The North Army under Bernadotte, unknown to Napoleon, lay on Blucher's left around Halle.
Napoleon, as soon as he had disembarrassed himself of Schwarzenberg, counter-marched his main body and moving again by Sezanne, fell upon Blucher's left and drove him back upon Soissons.
The Silesian army was thus able to escape, and marching northwards combined with Bernadotte at Laon - this reinforcement bringing the forces at Blucher's disposal up to over 10o,000 men.
Blucher's Prussian army of 116,000 men, with headquarters at Namur, was distributed as follows:
Blucher's left was protected by the difficult country of the Ardennes.
Blucher's army was undoubtedly more homogeneous, and though it is doubtful if he possessed any troops of the same quality as Wellington's best, on the other hand he had no specially weak elements.
He had to delay the French advance for 24 hours and give time for Blucher's concentration, at the same time retaining his own freedom of manoeuvre, and this in spite of the great length of the summer day, the short distance that he lay 'in front of Fleurus, the tremendous numerical superiority of the French and Napoleon's personal presence at their head.
Failing to appreciate this fully, Wellington omitted to order an immediate concentration on his inner (left) flank as Blucher had done, and the danger of Blucher's position was thus enormously increased.
Grouchy now pushed on towards Fleurus, which was still held by Blucher's troops, and there the advance came to a.
To assist this operation the reserve would move at first to Fleurus to reinforce Grouchy, should he need assistance in driving back Blucher's troops; but, once in possession of Sombreffe, the emperor would swing the reserve westwards and join Ney, who, it was supposed, would have in the meantime mastered Quatre Bras.
As he surveyed the field from the windmill north of Fleurus it struck him as significant that Blucher's troops were disposed parallel to the Namur road, as if to cover a forward concentration, and not at right angles to it, as they would be had they been covering a retreat.
The two chiefs, surveying the French army in their front, considered that no serious force was in front of Quatre Bras, and Wellington terminated the interview with the conditional promise that he would bring his army to Blucher's assistance at Ligny, if he was not attacked himself.
Corps been thrown into the doubtful struggle at Quatre Bras, it must have crushed Wellington; had it been used at Ligny it would have entailed Blucher's annihilation.
As .Blucher's dispositions gradually became clearer the emperor realized that the first Ligny.
Blucher's army, as he finally disposed it, was quite visible to Napoleon on the bare open slopes which it occupied above St Amand and Ligny, the II.
The emperor decided to bear down Blucher's centre and right with the corps of Vandamme and Gerard and with Girard's division which he had drawn into his operations, containing the Prussian left meanwhile with the squadrons of Pajol and Exelmans, assisted by a few infantry.
Further, he could order up Lobau, and direct Ney to move his rearward corps across and form it up behind Blucher's right.
Blucher's force was numerically very superior.
The artillery of the Guard, therefore, came into action above Ligny to prepare Blucher's centre for assault.
Blucher's worn-out soldiers could not withstand the tremendous impact of Napoleon's choicest troops, and the Prussian centre was pierced and broken.
Napoleon was master of Blucher's battlefield, and the beaten Prussians had retired to the north of the Namur-Nivelles road.
But it was 24 hours too late, for Blucher's defeat had rendered the AngloDutch position untenable.
Jean, and would accept battle there, in a selected position to the south of the Forest of Soignes, provided he was assured of the support of one of Blucher's corps.
The situation was still obscure, details as to what had happened on the French left were wanting, and the direction of Blucher's retreat was by no means certain.
Although the emperor wrote to Ney again at noon, from Ligny, that troops had now been placed in position at Marbais to second the marshal's attack on Quatre Bras, yet Ney remained quiescent, and Wellington effected so rapid and skilful a retreat that, on Napoleon's arrival at the head of his supporting corps, 1 There appears to be no reason to believe that Grouchy pushed any reconnaissances to the northward and westward of Gentinnes on June 17; had he done so, touch with Blucher's retiring columns must have been established, and the direction of the Prussian retreat made clear.
Full arrangements were made for Blucher's co-operation through General Muffling, the Prussian attaché on the duke's staff.
He was held responsible not only for the occupation itself, but for every untoward incident to which it gave rise; even Blucher's attempt to blow up the Pont de Jena, which he had prevented, was laid to his charge.
Of Burk) lay Blucher's corps, and on Blucher's right, formed at an angle to him, and refused towards Gleina (7 m.
Kleist made a most stubborn resistance on the Burk ridge, and Bertrand's corps was called up by Napoleon to join in the battle; but part of Blucher's corps fiercely engaged Bertrand, and Burk was not taken till 7 P.M.
The advance was carried out with precision; the Russians were quickly dislodged, and Ney was now closing upon the rear of Blucher's corps at the village of Preititz.