As a result of these battles between Paris and the allied armies, there was no power left to defend the French capital. The broken Mortier and Marmona left only a few guns. 30 March Allied forces approached Paris from several directions and began the assault on the capital of France.
After the battle of Arcy-sur-Oba (Battle of Arcy-sur-Aube) The main army under the command of Schwarzenberg rejected Napoleon’s 30-thousandth army across the River Ob. After that, the French emperor led the troops of Saint-Dizier on Marne, that is, he went much east of the Allied armies. He planned to disturb the rear of the Main Army. This Napoleon maneuver caused confusion in the Allied army. The Cossack officer reported: "The enemy does not retreat to Paris, but to Moscow." We decided to connect with Blucher.
It is believed that Napoleon wanted to cut the messages of the Main Army, knowing the sensitivity of Schwarzenberg to the provision of communications. He hoped to force the Allied forces to follow him, pulling them away from Paris and gain time. Further, the military-political situation could take a favorable turn. Napoleon did not want to go to Paris for his immediate defense, believing that his appearance at the capital would show everyone his impotence to change the course of the war. Therefore, March 22 Napoleon crossed the Marne near Vitry, 23-th came to Saint-Dizier, 25-th - in Bar-sur-Aube.
In general, the situation for Napoleon was critical. From Spain, the Wellington army invaded southern France. At the end of February, the Allies captured Bordeaux and drove Soult’s troops back to Garonne. In southeastern France, Augereau failed in the advance to Geneva, and on March 9, the Allied Southern Army, under the authority of the Prince of Hesse-Homburg, occupied Lyon. In Italy, the Viceroy Eugene Beauharnais with 40-thousand. the army continued to contain the onslaught of more than double the superior forces of the enemy (the Austrians and the army of Murat, who had changed Napoleon). In the Netherlands, Meson continued to resist 70-thousand with small forces. Northern Army, and General Carnot defended Antwerp.
The Silesian Blucher Army, which had recovered from the Battle of Laon, marched on 6 (18) in March to join up with the Main Army. Bülov's corps moved for the siege of Soissons, the corps of York and Kleist to Château-Tieri, Blucher himself with Lanzheron, Osten-Sacken and Wintsentgerode cases headed for Chalon, where 11 (23) arrived in March.
Allied Command, contrary to Napoleon’s expectations, 24 in March 1814 approved a plan for an attack on the French capital. True, the original allies really supposed to go after Napoleon, but then changed their minds. In favor of such a decision was information about the fatigue of the French from the war, ferment in Paris and the weakness of the enemy troops. As a result, the problem of a fierce battle for the capital was removed. In addition, Napoleon’s letter to the Empress, intercepted by the Cossacks of Blucher’s army, was delivered to the headquarters of the Main Army to the Empress, where he set out his plan of war. A copy of the letter was sent to the headquarters of Schwarzenberg. Therefore, the Russian emperor Alexander pressed the decision on the movement of two allied armies (about 170 thousand soldiers) to Paris.
In order to divert Napoleon's troops, 10-thousand were sent against him. Consolidated cavalry corps under the command of the Russian General Wintzingerode with 40 guns. The 12 (24) march of the Wintzingerode cavalry arrived at Vitry. And to ensure the march of the Allied armies an extensive curtain of Cossack detachments was sent to Paris: Chernyshev, Seslavin, Kaysarov and Tetenborn. The Allied command believed that after the capture of Paris, Napoleon could be forced to capitulate or to meet him in a decisive battle if he approached the capital.
On March 25, the Allied armies, which by this time had come into contact, moved westward to Paris and clashed with the forces of marshals Marmont and Mortier. Marmont and Mortier, pushed aside by the Silesian army, received on the night of 9 (21) in March to go to join Napoleon to Vitry. 23 March, they reached Etoge and Berger, 24 March advanced in the direction of Vitry to the river. Court. At Etozha, the divisions of Pakto and Ame (under the general command of Pacto), dispatched from Paris to reinforce Napoleon’s army, were stationed.
The Battle of Fehr-Champenoise. Russian painter V. Timm, 1839 year
The defeat of the corps of Marmont and Mortier. The main army of 13 (25) in March went to Fer-Champenoise, where it inevitably had to face the corps of Marmont and Mortier (17 thousand soldiers, of which 4,3 thousand cavalry); Blucher's cavalry was with the divisions of Pakto (about 6 thousand people), who marched on Vitry. The allied forces and the French did not know about the close proximity of the enemy, so the battle became sudden for both sides.
At the forefront of the Main Army, the cavalry of Palen and Prince Adam of Württemberg moved. As soon as Marmont discovered the appearance of the Allied forces, he invited Mortier to join him. It took at least two hours to go from Vatry to the Court. While waiting for the troops of Mortier, Marmont built a corps on the heights of the Court of Saint-Croix.
Count Palen and Prince Adam decided not to wait for the main forces to approach and attack the enemy. The detachment of Major General Dehterev (Olviopolsky and Lubensky hussars) was sent around the left flank of the enemy. General Lisanevich with the Chuguevsky Lancers Regiment and Ilovaisky with three Cossack regiments were also sent to the right flank. An artillery company of Colonel Markov (12 guns) was placed in the center. The artillery was covered by the Sumy and Grodno hussar regiments under the command of Major General Delyanov. Behind them, in reserve, was the 2-I Cuirassier Division. The Württemberg cavalry went around the right flank of the French corps.
Marmont, whose corps was bypassing both flanks, did not dare to take the fight and moved to Sommes (Sommes). Two rifle companies that were left in the village of Sud-Saint-Croix, to cover the departure of the main forces, were surrounded and laid down weapon. The French general Bordesul with cavalry tried to help out these companies, but was overturned. Marmont led the troops to Somms and waited for Mortier's approach. The troops he located to the right of the village. Artillery stood ahead, followed by cavalry and infantry.
Count Palen decided to pursue the enemy and moved behind the enemy with hussars, cuirassiers and 8 equestrian guns. The Chuguev regiment and the Cossacks with 4 guns were sent to the right flank to try to keep the body of Mortier, who was approaching from Vatry.
The Allies, approaching the position of Marmont, were met with 30 gun fire. Taking advantage of this, Mortier connected with Marmont. Mortier's troops are located to the left of Sommsu. Colonel Gigny with the 8 th marching cavalry regiment was stationed at the end of the left flank to cover the troops from the Cossacks. The shootout at the village lasted about 2 hours. The French concentrated around 60 guns, which the Allies could originally oppose with 36 guns.
However, the French marshals, although they had an advantage in the number of troops and artillery, did not dare to take the battle to this position. They considered the position unprofitable, since a swampy stream flowed through its middle, which divided the troops into two parts. The flanks were open. In addition, the allied cavalry received reinforcements - the Austrian cuirassier division of Count Nostitz (2,3 thousand people) arrived. This increased avant-garde power to 8 thousand people.
Therefore, the French began to retreat to the position ahead of Lenar. Allies immediately attacked. Count Palen knocked over in the center of the cuirassiers of Bordusel. General Belliard with the Russel Dragoon Division attempted to strike the Russian wing from the left flank. But his dragoons were attacked by the second line Palen and overturned. Only the strike of the French 8 th cavalry regiment was able to stop the offensive of the forces of Palen. During the pursuit of French troops, 5 guns were captured.
Simultaneously with the attacks of Palen, the 4 th Württemberg Horse Regiment, supported by Austrian hussars, struck the right wing of the French line. The French were overthrown. Only a strong gunfire and the attack of two French Uhlan regiments in the flank of the Allies forced them to retreat.
Petr Petrovich Palen (1778 — 1864)
It was already about 2 hours of the day. For six hours, the French saw only enemy cavalry and hoped, despite the losses they had suffered, in order to retreat to Fer-Champenoise. But it was an unlucky day for the French. A strong east wind rose. At first the French were blinded by dust, then there was pouring rain with hail. The infantry could no longer repel cavalry attacks with rifle guns. I had to fight back with bayonets. In such circumstances, the French troops had to go through a deep ravine near the village of Conantra. In addition, Barclay de Tolly, hearing the cannonade, sent the available cavalry to the support of the avant-garde. The Life Guards Dragoon and Uhlan regiments under the command of Count Ozharovsky and the Depreradovich XIUMX Cuirassier Division advanced to the aid. As a result, Allied cavalry forces rose to 1 thousand people.
The French marshals, retreating to Conantra, left the cavalry in the rearguard, to cover the infantry. Soon, however, Count Palen shot down French cavalry, and she retreated behind the infantry, which was built in several squares. At the ravine, the French came under fire from a Guards battery and began to be attacked by Russian Guards cavalry. Depreradovic with the Cavalry Guard and the Life Guard Cuirassier regiments attacked and crumpled the French cavalry. Then the guardsmen hacked and hacked down two squares of the Zhamen brigade.
At the same time, the Allied cavalry aggressively pursued the center and left wing of the French troops. The 4 th Württemberg Horse Regiment of the Regiment three times attacked the square of the Young Guard and captured two guns. During the fourth attack, the 4 th regiment, together with the Austrian hussars, finally broke this square. Most of the French soldiers were chopped up.
The storm intensified, it was impossible to distinguish anything from the rain in a few steps. Only around 3 hours the weather cleared. Thanks to the resilience of the Ricard and Christian divisions, the remaining French troops were able to withdraw and restore relative order. However, the situation was critical. From the complete destruction of the French corps was one step. The French lost 24 guns, a large number of charging crates and a wagon train. The appearance of the detachment of Seslavin from the village of Pleur caused panic fear. French troops rushed to Fer-Champenoise.
With the further pursuit of the enemy, several more guns were captured, their number reached 40. The French marshals were already desperate to restore order in the troops when the 9 th regiment of the heavy cavalry (400 riders) under the command of Colonel Leclerc arrived from Fehr-Champenois. Leclerc's regiment passed in perfect order through the frustrated crowds of French troops and rushed towards the advance units of the allies. This made the Allied cavalry scatter in the pursuit.
The corps of Marmont and Mortier at this time were able to restore order on the heights of Lint. The infantry was built on the left flank, the cavalry - on the right. At this time, left the roar of cannonade. A rumor spread among the French troops that Napoleon was coming to their aid. The soldiers were inspired and demanded to lead them to the attack. The cuirassiers of Bordusel tried to go on the counterattack, but were met with a canister. Then they were attacked by Seslavin’s detachment from the flank. The French retreated, leaving 9 guns and a significant amount of other property. Allied forces pursued the enemy to Alleman, where the French arrived as early as 9 in the evening.
The defeat of the divisions Pakto and Ameya
The retreat of the broken French corps helped a new turn in the battle. From the side of Chalon, a strong French column appeared — these were the divisions of the National Guard Pakto and Ameya. Their number was about 6 thousand soldiers (according to other sources - about 4,5 thousand people), with 16 guns, a large train of ammunition and food.
The pacto at dawn 25 March arrived in Bergere. The French general sent an officer at night to Mortier, to Vatry. Wanting to connect as quickly as possible with Mortier’s corps, Pakto spoke without waiting for an answer. Arriving in Willeson, he received the order of Mortier to remain in Bergere. On the appearance of the enemy army Pakto not notified. The troops of Paktou were tired of the night march, and he decided to stop for a rest in Vilsen.
However, as soon as the French settled down to rest, they were attacked by the Russian cavalry of Lieutenant General Korf, who was moving in the vanguard of the Blucher army on the road from Chalon to Berger. Korf ordered Lieutenant General Panchulidzev with Chernigov and Kargopol Dragoon regiments to attack the enemy carriage behind his right wing. Korf himself launched an offensive on the center and bypassing the left flank. The small cavalry of Pakto almost immediately was defeated and ran, most of them intercepted and captured the Cossacks. The French infantry, supported by artillery, stubbornly defended for an hour and a half.
However, at noon, the French left their positions and began to retreat to Fere-Champenois. General Panchulidzev immediately struck the French right flank and knocked him over. Captured before the battalion of infantry and a significant part of the artillery park and wagons. General Pakto, not hoping to save the remaining wagon train, threw the transport with him, and sent the horses to the remaining guns. Pakto built troops in six squares and began to retreat to the village of Ecuri. To detain the Allied forces, Pakto left two battalions in the village of Klamange.
Korf received reinforcements — Derpt and Seversky Dragoon Regiments under the command of Palen 2 — and immediately attacked the village. The cavalry, with the support of artillery, crushed the French squad. Many Frenchmen were hacked or captured. In 4 hours, the French reached the village of Ecuri. Pakto tried to counterattack. But at this time the detachment of Adjutant General Vasilchikov arrived - hussar regiments of Akhtyrsky, Alexandria, Belorussky and Mariupol (total 1800 people). Vasilchikov's detachment began to bypass the French from the rear, and Korf organized a frontal attack.
Pakto realized that cut off from the Fer-Champenois, turned to Petit-Morin to leave through the St. Gond swamps. French troops were built in four squares. One of them, unable to withstand the attacks, laid down their arms. Lieutenant-General Borozdin, with the Kargopol and Novorossiysk regiments, dispersed the second square, capturing 7 guns. The other French troops closed in one large square and continued their attempts to break through to the marshes. However, General Depreradovich with the Cavalry Guard Regiment and 4 guns blocked their path.
Emperor Alexander I himself was watching this fight. The Russian sovereign sent the adjutant Rapatel and Captain Durnovo to the French, and the Prussian king, Lieutenant Colonel Thiele, as envoys, with the trumpeter, to invite them to surrender. General Pakto, with a bandaged arm, a fragmented canister, pale and weakened by great loss of blood, despite the desperate position of the troops, refused to surrender. Lieutenant Colonel Thiel French detained. Rapatel (Frenchman in the Russian service), who persuaded the French to surrender, was shot.
This intransigence forced the Russian cavalry to attack the French square from all sides. The horse guards, the Life Cossacks, the Life Ulans and the Seversky Dragoons regiment crashed into a square. They were supported by the Kinburnsky and Smolensky Dragoonsky, Lubensky hussars of the regiment. The French were defeated. Alexander himself with his convoy entered the square to stop the beating of the French. In the heat of battle, the French were hacked, regardless of their late surrender. At the end of the battle. About 3 thousand people were taken prisoner.
The battle of Fehr-Champenoise is a rare example of a battle where victory was won exclusively by cavalry and artillery. Moreover, the enemy had significant forces of infantry, artillery and cavalry. In addition, the feature of the battle was that at the beginning of the battle the French had a great advantage in strength: the corps of Marmont and Maurier had about 17 thousand soldiers. The Allies began the battle with 5,7 Thousands of riders with 36 guns. Then came the reserves, and the number of Allied cavalry constantly grew - up to 8 thousand people, then 10 thousand, and with the arrival of the Seslavin detachment to 12 thousand horsemen with 94 guns.
The Vanguard of the Silesian Army - 2 thousand Korf and 2 thousand Vasilchikov with 34 guns, also inferior to the divisions of the Pakto (about 6 thousand men with 16 guns). As a result, about 23 thousand Frenchmen with 84 guns lost the battle of 16 thousand horsemen with 128 guns (a few thousand more people arrived when the battle was already over). The decisive role was played by the Russian cavalry. Russian troops were 12 thousand people, Austrian and Württemberg - about 4 thousand soldiers. It was one of the most brilliant cavalry victories in stories wars
The French report a loss of about 9 thousand people killed, wounded and captured, 60 guns. Russian historian M.I. Bogdanovich believed that the total damage of the French troops reached 11 thousand people. The corps of Marmont and Mortier lost about 5 thousand people. The divisions of the National Guard under the authority of Pakto were completely destroyed or captured. Allies captured or found 75 guns on the battlefield. Among the prisoners were divisional generals Pakto, Amey, brigadier generals - Jamen, Delort, Bont and Tevene. The loss of Allied forces is unknown. It is believed that the Allies lost about 2 thousand people.
The battle of Ferre-Champenoise opened the way for Paris to the Allied armies and seriously facilitated its capture. Between Paris and the allied armies, there was now no force that was able to block the way to the capital of France. The defeated corps of Marmont and Mortier did not have the opportunity to create a solid defense of Paris. 30 March Allied forces approached the French capital. Only a few days remained until the end of the French campaign.