Napoleon was only 26 years old when he led his first army45,000 ill-fed, poorly clothed, untested, and disillusioned French troops called the Army of Italy. His initial audacious and ingenious attack provides clear hints of his future greatness. In just two months, Napoleon's ragtag forces pushed half the respected Piedmontese army out of the war, drove the Austrians partway across Italy, and laid siege to a fortress that assured control of the northern section of the country. In the next 10 months, he and his newly reinvigorated forces marched to one victory after another until their Austrian enemy was pushed back to Vienna. Previously unpublished primary sources make possible the first new treatment of young Napoleon in half a century.