Battle of Hanau

The Battle of Hanau was fought on (30 – 31 October 1813) between Karl Philipp von Wrede’s Austro-Bavarian corps and Napoleon's retreating French during the War of the Sixth Coalition.

Following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Leipzig earlier in October, Napoleon began to retreat from Germany into France and relative safety. Wrede attempted to block Napoleon’s line of retreat at Hanau on 30 October. Napoleon arrived at Hanau with reinforcements and defeated Wrede’s forces. On 31 October Hanau was in French control, opening Napoleon’s line of retreat.

The Battle of Hanau was a minor battle, but an important tactical victory allowing Napoleon’s army to retreat onto French soil to recover and face the invasion of France.

Battle of Hanau
Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition
Vernet-Battle of Hanau

Horace Vernet's painting "Battle of Hanau", held at the National Gallery in London. This scene depicts the Austro-Bavarian cavalry charge on the French Grand Battery and the countercharge of Nansouty's French Guard cavalry.
Date30–31 October 1813
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
France French Empire  Bavaria
 Austria
Commanders and leaders
France Napoleon I Kingdom of Bavaria Karl Philipp von Wrede
Strength
17,000, 60 cannons 43,000, 134 cannons
Casualties and losses
4,500 dead and wounded[1]
1,300 prisoners
9,000 dead and wounded

Background

Battle of Hanau 1813
Plan of the Battle of Hanau

The Battle of Leipzig, the largest and bloodiest encounter of the Napoleonic Wars, began on 16 October 1813, raged for three days and ended with a decisive victory for the Sixth Coalition. Napoleon was forced to abandon central Germany to the coalition and hastily retreated westwards. His strategy was to regroup all his available forces on the shores of the Rhine, where his lines of communication would be shorter and his rear less likely to be threatened. The Emperor's concern was that his already battered army might be forced to fight against superior forces again, so he ordered that the retreat be carried out at great speed. Had the coalition managed to advance with more vigour in the days following the Battle of Leipzig, the already disorganised French army would probably have been destroyed, but the coalition armies themselves had suffered such high losses at Leipzig that they were in no position to launch an effective pursuit. With military action confined to secondary rearguard actions, Napoleon was able to install his headquarters at Erfurt on 23 October and began to reorganise his forces. On 26 October, he sent orders to the various corps, directing them to Frankfurt via Eisenach and Fulda. Their assigned destination was the city of Mainz, by the Rhine river.[2]

The coalition was buoyed by the news that Bavaria, a former French ally, agreed to join the Sixth Coalition according to the Treaty of Ried concluded just before the Battle of Leipzig.[3] This allowed the coalition to threaten the overall military position of the French by moving a 45,000 - 50,000 Austro-Bavarian army, under the command of Karl Philipp von Wrede, into Napoleon's rear, occupying Würzburg in Franconia.[2] The small French garrison of Würzburg did not try to resist and instead barricaded themselves at the local citadel, allowing the enemy to occupy the town without a fight.[4] From Würzburg, Wrede moved towards the strategic city of Hanau, along one of Napoleon's main retreat routes.[2] Wrede’s advance guard reached Hanau on 28 October and took possession of the city, blocking Napoleon’s route to Frankfurt. Although Wrede probably assumed that the main part of the French forces was retreating along a more northerly road to Coblenz and thus expected to face a force of only 20,000 men,[3] he did entertain hopes that he would be able to play a major role in the defeat of Napoleon. He also believed that the French army was completely disorganised, which was not true, and was closely followed by the main coalition army, the "Army of Bohemia", which was in reality much further away and not really in close contact with Napoleon's forces.[5]

Order of battle

Hanau 1
Memorial Stone indication the emplacement of the German troops during the Battle of Hanau

Coalition Army

The Austrian and Bavarian army at the battle of Hanau comprised two army corps, one Austrian and one Bavarian, and numbered no less than 42,000 men: 33,000 infantrymen, 9,000 cavalrymen and 94 artillery pieces. They were under the overall command of Bavarian General Karl Philipp von Wrede.[6]

The Austrian Corps, under the command of Field-Marshal-Lieutenant Baron Fresnet, numbered 24,000 men: 18,000 infantrymen (18 battalions), 6,000 cavalrymen (32 squadrons) and 34 artillery pieces. These men were organised in three divisions: the 1st division under General Bach, the 2nd division under General Trautenberg, and the 3rd division under General Spleny (cavalry and reserve artillery). The Bavarian Corps, under Wrede's direct command, numbered 18,000 men: 15,000 infantrymen (17 battalions), 3,000 cavalrymen (20 squadrons), and 60 artillery pieces. These men were organised in two divisions, one cavalry reserve and one artillery reserve: the 2nd division was under General Beckers, the 3rd division under General Lamotte, the three-brigade cavalry reserve was under Generals Bieregg, Ellbracht, Dietz, and the artillery reserve was under General Cologne.[6]

French Army

The French Grande Armée had suffered horrendous casualties at the battle of Leipzig, which left the French Corps at a fraction of its prior strength. Emperor Napoleon I was in personal command of the French forces in the battle. They numbered between 40,000 and 50,000 men, but only a fraction of them were ready for combat, with Napoleon able to count on little more than 30,000 men: the IInd, Vth and XIth Army Corps, the Ist and IInd Cavalry Reserve Corps and the Imperial Guard. Guard units aside, many of the French battalions at Hanau were only 100-man strong, and the cavalry squadrons were much smaller.[4][5]

Of these men, only one division (General Jean-Louis Dubreton's, 15 battalions) of Marshal Claude Victor-Perrin's IInd Corps, and another (General Henri-François-Marie Charpentier's 11 battalions) of Marshal MacDonald XI Corps, were committed to battle with a grand total of some 7,000-8,000 men. Cavalry support came from Sébastiani's IInd Cavalry Corps, some 3,000 sabres, and Nansouty's Imperial Guard cavalry, some 4,000 sabres. The entirety of the Imperial Guard infantry and artillery, some 6,000 men and 52 cannons, were also committed. Napoleon thus commanded a total of about 20,000 men (40 battalions, 113 squadrons) at the battle of Hanau.[5][7]

Preliminaries

Uniform-Bilder Königlich Bayerisches Infanterie-Regiment Großherzog Ernst Ludwig von Hessen 004
Bavarian infantry crossing the Kinzig bridge.

On 29 October, having correctly reckoned that his force was strong enough to block the retreat of a disorganised enemy army, Wrede decided to give battle. He had plenty of time to prepare his dispositions and deployed his army in a relatively narrow and deep order, which was quite sensible, given that his intention was to remain on the defensive. Wrede's left covered the road to Frankfurt and Mainz, the main retreat route that the French wanted to take. The bulk of his force was positioned along the Kinzig river, on the opposite bank from the city of Hanau, while on his right the divisions of Elbracht and Trautenberg were positioned on the southern bank of the Kinzig. Beckers's Bavarian division constituted the far right and was deployed on either side of the Kinzig. One regiment, the Austrian Szekler, two battalions strong, as well as a great many skirmishers detached from their parent units were placed in an advanced position in the Lamboy forest. Most of the cavalry was placed in the second line, in the centre, with the artillery quite evenly dispersed throughout the battlefield.[8]

Meanwhile, Napoleon spent the night of 29/30 October at Isenburg castle, near Gelnhausen, and received detailed intelligence about the Austro-Bavarian preparations, which confirmed that the enemy was intending to make a stand. Napoleon thus directed the army's baggage and supply train northwards, away from the coalition forces, under the protection of Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova's Cavalry Corps, while leading his remaining forces in a frontal manoeuvre against Wrede's force. He ordered Victor to form the left wing with his Army Corps and march along the Kinzig, while MacDonald's Corps and the Guard were to penetrate the Lamboi forest. Part of the Guard cavalry under General Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes was detached further north to cover the flank of the army. Napoleon studied Wrede's position and spotted its main weakness, namely that he had most of his army deployed with the river behind it, which would act as a natural barrier should retreat be necessary.[8] Upon seeing Wrede's dispositions, Napoleon sarcastically noted: "I have made Wrede a Count but it was beyond my power to make him a General."[9] However, in order to exploit this potentially fatal weakness in Wrede's deployment, Napoleon first had to beat him, and do so with an inferior number of infantry, less cavalry and fewer cannons, fighting against an enemy who had all the time it needed to deploy its forces for defense.[8]

Battle

Knötel-Battle of Hanau
Charge of the French Grenadiers-à-Cheval against Bavarian Chevau-légers in one of the decisive moments of the battle of Hanau.
Après la charge à la bataille d'Hanau.Jpeg
The Red Lancers after the cavalry charge.

Wrede, following successful skirmishing against the French, began to deploy his forces to face the main French force of 20,000. On 30 October Wrede placed his centre with the River Kinzig behind it, and his right wing to its south in an isolated position with only a single bridge linking it with the main force. Napoleon had only 17,000 troops[10] including Marshal MacDonald’s infantry and General Sébastiani’s cavalry to face the enemy forces blocking them. Due to dense forests on the east of Wrede’s positions the French were able to advance and make close contact with the allies almost unseen.[10] Napoleon decided to attack the allies' left with all available troops. By midday Marshal Victor and MacDonald had cleared the forest in front of the allies' centre. Soon after, General Drouot found a track in the forest towards Wrede’s left on which cannon could be moved. Three hours later Grenadiers of the Old Guard had cleared the area of allied troops and Drouot began to deploy 50 cannons supported by cavalry of the Guard and Sébastiani.[10] A brief artillery bombardment from Drouot’s cannons silenced Wrede’s 28 cannons. French cavalry then attacked and pushed back Wrede’s cavalry on his left flank, then attacked the flank of Wrede’s centre. Wrede’s centre started to fall back, skirting the banks of the Kinzig River and suffering heavy casualties. On the right wing, Wrede’s forces tried to cross the single bridge over the Kinzig River to reinforce the centre, but many drowned in the attempt.[10] Wrede was successful in rallying his troops to form a defensive line running from Lamboy Bridge to the town of Hanau. During the night the allies abandoned Hanau. The French occupied Hanau on 31 October with little resistance. Napoleon made no effort to pursue Wrede, the main road to Frankfurt was now reopened, the French retreat continued.

Aftermath

Wrede suffered 9,000 casualties, Napoleon suffered fewer, but some 10,000 French stragglers became allied prisoners of war between 28 and 31 October.[10] The French reached Frankfurt on 2 November and were only 20 miles from their relatively safe rear base at Mainz.

Napoleon was not slowed or blocked or interfered with on his march to Frankfurt, where he arrived in the afternoon of 31 October 1813. Militarily the battle was a clear victory for Napoleon. Wrede failed to block Napoleon's path, although the allied forces of Russians, Prussians and Austrians had cut Napoleon's line of retreat. However Napoleon evaded the maneuver. The Kingdom of Bavaria wanted with this battle to support militarily its shift to the allied side. It did not really matter to the Bavarian politicians and military whether the battle was won or lost—as long as it took place. Overall, 4,500 French soldiers and 9,000 allied soldiers were lost in the battle. However, the allies were able to capture around 10,000 French stragglers. On 5 November 1813 Alexander I marched with his troops into Frankfurt.

Honors

The best officers in the battle were honored by promotion and received many medals. For example, Carl Philipp von Wrede received two medals from the Austrian Empire: the Order of Leopold and the Commander's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa and two from the Russian Empire: the Order of Alexander Nevsky and the Order of St. George.

To commemorate the Battle of Hanau, memorials were erected in the city of Hanau, five of which have been preserved: at Lamboystrasse, Karl-Marx-Strasse and Robert Blum Strasse, and two more at the Kinzig bridge. The battle is also immortalized at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in the list of battles won by Napoleon.

In 2015, around 200 remains of French soldiers fallen in the battle were exhumed at the battle's site.[11]

Notes

  1. ^ Eggenberger, D., p.187. Says French suffered about half as many casualties as Allies.
  2. ^ a b c Mir, p. 10.
  3. ^ a b Chandler, p. 937
  4. ^ a b Pigeard, p. 370.
  5. ^ a b c Mir, p. 12.
  6. ^ a b Mir, p. 74.
  7. ^ Mir, p. 75-76.
  8. ^ a b c Mir, p. 13.
  9. ^ Pigeard, p. 371.
  10. ^ a b c d e Chandler., p.938
  11. ^ "Allemagne: 200 squelettes de l'armée de Napoléon exhumés". Le Figaro. Retrieved 18 September 2015.

References

  • Blond, G. La Grande Armée. Castle Books, 1979.
  • Chandler, D. The Campaigns of Napoleon. Scribner, 1966.
  • Eggenberger, D. An Encyclopedia of Battles. Dover Publications inc., 1985
  • (in French) Mir, Jean-Pierre - „Hanau et Montmirail, La Garde donne et vainc”, Histoire et Collections, ISBN 978-2-35250-086-5
  • (in French) Pigeard, Alain - „Dictionnaire des batailles de Napoléon”, Tallandier, Bibliothèque Napoléonienne, 2004, ISBN 2-84734-073-4

Coordinates: 50°07′59″N 8°55′01″E / 50.1331°N 8.9169°E

1813

1813 (MDCCCXIII)

was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1813th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 813th year of the 2nd millennium, the 13th year of the 19th century, and the 4th year of the 1810s decade. As of the start of 1813, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1813 in France

Events from the year 1813 in France.

Antoine-Louis Decrest de Saint-Germain

Antoine-Louis Decrest de Saint-Germain, Count de Saint-Germain and of the Empire (born 8 December 1761 in Paris, died 4 October 1835 in Neuilly) was a French soldier of the French Revolutionary Wars, who later rose to the top military rank of General of Division, taking part to the Napoleonic Wars as a commander of cavalry.

Bavarian Army

The Bavarian Army was the army of the Electorate (1682–1806) and then Kingdom (1806–1919) of Bavaria. It existed from 1682 as the standing army of Bavaria until the merger of the military sovereignty (Wehrhoheit) of Bavaria into that of the German State in 1919. The Bavarian army was never comparable to the armies of the Great Powers of the 19th century, but it did provide the Wittelsbach dynasty with sufficient scope of action, in the context of effective alliance politics, to transform Bavaria from a territorially-disjointed small state to the second-largest state of the German Empire after Prussia.

Dominik Hieronim Radziwiłł

Prince Dominik Hieronim Radzivil (Lithuanian: Dominykas Jeronimas Radvila) (1786–1813) was a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman.

Dominik was Ordynat of Nesvizh and Olyka and owner of Biržai, Dubingiai, Słuck and Kapyl estates. He took part in Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and later died of wounds after the Battle of Hanau.

Fulda Gap

The Fulda Gap (German: Fulda-Lücke), an area between the Hesse-Thuringian border (the former Inner German border) and Frankfurt am Main, contains two corridors of lowlands through which tanks might have driven in a surprise attack by the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies to gain crossing(s) of the Rhine River. Named for the town of Fulda, the Fulda Gap became seen as strategically important during the Cold War of 1947-1991. The Fulda Gap roughly corresponds to the route along which Napoleon chose to withdraw his armies after defeat (16 – 19 October 1813) at the Battle of Leipzig. Napoleon succeeded in defeating a Bavarian-Austrian army under Wrede in the Battle of Hanau (30 – 31 October 1813) not far from Frankfurt; from there he escaped back to France.

From 1815, the area appeared of minimal strategic importance, as it lay deep within the borders of the German Confederation and (from 1871) of the German Empire, and German military planning presumed any war would be effectively lost long before an enemy reached that far into the homeland. The route became important again at the end of World War II when the U.S. XII Corps used it in their advance eastward in late March and early April 1945. The U.S. advance had little consequence for Germany's strategic position (which was indeed hopeless by that point), but it allowed the Americans to occupy vast swaths of territory which the Yalta Conference of February 1945 had assigned to the Soviet occupation zone. This in turn did much to compel the Soviets to honor their commitment to allow the Western Allies access to Berlin in exchange for U.S. withdrawal (July 1945) from this territory.During the Cold War, the Fulda Gap offered one of the two obvious routes for a hypothetical Soviet tank attack on West Germany from Eastern Europe (especially from East Germany); the other route crossed the North German Plain. A third, less likely, route involved travelling up through the Danube River valley through neutral Austria. The concept of a major tank battle along the Fulda Gap became a predominant element of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) war planning during the Cold War, and weapons such as nuclear tube and missile artillery, the nuclear recoilless gun/tactical launcher Davy Crockett, Special Atomic Demolition Munitions, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, and A-10 ground attack aircraft evolved with such an eventuality in mind.

German Campaign of 1813

The German Campaign (German: Befreiungskriege, lit. 'Wars of Liberation') was fought in 1813. Members of the Sixth Coalition fought a series of battles in Germany against the French Emperor Napoleon and his Marshals, which liberated the German states from the domination of the First French Empire.After the devastating defeat of Napoleon's Grande Armée in the Russian Campaign of 1812, Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg – the general in command of the Grande Armée's German auxiliaries (Hilfskorps) – declared a ceasefire with the Russians on 30 December 1812 via the Convention of Tauroggen. This was the decisive factor in the outbreak of the German Campaign the following year.

The Spring Campaign between members of the Sixth Coalition and the First French Empire ended inconclusively with a summer truce (Truce of Pläswitz). Via the Trachenberg Plan, developed during a period of ceasefire in the summer of 1813, the ministers of Prussia, Russia, and Sweden agreed to pursue a single allied strategy against Napoleon. In the following Autumn Campaign, Austria eventually sided with the coalition, thwarting Napoleon's hopes of reaching a separate agreement with the major powers Austria and Russia. The Coalition allies now had a clear numerical superiority, which they eventually brought to bear on Napoleon's main forces, despite earlier setbacks as in the Battle of Dresden. The high point of allied strategy was the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, which ended in Napoleon's decisive defeat. The Confederation of the Rhine, an alliance of west German rulers allied to France, had already lost battles against the Coalition allies in Bavaria and Saxony and after the defeat at Leipzig dissolved. This broke Napoleon's power to the east of the river Rhine.

After a delay—while a new strategy was agreed among the Sixth Coalition powers—in early 1814 the eastern Coalition invaded France, coinciding with the Duke of Wellington's march up through southern France. Napoleon was forced to abdicate and Louis XVIII regained the French Throne. The war came to a formal end with the Treaty of Paris in May 1814.

Hanau

Hanau is a large town in the Main-Kinzig-Kreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located 25 km east of Frankfurt am Main and is part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. Its station is a major railway junction and it has a port on the river Main, making it an important transport centre. The town is known for being the birthplace of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm and Franciscus Sylvius. Since the 16th century it was a centre of precious metal working with many goldsmiths. It is home to Heraeus, one of the largest family-owned companies in Germany.

In 1963, the town hosted the third Hessentag state festival. Until 2005, Hanau was the administrative centre of the Main-Kinzig-Kreis.

Hanau order of battle

The Hanau order of battle shows the forces engaged at the 1813 battle of Hanau, during the War of the Sixth Coalition, when a French force under Emperor of the French Napoleon I defeated a vastly superior Austro-Bavarian force commanded by General Karl Philipp von Wrede.

Horace Vernet

Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (30 June 1789 – 17 January 1863) was a French painter of battles, portraits, and Orientalist subjects.

Karl Philipp von Wrede

Karl (or Carl) Philipp Josef, Prince von Wrede (German: [ˈvʁeːdə]; 29 April 1767 – 12 December 1838) was a Bavarian field marshal. He was an ally of Napoleonic France until he negotiated the Treaty of Ried with Austria in 1813. Thereafter Bavaria joined the coalition.

Kinzig (Main)

The Kinzig is a river, 87 kilometres long, in southern Hesse, Germany. It is a right tributary of the Main. Its source is in the Spessart hills at Sterbfritz, near Schlüchtern. The Kinzig flows into the Main in Hanau. The Main-Kinzig-Kreis (district) was named after the river. The towns along the Kinzig are Schlüchtern, Steinau an der Straße, Bad Soden-Salmünster, Gelnhausen, and Hanau. The Kinzig is first recorded in 815 A.D. as Chinzicha.

This river played a part in the Battle of Hanau in October 1813, as Napoleon retreated back to the Rhine, after his defeat at the Battle of Leipzig.

Louis-Michel Letort de Lorville

Louis-Michel Letort de Lorville (29 August 1773 - 17 June 1815) was a French general of the Napoleonic Wars. He was made a baron de l'Empire on 9 September 1810, général de brigade on 30 January 1813, and acted as aide de camp to Napoleon himself. He fought with distinction in the first French Revolutionary Wars and became, under the First French Empire, a major in the dragoons of the Imperial Guard.

Napoleon

Napoléon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di ˌbwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica to a relatively modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789. He rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He orchestrated a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Napoleon then invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, and declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign destroyed Russian cities, but did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted. It resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, and the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".

Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)

The Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, is a symphony in four movements composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1811 and 1812, while improving his health in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice. The work is dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries.

At its premiere, Beethoven was noted as remarking that it was one of his best works. The second movement, Allegretto, was the most popular movement and had to be encored. The instant popularity of the Allegretto resulted in its frequent performance separate from the complete symphony.

War of the Sixth Coalition

In the War of the Sixth Coalition (March 1813 – May 1814), sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba. After the disastrous French invasion of Russia of 1812, the continental powers joined Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the rebels in Spain who were already at war with France.

The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, Bautzen, and Dresden. The even larger Battle of Leipzig (also known as the Battle of Nations) was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleon's earlier setbacks in Russia and Germany proved to be the seeds of his undoing. With their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile. The French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration.

This was not, however, the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon subsequently escaped from his captivity and returned to power in France, sparking the War of the Seventh Coalition in 1815 (also known as the "Hundred Days"), until he was defeated again for the final time.

Wilhelm von Kobell

Wilhelm von Kobell (6 April 1766 – 15 July 1853) was a German artist, a painter, printmaker and teacher.

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