Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy, unconventional tactics, which together resulted in a number of decisive British naval victories during the Napoleonic Wars, he was wounded several times in combat, losing the sight in one eye in Corsica at the age of 36, as well as most of one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife when 40 years of age. He was shot and killed at the age of 47 during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar near the Spanish port city of Cádiz in 1805. Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer himself, he rose through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command at the age of 20 in 1778. He developed a reputation in the service through his personal valour and firm grasp of tactics but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the American War of Independence.
The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was active in the Mediterranean. He fought in several minor engagements off Toulon and was important in the capture of Corsica and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, was forced to return to England to recuperate; the following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801, he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen, he subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle.
After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar; the battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but during the action, aboard HMS Victory, was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter. His body was brought back to England. Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures; the significance of the victory and his death during the battle led to his signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty", being quoted and referenced up to the modern day. Numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square and the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains influential. Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758 in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, England, the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine Suckling, he was named after his godfather Horatio Walpole 2nd Baron Walpole, of Wolterton.
His mother, who died on 26 December 1767, when he was nine years old, was a great-niece of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. She lived in the village of Barsham and married the Reverend Edmund Nelson at Beccles church, Suffolk, in 1749. Nelson's aunt, Alice Nelson was the wife of Reverend Robert Rolfe, Rector of Hilborough and grandmother of Sir Robert Monsey Rolfe. Rolfe twice served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. Nelson attended Paston Grammar School, North Walsham, until he was 12 years old, attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School in Norwich, his naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the third-rate HMS Raisonnable as an ordinary seaman and coxswain under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from seasickness, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life.
HMS Raisonnable had been commissioned during a period of tension with Spain, but when this passed, Suckling was transferred to the Nore guardship HMS Triumph and Nelson was dispatched to serve aboard the West Indiamen Mary Ann of the merchant shipping firm of Hibbert and Horton, in order to gain experience at sea. He twice crossed the Atlantic, before returning to serve under his uncle as the commander of Suckling's longboat, which carried men and dispatches to and from the shore. Nelson learned of a planned expedition under the command of Constantine Phipps, intended to survey a passage in the Arctic by which it was hoped that India could be reached: the fabled North-East Passage. At his nephew's request, Suckling arranged for Nelson to join the expedition as coxswain to Commander Lutwidge aboard the converted bomb vessel HMS Carcass; the expedition reached within ten degrees of the North Pole, unable to find a way through the dense ice floes, was forced to turn back. By 1800 Lutwidge began to circulate a story that while the ship had been trapped in the ice, Nelson had seen and pursued a polar bear, before being ordered to return to the ship.
Lutwidge's version, in 1809, reported that Nelson and a companion had given chase to the bear, but on bei
Battle of San Domingo
The Battle of San Domingo was a naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars fought on 6 February 1806 between squadrons of French and British ships of the line off the southern coast of the French-occupied Spanish colonial Captaincy General of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean. All five of the French ships of the line commanded by Vice-Admiral Corentin-Urbain Leissègues had been captured or destroyed; the Royal Navy led by Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth lost no ships and suffered less than a hundred killed while the French lost 1,500 men. Only a small number of the French squadron were able to escape; the battle of San Domingo was the last fleet engagement of the war between French and British capital ships in open water. In late 1805, First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Barham withdrew the Royal Navy blockade of the French Atlantic ports following the Trafalgar Campaign, in which the French Navy had lost 14 ships of the line. Barham believed that the French, having suffered such heavy losses, would be unable and unwilling to launch a major offensive in the Atlantic until after the winter.
However, he had miscalculated the strength of the fleet at Brest, the principal French Atlantic seaport. The Brest fleet was therefore intact. Taking advantage of the withdrawal of the British blockade, Emperor Napoleon ordered two squadrons to put to sea with orders to raid the British trade routes that crossed the Atlantic; these forces were to inflict as much economic damage to Britain as possible without engaging an equivalent British naval squadron and risking defeat and capture. The cruise was expected to last as long as 14 months, sustained by captured food supplies from British merchant ships. Sailing unopposed on 13 December 1805, the squadrons separated two days in pursuit of British merchant convoys, one squadron steering for the South Atlantic under Contre-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez and the other, under Vice-Admiral Corentin-Urbain Leissègues, sailing for the Caribbean; the Admiralty in London did not discover that the French had sailed until 24 December, the two squadrons they prepared in pursuit, under Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan and Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, did not sail until January 1806, by which time the French had disappeared into the Atlantic.
There was however one British squadron that had maintained contact with the French: since the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, the Admiralty had stationed a squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth off Cadiz to watch the remnants of the combined fleet. In November 1805, reports reached Duckworth of a French squadron operating against British convoys off the Savage Islands between Madeira and the Canary Islands; this squadron, which belonged to Contre-Admiral Zacharie Allemand, had left France in July 1805. Sailing to investigate, Duckworth abandoned Cadiz, leaving just two frigates to watch the Allied fleet at anchor. Passing the Savage and Canary Islands, Duckworth continued to the Cape Verde Islands before conceding that the French had escaped him and turning northwards again. Allemand was far to the north, he returned to France without incident on 23 December. During his return journey to Cadiz, on 23 December Duckworth encountered HMS Arethusa under Captain Charles Brisbane escorting a small group of merchant ships.
Leissègues had intercepted and dispersed Brisbane's convoy in the Bay of Biscay on 15 December, Brisbane retaining only the largest merchant ships to help cover the flight of the smaller vessels. Once he had escaped Leissègues' pursuit, Brisbane sailed in search of support at Cadiz, continuing southwards after realizing that Duckworth was not at his appointed station. Setting a course that he believed would intercept Leissègues, Duckworth turned to the northwest and on 25 December discovered an enemy squadron 200 nautical miles northwest of the Canary Islands. Duckworth ordered his squadron to pursue, the chase lasting throughout the day and continuing into 26 December, by which time it had become clear that his quarry was not Allemand. In fact, Duckworth had discovered Willaumez's squadron. However, the French admiral ordered his ships to run before Duckworth rather than give battle. By 13:00 on 26 December, it seemed certain that the British flagship, HMS Superb, would outstrip the rearmost French ship, when Duckworth called off the pursuit.
He claimed that he was concerned that the leading ships of his squadron would be overwhelmed by the concentrated French squadron before the stragglers, some of which were more than 45 nautical miles behind Superb, could join the battle. As Willaumez escaped into the South Atlantic, Duckworth ordered his squadron to sail for Barbados to resupply before making the long journey back to Cadiz; when he arrived on 12 January 1806, he ordered the frigate HMS Acasta to St. Kitts to arrange the required water supplies, moved the squadron to an anchorage off Basseterre on 19 January. There two ships of the Leeward Islands squadron, HMS Northumberland and HMS Atlas, joined him. Northumberland was the flagship of commander of the station. Cochrane's arrival raised the number of admirals in the squadron to three, as Duckworth's second in command was Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis in HMS Canopus. Leissègues was en route to the Caribbean, winter storms off the Azores having delayed him, separated Alexandre and Brave and inflicted damage on Jupiter and Diomède.
Arriving at the French-held city of Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola on 20 January, Leissègues disembarked over 1,000 soldiers as reinforcements for the garrison, made hasty repairs as he awaited the arrival of his missing ships, which appeared on 29 Janu
Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars
The Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars were a series of conflicts fought principally in Northern Italy between the French Revolutionary Army and a Coalition of Austria, Piedmont-Sardinia, a number of other Italian states. The War of the First Coalition broke out in autumn 1792, when several European powers formed an alliance against Republican France; the first major operation was the annexation of Nice by 30,000 French troops. This was reversed in mid-1793, when the Republican forces were withdrawn to deal with a revolt in Lyon, triggering a counter-invasion of Savoy by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. After the revolt in Lyon had been suppressed, the French under General Kellermann managed to push back the Piedmontese with just 12,000 troops, winning engagements at Argentines and St Maurice in September and October 1793; the conflict soon escalated with Austrian and Neapolitan forces being mobilised for an invasion of southern France to recover Nice and strike into Provence.
The Allied forces were bolstered by some 45,000 Austrians and Neapolitans, with additional support from the British Royal Navy. Before the Allies could launch this assault the French, under tactical command of André Masséna, launched the Saorgio Offensive, planned by the army's artillery commander, General Napoleon Bonaparte; this two-pronged French offensive drove back the Allied force, despite their strong positions, captured the mountain passes that led into Piedmont. A new offensive, again devised by General Bonaparte, was successful despite its more complicated nature, calling for the co-ordination of the Army of Italy and the Army of the Alps. Further French assaults on the Allied positions were called off under orders from war minister Carnot, concerned about supply lines being cut by rebels behind the front; the commanders in the field were unhappy about this decision, but appeals were interrupted by the overthrow of the Committee of Public Safety and its leader, Maximilien de Robespierre.
During the political chaos that ensued in the French army, the Allies launched an assault on Savona. Ignoring Carnot's orders, the commander of the Army of Italy launched a counter-offensive and secured supply routes to Genoa following victory at the First Battle of Dego. Following this the French awaited further opportunities; the main focus of the war shifted north to the Rhine, until 29 June 1795, when the Austrians launched an attack against the depleted and poorly supplied French Army of Italy. Nominally 107,000-strong, the Army of Italy could only manage to field an effective force of about 30,000. Kellermann, who had resumed command, appealed to Carnot for reinforcements. Instead, General Bonaparte was appointed to the general staff where he devised a third plan for an attack towards Vado and Ceva. Kellermann was replaced by General Schérer soon after and he carried out the attacks, gaining victory at Loano. Following a short respite in hostilities Schérer resigned and Bonaparte was appointed commander-in-chief on 2 March 1796.
The motives for Bonaparte's appointment were most political. On 9 March, Bonaparte had married Joséphine de Beauharnais, who had shared her imprisonment with the woman who had become wife to Tallien, one of the Directors of the French Republic, it was "universally believed" that Josephine had been introduced by her friend to the First Director and had become his lover. Josephine's letters claim Barras had promised the command to Bonaparte, before she'd consented to marry him. Barras is cited by his colleagues as saying of Bonaparte, "Advance this man or he will advance himself without you." Bonaparte had shown himself to be ambitious and had made a name for himself following 13 Vendémiaire in 1795. By placing him in command of the Army of Italy, Bonaparte was being assigned to an obscure front: of the Republic's thirteen principal field armies, the Italian force was the most neglected and was in terrible condition when Bonaparte arrived. Bonaparte launched attacks immediately after he arrived on the front on 27 March.
His 37,000 men and 60 guns were facing more than 50,000 Allied troops in the theatre. His only chance of support came from Kellermann's Army of the Alps, faced by a further 20,000 Allied troops. Bonaparte had no chance of gaining reinforcements as the Republican war effort was being concentrated on the massive offensives planned on the Rhine. At the Battle of Montenotte Bonaparte defeated the Austrians and fought a second engagement around Dego soon after. Following these battles he launched an all-out invasion of Piedmont and won a further victory at Mondovì. Piedmont was forced to accept the Armistice of Cherasco on 28 April, knocking it out of the war and the First Coalition, it had taken Bonaparte just a month to defeat Piedmont, a country which had resisted the French armies for over three years. Total losses during the lightning campaign were 6,000 French troops and over 25,000 Allied. Bonaparte reorganised his newly enthused army following the short let-up in operations that followed Piedmont's defeat.
Following this he manoeuvred his army into more opportune positions along the Po River. A small French victory at Codogno led to a retreat by Coalition forces across the Adda River. At the river, the Austrian army of General Beaulieu was defeated in the Battle of Lodi on 10 May; the Army of Italy was now reinforced to 50,000 men and Bonaparte continued on the offensive, striking at Austrian forces mobilising in the vicinity of the fortress of Mantua. A series of minor Coalition defeats resulted in the garrison at Mantua being reinforced to 12,00
The Ulm Campaign was a series of French and Bavarian military maneuvers and battles to outflank and capture an Austrian army in 1805 during the War of the Third Coalition. It took place in the vicinity inside the Swabian city of Ulm; the French Grande Armée, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, comprised 210,000 troops organized into seven corps, hoped to knock out the Austrian army in the Danube before Russian reinforcements could arrive. Through rapid marching, Napoleon conducted a large wheeling maneuver that captured an Austrian army of 23,000 under General Mack on 20 October at Ulm, bringing the total number of Austrian prisoners in the campaign to 60,000; the campaign is regarded as a strategic masterpiece and was influential in the development of the Schlieffen Plan in the late 19th century. The victory at Ulm did not end the war, since a large Russian army under Kutuzov was still near Vienna; the Russians withdrew to the northeast to await reinforcements and to link up with surviving Austrian units.
The French captured Vienna on 12 November. On 2 December the decisive French victory at Austerlitz removed Austria from the war; the resulting Treaty of Pressburg in late December brought the Third Coalition to an end and left Napoleonic France as the major power in Central Europe, leading to the War of the Fourth Coalition with Prussia and Russia the following year. Europe had been by embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars since 1792. After five years of war, the French Republic subdued the First Coalition in 1797. A Second Coalition was formed in 1798 but this too was defeated by 1801. Britain remained the only opponent for the new French Consulate. In March 1802, France and Britain agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years, all of Europe was at peace. There were many problems between the two sides and implementing the agreements they had reached at Amiens seemed to be a growing challenge. Britain resented having to turn over all colonial conquests since 1793 and France was angry that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta.
The tense situation only worsened when Napoleon sent an expeditionary force to crush the Haitian Revolution. In May 1803, Britain declared war on France. In December 1804, an Anglo-Swedish agreement led to the creation of the Third Coalition. British Prime Minister William Pitt spent 1804 and 1805 in a flurry of diplomatic activity to form a new coalition against France. Mutual suspicion between the British and the Russians eased in the face of several French political mistakes and by April 1805 the two had signed a treaty of alliance. Having been defeated twice in recent memory by France and keen on revenge, Austria joined the coalition a few months later. Prior to the formation of the Third Coalition, Napoleon had assembled the "Army of England," an invasion force meant to strike at the British Isles, around six camps at Boulogne in Northern France. Although they never set foot on British soil, Napoleon's troops received careful and invaluable training for any possible military operation. Although boredom set in among the troops, Napoleon paid many visits to conduct lavish parades to maintain their morale.
The men at Boulogne formed the core for what Napoleon would call "La Grande Armée". At the start, the French army had about 200,000 men organized into seven corps, which were large field units, each containing about 36 to 40 cannon each and capable of independent action until other corps could arrive. On top, Napoleon created a cavalry reserve of 22,000 troopers organized into two cuirassier divisions, four mounted dragoon divisions and two divisions of dismounted dragoons and light cavalry, all supported by 24 artillery pieces. By 1805, La Grande Armée had was equipped and trained, it possessed a competent officer class where all from sergeants to marshals had experience in the recent Revolutionary Wars. Archduke Charles, brother of the Austrian Emperor, had started to reform the Austrian army in 1801 by taking away power from the Hofkriegsrat, the military-political council responsible for decision making in the Austrian armed forces. Charles was Austria's best field commander, but he was unpopular with the royal court and lost much influence when, against his advice, Austria decided to go to war with France.
Karl Mack became the new main commander in Austria's army, instituting reforms on the infantry on the eve of war that called for a regiment to be composed of four battalions of four companies rather than the older three battalions of six companies. The sudden change came with no corresponding officer training. Austrian cavalry forces were regarded as the best in Europe, but the detachment of many cavalry units to various infantry formations precluded the hitting power of their massed French counterparts, who could, at the orders of Napoleon, amass a whole corps of cavalry to influence the battle; the Ulm Campaign lasted for nearly a month and saw the French army under Napoleon deliver blow after blow to the confused Austrians. It culminated on 20 October with the loss of an entire Austrian army. General Mack thought that Austrian security relied on sealing off the gaps through the mountainous Black Forest area in Southern Germany that had witnessed much fighting during the campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars.
Mack believed. Mack decided to make the city of Ulm the centerpiece of his defensive strategy, which called for a containment of the French until the Russians under Kutuzov could arrive and alter the odds against Napoleon. Ulm was protected by the fortified Michelsberg heights, giving Mack t
Battle of Caldiero (1805)
The Battle of Caldiero took place on 30 October 1805, pitting the French Armée d'Italie under Marshal André Masséna against an Austrian army under the command of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. The French engaged only a part of their forces, around 33,000 men, whilst Archduke Charles engaged the bulk of his army, 49,000 men, leaving out Paul Davidovich's corps to defend the lower Adige and Franz Seraph of Orsini-Rosenberg's corps to cover the Austrian right against any flanking maneuvers; the fighting took place at Caldiero, 15 kilometres east of Verona, in the War of the Third Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. By mid October, Marshal André Masséna, a seasoned French general, who had fought the Austrians in Lombardia before during the campaign of 1796–1797, was waiting for developments on the main theatre of operations in Bavaria. On 18 October, Masséna won a bridgehead on the east bank of the Adige River in the Battle of Verona. At dawn, the French launched their attack from Verona against Josef Philipp Vukassovich's division.
After heavy fighting, the divisions of Guillaume Philibert Duhesme and Gaspard Amédée Gardanne cleared the town of San Giorgio and part of the heights of Veronetta. The French lost 77 dead and 246 wounded, while the Austrians suffered 906 wounded. Archduke Charles was so unhappy with Vukassovich's performance that he replaced him with Franz Seraph of Orsini-Rosenberg. News that Emperor Napoleon I demolished the main Austrian army in the Ulm Campaign reached Masséna on 28 October and he issued orders for an immediate offensive against the Austrian army in northern Italy. Crossing the Adige river with the divisions of Duhesme and Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor and leaving behind Jean Mathieu Seras' division to cover Verona, Masséna planned to move forward into Austrian-controlled territory; the fighting on 29 October is considered by one historian to be part of the Battle of Caldiero. On that day, the divisions of Duhesme and Gardanne advanced on the left against Rosenberg, while Molitor's and Louis Partouneaux's divisions moved forward against the town of Veronetta.
Seeing a mass of French troops approaching, the Austrians abandoned Veronetta and fell back to San Michele. The French mauled Rosenberg's division and forced Johann Maria Philipp Frimont out of San Michele after street fighting. By the end of the day, Masséna's troops closed up to the main defense line of Archduke Charles; the French counted 157 captured. Again, Austrian casualties were heavier, numbering 1,926 wounded, with 1,114 prisoners. Archduke Charles of Austria-Teschen, himself acutely aware of the dire consequences of the fall of Ulm, was planning to move towards Vienna, in order to reinforce the remains of the Austrian army and link up with the Russians. However, in order to avoid having Masséna's men on his heels, he decided to turn and face the French, hoping that by defeating them he would ensure the success of his march towards inner Austria. Archduke Charles had made preparations for a French attack, occupying the strategic village of Caldiero, through which passed the main Lombardian road and deploying no less than 58 cannons and 24 mortars.
The Austrian forces were divided into three main groups: to the right, Joseph Anton von Simbschen occupied the heights of Colognola and the ravine of San Zeno, where his cavalry was massed. Upon reconnoitering the Austrian position, Masséna drew up his plan. General Gardanne was to form the apex of the army, deploying his forces on both sides of the Verona road, supported by Partouneaux's reserve, Jean Louis Brigitte Espagne's cavalry and a part of Julien Augustin Joseph Mermet's dragoons. To the left Molitor's division would deploy close to Ca dell'Ara and would set out to take the heights of Colognola. To the right, Duhesme would march on Gombione in order to fall upon Caldiero, but he was ordered to make his move towards midday. Jean-Antoine Verdier would cross the Adige at Perzacco and turn the enemy left, with the support of Charles Joseph de Pully's cavalry while the rest of Mermet's cavalry would ensure contact with Verdier. Masséna was planning to wait for Verdier's flanking maneuver before committing to a frontal attack, but Archduke Charles took the initiative, attacking on both flanks of the French army.
Taking with him the cavalry he had available, Simbschen made the first move against Molitor, descending the slope of the Colognola heights and approaching Ca dell'Ara. On the other side of the battlefield, Nordmann moved forward too, following the river line of the Adige. Molitor moved forward himself and his forces clashed with Simbschen's, forcing the latter back up the slopes of the Colognola Alta. Just as the French were coming up the slope in order to assault that position, the Austrians were reinforced by troops sent by Bellegarde and thus could repulse the French attack, pushing them into the ravine. A second French assault would fail and the fighting would continue throughout much of the day, with the Austrians remaining masters of the heights. In the centre, general Gardanne belatedly formed his men and painstakingly fought his way up towards Caldiero against a determined Bellegarde. Gardanne's first attempt failed and he was forced to fall back on Rotta, where he was reinforced by Partounneaux and d'Espagne.
With his force thus augmented, Gardanne moved forward again and
Battle of Elchingen
The Battle of Elchingen, fought on 14 October 1805, saw French forces under Michel Ney rout an Austrian corps led by Johann Sigismund Riesch. This defeat led to a large part of the Austrian army being invested in the fortress of Ulm by the army of Emperor Napoleon I of France while other formations fled to the east. Soon afterward, the Austrians trapped in Ulm surrendered and the French mopped up most of the remaining Austrians forces, bringing the Ulm Campaign to a close. In late September and early October 1805, Napoleon carried out a gigantic envelopment of the Austrian army in Bavaria led by Karl Mack von Lieberich. While the Austrian army lay near Ulm, south of the Danube River, the French army marched west on the north side of the river. Napoleon's troops crossed the river east of Ulm, cutting the Austrian retreat route to Vienna. Waking up to his danger, Mack tried to break out on the north side of the river, but a lone French division blocked his first attempt. Realizing that his enemies might escape the trap, Napoleon ordered Ney to cross to the north bank of the river.
Ney's larger corps attacked Riesch's corps at Elchingen on the north bank. The French captured the heights and drove the Austrian soldiers west toward Ulm, forcing many of them to surrender. While a body of Austrians remained at large on the north bank, the near destruction of Riesch's command meant that the bulk of Mack's army was hopelessly surrounded in Ulm. On 8 September, the army of Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Mack and Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este crossed the Inn River and invaded the Electorate of Bavaria. Mack planned to establish 88 battalions and 148 squadrons on the Lech River near Augsburg by the end of October. Though called upon to join Austria against France, Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of Bavaria instead withdrew his army north to the Main River in accordance with his secret alliance with France. By 12 September when the Austrians occupied Munich, Mack changed his mind and discarded his earlier plan, he decided to concentrate his army farther west on the Iller River so he could counterattack any French invasion coming through the Black Forest.
As part of his new strategy, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franjo Jelačić was ordered to move from Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke John's Army of the Tyrol to Lake Constance. Mack expected to have 50,000 to 55,000 troops in position near Ulm by the end of September. Jellačić would hold the left flank with 11,000 soldiers while Feldmarschall-Leutnant Michael von Kienmayer 12,000-man corps watched the Bavarians from Ingolstadt. However, the change of plans threw the Austrian army's supply system into disarray; as the weather turned bad and desertion began to diminish the army's numbers. The nominal army commander, Archduke Ferdinand and Mack's chief of staff General-Major Anton Mayer von Heldensfeld both insisted that the army halt at the Lech as planned. By the end of September, relations between Mack and Ferdinand became so poor that all communication between the two was done in writing. Ferdinand and Mayer appealed to Emperor Francis II; the emperor sought the advice of Feldmarschall Archduke Charles, who commanded the Army of Italy, was warned that Mack was making a strategic blunder.
So, the emperor backed Mack to the hilt and relieved Mayer of his post. Mack's army began to assemble on the Iller. On 24 and 25 September, Napoleon launched the Grande Armée across the Rhine River to open the Ulm Campaign. While Marshal Joachim Murat's Cavalry Corps and Marshal Jean Lannes's V Corps advanced directly east toward Ulm, the bulk of Napoleon's army passed to the north of the Austrian army. Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's I Corps, General of Division Auguste Marmont's II Corps, Marshal Louis Davout's III Corps, Marshal Nicolas Soult's IV Corps, Marshal Ney's VI Corps wheeled east southeast south. On 5 October, Kienmayer reported that the French were to the north of the Danube. Two days the French crossed the Danube on a broad front, moving south. At this time Mack's army was divided into four corps. Jellačić had 15,000 troops in 16 infantry battalions, six Jäger companies, six cavalry squadrons to the south of Ulm. Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg commanded 28 battalions and 30 squadrons at Ulm.
Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franz von Werneck had 24 squadrons near Günzburg. Kienmayer's command near Ingolstadt consisted of 34 squadrons. Unwisely, Mack decided to defend Ulm, instead of trying to escape the approaching French army. Mack reacted by sending Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franz Xavier Auffenberg with only 6,000 men to stop the French. Murat and Lannes crushed the hapless Auffenberg at the Battle of Wertingen, inflicting losses of 400 killed and wounded on the Austrians and capturing 2,900 soldiers and six cannons; the next day, General of Division Jean-Pierre Firmin Malher's VI corps division attacked General-Major Konstantin Ghilian Karl d'Aspré's 7,000 troops in the Battle of Günzburg. The Austrians suffered 2,000 casualties. Napoleon placed Davout and Bernadotte at Munich to guard against General Mikhail Kutuzov's Russian army and Kienmayer's troops; the emperor sent Soult west to Memmingen, south of Ulm. Murat, Ney and the Imperial Guard moved directly west toward Ulm. At this time, Ney's corps was still on the north bank.
On 11 October, when Murat ordered Ney to bring his corps to the south bank, Ney furiously protested but was overruled. In consequence and Prince Schwarzenberg with 25,000 troops fell upon General of Division Pierre Dupont's solitary division in the Battle of Haslach-Jungingen that day. Dupont's 5,350 infantry, supported by General of Division Jacques Louis François Delaistre de Tilly's 2,169 cavalr
French campaign in Egypt and Syria
The French Campaign in Egypt and Syria was Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria, proclaimed to defend French trade interests, weaken Britain's access to British India, to establish scientific enterprise in the region. It was the primary purpose of the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, a series of naval engagements that included the capture of Malta. On the scientific front, the expedition led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, creating the field of Egyptology. Despite many decisive victories and an successful expedition into Syria and his Armée d'Orient were forced to withdraw, after sowing political disharmony in France, experiencing conflict in Europe, suffering the defeat of the supporting French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. At the time of the invasion, the Directory had assumed executive power in France, it would resort to the army to maintain order in the face of the Jacobin and royalist threats, count in particular on general Bonaparte a successful commander, having led the Italian campaign.
The notion of annexing Egypt as a French colony had been under discussion since François Baron de Tott undertook a secret mission to the Levant in 1777 to determine its feasibility. Baron de Tott's report was favorable. Egypt became a topic of debate between Talleyrand and Napoleon, which continued in their correspondence during Napoleon's Italian campaign. In early 1798, Bonaparte proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt. In a letter to the Directory, he suggested this would protect French trade interests, attack British commerce, undermine Britain's access to India and the East Indies, since Egypt was well-placed on the trade routes to these places. Bonaparte wished to establish a French presence in the Middle East, with the ultimate dream of linking with France's ally Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in India; as France was not ready for a head-on attack on Great Britain itself, the Directory decided to intervene indirectly and create a "double port" connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, prefiguring the Suez Canal.
At the time, Egypt had been an Ottoman province since 1517, but was now out of direct Ottoman control, was in disorder, with dissension among the ruling Mamluk elite. In France, "Egyptian" fashion was in full swing – intellectuals believed that Egypt was the cradle of western civilization and wished to conquer it. French traders based on the River Nile were complaining of harassment by the Mamluks, Napoleon wished to walk in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, he assured the Directory that "as soon as he had conquered Egypt, he will establish relations with the Indian princes and, together with them, attack the English in their possessions." According to a 13 February 1798 report by Talleyrand, "Having occupied and fortified Egypt, we shall send a force of 15,000 men from Suez to the Sultanate of Mysore, to join the forces of Tipu Sultan and drive away the English." The Directory agreed to the plan in March 1798, though troubled by its cost. However, they saw that it would remove the popular and over-ambitious Napoleon from the center of power, though this motive long remained secret.
Rumors became rife as 40,000 soldiers and 10,000 sailors were gathered in French Mediterranean ports. A large fleet was assembled at Toulon: 13 ships of the line, 14 frigates, 400 transports. To avoid interception by the British fleet under Nelson, the expedition's target was kept secret, it was known only to Bonaparte himself, his generals Berthier and Caffarelli, the mathematician Gaspard Monge. Bonaparte was the commander, with subordinates including Thomas Alexandre Dumas, Kléber, Berthier, Lannes, Murat, Andréossy, Belliard and Zajączek, his aides de camp included his brother Louis Bonaparte, Eugène de Beauharnais, Thomas Prosper Jullien, the Polish nobleman Joseph Sulkowski. The fleet at Toulon was joined by squadrons from Genoa and Bastia and was put under the command of Admiral Brueys and Contre-amirals Villeneuve, Du Chayla, Decrès and Ganteaume; the fleet was about to set sail when a crisis developed with Austria, the Directory recalled Bonaparte in case war broke out. The crisis was resolved in a few weeks, Bonaparte received orders to travel to Toulon as soon as possible.
It is claimed that, in a stormy meeting with the Directory, Bonaparte threatened to dissolve them and director Reubell gave him a pen saying "Sign there, general!" Bonaparte arrived at Toulon on 9 May 1798, lodging with Benoît Georges de Najac, the officer in charge of preparing the fleet. The army embarked confident in their commander's talent and on 19 May, just as he embarked, Bonaparte addressed the troops those who had served under him in the Armée d'Italie: Soldiers! You are one of the wings of the French army. You have made war on the mountains, on the plains, in cities; the Roman legions, that you sometimes imitated but no longer equalled, fought Carthage now on this same sea and now on the plains of Zama... Soldiers, you have been neglected until this day; the genius of liberty, which made you, at her birth, the arbiter of Europe, wants to be genius of the seas and the furthest nations. When Napoleon's fleet arrived off Malta, Napoleon demanded that the Knights of Malta allow his fleet to enter the port and take on water and supplies.
Grand Master von Hompesch replied that only two foreign ships would be allowed to enter the port at a time. Under that restriction, revictualling the French fleet would take weeks, it would be vulnerable to the British fleet of Admiral Nelson. Napoleon therefore ordered th