulder." 

When the conscripts of 181 3 required to complete the 
1st battalions began to run short, the Emperor said the 
deficiency could be supplied from conscripts of 1 8 1 4, pro- 
vided only the " big and strong " were picked out. The 
adjectives could only be applied to the conscripts selected 
in relation to the weaklings, who were distinctly small and 
weak. So poor were they in physique that the Minister of 
Police protests against their being drilled in the Champs 


Elys^es during the hour of promenade, on account of the 
scoffing and jeering they gave rise to. Besides all this, 
there was a shortage of muskets, so much so that Napoleon 
even suggested arming the 18 14 levies with foreign ones of 
the same calibre as the French, though he insisted on ample 
reserves of French weapons being kept at Strasburg, 
Mayence, and Wesel for issue to troops on their way to 

Camille Rousset insists on the deficiency of officers, but 
Colonel Lanrezac shows, on the other hand, that the III. 
corps, on the 15 th April, had the high average of one officer 
to every 3 1 men, whilst even less favoured corps had one 
to every 40. The real difficulty, he says, was that there 
were no reserves of officers to supply the waste of war. As 
long as the numbers of the men went on diminishing pro- 
portionally the matter was not so important. The rub 
came when, in the second half of the campaign, reinforce- 
ments in men were poured up, without a corresponding 
number of officers. 

Of the whole corps of officers, perhaps, the central por- 
tion was the best. The commanders of corps, of divisions, 
of brigades, of regiments, and, perhaps, even of battalions, 
were, almost without exception, still the old experienced 
leaders of many years of war. But the Emperor's system 
of command, whilst excellent for the training of tacticians, 
was fatal to the development of strategical initiative. His 
corps commanders were not encouraged to look upon them- 
selves as responsible in any way for strategy. That, they 
considered, was the Emperor's province alone, and, with the 
possible exceptions of Davout and Massena, they were in- 
capable of exercising an independent command on a large 
scale. Spain had already laid bare the deficiencies of 
several of them in this respect. So long as Napoleon had 
but one army in the field, and that of dimensions which he 
could manage alone, the strategical deficiencies of his 
immediate subordinates mattered comparatively little. But 
when he himself was commanding a vast host in Russia, 
and at the same time carrying on, through one of his 



marshals, a deadly struggle in Spain, he had to recognise 
that his curbing of initiative in his lieutenants must be fatal. 
As regards his war in Germany in 1 8 1 3, Eugene's mistakes 
on the Oder and the Elbe were one instance of the want of 
good independent commanders, though certainly Eugene 
was a particularly bad example, and something better might 
have been expected from Davout, Soult, or Gouvion St Cyr. 

When the Emperor once more gathered the reins in 
Germany into his own hands, in April 181 3, he was again 
operating with a single army of dimensions within his own 
power of control, and the marshals slipped back into their 
old position of mere instruments of the great leader. In 
the second half of the war it was different. The numbers 
of the army were too great to be directly commanded by a 
single man, even by a Napoleon. Moreover, the strategical 
position necessitated something more like the modern 
system of a war of armies, each commanded by a subordinate 
capable of acting independently, without having the great 
director always at his elbow. 

The marshals, or some of them at least, were aware of 
their deficiencies, as is evidenced by Marmont's famous 
prophecy, which was realised almost as soon as uttered. 
In August 181 3, that marshal, criticising the Emperor's 
plans,^ wrote : " I fear much lest, on the day when Your 
Majesty has won a victory and believe you have gained a 
decisive battle, you may learn that you have lost two." A 
few days later came the news of Macdonald's defeat on the 
Katzbach, and Oudinot's at Gross Beeren, which had 
almost coincided in time with the Emperor's own victory 
at Dresden. His power, his throne, everything depended 
on himself alone. As Count Yorck von Wartenburg says : 
" All his actions were connected with his own personality, 
and based upon it alone ; so, when this became weak, there 
was no longer anything in his army or state that could 
support or sustain him." ^ Europe freed herself from the 

^ What a change from the old days is evidenced by the mere fact of Napoleon's 
inviting his marshals to offer an opinion on his own plan of campaign ! 
' Napoleon as a General (English translation), vol. ii. p. 270. 


tyranny of the Corsican by the uprising of her peoples, and 
at enormous expense in blood and treasure. All that would 
have been saved had a stray bullet taken the charmed life 
of the conqueror ; for his empire must have collapsed at 
once with his own disappearance from the scene. 

The same causes resulted in an absence of capacity in 
the personnel of his headquarters staff. He, like Frederick 
the Great, was his own chief of the staff, he managed every- 
thing, and Berthier was but a glorified head-clerk. The 
organisation of the General Staff was what it had been in 
the days of the Revolution. The Emperor only awoke to 
its deficiencies as an instrument for the governance of the 
vast armies he was now leading when, on the 2nd July 
18 12, he wrote: "The general staff is organised in such a 
manner that nothing is foreseen." ^ It was good enough for 
the management of an army ; but, " the war of armies 
requires staffs of the first rank, staffs constituted of chosen 
men, educated in the higher knowledge of war, united by a 
community of doctrine, and amongst whom initiative has 
been carefully developed." ^ That description is utterly 
inapplicable to the staff of which Berthier was the nominal 

Perhaps the worst part of the army of 181 3 was its 
cavalry. In the first part of the war, up to Liitzen, it 
numbered but i 5,000, mostly old soldiers, 11,000 French 
and 4000 allies. It was opposed to a far more numerous 
cavalry of generally excellent quality, against which it 
was almost impotent. Later, it was greatly increased in 
numbers, but the recruits were of very inferior quality and 
training. On the other hand, the artillery was very good 
and numerous, though the draught horses were rather 

On the whole, we may well accept Lanrezac's estimate ot 
the army of 18 13. " Certainly, the new troops were not 
the equals in value of the bands destroyed in Russia, and, 
moreover, their constitution exposed them to a rapid 
exhaustion ; nevertheless, they were good. . . . Anyhow, 

^ Corr. 18,884. ^ Lanrezac, La Manceuvre de Lutzen, p. 31. 


the army with which Napoleon opened the campaign . . . 
was a good instrument of war ; however, it had in itself 
serious germs of weakness." ^ The estimate is supported 
not only by the opinion of contemporaries like Odeleben,^ 
certainly not prejudiced in favour of the French, but still 
more by its actual achievements in the victories of Llitzen, 
Bautzen, Dresden, and even the gallant but unsuccessful 
fighting at Kulm and Leipzig. 

In one department especially, the attack or defence of 
localities, of woods or villages, the French infantry ever 
displayed that capacity which, in the French soldier, seems 
to be an inborn instinct. 

Of the Emperor himself what shall we say ? Perhaps it 
will be best to show as we go along the evidences of the 
decline of his personality, and of his failures to be true to 
his own principles, which alternated with flashes of the old 
genius and decision. 

As for his marshals and generals, most of them were 
long since tired of war, by which they had been enriched. 
Now they looked for a period of peace in which to enjoy 
their wealth. The prevalence of such a spirit augured ill 
for success. 

1 Lanrezac, La Manoeuvre de Lutzen^ pp. 28 and 29. 

2 *'The good military bearing which predominated in this new army, sprung,, 
as it were, from the earth, and assembled by the wave of. a wand, was truly 
admirable ; and, if one felt horror at the excesses of the French soldiers, the 
mihtary spirit, the activity in marches, and the bravery of the young troops so 
rapidly formed and opposed to experienced soldiers, excited no less astonishment." 
— Odeleben, Cam-bagne de 18 13 (Blench translation), vol. i. p. 62. 



BY the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, Prussia's army 
was limited to 42,000 men of all arms, the 
proportion of the arms being also fixed. 
Napoleon had carried 20,000 men, nearly 
half of the whole army, to Russia with him in 181 2, 
and we already know what had become of that, thanks 
to Yorck's defection from the cause of the French. In- 
cluding what Yorck had left, there remained a standing 
army of about 33,000 men. This "old" army was 
extremely good, with young and well-instructed officers. 
So good was it that Von Boyen, writing in 1838,^ described 
the infantry as the best he had ever seen. The cavalry 
was also good, though the horses of some regiments were 
rather old. It consisted of 2 Guard and 18 line regiments,^ 
which, at 600 men per regiment, made 12,000, in 80 
squadrons of 150 each. 

The artillery comprised three brigades, each of three 
horse and 12 foot companies. Total 6000 men, in 21 
batteries, with 168 guns. There were six companies of 
engineers (pioneers). In 1 8 1 3 the strength was raised by 
calling up reservists, so that there were 36,846 infantry, 
and the total strength of the army was about 56,000. 
Moreover, artillery had been collected to such an extent 
that there were available, even in the spring of 1813, 236 

^ This section is mainly based on Friederich's Der Herbstfeldzug 181 3, vol. i. 
chap. ii. 

' Erinnerungen, iii. p. 35. 

' Seven heavy and thirteen light. 


guns. This army was the nucleus round which the new 
formations were collected. 

In 1 8 lo Scharnhorst had started his " Krumper " ^ system, 
under which each company or squadron, at fixed intervals, 
discharged a given number of trained soldiers, and took in 
an equal number of fresh men for training. By thus 
constantly passing men through the ranks, Napoleon's 
restrictions were evaded, and it became possible to nearly 
double the 42,000 by calling up the men who had been 
trained. So when the king issued his order of the ist 
February 181 3, calling up the reserves and " Krumpers," 
52 reserve battalions could be formed. Several of these 
took part in the spring campaign ; others were only called 
to the army at a later period. By these means the army 
received eventually a reinforcement of 42 battalions — 
33,642 men. 

At first these regiments of " Krumpers " and reservists 
left much to be desired, but, by appointing to them ex- 
officers of regiments which had been disbanded in 1807, 
they were worked up to a state of efficiency equal to that 
of the rest of the army. 

It must be noted that the lesson of 1806-7 was taken to 
heart in Prussia, and the whole military system was radi- 
cally reformed. It was sought to induce the obedience of 
the soldier not, as in the old days, by force alone, but 
chiefly by an appeal to his patriotism. Corporal punish- 
ment was abolished, save for dishonourable offences, and 
the military man, from being the lowest in the social scale, 
as he was in 1806, was raised to a position of respect, and 
had come to be looked upon as the eventual saviour of his 
country from French tyranny. 

Though artillery had been collected, there was a great 
shortage of uniforms. Many of them were of the simplest 
character. Black or grey cloth jackets with various coloured 
facings were worn over trousers of the poorest cloth. Some 

^ Krampen = to shrink. According to a memorandum by the king, printed in 
Von Boyen's Mcfuoirs (ii. p. 345), the total effective strength of the army on the 
24th July 1810 was only 22, 392. 


regiments even had old English uniforms. The muskets 
were of four or five different patterns.^ To facilitate the 
supply of ammunition and prevent confusion, advantage 
was taken of the cessation of hostilities in June-August 
1 8 1 3 to effect exchanges of weapons, so that each regiment 
might be, as far as possible, armed with muskets of the 
same calibre. 

The next body to be raised consisted of " Volunteer 
Jagers," young men of independent means, of from 17 to 
24 years, equipped and armed at their own expense, or at 
that of the neighbourhood. They were those who did not 
already belong to the army, and had no sufficient cause for 
exemption. As the decree of the 3rd February dealing 
with them was supplemented by another of the 9th, limiting 
the causes of exemption and prescribing penalties for failure 
to join, it seems clear that these were volunteers only in 
name.2 Their numbers are uncertain, but they probably 
never exceeded 5000 infantry, 3000 cavalry, and 500 
artillery and engineers. Their moral was probably 
greater than their military value, though, later, they 
formed good schools for the training of officers and 
under-officers, in supplying whom there was considerable 

A few '' free corps " were established as follows : — 

Liitzow's — 3 battalions, 5 squadrons, 8 guns. 

Von Reiche's Jager battalion. 

Hellwig's — 3 squadrons, one Jager detachment. 

The " Schill " free corps — 2 squadrons of hussars. 

The Elbe regiment — 2 battalions raised from the 
provinces torn from Prussia in 1807. 

These free corps consisted largely of foreigners, were of 
very varied constitution, not always either well led or well 

^ Two Prussian, one Austrian, one English, and, later on, the French muskets 
captured in the field. 

* On this subject there is a significant note in Colonel Lanrezac's book, p. 36 : 
"What happened in France in 1792, and in Prussia in 1813, proves that, how- 
ever great the patriotic feeling of the nation, voluntary enlistment furnishes in 
time of war but a small number of defenders. Without a law compelling to 
military service all citizens of a certain age, only insignificant results are obtained." 


disciplined, and, altogether, not so important as they might 
have been. 

More was still required for an army which had to 
struggle for the very existence of the Fatherland. 

A decree of the king established the " landwehr," based 
on the model of that of Austria of 1809. This decree, 
signed on the 9th February 18 13, but only brought into 
force on the 17th March, required universal service. No 
preparations for this had been possible during the years 
succeeding 1807. As the impoverished state of Prussian 
finances precluded much assistance from the State, the 
expense of equipment had to fall on the men themselves, or 
their villages. The consequence was that the men had 
miserable clothing, which was ruined by the first heavy 
rain. They had caps which protected them neither against 
the weather nor against blows ; they had shoes which, being 
unprovided with gaiters, were often drawn off by the mud 
through which the men had to march — and wretched linen 
trousers. At first, the front rank was often armed with 
pikes or scythes, and it was only as French muskets were 
taken from the battlefields that the men were armed with 
yet another pattern of firearm. There was a great dearth 
of officers, as most of the half-pay officers still fit for service 
were required for the reserve battalions. All sorts of 
officials, many of them very unsuitable as military officers, 
joined, and it was only later on that men of some experi- 
ence were got from the " Volunteer Jagers," etc. 

Naturally, the landwehr, as a whole, was at first of no 
great military value, though their initial worth was in some 
corps (Yorck's and Biilow's especially) enhanced by long 
marches and still more by early successes. 

The landwehr infantry numbered about 100,000 at 
their highest strength, and the cavalry about 11,500. The 
latter were, on the whole, proportionately better than the 
infantry, but their horses, drawn from the fields and other 
sources, were a very mixed lot. Friederich says that once 
a body of this cavalry began to give way no power on earth, 
saving an insurmountable physical barrier, could stop them. 


The whole strength of the Prussian army in August 181 3, 
after the armistice, may be summarised thus in round 
numbers : — 


Regular, exclusive of garrison and depot bat- 
talions ....... 72,000 

Landwehr, garrison and depot battalions, 
" free " corps. Volunteer Jagers, and 
Landwehr reserve ..... 156,000 



Regular, excluding depot squadrons . . . 12,600 

Landwehr, Volunteer Jagers, etc. . . . 18,500 

Artillery (376 guns) and engineers . . . 13,000 

This total of 272,000 later rose to about 300,000, which 
represents about 6 per cent, on the then population of 

Of the 272,000 there were actually in the field at the 
close of the armistice in August about 192,500, inclusive 
of 30,500 (mostly landwehr) blockading Kiistrin, Stettin, 
Danzig, and Glogau. Prussian writers justly claim that 
their country supplied the backbone of the uprising which 
overthrew Napoleon. The greatest actual numbers of 
troops in 18 13 were furnished by Russia, but looking to 
the general quality of the troops, and the spirit of patriotism 
and enthusiasm which pervaded them, the slightly smaller 
Prussian forces were of distinctly greater value. It must 
always be remembered that they were fighting for hearth 
and home, whilst the Russians had already saved their 
own country in 1812, and in 18 13 and 18 14 were 
fighting, not so much for their own safety, as for the 
liberation of Germany and Europe from the yoke ot 


(2) The Russian Army 

There is a good deal of uncertainty as to the actual 
numbers of the half-disciplined troops, such as Cossacks and 
Bashkirs. Though very inferior in quality from a military 
point of view, these half savages had created such alarm 
amongst the French that they were far from being a 
negligible quantity. 

The Russian officers were still, as they had been in 
1807, very ill-educated and rough, except those drawn 
from the nobility for the Guard and a few crack cavalry 

The Russian soldier of the regular army was what he 
was in 1807, and what he still is, a fighter of the ut- 
most bravery and obstinacy, without education or much 

In the beginning of February 1 8 1 3 the total strength of 
the Russian army pursuing the French did not exceed 
70,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry and Cossacks, 10,000 
artillery and engineers — 110,000 in all. Most of the 
infantry regiments were reduced to a single battalion of 
about 350 men ; the cavalry regiments had only 4 squadrons 
(instead of 8) of 100 men each. 

A "ukase," of the 5th February 18 1 3, prescribed the 
formation of a reserve army of 163 battalions, 92 squad- 
rons, 37 batteries, to assemble about Bialystock. Its 
formation was much retarded by want of " cadres " and 
material. Between March and August 1813, it furnished 
to the active army 68,000 infantry, 14,000 cavalry, and 
5 batteries. At the close of the armistice the Russian army 
in Germany and the reserves in Poland numbered about 
296,000 men. 

The corps, both of infantry and cavalry, were so split 
and mixed that Lanrezac quotes the saying of an unnamed 
eye-witness that " the generals did not know what troops to 
command, and, similarly, the troops knew not which chief 
to obey." ^ 

^ La Manoeuvre de Lutzen, p. 39. 


(3) The Austrian Army 

Austria was neutral till the close of the armistice in August 
181 3, but it will be convenient to deal here with the army 
which she then brought into the field. After the campaign 
of 1809, the strength of the Austrian army was fixed at 
150,000 men. The war had brought her almost to the 
verge of bankruptcy, the strictest economy was required, 
and it was practised largely at the expense of the army, 
especially of the Austrian (as distinguished from the 
Hungarian) portion. It was kept on the lowest peace 
footing, and the rest of the men received an extremely 
short annual training. Differences with his brother the 
Emperor had, unfortunately for Austria, resulted in the 
disappearance from her councils of her best leader and 
organiser, the Archduke Charles. Schwarzenberg's auxiliary 
force in the Russian campaign of 1 8 1 2 numbered about 
29,000 men and 7000 horses. After his return, Austria 
was quite unable to put a respectable force in the field to 
join the Russians and Prussians. Therefore, she was com- 
pelled to go no further than playing a neutral part, and 
pretending to serve as mediator between Napoleon and the 
allies, whilst she was reorganising her army. When, at 
last, she openly joined the allies, in August 18 13, her 
armed strength was as follows : — 






In Bohemia 






Between the Enns and \ 
the Traun, opposed to f 
Wrede's Bavarians on f 
the Inn . . . j 



In Upper Austria ) 
(Hiller) . . .| 


Total Field Army, 193,981 

gratz, and Josefstadt . j /»544 

Total, 221,525 

In garrison at Prag, Konig- 1 


Besides these, a reserve army, strength not known, was 
organising at Vienna and elsewhere. There was no corps 
organisation, the army being divided into 12 infantry 
divisions, with 3 divisions and i brigade of cavalry. 

As a consequence of the conditions above mentioned, 
two-thirds of this army consisted of recruits with scarcely 
three months' service. 

Information regarding the military value of the Austrian 
army is not so plentiful as in the case of Prussia. The 
corps of 1 81 2, however, appears to have been excellent, 
whilst the reserves and recruits were perhaps not far behind 
the corresponding elements of the Prussian army. 

The cavalry was generally good, the artillery less so. 

(4) Swedish Army 

Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, ex-Marshal of France, 
does not cut an admirable figure in any way in 181 3. His 
political conduct was crooked in the extreme, and as for his 
Swedish contingent, his main object seems to have been to 
expose them to as little fighting as possible.^ The army 
consisted partly of Swedes, partly of Germans recruited in 
Pomerania and the island of Riigen. In discipline, equip- 
ment, and clothing they left nothing to be desired. They, 
too, only appeared in the north after the armistice, when 
their strength was : — 

Battns. Squadns. Guns. Men. 
(a) In Brandenburg . 33 27 54 23,449 

(d) In Mecklenburg with 


8 3,814 

39 32 62 27,263 

(5) Anglo-German Troops 

Most of these were Germans, or a mixture of all nations. 
The only really British troops were : — 

^ Friederich refers to an English caricature representing the Crown Prince lead- 
ing back his army in the guise of a flock of sheep and saying to the old king, 
** Here am I with the sheep you entrusted to me. Behold ! I have not lost one 
of them." 



1 1 regiment of hussars — 5 squadrons. 

2 horse artillery batteries with 1 2 guns, and — 

28 rocket apparatus. These Congreve rockets, then a 
new invention, created much alarm amongst the French at 

The strength of this Anglo-German contingent was about 
9000 men. 

There were also 6 English battalions (3459 men) in 
garrison at Stralsund. 

(6) Mecklenburg Contingent 

Four battalions, 4 squadrons, 2 guns, 6149 men. 

Of these only the Guard Grenadier battalions were old 
troops. The rest were recruits. 

To sum up the field forces 2 of the allies, about the begin- 
ning of the autumn campaign they stood as follows : — 






Prussian Field Army 
Russian „ 
Austrian „ 
Swedish „ 
Anglo-German Contingent 
Mecklenburg „ 
















5 56i 





Adding to these the Russian and Prussian blockading 
corps, reserves in second line, the garrison of Stralsund, the 
Austrian armies on the Italian and Bavarian fronts, etc., the 
allies had some 860,000 troops. 

^ This is Friederich's statement. It seems doubtful if it is correct as regards 
the hussar regiment. The present-day O Battery, R.H.A., has claimed to be the 
representative of Captain Bogue's rocket battery, but here too it appears that the 
claim to direct descent has not been made out. The author is indebted for this 
information to the author of the History of the British Army. 

^ Exclusive of blockading troops before the fortresses and of the Austrian 
and Russian reserve armies. 


(7) The Allied Commanders 

Napoleon's great advantage over the allies, at periods 
when he began to find himself with inferior numbers, con- 
sisted in the absolute unity of his command. The final de- 
cision always rested with him alone. The disadvantages of 
his system in depriving him of men trained to semi-indepen- 
dent command have already been noted. 

The allies, on the other hand, had no unity of command 
whatever. No one could know with whom the final decision 
lay. Even when the Russians were alone there was some 
difficulty, so long as Kutusow lived : for he was strongly 
opposed to embarking on chivalrous adventures for the 
benefit of the rest of Europe. So great had been his ser- 
vices to Russia that, until his death, even his master, the 
Tsar, felt bound to defer to some extent to his views. 

Then Prussia joined in the war against Napoleon, and 
the difficulties at once increased ; for it became necessary to 
consider the new ally, and the opinions of her generals, 
amongst whom were men of the highest military capacity, 
such as Clausewitz,^ Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Miiffiing, and 
others, like Bliicher and Yorck, who, if they were not great 
commanders, had at least very decided opinions, and still. 
more decided wills. Then came Austria, the views of 
whose leaders had again to be consulted, and who, on at 
least one occasion, insisted on changes in the allied plans. 
Bernadotte introduced a further complication, for he wanted 
to be commander-in-chief of the allied armies, a position 
which it was impossible to confer on him. 

Of the allied sovereigns, the Tsar generally succeeded in 
taking the most influential position. He was surrounded 
by a multitude of advisers, Toll, Barclay de Tolly, Wittgen- 
stein, to whom were added, later, Jomini and Moreau. 
Knesebeck, Borstell, Von Boyen, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, 
Clausewitz, Schwarzenberg, Radetzky, and Muffling all had 

1 Clausewitz was still in the Russian service which he had entered in 18 12, but 
he had been a Prussian officer and may fairly be classed as such. He returned to 
the Prussian service in 1815. 



their say in the perpetual councils of war which discussed 
and tinkered with the allies' plans. To such a pitch did 
dissensions come that when the Tsar, before Leipzig, was 
unable to gain over Schwarzenberg to his views, he took 
the extreme course of telling the Austrian (and allied) 
commander-in-chief that he might keep his Austrians be- 
tween the Pleisse and the Elster, but that the Russians and 
Prussians, being the affair of the Tsar and the King of 
Prussia, should be brought over to the right bank of the 
Pleisse. After the battle of Liitzen there were dissensions 
between the Russians and the Prussians, each blaming the 
other for the defeat. 

Then the divergent interests of the Russians, desiring to 
preserve their direct communication with Poland, and of the 
Prussians, thinking of directly covering their capital and 
the Mark, nearly led to a separation which would certainly 
have been fatal to Prussia. 

Even when a commander-in-chief had been appointed to 
succeed Kutusow, his position became almost intolerable ; 
for Wittgenstein, who was selected, constantly found the 
Tsar consulting Toll and others without reference to him, 
and passing important orders over his head. 

Many of these difficulties will appear in their proper place 
in the course of this history. They are only briefly referred 
to here in order to indicate generally the extremely divided 
state of the allied command, and the many obstacles to the 
co-operation of armies with such divergent interests as those 
of the allies. One expedient adopted was the intermixture 
of the various forces, so that Bernadotte, Bliicher, and 
Schwarzenberg each commanded troops of two or more 
nations. By thus mixing them up in separate commands 
it was hoped to remove the temptation to any one nation 
to act on its own account.^ 

^ This chapter certainly anticipates much ; but the author has thought it better 
to collect in two preliminary chapters a general view of the organisation of the 
armies of both sides, rather than to recur again and again to the same subject as 
each new force comes on the scene. 



WHEN Napoleon left Smorgoni for France he 
entrusted the supreme command to Murat, 
with instructions which it was impossible for 
him, or any one else, to carry out. With 
the wretched rabble which was all that represented the main 
body of the army, it was out of the question either to wait 
at Wilna or to make a stand on the Niemen. The King 
of Naples could but continue the retreat as best he might. 
On the 19th December, the day of Napoleon's arrival in 
Paris, the few thousands of stragglers, and the few hundreds 
of the Guard, reached Konigsberg. They had not been 
pursued by Tchichagow's Russians beyond the Niemen, but, 
on the I St January 18 13, the news of Yorck's defection at 
Tauroggen warned Murat that he must continue his retreat 
across the Vistula. Leaving in Danzig the remains of 
Macdonald's corps and Heudelet's " division de marche," 
which he met coming forward in East Prussia, he reached 
Posen on the i6th January. There he gave over the 
chief command to Eugene Beauharnais, and betook himself 
to his kingdom of Naples. 

Eugene's position was a difficult one, far too difficult for 
a commander of his very limited capacity. With the 
remains of the Guard, the I., II., III., IV., and VI. 
(Bavarian) corps, he had some 12,000 worn-out troops. 
As the mixed division of Macdonald's corps, and Heudelet's 
"division de marche," the only troops still worth anything, 
had been thrown by Murat into Danzig, the unfortunate 
Viceroy would have had practically no army at all, but for 


some 1 0,000 men of various nationalities gathered from 
" regiments de marche." 

As for the Prussians, Yorck, as we know, was with the 
Russians, busily reorganising and recruiting his corps about 
Konigsberg. Biilow, in Pomerania, was organising another 
corps, nominally in response to Napoleon's call for a fresh 
contingent. Bliicher was doing the same in Silesia. Both 
were merely waiting for their king to summon up courage 
to declare against Napoleon. 

When Eugene took over command, he found himself with 
the prospect of a fortnight's breathing space in which to 
reorganise his forces. If the French army had been almost 
annihilated in the retreat from Russia, their pursuers had also 
suffered severely, and were far from being in a condition to 
carry on an active winter campaign. Wittgenstein, on their 
right, crossed the Vistula on the 13th January with 30,000 
men ; but he found himself at once compelled to send the 
greater part of his force to watch Danzig, in which there 
was a garrison of 30,000, of whom two-thirds were service- 
able troops. He stopped, therefore, at Stargard to await the 
arrival of the other Russian corps on his left. Tchichagow 
was marching slowly on Thorn with 20,000 men ; Kutusow 
was moving with 30,000 on Plock, and Miloradowich was 
very slowly pushing back Schwarzenberg, Reynier, and 
Poniatowski on Warsaw. There was little chance of the 
Russians being abreast of one another on the Vistula till 
after the end of January. As the ruins of the infantry of 
the I., II., III., and IV. corps were unfit for employment in 
the field, Eugene sent them respectively to garrison Stettin, 
Kiistrin, Spandau, and Glogau. The " cadres " set free 
by this arrangement were sent back to Erfurt for use in 
organising new units. 

Eugene was now left with a few of these men whom he 
kept back, the remains of the Guard, two fresh battalions 
of Young Guard called up from Stettin, and the " detach- 
ments de marche" already mentioned — some 12,000 in all. 
These he organised as four weak divisions. He had not 
more than 2000 cavalry, a very mixed lot. 


With these small forces he took post at Posen, 
pushing out his Bavarians to Gnesen in order to keep 
in touch with Thorn and Warsaw. He soon found that 
he could expect little help either on his right or his left. 
Schwarzenberg, as already mentioned, had arranged to 
go off to Gallicia, and Biilow refused to take Eugene's 

Behind him the Viceroy had Lagrange's division of the 
XI. corps, guarding Berlin and Spandau. Between the 20th 
and 25th January, Grenier's division (18,000 men) reached 
Berlin from Italy. There it was split into two divisions 
which, joined to that of Lagrange, constituted the XI. corps, 
under the command of Gouvion St Cyr, It was intended 
to call it up to Posen, but, as Grenier's men required rest, 
and Lagrange's had partly to be called in from the fortresses 
it would require some time before they could move. More- 
over, Eugene considered the whole corps not too much to 
keep order in Berlin and the Mark. He, being on the spot, 
judged the danger of Prussian disaffection more accurately 
than his stepfather the Emperor, who still pretended to 
believe in the permanence of the Prussian alliance. A 
fresh danger now threatened Eugene, for Wittgenstein, 
though unable to advance beyond Stargard, had organised 
his Cossacks as the " free corps " of Czernitchew, Benkendorf, 
and Tettenborn. These columns, of 1500 or 1600 men 
and a couple of guns each, pushed far and wide through 
Pomerania, raising the country, cutting off French detach- 
ments, and penetrating as far as the lower Oder. Mean- 
while Tchichagow reached Thorn on the 28th January, and 
Bromberg on the 8th February, on which date Kutusow 
and Miloradowich arrived respectively at Plock and 

On the I oth and 1 1 th February, Eugene's advanced 
troops were attacked and driven in. On the following day 
he prepared to retreat, and on the 1 8th he was at Frankfort- 
on-Oder, where he learned that, two days earlier, the Cossacks 
of the free corps, crossing the river above and below Kiistrin, 
had harried the country almost to the gates of Berlin. 


Here also he found waiting for him St Cyr with the 35 th 
and 36th divisions.^ 

Meanwhile, Reynier (VII. corps), who had incautiously 
halted at Kalisch, had been surprised from Plock, had 
suffered heavily, and been compelled to retreat on Glogau, 
which he reached, on the 19th February, with only 9000 

The general position on that day was this — 
. Eugene was at Frankfort with 30,000 men.^ 

Reynier at Glogau with 9000. 

Augereau at Berlin with 6000 or 7000. 

Lauriston at Magdeburg with two divisions of the V. 
corps, waiting for the other two to come up. 

Morand^ had 2000 Saxons in Swedish Pomerania. 

The garrisons of the fortresses on the Oder were, Stettin, 
9000 ; Kiistrin and Glogau, 4000 each. 

Spandau was held by 3000 men. 

As for Poniatowski, Schwarzenberg had carried him and 
his 8000 or 9000 Poles off to Gallicia, and included him in 
his own armistice with the Russians. 

Regarding the enemy, it is true that the 5000 Cossacks 
of the three Free corps were beating up the country in 
Eugene's rear, and that they actually got into Berlin for a 
short time on the 20th February ; but, after all, this was a 
mere raid, which could not meet with any permanent success, 
seeing that its supports were still far east of the Oder. 
Wittgenstein had, on the i8th February, only 19,000 men 
(exclusive of the Free corps) available for active operations, 
and was still 150 miles from the Oder in Pomerania. 
Kutusow with 40,000 men was at Kalisch ; Sacken with 
20,000 was watching Schwarzenberg towards Gallicia. 

Prussia had not yet declared war. Yorck was two or 
three marches behind Wittgenstein, Biilow at Colberg, and 

^ The two into which Grenier's division had been split. 

* 12,000 whom he had brought with him from Posen, and 18,000 of St Cyr's 
two divisions. 

^Not Count Morand, the commander of a division at Auerstadt in 1806. He 
still commanded a division of the corps marching from Italy. 


Bliicher at Breslau. So long as Berlin and a large part of 
Prussia was in the hands of the French, Frederick William 
was not in the least likely to risk a declaration of war. 

Under these circumstances, there was no immediate 
necessity whatever for Eugene to retire behind the Oder. 
But he now came under the influence of Augereau, who 
was extremely nervous about an insurrection in Berlin. 
Even if that had occurred, Eugene might well have dealt 
with it by posting himself half-way between Berlin and the 
Oder, 20 miles from each. Thence he could have con- 
trolled Berlin, and, at the same time, have defended the line 
of the Oder. 

Napoleon's view of the situation is stated in a subsequent 
letter to Eugene,^ where he says, " an experienced general 
who had established a camp east of Kiistrin would have 
given time to the Corps of Observation of the Elbe 
(Lauriston's V. corps) to reach Berlin ; or, at any rate, if 
such a general had camped in front of Berlin he could not 
have been attacked, except by the extensive dispositions 
which he would have forced the enemy to make." Napoleon 
himself would certainly have defended the Oder from the 
eastern bank. Later on, on the 15th March,^ he wrote: 
"If, . . . instead of retiring on Frankfort, you had concen- 
trated in front of Kiistrin, the enemy would have thought 
twice before throwing anything on to the left bank. You 
would have gained at least twenty days, and given time for 
the Corps of Observation of the Elbe to occupy Berlin." 

But Augereau's fears prevailed, especially as St Cyr was 
ill and unable to urge the view, which he afterwards 
expressed,^ that the line of the Oder should have been 
defended, though he was for a defence on the left bank. 

On the 22nd February Eugene retired once more to 
Kopenick a short way south-east of Berlin. He had been 
alarmed once more by the destruction, on the 21st, of a 

1 Corr. 19,688 of 9th March. 2 Corr. 19,721. 

^ Hist. Mil.^ iv. pp. 6-9. On the next page St Cyr says he found Augereau 
nervously keeping his troops in the streets of Berlin. St Cyr promptly sent 
them back to barracks. 


regiment of Italian chasseurs by Cossacks. Even now, he 
took half measures and, instead of keeping his force united, 
left 4000' of Gerard's division at Frankfort, where such a 
paltry force was useless. Rechberg's Bavarians were at 
Krossen, and a battalion of the Guard at Furstenwalde 
maintained communication between these two outposts and 
the main body. 

Frederick William of Prussia ^ at last made up his mind 
to join the crusade against Napoleon, and signed (28th 
February) the Convention of Kalisch, allying himself with 
the Russians. Had that agreement been made public there 
and then, Yorck and Biilow could have joined Wittgenstein, 
and Bliicher could have brought his forces to the Russian 
left. But the King of Prussia, trembling for the fate of 
Berlin, refused to publish his decision, or to sanction active 
measures by Prussian troops, before the Russians were in 
secure possession of his capital. Kutusow, the Russian 
commander, on the other hand, refused to move forward 
without Prussian co-operation. The deadlock was solved 
by a compromise. Frederick William directed his troops to 
follow the Russians to the Oder, but to avoid active hostilities 
until war was declared. 

It was not till the 1 5th March that the French am- 
bassador in Prussia got wind of the Convention of Kalisch. 
Prussia's declaration of war only reached Paris on the 27th. 

The allied sovereigns, under the impression that the 
French were in no position to offer resistance, decided on a 
very widely extended advance to the Elbe, on which river 
they proposed to concentrate towards their left, so as to be 
in touch with Austria, whose adhesion to the side against 
Napoleon was hoped for, and believed to be imminent. 

Kutusow was to be in supreme command. Wittgenstein, 
with the right wing (19,000 Russians and 30,000 Prussians 
under Yorck and Biilow), was to cross the Oder between 
Kustrin and Stettin. Blucher, on the left, with the corps 
of Winzingerode (14,000, mostly Russian cavalry) and his 

^ He had left Berlin on the 22nd February on the pretext that he was going 
to Breslau to raise the fresh contingent for Napoleon. 


own 27,000 Prussians, was to advance from Silesia on 
Dresden ; Kutusow, with the reserve (Miloradowich and the 
Russian Guard) of 30,000, to follow three or four marches 
behind the left wing. Altogether there were 120,000 men 
in three groups, separated by distances which forbade any 
hope of mutual support. What a chance for a capable 
French leader, and what advantage Napoleon himself would 
have taken of it ! 

But Eugene was certainly not even a capable general, 
and, as soon as Wittgenstein crossed the Oder, on the 
1st March, half-way between Kiistrin and Stettin, he fell 
back to the west side of Berlin. What Napoleon thought 
of this move is best shown in the words of his letter of the 
9th March to his stepson.^ 

" Nothing could be less military than the course you 
have taken in posting your headquarters at Schonberg, in 
rear of Berlin ; it was quite clear that that was to call up 
the enemy. If, on the contrary, you had taken a position 
in front of Berlin .... the enemy would have had to 
believe you wished to fight a battle. Then he would not 
have passed the Oder till he had assembled 60,000 or 
80,000 men with the serious intention of capturing Berlin ; 
but he was still far from being able to do that. . . . You 
could have gained twenty days, which would have been 
very advantageous from a political, as well as from a 
military point of view .... But from the day on which 
your headquarters were placed behind Berlin it was tanta- 
mount to saying that you did not wish to keep that city ; 
you have thus abandoned an attitude which it is the art of war 
to know how to preserve." 

The enemy clearly thought little of Eugene after his 
successive retreats, and ventured to advance on Berlin with 
7000 cavalry and Cossacks (inclusive of the Free corps) and 
5000 infantry, whilst Wittgenstein's main body was still 
(4th March) full five days' march short of Berlin. It was 
before this puny force that Eugene's 30,000 men fell back. 
The Viceroy was making for Wittenberg, leaving to their 

1 Corr, 19,688. 


fate G6rard at Frankfort and Rechberg at Krossen. The 
former succeeded in cutting his way through to Wittenberg, 
whilst Rechberg got away by Giiben and Luckau to Torgau. 
Admission to that fortress was refused to him by Thiel- 
mann, commanding the Saxon garrison, and he was 
therefore compelled to make for Meissen. 

Eugene continued his retreat till he had placed practically 
the whole of his army behind the Elbe. Under his orders 
of the loth March, his forces were thus disposed. In the 
centre, astride of the Elbe at Wittenberg, Grenier commanded 
the 35th and 36th divisions of the XL corps, 18,000 men. 

The right wing, commanded by Davout, comprised the 
remains of Reynier's (VII.) corps, which had retreated from 
Glogau, the 3 ist division, with which had been amalgamated 
the divisions of Girard and Gerard, and the ist brigade of 
the 1st division — 17,000 men in all. With these Davout 
had to hold Dresden and defend the Elbe from Konigstein 
to Torgau. At the last-named place was Thielmann, with 
5000 or 6000 Saxon levies. He refused to admit either 
side, though his sympathies were clearly with the allies. 

The left wing consisted of about 35,000 men of the V. 
corps under Lauriston at Magdeburg. 

Headquarters and Roguet's Guard division (3000 men) 
were at Leipzig. 

Victor, with 12,000 men of the 4th division and the 2nd 
brigade of the ist, was organising behind the Saale at 

Carra St Cyr was at Hamburg, where his 1000 men, in 
the midst of a hostile population, were in a very critical 
position. Morand, with 2000 Saxons, had been forgotten, 
and, on hearing by chance of the evacuation of Berlin, had 
started for Hamburg. It was very doubtful if he would be 
able to escape. 

Eugene, with the choice of defending either the upper or 
the lower Elbe (for he could not defend the whole), had 
elected the former, the effect of which would be to leave open 
to the enemy the 32nd military division, which was French 
territory, and to expose Holland and Hamburg. He under- 


stood that his role was that of an army covering the assembly 
of Napoleon's new army in the valley of the Main, and it 
seemed to him that he must hold Dresden, and cover directly 
the roads from the Main to the Elbe. He had not yet 
received the Emperor's letter of the 9th March, already 
quoted,^ censuring his arrangements for the defence of the 
line of the Oder from the rear. Not only did he propose 
to defend the Elbe in a similar manner, but he also com- 
mitted the fatal blunder of spreading his forces in a cordon 
of 150 miles in length, with no reserves to speak of. On 
the 15 th March, Napoleon hearing of these dispositions 
wrote condemning them absolutely.^ They were, he said, 
well calculated to stop the passage of light troops ; but 
what was to happen if the enemy passed in mass, as he 
could easily do when and where he pleased ? The only 
way to defend a river line was to place large forces in the 
bridge heads beyond the river, where they would be ready 
to take the offensive as soon as the enemy should commence 
his passage : — 

" Nothing is more dangerous than to attempt seriously 
to defend a river by lining the bank opposite (to the enemy) ; 
for once the enemy has surprised the passage, and he always 
does surprise it, he finds the army in a very extended 
defensive position, and prevents its rallying." 

But already Napoleon had written on the 2nd March 
and again on the 9th. In the letter of the 2nd ^ he had 
told Eugene exactly what to do if he retreated from Berlin, 
a measure which, in the letter of the 9th,* when he had 
heard of it, he condemned as unnecessary as matters then 
stood. The main body of the available forces should be 
collected in front of Magdeburg, only a small portion being 
spread along the river to prevent the passage of light troops. 
If circumstances forced the army to abandon Magdeburg, it 

'^ Supra, pp. 36, 38. 2 Corr. 19,721. 

3 The letter was addressed to Lauriston in cypher, in which form he was to 
pass it on to Eugene, if he had a cypher arranged with the Viceroy, which the 
Emperor had not. Lauriston had no such cypher, and the orders only reached 
Eugene on the 9th. Lanrczac, p. 61. See also Corr. 19,640 to Lauriston. 

* Corr. 19,688. 


should have its line of operations on Wesel, not on Mayence. 
In fact, Napoleon preferred to defend the lower rather than 
the upper Elbe, whilst Eugene, by retreating on Wittenberg, 
exposed (as the writer believed) Magdeburg itself, as well 
as Hamburg, Holland, etc. That was not quite so, seeing that 
Eugene had 35,000 men at Magdeburg. No doubt, as Col. 
Lanrezac says, the Emperor's reproaches were, strictly speak- 
ing, deserved ; but it must be admitted that the task imposed 
on the Viceroy was a very difficult one, especially when it is 
remembered that a large portion of his troops had deteriorated 
in consequence of a long retreat unrelieved by any success, 
and that he was very inferior to the enemy in cavalry. 
Moreover, Napoleon, according to his custom, persistently 
over-valued Eugene's strength, and undervalued that of the 
enemy. He does not blame himself for not taking the 
obvious measure of putting at the head of his covering 
troops, not a young and inexperienced general like his 
stepson, but a man like Davout or Gouvion St Cyr, both of 
whom were available. The former had so often, especially 
in 1806 and 1809, proved his worth that it seems inexplic- 
able that the Emperor should not have chosen him on this 
occasion, or, later on, for the task of the command in Silesia, 
which was given to the honest but by no means brilliant 
Macdonald. Eugene did not in the least understand what 
the Emperor contemplated, and it is not much to be 
wondered at that he did not. One thing he did know was 
that Napoleon was, in his instructions and censures, mis- 
representing the actual condition of affairs. He had told 
Eugene that the enemy had not as many troops as he had. 
That was wrong, for they had 120,000 good troops, whilst 
Eugene could not put more than 80,000 in line, when he 
had deducted the Saxons in Torgau, who would not move, 
and the divisions of Durutte and Rechberg, which would 
have to be sent to the rear to reorganise. Of the 80,000 
men, 12,000 (the ist and 4th divisions) were not yet 
properly organised. 

Accepting his own false assumptions on these points, 
what Napoleon now required to be done was this : — 


Eugene was to take post with 65,000 men east of Magde- 
burg, in a position guarded by works at such a distance 
that he could manoeuvre between them. Behind his right 
rear would be Victor on the left bank, guarding the Elbe 
as far as Torgau. From Torgau to Bohemia the river had 
to be watched by Reynier with 12,000 men (he really only 
had 6000). Davout would be on Eugene's left rear, about 
opposite the infall of the Plauen canal. Both Victor and 
Davout, whilst depriving the enemy of the chance of using 
boats on the river, were to maintain means of passage for 
themselves, in case they were required to cross and operate 
against the flank of a general attack on Eugene. In con- 
sequence of these arrangements, the enemy would be 
compelled, if he attempted to pass the Elbe, to do so three 
marches at least above or below Magdeburg, and would 
certainly not dare to do so both above and below, with two 
bodies separated by six or seven marches, and with Eugene 
in the middle of them. 

As for Dresden, Napoleon admitted the importance which 
Eugene attached to it, but said it was useless to attempt to 
defend it with Reynier's force, if the enemy marched against 
it in strength. All Reynier could then do would be to fall 
back successively behind the Mulde and the Saale, whilst 
Eugene faced south, with his left on the Elbe and his right 
on the Harz Mountains. 

The last thing the Emperor desired, if Eugene was driven 
from the Elbe line, was to have him falling back on the 
new army towards Mayence. His retreat should be towards 
the lower Rhine. If the enemy were rash enough to follow 
him in that direction, the Emperor, advancing from the 
Main, would be in a position analogous to that before Jena ; 
only, thanks to the possession of Magdeburg, his strategic 
position would be much better than it was in 1806. His 
new army would not be ready before the middle of April ; 
therefore he wanted the enemy, if he succeeded in passing 
the Elbe, to be drawn away from, not towards, Mayence 
and the Main. That was why he prescribed Eugene's line 
of operations on the lower Rhine. 


But Napoleon thought the allies might very well be kept 
beyond the Elbe for a considerable time by the arrange- 
ments he ordered. If they were to cross towards Dresden, 
he held that a threat of advance by Eugene on Berlin 
would very soon compel them to return to the right bank, 
and he was convinced that, if they did attempt a passage, 
it would be above Magdeburg, not below it. Also, he 
held that they would not dare to cross at all without 
watching Eugene with at least 80,000 men, a force he 
rightly held them incapable of finding in addition to an 
equal force thrown over the river, and exposed to be 
attacked by Eugene rapidly falling back to the left bank 
through Magdeburg. Moreover, they could not cross 
between Dessau and Magdeburg, owing to Victor's posi- 
tion. Consequently, they would have to force the lines of 
the Mulde and the Saale, on which they could be delayed 
by Victor and Reynier whilst Eugene came up. 

Eugene's task did not include the fighting of a great 
battle. He must carry it out by manoeuvring, not by 

The Emperor reckoned without his host when he cal- 
culated that a threat of advance on Berlin by Eugene would 
fetch the allies back to the right bank. They had lost all 
fear of the French after their long retreat, and they were 
quite prepared to treat Eugene's army as an almost negligible 

Notwithstanding all that was said in the letter of 9th 
March, it was only on the 1 8th that the Viceroy made up 
his mind to take post east of Magdeburg. It was a diffi- 
cult operation to concentrate his dispersed army. 

Davout left Dresden on the 17th March, after blowing 
up an arch of the bridge there, leaving behind only 6000 
or 7000 men under Durutte.^ When he was within a 
march of Leipzig (21st March), the 35th and 36th divisions 
and Roguet's Guard division marched from Wittenberg and 

^ Reynier had fallen ill. Davout's destruction of the bridge was censured by 
Napoleon as calculated both to invite an advance of the enemy and to exasperate 
the inhabitants (Corr. 19,767). The latter effect it certainly had. 


Leipzig on Magdeburg, leaving Victor along the left bank 
of the Elbe. On the 23rd March a division of the V. 
corps moved to Mockern, a short way east of Magdeburg, 
so as to draw the enemy away from Wittenberg ; but the 
main body of the corps still remained on the left bank. 

Meanwhile, Carra St Cyr had lost Hamburg to Tetten- 
born, and had later lost 2000 men under Morand, who 
were destroyed or captured as they advanced on Liineburg, 
unsupported by the other 3000 whom Carra St Cyr took 
back to keep Bremen in order. On the other flank, Durutte, 
reduced to 3000 men owing to the departure of his Saxons 
for Torgau, was forced to leave Dresden, where Bliicher 
passed the Elbe with light troops on the 27th March. 

At this time there was a good deal of hesitation at the 
headquarters of the allies. Wittgenstein was, on the 20th 
March, still at Berlin with his main body, with advanced 
troops towards Magdeburg and the Elbe. Bliicher, in the 
south, was moving slowly towards Dresden, with the head 
of his main body no farther forward than Liegnitz, though 
his partisans and cavalry were already on the Elbe. The 
army of reserve was still far behind at Glogau and Kalisch. 
Kutusow and Scharnhorst viewed matters in very different 
lights. The latter, and the Prussians generally, wanted to 
push rapidly on ; the Russian did not believe much in the 
value of his Prussian allies, and insisted on holding back 
till he had reorganised his own army. The Tsar would 
have gone with the Prussians but could not induce Kutu- 
sow to concur. 

Kutusow's plan was for Wittgenstein to leave a few 
thousands to mask Magdeburg, whilst, with his main body, 
he marched to join Bliicher by the right bank of the Elbe. 
When the two had joined forces, they could cross the Elbe 
and march on Leipzig. Wittgenstein objected that that 
would mean exposing Berlin, and he proposed moving to 
the south-east of Magdeburg, whence he could cover 
Berlin indirectly. At the same time he would throw 
a bridge at Rosslau. He would thus, whilst still covering 
Berlin, be ready, when Bliicher was on a level with him, 


to cross the Elbe. He thought a rapid movement of his 
advanced guard on to the lower Saale, the heads of Bliicher's 
corps being already on the Pleisse, would effectually stop 
any idea of an advance on Berlin by Eugene. At the 
same time, a raid was to be carried out by Czernitchew 
crossing the Elbe below Magdeburg at Havelburg, and 
trying to penetrate into Hanover and Westphalia. Eugene, 
a prey to various, generally unfounded, rumours of hostile 
operations on the lower Elbe, still kept his main body on 
the left bank, and even withdrew the division of the V. 
corps which he had advanced to Mockern. At last, on the 
31st March, he learnt that Wittgenstein had left Berlin 
and appeared to contemplate passing the Elbe at Rosslau. 
Then the Viceroy decided to carry out the Emperor's 
orders, by taking his main body across the river, leaving 
Victor to guard the lower Saale, and twelve battalions to 
watch the Elbe towards Tangermunde, below Magdeburg. 
The latter were to be supported, in case of a passage below 
Magdeburg, by Davout with 11,000 men. Eugene still 
could not make up his mind to take over a large enough 
force. He had about 50,000 men, including 4000 cavalry 
and 180 guns. 

We do not propose to describe in detail the combats 
known by the name of Mockern, which took place on the 
3rd, 4th, and 5th April, between Eugene's forces and those 
of Wittgenstein. The Viceroy, obsessed by the fear of 
losing his communications with Magdeburg, wasted a large 
portion of his troops in guarding posts which could have 
been held safely by much smaller forces. His heart was 
not in the operation, and he was within a hair's breadth of 
being beaten when night brought the combat of the 5th 
April to a close. An incorrect report that Wittgenstein 
was passing the Elbe at Rosslau gave Eugene the desired 
excuse for taking his whole force back to the left bank 
next day. 

His action had done no good. He had only drawn 
against himself a portion of Wittgenstein's force, instead of 
the main body, and his ill-success enabled the allies, with 


some show of truth, to vaunt a great victory. If they had 
not gained that, they were, at least, able to produce a favour- 
able moral effect in Germany. As for Wittgenstein, he 
crossed the Elbe without difficulty on the loth April, that 
is exactly at the juncture, which he had intended all along, 
when Bliicher had reached Leipzig. 

After his failure at Mockern, the Viceroy decided to 
take post on the lower Saale, for the defence of the strip 
of country between that river and the Harz mountains. 
From the 6th to the 21st April nothing of much import- 
ance happened on this part of the theatre of war. Thiel- 
mann in Torgau would give it over neither to one side nor 
the other, but he seems to have incited the allies to an 
attack on Wittenberg. He would probably have gone 
over to them himself, had he been sure that his officers 
would support him. 

The attack on Wittenberg failed, thanks to Lapoype, 
who commanded the French troops there. 

The allies were waiting for the rest of their army, since 
they had available at present only about 70,000 men. The 
Russian Guard, having only left Kalisch on the 7th April, 
could not be at Leipzig till the 27th or 28th. Kutusow 
was still obstructive. Miloradowich was following Bliicher. 
Barclay de Tolly, with 14,000 men, was besieging Thorn. 
He was set free to march to the front by the surrender of 
the fortress on the i8th April. Spandau yielded three 
days later. 

The allies, meanwhile, busied themselves repairing the 
bridge at Dresden, constructing two more there, and others 
at Meissen and at Miihlberg. The King of Saxony was 
trying to play the neutral, and it was under his orders that 
Thielmann held Torgau against both sides. 

On the 1 9th April, the allies, alarmed by a report that 
Napoleon was advancing from the Main to join the Viceroy, 
began to concentrate. It was, in fact, not till the 21st 
April that the advanced guard of Napoleon's army began 
to appear at Erfurt. 



NAPOLEON had lost in Russia, in killed, 
wounded, sick, and prisoners, half a million 
of men. Yorck's corps of Prussians, and 
Schwarzenberg's Austrians, had deserted him, 
and the latter had carried off Poniatowski's Poles. Such 
disasters would have crushed most men ; on Napoleon 
they had no such effect. His ambitions of Empire, and his 
topes of recovering his position of the beginning of 1812, 
revQ as high as ever, and his active brain was as busy as 
5ver in evolving great schemes. 

His first project for the coming campaign, says Count 
orck,^ " need not fear comparison with his best, either in 
)int of boldness or of brilliancy." It is explained in 
Notes for the Viceroy of Italy," dated the nth March.^ 
ifter estimating various distances in marches, the Emperor 
lys that the principal objective of the army appears to be 
^o come as soon as possible to the rescue of Danzig. He 
issumes Eugene's army concentrated at Magdeburg, Havel- 
irg, and Wittenberg. From the two latter it is only three 
^marches to Berlin. The army of the Main, which was in 
process of assembly when he wrote, he assumed to be con- 
centrated at Wiirzburg, Erfurt, and Leipzig. It would be 
a natural movement, which could easily be concealed from 
the enemy, to march the army of the Elbe, followed by 
that of the Main, via Havelberg to Stettin. Arrived there, 
the army would have passed the Oder and gained ten 
days, without the enemy (whom Napoleon assumed to be 
at Dresden, Glogau, and Warsaw) being able to arrange 

^ Napoleon as a General, ii. p. 242. ^ Corr. 19,697. 



himself so as to cover Danzig. He continues : " After 
having made all demonstrations to induce the belief that 
I wish to march on Dresden and into Silesia, my intention 
will probably be (under cover of the Thuringian mountains 
and the Elbe) to march by Havelberg, reaching Stettin by 
forced marches, with 300,000 men, and to continue the 
march of the army on Danzig, where I could arrive in 
fifteen days ; and on the twentieth day of movement, after the 
army had passed the Elbe, I should have relieved that town, 
and should be master of Marienburg, of the Island of Nogat, 
and of all the bridges of the lower Vistula. So much for 
the offensive." 

He regretted that Magdeburg with its fortress was not at 
Werben, but, as that could not be helped, he was anxious to 
have, if possible, a fortified passage of the Elbe at Werben, 
or somewhere in that direction. It would not be possible 
to take the offensive decidedly before the beginning of May. 
This project at once strikes one as a deviation from the 
Emperor's general principle of making his objective the 
enemy's army. But, if he went direct for that army, there 
was always the danger that it would fall back straight 
before him, and that, with his great deficiency in cavalry, 
he would not be able to bring it to a decisive action. On 
the other hand, as Colonel Lanrezac remarks, a " coup de 
theatre " of the kind contemplated would go much farther 
to re-establish the Emperor's lost prestige than merely 
driving the enemy straight back on Warsaw. Moreover, 
in his march through the north of Germany, Napoleon 
would have Prussia at his mercy, and it must be remembered 
that on the date of his note he knew nothing of the 
Convention of Kalisch, and was not to receive Prussia's 
declaration of war for more than a fortnight. By relieving 
the fortresses of the Oder and the Vistula he would be able 
to draw in the veterans of their garrisons. Finally, he 
would be in a position as he advanced (unless the Russians 
retreated with great expedition) to fall from the north on 
their communications with Poland, and fight a new Jena 
with his front towards France. As he still held all the 


permanent fortified passages of the Elbe and the Oder, the 
Russians would be dependent for their retreat on temporary 

The scheme was never carried out, though we shall find 
the Emperor recurring to modifications of it later on. The 
reasons for its abandonment are not difficult to infer. To 
begin upon, at the commencement of May, when the 
offensive movement was contemplated. Napoleon had hardly 
more than two-thirds of the 300,000 men with whom he 
proposed to reach Stettin, to say nothing of a force left to 
" fix " the enemy towards Dresden during his movement 
by Havelberg. For such a scheme as his he would 
require a great superiority of numbers. Moreover, great 
mobility and endurance were requisite for the forced 
marches extending over many days. Could these be 
expected from the young troops now being raised ? Again, 
long before the beginning of May, Prussia had joined the 

The Emperor talks of its being easy to conceal his move- 
ment from the enemy. But, with his inferiority in cavalry, 
and with the widespread hostility to the French all over 
Germany, that was hardly probable. 

Lastly, before May arrived, it had become necessary to 
wheel into line the King of Saxony, who was coquetting 
with the Austrian scheme of armed neutrality. Bavaria and 
other States of the Rhenish Confederation were also not 
above suspicion. 

Let us now turn from the scheme which did not come 
off to the newer one which was actually executed. The 
Emperor's first objective now was to defeat the enemy's 
army, drive it across the Elbe, and re-establish himself in 

About the beginning of April he had the following forces 
assembling in or near the valley of the Main : — 

(i) in. corps (Ney), 40,000 men,^ about Schweinfurt and 

^ Strengths are given in round figures. The corps were not yet completed. 
See Map I. (inset a). 


(2) VI. corps (Marmont), 25,000 men, about Hanau. 

(3) Guard (Mortierand Bessieres), 16,000 men, Mayence. 

(4) Corps of Observation of Italy (Bertrand), 40,000 men, 
marching from the Tyrol on Bamberg, where its head was 
due about the 15th April. It was echeloned by brigades 
over a length of ten marches. 

(5) Bavarian division (Raglowich), 8000 men, Baireuth. 

(6) Baden-Hessian division (Marchand), 8000 men, 

(7) Wurtemberg division (Franquemont), 7000 men, 

Altogether between 140,000 and 150,000 men. 

The new scheme, if less ambitious than that for the relief 
of Danzig, might yet lead to great results, if all went well 
for Napoleon. 

He had very little exact information as to the positions 
and movements of the enemy, but he did know for certain 
that their headquarters were still at Kalisch on the 22nd 
March, that they would probably not move thence before the 
1st April, and that, consequently, the Russians and Prussians 
could not be in full force on the left bank of the Saale 
before the end of April. But, like Moltke in 1870, he had 
to contemplate the possibility of their risking an advance 
without waiting for their full force. In that case, they 
might cross the Saale so early as the 20th April. He, on 
the other hand, would not be ready to advance from the 
Main before the 15th, and could not reckon on assembling 
his corps on the Saale before the last days of April. In 
order to conform to his own principle that " all unions of 
corps d'armee should be effected in rear and far from the 
enemy," he must choose a point well to the west of that 
river. He selected Erfurt as the point of assembly for all 
but Bertrand's group. The enemy could not pass the Saale 
by the 20th with more than about 70,000 men, so, even 
without Bertrand, he would still have a large superiority. 

In the event of this premature advance by the enemy, 
Eugene's army of the Elbe would take post behind the 
Wipper, with its left on the lower Saale, and its right on 


the Harz Mountains. Seeing that Napoleon held all the 
fortified passages of the Elbe,^ and also that, for political 
reasons, the allies would not be willing to move far away 
from Austria, it was certain they would pass the Elbe above 
Torgau. If, after passing it, they advanced westwards they 
would be threatened in right flank by Eugene's army, very 
little inferior to them in numbers, in the position above named, 
whilst in front they would have at first 50,000 of the army 
of. the Main, with another 40,000 arriving very shortly. 
The Elbe army would thus be covering, indirectly from a 
flank position, that of the Main. Such a system of defence 
was preferable to a directly covering position, since, in the latter 
case, Eugene, falling back before a superior enemy, would 
have done so on the heads of Napoleon's own columns, and, 
not to speak of difficulties of supply, etc., would have pro- 
duced a very bad moral effect in the new army. Moreover, 
the enemy would not hesitate to attack him if he were 
directly in front of the army of the Main. It would be a 
very different matter for them to attack him when their 
own left flank was threatened by Napoleon's advance. 

However, as it was not at all likely that the allies would 
venture to advance before the arrival of the Russian Guard, 
Napoleon calculated that they were not likely to be 
north of the latitude of Leipzig, by which town he proposed 
to debouch in full force, drawing to his assistance the army 
of the Elbe. 

There were two possibilities with regard to the allies. In 
the first place they might, and, with their superior oppor- 
tunities for acquiring information, it was probable they would 
realise the true direction of his movement. In that event, 
if they resolved not to retreat but to meet him, he would be 
able to attack with double their strength, he was almost 
certain of victory, and it was possible he might be able to 
ruin them by driving them into the Elbe. 

But that was not what he most desired. He hoped that, 
having in their mind the manoeuvre of Jena, and noting the 

^ Torgau was held by the Saxons, but Napoleon was not aware that Thielmann 
held it against both sides. Anyhow, it was not open to the allies. 


advance of the corps from Italy, which was marching by the 
line Bamberg-Coburg-Saalfeld-Naumburg, they might be 
induced by demonstrations to move towards the upper 
Saale. In that case he would move rapidly with his left on 
Dresden, sweeping away the detachments which he might 
meet, and severing the enemy's communications. That 
would be precisely the manoeuvre of Jena, carried out from 
the north instead of from the south, with the French left, 
instead of the right, in advance. 

Supposing the allies marched against Eugene, the Viceroy 
would fall back slowly, and the allied movement would be 
almost immediately arrested by the threat of Napoleon's 
forces from Erfurt against their left flank. If they persisted 
in advancing they would very soon find themselves hemmed 
in between Eugene, Napoleon, and the Elbe about Magde- 
burg. Seeing that they would not be more than half the 
combined French strength, their position would be almost 

Orders of the 28th and 29th March required the III. corps 
(Ney), VI. (Marmont), and the Guard to be, on the i8th 
April, on the road to Erfurt, the first by the road 
Schweinfurt-Meiningen, the two latter by that through 
Hanau, Fulda, and Eisenach. The Bavarian division from 
Baireuth would watch the Franconian forest towards Hof and 
Schleiz ; the Badeners at Coburg, with an advanced guard 
at Grafenthal, would watch towards Saalfeld. On the same 
date the corps of Italy would have its two leading divisions 
at Bamberg, ready to start next day towards Saalfeld. 

On the 9th April the Emperor heard of the occupation 
of Dresden by the allies ; a day or two later he knew that 
Eugene's operations beyond the Elbe had failed, and that 
he was posting the army of the Elbe behind the Wipper. 

Napoleon at once pressed on the march of his own 
columns. The following passages from his letter of the 
1 2th April to Bertrand^ explain his views: — 

" The Prince of the Moskowa (Ney) will have informed 
you that it is my intention to refuse my right . . . thus 

1 Corr. 19,852. 


making a movement the converse of that which I made in 
the campaign of Jena, so that if the enemy penetrate to 
Baireuth, I can arrive before him at Dresden, and cut him 
from Prussia. . . . The Duke of Istria (Bessieres), having 
under his orders the Duke of Ragusa (Marmont), 40,000 
infantry and 10,000 cavalry, is moving on Eisenach, where 
he will arrive the i8th or 20th. The Prince of Moskowa is 
moving on Erfurt, where he also will arrive on the 20th ; 
he has under his orders 60,000 men, including the allies, 
and some thousands of horses. ... As I suppose your 
cavalry and your two divisions will be at Bamberg on the 
1 6th, you will support the movement of the Prince of 
Moskowa by moving with these two divisions and your 
cavalry on Coburg. This movement is the most natural, 
since it is the shortest, and at Coburg you will be distant 
only two long marches from Meiningen, three from 
Erfurt, and three from Jena, and thus you could always 
manoeuvre on the Saale. Thus, if affairs turn out so that 
the Prince of the Moskowa moves on Erfurt, your position 
at Coburg will place you on his right, and thence you can 
move, according to circumstances, on Jena, Erfurt, or 
Meiningen. . . . The enemy is far from suspecting the 
considerable number of forces which are advancing on the 
Saale. If we were lucky enough for the enemy to make a 
: strong advance on Baireuth, he would soon be recalled to 
Dresden. . . . You can . . . direct the march of your 
2nd and 3rd divisions on Wiirzburg." 

The French were thus, on the I2th April, in three 
masses : — 

(a) Army of the Elbe, 60,000 to 65,000^ men, behind 
the Wipper. 

(d) The III., VI., and Guard corps, the Baden and 
Wurtemberg divisions, 105,000 to 110,000 men, moving 
from the Main by Schweinfurt and by Fulda to Erfurt. 

(c) The corps of Italy and the Bavarian division marching 
by Bamberg on Coburg. 

This last group was intended as a bait to draw the enemy, 

^ Exclusive of 18,000 or 20,000 under Davout on the lower Elbe. 


if possible, towards the upper Saale. Bertrand would avoid 
compromising himself, and, if seriously threatened, would 
avoid action, either by drawing nearer to the other corps on 
his left, or, if it so happened that transverse communications 
rendered this difficult, he could always fall back towards 
Coburg, or even farther south. Till he should be seriously 
threatened he would follow the line Coburg-Saalfeld-Jena, 
always keeping on the left bank of the Saale. The army 
of the Elbe held fast for the present about Aschersleben, 
whilst that of the Main and the Corps of Observation of Italy 
were moving towards the Saale ; but, though not attacked, 
it was not unmolested ; for the enemy's cavalry gained 
several small successes which, though not important in 
themselves, were calculated to create alarm in Eugene's 
army. One detatchment, under the son of Bliicher, reached 
Weimar and was joined there by a Saxon battalion, which 
passed over to the enemy. Helwig, with 150 cavalry, made 
a successful attack on the greatly superior rearguard of 
Rechberg, capturing two guns and 100 men. Next day 
the same detachment dispersed a Westphalian regiment, 
thereby creating a quite disproportionate alarm in the mind 
of the commander of the Westphalian division, who magni- 
fied this single squadron into a strong force of all arms. 
These raids even created some excitement at Ney's head- 
quarters, which had reached Erfurt. 

Napoleon, leaving Paris at 4 A.M. on the 15 th, was in 
Mayence forty hours later, and remained there till the 24th, 
considering that there was no urgency for his appearance 
at the front. There he made some changes in the organ- 
isation of his army. The " Corps of Observation of 
Italy " was split up into the IV. corps, consisting of 
Morand's French, Peyri's Italian, and Franquemont's 
Wurtemberg division, under Bertrand, whilst a XII. corps, 
under Oudinot, was formed of Pacthod's and Lorencez's 
divisions and Raglowich's Bavarians. The latter had been 
acting somewhat suspiciously, falling back on Baireuth, in- 
stead of holding the heights of Ebersdorf as ordered by 
Napoleon. When called to account by Bertrand, Raglowich 


pleaded orders of the King of Bavaria, and it was not till 
the 22nd April that that sovereign directed him to obey 
Bertrand. The incident pointed to hesitation on the king's 
part in his allegiance to Napoleon. 

Marchand's Baden-Hessian division was placed by the 
Emperor under Ney's orders as part of the HI. corps, which 
now had five divisions. 

The armies of the Main and the Elbe now, on the 25 th 
April, comprised the following corps : ^ — 

Army of the Main 

ni. corps(Ney), 8th, 9th, loth, iith, and 39th 

(Baden-Hessian) divisions . . . 45,000 

VI. corps (Marmont), 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd 

(not yet formed) divisions . . . 25,000 

IV. corps (Bertrand), 12th, i 5th (Italian), 38th 

(Wurtemberg) divisions . . . 30,000 
XII. corps (Gudinot), 13th, 14th, 29th 

(Bavarian) divisions .... 25,000 
Guard (Dumoustier), infantry. Partly Young, 

partly Old Guard ..... 11,000 

Guard, cavalry ...... 4,000 

Total . . . 140,000 

Army of the Elbe 

XI. corps (Macdonald), 31st, 35th, 36th, 

divisions ...... 22,000 

V. corps (Lauriston), i6th, 17th, i8th, 19th 

divisions ...... 22,000 

Guard (Roguet) 3,5 00 

32nd division (Durutte) . . . . 4, 5 00 

4th division (Victor) ..... 6,000 

1st cavalry corps (Latour-Maubourg) . . 4,000 

Grand total, both armies 202,000 

^ Lanrezac, p. ii6. Figures and organisation based on present states in 
Ministere de la Guerre. 


Their positions were as follows, from left to right : — 
Army of the Elbe, headquarters at Hoym, with Victor 

south of Bernburg, on the left bank of the Saale ; the rest 

about Hoym and Aschersleben. 

III. corps at and behind Weimar. 
Guard, at and behind Erfurt. 

VL corps behind the Guard, from near Gotha to 

Baden division about Ilmenau. 

Wurtemberg division, between Konigshofen and Hild- 

IV. corps, Coburg. 

Xn. corps, Anspach and Niirnberg, with the Bavarian 
division at Baireuth and Munchberg (detachment). 

On the 22nd, Napoleon had despatched the following 
orders for the 25 th : — 

{a) The army of the Main to advance on Jena and 

{b) Army of the Elbe to move up the Saale, occupying 
Halle and Merseburg. 

{c) Corps of Italy, if circumstances permitted, to 
march by Saalfeld on Jena by the left bank of the 

In a letter to Eugene, of the 22nd, Berthier says : — 

" The intention of the Emperor is to guard the whole ot 
the Saale, in order to prevent the enemy from detaching 
any party on the left bank of that river." Napoleon was 
so conscious of his inferiority in cavalry that he was obliged 
to use the river as a screen for his movements. 

On the 24th April, Napoleon left Mayence, reaching 
Erfurt in the afternoon of the next day. 

The assembly of the armies on the Saale was effected 
without fighting, except at Halle, where an attack by 
Lauriston was beaten off by the Prussian general Kleist. 
Eugene, for reasons not apparent, moved very slowly, and 
Bertrand was delayed by the difficulties of the road throu 
the mountains from Coburg to Saalfeld. 

By the 30th April, a considerable part of the army was 



on the right bank of the Saale, the positions on the evening 
of that day being as follows : — 

Army of the Elbe : — 

Headquarters, V. corps, and Guard at Merseburg (left 
bank). Four battalions at Halle, which Kleist had evacu- 
ated when Merseburg was occupied by the French. 

XL corps, on right bank in front of Merseburg, with the 
1st cavalry corps in front of it. 

Durutte's (32nd) division, behind at Schafstadt. 

Victor (4th division). Headquarters at Bernburg, with 
troops spread along the Saale from Barby to Wettin. 

Westphalian division, assembling at Sondershausen. 

A rmy of the Main : — ■ 

Imperial headquarters, Guard cavalry division, the Old 
Guard portion of Dumoustier's Guard division,^ Weissen- 
fels. Young Guard, Naumburg. 

HI. corps. Headquarters and four divisions east of 
Weissenfels. Marchand's division, Stossen. 

VI. corps. Headquarters and two divisions, Naumburg. 
Friederichs' division, Kosen. 

IV. corps. Headquarters and Morand's division, Dorn- 
burg, with three battalions at Camburg. 

Peyri's division, Jena. 

Franquemont's division, Burgau, Kahla, and Rudolstadt. 

XII. corps echeloned between Saalfeld and Coburg. 

The assembly of the army was not yet complete, for the 
XII. corps and the Wurtemberg division of the IV. were 
still two days' march away from the main body. 

Let us now see what the allies had been doing whilst the 
army of the Main was marching to the Saale. 

Miloradowich, passing the Elbe at Dresden, between the 
1 6th and the 19th April, marched to join Bliicher, who had 
been in cantonments about Altenburg since the 14th. The 

^ Roguet's and Dumoustier's divisions after this became Old and Young Guard 
respectively by transfer of troops. Each had been partly Old and partly Young 
Guard so far. 


Russian Guard, with which were the Tsar and the King of 
Prussia, only reached Dresden on the 24th. 

Hitherto, the influence of Kutusow had prevailed in the 
councils of the allies, and, as we know* he distrusted the 
value of the Prussian troops, whom he judged by the recol- 
lection of 1806. He was now lying on his death-bed at 
Bunzlau. He died on the 28th April, and henceforward 
the command fell into the hands of men who, unlike their 
great opponent, were incapable of forming a positive decision, 
uninfluenced by the opinions or advice of others. 

The Tsar had, before Kutusow's death, decided that the 
command should be given to Wittgenstein. But there were 
grave difficulties in the way of his appointment, for he was 
only 44 years of age, many years the junior of Bliicher, 
Tormassow, and Miloradowich, and junior to the two latter 
in the Russian army. He was, according to Clausewitz, full 
of good will, activity, and enterprise, and Napoleon himself 
was aware of his reputation for boldness. 

Blucher, never inclined to overrate his own strategical 
ability, or to push himself forward as a candidate for 
supreme command, was willing to serve under Wittgenstein ; 
but with the two Russians it was different. Consequently, 
when Wittgenstein received his written appointment on the 
27th April, though it styled him ** Commander-in-chief of 
the combined army of the allied powers," it only gave him 
" chief command of all troops under General of Cavalry 
Bliicher, and General Adjutant Winzingerode," making no 
mention of Tormassow's and Miloradowich's commands. 
To these two generals orders were conveyed by the Tsar 
over the head of Wittgenstein, who, throughout his period of 
command, found himself in the difficult position of having 
orders thus passed, sometimes without his knowledge, by 
the Tsar, who had successfully arrogated to himself the lead- 
ing position. Wittgenstein's relations with Bliicher were 
cordial, partially owing to the esteem in which the latter's 
Chief of Staff, Scharnhorst, was held at Russian head- 
quarters by Wolkonski, Toll, d'Auvray (Chief of Staff to 
Wittgenstein), and other advisers of the Tsar. 


Up to 25th April Alexander's military advisers had their 
attention fixed on Leipzig and Altenburg as the front line 
for Wittgenstein's and Bliicher's forces, whilst Miloradowich 
should advance to Zwickau, and Tormassow to Chemnitz. 
They believed that several weeks must elapse before 
Napoleon could make his attack, and they believed that, if 
he attacked earlier than the end of May, he would advance 
with his right, refusing his left, that is, he would move for- 
ward with the army of the Main. In that case. Toll, who 
had been studying the writings of Jomini, advocated an 
advance from Altenburg with the allied left, against 
Napoleon's communications on the Leipzig-Naumburg road. 
Toll was with Bliicher and Scharnhorst at Altenburg on the 
25 th ; the information gathered there convinced him that the 
decision was nearer at hand than had hitherto been believed. 
He therefore posted off to Dresden, only to find the Tsar 
had gone to visit his sister at Teplitz. As time pressed^ 
Wolkonski, Alexander's Chief of Staff, assumed the re- 
sponsibility of ordering Tormassow to march at once from 
Dresden in two columns, which were to reach Rosswein 
and Freiberg on the 28th, Frohberg and Kohren on 
the 30th.i 

On the 26th April the allied positions were these : — 

Wittgenstein^ s command. — Biilow, in the north, with main 
body between Cothen and Rosslau, and advanced troops on 
the lower Saale. Yorck at Zorbig, half-way between Halle 
and Dessau, with two advanced guards at Wettin (Zilinski) 
and Halle (Kleist). Berg at Landsberg. 

Bliicher s command, — Winzingerode, main body between 
Leipzig and Borna. Prussian infantry in the triangle Borna- 
Altenburg-Mittweida. Russian cavalry pushed forward 
on Weissenfels, Merseburg, and west of Altenburg. Under 
orders from Bliicher, reconnaissances in strength were made 
on Dornburg, Camburg, and Naumburg. 

On the 27th April, Berg was called into Leipzig, Yorck 
to Schkeuditz, and Wittgenstein took post at Lindenau, the 

1 See Map I. 


western suburb of Leipzig. Zilinski having to retire from 
Wettin before the advance of the army of the Elbe, burned 
the boat bridge there and fell back on Leipzig. 

To the south of Bliicher, Miloradowich was at Chemnitz 
on the 24th with a cavalry brigade at Zwickau. 

On the 26th, Wittgenstein issued an order expressing 
his intentions clearly, though he rather confused matters by 
a subsequent " instruction " of the 27th. In the order of 
the 26th he wrote : " I desire to assemble all available troops 
at Leipzig, so that, in union with the forces of Generals 
Bliicher and Winzingerode, I may, if the enemy assumes the 
offensive by Weissenfels, offer battle at Liitzen." 

His staff next drew up an impracticable scheme aiming at 
meeting all possible combinations. The most notable point 
about it was that it kept steadily in view the idea of fighting 
a battle. It was severely criticised by Scharnhorst, whose 
proposal was to withdraw to Brandis (midway between 
Leipzig and VVurzen) if Napoleon appeared to be moving on 
Leipzig, though he was willing to wait a little in the present 
stations to see if the Emperor proposed to threaten the 
allies' left flank by an advance on Pegau. 

Clausewitz, on the other hand, had advocated a defensive 
position between the Freiberg Mulde and the Elbe. Toll, 
on hearing these different views, expressed his own that 
Napoleon meant to push forward between Leipzig and 
Altenburg, so as to separate Bliicher from Wittgenstein. 
Therefore, he proposed collecting all the allied forces about 
Altenburg. If Napoleon advanced on Altenburg, the allies 
would hold a good position in which to meet him, and also 
cover their line of operations through Dresden. If, on the 
other hand, the French moved towards Leipzig, they would 
be threatened in right flank from Altenburg, and might 
be driven on the Elbe between Wittenberg and Magdeburg. 
At Altenburg the allies would have behind them a bridge 
over the Elbe at Miihlberg, another at Meissen, and three 
more at Dresden. To the Leipzig position Toll objected 
that Napoleon, manoeuvring against the allies' left, might 
cut them from their line of operations and drive them 


on Rosslau, where they had only one bridge. Meanwhile, 
Wittgenstein's "instruction" of the 27th reached the Tsar 
on the 29th. Alexander would have nothing to do with 
a battle east of Leipzig on the Partha, and sent Wolkonski 
to stop the idea. By the time Wolkonski reached Witt- 
genstein, the enemy had appeared in Weissenfels and 
Naumburg, and Wittgenstein at once accepted Toll's pro- 
posal for an assembly between Leipzig and Altenburg, 
with the idea of moving forward from that position 
towards Liitzen, to attack the French right flank from 
the south. 

On the 28th April, Kleist had repulsed Lauriston's 
attack on Halle, and was contemplating a counter attack. 
Yorck remained at Schkeuditz, but sent a detachment to 
replace the Russian cavalry in Merseburg. Berg remained 
west of Leipzig. 

On the 29th there were two small fights. In the first 
place, Yorck's detachment was driven out of Merseburg, 
the result of which was to compel Kleist to evacuate Halle 
during the ensuing night. The other fight was at Weissen- 
fels, between Souham's division of Ney's corps and the 
cavalry of Lanskoi, ending in the repulse of the latter by 
the French infantry. 

Wittgenstein reached on this evening a position south 
of Liitzen, where he was protected by Lanskoi's cavalry. 

The allied movements on the 30th April were as 
follows : — 

Berg from Leipzig to Zwenkau. 

Yorck from Schkeuditz to in front of Berg at Zwenkau. 

Kleist from Schkeuditz to Lindenau. 

Bliicher's corps assembled at Borna. 

Main army (Tormassow) reached Frohberg and Kohren. 

Miloradowich remained at Penig, though Toll says he 
was " invited " to march to Altenburg. 

As has been already noted. Napoleon had not completed 
the concentration of his army on the evening of the 30th 
April, for the XH. corps and the Wurtemberg division 


were still two days' march off. He had, however, imme- 
diately at hand about 145,000 men, and though he, as 
usual now, somewhat underestimated the enemy's forces, 
they certainly had not above two-thirds of that number. 
With such numbers, and with Napoleon in personal com- 
mand, there could not be much doubt of the result of a 
battle. Something decisive was of the utmost importance 
to Napoleon, in order to restore his prestige, so badly 
shattered by the events of 18 12, and to bind once more 
to their allegiance Austria and the Princes of the Rhenish 
Confederation. The Emperor's information regarding the 
allies was, owing to his want of cavalry and the hostility 
of the country, very meagre. He believed them to be 
scattered from Dessau to Zwickau with their main body 
about Altenburg. 

If he delayed his decisive movements, the enemy, recog- 
nising his vast numerical superiority, might lose heart and 
slip away across the Elbe again, to lead him away on a 
long stern chase in which, with his weakness in cavalry, 
he would be powerless to force a decision. Once the 
enemy realised fully that his object was to pass round their 
right and force them to a battle with reversed front, they 
would take fright and retreat. After all, the four divisions 
•which were spread along the upper Saale might help his 
movement by drawing the enemy's attention in that direc- 
tion. These reasons, and the necessity for gaining space 
beyond the Saale, are doubtless, as Colonel Lanrezac 
thinks, what prompted Napoleon to push on on the ist 
May, without waiting for the complete concentration of his 
army. His orders for that day required the Elbe army 
to advance from Merseburg to Schladebach ; HI. corps and 
cavalry of the Guard, from Weissenfels on Liitzen ; VI. 
■corps to support the HI. with two divisions, the third being 
left at Naumburg ; IV. and XH. corps to close as quickly 
as possible towards Naumburg. 

The march of the corps from Weissenfels and Naumburg 
would take them on to an open plain eminently favourable 
for cavalry, in which Napoleon was so very weak that his 


troops were compelled to march in mass, so as to be ready 
at any moment to receive the enemy's cavalry. Winzin- 
gerode's cavalry, which attempted to interfere with the 
passage of the Rippach brook, was beaten off, but the 
French suffered a heavy loss by the death of Bessieres, who 
was killed at this spot by a round shot. The infantry 
divisions drove off several Russian cavalry charges, and 
Ney reported to the Emperor that his young troops had 
done magnificently.^ In the evening of the 1st May the 
French had attained the following positions : — 

The army of the Elbe had the XI. corps at Quesitz 
and Markranstadt ; the V. behind Giinthersdorf ; ist 
cavalry corps between Schladebach and Getzsch. A 
regiment was detached at Halle, and Durutte's division 
guarded the passage of the Saale at Merseburg. Napoleon, 
with the cavalry of the Guard, was at Liitzen. 
The army of the Main was thus distributed : — 
Infantry of the Guard (2 divisions), Weissenfels. 

III. corps. Headquarters, Kaja. Souham's division in 
the four villages Gross and Klein Gorschen, Kaja, and 
Rahna, about three miles south of Liitzen. 

Girard's division in Starsiedel, west of Souham. 

Brennier's and Ricard's divisions somewhere about Liitzen, 
exact position not certain, and Marchand's towards Liitzen. 

VI. corps. Headquarters, Rippach. Bonnet's division on 
the heights east of Rippach. 

Compans', west of the Rippach brook. 

Friederichs', Naumburg. 

IV, corps. Headquarters, Stossen ; also Morand's division, 
with advanced guard at Pretzsch. 

Peyri's division, Gross Gestewitz. 

Wurtemberg division, Jena. 

XII. corps, from Kahla back to behind Saalfeld. 

^ A great deal of fuss was made about this trifling affair, not because there 
was anything remarkable in the repulse of the cavalry, but because the Emperor 
was desirous of inspiriting and flattering his new troops. 

St Cyr (iv. p. 34) thinks there was a great deal of unnecessary forming of 
squares at this time in Napoleon's army. He believes neither in the necessity 
for nor the efficacy of squares. 


There was no fresh information about the enemy, and 
the French army now consisted of a " corps de demonstra- 
tion " (IV. and XII. corps), which it was hoped might 
draw the enemy, in part at least, up the Saale. The rest 
of the army formed the " masse de manoeuvre," assembled in 
an area of about 1 9 miles by 9, from Markranstadt to Stossen, 
ready either to march on Leipzig, or to receive an attack by 
the enemy, whether from Leipzig, from Pegau, or from Zeitz. 

During this ist May the allies moved thus :^ — 

Bliicher from Borna to Rotha. 

Main army (Tormassow) assembled at Borna. 

Miloradowich to Altenburg. 

Winzingerode's corps, after the repulse of its cavalry 
already noted, bivouacked a mile or two west of Zwenkau, 
thus forming the advanced guard of the army. 

The day's fighting had demonstrated clearly that Napoleon 
was marching towards Leipzig, but two unfortunate failures 
of the cavalry misled the allied headquarters. In the first 
place, the Russian cavalry failed to report that there was a 
whole French division in the four villages about Kaja, and 
another at Starsiedel. Secondly, the Prussian cavalry 
reported that there were French troops of all arms in the 
villages just beyond Droysig, that is some six miles to 
the south-east of Stdssen, whereas Bertrand certainly had 
not spread half that distance from the latter village. 

The consequence of this exaggerated report was the 
creation of apprehension of an attack on the allied left 
towards Zeitz, whilst the failure to report Souham's presence 
about Kaja led to the belief that there was only a weak 
flank guard there. The numbers and positions of the 
allies available for battle on the 2nd May are thus 
given by Von Cammerer in his larger history of the spring 

1 For positions of both sides see Map I. (inset b). 


I. Russians 




Artillery, etc, 

, Guns 

Berg (Zwenkau) 
Kleist (Lindenau) ^ . 
Winzingerode (Schkorlop) 
Tormassow (Lobstedt) 

. 6,200 


. 6,400 

, 9,600 














Miloradowich (Altenburg) 

. 5,000 









II. Prussians 

Bliicher (Rotha) 
Yorck (Zwenkau) 
Kleist (Lindenau)! . 

. 18,500 
• 6,540 
. 2,200 








Grand Total 




In all 88,040 men, of whom 24,140 were cavalry (including 
Cossacks) and 552 guns.^ 

To these Napoleon could easily oppose 140,000 men 
and 372 guns, but only 7500 of these would be cavalry. 
The great superiority of the allies in both cavalry and artil- 
lery naturally made them desire a battle in open country, 
where these arms would tell most, and where the French 
would lose the advantage of their superiority in village or 
wood fighting. 

1 Kleist's force was made up partly of Russians from the corps formerly com- 
manded by Wittgenstein, partly of Prussians from Yorck's corps. Hence he 
appears under both I. and II. 

* Danilewski (p. 75, German translation) says there were 69,125 (35,775 
Russians and 33,350 Prussians) at Lutzen. Apparently he omits Kleist (6200) 
and Miloradowich (8870), neither of whom was engaged in the main battle. 


IT appears to have been assumed at the allied head- 
quarters that Napoleon's corps were spread out in a 
long column marching from Weissenfels by Liitzen 
to Leipzig, and that his right flank was guarded 
only by a weak detachment at Kaja. The assumption was 
rather a rash one, when it is remembered that Napoleon 
himself was commanding. The assumed weakness of the 
flank guard was, as already mentioned, based on the failure 
of the Russian cavalry to report. 

Wittgenstein's plan was to attack by surprise this long 
column on its right flank,^ to destroy the detachment at 
Kaja, to advance thence on Liitzen, breaking Napoleon's 
line, and driving all that had passed Liitzen northwards of 
their line of operations on to the marshes of the Elster 
below Leipzig. 

Wittgenstein's orders for the 2nd May were not formally 
issued till nearly midnight of the ist-2nd, though it would 
appear they had been partially communicated at an 
earlier hour, since Bliicher began his march so early as 
1 1 P.M.^ on the I St. Briefly, they were as follows : — 

I. Bliicher was to reach the Elster by 5 A.M. in two 
columns, the right at Storkwitz, due east of Werben, the 
left at Karsdorf, just north of Pegau. By 6 A.M. his right 
column was to be across the Flossgraben, near Werben, his 
left having already crossed half an hour earlier. 

1 See Maps II. (a) and IV. (d). 

* Jomini ( Vze de Nap. , iv. p. 278) says Wittgenstein expected to come on his 

3 Danilewski (p. 75) has a story that Bliicher started late as the orders were 
delivered to a sleepy staff officer, who put them unread under his pillow. 


2. Yorck and Berg were to follow respectively Bliicher's 
left and right columns. 

3. The Russian heavy artillery was attached to Bliicher. 

4. Winzingerode was to leave three battalions and a 
company of light artillery to guard the defile of Zwenkau, 
and to watch the Elster between that place and Leipzig. 
The rest of his corps was to cover Bliicher's right. 

5. The Russian Guard was to be at 7 A.M. at Pegau and 
Storkwitz, as reserve, holding the defiles at Stontzsch, 
Karsdorf, and Storkwitz. 

6. After crossing the Flossgraben, Bliicher was to bear 
leftwards in first line, seeking, as soon as possible, to gain 
with his left the insignificant Griina brook which flows from 
Gross Grimma to Dehlitz, and sending cavalry and artillery 
to hold the heights beyond the brook. His right was to be 
kept refused on the Flossgraben, and an advance was to be 
made with the left leading, between the Rippach stream 
and the Flossgraben. The second line to follow the ist. 

7. Kleist, at Lindenau and Leipzig, was only to act when 
he heard the main body of the army engaged far to his left. 
If he found himself attacked by very superior forces, he 
would retreat through Leipzig on Wurzen. 

8. Miloradowich to advance towards Zeitz. 

9. In the event of an attack in force by the enemy from 
Weissenfels on Bliicher's left, the Russian Guard would 
move to the left from Stontzsch, and attack the French 

I o. The aim of all manoeuvres was to reach the enemy's 
right flank. ^ 

These orders have met with very severe criticism from 
both French and Prussian writers. They are enormously 
long, extending to about 1 1 00 words, and they give all 
sorts of instructions regarding the tactics of all arms, 
conduct of skirmishes, and other matters which should find 
no place in general orders. Yet they entirely omit all 
reference to the order of march of the columns before 
reaching and in passing the Elster, the result of which 

^ Orders given in extenso by Lanrezac in Appendix. 


was crossing of columns and consequent delay. Practically 
no independence was left to corps commanders in the 
battle, which, as Colonel Lanrezac remarks, Wittgenstein 
seemed to think could be arranged in advance like a ballet. 

The orders to Bliicher to push his left along the Rippach, 
whilst keeping his right on the Flossgraben, would eventually 
result in his having a front of two-and-a-half miles, just 
about double what his force, under the conditions of 1813, 
was capable of covering. 

General von Caemmerer points out that, looking to the 
actual positions of the allies on the evening of the ist May, 
the best way to pass the Elster would have been this : 
Yorck and Berg direct on Hohenlohe village, Bliicher at 
Storkwitz, Russian Guard at Pegau. As Bliicher's was the 
longest column, it could have been shortened by sending 
the Prussian cavalry by Pegau. It was necessary, no 
doubt, to hold the defiles in rear in view of the probability 
of eventual retreat, but, looking to the enemy's weak- 
ness in cavalry, the guards were unnecessarily strong on 
a day when every available man was required on the 

It was, the same authority holds, unnecessary to send 
Miloradowich's whole corps towards Zeitz to guard 
against the supposed French advance from Stossen. His 
cavalry would have sufficed, and his infantry could have 
been used for the battle. Colonel Lanrezac suggests that 
he should have gone to Predel, where he would have been 
able to protect the allied left against the supposed danger, 
or to have joined in the battle when that danger was found 
to be illusory. Victory in the main battle would have 
settled the question of the flank attack. For some unex- 
plained reason, Miloradowich marched so slowly that he was 
quite unable to take any active part. 

The consequences of the failure to give proper orders for 
the march east of the Elster were that it was after 9 A.M. 
when Yorck was able to begin passing, and that he crossed 
Roder, who was delayed thereby till 10.30. It was only 
after Roder had passed that the Russian Guard, which 


had been waiting at Groitzsch since 7 A.M., could begin 
to move. It could not have cleared Pegau before 2 or 
2.30 P.M. 

Here we must give some description of the battlefield, 
which is contained in the space between the Rippach brook 
and the Flossgraben. The latter is a small channel flowing 
north-eastwards to Hohenlohe, where it sweeps round to the 
north-west to the Weissenfels-Leipzig road, north-east of 
Liitzen. As a watercourse it is utterly insignificant, and is 
no real obstruction to the passage of infantry. But it flows 
generally between steep banks, which render it unpassable 
by cavalry and artillery, except at the bridges. Moreover, 
it was in most parts lined by trees and shrubs, which 
increased the difficulty for those arms. The Elster, on the 
other hand, which flows from south to north about a mile 
east of the Flossgraben, is a stream generally unfordable, 
and passable only at the bridges, even for infantry. 

From Pegau through Stontzsch towards Liitzen is almost 
a dead level as far as the Flossgraben, after which there is 
a fairly sharp rise in the road for half-a-mile or so. Then 
there is another stretch of nearly a mile of practically level 
road to the height now known as the " Monarchen Hiigel." 
From that point there is a steady, though slight, descent of 
about I J miles to Gross Gorschen, whence the road again 
descends very slowly all the way to Liitzen. Looking 
southwards from Gross Gorschen, one can see the edge of the 
plateau which begins at the Monarchen Hiigel, but it would 
be impossible to see troops even 100 yards beyond that 
edge. The whole battlefield can be described as an undu- 
lating, perfectly open plain, but the contours described 
above must be remembered, for they caused all movements 
of the allies on either side of the Flossgraben as far down 
as Sitteln to be completely screened from the French in 
the quadrangle formed by the four villages, Gross and Klein 
Gorschen, Rahna, and Kaja. 

On the western portion of the field the ground is some- 
what more cut up as it falls to the valley of the Gruna 
brook, but, generally speaking, it is a splendid country for 


the operations of a powerful cavalry such as the allies had. 
To the (French) right of the quadrangle of villages, about 
a mile distant is the village of Starsiedel, whilst to the 
left, rather closer but beyond the Flossgraben, is the village 
of Eisdorf. It is not possible from the space between the 
four villages to see Starsiedel. Only the upper part of its 
church spire appears over the intervening height. 

The villages were generally enclosed by gardens, hedges, 
or earthen banks ; the houses, though solidly built, were 
thatched, and easily set on fire. 

From the Monarchen Hiigel,^ there is an extensive view 
over Liitzen, and the level plain on which, in 1632, 
Gustavus Adolphus met his death in the hour of victory. 
At 10 A.M. the allies' outposts and a staff officer or two, 
who had ridden as far forward as the Monarchen Hiigel, 
could see clouds of dust rising from the Leipzig road as the 
French troops marched. Muffling had already ridden 
somewhat nearer the quadrangle of villages, and reported 
that there appeared to be about 2000 men there, quite 
unsuspicious of danger, and with no outposts. It was not 
till 1 1 A.M. that Wittgenstein arrived at the Monarchen 
Hiigel. A prisoner had stated that the troops in Gross 
Gorschen belonged to Souham's division. As for the 
allies, the corps of Bliicher, Yorck, Berg, and Winzingerode 
were on the plateau, but there was no chance of the Russian 
Guard being in line before 3 P.M. The men, after many 
hours of marching or standing under arms, were very 
fatigued, and it was decided to give them some rest before 
beginning the action. 

Leaving them there, we must return to the French head- 
quarters. It was for long accepted, partly on the strength of 
Napoleon's own bulletin,^ that he did not expect a battle on 
the 2nd May, and that he was taken by surprise by the 
offensive of the allies west of the Elster. There was cer- 

^ There are several heights called by this name on the battlefields of 1813. 
The name was subsequently given to record the fact that the heights were where 
the allied monarchs took their post. It seems convenient to refer to these spots 
by a name which, of course, they had not acquired before the battle. 

« Corr. I9,95i» 


tainly, as we shall see, a tactical surprise of Souham, but 
there was no strategical surprise of the Emperor. 

He was, on the evening of the ist May, informed of an 
assembly of hostile forces towards Zwenkau, and his orders 
during the night and early morning clearly show that he 
hoped, and believed it possible, that the allies would cross 
the Elster to attack him. If they did not, but elected to 
wait for him east of that river, he intended to " fix " them 
on the Elster with part of his army, whilst with the rest he 
crossed the river at Leipzig, turned their right, and, as he 
hoped, destroyed them. If they were rash enough to cross 
to the left bank and attack, they would be playing his 
game ; for, holding them with his centre, he would be able 
to close in upon them on both wings. His evening orders 
were : — 

1. Mortier, with the Guard, to reach Liitzen early. 

2. Marmont (VI. corps) to call up the division left at 
Naumburg, to take post on the right bank of the Rippach, 
releasing Marchand's battalions which were there, and 
reconnoitring towards Pegau, whither the enemy had 

3. Bertrand (IV. corps) to march on Starsiedel with, at 
any rate, Morand's division, and, if possible, Peyri's, the 
Wurtemberg division moving up to Naumburg. 

4. Oudinot to make for Naumburg. 

At 4 A.M. Napoleon issued orders for Eugene's army ^ — 
Lauriston (V. corps) to march on Leipzig, Macdonald (XI 
corps) on Markranstadt, whence he was to send reconnais- 
sances on Leipzig and Zwenkau, the latter to act with one 
which Ney was ordered to send in the same direction. 
Ney was also ordered to send a strong reconnaissance on 
Pegau, and to assemble all his five divisions on Kaja. Ney 
was to be informed of the direction to be taken by Lauriston, 
Marmont, and Bertrand, and that the last-named was due 
at Kaja about 3 P.M. Under these orders, which von 
Cammerer commends as an example for all time in their 
brevity and simplicity, an attack from the direction of 

^ Corr. 19,942. 


Pegau or Zwenkau would be held by Ney's 45,000 men 
in front, whilst Marmont, Bertrand, Macdonald, and Lauris- 
ton manoeuvred against the flanks and rear of the allies, the 
Guard, as usual, was general reserve. In less than three 
hours from the commencement of the attack Ney would be 
supported by another 50,000 men. In at most six or seven 
hours 140,000 men would be on the field. The movements 
were promptly commenced on the morning of the 2nd May, 
with two all-important exceptions, due to the negligence of 
Ney. In the first place, he left his divisions as they were, 
that is to say, Souham in the quadrilateral of the four 
villages, with no other division nearer him than Liitzen, 
except Girard's in Starsiedel. 

The second, even more important, fault of Ney was his 
omission to send out the two strong reconnaissances on 
Pegau and Zwenkau. Had they been sent, there was 
nothing whatever to prevent both of them reaching posi- 
tions whence the whole movement of the allies would have 
been clearly visible. The one on Pegau would have had a 
splendid view from a point two miles in front of Gross 
Gorschen as soon as it approached the farther edge of the 
level plateau beyond the Monarchen Hiigel. 

The hours passed and Napoleon, hearing nothing from 
Ney's direction, began to believe that, after all, the allies 
were not going to be rash enough to attack him west of the 
Elster. If that was so, it was certainly not to be thought 
of that he should stand idle all day waiting for an attack 
which now would probably not come off. The day must 
be utilised for the advancement of his manoeuvre against 
the enemy on the east of the Elster. At the same time, 
he must not risk anything if, after all, there should be an 
attack from Pegau or Zwenkau. Between 8 and 10 A.M. 
Napoleon issued a fresh series of orders : — 

Lauriston was to proceed with his attack on Leipzig. 

Macdonald to advance beyond Markranstadt, so as to be 
able to march either on Leipzig or on Zwenkau. 

Ney to remain at Kaja. 

Marmont to advance towards Pegau. 


Bertrand to reach Taucha, or, at least, to have his three 
divisions echelonned from Taucha to Stossen. 

The Guard to remain at Liitzen. 

The result of these movements would have placed the 
troops thus on the evening of the 2nd : — 

Marmont would be in front of Pegau, with Ney and the 
Guard behind him at Kaja and Liitzen, and Bertrand on 
his right rear. Oudinot, still on the march from Jena to 
Naumburg. Lauriston would have secured the passages of 
the Elster and the Pleisse at Leipzig, and Macdonald would 
be between Markranstadt and the Elster, still in a position 
to lend a hand either at Leipzig or to Ney and Marmont. 

If the allies' attack was not made on the 2nd, all would 
have been in readiness for the turning movement by Leipzig 
next day, whilst Marmont, supported by Bertrand,^ held the 
enemy in front, and the XIL corps was marching from 
Naumburg. Ney had been told to report the position of 
his divisions and the result of his reconnaissances. It is not 
clear if compliance with the former order was insisted on, 
but, as regards the latter, Napoleon seems to have been 
satisfied with a general statement to the effect that there 
was nothing new, and that the enemy only showed the 
ordinary service (of cavalry outposts and patrols). This 
was about 10 A.M., and Ney was with him; at least they 
rode off together somewhere about 1 1 A.M. to Markranstadt. 
It certainly seems curious that Napoleon should be so easily 
satisfied, when a word of inquiry from Ney should have 
elicited the facts that the three divisions near Liitzen had 
not been started off to Kaja, or even ordered there, and 
that nothing which could possibly be called a " strong 
reconnaissance " had been sent either towards Pegau or 
towards Zwenkau.^ 

^ V. Caemmerer asks whether, if the allies had not fought at Liitzen, Napoleon 
would have sent Ney to Pegau or to Leipzig. Surely he would have sent him to 
Leipzig, leaving Marmont, Bertrand, and perhaps the first arrivals of Oudinot's 
troops to fix the enemy at Pegau. 

* This point, which strikes the author as of some importance, is not noticed by 
Col. Lanrezac. It certainly looks as if the Emperor was unusually confiding in 
his belief in Ney's careful execution of orders. 


The first episode in the battle commenced at about lo 
A.M. at Lindenau. Kleist, it will be remembered, had 
orders not to begin fighting till he heard the main body of 
the army heavily engaged on his left towards Liitzen. But 
at lo A.M. he had to defend himself against Lauriston, who 
had left Giinthersdorf, midway between Leipzig and Merse- 
burg, at 8 A.M. Leaving two battalions to watch the passage 
of the Luppe south of Schkeuditz, the French commander 
pushed forward towards Lindenau, where Kleist was drawn 
up in front of the causeway leading to Leipzig. Lauriston 
had but lOO cavalry, which was useless against the 1800 of 
his adversary. However, he drove off Kleist's cavalry with 
artillery fire. Then he sent his left division (Maison) to 
outflank the enemy by way of Leutzsch. Kleist, soon 
recognising that he was largely outnumbered, gave orders 
for retreat. He was hurried up by the French passing the 
Elster by a ford. In Leipzig itself there was some fighting 
between the rearmost Prussian battalion and Lauriston, but 
Kleist got safely away and took post at Paunsdorf, three miles 
east of Leipzig, whence he fell back towards Wurzen. Whilst 
Lauriston was actually passing through Leipzig, he received 
the Viceroy's orders to keep back most of his corps, as Ney 
was engaged south of Liitzen. It was noon when Napoleon, 
reviewing the XI. corps at Markranstadt, and watching the 
course of Lauriston's fight with his glass, suddenly heard a 
furious cannonade from the direction of Gross-Gorschen. 
Instantly he realised that the allies' attack on the west bank 
of the Elster, which he had begun to believe was not after 
all coming off, was commencing at this late hour. He must 
then have realised that the reconnaissances ordered on 
Zwenkau and Pegau had either not been made at all, or 
had been so in an utterly futile fashion. Still, if Ney had, 
as ordered, assembled his five divisions at Kaja, there was 
ample, with 45,000 men, to hold the enemy till the other 
corps came up. But, as we know, Ney had not moved a 
man, and still had three divisions about Liitzen, two to 
three miles behind the advanced divisions of Souham in the 
quadrilateral of the four villages, and Girard at Starsiedel. 


The Emperor's orders were issued at once as follows — 

III. corps to hold its position, which Napoleon evidently 
still believed to be at Kaja, at all costs. 

VI. corps to prolong the right of the III. 

IV. corps to advance against the enemy's left flank. 

XI. corps and ist cavalry corps to move against his 

V. corps to hold Leipzig with one division, and to 
echelon the other two on Markranstadt, ready to move on 

We now return to Wittgenstein on the plateau, I J miles 
on the road from Gross Gorschen to Pegau. 

Shortly before noon, Bliicher rode up to Wittgenstein. 
Notwithstanding his grizzled locks and his seventy-one years, 
the old Prussian had lost nothing of his youthful fire or of 
his intense hatred of Napoleon and the French as he saluted 
and asked permission to begin the battle. " With God's 
help " answered Wittgenstein in German.^ Bliicher at 
once sent his Prussians over the brow, pouring down the 
gentle slope leading to Gross Gorschen, the nearest of the 
four villages in the midst of which Souham was bivouacking. 
As yet he had not even occupied Gross Gorschen, and it 
was only now at the last moment that he sent a brigade 
into it, and hurriedly arranged the rest of his 12,000 men in 
rear of it. Till the dark lines of Prussians showed on the 
skyline of the Monarchen Hiigel the French had been 
cooking in blissful ignorance of the fact that a large part of 
the enemy's army was within two miles of them. 

Only a visit to the spot can bring out clearly the absolute 
inefficiency of the French outpost work which had enabled 
the enemy to effect this surprise. Had Wittgenstein allowed 
Bliicher's men to go forward in mass with the bayonet, it is 

^ General von Caemmerer thinks the orders regarding the XI. corps and the 
1st caTalry corps must have been delayed, as they could, if started at once, have 
reached Eisdorf by 3.30 or 4 p.m. at latest, whereas it was only between 6 and 7 
P.M. that Napoleon ordered the decisive attack by the XI. corps. The author 
was unable to find, in the historical section of the French general staff, any 
evidence of the precise hour at which the orders were received. 

* Danilewski, p. 76. 


scarcely possible to doubt that they would have driven 
Souham out of the quadrilateral of villages on to the plain 
of Liitzen, the advantages of which for the greatly superior 
cavalry of the allies were obvious. But he, in turn, had 
been surprised to find a whole French division where he 
had expected only a weak force of at most 2000 men as 
reported by Muffling. Arrived within 800 yards of Gross 
Gorschen, he stopped the infantry and engaged during forty 
minutes in a bombardment, to which the French were only 
able to reply with two batteries. These were soon silenced 
by the superiority in numbers of Wittgenstein's guns. 

Then Kliix's brigade, the left of Bliicher's corps, rushed 
on Gross Gorschen, which they took with very little loss. 
Souham, who had got his men in order beyond the village, 
now made a vigorous counter attack. It is true he could 
not recapture Gross Gorschen, but his attack gained time, 
and stayed the advance of the Prussian brigade, which was 
now in strength very much below its opponents, from whom 
it had already taken many prisoners and two disabled guns. 
Farther to the allied left, Dolffs' Prussian cavalry, followed 
by Winzingerode's Russian cavalry, had moved forward on 
Starsiedel, which was held by Girard's French division. The 
latter was as completely surprised as Souham had been. 
The men were still bivouacking, and the artillery teams had 
been sent off for forage and water. A bold charge by the 
great force of allied cavalry would probably have carried 
them away, but, instead of that, the allies opened with their 
artillery, to which there was no reply. Covered by the 
village, Girard was able to resist the partial attacks which 
were made, and to hold on till he was relieved by the arrival 
of Marmont. 

That marshal, when he received Napoleon's order from 
Markranstadt, was already an hour on his march from 
Rippach to Starsiedel. When he reached that village he 
was marching in six large squares of a brigade each. His 
arrival enabled Girard to leave the defence of Starsiedel to 
him, and to march to the aid of Souham in the four villages. 
Such was the position about i P.M. when Bliicher, seeing 


Kliix's brigade almost exhausted, sent Ziethen to support 
him on his right towards Klein Gorschen. The two brigades 
stormed forward furiously, driving Souham's men out of 
Rahna and Klein Gorschen, back on to Kaja. Ney had 
now rejoined his corps. He had galloped off from Mark- 
ranstadt as soon as he received Napoleon's orders issued in 
consequence of the cannonade which he heard. The 
marshal was probably tormented by the thought of the 
consequences of his own neglect to reconnoitre. On the 
way to Kaja he passed Marchand, whom he ordered forward 
to Eisdorf. Brennier's and Ricard's divisions he found now 
close up to Kaja, in which village Girard had arrived from 
Starsiedel, French artillery was assembling south-west of 
Kaja, and preparing to sweep the space between the four 
villages. Souham was slowly falling back on Kaja before 
the victorious Prussians. 

Leaving Ricard as reserve, Ney put himself at the head 
of Brennier's division, and led it forward with those of 
Girard and Souham. The Prussians, unable to stand 
Jagainst these much greater numbers, were driven again 
from Rahna and Klein Gorschen, and Ney continued his 
advance on Gross Gorschen. Met by a storm of artillery 
fire, the marshal was unable to recapture the village. 

Then the tide turned once more as Bliicher sent in a 
third brigade (Roder's). The three brigades of Prussians 
again advanced from Gross Gorschen with such fury that 
Ney's men were, for the second time, driven out of Rahna 
and Klein Gorschen and forced back on Kaja. 

Whilst these events were in progress in the four villages, 
Marmont had begun to debouch from Starsiedel with 
Compans' and Bonnet's divisions, keeping Friederichs' in 
reserve. As he did so he was charged by Dolffs' cavalry, 
and though the infantry held firm, Marmont decided to 
confine himself to defending Starsiedel. 

Wittgenstein, with a view to relieving the pressure in the 
village quadrilateral, had marched Berg from the right across 
the front of Yorck's corps with orders to attack Starsiedel. 
But as Berg was moving he witnessed Ney's recapture of 


Rahna and Klein Gorschen. This decided him to stop 
south-west of Rahna. 

It was 2.30 P.M. The Prussians, having taken Rahna 
and Klein Gorschen for the second time, one of their 
battalions, with which was the King of Prussia, actually 
got into Kaja. Napoleon had galloped up from Markran- 
stadt to find affairs in this parlous condition. His presence 
at once worked a marvellous change. From all sides rang 
out the cry of " Vive I'Empereur ! " " Hardly a wounded 
man passed before Bonaparte without saluting him with 
the accustomed * vivat' Even those who had lost a limb, 
who in a few hours would be the prey of death, rendered 
him this homage." ^ 

Yet the Emperor found grave cause for anxiety. As he 
rode up he had met many fugitives from the battlefield 
making for the rear. He saw that three of Ney's five 
divisions had been badly shaken. As he reached Kaja he 
received an urgent demand from Marmont for reinforce- 
ments at Starsiedel. " Tell your marshal," was the reply, 
** that he is mistaken ; he has nothing against him, the 
battle turns about Kaja." Ney's corps had almost been 
driven from the village quadrilateral on to the plain of 
Liitzen. That must be prevented at all costs until the 
Viceroy, on the one hand, Bertrand, on the other, could 
close in on the enemy's flanks and rear. That could not be 
for some time yet. 

The Guard reached Kaja almost simultaneously with the 
Emperor, but it was not to be employed yet without absolute 
necessity. Napoleon knew that the enemy must have 
reserves approaching, and that the battle was not " ripe " 
for his own final thrust with the Guard. 

On the side of the allies, the Russian reserves (the two 
divisions of grenadiers and the Guard) were not yet up. 
They had been stopped by Wolkonski who, when he saw 
the early successes of the Prussians, had sent Danilewski to 
tell the Guard there was no hurry, as all was going well.^ 

^ Odeleben, i. p. 51 (French translation). 
' Danilewski, p. 77 (German translation). 


He apparently wished to reserve them for the personal 
orders of the Tsar, who had now practically superseded the 
unfortunate Wittgenstein in the command. The latter, who 
had already heard of the approach of Macdonald against 
his right, and Bertrand against his left, was much hampered 
in providing a force to oppose them. 

Bliicher, meanwhile, had been wounded and succeeded in 
command of the Prussians by Yorck. Should Yorck's 
whole corps be now thrown in to support Bliicher's ? 
Wittgenstein, with both his flanks threatened, dared not 
do it before the Russian reserves arrived, and they were 
not on the Monarchen Hiigel till nearly 4 P.M. 

Towards 3 P.M. Napoleon ordered Mouton (Lobau) to 
take Ricard's division forward through Kaja. On the way 
he was joined by all that were fit to move of Souham's, 
Girard's, and Brennier's men. Kaja was cleared of the 
enemy, and the French once more stormed Klein Gorschen 
and Rahna in the face of a desperate defence by the 
Prussians. The French attack was supported by a battery 
between Kaja and Starsiedel. The villages and the space 
between them presented a dreadful picture. They were a 
veritable shambles, for the fighting had been for hours of the 
most desperate description. The Prussians, inspired by 
a hatred of their foe bred of years of oppression, fought 
with a bitterness which had been unknown in their earlier 
wars against the French. Perhaps the most graphic descrip- 
tion is that quoted by von Caemmerer from the diary of a 
Prussian Guard Jager battalion : " The field between Klein 
and Gross Gorschen resembled a bivouac where whole 
battalions had lain down." 

Shortly before 4 P.M., the Russian reserves at last came 
on the field south of the villages, and Wittgenstein sent 
forward two out of Yorck's three brigades. Hiinerbein's 
went to the right on Klein Gorschen, Horn's to the left on 
Rahna, Steinmetz's was still kept in reserve. These rein- 
forcements, added to Bliicher's men, once more drove back the 
French. Klein Gorschen and Rahna were taken for the third 
time by the Prussians, who again pushed forward into Kaja. 


Napoleon had all along been exposing himself freely, 
urging on and encouraging his men, and personally leading 
them forward. " This is probably the day of all his career," 
says Marmont,^ " on which Napoleon incurred the most 
personal danger on the battlefield. . . . He exposed him- 
self constantly, leading back to the charge the defeated 
troops of the III. corps." With the Prussians in Kaja, he 
felt himself compelled to send in Lanusse's brigade of 
Young Guard. Some of Ney's battalions were already 
beginning to break up, and the situation was desperate. 
Charging with the bayonet, Lanusse's men, joined by those 
of Ney's divisions, cleared Kaja of Prussians. There the 
Guard brigade halted, leaving the pursuit to Ney's people. 
The awful struggle was renewed as the French again 
stormed Klein Gorschen and Rahna, and again failed to 
break into Gross Gorschen. This phase of the battle, since 
Yorck's two brigades joined in it, had lasted an hour and a 
half. The details of it are impossible of description. 
Death and wounds had wrought havoc among men and 
officers alike. On the French side, Girard and Gour6 ^ were 
killed ; Brennier and several of the brigade commanders 
were wounded ; Ney had his horse killed under him. Here 
it was that the allies suffered an irreparable loss by the 
wounding of Scharnhorst, the re-organiser of the Prussian 

By 5.30 P.M. the Prussians had regained the upper hand, 
and driven Ney's men back out of Klein Gorschen and 
Rahna, so that Yorck's and Bliicher's corps stretched across 
the space between the villages, with their right on the 
Flossgraben in front of Klein Gorschen, their left on the 
Liitzen road north of Rahna. The latter village was held 
by Berg. 

There remained less than two hours of daylight in which 
to decide this sanguinary battle, which was now very nearly 
" ripe " for Napoleon's deciding stroke. His corps were 

1 M^m., V. p. 26. 

2 Ney's chief of staff. He was succeeded by Jomini. 

3 He died, as a result of his wounds, at Prag, on the 28th June. 


closing in, Macdonald on the right flank of the allies, 
Bertrand on their left. 

Napoleon had been failed by Bertrand, who, at i p.m., 
had his leading division (Morand's) behind Taucha, less 
than four miles from the battlefield. Yet, instead of march- 
ing to the cannon at once, he must needs halt and " await 
orders," on the ground that, Miloradowich's advanced guard 
having reached Zeitz, Napoleon might wish him to operate 
in that direction. But Zeitz was too far off for Milorador- 
wich to be able to interfere in the battle, especially as his 
main body only reached it at 5 P.M. It was only on 
reiterated orders that Bertrand moved forward again after 
3 P.M. To oppose his advance, Wittgenstein deputed the 
cavalry of the Russian Guard (Gallitzin), and that of 
Winzingerode, the latter being behind Dolffs. When he 
did that, the Russian reserve infantry was still not up, so 
he dared not send in Winzingerode's infantry under Prince 
Eugen of Wurtemberg. 

About 5.30 P.M. Morand's division had advanced through 
Pobles to a point south of Starsiedel. Peyri's Italians (of 
Bertrand's corps) were still not over the Griinabach. 

About the same time, Marchand's division of Ney's corps 
had at last reached the right bank of the Flossgraben north 
of Klein Gorschen, and Macdonald was approaching Eisdorf 
To meet these Winzingerode's infantry was now used. 
Prince Eugen advanced with one of his brigades through 
Klein Gorschen, whilst St Priest with the other occupied 
Eisdorf, into which Wittgenstein had already sent two 
Prussian battalions. He was intended to make a flank 
attack on Ney's left from beyond the Flossgraben, whilst 
Eugen joined the frontal attack towards Kaja. 

But St Priest found himself threatened in Eisdorf by 
Macdonald's advance, and Eugen had to deal with Marchand. 
St Priest at once reported the situation, whereupon Wittgen- 
stein sent the 2nd Russian grenadier division, under Konow- 
nitzin, to support him south of Eisdorf 

Marchand now threatened the right flank of the advance 
on Kaja, but Eugen's men found a good defence in the 



trees and bushes along the Flossgraben. Here they 
managed to check Marchand's right brigade, and to drive 
out his left, which had momentarily got into Klein Gorschen. 
Now, however, Charpentier's division of Macdonald's corps 
had driven St Priest from Eisdorf, whilst Fressinet with the 
31st division had occupied Kitzen. 

Wittgenstein had built up a strong defensive line from 
Gross Gorschen to Hohenlohe, composed of St Priest's 
brigade and the Russian grenadiers, behind which were 
numerous cavalry and the Russian Guard infantry in 
support. Against this line the Viceroy of Italy did not 
feel himself strong enough to advance. The time was 
6.30 ; Napoleon's final advance with the Guard was just 

About 6 P.M. the Emperor had decided that, if he was to 
win the battle before dark, the time for his decisive blow 
had arrived. 

He ordered Drouot to form a battery of 80 guns ^ south- 
west of Kaja to sweep the space between the four villages. 
Between this battery and Kaja the Young Guard was drawn 
up in four columns, each of four battalions, in line, one 
behind the other. Behind the Young Guard was the Old, 
behind them the Guard cavalry. At 6.30 all was ready, 
and, with the words, " La garde au feu," Napoleon ordered 
the advance. 

The left column of the Young Guard marched on Klein 
Gorschen, the right on Rahna, the two in the centre on 
Gross Gorschen. As the Guard advanced under cover of a 
tremendous storm of artillery fire from Drouot's battery, 
they were joined by all the remains of Ney's five divisions. 
Marmont, too, sent Bonnet's division, followed by Compans', 
against Rahna from Starsiedel. The village, attacked in 
front by the right column of the Guard and in flank by 
Bonnet, was taken. The same fate befell Klein Gorschen 
under the attack of the left column in front, and of 
Charpentier from Eisdorf Bliicher's and Yorck's men were 
driven back to Gross Gorschen and beyond, though part of 

1 58 of the Guard and 22 of other corps. 


the village was still held by them when, shortly after 7 p.m., 
the fall of night put a stop to the battle. 

The ghastly scene was illuminated by the light of the 
burning villages, all four of which were blazing furiously. 
Beyond the north side of Gross Gorschen the French made 
no further attempt to advance. South of the village the 
allies sought to assemble. Bliicher's corps gathered south- 
west of Gross Gorschen, covered by Steinmetz's brigade, 
which had stood all day in reserve. Yorck's other brigades, 
and the infantry of Eugen of Wurtemberg were south of 
the village on Bliicher's right, the Russian guard infantry 
behind Eugen. Berg's corps fell back fighting before 
Marmont on the road to Pegau, while the cavalry on the 
allied left, which had kept up the fight with Morand's 
division of Bertrand's corps in a somewhat half-hearted way, 
retired in the same direction. 

Even after dark the fighting was not quite over ; shortly 
before 9 P.M. a desperate charge was executed by nine 
Prussian squadrons against Bonnet's infantry. The infantry 
was carried away in part by the fury of the charge. Mar- 
mont himself, on foot in the midst of it, unable on account 
of half healed wounds to mount quickly, narrowly escaped 
death or capture. His staff was fired on by their own 
men who took them for the enemy. The Prussian cavalry 
pushed on almost up to the square in which was the 
Emperor, before they were compelled to retire. If this 
charge did not do any very great material damage, it at 
least produced a very considerable moral effect, convincing 
the French, as it did, that the allies had still plenty of fight 
left in them. Moreover, it prevented them from taking the 
rest they so badly needed. 

When the Tsar and the King of Prussia left the field 
about 9 P.M. they could hardly be convinced that the battle 
was lost. When, however, news came in that Kleist had 
evacuated Leipzig, thereby leaving the French in possession 
of the nearest road to their rear, they were compelled to 
admit that no course but immediate retreat was open to 


Napoleon at Liitzen had won a battle, but he had certainly 
not gained the decisive victory which was so necessary to 
him to restore his lost prestige in Europe. On the evening 
of the battle, according to Marmont,^ the Emperor said to 
Duroc, " I am once more master of Europe." That was a 
great over-estimate of the result of the battle, and if 
Napoleon did not in his inmost soul know it at that moment, 
he must very soon have realised it. The allies were beaten, 
but they hardly knew it, and in one way at least they had 
gained an advantage. The Prussians had fought splendidly, 
and had shown to others and to themselves that they were 
able to fight the French on equal terms. Even Napoleon 
contemptuously admitted the improvement since 1806, 
when he remarked, " Ces animaux ont appris quelque chose." 
Nesselrode, writing to Vienna, expressed the idea in more 
courteous terms : " The Prussian troops have covered them- 
selves with glory ; they have become once more the Prussians 
of Frederick." 2 Up to 3 p.m. they had generally been 
fighting against double their numbers, and had more than 
held their own. 

Gneisenau said of Wittgenstein's scheme that it was good 
in conception but spoilt by faults of execution. That seems 
too favourable an estimate. Wittgenstein who, thanks to 
his large superiority in cavalry, was much better informed 
generally of his enemy's movements than was Napoleon, 
decided to fight on the strength of an entire misconception 
of the situation. He assumed that the French corps were 
spread out in a long procession extending from Naumburg, 
or even Jena, to Leipzig, and that their right, about Liitzen, 
was protected only by a weak flank guard opposite to him. 
With an opponent like Napoleon, such an assumption was 
unwarranted. As we have seen, the Emperor intended to 
cover his march with the whole of Ney's 45,000 men, 
backed by the guard at Liitzen, and with Marmont and 
Bertrand coming up from Weissenfels. If Wittgenstein had 
succeeded in assembling his army, as he intended, by 7 A.M., 

^ Mim., V. p. 25. 

2 Friederich, Die Befreiungskriege, 1813-1815, i. p. 244. 


Napoleon would have had time to bring against his flanks 
Marmont and part of Bertrand's corps, Macdonald's corps, 
two of Lauriston s divisions, and Latour-Maubourg's cavalry. 
In all, including Ney, he would have about 140,000 men, 
against whom Wittgenstein would have had only about 
70,000, after deducting Kleist and Miloradowich, who were 
out of range of the main battle. All that Wittgenstein 
could hope to do with his inferior numbers was to surprise 
Ney, inflict a severe blow on him, and then get back beyond 
the Elster as he found himself threatened with envelopment 
by the other French corps. 

His orders for the assembly were, as has already been 
said, very defective. Whilst dealing with many things 
which should find no place in general orders, they entirely 
failed to prescribe a proper order of march to the crossing 
of the Elster. The consequences were much delay, owing 
to the crossing of columns, and the infliction of much un- 
necessary fatigue on his troops. The army was not on the 
battlefield till at least four hours later than the hour pre- 
scribed. Yet, curiously enough, this delay perhaps saved 
the allies from the decisive defeat which Napoleon hoped 
to inflict on them. With two hours more of daylight it 
seems almost certain that, instead of gaining an indecisive 
victory. Napoleon would have been able to drive the allies 
into the Elster and almost completely to destroy them. 

He might still have done so, but for the failure of his 
subordinates. The blame must fall chiefly on Ney, who 
failed either to assemble his corps at Kaja, or to make 
the reconnaissances on Pegau and Zwenkau ordered by 
Napoleon at 4 A.M. Looking to the delay which actually 
occurred on the allies' side, it is easy to picture the scene 
which would have met the eyes of a French reconnaissance 
pushed forward from Kaja at dawn. As it reached the top 
of the slope leading down to the Flossgraben on the road to 
Pegau, it would have seen the whole of the enemy's army 
moving to cross the Elster, and Napoleon would have had 
no doubt of Wittgenstein's intentions. There was nothing 
on the plateau to prevent a mixed force from moving to 


this point. As Col. Lanrezac remarks, Ney had only about 
looo cavalry, but he could have perfectly well made up for 
this by sending a force of all arms, for the distance to be 
traversed was short. The appearance of this force (say 
the strength of a brigade) would not necessarily have 
alarmed Wittgenstein, or made him hesitate to carry out 
his plan. Had it been sent out by, say, 6 A.M., Napoleon 
would have known for certain by 8 that he was to have the 
hoped-for battle. Macdonald and Marmont would have 
been hurried up at their best speed, Lauriston would prob- 
ably have been ordered to observe Leipzig with one division, 
whilst the other two pressed forward on Pegau. Bertrand, 
too, would have been urged on from the opposite direction, 
and Ney's whole corps, with the Guard behind it, would 
have strongly occupied a line having its left supported by 
the four villages, its right in Starsiedel. 

As it was, Ney's, or Souham's, idea of a reconnaissance 
in force seems to have been the sending of a few patrols 
half-way up the slope to the Monarchen Hiigel, where they 
could see just as much and no more than they could see 
from Gross Gorschen itself. When Wittgenstein at last 
caught Souham asleep at Gross Gorschen, he lost his 
chance, owing to his hesitation and his successive attacks, 
first with only one brigade, then with two, then with three. 
His initial bombardment of Gross Gorschen probably did 
not do very much harm, and gave Souham time to repair 
his fault to some extent. The shock of the discovery that 
the " weak flank guard " was a strong division seems to 
have upset the Russian's balance. The shock would have 
been much greater if, instead of one division in the village 
quadrilateral and one at Starsiedel, he had found five 
divisions there, as there would have been had Ney carried 
out Napoleon's orders. Marmont would have been approach- 
ing, as he actually was, and the Guard would have been up 
from Liitzen in an hour. Marmont and Ney alone had 
70,000 men, and, when he commenced his attack, Witt- 
genstein had only about 56,000 within reach. 

At Starsiedel there was the same fault of hesitation in 



attack, which gave time to Girard to get his men into order, 
and for Marmont to come up and release Girard to support 

Had Wittgenstein sent the whole of Bliicher's corps 
against Gross Gorschen at once, and Yorck against Star- 
siedel, he would still have had Berg and Eugen of Wurtem- 
berg, with Winzingerode's infantry, in reserve, whilst the 
Russian Guard was coming up. Instead of that, he dribbled 
in Bliicher's and Yorck's brigades one at a time, whilst, 
owing to Berg's stoppage, he never had any infantry at all 
against Marmont at Starsiedel. 

Bertrand was another corps commander who failed 
Napoleon. He wasted two hours waiting for orders at a 
distance of only 3I miles from where he heard the battle 
raging. Colonel Lanrezac has pointed out that there 
might possibly have been something to be said for him if 
he had been sent on a special mission, though even then he 
probably ought to have marched to the sound of the guns. 
But his orders were to advance against the enemy's left 
flank, and he certainly had no business to halt, merely 
because a Russian advance guard had appeared at Zeitz, 
10 miles from the battlefield. At most, he might have left 
a brigade to watch in that direction. Another general who 
is blamed by the French writer is Lauriston. He was 
ordered to leave only one division in Leipzig, though he 
had no distinct orders to march against the enemy's right. 
Still, a corps commander of the modern French or German 
school would probably have marched without orders, or 
at least started in anticipation of them, and sent urgent 
demands for them. According to Berthezene, Napoleon, 
next day, expressed to an aide-de-camp of Lauriston his 
opinion of that general's inaction in terms more forcible 
than polite. " What were you doing yesterday," said the 
Emperor, " when we were fighting here ? You were warm- 
ing your behinds in the sun ! " ^ Still Napoleon himself 
cannot escape blame for not having sent definite orders. 
Nor is it clear why Macdonald and Latour-Maubourg were 

^ Lanrezac, p. i66 note. 


so late in arriving, seeing that it is only about six miles as 
the crow flies from Markranstadt to Eisdorf, and in the open 
country they could march straight. As yet no evidence is 
available in support of Von Cammerer's suggestion that 
their orders were delayed. Again, Marchand must have 
received Ney's order from him personally about 12.30. 
Yet he was not up till after 4 P.M. In his case it appears 
that he was hampered by Russian cavalry and Cossacks, 
who, however, could not have been any very serious ob- 
struction to a whole division. He had only about three 
miles to cover, and took nearly four hours to do it. 

On the side of the allies it was no doubt necessary to 
keep Kleist at Leipzig to watch the French advance in that 
direction, though the force he had was too insignificant to 
offer any serious resistance, and probably one-fourth of it 
would have served the purpose as well. 

Miloradowich's absence from the battle was a much more 
serious matter. For the direction of his march Wittgenstein 
was responsible. The reason for its slowness is not 
apparent. The object in directing him on Zeitz was to 
meet an attack of the enemy on the allied left in that direc- 
tion, which was supposed to be possible in consequence 
of the erroneous report by Prussian cavalry as to Bertrand's 

Zeitz is 10 miles from Pegau, and it was practically 
certain that, when he arrived there, Miloradowich would be 
too late to make his influence felt in the main battle. We 
have already mentioned the suggestion that Miloradowich 
should have marched on Predel. He would have heard 
before he reached Predel that there was no danger to the 
left. He might have reached Predel by i P.M., though he 
probably would not have done so, considering the slowness 
with which he actually marched. Even if he had only 
reached Predel at the hour at which he reached Zeitz 
{4 P.M.) he would, with only five miles to march, have been 
able to join in the battle by 6 P.M. But he would probably 
have got news of the groundlessness of the fear of a 
French advance on Zeitz in time to enable him to turn to 


his right towards the battlefield long before he reached 

The French cavalry did nothing on this day. Latour- 
Maubourg with the ist cavalry corps was with Macdonald, 
according to whom ^ both he and Latour-Maubourg wanted 
the latter to charge the allies' right. This was prevented 
by the Viceroy, who dared not risk heavy loss to the weak 

Nor did the allied commanders do much with their 
cavalry, though it, and still more their great preponderance 
of artillery, prevented Marmont from debouching from 
Starsiedel, in support of Souham, till the final attack in the 
evening. It seems as if Marmont might, under the circum- 
stances, have displayed a little more enterprise. 

The losses on both sides in this sanguinary battle were 
enormous, though probably those of the allies were not much 
more than half of those of the French. 

Von Cammerer gives the losses of the two Prussian 
corps of Yorck and Bliicher as 8400 out of a total of 
33,000, whilst Eugen of Wurtemburg lost 1600 out of 
6000, rather over 25 per cent, in each case. 

Allowing for the losses of the other troops engaged, 
regarding which he appears to have had less reliable 
statistics, he takes the total loss at 1 1,500, of whom nearly 
10,000 were killed and wounded. In trophies they lost 
nothing but two dismounted guns. 

The French losses he estimated at 22,000, including 800 
prisoners carried off by the allies. He puts the loss of 
Ney's corps alone at 15,000 men. They lost also five 
guns. Lanrezac, on the other hand, gives the French losses 
as 18,000, of whom 12,000 belonged to the III. corps. 
He states, however, that, when the French crossed the Elbe 
a few days later, their army was weaker by 35,000 men 
than when it crossed the Saale, owing to the great number 
of stragglers and deserters. The Prussian writer appears to 
have made an allowance for this cause in estimating the 
losses at Liitzen. 

1 M^fn., p. 197. 


The enormous leakage in stragglers, deserters, and 
marauders is attributed by Lanrezac to two causes — 

1 . The extraordinary exertions which Napoleon demanded 
from his men. 

2. The bad organisation of his administrative services, 
which almost compelled the soldier to maraud, in order to 

For the former he finds a defence in the decisive advan- 
tages obtained in many cases by almost superhuman activity. 
For the failure of the Emperor, after twenty years' ex- 
perience of war, to organise his supplies on a better system 
he sees none. 



WHILST the battle of Liitzen was in progress, 
Billow, finding Halle only weakly held, had 
attacked it with 6000 or 7000 men, and 
driven the four French battalions from it 
back on to Durutte's division at Merseburg. This action 
had no influence on Napoleon's battle, the result of which 
compelled Biilow to withdraw in the direction of Berlin, 
by Rosslau. 

At 1 1 P.M. Napoleon ordered Lauriston to withdraw the 
one division he had in Leipzig, and to be ready to com- 
mence the pursuit on the 3rd May with his own corps and 
Latour-Maubourg's cavalry. When Lauriston evacuated 
Leipzig, Kleist sent some Cossacks into it before he 
received orders for his own retirement. When it was clear 
to the allied commanders that immediate retreat behind 
the Elbe was their only possible course, orders were issued 
for it to be made in three columns. The Russians were 
to retire on Dresden by Frohburg and Rochlitz. The 
Prussians and part of Winzingerode's cavalry took the road 
by Borna and Colditz to Meissen. Miloradowich and 
Eugen of Wurtemberg covered the retreat. Kleist was to 
go by Wurzen to the Elbe at Miihlberg, where there was a 
bridge of boats. 

It was 3 A.M. on the 3rd May when Napoleon, assured 
that the enemy was retreating, issued orders for the pursuit. 
Ney's corps had been so shattered in the battle that it was 
left for the moment to recuperate at Liitzen. The rest of 
the army crossed the Elster at Zwenkau, Pegau, Predel, and 

1 See Map III. (inset a). 



Ostrau. Except for a small affair with Eugen and another 
with Miloradowich, the French met with no opposition, but 
they were so exhausted that they made little progress 
during the 3rd. Macdonald with the XI. corps and the 
1st cavalry corps only reached Podelwitz, five miles beyond 
Pegau, with Lauriston on his left at Peres. Marmont 
halted at Lobnitz on Macdonald's right rear. Bertrand 
found the bridge at Predel destroyed, and was delayed also 
by Miloradowich, so got no farther than Ostrau. Napoleon, 
with headquarters and the Guard, passed the night of the 
3rd-4th at Pegau. Oudinot, who had not received his 
orders in time to change direction to his right, was spread 
along the line Jena-Naumburg. The allies were in two 
masses at Borna and Frohburg with their main army. The 
Emperor was still uncertain as to the exact direction of the 
allies' retreat ; he learnt more during the night, and 
decided to advance with his main army direct on Dresden, 
cutting off what he could of stragglers and convoys. At 
the same time he constituted an auxiliary army under 
the command of Ney. It consisted of Ney's own corps 
(III.), the VII. (at present only Durutte's division at Merse- 
burg, but destined to have added to it the Saxons in 
Torgau), Victor's provisional II. corps, and the provisional 
corps of Sebastiani, consisting of the 2nd cavalry corps 
(2500), and Puthod's division of the V. corps. Puthod was 
no longer required on the lower Elbe, for Vandamme was 
now coming up below Magdeburg, and he, with Davout, 
sufficed to guard that portion of the river, and even to 
retake Hamburg. 

Ney was to relieve Torgau and Wittenberg, and cross to 
the right bank of the Elbe as soon as he was joined by 
Sebastiani from Bernburg. He would then have about 
60,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry, with 129 guns, including 
the Saxons at Torgau. The Emperor, on the other hand, 
would have, including Oudinot, 120,000 infantry, 11,500 
cavalry, and 386 guns. He was without a bridge train, 
and, as he expected the allies to defend the Elbe at 
Dresden, he looked to Ney's advance from Torgau on their 



right to compel them to drop the river line. During the 
4th May, Napoleon's columns reached without adventure 
the following points : — 
Right — 

IV. corps, Frohburg. The XII. was far behind on the 
march from Naumburg to Zeitz. 

Centre — 

1st cavalry corps and XI. corps as advanced guard under 
the Viceroy, Lausigk. Behind these the VI. corps and 
Guard, with Imperial headquarters, Flossberg and Borna. 


V. corps, Stockheim. This column was now directed 
on Wurzen. Napoleon, hearing of a strong Prussian column 
(it was in reality only Kleist) marching on Miihlberg, had 
directed Lauriston to move leftwards, so as to be able, if 
necessary, to support Ney, who was now marching on 

During the 5 th May, whilst Lauriston was marching as 
above, Napoleon's other two columns continued their advance 
on Dresden. 

When Eugene debouched with the XI. corps from the 
Colditz forest, about 1 1 A.M., he found Steinmetz's brigade 
drawn up to dispute the passage of the Mulde. Into the 
details of the action which ensued we need not enter. 
Steinmetz, naturally, was compelled to retreat, and was 
followed to in front of Hartha, where he again took position. 
His retreat had endangered the communications of Milora- 
dowich, who, finding himself not pressed, was crossing the 
Mulde at Rochlitz in a somewhat leisurely fashion. Seeing 
his danger, he sent all available forces to the assistance of 
Steinmetz, who was thus enabled to show front again at 
Hartha, but both retired to Waldheim behind the Zschoppau. 
The Viceroy did not carry his main body beyond Hartha, 
though he had outposts as far as the Zschoppau. During 
the day he reported having seen on his left a hostile force, 
alleged to be Kleist on his way to Miihlberg. Other informa- 
tion showed that the main body of the allies was making 
for Meissen and Dresden. Under these circumstances, 


Lauriston's march on Wurzen was no longer necessary, and 
he was ordered to proceed, by forced marches of from 1 7 to 
20 miles, towards Dresden. 

In the evening of the 5 th May the French army reached 
the following points : — 

XL corps and ist cavalry corps, Hartha and beyond. 

VI. corps, close behind XI. 

Guard and headquarters, Colditz. 

IV. corps, which had by its slowness left Miloradowich 
to cross the Mulde unmolested, Rochlitz. 

XII. corps, Altenburg and behind. 

Napoleon was not satisfied with Eugene's action. They 
were, he said, now in a hilly country, where the enemy's 
cavalry was comparatively useless, and the Viceroy should 
have succeeded in taking at least 2000 or 3000 prisoners.^ 

In the very early hours of the 6th, Napoleon wrote ^ to 
Ney expressing his anxiety to hear that the marshal was 
at Torgau, and had relieved Wittenberg. He now had 
information that the Prussians and Russians were marching 
in separate columns, and he deduced from this fact, and from 
various rumours of dissensions in the enemy's camp, that, as 
soon as they had crossed the Elbe, the allies would separate 
definitely, the Russians sticking to their own line of com- 
munications by Bautzen, Gorlitz, and Breslau with Warsaw, 
whilst the Prussians went more to the north, with a view to 
covering their capital. If they knew that Ney was at 
Torgau, within 90 miles of Berlin, it was probable that the 
news would help to decide the Prussians in favour of cover- 
ing Berlin. If this separation occurred, Napoleon's scheme 
was to contain the Russians with a small force, whilst he 
himself, with a force double the 60,000 or 70,000 available 
Prussians, fell upon and destroyed them. 

When one looks to the way in which he cherished the 
hope of this division of the enemy's forces, one cannot help 
suspecting that the wish was father to the thought. Had 
he been in their position himself, he would certainly not 
have thought of directly covering Berlin, when, by holding 

^ Corr. 19,971. * Corr. 19,972. 


together on the Dresden-Breslau line, he would indirectly do 
so. Moreover, Berlin was after all only a geographical point, 
though its capture by the French would certainly have had 
a considerable moral and political effect. On the other 
hand, he probably knew how anxious the Prussian king was 
to prevent a reoccupation of his capital by the French, and 
that the Russians were equally averse to any abandonment 
of their direct line of communications. That, perhaps, to 
some extent justified his assumption that the allies, of whose 
abilities he entertained a very poor opinion, would be induced 
by their divergent interests to separate. 

An " ordre du jour " of the 6th May ^ shows clearly the 
state of indiscipline existing at this time in the French army. 
It complains of the straggling, and blames commanders for not 
keeping a special rearguard to pick up these men. Another 
thing reprobated is the soldiers' habit of unloading their 
muskets by firing them off, instead of drawing the charge, 
thereby creating alarms. For doing this the penalty was 
to be imprisonment and degradation, or, if anyone was 
killed or injured by the discharge, death. 

Further details of the allies' retreat and the French 
pursuit to Dresden are unnecessary. The most notable 
point in it is the way in which Miloradowich conducted his 
rearguard. He constantly halted to take up a position, 
compelling his opponents to deploy and take measures to 
turn him. With admirable judgment, he always selected 
the latest safe moment to retire, only to take up another 
defensive position farther on. He would have been less 
successful had Bertrand, on the French right, kept in 
advance, but that general marched so slowly that he was 
generally not even on a level with the centre and left, 
instead of being well in advance of them. 

On the 7th May the main body of the Russians, marching 
by Wilsdruf, passed the Elbe at Dresden. On the same day 
the main Prussian army crossed at Meissen, whilst Kleist's 
detachment crossed at Miihlberg. Miloradowich, who 
retired through Nossen and Wilsdruf, crossed the river on 

^ Foucart, i. 59* 


the 8th at Dresden, where the span of the stone bridge, 
which Davout had blown up on the 20th March, had been 
temporarily restored by the Russians, and was now once 
more broken. The Russians had also fired their raft and 
boat bridges at Dresden, but the work was badly done, and 
the French were able to rescue many of the boats. On the 
8th May all the allies were on the right bank of the Elbe, 
whilst Napoleon's army stood thus : — 

XI. corps, 1st cavalry corps and headquarters, Dresden. 
VI. corps, behind Dresden. 

IV. corps, Potzschappel to Tharandt. 

XII. corps, Oederan and behind. 

V. corps (Lauriston), Meissen. 

The French march from Liitzen to Dresden had averaged 
only 12 J miles a day. 

Leaving Napoleon for the moment at Dresden, we return 
to Ney. 

On the 4th May he was at Leipzig with his own IIL 
corps and Durutte's division, which for the present repre- 
sented the VII. corps, of which, when complete, Reynier 
was to have the command. Biilow had gone back to 
Rosslau on hearing of the result of Liitzen, and, though 
his cavalry were all over the space between the Saale 
and the Mulde, they could be disregarded, for they must 
retire as Victor debouched from Bernburg, Ney started 
on the 5 th May for Torgau via Eilenburg, sending two 
divisions of the III. corps to relieve Wittenberg. On the 
7th May Reynier, with Durutte's division, arrived before 
Torgau, only to find himself in a very awkward position. 
Thielmann, the Saxon commander, refused admission to 
the French, pleading his own sovereign's order. The 
King of Saxony, who had been trying hard to play the 
neutral, as he had tried for a time in 1806, had gone off 
with two regiments of Guard cavalry to Prague. As soon 
as Napoleon heard, on the 8th, of Thielmann's attitude, 
he took very summary measures for dealing with his ally. 

M. dc Serra, the Emperor's minister at Dresden, was 
directed to represent that Metternich had stated that 


Austria had nothing to do with Saxony or her king. The 
latter was given six hours in which to answer Napoleon's 
demands, which were : — 

1. Thielmann to be at once ordered to leave Torgau and 
unite his troops to the VI. corps under Reynier. 

2. The king to send his cavalry back to Dresden at 

3. He was also to write a letter to the Emperor, 
admitting that his engagements of past years still sub- 
sisted, and expressing his intention of fulfilling them. 

If the king failed to comply with these demands within 
the time allowed, he was to be informed that " I (Napoleon) 
declare him a felon, outside my protection, and that, in 
consequence, he has ceased to reign." This business was 
to be carried out by De Serra if he was at Prague ; if not, 
Baron de Montesquieu, the bearer of the letter, was to do 
so. To anticipate somewhat, the king surrendered at 
once, and, on the 12th May, was back in person at 
Dresden, once more under the thumb of Napoleon. Orders 
were despatched to Thielmann, who yielded to them, but 
himself went off to join the allies. 

Though Napoleon might not feel much doubt as to the 
success of his peremptory orders to the King of Saxony, 
seeing they were issued from that monarch's capital, still 
he could not afford to risk anything by waiting for the 
reply. Therefore, he sent orders to Ney to concentrate 
the III. corps and Durutte's division to the south of 
Torgau, and collect materials for the construction of a 
bridge at Belgern, half a day's march above the fortress. 
Lauriston, leaving a detachment at Meissen, could once 
more bear to the left, to a point half-way between Meissen 
and Torgau, whence he could join Ney if required. 

Accordingly, Ney, on the nth May, was ready to cross 
the Elbe with 60,000 men. He would have had to go 
without Sebastiani, who only reached Bernburg on the 
1 2th. Napoleon, reaching Dresden on the 8th, had at 
once begun making preparations for a passage of his own 
army. With the Russians still holding the Neustadt, the 


part of Dresden on the right bank of the Elbe, it was not 
possible to repair the broken arch of the stone bridge. 
Therefore, the Emperor proposed to cross at Briesnitz, a 
short way below Dresden. Here the river makes a sharp 
bend to the south-west and then back again, the apex 
of the bend being at Briesnitz. At the apex and below 
it the left bank commands the right, but this is not so 
above Briesnitz, where both banks are low, about level with 
one another. Still, guns on the left bank can sweep the 
opposite peninsula. At Briesnitz Napoleon placed his 
bridge, sweeping the peninsula with 60 guns, partly on the 
heights, partly on the plains where the public slaughter- 
house now stands. He also had 20 guns on the Briihlsche 
Terrasse close to the stone bridge. Two battalions first got 
across on rafts to protect the head of the new bridge. The 
Russians attempted to drive them out of their retrench- 
ments, bringing up 60 guns for the purpose. But Napoleon, 
using 80 guns, compelled them to desist. The bridging 
operations at Briesnitz began at 7 A.M. on the 9th. The 
French guns on the Briihlsche Terrasse also drove the 
Russians in the Neustadt from the water's edge, enabling 
300 French voltigeurs to cross in boats and effect a lodg- 
ment in a large building at the farther end of the stone 
bridge. Protected by them and the guns, the repair of the 
broken arch was hurried on and completed by the morning 
of the iith May. It was a difficult task, owing to the 
great height of the trestle work which had to be erected, 
but the time in which it was completed was only a fraction 
of what it had taken the Russians in March. 

All difficulties of the passage were solved for Napoleon 
by the fact that the allies made no serious resistance. By 
the evening of the iith May, 70,000 French had crossed 
at Dresden. 

Ney also crossed on the same day with the HI., V., and 
and Vn. corps, about 45,000 men. He passed, not by the 
temporary bridge at Belgern, but at Torgau, where, under 
orders of the King of Saxony, the gates were thrown open 
to the French, and the Saxon division (9000 infantry, 250 


cavalry, and three batteries) was added to the VII. corps 
of Reynier. 

Meanwhile, there had been much hesitation on the part 
of the allied commanders, and a succession of different 
plans. The interests of the Prussians, and their desire to 
cover their capital and the Mark, led them to favour a 
movement to the north, whilst the Russians were anxious 
to cover their direct line of communication with Warsaw 
by Bautzen, Gorlitz, and Breslau. All were agreed that a 
stand should be made somewhere west of the Oder ; for 
the spirit of the army demanded it, and moreover, if another 
battle were not fought, Austria and the German princes 
would naturally be led to believe in the decisiveness of the 
French victory at Liitzen, a view which Napoleon was 
endeavouring to impress upon them. But where were the 
allies to fight? It was here that the many commanders 

At first, Wittgenstein was in favour of taking up a 
position between Herzberg and Luckau, whence he could 
fall with all his forces on the enemy as he passed the 
Elbe. Then, on the 8 th May, he issued orders for the 
defence of the river itself, the Russians above Meissen, the 
Prussians below it, Kleist holding the passage at Miihlberg. 
In consequence of these orders the Russian main body 
took post at Radeburg, the Prussians at Grossenhain. 
Then came Miloradowich's failure to prevent Napoleon's 
passage at Briesnitz. He had received no support, and 
headquarters appear to have given up, as beyond their 
power, the idea of preventing the French passage. Witt- 
genstein was now in favour of a retirement northwards, in 
conformity with the desire of the Prussians to cover Berlin 
and the Mark. That was peremptorily stopped by the 
Tsar, who would not hear of abandoning the Russian com- 
munications. On the loth, Wittgenstein believed Napoleon 
to be concentrating towards his left for a march on Berlin, 
the threats at Dresden being only a ruse to divert attention 
in that direction. That determined the allied commander 
to withdraw and await developments, with the Russians 


at Bischofswerda and the Prussians at Konigsbriick. If 
strongly attacked here, he proposed to retire behind Bautzen, 
whilst, if Napoleon moved from Wittenberg and Belgern 
on Berlin, the allies would attack his right flank. 

The offensive idea in this last plan was abandoned on 
receipt of news that the French were moving towards 
Bautzen, Konigsbriick, and Reichenberg with three corps, 
and that Napoleon in person was in Dresden. On the 
1 2 th orders issued for assembly in a position beyond 
Bautzen, which the Russian Chief Engineer was sent on 
to fortify.^ All these movements led Napoleon to cherish 
the hope that the Russians and Prussians were about to 
separate. He certainly would not have separated had he 
himself been in command ; for a position such as Wittgen- 
stein proposed to take on the loth would cover Berlin 
indirectly better than a direct covering force could do. 
In this case Napoleon probably allowed the wish to be 
father to the thought, as he now so often did. 

The allies now retreated concentrically on Bautzen, with 
Miloradowitch acting again as rearguard. The latter, 
supported by Eugen of Wurtemberg, fought a sharp rear- 
guard action with Macdonald on the 1 1 th at Weissig, and 
then fell back on Schmiedefeld. Kleist was attacked by 
Bertrand the same day near Konigsbriick and forced back 
on Kamenz. Miloradowich again fought at Schmiedefeld 
on the 1 2th, whilst the allied main body got across the 
Spree at Bautzen. It was only in the evening that the 
Russian rearguard fell back, fighting at every step, nearly 
to Bautzen. Not till the 15 th was the left bank of the 
Spree entirely evacuated by the allies. 

Barclay de Tolly, with 13,500 men, set free by the 
capitulation of Thorn, was about to join them. 

Here we must return to Napoleon at Dresden, busily 
preparing for his further advance. Reinforcements were 
coming up, among them a division of Young Guard, four 
battalions of Old Guard, and two cavalry " divisions de 

1 For the above account of the all'ed plans, See Friederich, Die Befreiungs- 
kriege, 1813-1815, i. pp. 253-255- 


marche." The Saxons, now again at the Emperor's dis- 
posal, were distributed, the infantry division to the VII. 
corps, the four cavalry regiments to the ist cavalry corps. 

On the 15 th May the French army comprised the 
following corps : — 

III. corps (Ney) 
V. corps (Lauriston) ) 
(including Puthod) J 
VII. corps (Reynier) 
II. corps (Victor) 
Light cavalry division 
(Chatel) of ist 
cavalry corps at- 
tached to V. corps 
2nd cavalry corps 

I. Ney's 



















8 or 9 — 

15 to 20 — 
32 to 38 26 



II. Main Army (Napoleon) 

IV. corps (Bertrand) 34 

VI. corps (Marmont) 39 

XI . corps (Macdonald) 3 1 

XII. corps (Oudinot) 33 
Old Guard (i division) 6 or 7 
Young guard (2 divisions) 25 to 30 
Guard cavalry — 
ist cavalry corps (less 

light division) (La- 

tour-Maubourg) — 

Total 168 to 174 

Grand total 216 to 222 













z • 






45 to 50 



75 to 80 


107 to 118 


To these the allies could not oppose more than about 
110,000, inclusive of Barclay's corps and that of Biilow, 
the latter covering Berlin. 

Napoleon now formally dissolved what had hitherto been 
the army of the Elbe under the Viceroy of Italy. He 
had had enough of his stepson's incapacity, and sent him 

^ Lanrezac, pp. 185-186. 


oflf at a moment's notice to take command of the army 
which the Emperor was organising in Northern Italy for 
the purpose of detaining a part of the Austrian army on 
its southern frontier, in the event of that power joining the 

Dresden was henceforward to be the great advanced 
depot for Napoleon's operations in Germany. Durosnel 
was appointed governor with a garrison of about 6000 
men, including the depots of the IV., VI., VII., XL, and 
XII. corps. For the IL, III., and V. corps depots were 
established at Torgau. Cavalry depots at Leipzig and 

The rearward communications of the army were laid 
down as the following : ^ — 

1. Main line. Mayence, Frankfort, Fulda, Erfurt, 
Weimar. From this point the line bifurcated, one 
branch going to Dresden by Jena and Altenburg,'^ the 
other by Naumburg and Leipzig. 

2. From Leipzig a branch to Wittenberg. 

3. From Augsburg by Niirnberg, Bamberg, Schleiz, 
Gera, Altenburg. 

The route from Augsburg by Wiirzburg was abolished, 
though it would have been better than the last-named route 
which subsequent experience showed was too far east. The 
activity of the allies' partisans extended far west of the 

Three marches might have been saved by carrying a 
line from Erfurt direct to Altenburg, in addition to the 
one by Leipzig. 

The stages on these routes averaged about 1 5 miles, 
with a day's rest in every six or seven. To guard against 
surprise by partisans, detachments on the march were ta 
comprise at least 500 combatants. 

In order to have a bridge head at Dresden, the enceinte 
of the Neustadt, on the right bank of the Elbe, was repaired 
and palisaded. 

At Briesnitz there was a bridge of rafts and another of 

^ Corr. 19,998. " Lanrezac, p. 188. 


boats, whilst in Dresden itself there was the stone bridge. 
Later on the Emperor also had two boat or raft bridges, 
one above and one below the stone bridge. Also, during 
the armistice, the partially demolished enceinte of the 
Altstadt was repaired, and five forts were built outside the 

The general position of Napoleon's armies on the iith 
May was this : — 

1. At Dresden, on both sides of the Elbe, 119,000 men 
under his personal command. 

2. At Torgau, also on both banks, Ney with 84,000. 

3. On the lower Elbe, under Davout, Vandamme's pro- 
visional corps of about 30,000 which, for the present at 
any rate, need only be mentioned, as it had its own sepa- 
rate theatre of operations far removed from the main 

The Emperor's design was to have Ney's army posted by 
the 1 6th as follows : — 

III. corps and headquarters, Luckau, with advanced 
guard Liibben. 

V. corps Dobrilugk. 

VII. corps Dahme. 

II. corps and 2nd cavalry corps, Schonwald. 

In those positions it would be the " bataillon carre " posted 
about three good marches from Berlin, and half a march 
farther from Napoleon's own army. It would be ready to 
march in any direction.^ 

On the I 3th May Napoleon was still in doubt as to the 
direction or directions taken by the allies. On that day 
he wrote to Ney : ^ — 

" I do not see clearly what the Prussians have done ; it 
is certain the Russians are retiring on Breslau : but the 
Prussians ; are they retiring on that town, as it is said, 
or have they thrown themselves towards Berlin to defend 
their capital, as seems natural ? That is what I shall learn 

^ As usual in these days, the Emperor exaggerated its numbers, representing it 
as ioo,cx)0 instead of 84,000. Corr. 20,006, to Ney, 13th May. 
2 Corr. 20,006. 


exactly from the information I expect to-night. You must 
feel that, with the considerable forces you have, it is not a 
case for remaining quiet. To unblock Glogau, to occupy 
Berlin (so as to put the Prince of Eckmiihl in a position to 
re-occupy Hamburg and advance with his five divisions 
into Pomerania) and to gain possession of Breslau myself, 
those are the three important objects which I propose to 
myself, and which I should wish to accomplish within the 
month. In the position which I am going to make you 
take, we shall always be united, able to move right or left 
with the maximum masses possible, according to informa- 
tion received." 

When Napoleon writes that it seems natural that the 
Prussians should leave the Russians and move towards 
Berlin, he certainly did not mean that he would have done 
so himself had he been in their place, but that it was what 
he would naturally expect from his past experience of 
their strategical capacity, and their known anxiety lest the 
capital should again fall into his hands. 

Again, it was not, strictly speaking, correct to say that 
he and Ney were united, since they were more than three 
marches apart. But, looking to the facts that they were 
not separated by any serious obstacle or difficult country, 
and that, whilst Ney's army was numerically not much 
inferior to the combined Russians and Prussians, whilst 
Napoleon's own was superior to them, there could be no 
doubt that the allies could not prevent a close union when- 
ever it should please the Emperor to decide on it. 

On the nth May Napoleon still had the Guard and 
Oudinot in Dresden, on the left bank of the Elbe. The 
IV., VI., and XL corps were across the river, gaining space 
for manoeuvre. The XI. corps and a division of cavalry 
acting as advanced guard got forward on that day to 
Weissig. On the 12th it had pushed Miloradowich's rear- 
guard beyond Bischofswerda, though the Russian general 
had again displayed his capacity as a rearguard commander 
in the same way as he had done between Liitzen and 


We have already mentioned the rearguard actions fought 
by Miloradowich against Macdonald, whose reports clearly 
exaggerate the strength of the enemy opposed to him. 
Marmont at first went northwards as far as Reichenberg, 
with Beaumont, commanding a Westphalian cavalry brigade 
and three battalions, scouting towards Grossenhain. On 
the I 3th, Marmont, leaving Beaumont at Moritzburg, turned 
eastwards to Radeberg on the byroad to Bischofswerda. 

The Emperor was now convinced that both Russians and 
Prussians were retreating by Bautzen. He was inclined to 
think they would not stand and fight there, notwithstanding 
reports that they were fortifying a position. 

On the 15 th, Macdonald advancing from Bischofswerda, 
again collided at Godau with Miloradowich's rearguard, 
which he drove across the Spree, and himself took post on 
the heights on the near side. The VI. corps was now close 
up behind him, the IV. at Kloster-Marienstern, halfway 
between Godau and Kamenz. The XII. closed up also. 
From his position Macdonald could clearly see the camps 
of the enemy beyond Bautzen, where it was now pretty 
clear he meant to stand fast. 



ONCE he was convinced that the enemy intended 
fighting at Bautzen, Napoleon hastened the 
assembly of his armies for the battle he so 
greatly desired. He had failed to gain a 
decisive victory at Liitzen with numbers far larger than his 
opponent. He now hoped to unite against him a force 
very nearly double the combined Russians and Prussians. 

His orders were for the XL, VI., and IV. corps to take 
position facing Bautzen, the XL on the right, and the IV. 
on the left. The XI I. in front of Bischofswerda, would be 
the reserve for this first line of 64,000 men, and would send 
three mobile columns of 1200 to 1500 men each to clear 
the woods between the Dresden - Bautzen road and the 
Austrian frontier, which was only some ten miles south 
of Bautzen. Napoleon would thus have nearly 90,000 
men covering directly the advance of the Guard from 
Dresden, and indirectly that of Ney's army from the 

The left flank was to be cleared by Mortier with the ist 
cavalry corps, Beaumont's detachment, and a division of 
Young Guard, thus assuring communication with Ney. 
Beaumont's mission was to clear out the enemy's raiders 
towards Grossenhain and Konigsbruck. On the i6th 
Mortier sent Beaumont after some 2000 hostile cavalry who 
were at Grossenhain. They fell back precipitately on Elster- 
werda. Beaumont, on the 1 7th, was in communication with 
Lauriston's corps; on the i8th he returned to Moritzburg. 
Mortier was at Bischofswerda on the 17 th. To Ney's army 

the orders sent were : — 



Lauriston received orders direct to march from Dobrilugk 
on Hoyerswerda, a copy being sent to Ney.^ 

Ney himself was ordered from Herzberg on Spremberg. 
These orders only reached their destinations on the evening 
of the 1 6th when, though Lauriston was at Dobrilugk, Ney 
was at Luckau, whither he had been ordered to march on 
the 15th and i6th. Napoleon, or Berthier, seems to have 
forgotten these previous orders. Moreover, the order, as 
sent to Ney, did not specify what troops were to go to 
Spremberg. Napoleon had intended Victor to take the 
offensive against Biilow, with the II. and VII. corps, and 
the 2nd cavalry corps. Ney had thus only the orders for 
Lauriston to move on Hoyerswerda, and for himself to move 
on Spremberg. Quite naturally, he assumed, as suggested 
by Jomini, his chief of staff, that all his force, except 
Lauriston, was to make for Spremberg, and he acted 
accordingly. In reality it was much better to do thus 
than to act as the Emperor had intended ; for, by doing as 
he did, Ney was bringing all available forces to overwhelm 
the enemy's main army, whilst Biilow could easily be con- 
tained, in the event of his marching southwards, by a few 

The route prescribed for Ney was not his shortest to 
Bautzen. Napoleon seems to have feared lest his appear- 
ance on the direct road should frighten the enemy into 
continuing his retreat on Silesia, the very last thing the 
Emperor desired. But by the morning of the i6th, 
Napoleon had received further reports which convinced him 
that the allies meant, under any circumstances, to defend 
themselves at Bautzen. He, therefore, in the afternoon, 
issued fresh orders to Ney, who was now to go to Hoyers- 
werda. The first order was sent at i P.M. ,2 as follows : — " The 
Emperor orders you to betake yourself with all diligence to 
Hoyerswerda." A later order (5 P.M.) says : ^ " The Emperor 
approves that you should arrive as soon as possible with 
your corps (in the singular) and that of Lauriston at Hoyers- 
werda." Then it goes on to explain that the Emperor 

^ Foucart, i. p. 204. 2 jn^^^ i. p. 217. ^ Ibid., i. p. 218. 


desired to send Victor, with Reynier and Sebastiani under 
him, to manoeuvre towards Berlin, to retake that city ; also, 
if possible, Spandau, and to pursue Biilow. This was the 
first Ney had heard of the Berlin project. He at once 
informed Victor of his mission, and ordered Reynier to stop 
at Luckau. This was on the evening of the 1 7th. That 
meant that Victor, with about 25,000 men, would be kept 
back from arriving for the coming battle. 

By morning of the 1 7th, Napoleon seems to have come 
to the conclusion that Ney's original arrangement for bring- 
ing Victor and Reynier with himself was the better. At 
I o A.M. Berthier writes to Ney : " Give orders to the Duke of 
Belluno (Victor), and to Generals Reynier and Sebastiani 
according to what you have ascertained regarding the 
enemy, and as you judge most suitable according to the 
circumstances. Everything leads to the belief that we are 
going to have a battle." 

Ney at once acted on these orders by directing Victor 
and Reynier to leave Dahme and Luckau respectively on 
the 1 9th, and to march for Bautzen via Kahlau and Hoyers- 
werda. Unfortunately they had lost twenty-four hours, and 
could hardly reach Bautzen in time for the battle. For this 
the Emperor seems alone to blame. His hankering after 
the secondary objectives of Biilow and Berlin was a distinct 
falling away from his own principles. With the destruction 
of the main army of the allies, Biilow's ruin and the fall of 
Berlin must inevitably have followed, and the extra 25,000 
men of Victor, Reynier, and Sebastiani would probably have 
made all the difference at the battle, as we shall see presently. 

Ney's positions on the morning of i8th May were — 

V. corps, less Puthod's division, Senftenberg. 

III. corps and headquarters, Kahlau. 

VII. corps, Luckau. 

II. corps, Puthod's division (of V.), and 2nd cavalry 
corps, Dahme. 

During the day Lauriston (V.) reached Hoyerswerda, his 
fourth division (Puthod) Finsterwalde, IIL corps. Some. 

Berthier's cypher despatch of 10 A.M. on the i8th from 


Dresden seems to show that the Emperor ignored the 
effects of his previous orders (of 5 P.M. on 1 6th) regarding 
the Berlin expedition. He now writes as if Ney had been 
ordered all along to march with all his forces on Bautzen. 
He says, " The Emperor informs you that we are within 
cannon range of the little town of Bautzen, which the 
enemy has occupied as head of his position, and where he 
has thrown up some entrenchments ; that on the (enemy's) 
right are placed the Prussians, on the left the Russians ; 
that he desires that, with General Lauriston and all your 
forces united^ you should make for Drehsa ^ near Gottamelde ; 
having passed the Spree you will find that you have turned 
the enemy's position ; you will take up a good position 
there. The Emperor supposes that you are in a position to 
reach Hoyerswerda completely on the 19th. You will draw 
towards us on the 20th, and on the 21st you will be able 
to reach the position (described above), which will either 
have the effect of making the enemy retire farther, or of 
putting you in a position to attack him with advantage." ^ 

The instruction to Ney to draw towards the main army 
on the 19th and 20th was apparently intended to lull any 
anticipations of the enemy of an attack on his right flank 
and rear by Ney. The movement of that marshal to his 
right would seem to point to a mere frontal attack. At the 
last moment, he would turn leftwards across the Spree to 
a position which would bring him down on and beyond 
their right. 

On this 1 8th May, Napoleon, with the Guard, marched 
half-way to Bautzen, intending to be there early on the 
19th. Orders were issued sending Mortier and Latour- 
Maubourg forward from Bischofswerda. As they came up, 
Oudinot was to come into line on the right of Macdonald, 
and, with the assistance of Latour-Maubourg, to thoroughly 

^ Brosa on the map. 

2 Foucart, i. 218, 219. The dates given are those in Berthier's despatch which 
differ somewhat from those in Corr. 20,024. Nor does the Emperor describe 
Drehsa as "near Gottamelde." Gottamelde is not shown on Petri's map. It is 
a small village in the neighbourhood of Guttau. 


search the woods on the right, driving out any enemies 
found there. Bertrand was directed to get into communi- 
cation with Lauriston and Ney at Hoyerswerda, where the 
Emperor expected them to be that day (19th). Beaumont 
was still to remain on the watch at Moritzburg. 

In the instructions to Durosnel, Governor of Dresden, it 
is said, " the artillery will be parked on the left bank till the 
battle is decided, so that if the battle were lost we could 
pass to the left bank without losing anything " ^ — a charac- 
teristic mark of the Emperor's care in securing his own 
retreat, however certain he might feel of victory. Ney's 
orders of the i8th for the next day's march were designed 
to bring the V. corps on the right, and the III. on the left 
on to the line Zerna-Neudorf, facing south. He directed 
Lauriston to keep in communication with the main army 
towards Kloster Marienstern. From this it is clear that he 
was under the false impression that the allies were drawn 
up west of the Spree, and that Napoleon was facing them 
with his left at Kloster Marienstern. When Ney issued 
these orders he was acting on those of the Emperor of 
10 P.M. on the 17th which, as conveyed by Berthier, were 
far from indicating clearly that the allies had crossed the 
Spree. They said, " Our army has nearly reached (touche a) 
Bautzen ; the enemy's army and ours are in presence." 
That did not make it quite clear on which bank of the 
Spree the enemy was. 

The orders of 10 A.M. on the i8th, saying the enemy 
occupied Bautzen (right bank of the Spree) " as the head 
of his position," made it quite clear that his main position 
was beyond the river, but they did not reach the marshal 
in writing till he arrived at Hoyerswerda towards noon on 
the 19th. 

On the morning of the 19th the Emperor, with the main 
body, was posted thus in front of Bautzen : — 

Headquarters and Old Guard, Klein Forstchen. 

Young Guard and ist cavalry corps, Godau and behind it. 

IV. corps (less Peyri's division sent to make connexion 

^ Corr. 20,025. 


with Lauriston at Konigswartha), Gross-Welkau, with 
advanced Guard, Lubachau. 

VI. corps, between IV. and the Dresden road, rather in 
front of the IV. 

XI. corps level with VI., south of the Dresden road. 

XII. corps on the right of XL, with an advanced guard 
in Guaschwitz. One of Lorencez's brigades of this corps 
was clearing the country on the right and right rear. 

Of Ney's army, Lauriston (V. corps) was marching by 
Wittichenau for Zerna. 

The III. corps was marching on Hoyerswerda, 

The VII. and the 11. corps and the 2nd cavalry corps 
also marching for Hoyerswerda, but still far behind. 

Napoleon's orders to Ney of lO A.M. on the i8th were 
carried by Major Grouchy, son of the future marshal. As 
he rode towards Hoyerswerda early on the morning of the 
19th, he learnt that a hostile force was advancing from the 
direction of Bautzen. This news induced Lauriston to halt 
for fresh orders, after Ney should have heard it. Mean- 
while, he ordered the V. corps to close up on Wittichenau 
and Maukendorf. 

Ney, reaching Hoyerswerda about 1 1 A.M., received the 
clear orders of the 1 8th, and at once changed his own. The 
V. corps was now to march by Mortke ^ on Opitz and Lip- 
pitsch on the direct road to Klix and Brosa. The III. corps 
was to send Souham's division and Kellermann's cavalry 
brigade as advanced guard to Neudorf, the other four 
divisions to go half to Niesendorf and half to Konigswartha. 

The country between the Black Elster and the Spree 
was marshy, wooded, and covered with ponds to such an 
extent that it was not practicable to march through it at all 
in the autumn, and in the spring there were available only 
two narrow roads.^ 

Lauriston being still not clear of Hoyerswerda, the con- 
sequence was that the III. corps had to wait till even his 

^ This and a few other names do not appear on the maps. The general 
position is shown on Map III., inset (a). 
^Jomini, Vie de Nap.y iv. p. 302. 


baggage was gone before it could get forward on the road 
to Konigswartha.i 

It will be observed that Lauriston's corps, which was 
leading, was now to be passed across from Ney's right to 
his left. Evidently the marshal did this in order to have 
his left leading, and to be certain of reaching the Spree 
with it on the 20th.2 

We now return to the allies and their movement on 
Konigswartha, which had been correctly reported by Major 
Grouchy to Lauriston. They were, as Napoleon desired, 
entirely under the impression that they were about to be 
attacked, in their position behind the Spree, from 
the west only. On the i8th May a despatch was 
captured, which showed that Lauriston would be at 
Senftenberg on the 1 7th, and at Hoyerswerda on the 1 8th.^ 
Though this enlightened the allies as to the fact that 
Lauriston was coming up, the direction of his march led 
them to believe that he would join Napoleon, and the 
attack would still be a frontal one from the west only. 
They also believed Ney to be a day's march behind 
Lauriston. This induced Wittgenstein to think that it 
might be possible to cut off Lauriston before he was sup- 
ported. The plan was communicated to Barclay, who was 
to carry it out, in the evening of the i8th, and early in the 
morning of the 1 9th Wittgenstein wrote to him that, when 
he (Barclay) was heard to be in action, an attack would be 
made on the French left in front of Bautzen, in order to 
prevent its interfering with the expedition. This, von 
Caemmerer says, was nonsense ; no preparations were ever 
made for such an attack. 

^ General von Cammerer points out that Ney might have got over this difficulty 
by sending Lauriston's main body by Wittichenau to Konigswartha, and detain- 
ing his baggage till the III, corps was clear of Hoyerswerda, Instead of that 
he sent Lauriston by the Maukendorf road, the III, corps had to wait till his 
baggage was gone, and only reached Konigswartha with its advanced guard in 
the evening. 

2 In the above account of the orders to and by Ney, Col, Lanrezac's analysis and 
criticisms have been generally followed, 

® Foucart i., p. 233 (Berthier to Bertrand), and p. 263 note. 


Barclay's force for this very risky adventure consisted of 
his own Russians and Yorck's Prussians, in all about 24,000 
men. Tschaplitz, with the advanced guard, crossed the 
Spree, very early in the morning of the 19th, at Nieder 
Gurig, marching direct for Johnsdorf over the wooded 
heights beyond the French left. 

Langeron and Rajewski, crossing at Klix, made for the 
same point by Milkel and Opitz. Yorck went farther 
north by Brosa, Guttau, Lomischau, and Lieske, through the 
woods towards Hermsdorf. 

Tschaplitz's line took him within ij miles of Bertrand's 
outposts at Lubachau, who observed and reported his march. 
But Bertrand took no action. He had already sent off 
Peyri's Italian division to Konigswartha to get into touch 
with Lauriston. There it bivouacked about noon with total 
disregard of all measures of security. The outposts were 
badly placed, and no attempt was made to discover what 
there might be in the surrounding woods. 

At I P.M. Barclay joined Tschaplitz, who was quite aware 
of the presence and unmilitary attitude of the Italians, since 
his scouts had been close up to their outposts. Of what 
ensued there is no very clear account forthcoming. All 
that is certain is that Peyri, whom the Russians believed to 
be Lauriston's advanced guard, was attacked and badly 
beaten, with a loss of 2860 men, including 750 prisoners. 
The pursuit only ceased at Wartha at 5 P.M., when Keller- 
mann was met with Ney's advanced guard. 

Yorck, meanwhile, had started at the same time as 
Langeron. Having to go by a road five miles longer, by 
Hermsdorf, Weissig, Neu Steinitz, and Wartha, against 
Lauriston's left flank, he should have started two hours 
earlier. At 3 p.m. he found the enemy in force at Herms- 
dorf It was the head of Lauriston's corps. Yorck was 
^fighting this when he received an order from Barclay to 
fmove to Johnsdorf as reserve. 

Circumstances having changed since the order was 
lispatched, Yorck would have been justified in delaying 
Compliance with this order. But his ideas of unhesitating 


obedience induced him to attempt to break off his action 
and comply at once. As he was doing so, another order 
arrived from Barclay, who, having discovered that he was 
not engaged with Lauriston, but with Peyri's division of 
Bertrand's corps, now desired Yorck to hold on at Weissig. 
He did his best, and as he received reinforcements from 
Barclay, was able to put up a very good fight, though he 
could not recover the position he had evacuated. It was 
only late at night that, leaving his bivouac fires burning, he 
retreated on Klix, where he had been preceded by Barclay. 
Both rejoined the main army on the 20th, though it was not 
till after noon that Yorck was back. He had lost about 
iioo, Barclay about 900 men. 

This expedition must be characterised as a very rash one, 
from which the allies escaped more by good luck than good 
guidance. They had sent about one-fourth of their whole 
army in the hope of striking a blow at Lauriston, whose 
corps, if complete, should have been 19,000 strong. The 
expeditionary force passed almost under Bertrand's nose, 
but he did nothing. Even Napoleon, when he heard the 
firing on his left rear at Konigswartha, took no notice. He 
afterwards censured Bertrand for his slackness, but he must 
bear a considerable share of the blame himself 

Again, the allies had a great piece of luck in colliding 
only with Peyri's division and part of Lauriston's corps. 
Had Ney managed his march better, they might have had 
him also on their hands. 

Napoleon, posted as he was in front of Bautzen, could 
have easily contained the allied main army with the VI., 
XL, XII., and Guard corps (86,000 in all against 72,000 
allies), whilst he sent the rest of Bertrand's corps against 
the left and rear of Barclay and Yorck. 

The attack on Peyri and Lauriston had a very remark- 
able effect on Ney. At 9 P.M. he wrote from Maukendorf 
to Berthier, saying that he had learnt from a prisoner that 
the enemy was marching on Hoyerswerda. " Two divisions," 
he added, " are here with me ; it is at Buchwalde ^ that I 

^ Less than two miles south of Maukendorf. 


shall receive battle if the enemy attacks me to-morrow." 
He was clearly very much at sea still as to the real 
positions about Bautzen. For that he had no sufficient 
excuse after the receipt of the letter from Berthier saying 
the enemy held Bautzen as the " head of his position." 

During the 19th there was no operation on the main 
front, except a reconnaissance by Eugen of Wurtemberg 
towards Quatitz, which only returned at 1 1 P.M. 



IT is now necessary to describe the field of the two 
days' battle of Bautzen. 
The general line of division between the opponents 
on the 20th May was the river Spree, from about 
Doberschau, where it changes its course from north-west to 
a little east of north, to Leichnam beyond Klix. From 
Doberschau to Oehna, just below Bautzen, the stream 
flows in a steep-sided valley, some 150 feet in average 
depth. The command varies from bank to bank. Be- 
yond Oehna, as far as the Gottlobsberg, about two miles 
lower down, the right bank generally commands the left. 
Beyond this point the river is bordered by meadows, in 
which, especially on the right bank, are numerous shallow^ 
muddy ponds used for breeding carp, of which one sees a 
whole cart-load taken from a single pond. Through these 
ponds run a little branch of the Spree, which enables them 
to be filled or emptied when the fish have to be taken up. 
Across them, as in the case of the long line running north 
from Doberschiitz, there are narrow causeways separating 
them into compartments. These ponds, and the marshy 
land around them, are a very serious military obstacle even 
for infantry. The Spree is here a small stream, comparable, 
perhaps, to the Mole about Dorking. It is fordable in most 
places in ordinary weather, though here and there are deep 
reaches, one of which is where the road from Nieder Gurig 
to Bautzen crosses above the former village between the 
Gottlobsberg and the Kiefernberg. 

^ In some accounts the first day's battle (20th May) is called the battle of 
Bautzen, whilst the second day's is called Wurschen. For plan of battle, see 
Map III. 


The extreme south of the battlefield was on the wooded 
heights of the Drohmberg and the Schmoritzberg, the last 
outliers of the Lusatian mountain in this direction. 

The space enclosed between the Spree and the villages 
of Doberschau, Rieschen, Litten, and Kreckwitz is a rolling 
plateau of no very marked features. North-west of Kreck- 
witz is a mass of somewhat more marked elevation, known 
generally as the Kreckwitz heights.^ North of this mass the 
field is generally flat, with a few knolls scattered about, the 
most notable being those between Malschwitz and Gleina, 
culminating in the windmill height south-west of the latter 
place. All this part of the field is dotted over with carp 
ponds, as shown on the map. 

Roughly parallel to the Spree, on an average about two 
miles east of it, flows the Blosaer Wasser, from about Blosa 
to Kreckwitz. Hence it flows past Purschwitz and Klein 
Bautzen to join the Lobauer Wasser. As a stream it is 
quite unimportant, but its valley, especially from about 
Auritz to Kreckwitz, was marshy, and an excellent protec- 
tion for a position east of it. One feature outside the 
battlefield must be mentioned, the church spire of Hochkirch, 
where Frederick had been surprised by Daun. It is covered 
with copper, turned green with verdigris, and, standing out 
as it does on a commanding spur of the mountains, it forms 
a notable landmark, visible from almost every part of the 
battlefield, and from far beyond it. 

The town of Bautzen had, in 18 13, some 7000 or 8000 
inhabitants. It was surrounded by an old wall, of which 
small portions are still to be seen on the river front. The 
deep narrow gorge of the Spree, west of the town, was 
hardly open to frontal attack, but could be turned by the 
stone bridge higher up, or from lower down. 

The allies' first idea had been to defend the line of the 
Spree, but the objections to this were (i) the varying com- 
mand of the bank ; (2) the fact that the river was generally 

1 It was to a position on these heights, extending from about Kreckwitz to 
Burk, that Frederick the Great retired after his disastrous defeat at Hochkirch 
on the 14th October 1758. 


fordable ; and (3) the extent of the line as compared with 
their available forces. 

They decided, therefore, on placing their main line 
behind the valley of the Blosaer Wasser, and only fighting 
an advanced guard action on the line of the Spree about 

In addition to the natural protection of the valley of the 
Blosaer Wasser, they had carried out a very considerable 
amount of fortification on a line which generally offered an 
excellent field of fire. Their left rested on the hills, the 
Drohmberg and Schmoritzberg, which, with their woods and 
villages, made a strong support. The centre, from the hills 
to Kreckwitz, was covered with redoubts or batteries armed 
with a powerful artillery sweeping open slopes. The chief 
of these were : — 

(i) One on the left, on the height north-east of 

(2) One on a height behind Rabitz. 

(3) Three between the Bautzen- Hochkirch road at Jenk- 
witz, and Baschiitz. 

(4) Three between Baschiitz and the Bautzen- Weissen- 
berg road. 

(5) Three, in continuation of these, between the road and 

Besides these there were numerous smaller works along 
this line, and on the Kreckwitz heights villages were fortified 
and abattis set up in the woods. The French engineers, 
sent for the purpose later on, destroyed no less than 78 
redoubts, batteries, and epaulements on the allies' 

The position, including the Kreckwitz heights projecting 
like a bastion on the right front, was generally a good one. 
Its left was within about 6 miles of the Austrian frontier, 
and, therefore, not likely to be turned by a large force. 

^ No traces of these redoubts are now apparent, except, perhaps, in a mound 
near the modern drill ground, which may represent one of the northernmost 

* Foucart, i. p. 293, note. 


The weak points were its extent, and the danger of its 
being turned on its right from the north. It was excellent 
so long as it was only attacked from the west. With the 
advance of a strong force from Klix on Hochkirch, it was 
untenable for long, as the right was " in the air." 

But all the allies' dispositions proceeded on the assump- 
tion that an attack was to be expected from the direction 
of Dresden only. On the 19th May, Gneisenau inferred, 
from the reports received, that there might also be an 
attack from the north, but his warnings were disregarded. 
There was a strong difference of opinion on several points 
between him and Wittgenstein. The hope of the allies was 
to be able to hold the Frencji centre and right, whilst 
turning their left. 

The strength of the allied army was as follows — ^ 

I. Russians. 


Miloradowich 8,800 
Gortchakow 10,500 

Grand Duke ) 

dnef "•• 

Tolly } 9,15° 

1 Kleist 1,400 

Constantine f "'^^"^ 
Barclay de 



Artillery & 



3 J 40c 






































II. Prussians. 

2 Kleist 








Grand total 




^ Fruhjahrsfeldzug, ii. iSi. 

* Kleist's corps was partly Russian, partly Prussian, as shown. 


A round 100,000 was made up by detachments on the 
French flanks and rear. 

These troops were thus disposed — 

(i) Miloradowich, holding the line of the Spree from 
Doberschau to Burk as advanced guard. 

(2) Russian main body (Gortchakow) on the line 
Rieschen-Jenkwitz-Baschiitz, supported by a powerful 
artillery from the reserve. 

(3) Russian reserve infantry south of Canitz-Christina, 
cavalry and horse artillery on both sides of the Weissenberg 

(4) Bliicher, with a brigade on the Kreckwitz heights, in 
front of his main body. 

(5) Barclay, with Yorck behind him at Guttau, stretching 
from Brosa to Klix, with Tschaplitz's advanced guard 

The orders for the battle, issued on the 19th, attempted 
to provide for all contingencies, but missed the very one 
which occurred. 

If Miloradowich found the enemy crossing with superior 
forces above and below Bautzen, he was to fall back on the 
heights between Auritz and Klein Jenkwitz. 

In case the enemy attempted to advance against the 
main position, the following provisions were made : — 

{a) If his attack was directed against the allied right, 
the army was to reinforce that flank by a " flank march," a 
very vague order, as von Caemmerer remarks. 

{b) If the centre were attacked, Barclay and Kleist to 
attack the enemy's left flank. 

{c) If the left were attacked, Barclay and the centre 
were to swing forward and drive the enemy against the 

{d) So, too, if the attack were on both flanks, the right 
was to be strengthened so as to drive the French south- 

No provision was made for what was to happen it 
Napoleon did not attempt the main position at once, or for 
the case of an attack from the north. 


Blucher was directed to move to his right, so as to have 
his left at Kreckwitz and right at Brosa, his line to the 
latter being completed by the Russian cuirassiers and Prussian 
reserve cavalry. Gortchakow was to move into Bliicher's 
former position. Then the order for the move of the 
cavalry to Bliicher's right was cancelled, and Yorck was 
ordered back to Litten. That decided Barclay to confine 
himself to the line Malschwitz-Gleina. Bliicher, on the 
other hand, kept his main body east of the Kreckwitz 
heights, on which was Ziethen's brigade. Two battalions 
held Plieskowitz. Kleist was on the Kreckwitz heights and 
at Burk, Nieder Kaina, and Basankwitz. 

Napoleon, anxious about his broken communications 
with Ney, had, about 7 A.M., ordered Soult, with Bertrand's 
corps and Latour-Maubourg's cavalry, to re-open them. 
Then, finding that they were again open, when he received 
Ney's letter of 9 P.M. on the 19th, he stopped his move- 
ment.^ Napoleon, now assured of the retreat of Barclay 
and Yorck, decided to attack the line of the Spree, so as to 
give Ney more time to come up. About noon the VI. and 
XI. corps began the advance below and above Bautzen. 
Oudinot, with the XII., moved on Singwitz, linked to 
Macdonald's right by Reiset's cavalry brigade. 

It was about I P.M. when Oudinot crossed by the bridge 
and a ford at Singwitz, driving the weak Russian line back 
on the Falkenberg till he was stopped by Russian cavalry. 
He had sent Lorencez's division ^ to the right. Finding 
the Drohmberg and Schmoritzberg weakly held, Lorencez 
got well forward towards Pielitz and Mehlteuer. 

Whilst these events were occurring, Macdonald had got 
over the bridge above Bautzen, and had constructed two 
more bridges there. Marmont, from the heights near 
Oehna, had bombarded the opposite bank with sixty guns. 
Then, passing by a ford, he had got with Compans' division 
into the north-western suburb of Bautzen about 3 P.M. 

^ The fact that he ordered it on the 20th shows that he might well have done 
so on the 19th, to the probable undoing of Barclay and Yorck. 

^ Only one brigade. The other was clearing the woods on the right rear. 


The Russians in Bautzen now evacuated it before the double 
threat of Marmont and Macdonald. Miloradowich, alarmed 
lest he should be cut off by Gudinot, ordered a general 
retirement, for which he was very unfairly blamed at head- 

Marmont's left had gone forward on Nadelwitz, and 
Macdonald to a position facing the heights of Rabitz. As 
the enemy retired, Marmont reinforced his left against Burk 
so as to support Bertrand's attack farther north. Behind 
Macdonald and Marmont, the Guard and two of Latour- 
Maubourg's cavalry divisions crossed and took post on the 
east of Bautzen. In the centre the fighting came to an end 
in this position. 

We return to Gudinot before describing what happened 
in the north. The effect of Lorencez's advance on Piclitz 
and Mehlteuer had been very marked, for it confirmed in 
the mind of the Tsar his preconceived idea that Napoleon 
meant to cut the allies from Austria by turning their left 
and driving them northwards. Since the Tsar was really 
the supreme authority, his belief had a very serious effect 
on all the plans of the allies during both days of battle. 
Nothing would convince him that Napoleon's design was 
the exact reverse of what he had taken it into his head to 
assume. In reality, the Emperor's great design was to roll 
the allies up from their right against the Bohemian frontier. 
Nothing could be more natural in the circumstances ; for 
he knew that Austria was not ready to declare against him, 
and would not be so for several weeks to come. Had she 
then found herself, still unready, with a defeated army 
driven over her northern frontier there was every proba- 
bility that, like Prussia in 1805, she would give way and 
hasten to make her peace with Napoleon by refusing to 
allow the allies to utilise her territory. The allies them- 
selves knew she was not ready, for Stadion had just 
brought a memorandum by Radetzky showing that it would 
not be till the middle of June, at the earliest, that Austria 
could have 120,000 men in Bohemia. 

It was, therefore, Napoleon's wish to draw as many of the 


allied reserves as possible to their left wing, and prevent 
them reinforcing their right against the projected attack of 
Ney from the north. Alexander played into his hands by 
drawing on his already weak reserves to reinforce his left 
against Oudinot Had Napoleon manoeuvred as Alexander 
expected, he might, no doubt, have temporarily separated 
the allies from Austria, but there was nothing to interfere 
with their retreat on Gorlitz, Liegnitz, and Breslau. Then 
the farther the French advanced the greater would have 
been the danger from Austria, busily arming on their right 
flank and rear. 

The Tsar's erroneous view was not shared by Wittgenstein ; 
but his opinion counted for little, and Alexander sent a 
substantial portion of his reserve against Oudinot. 

The latter was now forced back by superior strength to 
Grubditz (Pacthod's division) and Denkwitz (Lorencez's), 
where he bivouacked for the night. 

Meanwhile, Soult, on the French left, had advanced with 
Bertrand's corps. He succeeded, though with heavy loss, in 
reaching the Spree at the Gottlobsberg, and driving its 
defenders on to the Kiefernberg, but he only got a small 
force across the river there. At Nieder Gurig he also had 
a severe struggle to take the village and drive its garrison 
back on the main position at Doberschiitz. Briesing was 
found unoccupied, and Soult's left pushed through it part 
of the way to Plieskowitz. Whilst Soult was attacking, 
Marmont's left division (Bonnet) had succeeded in driving 
Kleist from Burk, and eventually compelling his retreat on 
Litten. This operation had been facilitated by the move- 
ment of Friederichs' division down the valley of the Blosaer 
Wasser on Kleist's left against Basankwitz, which was taken. 
Soult's exit from the defile at the Gottlobsberg was barred 
by a single Prussian battalion on the Kiefernberg, which 
only retired in the night. 

Ney, during the 20th, advanced to Brehmen. He was 
annoyed during the march by Lanskoi's and Tschaplitz's 
cavalry, but these were presently driven off by Kellermann 
and Ney's leading division. That night Ney's five divisions 


bivouacked at Sdier ; Lauriston was at and behind Sarchen ; 
Puthod's division (of Lauriston's corps) was at Steinitz ; 
Reynier at Hoyerswerda ; Victor still far behind at Senften- 

The object of Napoleon's attack on the 20th had been 
to " fix " the enemy in his main position until he could 
bring up Ney on his right flank and rear. There was a 
certain amount of risk if the allies should make a deter- 
mined counter attack on the IV., VI., XL, and XII. corps 
when they had crossed the Spree. On the whole, however, 
it seems probable that this would have failed, seeing that 
Napoleon still had the Guard and Latour-Maubourg's 
cavalry in reserve. With them he was very little inferior in 
strength to the whole allied army. Colonel Lanrezac 
points out that Napoleon did by design what the allies had 
done unintentionally at Liitzen, namely, had attacked so 
late in the day that it was out of the question for the enemy 
to inflict a decisive defeat on him, even if they succeeded 
in compelling him to recross the Spree. If he had to do 
that he would still be in a position to carry out his design 
for the next day ; for the line of the Spree was not nearly 
so defensible for the allies as their main position behind 
the Blosaer Wasser. 

Wittgenstein had, indeed, at one time contemplated such 
a counter attack, but it had been abandoned before the 
issue of his orders of the 1 9th ; for the order to Milora- 
dowich not to hold on too long on the Spree was entirely 
inconsistent with any such idea. 

During the night the allies held councils of war, both at 
the headquarters of the King of Prussia (Wurschen) and at 
those of the Tsar at Purschwitz. What was said at them 
has not been recorded, but von Caemmerer concludes that 
even then the allied commanders completely failed to 
recognise the danger of their position. 

Napoleon had in reality only very imperfectly " fixed " 
the enemy. Had they not already unwisely decided to 
defend their main position under any circumstances, there 
was nothing in the events of the 20th to forbid their retreat 


during the ensuing night. That would have been their 
wisest course. 

The Battle of the 2ist May. 

Napoleon's orders to Ney of the i8th only directed him 
on Drehsa (Brosa). On the 20th fresh orders were sent. 
They appear to have been issued about 4 P.M./ to have 
been carried by Ney's own staff officer, and to have reached 
him only at 4 a.m. on the 2ist.^ They were signed by 
Berthier, and directed Ney to drive the enemy from 
Drehsa, and thence march on Weissenberg, so as to turn 
the enemy. 

These orders, as von Caemmerer points out, were wanting 
in clearness, since they mixed up matters which should be 
kept distinct. The direction to march on Weissenberg 
could only come into force, he says, if it was desired to 
manoeuvre the enemy from his position, or if he of his own 
accord withdrew from the battle. If the enemy were still 
in his position on the 21st, Ney ought to march, not south- 
east on Weissenberg, but due south on Hochkirch. There- 
fore, the Prussian writer thinks, there is nothing remarkable 
in Ney's replying that, as he heard firing in the direction of 
Hochkirch and Bautzen, he should await further orders 
before marching on Weissenberg. Here we must raise the 
question whether Napoleon ever meant " Drehsa near 
Gottamelde " to be sent to Ney as a direction. On Petri's 
map, which he is said to have used, there are two Drehsas, 
one (really Brosa) near Gottamelde (Guttau), the other 
south of Wurschen, in the direct line from Klix to Hoch- 
kirch.^ Napoleon's order to Berthier speaks merely of 
Drehsa, without any description. Napoleon, who had studied 

1 Foucart, i. p. 289, note 2. ' Idtd. , i. p. 309, note 2. 

' Petri was a Prussian officer of Frederick, and published his map in 1763. 
Why should he have made a mistake and written Drehsa for Brosa ? (It seems 
probable Brosa was the right name as it is now.) The mistake may have arisen 
from the local pronunciation which sounds '*o" or *'ce" as "e." The author 
himself was directed by a blacksmith at Nimmschiitz to " Ena," which, on con- 
sulting the map, he found to be CEhna. 


Frederick's campaigns, would know Drehsa south of Wur- 
schen, as the strong position where Frederick made a stand 
to cover his retreat from Hochkirch to Kreckwitz. It was 
right in the centre of the space between the roads by which 
the enemy could retreat on Gorlitz and Lobau, and the 
point on which, looking at his map at Dresden, he would 
naturally direct Ney ; for the map did not tell him that 
Hochkirch spire was a much better landmark. Most writers 
assume that Berthier was right in adding the description 
" near Gottamelde." On the other hand, Jomini ^ says 
Napoleon indicated the Drehsa south of Wurschen, and 
that he (Jomini) got Ney to march on Hochkirch spire, 
which was the same direction.^ Count Yorck von Warten- 
burg ^ also says Napoleon indicated " Drehsa in the rear 
of the allies," a description which does not apply to " Drehsa 
near Gottamelde." Again, Ney's main point of passage of 
the Spree would naturally be by the road at Klix. Why 
should Napoleon give him as a further line of direction one 
of scarcely a mile (the distance from Klix to Brosa) ? The 
prolongation of this short line (Klix-Brosa) would carry 
Ney on parallel to the line of the main attack to a point 
north even of Weissenberg. 

The bearer of Ney's reply to the order to march on 
Weissenberg reached Napoleon on the heights east of 
Bautzen after 7 a.m. The Emperor personally explained 
to him the enemy's position. Whether he told him where 
Ney was to make for is not clear. The staff officer was 
sent back with a pencil note as follows : — " The intention 
of the Emperor is that you should follow constantly the 
movement of the enemy. His Majesty has shown your 
staff officer the positions of the enemy, which are defined 
by the redoubts which he has constructed and occupies. 
The intention of the Emperor is that you should be this 
morning at 1 1 o'clock at the village of Preititz. You 
will be on the extreme right of the enemy. As soon as 
the Emperor sees you engaged at Preititz we shall attack 

1 Vie de Nap. iv., p. 311, note. * Ibid., p. 305, note. 

^ Napoleon as a General, ii., p. 257. 


vigorously at all points. Cause General Lauriston to march 
on your left so as to be in a position to turn the enemy if 
your movement decides him to abandon his position." 

It was perhaps proper in a " directive," which should 
leave a commander of a separate force a free hand, not to 
prescribe the direction to be taken after Preititz, but, on the 
other hand, the orders were much too definite in prescribing 
the hour at which Ney was to reach Preititz. Again, there 
is in the orders no clear statement of the Emperor's general 
plan, and of the part Ney was to play in it The effects of 
this order will be seen later as the course of the battle is 
described, which may best be done in periods. 

First period — up to 1 1 A.M. 

Oudinot began the attack with the French right at day- 
break. At first he was successful, Pacthod capturing 
Rieschen, and Lorencez storming Pielitz and Dohlen. 
I This so alarmed the Tsar, who still believed in Napoleon's 
design to cut the allies from Bohemia, that he drew again 
on his weak reserves to reinforce Miloradowich. That 
general, with about 20,000 men against Oudinot's 15,000, 
now drove the latter back on to the Drohmberg and the 
heights east of Binnewitz. This was about 1 1 A.M. 
Oudinot, who had already asked for reinforcements, again 
appealed for them to the Emperor, who did not even 

On Oudinot's left, Macdonald got on to the heights of 
Rabitz, from which he maintained a heavy cannonade. 

In the centre Marmont's three divisions stood inactive on 
the heights of Burk, with infantry occupying Nadelwitz, 
Nieder Kaina, and Basankwitz. 

The Guard infantry stood in squares on the high ground 
north-east of Bautzen. Guard cavalry and Latour-Mau- 
bourg on the right of the infantry, behind Macdonald's 

Soult, with Bertrand's corps, had announced that at day- 
break he would be on the plateau east of the Spree. But 
IZiethen's battalion was only withdrawn from the Kiefern- 
berg at dawn, and there were difficulties in constructing a 


bridge below the Gottlobsberg, where the water was deep. 
At 1 1 A.M. Bertrand was still not across, and it was not till 
2 P.M. that he had 20,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry and 30 
guns on the right bank. He was therefore very far from 
having done what Napoleon expected when he sent orders 
to Soult (at the same time as he sent those to Ney), to 
attack the enemy vigorously with three divisions advancing 
between Marmont and Ney. 

Ney, on the French left, had started at between 4 and 5 
A.M. to cross the Spree at Klix. As Lauriston's leading 
division reached Klix, it found Kellermann's advanced 
guard still in bivouac there. Crossing the Spree Lauriston 
met Tschaplitz's Russians, and turned leftwards towards 
Leichnam in order to outflank them. Lanskoi's Russian 
cavalry (2400) was still on Lauriston's left at Lomischau. 
Leaving four battalions, a squadron, and two guns to deal 
with Lanskoi, Lauriston marched on Brosa, Tschaplitz 
retiring from Saiga before him through Brosa and Guttau, 
which latter he fired in order to delay Lauriston's passage 
of the Lobauer Wasser. Lauriston had only two divisions 
with him, as Ney had stopped Maison's, and sent it by 
Saiga on Malschiitz to protect his own right. 

Ney now decided to attack Barclay, who stood on the 
heights of Gleina with about 5000 men, the rest of his 
1 5,000 being 2400 with Lanskoi, 2 battalions in Guttau, 
2 in the wood between Brosa and Gleina, and 3 in Mal- 
schiitz. As Ney had some 1 8,000 men, Barclay fell back 
without serious resistance on Prcititz with his main body, 
whilst he sent his reserve to reinforce Tschaplitz, who was 
now at Buchwalde east of Gleina. Barclay had already 
called on Bliicher for reinforcements to be sent to Preititz. 
There, however, he was alarmed for his line of retreat by 
the advance of Lauriston, who had driven Tschaplitz back 
as far as the Schafberg east of Buchwalde, where the 
Russian was joined by Lanskoi and Barclay's reserve. 
Lauriston was now trying to turn his right. 

Barclay, therefore, leaving only two battalions in Preititz, 
marched to Baruth to protect the line of retreat. It was 


10 A.M. when Ney found himself on the windmill heights of 
Gleina. On his right Maison was preparing to storm 
Malschiitz ; Lauriston had still not got beyond Guttau. 

It was at this juncture that his staff officer, who had had 
to make a long round by Klix, returned with Napoleon's 
pencil orders and verbal explanations. Jomini urged Ney 
to advance at once on Preititz, but the marshal pointed to 
the order saying he was expected to be there at 11. 
Nothing would induce him to act otherwise than by the 
letter of the orders, and he remarked that an hour hence 
Maison would have taken Malschiitz, and Lauriston would 
have got to Buchwalde. He decided to wait an hour. He 
had now got up the divisions of Souham, Delmas, Albert, 
Ricard, 23,000 infantry, so that he could have taken 
Preititz with the greatest ease. 

Now, however, according to Jomini, Ney had got into his 
obstinate and not over clear head a new idea. " When 
Ney saw the fine heights of Klein Bautzen, he was carried 
away by the idea that they were the key of the position." ^ 
That made him hold that he ought to wait for the arrival 
of Reynier, and then attack the heights. Therefore, towards 

1 1 o'clock, he adopted a half measure by sending Souham 
alone against Preititz. Delmas was echeloned, out of sup- 
porting distance, on Souham's right, whilst Albert and 
Ricard were kept right back in reserve. At the same time, 
orders were sent to Lauriston to close in on Ney's left. 
Lauriston, however, did not obey at once, for he saw that 
by a flank march he would merely lose time. 

As we have said, Barclay had left only two battalions in 
Preititz, who could practically make no fight against Souham. 
Thus at 1 1 A.M. Ney had a division in Preititz, which was 
more or less of a literal compliance with Napoleon's orders. 
Had he had his whole corps there, and been on the move 
towards Hochkirch, as Jomini urged him, Bliicher could 
hardly have held on to the Kreckwitz heights, and, the 

^ Letter from Jomini to Major Wagner, dated 15th April 1823, quoted by von 
Caemmerer in '' Fruhjarhrsfeldzug^ 1813." The "heights of Klein Bautzen'* 
mean the Kreckwitz heights. 


pressure in front of Soult being removed, that marshal also 
would have got forward. 

Second period — ii A.M. to 3 P.M. 

We left Oudinot, at 1 1 A.M., falling back before Milora- 
dowich. At noon he again urgently demanded reinforce- 
ments. This time he got an answer : " Tell your marshal," 
said the Emperor to Gudinot's galloper, *' that the battle 
will be won by 3 o'clock, from now till then he must hold 
on as best he may." As a matter of fact, Gudinot's position 
was not so bad as he imagined. He had not yet engaged 
his Bavarian division, and, when Macdonald on his left 
threatened an advance with his right from Grubditz on 
Binnewitz, the Russian advance came to a standstill, and 
Oudinot was able to hold on at Ebendorfel and on the 
heights in rear of Binnewitz. 

Napoleon was quite satisfied ; for Gudinot and Macdonald 
had drawn on themselves nearly the whole of the allies' left 
wing, and a great part of the reserve, which it was the 
Emperor's design to prevent being sent to the allied right. 
If Macdonald and Gudinot were forced back, so much the 
better, for that would facilitate the scheme for driving the 
enemy against the mountains. 

The Tsar and the King of Prussia had taken post in the 
early morning on the heights near Klein Jenkwitz, on the 
Bautzen-Hochkirch road. Thence, they could, with a good 
glass, recognise the person of Napoleon about two miles off. 
At 9 A.M. the French Emperor, exhausted by a sleepless 
night, had lain down on the ground and gone calmly to 
sleep in the midst of his Guard. In this extraordinary 
position, with the enemy's shells bursting at times close to 
him, he slept till 1 1. 

The Tsar, meanwhile, had become more and more con- 
vinced that the danger was to his left. In vain did 
Wittgenstein say to him, " I will wager my head that this 
is only a demonstration ; Napoleon's idea is to outflank our 
right and drive us on Bohemia." ^ 

When Napoleon awoke at 11 A.M. to hear the sound of 

^ Danilewski, p. lOi. 


Souham's attack on Preititz, his view of which was shut out 
by the Kreckwitz heights, he ordered Marmont forward 
across the Blosaer Wasser between Nieder Kaina and the 
Bautzen- Hochkirch road. The infantry of the VI. corps, 
sheltered by the ground, now stood within twenty minutes* 
march of the enemy's redoubts, whilst the artillery kept up 
a tremendous fire. 

Into the gap between Marmont's left at Nieder Kaina 
and Bertrand's right the Emperor sent Barrois' division of 
Young Guard who fired with artillery on Kreckwitz village 
on their left, and the redoubts south of Litten on their 

The rest of the Guard and Latour-Maubourg stood as 
reserve, with eighty guns, behind Basankwitz. 

It was I P.M. before Bertrand, under Soult's orders, had 
his bridge ready close under the Kiefernberg, where it was 
defiladed from the enemy's artillery on the Kreckwitz 
heights. His artillery, which had hitherto kept silent, 
leaving the enemy to waste his ammunition, now opened 
fire from the Gottlobs and Kiefern Bergs to prepare the way 
for the advance, about 2.30 P.M., of Franquemont's Wur- 
tembergers on Kreckwitz. This division, regardless of a 
murderous artillery fire, pushed gallantly on, forcing the 
allied batteries to retire from the Koppatschberg, which 
was stormed, and artillery brought up on to its flanks. One 
Wurtemberg battalion even got into Kreckwitz, but was 
driven out and almost all of it taken prisoner by reinforce- 
ments sent from Yorck's right at Litten. 

Simultaneously with Franquemont's advance, Morand's 
division had one column moving against Plieskowitz from 
Briesing, another from Nieder Gurig on Doberschiitz, and a 
third from the Galgenberg on the Weisser Stein.^ 

By 3 P.M. Bliicher was forced back to the line Dober- 
schiitz- Weinberg-Kreckwitz (village). 

^ Two of Barrois' five regiments with half a battery had been sent there 

* This appears to be the curious outcrop of white stone close to which one 
passes in walking by the cross road from Kreckwitz to Doberschiitz. 


We left Ney, at 1 1 A.M., with Souham's division in 
Preititz, or just arriving there. It will be remembered that 
Barclay, seeing Ney's advance on Gleina, had asked support 
from Bliicher. In compliance with this demand, Bliicher 
had, at lo A.M., sent four battalions to the eastern slope of 
the Kreckwitz heights above Klein Bautzen. Then he ordered 
Roder to send three more battalions into Preititz. As the 
latter advanced along the left bank of the Blosaer Wasser, 
they met Souham debouching from Preititz and attacked so 
vigorously as to drive him back into it. The rest of Roder's 
brigade coming up, as well as a regiment sent by Kleist 
from east of Purschwitz, there ensued a desperate struggle 
in Preititz, the result of which was that Souham was driven 
from the village back on the divisions of Albert and Ricard. 
About I P.M. the three divisions fell back on Gleina 

Ney, who could now see the rear of the allied centre and 
knew that Napoleon had not yet attacked it, sent urgent 
calls to hurry up Reynier, who was just crossing the Spree 
at Klix, and to insist on Lauriston's closing in from the 

The latter had manoeuvred Tschaplitz off the Schaiberg, 
and was following him towards Barclay, who now occupied 
the heights between Rackel and Briesnitz. 

Lauriston, leaving Rochambeau's division and half his 
cavalry to contain Barclay, reluctantly marched with 
Lagrange's division and the rest of the cavalry by Buch- 
walde on Preititz. All told, he had only about 10,000 men, 
including Rochambeau ; for Puthod's division was only just 
coming up to Gleina, and Maison's had been sent by Ney 
against Malschiitz. 

Maison, after storming Malschiitz, had taken Plieskowitz, 
then being driven from it again, and only finally got posses- 
sion of it when, towards 3 P.M., the Prussians retired on to 
the heights before the combined advance of Maison and that 
of Bertrand's left column from Briesing. 

When Souham was driven from Preititz, Ney sent Del mas, 
supported by Albert and Ricard, to retake it. The village 


was now held by Kleist only ; for Bliicher had been obliged 
to recall Roder to form his own reserve. Kleist now (about 
2 P.M.) saw Preititz threatened by Ney's three divisions in 
front, and by Lauriston on the right. The village was 
stormed by Delmas ; then he was driven out again, once 
more re-took it, and finally held it as Kleist, alarmed for his 
retreat, fell back on the heights south-west of Belgern. 

As Delmas advanced on Preititz, he had suffered from 
artillery fire from the northern slopes of the Kreckwitz 
heights. This seems to have confirmed Ney in his belief 
that he was bound to attack the heights. If the marshal 
was amenable in the council chamber, he took the bit 
between his teeth on the battlefield, and it was in vain that 
Jomini again told him that the decision lay in a march 
directed on the Hochkirch spire. He had now 3 2,000 men 
available, without counting the shattered division of Souham, 
Maison, Rochambeau, or Reynier. The " accursed heights 
of Kreckwitz," as Jomini styles them, continued to attract 

As soon, therefore, as Delmas was in Preititz, he was 
ordered to face to his right for the attack on the heights, 
which would have to be made in face of a heavy artillery 
fire, and across a tract divided up by ponds with narrow 
causeways between them. 

Third period. After 3 P.M. 

During this period almost the whole interest of the battle 
centres round the Kreckwitz heights and the allied right. 
Bliicher's position on these heights was becoming more and 
more perilous. Bertrand's advance had driven him back to 
the line Doberschiitz- Weinberg -Kreckwitz, facing west. 
Maison was coming from the north ; Delmas, Ricard, Albert, 
and Lauriston were advancing from the north-east ; Barrois 
threatened Kreckwitz from the south. 

Bliicher had already called on Yorck for help ; he could 
see Marmont's masses threatening the allies' centre, and the 
Imperial Guard apparently on the point of advancing from 
Basankwitz on Litten. Yorck was very weak in his position 
about Litten, but he at once sent off Steinmetz's brigade, 


which apparently was the force that destroyed the Wurtem- 
berg battalion in Kreckwitz. As soon as Yermolow with 
part of the Russian Guard came up to relieve him south of 
Litten, Yorck, leaving behind only two battalions, started 
with the rest. 

But it was too late, for Bliicher, soon after 3 P.M., finding 
himself quite unable to resist the immensely superior forces 
advancing from three sides against the heights, decided to 
evacuate them. He had very little time to spare ; indeed, 
Miiffling says ^ that he warned Bliicher that there was just 
a quarter of an hour left before the narrow gap in the circle 
of French would be closed. The old Prussian consented 
most reluctantly to retreat. Kliix was sent off first, 
followed by Ziethen. As they reached Kreckwitz, they 
met and passed through Steinmetz's and Horn's brigades of 
Yorck's corps. The Prussian troops retired in perfect order 
to a position north and south of Purschwitz, where Roder's 
brigade had already taken post. The cavalry covered the 
retreat, and succeeded in saving one of their batteries, 
which had very nearly fallen into the hands of the Wurtem- 
berg cavalry. 

Meanwhile, as the Prussians left the Kreckwitz heights, 
the tide of the French attack rose over them. Ney's men 
from the north and north-east, Bertrand's from the west and 
south, rushed on to the plateau to find no enemy left there, 
and to meet only their friends from the opposite side. The 
two corps were " clubbed " on the plateau, and it took an 
hour before they could get properly disentangled. Ney, 
as he reached the heights, saw to his disgust that the 
Prussians had slipped unharmed through the gap which he 
had left by his fatal right turn at Preititz, and were 
retreating in perfect order. He sent immediate orders to 
Lauriston to head them off, but it was too late. 

It was not till Ney had taken Preititz for the second 
time that the Tsar at last realised that the danger was to 
the right of the allies, and that now there was nothing left 
but immediate retreat. Yermolow, with part of the Russian 

^ Passages from my Life, etc., p. 41- 


Guard, was sent off to support the right, and took Yorck's 
place south of Litten. His infantry was very weak, and, 
though with the cavalry and artillery they might have 
checked Barrois' Young Guard division alone, they could 
not withstand him as well as the Wurtembergers following 
the Prussians through Kreckwitz. Yermolow, therefore, fell 
back eastwards with the guns, covered by one of Yorck's 
battalions and by Corswant's cavalry. 

In the centre, Napoleon still hoped, with Marmont's 
corps, Latour-Maubourg's cavalry, and the Guard, to drive 
the allied left on the mountains. But Eugen of Wurtem- 
berg retired so slowly and threateningly along the Lobau 
road that all the troops of the allied left got safely away 
under his protection. Latour-Maubourg's inferior cavalry 
could do nothing against that of the Russians. 

Orders for the allies' retreat were only issued at 4 P.M. 
It was to be in three columns ; on the north Barclay, in a 
strong position at Briesnitz, and Rackel, was to hold on till 
the centre, the Prussians and Yermolow, got away to 
Wurschen. The southern column, Miloradowich, was to 
march on Lobau, covered by the left centre. 

In this manner the retreat was carried out in perfect 
order. The French pursuit was hindered, not only by the 
action of the rearguards, but also by a violent storm of rain 
which broke over the field about 6 P.M. There was never 
the slightest foundation for the statement in Napoleon's 
bulletin that the retreat " soon became a flight." 

Into the details of this retreat we need not enter. There 
were several sharp fights, by no means always ending in 
the victory of the French. 

When darkness finally stopped the fighting, the allies 
stood thus : — 

Barclay, north of Weissenberg, with rearguard (Tschaplitz 
and Dolffs' cavalry) at Groditz. 

Bliicher and most of the Prussians east and south-east of 

Yermolow's division and Katzeler's cavalry brigade, 


Russians (less Barclay and Yermolow), Lobau. 

St Priest's rearguard, Hochkirch. 

Immanuel, Kassarow, and Orlow were four or five miles 
south at Cunewalde. 

The allies still had, after allowing for the losses of the 
day, some 45,000 men on the northern, and 40,000 on the 
southern road. 

The French had reached the following points : — 

XI. corps (Macdonald) at Meschwitz, south-west of Hoch- 

XII. corps (Gudinot), behind XI., at Soritz and Blosa. 

VI. corps (Marmont), Waditz, with cavalry at Canitz- 

IV. corps (Bertrand), at and south of Drehsa.^ 
III. corps (Ney), and V. (Lauriston), Wurschen. 

VII. corps (Reynier), Belgern. 

Guard and Imperial headquarters, Neu Purschwitz. 

The losses of the allies for the two days' battle are given 
by von Caemmerer as 10,850, of whom 2790 belonged to 
Bliicher's corps. Very few prisoners were lost, and no 
trophies, except a few disabled guns, which had to be left 

The French lost at least double these numbers. The 
lowest estimate puts them at 20,000, the highest at 25,000. 
Perhaps it is safe to take von Caemmerer's of 22,500, 
inclusive of 3700 " missing," of whom 800 were prisoners, 
and the rest marauders and stragglers, many of whom re- 
joined later, or turned up at Dresden. 

Napoleon had on the field on the 2 1 st May — 

Ney's army . 87,500 
Main army . 115,000 

Total . 202,500 2 with 543 guns. 

* The Drehsa south of Wurschen. 

' Statement given at beginning of Foucart, i. These numbers are exclusive 
of Victor and Sebastiani, who were not up. Lanrezac puts the total at i7o,ocx) 
men, of whom, he says, only about 90,000 were seriously engaged, viz. the III., 
IV. and XII. corps, and parts of V. and XI. 


Yet he had only gained another Liitzen, something very 
far short of the decisive victory which he hoped for, and 
had a fair right to expect. 

Before going further, we may note here that Lanrezac 
freely admits that much of the failure of the French was 
due to the superior morale of the allied troops, especially of 
the Prussians, who were animated by a noble spirit of 
patriotism, and by the desperation of men fighting for the 
preservation of hearth and home. They had a long series 
of grievous wrongs to avenge. But this spirit alone could 
hardly have saved them against Napoleon's overwhelming 
superiority of numbers, had his scheme been executed as it 
was designed. 

Von Caemmerer has remarked on the strong resemblance 
in general design between the battle of the 21st and that 
which the Prussians fought fifty-three years later at Sadowa. 
If we take the Blosaer Wasser as representing the Bistritz, 
the Kreckwitz heights as those north of Chlum, Napoleon's 
army as the Prussian I. and Elbe armies, and Ney's as that 
of the Prussian Crown Prince, the resemblance is obvious. 
There was, it is true, no river corresponding to the Elbe 
behind the allies, but the defile leading to Gorlitz may be 
taken to represent that. Napoleon, for the first time in his 
military career, deliberately aimed at concentrating on and 
not short of the battlefield, and the event showed that the 
instruments at his disposal were not sufficiently good for his 
purpose. Not that he could blame for this anything but 
the system of centralised command which he had habitually 
employed, depriving his subordinate commanders of all 
initiative or self-reliance. 

That the failure to make of Bautzen a complete and 
decisive victory was mainly Ney's fault is held by all critics. 
But the Emperor must bear his share of the blame, inas- 
much as he chose Ney for a command for which he was very 
ill-suited. Perhaps most of the other marshals would have 
done no better, but with Davout, Soult, Marmont, or Gouvion 
St Cyr there was at least a better chance. 

Von Caemmerer, whilst suggesting that possibly Napoleon 


looked to Jomini to keep Ney straight, observes that the 
cases in which a Chief of Staff can make up for the de- 
ficiencies of his general are rare. With a man so impetuous 
as Ney, there was very little chance on the battlefield, where 
he allowed himself to be carried away by impulse, and 
became as obstinate as a mule.^ 

We have already, in detailing the various orders given to 
Ney, shown that they failed to explain to him with sufficient 
clearness the part he was expected to play, and the scheme 
of his master. We have also argued that the Drehsa 
which Napoleon originally meant was not the one " near 
Gottamelde," but the one rendered famous in Frederick's 
battle. Against this theory is the fact that the pencil note 
of the morning speaks of Ney's occupying Drehsa, and then 
marching on Weissenberg. But may not this order have 
been wrongly drafted by Berthier, who assumed that Drehsa 
" near Gottamelde " was meant ? In favour of it is the fact 
that the earlier orders speak of Ney's taking " a good 
position " at Drehsa. There appears to be no position 
which could be called " good " at Brosa, whereas there is a 
good one at Drehsa south of Wurschen, one, too, the 
excellence of which had been practically demonstrated by 

Little has hitherto been said about Bertrand's delay 
in crossing the Spree. Yet it would seem he ought to 
have been across much earlier. He held the Gottlobsberg 
on the night of the 20th, and there was nothing to 
oppose him except Ziethen's single battalion on the 
eastern slope of the Kiefernberg. Surely he might have 
got on with his bridge building during the night? Had 
he been well forward with his attack when Ney took 
Preititz for the second time, it is possible the latter might 
have seen the advantage of getting across the Weissenberg 
road, so as to block Bliicher's last avenue of escape east- 
wards. Bertrand, it is true, was weak ; for practically he 

^ In the Waterloo campaign, when Soult objected to Grouchy as not sufficiently 
strong for the command of the right wing, Napoleon replied that he had given 
him two strong subordinates in Vandamme and Gerard. 


had only the two divisions of Franquemont and Morand, 
seeing that Peyri's had been rendered almost useless at 
Konigswartha on the 19th. But he might very well have 
been reinforced from the centre. There were there the 
corps of Marmont and Macdonald, the Guard and Latour- 
Maubourg's cavalry. The allied position there was so 
strong as to be really unassailable, until the intended advance 
of Ney in its rear should render it no longer tenable. 
Marmont, the Guard, and a great part of Macdonald's corps 
did practically nothing beyond bombarding the enemy's 
main position. They could not have held him there, or 
prevented his retreating, had he not been determined to hold 
on. Therefore, the attack on the Kreckwitz heights might 
well have been begun by troops drawn from the centre, 
when Ney reached Preititz. That would have prevented 
Bliicher's sending the troops which drove Souham from 
Preititz, and perhaps would have enlightened Ney as to the 
real state of affairs and his own task. His failure to 
appreciate the latter is shown by the way in which he 
weakened Lauriston by taking away from him Maison's 
division. With that additional force, and most of the 
cavalry, Lauriston would have been able to sweep away 
rapidly the weak forces of Barclay, instead of hesitating 
before them as he did. Moreover, Puthod's division should 
have been hurried up, as well as Reynier, and sent straight 
on to Lauriston, to whose corps it belonged. Instead of 
that, Puthod was kept at Gleina, and Lauriston was called in 
from the left. The latter measure was entirely opposed to 
the Emperor's order, " Cause Lauriston to march on your 
left, so as to be in a position to turn the enemy if our move- 
ment decides him to abandon his position." Ney entirely 
failed to appreciate his task, but for that Napoleon must 
bear a good deal of the blame. He might, as Colonel 
Lanrezac says, have easily arranged a meeting with Ney in 
the night of the 20th-2 ist, at which he could have explained 
the marshal's task beyond all possibility of doubt. We 
would venture to suggest that, possibly, the Emperor might 
have been better placed had he himself been with Ney's 


army, leaving Marmont or Soult in charge of the frontal 
attack. The great objection to that would probably have 
been that his presence in the north would have come to the 
knowledge of the allied commanders, and would have called 
their attention to the real point of danger. As it was, they 
(or rather the Tsar) persistently played into Napoleon's 
hands by strengthening their own left against Gudinot, and 
withdrawing their already weak reserves from the centre. 
Bautzen, comparative failure though it was, was perhaps the 
battle for which Napoleon prepared his plans, almost in 
detail, longer before its occurrence than any other. He was 
able to do so from the certainty which he had acquired some 
days before, that the allies were determined to fight a 
defensive battle on a carefully prepared and fortified 

St Cyr's account of his interview with Napoleon, early in 
May at Dresden, is remarkable as an exposition of the 
Emperor's general views. After relating how Napoleon 
complained of the want of promise among his marshals, and 
then expounded his plan of attack at Bautzen, St Cyr con- 
tinues : " The means on which Napoleon seemed to me to 
count most was the disposition he had made for turning the 
enemy's army by its right in its position at Bautzen. I 
observed to him that he seemed to me to be departing from 
his ordinary practice, inasmuch as I believed that he pre- 
ferred attacks on the centre to those on the wings, whilst 
the latter seemed to have always been preferred by Frederick ; 
that the first, whilst offering greater obstacles to be sur- 
mounted in the beginning, offered in the end, when they 
succeeded entirely, greater results, since it was almost 
impossible for an enemy, beaten and pierced in his centre, 
to avoid a complete rout and to effect a passable retreat. 
I added that this form of attack had always appeared to me 
most in accord with the nature of his genius, and the wish 
he had to be, on the day of battle, the sole spring of this 
great machine ; that it lent itself better than any other to 
the union in his hands of all his resources. He replied, 
that he gave no preference to the attack on the centre over 


that on the wings ; that his principle was to attack the 
enemy with the greatest force possible ; that the nearest 
corps being once engaged, he left them to act, without 
troubling himself much about their good or bad chances ; 
that he only took great care not to yield too easily to 
demands for succour from their chiefs. He cited as an ex- 
ample Liitzen, where, he said, Ney had demanded immediate 
reinforcements, though he had still two divisions not engaged ; 
he assured me that, in the same affair, another marshal ^ had 
also demanded them before having any enemy in front 
of him. He added that it was only towards the end of the 
day, when he perceived that the enemy was worn out, and 
had employed the greater part of his resources, that he 
united what he had been able to keep in reserve, in order to 
be able to launch on the field of battle a strong mass of 
infantry, cavalry, and artillery ; that, the enemy not having 
foreseen this, he made what he called an " evenement," and 
by this means he had almost always obtained a victory." 2 

This very remarkable passage, if we may assume that it 
was not an unconscious afterthought of St Cyr, is a very 
•clear profession of the Emperor's tactical faith. 

At Liitzen the " ^v^nement " only partially came off, 
when Napoleon launched the Guard, supported by Drouot's 
great battery, on the quadrilateral of the four villages. At 
Bautzen, it never came off at all ; for, owing to the failure of 
Ney's movement, the enemy was already in retreat, and the 
Guard did little or nothing. What he thought of the 
results of Bautzen is shown by Napoleon's remark, as he 
rode over the battlefield, " What ! after such a slaughter, no 
trophies ? These people will leave me no claws ! " The 
words are curiously like those of Ney after Eylau. 

1 Marmont. * Hist. Mil,., iv. pp. 40-41. 



IN the very early hours of the 22nd May the Russo- 
Prussian army resumed its retreat, both columns con- 
verging on Reichenbach. Thence to Gorlitz there 
is a long defile, which they successfully negotiated, 
under the protection of their rearguards. 

At 3 A.M. firing commenced at the outposts, which were 
in close contact all along the line. At 7 a.m. the French 
VII. corps (Reynier) set out for Reichenbach, with the ist 
cavalry corps (Latour-Maubourg). On its left was the 
V. corps (Lauriston), in rear of it the Guard and the VI. 
corps (Marmont). The XL, followed by the IV., marched 
by Lobau ; the III. took post at Weissenberg, and the 
XII. (Oudinot), which had suffered heavily in the battle, 
was left to rest at Bautzen, and to collect its detachments, 
including Lorencez's brigade from the right rear. 

By 10 A.M. the Emperor, with the VII. corps, arrived 
before Reichenbach, and found Eugen of Wiirtemberg, with 
6000 or 7000 men, standing on the heights to the east of 
the town to cover the retreat on Gorlitz. 

Reynier deployed for the frontal attack, whilst Lauriston 
manoeuvred to outflank the enemy's right. The French were 
very cautious, and presently Napoleon, to expedite matters, 
ordered the Guard cavalry to cross the brook on which 
Reichenbach stands above the town, so as to threaten the 
enemy's line of retreat. As they got across and began to 
mount the heights, they were fired on by two batteries of 
horse artillery, and then charged by Russian cavalry. 
Latour-Maubourg joined in the fight, which was indecisive, 

1 Map I. 


but, by 3 P.M., Eugen found his right seriously threatened 
by Lauriston. Having succeeded in his task of gaining 
time for the main body, he fell back on his reserves at 
Markersdorf on the way to Gorlitz. It took the French an 
hour to rearrange their advance, and then, when they arrived 
before Markersdorf, Eugen retired again on a position short 
of Gorlitz. 

Reynier's men being very fatigued by the long marches 
they had made in the last few days, their commander 
requested permission to halt. Napoleon's reply was a 
peremptory order to move on Gorlitz 

Whilst the VH. corps was coming to the attack, a round 
shot passed close to the Emperor. It killed on the spot 
Kirgener, the general of engineers, who had conducted the 
siege operations at Danzig in 1807, ^^^ then mortally 
wounded the Grand Marshal Duroc, who died twelve hours 
later. There was, perhaps, none of his subordinates, except 
Lannes, who lost his life four years before at Essling, whom 
Napoleon regarded with such personal affection as Duroc. 
As in the case of Lannes, he was genuinely affected by this 
loss, though one cannot but feel that he would have shown 
better taste had he not inserted in his bulletin of the 22 nd 
May a full, and perhaps doubtful, account of his last inter- 
view with the dying man. It was a good opportunity for 
a " coup de theatre," and that Napoleon could never resist. 
Yet he must have been feeling that death was now beginning 
to take heavy toll amongst his old friends and servants, 
who, so far, had escaped with wonderfully little loss. Three 
weeks earlier he had lost Bessieres, and on this fatal day of 
Reichenbach he lost Bruyere, Kirgener, and Duroc. Morticr, 
who was talking to the last two when they were struck, had 
a very narrow escape. Perhaps the most remarkable 
evidence of Napoleon's feeling in the matter is the fact that 
he ordered the combat then proceeding to be broken off. 

That night the V., VI., and VII. corps and the Guard 
were about Markersdorf,^ whilst the IV. and the XI. were a 
little south of Reichenbach ; III. corps at Weissenberg ; 
^ Four miles east of Reichenbach. 


Victor, with the IL and Sebastiani's cavalry, behind at 
Baruth. Thanks to the Emperor's personal presence with 
his leading corps, he had got from them fourteen hours of 
marching and fighting, over a distance of 17I miles. The 
cavalry fighting had mainly devolved on the Guard, who 
lost 300 men, whilst Latour-Maubourg, nearly double their 
strength, lost only about 100. The VIL corps lost about 

At Gorlitz the allies had again divided into two columns, 
one marching on Bunzlau, whilst the other took the southern 
road towards Lauban and Lowenberg. During the 23rd 
May there was again some fighting between Lauriston's 
advanced guard and the rearguard of the allies on the road 
to Bunzlau. In the night of the 2 3rd-24th the positions 
were as follows : — 

French — 

V. corps, Hochkirch, on the road to Waldau. 
VIL corps, Troitschendorf 

VI. corps, Hermsdorf. 
Headquarters and Guard, Gorlitz. 

XL corps on the road to Schonberg, with an advanced 
guard in that place. 

IV. corps, south of Troitschendorf. 
III. corps, Weissenberg. 

1 1, corps, Krobnitz. 

The columns of the allies were respectively at Waldau 
and Lauban. 

On the 24th and 25 th of May there were frequent rear- 
guard actions, serving to delay the French pursuit, which 
was further kept back by bad roads and difficulties in 
crossing rivers, especially the Neisse and the Quiess. Con- 
sequently, Napoleon's programme for each day was not 
worked up to, and on the evening of the 25 th the positions 
reached were as follows : — 

V. corps and ist cavalry corps, between Wolfshain, 
Thomaswalde, and Martinswalde. 

VII. corps, Neu-Jaschwitz. 
VL, Alt-Jaschwitz and Ottendorf. 


The XI. and IV. corps, the former at Stekicht, the latter 
towards Wenig Rachnitz. 

Guard and III. corps approaching Bunzlau. 

The II. corps, at last coming up, was on the left at 
Thommendorf, after a march of 20 miles. 

The corps which had the greatest difficulty on this day 
was the XL, which came upon the Russian rearguard, and 
was engaged with it from 10 A.M. till 10 P.M. So vigorous 
was the resistance of the 10,000 Russians that Macdonald 
was induced to believe he had been engaged with forces 
triple his own. The IV. corps, following the XL, had 
turned to the left at Seifersdorf to make a link with the 
left column. When the sound of Macdonald's action reached 
Bertrand, he again turned towards the right to give assist- 
ance, but arrived too late according to Macdonald, though 
Bertrand says that it was the appearance of his advanced 
guard on their right which at last induced the Russians to 
give way. 

In the allies' camp there was again a serious divergence 
of views. Wittgenstein's position had become impossible, 
with Alexander passing orders and taking counsel over his 
head, and he tendered his resignation, which was accepted, 
and Barclay appointed in his place, he being a commander 
acceptable at Prussian headquarters. But Barclay's views 
were practically identical with Wittgenstein's. He saw that 
the allied army was melting away, being now reduced to 
80,000 men, very much demoralised by defeat and retreat. 
He, therefore, wished to fall back on Poland to completely 
reorganise the Russian army. This did not at all suit the 
views of the Prussian leaders, such as Bliicher and Gneisenau, 
who were all for fighting again, and who viewed with dismay 
the prospect of a complete evacuation of their own territory, 
and the consequent stoppage, in great part, of their recruit- 
ment of fresh levies. At this juncture, Alexander again 
intervened with a compromise, which, to some extent, satis- 
fied the Prussians, who had many complaints against their 
allies, for having, as they alleged, failed in assisting them in 
the matter of supplies. It was arranged that the retreat^ 



instead of continuing due eastwards, should be diverted 
towards the south-east on Schweidnitz. This would mean 
still holding on to Silesia, and, at the same time, keeping in 
touch with Austria, whose intervention was urgently desired. 
Yet Schweidnitz was a dangerous point on which to retreat, 
since it gave Napoleon an opportunity of again outflanking 
the allies on the right, of cutting their line of retreat on 
Warsaw, and of forcing them against the Austrian frontier. 
Austria was not ready yet, and it was very problematical 
what she would have done at that time had the Russians 
and Prussians been forced over her boundary. A lateral 
retreat like this necessarily implied the resumption, sooner 
or later, of the offensive by the allies, and they were hardly 
in a state for that at present. 

On the 26th May there was friction between Ney and 
Marmont, an evil symptom, seeing that, however much 
they might squabble amongst themselves when the master 
was not present, the French marshals generally kept their 
personal disagreements in the background when Napoleon 
was at hand. Marmont resented being placed under Ney's 
orders, and was anxious to get away from him. Accordingly, 
he persuaded himself that the enemy had only a rearguard on 
the Bunzlau-Liegnitz road, and that the bulk of his forces 
was retreating on Lowenberg and Goldberg. He had been 
ordered by Ney to march on Ottendorf, and he now, under 
the circumstances represented by him, demanded permission 
to move instead on Lowenberg. This Ney refused, and 
Marmont continued on Ottendorf on the 25 th. But 
Napoleon had been much struck by Marmont's reiterated 
asseverations that the greater part of the enemy was towards 
Lowenberg, and that nothing but Prussians had passed 
through Bunzlau. At 6 A.M. on the 26th he issued orders 
to the following effect — 

(i) Ney, with the V. and VII. corps, to move on Hainan, 
with one advanced guard on Liegnitz and another towards 

(2) Marmont, with his own corps and Latour-Maubourg, 
to manoeuvre in communication with Macdonald and 


Bertrand, to turn the right flank of the enemy on the 
southern road. 

(3) III. corps to take post 2| miles in front of Bunzlau 
under orders of Ney. 

(4) As there was a report that part of the enemy had 
disappeared northwards, Victor, with the II. corps, was to 
reconnoitre towards Sprottau, and to follow anything that 
might be making for Berlin. Victor during the day dis- 
covered that this report was false. 

It was 3 P.M. when Maison's division, at the head of the 
V. corps, passed through Hainau. It was now only 4000 
strong. Maison marched to the heights east of Michelsdorf, 
a couple of miles out of Hainau, on the road to Liegnitz. 
He was in a gently rolling country, quite open, and well 
suited for cavalry action. An enemy standing behind any 
of the ridges was invisible except from the ridge itself, and 
might lie hidden within a very short distance of his 
opponent, if that opponent did not send cavalry on to the 
heights to reconnoitre. Maison was marching about as 
carelessly as Peyri had done on the 19th, though his 
skirmishers had been all day bickering with those of the 
enemy. For the protection of his flanks he had nothing 
but some 50 troopers, and they performed their duty so 
perfunctorily that they did not even take the trouble of 
riding on to the nearest heights to see what was in the next 
valley. Chastel's cavalry division, which should have been 
with Maison, had stopped short of Hainau, under the 
impression that their day's march was over. Just as Maison 
halted beyond Michelsdorf, a mill on his right flank burst 
into flames. The fire was a signal arranged by the Prussian 
general Ziethen. Immediately afterwards a Prussian horse 
artillery battery appeared on the heights, only 400 yards from 
Maison's position, and opened fire on his division. At the same 
moment, a mass of 3000 cavalry surging up from the valley 
beyond, galloped down the hill against the right flank of the 
French infantry, who had already began to prepare to bivouac. 

Before they could assume a formation for defence, the 
Prussian horsemen were in their midst, sabring and riding 


over the almost defenceless infantry, who fled in the wildest 
disorder to the village of Michelsdorf. There they 
fortunately found two battalions of another division, who 
were able to check the pursuit and drive off the Prussian 
cavalry. The arrival, at the double, of Puthod's division, 
finally put an end to the danger. The attack had lasted 
only a few minutes, but in that short time Maison lost over 
looo men in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and five guns. 
It was fortunate for him that the Prussian charge fell upon 
him when he was still close to the village. Had he got 
farther from shelter, probably his division would have been 
cut up. Ziethen had intended to let him do so, but had 
given the signal for attack sooner than arranged, because, 
being informed of the approach of Reynier, he thought, if 
he waited, he might be too late. In this charge Dolffs, the 
leader of Bliicher's reserve cavalry, was killed. 

Farther to the French right, Marmont, Bertrand, and 
Macdonald had all been delayed by various causes, and, 
when at last they came upon the Russian rearguard a little 
east of Pilgramsdorf, night was already falling, and an 
attack was no longer feasible. On this day the allies' main 
body had crossed the Katzbach and stood with its right at 
Liegnitz, left at Goldberg. 

On the 27th May Lauriston got to Gross Rechern, east 
of Liegnitz, with Reynier on his right, watching towards 
Jauer. Headquarters and the Guard were in Liegnitz, the 
III. corps at Hainau, with Marchand's division at Bunzlau. 

On the French right, Marmont marched on Kroitzsch to 
cut the road between Goldberg and Liegnitz, whilst the IV. 
and XI. corps continued towards Goldberg. Between 
Pilgramsdorf and Goldberg Macdonald found a strong 
Russian rearguard. He sent against the enemy's cavalry 
the division of Latour-Maubourg's cavalry which he had 
with him, but the French cavalry behaved badly, and had 
the worst of the fight.^ When the French infantry attacked 

^ Macdonald reported that "the cuirassiers did their duty, but the other 
regiments did not support them." (Foucart, ii. p. 148.) Macdonald himself 
headed the last charge, and was abandoned by his men. 


the enemy retired, and Macdonald, passing through 
Goldberg, took post between the Liegnitz and Jauer roads, 
on Marmont's right. Bertrand, following Macdonald, had 
found Marmont crossing his front and stopped at Giersdorf. 

Victor had occupied Sprottau and cut off a Russian 
artillery convoy. 

On the 27th the allies began their movement on Schweid- 
nitz. Their right reached Mertschiitz, with a rearguard at 
Kloster-Wahlstadt ; the left marched from Goldberg to Jauer, 
rearguard at Hermannsdorf On the 28th the French left 
stood fast. On the right, Marmont, crossing the Katzbach, 
drove back a detachment of the enemy, the strength of 
which Marmont probably overstates at " several thousands." 

Macdonald reached Jauer, Bertrand Hermannsdorf 

Victor, far on the left at Sprottau, marched to Primkenau, 
where he was in communication with Glogau, the blockade of 
which had been raised by the enemy. 

The allies on this day reached Striegau. 

On the 29th May, the HI. corps moved up to Liegnitz, 
leaving Marchand at Hainan; the V. and VH. corps, 
followed by the Guard, moved towards Neumarkt. But 
the Emperor stopped the VH. at Kloster-Wahlstadt, at 
which Ney took offence, as he had ordered Reynier to keep 
in line with Lauriston, and the counter order was, perhaps 
owing to Berthier's carelessness, not at once communicated 
to him. He asked to be replaced in the command of the 
advanced guard, pleading his wounds as an excuse. Like 
the rest of the marshals, he was showing signs of weariness 
of the war. There was a good deal of trouble in pacifying 

On this day the allies reached Schweidnitz, which they 
found not a fit place to stop at, as the fortifications, de- 
molished in 1807, had not been restored. 

On the 30th May, Reynier came abreast of Lauriston, who 
remained stationary. Guard and headquarters Neumarkt. 
The VI. corps and Latour-Maubourg moved to Eisendorf 
and Ober Moys. The IV. and XL, though ordered to 
Striegau, only moved a short way out of Jauer, as Macdonald 


heard that the main body of the allies was retiring on 

Victor advanced to Randten. 

On the 31st May, Lauriston got to within three miles of 
Breslau, driving before him Schuler's detachment, of 5000 
or 6000 men, which, falling back from before Glogau, 
endeavoured to cover Breslau. 

The VII. corps took post at Arnoldsmiihl, the III. closed 
on Neumarkt, where headquarters and the Guard remained. 
The VI. did not move from Eisendorf. The IV. and IX. 
were ordered to occupy Striegau, but both commanders^ 
exaggerating their difficulties and the strength of the rear- 
guard opposed to them, ended by not getting forward at all. 

Marmont, too, raised a very unnecessary cry about the 
danger of his position, for which he was severely snubbed 
by the Emperor. Evidently most of the corps commanders 
were suffering from severe attacks of nerves. 

On the 1st June, Napoleon, now aware that the enemy 
was retreating on Schweidnitz, arranged his army thus.^ 
Headquarters and Guard, Neumarkt. 

V. corps, main body Kryptau and Mochbern, facing 
south ; a detachment in Breslau, and a division at Purschwitz. 
Chastel's cavalry at Hartlieb. 

VII. corps, Purschwitz. 

III. corps, south of Neumarkt, with Marchand at 

VI. corps and two divisions of cavalry at Eisendorf and 

IV. and XI. corps about Jauer. 

Victor was ordered to prepare to march back on Sagan, 
en route to support Oudinot at Hoyerswerda in a movement 
on Berlin, of which more anon. 

From the 2nd to the 4th June, when the armistice was 
finally arranged, the French made no movement of import- 
ance. But it was otherwise with the allies, for Barclay, on 
the 2nd June, when a suspension of hostilities began, 
pointed out that, should Napoleon close to his left on 

Positions marked on Map I. 


Breslau, the allies would be in great danger of being cut 
from the Oder. In consequence, it was decided to move 
more to the east, so as to be within reach of the Oder 
between Ohlau and Brieg. The river was to be bridged. 

On the two succeeding days the Russo-Prussian army- 
moved to the line Strehlen-Nimptsch. On its right was 
Schuler's detachment and the head of Sacken's corps, now 
arriving from Poland. 

To Bliicher and Yorck this seemed symptomatic of a 
return to the former Russian idea of a retreat on Poland, 
and they wrote to the King of Prussia proposing that, if the 
Russians crossed the Oder, the Prussians should leave them, 
and retire along the Bohemian mountains, whilst the Silesian 
landwehr assembled about Neisse and Glatz. 

Before describing and discussing the armistice, it is 
necessary briefly to mention what had been taking place in 
Napoleon's rear since Bautzen. 

Oudinot had been left behind after the battle, with 
instructions to gather in Beaumont from Moritzburg, and 
his own detachments, including Lorencez's 2nd brigade. 
He was then to march on Berlin. He was only able to 
reach Hoyerswerda on the 27th May. 

Billow, meanwhile, had collected some 30,000 men, of 
whom a large proportion were landwehr, at present of very 
little fighting value, and had marched towards Luckau as 
soon as he felt the relaxation of pressure due to Napoleon's 
concentration on Bautzen. 

On the 28th May, he attacked Hoyerswerda, where he 
expected to find only a weak detachment, instead of the 
whole XII. corps and Beaumont's detachment. He was 
badly repulsed. Then, hearing that Victor was moving on 
Sagan, he proceeded to disperse his troops along a front of 
over sixty miles, in an attempt to cover Krossen and Berlin 
at the same time. Had Oudinot marched promptly on 
Luckau, the Prussian rallying point, he might have destroyed 
Billow's separated forces in detail. But he delayed until 
Billow, realising his danger, had concentrated by forced 
marches. When Oudinot appeared at Luckau on the 6th 


June, Billow had practically his whole force there in a 
strong position. Now, when it was too late, Gudinot rashly- 
attacked. In the action which followed he was badly 
beaten, and, after losing 2000 men, had to retreat with the 
rest on Uebigau. Billow's men were too tired to pursue at 
once, and, when the Prussians began to move on the 9th, 
his operations were stopped by news of the armistice. On 
the lower Elbe, Davout had been joined by Vandamme, and 
also had 8000 Danes placed at his disposal, owing to the 
decision of their king to throw in his lot with Napoleon. 
Walmoden, commanding on behalf of the allies at Hamburg, 
finding himself unsupported by Bernadotte's Swedes from 
Mecklenburg, evacuated the place, which was occupied by 
Davout on the 30th May. Liibeck fell into the hands of 
the French on the ist June, so that they occupied the whole 
of the 32nd military division before operations were stopped 
by news of the armistice. 

On the French lines of communications farther south, 
there were constant raids of Cossacks and other bodies 
of " free " troops, which did a great deal of damage, 
and kept up a constant feeling of alarm and con- 
fusion. Czernitchew's Cossacks, on the 25 th May, de- 
stroyed a cavalry "regiment de marche " ; on the 30th, 
they captured a convoy of artillery escorted by 1 600 West- 
phalian troops, and forced four battalions, marching up to 
the rescue from Brunswick, back on that place. But the 
most serious affair was an attack upon Leipzig itself, which 
was full of sick and wounded, besides parks, and a " division 
de marche" of cavalry, under Arrighi. The latter were 
absolutely untrained as yet, and useless for fighting. 
Woronzow, the Russian general observing Magdeburg, re- 
solved on an attempt to surprise Leipzig. Leaving before 
Magdeburg only 1000 cavalry and 7000 Prussian landwehr, 
he crossed the Elbe near Dessau with some 5000 infantry 
and cavalry, in the night of the 5th-6th June, to meet 
Czernitchew from the Bernburg direction with another 
1200 cavalry before Leipzig. He marched hard, following 
Napoleon's example in carrying his infantry in wagons or 



other conveyances. At dawn on the 7th June, he reached 
Leipzig and made short work of the helpless French 
cavalry recruits. He was actually entering the town, when 
he was stopped by notification of the armistice. 

Any full account of the political negotiations after the 
return of Napoleon from Russia is beyond the scope of this 
military history of the campaign, but a general outline of 
them, as affecting its course, is necessary. 

. Napoleon, as soon as he was back in Paris, endeavoured 
to get into direct communication with the Tsar, with a view 
to the conclusion of an arrangement with him in which 
Prussia and Austria should play no part independent of 
himself. Though Napoleon did not succeed in this, negotia- 
tions were constantly more or less on the " tapis." When 
the French army reached Dresden, Austria had sent two 
emissaries to the contending parties. Count Stadion to the 
allies. Count Bubna to Napoleon. 

Stadion's instructions from Metternich represented as the 
aim of Austria's armed neutrality the attainment of a 
durable peace, with a curtailment of French influence and 
possessions east of the Rhine. The curtailment proposed 
was very considerable. Poland was to be restored to its 
position before the last peace of Vienna, Prussia was to 
receive back all her old possessions, France to renounce all 
claims in Germany east of the Rhine, Holland to be inde- 
pendent, the states of the Church to be restored, and all 
French garrisons to be withdrawn from Italy. Austria was 
to be reinstated in all that she possessed in Italy previous 
to the Peace of Lun^ville. Tyrol, the lUyrian and Dalma- 
tian provinces also to be returned to her. France was to 
renounce all claim to suzerainty in Germany, or to special 
influence in the kingdom of Italy. 

That was the maximum, to which it was hopeless to expect 
Napoleon to agree. As a minimum, Austria proposed to 
exact the following concessions : surrender of Dalmatia and 
Illyria, dissolution of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, a new 
boundary between Austria and Bavaria, return of South 
Prussia to Prussia, abandonment by Napoleon of his posses- 


sions on the right bank of the Rhine, and dissolution of 
the Rhenish Confederation. There was not much proba- 
bility of the Emperor's accepting even these terms, except 
under compulsion. 

Stadion also brought a memorandum showing when 
Austria would be in a position to join the allies in the field, 
in the event of Napoleon's refusing these terms. 

The upshot of the negotiations was the " Programme of 
Wurschen," in which the allies laid down as their aim — 

(i) Restoration of Austria to her position previous to 

(2) Restoration to Prussia of her possessions previous to 

(3) Dissolution of the Rhenish Confederation. 

(4) Independence of Germany. 

(5) Dissolution of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. 

(6) Independence of Holland. 

(7) Restoration of the ancient dynasty in Spain. 

(8) Entire freedom of Italy from French influence. 

This was even more than the Austrian maximum, and 
Stadion said plainly his country would certainly not fight 
for all this. 

Meanwhile Bubna, who had only left Vienna after receipt 
of the news of Liitzen and the retreat of the allies, was 
singing a considerably softer tune at Dresden. Nothing 
was said of the Austrian maximum. The points pressed 
were the dissolution of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, the 
return to Austria of Illyria and Dalmatia, and the surrender 
of the French possessions beyond the Rhine. The re- 
adjustment of the Austro-Bavarian frontier, the abandonment 
of the Protectorate of the Rhenish Confederation, were only 
lightly touched upon as desirable, and the independence of 
French influence of Central Europe was only suggested as 
conducive to permanent peace. Napoleon, however, knew 
a good deal more about Austria's real aims from his am- 
bassador at Vienna, and from the King of Saxony. 

The interviews between Bubna and the Emperor were 
somewhat stormy, and the latter eventually discovered that. 


if he was to negotiate for peace, or even for an armistice, 
he was expected to retire behind the Elbe, and to comply 
with other conditions which, under the circumstances of the 
moment, he was certainly not willing to accept. 

The next step taken was on the 17 th May, when the 
battle of Bautzen was clearly imminent. Napoleon de- 
spatched Caulaincourt to endeavour again to negotiate 
separately with Alexander. His instructions of that date ^ 
directed him to endeavour to get into personal communica- 
tion with Alexander, who had known and liked the Duke 
of Vicenza when he was ambassador at Petersburg. He 
was to represent to the Tsar that it would be to his 
advantage to negotiate directly with Napoleon, rather than 
to allow Austria the credit of acting as mediator. The 
French Emperor was to be represented as desirous of 
avoiding the impending bloodshed, whilst Austria was to 
be held up as having treated Russia scurvily, and as acting 
from selfish motives. Every effort was to be used to flatter 
Alexander, and induce him to look upon himself as the 
destined arbiter of Europe. 

These are secret instructions. The open instructions, of 
course, do not allude to all this, but state that Napoleon is 
prepared to agree to the assembly of a Congress at Prague, 
or some other neutral place, for the settlement of terms of 
peace. Napoleon said that he was willing to conclude an 
armistice with the allied armies, in order to allow time for 
peace negotiations, and to avoid bloodshed. 

Another letter, probably ante-dated, was sent to the 
Emperor of Austria, expressing Napoleon's readiness to 
agree to a Congress. Nothing came of this before the 
battle of Bautzen, for Caulaincourt was politely refused 
permission to pass the allied outposts. 

The day after the battle found the allies ready to open 
negotiations, though they did so through Stadion and not 
direct. From this time the negotiations proceeded regularly 
though slowly. The most remarkable point in the cor- 
respondence is Napoleon's eagerness to conclude an armistice^ 

^ Foucart, ii. p. 135. 


which has been characterised by Jomini, and by the majority 
of later writers, as the greatest mistake he ever committed 
in his whole career as a general-in-chicf. 

In the end, he accepted terms differing materially from 
those he wanted. He wished the armistice to extend over 
the whole period of peace negotiations. If that could not 
be obtained, he must have it for at least three months, plus 
fifteen days' notice before hostilities recommenced. He told 
Caulaincourt that anything less than two and a half months 
would be too short to enable him to reorganise his cavalry. 
He wanted Breslau to be included within the French line of 
demarcation, and there were other points on which he laid 
stress. In the end, he accepted an armistice of about seven 
weeks ^ with only six days' notice, and with Breslau placed 
in the neutral strip, in which neither side was to keep troops. 
The French line in Silesia was, roughly, that of the Katzbach 
to its infall into the Oder ; the allies' line was that of the 
Striegau Wasser. The French were limited, on the north, 
by the northern frontier of Saxony, from the Oder to 
Wittenberg on the Elbe. From Wittenberg downwards they 
were confined to the left bank of the Elbe, except that they 
were to hold the islands in the river, and so much of the 
32nd military division as might be actually in their posses- 
sion at midnight on the 8th June. Danzig, Modlin, Zamosc, 
Stettin, and Kiistrin were to be regularly supplied with 
provisions every five days by the besiegers, and, if Hamburg 
was still only besieged by the French, the same provision 
was to hold good.^ 

We must now consider Jomini's dictum as to the in- 
expediency, from his own point of view, of Napoleon's 
conclusion of the armistice of Poischwitz.^ 

In the first place, it must be noted that the idea of an 
armistice was no sudden conclusion on the Emperor's part, 

^ Afterwards extended to loth August. 

2 As a matter of fact Davout had possession of Hamburg, Lubeck, and the whole 
32nd military division well before the 8th June. 

3 This armistice is dated *'PIeiswitz" (Foucart, ii. p. 355). Lanrezac, and 
many others, call it the " armistice of Poischwitz," and Lanrezac adds the alter- 
native name of " Neumarkt." 


arrived at in consequence of his failure at Bautzen, and in 
his subsequent endeavours to bring the allies to a general 
action. He had already expressed his desire for it in his 
instructions to Caulaincourt of the 1 8th May, two days before 
the battle. 

His reasons for wishing it he subsequently stated as 
(i) the necessity for time to organise his cavalry, and (2) the 
danger impending from a declaration of war by Austria, 
situated as she was on the flank of any further forward 

Many critics have treated with disdain the story of the 
influence of the cavalry idea. But, in the instructions to 
Caulaincourt, issued through the Minister for Foreign Aflairs 
on the 29th May,^ it is quite clearly stated that Napoleon 
wishes time to re-establish his cavalry. That letter was 
secret, containing an outline of instructions and addressed to 
the Foreign Minister ; it clearly expresses the Emperor's 
real thoughts, and it indicates that the story of the influence 
of this consideration was not an invention of St Helena 
days. With this before us, it is impossible to argue that 
Napoleon was not influenced by the question of cavalry. 
Whether the Napoleon of earlier days would have allowed 
himself to be dominated by such a consideration, or by fear 
of Austria, is quite a different matter, which we will consider 

What was his position before the suspension of arms on 
the 2nd June? Up to that time he could perfectly well 
have broken off the negotiations on several grounds. 

On the 1st June he stood ^ on the line Jauer-Breslau^ 
facing- south, with the V., VII., VI., HI. corps. The Guard 
and 1st cavalry corps were on the shorter line, Ober Mois- 
Breslau, whilst the allies were concentrated near Schweid- 
nitz, with only a rearguard at Striegau. Napoleon could, 
as Lanrezac points out, have easily placed the whole of his 
army, including Victor's corps and Marchand's division, in 
thirty-six hours, between the Weistritz and the Neisse, 
barring the allies from the Oder between Ohlau and Brieg, 

^ Foucart, ii. p. 174. 2 gg^ positions marked on general Map I. 


by which section they afterwards proposed to establish their 
communications. He would have been there before they 
began to move on the 3rd. Schuler's detachment was too weak 
to interfere seriously with this movement. The allies must, 
then, either have fought with their backs to the mountains, 
or have hurried south-eastwards to take up a position the 
communications of which with Poland would still have been 
seriously threatened. If they fought, they would do so with 
an army which had already suffered two defeats and had 
been necessarily demoralised by a long retreat. They could 
hardly have hoped for victory against the French, who, if 
they too were demoralised, were not so much so as the allies. 
Defeat entailed their being driven on to the mountains and 
the Austrian frontier, and, it must be repeated, the Austrian 
army was not ready in Bohemia, and would not be so for 
another month. The chances were all in favour of Austria 
not daring to espouse the cause of the allies after a third 
defeat, even if it had only been another Bautzen. On the 
other hand, a retreat behind the Neisse would have accentu- 
ated the differences of opinion between the Prussian and the 
Russian leaders, and, in all probability, would have induced 
the former to separate from their allies, leaving them to fall 
back towards Poland alone. That must almost certainly 
have led to the destruction of the Prussians, for once the 
Russians had started for Poland they could have been easily 
contained, and prevented from returning westwards, by part 
of the French army, whilst the rest of it dealt with the 
Prussians with at least double their numbers. Besides, the 
Russians would probably have been disgusted at what they 
would have deemed the desertion of the Prussians, and would 
have abandoned the idea of a return to help them. There 
probably still survived amongst the Russians some of the 
ideas of Kutusow, which were opposed to fighting other 
people's battles in Central Europe, now that the invader had 
been expelled from Russia. 

On the 4th June, when the allies had moved to the line 
Strehlen-Nimptsch, Napoleon's chance was gone, and the 
armistice was concluded. 


Of course there was always the difficulty about want of 
cavalry against Napoleon's moving to his left, but he had 
advanced so far notwithstanding it, and it would seem that 
it was worth his while to try one more throw for decisive 

In a recent English work it is argued that where 
Napoleon felt the pinch of his inferior cavalry was, not so much 
in reconnoitring, as on the battlefield itself ; that, owing to 
it, his men were compelled to advance on the battlefield in 
formations constantly ready to repel cavalry, and that they 
were therefore hampered and delayed in their movements. 
But that argument would have applied equally at Bautzen. 
On the other hand, the French superiority in infantry was 
so great that Napoleon could hope for decisive victory 
even with the weak cavalry he had. 

The acceptance of the weak cavalry theory has been 
attributed mainly to German criticisms, based on the want 
of cavalry for reconnoitring and screening purposes. Yet 
the French critic, Colonel Lanrezac, does not see it in this 
light, and concurs in the verdict of Jomini as to the mistake 
of the armistice. He, like Yorck von Wartenburg, sees in 
it a falling off on the part of Napoleon from his former 
standards. He will not have it that either the want of 
cavalry, or the threat of Austrian intervention, justified the 
armistice from Napoleon's point of view. He had advanced 
in 1805 with Prussia threatening him in flank, and in 1806- 
1807, with Austria in a similar position. 



THERE is not the slightest reason for supposing 
that either Napoleon or his opponents had any 
expectation that the Congress of Prague would 
lead to peace between parties whose views of 
its terms differed so very widely. Each side, as well as 
Austria, utilised the period of the armistice to the fullest 
extent for recruiting and increasing its forces for the new 
campaign, which all saw to be inevitable. 

Napoleon, after arranging for the cantonments to be 
occupied by his troops during the suspension of hostilities, 
left Neumarkt on the 4th June. After stopping to inspect 
his troops and attend to affairs generally at Liegnitz, Hainau, 
Bunzlau, Gorlitz, and Bautzen, he arrived at Dresden on the 
loth June. His headquarters, when he was in the Saxon 
capital, were in the Marcolini Palace,^ but he spent by no 
means the whole of the armistice in Dresden. From the 
lOth June to the 9th July he stayed there, working hard at 
arrangements for the coming campaign, and attending to 
the innumerable other affairs which could be dealt with by 
no one less phenomenally gifted with the power of hard 
work. Even in the midst of all this cabinet work, he was 
constantly riding or driving all over the neighbourhood of 
Dresden, till there was scarcely a yard of it which he did 
not know " comme sa poche." ^ Between the 9th July and 
the 1 5th August he was absent from Dresden on seventeen 

^ Now the Friederichstadt Municipal Hospital. 

2 Space will not allow of a description of Napoleon's daily life in Dresden. 
It is very fully and admirably described in Odeleben's account of the campaign, 
which has been translated into both French and English. 


days, including a week given to a visit to Mainz to meet 
Marie Louise, through whom he hoped to influence Austria. 
He also visited Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Leipzig, 
Luckau, Liibben, Wiirtzburg, and Bamberg. 

Napoleon began the settlement of his plans for the new 
campaign at once. 

On one point the Emperor was decided from the very 
first. He had no intention whatever of retiring behind the 
Rhine, there to await the attack of united Europe. Nor 
would he even retire behind the Saale. He would utilise 
as his forward base, not the comparatively small stream of 
the Saale, but the line of the great river Elbe, one of which 
he held all the permanent passages from Bohemia to its 
mouth, and on which all these passages were covered by 
fortified bridge heads of more or less strength. 

That he was right, from his point of view, not to retire 
behind the Rhine is now universally admitted. There was 
certainly no necessity for his doing so after the events of 
the spring campaign, in which he had inflicted two severe, 
though not decisive, defeats on the allies, and had pushed 
forward again right up to the Oder. 

Supposing he decided on a defence of the Rhine, what 
would have been the consequences ? He would at once 
have lost, for good and all, his control over the states of 
the Rhenish Confederation, which he well knew were seeth- 
ing with the spirit of revolt, only waiting their opportunity 
to throw off his yoke. In addition, he would lose Italy, 
Naples, and Holland. Peace on the basis of the Rhine 
frontier was not at all what he was prepared to accept, even 
if that would be granted, and even of this there was no 
certainty. If he had to fight behind the Rhine, he would 
find a large proportion of his forces absorbed by garrisons 
of the too numerous fortresses, and he would lose all the 
garrisons he had left behind in the fortresses of the Vistula 
and the Oder. The numbers required for garrisoning the 
French fortresses are estimated as high as 150,000, and he 
would be far better off in Central Germany with these 
150,000 available in the field, than in France with them 



locked up. The Rhine may, therefore, be set aside at 

As for the Saale, that was a comparatively small stream, 
easily passable in many places, and with no fortress-pro- 
tected permanent passages. 

Undoubtedly, therefore, he rightly decided for the Elbe. 

His first cares, having decided on the Elbe as a base, 
were for the protection of its fortified passages, and for the 
collection of supplies of all sorts on it. 

The great fortress of Magdeburg, in those days one of 
the strongest in Europe, required little or nothing in the 
way of strengthening of its means of defence. Torgau, and 
still more Wittenberg, required a good deal, and their 
strengthening as fortified places was taken in hand at once. 
Of Dresden we will speak presently. Above Dresden, the 
fort of Konigstein, and the Lilienstein rock, stand opposite 
one another, like two grim sentinels commanding the Elbe, 
which flows, hundreds of feet below, between them. Konig- 
stein, as the guide who shows one round it is careful to 
explain, has " no military value " in the present day. It is 
a mere shell trap now, but in 1 8 1 3 it was different ; the 
army which held it and the Lilienstein could have just as 
many bridges between them as it could possibly want in 
perfect safety. Napoleon had two built, and one at Pirna, 
all with bridge heads. Between Konigstein and Pirna lies 
the famous camp in which Frederick the Great blockaded, 
and eventually compelled the surrender of the Saxon army 
in 1756. The "camp" is a perfectly open, almost level 
plateau, extending like a great shelf from Konigstein to 
Pirna. The palace of the Sonnenstein at Pirna, though 
hardly to be called a fortress even in Napoleon's day, was 
still useful as a support, and was, in September 181 3, 
cleared of the lunatic asylum which occupied it, and used 
as a temporary fort. On this great shelf, protected towards 
the west by the valley of the Gottleuba brook, there was 
room for a large army, which would be right on the left 
flank of any advance from Bohemia by the left bank of the 
Elbe on Dresden. To connect Konigstein with Bautzen 


via Stolpen the Emperor had a road constructed or im- 
proved. Dresden itself had been a fortress up to 181 1, 
though never a really strong one, lying as it does in a 
hollow commanded by considerable heights on both banks 
of the river, and with the Dresden Forest, on the right 
bank, coming close down to the Neustadt.^ By 1 8 1 3 
a great part of the fortifications, especially those of the 
Altstadt, had been demolished. Napoleon had already, in 
May, started work on the reconstruction of the Neustadt as 
a bridgehead on the right bank. As it became more and 
more evident that Austria might join the allies, he started 
fortifying the Altstadt as a bridgehead on the left bank to 
meet any attack on that side from Bohemia. The Neu- 
stadt, surrounded by new works and the patched-up remains 
of the old, was by the end of the armistice a formidable 
place, quite proof against a " coup de main." With the 
Altstadt it was different, for the defensive works were of 
much less strength, owing mainly to want of time. The 
old enceinte, of which the outline can still be traced by the 
alignment of the Ringstrasse and by a mound and pond 
near the Opera House, was as far as possible reconstructed 
and armed. Its field of fire was greatly hampered by the 
circle of suburbs ("schlags," as they were locally termed), 
which had grown round it to a distance of 600 or 700 
yards. Still, guns on some of the old bastions could sweep 
the ground beyond these " schlags." The outer edge of 
the suburbs was put in a state of defence by the loopholing 
of houses and garden walls, the barricading of doors and 
windows, the deepening of ditches, and other temporary 
devices. In front of the main entrances " tambours " were 
constructed, whilst the smaller entrances to the town were 
blocked up. Streets were cleared so as to afford free 
passage for artillery within the suburbs, and the squares 
and open places were kept free for the posting of reserves. 

About 200 or 300 yards beyond the outer line of the 
suburbs Napoleon had built five redoubts or lunettes, with 

^ The part of Dresden on the right bank of the Elbe. The more important 
part on the left bank is called the Altstadt. 


a small " fleche " in addition close to the Elbe above 
Dresden. These works covered the space between the 
river above the town and the tributary Weisseritz below it. 
To facilitate communication across the Elbe, the Emperor 
had made two boat or raft bridges, one above and one 
below the stone bridge, within the limits of the city. 

The works were by no means complete in the end of 
August, as may be seen from a letter of the 25 th August from 
Napoleon to Rogniat.^ At that date the Altstadt was in a 
condition to resist a " coup de main " by forces approximately 
equal to the garrison, but perhaps not one by forces greatly 
superior. It certainly could not hold out for eight days 
against very superior strength, as Napoleon believed on the 
1 3th August.^ In addition to these greater fortifications, 
others were carried out at Meissen, and, in the form of 
blockhouses, redoubts, and batteries, at various points 
between Dresden and Magdeburg. It was found im- 
possible, owing to the lie of the ground on the left bank 
and Napoleon's confinement to that bank by the terms of 
the armistice, to fortify a position opposite the mouth of 
Plauen canal, below Magdeburg, as was desired. 

Hamburg, the only strong place on the lower Elbe, was 
in a different position from Dresden. Its possession was of 
great importance to Napoleon, for it cut off the allies from 
direct communication with England, and also served to 
keep Denmark to the alliance with him which she had 
made. But it was far removed from the main theatre of 
operations, and, unlike Dresden, could not look to the 
presence close at hand of a great army for its protection. 
All that Napoleon could spare to hold it were the 40,000 
or 50,000 French and Danes whom he had placed under 
the command of Davout. Hamburg must depend for its 
defence on this unsupported force, and Davout himself must 
look to Hamburg as his place of refuge against the advance 
of superior forces in Northern Germany. 

The Emperor would have wished it to be strong enough 

^ Corr. 20,465. 2 Corr. 20,373. 


to hold out for at least two months against a regular siege, 
but there was neither time nor money available for its 
fortification on this scale. Yet Davout's energy and skill 
were such that he held firm till long after the fall of his 
master, and only surrendered under the orders of the new 
government of 1 8 1 4. He has been much abused for his 
conduct at Hamburg, but Germans themselves, notably 
Count Yorck von Wartenburg and Sporschil, have not 
hesitated to say that what he did was necessary for the 
execution of his task, and that " There is certainly no 
military power in Europe but will wish for men like Davout 
to command besieged fortresses."^ Davout may have been 
severe, unjust in particular instances, yet, looking to his 
position as a commander under Napoleon, he certainly did 
his duty splendidly, and merited the highest praise. 

Having decided to use the line of the Elbe as his base. 
Napoleon set to work to provision and supply it in such 
manner that it should be really a base, not a mere line of 
defence. He wished to make himself, and he did make 
himself, independent temporarily of his communications 
with France, " What is important to me," he wrote, " is 
not to be cut from Dresden and the Elbe ; I care little for 
being cut from France." ^ 

The Emperor's most important arrangements for pro- 
visioning his army and his base are contained in his letter 
to Daru of the 1 7th June : ^ — 

(i) From Erfurt 20,000 hundredweights of flour were to 
be forwarded to Dresden, 500 a day for 40 days. 

(2) From Magdeburg to Dresden, by land and water, 
40,000 hundredweights. 

(3) In the markets of Saxony and Bohemia 20,000 
hundredweights to be bought, and 10,000 in Bamberg and 

These measures would collect 80,000 hundredweights of 
flour in Dresden by the 20th July. 

(4) The neighbourhood of Dresden was to supply daily 

1 Napoleon as a General, ii. p. 267. * Corr. 20,398 

3 Corr. 20,142. 


30,000 rations of bread, of which 18,000 would be for 
immediate consumption, and i 2,000 would go into store. 

(5) All military train battalions coming from Mayence 
or Wesel were to fill up their wagons with flour or rice. 

(6) Ten days before hostilities recommenced, all caissons 
were to be sent from the army to Dresden to fill up with 
flour for the troops. 

(7) By the end of the armistice, each corps was to have 
ready baked ten days' supply of biscuit, six days' " pain 
biscuit^" and four days' bread. 

(8) In Glogau was flour representing 1,000,000 rations, 
for the use of the garrison. Enough for 2,000,000 more 
rations for the army was to be bought. 

(9) The flour sent from Magdeburg to Dresden was to 
be replaced by 50,000 hundredweights of corn from Ham- 
burg, and 50,000 more collected in the 3 2nd Military Division. 
There were numerous mills for grinding it worked by the 
Elbe at Magdeburg. 

(10) Brandy, wine, and rum to be sent from Hamburg to 

(11) In Erfurt 500,000 rations of biscuit, and 10,000 
hundredweight of flour to be kept always in stock, to replace 
what was sent to the front. 

(12) 6000 cattle to be requisitioned in the 32nd Military 

36,000 meat rations to be delivered daily by Saxony at 

4000 or 5000 cattle to be kept in reserve at Dresden. 

Magdeburg and Erfurt to send their beef supplies to 
Dresden, replacing them by local purchases. 

(13) The Emperor, considering rice to be a valuable pre- 
ventive of dysentery, ordered an ounce to be supplied daily 
to every man. As he required 20,000 hundredweight to 
last till the 20th September, he had to procure 14,500, for 
which he relied chiefly on attachments of ships at Hamburg 
and Bremen. In addition to all this, the army was to live 
at first as much as possible on the country, husbanding the 
four days' rations which each man carried. It was hoped. 


by increasing the rice and decreasing the bread ration, to 
make it possible for the men to carry twelve days' food. 
On paper there appeared to be no possibility of a shortage 
of food ; but orders were certainly not executed to the full, 
and the French soldier in the autumn campaign often found 
himself marching and fighting on a very empty stomach. 
St Cyr relates how his conscripts, arriving at Freiberg, found 
the question of their food had been entirely forgotten. 

Orders were issued for the organisation of an ambulance 
battalion with 600 wagons, and for hospitals at Dresden, 
Leipzig, Torgau, Wittenberg, and Magdeburg, capable of 
providing for 24,000 sick and wounded, and 11,000 con- 
valescents. But the hospitals, in the end, were not half 
what was required, and their condition was often indescrib- 
ably horrible.^ 

In addition to fortifying and provisioning his base, 
Napoleon carried out a most elaborate system of reconnais- 
sance. The whole probable theatre of operations, within 
his own lines, was flooded with surveyors and map makers, 
for the existing published maps were wretched.^ St Cyr 
was employed for a month, from the 5th July, in inspecting 
the fortifications at Konigstein and the Lilienstein, and in 
making himself thoroughly acquainted with all the roads, 
passes, and military positions between Bohemia and Stolpen 
on the right bank of the Elbe, and from Dresden as far as 

^ The following ghastly description of a Dresden military hospital is taken from 
Die franzosische Armee in 1813, p. 160 : — 

" The pestilential hospital smell became more suffocating as we advanced, 
making breathing difficult as we found ourselves in this great incurable 
ward. At broken windows, stopped up with rags or dirty straw, sat disfigured, 
wretched soldiers, buried alive in that horrible place. Still more terrible were 
the sights as we entered the hospital itself. On bundles of mouldering straw, 
mixed with filth and ordure, lay dead and dying side by side. From the con- 
fused mass attendants sought to separate the corpses, as one picks the rotten 
apples from a heap. The sick and wounded lay helpless all around in the pesti- 
lential atmosphere of that room, abandoned to their fate, without care or atten- 
tion. Here and there a solitary surgeon was met, where a hundred would not 
have sufficed." 

^ Petri's was the one hitherto used. It was made in 1763, and was so unreliable 
that no modern tourist would condescend to use it for planning a walking tour. 


Hof on the left. We have already mentioned Napoleon's 
daily drives and rides over part of this country. 

The armistice, which had originally been for seven weeks, 
was subsequently extended to the lOth August, with six 
more days after denunciation before hostilities commenced. 
That would be on the 17th; but Bliicher had already on 
the 15 th began to move into the neutral zone near Breslau. 
Into the controversy regarding his conduct in this matter it 
is not necessary to enter. The armistice was duly 
denounced by the allies on the loth August, and two days 
later Austria, in a lengthy document,^ declared war against 

Both sides had been busy during the armistice recruiting 
their forces. Napoleon by the time of its conclusion had 
collected in Germany very nearly the whole of his forces 
likely to be available for the present. The allies, on the 
other hand, though already considerably superior to him in 
numbers, were still awaiting the arrival of Bennigsen with 
60,000 of the Russian reserve army, and Prussia was daily 
adding to her forces by the recruitment of fresh levies. We 
have already shown the strength of the opposing forces at 
the conclusion of the armistice.^ 

Napoleon had probably from the very beginning of the 
armistice begun elaborating his plans for the next campaign. 
He did not communicate them to any of his subordinates 
till the very eve of the opening of hostilities. He kept 
them back, no doubt, for two reasons ; first, because he 
relied on himself alone for the elaboration of a great scheme ; 
secondly, because up to the last he hoped to keep Austria, 
at the worst, neutral, though he felt that in settling his 
plans he must keep on the safe side by considering her as 
an enemy. 

In describing, and later in criticising, his plan, it is neces- 
sary to keep before our eyes the facts as they appeared to 
him in the light of the somewhat meagre information which 
alone he could obtain, owing to the general hostility of 

^ Printed, with Napoleon's marginal comments in Corr. 20,376. 
' Cf. su-pra^ chaps, ii. and iii. 


Germany to him. It would be unreasonable to judge of 
them in the light of facts which Napoleon did not, and 
could not, know when he formulated his scheme. He 
believed that Austria could bring against him in Bohemia 
not more than 100,000 men, after allowing for the forces 
which she must keep to watch Wrede with the Bavarians, 
and Augereau on the Inn, and the army of Italy on the 

The main army of the allies he assumed to be that in 
Silesia, which had retired before him in May and June. 
The Tsar and the King of Prussia he believed to be with it, 
as they actually were up to the first week in August. The 
strength of this army he estimated at less than 200,000 
men, considerably less as it seems to us ; for, on the 1 2 th 
August, he wrote : " I am far from believing that the 
Prussians and Russians together can have 200,000, counting 
those whom they have at Berlin aud in that direction?- 

At what strength he estimated the army of Bernadotte 
in the north, protecting Berlin and threatening Hamburg 
with Walmoden's detachment, it is difficult to say. It is 
not stated in his instructions either to Davout or Gudinot.^ 
In any case, he clearly underestimated both its numbers and 
quality; for, with 120,000 men advancing concentrically 
on Berlin, he expected to occupy that capital within a week 
of the opening of the campaign, and to be able to push on 
to the relief of Stettin and Kiistrin, driving the Swedes to 
return to their own country, and the Russians and Prussians 
across the Oder. 

He estimated his own forces at about 420,000, exclusive 
of the garrisons of the Elbe fortresses, and of course of 
those of the Oder and the Vistula, 

The actual strengths are thus stated by von Caem- 
merer^: — 

^ Corr. 20,360. On the other hand, he says {Corr. 20,365) that he is equal vsx 
force to the armies of Silesia and Bohemia, and (in Corr, 20,360) he computes 
his own *' equal " force at 300,000, which would seem to show he allowed 200,000 
for the army of Silesia alone. 

2 Corr. 20,353 and 20,365. 

* Die Befreiungskriegey 181 3- 181 5, p. 38. 


Allies. Napoleon. 

Field army, .... 512,000 450,000 

Reserve army and besieging forces, 143,000 nil 

Garrisons of fortresses, . . 112,000^ 77,000^ 

767,000 527,000 

The Emperor's scheme is promulgated provisionally in 
two letters of the 12th August, addressed to Ney and 
Marmont,^ and to Gudinot.* In the former he says the 
plan of operation will only be definitely fixed by the 
ensuing midnight. 

The scheme is this : The main army was to be concen- 
trated on the defensive between Gorlitz and Bautzen, and 
in the entrenched camps at Dresden and Konigstein. It 
would consist of the I., II, III., V., VI., XI, and XIV. 
corps, with the ist, 2nd, 4th, and 5th cavalry corps, and the 
Guard ; in all nearly 300,000 men. With these he would 
be in a position where he could not be cut from his supplies 
at Dresden or from the Elbe, and where he could wait to 
see what the Russians and Austrians were going to do, and 
profit by the turn of events. He would prefer to be at 
Liegnitz or Bunzlau, for there he would be in a position to 
prevent a flank march by the army of Silesia towards Berlin 
and the rear of Gudinot. But, as Liegnitz was eight, and 
Bunzlau six marches from Dresden, a position at either of 
them would risk his being cut from Dresden, whereas 
between Gorlitz and Bautzen (four and two marches respec- 
tively from Dresden) he would be safe ; if defeated he would 
be nearer the Elbe than the enemy, and able to take advan- 
tage of their mistakes. The Austrian headquarters were at 
Hirschberg, and Napoleon expected their advance through 
the mountains by Zittau. 

The instructions to Gudinot will be dealt with in more 
detail when we come to his operations. Briefly they, and 
those to Davout,^ required Gudinot, with the IV., VII., and 

1 Fortresses in Prussia and Bohemia. ' On the Elbe, Oder, and Vistula. 

3 Corr. 20,360. * Corr. 20,365. ^ Corr. 20,357. 


XII. corps, and the 3rd cavalry corps, to advance on Berlin, 
and thence on Stettin. He would have 70,000 to 75,000 
men. Davout, with 40,000 (including 15,000 Danes), 
would simultaneously advance from Hamburg on Berlin, 
drawing on himself as many as possible of the enemy. 
Between Davout and Oudinot would be Dombrowski with 
3000 or 4000 Poles, and Girard with 8000 or 9000 men. 
Altogether there would be about 1 20,000 men moving con- 
centrically on Berlin. 

Whilst his left was gaining Berlin, the Emperor would 
overwhelm the Silesian and Bohemian armies, or, if he were 
defeated, retire on Dresden. 

Then, in marked contrast to anything he had done 
before, he invites criticism of his schemes by Ney and 
Marmont, and goes on to defend it. " I suppose all should 
finish with a great battle, and I think it is better to deliver 
it near Bautzen, two or three marches from Dresden, than 
at six or seven marches ; my communications will be less 
exposed ; I shall be able to subsist more easily, all the 
more so that during this time my left will occupy Berlin 
and sweep the lower Elbe, an operation which is not 
hazardous, since my troops, in any case, have Magdeburg 
and Wittenberg to retreat upon." He again hankers after 
Liegnitz, but rejects the idea as involving a division of his 
army, and a possible long retreat with flank exposed to 
attack from Bohemia. 

Then he goes on : " It seems to me that the present cam- 
paign can only lead us to a good result if, to begin upon, 
there is a great battle. . . . However, it appears to me 
that, in order to have a decisive and brilliant affair, there 
are more favourable chances in holding ourselves in a more 
concentrated position and awaiting the arrival of the enemy." 

Briefly summarised the scheme was — 

(i) Offensive in the north, with 120,000 men converging 
on Berlin. 

(2) Defensive with 300,000 men between Gorlitz and 
Dresden, waiting for the enemy to move, and always ready 
to profit by his mistakes. 


This scheme, as modified next day,^ leaves the Berlin 
project unchanged. But there is a considerable change in 
the defensive scheme ; for the IIL and V. corps are to be 
placed on the Katzbach between Hainau and Goldberg, with 
VL and XL in second line on the Bober, between Bunzlau 
and Lo wen berg. 

Why had the Emperor gone back to the idea of holding 
Liegnitz and Bunzlau, which he had condemned as dangerous 
only the day before ? No reasons are stated, and it can 
only be inferred that his dread of the Silesian army slipping 
away unperceived north-westwards, between him and the 
Oder, overcame his fear of being cut from Dresden. 

Here it will be convenient to set out the disposition of 
his forces under these final orders.^ 

(i) Facing east, in first line on the Katzbach were Ney 
(IIL corps), Lauriston (V.), and Sebastiani (2nd cavalry 
corps). Altogether 78,000 men (of whom about 13,000 
cavalry) and 226 guns. 

Behind them, in second line on the Bober, Marmont 
(VL), and Macdonald (XL) 52,000 men, 182 guns. 

(2) Facing south about Zittau. Poniatowski^ (VIIL), 
8000 men. 

(3) In reserve, about Gorlitz. The Guard, Victor (IL), 
and Latour-Maubourg (ist cavalry corps). In all about 

100,000 men (of whom about 25,000 cavalry), and 330 

(4) At Bautzen. Vaudamme* (1.) and Kellermann (4th 
cavalry corps), about 37,000 men (about 5000 of them 
cavalry), and 88 guns. 

(5) About Dresden, Pima, and Konigstein. St Cyr 
(XIV.), L'Hcritier (5 th cavalry corps), garrisons of Dresden, 
Konigstein, and Lilienstein. In all 35,000 men (about 
5500 cavalry), and 198 guns. 

^ Corr. 20,371 and 20,373. ^ See diagram. Map III., inset (3). 

^ Poniatowski, it will be remembered, had been carried off to Gallicia in 
February by Schwartzenberg. During the armistice he had been allowed to re- 
icin the French through Austria. 

* Vandamme was on the march from the lower Elbe, and only reached Bautzen 
on the 17th August. 


(6) The army operating against Berlin was thus dis- 
tributed : — 

{a) Bertrand (IV.), Reynier (VII.), Oudinot (XII.), 
Arrighi (3rd cavalry corps) concentrating on Luckau, 67,000 
men (8000 or 10,000 cavalry), and 216 guns. 

(J?) Girard and Dombrowski, between Luckau and 
Wittenberg, 13,800 men (1500 of them cavalry), and 23 

{c) Davout (XIII.) in front of Hamburg, 37,500 men (of 
whom about 2000 cavalry), and 94 guns. 

The position of the army under the immediate command 
of Napoleon was really this. There were three strategic 
advanced guards. The first on the Katzbach in an open 
country, was very strong, two infantry and one cavalry 
corps. The second at Zittau, was weak, but, on the other 
hand, it was guarding very easily defensible passes, and 
moreover, it could be supported in a single march by 
100,000 men of the Gorlitz group, and very shortly by 
37,000 more from Bautzen. The third was not very 
strong on the left bank of the Elbe, but it had the en- 
trenched camp at Dresden to fall back upon, and could be 
supported in a day and a half by the 37,000 men at 

Napoleon puts the matter thus : 

The Austrians, if they take the offensive, must do so on 
one of three lines. First, if they debouched by the Peters- 
walde road on the left bank of the Elbe, they would, even 
with 100,000 men, be delayed in the strong positions which 
St Cyr could find between the mountains and Dresden.^ 
He would retire on Dresden which could be reached by 
Vandamme in a day and a half. The two together, with 
over 70,000 men, could easily hold out till the arrival of 
Napoleon from Gorlitz (four marches) with the Guard and 
II. corps raised the force to over 150,000 men. 

Secondly, if they attacked by Zittau, as Napoleon 
expected they would, they must meet Poniatowski, the 

^ St Cyr knew all this country thoroughly, thanks to his deputation for the 
purpose of studying it during the armistice. 


Guard, and IL corps. Before they could advance any 
distance they would find themselves faced by 150,000 men. 
If the Silesian army moved westwards simultaneously with 
the Austrian advance by Zittau, it would encounter the 
two corps on the Katzbach which, as they fell back towards 
the Bober, would be raised to 130,000 by the two on that 
river. This army would unite at Bunzlau.^ In a day and 
a half Napoleon could add to them such of the Gorlitz 
group as he deemed superfluous for dealing with the 
Austrians. He would probably have dealt with the 
Austrians first, driving them back through the mountains, 
and then turning on the Silesian army. 

The third possible movement of the Austrians was to 
join the Silesian army by Josephstadt. In that case the 
whole French army, except Gudinot and Davout, would 
assemble on Bunzlau. 

It will be observed that nothing is said of the converse of 
the last case, namely, the march of the Silesian army to 
join that of Bohemia, and advance by the left bank of the 
Elbe. That was what actually happened, except that only 
the larger half of the Silesian army went to Bohemia, 
leaving Bliicher with about 90,000 men to face the French 
on the Katzbach. That, of course, shifted the centre of 
gravity of the allied armies from Silesia to Bohemia, and 
made the army of Bohemia their principal army. That 
Napoleon could not know to be in progress when he pre- 
pared his scheme. We shall see presently how he dealt 
with the altered circumstances, when they came to his know- 

As regards this scheme for the defensive army, all critics 
seem to be agreed that it was as nearly perfect as was 
possible in the circumstances, and a most admirable design 
for the use of interior lines. Later on we shall see it failing 
in the execution. 

Three questions have been raised: (i) whether the 
Emperor was right in deciding for the defensive as 

^ " Bautzen" is in the text {Corr. 20,373). ^^t is not Bunzlau meant? The 
subsequent reference to sending troops from Gorlitz seems to indicate this. 


opposed to the offensive ; (2) whether he was wise, whilst 
acting defensively with his main army, to act offensively 
with another part ; (3) if the last question is answered 
affirmatively, was Berlin the best direction for the offensive ? 

The idea of acting on the defensive was repugnant to 
Napoleon's genius, and he had never yet adopted this 
course. His previous successes had been gained by a 
vigorous offensive. We may be certain he would only 
adopt the defensive if circumstances absolutely required it. 
If he decided for the offensive he would have to operate in 
one of three directions : against the Silesian army eastwards ; 
against the Bohemian southwards ; or against Bernadotte 
and Berlin in the north, and of course he must operate with 
the bulk of his forces, or so large a force as to be much 
superior to the enemy attacked. 

Assuming, as he did, that the Silesian was the main 
army he would certainly wish if possible to attack it. But, 
if he advanced in great force against it, the probabilities 
were it would retire before him without fighting. He would 
be drawn away eastwards, without gaining the great victory 
which alone would be of real value to him. In the mean- 
while, the Bohemian and Northern armies, closing in behind 
him, would seize his base on the Elbe, and his store house, 
Dresden, which was too weak to resist long. 

The idea of an attack on the Bohemian army was more 
tempting ; for a decisive victory over the Austrians might 
yet tear them from the arms of their allies, and even bring 
them back to the French alliance. If he could bring them 
to a general action towards Prague he might well hope to 
make an end of them, before the Silesian army could come 
to their assistance. 

But what certainty was there that the weak Austrian 
army would not retire hurriedly before him, and that he 
would not strike a blow in the air? If he penetrated far 
into Bohemia, in pursuit of the retreating enemy, he risked 
being surrounded, as he afterwards was at Leipzig, or being 
forced to the very difficult, perhaps impossible, operation of 
changing his line of operations to one through south 


Germany. Besides, when he was making his plans, it was 
still not certain that Austria would declare war. If he 
was to hope for a success against her, it was absolutely- 
necessary to make a dash for Bohemia the moment the 
armistice came to an end. 

There remains the case of an offensive against Bernadotte. 
Here, again, Napoleon had many temptations to the offensive, 
and he showed, by his decision in favour of an attack on 
Berlin and north Germany with part of his army, that 
he could not entirely resist them. In the first place he 
was very bitter against both Prussia and Bernadotte. 
Marmont goes so far as to say : " Passion prompted him to 
act quickly against Prussia. He desired the first cannon 
shots to be fired against Berlin, and that a startling and 
terrible vengeance should follow immediately on the renewal 
of hostilities." ^ But, undoubtedly, there were substantial 
advantages offered by a successful attack on Bernadotte. 
Berlin itself had no political or strategical value, since the 
government was no longer there, and the magazines and 
treasury were empty. But a decisive defeat of the northern 
army of the allies would give the Emperor possession of the 
greater part of Prussia, and of its great resources. It would 
probably drive Bernadotte to desert his allies, and compel 
the rest of their troops to seek safety beyond the Oder. 
The capture of Berlin would certainly produce a great moral 
effect in Germany, and the establishment of the French in and 
north of the Mark of Brandenburg would cripple the Prussian 
recruiting arrangements. Moreover, an advance towards the 
Oder would result in the relief of Kiistrin and Stettin, with 
the addition of their garrisons to the field army. But 
there were grave objections to a general offensive in this 
direction. It would draw Napoleon far away from south 
Germany, where he required to keep a firm hand on the 
wavering states of the Rhenish Confederation. It would 
leave his base exposed to the united attack of the Silesian 
and Bohemian armies against the inferior forces which alone 
he could afford to leave behind for its protection. He 

1 Mim.^ V. 139 


would probably lose Dresden with all the vast military 
stores he had collected there. His communications with 
Mayence would probably be permanently cut, and he would 
be reduced to a line via Hamburg and the lower Elbe, 
which had not been prepared. On the whole, then, it seems 
that Napoleon was undoubtedly right in deciding for the 
general defensive. He need have had less care for his base 
on the Elbe had he been, as he had been in earlier wars, at 
the head of superior forces. But, on this occasion, he was 
certainly numerically inferior, perhaps inferior even in the 
fighting qualities of his troops. It must be remembered 
that the idea of a purely passive defensive never could have 
entered his head. Indeed, he specially warns his marshals 
against such conceptions when he writes to Ney and 
Marmont, " I need not say that, whilst disposing yourself in 
echelons, it is indispensable to threaten to take the offen- 
sive." ^ On the other hand, acting generally on the defensive, 
he felt himself safe. " What is clear," he writes to St Cyr 
on the 1 7th August,^ '' is that no one can turn an army of 
400,000 men, planted on a system of fortresses, on a stream 
like the Elbe, and able to debouch at pleasure by Dresden, 
Torgau, Wittenberg, and Magdeburg." No doubt the 
Austrians might turn this base by a wide movement 
through south Germany by Baireuth, but in that case, says 
the Emperor in the same letter, " I wish him ' bon voyage ' 
and let him proceed, being quite certain that he will return 
faster than he went." 

So much for the case of the general offensive, as opposed 
to the general defensive. Now the question remains whether, 
having decided for the latter, Napoleon was justified in 
taking the offensive with part of his army. On this point 
critics are more divided in opinion. 

Count Yorck von Wartenburg^ seems to approve the 
whole plan for the campaign, though his discussion of the 
partial offensive on Berlin gives reason to doubt if he really 
thinks there was " a just proportion between the advantages 

^ Corr, 20,360. 2 Corr, 20,398. 

* Napoleon as a General^ ii. 280-82. 


to be gained and the stake involved." Von Caemmerer ^ 
does not distinguish clearly between the general and the 
partial offensive on Berlin, though, on the whole, he seems 
to condemn the former. 

Of Napoleon's contemporaries, Marmont and St Cyr, in 
the replies which he invited from them, both unhesitatingly 
condemn the idea. The former deprecated the separation 
of the Emperor's forces into three armies, one for Berlin, 
one to cover it against the army of Silesia, and a third to 
cover it against an advance by the Bohemian army by the 
left bank of the Elbe. He added his famous prophecy, so 
soon to be realised : " I fear greatly lest on the day on 
which your Majesty has gained a victory, and believe you 
have won a decisive battle, you may learn that you have 
lost two." 2 By the course proposed. Napoleon, he thought, 
was depriving himself of forces which he would require on 
the Elbe and upper Spree to ensure a decisive victory over 
the allies' main army, a victory which, once gained, would 
carry with it as a consequence the fall of the north. Berna- 
dottes' army could be contained by a single corps in front of 
Torgau and a few threats from Magdeburg and Hamburg. 
He advocated the offensive southwards, which, he said, 
would take the army from exhausted Saxony into a richer 

St Cyr was equally opposed to the partial offensive on 
Berlin. According to his own account,^ the marshal warned 
his master that he had underestimated both the numbers 
and the fighting value of Bernadotte's army. What St Cyr 
wished to do was to leave i 50,000 men well posted between 
Magdeburg and Dresden, whilst, with the other 250,000 
Napoleon undertook a great offensive movement against the 
Austrians in Bohemia towards Prague. The Emperor 
replied that he had not the time to make these movements, 
or to take up a plan entirely different from his own, already 
thought out. St Cyr maintained that the Austrians would 
move by the left bank of the Elbe, which was opposed 

1 Die Befrieungskriege, 1813-1815, p. 43. 

* M4m., V. pp. 140 and 207. ' Hist. MiLy iv. p. 59, etc. 


to Napoleon's belief that they would come by Zittau. 
Grouard ^ agrees with the two marshals in condemning the 
offensive on Berlin. 

Friederich ^ goes into this question more fully and clearly 
than most critics. He first asks the question whether the 
offensive with part of the army was justifiable in any 
direction. He holds that Napoleon, being in this case 
numerically inferior to the forces opposed to him, was bound 
by his own principles to seek decisive battle with the most 
powerful force available. Clearly a victory decisive of the 
result of the war was only to be sought against either the 
Silesian or the Bohemian army, one of which certainly was 
the enemy's main army. Napoleon clearly meant to seek a 
decisive battle with one of these, though waiting for them to 
move before deciding on his actual first objective. To act 
on the defensive with his main army, and at the same time 
to act offensively with a considerable force, was to leave 
himself less strong than he might have been at the decisive 
point. No success against a secondary army could be of 
decisive importance, however great it might be in itself. 
He holds, therefore, that Napoleon was guilty of a serious 
error in deciding for the offensive with any part of his army 
before it was clear where the final decision was to be sought. 
If, however, it were to be held that a partial offensive was 
justifiable, he thinks that the direction of Berlin promised 
the quickest and best results. 

Considering all these opinions, it seems safe to hold : — 
(i) That Napoleon was absolutely right in his decision 
for the general defensive. 

(2) That his offensive against Berlin was a mistake, based, 
as it would seem, largely on his underestimate of the value 
of the Prussian levies. 

(3) That where he failed was in the chain of assumptions, 
not in accordance with facts, to which he was led by the 
information available. 

He certainly made a fatal mistake in selecting Oudinot 

^ Stratdgie Napoleonienne, p. 49, etc. 

' Die strategische Lage Napoleon's, p. 29. 


for the command of a more or less independent army. 
That marshal, though no doubt a capable commander of a 
division, perhaps even of a single corps, was not of the 
calibre to command an army of 70,000 or 80,000 men. 
Whether any of Napoleon's lieutenants was fit for it is 
perhaps doubtful. Of those then in Germany, Davout, 
Marmont, and St Cyr were alone possible.^ The last-named 
marshal himself says, speaking of an earlier part of the 
campaign : " In my opinion there was not then in the whole 
of the belligerent armies a single man capable of command- 
ing a greater number (than 50,000 men)."^ 

Napoleon's orders display absolute unity of command, 
and a self-confidence which it is impossible to blame, con- 
sidering what the Emperor was, as compared with all other 
leaders of his time. On the side of the allies a very 
different state of affairs is disclosed, one which Napoleon 
reckoned as an important advantage to himself. There 
could be no unity of command where so many divergent 
interests were involved. Every plan had to be evolved in 
consultation between the several sovereigns concerned, and 
the final result was necessarily a compromise. Napoleon's 
scheme was evolved from his own brain, in his cabinet, 
without anything of the nature of a council of war. It 
was divulged to his own commanders only at the last 
moment. The allies spent days and weeks in consultation 
and debate. Among the many advisers of the allies, since 
the death of Scharnhorst, the only men who had a true 
conception of the necessity for vigorous concentric action, 
and the bringing of the enemy's main army to a decisive 
battle, were Toll the Russian, and Gneisenau the Prussian^ 
now Chief of Staff to Bliicher. 

It is not possible for us to describe in detail the many 
schemes which came under discussion. They began with 
one drawn up by Toll on the 9th June. Simultaneously 
with this Radetzky had proposed another. Toll's plan was 
modified by Barclay. Bernadotte sent in three plans, all of 
which, as might be expected, aimed more at his own 

^ Soult had gone to Spain. ' Hist. Mil., iv. 16. 


advantage than at that of the allied cause generally. He 
wanted to be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the whole 
allied army, an arrangement which would have suited no 
one but himself, and, perhaps we may add, Napoleon. 

Then came a scheme drawn up by Knesebeck, and two 
more prepared by Borstell and von Boyen. Knesebeck 
wanted to have two-thirds of the armies in Bohemia, and 
one-third in the north. The result would have been to 
divide the command between Bernadotte and an Austrian, 
leaving Prussia and Russia out altogether. As a mean 
between Toll's and Knesebeck's plans, it was proposed to 
give Bernadotte a large command in the north, to make the 
Bohemian army the main one, by moving all but about 
55,000 of the Silesian army to its aid, and to leave these 
55,000 under a Prussian. This plan was apparenly 
accepted by the Russians, though it left them with no 
command. But Austria preferred Knesebeck's plan, which 
contemplated transferring the whole Silesian army to 
Bohemia. It had apparently been generally assumed by 
the allies that Napoleon would act on the offensive against 

On the 9th July, the Tsar, the King of Prussia, and 
Bernadotte met by arrangement at Trachenberg, north of 
Breslau, and spent the next three days in consultation. 
Bernadotte, it may be remarked, could not be persuaded to 
believe that Austria would join the allies. He thought she 
would wait till both parties were exhausted, and then step 

In the end, a protocol was drawn up, the responsibility 
for which is claimed by Toll, and also by von Boyen. It 
terms were briefly these : — 

( 1 ) Asa general principle for guidance, it was laid down 
that all forces of the allies should aim at the direction of the 
enemy's main force, and that forces operating on his flanks 
or rear should aim, by the shortest road, at his communica- 

(2) The main body to take up a position from which it 
could advance against the enemy in whichever direction he 


might move. The bastion-like projection of Bohemia would 
facilitate this. 

(3) From 90,000 to 100,000 men to move, a few days 
before the end of the armistice, from the army of Silesia, by 
Landshut, Glatz, Jung Bunzlau, and Budin, to join the 
Austrians, raising their numbers to over 200,000 men. 

(4) Bernadotte to leave 15,000 or 20,000 men to watch 
Hamburg, and with 70,000 to take post about Treuenbriet- 
zen, so as to be able to advance on Leipzig, crossing the 
Elbe between Torgau and Wittenberg. 

(5) The army of Silesia to follow the enemy as he retired 
on the Elbe, but not to engage in any important action, 
unless under circumstances of peculiar advantage. On 
reaching the Elbe it would endeavour to cross between 
Dresden and Torgau, to unite with Bernadotte. Should 
that be found impossible, it would march at once to join 
the Bohemian army. 

(6) The Bohemian army would move, according to 
circumstances, on Eger, Hof, or Silesia, or would retire 
towards the Danube. Should Napoleon attack it, Berna- 
dotte would endeavour, by forced marches, to fall on his 

(7) Similarly, if Bernadotte were the object of attack, 
the Bohemian and Silesian armies would fall on Napoleon's 
communications, and compel him to a general battle. 

(8) All allied forces to act on the offensive, with the 
enemy's camp as their objective. 

(9) Bennigsen, with the Russian reserve army, to march 
by Kalisch towards Glogau, ready either to attack the 
enemy or to prevent his advance on Poland. 

The whole scheme is, according to Friederich, a com- 
promise between the ideas of Toll, Knesebeck, and 
Bernadotte, with traces of those of Borstell and von 
Boyen. It is based on the assumption that Napoleon's 
first attack would be on Austria and the Bohemian army. 
To Toll is to be attributed the idea of the offensive, and the 
fixing of the objective, not in a geographical point, but in 
the enemy's army. That was not in accordance with the 


ideas of Austria, who, if she had learnt something in 
tactics from Napoleon, had completely failed to grasp his 
strategical ideas. Even her best general, the Archduke 
Charles, now in retirement, had shown by his writings that 
he was still largely dominated by i8th century ideas of 
manoeuvring, rather than seeking a tactical decision. 

It will be observed that the Trachenberg protocol only 
prescribed the avoidance of a great battle in the case of the 
Silesian army. That was necessary, both because the army 
was weak, and because its commander, Bliicher, was 
notoriously hot-headed, and required definite instructions to 
prevent him from hurling himself on Napoleon, of whom he 
alone was not afraid. 

Whilst the Trachenberg scheme was being evolved, 
Radetzky, Schwartzenberg's chief of staff, had worked out 
another scheme, under which any of the armies which might 
be attacked by Napoleon was to go on the defensive, whilst 
the other two advanced. 

When, therefore, the Trachenberg plan was sent for the 
approval of Austria, she insisted on making the instructions 
to avoid a general action with Napoleon, unless under very 
advantageous circumstances, applicable to all three armies. 
In order to secure her adhesion, the others agreed to this 
at Reichenbach on the 1 9th July. 

No written record of the final arrangements, which may 
be called those of Trachenberg- Reichenbach, has been traced, 
but it is supposed that they are summarised in a memor- 
andum drawn up by Schwarzenberg, in November 181 3, of 
which the main points are these : — 

(i) Fortresses encountered by the allies to be masked, 
not besieged. 

(2) The main force to operate on the enemy's flank and 

(3) By attacking his communications he was to be forced 
either to detach, or to hurry with his main army to the 
threatened point. 

(4) He was only to be attacked when divided, and when 
the allies were largely superior. 


(5) If the enemy advanced in mass against one of 
the allied armies it would retire, whilst the other two 

(6) The point of union for all the armies to be the 
enemy's headquarters. 

These rules show that the allied leaders were still under 
the influence of i8th century ideas. They were afraid of 
bringing on a great battle by a general concentric advance, 
and hoped by small measures to carry out a dilatory scheme. 
This, notwithstanding the fact that they over-estimated their 
numbers as compared with Napoleon's. It is clear, as 
Friederich remarks, that Napoleon's teaching was lost on 
them, and the early part of the war could only lead to 
partial decisions. It was only later that the allied leaders 
found themselves, almost against the wishes of many of them, 
forced to a final decision at Leipzig. 



NAPOLEON left Dresden in the afternoon of 
the 15 th August, quite satisfied with his plans. 
Two days earlier he had said : " I have allowed 
for everything ; the rest depends on Fortune." 
After inspecting the fortifications round the Lilienstein, he 
proceeded along his new military road to Stolpen, and on 
to Bautzen, which he reached at 2 A.M. on the i6th. He 
remained there till the evening of the 17th, busy with his 
orders for the operations now commencing. 

On the 1 6th ^ he received information from a reliable 
spy that on the 1 2th, the Russian ^ army had left Reichen- 
bach and started for Bohemia, except the corps of Sacken, 
which had, on the same day, debouched with Bliicher and 
Kleist from Breslau, where they had no business to be 
during the armistice. On the 15 th they had captured 
French vedettes. Under these circumstances, the Emperor 
expressed his intention of placing 100,000 men on the 
position of Eckartsberg behind Zittau, and occupying on 
the 17th Rumburg, Schluckenau, and Georgenthal. Here 
he would menace Prague by the shortest road, and would 
be in communication by Neustadt with Konigstein. Mac- 
donald was asked if, with his own (XL) corps, the V., and 
5000 or 6000 cavalry (about 60,000 in all) he could hold 
a position which the Emperor understood to exist at Lowen- 
berg, whilst Ney, with 70,000 or 80,000, took position 
between Bunzlau and Hainau. Mortier would be at Lauban 

^ Corr. 20,390, to Macdonald. 

* The march had really begun on the 7th. This Reichenbach is south-east of 



with three divisions of the Guard to-day (i6th). " When I 
am certain that BlUcher with Yorck, Kleist, and Sacken (who 
cannot be more than 50,000 men) is advancing on Bunzlau, 
and that Wittgenstein and Barclay de Tolly are in Bohemia, 
en route for Zwickau or Dresden, I shall march in force to 
carry away Bliicher," Napoleon's estimate of Bliicher's army 
is entirely wrong, for it consisted of the Prussians of Yorck, 
and the Russians of Sacken, St Priest, and Langeron, 
altogether at least 90,000 men. 

In the evening of the 17th Napoleon was at Reichenbach^ 
on the 1 8th at Gorlitz. Here he learnt that Wittgenstein, 
with 40,000 Russians, had reached Bohemia, and that the 
Austrians had passed the Elbe for an unknown destination. 

Vandamme, whose first division was only just arriving at 
Stolpen, was ordered to Rumburg, where he would find the 
42nd division of St Cyr's corps and would keep it, if St 
Cyr were not hard pressed. Also he would have 3000 
Guard cavalry under Lefebvre-Desnoettes. The Emperor 
was going to Zittau, possibly to Rumburg. " It is possible 
I might enter Bohemia at once to fall upon the Russians 
and catch them * en flagrant d^lit' " ^ Accordingly, 
Napoleon moved to Zittau on the 19th, still waiting to 
get a clearer idea of the enemy's intentions. During the 
day he went forward in person with a strong reconnaissance 
as far as Gabel. By this means he ascertained that the 
Austrians were marching westwards, followed by a large 
Russian force. Clearly there was not likely to be a serious 
attack on Zittau for the present. " When the enemy learns 
that I have been at Gabel, he will march on this point with 
all his forces." 2 But before he could arrive Vandamme 
would have had four or five days in which to fortify himself 
in the passes about Rumburg, and so would Victor at Gabel. 
Vandamme's whole corps, Lefebvre - Desnoettes' Guard 
cavalry, Victor's and Poniatowski's corps would be available 
for the defence of the passes, about 65,000 men. The 
Emperor was off to destroy Bliicher, as he hoped, and he 
calculated that these 65,000 men, fighting to the last 

^ Corr. 20,408, to Vandamme. ^ Corr. 20,421. 


extremity in very strong positions, could easily hold the 
enemy's main army till his own return. He still apparently 
either did not believe in an advance of the allies on Dresden 
by the left bank of the Elbe, or, if he thought they con- 
templated it, he believed that his own appearance at Gabel 
would bring them back. 

He was back at Gorlitz by 2 P.M. on the 20th, ready to 
move against Bliicher, who that evening stood east of the 
Bbber opposite Lowenberg. Facing him, on the left bank, 
on the line Lowenberg- Bunzlau, were Ney (HI.), Lauriston 
(V.) and Macdonald (XL) ; Marmont (VI.) and the Guard 
were coming up. By evening on the 20th Napoleon had 
reached Lauban, whence he issued orders for the attack. 
" My intention is to attack to-morrow. The Prince of the 
Moskowa will attack what is in front of him, and, after 
passing the Bober, will move on Alt-Giersdorf to form my 
left. The Duke of Ragusa will be, at 10 A.M., two leagues 
(5 miles) from Lowenberg on my left. You will debouch 
at Lowenberg with General Lauriston, the XL corps on 
the right of Lowenberg. My Guard, horse and foot, will be 
at Lowenberg by noon." ^ The Emperor now estimated 
Bliicher at 100,000, or rather less, which was fairly correct. 

The attempt to destroy Bliicher failed completely. 
Napoleon saw Lowenberg captured without difficulty. The 
bridge over the Bober, which had been partially destroyed, 
was repaired, and the French advanced against the heights 
beyond, only to find Bliicher retreating. Napoleon put 
this down to want of confidence in their generals on the 
part of the allies. He was, of course, ignorant that the 
retirement was in accordance with the Trachenberg arrange- 
ment. Next day he wrote to Maret : ^ "It appears that 
their army of Silesia had not advanced with as much rapidity 
as was contemplated by the general plan of the allies, and 
their belief that we should repass the Elbe. They thought 
they had only to pursue, and consequently, as soon as they 
saw our columns debouch to reassume the offensive, they 

1 Corr. 20,428, to Macdonald, midnight, 20th August. 
» Corr. 20,437, of 22nd August. 


were filled with fear, and one was convinced that the chiefs 
wished to avoid a serious engagement. The whole plan of 
the allies has been founded on the assurance, given them by 
Metternich, that we should repass the Elbe, and they are 
much disconcerted to find it is otherwise." But he also 
shows that he realises the incompetence of his own sub- 
ordinates ; for he continues : " In general, what is most 
regrettable in the position of affairs is the little con- 
fidence which the generals have in themselves ; wherever 
I am not personally present, the enemy's forces appear to 
them considerable." 

In the same letter he shows that he is beginning to 
believe the Austrians are making for Dresden. That he 
welcomes as entailing a battle. " Since we can arrive at 
no result without a battle, the most fortunate thing that 
could happen is that the enemy should march on Dresden, 
since then there would be a battle." 

During this day (22nd) the French continued to advance 
eastwards. There was a fight between Lauterseifen and 
Pilgramsdorf, and by evening the enemy was driven beyond 
the Katzbach. The Emperor himself went to about half-way 
between Lowenberg and Goldberg, and then returned to the 
former in the evening. There he received an important letter, 
dated Pirna, 2 1 st August (noon), from St Cyr ^ in which that 
marshal very frankly stated his view of the position. The 
Austrians, he said, now reinforced by a large part of the 
Silesian army, were posted in two lines behind the Erzgebirge, 
on the left bank of the Elbe, and he believed they meant to 
swing round their left towards Wittenberg, shutting in 
Dresden and Torgau. However much he hoped for it, 
St Cyr could not believe Napoleon's movement on Zittau 
would draw them back in that direction. They would hope 
to contain him with their right on the upper Elbe, whilst 
they blockaded Dresden and Torgau so closely that it 

^ Hist. Mil.y p. 372. Napoleon's reply {Corr. 20,445) is dated*' Gorlitz, 23rd 
August 1813," and refers to "your letter of 22nd August at 11 p.m." There is 
palpably some mistake about the dates, as the letter quoted above is undoubtedly 
that to which the Emperor was replying. 


would be impossible to issue from them, even if they did 
not fall. 

In his reply,^ Napoleon, without distinctly admitting his 
acceptance of St Cyr's theory, shows plainly that he realises 
the danger threatening Dresden, and that he must hurry to its 
assistance. He assumes that St Cyr has left no boats on 
the left bank of the Elbe, and that he has made safe the 
communications between Dresden and Konigstein by the 
right bank. He promises that he will soon have 200,000 
men at Dresden. St Cyr had reported that the Russians 
and Prussians were already in contact with his outposts, 
and that he did not believe the Konigstein passage was 
safe, once he had to withdraw his army. 

As Napoleon was about to leave the eastern army, he 
entrusted its command to Macdonald, christening it the 
"Army of the Bober." ^ He stated its total strength at 
100,000 men. Macdonald's principal task was to hold in 
check the enemy's army of Silesia, to prevent it from 
operating either against Napoleon's communications towards 
Zittau, or against Oudinot towards Berlin. Therefore, 
Macdonald was to push Bliicher back beyond Jauer, and 
then to take post on the Bober. Three divisions of the 
ni. corps were to hold a fortified position near Bunzlau. 
Another similar position at Lowenberg was to be held by 
three divisions of the XI. corps, with the 4th division in 
reserve on the Queiss. The V. corps was to hold a position 
near Hirschberg. Communications were to be behind the 
Bober, along the left bank of which fortified posts were to 
be constructed at every ij miles, so as to prevent Cossacks 
crossing. Each flank of the whole position was to be 
strengthened by a strong body of cavalry and infantry, 
reconnoitring and preventing the enemy from turning it. 
A great deal of field fortification was prescribed, both in 
the front line and in Marchand's second line on the Queiss. 
When this position was thus occupied and fortified, Napoleon 
believed that it would be impossible for the enemy either to 

^ Corr. 20,445, Gorlitz, 23rd August. 

2 Corr. 20,442, of 23rd August, to Berthier. 


turn it by an advance between its right and the Riesen- 
gebirge, or to move between its left and the Oder towards 
Berlin. The army was to be kept in a state of mobility, 
and, if the enemy took the offensive, and advanced, Mac- 
donald would be strong enough, unless Bliicher were greatly 
reinforced, to issue from Ldwenberg, or some other point, 
and attack him. 

It certainly looked as if the Emperor's rear was thoroughly 
protected during his march on Dresden. But the choice 
of Macdonald for this important semi-independent command 
was not a wise one. In order that there might not be 
difficulties, owing to the presence of more than one marshal 
out of the Emperor's sight, Ney was summoned to head- 
quarters. It would, of course, have been out of the question 
to leave him with the Bober army under Macdonald, his 
junior in rank as marshal. Unfortunately, Ney did not get 
the order ^ which summoned him to headquarters, and 
directed transfer of the command of the III. corps to Souham, 
yet he marched for Bunzlau with the I IL corps. It is not 
clear what induced him to do this. 

On the 24th August, the Emperor wrote to Maret, in 
cypher, directing him to pass on the orders to St Cyr, whose 
opinion was again invited on them. He said : " My inten- 
tion is to move to Stolpen. My army will be assembled 
there to-morrow. I shall spend the 26th there in pre- 
parations, and rallying my columns. On the 26th, in the 
night, I will send my columns by Konigstein, and at 
daybreak on the 27th, I shall be in the camp of Pirna with 
100,000 men. I shall operate so that the atttack on 
Hellendorf begins at 7 A.M., and I shall be master of that 
place at noon. Then I shall place myself astride of that 
communication, and seize Pirna. I shall have two bridges 
ready to throw at Pirna, if necessary. Either the enemy 
has taken as his line of operation the road from Peterswalde 
to Dresden, in which case I shall be in his rear with all my 
army opposed to him, whilst he cannot assemble his in less 
than four or five days ; or he has taken his line of operation 

1 Corr. 20,440, to Berthier. 


by the road from Kommotau to Leipzig. In that case he 
will not retire, and will move on Kommotau ; Dresden will 
be relieved, and I shall find myself in Bohemia, nearer than 
the enemy to Prague, on which I shall march. Marshal St 
Cyr will follow the enemy as soon as he appears to be dis- 
concerted. I shall mask this movement by lining the bank 
of the Elbe with 30,000 cavalry and light artillery, so that the 
enemy, seeing all the river lined, will believe my army to be 
at Dresden. ... I assume that, when I undertake my 
attack, Dresden will not be attacked so as to be able to be 
taken in twenty-four hours." ^ 

The scheme was beautifully simple, but it all depended 
on St Cyr's being able to hold Dresden unsupported against 
the allies. This Napoleon evidently felt to be the weak 
point, for he said his scheme might have to be modified in 
consequence of the enemy's movements. 

Meanwhile, the allied army of Bohemia had been slowly 
pressing on towards Dresden. Schwarzenberg's first idea 
had been to march on Leipzig, according to Napoleon's 
second supposition, but, as he crossed the Erzgebirge, he 
changed his plan to a direct advance on Dresden. St Cyr's 
troops were everywhere forced back by superior numbers, 
only the 42nd division remaining behind at Konigstein, and 
between that fortress and Dresden on the Pirna plateau. 

On the 22 nd, Wittgenstein had appeared at Hellendorf, 
driving in the French outposts on Berggiesshiibel. The French 
XIV. corps was watching the whole line, some seventy-five 
miles, from the Elbe to Hof At Berggiesshiibel there were 
only available the 43 rd division and L'Heritier's cavalry, 
which had replaced Pajol's, detached to the right towards 

A sturdy resistance was made, but when, in the afternoon, 
Wittgenstein began to turn the position, the French retired 
to Zehista, where they again held out till nightfall. 

On the same afternoon, the 44th division had been 
brought up from the old road to Teplitz to support the 
43rd at Zehista. The XIV. corps was ordered to take up 

1 Corr. 20,449, dated Gorlitz, 24th August. « See Map IV. {b). 


a position next morning near enough to Dresden to be 
certain of not being cut from it. The 45 th division, which 
had been fighting on the 22nd near Dippoldiswalde, took 
post on the 23rd on the heights of Racknitz a couple of 
miles outside Dresden ; the 44th was on its left. The 45 th 
then retired to the Pirna suburb of Dresden. 

Pajol had also been attacked towards Freiberg on the 
22nd, and his cavalry driven back on two battalions of the 
45th division supporting him. On the 23rd he stood, with 
his right on the Mulde and his left at Rabenau, watching the 
enemy's movements in this direction and towards Leipzig. 

L'Heritier's cavalry was on St Cyr's left. 

On the 23rd a Russian light division approached Dresden 
by Zehista, drove in the French outposts, but made no 
serious attack. Desultory skirmishing continued on the 
24th. On the 25 th these Russians were driven back from 
the heights of Strehlen, enabling the French to see that 
heavy columns were moving towards Dresden. L'Heritier's 
cavalry lost three guns in this affair, thanks to Murat's ^ 
rashness, if we may credit St Cyr. The latter refused now 
to follow the suggestions of the King of Naples, who 
advocated withdrawing the whole army within the fortifica- 
tions of Dresden, and kept his infantry as far out as the 
heights beyond Strehlen. Fortunately for him, the allies 
could not make up their minds to a general attack that day, 
which might very well have resulted, looking to their immense 
superiority of numbers, in the capture by storm of the 
Altstadt. This failure to attack is universally condemned ; 
for St Cyr had not more than about 20,000 men, and it is 
scarcely possible to suppose he could have held the weak 
defences of Dresden very long against the enormous forces 
which the allied commander might have hurled upon him 
on the afternoon of the 25 th. But Schwarzenberg had 
clearly no inkling of the neighbourhood of Napoleon, and 
chose to wait till next day for his attack, when he hoped 
to have the Austrian army up. 

^ Murat had been fetched back from Naples to command the cavalry, and also 
to remove him from the temptation of Austrian intrigues. 


The allied sovereigns were on the heights of Racknitz 
between 9 and 10 A.M. on the 25 th. The Tsar and 
Moreau/ who accompanied him, saw clearly the weakness 
of St Cyr, and wanted to make an immediate attack, but 
Schwarzenberg insisted on waiting for the Austrians. Late 
that evening Wittgenstein came personally to Barclay at 
Racknitz with a request to be allowed to storm the city 
during the night. Barclay refused on the ground of 
superior orders prohibiting an attack that day. The golden 
opportunity was lost. 

We now return to Napoleon. Leaving Gorlitz on the 
24th, he was at Bautzen by 3 P.M., the Guard being ex- 
pected there the same evening. By 7 A.M. on the 25th, 
he was at Stolpen, still intent on his plan of crossing with 
100,000 men at Konigstein, to seize the enemy's line of 
operations by the Peterswalde-Dresden road ; Vandamme 
was at Neustadt and Stolpen on this day. The Guard, 
and Latour-Maubourg's cavalry, on the road from Bautzen 
to Stolpen, Victor and Marmont still a day's march short 
of Bautzen. 

The Emperor was anxious about Dresden, on the holding 
of which it depended whether he could leave it alone 
whilst he debouched from Konigstein. His doubts on the 
subject are evidenced by letters to St Cyr and to Rogniat, 
his engineer-general. He had also sent Gourgaud to 
Dresden to bring information on the subject. Gourgaud 
arrived at Stolpen at 1 1 P.M. on the 25 th with such a poor 
account of the Dresden fortifications, and their chance of 
being able to hold out, that Napoleon, no longer daring to 
carry out his great scheme, decided to march direct to the 
Saxon capital with the bulk of his forces. At i A.M. 
on the 26th the new orders issued. The Guard and 
Latour-Maubourg were to start at once for Dresden, Victor 
and Marmont to follow. Between 9 and 10 A.M. the 

^ Moreau had, at the instance of the Tsar, returned from America and joined 
the allies. He was thought much of by Alexander, who constantly consulted 
him. Whatever sympathy might be felt for him on account of the past he largely 
forfeited by consenting to serve against his own countrymen. 


Emperor himself was in Dresden, busy examining the 
fortifications and reconnoitring. The troops, which he 
was hurrying up, began to arrive soon after himself. 
He had not entirely given up the Konigstein and Pirna 
expedition, but he left it to Vandamme alone, with his 
own corps, to be joined by Mouton-Duvernet with the 
division (42nd) which St Cyr had left behind about 

Here we must pause to describe the neighbourhood of 
Dresden, especially the left bank of the Elbe, which, during 
this and the succeeding day, was to be the scene of very 
notable events.^ The student of military history at the 
present day has to exercise a good deal of imagination in 
studying the battlefield of Dresden ; for the city, which 
had only some 30,000 inhabitants in 18 13, now has about 
half a million, and has spread far and wide over what was, 
in 18 1 3, open country with villages scattered about, the 
names of which now stand for quarters well within the 
city area. The old fortifications had by 1 8 1 3 been only 
partially dismantled, now they have entirely disappeared. 
The city lies in a broad, open valley, astride of the Elbe, 
which in 1 8 1 3 was spanned within the walls by only one 
stone bridge, that which led from opposite the royal palace 
to the Neustadt. 

The Altstadt was enclosed by the remains of the old 
enceinte, but suburbs (" schlags," as they were locally called) 
had already extended on an average 600 or 700 yards 
beyond it, covering its field of fire. The western suburb, 
the Friedrichstadt, beyond the river Weisseritz, extended 
much further. The Neustadt, on the other hand, was in a 
much better condition for defence. The enceinte had been 
reconstructed by Napoleon since his re-occupation of 
Dresden in May, and several fresh forts had been built. 
It was only during the armistice, as Austria seemed to be 
likely to join the allies, that much attention had been 
given to the defences on the left bank. What had 
been done in the way of temporary fortification during 

1 Map IV. (a). 


the armistice has already been described. But the works 
were still incomplete and defective, as is shown by 
Napoleon's letter of the 25 th to Rogniat (his engineer- 
officer), saying he would feel reassured about Dresden 
if he knew that " the three entrenchments already 
marked out were ready, if the barricades in the town 
were finished, and if the Pirna ditch were properly 
excavated." ^ 

The Altstadt had three weak lines of defence — 

(i) The ring of lunettes. 

(2) The barricades, palisades, and garden walls of the 

(3) The old enceinte. 

With a strong garrison, and an enemy of not very great 
superiority, it was safe ; but it certainly was not so when 
the allies could attack with 100,000 men a garrison of 
little more than 20,000. 

We have said there were defects in the works. Some 
of them were these. The lunettes I., II., III. were out of 
sight of one another, and therefore incapable of mutual 
support. In front of No. IV. there was a good deal of 
dead ground, and there was a large building, the Feld- 
schlosschen, in which an enemy could effect a lodgment within 
300 yards of it. There were no redoubts beyond the 
Weisseritz, and the Friedrichstadt suburb on that side was 
very poorly fortified. 

Outside the eastern suburbs stretched for some 2000 
yards, with a breadth of 1000, on perfectly level ground, 
the Grosser Garten, which was very much the same 
in 181 3 as it now is, with its palace in the centre 
forming a sort of reduit. Its importance to the defender 
is obvious ; for, so long as he held it, he was on the flank 
of any advance against the city along either its northern or 
its southern side, and the part between it and the Elbe 
was also open to artillery fire from the opposite bank 
against the right flank of an attack, provided, as was the 
case in 181 3, the defender was in undisputed possession 

^ Corr. 20,465. 


of the right bank. At some distance outside its eastern 
and northern sides was the Landgraben, a drainage cut 
running, according to the undulations of the country, either 
in a low embankment or in a sunken ditch. It was not 
much of an obstruction to infantry, or even to cavalry, 
but it was so to artillery ; for the foot-bridges across it 
were not wide enough for the passage of guns. Artillery 
could only cross by the main roads. 

The country between the Grosser Garten and the Elbe 
was only slightly undulating, and was open, except for a 
large wood, about Blasewitz and south-west of it, which 
was of no great importance. 

The next section of the semicircle is different ; for 
within 1000 yards of the southern suburbs the ground 
begins to rise to the line of heights which, from Tschert- 
nitz to Briesnitz, surrounds the southern and western sides 
of Dresden. From Tschertnitz these heights curve back 
southwards, whilst beyond the Weisseritz they trend for- 
wards towards the Elbe at Briesnitz. 

At Racknitz the level is about 250 feet above Dresden ; 
beyond the Weisseritz it is greater, but the crest is further 
from the city. 

The ridge is cut through above Plauen by the little river 
Weisseritz, flowing through a precipitous gorge 200 feet 
or more in depth, which was only passable with great 
difficulty by one or two bad roads for a mile or so 
above Plauen. The Weisseritz is now carried away from 
below Plauen to the Elbe at Briesnitz ; in 1 8 1 3 it flowed 
straight down to the Elbe between the city and the 
Friedrichstadt suburb. In ordinary weather it was gen- 
erally fordable, but in torrential rain, such as fell on 
the 27th August 18 1 3, it became a serious obstacle, 
only passable at the bridges, of which there were four 
of stone and two of wood between Coschiitz and the 

Beyond the Weisseritz, the heights were in places 
rather more intersected by ravines than those between the 
stream and Tschertnitz. These ravines specially favoured 


attacks on some of the villages on the slopes ; but most 
of this country was open, and excellently suited for 

The troops immediately available for the defence of the 
city on the 26th August were : — 

(a) Three divisions of St Cyr's corps, about 15,000 men, 
the 42nd division being at Konigstein. 

(d) About 4500 Westphalians. 
■ {c) I French and i Italian cavalry regiment, and 2 
Polish squadrons. 

(d) A few Dutch, Polish, Saxon, and Baden allies. 

Of these, the Westphalians were set apart as the regular 
garrison. The XIV. corps occupied the ist and 2nd lines 
of defence. Of the three divisions, the 43 rd on the left 
held the space between the Elbe and redoubt III., »the 
44th held the Grosser Garten, and the 45 th had to hold 
the whole space thence round to the Friedrichstadt. The 
line, except in the Grosser Garten, was necessarily very 
thinly occupied. 

On the other side, during the night of the 2 5th-26th, 
the Russians on the allied right held Blasewitz and the 
great wood, Striesen, Griina, and the Griine Wiese, with 
outposts in front. 

The Prussians were in Prohlis, Torna, Leubnitz, and 

More Russians held Gostritz and behind it. 

Colloredo's and Lichtenstein's divisions (Austrians) were 
on the heights behind Racknitz. 

Chasteler's two divisions arrived at 8 P.M. on the right 
bank of the Weisseritz, about Plauen, with the French 
outposts close in front of them. 

The 2nd Russian Guard division, the ist Grenadier 
division, the 3rd Cuirassier division, and the Prussian 
Guard cavalry, all under Miloradowich, were still at 
Dippoldiswalde. Klenau had only just reached Freiberg. 
Schwarzenberg had at last made up his mind to attack 
Dresden on the 26th August. Had he done so with vigour 
in the early morning of that day, he would probably have 


been still in time to storm it before the arrival of Napoleon's 
reinforcements, of which the nearest was half Teste's division 
of the I. corps, which was half way between Dresden and 
Stolpen. But, in order to take the city, there must be no 
hesitation in the attack, and it was necessary to have fas- 
cines and scaling-ladders ready for storming the old 
enceinte. Schwarzenberg had prepared none of these 
things, and his orders were anything but decided. He 
seems to have meant to divide his attack into two portions, 
a sort of preparatory reconnaissance in force during the 
morning, to be followed at 4 P.M. by the general attack, 
which should have commenced ten or twelve hours sooner, 
and should have been carried straight through. The attack 
was to be made in five columns. 

1st column. Wittgenstein, with 10,000 Russians on the 
right, to make a demonstration, drawing on himself as much 
as possible of the enemy's attention. 

2nd column. 3 5, 000 Prussians to attack, as a demon- 
stration, the Grosser Garten. 

3rd column. CoUoredo, with 1 5,000 Austrians, to demon- 
strate towards redoubt No. III., covering the heavy batteries 
in that direction. 

4th column. Chasteler (less his grenadier division) to 
occupy Plauen and cover the leftward march of the 5 th 

5th column. 35,000 Austrians under Bianchi to attack 
Lobtau and work down, beyond the Weisseritz, to Friedrich- 
stadt and the Elbe. 

Chasteler's grenadier division (10,000) to act as reserve 
towards Coschiitz, and, if necessary, to support the rest of 
the corps at Plauen. 

Cavalry divisions, Nostitz and Lederer, to act as a further 
reserve between Coschiitz and Kaitz. 

The advance of the left wing and the bombardment of the 
place were to be held back till 4 P.M., when the forces of the 
enemy had been drawn away by the attacks of the right and 

Thus Schwarzenberg was bringing to the attack of St 


Cyr's 20,000 men well over 100,000, and, had he pushed 
them boldly in in the morning, there can be little doubt 
that they would have carried everything before them, before 
even the arrival of Teste's division, which started only at 
4 A.M. 


{a) The 26th August 

FIRST Period^ up to noon. — The first of the allies 
to attack were the Prussians advancing from the 
south against the nearest part of the Grosser 
Garten. The French had evacuated Strehlen at 
4 A.M., an hour before Ziethen, supported by Pirch, moved 
from it against the Grosser Garten. The Prussians made but 
slow progress, and it was only as Roth, with the Russian 
advanced guard, came to their assistance, by attacking the 
north-eastern corner of the garden, that they were able to 
push slowly forward. 

Roth appears to have attacked between 7 and 8 A.M., 
and, by the latter hour, when they had been already fighting 
for three hours, the Prussians had only mastered the outer 
half of the garden as far as the palace in its centre. By 
9 A.M. they had got about half-way from the palace to the 
city end of the garden. Here they were ordered to break 
off the fight for the time. On the right of the Prussians the 
Russians began their advance between the Grosser Garten 
and the Elbe between 7 and 8 A.M. As they advanced from 
the Blasewitz wood they suffered severely from the artillery 
fire of the Marcolini fort on the right bank of the Elbe. 
They could make little progress till the Prussians, aided 
by Roth, got forward in the garden, and the Russians coming 
from Striesen planted a strong battery on a slight elevation, 
the Windmill height. Covered by this, they succeeded in 
capturing the building known as Engelhardt's, near the Elbe. 

1 Map IV. (a). 


An attempt to advance on the Hopfgarten was repulsed. 
No further progress was made before the general lull in the 
battle, which began about noon. On the Prussian left 
between Zschertnitz and Racknitz operations up to noon 
were confined to an artillery duel with the opposite French 

The Austrian attack towards Plauen began about 6 A.M. 
By 9 they had driven the French back past the Feld- 
schlosschen, which was stormed, and on to redoubts Nos. IV. 
and V. From the Feldschlosschen the French artillery fire 
from redoubt IV. failed to drive the Austrians, as, the walls 
of the building being of lath and plaster, the French shells 
passed straight through them without setting fire to the 
building. A serious mistake had been made by the French 
engineers in not destroying this building before the battle. 
On the other hand, Austrian advances against redoubts 
IV. and V. were driven off by the fire of those forts, 
supported by the guns of one of the bastions of the old 

Thus when the fighting died away about noon the allies 
had attained the following positions. The Russians on the 
right stretched from Engelhardt's to the Grosser Garten, of 
which about three-fourths of the length was in possession of 
their own left and the Prussians. In the centre no progress 
had been made. On the left, up to the Weisseritz, the 
Austrians were close in front of the French redoubts 
IV. and V. Beyond the Weisseritz the Austrians had 
driven the French out of Lobtau. On the extreme left, 
Meszko's division had met with little opposition, and had 
succeeded in getting as far forward as Schusterhaiiser on 
the Elbe. 

In Dresden, meanwhile, the early attacks spread the 
greatest alarm among the inhabitants, who were aware that 
the allied troops were especially bitter against them, on 
account of alleged ill-treatment of Russian and Prussian 
prisoners. Confidence was to a great extent restored by the 
appearance of Napoleon between 9 and i o A.M. Men began 
to say, " There is Napoleon. Things will soon be very 


different." ^ There was no longer any talk of abandoning 
homes and escaping across the river. The Emperor was 
still reputed invincible in Germany. 

Leaving Stolpen in his carriage at 5 A.M. he had mounted 
his horse as soon as he came in sight of Dresden from the 
hills above. At the Marcolini (Meissenberg) fort he stopped 
to watch the Russian advance, and to direct more artillery 
on them. Then he galloped into Dresden, paid a visit of a 
few moments to the king, and hurried off to inspect the 
defences. St Cyr found him, between 11 and 12, on the 
French left, on foot in the midst of the horse artillery, which 
at the moment was not firing, as the pause in the battle had 
commenced. Then the Emperor rode along the defences 
towards the right. The garrison was terribly weak. Behind 
the garden walls in many places there was only one man to 
every ten paces. At the Dippoldiswalde road he went 
farther forward to observe the enemy. Arrived at redoubt 
IV., he was annoyed to find the Feldschlosschen in the 
enemy's possession and ordered St Cyr to retake it. The 
battalion sent for the purpose succeeded for a moment, but 
was driven out again. Having passed along the whole of 
his line, Napoleon returned to the Schloss Platz, where he took 
his position at the head of the stone bridge, watching the 
arrival of his troops and directing them to their posts in the 
line. Teste, with eight battalions, arrived first, and was sent 
to Friederichstadt, where Murat was put in command of this 
infantry, of the ist cavalry corps, when it arrived at 2 P.M., 
and of Pajol's cavalry of St Cyr's corps. 

Next came Decouz's and Roguet's Young Guard divisions 
under Mortier. These were sent to the suburbs on the 

^ Aster, Schilderungen der Kriegsereignisse in wid vor Dresden. This author 
■was a Saxon ofiScer of artillery in Dresden in 1813. After his retirement from 
the service he wrote most careful accounts of the battles of Dresden, Kulm, and 
Leipzig, and other events in the w^ar. He supplemented his personal knov^^ledge 
of facts by the most careful local inquiries, and his facts appear to be accepted 
generally by modern German writers. 

As regards these stories against the citizens of Dresden which were current in 
the Russo-Prussian army, he denies that there was any foundation in fact for 


left. Two more divisions of Young Guard, under Ney, went 
to the Dippoldiswalde and Falken " schlags," left and right 
of redoubt IV. The Old Guard remained in the city in 
reserve, sending only one regiment to each of the suburbs of 
Pirna (on the left), Falken (centre), and Freiberg (on the 
right). The Guard had marched 90 miles in the last seventy- 
two hours, and that not on good roads but alongside of them, 
for Napoleon kept the roads for his guns and wagons, whilst 
the infantry and cavalry marched on a broad front across 
country. Latour-Maubourg's 78 squadrons went to behind 
Friederichstadt, where the public slaughter-house now stands, 
and there also were Pajol's 46 squadrons — 23,000 cavalry in 
all. The rest of Teste's division, when it arrived, followed 
the first 8 battalions to Friederichstadt. It was between 
3 and 5 P.M. when Roguet's 14 battalions and Barrois' 10 
of the Young Guard arrived. These went to the suburbs 
on the right bank of the Weisseritz. The general reserve 
of Old Guard, under Friant and Curial, counted i o battalions 
and 30 guns in the Altstadt, besides the 3 regiments sent 
as special reserves to the right, centre, and left. These were 
all the troops Napoleon could expect for this day's battle. 
We have somewhat anticipated in noting their arrival. 

On the side of the allies, the Tsar and the King of 
Prussia stood, about 11 A.M., on the heights of Racknitz in 
company with Jomini^^ Moreau, and their other advisers and 
staff. They could clearly see the stream of Napoleon's 
soldiers hurrying to Dresden by the Bautzen road beyond 
the Elbe. Yet, the glow of bivouac fires towards Stolpen in 
the previous night should have warned the allied leaders 
that a great army was approaching. Jomini, clearly realis- 
ing that the capture of Dresden was now hopeless, counselled 
retreat to Dippoldiswalde, and the Tsar agreed with him. 

^ Jomini had been Ney's chief of staff at Bautzen. He went over to the allies 
just before the end of the armistice. His defence of his conduct attributes it 
largely to Napoleon's refusal to let him leave his service in 1810, and to his dis- 
approval of Napoleon's ambition. But it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that, 
had Ney's recommendation of him for appointment to a division after Bautzen 
been accepted, he would not have gone over. His case is different from Moreau's, 
inasmuch as he was a Swiss, not a Frenchman. 


But the King of Prussia thought otherwise. Hours of dis- 
cussion followed, ending in the decision to countermand the 
general attack fixed for 4 P.M. Whether Schwarzenberg 
deliberately neglected to give the counter-order, or whether 
there was a misunderstanding, it is certain that the three 
guns, the prearranged signal for attack, were fired and the 
battle recommenced. 

Second Period, from 4 to 6 p-m. — It was towards 4 P.M. 
when Napoleon was informed that the allies appeared to be 
preparing for a general attack. Galloper after galloper was 
dispatched to hurry the march of the approaching French 

The Russians on the allied right were still much annoyed 
by the French artillery beyond the Elbe, and, farther to 
their left, hampered in their movements by the Land- 
graben. French troops, too, had been pushed out along 
the Elbe, sheltered by an embankment constructed to 
restrain floods, and by several villas and farms. Neverthe- 
less, the Russian right advanced for some distance victoriously 
from Engelhardt's, capturing Anton's and Lammchen. In the 
centre they got little beyond the windmill height. On the 
left, between the Landgraben and the Grosser Garten, they 
pushed close up to redoubt II., but all their efforts to storm 
it were repulsed. 

The Prussians in the Grosser Garten also arrived in front 
of redoubt II., which they attempted to storm along with 
the Russians on their right. They, too, were driven off 
here, as well as from the adjoining Prince Anton's garden, 
which was protected by a wall with a ditch in front of it. 

Kleist, with his Prussians, advanced from the Rothe Haus 
against the Biirgerwiese and the Hospital garden.^ In the 
attack on the latter they were joined by the right of the 
Austrians. Kleist had arrived within ten yards of the 
Dohna suburb when the Austrians on his left gave way 
before the terrible fire. At this juncture, too, Serurrier, with 

^ On the outer edge of the Dohna Schlag to the east of redoubt III. The 
Biirgerwiese is the open space cutting into the Schlag. Prince Anton's garden is 
directly behind the Grosser Garten. 


St Cyr's 44th division, broke out from the Biirgerwiese, 
compelling Kleist to retire. 

The signal guns for the general attack were followed 
immediately by the advance of numerous Austrian columns 
in the space between Kleist's left and the right bank of the 
Weisseritz. As the Austrian right advanced against the 
Hospital garden and redoubt IH., they found their move- 
ment facilitated by the ditches and channels which then 
scored the slopes below Tschertnitz and Racknitz. 

The fate of the extreme right in this period has been noticed 
above in connexion with Kleist's attack. Two columns 
farther to the left were directed on redoubt III. Notwith- 
standing the support of their own and of Russian guns 
pushed forward with them, the Austrians were almost 
stopped by the terrible fire of the redoubt and the French 
batteries on either side of it. The two leading Austrian 
lines had already given way, when suddenly the work was 
silent. The supply of ammunition had given out. Seizing 
their opportunity, the Austrians dashed forward once more, 
mounting the parapet of the redoubt and engaging in a 
desperate hand-to-hand conflict with its defenders, who were 
nearly all killed or wounded before the remains at last 
retreated and sought shelter in the gardens behind. 

The next Austrians on the left nearly got possession of 
the gardens ; a few, indeed, penetrated into them, but the 
latter were turned by French reserves. In one of these 
attacks on the gardens several hundred Austrians, hemmed 
in against the walls by the French reserves, were compelled to 
surrender. So desperate was the fighting in this part that 
it is said that in redoubt III. alone 180 French and 344 
Austrian dead were found in the evening, after its recapture. 
The attack on redoubts IV. and V. was less successful. 
In redoubt IV. the allies' artillery fire wrought such havoc 
that 96 of its small garrison were hors de combat, and the 
fort was deserted for the moment. As the Austrian infantry 
rushed forward from the Feldschlosschen to seize it, French 
reserves issued from the " schlags " in rear and drove the 
enemy back to their starting-point. Two attacks, from 


Kohler's Garden and the " Meisterei," on redoubt V. likewise 
failed before the steady fire of the French. A third attack 
from the Tharandt road met with the same fate. Beyond 
the Weisseritz, on the signal for the general advance, Bianchi 
pushed on towards Friedrichstadt from the positions gained 
before noon. He was met by a heavy artillery fire in 
front from the Freiberg road, and by a flanking fire from 
redoubt V. 

On the extreme left, Meszko's men were in front of 
Cotta and Schusterhaiiser, and a small party even got along 
below the Elbe bank to nearly opposite Uebigau. Thence, 
however, they had to fall back hurriedly, to avoid being cut 
off by French reserves and cavalry. 

Napoleon, in Dresden, had been anxiously marking the 
course of the battle during this period, waiting for all the 
troops he could collect before making his counter-attack. 
By 5 P.M. he had some 70,000 men in the Altstadt 
and in the line of defence. The allies had about 150,000 
on the field, but they had acted throughout with want of 
decision, and had kept nearly two-thirds of this great army 
in reserve. 

Alarm had once more taken hold of the unfortunate 
citizens as they saw great masses of the allies pouring down 
from the heights, and the shells began to burst in all 
directions in the suburbs. Many houses were in flames. 
There was a general rush for safety in the cellars. 

The streets were full of French troops, especially the open 
spaces in the suburbs where reserves were massed, ready to 
move at a moment's notice to any gravely threatened point. 
Amongst these troops the bursting shells produced only a 
feeling of exhilaration and eagerness. They were to fight 
under the immediate command of a leader whom they still 
believed to be invincible. 

Aster tells a curious story of a battery which received 
orders to be ready to move into the fighting line. The men 
were dust-stained and untidy after their long march. The 
moment they heard of the order, each man began to get out 
of his haversack his parade uniform, which it was thought 


suitable to don on such an occasion. Comical scenes 
ensued, as men, in the act of changing their trousers, had to 
skip off as they might to avoid a shell about to burst. All 
were laughing and cheery, as if about to go to some fdte. 
Such was the spirit of Napoleon's soldiers. 

Third Period, from 6 p.m till dark. — The tide of the 
allied advance had reached its height towards 6 P.M. 
Their front line is shown on the plan, and it was one 
which made matters look very black to the uninitiated. 
Not so to Napoleon, who, between 5 and 6 p.m., had 
issued orders for the counter-attack which commenced 
at the latter hour. Ney, who had been ordered to take 
command in the Falken and Blinde '* schlags " behind 
redoubt IV., had no fresh charger up. The Emperor, seeing 
his difficulty, turned to Caulaincourt saying he could lend 
Ney his horse. The Duke of Vicenza hesitated for a 
moment. " Descendez," was Napoleon's brief, stern order, 
and Caulaincourt instantly dismounted and changed chargers 
with Ney. 

As soon as the orders for the general advance were 
issued, the Emperor left the Schloss Platz to watch their 
execution. First he went to the bridge of boats above 
the stone bridge, thence he was guided by Count Nostitz to 
the Rammischer " schlag," near the Elbe on the French left. 
Hence he passed through the Pirna and See " schlags," so 
close to the foremost line of the enemy that one of his 
orderly officers and several of his suite were wounded. It 
was 8 P.M. before, being finally satisfied that everything was 
going as he wished, he returned to the king's palace. 

Meanwhile, on Napoleon's extreme left, the 3rd and 4th 
divisions of the Young Guard under Mortier began to issue, 
about 6 P.M., from the Ziegel "schlag" close to the Elbe. 
At that moment an ammunition wagon blew up, and the 
terrified horses dashed wildly amongst the troops. For a 
moment they were delayed, then Roguet advanced close to 
the Elbe, whilst Decouz attacked the Russians at Engel- 
hardt's, driving them back on the Windmill height, which, 
after a desperate hand-to-hand struggle, was taken at 7 P.M. 


By 8 P.M. the French on this wing had driven the Russians 
back into the Blasewitz wood and Striesen. 

Wittgenstein was now so hard pressed that he personally 
rode over to Barclay to ask for reinforcements. Kliix's 
Prussian brigade was sent up to behind Striesen, which 
village the Russians evacuated only at midnight. 

Simultaneously with this advance, three more columns ot 
Mortier's troops issued from behind redoubt IL, and from 
Prince Anton's garden, driving back Wittgenstein's left and 
the Prussians, whose attack had just failed. By 7 P.M. the 
French had driven the allies through half the length of the 
Grosser Garten to the palace. Here the fight swayed back- 
wards and forwards till, at 8 P.M., the Prussians, still holding 
the palace, were separated from their antagonists only by 
the width of the central cross avenue. At that hour the 
turmoil of the struggle gave place to a still more ghastly 
silence, broken only by the groans of the wounded. 

About redoubt IIL the counter-attack began very soon 
after the Austrians were in possession of it. It was facili- 
tated by the threat to the Austrian flank, due to Ney's 
advance by redoubt IV., to be described presently. The 
attack on the captured redoubt was commenced by a column 
of the Young Guard from the west of the Hospital garden. 
The first attempt failed, though about 50 men got in 
through a gate in the gorge of the work which, being closed 
behind them, left the little party isolated in the midst of 
about 500 Austrians. Refusing the enemy's calls to 
surrender, the gallant band held firm against tenfold 
numbers. As no officer was with them the drum-major 
took command, brandishing his baton, with which he 
promptly felled the Austrian leader. Help was at hand, 
and this little band of heroes held their ground till what 
remained of them was rescued by a fresh irruption, through 
the palisading, of their comrades, now reinforced by two 
regiments led by Berthezene. The redoubt was now re- 
captured, and some 400 Austrian prisoners were taken 
in it. 

Ney, from the Falken and Blinde " schlags," had begun 


to advance about the time the Austrians took redoubt III. 
He passed on both sides of redoubt IV., threatening by his 
movement the flanks of the Austrians in front of redoubts 
III. and V. His right column marched from the paper-mill 
on Kohler's garden, from which it drove the Austrians. The 
left column, charging along the upper Plauen road, failed in 
its first attempt to retake the Feldschlosschen. The second 
succeeded in taking it at the point of the bayonet. After 
this the Austrians in this quarter fell back fighting towards 
Plauen till darkness stopped the combat. In the low ground 
on the right bank of the Weisseritz the enem.y, now re- 
inforced by Chasteler's grenadiers, still held on, though 
suffering heavily. 

During Ney's attack, Dumoustier issued from the Freiberg 
" schlag," drove the enemy in front of him across the 
Weisseritz, and recaptured the Chaussee Haus near the 
crossing of the Freiberg road. The Austrians retired to 
Riesentzien's garden,^ which they still held, destroying the 
wooden bridge near it. 

Beyond the Weisseritz, Teste's infantry, with part of 
Dumoustier's, issued from the Lobtau " schlag " against 
Altona and the neighbouring buildings. The Austrians 
made a desperate resistance in the buildings, but were 
eventually driven from all but a small inn at Klein Hamburg, 
which they evacuated at midnight. In this combat even 
Pajol's cavalry took part. As darkness fell, the Austrians 
on the Tharandt road withdrew behind Lobtau and 
bivouacked south-west of it. The village was occupied 
by neither party during the night, but the Austrians still 
held Cotta, Dolzschen, Nauslitz, Rossthal, Wolfnitz, and 
Nieder- and Ober-Gorbitz. 

As a result of the day's fighting, the line of French out- 
posts, marked on the plan, shows that they had regained 
practically all that they had lost earlier in the day. 

Between 9 and 10 P.M. there were brought to Napoleon 
at the Royal Palace 700 Austrian prisoners, most of whom 
had been captured in or near redoubt III. After inspecting 

1 Marked " garden " on plan ; just north of Plauen. 


them by torchlight, the Emperor distributed crosses to the 
battalion of Young Guard escorting them. 

The day had been fine, but towards midnight rain began 
to descend in torrents, which continued for the rest of the 
night, and during the whole of the next day. 

If terror still reigned amongst the citizens, the French 
troops were jubilant over the great success which they had 
undoubtedly gained against vastly superior numbers. More- 
over, their spirits were further raised by the knowledge of 
the approach of strong reinforcements, and by the fact that 
they were amply supplied with food and drink in the midst 
of the magazines and resources of Dresden. 

During the night there was a constant stream of reinforce- 
ments pouring into the Altstadt over the three bridges 
across the Elbe. 

In the evening of the 26th August Napoleon was inclined 
to believe that the allies would retreat in the night, but he 
issued orders for his troops for the next day, in the event 
of a fresh battle, should the enemy decide to maintain his 
position. During the night there arrived 

II. corps (Victor), 36 battalions, 2 squadrons, 68 guns. 

VI. corps (Marmont), 40 battalions, 8 squadrons, 78 guns. 

Guard cavalry (Lefebvre - Desnoettes), i o squadrons, 
6 guns. 

These raised the total available on the 27th to 180 
battalions, 137 squadrons, 486 guns. At most, after allow- 
ing for losses on the 26th, these could not amount to more 
than from 120,000 to 125,000 men. The allies, on the 
other hand, had 158,000 men (less the losses of the 26th) 
actually on the field, and expected the arrival of 21,000 
more with Klenau early next morning. 

Nevertheless, the feeling in their camp wasone of general 
despondency. They had gained little or no ground as the 
result of the day's fighting. This was attributable mainly 
to Schwarzenberg's indecision, and the confusion of his 
orders. It was almost impossible to say whether he aimed 
at a general attack, or merely at a reconnaissance in force. 
He had missed the great opportunity for storming Dresden 


before Napoleon's arrival with reinforcements. There had 
been no unity of command, no co-operation of the various 
columns. Amongst the troops all confidence had dis- 
appeared ; they were filled with the dread of Napoleon's 
presence. Moreover, they were very short of food and 
drink, owing to the wild confusion prevailing amongst the 
supply columns on the miserable roads between Dresden 
and the Erzgebirge. The best road, that by Peterswalde, 
was already threatened by Vandamme. That general, 
crossing by the Konigstein bridges, had, by 5 P.M., got 
across 34 battalions and Corbineau's cavalry, but no artillery. 
With these he had attacked the inferior observing force 
under Prince Eugen of Wurtemberg. Though Eugen's men 
held out bravely till dark, they were obliged by their weak- 
ness to evacuate during the night the whole Pirna plateau, 
and the town itself. Eugen's appeals to headquarters for 
reinforcements had resulted in nothing but his supersession 
in the command by Osterman Tolstoi, who was ill and 
unfit for the task. 

Eugen, seeking above all things to protect the rear of the 
army at Dresden, had abandoned the Peterswalde road and 
fallen back to a position north and south of Zehista, facing 
the Elbe. This was known both to the allies and to 

At the council of war at allied headquarters there were 
again many differences of opinion and lengthy discussions, 
which ended in a decision to hold on next day to the 
heights before Dresden. 

When the allied troops had, during the night, taken up 
the positions ordered by Schwarzenberg, whose orders 
Friederich considers by no means clear, they stood as 
follows : — 


(a) Russian advanced guard, still holding Blasewitz 
weakly, stretched in a feeble line from the Elbe at 
Blasewitz to Griina, where its left was supported by the 
Prussian reserve cavalry. 


(b) The Russian 5 th infantry division was spread from 
Torna to Leubnitz, with Ziethen's and Kliix's Prussians 
behind and on its right. 

{c) The rest of the Prussians stood, two brigades between 
Leubnitz and Gostritz, one behind Gostritz ; landwehr 
cavalry in 3rd line ; reserve artillery in front of Nothnitz. 

{d) Miloradowich's Russians held Tschertnitz, Klein 
Pestitz, and Mockritz. 


{a) Between Tschertnitz, Klein Pestitz, Coschiitz, and 
Plauen were the corps of Colloredo and Chasteler, and 
Lederer's cavalry in ist line. Civillart's division and 
Moritz Lichtenstein's cavalry in 2nd. In 3rd line Nostitz's 

Ignaz Gyulai, with the reserve, consisting of Weissen- 
wolf s and Bianchi's divisions and Schuler's cavalry, was at 
Gittersee. These troops had been brought back from 
beyond the Weisseritz, on Klenau's promise to be on the 
field early in the morning of the 2 7th. 

{b) Beyond the Weisseritz, Weissenwolf was in com- 
mand. On his right in Dolzschen, Rossthal, and Neu 
Nimptsch, with detachments in front, were Czollich's 
brigade, two infantry regiments sent ahead by Klenau, 
and two squadrons of cuirassiers. As reserve to these, 
Messery's brigade stood between Pesterwitz and Alt 

On the left was Meszko's division, at and to the left 
of Nieder Gorbitz and Leutewitz, supported by Mumb's 

The Austrian and Russian artillery trains, when they 
came up in the night, were sent to Nothnitz and Mockritz. 

Napoleon's arrangements, which were completed before 
midnight, were these : — 

{a) On his right, beyond the Wiesseritz, Murat commanded 
Victor's corps and 6 battalions of Teste's division, besides 
68 squadrons of Pajol's and Latour-Maubourg's cavalry. 

{b) From the right bank of the Weisseritz to beyond 


redoubt III., Marmont commanded his own corps (VI.) and 
Normann's cavalry brigade. 

(c) On Marmont's left, St Cyr, with the XIV. corps and 
Jacquet's cavalry brigade, stood behind Strehlen with his 
left in front of the south-east corner of the Grosser Garten. 

(d) Ney, with Barrois' and Dumoustier's Young Guard 
divisions, was to advance through and on the north side of 
the Grosser Garten. 

(e) On Ney's left was Mortier, with Decouz's and Roguet's 
Young Guard divisions. On his extreme left was Nansouty 
with two divisions of Guard cavalry. 

Comparing the positions of the opponents, we find that 
Napoleon had beyond the Weisseritz about 35,000 men 
(12,000 of them cavalry) and 106 guns, opposed, until 
Klenau's arrival, to 24,000 allies with only 34 guns, and 
including less than 2000 cavalry. Once the French were 
in possession of Plauen, the allies would be cut off, by the 
gorge of the Weisseritz, from all hope of rapid support from 
their reserves in the centre. Klenau was supposed to be 
coming up from between Freiberg and Tharandt, but he 
did not arrive in time to support the isolated allied left 
wing. The 24,000 men beyond the Weisseritz were too 
strong for a mere corps of observation, not strong enough 
to fight a serious battle. Moreover, on a day of torrential 
rain, as the 27th August was, infantry was comparatively 
useless ; for their muskets could often not be fired owing to 
their primings being damped. 

In the centre, from Plauen to Strehlen, the allies had 
about 100,000 men opposed to 41,000 of Marmont and 
St Cyr. There were 83 squadrons of allies in this section, 
where they could be of comparatively little use. Napoleon 
only had a couple of cavalry brigades here. He had no 
intention of a serious attack in the centre ; for his plan, 
notwithstanding his inferior numbers, was to attack on both 
wings, driving the allies off their two best roads to Bohemia 
on to the wretched tracks through the mountains between 
the roads via Peterswalde and Freiberg. 

The allied right wing consisted of about 24,000 men, 


including 83 squadrons. Napoleon's left, taking Ney as its 
right, had about 40,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry. 

It was all-important to the allies not to be cut from the 
Pirna-Peterswalde road, which was by far the best they had» 
Though the centre of their position was naturally the 
strongest, they massed two-thirds of their army on it. 
What they should have done, apparently, was to confine 
their defensive to the country on the right of the 
Weisseritz, and to strengthen their right especially. As 
for the left, beyond the Weisseritz, they would have been 
wise to attempt no defence of it 

{b) The Battle of the 27TH August 

When day broke on the 27th, the rain was still descend- 
ing in torrents, and it was almost dark ; a depressing 
outlook for all, especially for the allies, conscious as they 
were of failure on the previous day. Moreover, their com- 
manders felt themselves handicapped by being able to see 
through the mist but a small area of a country which they 
knew indifferently, whilst Napoleon knew it thoroughly. 

At 6 A.M. Mortier, on the French left, began his advance 
with Roguet on the left and Decouz on the right. The 
Guard cavalry followed the former. 

By 7 A.M. Roguet had taken Blasewitz without serious 
fighting, and was proceeding to clear the Blasewitz wood. 
South of the wood Decouz was supported by Ney's two 
divisions, advancing on his right along the north edge of the 
Grosser Garten, from which the Prussians had retired at 
daybreak. The Russians, driven from Griina, retired on 
Seidnitz, and, as Roguet with the French left swung round 
from Blasewitz, the whole of the Russian advanced guard 
(Roth) fell back to a position extending north-eastwards 
from Seidnitz to the Elbe. 

The French were now pivoting on their right at Seidnitz, 
their left moving on Tolkewitz, threatening to surround 
Roth's right. Wittgenstein now ordered Roth, who was 
making a stubborn resistance, to retire on Reick and Prohlis, 
so as to join the right of the allied main position at Torna. 


He still held firmly to Seidnitz, where his left repulsed 
several French attacks. 

As soon as the Russians had evacuated Tolkewitz, the 
French cavalry passed through it towards Laubegast, and 
drew up south of it in two lines, facing the Pirna road. 

Meanwhile the French had at last taken Seidnitz, whence 
Roguet set out to attack Gross- and Klein-Dobritz. The 
cavalry, at the same time, advanced towards Leuben. 
Nansouty, by passing Leuben and wheeling to his right, 
threatened the retreat of the Russians in Dobritz, and 
determined them, after repulsing several of Roguet's attacks, 
to retreat to Reick and south-east of it. This movement 
Nansouty made no attempt to harass with his cavalry, 
as apparently he might have done, seeing that the infantry 
were unable to fire their muskets in the wet. On the other 
hand, the allies had 62 squadrons on their right, which 
might have annihilated Nansouty's 28. Possibly the difficulty 
of seeing any distance in the blinding rain may account 
partially for the inactivity of the cavalry on both sides. 

Whilst Mortier was thus getting forward on the left, Ney 
had reached Griina. St Cyr, on his right, had taken 
Strehlen, between 8 and 9 A.M., without much difficulty, 
since it was only defended by one Prussian battalion, which 
presently retired to Leubnitz, where the Prussians still held 
the right bank of the Kaitzbach. St Cyr had not yet 
moved the main body of his corps beyond a position between 
the Grosser Garten and Strehlen, but he had posted a 
powerful battery on the rising ground just east of the latter 
place, with which he was firing heavily on Tschertnitz and 

Such was the position at 1 1 A.M., when Napoleon reached 
Leubnitz. The Emperor had betaken himself, at 6 A.M., to 
a post just behind redoubt IV., where a great bonfire was 
lighted for him, and a tent pitched. Here he remained till 
I o, waiting for news of Murat's attack with his right beyond 
the Weisseritz. At that hour he received a report which 
satisfied him that all was going well in that direction, and 
that he might now go to look after his left. Riding through 


the Pirna suburb and the Grosser Garten, he reached 
Seidnitz about 1 1 A.M., and at once ordered an attack 
on Reick. The village was strongly protected on the 
north and east by the Landgraben, here about 8 feet deep, 
flowing in a channel 6 to 8 feet wide at the top. The 
channel ran along an embankment lo to I2 feet high, and 
i8 to 20 feet thick. The French attack was made on both 
sides of the angle where the watercourse turns from north- 
east to north-west. Meeting the Russians in front on 
the embankment, and charged in left flank by Russian 
and Prussian cavalry, the French were driven off with 
heavy loss. The attack was renewed with reinforcements, 
but the defenders would not yield till a French shell fired 
the north part of the village and reduced them to the 
southern part. In the smoke the Russians failed to see 
that the French had almost surrounded them, and when 
they attempted to retreat on Prohlis, they found themselves 
cut off". Then they sold their lives as dearly as they could 
in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle in the houses. It was not 
till noon that the French were finally in possession of Reick, 
where the horror of the scene was enhanced by the burning 
of many in the raging fire. 

The remains of Roth's force fell back on Torna. Beyond 
Reick the French advanced but a short way after noon, 
though they continued to bombard and set on fire the 
villages in front of it. After witnessing the storming of 
Reick, Napoleon betook himself to St Cyr's corps. This 
he now found with its right in Strehlen, and left in contact 
with Ney's right at Griina. 

Presently the relief of the Prussians in Leubnitz by the 
Russians induced a belief that they were retreating, and an 
attack was at once made on the village from Strehlen. The 
French got into the nearer part of it, but, swept with grape 
by two guns at the church, and then charged with the 
bayonet by two Prussian battalions, they were driven out 
again. A second attack failed before it reached Leubnitz. 

It was at this juncture that Napoleon arrived on the 
scene. He was furious at the failure of the attacks, and 


ordered a third, to support which he had added horse 
artillery guns to the battery east of Strehlen. This attack 
was nipped in the bud by a storm of artillery fire directed 
on the French as they issued from Strehlen. Skirmishing 
continued along the Kaitzbach till evening, when the French 
surprised, and got into the north-east corner of Leubnitz, 
whence they were promptly ejected again. 

It was I o'clock when Napoleon, disgusted with his failure 
at Leubnitz, started on his return journey to redoubt IV. 
On the way he ordered a horse artillery battery forward to 
fire on the enemy's battery near Racknitz. After a few 
rounds it stopped firing, and, on his inquiring the reason, 
he was informed that the object battery had withdrawn. 
He then ordered his own battery to fire on a group of 
horsemen a little to the left of Racknitz. The first shot 
fired had momentous results ; for the ball hit Moreau as he 
was riding just in front of the Tsar. It tore through his 
right leg above the knee, passed through his horse, and 
shattered the left leg also.^ 

Before this, the Tsar, seeing things going badly on the 
right, had, on the advice of Jomini and Moreau, directed 
Barclay and Wittgenstein to attack Mortier's front with all 
available reserves, whilst Kleist and Miloradowich attacked 
his right towards Strehlen and Griina. The plan was good ; 
but Barclay objected that, if it failed, he would lose all his 
artillery, as, in the muddy state of the country, he could not 
get his guns up the hill again. This remonstrance arrived 
just as Moreau was wounded, and in the confusion no reply 
was sent. Barclay, therefore, did nothing ; and the counter 
attack never came off, though Danilewski ^ and Jomini say 
Kleist and Miloradowich had actually changed front to the 

^ Moreau behaved heroically, calmly smoking a cigar, whilst both his legs were 
amputated by the Tsar's surgeon, Wylie, at a farm a short way in rear. " I am 
done for," he said, as Alexander spoke to him, " but how good it is to die for the 
good cause, under the eyes of so great a monarch." He was carried, suffering 
great agony, to Laun, in Bohemia, where he died a week later. His body was 
embalmed and taken to St Petersburg, where it was buried with great pomp. — 
Danilewski, p. 173. 

* Danilewski, pp. 143-145. 


right ready for it. Perhaps, too, the ardour of headquarters 
for this move had cooled in consequence of the news just 
received, that Vandamme, at Pirna, had driven Eugen of 
Wurtemberg off the Peterswalde road. The news, perhaps, 
did not reach Napoleon till later, as the Saxon general, 
Gersdorf, who had received it, had been sent to inform the 
King of Saxony of the impending victory of the French. 

Marmont's troops, all along the line from redoubt II L 
to the Weisseritz, had been heavily fired on since early 
morning by a long line of Austrian guns, extending almost 
continuously along the heights from Racknitz to above 
Platien. On his right the French had driven the Austrians 
from all the gardens and houses right up to Plauen. 
Beyond this, nothing happened on Marmont's front. 

We must now describe the course of events beyond the 
Weisseritz. The Austrian main position on this side rested 
its right on the gorge of the Weisseritz at Dolzschen. 
Thence it passed through Nauslitz, Rossthal, Neu Nimptsch, 
and Nieder Gorbitz, almost up to Leutewitz. 

Murat started his advance against this line between 6 and 
7 A.M. Victor's corps (II.) assembled opposite the Weisseritz 
woodyard, near the bridge on the Freiberg road. Thence 
they were to spread out fanwise in four columns moving 
towards Nauslitz, Rossthal, Wolfnitz, and Nieder Gorbitz. 
The artillery was in advance covered by skirmishers, the 
corps cavalry followed the main body of the infantry. 

Teste's division assembled behind the rising ground at 
Lobtau. Pajol's cavalry took post between Victor and 
Teste, whilst Latour-Maubourg's squadrons came up on 
Teste's right, having the Saxon Guard cuirassier regiment 
on his extreme outer flank moving towards Leutewitz. 

Victor's artillery, pushing forward, opened a heavy fire 
on Nauslitz and the Austrian guns there, whilst the infantry 
advanced in four columns. The ist, on the left, followed 
the small ravine (perhaps better described as a hollow road) 
which leads up the slope to between Rossthal and Dolzschen. 
The 2nd column attacked the gardens about Nauslitz, the 
3rd went by the right of Nauslitz, the 4th moved by the 


Freiberg road against Wolfnitz and Nieder Gorbitz. The 
cavalry followed in rear of the infantry. 

The 1st column, covered by the ravine and the orchards 
on either side of it, had little difficulty in reaching its head, 
where it found itself close to the Austrian position between 
Rossthal and Dolzschen. 

The 2nd column was not so fortunate, and had to make 
several attacks before it was in possession of Nauslitz. 
Thence it followed the two ravines which lead, one into 
Rossthal, the other rather to the left of it. The ravines 
were admirably suited to the French infantry, adepts in the 
use of cover, and as the ist and 2nd columns issued from 
them, the Austrians between Dolzschen and Rossthal gave 
way, retiring partly on each of these villages. The ist 
column now turned to its left, hemming the now separated 
right of the enemy against the great ravine of the Weis- 
seritz. At the same time, the 2nd column turned to the right 
against Rossthal, which they stormed, taking 300 prisoners* 

From Rossthal the 2nd column attacked the right flank 
of the Austrians opposing the 3rd column, and drove them 
partly towards Neu Nimptsch and partly on Pesterwitz. 
Neu Nimptsch was also stormed by the 3rd column. The 
4th column, advancing on Nieder Gorbitz, had stormed 
Wolfnitz. The defenders of Nieder Gorbitz were surrounded 
and captured in a ravine between Neu Nimptsch and Alt 
Franken with the aid of Victor's cavalry, which was now 
up on the height between Neu Nimptsch and the Austrian 
reserves of Messery towards Pesterwitz. 

During the attacks on the other villages, Meszko's troops 
had fallen back from Nieder to Ober Gorbitz and to the 
west of it, where Mumb's brigade had joined them. 

About noon the Austrians from Wolfnitz, and those now 
driven out of Ober Gorbitz, were in considerable disorder in 
the open space between the latter village and Neu Nimptsch. 
Victor's cavalry was preparing to charge them, so they 
formed themselves into four squares as far as possible. 
Their muskets, however, would not go off in the rain, and 
they were ridden down by the French cavalry. Many were 


cut down, a great many more taken prisoners, and only a 
few got away to Pesterwitz. 

The capture of Ober Gorbitz had cut Meszko completely 
from Alois Lichtenstein's division at Neu Nimptsch, so that 
the Austrian line was now pierced in two places, between 
Dolzschen and Rossthal, and between Neu Nimptsch and 
Ober Gorbitz. 

As soon as Victor's cavalry had destroyed the four 
squares as above described, Pajol's cavalry had moved along 
the Freiberg road. 

Whilst all this was happening in the Austrian centre 
and right, between the Freiberg road and the Plauen 
gorge, Murat, with the main body of the French cavalry 
and Teste's infantry, had advanced against Meszko's left 
and Mumb's brigade west of Ober Gorbitz. The Austrians 
fell back, as they were bound to do, after the ruin of the 
troops in the centre. Indeed, by this time, when it was too 
late to save a disaster, Weissenwolf had ordered a general 
retreat. His left was to make its way by Pesterwitz to the 
Weisseritz in rear below. Czollich, with the right, was to 
reach the same point by Potzschappel. 

The French cavalry followed Meszko. Teste's right 
moved round Gompitz to Pennrich, which they easily took, 
as Meszko's attention was fixed in front of him. He and 
Mumb retreating in squares, now found themselves with 
their retreat by Pennrich cut off by Teste's infantry there, 
and attacked by the cavalry of Murat and Pajol on the 
other three sides. The Austrian infantry, unable to fire 
their muskets, and threatened by cavalry and artillery, laid 
down their arms and surrendered.^ Four entire regiments 

^ Marbot, no doubt, refers to this part of the battle in his famous story of 
Bordesoulle riding up to an Austrian square, and calling on it to surrender 
as it could not fire. When they replied that his cavalry equally could not 
<:harge in the heavy mud, he clinched the argument by opening out and 
showing a battery of artillery ready to fire. The Austrians at once gave in. 
The story may or may not be true. 

The neighbourhood was an unpropitious one for the Austrians, for it is within 
two miles of Kesselsdorf, where they and their Saxon allies were so badly beaten 
by the "Old Dessauer " in 1745, though, it is true, very few Austrians actually 
fought that day, 


were captured here, with Meszko and Mumb. The Saxon 
cuirassiers who, during the fights at Wolfnitz and Nieder- 
Gorbitz, had marched from Leutewitz to Ober Gorbitz, had 
already taken two Austrian squares of 2000 men. 

We must return for a moment to the Austrian right, 
which had been hemmed against the gorge at Dolzschen by 
Victor's left column. Protected in front by a garden wall 
facing towards Rossthal, they had behind them as means of 
retreat nothing but a very difficult and steep footpath from 
Dolzschen down to the Weisseritz at the point where the 
Felsenkeller brewery now stands, and a bad steep road from 
their left along the face of the cliff. 

For some time they managed to keep the French off, but 
about 2 P.M., a shell fired Dolzschen, and the village was 
rushed in the consequent confusion. Some of the defenders, 
pursued by the French fire, got away by the path or the 
road, and attempted to scale the opposite heights, which are 
in many places sheer precipices. Those who got so far 
narrowly escaped drowning in the swollen Weisseritz. One 
battery succeeded in getting down the bad road, but could 
not cross the stream short of Potzschappel, as the bridge 
had been destroyed. Numerous prisoners were taken in 
Dolzschen. Here the French infantry broke into the wine 
cellars and indulged in what Aster calls a " Bacchus-feast," 
which might have cost them dear had there been any 
Austrians to make a counter attack. There were plenty in 
sight, just across the gorge, where the reserves stood ; but 
they were compelled to look idly on at the destruction ot 
their comrades, to whom they could bring no help in time. 

By 2 P.M. the whole Austrian left beyond the Weisseritz 
had been practically destroyed. The number of prisoners 
taken was enormous, Aster thinks 15,000 is not too high a 
figure to take.i 

^ With regard to prisoners, the author found the following returns in the Paris 
records — (i) One showing 1407 prisoners received at headquarters up to midnight 
on the 26th, and 4209 more up to 7 p.m. on the 27th. (2) Prisoners in Dresden 
on the 29th August, 12,535. 

These two returns give rise to a suspicion that the numbers taken at Dresden majr 


What remained of this unfortunate left wing got into the 
Weisseritz Valley about Potzschappel, whence they reached 
the Dippoldiswalde road by Rabenau, far in rear of the 
allies' main position. Some who tried to escape to Freiberg 
were followed by French cavalry and lost many prisoners. 
They probably hoped to meet Klenau, but that general had 
marched by Tharandt. When he heard of the disaster to 
the Austrian left, he at once moved to his right to the 
Dippoldiswalde road. 

Victor's cavalry had found Alt Franken still occupied by 
Austrians. They were shelled by horse artillery, and the 
village was stormed by French infantry from Ober Gorbitz, 
just as its garrison was retiring on Pesterwitz. 

All fighting on this side of the Weisseritz was over by 
3 P.M., though the French cavalry continued the pursuit as 
far as Herzogswalde, taking many prisoners and some 

In the rear of the allies, Vandamme had not done very 
much on the 27th August.^ Even on that morning he had 
not got his corps completely across the Elbe at Konigstein, 
but Mouton-Duvernet ^ was able to occupy Pirna, and the 
plateau above it, whilst Phillippon's division took post to the 
left of Krietschwitz, and Corbineau's cavalry advanced to 
between Langen Hennersdorf and Berggieshiibel. A 
battalion was placed on the Kohlberg, the hill at the junction 
of the Gottleuba and Seidnitz Valleys. 

Vandamme, deceived partly by the thickness of the 
weather, partly by the reports of a doctor who had been 
captured from the enemy, believed he was not strong enough 
to attack till the whole of his corps was up. At 4 P.M., 

have been exaggerated. But there is a later return showing the total number 
received up to the 8th October at 23,518 (over 15,000 Austrians). The greater 
part of these must have been taken at Dresden, for there were few other large 
captures of prisoners by the French. Of the 590 others who deserted from 
the allies only sixteen soldiers were Prussians, and not a single officer ! 
.478 are classed as "miscellaneous," i.e. neither Russians, Austrians, nor 

1 Map IV. {b), and Map I. 

2 42nd Division belonging to St Cyr's corps, but temporarily under 


hearing of the progress of the battle at Dresden, he prepared 
to march next day on Berggieshiibel and HeDendorf. 

At 3 P.M. the battle at Dresden was nearly over, the 
artillery fire had ceased. At 4 P.M., Napoleon, wet to the 
skin, with the famous cocked hat reduced to pulp by the 
rain and hanging limply about his ears and down his neck, 
rode through the Dippoldiswalde suburb to the palace. 
Behind him marched 1000 Austrian prisoners. Later on 
1 2,000 more^ came in from beyond the Weisseritz, including 
Meszko, two other generals, sixty-four officers of high, and 
many of lower rank. Fifteen Austrian standards were 
borne by the grenadiers of the Old Guard ; twenty-six guns, 
and thirty ammunition wagons followed. Save the one 
battery which escaped from Dolzschen, practically the 
whole of the Austrian artillery of the left wing was there. 

" Whenanarmyof 1 20,ooomen,in the presence of 1 80,000 
enemies, deploys from a bridge-head, then surrounds the 
enemy on both wings, and seriously damages both ; when it 
compels a whole division to lay down its arms in the open field, 
when it brings in immediately from the battlefield 13,000 
prisoners fifteen standards, and twenty-six guns, that is a 
quite undeniable victory," So says von Caemmerer,^ thinking 
apparently of less honest historians, who would attempt to 
deny that at Dresden Napoleon gained one of his most 
remarkable, though almost his last, great victories. 

Could he have carried out his original plan of holding the 
allies before Dresden, whilst he, with 100,000 men, instead 
of Vandamme with 40,000, issued by Kdnigstein on their 
rear, the result would perhaps have been decisive of the 
whole campaign. But the weakness of Dresden diverted him 
from his purpose, and as it was, he owed much to the 
irresolution of the allies, to their postponement of the attack 
on the city till the 26th, and to its general feebleness during 
the hours in which he was bringing up his reinforcements. 
Yet it is tempting to speculate what might have happened 
had he kept to his original plan, and sent 40,000 of 

^ See previous note on this subject. 

2 Die Befreuingskrieg 1813-1815. p. 56. 


his nearest troops to support St Cyr, whilst with i oo,ooa 
he himself crossed at Konigstein. Would not St Cyr, 
with another 40,000 men, have been able to hold 
on at least to the Altstadt behind the old enceinte, 
for the scaling of which the allies had made no prepara- 
tions ? Would the allies have dared to continue their 
attack on Dresden after the 26th, perhaps even after 
noon on that date ? By that time they might well have 
learnt, from Eugen of Wurtemberg, that Napoleon himself 
was crossing at Konigstein. Would not that have sent them 
hurrying back to Bohemia, harassed and delayed by St 
Cyr with 60,000 men ? Napoleon at Stolpen, be it remem- 
bered, was nearer to Konigstein than he was to Dresden, 
and he had at least as good a road. Latour-Maubourg and 
the Guard were also nearer to Konigstein than to Dresden ; 
Victor and Marmont no farther from one than from the 

However, this is mere speculation, and we must return to 
actual facts. These were, that the allies had been badly defeated 
at Dresden, that they had lost probably at least 25,000 
men, that the Peterswalde road was already intercepted by 
Vandamme, and the next best road, by Freiberg, was in 
Murat's hands. They were practically confined to the bad 
tracks between the two, on which their movements, hampered 
by the congestion of trains, must be slow. By the Peters- 
walde road Napoleon could be across the Erzgebirge and in 
Bohemia, ready to meet them there as they debouched from 
the difficult passes of the mountains. We shall see presently 
how he lost his chance. On the 26th and 27th August his 
genius flashed forth, he was the Napoleon of Austerlitz, 
Jena, and Friedland ; on the following days he relapsed into 
the declining energy of 181 3. 

His unerring appreciation of the advantages to himself of 
the separation of the allied left by the Plauen gorge recalls 
his similar estimate of the position of the Russian left at 
Friedland, separated by the smaller obstacle of the mill 
stream from the centre and right. His bold resolve to 
attack on both wings, notwithstanding his inferiority of 



numbers, was a novelty with him. The only question is 
whether he might not have still further weakened his centre 
in order to strengthen his left, and break in the allied right ; 
that is, whether he might not have added at least half of St 
Cyr's corps to his left. 

He owed much, no doubt, to the faults of his enemy, to 
the massing of the allied army on its centre, to the neglect 
of the right, and especially to the collection in the centre of 
the great mass of their cavalry, where it was useless. If the 
support of Dresden rendered Napoleon's centre safe, the 
allies equally were safe in their centre. Possibly their 
action may have been due to their belief that he would 
always make his great effort to break the centre. That was 
an idea held by St Cyr, as we have already seen when that 
marshal discussed the plan for Bautzen.^ Still, Bautzen 
itself should have warned them that he allowed himself to 
be tied down by no such hard and fast rule. 

Again, they committed a grave error in leaving their 
exposed left wing miserably weak both in guns and cavalry, 
the two arms which could do most in the pouring rain of 
the 27th August, in an age when neither breech-loaders nor 
even percussion caps had been invented to do away with 
the necessity for primings, which could not be kept dry. 

One thing must be said in favour of the allies' treatment 
of their left wing, namely, that they had good reason to be- 
lieve Klenau would have joined it early in the morning, 
nearly doubling its strength. They had not reckoned on 
that commander's slowness, due doubtless to the terrible 
meteorological conditions, and had been content to accept 
his assurance that he would be up in time. It is not, how- 
ever, clear why Klenau should have gone by Tharandt 
instead of by Kesselsdorf He started that move before he 
knew of the ruin of the allied left. Surely the allies should 
have known that Klenau was delayed in time to repair their 
error to some extent by sending reinforcements, from their 
reserve at Gittersee, across the Weisseritz to the left wing. 

When their right wing was hard pressed, the proposal for 

^ SuprUy p. 140. 



a strong counter attack with Kleist and Miloradowich came 
to nothing, partly on account of Barclay's rather weak 
objection, partly on account of the depressing effects of 
Moreau's mortal wound, and the news of Vandamme's pro- 
gress at Pima. The former, however it may have affected 
Alexander, was after all only an incident, the latter was an 
additional reason for attempting to clear the Pima road, as 
well as for the despatch of reinforcements from the centre to 
Osterman at Zehista. 

For the counter attack on Napoleon's left, cavalry might 
also have been sent to the right from the centre, where it 
was standing idle. It may also be remarked that the 
Russo-Prussian cavalry, already available on the right, might 
well have displayed more activity than it did against 




AT 7 P.M. on the 27th August Napoleon ordered 
Ney to be informed, " that the enemy is not 
in retreat, that he only regarded the affair of 
yesterday as an attack that had failed, that it 
is doubtful if he will commence his retreat to-night." ^ 
In the same orders Ney was to be informed that, " every- 
thing leads to the belief there will be a great battle to- 
morrow, and that the enemy is numerous." An hour later 
the Emperor was still making preparations for a renewal of 
the battle, even to prescribing the garrisons of the redoubts.^ 
Precisely when he came to the conclusion that the allies 
would not renew the battle, and had begun their retreat, is 
not quite clear. Apparently he was not quite sure at day- 
break on the 28th, when he returned to his old position 
near redoubt IV. The orders, if there were any in writing, 
which he then issued to Marmont and St Cyr have not yet 
been found, but it is certain that by 9 A.M. those marshals 
were in the allies' position of the 27th on the heights, which 
was now empty. The rain had ceased, but for some time a 
thick mist obscured the view. 

On the afternoon of the 27th, after Moreau's fall, a 
council of war was held by the allied commanders round a 
badly burning camp fire. The King of Prussia advocated 
renewing the battle next day. Jomini still counselled re- 
treat to Dippoldiswalde. The majority were for retreat 
right back to Bohemia, and their opinion was supported 
by the statement of Schwarzenberg that bread, shoes, and 
ammunition were all wanting, and not to be procured. 

1 Map IV. {d). 2 Corr. 20,479. * C'<7m 20,481. 



Thousands of men were barefooted, their shoes having been 
sucked off their feet by the mud. There was, he maintained, 
no hope of taking Dresden, no advantage to be gained by 
fighting another battle. Retreat in the night was decided 
on. About 4 p.m. Toll and Radetzky produced a draft 
order to the following effect : — 

(i) Barclay, with Wittgenstein, Kleist, and the Russo- 
Prussian reserves, to march by Dohna, Berggieshiibel, and 
Peterswalde to Teplitz. 

(2) All the Austrians on the right bank of the Weisseritz 
to go by Dippoldiswalde, Altenberg, and Eichwald to Dux 
and Briix in Bohemia. 

(3) Klenau, and the remains of the left wing beyond the 
Weisseritz, to march by Tharandt, Freiberg, and Marienberg 
towards Kommotau. This direction was upset by the fact 
that the remains of Czollich's and Alois Lichtenstein's 
divisions had joined Klenau at Potzschappel and marched 
with him to Gittersee. 

Radetzky's orders assigned one road to each column, but 
they were not all available. That on the left by Kessels- 
dorf and Herzogswalde to Freiberg was already in the hands 
of Murat's cavalry. If Klenau marched by Tharandt on 
Freiberg, he could not reach Naundorf, the junction of that 
road with the one from Kesselsdorf, before night on the 
28th. The road, already bad when the allies advanced, had 
been rendered almost impassable by twenty-four hours of 
rain. The column might well be attacked by the French at 
the passage of the Mulde near Freiberg. Klenau, therefore^ 
alarmed at the risk, decided to march by Rabenau to Pre- 
tzschendorf, whence he would endeavour to reach the Chem- 
nitz-Kommotau road at Marienberg. In the end he 
reached Pretzschendorf on the 28th, Gross Waltersdorf on 
the 29th, Marienberg on the 30th. 

The head of the centre column reached Altenberg 
on the 28th, Dux on the 29th. Its rearguard (Moritz 
Lichtenstein) was at Wendisch-Carsdorf on the 28th^ 
Falkenhain on the 29th, Altenberg early on the 30th. 

Barclay, with the right column, also thought Radetzky's 


orders impracticable, for he believed Vandamme was with 
35,000 or 40,000 men on the Peters walde road between 
himself and Teplitz, whilst Napoleon with 50,000 men from 
Dresden was following him. Believing that to follow the 
new road would endanger the very existence of his command, 
he ordered : — 

( 1 ) The reserves to march by the Dippoldiswalde road. 

(2) Kleist by Maxen and Glashiitte. 

(3) Wittgenstein to cover the retreat on the heights of 
Leubnitz and Prohlis. 

(4) Osterman, if he found the main road blocked by 
Vandamme, to join the rest by Maxen. 

Had these orders been carried out, the result would 
have been the meeting of 120,000 men on the single bad 
road from Dippoldiswalde to Bohemia. The resulting con- 
fusion would have been almost unimaginable, and by the 
time the great crowd of disordered troops reached the passes 
leading down to Bohemia, Vandamme would have arrived at 
their mouths, via Peterswalde, quite unopposed. As it was, the 
Russians and Prussians of Barclay's column marched at night- 
fall on the 27th for Dippoldiswalde. The main body going 
by Lockwitz, Maxen, and Hausdorf, only reached Fursten- 
walde on the 29th. Their night march to Dippoldiswalde, 
though they were not pursued, was one of dreadful suffering 
for the weary, hungry men on a wretched road in pouring 
rain. Had there been any immediate pursuit, nothing could 
have saved them from destruction. Kliix, standing as rear- 
guard at Leubnitz, followed the rest on the morning of 
the 28th, via Possendorf 

It was not till 9 A.M. on the 28th, when the allies had 
disappeared from the heights, that Napoleon's orders ^ for 
the pursuit were issued, St Cyr and Marmont being 
already on the enemy's position of the previous day. 

St Cyr was directed to march on Dohna, following the 
enemy and keeping in the plain between Dohna and the 
Elbe, so as to be always in sight of Mortier, who was 
ordered to Pirna, where Napoleon would join him. Van- 

^ Corr. 20,483. 


damme was to be informed of the orders, and, as soon as 
he and St Cyr were in touch, he was to take his whole corps 
on to the heights of Berggiesshiibel and Hellendorf. No 
orders appear to have been issued to Marmont on the 28th 
beyond one of 9 P.M.^ directing him to follow and do as 
much harm as possible to the enemy. 

Osterman and Eugen of Wurtemberg had waited in vain 
for reinforcements on the 27th. On the morning of the 
28th they heard of the results of the battle at Dresden, and 
that Barclay was to retreat by the Peterswalde road to 
Teplitz. Wolzogen, who brought the orders from the Tsar, 
was also to say that they could easily hold Zehista till 
Barclay's arrival. At the same time, however, Barclay's 
orders arrived saying he was going by the Dippoldiswalde 
road, and that Osterman would march by Maxen if the 
Peterswalde road was already blocked by Vandamme. As 
the latter contingency was already known to have occurred, 
it appeared to be the duty of Osterman and Eugen to 
march by Maxen. Eugen vigorously urged the fatal conse- 
quences of thus leaving the new road open to Vandamme ; 
but Osterman demurred to running any risks with the 
precious Russian Guard. Even Wolzogen supported Eugen, 
and in the end, when Eugen had threatened to go off with 
his own corps alone to Peterswalde, Osterman gave in, on 
condition Eugen would take the entire responsibility on 
himself This he did in a letter to the Tsar. Nevertheless, 
Eugen continued to be hampered by the anxiety of Oster- 
man and Yermolow to keep the Guard out of danger. 

Vandamme at this time had Quiot's brigade on the 
plateau above Pirna, with a battalion of light infantry on 
the Kohlberg. On Quiot's left was Mouton-Duvernet, be- 
yond him Dumongeau ; Philippon's division and Corbineau's 
cavalry at Hennersdorf The allies now drew in all the 
troops they had north of Zehista for a demonstration against 
the Kohlberg and Krietschwitz, under cover of which the 
Guard and artillery marched for Hellendorf 

Vandamme soon saw through this, and at 3 P.M. sent 

^ Marmont. M^m.^v, 222. 


Quiot hurrying along the Gottleuba valley, whilst the de- 
monstration was dealt with by other troops. 

When the head of the Russian Guard reached Berggies- 
shiibel it found the enemy in the woods, and had to force a 
passage with the bayonet. The Guard reached Peterswalde 
without serious loss. The 2nd corps, following them, was 
driven off the road by Quiot and part of it had to escape 
by by-paths to Hellendorf during the night. When Eugen, 
about 5 P.M., assembled the remains of his corps at Hellen- 
dorf, he had but 2000 men left. 

In front of Hellendorf Vandamme stopped his pursuit for 
the night. There he had the brigade of Prince Reuss and 
the cavalry of Corbineau and Gobrecht. The rest of his 
troops were on the road between Berggiesshiibel and 
Hellendorf, and on either side of it. 

We now return to Napoleon after he had issued his 9 A.M. 
orders for the pursuit. Shortly afterwards he rode off towards 
Pirna. On the way, at 9.45 A.M., he received a dispatch 
from Vandamme, who stated that the enemy was retreating 
across his front with 25,000 men, and that he was being 
attacked. As we know, he had been deceived as to the 
enemy's strength. Napoleon, however, felt certain that he 
could have no great force before him. He was convinced 
that the right of the allies was making for Maxen, their 
centre for Dippoldiswalde, their left for Marienberg and 
Annaberg. He thought it desirable to draw St Cyr closer 
to Marmont, who was following the main body of the enemy. 
If Murat bore south-west from Freiberg he would come on 
their flank and rear. He had begun to think he could do 
more with Murat, and that Vandamme's 40,000 men were 
ample to drive on Eugen of Wurtemberg and to make 
connexion by Tetschen with Poniatowski at Gabel. Satisfied 
with the progress of affairs, he decided to send the Old 
Guard back to Dresden and to stop the Young Guard at 

Getting into his carriage at Pirna, he started back to 
Dresden. With the story that Napoleon was compelled by 
illness to return to Dresden we will deal later. At 4 P.M., 


" one league from Pirna," Napoleon stopped to dictate an 
order to Vandamme which was sent by Berthier. Van- 
dam me was to move on Peterswalde with the I. corps, 42nd 
division, Corbineau's cavalry, and Prince Reuss' brigade of 
the II.i Pirna would be held by Mortier. "The 
Emperor desires you to unite all the forces which he places 
at your disposal, and with them to penetrate into Bohemia, 
overthrowing the Prince of Wurtemberg, if he opposes you. 
The enemy, whom we have defeated, appears to be retiring 
on Annaberg. His Majesty thinks that you could arrive 
before him on his communications of Tetschen, Aussig, and 
Teplitz, and there take all his carriage, ambulances, baggage, 
in fine, everything which marches behind an army. The 
Emperor orders the boat-bridge at Pirna to be removed, in 
order to be able to throw one at Tetschen." ^ 

At Dresden Napoleon heard of Macdonald's defeat on 
the Katzbach ; he had already heard of Gudinot's at Gross 

Late that night (28th) he received Vandamme's report of 
8.30 P.M. saying that the enemy had been beaten and was 
in flight. His orders to Vandamme thereon are not yet 
forthcoming, but as that general next day occupied Aussig 
instead of Tetschen, and threw a bridge at the former, it may 
be presumed they directed him to do so. 

During the whole of the 28th the French were pursuing 
in four columns directed respectively on Freiberg (Murat), 
Dippoldiswalde (Marmont), Maxen (St Cyr), and Berggies- 
shiibel (Vandamme), capturing many prisoners and guns, 
with much material of all sorts. The interest of the 29th 
and 30th August centres mainly about the operations of 

^ Teste's division, except Quiot's brigade, was with Victor. Vandamme had 
Prince Reuss' brigade in exchange. 

' Du Casse {Le ght^ral Vandamme^ ii. 504) quotes this despatch with the name 
** Altenberg," instead of "Annaberg," which, as will be seen later, makes a 
considerable difference in the question as to the responsibility for Vandamme's 
subsequent defeat. The name in the " Registre du Major General" at Paris is 
*^ Annaberg" which seems to show beyond doubt that Du Casse's version is 


During the night of the 28th-29th Osterman sent a 
report to Teplitz, where he believed the Tsar to be, saying 
he was compelled to retire before Vandamme, and must 
cross the Eger. 

In the early morning of the 29th Osterman started first 
with the Russian Guard. At 6 A.M. there was a rearguard 
action about Hellendorf, in which the allies were driven 
back. In this fight Prince Reuss, on the French side, lost 
his life. There was another rearguard action about Peters- 
walde, in which a flank attack by French cavalry from 
Raitza, east of Peterswalde, had considerable influence. 
Schachowski, the allied commander, lost 1 000 men. He 
made another stand at Nollendorf, and again at Vorder 
Tellnitz. Thence he was followed to Kulm, where yet 
another fight took place about 10 A.M., the confusion of 
which was added to by the intrusion of some unfortunate 
villagers returning from church. 

Osterman's envoy to the Tsar had not found him at 
Teplitz, but he found there the King of Prussia and the 
Austrian Emperor. The latter rode off to Laun, but the 
King, realising the situation, at once sent off to Osterman, 
pointing out the danger to the army of his retreat beyond 
the Eger. He added that it would endanger the personal 
safety of the Tsar, who was still in the mountains. This 
latter consideration convinced Osterman that the time had 
come for making use of his Guard. Frederick William also 
despatched his adjutants in all directions in search of 
troops to support Osterman at Priesten. 

Alexander left Altenberg, where he had slept, early on 
the 29th. At 2 P.M. he was on the crest of the mountains 
on the road to Dux. Thence he saw what was happening 
at Priesten. He at once ordered Colloredo, who was nearest 
him, to Priesten. The Austrian refused on the ground of 
Schwarzenberg's orders.^ The latter could not be found, 
but the Tsar found Jomini and Metternich. The latter 
assumed the responsibility of sending Colloredo to Priesten, 
saying that circumstances had changed since Schwarzenberg's 

^ Danilewskif p. 150-152. 


order. Meanwhile, Osterman had taken up a position at 
Priesten facing east, with his left on the wooded heights 
above Straden, his centre in and west of Priesten, and his 
right between Priesten and Karbitz. He had, at the 
beginning of the action, about 14,700 men ; by the end 
of the day he had received reinforcements raising his 
numbers to, at most, 20,000 men. 

The scene of the battle of the 29th and 30th August is 
the slope below the last really steep part of the Erzgebirge. 
Kulm is a short mile from the real foot of the mountains, 
though there is a fairly steep slope all the way down from 
the railway station of to-day to the village, which is of a 
fair size. At Tellnitz, 2| miles north-east of Kulm, the 
road by which Vandamme arrived comes winding round 
the angle of the hill from NoUendorf In Kulm itself there 
is a knoll rising 100 or 120 feet above the village, and 
affording an excellent view of the surrounding country. 
The road from Kulm to Priesten is of the " switchback " 
class, Priesten being at the top of the second rise, not 
counting the slight rise about 300 yards out of Kulm. 

South of Kulm there is a wood in which is the " Schloss," 
and beyond that more hills, between Karbitz and Deutsch- 
Neudorfel. Vandamme had got possession of Kulm by 
10 A.M., but his troops were still spread out in a long 
column in the pass over the mountains. Believing appar- 
ently that he was only going to have another small rear- 
guard action, like those he had already had earlier in the 
morning, he sent Reuss' brigade to try and cut the Russians 
from the mountains by their left. Tactically this was 
perhaps the better course, as the protection of the marshy 
ground on the other flank was stronger. Strategically, 
however, he would have done much better to have turned 
their right, driving them into the mountains, and on to the 
heads of their own columns as they debouched by the Geiers 
Berg pass and those farther west. 

First, Straden was taken by the French, and retaken by 
the Russians. Then, as nine battalions of the 42nd divi- 
sion arrived, it was again taken. About noon, more troops 


having now come up, Vandamme began his advance on 
Priesten, whilst his right wing attacked the Eggmiihl, the 
support of the Russian left on the spur of the hill. They 
even succeeded in getting a gun on to the spur above it. On 
the other hand, two battalions of French here fell into a 
Russian ambuscade, and were mostly taken prisoners. Up 
to 2 P.M. a furious combat raged all along the line from the 
Eggmiihl to Priesten. The latter village was taken by 
greatly superior French forces, who, when they attempted 
to push beyond it, were driven back by artillery fire, and 
then ejected from the village by infantry. 

At 2 P.M. Philippon arrived with fourteen fresh battalions. 
The Russians now began to yield on the left and in the 
centre, and it was only when Eugen insisted on sending in 
part of the Russian Guard, much against Yermolow's ^ wish, 
that they were able to hold their own for a time. Then 
Priesten was again taken, and again lost by Vandamme. 
It was by this time filled with dead and wounded. The 
Russian general, Krapowitzki, was killed in the hand-to- 
hand combat, and Osterman had his left arm carried away 
by a round shot. 

The Russian position was very critical, with French 
reinforcements constantly arriving. Only one Guard battalion 
and the cavalry remained in reserve. Fortunately, some of 
the troops collected by the Tsar and Frederick William 
were now coming up. At 5 p.m. Vandamme made his 
decisive attack. It was momentarily checked, north of 
Priesten, by the Russian infantry. But at that instant two 
cuirassier regiments led by Diebitsch charged the left of the 
French, and an Uhlan regiment fell on the other flank. 
Before these charges the French fell back on Corbineau's 
cavalry, which was south of the road between Kulm and 
Priesten. Then more cavalry came to the aid of the 

This decided Vandamme to abandon his attack till he 
could get up the rest of his troops. They kept arriving 
throughout the night. During the night Vandamme sent 

^ Commanding the Guard. 


300 sappers to throw a bridge over the Elbe at Aussig, 
where he already had a battalion. He was under the impres- 
sion that he was certain to receive support during the next 
day from Mortier or St Cyr. 

The Russians had put up an excellent fight in the last 
position in which it was possible to cover the issue of the 
main army from the mountains. For this the credit was 
mainly due to Eugen of Wurtemberg, who, with 15,000 
troops, had done what Barclay with 100,000 had not dared 
to attempt, namely, to force his way by the Peterswalde 
road. Perhaps it would have been better to fight at Kulm, 
but Priesten was a good position. Vandamme's chief fault 
had been in attacking piecemeal, instead of waiting for the 
arrival of a considerable force. 

The losses had been heavy ; the Russians lost 6000 men, 
the French probably nearly as many. 

Elsewhere the pursuit by the French had been rather 
feeble, though they had taken great numbers of wagons and 
much material, which had to be abandoned on account of 
the badness of the hill roads. In two places the pursuers 
found regular lines of piled arms, and great quantities of 
boots sticking in the mud, where they had been left behind 
by the exhausted battalions of the enemy. The sufferings 
of the allies from hunger, cold, wet, and mud up to their 
knees had been almost indescribable. Their positions in 
the night of the 2 9th- 30th were : — 

Klenau and the divisions Weissenwolf and Alois Lichten- 
stein at Gross- Waltersdorf 

Civillart and Crenneville at Sayda, south-east of Walters- 

Colloredo and Bianchi between Dux and Teplitz. 

Chasteler on the road to Dux. 

Wittgenstein on the heights of Altenberg. 

Kleist at Furstenau and Liebenau. 

As for the French, Murat only reached Lichtenberg, 
instead of Frauenstein, where Napoleon expected him to 
be. He probably got the Emperor's orders of the morning 


of the 29th ^ too late to enable him to comply. This was 
lucky for the allies, as had he been there he would have 
come upon Klenau's flank and probably done great harm. 

Marmont, following Wittgenstein, got as far as Falken- 
hain. St Cyr, following Kleist, had a sharp fight with him 
at Glashiitte. A good cavalry charge, led by Colonel 
Bliicher, delayed him considerably. St Cyr and Pajol, in 
the mistaken belief that this was a flank guard and not a 
rear guard, marched by Rheinhardsgrimma, expecting to find 
Kleist retiring by that valley. This direction led St Cyr 
into Marmont's area near Falkenhain. He consequently 
stopped at Rheinhardsgrimma, and sent to Pirna for orders, 
but found both Napoleon and Berthier gone. Kleist thus 
had an opportunity of which, as we shall see presently, he 
availed himself. 

Meanwhile, the allied headquarters had reached Priesten 
in the evening of the 29th. The King of Prussia had been 
in the neighbourhood most of the day, Barclay arrived at 
5 P.M., Schwarzenberg at 6, and the Tsar later. The 
Austrian Emperor, as we know, had gone off to Laun. 

As no Austrian troops were at present engaged, 
Schwarzenberg left matters to be arranged by the two 
sovereigns concerned. Vandamme had been held all day, 
and it was clearly necessary to go on holding him on the 
30th, if the allies were to debouch in safety from the 
Erzgebirge. With the 50,000 men on whom they could 
count for the 30th the task was easy, always provided 
Napoleon did not support Vandamme with other troops. 
So far, there were no signs of the Emperor's approach. 
Unless he arrived in the small hours of the 30th, the allies 
might well hope to defeat Vandamme before Napoleon was 
up. They decided, therefore, on the offensive, a course 
recommended, it is said, by Toll and Jomini. 

There was no news of Kleist, and his absence caused 
much alarm. Still, there was a chance that he might appear 
in Vandamme's rear. Colonel Schuler was despatched to 
find him, and urge this course on him if possible. So great 

^ Co7'r. 20, 485. 


was the apprehension regarding Kleist that Schuler was told 
to try and bring away the young Prince Frederick of the 
Netherlands, who was with the Prussian general. 

The two monarchs then rejoined Schwarzenberg at Dux. 
One anxiety which they felt was lest Augereau and the 
Bavarians on the Inn should, on hearing of the victory of 
Dresden, march to meet Napoleon as he entered Bohemia. 
So great was the alarm that, though Bliicher's . victory on 
the Katzbach had been reported, Schwarzenberg sent to 
him, requiring him to march with 50,000 men into Bohemia 
at once. 

Meanwhile, this is what had happened to Kleist. His 
orders were to reach the southern side of the mountains and 
support Osterman in the Teplitz valley. The bearer of 
the order, however, reported, from personal observation, that 
the road to the valley by Graupen was hopelessly blocked. 
That over the Geiersberg by Ebersdorf was also blocked, 
and could not be cleared in less than twenty-four hours. 
That left Kleist no hope save in a return to the Peterswalde 
road, along which Vandamme was known to have passed. 
However, cavalry patrols reported it to be now clear of the 
enemy. That was not true, for Vandamme's troops were 
passing along it all night. The risk was great, and Kleist 
was hampered by only having a wretched map of 172 i, on 
which several actually existing roads found no place. The 
cavalry now reported a practicable track along the crest of 
the mountains, through Streckenwald to Nollendorf.^ The 
other forest roads, running through deep valleys, were im- 
practicable for large forces. Kleist's acceptance of this 
route was received with satisfaction by his subordinates, 
and was communicated to headquarters. Kleist announced 
his intention of attempting to cut his way, sword in hand, 
through Vandamme's corps. His orders were for assembly 
at 3 A.M., and announced that he was moving on Vandamme's 

Leaving Kleist to his difficult and dangerous march, we 
return to the opposing forces at Kulm. 

1 Marked BB on Map IV. (3). 


Into the details of Vandamme's battle of the 30th, we do 
not propose to enter at great length, for its importance was 
far greater from a strategical and general, than from a 
merely tactical, point of view. 

Vandamme took up a position with his right well up into 
the hills above the Eggmiihl, his centre across the Teplitz 
road in front of Kulm, and his left south of the road, stretch- 
ing as far as the Striesowitz Berg. His cavalry were on this 
wing. Allowing for his losses on one hand, and his 
reinforcements on the other, he had about 32,000 men left. 

The allies faced him across the Teplitz road, with about 
44,000 men. Their left was opposite Vandamme's right 
on the hills, centre at Priesten, right stretching as far as 
opposite Bohmisch Neudorfel — reserve at Sobochleben. 

They proposed to fight a defensive action with their left, 
whilst the right turned Vandamme's left and drove him in 
on to the mountains. It was hoped that Kleist would close 
his line of retreat by the Nollendorf road. 

The battle began at 7 A.M. Vandamme's right, meeting 
at first with some success, was presently checked by Russian 
reinforcements. The advance of the allies' right began at 
8 A.M. The Striesowitz Berg was taken after a severe 
struggle, and the allies began to press forward towards 
Arbesau, compelling Vandamme to set up a defensive flank 
with Quiot's and Dunesne's brigades against them. Their 
cavalry soon began to get round the left even of this. It 
was beginning to be doubtful if Vandamme, with his left 
thus threatened, could hold on at Kulm much longer. 

We now return to Kleist who, in the darkness and 
cramped space, had only succeeded in starting his march 
at 5 A.M., two hours later than he intended. At 8 A.M. he 
had reached Nollendorf, having sent Ziethen to his left on 
Peterswalde as rearguard. At Nollendorf there was more 
confusion, and it was not till somewhere about 1 1 A.M. that 
the head of his column began to appear round the hill above 

The battle about Kulm was in the condition above 
described when the sound of Kleist's first cannon shots 


reached the ears of the combatants. Vandamme felt sure 
that they came from Mortier's or St Cyr's men hurrying to 
his assistance ; the allies knew better. Vandamme was 
soon undeceived. His decision was taken with the greatest 
promptitude. His artillery, or the greater part of it, must 
be abandoned to its fate, after checking the main attack as 
long as possible, whilst the cavalry and infantry did their 
best to cut their way back to Feterswalde through Kleist's 

The fight which ensued in the space between Schande, 
Arbesau, and Tellnitz was a glorious one for the young 
French troops. It was so confused that it is almost im- 
possible to understand it, except by standing at the Austrian 
and Prussian monuments, where the road from Aussig joins 
that from Tellnitz to Kulm, and following the details book 
in hand. French guns were lost, and for the moment 
replaced by others captured from the Prussians. There 
was desperate fighting at Schande, Arbesau, and on the 
road. Great numbers of French were captured, after fight- 
ing to the last cartridge, in the villages ; many were driven 
into the hills above. Part actually cut their way through 
to Jungferndorf, where, utterly exhausted, they encountered 
the comparatively fresh rearguard of Ziethen, and many of 
them were killed or taken. 

The woods were full, not only of French, but also of 
Prussians, who, in various episodes of the confused fighting, 
had been driven there. Kleist himself only escaped capture 
by getting into the woods and passing by by-paths, through 
Schonwald, to a point on the road between Peterswalde and 
Nollendorf, where he learnt from Ziethen that the victory 
was complete. Parties of French and Prussians wandered 
at times peacefully together in the woods, on the mutual 
understanding that one party should be prisoners to the 
others, according to the eventual result of the battle. 

Vandamme remained with the defenders of Kulm till all 
hope had vanished. Then, as he sought to escape alone to 
the hills, he was captured and taken to the Tsar. There he 
dismounted, and theatrically kissed his charger. He was 


kindly received by the Tsar, and, two days later, was sent 
off to Russia, where he remained a prisoner till the fall of 
Napoleon. Somewhat to the scandal of Danilewski, who 
considered that he should have been looked upon only as 
the unfortunate general, he met with many insults on his 
way through Germany.^ Perhaps that was hardly to be 
wondered at, considering his notorious brutality in former 
times. Haxo, whom Napoleon had sent to him as adviser 
in engineering matters, was taken about the same time as 
Vandamme. Dunesne fell at the head of his men when they 
met Ziethen. The I. corps had been half destroyed. The 
prisoners alone numbered 8000 to 10,000; the killed and 
wounded probably raised the loss to 15,000. The prisoners 
included many generals and officers of high rank. There 
fell into the hands of the allies 82 guns, 200 wagons, 2 
eagles, and 3 standards. The allies stated their loss at 
3319 killed and wounded, but Friederich considers this 
probably under the mark, as Kleist's artillery alone is known 
to have lost nearly 600 officers and men. The French 
detachment at Aussig escaped by Konigswald and reached 
the Lilienstein late the same night, without their guns or 
wagons, which they had to abandon in the woods, where 
they were led astray by some peasants (formerly Austrian 
soldiers) whom they compelled to act as guides. 

On this day it was only at 11.30 that St Cyr began to move. 
He had, as we know, waited for orders when he found himself 
on the 29th in rear of Marmont. The orders ^ which 
reached him at the hour above named, said that, in his 
actual position, he had better support Marmont, though the 
Emperor would prefer to see him between Marmont and 

Marmont, pursuing the enemy before him. drove a rear- 
guard from Altenberg, and again from the Zinnwald plateau, 
and followed almost up to Eichwald, where in the evening 
he heard through St Cyr of Vandamme's disaster. 

Napoleon's conduct of the pursuit after Dresden, and his 
responsibility for Vandamme's disaster, have been much 

^ Danilewski, p. i6i. » Berlhier to St Cyr, Hist. Mil, p. 388. 



discussed, often with considerable prejudice on one side or 
the other. 

The first question that arises is, why did not the 
Emperor start his pursuit much earlier than 9 A.M. on 
the 2 8th.'^ The answer to that question has already been 
given in quotations from his correspondence of the evening 
of the 27th August, which show that, at that time, he was 
strongly of opinion that the battle would be renewed next 
day. He hardly appreciated the difficulties of the allies, or 
the very severe shaking they had received. Next day he 
went to the opposite extreme, by estimating his victory too 

Exactly when he became convinced that the allies had 
retreated is not quite clear, but it seems very doubtful 
if it was before his return to redoubt IV. at 5 A.M. on the 
28th. It may be said the mere fact of his return there 
proves that he still expected a renewal of the battle ; but 
it is not alone conclusive proof; for, in his letters of the 
tiight before, he had given that as his post early on the 
28th. Ought he to have been aware of the retreat at an 
earlier hour? It is easy to say he should have been in- 
formed of it ; but when it is remembered that the night 
was pitch dark, that it still rained hard during the earlier 
portion of it, and that the rain was followed by a thick 
morning mist, the difficulties of reconnoitring are apparent. 
Moreover, the heights on which the allies stood were a very 
effective screen, even in daylight, for movements going on 
behind them. Even on the morning of the 28th, it was 
only when Napoleon, riding with Marmont, reached the 
heights above Racknitz, that he could plainly see the 
streams of troops passing over the hills in rear which, 
though higher, are defiladed from the low ground near 
Dresden by the heights near the town. 

When he reached Dresden on the 26th, almost his first 
inquiry was for news of Oudinot. He had already heard 
rumours of the defeat at Gross Beeren. With the possi- 
bility of having to defend Dresden, the weakness of which 
he had seen, and his rear aq^ainst an advance of the allied 


Northern army, he must have felt that his hopes of being 
able to pursue the main army far into Bohemia were 
vanishing. He had probably, by the morning of the 28th, 
heard rumours of Macdonald's disaster on the Katzbach. 
By the evening he heard the news definitely. That rendered 
the idea of an advance on Prague even less feasible. Still, 
calculating that the main body of the allies was going by 
Dohna and Dippoldiswalde, with their left by Freiberg, he 
might still hope to reach Teplitz by the shorter and better 
road (by Peterswalde) with the three nearest corps of 
Vandamme, Mortier, and St Cyr. At Teplitz he would 
still have time to inflict great damage on their columns as 
they debouched in disorder from the passes, pursued by the 
rest of his army, Marmont, Victor, and Murat. That was 
why he rode off to Pirna. 

When, however, on the way to Pirna, he saw Barclay's 
movement westwards, he was convinced that the allies were 
going by roads farther to the west than he had at first 
expected. If, as Napoleon now fancied, they were going 
by Annaberg, he would meet nothing at Teplitz and would 
merely strike a blow in the air. He began to think that 
he could do more harm to the allies by the movement of 
Murat and Victor on his right, than by sending forward his 

Though it would be useless to send three corps to 
Teplitz, he could yet send Vandamme alone, without much 
risk of his falling in with the main body of the enemy, but 
with the probability of his being able to do them immense 
harm, by destroying all their resources towards Aussig and 
Tetschen, whilst they themselves were far away west. Hence 
his orders to Vandamme of 4 P.M. on the 28th. Those 
orders spoke only of the overthrow of the weak corps of 
Eugen of Wurtemberg, and of the capture of " everything 
which marches behind an army." There was no mention 
of fighting a great battle. Mortier was stopped at Pirna, 
St Cyr was sent farther west, and Vandamme was informed 
of this. Clearly, when those orders were sent, the Emperor 
had abandoned the idea of any great incursion into Bohemia, 


for he believed the allies to be moving so far to the south- 
west that he had no longer any chance of reaching the 
southern issues of the passes before them. 

Yorck von Wartenburg argues that Napoleon sent 
Vandamme unsupported on a dangerous mission, and that 
he cannot be supposed to have held an erroneous view of 
the situation as regards the direction of the allies' retreat. 
The order to Vandamme, however, shows, as Friederich 
points out, that Vandamme's operation was meant to be, 
not a great one, but merely one of " la petite guerre " on a 
somewhat large scale.' Nothing is said of what Vandamme 
was to do if he met the main body of the allies ; for 
Napoleon thought he had no chance of doing so. He 
wrote that " the enemy whom we have beaten appears to 
have taken the direction of Annaberg." Vandamme was 
only ordered to attack Eugen of Wurtemberg if he made 
any opposition, and Eugen's strength was not half Van- 

At 7.30 A.M. on the 29th, Napoleon writes to Murat that 
" to-day, 29th, at 6 A.M., General Vandamme has attacked 
the Prince of Wurtemberg near Hellendorf," etc. ; also that 
Vandamme was marching on Teplitz with his whole 

It is quite clear, then, that Napoleon knew Vandamme 
was marching on Teplitz, that he approved his doing so, and 
that he had no intention of supporting him either by Mortier, 
who was ordered to stay at Pirna, or by St Cyr, who had 
been ordered " to follow the enemy on Maxen and in all 
directions he may have taken." ^ The same direction had 
been given to Marmont, substituting Dohna for Maxen. As 
has been said, the Emperor believed the enemy to be going 
mainly for Annaberg. If he should go, as he did, by 
Altenberg, it might be expected that he would issue from 
the mountains so closely pursued by Marmont and St Cyr 

1 Corr. 20,486. How Napoleon, at Dresden, could have heard in an hour 
and a half of the result of Vandamme's action at Hellendorf is incomprehensible. 
The hours given make it doubtful if the letter viras written so early as 7.30. 

2 Corr, 20,485. Dresden, 29th August, 6.30 a.m. 


that he would be in disorder, and scarcely a serious danger 
to Vandamme. Moreover, if he did issue there, Napoleon 
had perhaps a right to expect that a general of Vandamme's 
experience would, if he found himself hard pressed, make 
good his retreat on Nollendorf. But clearly the Emperor 
did not expect the enemy's main body to go in that direc- 
tion. Had he done so, he would probably have ordered 
Mortier to support Vandamme, as he actually did on the 
30th, when it was too late.^ 

He had also a right to expect Vandamme to confine him- 
self to the task prescribed for him, namely, the capture of all 
that was on the enemy's communications at Teplitz, Tetschen, 
and Aussig, and not to engage in an enterprise which was 
too great for his strength. Where Napoleon seems really 
to have been to blame was in assuming, on insufficient 
grounds, that the enemy was going by Annaberg, and in 
putting himself, by returning to Dresden, in a position 
where he was not able to correct that false assumption. 
It was not till 4.30 P.M. on the 29th August that he was 
disillusioned about the line of retreat of the enemy, " whose 
whole army is retiring by Altenberg on Teplitz." ^ It was 
not till at least eight hours later, perhaps a good deal more, 
that he wrote to Mortier to find out what was happening 
with Vandamme, and to support him with two divisions if 
necessary.^ Clearly the order to Mortier should have been 
despatched by 5 P.M. on the 29th, and should have ordered 
him to march at once. Mortier would have received that 
order, at latest, by 7.30 or 8 P.M. He could have reached 
Peterswalde early on the morning of the 30th, and would, 
in all probability, have met and destroyed Kleist there, or 
at any rate have come upon his rear between Peterswalde 
and Nollendorf. That order it seems should have been 
issued with reference to Vandamme's probable situation 
at Teplitz, and without any reference to Kleist's march 
in the early morning of the 30th, a march of which 
Napoleon could know nothing, and which he had no 
reason to expect ; for he could know nothing of 

^ Corr. 20,494. 2 Cq^j.^ 20,491 to Murat. ' Qq^^^ 20,494. 


the complete blockage of the Prussian general's direct 
route to the plains by Graupen, or by the Geiersberg. 

Nevertheless, Friederich thinks that, as the Emperor 
could not know Vandamme's exact position, and as he had 
a right to expect so experienced a general to adapt himself 
to the altered circumstances and retire on Nollendorf, he 
was not so much to blame as appears at first sight. Grouard, 
on the other hand, as well as Yorck, thinks that Napoleon 
was alone to blame. 

Now for the case for and against Vandamme. Napoleon 
wrote on the i st September to St Cyr : " That unhappy 
Vandamme, who appears to have killed himself, had not left 
a sentinel on the mountains, or a reserve anywhere ; he 
threw himself into a gulf without reconnoitring in any way. 
If he had only had four battalions and four guns in reserve 
on the heights, all this disaster would not have occurred. 
I gave him positive orders to entrench himself on the 
heights, and only to send parties to disturb the enemy and 
obtain news."^ Of any such order to Vandamme there is 
no trace at present. 

On the other hand, Du Casse ^ says, on the authority of 
Vandamme, that he had orders from Napoleon to go " tete 
baiss6e " for Teplitz, and that he need have no care for his 
flanks and rear, which would be safeguarded by St Cyr^ 
supported by Victor {sic). He also says that, in his report 
of the 28th (8.30 P.M.), Vandamme said, " I attack them 
to-morrow, and march on Teplitz with the whole I. corps, 
if I receive no orders to the contrary." This would be very 
important evidence in favour of Vandamme, and against 
Napoleon, were it supported by documents. But Du Casse 
says Napoleon, believing Vandamme was dead, seized his 
papers in Dresden, and, presumably, destroyed anything 
telling against himself As for the original orders, Van- 
damme destroyed them just before he was taken prisoner. 
Anyhow, at present, they are not forthcoming, except the 
report of 8.30 P.M. on the 28th, which the author found in 

^ Hist. Mil. iv., p. 391. 

2 LegSniral Vandamme^ ii. pp. 505, 511, $12, 532, 533, 540. 


the Section Historique de I'Etat Major-G6ndral at Paris. 
There also he found an account of Kulm written by 
Gobrecht some years later.^ Its handwriting, misspelling, 
and bad grammar are a curious example of the bad educa- 
tion of a man in the position of the commander of a cavalry 
brigade. The remarkable part of it is that in which Gobrecht 
says that Vandamme told him, during the battle, that 
Mortier had orders to support him from Pirna with the 
Young Guard. This seems to confirm Du Casse's assertion 
that Vandamme was aware, on the morning of the 30th, of 
Napoleon's orders of that date to Mortier. If so. Napoleon 
must have issued them very soon after midnight. 

To go fully into this controversy as to the respective 
shares of blame to be borne by Napoleon and Vandamme 
would require much more space than we can afford. 
On the whole, the evidence so far available seems to point 
to Napoleon as the culprit, as Yorck and Grouard hold him 
to be. His great fault would appear to be in having 
returned to Dresden, though Friederich thinks it was not 
unnatural that he should do so, looking to the news of 
Gross Beeren and the Katzbach, and to the possibility that 
the heavy losses which fell on the Austrian army at Dresden 
might cool the ardour of the Emperor Francis Joseph in 
the cause of his new allies. 

As for Napoleon's censure of Vandamme for not leaving 
a rearguard in the hills, Friederich thinks it could have 
done no real service in stopping Kleist, and that Vandamme 
was right to bring every man he could on to the battlefield. 
We would venture to suggest that even a few squadrons 
left on the road would have given Vandamme notice of 
Kleist's approach by 8 A.M., when the Prussians got to 
Nollendorf. It took them more than two hours to reach 
the battlefield at Tellnitz, and during that time Vandamme 
might quite possibly have escaped, at anyrate without total 
ruin. The finger-post at Vorder Tellnitz marks " Aussig 
8 kilometres," only 5 miles. The French had a detach- 

^ It is printed, but apparently revised in spelling, etc., in Bertin's Campagne 
de 1813, pp. 117-122. 


ment at Aussig busy building a bridge. Might not 
Vandamme have escaped in that direction, seeing the allies' 
right was largely composed of cavalry ? At Aussig he 
could have crossed the Elbe, and got away to join 
Poniatowski at Gabel. 

If that is not considered feasible, there is the route now 
followed by the railway by Konigswald. At the present 
time, at any rate, it is not a difficult country, at least not 
till the descent on Tetschen begins. Had Vandamme 
taken that road, as soon as he heard from his rearguard (if 
he had had one) of the approach of Kleist, it is extremely 
improbable that either Kleist or the main army would have 
followed him by it, and from Tetschen he could probably 
have got back to Saxony by either bank of the Elbe. At 
Tetschen, as well as at Aussig, he would no doubt have 
picked up the enemy's supplies in sufficient quantity to 
support himself. 

Of the other French generals, Mortier, looking to the 
Emperor's orders up to the 29th, can hardly be blamed. 
St Cyr is blamed by Thiers, and it certainly seems that 
he acted rather feebly in the night of the 29th in waiting 
for orders, instead of keeping close on the heels of Kleist. 
Here again Napoleon must share the blame ; for it is 
apparent, from St Cyr's account,^ that the marshal had not 
been informed of the departure of headquarters for Dresden 
on the previous afternoon. 

There is one more question, viz., whether the story 
told by Pelet, Thiers, and others of Napoleon's being 
obliged to return to Dresden by an attack of illness, 
the result of exposure, is true. Friederich thinks he 
had sufficient reasons for leaving Pirna without this. 
Irrespective of this, it may be noted that the illness is 
mentioned neither by Odeleben nor Marmont. Indeed, 
Odeleben says that the Emperor started for Dresden " with 
the greatest tranquillity, and very cheerfully." Moreover, it 
does not seem by any means clear why a man suffering, as 
Napoleon is said to have done, from fever and severe pains 

^ Hist. Mil., iv. p. 123. 


in the stomach should have wanted to start off on a long 
drive to Dresden, instead of resting at Pirna, where there 
is no reason to suppose he could not have found fairly 
comfortable quarters. 

On the side of the allies much credit is due to the Tsar 
and the King of Prussia for their action in collecting troops 
to support Osterman at Kulm, a difficult matter, as was 
shown by Colloredo's refusal to obey till Metternich 

To Kleist is due almost the whole credit for the fact 
that Vandamme was almost annihilated instead of getting 
away, in part at least, as he might have done, had not the 
Prussians appeared in his rear. Yet Kleist had very little 
idea of the great success awaiting him when he started on 
his march. He only hoped to be able to cut his way 
through to safety. Had it not been for the blocked roads 
leading by the shortest way to the plains, and the fear that 
St Cyr would be on him before he could clear them, Kleist 
would almost certainly have attempted to descend to the 
plains by Graupen, or by the Geiersberg. In that case 
there would have been nothing on Vandamme's rear. To 
march back to the Peterswalde road was, for Kleist, a 
counsel of despair. He deserves all credit for following it. 
He received his reward in finding himself in a position to 
complete a victory which almost counterbalanced all that 
Napoleon had gained at Dresden, and infused a fresh spirit 
of hope into the half-desponding allies. 



MARMONT'S prophecy of the i6th August 
had already been fulfilled before the end of 
the month ; for the results of Napoleon's 
victory at Dresden had been more than 
counterbalanced by the defeats of Vandamme at Kulm, of 
Macdonald on the Katzbach, and of Oudinot at Gross 
Beeren. We must turn back a little in time to describe 
the two latter defeats. 

When Napoleon left the army of the Bober on the 23 rd 
August, he decided to take Ney with him, so as to leave 
Macdonald as the only marshal with that army. The 
orders of the 2 3rd,2 which were clear enough, that Ney was 
to join the Emperor in person, leaving the III. corps under 
Souham, miscarried, and it was only on the 25 th that 
Napoleon learnt from Macdonald that Ney had gone off 
with his corps towards Bunzlau.^ 

Napoleon's instructions to Macdonald have already been 

On the 24th August Macdonald's command stood thus — 

III. corps ^ at Rothkirch, west of the Katzbach, two 
battalions in Liegnitz. 

V. corps at Wolfsberg and Rochlitz, on the right bank 
beyond Goldberg. 

XI. corps behind Goldberg, on the left bank. 

On that day Bliicher, already beginning to suspect 

* Map ii. {b) and Map i. ^ Corr. 20,440. 

* Corr. 20,463. It is not quite clear what orders induced Ney to march the 
III. corps westwards. * Supra, p. 189. 

* Now only four divisions, as Marchand's had been provisionally transferred 
to the XI. 



Napoleon's departure, had issued orders for a general 
reconnaissance by Sacken on Liegnitz, by Yorck between 
Liegnitz and Goldberg, and by Langeron between Goldberg 
and Schonau. 

By the 25 th he had come to the conclusion that 
Macdonald was taking up a position on the left bank of the 
Katzbach. He ordered, for the 26th, Sacken to advance 
on Malitsch ; Langeron on Hermannsdorf ; Yorck, sup- 
ported by Sacken, against the left flank of the enemy 
opposed to Langeron. 

The Katzbach, a stream of small importance in dry 
weather, but liable to sudden floods in heavy rain, flows 
north-east from Goldberg to Liegnitz. Three or four miles 
before it reaches the latter it is joined on its right bank by 
the Wuthende ^ Neisse, the name of which suggests its 
character as a stream liable to sudden spates of great 
violence. The space been the Katzbach and the Neisse is 
not very elevated or hilly, whilst the right bank of the 
latter stream rises in formidable heights to the plateau east 
of it, which is open and fairly level. 

On the 26th Macdonald also had decided on the 
offensive, believing apparently that Bliicher was still on 
the defensive towards Jauer, and that he would retire 
towards Breslau as soon as he saw the French advancing 
on Jauer. 

Bliicher, equally intent on the offensive, also expected to 
find the enemy on the defensive behind the Katzbach. He 
now believed that the HI. corps was at Liegnitz, the V. and 
XL at Goldberg. At 1 1 A.M. he, consequently, changed 
his orders. Sacken was to hold the HL corps at Liegnitz 
in front, whilst Yorck fell on Souham's right flank. At the 
same time Langeron was to protect Yorck's rear by contain- 
ing the two corps supposed to be at Goldberg. 

Meanwhile, Macdonald, proposing to reach the plateau in 
front of Jauer on the 26th, and to attack Bliicher on the 
27th, if he still held fast there, issued the following 
orders : — 

^ " Raging " or " roaring." 


III. corps to cross the Katzbach below Kroitzsch, and 
seek to reach the Liegnitz-Jauer road. 

XI. corps (less Ledru's division) and Sebastiani to cross 
the Katzbach at Kroitzsch, then to cross the Neisse, and 
march towards Jauer on the right of the III. 

V. corps (only two divisions) to advance from Goldberg 
by Seichau on Jauer, always on the left bank of the Neisse. 

The marshal, alarmed by the appearance of St Priest on 
his right flank, sent Puthod's division of the V. corps with 
orders to reach Schonau on the 27 th, and to detach one 
brigade still farther to the right to Hirschberg, whither also 
Ledru's division of the XI. corps was to go. 

Thus Macdonald proposed to advance with widely sepa- 
rated forces : — 

(i) 12,000 men detached to protect his right against St 
Priest, who was no serious danger. 

(2) 22,000 men were to go with himself from Goldberg 
towards Jauer, partly direct, partly by Schonau. 

(3) 67,000 to go to the left, across the Katzbach and 
Neisse, and descend on the enemy's right in his supposed 
position at Jauer. 

Before Bliicher's orders of 1 1 A.M. on the 26th issued, the 
two advancing armies had met and begun the battle. 

At the commencement the opposing forces were thus 
grouped : — 

On the left bank of the Neisse, Langeron with 31,000 
men faced Lauriston with 23,000. 

On the plateau of the right bank were the allied forces 
of Yorck and Sacken, 55,000 strong; against these were 
advancing, though much separated, the XI. and III. corps, 
and Sebastiani's cavalry, about 67,000 in all. 

Bliicher was quite as surprised to find the French on the 
offensive as Macdonald was to find Bliicher advancing. 

About 1 1 A.M. the allied advanced guard, after beating off 
one attack on Kroitzsch, evacuated it and fell back across 
the Neisse. The infantry on both sides were generally 
unable to fire their muskets, as the rain was very much 
what it was on the 27th at Dresden. 


Then confusion began to be introduced into the French 
advance by the crossing of Sebastiani's cavalry from 
Kroitzsch, and the XL corps (now commanded by Gerard) 
from Goldberg. However, the Prussians had left the 
passage of the Neisse open, and the French now began to 
mount to the plateau in two columns, the stronger, on the 
left, by the paths leading to Janowitz, the weaker, on the 
right, by Nieder Weinberg and the Kuhberg. In both 
columns the infantry and cavalry were mingled, and the 
latter caused much confusion by their efforts to get through 
the former to the front. The first of the infantry only 
began to reach the plateau, a battalion at a time, towards 
1.30 P.M. 

Meanwhile, Lauriston with his two divisions of the V. 
corps had found Langeron in a strong position, with his 
right on the Neisse and his line extending about 5000 paces 
to the Monchsbach, on which his left rested. His front was 
protected by the Silberfliesz brook and the Plinsengrund, 
and he had light troops pushed forward. Lauriston began 
his advance with a small detachment on his right, moving 
along the valley towards Buschhauser, and then sent his main 
body across the Plinsengrund in five columns. Langeron's 
advanced guard was driven back on to his main position on 
the line Schlaupe-Buschhauser. Langeron was now alarmed. 
He reported, incorrectly, that he was attacked by superior 
forces, and began falling back. He was anxious to retire 
on Jauer. 

At 2 P.M., Lauriston was preparing for a decisive attack. 
At the same time, the centre group of the French on the 
plateau, the XI. corps and Sebastiani, was partly on the line 
Klein Tinz-Gross Janowitz-Ober Weinberg. All told, they 
did not exceed 27,000 men, including a considerable pro- 
portion of the force which was still trying to climb the 
heights leading from the Neisse to the plateau. 

Opposite them were 55,000 Prussians and Russians of 
Yorck's and Sacken's corps. They could not hope for the 
arrival of Souham with the III. corps for hours to come. 
He was still not up to the Katzbach. 


Yorck had his advanced guard between Bellwitzhof and 
Christianenhohe, his main body just in front of the line 
Bellwitzhof- Triebelwitz, in two columns. 

Sacken was moving on Yorck's right, on Eichholz. 

Neither Macdonald nor Bliicher was altogether responsible 
for the condition of affairs. The former had no reason to 
expect that Souham's advance would be so slow as it was ; 
the latter could see very little in the blinding rain, and it 
was only when Gneisenau and Miififling rode forward that 
they were able to report the advance of about 3000 French 
cavalry, and a strong force of infantry, on Janowitz. They 
concluded that, if Yorck advanced at once, he would be at 
the hollow road from Nieder Krain before the French could 
possibly have 20,000 men up to oppose him. 

As Yorck started, he was forced to detach two battalions 
to hold Schlaupe, which was threatened by Lauriston, and 
the loss of which would separate him from Langeron. 

Sacken, at the same time, had got his artillery on the 
Taubenberg, and was firing heavily on the French, whose 
left he threatened. 

Bliicher advanced with Yorck's men, encouraging them, 
and telling them to use the bayonet, as their muskets would 
not go off. 

" Now, my children," said the old man, " I have enough 
French over here ; now at them." There was some delay, 
owing to Yorck's obstinately wanting to advance in line, till 
Bliicher insisted on his re-forming column. 

Space will not allow us to go into the details of the fierce 
hand-to-hand struggle, with bayonets and clubbed muskets, 
which ensued. Sacken's troops joined in, his cavalry over- 
threw that of Sebastiani, which they attacked in front and 
rear. Yorck's cavalry too, pushing through the infantry, 
added to the discomfiture of the enemy, who, despite the 
bravery with which the French fought, was gradually driven 
back to the edge of the plateau, and in many places over it. 
In one place the pile of overturned guns and ammunition 
wagons completely blocked the Nieder Krain road. Some of 
Souham's men had now arrived through Kroitzsch and 


Nieder Krain. For a moment they had some success 
against the Russian cavalry, now disordered by their own 
success. Then Yorck's infantry once more turned the tables, 
and the whole of the French who had ascended the plateau 
from the Neisse were sent streaming down again in wild 
confusion. The river, which had been small in the morning, 
was now a raging torrent, in which many of the fugitives 
were drowned in attempting to cross it elsewhere than by 
the overcrowded bridge at Nieder Krain. That village was 
captured by the pursuing Prussians before darkness finally 
stopped the combat in this direction. 

Whilst these events were occurring, Sacken had turned in 
pursuit of some still formed bodies which were trying to 
escape across the Katzbach towards Dohnau. Here he met 
the divisions Albert and Ricard of the HI. corps, who had 
crossed the Katzbach at Schmogwitz, too late to retrieve the 
fortunes of the day. The bridge had been carried away by 
the raging stream, which had to be forded with the water 
up to the men's hips. Only twelve guns could be got 
across. As the two divisions advanced on the heights of 
Klein Schweinitz, they found them held by Sacken's artillery. 
At 7.30 P.M. they returned to Schmogwitz, where they were 
constantly annoyed by Cossacks, till 2 A.M., when they 
marched for Hainau. 

On the French right, Lauriston had at first met with 
some success. Hennersdorf and the Weinberg ^ were stormed, 
and both Langeron's wings driven back. It was not till 
4 P.M. that Langeron realised that his own somewhat feeble 
conduct was endangering the rest of the army. Bliicher 
now sent Yorck's reserve brigade to assist him by an attack 
on Lauriston's left from across the Neisse. Langeron, too, 
began to act with some energy, and before darkness fell he 
and Yorck's brigade had retaken nearly all that had been 
lost earlier on this side. Lauriston still held on to Henners- 

^ That is the Weinberg between Hennersdorf and Hermannsdorf. Langeron 
had also troops, withdrawn from his right, on the other Weinberg just west of 


The night after the battle was almost more terrible for 
the allies than for the French. Yorck's landwehr were 
soaked to the skin, their linen trousers clung to their legs, 
and most of them were without shoes. So fearful were their 
trials that only the strongest amongst them held out. Next 
morning one battalion had only 202 men fit for work out of 
510 who had gone into action. In another the proportion 
was 271 to 577. On the other hand, another battalion, 
which took the precaution to fit themselves out with the 
cloaks and shoes of the French dead, only lost 93 men. 
According to the allies' reports, they took 36 guns, no 
wagons, and 12,000 to 14,000 prisoners, but Friederich 
thinks these figures are under the mark. There is no return 
of Bliicher's losses, though they were certainly heavy. 

The battle on the Katzbach was an encounter unex- 
pected by either general. Each thought the other on the 
defensive. Macdonald did not expect to meet Bliicher short 
of Jauer ; the old Prussian, on the other hand, believed the 
French to be standing at Goldberg and Liegnitz, and hoped 
to contain the former body with Langeron, whilst he fell 
with two corps on Souham alone. 

Macdonald meant to march all his corps on Jauer. 
Lauriston was to go direct from Goldberg ; Gerard and 
Sebastiani were to go in a single column by Kroitzsch and 
Nieder Krain to the plateau on the right bank of the Neisse, 
and thence on Jauer. Souham was to cross the Katzbach 
at Schmogwitz, below the infall of the Neisse, reaching the 
plateau at the same time as Gerard. But the unfortunate 
mistake under which the III. corps had started for Dresden 
delayed its arrival, though that was not the only cause. 

But what was Macdonald doing on the offensive at all ? 
The Emperor's instructions, whilst professing to leave him a 
good deal of latitude in detail, distinctly prescribed a defen- 
sive role, until the enemy himself took the offensive ; then, 
" the enemy in taking the offensive will march on several 
points, whilst the Duke of Tarentum, on the contrary, should 
unite all his troops on one point, in order to debouch in 
force against him (the enemy) and at once to reassume the 


initiative."^ Bliicher was, as a matter of fact, resuming 
the offensive, but Macdonald did not know it, and believed 
he was advancing against an enemy still on the defensive, 
and that at or beyond Jauer, the point to which the previous 
instructions ^ had required him to be driven. 

" The principal object of this army (Macdonald)," said 
this order, " is to hold in check the army of Silesia, and to 
prevent it moving on Zittau to interrupt my communica- 
tion, or on Berlin against the Duke of Reggio. I desire 
him (Macdonald) to push the enemy to beyond Jauer, and 
then at once to take post on the Bober." 

It may be said that Macdonald's first task was to drive 
back Bliicher to Jauer. There had been a fight at Goldberg 
on the 22nd, and it was on the 23rd that Bliicher fell back 
on Jauer, where he was on the 24th, expecting to be 
attacked. This part of the task was, therefore, practically 
completed when Napoleon was dictating his instructions on 
the 23rd. It cannot be supposed that he contemplated its 
being done over again at once, and it appears that Mac- 
donald should first have fixed himself in the prescribed 
position on the Bober, and waited there till he had definite 
information of Bliicher's fresh offensive. Then would have 
been the time for him to make a united attack on the 
divided forces of Bliicher, not on the Katzbach, but within 
easy reach of his own fortified line, Lowenberg-Bunzlau. 

But Macdonald, in the operation he undertook, made 
another very serious blunder in detaching the divisions of 
Puthod (V. corps) and Ledru (XI. corps) far to his right, 
where they could be of no use to him, and were guarding 
against a danger which was largely imaginary. When 
Puthod heard of the disaster to the main army, he saw that 
it was impossible for him to rejoin it at Goldberg without 
falling in with Langeron. Hoping to rejoin it behind the 
Bober, he made for Hirschberg, where he found the bridge 
over the Bober gone, and the stream too swollen for its 
restoration to be possible. Marching down the right bank 
^^^ of the Bober, he was at Lowenberg on the 29th. There 

^^HL^. ^ Corr, 20,443. ^ Corr. 20,442. 



again the bridge was gone, and he failed to restore it. 
Bunzlau alone remained with a bridge, and that place had 
already been reached by the allied cavalry. Puthod, pursued 
by Langeron, now found himself hemmed in against the 
Bober. On the heights of Plagwitz, a little east of Lowen- 
berg, he resolved to sell his liberty as dearly as possible. 
But, attacked by enormously superior numbers, he had no 
option but surrender, with what remained of his division, 
after an obstinate fight. 

As for Macdonald, his whole force repassed the Katz- 
bach during the night of the 2 6th- 2 7th. On the 27th 
Langeron attacked Lauriston at Goldberg and drove him 
to a farther retreat on Lowenberg, where he arrived that 
evening, after losing 18 guns. More fortunate than 
Puthod, he was able to reach Bunzlau, where he, as well as 
the other corps, crossed the Bober. 

Macdonald evidently feels that he has no case, for his 
memoirs set up little in the way of defence beyond com- 
plaints of the failure of his subordinates to carry out orders 
properly. Souham certainly was unaccountably slow in 
his movements, but it seems unjust to blame Puthod. The 
marshal blames Sebastiani for ascending the plateau with 
all his cavalry, and the artillery for taking guns up on to 
it, when they could hardly be moved in the deep mud, and 
had only a narrow road, which was soon completely blocked, 
by which to retreat. 

The blame for this grievous failure must be borne by 
Macdonald ; it is impossible to lay any of it at Napoleon's 
door, except as regards his choice for the command of a 
marshal who, if he stands above many of his fellow- 
marshals as an honest, well-meaning man, was certainly 
one of the least competent of them as a commander. 

Napoleon's instructions, if intelligently carried out, should 
have ensured the army of the Bober against misfortune, and 
it must be remembered that the Emperor had not stinted 
Macdonald in the number of his troops, which was at least 
equal to that of Bliicher's army. 

We have now to describe Oudinot's movements, after the 


close of the armistice, against Berlin. Napoleon's orders to 
him have already been stated.^ 

On the 1 8th August ^ Oudinot had his three corps (IV., 
VII., and XII.) concentrated at Baruth, only three marches 
from Berlin. From Baruth he marched to his left to 
Luckenwalde, which he reached on the 20th. Why he 
went by Luckenwalde, instead of direct on Berlin, is not 
very clear, unless it was to pick up Arrighi. He turned 
northwards towards Berlin on the 21st ; the XII. corps, with 
Oudinot himself, marched by the Trebbin road on the left ; 
Reynier in the centre by Munsdorf;^ Bertrand on the 
right by the Blankenfelde road. The allied outposts fell 
back on Trebbin, Munsdorf, and towards Zossen. Trebbin 
was taken by a frontal attack by Pacthod, combined with 
a flank attack by Reynier from Munsdorf. Beyond that 
nothing particular happened on the 21st or 22nd, by the 
evening of which latter day Bertrand held Juhnsdorf. Reynier 
was north of Wittstock, and Oudinot north of Trebbin. 

Oudinot's orders for the 23rd apparently anticipated no 
serious opposition on that day. The XII. corps, with 
Fournier's cavalry division, was to March on Ahrensdorf ; 
the VII. to march on Gross Beeren ; the IV. and the 
cavalry divisions of De France and Beaumont to advance 
to Blankenfelde. 

The divisions of Raglowich, Lorge (cavalry), and the 
Wurtembergers were left behind to guard the rear. 

The advance was through a thickly -wooded country, 
much cut up by watercourses and marshes, offering no 
facilities for lateral communication between the somewhat 
widely separated columns. 

The dispositions led up to two separate actions. 

Opposed to the French right column was Tauenzien, 
who, after failing to retake Juhnsdorf from Bertrand on the 
previous evening, had bivouacked at Blankenfelde. He had 
about 13,000 men and 32 guns. 

* Supra, p. 170. 2 Maps I. and II. {c). 

' Not shown on Map I. It is east by north from Trebbin, and west by south 
from Wilmersdorf. 


It was 9 A.M. on the 23rd when Bertrand began to 
advance against Tauenzien, who had his troops south of 
Blankenfelde and on either side of it. He did not occupy 
the village itself, as his landwehr were not properly trained 
in village fighting. 

The position was protected on both flanks, but not in 
front, and it was too close to the wood east of Blanken- 
felde, which offered good cover for a French approach. 

At 10 A.M. Bertrand sent Fontanelli against Tauenzien's 
front, and six battalions into the wood on his left. From 
this they could not issue, owing to heavy Prussian artillery 
fire. A desultory fight continued till 2 P.M., without 
any decisive result. Then Bertrand withdrew, apparently 
thinking that Reynier's advance on Gross Beeren must 
presently compel the Prussians to evacuate Blankenfelde. 

It was not till 3 P.M. that Reynier appeared before Gross 
Beeren, which was weakly occupied. The Prussians were 
soon driven from it, and Reynier, thinking the fighting was 
over for the day, proceeded to bivouac with Sehr's Saxon 
division just west of Gross Beeren, Durutte on Sehr's left, 
and Lecoq left of Durutte. The windmill height was occu- 
pied, and the cavalry was behind Durutte. 

Billow had marched in the morning from Heimersdorf 
to Ruhlsdorf, by order of Bernadotte. Hearing the firing 
at Blankenfelde, he returned to Heimersdorf, which he 
reached at i P.M. His troops were tried with this march 
in torrential rain. 

At 2 P.M. Borstell came up and took post east of the 
road from Gross Beeren to Berlin, whence, at 3 P.M., 
he heard the sounds of the fight at Gross Beeren. Von 
Boyen, sent out to reconnoitre, met the Prussians retreat- 
ing from that place. He reported that Reynier might 
easily be attacked as he debouched from the forest. Biilow, 
therefore, decided to advance. 

Reynier had his right supported by Gross Beeren, on 
the east side of which a marshy ditch, 5 or 6 feet deep in 
places and running north and south, prevented the village 
being turned on that side. The windmill height, rising 


20 or 30 feet above the plain just west of Gross Beeren, 
would have afforded a good view, but for the heavy rain. 
As it was, the French were unable note Billow's advance 
till he was close up. 

Reynier's weak point was his left, on which he quickly 
recognised that he could not hope for help from the distant 
XII. corps. If it were turned, he would be in danger of 
being driven off his line of retreat. Therefore, he drew up 
the whole of Lecoq's division in a great square with a few 
guns to protect it. Between 5 and 6 P.M. Biilow was firing 
from a distance of 1300 yards with 62 guns against 44 
French. The artillery duel lasted for one and a half hours, 
when the arrival of Borstell raised the Prussian numbers to 
80 guns against, at most, 69 French. The Prussian 
infantry, 300 yards behind the guns, had already suffered 
considerably before the advance began. 

Borstell was intended to act as reserve to Billow's attack, 
but, instead of that, he moved to his left to Klein Beeren, 
whence he proceeded to attack the wood east of Gross 
Beeren. The wood was only held by one Saxon battalion 
which, unable to fire its muskets in the rain, had to 
retreat into the village. Gross Beeren was now attacked 
from the north by Krafft's division, and from the east by 
Borstell, whilst the Hessen-Homburg division advanced on 
the windmill height. The village was stormed, and an 
attack was then commenced from it against the east side 
of the windmill heights. Before this combined attack the 
French on the heights soon began to fall back in disorder. 
A brave attempt by two Saxon battalions to stop the 
Prussians as they descended from the heights failed. 

Whilst Reynier's right had thus suffered defeat, Durutte 
and Lecoq, farther to the left, had scarcely been damaged. 

Durutte was now sent to attempt the recapture of the 
windmill heights, but his division gave way completely 
when they met the fugitive Saxons of Sehr. All broke 
and fled together to the wood. 

Lecoq, too, failed in an attempt to retake the heights, 
where the Prussians were now established with superior forces. 


Reynier, now despairing of retaking the heights, em- 
ployed Lecoq's division to cover his retreat, as he fell back 
by the Neu Beeren road. Thus covered, he was able to 
retreat in good order. There was some cavalry fighting, 
as Borstell attempted to pursue, but Reynier was not 
seriously molested, and by lo P.M. was back at his bivouac 
of the preceding night, at Lowenbruch, with Sehr's, 
Durutte's, and Lecoq's divisions. 

Billow's divisions, unable to continue the pursuit in the 
darkness, had bivouacked about Gross Beeren, when suddenly 
a fresh fight broke out. Gudinot's XII. corps had reached 
Ahrensdorf at 6 P.M. Hearing the sounds of the battle at 
Gross Beeren, the cavalry division of Fournier and Guille- 
minot's infantry went in the direction of Ruhlsdorf It 
was 8 P.M. when Fournier came upon the battlefield ; Guille- 
minot was half an hour later. Then ensued a confused 
fight between Prussian hussars and the French cavalry, and 
the struggling crowd bore down on Billow's infantry, who 
were powerless to assist where friend and foe were so 
mixed up. The French cavalry had arrived by Neu 
Beeren on Billow's right. It was only at Heimcrsdorf that 
the combatants got separated from one another, and the 
French returned by roundabout ways to Neu Beeren. 

This fight was of no real importance to either side^ 
except in so far as it influenced Biilow who, warned by 
this attack of the proximity of the XII. corps, withdrew 
all his troops to Heimersdorf, except Thiimen and Borstell, 
who remained on either side of Gross Beeren. 

During the night Gudinot met Reynier, who assured 
him that his corps was not fit to renew the battle. 
Accordingly, Oudinot withdrew his whole army to its 
starting - point, abandoning for the present all hope of 
gaining Berlin. 

The losses were not very heavy. The Saxons lost 20oa 
men, 7 guns, and 60 loaded wagons. 

Durutte and Lecoq lost 1000 men and 6 guns. 

Billow's loss was only about 1000 men and 200 


It is apparent, from a letter from Napoleon to Macdonald,^ 
that Oudinot had been very nervous about the country- 
through which he was to advance. The Emperor writes : 
" He (Oudinot) was no longer afraid of the inundations ; 
that monster had disappeared as he advanced." Neverthe- 
less the country was much cut up by woods, marshes, and 
drainage cuts, and it was not possible to move straight 
across country in the Napoleonic manner. Friederich 
remarks that Oudinot must either have advanced, as he 
did, in three columns, or he might have left a weak re- 
taining force at the Juhnsdorf defile, whilst he strengthened 
Reynier by sending the greater part of Bertrand's corps 
with him. He did not expect to meet a strong force as 
he debouched from the north side of the forest, and he 
started the XH. corps so late that it never got out of the 
forest at all on the 23rd. Bertrand might have forced his 
way out, but did not, as he relied on the advance of the 
Vn. corps to open a way for him. The result was that 
only the centre one of the three columns debouched, and 
that opposite the strongest part of the enemy's line. 

Oudinot should have arranged to unite his three columns 
behind the northern edge of the forest, and to have issued 
from it with all three together. Instead, Reynier alone 
issued, and that in isolation. He was probably unwise to 
fight when he did. He could easily have retired to the 
forest again, whither Biilow would not have dared to follow. 
When he did fight, he left Sehr's division to fight superior 
forces at first, instead of supporting him at once with all his 

As for the allies, Bernadotte might have supported Biilow 
against Reynier's left with one of his corps, whilst with the 
other he contained Oudinot. He refused assistance, on the 
ground that he believed Oudinot had Victor's corps as well 
as the XH. and Arrighi. He would have had to use his 
Swedes, and, as we have said before, his great object was 
not to engage them. He thought Biilow, with 38,000 men, 
was strong enough to deal with Reynier's 27,000, and 

^ Corr. 20,454. 


he knew that Tauenzien had stopped Bertrand, so there 
was no danger in that direction. 

Billow would have done better to attack Reynier's left, but, 
as a matter of fact, Gross Beeren was so weakly held that 
the attack on it succeeded easily. Borstell played a great 
part in the battle, but, on the other hand, his division being 
Billow's only reserve, his move into first line was very risky. 
Had Billow been in greater difficulties when attacked by 
Durutte and Lecoq, he would have had no reserve whatever 
available. As a result of Gudinot's repulse at Gross Beeren, 
Girard, from Magdeburg, found himself isolated in the midst 
of the allied army of the North. He was attacked at 
Hagelberg, near Belzig, by Hirschfeld and Czernitchew's 
Cossacks, and driven to seek safety again at Magdeburg, 
considering himself fortunate in losing only 1200 prisoners. 

Napoleon's opinion of Gudinot's conduct is given in his 
orders for his successor, Ney.^ " The Duke of Reggio never 
attacked the enemy, and he has been so clever as to let 
one of his corps attack separately. If he had attacked 
vigorously, he would have overthrown him everywhere." 

Davout's advance from Hamburg had not had much 
effect, and Gudinot's retreat necessarily compelled him also 
to fall back. 

For Gudinot's failure it seems impossible not to agree 
with Grouard in considering that the blame must fall entirely 
on the marshal. Setting aside the mistake that Napoleon 
probably made in taking the offensive towards Berlin at all, 
there was no reason why Gudinot should have suffered 
defeat, even if he did not find it possible to reach Berlin. 
In this case, as in that of Macdonald, Napoleon can hardly 
avoid blame for having selected, for a semi-independent 
mission, a commander who was at most qualified for the 
subordinate command of an army corps. 

1 Corr. 20,502, dated 2nd September, to Berthier. 



ON the 30th August Napoleon drew up a long 
note on the general situation of his affairs, which 
is of the greatest importance. 
He begins by assuming that Macdonald 
would rally on the Bober ; he did not mind if it was as far 
back as the Queiss. 

Were he to withdraw Poniatowski and send him to the 
Berlin army, the passes at Zittau, leading to Macdonald's 
rear, would be unguarded, and it would be necessary for 
Macdonald to fall back on Gorlitz, or even on Bautzen. 
A single corps at Hoyerswerda would suffice to guard the 
rear of the Berlin army. It would take Poniatowski four 
days to get to Kalau. Supposing the Emperor were to 
decide to give up all idea of an expedition to Bohemia and 
join the Berlin army, he would leave Murat in front of 
Dresden with St Cyr, Marmont, Victor, Vandamme (whose 
destruction was not yet known), and Latour-Maubourg, with 
his left on the Elbe, facing south. If Murat were forced to 
retire on Dresden, Napoleon could be back there from 
Luckau as soon as Murat. At the same time, Macdonald, 
with his left at Weissenberg, and holding Bautzen and 
Hoyerswerda, would protect Dresden on the right bank of 
the Elbe. Thus Napoleon would have two armies covering 
Dresden on the defensive, whilst he himself was marching to 
take Berlin, and transferring the theatre of war to the lower 
Oder. If he had 60,000 men at Stettin, he would be 
menacing the blockade at Danzig, and threatening the 

1 Maps I. and II. (d). 



Russian frontier, which would probably induce the Russians 
to leave Bohemia, in order to defend their own territory. 

He had two possible plans of operation. The first, to 
march on Prague. The objections to this were, that he 
could not now reach that place before the allied army of 
Bohemia, and against that he might not be able to take it. 
Moreover, he would be in person at the extreme end of his 
line, which he recognised was not a suitable position for 
him, considering the demonstrated incapacity of his lieuten- 
ants. His position would be specially critical if Bliicher 
attacked Macdonald. Again, Gudinot's army, as well as 
Davout's, would be reduced to the strict defensive, and about 
the middle of October he must lose 9000 men by the 
capitulation of Stettin. He goes on to remark that he 
would be holding an enormously long line on the Elbe, 
from Prague to Hamburg. Any breach effected by the 
allies in that line must mean his own immediate retreat on 
the Rhine. He sums up the Prague idea thus : " Thus the 
project of going to Prague has objections — (i) I am not 
certain of getting Prague ; (2) I should there find myself 
with my chief forces in quite another system, and, finding 
myself in person at the extremity of my line, I should not 
be able to go to threatened points, and mistakes would 
occur. That would carry the war to between the Elbe and 
the Rhine, as the enemy wishes. As a third objection, I 
should lose my fortresses on the Oder, and should not be 
on the way to Danzig." 

Then he deals with the project of an advance on Berlin, 
towards which he is evidently drawn. He would be in the 
centre, protecting the Elbe from Dresden to Hamburg ; he 
would obtain an immediate result in drawing the Russians 
away from the Austrians, who, with only 120,000 men, 
would be reduced to the defensive between Dresden and 
Hof He would be threatening Prague without going there. 
Even the Prussians would not stay in Bohemia when their 
capital was lost, and the Russians would be alarmed for 

The Russians and Prussians in Bohemia might insist on 


a fresh advance on Dresden, but that could not be before 
fifteen days. By that time, the Emperor would have taken 
Berlin, re-victualled Stettin, and have got back to Dresden 
with his army united. " Finally, in my present position, no 
plan is admissible under which I am not present in person 
in the centre." 

Then, in order to get a general picture of the two projects 
for comparison, he sketches out the movements of each. 

1st — Prague project. He would have to go there with the 
I., n., VI. and XIV. corps, leaving Davout in front of 
Hamburg, Oudinot at Wittenberg and Magdeburg, Mac- 
donald at Bautzen. " In that situation I should be on the 
defensive, leaving the offensive to the enemy. I should 
threaten nothing. It would be absurd to say I was threaten- 
ing Vienna. The enemy could mask my army of Silesia 
and send his corps by Zittau to attack me at Prague ; or else, 
masking the Silesian army, he could detach to the lower 
Elbe and march on the Weser, whilst I was at Prague ; I 
should have nothing left but to gain the Rhine as quickly 
as possible. . . . 

" 2nd hypothesis. Now the I., II., VI. and XIV. corps 
and Latour-Maubourg can rest peacefully round Dresden 
without fear of the Cossacks ; Augereau's corps will move 
up on Bamberg and Hof, the army of Silesia on the Queiss, 
or the Bober, and Bautzen ; no anxiety for my communica- 
tions ; my two armies of Hamburg (Davout) and Reggio 
(Oudinot), will be towards Berlin and Stettin." 

In a postscript he calculates that next day (31st) he will 
have 30,000 men at Hoyerswerda, and 54,000 of Oudinot's 
three corps, over 80,000 in all, for the Berlin expedition, 
not to speak of Davout. If he took his headquarters to 
Luckau, he would be two marches from Torgau, three from 
Dresden, four from Gorlitz, ready to go where he wished, 
and either to send all he wanted to Berlin, or to go there 
himself Communications between Dresden, Torgau, and 
Berlin could be maintained by 10,000 cavalry, of whom 
3000 could be taken from Murat. All this is very unlike 
the old Napoleon, in that there is little or nothing about a 


great battle for the overthrow of Schwarzenberg, Bliicher, 
or Bernadotte. On the contrary, it is full of considerations 
of mere geographical points, and of something very like the 
old 1 8th century war of manoeuvres. 

He definitely abandons all idea of a decisive blow at the 
main army of the allies ; he had practically done so already 
on the 28th, when he left the pursuit to his lieutenants, 
without even appointing one of them to the general 

The whole note shows that he was prejudiced in favour 
of the march on Berlin and Stettin ; for he argues against 
the advance on Bohemia on the ground that two of his 
armies would be reduced to the defensive, but takes no 
objection to the same fact in the case of the Berlin project. 
Surely, too, as Grouard points out,^ it was essential to the 
proper utilisation of interior lines to take the offensive in 
one direction only, whilst remaining on the defensive in the 
others. So far, since the armistice, Napoleon had been 
attacking in every direction at once. In two directions he 
had failed, through the incapacity of his lieutenants. In the 
third he had missed a great opportunity, after Dresden, of 
inflicting perhaps mortal injury on his true objective, the 
army of Bohemia. 

He was now planning a vigorous offensive northwards 
and north-eastwards, leaving the army of Bohemia to recover 
itself, which it was still in a position to do without much 

But his vigorous offensive, led by himself, was destined 
not to take place, and it ended in his deputing Ney to carry 
it out with inferior forces — scarcely a better choice of a 
commander than Oudinot. Though Napoleon had accepted 
as the better the project of going himself towards Berlin, 
circumstances prevented his execution of it. In the first 
place, the news of Vandamme's disaster at Kulm deprived 
him of one of the corps which he proposed to leave under 
Murat at and before Dresden. It is true he set to work to 
reconstruct the I. corps ; but nothing could replace the men 

* Stratiiie Napoleonienne. La campagne cTautomne de 181 3, p. 156. 


who had been lost at Kulm. Teste's division had to be 
again withdrawn from Victor for the reconstruction of the 
corps, which was put under Lobau. News of the most 
unsatisfactory character regarding the state of demoralisation 
of Macdonald's army made it more and more doubtful how 
far it could be depended on to hold on at Gorlitz, or even 
at Bautzen. 

As for the army of Berlin, the Emperor was furious at 
Oudinot's incompetence, and superseded him in the command 
by Ney. Oudinot had much better have been withdrawn 
altogether from that army, where he was still allowed to 
command the XII. corps. He resented his supersession as 
an injustice, and was not in the least inclined to work 
willingly, to the best of his ability, with Ney, who, after all, 
and as the event further showed, was not much more com- 
petent than himself for semi-independent command. 

The orders to Ney were dictated in full on the 2nd 
September.^ They recite that Oudinot has deemed it 
necessary to retire to a position two marches above Witten- 
berg, thus enabling Tauenzien to send detachments towards 
Luckau and Bautzen, to harrass Macdonald's communica- 
tions. " It is really difficult to have less head than the 
Duke of Reggio." The Emperor was himself about to 
move his headquarters to Luckau. Ney was to march with 
his new command to Baruth, reaching it on the 6th, when 
the Emperor would be at Luckau with a corps ready to 
support him, and Ney would be only three marches from 
Berlin, which he could reach and attack on the 9th or loth. 
Napoleon still speaks with contempt of the allied army of 
the North as, " all this cloud of Cossacks and pack of bad 
landwehr," which would fall back on Berlin as soon as 
Ney advanced. After the orders to Ney, comes one of 
severe censure of Oudinot. 

But the Emperor had to abandon even the idea of 
supporting Ney with one corps from Luckau, for a bitter 
cry for help reached him from Macdonald who, with his 
army utterly demoralised and reduced by 20,000 men by 

^ Corr. 20,502 to Berthier. 


the events on the Katzbach, had fallen back on Bautzen and 
the Bober. He must be succoured at once. 

On the 3rd September Napoleon left Dresden, after 
sending on to Bautzen the Guard, Marmont (VI. corps) and 
Latour-Maubourg. He reached Harthau that night. Next 
morning he rode forward to Hochkirch, encountering every- 
where bands of stragglers and fugitives from Macdonald's 
army, offering the strongest proof of the terrible demoralisa- 
tion of that force. The Emperor was so furious that he 
gave a childish exhibition of temper, by drawing his pistol 
to shoot a village cur which ran out and barked at him. 
When the pistol missed fire, he hurled it at the dog. Then 
he burst out furiously at Sebastiani who, he said, had mis- 
handled his cavalry. He was so angry that Caulaincourt 
had to be careful to keep away from him any one who had 
been concerned. At Hochkirch he met Bliicher's advanced 
guard who, in the evening, were forced back by the superior 
numbers of the French. Napoleon had at once taken the 
offensive, sending Murat with the HI. corps and Latour- 
Maubourg by Wurschen ; Macdonald, with the V. and XL 
corps and Sebastiani on Murat's right ; and Poniatowski on 
Lobau. All these had opposed to them only Bliicher's 
advanced guard of 10,000 men. Napoleon himself was 
with the centre. 

Bliicher very soon found out that he was now opposed 
by Napoleon in person, and, in accordance with the 
Trachenberg-Reichenbach arrangements, proceeded to re- 
treat. Napoleon followed him as far as Gorlitz. He now 
realised Bliicher's design to retire as soon as the Emperor 
himself was in the field against him. Avoiding the attempt 
to draw him away from Dresden into Silesia, Napoleon 
returned from Reichenbach, with the Guard and Marmont, 
to Bautzen in the evening of the 5 th, arriving there at 
2 A.M. on the 6th. Now he again proposed a dash north- 
wards. On the 6th he ordered Marmont and Latour- 
Maubourg to Hoyerswerda, an order which was at once 
countermanded in consequence of news that the Bohemian 
army was again advancing on Dresden. Thither the 


Emperor must go in person, and he also ordered Latour- 
Maubourg thither, whilst Marmont was ordered to Kamenz, 
to be ready to move on Dresden at a moment's notice. 

Macdonald was left to pursue Bliicher who, on the 6th, 
re-crossed the Queiss without serious molestation. That 
evening Napoleon was again in Dresden, after less than 
four days' absence. 

This same 6th September witnessed the undoing of Ney, 
though Napoleon was not aware of it till the night of the 8th. 

When Ney took over command of the army of Berlin 
on the 3rd September, the three corps stood on the arc of 
a circle north of Wittenberg — Bertrand (IV.) on the right, 
Oudinot (XII.) in the centre, Reynier (VII.) on the left. 
The allies were very widely scattered, but when, on the 
4th September, Oudinot made a demonstration towards 
Zahna, Bernadotte drew his corps closer together, though 
they were still not closely concentrated. On his left was 
Tauenzien's corps at Zahna, in the centre Biilow, on the 
right, about Lobbese, Stedingk, Winzingerode, and the 
division of Hirschfeld, which had recently defeated Girard. 

Ney's orders for the 5th directed the 58,000 men whom 
he commanded to move thus : — 

XII. corps to start first, followed by the IV., both march- 
ing towards Zahna and Juterbogk. The VII. was to march 
northwards at first, and then turn to the right towards 
Baruth, thus forming a flank guard to the other two, and 
threatening the right of the enemy at Zahna. Bernadotte's 
plan was for Tauenzien to oppose the French advance at 
Zahna with an advance guard, whence he would retire on 
his main body at Dennewitz and Juterbogk. The rest of 
the North Army, moving leftwards, would fall on the left 
flank and rear of the French. 

When Oudinot's attack fell upon Tauenzien's advance 
guard at Zahna, Reynier was marching south of him, as was 
evidenced to the Prussians by the clouds of dust. Zahna 
was taken after a severe fight, and the defenders retired, 
partly direct by the Juterbogk road, partly by Gadegast and 


Ney's positions at night were — 

XII. corps — Pacthod's and Guilleminot's divisions in front 
of Sayda ; Fournier's cavalry and Raglowitch's Bavarians 
behind Gadegast. 

VII. corps about Zahna. 

IV. corps and Lorge's cavalry at Seehausen and Naundorf. 

For the 6th, Ney's orders directed Reynier to advance on 
Rohrbeck by Gadegast and Gehna. Gudinot was to wait at 
Sayda till the VII. had passed Oehna, and then to march 
in the direction of Dahme and Luckau, where the Emperor 
was supposed to be. 

Bertrand to march south of Juterbogk, guarding the left 
flank of the march on Dahme. 

The IV. corps started a little before 8 A.M. 

The VII., though it had farther to go, started later, and 
then, instead of going by Gadegast and Oehna, went direct 
to Dennewitz. 

Oudinot, meanwhile, waited at Sayda for the VII. to pass 
on its way to Gadegast. Owing to Reynier's deviation from 
the route by Gadegast he never did pass, as Oudinot was told 
to expect. Oudinot appears not to have started till he got 
orders, between i and 2 P.M., though he had been ready to 
do so from lo A.M. A strong north-west wind was raising 
clouds of sand, which obscured his view. The consequence 
of all this was that the three corps reached the battlefield 
at considerable intervals, between lO A.M. and 4 P.M. 

The battlefield of Dennewitz is generally, speaking, 
a sandy plain with woods and low knolls scattered about 
it. It is crossed by several brooks flowing in deep 
channels, of which the most important is the Agerbach, 
flowing from Nieder Gorsdorf to Dennewitz and Rohrbeck. 
The country offers advantages to all arms. There 
are good artillery positions on the knolls, which form 
a screen for reserves behind them, and the plain is open for 
cavalry. Infantry can find good supports in the villages of 
Golsdorf, Dennewitz, and Rohrbeck, in the various woods, 
and in the passages of the Agerbach. 

When Bertrand with the IV. corps reached Dennewitz, 


he saw Tauenzien in front of him. He at once deployed 
Fontanelli's division beyond the brook, with Lorge and 
Morand on his left. The latter division, in support, had at 
first to remain in Dennewitz, for want of room to deploy 
beyond the brook. 

Tauenzien had his artillery (19 guns) on the knoll north of 
Dennewitz, his infantry behind them. 

Fontanelli's attack began about 1 1 A.M., and was at first 
conipletely successful. Both Tauenzien's wings were driven 
in, and the situation was only saved for the time by a charge 
of Prussian cavalry. The landwehr had got somewhat out 
of hand, and had fired wildly over the heads of their own 

The French, however, hearing of Billow's approach on 
their left, had not dared to push home their attack on 
Tauenzien's right. Nevertheless, that general, though prac- 
tically defeated, had held out long enough to give Biilow 
time to arrive. The latter had started from Eckmannsdorf 
at 10.30 ; by 12.30 the heads of his columns were 
arriving at Nieder Gorsdorf His first attack, with Thiimen's 
brigade, which joined Tauenzien's right, was badly repulsed 
by Morand. Then the Hessen-Homburg division arrived, 
and compelled Morand to retire eastwards from the heights 
north of Nieder Gorsdorf, though he did so in good order. A 
pause in the fighting now occurred, during which the French 
took up, about 2.30 P.M., a new position north of the brook, 
with their left resting on the Dennewitz windmill height and 
fronting westwards. Thiimen and Tauenzien now made a 
combined attack on the wood north-east of Nieder Gorsdorf,. 
on which the French right rested. Though a vigorous 
defence was made by the Wurtembergers, the wood was 
eventually captured and many prisoners taken. In con- 
sequence of this, the French were compelled to fall back on 
Rohrbeck. Bertrand's effort to restore the battle with his 
last reserve of two Wurtemberg battalions failed completely. 
He had been badly defeated, and Thiimen was now in pos- 
session of everything north of the Agerbach. 

It was 2 P.M. when Reynier, with the VII. corps, began 


to reach the field. There were still no signs of Gudinot's 
approach. Ney, who had arrived, sent a brigade of Durutte's 
division (VII. corps) across the brook. This, in conjunction 
with Bertrand's corps, succeeded with difficulty in retaking 
the windmill height, which the Prussians had occupied. 
The French were, however, again driven from it, and by 
4 P.M. Thiimen had got through Dennewitz and stood with 
his troops in a semi-circle facing south, between Dennewitz 
and Rohrbeck. Biilow, meanwhile, had brought up Krafft's 
division south of the brook. 

Reynier, owing to the heavy wind, knew nothing of the 
battle till, about i P.M., he met Lorge's defeated cavalry 
between Gehna and Rohrbeck. Sending Durutte on to 
Dennewitz, he turned leftwards with his two Saxon divisions, 
which, with De France's cuirassiers, went against Billow's 
right, south of the Agerbach. The Saxons took part of 
Golsdorf about 2.30 p.m., but were driven out again. The 
space between them and Durutte was filled by De France's 

Reynier, finding himself too weak to do much, sent to 
hurry up Gudinot, who had began to arrive about 3 P.M. 

Biilow, seeing that the French were now gathering 
strength, had thrown in Borstell with his last reserve, and 
sent an urgent demand for reinforcements to Bernadotte. 
Biilow was now advancing on Golsdorf , Before he got 
there, however, Gudinot had brought up Guilleminot's and 
Pacthod's divisions behind the Saxons, and had posted a 
strong battery on Reynier's left. Thus supported, Reynier 
had recaptured Golsdorf without difficulty. 

Billow's position was now very critical, for Bernadotte's 
Swedes and Russians were still two or three miles off. He 
might very well have been rolled up from his right, or 
driven away from the troops beyond the brook, had not 
Ney seized this moment to ruin his own chance of success. 

As usual, the Prince of the Moskowa had been carried 
away by impulse on the battlefield. Standing where he 
did on the heights south-east of Dennewitz, he could see 
little of what was going on on the left, for the air was thick 


with the whiding dust. He judged only by what was 
nearest to him, and he believed that the decision lay in 
that direction, whereas it clearly lay on his left. He pro- 
posed to make an attempt to restore the battle on the right 
by a vigorous attack with Oudinot's corps and what re- 
mained of Bertrand's. Orders were sent to Oudinot to 
march to his right. When they reached him, that marshal 
was with Reynier, who begged him to leave at least one 
division to complete the success at Golsdorf But Oudinot, 
still smarting under his supersession by Ney, maintained 
that he was bound to obey the order literally. He had 
already started towards Rohrbeck when Borstell attacked 
the Saxons in Golsdorf The 1 5 6th regiment, which was 
just following the rest of Oudinot's troops, stopped to assist 
in the defence. But the Prussians attacked with such fury 
that the Saxons, after losing nearly 1500 men, were driven 
from the village, and only saved from total destruction by 
a timely charge of De France's cuirassiers. 

It was 5 P.M. when Bertrand had been driven from 
Rohrbeck, long before Oudinot could arrive. The Prussians 
again held the whole field north of the Agerbach. 

Billow, too, was now beginning to receive Russian and 
Swedish reinforcements, especially artillery. Before these, 
Reynier's Saxons, shattered and disordered, were falling 
back eastwards, carrying away Oudinot's troops as they 
marched on Rohrbeck. 

In vain did Ney and Reynier endeavour to turn the 
flight into an orderly retreat. Panic and confusion reigned 
supreme. Ney, at 6 P.M., had ordered a retreat on Dahme, 
but his orders only reached part of the troops, which fled 
in different directions, pursued by the enemy's cavalry and 
artillery. Reynier and Oudinot made direct for Torgau ; 
Ney, with Bertrand, went towards Dahme, where they were 
joined by Raglowich's Bavarians, who had scarcely been 
engaged. Dahme was evacuated by a Prussian detachment 
which had held it 

Of Reynier's corps, one column went by Langen-Lips- 
dorf, Korbitz, and Wendisch Linde, reaching Annaburg at 


daybreak, and Torgau at mid-day on the 7th. Another 
column started on the Dahme road, then turned towards 
Schonwald, and reached Wendisch Ahlsdorf at 1 1 P.M. 
They were at Torgau by 2 A.M. Gudinot's three divisions, 
though they had borne less of the stress of battle, fled 
as wildly as the rest by Schweinitz and Annaburg to 

Ney, finding himself at Dahme with only a small part of 
his army, decided also to make for Torgau. As he left 
Dahme, he was attacked by Wobeser from Luckau, who 
took the village and over 2800 prisoners. He picked 
up another 400 as he pursued Bertrand who, having 
left Dahme at 3 A.M., only reached Herzberg by 9 p.m. on 
the 7th. 

In the fight at Zahna, the battle at Dennewitz, and the 
subsequent actions in the pursuit, the Prussians had lost 
about 10,500 men killed and wounded. The losses of the 
Russians and Swedes were probably not serious. 

Ney, on the other hand, had lost about 22,000 men, of 
whom 13,500 were prisoners, 53 guns, 412 wagons, and 
4 standards. His army was utterly disorganised, more so 
even than Macdonald's on the Katzbach. 

Ney, like Gudinot at Gross Beeren and Macdonald on 
the Katzbach, had not expected a battle. Had he done 
so, perhaps he would have held his corps more together, in 
which case he might well have defeated Tauenzien and 
Billow before Bernadotte could come up. Possibly he 
might have split the allied army in two. 

His information regarding the enemy was very poor. He 
had not utilised his cavalry properly. His object being to 
reach Dahme, there was no need to go so far north as he 
did. He might have marched two of his corps straight 
there, using the third as a flank guard on his left, as he 
had done on the previous day. He was so furious when 
he found Bertrand engaged at Dennewitz that he remarked 
to a Wurtemberg general, " Mais nom dieu, mon general,, 
quelle cochonnerie fait ce Bertrand," which shows clearly 
that he did not expect a battle, or desire one, that day. 


Once engaged, he, as usual, let himself be carried away 
•by his fiery temperament, and became a corps commands 
rather than a general-in-chief. Consequently, his outlool 
became localised, and he completely failed to see that it 
•was his left which should have been reinforced, or that 
victory against Billow's right would be decisive, whilst 
victory in the opposite direction would only drive the 
Prussians back on the support of Bernadotte. 

Had he taken up a defensive position behind the brook 
with his right, and reinforced his left with Oudinot, he 
would, at the worst, have had a safe retreat open, either on 
Dahme or Torgau. Oudinot was in a position to judge 
the position better, but he obeyed Ney's order to move to 
the right without remonstrance, and without any attempt to 
explain the true situation to the commander-in-chief. He 
must share the blame for the defeat with Ney. 

Friederich considers that the allied leaders worked well 
together. Tauenzien, not hesitating to engage superior 
numbers, trusted to the support promised by Biilow. When 
Tauenzien, and the whole of Billow's corps were arrayed 
against Bertrand and Reynier, the Prussians were the 
stronger, but Oudinot's arrival turned the scale against 

Bernadotte has been charged with delay, but Friederich 
shows that he was not really to blame on this occasion ; 
for, up to 10 a.m., it was uncertain whether Ney meant 
to march direct for Berlin, or was moving to his right. 
Nor was there any information as to whether he was 
likely to be supported by Napoleon. In view of the 
possibility of Ney's moving direct on Berlin, Bernadotte 
could not safely march towards Juterbogk earlier than he 
did. Though his troops took no great part in the battle, 
the 36 guns which he was able to get up prevented the 
French from rallying towards Oehna and covering their 

Bernadotte's troops marched over 9 miles between 1 1 
A.M. and 2 P.M., when they reached Eckmannsdorf. The 
remaining 6 J miles to Dennewitz were covered by 5.30 P.M. 


and, considering the heat of the day, they cannot be accused 
of want of activity in covering over 15 miles in 6 J hours. 
Billow might possibly have obtained greater results 
by bringing up all his troops south of the brook, but 
that would have risked Tauenzien's destruction in the 



THE movement of the allies from Bohemia, which 
had brought Napoleon back in a hurry to 
Dresden on the 6th September, differed con- 
siderably from that which led to the battle of 
Dresden. Instead of an advance of the whole of the army 
of Bohemia on the left bank of the Elbe, Schwarzenberg 
was now moving with 60,000 Austrians on the right bank 
towards Rumburg and Zittau, and threatening the right 
flank of the French operating against Bliicher. Barclay 
was left in Bohemia with the Russians and Prussians, and 
the two Austrian divisions of Lichtenstein and Klenau. 
He was to advance through the mountains towards Dresden, 
spreading reports that he was only waiting for siege guns 
to take the place. This, Schwarzenberg hoped, would 
compel Napoleon to concentrate, and afford an opportunity 
for the destruction of Macdonald by Bliicher in his front, 
acting with Schwarzenberg against the French right. 

If Napoleon moved south in force from Dresden, Barclay 
was to avoid a battle, to retire on Teplitz, and, if he still 
found himself threatened by superior forces, even to cross 
the Eger. 

Schwarzenberg's plan of taking a large force to the right 
bank was apparently due to the belief that Napoleon con- 
templated a movement to his right into northern Bohemia, 
by Zittau and Rumburg, as soon as Bliicher had been forced 
back.i That might end in his getting to Prague in rear of 
the allies, if the main army all remained on the other side of 
the Elbe. 

^ Danilewskif p 19c. 



Such a division of the allied main army into two groups, 
separated by a great river like the Elbe, across which 
Napoleon could pass at pleasure at Dresden, Pirna, or 
Konigstein, was very risky in the face of such an opponent. 

On the 4th September ^ St Cyr, with the XIV. corps, had 
his right at Borna, centre at Berggiesshiibel, left at Konig- 
stein and the Lilienstein. Advanced guard and cavalry 
(Pajol) at Hellendorf, Oelsen, and Breitenau. The left 
division (42nd) astride of the river, watched the left flank 
of an allied advance on Rumberg, the right of one on 
Dresden. For the latter purpose it had six battalions dis- 
tributed between the redoubts at Cunnersdorf and Henners- 
dorf, and Krietschwitz on the Pirna plateau, with one more 
at Pirna. In the evening of the 5th September Pajol, with 
the advanced guard, was pressed back by the Russians and 
Prussians to Berggiesshiibel and Borna, where he took post 
behind the 44th and 45 th divisions. 

On the 6th St Cyr had again to retire till he stood, on 
the morning of the 7th, with his advanced guard stretching 
from Pirna to the heights of Zehista and Zuschendorf He 
still had most of the 42nd division about Konigstein. His 
main body was at Dohna, Miigeln, and Heidenau. Here he 
stood fast all day. During the day Napoleon arrived. 
St Cyr gives an account of his interview with the Emperor, 
which is unfortunately too long for quotation. According 
to him. Napoleon admitted having lost an opportunity, on 
the 28th August, by not supporting Vandamme. St Cyr 
replied that he had now another opportunity of a battle 
with the Bohemian army, but the Emperor's thoughts 
seemed to be far away in the direction of Bernadotte and 
Bliicher.^ On the morning of the 8th St Cyr's position 
was on the left bank of the Miiglitz. His advanced guard 
was driven in across the stream, but parts of it still held 
on in Dohna and Heidenau. About 2 P.M. Napoleon 
returned from Dresden, where he had slept the night before. 
St Cyr says he hesitated to attack till all his troops were 
up from Dresden, which meant doing nothing till next 

1 Map IV. {d). 2 Hisf. Mil., iv. p. 137. 


morning. At last, however, the XIV. corps was sent for- 
ward, its repassage of the Miiglitz being facilitated by its 
retention of Dohna and Heidenau. 

The enemy, after a sharp fight, fell back beyond Zehista. 
Barclay's force was much scattered, since Lichtenstein's 
Austrians had been sent towards Freiberg, and Klenau's 
by the Chemnitz road. They were linked to the Russians 
and Prussians on the right by Kasarow at Maxen, where 
he was supposed to be in a position to turn St Cyr's right. 

That night the XIV. corps stood with its right at 
Kottwitz, left in front of Sedlitz. 

During his supper, at which St Cyr was a guest, 
Napoleon received a full account of Ney's defeat at 
Dennewitz. His reception of it was remarkable. The 
man who, a few days before, had burst out in furious 
abuse of Sebastiani for his real or supposed mis- 
handling of his cavalry, now received this crushing news 
with the utmost calmness. No word of ill-humour, or of 
abuse of Ney or the other generals, passed his lips. Every- 
thing was put down to the difficulties of the art of war, 
which were so little understood. A curious remark which 
he made was that no great soldier, except Turenne, had 
ever learnt much of war by experience, and he admitted, in 
his own case, that he had never done anything better in 
the fullness of his experience than his first campaign in 
Italy. As for the Dennewitz disaster, he discussed it, says 
St Cyr, " with all the coolness he could have brought to a 
discussion of events in China or in the preceding century." ^ 

Daybreak on the 9th saw Napoleon at the front, where 
he eventually accepted St Cyr's proposal to march by the 
old road, by Dohna and Furstenwalde to Teplitz, in order 
to arrive on the enemy's rear as he retreated by the Peters- 
walde road. As soon as Wittgenstein discovered what 
was happening, he set out towards Peterswalde, the French 
marching parallel to him by the old road, and for some 
time actually in sight. That night there were at Fursten- 
walde, Lefebvre-Desnoettes' Guard division, two divisions 

1 Hist. Mil., iv. p. 148, etc. 


of the XIV. corps, and Pajol's cavalry ; the third division 
of the XIV. was at Breitenau, and a reconnaissance of the 
Guard had driven the enemy's flankers out of Oelsen. The 
Emperor's headquarters were at Liebstadt. 

Napoleon's presence had been recognized and reported 
to Schwarzenberg, who now hurriedly ordered back his 
troops from the right bank of the Elbe towards Dux, and 
recalled Klenau and Lichtenstein from the directions of 
Chemnitz and Freiberg. By lo A.M. on the loth the 
XIV. corps was on the Geiersberg, just above the field of 
Vandamme's action of the 29th August. Napoleon arrived 
in person an hour later. 

From the Geiersberg he looked down on the plains 
below, where he saw the Russians and Prussians hurrying 
in all directions to prepare for the attack which they 
expected to fall upon them, constantly changing their 
positions as their columns emerged from the Nollendorf 
road. The weather being fine, he could count every file in 
the enemy's ranks, and could see exactly what he had 
before him. The 43rd division of St Cyr's corps was 
already half-way down the steep slope, and sappers were 
rapidly clearing the road for the artillery. Not an Austrian 
was to be seen, either of those beyond the Elbe or of those 
to the west. 

But already some of the French artillery had got into 
difficulties in a premature descent of the road, and the 
dangers foreshadowed by this may have had a good deal to 
do with Napoleon's decision not to follow St Cyr's sugges- 
tion of a descent into the plain, with the object of defeating 
the Russians and Prussians whilst still far from their 
Austrian allies. He would retire, he said, leaving St Cyr 
for the present to keep up the alarm which appeared to 
exist in the Russo-Prussian camp.^ 

St Cyr expresses his astonishment that the man who had 
not hesitated at the passage of the Alps with a mere hand- 

^ Odeleben (i. p. 277) says Napoleon only abandoned the scheme of a descent 
from the Geiersberg with great regret, on an unfavourable report on the possi- 
bilities of the road for artillery. A single breakdown might ruin everything. 


ful of troops, should have refused to take this smaller risk 
which held out such strong hopes of a brilliant success. 
He was convinced that the Emperor could no longer hope 
to assemble an army sufficient to beat his enemies united, 
but he might very well defeat the Russians and Prussians 
alone. It must be remembered, though, that however 
calmly he appeared to take the disaster of Dennewitz, 
Napoleon doubtless felt the risk of engaging in a descent 
into Bohemia when Bernadotte might even now be crossing 
the Elbe and marching on Leipzig. 

On the 1 1 th the allies, below still, at first seemed to be 
expecting an attack from the mountains. Presently, when 
nothing happened, they began making small attacks on the 
foot of the Geiersberg. In the Nollendorf-Peterswalde 
direction, whither Napoleon had himself gone by Breitenau, 
there was some artillery firing, directed by him. It was 
only that evening that Austrians from beyond the Elbe 
began to reach Teplitz — two divisions of them — and take 
post as reserve behind the Russian right. 

When Napoleon left St Cyr on the loth, he would have 
slept at Ebersdorf or Furstenwalde, but there was absolutely 
no accommodation. Even at Breitenau there was only the 
parish priest's house, and that had to be cleaned before the 
Emperor, who was not squeamish, could use it for himself 
and Berthier. All Saxony was ruined by the constant 
advance and retreat of the tide of war ; the part adjoining 
the Bohemian frontier was perhaps the worst ; for within 
the last few weeks the allies had advanced and retreated 
through it twice, and the French the same. There was not 
much to choose, from the wretched inhabitants' point of 
view, between the starving French soldiers and " Russia's 
savage warriors," as the Cossacks are described on a stone 
just outside Dresden, which still records the horrors of their 
occupation of Racknitz. Odeleben's description of the 
frontier is worth quoting. " The troops were short of food ; 
they were obliged to sleep, in the cold autumn nights, on 
the damp ground of the mountains. There was no forage 
for the horses, the frontier villages were entirely destroyed. 


every house which was not built of stone had been pulled 
down to feed the bivouac fires ; the whole neighbourhood 
bore the stamp of the horrors of war. . . . The soil, already 
ten times turned over, was again ransacked in the search 
for a few potatoes." 

It was on the morning of the i ith, as Napoleon went by 
a difficult path through Oelsen towards Peterswalde, that 
his escort met Prussian cavalry. The latter, unable to 
avoid the superior French force, were attacked and beaten. 
In this combat there was wounded and taken prisoner, near 
Peterswalde, Colonel Bliicher, son of the victor of the Katz- 
bach. It was late when the Emperor at last reached 
Nollendorf, where Lobau took post with the I. corps, of 
the withdrawal of which from behind him St Cyr only 
learnt on the 1 2th ; a curious example of the inefficiency of 
Napoleon's staff work. 

At Peterswalde the Emperor lodged at the house of the 
parish priest ; all the other inhabitants had fled. Next day 
he returned to Pirna, where he ordered the construction of 
a fortified bridge-head. 

St Cyr retired with the 43rd division to in front of 
Breitenau, the 45 th between Liebstadt and Borna, the 44th 
and Pajol still watching the enemy from Furstenwalde, 
linked, by a post at Streckenwald, to the I. corps at 
Nollendorf, and by another at Lauenstein to Victor (II. 
corps) at Altenberg. The 42nd division, after following 
the retreating Russians from Konigstein towards Peters- 
walde, was back again at Langen-Hennersdorf. 

On the 14th Lobau was attacked and driven back behind 
Berggiesshiibel. For this affair the allies had made pre- 
parations as if they were attacking a whole army, instead of 
a single corps, with only Dumongeau's weak division as 
advanced guard. 

On the 15 th St Cyr, whose advanced guard was now 
forward again as far as Breitenau, expected an attack, but 
nothing happened, except a small affair on its right rear, 
which was exposed, owing to the withdrawal of Victor, 
which again only came to St Cyr's ears accidentally at a very 


late period. The attack on Lobau brought Napoleon once 
more southwards with reinforcements. Lobau had now 
been placed under St Cyr, but the Emperor, being present 
in person, of course took command. 

On the 1 6th Napoleon advanced on Peterswalde by the 
road from in front, whilst St Cyr co-operated on the enemy's 
left by Oelsen and Schonwald. The enemy was driven 
from Peterswalde and Nollendorf, where the Emperor him- 
self arrived in weather so misty that it was impossible to 
discern from the heights what was happening in the valley 

On the 1 7th, in the early morning, Napoleon went to the 
chapel of Nollendorf Though the weather was still nearly 
as thick as the day before, he sent troops down the road^ 
whilst others filled the woods on its sides. These, after 
some fighting, were cleared, and the French reached the 
plain. Napoleon himself went to Tellnitz. The sky had 
cleared somewhat, but the view was still obscured, and it was 
impossible to judge of the enemy's forces. Then there 
broke a sudden storm of artillery fire, the source of which 
was uncertain in the mist. It appeared that there was a 
strong allied column about Kninitz, on the road to Konigs- 
wald, which seemed to be endeavouring to cut off the 
French retreat by the Nollendorf road. Napoleon had to 
take measures for occupying this village and guarding his 
retreat with his reserve. Some of his troops had now 
advanced almost to Kulm, when torrents of rain put a stop 
to the fighting. Napoleon himself went back for the night 
to Peterswalde. His troops still held Tellnitz on the i8th, 
and on that day he again went forward to Nollendorf and 
Kninitz. As he issued from the neighbouring wood, he 
had to turn back before an attack of some of the enemy's 
cavalry. Ascending again to the heights, he was now able 
to see the enemy, and remarked to Berthier : " All I see 
are two corps of about 60,000 men each, which will need 
an entire day to unite for attack." 

Making over the command to Lobau, he then returned 
to Pirna, convinced that his army was not strong enough to 


remain where it was, and that the time had passed for an 
invasion of Bohemia. 

On the 1 6th he had written to Lobau^ that the enemy's 
" principal forces in this direction are on the Peterswalde 
* chauss6e,' which it is important to him to hold, in order to be 
sure that I do not take the offensive whilst he is engaged in 
his operations." The operations referred to — that is, those on 
the right bank of the Elbe towards Rumburg — had already 
been abandoned. The Emperor's move into Bohemia on 
the 17th does not appear to have been intended to be more 
than a reconnaissance for the purpose of gaining information. 

Napoleon's rearward communications had throughout the 
campaign been much harassed by the operations of partisans 
who had displayed the greatest activity and enterprise. So 
serious had the losses become that, on the 1 1 th September,^ 
the Emperor directed Lefebvre-Desnoettes to take up the 
special duty of clearing off the Cossacks and others. He 
was reinforced up to 4000 cavalry at Freiberg, where he 
was on the I4th,^ besides another 2000 under Lorge, with- 
drawn from Ney. A division of Victor's corps was ordered 
to Freiberg. The cavalry was to sweep the whole country 
west of the Elbe in rear of the army ; Margaron, the governor 
of Leipzig, was to help ; and, finally, Augereau was ordered, 
on the 1 7th,* to march with his whole corps from Wiirzburg 
by Coburg to Jena, whence he was to keep open the passages 
of the Saale and protect the rear of the army with the 1 1 ,000 
men he would have left, after sending one of his divisions to 
join the I. corps. 

Considerations of space forbid our entering into the 
details of this partizan warfare, but this seems a convenient 
place for a brief statement, anticipating somewhat, of the 
principal operations of the allied flying columns in the 
French rear.^ 

Prince Kudaschew was sent during the battle of Dresden 
with a party of cavalry to carry despatches to Bernadotte. 

^ Corr. 205,72, dated Pima, i6th September, 8 A.M. 

2 Corr. 20,543. 3 ^^^^_ 20,562. * Corr. 20,576. 

^ For fuller accounts, see Danilewski. 


After a most adventurous ride to the North, across the Elbe 
and back again to Bohemia, he was able to give information 
as to the unprotected state of the French communications. 
In consequence of his news, Thielmann ^ and the Austrian 
Count Mensdorf were sent off to operate on the Saale, and 
between Leipzig and Erfurt, against the French convoys and 
reinforcements. Their force consisted chiefly of Cossacks. 
On the 1 2th September Thielmann was at Weissenfels, 
where he took 1000 prisoners and 26 guns, and seized the 
defile of Kosen. On the i8th he took Merseburg and 2000 
prisoners. Mensdorf acted with equal vigour, cutting off 
convoys, despatch riders, etc. It was against these two that 
Lefebvre-Desnoettes was sent. At the same time, the allied 
free corps had been strengthened by seven Cossack regiments 
under Platow. These, with Thielmann, attacked Lefebvre- 
Desnoettes at Altenburg on the 28th September, drove him 
out, and captured 1000 prisoners from him. 

About this same period a still more important raid was 
carried out from the north. Czernitchew, with 2300 
Cossacks and cavalry and 6 guns, crossed the Elbe, and 
marched rapidly on Cassel, the capital of Jerome Bonaparte's 
kingdom of Westphalia. Spreading false reports regarding 
the direction of his march, he unexpectedly appeared before 
Cassel on the morning of the 28th September, and defeated 
some French infantry, taking 6 guns from them. Then he 
attacked 2000 French troops approaching the place and dis- 
persed them. Returning to Cassel, he induced the garrison 
to surrender it, and captured a number of guns. Jerome 
had fled in haste on Czernitchew's first appearance. After 
proclaiming the end of the Westphalian kingdom, Czer- 
nitchew returned unharmed to Bernadotte. 

On the 1 6th September a raid of Walmoden's troops 
crossing the Elbe destroyed a detachment of Davout's corps 
at Gorda. This detachment was on its way to Magdeburg. 

Later, on the 17th October, Tettenborn surprised and 
took Bremen, far in Davout's rear. 

^ Formerly Saxon commandant of Torgau. He went over to the allies in 


These are only a few of the exploits of the allied partizans. 
A full record of their doings would fill a volume. Some 
more of them are chronicled in an order of Napoleon of the 
1 9th September,^ prescribing precautions against surprise to 
be taken by officers commanding detachments. 

These extensive expeditions of considerable bodies of 
cavalry far in the French rear are a peculiarity of this 
campaign, which is the only instance of their employment 
on a large scale in a European war. Similar raids played a 
considerable part in the American Civil War of fifty years 
ago. In this case, as in 181 3, the raids were generally 
carried out in a country the inhabitants of which were often 
sympathisers with the raiders, to whom they supplied food, 
forage, and information. Moreover, there were few or none of 
the modern facilities for sending information to the other side. 
It seems more than doubtful what success such raids could 
hope for in these days of telegraphs in Europe. There has 
recently been another example of such a raid in the Russian 
expedition under General Mistshenko against Yinkon in 
the Japanese rear, in January 1905.^ The raid can hardly 
be deemed a great success, and it was only possible to 
carry it out at all owing to the route taken being through 
an area devoid of telegraphs, in which the inhabitants were 
not likely to go out of their way to give information to 
either side. Looking to the intensity of the anti-French 
feeling in Germany in 18 13, it would have been impossible 
for Napoleon to have made such raids, and, in 18 14, for a 
similar reason, the invading allies could not continue their 
practice of 1 8 1 3 in France. 

The Emperor was now waiting at Pirna for the enemy 
to offer him an opportunity. The inactivity which is a 
marked characteristic, surely a strangely novel one, of 
Napoleon's conduct during the greater part of September, 
was very dangerous ; for the surrounding armies were 

^ Corr. 20,595. 

2 See Vol. v., German Official Account of the Russo-Japanese War (English 
translation). The question of such raids is discussed at some length at pp. 37 
et seqq. 


gradually closing in on him, threatening to convert the 
strategical advantages of holding the interior lines into the 
dangerous position of being tactically surrounded. More- 
ever, Bennigsen with 50,000 or 60,000 men was now coming 
up to reinforce the allies, whilst Napoleon could look for 
very few fresh troops beyond the 16,000 of Augereau's 
(IX.) corps ordered up from Wiirzburg. Saxony was 
almost completely exhausted, and the provisioning of the 
army was day by day increasing in difficulty. " The army 
is not nourished. It would be an illusion to regard matters 
otherwise."^ So wrote Napoleon on the 23rd September, 
and at an earlier date he had sent Marmont and Murat, with 
the VI. corps and two cavalry corps, to Grossenhain to cover 
a convoy of food coming up the Elbe to Dresden. The 
magnitude of the covering force shows the immense import- 
ance which the Emperor attached to this supply. 

On the 19th Napoleon received a report from Macdonald 
to the effect that his flankers on the left had been driven 
from Pulsnitz on Radeberg. Thereupon, the Emperor 
ordered two divisions of Young Guard, under Mortier, to 
cross the Elbe at Pirna, and advance to Lohmen on the 
way to Stolpen. This movement was to be concealed from 
the enemy by Poniatowski at Stolpen, and Napoleon indi- 
cated his intention, if the weather improved, of moving to 
drive Bliicher back beyond Bautzen, on which he had advanced 
as soon as he found Napoleon was no longer with Macdonald. 
Next morning. Napoleon writes to Marmont that the weather 
has been too bad to move, but, as he also says Macdonald's 
report of the enemy's force towards Radeberg was an 
exaggeration, that is perhaps the chief reason for delay. 

On the 19th September the XII. corps was dissolved and 
distributed thus : — The two French divisions, amalgamated 
into one under Guilleminot, were made over to the VII. 
corps (Reynier). The Bavarian division was relegated to 
escort duty with the parks. Oudinot was recalled on the 
25th to headquarters, and put in command of two divisions 
of Young Guard. 

1 Corr. 20,619. 


On the 2 1st September a new set of orders^ was issued 
from Pirna, where the Emperor still stayed, complaining 
that the weather was too bad for any movements. 

The Old Guard was sent to Dresden, Mortier, with a 
division of the Young Guard to hold Pirna. To St Cyr was 
given the command of his own (XIV.) corps, the I. and the 
v., the last-named being called in from Macdonald's army. 
St Cyr's duty was to guard the Elbe from Pilnitz to 
Konigstein, and to watch the roads from Bohemia between 
the latter place and Freiberg. The Emperor reckoned he 
would have 40,000 to 50,000 men — Victor to hold 
Chemnitz, with his left towards Freiberg, right towards the 
Saale ; Marmont to Freiberg ; Macdonald, with the XI. 
corps, to the command of which alone he was now reduced, 
to fall back to the exits of the forest in front of Dresden. 
All this would enable the army to rest. 

Ney was charged with the defence of the Elbe from 
Magdeburg to Torgau, with the IV., VII. and III. corps. 
There was news that the enemy was throwing a bridge at 
Dessau, which required Ney to move the IV. and VII. 
towards Wittenberg. Murat and Marmont, who had, at 
Grossenhain, protected the convoy from Torgau, would now 
pass the Elbe at Meissen. If the news of the bridge at 
Dessau were confirmed, they would proceed at once to 
Torgau. This was a conditional modification of the orders 
sending Marmont to Freiberg. 

A later order ^ directed Macdonald to support Poniatowski, 
and prevent his being driven from Stolpen, which was 
alleged to be threatened by the enemy. 

On the 22nd the Emperor writes,^ at 2 A.M. from Dresden, 
to Macdonald that, as it seemed uncertain what were the 
movements of Bliicher's army, he should carry out a re- 
connaissance in force, with the object of ascertaining where 
his main forces were. The Emperor would probably be 
behind in support. Then he decided to go in person to 
Macdonald's front* He reached Harthau the same day, 

^ Corr. 20,603 and 20,604. ^ Corr, 20,607. 

^ Corr. 20,609. ^ Corr. 20,612. 


after driving Bliicher's advanced troops back with the III. 
and XL corps and capturing Bischofswerda. On the 2 3rd the 
advance continued, Bliicher, as usual, falling back to Forstgen, 
short of Bautzen. According to Odeleben, the Emperor 
showed signs of irresolution at Harthau. After watching 
the retirement of Bliicher, he returned to Harthau. 

He had heard from Ney that the enemy had completed 
a bridge over the Elbe at the mouth of the Black Elster, 
and could cross when he chose. 

Napoleon had now decided that the time had come for 
abandonment of all territory east of the Elbe, excepting 
that immediately in front of the fortresses and bridges. He 
would have one bridge at Konigstein, one at Pilnitz, three 
at Dresden, one at Meissen, and, of course, those at Torgau, 
Wittenberg and Magdeburg. All would be defended by 
powerful bridge-heads, and Macdonald, recalled to Dresden 
would hold strongly the issues from the Dresden forest. He 
would watch the enemy, and, if the latter undertook any 
offensive operations, the Emperor would fall upon him and 
compel him to battle. 

As Count Yorck points out,^ Napoleon came to this 
decision at the dictation of the enemy, not, as when he 
decided to retire behind the Passarge in 1807, of his own 
free will. 

We must here return for a few moments to the doings of 
Ney and his opponents after the disastrous battle of Denne- 
witz, and to those of Bliicher. Ney, having assembled the 
remains of his army at Torgau on the 8th September, 
crossed to the left bank of the Elbe and went to Diiben, 
where he had his hands full with the task of reorganizing 
his army. 

Bernadotte, on the other hand, sent Biilow to besiege 
Wittenberg, though, as that general was very ill-provided 
with siege artillery, there was not much prospect of his 
gaining any material success at an early date. In order to 
shut in the fortress on the left bank, and to be ready for a 
passage of the Elbe, Bernadotte, about the 15 th September, 

^ Napoleon as a General^ ii. p. 324. 


began building three bridges — one below the mouth of the 
Black Elster, one at Rosslau, and one at Acken, both the latter 
below Wittenberg. On the 2 1 st September, Ney, alarmed 
by a false report that the whole of Bernadotte's army was 
about to pass the Elbe, set his troops in motion towards 

On the 24th, when the enemy appeared in some force 
opposite Wartenburg, Ney drew up his army there. Berna- 
dotte at once removed his bridge and withdrew. 

Bliicher was now about to make a momentous move. 
After the defeat of Dresden, Schwarzenberg, fully expect- 
ing an invasion of Bohemia by Napoleon, sent urgent orders 
to Bliicher to march to his assistance with 50,000 men. 
Bliicher could hardly be expected to divide his army, taking 
50,000 men to Bohemia and leaving the rest to face 
Macdonald. The victory of Kulm changed the aspect of 
affairs, and this scheme dropped for the moment. On the 
7th September it was revived. Bliicher was ordered to 
march by Rumburg, sending his baggage by Zittau, to 
Bohmisch Leipa. Bennigsen, when he came up, was to 
march direct to the Elbe. If the French evacuated the 
right bank, he was to blockade Konigstein, Dresden, 
and Torgau. If they continued on the right bank, he 
was to keep in touch with them, avoiding a general 
action. Regarding these arrangements, however, Bliicher 
was consulted at the instance of the King of Prussia, 
and in consequence of what he said, orders of the 12th, 
recognising that Bliicher was already near the Elbe, trans- 
posed his role and that of Bennigsen. Bliicher proposed 
that he should march, not to Bohemia, but to his right, in 
order to join the North army, whilst Bennigsen, now nearly 
up, went to reinforce the Bohemian army. Bliicher would 
remain in Eastern Saxony long enough to cover the flank 
march of Bennigsen to Bohemia. The latter was expected 
to reach Zittau about the 20th September. He actually 
reached Leitmeritz on the Elbe on the 27th. 

As Bennigsen approached, Radetzky (Schwarzenberg's 
Chief-of- Staff) proposed, on the 22nd September, that the 


whole army of Bohemia should start on a fifteen days' 
march by Hof to Baireuth, in order to threaten Napoleon's 
communications with France. It will be remembered that 
such a movement was one of the contingencies contemplated 
by Napoleon at an earlier date. He then remarked that, 
if the allies went off in that direction, he would be content 
to wish them " bon voyage," in the certainty that they 
would come back quicker than they had gone. Had they 
done so, he would have been left time to fall upon 
Bernadotte and destroy him. Fortunately for the allies, 
Radetzky's wild scheme met with no encouragement. On 
the other hand, it was decided now to operate through the 
Erzgebirge, not on Dresden as heretofore, but by Chemnitz 
direct towards Leipzig. 

Thus, just when Napoleon decided to bring his whole 
army over to the left bank of the Elbe, the allies were pre- 
paring, first, for Bliicher's flank march to his right to join 
Bernadotte, secondly, for the advance of the Bohemian army 
on Leipzig. 

The withdrawal of the French army to the left bank 
began on the 24th September. Mortier went to Dresden. 
Souham and Lauriston were called in to the same 
place, to reach it on the 26th. Poniatowski was to march 
by Fischbach and across the Elbe at Dresden, covered by 
Macdonald and Sebastiani at Weissig. Marmont and 
Latour-Maubourg were ordered to cross at Meissen, leaving 
L'Heritier, with the 5 th cavalry corps, to watch at 

On the 25 th the positions of the French were these — 

Macdonald (XI. corps), Weissig. 

Lauriston (V. corps) and Guard, Dresden. 

III. corps (Souham), VI. corps (Marmont), and ist 
cavalry (Latour-Maubourg), Meissen 

VIII. corps (Poniatowski), marching on Waldheim to 
support Lefebvre - Desnoettes in his operations against 
Thielmann's and the other allied " Free-corps." 

South of Dresden, under the general command of St Cyr, 
were his own (XIV.) corps at Pirna and Borna. 


I, corps (Lobau) at Berggiesshiibel. 

II. corps (Victor) at Freiberg. 

Ney, with the IV. (Bertrand) and VII. corps (Reynier), 
was in front of Wartenburg. 

Napoleon was now beginning seriously to look forward 
to the time when he must retreat over the Rhine, as is 
evidenced by his order ^ to Clarke to prepare the French 
fortresses on the Rhine for defence. 

As September closed the positions on both sides were 
these — 

French. — XL corps (Macdonald), Weissig. 

I. and XIV. corps (Lobau and St Cyr), south of Dresden, 
the latter linked to the XL corps by the Pirna bridge. 

II. corps (Victor), Freiberg. 
Guard, Dresden. 

V. corps (Lauriston), near Dresden, on the Leipzig road, 

VI I I, corps (Poniatowski), on the Waldheim-Leipzig road, 
acting with Lefebvre-Desnoettes' column. 

IV. corps (Bertrand) and VI I. corps (Reynier), under 
Ney, between Torgau and Wittenberg, on the left bank of 
the Elbe. 

III. corps (Souham), VI. corps (Marmont), and ist 
cavalry corps (Latour-Maubourg), towards Meissen, ready 
to support Ney if the enemy passed the Elbe. 

IX. corps (Augereau), marching on Jena. 

Bavarians (30,000 under Wrede) opposed to 30,000 
Austrians on the Inn. 

Davout (XIII. corps), in Hamburg. 

Allies. — Army of Bohemia, between Aussig and Briix, 
with Klenau towards the passes leading to Chemnitz. 

Bliicher, at and about Bautzen. 

Bernadotte, Herzberg to Zerbst. 

On the 25 th September the time had come when Bliicher 
could, without exposing Bennigsen, begin his march to the 
right to join the northern army. He left, to face Macdonald 
and Dresden, Tscherbatow with 8000 Russians, and Bubna 
with 10,000 Austrians. 

^ Corr. 20,646, dated 27th September. 



On his left his flank march was covered by the Russian 
cavalry under Wassilsikow, before whom Latour-Maubourg 
fell back from Grossenhain across the Elbe at Meissen. 

Of the allied army of the North, Biilow had advanced to 
Wartenburg, where he threw two new bridges. 

Tauenzien had reached Jessen. 

The rest were at Barby and Rosslau. 

Means of passage were provided also at Rosslau, Acken, 
and Barby. 

The chapter in von Caemmerer's " strategical survey " of 
this campaign which deals with this period is headed 
" Indecision on both sides," and that is certainly the most 
marked characteristic of the three weeks succeeding the 6th 
September. With the allies generally this frame of mind 
was the rule. We see Bernadotte, after Billow's victory at 
Dennewitz, hanging about without making any serious 
attempt to reap the fruits of his success by crossing the 
Elbe ; building bridges, and then removing them as soon as 
an enemy appeared. Bliicher, no doubt, knew his own mind, 
but he was restrained by superior orders, and compelled to wait 
in order to cover the march of Bennigsen. Schwarzenberg 
was perhaps the most irresolute of all, moving forward first 
by both banks of the Elbe, then hurrying back again as 
Napoleon moved south from Dresden, then making feeble 
advances towards Dresden, only to withdraw the moment 
Napoleon showed any disposition to move south again. 

But indecision, such as he showed at this time, was 
certainly not characteristic of Napoleon in his better days. 
It looks almost as if, like a tiger surrounded by hunters, 
he was half bewildered, and unable to make up his mind to 
do more than make short dashes, first on one part, then on 
another, of the circle which was steadily closing in on him. 
The time had really come for him to abandon much more than 
the right bank of the Elbe. The rescue of the garrisons of 
the Oder and Vistula fortresses was no longer to be hoped 
for after Dennewitz, but the Emperor could still have 
carried with him in his retreat those of Hamburg, Magde- 
burg, Wittenberg, Torgau, and Dresden. Including the 


troops in Dresden, he had still 270,000 men in the open 
field, though his losses since the armistice are estimated by 
von Caemmerer at 140,000 to 150,000. Adding the 
garrisons of the Elbe fortresses, and deducting the German 
allies, who would no doubt desert him, he could still have 
returned to the Rhine with at least 250,000 men. The 
Elbe had played its part, and the Emperor seemed to be 
succumbing to the temptation, so dangerous to weaker 
leaders, to allow himself to be tied to fortresses. The real 
fact was that he could not make up his mind to part with 
his dominion in Germany, which he knew must collapse 
with his own withdrawal. Nor could he be certain what 
his reception in France would be. 

The despot in him was suppressing the general, whose 
purely military view of the situation would probably have 
insisted on sacrifices which the Emperor could not endure. 
Thus we see him satisfied to frighten back first Bliicher, 
then Schwarzenberg, then Bliicher again, without dealing 
a really serious blow at either. His decision to advance 
northwards had withered under the shock of Ney's defeat 
at Dennewitz, coupled with the Emperor's discovery of the 
fearful demoralisation of Macdonald's army. 



ON the 1st October, Ney, fearing that Biilow 
might pass at Wartenburg and cut him from 
Dresden, ordered Bertrand to the former, It 
was, however, Bliicher who was now at Warten- 
burg. He had marched to Jessen, setting free Biilow and 
Tauenzein to return to Bernadotte. Sacken, having per- 
formed his function as flank guard, had now rejoined 

Bertrand was in Wartenburg on the 2nd October, in 
front of the Prussian bridge head, which was at the salient of 
the bend of the Elbe in the neck of which Wartenburg lies.^ 
The Prussians had selected this place as quite theoretically 
suitable for forcing a passage, but they had omitted to 
reconnoitre the area within the bend, and were ignorant of 
the fact that it was exceedingly unfavourable for deploy- 
ment after they had crossed under the protection of their 
artillery sweeping the peninsula. It was marshy and cut 
up by backwaters which, when the Elbe was in flood, were 
quite impassable, and were so in great part at all times. 
The village of Wartenburg stood behind one of these, and 
also had in front of it an embankment to protect it from 
floods. It was right in the centre of the neck, and was 
practically safe against a mere frontal attack. It could 
only be reached by troops passing along a narrow strip of 
land between it and the Elbe, in the part above the bridges. 
Whilst the Prussians underestimated the defensibility of 
the Wartenburg position, Bertrand erred in the opposite 
direction ; for he had only recently seen it at a time 

1 Map IV. (c). 



when the Elbe was in very high flood. He believed it to 
be almost impregnable. 

At 7 A.M. on the 3rd October, Prince Charles of Mecklen- 
burg passed the Prussian bridges with three battalions of 
Yorck's corps. It was only when he got to the left bank 
that he was compelled to acknowledge that his guides had 
told him correctly that Wartenburg could only be reached 
by the narrow strip of land along the Elbe on his left leading 
to Bleddin. This strip was enclosed between the Elbe and 
a backwater or overflow pond. 

Yorck himself, following over the bridges, sent Prince 
Charles against Franquemont's Wurtembergers who held 

Steinmetz's brigade went against the front of Warten- 
burg. They got as far as the embankment running across 
the peninsula in front of Wartenburg, but could get no 
farther, and with difficulty held on there against the fire of 
the French beyond the old watercourse parallel to the dam, 
between it and the village. 

Between Steinmetz and Prince Charles, Horn's brigade 
was brought up, with Hunerbein's in reserve. 

It was I P.M. before Prince Charles could make his 
advance against Bleddin. Then he gradually drove 
Franquemont back towards Wartenburg, in which was 
Morand's division, with Fontanelli's in reserve. Presently, 
however, the progress of Horn's advance, on Prince Charles' 
right, interposed between Franquemont and Morand, com- 
pelling the former to fall back to his right with 900 
infantry and 200 cavalry. His artillery was practically 
annihilated. It was about 2 P.M. when Bleddin fell into 
the hands of the Prussians. 

Steinmetz was still holding on at the embankment with 
the utmost difficulty, and Horn's men had equal difficulty 
in getting forward over walls and ditches against the south- 
east side of Wartenburg. 

Bliicher had now come upon the field. He was very 
anxious, and sent orders to Prince Charles that he must 
take Wartenburg at any cost. That commander had now 


available only some 600 or 700 men, and 9 guns, but he 
boldly advanced against the south-west of the village whilst 
Horn continued against the south-east. By 3.30 P.M. 
Morand was driven in disorder from it. Bertrand had been 
very slow to perceive the danger which threatened his right. 

He now began his retirement in two columns, under 
cover of his artillery on the heights behind Wartenburg. 
Morand led the left column, Fontanelli (who had been in 
reserve west of Wartenburg) the right. Both columns were 
near the river below Wartenburg. 

As Fontanelli marched his right flank was attacked by 
Mecklenburg's cavalry, who took some guns and prisoners. 
Morand suffered from the fire of artillery beyond the Elbe, 
which followed him as he retired. 

The Prussian weakness in cavalry prevented any effective 

Friederich gives Yorck's losses at 6^ officers and 1548 
men. If the French lost perhaps somewhat less in killed 
and wounded, they lost, on the other hand, 1000 prisoners, 
1 1 guns, and 70 wagons. Bertrand's strength at the com- 
mencement was about 13,000 or 14,000 men, with 32 guns. 
He appears to have thought that the passage at Wartenburg 
was only a diversion to withdraw attention from the real 
crossing, which he believed to be at Rosslau. 

Yorck brought into action a force slightly inferior to 
Bertrand's, but he had behind him, what Bertrand did not 
realise, the whole strength of Bliicher's army. 

On the 4th October Bliicher's Silesian army completed 
its crossing at Wartenburg, leaving only Thiimen to blockade 
Wittenberg, and Wobeser in front of Torgau. On the same 
day Bernadotte, crossing at Rosslau and Barby, marched up 
the Mulde. 

The appearance of Bernadotte on his left and of Bliicher on 
his right compelled Ney to fall back towards Delitzsch. 
Holding the passages of the Mulde, he might have engaged 
either Bernadotte or Bliicher separately, but was debarred 
from thinking of this by the fact that he had little more 
than half the strength of either of them. 


Meanwhile, on the 2nd October, Napoleon sent Murat to 
Freiberg to take command of an army comprising the II., 
v., and VIII. corps, and the 5th cavalry corps, to oppose 
the Bohemian army, which had once more passed the 
Erzgebirge, aiming now no longer at Dresden, but direct 
at Leipzig. On the 3rd October it had 70,000 men holding 
the heads of the passes on the line, Ebenstock, Annaberg, 
Marienberg ; 80,000 still south of the mountains, on the 
line Kommotau-Karlsbad ; Bennigsin with 50,000 at Teplitz 
and Aussig. 

The army of Silesia, of 64,000 men, was fighting at 
Wartenburg ; that of the North, 76,000 strong, held the 
passages of the Elbe at Rosslau, Acken, and Barby. 

On the 4th October Klenau's advanced guard entered 
Chemnitz, but was driven out by Lauriston who, in turn, 
was compelled by Platow to retire on Mittweida. 

The news of Bliicher's passage at Wartenburg reached 
Napoleon on the 5 th, though only through Marmont, and 
without details. He at once ordered the III. corps, from 
about Meissen and Riesa, to join Marmont. The latter, 
taking command of the two corps (III. and VI.) was to 
march on Torgau, picking up there all available men in the 
the depot. He was then to re-establish the bridge on the 
Mulde at Diiben and to join Ney and Dombrowski. 
Augereau was to go to Leipzig, and form its garrison in 
union with the 6000 men already there under Arrighi. 
It was a matter of urgency, the Emperor said, to 
throw the enemy back over the Elbe before he was 

Ney was to have command of Marmont's force as soon 
as it reached him. This was explained to Marmont as 
necessary, looking to Ney's seniority.^ 

The division of the Guard still on the right bank of the 
Elbe was ordered over to the left, by which it was to march 
to Meissen, where Oudinot (now commanding two divisions 
of Young Guard) would fix his headquarters. 

To Murat ^ orders to the following effect were sent. It 

1 Corr. 20,695. 2 Corr, 20,696. ' Corr, 20,698. 


was important to be at Chemnitz, at which place and at 
Zschoppau, Victor should take up a good position — Ponia- 
towski to move to Penig. The Emperor believed there 
was only Klenau with 14,000 men in this direction. 

St Cyr received orders (i) to withdraw the Pilnitz bridge 
to Dresden ; (2) to post Lobau with headquarters and one 
division at Pirna ; (3) to bring his own headquarters to 
Dresden with two divisions ; (4) to guard the left bank from 
Dresden to Pirna with cavalry. 

The Emperor's general plan was decided on, though there 
were still some details on which he had not made up his 
mind. At 9 A.M. on the 6th ^ he wrote to Marmont that 
he would be the same evening at Meissen with 80,000 men, 
having his advanced guard at the junction of the roads from 
Leipzig and Torgau. He expected the III. corps to be at 
Torgau, but was not certain in which direction Marmont 
might have sent it. His present idea was to march on 
Torgau, to cross there to the right bank of the Elbe, in 
order to cut off the enemy and destroy his bridges, without 
being compelled to storm his bridge heads on the left bank, 
and also to prevent any possibility of his avoiding a battle 
by slipping back to the right bank. 

The Emperor's main force was to be brought to bear, 
under his own command, on Bliicher and Bernadotte, whilst 
Murat contained Schwarzenberg's movement on Leipzig, 
and St Cyr with Lobau defended Dresden. Murat had only 
about 45,000 men. 

In the afternoon of the same 6th October St Cyr arrived 
at Dresden, and had a long interview with Napoleon, who 
explained his plan of holding back, with Murat, the 
Austrian advance sufficiently long to enable himself to finish 
with Bliicher and Bernadotte before Schwarzenberg reached 

Then he hoped to fight another battle disposing of 
Schwarzenberg. He spoke to St Cyr of various positions 
south of Dresden, but impressed specially on him the 

t paramount importance of defending the city itself. Thither 
^ Corr. 20,705. 


he hoped to return, continuing to make it the pivot of his 
operations, after defeating the enemy in a great battle or 
battles. On this occasion he was so vehement that St Cyr 
thought it best to attempt no argument. 

At midnight the Emperor sent for him again. He said 
that having received news of Ney, he had now decided to 
take St Cyr and Lobau with him against Bernadotte and 
Bliicher, abandoning Dresden. 

St Cyr's report of his remarks ^ runs thus : " I am 
certainly going to have a battle ; if I win it, I shall regret 
not having had all my troops under my hand ; if, on the 
contrary, I suffer a reverse, in leaving you here you will be 
of no service to me in the battle, and you are hopelessly 
lost. Moreover, what is Dresden worth to-day? It can no 
longer be the pivot of the operations of the army, which, 
owing to the exhaustion of the surrounding country, cannot 
subsist there. This city cannot even be considered as a 
great depot ; for you would find in it subsistence for a few 
days only. There are in Dresden 12,000 sick who will 
die, since they are the residue of the 60,000 who have 
entered the hospitals since the commencement of the cam- 
paign. Add to this that the season is advancing, and that 
the Elbe, once frozen over, no longer offers a position. I 
wish to take up another for the winter, refusing my right 
on Erfurt, and stretching my centre along the Saale, which 
is a good position in all seasons, because the heights of the 
left bank are always excellent for defence. I shall rest my 
left on Magdeburg, and that city will become for me of 
greater importance than Dresden." . . . Here he describes 
the greater strength of Magdeburg as compared with 
Dresden, and then continues :'" Besides, I repeat, I want 
to change my position ; Dresden is too near Bohemia ; as 
soon as I make the smallest movements from the neighbour- 
hood of the city to approach Bohemia, the enemy's armies, 
having a very short distance to cover, will return to it, and 
I have no means of cutting them off by moving on their 
rear. Finally, by the more distant position I am going to 

1 Hist. Mil, iv. 185. 



occupy, I wish to ' leur donner un cul ' ^ (you understand 
me ?), in order to be able to strike great blows, to force the 
allied sovereigns to a solid peace, putting an end to the 
calamities of Europe." 

St Cyr duly received orders on the 7th ^ for retreat to 
Dresden, for sending the sick down the Elbe to Torgau, 
and to be ready to evacuate the city on the 8th and 9th. 

It was I A.M. on the 7th October when Napoleon dictated 
the following note ^ on " the movements of the different 
corps d'armee " : — 

" I St. To make a forced march on the 7th to Wurzen. I 
can have my headquarters there with the cavalry of Sebas- 
tiani, that of the Guard, and the corps* of Oudinot, 10 
miles from Wurzen, so as to be at Leipzig to-morrow (8th) 
if absolutely necessary. 

" 2. The III. infantry corps will probably be at Wurzen, 
since the Duke of Ragusa has directed it on the Mulde. 

" 3. General Lauriston can take position at Rochlitz ; he 
has Only three leagues (7^ miles) to march; the Duke of 
Belluno can go to Mittweida, commencing his movement 
rather late ; they will be in communication with Prince 
Poniatowski, who is at Frohburg. To-morrow they can be 
at Frohburg, thus containing the head of the enemy's army. 

" Marshal St Cyr can turn to-day (7th) the I. and XIV. 
corps on Dresden, occupy Meissen to-morrow (8th) and 
commence his movement, evacuate Dresden the 9th,^ and 
make forced marches on Wurzen. 

" As a result of this movement, I shall be able to do what 
I choose. From Wurzen I can go to Torgau against the 
enemy, debouching from Wittenberg (myself), or turn my 
whole army on Leipzig for a general battle, or repass the 

" Details. — The King of Naples would move on Mittweida, 
masking his movement ; he would only evacuate Floha in 

* In the English translation of Napoleon as a general^ this phrase is trans- 
lated, "to form a blind alley." The author feels some doubt as to whether this 
was the Emperor's precise meaning. 

2 Berthier to St Cyr, Hist. Mil., iv., p. 431. ' Corr., 20,711. 

* Four divisions Young Guard. ^ Printed 7th. The 9th is clearly meant. 


the night of the 7th ; the enemy would not know till the 
morning of the 8th that there is no longer any one on the 
road from Chemnitz to Dresden. 

" General Lauriston would reach Rochlitz, and would only 
leave Mittweida when the head of the II. corps had arrived. 

"On the 8th the II. corps would move on Rochlitz, and 
would be in observation from Rochlitz to Frohburg, holding 
Colditz, so as to link itself with the army. It would remain 
there till further orders, unless pressed by the enemy ; in 
that case it would approach Leipzig, without allowing itself 
to be separated from the Mulde. 

" On the 8th the army commanded by me in person would 
be at Wurzen. 

"On the loth the corps of Marshal St Cyr would be at 
Wurzen." ' 

Thus at I A.M. the Emperor had decided to abandon 

^ It will be observed that we have not quoted the long note of the 5th October, 
accepted by Yorck as probably genuine. It is given in M. de Norvins' Portg- 
feuille de 181 3, vol, ii. p, 366. Yorck admits that it is not usual for Napoleon, 
in such notes, to speak of corps by their numbers, as he does throughout this 
alleged note. But this is not very convincing evidence ; for he does so speak of 
them occasionally in the undoubtedly genuine note of i a.m., on the 7th ; though 
he only does so when it is necessary to distinguish part of the command of a 
general having more than one corps under him. What seems to us to throw 
much more doubt on the authenticity of the document is the way in which the 
writer speaks of himself as "the Emperor," or *'His Majesty," expressions 
which find no place in his other notes of this period. They, as well as the 
indication of corps by their numbers instead of by their commanders, would 
probably be used by a person trying to imitate the Emperor, and yet forgetting 
himself for the moment. M. de Norvins, in his preface, does not indicate 
precisely whence he obtained this note, or the evidence of its authenticity. If it 
were genuine, there seems no special reason why it should have been omitted by 
the publishers of the correspondence ; for it is, as Yorck remarks, " a true picture 
of the state of affairs at the time, and of the Emperor's views." 

On the other hand, why should any one concoct such a note ? Once more, 
there is against its authenticity the fact that there are several palpable mistakes 
in the numbers of the corps. One of these, the writing of " quinzieme corps " for 
"quatorzieme corps," was not in the least likely to be made by the Emperor, for 
there was no such corps as the " 15th." Even his secretary would probably not 
have allowed such a slip, if made, to pass. 

On the whole, while admitting that the document may possibly be genuine, its 
authenticity seems so open to doubt that we prefer not to rely on it. Possibly 
French writers, now working at the records in Paris, may hereafter be able to 
clear up the point. 


Dresden, and to leave Murat no longer in connection 
with it. 

Twelve hours later all is changed. Napoleon, writing at 
I P.M. on the 7th from Meissen/ tells St Cyr he has decided 
to hold on to Dresden. The convoys are to proceed thither, 
the marshal is to hold the positions in front of Pima all the 
8th, and to send a detachment to Nossen.^ The fortifica- 
tions of Dresden to be improved, supplies got in, wounded 
sent out, etc. The Emperor, hoping for a battle immedi- 
ately, moving by Torgau, would have his communications 
open by both banks with Dresden. 

Here was an inexplicable change in the whole plan, a 
change which was absolutely inconsistent with the Emperor's 
guiding principle of uniting the greatest possible forces for 
battle, and neglecting secondary matters, in the certainty 
that all would be rectified regarding them by decisive 
tactical success at the main point. He was now leaving 
two whole army corps to hold a place which certainly was 
now of quite secondary importance. Yet, unless we are 
to believe that St Cyr's account of the midnight interview 
on the 6th October is a pure invention. Napoleon had 
explained precisely and correctly why it was useless for 
him to hold Dresden, nay worse than useless, for to do so 
would deprive him of two corps on the battlefield. It is 
impossible to see in this decision to hold on to Dresden 
anything but a vast deterioration in Napoleonic strategy. 
Count Yorck considers it, "not so much the mistake of a 
general, as the obstinacy of a ruler, who will not admit that 
he can be compelled to relinquish anything, and who, not 
without reason, is alarmed for the continuance of his rule, 
based only upon force, so soon as he gives any indication 
that this force has diminished." ^ 

On the evening of the 7th the opposing forces in the 
north stood thus :* — 
French. — HI. corps (Souham) at Torgau. 

' Corr. 20,719 and St Cyr, Hist. Mil, iv. 433 (for hour of dispatch). 
2 Apparently to maintain touch with Murat as well as with Meissen. 
^ Napoleon as a General^ ii. p. 338. ^ Map I. , inset {c), 



Guard, Macdonald (XI. corps) and Sebastian! at and near 

Marmont (VI. corps) at Taucha. 
Ney (IV. and VII. corps) at Bennewitz (adjoining 

Latour-Maubourg watching the Elbe to Torgau. 
Allies. — Bernadotte with about 30,000 men at Dessau and 
40,000 at Zorbig and Jessnitz on the west of the 
BlUcher. — Yorck's and Langeron's corps, and head- 
quarters at Diiben. 
Sacken at Mockrehna, midway between Eilenburg and 

Biucher held the passages of the Mulde at Miihlbcck, 

Diiben, and Eilenburg. 
A day's march separated the Northern and Silesian 
armies, and Bliicher was filled with a very reasonable though 
very violent distrust of his Gascon colleague. 

Napoleon had from 140,000 to 150,000 men concentrated 
about Wurzen on the 8 th, and he believed that Bliicher 
was with 60,000 at Diiben. That was generally correct, 
and, moreover, Bliicher's position, facing Leipzig, offered his 
left flank to Napoleon at Wurzen. 

The Emperor, in a letter dated Wurzen, 9th October, 
at 9 A.M., to Murat/ sums up his views of the situation and 
his intentions. He says that he is starting for Wittenberg, 
which is besieged. He counts on attacking Bliicher at 
Diiben, where his information points to the presence of that 
general with 60,000 men, whilst Bernadotte is at Dessau 
with 40,000. He hopes to be at Wittenberg on the 9th, 
to raise the siege, and, passing to the right bank, to seize 
the enemy's two bridges at Wartenburg and Dessau. He 
had issued orders for the advance. 

(i) The three divisions of Guard cavalry (Lefebvre- 
Desnoette's at Leipzig, Ornano's and Walther's) were 
summoned to Eilenburg. 

(2) Arrighi, at Leipzig, was told that that city was 
1 Corr. 20,735. 


covered in every direction but those of Halle and Dessau, 
and it was explained to him with what forces he could 
defend it in those directions. 

(3) Ney was ordered to march with the III. corps at 6 
A.M. by the right bank of the Mulde on Eilenburg. He 
was to send Reynier with the VH. by the left bank, to 
which he would cross at Eilenburg. Bertrand, who was on 
the right at Schildau, to move on Mockrehna. Sebastiani 
was also placed under Ney, who thus commanded the HI., 
IV., and VII. corps, the division of Dombrowski, and the 
2nd cavalry corps. The Emperor would himself support 
Ney with the whole of the Guard. 

(4) Marmont to march at 6 A.M. by the left bank towards 
Diiben. Latour-Maubourg, and all the cavalry of the Guard 
to go with him. 

(5) Macdonald to start at the same hour from Dahlen for 
Mockrehna, in support, if necessary, of Bertrand. 

The Emperor was anxious to have possession of Diiben 
the same day, and, if the enemy were not more than 
30,000 strong there, he would be attacked in the evening. 
Napoleon would be in person at Eilenburg at 8 A.M., 
marching with 120,000 men on Diiben. 

It is time to see what was happening on the allies' side 
between Bliicher and Bernadotte. On the 6th October 
Bliicher wanted his colleague to take a strong position in 
front of Merseburg, whilst he himself stood between the 
Saale and the Mulde. Thus placed, each would threaten 
the flank of an advance by Napoleon against the other. 

On the 8th October the Crown Prince wrote to Bliicher 
to the effect that, since their mission was to hold Napoleon 
till the Bohemian army could come up on his flank and 
rear, there were only two alternatives open to them. The 
first, which was clearly the one he favoured, was immediate 
retirement to the right bank of the Elbe. The second was 
retirement to the left bank of the Saale. In the event 
of Bliicher's accepting the second alternative, he was 
requested to take up his bridge at Wartenburg and send 
it (by land of course, as it could not pass through 


Wittenberg and Magdeburg by water) to Ferchland, 25 
miles below Magdeburg. Bernadotte would either remove 
or destroy his bridge at Rosslau, and would leave six 
battalions to defend that at Acken. Bernadotte was dying 
to get back across the Elbe, to avoid Napoleon, of whom 
he was in mortal dread, and to get away by Ferchland if he 
could not get Bliicher over the Elbe direct. He did not 
give any real consideration to the Bohemian army. The 
first alternative would have spelt ruin for Bliicher, who 
would in all probability have been caught by Napoleon 
when he was in the very act of crossing the Elbe. He 
unhesitatingly chose the second, and promised to march at 
once. The great risk in going behind the Saale was lest 
the allies should lose their communications with Berlin. 
Bliicher said that Yorck, with his right column, would reach 
Jessnitz in the evening of the 9th, his headquarters would be 
near Miihlbeck. He would only leave a few companies at 
Wartenburg, which could rejoin Wobeser before Torgau. 
He also said he would make a demonstration against Eilen- 
burg, as he thought it necessary to cover the westward 

Bliicher's orders required Yorck to pass the Mulde at 
Jessnitz ; Langeron near Bitterfeld ; Sacken, who was the 
farthest to the left and from Diiben, was to pass at that 
place, but he would probably be in contact there with the 

Napoleon's march on the 9th progressed without opposi- 
tion worthy of mention. Ney was at Diiben by 3 P.M. 
At Probsthain Sebastiani dispersed some of Sacken's 
troops, and he, as well as Bertrand, followed Sacken towards 
Kemberg. The French advance had come sooner than 
Bliicher expected, so nothing came of his proposed demon- 
stration, and Sacken, finding it impossible to cross the 
Mulde at Diiben before the French came up, turned north- 
wards, and, by dint of hard marching through the night, 
got across at Raguhn, which he only reached at 10 A.M. on 
the TOth. Yorck and Langeron reached Jessnitz and Miihl- 
beck respectively. Bliicher and Bernadotte were united on 


the loth towards Zorbig. The French positions in the 
evening of the 9th were — 

II., Ney's advanced guard, beyond Diiben. 

VII., Diiben. 

III., Lausig. 

Dombrowski at Priestablich. 

Napoleon and Guard — Eilenburg. 

IV. corps south-east of Mockrehna. 

XL corps, Mockrehna. 

On the loth Napoleon remained at Eilenburg, sending 
letters and orders, till after i o A.M. Then, after a parade of 
his cuirassiers, he set off in his carriage to Diiben, where 
the letter-writing begins again at 3 P.M., when he had taken 
up his residence in the little water - surrounded chateau. 
The correspondence of this day is fairly voluminous, but it 
is strangely uncertain in its tone. It is wanting entirely in 
that decision which generally characterises the correspond- 
ence of the Emperor when he is in hot pursuit of some great 
object. He was suffering under the grievous disappoint- 
ment of having missed the blow which he had aimed at 
Bliicher, and, moreover, it is clear that he is unable to guess 
with any certainty how the old Prussian has evaded it, or 
where he has gone. There are a great many " ifs " used. 
There are no less than five letters to Maret, Duke of 
Bassano, much of their contents repetition or speculation, a 
great deal about the movements of the King of Saxony, 
who was under Maret's charge at Wurzen, and so on. 

Napoleon is at times despondent on the subject of Murat's 
capability of holding the Bohemian army back from Leipzig, 
and tells Maret ^ what he proposes to do if Murat has to 
abandon it. " My intention is, if the King of Naples were 
obliged to evacuate Leipzig, to repass the Elbe with all my 
army, throwing the army of Silesia and Berlin on to the 
right bank, and taking all the time to destroy it ; or, if it 
prefers to abandon its bridges, to leave it on the left bank 
and take my line of operation on the right bank from 
Dresden to Magdeburg." According to Friederich, it is not 

^ C0rr, 20,746. 



credible that Napoleon ever entertained the idea, attributed 
to him by some modern French writers, of abandoning 
everything west of the Elbe, and operating, based on it 
from Magdeburg to Dresden, towards the Oder. Surely 
this passage indicates clearly that he did intend, at one 
time at least, to go to the right bank. He again refers to 
the idea of passing to the right bank in a letter to Reynier,i 
in one to Berthier,^ and in one to Arrighi.^ The corre- 
spondence of this day shows how uncertain the Emperor 
felt as to Bliicher's own and Sacken's movements. He 
says, in the letter to Reynier just mentioned, (i) that Sackcn 
was making for the Wartenburg bridge, (2) that all reports 
show that the enemy is retiring from all directions on 
Dessau. He orders Reynier to Wartenburg and also 
Bertrand,^ both letters being dated 4 P.M. But, in a post- 
script to that to Bertrand, he says Sacken had left 
Leipnitz at 6 A.M. and got to Raguhn. Of his prospects 
he writes to Murat at 5.30 P.M. : ^ "To-morrow, the iith, 
either I shall have swept away the enemy or I shall have 
destroyed his bridges and thrown him on to the other side of 
the river (Elbe). Having thus driven off the army of Silesia, 
I can, on the 13th, be at Leipzig with my whole army." 
Then he proceeds to estimate Murat's strength thus : — 

Infantry. Cavalry. 

Vni. corps (Poniatowski) . . 5,000 3,000 

V. corps (Lauriston) . 

. 12,000 


n. corps (Victor) 

. 16,000 


IX. corps (Augereau) . 



Arrighi from Leipzig . 



5th cavalry corps (L'Heritier) 



49,000 12,700 

and says that, on the 12th, he could send another 20,000^ 
raising Murat to 80,000. If Murat had only Kleist and 
Wittgenstein against him, they could not have more than 

' Corr. 20,749. 

^ Corr. 20,750. 
* Corr. 20 7 $7. 

* Corr. 20,752. 
Corr, 20,754. 


50,000 men. If Klenau was with them, they might have 
80,000. On the iith the Emperor's uncertainty and 
irresolution continued. In the early hours he is convinced 
that the whole army of the enemy is concentrated at Dessau, 
with a great quantity of baggage. He proposes to march 
by the right bank of the Elbe on the Rosslau bridge. 
Reynier, Sebastiani, Dombrowski are to pass at Wittenberg 
as soon as possible, so as to make way for Bertrand, 
Macdonald, and the rest of the army to pass. Bertrand to 
see that the Wartenburg bridge is gone. Ney, meanwhile, 
to remain at Grafenhainchen, watching the roads to Dessau, 
Raguhn, Jessnitz, and Miihlbeck, and supported by the 
Emperor with the Guard about Kemberg. Marmont to 
come back to the right bank of the Mulde, leaving only 
Lorge's and Nordmann's cavalry on the left to scout towards 
Bitterfeld and Delitzsch,^ and enough infantry to force the 
enemy out of Bitterfeld. 

At 3 P.M. he has heard that there is no enemy at 
Raguhn, and very few at Dessau. ^ 

By 3 A.M. on the 12th he learns that, on the loth, 
Bliicher was marching on Halle. Ney is ordered^ to 
Dessau. As soon as Reynier had mastered Rosslau on the 
right bank, Ney was to destroy the enemy's bridge-head 
and throw two bridges there. Ney to call up Bertrand 
from Wartenburg, Oudinot to remain at Grafenhainchen. 
Marmont to go towards Delitzsch to watch towards Halle 
and Leipzig. Macdonald was only to pass at Wittenberg 
if Reynier required assistance beyond that of Sebastiani.* 

At 10 A.M. he draws up a note "on the union of the 
different corps d'armee at Taucha," in the following 
terms : ^ — 

" I am ordering Ney to Diiben. He will not receive this 
order till 2 P.M., his troops can start at 3 ; he cannot pass 
the bridge at Diiben till to-morrow, i 3th (when the Guard 
will have already passed) ; he can easily be at Taucha in 
the evening of the 13th. 

1 20,757 to 20,761. 2 Corr. 20,764. * Corr. 20,765. 
* Corr. 20,768. 5 Corr. 20,772. 


" Latour Maubourg, being at Kemberg, will have no more 

" The Duke of Tarentum will only receive orders at 
3 P.M. ; if he has passed the Elbe, he will require the night 
to recross ; he can only be at Diiben to-morrow, 1 3th ; 
during the day of the 1 4th he will march on Taucha. 

" General Reynier, marching on Rosslau, can only get to 
Wittenberg this night and reach Taucha on the 15 th. He 
can come by Eilenburg. 

" It is the same for General Sebastiani. 

" As for the Dukes of Treviso (Mortier) and Reggio 
(Oudinot) and the reserve of the Guard, all that will pass 
the Diiben bridge to-day and reach Taucha early to-morrow. 

" The King (of Naples) is to-day at Crobern, to-morrow 
he will be at Leipzig and Taucha, where I shall have arrived 
to-morrow with Curial, the Old and Young Guard, and the 
Duke of Rugusa, nearly 40,000 men, which, with the king's 
50,000, will make nearly 90,000. These 90,000 will be 
reinforced during to-morrow (13th), when the enemy neces- 
sarily cannot attack, by Ney, Bertrand, and Latour-Mau- 
bourg. The i 5th our whole army will be united. To-morrow 
(13th) the enemy arrives at Crobern. He will know that 
the Grand Army has arrived. He will spend the 14th in 
placing himself for battle. I have, therefore, the 1 3th and 
1 4th for concentration. I say more ; if all my army were 
at Diiben, it could not arrive earlier, unless it had five or 
six issues." 

Then he recapitulates the situation. 

"The King of Naples is at Crobern on the 12th, Marshal 
Marmont at Lindenhain ; they can be to-morrow, 13 th, at 
Taucha, a good position ; my Guard, to-day at Diiben and 
Eilenburg, will easily be to-morrow at Taucha ; Oudinot 
and Mortier will be to-day at Diiben with Ornano, Walther, 
and Latour-Maubourg. 

" To-morrow all this will be at Taucha. 

" I shall then have to-morrow at Taucha. 

" In the first line, the King of Naples' 50,000 men, 
inclusive of the garrison of Leipzig, which will remain 


there ; Marmont, 20,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry ; the 
Guard, 30,000 infantry, 8000 cavalry ; Latour-Maubourg, 
3000 cavalry; total, nearly 120,000 men, at Taucha to- 

" In second line, the Duke of Tarentum, to-night at 
Kemberg, to-morrow at Diiben ; the Prince of the Moskowa, 
to-night at Grafenhainchen, to-morrow at Diiben ; Bertrand, 
to-morrow at Diiben ; Sebastiani, to-morrow at Diiben ; 
Dombrowski and Reynier, to-morrow half-way to Diiben. 

"On the 14th all can join me; Tarentum, 20,000 
infantry, 2000 cavalry; Moskowa, 12,000 infantry, 2000 
cavalry; Bertrand, 10,000 men; Sebastiani, 3000 men; 
Dombrowski and Reynier, 20,000 men. Thus : First line, 
nearly 120,000 men ; second line, 70,000 men ; total, about 
190,000 men."^ 

Here is, once more, a complete change of plan. The 
idea of the passage of the Elbe and the pursuit of Bliicher 
is abandoned in favour of concentration for battle at 

Odeleben's famous description of the Emperor at Diiben, 
sitting idly drawing Gothic characters on a sheet of paper, 
is not quite consistent with the actual outturn of corre- 
spondence. Still, all accounts represent him as a very 
different person from the ceaseless worker of former times. 
He talked for five hours in the night of the nth- 12th to 
Marmont, who says : " One no longer recognises Napoleon 
again during this campaign." ^ Fain says : " He remains 
almost constantly shut up in his room, to which his bed and 
his maps have been moved." * 

In proof of the irresolution and uncertainty which 
mastered him at Diiben, it is only necessary to look back 

^ The totals, according to the Emperor's details, come to, 1st line, 113,000; 
2nd line, 69,000; total, 182,000. But he apparently does not include artillery 
and engineers, and as he generally uses round figures, the arithmetical difference 
is more apparent than real. 

" " My intention being to give battle there (at Taucha) with all my forces 
united" {Corr. 20,771). 

^ M^m. V. 271. 

* MSS. de 181 3, ii. 372. 


over the correspondence which we have quoted or described. 
On the loth he proposes to go to the right bank of the 
Elbe if Murat could not keep Leipzig ; the same afternoon 
he talks of only driving Bliicher and Bernadotte over the 
Elbe, and keeping them there by destroying their bridges. 
Then he would return to Leipzig. On the iith he is in 
great uncertainty as to Bliicher's and Bernadotte's where- 
abouts, and reverts to the idea of going to the right bank 
and leaving them stranded on the left. Then he finds out 
that they are not, as he had fancied, towards Dessau, but 
towards Halle. On the 12th he has changed his plans 
entirely, and proposes fighting a great battle at Taucha. 
All this is very different from the quick grasp of the 
situation and the immediate decision as to his course of 
action which characterise his earlier campaigns. 

There is no mention of Bernadotte in the correspondence 
of the 1 2th till 3 P.M., when the Emperor writes to Mar- 
mont ^ that he has seized the enemy's bridges on the Elbe, 
and that the army of Berlin has gone to the right bank. 

On this subject, Marmont says ^ he reported to the 
Emperor, in the evening of the 1 1 th, that he had made 
certain that the whole of the enemy's army was on the 
hither side of the Elbe. If he is correct, the Emperor's 
letter of the 1 2th is only one of many instances of the way 
in which he now chose to believe what would suit him.^ 

Let us see now what had really been happening whilst 
Napoleon sat in doubt and hesitation, very unusual in him, 
in the " schloss " at Diiben. Bliicher had marched to his 
right on the morning of the 9th October, just as Napoleon 
was beginning his advance down the Mulde on Diiben. 
He was making for the Saale towards Halle, as arranged 
with Bernadotte. His movements on the 9th, and the 
escape of Sacken by Raguhn have already been described. 
Bernadotte went to Rothenburg, but he left Tauenzien 
behind at Dessau to cover the bridges at Rosslau and 

^ Corr. 20,775. * M4fn. iv. 270. ^ For positions, Map I., inset (</). 


On the iith Tauenzien heard that Reynier had crossed 
the Elbe at Wittenberg on the previous day, and had 
driven the blockading force on Coswig ; also that Mac- 
donald was following Reynier. He, therefore, himself 
crossed to Rosslau on the 12th, leaving one division at 
Dessau, which was dispersed with the loss of some 200a 
prisoners on that day. 

On the same day (12th) Bcrnadotte was still at Rothen- 
burg, whilst Bliicher had reached Halle and occupied 
Merseburg. He had thus passed with the Silesian army 
from Bernadotte's left to his right. 

That same night Napoleon was still hesitating as to 
whether he would himself go to Leipzig or not. At 8 P.M. 
he wrote to Murat, estimating the latter's force at 6c, 000, 
and adding that Marmont will be " to-night " only ten miles 
from Leipzig. "If I do not decide to go there (Leipzig) 
myself, I will send him to you, which will give you 85,000 
to 90,000 men ; with that you ought to be able to gain 
some days."^ The Emperor still believed that Bernadotte 
had retired to the right bank of the Elbe ; for Ney, in 
reporting his action with Tauenzien's division at Dessau, 
mentioned that he had seen immense baggage columns and 
packs marching up the right bank from Acken. Reynier 
and Dombrowski, the Emperor also says, had passed 
Coswig and were marching on Rosslau.^ 

At 5 A.M. on the 13th Napoleon was decided to concen- 
trate on Leipzig, but thought there was still time for 
Reynier to march to Acken, in which operation Ney could 
support him by a diversion from the left bank.^ As soon 
as that was done, Ney must hurry back to Diiben. An 
hour later * Napoleon ascertained that Reynier had been 
fighting, on the previous day, only with Thiimen and 
Tauenzien, whom he had driven to a hurried and somewhat 
disorderly retreat on Berlin. Bernadotte's headquarters 
had been at Bernburg on the i ith ; he had not re-crossed 
the Elbe, but, on the contrary, was with Bliicher behind the 

^ Corr. 20,781. 2 Qoyy^ 20,783. » Corr. 20,789. * Corr. 20,790. 


Macdonald and Reynier were called back on Diiben. 

There was no advantage now in operating on the right 
bank of the Elbe, where there was no enemy of importance 
left. Even Thiimen and Tauenzien were off to Berlin in 
such a hurry that there was no probability of their returning 
at present. 

Leaving Napoleon to his concentration on Leipzig, we 
turn back to bring up to date the events in the south. 

When Napoleon left Dresden, Colloredo and Bennigsen 
began their advance from Teplitz on Dresden by the now 
well-known route. On the 8th Colloredo's advanced guard 
was at Zehista. On the same day, Bubna who, it will be 
remembered, was left by Bliicher to watch Dresden on the 
right bank of the Elbe, took the bridge head opposite Pirna. 
The garrison retired to Dresden, taking their boats with them. 

On the loth Bennigsen, aftef making a reconnaissance 
on Dresden, left Osterman to observe it with 20,000 men, 
and himself marched by Colditz for Leipzig with 30,000. 
Chasteler was left behind at Teplitz with 10,000 men to 
guard Bohemia. 

Murat's movements had been as follows : — 

On the 8th he was at Mittweida. Poniatowski drove the 
Austrians from Penig. 

On the 9th Klenau recaptured Penig, and, threatening 
Poniatowski's left, compelled him to fall back towards 
Murat at Rochlitz. 

On the loth Murat retired northwards, on learning that 
Wittgenstein was moving on Borna. 

On the iith he took post at Wachau and Liebertwolk- 
witz ^ with the IL, V., and VIII. corps, and 5th cavalry 
corps. His outposts were on the line Threna-Gross Posna- 

It was this move which alarmed Napoleon, and induced 
him to propose sending 20,000 men to support Murat. 

Schwarzenberg's headquarters had been on the 8th at 
Chemnitz. On the nth they were at Altenberg. Witt- 
genstein, Kleist, and Klenau were about Borna. 

1 Map IV. (d). 


On the 1 2th Augereau (IX. corps) reached Leipzig. 

Schwarzenberg was more intent on getting into com- 
munication with the northern armies than on fighting a 
battle with Murat. 

Napoleon, in his bulletin of the 15 th October, says that 
he gave up the project of operating on the right bank of 
the Elbe, because, on the 13th, he learnt of the defection 
of Bavaria, and feared that of other German states. 
That is certainly an afterthought, since (i) the Conven- 
tion of Ried, by which Bavaria joined the allies, was not 
ratified till the 14th; (2) Napoleon himself writes to Murat, 
" in the evening " of the 1 3th, that he has seen the Austrian, 
Krafft, who had been captured with papers showing the 
positions of Bliicher and Bernadotte, and the terms of 
peace the allies would grant. From this man he had 
learnt that there was nothing definite about Bavaria. 

Napoleon's orders for the 14th were issued at 3 A.M.^ 

His own headquarters would be at the gates of 

Ney was expected to pass the Diiben bridge that evening, 
so as to be at Leipzig on the i 5 th. 

Macdonald was believed to be at Kemberg on the 
1 3th, and to be able to pass at Diiben in good time on the 
14th, so as to make room for Ney to pass at night. 

Reynier was supposed to be at Wittenberg on the night 
of the 13th. He would be near Diiben on the 14th. 

Sebastiani to hurry up past Macdonald, and reach Leipzig 
as soon as possible. 

Latour-Maubourg also to hurry forward on the right, 
reconnoitring towards Delitzsch. 

Oudinot and Mortier, the Guard cavalry, and Old Guard 
to approach within two and a half miles of Leipzig. 

Curial and Lefebvre-Desnoettes to march on Eilenburg 
nd Taucha at daybreak, accompanied by the King of 
axony, who would be sent on with an escort to Leipzig. 

General Durrieu to guard Eilenburg, where he would 

■collect parks, etc., on the left bank of the Mulde. 
! - 




Bertrand to leave Diiben at 9 A.M., and to be within two 
and a half miles of Leipzig by evening. 

In writing to Macdonald at 7 A.M., the Emperor says : 
"There can be no doubt that to-morrow, 15th, we shall be 
attacked by the army of Bohemia and by the army of 
Silesia. March then in all haste, and if you hear a 
cannonade, march to its fire." ^ 

Napoleon left Diiben some time after 7 A.M., reaching 
Leipzig about midday. He had intended staying there, 
but went on to Reudnitz after riding through Leipzig. 
To the south, as he rode towards Reudnitz, he could hear 
plainly, and even see the artillery of the action then pro- 
ceeding between Murat and the Bohemian army. 

The positions of Murat's forces on the morning of the 
1 4th were ^ : — 




VIII. corps . 

. 5400 



Markkleeberg, Dolitz, 
Losnig and Connewitz 

4th cavalry corps 



Main body behind 
Markkleeberg, with 
detachments beyond 
the Pleisse. 

II. corps 

. 15,000 


On heights between 
Wachau and Mark- 
kleeberg, the former 
being strongly held. 

V. corps 

. 12,000 



About Probstheida. 

5th cavalry corps 

and ) 

Just west of Liebert- 

Berkheim's division !> — 




of the I St 


A division of 

the { ___ 


In reserve at Holz- 

Guard cavalry 



In all 32,400 infantry, 9,800 cavalry, and 156 guns. 

Early in the morning Pahlen, with Wittgenstein's ad- 
avnced guard, moved forward by Crobern. He had 1800 
Russian cavalry and Cossacks, 1000 Prussian cavalry, and 
20 guns. 

The Cossacks came to a standstill in face of the great 
cavalry masses in front of Wachau and Markkleeberg. 

1 Corr. 20,801. 2 Map IV. (d). 


Pahlen was first reinforced by 6 squadrons, and then by 
1 4 more, with 1 6 guns, under Roder, sent by Kleist from the 
Prussian reserve cavalry. 

Eugen of Wurtemberg, reconnoitring in front of Gulden- 
gossa, denied Diebitsch's assumption, according to which 
there was only a French rearguard. He succeeded in con- 
vincing Diebitsch, who went off for more cavalry. Pahlen, 
however, advanced as soon as the Prussian reserve cavalry 
began to come up. The cavalry combat which ensued in 
this direction swayed backwards and forwards with varying 
success. On the whole, the French got a little the worst 
of it. 

About 2 P.M. Klenau attacked Liebertwolkwitz and took 
the whole of it, except the church, in which the enemy 
obstinately held out. Counter attacks failed to dislodge 
Klenau, but there was a long fight, and in the evening he 
evacuated the village. 

There were more cavalry combats in the afternoon in the 
centre, when again the French got rather the worst of it. 
In one of the charges here, Murat, leading in person, 
narrowly escaped capture. He was easily recognised by the 
extravagance of his costume. 

About Markkleeberg the French cavalry, at first victorious, 
were in the end driven back. 

The upshot of the whole affair was that both sides re- 
mained in their original positions. 

The battle was the greatest cavalry contest of the war. 
Friederich considers there were faults in leading on both 
sides. The allies attacked piecemeal, instead of in masses, 
whilst Murat kept his cavalry so closely massed that, once 
they were shaken, it was impossible to prevent their getting 
into confusion. Neither side could hope for a decisive vic- 
tory, and Murat caused his cavalry unnecessary loss, when 
he should have preserved it for the battles of the following 
days. Pajol's in particular was so knocked about as to be 
quite unserviceable in the evening. All that Murat required 
to do was to keep the Liebertwolkwitz-Wachau line of 
heights, and prevent the enemy from seeing into his position 



behind them. That he could have done by using his in- 
fantry more freely, and sparing his cavalry. 

The allies, on the other hand, had not enough troops up 
for decisive success. What they wanted was (i) to get a 
view of the positions behind Murat's front, in which they 
succeeded to some extent, and (2) to ascertain if he really 
meant to hold it. The latter they could infer from the re- 
sistance encountered. 

On the morning of the 15th October Murat came to 
headquarters to report the events of the previous day. After 
a long conversation with the Emperor, both rode to the 
heights between Liebertwolkwitz and Wachau. Here 
Napoleon remained for several hours in conversation with 
Berthier, Murat, and others. Thence he went, after noon, to 
the position occupied by Poniatowski, who had his right on 
Dolitz and Markkleeberg. Here he gave much attention to 
the ground beyond the Pleisse, to the possible points of 
passage, and to the marshes interfering with the movement 
of troops. Then he rode to Reudnitz along the front by 
Holzhausen and Zweinaundorf. 

The published correspondence of the 15 th is very scanty. 

At 8 A.M. the Emperor writes ^ to Macdonald, saying it is 
not known yet what has become of Murat's opponents of 
the day before. He tells Macdonald at Lindenhain to re- 
port when he will be at Taucha, but not to cross the bridge 
there over the Partha, in case it should be necessary to send 
him by Naunhof. Then follows an important passage : — 

" All reports are that, by a manoeuvre which I cannot 
understand, the Prince of Sweden has passed the Saale, and 
is marching on Merseburg, so that the Duke of Ragusa can 
have nothing but cavalry in front of him." 

This, he thought, was folly on Bernadotte's part, as it 
would leave him (Napoleon) time to destroy the Bohemian 

This passage seems to show that the Emperor believed 
the Silesian and Northern armies to be united under Berna- 
dotte, towards Merseburg. In another letter of 10 P.M.^ he 

1 Corr. 20,807. 2 Corr. 20,812. 



tells Marmont, who was towards Breitenfelde in the dii ection 
of Halle, that many camp fires had been seen at Markran- 
stadt, which seemed to indicate that the enemy was to be 
expected, not by the Halle road, but by that from Weissen- 
fels, on which he would have his right connected, by Zwenkau 
or Pegau, with the left of the army of Bohemia. 

Four hours earlier Napoleon had sent orders to Macdonald 
that he was to start from Taucha at daybreak, to march on 
Holzhausen and Seifertshain, where he would receive orders 
for turning the enemy's right, that is, the right of the army 
of Bohemia. 

These conclusions were erroneous ; for BlUcher had ad- 
vanced from Halle towards Leipzig, and was already facing 
east with his right about Schkeuditz. The Emperor had 
good reason for regretting, in his letter to Marmont, that 
the latter had not pushed his reconnaissances as far as 

Bernadotte was not at Merseburg, but far away on the 
the line Wettin-Zorbig. The fires vvhich were seen at 
Markranstadt were those of the left wing of the Bohemian 
army, which extended thence by Crobern and Guldengossa. 
Napoleon believed it to extend only from Crobern fto 

The French corps stood this evening thus : — 

Bertrand at Eutritzsch. 

Marmont at Lindenthal facing towards Halle. 

Poniatowski at Markkleeberg and Dosen, with his right 

i thrown back along the Pleisse as far as Connewitz. 
Victor at Wachau. 
Lauriston — Liebertwolkwitz. 
Polish cavalry (Kellermann) at Dosen. 
Latour-Maubourg — Zweinaundorf 
Pajol at Holzhausen. 
Augereau — Zuckelhausen. 
Guard — Reudnitz and Crottendorf, as general reserve. 
Souham — Two divisions at Mockau, the third behind, on 
the road from Diiben. 
Macdonald — Taucha. 


Sebastian! — Marching on Taucha. 

Reynier — Diiben. 

We have already referred sufficiently to the indecisions of 
Napoleon. There is only one story on which we need say 
a word further, that which pretends that Napoleon gave up 
his plan of crossing the Elbe under pressure from a deputation 
of his own marshals and generals. Friederich shows that the 
evidence of this is very slight, and the probabilities strongly 
against it. In this connection the German critic mentions 
that there was an idea that Napoleon might cross the Elbe at 
Wittenberg, march behind it to Magdeburg and recross there 
to retreat in safety by Wesel, picking up Davout as he went. 
Friederich seems to think that if the Emperor ever really 
contemplated abandoning the left bank in order to pass to 
the right, it would have been with this object, rather than 
with the intention of operating eastwards, or across the line 
of the allies' communications. 

Of the allies, Bernadotte was at this time as shifty as ever. 
Bliicher's scheme for posting him in front of Halle, 
whilst he himself faced south on the right bank of the Saale, 
did not suit the Crown Prince at all ; for it put him in the 
forefront of the battle, exposed to Napoleon's first attack. 
Seeing that Bernadotte and Bliicher together were only 
about equal in numbers to Napoleon, it seems doubtful 
whether the plan was not too risky. 

As for Schwarzenberg, von Caemmerer is very severe on 
him. Starting with 1 60,000 men, he had taken 1 7 days to 
march 70 miles, though he had nothing to stop him except 
the 45,000 ^ men under Murat, a mere handful in compari- 
son with his host, not enough to do more than watch him. 
" Schwarzenberg's operations in western Saxony can only be 
characterised as a most defective piece of generalship, which 
was also diametrically opposed to any reasonable interpreta- 
tion of the Reichenbach agreement." ^ Such is von Caem- 
merer's general verdict. He goes on to point out that, had 

^ When Napoleon, on the loth October, estimates Murat's strength at 60,000, 
he had been reinforced by Augereau and Arrighi with 22,000 men. 
* Die Befreiungskriege, 1813-1815, p. 73. 


Schwarzenberg used his cavalry as he had seen Napoleon 
do, he should have known at once the weakness of the 
enemy opposed to him. By the 9th October he knew that 
Napoleon could not at once support Murat, and that Bliicher 
was in great danger. Had he had the decision to attack 
Murat at Borna on the loth, he could have decisively de- 
feated him, have seized Leipzig next day, and have cut off 
Augereau, who had only reached Weissenfels on the loth. 
He had still great opportunities even up to the 14th. " The 
battle against the King of Naples, south of Leipzig, which 
he missed, is a grave reproach against the commander of the 
allies, for which he alone must bear the responsibility." ^ 

1 Ibid. 


I 6th OCTOBER 1 

LEIPZIG, like Dresden, has increased in population 
from about 30,000 in i 8 1 3 to over half a million. 
Like Dresden, too, it was no longer a fortress in 
18 1 3, and, though the old wall still stood in a 
rather dilapidated condition, the suburbs had spread out 
some distance on all sides of it. Since then they have 
absorbed large areas, which were then open country dotted 
with villages, the names of which now represent areas of 
closely-built city. 

The suburbs of 18 13 contained numerous open spaces, 
and were separated from the old fortified city (an irregular 
quadrilateral of 800 or 900 yards) by the open ring on the 
site of the old glacis, which is now represented by the Ross 
Platz, and other open gardens and boulevards. 

The principal entrances to the city were by the four gates, 
Halle in the north, Grimma east, Peters south, and Rannstadt 
north-west. These were all suitable for wheeled traffic, and 
there were several others for foot passengers only. The 
southern and eastern suburbs were the best built, full of 
substantial houses, with garden walls and other readily 
adaptable means of defence. The northern and western 
were poorer quarters, with narrow, crooked streets. 

The western side of Leipzig rested on the Pleisse and the 
ramifications of that river and the Elster, which unite here, 
and the former is absorbed in the latter. Both rivers arrive 
from points only a very few degrees east and west of south. 
The space between them is a network of channels, with 

1 Maps I. and IV. (rf). 


woods, marshes, and gardens between them, a very difficult 
country in which to move troops. After passing Leipzig, 
the Elster turns almost at right angles to its former course, 
and makes for the Saale above Halle. South of this part 
of its course is the Luppe, which seems to be really a branch 
of the Elster. Between the two is a strip similar to that 
between the Elster and the Pleisse above Leipzig. The 
channels between the Elster and the Pleisse are so numerous 
that it is almost impossible to say which belongs to which 
river. The road from the north-west gate of Leipzig was 
carried to Lindenau on an embankment, which had five stone 
and several wooden bridges over the numerous channels in 
a distance of about a mile and a half The principal bridge, 
one destined to gain a terrible notoriety, was just outside 
the Rannstadt gate. 

The Partha, rising south of Grimma, flows north-west to 
beyond Taucha, where it turns suddenly to the south-west 
to join the Pleisse just north of Leipzig. Though a small 
stream, it was very tortuous, with steep or marshy banks, 
which made it a serious obstacle to troops. The Rietschke 
brook, flowing past Eutritzsch to join the Elster near Gohlis, 
was also a lesser obstacle. 

The circle round Leipzig is divided by the Elster, the 
Pleisse, and the Partha into three main segments, with a 
fourth in the shape of the marshy ground between the two 
first named. The western segment lies between the upper 
Elster and the Luppe, the northern between the lower Elster and 
the Partha, the southern between the Partha and the Pleisse. 

The southern area is marked by a succession of low 
ridges, like waves flowing outwards from Leipzig. The 
ridges, low though they are, formed good positions for troops 
defending Leipzig, whilst the hollows behind them served to 
conceal reserves. xA.t the same time, the country was very 
open and well suited to cavalry, which was only obstructed 
by the marshes and ponds in the hollows. The highest 
point on this side was the Galgenberg, between Wachau and 
Liebertwolkwitz. A feature to be noticed is the low, flat 
hill called the Kolm Berg, half a mile east of Liebertwolk- 


witz, crowned by the remains of an old Swedish redoubt, a 
relic of the days of Gustavus Adolphus. A marshy brook 
flowed round its western and northern sides. 

The western segment is an almost level plain. Two 
slight elevations west of Lindenau alone afforded some 
command for artillery. 

The plateau of the northern segment is less undulating 
than that of the south, though perhaps the descent to the 
Rietschke brook is rather steeper than the southern slopes. 

The villages surrounding Leipzig were generally well 
built (least so in the west), with broad streets, massive 
churches, and clay or brick garden and cemetery walls. 

Napoleon had caused the existing means of defence in 
the suburbs, such as garden walls, ditches, and tanks, to be 
improved by loopholing, palisading, and excavation. Round 
Lindenau he had constructed several small works, besides 
palisades, chevaux de frise, etc. 

The road over the causeway to Lindenau was the only 
one left for the French retreat, and the allies were threaten- 
ing to close that. The Emperor himself had contributed to 
the difficulties of a retreat by Liitzen, for, in order to render 
the bad ground between the rivers a better protection to his 
flank, he had destroyed nearly all the bridges of the Pleisse 
and Elster, except those of the causeway. 

The only paved roads to the south and east were those 
leading to Borna, Grimma, and Wurzen, and even these 
were only in good repair within municipal limits. From 
the north of Leipzig one more such road issued, dividing 
outside into the roads to Halle, Landsberg, Delitzsch, 
Diiben, and Eilenburg. With these exceptions, there were 
nothing but very bad country roads. 

Schwarzenberg's first orders for battle on the i6th con- 
templated the following operations : — 

(i) Bliicher, with the Silesian army, to advance by the 
Merseburg road on Leipzig, through Giinthersdorf, maintain- 
ing at the same time his communications with Halle. 

(2) Gyulai, with Moritz, Lichtenstein, and Thielmann, 
to concentrate at Markranstadt and advance direct on 



Leipzig. For the day he was to be under Blucher's 

(3) Meerveldt's corps, with the Austrian reserve and the 
Russian Guard, to assemble at Zwenkau and move on 
Leipzig, between the Elster and the Pleisse. 

(4) Wittgenstein, Kleist, and Klenau, to attack on the 
right bank of the Pleisse, and drive the enemy northwards 
on Leipzig. All attacks to begin at 7 A.M. 

These orders came to this : that Wittgenstein, Kleist, 
and Klenau, with 72,000 men, were to attack Napoleon, who 
was assumed to be concentrated south of Leipzig, in front. 
Meerveldt, with 52,000, to attack his right and rear about 
Connewitz, through the difficult tract between the Elster and 
the Pleisse. Gyulai and Bliicher to attack Leipzig in the 
western segment, between the upper and the lower Elster ; 
with 73,000 men. These were to stop the Lindenau outlet. 

The lesson of Dresden had been forgotten ; the army was 
to be split by the marshy valley of the Elster and Pleisse, 
as at Dresden it had been split by the Plauen gorge. 

Bliicher, Gyulai, and Meerveldt, with two-thirds of the 
army, were set an almost impossible task, against a point 
which Napoleon had satisfied himself could be defended by 
comparatively small forces. Meanwhile, he would be able to 
fall with greatly superior forces on the 72,000 on the south 
of Leipzig. 

Toll,^ Jomini, and others protested against this, and 
finally appealed to the Tsar. Even he could not convince 
Schwarzenberg, and, in the end, he was forced to tell the 
Commander-in-Chief that he could please himself about his 
Austrians, but that the Russians must come to the right 
bank of the Pleisse. 

Then Schwarzenberg at last gave way, and issued fresh 
orders : — 

(i) Bliicher to remain as he was, on the right bank of 
the lower Elster, attacking, not Lindenau, but the north 
side of Leipzig. 

(2) Gyulai to attack Lindenau. 

^ Danilewskiy.^^. 233-235. 


(3) Meerveldt's force was reduced to 28,000 Austrians only. 

(4) 24,000 of the Russian Guard and cuirassiers, with- 
drawn from Meerveldt, were ordered to Rotha, five miles 
behind Wittgenstein. 

Napoleon had hoped to be able to attack the army of 
Bohemia on the 15 th of October, but was prevented by the 
absence of Macdonald's and Souham's corps. 

On the morning of the i6th October he had available 
round Leipzig, or approaching it, these forces : — 







(i) South of Leipzig 

(2) At Lindenau 

(3) North of Leipzig, including 

Delmas' 4,800 men still 

marching from Diiben . 49,500 186 

Total . . 191,300 690 

The number was really not quite so great, as no deduction 
has been made for the losses in Murat's battle of the 1 4th. 
The only other troops to come up were Reynier's 14,000, 
who could not arrive from Diiben till the next day. Against 
these the allies had : — 

L South of Leipzig — 

Men. Guns. 

(l) On the line Fuchshain, 

Gross Posna, Gulden- 

gossa, Crobern 



(2) Reserve at Griihna 



(3) Marching on Rotha 




IL Between the Pleisse and Elster 
in. Opposite Lindenau 
IV. At Schkeuditz (Bliicher) 

Grand total 











Including Cossacks, etc., they had, in round figures, 
205,000 men and 916 guns, against Napoleon's 191,000 
men and 690 guns. They already had an immense 
superiority in guns, though many of them never came into 
action. Of cavalry they had on the i6th about 40,000, 
against 30,000 of Napoleon. Still, except in artillery, it 
cannot be said they had any marked superiority ; certainly 
not sufficient to compensate for the superiority of Napoleon 
as a commander. 

But when we come to look at what the two opponents 
could bring on to the field between the 1 6th and the 1 9th, 
it is different. Napoleon could only expect another 1 4,000 
men with Reynier, raising his total to 205,000, with about 
700 guns. 

The allies had to be joined by the 1 8th by : — 

( 1 ) Bernadotte 

(2) Beningsen 

(3) Colloredo 












Grand total, including those 

available on the i6th . 316,000 1,382 

Even to this number must be added 5000 Cossacks 
with Bernadotte's army. The whole of the allied cavalry 
(exclusive of 8500 Cossacks) would be roughly 60,000 
against 30,000. Briefly, in the whole of the battles round 
Leipzig the allies had a superiority of about 1 30,000 

The troops on either side on the southern battlefield were 
disposed thus at the commencement : — 

I. French 
(i) On the line Connewitz-Losnig-Dolitz-Markkleeberg, 


Lefol's small French division,^ the VIII. corps (Poniatowski) 
and the Polish cavalry.^ 

(2) Victor behind, and on both sides of Wachau. 

(3) Lauriston between Wachau and Liebertwolkwitz, with 
the Young Guard and Curial's division of Old Guard behind 

(4) Augereau (IX. corps) behind Zuckelhausen. 

(5) Macdonald and the 2nd cavalry corps marching on 

(6) In reserve about Probstheida, Friant's Old Guard 
division, and the mass of the cavalry (ist corps, Guard 
cavalry, and 5 th corps). 

II. Allies 
(i) Between the Pleisse and the Elster, about 15,000 men 
each at Gautzsch and between Zobigker and Prodel. 

(2) Kleist advancing on Markkleeberg. 

(3) Eugen of Wurtemberg on Wachau from the south. 

(4) Pahlen's cavalry linking Eugen to Gortchakow. 

(5) Gortchakow, moving on the south side of Liebert- 

(6) Klenau and Ziethen on the east side of the same 

(7) Reserve at Griihna. Russian grenadiers and cuiras- 

(8) Russian and Prussian Guards, marching on Rotha 
from between the rivers, under the second set of orders. 

Of the allied troops elsewhere than on the south we need 
only say, for the present, that Gyulai was at Markranstadt ; 
Bliicher about Schkeuditz, opposed to Marmont about Lin- 
denthal and Breitenfeld. 

Of the French, Bertrand was at Eutritzsch ; Prayer's and 
Ricard's divisions (III. corps) marching on Mockau ; and 
Delmas' of the same corps convoying the trains from Diiben. 
Dombrowski's division was at Plaussig ; Arrighi (Governor 
of Leipzig) with the small force at Linden au. 

^ Consisting of portions of his " regiments de marche " newly arrived, and not 
yet distributed to tkeir units. 
* Commanded by Sokolnicki in the absence of Kellermann—sick, 


The first act of the *' battle of the nations," that which 
was played on the i6th October, comprises three distinct 

(i) The attack on the south, generally known as the 
battle of Wachau, with its flank attack between the Pleisse 
and the Elster. 

(2) Gyulai's attack on Lindenau. 

(3) Bliicher's attack on the north. 
These we will describe in the order given. 

(i) Wachau 1 

1st period, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. — The chief command of the 
frontal attack in the south was vested in Barclay, with 
Wittgenstein in executive command under him. 

Wittgenstein decided to attack in five columns. 

(i) Klenau on the right, with about 33,000 men and 80 
guns, to assemble between Fuchshain and the Ober Holz, 
and to attack Liebertwolkwitz from the east. 

(2) Gortchakow, 9000 men and 20 guns, to march from 
between the Ober Holz and Stormthal, against the south 
side of Liebertwolkwitz. 

(3) Eugen of Wurtemberg, 11,000 men and 31 guns, to 
assemble at Guldengossa for an attack on the south-east of 

(4) Kleist, 8400 men and 26 guns, to start from south of 
Crobern, advancing through it on the space between Wachau 
and Markkleeberg. 

(5) Pahlen, with 5400 cavalry, was to move from Gulden- 
gossa on the heights between Wachau and Liebertwolkwitz, 

^ Danilewski (p. 237) gives Schwarzenberg's proclamation to his troops before 
the battle of the i6th October. It is a palpable, and by no means bad, imitation 
of Napoleon's proclamations of happier days. It runs thus : — 

" Brave soldiers ! The most important epoch of this holy war is at hand. 
The decisive hour is striking. Prepare yourselves for battle ! The bond which 
unites the mighty nations in one great enterprise will be drawn closer and tighter 
on the battlefield. Russians ! Prussians ! Austrians ! you fight for a cause ! 
You fight for the independence of Europe, for the freedom of your sons, for the 
immortality of your name ! All for one ! one for all ! With this sublime, manly 
cry, enter upon the sacred battle. Remain ever constant and victory is yours. " 


thus linking the attacks of Gortchakow and Eugen of 

In reserve, the Russian grenadiers and cuirassiers, 10,500 
men and 34 guns, on the high road south of Griihna. 

The 24,000 men and 243 guns, withdrawn by the second 
set of orders from Meerveldt, were at Audigast on the night 
of the 15 th. They were to march at i A.M. on Rotha. 

Wittgenstein's five columns were spread over a front of 
some six miles, unable to see one another. There was, 
therefore, little hope of simultaneous action. Napoleon's 
positions have already been described. 

The morning of Saturday, October 16, broke cold and 
rainy, with a thick mist shutting out the view. Attack at 
7 A.M. was out of the question, and the allies only began to 
move an hour later, as a west wind sprang up and cleared 
away the mist and smoke. 

Napoleon reached the battlefield shortly after 9 A.M. At 
the Galgenberg he was met by Murat, who had been 
observing from the chateau at Wachau. The Emperor 
made a long and careful study of the battlefield through his 
glass. He saw that the enemy had anticipated the attack 
he himself intended, and that his own corps were by no 
means all up. Accordingly he sent reinforcements to the 
points most threatened. 

The Tsar, arriving about the same hour on the height 
south of Guldengossa, saw the weakness of Wittgenstein's 
attack in widely separated columns, and that it must fail, 
unless supported. He immediately ordered up the Russian 
grenadiers and cuirassiers, from Griihna and Magdeborn, to 
Auenhain, directed the Russian and Prussian guards from 
beyond the Pleisse on Crobern and Guldengossa, and sent 
to request Schwarzenberg, who was with Meerveldt's force, 
to send the Austrian reserve over the Pleisse. 

Eugen of Wurtemberg, the first of the allies to advance, 
easily got possession of Wachau, but could not get beyond 
it, owing to heavy artillery fire. Napoleon had sent the 
artillery of the Young Guard to this part of the field. It 
was 9.30 when Eugen got into Wachau. For the next 


hour, a furious hand-to-hand fight raged in the village 
which, after changing hands several times, was finally re- 
captured by the French by 1 1 A.M. Eugen's men took 
shelter in a fold of the ground south of Wachau, on which 
they kept up a continuous fire. Eugen held on pluckily, 
for he felt that his defeat would mean ruin for the rest of 
the army. 

On Eugen's left, Kleist had got possession of Markklee- 
burg, and he managed to hold on there, though he could not 
get forward in face of the French artillery. He still held it 
at 1 1 A.M., though he had suffered heavily, especially in an 
attempt to support Eugen by an attack on the west side of 

Gortchakow's column, on Eugen's right, had advanced on 
Liebertwolkwitz without waiting for Klenau's attack from 
the east. Crushed by the French artillery, it fell back 
towards the Nieder Holz, thus making a gap between 
Gortchakow and Eugen, which the latter had to fill with 
Pirch's brigade from his second line. Pahlen's cavalry had 
equally been unable to face the French artillery. 

Klenau had not begun his advance from Gross Posna 
till 10 A.M. The Kolmberg was found unoccupied, and 
Klenau sent two battalions and 1 2 guns on to it, supported 
by Schafer's brigade in rear. At the same time, he sent 
5 battalions, 4 squadrons, and 1 4 guns against Liebertwolk- 
witz, which had been almost reduced to ruins on the 14th, 
except the church, in which the French now held out after 
they had lost the rest of the village. 

From the Kolmberg Klenau had marked the advance of 
heavy French columns between Baalsdorf and Holzhausen. 
He, therefore, appealed to Pahlen for help in cavalry, and 
received 14 squadrons. At 1 1 A.M. his left was fighting in 
Liebertwolkwitz, and he held the Kolmberg, the garrison of 
which was supported by Schafer's brigade, having Pahlen's 
14 squadrons on its left. Abele's and Ziethen's brigades 
were between Fuchshain and Gross Posna. 

Whilst all this was going on east of the Pleisse, Meerveldt 
had found insuperable obstacles to his attack on Napoleon's 


right. He could not bring up his artillery in the bad 
ground, all the bridges over the channels and the Pleisse 
were gone, except one which was barricaded, and flanked by 
artillery. By 1 1 a.m. all his attacks had failed, with the 
solitary exception of that on the " schloss " at Dolitz, on the 
hither side of the Pleisse. He was reduced to the defensive 
against the French counter-attacks. 

It was about this time that Wolzogen, carrying the 
Tsar's message to Schwarzenberg, found him and Radetzky 
at Gautzsch. Both were very depressed, saying Meerveldt 
had already lost 4000 men and had no hope of crossing the 
Pleisse. It was not till noon that Schwarzenberg could be 
persuaded to part with the Austrian reserve. At that hour 
Bianchi's and Weissenwolfs brigades, preceded by Nostitz's 
cavalry, started via Gaschwitz and Deuben. 

Napoleon, meanwhile, had reinforced his weakest points 
by sending Augereau to support Poniatowski on the line 
Dosen-Wachau. Letort's division of Guard cavalry also 
supported the Poles. Four divisions of Young Guard, and 
Curial's of Old Guard, were placed behind Liebertwolkwitz 
when Klenau attacked it, and Friant's was moved forward 
from Probstheida to the Meusdorf farm. Oudinot was sent 
to behind Wachau when that place first fell. 

The Emperor had no reason for dissatisfaction with this 
first defensive period of the battle. Macdonald was now 
deploying between Holzhausen and Liebertwolkwitz, with 
Sebastiani's cavalry on his left, marching on Seifertshain. 
The attack on Napoleon's right had failed, as he could now 
see, since the weather had quite cleared up. 

2nd period, from 1 1 a.m, till 2 p.m — Napoleon now pre- 
pared to pass from the defensive to the offensive. He 
expected presently to be strengthened by Marmont from 
the north, as well as by Souham (HI. corps). He had 
obstinately maintained, notwithstanding Marmont's reports 
to the contrary, that there was nothing of importance on the 
Halle road, and that the enemy was to be expected rather 
by that of Merseburg. He wished Marmont to come south 
across the Partha, to halfway between Leipzig and Liebert- 


wolkwitz, whence he would be in a position to support the 
Emperor, or, in the improbable event of a strong force 
approaching from Halle, to assist Bertrand in that direction.^ 
It suffices here to record the fact that Napoleon's hopes 
were disappointed, and that, of all these expected reinforce- 
ments, only two divisions of the III. corps arrived, and they 
too late for a decisive stroke. The reasons for this will 
appear later. 

In the meanwhile, Macdonald was ordered to storm the 
Kolmberg and push thence on Seifertshain, turning the 
right flank of the allies. When this movement was complete, 
the Emperor proposed to advance all along his line. Victor 
and Oudinot would advance on Auenhain, Lauriston on 
Guldengossa, Mortier with two divisions of Young Guard 
on the Nieder Holz, the attack being supported, and the 
enemy's centre shattered by the fire of a great battery, to be 
collected by Drouot between Victor's left and Lauriston's 

Having thus driven a great wedge into the centre of the 
allies, the Emperor hoped to drive their left into the Pleisse, 
their right eastwards off its communications with Dresden. 
It was to give the finishing touch to this great movement 
that he wanted Marmont and Souham. 

Macdonald himself went with Charpentier's division against 
the Kolmberg, whilst Gerard's division moved on Klein 
Posna, and Ledru's on Seifertshain. Marchand in reserve. 
There was a moment's hesitation before the artillery fire 
from the Kolmberg, then it was carried with a rush, four 
guns being taken in the Swedish redoubt. Klenau narrowly 
escaped capture, his horse being killed. Schafer's reserve 
brigade, led forward by Toll, broke and fled when only one 
battalion had come into action. It made for Fuchshain. 
The only redeeming point was a gallant charge by four 
squadrons of Ziethen's cavalry, which recaptured three guns 
taken by the French at the southern foot of the knoll. 
Sebastiani's cavalry came near to making an end of Schafer's 
fugitives, but their leader's heart failed him on the arrival of 

1 Corr. 20,814, dated i6th October, 7 a.m. 


Pahlen's 14 squadrons and a few of the dreaded Cossacks, 
whose shouts were more effective than their charge. 

During this fight Lauriston drove the Austrians in 
Liebertwolkwitz back on Gross Posna. Farther west, 
Klenau's repulse compelled Gortchakow to retire to the line 
Guldengossa - University Wood.^ Pahlen followed suit ; 
Kleist had been forced back, leaving only a detachment 
desperately holding out in Markkleeberg. Eugen of 
Wurtemberg alone, though two-thirds of his force had been 
killed or wounded, obstinately held his place. A confused 
cavalry fight on Kleist's left had eventually ended in the 
repulse of the allies. 

Then Kleist, receiving a fresh impulse from the advance 
of Rajewski's grenadiers, pushed forward again to the 
heights between Wachau and Markkleeberg, whence meeting 
Poniatowski and Augereau, he was again slowly forced back 
towards Crobern. His detachment still clung desperately to 
the southern part of Markkleeberg. 

Between the Pleisse and the Elster, Meerveldt made no 
progress during this period. 

Napoleon had remained on the Galgenberg, watching the 
progress of the battle. When Macdonald had stormed the 
Kolmberg, and Lauriston had retaken Liebertwolkwitz, he 
wrote to the King of Saxony that " all is going well, and we 
have occupied the heights and villages." He also ordered 
all the bells of Leipzig to be rung, to announce his victory. 

At 2 P.M. all the attacking columns of the allies had been 
driven back to their starting points. 

'^^rd period. After 2 p.m. — During Macdonald's turning 
movement. Napoleon had been preparing for the general 
attack. The ist cavalry corps and the Guard cavalry were 
massed at Meusdorf Victor formed columns of attack, 
with Gudinot's two divisions of Young Guard on his left ; 
Lauriston did likewise, with Mortier's two divisions behind 
him. Friant's division of Old Guard moved up towards 

When Napoleon gave the signal for the general advance, 

1 The Ober and Nieder Holz. 


he still anxiously expected the arrival of Marmont, though 
he knew Bertrand had already been sent to Lindenau. 

Victor and Oudinot advanced on Auenhain farm, Lauriston 
on Guldengossa, Mortier on the University Wood, Macdonald 
on Seifertshain. 

Kleist was in desperate straits as he fell back before 
Poniatowski and Augereau on Crobern. At this juncture 
Nostitz's cavalry arrived from beyond the Pleisse, just as 
Letort's French Guard cavalry and Berkheim, with ten more 
squadrons, reached the plain north of Crobern. Nostitz sent 
two regiments against Letort and two against Berkheim. In 
each case the French were driven back, but the Austrians, 
suffering severely from the fire from infantry squares, and 
meeting more cavalry, were driven back to Crobern. In 
support of the general advance, which had commenced just 
after 2 P.M., Drouot had collected a battery of 84 guns on 
the plateau in front of the Galgenberg. 

Behind the guns was the ist cavalry corps, now com- 
manded by Doumerc, since Latour-Maubourg had lost a leg 
by a round shot. It was about 2.30 P.M., whilst the cavalry 
fight on the right was still in progress, when Doumerc sent 
forward Bordesoulle with his cuirassier division of 18 
squadrons, 21500 men at most.^ Sending 4 squadrons of 
Saxons against the battery on his right, Bordesoulle charged 
straight ahead with the rest, starting from a point on the 
right of Drouot's great battery. One of the battalions of 
Eugen of Wurtemberg, still holding on in their old position, 
was carried away, and, though another had time to form 
square, Bordesoulle gained possession of 26 guns. Hewing 
down the enemy right and left as they passed, the cuirassiers 
arrived at some ponds in front of the Wachtberg, on which 
were Alexander and the King of Prussia. The position of 

^ Pelet represents this cavalry charge as made by ill squadrons, I2,cx)0 men. 
His story is disposed of by a letter from Bordesoulle to the Spectateur militaire, 
dated 23rd March 1827. His narrative, which bears the stamp of truth, shows 
that only his own division charged. It is confirmed, not only by the omission of 
mention of this charge in the regimental histories of the regiments of the other 
divisions, but also by the fact that he was beaten off in the end by 13 allied 
squadrons, a fate which could hardly have fallen on 1 1 1 squadrons. 


the sovereigns was analogous to that of Napoleon at Eylau 
after Augereau's repulse. But the French charge was nearly 
spent. As they struggled to get forward between the ponds, 
they were charged by the Cossack escort, and, on their left 
flank, by 1 3 squadrons of Russian cuirassiers. The French 
horses being blown, and their riders exhausted, the whole 
division was driven back in confusion behind Drouot, whose 
grape fire finally brought the pursuit to an end. It was 
3.30 P.M. when the last of Bordesoulle's horsemen dis- 
appeared behind the guns, and the artillery fire, which had 
been partially suspended during their charge, broke out with 
renewed violence. During this cavalry action Napoleon's 
infantry had pressed steadily on. Victor and Augereau on 
the right drove Kleist back on Crobern, from which Bianchi, 
at the head of the Austrian reserves, began to debouch at 
4 P.M. 

Eugen of Wurtemberg had been forced back to the line 
Auenhain-Guldengossa, with Rajewski's grenadiers behind 

The Prussian Guards were now marching on Guldengossa, 
where there was a battery of 94 Russian guns. 

Klein Posna had been occupied by Gerard and Sebastiani ; 
Macdonald was advancing with Ledru's division to the 
attack (4 P.M.) of Seifertshain, and Charpentier's against the 
University Wood. At 5 P.M. Seifertshain had been stormed 
and retaken several times. As darkness fell, Gerard retired 
on Fuchshain, Ledru towards Marchand on the Kolmberg. 
Charpentier, after driving the Austrians from the Nieder 
Holz, and failing to take Gross Posna from Ziethen, still 
held the Nieder Holz when darkness stopped the fighting. 

Mortier, meanwhile, after assisting Charpentier's attack 
on the Nieder Holz, failed to make his way into the Obcr 

Maison, leading Lauriston's advance on Guldengossa, got 
into the village, but was driven out by reinforcements and 
compelled to retire in such disorder to the heights that 
nothing more could be done. He was himself badly 


Victor, at 4 P.M., had got possession of Auenhain, except 
the Manor House, which the Russians held. Presently 
Augereau, on Victor's right, was forced back from before 
Crobern by Bianchi, with Kleist on his right, a movement 
which compelled Victor to retire from Auenhain. 

Weissenwolf had now come up, and enabled Bianchi to 
get forward again to Markkleeberg and towards Dolitz. 

The French right was now in a critical position, as 
Meerveldt, relieved by Bianchi's advance, had at last got 
across the Pleisse. At 5.30 he even got into Dolitz. But 
Napoleon had now sent Curial's Old Guard division, and 
Ricard's of Souham's corps, which was at last up, to strengthen 
his right. This resulted in the stoppage of Bianchi's ad- 
vance, and the driving of Meerveldt's troops back over the 
Pleisse. Meerveldt himself, being shortsighted, rode into 
the midst of some Saxons and Poles, whom he mistook for 
Hungarians, and was taken prisoner. 

At nightfall Bianchi was still between Dolitz and Mark- 
kleeberg, the former, including its " schloss," having been 
recaptured by the French. As a whole, the battle had been 
a drawn one : the gains of the allies on their left towards 
Markkleeberg were counteracted by the advance of the 
French on the other wing to Klein Posna, to in front of 
Gross Posna, and into the Nieder Holz. 

Artillery fire continued into the night after darkness had 
stopped other fighting. 

The ensuing night was spent by the allied sovereigns in 
Rotha, Borna, and Griina. Napoleon was in the centre of 
Friant's division of the Old Guard. 


Gyulai's attack on Lindenau can be described more 
briefly than the battle about Wachau. His task was to form 
a connecting link between the Austrians on the left bank of 
the upper Pleisse and Bliicher on the right bank of the 
Elster below Leipzig ; also, by his attack on Lindenau, to 
lighten the task of the allies on his right and left. Any 
real success against Lindenau, which Napoleon had fortified, 



or any turning of the defile behind it, was not to be looked 
for. Therefore, Gyulai resolved merely to demonstrate, in 
order to withdraw as many as possible of the allies' opponents 
north and south of Leipzig. At 8 A.M. his look-out, on the 
church tower of Markranstadt, reported heavy fighting south 
of Leipzig, and Gyulai began his advance. 

It was 10.30 when the Austrians, approaching Lindenau, 
saw the French drawn up in two lines across the Liitzen 
road in front of the line Lindenau-Plagwitz, their artillery 
in three redoubts, and their cavalry (6 squadrons) advancing 
from their left wing. 

Whilst Gyulai's artillery was bombarding the French 
position, and especially Lindenau, from both sides of the 
road, his 10 squadrons drove the French cavalry back 
behind their guns. At the same time, Austrian infantry 
moved on Klein Zschocher, seeking to drive the French on 
Lindenau. The only reserves were 3 battalions on the 
Markranstadt road, and two at Schonau. Cavalry escorted 
the guns. 

Klein Zschocher was taken after a desperate struggle 
with the French garrison, which retired on Plagwitz. All 
attacks on the latter place failed, as it was strongly held, 
and was flanked by artillery beyond the Elster. 

On the Austrian left, Leutzsch was taken by the Hessen- 
Homburg division. Beyond it the Austrians found them- 
selves in a network of ditches and branches of the Luppe,^ 
flanked by the fire of batteries beyond the stream. With 
great courage and patience they succeeded at last in 
approaching Lindenau, only to find the near side closed by 
walls and other defences. On the Leipzig side it was open, 
but was defended by artillery on the causeway leading to 
the city. Nevertheless, the Austrians succeeded in getting 
into Lindenau, which they had almost immediately to leave 
under the storm of artillery fire. In a second attack they 
captured two guns, which, however, they had to abandon, 
after spiking them, as they were once more forced from the 

^ The southern branch of the lower Elster. 


At 10 A.M. Ney had directed Bertrand (instead of 
Marmont, whom it was impossible to send owing to the 
development of affairs on his front) to proceed to the south 
of Leipzig. The commander of the IV. corps was on his 
way when he received an urgent appeal for help from 
Arrighi at Lindenau, who saw himself threatened by the 
advance of Gyulai's vastly superior force. Bertrand, accord- 
ingly, turned towards Lindenau with the whole of his corps. 
The position was really so strong that a brigade would have 
enabled Arrighi to hold it easily, and he would probably have 
done without any help. But it was the sole line of retreat of 
the French army to the Rhine, and must be held at all costs. 
Bertrand had joined Arrighi with Morand's and Fontanelli's 
divisions when the Austrians were finally ejected from 
Lindenau. The Hessen-Homburg division now retired to 
the heights west of Leutzsch, but, by placing skirmishers in 
the meadows along the Luppe, kept the French in appre- 
hension of a fresh attack. 

After the bells of Leipzig had announced the Emperor's 
apparent victory in the south, Bertrand began to advance 
towards Klein Zschocher, covered by a furious artillery 
fire from beyond the river. Twice he attacked the 
village, but each time was repulsed by Czollich's brigade, 
reinforced by a battalion and some Cossacks. After this, 
the action was confined to artillery fire till evening, when 
Gyulai, withdrawing his main body to Markranstadt, still 
kept advanced posts in Klein Zschocher, Schonau, and 


Perhaps the most important of the three battles fought on 
the 1 6th October was that on the north of Leipzig, between 
Marmont and Bliicher. 

It will be remembered that Marmont had been ordered 
to seek out a position north of Leipzig, covering it in the 
directions of Halle and Landsberg. He selected one at 
Lindenthal and Breitenfeld, the yery ground on which 


Gustavus Adolphus had defeated Tilly on September 7th,. 

The Emperor approved the position, but said some field 
fortifications were required. Marmont had reported the 
position good, though too extensive for defence by his corps 
alone. He required 24,000 to 30,000 men in order to 
be able to hold it for twenty-fours against Bliicher. Napo- 
leon promised that he should be supported by the IIL 
corps if attacked by Bliicher. That quite satisfied Mar- 
mont, who set to work at his fortifications, setting up many 
abattis in the wood which still stands between Lindenthal 
and Radefeld, and which he made almost into a fortress. 
He also threw up some redoubts. His advanced guard 
held Radefeld. On the 15 th, Marmont felt more than 
ever secure, as the HI. and IV. corps stopped behind him 
at Eutritzsch. That evening some French sappers, who had 
been captured two days before, escaped from Halle, and 
reported to Marmont that Bliicher was about to march 
from Halle on Leipzig, a report which was passed on to the 
Emperor at Reudnitz. At 10 P.M. Marmont, mounted on 
the church tower at Lindenthal, saw the whole sky towards 
Halle illuminated by the enemy's camp fires, and again 
reported to Napoleon, saying he required the aid of the 
in. corps. That night he received a letter from Berthier 
saying, "In case the enemy appears before you in great 
force, your corps, that of General Bertrand, and that of the 
Prince of the Moskowa are destined to be opposed to him.'^ 
All seemed to be well, when a thunderbolt fell on Marmont 
in the shape of the Emperor's letter of the 1 6th at 7 A.M.,^ 
ordering him to the south of Leipzig, his own place being 
taken by Bertrand, and asserting the Emperor's belief, in 
the face of all Marmont's reports, that there was no enemy 
of importance towards Halle. " Thence (from between 

^ Napoleon had already drawn comparisons between his battle of Liitzen and 
that in which Gustavus Adolphus lost his life in the moment of victory. As a 
matter of fact, the scene of Gustavus Adolphus' battle is on the opposite side of 
Liitzen to that of the battle of 1813. Napoleon now sent Marmont an account 
of the battle of Breitenfeld to assist him {Corr. 20,805). 

2 Corr. 20,814. 


Leipzig and Liebertwolkwitz)," writes Napoleon, " you can 
march on Lindenau if the enemy attacks seriously on that 
side, which seems to me absurd to suppose." 

There was nothing for it but for Marmont to obey, since 
the Emperor had fallen deliberately into his error as to 
Bliicher's movement, with all the information before him. 
His doing so is a remarkable instance of Napoleon's growing 
habit of making the wish father to the thought. 

Scarcely had Marmont begun his movement towards 
Leipzig, when the enemy appeared and occupied Radefeld 
with a strong advanced guard. 

Bliicher, at Schkeuditz, having succeeded in getting 
Schwarzenberg's first orders changed, prepared for his 
march on Leipzig. Believing that the enemy would fight 
either at Lindenthal and Breitenfeld, or on the line Podel- 
witz-Hohenossig,^ he thought he had two alternatives open, 
either to march direct on Leipzig, leaving the enemy on his 
left, or else to attack him. Of assistance from Bernadotte 
he had no hope ; for the British Commissioner, Colonel 
Stewart, had brought a message from the Crown Prince, 
saying he could only reach Landsberg on the i6th, but on 
the 17th he could support Bliicher with 8000 or 10,000 
cavalry and light artillery. 

Bliicher decided on attacking Marmont, and issued orders 
accordingly. Langeron, on the left, followed by Sacken as 
reserve, was to attack Freiroda and then Radefeld.^ Yorck 
turning leftwards from the Leipzig road at Lutzschena, and 
leaving his advanced guard on the road, would move on 
Lindenthal. St Priest, on arrival, to follow Langeron and 

Bliicher's intention was to gain the heights of Radefeld, 
and there decide, according to what he saw of the enemy's 
position, what was to be done next. Stewart was sent back 
to Bernadotte to urge him on. 

It was 10 A.M. before Bliicher's troops left their bivouacs 

^ That is on the Dliben-Leipzig road facing west. 

2 Radefeld is on the Landsberg- Leipzig road, just beyond the limit of Map IV. 
(d), and Freiroda about half a mile from Radefeld towards Schkeuditz. 


Langeron reached Radefeld without opposition, and drove 
Coehorn's rearguard from it. Bliicher, who was with 
Langeron, was surprised to see the French retiring on 
Lindenthal, but, still fearing an attack from Hohenossig, he 
left Langeron to watch it from Breitenfeld. 

Yorck, meanwhile, had driven Normann's cavalry and 
1 6 guns from Lindenthal, whilst his advanced guard had 
moved forward by the main road on Mockern, compelling 
the French to evacuate Stahmeln and Wahren. 

It was 2 P.M. when Bliicher discovered the error of his 
assumption that the French would defend the Hohenossig- 
Podelwitz plateau. Yorck, also realising this, wheeled to 
his right on Horn's brigade at Lindenthal. But he still 
had to keep in touch with Langeron on his left, and this 
resulted in the formation of a gap between Horn's brigade 
and Hunerbein's on its left, with a still larger gap between 
Horn and the advanced guard on the main road. 

Bliicher now ordered Langeron to clear Wiederitzsch. 
Being still afraid of an attack on his left by some of 
Napoleon's corps marching from Diiben, he kept Sacken's 
and part of Langeron's troops in that direction. 

Marmont, meanwhile, had seen without surprise that it 
was impossible for him to comply with Napoleon's order to 
go to the south of Leipzig. He took up a position with his 
left in the long village of Mockern on the right bank of the 
Elster, his right resting on the marshy Rietzschke brook 
towards Eutritzsch. The barracks of the present day stand 
much where his centre was. Beyond the brook. Gross and 
Klein Wiederitzsch were occupied by Dombrowski's Poles 
and Fournier's cavalry, all that Ney had been able to leave 
for Marmont's support, though, when he took post, the 
latter understood that Souham's two divisions (Ricard's 
and Brayer's) were still available. 

The VI. corps was perhaps the best in the army, for it 
consisted largely of old soldiers. The artillery (84 guns), 
posted on the highest point of the front, flanked by 1 2 guns 
the approach to Mockern which, Marmont argued, must be 
the side to be attacked, since the French right was thrown 


back, and an attack on it would be endangered by 
Dombrowski's advanced position beyond the brook. 

Yorck, too, saw matters in the same light, not daring to 
advance with his left in front, so long as Wiederitzsch was 
held against him. At 2 P.M. his advanced guard went 
forward against Mockern, supported on its left by Prince 
Charles of Mecklenburg's brigade. 

The two first attacks on Mockern were repulsed. Then 
ensued one of the most desperate struggles of the war for 
the possession of this village. It was partially taken and 
retaken again and again. Reinforcements were sent in by 
both sides. 

Almost simultaneously with the first attack on Mockern, 
Langeron sent his advanced guard and Kapzewitch's division 
against the Poles in Wiederitzsch. Here, too, the fighting 
between the Poles and their hereditary enemies was of the 
most desperate character. It was about 3 P.M. when Dom- 
browski had been driven back on Eutritzch. Then 
Fournier's cavalry, with half of De France's division of 
cavalry, charged, and Kapzewitch was ejected from Wiede- 
ritzsch by the rallied Poles. Again he took it, and had 
driven the Poles in disorder on Eutritzsch, when there 
appeared Delmas' division escorting the parks and baggage 
by the road from Eilenburg. Though he had only 4700 
men, Kapzewitch took him for a whole corps, on account of 
the trains accompanying him, and retired to the birch wood 
north-east of Wiederitzsch, whilst Olsuview deployed 
against Delmas. A detachment, sent by the latter to cover 
his right, took the wood, but was driven out again with 
the loss of a standard. Then Delmas, finding his line split 
in two, retired over the Partha, losing many wagons to the 
pursuing cavalry. 

Yorck, meanwhile, after the failure of his first attacks on 
Mockern, had made up his mind to attack the centre of the 
French position, as well as the village, where the fight still 
swayed backwards and forwards with varying success. 

Mecklenburg's attack with the bayonet on the French 
batteries was driven off with great slaughter; the French 


were already preparing to complete their victory when the 
explosion of several ammunition wagons spread confusion 
in their ranks. The gunners, with their own shells bursting 
amongst them, abandoned their pieces, which the Prussians 
rushed forward to take. But Compans' infantry fell on 
their left, and they were driven back in disorder till the 
enemy was again checked by grape from the Prussian 
artillery. Hunerbein's and Horn's brigades were now 
west of the Lindenthal-Leipzig road, but Steinmetz's brigade 
was the only one still intact and in action. 

It was 5 P.M. when Steinmetz went forward with his right 
on Mockern, into which the right hand regiment of each 
line turned as it got to the cross road through its centre. 
The Prussian artillery had now been brought up to within 
70c yards of the French. Steinmetz's first line was within 
100 yards of the enemy when, overwhelmed by artillery 
and musketry, it hesitated, turned, and fled. Marmont 
ordered Normann to charge with his cavalry and complete 
the victory. He refused, probably treacherously,^ as 
Marmont alleges. He did charge at a later stage, but the 
golden opportunity, on this occasion, was lost. Had he 
charged home then, Steinmetz's first line would probably 
have broken his second, which, as it was, held firm. 

In Mockern things had gone better for the Prussians who 
had at last driven the defenders out, though they had the 
greatest difficulty in maintaining themselves in the village. 

The crisis of the battle had arrived. Marmont was lead- 
ing forward his infantry to complete the ruin of Steinmetz, 
when Yorck sent sent forward the only reserve within reach. 
Breaking through the intervals of the infantry, the whole 
of his cavalry charged furiously on the advancing French 
in antry. Two battalions were ridden over, Normann's 
and Lorge's cavalry were swept away, and the Prussian first 
echelon was in the midst of Marmonfs guns. The fight 
which ensued is indescribable ; all arms were inextricably 
mixed up ; cavalry, infantry, gunners fought in desperate 
personal encounter with swords, bayonets, clubbed muskets, 

* We say this having regard to his subsequent conduct on the i8th. 


gun rammers, anything that came to hand. Then the 
French yielded, falHng back in the greatest disorder, leaving 
behind 35 guns, 8 ammunition wagons, 2 standards, and 
400 prisoners. 

Marmont's left, now that Mockern was lost, could hold no 
longer. All he could do was to cover his retreat with his 
still unbroken right. This, too, attacked now by Horn's 
and Hunerbein's brigades, was soon forced to retreat, though 
still maintaining good order. 

When Marmont was across the brook he left 300 
Wurtembergers to guard the crossing at Gohlis, whilst he 
reorganised his broken left behind it. His right fell back 
on Eutritzsch. 

That night the Prussians bivouacked with their right 
south of Mockern, left in front of Eutritzsch. 

Bliicher, always obsessed by the fear of an attack from 
the direction of Diiben, had remained with Langeron beyond 
Lindenthal. It was only at 5 P.M. that he could make up 
his mind to call Sacken up. It was then too late for him 
to cover the four miles to the battlefield before all was over. 
St Priest had been sent forward earlier, but only one of his 
brigades fought at Wiederitzsch. To Yorck alone belonged 
the glory of the victory ; on his corps fell the heaviest loss 
Going into action 21,779 strong, it lost 7969 men, more 
than one- third. His infantry lost 7120 out of 16,120 
Langeron lost about 1500 men. 

Marmont puts his losses at 6000 or 7000, but they were 
probably greater. Two of his divisional generals, Compans 
and Friederichs, were wounded, as well as himself. 

Yorck captured 2000 prisoners, one eagle, two standards,, 
and 40 guns ; Langeron, one standard, 1 3 guns, and some 
hundreds of prisoners. Many ammunition wagons, Mar- 
mont's as well as Delmas', fell into the enemy's hands. 

The battle ended dramatically ; for, as the fighting 
ceased, the victorious Prussians joined in a vast chorus of 
the hymn of thanksgiving, " Nun danket alle Gott." 

Here we pause to take a general survey of the results of 


the battles of the 1 6th October, and to call attention to the 
faults and merits of the combatants. 

That Wachau was not a great defeat for the allied right 
was probably due to the Tsar and his advisers, especially 
Jomini and Toll. But for his pressure on Schwarzenberg, 
52,000 men would have been left between the Pleisse and 
the Elster, to attempt a task which was perhaps more 
difficult for them than for the 28,000 who eventually 
undertook it, and failed. Napoleon knew the strength of 
his right wing, due to the difficulties of moving troops, and 
especially guns, through the intricate space between the 
rivers. Again, Bliicher would have been brought, against 
his will, across the lower Elster, only in all probability to 
fail, as Gyulai failed, against the defenders of Lindenau, 
reinforced by Bertrand, and, if necessary, by Marmont. 
Napoleon would have had nothing to care for on the Halle 
road, and very little to fear either at Lindenau or on the 
side of Connewitz. He would have had his hands free to 
throw at least 100,000 men on the 72,000 whom the allies 
would have had between Gross Posna and the Pleisse. 
There he would probably have gained a decisive victory, and 
would have been free next day to turn with a large portion 
of his army on the forces cooped up between the rivers, and 
on Bliicher in the western segment. 

To the Tsar, again, was due the hurrying forward of the 
reserves to support Wittgenstein's disjointed attack in 
widely separated columns, and the withdrawal of yet more 
troops from Meerveldt, in the Austrian reserves which 
Schwarzenberg so reluctantly parted with. Without these 
reinforcements the results of the day would still probably 
have been defeat on the right bank of the Pleisse, failure 
everywhere, except at Mockern. 

Napoleon was not ready when he was attacked, and had 
to resort to expedients, such as using his Guard to reinforce 
weak places at the very beginning of the battle, which he 
was not accustomed to. The fact that Macdonald was not 
up, and that Reynier could not arrive on the i6th at all, 
were the result of the late date at which the latter was kept 


on the right bank of the Elbe, in pursuit of what Napoleon 
believed to be the army of the north, and only discovered 
too late to be nothing but Tauenzien and Thiimen. 

The Emperor's position south of Leipzig was an ex- 
tremely strong one on the right, and to a less extent in the 
centre, but his left was in the air. The allies might well 
have occupied the Kolmberg overnight, in which case 
Klenau's attack on Liebertwolkwitz would have come off at 
least an hour earlier, and, with Macdonald not yet up, the 
French position there would have been critical. As it was, 
Gortchakow and Klenau did not support one another. 

Napoleon, on the other hand, was tactically surprised 
before he was ready, and had to act on the defensive till 
after 11 A.M. Macdonald's late arrival has not yet been 
explained. Owing to it. Napoleon's scheme for turning the 
right of the allies was a failure, indeed it could hardly 
succeed in any case without reinforcements from the north, 
especially as the Emperor had to strengthen his right 
more than he anticipated, owing to the strenuous attack 
of Kleist on Markkleeberg, and of Eugen of Wurtemburg on 

It would seem that Napoleon would have done better to 
advance with his reinforced right at 1 1 A.M. instead of at 
2 P.M. He would then probably have defeated Kleist and 
Eugen before Schwarzenberg had started off Bianchi, 
Weissenwolf and Nostitz, and before even the Russian and 
Prussian Guards were up. He could have sent Victor^ 
Lauriston, and the whole of the Young Guard at 1 1 A.M. 
on Guldengossa and Auenhain against Kleist, Eugen, and 
Gortchakow, whilst Macdonald kept Klenau and Pahlen in 
play. These three columns of the allies would have been 
driven back, and would probably have involved the reserve 
in their ruin. 

It would have been well, too, when the Emperor did 
advance at 2 P.M., if he had used the whole of the 1 1 1 
squadrons, of whom Pelet and Thiers speak. Looking to 
what Bordesoulle actually effected with only 18, it seems 
possible that the larger force might have gained a very real 


success. Gyulai's attack at Lindenau was too late to effect 
anything. The French force, at first, was so weak (4 
battalions and 6 squadrons) that he might, in the early 
morning, have captured Lindenau and blocked up Napoleon's 
only line of retreat. When he did attack, Bertrand was up 
with about 7000 more men, and success was hopeless. Gyulai 
did very little good ; for all he managed was, with his 
19,000 men, to prevent 8000 or 9000 French from joining 

The Emperor wrongly reckoned on Marmont's being able 
to come south. For this his own obstinacy, in refusing to 
believe what Marmont had seen and reported to him, was 
largely to blame. It was quite impossible for Marmont, 
with his own corps only, to defend the Breitenfeld line 
against Bliicher's army, and he rightly decided for that of 
Mockern-Eutritzsch. Even here, he had little hope, if 
Bliicher brought his whole force into action. But the 
Prussian general employed only a small portion, owing to 
his apprehensions as to his left flank. Though they were 
as a matter of fact unfounded, Bliicher was not unreason- 
able in entertaining them. He had every reason to suppose 
that a considerable part of Napoleon's army was still on the 
march from the north. He knew that, on the night of the 
15 th, there were still considerable French forces at Diiben, 
and some of these might well intervene as they marched 
south. Indeed, there was serious danger from Reynier's 
corps, had that general marched direct from Diiben, instead 
of going, as he decided at the last moment, up the right 
bank of the Mulde, and across at Eilenburg. 

Yorck's corps, as matters stood, very narrowly escaped 
defeat, and was only saved by its commander's prompt and 
decided employment of all his cavalry at the crisis of the 

The result of Marmont's defeat was to shut Napoleon 
completely in on the north of Leipzig ; for Marmont's lost 
position could easily be held against Leipzig by a com- 
paratively small force. 

The general result of the fighting on the i6th was a 


serious defeat of the French at Mockern ; a successful 
defence at Lindenau, and a drawn battle at Wachau. In 
Napoleon's then position, nothing short of a decisive victory 
at Wachau was of any use to him. Without that, he must 
be reduced to the defensive against the still increasing forces 
of the allies. There can be no possible doubt that the 
evening of the i6th should have found him hard at work 
arranging and commencing the retreat on the Rhine, which 
he was compelled to carry out on the 19th. He could still 
escape by Lindenau, for Gyulai could easily have been 
brushed aside from Markranstadt, as was done later. Had 
he been in full retreat on the 17th, Napoleon would prob- 
ably have reached the Rhine with at least 50,000 men 
more than he actually did, and the army would have been 
in a far less disorganised condition. Who can guess what 
would then have happened in 1 8 1 4 ? 



WHAT the night of the 1 6- 17th October was 
like on the southern battlefield is best de- 
scribed in the words, quoted by Friederich, of 
a Hessian diarist of Marchand's division 
which bivouacked on the Kolmberg. " It was the worst 
bivouac that the division had in this campaign. The 
weather was raw and damp, there was neither food, nor 
water, nor wood. Broken wheels, musket stocks, and 
saddles served for firing ; the rain water, standing in 
puddles, into which men and horses had bled, had to be 
used for cooking. Numerous patrols were sent out, many 
piquets posted, so that half the men had to be under arms 
by turns." 

Napoleon's tents were pitched " in the bed of a dried-up 
pond near the old tile factory, a short distance from the road 
leading to Rochlitz." ^ The Old Guard surrounded them. 
Before they were pitched, Meerveldt was brought in as a 
prisoner. Napoleon, who knew him before, spoke affably 
with him for some time, and again sent for him later in the 
evening. Meerveldt has left a full account of the conversa- 
tion. The most important point in it, from Napoleon's 
point of view, was the definite announcement that Wrede 
had joined the Austrians opposed to him on the Inn, and 
was about to march against the French communications at 
Frankfort and Mayence. That really convinced Napoleon 
that retreat was inevitable, though he still wanted to put it 
off. He then sent Meerveldt back to the Emperor of 
Austria, in the vain hope of opening negotiations which 

^ Odeleben, ii. 23. 


might, at least, give him more time. Needless to say, 
nothing came of Meerveldt's mission. 

During the night, news of events at Lindenau and 
Mockern came in. Bad though the news was in general, 
the Emperor could not make up his mind for immediate 
retreat. Even allowing for the losses of the day, whilst 
adding in the 14,000 men of Reynier to be expected on 
the 17th, the Emperor could still have made good his 
retreat with at least 150,000 men. But the Emperor 
Napoleon was now, to a great extent, the master of General 
Bonaparte, and the Emperor could not bear to yield what 
practically meant his dominion in Germany, though the 
General doubtless saw that to do so was the only hope. 
At any rate, he would hold the battlefield for another day, 
which might impress on France the fact that he had not yet 
been beaten. 

Early on the 17th Murat came over from Wachau, where 
he had spent the night, with consoling accounts of the 
enormous losses suffered by the enemy. Yet Napoleon 
must have known that his own losses had been equally 
great, and, what was worse, that ammunition would scarcely 
last for a repetition of yesterday's battle. He had really 
decided for retreat, though he meant to stay till the i8th. 
He had open to him three roads : — 

(i) By Merseburg, Freiburg, and Buttelstadt, to Erfurt. 

(2) By Weissenfels, Kosen, and Weimar, to Erfurt. 

(3) By Zeitz, Jena, and Schweinfurt. 

The orders, issued at 7 P.M., directed Bertrand to secure 
the passages of the Saale and the Unstrut at Merseburg, 
Freiburg, Weissenfels, and Kosen. Mortier would replace 
Bertrand at Lindenau. 

But why, if Napoleon meant to retreat by the west side 
of Leipzig with a great army, did he leave himself with a 
single difficult issue over the long causeway to Lindenau ? 
Why were not numerous bridges built over the Pleisse and 
the Elster above the causeway ? It is certain none were 
constructed, and, so far, no orders for them have ever been 


discovered. If none were given, was it because the Emperor 
feared the moral effect of advertising his intention to his 
own men, or the value of such information to the enemy ? 

Before he actually retreated through Leipzig, he decided 
to take up a fresh position on a smaller circumference round 
the city. At 2 A.M., on the 1 8th, in pouring rain, the troops 
left their bivouacs for their new positions on the line 
Connewitz - Dolitz - Probstheida- Zuckelhausen-Holzhausen- 
Zweinaundorf - Paunsdorf Thence the line extended, 
through Schonefeld, along the left bank of the Partha to 
Pfaffendorf, whence it went to Gohlis. In detail the positions 
were these : — 

I. Right Wing, under Murat 

Lefol on the Pleisse ; Poniatowski on the line Connewitz- 
Losnig ; Augereau in support of these two ; 4th cavalry 
corps behind Poniatowski. 

Victor on the right of Probstheida, with the 5 th cavalry 
corps behind him. 

Guard, with ist cavalry corps behind, between Stotteritz 
and Probstheida. 

n. Centre — Macdonald 

Macdonald at Zuckelhausen, Holzhausen, and behind. 
Lauriston in reserve behind Macdonald, with part of his 
corps in Zweinaundorf and Molkau. 

Also Walther's Guard cavalry, with Nansouty left of him. 

III. Left Wing — Ney 

Reynier — Saxon division in Paunsdorf with an advanced 
post at Heiterer Blick farm ; Durutte's division left of 

Marmont — From Durutte's left to Schonefeld. 

De France's cavalry division (less Quenette's brigade with 
Bertrand) behind Paunsdorf 

Fournier's cavalry behind Schonefeld. 

Souham in reserve between Schonefeld and Volkmarsdorf. 


IV. In Leipzig, Halle Suburb, and along the 
Pleisse to Gohlis 

Dombrowski (infantry and cavalry) and Lorge's cavalry. 

V. At Lindenau 
Mortier, with two divisions of Young Guard. 

After the departure of Bertrand, and allowing for losses 
on the one hand and for Reynier's arrival on the other, 
Napoleon still had about 160,000 men in and around 
Leipzig. Against these, when Bernadotte, Colloredo, and 
Bennigsen were in the field, the allies could bring about 

After the battle on the i6th, Schwarzenberg's orders of 
that evening required his troops to hold on where they were. 

Colloredo was expected at Magdeborn at 6 A.M., as 
reserve to the right wing ; Bianchi and Weissenwolf at 
Crobern would occupy the same position towards the left. 
Gyulai would form the link with Bliicher by the west of 
Leipzig. Bennigsen to come up by Grimma and Naunhof 
from Colditz. A French attack in the morning of the 1 7th 
was expected, and during the night Colloredo was directed 
to halt behind Magdeborn, near the Leipzig road. 

Nothing happened up to 10 A.M. on the 17th, when the 
sound of guns north of Leipzig gave rise to the belief that 
Napoleon was attacking Bliicher. Accordingly, an attack 
from the south, in three columns, was ordered, the right 
on Liebertwolkwitz and Holzhausen, centre also on Liebert- 
wolkwitz, left along the right bank of the Pleisse. Gyulai, 
and Meerveldt's corps, now commanded by Lederer, were 
also to attack, all at 2 P.M. 

At that hour a council of war was held on the heights 
of Guldengossa. Firing in the north had then ceased. 
Colloredo had arrived at 10 A.M., but his men were dead 
beat. Bennigsen was present in person, but his army was 
still behind. The attack was put off till next day. Gyulai 
had at first been ordered over to Crobern, but, just as he 
started, he was ordered to wait till he was relieved by St 


Priest, who, as we know, had long been with Blucher. 
Then he began to demonstrate towards Lindenau, not being 
able to tell, in the wind and rain, whether the main army 
was engaged or not. Darkness finally stopped all but a 
little skirmishing. 

During the night of the 1 6th - 1 7th Blucher brought 
Sacken on the right, and St Priest on the left, into ist 
line. Marmont had now retired across the Partha, leaving 
Delmas' division, and part of the 3rd cavalry corps between 
the Partha and the brook. He held Gohlis and Eutritzsch ; 
Dombrowski was at the Gerber gate of Leipzig. 

Yorck's four brigades were now amalgamated by Blucher 
into two, owing to their reduction by the losses of the 1 6th. 

Blucher, desiring to clear the country north of the Partha, 
sent Sacken, at 9.30 A.M., against Gohlis, Langeron against 
Eutritzsch. This brought Ney on to the field, who replaced 
the one and a half Wurtemberg battalions at Gohlis by 
Dombrowski, and ordered Delmas to the slopes between 
Gohlis and Schonefeld. 

The Russian cavalry now drove Fournier and Lorge back 
into Leipzig, taking 5 guns and 500 prisoners. It also 
charged Delmas' infantry, who, however, repulsed them and 
went back to the Halle suburb. It was only after his 
retirement that the Poles evacuated Gohlis, going partly to 
the Rosenthal, partly to the Pfaffendorf farm. By 10 A.M. 
there were no French north of the Partha in this direction. 

The stream here was so marshy that a crossing in face 
of the French was out of the question. At first, Blucher 
thought of sending Langeron round by the left, whilst St 
Priest and Sacken held the French in front. Then hearing 
the main army was not engaged, he postponed his attack 
till next day. 

Meanwhile, Reynier coming from Eilenburg, reached 
Taucha, where he beat off a small attack by Winzingerode's 
cavalry. Then, after some hours' rest, he marched for the 
Heiterer Blick farm. Here he was compelled, by the flight 
of Arrighi's cavalry already mentioned, to take post facing 
Schonefeld. When, however, he was not attacked, he sent 


the Saxon division to Paunsdorf, Durutte's French between it 
and Schonefeld ; Saxon cavalry at Heiterer Blick. In the 
evening, under orders from Napoleon, Guilleminot's division 
went to Lindenau. 

Schwarzenberg's orders for the i8th are not forthcoming, 
but can easily be inferred from the actual formation and 
movements of the troops. The attack was in six columns. 

I. The Hereditary Prince of Hessen-Homburg, with the 
1st and 2nd " abteilungs " of the Austrian army, the Reserve 
divisions of Bianchi and Weissenwolf, and Nostitz's cavalry 
division, to attack by Markkleeberg-Losnig, with a detach- 
ment beyond the Pleisse helping when it could. 

II. Barclay — Corps of Kleist and Wittgenstein, Russian 
and Prussian Guards, and Reserves. To take Wachau and 
Liebertwolkwitz, and then move on Probstheida. 

III. Bennigsen — Polish reserve army, Bubna's (2nd) 
Austrian light division, Klenau's corps, Ziethen's brigade, 
and Platow's Cossacks, to envelop the enemy's left, moving 
from Fuchshain and Seifertshain on Zuckelhausen and 

IV. Bernadotte — Such parts of the northern army as were 
up, Langeron's and St Priest's corps (given over by Bliicher) ^ 

^ Bliicher had, throughout, infinite trouble with the unreliable Bernadotte, who 
was always playing for his own hand. The Crown Prince had compelled him to 
go behind the Saale, when the old Prussian was for fighting Napoleon on the 
right bank. Then Bernadotte had laid claim to the command of the united 
Northern and Silesian armies, a claim which Bliicher had quietly ignored. 
Bernadotte continued to hang back, and had only promised a reinforcement of 
10, OCX) cavalry even on the 17th. Colonel Stewart had to keep him up to the 
mark with hints of a stoppage of the British subsidy. 

When the two armies crossed the Saale, Bliicher, in the post of danger nearest 
Napoleon, had passed south of Bernadotte, thus becoming the right of the two 
armies, instead of the left as hitherto. Bernadotte wanted him to revert to the 
former order of battle for the i8th. This was absurd, especially as Bliicher's 
position before Leipzig was too small for more than 30,000 men. In the end, 
Bernadotte could only be induced to join in the battle of the i8th on condition that 
Bliicher placed the larger part of his army under the Crown Prince. With true 
patriotism, Blucher agreed, but ihe resolved to go himself with Langeron and 
St Priest, so that they should not be frittered away, or left to do nothing, by 
Bernadotte. It is difficult to condemn too strongly Bernadotte's conduct in the 
whole of this campaign, or to praise too highly Bliicher's honesty and devotion to 
the general cause. 


to cross the Partha and form the link between Bliicher 
and the main army. 

V. Bliicher, with the rest of the Silesian army, to advance 
against the north-east side of Leipzig. 

VI. Gyulai, with the 3rd Austrian " abteilung," Moritz 
Lichtenstein's light division (ist), and the detachments of 
Mensdorf and Thielmann, to attack Lindenau from Klein 

The strengths of the various forces are estimated by 
Friederich, after allowing for losses on the i6th, as 
follows : — 



Main army . 



Polish army . 






Bubna . 



Silesian army 



North army . 






Total . . 295,000 1,466 

They had a superiority of 135,000 over Napoleon, and 
more than double his guns. 

The battle up to 2 p.m. — Monday, the 1 8th October, broke 
dull and cloudy after a wet night. By 8 A.M. it had cleared 
and the sun was shining brilliantly. Meerveldt had reached 
the allies' camp in the early morning, bringing Napoleon's 
proposals. There was no place for negotiations now short 
of the Rhine, unless in the very improbable event of a great 
French victory. 

Napoleon's troops had been already five hours on the 
move when the allies began to advance at 7 A.M. 
He had moved his headquarters to Stotteritz on the 
previous evening ; at 2 A.M. he went to Probstheida, the 
key of his battlefield, to superintend the movements. As it 
was too dark to see anything, he adjourned to Ney's head- 
quarters at Reudnitz till 5 A.M., when he went into Leipzig^ 


met Bertrand, and gave him his instructions for the march 
to the Saale, which was not to commence without a special 
order. Then, after visiting Lindenau, the Emperor returned 
to Stotteritz at 8 A.M. At 9, hearing of the enemy's move- 
ment, he sent orders, from the tobacco factory near 
Probstheida, to which he had now moved, to Bertrand to 
start for Weissenfels. 

The battle up to 2 P.M. can be briefly described. 

The allies soon found that Napoleon was gone from his 
position of the 1 6th, where they seem to have expected to 
find him still. Their left column, under the Prince of Hessen- 
Homburg, had some severe fighting at Dolitz, Dosen, and 
Losnig, all of which, as well as Meusdorf, were taken and 
re-taken, but eventually remained in the hands of the allies. 
The Prince of Hessen-Homburg, being wounded, was suc- 
ceeded in command of this column by Colloredo. By noon 
it was in front of the French main position, with Lederer's 
detachment, between the rivers, in front of Connewitz. The 
fight after this was restricted to an artillery duel. Up to 
2 P.M. the French on this side had merely been driven on 
to their main position. 

Barclay, with the next column on the right, got within 
cannon shot of Probstheida, where he waited for the columns 
on his left and right to come up. He stood just in front 
of the elevation since known as the Monarchen Hiigel, on 
to which the Tsar and the King of Prussia moved from 
the Galgenberg, as their troops advanced. By 2 P.M. this 
second column was thus in front of Probstheida, but unable 
to attack it, pending the arrival of the third. Here again 
the allies' artillery was busy preparing the way for attack. 

Bennigsen, charged with the envelopment of the French 
left, had farthest to go. From Machern, at 3 A.M., he sent 
Platow by Hirschfeld and Althen to get into communication 
with Bernadotte's army. Platow's unexpected appearance 
created considerable confusion amongst Macdonald's trains, 
which were still at Sommerfeld, Engelsdorf, and Molkau. 
The rest of Bennigsen's army was assembled at Fuchshain 
by 6 A.M., waiting for Bubna, who only got across the Partha 


from Machern by Beucha at 8 A.M. He was delayed by the 
bridge at Beucha having been carried away. 

As soon as Bennigsen heard that Bubna was marching on 
Klein Posna, he advanced on that village, where he believed 
the French left to be. Another column went by Seifert- 
shain towards the Kolmberg to attack it, with a third ad- 
vancing from the south, whilst Ziethen with the fourth was 
to clear the Nieder Holz and move on between the Kolmberg 
and Liebertwolkwitz, in touch with Barclay's right. On 
Bennigsen's extreme right, Platow and Bubna were to seek 
to gain the Leipzig-Wurzen road by Engelsdorf and 
Sommerfeld. As the French had retired, Bennigsen met 
with no opposition before lo A.M., when Ziethen was before 
Zuckelhausen ; Hohenlohe before Holzhausen ; Doctorow 
and the advanced guard east of Baalsdorf ; Bubna between 
Engelsdorf and Sommerfeld. There was no sign of Berna- 
dotte. The roar of artillery fire was heard on the entire 
circle round Leipzig, except in the gap between Bennigsen's 
right and Langeron's left, where Bernadotte should have 

It was important for Klenau and Ziethen to take Zuckel- 
hausen and Holzhausen from Marchand and Charpentier 
respectively, in order to protect the right of an attack on 
Probstheida. About i P.M. Charpentier, attacked from the 
south and east by very superior forces, had to retreat in 
some disorder from Holzhausen. This compelled Marchand, 
who had hitherto maintained himself in Zuckelhausen, to 
retire also, though in good order. As the Austrians and 
Russians advanced on either side of Holzhausen, which was 
on fire, they were charged by Sebastiani and Walther's 
Guard cavalry, who were driven off by the allied cavalry. 
Gerard, behind Holzhausen, had now to retire, and another 
cavalry combat ensued in which Pahlen was not so success- 
ful, owing to momentary delay caused by his horse being 
killed and himself stunned. Macdonald had now fallen 
back to between Zweinaundorf and Paunsdorf, where he was 
heavily fired on by Austrian artillery established on the 
Steinberg, west of Holzhausen. 


Doctorow and Bennigsen's advanced guard stood opposite 
the line Zweinaundorf-Molkau. On his extreme right 
Bubna, after bombarding Paunsdorf for two hours, ventured 
on an assault at noon. His first attack failed but the second 
sent Reynier back on Sellerhausen. Then Reynier, coming 
down on Bubna's left, compelled him to evacuate Paunsdorf 

About this time Platow, near Heiterer Blick farm, more 
or less got between Normann's Saxon cavalry and the 
French. Normann solved the difficulty by going over to 
the allies, though he said he could not fight against the 
French without orders from the King of Saxony.^ Some 
other bodies of Saxons and Westphalians had already 
changed sides. 

At 2 P.M., then, Bennigsen had driven the French from 
some of their advanced posts, but they still held Zweinaundorf, 
Molkau, and Paunsdorf. Bennigsen dared not advance 
farther till he received the long expected support of 

That astute but unreliable personage, after his arrange- 
ment with Bliicher, had ordered 

(i) Billow to march on Taucha, to force the passage of 
the Partha there, and to watch with detachments towards 

(2) Winzingerode to follow Billow's movement on 
Taucha, sending cavalry towards Eilenburg and Wurzen to 
protect his left. 

(3) Langeron to search out all passages of the Partha 
between his present position and Taucha, to throw bridges, 
and pass the stream below Taucha in touch with Win- 
zingerode's right. 

(4) The Swedes to cross between Langeron and Win- 

^ Normann and several other commanding officers were afterwards cashiered 
for their conduct on this day, and banished from Saxony; the regiments con- 
cerned were disbanded. Whatever may be thought of Napoleon's tyranny in 
Germany, there is no excuse for this desertion on the field of battle. Normann, 
who, it will be remembered, had behaved badly at Mockern, died in 1822, fight- 
ing for the independence of the Greeks. 


(5) If the enemy should attack the northern and Silesian 
armies, all to take post on the heights of Plaussig. 

Billow, marching at 9 A.M., was by 2 P.M. nearly up to 
the line Plaussig-Heiterer Blick, facing west. 

The rest of the North army was slowly approaching by 
Taucha, but it was not till 4 P.M. that the Swedes crossed 
the Partha at Plaussig. Some Cossacks, sent by Biilow to 
try and seize Napoleon's trains at Eilenburg, failed, as the 
Bavarian, Saxon, and Hessian escort remained faithful. 
The trains retired to Torgau. 

Bliicher, notwithstanding Bernadotte's orders, would not 
allow Langeron to go far towards Taucha, away from himself. 
He ordered him to cover Billow's march at Mockau 
and Plaussig, only forcing the Partha when the North army 
should be engaged on its left bank. Nevertheless, part of 
Langeron's corps was across between Mockau and Plosen 
before Biilow was up, and had driven Marmont back towards 

Sacken, attacking with Bliicher's right at Gohlis, had not 
succeeded in getting into the Halle suburb or the Rosenthal, 
in the face of a strenuous resistance by the Poles. At 
I P.M. Yorck had to be called up in support. 

On the French side, Ney, seeing threats from Paunsdorf, 
Mockau, and Thekla, had drawn Marmont back to between 
Schonefeld and Paunsdorf The VII. corps (Saxons) was 
between Paunsdorf and Stiintz ; Souham (III.) in reserve 
at Volkmarsdorf When Normann's cavalry had gone 
over they were soon followed by Von Fabrice's Saxon 

Between i and 2 P.M. Langeron's artillery opened on 
Schonefeld, and he presently received orders from Berna- 
dotte saying that, as most of the north army was across the 
Partha, he was to attack the village. 

Meanwhile, Bertrand, bursting out impetuously from 
Lindenau, had completely defeated Gyulai, driving most of 
his forces across the upper Elster, part across the Luppe, 
and capturing many prisoners at Klein and Gross Zschocher. 
Bertrand was now marching: on Weissenfels with three 


divisions,^ and Quenette's cavalry brigade. The line of 
retreat on Weisscnfels had been re-opened for Napoleon. 

To sum up, by 2 P.M. the allies had gained no substantial 
success, though they had driven the French from Dolitz, 
Dosen, Zuckelhausen, Holzhausen, and Baalsdorf. Napoleon 
still held Losnig, Probstheida, Molkau, Zweinaundorf, 
Paunsdorf, and Schonefeld ; his main position was intact. 
Sacken in the north had been repulsed. 

After 2 p.M — On the left of the allies, towards Dolitz and 
Dosen, the French now again took the offensive. It was 
with the utmost difficulty that Bianchi and Colloredo kept 
their position, and were eventually able to return to the 
offensive. The fighting was furious, and it was only after 
repeated failures that the allies at last captured Losnig. 
From Connewitz they were repulsed by Augereau and 
Poniatowski, the latter now reduced to 2500 Poles. 

The attack on Probstheida fell to Barclay's column. 
This was the key of Napoleon's position, the loss of which 
must result in the collapse of the whole. Barclay would 
have waited for the advance of the columns on either side of 
him, but the Tsar insisted on an immediate attack. 

The first attack was by two Prussian brigades, supported 
by the 2nd Russian infantry corps. They bravely faced an 
overwhelming rain of projectiles, and got partly into the 
south of the place, whence they were driven again with 
awful loss by Victor's reserves. On the east, where there 
was a gap in the wall surrounding the village, the Prussians 
made more progress at first. Then, coming under the fire 
of a 1 5 -gun battery and charged by cavalry, they fell back. 
Again they advanced, this time right up to the centre of the 
village • again they were driven by infantry from the village, 
this time in disorder, notwithstanding reinforcements sent up 
by Ziethen from Zuckelhausen. 

It was after 5 P.M. when Eugen of Wurtemberg with 
1400 men, all that he had left, made another attempt on 
Probstheida from the south. But Napoleon had now re- 
placed Victor's exhausted troops by those of Lauriston, and 

^ Including Guilleminot's, the French division of the VII. corps. 


these were sent forward. Eugen's feeble force was driven 
off in disorder. Any further attack on Probstheida was for- 
bidden by the allied monarchs, who had now received good 
news of the progress of the battle on their right. Barclay 
remained on the defensive, easily stopping Victor's attempts 
to break out. The struggle for Probstheida had been an 
heroic one on both sides. Vial had been killed at the head 
of his brigade of Victor's corps, which lost three-fourths of its 
numbers : Rochambeau and many of his staff, fighting with 
equal valour, were killed. The Prussians and Russians had 
behaved with equal gallantry. So terrible was the artillery 
fire that, next day, Kleist found no less than 30 disabled 
guns in and about Probstheida. 

We now return to Bennigsen, and to the army of the 
North. It was 2.30 p.m. before Billow's leading troops were 
really up. Then it was decided, in consultation with 
Bernadotte, that Bennigsen's right should not extend beyond 
Paunsdorf, whence the North army would take post up to 
the Partha. This enabled Bennigsen to close up his divided 
columns and act in greater force against Zweinaundorf and 

On the French side, Reynier's Saxons had been posted 
in front of Sellerhausen, to support Paunsdorf. 

The Prussians now advanced on Paunsdorf, supported by 
a tremendous artillery fire and by that of Bogue's rocket 
brigade.^ The then recently-invented Congreve rockets had a 

^ The English rocket brigade, commanded by Captain Richard Bogue, had 
been attached to Bernadotte's bodyguard, on the understanding that, on days of 
battle, it was to be more freely used than the rest of the bodyguard. Congreve 
rockets had been used for the first time in war on the i6th September, when Davout's 
•detachment under Pecheux was destroyed at Gorda {supra, p. 287). As the 
French left Paunsdorf, Bogue charged at the head of the squadron of dragoons 
escorting his brigade, and was killed soon after by a musket ball. His grave is 
now to be seen at Paunsdorf. He was succeeded by Fox-Strangways, who, 
curiously enough, it is said, was the first officer killed at Inkerman, fighting 
against his former allies the Russians. It is also said that, in acknowledgment 
of his gallant leading of the rocket battery, Fox-Strangways was decorated by the 
Tsar with the badge of the Order of St Anne, which he himself was wearing at 
the time. 

The rocket brigade afterwards distinguished itself at Waterloo. 

(For this subject see Progs R.A. Institution, vol. xxiv. ; also Kinglake's 


specially demoralising effect on the defenders, as the village 
was stormed. From the position to which they were driven 
back they were again forced, largely by rocket fire, to retire 
on Sellerhausen. 

The two Saxon brigades chose this moment to abandon 
their French allies and pass over to the enemy. It appears 
that the Saxon officers had in the morning decided on this 
step. They informed General von Zeschau (the Saxon 
commander-in-chief). An adjutant was then sent to inform 
the king of this proposal. He returned at 2 P.M. saying the 
king looked to Von Zeschau to keep his men to their 
allegiance. The officers held this answer to be ambigu- 
ous ; moreover, they said, the king was not a free agent. 
The French had lost the campaign, and now, when Durutte's 
French had enough on their hands to occupy them, without 
thinking of keeping their Saxon comrades in order, was the 
best opportunity, perhaps the last, they would have to go 
over. When Reynier ordered the Saxon i 2 -pounder battery 
back, it marched off to the enemy, followed by the two 
infantry brigades. De France's cavalry, thinking they were 
going to attack the Prussians, cheered them as they passed. 
Von Zeschau made an attempt to induce them to remain, 
but his personal authority only sufficed to recall 24 officers 
and 593 men. Napoleon himself, in his bulletin,^ attributed 
his defeat largely to the Saxon desertion. Some French 
writers have followed him, but Friederich shows that the 
total strength of the Saxon division on the 17th October 
was only 4544 and 22 guns. Allowing for losses and those 
who remained true to the French, on one side, and adding 
Normann's cavalry on the other, the total defection probably 
did not exceed 4000 men and 20 guns. That is hardly a 
loss which could vitally affect the course of a battle of such 

Invasion of the Crimea (cabinet edition, vol. vi. p. 518), where Fox-Strangways 
is shown as killed at Inkerman. The story about the Order of St Anne, as well 
as about Fox-Strangways generally, was told to the author by Colonel Shea, 
Royal Artillery, who was responsible for looking after the repairs to Bogue's 
grave at Pannsdorf.) 
* Corr, 20,830. 


proportions, though it may be admitted to have had a 
demoralising effect. 

Bennigsen's column could not venture on any general 
advance before the greater part of Bernadotte's army was on 
the field, and that was not till about 5 p.m. It was a little 
before that hour that the Saxons had changed sides, and 
then Nansouty, with the French Guard cavalry, issuing from 
between Stiintz and Stotteritz, made an attack on the gap 
between Bubna and the rest of Bennigsen's army. The 
attack never got beyond the line Paunsdorf-Zweinaundorf. 

At this moment, Bennigsen, seeing that the North army 
was at last up, moved forward. Klenau, after getting into 
Zweinaundorf and being again expelled, finally took the 
village. Bubna stormed Molkau. There was another 
cavalry combat, as Klenau issued from Zweinaundorf, be- 
tween the Russians and Sebastiani and Walther, who 
eventually retired before the fire of 24 guns and a Jager 
brigade north of Zweinaundorf Klenau now failed in an 
attack on Stotteritz, which was strongly defended by walls 
and ditches, and flanked by artillery from Probstheida. A 
counter-attack by the French on Zweinaundorf was repulsed 
before darkness brought the fighting here to an end. Ben- 
nigsen, like the commanders on his left, had gained no 
decisive success. 

On his right, after Durutte's flight from Paunsdorf, Seller- 
hausen was stormed, but the captors were unable to get 
beyond it. Durutte and Delmas retired to the fork of the 
roads to Wurzen and Taucha. Durutte's retirement had 
exposed the flank of Marmont, who wheeled his right back 
till he stood on the line Sellerhausen-Schonefeld. He would 
still have been in danger, had not Ney sent Durutte to 
retake Sellerhausen, in which he was successful. Occupying 
it, Durutte was linked by Delmas to Marmont's right. 

As the rest of the North army came up, it took post 
with its left on Paunsdorf, and its right touching Langeron, 
who continued the line to the Partha. 

We left Langeron at 2 P.M., preparing for his attack on 
Schonefeld. The place was very strong, the marshes of 


the Partha prevented its being turned, the few entrances to 
it had been barricaded, and, as at Probstheida, there were 
numerous ditches, walls, and other obstacles. Marmont in 
person superintended the defence, which was entrusted to 
Lagrange's division (3000 men), with that of Friederichs on 
his right. Nevertheless, the Russians managed to force a 
way into it and up to the centre of the village. Thence the 
French counter attack drove them back to the outskirts. 
Just at this time Durutte's retreat had rendered possible 
an attack on the right flank of the village, which was to be 
executed by St Priest, whilst Kapzewitch reinforced the 
frontal attack. Marmont's guns were silenced by an over- 
whelming force, and he felt compelled to withdraw Lagrange 
and Friederichs to Reudnitz about 4.30 P.M. 

Ney had now in reserve only about 7000 men and 
40 guns of the divisions of Brayer and Ricard, who were 
ordered to retake Schonefeld. At this time both Ney and 
Souham were wounded as they reconnoitred the place. 

Langeron's artillery ammunition having given out, he had 
again to retire, and the French, bursting into Schonefeld, 
became once more masters of it. Then the tide turned as 
Bernadotte replaced Langeron's guns by 60 of Winzin- 
gerode's and 20 of the Swedish corps. Brayer was wounded 
and his men had to fall back in disorder on Reudnitz along 
with Ricard. They occupied a position between Reudnitz 
and Schonefeld till 9 P.M., when they were once more 
driven back to the brook in front of Reudnitz. The North 
army, considering its great superiority of numbers, had 
done remarkably little. 

On the north of Leipzig, Sacken, renewing his attacks on 
the Rosenthal and the Pfaffendorf farm, had again failed. 

When, towards evening, Bliicher heard that the enemy 
was retreating, apparently on Merseburg and Weissenfels, 
he ordered Yorck to occupy the passages of the Saale at 
Merseburg and Halle. Yorck started at 8 P.M., and, by 
7 A.M. on the 19th, had the reserve cavalry and Horn's 
brigade at Halle, Hunerbein's at Burg Liebenau.^ 
^ On the Elster, north-east of Merseburg. 


As early as 2 P.M., Gyulai had orders to watch the French 
retreat. At 3 P.M. he reported Bertrand on the Liitzen 
road. An Austrian detachment, too weak to maintain itself 
at Weissenfels, destroyed the bridge and retired on Zeitz. 

Napoleon had ordered the retreat to begin at 1 1 A.M., 
and at once there commenced a continuous stream across 
the Lindenau causeway of everything that was not actually 
required on the battlefield. At 4 P.M. the 1st cavalry corps^ 
followed by the 3rd and 5th, was sent to the slight eleva- 
tions beyond Lindenau. 

Napoleon had spent the morning at the tobacco factory. 
There is no record of his orders, or of what he said. At 
noon he had paid a short visit to Probstheida, and went 
there again at 2 P.M., when he was in the thick of the fire^ 
encouraging his troops in their defence of the village. 
When he heard of the Saxon defection he went to the left 
and had a long conversation with Ney. Here he personally 
ordered the attack by Nansouty's cavalry. At 4 P.M. he 
had ordered the cavalry corps to Lindenau, and directed 
the whole artillery park to follow, after replenishing the 
ammunition supplies at the front, and destroying part of the 
empty wagons. 

At 5 P.M., exhausted by a sleepless night, he slept calmly 
at the tobacco factory, sitting on a wooden bench, until he 
was waked by a round shot scattering the fire close by him. 
Whilst he slept, his staff stood silent and dejected around 

Waking, he calmly dictated orders for the retreat of the 
troops next day. Up to the present these orders have not 
been found. According to Pelet, part of the artillery and 
parks was to go first, then, starting before daybreak, the rest 
were to follow in this order : Old Guard, Oudinot's two 
divisions of Young Guard, 4th cavalry corps, IX. and 
IL corps, 2nd cavalry corps. The rest were to defend 
Leipzig and cover the retreat. 

At 6.30 P.M., finding his tents had gone on, the Emperor 
betook himself to the Hotel de Prusse, which still stands in 
the Ross Platz. Strange coincidence that he should spend 


this night in a hostel bearing the name of the nation which 
had taken the principal part in his overthrow ! The roads 
were so encumbered with the wreckage of his army that it 
was long before he got there. 

The allied monarchs had spent most of the day on the 
Monarchen Hiigel, where the Tsar and Frederick William 
remained till 8 P.M. The story that they knelt and publicly 
thanked the Almighty for their victory is devoid, Friederich 
says, of historical foundation. The allies bivouacked thus : 
Colloredo behind the line Losnig-Dolitz-Dosen ; Barclay in 
front of Dosen and Probstheida, and in Zuckelhausen ; 
Bennigsen on the line Zuckelhausen-Zweinaundorf-Molkau ; 
Bernadotte about Stiintz, Sellerhausen, Paunsdorf, and 
Abtnaundorf ; Langeron at Schonefeld ; Sacken between 
Gohlis and the Partha. The French line ran from Con- 
newitz to Probstheida, Stotteritz, Crottendorf, Reudnitz, and 
the Halle suburb of Leipzig. The outposts of the opposing 
forces were so close as to be able to distinguish one another's 
orders. We may appropriately close this account of what 
was certainly the greatest battle, so far, of modern war, with 
a quotation from Danilewski describing the scene on the 
battlefield that night : — 

" Night fell ; the sky glowed red, Stotteritz, Schonefeld, 
Dolitz, and one of the suburbs of Leipzig were in flames. 
Whilst with us (the allies) all were intoxicated with joy, 
and messengers of victory sped in every direction, in- 
describable confusion reigned in the enemy's army. Their 
baggage, their artillery, their broken regiments, the soldiers 
of which had been for days without food, were stopped for 
want of bridges over the streams round Leipzig. In the 
narrow streets resounded the cries of woe of innumerable 
wounded, as our shot and shell fell upon them. Over the 
battlefield, so recently filled with the thunder of 2000 guns, 
there reigned the stillness of the grave. The silence ensuing 
after a battle has something terrible in it which inspires the 
soul with an unspeakable feeling." ^ 

The first remark to be made about the battle of the 1 8th 

^ Danilewski, pp. 259-60. 
2 A 


is that, from the point of view of Napoleon's interests, it 
should never have taken place at all, at least, not on the 
scale or in the position in which it did. There can be no 
possible doubt that, after the negative result of the i6th, 
the Emperor's hope of success was gone, and he should, 
from a military point of view, have set about preparing for 
retreat on the 17th, starting that same night. Had he done 
so, he could have had the greater part of his army beyond 
the Elster by the morning of the i8th. The allies would 
probably have advanced cautiously on Leipzig ; for, as 
it was, they were not aware of his evacuation of his 
forward position of the i6th. Leipzig lent itself to the 
fighting of a rearguard action to gain more time for the 
French army to pass behind the Saale. The Emperor could 
have built more bridges on the 17th for the rapid passage 
of his army, and these, as well as that at the head of the 
causeway, would have been destroyed as his rearguard left 
Leipzig on the i8th. But his invincible obstinacy, based 
mainly on political grounds, in holding on to Leipzig, ruined 
the Emperor. Knowing that Bernadotte, Bennigsen, and 
Colloredo were coming up, he could hardly fail to realise the 
enormous superiority of the allies on the 1 8th. 

The position which he chose for what was practically a 
purely defensive battle was, no doubt, an admirable one for 
that purpose ; but there were no facilities for the offensive, if 
he had been able to contemplate it. On the defensive, the 
circumscription of the circle occupied facilitated the rapid 
movement of reserves to threatened points. 

The allies played into the Emperor's hands by distributing 
their forces all round the circle instead of concentrating great 
strength against his most sensitive point. The blame for 
the failure to make an end of Napoleon there and then lies 
chiefly at Bernadotte's door. For days past he had been 
hanging back ; even on the 1 8 th he might easily have been 
up three or four hours before he was. Then there would 
have been an overwhelming force against Napoleon's left on 
the Partha. Even when he did arrive, Bernadotte acted 
very feebly. His Swedes did practically nothing, and the 


real success in this quarter was gained by Langeron in the 
capture of Schonefield, which cost him 3700 men. 

When Bertrand issued from Lindenau, Gyulai was actually 
recalled across the Pleisse, though the order was counter- 
manded before he reached the river. There has always 
been a suspicion that the allies in this intended to 
leave open a road for retreat to the French. Friederich 
says, however, that there is no evidence of this to be found 
in the archives of Berlin, Vienna, or St Petersburg. The 
fear of Napoleon on the Continent was still so great that it 
cannot but seem far from improbable that the allies would 
have felt relieved to find him gone, even at the expense of 
a failure to destroy his army. Eighteenth century ideas 
were still powerful in the allied camp. 

The allies were fully aware of their great numerical 
superiority, for Meerveldt told Napoleon that they had 
3 50,000 men, and believed him to have only 1 20,000. That 
was an exaggeration of the disproportion, but still it seems 
strange that, when Bertrand drove Gyulai across the Elster, 
the Austrian was not reinforced, instead of being at first told 
to withdraw farther. Much must probably be attributed to 
distrust of Bernadotte, who might still fail to appear in his 
full strength. As it was, he made an unnecessary circuit to 
cross the Partha at Taucha. He might perfectly well have 
saved hours by crossing where Langeron did. 

There seems to have been a fear amongst the allies that 
Napoleon would endeavour to break out towards Taucha, 
between Bennigsen and Bernadotte. When it is remem- 
bered that in doing so he would have had Bernadotte and 
Bliicher on his left, Bennigsen on his right, the idea seems 
absurd. Nothing but a remnant of the French army could 
hope to get through to Torgau. 

Had Bernadotte been earlier on the field, the superiority 
of the allies in his direction would have been so enormous 
that Napoleon would have had to use all his reserves there. 
What, then, would have become of Probetheida, which in 
any case must have fallen if Bennigsen held Stotteritz and 
Stiintz, with Bernadotte in force on his right. 



There was no commander on the side of the allies great 
enough to take full advantage of their splendid opportunities. 
To realise this, it is only necessary to think what Napoleon 
himself would have made of the situation had it been 

That the French troops fought magnificently is admitted 
by all, and the credit due to them is all the greater when it 
is remembered how much they had suffered from almost 
superhuman exertions, from deficiency of food, and from 
privations of all sorts. If the rank and file could not realise 
the desperate position they were in, the knowledge of it 
probably extended far down in the ranks of their com- 
manders. We have already shown that the attempt to 
throw the blame on the defection of 4000 or 5000 German 
allies will not hold water. 



SCHWARZENBERG'S orders to the generals 
assembled on the Monarchen Hiigel on the 
evening of the i8th were very short and simple 
" All parts of the army must be ready in battle 
order at daybreak to renew the battle. In case of the 
enemy's retreat, the army will advance, as on the i8th, in 
five columns concentrically on Leipzig, since only on the 
capture of the city can the victory be deemed decisive." 
The following orders issued in the night : — 
(i) Colloredo, now commanding the ist column, to send 
Nostitz with three cavalry brigades to reach Pegau at 
7 A.M. 

(2) Lederer (left of the Pleisse) also to reach Pegau at 
7 A.M. Alois Lichtenstein's division also to go thither. 

(3) Bubna to march on Pegau, as soon as his troops were 
sufficiently rested. 

Thus Schwarzenberg had already ordered 40,000 men 
from the battlefield to follow the enemy, and 20,000 more 
to be ready to move with the same object next day. 

An order, sent through Nostitz at midnight, cancelled 
(i) and (2) above. It said the enemy's retreat was not yet 
certain. In reality there could be no doubt, and it is not 
clear why Schwarzenberg gave this counter order. 

The night was dark and misty, the French outpost 
service very good, so it was difficult to get any knowledge 
of their actual movements. 

At 2 A.M. they began evacuating Connewitz, Probstheida, 
and Stotteritz, and drawing off to Leipzig, leaving rear- 
guards in these places, and numerous camp fires burning. 



Only at 5 A.M. did the allies' patrols bring positive news of 
the French withdrawal. 

Napoleon, as soon as he reached the Hotel de Prusse 
with Berthier and Murat, began issuing orders for the 
retreat, which he now recognised as inevitable. First, 
orders were sent to all the marshals to expedite the march 
during the night of troops, artillery, and all wounded fit to 
be moved. 

Bertrand, with the IV. corps, Guilleminot's division, 
Quenette's cavalry brigade, and the French part of 
Margaron's troops were already gone, as well as Mortier 
with two Young Guard divisions, and two divisions of light 
cavalry of the Guard. 

On the march to Lindenau were the ist, 3rd, and 5th 
cavalry corps. 

The order of march prescribed was : — ( i ) Old Guard, 
except the allied brigade of Rottenbourg ; (2) Oudinot's 
two divisions of Young Guards ; (3) the 4th cavalry corps ; 
(4) Augereau and Victor ; (5) Sebastiani's 2nd cavalry 

For the defence of Leipzig the troops were thus posted : — 

Durutte's division, all that remained of the VII. corps 
after the Saxon defection, in the Halle suburb. 

Marmont (VI.), and one division of the III. corps, were 
to hold the section from the Partha to the Grimma gate. 

Souham (less one division) on Marmont's right, right of 
Souham, the V. corps, then the XL, and finally the VI H., 
the last resting its right on the Pleisse. 

These corps to march away as soon as circumstances 

Macdonald was to command the rearguard, consisting of 
the VII., VIII., and XI. corps, and, if possible, to hold Leipzig 
for twenty-four hours longer. 

The bridge leading over the Elster to the Lindenau 
causeway was to be mined at once, and blown up as soon 
as Macdonald v/as over. 

Having issued these orders, the Emperor looked farther 
ahead. Bertrand, who should have reached Weissenfels on 


the evening of the 1 8th, was to spread over the country 
between Kosen and Merseburg, watching the passages of 
the Saale and occupying Freiburg. He was also to arrange 
for the collection of supplies at Erfurt, and other convenient 

The despatch rider who took these orders to Bertrand 
was to go on to Kellermann at Mayence, with orders to 
recall thither all recruits on the march to Erfurt and Wiirz- 
berg. Also, Kellermann received orders regarding the 
calling out of the National Guard, and the defence of 
France. Erfurt and Wiirzburg were to be provisioned at 
once. To St Cyr, at Dresden, orders were sent to escape 
as best he could. Torgau and Wittenberg could capitulate, 
on condition of free exit for all troops, including sick and 

The Emperor thought of everything, and it was only 
towards morning that he slept for a short time. Whilst he 
slept, Murat went to the King of Saxony to propose his 
going with Napoleon to Erfurt, the Emperor guaranteeing 
his security. This the king declined, saying he would await 
the arrival of the allies. 

With the fall of darkness the troops began marching 
through Leipzig. Streams of them poured through each 
gate into the streets, which no one had thought of arranging 
to light. Naturally, confusion ensued, columns crossing 
columns, broken-down wagons barring the roads, and, still 
worse, the cavalry and artillery recklessly pushing past and 
through the infantry. Towards morning there was a feeble 
moonlight, which rendered less difficult the march of the 
II., IX., and V. corps. 

Everywhere in the streets wounded men lay in agony, 
hungry and unattended. Many of them met an ignominious 
death by being ridden or driven over in the darkness. 

Stragglers who had sought safety in houses came out and 
joined whatever troops happened to be passing, thus adding 
to the confusion of the columns. 

At 2 A.M. the troops told off for the defence of Leipzig 
began to withdraw from their advanced positions to the 


suburbs. As day dawned, strenuous efforts were made 
everywhere to improve the defences of the place. There 
were massive houses, brick or clay garden walls, plank 
fences, hedges, ditches, every sort of defence likely to be 
found in an open town. But, as Napoleon had selected for 
the defence of the city just those corps which were nearest 
the enemy, and would have him following close on their 
heels, there was necessarily little time left for improvising 
defences, or for studying the situation. The French soldier, 
with his inborn genius for the defence of localities, might be 
trusted to make the best of matters, but some places were 
insufficiently occupied, others were overcrowded. The gates 
and smaller entrances were closed, hedges and fences 
embanked, palisades set up as far as possible Batteries 
were placed at the ends of streets, and the reserves collected 
on the open places. 

When the allies began their attack, the defenders, under 
Marmont, Macdonald, and Foniatowski, were thus placed : — 

(i) In the Halle (northern) suburb, Durutte's division and 
the special garrison of Leipzig. Behind him, two divisions 
III. corps. 

(2) On Durutte's right, as far as the Hintertor, Ricard's 
division of the III. corps, with the 22nd division (VI. corps) 

(3) From the Blindentor to the outer Grimmator, the 
other two divisions of the VI. corps. 

(4) From the Grimmator to the Windmill gate, Ledru's 
and Gerard's divisions of the XI. corps, with Charpentier's 
and Marchand's in reserve. Of Marchand's men, the Baden 
brigade was on the right, the Hessian brigade before the 
inner Grimma gate. 

(5) From the Windmill to the Munz gate, near the Pleisse, 
was Rottenbourg's foreign division of Old Guard (only two 
battalions) and Poniatowski's corps. Dombrowski's division 
in reserve behind. 

In the inner city, within the old wall, the Badener Count 
von Hochberg had succeeded Arrighi as governor. He had 
two Baden battalions and one Italian. The 1200 Saxons 


who had not deserted were left in front of the king's 
quarters in the Market Platz. 

Altogether, Leipzig was defended by about 30,000 men 
on a perimeter of about 6500 paces ; four to five men to 
the pace. 

Day broke on Tuesday, October 19th, into a beautiful 
sunny autumn morning. The Tsar and the King of Prussia, 
with their headquarters, were early on the battlefield. The 
French, indications of whose movement had appeared in the 
night, were found to have retired on the suburbs. Even 
now, when there could no longer be any possible doubt of 
the French retreat, there was no serious idea at the allied 
headquarters of attempting to disturb it on the west of 
Leipzig. At 7 A.M. the allies began to advance on the 

The battle up to 10 A.M. : — 

The whole allied army advanced concentrically on 
Leipzig ; Colloredo, nearest the Pleisse, and Barclay against 
the south side ; Bennigsen on the south-east ; the North 
army on the east ; Bliicher on the north. Only on the west 
was there nothing. 

Friedrich has given as full a description as is possible of 
the details of the storming of Leipzig ; but there is not much 
military interest in details of an affair of this sort, and all we 
propose is to give a general outline of it. 

Bliicher, on the allied right, was the only general who had 
any choice of directions, and he decided to make his principal 
attack with Langeron direct across the Partha on the Halle 
suburb, whilst a secondary attack, to the right across the 
Pleisse, was made by Sacken. 

Billow began the advance of the North army about 8 A.M., 
driving the French from Reudnitz and the other villages 
which they still held. By 10 A.M. he stood outside the 
eastern suburbs, with Borstell on his right and the Hessen- 
Homburg division on his left. At that hour the French had 
abandoned everything they held outside the suburbs all 
round Leipzig. The allies stood ready for the attack on the 


Then there ensued a pause in the action, ordered by the 
Tsar with a view to negotiations for the surrender of the 
city. He had been approached by a deputation of the 
magistracy, who had really been urged to that course by 
Napoleon in order to gain time. At this time Alexander 
and Frederick William were at Napoleon's headquarters of 
the day before, at the tobacco factory. Soon after this 
deputation, an emissary from the King of Saxony also 
arrived. Neither he nor the deputation had any military 
authority. Nevertheless, they proposed to negotiate for the 
surrender of the city on the basis of an unhindered with- 
drawal of the French garrison. The two monarchs, anxious 
to spare Leipzig the horrors of a storm, were willing to 
agree, and sent Natzmer to say so. Into the details of this 
negotation which, as might be expected, came to nought, we 
need not enter. 

Napoleon, meanwhile, had been relieved to learn that the 
allies were making no serious attempt to cut off his retreat 
by the left bank of the Elster. He had also heard at 7 A.M. 
from Bertrand, that the Saale bridge at Weissenfels was 
restored. He at once sent orders for the construction of 
more bridges there. Bertrand was to occupy the defile of 
Kosen, and, if possible, Mcrseburg. 

About 9 A.M. the Emperor mounted and went off with 
Murat to bid adieu to the King of Saxony. Even then he 
could not make up his mind to speak the truth ; for he 
appears to have assured the king that he would be back 
again in a few days. The king had, before this, believed he 
was rid of the French for good, and, as he assured the 
emissary of the Tsar, it was in this belief that he had 
already sent his proposals for negotiations. 

After a visit of half an hour, Napoleon left his ally and 
started for the Rannstadt Gate, leading to the causeway to 
Lindenau. The narrow gate and the causeway were so 
crowded with the retreating troops that the Emperor and 
his staff had literally to abandon themselves to the human 
stream and drift along with it. It was not till 11 A.M. 
that he dismounted at the Lindenau mill, after giving 


orders for officers to be posted to direct stragglers to their 

Odeleben and others say that he bore the look of a ruined 
man. Knowing what we do of the calmness which he 
showed in the midst of the horrors of the retreat from 
Moscow, it seems safer to believe the evidence of an eye- 
witness who says, " In his countenance there was nothing 
which could be read as betraying fear or anxiety." ^ He 
had schooled himself too well to allow his feelings to be read 
from his face. 

After dictating orders for the defence of Leipzig, he 
yielded to exhausted nature and slept calmly in the 

Second period^ from 10 a.m. — Soon after 10.30, when the 
negotiations had broken down, the attack recommenced. 
By 11.30 the French had everywhere been driven from the 
suburbs into the inner city. So far, all had behaved 
splendidly ; now the thought uppermost in the minds of all 
was of escape. Where men stood to resist, they did so 
generally because the way behind them was blocked. The 
left wing was nearest to the bridge, the VH. corps and the 
XI. were farthest, and in danger of being completely cut 
from it, as the allies got forward from north and south. 

At the Grimma Gate, in the east, the fighting was more 
desperate than anywhere, for the French, driven by Biilow 
against the gate, found it shut against them by the Baden 
troops, who had instructions to allow no one to pass. The 
massacre was horrible, till at last the gate gave way. 
Through it the French poured, and, as they got through, 
the Badeners again closed and barricaded it. 

Durutte, meanwhile, had held out beyond the Partha till 
the advance of Billow's right, threatening his retreat, com- 
pelled him to retire. The bridge over the Partha was 
stormed by Langeron with fearful loss on both sides. Some 
of Durutte's men surrendered, the rest made for the Elster 

The awful struggle at the Grimma Gate had continued 

^ Huszell, Leipzig wakrend die Schreckentage^ p. 68. 


with unabated fury, but now the defenders were turned, and 
the Hessians who held the gate surrendered. It was about 
12.30 P.M. On the south, Poniatowski and his companions 
fought fiercely, but in vain, against overwhelming numbers. 

Billow's troops were pushing westwards through the city ; 
Bliicher was struggling forward from the north ; the French 
cause was lost, and the troops had no hope save in reaching 
the bridge and the Lindenau causeway, now covered by a 
struggling crowd of desperate fugitives. Even this hope 
was soon taken from them. 

Shortly before i P.M. Napoleon, sleeping calmly in the 
Lindenau mill, undisturbed by the roar of cannon, was at 
last awakened by a far louder and more awful explosion. 
As will be remembered, the bridge at the Leipzig end of the 
long causeway had been mined by Napoleon's orders. The 
mine was only to be fired when the last of the French had 
quitted the city. Colonel Montfort of the engineers was in 
charge of it. In vain he inquired of many passing generals 
which corps was to be the last over. No one knew. Then 
he went off to Lindenau to inquire of Berthier. In charge 
of the bridge he left a corporal of sappers named Lafontaine, 
with instructions not to fire the mine unless it appeared that 
the enemy was on the point of mastering it. 

Montfort was carried along with the stream of fugitives 
to Lindenau, but getting back against the stream he found 
to be impossible. Meanwhile, some of Sacken's skirmishers 
had got forward into the meadows north of the causeway, 
whence they began firing at the fugitives. The unfortunate 
corporal, seeing these men, and seeing no French troops to 
drive them off, believed the time had come to blow up the 
bridge and lighted the train. As the fire reached the mine, 
it exploded with appalling effect. The air was filled with 
flying fragments of the bridge, with broken parts of waggons, 
and with the limbs of horses and men, which descended in 
a ghastly shower on the whole neighbourhood. 

As the smoke cleared off, the unhappy soldiers on the 
Leipzig side of the stream found themselves with no alterna- 
tive but surrender or a desperate endeavour to escape by 


swimming. Thousands surrendered, others tried swimming ; 
some succeeded, many were drowned. 

Macdonald, plunging into the Elster on his horse, suc- 
ceeded in getting over ; Poniatowski and Dumoustier were 
drowned in the attempt. 

Towards the north-west corner of the city another fear- 
ful struggle had been taking place as the French and 
Dombrowski's Poles found themselves between Bliicher's 
troops on the north and Billow's on the east. Here 
the slaughter was so awful that, in places, the Pleisse was 
choked by a gruesome dam of dead men and horses, across 
which their comrades found a means of escape to the 
gardens beyond, only to be surrounded there and forced to 

At I P.M. the fighting in the city was practically over, 
and the French troops still on that side had yielded them- 
selves prisoners. 

About that hour the Tsar and the King of Prussia, with 
Schwarzenberg and their staffs, rode into Leipzig by the 
Grimma Gate to the market-place. Troops lined the streets, 
bands played, and even the French prisoners, whom there 
had been no time to disarm, presented arms. The inhabi- 
tants, filling the windows and covering the roofs, cheered 
vehemently, forgetting the horrors of the moment in the 
prospect of a brighter future. In the market-place the 
sovereigns met Bernadotte and Bennigsen coming from the 
presence of the King of Saxony. A little later came 
Bliicher and Gneisenau from the Rannstadt Gate. 

Passing the residence of the King of Saxony, who in 
vain awaited a visit from them, the monarchs tried to go to 
the Rannstadt Gate, but were prevented by the blockage of 
the streets, and by the shells which Marmont was throwing 
from beyond the river to prevent the issue of the enemy. 
They returned by the Grimma Gate to meet the Emperor of 
Austria, then arriving from Rotha, whither he soon returned. 
The Tsar and the King of Prussia then, at Bernadotte's 
request, went to inspect the Swedes at Reudnitz. 

In the midst of the excitement, Bliicher alone thought of 


pursuit. He would have sent Langeron after Yorck in 
the morning, had he not required him to support Sacken. 
He had to rest content with despatching the cavalry of both 
corps, which crossed the Elster at Schkeuditz at 1 1 A.M. 
When the bridge was blown up Bliicher, seeing that there 
were already ample troops in Leipzig, stopped Sacken and 
Langeron and ordered both on Schkeuditz, which they 
reached early on the 20th. 

In the evening Bennigsen's cavalry crossed the Elster by 
swimming, whilst Paskiewitch's infantry got across by an 
extemporised bridge. This brought to an end the Freneh 
bombardment which had continued all day. 

Sappers worked all night at constructing bridges for the 
allies. The rest of the troops bivouacked in the meadows 
round Leipzig. 

What the losses were on both sides in the four days, 
1 6th- 1 9th October, will probably never be known with any 
accuracy. All attempts to distribute them between the 
different days are useless. 

The allies' losses have been calculated at from 40,000 to 
70,000 killed and wounded, both of which Friederich con- 
siders extreme figures. He estimates them roughly as 
follows, for the four days by nationalities : — 

I. Prussians 

Officers. Men. Total. 

Yorck . . .176 5,467 5,643 

Kleist ,. . . 244 7,882 8,126 

Billow . . .78 2,186 2,264 




II. Russians 

Main Army 
Silesian Army 
North Army . 
Polish Army . 

. 512 
. 250 

. 70 









865 21,740 22,605 



General Staff . 

1st Light Division . 

2nd Light Division . 

I. Army Abtcilung . 

II. Army Abteilung . 

III. Army Abteilung 

IV. Army Abteilung 
Reserve Corps 

420 14,538 14,958 

IV. Swedes, etc. 

9 169 178 























Grand total . 1,792 51,982 53,784 

Other estimates are : — 

Plotho. Hofmann. Beitzke. 

Officers, Men. Officers. Men. 

Prussians . . . 522 14,950 620 13,550 16,430 

Russians . . . 576 21,740 800 20,000 22,604 

Austrians . . . 406 8,000 360 7,000 8,399 

Swedes ... 10 300 10 300 103 

1,514 44,990 1,790 40,850 

46,504 42,640 47,536 

It is still more difficult to estimate the losses of the 

Friederich takes them at — 

Killed and wounded . . . 38,000 

Prisoners ..... 15,000 

Sick and wounded in hospitals . 15,000 

Germans gone over to allies . . 5,000 

Camille Rousset says Napoleon had 80,000 men left 


after crossing the Rhine. Marmont reckons only 60,000 
fit to fight. 

The trophies taken by the allies were : 28 flags and 
eagles, 325 guns, 900 ammunition wagons, besides many- 
burnt by the French before the retreat ; 1 4,400 cwt. of 
powder, and 40,000 muskets. 

Of well-known French generals there were — 

Killed. — Poniatowski, Dumoustier, Vial, Rochambeau, 
Friedrichs, and Delmas. 

Wounded. — Ney, Macdonald, Marmont, Reynier, Lauri- 
ston, Souham, Latour-Maubourg, Pajol, Sebastiani, Com pans, 
Gerard, Maison. 

Prisoners. — Thirty - six generals, including Lauriston, 
Reynier, Charpentier, Pino, Count Hochberg, and Prince 
Emil of Hesse. 

The most illustrious of the prisoners was the King of 
Saxony. After waiting in vain all day for a visit of the 
allied sovereigns, he sent Von Zeschau to request an inter- 
view with the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Austria. 
They referred him to the Tsar. But already the Russian 
Privy Councillor, Anstett, had informed the king, in the 
Tsar's name, that he was to be sent to Berlin, where all 
suitable arrangements would be made for his comfort. 
Nevertheless, he was a prisoner of war, guarded by a com- 
pany of Russian Grenadiers. He left for Berlin on the 23rd 

" The greatest general of the age would have found no 
retreat from his chosen position unless the enemy had 
allowed it. It did not depend on him that Sedan was not 
merely a repetition." ^ No attempt was made by the allies 
to forestall Bertrand, to occupy Freiburg, Kosen, and 
Naumburg, or to destroy the bridges at those places. Some 
allowance must be made for the exhaustion of the allied 
troops on the night of the i8th, but still it seems more might 
have been done. With the great superiority of the allies in 
the east, they might apparently have reinforced Bliicher, so 
as to enable him to interfere with the retreat by way of 

^ Quistorp, Geschichte der Nord Armie im Jahre 1813, ii. 307. 


Schkeuditz. There was a quantity of cavalry which had 
done very little on the i8th, and might have been sent to 
Pegau during the night, and thence, on the 19th, against 
the line of retreat. The fact is that Schwarzenberg was not 
of a sufficient calibre as a general. To this may perhaps be 
added the mortal dread in which Napoleon's genius was 
held, and the fear that he might have some surprise in 
reserve against any bold movement. If the allies desired 
to cut off the retreat of the garrison of Leipzig, their attack 
should have been directed in greatest force against the 
French right and left near the rivers, rather than against 
their centre in the east, where they required to be " fixed." 
There was a good deal of confusion in the allies' attack, 
which was unnecessarily deferred. Columns crossed, got in 
one another's way, and put one another out of action. This 
was especially the case in the southern attack. 

Napoleon's fault was in his neglect of details, which he 
appears to have left largely to his subordinates, with the 
result that, whilst his attention was fixed farther west, there 
was no unity of command in Leipzig. He had hitherto 
saved his subordinates practically all of the thinking, and 
now they still looked to him to arrange everything. The 
greatest fault of all was the reliance for the retreat of a 
great army on a single bridge. The Elster and the Pleisse 
are not great rivers like the Elbe, or even the Mulde. Even 
during the night of the 1 8th- 19th, temporary bridges might 
have been built. But for this there has as yet been found 
no order of the Emperor, and, under his system of command, 
no initiative was to be expected from subordinates. 

The premature explosion of the mine at the bridge 
probably cost the Emperor from 10,000 to 15,000 troops 
cut off in Leipzig. It appears to have been due to in- 
sufficient instructions given to the officer in charge. He, 
too, must bear some share of the blame for his conduct in 
leaving the mine in charge of an ignorant corporal, whilst 
he himself went off to get more definite orders. 

2 6 



GYULAI and Lederer joined Nostitz's cavalry on 
the 1 9th October, and were about to march on 
Naumburg when Schwarzenberg's counter-order 
stopped them. At 2 P.M. a fresh order reached 
them, directing them to proceed at once to Teuchern, and 
to reach Naumberg next day. Later came news that 
Thielmann already held Naumberg. Yorck reached Halle 
at 10 A.M. on the 19th, and the reserve cavalry passed 
through. Yorck, who had noticed little progress in the 
battle before he left on the i8th, thought that, though 
Napoleon would probably be beaten, he would yet be able to 
retreat in good order, and that it would, therefore, be 
dangerous to risk attacking him. It was only at 6 P.M. on 
the 1 9th that he heard of the fall of Leipzig and the march 
of Bliicher on Schkeuditz. The positions of the allies in 
pursuit on the evening of the 1 9th October were : — 

Gyulai, M. Lichtenstein and Nostitz, — Dobergast.^ 

Murray's detachment — Zeitz. 

Thielmann, Mensdorf, etc. — Naumburg. 


Sacken and Langeron — -towards Schkeuditz. 

Russian and Prussian Guards and reserve — Pegau. 

On the 20th the French main body passed the Saale at 
Weissenfels, protected by Marmont with the III., VL, and 
VII. corps, facing towards Merseburg. Oudinot had left 
Lindenau only at daybreak, and was not at Weissenfels 
till late in the evening. 

^ Three miles south-west of Pegau. 


That evening the advanced troops of the allies were : — 

Gyulai, etc. — Naumburg. 

Russian and Prussian Guard, etc. — Teuchern.^ 

Kleist and Wittgenstein — Pegau. 

Bennigsen — Schonau. 

Yorck — Gross Kaina. 

On the 2 1 St Gyulai's corps came up with Bertrand's 
rearguard at Kosen, standing on the heights of the left bank 
of the Saale, on to which Davout had marched on the 1 4th 
October 1806 to the battle of Auerstadt. 

The first object of the allies was to prevent the destruc- 
tion of the bridge. At first they not only got across, but 
succeeded in nearly reaching the top of the heights. Then 
they were driven down again and pursued across the bridge. 
Gyulai, putting himself at the head of a strong force, again 
turned the scale, repassed the bridge, and captured Neu 
Kosen on the left bank below the heights. It was not till 
10 P.M. that Bertrand retreated. The losses were about 
1 000 killed and wounded on each side, but the French lost 
also 649 prisoners. 

Yorck attacked the French rearguard at Freiburg on this 
day, as the army was passing the Unstrut. He was, in the 
end, compelled to retire, leaving the enemy to complete his 
passage unmolested. 

Napoleon reached Erfurt on the 23 rd with, even at the 
highest estimates, 90,000 or 100,000 demoralised men, 
quite unfit to face the great armies behind them. At Erfurt 
he remained till the morning of the 25 th when he started 
again. On the 26th there was a fight with Hunerbein's 
brigade of Yorck's corps at the Horselberg, before reaching 
Eisenach. Yorck's cavalry, at the eastern end of the ridge, 
drove some French skirmishers on to it, and themselves got 
there, but found it impossible to descend by its south side to 
the road. They had, therefore, to rest content with shelling 
the French camp at the east end of the defile, thereby ex- 
pediting the movements of its occupants. Then they tried 
to go round to the west end, but were prevented by marshy 

1 Half-way from Pegau to Naumberg. 


ground. There was another fight at the west end, where 
Hunerbein arrived in sight of the camp of two divisions of 
the Young Guard, amongst whom his shells at first created 
much alarm. Then, however, a sharp fight developed, which 
eventually compelled Hunerbein to retire to the hills in his 

The line of the French retreat showed very unmistakable 
traces of the demoralisation of the army. " The roads on 
which the French retreated," says Plotho, "showed the 
most unmistakable traces of the disorganisation of the 
enemy's army. The numbers of corpses and dead horses 
increased every day. Thousands of soldiers, sinking from 
hunger and fatigue, remained behind, unable to reach a 
hospital. The woods for several miles round were full 
of stragglers and worn out and sick soldiers. Guns and 
wagons were found everywhere." ^ The allies pursuing 
Napoleon moved in several columns, the distribution of 
which need scarcely be dealt with here. They concern 
more closely the history of the subsequent campaign in 

But, in addition to the direct pursuit, Napoleon was now 
threatened by the advance of Wrede with the united 
Austrians and Bavarians who had recently stood as enemies 
on the Inn. 

The Battle of Hanau.^ 

It is curious to find Wrede, who certainly owed his 
military advancement as well as his title of Count to Napoleon, 
now becoming the bitterest enemy, after Bliicher, of the man 
he had followed since 1805. Even German writers seem to 
look rather askance at his conduct. 

It was perhaps due to his well-known favour with 
Napoleon that he had earned a reputation in Austria which 
led to his being appointed to the chief command of the 
army, with which he moved, south of the Main, to intercept 

* Der Krieg in Deutschland und Frankreich, ii. 44c. 
2 Map IV. {e\ 


such of the beaten French army as might be making for 
Frankfort and Mayence. With the details of his march we 
are not concerned. 

On the 27th October, he was under the impression that 
he had only to deal with a flank column of 18,000 or 
20,000 men, and that Napoleon was farther north on the 
road to Coblence. With some trifling successes on the 28th 
and 29th, Wrede became still more confident. He was at 
Hanau by 2 P.M. on the 29th with all his troops, except 
Rechberg's division, which he sent ahead to occupy Frank- 
fort. His army had dwindled, owing to hard marching and 
■detachments, including one he had to leave before Wiirzburg, 
which he had failed to take. He had at Hanau about 
30,000 men and 58 guns. 

Hanau, then a town of some 15,000 inhabitants, stands 
in the angle between the Main and the Kinzig, a tributary 
reaching it from the north-east. The town was still sur- 
rounded by a wet ditch, though the fortifications had fallen 
into disrepair. The Kinzig, which flows in a semicircle 
round the northern side of the town, was, especially in the 
rainy autumn of 18 13, a serious obstacle, passable for all 
arms only at the bridge north-west of Hanau, and at that a 
mile or so to the east, near the Lamboi forest. The 
forest comes down to within a mile of Hanau on the 
eastern and northern sides. The main road from Erfurt to 
Mayence passes north of the town, without crossing the 

Still under the impression that Napoleon was far away, 
Wrede, on the morning of the 30th October, posted his army 
east of Hanau and across the great road, to bar the retreat 
of the French. His left was astride of the road, facing its 
issue from the forest. This wing consisted chiefly of 
cavalry, and of 28 guns. A few squadrons watched north- 
wards on the Friedberg road. The centre stretched from 
the road to the Kinzig (which was behind it) at the 
Lamboi bridge. The right was south of the Lamboi bridge. 
The position was so bad as to justify Napoleon's remark 
that he had been able to make Wrede a count, but not a 


general. The separation of the front by the Kinzig, the 
position of the centre with its retreat barred by that stream, 
and the facilities offered by the forest to the approach of the 
French, were the chief defects of the position. If the 
enemy could seize the Lamboi bridge, the right would be 
hopelessly separated, and the ruin of the centre and left 
was almost certain. Napoleon had but 16,000 or 17,000 
men available for the moment, but they were sufficient, 
under him, against Wrede with nearly double that 

By noon, after some fighting with the Bavarian advanced 
troops in the forest, Victor, supported by Macdonald, was at 
the outer edge of the wood opposite Wrede's centre. Even 
then Wrede had only just realised that he was opposed to 
the Emperor. He now called over a brigade from his 
right to protect the Lamboi bridge. Napoleon had decided 
to attack in superior force against Wrede's left. Drouot 
had reported the feasibility for artillery of a track he had 
discovered through the forest north of the road. The wood 
opposite Wrede's left was cleared about 3 P.M. by two 
battalions of Old Guard, and Drouot gradually collected a 
battery of 50 guns in that direction, whilst the 2nd cavalry 
corps and the Guard heavy cavalry assembled behind him. 
Wrede's 28 guns were soon mastered, and then the 
French cavalry charged that of Wrede's left, who were 
carried away and driven off the field. Wrede's centre, 
hard pressed by Drouot's guns, and with the French 
cavalry now descending on it from the left, held out for 
a time, but was presently compelled to retreat. With 
the Kinzig barring direct retreat, it had to move to its 
left, an operation in which it naturally suffered heavily. 
The last three battalions were cut off and driven in- 
to the Kinzig, where several hundreds were drowned. 
The remains of Wrede's centre and left assembled at 
Gross Auenheim. 

When Wrede saw the danger to his left and centre, he 
tried to bring help from his right across the Lamboi bridge. 
The first brigade, called over earlier, was already retreating 


when the second succeeded, for the moment, in driving the 
pursuers back to the wood. Then the tide turned again, 
and both brigades were pushed in confusion on to the 
bridge, which was insufficient for their passage. Here again 
several hundreds were drowned in the Kinzig. 

That night Wrede bivouacked with his right on the 
Lamboi bridge, his centre and left along the Aschaffenburg 
road and holding Hanau. 

Napoleon, having driven Wrede across the Kinzig, had 
no desire to pursue him. He continued his retreat on 
Frankfort, leaving a rearguard to keep Wrede from interfer- 
ing with the remainder of the army still behind. 

At 2 A.M. on the 31st Hanau was bombarded, and 
presently Wrede evacuated it, leaving it to be occupied 
without resistance by Bertrand when he arrived at 
8 A.M. 

With Bertrand in Hanau, and Marmont preventing his 
issue over the Lamboi bridge, Wrede could do nothing 
against Napoleon's troops passing along the road beyond. 
By 3 P.M. all had passed and Marmont followed with the 
HI. and VI. corps, still leaving Bertrand with the IV. to 
cover the retreat. 

When Wrede again advanced he completely failed in 
his attack on the Lamboi bridge. In storming Hanau 
itself, he was badly wounded. An attack on the Kinzig 
bridge beyond the town, to which the French retired, 
failed, and there was now no further obstacle to Napoleon's 
retreat to Mayence through Frankfort, which had been 
evacuated by Rechberg as the French approached. 

In the four days, 28th to 31st October, Wrede lost about 
9250 officers and men. The French loss in killed and 
wounded was probably less, but during this period there fell 
into the hands of the enemy, in small detachments or as 
stragglers, 5 generals, 280 officers, and about 10,000 

There is not much to be said about the battle of Hanau. 
The position taken up by Wrede was hopelessly bad, and 
he suffered the penalty of taking it. He seems to have 


realised what was coming when he learnt that he was in the 
presence of his late master, for he remarked that he was 
bound to fight, and that he and his men must just do their 
best. On the whole, he might consider himself fortunate in 
saving any part of his centre and left, which had to pass 
round the northward bend of the Kinzig before reaching a 
passage at the bridge of the branch road joining Hanau to 
the main road. 

Napoleon had, with unerring instinct, instantly seized the 
features of the battlefield and the weaknesses of Wrede's 
position. He could not avoid fighting. He was probably 
not anxious for another battle, though he felt satisfaction in 
reading Wrede, who after all had treated him with consider- 
able ingratitude, a severe lesson. 

Here we close the history of this campaign, for it is 
unnecessary to follow the course of the operations of the 
allies against the fortresses still held by Napoleon's garrisons 
in Germany. A few words may, however, be said about the 
fate of Dresden and St Cyr. It has already been told how 
Napoleon, after deciding to take St Cyr north with him and 
to abandon Dresden, made that fatal change which deprived 
him of the I. and XIV. corps, which he so badly needed at 
Leipzig. Not only that, but he also insisted on keeping 
Magdeburg, Torgau, and Wittenberg, the garrisons of which 
and of Dresden would have given him at least 50,000 more 
men at Leipzig, and might even have changed the result of 
the battle of the i6th. 

St Cyr at Dresden, blockaded by Russians and Austrians 
after Leipzig, made some ineffectual attempts to escape 
down the right bank of the Elbe. Then, the garrison and 
the inhabitants being reduced to the greatest straits by 
starvation, he accepted a capitulation under which the 
garrison was to be sent back to France under promise not 
to serve again in the war. The capitulation was signed on 
the 1 1 th November, and the garrison was already on the 
march to France, when it was announced that Schwarzenburg 
had refused to ratify it. Though the allies offered to replace 
St Cyr in Dresden in exactly the same position, as to arms, 


provisions, etc., as he held when the capitulation was signed, 
he considered it useless to return, and he and his army 
became prisoners of war. 

Under all the circumstances, the conduct of the allies in 
this matter seems open to censure. 


Albert (French General), 129, 132, 

Alexander I. (Tsar of Russia), 5, 58, 
59, 83, 122-124, 130, 134, 145, 153, 
181, 193, 203, 217, 233, 237, 238, 

249, 327. 332, 337» 348> 359, 363, 
377, 378, 381 
Armistice of Poischwitz, 156-159 
Army (French) — Losses in Russia, 
9 ; organization in 1813, 10 ; 
cohorts, 10, II ; levy of four 
classes, 11 ; Municipal Guards, 
II ; levies of conscripts, 10-12 ; 
National Guard, 10 ; elements 
available, 12 ; quality of recruits, 
13 ; marine artillery, 11 ; in- 
fantry, 13, 14 ; provisional corps, 
14 ; cavalry, 15 ; its quality, 19 ; 
village fighting, 20 ; Eugene's 
organization, 32, 33 

(Prussian) — Limitation in 

1807, 21 ; " old " army, 21, 22 ; 
" Krumper " system, 22 ; general 
reforms, 22 ; artillery, 21 ; ma- 
terial, 21, 22, 24 ; " free " corps, 
23 ; " Volunteer Jagers," 23 ; 
compulsory service, 23 ; " land- 
wehr," 24 ; strength of army in 
August 1813, 25 ; its spirit, 25 

(Russian), 26 

(Austrian), 27, 28 

(Swedish), 28 

(Other allies), 28, 29 

Arrighi (Duke of Padua), 300, 341, 

356, 376 
Aster (Saxon writer), 202, 206 
Augereau (Marshal), 36, 286, 300, 

317. 337. 338, 339, 363 
Austria (poUcy, etc.), 5-7, 30, 62, 153, 

(Emperor of). 4, 155. 233, 

237, 381 

Barclay de Tolly (Russian 
general), 30, 46, 100 ; attack on 
Lauriston, 112-114; at Bautzen, 
120, 121, 128, 129, 132; appointed 
commander-in-chief, 145 ; sees 
danger on 2nd June, 150; plan of 

campaign, 180 ; at Dresden, 193, 
217, 228, 229 ; at Priesten, 237 ; 
in Bohemia, 279 ; at Leipzig, 359, 

363, 377 

Barrois (French general), 131, 133, 

i34> 203 
Bautzen (battle of) — Description of 

field, 116, 117 ; fortifications, 

118 ; allies' mistaken assumptions, 

119 ; their strength, 119 ; disposi- 
tions, 120 ; Napoleon decides to 
attack on 20th May, 121 ; action 
of Oudinot, Macdonald, and 
Marmont, 121, 122 ; Napoleon's 
design, 122 ; Soult's action, 123, 
124 ; Ney approaches, 123 ; 
battle of 2ist May, ist period, 
Oudinot and Macdonald, 127 ; 
Soult, 127, 128 ; Ney, 128-130 ; 
2nd period, French centre, 131 ; 
Soult's advance, 131 ; Bliicher 
falls back, 131 ; Ney at Preititz, 
132 ; 3rd period, attack on 
Bliicher, 133, 134 ; Ney's and 
Soult's corps clubbed, 134 ; re- 
treat of allies, 135, 136 ; remarks, 

Bavaria, political attitude, 55, 317 
Beaumont (French general), 105, 

106, 259 
Benkendorf (Russian general), 34 
Bennigsen (Russian general), 289, 

292, 294» 316, 355, 359, 360, 361, 

364, 366, 376, 381, 382 
Berg (Prussian general), 59, 77 
Berkheim (French general), 337 
Berlin, 34-38, 44, 45, 176, 178 
Bernadotte (Crown Prince of 

Sweden) — Position in 181 2-1 3, 6 ; 
and Swedish army, 28 ; after 
armistice, 176, 180, 181 ; at Gross 
Beeren, 260, 263 ; at Dennewitz, 
271, 277 ; in September, 291, 292, 
299 ; with Bliicher, 306, 307, 308, 
314, 315, 321, 322 ; at Leipzig, 
343, 357, 361, 364. 366, 371, 381 
Bertrand (French general), 50, 52, 
54, 55, 64 ; at Liitzen, 81, 83, 87, 
95; at Bautzen, 113, 121, 127, 


133. I34» 138; 145. 148; at Gross 
Beeren, 259, 260 ; at Dennewitz, 
272-275 ; at Wartenburg, 297- 
299 ; at Leipzig, 362, 387 ; at 
Hanau, 391 

Bessieres, Marshal, 50, 53, 63 

Bianchi (Austrian general), 206, 339, 
355. 363 

Blankenfelde, action at, 259, 260 

Bliicher (Prussian general), 30, 33, 
36, 37, 44, 46, 57-61, 66 ; at 
Liitzen, 73, 75, 77 ; at Bautzen, 
120, 121, 129, 131-134 ; in retreat 
after Bautzen, 145, 151 ; after 
armistice, 168 ; retires before 
Napoleon, 187 ; at the Katzbach, 
250, 251, 254, 256 ; again re- 
tires before Napoleon, 271 ; in 
September, 290, 291, 292, 294 ; 
at Wartenburg, 298, 299 ; and 
Bernadotte, 306-308, 314, 315, 321, 
322 ; at Mockern, 341-344 ; at 
Leipzig. 356, 357, 362, 367, 377, 
381, 382 

(Prussian colonel), 237, 284 

Bogue, Colonel, 364 

Bonnet (French general), 63, 77, 82, 
83. 123 

Bordesoulle (French general), 220, 
337. 338 

Borsteli (Prussian general), 260, 261, 

274. 377 
Brayer (French general), 367 
Bremen, taken by Tettenborn, 287 
Brennier (French general)^ 77 
Breslau, 36, 150, 156, 185 
Briesnitz, passage of Elbe at, 98 
British troops, 29, 364 
Bubna, Count, 153, 154, 294, 359- 

Billow (Prussian general), 33, 91, 
151 ; at Gross Beeren, 260-262, 
264 ; at Dennewitz, 271, 273-275, 
278 ; in September, 291 ; at 
Leipzig, 362, 364, 377, 379, 381 

Cassel, raid on, 287 

Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza, 155, 

Charles of Mecklenburg, Prince, 298, 

Charpentier (French general), 82, 

335, 338, 362, 376 
Chasteler (Austrian general), 212, 

Clause witz, 60 
Colloredo (Austrian general), 212, 

233, 316, 359, 363, 376 

Commanders (French), 17, 18 

(allied), 30, 31 

Commissariat, 90, 165-167, 289 
Communications, line of (French), 

(allied), 94 

Compans (French general), 63, 77, 

82, 121, 346 
Constantine, Grand Duke, 119 
Corbineau (French general), 211, 

222, 230, 235 
Corswant (Prussian general), 135 
Curial (French general), 339 
Czernitchew (Russian general), 34, 

35. 45. 152. 264, 287 
Czollich (Austrian general), 220, 228 

Danilewski (Russian historian), 
65, 78, 130, 217, 233, 331, 369 

Danzig, 32, 47, 48 

Davout, Marshal, 18, 39, 41-43, 45, 
53 n., 152, 264 

Decouz (French general), 202, 207, 

De France (French general), 259, 
274, 275, 345 

Delmas (French general), 129, 132, 
133. 345. 356, 366 

Dennewitz (battle of) — Description 
of field, 272 ; Bertrand's fight 
with Tauenzien, 273 ; Reynier and 
Oudinot arrive, 274; Ney ruins 
battle, 275 ; defeat of French, 
275 ; retreat, 276 ; losses, 276 ; 
criticisms, 276-278 

Diebitsch (Russian general), 235, 

Discipline, 95 

Doctorow (Russian general), 361 

DolfEs (Prussian 'general), 78, 81, 148 

Dombrowski (French general), 300, 
344, 345, 356, 376, 381 

Doumerc (French general), 337 

Dresden, 4, 38, 42-44, 46, 47, 48, 53, 
57. 59. 60, 96, 98, 102, 160, 163- 
164, 192, 193, 194-196; battle at, 
200-226 ; surrender of, 392, 393 

Dresden (battle of) — Description of 
field, 194-197 ; positions of both 
sides, 25th-26th August, 197-198 ; 
aUied plan of attack, 198, 199 ; 
Russian and Prussian attack, 200, 
201 ; Austrian attack, 201 ; Na- 
poleon arrives, 201, 202 ; French 
reinforcements, 202, 203; hesita- 
tion of allies, 203, 204; re- 
newal of battle, 204; progress 



of allies, 204-206 ; spirit of 
French, 206, 207 ; French counter- 
attack, 207-209 ; results of battle 
of 26th August, 209 ; rain sets in, 
210 ; French troops arrive during 
night, 210 ; forces available for 
27th, 210 ; despondency of allies, 
210, 211 ; Vandamme's operations 
of 26th, 211 ; positions on morn- 
ing 27th, 211-214; advance of 
French left, 214-216 ; Napoleon 
reaches left, 216, 217 ; death of 
Moreau, 217 ; affairs in centre, 
218 ; French attack beyond 
Wesseritz, 218, 219 ; breaking of 
Austrian hne, 219; captures by 
French cavalry, 219, 220 ; ruin 
of Czolhch's brigade, 221 ; Aus- 
trian left destroyed, 221, 222 ; 
Vandamme's operations of 27th, 

222 ; Napoleon's return to 
Dresden, 223 ; losses of allies, 

223 ; criticisms, 223-226 
Drouot (French general), 82, 98, 337, 

Du Casse (" Le g^n^ral Vandamm6 ' *) , 

232 n., 246 
Dumon9eau (French general), 230, 

Dumoustier (French general), 57, 

209, 381 
Dunesne (French general), 239, 241 
Durosnel (French general), 102, no 
Durutte (French general), 41, 43, 44, 

92, 260, 261, 366. 376, 379 

Elbe— Army of, 50, 51, 53, 55, 57, 
63, lOI 

Erfurt, 33, 47, 50, 52, 53, 56, 387 

Eugen of Wurtemberg (Prince) — At 
Liitzen, 81 ; between Liitzen and 
Bautzen, 91, 99; at Bautzen, 115, 
135; in retreat, 142; about 
Pirna, 2ii, 218 ; from Pirna to 
Kulm, 230, 234, 235, 236 ; at 
Leipzig, 332, 333, 337, 338. 363 

Eugene Beauharnais (Viceroy of 
Italy) — Commands in Germany, 
32 ; position and troops, 33 ; 
retires to Frankfort-on-Oder, 34 ; 
to BerUn, 36, 38 ; behind Elbe, 

39 ; decides to defend lower Elbe, 

40 ; recrosses Elbe and fights at 
Mockem, 45 ; retires again, 45 ; 
at Liitzen, 82, 89 ; in pursuit 
after Liitzen, 93 ; sent to Italy, 


FoNTANELLi (French general), 260, 
273. 299 

Fortifications — At Bautzen, 118; at 
Dresden, 163, 164, 193, 195, 196, 
200, 201 ; Magdeburg, Torgau, 
etc., 162 ; Hamburg, 164 ; on the 
Bober, 189 ; at Leipzig, 326, 376 

Fortresses, 162-165 

Foucart (French historian), 109 n., 

Fournier (French general), 262, 344, 
345. 356 

Fox-Strangways, 364 n. 

Frankfort-on-Oder, 34 

Franquemont (French general), 50, 
54, 57, 131, 298 

Frederick William, King of Prussia^ 
5. 6, 37, 58, 83, 124, 130, 181, 203, 
204, 227, 233, 237, 238, 249, 292, 

337. 359, 377> 378, 381 
Free Corps, 23, 34, 35, 54, 152, 287, 

Freiburg, action at, 387 
Friederich (Prussian historian), 21, 

179, 182, 184, 211, 241, 244, 246, 

277> 299, 309, 310, 319. 352, 365, 

Friederichs (French general), 123 

Gerard (French general), 27, 39, 

253, 256, 335, 338, 376 
Girard (French general), 39, 63, 76, 

77, 80, 264 
Glashiitte, action at, 237 
Glogau, 33, 35, 44, 47, 149, 150 
Gneisenau (Prussian general), 30, 

84, 119, 145, 381 
Gobrecht (French general), 231 
Gorda, action at, 287 
Gortchakow (Russian general), 120, 

121, 333, 336 
Gourgaud (French general), 193 
Grenier (French general), 34, 39 
Grosser Garten, 195, 196, 200, 201, 

204, 208, 214 
Gross Beeren (battle of) — Bertrandat 

Blankenfelde, 259, 260 ; Reynier 

at Gross Beeren, 260-262 ; cavalry 

fight in evening, 262 ; criticisms, 

263, 264 
Gross Gorschen, battle of (see 

Liitzen, battle of), 
Grouard (French writer), 179, 246 
Grouchy (French colonel), in, 112 
Guilleminot (French general), 262 
Gustavus Adolphus, 70, 342 
Gyulai (Austrian general), 339-341, 

355, 362, 368, 386. 387 


Hagelberg, action at, 264 

Halle, 56, 57, 59. 61, 91, 386 

Hamburg, 39, 44, 152, 164, 165 

Hanau, battle of, 388-392 

Harz mountains, 51 

Havelberg, 45, 47, 48 

Haxo (French general), 241 

Hellendorf, 230, 231 

Helwig (Prussian colonel), 54 

Hessen-Homburg division, 261, 273, 

Hessen-Homburg, Pnnce of, 359 
Hirschfeld (Prussian general), 264, 

Hochkirch, 117, 133, 271 
Holland, 39, 41 
Horn (Prussian general), 134, 298, 

346, 347, 367, 387 
Horselberg, action at, 387 
Hospitals, 167 

Hotel de Prusse (at Leipzig), 368, 374 
Hoyerswerda, action at, 151 
Hunerbein (Prussian general), 298, 

346, 347, 367, 387 
Huszell (Saxon writer), 379 

Italy, Corps of Observation of, 14, 
52, 53. 54> 56 

Jena, 53, 56 

Manoeuvre of, 51-53 

Jerome Bonaparte, King of West- 
phalia, 7, 287 

Jomini (general and writer), 30, 66, 
107, III, 127, 129, 133, 138, 153, 
203, 217, 227, 233, 327 

EIalisch, Convention of, 37, 48 
Kapzewitch (Russian general), 345, 


Katzbach (battle on) — Description of 
field, 251 ; Bliicher's orders, 251 ; 
Macdonald's orders, 252 ; allies 
evacuate Kroitzsch, 252 ; con- 
fusion among French, 253 ; Lau- 
riston and Langeron, 253, 255 ; 
battle on plateau, 254 ; defeat of 
French, 254 ; repulse of Albert 
and Ricard, 255 ; night after the 
battle, 256 ; losses, 256 ; criti- 
cisms, 256 

Kellermann (French general), 113, 
123, 128, 330 n. 

Kirgener (French general), 143 

Kleist (Prussian general), 56, 61 ; at 
Liitzen, 73, 74, 83 ; in retreat, 
91 ; at Bautzen, 132, 133 ; at 
Dresden, 204, 217 ; in retreat and 

at Kulm, 229, 237, 238, 239, 240, 

249 ; in advance on Leipzig, 316 ; 

at Leipzig, 333, 336-339 
Klenau (Austrian general), at 

Dresden, 222, 225, 228 ; in 

September, 279, 282, 300, 316 ; 

at Leipzig, 333, 335, 336, 360, 366 
Kliix (Prussian general), 76, 77, 134 
Knesebeck (Austrian general), 30, 

Konigstein, 39, 162 
Konigswartha, action at, 113 
Konowintzin (Russian general), 81 
Kopenick, 36 
Kosen, action at, 387 
Krafft (Prussian general), 261 
Krapowitzki (Russian general), 235 
Kudaschew (Russian general), 286, 

Kulm, battles at, 233 ; description 

of field, 234 ; battle of 29th 

August, 234, 235 ; 30th, 239-241 ; 

action of 17th September, 285 
Kiistrin, 33-35 
Kutusow (Russian general), 4, 33, 

35. 37» 38, 44. 46, 58 

Lafontaine, Corporal, 380 
Lagrange (French general), 34, 132 
Langeron (Russian general), 113, 
251, 252, 253, 258, 344, 345, 362, 
366, 367, 379, 382 
Lanrezac (French writer), 15, 17, 19, 
23, 36, 39> 41. 48, 55. 62, 68, 86, 
89, 90, 138 
Lanskoi (Russian general), 61, 123, 

Lapoype (French general), 46 
Latour-Maubourg (French general), 
89, 91, 121, 122, 127, 142, 203, 271 
Lauriston (French general), 35, 39, 
56, 61 ; at Liitzen, 74 ; in pursuit, 
91. 93» 94. no. III. 112, 114 ; at 
Bautzen, 124, 128, 129, 132, 133, 
142 ; at the Katzbach, 252, 253, 
in September, 300 ; at Leipzig, 
336, 338. 363. 384 
Lecoq (French general), 260, 261 
Lederer (Austrian general), 212 
Ledru (French general), 252, 257, 

335. 338, 359. 376 
Lefebvre-Desnoettes (French gene- 
ral), 281, 286, 287 
Lefol (French general), 330 
Leipzig, 44, 47, 59-61, 64, 66, 152 
Leipzig, battle of (see also Wachau, 
Lindenau, Mockern) — Description 
of field, 324-326 ; positions 



morning of i8th October, 354, 355 ; 
allies' plan, 357, 358 ; strength 
of forces, 358 ; battle up to 2 p.m., 
358-363 ; allies' failure against 
Probstheida, 363, 364 ; advance 
of allied right, 364 ; defection of 
Saxons, 365 ; Bennigsen's ad- 
vance, 366 ; Paunsdorf stormed 
and retaken, 366 ; fighting at 
Schonefeld, 367 ; failure of allies 
in north, 367; Gynlai watches 
retreat, 368 ; end of battle, 369 ; 
remarks, 369-372 

Leipzig, storming of, Schwarzen- 
berg's orders, 373 ; French retire, 
373 ; Napoleon's orders for re- 
treat, 374 ; orders to Bertrand 
and Kellermann, 374, 375 ; Leipzig 
at night, 375 ; measures of de- 
fence, 376 ; French positions, 
376 ; advance of allies, 377 ; 
Bliicher, 377 ; Biilow, 377 ; pause 
for negotiations, 378 ; Napoleon 
goes to Lindenau, 378 ; attack 
on suburbs, 379 ; the Grimma 
Gate, 379 ; explosion of mine, 
380 ; last combats, 381 ; losses, 
382-384 ; comments, 384, 385 

Letort (French general), 337 

L'Heritier (French general), 192 

Lichtenstein, A. (Austrian general), 
220, 228, 279, 282 

Lichtenstein, M. (Austrian general), 

Liebertwolkwitz, Murat's action at, 
318, 319 

LiUenstein, 162 

Lindenau, action at, 339 ; Gyulai's 
advance, 340 ; Bertrand arrives, 
341 ; repulse of Austrians, 341 

Lobau (French general), 79, 284, 

Loewenberg, 187, 189, 190 

Lorencez (French general), 121, 127 

Lorge (French general), 259, 286, 

Losses in battles in Russia, 9 ; at 
Liitzen, 89 ; at Bautzen, 136 ; 
at Dresden, 221, 223 ; at Kulm, 
236, 241 ; at Katzbach, 256 ; 
at Gross Beeren, 262 ; at Denne- 
witz, 276 ; at Wartenburg, 299 ; 
at Leipzig, 382-384 ; at Hanau, 

Liibeck, 152 

Luckau, action at, 152 

Liitzen (battle of) — Wittgenstein's 
plan and orders, 66-68 ; descrip- 

tion of field, 69, 70 ; Napoleon's 
orders, 71-73 ; Kleist and Laur- 
iston, 75 ; Prussian attack, 75, 
76 ; cavalry at Starsiedel, 76 ; 
Ney returns to Kaja, 77 ; Na- 
poleon arrives, 78 ; Kaja taken 
and recovered, 79 ; Bliicher 
wounded, 79 ; arrival of Russian 
reserves, 79 ; struggle for the 
villages, 79-81 ; Bertrand, Mar- 
chand and Macdonald arrive, 81 ; 
allies driven back, 83 ; Prussian 
cavalry charge, 83 ; end of battle 
and criticisms, 83-90 ; losses, 89 

Macdonald, Marshal, 5 ; at Liitzen, 
81 ; in pursuit, 105 ; at Bautzen, 
121, 122, 127, 130 ; after Bautzen, 
145, 148 ; left on Bober, 187, 189, 
190 ; at Katzbach, 250, 251, 253, 
254, 256-258 ; in September, 270, 
271 ; at Leipzig, 334, 335. 337, 
338, 359, 360, 376; at Hanau, 

Magdeburg, 35, 39, 4i-44» 47> 48. 
52, 60, 162 

Main, Army of the, 49-51, 53, 55> 56, 
57, 63 

Maison (French general), 74, 128, 
129, 132, 147, 148, 338 

Marchand (French general), 55, 57, 
81, 82, 189, 335, 360, 376 

Marmont, Marshal, 50, 53 ; at 
Liitzen, 76, 77, 78, 83 ; at Bautzen, 
121, 122, 131, 133, 146, 148 ; be- 
tween Bautzen and Dresden, 176, 
178, 187 ; at Dresden, 218, 227, 
229, 232 ; pursuit after Dresden, 
232, 237, 241, 248, 250 ; in 
September, 270, 289, 300, 301 ; 
at Mockern, 341-347 ; at Leipzig, 
367, 376 ; at Hanau. 391 

Mayence, 54, 56 

Mecklenburg, Prince Charles of, 298, 

Meerveldt (Austrian general), 333, 

334. 339, 354, 371 
Mensdorf (Austrian general), 287 
Merseburg, 57, 61, 320, 321 
Messery (Austrian general), 219 
Meszko (Austrian general), 206, 219- 

Metternich, 233 

Michelsdorf, action at, 147, 148 
Miloradowich (Russian general), 33, 

38, 46, 57, 60, 61, 64, 81, 86, 88, 

91, 93, 99, 105, 120, 127, 130, 217 


Mine, explosion at Leipzig, 380 

Mockern (near Magdeburg), 44, 45 

(Leip2dg), battle of, 341 ; 

Marmont's first position, 341 ; 
his views and orders, 342 ; re- 
tires to new position, 343 ; 
Bliicher's plans, 343 ; his ad- 
vance, 344; Yorck's movements. 
344 ; Marmont's plans, 344 ; 
failure of attack on Mockern, 
345 ; affairs at Wiederitzech, 
345 ; arrival of Delmas, 345 ; 
Yorck attacks French centre, 
345, 346 ; crisis of battle, 346 ; 
defeat of Marmont, 346, 347 ; 
losses, 347 ; criticisms, 350 

Montfort, Colonel, 380 

Morand, Count (French general), 54, 
57> 63, 71, 81, 131, 273, 298, 299 

Morand (French general), 35, 39, 44 

Moreau, 30, 193, 203, 217 

Mortier, Marshal, 50, 106, 208, 214, 
215, 389, 337 

Mouton (see Lobau) 

Mouton-Duvernet (French general), 
194, 223, 230 

Muffling (Prussian general), 30, 70, 

Mumb (Austrian general), 219-221 
Murat (King of Naples), 5, 32, 192; 
at Dresden, 202, 218, 220, 224 ; 
in pursuit, 232, 236 ; in Sep- 
tember, 270, 289 ; sent against 
Schwarzenberg, 300, 301, 316 ; 
battle at Liebertwolkwitz, 318- 
320 ; at Leipzig, 374, 375, 378 

Nansouty (French general), 215, 

Napoleon — Returns from Russia, i ; 
political situation, 2, 7, 8 ; or- 
ganises new army, 9-20 ; evils 
of system of command, 17 ; corre- 
spondence with Eugene, 36, 38, 
40, 42 ; first scheme for spring 
campaign, 47-49 ; revised plan, 
49-52 ; orders of 28th-29th March, 
52 ; explains views, 52, 53 ; 
leaves for front, 54 ; his use of the 
Saale, 56 ; decision to advance, 
62 ; orders before Liitzen, 71-73 ; 
orders at noon, 74, 75 ; reaches 
battlefield, 78 ; arranges decisive 
attack, 82 ; in pursuit after 
Liitzen, 91, 96 ; and King of 
Saxony, 96, 97 ; orders to Ney, 
97 ; crosses Elbe at Briesnitz, 98 ; 
prepares further advance, 100, 

1 01 ; dissolves army of Elbe, 
loi ; rearranges communications, 
102 ; his doubts, 103, 104 ; 
orders advance on Bautzen, 106- 
109 ; leaves Dresden, 109 ; orders 
to Durosnel and Ney, no; plan 
for Bautzen, 124 ; orders to Ney 
for 2ist May, 125-127, 129 ; 
during battle, 127, 130, 131, 135 ; 
his views on tactics, 140 ; criti- 
cisms, 1 37-1 41 ; his remark on 
result, 141 ; and Duroc, 143 ; 
pursuit after Bautzen, 142-145, 
146, 150 ; negotiations, 153-156 ; 
why he accepted armistice, 156- 
159 ; returns to Dresden, 160 ; 
plans for autumn campaign, 161 ; 
prepares Elbe base, 162 ; for- 
tresses, 162-165 ; commissariat, 
165-167 ; hospitals, 167 ; recon- 
naissances, 167, 168 ; his assump- 
tions regarding enemy, 168-170 ; 
plan of campaign, 170-180; leaves 
Dresden, 185 ; view of situation, 
185, 186 ; moves against Bliicher, 
187, 188 ; order for Army of the 
Bober, 189 ; scheme for move- 
ment by Pima, 190, 191 ; decides 
to move on Dresden, 193 ; arrives 
there, 194, 202 ; his arrangement 
of troops, 203, 204 ; prepares for 
counter-attack, 206 ; return to 
Palace, 209 ; arrangements for 
27th August, 210, 213 ; on morn- 
ing of 27th, 215 ; goes to left, 
216 ; directs battery which killed 
Moreau, 217 ; return to Palace, 
223 ; criticisms, 223-226 ; orders 
for pursuit, 227, 229, 230 ; goes to 
Pima, 231 ; returns to Dresden, 
231 ; orders to Vandamme, 232 ; 
conduct of pursuit and responsi- 
bihty for Kulm, 241-248 ; alleged 
illness, 248 ; how far responsible 
for Katzbach, 258 ; for Gross 
Beeren, 264 ; his note of 30th 
August, 265-268 ; orders to Ney, 
269 ; changes plans, 269 ; drives 
Bliicher back, 270, 271 ; returns 
to Dresden, 271 ; position of 
affairs, 6th September, 279 ; joins 
St Cyr, 280 ; hears of Denne- 
witz, 281 ; drives enemy to 
Bohemia, 281-284 ; returns to 
Pirna, 285 ; goes south again, 
285 ; back to Pirna, operations 
against " free " corps, 286 ; in- 
activity at Pirna, 288, 289; 



orders of 21st September, 290 ; 
third advance against Bliicher, 
290, 291 ; decides to abandon 
right bank of Elbe, 291 ; orders 
for this, 293 ; orders regarding 
Rhine fortresses, 294 ; remarks 
on his indecision, 295, 296 ; sends 
Murat against Schwarzenberg, 
300 ; scheme for destruction of 
Bemadotte and Bliicher, 300, 301 ; 
question of holding Dresden, 302- 
305 ; note of 7th October, 303, 
304 ; views and orders, 9th 
October, 306, 307 ; advance, 9th 
October, 308, 309 ; vacillation 
at Diiben, 309-314 ; decides to 
concentrate on Leipzig, 315 ; 
defection of Bavaria, 317 ; orders 
for 14th October, 317 ; leaves 
Diiben for Leipzig, 318 ; meets 
Murat, 320 ; correspondence of 
15th October, 320, 321 ; alleged 
influence of Marshals, 322 ; 
reaches battlefield of Wachau, 
332 ; reinforces weak points, 334 ; 
passes to offensive, 334, 335 ; 
announces victory, 336 ; pre- 
pares general attack, 336 ; at 
night, 339 ; interview with Meer- 
veldt, 352 ; hesitates to retreat, 
352, 353 ; failure to provide 
bridges, 353 ; retires to new 
position, 354 ; personal move- 
ments on 1 8th October, 358, 368, 

369 ; mistake of delayed retreat, 

370 ; orders for retreat, 374 ; to 
Bertrand and Kellermann, 374, 
375 ; on 19th October, 378-380 ; 
reaches Erfurt, 387 ; at Hanau, 

Ney, Marshal, 49, 52, 53, 63 ; faults 
at Liitzen, 72, 73, 76, 77, 85, 86 ; 
from Liitzen to Bautzen, 92, 94, 
96, 97, 107, 114, 121-123 ; at 
Bautzen, 125-129, 132-134, 137- 
139, 146, 149, 187, 190 ; at 
Dresden, 203, 207-209, 215, 250 ; 
at Dennewitz, 270, 271-277 ; in 
September, 299, 300 ; at Leipzig, 
356, 362, 367 

Normann (Saxon general), 346, 361 

Norvins, M. de (quoted), 304 n. 

Nostitz (Austrian general), 337, 386 

Odeleben (quoted), 20, 248, 283, 

291. 379 
Oder, R., 35-37, 47, 49 
Olsuview (Russian general), 345 

2 C 

Osterman Tolstoi (Russian general), 
211, 230, 233-235, 316 

Oudinot, Marshal, 92 ; at Bautzen, 
121-123, 127, 130 ; against Billow, 
151, 152 ; ordered on Berlin, 179, 
180 ; at Gross Beeren, 258, 259,. 
262, 267 ; at Dennewitz, 271, 272, 
274, 275, 277 ; his corps dissolved,. 
289 ; at Leipzig, 337 

Pacthod (French general), 54, 127 
Pajol (French general), 192, 202, 

203, 209, 218, 220 
Petri (Prussian mappist), 125, 167 n. 
Peyri (French general), 54, 57, 63,. 


PhiUppon (French general), 222^ 
230, 235 

Plagwitz, action at, 258 

Platow (Cossack Ataman), 300, 359- 

Poniatowski (French general and 
Marshal), 6, 9, 33, 35, 47, 270, 
316, 337, 363, 376, 380, 381 

Positions on various dates : — 
(French), 19th February, 35 ; 
25th April, 56 ; 30th April, 57 ; 
ist May, 63 ; 4th May, 93 ; 5th 
May, 94 ; 8th May, 96 ; nth May, 
103 ; 1 8th May, 108 ; 19th May, 
no; 20th May, 123, 124; 21st 
May (evening), 136 ; 22nd May, 

143 ; 23rd May, 144 ; 25th May, 

144 ; 27th May, 148 ; 30th May, 
149; 31st May, 150; after 
armistice, 172 ; at Dresden, 26th. 
August, 197 ; 27th August, 212, 
213 ; 29th-3oth August, 236, 237 ; 
Macdonald, 24th August, 250 ; 
Ney, 5th September, 272 ; 25th 
September, 293, 294 ; end of 
September, 294 ; 7th October, 
305, 306, and Map i inset (c) ; 
9th October, 309 ; evening, 12th 
October, 314, and Map i inset (d) ; 
evening, 15th October, 321, 322 ; 
1 6th October, 329, 330; mornings 
i8th October, 354, 355; i9tli 
October, 376 

(AlUes), 19th February, 35 ; 
26th April, 59 ; ist May, 64 ; 
19th May, 120 ; evening, 21st 
May, 135, 136 ; 23rd May, 144 ; 
27th May, 149 ; 4th June, 151 ; 
26th August at Dresden, 197 ; 
27th August, 211, 212; 29th- 
30th August, 236 ; end of 
September, 294 ; 3rd October, 


300 ; 7th October, 306 ; i6th 
October, 330, 331 ; morning, i8th 
October, 355 ; night, 1 8th October, 
369 ; evening, 19th October, 386 ; 
2oth October, 387 

Prague, Congress of, 160 

Prussia, 5, 34, 35, 37, 49 

Puthod (French general), 92, 124, 
148, 252, 257, 258 

^uiOT (French general), 230, 231, 

Quistorp (Prussian writer), 384 

Radetzky (Austrian general), 30, 

180, 228, 292, 293, 334 
Raglowich (Bavarian general), 50, 

54, 259, 275 
Raids, 35, 54, 152, 287, 288 
Rajewski (Russian general), 113, 

336, 338 
Rechberg (Bavarian general), 37, 39, 

Reichenbach, combat at, 142 
Reiset (French general), 121 
Reuss, Prince, 231, 233 
Reynier (French general), 6, 33, 35, 

42, 43, 96, 108, 132, 142, 259, 260- 

262, 272, 274, 275, 356, 361, 364, 

Rhenish Confederation, 7, 62 
Rhine, R., 41, 42, 162 
Ricard (French general), 77, 129, 

132, 255, 367, 376 
Ried, Convention of, 317 
Rochambeau (French general), 132, 

Rockets (Congreve), 364 
Roder (Prussian general), 68, 77, 

132, 134 
Roguet (French general), 39, 43, 57, 

202, 203, 214, 215 
Roth (Russian general), 200, 214, 

Rousset, Camille (French writer), 

9 n., 15-17 

Saale, R., 42, 43, 45, 50, 56. 57, 

162, 307, 322, 387 
Sacken (Russian general), 35, 251- 

255, 347. 356, 362, 367, 382 
St Cyr, Carra (French general), 39, 

St Cyr, Marshal Gouvion, 13, 18, 34, 
35, 36, 41, 63 n., 140, 167, 178, 180, 
188, 189, 191-193, 202, 215, 224, 
227, 229, 232, 241, 280-285, 301, 
575, 392, 393 

St Priest (Russian general), 81, 252, 

347, 356, 367 
Saxony, King of, 46, 96, 97, 98, 361, 

365. 375, 378, 381, 384 
Schafer (Prussian general), 333, 335, 
Scharnhorst (Prussian general), 44, 

58, 60, 80 
Schuler (Prussian colonel), 237, 238 
Schwarzenberg (Austrian general), 

6, 30, 33. 34. 35, 47, 191, 192. 197, 

198, 204, 227, 237, 279, 282, 292, 

316, 317, 322, 323, 326, 327, 328, 

331. 332, 334. 355, 375, 381. 392 
Schweidnitz, 146, 149 
Sebastiani (French general), 92, 108, 

252, 253, 256, 270, 335, 338, 

Sehr (Saxon general), 260, 261 
Serrurier (French general), 204 
Sokolnicki (French general), 330 n. 
Souham (French general), 61, 63, 

64, 77, 129, 132, 251, 256, 258, 


Soult, Marshal, 18, 121, 123, 127 

Spandau, 33-35, 4^ 

Stadion, Count, 153, 154 

Stedingk (Swedish general), 271 

Steinmetz (Prussian general), 93, 
133, 134, 346 

Stettin, 33, 35, 38. 47, 48, 49 

Stewart (Colonel), 343 

Strengths on various dates : — 

(French) 19th February, 35 ; 
loth March, 39 ; beginning of 
April, 49 ; 12th April, 53 ; 25th 
April, 55 ; 15th May, loi ; 21st 
May, 136 ; after armistice, 169, 
170 ; at Dresden, 197, 199, 210 ; 
end of September, 296 ; 7th 
October, 306 ; Murat on loth 
October, 310 ; morning, i6th 
October, 328 ; 18th October, 
358, in Leipzig, 19th October, 377 
(Allies) 1 8th February, 35 ; 
15th March, 38 ; ist May, 65 ; 
15th May, loi ; 19th May, 119 ; 
after armistice, 169, 170 ; at 
Dresden, 198, 199; at Blanken- 
felde, 259 ; at Gross Beeren, 263 ; 
1 6th October, 328 ; i6th to 19th 
October, 329 ; i8th October, 358 

Striegau, 149 

Sweden, 6, 7 

Tangermunde, 45 

Tauenzien (Prussian general), 259, 

260, 271, 273, 314, 315, 316 
Tauroggen, Convention of, 6 



Tchichagow (Russian general), 32, 

33. 34 
Teste (French general), 202, 203, 

209, 218 
Thielmann (Saxon general), 46, 96, 

97, 98, 287 
Thorn, 34, 46, 100 
Thiimen (Prussian general), 273, 

274. 299, 314-316 
Toll (Russian general), 30, 58, 59, 

60, 180, 181, 228, 327, 335 
Torgau, 39, 92, 96, 98, 162, 299 
Tormassow (Russian general), 58, 59, 

Trachenberg, protocol of, 181-183 ; 

modified, 183-184, 271 
Tschaplitz (Russian general), 113, 

123, 128, 132 

Vandamme (French general), 194, 

211, 218, 222, 224, 229, 230-232, 

234, 235, 237, 238-241 
Victor, Marshal, 39, 92, 108, 147, 

149, 218-222, 284, 337-339, 363. 

von Boyen (Prussian general), 21, 

von Caemmerer (Prussian writer), 

68, 73, 75, 88, 89. 112, 124, 125, 

137, 169, 223, 295, 322, 323 
von Hochberg, 376 
von Zeschau (Saxon general), 365 

Wachau (battle of) — Description of 
field, 324-326 ; Schwarzenberg's 
orders, 326-328 ; positions of 
troops, 329, 330 ; Wittgenstein's 
plan of attack, 331 ; Schwaxzen- 
berg's proclamation, 331 n. ; Tsar 
tries to correct faults, 332 ; Eugen 
of Wurtemberg's attack on 
Wachau, 332, 333 ; Kleist's on 
Markkleeberg, 333 ; Gortchakow, 
Pahlen and Klenau, 333 ; Meer- 
veldt, 333, 334 ; Napoleon re- 
inforces weak points, 334 ; Mac- 
donald takes Kolm Berg, 335 ; 
Lauriston retakes Liebertwolk- 
witz, 336 ; fight at Wachau and 
Markkleeberg, 336 ; Meerveldt's 
failure, 336 ; Napoleon antici- 
pates victory, 336 ; prepares 
general attack, 336, 337 ; ad* 

vance of Victor, Oudinot, Ponia- 
towski, and Augereau, 337 ; 
cavalry fight of Letort and 
Berkheim, 337 ; Drouot's battery, 
337 ; BordesouUe's cavalry charge, 
337, 338 ; French left advance, 
338 ; Maison at Guldengossa, 
338 ; Victor at Auenhain, 339 ; 
critical position of French right, 
339 ; Meerveldt crosses Pleisse 
but is driven back and taken, 339 ; 
positions at night, 339 ; criti- 
cisms, 348-350' 

Walmoden (Swedish general), 152, 

Wartenburg, passage of Elbe at, 
description of field, 297 ; Meck- 
lenburg's attack; 298 ; Steinmetz, 
Horn, and Hunerbein, 298 ; 
Bliicher arrives, 298 ; Franque- 
mont's retreat, 298 ; retreat of 
French, 299 ; losses, 299 

Weissenwolf (Austrian general), 220, 

339, 355 
Winzingerode (Russian general), 37, 

76, 81, 271, 367 
Wittenberg, 92, 96, 162 
Wittgenstein (Russian general), 33, 

37, 38, 44, 46, 58, 60, 61, 112, 119, 

123, 124, 130, 145, 191, 193, 208, 

214, 229, 281, 316, 331, 332 
Wobeser (Prussian general), 299 
Wolkonski (Russian general), 59, 

61, 78 
Wolzogen (Russian general), 230, 

234, 334 
Woronzow (Russian general), 152 
Wrede (Bavarian general), defeated 

at Hanau, 388-392 

Yermolow (Russian general), 134, 

230, 235 
Yorck (Prussian general), 5, 33, 35, 

120, 251-255, 298, 344, 345, 346, 

Yorck von Wartenburg (Prussian 
writer), 47, 80, 82, 113, 126, 131, 
133, 134, 151. 165, 177, 244, 291, 
356, 362, 367, 387 

ZiETHEN (Prussian general), 134, 
147, 148, 239, 240, 335, 338, 360 


T has long been a reproach to 
England that only one volume 
has been adequately rendered 
into English ; yet outside this 
country he shares with 
TOLSTOI the distinction 
of being the greatest and most daring 
student of humanity living. 

H There have been many difficulties to 
encounter in completing arrangements for a 
uniform edition, though perhaps the chief bar- 
rier to publication here has been the fact that 
his v/ri tings are not for babes — but for men 
and the mothers of men. Indeed, some of his 
Eastern romances are written with biblical can- 
dour. " I have sought truth strenuously," he 
tells us, ** I have met her boldly. I have never 
turned from her even when she wore an 


unexpected aspect." Still, it is believed that the dsLj has 
come for giving English versions of all his imaginative 
works, as vv^ell as of his monumental study JOAN OF 
ARC, which is undoubtedly the most discussed book in the 
world of letters to-day. 

f MR. JOHN LANE has pleasure in announcing that 
the following volumes are either already published or are 
passing through the press. 











JOAN OF ARC (2 vols.) 

f All the books will be published at 6/- each with the 
exception of JOAN OF ARC, which will be 25/- net 
the two volumes, with eight Illustrations. 

f The format of the volumes leaves little ro be desired. 
The size is Demy 8vo (9 X 5|), and they arc printed from 
Caslon type upon a paper light in weight and strong of 
texture, with a cover design in crimson and gold, a gilt top, 
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Henry Ospovat« In short, these are volumes for the biblio- 
phile as well as the lover of fiction, and form perhaps the 
cheapest library edition of copyright novels ever published, 
for the price is only that of an ordinary novel. 

f The translation of these books has been entrusted to 
such competent French scholars as MR. Alfred allinson,. 



II As Anatole Thibault, dit Anatole France, is to most 
English readers merely a name, it will be well to state that 
he was born in 1844 in the picturesque and inspiring 
surroundings of an old bookshop on the Quai Voltaire, 
Paris, kept by his father. Monsieur Thibault, an authority on 
eighteenth-century history, from whom the boy caught the 
passion for the principles of the Revolution, while from his 
mother he was learning to love the ascetic ideals chronicled 
in the Lives of the Saints. He was schooled with the lovers 
of old books, missals and manuscript ; he matriculated on the 
Quais with the old Jewish dealers of curios and objeis (Tart; 
he graduated in the great university of life and experience. 
It will be recognised that all his work is permeated by his 
youthful impressions ; he is, in fact, a virtuoso at large. 

H He has written about thirty volumes of fiction. His 
first novel was JOCASTA & THE FAMISHED CAT 
appeared in 188 1, and had the distinction of being crowned 
by the French Academy, into which he was received in 1896. 

H His work is illuminated with style, scholarship, and 
psychology ; but its outstanding features are the lambent wit, 
the gay mockery, the genial irony with which he touches every 
subject he treats. But the wit is never malicious, the mockery 
never derisive, the irony never barbed. To quote from his own 
GARDEN OF EPICURUS : "Irony and Pity are both of 
good counsel ; the first with her smiles makes life agreeable, 
the other sanctifies it to us with her tears. The Irony I 
invoke is no cruel deity. She mocks neither love nor 
beauty. She is gentle and kindly disposed. Her mirth 
disarms anger and it is she teaches us to laugh at rogues and 
fools whom but for her we might be so weak as to hate." 

V Often he shows how divine humanity triumphs over 
mere asceticism, and with entire reverence ; indeed, he 
might be described as an ascetic overflowing with humanity, 
just as he has been termed a " pagan, but a pagan 
constantly haunted by the pre-occupation of Christ." 
He is in turn — like his own Choulette in THE RED 
LILY — saintly and Rabelaisian, yet without incongruity; 


At all times he is the unrelenting foe of superstition and 
hypocrisy. Of himself he once modestly said : " You will 
find in my writings perfect sincerity (lying demands a talent 
I do not possess), much indulgence, and some natural 
affection for the beautiful and good." 

H The mere extent of an author's popularity is perhaps a 
poor argument, yet it is significant that two books by this 
author are in their HUNDRED AND TENTH THOU- 
SAND, and numbers of them well into their SEVENTIETH 
THOUSAND, whilst the one which a Frenchman recently 
described as " Monsieur France's most arid book " is in its 

f Inasmuch as M. FRANCE'S ONLY contribution to 
an English periodical appeared in THE YELLOW BOOK, 
vol. v., April 1895, together with the first important English 
appreciation of his work from the pen of the Hon. Maurice 
Baring, it is peculiarly appropriate that the English edition 
of his works should be issued from the Bodley Head. 


'. ~ - - 1 90 

To Mr ^ 


Please send me the following works 0/ Anaiole France: 




]OAN OF ARC (2 Vols.) 

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%* This interesting contribution to Nelson literature is drawn from the journals 
and correspondence of the Rev. Edmund Nelson. Rector of Burnham Thorpe and his 
youngest daughter, the father and sister of Lord Nelson. The Rector was evidently 
a man of broad views and sympathies, for we find him maintaining friendly relations 
with his son and daughter-in-law after their separation. What is even more strange, 
he felt perfectly at liberty to go direct from the house of Mrs. Horatio Nelson in Nor 
folk to that of Sir, William and Lady Hamilton in London, where his son was staying 

he felt perfectly at liberty to go direct from the house of Mrs. Horatio Nelson in Nor- 
folk to that of Sir, William and Lady Hamilton in London, where his son was staying. 
This book shows how complerely and without reserve the family received Lady 


Life of Madame Tallien Notre Dame de Thermidor. From the 
last days of the French Revolution, until her death as Princess 
Chimay in 1835. By L. Gastine, Translated from the French 
by J. LEvt^is May. With a Photogravure Frontispiece and 16 
other Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9X5I inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 



By VioLETTE M. Montagu. Author of "The Scottish College in 
Paris," etc. With a Photogravure Frontispiece and i6 other 
Illustrations and Three Plans. Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches.) 
I2S. 6d. net. 

%*Aniong the many queens of France, queens by right of marriage with the reigning 
sovereign, queens of beauty or of intrigue, the name of Sophie Dawes, the daughter 
of humble tisherfolk in the Isle of Wight, better known as "the notorious Mme. de 
Feucheres," "The Queen of Chantilly" and "The Montespan de Saint Leu" in the land 
which she chose as a suitable sphere in which to excercise her talents for money- 
making and lor getting on in the world, stand forth as a proof of what a women's will 
can accomplish when that will is accompanied with an uncommon share of intelligence. 


SAVOY. 1 5 2 3- 1 5 74. A Biography with Photogravure Frontis- 
piece and 16 other Illustrations and Facsmile Reproductions 
of Hitherto Unpublished Letters. Demy 8vo. (9X5I inches.) 
I2s. 6d. net. 

*^f*Atime when the Italians are celebrating the Jubliee ol the Italian Kingdom 
is perhaps no unfitting moment in which to glance back over the annals of that royal 
House 01 Savoy which has rendered Italian unity possible. Margaret of France may 
without exaggeration be counted among the builders of modern Italv. She married 
Emanuel Philibert, the founder of Savoyard greatness: and from the day of her 
marriage until the day of her death she laboured to advance the interests of her 
adopted land. 


TIMES. 1630-1676. By Hugh Stokes. With a Photogravure 
Frontispiece and 16 other Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9X5I 
inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 

*4f* The name of Marie Marguerite d' Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers, is famous 
is famous in the annals of crime, but the true history other career is little known. A 
woman of birth and rank, she was also a remorseless poisoner, and her trial was one 
of the most sensational episodes of the early reign of Louis XIV. The author was 
attracted to this curious subject by Charles le Brun's realistic sketch of the unhappy 
Marquise as she appeared on her way to execution. This chief cf oeuvre of misery and 
agony forms the frontispiece to the volume, and strikes a fitting keynote to an 
absorbing story of human passion and wrong-doing. 


1735-1821. By Eugene Welvert. Translated from the French 
by Lilian O'Neill. With a Photogravure Frontispiece and 16 
other Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9 X 5| inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 

%* The Duchesse de Narbonne-Lara was Lady-in-Waiting to Madame Adelaide, 
the eldest daughter of Louis XV. Around the stately figure of this Princess are 
gathered the most remarkable characters of the days oi the Old Regime, the 
Revolution and the fist Empire. The great charm of the work is th at it takes us over so 
much and varied ground. Here, in the gay crowd of ladies and courtiers, in the rustle 
of flowery silken paniers, in the clatter of high-heeled shoes, move the figures of 
Louis XV., Louis XVI., Du Barri and Marie- Antoinette. We catch picturesque 
glimpses of the great wits, diplomatists and soldiers of the time, until, finally we 
encounter Napoleon Bonaparte. 



the Papers of a Macaroni and his Kindred. By A. M.W. Stirling, 
author of " Coke of Norfolk and his Friends." With 3 3 
Illustrations, including 3 in Colour and 3 in Photogravure. 
Demy 8vo. (9 x 5| inches.) 2 vols. 

MINIATURES: A Series of Reproductions in 

Photogravure of Eighty-Five Miniatures of Distinguished Personages, 
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Royal, and the Princess Victoria. Painted by Charles Turrell. 
(Folio.) The Edition is limited to One Hundred Copies for sale 
in England and America, and Twenty-Five Copies for Presentation, 
Review, and the Museums. Each will be Numbered and Signed 
by the Artist. 1 5 guineas net. 


WALPOLE. During the Reign of George III. from 1771-1783. 
With Notes by Dr. Doran. Edited with an Introduction by A. 
Francis Steuart, and containing numerous Portraits reproduced 
from contemporary Pictures, Engravings, etc. 2 vols. Demy 8vo. 
(9 X Sl inches.) 25s. net. 


Wheeler and A. M. Broadley. An Account of The Rebellion 
in South of Ireland in 1798, told from Original Documents. 
With numerous Reproductions of contemporary Portraits and 
Engravings. Demy 8vo. (9X5I inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 


by His Valet FRAN901S. Translated from the French by Maurice 
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Joseph Conway, M.A. With 32 Full-page Illustrations. Demy 
8vo. (9X5I inches.) los. 6d. net. 


COLLINS. Written and Compiled by his son, L. C. Collins. 
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Joseph Turquan. Author of "The Love Affairs of Napoleon," 

etc. Translated from the French by Miss Violette Montagu. 

With a Photogravure Frontispiece and i6 other Illustrations. 

Demy 8vo. (9 X 5| inches.) 

%* Although much has been written concerning the Empress Josephine, we 
know comparatively little about the veuve Beauharnais and the citoyenne Bonaparte. 
whose inconsiderate conduct during her husband's absence caused him so much 
anguish . We are so accustomed to consider Josephine as the innocent victim of a cold 
and calculating tyrant who allowed nothing, neither human lives nor natural affections, 
to stand in the way of his all-conquering will, that this volume will come to us rather 
as a surprise. Modern historians are over-fond of blaming Napoleon for having 
divorced the companion of his early years ; but after having read the above work, the 
reader will be constrained to admire General Bonaparte's forbearance and will wonder 
how he ever came to allow her to play the Queen at the Tuileries. 

Elizabeth Godfrey. With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 
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AUGUSTUS SAINT GAUDENS : an Appreciation. 

By C. Lewis Hind. Illustrated with 47 full-page Reproductions 
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By Mrs. Herbert St. John Mildmay. Further Letters and 
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SIMON BOLIVAR : El Libertador. A Life of the 

Leader of the Venezuelan Revolt against Spain, By F. Loraine 
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OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY : With Some Notices of His 
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after the Independence," etc. With a Portrait in Photogravure 
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%* "The greatest living Englishman" was the tribute ol his Continental 
contemporaries to Sir. Joseph Banks. The author of his "Life" has, with some 
enthusiasm, sketched the record of a man who for a period of half a century filled a 
very prominent place in society, but whose name is almost forgotten by the present 



The Story of the Great Terror, 1 797-1 805. By H. F. B. 
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Outlook.—' ^The book is not merely one to be ordered from the library ; it should be 
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who love England." 


Rose, Litt.D. (Cantab.), Author of **The Life of Napoleon," 
and A. M. Broadley, joint- author of "Napoleon and the Invasion 
of England." Illustrated with numerous Portraits, Maps, and 
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Browning, M.A., Author of" The Boyhood and Youth of Napoleon." 
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Spectator. — "Without doubt Mr. Oscar Browning has produced a book which should 
have its place in any library of Napoleonic literature." 

Truth.— "Mr. Oscar Browning has made not the least, but the most of the romantic 
material at his command for the story of the fall of the greatest figure in history." 


1 769-1 793. Some Chapters on the early life of Bonaparte. 
By Oscar Browning, m.a. With numerous Illustrations, Por- 
traits etc. Crown 8vo. 5s. net. 

Daily News. — "Mr. Browning has with patience, labour, careful study, and excellent 
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this most fascinating ot human personalities. 


Joseph Turquan. Translated from the French by James L. May. 
With 32 Full-page Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches). 
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By Edward de Wertheimer. Translated from the German. 

With numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9X5I inches.) 

2 IS. net. (Second Edition.) 

Times. — "A mot>t careful and interesting work which presents the first complete and 
authoritative account of this unfortunate Prince." 

Westminster Gasette.—*^ This book, admirably produced, reinforced by many 
additional portraits, is a solid contribution to history and a monument ©f patient, 
well-applied research." 



> By F. LoRAiNE Petre. With an Introduction by Field- 
, Marshal Earl Roberts, V.C, K.G., etc. With Maps, Battle 
Plans, Portraits, and i6 Full-page Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 
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Scotsman. — "Neither too concise, nor too diffuse, the book is eminently readable. It 
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Outlook. — "Mr. Petre has visited the battlefields and read everthing, and his 
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literary ability, can be." 


1 807. A Military History of Napoleon's First War with Russia, 
verified from unpublished official documents. By F. Loraine 
Petre. With 1 6 Full-page Illustrations, Maps, and Plans. New 
Edition. Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches). 12s. 6d. net. 

y4r»«wa«rfiVay_yC/(ro«tc/tf.— "We welcome a second edition of this valuable work. . . . 
Mr. Loraine Petre is an authority on the wars of the great Napoleon, and has 
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CHARLES. A History of the Franco-Austrian Campaign in 
the Valley of the Danube in 1809. By F. Loraine Petre. 
With 8 Illustrations and 6 sheets of Maps and Plans. Demy 8vo. 
(9X5! inches). 12s. 6d. net. 

RALPH HEATHCOTE. Letters of a Diplomatist 

During the Time of Napoleon, Giving an Account of the Dispute 
between the Emperor and the Elector of Hesse. By Countess 
Gunther Gr5ben. With Numerous Illustrations. Demy 8vo. 
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A record of the extraordinary events in the life of a French 
Royalist during the war in La Vendee, and of his flight to South- 
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With an introduction by Frederic Masson, Appendices and Notes 
by Pierre Amedee Pichot, and other hands, and numerous Illustra- 
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Daily Ncws.—^^Wc have seldom met with a human document which has interested us 
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Edited by his Grandson, John Mayne Colles. With 16 
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Chronicles of the Court of Napoleon III. By Fr^d^ric Loli^e. 
With an introduction by Richard Whiteing, and 53 full-page 
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2 IS. net. 

Standard.— "M. Frederic Loliee has written a remarkable book, vivid and pitiless in 
its description of the intrigue and dare-devil spirit which flourished unchecked at 
the French Court. . . . Mr. Richard Whitemg's introduction is written with 
restraint and dignity. 


ECHEROLLES. Translated from the French by Marie 
Clothilde Balfour. With an introduction by G. K. Fortescue, 
Portraits, etc. 5s. net. 

Liverpool Mercury. — *'. . . this absorbing book. . . . The work has a very 
decided historical value. The translation is excellent, and quite notable in the 
preservation of idiom. 


STUDY. By Edward Hutton. With a Photogravure Frontis- 
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(i 840-1 893). By his Brother, Modeste Tchaikovsky. Edited 
and abridged from the Russian and German Editions by Rosa 
Newmarch. With Numerous Illustrations and Facsimiles and an 
Introduction by the Editor. Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches.) 
7s. 6d. net. Second edition. 

The Times.— ^^h most illuminating commentary on Tchaikovsky's music," 

IVorld. — "One of the most fascinating self-revelations by an artist which has been 
given to the world. The translation is excellent, and worth reading for its own 

Contemporary Review.— '^Th.cho6k's?i^V>ez\ is, of course, primarily to the music-lover ; 
but there is so much of human and literary interest in it, such intimate revelation 
of a singularly interesting personality, that many who have never come under the 
spell oAhe Pathetic Symphony will be strongly attracted by what is virtually the 
spiritual autobiography of its composer. High praise is due to the translator and 
editor for the literary skill with which she has prepared the English version of 
this fascinating work. . . There have been few collections of letters published 
within recent years that give so vivid a portrait of the writer as that" presented to 
us in these pages." 


NEY, K.C.M.G., Commander of Li Hung Chang's trained 
force in the Taeping Rebellion, founder of the first Chinese 
Arsenal, Secretary to the first Chinese Embassy to Europe. 
Secretary and Councillor to the Chinese Legation in London for 
thirty years. By Demetrius C. Boulger, Author of the 
" History of China," the " Life of Gordon," etc. With Illus- 
trations. Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches.) Price 21s. net. 


EVENTS. By S. Baring-Gould, m.a., Author of " Yorkshire 
Oddities," etc. With 58 Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9X5J 
inches.) 21s. net. 

Daily News. — "A fascinating series . , . the whole book is rich in human interest, 
Iti ■ - - .... . 

is by personal touches, drawn from traditions and memories, that the dead men 
rrounded by the cu ' 
Baring-Gould's pages. 

surrounded by the curious panoply of their time, are made to live again in Mr. 


from the French of Francis Laur by Violette Montagu. 
With an Introduction by John Macdonald, Portraits and other 
Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9 X 5| inches.) 7s. 6c/. net. 

Daily Telegraph.— ^ 'It is Gambetta pouring out his soul to Lfeonie Leon, the strange, 
passionate, masterful demagogue^ who wielded the most persuasive oratory of 
modern times, acknowledging his idol, his inspiration, his Egeria." 


France. A Translation by Winifred Stephens. With 8 Illus- 
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Therese-Charlotte of France, Duchesse D'Angouleme. By G. 
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GEORGIAN ERA. By John Fyvie, author of " Some Famous 
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Times, 1 655-1719. By C. C. Dyson. With i Photogravure 
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A. M. Broadley. With an Introductory Chapter by Thomas 
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Alfred Allinson, M.A. With 48 Full-page Illustrations, 
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and Work. By W. H. James Weale. With 41 Photogravure 
and 95 Black and White Reproductions. Royal 4to. ^^5 5s. net. 

Sir Martin Conway's Note. 
Nearly half a century has passed since Mr. W. H. James Weale, then resident at 
Bruges, began that long series of patient investigations into the history of 
Netherlandish art which was destined to earn so rich a harvest. When he began 
work Mem line was still called Hemling, and was fabled to have arrived at Bruges 
as a wounded soldier. The van Eycks were little more than legendary heroes. 
Roger Van der Weyden was little more than a name. Most of the other great 
Netherlandish artists were either wholly forgotten or named only in connection 
with paintings with which they had nothing to do. Mr. Weale discovered Gerard 
David, and disentangled his principal works from Memlinc's, with which they were 
then confused. 


The Lombard School, His Life and Work. By Constance 
JocELYN Ffoulkes and Monsignor Rodolfo Majocchi, d.d.. 
Rector of the Collegio Borromeo, Pavia. Based on research in the 
Archives of Milan, Pavia, Brescia, and Genoa and on the study 
of all his known works. With over 100 Illustrations, many in 
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Illustrating the Arms, Art and Literature of Italy from 1 440 to 
1630. By James Dennistoun of Dennistoun. A New Edition 
edited by Edward Hutton, with upwards of 100 Illustrations. 
Demy Svo. (9x5! inches.) 3 vols. 


Lady Charlotte Bury. Being the Diary Illustrative of the 
Times of George the Fourth. Interspersed with original Letters 
from the late Queen Caroline and from various other distinguished 
persons New edition. Edited, with an Introduction, by A. 
Francis Steuart. With numerous portraits. Two Vols. 
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POLE. During the Reign of George III from 1771 to 1783. 
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JUNIPER HALL : Rendezvous of certain illus- 
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JANE AUSTEN : Her Homes and Her Friends. 
By Constance Hill. Numerous Illustrations by Ellen G. Hill, 
together with Reproductions from Old Portraits,etc. Cr. 


Being Chronicles of the Burney Family. By Constance Hill, 
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SPAIN (Camarera-Mayor). By Constance Hill. With 12 
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By Constance Hill. Author of " Jane Austen : Her Homes 
and Her Friends," " Juniper Hall," " The House in St Martin's 
Street," etc. With numerous Illustrations by Ellen G. Hill 
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CESAR FRANCK: A Study. Translated from the 

French of Vincent d'Indy, with an Introduction by Rosa Nev/- 
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MEN AND LETTERS. By Herbert Paul, m.p. 

Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo. 5s. net. 

ROBERT BROWNING : Essays and Thoughts. 
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(Third Edition). 



Edited and Annotated by Alexandar Carlyle, with Notes and 
an Introduction and numerous Illustrations. In Two Volumes. 
Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches.) 25s. net. 

Pali Mall Gasette.— "To the portrait of the man, Thomas, these letters do really add 
value ; we can learn to respect and to like him more for the genuine goodness ol 
his personality. 

Literary World.— "It is then Carlyle, the nobly filial son, we see in these letters ; 
Carlyle, the generous and affectionate brother, the loyal and warm-hearted 
friend, . . . and above all, Carlyle as a tender and faithful lover of his wife." 

Daily Telegraph.— "The letters are characteristic enough of the Carlyle we know : very 
picturesque and entertaining, full of extravagant emphasis, written, as a rule, at 
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WELSH CARLYLE. A Collection of hitherto Unpublished 
Letters. Annotated by Thomas Carlyle, and Edited by 
Alexander Carlyle, with an Introduction by Sir James Crichton 
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Westminister Gazette.—" Few letters in the language have in such perfection the 
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immensely clever, whimsical, and audacious, they reveal a character which, with 
whatever alloy of human infirmity, must endear itself to any reader of 

World. — " Throws a deal of new light on the domestic relations of the Sage of Chelsea 
They also contain the full text of Mrs. Carlyle's fascinating journal, and her own 
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LYLE AND JANE WELSH. Edited by Alexander Carlyle, 
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CARLYLE'S FIRST LOVE. Margaret Gordon- 
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EMILE ZOLA : Novelist and Reformer. An 

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detailed record of the last two years of the Reign of His Most 
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1 8 1 1 - 1 8 5 5 . Edited by Mrs. Warrenne Blake. With numerous 
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being the Life of Sir Richard Granville, Baronet (1600- 165 9). 

By Roger Granville, M,A., Sub-Dean of Exeter Cathedral. 

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Stephen Hawker, sometime Vicar of Morwenstow in Cornwall. 
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Gilchrist, Edited with an Introduction by W. Graham Robertson. 
Numerous Reproductions from Blake*s most characteristic and 
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New Edition. 

GEORGE MEREDITH : Some Characteristics. 

By Richard Le Gallienne. With a Bibliography (much en- 
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of Caroline of Brunswick, Queen of England. From the Italian 
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GRIDLEY HOWE. Edited by his Daughter Laura E. 
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Author of " Wagner and his Works," etc. With Illustrations. 
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EDWARD A. MACDOWELL : a Biography. By 

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Translated from the Italian of an unknown Fourteenth-Century 
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Biography by Lewis Melville. With 2 Photogravures and 
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A LATER PEPYS. The Correspondence of Sir 

William Weller Pepys, Bart., Master in Chancery, 1 758-1825, 
with Mrs. Chapone, Mrs. Hartley, Mrs. Montague, Hannah More, 
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Richard Le Gallienne. Crown 8vo. 4s. 6d. net, 

RUDYARD KIPLING : a Criticism, By Richard 
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THE LIFE OF W. J. FOX, Public Teacher and 

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