World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Siege of Mantua (1799)

Battle of Mantua
Part of the War of the Second Coalition
Date April-July 1799
Location Mantua, present-day Italy
Result Austrian victory
Belligerents
France Austria
Commanders and leaders
François-Philippe de Foissac-Latour Pal von Kray
Strength
10,000[1]
657 artillery pieces[2]
40,000[2]
~150 artillery pieces[2]
Casualties and losses
1700 dead
1400 or more wounded[2]

The Siege of Mantua (1799) was a four-month effort by the Austrian army to regain a presence in northern Italy after being excluded from that region by Napoleon Bonaparte through the successful French Siege of Mantua in 1797. In April 1799, the Austrians placed a military blockade around Mantua as part of the War of the Second Coalition with the intent of conquering the French by attrition. As their own attrition and diminishing food supplies weakened the Austrian army, they received reinforcements and attacked on 4 July 1799. By the end of the month, the French agreed to surrender.

Contents

  • Prelude 1
  • Siege 2
  • Capitulation 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Prelude

By 1799, the fortress of Mantua on the river Mincio in northern Italy was in poor shape.[1] It was commanded by viscount lieutenant general François-Philippe de Foissac-Latour (1750-1804)[3] and garrisoned by a diverse force of 10,000, including French, Polish (Polish Legionnaires under general Józef Wielhorski), Italian (Republic of Alba and Cisalpine Republic), Swiss and German units.[1] From the beginning of his assignment, Foissac-Latour, an engineer, was convinced that the fortress would be indefensible in any serious siege.[1]

Siege

In April, Austrian forces approached Mantua and started their siege. At first, the Austrians were content to simply blockade the fortress, but with the artillery duels and occasional skirmishes, attrition began taking its toll on the defenders. The defenders were also weakened by diminishing food supplies, and their morale was undermined by lack of payment.[1]

On 18 June, the French suffered a defeat at the Battle of Trebbia, and consequently the Austrians were able to move more decisively against Mantua.[2] On 4 July the siege entered a new stage, with Austrian reinforcements arriving, and the besieging force growing from 8,000 to 40,000.[2] The Austrians were commanded by Hungarian general Baron Pal von Kray, an artillery expert.[2] Artillery bombardment was constant. On 24-25 July the assault begun; and the Austrians slowly advanced over the next few days.[2] On 27 July Foissac-Latour began negotiating surrender terms.[2]

Capitulation

The Austrians agreed to release most of the French garrison, keeping the officers for three months, and with soldiers pledging not to take arms until the prisoners were exchanged by the fighting sides.[2] In a secret protocol, however, the Austrians demanded full sovereignty over "deserters from the Austrian army".[2] After protests from the Polish officers — who were afraid that due to recent partitions of Poland in which Austria gained control over parts of Poland that the Austrians may want to take custody of the Polish legionnaires — the Austrian negotiator clarified officially that they meant any deserters from the current Austrian army or former Austrian soldiers serving in the Cisalpine Republic Army. [2]

On 30 July the French and allied troops left the fortress.[4] The garrison troops were split into French and non-French units (of whom Poles still constituted 1,800); the Austrian soldiers observing the marching non-French garrison troops were given permission to physically assault those "recognized" as deserters and most of them were eventually arrested.[4] Polish officers — particularly those from the Austrian partition — were forced to enlist in the Austrian army or deported to partitioned Poland, and a similar fate befell Polish NCOs and regular soldiers, many of whom were also forced to suffer physical punishment by being beaten with rods.[4] This marked the end of the Second Legion of the Polish Legions.[5] Foissac-Latour was later criticized by the Poles for what they considered "betrayal", but also by the French: for his surrender, Napoleon himself ordered Foissac-Latour stricken from the list of generals and forbade him to wear a military uniform.[4]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Obrona Mantui..., p.6-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Obrona Mantui..., p.8-9
  3. ^ (French) Bibliographie biographique ou dictionnaire de 26000 ouvrages, tant anciens que modernes (1750-1804)
  4. ^ a b c d Obrona Mantui..., p.10-11
  5. ^

References

  • (Polish) Andrzej Nieuważny, Obrona Mantui, Chwała Oręża Polskiego 14 (35), Rzeczpospolita, 23 October 2006 (publication contains a map). Online version

External links

  • (Polish) Map of the siege
  • Text of the capitulation document (without secret protocol)

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.