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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 11th, 1814 - The Battle of Montmirail

Conflict: The War of the Sixth Coalition

Combatants: French vs. Prussians/Russians

Location: France

Outcome: French victory


In February of 1814, allied armies under the command of Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard von Blucher marched on Napoleon Bonaparte's Paris from the east. Yet when the allied armies became separated, Bonaparte (now emperor Napoleon I) seized the opportunity to attack the divided forces.


Bataille de Montmirail 1814 by G.Garitan

On February 10th, Bonaparte's French army of 30,000 destroyed an entire allied corps at Champaubert. Napoleon then turned west and caught two more separated allied corps near Montmirail. The French army destroyed another corps here and drove the second off the field. Without slowing, Napoleon now turned back north and forced the Prussians in the area to retreat across the Marne River.


Battle of Napoleon 6-day-war 1814 by Naudet, sc. Lebeau

Known as the "Five Days", Napoleon Bonaparte's operation is ranked as one of the greatest achievements in Western military history. In the course of the week, the allies lost about 9,000 troops; the French took approximately 2,000 casualties.


The Battle of Montmirail by Louis Stanislas Marin-Lavigne

Points of Interest:

  • The week after Montmirail, Napoleon's French troops defeated an Austrian army twice their size.

  • Napoleon would be forced to abdicate just two months after the "Five Days", but returned a year later to once again plunge Europe into war.


Porträt Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher by Peter Edward Stroehling


















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Sources:


Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).


Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.


Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1990). The Napoleonic Source Book. New York: Facts on File.

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