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30 August 1813

Sent by Napoleon Bonaparte to pursue the Austro-Russian army after the victory at Dresden, General Vandamme and 32,000 men found themselves facing a determined rearguard.

Withdrawing to nearby Kulm, Vandamme found himself outnumbered by 44,000 men under the command of General Ivan Ostermann-Tolstoy.

Vandamme's force held the enemy at bay in a ferocious contest, until bad luck threw the balance in favour of Ostermann-Tolstoy.

A 10,000-man Prussian force under General Kleist, hurriedly retreating from Marshal Gouvion St Cyr's pursuing corps, suddenly appeared to Vandamme's rear.

Trapped between the two forces, Vandamme showed great bravery and skill in trying to extricate himself from the position.

More than half his force did manage to fight their way out, but some 13,000 men were captured. The Allies lost some 11,000 men.

Following Marshal Macdonald's loss at the Katzbach, the defeat at Kulm was a further body blow to the French.




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