Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Austerlitz - The Santon

The Santon is a small hill on the far left of Napoleon’s battle line. Immediately prior to the battle it was fortified with field works and 20 captured Austrian light cannon. It came under attack during the early stages of the battle, but was held throughout the day.

The main road runs between the Santon and Napoleons main command post on the Zuran Hill. From the road the Santon is not very impressive, as it is now overgrown on that side. To reach the steep steps you have to walk around to the other side.

The plan was to walk from the Post House to the Santon after lunch. However after our wet and cold morning we were reluctant to leave the warmth of the Post House. We were eventually persuaded by the offer of a lift to the Santon in the mini bus. By now the weather had greatly improved and we were all keen to get back to the tour.

It came as a surprise that the view from the top of the Santon is quite restricted. There are good views to the left, but that area saw little action during the battle, other than a minor infantry attack on the Santon itself. Alan Rooney explained the importance of this hill in the battle and the cavalry battle which took place between it and the Post House. This is the area that we should have walking over instead of extra glasses of local wine to wash down the excellent Santon Cannonball for lunch!

There was a chapel on the Santon prior to the battle, but it was dismantled to provide material for the fortifications. The present chapel was built in 1832 and looks like it has always been there.

There is also a cannon gun on the summit. There are no signs in English, so I am not sure whether this was an original or a replica.

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