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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

October 16th, 1813 - The Battle of Leipzig

Conflict: War of the Sixth Coalition

Combatants: Coalition Allies vs. French

Location: Saxony (Germany)

Outcome: Coalition victory

After failing to take Berlin, Napoleon Bonaparte began massing his army in the area of Leipzig as a staging area for future offensives. But, in October of 1813 Austrian, Prussian, and Russian forces advanced on the French for a multi-pronged attack. On October 16th, Prince Karl von Schwarzenberg, whose Austrian army advanced from the south, dispatched Russian General Mikhail Barclay de Tolly and 78,000 men to assault Napoleon's defenses. In the north, Gebhard Von Blucher's Prussians attacked. Yet all attacks on the first day failed to dislodge the French. Despite fierce French resistance, after three days of battle and the desertion of his Saxon allies, Napoleon withdrew his army across the Elster. The French lost 38.000 killed, 30,000 wounded, and 15,000 as prisoners. The allies lost over 50,000 men.

Battle of Leipzig by Alexander Sauerweid

Points of Interest:

  • The last bridge over the Elster was blown prematurely and stranded 20,000 French on the enemy side of the river. Two French generals were captured along with these troops.

  • After his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon considered retiring to the United States but was instead exiled to the British territory of St. Helena.

Napoleon I of France by Andrea Appiani

Barclay de Tolly by Petr Borel

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