Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The Campaign of 1814: Chapter Three Part I

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 III.

OPERATIONS OF THE ARMY OF SILESIA FROM THE CROSSING OF THE RHINE TO THE FIRST JUNCTION WITH THE GREAT ARMY OF BOHEMIA (26 JANUARY 1814).


Strength and position of the Army of Silesia in December 1813.  --Since the day (7 November) when the council of war met in Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt), had given Blücher the order to take the Army of Silesia back to Mainz, the different corps of the army had been able to benefit from a few weeks of rest granted them to recuperate and strengthen. They had received the following tasks:

The Prussian Ist Corps (Yorck), stationed in Nassau, along the right bank of the Rhine, had been responsible for the investment of Kassel and fort of Montebello.  Since 18 December, the Brandenburg Hussars, 10th Regiment of Landwehr Cavalry and a handful of jägers watched the course of the Rhine from the confluence of the Lahn to Hochheim; the 7th Brigade, stationed at Mosbach and Bieberich, provided forces that blockaded the fort of Montebello and was connected to Eltville with posts in echelon along the Rhine; the 2nd Brigade occupied Wiesbaden and Erbenheim and pushing its outposts as far as Kassel: its extreme left hand touching the right of the corps of Sacken.  The 1st and 8th Brigades were spread around Langen-Schwalbach (Bad Schwalbach), the cavalry reserve were at Kirberg and the headquarters of Yorck remained from 14 November to 30 December in Wiesbaden. The total effectives of this corps was the 1st of January 1814 from 21,447 men according to Damitz, from 22,108 men, including 661 officers, according to Droysen, and only 19,561 of officers, noncommissioned officers and soldiers (as of January 4) after Plotho and Bogdanowitch.  It consisted of 31 ½ battalions, 44 squadrons and 13 batteries (104 cannons).

The Prussian IInd Corps (Kleist), from about 16,000 men strong (and from 20,000 by Bogdanowitch), as of 6 January, when it set off to move towards the Rhine, had hitherto remained before Erfurt.  The Corps, which was, according to the orders it received later to be at Koblenz, 16 January and by the 27th to 28th in Trier, had detached a flying column, composed of two squadrons of the 2nd Silesian Hussar Regiment, two squadrons of the Silesian National Hussar Regiment, a jäger (zu pferd) squadron with a few cannons, which, under the command of Major General Prince Biron of Courland, was temporarily attached to the Russian corps of General von Sacken.

When Kleist began his march towards the Rhine, his corps was composed of 25 battalions, 20 squadrons and 12 batteries (96 pieces).  It was preceded by his reserve cavalry (16 squadrons and 16 guns), under the command of General von Roeder.

To the left of the corps of Yorck during the months of November and December, the Russian corps of General von Sacken, was quartered since 2 December around Darmstadt.  Composed of the 6th and 11th Infantry Corps (Lieutenant-Generals Scherbatov and Lieven III, the cavalry corps of General Vasilchikov, Cossacks of General Karpov II), it presented at the end of December a staff of 26 battalions, 28 squadrons, 8 regiments of Cossacks, 7 batteries (94 cannons), in all 21,550 men.[1]

The corps of the Russian General Count Langeron, placed in a second line around Frankfurt, and included the 8th Corps (General Count de Saint-Priest, who detached at Ehrenbreitstein operated separately and independently for much of the campaign ), the 9th (General Olsufiev III) and 10th (General Kaptzevitch), the cavalry corps of Korff and the Cossacks of General Grekov VIII.  By deducting the 8th Corps (about 10,000 men), this corps had a strength of 23,000 men, divided into 43 battalions, 28 squadrons, 7 regiments of Cossacks and 12 batteries (136 cannons), five companies of pioneers and pontooners and pontoon equipment.[2]

According Bogdanovich, the effectives of Langeron's Corps, at the time of the resumption of hostilities, 36,000 men had been reduced to 24,099 as a result of the detachment of 8th Corps that account for 11,901 men.


Effectives available during the crossing of the Rhine.  --The total strength of the Army of Silesia was then, when it crossed the Rhine from 67,000 men, with a little more than 300 cannons.[3]

But as Blücher had to leave about 15,000 men of Langeron's Corps before Mainz, it was only a little over 50,000 troops that began operations on the left bank of the Rhine.

29 December.  --Measures taken by Blücher.  --Blücher, whose headquarters was located in Höchst, repaired in person to Frankfort-am-Main, 29 December.  To deceive everyone, just as he sent his lieutenants confidential instructions relating to the passage of the Rhine, he pointedly instructed Ribbentrop, the General-Kriegs-Kommissair of the Army of Silesia, to actively engaged in the establishment of winter quarters and the constitution of stores needed for troops alluding to a long stay on the points they occupied on the right bank.

Letter from Schwarzenberg to Blücher.  --At this time, 26 December, Schwarzenberg announced to the Field-Marshal "he occupied Bern, Solothurn, Zürich and Porrentruy; that Bubna, who arrived in Freiburg, was heading to Geneva; he had still to reach heights of Langres by 20 January, during which time he had fears for the right of the Army of Bohemia, and consequently the importance of occupying French forces who were uniting at Metz, so as to prevent them from sending everyone towards Huningen or to try to cross the Rhine at Kehl.  The generalissimo added in his letter of the 26th that Wittgenstein, was still too weak to oppose such attempts, he relied on the Army of Silesia to undertake this task.

Role assigned by the campaign plan  to the Army of Silesia.  --The role assigned to the Army of Silesia had also been planned and decided in the general plan of campaign: "The Army of Silesia will cross the Rhine between Koblenz, Mainz and Mannheim, then blockading Mainz, will move with its main body on Metz, so as to get there on 15 January, when the Great Army will be at the level of Langres.  The Army of Silesia, without worrying about other places on the Moselle and Meuse, will continue its movement towards Champagne, and 31 January the two major Allied armies will be gathered between Troyes, Arcis and Vitry."

The author of the plan in question added: "As the Army of Bohemia, passes through Switzerland and Franche-Comté and has more ground to cover, the Army of Silesia was to cross the Rhine eleven days after the troops Schwarzenberg had completed their passage."

Blücher's confidential instructions to his generals.  --Also, from 26 December, Blücher sent to his various lieutenants confidential instructions by which 1 January 1814 in the morning was fixed for the Rhine crossing, the corps of Langeron and Yorck would cross between Mainz and Koblenz, Sacken's corps between that city and Mannheim.  The various corps of the Army of Silesia were to meet 4 January in the line of Bad Kreuznach-Alzey.

To the difficulties that always accompany the crossing of large courses of water were still added those which came from the presence on the left bank of the Rhine of Marshal Marmont's 6th Corps and the weak division of General Ricard, and that Mainz and Kassel were occupied by the 12,000 men of General Morand.

The result was that the Army of Silesia was trying to make the passage both upstream and downstream of this place and that the operation was likely to succeed only if they are prepared in secret and executed with the utmost speed, so as not give the French time and concentrate enough to crush the heads of the columns when they sought to gain a foothold on the left bank.

Preparatory movements of the different corps.  --To this effect, Langeron, with the 10th Corps (Kaptzevitch) and the reserve artillery, moved the 29th on Nidda and most of the cavalry reserve was established between Kirberg and Butzbach.

On the 30th Infantry continued its movement toward Wiesbaden, where it relieved the Prussian outposts, which from Biebrich up to Mosbach participated in the blockade of Kassel, while the cavalry reserve reached Kirberg and Erstein and the Ist Prussian Corps (Yorck) left Wiesbaden to mass between Langen-Schwalbach and the Rhine.

The next day, the 31st, this corps pushed to just between Nastätten and the Rhine towards Kaub and Sankt Goarshausen.  Langeron with the 10th Corps stood behind him on the right bank of Mühlbach, the cavalry reserve in Langen-Schwalbach and Katzenelnbogen and 9th Corps relieved the posts of the right wing forces in position before Kassel.

The crossing point of Kaub reconnoitered by a staff officer of the Ist Corps was occupied without demonstration in the afternoon by a brigade of the Ist Corps, under the direct orders of General-Lieutenant von Hünerbein responsible for the conduct the advanced guard.

All was quiet on the left bank: there seemed to be no notion of either the plans of the Army of Silesia, nor the movements it had performed.

At the same time Saint Priest massed the Russian 8th Corps on the Lahn, from Dausenau to Oberlahnstein, and embarked on 82 boats moored at a short distance from the confluence of this river for moving 5,000 men immediately on Koblenz, as soon as they would land on the left bank.

On the side of Sacken's Corps, the last days of December had been used in the construction of a pontoon bridge which at the right time, came down the Neckar and allowed the crossing around Mannheim.

On 31 December in the evening, the Army of Silesia occupied the following positions:

Sacken's corps was stationed in the vicinity of Mannheim: the Ist Prussian Corps between Sankt Goarshausen and Kaub, which was also the headquarters of Blücher: Langeron had taken positions with the 10th Corps behind the Ist Corps.  The 9th Corps was the whole time before Kassel and the 8th on the side of Ehrenbreitstein.  On the banks of the Lahn the flying corps of General v. Biron, who had been ordered to join the corps of Sacken at Mannheim, arrived in the morning of 31 December.

Orders of the Emperor to Marmont.  --Movements of Marmont.  --As the Army of Silesia was preparing to cross the Rhine, Marmont, who had been to then responsible for the guarding of the left bank with the divisions Lagrange, posted in front of Mannheim, Ricard and Durutte between Mainz and Koblenz, had received from the Emperor, informed of the appearance of the Allies before Basel, orders to concentrate on Landau the 6th Corps and the 1st Corps of cavalry, for moving on Colmar where he would take the senior command of operations in Alsace. The Marshal, acting on instructions from his sovereign, had immediately begun his movement and his person was, on 30 December, at Neustadt with the infantry of Lagrange and the cavalry of Doumerc.  All that remained at Ober-Wesel, Bacharach and around Mannheim were few small posts of Lagrange division.  As for the division of Durutte one of his brigades was distributed between Koblenz and redoubts raised in front of Lahnstein, the other was at Sankt Goar, Bacharach and Bingen am Rhein, the division of Ricard marched on Bad Kreuznach, to unite with the Marshal.

Fortune smiled, as we see, on Blücher and greatly facilitated his operation that the presence of slightly respectable forces could easily have derailed or at least compromised.

The 1st of January 1814.  --Passage of the Rhine by the corps of Sacken.  --While Sacken had taken care to bring down the Neckar the pontoon boats, which were built in complete security, he needed to lay the bridge over the Rhine , first to take the redoubt, armed with six cannons and raised by the French, opposite the confluence of the Neckar and the Rhine.  He undertook the operation, which was run in the night of 31 December to the 1st of January, with six regiments of eigers,[4] under the command of Generals Tallisin II and Sass, and that had embarked on boats found on the Neckar.

These troops had formed in two echelons that were put in motion at 4 o'clock in the morning.  Protected by fog, they managed to make it without being seen after a few steps taking the redoubt in the presence of King of Prussia, only after their two generals were wounded and not without having lost 300 men, including 1 senior officer killed and 2 wounded.  At 6 o'clock at night, the pontoon bridge was in place, and Sacken, starting immediately to get his people on the left bank, pushed the same evening to Frankenthal.  The parties sent ahead came on the right, up to Worms, on the left up to Speyer, while General Prince Biron of Courland, with his flying corps, whose main body had stopped in Frankenthal, extended his outposts to Alzey.  He had them then search to unite on the right with the corps of Yorck and Langeron.

Cavalry combat at Mutterstadt.  --General Karpov II,[5] who had left with his Cossacks soon after he settled on the left shore for Mutterstadt encountered nearly eight French squadrons; he charged without giving them time to reconnoiter, put them in full rout and took 25 officers and 200 men.

Crossing of the Rhine at Kaub by the corps of Yorck.  --It was especially toward Kaub that fortune would favor Blücher's enterprises, although he had chosen to cross at the point that seemed to lend the least to one such company.  Indeed, to arrive at Kaub, he must first go through the defile of Weisel, which if allowing to mass the troops without being able to see their movements, had the serious disadvantage of being controlled by heights of the left bank.  It could, moreover, be easily rendered impractical if the French artillery, burning the village of Kaub, had completely blocked the outlet.  Finally, the heights located on the left bank fell almost straight into the river.  The choice made by Blücher of such a bad point is justified by the findings that had been made of the absence of any French posts and the lack of any provision of a defense on left side.

The vanguard of the Prussian Ist Corps, consisting of 12 battalions of infantry, two companies of jägers, 16 squadrons and 16 cannons, all under the command of Generals and v. Hünerbein and von Jurgass, had massed the 31st in the evening on the right bank, just before the time the Russian pontoons left from Nastätten and were intended to arrive to bridge on this point.  The building of a bridge was immediately started that was upstream from Kaub in the Pfalz, without the troop movements and the work of pontooners having caused any alarm on the opposite bank. Around 3 in the morning 200 fusiliers embarked and landed on the left side after suffering a few shots fired at the last moment by a customs post.  The fusiliers then had a slight skirmish with a few weak detachments who, rushed from Ober-Wesel and Bacharach, but soon retired.  At dawn, the French timidly renewed their attempt, but without success.

Information collected by the Prussians on the left bank.  --A courier, bearing news from Marmont, who was traveling from Bacharach to Rheinfels, was captured by the troops that had crossed to the left bank.  The Prussians had learned from him that they had to deal with a small outpost of 60 men and the left side was almost completely stripped of troops.  The seized dispatches, which were intended to General Durutte then in Koblenz, made it clear that Marmont had intended to take a position between Kaiserslautern and Neustadt, where Durutte had orders to join him.  The Marshal prescribed in addition to this general, where it would be impossible to march by Kirn and Idar-Oberstein, directing him from Birkenfeld through to the Saar.  Lastly, it was now known, and this was something important to Blücher, Marmont was for the moment at Neustadt and the division of Ricard stood around Bad Kreuznach. So when they had thrown back the attempt by the French in the morning, the three battalions of Prussian, who had come to strengthen the two jäger companies, marched forward, scaled the heights and occupied Bacharach, Ober-Wesel and villages surrounding.

At 9 in the morning, the bridge finally reached the Pfalz that was occupied by two squadrons of hussars who, with two cannons, soon were to be transported by boat to the left bank, where there was already an infantry brigade.  The first brigade, soon after crossing the Rhine by boat, immediately pushed in the direction of Sankt Goar.[6]

Breaking up of the bridge at Pfalz.  --At 4 in the afternoon, when it was thought almost certain of achieving a rapid completion of the bridge that would lead them over the Pfalz to the left bank, the anchors gave way, the ropes broke and the boats were driven off by the current violence.  Forced to start the work anew, the bridge could not be completed until the morning of 2 January.  Finally, the eigers stationed on the right bank at Rüdesheim, who reported in the night of the movements of French troops moving from Bingen to Bacharach, General von Yorck felt obliged to send the same evening the first brigade, which had occupied Sankt Goar, to support in any event the few troops stationed in Bacharach.

Following the failure of the bridge, Blücher remained still during the night of the 1st to 2nd of January on the right bank between Kaub, Weisel and Sankt Goarshausen, with the remaining three brigades of the Prussian Ist Corps and the Russian corps of Langeron established further back in second line.

Crossing of a part of the corps of Saint-Priest.  --Taking of Koblenz.  --Further downstream, the night of 31 December to 1 January, Saint-Priest had managed to throw on the left side two of his brigades under the command of Generals Bistrom II and Karpenkov, and to removed the redoubts raised by the French in front of the mouth of the Lahn.  General Durutte forced by events to withdraw to the Hunsrück, evacuated Koblenz, where the Russians entered on the 1st of January at 4 o'clock in the morning.  Major-General Pillar pushed again the same day to Andernach, where he seized six transport barges loaded with food and ammunition.

On 2 January at 9 o'clock in the morning the Russian pontooners had finished the pontoon bridge, that immediately served the troops and artillery of the Ist Corps in completing their passage.  As there was only one bridge, it was only the 3rd at the break of day, that the corps of Langeron got its turn to leave the right bank of the Rhine.

Crossing of the corps of Langeron.  --Opinion of Clausewitz on the Rhine crossing.  --"A river crossing," Clausewitz said about this, despite all the admiration he professes of Blücher and frequently cites, even in his Critique of Strategy in the 1814 Campaign, when it comes to the operations of the Field-Marshal, departing from his usual impartiality, "a river crossing executed by 70,000 men over a line of over 120 km long, interrupted by a position in which the enemy had a garrison of 16,000 men, is not an easily recommendable operation; for the enemy, as long as his strength permits it could throw himself with all his men on a fraction of that of Sacken and pushing him back before the others had been able to rescue him.  However, given the weakness of the French, as it was not in their plans to stand firm between the Rhine and the Vosges there was no great danger in attempting this enterprise; moreover, as greater results could be obtained than by operating the crossing points that were closer, they had reason to act in this way: it is the side that has superiority in numbers that is causing the crisis, look for great results."

There certainly is much truth to the view of Clausewitz, and we do not approve of the principle laid down in closing. However we feel he would have been more severe for any other general and after he critiqued the operation, as he reasons from the beginning; having highlighted its drawbacks and dangers, he would not failed to say if he had not been discussing Blücher, that this way of acting and the choice of such distant crossing points, could only be justified if, before starting the operation, the commander Army of Silesia would have known, by the reports of his emissaries, as he learned later by the news found on the courier, that Marmont had been, by higher order, directed to strip the left side and stand on Kaiserslautern.

2 January.  --Movements of the corps of Yorck and Langeron.  --To overcome the limit of possible delays inseparable from the passage of a large river on one bridge and especially on a pontoon bridge, Blücher ordered Yorck to proceed immediately from Bacharach by Rheinböllen and Stromberg on Bad Kreuznach.  Langeron was ordered to take, once on the left shore, the bank from Bacharach to Bingen am Rhein.

March of the division of Ricard.  --General Ricard had spent the night at Bad Kreuznach, where he had been aware of the movement of the Prussians and Russians on Koblenz and Bacharach.  He was immediately set in motion to move by the Hunsrück to Koblenz and give a hand to the division Durutte.  Being that his vanguard had already gone past Alzey, his main body had reached Stromberg, his rearguard that was still at Laubach was soon to join the remnants of the division of Durutte falling back on Simmern and moved forward again up to Halsenbach.  But due to the French posts of Sankt Goar and Bacharach being forced back by the Prussians that pushed on Rheinböllen and Stromberg, General Ricard was constrained to stop in Laubach to meet there with General Durutte.  While there he learned Yorck was master of the openings of the Rhine on the Hunsrück, he had already occupied Rheinböllen and Stromberg, his cavalry had returned to the left bank of the Moselle and knew that General Durutte only had with him 400 to 500 men, he resolved to proceed to Trier, to ensure the crossing of the Moselle.

Blücher, pushing rapidly forward the corps of Yorck first on Bad Kreuznach, then through the valley of the Glan (Nahe) on Saarbrücken while he was marching Sacken by Kaiserslautern and Zweibrücken (Deux-Ponts) to the Saar, evidently trying to prevent the troops of generals Durutte and Ricard to execute, first a retirement, then their junction with Marmont.

Cavalry affair at Rheinböllen.  --Yorck had put his troops in motion immediately after receiving the orders of the Field Marshal, that is to say a little after  noon; his advanced guard took the road of Bad Kreuznach; the 1st, 2nd and 7th Brigades, and the reserve cavalry followed the movements of the advanced guard.  The cavalry of the extreme vanguard easily drove the French cavalry from Rheinböllen, robbed them of some fifty men and found no trace of the enemy, nor at Stromberg. nor even Bad Kreuznach, where it arrived during the night.  The 2nd Brigade pushed up to Rheinböllen and Ellern, and as the French were still at Argenthal and Schnorbach, as the other brigade was ordered to continue its march, it temporarily left at Ellern a battalion and a squadron in charge of covering the right of the other troops of the Ist Corps until Colonel Count Henckel, who had been directed on Simmern with a flying corps, would force the French to leave Argenthal.

The flying corps of Henckel driving on Trier.  --The detachment entrusted to Colonel Henckel, and then moved from Simmern towards Trier, consisted of the 5th Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment (4 squadrons), two squadrons of the 3rd Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment, a fusilier battalion of the corps and a half battery of horse artillery.  As this column had been formed in the course of the afternoon, it arrived at nine o'clock in the evening Rheinböllen, paused there a moment and regrouped prior to its movement on Simmern.

The march of 2 January, was performed in one of the strongest cold spells and on the bad roads in the Hunsrück, that the troops of the Ist Corps had ever experienced in camping for the past two nights, so that most of them had not reached their quarters located in front of the gorges of the mountains until late at night, and some even did not arrive there until the 3rd in the morning.  Yorck arrived in person at eleven o'clock at night in Stromberg, and Blücher's headquarters remained in Bacharach.

Combat of Bad Dürkheim and movement of Biron to Alzey.  --On the side of Sacken's corps, Marmont, ultimately to cover Kaiserslautern, had taken position on the Schindbuckel, with the Lagrange Division and the cavalry of Doumerc between Bad Dürkheim and Ellerstadt.  After a short fight, he had to fall back on Hardenburg, behind Bad Dürkheim, and leave in the hands of the enemy a hundred prisoners.  The generals Ricard and Durutte found it impossible to reach the Marshal as soon as the troops of Yorck had preceded to Stromberg, and were forced to gain the Saar through Laubach and Simmern.

On 2 January, at nine o'clock in the morning, Sacken had again directed the flying corps of the General Prince Biron of Courland, from Dautenheim to Alzey.  This detachment, moving the next day the 3rd for Wonsheim, was tasked with establishing and maintaining communication with the vanguard.  Biron found Alzey evacuated; he nevertheless managed to reach the enemy thanks to a thick fog, to surprise it between Bermersheim and Lonsheim, and taking there 1 lieutenant colonel, 5 officers, 20 men, and 65 horse.[7]

Cavalry actions at Mehlem and Oberwinter.  --The cavalry of Saint Priest had continued to push forward from Andernach and arrived in the afternoon of 2 January to Mehlem and Oberwinter.  But at this point the Cossacks, supported by some companies of infantry and one gun, came up against the generals Albert and Jacquinot (from the 5th Corps, Sébastiani), which emerged from Bonn at their meeting, attacked immediately, quickly returning them in the direction of Andernach and reoccupying Remagen.[8]

Passage of the corps of Saint Priest delayed by ice.  --The Rhine had begun covering with ice, Saint Priest succeeded, with great difficulty and loss of a lot of time, to cross successively by boat the rest of his infantry, artillery and cavalry.  So he was forced to stay several days in Koblenz, and it was only later that he could begin his movement by Andernach on Malmedy, Dinant and Givet.  We will not, however, look for Saint Priest before mid-February, when he marched with one of the Russian echelons of the 8th Corps to get to Saint-Dizier, where he arrived on 27 February.  He remained there for some time to gather reinforcements sent to Blücher and connect the Army of Silesia, first with the Army of Bohemia, then with the Rhine.

3 January.  --Movement of the Prussian cavalry towards Bingen am Rhein.  --Most of the troops of the Ist Corps made a halt on 3 January.  Everything was confined to a few operations of the cavalry of the advanced guard and movement of Colonel Count Henckel.

General von Hünerbein, who commanded the vanguard, not knowing if Bingen was still occupied by the French, sent on this side a flying column that left from Stromberg the 2nd in the evening.  It would scout for his left and establish, if it could, communication with the corps of Langeron.  The column, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel von Stössel and formed by the battalion of fusiliers from the Brandenburg Infantry Regiment, drove a small French post from Waldalgesheim, which, thanks to the darkness, managed to withdraw safely.  Lieutenant-Colonel von Stössel nonetheless managed to learn that the French (this was General Choisy, with the 2nd Regiment of the Guards of Honor and a thousand foot soldiers of the 2nd brigade of the Durutte Division coming from being pent up in Mainz), were still in Bingen on the 3rd in the morning and watched the course of the Nahe.

Cavalry action at Simmern.  --Colonel Henckel, continuing to move in the night of the 2nd to 3rd, found Argenthal evacuated by the enemy, and arrived at 2 o'clock in the morning outside Simmern that was still occupied a small rear guard of the Ricard Division. This little troop, almost immediately expelled from the city, attempted unsuccessfully to regain a foothold in the market, but broken by the cavalry of Henckel, it was pursued up to Kirchberg where the battle, that had cost the French a hundred men killed , wounded or prisoners, continued until about 5 o'clock in the morning.

The main body of flying corps of Colonel Henckel at 3 in the evening had reached Kirchberg, which the French had left later in the day to fall back with the generals Ricard and Durutte by Kirn and Sankt Wendel in the Saarland.

Movements of the Cossacks.  --The Cossacks meanwhile had been joined at Alzey by Sacken's Corps, and some French troops stationed on this side still had to withdraw from first on Meisenheim, then Kirn, to rejoin the divisions of Ricard and Durutte retired on Birkenfeld.

March of Langeron on Bingen.  --Langeron, whose corps was finally able to finish the Rhine crossing the day before and take position the 2nd at night in Bacharach, had started from daybreak, towards Bingen, that had been raised by General Kornilov.  General Choisy, to whom the action had cost 300 men, retired with his infantry on Ingelheim am Rhein, in the direction of Mainz, while his cavalry sought to rally with the troops of Marshal Marmont.  As for the 1st Regiment of Guards of Honor previously posted at Bad Kreuznach, it had been cut off from the rest of French troops by the movements of the Army of Silesia; but it was not lost as, after being forced to divide into small packets marching through different routes, it finally rejoined the French troops on the Saar.

Cavalry affair at Neustadt.  --Ambush at Warteck.  --Skirmish of Fürfeld.  --Sacken had continued to follow Marmont who, having been joined by four battalions and a half battery Ricard Division evacuated Bad Dürkheim and Neustadt the night of the 3rd to 4th, to fall back on Kaiserslautern.  The Marshal's rearguard, on reaching Neustadt and taken on the flank by the Cossacks of Major General Lukovkin, was deeply shaken and weakened, in this affair by losing 3 officers and 50 dragoons captured.[9]

General Prince Biron had removed a supply convoy ambushed near Warteck between Alzey and Kirchheimbolanden and had subsequently been established at Wonsheim, where he was connected to the advanced guard of Yorck.

To complete the presentation of small operations that day, we still have to add a Prussian patrol sent from Bad Kreuznach to Fürfeld, had a slight engagement with a French outpost, and that Yorck's extreme right was connected in the afternoon with the Cossacks from the corps of Saint Priest.

Positions 3 January in the evening.  --It follows from the above that, the 3rd at night, two corps of the Army of Silesia moved to the Saar:  Yorck by the road from Bad Kreuznach, Sacken by that of Kaiserslautern, while Langeron headed for Mainz.

4 January.  -- Blücher's orders on the transmission of news.  --Movement of the advanced guard to the Saar.  --The 4th of January, the advanced guard of Yorck's Corps, pursuant to orders of Blücher, continued, by way of Bad Kreuznach and the valley of the Glan, through Meisenheim and Lauterecken its movement on Kusel.  "So," said Blücher in that order, "to ensure timely transmission of news coming from the front, they will leave behind cavalry orderlies at the main points and they will expedite the important information with the aid of the jäger volunteers serving as couriers."

This vanguard from Kusel marched to the Saar in two columns pointing on the left, to Saarbrücken, on the right to Saarlouis.  Its mission was to prevent the enemy from establishing itself on the Saar, capture Saarlouis, in the situation where the site had little food and a small garrison, and finally cover the march of Yorck's Corps and to ensure the tranquility of its successive encampments.

The main body was ordered to quarter the evening of the 4th between Meisenheim and Bad Kreuznach.

But the thaw, which had occurred in the meantime, had broken up the roads to the point that the advanced guard, commanded by Prince William of Prussia was unable to go beyond Lauterecken, whence a detachment was sent to Kirn to cover the right.  The extreme advanced guard, commanded by General von Katzler had stopped at Offenbach, and merely push left, towards Kaiserslautern, the regiment of the Lancers of Brandenburg with orders to link with that side of the Sacken's Corps .

March of Henckel on Trier.  --At the extreme right, Henckel had received orders to go to Trier, to seize it, if this city was weakly occupied.  It was wanted to ensure some type of bridge over the Moselle and to survey Luxembourg. Henckel moved from Morbach towards Thalfang, following, despite all the difficulties which presented to their march, the French rearguard, who sought to gain Saarbrücken in passing through Birkenfeld.  To cover his right, he crossed the Moselle at Traben-Trarbach with a party of 30 horsemen, commanded by an officer to oversee the road to Koblenz.

Langeron, in turn, approached from Mainz, pushing before him the few French posts trying to stop his progress. Sacken continued his march towards Kaiserslautern; Kleist, who under the agreement signed on 21 December, went to go back the 6th to the town of Erfurt, had received that day from Schwarzenberg permission to leave only a few troops at the citadel and to take measures immediately to get it moving with the rest of his corps formed in three columns.

January 5.  --Movements of the Ist Prussian Corps.  --Henckel at Trier.  --The Ist Corps lay motionless on 5 January; the vanguard only made a little headway; after having concentrated at Lauterecken, it pushed up to Kusel always preceded by General von Katzler, who reached Konken, while the artillery reserve of the corps came to Obermoschel and Yorck set up his headquarters at Meisenheim.

Colonel Henckel had, despite the bad weather and poor conditions of roads, continued on his move from Thalfang to Trier, and from the 5th in the morning he was preceded by a detachment of four squadrons of Landwehr cavalry and 60 tirailleurs (schützen) transported in wagons under the command of Major von Ozeroffski, who had been instructed to reconnoiter Trier.  The major succeeded in driving before him the French outposts and stand before the city until the arrival of the colonel, who arrived with his main body the night of the 5th just up to Ruwer, a little more than 5 kilometers from Trier.  To deceive the enemy about the real strength of his corps, he had a considerable number of fires lit, and, forming his troops into two columns, he prepared to carry the town by day.  But the small French garrison did not wait for the attack and retreated to Luxembourg. Henckel, informed of their departure, entered into Trier at 3 in the morning, where the French had abandoned their sick, their wounded and several magazines filled with plenty of military equipment.[10]

March of Sacken on Kaiserslautern.  --Langeron before Mainz.  --Sacken continued his march in two columns to Kaiserslautern.  After a brisk fight, Langeron had completed investing Mainz.  Leaving only the corps of General Kapzevitch guarding before it, he immediately placed the 9th Corps (General Olsufiev III), in route with orders to join the Army of Silesia by the shortest paths.  Finally, Major General Prince Biron of Courland, complying with the orders he had received during the night of the 4th to 5th, were held at five o'clock in the afternoon Kaiserslautern evacuated by the French.

Retreat Marmont towards the Saar.  --Marmont, making an exact account of the situation, understood perfectly that Blücher was hoping to see him head to his front to Sacken, who would have enjoyed it, in order to allow sufficient time in Yorck to outflank his left.  He also acknowledged that he did not have enough troops to maintain the position of Kaiserslautern, and in any case, he exposed himself by remaining to see Yorck arrive before the Saar, while Sacken outflanked him by passing through Rabenstein and Schönberg.  Finally, as he well knew that it was only on the banks of that river that he could to rally the troops of generals Durutte and Ricard, he withdrew the 5th in morning towards Homburg and continued the night of the 5th his retreat on Saarbrücken, where already there were from the day before some troops from the garrison of Metz. To complete the precautions taken in this direction, the French had blown up the stone bridge had replaced it by a pontoon boat bridge.[11]

New orders of Blücher.  --In the afternoon of the 5th on the basis of information which indicated Marmont have taken position in Kaiserslautern, Blücher changed his orders.  He had prescribed to Yorck to move the 6th, at dawn on Kusel, sending his vanguard on the Saar, and Sacken, to move partly on Otterberg, the other part on (Enkenbach) Alsenborn, to hold the French until Yorck could debouch in their rear.  Blücher added in his order: "If, as there is every reason to suppose, the enemy, when turned, falls back and takes the road of Pirmasens, Sacken's Corps' mission will be to follow him, preferably by marching the head of his columns of infantry, which alone can act effectively in this mountainous country. The corps of Yorck will, in turn, precede the enemy to the Saar and the cut off Metz."

Finally Yorck, as he did elsewhere, should send the cavalry in the direction of Zweibrücken, while the leading edge of Prince William would continue to push on his side to Saarbrücken.  Sacken was ordered to move from Kaiserslautern by Homburg and Blieskastel, Sarreguemines on one hand, the other on Bitche, and reminded and encouraged him to carry forward his cavalry, either by Dürkheim and Kaiserslautern, either by Neustadt and Kaiserslautern, otherwise by Annweiler-am-Trifels.

If the order given by the Blücher on the 5th is not as clear and as accurate as is general in the instructions given by marshal his lieutenants, it is only that in reality he had not been given previously information to know positively the positions held and movements executed by his opponent.  The last sentence of the order of movement demonstrates, moreover, a peremptory manner: "It is important", he said, "to discover at the earliest the possible movements of the enemy, let me know immediately, provide me, therefore, numerous and frequent reports."

But this time, and despite the hardest marching he would force on his troops on terrible and completely smashed roads, it was too late to meet the Duke of Raguse.  Indeed, the marshal, after having, under the protection of a rear-guard composed of a brigade of cuirassiers camped around Homburg the night of the 5th to 6th, had reached the 6th Sarreguemines and Saarbrücken, points where he recrossed the Saar.[12]

6 January.  --Movements of the cavalry of General von Jürgass on Zweibrücken.  --However, General von Jürgass, with one brigade of dragoons and a half battery of horse artillery, left from around Kusel at, going by way of Homburg on Zweibrücken: the advanced guard marched on Saarbrücken.  At the behest of Prince William, the cavalry of General von Katzler sent to Tholey, detached on Ottweiler the Brandenburg Uhlans and a battalion of infantry.  Lieutenant-Colonel von Stutterheim, who led this column, had the special mission of raising, the 7th, Saarbrücken, if this city was poorly guarded, and then push parties toward Sarreguemines, Saint-Avold and Saarlouis.  This detachment arrived the 6th at night in Ottweiler.

But 6th in the evening, French troops had recrossed the Saar, burned the pontoon boat bridge at Saarbrücken, while General von Katzler was still at Tholey, Bergweiler and Marpingen, most of the vanguard of Prince William at Sankt Wendel,[13] General von Jürgass at Brücken, Schönenberg and on the high road from Kusel at Homburg. The headquarters of Yorck, whose troops only stop at between nine and ten o'clock at night, was installed at Kusel, that of  Blücher at Lauterecken.

Henckel, meanwhile, gave a coup de main to Trier at dawn and threw back the French offensive that he followed in the direction of Luxembourg with a squadron of the 3rd Silesian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment and a company of fusiliers.

Cossacks of Sacken in Zweibrücken.  --On the side of Sacken, Major General Lanskoy, with some cavalry, had pushed ahead of Kaiserslautern on Pirmasens, and Biron, who had started nine o'clock, had reached at two o'clock Homburg, coming from Landstuhl, where he had sent a small party of about twenty hussars and some Cossacks under the command of Major von Strantz to Zweibrücken, where the riders took a part of the baggage of Kellermann.  Communication between the corps of Yorck and Sacken was now established.

The information collected had verified the retreat of the Duke of Raguse; it was also learned that there were few supplies in Saarlouis and a garrison of barely a thousand men.

The French troops had therefore a good day's march head start on the Army of Silesia. Moreover, as incessant rains and the thaw had swelled the waters of the Saar, where the bridges had been cut, Marshal Marmont, who had managed to effect on the left bank of the river his junction with Ricard and Durutte, was now able to dispute the passage to the enemy, to delay its progress and gain the time he needed to supply places and conduct the organization of the new troops formations and the operations of the levee en masse.[14]

7 January.  --Positions of the outposts of cavalry.  --Bombardment of Saarlouis.  --The day after,  7 January, the Ist Corps of the Army of Silesia, still marching in two columns, one by Birkenfeld, the other by Sankt Wendel, continued, but less strongly, its movement towards the Saar.  Yorck and Blücher were stayed that day at Sankt Wendel.

At the vanguard, Prince William directed General von Katzler towards Saarlouis.  He came up to Saarwellingen and Dillingen; after unsuccessfully attempting to cross the river by a few of men swimming, he extended his string of outposts by Dillingen, Roden, Ensdorf, and Völklingen and threw the night of the 7th to 8th some shells into Saarlouis.  The 7th in the evening, Prince William was, with the bulk of the advanced guard in Lebach, also occupying Landsweiler, Eppelborn, Bubach (-Calmesweiler) and Eidenborn.

Henckel detached to Namur and Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle).  --On the far right, Henckel was still in Trier, where he directed an officer with a small party, by Arlon, towards Namur and Aachen in hopes of connecting with the Prussian IIIrd Corps. But this officer had to return to Trier without being able to establish such communication.

In this connection, it should be noted that the Army of Silesia seems to have been at least as badly off with shared maps as the Army of Bohemia, at least that's according to a letter that Yorck sent, on the 7th, to Henckel, begging him to send him from Trier the maps that, he said, from that moment, he had been completely lacking.  The same request was renewed that day, and in terms still more pressing by Major von Schack, quartermaster of the Prussian Ist Corps.

Skirmish of Sankt Johann (Saint-Jean).  --General von Jürgass had reached Neunkirchen with his dragoons and Lieutenant-Colonel von Stutterheim, who occupied Sankt Johann, after a light skirmish in front of Saarbrücken, on the right bank of the Saar, had effected a junction with Biron . The main body of Sacken was in Homburg, his advance guard towards Sarreguemines, at Rohrbach, Blieskastel and Zweibrücken, General Lanskoy to Pirmasens.

Key to Map #9:

In late December 1813, the Ist Prussian Corps (Yorck), consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th Brigades with a cavalry reserve was massed largely to the northwest of Mainz.  While a small contingent of cavalry and light infantry watched the Rhine from the Lahn to Hochheim am Main, the brigades were centered on Mosbach, Bieberich, Wiesbaden, Erbenheim with troops of the 7th Brigade investing Fort Montebello in Mainz-Kastel (Kassel).  The 2nd Brigade was slightly to the north and east at Wiesbaden and Erbenheim its left touching Sacken's Russian corps.  The 30th the corps left Wiesbaden to mass between Langen-Schwalbach and the Rhine, and the next day, pushed to just between Nastätten and the Rhine towards Kaub and Sankt Goarshausen.   The crossing point selected slightly upstream from  Kaub on the Pfalz was occupied without incident and the building of a bridge was immediately started.  On the 31st 200 fusiliers were ferried to the left side to establish a bridgehead, however after the pontoon bridge broke apart on 1 January, Yorck felt compelled to send the 1st Brigade to reinforce them until the bridge was finished on the 2nd.  The corps completed its passage by the end of the 2nd and was ordered from Bacharach by Rheinböllen and Stromberg on Bad Kreuznach which it reached on the night of the 2nd.  The 3rd the cavalry of the Ist Corps pressed on to Bingen am Rhein, while the rest of the corps started to move on the Saar by way of Bad Kreuznach.  Hampered by a thaw, the main body only reached between Bad Kreuznach and Meisenheim on the 4th and remained motionless on the 5th.  Thinking Marshal Marmont would stand at Kaiserslautern Blücher ordered Yorck to move his vanguard on the Saar and his main body on Kusel on the 6th, while his cavalry moved on Zweibrücken.  By the 7th the Ist Corps was still marching on the Saar in two columns, one by Birkenfeld the other by Sankt Wendel.  The advance guard having pressed ahead throwing some shells into Saarlouis and occupying Lebach, Landsweiler, Eppelborn, Bubach and Eidenborn.  

At Stromberg Yorck detached a flying column, under the command of Colonel Henckel to push west to Simmern where it engaged the rearguard of the Ricard Division early on the 3rd pushing them back in a running engagement to Kirchberg.  On the 4th, Henckel moved from Morbach towards Thalfang crossing a small party over the Moselle at Traben-Trarbach to command the road to Koblenz.  Despite bad weather and roads, Henckel proceeded the 5th on Trier which he entered on the retreat of the French.

The IInd Prussian Corps (Kleist), consisting of the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Brigades and reserve cavalry was in the vicinity of Erfurt, originally ordered to head towards the Rhine, he was recalled to Erfurt by the agreement signed on 21st of December, only to be permission on the 6th of January to be at Koblenz, 16 January and by the 27th to 28th in Trier.

Sacken's Russian corps, consisting of the 6th, 11th and cavalry and Cossack corps was around Darmstadt.  In the last days of December it constructed a pontoon bridge which at the right time, came down the Neckar and allowed the crossing between Worms and Frankenthal.  The night of the 31st to 1st Sacken crossed eigers by boats to capture a redoubt barring the deployment of the pontoon bridge.  By the 6 pm on the 1st the pontoon bridge was in place and Sacken's Corps crossed the Rhine pushing to the same evening to Frankenthal.  Parties were sent north towards Worms and south to Speyer, while Biron's flying corps (detached previously from Saint-Priest) sent outposts up to Alzey.  Karpov II's Cossack Corps engaged the French at Mutterstadt and routed them that day also before moving on the Alzey the 2nd and surprising Marmont's rearguard at Neustadt.  The 3rd was spent moving the corps towards the Saar by way of Kaiserslautern.  While the main body continued it march on Kaiserslautern in two columns, Major General Prince Biron occupied Kaiserslautern on the 5th heading forward on Homburg and reaching Zweibrücken and linking with the Ist Prussian Corps.  By the 7th Biron had joined General von Jürgass at Sankt Johann before Saarbrücken while the main body reached Homburg with his vanguard towards Sarreguemines and General Lanskoy at Pirmasens.

Langeron's Russian corps, consisting of  9th, 10th and cavalry and Cossack corps were behind Sacken at Frankfort-am-Main, with the exception of Saint-Priest's 8th Corps located in Ehrenbreitstein which acted independently during most of the campaign.  Langeron, with the 10th Corps (Kaptzevitch) and the reserve artillery, moved the 29th on Nidda and most of the cavalry reserve was established between Kirberg and Butzbach. On the 30th the infantry continued its movement toward Wiesbaden, where it relieved the Prussian outposts, which from Biebrich up to Mosbach participated in the blockade of Kastel, while the cavalry reserve reached Kirberg and Erstein.  Langeron with the 10th Corps stood behind Yorck on the 31st on the right bank of Mühlbach, the cavalry reserve in Langen-Schwalbach and Katzenelnbogen and 9th Corps relieved the posts of the right wing forces in position before Kastel.  The 31st Langeron had taken positions with the 10th Corps behind the Ist Corps.  The 9th Corps was the whole time before Kastel.  Due to the breakup of the bridge and its reconstruction, Langeron's Corps only began crossing the Rhine of the 3rd of January, were it was ordered to clear the bank from Bacharach to Bingen am Rhein and then march on Mainz the 4th.  On the 5th Langeron completed the investment of Mainz, leaving only General Kaptzevitch and sending the 9th Corps to reunite with the Army of Silesia by the shortest route.

On the 31st Saint Priest massed the Russian 8th Corps on the Lahn, from Dausenau to Oberlahnstein, and embarked on 82 boats moored at a short distance from the confluence of this river for moving 5,000 men immediately on Koblenz, as soon as they would land on the left bank. Further downstream, the night of 31 December to 1 January, Saint-Priest had managed to throw on the left side two of his brigades under the command of Generals Bistrom II and Karpenkov, and to removed the redoubts raised by the French in front of the mouth of the Lahn.  General Durutte forced by events to withdraw to the Hunsrück, evacuated Koblenz, where the Russians entered on the 1st of January at 4 o'clock in the morning.  From there his cavalry pressed north to Andernach arriving at Mehlem and Oberwinter the 2nd where they were met by Generals Albert and Jacquinot from Bonn and forced them back to Remagen.  Delayed significantly by ice on the Rhine Saint-Priest remained stationary in Koblenz for several days before moving by Andernach on Malmedy, Dinant and Givet.

Facing the Allies in December was Marshal Marmont's 6th Corps who up to then was responsible for guarding the Rhine with the divisions of Lagrange, posted in front of Mannheim, Ricard and Durutte between Mainz and Koblenz, while General Morand defended Mainz and Kastel with 12,000 men.  On the appearance of the Allies before Basel, the Emperor ordered Marmont to concentrate the 6th Corps and the 1st Cavalry Corps at Landau-in-der-Pfalz (between Mannheim and Strasbourg) and to move on Colmar to take overall command of the defense of the Alsace.  By the 30th  he was at Neustadt with the infantry of Lagrange and the cavalry of Doumerc.  All that remained at Ober-Wesel, Bacharach and around Mannheim were few small posts of the Lagrange division.  As for the division of Durutte one of his brigades was distributed between Koblenz and redoubts raised in front of Lahnstein, the other was at Sankt Goar, Bacharach and Bingen am Rhein, and the division of Ricard marched on Bad Kreuznach, to unite with the Marshal. 

After the crossing of the Rhine by the Allies on the night of 31 December-1 the French forces started to fall back.  General Durutte withdrew from Koblenz on the Hunsrück on the 1st, while General Ricard at Bad Kreuznach was initially ordered back to Koblenz to assist him.  Meeting the remnants of the Durutte Division at Laubach on the 2nd he found himself was cut off from Marmont and forced to regain the Saar by way of  Laubach and Simmern, where Colonel Henckel's flying column hit the rearguard pushing it to Kirchberg.  The two divisions reached Saarbrücken the 6th almost simultaneously with Marmont. 

Meanwhile, Marmont to cover Kaiserslautern took positions on the Schindbuckel at Bad Dürkheim and Ellerstadt, only to be forced back on Hardenburg.  Sacken continued to follow Marmont reunited with remnants of the Ricard Division from Bad Kreuznach that had been cut off from the rest of the division on the 3rd, fighting at Neustadt and causing them to fall back on Kaiserslautern on the 4th.  The 5th he continued his retreat on Saarbrücken where reinforcements from Metz were gathering, the bridge destroyed and replaced by a pontoon bridge. He reached Saarbrücken on the evening of the 6th.

Notes:

[1] According to a Bogdanovich: 26 battalions, 32 squadrons, 7 regiments of Cossacks, 8 batteries (96 cannons), with a total effectives of 19,500 men .

[2] Based Damitz and Plotho.

[3] 74,000 men after Clausewitz.

[4] According to Bogdanovich, 4 regiments of eigers and the infantry regiment of Bialystok (Белосток).

[5] The Cossack corps of General Karpov II consisted of about 2,000 horses belonging to the seven following regiments: Don Cossacks of Karpov (II), of Loukoffkin, of Semenschenko, of Kutainikov IV, of Grekov, Cossack volunteers of Baron Bode and 2nd Regiment of Kalmucks.

Although Kurzgefasste Darstellung der Kriegsbegebenheiten der Schlesischen Armee im Jahre 18l4 (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., 1. 3l) only records this battle with that of Alzey dated 2 January, it is clearly the case that Mutterstadt took place on 1 January, and that Blücher, reporting at a later time, had mistakenly left the record of 2nd.

The following report of Major-General Marmont leaves no doubt about when this engagement had taken place:

Major-General Marmont. - Hochdorf, 1st of January.

"Informed by fleeing customs officials (douaniers) of the crossing the Rhine by the enemy at Mannheim, I reunited  the cavalry I had on hand and went immediately to Mutterstadt.  We met with about 100 Cossacks in front of Meckenheim.  The 7th Dragoons has charged and had their swords in their kidneys up to Mutterstadt ... About 300 enemy horse were at Mutterstadt and retreated.  Wishing to profit from the rest of the day and have definite news, I gave orders to General Doudenarde to follow with his 500 horse and suppress the enemy movement.  A quarter of a mile from Mutterstadt, this general had been attacked by 1200 to 1500 horse, which forced him to retreat ... I know tomorrow morning what I have to do.  If this isn't a strong party, I will push it back.  If it is the army that debouches, I fall back on Neustadt, and I will defend every inch of the gorge, as far as my means permit.  The 8th Division that just left from Koblenz I have not yet encountered.  To accelerate its march, it was formed into three detachments.  I will send each of them instructions in conformity with the circumstances."

"If the enemy moves on me, I will retire to Kaiserslautern and the Saar.  If it is only a detachment, after pushing them back across the Rhine, I will continue my movement on Strasbourg."

(Archives of the War.)

[6] Kriegs Archiv. of Berlin. E. 25.

[7] Most German authors (Plotho, Damitz, etc.) claim that the fighting at Alzey and Mutterstadt took place on 1 January, the very day of the Rhine crossing, although Kurzgefasste der Darstellung der Kriegsbegebenheiten der Schlesischen Armee im Jahre 1814 (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 3l) recorded these two affairs as of 2 January, while the  Mutterstadt affair took place, as we have said, the 1st January, that of Alzey, alone, was on 2 January.

[8] Sébastiani to the Chief of Staff.  Oberwinter, 2 January at night (Archives of the War.)

[9] 12th Report, the Army of Silesia (Zwölfter Bericht der Schlesischen Armee), dated from Sankt Wendel, 9 January 1814. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 186.)

[10] 12th Bericht der Schlesischen Armee (Sankt Wendel, 9 January 1814) (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 186), and General

Rigau to the Chief of Staff, Grevenmacher, 6 January 1814:

"The enemy has forced me to quit Trier yesterday 5 January at 7 in the evening, after I skirmished with him the whole afternoon to allow time for the depots, which were situated there, to conduct an evacuation of their magazines.  It is impossible for the courier to continue his journey on Kirchberg, likewise the road Saarlouis is also interrupted."

"The enemy is now level with me on the right bank of the Moselle." (Archives of the War.)

[11] Blücher to the Emperor of Russia (Kusel, 7 January). (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 313 b.)

[12] 12th Bericht der Schlesischen Armee. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 186.)  The divisions of Ricard and Durutte leaving from Sankt Wendel, had already arrived in Saarbrücken on the evening of the 5th.

[13] General Ricard, who arrived in person at Saarbrücken at the same time that Marmont, the 6th of January, had informed Belliard of his junction with the Marshal and told him also that "he had seen the 5th, at Sankt Wendel , two regiments of Prussian hussars (700 to 800 horses), with 300 infantry, but had not been followed in his march to Saarbrücken. (Archives of the War.)

Marmont added in his report to Berthier, from Sarreguemines, 6th of January at 10:30 at night, that the Prussian advance guard had at Sankt Wendel a slight engagement with the Guards of Honor. (The 1st Regiment had joined in its entirety with Marshal.  The 2nd Regiment of Guards of Honor had fallen back on Mainz, where it would be locked up with General Morand.)

[14] Belliard, writing to the Chief of Staff, from Metz, 3 January, gave him a grim picture of the situation:

"I have the honor to remind Your Highness, it does nothing to put in action measures against the enemy.  Points for magazines, points for supply.  No place is armed and ready to defend.  The public spirit is dead.  One does not take measures to revive it.  The combined armies march; we want to oppose the torrent: it will be too late and the Emperor has no third party on which he can rely.  It seems that an evil genie has shed his poppies (put to sleep) in France.  The crisis is terrible, but we will emerge.  The alarm should be sounded everywhere.  The entire nation should be placed under arms and not these shouldn't be put down until after chasing the enemy from its territory, but the times are urgent ..."

"... Many parties organized and thrown on the rear of the combined armies must do much harm.  I know that in Alsace and the Vosges many people are very willing for that: it is only bringing them together and giving them good leaders. (Archives of the War.)

Placed on the Napoleon Series: July 2011

 

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