First Italian Campaign |
The Egyptian Campaign |
Second Italian Campaign |
The Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign |
The Prussian Campaign |
The Peninsular War |
The Austrian War |
The Russian Campaign |
From Lützen to Elba |
The Waterloo Campaign
Austrian War, 1809
by the rebellious Spaniards' success against Napoleon,
Austria launched a campaign to liberate neighboring
countries from Napoleon's rule. Hoping to inspire large-scale
revolution throughout the Confederacy of the Rhine,
Austrian troops invade Bavaria on April 8, 1809, proclaiming
a War of German Liberation. But the people of Bavaria,
who had profited from Napoleon's earlier defeat of
Austria, rallied once again around Napoleon as he assembled
his troops for battle.
wants to get slapped; she shall have it," Napoleon boasted.
"If the Emperor Francis attempts any hostile move, he
will soon have ceased to reign."
weeks later, Napoleon battered the Austrians, forcing
them to retreat back across the border. He then swooped
down on Vienna once again, capturing the city on May
13. Even with the capital in enemy control, Emperor
Francis I refused to sign a peace treaty. Napoleon would
have to crush the massive Austrian army to bring him
to the negotiations table.
marshy Lobau Island west of Vienna, Napoleon's army
launched an attack against the Austrians on May 22.
Despite being outnumbered almost two to one, the French
pushed their enemy out of the village of Essling, inflicting
heavy losses. However, Austrian troops upstream from the
island cut loose a floating flour mill that smashed
Napoleon's pontoon bridges. His troops were cut off
from vital reinforcements and supplies. He crossed the
river to help reassure them.
If he's needed up at the very front to encourage
people, he's there. The Austrians got the jump on
him for once and he was having to counter their moves
and he's described as sitting under a canopy of cannon
balls. Most of his staff had their horses killed or
ordered a withdrawal to Lobau by rowboats and gave command
of his troops to Gerneral Lannes, one of his oldest
friends and most competent warriors. Not long afterwards,
a cannonball shattered Lannes' legs. He was rushed to
Napoleon's personal surgeon, who amputated one of his
damaged limbs. But it was to no avail. Within nine days,
Lannes was dead.
had lost his most valuable marshall. Handsome, brave,
and always dependable, Lannes' death was a crushing
blow to Napoleon. His soldiers mourned; Napoleon wept
openly. He wrote to Lannes' widow:
[have lost] the most distinguished general in my army,
my companion in arms for sixteen years, and
my best friend."
by defeat at Essling, Napoleon readied his troops for
a second assault. After rebuilding the bridges, Napoleon
moved his troops over the river again under the cover
of a heavy thunderstorm on the night of July 4. Two days
later, 155,000 Austrians fought Napoleon's 173,000 troops,
the largest army Napoleon ever led into battle. After two days of relentless fighting, 32,500 soldiers
of the Grand Armée were dead or wounded,
along with 37,146 Austrians.
enemy is retreating in disorder, and all is going as
well as possible," Napoleon wrote to Josephine. "My
losses are heavy, but the victory is complete and decisive."
He nonchalantly added, "I am sunburned."
October 1809, Francis I signed a peace treaty with Napoleon.
Their terms of the agreement were very favorable to
the Emperor of the French three million of Francis'
subjects (out of sixteen million) become subjects of
Napoleon. It was the fourth, and last, time the Austrians
would be beaten by the Corsican upstart.