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Battle of Rheims
Part of War of the Sixth Coalition
Meissonier - 1814, Campagne de France.jpg
Napoleon during the 1814 campaign.
Painting by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, 1864
Date 13 March 1814
Location Reims, France
Result French victory
Belligerents
France French Empire Russia Russia
Kingdom of Prussia Prussia
Commanders
Napoleon I Russia Emmanuel de Saint-Priest
Strength
10,000 15,000
Casualties and losses
unknown 3,000 dead, 5,000 captured

The Battle of Reims was fought at Reims (France) on 13 March 1814 between the French Empire and a Russian-Prussian force. The French, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, were victorious.

Contents

Background

The engagement took place during the 1814 campaign. After Napoleon had retreated from Russia and lost the Battle of Leipzig, the allied armies had invaded France. Napoleon won a number of victories (such as the battle of Reims), but had little chance of success, with just 70,000 men against half a million allied forces. The campaign ended with the allies taking Paris on 31 March and Napoleon's abdication on 6 April.

The battle

On 12 March, General Emmanuel de Saint-Priest had taken the city of Reims with 15,000 men. Napoleon responded by heading east from Soissons with 10,000 men and retaking the city the next day. Some 3,000 allied soldiers fell in the battle, and St. Priest was mortally wounded.

In a letter to his brother Joseph on 14 March, Napoleon wrote: "Yesterday I arrived in Reims, which had been occupied by General St. Priest with three Russian divisions and a new Prussian division. I captured the city, taking twenty guns, plenty of baggage, and 5,000 prisoners. General St. Priest has been mortally wounded."

Napoleon entered Reims at 2 a.m. while the allied forces fled through another city gate. The allies retreated to Laon, where St. Priest died two weeks later.

See also

Sources

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