The combat of Rivoli (15 September 1799) was one of a series of minor actions fought as the French Armies of the Alps and of Italy attempted to unite in the aftermath of the French defeat at Novi on 15 August. In the aftermath of that defeat General Championnet, already commander of the Army of the Alps had been given command of the Army of Italy. His first task was to unite the two armies, which were outnumbered by the Austro-Russian army of General Melas. His plan was for General Duhesme to move his division south from its current position west of Turin, while General Grenier moved down the Stura River. The two divisions would come together around Fossano and Savigliano, where they would be able to prevent the Austrians from capturing Cuneo, further up the Stura.
The left-hand column was initially quite successful, forcing Bellegarde to retreat east to Rivoli and Collegno. He was then reinforced by Kaim and Vukassovich, and after a fierce fight around Rivoli was able to force the French back to Avigliano. The right hand column was also defeated (combat of Pignerol), leaving Grenier to fight alone. He was a little more successful, capturing Fossano and Savigliano on 16 September, but on the following day he was driven back by the Austrians (combats of Fossano and Savigliano).