Marengo, battle of, a major engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars, 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.
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