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post on the line of communication, and on the main defensive front less than 30,000 men were disposed at various points between La Corona and Legnago (30 m. apart), and at a distance of 15 to 20 m. from Mantua. The strength of such a disposition depended on the fighting power and handiness of the troops, who in each case would be called upon to act as a rearguard to gain time. Yet the lie of the country scarcely permitted a closer grouping, unless indeed Bonaparte fell back on the old-time device of a "circumvallation," and shut himself up, with the supplies necessary for the calculated duration of the siege, in an impregnable ring of earthworks round Mantua. This, however, he could not have done even if he had wished, for the wave of revolt radiating from Milan had made accumulations of food impossible, and the lakes above and below the fortress, besides being extremely unhealthy, would have extended the perimeter of the circumvallation so greatly that the available forces would not suffice to man it. It was not in this, but in the absence of an
On the 30th he wrote: "The enemy have broken through our cola line in three places. . . Sauret has evacuated Salo . . . and the enemy has captured Brescia. You see that our communications with Milan and Verona are cut." Albaredo The reports that came to him
during the morning of the 30th enabled him to place the main body of the enemy opposite cola Masséna, and this, without in the least alleviating the gravity of the situation, helped to make his course less doubtful. Augereau was ordered to hold the line of the Molinella, in case Davidovich's attack, the least-known factor, should after all prove to be serious; Masséna to reconnoitre a road from Peschiera through Castiglione towards Orzinovi, and to stand fast at Castelnuovo opposite Wurmser as long as he could. Sauret and Despinoy were concentrated at Desenzano with orders on the 31st to clear the main line of retreat and to recapture Brescia. The Austrian movements were merely the continuation of those of the 29th. Quasdanovich wheeled in ards, his right finally resting on Montechiaro and his left on lo. Wurmser drove back Masséna to the west side of the Mincio. Davidovich made a slight advance.
Emery Walker se
important central reserve that Bonaparte's disposition is open to criticism, which indeed could impugn the scheme in its entirety, as overtaxing the available resources, more easily than it could attack its details.
On the 29th Quasdanovich attacked Sauret at Salo, drove him towards Desenzano, and pushed on to Gavardo and thence into Brescia. Wurmser expelled Masséna's advanced guard from La Corona, and captured in succession the Monte Baldo and Rivoli posts. The Brenta column approached Verona with little or no fighting. News of this column led Napoleon early in the day to close up Despinoy, Masséna and Kilmaine at Castelnuovo, and to order Augereau from Legnago to advance on Montebello (19 m. east of Verona) against Davidovich's left rear. But after these orders had been despatched came the news of Sauret's defeat, and this moment was one of the most anxious, in Napoleon's career He could not make up his mind to give up the siege of Mantua, but he hurried Augereau back to the Mincio, and sent order after order to the officers on the lines of communication to send all convoys by the Cremona instead of by the Brescia road. More, he had the baggage, the treasure and the sick set in motion at once for Marcaria, and wrote to Sérurier a despatch which included the Villanova Words "perhaps we shall recover Bonifacio ourselves... but I must take serious measures for a retreat.'
If Bonaparte has occasionally been criticized for his defensive measures, Wurmser's attack procedure has received almost universal condemnation, as to the justice of which it may be pointed out1
that the object of the expedition was not to win a battle by falling
on the disunited French with a well-concentrated army, but to overpower one, any one, of the corps covering the siege, and to press straight forward to the relief of Mantua, i.e. to the destruction of Bonaparte's batteries and the levelling of his trench work. The old principle that a battle was a grave event of doubtful issue was reinforced in the actual case by Beaulieu's late experiences of French élan, and as a temporary victory at one point would suffice for the purpose in hand, there was every incentive to multiply the points of contact. The soundness of Wurmser's plan was proved by the event. New ideas and new forces, undiscernible to a man of seventy-two years of age, obliterated his achievement by surpassing it, but such as it was a limited use of force for a limited object-the venture undeniably succeeded.
The Austrians formed three corps, one (Quasdanovich, 18,000 men) marching round the west side of the Lake of Garda on Gavardo, Salo and the Brescia road, the second (under Wurmser, about 30,000) moving directly down the Adige, and the third (Davidovich, 6000) making a détour by the Brenta valley and heading for Verona by Vicenza.
1 See C. von B.-K., Geist und Stoff, pp. 449-451.
bella. The proceedings of this council are unknown, but it at
Relief of Mantua.
Salo and Lonato and drove them back, while with Augereau and the cavalry Bonaparte himself made a forced march on Brescia, never halting night or day till he reached the town and recovered his depots. Meantime Sérurier had retired (night of July 31), Masséna had gradually drawn in towards Lonato, and Wurmser's advanced guard triumphantly entered the fortress (August 1).
The Austrian general now formed the plan of crushing Bonaparte between Quasdanovich and his own main body. But meantime Quasdanovich had evacuated Brescia under the threat of Bonaparte's advance and was now fighting a long irregular action with Despinoy and Sauret about Gavardo and Salo, and Bonaparte, having missed his expected target, had brought Augereau by another severe march back to Montechiaro on the Chiese. Masséna was now assembled between Lonato and Ponte San Marco, and Sérurier was retiring quietly on Marcaria. Wurmser's main body, weakened by the detachment sent to Mantua, crossed the Mincio about Valeggio and Goito on the 2nd, and penetrated as far as Castiglione,whence Masséna's rearguard was expelled. But a renewed advance of Quasdanovich, ordered by Wurmser, which drove Sauret and Despinoy back on Brescia and Lonato, in the end only placed Legato and a strong detachment of the Austrians within striking distance of Masséna, who on the 3rd attacked it, front to front, and by sheer fighting destroyed it, while at the same time Augereau recaptured Castiglione from Wurmser. On the 4th Sauret and Despinoy pressed back Quasdapovich beyond Salo and Gavardo. One of the Austrian columns, finding itself isolated and unable to retreat with the others, turned back to break its way through to Wurmser, and was annihilated by Masséna in the neighbourhood of Lonato. On this day Augereau fought his way towards Solferino, and Wurmser, thinking rightly or wrongly that he could not now retire to the Mincio without a battle, drew up his whole force, close on 30,000 men, in the plain between Solferino and Medole. The finale may be described in very few words. Bonaparte, convinced that no more was to be feared from Quasdanovich, and seeing that Wurmser meant to fight, called in Despinoy's division to the main body and sent orders to Sérurier, then far distant on the Cremona road, to march against the left flank of the Austrians. On the 5th the battle of Castiglione was fought. Closely contested in the first hours of the frontal attack till Sérurier's arrival decided the day, it ended in the retreat of the Austrians over the Mincio and into Tirol whence they had
Thus the new way had failed to keep back Wurmser, and the old had failed to crush Napoleon. Each was the result of its own conditions. In former wars a commander threatened as Napoleon was, would have fallen back at once to the Adda, abandoning the siege in such good time that he would have been able to bring off his siege artillery. Instead of this Bonaparte hesitated long enough to lose it, which, according to accepted canons was a waste, and held his ground, which was, by the same rules, sheer madness. But Revolutionary discipline was not firm enough to stand a retreat. Once it turned back, the army would have streamed away to Milan and perhaps to the Alps (cf. 1799), and the only alternative to complete dissolution therefore was fighting.
As to the manner of this fighting, even the principle of "relative superiority" failed him so long as he was endeavouring to cover the siege and again when his chief care was to protect his new line of retreat and to clear his old. In this period, viz. up to his return from Brescia on the 2nd of August, the only mass "he collected delivered a blow in the air, while the covering detachments had to fight hard for bare existence. Once released from its trammels, the Napoleonic principle had fair play. He stood between Wurmser and Quasdanovich, ready to fight either or both. The latter was crushed, thanks to local superiority and the resolute leading of Masséna, but at Castiglione Wurmser actually outnumbered his opponent till the last of Napoleon's precautionary dispositions had been given up, and Sérurier brought back from the "alternative line of retreat" to the battlefield. The moral is, again, that it was not the mere fact of being on interior lines that gave Napoleon the victory, bat his tact," his fine appreciation of the chances in his favour, measured in terms of time, space, attacking force and containing power. All these factors were greatly influenced by the ground, which favoured the swarms and columns of the French and deprived the brilliant Austrian cavalry of its power to act. But of far greater importance was the mobility that Napoleon's personal
force imparted to the French. Napoleon himself rode five horses to death in three days, and Augereau's division marched from Roverbella to Brescia and back to Montechiaro, a total distance of nearly 50 m., in about thirty-six hours. This indeed was the foundation of his "relative superiority," for every hour saved in the time of marching meant more freedom to destroy one corps before the rest could overwhelm the covering detachments and come to its assistance.
Wurmser's plan for the relief of Mantua, suited to its purpose, succeeded. But when he made his objective the French field army, he had to take his own army as he found it, disposed for an altogether different purpose. A properly combined attack of convergent might indeed have given good results. But the success of such a columns framed ab initio by a good staff officer, such as Mack, plan depends principally on the assailant's original possession of the initiative, and not on the chances of his being able to win it over to his own side when operations, as here, are already in progress. passed over to Napoleon, and the plan was foredoomed. When the time came to improvise such a plan, the initiative had
By the end of the second week in August the blockade of Mantua had been resumed, without siege guns. But still under the impression of a great victory gained, Bonaparte was planning a long forward stride. He thought that by advancing past Mantua directly on Trieste and thence onwards to the Semmering he could impose a peace on the emperor. The Directory, however, which had by now focussed its attention on the German campaign, ordered him to pass through Tirol and to co-operate with Moreau, and this plan, Bonaparte, though protesting against an Alpine venture being made so late in the year, prepared to execute, drawing in reinforcements and collecting great quantities of supplies in boats on the Adige and Lake Garda. Wurmser was thought to have posted his main body near Trent, and to have detached one division to Bassano "to cover Trieste." The French advanced northward on the 2nd, in three disconnected columns (precisely as Wurmser had done in the reverse direction at the end of July)-Masséna (13,000) from Rivoli to Ala, Augereau (9000) from Verona by hill roads, keeping on his right rear, Vaubois (11,000) round the Lake of Garda by Riva and Torbole. Sahuguet's division (8000) remained before Mantua. The French divisions successfully combined and drove the enemy before them to Trent.
There. however, they missed their target. Wurmser had already drawn over the bulk of his army (22,000) into the Val Sugana, whence, with the Bassano division as his advanced guard, he intended once more to relieve Mantua, while Davidovich with 13,000 (excluding detachments) was to hold Tirol against any attempt of Bonaparte to join forces with Moreau.
Thus Austria was preparing to hazard a second (as in the event she hazarded a third and a fourth) highly trained and expensive professional army in the struggle for the preservation of a fortress, and we must conclude that there were weighty Council of War in making this unconditional venture. While reasons which actuated so notoriously cautious a body as the Mantua stood, Napoleon, for all his energy and sanguineness, could not press forward into Friuli and Carniola, and immunity from a Republican visitation was above all else important for the Vienna statesmen, governing as they did more or less discontented and heterogeneous populations that had not felt the pressure of war for a century and more. The Austrians, so far longer possessed the superiority of moral that guarantees victory as is known, desired no more than to hold their own. They no to one side when both are materially equal. There was therefore nothing to be gained, commensurate with the risk involved, by fighting a battle in the open field. In Italien siegt nicht die Kavallerie was an old saying in the Austrian army, and therefore the Austrians could not hope to win a victory of the first magnitude. The only practicable alternative was to strengthen Mantua as opportunities offered themselves, and to prolong the passive resistance as much as possible. Napoleon's own practice in providing for secondary theatres of war was to economize forces and to delay a decision, and the fault of the Austrians, viewed from a purely military standpoint, was that they squandered, instead of economizing, their forces to gain
time. If we neglect pure theory, and regard strategy as the handmaiden of statesmanship-which fundamentally it is-we
cannot condemn the Vienna authorities unless it be first proved that they grossly exaggerated the possible results of Bonaparte's threatened irruption. And if their capacity for judging the political situation be admitted, it naturally follows that their object was to preserve Mantua at all costs-which object Wurmser, though invariably defeated in action, did in fact accomplish. When Masséna entered Trent on the morning of the 5th of September, Napoleon became aware that the force in his front was a mere detachment, and news soon came in that Wurmser was in the Val Sugana about Primolano and at Bassano. This move he supposed to be intended to cover Trieste, being influenced by his own hopes of advancing in that direction, and underestimating the importance, to the Austrians, of preserving Mantua. He therefore informed the Directory that he could not proceed with the Tirol scheme, and spent one more day in driving Davidovich well away from Trent. Then, leaving Vaubois to watch him, Napoleon marched Augereau and Masséna, with a rapidity he scarcely ever surpassed, into the Val Sugana. Wurmser's rearguard was attacked and defeated again and again, and Wurmser himself felt compelled to stand and fight, in the hope of checking the pursuit before going forward into the plains. Half his army had already reached Montebello on the Verona road, and with the rear half he posted himself at Bassano, where on the 8th he was attacked and defeated with heavy losses. Then began a strategic pursuit or general chase, and in this the mobility of the French should have finished the work so well begun by their tactics.
But Napoleon directed the pursuers so as to cut off Wurmser from Trieste, not from Mantua. Masséna followed up the Austrians to Vicenza, while Augereau hurried towards Padua, and it was not until late on the 9th that Bonaparte realized that his opponent was heading for Mantua via Legnago. On the roth Masséna crossed the Adige at Ronco, while Augereau from Padua reached Montagnana. Sahuguet from Mantua and Kilmaine from Verona joined forces at Castellaro on the 11th, with orders to interpose between Wurmser and the fortress. Wurmser meantime had halted for a day at Legnago, to restore order, and had then resumed his march. It was almost too late, for in the evening, after having to push aside the head of Masséna's column at Cerea, he had only reached Nogara, some miles short of Castellaro, and close upon his rear was Augereau, who reached Legnago that night. On the 12th, eluding Sahuguet by a detour to the southward, he reached Mantua, with all the columns of the French, weary as most of them were, in hot pursuit. After an attempt to keep the open field, defeated in a general action on the 15th, the relieving force was merged in the garrison, now some 28,000 in all. So ended the episode of Bassano, the most brilliant feature of which as usual was the marching power of the French infantry. This time it sufficed to redeem even strategical misconceptions and misdirections. Between the 5th and the 11th, besides fighting three actions, Masséna had marched 100 m. and Augereau 114.
Feldzeugmeister Alvintzi was now appointed to command a new army of relief. This time the mere distribution of the troops imposed a concentric advance of separate columns, for practically the whole of the fresh forces available were in Carniola, the Military Frontier, &c., while Davidovich was still in Tirol. Alvintzi's intention was to assemble his new army (29,000) in Friuli, and to move on Bassano, which was to be occupied on the 4th of November. Meantime Davidovich (18,000) was to capture Trent, and the two columns were to connect by the Val Sugana. All being well, Alvintzi and Davidovich, still separate, were then to converge on the Adige between Verona and Legnago. Wurmser was to co-operate by vigorous sorties. At this time Napoleon's protective system was as follows: Kilmaine (9000) investing Mantua, Vaubois (10,000) at Trent, and Masséna (9000) at Bassano and Treviso, Augereau (9000) and Macquard (3000) at Verona and Villafranca constituting, for the first time in these operations, important mobile reserves. Hearing of Alvintzi's approach in good time, he meant first to drive back Davidovich, then with Augereau, Masséna, Macquard and 3000 of Vaubois's force to fall upon Alvintzi, who, he calculated,
would at this stage have reached Bassano, and finally to send back a large force through the Val Sugana to attack Davidovich. This plan practically failed.
Instead of advancing, Vaubois was driven steadily backward. By the 6th, Davidovich had fought his way almost to Roveredo, and Alvintzi had reached Bassano and was there Caldiero. successfully repelling the attacks of Masséna and Augereau. That night Napoleon drew back to Vicenza. On the 7th Davidovich drove in Vaubois to Corona and Rivoli, and Alvintzi came within 5 m. of Vicenza. Napoleon watched carefully for an opportunity to strike out, and on the 8th massed his troops closely around the central point of Verona. On the 9th, to give himself air, he ordered Masséna to join Vaubois, and to drive back Davidovich at all costs. But before this order was executed, reports came in to the effect that Davidovich had suspended his advance. The 10th and 11th were spent by both sides in relative inaction, the French waiting on events and opportunities, the Austrians resting after their prolonged exertions. Then, on the afternoon of the 11th, being informed that Alvintzi was approaching, Napoleon decided to attack him. On the 12th the advanced guard of Alvintzi's army was furiously assailed in the position of Caldiero. But the troops in rear came up rapidly, and by 4 P.M. the French were defeated all along the line and in retreat on Verona. Napoleon's situation was now indeed precarious. He was on "interior lines," it is true, but he had neither the force nor the space necessary for the delivery of rapid radial blows. Alvintzi was in superior numbers, as the battle of Caldiero had proved, and at any moment Davidovich, who had twice Vaubois's force, might advance to the attack of Rivoli. The reserves had proved insufficient, and Kilmaine had to be called up from Mantua, which was thus for the third time freed from the blockaders. Again the alternatives were retreat, in whatever order was possible to Republican armies, and beating the nearest enemy at any sacrifice. Napoleon chose the latter, though it was not until the evening of the 14th that he actually issued the fateful order.
The Austrians, too, had selected the 15th as the date of their final advance on Verona, Davidovich from the north, Alvintzi via Zevio from the south. But Napoleon was no longer there; leaving Vaubois to hold Davidovich as best he might, and posting only 3000 men in Verona, he had collected the rest of his small army between Albaro and Ronco. His plan seems to have been to cross the Adige well in rear of the Austrians, to march north on to the Verona-Vicenza highway, and there, supplying himself from their convoys, to fight to the last. On the 15th he had written to the Directory, "The weakness and the exhaustion of the army causes me to fear the worst. We are perhaps on the eve of losing Italy." In this extremity of danger the troops passed the Adige in three columns near Ronco and Albaredo, and marched forward along the dikes, with deep marshes and pools on either hand. If Napoleon's intention was to reach the dry open ground of S. Bonifacio in rear of the Austrians, it was not realized, for the Austrian army, instead of being at the gates of Verona, was still between Caldiero and S. Bonifacio, heading, as we know, for Zevio. Thus Alvintzi was able, easily and swiftly, to wheel to the south.
The battle of Arcola almost defies description. The first day passed in a series of resultless encounters between the heads of the columns as they met on the dikes. In the Arcola. evening Bonaparte withdrew over the Adige, expecting at every moment to be summoned to Vaubois's aid. But Davidovich remained inactive, and on the 16th the French again crossed the river. Masséna from Ronco advanced on Porcile, driving the Austrians along the causeway thither, but on the side of Arcola, Alvintzi had deployed a considerable part of his forces on the edge of the marshes, within musket shot of the auseway by which Bonaparte and Augereau had to pass, along the Austrian front, to reach the bridge of Arcola. In these circumstances the second day's battle was more murderous and no more decisive than the first, and again the French retreated to Ronco. But Davidovich again stood still, and with incredible obstinacy Bonaparte ordered a third assault, for the 17th, using
indeed more tactical expedients than before, but calculating | struggle of the campaign. Once he felt sure of the situation chiefly on the fighting powers of his men and on the exhaustion of the enemy. Masséna again advanced on Porcile, Robert's brigade on Arcola, but the rest, under Augereau, were to pass the Alpone near its confluence with the Adige, and joining various small bodies which passed the main stream lower down, to storm forward on dry ground to Arcola. The Austrians, however, themselves advanced from Arcola, overwhelmed Robert's brigade on the causeway and almost reached Ronco. This was perhaps the crisis of the battle, for Augereau's force was now on the other side of the stream, and Masséna, with his back to the new danger, was approaching Porcile. But the fire of a deployed regiment stopped the head of the Austrian column; Masséna, turning about, cut into its flank on the dike; and Augereau, gathering force, was approaching Arcola from the south. The bridge and the village were evacuated soon afterwards, and Masséna and Augereau began to extend in the plain beyond. But the Austrians still sullenly resisted. It was at this moment that Bonaparte secured victory by a mere ruse, but a ruse which would have been unprofitable and ridiculous had it not been based on his fine sense of the moral conditions. Both sides were nearly fought out, and he sent a few trumpeters to the rear of the Austrian army to sound the charge. They did so, and in a few minutes the Austrians were streaming back to S. Bonifacio. This ended the drama of Arcola, which more than any other episode of these wars, perhaps of any wars in modern history, centres on the personality of the hero. It is said that the French fought without spirit on the first day, and yet on the second and third Bonaparte had so thoroughly imbued them with his own will to conquer that in the end they prevailed over an enemy nearly twice their own strength.
Napoleon acted promptly. Joubert was ordered to hold on to Rivoli at all costs. Rey was brought up by a forced march to Castelnuovo, where Victor joined him, and ahead of them both Masséna was hurried on to Rivoli. Napoleon himself joined Joubert on the night of the 13th. There he saw the watch-fires of the enemy in a semicircle around him, for Alvintzi, thinking that he had only to deal with one division, had begun a widespread enveloping attack. The horns of this attack were as yet so far distant that Napoleon, instead of extending on an equal front, only spread out a few regiments to gain an hour or two and to keep the ground for Masséna and Rey, and on the morning of January 14th, with 10,000 men in hand against 26,000, he fell upon the central columns of the enemy as they advanced up the steep broken slopes of the foreground. The fighting was severe, but Bonaparte had the advantage. Masséna arrived at 9 A.M., and a little later the column of Quasdanovich, which had moved along the Adige and was now attempting to gain a foothold on the plateau in rear of Joubert, was crushed by the converging fire of Joubert's right brigade and by Masséna's guns, their rout being completed by the charge of a handful of cavalry under Lasalle. The right horn of Alvintzi's attack, when at last it swung in upon Napoleon's rear, was caught between Masséna and the advancing troops of Rey and annihilated, and even before this the dispirited Austrians were in full retreat. A last alarm, caused by the appearance of a French infantry regiment in their rear (this had crossed the lake in boats from Salo), completed their demoralization, and though less than 2000 had been killed and wounded, some 12,000 Austrian prisoners were left in the hands of the victors. Rivoli was indeed a moral triumph. After the ordeal of Arcola, the victory of the French was a foregone conclusion at each point of contact. Napoleon hesitated, or rather refrained from striking, so long as his information was incomplete, but he knew now from experience that his covering detachment, if well led, could not only hold its own without assistance until it had gained the necessary information, but could still give the rest of the army time to act upon it. Then, when the centre of gravity had been ascertained, the French divisions hurried thither, caught the enemy in the act of manœuvring and broke them up. And if that confidence in success which made all this possible needs a special illustration, it may be found in Napoleon's sending Murat's regiment over the lake to place a mere two thousand bayonets across the line of retreat of a whole army. Alvintzi's manoeuvre was faulty neither strategically in the first instance nor tactically as regards the project of enveloping Joubert on the 14th. It failed because Joubert and his men were better soldiers than his own, and because a French division could move twice as fast as an Austrian, and from these two factors a new form of war was evolved, the essence of which was that, for a given time and in a given area, a small force of the French should engage and hold a much larger force of the enemy.
The climax was reached just in time, for on the 17th Vaubois was completely defeated at Rivoli and withdrew to Peschiera, leaving the Verona and Mantua roads completely open to Davidovich. But on the 19th Napoleon turned upon him, and combining the forces of Vaubois, Masséna and Augereau against him, drove him back to Trent. Meantime Alvintzi returned from Vicenza to San Bonifacio and Caldiero (November 21st), and Bonaparte at once stopped the pursuit of Davidovich. On the return of the French main body to Verona, Alvintzi finally withdrew, Wurmser, who had emerged from Mantua on the 23rd, was driven in again, and this epilogue of the great struggle came to a feeble end because neither side was now capable of prolonging the crisis.
Alvintzi renewed his advance in January 1797 with all the forces that could be assembled for a last attempt to save Mantua. At this time 8000 men under Sérurier blockaded Mantua. Masséna (9000) was at Verona, Joubert (Vaubois's successor) at Rivoli with 10,000, Augereau at Legnago with 9000. In reserve were Rey's division (4000) between Brescia and Montechiaro, and Victor's brigade at Goito and Castelnuovo. On the other side, Alvintzi had 9000 men under Provera at Padua, 6000 under Bayalič at Bassano, and he himself with 28,000 men stood in the Tirol about Trent. This time he intended to make his principal effort on the Rivoli side. Provera was to capture Legnago on the 9th of January, and Bayalič Verona on the 12th, while the main army was to deliver its blow against the Rivoli position on the 13th.
The first marches of this scheme were duly carried out, and several days elapsed before Napoleon was able to discern the direction of the real attack. Augereau fell back, skirmishing a little, as Provera's and Bayalic's advance developed. On the 11th, when the latter was nearing Verona, Alvintzi's leading troops appeared in front of the Rivoli position. On the 12th Bayalič with a weak force (he had sent reinforcements to Alvintzi by the Val Pantena) made an unsuccessful attack on Verona, Provera, farther south, remaining inactive. On the 13th Napoleon, still in doubt, launched Masséna's division against Bayalič, who was driven back to San Bonifacio; but at the same time definite news came from Joubert that Alvintzi's main army was in front of La Corona. From this point begins the decisive, though by no means the most intense or dramatic,
Provera, still advancing on Mantua, joined hands there with Wurmser, The remaining operations can be very briefly summarized. and for a time held Sérurier at a disadvantage. But hearing of this, Napoleon sent back Masséna from the field of Rivoli, and that general, with Augereau and Sérurier, not only forced Wurmser to retire again into the fortress, but compelled Provera to lay down his arms. On the 2nd of February 1797, after a long and honourable defence, Mantua, and with it what was left of Wurmser's army, surrendered. The campaign of 1797, which ended the war of the First Coalition, was the brilliant sequel of these hard-won victories. Austria had decided to save Mantua at all costs, and had lost her armies in the attempt, a loss which was not compensated by the "strategic victories of the archduke. Thus the Republican "visitation of Carinthia and Carniola was one swift march-politically glorious, if dangerous from a purely military standpoint-of Napoleon's army to the Semmering. The archduke, who was called thither from Germany, could do no more than fight a few rearguard actions, and make threats against Napoleon's rear, which the latter, with his usual" tact," ignored. On the Rhine, as in 1795 and 1796, the armies of the Sambre-and-Meuse (Hoche) and the Rhine-and-Moselle (Moreau) were opposed by the armies of the Lower Rhine (Werneck) and of the Upper Rhine (Latour). Moreau crossed the river near Strassburg and fought a series of minor actions. Hoche, like his predecessors, crossed at Düsseldorf and Neuwied and fought his
way to the Lahn, where for the last time in the history of these wars, there was an irregular widespread battle. But Hoche, in this his last campaign, displayed the brilliant energy of his first, and delivered the" series of incessant blows" that Carnot had urged upon Jourdan the year before. Werneck was driven with ever-increasing losses from the lower Lahn to Wetzlar and Giessen. Thence, pressed hard by the French left wing under Championnet, he retired on the Nidda, only to find that Hoche's right had swung completely round him. Nothing but the news of the armistice of Leoben Leoben. saved him from envelopment and surrender. This general armistice was signed by Bonaparte, on his own authority and to the intense chagrin of the Directory and of Hoche, on the 18th of April, and was the basis of the peace of Campo Formio. NAPOLEON IN EGYPT
Within the scope of this article, yet far more important from its political and personal than from its general military interest, comes the expedition of Napoleon to Egypt and its sequel (see also EGYPT: History; NAPOLEON, &c.). A very brief summary must here suffice. Napoleon left Toulon on the 19th of May 1798, at the same time as his army (40,000 strong in 400 transports) embarked secretly at various ports. Nelson's fleet was completely evaded, and, capturing Malta en route, the armada reached the coast of Egypt on the Ist of July. The republicans stormed Alexandria on the 2nd. Between Embabeh and Gizeh, on the left bank of the Nile, 60,000 Mamelukes were defeated and scattered on the 21st (battle of the Pyramids), the French for the most part marching and fighting in the chequer of infantry squares that afterwards became the classical formation for desert warfare. While his lieutenants pursued the more important groups of the enemy, Napoleon entered Cairo in triumph, and proceeded to organize Egypt as a French protectorate. Meantime Nelson, though too late to head off the expedition, had annihilated the squadron of Admiral Brueys. This blow severed the army from the home country, and destroyed all hope of reinforcements. But to eject the French already in Egypt, military invasion of that country was necessary. The first attempts at this were made in September by the Turks as overlords of Egypt. Napoleon-after suppressing a revolt in Cairo-marched into Syria to meet them, and captured El Arish and Jaffa (at, the latter place the prisoners, whom he could afford neither to feed, to release, nor to guard, were shot by his order). But he was brought to a standstill (March 17-May 20) before the half-defensible fortifications of Acre, held by a Turkish garrison and animated by the leadership of Sir W. Sidney Smith (q.v.). In May, though meantime a Turkish relieving army had been severely beaten in the battle of Mount Tabor (April 16, 1799), Napoleon gave up his enterprise, and returned to Egypt, where he won a last victory in annihilating at Aboukir, with 6000 of his own men, a Turkish army 18,000 strong that had landed there (July 25, 1799). With this crowning tactical success to set against the Syrian reverses, he handed over the command to Kléber and returned to France (August 22) to ride the storm in a new coup d'état, the " 18th Brumaire.' Kléber, attacked by the English and Turks, concluded the convention of El Arish (January 27, 1800), whereby he secured free transport for the army back to France. But this convention was disavowed by the British government, and Kléber prepared to hold his ground. On the 20th of March 1800 he thoroughly defeated the Turkish army at Heliopolis and recovered Cairo, and French influence was once more in the ascendant in Egypt, when its director was murdered by a fanatic on the 14th of June, the day of Marengo. Kléber's successor, the incompetent Menou, fell an easy victim to the British expeditionary force under Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1801. The British forced their way ashore at Aboukir on the 8th of March. On the 21st, Abercromby won a decisive battle, and himself fell in the hour of victory (see ALEXANDRIA: Battle of 1801). His successor, General Hely Hutchinson, slowly followed up this advantage, and received the surrender of Cairo in July and of Alexandria in August, the débris of the French army being given free passage back to France. Meantime a mixed force of British and native troops from India, under Sir David Baird, had landed at Kosseir and marched across the desert to Cairo.
THE WAR OF THE SECOND COALITION
In the autumn of 1798, while Napoleon's Egyptian expedition was in progress, and the Directory was endeavouring at home to reduce the importance and the predominance of the army and its leaders, the powers of Europe once more allied themselves, not now against the principles of the Republic, but against the treaty of Campo Formio. Russia, Austria, England, Turkey, Portugal, Naples and the Pope formed the Second Coalition. The war began with an advance into the Roman States by a worthless and ill-behaved Neapolitan army (commanded, much against his will, by Mack), which the French troops under Championnet destroyed with ease. Championnet then revolutionized Naples. After this unimportant prelude the curtain rose on a general European war. The Directory which now had at its command neither numbers nor enthusiasm, prepared as best it could to
meet the storm. Four armies, numbering only 160,000, were set on foot, in Holland (Brune, 24,000); on the Upper Rhine (Jourdan, 46,000); in Switzerland, which had been militarily occupied in 1798 (Masséna, 30,000); and in upper Italy (Schérer, 60,000). In addition there was Championnet's army, now commanded by Macdonald, in southern Italy. All these forces the Directory ordered, in January and February 1799, to assume the offensive.
Jourdan, in the Constance and Schaffhausen region, had only 40,000 men against the archduke Charles's 80,000, and was soon brought to a standstill and driven back on Stokach. Stokach. The archduke had won these preliminary successes with seven-eighths of his army acting as one concentrated mass. But as he had only encountered a portion of Jourdan's army, became uneasy as to his flanks, checked his bold advance, and ordered a reconnaissance in force. This practically extended his army while Jourdan was closing his, and thus the French began the battle of Stokach (March 25) in superior numbers, and it was not until late in the day that the archduke brought up sufficient strength (60,000) to win a victory. This was a battle of the " strategic type, a widespread straggling combat in which each side took fifteen hours to inflict a loss of 12% on the other, and which ended in Jourdan accepting defeat and drawing off, unpursued by the magnificent Austrian cavalry, though these counted five times as many sabres as the French.
The French secondary army in Switzerland was in the hands of the bold and active Masséna. The forces of both sides in the Alpine region were, from a military point of view, mere flank guards to the main armies on the Rhine and the Adige. But unrest, amounting to civil war, among the Swiss and Grison peoples tempted both governments to give these flank guards considerable strength.'
The Austrians in the Vorarlberg and Grisons were under Hotze, who had 13,000 men at Bregenz, and 7000 commanded by Auffenberg around Chur, with, between them, 5000 men at Feldkirch and a post of 1000 in the strong Switzer position of the Luziensteig near Mayenfeld. Masséna's land. available force was about 20,000, and he used almost
the whole of it against Auffenberg. The Rhine was crossed by his principal column near Mayenfeld, and the Luziensteig stormed (March 6), while a second column from the Zürich side descended upon Disentis and captured its defenders. In three days, thanks to Masséna's energy and the ardent attacking spirit of his men, Auffenberg's division was broken up, Oudinot meanwhile holding off Hotze by a hard-fought combat at Feldkirch (March 7). But a second attack on Feldkirch made advance of his left wing came to a standstill. on the 23rd by Masséna with 15,000 men was repulsed and the
Behind Auffenberg and Hotze was Bellegarde in Tirol with some 47,000 men. Most of these were stationed north of Innsbruck and Landeck, probably as a sort of strategic reserve to the archduke. The rest, with the assistance of the Tirolese themselves, were to ward off irruptions from Italy. Here the French offensive was entrusted to two columns, one from Masséna's command under Lecourbe, the other from the Army of Italy under Dessolle. Simultaneously with Masséna, Lecourbe marched from Bellinzona with 10,000 men, by the San Bernadino pass into the Splügen valley, and thence over the Julier pass into the upper Engadine. A small Austrian force under Major-General Loudon attacked him near Zernetz, but was after three days of rapid manoeuvres and bold tactics driven back to Martinsbrück, with considerable losses, especially in prisoners. But ere long the country people flew to arms, and Lecourbe found himself between two fires, the levies occupying Zernetz and Loudon's regulars Martinsbrück. But though he had only some 5000 of his original force left, he was not disconcerted, and, by driving back the levies into the high valleys whence they had come, and constantly threatening Loudon,
that the "flank position" held by these forces relatively to the The assumption by later critics (Clausewitz even included) main armies in Italy and Germany was their raison d'être is unsupported by contemporary evidence,