Europe 1814: Six Days’ Campaign
By 10 February 1814 the advancing allied armies were approaching Paris but had become separated. Seizing the opportunity, Napoleon attacked and defeated the two armies separately, sending them both into retreat.
1 Feb 1814 Battle of La Rothière▲
On 1 February 1814 Napoleon led 45,000 troops through a snowstorm in an attempt to catch the Prussians under Gebhard von Blücher at La Rothière, who had narrowly escaped him at Brienne two days earlier. Instead, a combined allied force—up to 110,000 Prussian, Russian, Austrian, Bavarian, and minor German State troops—counterattacked the French. After 5 hours’ battle, in which both sides lost about 6,000 casualties, night fell and Napoleon seized the opportunity to withdraw under darkness.
5 Feb–19 Mar 1814 Congress of Châtillon▲
In early February 1814 representatives of Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia met at Châtillon-sur-Seine to negotiate a possible peace with France, represented by Armand de Caulaincourt. However, the French position had been weakened by the recent defeat at La Rothière and the allies now demanded that France be reduced to its 1792 borders. This was unacceptable to Napoleon and in March the allies rescinded the offer.
8 Feb 1814 Battle of the Mincio River▲
In early February 1814 Eugène de Beauharnais, the French commander in Italy, and Heinrich von Bellegarde, his Austrian adversary, both prepared to mount decisive attacks in the vicinity of Mantua. The result was a battle of confusion as 34,000 French troops and 35,000 Austrians made simultaneous offensives across the Mincio River. After a day of fighting, which saw roughly 4,000 casualties on each side, both parties pulled back to their original positions and a stalemate ensued in northern Italy.
10–15 Feb 1814 Six Days’ Campaign▲
By 10 February 1814 the two invading allied armies under Blücher and Schwarzenberg had become separated as they marched on different routes to Paris. Seizing the opportunity, Napoleon led his 30,000 men against Blücher’s more than 50,000 Prussian, Russian, and German troops, defeating them at Champaubert, Montmirail, Château-Thierry, and Vauchamps over the course of six days—and inflicting almost 32,000 casualties in the process. With Blücher now in retreat, Napoleon was able to turn his focus to Schwarzenberg’s Austrians and drive them back as well.