14 October 1813

The Napoleonic Guide's Suggested Tours

Liebertwolkwitz was a meeting engagement that shouldn't have escalated into a battle, but did so and resulted in the largest cavalry clash of the Napoleonic Wars.

It began with Napoleon Bonaparte's need to slow the Russo-Austrian advance towards Leipzig so he could gather his forces to meet the threat from the massive Allied armies.

Bonaparte sent Marshal Murat with more than 32,000 infantry and 7000 cavalry to delay the leading elements of the Army of Bohemia under Field Marshal Carl Schwarzenberg.

Schwarzenberg's vanguard included Austrian, Russian and Prussian units numbering some 60,000 infantry and 6000 cavalry led by General Count Klenau, General Ludwig Wittgenstein and General Friedrich Kleist.

The cavalry battle was long and bloody and involved each side attacking, being beaten off, throwing in their reserves, having them victorious - only to be attacked again by the rallied units that had fought earlier.

The see-sawing struggle lasted most of the day and the town of Liebertwolkwitz was eventually taken by Klenau's infantry, but was later evacuated by the Allies.

Casualties were high with the French losing 1500 killed and wounded and a further 1000 men captured, while the Allies had General Dokhturov killed, 2500 other casualties and some 500 men made prisoner.

Despite the efforts of both armies the battle ended in a draw.



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