After the disastrous defeat at Novara on the 23rd of March, Charles Albert, having rejected the peace terms offered by the Austrian field-marshal Radetzky, abdicated in favour of his son, and withdrew to a monastery in Portugal, where he died a few months later.
The emperor Paul raised him to the rank of field-marshal (1796), and, in 1798, sent him on a diplomatic mission to Berlin and Vienna in order to detach Prussia from France and unite both Austria and Prussia against the Jacobins.
On the 11th Windischgratz proclaimed his intention of marching against rebellious Vienna, and on the 16th an imperial rescript appointed him a field-marshal and commander-in-chief of all the Austrian armies except that of Italy.
In the course of this work he designed a bridge known as Torksey Bridge, which was disallowed by the Board of Trade inspector, Captain (afterwards Field-Marshal Sir) Lintorn Simmons.
After his suppression of the Satsuma rebellion he was made a field-marshal, and he was chief of the staff in the war with China (1894-95).