Blucher decides to stay the night and probe the French pickets along the river for a place to assemble his pontoon bridge. The bad weather all night does not assist him and at early morning light the pontoon location has been selected but construction has not yet begun.
Meanwhile the French did not fare much better during the night. Engineers wnet forward with armed escorts to set explosives on the bridge but due to the weather it was only able to be blown just prior to 0900hrs to everyone's surprise. As the sound of the explosion made its way around the valley, Blucher calls up Russian engineers with a task of assessing the damage in order to repair it for a crossing. 2 crossing points are much better than, especially with so much French artillery on the other side of the river.
Early morning reports come in to Bluchers breakfast table - the French have withdrawn 600 yards south away from the river. This is good news, if the allies can get across the river they can establish a beachead and fan out to engage the French on wider frontage than just 2 river crossings. This could be the break he was looking for.
The French had indeed pulled back, but only to restablish better fields of fire for their artillery on a group of hills further south. A large massed battery covered the river on the left, another smaller battery in the centre with combined arms support, and all 3 arms deployed on the right in case the allies cross the river at that position. All was set to meet them on French terms.
Russian engineers reported back to Blucher bad news. The bridge blown by the French this morning was very badly damaged and would not be repaired today. Still, Blucher had his bridging train who had their orders.
As the light of the day intensified, Allied formations could be seen deploying, eager to come to grips with the French waiting across the river.
The French in their new defensive positions watching the Allies assessing the damage to the bridge
French light cavalry keep an eye on the Russian engineers at the bridge
French forces covering the main road from the bridge. Not even they knew how well the bridge was destroyed.
Allies going nowhere after hearing the bridge would take days to repair for a crossing.
French massed artillery covering the river on the French left
Allied massed artillery in position to support a river crossing at the bridge that never eventuated.
The frustrated Allies at the smoking bridge.
Both sides settled in to duelling artillery fires with the French getting the upper hand. On the left the French had deployed a large battery of artillery overwatching the river but the Allies had deployed their pontoons on the French right so the only target on this side was a brigade of Russian cavalry and horse artillery which paid dearly for being so exposed. After just 2 hours of bombardment, half the battery and half of one regiment of cavalry had been decimated forcing the brigade to retire to safer ground.
Massed French artillery firing on exposed Russian cavalry formations.
Russian cavalry brigade after 2 rounds of bombardment fire