Monsieur le Brigadier Villemur, meet Generals Malaria and Dysentery!

The Balagnese advance, on the other hand, appears very very dangerous.

edit: sorry for starting a new page. for people coming just now, at the bottom of last page therw is a fresh and juicy update.
Two great updates in one day, wow Carp you spoil us. x'D

In theory this would have been a good plan, but in practice its looks like it is going to quickly fall apart. Villemur's brigade is going to be decimated by malaria making him a non threat. Montmorency's brigade is going to be stuck in the mountains without supplies and ultimately be forced to turn back to Rogliano. Chatel due to his orders is just going to sit in Ajaccio and preoccupy d'Ornano.

So really the only real threat appears to be Contades' Brigade which the Corsicans can focus on with the majority of their men and resources while using token forces to oppose the others. Even still, they certainly have a difficult fight ahead of them.
I might shuffle around some of the senior commanders in that last post. I wasn't quite comfortable with Contades as the main Balagnese commander after recently discovering that the Baron Rattky (or Rattsky/Rattzky), commander of the Ratt[s]ky Hussars, seems to have been actually present in person, which would put Rattky, a Maréchal de Camp, in the awkward position of leading the cavalry wing of a force led by a mere Brigadier. I just realized, however, that I also left out a different Maréchal de Camp (Rousset), which suggests a solution to my problem - swap out Contades for Rousset. From the French perspective, that might be for the best anyway; Contades is seemingly the best known of the French commanders on the island at this time, but he's known chiefly for getting his ass kicked at Minden. The other French commanders seem to be men of little-known or middling talent; generally speaking, my guess would be that they're an improvement over the painfully bad Genoese officer corps and more or less on par with the Corsicans, whose best generals are probably Fabiani and Ceccaldi.

I realize that this doesn't really matter that much as nobody is likely to be checking the authenticity of Boissieux's high command in this TL, and I don't aspire to be perfectly authentic as that would require delving into a lot of French sources that I don't really have access to, but obvious goofs like a marshal being subject to a brigadier are something I'm trying to avoid.

Edit: Changes made. Contades has been replaced with Rousset (Contades is still with the army, he's just the infantry commander under Rousset), and a few of the infantry regiments have been shuffled around, but otherwise the plan is the same.
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Battle of the Balagna, Day 1
The Battle of the Balagna - Day 1
Excerpts from Merganser Publishing's "Rebellion!" Series #24: The Corsican Revolution

The buildup of French forces in the Balagna did not catch the rebels by surprise. They were well informed of the arrival of the third wave of French troops, and Lieutenant-General Marquis Louis de Frétat de Boissieux was took his time to deploy the new forces, arrange for the army's supply, and brief his commanders. In the north, his operational commander was Maréchal de Camp Jean-Charles de Gaultier de Girenton, Marquis de Chateauneuf le Rouge, Seigneur de Rousset.[1] His infantry forces were under the overall command of Brigadier Louis Georges Erasme, Marquis de Contades, while the two squadrons of hussars were under the command of their Hungarian colonel-proprietor Maréchal de Camp Baron Georges de Rattsky.[2] In total, this represented a force of roughly 3,000 combat personnel, a force that on its own was the largest and best-trained force to face the rebels since the imperial intervention in 1733-4.

The overall Corsican commander in the Balagna, Captain-General Marquis Simone Fabiani, understood that his position was difficult. King Theodore had sent all his regular forces (save his personal Leibgarde) to aid Fabiani, but these amounted to only some 700-800 men. He was reliant mainly on the provincial militia, which consisted of around 1,600 Balagnese and some 800 militia from Caccia, Canale, Niolo, and Guicelina. Another force of around 600 men from Talcini, Niolo, and Vico under Theodore's cousin Lieutenant-General Baron Johann Friedrich Caspar von Neuhoff zu Rauschenburg was operating in the mountains to the south, having spent the past month launching raids on Franco-Genoese positions in the western Balagna. Around May 18th, just days before the beginning of Rousset's offensive, another 400 men of Caotera and Rostino arrived to reinforce Fabiani's position; the men were well-armed and enthusiastic, but largely untrained and lacking experienced officers.

The "front," as it were, stretched all the way from Corbara in the north to Zilia in the south. The ridge above Zilia, however, which extended northwest to Capo di Bestia, effectively limited the French approach to the space between Corbara and Cateri, less than four miles wide. Fabiani believed that the most likely French attack would concentrate on the north, where they could use their naval dominance to their advantage, and for that reason continued concentrating his forces between Pigna and Corbara has he had done previously at the Battle of Corbara.

Rousset, however, considered the heights of Corbara to be too costly to attack directly, and instead planned an attack with a southerly emphasis. In his plan, Brigadier Claude François d'Alboy, Sieur de Montrosier would launch an attack on the far left of the rebel force at Cateri. Meanwhile, Brigadier Contades would command Colonel Charles de Béziade, Marquis d’Avaray, to make a demonstration against Fabiani's strong point with his battalion and the field artillery, while his remaining two battalions under Colonel Pierre Emmanuel de Crussol, Marquis de Florensac would make an oblique move to the south and then cross the Nonza River to attack Aregno and Praoli.

Fabiani was not blind to French troop movements, and when infantry and cavalry were reported near Lavatoggio on the 20th he considered that an attack on his far left might be more likely than anticipated. He continued to believe that it was more likely to be a feint, however, and was concerned about deploying too far south; his primary aim was to protect Isola Rossa in the north, and if his right flank collapsed the French would be between him and the port. He also was counting on Rauschenburg to reinforce his left flank, but through a miscommunication or misunderstanding Rauschenburg was still at Muro on the day of the attack, more than two miles south of Cateri. On the morning of the French attack, only three militia battalions under Brigadier Giuliano di Muro held the southern half of the line, while virtually all of the regulars were in the north with Fabiani.

The effect of this miscalculation was disastrous. On the 22nd, the French opened fire with their artillery against Fabiani's positions in the north, and D'Avaray advanced over the low ground as instructed. His advance, however, was deliberately slow; it was intended only to occupy Fabiani's attention. Crussol'a battalions moved upstream and instead attacked Muro's militia battalions to the south. Fabiani observed this movement, but hesitated; ultimately he agreed with the urging of Adjutant-General Edward Sarsfield, Viscount Kilmallock to dispatch the Corsican Guard to the left flank.

In the meantime, Montrosier had thrown his two battalions against the Corsican left at Cateri, a position occupied by the recently-arrived Rostino militia under Lieutenant-Colonel Ignazio Caponi. Caponi had difficulty controlling his troops, and they were soon thrown into chaos by this strong attack and fled en masse down into the Regino valley. With the rebel left collapsing, the way was open for Baron Rattsky to lead his 200 horse across the saddle of Cateri and into the flank of a the Balagnese battalion holding Aregno, which was already hard-pressed or perhaps even beginning to retreat in the face of Crussol's assault. Caught between the French and the Hungarians, this force was all but destroyed; its commander, Colonel Albertini, was killed, and it was thereafter every man for himself, with the militia fleeing in all directions to try and avoid being cut down by Rattsky's sabres. The only Corsican commander to do himself any credit in the south was Colonel Felice Giuseppe, a veteran of the Battle of San Fiorenzo, who stood his ground against the French attack until he saw Albertini's battalion evaporate to his south, and then withdrew in an orderly fashion up the ridge towards Muro's command post at San Antonino.

Actions in the morning

Once Crussol attained the ridge, he ordered an immediate attack on San Antonino, where Muro's command had been reduced to Giuseppe's battalion; his soldiers were winded after fighting up 1,400 feet of elevation, but Crussol hoped to take advantage of his momentum and the retreat of the Corsicans to carry the position, which if taken would render Fabiani's entire position untenable. By that time, however, the Guard had reached the village, and Muro had been relieved by Kilmallock. The hilltop village was a formidable defensive position which was now held by a force equivalent to Crussol's battalions, and it was a testament to the discipline and courage of the French that they made good headway against it, to the point where Corsican soldiers were fighting them from the windows and rooftops. At the village's edge, however, the attack seemed to run out of steam, and Kilmallock led a counter-charge by the Guard with fixed bayonets which sent the French streaming back down the hill. Crussol still held the ridge to the south, but his gambit had failed, and he was now compelled to pause.

In the far south, Montrosier now seemed to be without opposition. Leaving the Flandre Regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Textorix[A] to hold Cateri, he advanced northwards towards Crussol's position to size up the situation. Baron Rattsky, in the meantime, descended into the valley to the southeast to scout the upper Regino and harass Caponi's retreating battalion. It was fortunate for the French that he did, for he found not only Caponi's men but Rauschenburg's highland battalions, which had advanced northwards after hearing gunfire from the north. Rattsky skirmished in the woods near Avapessa with the Corsicans, but found himself heavily outnumbered and pulled back to the saddle. The French were aware of Rauschenburg's presence in the area but had seriously underestimated his numbers, which—now reinforced by part of Caponi's command—now numbered some 800-900 men. Although out of contact with Fabiani, Rauschenburg decided to attack towards Cateri; Rattsky hurriedly sent out riders to inform Textorix and Montrosier, and his dismounted squadrons managed to delay the rebels long enough for the Flandre Infantry to arrive. Unsure as to the overall situation of the battle or how many troops Textorix and Rattsky actually had, Rauschenburg opted to pull back after an hour-long skirmish.

Actions in the afternoon

With the arrival of Brigadier Montrosier and the Chaillou battalion, Crussol wanted to order another attack on San Antonino. Upon surveying the situation, however, Montrosier opined that the position was too strong and impossible to flank. His reluctance may have been in part a command issue; Colonel Crussol was under Brigadier Contades' command, and taking the heights at San Antonino had been Contades' responsibility. Contades was technically senior to Montrosier, and had been placed in overall command of Rousset's infantry, but Contades had not advanced up from the valley and Crussol himself could not give orders to a superior officer. Perhaps Montrosier really did see the attack as hopeless, or perhaps he wanted to preserve both his battalion and his own reputation from association with the failure of Crussol, and by extension Contades, to take the village. He delayed until the arrival of a rider from Rattsky informing him of the situation to the south, which was his cue to return to Cateri to defend against the "large force" of Corsicans that had been reported. Rauschenburg, however, had already called off his attack and was withdrawing up the Regino valley to try and re-establish contact with Fabiani and avoid the possibility of being flanked.

Lieutenant-Colonel Karl Christian Drevitz, in command of the foreign regiment, had urged Fabiani to counterattack against D'Avaray's position in the Nonza valley as it became clear that the bulk of the French forces was to the south, but Fabiani was reluctant to give up his high ground or to launch a frontal attack over open ground directly into the French artillery. Several companies of militia were diverted to the south to further strengthen Kilmallock, but no further assault was forthcoming. Contades, arriving at Aregno late in the afternoon, attempted to gather forces for an assault but found that Montrosier had already descended into the Regino valley, and by the time contact was reestablished it was too late in the day to make another attempt at San Antonino. Rattsky's hussars had moved south to the village of Muro, which had been Rauschenburg's headquarters that morning, and his men disarmed the inhabitants.

All forces now withdrew to quarters for the night. Contades set up pickets on the ridge and made his own headquarters at Caferi, while Montrosier camped near Muro along with Rattsky's regiment. Towards the end of the day, several companies from Sasselange's reserve brigade joined Rousset's command to shore up his position in the north, and a Genoese company arrived to occupy Lavatoggio. Fabiani maintained his position, but withdrew Colonel Giuliani's Balagnese battalion to the ridge to act as a reserve in the following day, capable of reinforcing where necessary. Survivors of Albertini's battalion and bands of local and "foreign" (that is, non-Balagnese) irregulars who had gravitated towards the battle over the course of the day gathered at Poggio, behind the ridge, in an effort to organize reinforcements. Rauschenburg withdrew up the valley and, finally getting back in contact with Fabiani, encamped his men so as to oppose any flanking maneuver around San Antonino.

Positions at the end of the day

Rousset had clearly won the day. Although excuses can be made for Fabiani, who was bound by his need to guard Isola Rossa above all else and was not well-supported by Rauschenburg, he was nevertheless out-generaled by Rousset on the first day of the battle. Although the rebels outnumbered the French overall, Rousset managed to concentrate four regular battalions (and two hussar squadrons) against three battalions of militia with predictable results. The Corsicans had taken heavy losses, particularly in Albertini's battalion, which was largely destroyed; some remnants remained and were reorganized, but many other survivors simply deserted, and the unit ceased to exist as a fighting force. The well-executed withdrawal of Giuseppe's militia and the timely intervention of Kilmallock and the Guard, however, prevented the French from using the momentum from their victory to carry away the rebel position entirely. Contades and Montrosier may also deserve some blame; the former, for leading from too far behind, preventing him from promptly taking advantage of opportunities, and the latter for declining an attack on San Antonino and chasing after Rauschenburg in the valley instead of waiting for new orders from Contades.

The most unfortunate senior Corsican commander (aside from Albertini, who was killed) was undoubtedly Brigadier di Muro, who had now presided over both the loss of Madonna della Serra in February and the collapse of the Corsican left in the first day of the battle for the Balagna. This latter defeat was arguably not his fault; it would have taken an unparalleled military genius to hold off Rousset's offensive with the forces Fabiani had assigned to Muro's sector. Nevertheless, the association of his name with two serious defeats permanently destroyed his reputation, and for the remainder of the battle he was effectively little more than an aide-de-camp to Kilmallock.

[1] "Maréchal de camp" is often - but erroneously - translated into English as "field marshal." The rank of maréchal de camp was equivalent to a British major-general, ranking above a brigadier (which was not considered a true general rank) and below a lieutenant-general like Boissieux. Lieutenant-generals were outranked only by a Maréchal de France, of which there were none on Corsica during the intervention.
[2] A Hungarian cavalry officer originally in imperial service, Ráttky György (rendered in French as "Georges Rattsky" or "Rattzky") was a participant in the failed anti-Habsburg Rákóczi Uprising (1703-11) and one of the founding commanders of the French hussars, who were at this time still an "ethnic" unit of Hungarian cavalrymen rather than merely a descriptor of a type of light cavalry. Because Hungary proper was not available for French recruiting, however, the French could raise these men only from among emigres (like Rattsky) and Hungarian populations under Ottoman control (principally in Wallachia and Serbia). Correspondingly, their numbers were quite limited. They were considered good light troops, excellent for scouting, raiding, and skirmishing in terrain which proper cavalry might find unsuitable, which made them perfect for the Corsican theater.

Timeline Notes
[A] This seems like it should be the name of an Asterix character, but no, it's the name of an actual French officer.
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Not a bad showing against the French, all things considered.

Yes, but it's still very clear that the french army isn't just larger than the rebels but much more competant. Which they should be, they're professional soldiers. But if the rebels are losing everytime they face around equal numbers of troops then they're done for, at least in terms of defending the coastal terrain they've managed to hold.
Yes, but it's still very clear that the french army isn't just larger than the rebels but much more competant. Which they should be, they're professional soldiers. But if the rebels are losing everytime they face around equal numbers of troops then they're done for, at least in terms of defending the coastal terrain they've managed to hold.
In this case the Corsicans actually had a slight numerical superiority and they still lost, granted Rauschenburg wasn't in position to take part in the battle initially. Not only are the French soldiers better on average but it appears, at least initially, that the French commanders are better than their Corsican counterparts as well and honestly, I would expect no less from the French during this time period.
Well, I'm glad that I don't appear to be doing the French too great of a disservice. I'm not an expert on 18th century warfare, but I'm aware that the French army was a very formidable adversary.

My approach towards the Battle of the Balagna is that this is not a battle which the Corsicans are well-suited for. Terrain is worth something, but the tactics which the Corsicans were best at - ambushes, night attacks, infiltration, aggressive skirmishing - aren't that useful when defending a position in a set-piece battle. Thus, when Corsican militiamen face French infantry in a line engagement, they are likely to lose unless possessing a large advantage in numbers or defending a well-fortified position (as we saw at Madonna della Serra and San Antonino).

For those of you who don't particularly like the battle narratives/maps, I can only apologize; I've been playing entirely too much Darkest Hour lately. Fortunately, the "Battle of the Balagna" is likely to be the only battle of the campaign which will receive this treatment.
To be honest, I am liking the detailed battles quite a lot.

This seems also the most reasonable outcome, given the forces and terrain involved.

Any idea about the number of casualties?

Edit: Guiseppe sounds quite strange to my Italian ear, given how similar it is to the very common first name Giuseppe (Joseph).
Maps and descriptions of famous battles are what got me interested in history in the first place! Make as many as you want.

As for the battle itself. It could have gone a lot worse for the Corsicans I think. At least their army is still in the field. Many other militia forces would have been utterly shattered and swept aside by the French Army of this Era. I can't wait to see where this goes.
I really enjoy the attention you put into the battles and I love maps as they provide a unique touch to the timeline. Besides with a battle as pivotal as this one, I would hope we get to see it given some more detail.
Ultimately the Corsican army should probably have no hope of winning barring external factors - but those external factors are rapidly approaching if I understand you correctly. Hopefully until then they can avoid any more pitched field battles.
Ultimately the Corsican army should probably have no hope of winning barring external factors - but those external factors are rapidly approaching if I understand you correctly. Hopefully until then they can avoid any more pitched field battles.

2 years is a long time. I think they'll be driven into the mountains/fortresses. Question is how many port cities they can hold onto.
2 years is a long time. I think they'll be driven into the mountains/fortresses. Question is how many port cities they can hold onto.

The problem is I expect the French are probably going to undercut themselves with astonishing regularity by refusing to commit enough men, and even pulling back some every time they win a significant victory in the field, because they don't want to be here, and they have better things to worry about.
Battle of the Balagna, Day 2
The Battle of the Balagna - Day 2
Excerpts from Merganser Publishing's "Rebellion!" Series #24: The Corsican Revolution


The village of San Antonino, viewed from the south

The first engagement on the morning of the 23rd was just after dawn, when a company of Rattsky's hussars scouting down the Regino Valley encountered a band of rebel soldiers encamped near the hamlet of l'Alzeta.[1] If the Corsicans were intended to be a picket or scouting element, they did not do their jobs well, and were taken quite by surprise; the hussars charged before their opponents could get a proper volley off, cutting down two dozen men and scattering the rest into the woods. It was an inauspicious beginning for the Corsicans, who had been driven back on the previous day and were now preparing to receive another assault.

Maréchal de camp Rousset's plan for the day was uncomplicated. The previous day had been his first encounter with the Corsicans, and he was not terribly impressed. True, they had held San Antonino, but Rousset seems to have ascribed this more to miscommunication and rivalry between Contades and Montrosier than any particular strength of the rebels or their commanders. The Corsicans had been easily forced from their positions in the south and completely taken in by his bluff in the north. They were clearly no match for disciplined and courageous Frenchmen, and so Rousset sent out orders for a broad attack all along the line; his officers were to hit the Corsicans everywhere, break their spirits, and drive them from their positions. To minimize any questions of jurisdiction between Contades and Montrosier, he gave them distinct tasks; Contades would resume the attack on San Antonino, the hinge of the rebel line, and Montrosier would advance down the valley towards Rauschenburg's suspected position. Meanwhile, the Marquis d'Avaray would attack Fabiani's northern position and would overcome any superior numbers by virtue of the quality of his troops, a few companies of reinforcements from Sasselange's brigade under Major Salnoue, and artillery support from Major Gouville's 4-pounder battery.[2] Rousset himself advanced his command post to a low hill west of Praoli, which gave him a vantage point on both Fabiani's northern position and San Antonino.

Following the skirmish at l'Alzeta, the hussars located Rauschenburg's main body. He had arrayed his troops in a position guarding the flank of San Antonino on the valley floor in a patchwork of fields, olive orchards, and marshy streams. Rattsky ordered his men to maintain contact while Montrosier advanced, and engaged in some desultory skirmishing with the Corsicans to little effect on either side. The battle proper, however, began first in the north, and was opened by the sound of Gouville's battery opening fire.

The first serious infantry engagement was on the ridge, where Crussol's Île-de-France regiment and the Auvergne second battalion under Major Chamontin advanced on San Antonino from the south and west. As on the previous day, the hilltop town—Rousset's report described it as a "fortress," although it had no military architecture as such—proved a formidable position, forcing the French to scramble over rocky terrain and giving the Corsicans plenty of walled terraces and streets to use as parapets from which to pour fire down upon them. As in the previous afternoon, the engagement moved into close quarters, and according to legend local villagers hurled stones and roof tiles down on French soldiers attempting to push into the town. With their lines disrupted by the terrain as well as the walls and streets, the French soon lost their cohesion and were bloodily repulsed. Briagier di Muro, who after his humiliating defeat in the previous day was eager to face down rumors of cowardice, insisted on taking to the front and was seriously wounded.

In the north, d'Avaray's forces engaged the Corsicans, but after several volleys the marquis discovered that he was merely trading fire with a screening element of militia. Lieutenant-Colonel Drevitz had decided to withdraw his foreign regiment further up the hill with the start of the artillery bombardment, and partially screened as they were by woods much of Gouville's bombardment thus far had been wasted on thinly-spread militia skirmishers. D'Avaray, not wishing to make the same mistake that had cost the French the earlier Battle of Corbara, advanced slowly to allow Gouville to move up his guns, although at the cost of letting his men stand under the sporadic but reasonably accurate fire of the militia in the woods.

Day 2, Early Morning

Rousset had hoped that the attacks all down the line would be similarly timed, but he had not counted on Rauschenburg withdrawing nearly three miles down the valley. As a result, by the time Montrosier's infantry encountered the enemy and deployed into lines, the French forces further north had already been engaged for nearly two hours. Montrosier faced the largest opponent, numerically speaking, but Rauschenburg's command was also the only section of the Corsican line with no regular troops; his highland militia were hardy men, but had little training in "conventional" tactics. Most were not equipped with bayonets, and those who had them were untrained in their use. Rauschenburg's attempt to face Montrosier in a classic line battle failed spectacularly, as the serried ranks of Frenchmen marched unflinchingly through the rebels' ragged musket-fire, responded with thunderous and well-disciplined volleys, and then charged with cold steel. The Corsican line quickly disintegrated, and soon Rattsky's hussars were riding up the field with bared sabers to hunt down the rebels put to flight.

By this time Contades had already begun another assault on San Antonino, and Chamontin's battalion was ordered to flank around the ridge to the north of the village. This stroke was parried only by the intervention of Giuliani's battalion of militia, which Fabiani had withdrew from the northern front the previous evening as a reserve. Giuliani flanked Chamontin's troops and forced them to withdraw and reform, causing Crussol to abort his frontal attack on the village as it was now unsupported. To the north, d'Avaray was making steady progress but was continuing to take casualties. He had come to grips with Drevitz's foreigners, who offered a decent enough resistance but ultimately fell back in the face of continued artillery bombardment. Fabiani, too, had several guns at Corbara, and of larger caliber, but while these provided some counter-battery fire of middling effectiveness the gunners found that supporting Drevitz was not possible given the rough and forested terrain and the difficulty of sufficiently depressing their guns.

Day 2, Late Morning

By noon, the Coriscans were hard-pressed on the ridge and had totally given way in the south; a greater slaughter of Rauschenburg's men was averted only by the marshy ground, which made the going difficult for the hussars, and the retreat of the militia into the woods where they had some protection. Colonel Cervoni distinguished himself, retiring with his men up the wooded slopes of the Capo del Bujo where they managed to drive off a hussar company and force several French infantry companies to wheel about from the main attack to confront them. Returning to traditional guerrilla tactics, Cervoni's Niolesi militia melted away into the mountains, eluding capture or destruction.

Now aware of the disaster in the south and with his own command post at the Convent of Corbara taking sporadic musket and cannon fire, Fabiani realized the necessity of a retreat and concentrated his efforts on trying to extricate as much of his force as possible from the ridge. Battisti was ordered to spike and destroy his few artillery pieces, which were too heavy to retreat with. Kilmallock led a withdrawal from San Antonino down the back side of the hill, a more difficult transit than moving across the ridge but one which masked his retreat from the view of Contades. A third and final French assault on San Antonino was like kicking down an open door; to the surprise of Crussol, who led the attack, the defenders had vanished.

A desperate and bloody battle was now fought in the woods northeast of San Antonino. Kilmallock had withdrawn his command into this small and steep-sided valley to escape from Contades, but hundreds of militia from Rauschenburg's command had also fled this way from the south. It had the makings of a deathtrap, and the Corsicans suffered heavy casualties as Montrosier's infantry attempted to push their way in. Colonel Caponi, of Rostino, was wounded and captured. Ultimately, however, many of the Corsicans fled up the valley and back up onto the ridge, where Giuliani's men and elements from other regular and militia units fought a successful delaying action against Crussol while the rest of the army retired. They were aided by the fact that d'Avaray had led his main force to Corbara instead of swinging south in the hopes of taking the Corsican artillery, while Textorix's battalion was still reorganizing from the battle in the woods and did not push up the valley in a timely enough manner to stop Giuliani from disengaging.

Day 2, Early Afternoon

The retreating rebel battalions converged at Santa Reparata di Balagna. Fabiani briefly considered making a stand here, but the Corsicans were in disorder and there was a general feeling of panic. Keeping only a picked group of regulars and Balagnese militia, Fabiani made his way to Isola Rossa, while the remainder of the Corsican army retreated (some would say "fled") east under Kilmallock. The French did not effectively arrest this retreat; Montrosier's command was too dispersed and disorganized, Contades' battalions were bloodied and exhausted, d'Avaray had turned his force north towards Corbara, and Rattsky's hussars, the men most able to harass the rebel retreat, had been pursuing the flight of some of Rauschenburg's men down the Regino valley and were too far away to assist.

It was a decisive defeat for the Corsicans, and the most serious they had suffered since Theodore's arrival. Not only had they lost more than a thousand men (albeit probably more to flight and desertion than outright deaths), but the loss of the Balagna, the island's most productive province, now seemed all but certain. Isola Rossa had no serious fortifications aside from a few coastal defense towers, and Fabiani decided that evening that with Corbara in French hands a defense of the port was not feasible. As the French Navy was standing guard offshore, he organized an evacuation by land, taking as many valuables and military stores as his men and civilian volunteers could carry and withdrawing eastwards. Rousset, who believed the Corsicans would try and defend the town, did not actually launch an attack until the 25th, two days after his victory, by which point Fabiani was long gone.

Day 2, Late Afternoon

Montrosier was the hero of the day, gaining an overwhelming victory in the south with a textbook demonstration of superior French discipline and élan. Rousset gave him his personal commendation, but this aroused the jealousy of Contades, Montrosier's superior officer, who felt that Montrosier's failure to support him against San Antonino on the first day of the battle had been motivated by Montrosier's glory-seeking and contributed to Contades' lackluster performance against the rebel strong point in the center. Baron Rattsky also came under some criticism for his "overzealous" pursuit in the Regino valley and his failure to keep in contact with Rousset's command, but to some extend any failings of his were attributed to the "unruly" nature of the Hungarians.

The victory probably saved the career of the Marquis de Boissieux, who had been under increasing criticism back home for his "lenient" treatment of the rebels and his failure up to this point to decisively defeat them. He had shown that he could wield the iron fist as well as the velvet glove, and had recovered the French honor which had been lost at Madonna della Serra and Corbara; his previous demands that he needed reinforcements to deliver a sound blow to the rebels now seemed to be vindicated. Boissieux, however, had not yet given up on conciliation, and even as his other brigades executed their missions elsewhere on the island he sent out new missives to the rebels, hoping that their defeat in the Balagna had been sufficient to shake their resolve. Meanwhile, the French had lost the better part of a battalion's worth of troops over the course of the two-day battle (including killed and wounded). Some of those wounded, of course, would eventually recover, but Boissieux could not replace his losses without appealing for more reinforcements from France, something he was loathe to do unless it was truly necessary.

The battle and the loss of the Balagna were difficult blows for the Corsicans in general and Theodore in particular. There were, however, bright spots in the conduct of the Corsicans in battle. The Guard had defended San Antonino against all attack, withdrawing only when Fabiani gave the order, which demonstrated that properly trained and equipped Corsican soldiers under experienced officers could successfully stand up to the French. Heroic defenses and rearguard actions by Cervoni, Giuseppe, Poggi, and Balisone over the course of the battle displayed the high caliber of Corsican field officers and their ability to organize fighting retreats, always a difficult maneuver and one which was to prove extremely useful as the war went on.

The lesson learned by the Corsican generals at the battle—Fabiani, Kilmallock, and Rauschenburg—was that save under very favorable circumstances with well-trained troops, like at San Antonino, they could not face French infantry on French terms and expect to win. Rauschenburg in particular had been humiliated by his defeat, but irregular warfare was more in his wheelhouse anyway, and the shift in strategy after the Battle of the Balagna suited him well.[A] Ahead, however, loomed the prospect of the invasion of the Nebbio, and fighting was still raging in the east, where Lieutenant-General Count Andrea Ceccaldi squared off against the Marquis de Villemur, arguably Boissieux's most talented brigadier.

[1] French hussar squadrons were divided into two companies each, so this represents a unit of about 50 horsemen.
[2] Colonel D'Avaray was technically part of Contades' brigade, but he had autonomous command of the French left as Contades was present with the forces in the center attacking San Antonino.

Timeline Notes
[A] The early life of Johann Friedrich von Neuhoff zu Rauschenburg is unknown, or at least I haven't been able to discover anything about him, including any earlier military service. He very well could have been a junior officer somewhere, which would be a fairly common career path for a minor German baron with a meager estate. It seems safe to assume he never had high command, and thus even in a "best-case" scenario Rauschenburg was probably promoted directly from Lieutenant to Lieutenant-General. One should hardly be surprised that in his first major battle as a senior officer, in a foreign country and leading foreign militiamen against French regulars, he falls on his face. Yet historically he held out in the mountains as a guerrilla leader for nearly a year after the whole country had fallen to the French. This is clearly not a man devoid of military talent; he's just more of a Che Guevara than a Napoleon.