Synopses & Reviews
The Battle of Marengo, in the War of the Second Coalition, decisively defeated the Austrians in northern Italy and confirmed Napoleon's reputation as an invincible military genius which he had earlier established during his first Italian campaign. After the Paris coup which made him First Consul - and effectively dictator - in 1799, Napoleon crossed the Alps to confront the Austrians in Italy. Surprised by an Austrian attack on June 14th, a desperate Napoleon hurriedly recalled General Desaix, whom he had earlier sent away. Desaix, returning to the fray, launched a counter-attack, preceded by a short artillery bombardment. Although he was killed in the charge, Desaix's move was decisive and after a cavalry charge led by the future Marshal Kellermann, the Austrians fled, leaving more than 9,000 casualties on the battlefield. Napoleon left General Jean Moreau to chase the Austrians and their Bavarian allies back into Germany. On 3rd December, Moreau brought them to battle at Hohenlinden, near Munich, and inflicted another decisive defeat on a superior army, forcing the Austrians to make peace and end the war. The two battles, brilliantly recounted here in a classic Napoleonic campaign history by Col. George Furse, established Napoleon's France as the pre-eminent European power - a status it would enjoy for more than a decade.