Napoleon's Residence at Mainz, 1804–1813

Napoleon's residence at Mainz

The Bridgehead

In 38 BC, Agrippa erected a fortified winter camp on the site of a former Celtic settlement, located at the confluence of Rhein and Main. From 14 to 9 BC, Drusus built Castrum Mogontiacum, named after Mogo, the Celtic God of Light. In the 1st Century, a permanent stone bridge connected Castrum Mogontiacum with Castellum Mattiacorum (Kastel) on the right bank of the Rhine. This bridge was not maintained after the fall of the Roman Empire.

In 1661, a heavy pontoon bridge, using 46 river barges, was permanently deployed between the Imperial Fortress of Mainz and the fortified Bridgehead at Kastel. After the Battle at Leipzig, 16 and 18-19 October 1813, Napoleon withdrew the Grande Armée to Mainz/Kastel and crossed the Rhine ahead of the Allied armies. Elements of the Russian Corps Langeron of Blücher's Silesian Army blockaded Kastel and, after Blücher's Rhinecrossing at Kaub, invested Mayence. Langeron's Corps was eventually relieved by the V. German Corps under the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, and rejoined Blücher's Army in February of 1814.

The Archbishopric of Mainz

The Archbishop of Mainz, Elector and Arch-chancellor of the Empire, Primate of Germany, Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal fled Mainz in 1792 when French Revolutionary troops pillaged the Palatinate and occupied the city. He returned in 1793, but fled Mainz again in 1794 and surrendered the left bank of the Rhine to France. The Archbishop died at Aschaffenburg in 1802, and was succeeded by Archbishop Carl von Dalberg. As a result of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluß of 25 February 1803, the Archbishopric of Mainz was secularized, and incorporated into France. Emperor Napoleon maintained a residence at Mayence from 1804 to 1813, and the fortress of Mayence did not surrender to the Allies until April 1814, following the occupation of Paris.

Mainz Today

Napoleon's Residence, Main Building

Napoleon's Residence, Main Building

Napoleon's Residence, Side Building

Napoleon's Residence, Side Building

Electoral Palace and Gate on Große Bleiche at left; City street in the old town at right

Electoral Palace and Gate on Große Bleiche at left; City street in the old town at right

Mainz Cathedral, built 978-1009, at left; St. Peters-Kirche Church, completed in 1756, at right.

Mainz Cathedral, built 978-1009, at left; St. Peters-Kirche Church, completed in 1756, at right.

Kastel redoubt, fortified bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Rhine river

Kastel redoubt, fortified bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Rhine river

Kastel redoubt, fortified bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Rhine river

Romanic tower near Holzturm at left; Eisenturm on Rheinstraße at right

Restaurants on Rheinstraße in Mainz

Restaurants on Rheinstraße in Mainz

Rochusstraße at the corner of Holzhofstraße

Rochusstraße at the corner of Holzhofstraße

Mainz Citadel Gatehouse

Mainz Citadel Gatehouse

Double-Company Barracks inside the Citadel

Double-Company Barracks inside the Citadel

Plan of the Citadel

Plan of the Citadel

Many of the historic buildings, churches, palaces and fortifications of the city of Mainz have been beautifully restored. The narrow streets in the old part of the city and the Rhine promenade are tourist attractions.

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