September 1, 1870 - The Battle of Sedan
After a disastrous attempt to free the besieged Army of the Rhine at Metz, in which the French lost 5000 men, Napoleon III’s Army of Châlons retreated to Sedan. The Maas Army, the Prussian Third Army and the Bavarian I Corps, under command of Generalfeldmarschall Count Helmuth von Moltke, King Wilhelm II and Baron Ludwig von der Tann, encircled the French Army.
At the end of the day, after heavy fighting, intense bombardment and with no hope of breaking out, Napoleon called off the attacks. The next they, the Emperor surrendered himself and his entire army to the Prussians.
September 2, the day the French surrendered, became an unnofficial holiday. Two weeks after the victory at Sedan, the Prussians started the siege of Paris.
1,2,3. Carl Steffeck - General Reille delivers to King Wilhelm I the letter from Emperor Napoleon III - 1884 - Ruhmeshalle, Berlin, destroyed in WWII
4. Wilhelm Camphausen - Otto von Bismarck escorts Emperor Napoleon III after the Battle of Sedan - 1877 - DHM, Berlin
5. Wilhelm Camphausen - Emperor Napoleon III and Otto von Bismarck after the Battle of Sedan - 1878