Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The 1799 Campaign in Italy: Waiting for Macdonald's Army (May-June 1799)
The Battles of Bassignana and Marengo

By Enrico Acerbi

The Road to Genoa

The most important road from Piedmont to Genoa was the Giovi pass causeway. It led from Novi (Ligure) to Ronco, through the Serravalle fortress and along the valley of the Scrivia creek. Its control was essential. Another alternative causeway reached the Fort of Gavi from Alessandria and Novi, passed the Appennini mountains at the Bocchetta pass leading to Campomorone and finally to Genoa. This latter was often preferred by French, because considered less dangerous (the Austrians being around Tortona). In every case the control of the town of Novi was fundamental. On May the 9th the Coalition Army was again in motion with Kaim crossing the Scrivia creek. Chasteler blew in the gates of Tortona, and entered it under the fire of the French garrison sheltered in the citadel. Vukassovich advanced on Casale Monferrato and Novello along the keft Po bank. Karacsaj was detached to Novi, Serravalle and Gavi, and insurrections against the French were raised at Mondovì, Ceva. On May 10 the Austrians advanced. The cavalry brigade of Karacsaj with the Cossacks extended the control over the terrain between the Scrivia and the Bormida river. Some patrols approached Alessandria coming from Novi and Pozzolo-Formigaro. On May 11 the Russians moved forward with the Förster division. It occupied Castelnuovo di Scrivia, where they put the HQs, while Karacsaj improved the occupation of Novi. At that time Alessandria was isolated.

The troops which prepared the attack to the fortresses of Alessandria and Valenza were:

Avantgarde Brigade Generalmajor Andreas Freiherr Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam [i]

 

K.K. IR 28 Infantry Regiment Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich I and II Battalions.

1641

(former Wartensleben)  Commander: Oberst Franz Eder von Hartenstein – it was attached to Ott’s division at Piacenza

K.K. IR 34 Hungarian Infantry Regiment  (the former Regiment  Esterházy)

1074

(no Inhaber. The future IR Frh. Kraj de Kraiova) (had the I and II Battalion). Commander: Oberst Johann Hillinger. It would be detached to the Seckendorff Gruppe and replaced by IR  8 (former Huff)

K.K. 4th Light Dragoons Regiment  GM Andreas Frh. von Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam 

934

Had 6  squadrons. Commander: Oberst Joseph Graf Nimptsch. It will be detached as link unit with the Russian Corps Rozenberg.


Russian Avantgarde Brigade General Prince Petr Ivanovich Bagration

 

Imperial Russian 7th Jäger (Jeghersky) Regiment  GM Bagration – 2 Battalions

652

Commander: Gen. Petr Ivanovic Bagration

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baranowsky II – I Battalion. Commander:  Colonel Mihail Aleksejevic Chitrov

694

Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment  GdI Rozenberg II Battalion.

672 

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Lomonosov

557

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Dendrjugyn

544

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Kalemin Tula and Tambow Companies

590

Don Cossacks Regiment  Molchanov

495

8th Don Cossacks Regiment  Grekov

489

5th Don Cossacks Regiment  Denissov

439

6th Don Cossacks Regiment  Pasdejev

420

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suvorov’s statement to the Austrian Emperor on May 10 was the following:

Our speed made us masters of Tortona. The enemy did not have time to throw 2-3.000 men inside. It left the ammunition for Tortona and Alessandria in Novi.

Alessandria! We must guard it. The enemy have no opportunity to raise his troops there, whenever by the Genoese, which are very few, probably 5 - 6.000 men, and, realistically, not the best troops. However the enemy can entrench itself, particularly if we leave the necessary time to do so, and this will make our attack very difficult…

Valenza! - can become important: for now is not so. Enough to do some fake attack before it.

12 May - Excellency Rozenberg can come only today. The pontoons however tomorrow. – We try so much as possible to set them soon in march.

1) We must be at one time on all positions. As for Bagration he does not have at all to engage himself – only some observations, not too early, not too late. He can let Novi controlled by a small commando. If he will fall, however, into some [enemy] positions during the incoming night, and if that point is supported by others, then everything must be attacked together.

2) Orba, Bormida, Tanaro. The pontoons were thrown, above or on the water, where it is most comfortable in order of the enemy deployment, and in order of the obstacles expected. With this events’ speed, Order and Position! The game of the Guns! After this achievement, we must attack quickly the enemy with cutting and thrusting weapons. Then it is not necessary to stop during the artillery fire. The units cooperate in a similar way, as their want. 

3) The most important. As soon as the victory outlines, the enemy must already be cut off. In addition the Cossacks add a good distinctiveness. Excellent is the use by throwing them around hostile Cavalry, particularly the heavy. Our cavalry must support it. This latter strikes also strongly into the hostile cavalry, while being supported by the Cossacks, which annihilate the enemy. The quickness overcomes the batteries without losses if the cavalry good performs. So it also can be supported in particular by the Jägern, whenever they not put in danger themselves.”

Clash at Ponte Stura

So … “Valenza! - can become important: for now is not so.”. The Suvorov’s plans were mainly to fasten the offensive, heading towards Turin. The Austrian mind was more cautious, trying to avoid too many conquests by the Russian Commander. With this premise, it became obvious that the Russian had to open the hostilities. Rozenberg, who had followed Vukassovich’s advance, placed his camp at Frascarolo, the night of May 10-11. Here he was informed about the Austrian clash (and defeat) at Ponte Stura.  On the morning of May 10, 120 German soldiers and 51 volunteers (insurgents) from Trino Vercellese has passed across the Po by boats. They spread among the Ponte Stura roads, overran a French outpost, (obviously) burnt our the Freedom-Tree putting, at its place, a large Christian Cross, calling the town priest to bless the new symbol. At 3 PM, 150 Republicans tried to retakethe position, but they were repulsed leaving behind 6 dead and 5 prisoners. On the following day, at Ponte Stura converged a strong Austrian detachment of about 300 men. However the town was attacked by two battalions of the 106th Demi-Brigade, that had come from Casale through the Grana. They deployed themselves in three column starting from San Salvatore and Mirabello and assaulted Ponte Stura from three directions: from the main road to Alessandria, from the “Cascina” of the Po and from the track to Ortiglia. In spite of the strong resistance of the Austrians, the French seized the Castle entering in its gardens, and taking over 300 Austrians prisoners. After the insurgents had left the town, Ponte Stura was pillaged.  

On that same day, May 11, Rozenberg crossed the Po at Valenza, Suvorov himself overlooked this probe-operation, for the extreme danger of the passage, since the southern (right) bank of the Po commanded the stream, which was cut, there, into several channels forming islands. The Russians got possession of Mugarone, the larger of the Po islands, notwithstanding the opposition of the Adjutant-General Gareau.

The French defence was based on a three fortresses triangle (Casale, Valenza and Alessandria) with an utter, inner, triangle formed by the confluence of three major (at that time) rivers: Tanaro, Bormida and Po.

Valenza was connected by to good roads with Alessandria and Casale and, with an eastwards trail, to the village of Bassignana.

Casale on the Po or Monferrato is a town in the Piedmont, part of the province of Alessandria. It is situated about 60 km east of Turin on the right bank of the Po, where the river runs at the foot of the Monferrato hills. The impregnable citadel of Casale was mined and destroyed in 1795 following the terms of a truce-treaty .In town remained only its old castle: the Castle of the Paleologi (Palaiologos), an imposing 15th century military construction with a hexagonal plan with four angular towers and an encircling moat. Its civic tower, square in plan and made of bricks, 60 metres high, was built in 1510 with an attached bell tower. In 1799 Casale not a useful fortress, but was a good point to cross the river Po.

The French Line

The remnants of the army had followed Moreau until the Valence Bridge, the only one existing over the Po since river Sesia until Turin, and found it burnt out. Furthermore, the boats-bridge, which the French had close to Pavia and which General Moreau had ordered to dismantle, the same day of the Adda clash, was not available, for the French artillery to pass to the on right bank.  Moreau was forced to march in a hurry and to pass the river at Turin. Thus he went towards the capital city with the Grenier division and some remains of the Serrurier division which had reached the main column from the Novara’s higher territories. That march of an army to Turin had the advantage of making the enemy uncertain of their intent, and thus able to cover the large parks of the army and protect the retreat from Milan, which was now occupied by Austrians.

After having made moving, to Mount Cenis and to Coni, all that he had out of artillery and parks, and after having ensured the re-entry in France of the administrations and civil “commissaires”, with all the non-combatants which were with the army, and after having given the necessary orders for Turin and its citadel, General Moreau went back to Alexandria to meet there the divisions of Victor and Laboissière. The Coalition Army  pursued the French army, after the Ticino crossing. They crossed the Sesia only three days after Moreau, and, when its vanguards appeared in front of Turin, there were only ten or twelve French left behind.

The army that gathered under the Alexandria walls, consisted of about 23000-24000 men.  It took its position at Bassignana, supporting its rear line at Alexandria, its left at Valence and Casale, with “eclaireurs” outpost on the left Po bank until Verrua (in front of Crescentino), and along the Bormida until Acqui. It was known, that the Russians occupied the Lomelline and the Austrians rambled between Voghera and Tortone. General Moreau sent consequently some battalions in Liguria, where there were too few French troops and which could be attacked from one moment to another. It gave the command of this country to general Pérignon. As told, the spreading of the insurgencies caused General Grouchy to order a call-up on April 30, ending with a totally insufficient effect. Apart from few hundred French, Grouchy could only count on 2 line battalions plus an artillery company in Alessandria (II/1a Aosta, II/3a Queen), and the other troops listed in the rest of Piedmont. Casale was garrisoned with two battalions (mainly conscripts) of the 106th Line Infantry. The Alessandria garrison was sent forward to defend the Po line between the village of Pecetto and Bassignana followed by a Swiss Legion’s battalion.

In the meanwhile, Count Colli Ricci of Felizzano, already at disposition of the French from March and charged of the Alexandria defense against the Strevi rebels, was named Chef-de-brigade and had the task to reconstitute the French 14th Line demi-brigade, with Piedmontese volunteers. The personal prestige of the Piedmontese commander, in effects, attracted many veterans already under him during the Alps war of 1793-96. The 14th Line, officially, depended on the brigadier general François Jean Baptiste Quesnel du Torpt, but, on May 8, Colli Ricci had to replace him because of his temporary incapacity to combat. The 14th Line was sent between Pecetto and Bassignana, until the confluence of the rivers Tanaro and Po, where already the 3 battalions of the former Alessandria garrison stood, one Helvetian and two Piedmontese (II/1a and II/3a).

Arméè d’Italie HQ at Valenza

Commander-in-Chief: General de Division Jean Victor Marie Moreau

Note:  this hypothetical French Order of battle is based on books and literature.

 Division  General Paul Grenier

HQ at Valenza

 

 

Cavalry

6th Hussar Regiment Chef Jean-Baptiste-Gregoire Delaroche

13th Regiment  Chasseurs à Cheval Chef Bouquet (?)

24th Regiment  Chasseurs à Cheval

9th Régiment Chasseurs à Cheval Chef Claude Matthieu Gardane [ii]

Arriere Garde Detachment Chef de Brigade Louis-Stanislas-Xavier Soyez

At Verrua and Casale

106th Line Demi-Brigade  II Battalion Chef Jean Claude Roussel [iii] - III Battalion. with Masséna in Switzerland

18th Light Demi-Brigade remnants of the I – II and III Battalion – Chef Louis-Stanislas-Xavier Soyez

AvantGarde (Brigade) Chef de Brigade Louis Garreau [iv]

68th Line Demi-Brigade II Battalion - Chef de Brigade Jules-Alexandre Leger Boutrouë [v]The I Battalion was with Montrichard, the III Battalion was in Turin

106th Line Demi-Brigade  I Battalion. Chef de bataillon Dupellin [vi]

63rd Line Demi Brigade I-II-III Battalions Chef-de-Brigade Villaret [vii]

Brigade Général François-Jean-Baptiste baron de Quesnel du Torpt [viii]
Chef (Général) de brigade Luigi Leonardo Antonio Colli-Ricci Marchese di Felizzano [ix]

17th Light Demi Brigade Chef de brigade Dominique Honore Antoine Marie Vedel [x]  - I-II Battalions.

14th Line Demi-brigade - Chef de Brigade Jean-Claude Moreau (Reserve)

Brigade Général count Louis Partounneaux

24th Line Demi Brigade – I , II and III Battalions. Chef de Brigade Guinet ?

33rd Line Demi Brigade – I , II Battalions. Chef de Brigade Roguet


Division General Claude-Victor Perrin

At Alessandria

Brigade Général baron Charles-Louis-Dieu Donné Grandjean [xi]

Brigade Général comte Henri-François-Marie Charpentier [xii]

Brigade Adj-Général Claude-Joseph Buget [xiii]

Infantry (on Pecetto road)

3rd Line Demi Brigade - Chef de Brigade Georges Mouton

5th Line Demi-brigade Chef de Brigade Louis-Hyacinthe Le Feron

21st Line Demi-Brigade Chef de Brigade Robert [xiv]

39th Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Antoine-Louis Popon de Maucune

92nd Line Demi-Brigade  Chef Bruno-Albert-Joseph Duplouy - I II  III Battalions.

93rd Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Charles-Sebastien Marion[xv]

99th Line Demi-brigade Chef-de-brigade Pierre-Joseph Petit

Cavalry

15th Chasseurs à cheval Chef-de-Brigade Louis Lepic

18th Regiment  de Cavalerie  (4  squadrons) Chef Denis Terreyre

3rd Régiment Chasseurs à Cheval  Chef François-Alexandre Grosjean [xvi]

AvantGarde (Brigade) General Gaspard-Amédée Gardanne [xvii]

At Pecetto and Bassignana. It acted as division Grenier Reserve.

II Battalion Aosta - 1st Piedmontese Demi-Brigade 

II Battalion Regina – 3rd Piedmontese demi-brigade

Battalion Suisse 1e Legion

Piedmontese artillery coy 

1st Hussars Régiment  - Chef de Brigade Joseph-Denis Picard  [xviii]

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Bassignana

The May 12 morning General Chubarov with infantry and artillery, passed across the Po at Bassignana, and, as soon as the Cossacks saw these soldiers on the other side, they dashed into the river and swam over followed by one battalion of the Rozenberg vanguard, which was arriving at Borgo Franco. Other two Russian battalions were sent towards Frascarolo under Colonel Shukov, to control Valenza.  In order to avoid strong French reactions, Vukassovich was sent forward to bombard Casale from the opposite Po bank. The main attack group had crossed the Mugarone pathway during the previous night: three Grenadiers battalions, three Jäger Companies , two Cossacks pulk, one Dragoons squadron and two artillery Companies . The first

Russian infantry column (Dalheim brigade), arrived at 5.00 PM of May 11, put into requisition some boats rowing to the Mugarone island. The Cossacks of Semjornikov passed through swimming with the horses. General Miloradovich and Grand Duke Constantin also crossed by night. Came close to the French, without glowing any lights, binding the horses’ mouths with ribbons to avoid their whinnies and, above all, without any fire shot, they waited for the dawn at a distance of 100-200 meters from the French lines. The place of the attack, chosen, probably, by general Rozenberg himself, was mostly unfavourable to the Coalition’s troops. The right (French) bank of Po dominated the opposite (Russian) bank, which was low, swampy and passable only on sand dikes (chaussées). The nocturn advance had the task to mask the Russian moves, in the hope to find a comfortable fording point to cross the last branch of Po, after Mugarone island. It was impossble to keep a bridgehead on the large island for its too soft ground but the fording attempt would have been protected by trees and bushes, which covered the French riverside.

Avantgarde Brigade general-major Nikolaj Andrejevich Chubarov

 

Imperial Russian 8th Jäger  Regiment  Major General Chubarov

708

Chief from May 13: GM Ivan Ivanovich Miller – I Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Fjodorovich Wrangel. II Battalion.

Don Cossacks Regiment  Semjornikov (Semernikov)

438

K.K. 4th Light Dragoons Regiment  GM Andreas Frh. von Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam  1 Squadron.

150


Detachment Colonel Shukov

 

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim  – I  Battalion

719

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Sanajev Butyrsk and Archangelgorod Companies

599

K.K. 4th Light Dragoons Regiment  GM Andreas Frh. von Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam  1 Squadron.

157

 

 


 

Brigade General-major Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim [xix]

 

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Young-Baden or molodo-Badensky – one battalion

690

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – one battalion

719

Commander: Major Ivan Fjodorovich Golovin


General-major Constantin Pavlovich Romanov Grand Duke of Russia

Moreau, thinking such kind of operation imprudent and dangerous, gave orders to avoid the resistance at the outpost; this would have attracted the whole Rozenberg division into the cauldron. The French retreated along the road to Alessandria and took new positions at Pecetto (near Valenza). They deployed the line behind a ravine with the left wing entrenched in Sant’Antonio, a village on the hills, which was defended with the artillery. The Grenier division occupied the front from Pecetto (right) to the Po (left), with Quesnel brigade at the engagement point. Victor was ordered to march forward from Alessandria in order to intercept the Russian flank. When Moreau heard news of the Russians passage he ordered Grenier to stand firm, renewing Victor to march in great haste from Alessandria. General Moreau, who was into Valenza, personally deployed his right wing. After having retreated the Bassignana detachment, as told, he took position on Pecetto heights, extending the left wing until the Po, with Valenza behind the line. The battle was received there, the French occupying higher positions.

On May 12, morning, Chubarov Vanguard concentrated on Mugarone island, beginning to ford the last branch of the Po. The Russians found Bassignana free of French; the Cossacks patrols sent forward referred the Republicans were on Pecetto heights. General Chubarov, there, had ready only 3 ½ battalions with the Cossacks (about 2500 men). He advanced on two columns:

- the left one under Colonel Brunov had two Young-Baden Musketeers Companies  and one Jäger battalion tried to control their left flank but were sent, with Chubarov, against Sant’Antonio;

- the right one under Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel attacked Pecetto with the other Jäger battalion and two Companies  of Sanajev Grenadiers (led by Grand Duke Constantin Pavlovich).

At about one o’clock the fight began; the Grand Duke Constantin with his sword led his troops against the village of Pecetto, which the French held. Chubarov, after having reached San Antonio and Pecetto town, deployed his charging-columns. They tried several times to push the French downhill, but were always repulsed by the Quesnel brigade. The Russian reinforced the right flank of Chubarov sending two companies  of Tytrov Musketeers and the following units:

General-major Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich 1st

 

Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment  Gd  Rozenberg or Moskowsky (Moskow)  one battalion

670 

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich one battalion

725

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  LG Povalo-Shveikovsky (Smolensk) – one battalion

700

 

 

 

 

The extreme right wing of the Russian deployment was defended by Semjornikov Cossacks, reinforced with other two Tujrtov Musketeers Companies . But it was too late.

In the meantime, Victor, arriving from Alessandria, had become very close. From the heights, on which they were fighting, the Russians observed the long columns of the advancing French and the order of retreat was issued. They went back towards Bassignana to return on “friendly” river Po bank. But the misfortune reserved other surprises and the disengagement transformed itself into a real disaster.

While, when the Russian had disembarked at Bassignana, the Piedmontese inhabitants welcomed them with “hurrahs”, but in return, instead, they were received with resentment and feelings of treachery. The peasants began to damage the carriages and the boats, most of which were unfastened and left free at the stream. Many of the Russian soldiers were obliged to retire onto the Mugarone Island.  The flying bridge they established at this point having broke, they had to pass the night in the middle of the Po, under the bombardment of the French guns and against several assaults from Victor’s Vanguard, they ran. During the late night some ferries were repaired and many soldiers did reach the left Po bank. Unfortunately the main group of the wounded was left behind with some detachments. When the French arrived, a large portion of the Russianss were forced to lay down their arms, while many others drowned into the Po, trying to swim to the opposite bank.

The other two Russian probes had the same bad luck. Colonel Shukov tried to cross the Po by boats. He reached an island in front of Valenza were he was pinned, because of strong musketry (the 63rd Demi-Brigade on the opposite bank), and the attack was aborted.  Vukassovich passed the Po with some detachments, during the Casale bombardment. However the ferries, flooded by the strong current, were lost and a strong French attack destroyed the raiding party. 

The Russians lost in this fight 1200-1500 men, dead, wounded and prisoners, with four guns. General Chubarov (for many sources,  state that he was killed there) [xx], however he was only wounded. Wounded were also Colonels Passek and Brunov, Lieutenant Colonel Wrangel, Majors Kochanowsky, Moller, Marchenko, Golovin, Korf along with another 50 officers. Colonel Tatarinov and other 6 officers died. [xxi]

The French had about 600 men put out of combat, including General Quesnel, who was wounded. This general was quickly replaced. Count Colli Ricci of Felizzano who, from March already at disposition of the French and charged of the Alexandria defense against the Strevi rebels, had been named Chef-de-brigade, had the task to reconstitute the French 14th Line Demi-Brigade [xxii], after the battle, with Piedmontese volunteers. The personal prestige of that Piedmontese commander, in effects, attracted many veterans, who served under him during the Alps War of 1793-96.

Approaching the Great Citadel

Being Bassignana a sole Russian defeat, this made some pleased at Vienna and, conversely, disturbed the Czar in Moscow. The Emperor tried to suggest a possible solution stating that, if Suvorov would think General Rozemberg too much tired for the campaign fatigues, he had at his disposition a good replacement in Derfelden (the Grand Duke Constantin’s tutor). In every case the defeat in the “demonstrative” attack had to be rapidly forgotten and the Russian army had to drive deeply into Piedmont to redeem itself. The important fortress of Alexandria ( Alessandria) had been approached just before Bassignana, on May 10; Cossacks Regiments Denissov, Molchanov and Grekov, supported by Kalemin Grenadiers, had cleared the French outpost in Marengo, while the Coalition Army was reaching the village of San Giuliano with the Austrians (HQs at Torre Garofoli) and Novi with Bagration’s vanguard.

On May 13, the Austrians left Torre Garofoli moving northwards in direction of Sale and the Po; they also transferred their HQs from Torre Garofoli to Castelnuovo Scrivia, leaving to the Tortona siege group the task to control the Genoese roads. Avantgarde Group Bagration was ordered to leave Novi and to march towards Cambio, an hamlet on the right Po bank 3 km north of Sale and 12 km east of Bassignana (by road). Sending this order to Bagration, Suvorov extended his “At the Po!” call also to general Seckendorff. Most likely, the Russian Field Marshal had in mind something similar to a second “revenge” attack against Valenza.

At Cambio, the river Po passed through a  group of large islands, however each smaller than Mugarone, and the point could have been selected as a safe fording point, having on the left bank, a good road connection from Cairo (Lomellina) to Lomello. The Russians musketeer battalions, not involved in the Bassignana affair, were, gathered under General Förster and sent towards Cambio to ford the river, waiting for the general. At Frascarolo, General Tuyrtov took the Rozenberg’s place in order to control the front of Valenza.  

Valenza Observation Group General-major Jacob Ivanovich Tuyrtov

 

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – one battalion

632

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich one battalion

686

Don Cossacks Regiment  Semjornikov (Semernikov)

416

 

 


 

 

Division Lieutenant General Ivan Ivanovich Förster

 

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Lieutenant General  Förster (Tambov) - one battalion

757

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich one battalion

686

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Young-Baden or molodo-Badensky – one battalion

618

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim  – one battalion

734

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  LG Povalo-Shveikovsky (Smolensk) – one battalion

719

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Sanajev 2 Companies

280

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However it was not yet possible to ford the river at Cambio. So Förster left his HQs at San Nazzaro de’ Burgondi on May 13, passed the Po at the bridge of boats of Mezzana Corte, reached Pontecurone on the following day and, on May 15, entered Castelnuovo Scrivia ending their march at the Sale camp.


The intention to revenge Bassignana, if any, was early abandoned and Suvorov ordered a general march towards the Lomellina, leaving back only some siege groups; actually a strange provision which seemed to leave the way open to Moreau linking together with Macdonald. However the opportunities to seize Casale and Valenza from the rear and to take Turin, mixed with some worries about the St. Gotthard struggles in southern Switzerland and the necessity to stay closer to Milano, determined Suvorov’s decision. The new deployment had to begin on May 16 afternoon, but something different happened. 

Battle at San Giuliano (or First Marengo)

Gachot was told, on May 16, to harass the Coalition’s left flank. Moreau sent forward a strong task-force (of about 6000 men) to probe the enemy’s intentions. The column, central, engaged the Austrians at San Giuliano Vecchio (old) where they found troops already in “order of battle”. Chasteler, for Gachot, had given orders to deploy to his divisions (Bagration, Lusignan, Fröhlich and Lobkowitz ??). [xxiii] The French divisions Victor and Grenier were too weak to bring a decisive attack, but the Coalition’s troops were almost taken by surprise. The Republicans had built a temporary bridge (a “pont volant”) over the Bormida at the position named “I Cedri” (the Cedars). They passed the bridge and divided themselves into two columns, at 8.00 AM, along the main road, taking covers from the small stone walls: the left towards the Cascina Pietrabona (or Pederbona), the right towards la Cascina Stortigliona (names which will be renowned on the following year).

Left Wing Brigade Général Luigi Leonardo Antonio Colli-Ricci Marchese di Felizzano

17th Light Demi Brigade Chef de brigade Dominique Honore Antoine Marie Vedel  I-II-III Battalions.

68th Line Demi-Brigade II Battalion - Chef de Brigade Jules-Alexandre Leger Boutrouë

14th Line Demi-brigade - Chef de Brigade Jean-Claude Moreau

1st Hussars Régiment  - Chef de Brigade Joseph-Denis Picard  [xxiv]

Right Wing Brigade General Gaspard-Amédée Gardanne

18th Light Demi-Brigade remnants of the I – II and III Battalion – Chef Louis-Stanislas-Xavier Soyez

II Battalion Aosta - 1st Piedmontese Demi-Brigade 

II Battalion Regina – 3rd Piedmontese demi-brigade

Battalion Suisse 1e Legion

15th Chasseurs à cheval Chef-de-Brigade Louis Lepic

 

Brigade provisional Général de Brigade Louis Garreau (Center)
Two battalions probably deployed to watch the bridge over the Bormida in front of Alexandria

106th Line Demi-Brigade  I Battalion. Chef de bataillon Dupellin

20th Light Demi-Brigade Chef-de-Brigade Lucotte (blocked in Ancona) – one battalion ?

At 9.00 in the morning the French engaged the enemy, overrunning the weak outpost in Marengo, but the first strong musketry began at 10.00 AM, with some Austrian detachments repulsed away from Marengo, Spinetta and Cassina Grossa by the 74e demi-brigade, which led the advance.

Avantgarde detachement Rousseaux (from Gardanne brigade?)

74th Line infantry Demi-Brigade Chef Antoine-Alexandre Rousseaux [xxv]

In line between San Giuliano Vecchio and San Giuliano Nuovo, around 800 meters  from Alexandria road, advanced the Jäger regiment Bagration and two Musketeers regiments. The left wing, beyond the “chaussée” behind Cascina Grossa,  was hold by two Russian battalions. At the two extreme wings the Coalition Army had two divisions of Lobkowitz Dragoons and the artillery. The Centre was organized with 6 battalions of the Fröhlich division (being the Grenadiers Korherr and Weber, the first line) by the right side of the road, while former Fiquelmont Grenadiers with the fusiliers battalions Stuart along the left side. In the rear were the other two battalions (Grenadiers Paar and Stentsch) with 5 squadrons of the Lobkowitz Dragoons, far around 200 mt from the first line. There was also a skirmisher screen organized taking 10 soldiers from each first line company.

Behind Cassina Grossa the armies clashed together. The artillery was kept on wings. The right Coalition’s wing, led by Prince Bagration, repulsed the second French assault to the houses of San Giuliano. Then the Prince counterattacked with his Cossacks (Molchanov and Grekov) pushing general Colli back till the Tanaro river. The left wing and the Center of the Coalition’s line, otherwise, began unbalanced; at 12.00 o’clock some of the Coalized troops began to withdraw, also if supported by Cossacks raids (General Suvorov’s report declared other two Cossacks attacks directed by Field-Atamans Molchanov and Grekov, in which the riders destroyed a squadron of the 1st Hussars and then captured 78 men).

As for the orders it had to leave Novi and march quickly through San Giuliano to Cambio. There it had to pass the Po to continue the march until Breme (near Frascarolo). Prince Bagration was caught into the clash while marching towards Sale. His avantgarde deployed at San Giuliano while the rearguard of the march column stopped near Cassina.

Avantguard Division General Prince Petr Ivanovich Bagration

4877

4161

units

Listed

Fit

Imperial Russian 7th Jäger (Jeghersky) Regiment  GM Bagration – 2 Battalions

703

624

Commander: Gen. Petr Ivanovic Bagration

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baranowsky II – I Battalion.

799

698

Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment  GdI Rozenberg II Battalion.

763

627

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Lomonosov

585

501

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Dendrjugyn

566

453

Don Cossacks Regiment  Molchanov

496

435

8th Don Cossacks Regiment  Grekov

488

414

6th Don Cossacks Regiment  Pasdejev

477

409

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Grossa. After the San Giuliano battle, the orders chamged and Bagration was forced to wait at Gerola for the first occasion to pass through the Po (a stream less swollen) and to march along its left bank.

Austrian Units with outposts at Marengo, Spinetta, Castel Ceriolo. In all  reports (Melas, Lusignan and Bagration) there was no mention about Karacsaj units, other than the weak outposts in Marengo. It seemed they did not participate at the battle, after the first skirmishes.

Avantgarde Brigade Generalmajor Andreas Freiherr Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam

 

K.K. IR 28 Infantry Regiment Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich I and II Battalions.

1641

 

(the former Regiment  Wartensleben)  Commander: Oberst Franz Eder von Hartenstein

 

K.K. IR 8 Infantry Regiment (former Huff Regiment )

2695

 

Commander:  Obst Johann Schröckinger von Heidenburg (I-II III Battalions)

 

K.K. 4th Light Dragoons Regiment  GM Andreas Frh. von Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam 

935

 

Had 6  squadrons. Commander: Oberst Joseph Graf Nimptsch.

 

Central Division Generalmajor Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich

   

Under provisional command of Generalmajor Franz Joseph Marquis de Lusignan

5374

 

units

Fit

 

Brigade Oberst Franz Xavier Weber von Treuenfeld

3398

 

K.K. Hungarian Grenadier battalion Major Joseph Korherr  ObstLeut. Johann Pértussy

618

 

K.K. Grenadier Battalion Oblt Franz Xavier Weber von Treuenfeld

457

 

K.K. IR 18 Infantry Regiment   Graf Patrick Stuart

1741

 

Commander:  Obst Franz Weber von Treuenfeld - I and II Battalions

K.K. Grenadier Battalion Graf Joseph Fiquelmont Count Johann Morzin

582

 
 

Brigade Generalmajor Marquis Hannibal Sommariva

1976

 

K.K. Grenadier Battalion FML Karl Graf von Mercandin Graf Carl Paar

520

 

K.K. Grenadier Battalion Freiherr Georg von Stentsch Graf Anton Schiaffinati

620

 

K.K. 10th Light Dragoons Regiment Joseph Fürst Lobkowitz

836

 

(had 6  squadrons in 3 divisions I II and III) Commander: Oberst Marquis Hannibal Sommariva – Second Oberst and Commander Max Joseph Fürst Thurn und Taxis. II Div. ObstLt. Alois Graf Harrach – III Div. Major Ignatz Molitor

Suvorov, fearing he was on the point to lose another battle, rode among his troops trying to rally those retreating. He stood, erect, on his horse wavening the sabre and cursing those fugitives. The Centre was heavily supported by General Sommariva, which gave time to Lusignan to come from Torre Garofoli with all his battalions and squadrons, which were deployed in front of San Giuliano Vecchio. In the early afternoon, they  moved forward also the 4800 men of Kaim’s division, reinforcing the left wing. At 4.00 PM, General Moreau, observing the new situation, gave the withdrawal order. The French returned to their single bridge in good order. In the late afternoon the troops of division Kaim took possession of the battered line and hold it until night. Moreau, having realized the overwhelming superiority of the Coalition’s troops, organized the withdrawal leaving Gardanne and Colli brigades as Arriere-Garde. The village of Marengo was left behind with all the wounded soldiers gathered there. The village was abandoned at 5.00 PM and, an hour after, all French soldiers had passed the Bormida backwards. The Cedar’s bridge was dismantled and at 6.30 PM the first Austrians were seen on the Bormida’s bank, in reconnaissance.

Division Generalmajor Konrad Valentin Kaim

   

At Torre Garofoli

 

Avantgarde Brigade Oberst Graf Franx Xavier von Auersperg [xxvi]

 

K.K. IR 32 Hungarian Infantry Regiment Graf Samuel Gyulai

740

Commander:  Oberst Franz Posztrehowsky von Millenburg - (I- Battalion) III Battalion to Mantua

K.K. IR 36 Infantry Regiment Fürst Carl Fürstenberg  III Battalion.

858

K.K. 1st Light Dragoons Regiment “Emperor” Kaiser Franz II  1 squadron

169

 

Brigade Generalmajor Graf Joseph Mittrowsky

   

K.K. IR 32 Hungarian Infantry Regiment Graf Samuel Gyulai II Battalion

742

K.K. IR 36 Infantry Regiment Fürst Carl Fürstenberg  (I-II Battalion) Commander:  Oberst Conrad von Thelen

1718

K.K. 1st Light Dragoons Regiment “Emperor” Kaiser Franz II 

846

They had 6  squadrons. on three divisions. Commander: Oberst Franz Freiherr von Pilati. II Div. ObstLt. Baron Karl Kölbel – III Div. Major Bernard Kees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The French lost 569 men (dead and wounded) while the Coalition Army lost  720 men (43 dead, 404 wounded and 273 missing) [xxvii]; Prince Bagration was awarded with the Order of Aleksandr Njevsky for his bravery. The French retreat opened the doors of southern Piedmont. On May 18 the Russians entered Valenza and occupied Casale while Seckendorff and Shvejkowsky remained to siege Alexandria. Now the way to Turin was definitevely free.  The Coalition’s troops not involved in the San Giuliano battle were:

Infantry-general Andrej Grigorjevich Rozenberg Corps


Avantguard Brigade general-major Nikolaj Andrejevich Chubarov

1328

1070

units

Listed

Fit

Division Lieutenant General Jacob Ivanovich Povalo-Shvejkovsky 1st

4550

4029

Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment  GdI Rozenberg or Moskowsky (Moskow)  I Battalion

763

628

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baranowsky II – II Battalion.

798

698

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  LG Povalo-Shveikovsky (Smolensk) – one battalion

767

719

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Young-Baden or molodo-Badensky – one battalion

703

618

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim  – I Battalion

777

734

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – one battalion

742

632

Imperial Russian 8th Jäger  Regiment  Major General Chubarov

725

555

Chief from May 13: GM Ivan Ivanovich Miller – I Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Fjodorovich Wrangel. II Battalion.

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Sanajev Butyrsk and Archangelgorod Companies

603

515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rallying on the right Po bank

On the left Po bank

At Frascarolo (Valenza Observation Group)

Brigade General-major Jacob Ivanovich Tuyrtov

1977

1734

units

Listed

Fit

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – one battalion

742

632

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich one battalion

749

686

Don Cossacks Regiment  Semjornikov (Semernikov)

486

416

At Sale Camp (Reserve Group). These troops, led by the same Suvorov, left Sale in the May 16 afternoon to reinforce Bagration’s group. In the evening they returned to Sale without having shot a single bullet.

Division Lieutenant General Ivan Ivanovich Förster

3615

3337

units

Listed

Fit

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  LG Povalo-Shveikovsky (Smolensk) – one battalion

767

719

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovich one battalion

749

686

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Lieutenant General  Förster (Tambov) - I Battalion

770

757

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Young-Baden or molodo-Badensky – one battalion

704

618

Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion (GB) Kaljemin

625

557

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At Tortona Camp (together with Seckendorff)

Brigade Colonel Stepan Nikolajevich Castelli

1771

1631

units

Listed

Fit

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  GM Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim  – II Battalion

777

734

5th Don Cossacks Regiment  Denissov

493

432

2nd Don Cossacks Regiment  Sujchev

501

465

With Prince Viktor Rohan

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment  Lieutenant General  Förster (Tambov) - II Battalion

770

757

Tortona Belagerungsgruppe

Brigade Generalmajor Friedrich Freiherr von Seckendorff

 

K.K. IR 19 Hungarian Infantry Regiment Freiherr Jozsef Alvinczy de Berberek

1654

K.K. IR 34 Hungarian Infantry Regiment (future Freiherr Kraj de Kraiova)

1074

(former Esterházy) (I-II Battalions) Commander:  Oberst Johann Hillinger

 

K.K. 5th Hussar Regiment  4  squadrons

826

Detached to the Russians

K.K. 14th Light Dragoons Regiment  Franz Freiherr von Levenehr 6  squadrons.

850

Commander: Oberst  Joseph Zinn.  (it had 6  squadrons. On 3 div. I – II - III) II Div. ObLt. Josef Prohaska – III Div. Major Franz Graf Latour

 

 

 

The Coalition Army formed three columns which marched eastwards. They all camped at Casteggio, in the evening of May 17. On May 18 Bagration column established a bridge of boats near Bastida, followed by Fröhlich and Lusignan. On May 19 this little army passed over the Po, on 20 arrived at Mortara and on the following two days they rested there. On May 23 they formed two columns marching westwards through Vercelli, Santhià, rebuilding the Dora bridges, and arriving at Chivasso very tired. A second column (general Kaim) marched from Valenza to Casale and followed the right Po bank until Verrua and Turin. With San Giuliano was lost the last hope of General Moreau to link with Macdonald and Masséna (Switzerland) occupying a central position in Piedmont. He had too few men and had to reach Genoa to defend the old Sardinian border. Moreau divided his army in two columns: the two divisions. Victor (7200 men of which 200 were cavalrymen or 10 battalions and 4 squadrons) was sent to Savona, through Acqui and Cairo, in order to reinforce the link with the arriving Macdonalds army. It was a good example of how the French moved on that defenseless territory. Victor had to pass the Tanaro line, in Liguria, with 10 battalions in order to link with the armée de Naples. On May 19, passing near Acqui the column was attacked by insurgents. Chef-de-bataillon Raoust, leading the Vanguard and the 99th Demi-Brigade was wounded, 5 officers were killed. Victor, not having guns, did not react. He withdrew by night, fording the Bormida river, and reached Dego. There he was again attacked by peasants and his exasperate soldiers began to plunder hamlets and to put houses in flames. Then he tried to reach the Cairo’s depots, but was again attacked by insurgents, armed with rifles. He reached Genoa without any baggage and artillery, left behind him during the troubled march. Grenier led his 8000 men to Asti (12 battalions, 24 squadrons or the whole cavalry, all artillery) leaving 3000 men behind to seize the Citadel of Alexandria. Moreau and Grenier sent vanguards until Carignano and Moncalieri but the movement towards Turin aborted. There were some reasons to avoid such a movement but, above all, said Grouchy: “had become essential to reduce the Piedmont insurrections which set ablaze all the country; Piedmontese guides and Savoy Officers, who, in spite of bright services, were expelled from our ranks, about 616, under pretext they were emigrated, guided by these officers, the Insurgents cut all the communications of the army with France (we remained nearly five weeks without receiving news), removed its means of subsistence and its convoys…

Notes:

[i] Generalmajor Andreas (András) Karacsaj Graf de Válje-Szaka was born at Kostanicza (Banal-Militärgrenze) on November 30, 1744 and died at Wiener-Neustadt on March 22, 1808. Son of an old nobility of Croatia, which distinguished against the Turks, had one brother, the younger, Kasimir (b. 1746) who died in 1793. He took the Service in 1758, 15 years old, as cadet of the Banal regiment, during the Seven Years war. He passed then to serve as Guard in the hungarian Leibgarde of Prince Esterházy, as captain and then, as Oberlieutenant, was in the regular army at the Carabiniers regiment Archduke Albert. There he became Rittmeister (the regiment having taken the name of Chevauxlégèrs Hesse-Darmstadt, then Levenehr). He distinguished himself at Praussnitz and Keul against the Prussians, and was promoted to Major. In 1787 he was in the Turks War at Chotym participating in many actions, after which he became Oberst. Finally leading a battalion of IR Kaunitz with 7 squadrons he went in campaign reaching Mohila Robea in Bessarabia. In 1789, at Walleszaka (April 19) with his battalion, 6 squadrons and 4 guns, he fought against a siege corps of about 5000 Turks, bringing himself in the attention of Russian General Suvorov. After that period he was awarded by the Emperor himself. On August 13 he was promoted Generalmajor, had the Ownership of the 4th Dragoons regiment and, in December, obtained the Maria-Theresia Knight Cross (in December 1790 he was also Commander of the Order and had the Great Cross of St.Anne’s Order, from the Czarine Kathrine). The French Revolutionary wars caught him at Lemberg (L’vov) as Brigadier. In 1794 he fought in Germany with hard engagements until 1795, when he, 51 years old, began to suffer from “war fatigue” often becoming ill. So he decided to retire from Duty and to live with his family and children, at Lemberg and, then, at Pest. During the Italian campaign of 1799 was his friend, Fieldmarshal Suvorov, who recalled it on duty. Karacsaj followed his regiment and  was employed as Brigadier at the Trebbia, during the siege of Alessandria, at Novi and at Bosco in Autumn. After Suvorov departure, he remained in the Italienische Armée and fought in the second Novi battle. Now Field Marshal, Karacsaj ended the campaign in Italyand followed Kray to Germany. He was at Engen (May 1800) where he received two balls in the abdomen; this was the first and the last wound. He recovered at Wiener-Neustadt where his four sons were studying at the Military Academy and where he died at the age of 64. So died one of best cavalry general of the Austrian army.  

[ii] Chef Claude Mathieu Gardane Born in Marseille on 1766. Aged 14 he was Sous-lieutenant in the 1st Chasseurs regiment, Lieutenant on January 21,   1792, Captain on 1793 and chef d'escadron on 1794. Named by Directoire, on 14 prairial an IV, chef de brigade, had the command of 9th regiment of chasseurs à cheval. Moreau, général in chief of the armée d'Italie, witness oh his valour at Bassignana (23 floréal an VIII), named him général de brigade on the battlefield, rank confirmed on 27 vendémiaire an VIII. Had several wounded and was at the siege of Genoa in 1800 where he suffered a bad shot in the left leg. He was also Gouverneur des Pages on 1805, and aide-de-camp of Napoleon, with whom was ta Austerlitz, léna and Eylau. When King of Persia, Feth-Aly-Schah, wanted an alliance with France against Russia and England, Napoléon named him “ministre plénipotentiaire en Perse”, on May 10, 1807. Returned in France on 1809 he was made Count of the Empire and sent to Spain as brigade general, first with the VIII corps and after with the IX. There he was suspended from the duty for having not obeyed to an order to move a force into Portugal. This fact caused the loss of trust of Napoleon and he was no more employed. King Louis XVIII  recalled him on duty on June 12, 1814, but when he reached his command in the duke of Angoulème division, Napoleon was returning from Elba and he reached his Emperor. Napoleon forgave him and placed him at the Somme defences. On September 4, 1815 gardane retired and died on January 1818.

[iii] Jean-Claude Roussel, Born: 25 September 1771 - Chef-de-Brigade: 16 December 1799 - General-de-Brigade: 10 March 1809 - Commander of the Legion d'Honneur: 27 July 1809 - Baron of the Empire: 6 October 1810 - Died: 26 July 1812 (killed at Ostrowno)

[iv] Adjutant-Général Louis Gareau (or Garreau 28.05.1769-30.05.1813). He was transferred (1799) to Italy’s Army, with the Serurier division, and later with general Grenier. On 30th March passed the Adige at Polo’s bridge leading the Piedmonteses. Pescantina was occupied but disorder among ranks of Meyer brigade leaded to a disaster. Serurier losses at Polo: 1500 prisoners. Gareau was named general de brigade on May 13, a provisional charge after the Bassignana battle. In October 10, 1799 he was transferred to the French maltese garrison where (1800) he was taken prisoner by the British and then released “on parole”.

[v] Chef de brigade Jules-Alexandre-Léger Boutrouë, born at Chartres, on April 20, 1760. He was on duty by the infatry regiment Rohan-Soubise, as a simple soldier, and remained there in the period 1778, 1779 et 1780, in the Église company. Retired in 1780 he began to study Law when the Revolution outbroke. He enrolled again as Aide-major in the National Guard (Fertè-Bernard), becaming a Captain of the Chasseurs de la Garde nationale of Mans. On September 3, 1791, he went to war as volunteer and captain of 1er bataillon Voluntaires de la Sarthe. From January 1792 he was at the 33e régiment d’infanterie, the old regiment Touraine, where he was named First.Lieutenant (June 15, 1792). In 1794 he led a battalion (1er bataillon du Mont Terrible) as Chief and, in the same year,  he was named Chief of the 65e demi-brigade, which became the 68e (27 floreal an II). At the end of 1795 he was wounded and captured on the Rhine front, at Kehl. The following year he was released by exchange. Called to Italy he was under Grouchy in Piedmont and took part in the battle of Novi, where he was again taken prisoner. In 1804 he became Colonel of the 56th Line infantry and Knight (first) Commander (after) of the Legion d’Honneur. He had also the honorary command of the 2e régiment des Grenadiers d’Elite (reserve of the Army of England). He fought his last campaign in 1805 with Massena. Near Caldiero, the Colonel had a leg truncated by a cannon ball, while he was leading the 1st brigade of the 2nd division (in the place of general Brun, mortally wounded during the second day of the battle). The brave Colonel Boutroue died in Verona on December 4, 1805, after having suffered two amputations. He was 45 years old, the older Colonel in the Army.

[vi] Chef de bataillon Jean Dupellin o Duppelin. Born on April 3, 1771 in Phalsbourg (Meurthe). On 4 messidor an IV, he was named chef de bataillon in the 106e demi-brigade de ligne and was in Italy from 1799 to 1803. During the siege of Genoa (1800) he was wounded four times on the Montefaccio, and had an award. In 1806 he was Colonel of the 85e regiment de ligne He died on the battlefield a  Thorn (Prussia), on January 25, 1813.

[vii] In the place of Chef-de-Brigade Antoine-Francois Brenier de Montmorand, wounded at Verona on April 4 and after Magnano on April 17, (subsequently named General-de-Brigade for merits on the battlefield on June 15, 1799) the demi-brigade was led by : Chef-de-Brigade Villaret (died in 1800) a poorly known Officer. He was renowned as one of the most reliable Officers of the Army of Italy. He died on April 15, 1800, during the assault of the Hermette mountain, replaced by Captain Blanc.

[viii] François-Jean-Baptiste Quesnel baron du Torpt (1765-1819) He was recalled at the armée d'Italie (17 pluviôse an VIII). Quesnel was on Verona battlefield and later had the left arm wounded at Bassignana. The pain of the fracture forced him to ask a rest period in 1800.

[ix] Colli-Ricci Marchese di Felizzano Luigi Leonardo Antonio Giuseppe Gaspare Venanzio, b. 23 March 1756, Alessandria d. 31 March 1809, Alessandria. Born in a family of the ancient nobility (in 1757 or 1760, according to some sources). He began his military service as an ensign in the regiment of Monferrato on 10 June 1773. He was second lieutenant aide-major on 10 June 1774, lieutenant on 20 July 1775, captain-lieutenant on 2 May 1781, captain in the regiment of Pignerol on 8 May 1782, transferred to the regiment of Acqui on 27 June 1786, became 1st Major of the regiment of Mondovì on 13 March 1793, major commanding the 2nd battalion of chasseurs on 10 April 1794, lieutenant-colonel on 2 March 1795, colonel of infantry on 5 December 1795, colonel of a corps composed of the 1st and 2nd battalions of chasseurs on 20 March 1796. After the peace he became chief of staff to an auxiliary division gathered at Novara, commander of light troops on 10 March 1797, adjutant-general in the French service on 12 December 1798, general of brigade on 5 May 1799, wounded and captured at Pasturana at the battle of Novi (15 August 1799). General of division on 14 September 1802, he commanded the 23rd military division, then the department of Liamone ( Corsica). Retired on 6 June 1806. Crippled by debts, and pursued by a horde of debitors, Colli died almost in poverty ... His name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe on the south side. (War Archive). His mother was a Beccaria, and his uncle was Vittorio Alfieri, the illustrious writer, who criticised him for having rallied to the French ... Colonel Marchese Colli was not related to General Baron Colli-Marchi or Marchini belonged to the Austrian army, and Colonel Marchese Colli-Ricci to the Sardinian army.

[x] Chef de brigade Dominique Honore Antoine Marie Vedel (1771-1848) From 1799 to 1803 - Chef de brigade of the 17e Demi-brigade légère, replaced Chef Fornesy. From 1803 to 1805 - Chef-de-Brigadecommander of the 17e regiment of Light Infantry. In 1805 he was named general-de-brigade (24.12.). In 1806 he led the 3rd brigade (1st Inf. division – V Corps). Later commander of the place of Magdeburg (28.02.); on November 3, 1807 he was general-de-division. In 1808 he was named count of the Empire leading the infantry division of the II Observation Coros of the Gironda. With this he was at Baylen 1809. Returned in France he was arrested and emprisoned (until 1811).

[xi] Baron Charles-Louis-Dieu Donné Grandjean Born in Nancy on December 29, 1768. Named adjudant-général chef de brigade. With this rank he was at Pastrengo, as provisional brigade general from March 26th, where he attacked the entrenched camp taking prisoners 1,200 austrians near the Adige, being promoted to the rank of général de brigade on the battlefield. Then he fought at the Trebbia battle where he was wounded two times.

[xii] comte Henri-François-Marie Charpentier (1769-1831): Born at Soissons (Aisne) on June 23, 1769. During the years VI and VII Charpentier was in Italy as Chef-de-bataillon of 94th Line infantry. Employed as Adj. Général he was also named provisional Général de brigade from April 5, 1799 (Magnano battle) and definitively named brigadier on July 30, 1799, after the Trebbia battle where he had two horses killed under himself and where he was wounded at the abdomen. He distinguished himself at Novi and, in 1800, at Marengo. As Général-de-brigade he had Chief of Staff duties under Moncey and Jourdan and, in 1804, he had the Commander Cross of the Legion d’Honneur. On February 16, 1804 he became Général de division.

[xiii] Claude-Joseph Buget Born in Bourg,on september 10 1770. Son of a chief surgeon of the Bourg Hospital, would have had to make the priest or a clerical career; but the revolution advised to leave the Catholic School for the army. Left like soldier, it had the nomination to second lieutenant on April 25, 1793, in a regiment of the armée du Nord, and was assigned to the General Staff of Dugommier, charged to besiege Toulon. Buget was distinguished in siege obtaining the nomination to adjudant-général, chef de bataillon. On November 20, 1798 was sent as adjudant-général to the armée d’Italie transferred from the Armée de Mayence. On June 13, 1795 became Adjudant General Chef de Brigade. He received his first wound on March 26 (6 germinal) under the walls of Legnago, and on the following May 16 (27 floréal) was wounded again at Marengo (San Giuliano). For the merits acquired at Pastrengo he received the gift of the Honour Sabre and a complimentary letter from the Directory on 4 floréal an VII. The First Consul wanted personally to award him with the rank of général de brigade (10 July 1799). Baron of the Empire: 26 October 1808. On October 2nd, 1839 he died at Perpignan.

[xiv] Chef Robert was severely wounded in the 1795 Rhine campaign. So, on August 20, 1798, he was allowed to retire. In the emergencies of 1799, howevere, he was recalled to arms as, chef remis en activité: 6e complémentaire an VII

[xv] The 93e Demi brigade de Ligne came in Italy on February 1797. There it received the new flags, model “Armée d'Italie“ designed by Bonaparte himself, on July 1797 at Belluno, Italy, in the Division Delmas: flags totally blank of Battle Honours. For this reason it was decided to add the phrase "Traversée du Tirol" on the flags. In 1799, the 3rd battalion of the 93th was envoyed at Mantua’s garrison. There its flag was taken by Austrians when the fortress capitulated, July 30. While the Chef was Varennes, the most important officer of the demi-brigade was the Grenadier commander Chef-de-Bataillon Charles-Sebastien Marion (Born: May 7, 1758 . Chef-de-Brigade: September 6, 1799 . General-de-Brigade: August 20, 1805 . Officer of the Legion d'Honneur: June 14, 1804 . Baron of the Empire: September 9, 1810 . Died: September 7, 1812 (killed at la Moskowa battle).

[xvi] Chef-de-Brigade Charles-Augustin Salomon de Moulineuf was substituted by Chef dB François-Alexandre Grosjean, promoted chef de brigade, in his place, as Salomon retired on 17 germinal an VII. (April 6, 1799) the day after Magnano.      

[xvii] Général Gaspard-Amedée Gardanne Born on April 24, 1758 in Solliers (Vàr), entered the service, March 1, 1779, as lieutenant in the gunners coastguard, and here remained until September 30, 1780, time of his passage in the King’s Guards. He left the duty in 1784, however, when the Revolution outbroke, he was elected second major of the 1st Vàr battalion, September 16, 1791. Commander of this same battalion on November 31, 1792 he made the campaigns of the Alps. Adjudant-General chief of brigade by decree of the people representatives, on September 13, 1793, he was confirmed in this rank by decree of the 23 germinal year II, and took an active share in the operations at Toulon. Transferred at the army of Italy, the adjudant-General Gardanne distinguished at the camp of Sabion ( Piedmont), near Tende pass. For this he was named temporarily brigadier general, on January 23, 1796. At the passage of Mincio he was with a bunch of 50 grenadiers to hold the Borghetto bridge. General Gardanne, defined by Bonaparte as “a Grenadier by size as by courage” put the Austrians in rout. At the battle of Castiglione, Gardanne put again in rout the enemy and contributed strongly to the success of this combat. Always with avant-guard tasks he was in Tyrol and at la Corona with Vaubois and then at the first day of Arcole, when he made 400 prisoners, at the second, when he captured other 2,300 Austrians, among whose was a general major, taking 11 guns and 2 flags. The 27 Brumaire, when the enemy made a move to seize the bridge,  general-in-chief Bonaparte gave him the order to ambush from a wood, with 2 battalions of the 32e half-brigade. As soon as the Austrians appeared, Gardanne attacked them with impetuosity; and made other 2,000 prisoners rejecting many enemies in Adige, where a great number drowned. There he was wounded by a shot, but he did continue to lead the column. Confirmed brigadier general, by decree of the Directory, on March 30, 1797, he continued the italian campaign. In 1799 he distinguished himself especially at Bassignana. Then Gardanne was blocked in Alexandria where was taken prisoner. At the beginning of the 1800 Gardanne came to Paris and took a very-active part with the events of 18 brumaire. Bonaparte, become first Consul, did not forget the services of Gardanne; he named him division general on 15 nivôse year VIII. Called at the command of the 6th infantry division of reserve army he was at Marengo where he obtained his greatest glory. Gardanne still contributed, under the orders of Brune, at the Mincio, Brenta and Adige passages. Returned to France he was named commander of the 20th military division. In 1801 the first Consul entrusted to him the command of the French troops employed in the republic of Genoa, and in 1802 he charged him with the comamnd of all French Corps stationed in the Italian republic. He continued to exert his functions until 1805 when he passed to the command of one divisions of the army of Italy under Masséna. Gardanne distinguished himself in the combat of Caldiero. Transferred in 1806 to the 9th army corps, he made the campaigns of Prussia and Poland. After the peace of Tilsit, he returned to France by Silesia, when was ill by a pernicious fever in Breslau, and there he died on August 14, 1807.

[xviii] Chef de Brigade Joseph-Denis Picard – (Born: July 23rd, 1761 - Chef de Brigade of 1st Hussars: January 8th, 1797 former adjudant général, future général, promoted chef de brigade with Patent 7 pluviose an VI (January 26, 1798) - Brigade General : February 26th, 1803 - Legion d'Honneur: December 11th, 1803 - Commander of the Legion d'Honneur: June 22nd, 1804 - Baron of the Empire: June 1st, 1808 - Died: January 20th, 1826).

[xix] Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim, from April 28, 1798, was General-Major. Previously he was the Colonel commander of the Grenadier regiment of Astrakhan. Until June 28, 1799 he led the Musketeers regiment of Archangelogorod.

[xx] The French said, in a Bulletin, they had found a corpse with a brilliant uniform, and they were sure being the general Chubarov. Jomini confirmed this in his “Histoire des Guerres de la Révolution” (XI vol. p. 294), however he presented again Chubarov, alive, in the Trebbia battle (XI vol. p. 359). In a successive Report Chubarov was killed a second time at Pistoia (June 24, 1799). At least, at the time the French re-occupied Constance (October 7, 1799) the sergeant-major Heyberger killed Chubarov for the third time (from War Archives). Actualy, this three time dead man returned in Russia with Suvorov at the end of the campaign.

[xxi] Bagration gave these details: Dead (1 Staff Officer, 6 Officers, 326 NCOs and soldiers); wounded (1 general, 8 Officers, 50 inferior Officers, 600 NCOs and soldiers).

[xxii] At Bassignana, the 14th Line, officially, depended on the brigadier general François Jean Baptiste Quesnel du Torpt, wounded during the combats. It was sent between Pecetto and Bassignana, until the confluence of the rivers Tanaro and Po, where already the 3 battalions of the former Alessandria garrison stood, one Helvetian and two Piedmontese (II/1a and II/3a). After Bassignana, Colli Ricci had to replace Quesnel because of his temporary incapacity to combat.

[xxiii] Other sources said that the Austrians were totally surprised and the new of approaching French was received at 9.00 AM into the Torre Garofoli camp by general Lusignan. A sudden War Council with FML Kaim, arrived at Torre Garofoli during the early morning, left Lusignan alone to engage the enemies, being Kaim’s troops too tired to fight. The French had overrun the Austrian outpost of general Karacsaj at Marengo and were advancing in line towards San Giuliano vecchio. Bagration was caught by musketry during his march towards Sale and deployed his units in order of battle at the left wing. This second version seems more reliable. As for Coalition’s troops ready for battle, it was a situation totally in contrast with the Suvorov’s marching orders.

[xxiv] Chef de Brigade Joseph-Denis Picard – (Born: July 23rd, 1761 - Chef de Brigade of 1st Hussars: January 8th, 1797 former adjudant général, future général, promoted chef de brigade with Patent 7 pluviose an VI (January 26, 1798) - Brigade General : February 26th, 1803 - Legion d'Honneur: December 11th, 1803 - Commander of the Legion d'Honneur: June 22nd, 1804 - Baron of the Empire: June 1st, 1808 - Died: January 20th, 1826).

[xxv] Antoine-Alexandre Rousseaux, born on September 17, 1756 ; soldier on October 1, 1775; sergeant on July 17, 1779; adjutant on May 10,1789. He was caught by the Revolution outbreak amd began the Officer career as second-lieutenant (29.10.1790), firts-lieutenant (16 december 1790); captain (25 february 1792). In 1794 he was named  Adjudant-général chef-de-brigade and in the following year he was chef-de-brigade.

[xxvi] Oberst Franz Xavier Johann Sarkender Alois Priskus Graf von Auersperg was born on January 19, 1749 and died at Przemysl on January 8, 1808. He was Major in the IR 36 Fürst Carl Fürstenberg and in 1793 was named Oberstlieutenant. In 1796 he reached the rank of second colonel in the regiment. As IR 36 Oberst he made the 1799 campaign in Italy distinguishing himself at Novi. After that battle he received the provisional rank of brigadier (October 2) and was confirmed Generalmajor on November 18, 1799, after having fought with bravery the Savigliano battle. In 1800 he was at Mondovì and at Lesegno clash (October 26). In 1802 he had the Cross of Maria Theresia and on April 1807 he was named Feldmarschall-leutnant. He became the Owner of the K.k. IR 37 and Territorial Division commander at Kaschau ( Kosice). He died in the fortress of Przemysl.

[xxvii]Suvorov’s report declared 2500 French dead and 200 taken prisoners (he often overestimated the enemy’s losses). The Field Marshal told that the Coalition lost 27 dead (one being Officer) and around 80 wounded. A memoir told about 180 dead (6 Officers) and 250 wounded for the Austro-Russians. Melas’ report of July 11 declared 97 dead and 286 wounded (11 Officers) with 115 French taken prisoners. Lusignan’s report of July 9 declared about 300-400 French prisoners. 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: December 2007

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