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Warfare in the Age of Napoleon—Volume 1

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Warfare in the Age of Napoleon—Volume 1
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Author(s): Theodore A. Dodge
Date Published: 2011/06
Page Count: 428
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-598-8
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-597-1

The first volume of a major work on warfare in the Napoleonic age

The author of this substantial multi-volume history, Theodore A Dodge, was not only an historian of stature and note but also a soldier. He wrote several well regarded histories of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War and other works of military history. Perhaps his most outstanding achievement was a series of books, published under the umbrella title 'the Art of War,' focusing on different historical periods as typified by their most notable military commanders—including the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal and Caesar in the ancient world and the wars of the 17th and 18th century as fought by great captains including Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick and Marlborough. This volume is part of his in depth study of the Napoleonic period, which in its entirety was comprised of four huge volumes that benefited from the inclusion of almost 800 small scale uniform drawings, portraits of notable personalities and numerous theatre, campaign and battlefield maps. This retitled Leonaur edition has been revised to form volumes of approximately equal size reformatted to enable us to enlarge all the illustrations and maps for the benefit of the reader. This series is an excellent history of the campaigns and battles of the Napoleonic Age but it goes far beyond the historical record. Dodge critically examines the strategies and tactics of all the military commanders in such a clear and authoritative manner that the student of military history can clearly understand the errors of those about to suffer defeat and the expertise—or in the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, the military genius—of the victors. This is an invaluable guide to warfare in the age of Napoleon and is highly recommended.
In this first in the series Dodge considers the beginning of the Revolutionary Wars and the structures, tactics and strategies of those who fought them. The Siege of Toulon and the campaigns in Italy are covered in detail including notable engagements at Castiglione, Arcole, Rivoli and others. This volume concludes as the war turns to Massena's campaign in Austria.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

Early November 29 Hoche debouched from Katzweiler in three columns against the villages of Otterbach, Erlenbach and Otterberg. A cross-fire from the French batteries at Erfenbach and Sambach drove the enemy out of the lower land and towards Kaiserslautern. Hoche followed, crossed the Otterbach and took position on the Osterberg, where he established a battery of twenty-nine guns. A cannonade of several hours followed, when a French column of ten thousand men, which had formed under cover in the valley, debouched on Morlautern. The allies received the gallant assault of the French with stanchness, replied by a countercharge and sent a body of cavalry to take the French column in the left flank. This was too much for the young conscripts, who retired back to the cover where they had formed, and the Prussian pursuit was stopped by the French horse. Each side withdrew to its old location. The French columns sent on Erlenbach and Otterberg likewise failed to make a gain; and on the left bank the allies stood off the French attack. By six o’clock the fire ceased. During the night Brunswick reinforced Morlautern and Erlenbach.<br>
Determined not to score a failure, at daybreak of the 30th Hoche opened his batteries, and shortly sent forward a column of foot in the Erlenbach valley on Buchberg. But Kalkreuth, here stationed, took the French column in flank, drove it back, and even threatened to take in reverse the position at Osterberg. About the same time the French made an unsuccessful attack on Galapfelberg; and on the other bank two assaults on the Galgenberg, and nearby it, were driven back by Weimar. At three o’clock the fighting was over. Hoche was forced to retire to Zweibrücken December 3. Brunswick went into winter quarters.<br>
Although Hoche had lost at Kaiserslautern, the Convention recognized the heartiness of the attack, and weary of changes, reinforced the Army of the Moselle. Meanwhile Pichegru with sixty thousand men was pushing Wurmser, and tiring out the allied troops by restless enterprises; and when Hoche moved by his right to join him, the allies, sixty thousand strong, retired to the right bank of the Rhine. Landau, Worms and Frankenthal were relieved. The Army of the Moselle went into winter quarters on the Saar, the Army of the Rhine on the Queich. At this point on the French frontier the allies had once more quite failed to accomplish their end. The Republican forces, despite frequent backsets, had firmly held the French frontier.<br>
In the Netherlands, in 1793, Dumouriez commanded the French, one hundred thousand strong, against allied armies of equal force. The Army of the Netherlands was strung out, cordon fashion, from Antwerp to the Meuse; the allies were parcelled out all over the land. The French proposed to conquer Holland, and to give to the people the power held by the Stadholder; the allies to reconquer Belgium. About mid-February Dumouriez invaded Holland with a small part of his force, and in three weeks captured several strong places; but on hearing of the allied inroad into Belgium, he personally returned to the Meuse. The allied leader, Coburg, under whom were serving Archduke Charles, Wurtemberg, Latour and Clerfayt, advanced on the Roer in March, drove away the French troops there lying in cantonments, occupied Aix-la-Chapelle, threw the French back beyond the Meuse, took Maestricht and Liège, and forced Miranda and Valence back on St. Trond and towards Louvain. The French finally concentrated on the Dyle, where Dumouriez joined them, and at once assuming the offensive, took Tirlemont after a lively fight, and the heights between the Great and Little Geete. The Austrians retired behind the latter stream, and drew up in a position about Neerwinden, with thirty thousand foot and ten thousand horse. Dumouriez had some forty-seven thousand men in line, but only half the cavalry. This was the ground on which one hundred years before the French under Luxemburg had won a great victory against William III.; and the memory of this triumph was no doubt used to cheer up the Gallic levies for the coming battle.<br>
On the Austrian right, extending up to Halle, stood the van under Archduke Charles, later so renowned; in the centre, Colloredo with Wurtemberg in second line; on the left, south of Neerwinden, the reserve under Clerfayt; light troops occupied all the villages along the Little Geete. The French right was under Valence; the centre under Chartres; the left under Miranda; a flying wing was on right and left; and a reserve lay behind the Great Geete. Never doubting success, for he had won so often and now outnumbered the enemy, Dumouriez marshalled the French army in eight columns of attack, three under Valence, which crossed the river and advanced on Racour and Oberwinden; two under Chartres, which also crossed and pushed through Laer on Neerwinden; and three under Miranda along the post-road on Halle; while the reserve was given the task to take Leau and debouch to the right on the same village.<br>
The first news received by Coburg early on the 18th of March was from the announcement of attacks on his right; and fearing for his line of retreat along the highway, he withdrew a heavy force of foot and horse from the centre, and sent it to protect Halle. Meanwhile the French right and centre had captured Racour, Oberwinden, and later Neerwinden; the French left had driven the Austrians back on Dormael; and the reserve had occupied Leau and advanced on Halle. But shortly Coburg recovered himself, while the French onset had exhausted the young recruits. The reserve was thrown back on Leau, and the Austrians held firm in Dormael. This moment was seized by Archduke Charles to advance. His sharp onset pushed the French back along the post-road, and afforded the cavalry the chance to ride down on the weakening French left, and push it behind the Little Geete. The blow delivered by Charles had been well timed and heavy. So demoralized did the French left wing become, that only at Tirlemont could Miranda rally a part of it.<br>
Meanwhile on the Austrian left, after making splendid efforts to regain Neerwinden, Oberwinden and Racour, and after a murderous defence of these villages by the French, during which the two last were taken and retaken again and again, the troops succeeded in tiring out Dumouriez’s raw infantry, and aided by the cavalry, which charged in the open between the villages, drove them out of all three places. The Austrian work had been strong, and the battle was theirs. The French cavalry handsomely covered the retreat of the brigades, and the line held itself in front of the Little Geete until next morning, when, on account of the serious defeat of his left by Charles, Dumouriez saw that he must definitely retire. This he did, and took position southeast of Tirlemont.<br>
The ill effect of the defeat on the French was such that they deserted wholesale, and made for France. Even the Convention could not guillotine an entire army, and demoralization was rampant. Three days after the battle, Dumouriez had but twenty thousand men. The allies recovered a great part of Flanders; while the French kept but a section, and this by severe measures only. In taking Holland, Dumouriez had lost Belgium. <br>