Charles François Dumouriez

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Charles François Dumouriez
Charles-Francois Dumouriez.PNG
General Dumouriez, painted in 1834 by Jean-Sébastien Rouillard.
Born26 January 1739
Cambrai, Kingdom of France
Died14 March 1823(1823-03-14) (aged 84)
Turville, United Kingdom
Buried
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of France (1790-1794).svg  Kingdom of the French
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  French First Republic
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg  Kingdom of Great Britain
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Standard of the King of France.svg French Army
Flag of France.svg French Army
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5).svg  British Army
Years of service1758–1814
RankDivisional general
Battles/wars Seven Years' War
French conquest of Corsica
Bar Confederation
French Revolutionary Wars
Peninsular War
Awards Order of Saint Louis
Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe
Other work Minister of War

Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez (26 January 1739 14 March 1823) was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army, and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon as well as an adviser to the British government. Dumouriez is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Battle of Valmy victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution

The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. The action took place on 20 September 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris. Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez stopped the advance near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne.

Contents

Early life

Dumouriez was born in Cambrai, on the Scheldt River in northern France, to parents of noble rank. His father, Antoine-François du Périer, served as a commissary of the royal army, and educated his son most carefully and widely. The boy continued his studies in Paris at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand , and in 1757 began his military career as a volunteer in the campaign of Rossbach, where he served as a cornet in the Régiment d'Escars. He received a commission for good conduct in action, and served in the later German campaigns of the Seven Years' War with distinction (he received 22 wounds); but at the peace he was retired as a captain, with a small pension and the cross of St Louis.

Cambrai Subprefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Cambrai, formerly Cambray and historically in English Camerick or Camericke, is a commune in the Nord department and in the Hauts-de-France region of France on the Scheldt river, which is known locally as the Escaut river.

Scheldt river in France, Belgium and the Netherlands

The Scheldt is a 350-kilometre (220 mi) long river in northern France, western Belgium, and the southwestern part of the Netherlands. Its name is derived from an adjective corresponding to Old English sceald ("shallow"), Modern English shoal, Low German schol, West Frisian skol, and Swedish (obsolete) skäll ("thin").

Lycée Louis-le-Grand French school in the heart of the Quartier latin in Paris, France

The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a prestigious secondary school located in Paris. Founded in 1563 by the Jesuits as the Collège de Clermont, it was renamed in King Louis XIV of France's honor after he extended his direct patronage to it in 1682. It offers both a sixth-form college curriculum, and a post-secondary-level curriculum, preparing students for entrance to the elite Grandes écoles for research, such as the École normale supérieure (Paris), for engineering, such as the École Polytechnique, or for business, such as HEC Paris. Students at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand are called magnoludoviciens.

Dumouriez then visited Italy and Corsica, Spain and Portugal, and his memoranda to the duc de Choiseul on Corsican affairs at the time of the Corsican Republic led to his re-employment on the staff of the French expeditionary corps sent to the island, for which he gained the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1767 Choiseul gave Dumouriez a military command as deputy quartermaster general to the Army of Corsica under the Marquis de Chauvelin. After this, he became a member of the Secret du Roi, the secret service under Louis XV, which gave full scope to his diplomatic skills. In 1770 he undertook a mission into Poland to the Confederation of Bar, where, in addition to his political business, he organized a Polish militia for the War of the Bar Confederation. On 23 May, his Polish soldiers were smashed by the Russian forces of General Alexander Suvorov in the Battle of Lanckorona. The fall of Choiseul (1770) brought about Dumouriez's recall. In 1772, upon returning to Paris, Dumouriez sought a military position from the marquis de Monteynard, Secretary of State for War, who gave him a staff position with the regiment of Lorraine writing diplomatic and military reports. In 1773, he found himself imprisoned in the Bastille for six months, apparently for diverting funds intended for the employment of secret agents into the payment of personal debts. During his six months of captivity Dumouriez occupied himself with literary pursuits. He was then removed to Caen, where he remained in detention until the accession of Louis XVI in 1774. Dumouriez was then recalled to Paris and assigned to posts in Lille and Boulogne by the comte de Saint-Germain, the new king's minister of war.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi), and land area of 294,140 km2 (113,570 sq mi), and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Corsica territorial collectivity of France

Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Upon his release, Dumouriez married his cousin, a certain Mademoiselle de Broissy, but he proved a neglectful and unfaithful husband, and in 1789 the couple separated. Madame Dumouriez took refuge in a convent. In the meantime, Dumouriez had turned his attention to the internal state of his own country, and amongst the very numerous memoranda which he sent to the government was one on the defence of Normandy and its ports, which procured for him in 1778 the post of commandant of Cherbourg, which he administered with much success for ten years. He became a maréchal de camp in 1788, but his ambition was not satisfied.

Convent Religious community

A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, monks or nuns; or the building used by the community, particularly in the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and the Anglican Communion.

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

Cherbourg-Octeville Delegated commune of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in Normandy, France

Cherbourg-Octeville is a city and former commune situated at the northern end of the Cotentin peninsula in the northwestern French department of Manche. It is a subprefecture of its department, and was officially formed when the commune of Cherbourg absorbed Octeville on 28 February 2000. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. The city is a Maritime prefecture and sub-prefecture of la Manche. Due to its union, it is the most populated city in its department with 37,121 inhabitants making it the first city of the department before the Saint-Lô prefecture and the second in the region after Caen.

Career during the Revolution

At the outbreak of the Revolution, seeing the opportunity for carving out a new career, he went to Paris, where he joined the Jacobin Club in 1789. The death of Mirabeau, to whose fortunes he had attached himself, proved a great blow. However, opportunity arose again when, in his capacity as a lieutenant-general and the commandant of Nantes, he offered to march to the assistance of the National Constituent Assembly after the royal family's unsuccessful flight to Varennes.

Nantes Prefecture and commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Nantes is a city in Loire-Atlantique on the Loire, 50 km (31 mi) from the Atlantic coast. The city is the sixth-largest in France, with a population of 303,382 in Nantes and a metropolitan area of nearly 950,000 inhabitants. With Saint-Nazaire, a seaport on the Loire estuary, Nantes forms the main north-western French metropolis.

National Constituent Assembly (France) Revolutionary legislature of France, 1789 to 1791

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

Flight to Varennes

The royal Flight to Varennes during the night of 20–21 June 1791 was a significant episode in the French Revolution in which King Louis XVI of France, his queen Marie Antoinette, and their immediate family unsuccessfully attempted to escape from Paris in order to initiate a counter-revolution at the head of loyal troops under royalist officers concentrated at Montmédy near the frontier. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes, where they were arrested after having been recognized at their previous stop in Sainte-Menehould.

In 1790, Dumouriez was appointed French military advisor to the newly established independent Belgian government and remained dedicated to the cause of an independent Belgian Republic.

Minister of War, Louis Lebègue Duportail, promoted Dumouriez from president of the War Council to major-general in June 1791 and attached him to the Twelfth Division, which was commanded by General Jacques Alexis de Verteuil.

Louis Lebègue Duportail American general

Louis Lebègue de Presle Duportail was a French military leader who served as a volunteer and the chief engineer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He also served as the French Minister of Defense during the beginning of the French Revolution.

Jacques Alexis de Verteuil was a French general and chevalier of the Order of the Holy Spirit (1770). Having served in French Canada and Governor of the Île d'Yeu from 1768, Verteuil was in command at La Rochelle at the opening of the French Revolution. He then became a commanding lieutenant-general of the Catholic royalist army during the revolt in the Vendée. Captured at Savenay, he was executed as a prisoner of the National Convention for his counter-revolutionary activities in the Vendée.

Dumouriez arresting the Commissioners in April 1793 Dumouriez arresting the Commissioners.jpeg
Dumouriez arresting the Commissioners in April 1793

On August 24, 1792, Dumouriez wrote to his ally General François Kellermann about the void in military power within France. Within this letter, Dumouriez voices his opinions adamantly that Lafayette was a "traitor" [1] to France after being arrested for mobilizing his army from the borders of France to Paris to protect the Royal family from revolutionaries that were dissatisfied with the monarchy of France at the time. Within this letter, Dumouriez's attachment to the Jacobin club is explicitly present as he tells Kellermann that the army was finally "purged of aristocrats". [2] Dumouriez's loyalty to France's military which was evident within this letter was instrumental to him ascending to his future position of Foreign Minister of France from March 1792 to June 1792 and becoming a military hero for his decisive victory at Jemappes in which the newspaper Révolutions de Paris proclaimed him the liberator of the Belgians. [3]

He then attached himself to the Girondist party and, on 15 March 1792, became the French minister of foreign affairs. Dumouriez then selected Pierre LeBrun as his first officer for Belgian and Liégeois affairs. The relationship between the Girondists and Dumouriez was not based on ideology, but rather based on the practical benefit it gave to both parties. Dumouriez needed people in the Legislative Assembly to support him, and the Girondists needed a general to give them legitimacy in the army. [4] He played a major part in the declaration of war against Austria (20 April), and he planned the invasion of the Low Countries. His foreign policy was greatly influenced by Jean-Louis Favier. [5] Favier had called for France to break its ties with Austria. On the king's dismissal of Roland, Clavière and Servan (13 June 1792), he took Servan's post of minister of war, but resigned it two days later on account of Louis XVI's refusal to come to terms with the National Constituent Assembly, and went to join the army of Marshal Luckner. After the émeute of 10 August 1792 and Lafayette’s flight, he gained appointment to the command of the "Army of the Centre". At the same moment, France's enemies assumed the offensive. Dumouriez acted promptly. His subordinate Kellermann repulsed the Prussians at Valmy (20 September 1792), and Dumouriez himself severely defeated the Austrians at Jemappes (6 November 1792). After these military victories, Dumouriez was ready to invade Belgium to spread revolution. He was a true revolutionary in the sense that he believed that nations which had undergone a revolution, in this instance France, should give aid to oppressed countries. As his plans were largely limited to Belgium, this tunnel vision sometimes prevented him from acting in the most logical fashion as a commander. [6]

Returning to Paris, Dumouriez encountered popular ovation, but he gained less sympathy from the revolutionary government. His old-fashioned methodical method of conducting war exposed him to the criticism of ardent Jacobins, and a defeat would have meant the end of his career. To the more radical elements in Paris, it became clear that Dumouriez was not a true patriot when he returned to Paris on 1 January 1793 and worked during the trial of Louis XVI to save him from execution. Dumouriez had also written a letter to the Convention scolding it for not supplying his army to his satisfaction and for the Decree of 15 December, which allowed the French armies to loot in the territory they had won. The Decree insured that any plan concerning Belgium would fail due to a lack of popular support among the Belgians. This letter became known as “Dumouriez’s declaration of war”. [4] After a major defeat in the Battle of Neerwinden in March 1793, he made a desperate move to save himself from his radical enemies. Arresting the four deputy-commissioners of the National Convention who had been sent to inquire into his conduct (Camus, Bancal-des-Issarts, Quinette, and Lamarque) as well as the Minister of War, Pierre Riel de Beurnonville, he handed them over to the enemy, and then attempted to persuade his troops to march on Paris and overthrow the revolutionary government. The attempt failed, and Dumouriez, along with the duc de Chartres (afterwards King Louis Philippe) and his younger brother, the duc de Montpensier, fled into the Austrian camp. This blow left the Girondists vulnerable due to their association with Dumouriez.

Later life and death

Du Mouriez funery monument in St. Mary the Virgin church, Henley-on-Thames 7814 Du Mouriez funery monument.jpg
Du Mouriez funery monument in St. Mary the Virgin church, Henley-on-Thames

Following his defection in April 1793, Dumouriez remained in Brussels for a short time, and then traveled to Cologne, seeking a position at the elector's court. He soon learned he had become an object of suspicion among his countrymen, the royal houses, aristocracies, and clergy of Europe. In response, Dumouriez wrote and published in Hamburg a first volume of memoirs in which he offered his version of the previous year's events.

Dumouriez now wandered from country to country, occupied in ceaseless royalist intrigues, until 1804 when he settled in England, where the British government granted him a pension. He became a valuable adviser to the British War Office in its struggle against Napoleon, though the extent of his aid only became public many years later. In 1814 and 1815, he endeavoured to procure from Louis XVIII the baton of a marshal of France but failed to do so.

He died at Turville Park, near Henley-on-Thames, on 14 March 1823.

Dumouriez's memoirs appeared at Hamburg in 1794. An enlarged edition, La Vie et les mémoires du Général Dumouriez, appeared at Paris in 1823. Dumouriez also wrote a large number of political pamphlets.

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References

  1. "From Hero To “Traitor”: The French Revolution." Lafayette: Citizen of Two Worlds. Cornell University, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2017. <http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/lafayette/exhibition/english/traitor/>
  2. Dumouriez, Charles François. "Letter to General François Kellermann". 24 August 1792.<http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/lafayette/exhibition/pdf/REX029_051.pdf>
  3. "Department of History." Illustrations from Révolutions De Paris | Department of History. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
  4. 1 2 Brace, Richard Munthe, General Dumouriez and the Girondins 1792-1793, in The American Historical Review, Vol. 56, No. 3, (April, 1951), pp. 493-509.
  5. Savage, Gary. Favier’s Heirs: The French Revolution and the Secret du Roi, in The Historical Journal, Vol. 41, No. 1, (March 1998), pp. 225-258.
  6. Howe, Patricia Chastain, Charles-Francois Dumouriez and the Revolutionizing of French Foreign Affairs in 1792, in French Historical Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, (Spring, 1986), pp. 367-390.

Other sources

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Dumouriez, Charles François". Encyclopædia Britannica . 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 667. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, in turn, gives the following references:

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Marie Servan de Gerbey
Secretaries of State for War
13 June 1792 – 18 June 1792
Succeeded by
Pierre August Lajard