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but he had the means wherewith to meet it, as Napoleon | cantonments between Acqui and Milan, numbered 27,000 field
The government owes you much, but can do nothing for you. This was the essence of the first of four memoranda on this Your patience, your courage, do you honour, but give you no subject prepared by Napoleon in his Paris office. The second glory, no advantage. I will lead you into the most fertile plains
indicated the means of coercing Sardinia-first the of the world. There you will find great towns, rich provinces.
Austrians were to be driven or scared away towards There you will find honour, glory and riches. Soldiers of Italy, Alessandria, then the French army would turn sharp to the left, will you be wanting in courage ?” driving the Sardinians eastward and north-eastward through Such words go far, and little as he was able to supply material Ceva, and this was to be the signal for the general invasion of deficiencies-all he could do was to expel rascally contractors, Piedmont from all sides. In the third paper he framed an sell a captured privateer for £5000 and borrow £2500 from elaborate plan for the retaking of Vado, and in the fourth he Genoa-he cheerfully told the Directory on the 28th of March summarized the contents of the other three. Having thus that“ the worst was over.” He augmented his army of operations cleared his own mind as to the conditions and the solution to about 40,000, at the expense of the coast divisions, and set on of the problem, be did his best to secure the command for foot also two small cavalry divisions, mounted on the half-starved himself.
horses that had survived the winter. Then he announced that The measures recommended by Napoleon were translated the army was ready and opened the campaign. iato a formal and detailed order to recapture Vado. To Napoleon The first plan, emanating from Paris, was that, after an the miserable condition of the Army of Italy was the most urgent expedition towards Genoa to assist in raising a loan there, the incentive to prompt action. In Schérer's judgment, however, the army should march against Beaulieu, previously neutralizing army was unfit to take the field, and therefore ex hypothesi to the Sardinians by the occupation of Ceva. When Beaulieu was attack Vado, without thorough reorganization, and it was only in beaten it was thought probable that the Piedmontese would enter November that the advance was finally made. It culminated, into an alliance with the French against their former comrades. thanks once more to the resolute Masséna, in the victory of Loano A second plan, however, authorized the general to begin by November 23-24). But Schérer thought more of the destitution subduing the Piedmontese to the extent necessary to bring about of his own army than of the fruits of success, and contented peace and alliance, and on this Napoleon acted. If the present himself with resuming possession of the Riviera.
separation of the Allies continued, he proposed to overwhelm the Mieanwhile the Mentor whose suggestions and personality were Sardinians first, before the Austrians could assemble from winter equally repugnant to Schérer had undergone strange vicissitudes quarters, and then to turn on Beaulieu. If, on the other hand, the of lorture-dismissal from the headquarters' staff, expulsion from Austrians, before he could strike his blow, united with Colli, he the list of general officers, and then the “ whiff of grapeshot proposed to frighten them into separating again by moving on oi 13th Vendémiaire, followed shortly by his marriage. with Acqui and Alessandria. Hence Carcare, where the road from Josephine, and his nomination to command the Army of Italy. Acqui joined the "cannon-road,” was the first objective of his These events had neither shaken his cold resolution nor disturbed march, and from there he could manæuvre and widen the breach his balance.
between the allied armies. His scattered left wing would assist The Army of Italy spent the winter of 1795-1796 as before in the in the attack on the Sardinians as well as it could--for the narrow Riviera, while on the one side, just over the mountains, immediate attack on the Austrians its co-operation would of
lay the Austro-Sardinians, and on the other, out of course have been out of the question. In any case he grudged Napoleon
range of the coast batteries but ready to pounce on the every week spent in administrative preparation. The delay due Comunand. supply ships, were the British frigates. On Bonaparte's to this, as a matter of fact, allowed a new situation to develop.
left Kellermann, with no more than 18,000, maintained Beaulieu was himself the first to move, and he moved towards a string of posts between Lake Geneva and the Argentera as before. Genoa instead of towards his Allies. The between the two Of the Army of Italy, 7000 watched the Tenda road and 20,000 | allied wings was thereby widened, but it was no longer possible men the coast-line. There remained for active operations some for the French to use it, for their plan of destroying Colli while 27,000 men, ragged, famished and suffering in every way in spite Beaulieu was ineffective had collapsed. of their victory of Loano. The Sardinian and Austrian auxiliaries In connexion with the Genoese loan, and to facilitate the moveColli), 25,000 men, lay between Mondovi and Ceva, a force ment of supply convoys, a small French force had been pushed strung out in the Alpine valleys opposed Kellermann, and the forward to Voltri. Bonaparte ordered it back as soon as he main Austrian army (commanded by Beaulieu), in widely extended I arrived at the front, but the alarm was given. The Austrians
broke up from winter quarters at once, and rather than lose the was ordered to Mallare, picking up here and there on the way food supplies at Voltri, Bonaparte actually reinforced Masséna a few horsemen and guns. Masséna, with 9000 men, was to at that place, and gave him orders to hold on as long as possible, send two brigades in the direction oí Carcare and Altare, and with cautioning him only to watch his left rear (Montenotte). But the third to swing round Argenteau's right and to head for he did not abandon his purpose. Starting from the new condi- Montenotte village in his rear. Laharpe with 7000 (it had tions, he devised other means, as we shall see, for reducing become clear that the enemy at Voltri would not pursue their Beaulieu to ineffectiveness. Meanwhile Beaulieu's plan of advantage) was to join Rampon, leaving only Cervoni and two offensive operations, such as they were, developed. The French battalions in Savona. Sérurier and Rusca were to keep the advance to Voltri had not only spurred him into activity, but Sardinians in front of them occupied. The far-distant brigades convinced him that the bulk of the French army lay east of of Garnier and Macquard stood fast, but the cavalry drew Savona. He therefore made Voltri the objective of a converging eastward as quickly as its condition permitted. In rain and
attack, not with the intention of destroying the French mist on the early morning of the 12th the French marched up Opening army but with that of “cutting its communications from all quarters, while Argenteau's men waited in their cold megts.
with Genoa,” and expelling it from "the only place bivouacs for light enough to resume their attack on Monte
in the Riviera where there were sufficient ovens to Legino. About 9 the mists cleared, and heavy fighting began, bake its bread.” (Beaulieu to the Aulic Council, 15 April.) The but Laharpe held the mountain, and the vigorous Masséna with Sardinians and auxiliary Austrians were ordered to extend his nearest brigade stormed forward against Argenteau's right. leftwards on Dego to close the gap that Beaulieu's advance on A few hours later, seeing Augereau's columns heading for their Genoa-Voltri opened up, which they did, though only half-line of retreat, the Austrians retired, sharply pressed, on Dego. heartedly and in small force, for, unlike Beaulieu, they know the threatened intervention of Provera was checked by that masses of the enemy were still in the western stretch of the Augereau's presence at Carcare. Riviera. The right most of Beaulieu's own columns was on the Montenotte was a brilliant victory, and one can imagine its road between Acqui and Savona with orders to seize Monte effects on the but lately despondent soldiers of the Army of Legino as an advanced post, the others were to converge towards Voltri from the Genoa side and the mountain passes about
Alessandria Campofreddo and Sassello. The wings were therefore so far connected that Colli wrote to Beaulieu on this day “the enemy will never dare to place himself between our two armies.” The
Austrians event belied the prediction, and the proposed minor operation against granaries and bakeries became the first act of a decisive campaign.
On the night of the 9th of April the French were grouped as follows: brigades under Garnier and Macquard at the Finestre and Tenda passes, Sérurier's division and Rusca's brigade east of Garessio; Augereau's division about Loano, Meynier's at Finale, Laharpe's at Savona with an outpost on the Monte Legino, and Cervoni's brigade at Voltri. Masséna was in general charge of the last-named units. The cavalry was far in rear beyond Loano. Colli's army, excluding the troops in the valleys that led into Dauphiné, was around Coni and Mondovi-Ceva, the latter group connecting with Beaulieu by a detachment
Genoa under Provera between Millesimo and Carcare. Of Beaulieu's army, Argenteau's division, still concentrating to the front in many small bodies, extended over the area Acqui-DegoSassello. Vukassovich's brigade was equally extended between Ovada and the mountain-crests above Voltri, and Pittoni's division was grouped around Gayi and the Bocchetta, the two
Sketch of the positions occupied last units being destined for the attack on Voltri. Farther to
on the night of April 4th. the rear was Sebottendorf's division around AlessandriaTortona.
Italy, for all imagined that Beaulieu's main body had been On the afternoon of the roth Beaulieu delivered his blow defeated. This was far from being the case, however, and although at Voltri, not, as he anticipated, against three-quarters of the the French spent the night of the battle at Cairo-Carcare-MonteFrench army, but against Cervoni's detachment. This, after a notte, midway between the allied wings, only two-thirds of long irregular fight, slipped away in the night to Savona. Dis- Argenteau's force, and none of the other divisions, had been covering his mistake next morning, Beaulieu sent back some beaten, and the heaviest fighting was to come. This became of his battalions to join Argenteau. But there was no road evident on the afternoon of the 13th, but meanwhile Bonaparte, by which they could do so save the détour through Acqui and eager to begin at once the subjugation of the Piedmontese (for Dego, and long before they arrived Argenteau's advance on which purpose he wanted to bring Sérurier and Rusca into play) Monte Legino had forced on the crisis. On the inth (a day sent only Laharpe's division and a few details of Masséna's, behind time), this general drove in the French outposts, but he under the latter, towards Dego. These were to protect the soon came on three battalions under Colonel Rampon, who main attack from interference by the forces that had been threw himself into some old earthworks that lay near, and said engaged at Montenotte (presumed to be Beaulieu's
Millesimo. to his men, “ We must win or die here, my friends.” His redoubt main body), the said main attack being delivered by and his men stood the trial well, and when day broke on the Augereau's division, reinforced by most of Masséna's, on the 12th Bonaparte was ready to deliver his first “Napoleon- positions held by Provera. The latter only 1000 strong to stroke.”
Augereau's 9000, shut himself in the castle of Cossaria, which The principle that guided him in the subsequent operations he defended è la Rampon against a series of furious assaults. may be called “superior numbers at the decisive point." Touch Not until the morning of the 14th was his surrender secured,
had been gained with the enemy all along the long line after his ammunition and food had been exhausted. Monte
between the Tenda and Voltri, and he decided to Argenteau also won a day's respite on the 13th, for Laharpe
concentrateswiftlyupon the nearest enemy-Argenteau. did not join Masséna till late, and nothing took place opposite Augereau's division, or such part of it as could march at once, Dego but a little skirmishing. During the day Bonaparte saw
for himself that he had overrated the effects of Montenotte. he retired in the night to a new position behind the Cursaglia. Beaulieu, on the other hand, underrated them, treating it as a On the 17th, reassured by the absence of fighting on the Dego mishap which was more than counterbalanced by his own side, and by the news that no enemy remained at Sassello, success in "cutting off the French from Genoa." He began to Bonaparte released Masséna from Dego, leaving only Laharpe rxonstruct his line on the front Dego-Sassello, trusting to there, and brought him over towards the right of the main Colli to harry the French until the Voltri troops had finished body, which thus on the evening of the 17th formed a long their détour through Acqui and rejoined Argenteau. This, of straggling line on both sides of Ceva, Sérurier on the left, course, presumed that Argenteau's troops were intact and écheloned forward, Augereau, Joubert and Rusca in the centre, Colli's able to move, which was not the case with either. Not and Masséna, partly as support, partly as flank guard, on until the afternoon of the 14th did Beaulieu place a few extra Augereau's right rear. Sérurier had been bidden to extend battalions at Argenteau's disposal “to be used only in case of well out and to strive to get contact with Masséna, i.e. to extreme necessity," and order Vukassovich from the region encircle the enemy. There was no longer any idea of waiting of Sassello to “make a diversion " against the French right to besiege Ceva, although the artillery train had been ordered with two battalions.
up from the Riviera by the “cannon-road " for eventual use Thus Argenteau, already shaken, was exposed to destruction. there. Further, the line of supply, as an extra guarantee against On the 14th, after Provera's surrender, Masséna and Laharpe, interference, was changed from that of Savona-Carcare to that of Dezo.
reinforced until they had nearly a two-to-one superior- Loano-Bardinetto. When this was accomplished, four clear days
ity, stormed Dego and killed or captured 3000 of could be reckoned on with certainty in which to deal with Colli. Argenteau's 5500 men, the remnant retreating in disorder to The latter, still expecting the Austrians to advance to his Acqui. But nothing was done towards the accomplishment of assistance, had established his corps (not more than 12,000 the purpose of destroying Colli on that day, save that Sérurier muskets in all) in the immensely strong positions
San and Rusca began to close in to meet the main body between of the Cursaglia, with a thin line of posts on his left
Michele. Ceva and Millesimo. Moreover, the victory at Dego had produced stretching towards Cherasco, whence he could comits usual results on the wild fighting swarms of the Republicans, municate, by a roundabout way, with Acqui. Opposite this who threw themselves like hungry wolves on the little town, position the long straggling line of the French arrived, after without pursuing the beaten enemy or even placing a single many delays due to the weariness of the troops, on the 19th outpost on the Acqui road. In this state, during the early A day of irregular fighting followed, everywhere to the advantage bours of the 15th, Vukassovich's brigade,' marching up from of the defenders. Napoleon, fighting against time, ordered a Sassello, surprised them, and they broke and filed in an instant. fresh attack on the 20th, and only desisted when it became The whole morning had to be spent in rallying them at Cairo, evident that the army was exhausted, and, in particular, when and Bonaparte had for the second time to postpone his union Sérurier reported frankly that without bread the soldiers would with Sérurier and Rusca, who meanwhile, isolated from one not march. The delay .thus imposed, however, enabled him to another and from the main army, were groping forward in the clear the “cannon-road ” of all vehicles, and to bring up the mountains. A fresh assault on Dego was ordered, and after Dego dętachment to replace Masséna in the valley of the western Very severe fighting, Masséna and Laharpe succeeded late in Bormida, the latter coming in to the main army. Further, the evening in retaking it. Vukassovich lost heavily, but part at any rate of the convoy service was transferred still retired steadily and in order on Spigno. The killed and wounded farther westward to the line Albenga-Garessio-Ceva. Nelson's numbered probably about 1000 French and 1500 Austrians, feet, that had so powerfully contributed to force the French out of considerably less than 10,000 engaged on each side-a inland, was becoming less and less innocuous. If leadership and loss which contrasted very forcibly with those suffered in other force of character could overcome internal friction, all the battles of the Revolutionary Wars, and by teaching the Army success he had hoped for was now within the young commander's of Italy to bear punishment, imbued it with self-confidence. grasp. But again success bred disorder, and there was a second orgy in Twenty-four thousand men, for the first time with a due the houses and streets of Dego which went on till late in the proportion of cavalry and artillery, were now disposed along morning and paralysed the whole army.
Colli's front and beyond his right flank. Colli, outThis was perhaps the crisis of the campaign. Even now it numbered by two to one and threatened with enwas not certain that the Austrians had been definitively pushed velopment, decided once more to retreat, and the Republicans aside, while it was quite clear that Beaulieu's main body was occupied the Cursaglia lines on the morning of the 21st without intact and Colli was still more an unknown quantity. But firing a shot. But Colli halted again at Vico, half-way to Napoleon's intention remained the same, to attack the Pied- Mondovi (in order, is said, to protect the evacuation of a montese as quickly and as heavily as possible, Beaulieu being small magazine he had there), and while he was in this un. held in check by a containing force under Masséna and Laharpe. favourable situation the pursuers came on with true Republican The remainder of the army, counting in now Rusca and Sérurier, swiftness, lapped round his flanks and crushed him. A few was to move westward towards Ceva. This disposition, while days later (27th April), the armistice of Cherasco put an end it illustrates the Napoleonic principle of delivering a heavy to the campaign before the Austrians moved a single battalion blow on the selected target and warding off interference at other to his assistance. points, shows also the difficulty of rightly apportioning the The interest of the campaign being above all Napoleonic, its moral available means between the offensive mass and the defensive tiated it from other Revolutionary campaigns. A
must be found by discovering the “ Napoleon touch "that diffcrensystem, for, as it turned out, Beaulieu was already sufficiently deal is common to all, on both sides.
great The Austrians
" Napoleon kared, and thought of nothing but self-defence on the line and Sardinians worked together at least as effectively as
touch." Acqui-Ovada-Bocchetta, while the French ofíensive mass was the Austrians, Prussians, British and Dutch in the Nethervery weak compared with Colli's unbeaten and now fairly to the Army of the North. Why, therefore, when the war dragged on
lands. Revolutionary energy was common to the Army of Italy and concentrated army about Ceva and Montczemolo.
from one campaign to another in the great plains of the Meuse and On the afternoon of the 16th the real advance was begun by Rhine countries, did Napoleon bring about so swist a decision in these Augereau's division, reinforced by other troops. Rusca joined cramped valleys? The answer is to be found partly in the exigencies Augereau towards evening, and Sérurier approached Ceva of the supply service, but still more in Napoleon's own personality
and the strategy born of it. The first, as we have seen, was at from the south. Colli's object was now to spin out time, and
the end of its resources when Beaulieu placed himself across the having repulsed a weak atiаck by Augereau, and feeling able Genoa road. Action of some sort was the plain alternative to to repeat these tactics on each successive spur of the Apennines, starvation, and at this point Napoleon's personality intervened
He would have no quarter-rations on the Riviera, but plenty and to "Vukassovich had received Beaulieu's order to demonstrate with spare beyond the mountains. If there were many thousand soldiers two battalions, and also appeals for help from Argenteau. He who marched unarmed and shocless in the ranks, it was towards "the therefore brought most of his troops with him.
Promised Land "that he led them. He looked always to the end, and
met each day as if with full expectation of attaining it before sunset. flank, not almost back to back with the main body as Vandamme Strategical conditions and " new French" methods of war did not had been, and although this distance was but little compared to save Bonaparte in the two crises-the Dego rout and the sullen halt those of his later campaigns, when he employed small armies for the of the army at San Michele-but the personality which made the same purpose, it sufficed in this difficult mountain country, where soldiers, on the way to Montenotte, march barefoot past a wagon. the covering force enjoyed the advantage of strong positions. load of new boots.
Of course, if Colli had been better concentrated, or if Beaulieu had We have said that Napoleon's strategy was the result of this per- been more active, the calculated proportions between covering force sonal magnetism. Later critics evolved from his success the theory and main body might have proved fallacious, and the system on of "interior lines," and then accounted for it by applying the which Napoleon's relative superiority rested might have broken criterion they had evolved. Actually, the form in which the will to down. But the point is that such a system, however rough its first conquer found expression was in many important respects old. model, had been imagined and put into practice. What, therefore, in the theory or its application was the product of This was Napoleon's individual art of war, as raiding bakeries and Napoleon's own genius and will-power? A comparison with Souham's cutting communications were Beaulieu's speciality. Napoleon made campaign of Tourcoing will enable us to answer this question. To the art into a science, and in our own time, with modern conditions begin with, Souham found himself midway between Coburg and Cler- of effective, armament and communications, it is more than possible fayt almost by accident, and his utilization of the advantages of his that Moreaus and Jourdans will prove able to practise it with success. position was an expedient for the given case. Napoleon, however, But in the old conditions it required a Napoleon. Strategy," said placed himself deliberately and by fighting his way thither, in an Moltke, “is a system of expedients." But it was the intense personal analogous situation at Carcare and Cairo. Military opinion of the force, as well as the genius, of Napoleon that forged these expedients time considered it dangerous, as indeed it was, for no theory can alter into a system. the fact that had not Napoleon made his men fight harder and march sarther than usual, he would have been destroyed. The effective
The first phase of the campaign satisfactorily settled, Napoleon play of forces on interior lines depends on the two conditions that was free to turn his attention to the “ arch-enemy" to whom he the outer enemies are not so near together as to give no time for the was now considerably superior in numbers (35,000 to 25.000). inner mass to defeat one before the arrival of the other, and that the day after the signature of the armistice of Cherasco he they are not so far apart that before one can be brought to action began preparing for a new advance and also for the role of the other has inflicted serious damage elsewhere.
Neither condition was fully met at any time in the Montenotte arbiter of the destinies of Italy. Many whispers there were, campaign. On the 11th Napoleon knew that the attack on Voltri even in his own army, as to the dangers of passing on without had been made by a part only of the Austrian forces, yet he flung “revolutionizing "aristocratic Genoa and monarchical Piedmont, his own masses on Montenotte. On the 13th he thought that and of bringing Venice, the pope and the Italian princes into the Beaulieu's main body was at Dego and Colli's at Millesimo, and on this assumption had to exact the most extraordinary efforts from field against the French. But Bonaparte, flushed with victory, Augereau's troops at Cossaria. On the 19th and 20th he tried to and better informed than the malcontents of the real condiexclude the risks of the Austrians' intervention, and with this the tion of Italy, never hesitated. His first object was to drive chances of a victory over them to follow his victory over Colli, by out Beaulicu, his second to push through Tirol, and his only transferring the centre of gravity of his army to Ceva and Garessio, serious restriction the chance that the armistice with Piedmont and fighting it out with Colli alone.
It was not, in fact, to gain a position on interior lines--with respect would not result in a definitive treaty. Beaulieu had falled back to two opponents-that Napoleon pushed his army to Carcare: into Lombardy, and now bordered the Po right and left of Before the campaign began he hoped by using the “cannon-road
Valenza. To achieve further progress, Napoleon had first to to destroy the Piedmontese before the Austrians were in existence at all as an army. But on the news from Voltri and Monte Legino cross that river, and the point and method of crossing was the he swiftly concentrated fire, made the breach, and broke the immediate problem, a problem the more difficult as Napoleon equilibrium " at the spot where the interests and forces of the two had no bridge train and could only make use of such existing that the Austrians were practically non-existent, and the whole bridges as he could seize intact. If he crossed above Valenza, object in the second was to breach the now connected front of the he would be confronted by one river-line after another, on one Allies (6 strategic penetration ") and to cause them to break up into of which at least Beaulieu would probably stand to fight. But two separate systems. More, having made the breach, he had the quite apart from the immediate problem, Napoleon's intention choice (which he had not before) of attacking either the Austrians or the Sardinians, as every critic has pointed out. Indeed the Austrians
was less to beat the Austrians than to dislodge them. He needed offered by far the better target. But he neither wanted nor used a foothold in Lombardy which would make him independent of, the new alternative. His purpose was to crush Piedmont. "My and even a menace to, Piedmont. If this were assured, be could enemies saw too much at once," said Napoleon. Singleness of aim for a few weeks entirely ignore bis communications with France and of purpose, the product of clear thinking and of personality," was the foundation-stone of the new form of strategy,
and strike out against Beaulieu, dethrone the king of Sardinia, In the course of subduing the Sardinians, Napoleon found himself
or revolutionize Parma, Modena and the papal states according placed on interior lines between two hostile masses, and another new to circumstances. idea, that of “ relative superiority," reveals itself. Whereas Souham Milan, therefore, was his objective, and Tortona-Piacenza his had been in superior force (90,000 against 70,000), Napoleon (40,000 against 50,000) was not, and yet the Army of Italy was always placed with the Piedmontese authorities for the right of
route thither. To give himself every chance, he had stipulated in a position of relative superiority (at first about 3 to 2 and ulti
Piaceara mately 2 to 1) to the immediate antagonist. * The essence of passing at Valenza, and he had the satisfaction of strategy," said Napoleon in 1797, to have more force at the crucial point than the enemy. But this seeing Beaulieu fall into the trap and concentrate opposite that art is, taught neither by books nor by practice; it is a matter of part of the river. The French meantime had moved to the region tact." In this he expressed the result of his victories on his own Alessandria-Tortona. Thence on the 6th of May Bonaparte, mind rather than a preconceived formula which produced those with a picked body of troops, set out for a forced march on victories. But the idea, though undefined, and the method of Piacenza, and that night the advanced guard was 30 m, on the practice, though imperfectly worked out, were in his mind from the first. As soon as he had made the breach, he widened it by pushing way, at Castel San Giovanni, and Laharpe's and the cavalry out Masséna and Laharpe on the one hand and Augereau on the divisions at Stradella, 10 m. behind them. Augereau was at other. This is mere common sense. though preparing to throw all available forces against Colli, he posted forming a rapidly extending fan, 50 m. from point to point.
But immediately afterwards, Broni, Masséna at Sale and Sérurier near Valenza, the whole Masséna and Laharpe at Dego to guard, not like Vandamme on the Lys against a real and pressing enemy, but against a possibility, 1 If the Piacenza detachment succeeded in crossing, the army was and he only diminished the strength and altered the position of this to follow rapidly in its track. If, on the other hand, Beaulieu sell containing detachment in proportion as the Austrian danger 1 We have seen that after Tourcoing, taught by experience, dwindled. Later in his career he defined this offensive-defensive Souham posted Vandamme's covering force 14. or 15 m. out.
But system as “having all possible strength at the decisive point,' Napoleon's disposition was in advance of experience. and " being nowhere vulnerable," and the art of reconciling these * The proposed alliance with the Sardinians came to nothing. two requirements, in each case as it arose, was always the principal The kings of Sardinia had always made their alliance with either secret of his generalship. At first his precautions (judged by events Austria or France conditional on cessions of conquered territory.
and not by the probabilities of the moment) were excessive, But, according to Thiers, the Directory only desired to conquer Relative
and the offensive mass small. But the latter was handled the Milanese to restore it to Austria in return for the definitive superior
by a general untroubled by multiple aims and anxieties, cession of the Austrian Netherlands. If this be so, Napoleon's ity.
and if such self-confidence was equivalent to 10,000 proclamations of " freedom for Italy ” were, if not a mere political men on the battlefield, it was legitimate to detach 10,000 men to expedient, at any rate no more than an expression of his own desires secure it. These 10,000 were posted 8 m. out on the dangerous which he was not powerful enough to enforce.
back to oppose the advanced guard, the Valenza divisions would Next day, still under the vivid tactical impressions of the take advantage of his absence to cross there. In either case, be it Bridge of Lodi, he postponed his occupation of the Milanese observed, the Austrians were to be evaded, not brought to action and set off in pursuit of Beaulieu, but the latter was
On the morning of the 7th, the swift advanced guard under now out of reach, and during the next few days the General Dallemagne crossed at Piacenza,' and, hearing of this, French divisions were installed at various points in the arta Bonaparte ordered every division except Sérurier's thither with Pavia-Milan-Pizzighetone, facing outwards in all dangerous all possible speed. In the exultation of the moment he mocked directions, with a central reserve at Milan. Thus secured, at Beaulieu's incapacity, but the old Austrian was already on Bonaparte turned his attention to political and military adthe alert. This game of manæuvres he understood; already ministration. This took the form of exacting from the neighone of his divisions had arrived in close proximity to Dallemagne bouring princes money, supplies and objects of art, and the once and the others were marching eastward by all available roads. famished Army of Italy revelled in its opportunity. Now, howIt was not until the 8th that the French, after a series of partial ever, the Directory, suspicious of the too successful and too encounters, were securely established on the left bank of the Po, sanguine young general, ordered him to turn over the command and Beaulieu had given up the idea of forcing their most advanced in Upper Italy to Kellermann, and to take an expeditionary troops to accept battle at a disadvantage. The success of corps himself into the heart of the Peninsula, there to preach the French was due less to their plan than to their mobility, the Republic and the overthrow of princes. Napoleon absolutely which enabled them first to pass the river before the Austrians refused, and offered his resignation. In the end (partly by (who had actually started a day in advance of them) put in an bribery) he prevailed, but the incident reawakened his desire appearance, and afterwards to be in superior numbers at each to close with Beaulieu. This indeed he could now do with a poict of contact. But the episode was destined after all to free hand, since not only had the Milanese been effectively culminate in a great event, which Napoleon himself indicated occupied, but also the treaty with Sardinia had been ratified. as the turning-point of his life. “Vendémiaire and even Monte- But no sooner had he resumed the advance than it was Dotte did not make me think myself a superior being. It was interrupted by a rising of the peasantry in his rear. The exacalter Lodi that the idea came to me. ... That first kindled the tions of the French had in a few days generated sparks of disspark of boundless ambition.”
content which it was easy for the priests and the nobles to fan The idea of a battle having been given up, Beaulieu retired to into open ilames. Milan and Pavia as well as the countryside the Adda, and most of his troops were safely beyond it before the broke into insurrection, and at the latter place the mob forced
French arrived near Lodi, but he felt it necessary to the French commandant to surrender. Bonaparte acted
leave a strong rearguard on the river opposite that swiftly and ruthlessly. Bringing back a small portion of the place to cover the reassembly of his columns after their scattered army with him, he punished Milan on the 25th, sacked and march. On the afternoon of the 10th of May, Bonaparte, with burned Binasco on the 26th, and on the evening of the latter Dallemagne, Masséna and Augereau, came up and seized the day, while his cavalry swept the open country, he broke his tonn. But 200 yds. of open ground had to be passed from the way into Pavia with 1500 men and beat down all resistance. town gate to the bridge, and the bridge itself was another 250 Napoleon's cruelty was never purposeless. He deported several in length. A few hundred yards beyond it stood the Austrians, scores of hostages to France, executed most of the mob leaders, 9000 strong with 14 guns. Napoleon brought up all his guns and shot the French officer who had surrendered. In addition, to prevent the enemy from destroying the bridge. Then sending he gave his 1500 men three hours' leave to pillage. Then, as all his cavalry to turn the enemy's right by a ford above the swiftly as they had come, they returned to the army on the town, he waited two hours, employing the time in cannonading Oglio. From this river Napoleon advanced to the banks of the the Austrian lines, resting his advanced infantry and closing Mincio, where the remainder of the Italian campaign was fought up Masséna's and Augereau's divisions. Finally he gave the out, both sides contemptuously disregarding Venetian neutrality. order to Dallemagne's 4000 grenadiers, who were drawn up It centred on the fortress of Mantua, which Beaulieu, too weak under cover of the town wall, to rush the bridge. As the column, to keep the field, and dislodged from the Mincio in the action of Dot more than thirty men broad, made its appearance, it was Borghetto (May 30), strongly garrisoned before retiring into Det by the concentrated fire of the Austrian guns, and half | Tirol. Beaulieu was soon afterwards replaced by Dagobert way across the bridge it checked, but Bonaparte himself and Siegmund, count von Wurmser (b. 1724), who brought conMasséna rushed forward, the courage of the soldiers revived, siderable reinforcements from Germany. and, while some jumped off the bridge and scrambled forward At this point, mindful of the narrow escape he had had of in the shallow water, the remainder stormed on, passed through losing his command, Bonaparte thought it well to begin the the guns and drove back the infantry. This was, in bare outline, resettlement of Italy. The scheme for co-operating with Moreau the astounding passage of the Bridge of Lodi. It was not till on the Danube was indefinitely postponed, and the Army of after the battle that Napoleon realized that only a rearguard Italy (now reinforced from the Army of the Alps and counting was in front of him. When he launched his 4000 grenadiers 42,000 effectives) was again disposed in a protective “zone of be thought that on the other side there were four or five times manœuvre," with a strong central reserve.
Over 8000 men, that number of the enemy. No wonder, then, that after the however, garrisoned the fortresses of Piedmont and Lombardy, event he recognized in himself the flash of genius, the courage and the effective blockade of Mantua and political expeditions to risk everything, and the "tact " which, independent of, into the heart of the Peninsula soon used up the whole of this and indeed contrary to all reasoned calculations, told him that the moment had come for “ breaking the equilibrium.” Lodi Moreover, no siege artillery was available until the Austrians was a tactical success in the nighest sense, in that the principles in the citadel of Milan capitulated, and thus it was not till of his tactics rested on psychology-on the “sublime” part the 18th of July that the first parallel was begun. Almost at the of the art of war as Saxe had called it long ago. The spirit pro. same moment Wurmser began his advance from Trent with duced the form, and Lodi was the prototype of the Napoleonic 55,000 men to relieve Mantua. battle--contact, maneuvre, preparation, and finally the well- The protective system on which his attack would fall in the timed, massed and unhesitating assault. The absence of strate- first instance was now as follows:-Augereau (6000) about pical results mattered little. Many months elapsed before this Legnago, Despinoy (8000) south-east of Verona,
Siege of bold assertion of superiority ceased to decide the battles of Masséna (13,000) at Verona and Peschiera, with
Mantua. France and Austria.
outposts on the Monte Baldo and at La Corona, On entering the territory of the duke of Parma Bonaparte Sauret (4500) at Salo and Gavardo. Sérurier (12,000) was famous pictures, and thus began a practice which for many years besieging Mantua, and the only central reserve was the cavalry enriched the Louvre and only ceased with the capture of Paris (2000) under Kilmaine. The main road to Milan passed by
Brescia. Sauret's brigade, therefore, was practically a detached