Colli-Marchi, Michelangelo Alessandro

b. 1738, Vigevano or Milan

d. 22 December 1808, Florence

"Colli-Marchi or Marchini, Feldmarschall-Lieutenant baron Michelangelo Alessandro, was born in 1738 in Vigevano, or, according to others, in Milan. He began military service at 18 years of age in the regiment of Pallavicini. He transferred to the staff, then was a captain in IR Baden in 1766, lieutenant-colonel in 1768, and colonel in 1771. Fought against the Turks under Field-Marshal Loudon. Promoted General-Major on 29 February 1787, Lieutenant-General in 1793, and commanded the King of Sardinia's troops until the peace with France in 1796. Continued to serve in the ranks of the Imperial army. Commander of the Army of the Pope, he was beaten at the battle of Senio on 4 February 1797. Retired after Campo Formio, he entered the service of the King of Naples at Rome on the staff, under the orders of Colletta and Mack, in 1798. Admitted into the Cisalpine army, then ambassador of the King of Etruria in Naples in 1803 ... His father, Giuseppe Antonio Colli, was representative of Vigevano with the Austrian governor of Milan, and was created a baron by the Imperial government. Born in 1698, he died in 1766." Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, Paris, 1899, p. 685.

"From a Piedmontese family, he entered Infantry Regiment Pallavicini (no. 15) at 18 years of age, and endowed with rich knowledge. At the battle of Prague (6 May 1757) he was an ensign on the General Staff. He participated in the Seven Years War with great distinction. In December 1757 he was a second lieutenant, in the following year a lieutenant, then captain, and was wounded at Torgau. After the end of the war, because of the reduction of the general staff, he was transferred (on 1 May 1764) with the same rank to IR Baden-Baden (no. 23), then in November 1768 as lieutenant-colonel to IR Caprara (no. 48). In the War of the Bavarian Succession, he commanded a battalion assigned to the main army, was promoted colonel on 1 May 1779, and transferred to the garrison of Milan. During the Turkish War Colli commanded his regiment at Esseg in December 1787, distinguished himself in the capture of Schabaz, and participated in the siege of Belgrade. On 29 October 1787, he was promoted General-Major. In 1792, he left the temporary retirement which he had in the meantime entered, and was appointed Feldmarschall-Lieutenant and commander of the Sardinian troops allied to Austria, and participated under the King's command in the fortunate operations in the County of Nice. In the following year he placed his HQ with 18,000 men between the Po and the Bormida, and as FZM De Vins took the offensive in May 1795, Colli tried to support the operation with 24,000 men, in order to break through the enemy defensive line, and sought to take the enemy in the left flank and rear, in order to force them to evacuate the Riviera. The well drafted plan only succeeded in part as only the positions of Spinarda and Monte San Bernardo were taken. A mighty obstacle was the differing views of the commanders of the Imperial and Sardinian armies, Generals De Vins and Colli, which disharmony the enemy, who was moreover doubly superior in numbers, exploited splendidly. The year of 1796 was still more unfortunate for Colli. Driven from his strong position of Ceva, he tried to entrench himself at Mondovì, and although he beat General Sérurier at the bridge of San Michele (20 April) he was still defeated two days later at Mondovì, and, as Turin was threatened, the King of Sardinia had to offer peace, which was soon agreed. Colli then went with the Imperial troops to Beaulieu's army, went into retirement after the peace of Campo Formio, and went to Naples. In his last years (from November 1803) he was Imperial and Royal ambassador to the Etrurian court. Colli's uncommon military talent foundered on the disagreement with the general of the Austrian forces to which he was allied." Wurzbach, C., von. Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, Vienna, 1856-91, vol. 2, p. 410.

Born in Vigevano (Pavia). Baron of the Holy Roman Empire. In regiment Belgioioso. Won the favour of Loudon with ability shown during the Turkish war. Badly wounded at Belgrade. Sometimes had to have himself carried on a stretcher thereafter. Ghisalberti, A. M., ed. Bibliografia dell'età del Risorgimento in onore di Alberto M. Ghisalberti, Biblioteca di bibliografia italiana. Florence, 1971-77.

See also Raggi, A. M. "La campagna franco-austro-sarda del 1795 nelle lettere di un patrizio alessandrino." Rassegna storica del Risorgimento XLI (1954): 54-73, p. 62.

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