First Empire of 1812 to 1813
First Empire of 1812 to 1813
1812The January 26th 1812, the Catalonia, formed in four departments, is joined together with the France.
The March 13rd according to, a senatus consult divided in three banns all the subjects of the Empire which are in a position to carry the weapons, and which are not active soldiers.
The war with the Russia, the England and the Sweden is imminent. Napoleon leaves Paris the May 9th 1812, and goes in Germany. A solemn meeting of crowned heads takes place with Dresden; the empress Marie-Louise of Austria, the emperor and the empress of Austria, the king of Prussia and several sovereigns of lower row form part of it. Napoleon is the president, the supreme director of this assembly.
However the Count de Narbonne had been sent at Alexandre to determine it, with the help of some concessions, to support the continental system , realizing, what peace would not be disturbed, the negotiator fails in his mission.
Napoleon, scorning such threats and always counting on his fortune, goes on the Niémen, solved well to walk ahead, in spite of the opinions that gave him of the considered and tested people. Somebody said to him with a courageous frankness that the Campagne of Russia could decide fate of its dynasty and its own existence, like future from France.
Countryside of Russia
See also: Countryside of Russia
Return of RussiaWhile France and Europe believe Napoleon buried in snows of North, they learn that in less than fourteen days it crossed the Poland, the Germany, and that it reached banks of the the Seine (December 18th 1812).
The shortly after its arrival in its Palate of Tileries, of the artillery salvos announced its presence in the capital. On all sides, one hastened to attend his rising, the accustomed harangues of the Senate, the Council of State, the legal bodies, the large Master of the University, took again their course.
1813However its heart, retempered by the reverses, had redoubled energy and of activity; it chaired the every day several committees to regulate, to lead the businesses as well external as interior of its vast empire. The January 11th 1813, a lifting of 250.000 men is issued by the Senate. In the previous month, it had made its peace with the pope, whom it held captive with Fontainebleau. He wanted, by this species again legal settlement, to go the favorable catholic populations, and to wash the spot that, for devout eyes, pontifical excommunication had printed on its face.
A senatus consult of the February 5th determines the form of regency during the minority of the Emperor; the king of Rome could be crowned and crowned the alive one of his father; consequently, the son of the Emperor will be crowned as soon as possible; his/her mother, the empress, has undeniable rights to regency. Napoleon did not have anything in heart so much than to ensure his posterity the heritage and the reversion of his immense capacity. By letters of the March 30th according to, the Marie-Louise empress is declared regent of the Empire.
The February 14th, the Emperor made solemnly the opening of the legislative Body. After having given an account of the reasons and calamities for the countryside of Russia, it continues
The 25 of the same month, the Minister of Interior Department returns account to the legislative Body of the situation of the Empire. One sees by this talk that since 1804 until the 1er January 1813, it was spent 683 million in various work, such as bridges, channels, roads, ports, embellishments of Paris, deposits of begging, palate, churches, etc the productions of the ground and industry were singularly increased, and in spite of continual wars, the population of old France which, in 1789, was from 24 to 25 million, is now of 28 million 700 thousand individuals.
However the Prussian general York had passed on the side of the Russians with 20.000 men. The English negotiated secretly with the cabinet of Vienna, whose auxiliary body, ordered by Schwartzenberg, had been put completely in a state of neutrality; Louis XVIII, on his side, had launched Château of Hartwell, in early February, a proclamation
An enemy of Napoleon, well differently dangerous, worked the Germany, it was the company of the Union of the Virtue (Tugend-Bund). The purpose of this company was to make the war national, and to deliver the Germanie at all costs yoke which weighed on it; let us add that king Murat, after having given, the January 27th, with prince Eugene, general command of the troops stationed in the North, whose Emperor had invested it, left of his own movement and without consulting it, the general headquarter of Posen, and, disguised as a German traveller, had taken the road of its States; from there, sharp reprimands. The Emperor wrote to him
Irritated by these reprimands, which are somewhat abusive, Murat will count soon with the number of the enemies of its benefactor and his brother-in-law.
Napoleon had thus to fight, at midday, the Spain and the Portugal; in the west, the England supported by its powerful auxiliary the Ocean; in north, the Sweden with Bernadotte, the Russia, the Prussia; in the east, the Austria already staggering, and everywhere the hatred of the many populations which it had pressed. It had enemies in the center even of its Empire; the conscription had become unbearable, and the attempt at Malet had revived the hopes of the republicans.
The Emperor left Paris the April 15th, and the 29 it was at its general headquarter of Eckartzberg. It had printed on its road an electric movement with the young army to which it had spoken everywhere where it had met it. In the middle of its preparations of war, it was always shown laid out to make peace; the duke of Vicence was charged to follow the negotiations of them to Vienna.
The forces of the French in Germany of 146.000 infantrymen, are divided into 12 bodies, plus 16.000 of imperial guard and 4.000 horses.
The enemies count 225.000 men, including 125.000 Russians and 100.000 Prussians.
Following two combat which were delivered to Weissenfels and the procession of Rippach, where the young soldiers, supported by the Emperor in person, made wonders, the army seized Lützen and all the outlets of the Saale.
Battle of Lützen
See also: Battle of Lützen (1813)
The May 2nd, the Emperor gained the victory of Large-Gœrschen which it called of Lutzen, in memory, undoubtedly, of the famous king de Suède Gustave-Adolphe, whose tomb is in this city. The enemy army, ordered by the general-in-chief Wittgenstein, fought under the eyes of Alexandre and king de Prusse. Napoleon had under his orders prince Eugene, the marshals Ney, Mortier, Macdonald, Marmont; the generals Compans, Ricard. He did not expect to be tackled this day, nor in this position; he was already goes from there on Leipzig, when he learned that the Ney marshal had in front of him all the allied army; to turn back with the gallop and to change the provisions which it had adopted, were the one moment business; it makes wonders to stop the ardor of the Prussians; its young soldiers, animated by his presence, fight like lions; on the two sides eagerness is the same one during more than four hours; then come to put on line the Macdonald marshal and the general Bertrand, with the head of their body. Napoleon seizes this favorable moment to force the victory to decide, in his favor. A battery of 80 parts strikes down the position of Kaya, from which the profit depends on the battle, while 16 battalions of the young guard, supported by 6 battalions of their elder, are launched ahead and unite their efforts with those of the infantry of line; as of this moment, the fate of the day is decided.
This battle was extremely fatal; the villages of Kaya, of Large-Gœrschen were taken and taken again several times at the bayonet. The French Army drew 40.000 blows from gun; she showed a great loss of killed or wounded. Or that of allied from 20 estimates to 25.000 men.
A success so dearly bought was without results of some importance. For lack of cavalry, the winner was in the need for letting the enemy operate his retirement quietly and in good order, protected which it was by its excellent and many cavalry, devastating all that it found on his passage.
The enemy, always continued by Napoleon, stopped in the surroundings of Bautzen. Alexandre ordered in person the combined army; he had his general headquarter with Wurschen; its forces presented a total of 160.000 men. The center of united was supported by the fortifications which one had raised in Bautzen and his neighborhoods.
The French Army counted 150.000 combatants.
The positions of the enemy were successively removed and Napoleon entered Bautzen at three o'clock in the afternoon.
The 21, at five o'clock in the morning, the combat started again by a sharp shooting. Napoleon announced that the general attack would take place at one hour, and that the Bataille of Wurschen would be gained to three, which arrived.
The following day 22, the allies were continued without slackening by the French avant-garde, to the head of which Napoleon walked constantly; but this same day the French tested a failure with Reichenbach. The May 30th, they take again Hamburg. The June 4th, an armistice is concluded with Plesswitz, in Silesia, between Napoleon and his adversaries; it is on the two sides a pretext to save time and to receive the reinforcements that one waits. The June 30th, a convention is signed with Dresden, by which Napoleon accepts the mediation of Austria. A congress must open with Prague the July 5th. The armistice is prolonged until the August 15th. The congress of Prague dissolves without to have concluded anything.
Before the rupture of the armistice, in a secret negotiation, the duke of Vicence had learned from Metternich that peace would be guaranteed by Austria, provided that the Duché of Warsaw would be dissolved; that the towns of Hamburg and Lubeck would recover their independence: that Napoleon would give up year protectorate of the Confédération of the Rhine; that Prussia would be restored and that the Illyrie would be yielded to the Austria. The French Empire preserved thus about all its power; but was Napoleon laid out with these concessions?
Soon Austria made common cause with united and the furies of the war started again with more violence than ever.
Bernadotte, commander-in-chief the army of the north of Germany said in its proclamation of the August 15th, that Europe was to go against France with the same feeling which had armed against it France in 1792. It was to proclaim the proscription of the French and Napoleon.
The August 15th 1813, the Prince de Schwartzenberg, généralissime of the allied armies, counted under its command 603.600 combatants and Napoleon 352.700. Moreover, united fought in friendly countries and could repair their losses, to beat a retreat in all safety.
August 13rd, the Austrians had operated their junction with the Austro-Russians. They were only the 20 which Napoleon learned this junction; and, the 21, it takes again the offensive, melts on Blùcher and forces it to move back.
See also: Battle of Large Beeren
The 23, the strong position of Goldberg fall to the hands from French. Learning that, by the councils of its enemy Moreau, that the allies had made come from America, those had solved to be made main from Dresden, it leaves its army of Silesia to the Duc de Tarente, and goes with its guard on the capital of the Saxony, in which it arrives the 26, at ten o'clock in the morning; it was time: several works had just been removed in the suburbs, the enemy was going to give the attack. Napoleon takes the offensive, the attack in the suburbs and rejects it with far with a loss of 4.000 men. It fought this day with 65.000 men against 180.000. In the evening, it accepted a reinforcement of 45.000 men; and, following day 27, to the point of the day, the head of 110.000 men, it offers the combat to 180.000 united, pushes back them, divides them and forces them with the retirement with a loss of 15.000 killed and as many prisoners, almost all Austrians. It is in this business that Moreau had the two legs cut by a ball while it discussed with the Alexandre emperor.
See also: Battle of Dresden
The reverses of combined under the walls of Dresden were compensated by the victory which they had gained the 26 with Katzbach over the Macdonald marshal. This battle cost to the French 15.000 prisoners. The loss of the enemy was hardly less strong; but it was so easy for him to repair it. The Duc of Reggio had been made beat by Bernadotte with Grossbeherren and Ahrensdorf, close to Berlin. The general Vandamme who had received the order to occupy and hold the processions of the Bohemia, launched out imprudently to the continuation of a Russian body which it had beaten with Pirna, went down on Culm with 10 battalions; wrapped suddenly by 70.000 men, fact captive with 7.000 as of his, it leaves 3.000 dead on the battle field.
Napoleon, always wanting to make itself main of Berlin, orders to the Ney marshal to go there, after having joined together with his body that of the Oudinot marshal, with those of the generals Régnier and Bertrand. Ney, demolishes by Bernadotte, loses, with two thirds of its artillery, its ammunition, its luggage and more than 12.000 men.
As of this moment, the losses which both tested parties are about compensated; successes of Lutzen, Bautzen, Dresden do not make any more illusion. Nevertheless Napoleon, instead of starting to operate his retirement towards the the Rhine, always persuaded that its fortune and its genius will make it triumph over all the obstacles, is obstinated to remain in the heart of Saxony. However bodies of partisans are formed on all sides; the secret societies act with zeal and activity, almost with overdraft. The States of king Jerome are at the thank you of the Russians; the Saxon ones, the Westphalian ones have just passed to the enemy; a strong Bavarian army makes its junction with Braunau with an Austrian body. The king of Wurtemberg learned this defection with the Emperor, and at the same time he announced his to him.
Battle of Leipzig
See also: Battle of Leipzig
Napoleon, tired of a war of baffle, and wanting to finish some by a great battle, goes on Leipzig to the meeting of Schwartzenberg; it arrives in this city the October 15th. The 18 and 19 of the same month is delivered the Bataille of Leipzig. The year of Napoleon was of 157.000 men, with 600 parts of gun. United 348.000 combatants counted, with an artillery from 950 to 1.000 pieces of ordnance. A half-million men, gathered on a space from three to four square miles are attacked, pushed back, are mitraillent, cut the throat of closely with an extreme fury.
The French soldiers fought with greatest courage against the numerical superiority their adversaries, when the auxiliaries Saxons and Wurtembergeois pass to the army of Bernadotte and turn at once their guns against the brothers in arms which they have just betrayed.
There did not remain any more ammunition in the boxes of French artillery only for 10.000 blows of gun; it was thus necessary, though the enemy had given up the battle field to withdraw himself on Erfurth to take there will provide. The retrograde movement began the night; before the day the bridges had passed; 10.000 men approximately of rear-guard defended the suburbs to give to artillery and with the parks of reserve time to pass the large bridge, when the warrant officer who was charged to make it jump seeing Cosaques which had passed the Elster Blanche to ford, believer that all was lost, put fire at the wick and the bridge was destroyed. The rear-guard not having more retirement remained captive with all its luggage and 200 pieces of artillery.
The days of the 16 to 19 were fatal with the two armies: the French lost 20.000 killed men, 30.000 prisoners, including 23.000 patients or casualties given up in the hospitals of Leipzig, and 350 pieces of ordnance. United left 47.000 dead on the battle field. One estimates with the double the number of men put out of combat.
The French Army, reduced to 90.000 men, arrived at Erfurth the 23; after being itself supplied and rested there, it restarted the 25. The 26, a austro-Bavarian army of 60.000 men, under the orders of the general Wrède, was presented to Hariau to cut the retirement to him. The army of Wrède was inserted and put in rout after having lost 12.000 men. The Bertrand general occupied Hanau, which made it possible the army to be withdrawn on Mainz without being worried. The November 2nd, it had crossed the Rhine, and all the Germanic ground was delivered.
However a new meeting of Plénipotentiaire S took place with Frankfurt. There, of new bases for peace agreed and were communicated, on November 10th, in Napoleon, by his minister, the Baron de Saint-Aignan. It was stopped that France would have as limits the the Rhine, the the Alps and the the Pyrenees; that the Spain would be returned to its old dynasty; that the Germany, the Italy, the Holland would recover their independence.
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