Battle of Mesoten
|Battle of Mesothen|
|Part of French invasion of Russia (1812)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Fabian Steinheil||Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg|
|4 battalions, 2 squadrons||5 battalions, 5 squadrons|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Mesothen took place on September 29, 1812, between the Russian Corps of Finland and the French-allied Prussian Auxiliary Corps. It was fought near the Latvian town of Mežotne (German: Mesothen), then part of the Courland Governorate.
In September 1812, Russian troops of General Steinheil entered Mitau, Gross Eckau and Bauska without a fight. However, they were spread out and vulnerable to enemy counterattacks. The Prussian command deployed its forces to defend the artillery stationed at the Bauska Castle and sent small squads to the ford across the river Lielupe.
On September 29, the Prussians launched a counterattack against the advancing Russian forces and attacked their vanguard at 5 pm. The struggle lasted until late at night and pushed the Russian troops back. On the same night, Ludwig von Wartenburg sent forces under the command of Friedrich Kleist against the troops of Alexander Belgard, which were chasing a retreating Prussian squad on the left bank of the Lielupe. The resulting battle was fought in darkness and involved only infantry units. Vastly outnumbering the enemy, the Prussians forced the Russian troops back and, after having received substantial reinforcements, went on the offensive.
As a result of the battle, Steinheil called off the advance and returned to Riga. Although a defeat, the battle eased some of the pressure on the Russian army of Peter Wittgenstein, helping it to eventually capture the city of Polotsk on October 20.
(in Russian) Отечественная война 1812 года: Энциклопедия (Patriotic War of 1812: an Encyclopedia). Moscow: РОССПЭН. 2004.