Battle of Katzbach
|Battle of Katzbach|
|Part of War of the Sixth Coalition|
Battle of Katzbach
|Commanders and leaders|
|Jacques MacDonald||Gebhard von Blücher|
|Casualties and losses|
13,000 killed and wounded|
Two Eagles lost
The Battle of the Katzbach on 26 August 1813, was an engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the forces of the First French Empire under Marshal MacDonald and a Russo-Prussian army of the Sixth Coalition under Prussian Marshal Graf (Count) von Blücher. It occurred during a heavy thunderstorm at the Katzbach river between Wahlstatt and Liegnitz in the Prussian province of Silesia. Taking place the same day as the Battle of Dresden, it resulted in a Coalition victory.
The two armies, roughly equal in size, stumbled upon one another after MacDonald crossed the swollen river. In the midst of the confusion and heavy rain, MacDonald seemed to recover first. Although his orders were to defend the flank of Napoleon's main force from Blücher, MacDonald decided to attack. He dispatched two-thirds of his army, about 60,000 men, in an attempt to flank the Russo-Prussian right. But confusion reigned again as the French columns found themselves too far apart to support one another.
Meanwhile, the remaining 30,000 men of MacDonald's force, who were supposed to hold down the Coalition forces, were met by a heavy counter-attack by Prussian cavalry. Without support or reinforcement, the French were soon forced to withdraw with many men being forced into the river to escape and thousands drowning. MacDonald's casualties numbered 13,000 killed and wounded with another 20,000 captured. Blücher's losses were some 4,000.
Beyond the battle losses, the French strategic position had been weakened. This, coupled with the defeats at Kulm, four days later, and Dennewitz on 6 September, would more than negate Napoleon's victory at Dresden.
Because of his victory, Blücher received the title of "Prince of Wahlstatt" on 3 June 1814.
The battle gave rise to a German saying, now obsolete: "Der geht ran wie Blücher an der Katzbach!" ("He's advancing like Blücher at Katzbach!"), referring to Blücher and describing vigorous, forceful behavior.
- Robinson, G., 1814 The New Annual Register: Or General Repository of History, Politics, Arts, Sciences, and Literature for the Year 1813.
- Kelly, C., 1831., History of the French Revolution: And of the Wars Produced by that ... Event ... Including a Complete Account of the War Between Great Britain and America; and the ... Battle of Waterloo. London. Thomas Kelly. p.702 To which are Appended, Biographical Sketches of the Heroes of Waterloo