Battle of Novi (1799)
The Battle of Novi was a battle near Novi Ligure, Italy. It was fought on 15 August 1799 in the French Revolutionary Wars. The Austrians and Russians under Fieldmarshal Alexander Suvorov defeated the French under General Barthelemy Catherine Joubert.
Before the battle
In 1799, Second Coalition forces had defeated French troops in Italy, left by Napoleon during his Egyptian campaign. After the defeat at the Battle of Cassano, French and Cisalpine Italian troops retreated into the Ligurian Republic for a final resistance on the plateau immediately south of the town of Novi, a few miles to the southeast of Marengo.
Russian and Austrian forces under Suvorov swept across the Po River valley, in effect recapturing lands that had previously been taken by Napoleon. All that lay in the Allies way were scattered French forces around Genoa and the fortress of Tortona. On August 4 Joubert and his reinforcements landed at Genoa and gathered at Novi. The French Directory had chosen Joubert to command as they saw him as a potential rival to Napoleon's tactical genius. Thinking Joubert was advancing to Tortona, Suvorov and the Allies attacked.
On 15 August, the Austro-Russian army, led by Suvorov, attacked French positions. In the early moments of the battle, Joubert died, shot in a skirmish line action, but the French resisted the Austrian attack and counter-attacked. The battle is characterized by several coalition attacks, repelled by French forces, until afternoon, when a final blow ordered by Suvorov caused the French to retreat in disorder through the mountains to the Ligurian coast.