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The 1799 Campaign in Italy

The 1799 Campaign in Italy: The Battle of Trebbia — June 1799 Part I: The Battle of Tidone Creek (17 June) 2nd Phase: the Coalition’s Counter-attack

By Enrico Acerbi

Right Wing – FML Michael Friedrich Benedikt Mélas 11494   Pioneers Corps Commander: Oberstleutnant Joseph Graf Radetzky de Radetz   Avant-Garde Brigade Generalmajor Friedrich Freiherr Gottesheim 2646

Jäger Korps Freiherr Constantin d’Aspre – 6 Companies     


K.K. 2nd Hussar Régiment Erzherzog Joseph Anton – (3 Divisions – 6 squadrons)  Commander: Oberst Vincenz Freiherr Knesevich  


Cavalry group Generalmajor Prince Andrej Ivanovic Gorchakov
Into the battle with prince Suvorov and directed against the left French wing


Don Cossacks Regiment Molchanov


Don Cossacks Regiment Semjornikov  


Deployment after the Rally of the first troops engaged

II Line – Generalmajor Johann Gabriel Chasteler Marquis de Courcelles

Division Generalmajor Carl Peter Ott de Batorkéz    4406 Hauptkolonne Graf Johann Morzin  

K.K. 39 Infantry  Regiment Graf Thomas (Támas) Nádasdy I II and III Battalions Commander: Freiherr Johann Nepomuk Abfaltern


K.K. 40 Infantry  Regiment FZM Graf Joseph Mittrowsky I and II Battalions   Commander: Oberst Franz Kreyssern


VI Battalion Grenzregiment Banat   4 Companies 


K.K. Light Battalion # 15 Oberst Bonaventura Mihanovic (Croat-Slavonian) 


Coming from Alessandria
Generalmajor Fürst Johann von Liechtenstein[1]
(in the staff as cavalry commander) Fought without an official rank, as a volunteer

K.K. 28 Infantry  Regiment Freiherr Michael von Fröhlich I and II Battalion (former Regiment  Wartensleben)  Commander: Oberst Franz Eder von Hartenstein  

1619 Reservekolonne Generalmajor Franz Joseph Marquis de Lusignan ??  2823

K.K. Grenadier Battalion  Graf Anton Schiaffinati Former commander Freiherr Georg von Stentsch was wounded at Pastrengo and had died in April


K.K. Grenadier Battalion  Graf Carl Paar Former Battalion  FML Mercantin, or Mercandin, killed at Magnano battle


K.K. Grenadier Battalion  Graf Johann Morzin Former Battalion  Fiquelmont who died at Magnano leaving the command to Graf Johann Morzin


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


K.K. Hungarian Grenadier Battalion  Oblt Johann Pértussy Former Battalion  Major Joseph Korherr (died at Magnano)


K.K. Grenadier Battalion  Freiherr Franz von Neny

Left Wing – (Rozenberg) Feld Marschal Leutnant Aleksandr Vasilievich Suvorov graf Rymnikski 13971     Russians – Commander: Infantry-general Andrey Grigorjevich Rozenberg   Generalmajor Pjotr Ivanovich Prince Bagration (escorting Suvorov) Suvorov got directly into the battle leading two Cossacks Regiment s (Pasdejev e Grekov) in the afternoon (15 hrs) 3407

6th Don Cossacks Regiment Pasdejev   


8th Don Cossacks Regiment Grekov


K.K. 4th Light Dragoons Regiment GM Andreas Frh. von Karacsaj de Vale-Sakam  6 Squadrons


K.K. 10th Light Dragoons Regiment GdC Joseph Fürst Lobkowitz (I and II Divisions or 6 squadrons) Commander: Oberst Max Joseph Fürst Thurn und Taxis       


K.K. 14th Light Dragoons Regiment  Franz Freiherr von Levenehr Commander: Oberst  Joseph Zinn – (I and II Divisions – 6 squadrons )    


III Line and Reserve  – Division Lieut. General Ivan Ivanovic Förster (4711)

Avantgarde Lieut. General Jacob Ivanovic Tujrtov 1884

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment Young-Baden or Malado-Badensky – II Battalion after May 18 renamed as GM Mihail Mihailovic Veletsky Regiment  its former commander (I Battalion  with Veletsky)


Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment GM Tuyrtov or Tug’lsky (Tula) – 2 Battalions  Commander:  Major Ivan Fjodorovic Golovin

1264 Hauptkolonne general-major Mihail Semenovic Baranovsky 2nd   2827

Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment LG Förster (Ferster) or Tambowski (Tambov) – I Battalion Commander:  Lt.Colonel Zaltser (II Battalion  was with Rohan at Aosta)


Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment M.Gen. M. A. Miloradovich I and II Battalions


7th Jäger  Regiment GM Bagration – I and II  Battalion


Imperial Russian Combined Grenadier Battalion  Lomonosov


Imperial Russian Combined Grenadier Battalion  Kaljemin


Imperial Russian Combined Grenadier Battalion  Sanajev


Imperial Russian Combined Grenadier Battalion  Dendrjugyn Commander:  Lieut. Colonel (from 3.10.1799  Colonel) Stjepan Timofejevic Karlov


Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment GM Baranowsky II or Nizowski Musk. Regiment – I Battalion Commander:  Colonel Mihail Aleksejevic Chitrowo (II Battalion  with Rohan at Aosta)    


Avant-Garde brigade Generalmajor Konstantin Pavlovic Romanov Grand Duke of Russia. Former commander: Generalmajor Pjotr Ivanovic Prince Bagration


II Line – Division Lieut. General Jacob Ivanovich Povalo-Shvejkovsky 1st


Imperial Russian Grenadier Regiment GdI Rozemberg or Moskowsky (Moskow) – 2 Battalions Commander: (until June 10) Colonel Piotr Pietrovic Passek


Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment LG Povalo-Shveikovsky –
2 Battalions Commander: Colonel Grigoriy Dimitrjevic Kasahovsky   


Imperial Russian Musketeers Regiment GM Baron Ivan Ivanovic Dalheim – 1 Battalion Commander: Colonel Stjepan Nikolajevic Castelli – Chief from June 26 General Major Nikolay Mihailovic Kamensky 2nd


Coalition’s  rearguard – Siege of Tortona – HQ Camp
Austrian Commander: Generalmajor Johann Graf Alcaini   

K.K. 19 Hungarian Infantry  Regiment Freiherr Jozsef Alvinczy de Berberek 1 Battalion  and 2 Companies 


K.K.  5th Hussars regiment   – 1 Squadron


K.K.  8th Light Dragoons Regiment Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Herzog Württemberg Commander: Oberst Johann Festenberg Freiherr von Hassenwein  – (3 Divisions – 6 squadrons)     

710   Russian Commander: Ad interim: Colonel Stjepan Nikolajevic CastelliQuartiermeister Oberst Cherwenko  

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


8th Jäger  Regiment Major General Chubarov – I and II Battalions Chief from 13 May: GM Ivan Ivanovic Miller


The Polish avant-garde suddenly counterattacked, by superior forces, was obliged to retreat. All those had passed the Tidone soon were in a melée, and were also forced again to pass back the creek. To give time to Rusca’s Division, on which the enemy fell en masse, to pass the Trebbia, General Charpentier made a movement on the left, with his brigade, thus covered their retreat and not allowing the enemy to pass the river.  They were helped by the rearguard of Rusca’s Division. The Polish division followed the movement of Charpentier, pivoting on its left, observing the enemy, which sought  to hit the flanks; but some battalion fire and manoeuvres made it give up its effort.

Consequently, the French divisions withdrew one after the other; the Polish division formed the rear-guard. The Austro-Russians pursued very carefully, considering the great darkness of the night. In this combat perished many Poles, and Major Iasinski, who had led them, was made prisoner of war. Victor’s, Rusca’s, and Dąbrowski’s Divisions, were forced beyond the Tidone, withdrew to the right bank of the  river Trebbia, leaving on the battlefield a 1,000 dead and 1,200 prisoners. The night having fallen, the army was ordered to take a defensive position behind the Trebbia, occupying its right bank. After having passed Trebbia in the night, the army took position close to Gossolengo, on the left wing. However Brun, with his detachment of French troops and the 1st Polish Battalion, under the command of Konopka, returned to the division near, Campremoldo-di-Sopra, and covered the left wing of the army.

The Losses

In the official reports, sent by Suvorov to the Emperors, Pavel I and Franz II, he estimated the French losses at 600 men dead od wounded and 400 prisoners (mainly Poles). The Coalition Army’s losses were referred only to the days during which the combats between the Tidone and the Trebbia. We can only suppose the Austrian losses would have been notably higher than the Russian casualties. The Wouwermann Grenadier Battalion lost the 50 % of its force and was retired from the following orders of battle.


A: The Outposts and first line of Fieldmarshal Lieut. Ott on Tidone river (June, 17 1799).

B: A French attack forced the river, compelling Ott to withdraw until points B

C: and then till the village of Sarmato (17 June, morning)

D: The Austrian Avantgarde reached Ott’s Division in order to reinforce the line (17 June, morning, 11 AM)

E: Arrival of Imperial Russian avantgarde (17 June, midday)

F: Joint attack of the Coalition troops. French soldiers totally surprised and pushed back beyond Tidone and Trebbia rivers (17 June, after 2 PM)

G: A Russian Detachment forded the Tidone (17 June, evening)