Battle of Genola

Last updated
Battle of Genola
Part of War of the Second Coalition
Date4 November 1799
Result Austrian victory
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Austria Flag of France.svg Republican France
Commanders and leaders
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Michael von Melas Flag of France.svg Jean Championnet
Units involved
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Army of Italy Flag of France.svg Army of Italy
29,000–30,235 15,000–33,498
Casualties and losses
2,400 7,600, 5 guns

The Battle of Genola or Battle of Fossano (4 November 1799) was a meeting engagement between a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Michael von Melas and a Republican French army under Jean Étienne Championnet. Melas directed his troops with more skill and his army drove the French off the field, inflicting heavy losses. The War of the Second Coalition action represented the last major French effort in Italy during 1799. The municipality of Genola is located in the region of Piedmont in northwest Italy a distance of 27 kilometres (17 mi) north of Cuneo and 58 kilometres (36 mi) south of Turin.

In warfare, a meeting engagement, or encounter battle, is a combat action that occurs when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.

Michael von Melas Austrian general

Michael Friedrich Benedikt Baron von Melas was a Transylvanian-born field marshal of Saxon descent for the Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.

War of the Second Coalition Attempt to contain or eliminate Revolutionary France

The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.


Championnet became the army commander after Barthélemy Catherine Joubert's death in the French defeat at Novi in August. His aim was to keep the fortress of Cuneo under French control. In November, both Championnet and Melas advanced and their armies collided at Genola. The French were forced to retreat into the Alps, leaving Cuneo to be besieged and captured on 3 December 1799. The badly-fed and clothed French army was ravaged by a typhus epidemic during the winter; the disease claimed the life of Championnet and many others.

Barthélemy Catherine Joubert French general (1769–1799)

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.

Battle of Novi (1799) battle

The Battle of Novi saw a combined army of Habsburg Austrians and Imperial Russians under Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov attack a Republican French army under General Barthélemy Catherine Joubert. After a prolonged and bloody struggle, the Austro-Russians broke through the French defenses and drove their enemies into a disorderly retreat. Joubert was killed while French division commanders Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon and Emmanuel Grouchy were captured. Novi Ligure is in the province of Piedmont in Italy a distance of 58 kilometres (36 mi) north of Genoa. The battle occurred during the War of the Second Coalition which was part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Typhus group of infectious diseases

Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure.


Their armies' defeats in Italy and Germany during 1799 weakened the French Directory and resulted in the Coup of 30 Prairial VII (18 June 1799). France's post-coup leaders sent Barthélémy Catherine Joubert to command the 40,713-man Army of Italy with orders to attack. Joubert was to be supported on his left by the Army of the Alps under Jean Étienne Championnet. Upon arrival, Joubert's generals advised him to wait for Championnet's troops to join them, but the new commander felt bound by his instructions to launch an immediate offensive. [1] In the Battle of Novi on 15 August 1799, the Army of Italy was defeated by the larger Austro-Russian army under Alexander Suvorov and Joubert was killed. [2] The Allies failed to pursue; the Austrians were more interested in besieging the Italian fortresses. Suvorov and the Russian corps were soon ordered to march to Switzerland, leaving 178,253 Austrian soldiers holding Italy. Jean Victor Marie Moreau reorganized the French army until Championnet could arrive to take over. [3]

French Directory Executive power of the French Constitution of 1795-1799

The Directory or Directorate was a five-member committee that governed France from 2 November 1795, when it replaced the Committee of Public Safety, until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and replaced by the French Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution. On the other hand, according to the mainstream historiography - for example F. Furet and D. Richet in “French Revolution” - with the aforementioned terms is indicated also the regime and the period from the dissolution of the National Convention of Tuileries Palace on 26 October 1795, which was superseded by the two new elected Councils, and the coup d’état by Napoleon. Only in 1798 the Council of Five Hundred moved to the Palais Bourbon.

The Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII, also known as the Revenge of the Councils was a bloodless coup in France that occurred on 18 June 1799—30 Prairial Year VII by the French Republican Calendar. It left Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès as the dominant figure of the French government, and prefigured the coup of 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power.

Army of Italy (France) field army of the French Revolutionary Army

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.

Meanwhile, Championnet marched from Grenoble around 8 August 1799 with 25,000 troops split into four groups. The northernmost column crossed the Little St Bernard Pass to threaten Aosta and Ivrea while the next column south traversed the Mont Cenis Pass to Susa in order to menace Turin. Championnet accompanied a column of 8,000–9,000 men that crossed the Col de Montgenèvre and moved southeast to Fossano via Pinerolo. The southernmost column marched over the Maddalena Pass (Col de l'Argentière) into the Valle Stura di Demonte in the direction of Cuneo. [4] On 16 September Paul Grenier with 8,000 defeated 5,000 Austrians under Friedrich Heinrich von Gottesheim at Fossano, inflicting 1,000 casualties for the loss of 200 men. Two days later at Savigliano, 20,000 Austrians led by Michael von Melas fell on Grenier's column and beat him, inflicting 2,000 casualties on the French while losing only 400. [5] The French lost both Fossano and Savigliano and fell back, the other columns retreating as well. [6] The northern column under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme withdrew after being blocked by Fort Bard. [7]

Grenoble Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère and is an important European scientific centre. The city advertises itself as the "Capital of the Alps", due to its size and its proximity to the mountains.

Little St Bernard Pass mountain pass in the Alps on the France–Italy border

The Little St Bernard Pass is a mountain pass in the Alps on the France–Italy border. Its saddle is at 2188 metres above sea level. It is located between Savoie, France, and Aosta Valley, Italy, to the south of the Mont Blanc Massif, exactly on the main alpine watershed. There is also a Great St. Bernard Pass, famous for giving the St Bernard breed its name, and a San Bernardino Pass.

Aosta Comune in Aosta Valley, Italy

Aosta is the principal city of Aosta Valley, a bilingual region in the Italian Alps, 110 km (68 mi) north-northwest of Turin. It is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St. Bernard routes.


Laurent Saint-Cyr Marechal-Gouvion.jpg
Laurent Saint-Cyr

Championnet assumed command of the Army of Italy from Moreau at Genoa on 22 September. The Army of the Alps was absorbed by its sister army at that time. Championnet wished to abandon Genoa in order to shorten the long line he had to defend, but the French government refused to allow it. [7] There were 63,657 French troops available, but only 53,581 if garrisons are excluded. The right wing under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr had 16,657 soldiers in the divisions of Jean Henri Dombrowski, Pierre Garnier de Laboissière, Sextius Alexandre François de Miollis and François Watrin. Championnet personally led the 15,215-strong center, consisting of the divisions of Louis Lemoine and Claude Perrin Victor at Mondovì. Grenier led the 19,615-man left wing near Cuneo, made up of his own and Duhesme's divisions plus a 2,056-strong reserve under André Calvin. Duhesme was also charged with holding the Little St Bernard and Mont Cenis passes. Opposing the French were Johann von Klenau who faced Genoa, Paul Kray in the Aosta valley and Melas who threatened Cuneo. [8]

Genoa Comune in Liguria, Italy

Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits. As of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera.

Pierre Garnier de Laboissière commanded a French infantry division during the War of the Second Coalition. After enrolling in a military academy in 1769, he joined a dragoon regiment in 1772 as a sous lieutenant. In 1779 he was promoted to captain. In late 1792 during the War of the First Coalition he was given command of a cavalry regiment with the grade of colonel. While serving in the Army of the Rhine he was captured by the Prussians. After a prisoner exchange he was promoted to general of brigade in October 1793. Laboissière was promoted to general of division in February 1799. He fought at Stockach and led a division at Novi. In the summer and fall of 1799 he fought in several actions near Genoa. Later he commanded troops in Switzerland. Napoleon appointed him to the Sénat conservateur in 1802, awarded him the Commander's Cross of the Légion d'Honneur in 1804 and made him a Count of the Empire in 1808. He died in Paris in April 1809. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 15.

Sextius Alexandre François de Miollis French general

Sextius Alexandre François de Miollis was a French military officer serving in the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars.

In Cuneo province, Genola is located at the three-way intersection south of Savigliano. Cuneo map.png
In Cuneo province, Genola is located at the three-way intersection south of Savigliano.

Saint-Cyr's wing successfully held its own against the Austrians near Genoa. [9] Watrin with 7,000 troops beat Klenau with 5,000 on the 13th at Bracco, a village east of Sestri Levante. The French inflicted 1,200 casualties, mostly captured, on their foes while sustaining losses of 100. [10] This was part of an operation that started on the 12th in which French troops from Torriglia pressed back Klenau's outposts in the mountains east of Genoa. After eight days, they withdrew into their previous lines. [11] On 24 October 1799 Saint-Cyr defeated Andreas Karaczay in the Second Battle of Novi. [9] Karaczay's 5,000 troops lost 300 killed and wounded while the French captured 1,000 men and four guns. The French lost 400 killed and wounded plus 800 captured out of 12,000. [12] In the sequel, Saint-Cyr pushed threateningly to the north, so Kray was sent with a strong force including 2,800 cavalry and 25 artillery pieces to press him back. The French right wing commander pulled back to the heights behind Novi and refused to budge when Kray tried to maneuver him out of position. [9] On 6 November in the Third Battle of Novi, Kray attacked the hills in four columns and fell into a clever ambush. The French troops made a fighting withdrawal, drawing the Austrians after them. Suddenly, Saint-Cyr's masked artillery opened up as Dombrowski's division bored in from the flank. The French drove the Austrians off the heights but Saint-Cyr was too prudent to pursue into the plain where the enemy's superior cavalry and artillery waited. [13] The French sustained 400 casualties out of 11,000 men while inflicting a loss of 1,000 men and five guns on their 12,000 opponents. [14]

Sestri Levante Comune in Liguria, Italy

Sestri Levante is a town and comune in Liguria, Italy. Lying on the Mediterranean Sea, it is approximately 56 kilometres (35 mi) south of Genoa and is set on a promontory. While nearby Portofino and the Cinque Terre are probably the best-known tourist destinations on the Italian Riviera, Sestri Levante is becoming quite a favorite among Italians. This once quiet fishing village is slowly turning into a tourist hotspot, developing an old and a new town.

Torriglia Comune in Liguria, Italy

Torriglia is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Genoa in the Italian region Liguria, located in the upper Trebbia valley, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of Genoa. Torriglia borders the following municipalities: Davagna, Lorsica, Lumarzo, Mocònesi, Montebruno, Montoggio, Neirone, Propata, Rondanina, Valbrevenna.

Andreas Karaczay

Andreas Karaczay de Vályeszáka or Andreas Karaiczay de Wallje Szaka or András Karacsaj de Válje-Szaka served in the Austrian army beginning in the Seven Years' War. In 1788–90, he fought in the Austro-Turkish War at Khotyn, Valea Seacă, Focșani, and Rymnik. In 1789 he was promoted to general officer, appointed Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian cavalry regiment, and became a friend to the famous Russian General Alexander Suvorov. He fought in the French Revolutionary Wars until 1795 when he retired because of "war fatigue". Suvorov recalled him to action in 1799 when he fought at the Trebbia, Alessandria, and Novi. He led the Austrians at Second Novi. After being badly wounded at Stockach in 1800, he retired from his military offices in 1801.

Farther west there were clashes at Saluzzo and Pinerolo. On 16 October 1799 the divisions of Victor and François Muller attacked the Austrians at Beinette with serious losses on both sides. Finally, Melas gave up his attempted siege of Cuneo and pulled back. Lemoine's division was involved in actions at Mondovì on 27–28 October. [11] On 31 October 1799, Melas with 15,000 soldiers drubbed Grenier with 7,000 at Centallo. The French suffered 1,000 casualties while the Austrians lost only 200 and captured four guns. [12] However, the French gradually pressed forward toward Fossano. Duhesme fought an Austrian force at Pinerolo on 1 November and the next day the French captured Mondovì. [11]


Jean Championnet General JEAN ETIENNE CHAMPIONNET.jpg
Jean Championnet

The French Army of Italy under Championnet and his chief of staff Louis Gabriel Suchet included the infantry divisions of Duhesme, Grenier, Lemoine and Victor and the cavalry division of Antoine Richepanse. Since Grenier was acting as left wing commander Muller led his division. Muller's 8,000-man division was made up of the 3rd, 8th and 17th Light Infantry Demi-brigades, the 10th, 31st, 40th, 47th, 104th and 106th Line Infantry Demi-brigades and 600 sabers from the 10th Hussars. The infantry brigadiers were Claude Clément, Jean Dominique Compans and Jean Davin while Julien Augustin Joseph Mermet led the cavalry. Duhesme's 8000-strong division comprised the 7th and 28th Light and the 29th, 80th, 87th and 107th Line Infantry Demi-brigades and the 11th Hussars. The brigade commanders were Georges Kister, Joseph Mathurin Fidele Lesuire and Claude-François Malet. [15]

Victor's 8,469-man division counted the 2nd Battalion of the 26th Light and the 26th, 33rd, 35th, 39th, 92nd, 93rd, 99th and 105th Line Infantry Demi-brigades. The brigadiers were Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean, Jean Louis Gaspard Josnet de Laviolais and Pierre Poinsot de Chansac. Lemoine's 7,829-strong division included the 5th Light and 17th Line Demi-brigades, the 34th Line under Philibert Fressinet, the 63rd Line under Gaspard Amédée Gardanne, the 74th Line under Bertrand Clausel and 114 detached hussars. The 20th Light under Jean Mathieu Seras was not engaged nor was the 30th Line. Richepanse's 1,200 troopers were from the 1st, 14th and 21st Cavalry and the 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 14th Chasseurs à Cheval. The numbers listed above add up to 33,498 soldiers. [15] A second source asserted that the Austrians enjoyed a numerical advantage, giving 20,000–25,000 for the French total, apparently excluding Lemoine. [13] Two additional sources stated that only 15,000 French were engaged at Genola. [12] [16]

Michael von Melas Michael von Melas.jpg
Michael von Melas

The Austrian army under Melas and his chief of staff Anton von Zach was composed of the infantry divisions of Peter Karl Ott von Bátorkéz, Anton Ferdinand Mittrowsky and Anton von Elsnitz, the cavalry division of Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein, Gottesheim's vanguard and Hannibal Sommariva's independent brigade. Ott's 7,632-strong division was made up of brigades under Karl Philippi von Weidenfeld and Franz Xaver Johann von Auersperg. Weidenfeld's 3,404-man brigade included the Görschen, Hohenfeld, Neny, Pers, Pértussy and Weissenwolf Grenadier Battalions. Auersperg led 4,228 soldiers from full-strength Infantry Regiments Archduke Charles Nr. 3 and Stuart Nr. 18. Mittowsky's Division had only the 2,684-man brigade of Lelio Spannocchi, consisting of weak Infantry Regiments Reisky Nr. 13, Terzi Nr. 16 and Joseph Mittrowsky Nr. 40. Elsnitz commanded 8,010 men in the brigades of Karl von Adorján, Antoine-François-Armand Mignot de Bussy and Friedrich Joseph Anton von Bellegarde. Adorján directed 2,768 troops from Infantry Regiments ex-Kheul Nr. 10 and Alvinczi Nr. 19, Bussy led 1,467 men from Infantry Regiment Nádasdy Nr. 39 and Bellegarde had 3,775 soldiers from Infantry Regiments Gyulai Nr. 32 and Sztaray Nr. 33. [15]

Liechtenstein led 3,488 troopers in the cavalry brigades of Johann Nobili and Nikolaus Joseph Palffy von Erdöd. Nobili supervised 1,765 sabers in Light Dragoon Regiments Archduke John Nr. 3 and Karaczay Nr. 4 while Palffy directed 1,723 sabers in Light Dragoon Regiments Wurttemberg Nr. 8 and Lobkowitz Nr. 10. Gottesheim's 4,665-man vanguard included Light Dragoon Regiment Kaiser Nr. 1 and Infantry Regiments ex-Huff Nr. 8 and Prince of Orange Nr. 15, a total of 843 horse and 3,822 foot. Sommariva's 2,756-strong brigade consisted of Hussar Regiment Archduke Joseph Anton Nr. 2, Light Dragoon Regiment Levenehr Nr. 14, Light Infantry Battalion ex-Otto Nr. 7 and the 1st Battalion of Grenz Infantry Regiment Szluiner Nr. 4, a total of 1,726 cavalry and 1,030 infantry. Franz Bögner led the artillery and Joseph Radetzky von Radetz led the engineers for a combined total of about 1,000 gunners and pioneers. Altogether, there are 30,235 men listed above. [15] A second source listed 29,000 Austrians. [12] A third source credited the Austrians with 34,000 troops including 6,000 cavalry. This total counted six battalions not listed above that were under Christoph von Lattermann. [16]


Countryside near Murazzo I-CN-Murazzo3.JPG
Countryside near Murazzo

On 3 November, Duhesme seized Saluzzo, Victor crossed the Stura River to take Murazzo and Carrù was occupied. [11] Championnet decided to launch a major attack on his opponent the next day. Lemoine on the right at Carrù north of Mondovì was instructed to operate on the Austrian left flank while Victor on the right center moved against Fossano. Grenier with the left center was to attack east through Savigliano toward Marene. Duhesme was ordered to march from Pinerolo to Saluzzo in order to turn the Austrian right flank. On 4 November, the battle of Genola or Fossano was fought. [13]

Peter Karl Ott Peter Karl Ott von Batorkez.jpg
Peter Karl Ott

Championnet assumed that his opponent was about to pull back, but Melas had made up his mind to fight and had his army well concentrated. To guard the supply line from Turin, Melas directed Konrad Valentin von Kaim to shift Lattermann's troops to Racconigi in the north. [16] The Austrian commander ordered Ott with the left flank division to march from Marene seize Savigliano. Mittrowsky with the center was also directed to advance on Savigliano. On the left, Elsnitz was directed to attack from Fossano toward Genola. Assisted by the Fossano garrison, Gottesheim would feint toward Murazzo and Maddelena. [17] (Murazzo is southwest of Fossano on the west bank of the Stura while Morozzo is south of Fossano on the east bank.) [18]

Both armies were in motion early in the day. The first contact occurred when the divisions of Ott and Grenier violently collided near Marene. The Austrian cavalry intervened and pushed the French back somewhat, but the battle still hung in the balance. Mittrowsky's troops appeared unexpectedly, tipping the balance and driving the French from Savigliano. [16] On the other flank, Victor attacked Fossano as Elsnitz was repulsed three times from Genola. [17] Richepanse launched a series of successful cavalry charges in support of Victor. General Adorján was killed at about this time. [16] Mittrowsky moved from Savigliano to Genola and helped drive Victor's men from the town. Ott pursued Grenier's beaten division in a deeper envelopment of the French army toward Vottignasco. [17] Championnet authorized Victor to retreat to Centallo. [16] Gottesheim was unable to dislodge Victor's right wing near Murazzo, but Victor's left wing fell back to Ronchi, just north of Cuneo. [17] By the end of the day the Austrian pursuit had reached a line running from Villafalletto on the west, Centallo in the center and Murazzo on the east. [16]

Meanwhile, Duhesme marched from Saluzzo with 3,000 soldiers and belatedly arrived at Savigliano in the late afternoon. Melas assigned the brigades of Sommariva and Lattermann to face the threat. Blocked by more numerous enemies, Duhesme retreated to Saluzzo. [15] That day Lemoine advanced to Bene Vagienna east of Fossano, but Melas ignored him and focused on crushing Grenier and Victor. On 5 November, the Austrian commander sent Ott against Ronchi where he captured 600 French soldiers. At Murazzo, Elsnitz and Gottesheim drove Victor's rear guard against the Stura, compelling 1,500 men to surrender and others to drown in attempting to swim the river. Grenier abandoned Fort Demonte and retreated toward the Col de Tende. The Austrian pursuit swept up another 1,500 demoralized Frenchmen as prisoners. Championnet gathered Lemoine's men and Victor's survivors at Mondovì, hoping to interfere with any attempt to besiege Cuneo. Followed by Lattermann, Duhesme withdrew far to the northwest at Oulx and Susa. [19]


Louis-Gabriel Suchet Albrier - Louis Gabriel Suchet, duc d'Albufera, chef de bataillon a la huitieme demi-brigade en 1795.jpg
Louis-Gabriel Suchet

The French lost 3,400 killed and wounded plus 4,200 men and five guns captured. The Austrians sustained losses of 2,150 killed and wounded and 250 captured. [12] Wishing to besiege Cuneo, Melas moved against the nearby French forces. On 10 November Ott drove Richepanse from Borgo San Dalmazzo back to Limone Piemonte. Melas ordered Liechtenstein and Mittrowski to attack Mondovì. [19] On 13 November 1799, 14,000 Austrians attacked Championnet's 9,000 at Mondovì. Casualties were about even at about 500 on each side. [14] Championnet pulled his troops back to Ormea and Garessio and set up his headquarters at Finale Ligure on the coast. On 15 November, the Austrians drove the French from Limone and over the Col de Tende. Having cleared the French from Piedmont, Melas directed Liechtenstein to lay siege to Cuneo on the 18th. The city was cut off from the waters of the Stura on 21 November and trenches were begun on the night of the 26th. On 2 December, the Austrian guns opened their bombardment, breaching the defenses and burning down many houses. [20] On 3 December the garrison commander Clément surrendered the surviving 3,000 troops, 187 cannons and 14,000 cwt of gunpowder. [21]

Prince Liechtenstein Johann Josef I von Liechtenstein.jpg
Prince Liechtenstein

After the battle, the Army of Italy was hemmed in between the crests of the Ligurian Alps on the north and the Ligurian Sea on the south. During the course of the war, the Italian Riviera had been denuded of supplies so provisions had to be shipped from France in order to sustain the army. The supply convoys were often held up by foul winds or British warships. On top of this, the soldiers had not been paid in five months and their clothing and shoes were worn out. In these conditions, many men deserted but soon the soldiers broke out in mutiny. In one incident, Championnet and Suchet were faced with 3,000 mutineers [22] who had only received rations on six days out of the last thirty. They somehow convinced the soldiers to return to duty. The men of the Genoa garrison announced to Saint-Cyr that they were marching back to France. The general dissuaded them by pointing out that they would certainly starve to death on the long march along the Riviera. Fortunately, supply ships reached Genoa just in time. Watrin's division abandoned its positions, leaving only their officers and sous-officiers holding Bocchetta Pass. The men were only persuaded to stop by the news that the Genoa garrison had decided to remain; they got back before the Austrians could seize the pass. Championnet was in despair at the misery of his men. [23]

On 31 December 1799, Championnet got news that the government accepted his resignation and appointed André Masséna to lead the Army of Italy. The following day he became sick and the senior general Jean-Antoine Marbot assumed temporary command. For a week, Championnet's illness did not seem particularly severe and he granted leave to Suchet on 3 January. However, he rapidly declined and died on 9 January 1800. The general was so impoverished that his staff had to pay for his burial at Antibes. [24] Championnet was a victim of typhus, which had broken out in Nice in mid-October 1799. The disease was first seen in a military hospital and quickly spread to the army and civilians. The number of deaths soared so that disposal of the numerous corpses became a problem. The epidemic reached its peak at the end of January and only began to recede in March 1800. [25]


Championnet saw that he needed to evacuate Genoa in order to shorten his long front, but the French Directory refused to consider it. Consequently, the French commander could not collect enough troops to defeat Melas near Cuneo. [26] The French government thoroughly plundered Italy yet neglected to feed, clothe or pay its soldiers stationed there. [27] Championnet should have advanced into Piedmont in one powerful force instead of moving in four widely separated columns. [6] At Genola he spread his army across a broad front, while Melas had his army concentrated under his immediate control. He unwisely chose to fight a pitched battle in the plains against an enemy that greatly outnumbered him in cavalry. [13] Napoleon wrote of Championnet, "He distinguished himself in the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse, where his had been one of the principal divisions; there he had been imbued with the false principles of war with which Jourdan's plans were directed. He was brave, full of zeal, active, devoted to his country; he was a good general of division, an indifferent commander-in-chief." [26]


  1. Duffy 1999, pp. 129–132.
  2. Smith 1998, p. 163.
  3. Phipps 2011, p. 333.
  4. Phipps 2011, p. 335.
  5. Smith 1998, pp. 165–166.
  6. 1 2 Phipps 2011, p. 336.
  7. 1 2 Phipps 2011, p. 337.
  8. Phipps 2011, p. 338.
  9. 1 2 3 Phipps 2011, p. 339.
  10. Smith 1998, pp. 171–172.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Clarke 1816, p. 414.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Smith 1998, p. 172.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Phipps 2011, p. 340.
  14. 1 2 Smith 1998, p. 173.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Acerbi 2009a.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cust 1862, p. 254.
  17. 1 2 3 4 Clarke 1816, p. 415.
  18. Google. "Murazzo and Morozzo" (Map). Google Maps . Google.
  19. 1 2 Cust 1862, p. 255.
  20. Cust 1862, p. 256.
  21. Smith 1998, p. 174.
  22. Phipps 2011, p. 342.
  23. Phipps 2011, p. 343.
  24. Phipps 2011, pp. 345–347.
  25. Acerbi 2009b.
  26. 1 2 Phipps 2011, p. 349.
  27. Phipps 2011, p. 351.

Related Research Articles

Battle of Marengo 1800 battle between French and Austrian forces

The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Near the end of the day, the French overcame Gen. Michael von Melas's surprise attack, driving the Austrians out of Italy and consolidating Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.

Battle of Montereau 1814 battle between the French and Austrians

The Battle of Montereau was fought during the War of the Sixth Coalition between an Imperial French army led by Emperor Napoleon and a corps of Austrians and Württembergers commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William of Württemberg. While Napoleon's army mauled an Allied army under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, the main Allied army commanded by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg advanced to a position dangerously close to Paris. Gathering up his outnumbered forces, Napoleon rushed his soldiers south to deal with Schwarzenberg. Hearing of the approach of the French emperor, the Allied commander ordered a withdrawal, but 17 February saw his rear guards overrun or brushed aside.

The Battle of Neresheim saw a victory of Republican French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau over the Habsburg Austrian army of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. Pursued by Moreau's Army of Rhin-et-Moselle, Charles launched an attack against the French. While the Austrian left wing saw some success, the battle degenerated into a stalemate and the archduke withdrew further into the Electorate of Bavaria. Neresheim is located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany a distance of 57 kilometres (35 mi) northeast of Ulm. The action took place during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict called the French Revolutionary Wars.

Battle of Trebbia (1799) battle

The Battle of Trebbia or the Napoleonic Battle of the Trebbia was fought near the Trebbia River in northern Italy between the joint Russian and Habsburg Austrian army under Alexander Suvorov and the Republican French army of Jacques MacDonald. Though the opposing armies were approximately equal in numbers, the Austro-Russians severely defeated the French, sustaining about 6,000 casualties while inflicting losses of 12,000 to 16,500 on their enemies. The War of the Second Coalition engagement occurred west of Piacenza, a city located 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Milan.

Battle of Würzburg battle

The Battle of Würzburg was fought on 3 September 1796 between an army of Habsburg Austria led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and an army of the First French Republic led by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. The French attacked the archduke's forces, but they were resisted until the arrival of reinforcements decided the engagement in favor of the Austrians. The French retreated west toward the Rhine River. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Würzburg is 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Frankfurt.

The Army of Naples was a French Army unit which took this name following its capture of Naples in 1799. It was related to the Army of Italy.

Paul Grenier French general

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.

Battle of Ettlingen

The Battle of Ettlingen or Battle of Malsch was fought during the French Revolutionary Wars between the armies of the First French Republic and Habsburg Austria near the town of Malsch, 9 kilometres (6 mi) southwest of Ettlingen. The Austrians under Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen tried to halt the northward advance of Jean Victor Marie Moreau's French Army of Rhin-et-Moselle along the east bank of the Rhine River. After a tough fight, the Austrian commander found that his left flank was turned. He conceded victory to the French and retreated east toward Stuttgart. Ettlingen is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) south of Karlsruhe.

Franz Freiherr von Werneck, born 13 October 1748 – died 17 January 1806, enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria and fought in the Austro-Turkish War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. He enjoyed a distinguished career until 1797, when he lost a battle and was dismissed as punishment. He was only reinstated in 1805. In that year he surrendered his command and was later brought up on charges. He died while awaiting a court-martial.

Battle of Grandreng

The Battle of Grandreng or Battle of Rouvroi saw a Republican French army jointly commanded by Louis Charbonnier and Jacques Desjardin attempt to advance across the Sambre River against a combined Habsburg Austrian and Dutch army under Franz Wenzel, Graf von Kaunitz-Rietberg. After winning crossings over the Sambre at Thuin and Lobbes on the 10th and Merbes-le-Château on the 12th, the French were defeated on 13 May at Grand-Reng and forced to retreat. The War of the First Coalition engagement marked the first of five attempts by the French armies to establish themselves on the north bank of the Sambre. Grand-Reng is now part of the village of Erquelinnes, Belgium, lying close to the border with France. Rouveroy (Rouvroi) is situated 3.8 kilometres (2.4 mi) north. Grand-Reng is located about 33 kilometres (21 mi) southwest of Charleroi.

Jacques Philippe Bonnaud or Bonneau commanded a French combat division in a number of actions during the French Revolutionary Wars. He enlisted in the French Royal Army as cavalryman in 1776 and was a non-commissioned officer in 1789. He became a captain in the 12th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment in 1792. The unit fought at Valmy, Jemappes, Aldenhoven, Neerwinden, Raismes, Caesar's Camp and Wattignies, and he was wounded twice. In January 1794 he was promoted to general officer. In April 1794, he reluctantly accepted command of a division that had been cut to pieces at Villers-en-Cauchies and Troisvilles, and this at a time when failed generals often were sent to the guillotine. He led his troops at Courtrai, Tourcoing and in the invasion of the Dutch Republic. He fought in the War in the Vendée the following year, briefly leading the Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg. In the Rhine Campaign of 1796 he led a cavalry division in combat at Amberg, Würzburg and Limburg. He was badly wounded in the latter action and never recovered, dying at Bonn six months later. BONNEAU is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 6.

The Battle of Mannheim was fought between a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and a Republican French army under Jacques Léonard Muller. Most of the French Army of the Rhine had retreated to the west bank of the Rhine River, leaving the division of Antoine Laroche Dubouscat to hold Mannheim on the east bank. Despite assistance by Michel Ney, Laroche's division was beaten and driven out of the city when attacked by Charles and a much superior force. The War of the Second Coalition action occurred in the city of Mannheim, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Frankfurt.

Battle of Feldkirch battle during the War of the Second Coalition

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.

Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean French politician

Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean became a French division commander and saw extensive service during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1792 he gave up his legal career to enlist in the infantry and served in the Army of the Rhine. In March 1799 he earned promotion to general of brigade by distinguished actions at Verona. That year he led an Army of Italy brigade at Magnano, the Trebbia, Novi and Genola. In 1800 he fought at Stockach and Hohenlinden.

First Battle of Marengo (1799)

The First Battle of Marengo or Battle of San Giuliano saw Republican French soldiers under General of Division Jean Victor Marie Moreau launch a reconnaissance in force against a larger force of Habsburg Austrian and Imperial Russian troops led by Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov. The French enjoyed initial success, pressing back their opponents. However, large Austrian and Russian reinforcements soon arrived, causing the French to withdraw into Alessandria. This War of the Second Coalition action occurred near the town of Spinetta Marengo, located just east of Alessandria in northwest Italy.

The Second Battle of Novi or Battle of Bosco saw a Republican French corps under General of Division Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr face a division of Habsburg Austrian soldiers led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Andreas Karaczay. For several hours the Austrians defended themselves stoutly, relying on their superior cavalry and artillery. By the end of the day the French and allied Poles routed the Austrians from their positions in this War of the Second Coalition action. Novi Ligure is south of Alessandria, Italy.

Battle of Amsteg

The Battle of Amsteg saw a Republican French division under General of Division Claude Lecourbe face a brigade of Habsburg Austrian soldiers led by General-major Joseph Anton von Simbschen. Lecourbe's offensive began on 14 August when six columns of French infantry advanced on the upper Reuss valley from the north and east. By 16 August, Lecourbe's forces had driven Simbschen's Austrians from the valley and seized control of the strategic Gotthard Pass between Italy and Switzerland.

Battle of Linth River

The Battle of Linth River saw a Republican French division under General of Division Jean-de-Dieu Soult face a force of Habsburg Austrian, Imperial Russian, and Swiss soldiers led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze in Switzerland. Soult carefully planned and his troops carried out a successful assault crossing of the Linth River between Lake Zurich and the Walensee. Hotze's death early in the action disorganized the Allied defenders who were defeated and forced to retreat, abandoning supplies accumulated for Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov's approaching army. On the same day, General of Division André Masséna's French Army of Helvetia defeated Lieutenant General Alexander Korsakov's Russian army in the Second Battle of Zurich and a French brigade turned back another Austrian force near Mollis. Both Korsakov's Russians and Hotze's survivors, led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franz Petrasch withdrew north of the Rhine River.


See also

Coordinates: 44°35′N7°40′E / 44.583°N 7.667°E / 44.583; 7.667