Armistice of Cherasco, 28 April 1796

The Armistice of Cherasco (28 April 1796) was Napoleon Bonaparte's first diplomatic success, and saw Piedmont leave the First Coalition. Napoleon's campaign in Italy had only begin eighteen days earlier, but in that short period he had inflicted defeats on the Austrians at Montenotte (12 April) and Dego (14-15 April) and on the Piedmontese at Millesimo (13-14 April) and Mondovi (21 April). In the aftermath of the victory at Mondovi the French had advanced north towards Cherasco, where they directly threatened King Victor Amadeus and his capital at Turin.

The Piedmontese had first asked for an armistice on 23 April, but negotiations did not begin until late on 27 April, after the French had captured Cherasco. Napoleon offered relatively lenient terms. Victor Amadeus was allowed to keep his throne and his independence in return for the fortresses of Cuneo (Coni), Tortoni and Alessandria. Cuneo secured Napoleon's lines of communication with his base in southern France, while the Tortoni and Alessandria allowed him to operate against the Austrians, who still had a large army in northern Italy. Napoleon also demanded right of passage across Piedmont and the right to send messengers to Paris via Turin and Susa, halving the distance his messengers had to travel (the previous route had taken them back to Savona, then south west along the coast into France. Victor Amadeus also acknowledged French possession his lands west of the Alps (Savoy and Nice), captured earlier in the War of the First Coalition.

The lenient terms of the Armistice didn't please the French Directory, which had wanted more plunder, but Napoleon was more concerned with securing his rear and his lines of communication for the upcoming campaign against the Austrians, which would take place in the wide plains of the River Po, and would soon come to be focused on the siege of Mantua and Austrian attempts to relieve the city.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 September 2009), Armistice of Cherasco, 28 April 1796 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/armistice_cherasco.html

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