Battle of Champaubert (now Giffaumont-Champaubert) was the opening engagement of the Six Days Campaign. It was fought on
February 10, 1814 by
a French force under Napoleon I
against Russian and Prussians under General Olssufiev. The battle was a
The battle of Champaubert was one of the few times during the War
of the Sixth Coalition that France was able to take to the field
with a considerable numerical advantage.
Napoleon Bonaparte moved against an over-extended Prussian army in
the hope of whittling it down by a series of battles. On 10
February, he caught General Olssufiev's five thousand Russians just
south of Champaubert, a town located in the valley of the Marne,
east of Paris.
French strength consisted of 30,000 hungry and tired men, including
many raw conscripts, and 120 cannons. The French, nonetheless,
enjoyed a six-to-one advantage. They were commanded in the field by
the marshal, Auguste Marmont
the direction of Napoleon himself.
Badly outnumbered, Olssufiev decided to fight rather than retreat.
His decision was based on the mistaken hope that he would get
reinforcements from Field Marshal Blücher in time to prevent a
disaster. He was wrong, and Marmont crushed him.
After five hours of fighting, the Russians were surrounded by
French cavalry. They suffered three thousand killed, wounded, and
captured. One of the prisoners was Olsufiev himself, who dined that
very evening with Napoleon.
The French lost about three hundred men, among whom was General