Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The 1799 Campaign in Italy: the Swiss Border Combats: June - Securing the Border

By Enrico Acerbi

On June 1st,  General Loudon entered Como escorting guns, trains and baggage  of Hadik’s Division (while  Bellegarde’s Group Park marched in Tirol along the Adige-Verona road). Hadik’s cavalry was with him. In the late evening General St. Julien occupied the Devil’s Bridge, securing the St. Gotthard Pass. In order to avoid French attacks from the Canton Valais (Wallis), General Rohan was ordered to reach the Simplon Pass and to extend the control to Domo d’Ossola, in Piedmont, while Strauch marched to Oberwald in Canton Valaise with 4 Companies  Wallis and 4 Companies  Siegenfeld to help the insurgents against French General Xaintrailles (6000 men). On St. Gotthard, there remained the Siegenfeld Battalion (2 Companies) and 1 company  of Le Loup Jägern. Another 2 Wallis Companies marched to the North under Captain Preising, followed by  2 Banal Companies  (the rest of the Banal Battalion was sent to reinforce St. Julien with a Le Loup company ). Carneville and the remaining Wallis Companies  seized St. Gotthard while Weissenwolf Grenadiers and the cavalry grouped in the Reserve. De Briey marched North with 5 battalions to support the southern St. Gotthard occupation and to clear Airolo from French (this event was completed only on June 7). General Nobili was sent at Varese from which he had to support either Rohan either Hadik, whenever it would have been necessary.

The French Counterattack

On June 1st, General Lecourbe counterattacked pushing back St. Julien until the Devil’s bridge. It followed a hard battle in which the weak and scattered Austrian troops lost 1000 prisoners. The annihilation  of St.Julien forced the Austrians to recall Prince Rohan in order to reinforce Hadik. General Xaintrailles in Valais advanced towards Airolo, having beaten Strauch and the irregulars bands. On June 6 De Briey marched to Airolo to reinforce Hadik Gruppe. Prince Rohan was ordered to resume his march trough Val Toce towards Simplon Pass and, if possible, to give 4 mountain guns (Gebirgsgeschütze) with ammunitions to the Valaise Insurgents. FML Hadik remained at St. Gotthard Pass to secure the Italienische Armée northern flank, while the rest of the K.K. Tiroler Armée marched towards Piedmont to join Suvorov and Melas. So Bellegarde and Loudon left Como on June 6 and the gathering day was fixed at Acqui ( Piedmont) for June 10. Bellegarde had now 7403 men, 343 cavalrymen in 11 Battalions. and 2 Sqns. Loudon attached the former Nobili cavalry and Lamarseille followed the Bellegarde’s vanguard.

The Army Wing in Switzerland and the Piedmont Corps

Note: There were two different strength figures for the left wing of Tyroler Armée, which operated from Grisons till Valais. The first was communicated by General Bellegarde himself, while the second was communicated by General Hadik de Futak in his  “Standenausweise” of June 9th. With regards of his Gruppe, Hadik referred a total of 12597 men, while Count Bellegarde, on May 29, told about 15388 men. This significative different opinion probably stated the losses in the St. Gotthard battles (see the battered St. Julien brigade, halved).

Bellegarde’s 2nd Group HQ at Airolo (Canton Ticino, Switzerland)

Division Generalmajor Karl Joseph Graf Hadik von Futak 

At St. Gotthard Pass

Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried Freiherr von Strauch

4740

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf

772

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

1793

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.

 

Feldbrigade Oberst Victor Prince von Rohan

2530

At Simplon Pass

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

II Battalion Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment LG Förster (Ferster) or Tambowski ( Tambov)

757

K.K. 7th Hussar Regiment  ½  sqn

60

The brother to be detached in the Aosta valley to seize the Great St. Bernhard Pass

Feldbrigade Oberst Carl Prince von Rohan

700

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

700

In Reusstal

Feldbrigade Oberst Graf Joseph Johann Saint Julien-Wallsee

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

At Varese

Division FML Heinrich Joseph Johannes Graf von Bellegarde [1]

K.K. Tiroler Armée Total

15283

Artillery, Pioneers and Sappers

1161

At the beginning of the War of the Second Coalition in 1799, Bellegarde had the command over the K.K. Tiroler army (strength of about 46,600 men or 50 battalions and 14 Squadrons), granting links between the K.K. Hauptarmée in Swabia under Archduke Charles and the K.K. Italienisches-armée under field marshal-lieutenant Kray deployed by the Etsch ( Adige) river. On 4 April 1799, Bellegarde struck the French troops under General Dessolle at Taufers and Münsters (Engadin) and, after the triumphant combat of Remüs (April 30, 1799), pushed the Lecourbe’s French troops out of the Engadin.

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf Johann Nobili [2]

4298

K.K. IR 15 Rifle Regiment Oranien Prinz Wilhelm

1813

I – II Battalions. Commander: Oberst Anton Retz

 

K.K. 9th hungarian Light Infantry Battalion Major Carl Greth

614

½ Battalion K.K. 6th Light Infantry Major Carl Freiherr von Trauttenberg (Serbian-Croatian)

259

IV Battalion  6th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-St.Georger or II Battalion /6th GR Major Vukassovic ?

927

K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (2Companies  - Dutch)

228

   

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf August De Briey [3]

1948

K.K. IR 23 Grossherzog Ferdinand von Toscana

1948

I – II - III btg. Graf Otto Philipp Hohenfeld

 
 

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Friedrich Bellegarde [4] (brother)

2537

III Battalion K.K. IR 34 Hungarian Rifle Regiment (the old Esterházy Regiment)

650

K.K. IR 58 Rifle Regiment Freiherr Peter von Beaulieu

411

Remnants of I - II Battalions. Commander: Freiherr Joseph von Zeegraedt

III Battalion K.K. IR 33 Rifle Regiment Graf Anton Sztaray

815

½ I Battalion K.K. IR 38 Rifle Regiment Herzog Ferdinand von Württemberg

369

½ III Battalion K.K. IR 30 Rifle Infantry Regiment Fürst Carl Joseph de Ligne

292

 

Grenadier Bde FML Johann Ludwig Alexander Alformerius Frh. von Loudon [5]

2047

K.K. Grenadier bataillon major Franz Wouwermanns

508

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Otto von Hohenfeld

497

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Freiherr Carl von Görschen

717

K.K. Grenadier Bataillon Oberleutnant Carl Soudain

325


K.K. Cavalry brigade (from Brigade Nobili)

457

K.K. 3rd Light Dragoons Regiment FM Erzherzog Johann Baptist Chevauxleger division 1 - ½ Sqn.

198

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

259

C.te Oberst Franz Freiherr von Stephaics -  1 – ½   sqns.

 

Variant Hadik’s Order of battle June 9, 1799

Division Generalmajor Karl Joseph Graf Hadik von Futak 

16053

in Reusstal

Feldbrigade Oberst Graf Joseph Johann di Saint Julien-Wallsee

2095

K.K. IR 47 Rifle Regiment Graf Franz Kinsky

687

I - II - Battalions. Commander: Graf Joseph Solaroli

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

815

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)

423

½ Battalion K.K. 13th Hungarian Light Infantry Major Jozséf de Munkátsy - 3 Companies

170

 

 

 

 

 

Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried Freiherr von Strauch 

4740

K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf

714

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

1701

I – II Battalions. (IV Battalion  at Prag - Bohemia) - Commander: Oberst Gottfried von Strauch

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

683

K.K. 11th Light Inf. Battalion Obst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville (istrian)

392

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

109

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

967 

K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy 1  sqn.

174

At St. Gotthard Pass

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Victor von Rohan

2530

II Battalion Imp. Russian Musketeers Regiment LG Förster (Ferster) or Tambowski ( Tambov)

757

Jäger Freikorps Mjr 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 ½  sqn.

60

 

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Carl von Rohan

 

K.K. 2nd Light Infantry Battalion  Oberst Carl Prince of Rohan (Italian  Battalion )

700

 

Chiavenna garrison

 

III Battalion K.K. IR 47 Rifle Regiment Graf Franz Kinsky

700

   

Morbegno garrison

 

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

700

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At Simplon Pass

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf Johann Nobili

2937

K.K. IR 15 Rifle Regiment Oranien Prinz Wilhelm

1706

I – II Battalions. Commander: Oberst Anton Retz

 

K.K. 9th hungarian Light Infantry Battalion Major Carl Greth

734

½ Battalion K.K. 6th Light Infantry Major Carl Freiherr von Trauttenberg (Serbian-Croatian)

281

K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (2Companies  - Dutch)

216

 

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf August De Briey

3051

K.K. IR 23 Rifle Regiment Grossherzog Ferdinand von Toscana

2119

I – II - III btg. Graf Otto Philipp Hohenfeld

 

IV Battalion  6th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-St.Georger or II Battalion /6th GR Major Vukassovic ?

932


Notes:

[1] Heinrich Joseph Johannes count of Bellegarde was born on 29 August 1756  in the Court Saxon capital Dresden. His father was the Saxon War minister Johann Franz of Bellegarde. Originally the family Bellegarde originated out of an old Savoy nobility. The young Bellegarde entered, 20 years old - 1776, as a Fähnrich  into the Court Saxon army, however changing in the year 1781 into the imperial-Austrian army. In 1785 was Colonel and commander of the Dragoons regiment n.1 "Archduke Joseph Anton of Tuscany" (renamed in 1795 as dragoon-regiment no. 26 "Archduke Johann), which he leaded until 1793.  In the following war against the Turkish empire (1787-1792), the young Bellegarde was repeatedly able to distinguish himself as a cavalry leader. With his regiment Bellegarde fought in the successful siege of the fort Schabatz on the Save (today:  Sabac/Serbia), and in the combat at Semlin (Zemun), as well as in the successful siege of Belgrade (autumn 1789). 

By the outbreak of the first coalition war (1792) count Bellegarde, with his regiment in the Corps of the FZM Prince of  Hohenlohe-Kirchberg, stood by the Rhine and the Moselle rivers. In spring 1793, Bellegarde took service in the Austrian main army as a general staff officer under field marshal prince of Saxon-Coburg-Saalfeld, and was at the sieges of the French fort Valenciennes (25. May until 27 July 1793) and Maubeuge (30. September until 16 October 1793). In 1794 was promoted to general major and was awarded with the knight cross of the Maria-Theresien-order,  in the 33rd promotion, for his bravery on the battlefield (the 25 May 1794). 

On 12 March 1796 was promoted field marshal-lieutenant, and attached as an Aide of the Archduke Charles, with whom he remained since 10 February 1796 as Reichsgeneralfeldmarschall and Supreme Commander (Oberbefehlshaber) of the K.K.  Niederrhein-Armee.  With Archduke Charles, Bellegarde took part in the main battles of the 1796 campaign, Wetzlar (15. June 1796), Malsch (9. July 1796), Neresheim (11. August 1796) and finally Würzburg (2. September 1796). The Count Bellegarde, in the following year, accompanied the Archduke to north Italy . On this war theatre, where also the winning Archduke was able to do nothing, count Bellegarde was ordered, with general major count Merveldt, to negotiate an armistice (7 April 1797) with Napoleon Bonaparte in Judenburg.  Later he took part at the negotiations of Leoben as well as at those of  Campo Formio. 

During the army-reforms of 1798, count Bellegarde was a member of the Militär-Hof-Kommission under FML Alvinczy, and studied the possibility to introduce in the imperial-Austrian army of the corps-system, similar to that already available in the French army.  At the beginning of the second coalition war, spring 1799, Bellegarde had the command over the k. k. Tiroler army (strength of about 46,600 men or 50 battalions and 14 Squadrons), granting links between the k. k. Hauptarmée in Swabia under Archduke Charles and the k. k. Italienisches-armée under field marshal-lieutenant Kray deployed by the Etsch ( Adige) river. On 4 April 1799, Bellegarde struck the French troops under brigade general Dessolle at Taufers and Münsters (Engadin) and, after the triumphant combat of Remüs (April 30, 1799), pushed the Lecourbe’s French troops out of the Engadin.

 On 16 May 1799, Bellegarde received the Imperial Hofkriegsrat order to reach the Italienisches Armée with 15,000 men, marching over the Alps unitil the Piedmont where was the coalized Russian-Austrian army under the command of the famous Russian field marshal Alexander Wassiljewitsch Suvorov count Rimniksky (1729-1800). The count of Bellegardes march over the Alps began on 15 May 1799 in Wallenstedt, advanced then over Chur and reached, through the Splügen-pass, Chiavenna on 21 May.  From there he went to Como where he embarked his troops on the lake finally reaching Milano. After Milano, he went to Pavia where he united himself with field marshal Suvorov army. At the end of Mays 1799 Bellegarde, placed under the command of Suvorov, received the order to siege, with his corps, first the citadel of Tortona and after to conquer the fort of Alessandria. On 20 June 1799 at Cassina Grossa (also known as San Giuliano near Marengo) he was attacked by Moreau losing 1,000 fallen and wounded, 1,300 prisoners as well as 3 guns. Then he leaved the siege of Tortona and withdrew behind the Bormida river. From 22 June 1799, count Bellegarde, with his reinforced corps of 21,000 men, began the siege of Alessandria, which finally capitulated on 22 July 1799.  In the bloody battle of Novi, on 15 August 1799. count Bellegarde commanded a division under FZM Kray and fought on the right wing of the allied army against the French division Grouchy. Recalled in September 1799 at the imperial Court in Vienna, Bellegarde served there as a counselor of the tricky Foreign Minister Johann Amadeus Francis de Paula baron of Thugut (1736-1818). 

After the defeat of cavalry General Melas in the battle at Marengo, on 14 June 1800, count Bellegarde, promoted to General d. Kavallerie rank, received the command of the Italienisches Armée, in autumn. His Italian Army had a Main army with an effective strength of about 55,000 men deployed along the river Mincio. On 25th and 26 December Bellegardes troops fought against the French Italian army under general Brune (66,000 men and 160 guns) in a stubborn fight for the river bridges at Pozzolo, Borghetto, Valeggio and Monzambano, episode known as Mincio battle. …. Heinrich Graf von Bellegarde, who took part in 18 campaigns from 1788 to 1815, died in Vienna on 22. July 1845. 

[2] Generalmajor Count Johann Nobili. (Italian) Austrian Field marshal; Chevalier of the Maria Theresia Order; born (1760) and died (10 October 1823) at Padua, Italy . Cadet of the Imperial Engineers Military Academy he saw the first battles during the Bavarian Succession War. In 1782 as lieutenant, suddenly become 1st lieutenant, he distinguished himself during the Turkish War (battles of Palanka and Schabacz - 24 april 1788) fightinh with Prince de Ligne. He was also at the Belgrade Siege. He became a Chieftain of the army of Netherlands taking part at the attack against Valenciennes (26 July 1793) where he was awarded with the Minor Cross of the Maria Theresia Order. He was a specialist of the siege warfare and, particularly about the field fortifications (trenches, lunettes, fleches, redoubts etc.). On 7 July 1794 he obtained the Great Cross of the Maria Theresia Order being promoted to Major. In the meanwhile he had brevely fought at Cugnon (18.9.1793) and Arlon (16.4.1794) where he had to lead a detachment in the general Beaulieu group. On 8 October 1796 at Mühlberg, and on 19 at Forchheim he was very efficient and so he was promoted as Lieutenant-Colonel. He spent the most part of his career as Staff Officer for Fortifications. In 1799, he was sent to Mantua to coordinate the siege operations of the Kray’s Belagerungs-Armée. There acted as Colonel leading also a brigade approaching from the Tirol. In 1800 became Generalmajor and in the following year was promoted Engineer field marshal. He spent the last days of the military life as Director of the military Ingenieur-Akademie. Finally he was sent to re-organize the Venetian fortresses in Italy and died in Padua at the age of 63 years.

[3] Graf August Briey de Vierset (Belgian). In 1792 was Grenadier Battalion’s commander at Jemappes and in 1793 at Aldenhoven and  Famars. He distinguished himself during that Campaigns. In 1797 he was promoted Generalmajor and in 1798 he was employed in the Reserve-Corps of the Ober- Oesterreich. In the 1799 he was attached to the Army in Tirol, fighting at Martinsbruck und Nauders before following the Bellegarde’s Advance into Italy .

[4] Count Heinrich of Bellegarde had a younger brother, Marquis Friedrich of Bellegarde (biographical  data unknown), who acted as a general major and brigade commander during the 1799 campaign and at the battle of Marengo - 14 June 1800. He received the command of an attack Kolonne, after the deadly wounding of field marshal-lieutenant Karl count of Hadik-Futak.  During the third coalition war of 1805, Friedrich, promoted field marshal-lieutenant by brother Bellegarde, defended successfully Venice against the French-Italian siege troops. 

[5] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann Ludwig Alexander Freiherr von Laudon (Loudon) Originary from an old Irish family, Johann Ludwig Alexander Freiherr von Laudon, born in 1762 at Riga/Latvia. Until 1789 he had been in the Imperial russian Army as Chieftain, when was called for the K.K.  Austrian Army by his famous uncle Feldmarschall Gideon Ernst Freiherr von Laudon (1717-1790). Uncle Gideon kept Laudon as personal Aide-de-camp. As nephew-of-art his military career was very plain reaching early the rank of (1792) Oberst and Commander of the Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 29 „Olivier Remigius Graf von Wallis“ (once called „Laudon“). With that regimant he was (1793) on the Rhine front with Graf Wurmser distinguishing himself during the assault against the lines of Weissenburg (13. October 1793 - in the fourth Angriffskolonne under Generalmajor Mészáros). After the 1795 campaign he was promoted (May 1796) to Generalmajor. Laudon followed Feldmarschall Graf von Wurmser on his way to northern Italy and had a Brigadekommando in Tirol under Feldmarschall-Leutnant Davidovich.

Entrusted to the security of lower Tirol and Garda lake roads and acting as second commander in Davidovich corp, he took active part during the November 1796 offensive in Titol against the french division Vaubois, covering the Army flanks. During the days of the battle of Rivoli (14.-15. January 1797) he was ordered to make a diversionary attack against Brescia. During the remaining period of 1797 campaign Loudon acted as Rearguard commander beating Serviez on 27. March 1797 at Glanig, taking Botzen, Lavis and Trient (Trento), and failing only to occupy Roveredo and the main Adige’s road. For that actions he was awarded with the Ritterkreuz des Maria-Theresien-Ordens (8. July 1797 – 53rd Promotion). Beginning the 1799 campaign he had a new command in Tirol, but his behaviour was not resolute losing some positions on the Swiss border. For this he was called at Vienna by the Hofkriegsrat and had a military trial; however his noble origins again saved the career.   Recalled in Italy Generalmajor von Laudon had a command at the battle by Novi (15 August 1799), leading a Grenadier brigade with some successes. In 1800 he was finally promoted Feldmarschall-Leutnant and sent to Galicia to serve there ...After the Peace of Schönbrunn (14 October 1809) he retired reanching the family estate at Hadersdorf near Vienna. There he died, on 22 September 1822.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2007

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