War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and were defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. The main coalition partners were Prussia and Russia with Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain also contributing. Excluding Prussia, some members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign with Prussia massing troops in Saxony.
Table of Contents / Timeline
The Fourth Coalition (1806–1807) of Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, and Sweden formed against France within months of the collapse of the previous coalition. Following his triumph at the Battle of Austerlitz and the subsequent demise of the Third Coalition, Napoleon looked forward to achieving a general peace in Europe, especially with his two main remaining antagonists, Britain and Russia. One point of contention was the fate of Hanover, aGerman electorate in personal union with the British monarchy that had been occupied by France since 1803. Dispute over this state would eventually become a casus belli for both Britain and Prussia against France. This issue also dragged Sweden into the war, whose forces had been deployed there as part of the effort to liberate Hanover during the war of the previous coalition. The path to war seemed inevitable after French forces ejected the Swedish troops in April 1806. Another cause was Napoleon's formation in July 1806 of the Confederation of the Rhine out of the various German states which constituted the Rhineland and other parts of western Germany. The formation of the Confederation was the final nail in the coffin of the moribund Holy Roman Empire and subsequently its last Habsburg emperor, Francis II, changed his title to simply Francis I, Emperor of Austria.
Battle of SchleizSchleiz, Germany
Battle of SaalfeldSaalfeld, Germany
Battle of Jena–AuerstedtJena, Germany
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1813.
Napoleon declares the Continental SystemEurope
Saxony elevated to kingdomDresden, Germany
Battle of CzarnowoCzarnowo, Poland
The Battle of Czarnowo on the night of 23–24 December 1806 saw troops of the First French Empire under the eye of Emperor Napoleon I launch an evening assault crossing of the Wkra River against Lieutenant General Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy's defending Russian Empire forces. The attackers, part of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's III Corps, succeeded in crossing the Wkra at its mouth and pressed eastward to the village of Czarnowo. After an all-night struggle, the Russian commander withdrew his troops to the east.
Battle of GolyminGołymin, Poland
Battle of PułtuskPułtusk, Poland
Battle of MohrungenMorąg, Poland
In the Battle of Mohrungen, most of a First French Empire corps under the leadership of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte fought a strong Russian Empire advance guard led by Major General Yevgeni Ivanovich Markov. The French pushed back the main Russian force, but a cavalry raid on the French supply train caused Bernadotte to call off his attacks. After driving off the cavalry, Bernadotte withdrew and the town was occupied by the army of General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen. After demolishing the army of the Kingdom of Prussia in a whirlwind campaign in October and November 1806, Napoleon's Grande Armée seized Warsaw. After two bitterly fought actions against the Russian army, the French emperor decided to place his troops into winter quarters. However, in wintry weather, the Russian commander moved north into East Prussia and then struck west at Napoleon's left flank. As one of Bennigsen's columns advanced west it encountered forces under Bernadotte. The Russian advance was nearly at an end as Napoleon gathered strength for a powerful counterstroke.
Battle of AllensteinOlsztyn, Poland
While the Battle of Allenstein resulted in a French field victory and allowed for a successful pursuit of the Russian army, it failed to produce the decisive engagement that Napoleon was seeking.
Battle of HofHof, Germany
he combat of Hof (6 February 1807) was a rearguard action fought between the Russian rearguard under Barclay de Tolly and the advancing French during the Russian retreat before the battle of Eylau. Both sides suffered significant losses at Hof. The Russians lost over 2,000 men, two standards and at least five guns (Soult claimed that they had lost 8,000 men). Soult admitted to 2,000 casualties amongst his own men and Murat's cavalry must also have suffered losses in the cavalry fight.
Battle of EylauBagrationovsk, Russia
Battle of HeilsbergLidzbark Warmiński, Poland
Battle of FriedlandPravdinsk, Russia
The Battle of Friedland was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the armies of the French Empire commanded by Napoleon I and the armies of the Russian Empire led by Count von Bennigsen. Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting.
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.
- Napoleon cemented his control of Central Europe
- Napoleon had created French sister republics, which were formalized and recognized at Tilsit: the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Duchy of Warsaw as a French satellite state and the Free City of Danzig
- Tilsit also freed French forces for the Peninsular War.
- Russia becomes an ally of France
- Prussia looses approximately 50% of her territory
- Napoleon is able to enforce the Continental System in Europe(with the exception of Portugal)
- Chandler, David G. (1973). "Chs. 39-54". The Campaigns of Napoleon (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Scribner. ISBN 0-025-23660-1.
- Chandler, David G. (1993). Jena 1806: Napoleon destroys Prussia. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-855-32285-4.
- Esposito, Vincent J.; Elting, John R. (1999). A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars (Revised ed.). London: Greenhill Books. pp. 57–83. ISBN 1-85367-346-3.
Get our monthly newsletter sent to your inbox, no spam.
- Notifications on new HistoryMaps
- Find out which HistoryMaps are updated
- Find out which HistoryMaps are coming out next