Michel Ney

Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney (French pronunciation: ​[miʃɛl ˈnɛ]), 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva (10 January 1769 – 7 December 1815), popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud ("red-faced" or "ruddy")[1] by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves ("the bravest of the brave") by Napoleon.


Michel Ney

Marechal Ney
Nickname(s)Le Rougeaud, le Brave des Braves
Born10 January 1769
Sarrelouis, Three Bishoprics, France
(now Saarlouis, Saarland, Germany)
Died7 December 1815 (aged 46)
Paris, France
Buried
AllegianceKingdom of France (until 1791)
Kingdom of the French (until 1792)
French Republic (until 1804)
French Empire (until 1814)
Kingdom of France (until 1815)
French Empire (1815)
Years of service1787–1815
RankMarshal of the Empire
Commands heldVI Corps
III Corps
Battles/wars
AwardsMarshal of France
Legion of Honour (Grand Cross)
Order of the Iron Crown (Commander)
Prince of the Moskva
Duke of Elchingen
Name inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe

Early life

20121011Ney-Haus Saarlouis1
Ney's birthplace in Saarlouis

Michel Ney was born in the town of Sarrelouis, in the French province of the Three Bishoprics, along the French–German border. He was the second son of Pierre Ney (1738–1826), a master cooper and veteran of the Seven Years' War, and his wife Margarethe Grewelinger (1739–1791). He was the paternal grandson of Matthias Ney (1700–1780) and wife Margarethe Becker (d. 1767), and the maternal grandson of Valentin Grewelinger and wife Margaretha Ding.[2] His hometown at the time of his birth comprised a French enclave in a predominantly German region of Saarland, and Ney grew up bilingual, due to his German roots.

He was educated at the Collège des Augustins, became a notary in Saarlouis and then subsequently became an overseer of mines and forges.

Military career

French Revolutionary Wars

Michel Ney (1792)
Michel Ney as a sous-lieutenant in the 4th Hussars in 1792, Adolphe Brune (1802–1875), 1834

Life as a civil servant did not suit Ney, and he enlisted in the Colonel-General Hussar Regiment in 1787.[2] Under the Bourbon Monarchy entry to the officer corps of the French Army was restricted to those with four quarterings of nobility (i.e., several generations of aristocratic birth). However, Ney rapidly rose through the non-commissioned officer ranks. He served in the Army of the North from 1792 to 1794, with which he saw action at the Cannonade of Valmy, the Battle of Neerwinden, and other engagements.

After the dissolution of the monarchy in September 1792, Ney was commissioned as an officer in October, transferred to the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse in June 1794, and wounded at the Siege of Mainz. Ney was promoted to général de brigade in August 1796, and commanded cavalry on the German fronts. On 17 April 1797, during the Battle of Neuwied, Ney led a cavalry charge against Austrian lancers trying to seize French cannons. The lancers were beaten back, but Ney’s cavalry were counter-attacked by heavy cavalry. During the mêlée, Ney was thrown from his horse and captured in the vicinity of the municipality of Dierdorf; on 8 May he was exchanged for an Austrian general.[3] Following the capture of Mannheim, Ney was promoted to géneral de division in March 1799. Later in 1799, Ney commanded cavalry in the armies of Switzerland and the Danube. At Winterthur Ney received wounds in the thigh and wrist. After recovering he fought at Hohenlinden under General Moreau in December 1800. From September 1802, Ney commanded French troops in Switzerland and performed diplomatic duties.

Napoleonic Wars

Maréchal Ney à Eylau
Marshal Ney at the Battle of Eylau

On 19 May 1804, Ney received his Marshal's baton, emblematic of his status as a Marshal of the Empire, the Napoleonic era's equivalent of Marshal of France.[4] In the 1805 campaign, Ney took command of VI Corps of the Grande Armée and was praised for his conduct at Elchingen.[4] In November 1805, Ney invaded the Tyrol, capturing Innsbruck from Archduke John. In the 1806 campaign, Ney fought at Jena and then occupied Erfurt. Later in the campaign, Ney successfully besieged Magdeburg. In the 1807 campaign, Ney arrived with reinforcements in time to save Napoleon from defeat at Eylau, although the battle ended in a draw. Later in the campaign, Ney fought at Güttstadt and commanded the right wing at Friedland. On 6 June 1808, Ney was created Duke of Elchingen.[4] In August 1808, he was sent to Spain in command of VI Corps and won a number of minor actions. In 1809, he routed an Anglo-Portuguese force under Sir Robert Wilson at Baños. In 1810, Ney joined Marshal Masséna in the invasion of Portugal, where he took Ciudad Rodrigo from the Spanish and Almeida from the British and Portuguese, brusquely defeated a British force on the River Côa, and fought at Bussaco. During the retreat from Torres Vedras, Ney engaged Wellington's forces in a series of lauded rearguard actions (Pombal, Redinha, Casal Novo, Foz d'Arouce) through which he delayed the pursuing enemy forces long enough to allow the main French force to retreat unmolested. He was ultimately removed from his command for insubordination.[4]

Russia to Fontainebleau

Louvre-peinture-francaise-Ney-a-Kowno-p1020309
Ney at the battle of Kaunas in 1812 (painting by Denis-August-Marie Raffet)

Ney was given command of III Corps of the Grande Armée during the 1812 invasion of Russia. At Smolensk, Ney was wounded in the neck but recovered enough to later fight in the central sector at Borodino. During the retreat from Moscow, Ney commanded the rearguard (and was anecdotally known as "the last Frenchman on Russian soil" because of it). After being cut off from the main army fighting the Battle of Krasnoy, Ney managed to escape in a heavy fog over the Dniepr, not without heavy losses and to rejoin it in Orsha, which delighted Napoleon.[4] For this action Ney was given the nickname "the bravest of the brave" by Napoleon.[4] Ney fought at Beresina and helped hold the vital bridge at Kovno (modern-day Kaunas), where legend portrays Ney as the last of the invaders to cross the bridge and exit Russia.[4] On 25 March 1813, Ney was given the title of Prince de la Moskowa.[4] During the 1813 campaign Ney fought at Battle of Weissenfels, was wounded at Lützen, and commanded the left wing at Bautzen. Ney later fought at Dennewitz and Leipzig, where he was again wounded. In the 1814 campaign in France, Ney fought various battles and commanded various units. At Fontainebleau Ney became the spokesperson for the Marshals' revolt on 4 April 1814, demanding Napoleon's abdication. Ney informed Napoleon that the army would not march on Paris; Napoleon responded "the army will obey me!" to which Ney answered, "the army will obey its chiefs".[5]

When Paris fell and the Bourbons reclaimed the throne, Ney, who had pressured Napoleon to accept his first abdication and exile, was promoted, lauded, and made a peer by the newly enthroned Louis XVIII. Although Ney had pledged his allegiance to the restored monarchy, the Bourbon court looked down on him because he was a commoner by birth.

Hundred Days campaign

Marechal Ney à Waterloo
Marshal Ney leading the cavalry charge at Waterloo, from Louis Dumoulin's Panorama of the Battle of Waterloo
Ney Proclamation March 1815
A public proclamation by Ney, dated March 1815, urging French soldiers to abandon the king and to support Napoleon

When he heard of Napoleon's return to France, Ney, determined to keep France at peace and to show his loyalty to Louis XVIII, organized a force to stop Napoleon's march on Paris. Ney also pledged to bring Napoleon back alive in an iron cage. Napoleon, aware of Ney's plans, sent him a letter which said, in part, "I shall receive you as I did after the Battle of the Moskowa."[6] Despite Ney’s promise to the King, he joined Napoleon at Auxerre on 18 March 1815.

On 15 June 1815, Napoleon appointed Ney commander of the left wing of the Army of the North. On 16 June Napoleon's forces split up into two wings to fight two separate battles simultaneously. Ney attacked Wellington at Quatre Bras (and received criticism for attacking slowly,[7]) while Napoleon attacked Blücher's Prussians at Ligny. Although Ney was criticized for not capturing Quatre Bras early, there is still debate as to what time Napoleon actually ordered Ney to capture Quatre Bras.[8] At Ligny, Napoleon ordered General d'Erlon to move his corps (on Napoleon's left and Ney's right at the time) to the Prussians' rear in order to cut off their line of retreat. D'Erlon began to move into position, but suddenly stopped and began moving away, much to the surprise and horror of Napoleon. The reason for the sudden change in movement is that Ney had ordered d'Erlon to come to his aid at Quatre Bras. Without d'Erlon's corps blocking the Prussians' line of retreat, the French victory at Ligny was not complete, and the Prussians were not routed.[9]

At Waterloo Ney again commanded the left wing of the army. At around 3:30 p.m., Ney ordered a mass cavalry charge against the Anglo-Allied line. Ney's cavalry overran the enemy cannons but found the infantry formed in cavalry-proof square formations. Ney, without infantry or artillery support, failed to break the squares. The action earned Ney criticism, and some argue that it led to Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.[7] Debate continues as to the responsibility for the cavalry charge and why it went unsupported. Ney's cavalry also failed to spike enemy cannon (driving iron spikes into the firing holes) while they were under French control (during the cavalry attack, the crews of the cannon retreated into the squares for protection, and then re-manned their pieces as the cavalry withdrew). Ney's cavalry carried the equipment needed to spike cannons, and spiking the cannons would probably have made them useless for the rest of the battle. The loss of a large number of cannon would have weakened the army and could have caused the Anglo-Allied force to withdraw from the battle.[10] Ney was seen[11] during one of the charges beating his sword against the side of a British cannon in furious frustration. During the battle, he had five horses killed under him;[12] and at the end of the day, Ney led one of the last infantry charges, shouting to his men: "Come and see how a marshal of France meets his death!"[13] It was as though Ney was seeking death, but death did not want him, as many observers reported.[14]

Execution

Ney grave
Marshal Ney's gravesite in Père Lachaise Cemetery

When Napoleon was defeated, dethroned, and exiled for the second time in the summer of 1815, Ney was arrested on 3 August 1815. After a court-martial decided in November that it did not have jurisdiction, he was tried on 4 December 1815 for treason by the Chamber of Peers. In order to save Ney's life, his lawyer Dupin declared that Ney was now Prussian and could not be judged by a French court for treason as Ney's hometown of Sarrelouis had been annexed by Prussia according to the Treaty of Paris of 1815. Ney ruined his lawyer's effort by interrupting him and stating: "Je suis Français et je resterai Français!" (I am French and I will remain French).[15] When the Peers were called to give their verdict, a hundred and thirty-seven voted for the death penalty, seventeen for deportation and five abstained. Only a single vote, that of the duc de Broglie, was for acquittal.[16] On 6 December 1815, he was condemned, and on 7 December 1815 he was executed by firing squad in Paris near the Luxembourg Garden. He refused to wear a blindfold and was allowed the right to give the order to fire, reportedly saying:

Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, fire![17]

Ney's execution deeply divided the French public. It was an example intended for Napoleon's other marshals and generals, many of whom were eventually exonerated by the Bourbon monarchy. Ney was buried in Paris at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Family

Godefroid - Les fils du maréchal Ney
Ney's three sons

Ney married Aglaé Louise (Paris, 24 March 1782 – Paris, 1 July 1854), daughter of Pierre César Auguié (1738–1815) and Adélaïde Henriette Genet (1758–1794, sister of Henriette Campan and Citizen Genêt), at Thiverval-Grignon on 5 August 1802.[18][19] they had four sons:

  • Joseph Napoléon, 2nd Prince de La Moskowa (Paris, 8 May 1803–Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 25 July 1857). He married Albine Laffitte (Paris, 12 May 1805-Paris, 18 July 1881) in Paris on 26 January 1828. Albine was the daughter of Jacques Laffitte, Governor of the Bank of France. They had two children, whose male blood line ended.

Joseph also had an illegitimate son who was married and died childless.

  • Michel Louis Félix, recognized as 2nd Duc d'Elchingen 1826 (Paris, 24 August 1804–Gallipoli, during the Crimean War, 14 July 1854). He married Marie-Joséphine (Lubersac (20 December 1801–Versailles, 1 July 1889), daughter of Joseph Souham, in Paris on 19 January 1833.
  • Eugène Michel (Paris, 12 July 1806-Paris, 25 October 1845). He died unmarried.
  • Edgar Napoléon Henry, recognized as 3rd Prince de La Moskowa 1857 (Paris, 12 April 1812-Paris, 4 October 1882). He married Clotilde de La Rochelambert (Saint-Cloud, 29 July 1829-Paris, 1884) in Paris on 16 January 1869. Their marriage was childless and the title of Prince de la Moskowa then reverted to Michel's descendants.

In literature

Ney is mentioned and/or appears in several of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Brigadier Gerard stories, including Brigadier Gerard at Waterloo (1903).

In film and television

Ney has been portrayed by (among others):

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Horricks 1982.
  2. ^ a b Chandler 1999, p. 360.
  3. ^ Atteridge 2005, p. 25.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Chandler 1999, p. 314.
  5. ^ Gates 2003, p. 259.
  6. ^ "The Battle of the Moskowa" refers to the Battle of Borodino (Markham 2003, p. 261).
  7. ^ a b Chandler 1999, p. 315.
  8. ^ Roberts 2005, p. 116.
  9. ^ Markham 2003, p. 272.
  10. ^ Markham 2003, p. 276.
  11. ^ Howarth 1968, p. 132.
  12. ^ Parry 1901, p. 68.
  13. ^ "venez voir comment meurt un maréchal de France!" (Coustumier 2011, p. ~267).
  14. ^ Gillespie-Payne 2003, p. 111.
  15. ^ "Je suis Français et je resterai Français!" Bellemare & Nahmias 2009, p. ~149
  16. ^ Macdonnel, Napoleon and His Marshals, 238.
  17. ^ Tsouras 2005, p. 245.
  18. ^ Atteridge 2005, pp. 107–109
  19. ^ The paternal grandparents of Aglaé (Ney's wife) were Pierre César Auguié (1708–1776) and Marie Guary (1709–1788); her maternal grandparents were Edmé Jacques Genet (1726–1781) and Marie Anne Louise Cardon who were the parents of Edmond-Charles Genêt and Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan (Atteridge 2005, pp. 107–109).

References

  • Atteridge, A.H. (2005). Marshal Ney: The Bravest of the Brave. Pen & Sword.
  • Bellemare, Pierre; Nahmias, Jean-François (2009). La Terrible vérité: 26 grandes énigmes de l'histoire enfin résolues. Albin Michel. p. ~149. ISBN 978-2-226-19676-7.
  • Chandler, David (1999). Dictionary of the Napoleonic wars. Wordsworth editions.
  • Coustumier, Jacques Le (2011). Le Maréchal Victor. Nouveau Monde éditions. p. ~267. ISBN 978-2-36583-087-4.
  • Gates, D. (2003). The Napoleonic Wars, 1803–1815. Pimlico.
  • Gillespie-Payne, Jonathan (2003). Waterloo: In the Footsteps of the Commanders. Pen and Sword. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-84415-024-3.
  • Howarth, David (1968) [1975]. Waterloo: Day of Battle. New York: Galahad Books. p. 132. ISBN 0-88365-273-0.
  • Horricks, Raymond (1982). Marshal Ney, The Romance And The Real. ISBN 0882546554.
  • Markham, J.D. (2003). Napoleon’s Road to Glory: Triumphs, Defeats, and Immortality. Brassey’s.
  • Parry, D.H. (1901). Battle of the nineteenth century. 1 (special ed.). London, Paris, New York and Melbourne: Cassell and Company. p. 68.
  • Roberts, A. (2005). Waterloo, June 18, 1815: The Battle for Modern Europe. Harper-Collins Publishing.
  • Tsouras, P.G. (2005). The book of Military Quotations. Zenith Press.

Further reading

  • Chandler, David (editor) (1987). Napoleon's Marshals. London: Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0-297-79124-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Kurtz, Harold (1957). The Trial of Marshal Ney: His Last Years and Death. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Battle of Altenkirchen

The Battle of Altenkirchen (4 June 1796) saw two Republican French divisions commanded by Jean Baptiste Kléber attack a wing of the Habsburg Austrian army led by Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg. A frontal attack combined with a flanking maneuver forced the Austrians to retreat. Three future Marshals of France played significant roles in the engagement: François Joseph Lefebvre as a division commander, Jean-de-Dieu Soult as a brigadier and Michel Ney as leader of a flanking column. The battle occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict called the Wars of the French Revolution. Altenkirchen is located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Bonn.

The French opened the Rhine Campaign of 1796 by ordering Kléber to attack south out of his bridgehead at Düsseldorf. After Kléber won sufficient maneuver room on the east bank of the Rhine River, Jean Baptiste Jourdan was supposed to join him with the remainder of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. But this was only a distraction. When the Austrians under Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen moved north to oppose Jourdan, Jean Victor Marie Moreau would cross the Rhine far to the south with the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle. Kléber carried out his part of the scheme to perfection, allowing Jourdan to cross the Rhine at Neuwied on 10 June. The next action was the Battle of Wetzlar on 15–16 June.

Battle of Bautzen

In the Battle of Bautzen (20–21 May 1813) a combined Russian–Prussian army was pushed back by Napoleon I of France but escaped destruction, some sources claiming that Michel Ney failed to block their retreat. The Prussians under Count Gebhard von Blücher and Russians under Prince Peter Wittgenstein, retreating after their defeat at Lützen were attacked by French forces under Napoleon.

Battle of Casal Novo

The Battle of Casal Novo was a rear-guard action fought on March 14, 1811, during Massena's retreat from Portugal. During this retreat the French rear-guard, under command of Michel Ney, performed admirably in a series of sharp rear-guard actions. At Casal Novo, the recklessness of Sir William Erskine resulted in costly losses in the Light Division.

Battle of Elchingen

The Battle of Elchingen, fought on 14 October 1805, saw French forces under Michel Ney rout an Austrian corps led by Johann Sigismund Riesch. This defeat led to a large part of the Austrian army being invested in the fortress of Ulm by the army of Emperor Napoleon I of France while other formations fled to the east. Soon afterward, the Austrians trapped in Ulm surrendered and the French mopped up most of the remaining Austrians forces, bringing the Ulm Campaign to a close.

In late September and early October 1805, Napoleon carried out a gigantic envelopment of the Austrian army in Bavaria led by Karl Mack von Lieberich. While the Austrian army lay near Ulm, south of the Danube River, the French army marched west on the north side of the river. Then Napoleon's troops crossed the river east of Ulm, cutting the Austrian retreat route to Vienna. Finally waking up to his danger, Mack tried to break out on the north side of the river, but a lone French division blocked his first attempt.

Realizing that his enemies might escape the trap, Napoleon ordered Ney to cross to the north bank of the river. Ney's larger corps attacked Riesch's corps at Elchingen on the north bank. The French captured the heights and drove the Austrian soldiers west toward Ulm, forcing many of them to surrender. While a body of Austrians remained at large on the north bank, the near destruction of Riesch's command meant that the bulk of Mack's army was hopelessly surrounded in Ulm.

Battle of Foz de Arouce

The Battle of Foz de Arouce was an engagement of the Peninsular War which took place on 15 March 1811 between Anglo-Portuguese forces under Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington) and French troops under the command of Marshal Michel Ney.

Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen

In the Battle of Guttstadt-Deppen on 5 and 6 June 1807, troops of the Russian Empire led by General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen attacked the First French Empire corps of Marshal Michel Ney. The Russians pressed back their opponents in an action that saw Ney fight a brilliant rearguard action with his heavily outnumbered forces. During the 6th, Ney successfully disengaged his troops and pulled back to the west side of the Pasłęka (Passarge) River. The action occurred during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dobre Miasto (Guttstadt) is on Route 51 about 20 kilometers (12 mi) southwest of Lidzbark Warmiński (Heilsberg) and 24 kilometers (15 mi) north of Olsztyn (Allenstein). The fighting occurred along Route 580 which runs southwest from Guttstadt to Kalisty (Deppen) on the Pasłęka.

At the beginning of June, Bennigsen launched an offensive against the forces of Emperor Napoleon I in East Prussia. The Russian commander planned to trap Ney's corps between several converging columns. To occupy the French troops on Ney's left, Bennigsen sent General-Leutnant Anton Wilhelm von L'Estocq's Prussians to attack Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's troops at Spędy (Spanden) and ordered Lieutenant General Dmitry Dokhturov's Russians to assault Marshal Nicolas Soult's men at Bogatynskie (Lomitten). Although all three French marshals saw sharp fighting, the Russian plan failed to put significant numbers of French troops out of action. Afraid of being cut off in his turn, Bennigsen ordered a retreat on the night of the 7th as Napoleon instructed his forces to counterattack the Russians. The decisive Battle of Friedland was fought a week later on 14 June.

Battle of Günzburg

The Battle of Günzburg on 9 October 1805 saw General of Division Jean-Pierre Firmin Malher's French division attempt to seize a crossing over the Danube River at Günzburg in the face of a Habsburg Austrian army led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Mack von Lieberich. Malher's division managed to capture a bridge and hold it against Austrian counterattacks. The battle occurred during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the larger Napoleonic Wars.

After Mack's Austrian army invaded Bavaria, it found itself the target of a powerful offensive by the army of Emperor Napoleon I of France. When Napoleon's corps threatened to envelop Mack's army, the Austrian general unwisely held his ground near the city of Ulm. As the French armies blocked the Austrian retreat routes to the east, Mack attempted to move his army to the south bank of the Danube. After receiving orders to seize the Danube bridges, Marshal Michel Ney sent Malher to capture the crossing at Günzburg. Malher's main attack on two bridges failed in the face of a vigorous Austrian defense. However, a late-arriving French unit captured the eastern bridge that had just been rebuilt by the Austrians and was able to hold on to it until evening. Discouraged by the encounter, Mack ordered his soldiers to march back to Ulm which is 22 kilometers west-southwest of Günzburg.

Battle of Pombal

The Battle of Pombal (March 11, 1811) was a sharp skirmish fought at the eponymous town during Marshal Masséna's retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras, the first in a series of lauded rearguard actions fought by Michel Ney. The French were pursued by Wellington and his British-Portuguese army but the Allied advance was energetically contested by Ney's efforts, preventing Wellington from crushing Masséna's army when it was critically vulnerable.

At the Battle of Pombal, Ney turned to face the larger Anglo-Portuguese forces and defeated their attack.

Battle of Puente Sanpayo

The Battle of Puente Sanpayo or Battle of San Payo (Galician: Ponte Sampaio) took place at Ponte Sampaio, Pontevedra, between 7–9 June 1809 during the Peninsular War. The Spanish forces commanded by Colonel Pablo Morillo defeated the French forces of Marshall Michel Ney. Ney and his forces were forced to retreat and the French offensive to re-capture the cities of Vigo and Pontevedra was a failure. The battle marked the final evacuation of Galicia by the French army and the creation of a new front.

Battle of Winterthur

For the battle of 919, see Burchard II, Duke of Swabia.

The Battle of Winterthur (27 May 1799) was an important action between elements of the Army of the Danube and elements of the Habsburg army, commanded by Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze, during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The small town of Winterthur lies 18 kilometers (11 mi) northeast of Zürich, in Switzerland. Because of its position at the junction of seven roads, the army that held the town controlled access to most of Switzerland and points crossing the Rhine into southern Germany. Although the forces involved were small, the ability of the Austrians to sustain their 11-hour assault on the French line resulted in the consolidation of three Austrian forces on the plateau north of Zürich, leading to the French defeat a few days later.

By mid-May 1799, the Austrians had wrested control of parts of Switzerland from the French as forces under the command of Hotze and Count Heinrich von Bellegarde pushed them out of the Grisons. After defeating Jean-Baptiste Jourdan's 25,000-man Army of the Danube at the battles of Ostrach and Stockach, the main Austrian army, under command of Archduke Charles, crossed the Rhine at the Swiss town of Schaffhausen and prepared to unite with the armies of Hotze and Friedrich Joseph, Count of Nauendorf, on the plains surrounding Zürich.

The French Army of Helvetia and the Army of the Danube, now both under the command of André Masséna, sought to prevent this merger. Masséna sent Michel Ney and a small mixed cavalry and infantry force from Zürich to stop Hotze's force at Winterthur. Despite a sharp contest, the Austrians succeeded in pushing the French out of the Winterthur highlands, although both sides took high casualties. Once the union of the Habsburg armies took place in early June, Archduke Charles attacked French positions at Zürich and forced the French to withdraw beyond the Limmat.

Combat of the Côa

The Combat of the Côa (July 24, 1810) was a skirmish that occurred during the Peninsular War period of the Napoleonic Wars. It took place in the valley of the Côa River and it was the first significant battle for the new army of 65,000 men controlled by Marshal André Masséna, as the French prepared for their third invasion of Portugal.

As the British-Portuguese forces were outnumbered here, on July 22, General Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington sent Brigadier-General Robert Craufurd a letter, saying that he (Wellington) was "not desirous of engaging in an affair beyond the Coa." On July 24, Craufurd's Light Division, with 4,200 infantry, 800 cavalry, and six guns, was surprised by the sight of 20,000 troops under Marshal Michel Ney. Rather than retreat and cross the river as ordered by Wellington, Craufurd chose to engage the French, narrowly avoiding disaster.

The French objective was to force the Light Division back across the Côa in order to besiege Almeida. They succeeded after hard fighting, but then launched a costly assault across the Côa, suffering heavy casualties.

Hubert Ney

Hubert Ney (12 October 1892 – 3 February 1984) was a German politician (Zentrum, CVP, CDU) and Minister President of Saarland (1956-1957). He was born and died in Saarlouis.

He was related to Michel Ney.

List of Légion d'honneur recipients by name (N)

The following is a list of some notable Légion d'honneur recipients by name. The Légion d'honneur is the highest order of France. A complete, chronological list of the members of the Legion of Honour nominated from the very first ceremony in 1803 to now does not exist. The number is estimated at one million including about 3,000 Grand Cross.

Prince de la Moskowa

The titles of Duke of Elchingen (French: Duc d'Elchingen) and Prince of the Moskva (Prince de la Moskowa) were created by Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, for the Marshal of France Michel Ney. Both were victory titles; Ney was created Duke of Elchingen in 1808, after the Battle of Elchingen, and Prince of the Moskva after the Battle of Borodino near a branch of the Moskva River, 125 km outside Moscow (named Bataille de la Moskova in French, in reference to the river). In 1814, Ney became a peer of France. On his execution in 1815, the peerage was revoked, but it was restored in 1831.

Clauses in the titles' patents of creation caused the title of Prince of the Moskva to pass to Ney's eldest son, Joseph, and the dukedom of Elchingen to pass to his second son, Michel. This ensured that the two titles would never be held by the same person if there was another heir living, a similar situation to the British titles of Duke of Hamilton and Earl of Selkirk.

The two titles were reunited in one person in 1928, and both became extinct with the death of the last heir in 1969.

Saarlouis

Saarlouis (German pronunciation: [ˌzaːɐ̯luˈiː]; French: Sarrelouis, French pronunciation: ​[saʁlwi]) is a city in the Saarland, (Germany), capital of the district of Saarlouis. In 2017, the town had a population of 34,758. Saarlouis, as the name implies, is located on the River Saar.

It was built as a fortress in 1680 and named after Louis XIV of France.

Siege of Almeida (1810)

In the Siege of Almeida, the French corps of Marshal Michel Ney captured the border fortress from Brigadier General William Cox's Portuguese garrison. This action was fought in the summer of 1810 during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida is located in eastern Portugal, near the border with Spain.

Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo (1810)

In the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French Marshal Michel Ney took the fortified city from Field Marshal Don Andrés Perez de Herrasti on 10 July 1810 after a siege that began on 26 April. Ney's VI Corps made up part of a 65,000-strong army commanded by André Masséna, who was bent on a third French invasion of Portugal.

Siege of Magdeburg (1806)

The siege of Magdeburg (French: Siège de Magdebourg) was a siege of the city that took place from 25 October to 8 November 1806 during the war of the Fourth Coalition. A French force, initially under the command of Marshal Grand Duke of Berg Joachim Murat, then a French army Corps under the command of Marshal Michel Ney laid siege and eventually obtained the surrender of Franz Kasimir von Kleist's Prussian force that had taken refuge in Magdeburg, Prussia's second city.After the twin battles of Jena and Auerstaedt, the victorious Grande Armée pursued the remains of the Prussian army, a part of which was under the command of Prince Hohenlohe, who directed it towards the fortified city of Magdeburg. Commanding the French force, Marshal Murat requested Hohenlohe's surrender, which the Prince refused, managing to escape the besieged fortress. Command was delegated to General of Infantry Kleist, who still had a numerous garrison of 25,000 men. While the French force initially outnumbered the defenders, Emperor Napoleon I recalled the Army Corps of Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult, leaving Marshal Ney and his 18,000 men Corps to besiege the city. Occupying both banks of the Elbe, Ney did not display sufficient vigor during the siege, with military action reduced to a mere series of skirmishes and a timid sortie attempt by Kleist, on 4 November. Despite Kleist's initial attempt to bolster the fading morale of his troops by declaring that he would surrender Magdeburg to the enemy only when his handkerchief would ignite in his pocket, faced with the prospect of a full-scale bombardment, the Prussians decided to open negotiations and an armistice was concluded on November 7, with the garrison capitulating the next day and evacuating the fortress on 11 November as prisoners of war.

VI Corps (Grande Armée)

The VI Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. It was formed at the Camp de Boulogne and assigned to Marshal Michel Ney. From 1805 through 1811, the army corps fought under Ney's command in the War of the Third Coalition, the War of the Fourth Coalition, and the Peninsular War. Jean Gabriel Marchand was in charge of the corps for a period when Ney went on leave. In early 1811, Ney was dismissed by Marshal André Masséna for disobedience and the corps was briefly led by Louis Henri Loison until the corps was dissolved in May 1811. The VI Corps was revived in 1812 for the French invasion of Russia and placed under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr. It entirely consisted of Bavarian soldiers at that time. After the disastrous winter retreat the corps was virtually destroyed. In 1813 during the War of the Sixth Coalition it was recreated with reorganized French troops. Marshal Auguste Marmont took command of the corps and managed it until Emperor Napoleon's abdication in 1814. It took part in many battles including Dresden and Leipzig in 1813. During the Hundred Days, Georges Mouton, Count de Lobau commanded the VI Corps at the Battle of Waterloo.

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