Decisive French victory:
* Saxony * Bavaria * Italy
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
154,000 or 155,000 158,000 or 173,000 (incl. allies)
CASUALTIES AND LOSSES
25,000–37,000 dead, wounded, missing. 30,000–40,000 dead, wounded or missing.
* v * t * e
The BATTLE OF WAGRAM ( ; 5–6 July 1809) was a military engagement
In 1809, the French military presence in Germany was diminished as
The two-day battle of Wagram was particularly bloody, mainly due to
the extensive use of artillery on a flat battlefield packed with some
300,000 men. Although
* 1 Prelude
* 1.1 Context * 1.2 Opening campaign * 1.3 Towards another battle
* 2 The first day
* 2.1 Preliminaries
* 2.2 Opposing plans
* 2.3 Across the
* 3 The second day
* 3.1 Rosenberg\'s attack * 3.2 Crisis at Aderklaa * 3.3 Klenau\'s flank march * 3.4 The French reaction * 3.5 Davout\'s flanking attack * 3.6 MacDonald\'s column * 3.7 Masséna\'s "Infernal Column" * 3.8 Austrian retreat
* 4 Aftermath
* 4.1 Pursuit and armistice * 4.2 Casualties
* 5 Analysis * 6 Footnotes * 7 References * 8 External links * 9 Bibliography
The strategic situation in Europe in 1809
In 1809, the
First French Empire
France's main adversary in central Europe was the Austrian Empire.
Defeated at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805 and forced to conclude the
humiliating Peace of
Pressburg , Austria still possessed a formidable
army which, in the years following Austerlitz, had undergone major
reforms. By 1809, the state was almost bankrupt and acutely aware that
it could not retain its status as a great power if it did not manage
to regain some of its former influence in Germany and Italy.
Encouraged by Napoleon's peninsular imbroglio, British subsidies and
the promise of a military intervention in northern Europe, the
Austrians decided that the European political context of 1808 and 1809
offered their best chance to retake lost provinces. In order to win
the war against the French,
By March 1809, war between Austria and
On 9 April 1809, without any declaration of war, the main Austrian
army crossed the Inn River into Bavaria , one of France's main allies,
while secondary Austrian armies launched offensives of their own.
Charles's retreat left
TOWARDS ANOTHER BATTLE
“ Should another battle be unavoidable, I will strike one more blow against the French, though you may rest assured that I shall risk nothing or as little as possible. ”
— Archduke Charles , writing to his uncle and mentor, Prince Albert, Duke of Teschen .
Battle of Aspern-Essling was extremely costly for both sides,
resulting in some 53,000 casualties, almost equally divided between
the two armies. For the Austrians , Aspern-Essling was a costly
victory. Crucially, it improved the overall morale of the troops as it
proved that, despite their early string of defeats, the army could
fight extremely well. However, in the weeks following the battle,
Archduke Charles became increasingly skeptical about his chances of
winning the war. His analysis of the battle revealed that he had been
unable to capitalise on his overwhelming numerical superiority and had
thus failed to achieve more than a tactical victory. Also of great
significance, despite Austrian attempts to trumpet their victory
against Napoleon, its political consequences remained limited: there
were no signs of a general uprising in Germany ,
Although a generalissimus , with supreme authority over the entire
Austrian army, Charles's position was constantly undermined by his
imperial brother and the war party at the court, who were
corresponding directly on military matters with his chief of staff ,
It thus became clear to the Archduke that another battle would be
forthcoming, although he still nourished hopes that
Meanwhile, having retreated to the island of
Lobau after the battle
THE FIRST DAY
“ The battle here at Marchfeld will decide the fate of our dynasty I request that you march out here at once and join my left wing. ”
— Archduke Charles , writing to his younger brother, Archduke John , commander of a secondary Austrian army.
Austrian high command was well aware of the French preparations
Lobau island and thus understood that the French attack would come
from there. Archduke Charles was however unsure about where the French
would cross and, together with his staff reckoned that the crossing
would most likely be made from the north of the island, making
landfall roughly at the same location as at the Battle of
Aspern-Essling. Working on this hypothesis, Charles had a chain of 16
defensive redoubts built, essentially between
On 3 July, Archduke Charles finally decided not to fight the enemy
Maximilian von Wimpffen
Intelligence received on 4 July informed the Archduke that the French had weakened their position at Pressburg , a clear sign that the enemy would launch its operations very soon. At 07:00 on 4 July, Charles wrote to his brother, Archduke John of Austria , whose secondary army was stationed near Pressburg. Charles informed John that the battle was imminent and that it "will decide the fate of our dynasty", ordering him to draw closer to the main army by marching to Marchegg , adding that John should leave behind "all baggage and impedimenta". As chance would have it, heavy thunderstorms delayed delivery of the message, which only got to Archduke John 23 hours later.
Archduke Charles did not seriously consider the possibility that the French could cross elsewhere than north of Lobau island until late on 4 July. When he finally accounted for this scenario, Charles remained faithful to his earlier plan not to move his forces towards the river. Instead, he planned to allow the enemy to move into the Marchfeld, leaving there only the Advance Guard and VI Korps, with orders to delay their deployment, cause disorder and casualties, while gradually moving back. Meanwhile, he was planning to maintain his main body on the naturally strong position on the Wagram plateau, with the rest of his forces further west on the Bisamberg heights, the two positions that Wimpffen and Grünne had favoured all along. Should the French have attempted to attack the forces on the Wagram plateau, the forces present there were expected to resist long enough to allow Charles to fall on the enemy's flank with the forces placed the Bisamberg heights. Conversely, should the enemy have attacked the forces on the Bisamberg heights, the main force on the Wagram plateau would have attacked the enemy's flank. The plan was good enough, but had two major flaws. Firstly, it failed to account for the slowness of the Austrian staff work, which impaired coordination between these forces. Secondly, it left the Advance Guard and VI with an ambiguous objective: if Charles wanted protracted resistance, then these forces were too weak to accomplish such a task; however, if the objective was only brief resistance, then they were too numerous and thus needlessly exposed.
Meanwhile, the French were getting ready to cross, according to
detailed crossing plans drawn in advance by the Chief of Staff of the
Grande Armée, Maréchal Berthier.
ACROSS THE DANUBE
“ The army escaped all disorder, except that arising from a few detachments following corps to which they did not belong. ”
The French made extensive use of landing craft during the first phase of the crossing.
One French thrust was directed at occupying the strategic
Hansel-Grund salient, east of
Lobau island, which a brigade under
Conroux secured towards 22:00. This allowed the French to deploy
three pivoting bridges, which had been prepared in advance and on
which other elements of Oudinot's II Corps began to cross. Meanwhile,
further north, Colonel Sainte-Croix , aide-de-camp to Maréchal
Masséna had 1,500 men of IV Corps embarked on landing craft and
crossed the river, without meeting any opposition. Sainte-Croix's
pontonniers then started work and, making good use of the current,
managed to bridge the arm of the
As the French were crossing east of
Lobau island, the only
significant Austrian force in the immediate vicinity was Armand von
Nordmann 's Advance Guard, which had been left in the sector with
orders to delay the enemy advance. Nordmann's men were faced with a
massive artillery barrage from French batteries on
Lobau island and,
with increasing numbers of enemy battalions coming up, Nordmann had no
option but to turn north, leaving behind detachments at Sachsengang
castle and Gross-Enzersdorf. With most of his troops available by now,
Oudinot and his II Corps approached Sachsengang castle and came up
against its defenders: two Austrian battalions and a few small-calibre
cannon. The French opted against storming the position and instead
brought forward their howitzers , in a bid to shell the defenders into
submission. Austrian resistance was brief, with the garrison
surrendering towards 08:00. Further north, Masséna directed his
divisions straight to the strategic village of Gross-Enzersdorf, where
the rest of Nordmann's rearguard (two battalions from the Bellegarde
regiment) lay. The village itself constituted a sturdy defensive
Archduke Charles was by now well aware of Napoleon's intentions but
remained committed to his plan not to fight the battle on the flat
Marchfeld plain, where the superior French cavalry would have given
CLASHES ON THE MARCHFELD
As the French were successfully moving forward, the Austrian Advance
Guard, under Feldmareschalleutnant Nordmann, supported by
Feldmareschalleutnant Klenau's VI Korps, in all 25,000 infantrymen,
were gradually withdrawing northwards. The Austrian infantry were
formed in masses, a formation that had proved very efficient in
fending off cavalry, but whose compact ranks made it extremely
vulnerable to artillery fire. Casualties began to mount at an alarming
rate and Nordmann's infantry, initially 12,000 men strong, was
particularly exposed to artillery fire during its retreat towards
Further west, Maréchal Bernadotte's IX Corps had been steadily
advancing, with the French II Corps on their right, but began to meet
steady resistance, when troops from Nordmann's Corps decided to make a
stand. These men were from Riese's brigade, soon reinforced by the
13th Wallachian -Illyrian Grenzer and Infantry Regiment 46 Chasteler.
Bernadotte sent forward the two battalions of the 5th Light regiment,
which successfully pushed back the opposition, allowing the rest of
his Corps to continue its advance towards the village of
near which they had to stop, towards 15:30, as they met enemy cavalry.
Towards 17:00, in an attempt to secure the vital position at Aderklaa,
the Austrians launched a cavalry attack with the brigade of French
émigré Roussel d\'Hurbal . This heavy cavalry brigade, around 1,000
sabres strong, deployed on two lines, with the 3rd Herzog Albert
Cuirassiers on the left and the 2nd Erzherzog Franz Cuirassiers on the
right. D'Hurbal was suddenly charged by the 400 cavalrymen from the
Saxon Prinz Klemens Chevaulegers regiment from Bernadotte's Corps, who
had recklessly moved forward unsupported. D'Hurbal's cuirassiers stood
to receive the charge and repulsed them by firing a pistol volley from
30 meters. This practice that was highly unusual for the cavalry
tactics of the time but in this case it worked perfectly, with the
Saxon chevaulegers sent fleeing. The Saxons then brought up the bulk
of their cavalry, in echelon formation , with the right leading.
D'Hurbal again chose to meet them with a pistol volley but this time
the Saxons managed to maintain the impetus of their charge and crashed
into the Austrian cuirassiers. Amongst the Saxon cavalry was a single
squadron of the Herzog Albrecht Chevaulegers regiment, which shared
the same Regimental Proprietor with the Austrian Herzog Albert
cuirassiers and these units fought in a generalized melee that
involved the entire cavalry present. After a few minutes, d'Hurbal's
Austrians were beaten back and pursued, until they were rescued by
Lederer's cuirassier brigade. After this cavalry action, Prince
Liechtenstein decided that he had lost too many men to no avail and
consequently pulled the bulk of his forces back to safety, behind the
Wagram -Gerasdorf line, leaving five cavalry regiments with the IV
Meanwhile, Nordmann's slow retreat allowed Klenau's VI Austrian
Korps, which had also been placed in an advanced position, to make a
skillful fighting retreat westwards, taking few losses. In sharp
contrast, Nordmann's Advance Guard suffered horrendous losses, with
its initial 12,000 infantry reduced to little more than 6,000 soldiers
capable of further action. This unusually high casualty rate resulted
from Nordmann having been positioned in a perilous location and having
been maintained there for too long, to little purpose. Additionally,
Nordmann had benefitted from little protection from the cavalry
present in that sector. After a well-led and determined staged
retreat, Nordmann managed to extricate his battered troops, reaching
the relative safety of the town of Markgrafneusiedl. The Advance Guard
continued to constitute a viable fighting force and they were thus
integrated in the IV Korps, guarding the Austrian left wing. The
Austrian army was now deployed on a very wide ark-shaped frontage, 19
kilometres (12 mi) long, including Klenau's VI Korps on the far right,
then Kollowrat's III Korps on the right-centre, Hohenzollern's II
Korps and Bellegarde's I Korps behind the Russbach line in central
position, while Rosenberg's IV Korps covered the left. Liechtenstein's
Opposite to the Austrians lay the French Army, which managed to fully
deploy towards 18:00. From left to right, the French army included:
Masséna's IV Corps, covering a wide area between the
THE EVENING ATTACKS
“ Ground I may recover, time never. ”
After the successful crossing of the
An artillery bombardment, between 19:00 and 19:30 opened up the
French attack, with Oudinot launching a part of his II Corps against
the Austrian II Korps under Prince Hozenzollern. The Austrian
defenders were prepared for the attack: Hohenzollern had deployed his
men in two lines, with a heavy skirmisher screen and was occupying a
naturally strong position, which had been reinforced with earthworks.
The Austrian Korps had also deployed its powerful artillery of 68
pieces. Nevertheless, the French crossed the Russbach stream,
spearheaded by Frère 's division, which managed to reach the
outskirts of the small village of Baumersdorf. This village,
consisting of no more than 30 wooden houses and a bridge, soon caught
fire from the French artillery bombardment, but the Austrian defenders
from Hardegg 's brigade (8th Jäger regiment and a battalion of
Volunteers from the Erzherzog Karl Legion) stood their ground, despite
the flames. Unable to storm the position with Frère's division,
Oudinot launched a flanking attack to the right of the village, with
some of his best troops: the 57th Line regiment (styled "the
Terrible") and the 10th Light regiment, both from Grandjean 's
division. The 57th Line valiantly assaulted the village from the east
and occupied its first houses, where they had to stop. Meanwhile, the
10th Light crossed the Russbach downstream and, after passing through
the boggy terrain below the escarpment, began to make its way up the
slope. As the 10th Light was coming up towards the village, they were
at first greeted with intense artillery fire and then Buresch's
brigade released some heavy musketry upon them. This disordered the
ranks of the French regiment, which began to waver and the last straw
came when they saw Prince Hohenzollern personally leading the 500
cavalrymen from the Vincent Chevaulegers regiment against them: the
10th Light panicked and fled, taking the 57th Line with them. After a
disorderly retreat, the two regiments stopped and reformed when they
met the steady ranks of the Imperial Guard, towards
Raasdorf . By
now, it was past 20:00, night was falling and Oudinot had been
repulsed with significant losses. The evening attack on 5 July
included offensive actions from the French "Army of Italy" (short: Ar.
It.), II, III and IX Corps, against the Austrian 1st, II and IV Corps.
The intervention of the Austrian
While Oudinot was engaged with Hohenzollern at Baumersdorf, to the
west, Général de Division
Jacques MacDonald , commander of the V
Corps of the "Army of Italy" launched his men in an assault on the
Wagram plateau. With the village of Baumersdorf in flames and a gentle
breeze blowing from the east, the advance of the French troops was
masked by heavy smoke. Dupas 's division, temporarily attached to the
"Army of Italy", spearheaded this attack and, as chance would have it,
happened to get between the Austrian 1st and II Korps and was thus
free to advance unmolested on
Deutsch-Wagram from the east. Attacking
Dedovich's division at Deutsch-Wagram, Dupas's small Franco-Saxon
division was soon supported by Lamarque 's division, personally led by
MacDonald, with the divisions of Seras , Durutte and Sahuc , all from
Paul Grenier 's VI Corps, also coming up in support. Seeing the French
advance, the Austrian artillerymen panicked and abandoned their guns,
with the infantry regiments 35 and 47 (Vogelsang) also retreating in
some disorder. General der Kavallerie Bellegarde intervened in person,
maneuvering to refuse his flank to the enemy, with the French advance
also faltering, due to heavy smoke. With visibility reduced, the
French mistook the white uniforms of their Saxon allies from the
To the west, Maréchal Bernadotte, in command of the Saxon IX Corps, was preparing his own assault, planning to attack the Austrians at Deutsch-Wagram from the west. This attack was delayed, as Bernadotte had to wait for the arrival of Zezschwitz's division, but at around 21:00 the Saxons moved towards the village. As Lecoq's Saxon brigade approached the position, they were instantly met with sustained musketry fire from the Austrian defenders, two battalions of infantry regiment 17 (Reuss-Plauen) and the 2nd Jäger regiment, but the Saxons pushed on and entered the village. Once they reached the vicinity of the village church, the Saxons were steadily met by the third battalion of infantry regiment 17 and the attack at once broke down, with the attackers forced to take shelter in the buildings nearby. Moments later, Zeschau's Saxon brigade, with Prince Maximilian's regiment attached to it, came in support, but these troops had been much disordered when crossing the Russbach, and upon entering the smoke filled streets of the village, they too lost impetus. With visibility much reduced by smoke, the situation at Deutsch-Wagram soon turned into chaos as all the troops inside spoke German and all, except the Austrian Jägers, wore white uniforms. There were thus several instances in which Saxon troops fired at each other and their situation took a turn for the worse towards 22:30, when Generalmajor Hartizsch brought fresh Saxon troops against the position. Hartizsch was not informed that friendly troops were already in the village and, as he was coming up for the attack, he saw a large number of white-coats moving out of the position. The commander at once ordered his men to fire and minutes of friendly fire and hand-to-hand combat ensued before it became obvious that these men were actually Saxons too. This fortuitous event had a significant impact on the attack, as the Saxons in the village now thought themselves surrounded and at once broke and retreated in disorder. The Saxon troops of the IX Corps were now completely demoralised and any attempts to rally and reform them at Aderklaa towards 23:00 failed.
A final French attack was launched by Davout's III Corps, on the French right. Just like Bernadotte's, this action began later than expected, towards 21:00, with Davout's men tired after a day of marching and fighting. The French objective in this sector was to attack the naturally strong position at Markgrafneusiedl, which had been reinforced with earthworks and was defended by the rested troops of Feldmarschalleutnant Rosenberg of the Austrian IV Army Korps. After a short artillery bombardment, Davout sent the divisions of Friant and Morand across the Russbach stream, in a flanking attack from the east, while his other two divisions, under Gudin and Puthod were ordered to attack frontally, through the village of Grosshofen. Davout also sent a part of his cavalry to open the way for the infantry attack but the Austrian cavalry under Nostitz promptly repulsed the French horse. Realising the futility of his action, Davout called off his infantry attack towards 22:00, leaving only his artillery to exchange fire with the Austrian gunners. Davout's initiative to call off his attack early on triggered subsequent, perhaps unwarranted, criticism from Napoleon.
THE NIGHT OF JULY 5 TO JULY 6
“ I had decided to seize the only means which could give any prospect of success against the superior enemy, namely to fall on them by surprise on all sides as day broke. ”
— Archduke Charles .
With the fighting fading out completely towards 23:00, the two commanders were at their respective headquarters, knowing that the following day would be decisive for the outcome of the battle. Meanwhile, with an extremely cold night settling in, soldiers from both armies lit fires to warm up, while they were resting and consuming their modest rations.
Late that night, the French Corps commanders reunited at the
Emperor's headquarters at
Raasdorf ; only Bernadotte was absent, as he
was still struggling to rally his routed infantry at Aderklaa.
After the conference,
Archduke Charles of Austria
Coordination between the Korps' movements was vital for the success of this plan, yet this was something that the Austrian army command and control system had repeatedly failed to achieve during past conflicts. As a result, the two Corps that were farthest from headquarters, VI and III Korps, only received their orders towards 03:00, two hours late. Given the distance that these troops had to march in order to make contact with the enemy, it was clear to the two Korps commanders that they would be unable to attack at 4:00 as ordered. Archduke Charles was also expecting the arrival of reinforcements, 13,000 men of the "Army of Inner Austria" led by his brother, Archduke John, whose role was crucial in supporting the attack against the French right. While Charles thought that his brother should arrive on the field of battle at any moment, the latter actually only began his march of 40 kilometres (25 mi) march from Pressburg at around 01:00 that night. Without Archduke John's men, the Austrians could muster only 113,500 infantry, 14,600 cavalry and 414 guns for the second day of battle.
THE SECOND DAY
Positioned on the left of the Austrian army, in and around the strategic village of Markgrafneusiedl, Feldmarschalleutnant Prince Rosenberg-Orsini was in command of the 18,140 men and 60 cannons of the IV Korps. In addition, attached to his force was the much-battered Advance Guard, under Feldmarschalleutnant Nordmann, reduced to around 6,000 infantrymen and some cavalry support, as well as the 3,120 cavalrymen from Feldmarschalleutnant Nostitz's division. Receiving his orders in due time, Rosenberg began to organise his attack, forming the IV Korps into three large columns, preceded by an advance guard. The first column was formed by Hessen-Homburg's brigade, 6 battalions strong, which was directed towards the village of Grosshofen. The second column was 16 battalions strong (12 regular and four Landwehr battalions) and included the brigades of Swinburn and Weiss, with the orders to move on to Glinzendorf . The second column was preceded by an advance guard under Feldmarschalleutnant Radetzky , 10 battalions and 10 cavalry squadrons strong. The third column, under Nostitz, was 30 squadrons strong and was directed to outflank the French, towards Leopoldsdorf. Setting these troops in motion towards 4:00, just as his orders stated, Rosenberg instructed his commanders to maintain absolute silence among the rank and file as they advanced but, despite this, the troops moved forward in some disorder and with a lot of noise. Feldmarschalleutnant Prince Rosenberg-Orsini . At the battle of Wagram, the 47-year-old Prince Rosenberg was in command of the Austrian IV Korps.
Opposite to them lay the III Corps, perhaps the finest of the French army, under the command of Maréchal Davout. Davout was in command of 31,600 infantry (divisions of Morand, Friant, Gudin and Puthod), 6,200 cavalry (divisions of Grouchy , Pully and Montbrun ) and 120 cannon. Davout was unaware that the Austrians were moving to attack him, but he was himself preparing his attack, and thus his troops were ready for action. Puthod's leading elements, one regiment strong, were at Grosshofen, with Gudin positioned between this village and Glinzendorf, which was held by Friant, supported by Morand. The entire cavalry was positioned to protect the right flank of the Corps. To the French surprise, towards 05:00, the Austrians attacked, with Radetzky's leading elements pushing the French outposts out of Grosshofen, and then attacking Glinzendorf. Davout immediately ordered a counterattack on Grosshofen, with Puthod attacking frontally and Gudin from the flank, and made sure that the defenders of Glinzendorf steadfastly hold their ground, while releasing heavy musketry upon the slowly advancing enemy columns. Grouchy's dragoons rode to face the enemy cavalry column, while Montbrun sent a part of his light cavalry division towards Ober Sieberbrunn , in a bid to outflank the Austrians. The sound of the cannon coming from Davout's sector interrupted Napoleon's breakfast, with the Emperor thinking that Archduke John must have arrived on the field of battle with his forces. The threat of Archduke John's arrival was overestimated, since French intelligence inaccurately placed the strength of this army at 30,000 men, instead of its actual 13,000 men. Napoleon immediately ordered Nansouty 's and Arrighi 's heavy cavalry divisions from the Cavalry Reserve to that sector, followed by the Imperial Guard. Nansouty's horse artillery was the first to arrive and deployed on the right flank of the advancing Austrians, opening enfilade fire .
Meanwhile, Archduke Charles was observing the entire operation. With
Archduke John's reinforcements failing to materialise from the east
and no sign of the III and VI Korps approaching from the west to take
their intended positions, Charles realised that the unsupported
Rosenberg was now too exposed and in an increasingly dangerous
position. Charles thus ordered Rosenberg to fall back to his initial
Napoleon, who was by now present alongside Davout, reconnoitered the
situation and, seeing that Archduke John's army was nowhere near the
battlefield, ordered the reserves back to Raasdorf, leaving only
Arrighi's cuirassiers and a battery of 12-pounders with III Corps. The
Emperor reconfirmed that he wanted Davout to take Markgrafneusiedl,
but, instead of a massive frontal attack, he instructed the Marshal to
launch a part of his men frontally against the position and a part in
an enveloping move from the east, in order to take advantage of the
gentle slope there. These new orders meant that Davout could not start
his attack right away, as he needed to send a part of his troops east,
where he had to bridge the Russbach stream, in order to allow his
artillery to cross.
CRISIS AT ADERKLAA
“ That braggart Bernadotte has been doing nothing but blunders since yesterday. ”
— Napoleon, commenting on the performance of Marshal Bernadotte at the battle of Wagram.
While Rosenberg was attacking on the left, General der Kavallerie
Bellegarde, commander of the Austrian 1st Korps, also set his men in
motion in time, just as his orders stated. He had begun his manoeuvre
just after 03:00, moving south, out of his position along the Russbach
line and at Deutsch-Wagram, Bellegarde formed a vanguard of three
battalions and three squadrons, under the command of General-Major
Stutterheim, which he sent towards Aderklaa. A strategic village that
was surrounded by an earthwork,
Aderklaa offered a strong defensive
position and Bellegarde was naturally expecting to encounter stiff
resistance from the enemy defending the village. He was much surprised
to receive reports that the village was completely undefended and,
after making sure that it was not a trap, Bellegarde immediately
ordered his vanguard to occupy it. The 1st Korps commander then
brought an additional force of 12 battalions of Feldmarshalleutnant
Fresnel's division, which he deployed in two lines, behind the
position and formed the rest of his Corps in a line between Aderklaa
and Deutsch-Wagram. Liechtenstein's cavalry duly came up in support,
taking a wide position behind 1st Korps, between
Süssenbrunn, but Bellegarde chose not move beyond Aderklaa. An
immediate Austrian attack would have posed a serious threat to the
stability of the French left wing, but Bellegarde had orders which
stated that he needed to wait for the
The task of defending
Aderklaa belonged to Maréchal Bernadotte,
commander of the Saxon IX Corps. However, Bernadotte's largely
inexperienced infantry had suffered greatly during the evening attacks
the day before and many units had routed, retreating beyond Aderklaa.
With his infantry reduced to some 6,000 men, the commander had
difficulties rallying a part of his troop but he could still count on
two reasonably valid Saxon divisions. As he would later explain,
Bernadotte believed himself in an exposed position and thus took the
initiative of abandoning
Aderklaa during the night, retreating almost
1 kilometer to the southeast of the village, in a bid to draw closer
to the rest of the army. Withdrawing without permission and without
Meanwhile, an injured Masséna, leading his IV Corps from a
conspicuous white phaeton , was also executing his orders and
approaching the sector with three of his infantry divisions and his
cavalry. In compliance with Napoleon's orders, Masséna's fourth
infantry division, under General Boudet, had been left far to the
south, defending the village of Aspern. The manoeuvre of IV Corps was
hampered by the arrival of the leading battalions of the d\'Aspré 's
division from the Austrian
Archduke Charles noticed the development on his right, from his
observation post at Baumersdorf and promptly rode to Bellegarde with
new orders. Charles then personally organised an attack on Aderklaa,
with the combined elements of infantry regiment 42 (Erbach) of the 1st
Nevertheless, the Austrians had sufficient fresh troops in this
sector and they soon launched fresh attacks, with elements of 1st
Korps and the
By mid afternoon, some 12,000 panicked stragglers, French and Saxon were milling in the town of Raasdorf. The French centre-left was at breaking point.
KLENAU\'S FLANK MARCH
Klenau's cavalry captures Boudet's artillery during the morning combats on 6 July 1809.
In application of Archduke Charles's plan to take the enemy in a double envelopment, Feldmarshalleutnant Klenau, commanding VI Korps, and Feldzeugmeister Kollowrat, commanding III Korps, moved forward towards the French left. Both commanders had received their orders very late and both had a long distance to cover before they could reach their assigned positions. They did their best to comply but, given the difficulties of a long night march, their leading elements could only manage to arrive on the Austrian right between 07:30 and 08:00, three hours later than Charles had planned.
Klenau was the first to make contact with the enemy. His troops left
Leopoldau towards 07:30 and subsequently deployed between Breitenlee
and Hirschstetten , driving in the enemy outposts in the sector. The
only French force present here was the 4th division of the IV Corps,
under Général de Division Boudet, some 4,600 men, to Klenau's
14,000. At 08:00, Klenau unlimbered his artillery and began to fire at
the French, while sending forward Vecsey 's brigade from
Feldmarshalleutnant Vincent's division to take the village of Aspern.
Boudet saw this development and sent forward a battery of ten cannon,
with orders to open enfilade fire and thus delay the enemy. This
proved to be a very uninspired move, as Austrian hussars suddenly came
up and captured these guns. The French 56th Line regiment boldly
charged the enemy horse and momentarily recaptured the guns, but they
lacked horses to carry them back and the intense Austrian cannonade
soon compelled these men to retreat and leave behind the artillery.
After making a timid attempt to defend
The French retreated towards the Mühlau salient and to Groß-Enzersdorf , in a bid to protect the vital bridges towards Lobau island. The Austrians then launched a probing attack on the bridgehead but were rapidly repulsed and subsequently contented themselves with bombarding the French supply train, causing some panic among the civilian suppliers. From his current position, Klenau was able to either strike in the undefended rear of the enemy army, some five kilometers away, or to attack the vital bridges towards Lobau island. However, the Austrian commander chose caution; his force was only about 14,000 men strong, a part of which was now in range of the numerous French heavy batteries on Lobau island and his orders provided for his Korps to keep itself abreast with Kollowrat's III Korps. Had Kollowrat moved forward himself, protecting Klenau's left flank, the Austrian VI Korps might have envisaged the continuation of its action, but, as things were, Kollowrat had not yet moved from his position between Süssenbrunn and Breintlee.
Indeed, further north, Kollowrat had been slow in moving forward with
his numerous III Korps. He deployed between the villages of
Süssenbrunn and Breintlee and thus threatened the French flank, which
was defended only by Legrand's infantry division and some cavalry.
Kollowrat finished his positioning manoeuvres only towards 09:30, when
his men made contact with Prochaska's
THE FRENCH REACTION
French cuirassiers cheering while charging past
With the situation looking increasingly dangerous for his army,
Towards 11:00, Bessières received his orders, which provided for an
immediate attack at the weak point of the enemy line, the seam between
Austrian III Korps and the Reserve Korps, where only
Feldmarshalleutnant Prochaska's thinly spread division was covering
the wide position between Süssenbrunn and Aderklaa. With the division
of Arrighi sent in support of Davout, far on the right flank and the
division of Saint-Sulpice detailed to protect Masséna's IV Corps,
Bessières brought forward his only remaining unit, the mighty 1st
heavy cavalry division, under the skilled 41-year-old general Nansouty
It seems that Saint-Germain 's brigade was left behind in reserve and out of the actual attack, so Bessières took Nansouty's remaining 16 squadrons, some 2,800 men, including Defrance 's 1st and 2nd Carabiniers-à-Cheval and Doumerc 's 2nd and 9th Cuirassiers . The hastily formed squadrons rode forth, but the flat terrain of the Marchfeld provided them with little cover from the devastating fire unleashed upon them by Austrian artillery. The heavy horsemen eventually made contact with the enemy near the village of Süssenbrunn, but found the infantry prepared to receive them and their first charge failed altogether. Rallying the men for a second attempt, with the elite carabiniers-à-cheval leading the way, Nansouty pushed through, but many of his troopers were unable to follow, leaving many of the squadrons reduced to just a handful of men. It seemed at first that the charge would do some serious damage, especially when the Frenchmen managed to break and sabre the Grenz Georger battalion, thus creating a breach between the two Austrian Corps. In the end however, the effects of a cavalry charge against prepared infantry were always set to be limited and the cavalrymen made little further impression on the grenadier battalions, which were by now formed in tight, solid squares . Displaying some great tactical skill, Nansouty wheeled right with his men and fell upon the Austrian artillery line near Aderklaa. Meanwhile, Bessières was busy fetching the Guard cavalry, which was only just beginning to arrive and with which he was intending to launch a second charge. Virtually under Napoleon's eyes, a cannonball brushed Bessières's thigh, unhorsing the Marshal, who violently hit the ground and lost consciousness. While Bessières was being carried away from the battlefield, Nansouty and his Carabiniers-à-Cheval managed to capture an Austrian artillery battery but Liechtenstein duly sent his fresh cavalry, the 6th Rosenberg Chevaulegers and 4th Kronprinz Ferdinand Cuirassiers against them. The Austrians hit the now diminished and tired French cavalry in flank, wounding Defrance and sending his men reeling back to their own lines with heavy casualties. The light cavalry of the Guard, some 2,000 sabres, belatedly launched a brief charge of their own, but they were also repulsed by the prepared enemy. With Bessières presumed dead, Nansouty took command of the entire cavalry, but, not knowing the Emperor's directives, decided to pull his battered troop back. In all, the French cavalry charge had been very costly; for the entire day, Nansouty's division alone lost 1,200 horses killed or wounded and a great number of men out of action. However, it did allow Masséna to successfully disengage and gained time for the deployment of the grand battery. A 12-pounder from the French Guard foot artillery in action. Lieutenant-Colonel Antoine Drouot , commander of the Imperial Guard foot artillery, leading the deployment of his guns at Wagram.
While the cannon were roaring, Maréchal Masséna was near Raasdorf, forming his men for their march south. Towards 11:00, he rallied many of the men who had routed during the attack on Aderklaa and then had rations of brandy distributed, in order to boost morale. With a part of his troops still fighting to keep Aderklaa, Masséna directed his men towards Essling, aiming to threaten Klenau's Corps, which was by now in an advanced position behind the French line, but which had made no attempt to threaten the rear of Napoleon's army. The passive posture of the Austrian Corps was due partly to a lack of orders to advance further and partly to the fact that Klenau's relatively small force was by now out of touch with the main Austrian force. Nevertheless, Masséna's task remained daunting. Some of his troops had to march no less than eight kilometers in vulnerable column formations, moving along the front of an enemy who had deployed numerous cavalry and artillery. Masséna displayed his usual skill and tenacity, using his available cavalry to screen his men and taking advantage of the high corn crops to hide his advance. The French troops, although out of range from enemy musketry, were under constant bombardment from the Austrian artillery. The Austrian cavalry attempted an attack, which nearly reached the carriage of Masséna, whose aides were forced to draw swords and defend him as French cavalry stepped in to repulse their Austrian counterparts. Towards noon, after marching some six and half kilometers in 90 minutes, the leading elements from Masséna's Corps, namely Marulaz 's cavalry and Legrand's infantry were within sight of the enemy-occupied village of Essling.
DAVOUT\'S FLANKING ATTACK
A modern photo of the tower at Markgrafneusiedl, which was the scene of heavy fighting during the second day of the Battle of Wagram.
While battle was raging on the western side of the battlefield, some
10 kilometers to the east, Maréchal Davout was preparing his attack,
the manoeuvre with which
While the French were preparing their attack, artillery on both sides
opened up, with Rosenberg's batteries placed on high ground and at
times behind earthworks. Despite the superior Austrian tactical
position, after about two hours of bombardment, the French managed to
put out of action most of the Austrian pieces and cause fast-spreading
fires in the village of Markgrafneusiedl. The fact that the French
artillery managed to win its duel with the Austrian artillery was due
in part to the larger number of French high-calibre pieces, but most
of all to their superior concentration of fire, with the artillery of
French III Corps and II Corps cooperating and creating a deadly
crossfire . By 09:30, Davout's troops were in position and ready to
commence their attack. Initial orders provided that Davout should send
his four infantry divisions in a frontal assault northwards, but early
The French began their steady advance between 09:30 and 10:00, their
movement hidden from view by the thick smoke resulting from the
intense artillery bombardment. On the right, Montbrun's cavalry had
already advanced towards
Obersiebenbrunn , repulsing Fröhlich's
Austrian cavalry elements and clearing the way for Friant and Morand,
who began their enveloping manoeuvre against the enemy left. Rosenberg
responded by redeploying his reserves to form a new flank: Mayer's
brigade in first line, supported by Riese's brigade and Infantry
Regiment 58 Beaulieu. However, all these troops were drawn from
Nordmann's Advance Guard, a Corps which had sustained heavy casualties
the previous day. During this manoeuvre, Nostitz's cavalry, placed
initially on the plain below the escarpment, were pushed back and
forced up the slope of the plateau by Grouchy's and Pully 's dragoons
; the Austrian horse subsequently redeployed to protect Nordmann's
flank. Meanwhile, Davout personally led forward the divisions of Gudin
and Puthod, who were to storm
In the meantime, Gudin and Puthod had also rallied their men and
launched them in another attack against Markgrafneusiedl. They were
met this time by Rohan's division from Rosenberg's IV Korps, which
valiantly attempted to hold its ground, in a stubborn house-to-house
defense, despite the fact that village was by now largely engulfed in
flames. The French were equally determined and even senior commanders
exposed themselves to the greatest dangers (Davout's horse was shot
under him and Gudin was seriously wounded) in order to give heart to
the men. French pressure and the fast-spreading fire forced
Hessen-Homburg's brigade, which had been drawn up in support of
Rohan's division, to evacuate the position and reform on the
escarpment behind the village, closely followed by Gudin's skirmishers
. Combat did continue around the disused church, where Riese's
battered brigade, infantry regiments 44 Bellegarde, 46 Chasteler, 58
Beaulieu, nine battalions in total, was still holding out with
remarkable tenacity and despite the fact that their commander,
General-Major Riese, did not bother to show himself throughout the
day. The church, with its conspicuous stone tower, was finally lost by
the Austrians towards noon, when Friant managed to push through and
link up with Gudin and Puthod, forcing the three Austrian regiments to
withdraw, in order to avoid being outflanked. When Rosenberg failed to
retake the tower with Hessen-Homburg's brigade, he decided to redeploy
his entire force further back on the plateau and form a new line. This
timely action temporarily stopped any further French advance. Seeing
this development, Davout chose to force a decisive breakthrough and
committed his ultimate reserve, the 3rd Heavy Cavalry Division. The
Marshal ordered the heavy cavalry up the plateau west of
Markgrafneusiedl, in an immediate frontal assault against the enemy
line, rather than on the more favourable cavalry terrain east, where
Grouchy, Pully and Montbrun were already operating. The 3rd Heavy
Cavalry Division, a unit that the Emperor had attached to III Corps
that very morning, was led by 31-year-old Général de Division
Arrighi de Casanova , who had no previous command experience at
divisional level. The division was formed of four cuirassier
regiments, the 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th, totaling 16 squadrons and almost
2,000 men. Receiving his orders to charge immediately, Arrighi
hastily formed his squadrons and led forward Bordessoule 's brigade up
the slope, but once there, he found himself in the middle of enemy
barricades and was, according to his own account, unable to deploy a
single squadron. The steel-clad cuirassiers made several attempts to
break the sturdy Austrian masses, but the terrain was not proper for
such action and their best attempts came to nothing. Taking some 300
casualties after several frustratingly ineffective charges, Arrighi
pulled his men back to safety down the slope and furiously set off to
find Davout and protest against the orders he had given.
It was just after noon and, despite the failure of the French cavalry assault, Rosenberg was aware that his beleaguered line was about to give way, with possibly catastrophic consequences for the entire Austrian army. With his entire force already committed and no reserves, the Austrian commander could do little to prevent the seemingly unstoppable French onslaught. It was at this decisive moment that Archduke Charles personally brought reinforcements to his battered left wing: five battalions from Infantry Regiment 57 Joseph Colloredo and 15 Zach, one battery of six-pounders, all drawn from Austrian II Korps and four squadrons of hussars, as well as the entire 8th Hohenzollern Cuirassier regiment, from the Cavalry Reserve. With the cavalry thus reinforced and placed under the overall command of Feldmarschalleutnant Nostitz, Archduke Charles ordered his horsemen to charge the enemy. At first, General-Major Wartensleben's brigade, the 3rd O'Reilly Chevaulegers and the 6th Blackenstein Hussars, charged Montbrun's first line, overwhelming the French 7th Hussars. The Austrians then made a dash towards Montbrun's second line, which made a surprising attempt to drive off the attackers with a carbine volley, which failed to break the impetus of the charge and sent the French horse reeling. As a result of his successful charge, Wartensleben was able to capture ten French horse artillery pieces. But the Austrian triumph was fleeting and Montbrun had carefully prepared a countercharge with his reserve and skilfully launched the 12th Chasseurs-à-Cheval frontally, while the 11th Chasseurs-à-Cheval charged the O'Reilly Chevaulegers from flank. On the French side, Grouchy soon brought his dragoons in support and Nostitz was forced to counter them by committing General-Major Rothkirch's brigade, formed by the 1st Erzherzog Johann and 6th Riesch Dragoons. A massive, albeit brief, cavalry clash occurred and in the melee, both Nostitz and Rothkirch were wounded and the Austrians were driven back, leaving behind the cannon they had captured moments earlier and taking refuge behind the infantry. This was the major cavalry action of the battle and, despite the fact that the Austrians committed over 30 of their 40 squadrons present in the sector, the French gained the upper hand, thanks largely to their superior training for massed action. Charging by single regiments against an enemy who committed entire brigades and divisions in coordinated actions, the Austrians, although superior in overall numbers, had been overwhelmed, a testament to their chronic inability to coordinate large-scale cavalry charges. Towards 13:00, after the failure of his cavalry charge, Rosenberg reckoned that he was unable to hold out on his current positions and began organising a fighting retreat towards Bockfliess , some 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northwest.
“ Why in the world didn't you charge the enemy when the decisive moment came? ”
— General MacDonald to General Walther , commander of the Guard cavalry.
Davout's successful flanking manoeuvre did not escape unnoticed.
Despite the considerable distance, towards 13:00,
Just before 13:00, MacDonald moved towards his assigned location,
with eight battalions from Lamarque and Broussier's division deployed
in line, forming the front line, with the other 15 battalions
remaining in column, a formation which could more easily fend off the
increasing menace poised by the numerous enemy cavalry. This unusual
formation, some 800 metres long and 550 metres wide, was to be
supported by the remains of the Grand Battery, which had orders to
advance on its right and open intense fire against the Austrian line.
Seras 's division was also ordered in support of this attack and
deployed some distance behind the column with one of the
carabiniers-à-cheval regiments protecting its rear. The assigned
objective of this prodigious mass of men was to bludgeon its way
forward and take the village of Süssenbrunn, the seam between the
As MacDonald's lumbering column moved forward, Austrian artillery
opened up against the accompanying French cannon, disabling 15 of
them, before they even had time to unlimber and respond. The Austrian
guns then focussed on MacDonald's slow-moving formation, whose deep
ranks presented ideal targets. Seeing the French advance, Archduke
Charles ordered his Corps commanders to refuse the flank of the
Further north, protecting the other flank of MacDonald's column lay
the fresh Guard Cavalry Division, which also received MacDonald's
invitation to charge, but remained motionless, with its commander,
Général de Division Walther, invoking a lack of orders from his
direct commanders, either
MASSéNA\'S "INFERNAL COLUMN"
Meanwhile, Masséna had indeed made remarkable progress since 11:00,
when he had begun disengaging from the struggle at
organising his march against Klenau. On the French left, Klenau,
commander of VI Korps, was fully aware of Masséna's manoeuvre,
stating in his post-battle report that he saw an "Infernal Column"
advancing towards him. By 12:30, elements of IV Corps were at Essling
and Masséna received the Emperor's dispatch, informing him of
Davout's success and urging him to attack. Masséna sent Marulaz 's
cavalry to clear the enemy horse, which was pushing back Boudet's
defeated division. Then, Marulaz fell upon and captured the Austrian
battery which was bombarding the bridges over the Danube, sending the
panicked gunners fleeing for their lives. An Austrian countercharge
from Walmoden's Austrian hussars sent the French horse reeling and
recaptured the lost battery, managing to carry most of it, except two
guns, to safety, before more French cavalry, this time from Lasalle 's
division came up against them. The French cavalry attack halted the
advance of Klenau's Korps and allowed the French launch an attack of
their own against the village of Essling. Six weeks before, during the
Battle of Aspern-Essling, the French had valiantly defended this
village against several Austrian attacks; now they were ordered to
take it from some 1,200 whitecoats. The village was in ruins, but the
sturdy stone granary was still standing and represented a formidable
defensive structure. Nevertheless, Ledru des Essarts 's brigade from
Legrand's 1st division stormed the position and, after intense
fighting, they secured Essling towards 14:00, sending the defenders
fleeing towards Aspern. Masséna then took
Masséna had accomplished his mission and had no further orders to
continue his action but, hearing the intense cannonade on his right,
he understood that he needed to continue his attack. He detailed
Boudet's division to march on Kagran, while his other three infantry
divisions marched on Leopoldau. The corps cavalry preceded the
infantry and Lasalle's squadrons caught up with Klenau's infantry near
Leopoldau. There, the French cavalry met two Austrian battalions,
already formed in solid masses. This formation was ideal for fending
off enemy horse. Nevertheless, the French charged impetuously but
achieved little. The first mass could only be dispersed after horse
artillery came into action. Not long before 17:00, the cavalry moved
against the second mass and it was during this action that the gallant
Lasalle, one of the best cavalry commanders of his time, was shot
dead. Marulaz took overall command of the cavalry and personally
placed himself at the head of the 8th Hussars, in a bid to avenge the
slain commander; the attempt failed and Marulaz was himself wounded
and had to be carried away to the rear. This event, as well as the
fact that the French were now under fire from the artillery of
Austrian V Korps on Bisamberg heights, convinced Masséna to halt his
pursuit. Towards 17:00 Klenau had succeeded in extracting his corps
from the dangerous position next to the
While Feldmarshalleutnant Klenau was being ousted from Essling, Archduke Charles received much-awaited news about the arrival of his brother on the battlefield. However, the news were disappointing: Archduke John of Austria and his 13,000 men, Charles's only hope for rescuing his collapsing left flank, would only be able to arrive towards 17:00, much too late to make any difference. By now, Charles was acutely aware that his troops would not hold out much longer. His three corps on the Wagram plateau (I, II and IV) had been in action for some ten hours. On his right, Kollowrat's III Korps, Klenau's VI Korps and the Reserve Korps were being pushed back. Crucially, he had no battle reserves with which to either support his battered line or to launch a counterattack of his own. Continuing to fight in these conditions would have spelled the end of the Kaiserlich-königliche Hauptarmee and, in Charles's view, the end of the Habsburg Empire. His only realistic option was to begin an orderly retreat, which he ordered by mid morning, directing each corps along its line of retreat.
While MacDonald's attack was drawing the attention of the Austrians,
the French launched their general attack.
Seeing the Austrians in full retreat, Oudinot lost his composure and galloped along his line, shouting his commands, ordering his men to run at the enemy. One of the Corps divisional commanders, general Grandjean reiterated this highly unusual and potentially disastrous order, which would have resulted in the columns rapidly dispersing and becoming vulnerable to a counterattack. Luckily enough, the troops were commanded by experienced junior officers, who took over and executed the orderly manoeuvres that were required on such occasions. During this action, Oudinot was wounded twice and had his horse shot from under him, but he retained his command and, after his surgeon dressed his wounds, he led his men on. His troops stormed Baumersdorf, which they took, despite gallant defense from Hardegg 's brigade. Oudinot's Corps then fanned out, with the bulk of his men continuing to press Hohenzollern and Tharreau 's division wheeling left against Bellegarde's I Korps. To the west, General Pacthod and his division of the "Army of Italy", supported by the Italian Royal Guard, were able to manoeuvre unseen by following the riverline of the Russbach up the village of Deutsch-Wagram . There, they fell upon the unprotected flank of d\'Aspré 's Austrian grenadier division, which had been left behind to cover Bellegarde, who had just begun to retreat, in accordance with Charles's orders. Surprising the grenadiers, Pacthod stormed the position and pushed the Austrians back in disorder beyond the village of Aderklaa. They were supported by Tharreau's division of II Corps, which had managed to storm the plateau next to the village. Bellegarde reacted by sending in some of his reserves to stop the enemy onslaught, but the French managed to secure both Wagram and Aderklaa, two key positions on the battlefield.
By 16:00, the entire Austrian army was in full retreat. They executed
this maneouvre admirably, with the formations remaining cohesive and
withdrawing in echelon, each formation protecting the retreat of the
adjoining one. During this phased retreat, Generalmajor Smola ,
commander of the Austrian artillery had a major role, managing to mass
a sufficient number of cannon to keep the enemy at a respectable
distance. The French, who had been marching and fighting for over
forty hours, under intense heat and with scarce rations of water and
food, were slowly following the retreating enemy. The exhaustion of
the French troops was such that, towards 16:00 a brief moment of panic
occurred at Wagram. Dozens of French infantry fled down the
escarpment, with the Old Guard forced to form square in order to
protect the Emperor's headquarters, before order could be restored. A
second such moment took place around one hour later, when a mounted
scouting party from Archduke John's army suddenly appeared near
Glinzendorf, causing panic among the stragglers and civilian
contractors of the army, with the Guard again forced to form square.
But John soon received word that the battle was already over and
hastily retraced his steps. A final incident took place towards
18:00, when elements of the 108th Line regiment from Davout's Corps
caught up with enemy stragglers at the Bockfliess. There, the French
found the houses filed with drunken Austrian whitecoats, who refused
to surrender and attempted to defend themselves. Some 200 of these men
were slaughtered and 400 were captured. By nightfall, contact had
been broken and the exhausted French had to stop the pursuit and camp
on their positions. Towards dusk, French cavalry caught up with
Austrian III Korps and tried to block its retreat but the numerous
Austrian cavalry in the sector promptly stepped in, hitting the
enemy's flank and sending these horsemen fleeing. This persuaded
Archduke Charles that he had left III Korps in an exposed position and
ordered it to hasten their retreat and get in line with VI Korps.
Towards 20:00 all combat ceased and the Austrians were able to move
away without any further incident.
PURSUIT AND ARMISTICE
By nightfall on 6 July, the Austrians, still capable of action, had
broken contact with their pursuers and Charles had managed to
reestablish a cohesive, albeit irregular front. The remarkable
combat-worthiness shown during the evening fighting left Napoleon
wondering whether the Austrians would actually renew battle the next
day. The Emperor rose early on 7 July and reconnoitred the battlefield
in person, noting the huge losses in men on both sides and seeing that
the Austrians had withdrawn. He then returned to more practical
matters and, after receiving MacDonald's report, he suddenly embraced
the general and elevated him to the dignity of Maréchal d\'Empire ,
the only Marshal to receive the title on a field of battle. The
Emperor also criticised Marmont for his slowness in arriving on the
battlefield and told Oudinot that he ought to have him shot for
attacking without orders. The French resumed their pursuit towards
14:00, as the extreme exhaustion of the army prevented an early start.
Their artillery had fired somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000 rounds
during the battle, which left the caissons empty and it took some time
before they could be refilled. Among the rank and file, there were
even instances of severe breakdown in troop discipline, as the army
moved through county packed with vines and wine cellars. When an
incensed Oudinot, sabre in hand, tried to restore discipline among a
group of drunken cavalrymen from his army corps, he was almost
attacked by his own men. Pursuit was further complicated by the
absence of reliable information about the exact direction of the
Austrian retreat. Contradictory intelligence collected by the various
Corps confusingly stated that the Austrians were retreating either
towards to Brünn or to Znaim and other reports were actually
indicating a retreat towards
The Austrians were actually retreating towards Znaim in
With more than 300,000 combatants, Wagram was the largest battle in
European history up to its time. With at least 72,000 casualties on
both sides, it was also the bloodiest military engagement of the
entire Revolutionary and
Globally, since neither army provided a complete tabulation of their losses, the exact number of casualties is hard to establish. One author suggests that French casualties of all sorts approached 40,000 men, greatly surpassing those of the Austrian army. More conservative estimates place overall French losses between 25,000 or 28,000 men and either 31,500 or 33,000 men. Five generals (Duprat , Gautier , Guiot de Lacour , Lasalle and von Hartitzsch) and another 238 officers, as well as 7,000 men were killed. Additionally, 37 generals, 883 officers and over 25,000 men were wounded and 4,000 men were taken prisoner, many of them wounded.
On the Austrian side, losses had also been heavy. An official tabulation established that there were 51,626 officers and men missing on 11 July 1809, compared to the overall complements on 5 July 1809. This figure thus accounts not only for the Battle of Wagram, but also for the losses registered during the numerous minor engagements and skirmishes that occurred after the battle, as well as the losses suffered during the Battle of Znaim . Many of these men were simply missing in action and many were subsequently able to return to the colours. Nevertheless, conservative estimates of the Austrian losses at Wagram numbered some 30,000 men, of whom 24,000 were killed or wounded, with the rest taken prisoner. According to I. Castle, Austrian casualties were as follows: 41,250 total, of which 23,750 killed or wounded, 10,000 missing, 7,500 captured, while French and Allied casualties amounted to 37,500, with 27,500 killed or wounded and 10,000 missing or captured. Four Austrian generals were killed or mortally wounded during the fighting: Nordmann , Vukassovich , Vécsey , and d\'Aspré .
Wagram was one of the few battles thus far in his career in which
* 1 With some 95,000 men committed to battle, the Austrians had
held a 3/1 numeric advantage at the end of the first day of battle and
a 3/2 numeric superiority throughout the second day. The Austrians
also deployed 200 cannon to the French 90 cannon.
* 2 Hiller was replaced at the command of VI Korps with
Johann von Klenau , formerly commander of the army
Advance Guard. Klenau was himself replaced at the helm of the Advance
Guard by Felmarshalleutnant
Armand von Nordmann
* ^ A B Encyclopædia Britannica, online, 2012 edition
* ^ A B Nicholls 1999 , p. 257.
* ^ A B C Castle 7.
* ^ Rothenberg 39–61.
* ^ Chandler, p. 663.
* ^ Rothenberg 61–66.
* ^ Chandler, p. 665-666.
* ^ Rothenberg 62–63.
* ^ Fierro, Palluel-Guillard, Tulard 131–137 and 586.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 65–82.
* ^ Chandler, p. 670.
* ^ Rothenberg 85–129.
* ^ Castle 29–55.
* ^ Fierro, Palluel-Guillard, Tulard 138–139 and 586.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 152.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 127–129.
* ^ Castle 54–55.
* ^ Rothenberg 145.
* ^ Rothenberg 143–144.
* ^ Rothenberg 148.
* ^ Rothenberg 143–147.
* ^ Rothenberg 144–145.
* ^ Chandler, p. 706.
* ^ Chandler, p. 692.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 131–143.
* ^ Rothenberg 146–150.
* ^ A B Naulet 35.
* ^ Lorraine Petre 341.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 151.
* ^ Chandler 709.
* ^ Castle 58.
* ^ Chandler 713.
* ^ Naulet 35–36.
* ^ Naulet 39–40.
* ^ Naulet 45–46.
* ^ Rothenberg 163.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 163–164.
* ^ A B C Castle 61.
* ^ Rothenberg 165.
* ^ Rothenberg 164–165.
* ^ Castle 59.
* ^ A B C D Rothenberg 166–167.
* ^ A B Naulet 46.
* ^ Rothenberg 166.
* ^ Castle 62.
* ^ A B Naulet 47.
* ^ Rothenberg 167–169.
* ^ Castle 62–64.
* ^ Naulet 47–50.
* ^ A B Castle 65.
* ^ Rothenberg 169.
* ^ Naulet 51.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 170–171.
* ^ A B Castle 66.
* ^ Rothenberg 172.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 172–173.
* ^ A B C D E Castle 66–68.
* ^ A B C Arnold 171.
* ^ Rothenberg 170.
* ^ Hourtoulle 46–47.
* ^ Castle 65–66.
* ^ A B C Rothenberg 173–174.
* ^ Castle 20–21.
* ^ Rothenberg 175–176.
* ^ A B C D Castle 68.
* ^ A B C Rothenber 176–177.
* ^ A B Castle 22.
* ^ Petre Lorraine 365.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 177–178.
* ^ A B C D E Naulet 60.
* ^ A B C Rothenberg 178–179.
* ^ A B Naulet 55.
* ^ Castle 69.
* ^ Rothenberg 179.
* ^ A B C Naulet 55–56.
* ^ Castle 69–70.
* ^ Rothenberg 179–181.
* ^ Arnold 142.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 181.
* ^ A B Castle 70–73.
* ^ Rothenberg 182
* ^ Arnold 145.
* ^ Rothenberg 182–183.
* ^ A B Castle 73.
* ^ A B C D Rothenberg 183–184.
* ^ A B C Castle 73–76.
* ^ A B Castle 23.
* ^ A B Arnold 148–149.
* ^ A B Naulet 56.
* ^ Rothenberg 184–185.
* ^ Hourtoulle 52.
* ^ A B Arnold 162.
* ^ Rothenberg 185.
* ^ Arnold 162–163.
* ^ A B Naulet 62.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 186–187.
* ^ Castle 77.
* ^ Naulet 63.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 186.
* ^ Naulet 62–63.
* ^ Rothenberg 188–189.
* ^ Naulet 63–64.
* ^ Castle 78–81.
* ^ Rothenberg 189.
* ^ Tulard (volume 1) 196.
* ^ Naulet 64.
* ^ Rothenberg 190.
* ^ Sokolov 455.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 191.
* ^ Naulet 65.
* ^ Castle 82.
* ^ A B C Naulet 66.
* ^ Rothenberg 191–192.
* ^ Castle 82–83.
* ^ Rothenberg 192.
* ^ Thoumas 37.
* ^ Castle 87.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 193–194.
* ^ A B C D E F Naulet 67.
* ^ Naulet 70.
* ^ Rothenberg
* ^ A B Castle 85.
* ^ A B Rothenberg 194–195.
* ^ Arnold 161.
* ^ Rothenberg 196–198.
* ^ Naulet 71.
* ^ Rothenberg 202.
* ^ Rothenberg 204–206.
* ^ Arnold 170.
* ^ Naulet 77.
* ^ Rothenberg 206–207.
* ^ Rothenberg 207.
* ^ Rothenberg 207–210.
* ^ Castle 90.
* ^ Naulet 76–77.
* ^ A B C D Rothenberg 218.
* ^ Rothenberg 219–220.
* ^ Rothenberg 219.
* ^ Arnold 169–170.
* ^ Naulet 73.
* ^ Pigeard, Dictionnaire des battailles de Napoléon, 924.
* ^ Castle, I. Aspern/Wagram (1809), Osprey (1990)
* ^ Petre, F. Loraine.
* Website of the Museum of the
Battle of Wagram
* Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wagram". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. * David Chandler , Napoleon's Marshals, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1998, pp 247–251. * Bowden, Scotty & Tarbox, Charlie. Armies on the Danube