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Addrefs of the Directory to the French Armies.-Determination to carry the War into Italy.-Difficulties to be encountered in carrying this Plan into Execution.-Buonaparte.-The French Army, under his Command, makes rapid Progress in Italy.-The Aufirians, under General Beaulieu, confiantly repulfed, yet not difpirited.-Various Actions.-Sufpenfion of Arms agreed on between the French and Piedmontefe Armies.-General Beaulieu re-croffes the Po, for covering the Countries to the North of that River.-At Paris, Negociation for Peace between the King of Sardinia and the French Republic.-Treaty of Peace between France and Sardinia. ratified by the Legislative Bodies of France.-Exultation and Confidence of the French-Improved by Buonaparte, for the Purpofe of leading on the Army to farther Exploits.-Address to the Army-General Object and Tendency of Buonaparte's private Converfation.-Homage paid to the Merit of Buonaparte and the Army, by the Directory.-Buonaparte puts his Army in Motion.-Croffes the Po, and leaves General Beaulieu to break up his Camp.-Armistice between the French Army and the Duke of Parmą. -The French advance toward the Capital of Lombardy.—Batile of Lodi.— The Auftrians retreat to Mantua.-The French proceed to Milan, where the French General allows his People fome Days of Repofe.
HILE the armies of the reW public were fuccefsfully employed in fuppreffing thofe internal commotions, the directory was anxioufly taken up with the plans that were to be profecuted, as foon as domeftic difficuties were overcome. In the end of April, they thought themselves fo completely delivered from all apprehenfions at home, that they began immediately to turn their attention to thofe two undertakings, on the fortunate termination of which the future fecurity of the republic would be eftablifhed beyond the poffibility of being faken by any external force.
The events of the last campaign had been so different from those of
the preceding, that many people in France, as well as in other parts of Europe, began to confider the enthufiafm of the French as confiderably abated. But the fanguine difpofition of the generality of the French attributed their defeats on the Rhine folely to the unfkilful management of their generals; and ftill remained convinced, that, had they been judicioufly commanded, they would have been victorious as before.
In order to encourage this perfuafion, the directory publifhed an addrefs to the different armies, previously to their taking the field. It was conceived in very animated terms, and recalled to their notice [G3]
the various exploits they had performed in the two foregoing years, the patience with which they had borne not only the hardships of the field, but the preffures of want, and the privation of every convenience and comfort, and the invincible for titude with which they had perfifted, amidst all these difficulties, to difcharge the duties of brave foldiers. It exhorted them to perfevere as they had done: fresh toils and victories were expected from them by their country, before its enemies would confent to reasonable terms of peace. It held out the most flattering hopes of fuccefs; and that they were at the eve of terminating their patriotic labours, the ilue of which would procure fafety to their country, and glory to themfelves; who then would return to its bofom, to enjoy the love and gratitude fo jufily due to them from their fellowcitizens, and fo nobly carned by their fervices.
This addrefs was fent to all the military bodies of the republic, and read to them with great folemnity. It was received with much refpect and fatisfaction. The officers and foldiers formally renewed their af furances of fidelity to the republic, and their readiness to lay down their lives in its defence.
The object which the directory had now chiefly in contemplation was to carry the war into Italy. The Auftrians were prepared to pals the Rhine in great force: the attachment of the Belgians to their French conquerors might waver; the fate of another campaign was uncertain; much was to be loft, nothing gained, in the Netherlands, by an appeal to arms, on a queftion, which, if the authority of the republic fhould be confirmed by the
lapfe of even a few years, they might confider as already decided. In this fituation of affairs they determined to divert the energy and attention of the emperor from his Belgian territories, where his authority had been fo often difputed, to his Italian dominions, where his will was a law, and from whence he drew ftill greater fupplies. While they cut off the emperors refources in Italy, they would add to their own. They did not doubt of reaping immenfe benefit from the poffeffion of that country, the inhabitants of which were known generally to have little affection for their prefent fovereigns. The people of the duchies of Milan, Parma, and Modena, were peculiarly difaffected, and, the nobility and clergy excepted, feemed rather to defire, than to dread, a change of mafters. The commonalty, in the republics of Venice and Genoa, profeffed no attachment to their rulers. In Tufcany, and the papat dominions, there were numbers of difcontented; and in the kingdom of Naples the number was still greater.
Among these multitudes there were fome individuals refolute enough to declare their diffatisfaction at their refpective governments, notwithstanding the perfonal dangers to which they ex pofed themfelves by fo daring a conduct. But what was more, fome had the courage to entertain a private correfpondence with France, and explicitly to folicit fome of the principal perfons in the re public to invade Italy, where, they affured them, they would find more friends than foes among the natives, and meet with no oppofition but from the Austrians, and their few adherents, among the polleflors of places
places and employments in their fervice.
Induced by thefe various motives, the directory refolved to begin military operations abroad, with the attack of a country, where the princes, one excepted, the king of Sardinia, could place little reliance on the loyalty of their fubjects; and where this prince had already loft fuch a portion of his territories, as greatly endangered the remainder.
thoufand horfe to ferve in the Imperial army.
Nevertheless, obftacles of a ferious nature prefented themselves. The undertaking was, indeed, ardaous. Italy, proverbially the grave of the French, was viewed by the generality of people as unconquerable on the fide of France. Environed by mountains, the paffes of which were fortified with the utmost art, and guarded with numerous well-difciplined troops, it feemed calculated for an invincible refiftarce. The French, after reducing many forts and fortreffes in the heart of the Alps, had not been able to make an effectual impreffion on Piedmont, without which an entrance into Italy appeared impracticable. The powers interested in the prefervation of Italy, aware of the hoftile intentions of France, had made ample preparations for defence. The emperor's forces amounted to eighty thoufand well-difciplined men, commanded by excellent officers and generals, and provided with every pecies of warlike neceffaries. The king of Sardinia's army was fixty thoufand ftrong, exclufive of militia. The pope and the king of Naples were occupied in embodying as many troops as their circumftances would permit; and the latter had difpatched two or three
Though the ftrength with which the French propofed to attack their enemies in Italy was much inferior in number to theirs, and far from being fo well fupplied, it was com pofed of hardy and refolute foldiers, filled with enthufiafm, and impatient to enter into action, and to indemnify themselves for the fufferings they had undergone upon the rocky and barren coaft, to which they had long been confined, through want of reinforcements to enable them to move forward against the enemy.
The fupplies of men and ammunition did not arrive till the beginning of April, when the French determined immediately to commence their operations. They were cantoned along the coaft of that fea, called the river of Genoa, within three leagues of that city; and the Auftrians and Piedmontefe were posted on the mountains oppofite to them.
The French were commanded by general Buonaparte, already noticed in the action between the conventional troops and the fections of Paris,* in October, 1795, a native of Corfica, born, as it were, a commander, and uniting the intrepidity of an ancient Roman, with the fubtlety and contrivance of a modern Italian; and both thefe fortified and improved by a liberal, as well as military, education. Hardly thirty years of age, he had fignalized his military abilities, not only on that but fome other very decifive occafions, and acquired a reputation that had raised him to the highest degree of esteem in his profeffion.
The troops under his command were little more than fifty thoufand men: but he poffeffed their entire confidence, and was reputed equal to the arduous task he had ventured to undertake.
The Auftrians were under general Beaulieu, an officer of great experience and talents, though he had been unfortunate in feveral actions with the French in the Netherlands. On the ninth of April heattacked a French poft and forced it on the the tenth he advanced upon them, and carried all their entrenchments but one. Here he was arrested by the obftinate bra very of the officer who commanded it. Rampon, chief of brigade, who conceived that the fate of the day depended on the prefervation of this poft, made his officers and foldiers fwear never to abandon it. They defended it accordingly during the whole night with fuch in vincible firmness, that the Auftrians were constantly repulfed. In the morning of the eleventh, Buona parte, by a circuitous movement, fell upon the rear and flank of the enemy, who were completely routed, with the lofs of fifteen hundred killed, and more than two thousand taken. This battle was fought at a place called Montenotta.
rally from the diforder into which they had been thrown. They advanced in confiderable force, and charged the French with great vigour. The dispute was long and bloody: the Auftrians and Piedmontefe made repeated efforts to liberate the troops in the caftle, and directed their attacks on the centre of the French: but these stood their ground immoveably, while their two wings turned the right and left of the adverfe army, the rear of which was affailed at the fame time by another divifion. Surrounded in this unexpected manner, they fuftained a dreadful defeat; two thoufand were flain in the action, and upwards of eight thoufand made prifoners, including the corps under general Provara, which had for much diftinguished itself by the defence of the caftle. This great victory was obtained on the fourteenth of April. Among the killed were fome officers of high diftinction; and of the taken one was a general, and near thirty colonels, befide inferior officers. Between twenty and thirty cannon fell into the hands of the! French, with fifteen standards, and an immenfe quantity of frores and field-equipage. Two French ge nerals, Banal and Quanin, fell in this battle, which coft the victors a number of their braveft men.
Eager to improve this victory, Buonaparte purfaed the Auftrians, who had retreated to a ftrong pofition at a place called Millafimo: but general Angereau forcing the paffages leading to it, the Auftrians retired to the ruins of an old caftle, which general Provara, who commanded them, haftened to furround with an intrenchment, where he food feveral attacks, and defended himfelf refolutely for five days. This afforded time to the Auftrians to
Though twice defeated in fordes cifive a manner, general Beaulieu was by no means difpirited :: col lecting as many of his fcattered troops, as formed a body of feren thousand men he again attacked the French with great impetuofity; the next morning, and drove them from their incampment at a village called Dego, where they had expected to repose theinfelves after the fatigues of the preceeding day. This
unexpected attack, fo far difcompofed them, that they were thrown into, diforder, and compelled to abandon their poft, after having thrice endeavoured to retake it.
More than half of the day had been spent in these fruitless attempts, when Buonaparte, anxious to recover a poft, without which, the advantages gained by his two victories, would have been fruftrated, immediately gave orders for a large body to form in front of the enemy, and occupy their attention, while another charged them on their left, pofted at Dego. The intrepidity with which the French generals and officers headed their men, decided the fate of the day. After a vigorous defence, the Auftrians were in their turn obliged to give ground, and leave the field to the French, with the lofs of near two thousand men, of whom, about fifteen hundred were made prifoners: on the fide of the French, numbers alfo fell, and among thefe general Cauffa, one of their best officers
Thus, in the space of five days, no lefs than three battles were fought, in every one of which the French were victorious. The Auftrian and Piedmontele armies had, in the courfe of thefe engagements, been separated from each other: which enabled Buonaparte to effect a junction with a confiderable body of his army, before which the Piedmontefe divifion had retired, not daring to oppofe it in combination with the corps under general Augereau who had joined it. After diflodging the Piedmontefe from their redoubts, at Montezimo, this officer followed them to their camp before the town of Cava. was ftrongly fortified, but Augereau attacked it with fuch vigour, that, after defending it the whole day
with great courage, the Piedmontefe
The Piedmontefe army, after its defeat, croffed the river Stura, and took a ftrong pofition between Coni and Cherafco. Here it was attacked, on the 25th, by the French, who compelled general Colli to retire from the poft he occupied at Foffano. They made themselves mafters of Cherafco, where they took a quan tity of cannon and large magazines, and the Piedmontefe withdrew to Carignano, in order to be nearer to Turin, for its protection againft the French army, which was now advanced to within nine leagues of. that city.
The defeat of his army, at Mondovi, had already determined the king of Sardinia to make overtures of peace to Buonaparte. General