Quest for Chashniki 19 (31) October 1812

After the defeat of Polotsk, 2nd French corps retreated and 17-19 (29-31) October teamed on Ole River with the 9th Corps Marshal Victor (Claude-Victor Perrin). This has increased the morale of the French troops: soldiers of the 2nd Corps were delighted connection with significant reinforcements and wanted revenge, and Victor troops, have not participated in battles, want to excel. The case of Victor, who came to Russia only as a reserve on September 3, was in excellent condition. Troops also the 6th Corps though they were exhausted, but passed the test of battle.

18 (30) Oct division has taken a position at Merle Chashnikov. Prince Yashvil, the avant-garde troops Wittgenstein, located near the French and reported on the readiness of the enemy to fight. Indeed Victor, focusing in large part Chashnikov forces 2-corps was ready to fight. He also gave instructions troops, who had not yet had time to focus in Chashnikov, to come with them as much as possible haste. Such an order was Herman Dendels (under him were two divisions), which went from Beshenkovichi and cavalry. Dendels Lukoml come to the river on the night of 18 to 19 October, but with only one division — Division of Legrand was otryazhen on Bocheykov. A cavalry acted only in the afternoon on October 19. Victor unaided 4 thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, postponed until the coming of the concentration of all the forces of their own.

General Peter Wittgenstein, not knowing about the origin of the freshest body of Victor decided to attack 19 (31) of October. His troops stationed at the vanguard Yashvil 3 miles from the village of Sloboda.

Victor troops stationed on both sides of the river Lukoml. Division Merle and mesons were the first band in front Chashnikov, the right flank to the river. Ole, left rested on the forest (he was busy French infantry), and the force 9 — Corps — in the high right bank of the river. Message between French troops served in the manor Smolyantsy dam, 2 miles from Chashnikov. At the forefront of the French had up to 10 thousand people.


Leo Yashvil, received the order to storm the enemy, with the dawn of 19 (31) October moved his forces into battle — 13 battalions, 3 militia squads, 15 squadrons and two Cossack regiments, with 28 guns. The Cossacks shot down enemy positions, then at 7 o'clock in the morning the prince Yashvil with 5 Jaeger Battalion crossed the river and stormed the French, who occupied the place. But he met strong resistance countless opponents and was obliged to retreat.

Soon came the main body of Wittgenstein: body Steingel built right avant-garde, and housing Berg remained in reserve. Yashvil again stormed the French in Chashniki and drove out the enemy. Immediately, the avant-garde with the infantry attack, Grodno Hussars on the right wing tipped cavalry of the enemy. In addition, Steingel stormed the enemy in the woods, but was repulsed. He repeated the attack already bolshennymi forces and sent around rangers, dragoons and hussars. The French were obliged to clear the forest and pursued Consolidated Omnibus hussar and dragoon regiments, retreated across the river Lukoml. Over the river and withdrew French troops of the right wing.

At this time, Wittgenstein vyznat from prisoners that the aid to the 2nd Corps Marshal Victor arrived and did not deal decisively coming. After the withdrawal of the forces of the 2nd Corps at p. Lukoml, they are located on the left flank troops of Victor. Yashvil forces and Steingel rose against the French troops, housing Berg and cavalry remained in reserve. The following shall be limited to an artillery gun battle. Russian artillery put down several enemy positions. In the evening the troops of Victor merged division of Legrand.

The next day the enemy troops retreated. Saint-Cyr, who acquired a wound near Polotsk prevented to participate in the battle, was dissatisfied with the Victor. He believed that the troops of the 9th Corps had to support the forces of the 2nd Corps, located at the front page and start a general coming against Wittgenstein. In the battle of Chashniki our troops lost about 400 people. Opponent Only prisoners lost more than 800 people, about 1,200.

This victory has had an adverse effect on the French army. Victor could not recline Wittgenstein's troops behind the line of the Western Dvina and therefore, to provide non-hazardous retreat of Napoleon's army. Wittgenstein even approached the main enemy communications. There was an opportunity for joint action with Chichagov and Kutuzov.

The Battle of Chashniki 19 (31) October 1812

Quest for Chashniki October 19, 1812 Source: Bogdanovich Modest Ivanovich. History of Russian war of 1812. Volume III.

Capture Vitebsk

After the fight with Chashniki, General Wittgenstein moved his troops on the right side of the Ula and arranged them in Chashnikov to give them a rest and get news about the movement of the army Chichagova. Part of the cavalry was sent to observe the enemy. Wittgenstein, due to the retreat of Victor, was able to send troops to Borisov, Minsk and Vitebsk. But the main force remained in his employment positions to 1 (13) of November. The detachment of Major General Vasily Harpe (2 battalions, two squadrons, with 2 guns) was sent to Beshenkovichi. Consolidated Hussars sent to Lepel, so keep an eye on the remnants of the Bavarian corps at the heartstrings. Avangard Alexeyev located on roads Syanno and Vitebsk.

Wittgenstein, on the basis of an overall action plan Russian armies, was ordered after ousting the enemy troops on the Western Dvina, Vitebsk release. There were located the huge military stores and Napoleon wished to suspend the troops there for the winter. To solve the puzzles has been sent a detachment Harpe, who stepped up 2 more battalions, two squadrons, hundreds of Cossacks and four guns. October 25 (November 6) squad Harpe came in an old village, and for the next day moved to the right side of the Dvina to Vitebsk. On the left bank of the river was directed Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Stolypin with two squadrons Yamburgskoye Lancers. Both squads came to Vitebsk at dawn on October 26 (November 7).

The enemy was caught by surprise, but acted quickly. Guard at the gates of Polotsk moved to the left side of the Dvina and set fire to the bridge. Advanced forces unit Harpe tied with the enemy crossfire. Soon Harpe arrived in time with the main body, a platoon of cavalry lieutenant company Sukhozanet 2nd grapeshot cleared surrounding the bridge structure. Volunteers from the 26th Jaeger Regiment and the 7th brigade Petersburg militia went on a blazing bridge on the left side. Some began to pursue the French, the other to put out fire. Russian troops drove the enemy out of the town. Immediately downstream of the enemy Vitebsk squad stormed Colonel Stolypin. In addition, he broke several hundred French, who took a position at a certain distance from the town.

Harpe squad lost in this battle 44 people. In the prisoner was captured about 400 French, including Vitebsk Governor Brigadier General Pouget and 10 staff and chief officers. The town was captured by huge supplies of provisions.

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