Medal Passage du Grand Saint Bernard, 'Saint (St.) Bernard Pass', Issued by France, 1800
Artist: Napoleon Dubois
Minted by Paris Mint

Obverse Description

Victory standing on artillery piece drawn by two horses over rugged ground; in exergue, L'ARMEE FRANCAISE / PASSE LE ST. BERNARD / XXVII FLOREAL AN VIII / MDCCC / DUBOIS F. DENON D.

Reverse Description

Eleven keys suspended from a ring between palm branches; around above, BATILLE DE MARENGO ; in exergue, XXV PRAIRIAL AN VIII / MDCCC

Edge Description



The medal commemorates the passage of Napoleon's army across the Saint Bernard Pass: "From mount St. Bernard the army began to meet with difficulties, ... they had to draw their artillery along narrow paths, in many places almost perpendicular; over mountains of snow; ... They reached St. Peter near the great mountain St. Bernard, on 15th May, ...The mountain they had to pass over was 1800 feet above the level of the sea; all wild and barren, a vast extent of snow and ice ... The cannon, caissons, forges, &c. were immediately dismounted piece-meal; a number of trees were hollowed like troughs, in which the pieces of cannon might safely slide, and five or six hundred men drew them up- these tremendous heights; the wheels were carried on poles; sledges conveyed the axle-trees; the empty cassions and mules were loaded with ammunition boxes made of fir....It took five hours to climb as high as the Monastery of the Bernardines, where every individual was refreshed with a glass of wine.....there were still six leagues to go, and the rapidity of the descent made the distance truely terrible; men and horses constantly falling, and often recovering with the greatest difficulty...Bonapart entered the Monastery and staid about an hour; and on leaving it...the descent was so steep, that he was forced to slide down about two hundred feet on his derriere end" Laskey p.27-29

More Information