On 6th February 1814, the deputy mayor of Reims opened his city gates to a handful of Cossacks. Following this bold move, the city would alternate between French and Coalition rule four times within the month of March. Renegade General Saint-Priest seized the city by force on 12th March at the head of a Russian-Prussian Army Corps: This pushed Napoleon to commit himself in this battle in order to restore a critical tactical situation. He triumphantly entered Reims from the day after at nightfall upon rough fights which took place in Tinqueux and at the gate of Vesle. The inhabitants cheared enthusiastically at him when he left the city in the morning of 17th Marc. He had to proceed on his tragic destiny about to be achieved a few days later in Fontainebleau.