Military mobilisation during the Hundred Days
During the Hundred Days of 1815, both the Coalition nations and the First French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte mobilised for war. This article describes the deployment of forces in early June 1815 just before the start of the Waterloo Campaign and the minor campaigns of 1815.
Upon assumption of the throne, Napoleon found that he was left with little by the Bourbons and that the state of the Army was 56,000 troops of which 46,000 were ready to campaign. By the end of May, the total armed forces available to Napoleon had reached 198,000 with 66,000 more in depots training up but not yet ready for deployment.
By the end of May, Napoleon had deployed his forces as follows:
- I Corps (D'Erlon) cantoned between Lille and Valenciennes.
- II Corps (Reille) cantoned between Valenciennes and Avesnes.
- III Corps (Vandamme) cantoned around Rocroi.
- IV Corps (Gerard) cantoned at Metz.
- VI Corps (Lobau) cantoned at Laon.
- Cavalry Reserve (Grouchy) cantoned at Guise.
- Imperial Guard (Mortier) at Paris.
Armies of observation
For the defence of France, Bonaparte deployed his remaining forces within France observing France's enemies, foreign and domestic, intending to delay the former and suppress the latter. By June, they were organised as follows:
- 15th Infantry Division;
- 16th, Infantry Division;
- 17th Infantry Division;
- 7th Cavalry Division;
- National Guard Division;
- 46 guns;
- Total 20,000–23,000 men.
- 22nd Infantry Division 
- 23rd Infantry Division 
- 15th Cavalry Division 
- 6th National Guard Division 
- 7th National Guard Division 
- 8th National Guard Division 
- 42–46 guns 
- Total 13,000–23,500 men
I Corps of Observation – Armée du Jura Based at Belfort and commanded by General Claude Lecourbe, this army was to observe any Austrian movement through Switzerland and also observe the Swiss army of General Bachmann. Its composition in June was:
- 18th Infantry Division 
- 8th Cavalry Division 
- 3rd National Guard Division
- 4th National Guard Division
- 38 guns
- Total 5,392–8,400 men
II Corps of Observation – Armée du Var. Based at Toulon and commanded by Marshal Guillaume Marie Anne Brune, this army was charged with the suppression of any potential royalist uprisings and to observe General Bianchi's Army of Naples. Its composition in June was:
- 24th Infantry Division;
- 25th Infantry Division;
- 14th Chasseurs à Cheval Cavalry Regiment;
- 22 guns;
- Total 5,500–6,116 men.
III Corps of Observation – Army of the Pyrenees orientales. Based at Toulouse and commanded by General Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen, this army observed the eastern Spanish frontier. Its composition in June was:
- 26th Infantry Division;
- 5th Chasseurs à Cheval Cavalry Regiment;
- 24 guns;
- Total 3,516–7,600 men.
IV Corps of Observation – Army of the Pyrenees occidentales. Based at Bordeaux and commanded by General Bertrand Clauzel, this army observed the western Spanish frontier. Its composition in June was:
- 27th Infantry Division 
- 15th Chasseurs à Cheval Cavalry Regiment 
- 24 guns
- Total 3,516–6,800 men
Army of the West - Armée de l'Ouest (also known as the Army of the Vendée and the Army of the Loire). Commanded by General Jean Maximilien Lamarque, the army was formed to suppress the Royalist insurrection in the Vendée region of France, which remained loyal to King Louis XVIII during the Hundred Days. The army contained a Young Guard Infantry brigade consisting of the 2nd Tirailleur and 2nd Voltigeur regiments and some line units detached from the other armies as well as gendarmes and volunteers. Its composition in June was:
- One Un-numbered Infantry Division under General Brayer;
- One Un-numbered Infantry Division under General Travot;
- 24 guns;
Total 10,000–27,000 men.
The Seventh Coalition armies formed to invade France were:
The forces at the disposal of the Seventh Coalition for an invasion of France amounted to the better part of a million men. According to the returns laid out in secret sittings at the Congress of Vienna the military resources of the European states that joined the coalition, the number of troops which they could field for active operations—without unduly diminishing the garrison and other services in their respective interiors—amounted to 986,000 men. The size of the principal invasion armies (those designated to proceed to Paris) was as follows:
|I||Army of Upper Rhine—(Schwartzenberg), viz.:|
|II||Army of Lower Rhine—(Blücher) Prussians, Saxons, etc.||155,000|
|III||Army of Flanders—(Wellington) British, Dutch, Hanoverians, Brunswickers||155,000|
|IV||First Russian Army—(Barclay de Tolly)||168,000|
Wellington's Allied Army (Army of Flanders)
Cantoned in the southern part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in what is now Belgium, Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington commanded a coalition army, made up of troops from the duchies of Brunswick, and Nassau and the kingdoms of Hanover, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In June 1815 Wellington's army of 93,000 with headquarters at Brussels was cantoned:
- I Corps (Prince of Orange), 30,200, headquarters Braine-le-Comte, disposed in the area Enghien–Genappe–Mons.
- II Corps (Lord Hill), 27,300, headquarters Ath, distributed in the area Ath-Oudenarde–Ghent.
- Reserve (under Wellington himself) 25,500, lay around Brussels.
- Reserve Cavalry (Lord Uxbridge) 9,900, in the valley of the Dendre river, between Geraardsbergen and Ninove.
- Dutch light cavalry observed the frontier into the west of Leuze and Binche
The Netherlands Corps, commanded by Prince Frederick of the Netherlands did not take part in early actions of the Waterloo Campaign (it was posted to a fall back position near Braine), but did besiege some of the frontier fortresses in the rear of Wellington's advancing army.
A Danish contingent known as the Royal Danish Auxiliary Corps commanded by General Prince Frederick of Hessen-Kassel and a Hanseatic contingent (from the free cities of Bremen, Lübeck and Hamburg) commanded by the British Colonel Sir Neil Campbell, were also on their way to join this army, both however, joined the army in July having missed the conflict.
Wellington had very much hoped to obtain a Portuguese contingent of 12-14,000 men that might be boarded on ships and sent to this army. However, this contingent never materialised, as the Portuguese government were extremely uncooperative. They explained that they did not have the authority to send the Prince Regent of Portugal's forces to war without his consent (he was still in Brazil where he had been in exile during the Peninsular War and had yet to return to Portugal). They explained this even though they themselves had signed the Treaty of March 15 without his consent. Besides this, the state of the Portuguese army in 1815 left much to be desired and were a shadow of their former self with much of it being disbanded.
Prussian Army (Army of the Lower Rhine)
This army was composed entirely of Prussians from the provinces of the Kingdom of Prussia, old and recently acquired alike. Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher commanded this army with General August Neidhardt von Gneisenau as his chief of staff and second in command.
Blücher's Prussian army of 116,000 men, with headquarters at Namur, was distributed as follows:
- I Corps (Graf von Zieten), 30,800, cantoned along the Sambre, headquarters Charleroi, and covering the area Fontaine-l'Évêque–Fleurus–Moustier.
- II Corps (Pirch I), 31,000, headquarters at Namur, lay in the area Namur-Hannut–Huy.
- III Corps (Thielemann), 23,900, in the bend of the river Meuse, headquarters Ciney, and disposed in the area Dinant–Huy–Ciney.
- IV Corps (Bülow), 30,300, with headquarters at Liege and cantoned around it.
German Corps (North German Federal Army)
This army was part of the Prussian Army above, but was to act independently much further south. It was composed of contingents from the following nations of the German Confederation: Electorate of Hessen, Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Duchy of Oldenburg (state), Duchy of Saxe-Gotha, Duchy of Anhalt-Bernburg, Duchy of Anhalt-Dessau, Duchy of Anhalt-Kothen, Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Principality of Waldeck (state), Principality of Lippe and the Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe.
Fearing that Napoleon was going to strike him first, Blücher ordered this army to march north to join the rest of his own army. The Prussian General Friedrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf initially commanded this army before he fell ill on June 18 and was replaced by the Hessen-Kassel General Von Engelhardt. Its composition in June was:
- Hessen-Kassel Division (Three Hessian Brigades)- General Engelhardt
- Thuringian Brigade - Colonel Egloffstein
- Mecklenburg Brigade - General Prince of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Russian Army (I Army)
- III Army Corps - General Dokhturov
- IV Army Corps - General Raevsky
- V Army Corps - General Sacken
- VI Army Corps - General Langeron
- VII Army Corps - General Sabaneev
- Reserve Grenadier Corps - General Yermolov
- II Reserve Cavalry Corps - General Winzingerode
- Artillery Reserve - Colonel Bogoslavsky
Austro-German Army (Army of the Upper Rhine)
The Austrian military contingent was divided into three armies. This was the largest of these armies, commanded by Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. Its target was Paris. This Austrian contingent was joined by those of the following nations of the German Confederation: Kingdom of Bavaria, Kingdom of Württemberg, Grand Duchy of Baden, Grand Duchy of Hesse (Hessen-Darmstadt), Free City of Frankfurt, Principality of Reuss Elder Line and the Principality of Reuss Junior Line. Besides these there were contingents of Fulda and Isenburg. These were recruited by the Austrians from German territories that were in the process of losing their independence by being annexed to other countries at the Congress of Vienna. Finally, these were joined by the contingents of the Kingdom of Saxony, Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen and the Duchy of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Its composition in June was:
|I Corps||Master General of the Ordnance, Count Colloredo||24,400||86||16||8|
|II Corps||General Prince Hohenzollern-Hechingen||34,360||36||86||11|
|III Corps||Field Marshal the Crown Prince of Württemberg||43,814||44||32||9|
|IV Corps (Bavarian Army)||Field Marshal Prince Wrede||67,040||46||66||16|
|Austrian Reserve Corps||Lieutenant Field Marshal Stutterheim||44,800||38||86||10|
This army was composed entirely of Swiss. The Swiss General Niklaus Franz von Bachmann commanded this army. This force was to observe any French forces that operated near its borders. Its composition in July was:
- I Division - Colonel von Gady
- II Division - Colonel Fuessly
- III Division - Colonel d'Affry
- Reserve Division - Colonel-Quartermaster Finsler
Austro-Sardinian Army (Army of Upper Italy)
- I Corps - Major-General (Feldmarschalleutnant) Paul von Radivojevich
- II Corps - Major-General (Feldmarschalleutnant) Ferdinand, Graf Bubna von Littitz
- Reserve Corps - Major-General (Feldmarschalleutnant) Franz Mauroy de Merville
- Sardinian Corps - General De La Tour
Austrian Army (Army of Naples)
This was the smallest of Austria's military contingents. Its targets were Marseilles and Toulon. General Bianchi commanded this army. This was the Austrian army that defeated Murat's army in the Neapolitan War. It was not composed of Neapolitans as the army's name may suggest and as one author supposed. There was however a Sardinian force in this area forming the garrison of Nice under Louis Cacherano d'Osasco which may have been where the other part of this misunderstanding had arisen. Its composition in June was:
- I Corps - General Neipperg
- II Corps - General Mohr
- Reserve Corps - General Nugent
This was Great Britain's smaller military contingent. It was composed of Anglo-Sicilian troops under General Sir Hudson Lowe transported and supported by the Mediterranean Fleet of Lord Viscount Exmouth. Its targets were Marseilles and Toulon.
Both Wellington's Despatches and his Supplementary Despatches show that neither of the Spanish armies contained any Portuguese contingents nor were they likely too, (See the section Portuguese contingent below), however both Chandler and Barbero state that the Portuguese did send a contingent.
Prussian Reserve Army
Besides the four Army Corps that fought in the Waterloo Campaign listed above that Blücher took with him into the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Prussia also had a reserve army stationed at home in order to defend its borders.
This consisted of:
- V Army Corps - Commanded by General Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg
- VI Army Corps - Commanded by General Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien
- Royal Guard (VIII Corps) - Commanded by General Charles II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Royal Danish Auxiliary Corps and Hanseatic Contingent
A Danish contingent known as the Royal Danish Auxiliary Corps commanded by General Prince Frederick of Hessen-Kassel and a Hanseatic contingent (from the free cities of Bremen, Lübeck and Hamburg) commanded by the British Colonel Sir Neil Campbell, were also on their way to join Wellington's army, both however, joined the army in July having missed the conflict.
Wellington had very much hoped to obtain a Portuguese contingent of 12-14,000 men that might be boarded on ships and sent to this army. However, this contingent never materialised, as the Portuguese government were extremely uncooperative. They explained that they did not have the authority to send the Prince Regent of Portugal's forces to war without his consent (he was still in Brazil where he had been in exile during the Peninsular War and had yet to return to Portugal). They explained this even though they themselves had signed the Treaty of March 15 without his consent. Besides this, the state of the Portuguese army in 1815 left much to be desired and were a shadow of their former with much of it being disbanded.
Russian 2nd (Reserve) Army
The Second Russian Army was behind the First Russian Army to support it if required.
- Imperial Guard Corps
- I Army Corps
- II Army Corps, commanded by General Wurttemberg
- I Grenadier Division
- I Reserve Cavalry Corps
Russian support for Wellington
The Tsar of Russia offered Wellington the II Army Corps under General Wurttemberg from his Reserve Army, but Wellington was far from keen on accepting this contingent.
- Chesney 1869, p. 34.
- Chesney 1869, p. 35.
- Beck 1911, p. 371.
- Chandler 1981, p. 180.
- Vaudoncourt 1826, Book I, Chapter I, p. 109.
- Armée du Rhin men
- Chalfont 1979, p. 205.
- Chandler 1981, p. 181.
- Zins 2003, pp. 380–384.
- Armée des Alpes guns
- Armée des Alpes. Men
- Smith 1998, p. 551.
- Armée du Jura: men
- Chandler 1981, p. 30.
- Siborne 1895, p. 775,779.
- Vaudoncourt 1826, Book I, Chapter I, p. 110.
- Houssaye 2005, p. [page needed]
- Armée du Var: men
- III Corps of Observation, Men:
- IV Corps of Observation
- Lasserre 1906, p. 114.
- Army of the West, men:
- Alison 1843, p. 520 cites: Plotho iv., Appendix, p. 62; and Capefigue, i., 330, 331.
- Bowden 1983, Chapter 3.
- Beck 1911, p. 372,373.
- Siborne 1895, pp. 765, 766.
- McGuigan 2009, § Siege Train.
- Plotho 1818, Appendix pp. 34,35.
- Hofschroer 2006, pp. 82,83.
- Sørensen 1871, pp. 360-367.
- Glover 1973, p. 181.
- Gurwood 1838, p. 281.
- Wellesley 1862, pp. 573, 574.
- Wellesley 1862, p. 268.
- Wellesley 1862, p. 499.
- Bowden 1983, Chapter 2.
- Georg Dubislav Ludwig von Pirch: 'Pirch I', the use of Roman numerals being used in Prussian service to distinguish officers of the same name, in this case from his brother, seven years his junior, Otto Karl Lorenz 'Pirch II'
- Plotho 1818, p. 54.
- Hofschroer 1999, p. 182.
- Plotho 1818, p. 56.
- Plotho 1818, Appendix (Chapter XII) pp. 56-62.
- Mikaberidze 2002.
- Siborne 1895, p. 767.
- Although Siborne estimated the number at 264,492, David Chandler estimated the number 232,000 (Chandler 1981, p. 27)
- Chapuisat 1921, table 2.[page needed]
- Plotho 1818, Appendix pp. 74,75.
- Chandler places the army under the command of General Onasco (Chandler 1981, p. 30), but Plotho (Plotho 1818, Appendix pp. 76,77) and Vaudoncourt (Vaudoncourt 1826, Book I, Chapter I, p. 94) name the commander as General Bianchi
- Chandler 1981, p. 27.
- Schom 1992, p. 19.
- Plotho 1818, Appendix pp. 76,77.
- Peltier, p. 743[verification needed].
- Peltier, p. 743[verification needed].
- Barbero 2006, Map of Allied Advances in June/July 1815[page needed]
- Plotho 1818, pp. 36–55.
- Wellesley 1842, pp. 573, 574.
- Alison, Archibald (1843). History of Europe from the commencement of the French Revolution in 1789, to the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815 4. Harper & Brothers.
- Beck, Archibald Frank (1911). "Waterloo Campaign". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 371–381.
- Barbero, Alessandro (2006). The Battle: a new history of Waterloo. Walker & Company. ISBN 0-8027-1453-6.
- Bowden, Scott (1983). Armies at Waterloo: a detailed analysis of the armies that fought history's greatest Battle. Empire Games Press. ISBN 0-913037-02-8.
- Chandler, David (1981) . Waterloo: The Hundred Days. Osprey Publishing.
- Chalfont, Lord; et al (1979). Waterloo: Battle of Three Armies. Sidgwick and Jackson.
- Chapuisat, Édouard (1921). Der Weg zur Neutralität und Unabhängigkeit 1814 und 1815. Bern: Oberkriegskommissariat. (also published as: Vers la neutralité et l'indépendance. La Suisse en 1814 et 1815, Berne: Commissariat central des guerres)
- Chesney, Charles Cornwallis (1869). Waterloo Lectures: a study of the Campaign of 1815. London: Longmans Green and Co. (In print edition published by Kessinger Publishing, LLC (July 25, 2006) ISBN 1-4286-4988-3)
- Glover, Michael (1973). Wellington as Military Commander. London: Sphere Books.
- Gurwood, Lt. Colonel (1838). The Dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington 12. [publisher needed].
- Hofschroer, Peter (2006). 1815 The Waterloo Campaign: Wellington, his German allies and the Battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras 1. Greenhill Books.
- Hofschroer, Peter (1999). 1815; The Waterloo Campaign: The German victory, from Waterloo to the fall of Napoleon 2. Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-368-4.
- Houssaye, Henri (2005). Napoleon and the Campaign of 1815: Waterloo. Naval & Military Press Ltd.
- Lasserre, Bertrand (1906). Les Cent Jours en Vendée: le Général Lamarque et l'Insurrection Royaliste. Paris: Plon-Nourrit.
- McGuigan, Ron (2009) . "Anglo-Allied Army in Flanders and France - 1815: Subsequent Changes in Command and Organization". The Napoleon Series. Retrieved May 2012.[better source needed]
- Mikaberidze, Alexander (2002). "Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: General Ivan Vasilievich Sabaneev". The Napoleon Series. Retrieved May 2012.[better source needed]
- Peltier, Jean-Gabriel. L'Ambigu 1. p. 743.
- Plotho, Carl von (1818). Der Krieg des verbündeten Europa gegen Frankreich im Jahre 1815. Berlin: Karl Friedrich Umelang.
- Schom, Alan (1992). One Hundred Days: Napoleon's road to Waterloo. New York: Atheneum. pp. 19, 152.
- Siborne, William (1895). "Supplement section". The Waterloo Campaign 1815 (4th ed.). Birmingham, 34 Wheeleys Road. pp. 767–780.
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill Books.
- Sørensen, Carl (1871). Kampen om Norge i Aarene 1813 og 1814 2. Kjøbenhavn.
- Vaudoncourt, Guillaume de (1826). Histoire des Campagnes de 1814 et 1815 en France. Tome II. Paris: A. de Gastel.
- Wellesley, Arthur (1862). Supplementary Despatches, Correspondence and Memoranda of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington 10. London: United Services, John Murray.
- Zins, Ronald (2003). 1815 L'armée des Alpes et Les Cent-Jours à Lyon. Reyrieux: H. Cardon.