He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain. — Mark Twain

French Revolutionary Wars

1792-1801
France — versus — Austria, Britain, Russia, Prussia

Netherlands — 1792-94       Royalist Rebellions — 1793-94      
Rhine Valley — 1794-1800       Italy — 1796-1800      
Egypt — 1798-1801       Naval/Colonial Battles — 1796-1802   

frenchrev
SEIZING A FLAG, HE HIMSELF LED HIS MEN ACROSS THE BRIDGE.
The French Revolution began in 1789, but it did not become thoroughly radicalized until 1793. For the first several years most of the European monarchs were concerned about the turn of events, but adopted a "wait and see" approach. It was not until 1792, when the French government began showing signs of a slide into anarchy, that foreign monarchies raised armies against France. Soon after Austria and Prussia declared war, Anti-Royalist Rebellions began to take place within France. Unfortunately, the threat of invasion from outside, and the threat of rebellion from inside worked together to accelerate the radicalization of the Revolutionary government. Once the Jacobins sensed that the entire revolution was in jeopardy, they began to see their adversaries as "traitors to the republic" instead of political rivals.

The first battles between France and the coalition of German states who opposed the the Revolutionary government occurred in late 1792. Soon after these battles, the King was tried as a traitor and executed. By early 1793, several Royalist provinces of France were in open rebellion and the monarchs of Europe were preparing for a new invasion. The Revolutionary government conscripted over 300 thousand soldiers to deal with these threats and sent them into the field, relying on plunder and pillage whenever rations were short.

Between 1793 and 1795, the main fields of battle were internal Rebellions, the Pyrenees, the Netherlands, and the Rhine Valley. In 1796 and 1799 Napoleon distinguished himself in Italy and then Egypt. Throughout the whole period, the British navy harassed French colonies and commerce, and provided support for its European allies. The main campaigns during the French Revolutionary period can be organized as follows.


Netherlands : 1792-95

Invasion of Holland
THE INVASION OF HOLLAND BY THE FRENCH
Several of the first and most important battles of the French Revolution were fought in 1792 in northern France, near the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium). Austria and Prussia had declared war on the French Revolutionary government, and the region provided a strategic base for an invasion of France. The Prussians entered France at Verdun, in late August, causing widespread panic, but Dumouriez was able to hold the Prussians off at Valmy, where the excellent French artillery carried the day.

Once the route to Paris was secure, the French took the offensive and entered the Netherlands. They believed the Dutch people favored the Republican cause, and during the year 1794 they led a successful campaign against Austria and England, gaining control of much of the south, and depriving Austria of a valuable possession. A winter in early 1795 forced both Britain and Austria to withdraw entirely from the region, and shortly thereafter, the Netherlands were united as the Batavian Republic, a client-state of France. The victory in the Netherlands was of enormous importance to France. It gave France access to the region's wealth, control of the Northern coast, and it provided security against invasion by England. It also gave France access to the Rhine Valley and the German kingdoms in the region.



DateBattle Summary
1792  
Battle of Valmy (Belgium ) French victory
Fought September 20, 1792, between the French, 70,000 strong, under Dumouriez, and the Prussians, under the Duke of Brunswick. The battle consisted in the main of an artillery duel, in which the French had the upper hand, and after nightfall the Prussians retired, recrossing the frontier two days later.
  
1792  
Battle of Jemappes (Belgium ) French victory
Fought November 6, 1792, between the Austrians, under the Archduke Albert, and the French, under Dumouriez. The Austrians occupied a very strong position on the heights above Jemappes, from which they were driven with heavy loss, the French gaining a signal victory.
  
1793  
Battle of Neerwinden (Belgium ) Austrians victory
Fought March 18, 1793, between the French, under Dumouriez, and the Austrians, under the Prince of Coburg. The Austrians won a signal victory, and in consequence of his defeat Dumouriez was compelled to evacuate Belgium.
  
1793  
Battle of Hondschook (Belgium ) French victory
Fought September, 1793, between the Austrians, under Freytag, and the French, under Houchard. The Austrians occupied a strong position from which they were driven in disorder, and with heavy loss As a consequence of this victory, the siege of Dunkirk was raised.
  
1793  
Battle of Wattignies (Belgium ) French victory
Fought October, 1793, when the French, under Jourdan, attacked the Austrians, under the Duke of Coburg, and drove him from his position, forcing him to raise the siege of Maubeuge.
  
1794  
Battle of Turcoing (Belgium ) French victory
Fought 1794 between the French, under Souham, and the British, under the Duke of York. The British were defeated and driven back upon Tournay.
  
1794  
Battle of Fleurus (Belgium ) French victory
Fought June 16, 1794, between the Austrians, 80,000 strong, under the Duke of Coburg, and an equal force of French, under Jourdan. The Austrians attacked, and after a severe engagement, were repulsed and compelled to fall back in the direction of Brussels to cover that city.
  
1794  
Battle of Mouscron (Rhine Valley-1st ) French victory
Fought 1794, between the French, under Moreau and Souham, and the Austrians, under General Clarifait. The French were victorious.
  
1794  
Battle of Bois-le-Duc (Belgium ) Austrians victory
Fought November 12, 1794, between the French and Austrians under the Duke of York, and the French under Moreau. Moreau's object was to enter Holland at a period when the dykes would be no obstacle to his advance, and for the purpose endeavored to cross the Meuse at Fort Crevecmur, near Bois-le-Duc. The allies however, disputed his passage so vigorously that Moreau was forced to retire, and give up his project.
  
1795  
Battle of Aix-la-Chapelle (Colonial-indonesia ) Austrians victory
Fought March 3, 1795, between the French under Miranda and the Austrians under the Prince of Saxe-Coburg. The French were totally defeated, and fled in disorder, with a loss of 3,500 killed and wounded and 1,500 prisoners.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Charles Dumouriez French Revolutionary General and hero of the battle of Valmy. Deserted the cause after the execution of the king and joined the royalist allies
Duke of Brunswick
Francois Kellerman



Royalist Rebellions : 1793

frenchrev
THE FRENCH PEOPLE SEIZING ARMS AT THE OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION

The revolution in France began to take a radical turn in 1792, heading quickly towards anarchy after Louis XVI was tried and executed in early 1793. In the months that followed persecution of the Church and clergy became more severe, and mandatory conscription into the republic army led to abuses. Royalist rebellions broke out in 1793 in several regions of France, but the most dramatic was the War in the Vendee, a rural region in the Northeast that was still traditionally Catholic. Many of the citizens who rose in revolt against the abuses of the Republic saw themselves as defending their faith from an atheistic regime. They were "Royalists" for religious rather than political reasons.

War in the Vendee

The Rebellion in the Vendee turned into a full-scale civil war, with estimates of at least 150,000 killed, both military and civilian. The conflict began with riots and guerrilla style resistance over the government's call for conscriptions. Eventually a revolutionary army was organized, and the French government responded with overwhelming force. For the first few months of the war, the Vendeeans won most battles, and provided a formidable resistance. But their successful resistance only hardened the Republics determination to crush the rebellion. The reaction of the Republic was severe and in August the "Committee for Public Safety" ordered the Republican leaders to "Pacify" the region. The war was no longer carried on by conventional means, but rather, using a scorched earth policy, destroying villages, burning fields, engaging in wholesale pillage, and slaughtering civilians, including women and children.

The beginning of the "Reign of Terror", coincided with the turn of affairs in the Civil War in the Vendee. The "Committee for Public Safety" was given dictatorial powers in order to deal with the threat of internal rebellion, and it was the initial success of the rebellion in the Vendee that convinced the Revolutionary leaders that any opposition needed to be mercilessly crushed. The image most people associate with the Reign of Terror is of victims in Paris being guillotined on a public platform; however, far more "public enemies" were slaughtered by sword, cannon, burning, and drowning in the Vendee than were executed by guillotine.

Other Royalist Rebellions

The execution of Louis XVI was the trigger for Royalist rebellions throughout France during 1793. In addition to the Civil War in the Vendee, there were also major uprisings at Lucon, Colet, Lyon, and Toulon. Most of these royalist rebellions were put down very savagely by the republican government. The estimates of those killed during Royalist rebellions outside of the Vendee ranges from 40,000 to 250,000. The siege of Toulon was one of the last holdouts, and is notable because it was the first battle in which Napoleon, then a minor officer, played a major part.

Another rebellion that occurred during the early years of the French Revolution was a slave rebellion in Haiti, led by Toussaint Louverture. The rebellion on Haiti took several years to bring under control, and resulted in an independent government.



DateBattle Summary
1793  
Siege of Toulon (Eastern Gaul ) French victory
On August 29, 1793, Toulon, which had opened its gates to the British, and was held by a small garrison, under Lord Mulgrave, was besieged by the French, under Dugommier. By December 18, most of the landward defenses had been carried, and the place having become untenable, Lord Mulgrave carried off his troops by sea. This siege is chiefly memorable as being the first important appearance of Napoleon, who commanded the artillery.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Toussaint L'Ouverture Former slave who became the leader of rebel slaves seeking to overthrow the French government in Haiti.
Napoleon Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.


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Story Links
Book Links
Reign of Terror and Rise of Napoleon in  France: Peeps at History  by  John Finnemore
Napoleon Bonaparte  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Napoleon an Officer  in  The Story of Napoleon  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Toussaint L'Ouverture and the Revolution in Hayti in  Historical Tales: Spanish American  by  Charles Morris


Rhine Valley Campaign : 1794-1800

By 1795 the French Republic had fought off the first round of invasions by foreign powers, crushed internal rebellion, and annexed the Netherlands. The reigns of power were held tightly by the "Directory" and for the time being the Republic was stable. Yet France still maintained a large conscripted army that was funded largely by plunder and tribute, and its leaders were anxious to spread its revolutionary ideas to neighboring countries. The Rhine valley was an especially tempting area because it was composed of small, independent kingdoms that needed the support of the the allied kingdoms if they were to resist French encroachment.

After France gained control of the Netherlands, Prussia dropped out of the coalition and Britain drew back, leaving Austria to bear the brunt of the resistance during 1996-97. But the fighting went poorly, especially in Italy, and Austria was forced to sign the treaty of Campo Formio, officially ceding the Netherlands as well as much of North Italy. The treaty bought only a short peace however. By 1998 Napoleon was trapped in Egypt, the French government was in disarray, and Austria formed a new coalition, this time including Russia, to oppose France. Fighting resumed in 1799 and at first the coalition gained ground in Italy and Holland.

But in late 1799 Napoleon overthrew the Directory and made himself First Consul. Within a year he had recaptured all lost territory and pushed pushed deep into the Rhine Valley, threatening the German states in the area. He forced each of his opponents into an armistice. Even Britain, which had successfully attacked French harbors and colonies, agreed to the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. This treaty marked the end of the French Revolutionary Wars, but lasted only a year before the Napoleonic Wars commenced.



DateBattle Summary
1796  
Battle of Wartzburg (Rhine Valley-1st ) Austrians victory
Fought 1796, between the French, under Jourdan, and the Austrians, under the Archduke Charles. The Archduke interposed between the armies of Jourdan and Moreau, who were endeavoring to effect a junction, and inflicted a severe defeat upon Jourdan, forcing him to retire to the Rhine.
  
1796  
Battle of Biberac (Rhine Valley-1st ) French victory
Fought October, 1796, between the French under Moreau, and the Austrians under the Archduke Charles, who had previously defeated Jourdan at Warzburg, and now turned upon Moreau, who was retreating through the Black Forest. Moreau severely defeated the Austrians, and continued his retreat unmolested.
  
1796  
Battle of Rastadt (Rhine Valley-1st ) French victory
Fought 1796, between the French, under Moreau, and the Austrians, under the Archduke Charles. After a severe engagement Moreau succeeded in seizing the heights held by the Austrians, and forced Charles to retreat to the Danube.
  
1797  
Battle of Neuwied (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought April 18, 1797, between the French, 80,000 strong, under Hoche, and the Austrians, under Werneck. Hoche won a signal victory, driving the Austrians beyond the Lahn, with a loss of 8,000 men and 80 guns.
  
1799  
Battle of Alessandria (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought June 18, 1799, between the French, 14,000 strong under Moreau, and the Imperialists under Bellegarde. The French gained a signal victory, the loss of the Imperialists being 1,500 men and 5 guns.
  
1799  
Battle of Bergen-op-Zoom (Rhine Valley-2nd ) British-Russian victory
In the outskirts of the town a battle took place September 19,1799, between 35,000 British and Russians under the Duke of York, and the French under Vandamme. The Russians on the right met with disaster, their commander, Hermann, with nearly all his division, being taken prisoners, but the British repulsed the French attack with heavy loss. The victory, however, was not of much advantage to the allies, who were forced to continue their retreat to Zijp. The French lost about 3,000 killed and wounded, and the British 500 only, but the Russian casualties amounted to 3,500, while they also lost 26 guns.
  
1799  
Battle of Alkmaar (Rhine Valley-2nd ) British-Russian victory
Fought October 2, 1799, between 30,000 British and Russians under the Duke of York, and the French, in about equal strength, under Brune. The action began by the Russians driving in the French advanced posts. Meanwhile the Duke of York had outflanked them, and as soon as he was in position a simultaneous attack on the French left and centre forced Brune to abandon the key of his position, Alkmaar, which was at once occupied by the allies.
  
1799  
Battle of Stockack (Rhine Valley-2nd ) Austrians victory
Fought 1799, between the French, under Jourdan, and the Austrians, 60,000 strong, under the Archduke Charles. The French were defeated and driven back upon the Rhine.
  
1800  
Battle of Engen (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought May 3, 1800, between the French, 75,000 strong, under Moreau, and 110,000 Austrians under De Kray. Moreau had crossed the Rhine on the 1st, and was advancing through the Black Forest, and the battle was in reality two distinct actions. Moreau's right, 25,000 strong, under Lecourbe, overtook the Austrian rear-guard, and drove them into and through Stokach, capturing 4,000 prisoners, and a large depot of munitions and stores. Moreau in the centre was attacked at Engen by 40,000 Austrians, under De Kray, whom he repulsed with a loss of 2,000 killed and wounded, and 5,000 prisoners. The French lost 2,000 killed and wounded.
  
1800  
Battle of Moskirch (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought May 5, 1800, between 50,000 French, under Moreau, and 60,000 Austrians, under de Kray. The French advance-guard, under Lecourbe, approaching Moskirch found the heights strongly held by the Austrians, and attempted to carry them, but without success. The arrival of the main body, however, turned the scale, and the Austrians were obliged to abandon all their positions, with a loss of about 5,000 men. The French lost about 3,500.
  
1800  
Battle of Erbach (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought May 15, 1800, between 15,000 French under Sainte-Suzanne, and 36,000 Austrians under de Kray, The Austrians, who had 12,000 cavalry, attacked vigorously, but the French, though driven back at certain points, were not routed, and held to their main positions for 12 hours, until the approach of St. Cyr's corps forced the Austrians to retire. Both sides lost heavily in the action.
  
1800  
Battle of Hochstett (Rhine Valley-2nd ) French victory
Fought June 19, 1800, between 70,000 French, under Moreau, and about 80,000 Austrians, under de Kray. Moreau crossed the Danube with the object of cutting off the Austrians from their base, and forcing them to evacuate Ulm. In a battle which lasted 18 hours, he succeeded in establishing himself upon the left bank, and making Ulm untenable. The French took 5,000 prisoners and 20 guns, but the losses on both sides in killed and wounded were small for the numbers engaged.
  
1800  
Battle of Hohenlinden (Royalist Rebellion ) French victory
Fought December 3, 1800, between the French, 60,000 strong, under Moreau, and 70,000 Austrians, under the Archduke John. Moreau occupied the small clearing of Hohenlinden, and the surrounding forest, while the Austrian army marched by five distinct routes to rendezvous at Hohenlinden. The Archduke's attack on the village was repulsed, and meanwhile Moreau had fallen upon his advancing columns atvarious points, and after severe fighting defeated them. The Austrians lost 7,000 killed and wounded, 12,000 prisoners and 87 guns.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Archduke Charles Younger brother of Francis II. Important general of the Austrian army during the Napoleonic Wars.
Jean-Baptiste Jourdan General in the French Republican Army. Fought in French Revolutionary and Peninsular Wars.
Jean Victor Moreau General in the French Republican Army who opposed Napoleon and was exiled to America.


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Italian Campaign : 1796-1800

frenchrev
NAPOLEON AT LODI
The second major front in Europe during the French Revolutionary wars was in Italy. There was little activity until Napoleon, a young, almost unknown general, was given command of the French legions on the Italian border. At the time they were the worst equipped and least organized. In a matter of months Napoleon emerged as a superlative general and tactician. He defeated the Sardinian army before it had a chance to get support from Austria and marched immediately into Lombardy, where he took the Austrian troops off guard. He crossed a critical boundary by taking the Bridge at Lodi, and quickly invested the key Austrian fortification at Mantua. All this was done in a matter of months before Austria had a chance recognize the threat in Italy or send reinforcements.

By the time Austria sent reinforcements to the area Napoleon had conquered Lombardy, entered Venetian territory, and was threatening the pass between Italy and Austria. By early 1797 Austria was forced to sign the humiliating treaty of Campo Formio, ceding the Netherlands and most of Northern Italy to France, keeping only the province of Venice. Without Austrian protection many of the other northern duchies of Italy, such as Parma and Modena, surrendered and were combined with Sardinia and Lombardy into the "Cisalpine Republic", a French client state. For the next few years, much of the income of the French government came from plunder and tribute from Italy, and Napoleon became a national hero.

Once Napoleon had conquered Northern Italy, he returned to France and then led an Expedition to Egypt. French troops then invaded Tuscany and the Papal States and kidnapped Pope Pius VI. Meanwhile, Austria formed a new alliance with Russia and in 1799 the Polish general Suvorov led a large force back into Northern Italy. His success in reclaiming Italian territory for Austria helped bring about a crisis in the French government. Just in time, Napoleon returned from Egypt, made himself consul and crossed the Alps. Within three month he had reconquered northern Italy and brought an end to the wars of the second coalition.



DateBattle Summary
     Napoleon's First Campaign in Italy, 1796-97
1796  
Battle of Montenotte (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought April 10 and 11, 1796, when d'Argentian, with the central division of the Austro-Sardinian army, attacked the French position at Montenotte, held by Cervoni's division. Cervoni was driven back, but the key to the position was held throughout the day by Tampon, with 1,500 men, and on the 12th d'Argentian found himself out-flanked by Augereau and Massena, and was compelled to fall back, with a loss of 1,000 killed, 2,000 prisoners, and some guns. This was Napoleon's first victory.
  
1796  
Battle of Millesimo (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought April 13, 1796, when the divisions of Augereau, Massena and La Harpe attacked the Austrians, strongly entrenched, under General Colli, and after severe fighting, drove them back, thus cutting Colli's communications with General Beaulieu, the Austrian Commander-in-Chief. The Austro-Sardinians lost about 6,000 men and 30 guns, and all effective co-operation between the two wings was at an end. Also called the Battle of Monte Lezino.
  
1796  
Battle of Bridge of Lodi (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought May 10, 1796, during Napoleon's pursuit of the retiring Austro-Sardinian army, under Beaulieu. The bridge over the Adda was defended by the Austrian rear-guard, with some 20 guns, commanding passage. Napoleon sent a force of cavalry round by a ford to take the defenders in rear, and then rushed the bridge, the stormers being led by Berthier and Massena, while Napoleon himself was in the thick of the fighting. The French loss is said not to have exceeded 400, while the Austrians lost in the action and subsequent pursuit, 2,000 killed and wounded, 1,000 prisoners, and 20 guns.
  
1796  
Battle of Borghetto (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought May 30, 1796, in the course of Napoleon's pursuit of Beaulieu. The French crossed the Mincio at Borghetto, having previously repaired the bridge under a heavy fire, and forced the Austrians to evacuate Feschiera, with a loss of 500 prisoners, besides killed and wounded.
  
1796  
Siege of Mantua (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
This city was invested by Napoleon June 4, 1796, and was defended by 14,000 Austrians, under General Canto d'Irles. The siege was vigorously prosecuted, but the approach of Wurmser with a large Austrian army forced Napoleon to concentrate his forces, and he raised the siege July 31, After a brief campaign, which resulted in the dispersal of Wurmser's army, that general, with the remnant of his forces, was shut up in the city, which was again closely invested September 19. Wurmser held out till his provisions were exhausted, when, on February 2, 1997, he surrendered, with 20,000 men, of whom only 10,000 were, fit for service. It is computed that 27,000 perished during the siege.
  
1796  
Battle of Castiglione (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought August 3, 1796, between the French under Napoleon, and the Imperialists under Wurmser. Napoleon, with 25,000 men, advanced upon Lonato, while Augereau moved upon Castiglione. Lonato was carried by assault, and the Austrian army cut in two. One part under General Bazalitch effected a retreat to the Mincio, but the other section was cut up by a French division under Guyeaux and Junot's dragoons, near Salo, losing 3,000 prisoners and 20 guns. In the portion of the action fought near Castiglione, the Austrians were defeated with a loss of 2,000 men, after a desperate encounter, and driven back upon Mantua. On the 4th, Napoleon at Lonato, with only 12,000 men, was summoned to surrender by a portion of Bazalitch's force, 4,000 strong. Napoleon, however, succeeded in making the messenger think that he was in the middle of the main French army, and consequently the whole Austrian detachment laid down their arms.
  
1796  
Battle of Medola (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought August 5, 1796, between the French, 23,000 strong, under Napoleon, and 25,000 Austrians, under Wurmser. The Austrians were totally defeated, and driven back to Roveredo, with a loss of 2,000 killed and wounded, 1,000 prisoners and 20 guns. Prior to this defeat Wurmser had succeeded in revictualling Mantua, but at very heavy cost, the Austrian losses during the three days' fighting, from the 3rd to the 5th, amounting to 20,000 men and 60 guns.
  
1796  
Battle of Roveredo (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought September 4, 1796, between 25,000 Austrians, under Davidowich, and the main body of Napoleon's army. Napoleon attacked the Austrian entrenched position, and in spite of a determined defense, carried it, driving the enemy out of Roveredo with heavy loss, including 7,000 prisoners and 15 guns. This victory enabled Massena to occupy Trent, and the remnants of the Austrian army were driven headlong into the Tyrol.
  
1796  
Battle of Primolano (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought September 7, 1796, when Napoleon surprised and totally routed the vanguard of Wurmser's army. The Austrians lost over 4,000 killed, wounded and prisoners.
  
1796  
Battle of Bassano (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought September 8, 1796, when Napoleon, who had on the previous day destroyed the Austrian vanguard at Primolano, fell upon the main body of Wurmser's army. The assault on the town of Bassano was delivered by Augereau's division on the right, and Massena's on the left, and the French utterly routed the Austrians, Wurmser narrowly escaping capture. Six thousand men laid down their arms, and when Wurmser collected his scattered forces, he had but 16,000 left out of the 60,000 with which he had commenced the campaign.
  
1796  
Battle of Caldiero (Italian Campaign-1st ) Austrians victory
Fought November 11, 1796, between the French under Napoleon and the Austrians under Alvinzi. Napoleon attacked the Austrian position, and, for the first time in the campaign, suffered a reverse, being unable to carry the enemy's lines, and eventually, after severe fighting, retiring with a loss of 3,000. Within the week, however, this defeat was avenged by the victory of Arcola.
  
1796  
Battle of Arcola (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought November 15, 16, and 17, 1796, between the main Austrian army under Alvinzi, and the French under Napoleon. Napoleon's object was to drive back Alvinzi before he could effect a junction with Davidowich, who was descending from the Tyrol. The village of Arcola was occupied on the 15th, after severe fighting, in which Napoleon was in great personal danger on the bridge, but it was evacuated during the night. On the 16th Napoleon again attacked the village, but the Austrians held their ground. On the 17th he turned the position, and Davidowich still remaining inactive, Alvinzi was driven back, with losses variously estimated at from 8,000 to 18,000. The French also lost heavily.
  
1797  
Battle of Rivoli (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought January 14, 1797, when the Austrians, with five divisions, under Alvinzi, attacked Napoleon's position on the heights of Rivoli. The position proved too strong to be carried, and Napoleon's superb handling of his troops resulted in the total defeat of the assailants. The fifth Austrian division, which had not taken part in the frontal attack, appeared in the rear of the French position after the battle was over, and being forced by overwhelming numbers, laid down its arms. Massena, who had specially distinguished himself, took his title from this battle when later ennobled by Napoleon.
  
1797  
Battle of La Favorita (Italian Campaign-1st ) French victory
Fought January 16, 1797, between the French, under Napoleon, and the Austrians, under Provera. Provera moved upon Mantua to succour the beleaguered garrison, and was aided by a sortie in force. Napoleon, making a forced march from the field of Rivoli, fell upon Provera and totally routed him, while the sortie was repulsed by the French besieging force at the point of the bayonet. Provera surrendered, with 5,000 men.
  
1797  
Battle of Imola (Italian Campaign-2nd ) French victory
Fought February 3, 1797, when 8,000 French and Italians, under Victor, defeated the Papal troops, 7,000 strong, under General Colli. Victor took the Papal army in the rear, and routed them with a loss of a few hundred only, as no stand was made.
  
     Russian/Austrian Offensive of 1799
1799  
Battle of San Giovanni (Italian Campaign-2nd ) Russians victory
Fought June 17, 1799, between the French, under Macdonald, and the Russians, under Suwaroff. After three days' hard fighting, the French were forced to retreat, having suffered a loss of 6,000 killed and wounded and 9,000 prisoners. The Russian losses were about 6,000.
  
1799  
Battle of Trebbia (Italian Campaign-2nd ) Russians victory
Fought June 19 to 21, 1799, between the French, under Macdonald, and the Russians, under Suwaroff. After a severe conflict the French were totally defeated and driven beyond the Apennines, being obliged shortly afterwards to evacuate Italy.
  
1799  
Battle of Novi (Italian Campaign-2nd ) Russians victory
Fought August 15, 1799, between the French, under Joubert, and the Russians and Austrians, under Suwaroff. Early in the action Joubert fell, Moreau succeeding to the command. The result was disastrous to the French, who were defeated with a loss of 7,000 killed and wounded, 3,000 prisoners, and 37 guns. The allies lost 6,000 killed and wounded and 1,200 prisoners.
  
     Napoleon Returns to Italy, 1800
1800  
Siege of Genoa (Naval ) Austrians victory
In April, 1800, Genoa, held by the French, under Massena, was besieged by the Austrians under General Melas, and later in the siege under General Ott. The city had for some time been blockaded on the seaward side by the British fleet, under Lord Keith. Provisions were consequently scarce, and notwithstanding some successful sorties, Massena was forced to capitulate, June 5, the garrison marching out without laying down their arms.
  
1800  
Battle of Montebello (Italian Campaign-2nd ) French victory
Fought June 9, 1800, between the French, under Napoleon, and the Austrians, under General Ott. Napoleon, being ignorant of the fall of Genoa, was marching to the relief of that city, when his advanced guard, under Lannes, was attacked by Ott, who was endeavoring to effect a junction with Melas. Lannes held his ground until reinforcements arrived, when he assumed the offensive, and drove the Austrians from the field with heavy loss, capturing 5,000 prisoners.
  
1800  
Battle of Marengo (Italian Campaign-2nd ) French victory
Fought June 14, 1800, between 30,000 French, under Napoleon, and 40,000 Austrians, under Melas. The Austrians attacked, and drove back in disorder the first line under Victor, and, following up their success, a serious defeat for Napoleon seemed inevitable, when the arrival of the reserve corps under Desaix turned the scale. Under cover of his attack, the broken divisions reformed, and the Austrians were finally repulsed at all points, and fled in disorder. Desaix was killed at the head of his troops.
  
1800  
Battle of Caldiero (Italian Campaign-2nd ) French victory
On November 30, 1800, Massena, with 50,000 French, encountered the Austrians, 80,000 strong, under the Archduke Charles, strongly posted in the village and on the heights of Caldiero. Massena attacked and carried the heights, but the village held out until nightfall. During the night the Archduke removed his baggage and artillery, leaving a corps of 5,000 men, under General Hillinger, to protect his retreat, which force was on the following day captured en bloc. The Austrians lost 3,000 killed and wounded, and, including Hillinger's corps, 8,000 prisoners; the French about 4,000 killed and wounded. Thus, though the battle was indecisive, Massena gained a considerable strategic victory.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Napoleon Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.
Archduke Charles Younger brother of Francis II. Important general of the Austrian army during the Napoleonic Wars.
Massena French-Italian General who distinguished himself in Napoleon's Italian Campaign.
Wurmser Austrian General defeated by Napoleon in the Italian Campaign.
Alexander Suvorov Renowned general who won victories for Russia against Turks, Napoleon, and Polish rebels.


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Story Links
Book Links
Bridge of Lodi  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Great St. Bernard Pass  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Napoleon as Consul  in  The Story of Napoleon  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall


Egypt-Syria Campaign : 1798-1801

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BATTLE OF THE PYRAMIDS
After achieving hero status after his first campaign in Italy, Napoleon, on his own initiative, proposed an invasion of Egypt with the intention of taking control of the overland route to India. His wider goals were likely an invasion of India itself, but the campaign took an unexpected turn. The campaign was supported by the French revolutionary government because Napoleon's popularity was already perceived as a threat to the ruling party. His first stop was Malta, where he requested a peaceful landing, but quickly turned his guns on the forts and sized the Island from the Knights Templar. Shortly after landing his large fleet at the bay of Aubourkir he marched to the pyramids where he met an enormous force under the Egyptian Mamelukes, and won a smashing victory. His rejoicing was short-lived however, since only weeks later, Nelson discovered and destroyed his fleet, stranding Napoleon's army of 25,000 in Egypt. Making the best of a bad situation, Napoleon marched into Syria, won several great victories against the Turks and nearly succeeding in taking the town of Acre. When this effort failed, he returned to France, and the following year, Britain reconquered both Egypt and Malta.



DateBattle Summary
1798  
Battle of Malta (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) British victory
On June 9, 1798 on his way to Egypt, Napoleon requested a landing of his fleet at Malta to gather provisions at the port of Valletta. Upon landing he turned his cannons on the forts and took the island.
  
1798  
Battle of Pyramids (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) French victory
Fought July 21, 1798, when the Mameluke army, under Murad Bey, endeavoured to arrest Napoleon's march on Cairo. The Mameluke infantry, numbering about 20,000, took no part in the fight, but their cavalry, perhaps at that time the finest in the world, charged the French squares with the utmost gallantry. They were, however, repulsed time after time, with great slaughter, and were eventually driven into the Nile, where the shattered remnants escaped by swimming.
  
1798  
Battle of Nile (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) British victory
Fought August 1, 1798, Admiral Brueys, with 13 ships of the line and 4 frigates, was anchored in Aboukir Bay. Nelson, with 13 line-of-battleships and one 50-gun ship, penetrated with half his squadron between the French line and the shore, while his remaining ships engaged them on the outside. Thus caught between two fires, the French were utterly routed, only two of their vessels escaping capture or destruction. Admiral Brueys was killed, and his ship L'Orient blown up. This battle is also known as the Battle of Aboukir.
  
1799  
Siege of Acre (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) Turks victory
The city was besieged March 17, 1799, by the French under Napoleon, and defended by the Turks under Djezzar, and a small force of British seamen under Sir Sidney Smith. An assault on the 28th was repulsed with loss, and then a threatened attack by a Syrian army forced Napoleon to withdraw a large portion of his troops. On the resumption of the siege, no less than seven more assaults were delivered, while the French had to meet eleven sallies of the besieged, but they were unable to effect a lodgment, and on May 21 Napoleon reluctantly raised the siege. The fall of Acre would have placed the whole of Syria, and possibly of the Turkish Empire, in the hands of the French.
  
1799  
Battle of Mount Tabor (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) French victory
Fought April 15, 1799, when Napoleon defeated and dispersed the Syrian army raised to create a diversion in favour of the beleaguered garrison of Acre. Kleber's division bore the brunt of the fighting.
  
1799  
Battle of Aboukir (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) French victory
Fought July 5, 1799, Napoleon attacking the position held by Mustapha Pasha, who had recently landed in Egypt at the head of 18,000 Turks. The French were completely successful, two-thirds of the Turkish troops being killed or driven into the sea, while 6,000, with the Pasha, surrendered.
  
1800  
Battle of Heliopolis (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) French victory
Fought March 20, 1800, between 10,000 French, under Kleber, and about 70,000 Turks, under Ibrahim Bey. The Turks were utterly routed, with a loss of several thousand men, while the French only lost about 300 killed and wounded.
  
1800  
Siege of Valetta (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) British victory
The capital of Malta, held by a French garrison, 60,000 strong, under General Vaubois, was besieged September, 1798, by a force of British and Maltese, under Sir Alexander Ball. Vaubois held out for two years, but on September 5, 1800, was compelled by famine to surrender. The Maltese lost during the siege 20,000 men.
  
1801  
Battle of Aboukir (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) British victory
Fought March 8, 1801, when 5,000 British under Sir Ralph Abercromby disembarked on the beach at Aboukir, in the face of a force of 2,000 French under General Friant. The landing was effected under a heavy musketry and artillery fire, which cost the assailants 1,100 killed and wounded, and the French were driven from their positions with a loss of 500 men.
  
1801  
Battle of Alexandria (Italian Campaign-1st ) British victory
Fought March 21, 1801, between the French under General Menou, and the British expeditionary force under Sir Ralph Abercromby. The French cavalry charged the British right, but were repulsed, and after hard fighting the French were defeated and driven under the walls of Alexandria. Among those who fell was Sir Ralph Abercromby, mortally wounded.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Napoleon Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.
Horatio Nelson Great Naval hero of his age; victor at the Battle of the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.
Sir Ralph Albercromby Naval captain who served in the French Revolutionary War. Retook Egypt from the French.


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Story Links
Book Links
Casabianca  in  Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by  James Baldwin
Battle of the Pyramids  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Napoleon in Egypt  in  The Story of Napoleon  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Battle of the Nile  in  The Story of Nelson  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Battle of the Nile  in  The Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge


Naval Battles : 1794-1801

frenchrev
NELSON AT THE BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN
The naval battles during the French Revolutionary War were terribly one-sided. Britain defeated France, or the allies of France, in virtually every encounter, and spent a great deal of effort blockading harbors, so France rarely dared to send its fleet to sea. The following are most of the major sea-battles of the French revolutionary wars. One of the most famous battles, of all, wherein Nelson destroyed the French transport fleet at the Battle of the Nile, is included as part of the Egypt-Syria campaign.

Britain also did not hesitate to use the war with France to confiscate her colonial possessions. This was especially true after 1795 when the Batavian Republic in the Netherlands, with its rich colonies in Asia, became a client-state of France. Britain attacked French and Dutch holdings in the West Indies, Indonesia and also South Africa. Many were returned by the Treaty of Amiens, but more were taken during the subsequent Napoleonic Wars.



DateBattle Summary
1794  
Battle of Ushant (Naval ) British victory
This action, generally known as the "Glorious First of June," was fought June 1, 1794, between a British fleet of 25 sail of the line, under Lord Howe, and 26 French ships, under Villaret. After four hours' fighting the French were defeated, with a loss of 6 ships captured, and one, the Vengeur, sunk. The sinking of this ship was elaborated by the French into a fable, to the effect that she refused to surrender, and went down with all hands and colours flying. She had, however, undoubtedly struck her colours, and her captain and over 200 of her crew were rescued by the boats of the British fleet. The French admitted a loss of 3,000 men, besides prisoners, while the British lost 922 killed and wounded.
  
1795  
Battle of Genoa (Naval ) British victory
Fought March 13, 1795, between a British fleet of 14 sail of the line under Admiral Hotham, and a French fleet of 15 sail. The action lasted throughout the day, and on the following morning the French retired, leaving two line-of-battle ships in the hands of the British. The British lost 74 killed and 284 wounded.
  
1795  
Battle of Belle Isle (Naval ) British victory
Fought June 23, 1795, between a British fleet of 17 battleships under Lord Bridport, and a French squadron. The French endeavoured to escape, but the British gave chase, and captured three ships, with a loss of 3 killed and 113 wounded. The French lost about 700.
  
1797  
Battle of Cape St. Vincent (Naval ) British victory
Fought February 14, 1797, between a British fleet of 15 ships of the line and 5 frigates under Sir John Jervis, and a Spanish fleet of 26 sail of the line and 12 frigates. In spite of their superior numbers, the Spaniards were totally defeated, losing 4 ships and over 3,000 prisoners, in addition to heavy losses in killed and wounded. The British lost 74 killed and 227 wounded. For this signal victory, Jervis was created Lord St. Vincent.
  
1797  
Battle of Camperdown (Naval ) British victory
Fought between the British fleet, 16 line of battle ships, under Admiral Duncan, and the Dutch, in equal force, under Admiral de Winter, October 1797. The Dutch fleet was on its way to co-operate with the French in a landing in Ireland, and was intercepted by Duncan, who at once gave battle. The British fleet, in two lines, broke through the Dutch line, and, in the general action which followed, captured eight ships, including the flagship, the Vrijheid. The British lost 1,040 killed and wounded, the Dutch 1,160 and 6,000 prisoners.
  
1801  
Battle of Copenhagen (Naval ) British victory
Fought April 2, 1801, between the British fleet of 20 sail of the line, besides frigates, under Admirals Hyde Parker and Nelson, and the Danish fleet of to line of battleships, aided by the shore batteries. Nelson attacked with 12 ships, Parker remaining in reserve, but three of Nelson's vessels running aground, he met the Danish line with 9 only. The Danes offered a strenuous resistance, and Parker hoisted the signal to retire, but Nelson put the telescope to his blind eye, and refused to see the signal. The action continued until the Danish fire was silenced. The British lost 1,200 men, and had six vessels seriously damaged. The Danes had one ship destroyed, and the rest of their fleet completely disabled. The result of this victory was the dissolution of the league of the Northern Powers.
  
1801  
Battle of Algeciras Bay (OP GBOKBBLKBJBBKNBVVGVV VVVVVVVVVBVVV VHBGBHHHU ) British victory
Fought July 8, 1801, between a British squadron of 7 ships of the line, 1 frigate and 1 brig, under Sir James Saumarez, and a French squadron of 3 line-of-battle ships and 1 frigate, under Admiral Linois. The French were aided by the Spanish gun-boats and the shore batteries, and Saumarez lost the Hannibal, which ran ashore, and was captured by the French. The British lost 121 killed and 240 wounded. The French lost 306 killed. On July 12, the French squadron, which had been reinforced meanwhile by 5 Spanish ships of the line, was again attacked by Sir James Saumarez, who succeeded in capturing the St. Antoine and blowing up the Hermenegilda. The British lost only 17 killed and 100 wounded; the allies, 2,000, chiefly in the Hermenegilda.
  



DateBattle Summary
1794  
Battle of St. Lucia (Colonial-westindies ) British victory
This island was captured from the French, April 4, 1794,by a British squadron, under Sir John Jervis.
  
1794  
Battle of Guadeloupe (Colonial-westindies ) British victory
This island was taken by a British force under Sir John Jervis, July 3, 1794, with a loss of 3 officers and 33 men killed and wounded. It was recaptured by the French, on December 10, of the same year.
  
1794  
Battle of Martinique (Colonial-westindies ) British victory
This island was captured from the French in 1794, by a combined naval and military force under Sir John Jervis and Sir George Grey, with a loss to the victors of 6 officers and 37 men killed and wounded.
  
1797  
Battle of Trinidad (Egypt-Syria Campaign ) British victory
This island was captured from the French, without resistance, by a naval and military expedition under Admiral John Harvey and Sir Ralph Abercrombie, February 17, 1797.
  
1796  
Battle of Banda Islands (Colonial-indonesia ) British victory
These islands, forming part of the Dutch East Indian possessions, were captured March 8, 1796, by a British squadron under Admiral Peter Rainier.
  
1796  
Battle of Saldanha Bay (Colonial-westindies ) British victory
Fought August 17, 1796, when Sir Keith Elphinstone, with a British squadron, entered the bay, and after capturing a Dutch ship of war lying in the harbour, landed a force, to which the garrison surrendered after a brief resistance.
  
1796  
Siege of Colombo (Colonial-southafrica ) British victory
This town was captured from the Dutch in 1796, by a squadron of four British warships, and a small force of troops under Admiral Peter Rainier and Colonel Stuart.
  


Commander
Short Biography
John Jervis Commander of British fleet during the French Revolutionary Wars. Friend of Horatio Nelson.
Horatio Nelson Great Naval hero of his age; victor at the Battle of the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.
Peter Ranier British naval hero of the French revolutionary wars. Namesake of Mount Ranier
Sir Ralph Albercromby Naval captain who served in the French Revolutionary War. Retook Egypt from the French.


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Story Links
Book Links
The French Revolution  in  The Hanoverians  by  C. J. B. Gaskoin
England and the French Revolution  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Coming of the British  in  Our Empire Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Battle of St. Vincent  in  The Story of Nelson  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Battle of Copenhagen  in  The Story of Nelson  by  Edmund Francis Sellar
Horatio Nelson  in  Great Englishmen  by  M. B. Synge
Beginning of the Struggle  in  The Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge
Copenhagen  in  The Struggle for Sea Power  by  M. B. Synge


Book Links
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Story of Napoleon  by  H. E. Marshall
Story of Nelson  by  Edmund F. Sellar

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First Conquest by the British  in  South Africa  by  Ian D. Colvin


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A French Bivouac
 in Stories from English History, Part Third

General Janssens at the Battle of Blaauwberg
 in South Africa

Admiral Duncan receiving the sword of the Dutch Admiral, De Winter
 in The Hanoverians

The French people seizing arms at the outbreak of the revolution
 in The Hanoverians

Attack by Paris revolutionists on the Bastille, a strong prison
 in The Hanoverians

The invasion of Holland by the French
 in The Hanoverians

The evacuation of Holland by the English
 in The Hanoverians

The battle of Camperdown in 1797
 in The Hanoverians

The battle of Alexandria, fought between the English and the French
 in The Hanoverians

Lord Howe's Victory
 in  The Story of the English

Napoleon in Egypt
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

Nelson boarding the St. Nicholas
 in Famous Men of Modern Times

Seizing a flag, he himself led his men across the bridge
 in The Story of France

Napoleon at Lodi
 in The Story of Napoleon

Battle of the Pyramids
 in The Story of Napoleon

Soldiers firing on the mob.
 in  Stories of the French Revolution

The determined officer sat on the touch-hole.
 in  Stories of the French Revolution

Young men enrolling their names.
 in  Stories of the French Revolution

The wooden horse on the battlements of Thionville.
 in  Stories of the French Revolution

Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen
 in The Story of Nelson

Nelson wounded at Calvi
 in The Story of Nelson

Berry helped Nelson into the main-chains of the San Josef
 in The Story of Nelson

The Battle of the Nile
 in The Story of Nelson