Battle of Valvasone (1797)

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Battle of Valvasone
Part of the French Revolutionary Wars
Valvasone-Castello.jpg
Castle in Valvasone
Date 16 March 1797
Location Valvasone, Italy
Result French victory
Belligerents
France France Holy Roman Empire Habsburg Austria
Commanders and leaders
France Napoleon Bonaparte
France J-B Bernadotte
Holy Roman Empire Archduke Charles
Units involved
France Army of Italy Holy Roman Empire Austrian Army
Strength
Valvasone: 40,000
Gradisca: 18,000
Valvasone: 5,000
Gradisca: 2,500, 10 guns
Casualties and losses
Valvasone: 500
Gradisca: 0
Valvasone: 700, 6 guns
Gradisca: 2,500, 10 guns

The Battle of Valvasone (16 March 1797) saw a First French Republic army led by Napoleon Bonaparte attack a Habsburg Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. The Austrian army fought a rear guard action at the crossing of the Tagliamento River but was defeated and withdrew to the northeast. The next day, a French division cut off and captured an Austrian column in the Capitulation of Gradisca. The actions occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Valvasone is located on the west bank of the Tagliamento 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Udine, Italy. Gradisca d'Isonzo lies on the Isonzo River 14 kilometres (9 mi) southwest of Gorizia, Italy.

Bonaparte saw the Siege of Mantua to a successful conclusion when Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser surrendered on 2 February 1797. The French commander cleared his south flank by Claude Perrin Victor's victory over the Papal States at the Battle of Faenza the following day. Meanwhile, Emperor Francis II of Austria recalled Archduke Charles from Germany to hold northeast Italy. In March Bonaparte launched an offensive designed to break through the Austrian army's defenses. At Valvasone, the French encountered part of their opponents' army and drove it back. For the loss of 500 men, the French inflicted 700 casualties on the Austrians and captured six guns.

The following day, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte's French division isolated an enemy column and forced its surrender at Gradisca d'Isonzo. A total of 2,500 Austrian soldiers, 10 artillery pieces, and eight colors were captured. When several retreating Austrian columns made for the Tarvis Pass to the northeast, the French raced to cut them off. The Battle of Tarvis occurred over three days beginning on 21 March as the Austrians struggled to escape. Bonaparte's forward thrust carried his army within 75 miles (121 km) of Vienna where the Preliminaries of Leoben were concluded in mid-April 1797.

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