Battle of Kulm
The Battle of Kulm was a battle
Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. In a battle, each combatant will seek to defeat the others, with defeat determined by the conditions of a military campaign...

 near the town Kulm
Chlumec (Ústí nad Labem District)
Chlumec is a village and municipality in Ústí nad Labem District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The municipality covers an area of , and has a population of 4,402 ....

 (Chlumec) and the village Přestanov
Přestanov is a village and municipality in Ústí nad Labem District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The municipality covers an area of , and has a population of 328 ....

 in northern Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. It was fought on 29–30 August 1813, during the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

. 32,000 French
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 troops under Dominique Vandamme
Dominique Vandamme
General Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme, Count of Unseburg was a French military officer, who fought in the Napoleonic Wars....

 attacked an army of 54,000 Austrians
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, Russians
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Prussians
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 under Barclay de Tolly, but were defeated with heavy losses on both sides.


Following the French victory at Dresden
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was fought on 26–27 August 1813 around Dresden, Germany, resulting in a French victory under Napoleon I against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Field Marshal Schwartzenberg. However, Napoleon's victory was not as complete as it could...

, Vandamme pursued the retreating allies. Napoleon I of France
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 sent Marshals Gouvion Saint Cyr and Auguste Marmont
Auguste Marmont
Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont, 1st Duke of Ragusa was a French General, nobleman and Marshal of France.-Biography:...

 to support Vandamme's corps. With Vandamme in advance, Saint Cyr's and Marmont's corps brought up the rear. Vandamme caught up with Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy
Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy
Alexander Ivanovich Count Osterman-Tolstoy was a Russian nobleman and soldier in the era of the French Revolutionary Wars...

's forces near the town of Kulm, eight kilometres northwest of Aussig
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Ústí nad Labem Region. The city is the 7th-most populous in the country.Ústí is situated in a mountainous district at the confluence of the Bílina and the Elbe Rivers, and, besides being an active river port, is an important railway junction...

 (Ústí nad Labe, now in the Czech Republic).


On 29 August, Vandamme (32-34,000 soldiers, 84 guns) attacked Russian formations under the command of Ostermann-Tolstoy (13-14,000 soldiers). The situation was very dangerous for the allies - if Vandamme won, the French would take the passes in the mountain, and the retreating allies' army could be trapped by Napoleon. But Vandamme was repulsed. On 30 August, however, the situation changed. A Prussian corps commanded by Friedrich von Kleist
Friedrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf
Friedrich Emil Ferdinand Heinrich Graf Kleist von Nollendorf , born and died in Berlin, was a Prussian field marshal and a member of the old junker family von Kleist....

 attacked Vandamme's rear guard. Kleist then received help from a combined Russian and Austrian attack on Vandamme's front, under the command of General Ostermann-Tolstoy. In an attempt to repulse simultaneous attacks on his front and rear, Vandamme ordered his forces to form squadrons. The inexperienced French troops were unable to fend off the allies, and soon withdrew from the battlefield, with heavy losses.


The French lost about 5,000 soldiers killed or wounded. Between 7,000 and 13,000 French soldiers were taken prisoner, including Vandamme, and 80 guns were captured. The allies lost approximately 11,000 soldiers killed or wounded.

In Vandamme's corps there were two Polish
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony...

 regiments of Uhlans, part of cavalry divisions under the command of General Jean Corbineau
Jean Corbineau
Jean-Baptiste Juvénal Corbineau was a French cavalry general of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. His two brothers Claude and Hercule also fought in both these wars and together the three men were known as "les trois Horaces" ....

. These regiments were used by Vandamme to defend against enemy cavalry charges. One regiment, commanded by Colonel Maximilian Fredro (brother of playwright Alexander Fredro), was attacked after withdrawing to a defile
Defile (geography)
Defile is a geographic term for a narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills. It has its origins as a military description of a pass through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front...

 and surrendered. The other regiment of Uhlans, under the command of Count Tomasz Łubieński
Tomasz Łubieński
Tomasz Łubieński, comte de Pomian was a brigadier general in the Polish army, senator, landowner in Kalisz and businessman. Hoping to liberate Poland, he fought on the French side in the Napoleonic Wars, fighting at Essling, , , , , and , for which Napoleon made him a baron de l'Empire...

 (generally known in English as Thomas Lubienski) successfully withdrew.


According to a French anecdote, after the battle Vandamme was accused by Emperor Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 of being a brigand and plunderer. He retorted, "I am neither a plunderer nor a brigand, but in any case, my contemporaries and history will not reproach me for having murdered my own father." This statement apparently hinted at the widespread belief that Alexander I was implicated in the murder of his father, Emperor Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...


The Battlefield Today

The battlefield is mostly built over. There is a large monument topped with a lion next door to the Hotel Napoleon.

External links

  • Battle of Kulm
  • Memoirs of the Duke Rovigo
    Anne Jean Marie René Savary
    Anne Jean Marie René Savary, 1st Duc de Rovigo , French general and diplomat, was born at Marcq in the Ardennes.-Biography:...

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