After the disastrous Saxony Campaign, with its lowest point at Leipzig, the French army retreated, withdrawing inside its natural frontiers with the Allied armies hard on its heels. On 29 January 1814, the Battle of Brienne rekindled French hopes which then very quickly evaporated with the defeat at La Rothière on 1 February. Napoleon fell back on Troyes.
The Allies decided to march on Paris but made the mistake of doing so in dispersed order. It was more than a blunder, it was a grave mistake. Using the capacity for marching of his young soldiers as well as that of his old"moustaches”, Napoleon fell like lightning on the Army of Silesia which he swept aside in five days of battles at Champaubert, Montmirail and Vauchamps. More than just three victories, Napoleon gave France something it had forgotten, confidence.