Battle of Marengo

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Marengo, battle of,

a major engagement of the French Revolutionary WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars,
wars occurring in the era of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, the decade of 1792–1802. The wars began as an effort to defend the Revolution and developed into wars of conquest under the empire.
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, fought on June 14, 1800, at the village of Marengo in Piedmont, N Italy. Determined to throw the Austrians back from positions they had recently regained in Lombardy and Piedmont, Napoleon Bonaparte gathered an army at Dijon and crossed into Italy by way of the Great St. Bernard Pass. A surprise attack by the Austrians under Baron Melas at Marengo caught Bonaparte with his forces scattered. A French defeat seemed imminent until a division that Bonaparte had sent off under General Desaix de Veygoux returned in time to lead a successful counterattack. The French lost about 5,800 men, the Austrians 9,400.