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"Russian Austerlitz": Russian battle reports on the Battle of Austerlitz

Translated By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS

 

 

Lieutenant General Peter Bagration’s Report to General Mikhail Kutuzov on Actions at Austerlitz

No. 209, 10 December 1805, Senitz

Having received Your Excellency’s disposition to defend my position at Proedlitz until General of Infantry Count Buxhöwden turned the enemy right flank, I was firm in my decision to successful carry it out, but superior enemy columns, both cavalry and infantry, attacked me early on. I was forced to advance with my entire advance guard to support my left flank, where ten squadrons of the Mariupol and Pavlograd hussar regiments and the 6th Jagers regiment were deployed. The [French], observing my advance, doubled their forces and engaged me with resolution at all points, but I prevented them from turning my flanks and both sides became engaged in resolute fighting. Finally, I received His Imperial Majesty’s order that, since the center and the Guard were forced to retreat, I was to support the right flank of Lieutenant General Maliutin; so, under fierce enemy fire, I began to shift my position gradually to the right and had changed my lines three lines but always in order. Finally, I reached the heights near Proedlitz, which I occupied before the battle, and later [that night] I joined the Guard behind Austerlitz. The enemy had stopped pursuing me by then.

Having presented to Your Excellency a list of persons distinguished in the battle, I humbly appeal to you not to deprive these courageous and indefatigable generals, staff and ober officers of Your Excellency’s benign attention

Lieutenant General Prince Bagration

Source: Central State Archive of Lithuania, file 378, opis 13, delo 213. Printed version is available in M.I. Kutuzov: sbornik dokumentov [M.I. Kutuzov: Compilation of the Documents], (Moscow, 1954) volume II.

 

Lieutenant General Przhebishevsky’s Report on Actions of the 3rd Column during the Battle of Austerlitz

To His Imperial Majesty

Lieutenant General Przhebishevsky’s Report

During the Battle of Austerlitz, following the disposition assigned to the 3rd Columns by the commander-in-chief General of Infantry Golenischev-Kutuzov and having defeated the enemy and completely secured the crossing site, I was completely surrounded despite all my endeavors. Having endured the fiercest enemy fire for seven hours in a low-lying and disadvantageous position and losing many subordinates, some killed, others wounded, while remaining were in confusion from a ferocious canister fire from three directions and without any ammunition or hope for reinforcements, [I and my troops] fought to the last, as required of the subjects of Your Imperial Majesty, before being finally captured by the enemy.

Unable to report to Your Majesty until now, I consider it my duty to submit my report on those events, describing for Your Most Gracious Consideration the perseverance of the troops of Your Imperial Majesty, who although did not achieve complete success in the battle, but commemorated it with their steadfast faithfulness to you.

General Lieutenant Przhebishevsky

July 11/23 1806

Luneville

Report on Actions of the 3rd Columns
During the Battle of Austerlitz

On 20 November of 1805, around 7:00 in the morning, according to the disposition of the commander-in-chief General of Infantry Golenischev-Kutuzov, the entire 3rd Column departed from its camp near the village of Pratz and, having marched through this village, it advanced, under guidance of our and Austrian column guides, not along the road, but across ploughed fields, filled with ditches that forced us to employ pioneers three times to clear path to move our artillery.

The 3rd column soon approached the castle [zamok] of Sokolnitz that was designated by the guides as the crossing point for the column: castle was located in a valley, protected by stonewall and surrounded by heights that dominated this location. Advancing to an artillery fire distance, I soon noticed numerous enemy forces marching on the right flank across the heights and near marshes at the bottom adjacent to the Sokolnitz Castle.  I immediately ordered my columns, advancing by sections [otdelenie], to redeploy by platoons [vzvod] and then arranged regiments in dense columns to facilitate they movements, if necessary.

I dispatched Major General Muller III, who commanded the advance guard, with the remaining two battalions of his 7th Jager Regiment to occupy important points and drive the French out of the Sokolnitz Castle, which [Muller] accomplished with particular vigor and courage and succeeded in driving the enemy out of [castle].

However, an enemy battery suddenly appeared on the opposing heights near the castle and opened an intense fire; Major General Muller III was wounded but informed me that as he pursued the enemy he encountered superior enemy forces; I immediately moved there with the Galitsk Regiment of Major General Schtrick that repulsed the enemy with particular vigor and greatly facilitated in securing present positions. But since my column was still exposed on open grounds and to avoid enemy artillery fire, I ordered troops to move to the castle itself and personally led the Narva and Butyrsk Regiments through the castle, observing increasing enemy forces [in vicinity]; I ordered Lieutenant General Baron Wimpfen to remain with the Azov and Podolsk Regiments in reserve until further instructions. 

Meanwhile, I learned that the enemy advanced along the high hill to the village of Pratz and appeared in the rear of my and Lieutenant General Count Langeron’s columns. I ordered my reserve to follow the enemy movements and protect our rear, and then sent a dispatch to the commander-in-chief. Meantime, I attacked the enemy forces in order to drive them back through the village of Sokolnitz on the left side of the castle and open communications with the 2nd Column.  As I achieved success in this direction and outdid the enemy, parts of the 2nd Column and Austrian horse artillery retreated to the village of Sokolnitz and brought even more enemy troops from the left side against me.

Thus, I was already surrounded from three sides and my two reserve regiments were attacked by superior enemy forces from the rear but still fought resolutely for a long time, suffering heavy casualties: enemy cavalry finally charged and routed them; Lieutenant General Baron Wimpfen himself was wounded and captured.

I was hard pressed by the enemy and was constantly under fierce and continuous canister fire, suffering many killed and wounded while the remaining [forces] were in confusion. Despite my dispatches, I received no information at all. Many soldiers, now incessantly engaged in battle from 7:00 in the morning to 4:00 in afternoon, had no cartridges left.  I could do nothing but to retreat according to the disposition and was assured by the Austrian guides that I can find favorable grounds on the right flank to extricate my troops; I ordered to march along swamps at the bottom of the hill to conceal how disordered my troops were and to reorganize them to overcome any future difficulties and join the main army. However, since the enemy fire kept pursuing us, all endeavors of my generals, staff and ober-officers to reorganize our troops proved to be in vain. As we were at some distance from the Castle, an enemy cavalry charged our troops that became further disordered and were captured by the enemy.

Lieutenant General Przhebishevsky
11/23 July 1806
Luneville

Source: Russian State Military Archives (RGVIA), fond VUA, opis 16, delo 3117-2

Lieutenant General Miloradovich’s Report to General Kutuzov on the Battle of Austerlitz

No. 76, 15 December 1805

On 20 November [2 December] 1805, I was assigned with the regiments: Malorossiiskii Grenadier, Apsheron, Smolensk and Novgorod Musketeer, Colonel Kudryavtsev’s battery company and forty Elisavetgrad hussar to the Austrian troops in the 4th Column. I broke the camp according to the disposition at around 8:00 a.m. and organized column’s advance guard from both musketeer battalions of the Novgorod regiment and grenadier battalion of the Apsheron regiments with two guns under command of Lieutenant Colonel Manakhtin with orders to occupy the village of Schlapanitz, located one mile from the camp.

As soon as this advance guard passed through Schlapanitz located at close proximity from the camp, it encountered two enemy columns advancing directly against it with heavy musket and artillery fire. Battalions were hastily organized in front [frunt] and, launching a bayonet attack, they overwhelmed the foremost enemy column. However, nine enemy columns suddenly appeared and, having deployed in check board formation, they increased their fire, turned our flanks and resumed attack, which we could not repulse; both our guns were already damaged. Facing superior enemy forces protected by strong artillery and musket fire, I immediately dispatched Major General Repninsky with the grenadier battalion of the Novgorod [regiment] to occupy a hill on this side of the village [of Schlapanitz] so that the retreating musketeer battalions of the Novgorod regiment could join it there. Two Caesarian [Austrian] battalions also arrived to this hill. [Meantime], having received Your Excellency’s orders, I gathered the Malorossiiski Grenadier, Smolensk [Musketeer] Regiments and the Apsheron [Musketeer] Regiment with a grenadier battalion and led them in an attack against the [French] advancing directly at us, with intention either to overwhelm them or at least to halt their advance and give the Austrians enough time to occupy position behind me; a battery company was deployed in the middle of the hill.

Thus began a battle in which four [Russian] regiments mustering some five thousand men and two Austrian battalions resolutely fought 28,000 enemy troops (as it was later established); the grenadier battalion of the Apsheron Musketeer made two bayonet attacks and the last one led by Captain Morozov almost succeeded in capturing two guns. Taking advantage of their numerous guns, [the French troops] deployed in four lines, replaced disorganized columns with fresh troops, directed most of their forces to this direction and passed on both sides of our small position, occupying heights behind it.

In the meanwhile, General Repninsky fought courageously but was wounded; Major General Berg was captured. The Austrians, who occupied position behind us, abandoned it and retreated back. Such disastrous circumstances, extreme fatigue of troops, lack of ammunition, difficult terrain and the enemy fire from all directions had disorganized troops that fought so valiantly before.

But this disorder continued only before we reached His Imperial Majesty’s battalion of the Life Guard Izmailovsk Regiment, which held ground in excellent order and exchanged artillery fire with the enemy. Taking advantage of the respite, I rallied my troops that adeptly gathered around despite artillery fire. When the Guard battalion finally retreated, I led my column to the village of Austerlitz, intending to get ammunition there and reinforce any regiments still fighting the enemy on the other side of the village; however I received His Imperial majesty’s order to occupy Austerlitz and, after the battle was over, His Majesty ordered me to reinforce the army rear guard on its retreat to Golitzy.

Our casualties were not high since the enemy, content on occupying the battlefield, did not pursue us, while its artillery fire was not as effective. Our casualties comprise of:  ober officers - 4 killed, two missing in action; killed and missing 24 non-commissioned officers, 8 musicians, 662 privates, 25 other troops [nestroevoi]. The [French] suffered much higher casualties which easily deduced from their necessity to [frequently] replace fighting columns.

Having mentioned officers who distinguished themselves through their gallantry, I have the courage to present to Your Excellency’s particular attention and consideration [the following officers]: Major General Berg, Major General Repninsky, who was wounded in the leg and bruised in the side; in the Malorossiisk Grenadier Regiment, Major Kristafovich, who was wounded in the abdomen, and Lieutenant Stepanov; In the Apsheron Regiment, Captain Morozov, who almost succeeded in recapturing guns, Staff Captain Skalsky I and Ensign Gutkov; in the Smolensk Musketeer Regiment, Major Chichagov; Staff Captain Miliutinov of the Novgorod Regiment, Major General Repninsky’s Chef Adjutant Berezovsky, my Chef Adjutant Arakcheyev and Ensign Bravkov of the Malorosiiski Grenadier [Regiment], who was assigned to me as an adjutantm; Regimental Adjutant Glinka of the Apsheron Regiment and Portupey Ensign Tulaev of the same regiment, who were dispatched to the most dangerous places [during the battle]

Writing this report, I cannot but remember with sadness His Imperial Majesty’s Flügel Adjutant Count Tizenhauzen [Kutuzov’s son-in-law], who was mortally wounded. This excellent officer fought with remarkable gallantry, was always in the midst of the most dangerous spots, exceeded himself on this day of battle and was of great assistance to me. With him, the army had lost an officer of particular merit.

Lieutenant General Miloradovich

 

Source: Central State Archive of Lithuania, file 378, opis 13, delo 213. Printed version is available in M.I. Kutuzov: sbornik dokumentov [M.I. Kutuzov: Compilation of the Documents], (Moscow, 1954) volume II.

 


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