Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Dresden; Prelude August 1813

On 12 August Austria declared war. By this time Napoleon had nearly as many men in Germany as he had on the Neman in 1812 when he invaded Russia.

In the Fortresses to the East 50,000 with various commanders; on the Elbe 25,000 with various commanders; in Hamburg 40,000 (including 12,000 Danes) commanded by Davout; on the Rhine 25,000 Bavarians under Wede; at Mainz/Würzburg 15,000 with the cavalry corps under Milhaud, the infantry corps under Augereau; the Grande Armée of 400,000 under Napoleon, for a total of 555,000 men.

With over 12,000 guns Napoleon was very well provided with artillery. His cavalry, some 380 squadrons , now amounted to 70,000 horsemen–thought how many of the troopers were expert in wielding their sabers, or in riding their horses, was another matter. The Guard had swollen to strength of 60,000 men.

The Grande Armée was organized into 16 corps, five being cavalry. This great host was by no means all French,. It included Poles, Germans, Italians, Dutchmen, Belgians, and Swiss, and while some notably the Poles, were devoted to the Emperor, some were decidedly lukewarm. As early as 22 August two Westphalian hussar regiments, comprising the light cavalry brigade of Victor’s II Corps, went over to the Allies, whose field armies had grown to redoubtable size.

The Allies also put a mighty host in the field. It consisted of three armies as follows:

Army of Bohemia (Schwarzenberg) 249,000

Austrians (125,000) Schwarzenberg; Prussians II Corps (37,000) Kleist; Prussian Guard (7,000) Unknown; Russians (80,000) Barclay de Tolly

Army of the North (Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden) 125,000

Prussians (72,000) Tauentzien / Bülow; Russians (30,000) Winzingerode; Swedes (23,000) Bernadotte

Army of Silesia (Blücher) 108,000

Prussians (38,000) Yorck; Russians (70,000) Sacken / Lengeron

The three allied field armies amounted to more than 408,000 men, as opposed to Napoleon’s Grande Armée of about 400,000. More than a quarter of Winzingerode’s 30,000 were Cossacks, unfit for the line of battle, and most of Tauentzien’s men, being Landwehr or reserves, could hardly be classed as first line troops. But in addition they had a miscellaneous force under Wallmoden opposing Davout’s garrison at Hamburg, while other detachments, mainly Landwehr, blocked the French garrisons on the Elbe and to the East. These troops numbered not less than 100,000 bring the Allied total to nearly 600,000.

When the armistice ended, Napoleon had most of his army deployed to the east of the Elbe, between Dresden and Liegnitz, able to strike at any one of the three converging Allied armies. From Dresden north to Hamburg the fortresses and passages of the Elbe were in his hands. He decided to strike first at Bernadotte, hoping to loosen the Allies position in North Germany, and perhaps to relieve Kurstin and Stettin.

The battle scared Oudinot took an army of 85,000 to the north. He had some initial success, but on 23 August Bernadotte’s Army of the North turned on him at Grossbeeren about 12 miles south of Berlin, and drove him back in confusion. By 2 September he was back at Wittenberg on the Elbe, about 40 miles south-west of Berlin, with his men badly shaken.

Meanwhile Blücher, advancing against Ney, had found the latter reinforced by Napoleon himself; in accordance with the new plan of operations, Blücher beat a hasty retreat eastwards, and despite a vigorous pursuit succeeded in evading the Emperor. Schwarzenberg, seeing Napoleon away in the east, struck northwards. On 23 August Napoleon left MacDonald with four corps to contain Blücher and moved by forced marches from Gӧrlitz to the relief of Dresden. He ordered MacDonald to drive Blücher beyond the river Jauer and then take up a position on the River Bober and so prevent the Army of Silesia from interfering with his operations. MacDonald, however, pressed on to the Katzbach, a tributary of the River Oder about 40 to 50 miles west of Breslau. It was a stream of no great importance but its banks were steep. MacDonald was deceived by Blücher’s flight into thinking that the Army of Sileasia was tired and demoralized after its long retreat. He then crossed the Katzbach, although he had only 50,000 troops to oppose Blücher’s 80,000. The Prussian, aware that Napoleon was no longer with the French army, at once turned on his pursuer. MacDonald, taken by surprise at this sudden reversal, was driven back into the river and only extricated himself with the loss of half his force, 100 guns and 18,000 prisoners. He fell back rapidly towards Dresden with his shattered remnants.

In the meantime, on 19 August Schwarzenberg had begun his advance. On the 22nd the Allies crossed the watershed of the mountains of Bohemia, making for Chemnitz, and then decided to turn north-east against Dresden, whose garrison was only 5,000 strong. Napoleon got wind of this move very quickly, for news of it reached him at Gӧrlitz on the evening of the 23rd August.

The Allied advance guard appeared before Dresden on the afternoon of 25 August and Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, with 15,000 men, fell back before them. The Marshal had four divisions, one of these being at Kӧnigstein, with which to oppose 80,000 Allies. The fortifications at Dresden were not of the best and were also rather too extensive for the troops available. Had the Allies stormed at once they could scarcely had failed to carry the city, but they delayed. This had been blamed on the methodical approach of the Austrians it seems, however, Schwarzenberg wished to attack but allowed the Tsar to overrule him. The opportunity for a sift victory was soon gone, for by evening the bivouac fires of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard could be seen against the eastern sky.

The actors were in place and the stage set for the morning’s slug fest.


SOURCE: NAPOLEON: The Last Campaigns 1813-15; BY: James Lawford
CONTRIBUTOR: Martin F. Elkins


Quote of the Day for October 27

A word which some lexicographer has marked obsolete is ever thereafter an object of dread and loathing to the fool writer, but if it is a good word and has no exact modern equivalent equally good, it is good enough for the good writer.

Ambrose Bierce

This Day In History for October 27: The First Underground Line of the New York City Subway Opens (1904)


demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City wasfirst built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transitonly extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway in Lower Manhattan andexhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology.The tunnel was never extended for political and financial reasons,although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward toThe Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River.[16] The Beachsubway was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the1910s; thus, it was not integrated into the New York City Subway system.

The Great Blizzard of 1888 helped demonstrate the benefits of anunderground transportation system. The first underground line of the subwayopened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the firstelevated line in New York City, which became the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. Theoldest structure still in use opened in 1885 as part of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line in Brooklyn and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line. Theoldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as asteam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road.

By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into twoprivately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, laterBrooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRTand most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by thecity and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operatedIndependent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system wasintended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevatedrailways to be torn down, but kept within the core of the City due to the lowamount of startup capital provided to the municipal Board of Transportation, thelater MTA, by the state.[4] This required it to be run ‘at cost’, necessitating faresup to double the five-cent fare popular at the time.[17]

In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city and some elevatedlines closed immediately while others closed soon after. Integration was slow,but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and nowoperate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segmentsare too small and stations too narrow to accommodate B Division cars, andcontain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division,A Division.

The New York City Transit Authority, a public authority presided by New York City, was created in 1953 to take over subway,bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and placed under control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.

In 1934, transit workers of the BRT, IRT, and IND founded the Transport Workers Union of America, organized as Local 100. Local 100 remains thelargest and most influential local of the labor union. Since the union’s founding,there have been three union strikes over contract disputes with the MTA, 12days in 1966, 11 days in 1980, and three days in 2005.

The September 11 attacks resulted in service disruptions on lines runningthrough Lower Manhattan, particularly the IRT Broadway – Seventh AvenueLine, which ran directly underneath the World Trade Center between theChambers Street and Rector Street stations. Sections of the tunnel, as well asthe Cortlandt Street station, which was directly underneath the Twin Towers,were severely damaged by the collapse and had to be rebuilt, requiringsuspension of service on that line south of Chambers Street. Ten other nearbystations were closed while dust and debris were cleaned up. By March 2002,seven of those stations had reopened. The rest (except for Cortlandt Street onthe IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line) reopened on September 15, 2002along with service south of Chambers Street.[18][19]

Construction methods

When the IRT subway debuted in 1904, the typical tunnel construction methodwas cut-and-cover. The street was torn up to dig the tunnel below before beingrebuilt from above. This method worked well for digging soft dirt and gravelnear the street surface. However, mining shields were required for deepersections, such as the Harlem and East River tunnels, which used cast-irontubes, segments between 33rd and 42nd streets under Park Avenue, 116thStreet and 120th Street under Broadway, and 145th Street and DyckmanStreet (Fort George) under Broadway and Saint Nicholas Avenue as well asthe tunnel from 96th Street to Central Park North – 110th Street & LenoxAvenue, all of which used either rock or concrete-lined tunnels.[20]

About 40% of the subway system runs on surface or elevated tracks, including steel or cast iron elevated structures, concreteviaducts, embankments, open cuts and surface routes. All of these construction methods are completely grade-separatedfrom road and pedestrian crossings, and most crossings of two subway tracks are grade-separated with flying junctions.

Lines and routes

Many rapid transit systems run relatively static routings, so that a train “line” ismore or less synonymous with a train “route”. In New York, routings changeoften as new connections are opened or service patterns change. Within the nomenclature of the subway, the “line” describes the physical railroad trackor series of tracks that a train “route” uses on its way from one terminal toanother. “Routes” (also called “services”) are distinguished by a letter or anumber and “Lines” have names. They are also designations for trains, asexemplified in the Billy Strayhorn song Take the “A” Train. This terminologyis also used to a loose extent in the Taipei Metro, where trains run on differentnamed “lines” that are part of colored “routes”.

There are 24 train services in the subway system, including three short shuttles. Each route has a color and a local orexpress designation representing the Manhattan trunk line of the particular service. The color lime green is exclusivelyassigned to the Crosstown Line route since it operates entirely outside Manhattan while the shuttles are all assigned dark slate gray.[21] The 167CGLM and R trains are fully local; making all stops. The 2345<6><7>ABDEFNand Q trains have portions of express and local service. The J train normally operates local, but during rush hours it is joinedby the Z train in the peak direction. Both run local, express or skip-stop on different parts of their route. The letter S is used forthree shuttle services.

A Division (IRTconsists of:

Route Name
NYCS 1 Broadway – Seventh Avenue Local
NYCS 2 Broadway – Seventh Avenue Express
NYCS 3 Broadway – Seventh Avenue Express
NYCS 4 Lexington Avenue Express
NYCS 5 Lexington Avenue Express
NYCS 6 NYCS 6d Lexington Avenue Local (Pelham Local/Express)
NYCS 7 NYCS 7d Flushing Local/Express
42nd Street Shuttle 42nd Street Shuttle
B Division (BMT/INDconsists of:

Route Name Route Name
NYCS A Eighth Avenue Express NYCS L 14 Street – Canarsie Local
NYCS B Sixth Avenue Express NYCS M Sixth Avenue Local
NYCS C Eighth Avenue Local NYCS N Broadway Local
NYCS D Sixth Avenue Express NYCS Q Broadway Express
NYCS E Eighth Avenue Local NYCS R Broadway Local
NYCS F Sixth Avenue Local Franklin Avenue Shuttle Franklin Avenue Shuttle
NYCS G Crosstown Local Rockaway Park Shuttle Rockaway Park Shuttle
NYCS J Nassau Street Local NYCS Z Nassau StreetExpress

The current color system depicted on official subway maps was proposed byR. Raleigh D’Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the TransitAuthority in 1964. D’Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only threecolors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with amap that used a different color for each service. D’Adamo’s contest entryshared first place with two others and led to the Transit Authority adopting amulti-colored scheme.[22] However, the lines and services are not referred toby color (e.g., Blue Line or Green Line), although the colors are often assignedthrough their groups.

Though the subway system operates on a 24-hour basis, some of thedesignated routes do not run, run as a shorter route or run with a differentstopping pattern during late night hours. In addition to these regularlyscheduled changes, because there is no nightly system shutdown formaintenance, tracks and stations must be maintained while the system isoperating. To accommodate such work, services are usually changed duringmidday, overnight hours, and weekends.[23]

Subway map

The current official transit maps of the New York City Subway are based on a 1979 design by Michael Hertz Associates. Themaps are not geographically accurate due to the complexity of the system (i.e. Manhattan being the smallest borough, buthaving the most services), but are known to help tourists navigate the city, as major city streets are shown alongside thesubway stations serving them. The newest edition of the subway map, which took effect on June 27, 2010, reflects the latestservice changes and also makes Manhattan bigger and Staten Island smaller.[24][25] A late night-only version of the map wasintroduced on January 30, 2012.[26]

Part of the reason for the current incarnation is that earlier diagrams of the subway (the first being produced in 1958), whilebeing more aesthetically pleasing, had the perception of being more geographically inaccurate than the diagrams today. Thedesign of the subway map by Massimo Vignelli, published by the MTA between 1972 and 1979, has since becomerecognized in design circles as a modern classic; however, the MTA deemed the map flawed due to its placement ofgeographical elements.[27][28]

On September 16, 2011, the MTA introduced a Vignelli-style interactive subway map, aptly called “The Weekender”,[29] to itswebsite.[30] As the title suggests,[31] it is a way for riders to get information about any planned work, from late Friday night toearly Monday morning, that is going on either on a service(s) or station(s) of the subway during the weekend only.[32][33] OnJune 11, 2012, the MTA duplicated “The Weekender” site as a free mobile app download for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and theiPad. An Android version is still being developed.[34][35]

There are several privately produced schematics which are available online or in published form, such as those by HagstromMap.

[36] Additionally, the New York City subway map has served as the subject of artistic endeavors. Among these are worksby Fadeout Design and by Alexander Chen.[37][38]


See also

Your Daily Horoscopes for Saturday, October 27


You’re in a rather reflective cycle, dear Aries, and you’re likely to make some useful discoveries in the weeks ahead. A Sun-Saturn influence today helps you see the value of both preparation and foresight. Your ambition is stimulated in a pleasant, motivating way, prompting you to concentrate on practical details that need your attention. Getting along with a boss, parent, or authority can be in focus for some of you, and it brings rewards, too. You’re thinking about the long term instead of seeking instant gratification. There can be a happy focus on a task. You can very well be in a great position to secure or organize an area of your life.


With the Sun in your partnership sector harmonizing with Saturn today, dear Taurus, it’s a good time for improvements to relationships or for pairing up to accomplish something productive. You might feel quite accomplished or satisfied with a commitment. Positive gestures and actions taken now have a real and favorable impact on your future, without all the fanfare. Your sense of responsibility is particularly developed now, and it’s an excellent time for establishing better habits and patterns in relationships. You are a little more ambitious and motivated to face issues or tackle details that you might miss or ignore on other days.


This can be a wonderfully practical day, dear Gemini, even though the Moon spends the day in your sign, stimulating a more personal approach than usual. The Sun is currently in your solar sixth house — a transit that encourages you to focus on the nuts and bolts of your life — and is harmonizing with responsible, disciplined Saturn today, putting you in a fabulous position for self-development and laying the groundwork for future success. It’s a particularly good time for furthering health and work goals. Getting on top of the little things in your life can do enormous things for your confidence and general outlook. Awareness of your limitations is reasonable and doesn’t drag you down today. When you’re not avoiding or glossing things over, you feel more in control. A plan for better health and habits can come together.


While you’re in a more playful cycle in your solar year, dear Cancer, today’s energies encourage you to make tangible progress or to get things done! You’re willing to work hard towards a goal now, even if it’s a long-term one. You are happy to commit yourself to a task or even a person, or you have a nice sense of coming together or mutual understanding in the works with someone important to you. It’s easier than usual to put aside problems and accept responsibilities right now. In fact, you’re in the mood to organize an area of your life or otherwise find ways to make a relationship, project, or situation work for you. While others’ demands on your time remain strong, the added responsibility doesn’t feel heavy today.


Today can be an excellent time for working at improving home life, family, or work, dear Leo, and this can involve working harder at finding peace with those closest to you or making physical improvements. You are taking more pride in the functionality of these areas of life. There is great value in a careful or cautious approach to life today as your ruler, the Sun, harmonizes with disciplined Saturn. Organizing, editing, and rearranging are favored. This is a fine time for applying yourself to the practical details that hold your life together. Your attention span is longer and long-term satisfaction can be a goal. You are wearing an aura of competence and dedication, and someone may be recommending you. You’re feeling especially good about taking charge or getting organized now.


You’re in a cycle that’s especially good for picking up all sorts of information, dear Virgo, and today, you’re ready to apply it. This is a good day for improving a relationship with sincere communications or simply “being there” for someone. The focus is on stability, steadiness, and effort. A verbal promise or commitment may be made now. You are a little more ambitious today and more willing to put in the effort to achieve long-term goals. Making small improvements to your life is especially favored now, on emotional, mental, and physical levels. This is a time for strengthening, organizing, building, and stabilizing activities. Doing the responsible thing feels good today! This is due to a Sun-Saturn aspect that happens to occur at a time when the Moon is at the top of your solar chart, encouraging you to take care of your responsibilities.


You’re likely to feel grounded and enjoy focusing on getting things in order today, dear Libra, with the Sun’s connection to Saturn. Activities that remind you of the simple pleasures in life are in high favor now. This influence is realistic and practical, encouraging moderate, appropriate actions that benefit you in the long-term. This is a time for finding ways to strengthen or stabilize your life in crucial ways, particularly when it comes to your valuables, your finances, or your home, any of which may need some maintenance or upkeep. It can be satisfying to be responsible today! The best methods used today are tried-and-true, orderly, and organized. Take care of your things, and they will take care of you!


This is an excellent time for seeking out ways to empower yourself through activities that improve and strengthen your life and your future, dear Scorpio, if they don’t find you first! The Sun in your sign connects favorably with Saturn in your communications sector, and you might enjoy good advice, practical news, and useful conversations. Common sense is with you now. Applying yourself to mental and learning pursuits can bring rewards down the road. You enjoy small accomplishments today. Bold moves don’t make much sense with the energies of the day, which tends to favor realistic, deliberate, and moderate actions. Studies, training, and skills development can be in positive focus.


With the Sun and Saturn in harmony today, dear Sagittarius, it’s a great time to do something that helps strengthen your position. You might enjoy working behind the scenes, which can help you regroup and renew your spirit. You can learn something that fills in the missing puzzle pieces of a situation, and this improves your judgment all around. Getting time to yourself can be particularly helpful and grounding as you get in better touch with your needs. You prefer to work on worthwhile pursuits today as you’re looking for reliable results. You’re also in a good position to tie up loose ends, get closure, or resolve a long-term problem from your past, which can do wonders for your confidence and overall sense of well-being.


Your focus on your social and humanitarian or personal happiness goals is a little more serious or earnest than usual today, dear Capricorn, as the Sun harmonizes with Saturn in your sign. You see the value of slowing down and employing some caution right now, or of getting all the details right before pushing forward. It’s a good day for considering your longer-term plans and taking steps to secure or strengthen them. Friends or group connections can be supportive, and the practical side of your relationships is highlighted. Working solidly towards a personal happiness or group goal can be fruitful and fulfilling. This aspect particularly favors efforts to stabilize, strengthen, commit, build, and maintain. It also benefits your clout with others.


The Moon spends the day in a fellow Air sign, dear Aquarius, which is supportive and reinforcing, and the Sun harmonizes with your co-ruler, Saturn, which has a steadying effect. Others appreciate and value your common sense. It’s a good time for taking steps towards meeting your goals or strengthening your position. Business endeavors are in especially good favor, and work that you did in the past or behind the scenes can come in handy now. This is a time for applying your inner wisdom and experience to your work and feeling particularly proud of yourself and your accomplishments. The key to moving ahead seems to be taking care of old business or tying up loose ends.


While the Sun is now transiting an outgoing and adventurous sector of your solar chart, dear Pisces, its connection with serious Saturn today suggests you’re ready to put the extra effort into gaining new experience and feeding your spirit. You might find the motivation to work on a project that means something to you or to take care of practical affairs that strengthen or improve your life in small but measurable ways. You are thinking about what’s best for you in the long term, not just today or this week, and this can benefit you greatly. You have the enthusiasm to get going on your plans and initiatives, but it’s your patience now that makes all the difference. This is a day for taking action that benefits you and your future self!


Courtesy of Astrology Cafe