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Coordinates: 47°22′0″N 8°33′0″E / 47.366667°N 8.55°E / 47.366667; 8.55

First Battle of Zürich
Part of the War of the Second Coalition
Grossmünster church Zürich
River Limmat Zürich
Date 4 June – 7 June 1799
Location Zürich, Switzerland
Result Austrian victory
Belligerents
France France Holy Roman Empire Austria
Commanders
André Masséna Archduke Charles of Austria
Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze
Strength
30,000 40,000
Casualties and losses
1,700 3,500

The Helvetic Republic in 1798 became a battlefield of the French Revolutionary Wars. In the First Battle of Zürich on 4 June – 7 June 1799, French general André Masséna was forced to yield the city to the Austrians under Archduke Charles and retreated beyond the Limmat, where he managed to fortify his positions, resulting in a stalemate.

During the summer, Russian troops under general Korsakov replaced the Austrian troops, and in the Second Battle of Zürich, the French regained control of the city, along with the rest of Switzerland.

Map of Zurich, 1800

Contents

Background

Initially, the rulers of Europe, such Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, viewed the revolution in France as an event between the French king and his subjects, and not something in which they should interfere. As the rhetoric grew more strident, however, the other monarchies started to view events with alarm. Leopold, who had succeeded Joseph as Emperor a year earlier, saw the situation surrounding his sister, Marie Antoinette, and her children, with greater and greater alarm. As the revolution grew more and more radical, he still sought to avoid war, but in the late summer, he, in consultation with French émigré nobles and Frederick William II of Prussia, issued the Declaration of Pilnitz, in which they declared the interest of the monarchs of Europe as one with the interests of Louis and his family. They threatened ambiguous, but quite serious, consequences if anything should happen to the royal family.[1]

The French position became increasingly difficult. Compounding problems in international relations, French émigrés continued to agitate for support of a counter-revolution abroad. Chief among them were the Prince Condé, his son, the Duke de Bourbon, and his grandson, the Duke d'Enghien. From their base in Koblenz, immediately over the French border, they sought direct support for military intervention from the royal houses of Europe, and raised an army.[2]

On 20 April 1792, the French National Convention declared war on Austria. In this War of the First Coalition (1792–1798), France ranged itself against most of the European states sharing land or water borders with her, plus Portugal and the Ottoman Empire. Although the Coalition forces achieved several victories at Verdun, Kaiserslautern, Neerwinden, Mainz, Amberg and Wurzburg, the efforts of Napoleon Bonaparte in northern Italy pushed Austrian forces back and resulted in the negotiation of the Peace of Leoben (17 April 1797) and the subsequent Treaty of Campo Formio (October 1797).[3]

After pushing the Army of the Danube out of the northern portion of the Swiss plateau—the territory north of the Rhine and south of the Danube—following the battles at Ostrach and Stockach, Archduke Charles' sizable force—about 110,000 strong—crossed the Rhine west of Schaffhausen, and prepared to join with the armies of Friedrich, Baron von Hotze and Heinrich, Count von Bellegarde by Zürich.[4]

Andre Masséna, now commander of both the French Army of Switzerland and the Army of the Danube, sought to prevent this merger of the Austrian forces, sending General of Division Michel Ney and part of the Army of the Danube[5] to Winterthur on 27 May 1799, with orders to break the Austrian line.

See also

  • French Revolutionary Wars: Campaigns of 1799

Sources

  1. ^ Timothy Blanning. The French Revolutionary Wars, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 41–59.
  2. ^ Blanning, pp. 44–59.
  3. ^ Blanning, pp. 41–59.
  4. ^ Hotze's force included in the seven battalions and two companies of line infantry, a single battalion of light infantry, six squadrons of dragoons, a squadron of seasoned border infantry.Digby Smith. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998, ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
  5. ^ The French force included the cavalry squadrons under General Claude-Pierre Pajol. Terry J. Senior, The Top Twenty French Cavalry Commanders: #5 General Claude-Pierre Pajol. At Napoleon Series, Robert Burnham, editor in chief. April 2008 version. Accessed 4 November 2009.
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Bibliography

  • Allison, Archibald. History of Europe from the fall of Napoleon in 1815 to the accession of Louis Napoleon in 1852. N.Y: Harper, 1855.
  • Blanning, Timothy. The French Revolutionary Wars, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0340569115.
  • Hollins, David, Austrian Commanders of the Napoleonic Wars, 1792–1815, London: Osprey, 2004.
  • Longworth, Philip, The art of victory: the life and achievements of Generalissimo Suvarov, London: Constable, 1965 ISBN 978-0094511705.
  • Phipps, Ramsey Weston . The Armies of the First French Republic, volume 5: "The armies of the Rhine in Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Egypt and the coup d'etat of Brumaire, 1797–1799," Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939. pp. 49–50.
  • Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998, ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
  • Young, John, D.D. A History of the Commencement, Progress, and Termination of the Late War between Great Britain and France which continued from the first day of February 1793 to the first of October 1801, in two volumes. Edinburg: Turnbull, 1802, vol. 2.
  • The history of the campaigns in the years 1796, 1797, 1798 and 1799, in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, & c. Illustrated with sixteen maps and plans of the countries and fortresses. London, T. Gardiner [etc.], 1812.

External links (sources)

  • (German) Ebert, Jens-Florian, "Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze," Die Österreichischen Generäle 1792–1815. Accessed 15 October 2009.
  • (German) Hürlimann, Katja, (Johann Konrad) "Friedrich von Hotze", Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz, 15 January 2008 edition, accessed 18 October 2009.
  • Lins, Joseph. "Saint Petersburg.". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 17 Oct. 2009.
  • (German) Mörgeli, Christoph, "Johannes Hotze". Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz, 29 October 2007 edition, Accessed 18 October 2009.
  • Senior, Terry J. The Top Twenty French Cavalry Commanders: #5 General Claude-Pierre Pajol. At Napoleon Series, Robert Burnham, editor in chief. April 2008 version. Accessed 4 November 2009. At Napoleon Series, Robert Burnham, editor in chief. April 2008 version. Accessed 4 November 2009.

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