On this day the young Napoleon Bonaparte was appointed the commander-in-chief of the French forces in Italy (French: Général en chef de l’Armée d’Italie). He was only 26 at the time, so it was rather unusual that he received command over an entire army, which probably numbered over 63,000 soldiers.
It is interesting that, only three days later, while he was making preparations for going to the front in Italy, Napoleon married the famous Josephine de Beauharnais. She was as much as six years older than him and already a widow.
There exists a theory that it was precisely Josephine’s influence that secured Napoleon his first great military command. Namely, Josephine was close to the powerful Barras, the head of the French government, which was at that time known as the Directory.
Napoleon and Josephine did not have a proper honeymoon, since he left Paris for the Italian front only two days after the wedding. He won a battle there already by the end of the same month – the Battle of Montenotte.