Battle of Rivoli

Battle of Rivoli

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Rivoli
partof=the French Revolutionary Wars

caption=Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli, by Felix Philipoteaux.
date=14-15 January, 1797
place=Rivoli Veronese, present-day Italy
result=Decisive French victory
combatant1=flagicon|France France
combatant2= flagicon|Holy Roman Empire Austria
commander1=Napoleon Bonaparte
commander2=Joseph Alvinczy
Peter Quasdanovich
casualties1=5,000 dead and wounded
casualties2=14,000 dead, wounded or captured

The Battle of Rivoli (14–15 January 1797) was a key victory in the first French campaign in Italy against Austria. Bonaparte's 23,000 French defeated an attack of 28,000 Austrians under General Alvinczy, ending Austria's fourth and final attempt to relieve their besieged fortress of Mantua. Rivoli further demonstrated Napoleon's brilliance and led to French occupation of northern Italy.


Alvinczy's plan was to overwhelm Joubert in the mountains east of Lake Garda with the concentration of five separate columns, and thereby gain access to the open country north of Mantua where Austrian superior numbers would be able to defeat Bonaparte's smaller Army of Italy. However, Joubert held, and Bonaparte was able to bring up elements of Massena's division to support Joubert's efforts to form a defensive line on favorable ground just north of Rivoli on the Trambasore Heights. The battle would be a contest between Alvinczy's efforts to concentrate his dispersed columns versus the arrival of French reinforcements.


The morning of the 14th saw fierce fighting along the Trambasore Heights, as another Austrian column under General Prince Reuss attempted to turn the French right via the Rivoli Gorge. By 11:00 things looked very bad for Bonaparte: Austrian dragoons had forced their way through the gorge, word arrived that another Austrian column under Colonel Lusignan was cutting off his retreat south of Rivoli, and Alvinczy was on the Trambasore Heights urging his victorious battalions forward, though they were unformed by combat and rough terrain.

By a series of actions, the French managed to take advantage of this crucial mistake. Bonaparte, Joubert, and Louis Alexandre Berthier put together a well co-ordinated combined arms attack. A battery of 15 guns blasted the dragoons, while two columns of infantry, one for the gorge and one for the Trambasore Heights were led forward supported by cavalry under Charles Leclerc and Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle. The packed masses in the gorge fled when their own dragoons were driven them over in panic. And likewise the dispersed infantry on the Heights were unable to hold once French cavalry got in their midst. Lastly, General Louis Rey's division and Claude Victor's brigade arrived and broke Lusignan's southern column with the loss of 3,000 prisoners.


The next day Joubert led a successful pursuit of Alvinczy, all but destroying his columns, the remnants of which fled over the Alps in confusion. The Battle of Rivoli was Bonaparte's greatest victory at the time, losing a mere 5,000 men to Alvinczy's 14,000.

The Rue de Rivoli, a street in central Paris, is named after the battle.


*Boycott-Brown, Martin. "The Road to Rivoli." Cassell; New Ed edition, 2002. ISBN 0-304-36209-3
*Chandler, David. "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars." Macmillan, 1979.

External links

* [ Napoleonic Miniatures Wargame Society of Toronto]
* [ Photographs of the battlefield of Rivoli]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rivoli — may refer to:*Rivoli (Italy), a town near Turin in Italy *Rivoli Veronese, a community in the Italian province of Verona *Battle of Rivoli, a battle that took place near Rivoli Veronese *The Rivoli, a restaurant/club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada… …   Wikipedia

  • Rivoli Veronese — is a commune in Veneto, Italy, in the Province of Verona, on a hill on the right bank of the Adige, 13 miles NW of Verona, 617 feet above sea level. It has a population of 1,980. In 1901, it had a population of 1,340.It is celebrated as the scene …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Carpi — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Carpi caption= partof=the War of the Spanish Succession date=July 9, 1701 place= Carpi, near Modena result=Austrian victory combatant1=flagicon|Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Austria… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Millesimo — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Millesimo partof=the French Revolutionary War campaign= caption= date=13 April, 1796 place=Millesimo, present day Italy result= combatant1=flagicon|France First French Republic combatant2=flagicon|Holy …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Lodi — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Lodi partof=the French Revolutionary Wars caption=General Bonaparte gives his orders, in The Battle of Lodi , by Louis François, Baron Lejeune. date=May 10, 1796 place=Lodi, present day Italy… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of the Bridge of Arcole — Infobox Military Conflict partof=the French Revolutionary Wars caption=Napoleon Bonaparte leading his troops over the bridge of Arcole, by Horace Vernet. date=November 15 17, 1796 place=Arcole, present day Italy result=French victory… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Bassano — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Bassano partof=the French Revolutionary War campaign=War of the First Coalition caption= date=8 September, 1796 place=Venetia, present day Italy result=French victory combatant1=flagicon|France First… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Montenotte — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Montenotte partof=the French Revolutionary War campaign= caption= date=12 April, 1796 place=Montenotte, present day Italy result=French Victory combatant1=flagicon|France French Republic… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Mondovì — Infobox Military Conflict partof=the French Revolutionary Wars caption= date=21 April, 1796 place=Piedmont result=French Victory combatant1=flagicon|FranceFrench Republic combatant2= Kingdom of Sardinia commander1=Napoleon Bonaparte… …   Wikipedia

  • Bataille de Rivoli (1797) — Bataille de Rivoli Bonaparte à la bataille de Rivoli, tableau de Félix Philippoteaux, 1844. Informations générales Date 14 15 janvier  …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.