Combat of Peterswalde, 16 September (Bohemia)

The combat of Peterswalde (16 September 1813) was the second step in a French counterattack that forced the Allies back into Bohemia, and briefly gave Napoleon a chance to operate on the southern side of the Bohemian mountains.

Early in September Schwarzenberg's Army of Bohemia began an advance into Saxony, but they retreated once Napoleon turned up at Dresden, and by 10 September the French were at Geiersberg, overlooking the plains south of the mountains that divided Saxony from Bohemia. Napoleon was given a chance to attack the Prussian and Russian components of the Army of Bohemia before the Austrian component could arrive, but decided that the risk was too great. Victor, St. Cyr and Lobau were left to watch Schwarzenberg, while Napoleon returned to Dresden.

On 14 September Wittgenstein attacked Lobau's advance guard (Dumonceau's division), at Nollendorf, on the 'New Road' from Dresden to Bohemia. Dumonceau was forced to retreat back to Lobau's main body at Berggiesshübel, and Lobau was then forced to abandon that village.

Napoleon responded rapidly. On 15 September he was at the front, where he forced the Allies out of Berggiesshübel with a combination of a frontal assault and an outflanking attack. Wittgenstein's men took up a new position on the heights to the north of Peterswalde.

The French attacked this new position at about noon on 16 September. The Imperial Guard Cavalry and the Polish Light Cavalry distinguished themselves in the fighting, and the Allies were soon forced to retreat back onto the plains south of the mountain.

On the following day Napoleon sent his troops down onto the plains (combat of Dolnitz (17 September 1813). The French reached Kulm, but they were then distracted by an Allied attack on their left flank, and on the next day Napoleon decided to retreat back out of Bohemia.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 July 2017), Combat of Peterswalde, 16 September (Bohemia) ,

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