Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The Campaign of 1814: Chapter Six Part IV

By: Maurice Weil

Translated by: Greg Gorsuch


(after the Imperial and Royal War Archives at Vienna)





BRIENNE and LA ROTHIÈRE (26 January.  --3 February).

Discontent of Schwarzenberg.  --Emotion, as one may be imagined, ran high at the general headquarters of the Allies during the 29th, so strong that even in the morning, on seeing the report in which Blücher reported on the Emperor's first operations against Saint-Dizier, Schwarzenberg had instructed Toll to write to Prince Volkonsky to make them aware of the measures he had taken and to speak of the discontent, discontent caused solely by the movements of Blücher.

"What is most unpleasant in this whole affair," he wrote, "is that Blücher recalled Pahlen to him and Wittgenstein is almost entirely lacking cavalry.  He could have, moreover, discovered the movement of the enemy that  was concentrated at Châlons, and I am surprised that Blücher, before he even sought to know the strength of the enemy, is moving on Brienne: a point to which he should, moreover, never had moved because Brienne is in the range and area of ​​operation of the Great Army."

"But it is also pleasing that the enemy took the offensive now.  If he had started his movement in four days, the tail of our columns would have already been found at Troyes and the enemy marching from Châlons by Joinville on Chaumont would, using Verdun and Metz as bases of operations, completely cut off our communications."[1]

To Barclay de Tolly, Toll wrote on the 29th in the morning: "The Prince of Schwarzenberg fearing an attempt by the enemy against our lines of communications, wants you to give your troops the order to be more vigilant in the cantonments."

It is, moreover, correct to recognize that despite the natural emotion caused by the bad news they had received, the information that went to the headquarters of Schwarzenberg was a fairly accurate account of the situation.  Far from despair and discouragement by the likely event of failure inflicted by Blücher, it augured well for the future.  It was believed that this particular lesson would serve to completely discredit in the minds of the Emperor of Russia and the supporters of the war to the death, the authors of the plans that Knesebeck and the entourage of Schwarzenberg and Metternich had condemned because of their audacity and rejected on account of the risks they were running to the Allied cause and especially to the cause of peace.

The concern did not abate, either in the day or night, although he was beginning to feel at ease about the dangers that had been feared for the right side of Joinville.  But at that moment he heard from the lips of an officer of Blücher, Lieutenant-Colonel von Brunneck, leaving the battlefield a little after 3 o'clock, that the corps of Sacken and Olsufiev were seriously engaged with Emperor, that the brilliant charges of the cavalry of Pahlen had temporarily succeeded in stopping the enemy, and that the Field Marshal was still hoping to maintain his position during the 30th and thought that the enemy would withdraw into the night.

Council of War of Chaumont.  --By a strange coincidence, it was when Blücher was attacked at Brienne and forced to fall back on Trannes, when the Emperor of Russia, anxious about the turn taken by events, was traveling with the King of Prussia from Langres to Chaumont in order to decide subsequent operations, that Metternich wrote to Caulaincourt, who for three weeks had waited in vain for a reply, informing him that "the sovereign chose Châtillon-sur-Seine as the location for negotiations with France and the plenipotentiaries would meet in this city, about 3 February".[2]  Metternich responded at the same time to the confidential letter that Caulaincourt had written him on the 25th, by declaring that the Emperor of Austria had charged the Allies to propose a truce because "His Majesty was convinced that the proposed approach would lead nowhere."

Nothing could have been more agreeable to Schwarzenberg in the current circumstances than the presence of the Emperor of Russia in Chaumont, who immediately summoned, and despite the late hour of his arrival at headquarters, a kind of council of war in which plans for the day of the 30th were stopped.

30 January.  --Orders for the 30th of January.  --"The IIIrd and IVth Corps, forming the center of the Great Army, will concentrate at Bar-sur-Aube.  The right wing (Vth and VIth Corps) take up position at Joinville, send their vanguards on Wassy and prepare to attack the city on the 31st.  The left wing (column of Colloredo) will go from Bar-sur-Seine to Vendeuvre where it will arrive on the 30th and no later than 31st.  Colloredo is responsible for threatening the right and the rear of the French and preventing Mortier from debouching in front of Troyes.  A portion of the guard and reserves will be the 30th  in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises and one sends to Kleist and to Yorck the order to press on with their marches."  Written during the night of the 29th to 30th, these orders were dispatched in the morning and reset for almost everyone a beginning of operations in the afternoon.

An examination, even superficial, is sufficient to demonstrate that these orders taken together did not change very many of the different corps positions.  The IIIrd and IVth Corps remained in place, probably to prevent their leaders from committing themselves against the will of the Generalissimo, in a fight that the Emperor was believed at least, had sought to engage the Army of Silesia.  Wrede and Wittgenstein remained also at Joinville, where they were already since the afternoon of the 29th.  Only Colloredo, who had been stopped en route, received the order, impossible to perform, to be the 30th at Vendeuvre.

The expectation, realistically, was that he could reach this point no sooner than the 31st.

In short, the result of these orders was that the greater part of the Great Army arrive the 31st, only at the positions where it would be possible cooperate together the next day in day a serious affair.  These orders did not change anything in the situation and were prepared only to give the sovereigns apparent satisfaction by making them believe that these resolutions were due to their initiative and their intervention.  But it was not for at least two complete long days that their armies could prepare for an attack, however, immediately needed.

The Austrian authors, and Schell in particular, have argued that Blücher had, the 30th in the morning, intended to abandon the position that his troops had recently occupied between Trannes and Arsonval continuing his retirement on Bar-sur-Aube.  According to them, he should have been diverted from following through with this project by the intervention of the Crown Prince of Württemberg and Gyulay who, accompanied by Colonel Baillet de Latour, Chief of Staff of the IVth Corps, reportedly went in the morning to the headquarters of Field Marshal in Arsonval. These two corps commanders had managed to make him recognize the disadvantages of a retrograde movement as far as the Bar and had decided to stay put by offering to come with the IVth Corps to cover his right and occupy the heights of Maisons.

Blücher adopting such an idea, (supposedly) made him declare that he was unable to wait for an attack by "an enemy that was so superior in numbers," but these authors have obviously forgot to read the letter from the Field Marshall he had just written to Schwarzenberg, at 8 o'clock in the morning.  Blücher, announced to the Generalissimo that "he took a position from Trannes to Arsonval, he believed the enemy's left at Maizières, and that if the French decided to move forward, they would arrive too late to reach his infantry".  Finally, he added in the postscript this sentence quite characteristic when one is as resolute a general and also as decisive as Blücher: "I will hold in any case the defile of Trannes."[3]

The orders he had given the night of the 29th to 30th, when he decided to leave Brienne completely refute the assertion of Austrian military writers who cannot fix the precise moment when the audience in question supposedly occurred, or explain why or the news that suddenly changed the projects of Field Marshal.

Orders of the Emperor on learning of Blücher's retreat.  --The Emperor had moved to Maizières and on sending the 29th in the evening, orders to Marmont to fall back from Montier-en-Der and Wassy on Brienne, he had been told by Berthier: "It is likely that we will fight again tomorrow."  Napoleon was pleasantly surprised when, at daybreak he was told that Blücher had retired for the night and had abandoned the battlefield so hotly contested the day before.  From 7 o'clock in the morning, he sent the cavalry to Milhaud the order to occupy the heights of Perthes, to protect the road of Rosnay.  He still left in position Grouchy's cavalry and that of General Lefebvre-Desnouettes, but he ordered the divisions of Ricard and Dufour, under the command of General Gerard, to go to Rosnay and reunite with the cavalry of General Piquet coming there and to establish himself at Dienville. The light cavalry of Piré was with the Duke of Reggio at the entrance of the wood on the road from Maizières to Brienne to scout the left.

Reconnaissance of cavalry in front of the Rothière.  --An hour later, the Chief of Staff wrote Grouchy:  "The intention of the Emperor is, that with your cavalry, you put yourself on the pursuit of the enemy."[4]

At 9 o'clock, Grouchy, followed by the 2nd Corps, emerged, with 5th Corps of Cavalry and the cavalry of the Guard, from Brienne-le-Château.  A thick fog, which prevented him from seeing more than 100 steps forward, afterwards delayed his march, forcing him to stop at a little distance from the Rothière when, arrived at the crossroads of Doulevant and Bar-sur-Aube, he was greeted by the fire of a battery placed on this point and tasked with supporting the cavalry Pahlen.

Position of the Army of Silesia.  --Sacken had established his troops between Trannes and Éclance and covered his position with a battery of 100 cannons.  Vasilchikov, first posted on the side of Troyes, had rejoined him by crossing the bridge of Dienville and Major General Karpov II was stationed with his Cossacks, on the right wing, where he occupied Soulaines, La Chaise and Chaumesnil.  The corps of Olsufiev formed a second line behind Sacken, that was hid in front by the horse of Pahlen.  This general had had his cavalry to the left of the road from Bar-sur-Aube, putting 7 pieces of horse artillery -- the only ones that could be used because of lack of ammunition -- in battery on the road and taken a position that was on the right side of Vasilchikov on this road, which was connected by his right to the Cossacks of Karpov II.  A large cavalry screen thus stretched from the far edges of the Aube to Soulaines.

Once the fog had dispersed, the artillery of Grouchy retaliated on the battery of Pahlen, and the French cavalry was deployed on both sides of the roadway.  Almost simultaneously, the infantry debouched in close columns in front of Brienne, and the cavalry of General de France was directed on Lesmont to repair the bridge Sacken had cut on withdrawing.

At 11:30, Grouchy received from the Chief of Staff[5]  a dispatch that left Maizières at 8:30 in the morning.  Berthier informed him that the intention of the Emperor was to first see if the bridges Brienne-la-Vieille and Dienville were cut.  "You will pursue later," he said, "the enemy on Bar-sur-Aube."  He also warned of the march of the Duke of Raguse and generals Duhesme and Briche by the road of Doulevant, and required him, if he heard the cannon on this side, to immediately give it his attention "in the end to act as a diversion and attack right away."

Position of the French corps.  --But the rains and the thaw had so battered the ground that neither the French cavalry, nor the Allies were able to move except with extreme slowness.  As a result, everything was confined, for most of the afternoon, to a cannonade, which cost a lot of people in the Allied cavalry, and to the occupation of Dienville by the troops of General Gérard.  The general prepared to hold the bridges of Dienville and Lesmont and sent reconnaissance on the left bank of the Aube, in the direction of Piney and Vendeuvre.  It was only towards evening that the 2nd Corps (Victor) occupied La Rothière[6], and that the French cavalry drove the Cossacks of Karpov from Chaumesnil.  On this news Vasilchikov sent the cavalry of Prince Biron on the road from Chaumesnil to Éclance to recover the Cossacks and cover the extreme right of the Allies.  Pahlen and Vasilchikov withdrew slowly settling before Trannes and held their outposts in view of the French lines whose center was at La Rothière, having the right at Dienville and the left at Chaumesnil.[7]  Marmont had only reached Wassy that evening.  One of the divisions of his corps had only reached Soulaines.[8]

March of Yorck on Saint-Dizier.  --Affair of Saint-Dizier.  --Yorck arriving at Ligny, the 29th, had only waited for news of his advanced guard to send his orders to his generals on the 30th, orders that he had taken care to provide to Wittgenstein, so that the general officer, made aware of his situation, could operate against Wassy when he could hear near Saint-Dizier, the cannon of the Ist Prussian Corps.

The 30th, at 10 o'clock in the morning, the corps of Yorck moved on Saint-Dizier in two columns.  The one, on the right, left from Saudrupt and was comprised of the vanguard of Prince William of Prussia preceded by the cavalry of General von Katzler.  That of the left, composed of three brigades and the reserve cavalry of General von Jürgass, was screened in front of his fore by an advanced guard of cavalry under the command of Major von Schierstädt, came at the same time from Stainville.  This last column scouted to the left towards the Marne and was connected by patrols of cavalry, with the column of Prince William.

At 2 o'clock, the bulk of the left column defiled by Ancerville about a league from Saint-Dizier, while its cavalry vanguard already adorned the edge of the wood and pushed up to about 1500 meters from the city.  Yorck seeing the French (the division that Lagrange had orders to move on Brienne if it was seriously attacked by an enemy superior in number) were evacuating the city, decided not to wait for  the other column.  Immediately moving on his left two squadrons and two battalions of the 1st Brigade, he directed the 2nd Brigade and the bulk of the 1st by the same entrance on Saint-Dizier.  The 7th Brigade and the cavalry reserve were established in support at Ancerville. The main body of Lagrange having already left the city with its cavalry a few cannons, adorned the hills on the left bank of the Marne.  The French rearguard after skirmishing a while with the Prussians evacuated first the suburb of Gigny-Bussy, then Saint-Dizier, and finally re-crossed the stone bridge of the Marne.  The French cavalry tried hard to cover the retreat and gain some time to blow the bridge; but the fire of the Prussian infantry and horse artillery forced a retreat almost immediately before the Prussian fusiliers took a cannon and some men, while the Mecklenburg hussars, cavalry reserve and, later, General von Katzler with the cavalry of the right column pursued up to Éclaron the French retreat on Montier-en-der.[9]

The speed with which Yorck had designed and carried out the attack on Saint-Dizier, had prevented General Lagrange from destroying the stone bridge.  But the French division had complied with the orders of Marmont and had not stood up to Yorck and merely shown a semblance of resistance, where if it had would have been exposed to serious dangers and would probably have been cut off and destroyed, if Wittgenstein instead of remaining motionless in Joinville, had marched to the cannon and moved in the direction of Wassy.

Positions of Yorck on the 30th.  --Yorck established his headquarters in the evening at Saint-Dizier.  His 1st Brigade was in Perth on the road from Vitry.  The 2nd Brigade (Colonel von Warburg) with 4 squadrons of Brandenburg uhlans, 4 squadrons of Brandenburg hussars and 1 squadron of the East Prussian National Cavalry Regiment, all under the command of General von Katzler, now forming the front edge of the 1st Corps, relieved the 3rd Brigade (that of Prince William), occupied Éclaron and Humbécourt and pushed its outposts to Wassy.  The 7th and 8th Brigades with the cavalry reserve stood around Saint-Dizier.

To connect completely to Wittgenstein, Yorck sent three squadrons of cavalry under Lieutenant-Colonel von Stutterheim, on the left bank of the Marne up to Eurville, a squadron on the right bank with Count Eulenburg to Bienville.  His right was covered by Colonel Henckel who pushed from Sermaize patrols to Vitry and Châlons and learned well, the night of 30th to 31st, the French occupied this side of Vitry-le-Brûlé and a marshal of France had arrived at Vitry-le-Francois.

Immobility of the VIth Corps.  --On the right wing of the Great Army, Wittgenstein, despite the response that he had made Yorck to his proposal to act in concert against Saint-Dizier, in spite of the prayers that Prince Eugene of Württemberg had sent him on 29th when his corps and cavalry generals Rüdinger and Ilovaysky XII arrived in Joinville, had thought it wiser to abandon the plans he had left Yorck.  His vanguard was attacked on 30th at 9 o'clock in the morning the road of Wassy; ​​but as the French cavalry had been repulsed after an insignificant skirmish, he had no reason to stay motionless at Joinville.  The reason given by Schwarzenberg is hardly likely to explain the inaction of the VIth Corps.  "Wittgenstein," Schwarzenberg[10]< said, "did not dare attack the enemy showing a lot of people at Wassy, because he had too little cavalry and because he was afraid of not being supported by Wrede."

Wittgenstein, however, had started the morning of the 30th by taking to the IInd Corps (prince Eugene of Württemberg) to the right of Joinville, the road to Saint-Dizier. Then a few hours later, on receipt of an order from Schwarzenberg requiring him to take Wassy the 31st, together with Wrede, he recalled the Prince to move the IInd Corps on Wassy that he was unable to reach the same day.

The vanguard of the 2nd Russian Corps (cavalry of Rüdinger and infantry brigade of Schilvinsky) alone reached the vicinity of Wassy.  As for the Cossacks of Ilovaysky XII[11]< that Wittgenstein had directed from Joinville on Montier-en-Der, they had a small affair with the French cavalry at Dommartin and their leader had informed the Generalissimo that four regiments of French cavalry who were at Sommevoire had left this position moving back to Montier-en-Der.[12]

As he had announced the previous day to Schwarzenberg, Wrede took the day of the 30th to rest his troops and had agreed with Wittgenstein to take Wassy with him the next day.

Their two corps were therefore met on the 31st, at 9 o'clock in the morning, around Nomécourt.

Tense reporting between the Allied generals.  --Forty-eight hours after the battle of Brienne, Blücher had not received any report from Pahlen, who thought he could explain this fact by recalling, in his letter to Schwarzenberg, that the cavalry was in the VIth Corps.  It suffices, moreover, to throw a glance at this time, to the reports of different corps commanders to see that once they were separated from each other or somewhat away from the general headquarters, they were absolutely ignorant, unless gaining information through chance, to everything that was happening on both sides of them as before them.

It was this, and it was during the duration of the campaign, that showed an essentially defective organization or one that did not appear to have sought a remedy.  Thus Wrede, the 29th, who came to Joinville to confer with Wittgenstein was not a little surprised that this general had previously ignored the movement and position of the Vth Corps, and he did not have any idea what had become, in recent days, of the Army of Silesia.  It is true to say, and the report we will print will provide clear evidence that Wrede knew, too, on the 30th, and although his headquarters was barely 10 kilometers from that of Wittgenstein, that not only had this general not taken, but he had not even attacked Wassy during the day of the 30th.

Reports of Wrede and of Frimont to Prince Schwarzenberg.  --It is for this reason and also because Wrede explains in this report his movements and the state of his corps, that we reproduce this document and we follow with that of Frimont, which contains some interesting insights.

The General of Cavalry Count Wrede to Prince Schwarzenberg[13].  --Saint-Urbain, 30 January 1814, 9 o'clock at night.

"Having been directed by Your Highness to attack Wassy with Wittgenstein, I have given up the offensive movement which I was planning against the positions of Sommevoire, Doulevant and Arnancourt, that I just reconnoitered."

"I forward to Your Highness the report of General Frimont relative to Doulevant.  It follows from this report that we have before us the corps of the Duke of Bellune."

"General Rechberg[14], who had orders to a cavalry regiment to go against Arnancourt, informs me that the enemy have five squadrons that retreated there today."

"Count Wittgenstein attacked Wassy today, ​​but I do not think it'll be seized.  Your Highness will see in the annexes what I've done to support him."

"The number of sick has increased significantly in the infantry regiments of General Frimont.  One of his regiments had as many sick as fit for duty."

Lieutenant General Frimont to Count Wrede.[15]  --Brachay, 30 January 1814, 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

"I took Charmes (Charmes-en-l'Angle or Charmes-la-Grande) with the light division of Count Hardegg.  The division of General Spleny is between Flamerécourt, Brachay, Blécourt and Ferrières.  These localities are too small to quarter my troops.  In addition, I am very isolated, and if I had to retreat to the Marne valley, my situation is all the more difficult as I find myself in a kind of cul-de-sac.  I would have to cross a defile in which there are only bad roads and would take my troops at least three to four hours to pass, arriving at Mussey-sur-Marne or Fronville and debouching on the road."

"My patrol announced how the enemy at Doulevant had taken a patrol of Székely (Szeckler) Hussars."

"Major Mackey, of the Knesevich Dragoon Regiment, pushed with two squadrons on Wassy, ​​meeting this morning General Rüdinger at Nomécourt.  This general had been ordered to attack the enemy at Wassy.  From 9:30 to 11 o'clock, we heard a very strong cannonade and likewise a strong fusillade on that side. I expect at any moment news on this matter."

"I sent patrols to Baudricourt and to Doulevant."

"A cavalry patrol took 5 men from the enemy."

"P.S.  --Major Droch of the Schwarzenberg Hussars, has found at Rouvroy (Rouvroy-sur-Marne), 30 to 40 loaded fusils that he broke.  This proves that there are
uprisings and organization in the villages, and everywhere there are fusils."

Positions of the IIIrd and IVth Corps, guards and reserves.  --As written by Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria, the 31st in the morning[16], Field-Marshal Blücher had thought it prudent to concentrate after the fight, the 29th.  He had massed at Trannes, by being covered by his cavalry and that of the generals Scherbatov and Pahlen. The Crown Prince of Württemberg, in charge of supporting the Army of Silesia, was with his main body at Maisons and Fresnay.  General Franquemont, who commanded one of the divisions of the IVth Corps, had that day his headquarters at Arrentières.  The vanguard of the IVth Corps held Ville-sur-Terre and Thil.

Behind the Crown Prince, was even Gyulay, with the bulk of IIIrd Corps around Bar-sur-Aube; his outposts were on the side of Vendeuvre.  Behind these two corps, the Russian and Prussian guard and reserves approached little by little: the Russian grenadiers came to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, the infantry of the guard towards Blaisy, the Prussian Guard to Jonchery, the Light Cavalry Division of the Russian Guard to Vignory, the 1st Russian Cuirassiers Division and Prussian cavalry of the guard to Luzy, the 2nd Russian Cuirassiers Division to La Ferté-sur-Aube, and the third in front of Clairvaux.  The headquarters of Barclay de Tolly had remained at Chaumont.

Colloredo belatedly received the movement command from Schwarzenberg. --On the left wing, Colloredo, to whom the order of Schwarzenberg,[17] dated the 29th, was sent the 30th in the morning, only received, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the new instructions of the Generalissimo, which enjoined him to come very quickly to the right and to arrive in Bar-sur-Aube on the 31st at the latest.  It was not until about 4 o'clock that Colloredo was able to send orders to the commanders.  Moreover, his quarters were so extensive that some of his regiments had almost a twelve hour march to reach the outskirts of Troyes, where they were already established at Bar-sur-Aube by Clairvaux.  Colloredo therefore simply had to take the necessary dispositions to ensure the progress of the next day's march and immediately warned the Generalissimo of the delay and its causes.

Scarcely had he sent his dispatch off, that the reports made by officers who had reconnoitered the roads leading to the Great Army showed that he would, even the next day, find it impossible to comply with the orders of Schwarzenberg.

Thaw and rains had rendered the roads from Châtillon by La Ferté-sur-Aube to Bar-sur-Aube absolutely  impracticable.  The reports were unanimous in declaring that the troops would have great difficulty to pass through and it would be quite impossible to use for artillery, which it would inevitably bog down.  There only remained at the disposal of the column Colloredo the road from Bar-sur-Seine, which then continues on Bar-sur-Aube through Vendeuvre.

Platoff to Cerisiers.  --General Allix jumps into Sens.  --Affair at Sens.  --Platoff, who we left at Auxon[18] the 27th was the 29th with his corps at Cerisiers in the forest of Othe, 5 leagues from Sens.  But as General Montbrun had been settled at Pont-sur-Yonne, as the generals Pajol and Pacthod occupied the first Nogent-sur- Seine, and the second Montereau, with some corps still in training, General Allix arrived at Sens with 600 to 800 men, at the same time as Platoff came into view of the city.  The Ataman could occupy the suburbs, but General Allix had had time to barricade the gates, and it was impossible for the Cossacks to successfully enter the city.[19]

Allied positions.  --On the night of the 30th, the various factions of the Allied armies formed a sort of semi-circle around the corps of the French army which increasingly moved to close in on them.  While Mortier still occupied Troyes, on the far right of the French lines, and while Napoleon[20] amassed his army around and in front of Brienne, at the very center of the circle formed by his adversaries, the Allies held the following positions:  Blücher concentrated before Napoleon, from Trannes to Éclance.  He was supported by Gyulay posted behind him in Bar and the Crown Prince of Württemberg established to his right at Maisons and Fresnay.  Behind the IVth Corps found the head of reserves and guards arrived at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.  At the extreme right and about to connect, by Fresnay, with the IVth Corps, were the column heads of Wrede already moved through Doulevant.  Wittgenstein was between Joinville and Wassy, ​​and Yorck extended from Éclaron up to the Marne, while to the left was the vanguard of Colloredo's column in Bar-sur-Seine.
Finally, to supplement the loans we made from the Imperial and Royal Archives, we give in the footnote[21] the reports sent by various emissaries to Schwarzenberg.   These reports were attached to his dispatch to the Emperor of Austria (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 726) from which we have made so many excerpts, when we outlined
the events of the day on 30 January.

31 January.  --The Emperor remains in his positions.  --Movement of Marmont on Soulaines.  --It was expected, both at the headquarters of Blücher at Arsonval, and that of Schwarzenberg at Chaumont, on the 31st in the morning, to see the Emperor wake from the inaction that they had found surprising the day before, but one had explained in part by the ferocity displayed by both sides during the battle of Brienne and the fact that this bloody affair had stopped well into the night.  It was generally believed that after giving some rest to his troops, after resupplying ammunition and hastening the march of reinforcements and corps that the speed of his movement had forced him to leave behind, the Emperor would take the 31st, either partially attack Blücher at his position at Trannes[22], or resolve to retire behind
La Voire, or the leave to join Mortier at Troyes and await their opponents. But the Emperor stood his ground[23]between the Aube and the heights of La Giberie. His letter of 31 January to the Duke of Feltre[24] proves that Napoleon was absolutely determined at this time to tempt fate by risking a contest of arms with a battle[25]< on the positions he had occupied with his army.  So on either side, they prepared for battle.  At one o'clock in the afternoon, the Emperor sent to the Duke of Raguse an order to move on Lesmont and leave a rearguard at Maizières.  The
Marshal, after leaving Wassy in the morning, had left at Montier-en-Der General van Merlen with 800 horses to cover the march of the park and baggage of the army corps, and continued his movement to join the rest of the army.  Lesmont reached, he strengthen the bridge that had been restored and threw cavalry and infantry on the
left bank of the Aube, pushing a vanguard on Piney.[26] The Duke of Raguse had, indeed, after leaving Wassy, ​​taken a direction on Montier-en-Der, but instead of heading straight from this point on Brienne, he believed, because of the condition of the roads, it better to move on Soulaines because if he did, making this detour, there would only be a league of bad road to travel.  Arriving around Soulaines, he drove off a few small posts of Russian cavalry.

A little after noon, from the positions of Blücher were noticed a rather large movement in the French lines.  The French 5th Corps of Cavalry[27], had pushed before  La Rothière towards Trannes under the same eyes of Emperor,[28] who had come to reconnoiter the field and hoped that perhaps, through this demonstration, to force the Field-Marshal to engage.  As the Allies did not move, the Emperor occupied in the evening, with some infantry troops, the wood of Beaulieu, located at the very front lines of the Army of Silesia, between the Éclance and La Giberie at the foot of the heights of Trannes, allowing the troops who were established there to easily debouch and to cover against the positions of Trannes.
Blücher's letter to Schwarzenberg on his position.  --Blücher had also moved forward onto the line of outposts; he had stayed there up to the night and had watched the deployment and demonstration of the French cavalry, without being dragged into directing any movement.  Returning to his headquarters at 7 o'clock, he reported to Schwarzenberg the events of the day, the situation in which he was, and ended his report with some considerations on the corps movements performed by the Crown Prince of Württemberg in view of subsequent operations and a battle to fight the next day:

"I stayed until the evening on the same line with my outposts.  The enemy has outlined, for about two hours, with 10,000 to 12,000 men a forward movement; but he was content to stay the evening and with occupied nothing but a wood (these are the woods of Beaulieu) with 2,000 to 3,000 men before my front that I had been unable to occupy with troops, because I lacked infantry."

"My position is good, but it is too wide for my strength.  I put 100 pieces in battery; but I cannot, because of the terrain, change their position, and I lack infantry to defend this artillery."

"The position occupied by the Crown Prince of Württemberg has, in my opinion, no significance since Count Wrede has reached Doulevant.  The corps of the Crown Prince is now deployable.  I just wrote to the Prince and asked him to support me, if possible, tomorrow morning by sending his infantry to Éclance.  Please direct on this point the corps of the Crown Prince and then I can safely know of the enemy coming."

"I need no artillery or cavalry."

"If Your Highness ordered a general movement tomorrow to advance, or if the enemy withdrew that night, the Crown Prince of Württemberg would, in one case or the other, be well posted at Éclance.  The frosts have delayed the march of General von Kleist[29], who will only reach Commercy 4 February.  The bridge of Saint-Mihiel is broken, forcing Yorck to cross also, by Commercy..."

"Chernishev wrote me the 23rd, from Liège that Winzingerode is at Aix-la-Chapelle.  I know nothing certain with respect to Marshal Macdonald,[30] but according to information collected by General Yorck, he would have with him 9,000 to 10,000 men."

"P. S. - I have just received the letter from Your Highness and his orders for 1st of February: I will follow them."[31]

Pahlen's cavalry ordered to leave Blücher to rejoin the VIth Corps.  --Marmont evacuates Soulaines.  --Consequences of this movement.  --From the 31st in the morning, even before Chaumont received reports from the various corps commanders, reports that he awaited before sending at definitive orders, Schwarzenberg had prescribed to Blücher to return Wittgenstein's troops, under Pahlen's orders, that he had requested from him on the 28th and that Field Marshal no longer needed since he was now connected to the corps of the Great Army. Schwarzenberg was moved to this measure by the fact that Wittgenstein lacked cavalry, being forced to use the service patrols as his adjutants and his own escort, and he invited the Field Marshal to return by the shortest path the cavalry and light troops of Pahlen.[32]

Pahlen received, therefore, orders to take a right to reach the VIth Corps through Éclance and Fuligny.  He came towards evening in view of Soulaines, that Marmont solidly occupied and where the Emperor, as is proven by a letter to Clarke, dated the 31st at night, wished them to stay.  But although Pahlen, who had with him only a few light troops, did not plan an attack there and had been satisfied to observe Soulaines with vedettes and outposts, although the general had camped further back with the bulk of his cavalry and a small vanguard of the Vth Corps that had pushed that far alone, Marshal Marmont felt obliged to evacuate Soulaines that night.  He proceeded accordingly on Morvilliers where he arrived at 1 o'clock in the morning, after a most painful march through rutted roads and in the middle of a blizzard of snow.  This incredible shyness and the retreat that nothing motivated, would have serious consequences the next day.  The evacuation of Soulaines allowed Wrede, who had been forced to make a long detour by Montier-en-Der, to go with the Vth Corps by the forest of Soulaines and debouch at the battlefield still in time to take part in the struggle and fall on the French left wing.

Pahlen had, moreover, immediately established, by Doulevant, communications with the Vth and VIth Corps, once it was known that the parties that were sent in that direction had encountered no enemy troops.

Movement of the cavalry of Ilovaysky.  --Surprise of General van Merlen at Montier-en-Der.  --While Pahlen was thus moving on Soulaines and General Seslavin, who had replaced Scherbatov as the head of his independent corps, was traveling with his four regiments of Cossacks on the right bank of the Voire, Schwarzenberg was informed by Wittgenstein that Ilovaysky XII had during the night of the 30th to 31st, turned Wassy, following the movement of the French from Wassy on Montier-en-Der and entered from his side into Wassy.[33] Wittgenstein was, in accordance with what had been agreed the previous day with Wrede, the 31st found at 9 o'clock in the morning, at Nomécourt, where the Vth and VIth combined corps would have moved on Wassy.  We have seen that with the tip pushed by the Cossacks of Ilovaysky XII, it was possible to occupy that city without firing a shot where General von Katzler (Yorck's Corps) came to his side between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning, and he immediately dispatched Major von Schierstädt with some squadrons of cavalry to support the Cossacks and take part in the endeavor already begun by Ilovaysky.  At about the same time, Wrede, who had started to in route at 5 o'clock in the morning with the Vth Corps, arrived at Nomécourt and there was informed of what happened on the side of Wassy.  He was informed, moreover, that there were only a few detachments of French troops in and around Saint-Dizier.  Finally, Prince Eugene of Württemberg (leading the VIth Corps column) arrived at Wassy with the bulk of his troops and already had deployed with his infantry to move on Montier-en-Der, when he received the order of Wittgenstein to stop.

Major von Schierstädt had meanwhile joined the Cossacks Ilovaysky XII and reached with them at Montier-en-Der the rear guard of the French of General van Merlen, that they surprised, put in complete disarray and strongly pursued until two leagues beyond this city.  General van Merlen, was severely wounded and several officers and 150 men fell into the hands of the Cossacks, who stopped at Boulancourt, while the remnants of the French rearguard withdrew on Lesmont and Pougy.[34]

It seems impossible to find a plausible explanation to mitigate the inconceivable faults that the Duke of Raguse did not cease to commit that day of the 31st.  As he wrote the same evening to the Chief of Staff, the small corps of General van Merlen was strong enough to act as a true rearguard marching 2 kilometers from the rear of his corps. But this rearguard action was obviously insufficient, but even if the Marshal had made a real detachment, even an insufficient one, Marmont would still know that he was surrounded by enemies.  The Marshal had, moreover, committed yet another error.  Despite the formal opinion of the Emperor, who had taken care to inform him that the road by Montier-en-Der was very bad and almost impassable; that the wisest and safest way was to take the road of Brienne, Marmont had felt able to ignore it.  That was why, once he arrived at Morvilliers, he was obliged to confess that he still hoped to bring up his artillery. The Marshal himself cannot explain why, arriving at Soulaines at 4 o'clock, he thought it necessary to march by night march on Morvilliers.

Here, moreover, are the terms he uses to reflect on the movement: "I arrived on Soulaines to 4 o'clock.  The enemy has mounted a lot of cavalry on the plateau in front of Soulaines, and we distinctly saw the smoke of a camp said to be of 5,000 infantry, a distance of 3/4 of a league from Soulaines.  We bombarded the enemy to drive them off and they responded to our cannons.  They held the road with enough force that it was hard to drive them out."

"At the same time a column head appeared on the road from Doulevant and we bombarded it, while the column of Cossacks who had gone around Montier-en-Der, placed itself between my rear and I and showed up in the village of Anglus.  In this situation, it seemed urgent to accelerate the march of the artillery and to take the road that traversed Morvilliers which, because of the wood, the enemy could not take action through.  As a result, the troops have arrived or are coming here, and the artillery, still behind me, will not join us before joining the day, despite the bad roads."

Fortunately for the reputation of Marmont, this failure was only momentary, and the Marshal was, 36 hours later, to show in the brilliant battle he would deliver on the Voire at Rosnay against the Bavarians of Wrede, that he had not lost the energy and skill that he had shown such evidence.


[1] Toll and Schwarzenberg feared, as always seen and even early in the campaign, the movement that the Emperor would undertake after Arcis-sur-Aube, in the last days of March.

[2] Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no 338.

[3] See the report Blücher to Schwarzenberg (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 675), cited further above.

[4] Chief of Staff to Grouchy, 30 January, 8:30 in the morning. (Archives of the War.)

[5] Chief of Staff to Grouchy. (Archives of the War.)

[6] The 2nd Corps had arrived too late to try to occupy the wood of Beaulieu, "It should have been," wrote Victor to the Chief of Staff, "taken by a night combat; my troops were very tired, I have established myself at La Rothière and surrounding areas."

[7] STÄRKE, Eintheilung und Tagesbegebenheiten der Haupt Armee im Monate Januar. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30).

Kurzgefasste Darstellung der Kriegsbegebenheiten der schlesischen Armee (Ibid., I, 31i), and Blücher to Schwarzenberg, Arsonval, 31 January, 8 o'clock in the morning (Ibid., I, 697).

Field-Marshal Blücher to Prince Schwarzenberg:  --Arsonval, 31 January 1814, 8 o'clock in the morning.-- "From the reports I receive from generals Vasilchikov and Pahlen, the enemy has used yesterday morning until 11 o'clock, to defile his columns from Maizières to Brienne.  At eleven o'clock, he pushed forward with large-caliber artillery, infantry and cavalry, and debouched at Brienne."

"General Count Pahlen had resisted these powerful artillery pieces with the seven light pieces he posted so well and so skillfully that the enemy could only reach that night with its center at La Rothière with his right in Dienville, with his left in Chaumesnil."

"The enemy stopped at this position. "

Blücher sent at the same time to Schwarzenberg the report that Sacken had sent to him.

We reproduce this report because it follows from the letter of transmittal that accompanies it, that two days after the combat of Brienne, Blücher had not yet been able to get a report from Pahlen, perhaps because that this general was part of the VIth Corps (Wittgenstein) and was only temporarily under his command:

"Field-Marshal Blücher to the Prince Schwarzenberg:  --Arsonval, 31 January 1814.--  "I have the honor of sending to Your Highness the report of General-Lieutenant von Sacken on the combat of the 29th, at Brienne."

"I am not able to definitively determine the number of guns that were taken, because I do not know what happened in this connection to Pahlen (Wittgenstein's Corps)."  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., ad I. 698.)

General von Sacken to Field-Marshal Blücher, at Bossancourt, 30 January 1814:  --"The violent conflict of yesterday was glorious and profitable (?) for our troops, the enemy has not achieved its goal.  Today, he can only commence reconnaissance and hope to take the bridge at Dienville.  From what I hear, in the hills between Trannes and Éclance where I had massed my corps, yesterday we took a flag and three cannons from the levée en masse and about 200 men of the Young and Old Guard, many of which were officers."

"We have experienced very significant losses.  The detachments of Scherbatov (a) and the cavalry were particularly distinguished."

"What is especially remarkable in this affair is that Napoleon threw 200 shells on Brienne and burned the city and the institution where he was taught."  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., ad I, 698).

(a)  The command of the small corps of Scherbatov, was left from the 30th to Major General Seslavin who was responsible for acting as partisans with four weak regiments of Cossacks.

[8] On 30 January at 4 o'clock at night, the Chief of Staff had, by order of the Emperor, sent the following orders from Brienne which, for various reasons, were not executed:

For Drouot, he had ordered to send parties of Guyot's cavalry on the left bank of the Aube; for Duhesme, to join the Duke of Bellune, established at La Chaise or Chaumesnil and to say to General Briche to rally with Grouchy near Rothière; for General Colbert to come to Lesmont; for General Bordesoulle, to move on Brienne; for Marshal Marmont, to be at La Chaise or Chaumesnil no later than the 31st; for General Gerard , to pass to Marshal Mortier a dispatch informing him of the army presence in front of Brienne, and finally, for General de France, to occupy the 31st  at the break of day the bridge of Lesmont with his Guards of Honor and gain communication with Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes.

[9] Blücher to Schwarzenberg, Arsonval, 31 January, 7 o'clock at night. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 699.)

"I have the honor to inform Your Highness that General Yorck holds from yesterday evening at 5 o'clock Saint-Dizier, without finding much resistance, has taken a gun and pursued the enemy until Éclaron.  He hoped to facilitate Count Wittgenstein's attack on Wassy."

(Also see below the report of Yorck to Schwarzenberg from Écriennes, 2 February, in the evening.  --K. K. Kriegs Archiv., II, 29.)

The right column (the vanguard under the command of Prince William of Prussia) could not arrive in time to take part in the combat.  Only his cavalry joined in the evening, during the pursuit on Éclaron, by the Mecklenburg hussars and the cavalry brigade of General von Jürgass.

[10] Schwarzenberg to Blücher, Chaumont, 31 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 724) and the same to the Emperor of Austria, same date. (Ibid., I, 726.)

[11] Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria, 31 January.  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 726.)

[12] Schwarzenberg to Blücher, Chaumont, 31 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 724.)

[13] Wrede to Schwarzenberg, Saint-Urbain, 30 January, 9 o'clock at night. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 677.)

[14] See Schwarzenberg to Blücher, Chaumont, 31 January. (Ibid., I, 724.)

[15] Frimont to Wrede, Brachay, 30 January, 1 o'clock in the afternoon. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 677.)

[16] Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria, Chaumont, 31 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 726.)

[17] In this order of the 29th  (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I. 670), Schwarzenberg stopped the movement of the column of Colloredo, instructed him to stay on their positions and warned of the presence, at Troyes, of 13,000 men under the orders of Mortier.

[18] See on 28 January: Platoff to Schwarzenberg, Auxon, 28 January. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 611).

[19] Report of Platoff from Villeneuve-le-Roi, 1st of February (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., II. ad. 120), and General Allix, Military and Political Memories.

[20] Orders. Brienne, 30 January, 9:30 at night.

"... Here is the substance of the letter that Chief of Staff wrote to the Duke of Trévise:"

"The  headquarters is in Brienne: we occupy the bridges of Dienville, Brienne-la-Ville and Lesmont.  We beat the enemy, yesterday the 29th,  we have taken prisoners, we chased from Brienne and pursued to Bar-sur-Aube.  Give us your news, we had not heard it since the 28th.  Push parties to contact us, to be able to act together and in concert"

"The Chief of Staff wrote, in addition, to General Bordesoulle at Arcis-sur-Aube, to send for General Colbert to rally with him and direct him on to Brienne." (Correspondance of Napoleon).

[21] Schwarzenberg to the Emperor of Austria:

"Chaumont, 31 January 1814."

"Information provided by the emissaries:"

"1st Emissary left the 20th from Langres through Châtillon, Bar-sur-Seine, Troyes, Vitry, Châlons-sur-Marne, and from there, to Brienne and Bar-sur-Aube.  He saw the 21st on the road from Bar-sur-Seine to Troyes, the first French outpost in Moussey (100 men of the 122nd Infantry Regiment).  At Troyes, there were 900 men from the 122nd, including 500 conscripts, depots of the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 11th Horse Chasseurs (400 men)."

"On the 23rd, General Dufour was at Arcis with 6,000 infantry, for the most part conscripts, 400 to 500 horse chasseurs, 20 to 26 cannons and 80 caissons.  He (the emissary) was stopped there, but he managed to escape and get to Lesmont."

"On 24th, he found General Dufour on the Aube, and between Lesmont and Ramerupt, moving on Vitry.  There are 40 cannons in battery seen on the ramparts.  The garrison consists of 1,500 conscripts and two cavalry depots with the strength of 100 horses."

"The 25th, he was in Châlons: there noticed a park of 50 large caliber cannons and 150 caissons.  Ten thousand infantry marched at the time on Saint-Dizier, and he was still awaiting the arrival to Châlons of 10,000 men from the Spanish army."

"Going to Lesmont  he met a soldier of the Young Guard, had a conversation with him and learned that there were 5,000 to 6,000 men of the Young Guard at Bar-sur-Aube."

"On the 26th, he was at Lesmont and went from there to Brienne."

"2nd Another emissary was from Langres on Troyes, Sens, Montargis, Orléans and Beaugency."

"There were the 19th in Orléans, 600 to 700 recruits, and a depot at Beaugency of the 7th Horse Chasseur Regiment."

"3rd A third envoy, left Paris on the 22nd, brings only minor information on the (military) reviews past the 19th and 20th."

"4th Another emissary departed Vesoul, passing through Vaucouleur-Commercy, Saint-Aubin, Ligny, Bar-le-Duc, Vitry.  According to him, the corps of Victor has 15,000 men, including cavalry from 5,000 to 6,000.  Ney has 19,000 men with him, mostly infantry."

"The corps of Victor had orders to remain on the Marne until the 29th."

(K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I. 721 a.)

[22] It is beyond doubt that Blücher was expecting to be attacked during the day of the 31st, as he wrote from Arsonval, the 31st at ten o'clock in the morning, to the Emperor of Austria: "Yesterday the 30th, the enemy occupied Brienne, and about noon, he took position with its right at Dienville, its center in La Rothière and his left at Chaumesnil."

"I am waiting for it on my position between Éclance and Trannes." (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 726, h)

[23] STÄRKE, Eintheilung und Tagesbegebenheiten der Haupt Armee im Monate Januar. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30) and Kurzgefasste Darstellung der Kriegsereignisse schlesischen der Armee (Ibid., I, 31).

[24] "I had a very hot affair, the 29th, at Brienne.  I attacked the whole army of Field Marshal Blücher and General Sacken, 30,000 infantry men strong and having much cavalry.  I have attacked with 10,000 men, at the same moment where I was completing a forced march.  I had the good fortune to seize, from the commencement of the action, the castle that dominates everything.  As the attack had started an hour before dark, we fought all night. Blücher was defeated; we have 800 to 600 prisoners, killing or wounding from 3,000 to 4,000 men, and he was obliged to recall all parties that were advancing towards Paris, to fall back on Bar-sur-Aube.  Yesterday, I reconnoitered in this direction for two hours, accompanied by the salvos of forty pieces of cannon.  Our loss is estimated at 2,000 men."

"If I had a veteran army, it could have been better and could have taken all the parks and luggage that I saw pass before us and my movement would have forced Blücher to instantly fall back on Arcis-sur-Aube. If Brienne had been held earlier, everything would be in our power; but in the present circumstances and with the kind of forces at our disposal, we must keep happy with what happened."

"We've taken a position two miles in front of Brienne, the right at the Aube, the left, in the wood, we are now between the Aube and the Marne; the Duke of Trévise at Troyes and the Duke of Tarente on the Marne.  I intend to pivot on Arcis-sur-Aube. My headquarters will continue until new circumstance, will stay in Brienne." (Correspondance, no 21150.)

[25] The Chief of Staff recommended Victor to take the 31st at seven in the morning, a good position to fight, allowing him to receive the enemy, right at the Aube, to the left the wood; to see if the position of Trannes to Éclance might suit him, then at eleven o'clock, to seize the bridge of Unienville.

[26] Correspondence of Napoleon, no 21157.

[27] At this time, General Colbert, who had been from 27 January at Nogent-sur-Seine with the horse grenadiers, dragoons, scouts, and chasseurs of the Guard, had gone to join the Emperor on the right bank of the Aube by Lesmont.  He was extended on the left bank of the Aube, up to Coclois, where General Maurin was with 500 horses, watching by the bridge Dienville, Piney, the forest of Vendeuvre and pushing parties on Troyes.  General Guyot with 400 horses, and was at Vaupoisson and Ortillon. One hundred horses were also posted at Voué, on the road from Arcis to Troyes. General Bordesoulle continued to occupy Arcis.

[28]Victor to Grouchy:  "Order of movement.  --La Rothière, 31 January.  --The troops of the 2nd Corps of infantry and 5th of cavalry will start today at a specific time to move on Trannes in order to drive out the enemy, they will march in following order:"

"The light cavalry of General Piré take the right of the road.  Both divisions of dragoons march in battle formation on the left.  Six cannons will precede the division and march on the road (Brigadier General Jamin).  The division under the command of General Jamin will march in a column on the road, behind the battery, another battery will follow."

"The division of Duhesme will follow the 1st Division artillery. It will have its own behind.  The artillery of the 5th Corps will follow that of General Duhesme."

[29] Kleist, leaving from Trier and avoiding Luxembourg that he bypassed with his march, having left this before this town the uhlans of Silesia that he replaced in his corps with the cuirassiers of East Prussia, was at that time in the process of defiling under Thionville, heading on Pagny-sur-Moselle, that his vanguard reached on 2 February.

[30] A little before the time when Blücher spoke of Macdonald to Schwarzenberg, the Emperor had prescribed, the 31st in the morning, to the Duke of Tarente to leave the 5th Corps with the 3rd Corps of Cavalry at Sainte-Menehould to protect Châlons and Vitry and to keep an eye on everything going in the Ardennes and Reims, and to move with the 2nd Cavalry Corps and 11th Corps, first on the Châlons, where he would receive later orders for alternative movements.  Just twelve hours later, the same day at nine o'clock, the Emperor ordered Berthier to inform MacDonald that Yorck had debouched from Bar-le-Duc on Vitry, Saint-Dizier and Châlons, and instructed him to march against Yorck to fight and protect Vitry and Châlons. (Correspondance, nos. 21154 and 21161.)

We will, moreover, emphasize a little further on, these movements of the Duke of Tarente and the operations that Yorck directed against him.

[31] Field Marshal Blücher to Prince Schwarzenberg, Arsonval. 31 January 1814, seven o'clock in the evening. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 699.)

[32] Schwarzenberg to Blücher, Chaumont, 31 January. (Ibid., I, 724.)

[33] STÄRKE, Eintheilung und Tagesbegebenheiten der Haupt Armee im Monate Januar. (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 30) and the following report (Ibid., I, 702) of General Count Wittgenstein to Prince Schwarzenberg:

 "Joinville, 31 January 1814."

"General Ilovaysky XII, on my order, turned the enemy's position at Wassy, ​​advanced with a great noise and forced those there to withdraw."

"I hold Wassy.  General Ilovaysky pursues the enemy."

"General Yorck occupied Saint-Dizier and is directed on Vitry."

"The enemy seems to want to concentrate for combat between Vitry and Troyes."

"My headquarters is still at Wassy, ​​and I will push forward from there with Blücher and Yorck."

"I suppose I must, until further notice, stay connected with General Count Wrede, and combine my movements with him."

"Macdonald, with 18,000 men marches from Namur towards Châlons.  It is still three days' march from this point (a).  It would best to have this enterprise over before his arrival.  I get with General Yorck on in this proposal.  An officer of General Kleist tells me he will be in Saint-Mihiel 3 February."

(a) Wittgenstein was far from being well informed, since Macdonald arrived precisely on 31 January at Châlons-sur-Marne.

[34] Wittgenstein to Schwarzenberg, Wassy, 31 January and 1st of February, (K. K. Kriegs Archiv., I, 711, and II, 7.)


Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2011

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