Zürich, Battle of 1799

Zürich, Battle of (1799)


a battle between Russian and French armies in the vicinity of Zürich on Sept. 14–15 (25–26), during the War of the Second Coalition (headed by Great Britain, Austria and Russia) against France.

Upon arriving in Switzerland from Russia, the corps under General A. M. Rimskii-Korsakov (24,000 men) took up positions around Zürich, along the Limmat River, to await the arrival of Field Marshal A. V. Suvorov’s troops from northern Italy. On September 14 (25) the Russian troops were attacked by a superior French force under General A. Masséna (38,000 men). The outcome of the fighting was long in doubt, but the battle ended in favor of the French. On September 15 (26) the French launched a general attack against the center and the right wing of the Russian force, which valiantly defended itself despite the numerical superiority of the enemy’s forces. When he heard that General Hotze’s Austrian corps (8,000 men), which had been fighting on the Linth River to the left of the Russian corps, had been routed the previous day by General N. Soult’s division (15,000 men) and that the French had cut off the route taken by Suvorov’s troops, Rimskii-Korsakov gave the order to withdraw to Winterthur. The retreat, made under difficult conditions over mountain roads, resulted in the abandonment of some 80 artillery pieces and many transport wagons. Russian losses amounted to 15,000 men. The defeat of Rimskii-Korsakov’s corps seriously complicated the position of Suvorov’s troops, who found themselves face to face with a superior enemy force.