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Battle of Mesothen
Part of French invasion of Russia (1812)
Date29 September 1812
LocationMežotne, Latvia
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
 Russian Empire  Kingdom of Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Fabian Steinheil Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg
Strength
4 battalions, 2 squadrons[1] 5 battalions, 5 squadrons[2]
Casualties and losses
Very light 264[3]


The Battle of Mesothen took place on September 29, 1812, between the Russian Corps of Finland and the French-allied Prussian Auxiliary Corps. It was fought near the Latvian town of Mežotne (German language: Mesothen), then part of the Courland Governorate.

Order of Battle[edit | edit source]

Finnish Corps (part), commanded by General-Leytenant Count Fabian Totthard von Steinheil (musketeer regiment below have 2 battalions, and cavalry have 2 squadrons)[4]

  • 21st Division, commanded by General-Mayor Alexejew
    • Finland Dragoon Regiment — Finlyandskiy Dragunskiy Polk
    • 1st Brigade
      • Newa Musketeer Regiment — Novyy Mushketerskiy Polk
      • Petrowsk Musketeer Regiment — Petrovskiy Mushketerskiy Polk
    • 2nd Brigade
      • Lithuanian Musketeer Regiment — Litovskiy Mushketerskiy Polk
      • Podolia Musketeer Regiment — Podol'skiy Mushketerskiy Polk
    • 3rd Brigade
      • 2nd Jaeger Regiment — 2-y Yegerskiy Polk
    • Divisional Artillery
      • 11th Foot Artillery Battery (6 guns) — 11-ya Pekhotnaya Artilleriyskaya Batareya
      • 21st Position Artillery Battery (6 guns) — 21-ya Pozitsionnaya Artilleriyskaya Batareya

Prussian Forces, commanded by Generalleutnant Johann Ludwig, Graf Yorck von Yorck[4]

  • 2nd (Lithuanian) Dragoon Regiment — 2. (Litauisch) Dragooner-Regiment (1 sqn)
  • 3rd (1st Brandenburg) Hussar Regiment — 3. (1. Brandenburgisches) Husaren Regiment (4 sqns)
  • 2nd Füsilier Battalion — 2. Füsilier Bataillon
  • 4th Füsilier Battalion — 4. Füsilier Bataillon
  • 5th Füsilier Battalion — 5. Füsilier Bataillon
  • 6th Füsilier Battalion — 6. Füsilier Bataillon
  • 7th Füsilier Battalion — 7. Füsilier Bataillon
  • 1 Heavy Artillery Battery

The battle[edit | edit source]

In September 1812, Russian troops of General Steinheil entered Mitau, Gross Eckau and Bauska without a fight. However, they were spread out and vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. The Prussian command deployed its forces to defend the artillery stationed at the Bauska Castle and sent small squads to the ford across the river Lielupe.

On September 29, the Prussians launched a counterattack against the advancing Russian forces and attacked their vanguard at 5 pm. The struggle lasted until late at night and pushed the Russian troops back. On the same night, Ludwig von Wartenburg sent forces under the command of Friedrich Kleist against the troops of Alexander Belgard, which were chasing a retreating Prussian squad on the left bank of the Lielupe. The resulting battle was fought in darkness and involved only infantry units. Vastly outnumbering the enemy, the Prussians forced the Russian troops back and, after having received substantial reinforcements, went on the offensive.[5]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

As a result of the battle, Steinheil called off the advance and returned to Riga. Although a defeat, the battle eased some of the pressure on the Russian army of Peter Wittgenstein, helping it to eventually capture the city of Polotsk on October 20.[6]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  2. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  3. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  4. 4.0 4.1 Smith, p. 393.
  5. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 13
  6. Отечественная война 1812 года (2004), p. 615.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Отечественная война 1812 года: Энциклопедия (Patriotic War of 1812: an Encyclopedia). Moscow: РОССПЭН. 2004. 
  • Digby Smith, The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book: Actions and Losses in Personnel, Colours, Standards, and Artillery, 1792–1815, 1998 Greenhill Books, London, United Kingdom. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
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