It was on 3 July that Napoleon toured Mühl- Haufen personally in the company of Marshal Massena. It was during this visit that Massena’s horse had an accident and lost its balance, falling over and falling heavily on the marshal’s leg. Massena was unable to remount his horse, being the reason why he nearly missed the forthcoming battle but was instead driven around in an open carriage while commanding his corps. Perhaps the French should have renamed the island as a result.
Mühl-Haufen island can claim a piece of Napoleonic history. Sitting in the Stadtler Arm of the Danube downstream of the original crossing point onto the Mühlau salient, the French army christened it Ile du Moulin as they transformed Lobau island into a virtual fortress after the Battle of Aspern-Essling. Napoleon attached great importance to Mühl-Haufen on the eve of the Battle of Wagram according to Pelet’s memoirs. The islet was seized on 2 July by 600 voltigeurs from Boudet’s division led by Massena’s aide de camp, the same Captain Pelet. Under heavy fire, French pontooneers immediately set about building a bridge spanning 150m to connect Lobau Island to Mühl-Haufen. A gun emplacement was erected at the western end of the islet. Mühl-Haufen was closer to the north bank and the next day fieldworks flanked by trenches were erected opposite the island and named Redoute Petit. In the afternoon of 4 July, a bridge from the islet over to the redoubt on the north bank was completed.

Accident Island

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