Battle of Faenza

Last updated
Battle of Faenza
Part of the War of the First Coalition
Date3 or 4 February 1797
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg France Flag of the Papal States (pre 1808).svg Papal States
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Claude Victor-Perrin Flag of the Papal States (pre 1808).svg Michelangelo Colli
Strength
9,000 7,000
Casualties and losses
100 2,000, 14 guns

The Battle of Faenza or Battle of Castel Bolognese on 3 or 4 February 1797 saw a 7,000-man force from the Papal States commanded by Michelangelo Alessandro Colli-Marchi who faced a 9,000-strong French corps under Claude Victor-Perrin. The veteran French troops decisively defeated the Papal army, inflicting disproportionate casualties. The town of Castel Bolognese is located on the banks of the Senio River 40 kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Bologna. The city of Faenza is also nearby. The action took place during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Papal States territories in the Appenine Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the pope between 752–1870

The Papal States, officially the State of the Church, were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.

Michelangelo Alessandro Colli-Marchi, or Michele Angelo Alessandro Colli-Marchei or Michael Colli, joined the Austrian army, became a general officer, and led the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont for three years, including its unsuccessful campaign against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796.

Castel Bolognese Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Castel Bolognese is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Ravenna in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, located about 40 kilometres (25 mi) southeast of Bologna and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southwest of Ravenna. As of 2006, it has a population of about 9,000 inhabitants.

Contents

History

The Siege of Mantua came to an end on 2 February 1797, when Austrian Feldmarschall Dagobert Sigismund von Würmser capitulated to the army of General of Division Napoleon Bonaparte. Only 16,000 members of the garrison were capable of marching out as prisoners of war. Leaving General of Division Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier to handle the surrender, Bonaparte invaded the Romagna, part of the Papal States. [1] The Papal army was led by Austrian Feldmarschall-Leutnant Michelangelo Alessandro Colli-Marchi, [2] a veteran of the Seven Years' War. Colli had served in the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont from 1793 to 1796 and had faced Bonaparte in the Montenotte Campaign. He was an intelligent and capable officer, but sometimes had to be carried on a stretcher due to old wounds. [3]

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier French soldier and political figure who rose to the rank of Marshal of France

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.

Romagna Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna

Romagna is an Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna, North Italy. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennines to the south-west, the Adriatic to the east, and the rivers Reno and Sillaro to the north and west. The region's major cities include Cesena, Faenza, Forlì, Imola, Ravenna, Rimini and City of San Marino. The region has been recently formally expanded with the transfer of seven comuni from the Marche region, which are a small number of comuni where Romagnolo dialect is spoken.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved every European great power of the time and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions, led by the Kingdom of Great Britain on one side and the Kingdom of France, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Swedish Empire on the other. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal. The war's extent has led some historians to describe it as "World War Zero", similar in scale to other world wars.

On 3 February, Victor brought Colli's troops to battle on the Senio at Castel Bolognese near Faenza. The French made short work of their adversaries. For an admitted loss of about 100 casualties, Victor's soldiers inflicted 800 killed and wounded on the Papal troops. In addition, the French captured 1,200 men, 14 artillery pieces, eight caissons, and eight colors. Victor's corps included a grenadier reserve commanded by General of Brigade Jean Lannes. [4] [5]

Senio river in Italy

The Senio is a 92-kilometre (57 mi) river of Romagna in Italy, the final right-sided tributary of the river Reno. The source of the river is in the province of Florence in the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano mountains. The river flows northeast into the province of Ravenna and flows near Casola Valsenio, Riolo Terme, Castel Bolognese, Cotignola, Lugo, Bagnacavallo, Fusignano and Alfonsine before entering the Reno. The river has a tributary called the Sintria that flows into it east of Riolo Terme. The river is along the road to Imola.

Faenza Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Faenza is an Italian city and comune, in the province of Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, situated 50 kilometres southeast of Bologna.

Jean Lannes Marshal of France

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".

The port of Ancona surrendered to Victor on 9 February with its Papal garrison of 1,200 men and 120 guns. There were no French casualties. By the Treaty of Tolentino on 19 February, Pope Pius VI was forced to deliver works of art, treasures, territory, and [2] 30 million francs to France. [1]

Ancona Comune in Marche, Italy

Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy, with a population of around 101,997 as of 2015. Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region. The city is located 280 km (170 mi) northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea, between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontory of Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco.

The Treaty of Tolentino was a peace treaty between Revolutionary France and the Papal States, signed on 19 February 1797 and imposing terms of surrender on the Papal side. The signatories for France were the French Directory's Ambassador to the Holy See, François Cacault, and the rising General Napoleon Bonaparte and opposite them four representatives of Pius VI's Curia.

Pope Pius VI pope and sovereign of the Papal States

Pope Pius VI, born Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 15 February 1775 to his death in 1799.

In literature

The defeat was recorded not only by revolutionaries such as Francesco Saverio Salfi (who wrote a satirical pantomime about it), [6] but also with sarcasm by the reactionary count Monaldo Leopardi [7] and much later by his son, the poet Giacomo Leopardi. [8]

Francesco Saverio Salfi Italian writer and politician

Francesco Saverio Salfi or Franco Salfi was an Italian writer, politician and librettist.

Monaldo Leopardi philosopher and politician from Italy

Count Monaldo Leopardi was an Italian philosopher, nobleman, politician and writer, notable as one of the main Italian intellectuals of the counter-revolution. His son Giacomo Leopardi was a poet and thinker with completely opposite views, which were probably the root cause of their discord.

Giacomo Leopardi Italian poet, philosopher and writer

Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi was an Italian philosopher, poet, essayist, and philologist. He is considered the greatest poet of the Italian nineteenth century and one of the most important figures in the literature of the world, as well as one of the principal of literary romanticism; his constant reflection on existence and on the human condition - of sensuous and materialist inspiration - also makes him a deep philosopher. He is widely seen as one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century. Although he lived in a secluded town in the conservative Papal States, he came in touch with the main ideas of the Enlightenment, and through his own literary evolution, created a remarkable and renowned poetic work, related to the Romantic era. The strongly lyrical quality of his poetry made him a central figure on the European and international literary and cultural landscape.

Notes

  1. 1 2 Chandler (1966), 121
  2. 1 2 Smith (1998), 133
  3. Boycott-Brown (2001), 135-136
  4. Smith (1998), 133. Smith gave the date as 3 February. He called Lannes a general of division.
  5. Broughton, Lannes. This source noted that Lannes was a general of brigade.
  6. Salfi, Colli
  7. Leopardi, M. Battaglia di Faenza
  8. Leopardi, G. Paralipomeni alla Batracomiomachia

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References

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Coordinates: 44°19′N11°48′E / 44.317°N 11.800°E / 44.317; 11.800