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Laurent de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, the ”Owl” risen in Alexandria

It was 1812 and Napoleon Bonaparte granted the military rank of Marshal of the Empire to General Laurent de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr (Toul, 13 April 1764 – Hyeres, 17 March 1830). Excellent and undefeated strategist on the battlefield in Novi, Hohenlinden, Pollack, Dresden and other French revolutionary hostilities. He was Minister of War and Navy at the time of the Restoration.
The story of Saint-Cyr, aka ”Owl” (the epithet exalts his glacial and taciturn nature), borders on the upper Monferrato: it emerges from the authentic correspondence woven from 14 July 1798 to the Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800) by the Municipality of Ovada and the French Military Command in Genoa in the Democratic Republic of Liguria. The Ovadese area, the extreme border between Liguria and the Kingdom of Sardinia, suffered the transit of French troops and, from 1799, of Austro-Russian forces commanded by Field Marshal Suvorov, to encircle Liguria and disperse the Armée d’Italie of Joubert and Moreau at the Battle of Novi (15 August 1799).
The confused outcome, that is the deadly assault inflicted on the officer on the road between Montaldo and Orsara by the band of armed anti-French villagers at 6 p.m. on May 10, 1799, written by the amanuense on the first dispatch and transferred from the postilion, amazed the French Military Command in Genoa and stimulated the general of division Jean François Cornu de La Poype to command more information. That day, the platoon of thirty men on horseback escorted Laurent de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr and the secretary (General Louis François Fèlix Musnier de La Converserie) on the road from Genoa to Alexandria.
In Ovada, the squad absorbed twenty-five volunteer units to the National Guard to challenge the dangerous route. The most recent letter soothed the tragedy and revealed the happy news about the transfer to Alexandria for the officer, thrown from the horse and wounded in the thigh but defended by luck: the population of Cassine, a village perched on the heights of Monferrato, rescued those veterans from the robbery, carried out not far away, the French procession irritated by the loss of crew and men.