Battle of Bar-sur-Aube

The Battle of Bar-sur-Aube was fought on 27 February 1814, between the First French Empire and the Austrian Empire. French forces were led by Jacques MacDonald, while the Austrians and their Bavarian allies, forming the Army of Bohemia, were led by Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg. The Austrians were victorious.

Battle of Bar-sur-Aube
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Date27 February 1814[1]
Location48°16′N 04°43′E / 48.267°N 4.717°E / 48.267; 4.717
Result Coalition victory[1]
Belligerents
First French Empire France Austrian Empire Austria
Kingdom of Bavaria Bavaria
Russian Empire Russia
Commanders and leaders
First French Empire Jacques MacDonald Austrian Empire Karl von Schwarzenberg
Kingdom of Bavaria Karl Philipp von Wrede
Russian Empire Peter Wittgenstein
Strength
18,000-22,000[1]
60 guns
27,000[1]-30,000
70 guns
Casualties and losses
3,100[1] killed, wounded, or captured
2 guns lost
1,900[1] killed, wounded, or captured
  current battle
  Napoleon in command
  Napoleon not in command

BackgroundEdit

Napoleon I himself, having defeated the Allies at Montereau on 17 February, forcing them to retreat toward Troyes beyond the river Aube, had turned north to the valley of the Marne to try to impede the renewed drive toward Paris by the Army of Silesia (mostly Prussians) under Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher; the marshals he left behind were ordered to make it appear as though he was still with them. Schwarzenberg tested that assumption by advancing upon Bar-sur-Aube (in part because Alexander I of Russia and Frederick William III of Prussia wanted him to do so), and on the twenty-sixth Napoleon ordered Oudinot to follow Schwarzenberg to the town, near Troyes.[2]

BattleEdit

When it was learned that Napoleon was preparing to attack the Army of Silesia, Schwarzenberg took the opportunity to strike first at Oudinot with a Russian corps under General Peter Wittgenstein and a Bavarian corps under General Karl von Wrede. Although MacDonald enjoyed a measure of numerical superiority at the outset, many of his troops were cut off from the main theater of the battle by their deployment astride the Aube and were therefore unable to participate, much of the French artillery being stuck on the wrong side of the river. Not only was MacDonald forced to retreat over the Aube, but he continued retreating for the next few days, pursued by the Allies and leaving Schwarzenberg in an advantageous position, able to concentrate his forces at Troyes as well as to take possession of the river crossings of the Seine.[2]

A Russian cavalry officer, Eduardo von Lowenstern, witnessed the revenge the Bavarians took on the town for the loss of a battalion: “The houses were being stormed. Women and old people murdered, children thrown from the second floor onto the paving and smashed.”[3]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Bodart 1908, p. 474.
  2. ^ a b Hale 2006, pp. 114–115.
  3. ^ Mikaberidze 2013, p. 114.

ReferencesEdit

  • Bodart, Gaston (1908). Militär-historisches Kriegs-Lexikon (1618-1905). Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  • Hale, Korcaighe P. (2006). "Battle of Bar-sur-Aube". In Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (ed.). The Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. 1. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1851096466.
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (2013). Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1814.