Battle of Issy

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Battle of Issy
Part of the Napoleonic Wars (Seventh Coalition 1815)
Date 3 July 1815
Location Issy, France
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
France First French Empire Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia
Commanders and leaders
France General Vandamme Kingdom of Prussia General Zieten

The Battle of Issy was a skirmish fought on 3 July 1815 at the village of Issy, a short distance south west of Paris. The result was a victory for Field Marshal Prince Blücher over a French army defending Paris.


Prelude[edit]

After the French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the armies of the Duke of Wellington and Blücher and other Seventh Coalition forces advanced upon Paris. Although a Prussian brigade was defeated in a skirmish at Rocquencourt near Versailles, the movement of the Prussians to the right was not checked. The Prussian I Corps under the command of General Zieten advanced on the 2 July towards the heights of Meudon and Châtillon and fought a sharp battle for the possession of Sèvres, Moulineaux, and Issy.[1][2]

At a French Council of War, which was held during the night of 2/3 July in Paris, it was decided that the defence of the capital was not practicable against the two Coalition armies. Nevertheless, the French Commander-in-Chief Marshal Devout, was desirous that another attempt before he would finally agree to a suspension of hostilities.[3]

Battle[edit]

At three o'clock on the morning of 3 July, Vandamme advanced in two columns from Vaugirard to the attack of Issy. Between Vaugirard and the river Seine, he had a considerable force of cavalry, the front of which was flanked by a battery advantageously posted near Auteuil on the right bank of the river. The action commenced with a brisk cannonade: the French having brought twenty pieces of cannon against the front of the village, which was then vigorously assailed by his infantry. The Prussians had constructed some barricades, and other defences, during the night; but these did not protect them from the sharp fire of case shot which was poured upon them by the French batteries, the guns of which enfiladed the streets. The 12th and 24th Prussian Regiments, and the 2nd Westphalian Landwehr, supported by a half battery of twelve pounders, fought with great bravery. There was much loss on both sides. At length the French withdrew; but only to advance again, considerably reinforced.[4]

The 2nd Prussian Brigade was immediately ordered to join the 1st, and the whole of the troops of the I Prussian Corps stood to their arms. Zieten sent a request to Blücher for the support of two brigades of Bülow's IV Prussian Corps; and, at the same time, begged Thielemann to advance (in conformity with instructions conveyed to him from headquarters) from Châtillon, and threaten the French left flank.[5]

In the mean time, the French renewed their attack upon Issy; which, however, again proved unsuccessful. This was followed by a heavy cannonade and by further assaults, without any decided advantage having been gained over the defenders. The French did not appear disposed to venture upon a more general attack, which would have offered them a much greater chance of forcing back the Prussian advanced guard; probably considering that, if unsuccessful, it might end in the suburbs of Paris being easily carried by storm: and hence, after four hours' continued but fruitless attempts upon Ziethn's advanced position, they fell back upon Paris; the Prussian skirmishers following them until they came within a very short distance of the Barriers surrounding the city. [5]

Aftermath[edit]

Issy was the final attempt of the French army to defend Paris and, with this defeat, all hope of holding Paris faded. The French high command decided that they would capitulate.[5]

Accordingly, at seven o'clock in the morning, the French ceased fire and General Revest was delegated to approach Zieten's Corps, which of all the Coalition forces was the nearest to the capital, for the purpose of offering a capitulation and requesting an immediate armistice.[6]

On hearing of the unilateral French ceasefire, Blücher demanded that the French provide delegates with full powers of negotiation before he would finally agree to a suspension of hostilities, and indicated the Palace of St. Cloud as the place where the negotiations should be carried on. He then moved his headquarters to the palace.[3]

Officers furnished with full powers by their respective chiefs soon met at St. Cloud, where the Duke of Wellington had joined Prince Blücher. The result of their deliberations was the surrender of Paris under the terms of the Convention of St. Cloud.[7]

Napoleon Bonaparte had already announced his abdication (24 June 1815); unable to remain in France or escape from it, a few days later, on 15 July he surrendered himself to Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon and was transported to England. The full restoration of Louis XVIII followed the emperor’s departure. Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Saint Helena where he died in May 1821.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gleig 1847, p. 301.
  2. ^ Siborne 1848, pp. 748–749.
  3. ^ a b Siborne 1848, p. 754.
  4. ^ Siborne 1848, p. 752.
  5. ^ a b c Siborne 1848, p. 753.
  6. ^ Siborne 1848, p. 753–754.
  7. ^ Siborne 1848, pp. 754–756.

References[edit]

  • Gleig, George Robert (1847), Story of the Battle of Waterloo, Harper & Brothers, pp. 301–302 
Atttibution
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Siborne, William (1848), Waterloo Campaign 1815 (Fourth campaign ed.), A. Constable, pp. 748–749