Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

The Memorie Zucchi: an Extrapolation of the 1809 Italian Campaign – Part I

Fronte Veneto – For an Evaluation of Military Life and Officers Conduct: the Interrelations at the Padua Headquarters

By Roberto A. Scattolin, Italy

History and Strategic Applications: Studies for the Bicentenary, 1809-2009

The primary purpose of these dedicated studies is not to let those past events disappear into the waters of oblivion as has happened in the post-modernity of the XXI Century.

Stories of shared courage, of gallant soldiers who risked the sacred fulcrum of their very existence in agonizing for their own country and ideals are found in these battles and campaign. These episodes teach us to equally understand that, in a lifetime, there are choices in behaviour and actions not ratified to the clichés imposed through dictatorship and military domination.

As a point of remark, we can respectfully admit that we undertook this difficult historical task because after properly evaluating the original sources, and documentary material research that we collected from 1984, 1985, 1987, and after lengthy and timely researches that we carried out from 2008 to 2010, it seemed to us that an important page of history had to be rendered to the age of Napoleon and to XIXth century social history of western Venetiae (Northern Italy).

Therefore, these collected works are a tribute in memoriam to those unnamed valiant soldiers (Italian, French, Austrian) who perished on the ground of honour, and a fundamental cultural addition to Italian history. And, last, but not least, the significance to preservation of the past -- the early XIXth Century roots -- which up to now have detrimentally disappeared from the Soave Valley population. This perspective points vigorously to a remarkably significant contribution to Napoleonic military history, finalized just because true intelligence did not fall into intellectual egotism: but to understand that not every leaf fallen from the tree of history is one that is lost forever; and that a garden of dead leaves is quite nothing to mankind and to the values of civilization. 

From these carefully completed historical essays it is hoped that either the contemporary, casual reader as well as the seasoned and passionate historians of modern Europe will discern this particular time and place in history in an incisive and penetrating light -- that the ultimate sacrifices through which the belligerent armies of that period operated and fought against each other, will not have been made in vain but that the new-born generations will embrace the long ago past to share in an international culture of peace between the people.

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Many of the combatants who gallantly served throughout the 1804-1815 emergency conflicts of the premier Empire recorded events through their personal experiences in the literary form of their papers, either as narrazioni reminiscenziali (i.e. reminiscent narratives) or memorie personali (i.e. personal memoirs).

A couple of refined formal canons, however, were not confined to that stylistic methodology and contents of that historic period. 

Some were published after the 1815 final military collapse in the plains of Belgium, and the débâcle (i.e. ruinous falling) of the Napoleonic political regime, or subsequently edited in the decades to come, thus becoming celebrated works of a time of contest and epochal strategic transitions.

Many more, however, remained tucked away in dusty drawers for years, unpublished and out of the reach of interested researchers-historians until the second half of the XIXth Century.

After the passing of the political regimes and governments, an opportunity arose for the descendants of many seasoned veterans to have unknown fragments or something similar to memorial compilations published for the historical education and cultural interest of new generations to come. 

This researched essay brings to light a specific collection of such pages.

Therefore, it is benefit to have featured within this research essay a largely forgotten narrative written by an eye-witness, a survivor who had distinguished himself in many battlefields in Europe – one amazing veteran who reputedly took from his own direct testimony –, and consequentially had seen all kinds of military action through his personal campaign experiences and from the point of view of a fighting regimental commander.

The imposing complex and the pinnacles of the Domus Dei (sacred temple) seen from the fortified bastions; its amazing architectural construction was built to preserve the spoils and the shrine of  Fernando Martins de Bulhões, a native (1195 A.D.) of Lisbon, in Portugal. The son of Martim Vicente de Bulhões and of his wife Teresa Pais Taveira, he died on June 13, 1231. Canonized on May 30, 1232 – and world-wide known as Saint Anthony of Padua.

These memories communicate extensive information and increasingly significant aspects of Napoleonic warfare, be it in military service conditions, or as part of a specific attack and battle action (properly intended characteristics are interwoven as combat performances) as well.

In this important work which provides an absorbing analysis on the Franco-Italian and Austrian campaign of 1809, the author has investigated little-known details of various participants in the battles.

Not only does he explore the “why” of the erratic course and ground victories of the Italians in the 1809 campaign, but he also introduces to casual readers and scholars alike to individuals infused to fight to the bitter end, and who had an impact on the outcome of the campaign.

The battalions and regiment of the 1st Infantry Regiment of the Line and their officers are described in meticulous detail.

In addition, the positions of the battle lines and the times of the military engagements are accurately noted, analogously compared as to the number and compositional roles as well as to the strength of the various combat units.

For the thoroughly discerning historian who needs to research deeply into thisparadoxically forgotten campaign year in the territories of the Venetiae, Northern Italian strategic theatre, this documentary text presents a first-hand account and fundamental aid to that research: it blazes the trail for others studies to follow.

The emphasis is placed on Colonel Carlo Zucchi, a distinguished officer of proven ability and spirited valour who served in the army of the Italian kingdom under the Viceroy Eugène Rose de Beauharnais[1].

Colonel Zucchi was an imaginative, enterprising staff officer and his exploits make this not only a memorably disputed campaign but also an interesting and rousing one about which to read.

According to his memoirs, he exhibited courage and intelligence during the various actions.

For a serious student of modern history, this is a must-read.

The Altinate Bridge

For the person who wishes to educate himself in the 1809 events of the Italian campaign, this enthralling treatise will accomplish that.

Under the supplementary profile of psychological investigation, the Memorie Zucchi are much more vibrant when the human element is introduced: the mistakes, the weaknesses of unpredictable human nature.

And especially, the strength of character that was required to sacrifice one’s own life and fortunes for the protection of their homeland or for an idea such as freedom; and, to follow the strategic plans of a monocratic leader such as the emperor Napoleon I, about whom one of his contemporaries in arms remarked that his presence on the battlefield was worth 40,000 troops.

This seminal work detailing the battles in the erstwhile Stato Veneto is an unprecedented account of the little-known, and even less written about, conflicts during the Napoleonic wars in 1809 and it illustrates the bloody impotence of war with incomplete results that causes much hardship and suffering on the part of the belligerent armies. 

It is undeniably a great surprise that makes it a vital addition in its confirmed importance, that first-hand accounts in the Italian language are rare, making this penetrating study a worthy addition to the Napoleonic literature of a “singularly forgotten and previously unused primary source[2].

It is through the use of and long-past non-investigated sources that bring the account to life for the modern day historian and fervent reader, and proves a causative contribution to the passionate culture of the Napoleonic history.

Between history and traditions: the myth of the liberty

In reading and pondering Zucchi’s carefully written literary work, XXIst Century postmodern scholarship is given an in-depth glance at the difficulties which the French military invasions of 1796 and 1797 had caused to the Italian peninsula pre-unitarian states.

And how after the fatal betrayal of the Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco (i.e. Most Serene Republic of Saint Mark) by the villainous Général en Chef Bonaparte (treaty of Campoformio, October 17, 1797)[3], its towns and land territories were ceded to the Imperial domains of the Habsburgs.

On March 18, 1805, the forming of a new State system in Northern Italy (former Austrian Lombardy) under the figurative nominal authority of the Napoleon’s stepson, was quite an ambiguous resource to hold the conquered territories; it took the ostentatious political decline of Regno d’Italia (i.e. Italian Kingdom).

Notwithstanding pretentious claims of grandeur (greatness), it was predominantly a French client state, more arguably a vassal domination camouflaged by the appearance of conferred legitimacy.

Imperial reveries (aka Parisian strategies) proved to be unequivocally the fatal seal to all the previous years of political discrepancies, social dissent, and failures.

The Bacchiglione River, and the was once the mighty fortified walled structure called the castellum (castle). A Byzantine fortification, kastron; then, in the Middle Ages (XIIIth Century), one of the residences of the tyrant Ezzelino III da Romano (April 25, 1194 - October 7, 1259).

The Napoleonic monocratic ruling-system considered this buffer-state creation to be arbitrarily dependent on France; and, the Regno d’Italia was deprived of autonomous sovereignty.

Under prevailing conditions of hostility, and the victorious clash at Austerlitz (December 2, 1805), part of the eastern Venetiae territories which had been ceded to the Habsburgs became part of a new political annexation (Treaty of Presburg, December 26, 1805) in the political sphere of the Regno d’ Italia.

In 1808, land implementations were to obtain the Marche; and after the peace of Schönbrunn (October 14, 1809), it had added the Trentino, up to the town of Bolzano.

Istria and Dalmatia were added instead into the Illirian Provinces, under French sovereignty.

Serving in arms under strict French dominance meant to the Italian the possibility of reaching political and military independence, in primis – which would soon be disillusioned at the dichotomy of a national feeling substantially opposed to the years of long dominance by foreign arms.

The shrewdly circulated ideal conceptualisation – escamotage politique (political retraction) – for the “restoration” of liberty -- helping the French to fight the Austrian -- was for a long time a ventilated bugbear presented as primary causal motivation to the naïve people in the occupied territories.

Significantly, Colonnello (Colonel) Zucchi remembered that since 1796 this falsehood of spreading post-revolutionary ideology had been the great mystification, and  intemperate demagogic rethoric to think that in order to be free from the threat of foreign arms, people still had to serve a foreign power opposed to the Austrian monarchy.

The overpowering French dominance was no improvement at all.

There was always a new disquieting foreign domination which substituted for the previous one.

The magnificent illusion spoke about liberty to the people, to keep them chained under armed occupation. 

In these circumstances, after years of servitude to foreign-imposed arms, and to the fallacious ceremony of May 26, 1805 (Napoleon’s coronation in the chiesa cattedrale of Milan, the Duomo; by a purely uninspired act of degenerative ambition, the man had himself proclaimed King, putting on his head the iron crown of the ancient Longobard monarchs), the political moods were on the verge of rupture.

Because political difficulties arose once more against Austria in 1809, troops were detached in the central Venetia, notably to fortify the presidial garrison forces of the town of Padua – once a major Venetian stronghold, surrounded by mighty ramparts built around her extensive walled perimeter.

Documentary piece

Alla fine del marzo 1809 ebbi l’ordine di portarmi a Padova[4] coi quattro primi battaglioni[5] a far parte della divisione Severoli.

Nell’eseguire ciò provai grave dispiacere.

Io aveva avuta occasione di conoscere davvicino il generale Severoli[6] sin da quando egli era colonnello della prima mezza brigata Cisalpina, nella quale io aveva tenuto l’uffizio di Aiutante Maggiore.

Ora i ricordi che di lui m’erano rimasti non mi facevano per nulla desiderare di militare sotto i suoi comandi[7].

Trnsl.: “At the end of march 1809 I had the order to go myself to Padua with the first four battalions to be part of Severoli’s division.

On accomplishing this I felt grave disappointment.

I had had occasion to intimately know General Severoli since he was colonel of the first half Cisalpine brigade, in which I held the office of Major Adjudant.

Now the memories of him that had remained with me did not incline me to desire at all to serve under his commands”.

Comment: Four phrases to start with the analytical study.

The whole literary passage we are going to examine counts instead thirteen sentences, in consequential order of reading and words count (respectively, 22; 6; 31; 21; 62; 10; 77; 32; 29; 18; 13; 7; 41).

There is a total of three hundred-sixty-nine terms that forms the text, and syntax structure of the historical narrative.

Colonnello Zucchi, the determined and pettifogging disciplinarian commander of the primo reggimento di fanteria di linea (First Infantry Regiment of the Line, aArmy of the Italian Kingdom), had been assigned the task to lead four infantry battalions[8] (of his regimental unit) to reach in the ranks comprising part of the composite roll of Severoli’s Division, 1ère division d’infanterie de l’armée d’Italie (i.e. First Infantry Division of the Italian Army), an operative corps already stationed in the town of Padua and in the surrounding area.

Confirmed literary evidence points to the fact that during his previous military service he had already served under the actual divisional commander, but clouds of discord and misunderstandings had not yet vanished away.

In abstracting from the temperamental incompatibility with his superior commander, which confirmed a persistent dislike to the limit of a critical standpoint, Zucchi’s discordanze caratteriali (character differences) and his dissensioni opinative (divergences, dissensions) concealed a painfully disaffected mood for the proclivity of judgement and the manifest pro-French concurrences of General Severoli’s conduct.

Therefore, for a man whose tactless penchant and impromptu verbal animosity were all but still predisposed to the revolutionary verve (brio) of hot-words and people action.

In fact, his short-tempered expressions of opinion were démodées, old-styled politics, imbued with past redundances and post-revolutionary tendencies; and his refractory objections to the Empire were acutely far removed from the transition of the times leading to new-modelled ideals of national liberties.

Egli per verità era un soldato intrepido di fronte ai maggiori pericoli, aveva grande onestà d’ animo, ma poi si lasciava andare alle maggiori adulazioni verso i Francesi; ne usava costantemente la lingua scrivendo o parlando in mezzo a’ soldati italiani, e piuttosto che arrecare qualche noja agli uffiziali superiori dell’esercito francese, avrebbe tralasciato di far rendere giustizia ai suoi subalterni.

Io al contrario m’era mantenuto sopra un diverso terreno.

Sempre pronto a tributare i miei schietti elogi a tutte le belle e grandi virtù dei soldati Francesi e a mostrar loro un fraterno amore a tutte le prove in ogni occasione, tuttavia anche in ogni incontro io non era ristato dal dire apertamente: che per nulla m’andava a sangue quel contegno di supremazia, che pareva volessero esercitare sopra di noi; che dovevano considerarci loro eguali, e trattarci bensì fraternamente, ma senza la minima ombra di servilità.

Neanco io aveva mai tralasciato di far sentire il decoro di conservare l’uso della nostra materna lingua e di mantener vivo il sacro fuoco della nostra indipendenza nazionale fra i battaglioni italiani.

Questi miei sentimenti erano troppo conosciuti e troppo opposti a quei professati dal generale Severoli, perché io non dovessi essere non troppo contento di passare sotto i suoi ordini[9].

Trnsl.: “He to tell the truth was an intrepid soldier in front of the major dangers, had great uprightness of the soul, but then he let him go to the major flatteries towards the French; he constantly used their language by writing or by speaking in the midst of Italian soldiers, and rather than cause some trouble to the superior officers of the French army, he would have omitted to act with fairness to his subalterns.

I on the contrary had maintained myself on a different ground.

Always ready to tribute my frank eulogies to all the beautiful and great virtues of the French soldiers and to show them a brotherly love in every test in every occasion, nevertheless also in every meeting I was not reluctant to openly say: that for nothing it went me in the blood that behaviour of supremacy, which appeared they wanted to exercise upon us; that they had  to consider us equal to them, and treat us but fraternally, but without the minimal shadow of servility.

Not even I had never omitted to make hear the decorum to preserve the use of our maternal language and to maintain alive the sacred fire of our national independence amid the Italian battalions.

These sentiments of mine were too much known and too much opposed to those professed by General Severoli, because I had not to be not much happy to pass under his orders”.

Comment: Zucchi was dissatisfied serving under a divisional officer who had almost paradoxically maintained a line of professed servility and obsequiousness to the French military authorities – and who thought of himself as becoming “an adopted French” by means of linguistic applications and attitudes of condescension.

His ambitious tendencies and daily frequentations (not to mention his styled persuasivness, a passion for articulated phraseology and speechmaking), conformed to a perfect courtly style, acting on the ancient Latin locution Ubi maior, minor cessat (i.e. where there is the major, the minor decays; or: at the presence of the major, the minor is negligible; variously interpreted as: the weak -- minor -- capitulates before the strong -- major), and adhering therefore either to the instances of the moment or to the transition necessities.

He was preponderantly a Francophile in his sympathies; and he utilized influential connections of equals to his rank to the detriment of ethnic, linguistic, and political affirmations of his native country.

He was a man deprived of his original personality, and searching to consolidate the position he had attained in the wake of glorious military affirmations achieved through the strategic synergies and ever raising power of the foreign host.

Zucchi followed instead the cohesive behaviour of those soldier-patriots who had opened their eyes to truth of the French military occupation for a long time.

Because this stern military professional spoke a straightforward language with all his subordinates, and to the persons that surrounded him, he did not have to change his human identity, character and ideas according to the occasional interlocutor he was speaking with – and to please the volatile foreign moods.

Zucchi felt perfectly Italian; through his behaviour he displayed a refined and exemplary paradigm of devotion to the mother country, to the traditions of the forefathers, and to a new political horizon of hope.

His resourcefulness and uncontained vitality served as an example of his military conduct and fonte di emulazione (i.e. source of emulation) to many of his fellow-comrades under the arms.

Arrivato a Padova il 4 d’aprile andai tosto a visitarlo meco conducendo tutti gli uffiziali del reggimento.

Egli al suo solito si servì della lingua francese; io risposi in Italiano.

Parve che ciò non gli garbasse molto.

Io invece restai contento di questa lezione data a chi così si dimenticava, che egli italiano parlava a soldati italiani, i quali già col proprio valore avevano reso rispettabile sui campi delle battaglie il nome e la riputazione del proprio paese[10].

Trnsl.: “Arrived in Padua on 4 April I went at once to pay him a visit taking with me all the officers of the regiment.

He as usual used the French language; I replied in Italian.

It seemed that he did not like this much.

Instead I was happy of this lesson given to one had forgotten, that he Italian spoke to Italian soldiers, that by their own valour had kept respectable on the fields of the battles the name and the reputation of their own country”.

Comment: Meeting General Severoli at Padua (a compulsory obligation, far away from the euphemistic rhetoric of shared cordiality), at the divisional headquarters (and thus anticipating any possible difference and lack of comprehension with a high-ranking seasoned veteran), was a transient episode full of significance.

The context of this extraordinary scene related by Zucchi – just three sentences – happened at the division command.

It appeared the Colonel had cogently anticipated Severoli (and his mandatory calling of the regiment commanding officer) – thus averting in advance any possible acrimony and prejudiced view his superior could have -- a magnificent choice for humility and respectability.

The scene’s defined majesty – seemingly not discernible through simple reading – lies as well in the fact that Zucchi, aware of Severoli’s propensities to flattery, had decided to impress the division commander – making of him quite an adulated General-officer.

No other reason is needed to understand why a regimental commander had to go to the division headquarters with such an accompanying suite of officers[11].

Further: this shrewd choice of prevention was to equally make an impression on the generale di divisione (i.e. division general) by the fiery display of discipline and valiant martial abilities which were exhibited on that occasion.

The unconvincing diatribe on this occasion that used the mellifluence of the French language was evidence of how Severoli had continued the same acquiescence of the past years, while Zucchi’s unchanged devotion to the nation and to the colours of Italy were still preserved under a brilliant coerenza valoriale (coherence of values, aka patriotic cover).

And intelligibly that had traversed between two already diametrically opposed visions, concerning the past, the present, and the future.

 

Selected Bibliography and Further Reading

Primary sources

1. French works:

Beauharnais, Eugène, (de). Mémoires et Correspondance Politique et Militaire du Prince Eugène. Publiés, annotés, et mise en ordre par A. Du Casse, auteur des Mémoires du Roi Joseph. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères, Libraires-Éditeurs, 2 bis, rue Vivienne. 1859.

Guillon, Aimé. Histoire de la campagne de Son Altesse Impériale Eugène Napoléon de France, prince de Venise, archichancelier de l’Empire français, général en chef de l'armée d’Italie, contre l’armée autrichienne en 1809. Milan, 1809.

Lafolie, Charles Jean. Mémoires sur la cour du Prince Eugène, et sur le royaume d’Italie pendant la domination de Napoléon Bonaparte. Par un Français attaché a la Cour du Vice-Roi d’Italie. Paris, Audin, 1824.

Macdonald, Jacques Etienne Joseph Alexandre (Maréchal). Souvenirs du Maréchal Macdonald, duc de Tarente. Avec une introduction par M. Camille Rousset. E. Plon, Nourrit et C.ie, Paris, 1892.

Marbot, Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcellin (Général, Baron de). Mémoires du général baron Marbot . Paris, Plon, Nourrit et C.ie, Paris, 1891.

Noël (Colonel). Souvenirs militaires d’un officier du premier empire (1795-1832). Berger-Levrault, Paris, 1895.

Pelet, (Général). Mémoires sur la guerre de 1809, en Allemagne, avec les opérations particulières des corps d’Italie, de Pologne, de Saxe, de Naples et de Walcheren. Tome Troisième. Paris, Roret, Libraire, Rue Hautefeuille, au coin de celle du Battoir. 1825.

Vaudoncourt, Frédéric François Guillaume (Baron de). Histoire politique et militaire du Prince Eugène Napoléon, vice-roi d’Italie. Paris: Libraire Universelle de P. Mongie, Boulevart des Italiens, N° 10. 1828.

Vignolle, Martin (de, Général). Essai historique sur la campagne de l’armée d’Italie en 1809. Revue militaire, vol. 16, July 1900.

2. Italian works:

Lombroso, Giacomo. Vite dei primarj generali ed ufficiali italiani che si distinsero nelle guerre napoleoniche dal 1796 al 1815. Opera strettamente connessa coll’antecedente, che trattava dei marescialli, generali ed ammiragli che ebbero parte nelle succitate guerre / di Giacomo Lombroso. Coi tipi Borroni e Scotti successori a V. Ferrario, Milano, 1843.

Memorie del Generale Carlo Zucchi. Pubblicate per cura di Nicomede Bianchi. Casa Editrice Italiana di M. Guigoni, Milano, Torino, 1861.

Secondary sources

1. French works:

Coraccini  (pseudo-). Histoire de l’administration du Royaume d’Italie pendant la domination française; précédée 1 -  d’un index chronologique. 2 -  d’un catalogue alphabétique des Italiens et des Français au service de ce Royaume. 3 -  d’une introduction terminée par une table des noms et des matières par M. Frédéric Coraccini. Traduite de l’italien, Paris, 1823.

2. English works:

Arnold, James R.. Napoleon Conquers Austria. The 1809 Campaign for Vienna. Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, 1995.

Epstein, Robert M.. Prince Eugene at war: 1809. Empire Games Press, Arlington, TX, 1984. 

Petre, Loraine F.. Napoleon and the Archduke Charles. A history of the Franco-Austrian campaign in the Valley of the Danube 1809. Greenhill Books, London, 1991.

Originally published London: John Lane, 1909.

Rothenberg, Gunther E.. The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1978.

––––––– Napoleon’s Great Adversaries: The Archduke Charles and the Austrian Army 1792-1814. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1982.

Notes:

[1] The son of Alexandre François Marie, vicomte de Beauharnais (Fort-Royal, Martinic, May 28, 1760-Paris, July 23, 1794), an officer of the armée royale (royal army); on December 13, 1779, at Noisy-le-Grand, he had married Marie Josèphe Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie (Trois-Ilets, Martinic, June 23, 1763-Rueil-Malmaison, May 29, 1814).

Vide: French works: Armandi, Pietro Damiano. Vie militaire du prince Eugène. Paris, 1843; Aubriet, Antoine. Vie politique et militaire d’Eugène de Beauharnais, vice-roi d’Italie. Paris, 1824; Bernardi, Françoise (de). Eugène de Beauharnais, le fils adoptif de Napoléon. Librairie Académique Perrin, 1973; Blemus, René. Eugène de Beauharnais, l’honneur à tout vent. Editions France-Empire, Paris, 1993; Darnay, Antoine. Notices historiques sur Son Altesse Royale le prince Eugène, vice-roi d’Italie, duc de Leuchtenberg, prince d’Eichstadt, Paris, 1830; Fourmestraux, E.. Le prince Eugène. Paris, 1867; Prince de Bavière, Adalbert. Eugène de Beauharnais beau-fils de Napolèon. Portrait biographique. Ouvrage traduit de l’allemand par Marguerite Vabre, adapté par A. de Gouyon. Editions Alsatia, Paris, s.d.; Pulitzer, Albert. Une idylle sous Napoléon Ier. Le roman du prince Eugène. Paris, 1895; Lévy, Arthur. Napoléon et Eugène de Beauharnais. Calmann-Lévy, Paris, 1926.

English works: Montagu, Violette M.. Eugène de Beauharnais: The Adopted Son of Napoleon. John Long, 1913; –––––– Napoleon and His Adopted Son: Eugène de Beauharnais and His Relations with the Emperor. New York: McBride, Nast & Company, 1914; Oman, Carola. Napoleon’s Viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais. Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1966.

[2] In order to readily focus this style of understanding (of this particular era of battle) the difficulties are multi-faceted. The correctly interpreted vision must not subtract from the fact that, in the XIXth Century, illiteracy and the social poverty lines largely affected the desperation and the malnutrition of the people. Worth mentioning is the disease called pellagra, caused by the lack of absorption of the B group of vitamins, in particular of the niacin or of tryptophan, an amino acid necessary to its synthesis. In the USA, it was only identified with certainty around 1907. And that, in the XXth Century, there were two catastrophic world conflicts: in the years 1914-1918, and in the period 1939-1945, with tens of million deaths. Therefore, people were relentlessly confronted with enormous problems, and certainly were not concerned with, nor had the time for culture-improving, erudite researches and academic horizons. However, nemine contradicente (i.e. with no one speaking against), we carefully checked through the selected edited works: Adolphe-Marie-Joseph-Louis-Thiers (Marseille, April 15, 1797-Saint-Germain-en-Laye, September 3, 1877), Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire, faisant suite à l’Histoire de la Révolution française, 20 vols., Lheureux et Cie, Libraires-Éditeurs, 60 Rue Richelieu, Paris, 1845-1862 – in the year 1869 was published the volume XXI, containing the Index; Jacques Bainville (Vincennes, February 9, 1879-Paris, February 6, 1936), Napoléon, Paris: Arthème Fayard et C.ie, Éditeurs, 1931; the British historian David G. Chandler (15 January 1934-10 October 2004), and his quite phenomenal huge corpus [The Campaigns of Napoleon, New York, Macmillan, 1966]; Colonel John R. Elting (15 February 1911- 25 May 2000), Swords around a Throne, Napoleon’s Grande Armée, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1988; Gunther E. Rothenberg (Berlin, 1923-26 April 2004), in his 1982 published work [Napoleon’s great adversaries – The Archduke Charles and the Austrian Army 1792-1814, Indiana University Press Bloomington], basically provided an overall visionary cadre, and therefore recalled in partial measure the military operations in Italy and Dalmatia [chapter VII, pp. 139-145]. Not surprising, Zucchi’s Memorie are entirely unknown.

[3] Usually referred to as the Trattato di Campo Formio (i.e. Treaty of Campo Formio), or by the ambiguous paraphrase of Pace di Campo Formio (i.e.  Peace of Campo Formio), its clausal agreements and imposed stipulations were signed at Passariano, near Udine, on October 17, 1797 (26 Vendémiaire, An VI of the French Republic) by Général en Chef Bonaparte and the Austrian Plenipotentiary Count Ludwig von Cobenzl. This ratification marked the collapse of the First coalition. Most shamefully to the international rights of the people, the Stato Marciano (i.e. the Republic of Venice) although keeping to the strictest conformity of political neutrality and unarmed attitudes to both the belligerents, underwent dreadful damages by the French troops. The jurisdicitonal territories were invaded, the main towns conquered, the countries savagely depoiled. By the terms dictated by the Treaty of Campo Formio, the Serenissima Repubblica ended its centuries long political independence. The Stato Veneto di Terraferma (i.e. Venetian State on land) was dissolved, and partitioned between the warlike contending Powers: Directorial France, and the Habsburgs monarchy.

His Majesty, the Emperor and King (i.e. Austrian ruling House), gained possession and complete sovereignty of the eastern Venetia territories (including Venice and the lagoons), up to the Adige river; the major towns of Bergamo and Brescia were instead to expand the newly established Repubblica Cisalpina – largely established on the former Austrian Lombardy.

Istria and Dalmatia, plus the former Venetian Islands of the Adriatic, the Bocche del Cattaro (i.e. the mouths of the Cattaro) and the countries included between the hereditary States of His Majesty the Emperor and King and the Adriatic Sea, also were transferred to the Habsburgs.

The French Republic should possess in complete sovereignty the strategic control of the former Venetian Islands of the Levant, namely Corfu, Cephalonia, Cerigo, Santa Maura, Zante. Other islands, among them Arta, Butrinto, Vonizza, and in general all the former Venetian establishments in Albania, which are situated below the Gulf of Drin were retained by the French.

Vide: French works: Radocanachi. Bonaparte et les îles ioniennes 1797-1816. Paris, 1899. Italian works: Braidotti, Federico. Il monumento della Pace di Campoformio: Notizie inedite di storia e d’ arte. Udine: Tip. D. Del Bianco, 1911; Cesari, Cesare. Il trattato che non fu firmato a Campoformio. Milano 1916; Cessi, Roberto. Storia della Repubblica di Venezia. G. Principato, 1968; Cessi, Roberto. Campoformido. Antenore, 1973; Curti, Antonio. Campoformio. Milano 1919; Geatti, Angelo. Napoleone Bonaparte e il trattato di Campoformio del 1797: la verità sul luogo della firma e sul monumento della pace. Udine: Arti grafiche friulane, 1989; Padelletti, Guido. Leoben e Campoformio secondo nuovi documenti. Estr. da Nuova Antologia, Firenze, 1868; Pallaveri, Daniele. Campoformio: considerazioni. Firenze: F, Le Monnier, 1864; Rava, Luigi. I profughi veneti dopo il trattato di Campoformio: 1797-1798. Roma: Direzione della Nuova Antologia, 1917; Sbuelz, Raffaello. Francesi e austriaci in Friuli all’epoca del Direttorio: il congresso di Udine ed il trattato di Campoformio (Passariano) 17 ottobre 1797, Finis Venetiae. Udine: tip. Bordusco, 1908. German works: Der Frieden von Campoformio: Urkunden und Aktenstucke zur Geschichte der Beziehungen zwischen Osterreich und Frankreich in den Jahren 1795-1797 / Gesammelt von Hermann Huffer: erganzt, herausgegeben und eingeleitet von Friedrich Luckwaldt, Innsbruck: Verlag der Wagner’schen Universitat-Buchandlung, 1907.

[4] Padua traced her origin back to a prince-of-arms of Troian extraction. Its foundation was attributed to a courageous leader named Antenore, who after the fall of Troy had led a large party of Enetoi from Paphlagonia to Northern Adriatic territories. The site acquired importance during the times of the ancient Romans, and Patavium gained an ever increasing fame for the breeding of horses and the power of her military organization.

Vide: Brentari, Ottone. Guida di Padova. Padova, 1891; Cappelletti, Giuseppe. Storia di Padova dalla sua origine sino al presente. Padova, 1874-1875; Formentoni, L.. Passeggiate storiche per la città di Padova. Padova, 1880. Gloria, Andrea. Il territorio padovano illustrato. Padova, 1862; Scardeone, Bernardino (Bernardini Scardeoni). De antiquitate Urbis Patavii et de claris civibus patavinis libri tres. Basileae, apud Nicolaum Episcopium juniorem, 1550; Selvatico, Pietro. Guida di Padova e dei suoi principali contorni. Padova, 1869. Ventura, Angelo. Padova. Laterza, 1989.

Worth recalling that in March 1809, the battalions IV, and V, of the primo reggimento di fanteria leggera (first regiment of Light infantry), had been ordered in town.

[5] The regiments had been brought to a five-battalion strength. Vide: Memorie del Generale Carlo Zucchi. Pubblicate per cura di Nicomede Bianchi. Casa Editrice Italiana di M. Guigoni, Milano, Torino, 1861, p. 20.

By Imperial decree dated 18 February 1808, the organization chart and the inner structure of the infantry regiments had been established. The number of companies which formed one regular battalion was principally downsized (from nine, to six); the official number of the soldiers per company is increased from 120 to 140 effectives. At battalion level, every unit of the Line was composed by six companies: four companies of Fusiliers (fusiliers), one of Grenadiers (grenadiers) and one of light infantry (Chasseurs--Voltigeurs). Concerning the subdivision repartition in the ranks between officers, N.C.O. and soldiers, the companies were thus composed: 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 under-lieutenant, 1 first sergeant, 4 sergeants, 1 corporal-quartermaster, 8 corporals, 2 drummers / or cornets, 121 soldiers, for a total of 140 equivalences in arms. At full ranks, the strength of one bataillon de guerre (Line battalion) was in the order of: 1 chef de bataillon (battalion commander), 1 adjutant, 6 captains, 6 lieutenants, 6 under-lieutenants, 6 first-sergeants, 24 sergeants, 6 corporal-quartermasters, 48 corporals, 10 drummers, 2 trumpets, 726 soldiers: total, 842 men (the cipher was inclusive of 20 officers). Theoretically, the régiment d’infanterie had on paper a troop nominally composed by a permanent establishment of five battalions; four bataillons de guerre (operative), and one battalion of dépôt (deposit). Hardily enough, just a few regiments had a standard force compatible with five battalion units. Most of them merely counted on the formal organization and paradigm of three line battalions, plus, one battalion of deposit.

[6] Filippo-Eustachio-Luigi Severoli was born at Faenza, on November 16, 1762 (a conflictuary date indicates the year 1767); and died on October 6, 1822 (at Fusignano in Romagna). Under the disruptions of the Napoleonic conquering aggressions of the major Powers in Europe, this officer ascended the steps of the military hierarchy to the rank of generale di divisione (i.e. divisional general). He maintained this executive authority and military role in the armed forces of Italian extraction – and proffered his professional military services to the cause of foreign French autocracy.

Military synopsis: Severoli had his first combat experiences at the battles of Toirano and La Pietra, near Loano. On this occasion of fighting he was wounded. 1798: appointed Colonel; 1799, December 26: proposed to cover the rank of général de brigade, at the head of the 1ère brigade of the Cisalpine troops; 1800: took part in the campaign against Austria; 1805: commander of the square of Milan; 1806: with the expeditionary corps at the conquest of Naples; 1807, January 26: left Naples to return to Milan; 1807: took part in the campaign of Germany; 1809: campaign of Austria; June 14: distinguished at the Raab; 1810, February 27: at the head of the Italian troops sent to Catalogna; his position is confirmed by French War Minister Henry-Jacques-Guillaume Clarke on March 9; 14 May: at the fall of Hostalrich, in central Catalogna; 23 May: compte de l’Empire; November 14: asked to go back to Italy, due to wealth problems; 1811: with the armée d’Aragon, under Suchet; 1812, January 9: his division troops contributed to take Valence; January 20-February 4: fall of Peniscola after besieging operations; 1814: served in Italy; March 2: took Parma, under the orders of General Paul Grenier; March 3: entered Reggio; March 4: attacked by the forces of Joachim Murat; March 7: engaged in relentless combat against Austrian General Nugent, Severoli was wounded in the leg by a cannon ball, and replaced in his military functions at the head of the division by général de brigade Gabriel de Rambourgt.

After the fall of the Empire, he had no other choice but to serve with the Austrian army, where he attained the rank of k.k. FML (i.e. Feldmarschalleutnant, Lieutenant-General) – and governor of Piacenza (1820-1822). Retired on March 12, 1822, he was buried (1823) in the oratorio dell’ Angelo custode (i.e. oratory of the Guardian angel; a 1732 building), at Fusigano. The property was a suburban villa which belonged to his family.

We consider important the following cultural specifications. The oratory containing the sepulchres of the Severoli family had been destroyed during the Second World War, and it has been subsequently reconstructed in modern form. The original grave, as it appears from a postcard of the time, was identified by a funeral monument with, at its centre, one column, on which was scribed a long Latin epigraph: unfortunately from the postcard it is not possible to read the text of the epigraph. The “new” tomb of General Severoli is marked by a lapid which has inscribed the only name of the dead without any additional epigraphic text.

The new Oratorio dell’Angelo Custode (oratory of the Guardian Angel; the actual resting place of General Severoli) has been restored in the same location where once had been built the original building that underwent irreparable structural damages damaged during the Second World Conflict. This property was annexed to the great family villa which belonged to his family. The address, and exact location: Via Severoli, at Fusignano. The family of the counts Severoli dated back to an extraction from a family branch of the town of Faenza; it had at Fusignano a magnificent residence, a villa, plus an annexed green wooden area called il parco (the park).

Filippo Severoli’s native home had been beautifully adorned with a commemorative plaque with inscription.

An historical note, a cursory outlook very essential to the exquisite contents, had been compiled by the Italian writer Giacomo Lombroso. Vide: Vite dei primarj generali ed ufficiali italiani che si distinsero nelle guerre napoleoniche dal 1796 al 1815. Coi tipi Borroni e Scotti successori a V. Ferrario, Milano, 1843, pp. 245-266.

[7]  Memorie del Generale Carlo Zucchi, 1861, pp. 20-21, l. 26-34.

[8] Relying on this informative detail, the troops under Zucchi’s commanding authority had theoretically 3,368 men, but the situation was quite different from the prescriptions. Battalions at his orders: I, II, II, V.

As far as the practical military organization of the 1er régiment Italien de Ligne was concerned, on December 16, 1808, there were 2,786 men at Cremona [a percentage coefficient of the 86,44 % of the effectives, which had to be at 3,223; the dissimilarity is recognized at 13,56 %]. At the beginning of February 1809, the nominal strength [effectif prévu] scheduled for a five battalions force (full regiment) was at 3,971 men. In reality, there were merely around 2,800 soldiers. Among the prominent ranking officers were included Colonnello Zucchi, the Maggiore Arese, and the capi-battaglione (battalion chiefs) Porro, Dubois, Ferri, and Barbieri. The troops, battalions I, II, III, IV, and V, had been assigned garrison duties and presidial life in the town of Cremona; therefore, these units were actively kept in the Lombard territories of the Royaume d’ Italie.  On February 16, 1809, the five battalions placed at Cremona numbered 3,264 effectives (a coefficient of the 82,19%; discrepancy of the 17,81%).  At the beginning of March, the battalions reached a composite strength of 3,464 men (87,23%; disproportion at the 12,77%). Towards the end of the month of May, Major Arese was entrusted with the organizational formation of the battalion IV – to reach the active army forces employed against the Imperial armies.

[9] Memorie del Generale Carlo Zucchi, 1861, p. 21, l. 34-56.

[10] Ibid., p. 21, l. 56-64.

[11] Delving meticulously and throughtfully into the research and the trans-marginal aspects of the literary comprehension of the text, the analysis cannot pass unmentioned: the logic of Zucchi’s well-aimed and pre-arranged executive plan. Incontrovertibly, its preparedness proved significant for the necessity of “strategic behaviour”, conditioned by sheer perspicacity. Subsequent to the choice, and admirably staged preparation, the developing phases evidenced a shrewdly-inspired demeanor. In this case, Zucchi’s actions should be examined and interpreted in terms of a factual “surprise attack”. And what would have been Severoli’s most immediate reaction, when it was announced that Colonnello Zucchi and his officers’entourage were present at the division-headquarters? With this shocking effect which caused trepidation, could Generale Severoli not personally receive Zucchi already “in forces” on the spot? The psychological implications of the affair seem relevant. Was that a powerful display of deferential attitude, or, a refined strategy in functional behaviour? Neither reply nor comment are demanded; out of the necessity, the above cited parties tried to meet on firm discipline and military camaraderie (comradeship). However that being said, the touch was striking.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2010

 

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