On 14 June 1800, during the second Italian campaign, Napoleon narrowly won the battle of Marengo (Piedmont). This famous battle opposed 28,000 French soldiers against 31,000 Austrian soldiers under the command of General Mélas.
At first dominated, the French had to retreat nearly seven miles back. M?las believing that victory was assured left the command to a subordinate and returned to Alessandria. The adversary?s delay thus allowed Napoleon to concentrate his forces, especially the corps of General Desaix, which would arrive as reinforcement. Around 5:00 in the afternoon, the violent French counterattack forced the Austrians to retreat, claiming the lives of Desaix, undoubtedly the hero of the day.
This great victory leads to the French occupation of Lombardy and above all reinforces the authority of Napoleon in France.