Panorama (Alt 144/145/146) from Rochusberg hill south of Alteglofsheim, over the scene of the great cavalry clash on 22 April 1809:
The scene which was about to be enacted under the pale light of the rising moon, about 7 P.M. on this 22nd April, was perhaps one of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring in modern war. There cannot have been less than 13,000 to 15,000 cavalry engaged. To view the stage on which it was enacted, stand on the Rochusberg in the midst of Nansouty's horse artillery, busy firing on the Austrian cavalry line in front of Alt-Egloffsheim, and stretching north-eastwards beyond it. Behind the spectator are the great woods stretching to the Pfatterbach; on his right front, beyond the road, the moonbeams glint from the cuirasses and arms of three French regiments, deployed on a line running north-eastwards. At the distance behind them of a squadron's front, stand two more regiments of cuirassiers, the two lines together forming the French first line. Behind these are two columns of St. Sulpice's cuirassiers, two regiments in each of them, forming the second line. Altogether, nearly 6000 of the splendid heavy cavalry which Murat or Bessières would have loved to lead, a duty which, in their absence, fell to Nansouty.
To the right of this central mass, the Wurtemberg light cavalry is deploying, whilst, closer at hand, the Bavarian horsemen are continuing the line across the road close up to the spectator's feet. Let him look now to the left to see the Austrians deploying, they also with their cuirassiers in two lines in the centre, but with a front of only one regiment, opposed to the three of Nansouty. The light cavalry are on the flanks of the cuirassiers. Now the two opposing lines advance. Were it not for the din of the guns, it would be possible to hear the frequent order, "Close! Cuirassiers close up!" as the heavy Norman and Flemish horses move forward at a walk. The Austrians, less fatigued than the French, are already trotting, and about to break into a charge. Now only 100 yards separate the opposing fronts, when the carabiniers in Nansouty's centre halt. At the same moment the cuirassiers receive the order, "Trot! March!" The halt is only for a moment whilst the carabiniers can fire a volley in the faces of the Austrians, and then, drawing their sabres, join in the line which is now trotting forward in a semicircle, with the outer regiments threatening the Austrian cuirassiers' flanks. At the trot still, the French line meets the Austrian galloping horsemen in a fearful crash which drives each front line back on its supports. Each penetrates the other, whilst the light cavalry meet on either flank. The shock is followed by an indescribable melée of individual combats, the Austrians generally employing the edge, the French the point of the sword; the French protected in front and back by their double cuirass, the Austrians open to attack in rear, since they have no back-piece. The fight could last only a few moments, for there were five French regiments of heavy cavalry against only two Austrian.
F. Loraine Petre, Napoleon and the Archduke Charles
Looking northwest from Rochusberg hill south of Alteglofsheim.
Looking north from the Rochusberg hill toward Alteglofsheim.
Looking northeast from Rochusberg hill toward fields east of Alteglofsheim.
Looking east-southest from "Auf der Platte" hill toward Alteglofsheim. From this position, FML Hohenzollern witnessed the preparations for the cavalry battle at Alteglofsheim, and sent Lederer's Brigade of two Austrian cuirassier regiments into action, too late.
Schloss (Manor House) Alteglofsheim. Napoleon slept here the night of 22 April, 1809. Now occupied by a school of music.
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