Heavily defeated in 1805 and subjected to a diet of constant humiliation thereafter, Austria had until 1808 maintained a low profile. Under the leadership of the Archduke Charles, the army was strengthened through military reforms, but Charles himself believed that Vienna should cut its losses in Germany and Italy, abandon all notion of fighting Napoleon, and seek compensation in the Balkans. As for Emperor Francis – since 6 August 1806 Francis I of Austria rather than Francis II of the now defunct Holy Roman Empire – he remained as cautious as ever, all the more so as Russia now appeared as a potential enemy. For a time, a consensus even emerged that Austria should seek an alliance with Napoleon. But it soon became clear that the emperor was simply not interested in such a deal.
Austria in Revolt and Aftermath II
The Austrian collapse was not quite the end of the story, even if what remained made depressing reading for Napoleon’s opponents. By the time of the battle of Wagram, Sweden was effectively out of the war: following a series of reverses, on 13 March Gustav IV had been overthrown by an aristocratic faction sickened by what they saw as the king’s mismanagement of the war effort and determined to put an end to enlightened absolutism and restore Sweden’s traditional alliance with France. As for the British, 1809 was marked by an episode that was virtually epic in its futility. Driven not so much by a desire to aid Austria as one to strike a further blow against French naval power and undo the damage to its prestige incurred by what appeared to have been its failure in Spain, the Portland administration decided to land a large army at the mouth of the Scheldt and seize Antwerp.
Battle of Di Goito, 30 May 1848
In support of Italy’s rising against Austria, King Charles Albert of Sardinia took command of the Allied forces and at Goito, on the Mincio east of Mantua, he defeated the Austrians under Marshal Josef Radetzky. While the Austrians were driven back across the Adige, they were victorious a few weeks later at Santa Lucia and in every other battle of the war (10 April 1848).
The princes of Parma and Modena succumbed to revolutionary threats and joined their states with Piedmont, which now included Lombardy. Tuscany remained aloof, but committed to the war. The initial support from Pope Pius IX and Ferdinand II waned through April. Pius IX tried to appease the population of Rome, but did not want to commit his forces to war against Austria. He ordered Durando not to advance beyond the Po River. The general argued with the Pontiff, and crossed the river into Venetia, seeking to separate Radetzky from Venice. Papal forces fanned out through Venetia. Guglielmo Pepe’s large Neapolitan army never made it across the Po. Despite the granting of a constitution, republican revolutionaries attempted a coup against Ferdinand II. The plot was crushed and the king abrogated the constitution. He then ordered Pepe to return to Naples. The old general refused, but much of his army deserted him. When Pepe finally reached the Po, he had no more than 2,000 men under his command. He joined his paltry forces with the Tuscan division observing Mantua.
1814 Napoleon’s First End Part II
For the emperor, however, cheer was still to be found in the continued devotion shown by some soldiers. In Paris, one last parade saw Napoleon entrust Marie-Louise and the King of Rome to the garrison prior to his departure for the front: ‘The enthusiasm generated by the emperor when he took the young king in his arms . . . can never be forgotten by its witnesses. Frenetic and prolonged cries of “Vive l’empereur!” moved from the Hall of Marshals to the national guard assembled in the Carrousel . . . These demonstrations of so true a love for his son moved the emperor: he kissed the young prince with a warmth that escaped none in the audience.’ Instead of listening to the calls for peace with which he was bombarded, Napoleon therefore chose to fight on in the hope of improving his bargaining position, striking hard and fast at a succession of allied commanders as they invaded eastern France.
1814 Napoleon’s First End Part III
Defense of Clichy during the battle of Paris.
With matters in such a state, the end came quickly. Though Napoleon continued to fight and manoeuvre relentlessly, he could achieve little. On 9 March Bentinck had landed at Livorno from where, having issued a call for a national revolt against the French that met with no response whatsoever, he marched on Genoa. On 12 March Bordeaux had proclaimed Louis XVIII, its authorities having first made sure that they would be immediately relieved by the Anglo-Portuguese army. As in 1870 and 1940, refugees were streaming west, adding to the confusion. Among those who fled Paris as the enemy closed in was the wife of Marshal Oudinot:
Hussars, Pandours, and Rangers, 1648–1775
The Pandurs (Croatian: Panduri, German: Panduren, French pandour) were a skirmisher unit of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Nothing demonstrated the importance of ideology, propaganda, and other relatively new elements of guerrilla warfare more powerfully than the revolution that broke out in Britain’s North American colonies in 1775. This was the first in a series of liberal upheavals, many of which would involve considerable guerrilla fighting, that would flare across Europe and its settler colonies for a century—from the late 1700s to the late 1800s. This book examines not only the skirmishes of American rebels, which are well covered in American history texts, but also less-familiar struggles—Spaniards and Haitians fighting French troops, Greeks fighting the Ottomans, and Italians fighting Habsburgs and Bourbons. But before we get to these wars, it is important to understand how the 1648 Peace of Westphalia transformed European warfare.
1814 Napoleon’s First End Part I
Napoleon and his staff are returning from Soissons after the battle of Laon.
The war, then, continued. Back in France Napoleon proceeded to try to rebuild his fortunes. Already a fiction, the French kingdom of Spain was now abandoned: Joseph Bonaparte had already been brusquely sacked in the wake of Vitoria, and, deciding that the moment was ripe to cut his losses, Napoleon now sent a message to Madrid offering to release the imprisoned Ferdinand VII on the understanding that he would make peace with France and expel the Anglo-Portuguese. When these terms were firmly rejected, he decided to release Ferdinand anyway, but while chaos ensued – the result was a military coup that restored absolutism – it was much too late to make any difference. What was left of France’s Peninsular army was therefore going to have to keep fighting in the south-west.