Étienne Eustache Bruix

Last updated

Étienne Eustache Bruix


Étienne Eustache Bruix, by E. Charpentier,
engraved by Ch. Geoffroy. 1840
Born(1759-07-17)17 July 1759
Fort-Dauphin, Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti)
Died 18 March 1805(1805-03-18) (aged 45)
Paris, France
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French First Republic
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French First Empire
Service/branch Navy
Years of service 1778-1805
Rank Admiral
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars (Ireland), Napoleonic Wars
Other work French Naval Minister

Étienne Eustache Bruix (17 July 1759, Fort-Dauphin, Saint-Domingue 18 March 1805, Paris) was a French Navy admiral.

Fort-Liberté Commune in Nord-Est, Haiti

Fort-Liberté is a commune and administrative capital of the Nord-Est department of Haiti. It is close to the border of the Dominican Republic and is one of the oldest cities in the country. Haiti's independence was proclaimed here on November 29, 1803.

Saint-Domingue French colony on the isle of Hispaniola

Saint-Domingue was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.



From a distinguished family originating from Béarn, he embarked as a volunteer on a slaving vessel commanded by captain Jean-François Landolphe. Two years later, in 1778, he was made a garde de la marine , seeing his first campaign on the frigate Fox, and his second on board the Concorde. He served in various French squadrons sent to the aid of the United States of America in the American War of Independence, being made enseigne de vaisseau .

Béarn Place in France

Béarn is one of the traditional provinces of France, located in the Pyrenees mountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with the three Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, the principality of Bidache, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms in the southwest the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64). The capitals of Béarn were Beneharnum, Morlaàs, Orthez, then Pau.

Jean-François Landolphe was a French naval commander.

American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Named as commander of the Pivert, he and Puységur were charged with cruising round Saint-Domingue and re-mapping its coasts and harbors. Lieutenant de vaisseau at the start of the French Revolution, and becoming a member of the Académie de Marine in 1791, he was made captain on 1 January 1793, but discharged from the service for being a noble in October 1794. Retiring to the outskirts of Brest, he produced his memoirs under the title Moyens d'approvisionner la marine par les seules productions du territoire français (Means of Provisioning the Fleet Solely by What Is Produced in French Territory). This advocacy of naval autarky as a means of dealing with British blockades was read and appreciated by Napoleon and so Bruix was recalled to the navy in 1795 under the ministry of Laurent Truguet, which entrusted the Éole to him. He held this command up to the moment he was sent to join Villaret-Joyeuse's squadron as Chief of Staff (major general).

Louis Pierre de Chastenet, comte de Puységur was a French soldier under the Ancien Régime. A lieutenant général from 1781, he became minister of war in the ministry of Jacques Necker, from 30 November 1788 to 12 July 1789. Replaced by Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie, he received marks of esteem from the Assembly. Remaining faithful to the king, he commanded a small troop of gentlemen and defended the Tuileries against the Revolutionaries on 10 August 1792, and emigrated soon afterwards. He returned on Napoleon's seizure of power on 18 Brumaire and institution of the First French Empire, and died in his home town.

A lieutenant is a junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Eustache Bruix was put in command of a division attached to admiral Justin Bonaventure Morard de Galles during the 1796 French invasion of Ireland. Lazare Hoche noticed him on that campaign and named him contre-amiral in May 1797. He was made Ministre de la Marine from 28 April 1798. Le bulletin de loi n° 198 du 8 floréal an VI (7 May 1798) stated:

Lazare Hoche French general

Louis Lazare Hoche was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army. He won a victory over Royalist forces in Brittany. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3. Richard Holmes says he was, "quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France."

Counter admiral is a rank found in many navies of the world, but no longer used in English-speaking countries, where the equivalent rank is rear admiral. The term derives from the French contre-amiral.

By decree number 1814 a decision of the Executive Directory names citizen Bruix to the ministry of the navy and the colonies. The Executive Directory decides that Citizen Bruix, the contre-amiral, is to be named minister of the navy and the colonies, to replace citizen Pleville Le Peley on his retirement. This present decision is printed in the bulletin des lois. For confirmation, Merlin, président of the executive directory, signed this. Signed by secretary general Lagarde.

On taking office, he rushed to Brest to take personal command of a fleet that was about to sail for Egypt in an attempt to extricate the French army trapped there since its invasion in 1798. With the help of the winds and fog he succeeded in evading the British blockade and sailed south with 25 ships of the line. Anticipating a possible landing in Ireland, still unsettled in the wake of the United Irishmen's rebellion, the blockading fleet drew off north-westwards, giving Bruix a considerable headstart before it was discovered where he had gone. Off Cadiz Bruix encountered a British blockading force of 15 ships of the line under Lord Keith. Despite his numerical superiority and the presence of 28 Spanish ships of the line in Cadiz, Bruix ignored the opportunity to attack and continued into the Mediterranean.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Irish Rebellion of 1798 Uprising against British rule in Ireland by the United Irishmen with French support

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was an uprising against British rule in Ireland from May to September 1798. The United Irishmen, a republican revolutionary group influenced by the ideas of the American and French revolutions, were the main organising force behind the rebellion. It was led by Presbyterians angry at being shut out of power by the Anglican establishment, joined by Catholics, who made up the majority of the population. Many Irish Ulster Protestants sided with the British, resulting in the conflict taking on the appearance of a sectarian civil war in many areas, with atrocities on both sides. A French army which landed in County Mayo in support of the rebels was overwhelmed by British and loyalist forces. The uprising was suppressed by British Crown forces with a death toll of between 10,000 and 30,000.

Having made a detour to Toulon for repairs, Bruix learned that André Masséna was besieged in Genoa and was ordered to assist. He rerouted the fleet to the Gulf of Genoa to resupply the beleaguered army but was driven back by the weather. Meanwhile, Keith had followed him into the Mediterranean and gathered together the scattered British squadrons in the area at Menorca. Bruix abandoned his venture, eluded his pursuers and returned to the Atlantic. Collecting a Spanish squadron en route he re-entered Brest.

Toulon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Toulon is a city in southern France and a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with a major French naval base. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Toulon is the capital of the Var department.

André Masséna French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

André Masséna, 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d'Essling was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire.

During the Siege of Genoa the Austrians besieged and captured Genoa. However, this was a pyrrhic victory as the smaller French force at Genoa under André Masséna had diverted enough Austrian troops to enable Napoleon to win the Battle of Marengo and defeat the Austrians.

After this dramatic but fruitless expedition, known as the Cruise of Bruix, he returned the navy portfolio on 11 July 1799, and took command of the fleet assembled at the île d'Aix ready to sail to Spain, but the British reinforced their blockade, the admiral fell ill and the peace of Amiens prevented the fleet from leaving port. A vice-amiral from 13 March 1799, he was privy to the secret coup d'état that occurred on 18 brumaire, year 8 (9 November 1799). Napoléon Bonaparte named him admiral in 1801 and conseiller d'État the following year.

War having broken out again, Napoléon conceived a plan for a new invasion of England, and put Bruix in command of the flotilla based at Boulogne that would carry the invasion troops across the English Channel. Bruix deployed all his energies towards the preparations but was obliged to return to Paris, where he died of tuberculosis at only 45. The Boulevard de l'Amiral-Bruix in Paris is named after him.

See also


Political offices
Preceded by
Georges René Le Peley de Pléville
French Naval Minister
27 April 1798 4 March 1799
Succeeded by
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Related Research Articles

Pierre-Charles Villeneuve French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars

Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was a French naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He was in command of the French and the Spanish fleets that were defeated by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois French admiral

Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand, Comte de Linois was a French admiral during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. He won a victory over the British at the Battle of Algeciras in 1801 and led an unsuccessful campaign against British trade in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea in 1803.

Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley French naval officer

Vice-Admiral Count Pierre-Etienne-René-Marie Dumanoir Le Pelley was a French Navy officer, best known for commanding the vanguard of the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Henri de Rigny commander of the French squadron at the Battle of Navarino in the Greek War of Independence

Marie Henri Daniel Gauthier, comte de Rigny was the commander of the French squadron at the Battle of Navarino in the Greek War of Independence.

Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse French admiral

Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse was a French sailor and admiral, hero of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Honoré Joseph Antoine Ganteaume French admiral

Count Honoré Joseph Antoine Ganteaume was a French Navy officer and Vice-admiral.

Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez French admiral

Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez was a French sailor, Navy officer, and admiral of the First French Empire.

Laurent Jean François Truguet French admiral

Laurent Truguet was a French admiral.

Napoleons planned invasion of the United Kingdom

Napoleon's planned invasion of the United Kingdom at the start of the War of the Third Coalition, although never carried out, was a major influence on British naval strategy and the fortification of the coast of southeast England. French attempts to invade Ireland in order to destabilise the United Kingdom or as a stepping-stone to Great Britain had already occurred in 1796. The first French Army of England had gathered on the Channel coast in 1798, but an invasion of England was sidelined by Napoleon's concentration on campaigns in Egypt and against Austria, and shelved in 1802 by the Peace of Amiens. Building on planning for mooted invasions under France's Ancien Régime in 1744, 1759 and 1779, preparations began again in earnest soon after the outbreak of war in 1803, and were finally called off in 1805. Contrary to popular belief, the invasion was called off before the Battle of Trafalgar.

French frigate <i>Sémillante</i> (1792)

The Sémillante was a 32-gun frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of her class. She was involved in a number of multi-vessel actions against the Royal Navy, particularly in the Indian Ocean. She captured a number of East Indiamen before she became so damaged that the French disarmed her and turned her into a merchant vessel. The British captured her and broke her up in 1809.

Jean François Renaudin French admiral

Jean François Renaudin was a French Navy officer and Rear-Admiral. He is mostly known for captaining the Vengeur du Peuple at the Third Battle of Ushant.

Amable Troude French military

Amable Gilles Troude was a French Navy officer, hero of the Napoleonic Wars.

François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros French naval commander of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

François Étienne de Rosily-Mesros was a French naval commander of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He is notable as being chosen by Napoleon to succeed Villeneuve as commander of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Cádiz fleet, arriving to take up his appointment just after its defeat at Trafalgar. His name is inscribed on the east side of the Arc de Triomphe.

Charles René Magon de Médine French admiral

Charles René Magon de Médine was a French contre-amiral killed at the battle of Trafalgar whilst commanding the ship-of-the-line Algésiras - his conduct in the battle is seen by French historians as one of the few redeeming features of that disaster, and his name appears on the Arc de Triomphe. He is also notable as a Grand Officer of the Masonic Grand Orient de France.

The Battle of the Malta Convoy was a naval engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars fought on 18 February 1800 during the Siege of Malta. The French garrison at the city of Valletta in Malta had been under siege for eighteen months, blockaded on the landward side by a combined force of British, Portuguese and irregular Maltese forces and from the sea by a Royal Navy squadron under the overall command of Lord Nelson from his base at Palermo on Sicily. In February 1800, the Neapolitan government replaced the Portuguese troops with their own forces and the soldiers were convoyed to Malta by Nelson and Lord Keith, arriving on 17 February. The French garrison was by early 1800 suffering from severe food shortages, and in a desperate effort to retain the garrison's effectiveness a convoy was arranged at Toulon, carrying food, armaments and reinforcements for Valletta under Contre-amiral Jean-Baptiste Perrée. On 17 February, the French convoy approached Malta from the southeast, hoping to pass along the shoreline and evade the British blockade squadron.

Pierre Maurice Julien de Quérangal sometimes written Kerangal, was a French Navy officer and admiral.

The Croisière de Bruix was a naval campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. Planned and commanded by French Vice-Admiral Étienne Eustache Bruix, the operation was an attempt to restore French control of the Mediterranean Sea, lost at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798. Taking command of the French Atlantic Fleet based at Brest, Bruix mustered one of the largest and best trained French fleets to take to sea during the war. Brest was under close blockade by the British Channel Fleet, but Bruix arranged for misleading intelligence regarding an impending invasion of Ireland to fall into British hands, which drew the blockade fleet under Lord Bridport away to the north. On 25 April 1799 the French fleet of 25 ships of the line sailed into the Atlantic unopposed, sighted the following day by the frigate HMS Nymphe. Reports reached Bridport soon afterwards, but he remained on station off Ireland, anticipating a French attack.

Jacques Bergeret French admiral

Jacques Bergeret was a French naval officer and admiral.

The Croisière de Bruix was the principal naval campaign of the year 1799 during the French Revolutionary Wars. The expedition began in April 1799 when the bulk of the French Atlantic Fleet under Vice-Admiral Étienne Eustache Bruix departed the base at Brest, evading the British Channel Fleet which was blockading the port and tricking the commander Admiral Lord Bridport into believing their true destination was Ireland. Passing southwards, the French fleet narrowly missed joining with an allied Spanish Navy squadron at Ferrol and was prevented by an easterly gale from uniting with the main Spanish fleet at Cádiz before entering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean was under British control following the destruction of the French Mediterranean Fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, and a British fleet nominally under Admiral Earl St Vincent was stationed there. Due however to St. Vincent's ill-health, operational control rested with Vice-Admiral Lord Keith. As Keith sought to chase down the French, the Spanish fleet followed Bruix into the Mediterranean before being badly damaged in a gale and sheltering in Cartagena.

Créole was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy, a one-off design by Jacques-Augustin Lamothe. The French Navy loaned her to a privateer in 1797. Later, she served in the Brest squadron, took part in Ganteaume's expeditions of 1801 to Egypt, and was involved in the French acquisition of Santo Domingo and briefly detained Toussaint Louverture before he was brought to France. The 74-gun ships HMS Vanguard and HMS Cumberland captured her Santo Domingo on 30 June 1803. The Royal Navy took her into service but she foundered soon afterwards during an attempt to sail to Britain; her crew were rescued.