|Battle of Feistritz (1813)|
|Part of the War of the Sixth Coalition|
View from Schloss Hollenburg toward the south bank of the Drava at Kirschentheuer. The Austrian grenadiers crossed a bridge at this location to reinforce Vécsey. Feistritz is located 7 kilometers to the right (west).
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Feistritz (6 September 1813) saw an Imperial French corps led by Paul Grenier attack an Austrian brigade under August von Vécsey. After putting up a stout resistance, the outnumbered Austrians were defeated and forced to retreat. The clash occurred during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Feistritz im Rosental is located on the Drau River near the southern border of Austria, about 16 kilometres (10 mi) southwest of Klagenfurt.
The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.
Paul Grenier joined the French royal army and rapidly rose to general officer rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division in the 1796-1797 campaign in southern Germany. During the 1800 campaign in the Electorate of Bavaria he was a wing commander. Beginning in 1809, in the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon I entrusted him with corps commands in the Italian theater. A skilled tactician, he was one of the veteran generals who made the Napoleonic armies such a formidable foe to the other European powers. After the Bourbon Restoration he retired from the army and later went into politics. Grenier is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.
August, Graf von Vécsey or August Vécsey de Hernádvécse et Hajnácskeő was an Imperial Austrian general of Hungarian descent who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He won a notable award in 1806 and became a general officer in 1809. That year, he commanded a brigade at Wagram during the War of the Fifth Coalition. His brigade was defeated by superior numbers at Feistritz in September 1813. He led his troops during the subsequent Italian campaign in 1813 and 1814. He was promoted to higher rank in 1820 and 1840.
When hostilities commenced between the Austrian Empire and Imperial France, Johann von Hiller led an Austrian army to attack the Illyrian Provinces. The Austrians made rapid gains in the south, but in Carinthia, Hiller's first bridgehead across the Drava River at Villach was eliminated by the Franco-Italian army of Eugène de Beauharnais, the viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. When the Austrian general established a second bridgehead at Feistritz, Eugène sent Grenier to wipe it out. The minor victory only delayed the inevitable, and within a few weeks Eugène was compelled to abandon Illyria and fall back to the borders of the Kingdom of Italy.
The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.
Johann Baron von Hiller was an Austrian general during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He held an important command during the 1809 campaign against France, playing a prominent role at the Battle of Aspern-Essling.
The Illyrian Provinces were an autonomous province of France during the First French Empire that existed under Napoleonic Rule from 1809 to 1814. The Provinces encompassed modern-day Croatia, Slovenia, Gorizia, and parts of Austria. Its headquarters were stationed in Laybach, which would be renamed Ljubljana and made the capital of contemporary Slovenia. It encompassed six départments, making it a relatively large portion of territorial France at the time. Parts of Croatia were split up into Civil Croatia and Military Croatia, the former served as a residential space for French immigrants and Croatian inhabitants and the latter as a military base to check the Ottoman Empire.
In 1812, the best French and Italian units from the French Army of Italy were assigned to the IV Corps for the French invasion of Russia. The troops fought well under the command of Eugène de Beauharnais but only about 3,000 soldiers survived the campaign.To rebuild his army in Germany for the 1813 campaign, Emperor Napoleon transferred four more divisions from the garrison of Italy to join the newly established IV and XII Corps. The emperor then gave his stepson Eugène permission to organize a new army out of French and Italian draftees to defend the Kingdom of Italy. By May 1813, the new army began forming around the French 46th, 47th, and 48th Divisions, the Italian 49th Division, and one cavalry division. In fact, only 13,000 French conscripts joined the army and the so-called French divisions were largely recruited from areas of Italy that had been annexed by France. Since military equipment was scarce, some soldiers were sent to the front dressed in police uniforms. Nevertheless, the army continued to expand and Eugène eventually renumbered his divisions 1 through 6, with the Italian Royal Guard kept as a discrete unit.
The Army of Italy 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 and Napoleonic Wars.
The IV Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit during the Napoleonic Wars. It consisted several different units and commanders.
The French invasion of Russia, known in Russia as the Patriotic War of 1812 and in France as the Russian Campaign, began on 24 June 1812 when Napoleon's Grande Armée crossed the Neman River in an attempt to engage and defeat the Russian army. Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia. Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions.
Meanwhile, the Austrian Empire prepared for war with Napoleon by expanding their army. While their main army was based in Bohemia, Austria also stationed one army corps on the Danube and another in the Duchy of Carinthia. The troops in Carinthia were placed under the command of Feldzeugmeister Johann von Hiller and designated the Army of Inner Austria. Since it was considered a minor theater, Hiller's army only counted 35,000 soldiers and 120 artillery pieces in August. This total was smaller than the number of troops in his opponent's army. The Austrian general had veteran division and brigade commanders, but he was handicapped by a clumsy command system and large numbers of indifferently-equipped conscripts in the ranks.Though the Danube corps remained in place, reinforcements were continually switched from there to the Army of Inner Austria throughout the autumn.
Bohemia is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech lands in the present-day Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, Bohemia sometimes refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in a historical context, such as the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.
The Danube, known by various names in other languages, is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Duchy of Carinthia was a duchy located in southern Austria and parts of northern Slovenia. It was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria in 976, and was the first newly created Imperial State after the original German stem duchies.
In August 1813, Hiller's army consisted of an Advanced Guard under General-major Aron Stanisavlevics and divisions commanded by Feldmarschall-Leutnants Peter Marchal de Perclat, Johann Maria Philipp Frimont, Franz Marziani, Hannibal Sommariva, and Paul von Radivojevich. The Advanced Guard had two Grenz infantry battalions and two hussar squadrons. Marchal's division was made up of a light brigade of one jäger and one Grenz battalion and four hussar squadrons under General-major Christoph Ludwig von Eckhardt and a brigade of four line battalions under General-major Timotheus Winczian. Frimont's division had three brigades led by General-majors Franjo Vlašić, Ferdinand Daniel Pulszky, and August von Vécsey. Vlašić's light brigade comprised one jäger and one Grenz battalion and six hussar squadrons, Pulszky's brigade consisted of four line battalions, and Vécsey's cavalry brigade had 12 squadrons of uhlans.
Johann Maria Philipp Frimont, Count of Palota, Prince of Antrodoco was an Austrian general.
Paul von Radivojevich was an Austrian army corps commander in the army of the Austrian Empire during the late Napoleonic Wars. He joined the army of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1782 and fought in one of the early battles of the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a Grenz Infantry Regiment before being promoted to general officer in 1807. He led a brigade at Eckmühl in 1809, a division in the summer of 1813, and a corps at Caldiero in 1813 and at the Mincio in 1814. During the 1815 Italian campaign, he led a corps in Switzerland, Piedmont, and France. After the wars, he commanded part of the Military Frontier. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an infantry regiment from 1815 until his death in 1829.
Grenz infantry or Grenzers were light infantry troops who came from the Military Frontier in the Habsburg Monarchy. This borderland formed a buffer zone between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire, and the troops were originally raised to defend Austria against the Ottoman Turks. When there was no danger of war against the Ottomans, the Grenzer regiments were employed by the Habsburgs in other theatres of war, although one battalion of each regiment would always remain guarding the border.
Marziani's division was made up of a single brigade led by General-major Johann Mayer von Heldensfeld with seven line battalions. Sommariva's division counted three brigades commanded by Generals-major Joseph Xaver von Stutterheim, Joseph von Fölseis, and Georg Johann von Wrede. Stutterheim led four battalions of grenadiers, Fölseis had one Grenz, one line, and one landwehr battalions, and two squadrons of hussars, and Wrede directed 10 squadrons of dragoons. Radivojevich's division had three brigades under General-majors Ignaz Csivich von Rohr, Matthias Rebrovich, and Laval Nugent von Westmeath. Csivich commanded two Grenz and two line battalions, Rebrovich led one Grenz and two line battalions, and Nugent supervised four squadrons of hussars.
Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large-scale, low-strength fortifications. In German, the word means "defence of the country"; but the term as applied to an insurrectional militia is very ancient, and lantveri are mentioned in Baluzii Capitularia, as quoted in Hallam's Middle Ages, i. 262, 10th edition.
Laval Graf Nugent von Westmeath was a soldier of Irish birth, who fought in the armies of Austria and the Two Sicilies.
On 12 August 1813, the Austrian Empire declared war on Imperial France, putting the Illyrian Provinces and the Kingdom of Italy on the front lines. Hiller sent Radivojevich and 10,000 troops of his left wing to capture first Karlovac (Karlstadt) and Novo Mesto (Neustadt), and later Rijeka (Fiume) and Trieste. Meanwhile, Hiller led the remainder of the army in a thrust across the Drava River at Villach. By the beginning of August, Eugène had advanced into Illyria with 47,000 troops and set up his headquarters in Ljubljana (Laibach). The Franco-Italian army defended an arc from Tarvisio (Tarvis) in the north to Ljubljana in the center to Karlovac in the south.
When the French first gained control of Illyria, many Croats hoped that the new masters would spur economic expansion and lighten their military obligations. Over time, their hopes were not realized and when Radivojevich's columns crossed the frontier, the Croats rose in rebellion against the French occupation. Though the Hofkriegsrat (Austrian high command) did not wish to promote nationalism, they ultimately sent 12,000 muskets with Radivojevich to arm the insurgents. The Croatian revolt helped the Austrian left wing capture territory. Mass desertions also became a severe problem in the Illyrian units of Eugène's army.
Hiller's troops started to advance into Illyria on 16 August 1813. Radivojevich enjoyed early success, taking Karlovac and Novo Mesto with little resistance. On 20 August, Frimont and over 6,000 Austrians appeared before Villach, initiating a week-long series of skirmishes. Frimont seized Villach's east bank suburb on the 21st.Three days later, a 3,000-strong French brigade under General of Brigade Jean-Pierre Piat tried to rush the bridge at Villach and was bloodily repulsed with 604 casualties. The Austrians only lost 251 men in the clash. On 28 August, General of Division Pierre Guillaume Gratien attacked Villach with an entire division. Though three Austrian divisions were in the area, Gratien managed to eject his foes from the town and drive them back to the east bank of the Drava. Gratien's 10,000-man 3rd Division suffered 112 casualties while inflicting 167 on the Austrians. In the struggle, four-fifths of Villach burned down and three arches of the bridge were destroyed.
Thwarted at Villach, Hiller sought to create a bridgehead farther east on the Drava. He found a crossing point south of Klagenfurt and pushed troops across the river at Feistritz im Rosental around the end of August. Eugène felt that the Austrian position menaced the communications between his right and his left wings. He ordered one of his corps commanders, General of Division Paul Grenier to take two divisions and eliminate the Austrian bridgehead.Grenier marched with Generals of Division François Jean Baptiste Quesnel and Marie François Rouyer, leaving Gratien to hold Tarvisio. The Italian Guard moved from Tarvisio to Jesenice (Assling) while the 4th Division under General of Division Pierre-Louis Binet de Marcognet held a position at Bistrica (Neumarkt).
Hiller was aware of recent French probes in the Feistritz area so he sent two battalions of grenadiers to nearby Schloss Hollenburg on the morning of 6 September 1813. A line battalion was sent to Weizelsdorf to act as a reserve. Vécsey entrenched his brigade along the Bärenthal ravine with his right flank on the Drava and his left on steep forested hills to the south. The Austrians were supported by eight artillery pieces. Two cannons and a howitzer were on the opposite bank of the river at Ludmannsdorf in a position to enfilade any attack.Vécsey's 3,300-man brigade consisted of 10 companies of the Reisky Infantry Regiment Nr. 10, the 1st and Landwehr Battalions of the Chasteler Infantry Regiment Nr. 27, the 9th Jäger Battalion, and four squadrons of the Merveldt Uhlan Regiment Nr. 1. The grenadier reserve at Hollenburg included the Chimani and Welsperg Grenadier Battalions. Vécsey posted his main line behind the Bärenthal ravine on the east side, but he established strong positions on the west side at Feistritz Castle, Holy Cross Cemetery, and the hamlets of Mittel- and Ober-Feistritz. The bridge over the ravine was blocked by a barricade.
Grenier had 15,186 soldiers and 28 guns available, with 7,700 men in Quesnel's 1st Division and 7,486 troops in Rouyer's 2nd Division.An unspecified number of cannons were also attached as regimental artillery. Quesnel had two brigades under Generals of Brigade Jean Gaudens Claude Pegot and Toussaint Campi plus one eight-gun foot and one six-gun horse artillery batteries. Rouyer led two brigades under Generals of Brigade Nicolas Schmitz and Jacques Darnaud with one eight-gun foot and one six-gun horse artillery batteries. Pegot's brigade comprised four battalions of the 84th Line Infantry Regiment. Campi's brigade consisted of four battalions each of the 92nd Line Infantry Regiment and the 30th Provisional Demi-Brigade. Schmitz commanded four battalions of the 9th Line Infantry Regiment and three battalions of the 28th Provisional Demi-Brigade. Darnaud's brigade was made up of four battalions of the 35th Line Infantry Regiment.
On the morning of 6 September, Grenier's troops started their march from Sankt Jakob im Rosental in three columns. The right column left the bivouac first under the command of Campi. The column consisted of Campi's brigade with the 84th Line's regimental guns attached. Quesnel led the center column which set out after the right column cleared Sankt Jakob. This force was formed from Pegot's brigade, the Italian Queen's Dragoon Regiment, one battery of horse artillery, and a half-battery of foot artillery. The left column left the camp last, about 9:00 AM. Schmitz led the column which was made up of his own brigade. When the right column reached the hamlet of Matschach, Campi dropped off a battalion and two cannons as a flank guard. The right column then moved into the hills overlooking Feistritz, leaving a second battalion behind as a reserve. As the center column crossed the Klein Dürrenbach ravine about 2.0 miles (3.2 km) west of Feistritz, it chased away some Austrian skirmishers and detached a battalion of the 84th Line to observe enemy movements on the north bank of the Drava. Quesnel's column reached the hamlet of Suetschach and took cover until called upon to attack. When the left column came up, Schmitz relieved the 84th Line battalion with one of his own.
Grenier instructed Quesnel to form the center column in two lines with skirmishers out in front. His objective was to get soldiers onto the east side of the Bärenthal ravine. Schmitz, who fought under the eye of his division commander Rouyer, was also ordered to form his men into two lines. He was to clear Mittel- and Ober-Feistritz of enemies so that the French soldiers could fire on the Austrian soldiers on the east side of the ravine. Off to the right, Campi already had instructions to assist the attacks of the center and left columns as well as to attack the Austrians from the rear. From Jesenice in the upper Sava valley, Eugène directed two battalions of the Italian Guard to move north and clear away any Austrian outposts to the south of Feistritz.
Skirmishing between the two sides began around 10:00 AM and became general by noon. The main assault began at 3:00 PM when Campi came down on the Austrian left flank while Quesnel and Schmitz attacked in front. Seeing his left turned, Vécsey sent a message to Hollenburg asking for assistance. The French scored an early coup when they captured a group of Austrians as they were withdrawing toward the castle. A battalion of the 84th Line became heavily engaged and it was supported by the 28th Provisional. The assault focused on the church, the cemetery, and a redoubt on the west side of the ravine. A battalion of the 28th Provisional rushed the redoubt and slaughtered its defenders. Meanwhile, the 9th Line threatened the church and Mittel-Feistritz. When units of the 9th Jägers saw the redoubt fall and French soldiers get into the ravine, they retreated from the Holy Cross Church and Cemetery into the Feistritz Castle. Schmitz led a force from the 9th Line in a charge against the castle, while the 84th supported him. But the attack stalled as the troops clawed their way through abatis under heavy musketry.
After his men were beaten back several times, Schmitz ordered the castle set on fire. As soon as the structure took fire, the 116 defenders surrendered. At this time, the 84th Line rushed the bridge, which was defended by elements of the Reisky and Chasteler Regiments. When the 84th carried the position, Vécsey's men abandoned their positions and began to retreat. After a voltigeur company of the 9th Line crossed the Bärenthal ravine, they were charged by a squadron of uhlans, but they managed to drive off the horsemen. As units of the 9th Line and 28th Provisional moved through the abandoned Austrian camps, they were backed by four platoons of the 84th Line arrayed in close order. By about 5:30 PM, amid heavy rain, the entire Feistritz position was in French hands. When the pursuit reached Hundsdorf, Vécsey counterattacked. Momentarily stopped, the French units soon closed up and pushed their foes back to Sankt Johann im Rosental. At this place, the Austrians fought back against one of Campi's battalions which had come down from the heights. At some point during the late afternoon, the two grenadier battalions arrived and covered the retreat. At 8:00 PM, the grenadiers repulsed one last attempt by Campi to cut off Vécsey's withdrawal. That evening Vécsey retreated to the north bank of the Drava at Hollenburg and destroyed the bridge.
The French suffered 60 killed and 300 wounded, including 12 officers of the 84th Line.Chef de bataillon (Major) Charrier of the 9th Line was killed. Their opponents admitted losses of 67 killed, 364 wounded, and 394 captured. In addition, the two grenadier battalions lost 88 casualties. Eugène reported that most of the prisoners came from the Reisky, Chasteler, Chimani, and Merveldt units. Though Hiller was aware of the significance of his bridgehead, he failed to properly support Vécsey's brigade by placing the nearest reinforcements a six-hour march distant. With Feistritz in his possession, Eugène had the use of the Loibl Pass to communicate between Tarvisio and Ljubljana. He hoped to mount an attack on Hiller's left flank brigade at Kamnik (Stein).
Eugène failed to capitalize on his momentary advantage because his forces suffered a series of setbacks. On 7 September 1813, a 2,563-man brigade belonging to General of Division Giuseppe Federico Palombini's 5th Division was defeated by Nugent and 2,100 Austrians at Lipa. The Italians lost 104 killed and 200 captured while Austrian losses were light. The next day near Trzin, General of Brigade Gaspare Bellotti's 3,600-man brigade was ambushed by General-major Joseph von Fölseis and 2,000 Austrians.The Italian 3rd Line Infantry Regiment was routed, losing 60 killed, 200 wounded, 600 prisoners, two colors, two guns, and three caissons. The prisoners included Bellotti and the colonel of the regiment. Austrian losses were only five killed, 14 wounded, and five missing.
On 11 September 1813, Austrians in Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franz Maria Philipp Fenner's command mounted a successful raid at Mühlbach in the South Tyrol, capturing 100 soldiers and provoking a deep withdrawal by General of Division Filippo Bonfanti who was then replaced. On the same day, 130 Austrians and one Royal Navy brig captured the port of Pula (Pola). On the 13th at Šmarje–Sap (St. Marein-Sap), Eugène personally led 3,300 men and six guns of the Italian Guard against Oberst Eugen Milutinovich's 1,000 Austrians and two artillery pieces. Attacking a strong position, the Italian Guard suffered a repulse, losing 300 killed and wounded plus 97 captured. Austrian losses numbered only 47 killed and wounded plus 28 captured.
General of Division Domenico Pino concentrated 9,000 troops against Nugent's 2,000 men at Jelšane on 14 September. The Austrians held on until dark before retreating and inflicted 420 casualties on their attackers while only losing 24 killed, 88 wounded, and three artillery pieces damaged. This was followed by another minor disaster at Višnja Gora (Weichselburg) when General-major Matthias Rebrovich attacked General of Brigade Teodoro Lechi on 16 September. The Radetzsky Hussars Nr. 5 rode down a battalion of the Italian Guard, capturing 910 men out of the 2,900 present and seizing two out of five cannons. Austrian losses were only 16 killed, 68 wounded, and 27 captured out of 3,200 men.
Two other events compelled Eugène to relinquish his hold on Illyria. Fenner's column thrust to the west into the Tyrol, menacing the viceroy's strategic left flank. More consequential, in the opinion of historian Frederick C. Schneid, was the possibility of the Kingdom of Bavaria abandoning its alliance with Napoleon. Eugène's wife was Princess Augusta of Bavaria and King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria was his father-in-law. The king desired to remain a French ally, but the viceroy became aware that the king was under pressure to defect to the Coalition. At the end of September, Eugene complained to his step-father Napoleon that desertion in Italian and French units was becoming a serious problem. By 5 October 1813, the Franco-Italian army withdrew to the Isonzo River on the border of Italy.
The Battle of Sacile on 16 April 1809 and its companion Clash at Pordenone on 15 April saw an Austrian army commanded by Archduke John of Austria defeat a Franco-Italian army led by Eugène de Beauharnais and force it to retreat. Sacile proved to be the most notable victory of John's career. The action took place east of the Livenza River near Sacile in modern-day Italy during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Battle of Campo Tenese saw two divisions of the Imperial French Army of Naples led by Jean Reynier attack the left wing of the Royal Neapolitan Army under Roger de Damas. Though the defenders were protected by field fortifications, a French frontal attack combined with a turning movement rapidly overran the position and routed the Neapolitans with heavy losses. The action occurred at Campotenese, a little mountain village in the municipality of Morano Calabro in the north of Calabria. The battle was fought during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
In the Battle of Sankt Michael on 25 May 1809, Paul Grenier's French corps crushed Franz Jellacic's Austrian division at Sankt Michael in Obersteiermark, Austria. The action occurred after the initial French victories during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Sankt Michael is located approximately 140 kilometers southwest of Vienna.
The Battle of Verona was fought on 18 October 1805 between the French Army of Italy under the command of André Masséna and an Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. By the end of the day, Massena seized a bridgehead on the east bank of the Adige River, driving back the defending troops under Josef Philipp Vukassovich. The action took place near the city of Verona in northern Italy during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Battle of Graz took place on 24–26 June 1809 between an Austrian corps commanded by Ignaz Gyulai and a French division led by Jean-Baptiste Broussier. The French were soon reinforced by a corps under Auguste Marmont. The battle is considered a French victory though Gyulai was successful in getting supplies to the Austrian garrison of Graz before the two French forces drove him away from the city. Graz, Austria is located 145 kilometers south-southwest of Vienna at the intersection of the modern A2 and A9 highways.
The Battle of Caldiero on 15 November 1813 saw an army of the First French Empire under Eugène de Beauharnais opposed to an Austrian Empire army led by Johann von Hiller. Eugène, who was the Viceroy of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy inflicted a defeat on Hiller's troops, driving them from Caldiero. The action took place during the War of the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Caldiero is located 15 kilometres (9 mi) east of Verona on the Autostrada A4.
The Battle of Sacile saw the Franco-Italian Army of Italy commanded by Eugène de Beauharnais face the Archduke John of Austria's Army of Inner Austria during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Believing that he was only opposed by the Austrian VIII Armeekorps, Eugène launched his right wing in a heavy attack against it. In the morning, the Austrians successfully held off Franco-Italian assaults on their left flank as Eugène reinforced the attack with troops from his left wing. Later in the day, John counterattacked Eugène's weakened left wing with the IX Armeekorps, forcing the Franco-Italian army to withdraw from the battlefield. The battle at Sacile was preceded by the action of Pordenone on 15 April in which the Austrian advance guard mauled the French rear guard. The Austrian victory compelled Eugène to retreat to the Adige River at Verona where he gathered reinforcements and planned a counteroffensive.
The Battle of Tarvis from 16 to 17 May 1809, the Storming of the Malborghetto Blockhouse from 15 to 17 May 1809, and the Storming of the Predil Blockhouse from 15 to 18 May saw the Franco-Italian army of Eugène de Beauharnais attacking Austrian Empire forces under Albert Gyulai. Eugène crushed Gyulai's division in a pitched battle near Tarvisio, then an Austrian town known as Tarvis. At nearby Malborghetto Valbruna and Predil Pass, small garrisons of Grenz infantry heroically defended two forts before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The Franco-Italian capture of the key mountain passes allowed their forces to invade Austrian Kärnten during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Tarvisio is located in far northeast Italy, near the borders of both Austria and Slovenia.
Count Albert Gyulay de Marosnémethi et Nádaska or Albert Gyulai von Máros-Németh und Nádaska, born 12 September 1766 – died 27 April 1835, a Hungarian, joined the army of Habsburg Austria and fought against Ottoman Turkey. He served against the First French Republic in the Flanders Campaign and on the Rhine. Severely wounded in 1799, he survived a trepanning operation and briefly retired from military service. He returned to active service and commanded an army corps during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. He led his troops in several important battles during the Austrian invasion of Italy in 1809, including one where he was in independent command. Though appointed to command troops in 1813 and 1815, he missed combat in both campaigns. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian infantry regiment from 1810 until his death. The more famous Ignác Gyulay, Ban of Croatia was his older brother.
The Dalmatian Campaign saw several battles fought between 30 April and 21 May 1809 by Auguste Marmont's First French Empire soldiers and Andreas von Stoichevich's Austrian Empire troops. The Austrians drove the French from their positions on the Zrmanja River at the end of April. But in mid-May, the French counterattack forced back the Austrians. The defenders offered stout resistance, but ultimately Marmont broke out of Dalmatia and joined Emperor Napoleon's army near Vienna with over 10,000 men. The campaign was fought during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Dalmatia is part of the modern-day nation of Croatia.
Alois Graf von Gavasini led a combat brigade in the armies of Habsburg Austria and the Austrian Empire during a remarkable number of battles in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. A native of Bonn, he offered his services to Austria and won an award for bravery in 1790. While a field officer in the Italian campaign, he led the rear guard at Primolano in September 1796. Badly outnumbered by the French, he and his soldiers put up a vigorous fight until he was wounded and captured. At Arcole in November 1796, he commanded a brigade on the field of battle against Napoleon Bonaparte's French army. Promoted to general officer in the spring of 1800, he led a powerful brigade at Hohenlinden during that year's fall campaign in Bavaria. Though the battle ended in a decisive defeat, Gavasini's troops fought well before being forced to retreat. The 1805 campaign in Italy found him directing a reserve brigade at Caldiero. After briefly retiring, the warrior returned to lead a brigade at the battles of Sacile, Piave River, and Graz during the 1809 war. That year he retired from the army and did not return.
In the Battle of Caldiero or Battle of Soave or Battle of Castelcerino from 27 to 30 April 1809, an Austrian army led by Archduke John of Austria defended against a Franco-Italian army headed by Eugène de Beauharnais, the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. The outnumbered Austrians successfully fended off the attacks of their enemies in actions at San Bonifacio, Soave, and Castelcerino before retreating to the east. The clash occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Piave River 1809 Order of Battle shows the units and organization for the Franco-Italian and Austrian Empire armies that fought in the Battle of Piave River on 8 May 1809. Eugène de Beauharnais, the viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy defeated Archduke John of Austria. Eugène's Advance Guard crossed the river first and was assailed by Austrian cavalry and artillery. The French cavalry routed the opposing cavalry and captured 14 enemy guns. A lull followed as John arranged his infantry in a formidable defensive position. Meanwhile, Eugène struggled to pour reinforcements into the bridgehead as the Piave rose dangerously. In the afternoon, the viceroy sent Paul Grenier to drive back the Austrian left while Jacques MacDonald mounted an assault on the center. The attack succeeded in breaking the Austrian line and compelling John to order a retreat.
Jean-Jacques Germain Pelet-Clozeau became a French general in the Napoleonic Wars and later was a politician and historian. He joined the French army in 1800 and became a topographic engineer. He joined the staff of Marshal André Masséna and was wounded at Caldiero in 1805. He served in southern Italy in 1806 and Poland in 1807. He was wounded at Ebelsberg and fought at Aspern-Essling and Wagram in 1809.
Pierre-Louis Binet de Marcognet joined the French army in 1781 as an officer cadet and fought in the American Revolutionary War. During the French Revolutionary Wars he fought in the Army of the Rhine and was wounded at First and Second Wissembourg. After being dismissed from the army for a year and a half for having noble blood, he resumed his military career and was wounded at Biberach and Kehl. Promoted to lead the 108th Line Infantry Demi-Brigade, he was in the thick of the fighting at Hohenlinden in 1800, where he was wounded and captured.
François Jean Baptiste Quesnel du Torpt became a division commander under the First French Empire of Napoleon. By the time the French Revolutionary Wars began, he had been a non-commissioned officer in the French army for nearly a decade. Within less than two years he rose to the rank of general officer while fighting against Spain. His career then stagnated until the War of the Second Coalition when he led a brigade in Italy at Verona, Magnano, Cassano, Bassignana where he was wounded, and Novi.
Jean Mathieu Seras or Serras was born in northwest Italy, but adhered to the French Revolution and joined the French army. He became a division commander in the First French Empire under Napoleon and led troops in Italy and Spain. Seras is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe on Column 25.
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.