Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The Campaign of 1814: Chapter Two Part VII

By: Maurice Weil

Translated by: Greg Gorsuch

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THE CAMPAIGN of 1814
(after the Imperial and Royal War Archives at Vienna)

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CAVALRY OF THE ALLIED ARMIES
DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF 1814.
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CHAPTER II.

19 January.  --The IVth Corps remains at Chaumont from 19 to 24 January.  --As it so happened the Crown Prince of Württemberg, came to Chaumont on the 19th, and was ordered to stop and remained there until the 24th. He nevertheless urged his vanguard up to Jonchery and sent a party of cavalry to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.[1]

Positions of the Vth Corps.  --On his right, Wrede arrived with his Bavarians at Neufchâteau, where he would wait for a few days for instruction; Platoff, now no longer having any reason to argue, would begin, finally, en route for Joinville[2] with the bulk of his Cossacks: "My party precedes me," he wrote to Schwarzenberg, "beating the countryside in all directions. They act primarily on the road from Langres to Châtillon."

Frimont (right wing of the Vth Corps), arriving with his Austrians at Colombey-aux-Belles-Femmes (Colombey-les-Belles), had ordered the cannon from the side of Toul and immediately dispatched his light cavalry in that direction.[3] The bombardment of General Lieven III's (Sacken's Corps) troops, would result in this city opening its gates on the following day.

Schwarzenberg ordered Wrede "once concentrated, to connect with Blücher by the flying corps that extend from Toul to Joinville."  By informing him of the impending arrival of Pahlen on his right, he recommended, in addition, that Wrede move to the left of everyone at Vignory to cut communications between Chaumont and Joinville.[4]

Movements of Platoff.  --Cavalry action at Vaucouleurs.  --Platoff after leaving Neufchâteau, had a little fighting to do before reaching across the Meuse, once having set foot on the left flank, and throwing back the French outposts.

Scherbatov had no more success than the day before in renewing his attempt against the bridge of Vaucouleurs:

"All the enemy troops," he wrote verbatim to Schwarzenberg,[5] "left their quarters, coming out the other side of the city and spent the night in bivouacs.  In the night I ordered my outposts ahead: the enemy evacuated the town and withdrew by a long dike in the city, and he made it over the breastworks, which were guarded by dragoons on foot and protected by cannons.  I did take the suburb."

"My loss consists of only four Cossacks and 9 horses killed, 1 officer, a subaltern, 10 Cossacks and five horses wounded.  The enemy's loss is very great; in prisoners, there are only 6.  I try to take less, because they annoy me a lot."

"This morning a regiment of Cossacks, attached to a division dragoons of General Sacken's corps, forming the vanguard of the division and intended to reconnoiter Vaucouleurs arrived.  I gave it the outskirts of the city I took the day before, and having made my report to Lieutenant General Vasilchikov, who commanded the advance guard of General Blücher, I retired to the village of Saussure (Saulxures-lès-Vannes) to rest my detachment, which badly needs it, being almost every day in action and always bivouacking in torrents of rain without rest.  After tomorrow I will cross the Meuse in the vicinity if I can do so, given the large quantity of water raised by the rains, and I'll make for Gondrecourt to advance on the highway and will act accordingly."

"The enemy's forces in Vaucouleurs consist of 5 regiments of dragoons, 1 of Guards of Honor, 6 cannons and 11,000 (?) infantrymen.  A large park of artillery is at Void.[6]

"It seems that the enemy is anxious to keep Toul and Vaucouleurs, and do not yield to superior forces."

Positions of the Allied corps the 19th.  --The advanced guard (Pahlen) of the VIth Corps arrived at Blamont, pushing the Cossacks of Rebrikov ahead of it up to Lunéville.

The IIIrd Corps had been, like the IVth Corps, ordered to stop at Chaumont, to quarter from Foulain up to Richebourg.  The Reserves and the Russian and Prussian Guards did the same from Fayl-Billot to Combeaufontaine: the Austrian Reserves under the Crown Prince of Hesse went to Dijon, and the Ist Corps, marching on that city, was near Thil-Châtel.

On 19 January, the Great Army, less the VIth Corps, was found distributed along the line from Colombey-les-Belles to Neufchâteau and by Chaumont and from Langres to Dijon, and, although it only had before it the small corps of the Duke of Trévise; although there had been no serious fighting to support, the Generalissimo believed, however, that it would be useful to stop again.  It appeared that he just looked to concentrate his corps and make connections between  his columns, to advance his convoys; but in reality, and we cannot overemphasize this point, he intended to leave Blücher and Wittgenstein the time necessary, first to push Marmont and clear once again, by their intervention, the ground in front of the Great Army; second to get them in line with the right of the Vth Corps.  Schwarzenberg also hoped that this stopping time would help him to obtain the data, military information and policies needed to establish a new operational plan to replace that which was approved by the sovereign, that only had in mind the occupation of the plateau of Langres.

Therefore, orders of the 19th consisted of stopping every Corps except the VIth and the Reserves and Russian and Prussian Guards, who were to arrive in Langres the 21st, charging Platoff to scour the country between the Seine and the Aube, and Scherbatov to do so between the Marne and Aube.

Letter of Blücher to Schwarzenberg.  --Finally, as we have had occasion to speak of the correspondence between Blücher and Wrede on one hand, and Wrede and Schwarzenberg on the other, before moving back to the days that separate us from the battle of Bar-sur-Aube, we believe it more useful to reproduce the letter Blücher[7] addressed from Nancy, the 19th, to the Generalissimo, as it contains some information on the movements of the Army of Silesia, on the plans of Field Marshal, and on the intentions he attributed to Marmont

"I feel", he writes, "a real satisfaction to learn that Your Highness approves of my movements and I think that he also knows that I have exchanged correspondence with General Count Wrede, since Wrede has pushed to the right to help me and my army, on our march to the Moselle."

"I advised General Count Wrede, because I did not expect to see the enemy to oppose him with any serious resistance on the Marne, to approach your Highness through Neufchâteau."

"I feel it my duty to make your Highness aware of my projects."

"General Yorck feels for the appearance of the enemy in Luxembourg, Thionville and Metz, and will be the 26th at Saint-Mihiel.  I wish, therefore, to know whether your Highness approves my movement on Arcis."

"I am the 30th, concentrating a position in a line from Vitry to Arcis."

"General Kleist will, at that time, have arrived at Metz with the IInd Prussian Corps."

"The enemy gives the appearance of wanting to defend the Meuse.  I'm turning Toul by Pont-Saint-Vincent and will attack that place by the side of Void.  I hope to catch it quickly, especially since there has been, I believe, a rear-guard on the Meuse."

The essential difference between the two top Allied generals springs forth, it seems, in the very terms of their correspondence.  Blücher is always clear and energetic.  For him, there was never doubt nor above all, hesitation. He always justifies the nickname given to him: Vorwürts, and except at one time, we will never see him stop for the entire campaign: he must march and always march.  Schwarzenberg, however, whose responsibility, it must be acknowledged, is the largest and has the most difficult personal situation, wants to proceed more methodically and cautiously and with such method and caution that he loses and neglects the best opportunities.  Thus he chooses to stop precisely when bold action could bring great results: the time where, arriving on the plateau of Langres, already master of the upper valleys of the Moselle and Meuse, he could at his option, get in those of the Aube and Marne, and make an early and substantial foothold in the heart of the Seine basin, the moment when Napoleon, not understanding anything in the conduct of the Duke of Bellune, which he cannot forgive either for the abandonment of the Vosges, or the  loss of Épinal, has Berthier write him the following letter:

Letters and orders of Napoleon to Victor. - To Marshal Victor, Duke of Bellune, commanding the 2nd Corps at Void.[8]  --Paris, 17 January 1814.

"Monsieur Duke of Bellune, the Emperor disapproves that you have abandoned Nancy.  His Majesty orders you not to leave the Moselle without fighting.  He thinks you have tired your troops by large marches, and you have given into the audacity of the enemy by evacuating unnecessarily.  This forces the Duke of Raguse and the Duke of Trévise to also make retrograde movements.  This brings the enemy towards us and the greatest harm to our plans."

"It is especially saddening to see that you have evacuated Nancy at the appearance of cavalry without waiting for their infantry."

This dispatch did, however, only follow, twenty-four hours from, the reproaches that the Chief of Staff, by order of the Emperor, addressed to the Duke of Bellune, that of 16th.  The first dispatch was even harder and even more severe:  "If you had defended the passes of the Vosges," wrote Chief of Staff, "the enemy would still be on the other side ... Lastly, the Meurthe and Moselle Rivers form a barrier that you must defend; because if you withdraw without a fight and still do not harm the enemy, he will move as fast as you.  The key is to delay his march as much as possible and hold them off until 15 February.  So we will have a grand army.[9]"

Two days later, the anxiety and impatience of the Emperor rose to such an extent that he ordered the Chief of Staff from Paris on the 19th, to arrive the day after within the advanced posts, returning to the Duke of Bellune, and to remain until the Duke of Raguse had taken all measures to defend the Meuse, but it was already impossible to hold.

In all of the internal difficulties that Schwarzenberg met at all times, plots of every kind against which he had to contend with, we must recognize that the Generalissimo had not guessed or would not understand that, Napoleon kept repeating to his marshals, how essential, for the Emperor it, "is to delay the march of the enemy as much as possible."

Having taken nearly a month to arrive at Langres, he also had a heavy heart, in losing a week to go from Langres by Chaumont to Bar-sur-Aube, and, above all anxious to cover his culpability, that he decided from that moment, not to do anything important before the arrival of the Allied sovereigns in Langres, before receiving from them, or at least from the Emperor of Austria, a formal order to continue marching forward.

20 January.  --Pahlen at Lunéville.  --The 20th, Pahlen[10] informed Wrede, that he knew him to be at Neufchâteau, of his arrival at Lunéville with the vanguard of the VIth Corps.  He gave at the same time information on the movement that the left wing of the Army of Silesia was about to execute towards Joinville; but he added that because of the extreme fatigue of his troops, he saw the need to give them just one day of rest, the 21st, and would then move forward, by forced marches, to arrive as silently as possible at the heads of the other columns.

Information provided by Wrede.  --As for the Vth Corps, the Bavarians remained in Neufchâteau, where Wrede sent the following report to Schwarzenberg, in which he explained to the Generalissimo, to whom he also spoke of the affair that Platoff previously had at Greux, plans he attributed to Napoleon.

The General of Cavalry, Count Wrede to Prince Schwarzenberg.[11]  --Neufchâteau, 20 January 1814.

"I have every reason to believe that the Emperor Napoleon has moved to Châlons and not to Troyes, and I think so especially with the movement of the enemy that Field Marshal Blücher told me about of the retreat Marmont on Reims."

"It seems to me that it is time to march fast and straight to the enemy, especially since, lacking cavalry, Napoleon will be hindered in fighting on the plains of Châlons."

"Knowing that the enemy intended to blow up the Meuse bridge at Greux,[12] I sent an officer of my staff, who found the Ataman Count Platoff at this point.  A French patrol had attempted this enterprise, but was chased by Cossacks, who took one officer and several dragoons."

"The captured officer said that General Milhaud, established yesterday at Vaucouleurs, had advanced to Maxey, and his outposts were at Taillancourt."

"I warned Platoff to expected the French infantry at Vaucouleurs."

Of all the Vth Corps, Frimont was the only one to make a small movement that day, going with the Spleny Division to Colombey-aux-Belles-Femmes (Colombey-les-Belles); the division of Antoine Hardegg followed this movement in echelon.  If, on the Allied side, one still had only a vague idea of the movements of the French, with incomplete and contradictory positions, it was not the same for the 2nd French corps.  The French cavalry did not for one moment cease to follow with a careful eye the movements of the Allies, Victor was still the 20th at one o'clock in the afternoon, able to say in a dispatch from Vaucouleurs[13] he sent Grouchy that:  "It seems certain that the enemy army marches to cross the Meuse, as the Bavarians and Austrians were replaced by the Russians at Neufchâteau.  I think the enemy will make a move on Gondrecourt, to seek to arrive at Ligny and Saint-Dizier before us."183

The Grouchy knew, moreover, that the Allies were marching to the extreme right by the bridge of Domrémy and moved from Greux to Gondrecourt; a reconnaissance sent by General Lamotte (Lhéritier division) from Brixey-aux-Chanoines to Sauvigny had been removed and that the Allied cavalry continued pushing in force on Gondrecourt by Vouthon, and another reconnaissance, sent to Houdelaincourt, had seen the riders heading to Joinville and searched to find what happened at Saint-Dizier and Chaumont, while on the side of Commercy, General Briche reported the presence of strong columns at Bouconville and Apremont.

Positions of the IIIrd and IVth Corps.  --For the IVth and IIIrd Corps, the one stationed at Chaumont, the other west of Chaumont on the road that leads from this city to Châtillon-sur-Seine, everything done was confined to the installation of Gyulay's headquarters at Arc-en-Barrois, and the crossing of the Aube by the advanced guard, with which Crenneville went just up to Courban.

Mortier at Bar-sur-Aube.  --Meanwhile, the Duke of Trévise[14], had completed without being troubled for a moment, his retreat on Bar-sur-Aube.  As the Allied partisans, who had indicated that Châtillon-sur-Seine was not occupied by the French, Schwarzenberg immediately wrote to Barclay de Tolly[15], whose column heads arrived at this point in Langres, inviting him to further amend the destinations previously given to Platoff and  Scherbatov, pushing Platoff by Joinville and Bar-sur-Seine to Auxerre, to cover the left wing, and directing Scherbatov between Troyes and Châlons to inform the Allies and harass the enemy's communications carried at points on the roads leading to Paris.

The Ist Corps was at Montsaugeon; as it consisted of no more than Ignatz Hardegg's light division and the division of Wied-Runkel, it was reinforced, first by the light division of Maurice Liechtenstein, and then the division of Bianchi, the Trautenberg Grenadier Division and the cuirassiers division of Nostitz, all three of the Austrian Reserves.  This formed a column which, acting on its own behalf on the extreme left of the main army, would move around Dijon towards Châtillon-sur-Seine.

New composition of troops under the command of the Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg.  --It is worth recalling here that the troops under the command of the Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg, stationed at that time around Dijon, Gray and Mirebeau, and responsible for the blockade of different places, maintaining communications with Bubna had been manned from the 23rd, by the light brigade of Scheither,[16] of a mixed division of cavalry and infantry left to Prince Alois von Liechtenstein (IInd Corps), for replacing the division of Greth, acquired at the beginning of operations from Bubna, from the Wimpffen Division of the Ist Corps; finally, the grenadier division of Weissenwolff and the cuirassier division of Lederer, that had previously belonged to the Austrian Reserves.  These reserves would thus, strictly speaking, cease to exist from the moment these various changes had been completed.

Letter of Blücher to Schwarzenberg.  --Finally, it was still 20 January, when Blücher, announced to Schwarzenberg from Nancy the taking of Toul, he confirmed his previous reports and maintained, as discussed in the following dispatch, the proposal he had made to the Spanish prisoners found in Toul.

Field Marshal Blücher to Prince Schwarzenberg.[17]  Nancy, 20 January 1814.

"I congratulate Your Highness on his successes at Langres and thank him for the news sent to me in relation to the progress of the IVth and Vth Corps."

"I can confirm today my previous reports.  A man who came here yesterday told  me that he found, the 17th, the army of Marshal Victor marching from Ligny on Châlons."

"The concentration of the enemy at Châlons, consequently, will be done the 21st."

"Yesterday, I announced to Your Highness that the enemy still held Toul, and that I intended to turn this city."

"The high waters have somewhat delayed the march of troops, but I did remove Toul today."

"General Sacken informs me, by verbal communication, that he has captured 400 men and took two cannons."

"I transferred my headquarters to Toul.  The enemy, in the haste of his retreat, forgot the Spanish prisoners held there.  I, released General Sotomayor, 30 officers and many soldiers."

"I offered to the officers either to return them to their homeland by Holland, or to form their men into a special battalion, at the head of which they would return home as soon as we are in communication with Lord Wellington."

"General Sotomayor and some officers are returning through Holland.  The rest is a battalion that I already armed and that I will use on one hand to escort the convoys, on the other, for garrison duty."

"The Pahlen is now at Lunéville. "

P. S. "I send Your Highness a copy of the report of General Sacken, who comes to me this instant."

21 January.  --Pahlen directed towards Joinville.  --Movement of the VIth Corps.  --While Pahlen halted the 21st at Lunéville, Wittgenstein, to whom Schwarzenberg,[18] still repeated the order to accelerate his march on Nancy, emerged finally in three echelons from Saverne, after leaving the 5th Infantry Division with Prince Gorchakov before Kehl and Strasbourg, Generalmajor Schachafskoy with 2 regiments of the 3rd Division before Landau, and 2 regiments of the 14th Division before Phalsbourg.  Prince Eugene of Württemberg left Saverne on the 21st with his corps.  The headquarters of Wittgenstein with the Cossack regiment of Illowaiski XII and the detachment of General Rudinger (Grodno Hussars, a battalion of the Selenguinsk Regiment, half of the Cossack regiment of Vlasov II and two pieces of horse artillery) got underway the 22nd, and finally General Helfreich with two regiments of his division (the 14th), the Ingremannland Dragoon Regiment and 12 cannons, the 23rd.

In the report he wrote that same day to the Emperor of Austria,[19] Schwarzenberg, after telling him that the party of cavalry sent on the road to Troyes had met someone there, added that he gave Pahlen the order to come to Joinville with the cavalry of the VIth Corps in order to have this horse at the same level as the head of columns of the Vth Corps and the Army of Silesia.

Orders from Schwarzenberg to Wrede.  --The Vth Corps having extended its left up to Bourmont and Frimont, arrived with its Austrians at Neufchâteau, quartering them along the Meuse.

While Schwarzenberg[20] wrote to the commander of the Vth Corps and said that "the enemy was, instead of massing at Troyes, concentrating on Châlons, but nevertheless, instead of moving to the right to advance on Châlons, it is preferred to march on Troyes, because once the Allied army arrived at Troyes, Napoleon, threatened on his right wing, being unable to stay at Châlons, would be forced to move forward to attack the Allied army at a position it would be easy to choose in advance."  Wrede received a dispatch from Blücher that we believe should be related in its entirety.

Letter from Blücher to Wrede.  --The Bavarian General transmitted this letter to the Generalissimo, with the report of Pahlen (on his stop in Lunéville), adding that he advised the latter to come to Gondrecourt and ask Wittgenstein to link with the right of the Vth Corps.[21]

Field Marshal Blücher to General of Cavalry Count Wrede.  --21 January 181 4, 9 o'clock in the morning.

"I received the letter that was brought to me by the aide of Prince of Lowenstein."

"The Army of Silesia march today by Void, Commercy, and Vaucouleurs to ensure the crossings of the Meuse."

"General Sacken learned at Nancy that the enemy is in march from Châlons on Langres; but neither he nor I can add credence to this news."

"As you must stay at Bourmont until Schwarzenberg gains support for his extreme left, I must await the arrival on my side of Yorck at Saint-Mihiel, where the general will be the 26th. "

"The Army of Silesia only can be concentrated between Arcis and Vitry by the 30th."

"My cavalry was nevertheless ordered to constantly gain ground in front."[22]

The cavalry of Platoff and Scherbatov, supported by Vasilchikov at Vaucouleurs.  --Passage of the Meuse.

 --Platoff and Scherbatov[23] were still at this moment before the front of the Vth Corps near Joinville and Vaucouleurs, where the cavalry of General Vasilchikov had arrived the night of the 20th to 21st.

Scherbatov,[24] who had no knowledge of the presence of Vasilchikov, crossed the Meuse during the day at Sauvigny and pushed from there by Gondrecourt to Bonnet, where he sent parties on the left towards Joinville, on the right to Vaucouleurs.  That evening the Cossacks occupied these two points.

The action of the vanguard of the IVth Corps at Juzennecourt.  --The vanguard of the IVth Corps, under General von Stockmeyer, advanced on the road from Bar-sur-Aube up to Blézy and Gillancourt.  General von Jett, who was in Bologne, was ordered to push parties towards Joinville to contact Platoff.  As for Lieutenant-Colonel Röhrich, posted with his two squadrons at Bricon, his mission was to link with the IIIrd Corps posted[25] in Courban and Arc-en-Barrois.

The rearguard of Mortier still occupied Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, and Allied horsemen had several skirmishes with the French riders in the forest of Juzennecourt.[26]

Thurn finds Caulaincourt at Châtillon.  --The Ist Corps, continuing its march to Dijon, was at Is-sur-Tille and at Thil-Châtel, the flying corps of Lieutenant-Colonel Thurn at La Ferté-sur-Aube and Châtillon-sur-Seine, where that officer addressed to Schwarzenberg the two following letters to announce the arrival of the Duke of Vicence, to represent France at the Congress of Châtillon, and to communicate the specifics of the conversation he had with Caulaincourt:[27]

Lieutenant-Colonel Count Thurn, to the Prince of Schwarzenberg.  --Châtillon, 21 January 1814, 9:30 at night.

"A courier from the Duke of Vicence has arrived announcing that the Duke himself would be here in half an hour. I'll send him to Langres by Arc, but I thought it my duty to immediately inform Your Highness."

Lieutenant-Colonel Count Thurn, to the Prince of Schwarzenberg.  --Châtillon, January 21, 1814, 10:00 at night.

"The Duke of Vicence has just arrived and told me he wanted to talk to Prince Metternich in person or wait here for a letter from the Prince."

"When I told him:  "I am, Your Excellency, to receive your orders (sic)," he replied: "You, as the victors, have the right to give them to us."  I did my best to treat him with politeness equal to his."

"I look forward to the orders of Your Highness and want to know if I can allow the Duke, as he wishes, to continue his journey?"

"The Duke gave me a moment to send a letter. "

For his part, the Generalissimo had ordered General Toll to direct by Aubigny and Thil-Châtel on Dijon two regiments of Cossacks from the dissolved corps of Colonel Scheibler intended to join the Ist Corps (Colloredo). Schwarzenberg added that because these two regiments of Cossacks would be assigned to the division of Count Ignatius Hardegg, it would be good if there was in their ranks some Cossack officers who spoke French.[28]

Letter of Schwarzenberg to Blücher.  --Finally, informing Blücher of the march of the IIIrd, IVth, Vth and VIth Corps and Russian Reserves to Troyes, the Generalissimo added: "The direction to give the column from Dijon (Ist Corps and the corps of the Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg) depends on the new account that I receive tomorrow. I applaud your march on Arcis; but I think you had better execute first, or at the same time, by Vitry-le-François, a demonstration on Châlons.  I will tell you the day I expect to be in Troyes."[29]

22 and 23 January.  --Movements of Scherbatov towards Saint-Dizier.  --On 22nd and 23rd, the different corps of the great army hardly made the slightest movement.  In the VIth Corps, Pahlen crossed the Moselle bridge at Flavigny, marched up to Vézelise, where he rested again with his people all the next day, and Wittgenstein gradually approached from Nancy.

The Vth Corps did not move, but, strangely enough, just when Schwarzenberg should have thought of a vigorous counterattack, he found time to write at length to Wrede and stress again the need to put Hanau and Memmingen on the defensive.[30]

Scherbatov arriving in Bonnet the day before, resumed his movement to Saint-Dizier, while retaining his communication to the left with Platoff, he wrote to Schwarzenberg.[31]  He only feared that the great flooding might preoccupy (the very term he uses in his dispatch in French) a lot of time of his march.

The Crown Prince of Württemberg was always at Chaumont.  The IIIrd Corps stretched from Château-Villain and Blessonville up to Clairvaux and La Ferté-sur-Aube; and Thurn, for reasons he explains in his letter, had seen fit to not dwell in Châtillon and had, as we shall see, pushed to Bar-sur-Seine.

Movement of the flying corps of Thurn to Neuville.  --"General von Hecht[32] having left at Châtillon a troop to serve as an honor guard for the Duke of Vicence, I thought my presence and that of my party were useless on this point and I pushed as a result, yesterday the 22nd, my vanguard to Bar-sur-Seine.  I occupied today Neuville where my cavalry is found, and Gye, where one finds my jägers."

"The Duke of Vicence explained to me the causes of his trip and the reason for his presence at Châtillon, giving me communication of a letter from Prince Metternich, I thought I could let him receive two couriers coming from Paris, but I told him afterwards, as we had received no orders from our leaders, none of these couriers would be allowed to return to Paris."

"A patrol that I had sent with an emissary in the direction of Bar-sur-Seine, announced that the enemy has left a small garrison at Troyes and fallen back, with the bulk of his forces partly on Châlons, partly on Sur."

"The Feldzeugmeister Count Gyulay just sent me your Highness's orders relating to the reception and departure of the couriers of the Duke of Vicence."

"I directed towards the headquarters of Your Highness a Spanish General and the officers that I found at Châtillon."

The Reserves and Russian and Prussian Guards, arrived on the 22nd Humes and formed in echelon back to Fayl-Billot also remaining, quartered until the 28th.

Journey of Schwarzenberg to Dijon.  --Arrival of the Emperor of Russia in Langres.  --It was at this time that Schwarzenberg thought to move from the 23rd to Dijon to finally monitor for himself the execution of the measures he had ordered a few days earlier and significantly altered the composition of Ist Corps and Reserves.

It was also then that the Emperor of Russia arrived in Langres, and it is likely that his presence could have attributed to the resumption of the operations completely stopped without probable cause, since the 18th.

On 23 January, from Blamont, Wittgenstein acknowledging Schwarzenberg orders which directed him by Nancy and Colombey-les-Belles on Gondrecourt, announced that Pahlen, the 24th  took position between Wrede, posted at Neufchâteau, and Blücher, who could be between Saint-Mihiel, Void and Vaucouleurs, and he would come himself the 26th between the Moselle and the Meuse at Colombey.[33]

Mortier's positions.  --Affairs of Clairvaux and Trémilly.  --The rear-guard of Mortier still occupied a strong position between Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and Bar-sur-Aube, before the IIIrd and IVth Corps, from which it never stopped pushing offensive reconnaissance against the advanced-guard of the Allies. Always faithful to an active defense that had been so successful, the Duke of Trévise had attacked, the morning of the 23rd, with Chasseurs of the Guard, the posts of Clairvaux-sur-Aube and had removed a dozen men (Klenau Light Horse and Croats) of the vanguard of General Hecht (IIIrd Corps) that preceded Gyulay, from La Ferté-sur-Aube the morning of the 23rd.

The Crown Prince of Württemberg, irritated at these alerts and the constant raids which tired all his people, had the intention to take the French posts of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises by surprise, the 23rd in the morning; but he abandoned this project when he learned that the French were firmly situated in the woods between Colombey and Juzennecourt, and, after obtaining permission from Schwarzenberg, he decided the next day, on a combined attack of the IIIrd and IVth Corps on Bar-sur-Aube.

As Ataman Platoff had informed Prince Schwarzenberg[34] from Joinville, the 22nd, that in continuing to march on Bar-sur-Aube, he would be at Doulevant the 23rd; as his vanguard had pushed away the party in front of the village and one of them had even tried to intercept the road from Bar-sur-Aube to Brienne to take couriers, he was invited to take part in the operation settled upon Bar-sur-Aube, to fall on the left and rear of the enemy at the time when he would begin his retirement.

Platoff movements had not escaped the vigilance of Mortier, whose reconnaissance had a combat with the Cossacks of the Ataman at Trémilly.  The Marshal knowing that Vassy and Montiérender were occupied by the Allies, soon after this skirmish, sent 500 infantry with two cannons and 50 horses to Trémilly reaching this point lying on the communications route from Joinville to Brienne.

As the Allies were expected to send a detachment to Brienne, he had ordered General Dufour, then at Arcis-sur-Aube, to occupy Brienne as quickly possible.  The Marshal was not mistaken in thinking that, as he wrote in the morning of the 23rd to the Chief of Staff, that Gyulay and the Crown Prince awaited the arrival of Cossacks of Platoff to act, and it was from that moment, he became convinced he would be seriously contested the 24th, and earnestly sought to know the direction he would take, either on Troyes, or on Châlons in the likely case where he would find himself unable to resist forces so superior to his.

24  January.  --Battle of Bar-sur-Aube.  --Pursuant to the agreement between the Crown Prince of Württemberg and Feldzeugmeister Count Gyulay the IVth Corps was moved the morning of the 24th to Bar-sur-Aube, by the right bank of the Aube, the IIIrd by left bank.

The rearguard of the Duke of Trévise, under the command of General Letort, watched from Colombey-les-Deux-Églises the road from Chaumont, with four battalions, four squadrons and six pieces of artillery; a strong column had taken a position further back so was to be able to support the troops Letort, located on the hills behind the stream of Rouvres.  In this way, Mortier had on his left and before him the village of Voigny; on his right, his artillery enfiladed both the road from Colombey and the Boudelin bridge, which crossed the Aube at Fontaines; the division of Michel occupied the village.  Finally, on the left bank, the rest of the troops of the Marshal adorned the heights of Sainte-Germaine.

At eleven o'clock in the morning, Gyulay who marched by the left bank with his corps formed into two columns, gave battle at Bayel with the column that ran along the river, against the French outposts, who withdrew on Fontaines, at the moment when the division of Michel deployed in front of the village.

"I had just heard," Schwarzenberg recounted about this in the report the next day he addressed to the Emperor of Austria,[35] "that Feldzeugmeister Count Gyulay advanced with the IIIrd Corps, along the Aube, pushing back the advanced guard of the enemy to the bridge of Beau-de-Ville (it should be here the bridge of Boudelin), where the enemy has taken a strong position, with 12,000 men (?), 10 cannons and four howitzers.  Count Gyulay, having recognized that it was impossible to take that position without sacrificing much of the total, decided to await the arrival of the IVth Corps; but at noon, the enemy came out of Bar-sur-Aube attacking the IIIrd Corps who was thrown back and pursued with his cavalry to his positions.  The enemy renewed its attacks on several occasions that Gyulay managed to repel."

The Royal Prince of Württemberg, whose corps was also formed in two columns, arrived at noon with his advanced guard (General von Stockmeyer and three battalions), directed on Colombey-le-Fosse wanting to outflank it, while General von Jett, with two regiments of cavalry, two battalions and a horse artillery battery's mission was to attack the village head on.  The Crown Prince who had left the rest of the IVth Corps with General Koch at Chaumont, only had in reserve 2 battalions, 1 cavalry regiment and a battery.

General Letort, from the heights of Colombey, had foreseen the plans of the commander of the IVth Corps, and began a hasty retreat.

The Crown Prince, rode forward without waiting for the bulk of the infantry of General Stockmeyer who had not yet appeared, seeking to engage with his cavalry and horse artillery battery, the small column of General Letort, that had reached Lignol.  The latter continued to make its retreat in good order and soon was gathered on the plateau of Rouvres by the Friant Division, which adorned the hills surrounding Voigny, while the 20 pieces of artillery, Mortier that had amassed in battery on this point, forced the Württembergers to stop.  "The Crown Prince of Württemberg," Schwarzenberg said in his report, "whose infantry and artillery were left behind, could not attack this position."

Gyulay had continued to attack the bridge of the Aube and the village of Fontaines, but said in the Journal of Operations,[36] he failed to remove them and only captured the bridge that evening.

The artillery of Württemberg, and later the Austrian artillery having arrived in line later in the afternoon, Marshal Mortier,[37] fearful of being too weak, to have any chance of withstanding the next day's attack by forces superior in numbers too, thought it prudent to evacuate Bar-sur-Aube during the night.  "Gyulay," Schwarzenberg[38] says again, who was, like the Crown Prince, camped that night behind the battlefield, "told me just now that the enemy evacuated Bar-sur-Aube during the night, withdrawing towards Châlons and towards Troyes.  The  Feldzeugmeister occupied Bar-sur-Aube.  The IVth Corps, stationed at Rouvres, Lignol and Villeneuve-aux-Fresnes, serves as support."

Mortier pulls back without the Allies realizing his withdrawal.  --Again, as in Langres, the Allies realized so little of the departure of Mortier, that in the evening of the 24th, the two generals collaborated on the attack that they had planned for the next day.  Again, they lost contact.  Their light troops and cavalry had been deterred by the first obstacle they had encountered on their route, the nearly destroyed bridge at Spoy, without even trying to find another way and to pursue further.  So instead of finding out what happened to Mortier, sticking to their general assumptions, relying on rumors and gathered information that could not be verified, the Generalissimo announced that the bulk troops of the Duke of Trévise had, from Bar-sur-Aube, taken the way to Châlons, that the Guard alone had gone to Troyes.  With a little work and initiative, it would have been easy however to note that the small French corps, almost exclusively composed of troops of the Guard, had entirely fallen back on Troyes.  Finally, there is little reason why the Crown Prince left the bulk of his corps at Chaumont, and moved no more than 7 battalions, 13 squadrons and 3 batteries to the attack on Bar-sur-Aube.

Mistakes and lies of Platoff.  --The battle of Bar-sur-Aube had, moreover, cost a lot of people to the two adversaries, but as stated in the Journal of Operations kept by the headquarters of Schwarzenberg,[39] and as also noted in the Journal of Operations of the IVth Corps,[40] the French would certainly have suffered more, if Platoff, as he had been ordered and as he had promised the day before to the Crown Prince of Württemberg, had appeared in their rear with his 4,000 Cossacks.

As in Épinal, the Ataman arrived too late, and that instead of debouching behind the French, he appeared with those of the IVth Corps, he nevertheless ventured to contact Schwarzenberg with the following report:[41]

"Having taken my corps in the direction of Bar-sur-Aube, I had my advanced posts, push back the detachments of Guard cavalry from Joinville up to Beurville. These detachments were intended to cover the left wing of the corps of Marshal Mortier, who was at Bar-sur-Aube, with its advanced guard, yesterday, at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises."

"My party maintained liaison with Württemberg troops who occupied the high road of Châlons.  Day and night, I sent the Cossacks in flank and rear of the enemy before General Gyulay and the Prince of Württemberg."

"My Cossacks greatly harassed them while he was fighting with the generals, scattered the detachments of Guard cavalry who wanted to oppose them and made many prisoners.  The enemy was forced to leave Bar-sur-Aube.  They left 200 injured and took the direction to Troyes."

"My parties pursued them on my side of the road, but tomorrow they will head to Bar-sur-Seine, where I'm going to move myself."

"The prisoners of Guards, I have taken, were handed to Count Gyulay."

Letter from the Crown Prince of Württemberg to General Toll.  --The Crown Prince of Württemberg this time would be less patient, less gullible and less indulgent than at Épinal.  Righteous indignation and the timidness and the impudence of Platoff who dared, from Beurville (at 15 kilometers from Bar), to announce the 25th, his Cossacks had driven the enemy from Bar, the Crown Prince ordered, 26 January, one of the officers of his staff to write to Lieutenant General Toll.  In this letter, reproduced below, he blasts as was deserved, though perhaps in terms a little too violent, the inexplicable conduct of the Ataman throughout the day of 24 January:

"Although this document[42] should not be considered an official communication, but only because it seems necessary to bring the truth to Your Excellency, I think back again on serious the affair [43]of the day before yesterday whose outcome has been satisfactory since the Old Guard, a part of the Young and the division arrived in Metz in haste having had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses…"

"As soon as the Crown Prince was joined, in the afternoon of the 23rd, in his attack Feldzeugmeister Count Gyulay he wrote to the Ataman (Platoff) to urge him to move, the 24th, to Bar-sur-Aube and to appear in the rear of the enemy, who retired on Colombey.  The Ataman, before receiving the letter from the Prince, had in turn asked his Highness, in a communication dated the 24th from Beurville the morning over, to undertake something against Colombey, because he, Platoff, had the intention of hitting the rear of the enemy and pushing to Bar-sur-Aube."

"We expected to follow in an absolute way the cooperation of the Ataman; we had reduced the positions of the enemy, we had overthrown the city, before which he seriously held a new position along which he had taken twenty cannons in battery, and we continually knew nothing of the Ataman, if except that we had seen some Cossacks in our own rear.  The Crown Prince was still hoping to see the Ataman debouch at Arrentières with his artillery, to attack the enemy rear and force him to cross and in the greatest confusion the defile formed by the city. This movement would have allowed Gyulay who was seriously committed at Fontaines, and the Crown Prince to simultaneously move on Bar and inflict a real defeat on the enemy."

"But that only yesterday morning after Gyulay entered Bar and after the return of the Prince Royal from Bar to Colombey, His Highness said he received from the Ataman dated still from Beurville, a letter in which he informed him his Cossacks had driven the enemy from Bar, and now having a free hand, he would stand in line at Fontainebleau."

"It is for Your Excellency to assess the conduct of the Ataman.  As for us, after having criticized and blamed his attitude, we can do no more than laugh at the audacity of this impostor."

Platoff directed to Sens and Fontainebleau.  --It was, however, to such an officer that the Emperor of Russia had thought he could entrust the delicate task involved removing the Pope from Fontainebleau.  On 24 January, in fact he had written to Platoff through Toll a letter in which he said:  "His Majesty is interested above all that, once arrived at Bar-sur-Seine, you were directed away towards Auxon and Sens to take you on the road that goes from Paris to Dijon by Fontainebleau and the left bank of the Seine.  Knowing that the south of France constantly sends supplies of all kind to Paris, by both routes, by land and waterways, you will firmly hold Moret and Nemours, points where the goods must necessarily pass, you are to take possession of these items keeping from destroying supplies that can be most useful, and you will be careful to inform the Prince of Schwarzenberg of the nature and quantity of items that fall into your hands."[44]

We will see later how the Ataman acquitted himself in this mission.

Pahlen to Maxey, Scherbatov to Eurville.  --Pahlen (advanced guard of the VIth Corps) had arrived on the 24th at Maxey and the Vth Corps had not budged from Neufchâteau.

Scherbatov, less indolent than Platoff, was near Saint-Dizier, acting together with the parties to the right and left of Eurville, announced to Schwarzenberg that during the days of the 23rd and 24th, the enemy retreated from Void by Ligny to Saint-Dizier.

Also from Eurville[45] he wrote to the Generalissimo to tell him he sent him the mayor of this city, Baron Lesperut, attached to Marshal Berthier, "because, he said, in the visit that he had made to me the all too obvious desire to know the number of troops who might demand food and fodder, in fact everything about that man makes me extra careful."

"My suspicions may be unfounded, but with caution I'd rather show too much than too little when it is for the general good."

"Last night," he added in the same report, "two spies had been taken, and in passing through Eurville one of them was rescued by the inhabitants, that I had assembled, telling them that we were not coming to make war on the nation, which was announced by proclamation; but if, on the contrary, we would find them maliciously arming themselves or seeking to harm us in such ways, the culprits will be punished with all the hardships of soldiers and their houses burnt down."214

Thurn at Bar-sur-Seine.  --To the left, Lieutenant-Colonel Thurn occupied Bar-sur-Seine.  As he was intended to operate on the side of Troyes, the Generalissimo sent him Captain von Tully, of the Erbach Infantry Regiment, "because," he wrote, "that officer, a native of Troyes, and knowing the country well, can provide you great service during the occupation of Troyes, and it will be good to leave him there as commandant."[46]

On 24 January, Thurn wrote, too, to Schwarzenberg to reflect on his operations, but especially to complain about an order of Wrede asking, as always, for reinforcements.

"A courier from General Count Wrede brings to me this moment an order which takes away the two companies of Bavarian jägers recently attached to my posting.  Both companies are to join the Bavarian army tomorrow."

"I would respectfully call the attention of Your Highness to the weakness of my corps.  This leaves for me tomorrow a small squadron of Archduke Ferdinand Hussars (with two officers, a captain and a lieutenant)."

"Your Highness will understand, I hope, before having received reinforcements, it will be absolutely impossible to do anything against the enemy."

"The enemy has pushed out a quite strong reconnaissance today and it concerned the party sent to the side of Troyes and who then retired by Vaudes and Saint-Parres."

"I propose to stand here as long as possible. There is a flying party with me sent by the Feldzeugmeister Count Gyulay, which consists of a squadron of light cavalry and 2 infantry companies, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Selby."[47]

Movements of Colloredo.  --Positions of the Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg.  --At the extreme left, Colloredo, who had received the troops provided under the new organization, and with whom he had to move to Châtillon-sur-Seine, had sent the light division of Ignatz Hardegg in the valley Armançon, near Montbard on the direct road from Dijon to Paris, and pushed his own advanced guard to Saint-Seine.

The Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg, who was still with his main body in Dijon, had directed Wimpffen with his division, 2 regiments of cuirassiers and two positional batteries on Saint-Jean-de-Losne to disperse armed gatherings and allow General Scheither to move on Chalon-sur-Saône and send parties near Mâcon to connect with Colonel Wieland.[48] A squadron of Austrian light horse of Saint Vincent had occupied Beaune without firing a shot.

25 January.  -Pahlen at Donjeux.  --The bulk of the VIth Corps in Nancy.
 --On the 25th, while Wittgenstein with the bulk of his corps arrived at Nancy, Pahlen stood on the banks of the Marne, at Donjeux, where he was being followed and joined by General Rudinger.

Positions of the Allied corps.  --The Vth Corps was still in its quarters from Neufchâteau up to Clermont.  The IVth Corps rested and supported the IIIrd beside Colombey-le-Sec, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and Lignol.  The IIIrd Corps had entered Bar-sur-Aube, and its outposts were within view of the last troops of Mortier, posted between Magny-Fouchard and Vendeuvre, and, following the destruction of the bridges, had Gyulay gave up the pursuit.

Schwarzenberg had established his headquarters at Chaumont.

To the left and further back, forming a sort of second-line,[49] Colloredo was at Saint-Seine, with only a few troops in the vicinity of Châtillon; the Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg was in Dijon, and still further back again, the IInd Corps, under Alois Liechtenstein before Besançon and Auxonne; the light division of Moritz Liechtenstein operated independently at the extreme left, with orders to move to Auxerre, while Bubna was at Pont-d'Ain, Zechmeister at Geneva and Chambéry, Scheither at Mâcon.

Behind the center of this long line, the Reserves and Russian and Prussian Guards, were stationed around Langres. were directed on Chaumont.

Information sent by Thurn.  --In front of the army corps in the first line could be found to the left, the little flying corps of Lieutenant-Colonel Thurn, in march from Châtillon-sur-Seine to Bar-sur-Seine, where he was to arrive on 26th and where he informed Schwarzenberg[50] that the enemy corps posted between Bar-sur-Aube and Colombey had fallen back the morning of the 25th by Vendeuvre to Troyes, carrying their wounded on carts.  Thurn had worried the enemy all day of  the 25th, by strong patrols at night and learned that most of the troops before him were withdrawn from Vendeuvre by Dienville on Brienne and was posted on the road to Châlons.  After reconnoitering the presence of enemy outposts before Troyes, at Maisons-Blanche occupied by 150 horsemen and 100 infantry, he still pushed a reconnaissance on this side, chased away the vedettes and discovered the weak advanced posts of the enemy, only because his own weakness had confined him to harassment.  "I found it," he said, "the more impossible to think of attacking, because enemy troops were marching steadily on my right, from Vendeuvre to Troyes. I therefore urge Your Highness, to give immediate attention to my urgent request for reinforcements."  To the right of Thurn, Platoff, which should have been already established in Bar-sur-Seine, continued to stay in Bar-sur-Aube, preparing, without haste, to march toward the Seine.

Scherbatov achieves at Eurville his junction with the Army of Silesia.  --Finally, on the right wing, Scherbatov sent from Eurville to Schwarzenberg the dispatch in which he informed him of his junction with the vanguard of the Army of Silesia,[51] with the cavalry generals Landskoy and Karpov (II), occupying Saint-Dizier. Scherbatov informed him, moreover, that his party had prevented the destruction of the bridge over the Marne, he intended to return the next morning at daybreak, to march on Arcis-sur-Aube.

Just when the armies of Bohemia and Silesia were effecting their junction near Saint-Dizier, the Emperor left Paris and arrived the morning of the 26th, at Châlons.  His presence in the army, awaited with unspeakable impatience, would now print a strong impetus to the operations, made more necessary than ever by the gravity of the situation, and ensure unity of direction that they had missed since the opening of the campaign.

Key to Map

IInd Corps & Austrian Reserves (Crown Prince of Hesse-Homburg) -Were stationed around Dijon, Gray and Mirabeau and were responsible for blockading various towns and maintaining communications with Bubna.  It consisted since the 23rd of the light brigade of Scheither, a mixed division of cavalry and infantry left to Prince A. Liechtenstein, the Wimpffen Division, the grenadier division of Weissenwolff and the cuirassier division of Lederer.  The distribution of the Austrian Reserves to the IInd Corps and Ist Corps essentially disestablished the reserve.  By the 24th the Crown Prince was still in Dijon with the bulk of his forces. He directed Wimpffen on Saint-Jean-de-Losne and General Scheither on Chalon-sur-Saône.  The remainder of the IInd Corps continued to invest Besançon and Auxonne (A. Liechtenstein), move independently (M. Liechtenstein) on Auxerre, at Pont-d'Ain (Bubna), at Geneva and Chambéry (Zechmeister) and Mâcon (Scheither) on the 25th. 

Ist Corps (M. Liechtenstein) and the 2nd Light Division (Colloredo) -The Ist Corps was at Montsaugeon, with only the 1st Light Division of Ignatz Hardegg and the division of Wied-Runkel.  It was therefore reinforced by the light division of M. Liechtenstein, the division of Bianchi, the grenadier division of Trautenberg and the cuirassiers of Nostitz all from the Austrian Reserves.  This column acted by itself on the extreme left, moving around Dijon on Châtillon-sur-Seine.  The 21st they reached Is-sur-Tille and Thil-Châtel, while Thurn was at La Ferté-sur-Aube and Châtillon sur-Seine where he found Caulaincourt, pushing on to Bar-sur-Seine by the 22nd.  The 23rd his cavalry occupied Neuville and his jägers Gye.  The 24th he occupied Bar-sur-Seine.  The same day Colloredo sent Hardegg to gain the direct road from Dijon to Paris near Montbard and pushed his vanguard to Saint-Seine.  On the 25th the bulk of his forces were at Saint-Seine, while Thurn marched from Châtillon sur-Seine on Bar-sur-Seine which he occupied the 26th.

IIIrd Corps & Crenneville Division (Gyulay) -Ordered to stop after failing to find Mortier at Chaumont on the 19th, the IIIrd Corps was quartered from Foulain up to Richebourg, and remained the 20th west of Chaumont on the road leading to Châtillon-sur-Seine.  By the 23rd they stretched from Château-Villain and Blessonville up to Clairvaux and La Ferté-sur-Aube.  Here his outposts were harassed by Mortier's rearguard at Bar-sur-Aube.  He joined with the IVth Corps' attack the 24th on Bar-sur-Aube failing to enter the town until the 25th on Mortier's withdrawal. 

Vth (Bavarian) Corps (Wrede) -The Vth Corps was to the right of the IVth Corps at Neufchâteau on the 19th, with Frimont arriving at Colombey-aux-Belles-Femmes with his Austrians and the cannons from Toul.  They remained at Neufchâteau stretched up to Clermont through the 25th.   

IVth Corps (Crown Prince of Württemberg) -The Crown Prince of Württemberg, came to Chaumont on the 19th, and was ordered to stop and remained there until the 24th.  He nevertheless urged his vanguard up to Jonchery and sent a party of cavalry to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises; skirmishing with Mortier's cavalry in the forest of Juzennecourt on the 21st.  Determined to confront these French, the Crown Prince collaborated with Gyulay's IIIrd Corps on an attack on Bar-sur-Aube the 24th with the intention of Platoff's Cossacks to take the French in the rear.  Failing to dislodge the French who withdrew in the night, the IVth Corps rested on the 25th and supported the IIIrd Corps beside Colombey-le-Sec, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and Lignol.

VIth Russian Corps (Wittgenstein) -The vanguard under Pahlen reached Blâmont on the 19th pushing the Cossacks of Rebrikov (III) to Lunéville where they arrived the 20th notifying Wrede of the VIth Corps' position and telling him of the Army of Silesia's move on Joinville.  Pahlen halted the 21st at Lunéville, while Wittgenstein accelerated his march emerging from Saverne in three columns leaving troops before besieged Kehl, Strasbourg, Landau and Phalsbourg.  Pahlen crossed the Moselle at Flavigny marching to Vézelise where he rested the 23rd arriving at Maxey the 24th.  The 25th the bulk of the VIth Corps had arrived at Nancy, while Pahlen stood on the Marne at Donjeux, now joined by General Rüdinger.

Russian Reserves (Barclay de Tolly) - The 19th the Russian and Prussian Guards and reserves had reached Port-sur-Saône, where Barclay had his headquarters; they would reach Langres the 21st and remained there until the 25th when ordered on Chaumont.   Platoff moving on Joinville with the majority of his Cossacks, acted as partisans on the road from Langres to Châtillon.  Platoff and afterwards Scherbatov attempted to cross at Vaucouleurs but only succeeded in taking the suburbs even after the arrival of Sacken's Corps (Army of Silesia). Thereafter Platoff was charged with scouring the country between the Seine and the Aube, while Scherbatov was to do the same between the Meuse and Aube.  Schwarzenberg on hearing of Mortier's presence at Bar-sur-Aube had Barclay push Platoff to Auxerre by Joinville and Bar-sur-Seine, and for Scherbatov to go between Troyes and Châlons.  Scherbatov crossed the Meuse at Sauvigny and moved on to Bonnet the 21st occupying Joinville and Vaucouleurs that night, and moving to Saint-Dizier the next day.  Platoff closing on Bar-sur-Aube the 23rd agreed to strike the French in the rear in a combined attack by the IIIrd and IVth Corps, but appeared instead behind the IVth Corps where their presence was of little use.  After this incident Platoff was directed to Sens and Fontainebleau on a special mission by the Czar.  Meanwhile Scherbatov occupied Eurville on the 24th where on the 25th he made his junction with the Army of Silesia occupying Saint-Dizier.

The 20th Marshal Mortier finished had his withdrawal to Bar-sur-Aube, holding also the bridge of Dolancourt downstream.  The 23rd the rear guard of Mortier still occupied a strong position between Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and Bar-sur-Aube before the Allied IIIrd and IVth Corps who it continually harassed with raids.  These raids led to an attempted combined attack by the Crown Prince of Württemberg for the 24th, with the assistance of Platoff who had reached Doulevant the 23rd on his way to Bar-sur-Aube.  The IIIrd Corps advanced by the left bank of the Aube, the IVth by the right bank.  The French after repulsing attacks most of the day, withdrew in the night where the Allies again lost contact with them.

Victor and Ney from west of Toul had steadily withdrawn before the Army of Silesia (described and illustrated in Chapter III).  By the 25th they had lost Saint-Dizier, Ligny and were located to the west of Vitry.



Notes: 

[1] Tagesbegebenheiten (K. K. Krieg Archiv., l, 30).  Journal of Operations of the IVth Corps (Ibid., XIII, 56).

[2] Platoff to Schwarzenberg. Denville, 19 January (Ibid., I, 462).

[3] Tagesbegebenheiten (Ibid., l, 30).

[4] Schwarzenberg to Wrede, Langres 20 January (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 449).

[5] Scherbatov to Schwarzenberg. Saulxures-lès-Vannes, 19 January (lbid., I, 445).

[6] It is impossible not to draw the reader's attention to the exaggeration of this report.  Such inaccuracies may not have been made in good faith.

[7] Blücher to Schwarzenberg, Nancy, 19 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 492).

[8] Correspondence de Napoléon, 21.103.

[9] Registers of Berthier, Archives of the War.

[10] Pahlen to Wrede, Lunéville, 20 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I. 51 1 c.)

[11] Wrede to Schwarzenberg. (Ibid., I, 492 d.)

[12] Schwarzenberg wrote from Langres, the 22nd, to Bellegarde and Colloredo to make them aware of the situation, giving them a report of the affair at Greux and additional information as follows:

Prince of Schwarzenberg to the generals Count Bellegarde and Colloredo.  --Langres, 22 January 18l4.

"The great army halted on the 22nd.  The Ist Corps was in Dijon.  Ataman Count Platoff, despite all the difficulties presented by the undertaking, crossed the Meuse at Greux and moved by Joinville and Bar-sur-Aube towards Bar-sur-Seine."

"Upon the arrival of the vanguard on the Meuse, the enemy cavalry was on the opposite bank.  We did cross a few men using boats.  It ejected the enemy cavalry, taking 1 lieutenant and 19 men.  Our losses are 10 horses and two Cossacks."

"The lieutenant made prisoner said he was going to Taillancourt, where there were five regiments of cavalry, commanded by General Grouchy, who form the vanguard of Marshal Victor."

"Another party of Cossacks, sent to support this detachment, has found no more enemy in Taillancourt and assured the retreat of the enemy outpost on Void." (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 518.)

[13] GROUCHY, Mémoires.  Reports of General de France, La Motte, Briche and Adjutant Commandant of La Condamine. (Archives of the War.)

[14] On the morning of the 20th, he strongly occupied Lignol and thought to reoccupy Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. On the other hand, he held, downstream from Bar-sur-Aube the bridge at Dolancourt and established the horse grenadiers in column between Bar, Ailleville and Arsonval.

[15] Prince of Schwarzenberg to the Count Barclay de Tolly.  --Langres, 20 January 1814.

"Your Excellency will agree with me that it is now necessary to modify the directions of march for the corps of the Ataman Count Platoff and detachment of Major-General Prince Scherbatov."

"I beg you to send Count Platoff orders to go by Joinville and Bar-sur-Seine towards Auxerre, where he will cover your left and where he can easily push to Sens and Fontainebleau."

"This is the best job we can give to a corps like this, and I think that this so important a mission that I beg Your Highness to add to the Count Platoff  some officers from my headquarters."

"I beg Your Excellency to push General Scherbatov between Troyes and Châlons-sur-Marne, so he tells us about the movement and position of the enemy and he can menace at the same time along the roads leading to Paris."

(K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 477 and Tagesbegebenheiten, Ibid., I, 30.)

[16] We shall concern ourselves in Chapter V, devoted specifically to the operations of Bubna and army of the South, with a few movements executed by the brigade of Scheither.  This general officer, after serving until 30 January with the blockade of Auxonne, was relieved at that time by the division of Wimpffen.  Reinforced by a battalion of this division and by some troops from Bubna, he received orders to seize Chalon-sur-Saône and combine its operations with Colonel Wieland of the Bubna Division.

See for this last order: K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 632.

[17]K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 466.

[18] Schwarzenberg to Wittgenstein, Langres, 21 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 466.)

[19] Daily report for the Emperor of Austria. Langres, 21 January. (lbid., I, 503).

[20] Schwarzenberg to Wrede, Langres, 21 January. (Ibid., I. 492, o.)

[21] Wrede to Schwarzenberg, Neufchâteau, 22 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 511.)

[22] Blücher to Wrede, 21 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 511 a.)

[23] Tagesbegebenheiten (lbid., I, 30).  --According to the records of Belliard, the Duke of Bellune occupied Commercy, Void, Vaucouleurs and Gondrecourt; Ney was at Bar-le-Duc, Ligny and Saint-Dizier. Belliard, added: "The Marshal Duke of Trévise must have been in Chaumont."

[24] Scherbatov to Schwarzenberg, Bonnet, 22 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 512.)

[25] Journal of Operations of the IVth Corps. (Ibid., 13/56).

[26] Tagesbegebenheiten. (Ibid., I, 30.)

[27] Thurn to Schwarzenberg, Châtillon, 21 January. (Ibid., I, 485, and ad I, 485.)

[28] Schwarzenberg to Toll. Langres, 21 January.  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 500.)

[29] Schwarzenberg to Blücher. Langres, 21 January. (Ibid., I, 492.)

[30] Schwarzenberg to Wrede. Langres, 22 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 524.)

[31] Scherbatov to Schwarzenberg, Bonnet, 22 January. (Ibid., I, 512.)

[32] Thurn to Schwarzenberg. Neuville, 23 January, three in the afternoon. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 527.)

[33] Wittgenstein to Schwarzenberg. Blamont, 23 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 580.)

[34] Report of Platoff, 23 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 629 b.)

[35] Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria. Langres, 25 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 582.)

[36] Tagesbegebenheiten. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30.)

[37] Mortier to the Emperor.  --Bar-sur-Aube, 21 January.

 "As I had expected, the enemy attacked me today.  From six o'clock in the morning the troops were under arms and I was ready.  The 113th, with two cannons, occupied the bridge near Dolancourt.  A regiment of the Old Guard and  three pieces of fixed artillery have been posted on the plateau between Proverville and Spoy.  The village of Fontaines was occupied by Horse Chasseurs of the Guard, a battalion of the Old Guard and 400 men of the 2nd Division.  The remaining troops were arranged in battle formation before Bar, on the road to Chaumont.  My scouts occupied Arrentières.  About eleven o'clock the enemy debouched two columns, one by the road Chaumont, the other by that of Clairvaux.  It was a real attack.  One could not mistake the depth of the columns that appeared before me.  Strong masses of infantry of the column from Clairvaux tried to seize the bridge behind from Fontaines. My artillery put them in flight.  Three times it impetuously attacked Fontaines, three times the enemy was crushed.  It moved strong columns to its left. However Spoy had not been attacked at nightfall."

"General Letort was ordered to withdraw from Colombey-les-Deux-Églises towards Lignol.  He was followed by the corps of the Crown Prince of Württemberg and a host of Cossacks.  He took his place in line with us, his left in the direction of plateau of Voigny, which I had occupied, and has remained there despite the superiority of strength he had before him.  I had fought with the corps of Gyulay, which the prisoners say had 30,000 men.  These forces are independent of those of the Crown Prince of Württemberg, which is estimated from 12,000 to 15,000 men…"

"…In my previous reports, I had the honor to inform Your Majesty that the enemy is maneuvering by both sides of the Aube.  It appears that all the forces are concentrated in Arc, Château-Villain, La Ferté-sur-Aube, Clairvaux, etc.., having assembled themselves.  My position is no longer tenable, I move tomorrow towards Vendeuvre to cover the road to Paris.  I plan to camp next to the bridge of the Guillottière which gives me a good position where I will try again to risk a battle before going to Troyes.  If Your Majesty thinks I should go from Troyes to Arcis-sur-Aube, He will be kind enough to let me know.  I warn General Gérard of my movement, who had to gone to Brienne.  Platoff is at Doulevant: his Cossacks inundate the countryside." (Archives of the War.)

[38] Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 582)

[39] Tagesbegebenheiten. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30.)

[40] Journal of Operations of the IVth Corps. (Ibid., XIII, 56.)

[41] Platoff to Schwarzenberg. Bar-sur-Aube, 25 January (the original in French). (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 572.)

[42] BERNHARDI, Toll. Denkwürdigkeiten, V. 397. letter addressed to General Lieutenant Count Toll by the staff of the Royal Prince of Württemberg, 26 January 1814.  The letter of the Royal Prince of Württemberg to General Toll was written by Colonel Count Baillet de la Tour, Chief of Staff of the IVth Corps.  It wasn't addressed only to Lieutenant General Count Toll, but to Radetzky, General Chief of Staff of the Grand Army.

[43] In French in the text.

[44] BERNHARDI, Toll. Denkwürdigkeiten, IV, 238-39.

[45] Scherbatov to Schwarzenberg. Eurville, 2l January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I. 548), and Tagesbegebenheiten (Ibid., I, 30).

[46] Schwarzenberg to Thurn. Langres, 24 January 24. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 564.)

[47] Thurn to Schwarzenberg. Bar-sur-Seine, 24 January.  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv. I. 545.)

[48] Tagesbegebenheiten. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30.)

[49] For clarity, although we reserve the right to return later to these movements, we feel obliged to add here that the Ist Corps occupied Châtillon-sur-Seine the 26th, that Field Marshal Lieutenant Bianchi arrived with his troops at Saint-Seine on the same day; that on the right of the great army, the vanguard of the VIth Corps advanced up to Cirey-le-Chateau, and the other corps remained motionless.

[50] Thurn to Schwarzenberg. Bar-sur-Seine, 26 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 585.)

[51] Scherbatov to Schwarzenberg. Eurville, 25 January (original in French). (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 572.)

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2011; updated September 2011

 

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