Military Subjects: Battles & Campaigns

The 1799 Campaign in Italy: Summer Moves – Austria’s Planned Riviera Offensive and Joubert Takes Command

By Enrico Acerbi

 

Suvorov had now concentrated the Coalition Army at the Orba Camp with all the Russians at his immediate disposal. He now wished to maintain the pace of offensive operations even by driving over the Ligurian Apennines, possibly not towards Genoa[1], the last French bridgehead in Italy, but with a direct attack against Briga and Tenda and, then, to Nice, cutting off the whole Army of Italy. He was debating that: “We must get Genoa by a direct attack from the Gavi road or by taking a large tour from Acqui till Ceva and then Savona. In every case the French could have some ways of retreat to their Homeland. However the better way to cut off the whole French forces in Liguria, it could be a drive towards Briga and Tenda passes, with a successive advance to Nice. This could put Moreau in extreme difficulties”.

The document in which Suvorov described his plan was also hand-undersigned by  General Mélas himself, who seemed often more cautious and more interested in the orders that came from Vienna (Emperor Franz and Minister Thugut). Melas completely agreed with the Suvorov’s plan, deciding that a large Corps, under Fieldmarshal Kray, had to march towards Coni in order to became the new Right Wing of the Coalition  Army, that directly involved in an eventual attack towards Col di Tenda. In a different way from Vienna, Suvorov was not interested in all what could slow the military advances, such as sieges. He did not care for Mantua, Tortona and an eventual long siege of Genoa, preferring the battlefields. At Vienna, however, the resolution of the long sieges was also a prestige matter, also if this could have slowed the operations causing the lose of good opportunities. Marquis de Chasteler had the same opinion as Suvorov  about the campaign and was upset by the continual orders from Vienna to secure the control of Italy with the capture of Mantua and the citadel of Alessandria.

This infinite on-off switch would be ended when Alexandria and Mantua capitulated at the end of July. By July 11, Chasteler had already studied the plan of operations, based on the capture of the road-fortresses: Tortona citadel, Serravalle and Gavi. This would have opened the roads to Genoa, which would be attacked by 20,000 men, while a further armeegruppe of 20,000 regulars would attacked from Coni (Cuneo) across Col  di Tenda to the sea till Nice, while the Piedmontese militia, newly organized, had to control the inner order and the supplies. This plan was called the “Riviera Offensive Plan” and begun to be arranged after the fall of Mantua, by the first days of August, while a badly timed French move forced the opposite armies to battle at the “key of the main Genoa’s gate”: Novi Ligure.

The definitive plan, called third hypothesis “Trit’je Predpolozhenje“, was licensed on July 30, (being undersigned by Melas) and reassumed Suvorov’s ideas upon the offensive, being comprehensive of recalling the Klenau Gruppe (which, for a period, had been serving in Tuscany to support the insurgency) in order to make pressure against the coastal sector, eastwards of Genoa. This plan was effective by August 4, ten days before the Novi battle, and had the name of “dispozichija k' obwiemu nastuplenju v' Rivieru” (Deployment for the general offensive in Riviera) (see Novi battle for details).  

The Coalition  army, during that summer, was deployed:

Coalition  Army Headquarters at Bosco (Alessandria) – joint Staff

Coalition Commander - Feld Marschal Leutnant Aleksandr Vasilievich Suvorov graf Rymnikski
Chief-of-Staff: Quartiermeister Generalmajor Johann Gabriel Chasteler Marquis de Courcelles
Austrian Commander – FML Michael Friedrich Benedikt Mélas
Chief-of-Staff Oberst Anton Freiherr von Zach

Russian Rozenberg Corps (14,712 men,  24 battalions, 4 Cossacks pulki)

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

Russian Vanguard Division - Generalmajor Pjotr Ivanovich Prince Bagration

Imperial Russian 7th Jäger  Regiment GM Bagration – I and II  Battalion
Imperial Russian 8th Jäger  Regiment GM Ivan Ivanovich Miller (former Chubarov)
I and II  Battalions
Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion Sanajev
Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion Dendrjugyn
Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion Lomonosov
Imperial Russian Grenadier Battalion Kalemin
8th Don Cossacks Regiment Grekov
5th Don Cossacks Regiment Denissov
2nd Don Cossacks Regiment Sujchev
Don Cossacks Regiment Semernikov (Semjornikov)

Russian Division - Lieutenant General Jacob Ivanovich Povalo-Shvejkovsky 1st

Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment GdI Rozenberg or Moskowsky (Moskow) – 2 battalions
Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment GM Baranowsky II or Nizowski Musk. Regiment – 2 battalions
Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment GM Baron Ivan Ivanovich Dalheim
Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment LG Povalo-Shveikovsky or Smolensky (Smolensk) – 2 battalions

Russian Division - Lieutenant General Ivan Ivanovich Förster

Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – 2 battalions
mperial Russian Musketeers regiment GM Mihail Andrejevich Miloradovic or Apsheronsky (Apsheron)
Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment Lieutenant General  Förster (Ferster) or Tambowski (Tambov)
Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment Young-Baden or molodo-Badensky – 2 battalions

Austrian Division - Generalmajor Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich

Feldbrigade General-Major Freiherr Anton von Mittrowsky

K.K. Grenadier bataillon major Franz Wouwermanns
K.K. Grenadier bataillon Freiherr Carl von Görschen
K.K. Grenadier Bataillon Oberleutnant Carl Soudain
K.K. Grenadier Bataillon Graf Anton Schiaffinati
K.K. Grenadier Bataillon Oberleutnant Ferdinand Pers
K.K.  36  Line Infantry Regiment  Fürst Carl Fürstenberg  I, II, III Battalions
K.K. 5th  Hussar Regiment 3 squadrons

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Franz Joseph Marquis de Lusignan

K.K. Hungarian Grenadier battalion OberstLeutnant Johann Pértussy
K.K. Grenadier battalion Oblt Franz Xavier Weber von Treuenfeld
K.K. Grenadier battalion Count Johann Morzin
K.K. Grenadier battalion Graf Carl Paar
K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Otto von Hohenfeld
K.K. Grenadier bataillon Graf Nikolaus Weissenwolf
K.K. 5th  Hussar Regiment 2 squadrons

Cavalry Brigade Generalmajor Fürst Johann von Liechtenstein

K.K. 10th Light Dragoon Regiment GdC Joseph Fürst Lobkowitz - 6 squadrons
K.K. 8th Light Dragoon Regiment Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Herzog Württemberg- 6 squadrons

(Heertheil) Division FML Heinrich Joseph Johannes Graf von Bellegarde  (11000 men)

Alessandria Belagerung Korps

Feldbrigade FML Johann Ludwig Alexander Alformerius Frh. von Loudon

K.K. 33rd Infantry Regiment Graf Anton Sztaray – I, II and III Battalions
K.K. 32nd Hungarian Infantry Regiment Graf Samuel Gyulai - I, II  Battalions
K.K.  8th Infantry Regiment (former Huff Regiment) - I, II  Battalions
K.K.  28th Line Infantry Regiment Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich – I, II and III Battalions
K.K.  15 Infantry Regiment Oranien Prinz Wilhelm- I, II  Battalions

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Friedrich Bellegarde

K.K. 38th Infantry Regiment Herzog Ferdinand von Württemberg - ½ I Battalion
K.K. 30th  Infantry Regiment  Fürst Carl Joseph de Ligne - ½ III Battalion
K.K. 1st Light Dragoon Regiment “Emperor” Kaiser Franz II  - 6 squadrons

Tortona Belagerung Korps - Generalmajor Johann Graf Alcaini (3000 men)

K.K. 19th Hungarian Infantry Regiment Freiherr Jozsef Alvinczy de Berberek – 3 Battalions.
K.K. 34th Hungarian  Line Infantry Regiment - future  Frh. Kraj de Kraiova) (former Regiment Esterházy) (I and II Battalion)
VII Combined Battalion Grenz Regiment Warasdiner of Varazdin
K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren) 1 Squadron

(Heertheil) Piémont Sicherung Korps - FML Conrad Valentin Kaim (14000 men – 21 Battalions, 4 squadrons, 2 Cossack pulki)

Coni Belagerung Korps

K.K. 1st Light Dragoon Regiment “Emperor” Kaiser Franz II  -2 squadrons

Turin Besetzung Korps

K.K. 18th Line Infantry Regiment  Graf Patrick Stuart - I and IV Battalions.
Milizia Reale Piemontese – 10 Battalions.
K.K. 7th  Hussar Regiment 4 squadrons

Valenza and Casale

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf Johann Nobili

K.K. 9th Hungarian Light Infantry Battalion Major Carl Greth
½ Battalion K.K. 6th Light Infantry Major Carl Freiherr von Trauttenberg (serbian-Croatianian)
K.K. 7th Hungarian Light Infantry Battalion Oberst Wilhelm Ludwig Otto
K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (2companies - Dutch)

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Graf Joseph Johann Saint Julien-Wallsee

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

Westliche Grenze Sicherung Korps

Feldbrigade Generalmajor Oberst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille   

K.K.  58th Infantry Regiment Freiherr Peter von Beaulieu – combined battalion
K.K.  9th Infantry Regiment (former Clerfayt) I battalion - Commander: Obst Ludwig Wolff de la Marseille

Südliche Grenze Sicherung Korps

Austrian Avantgarde Brigade Generalmajor Freiherr Josef Philipp von Vukassovich       

K.K.  52nd Hungarian Infantry Regiment Erzherzog Palatin Anton Viktor - 2 battalions.
III battalion Grenz Regiment of Banat (or II/12 GR Deutschbanater - Major Anton Zedtwitz)
II Battalion Grenz Regiment of Banat (I/13th Grenzer Regiment) – Siebenbürgen-Wallachen
V Battalion Banater Grenz Regiment
6th Don Cossacks Regiment Pasdejev (written Posdeev)
Don Cossacks Regiment Molchanov
K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren) 4 squadrons

Nordliche Grenze Sicherung Korps (Aosta valley at St. Gotthard)

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Carl von Rohan

K.K. 2nd Light Infantry Battalion Oberst Carl Prince of Rohan (Italian battalion)
K.K. 8th Infantry Regiment (former Huff Regiment) - III  battalion

(Heertheil) Schweitzerische Grenze Sicherung Korps - Generalmajor Karl Joseph Graf Hadik von Futak
(10990 ÖMZ -13000 men [Suvorov] – 18 Battalions, 5 squadrons)

Oberwallis Sicherung Korps – 8 Battalions – 1 squadron

Feldbrigade Oberst Gottfried Freiherr von Strauch 

K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (1company - Dutch)
K.K. 11th Light Infantry Battalion Obst Graf Georg Simon de Carneville (istrian)
K.K. 11th Infantry  Regiment  (former Graf Michael Wallis) – I and II Battalions.
K.K. 46th Infantry Regiment Freiherr Franz von Neugebauer – combined battalion
IV Battalion 6th Grenz Regiment Warasdiner-St.Georger or II battalion/6th GR Major Vukassovic ?
I Battalion Banal Grenz Regiment or I Battalion - 11th Banal Regiment of Petrinja
K.K. 9th Hussar Regiment FML Johann Nepomuk Graf Erdödy de Monyorókerek (Erdödy  Husaren) 1 Squadron

Aosta Sicherung Korps (Aosta valley) – 8 Battalions – 3 squadrons and ½ - 14 guns
Generalmajor Karl Joseph Graf Hadik von Futak 

K.K. 23rd Infantry Regiment Grossherzog Ferdinand von Toscana – I, II and III Battalions
K.K. 47th Infantry Regiment Graf Franz Kinsky– I, II Battalions
K.K. 37th Infantry Regiment (former De Vins) – I, II Battalions
K.K. 7th ?? Hussar Regiment 3 squadrons

Simplon Pass Sicherung Korps – 2 battalions – ½ squadron.

Feldbrigade Oberst Prinz Victor von Rohan 

K.K. Light Battalion N. 14 Oberst Prince Ludwig (Louis) Rohan  (italian Battalion)
K.K. Jäger Korps Major Johann Le Loup (3companies - Dutch)
K.K. 52nd Hungarian Infantry Regiment Erzherzog Palatin Anton Viktor - III battalion
K.K. 7th  Hussar Regiment ½ Squadron

(Heertheil) FML Paul Kray de Krajowa et Topolya  (15,000 men)

Mantua Belagerung Korps

K.K. 59th Line Infantry Regiment FML Alexander von Jordis – I, II Battalions
K.K. 53rd Croatian Line Infantry Regiment GM Johann Jellacic Graf de Buzim – I, II Battalions
K.K. 48th  Hungarian Line Infantry Regiment Freiherr Philipp von Vukassovich – I, II Battalions
K.K. 14th Line Infantry Regiment Freiherr Wilhelm von Klebek – I, II and III Battalions
K.K. 13rd Line Infantry Regiment Freiherr Franz Wenzel Reisky von Dubnitz – I, II Battalions -  the third at Milano
K.K. 39th Line Hungarian Infantry Regiment Graf Thomas (Támas) Nádasdy – I, II and III Battalions
K.K. 40th Hungarian  Line Infantry Regiment  FZM Graf Joseph Mittrowsky – I, II Battalions from Ott -  the third at Brescia
K.K. 43rd Line Infantry Regiment  Graf Anton Thurn-Val Sassina – I, II Battalions -  the third at Milano
K.K. 18th Line Infantry Regiment  Graf Patrick Stuart - III Battalion
K.K. 10th Line Infantry Regiment  (former  Regiment Kheul) - III  battalion – I, II Battalions at Venice
K.K. 32nd Hungarian Infantry Regiment Graf Samuel Gyulai - III  battalion
K.K. 45th Line Infantry Regiment  Freiherr Franz von Lattermann – II and III Battalions.
Jäger Korps Freiherr Constantin d'Aspre  4 companies       
I Battalion of 3rd Croatian Grenz Regiment Carlstädt-Ogulin - Commander Freiherr Carl von Letzenyi
III Battalion 3rd Grenz Regiment Carlstädt-Ogulin former 7th Carlstadt Battalion
I Battalion of 4th Grenz Regiment Carlstädt Szluiner
IV Battalion Grenz Regiment Banat
I Battalion of 10th Banal Grenz Regiment of Glina  (former 2nd Banal Battalion)  cmdr. Oberst Daniel (Danilo) von Oreskovic
K.K. 12th Kürassier Regiment FML Moritz Graf Cavanagh – 6 squadrons

Division (Kolonne) Generalmajor Carl Peter Ott de Batorkéz  (5900 men – 5 Battalions., 16 squadrons)

Mantua – Parma - Piacenza

K.K. Light Battalion # 15 Oberst Bonaventura Mihanovic (Croatian-slavonian)   
VI Battalion Grenz Regiment Banat
VII Combined Battalion Grenz Regiment Warasdiner of Varazdin
Bussy Freiwillige Jägers zu Pferd (Chasseurs a Cheval)  - 8 squadrons     

Avantgarde (Kolonne) Generalmajor Johann Graf von Klenau und Freiherr von Janowitz 

Bologna then Tuscany

Jäger Korps Freiherr Constantin d'Aspre  6 companies       
K.K. 4th Light Infantry Battalion Bach Commander:  Major Johann Nepomuk Freiherr von Bach
K.K. 3rd Light Battalion Am Ende - Commander: Oblt (Lieutenant Col.) Carl Freiherr von Am Ende
8th Hussar Régiment (later Nauendorff) –8 squadrons.

Reinforcing the Austrian Army

The Austrians had no reinforcements available, but they could count on the Mantua Belagerung Korps, in the event the city capitulated. Mantua received 6 reinforcement battalions come from the inner garrisons:

K.K.  4th Line Infantry Regiment Hoch und Deutschmeister - Erzherzog Maximilian von Köln Commander: Obst Carl von Brixen - I, II, III Battalions. – the Grenadiers being with Hohenfeld battalion

2700

K.K.  16th Line Infantry Regiment Freiherr Ludwig Terzy
Commander: Graf Franz Khevenuller-Metsch – I, II and III Battalions. - the Grenadiers being with Hohenfeld battalion

2700

 

 

 

 

 

The Nadasdy and Mittrowsky regiments were also transferred to the Mantua siege group, from Ott’s division.

Reinforcing the Russian Army

The Russian army received its reinforcements in July. It was General Rehbinder’s Corps sent by the Czar in order to reinforce the siege of Mantua. The corps reached Ferrara on June 30 and was met by Prince Gorchakhov with the new orders of Suvorov, who wanted it in Piedmont. 

Division General Maksim Vladimirovich Rehbinder

General-of-division (general-poruchik) Maksim Vladimirovich Rehbinder (1730-1804) – From Colonel was promoted general-poruchik on July 18, 1797 while commanding the Schlisselburg Musketeers regiment; was promoted, on October 3, 1799, to general-lieutenant, chief of the Imperial Russian Musketeers regiment of Azov from July 18, 1797 till October 3, 1799. Arrived in Italy in June 1799 and joined Suvorov by July 30.

 

Authorized

Field Force

Units

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment
Generalmajor Maksim Vladimirovich Rehbinder - Azovsky

51

1451

1717

47

1257

1479

Commander: Pulkovnik Fjodor Vassiljevich Kharlamov – 2nd Commander Pod pulkovnik  Demjan Nikolajevich Kurosh. From October 3, 1799 the Owner was Aleksej Abramovich Selekhov

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment
Generalmajor Aleksandr Pavlovich Mansurov 2nd - Orlovsky

51

1435

1709

50

1295

1547

Commander: Pulkovnik Osip Petrovich Trubnikov
Generalmajor Aleksandr Pavlovich Mansurov 2nd. Polkovnik and commander of the Ufimsk Musketeers regiment, from December 24, 1797 Generalmajor and Chef of the Orlovsky regiment, from December 15 1799 general Lieutenant.

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment
Generalmajor Ivan Fjodorovuch Fertsch - Novgorodsky

46

1492

1722

42

1343

1566

Generalmajor Ivan Fjodorovuch Fertsch, in 1799 generalmajor and chef of the Novgorod regiment, brigade commander. Until April 24, 1799, the Chef had been Aleksandr Jakovljevich Schembek. Commander: Polkovnik Nikolaj Ivanovich Verderevsky

Imperial Russian 12th Jäger Regiment Generalmajor Dmitryi Jevghenjevich Kashkin

33

715

880

33

660

825

Generalmajor Dmitryi Jevghenjevich Kashkin, podpolkovnik and, from November 29, 1797, polkovnik of the 13th Jäger regiment. From November 2, 1798 generalmajor and Chef of the 12th Jäger. From Dec. 14, 1800 till July 30, 1801, Chef of the Musketeers regiment of Olonjetzk. The regiment, from September 27, 1799, named itself GM Semjon Georgevich Gangeblov and in 1800 took the number 13. Commander: Kashkin and after August 7, 1799, Major Nikolaj Fjodotovich Sharapov.


 

Authorized

Field Force

Units

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Imperial Russian Combined Grenadiers Battalion Budberg

18

618

708

18

580

655

Imperial Russian Combined Grenadiers Battalion Plamenkov

18

607

714

17

553

643

Imperial Russian Combined Grenadiers Battalion Shengelidsev

18

608

700

17

520

596

 

Cossack Regiment  Kornakov

17

481

498

16

464

480

Cossack Regiment  Pasdejev 2nd

17

478

495

16

416

432


Field artillery

24

640

1008

13

383

626

Regimental artillery

3

209

312

3

203

292

Field artillery – Foot artillery – 2 companies

6 X 24 pdr. Unicorns; 8 X 12 pdr. Guns; 8 X 6 pdr. guns

Field artillery – Horse artillery – 1 company

6 X 24 pdr. Unicorns; 6 X 6 pdr. guns

Regimental artillery of the 3 grenadier battalions

6 X 12 pdr. Unicorns

Regimental artillery of the 3 musketeer regiments

2 X 12 pdr. Unicorns; 10 X 8 pdr. Guns

Total: 52 pieces of artillery

 

 

Authorized

Field Force

Units

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Officers

Enlisted

Non-Combatants

Pioneers  Company Captain Nasimov

5

213

236

-

-

-

             

Total for Rehbinder’s Reinforcements

301

8947

10669

272

7674

9141

The Corps marched through Rovigo, Governolo towards Mantua, where it left the Pioneers and great part of its artillery, then continued the march through Guastalla, Parma, Piacenza and Tortona. The 10,000 Russians (8500 the soldiers) were incorporated in the Rozenberg Corps and became the Rehbinder Division.

“Je vous invite, citoyen général …”. The Arrival of the Hero of Rivoli.

On July 11 (22 messidor) the French Directory urged his new “star” to leave France and to reach Italy in order to take command of the Moreau’s army. The letter, in the French War Archives, told:

“Je vous invite, citoyen général, à ne pas différer votre départ ; c’est le vœu du Directoire qui compte, avec tous les amis de la République, sur vos succés, dignes de votre réputation militaire. La gloire de mon ministere sera de seconder la votre et de favoriser vos operations pour anéantir les peuples et barbares ennemis de notre patrie.”

This letter moved a young, brilliant general, from Paris putting him in front of his destiny. And on July 15, General Barthélemy Catherine Joubert,[2] left Paris for the south. About Joubert it was said he was a great “puller”, a brave commander of small units but a mediocre commander of army. He perhaps lacked the ability to appraise the situation in its evolution, not always knowing how the correct moment to attack. He was always in a  hurry; this was appropriate for attacking redoubts, but it could be ruinous when a whole division had to be moved. He often said the bravery was better than numbers and manoeuvers:

“Les manœuvres d'ensemble d'une armée, » disait-il, « deviennent impossibles en pays de montagnes ; alors la vivacité et l'intelligence des Français ont toute leur supériorité. Sans affaire générale, trop chanceuse contre des forces si supérieures, et en manœuvrant, on pourrait peut-être arriver au but à l'aide d'une série de combats heureux , ainsi que l'avait si habilement fait Bonaparte, en 1796, presque sur le meme terrain. En mettant les choses au pis, quant aux résultats, on aurait livré, par cette manière d'opérer, beaucoup moins à la fortune.”

Joubert had often many new ideas, always vigorous and energetic, he liked to perform reconnoisance personally. Joubert, probably, as many men of rapid assessments, needed above all persistence and forethought. He was able to convince a demoralized Moreau to fight side by side with him, before reaching the Rhine, to take on his new command. The young commander in chief reached Cornigliano on August 6 and soon protested about  the poor status of the army. He also asked the Directory to cancel Macdonald’s battlefield “promotions” (Joubert often did not use very polite expressions, when talking about Macdonald) saying that they were too many and this confused the army; many officers immediately became to grumble, and some had a sudden feeling of hatred against the commander, and this personal attack against the Chief of the Army of Naples was not a good starting move for that rather unlucky commander of 1799!

Joubert stayed some days at his birthplace, Pont-de-Vaux in Ain, where he married a local girl, then reached Lyon and Marseille.  Before reaching  Genoa he stopped at Nice, where, meeting Championnet, he explained the mission to force the Alps passage; essentially Mont Cenis. Joubert was at his HQ, at Cornigliano, on August 6. There he dismissed Dessolle and named Suchet as new Chief of Staff. The same night (at 3 a.m.!) Suchet and Joubert left the HQ to make a reconnaissance from the Fort Gavi to la Bocchetta. The French garrisons were resisting at Tortona and at Fort Serravalle (160 infantrymen under Captain Ghenisier), but when Alexandria and, above all, Mantua capitulated, the new Chief was entirely persuaded it was necessary to anticipate an attack of the Coalition, which, at the time, could now count on the troops freed from Mantua.

On August 12, with the Lemoine reinforcements, the Armée d’Italie had a strength of  about 48,000 men. Joubert ordered his army to battle, with the exception of 8500 men to whom he submitted the task to watch the Ligurian territory.

Initially the army was deployed in two wings: the right with the divisions of Watrin, Dąbrowski and Laboissière, under St. Cyr,  and the left with the divisions of Lemoine and Grouchy under Perignon. The French then began to march towards Alexandria.

Notes:

[1] Marquis Chasteler was, in effect, more optimistic. See what Christopher Duffy tells in his excellent study:

Chasteler noted in his journal that 'the united Imperial army... was assembled at Pozzolo Formigaro as early as 26 June, and it could have reached the crest of the Apennines in four or at the most five days, and dislodged the corps of Moreau—which numbered less than 12,000 troops—and either thrown it into Genoa or driven it back to Savona/ Chasteler calculated that Macdonald's troops could reach Moreau in Genoa by 5 or 6 July at the earliest. In fact Macdonald's forces arrived on the Genoese Riviera in dribs and drabs only between 8 July and the end of the month, and even then the combined forces amounted to scarcely 24-25,000 troops.”

[2] General Barthélemy Catherine Joubert (Pont-de-Vaux April 14, 1769- Novi, August 15, 1799),  the son of a lawyer, was born at Pont-de-Vaux (Ain) on the 14th of April 1769. In 1784 he ran away from school to enlist in the artillery, but was brought back and sent to study law at Lyons and Dijon. In 1791 he joined the volunteers of the Ain, and was elected by his comrades successively corporal and sergeant. In January 1792 he became sub-lieutenant, and in November lieutenant, having in the meantime made his first campaign with the army of Italy. In 1793 he distinguished himself by the brilliant defence of a redoubt at the Col di Tenda, with only thirty men against a battalion of the enemy. Wounded and made prisoner in. this affair, Joubert was released on parole by the Austrian commander-in-chief, Devins, soon afterwards. In 1794 he was again actively engaged, and in 1795 he rendered such conspicuous service as to be made general of brigade. In the campaign of 1796 the young general commanded a brigade under Augereau, and soon attracted the special attention of Bonaparte, who caused him to be made a general of division in December, and repeatedly selected him for the command of important detachments. Thus he was in charge of the retaining force at the battle of Rivoli, and in the campaign of 1797 (invasion of Austria) he commanded the detached left wing of Bonaparte army in Tirol. In 1798 he had the command of the armée d’Italie, but suddenly he decided to remain apart. In summer 1799, Joubert was with the Jacobins, who took the control of French Government (30 prairial golpe) and was selected by the new War minister Bernadotte, for the command of the Italy’s army, replacing Moreau. As soon he reached Genoa’s HQ, he decide immediately to go in battle against the Austro-Russians, at Novi ligure. The battle of Novi was disastrous to the French arms, not merely because it was a defeat, but above all because Joubert himself was amongst the first to fall (Aug. 15, 1799). Joubert died before it could be shown whether his genius was of the first rank, but he was at any rate marked out as a future great captain by the greatest captain of all ages, and his countrymen intuitively associated him with Hoche and Marceau as a great leader whose early death disappointed their highest hopes. After the battle his remains were brought to Toulon and buried in Fort La Malgue.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: September 2008

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