Saturday, March 10, 2012

Battle of Laon

‘…Only the interval of one day elapsed between the bloody battle of Craonne and that of Laon.  On the 9th, availing himself of a thick mist, Napoleon pushed his columns of attack to the very foot of the eminence on which Laon is situated, possessed himself of two of the villages, termed Semilly and Ardon, and prepared to force his way up the hill towards the town…

Upon the 10th, at four in the morning, just as Bonaparte arising before daybreak, was calling for his horse, two dismounted dragoons were brought before him, with the unpleasing intelligence that the enemy had made a hourra upon Marmont, surprised him in his bivouac, and cut to pieces, taken, or dispersed, his whole division, and they alone had escaped to bring the tidings…Notwithstanding this great loss, and as if in defiance of bad fortune, Napoleon renewed the attack upon Clacy and Semilly; but all his attempts being fruitless, he was induced to relinquish the undertaking, under the excuse that the position was found impregnable…’

The Battle of Laon began on March 9th, and ended March 10th, 1814.  Count Gebhard von Blucher and his Prussian forces won the day.  Scott relates the story in the text above, taken from “The Life of Napoleon”.

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