|Napoleon's Campaign of 1809
by Birrion Sondahl
Napoleon's campaign of 1809 is a very interesting episode of the Napoleonic
Wars. In this campaign Napoleon once again showed his brilliance as a military
leader in gaining victory after setbacks and against a very competent enemy in
the Archduke Charles and the Austrian army. The campaign itself consisted of
two major battles fought along the north bank of the Danube. The first battle
is now called Aspern-Essling while the second is known as Wagram. Each of these
battles was preceded by crossings of the Danube which were impressive feats in
their own right. These crossings and the battles combined make a study of the
campaign of 1809 profitable to gaining a further understanding of the
Napoleon fought his second campaign in the Danube region following Austria's
rising against his control in early 1809. The Austrians began with an offensive
which is beyond the scope of this paper. After the failure of this Austrian
offensive, the Archduke Charles had taken his army into the mountains of
Bohemia. Napoleon now chose to advance upon Vienna, as he considered mountains
to be too difficult of an obstacle to cross. He hoped that a threat to the
Austrian capitol would draw the Archduke to the battlefield. But first it was
necessary that he reach Vienna. The way to Vienna was defended by General
Hiller who had a contingent of around 40,000 troops. His objective was to delay
the French army until the Archduke Charles could arrive from Bohemia with the
main Austrian force.
General Hiller's rearguard force clashed with French corps under Massena at
Ebersburg on May 3. The result of this battle amounted to a rather pyhrric
French victory, for Massena lost 3,000 men in a frontal assault that drove the
Austrians to a further retreat. Although Massena's goal had been to prevent the
Austrians from crossing the Danube, they proceeded to do so despite his
efforts. With the Austrian rearguard now on the opposite bank, Napoleon rapidly
moved his forces down the river. With no more obstacles in his way, he managed
to reach the town before the main Austrian force could intervene. David
Chandler describes the capture of Vienna in the following manner, "Under threat
of bombardment, the Austrian capital opened its gates, but only after its
garrison had retired to the north bank successfully destroying all four bridges
behind them. The garrison then proceeded to occupy the suburb of Florisdorf in
considerable strength to prevent the repair of the bridges."  So Napoleon
had captured Vienna, but he had not gained a military victory over the Austrian
fighting forces through its capture. Until the Austrian army was decisively
defeated on the battlefield, the war would continue.
Meanwhile the Austrians under Archduke Charles had combined with General
Hiller's corp and marched to the Danube, just north of Vienna. The Austrian
force now totaled 115,000-120,000 men and 400 pieces of artillery.  Archduke
Charles now chose to wait, for there were a further 15,000 men under Archduke
John at Innsbruck and Jellacic which he hoped would be able to unite with the
main force. However, in his waiting, he made a feint towards the French under
Bernadotte at Linz. This made it look as if he wished to cross the Danube and
unite with Archduke John's force on the south bank. Napoleon was now in a
difficult position. He wanted to bring Charles to battle before John's
contingent was able to join him, but in order to do so he would have to cross
the Danube. He also had to prevent the Austrians from making a crossing
themselves and falling upon his line of communications.
In his desire to defeat Archduke Charles and the main Austrian force before
more Austrian reinforcements could arrive, Napoleon immediately set about
preparing to cross the river. This could truly be considered a gamble as he
would be crossing the river in the face of a strong Austrian force. The point
where Napoleon chose to cross was quite broad, but it held certain advantages
to him. The main advantage was the presence of a large island, Lobau Island,
near the north bank. This island would help screen the French crossing from
Austrian view as well as provide cover and a position for French artillery.
Work on bridges at this point was started immediately.
In order to deceive the Austrians as to his true crossing point, Napoleon also
had his army begin work on a bridge at Nussdorf which was a short distance
upstream from Vienna. However, this ruse bridge was soon abandoned as too
costly due to the strong position of the Austrians on Bissam Hill. The main
effort was at the Lobau position where it would take all of the French engineer
corps ingenuity to create a crossing point. Chandler describes the construction
work in this passage, "To span the 825 yards between the right bank and Lobau
island, 68 pontoons and 9 rafts were required."  This was just to create a
single bridge to the island. At this point, Napoleon did not know that the
whole Austrian force was waiting on the north bank. Archduke Charles had moved
his army faster than Napoleon had predicted. Napoleon did not expect the
crossing to be opposed in force and neither did his officers. This led to a
neglect of security in creating the bridge. As Chandler so aptly notes,
"General Bertrand decided to do without the protective pallisades and manned
flotillas of river boats at the Lobau bridge in the interests of speed and
economy."  The crossing now began but it did not go well due in part to this
lack of security. Only 22,500 men of Massena's corps were able to cross before
the bridge was broken by a floating hulk from upstream.  This force occupied
the towns of Aspern and Essling, which were near the crossing point on the
north bank. They did not fortify their positions but rather simply camped
The Austrians intelligence service was working much more effectively than the
French. They had discovered the French crossing and reported it to the Archduke
Charles who immediately set his forces to attack. The forces which were within
striking range on the morning of May 21 were corps I, II, IV, and VI. Corps IV
attacked Essling while the other three concentrated upon Aspern. The Austrian
cavalry force was in the center between the two cities. The French were
completely unsuspecting of this attack as Napoleon was concentrating solely on
keeping the bridge in one piece. By this time the Austrians had begun floating
fireships and other objects down the Danube in an attempt to break Napoleon's
only link with the north bank. While Napoleon was occupied with keeping the
bridge together, the Austrian advanced upon Aspern and Essling.
The Austrian advance was masked by the terrain and the weather so when the
Austrians began their attack at around 1:00 PM, the French were taken by
surprise. Chandler describes the French reaction to the first hostilities in
the following passage, "Fortunately, Molitor was equal to the occasion; by
superhuman efforts he drove back the first, rather ineffective Austrian attack,
and gained enough time to summon all his four regiments into the town."  The
Austrians continued to attack piece meal until 5:00 PM when all three corps had
arrived in position. Only then was there a concentrated assault upon Aspern.
The battle now became a see-saw affair with ground being lost and gained
repeatedly by both sides. The French force only held out due to the arrival of
reinforcements under Generals Legrand and St. Cyr. These reinforcements brought
the French total up to 31,400 men.  As night fell, these forces faced nearly
100,000 Austrians concentrated concentrically around their positions. The fate
of the French depended upon how many reinforcements could be brought over
during the night.
During the night, the French transferred over St. Hilaire's division and
Oudinot's grenadiers with supporting artillery and cavalry. These forces were
under the command of Marshall Lannes. The forces at Aspern under General
Molitor were withdrawn, leaving only the forces under Generals Legrand and St.
Cyr. The cavalry, which had been engaged in skirmishing with the Austrian
cavalry during the day, was also withdrawn into a reserve position. General
Demont's division and two divisions of the guard also crossed during the night,
being placed in positions guarding the crossing. Chandler gives the total as
"50,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and about 144 guns (to include the batteries
on Lobau island). Facing them were well over 100,000 Austrians supported by at
least 260 artillery pieces."  While 30,000 of the French had already been
involved in the fighting the previous day, most of the Austrians were still
The fighting renewed in full again at around 5:00 AM with renewed Austrian
assault at Aspern and Essling. These assaults lasted for about two hours.
According to Chandler, at 7:00 AM, Massena recaptured the whole of Aspern with
a counterattack..  The Austrians fell back to regroup for continued assaults
following this setback. Napoleon now set in motion a counterattack by Lannes'
corps upon the Austrian center, which was weaker than the wings where the
majority of the fighting had been occuring. This frontal attack was nearly
successful in breaking through the Austrian center despite taking heavy
casualties along the way. Archduke Charles personally led the Austrian
reserves, a group of around 12,000 grenadiers, in a counter attack which halted
the French attack before it could achieve breakthrough in the center. Napoleon
countered by sending in the cavalry reserves under Bessieres. This was still
not enough and after receiving news of a renewed breakage of the bridge,
Napoleon withdrew what remained of Lannes' and Bessieres' forces back to
support Aspern and Essling once more. Napoleon's gamble in the center had
With the threat to their center gone, the Archduke Charles set his forces to
assault all along the line. The weakly held French right at Essling began to
collapse under the renewed pressure. Napoleon first counterattacked with the
Young Guard under General Moutan. When these reserves failed to retake the
town, Napoleon ordered General Rapp to "disengage them, to effect a retreat
with them, and to take up a position between the village and the rest of the
Guard, on the banks of the Danube near the broken bridge."  Rather than
following these orders, General Rapp joined in the counterattack and succeeded
in retaking the town of Essling. This secured the French right for the time
being. The French spent the rest of the afternoon in a methodical extrication
from their positions and back across the river, as the bridge had finally been
repaired. The retreat continued well into the night, the last forces crossing
around 4:00 AM. The bridge from Lobau Island to the north bank was dismantled
in order to prevent the Austrians from following the defeated French.
The retreat was carried out very effectively with a total of only three guns
lost to the Austrians as well as seven ammunition wagons. The two day battle
raging around Aspern-Essling had been very costly to both sides. Chandler gives
the following numbers, "During the course of the battle, the Austrians lost a
total of 23,340 killed and wounded, and surrendered one standard and six guns.
The French losses were probably in the region of 20-22,000; Napoleon, true to
form, put them at only 4,100, but this figure was flagrant propaganda." 
Schom gives the total French dead at 16,000 and estimates over 30,000 wounded.
 It was evident that the French had received the worst of the battle.
Napoleon had been forced to conduct a tactical retreat, something which he had
never done before in a major battle. The military philosopher Baron Antoine
Henri de Jomini wrote the following of the battle, "Essling, in 1809, is an
example of the advantageous use of a concave line; but it must not be inferred
that Napoleon committed an error in attacking the center; for an army fighting
with the Danube behind it and with no way of moving without uncovering its
bridges of communication, must not be judged as if it had been free to maneuver
at pleasure."  Napoleon's error was not in his attack in the center, which
was very nearly successful, but rather in his crossing of the river without
knowledge of the location of his enemy. The British military historian and
theorist Bassill H. Liddell Hart wrote, "...in the campaign of 1809 Napoleon is
again seen trying, at Landshut and Vienna, to manoeuvre onto the enemy's rear.
But when hitches occurred in the execution of these manoeuvres, Napoleon's
impatience led him to gamble on a direct approach and battle, and at
Aspern-Essling he suffered in consequence his first great defeat."  This
was Napoleon's first major defeat, although it was by no means decisive as
shall be seen.
Napoleon had done very well to extract his forces from their positions at
Aspern-Essling without suffering a worse defeat. As the Prussian military Carl
von Clausewitz noted in the section of his work on river crossings, "A major
river that cuts across the line of attack is a great inconvenience to the
attacker. Having crossed it he is usually limited to a single bridge , so
unless he stays close to the river his actions will be severely hampered.
Worse, if he intends to offer a decisive battle on the far side, or if he
expects the enemy to attack him, he will expose himself to grave danger. So no
general will place himeslf in such a position unless he can count on
substantial moral and material superiority."  Napoleon had done just this
without material superiority and his army had walked away from it. This was a
very impressive military feat, but it did nothing to advance the French
prospects in the war except to prolong it. The strategic situation was the same
as before the battle of Aspern-Essling except that Napoleon now knew the
position of the Austrian army under Archduke Charles and something of its size
After the defeat at Aspern-Essling, Napoleon remained undecided for a period
before calling up the other parts of his army. During this time the bridge to
the south bank from Lobau Island was repaired. This allowed for an evacuation
of the wounded across the bridge and then to Vienna. While Surgeon General
Larrey took care of the wounded, Napoleon began to work on a new strategy to
bring Archduke Charles and the Austrian army to battle. It was evident to him
that he had been to hasty in his last crossing. Over the next six weeks he
planned out every detail of the next crossing while concentrating his troops in
preparation. He also reorganized the artillery corps so that there would be two
guns for each regiment. At Aspern-Essling there had been little artillery
support on the French side, Napoleon made sure that the next battle would have
sufficient support from this arm. By the date of the crossing, Napoleon had
over 500 guns including 129 entrenched on Lobau Island.  The French
engineers now referred to the island as "l'ile de Napoleon" due to his personal
influence on the fortification. 
The French concentration during this period went well. The French movements
were screened by the cavalry as was Napoleon's custom in strategic
dispositions. Napoleon was able to concentrate 188,000 men in the vicinity of
Vienna by the first week of July. While the men concentrated, the sappers and
engineers were hard at work constructing bridges for the crossing. On the south
side of Logau Island, there were two bridges from the mainshore to the
Schneidergrund islet and three from there to Logau. These were guarded by a
barricade and gunships to prevent the Austrians from destroying them as had
occured to the bridge during the battle of Aspern-Essling. The bridges from
Logau to the north shore were prepared but not put in place, so as to keep the
Austrians guessing as to the actual crossing location.
While Napoleon concentrated his army and prepared his bridges, the Archduke
Charles was content to wait for further developments. The Austrian victory at
Aspern-Essling had helped to gain support in the German states for Austria and
the Hapsburgs. It seemed only a matter of time before the German states would
rise up against Napoleon and sever his lines of communication with Paris.
Archduke Charles was also still waiting word from Archduke John's force, which
he was still expecting to join with him. At no point did he make any offensive
moves; he was content to observe Napoleon's bridgebuilding and await an attack.
Aspern and Essling were both fortified by Klenau's Corps VI while the bulk of
the army was encamped farther back. The Austrian left wing consists of Corps I,
II, and IV and was deployed to the north of the River Russback from the
Markgrafneusiedl area to Deutsch-Wagram, a total of about 90,000 men. The
Austrian right wing was made of Corps II and III as well as the grenadier
reserves and was deployed between Gerasdorf and Lang-Enzersdorf, a total of
around 65,000 men. There was a contingent of cavalry posted between the wings.
The entire Austrian line stretched around eight miles with the cavalry covering
a three mile area. This left the Austrians in a very awkward position when
Napoleon began his crossings on July 5.
Napoleon had two main crossing points from Logau Island to the north bank. One
was the same as had been used at the battle of Aspern-Essling and was the focus
of a feint attack by General Legrand. This was to deceive the Austrians into
believing that he was following the same battle plan as Aspern-Essling. The
main crossing was actually made on the east side of the island. By crossing
here the French forces would take the Austrian fortifications on the
Aspern-Essling line in flank and render them useless. These crossing were
masked by the feint as well as a convenient thunderstorm which obscurred
visibility. The first forces across immediately secured a bridgehead while the
rest of the army continued in a steady flow across the Danube. General Massena
drove the Austrians away from the Aspern-Essling line and advanced to the left
with Corps IV. By nightfall Napoleon had a total of 110,000 troops on the north
bank moving into position for an assault upon the weak Austrian center.
The Austrians had been taken completely by surprise, much as the French had
been at Aspern-Essling. Nearly the entire French army had crossed before
Archduke Charles realized the full extent of his situation. He was determined
to hold the Russbach line and his first actions upon learning of the French
crossings were to order fortifications established along the line, which he had
neglected to do earlier, and to send word to Archduke John who was now in
Pressburg with his force of 12,500 men. As far as the tactical situation went,
according to Chandler, "The Archduke now desired to close up his right wing
around Wagram and employ all his troops in a massive frontal battle, with
John's force playing an important role on the extreme left."  But before he
could begin these maneuvers, Napoleon took the initiative and launched an
evening attack all along the line, focusing upon the center at Wagram.
This attack began with a heavy artillery bombardment from the newly expanded
and reorganized artillery corps. The first attack was carried out by Oudinot's
Corps II against the Austrians Corps II under Hohenzollern at Baumersdorf. This
was followed by a general assault along the line, the main focus on the French
right. All of the French attacks were repulsed but the Austrians were unable to
counterattack due to the lateness of the day. Both commanders spent the night
preparing their armies for the battle the next day. The next day would see the
decision on the battlefield.
With the assurance that the Archduke John would arrive the next day, Archduke
Charles decided to attempt a double envelopment of the French army. As the
French left was notably weaker, the main attack would be launched here while
attacks were also launched in the center upon the French position at Aderklaa
and the right at Grosshofen-Glinzendorf. These attacks were to start at about
first light or 4:00 AM. Napoleon's plans were to refuse his left while
concentrating on the Austrian left on the Russbach and center at Wagram. The
Austrians beat the French to the initiative though and therefore Napoleon was
forced to react to the Archduke's offensives.
The French were taken by surprise by the Austrian dawn attacks but Napoleon was
quickly able to shift his reserves to secure his right flank where the Austrian
secondary attack was meeting with considerable success. In the center,
Bernadotte had played into the Austrians' hands by abandoning his position at
Aderklaa even before the Austrian attack materialized. Once Napoleon learned of
this, he immediately "ordered Bernadotte and Massena to retake the place
heedless of casualties."  The battle at Aderklaa remained in flux for
several hours until finally secured around 9:00 AM. While the fighting around
Aderklaa was still continuing, the Austrian main attack struck the French left.
The left had been further weakened by the use of Massena's corps to strengthen
the center at Aderklaa and therefore the Austrian attack was quite successful.
Chandler describes the result in the following manner, "Boudet's isolated
division had been bundled back by overwhelming numbers into the Muhlau salient,
Klenau's advance guard was already as far east as Essling, and it appeared
nothing could prevent the successful Austrian envelopment of Napoleon's left."
The situation was now critical for Napoleon. If the Austrians were able to
complete their envelopment of the left his entire army was in danger of being
destroyed. The French left was now pushed back past Aspern and in danger and
collapsing completely. Napoleon was equal to the challenge and quickly ordered
Massena to march south to secure the flank. This would involve a five mile
march in the very face of the enemy, but as Chandler describes, "the crisis
called for desperate measures, and Napoleon had every confidence in the skill
of perhaps his ablest subordinate."  This move was supported by the reserve
cavalry under Bessieres which filled Massena's position in the center of the
line between Aderklaa and Sussenbrunn. Despite the use of the reserve cavalry,
there still remained a portion of the French centered which was uncovered and
vulnerable if the Austrians were to attack it. Napoleon filled this gap with
over one hundred pieces of cannon under the command of General Lauriston. Schom
describes this as "An extraordinary, hazardous move, nearly one thousand horses
and fifteen hundred gunners weaving through French lines."  Although
exposed to Austrian counter-battery fire, the French artillery was able to hold
the line and inflict significant casualties upon the Austrian center and right.
This use of artillery was truly amazing, as Jomini wrote in his "Summary of the
Art of War", "Who, for example, would dare to advise as a rule the filling up
of a large gap in a line of battle with one hundred pieces of cannon in a
single battery without adequate support, as Napoleon did successfully at
Wagram?"  This was a truly innovative maneuver by Napoleon making use of
what resources he had to remedy the tactical situation. The artillery on Lobau
Island also played a part, as the Austrians advancing upon Essling exposed
their flanks to the enfillade fire from this position. The Austrian right was
now halted mainly by the French artillery.
On the French right, General Davout was engaged with Rosenberg's Corps IX along
the Russbach line. The Austrian position was very hotly contested, Davout
personally had a horse shot down underneath him, but he perservered and finally
broke through.  Napoleon had now regained the tactical initiative by his
use of the artillery to gain breathing space. When Napoleon realized that
Davout had turned the Austrian left, he ordered a counterattack all along the
line. Massena was now in position and there was still no sign of the Archduke
John's reinforcements. In the French center-right, Oudinot attacked the heights
at Wagram. In the center, MacDonald with only 8,000 men attacked the Austrian
positions in the vicinity of Sussenbrunn. MacDonald's force was the main attack
and deployed in a hollow square which made it vulnerable to Austrian artillery
fire. MacDonald took heavy casualties and was soon left with a mere
1,500-2,500 men.  Napoleon now mustered a mixed force to support Macdonald
and gain the breakthrough in the center that was so vital to the French. This
force consisted of forces from the Young Guard, a part of Eugene's division,
and General Wrede's force of Germans. This was all that Napoleon had in reserve
which had not yet been commited apart from two regiments of the Old Guard.
There was nothing left for Napoleon to do but watch his counterattacks with his
telescope and hope they would succeed.
These counterattacks were successful. Massena's arrival in the south led to the
recapture of Aspern by the French. Davout continued to roll up the Austrian
left while Oudinot approached Wagram in the center. General Wrede's command
joined with what was left of MacDonald's and together they drove the Austrians
from Sussenbrunn. Schom describes the Archduke Charles reaction in the
following, "With the slaughter and his own casualties reaching phenomenal
proportions, outnumbered from the start and apparently unconfident in his own
plan while cointnuing to face this staggering French ferrocity, Archduke Karl
[Charles] conceded defeat and began an orderly withdrawal of his troops from
this immense battlefield."  This withdrawal was carried out quite
effectively for as Chandler states "It was not until the 7th that Napoleon
fully realized that he was not facing a third day's fighting."  As the
battle ended around 8:00 PM, darkness covered the withdrawal and Napoleon was
unable to pursue immediately. The battle of Wagram was over and the French were
the clear victors.
Estimates on the casualties for both sides vary. Schom reports Austrian
casualties at 37,146 with 747 officers (four generals). He estimates the French
casualties at "32,500 dead or wounded and another 7,000 men prisoners of the
Austrians."  This included a total of 1,866 officers "including more than
three dozen generals."  Chandler's estimates are similar to Schom's, noting
that the actual Austrian figure was most likely significantly larger than the
number admitted. Marrin estimated 45,000 Austrians killed or captured and gives
no number for the French casualties.  It was a clear victory for Napoleon,
but it had cost him greatly. The combined losses for the French at
Aspern-Essling and Wagram were well over 50,000 men. The fighting had been very
hard. Chandler describes Napoleon's reaction in the following anecdote, "In his
arrogance Napleon occasionally referred to his Austrian enemy as 'cette
canaille,' but on at least one occasion after 1809 he rounded on an obsequious
minister who was making a sneering reference to Austrian martial qualities with
the comment, 'It is evident you were not at Wagram.'"  Both sides had
fought extremely well.
With this costly victory, Napoleon's Austrian campaign neared a conclusion.
After reorganizing on the 7th and assuring himself that the Austrians were
indeed retreating, Napoleon sent his marshals in pursuit. The main force was
discovered by Massena's detachment which brought it to battle on July 10th.
This battle was not long fought for the Austrians were not in the mood for
further bloodshed. Schom writes of Massena's attack, "This was too much for
Archduke Karl [Charles] and his exhausted and thoroughly demoralized army,
which finally began breaking ranks and fleeing in all directions." Peace
talks now began with a final agreement being signed at two in the morning on
July 12th.  The campaign was over.
There are severals parts of this campaign which are specifically noteworthy in
the history of war. Both of Napoleon's crossings of the Danube, before
Aspern-Essling and before Wagram, were truly amazing maneuvers. The military
theorist Jomini wrote that these crossings "exceeded everything of the kind
previously seen."  The German historian Hans Delbruck considered these
crossing to be "among the most daring events in Napoleon's career."  This
was due to the overall difficulty of river crossings in the face of an enemy
army. Carl von Clausewitz, a contemporary of Jomini and Napoleon, dedicated a
small portion of his life's work, "On War", to river crossings. This section
contained statements such as, "Under such conditions, therefore, the position
of a defending army behind a fair-sized river or a deep valley is very
advantageous; this type of river defense must be counted among the best
strategic devices."  These conditions to which he refers were that of
rivers in open country rather than mountainous terrain. The Danube was just
such a river and the Austrians held a very advantageous position in both cases.
At Aspern-Essling Napoleon was very fortunate to be able to establish enough of
a bridgehead the night of the crossing to be able to survive a battle without
being thrown into the Danube.
Another interesting aspect of this campaign was Napoleon's use of artillery at
Wagram. Liddell-Hart describes it as follows, "This superiority was based on
his use of massed artillery against a key point, and at both Friedland and
Wagram the decision was primarily due to this new tactical method."  It was
this use of massed artillery that allowed Massena to make his march from the
French center to the French left. This march did much to save Napoleon's entire
line from becoming enveloped. As Napoleon wrote in his Maxim LIV, "Artillery
should always be placed in the most advantageous positions, and as far in front
of the line of cavalry and infantry, without copromising the safety of the
guns, as possible."  At Wagram the safety of the guns was partly
compromised, for the battery took heavy casualties, but it was a very
advantageous position. The position of the artillery was such that it could
fire on the entire Austrian right, which was in the process of driving back the
French past the village of Aspern. This use of artillery not only allowed
Massena to extract himself and march south, but it also held off the Austrians
until this march could be completed. The use of the artillery combined with the
tactical march of Massena's corps is one of the most amazing tactical maneuvers
of the Napoleonic period. Schom simply stated that it was "a complicated,
delicate procedure."  This procedure was the primary reason that Napoleon
was able to claim victory on the field at Wagram.
Overall the entire campaign of 1809 takes an interesting place in history. This
campaign was the first in which Napoleon experienced a tactical defeat.
Aspern-Essling shows how the great commander was not infallible. He overstepped
himself and placed a large portion of his army in a very dangerous situation
across the Danube with only a flimsy bridge linking it back to the south bank.
He was very fortunate that he did not lose more men in this potentially
disastrous situation than he did. Napoleon was no phased by this defeat but
immediately set about remedying it with the fortification of Lobau Island, the
creation of more bridges, and the concentration of his army for a decisive
battle. In this battle he showed his tactical capabilities in once again making
the best of a difficult situation when the French left was turned and his army
was in danger of envelopment. Napoleon's victory at Wagram which sealed the
fate of the campaign was a very hard earned one.
Show Footnotes and
. Chandler, David. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Scribner,
Simon and Schuster, 1966, pg. 695.
. Jomini, Baron Antoine Henri de. The Art of War. London, England:
Greenhill Books, 1996, pg. 226.
. Chandler, pg. 699.
. Ibid., pg. 698.
. Delbruck, Hans. History of the Art of War, Volume IV: The Dawn of Modern
Warfare. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1990, pg.
. Chandler, pg. 700.
. Ibid., pg. 702.
. Ibid., pg. 703.
. Ibid., pg. 703.
. Bourienne, M. de, Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte Volume III. London,
England, 1836, pg. 94.
. Chandler, pg. 706.
. Schom, Alan. Napoleon Bonaparte. New York, New York:
HarperCollins, 1997, pgs. 511, 526.
. Jomini, pg. 192.
. Liddell Hart, B.H. Strategy. New York, New York: Meridian Books,
1991, pg. 109.
. Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, 1984, pg 532.
. Chandler, pgs. 708-709.
. Asprey, Robert B. The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. New York, New
York: Basic Books, 2001, pg. 161.
. Chandler, pg. 718.
. Ibid., pg. 723.
. Ibid., pg. 724.
. Ibid., pg. 725.
. Schom, pg. 523.
. Jomini, pg. 289.
. Schom, pg. 524.
. Chandler, pgs. 727-728.
. Ibid., pg. 728.
. Schom, pg. 524.
. Chandler, pg. 729.
. Schom, pg. 525.
. Ibid., pg. 525.
. Marrin, Albert. Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars. New York, New
York: Viking, 1991, pg. 166.
. Chandler, pg. 667.
. Schom, pg. 526.
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Copyright © 2007 Birrion Sondahl
Written by Birrion Sondahl. If you have questions or comments on this article,
please contact Birrion Sondahl at:
About the author:
Birrion Sondahl recently completed his degree in Military History from American Military University.
In addition to studying military history, he is an avid freestyle skier. He lives at home
with his parents, three cats, and a flock of chickens in Spirit Lake, Idaho.
Published online: 11/11/2007.
* Views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent
those of MHO.