Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns


 

The 1799 Campaign in Italy: the Swiss Border Combats - May

The Advance of the K.K. Tiroler Armée

By Enrico Acerbi

Threats from the North

During the few days, in which Suvorov had a rest in Milano, couriers reported French movements from the Switzerland against Canton Ticino and, therefore, against the

lakes situated north of Milano (Maggiore and Como). The Como garrison was alerted and General Strauch was sent there to secure the Lake Maggiore banks. General Vukassovich was sent towards Novara to engage the French rearguard. The Northern flank of the two armies was initially in Valtelline, where operated the linking units between Italy and Grisons (Graubünden fronts).

Valtelline:  (Ger. Veitlin; the name comes from the former capital, Teglio, near Tresenda), properly the name of the upper valley of Adda, in north Italy . Historically and officially, it also comprises the Italian Liro or San Giacomo valley, which extends from the Splugen Pass past Chiavenna (where the Liro is absorbed by the Mera, flowing from the Swiss Val Bregaglia) to the Lake of Como, the Mera entering this lake slightly to the north of the Adda. In 1797, Bormio and Valtellina were annexed to the Cisalpine Republic, in 1805 to the Kingdom of Italy (of which Napoleon was king), and in 1815 (despite the remonstrances of the Raetian Leagues) to the Kingdom of Lombardo-Venetia, held by the Emperor of Austria.  It became (after 1798) part of the canton Raetia of the Helvetic republic, and in 1803 of the canton of the Graubunden or Grisons, which was then first received a full member of the Swiss Confederation.

The French deployment at the Swiss borders was initially offensive in order to link with Schérer’s army. When the 1799 Campaign began (Masséna was the first to move troops forward), the French border’s unit, operating on Valtelline Alps, was General Dessolle’s brigade. It was a mix of French and Cisalpine troops,   during the early phase of 1799 campaign and before the battle of Magnano.

Division General Jean-Joseph-Paul-Augustin Dessolle  [1] in Valtellina
ADC: Adjudant général Fressinet : Brigadiers : Antoine-Louis-Popon Maucune

Artillery (2nd Piedmontese artillery brigade Colonel Cappello) and Sappers

343 

Cisalpine Expeditionary Detachment Battalions I and II

700

12th Light Demi Brigade Chef Guy Louis Henry Valory [2]

2000

39th Line Demi Brigade Chef Antoine-Louis-Popon Maucune [3]

2000

12th Chasseurs Regiment

48

Clausewitz gives a total of 6500 men with Lechi – In campaign they were no more than 3500

Brigade General Conte Giuseppe Lechi
ADC: Adjudant général Andrea Miloshevich

1771

Cisalpine 3rd Line Demibrigade Chef de Brigade Andrea Miloshevic, Dalmatian Italian

1328

(the DB had 3 Battalions - I/3 Chef Morosini and after Guidoni, then Cappi, II/3 Scotti, III/3 Martincourt)

I Battalion  1st Cisalpine Light Demi-Brigade (Battalion  Girard)

443

Detached: Cisalpine Volunteers Troops at Lecco (National Guard)

700

After Magnano, Dessolle was ordered to join the Armée d’Italie leaving the Border’s control to Lecourbe division. On April 4, after the combat of Taufers, the tired brigade of General Dessolle reached Tirano, in Valtelline, where he left the command of the garrison to General Loison and from where he began his travel to the south, to join Moreau army, on April 20. In the mean time an Austrian Avantgarde Group was detached, by Bellegarde, from the K.K. Tiroler Armée to replace the already engaged Vukassovich Gruppe, which at the time when Dessolle left the valley, in Val Camonica, north of Bergamo, was deployed the Oberst Strauch’s brigade.

Tyroler Armée General Bellegarde Avant-guards

Avantgarde Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried von Strauch [4] (IR 11 Commander)

7181

Strauch, with the Engadin front moving forward, entered the val Camonica. He decided to place his outposts roughly from Edolo to the Incudine, because of the enemy dislocation on mountain Mortirolo, and, in the night before April 29, along with 4 battalions, 7 companies and an half squadron began the advance march to link with the armies in Italy, while, on Tonale pass (4 Battalions and half squadron in Val Camonica with outposts at Tonale pass), was left Colonel count Carneville with 4 battalions, a half squadron and an unit of Tyroler Landesschützen. Count Bellegarde sent them instructions to immediately advance against Tirano, securing the right over Puschiavo, and the left over Morbegno, with Colonel Strauch staying in tight touch with him in order to receive real time news about the enemy.

K.K. IR 11 Rifle Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis)

1923

I – II Battalions. (III Battalion  left behind as garrison - IV Battalion  at Prag - Bohemia) – Commander: Oberst Gottfried von Strauch

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf

772

I Battalion  K.K. IR 30 Rifle Infantry Regiment Fürst Carl Joseph de Ligne Commander  Oberst August Husmanns – 3 Companies

300

K.K. 10th Light Infantry Battalion Oberlieutenant Franz von Siegenfeld (Italian-Venetian)

892

Jäger Freikorps Major Johann Le Loup (dutch Battalion - 1 company)

112

K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren)

65

Reaching the Italian plain the Erdödy squadron was re-united under Strauch (115 men) and half 7th Hussars squadron was attached to Rohan’s brigade

And, following Strauch’s brigade, part of the same command, and with the task to link right with the Tiroler Army at Poschiavo, left with Strauch Group, leading towards Tirano, was the: Detachment Oberst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville

Tiroler Schützen Botzen, Sterzing, Neumarkt, Passeier Freiherr von Cazan 4 Companies

320

K.K. 11th Light Infantry Battalion Oberst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville (Istrian)

434

III Battalion K.K. IR 11 Rifle Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis)

950

I Battalion  Banal Grenz Regiment or I Battalion  - 11th Banal Regiment of Petrinja  - Major Boichetta

781

III Battalion  Grenz Regiment of Banat (or II/12 GR Deutschbanater - Major Anton Zedtwitz)

682

K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren)

50

Carneville detachment was followed and supported by another Tyroler Armée’s unit, sent to support the Advance towards the lower Adda. The books called its commander La Marcel, but the unit was the:

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Oberst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille [5]

3137

I Battalion   5th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-Kreuzer of Varazdin

693

I Battalion  K.K. IR 9 Rifle Regiment (former Clerfayt) Commander: Obst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

606

K.K. IR 33 Rifle Regiment Graf Anton Sztaray

1838

I – II - III Battalions. Commander: Oberst Johann Kalnássy de Kalnáss

It remained for some time as Valtelline garrison. Then he reached  Bellegarde’s army in Piedmont.

After the Adda battles it was necessary to garrison the access to the Swiss Canton Ticino. So the Austrians sent a brigade to Como and to the homonym lake, north of Milano.

Como April 30 – May 7, 1799

Como.  Napoleon descended into Lombardy in 1796 and French again ruled it until 1815, when the Austrian Government was resumed.

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Victor von Rohan [6]

2609

Jäger Freikorps Major Johann Le Loup (dutch Battalion - 3 Companies )

359

III Battalion K.K. IR 52 Hungarian Rifle Regiment Erzherzog Palatin Anton Viktor

764

K.K. Light Battalion N. 14 Oberst Prince Ludwig (Louis) Rohan (Italian Battalion)

590

K.K. 7th Hussar Regiment  Half sqn.

60

Pioneers Detachment

81

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment LG Förster (Ferster) or Tambowski ( Tambov) – II Battalion  (attached after May 6)

755

Valtelline Garrison

Armée d’Helvetie – Right Wing (May 4, 1799)

2nd Right Wing Division General Claude-JacquesLecourbe * numbers from “Mémoires de Masséna”

10483

Brigade generals: Loison and Demont

Artillery and sappers

184

36th Line Demi-brigade– I and II Battalion  – Chef Pierre Bellon Lapisse

1569

44th Line Demi brigade – I and II Battalion  - Chef Jean Bertholet

1976

109th Line Demi-brigade – I and II Battalion  - Chef Jean-François Clerc [7]

1843

38th Line Demi-brigade Chef Marie-Guillaume Daumas

1586

12th Regiment Chasseurs Chef général François-Joseph Offenstein

115

12th Light Demi brigade Chef Guy Louis Henry Valory

1247

76th Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Goré – I and II Battalion

1955

 

 

 

 

 

The Division was divided in two groups:

General Claude-Jacques Lecourbe [8]  * numbers extimated  4234

Artillery and sappers

134

36th Line Demi-brigade– I and II Battalion  – Chef Pierre Bellon Lapisse

1065

44th Line Demi brigade – I and II Battalion  - Chef Jean Bertholet

1175

109th Line Demi-brigade – I and II Battalion  - Chef Jean-François Clerc

1245

    I Battalion  38th Line Demi-brigade Chef Marie-Guillaume Daumas

590

12th ChasseursRegiment chef général François-Joseph Offenstein [9]

115

 

 

 

These were the French units on the Italian-Swiss borders on May 4, 1799. Above is the former General Demont’s brigade of Lecourbe division.

General Lecourbe, having lost the flanking brigade Dessolle, which had joined the main army in Piedmont, sent one of his brigades (Loison) to secure the right flank. After the Adda battle Loison was forced to withdraw along the Misoccersthal (Mesolcina, from Chiavenna through Splügen pass) by General Strauch advance. On May Lecourbe left Lenz (reached on 4th), passed the St. Gotthard and joined Loison (May 10) at San Giacomo. Both reached Bellinzona on May 11, with a force of about 8000 men (Clausewitz).

The Austrian entered Chiavenna (May 8-9) and found 26 bronze guns with other 10 iron pieces abandoned from Loison’s sudden retreat.

Brigade General Louis-Henri Loison [10]
from Tonale-Valtelline to Canton Ticino – Airolo - * numbers extimated

3707

Artillery and sappers

50

12th Light Demi brigade Chef Guy Louis Henry Valory

1247

76th Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Goré – I and II Battalions

1055

6th Line Demi brigade detachment

240

II Battalion  38th Line Demi-brigade

600

Expeditionnary forces I and II Battalions

400

Cisalpine Hussars and Guides

115

May 10 – the Austrian Advance

General Carneville was ordered to join Strauch at Tirano (Valtelline). The K.K. Tyroler Armée advanced into Grisons and its Avantagarde Brigade St. Julien reached Süs with 3 battalions, having 10 companies  deployed to secure the mountain-flanks. General Loison occupied the Splügen Pass (the road from Chiavenna to the Canton Ticino) with 900 men. Lecourbe and 8000 French passed over the San Bernardino Pass and entered Bellinzona meeting Loison at San Giacomo. General Rohan advanced from Como to Lugano and Bironico. He was too weak to resist to an eventual Lecourbe’s attack.

Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried von Strauch  (IR 11 commander)

4914

 

Jäger Freikorps Major Johann Le Loup (dutch Battalion - 1 company )

112

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf

772

K.K. IR 11 Rifle Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis)

1923

I – II Battalions. (III Battalion left behind as garrison - IV Battalion  at Prag - Bohemia) – Commander: Oberst Gottfried von Strauch

K.K. 11th Light Infantry Battalion Oberst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville (istrian)

434

K.K. 10th Light Infantry Battalion Oberlieutenant Franz von Siegenfeld (Italian-Venetian)

892

I Battalion  Banal Grenz Regiment or I Battalion  - 11th Banal Regiment of Petrinja  - Major Boichetta

781

This Corps remained in Valtelline

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Oberst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

4437

I Battalion   5th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-Kreuzer of Varazdin

693

I Battalion  K.K. IR 9 Rifle Regiment (former Clerfayt) Commander: Obst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

606

I Battalion  K.K. IR 30 Rifle Infantry Regiment Fürst Carl Joseph de Ligne Commander  Oberst August Husmanns – 3 Companies

300

K.K. IR 33 Rifle Regiment Graf Anton Sztaray

1838

I – II Battalions. Commander: Oberst Johann Kalnássy de Kalnáss

III Battalion K.K. IR 11 Rifle Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis)

950

K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren)

50

Prince Rohan in Canton Ticino

“On May 11, at Lugano, arrived the Austro-Russian force of about 3000 men, before the evening. They were headed by some “fourriers” who ordered to burn out all the Liberty-trees ... The Imperial troops were received from Lugano citizens with pleasure and enjoyment, along with high “hurray” cries … Those troops stopped a while to eat and rest, then, in the night darkness, set off towards Monte Ceneri, where the French were camped. At dawn it began a strong fire fight, which lasted all the day; however it was not decisive because the French remained in their position. Incoming the evening, the Austro-Russians camped along the Agno bank until the Bironiche... 

Many of those villages, where Imperial troops and particularly the Prince Rohan Companies marched through or camped, were damaged. They looted all what they could steal, money, furnitures and all sorts of transportable things. Also the Russian stole a lot, but in a more polite way: they gave compliments and hugs to whom they met along the road, then, chuckling, took their watches, belts (if men), rings, jewellery, earrings, gold or silver (if women), what they could find. The Russian had the tradition to make their religious Christian Orthodox sign of the Cross sign before every thieving act. “

Source Rinaldo Caddeo, I primi anni del Risorgimento Ticinese nella Cronaca inedita di Antonio Maria Lagh”, Modena 1938, pp. 65-66.

Canton Ticino

(or Tessin), a canton of Switzerland , situated on the southern part of the Swiss Alps and inhabited by a population of which the majority speaks Italian. It takes its name from the Ticino river, which have its upper part within the canton, until the Lago Maggiore, in which he ends its Switzerland course.

In 1798 the people were divided among the conservative Swiss and the progressist republican "Cisalpine " parties, but remained with the Swiss. Having rejected their historical chiefs, they organized two new cantons of the Helvetic Republic - Bellinzona and Lugano. In 1803, officially born the Canton Ticino, becaming a full component of the Swiss Confederation. From 1810 to 1813 it was occupied by the French troops of the Emperor. The carriage road over the St Gotthard (1820-1830) was begun to be projected (and built) in 1814, while before that year only mountain tracks passed over the Alps.

Bellinzona (or Bellenz) was the real political capital of Canton Ticino. The town is 105 Km far from Lucerne, 19 Km. from Lugano and 14 Km. from Locarno aside of Lake Maggiore, these two towns having been also former canton capitals. Bellinzona, in 1500, was occupied by Uri and, three years after, the French King allowed its management to cantons Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, which ruled it very unkindly, through their bailiffs, until 1798. In that year it became the capital of the canton Bellinzona while in 1803 it was united to the newly-formed canton Ticino.

May12:  First Combat at Monte Cenere (Monte Ceneri)

General Strauch left Chiavenna in order to support Prince Rohan. The latter boldly attacked the Monte Ceneri’s French outposts, surprising them and claiming 300 prisoners. The Prince took position into the former French defences.

May 13: Second Combat at Monte Cenere

Prince Rohan had deployed his outpost on Monte Ceneri to watch the St. Gotthard road. On May 13 he was attacked by Lecourbe vanguard and repulsed behind the “Lakes line”, the middle point of which was at Ponte Tresa. After this combat, Lecourbe, having had news of an Austrian advance in Grisons returned to St. Gotthard pass leaving the lone Loison to front Rohan. However other Austrian units were coming (Strauch from the Splügen pass and Hohenzollern from Milan).

Milano May 12, 1799

Feldbrigade GeneralMajor Friedrich Xavier Fürst Hohenzollern-Hechingen 

 

K.K. IR 24 Rifle Line Rgt (former Preiss)

1424

(Battalions I – II – III) - Cmdr Oberst Carl Philipp von Weidenfeld

 

VII Combined Battalion  Grenz Regiment Warasdiner of Varazdin

627

May 14 – 16: Another Prince Arrives

The K.K. Tiroler Armée concentrated its troops (Division Hadik - brigades De Briey and Nobili) in the valley of Albula, brigade Friedrich Bellegarde at Fillisur. General Lamarseille was at Castasegna (he occupied Chiavenna and the Splügen Pass, left by Strauch, during the next day 17). General Bellegrade received new orders from Vienna (Hofkriegsrat): he had to leave Switzerland reaching Suvorov in Italy for the widening of the new Italian front.

General Strauch was near Bellinzona but, above all, Prince Hohenzollern reached Como (Ponte Tresa on may 17) with 5 battalions and a Russian artillery battery.

Como May 16

Feldbrigade GeneralMajor Friedrich Xavier Fürst Hohenzollern-Hechingen 

 
 

Imperial Russian Artillery Reserve battery – 4 guns

K.K. IR 24 Rifle Line Rgt (former Preiss)

950

(Battalions I – II) - Cmdr Oberst Carl Philipp von Weidenfeld

 

III Battalion  K.K. IR 43 Rifle Line Rgt Graf Anton Thurn-Val Sassina

659

K.K. IR 13 Rifle regiment Freiherr Franz Wenzel Reisky von Dubnitz

1234

I – II –Battalions. Commander: Obst Freiherr Carl von Brigido

 

K.K. 5th Hussar Regiment  1 sqn

123

May 18: The Taverna Battle

The Hohenzollern “rescue” Group reached Ponte Tresa at midnight of May 17-18. Oberst Brigido with his battalions, the Russian battery and the Hussars squadron

marched from Ponte Stresa to Agno and there Hohenzollern divided his brigade in three small Columns advancing towards Taverna (Taverne). At dawn (18) the demi-brigade at Taverna was driven back. General Lecourbe’s Rear-guard retreated to Bironico while Austrians began the third attack on Monte Ceneri. The French were pushed back north and had heavy losses (about 400 men out of combat of which around 100  were made prisoners). Loison retreated to Bellinzona where he was forced to abandon the town in a hurry, losing 10 guns. He reached Biasca in the middle Ticino covering the St. Gotthard Pass – Airolo road.

The Austrian losses were: 9 dead and 25 wounded. Before returning to the siege of Milano, Hohenzollern left the front line on new positions: Prince Rohan from Lugano, Ponte Tresa until Luino, after the occupation of Taverna; Strauch camped at Lugano. Rohan kept two battalion of the Hohenzollern group (they will be the future Milano garrison).

III Battalion K.K. IR 43 Rifle Line Rgt Graf Anton Thurn-Val Sassina

III Battalion , K.K. IR 13 Rifle Regiment Frh. Franz Wenzel Reisky

General Nobili reached the Splügen Pass through Tufis, followed and supported by St. Julien. On May 20, Bellegarde got a Suvorov’s letter with the order to march towards Chiavenna and to enter Lombardy. On May 23 the K.K. Tiroler Armée Left Wing was at Chiavenna with Hadik Division and Loudon’s brigade. The Austrian HQs were put there, while they waited to continue the march. General Friedrich Bellegarde was sent to Morbegno as garrison and Nobili  advanced towards the Splügen Pass, waiting to understand what Lecourbe’s intentions were. In Ticino Rohan pushed forward two battalions at Biasca, abandoned by the French and camped at Giornico on May 26. General Strauch stood at Bellinzona with 3 battalions and his cavalry. On May 26 he was reached by General Hadik’s Staff, which did not stop there continuing the march towards St. Gotthard. He took the command of the detachment from the Avantguard Prince Rohan. In the morning of May 27 the Austrian column overran the French outposts at Piotta village and forced them to withdraw in Airolo.

May 27 – 28: The Battle of the Saint Gotthard Pass

Fieldmarschal Leut. Hadik began a mountain “guerrilla” combat against the French (around 2000) at Airolo-St. Gotthard. General Lecourbe was forced to strengthen the pass with other 900 infantrymen. The French resisted until the following day. On 28 evening, at 6.00 PM, General Strauch renewed the attack against Airolo, in a more traditional way, with three columns and forced the French garrison to withdraw to Urseren (today Andermatt). The French losses were estimated at about 200 men. At Urseren (May 29), the French were engaged by St. Julien’s vanguard (1 Battalion of six) which had cut off their withdrawal way along the Reusstal.  Loison tried to open the passage to north boldly fighting onto and nearby a dangerous ancient bridge, which name would have to be renowned in the next future, the Devil’s Bridge (Teufelsbruck). [11] The task was almost impossible.

In the meanwhile, at Riva (on the northern branch of Como lake) brigades De Briey and Bellegarde (Friedrich), partially embarked and partially by road, took the way towards Como. On May 28 brigade Nobili followed the previous units reaching the town of Gera (he will be at Como on may 30).  

Right Wing Division

St. Gotthard Pass - * numbers estimated

Brigade General Louis-Henri Loison

3600

Artillery and sappers

110

109th Line Demi-brigade – I – II and III Battalion  - Chef Jean-François Clerc

2210

76th Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Goré – I and II Battalion

1155

Cisalpine Guides and Expeditionnary forces Chasseurs a pied

60

12th Light Demi brigade detachment

65

At Altdorf

General Claude-Jacques Lecourbe

38th Line Demi-brigade I and II Battalion  –  Chef Marie-Guillaume Daumas

1200

Cisalpine Hussars

60

3 Grenadiers Companies 

??

At Schwitz

12th Light Demi brigade I and II Battalions. - Chef Guy Louis Henry Valory

1180

6th Line Demi brigade detachment

240

II Battalion 36th Line Demi-brigade

580

Division Generalmajor Karl Joseph Graf Hadik von Futak [12] At Bellinzona - St. Gotthard Pass

Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried Freiherr von Strauch

5026

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf

772

K.K. IR 11 Rifle Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis)

1923

I – II Battalions. - Commander: Oberst Gottfried von Strauch

 

K.K. 10th Light Infantry Battalion Oblt. Franz von Siegenfeld (Italian-Venetian)

892

K.K. 11th Light Infantry Battalion Oberst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville (istrian)

434

K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (1 company  - Dutch)

109

I Battalion  Banal Grenz Regiment or I Battalion  - 11th Banal Regiment of Petrinja

781 

K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek

115

C.te Oberst Franz Freiherr von Stephaics -  ¾   sqn.

 

In Reusstal

Feldbrigade Oberst Graf Joseph Johann Saint Julien-Wallsee [13]

4292

K.K. IR 47 Rifle Regiment Graf Franz Kinsky

2222

I - II - Battalions. Commander: Graf Joseph Solaroli

 

K.K. IR 46 Rifle Regiment Freiherr Franz von Neugebauer

887

II – ½ III Battalion  (I-IV Battalions.  Innsbruck-Tyrol garrisons) -  Commander: Major Graf Starhemberg

 

III Battalion K.K. IR 37 Rifle Regiment (former De Vins)

849

½ Battalion K.K. 13th Hungarian Light Infantry Major Jozséf de Munkátsy

334

May 29 – Garrisons

In Valtelline (as Group Reserve)

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Oberst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

3187

I Battalion   5th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-Kreuzer of Varazdin

693

I Battalion  K.K. IR 9 Rifle Regiment (former Clerfayt) Commander: Obst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

606

K.K. IR 33 Rifle Regiment Graf Anton Sztaray

1838

I – II Battalions. Commander: Oberst Johann Kalnássy de Kalnáss

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Victor von Rohan

1794

At Bellinzona

Jäger Freikorps Major Johann Le Loup (Dutch Battalion - 3 Companies )

359

III Battalion K.K. IR 52 Hungarian Rifle Regiment Erzherzog Palatin Anton Viktor

764

K.K. Light Battalion N. 14 Oberst Prince Ludwig (Louis) Rohan (Italian Battalion .)

590

Pioneers Detachment

81

Notes:

[1] General Jean-Joseph-Paul-Augustin Dessolle Born in Auch (Gers), on July 3, 1767, well erudite by his uncle, the future bishop of Digne and Chambery, took the military Service at the First Coalition time. Was Captian in the légion des Montagnes, unit of the armée des Pyrénées-Occidentales, where his skills, with an indefatigable aptitude, made him aide-de-camp provisoire of general Reynier. He was after attached to the adjudants-généraux group. He had some troubles for the Nobility Exclusion Act but soon he was recalled under the army flags and definitively named adjudant-général in 1794. He was at First Italian Campaign with Bonaparte, who choose him to bring the provisional documents of Leoben treaty at Paris. When in Paris he met général Moreau, who ordered him to report to the Directory the facts on the Rhine passage. On May 31, 1797 he was named général de brigade and in 1798, Moreau, gave him the command of a Reserve Corps for a mission in the Canton Grisons, East Switzerland. During the Second Coalition War, he occupied the Valtelline after some hard combats and, on Mars 16, 1799, only with 4500 men, passed the Wormser-Joch attacking 7000 Austrians at Glurns and Taufers (he took there 400 prisoners and 20 guns). After the successive combat at Santa Maria, he was named général de division. Recalled from Moreau, who wanted him as his Chief of Staff, he left the Valtelline command to general Loison, reaching the armée d’Italie in the plains. In effect he had all the skills of a good Chief of Staff being aware of all the branches of the Art of war, passionate, active and accurate in his proposals. He ended the year as Commander of the Ligurian troops.  

[2]Chef-de-brigade Guy Louis Henri Valory (1757-1817) - baron of the Empire, général-de-brigade – infantry. Commander of the Légion d’Honneur - 14.06.1804. 1794 - Chef-de-brigade - 45e demi-brigade provisoire. 1796 - Chef-de-brigade - 12e Light infantry demi-brigade. 1803 - général-de-brigade (29.08.). 1805 – brigade commander – 3e division of infantry – Armée d’Italie. 1808 - baron of the Empire (02.07.). 1809 - brigade commander of infantry - II Corps - Armée d’Allemagne. 1810 - commander of military Department (13e military District). 1813 - commander 1e brigade - 6e division of infantry - II Corps.

[3] Chef-de-brigade Antoine-Louis-Popon Maucune, baron. Born on February 21, 1772 at Brives (Corrèze), was second Lieutenant in the Pioneers on February 1, 1786, first Lieutenant and was reformed in 1789. With the outbreak of the Revolution he enrolled as Grenadier in the 4th Paris Volunteers battalion (1791) ; the authorities gave him bach his rank (First Lieutenant in the 23e régiment d'infanterie) in 1792. He was in campaign in the armée du Nord during the same year, where he was wounded by a shot in the left thig, at the seize of Melun. In 1793 he was transferred to the Armée des Alpes fighting in Piedmont as a Partisan Chief; was wounded again by a bayonet cut in the right arm at  Bardenèche in August. In 1794, promoted as Captain, he was in all campaigns of the armée d'Italie, until 1801, obtaining the rank of chef de bataillon from Bonaparte at the Arcole battle (1796). In 1799, during the first Taufers assault, he received two fire wounds (right thig and left shoulder), being promoted as Chef-de-brigade of the 39e demi-brigade de ligne on the battlefield. In August, at Novi, he distinguished himself for bravery and was shot in the right foot. His rank was confirmed by a First Consul Act in 1801 when, after the peace, returned to Paris garrison before being sent to the Montreuil camp. He was there until 1805, member and Officer of the Légion-d'Honneur from 1804, attached to the Corrèze electoral District. With the 2nd division of the VI Corps (Grande Armée) he was in the 1806-1807 campaigns. On March 10, 1807, he was promoted to Général de brigade. After the Tilsit treaty he returned in France becoming baron of the Empire in 1808. From that year until 1813 he was in the Peninsular War and in Portugal . He captured a bridge at Alba de Torres, was wounded at Bussaco, and wounded again at Fuentes de Onoro. On October 18, 1812, the armée de Portugal Avantgarde, under his orders, captured Castilho de Peones, Quintanavides and Santa Olalla. During that month he advanced, fighting, from Monasterio, through Burgos, until Valladolid. Fought at Tamamès and Villa-Muriel and was mentioned by general Souham. Transferred to the armée d'Italie he spent there last Service years retiring before the Bourbons return. After the 100s Days (charged with the command of the Lille Nationa Guards division, but never arrived there) he definitevely retired on October 21, 1818. He died on February 18, 1824.

[4] Oberst (provisional Generalmajor) Gottfried von Strauch. From April 1799 provisional brigade commander, led his IR 11 (former Wallis) in Valtelline occupying the Aprica pass and the Mortirolo where was attacked by the French Dessolle’s rearguard. He had heavy losses and was forced to defend on a frozen snowy terrain with the bayonets. Then passed forward to guard the Splügen pass remaining in Switzerland (Canton Valaise) to link the right Coalition flank with the Hadik’s Corps. In november he captured the mount St. Gotthard. His behaviour during the campaign was awarded with the definitive promotion to Generalmajor. In 1808 he became the Owner of the K.K. IR 24, the old Preiss and then Fürst Carl Auersperg, as Field Marshal and gave his name to that regiment along 28 years. He was also named baron (Freiherr) retiring from the military career as Feldzeugmeister on January 1836. Wurzbach Constantin, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaisertums Österreich, 39th Tome, K u. K Hofdruckerei, Wien 1879 available at http://www.literature.at/webinterface/library/ALO-BOOK_V01?objid=11805&zoom=6.

[5] Oberst Ludwig Wolff de Lamarseille Born at Mons ( Belgium ) 1746 (dead on October 11, 1804 at Mons). At the age of 14 he was cadet in the Wied Infanterie, where he became a very young Officer and Captain, 22 years old (38th Infantry Regiment l’Aisne). In 1788 he was promoted Major of the Gemmingen infantry regiment (during the Turkish wars) and then returned to his former regiment to participate (1790) in the campaign against the Dutch Insurgents. Having distinguished in that campaign, he was named Lieutenant-Colonel in the Clerfayt infantry regiment n. 9. In 1794 he took command of a vacant Grenadiers battalion (former Rousseau) attaching it to the divisions Murray, Clerfayt and De Ligne. He was with Wurmser (Higher Rhine) in 1795 distinguishing himself at Mannheim and in the attacks against Schwetzingen and Heidelberg. On April 1796 he was promoted Colonel of the regiment n. 9 following the Archduke Charles in campaign. During the 1799 campaign he was attached to the Tiroler Armée of General Bellegarde. There he led an Avantgarde brigade fighting on 26-27 March and entering Süs town in Engadin. Then he was committed to the near Valtelline to support General Strauch Advance. On June 20 he fought at Bosco (Marengo) and Cassina Grossa. He led there the General Alcaini Detachment in their march from Marengo to Spinetta, taking prisoner a whole French battalion. On September 1799 he was promoted Generalmajor (he obtained also the military Cross of Maria Theresia for the 1796 combat at Kirchheim, but only in 1801). After the Luneville Treaty (1801), on May, he finally retired after a 44 years long Service in the army. He died at the age of 58 in Mons, his family town.   

[6] Prince Victor-Louis-Meriadec de Rohan-Guemené, Duke of Montbazon, future Austrian Field Marshal born in Paris on July 20,  1766 (emigré) and dead at Sechrowen (Sichrow, Bohemia) on December 10, 1846. His brother Jules-Armand-Louis de Rohan-Guemené (Paris Oct. 20, 1768 – Sechrowen Jan. 13, 1836), who will become a generalmajor, commanded a Light battalion. The other brother, Charles-Alain-Gabriel de Rohan-Guemené (Paris Jan.18,. 1764 – Paris Apr. 28, 1836) who will become a Field Marshal, led another Light battalion. In 1794 he passed from the British Army (he was also in the French Service for 13 years) to his brother’s battalion as a Colonel. In 1801 was Generalmajor receiving from the Emperor the command of K.K. IR 21. In 1809 led a Reserve Corps of 12 Grenadiers battalions. The year after he retired in his estates in Bohemia. For his brave campaign in Italy (1805) he received the Maria Theresia award. Wurzbach Constantin, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaisertums Österreich, 26th Tome, K u. K Hofdruckerei, Wien 1879.

[7] Reinhold Günther told that the 109e (900 men) arrived on May 7 substituting the 44e Line demi-brigade attached to Soult’s division. In “Le Alpi a ferro e fuoco” ed. By Ribi Giulio, Dadò, Locarno 2002.

[8] Général de Division Claude-Jacques Lecourbe Born February 22, 1758 at Ruffey near Lons-le-Saunier in Jura (not Besançon),had a sudden death on October 23,1815 at Belfort. Son of Claude Guillaume, cavalry officer of an ancient family of the Franche-Comte, and Marie Valette, he was volunteer in the Aquitaine 35e infantry regiment (1777). In 1785 he left the service as a simple Corporal. Became the commander of the National Guard at Ruffey-sur-Seille (Jura, August 1789). In 1791 he was named Captain of the 8th coy (August) and Commander (November) of the 7th battalion of Jura Volunteers. On September 8, 1793, under general Houchard, he engaged the British at Hondschoote, near Dunkerque. At Wattignies (October 16) he was noted by division general Moreau, who said: “Lecourbe ira loin!”. In 1794, after a trial for some false accusations from which he was totally discharged, he was named Général de brigade a titre provisoire (June 12), distinguishing him self at Sprimont and at the siege of the castle Liechtenstein (1795). In August 1796 he was Général de division provisoire under Moreau. He became renowned for his charges under the fortress Kehl walls. Officially he had the rank of Général de division only on February 5, 1799, taking command of the right wing of the Helvetian army under Masséna. In August and September 1799 he delayed the advance of Suvorov at St. Gotthard, allowing the French to win at Zürich. In 1800 he was general-lieutenant in the Rhine and Danube armies. Being very close to Moreau, a friend of him, he went into troubles with Bonaparte (1804), retired and reached his home at Ruffey where he lived (for a period he was also at Bourges) from 1813. The return of the King awarded him with the Legion d’Honneur and the rank of general infantry Inspector of the 6th territorial division. During the 100s days, however, he served the Emperor, leading the Corps of Belfort, which had the task to block the Austrians. After Waterloo, on August 31, the King forced him to the definitive retirement and, while he was waiting for the Royal trial he suddenly died at Belfort. 

[9] He was the former Chef of the 44th Line demi-brigade.

[10] General Louis Henri Loison. Born at Damvilliers ( Lorraine - May 16, 1771), diedd on December 30, 1816, near Liege. In 1791 he was second Lieutenant, then quickly became Captain of the Hussars and, in the Rhin and Moselle army he was Chef and after provisional general-de-brigade. In 1796 had some political troubles and he was put under general Bonaparte. After having served in the Interior army, in 1798, he was sent in Italie and reformed. Recalled with the new war, he distinguished himself fighting on St. Gotthard passes and, for that, he was promoted to general-de-division (September 1799) replacing general Lecourbe in the command of the 2nd division of the Armée d’Helvetie. After the promotion he returned at the St.Gotthard beating Suvorov’s Russians. Returned at Paris, he received the personal compliments of Bonaparte, who called him in the Reserve Army. Deployed in the Avant-Guard, he organized the artillery movements on the San Bernardo pass and  led his troops in the attack of Fort Bard (Aosta valley). After having reached Brescia, he disordered and routed the Austrian brigade Loudon. During the 1800 campaign he distinguished also at Pozzolo, Parona and at the Brenta river. He rapidly reached the fame of a strong “warrior” participating at Austerlitz. Then he was in Portugal at Almeida and Guarda and, in 1808, he was created Count. Operated under Massena and in 1812 was in Russia , organizing a Reserve Corps of about 10000 men. At Vilna he was not employed. After the defeat he returned in Paris, where he retired from Service (also if he made some services during the 100s days).

[11] The legend tells that the Devil made a agreement with the people who want a bridge over the gorge called Schöllenenschlucht (over Reuss stream).  It was very hard to build and so the Master carpenter said “this bridge only the Devil could build out!”. So the Devil came and said: “I’ll build it, but the first living soul who’ll pass through will have to come with forever!”. A smart farmer had a brilliant idea. He bound his male-goat loosely and threw it on the other side. The furious Devil seized a large rock block and threatened therewith to destroy its work. On that an old little woman came and scratched a cross into the stone. When the devil saw this, he left the stone which landed in the vicinity of Göschenen (the Teufelsstein). Since the bridge was built in the 13th Century, unfortunately we have no document to verify the lore that the pacts were signed by Devil himself.

The bridge was built over the Schöllenen gorge between Andermatt and Göschenen on the northern side of the St. Gotthard road.

[12] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Joseph Graf von Hadik-Futak. Was born in 1756 at Leutschau (today: Levoca/Slovakia). He was the second son of a famous Hussars commander and hungarian leader, Andreas Reichsgraf von Hadik-Futak (1710-1790). When 17 years old the young Hadik enrolled in the kaiserlich-österreichische Armee (1733), being attached to this father’s regiment Husaren-Regiment Nr. 3. On March 1st, 1776 he was promoted to Chieftain (Rittmeister) and fought in the Bavarian Succession War against Prussians (1778/79) becoming a Major on May, 29 1779. On May, 1st 1784 was Oberstleutnant and in July 1789 – when 33 y.o.-  Oberst and Commander of the famous Husaren-Regiments Nr. 16 „Graf von Blankenstein“. Volunteer during the Turkey Wars (1787-1792) Hadik distinguished himself at Belgrad. In 1790 was commanded to the Netherlands . With the beginning of the first Coalition War, in April 1792, he was at Brussels. At Maubege he obtained the command of the Avantgarde trying to pass the Sambre river. After he fought under Albert Herzog von Sachsen-Teschen in the unlucky battle at Jemappes (6 November 1792).

With his regiment he was (Spring 1793) under the command of the Oberbefehlshaber Feldmarschall Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld fighting at Aldenhoven (1 March 1793) and Neerwinden (18 March 1793). From 15th to 16th October 1793 Hadik and his Hussars Blankenstein was at Wattignies under Feldzeugmeister Graf von Clerfayt; there he was so brave to be noted, commanding the left wing of the Austrian Observationskorps, formed by three Squadrons of his regiment and four of the Coburg-Dragoons. On October 16th he was newly attacked at Beaumont. His counterattack led to the French defeat in which Hadik took 5 guns and baggages. This granted him the 34th Promotion of 7th July 1794 with the Cross of Maria-Theresien-Orden.

From 1795 he was a Brigade commander in the K.K. main Army of Lower Rhine under Feldmarschall Graf von Clerfayt, and battled at Steinbach. During the 1796 campaign Hadik was very active. So he was noted by the Archduke Charles in the battles of Wetzlar (15 June 1796), Uckerath (19 June 1796) and Amberg (24 August 1796) as in the great battle of Würzburg (2 September 1796). For his bravery at Würzburg, Hadik had the 51st Promotion on 29 April 1797 with the Commander Cross of the Maria-Theresien-Orden. In spring 1797 he was promoted Feldmarschall-Leutnant and had a division, with which in April 1797 he was in northern Italy against Napoleon Bonaparte.

During the Second Coalition War, spring 1799, he was a division commander in the K.K. Italienisches-Tyroler-Armee, first fighting in Tirol and after taking a part in the battle of Novi (15 August 1799) where he commanded the right wing attack Kolonne. During the 1800 campaign Hadik fought at Cadibona (6 April 1800) and was with his division at (26 May 1800) Romano against  Napoleon Reserve-Armee. At Marengo on 14 June 1800 he commanded the first main Kolonne of the Centre (6 Btns. And 9 Sqns., together 5.000 men). Near the Fontanone creek, against the French brigade Rivaud, the Graf Hadik was mortally wounded. He was carried into Alessandria by his soldiers and there (24 July 1800 – when 44 y.o.) he died. Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Graf von Hadik-Futak was a true, old, austrian nobleman. He had a good military talent, as cavalry leader overall, but also as avant.garde organizer.

[13] Johann Joseph St. Julien Wallsee, Not to be confused with the other Generalmajor, Johann Franz, was sent early to Verona to support the right wing of Kray.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2007

 

Military Index | Battles Index ]



Search the Series

© Copyright 1995-2012, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]