This battle took place during the Danube campaign of the Crimean War. In the build-up to war, Russia had occupied the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, positioning troops on the northern) left bank of the Danube, the border of Ottoman territory. The Ottoman Empire had responded by moving troops to the right bank to face them. In the west, on the border with Austria and Serbia, Russian troops in Cetate were faced by Ottoman forces in the fortress of Vidin.
Following the Ottoman ultimatum on 4 October 1853 to withdraw within 2 weeks, Ottoman forces under Ahmed Pasha crossed the river and occupied the town of Kalafat, which they fortified as a bridgehead.
On 31 December 1853 Ahmed Pasha and a force of several thousand cavalry, supported by infantry, advanced to attack Cetate, which was held by a Russian detachment, under Colonel AK Baumgarten. This attack was repulsed, after which both sides called up reinforcements.
On 6 January 1854 (Christmas Day in the Orthodox calendar) Ahmed renewed his assault with a force of 18,000 men. This was successful, and the Russian force was driven from the town with heavy losses. However, Russian reinforcements were also arriving during the day, and Ahmed, fearing an assault on his base and being cut off himself, abandoned the town and retreated to Kalafat.
The battle at Cetate was ultimately indecisive. After heavy casualties on both sides, both armies were back at their start positions. The Ottoman forces were still in a strong position and barring contact between the Russians and the Serbs, to whom they looked for support, but were themselves no nearer driving the Russians from the Principalities, their stated aim.
- W Baumgart. (1999). The Crimean War 1853-1856. ISBN 0-340-61465-X.
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