Alexander Korsakov

Alexander Mikhailovich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Миха́йлович Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков) (August 24, 1753 – May 25, 1840) was a Russian general remembered as an unlucky assistant to Alexander Suvorov during his Swiss expedition of 1799–1800.

Портрет Римского-Корсакова. 1820-е

Early career

Korsakov entered military service as a cadet in the Preobrazhinski Guard Regiment, and was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Tchernigov Musketeer Regiment at age 25. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War in 1788 and 1789, and in the Russo-Swedish War. He subsequently became a major-general of the Semenovsky Regiment of the Leib Guard and was assigned to accompany the Count of Artois to England. From there he went to Flanders as Russian observer to the army commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg. His account to the tsarina of the Battle of Fleurus (1794) won him favour; on returning to St. Petersburg, he was dispatched to serve under Count Valerian Zubov in an ill-fated expedition against Persia, which Emperor Paul I recalled in 1799 in order to deal with the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1797, Korsakov was elevated to inspector general of Infantry, and the following year, general lieutenant.

1799 campaign in Switzerland

In 1798, Paul I gave Korsakov command of an expeditionary force of 30,000 men sent to Germany to join Austria in the fight against the French Republic. At the beginning of 1799, the force was diverted to drive the French out of Switzerland. Leaving Russia in May, Korsakov reached Stockach in 90 days. With 29,463 men, his command then marched to Zürich to join up with the 25,000-man corps of Austrian general Friedrich von Hotze. It was expected that Alexander Suvorov's army would join them from Italy after marching through the Alps, but terrain and enemy action held up Suvorov's advance. In the meantime, Korsakov waited near Zurich in a relaxed state of over-confidence.[1] Taking full advantage of this, the French under André Masséna attacked on 25 September 1799, in the Second Battle of Zürich, winning a signal victory and forcing Korsakov to withdraw rapidly to Schaffhausen, despite almost no pursuit by the French and orders from Suvorov for him to hold his ground. Korsakov then took up a position on the east of the Rhine in the Dorflingen Camp between Schaffhausen and Constance, remaining there while Masséna was left free to deal with Suvorov. His left under Condé was driven from Constance on 7 October, on the same day he advanced from Büsingen against Schlatt, but was eventually driven back by Masséna, abandoning his hold on the left bank of the Rhine. He joined Suvorov’s survivors at Lindau on 18 October, and was shortly after relieved of command. Soon after he was dismissed as colonel-in-chief of the Rostov Musketeer Regiment in disgrace. The combined army turned towards Bohemia, from where Paul I recalled the army back to Russia for the winter.

Later career

With the accession of Emperor Alexander I in 1801, Korsakov was re-appointed as a GvC cavalry general. He was Governor of Lithuania from 1806 to 1809, based at Vilna, and again from April to June, 1812. On the approach of the French he was ordered to withdraw by Barclay de Tolly on 28 June, but returned to serve for a third term as Governor-General of Lithuania from 8 December 1812 until 1830. During this time he ordered the reconstruction of the Tuskulėnai Manor in Vilnius, where he lived. Recalled to St. Petersberg after the Polish insurrection of 1830-31, Korsakov was made member of the State Council of Imperial Russia. He died in 1840.[2]


  1. ^ Furse, George Armand Marengo and Hohenlinden (2 vols 1903, facsimile edition Worley 1993 p.80)
  2. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander. 2005. The Russian Officer Corps in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1792-1815 New York.
  • "Korssakow". Meyers Konversations-Lexikon (in German). 10 (4th ed.). 1890. p. 103.
André Masséna

André Masséna, 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d'Essling (born Andrea Massena; 16 May 1758 – 4 April 1817) was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire ("the Dear Child of Victory").Many of Napoleon's generals were trained at the finest French and European military academies, but Masséna was among those who achieved greatness without the benefit of formal education. While those of noble rank acquired their education and promotions as a matter of privilege, Masséna rose from humble origins to such prominence that Napoleon referred to him as "the greatest name of my military Empire." His military career is equaled by few commanders in European history.

In addition to his battlefield successes, Masséna's leadership aided the careers of many. A majority of the French marshals of the time served under his command at some point.

Army of the Danube

The Army of the Danube (French: Armée du Danube) was a field army of the French Directory in the 1799 southwestern campaign in the Upper Danube valley. It was formed on 2 March 1799 by the simple expedient of renaming the Army of Observation, which had been observing Austrian movements on the border between French First Republic and the Holy Roman Empire. It was commanded by General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, 1st Comte Jourdan (1762–1833).

The formation of the army was part of the French Directory's long term strategy to undermine Habsburg influence in the Holy Roman Empire, and, conversely, to strengthen French hegemony in central Europe after the wars of the First Coalition and the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797. Despite the Treaty, Austria and France remained suspicious of each other's motives, and the purpose of the Army of the Observation was to watch for Austrian border transgressions. Understanding that the negotiations at the Congress of Rastatt were going no-where, the Army of Observation was instructed to cross the Rhine. Once across the Rhine, the Army of the Danube, was to secure strategic positions in southwestern Germany (present day Baden-Württemberg) and engage Archduke Charles' Austrian army. In the meantime, the Army of Helvetia, under command of André Masséna, would secure such strategic locations as St. Gotthard Pass, the Swiss Plateau, and upper Rhine basin.

The army participated in four battles. In the battles of Ostrach and first Stockach, the Army of the Danube withdrew after suffering heavy losses. After reorganization, in which elements of the army were combined with Massena's Army of Switzerland, it withdrew after an engagement with Charles' superior force at Zürich in early June 1799; only in the Second Battle of Zurich did the Army of the Danube secure an uncontested victory. In December 1799, the Army of the Danube merged with the Army of the Rhine.

Battle of Amsteg

The Battle of Amsteg (14–16 August 1799) saw a Republican French division under General of Division Claude Lecourbe face a brigade of Habsburg Austrian soldiers led by General-major Joseph Anton von Simbschen. Lecourbe's offensive began on 14 August when six columns of French infantry advanced on the upper Reuss valley from the north and east. By 16 August, Lecourbe's forces had driven Simbschen's Austrians from the valley and seized control of the strategic Gotthard Pass between Italy and Switzerland.

On 4 June, the First Battle of Zurich was fought between André Masséna's French Army of Helvetia and an Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. After the battle, Massena relinquished Zürich and retreated to a strong defensive position to the west of the city. At about the same time, the French commander ordered Lecourbe to abandon the Gotthard Pass and pull back to Lucerne. In August, Masséna had second thoughts and wanted Lecourbe to recapture the Gotthard Pass. The French commander feared an Austro-Russian stroke from Italy across the pass, so he ordered an offensive to occupy the area. Louis Marie Turreau's division advanced northeast from the Canton of Valais in support of Lecourbe. Masséna sent the divisions of Jean-de-Dieu Soult and Joseph Chabran to attack other Austrian positions in order to prevent Archduke Charles from interfering with Lecourbe's main operation. At the end of September 1799, Alexander Suvorov's Russian army had to retake the pass in the Battle of Gotthard Pass.

Battle of Gotthard Pass

The Battle of Gotthard Pass or Battle of St. Gotthard Pass (24–26 September 1799) saw an Imperial Russian army commanded by Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov supported by two Habsburg Austrian brigades attack a Republican French division under General of Division Claude Lecourbe. The Austro-Russian army successfully captured the Gotthard Pass after stiff fighting on the first day. Suvorov's main body was assisted by a Russian flanking column led by Lieutenant General Andrei Rosenberg and a smaller Austrian flanking column under General-major Franz Xaver von Auffenberg. The next day, Suvorov's army fought its way north along the upper Reuss River valley past the Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge) in Schöllenen Gorge. By 26 September the army reached Altdorf near Lake Lucerne.

Suvorov's offensive was part of a misbegotten Allied strategy that planned to unite the Russian armies of Suvorov and Lieutenant General Alexander Korsakov near Zurich. Together with Austrian and Swiss forces led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze, they would sweep General of Division André Masséna's French Army of Helvetia from Switzerland. However, on 25–26 September, Masséna drubbed Korsakov in the Second Battle of Zurich and General of Division Jean-de-Dieu Soult defeated Hotze in the Battle of Linth River. Two smaller Austrian columns were also turned back by French forces. Instead of advancing to help Allied forces, Suvorov's army was marching into a mountainous country controlled by French troops.

Battle of Mannheim (1799)

The Battle of Mannheim (18 September 1799) was fought between a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and a Republican French army under Jacques Léonard Muller. Most of the French Army of the Rhine had retreated to the west bank of the Rhine River, leaving the division of Antoine Laroche Dubouscat to hold Mannheim on the east bank. Despite assistance by Michel Ney, Laroche's division was beaten and driven out of the city when attacked by Charles and a much superior force. The War of the Second Coalition action occurred in the city of Mannheim, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Frankfurt.

In the summer of 1799, Muller's 18,000-man army had the mission of drawing Charles' Austrian army away from Switzerland, the central and western portions of which were held by André Masséna's army. Moving south from Mannheim, the Army of the Rhine laid siege to Philippsburg. Provoked by this threat to his strategic rear, Charles and 30,000 troops moved north against Muller, who quickly withdrew. Muller erred in leaving Laroche to be mauled by Charles, but his campaign became a strategic success when Masséna severely defeated a Russian army at the Second Battle of Zurich on 25 and 26 September.

Battle of Novi (1799)

The Battle of Novi (15 August 1799) saw a combined army of Habsburg Austrians and Imperial Russians under Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov attack a Republican French army under General Barthélemy Catherine Joubert. After a prolonged and bloody struggle, the Austro-Russians broke through the French defenses and drove their enemies into a disorderly retreat. Joubert was killed while French division commanders Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon and Emmanuel Grouchy were captured. Novi Ligure is in the province of Piedmont in Italy a distance of 58 kilometres (36 mi) north of Genoa. The battle occurred during the War of the Second Coalition which was part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1799, Russian and Austrian forces swept across the Po River valley, recapturing lands taken by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. The French troops in Italy were badly defeated at the major battles of Magnano, Cassano and the Trebbia. Subsequently, French and Cisalpine Italian troops retreated into Genoa and the Ligurian Republic. A new French government placed Joubert in command of the reformed Army of Italy and ordered him to take the offensive. Accordingly, the French army moved north across the mountain crests and assembled on high ground at Novi Ligure on 14 August. To Joubert's dismay, it was clear that large Coalition forces were nearby. The next morning Paul Kray's Austrian corps assaulted the French left flank and the battle was on. After a delay, Suvorov committed a Russian corps to attack the center and Michael von Melas' Austrian corps to attack the French right flank. Kray's troops suffered heavy losses but by evening the French army was badly beaten and the French hold on the Italian Riviera was gravely weakened. However, the Coalition planners proceeded to throw away their advantage by sending Suvorov's Russians to Switzerland, a change of strategy that ended badly.

Campaigns of 1799 in the French Revolutionary Wars

By 1799, the French Revolutionary Wars had resumed after a period of relative peace in 1798. The Second Coalition had organized against France, with Great Britain allying with Russia, Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and several of the German and Italian states. While Napoleon's army was still embroiled in Egypt, the allies prepared campaigns in Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Canton of Uri

The canton of Uri (German: Kanton Uri ) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss between the St. Gotthard Pass and Lake Lucerne.

The official language of Uri is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken dialect is the Alemannic Swiss German called Urner German.

Uri was the only canton where the children in school had to learn Italian as their first foreign language. But in the school year of 2005/2006 this was changed to English as in other Central and Northeastern Swiss cantons. The population is about 35,000 of which 3,046 (or 8.7%) are foreigners.The legendary William Tell is said to have hailed from Uri. The historical landmark Rütli lies within the canton of Uri.

Franz Petrasch

Franz, Freiherr von Petrasch (1746 – 17 January 1820) was an Austrian general officer serving in the Austrian Empire during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was the third generation of a bourgeois family in which two brothers, seeking adventure, joined the Habsburg military and rose through the ranks. The family was elevated to the Moravia nobility in the early eighteenth century, and to the Hungarian nobility in 1722.

Franz Petrasch served throughout the Habsburg's wars with France, in particular the Rhine Campaign of 1796 and the Swiss campaigns of 1799.

French Revolutionary Wars

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted the French Republic against Great Britain, Austria and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

As early as 1791, the other monarchies of Europe looked with outrage at the revolution and its upheavals; and they considered whether they should intervene, either in support of King Louis XVI, to prevent the spread of revolution, or to take advantage of the chaos in France. Anticipating an attack, France declared war on Prussia and Austria in the spring of 1792 and they responded with a coordinated invasion that was eventually turned back at the Battle of Valmy in September. This victory emboldened the National Convention to abolish the monarchy. A series of victories by the new French armies abruptly ended with defeat at Neerwinden in the spring of 1793. The French suffered additional defeats in the remainder of the year and these difficult times allowed the Jacobins to rise to power and impose the Reign of Terror to unify the nation.

In 1794, the situation improved dramatically for the French as huge victories at Fleurus against the Austrians and at the Black Mountain against the Spanish signaled the start of a new stage in the wars. By 1795, the French had captured the Austrian Netherlands and knocked Spain and Prussia out of the war with the Peace of Basel. A hitherto unknown general named Napoleon Bonaparte began his first campaign in Italy in April 1796. In less than a year, French armies under Napoleon decimated the Habsburg forces and evicted them from the Italian peninsula, winning almost every battle and capturing 150,000 prisoners. With French forces marching towards Vienna, the Austrians sued for peace and agreed to the Treaty of Campo Formio, ending the First Coalition against the Republic.

The War of the Second Coalition began in 1798 with the French invasion of Egypt, headed by Napoleon. The Allies took the opportunity presented by the French effort in the Middle East to regain territories lost from the First Coalition. The war began well for the Allies in Europe, where they gradually pushed the French out of Italy and invaded Switzerland—racking up victories at Magnano, Cassano and Novi along the way. However, their efforts largely unraveled with the French victory at Zurich in September 1799, which caused Russia to drop out of the war. Meanwhile, Napoleon's forces annihilated a series of Egyptian and Ottoman armies at the battles of the Pyramids, Mount Tabor and Abukir. These victories and the conquest of Egypt further enhanced Napoleon's popularity back in France and he returned in triumph in the fall of 1799. However, the Royal Navy had won the Battle of the Nile in 1798, further strengthening British control of the Mediterranean.

Napoleon's arrival from Egypt led to the fall of the Directory in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, with Napoleon installing himself as Consul. Napoleon then reorganized the French army and launched a new assault against the Austrians in Italy during the spring of 1800. This brought a decisive French victory at the Battle of Marengo in June 1800, after which the Austrians withdrew from the peninsula once again. Another crushing French triumph at Hohenlinden in Bavaria forced the Austrians to seek peace for a second time, leading to the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. With Austria and Russia out of the war, the United Kingdom found itself increasingly isolated and agreed to the Treaty of Amiens with Napoleon's government in 1802, concluding the Revolutionary Wars. However, the lingering tensions proved too difficult to contain and the Napoleonic Wars began a few years later with the formation of the Third Coalition, continuing the series of Coalition Wars.

History of Uri

Uri is a Swiss Talschaft and canton in the upper Reuss valley.

First mentioned in the 8th century, it gained strategic importance with the opening of the Gotthard Pass in the 13th century and was a founding member of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the late medieval period.

Jean-Charles Pichegru

Jean-Charles Pichegru (16 February 1761 – 5 April 1804) was a distinguished French general of the Revolutionary Wars. Under his command, French troops overran Belgium and the Netherlands before fighting on the Rhine front. His royalist positions led to his loss of power and imprisonment in Cayenne, French Guiana during the Coup of 18 Fructidor in 1797. After escaping into exile in London and joining the staff of Alexander Korsakov, he returned to France and planned the Pichegru Conspiracy to remove Napoleon from power, which led to his arrest and death. Despite his defection, his surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

Louis Klein

Dominique Louis Antoine Klein (19 January 1761 – 2 November 1845) served in the French military during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars as a general of cavalry.

Initially part of the house guard at the royal residences for Louis XVI, Klein left the military in 1787. During the French Revolution, he enlisted and rose rapidly from a lieutenant to a brigadier general; he participated in the French invasion of southwestern Germany in 1796, and was part of the Army of the Danube in 1799. His cavalry played critical roles in the battles of Austerlitz and Jena and Auerstadt. Following the Prussian campaign, he retired from active service, entered politics, and performed administrative duties in Paris.

Klein served in the French Senate, and voted for Napoleon Bonaparte's abdication in 1814; he did not participate in the Hundred Days and Louis XVIII of France raised him to the French peerage upon the second restoration.

Paul I of Russia

Paul I (Russian: Па́вел I Петро́вич; Pavel Petrovich) (1 October [O.S. 20 September] 1754 – 23 March [O.S. 11 March] 1801) reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. Officially, he was the only son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, though Catherine hinted that he was fathered by her lover Sergei Saltykov, who also had Romanov blood, being a descendant of the first Romanov tsar's sister, Tatiana Feodorovna Romanova.Paul remained overshadowed by his mother for most of his life. His reign lasted four years, ending with his assassination by conspirators. He adopted the laws of succession to the Russian throne—rules that lasted until the end of the Romanov dynasty and of the Russian Empire. He also intervened in the French Revolutionary Wars and, toward the end of his reign, added Kartli and Kakheti in Eastern Georgia into the empire which was confirmed by his son and successor Alexander I.

He was de facto Grand Master of the Order of Hospitallers from 1799 to 1801, and ordered the construction of a number of Maltese thrones.

Second Battle of Zurich

The Second Battle of Zurich (25–26 September 1799) was a key victory by the Republican French army in Switzerland led by André Masséna over an Austrian and Russian force commanded by Alexander Korsakov near Zürich. It broke the stalemate that had resulted from the First Battle of Zurich three months earlier and led to the withdrawal of Russia from the Second Coalition. Most of the fighting took place on both banks of the river Limmat up to the gates of Zürich, and within the city itself.

Storming of Derbent

The Storming of Derbent (Russian: Штурм Дербента) took place on 10 May 1796 during the Persian Expedition of 1796. Derbent, an ancient city with thick walls has a favorable geopolitical position, which locks the coastal passage between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian.

Switzerland in the Napoleonic era

During the French Revolutionary Wars, the revolutionary armies marched eastward, enveloping Switzerland in their battles against Austria. In 1798, Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic. The Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, culminating in the Battles of Zürich in 1799.

In 1803 Napoleon's Act of Mediation reestablished a Swiss Confederation that partially restored the sovereignty of the cantons, and the former tributary and allied territories of Aargau, Thurgau, Graubünden, St. Gallen, Vaud and Ticino became cantons with equal rights.

The Congress of Vienna of 1815 fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality. At this time, the territory of Switzerland was increased for the last time, by the new cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva.

The Restoration, the time leading up to the Sonderbundskrieg, was marked with turmoil, and the rural population struggling against the yoke of the urban centres, for example in the Züriputsch of 1839.

Vilna Governorate-General

Vilna Governorate-General, known as Lithuania Governorate-General before 1830, was a Governorate-General of the Russian Empire from 1794 to 1912. It primarily encompassed the Vilna, Grodno, and Kovno Governorates. Governors General were also commanders of the Vilna Military District. According to the Russian Empire Census, the Governorate-General had 4,754,000 residents in 1897.

Yevgeni Ivanovich Markov

Yevgeni Markov (1769 in Moscow – 1828), was a Russian infantry commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

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