IV Corps (Grande Armée)

The IV Corps of the Grande Armée was a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. It consisted of several different units and commanders.

IV Corps
CountryFirst French Empire First French Empire
EngagementsWar of the Third Coalition
War of the Fourth Coalition
Peninsular War
War of the Fifth Coalition
Russian campaign
War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Seventh Coalition
Eugène de Beauharnais
Henri Gatien Bertrand
Étienne Maurice Gérard
François Joseph Lefebvre
André Masséna
Horace François Sébastiani
Jean-de-Dieu Soult

War of the Third CoalitionEdit

The corps was formed in 1805, with Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult being appointed as its commander.[1]

The IV Corps formed part of the extended center of the French line at the Battle of Austerlitz in December 1805.[2] During the battle, Napoleon ordered Soult to attack the Pratzen Heights, from which the Allies had been attacking the French right wing. Repeated attacks from the Russians under General Kutuzov almost broke through the line of IV Corps, but aid from Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps allowed the French to maintain their control of the Heights. The survivors then moved south and enveloped General Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden's column, sending the Allies into a retreat.[3]

War of the Fourth CoalitionEdit

The corps formed the right wing of the French line at the Battle of Jena in October 1806.[1][4] At Eylau in February 1807, the corps was beaten back by the Russian Army under Generals Tutchkov and Dmitry Dokhturov.[5]

In 1808, Soult was transferred to Spain, where he took command of the II Corps in the Peninsular War.[1]

War of the Fifth CoalitionEdit

When Austria declared war on France in 1809, many French units that nominally belonged to IV Corps were not concentrated yet. It were detached under the command of Marshals Jean-Baptiste Bessières and André Masséna and took part in the battles of Landshut, Neumarkt and Ebelsberg. Later reorganised, the IV Corps under Masséna fought in the battles of Aspern-Esling and Wagram.

Russian campaignEdit

The corps consisted mainly of troops from the Kingdom of Italy by the time of the invasion of Russia in 1812. It was commanded by Napoleon's stepson Eugène de Beauharnais. The corps participated in the Battle of Borodino,[6] where it formed the left wing of the French line. Later, it also fought at the battles of Malojaroslavec and Viazma. The corps suffered heavy casualties during the retreat.

Commanders at Borodino

  • Corps commander: Prince Eugène de Beauharnais;
    • Divisional commanders:
    • Corps cavalry under General de division d'Ornano
    • Corps artillery under General de division d'Anthouard de Vraincourt

War of the Sixth CoalitionEdit

Under the command of General Henri Gatien Bertrand, it took part in the battles of Lützen, Großbeeren, Dennewitz, Wartenburg and Leipzig.

War of the Seventh CoalitionEdit

The corps was headed by General Étienne Maurice Gérard in 1815 and took part in the Battle of Ligny and the Battle of Waterloo.


  1. ^ a b c Chandler, 417.
  2. ^ Chandler, 31.
  3. ^ Chandler, 35.
  4. ^ Chandler, 215.
  5. ^ Chandler, 146
  6. ^ Badone, Jean Cerino; et al. "Battle of Borodino, 1812 - Armies. "French and Russian Orders of Battle"". Retrieved 2007-08-16.


  • Chandler, David G. (1979). Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0-02-523670-9