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(PART 2)


Trans. by S. Koval

Just as through all the previous week, the weather on October 7, 1805, in Donauwörth was nasty. About one in the afternoon a cold rain had started and was pouring steadily from that time on.

Swearing under their breath, generals and officers of Napoleon's retinue muffled themselves in their wet overcoats. Napoleon silently watched the work of pioneers, paying no attention to the weather and only seldom digressing to dispatch an aide-de-camp with an order. The day before the Austrian infantry of the Colloredo Regiment retreated over the Danube and destroyed the bridge after them. One battalion of the 24th Light Infantry Regiment with two squadrons of Chasseurs à Cheval crossed the river 2 lieues upstream near Münster and came up to the remnants of the crossing structures on the right bank. They were followed by Dragoons of General Walter's 2nd Division that arrived there by ten in the morning only to find no Austrians. They retreated hastily on learning about a large enemy's force approaching them.

The urgent task was to restore the bridge as soon as possible. But already before the work was finished Murat crossed the Danube by boat and sent cavalry patrols along the roads to Augsburg and Rhein. The forcing of the river crossing began by the evening, and at night first reports arrived to the Headquarters, where Bérthier was working indefatiguably, from the right bank outposts that had clashed with enemy's cavalry. The situation in the theater of operations appeared to Napoleon as follows.

The Grande Armée has forced its way as a strong wedge into the right flank of the Austrian army. Kienmayer's detachment, on having been hit, retires eastward trying to escape engagement. But what about the others? What are the plans of the main part of the enemy's troops positioned to the West from the French penetration? For the Emperor there was no question about it, as he always put himself in his enemy's place. But sometimes his ideas would not come true, since few generals dared to act as Napoleon would. So the Emperor, putting himself in Mack's place, was sure that the Austrian commander would size up a situation, estimate the effect of the flanking maneuver and, having found out the gravity of his state, would bring himself to take a decisive step: to concentrate his troops and break through eastward, smashing separate French columns and trying to make up for the lack of power with cohesion and vigor. Napoleon, however, could not exclude another contingency that would take less courage — retreat of Austrian troops southward, to Tyrol.

At six in the morning Bérthier writes Ney on a commission from the Emperor: “The crossing of the Lech and the seizure of Augsburg that is scheduled to happen today will be likely to sober the enemy... It is impossible for the enemy on learning about the crossing the Danube and the Lech and also about terror and anxiety gripping their troops on the Lech not to make the decision to retreat”.

Napoleon almost excluded the retreat of the Austrians along the left bank of the Danube in the North-East direction, as doing so they would run the danger of getting encircled. “His Majesty does not think his enemy to be so mad as to move to the left bank of the Danube,” — Bérthier writes to Ney again in a couple of hours.

It is most interesting that the Austrian Commander-in-Chief, having received on the 7th of October a message about the French crossing the Danube in Donauwörth, did not realize to the full extent the danger threatening his army, though already at that time he grasped the objective pursued by the French. On the same day he writes: “It seems clear by now that the enemy reproduces the Marengo maneuver, i.e. he is trying to cut us off from the hereditary possessions”. But the point was that the Austrian general though quite realizing the enemy's objective and the direction of their movement didn't quite apprehend their power. Mack believed that he was dealing with the army almost equal in strength, i.e. no more than 60-120 thousand men, neither did he understand the talent and psychology of his brilliant counterpart, and he also overlooked the morale superiority of the French. As a result an idea occurred to Mack to repeat what general Kray did several years before on the same position against Moreau's troops. Retaining the strong point of Ulm that is standing over the Danube, he supposed to threaten the French either on the left or on the right bank depending on where they turned out to be weaker. Later if all Napoleon's army crossed the Danube to its right bank, “...it would be possible only by maneuvering along the left bank to make his fate pitiful if not completely destroy him.”

And meanwhile Mack decided to “smash” the advance guards of the French having crossed the Danube to its southern bank. To do so the Austrian General dispatched a small detachment under General Auffenberg (about 4800 men), sending it through Wertingen to Donauwörth.

At dawn on October 8th the French Emperor was standing next to the Donauwörth bridge in the same way. His troops had already flooded the right bank of the Danube. Murat had already transferred to the right side of the river almost all his divisions, the corps under Soult had crossed the riverline under its commander's eyes in Donauwörth, units of Lannes' corps were crossing the Danube near Münster, Davoût had forced the river near Neuburg being followed by Marmont and Bernadotte.

Sticking to the Emperor's order, Soult, whose column was headed by the 2nd Dragoon Division of Walter, rushed to Augsburg. Being led by Murat, the 1st Dragoon Division of Klein and the 3rd of Beaumond along with cuirassiers of Nansouty and hussars of Treilhard's division dashed to Zusmarhausen. General Auffenberg, granted the honorable mission of smashing all those mentioned troops, without much haste approached the town of Wertingen located on the road from Zusmarhausen to Donauwörth. His patrols, strange as it may seem, failed to discover regiments of Murat swiftly approaching from the North East, but instead the General received reports about the enemy's infantry being noticed from the side of Münster. Those were Oudinot's grenadiers at the head of Lannes' corps. Auffenberg had sent a small advance guard under command of General Dienersberg in that direction, and, having disposed his troops for the case of an attack, was said to sit imperturbably to the lunch table, especially as the time was quite for lunch — about 2 p.m.

But at the moment Murat's divisions were approaching the town from the East. To discover and attack the enemy was for the legendary commander of the reserve artillery a matter of an instant. The Dragoon Divisions deploying into battle formation on the plain before Wertingen, 60 dragoons of Klein division led by valorous Murat's aide-de-camp Excellmance had dismounted and attacked advance posts of the Austrians in the village Gottmanshofen making them fall back from there in several minutes.

As the bulk of the Austrians were separated from Murat by the river Zusam flowing from the North southward, to pounce on them it was necessary to overrun the town of Wertingen and the bridge in it. That objective was assigned to Beaumond's division. The 9th Dragoon Regiment led by valorous Colonel Mauspetit gallopped into an outskirt, captured the bridge, and dashed into the town proper sabering to their both sides Austrians shocked by the sudden attack. Yet, after the initial confusion, the Austrian infantry recovered and soon rifle shots rumbled from every window and door. The dragoons mixed up in the lead shower but did not lose their heads. A half of the Regiment dismounted and bayonets and stocks were put into action instead of sabres. The Austrians yielded the onset of the dismounted dragoons. The way for the horsemen was secured. While dismounted cavalrymen succeeded in pressing the infantry, the other half of the Regiment in mounted formation shifted a little to the left, got out of the town to a plain and immediately deployed to attack the Austrian battalions.

At the very moment Beaumond's dragoons were with a swift thrust overrunning the town, the division of Klein, having gone a little upstream, found near the village Roggten a small bridge. The dragoons and the 10th Hussars Regiment accompanying them at once used the opportunity, and on getting to the opposite bank didn't make the Austrians waste time waiting and at once attacked cuirassiers wearing white kollets. It should be noted that the Austrian cavalry was one of the best in Europe. Especially famous were the Cuirassier Regiments, both with their cohesion and with the quality of their horses. So a stubbiorn fight broke out here going on with alternating success. But the French were being reinforced with more and more fresh units going over the river-crossing. As a result, the Austrian cuirassiers were enveloped from all sides and repelled with many casualties. Thus the rear and the right flank of the Austrian infantry was open. From the North the bear hats of Oudinot's grenadiers appeared. The battalions of the Austrian grenadiers formed into large squares and started their retreat. Marshal Lannes having hardly heard the starting cannonade, accelerated the movement of his infantry, crushed the Dienersberg advance guard, and came to help Murat right in time.

The approach of the French élite units from the North and attack of Klein's dragoons from the South paralyzed the will of the Austrian infantry to resist. The valiant 9th Dragoon Regiment together with the just arrived 5th and 8th Regiments of Beaumond's division deployed in the middle and rushed to the Austrian squares. A furious onslaught of the French broke the resistance of the Austrian grenadiers. In several instants their battalions wavered and fled to a wood trying to save themselves from the broadswords of the pressing French dragoons and sabres of the Chasseurs à Cheval who had come with Lanne's advance guard.

The Auffenberg detachment was completely routed. According to the Austrian data (and I don't have any doubt that losses of a fighting party can be primarily estimated after the data of that party, which only seldom require correction from the enemy's sources) the Auffenberg units had 101 men killed, 233 wounded, 1,469 taken prisoners (in total 1,803 men) as well as 3 banners and 6 canons. General Auffenberg himself was taken prisoner. Trusting fully to the Austrian documents, it should be noted, however, that the number of captives was slightly larger. Besides, those figures seem to ignore a certain number of those who fled away or deserted after the battle, because the next day the detachment numbered not more than 1,600 men (of 4,800). The number cited by Murat in his report — 2,200 prisoners — is likely not to be far from true. The losses of the winner were relatively small: about 140 killed and wounded and ... 2 taken prisoners.

Transiency of the fight and the considerable difference in losses indicate that the jubilant report of the commander of the French cavalry to the Emperor was close to true: “Your cavalry, Sire, covered itself with fame: their enthusiasm in attack is difficult to describe, just like the enthusiasm of the brave grenadiers (of Oudinot - O.S.). All the attacks were conducted with outcries 'Vive l'Emperor!' Colonels Arrigui and Mopetti were wounded when leading their regiments into attack, the former — against the enemy's cuirassiers, and the latter — against the infantry”.

Marking the cohesion in the activities of the Grande Armée units it should be noted that maneuvers can be conducted ideally only in plans, so the French lines also performed blundering marches, which sometimes turned out funny ... The division of Saint-Hilaire of the corps of Soult started their movement along the left bank of the Lech river at dawn of October 8th. As noted before, the objective of the corps of Soult was the movement southward aimed to cut off Mack's army's path of retreat eastward (via Augsburg) and then southward to Tyrol (via Memmingen). The division had already covered about 20 km in the specified direction as it was caught up with by the Emperor's aide- de-camp, Philippe de Ségure. He brought the order confirming once again the direction of the march via Augsburg to Landsberg. The troops were told the contents of the message and they doubled their steady pace. The weather on that day was good: it was sunny and the soldiers marched singing songs in good spirits. That lasted about a quarter of an hour, then the wind started to bring from the right echoes of cannonade and then in a while from that very side a horseman appeared in the field who urged his lathery horse with all his might to the division. Even when he was far Saint-Hilaire and his generals recognized by his nearly theatrical apparel the aide-de-camp of Murat. The officer, short of breath, even shouted already at a far distance to have the troops stopped. At last he approached the commander of the division and informed him that prince Murat was fighting the Austrians near that place and needed urgent assistance ... “It's impossible,” — said Saint-Hilaire,— “You see, Monsieur, we've got an Emperor's order”. “And what will you do if Prince gets beaten? If Mack penetrates?” — the officer wearing a splendid pelisse wouldn't give in. At that instant the thunder of cannons grew twice as loud as if to confirm his words. Saint-Hilaire, puzzled, paused for a moment; being not only valient in battle but ready to take upon himself responsibility in a complicated situation, after thinking for a while, he commanded resolutely: “By regiments, heads of columns to right!” Just as confidently as before the regiments turned and moved to the thunder of cannons right across the ploughed fields. “You see,— the general said to Philippe de Ségure still accompanying the division, — the cannons call and whatever order may be I must go to that call...” But hardly had the troops proceeded a quarter of an hour in that direction, when the cannonade started to die down; Murat's aide-de-camp had ridden away where he had come from. Saint-Hilaire was getting possessed by doubts. “Stop!” — was his command. Having summoned his generals and consulted the Emperor's aide-de-camp the commander decided that to defy an Emperor's order, moreover, a written one, will be, however, too large a liberty. Perhaps failing to carry it out the division mission would spoil some bright maneuver, lose an opportunity to shine forth, etc. “Alors, Messieurs...heads of columns to left!” The division again moved in the original direction, yet not along the road, but sticking in the knee-deep mud and swearing.

It was as if the devil played on that day with the first division of the corps of Soult. Had they hardly moved a kilometer southward, when from the right side, in the West, cannons thundered again, and with all their power. The wind even blew the crackle of gun-fire. Now all the division instinctively got roused with Saint Hilaire. “Mon Dieu!” — he exclaimed. — “The thunder of cannons is approaching, but we are withdrawing...Heads of columns to right!” — he commanded after more reflection, and the division started its movement over the ploughed fields toward Wertingen.

As the reader can assume, being guided with the story of the fight near the mentioned town, everything had been finished much earlier before Saint-Hilaire came there. His division arrival several hours after the fight was met by Murat and his cavalrymen without much enthusiasm. The Prince had a cool talk with the commander of the first division of the 4th corps, and the poor soldiers had to seek in the dark a place for a bivouac in that cold and damp night.

While the infantrymen of Saint-Hilaire and Oudinot, the dragoons of Klein and Beaumond, the cuirassiers of Nansouty, the hussars and chasseurs à cheval of Treilhard searched for food and arranged their shelters for the night around Wertingen, aide-de-camps, splashed with mud from head to foot, bursted one after another into the Emperor's Headquarters in Donauwörth. All of them reported successful, although difficult because of soaked roads, advance of the corps in the specified direction, successes in advance guard encounters. Certainly, Murat's aides-de-camp didn't fail to give a colorful account of the victory at Wertingen. Their reports also implied that the Austrians took no measures on the left bank against Ney's divisions that had slowed down their march with the purpose of observation of Ulm, on the other hand, intense movements of the enemy were evident on the right bank. For the Emperor the conjecture was turning more and more obvious that Mack would try to break straight via Augsburg, leaving Ulm behind. Consequently it was necessary to concentrate as soon as possible all the forces around that town, to cut off the Austrians' course eastward. That objective was to be accomplished by the 4th Corps of Soult that was due to arrive at the destined position (Augsburg) as early as in the evening of the 8th of October, and also by the 5th Corps of Lannes, the Guard, and Murat's reserve cavalry. To help that mass of troops the 2nd Corps of Marmont was also to be sent; Davoût and Bernadotte were supposed by Napoleon to be assigned the role of the covering against possible joining of the Russian army from the East. On the other hand, it was impossible to leave unoccupied the more than 20 thousand man strong corps of Ney, accompanied with the division of foot dragoons of Baragais d'Illiet (about 5.5 thousand men) and provisionally attached division of Gasamp (6,800 men of the corps of Lannes). The Emperor decided to direct these units to the flank and the rear of the retreating enemy. To do that they needed to seize crossings of the Danube on the flank of the possible location of the Austrians.

At midnight Bérthier draws up an instruction to Ney: “In short, Monsieur Maréchal, you must watch the corps positioned in Ulm...If it moves to Augsburg you will have to follow it keeping to its left flank...”

Most appropriate places from the viewpoint of conducting flank strike and forcing the Danube by the 6th Corps were likely to be considered by the Emperor and Marshal Ney to be river crossings near Günzburg. Four bridges were positioned there, though the French Headquarters knew nothing about one of them...

While the corps of the Grande Armée were being concentrated for a combat with the determinate and persevering enemy, Mack still could not fix on one final decision. On the day of the battle of Wertingen, October 8th, he was going to start movement to Augsburg, but having learnt about the defeat of Auffenberg and arrival of a large French force on the right bank, he rejected that plan and reconsidered the idea of movement along the left bank. Referring to those movements historians usually call them “the retreat to Augsburg”, “the retreat along the left bank” etc. The oddness of the situation was that in Mack's mind those possible movements were not retreat but strategic maneuvers, counterattacks aimed, if not to beat completely the French army, then to attain considerable success by the Austrians.

By the morning of October 9th, General Mack again decided to maneuver on the left bank of the Danube. With that purpose he ordered to concentrate his corps dispersed over the vast area around Günzburg, to restore the bridges destroyed previously, and positioned himself with his headquarters in the above mentioned town.

In his letter of justification written a year later Mack would write the following: “The situation in which the army had gotten was very complicated...But I didn't treat it as desperate. At the moment when I learned that the enemy had overrun both banks of the Lech and the bridge at Rhein...when they forced Kienmayer to retreat and when they became able to reach Augsburg before us; at last when they made their plan to cut us off from the Russians, I decided to attack the enemy, maneuvering round us, from their rear, to attack their communications, breaking therewith their superiority and moving them away from the Russians...”

Marshal Ney certainly failed to know that several kilometers off his headquarters on the other bank of the Danube General Mack with his headquarters was positioned and the bridges lying ahead of him were to become crossing points for the attacking main force of the Austrians. That is why he sent to Günzburg the 3rd Division of Mahler alone, ordering the 1st Division of Dupont and the 2nd Division of Loison to move toward Ulm through Albeck and Langenau, and the division of Gasamp attached to his corps and foot dragoons of Baragais d'Illiet to stay where they had been positioned.

Fulfilling the Marshal's order, the division of Mahler started in the morning of October 9th from their bivouacs near the town of Gundelfingen and moved toward Günzburg. At the approaches to the town Mahler divided his troops into three columns. The first one commanded by Staff Colonel (Adjutant-Commandant) Lefole and consisting of ten élite companies had to attack the bridge upstream, the main crossing place. The second column commanded by Brigade General Marconnier and consisting of six battalions (the 22nd and 27th Light Infantry and 50th Line Regiments) was to attack the central bridge immediately at Günzburg, the commander of division being attached to that column. And, finally, the third column of Brigade General l'Abassais (the 59th Line Regiment) was to attack the downstream crossing.

The weather on that day was nasty again, drizzling now and then, the wind driving gray clouds in the lowering sky. The terrain on which columns were approaching the river was quite in accordance with the weather. On the approaches to Günzburg on the left bank the French infantry had to march along narrow roads through lowlands, marshes, bush and a great quantity of springs and rivulets. As a result the troops of the 2nd and 3rd columns approached the objective points only in the afternoon, and the column of Lefole completely lost their way and, having strayed for a couple of hours in the marshes, turned backward.

The column of Marconnier attacked on the decline of day. Its appearing was a total surprise for the Austrians. The units standing on the left “French” bank of the Danube were taken by surprise. Firing back in disorder, the Tyrol infantrymen took to flight to a small island divided from the left bank only with a narrow branch of the river that could be easily forded. The French light infantry burst on top of the enemy to the islet, stabbing part of the Tyrolers and capturing the rest with General Major d'Aspres, whose function was maintaining of security in combat on the left bank. The French attempted to assault from march column the partially destroyed bridge, and part of the infantrymen succeeded to make several dozens of steps on intact beams, but from the right bank at once cannons thundered and gun fire crackled. Several dare-devils were swept down from the bridge with canister, and the rest hurried to hide behind the trees on the island. General Marconnier proceeding in the advance guard with his soldiers wanted to repeat the attack, but dense canister and bullet shooting from the Austrian bank made him give up that undertaking. Besides that, apprehending the uselessness of the French troops being on the island, Division General ordered to withdraw to starting points...

At that instant, when the main attack failed and General Mahler was likely to think about withdrawal and the unpleasant duty of writing rather a cheerless report to Marshal, an aide-de-camp brought the news that on its left wing the 59th Line Regiment not only captured the bridge, but was already fighting on the opposite bank.

The matter was that the third column, like the first one, lost its way and having wandered along muddy paths in bush and marshes, came out to the Danube in a place totally different from the planned one... The officers of the advance guard were surprised to see that in the place where they had had no intent to come to there was a river crossing unknown to them, appearing to have been recently destroyed but currently being restored with strange insistency by Austrian sappers. The Austrians didn't notice the approach of the enemy's infantry through the woody country. The commanders of the French columns prepared their troops for the attack and when the bridge got partly restored they rushed forward. The Austrians, stunned, took to their heels. In an instant the grenadiers of the 59th Line Regiment led by valiant Colonel la Cuais, former aide-de camp of the Emperor, burst onto the bridge and in a minute they were on the opposite bank. The enemy were so taken aback by that attack that they could not launch a counterattack for a while. During that time new companies of the 59th Regiment crossed the river over the narrow wet decking of the partially restored bridge. The Austrians then recovered and fell on a handful of the French. The latter, having not enough time even to divide into elements, in a formation resembling a crowd desperately defended themselves with gun fire and bayonets. The reinforcement was proceeding from the French bank slowly, so they had to fight with all their power. When it started to get dark, Arch-Duke Ferdinand, who was then nominal commander-in-chief of the Austrian army, came up to the battlefield. He at once flung Blankenstein's hussars to attack the 59th Line Regiment clinging to the grove in front of the bridge and then sent ahead 4 battalions of grenadiers commanded by General Meyer. But brave French infantrymen did not retreat a step, making use of their reinforcements that started to arrive with the darkness. “We found the Regiment in much disorder,- recalled Fésensac, then Sous-Lieutenant of the 59th Regiment,- It repelled the cavalry attacks, was subject to powerful fires of infantry. That day did it credit...”

When it got dark, the fight died. The casualties of both sides indicate the persistency of the fight. The Austrians lost about 800 men killed and wounded, having about one thousand men captured by the French (part of them - in the morning during the retreat). The division of Mahler also suffered serious casualties, perhaps, about 200-300 men. Killed also was brave Colonel la Cuais, hit with a bullet during an attack. He was buried with military honors on the spot of the fight... Unbelievable as it may seem, it happened. One division or, to be more specific, one regiment seized a crossing next to the main force of the Austrian army, its Commander-in-Chief being at that time right in Günzburg. What was the honorable general occupied with during the fight? Did he get frightened with French bayonets and bullets?.. To be objective, General Mack was not any kind of coward and as soon as the next day he would prove it with a sword in his hand. Yet let him speak for himself: “I was engaged then in composing the order for night crossing of the Danube with all the appropriate details; the order was written in eight pages, among which not a single extra line could be found. It may be well understood that it took all my attention and all my thoughts...” Just when the enemy is capturing the very crossing points which are crucial for “night crossing”, Mack is imperturbably writing the order “with all the appropriate details...” It is unbelievable, but that is how it was. The most startling thing was that the Austrian Commander-in-Chief would later appraise the loss of bridges near Günzburg as a “really awful and positively fatal”(!) event, without stopping his writing down neat lines of the order...

But now back to the strategic chessboard. The days of September 10th and 11th could be indeed called days of general mess. The armies that had come into engagement everywhere became less efficient in discerning the positioning and movements of the enemy. Being perplexed after the battle near Günzburg, Mack withdrew a great part of his troops to Ulm. Napoleon also lost for some time his appreciation of the enemy. That was due to the Emperor's said predisposition to treat the opposing party on the basis of strict logic applicable largely to actions of a skilled and brave field marshal. So he assumed that out of the straitened circumstances the Austrians had gotten into after the flanking maneuver of the superior force, they would come in only three possible ways: the breakthrough straight backward to the East via Augsburg; the retreat from the attack southward to Tyrol; the breakthrough to the North East along the left bank of the Danube. Napoleon himself would prefer the first way and thus was preparing in the first place to counteract the Austrians' movements of that kind. Finally, the third way was considered by Napoleon as too bold, so he didn't fear it too much.

October 10th and 11th brought no news about the Austrians moving to break through. Similarly, the undisturbed staying of Ney on the left bank and, moreover, rather an easy capture of bridges at Günzburg confirmed the enemy's indifference to the left bank of the Danube as well as to the crossing for which they should have fought to the last man, if the third way had been adopted. Therefore it could be evidently inferred that the enemy adopted the second, most cautious plan and was leaving for Tyrol. They had evaded the attack... Well, the circumstances should be made use of as they really stand... The orders given by the Emperor on October 10-11, can be summarized as follows. The Grande Armée should be divided into three groups of corps. The first one, including Bernadotte's corps and the Bavarians, should pursue Kienmayer and releave the Bavarian capital, Munich. The second one, consisting of the corps of Lannes, Ney and part of the reserve cavalry, under general command of Murat, should follow the back of retreating Mack. The third and the biggest one, comprising the corps of Soult, Davoût, Marmont, two divisions of dismounted cavalry and the Guard, should take the central position until the situation gets clearer. The Austrians have left there only a post and are falling back southward, he believed, as it can be reckoned from his order to Ney of October 10: “Now the urgent task is to overrun Ulm... His Majesty is granting you the freedom of actions in achieving this objective... Immediately after the capture of Ulm...you should proceed to Memmingen or any other place where the enemy will retreat, following them on their heels. As the Emperor is leaving for Munich, where our troops are arriving to-night, he entrusts the command of the entire right wing consisting of the corps of Lannes, yours and the cavalry reserve to Prince Murat...”

The prominent Russian military historian and theorist Leer made a precise comment on Mack: “...If at war it is difficult to guess intentions of a shrewd enemy, it is even more difficult for a relatively unreasoning enemy...” Napoleon could not assume that the Austrians would not take emergent measures in the circumstances disastrous for them. Mack, who exactly on those days (October, 10-11) received from his sovereign the confirmation of his virtual powers of Commander-in-Chief, instead of swift marching was marking time. On the 10th of October his troops concentrated in Ulm, and during the night of the 11th he decided to regroup them anew and to begin a new maneuver, this time again along the left bank...

At that moment Dupont's division, accompanied by a dragoon brigade and a hussar regiment (in total about 6,400 men with 14 cannons), was calmly moving toward the fortress. In the morning of October 11, Du Pont received with the order for a start recommendations of Ney who advised his Division General to provide ladders for the case of assault. “The enemy is striken with unparalleled horror, — the Marshal wrote. — They are retreating to Bieberbach trying to escape to Upper Tyrol...” However, to make sure, they gave the order to Baragais d'Illiet's division of dismounted dragoons (about 4,500 men) to support Dupont's march. But the aide-de-camp who had to deliver the order to Baragais d'Illiet's camp lost his way in the already described marshes, where on October 9 Lefole was straying. As a result the unfortunate officer delivered the order as late as about 11 a.m. Baragais d'Illiet's camp dragoons were dispersed over the remote bivouacs, and so the division could start as late as at 4 p.m.

Thus at noon, when Dupont was approaching Haslach, a small village about 6 km to the North from Ulm, his division was completely alone. And how much surprised he was when the hussars reported that numerous Austrian regiments are rising in the Ulm valley to approach them, and these regiments may possibly be the main force of the army with powerful artillery and cavalry!..

(To be finished)


Page 28 Chart of maneuver march of the Grande Armée (October 6-11,1805)

Page 29 Joachim Murat (1767-1815). Marshal of the Empire, in 1805 Commander-in-Chief of the reserve cavalry (2 cuirassier divisions, 4 dragoon divisions and 1 dismounted dragoon division). At the beginning of the campaign he was officially titled “Assistant to the Emperor” in the theater of military operations. Print of the 19th century.

Page 30 French dragoons at Wertingen, by E. Detaille. In the foreground — a junior officer of the 5th Dragoon Regiment. That regiment within Beaumond's division gave a good account of itself in the battle at Wertingen. According to Napoleon's idea, it was necessary to restore the original function of dragoons as a combined arm able to conduct combat unmounted as well as mounted. However attempts to employ dragoons as both infantrymen and cavalrymen did not yield positive results. During the last years of the Empire the French dragoons like the dragoons of other armies practically did not fight dismounted.

Page 31
1) The Line Infantry of the French Army in 1805 (grenadiers). By Girbale. The Line Infantry which was the bulk of the French Army, preserved the appearance of the revolutionary soldiers — long-skirted tunics and two-cornered hats. (The grenadiers, being the soldiers of selected companies, differed from the majority of the infantry in wearing red epaulettes; they often wore fur hats like those of the Guard, instead of ordinary bicorns).
2) The Line Infantry of the Austrian army in 1805. Fusiliers and an officer of a German Infantry Regiment.

Page 32 A hussar of the French army in the campaign of 1805. The 1st Regiment during the Ulm operation was attached to Dupont's division. Distinguished in the battle at Haslach. After the drawing by Benigni.