EN WAT ER OVERBLEEF VAN DE NEDERLANDERS ONDER NAPOLEON



Wat bleef er over van de Nederlandse inbreng tijdens Napoleon.

 

I iHstory of the 125émé Regt. d`Ligne

have written down several Histories ofNapoleons Regiments. I do this very orten while this interests me very much. It took in deed an little bit time to write it, but it is also for me interesting to do this. You willleam a lot about Sources witch are good or must be false. I do this usually every time when a friend asked me for that.

Every thing witch is written down in this book is taken out of several books. Or I read this between the sentences. Like a German HistoricaI Prof called Bleibtreu it made in his books. He also claimed that this cannot be while for example the miles are more that a unit could march in that short time. So I made it here, every nation in this time tried to better their faults. Do not believe everything~ read several books before you start to make yourself an opinion. Prof Bleibtreu also made an interesting remark about Battelcasulties. He said that you can count for every Infantry officer dead or wounded about 20 men and for every Cavalry officer about 10 men. So did I in the Text later.

Ifanyone had some more information's about this Regiment, let me know. I'm always interested in. But make also a remark about the source where you got it from. I hope it will be interesting.

In this case I write the History, while an Dutchmen asked my brother ifhe knew something about the 125th ofLine, while an ancestor ofhis family served in this Regiment.

 

Dedicated to the men who fought and died and should never be forgotten.

 

 

Roots of the Regiment

 

As in 1810 the Dutch Troops were absorbed in the French service, there were formed the 123rd, 124th, 125th and the 126th Regiment of Line out of Dutch Line units.

There were still formed some Light Regiments and Cavalery units, but for us interesting is only the formation of the 125th Regiment of Line.

The 1 st Bat. 11 th Dutch Line Infantry ( raised in 1672 ), witch became the Line Infantry Regiment Baden in 1747, witch was retiled the 2nd Bat. 2nd Halvebrigade, in 1795 and became the 5th Bat. Line infantry in 1803. In 1805 it became the 3rd Line Infantry Regiment together with the 7th Bat.

The 4th Dutch Infantry regiment (raised in 1678) and the 14th Regiment (raised in 1748) were merged in 1795 to form the 1 st Bat., 3rd Halyebrigade. In 1803it became the 7th Bat., Line infantry, witch, in 1805, combined with the 5th (see above) to form the 3rd Line Infantry Regiment. In 1806 this was retiled in the 4th Line infantry.

Then in 1810 it became the 125th French Line Infantry Regiment.

The 1810 designations of these Dutch units prior to absorption into the French line were: 1 st and 2nd Bat of the 4th Dutch Line and 2nd Bat. Of the 7th Line.

 

Revolutionarv Campaigns and Actions

 

The major engagements in the earlier Revolutionary period of the Army of the United Provinces were as follows:

1793 8th May Clash at Ramilles, 12th -13th September clash at Menin

1794 19th April clash at Landrecies, 16th June Battle at Fleurs, 26th June clash at Fleurs, 28th December surrender of Bommel Island.

1799 It seems that the entire army was involved in the campain  of 1799 against the Anglo Russian invasion and fought at a clash at Zyper- Sluis at the 10th September, a battle at Bergen at the 19th September another battle at Egmont- aan- Zee at the 2nd October and battle at Castricum at the 18th of October.

 

Napoleonic Campaigns and Actions as Dutch Troops

 

2nd Battalion 7tb Dutch Line 1805 No actions of note

1806 Capitulation at Hameln at the 22nd November, 26th November capture of Nienburg. 1807 Battle at Eylau at the 8th February, 20th March to 2nd July siege and storm of Kolberg, end of July to the 20th of August siege of Stralsund.

1809 In the X. Army Corps of King Jerome in Germany, no actions ofnote.

 

2nd Battalion 4th Dutch Line

1805- 1807 No Actions of Note

1808- 1810 together with the 1 st Bat. 2nd Dutch Line the 3rd Hussar Regiment and the 3re Horse Artillery Batterv thev were with Lefebvre's VI Cops in Spain.

 

Casualties of the Dutch battalions in this Period.

 

1807 at Eylau 1 Officer wounded about 20 men wounded or dead.

1808 31 st October at Durango in Spain 2 Officers wounded about 40 men wounded or dead. 1809 17th March clash at Mesa de Ibor in Spain 1 Officer wounded, about 20 men wounded or dead

 

The 125th of Line Actions and Battles

 

The 125th were formed in 1810 with other Regiments they were issued to the French Line Regiments, as we remarked before.

In 1811 Count Dumonceau presented at Amsterdam an Eagle to the Regiment. The eIder eagle Model was replaced in May 1812 by the new issued 1811 pattern Model of an eagle. The eIder Model was send to Paris to the Musee de Artillerie. From there in 1815 the Prussians took it away to a Museum at Potsdam, until the II World ofWar, were the French brought it back to Paris.

In 1811 the 125th was with their three Field Battalions and the one Depot Battalion, send to the Corps d'Observation du Rhin, to the 4th Division, 2nd Brigade at the 1 st of July. In this Brigade were also 4 Battalions of the 37th Leger Infantry.

By the 2nd January 1812 the Corps was renamed in Corps d'Observation des Cotes de

1 'Ocean. By this time the 4th Depot Battalion was send back to it Garrison town. Only the 1 st to 3rd Field Battalions remained in the Corps. At this time they were in the 3rd Division together with the 29th Leger Infantry ( 4 Bat.), the 44th Line ( 4 Bat.), The provisial Regiment ofBoulogne ( 2 Bat.) and the 129th Line ( 2 Bat.).

 

By the 24.6.1812 we found our lst, 2nd and 3rd Battalion in the IX Corps d' Armee under Marshall Victor.

Chef de Etat Major Passinges de Prechamps, Adjudant Comandant Chef de Artillerie Caron, Colonel

Chef de Genie Bizot Charmony, Colonel

In the 12th Infanterie Division Gen. de Division Partouneaux ( from the 9. 4. to the 4. 7.1812 the General de Division Lagrange was their General) In the 2nd Brigade under General de Brigade Blamont

Together with one provisual Regiment (from 4. / 36th Line, 4. /51st Line and 4. / 55th Line) Under Major Wable with 1963 men.

The 125th had at this moment three Battalions and a Regimental Artillery of two guns with together 1476 men under Colonel Wagner.

 

The 4th Battalion was send to the XI Corps d ' Armee under Marshall Augerau Chef de Etat Major Menard, General de Brigade Chef de Artillerie Bourgeat General de Brigade Chef de Genie Mutel, Colonel

In the 31 st Infantries Division under General de Division de Lagrange (former Commander 12.Div. in the IX Corps)

In the 2nd Brigade under General de Brigade Schobert, together with the 11. Prov. Regiment ([rom 4. 127 Leger, 4. 150th Line) with 1272 men under Major Ommeren.

The 4th Battalion was in the 12. prov. Regiment with the 4.1123,4.1124,and 3rd. I 129th Line with together 2548 men under Major Desmaroux.

 

The Unifom of the 125th Regiment

 

As the Regiment was formed in 1810 out of the Dutch Troops they still wore their old white Uniforms.

The 1 st Battalion wore white Uniforms with yellow facings, while their Grenadier and their Voltigeur Company had pink facings.

 

The 2nd Battalion there the Fusilier Companies wore pink facings while only the Grenadier Company wore yellow facings.

 

The 3rd Battalion, two Fusiliers and the Grenadier Companies wore pink facings, while the two other Fusiliers and the Voltigeur Company wore yellow.

 

The 4th Battalion wore pink~ only two Fusilier Companies wore yellow.

 

This Uniform they should have wom about a year from 1810 to 1811. Then the new Bardin Uniform should be issued to the soldiers. But by June 1812 at the start of the Russian Campaign only the six Grenadier and Voltigeur Companies of the 1 st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion had become the new blue regular French Uniform. So it is obviously that the Fusiliers and the whole 4th Battalion fought in Russia in their white Uniform.

 

Organisation and Garrison

 

From tbe decree of tbe 18.08.1810 tbe 125th was formed at Helder in September 1810 by General de Division Bergerduyn. After a new decree tbe formation of an 5th Batallion was ordered, witcb was formed at Amsterdam. It was later in Garrison in Groningen up to 1813 as tbe Depot Battalion ( witbout tbe Elite Companies, only four Fusilier Companies. ) They were 1813 incorporated in tbe 4th Battalion and fought at Magdeburg.

Tbe Artillery Company witcb was added to tbe Regiment in 1813 bad fo11owing strengtb: Formed at tbe 29.06.1812

Commander: Lieut. Coenrads Sous Lieutenant Musquetier 3 sergents

3 corporaux 60 men

2 guns of six pounder

6 ammunitions wagons 1 field smitb

 

The Russian Campaign 1812

 

Colonel ofthe Regiment 1812: Colonel Wagner

 

Batt1es in the Campaign: 12. November Combat at Strukonowitz 14. November Combat at Smo1iany 27. November Combat at Borisow

 

As Napoleon starts the Russian Campaign the IX Corps from Victor with our 125th Line was on their way to Tilsit. They were planed as a Reserve Corps. Around the l4th of August they arrived in Tilsit as they marched over Königsberg.

The XI Army Corps with the 4./125th stood in Reserve in Stettin up to December 1812, before they marched to save the remnants of the Grand Army and had there rearguard Actions. AT the 27th August Marshall Victor marched with about 33.000 Men over the Depot at Kowno in Direction of the Main Army under Napoleon.

They marched over Vilna, Smorgoni, Minsk, Borisov, the Depot at Orscha to the Depot at Smolensk. There he secured with his Corps the Lines of Communication to France. They did there their duty until the retreat of the French army comes to them.

As Napoleon won the Battle of Borodino and reached Moskow he was soon pressed to leave the town. He wants to take a new route back to Prussia, not the way was they plundered on their march to Moskow the area. But after some Battles and clashes he was forced back to the same way as he was marched in. We did not want to tell the whole story of the French retreat, only the History of our Regiment in this time is for us interesting.

Victor received the order to come up to the Main Army, anywhere between Wiasma and Borodino he meets the Main Army.

As the IX Corps joined Napoleons Main Army, they marched in direction of the River Beresina.

The Div. Partouneaux had with the Main Army a battle at Wiasma at the 3. November. The 125th had no Officer losses in this Battle, so it is possible that they stood in Reserve at the time during the Battle. The Russians defeated Eugene the French Commander there. On the way to the river the 125th had an ambush at Smoliany at the 14th November.

Here Marshall Victor was in Command over the French Troops, witch participated the battle. He was attacked by Wittgenstein with about 27000 men Infantry , 3500 Cavalery and 114

guns. Victor himselfhad about 20000 men infantry with 48 guns. Wittgenstein won the Battle and pushed Victor back in direction to Tschereja at the 15th November. Wittgenstein did not follow him until the 22nd ofNovember.

Marshall Victor had the Command over his IX Corps and the remants of the 2nd Corps as he should secure the crossing of the French Army over the river. His soldiers were not badly mauled as the Main army, so the task was given to him.

At the western side of the River Ney stood there with the remnant of his m and Qudinots II Army Corps, witch was given under his command, from Victor. Victor himself stood with his Co~s at the eastern side of the river. He posted the 12th Infanterie Division, together with our 125 Line in a Position in Front ofhis lines. They should give alarm when the Russians attack and move back to Victors Lines. They stood near Borisov.

As the Russian attacked at the 27th. November at three o'clock in the afternoon, they came out ofthe wood near Stary Borisov and meet the Avant postes of the 12th French Div.

Partouneaux realised the danger of his Position and tried to make an breakthrough to Studianka. He had about 6000 men and a small detachment of Cavalery with him, the Saxonian Prinz Johan Chevauxlegers from the fonner Brigade Delaitre about 400 men and 4 guns. But his attack was laid down by the great mass of French stragglers. witch tried also to

get to the bridge. Soon he was totally surrounded and pushed back to Borisov. There the French Troops had a very hard fight before they surrendered, as we will see by their casualties. Only one Battalion the 4. / 55th from the prov. Regiment of the Brigade Blamont with 120 men in close order could manage to get trough. With them many Cavallerymen from the Prinz Johann Regiment and also some men from our 125th Line. The majority of the 125th Line had at Borisov their last stand.

The casua1ties of the 12th Division were:

4 Officers dead and wounded with about 40 men from the Prinz Johan Chevauxlegers 29th Legere 45 Officers and about 900 men dead and wounded 125th Line 35 Officers and about 700 men dead and wounded 126th Line 25 Officers and about 500 men dead and wounded 44th Line 29 Officers and about 580 men dead or wounded

10. Legere 12 Officers and about 240 men dead or wounded

The prov. Regiment with the 4./36,4./51,4./ 55th Line had following casualties 36th Line 13 Officers and about 260 men dead or wounded 51 st Line 16 Officers and about 320 men dead or wounded 55th Line 5 Officers and about 100 men dead or wounded From the Artillery we had following casualties

20th. Compagnie 5th Foot Atrillerie 4 Officers and about 40 men dead or wounded 5th Compagnie 7th Foot artillery 1 Officer and about 10 men dead or wounded.

 

As we took these horrible casualties we see that the French had nearly fought till death.

Beside the about 300 to 400 men witch could manage to get trough the Russian Lines the rest was forced to surrender.

We take again our 125th. As the Campaign starts they had 1476 men in the IX Corps.

They have lost one Officer at Strukonowitz, 2 at Smoliany and 35! ! ! at Borisov that makes altogether 798 men lost wounded or dead. May be some 50 could get out the rest were taken prisoner and how much of them get back to their Homeland, who knows. The 125th finds their end at Borisov.

The Chef de Battalion Frernanger was one of the Officers witch could break trough the Russian Lines, he was the one witch brought back the Regimental Eagle back to Paris. The Eagle was there destroyed by the Bourbons in August 1814.

 

The 4th. 125th was much luckier than their other Battalions. They had some sma1l actions at the end of the French retreat, but no Officer casualties and none or only few soldiers lost.

 

 

The Campagne of 1813

 

As we have seen the 125th was nearly destroyed in Russia. There was no time to form this unit up again, like they did with so many of the other Line Regiments in 1813.

It exist one Order Of Battle from the 5th January 1813,were the 4th. /l25th is remarked as follows:

31 st Division General de Division Lagrange

2nd Brigade General de Brigade Schobert (Garrison of Stettin) 12th Demi Brigade ( Stettin ) Staff 1 Officer

4. / 124th Line 16 Officer/415 men

part 4. /124th Line 5 Officers 210 men (in Damm) 3. / 123th Line 14 Officers 658 men 4. / 125th Line 14 Officers 422 men

part. 4. /125th 5 Officers 215 men (in Swinemünde)

 

This is the only retum of men or Order of Battle were in 1813 the 125th is mentioned. The unit still did not longer exits as a Field Regiment.

In an Order of Battle from 15.4.1813 they are not longer mentioned in the 31st Division.

At the 25th of August they are not in the Order of Battle from the Garrison of Magdeburg, and also not in one from 1 st September.

But in September the 4th Battalion were come to Magdeburg. From 15th September to the 14th May 1814 they make their part in the defence of the besieged town of Magdeburg. They lost there at the 23rd November one Officer and about 20 men. The Prussian General von Hirschfeld commanded the Prussian Troops witch besieged Magdeburg. Magdeburg surrendered after the news that Napoleons had applicated, after that General de Division Count Lemarois had negotiations and marched back to France with a1l his weapons and Eagles.

What about the survivors of the 1 st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion from the Russian Campaign?

In March 1813 they were incorporated in the 33rd Line Regiment. They must have been about 50 men (including the ancestor of the Dutchmen, witch served in the 125th.)

So these men are not longer members of the 125th. They are now from the 33rd Line, maybe some or all wear their old Uniforms or they wil1 become new ones, witch is more obvious after the Russian Campaign.

The 33rd Regiment fought in the following Battles in the 1813 Campaign:

13.05. Crossing of the River EIbe (4 Officers wounded, about 80 men dead or wounded) 26.08. Battle of Dresden (7 Officers wounded, about 140 men dead or wounded, incl. the ancestor of the Dutchmen, he was killed)

30.08. Battle of Kulm (18 Officers dead, wounded, taken prisoner, about 360 men dead, wounded, taken prisoner, the Eagle of the Regiment was taken by the Austrian I.R. Nr 54 Froon )

14.09. Peterswalde (3 Officers wounded about 60 men dead or wounded)

16.10-19.10. Battle of Leipzig (8 Officers inc1. the Colonel wounded, about 160 men wounded or dead)

 

The Campaign of 1814

 

As I rernarked before, the 4./ 125th stood the whole 1814 Campaign in the fortress of Magdeburg. As they returned home they got the News that they were also disbanded by the Bourbons like many other Regiments. Regard the dates! Disbanded in France 12.May 1814 and the Fortress surrendered at the14. May 1814! ! ! ! !

The last survivors of the 125th in the 33rd Line fought in 1814 in following Battles: Luxernbourg ( 4 Officers lost about 80 men)

 

At the end of the report I would like to make some remarks. As we have seen the 125th was in deed an short lived Regiment. The Titel Picture is named The Eagle ofthe 124th Hollondaise at the Battle of the Berezina, from H. van Papendricht. I guess it shows also the situation of the 125th Line. Just one false is in the picture. The Eagle Model shown by van Papendricht is the former model, not the 1811 Model.

 

I bope tbat is was interesting to read. If tbere is anyone wbo bad some remarks or critic, pIease let me know.

 

Günter Franke

Schleiengrund 5

25704 Elpersbüttel Germanv

 

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