Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey

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Portrait by Pierre-Joseph Dedreux-Dorcy, now at the Palace of Versailles Marechal Moncey.jpg
Portrait by Pierre-Joseph Dedreux-Dorcy, now at the Palace of Versailles

Bon-Adrien Jeannot de Moncey (or Jannot de Moncey), 1st Duke of Conegliano , 1st Baron of Conegliano, Peer of France (31 July 1754 20 April 1842), was a prominent soldier in the French Revolutionary Wars and a Marshal of the Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. He later became governor of the Hôtel des Invalides. MONCEY is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 33.


Moncey as a captain of the 7th Line, 1792 Bon Adrien Jeannot de Moncey (1792).jpg
Moncey as a captain of the 7th Line, 1792

Moncey was born on 31 July 1754 in Palise or Moncey, Doubs. His father was a lawyer from Besançon. During his childhood, he twice enlisted in the French Army, but his father procured his discharge on both occasions. His desire was at last gratified in 1778, when he received a commission. He was a captain when, in 1791, he embraced the principles of the French Revolution. Moncey won great distinction in the campaigns of 1793 and 1794 during the War of the Pyrenees, rising from the commander of a battalion to the commander-in-chief of the Army of the Western Pyrenees in a few months, and his successful operations were instrumental in compelling the Spanish government to make peace. After this, he was employed in the highest commands until 1799, when the government, suspecting him of being a royalist, dismissed him.

The coup d'état of 18 Brumaire in 1799 brought Moncey back to the active list, and during Napoleon's Italian campaign of 1800, he led a corps from Switzerland into Italy, surmounting all the difficulties of bringing horses and guns over the then formidable Gotthard Pass. In 1801, Napoleon made him inspector-general of the French Gendarmerie, and on the assumption of the imperial title, made him a Marshal of the Empire. In 1805, Moncey received the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour.

In July 1808, Moncey was made Duke of Conegliano; it was a duché grand-fief , a rare hereditary honor. The title was later confirmed under the Bourbon Restoration, and, since he had no surviving son, Moncey was granted permission to pass it to his son-in-law (with his newly granted title of Baron of Conegliano and Peer of France).

The same year, the first of the Peninsular War, Moncey was sent to Spain in command of an army corps. He distinguished himself by his victorious advance on Valencia, but the effect of that was destroyed by General Pierre Dupont's defeat at the Battle of Bailén. Moncey then took a leading part in the emperor's campaign on the Ebro and in the Second Siege of Saragossa in 1809.

He refused to serve in the invasion of Russia, and therefore had no share in the campaign of the Grande Armée in 1812 and 1813. However, when France was invaded in 1814, Moncey reappeared in the field and fought the last battle for Paris on the heights of Montmartre and at the barrier of Clichy.

In 1814, he supported Louis XVIII and was made a Peer of France as Baron of Conegliano (confirmed in 1825). He remained neutral during Napoleon's return to power, feeling himself bound to Louis XVIII by his engagements as a Peer of France, but after Waterloo he was punished for refusing to take part in the court martial of Marshal Michel Ney by imprisonment and the loss of his marshalate and peerage.

In 1816, Moncey was given back his title of marshal by the king and he re-entered the Chamber of Peers three years later. He continued his military career as his last active service was as commander of an army corps in the short war with Spain in 1823. From 1833 to 1842, Moncey became governor of the prestigious Hôtel des Invalides (a home for veterans in Paris). Present at the return of Napoleon's remains in December 1840, he said after the ceremony, "Now, let's go home to die".

Monument to Moncey, by Amedee Doublemard, at the Place de Clichy in Paris Place de Clichy.jpg
Monument to Moncey, by Amédée Doublemard, at the Place de Clichy in Paris

He married Charlotte Prospère Remillet (1761–1842), by whom he had 3 children:

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Military offices
Preceded by
Jacques Léonard Muller
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Western Pyrenees
1 September 1794–12 October 1795
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Guillaume Brune
Interim Commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy
8 March–19 June 1801
Succeeded by