Marengo, Battle of

Marengo, Battle of
   The decisive last-minute victoire politique of French First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte over the Austrian army under General der Kavallerie Michael Melas, which secured Napoleon’s grip on political power in Paris in the aftermath of the Brumaire coup of 1799. Despite having assembled his Army of the Reserve, nominally under the command of General Louis André Berthier, in western Switzerland in early 1800, Bonaparte was wrong-footed by the surprise Austrian advance toward the key city port of Genoa, held by French troops under General André Masséna, in mid-April. He was forced to make a hasty march over the St. Bernard Pass to cross the Alps into Italy in mid-May and, aided by a local double-agent, reached Milan on June 2. After Bonaparte’s advance-guard under Lieutenant General Jean Lannes defeated Feldmarschalleutnant Ott at Montebello on June 9, the 29,000 French marched to engage the 31,000 strong Austrian army near Alessandria. Meanwhile, Genoa had surrendered to the Austrians on June 4, although Masséna was allowed to rejoin the campaign and joined General Suchet in a march north from the coast. French troops were also marching from Turin, adding to Melas’ fear of being encircled. Partially deceived by the same agent acting for the Austrians, Bonaparte dispatched large forces to the north and south during June 13, as he believed the Austrians would try to break out north, while troops from Genoa would advance from the south. The French advance-guard, now under Lieutenant General Claude-Victor Perrin, seized Marengo village that evening. However, 8 A.M . on June 14 brought Melas’ surprise advance against the main French army under General Berthier, as the Austrians sought to fight their way out directly eastward. Initially, the two Austrian assaults across the Fontanone stream near Marengo village were repelled and Lannes reinforced Perrin’s right wing. At 11 A.M ., Bonaparte realized the true situation and recalled the detachments, while moving his reserve forward. On the Austrian left wing, Ott had taken Castel Ceriolo and then, on his own initiative, sent his small advance-guard to tackle Lannes’ flank. Melas took his chance and tried to push cavalry across the Fontanone on his right wing, but it was routed by French cavalry under General François Kellerman. Nevertheless, a third assault on Marengo village succeeded after bitter fighting, and by 2:30 P.M . the Austrians had broken the French position. The French were driven back east into the main vine belt just as Bonaparte reached the battlefield. In a desperate move to halt Ott’s column coming from the north, Bonaparte committed his consular guard, but they were surprised and destroyed by Oberst Frimont’s cavalry. Knowing that French troops under General Charles Louis Desaix were approaching, Bonaparte organized a steady withdrawal eastward from about 4:15 P.M . toward San Giuliano, followed by an Austrian column led by Chief of Staff, Feldmarschalleutnant Zach. Desaix’s arrival around 5:30 P.M . stabilized the French position as his infantry delayed the Austrian pursuit. Just north of Cascina Grossa, the pursuing Austrian troops met a mix of musketry and artillery fire, which covered a surprise flank attack by Kellerman’s cavalry. The French cavalry threw the Austrian column into disordered flight, and a wave of French troops then shattered the center of Melas’ army. Exhausted after fighting all day, many Austrian infantry surrendered or fled back over the Bormida River, while in the north Ott failed to intervene. Both sides had sustained about 2,100 casualties, with another 2,500 Austrians captured. The next day, the Armistice of Alessandria obliged the Austrians to evacuate northwestern Italy. Had Bonaparte failed at Marengo, his authority back in France might well have been overthrown by Jacobins or royalists.
   See also <>; <>.
    Arnold, J. Marengo and Hohenlinden. Lexington, VA: Napoleon Books, 1999;
    Furse, G. Marengo and Hohenlinden. London, 1903;
    Hollins, D. Marengo. Oxford: Osprey Military Publishing, 2000;
    Rose, J. Holland. The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era, 1789–1815. London: Cambridge University Press, 1935.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marengo, Battle of — (June 14, 1800) Narrow victory for Napoleon against Austria in the Napoleonic Wars, fought on the Marengo Plain in northern Italy. The initial French force was overpowered, but when the Austrian commander gave up command to a subordinate in the… …   Universalium

  • Battle of Marengo — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Marengo partof=the War of the Second Coalition caption=Louis François Lejeune: The Battle of Marengo date=14 June 1800 place=Spinetta Marengo, Alessandria, Piedmont, present day Italy result=French… …   Wikipedia

  • battle — battle1 battler, n. /bat l/, n., v., battled, battling. n. 1. a hostile encounter or engagement between opposing military forces: the battle of Waterloo. 2. participation in such hostile encounters or engagements: wounds received in battle. 3. a… …   Universalium

  • Marengo County, Alabama — Marengo County Courthouse in Linden, Alabama …   Wikipedia

  • Marengo Township, Michigan —   Township   …   Wikipedia

  • Marengo Order of Battle — Battle of Marengo Order of Battle The Battle of Marengo was fought on June 14, 1800 between the French army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and an Austrian army led by General Michael von Melas. After bitter fighting throughout the morning and …   Wikipedia

  • Marengo — may refer to: The Battle of Marengo, in 1800 in northern Italy French ship Marengo Chicken Marengo, a food dish Marengo (genus), a genus of jumping spiders Marengo (horse), Napoleon s horse Marengo (racehorse), in the 1847 Grand National… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle Creek, Michigan — Battle Creek redirects here. For other uses, see Battle Creek (disambiguation). Battle Creek, Michigan   City   …   Wikipedia

  • Marengo (horse) — Napoleon Crossing the Alps painted by Jacques Louis David (1748 1825), oil on canvas, 259 x 221 cm (8 6 x 7 3 ), 1801. Horse in the painting is believed to be Marengo Marengo (c. 1793 1831) was the famous war mount of Napoleon I of France. Named… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Bosco Marengo — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Bosco Marengo caption= partof= date=October 18, 1447 [ [ testi=6 Comune di Bosco Marengo: La storia ] ] place=Bosco Marengo, Piedmont, Italy… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”