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The Army of Italy (French : Armée d'Italie) was a field army of the French Army stationed on the Italian border and used for operations in Italy itself. Though it existed in some form in the 16th century through to the present, it is best known for its role during the French Revolutionary Wars (in which it was one of the early commands of Napoleon Bonaparte, during his Italian campaign) and Napoleonic Wars.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Likewise, air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces. A field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops.
The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.
Poorly supplied (uniforms and shoes were rare), and only getting reinforcements irregularly, the Army of Italy was sometimes reduced to looting to survive. When Bonaparte arrived (he took up command on 27 March 1796), indiscipline was rife. Chouan songs were sung by the troops, and a company of the Dauphin was formed. All the while improving the supply system as much as possible, Bonaparte also reestablished discipline. He condemned officers who had cried Vive le roi !, (English: "Live the king!"), dismissed the 13th regiment of hussards for indiscipline and dissolved an entire regiment when it revolted at the end of March. Purged in this way, the Army of Italy was subsequently the most Jacobin of all the French armies.
The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising or counter-revolution in 12 of the western départements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the French First Republic during the French Revolution. It played out in three phases and lasted from the spring of 1794 until 1800.
The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789 and following. The period of their political ascendency is known as the Reign of Terror, during which time tens of thousands were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.
Its first victories improved things - allowing better resupply and easing pay problems through "war contributions" from the conquered lands - but memoirs (though not official communiques) speak of individual or collective failures right up to 1797.
Much of the original Armée d'Italie became the Army of Egypt. Another army, originally called the armée de Réserve, was formed at Dijon on 8 March 1800 (17 ventôse year VIII) and took the title Armée d'Italie on 23 June 1800 (4 messidor year VIII) when it was merged with the remains of the original Armée d'Italie. The new army's first commander was Masséna, followed by Bonaparte (as First Consul and "Commander in person") and général Berthier (its 'Général en chef' from 2 April to 23 June 1800)It was under Berthier that this army beat the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800 (25 prairial year 8).
Dijon is a city in eastern France, capital of the Côte-d'Or département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.
André Masséna, 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d'Essling was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire.
Louis-Alexandre Berthier, 1st Prince of Wagram, Sovereign Prince of Neuchâtel, was a French Marshal and Vice-Constable of the Empire, and Chief of Staff under Napoleon.
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Jacques François Coquille named Dugommier was a French general.
François Amédée Doppet was a Savoyard who briefly commanded three French armies during the French Revolutionary Wars without distinction. During the 1770s he enlisted in the French cavalry. Quitting the army after three years, he became a physician after studying medicine at Turin. Later moving to Paris, he became a writer of poems, romances and medical works while also dabbling in aphrodisiacs and mesmerism.
Jacques Bernard Modeste d'Anselme was a French general of the French Revolutionary Army, notable as the first commander of the Army of the Var which soon became the Army of Italy. He fell under suspicion, was removed from command and placed under arrest, but he survived the Reign of Terror. ANSELME is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 23.
Gaspard Jean-Baptiste Brunet commanded the French Army of Italy during the French Revolutionary Wars and was executed during the Reign of Terror. Despite this fate his son Jean Baptiste Brunet also became a French general. From the minor nobility, he entered the French Royal Army as a gunner in 1755, transferred to an infantry unit and fought in the Seven Years' War. He received the Order of Saint-Louis and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1779.
Jean François Cornu de La Poype was a French military leader. He was born in Lyon, to a noble, military family.
The Battle of Dego took place in present-day Italy during the War of the First Coalition between French and Austrian armies on 21 September 1794. It resulted in a French victory. The battle was described in Napoleon's correspondence, having been present.
The Battle of Loano occurred on 23–24 November 1795 during the War of the First Coalition. The French Army of Italy led by Barthélemy Schérer defeated the combined Austrian and Sardinian forces under Olivier, Count of Wallis.
Armée d'Italie participated in the war of the Third Coalition (1805), in the battles of Verona and Caldiero in northern Italy, under André Massena. During the war of the Fifth Coalition (1809), Armée d'Italie was commanded by Eugène de Beauharnais, and fought the austrians at Sacile, Caldiero, Piave, and Raab. In 1813-1814 Eugéne fought the austrians with his army in northern Italy. (Battle of Mincio)
Louis-Gabriel Suchet, Duke of Albufera, was a French Marshal of the Empire and one of the most successful commanders of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Barthélemy Catherine Joubert was a French general. He joined the royal French army in 1784 and rose rapidly in rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. Napoleon Bonaparte recognized his talents and gave him increased responsibilities. Joubert was killed while commanding the French army at the Battle of Novi in 1799.
Charles Pierre François Augereau, 1st Duc de Castiglione was a soldier and general and Marshal of France. After serving in the French Revolutionary Wars he earned rapid promotion while fighting against Spain and soon found himself a division commander under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy. He fought in all of Bonaparte's battles of 1796 with great distinction. During the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon entrusted him with important commands. His life ended under a cloud because of his poor timing in switching sides between Napoleon and King Louis XVIII of France. Napoleon wrote of Augereau that he "has plenty of character, courage, firmness, activity; is inured to war; is well liked by the soldiery; is fortunate in his operations."
Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello, Prince de Siewierz, was a Marshal of the Empire. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". A personal friend of the emperor, he was allowed to address him with the familiar "tu", as opposed to the formal "vous".
Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st Duke of Taranto was a Marshal of the Empire and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The Roman Republic was proclaimed on 15 February 1798 after Louis Alexandre Berthier, a general of Napoleon, had invaded the city of Rome on 10 February. The Roman Republic was a client republic under the French Directory composed of territory conquered from the Papal States. Pope Pius VI was exiled to France and died there in 1799. It immediately took the control of the other two former-papal revolutionary administrations, the Tiberina Republic and the Anconine Republic. The Roman Republic was short-lived, as the Papal States were restored in October 1799.
The French Revolutionary Wars continued from 1799 with the French fighting the forces of the Second Coalition. Napoleon Bonaparte had returned from Egypt and taken control of the French government. He prepared a new campaign, sending Moreau to the Rhine frontier and personally going to take command in the Alps, where French forces had been driven almost out of Italy in 1799.
Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer, born in Delle, near Belfort, became a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and on three occasions led armies in battle.
Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier, 1st Comte Sérurier led a division in the War of the First Coalition and became a Marshal of France under Emperor Napoleon. He was born into the minor nobility and in 1755 joined the Laon militia which was soon sent to fight in the Seven Years' War. After transferring into the regular army as an ensign, he was wounded at Warburg in 1760. He fought in the Spanish-Portuguese War in 1762. He married in 1779 after a promotion to captain. A newly minted major in 1789, the French Revolution sped up promotion so that he was colonel of the regiment in 1792. After leading Army of Italy troops in a number of actions, he became a general of brigade in 1793 and a general of division the following year.
The Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) were a series of conflicts fought principally in Northern Italy between the French Revolutionary Army and a Coalition of Austria, Russia, Piedmont-Sardinia, and a number of other Italian states.
Jean Boudet was a French général de division of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The campaigns in which he was involved include the Saint-Domingue expedition. He was made a grand officer of the Légion d'honneur on 2 June 1809 and a knight of the Order of the Iron Crown, as well as a Comte de l'Empire in 1808. His name is engraved on the 16th column of the east side of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Pierre François Sauret de la Borie led a combat division under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte during the Castiglione Campaign in 1796. He enlisted in the French army as a private in 1756. During the Seven Years' War he fought at Hastenbeck and Rossbach. He became a first lieutenant in 1789 and a lieutenant colonel in 1792. Assigned to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, served with distinction during the War of the Pyrenees against Spain. He was promoted to general officer in 1793 and became one of three infantry division commanders in the field army. He led his division at Palau, Boulou, Collioure, Black Mountain, Roses, and Bascara. He transferred to the Army of Italy in 1795. Bonaparte called him a very good soldier, but unlucky. He retired from active military service in order to enter politics.
The Army of the Interior was a name given to two field armies of the French Revolutionary Army.
Claude Dallemagne started his career in the French army under the Bourbons, fought in the American Revolutionary War, rose in rank to become a general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars, took part in the 1796 Italian campaign under Napoleon Bonaparte, and held military posts during the Napoleonic Wars.
Antoine Digonet commanded a French brigade during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He joined the French Royal Army and fought in the American Revolutionary War as a foot soldier. In 1792 he was appointed officer of a volunteer battalion. He fought the Spanish in the War of the Pyrenees and was promoted to general officer. Later he was transferred to fight French royalists in the War in the Vendée. In 1800 he was assigned to the Army of the Rhine and led a brigade at Stockach, Messkirch and Biberach. Shortly after, he was transferred to Italy. In 1805 he fought under André Masséna at Caldiero. He participated in the 1806 Invasion of Naples and led his troops against the British at Maida where his brigade put up a sturdy resistance. After briefly serving in the 1809 war, he took command of Modena and died there of illness in 1811. He never married.
Balthazar Alexis Henri Schauenburg, was a French general who served in the wars of the French Revolution and the Empire. He briefly commanded the Army of the Moselle in 1793 during the War of the First Coalition. A nobleman, he joined the French Royal Army as a sous-lieutenant in 1764. The French Revolution led to rapid promotion and then to arrest for the crime of being an aristocrat. Later restored to command, he commanded Kehl in 1796 and invaded Switzerland in 1798. He served in Jean Victor Marie Moreau's army in 1800 and held commands in the interior under the First French Empire. He retired from the army in 1814 and died in 1831. Schawembourg is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 23.
The Battle of Feldkirch saw a Republican French corps led by André Masséna attack a weaker Habsburg Austrian force under Franz Jellacic. Defending fortified positions, the Austrians repulsed all of the French columns, though the struggle lasted until nightfall. This and other French setbacks in southern Germany soon caused Masséna to go on the defensive. The War of the Second Coalition combat occurred at the Austrian town of Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, located 158 kilometres (98 mi) west of Innsbruck.
Amédée Willot held several military commands during the French Revolutionary Wars but his association with Jean-Charles Pichegru led to his exile from France in 1797. He joined the French Royal Army as a volunteer in 1771 and was a captain by 1787. He was elected commander of a volunteer battalion in 1792 and served in the War of the Pyrenees. Shortly after being promoted commander of a light infantry regiment Willot was appointed general of brigade in June 1793. A few months later he was denounced as a Royalist and jailed. In the light of later events, this may have been an accurate assessment of Willot's sentiments. After release from prison in January 1795, he led troops in Spain during the summer campaign. He was promoted to general of division in July 1795.
Jean-Chrysostôme Calès was a French military officer who served during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was born on January 27, 1769 in Caraman (Haute-Garonne) and died on April 21, 1853 in Cessales (Haute-Garonne).