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|Battle of Mileto|
|Part of the War of the Third Coalition|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Mileto was a battle of the War of the Third Coalition. It occurred on 28 May 1807 in Calabria during an attempt by the Bourbon Kingdom of Sicily to re-conquer its possessions in continental Italy, known as the Kingdom of Naples. The battle ended in a victory for French forces under general Jean Reynier.
The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others.
Calabria, known in antiquity as Bruttium, is a region in Southern Italy.
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.
Ferdinand IV of Naples sided with the Third Coalition against Napoleon and so in 1806 France invaded his kingdom, forcing its royal family to flee to Sicily and turning the area into a battleground between France and Britain, the two main powers attempting to control the Mediterranean at the time. The Bourbon royals allied themselves with Britain, whose Royal Navy protected Sicily, whilst Napoleon I made his brother Joseph Bonaparte king of Naples, which he remained until 1808, when he was succeeded by Joachim Murat.
Ferdinand I, was the King of the Two Sicilies from 1816, after his restoration following victory in the Napoleonic Wars. Before that he had been, since 1759, Ferdinand IV of the Kingdom of Naples and Ferdinand III of the Kingdom of Sicily. He was also King of Gozo. He was deposed twice from the throne of Naples: once by the revolutionary Parthenopean Republic for six months in 1799 and again by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.
From their Sicilian base, the Bourbons and the British then attempted to foment a brigand revolt against the new French-ruled Kingdom of Naples. These stirrings of revolt made life difficult for the French rulers and triggered a vicious crackdown, mainly led by captain Charles Antoine Manhès, formerly an aide de camp to Murat. Ferdinand and his wife Maria Carolina of Austria continued their claims to the Kingdom of Naples, particularly on Maria's part - she hated France for guillotining her sister Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. It was Maria who chose Louis of Hesse-Philippsthal as commander of the Bourbon army.
Brigandage is the life and practice of highway robbery and plunder. It is practiced by a brigand, a person who usually lives in a gang and lives by pillage and robbery.
Charles Antoine Manhès was a French general. He worked as aide de camp to Joachim Murat and later led the repression of brigandage in the Kingdom of Naples during Murat's reign.
Maria Carolina of Austria was Queen of Naples and Sicily as the wife of King Ferdinand IV & III. As de facto ruler of her husband's kingdoms, Maria Carolina oversaw the promulgation of many reforms, including the revocation of the ban on Freemasonry, the enlargement of the navy under her favourite, John Acton, 6th Baronet, and the expulsion of Spanish influence. She was a proponent of enlightened absolutism until the advent of the French Revolution, when, in order to prevent its ideas gaining currency, she made Naples a police state.
In 1806 Louis defended Gaeta against the French and in May 1807 landed in Calabria, intending to defeat the French once and for all. He had around 3,500 men under his command, augmented by irregular troops from among the massisti, whilst his officers included colonel Vito Nunziante. For a year the French followed a policy of strategic withdrawal in the face of the Bourbon advance and concentrating their troops (around 5,000 men) at Monteleone (now known as Vibo Valentia).
The Siege of Gaeta saw the fortress city of Gaeta and its Neapolitan garrison under Louis of Hesse-Philippsthal besieged by an Imperial French corps led by André Masséna. After a prolonged defense in which Hesse was badly wounded, Gaeta surrendered and its garrison was granted generous terms by Masséna.
Vito Nicola Nunziante was an Italian general, politician and entrepreneur, who was active in the Kingdom of Naples.
Vibo Valentia is a city and comune (municipality) in the Calabria region of southern Italy, near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital of the province of Vibo Valentia, and is an agricultural, commercial and tourist center. There are also several large manufacturing industries, including the tuna district of Maierato. Very important for the local economy is Vibo Marina's harbour.
Before the battle Reynier addressed his troops about their earlier defeat at Maida:
|“||Your comrades' blood cries out for vengeance. Neither valor nor tricks were lacking at Sant'Eufemia [ie Maida], it was just that fortune turned against us. But now she shows herself favourable, because of the enemy's treachery. Revenge and triumph will come easy indeed, if we only remember we are French.||”|
Bourbon attempts to land on the Tropea coast were prevented by the civic guards of the coastal towns and attempts at internal insurrection had no better success - those attempts were led by bands of massisti commanded by noted brigands such as Francatrippa and accompanied by regular Bourbon troops.
Tropea is a municipality located within the province of Vibo Valentia, in Calabria, southern Italy.
Philippsthal and his army moved from Rosarno to Mileto on 26 May 1807. Journals and accounts of the battle from both sides state errors made by the Bourbon force - colonel Nunziante and other officers warned Philippsthal to leave his position at Mileto (tactically-unfavourable should the enemy attack), but he did not heed their advice and was attacked by the French at 4.30 on 28 May on the hills of Nao and Pizzinni, which overlooked the town of Mileto. From here the battle shifted to the outskirts of the town of Mileto, where the houses and countryside to its south were fought over with rifle fire and bayonet. The encounter was bloody and the Bourbon army was routed and pursued to Rosarno, Gioia Tauro, Seminara and finally to the gates of Reggio Calabria. The two combatants totalled around 10,000, of whom a very high percentage were killed.
Rosarno is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region of Calabria. It is about 70 kilometres (43 mi) southwest of Catanzaro and about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northeast of Reggio Calabria. Rosarno stands on a natural terrace cloaked in olive plantations and vineyards on the left bank of the river Mesima, overlooking the Gioia Tauro plain. The town is an important agricultural and commercial centre known for the production of citrus fruits, olive oil, and wines.
Gioia Tauro is a comune (municipality) in the province of Reggio Calabria, in Calabria (Italy), on the Tyrrhenian coast. It has an important port, situated along the route connecting Suez to Gibraltar, one of the busiest maritime corridors in the world.
Seminara is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region Calabria, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) southwest of Catanzaro and about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northeast of Reggio Calabria.
The sources state that the battle turned on a moment when the Bourbon cavalry charged but was repulsed by the French infantry. It then fled back towards the Bourbon front rank, leading to a panic which spread to the second rank and led to a hasty and disorderly flight by the irregular Bourbon troops harried by the army and the French cavalry. As they escaped, the irregulars also looted their own Bourbon allies and the defeat turned into a total rout.
It was later realised that the main reason for the Bourbon rout had been the inferior structure of their army, which was still organised on feudal lines - such an army was capable of quelling internal rebellions but inadequate for a pitched battle in which it faced an organised and experienced army with veterans of several previous victories in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, especially without the land forces of its British ally (which had been present at the previous Anglo-Bourbon victory at Maida on 4 July 1806). The original Bourbon plan of reconquering Naples had also not been implemented at the time of the battle. That plan had hinged on dividing the Bourbon force into five corps which would envelop the French forces and at the same time support a general uprising by the local population, combining these two prongs to annihilate the French. Varied political reasons meant that the plan did not become a reality, leading to the defeat at Mileto.
Despite being a Bourbon defeat, it left behind so many mainland foci for anti-French resistance that Napoleon then decided to abandon his plan to capture Sicily. It did, however, reverse the balance of power established at Maida the previous year and guaranteed French control of Calabria until 1815, when Ferdinand IV was returned to the throne by the Congress of Vienna. Murat then made a failed attempt to re-conquer Naples and was shot at Pizzo on 13 October 1815 after a summary trial, with the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily reunified in 1816 under Ferdinand IV, who restyled himself Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.
The Napoleonic era is a period in the history of France and Europe. It is generally classified as including the fourth and final stage of the French Revolution, the first being the National Assembly, the second being the Legislative Assembly, and the third being the Directory. The Napoleonic era begins roughly with Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'état, overthrowing the Directory, establishing the French Consulate, and ends during the Hundred Days and his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The Congress of Vienna soon set out to restore Europe to pre-French Revolution days. Napoleon brought political stability to a land torn by revolution and war. He made peace with the Roman Catholic Church and reversed the most radical religious policies of the Convention. In 1804 Napoleon promulgated the Civil Code, a revised body of civil law, which also helped stabilize French society. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals advanced in education and employment because of talent rather than birth or social standing. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.
Fra Diavolo, is the popular name given to Michele Pezza, a famous Neapolitan guerrilla leader who resisted the French occupation of Naples, proving an "inspirational practitioner of popular insurrection". Pezza figures prominently in folk lore and fiction. He appears in several works of Alexandre Dumas, including The Last Cavalier: Being the Adventures of Count Sainte-hermine in the Age of Napoleon, not published until 2007 and in Washington Irving's short story "The Inn at Terracina".
The Kingdom of Naples comprised that part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was created as a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate Kingdom of Sicily. Naples continued to be officially known as the Kingdom of Sicily, the name of the formerly unified kingdom. For much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Spanish dynasties. In 1816, it was reunified with the island kingdom of Sicily once again to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
The Battle of Maida on 4 July 1806 was a battle between the British expeditionary force and a First French Empire division outside the town of Maida in Calabria, Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. John Stuart led 5,200 British troops to victory over about 5,400 French soldiers under Jean Reynier, inflicting significant losses while incurring relatively few casualties. Maida is located in the toe of Italy, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Catanzaro.
The Neapolitan War was a conflict between the Napoleonic Kingdom of Naples and the Austrian Empire. It started on 15 March 1815 when King Joachim Murat declared war on Austria and ended on 20 May 1815 with the signing of the Treaty of Casalanza. The war occurred during the Hundred Days between Napoleon's return from exile and before he left Paris to be decisively defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. The war was triggered by a pro-Napoleon uprising in Naples, and ended with a decisive Austrian victory at the Battle of Tolentino after which Bourbon monarch Ferdinand IV was reinstated as King of Naples and Sicily. However, the intervention by Austria caused resentment in Italy, which further spurred on the drive towards Italian unification.
Carlo Filangieri, prince of Satriano, was a Neapolitan soldier and statesman. He was the son of Gaetano Filangieri, a celebrated philosopher and jurist, and father of Gaetano Filangieri, prince of Satriano, an art historian and collector.
Maria Isabella of Spain was an infanta of Spain and Queen consort of the Two Sicilies.
Maida is a town and comune in the province of Catanzaro, in the Calabria region of southern Italy. The British routed the French in the Battle of Maida in 1806, as part of the War of the Third Coalition.
Jean Louis Ebénézer Reynier rose in rank to become a French army general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division under Napoleon Bonaparte in the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria. During the Napoleonic Wars he continued to hold important combat commands, eventually leading an army corps during the Peninsular War in 1810-1811 and during the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1812-1813.
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.
Sir John Stuart, Count of Maida GCB (1759–1815), was a British Lieutenant-General during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was the largest of the states of Italy before the Italian unification. It was formed as a union of the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples, which collectively had long been called the "Two Sicilies".
Louis of Hesse-Philippsthal was a German nobleman and a general. He fought for the Kingdom of Naples. From 1813 until his death, he was the ruling Landgrave of Hesse-Philippsthal.
The Invasion of Naples in January 1806 saw a French army led by Marshal André Masséna march from northern Italy into the Kingdom of Naples which was ruled by King Ferdinand IV. The Neapolitan army was vanquished at Campo Tenese and rapidly disintegrated. The invasion was eventually successful despite some setbacks, including the prolonged Siege of Gaeta, the British victory at Maida, and a stubborn guerrilla war by the peasantry against the French. Total success eluded the French because Ferdinand withdrew to his domain in Sicily where he was protected by the Royal Navy and a British Army garrison. In 1806 Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule over southern Italy as king.
The Kingdom of Naples (Italian: Regno di Napoli) was a French client state in southern Italy created in 1806 when the Bourbon Ferdinand IV & VII of Naples and Sicily sided with the Third Coalition against Napoleon and was in return ousted from his kingdom by a French invasion. Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon I, was installed in his stead and when Joseph became King of Spain in 1808, Napoleon appointed his brother-in-law Joachim Murat to take his place. Murat was later deposed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after striking at Austria in the Neapolitan War, in which he was decisively defeated at the Battle of Tolentino.