|Battle of Champaubert|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
The French Campaign, 1814 by Jean Meissonier (1815-1891)
|French Empire||Russian Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|15,000, 120 guns||3,700, 24 guns|
|Casualties and losses|
|600||2,400, 9 guns|
The Battle of Champaubert (now Giffaumont-Champaubert) was the opening engagement of the Six Days Campaign. It was fought on February 10, 1814 by a French force under Napoleon I against Russians and Prussians under General Olssufiev. The battle was a French victory.
The battle of Champaubert was one of the few times during the War of the Sixth Coalition that France was able to take to the field with a considerable numerical advantage. Napoleon Bonaparte moved against an over-extended Prussian army in the hope of whittling it down by a series of battles. On 10 February, he caught General Olssufiev's five thousand Russians just south of Champaubert, a town located in the valley of the Marne, east of Paris.
French strength consisted of 30,000 hungry and tired men, including many raw conscripts, and 120 cannons. The French, nonetheless, enjoyed a six-to-one advantage. They were commanded in the field by the marshal, Auguste Marmont, under the direction of Napoleon himself.
Badly outnumbered, Olssufiev decided to fight rather than retreat. His decision was based on the mistaken hope that he would get reinforcements from Field Marshal Blücher in time to prevent a disaster. He was wrong, and Marmont crushed him. After five hours of fighting, the Russians were surrounded by French cavalry. They suffered three thousand killed, wounded, and captured. One of the prisoners was Olsufiev himself, who dined that very evening with Napoleon.
The French lost about three hundred men, among whom was General Joseph Lagrange, wounded.
Historian Digby Smith wrote that the French lost 600 killed and wounded out of the 13,300 infantry and 1,700 cavalry that were engaged in the action. The Russians lost 2,400 men and nine guns out of the 3,700 soldiers and 24 guns that were present. Captured were General-Leutnant Olssufiev and General-major Poltaratzky, who led a brigade. The second brigade under General-major Kornieloff fought its way out.
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Chandler, David. Dictionary of the Napoleonic wars. Wordsworth editions, 1999. p.87
- Smith, p.494
References[edit | edit source]
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
- La bataille de Champaubert, Montmirail-Marchais et Vauchamps
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