Battle of Bar-sur-Aube
|Battle of Bar-sur-Aube|
|Part of War of the Sixth Coalition|
|First French Empire||
Kingdom of Bavaria
|Commanders and leaders|
Karl von Wrede
|18,000, 60 guns||30,000, 70 guns|
|Casualties and losses|
|3,100, 2 guns||1,900|
The Battle of Bar-sur-Aube was fought on 27 February 1814, between the First French Empire and the Austrian Empire. The French were led by Jacques MacDonald, while the Austrians and their Bavarian allies, forming the Army of Bohemia, were led by Karl Philipp Fürst zu Schwarzenberg. The Austrians were victorious.
Napoleon I himself, having defeated the Allies at Montereau on 17 February, forcing them to retreat toward Troyes beyond the river Aube, had turned north to the valley of the Marne to try to impede the renewed drive toward Paris by the Army of Silesia (mostly Prussians) under Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher; the marshals he left behind were ordered to make it appear as though he was still with them. Schwarzenberg tested that assumption by advancing upon Bar-sur-Aube (in part because Alexander I of Russia and Frederick William III of Prussia wanted him to do so), and on the twenty-sixth Napoleon ordered Oudinot to follow Schwarzenberg to the town, near Troyes.
When it was learned that Napoleon was preparing to attack the Army of Silesia, Schwarzenberg took the opportunity to strike first at Oudinot with a Russian corps under General Peter Wittgenstein and a Bavarian corps under General Karl von Wrede. Although MacDonald enjoyed a measure of numerical superiority at the outset, many of his troops were cut off from the main theater of the battle by their deployment astride the Aube and were therefore unable to participate, much of the French artillery being stuck on the wrong side of the river. Not only was MacDonald forced to retreat over the Aube, but he continued retreating for the next few days, pursued by the Allies and leaving Schwarzenberg in an advantageous position, able to concentrate his forces at Troyes as well as to take possession of the river crossings of the Seine.