Claude Lecourbe

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General CLAUDE Jacques LECOURBE (1759-1815).jpg

Claude Jacques Lecourbe (22 February 1759 – 22 October 1815), born in Besançon, was a French general during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Besançon Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Besançon is the capital of the department of Doubs in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The city is located in Eastern France, close to the Jura Mountains and the border with Switzerland.

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 the French Republic against Great Britain, Austria 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.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).

Contents

Biography

After having studied at a college in Poligny and in Lons-le-Saunier, Lecourbe enlisted in the Regiment of Aquitaine where he served for eight years as an enlisted man. Having been promoted to corporal when the French Revolution started he became commandant of the National Guard of Ruffey-sur-Seille in 1789. He was then given command of the 7th volunteer battalion of the Jura, with which he served in the armies of the Rhine and the Nord. Having been promoted to colonel in 1791 Lecourbe distinguished himself in the battle of Fleurus. Having been promoted to general of brigade in 1794 and to general of division in 1798, he fought against Alexander Suvorov in Switzerland and distinguished himself in the Second Battle of Zurich under André Masséna.

Poligny, Jura Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Poligny is a commune in the Jura department in Franche-Comté in eastern France.

Lons-le-Saunier Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Lons-le-Saunier is a commune and capital of the Jura department in eastern France.

Battle of Fleurus (1794) battle in 1794

The Battle of Fleurus, on 26 June 1794, was an engagement between the army of the First French Republic, under General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan and the Coalition Army, commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg, in the most significant battle of the Flanders Campaign in the Low Countries during the French Revolutionary Wars. Both sides had forces in the area of around 80,000 men but the French were able to concentrate their troops and defeat the First Coalition. The Allied defeat led to the permanent loss of the Austrian Netherlands and to the destruction of the Dutch Republic. The battle marked a turning point for the French army, which remained ascendant for the rest of the War of the First Coalition. The French use of the reconnaissance balloon l'Entreprenant was the first military use of an aircraft that influenced the result of a battle.

Lecourbe's friendship with Jean-Victor Moreau and his vocal defense of Moreau in the process Georges Cadoudal brought on the enmity of Napoleon Bonaparte which forced his retirement in 1805. After Napoleon's abdication he was made a count by Louis XVIII of France. The count of Artois recalled Lecourbe to active duty in February 1815 and made him inspector-general of the 6th military Division with headquarters in Besançon.

Jean Victor Marie Moreau Marshal of France

Jean Victor Marie Moreau was a French general who helped Napoleon Bonaparte to power, but later became a rival and was banished to the United States.

Georges Cadoudal Marshal of France

Georges Cadoudal, sometimes called simply Georges, was a Breton politician, and leader of the Chouannerie during the French Revolution. He was posthumously named a Marshal of France in 1814 by the reinstated Bourbons. Cadoudal means in Breton language "warrior returning from the fight".

Louis XVIII of France Bourbon King of France and of Navarre

Louis XVIII, known as "the Desired", was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1814 to 1824, except for a period in 1815 known as the Hundred Days. He spent twenty-three years in exile, from 1791 to 1814, during the French Revolution and the First French Empire, and again in 1815, during the period of the Hundred Days, upon the return of Napoleon I from Elba.

Upon Napoleon's return from exile on Elba, Lecourbe offered him his services and during the Hundred Days he commanded the Army of the Jura (I Corps of Observation), operating in the Jura against Archduke Ferdinand. With an army of only 8,000 he held the city of Belfort for 15 days against the 40,000 Austrian troops of General Colloredo-Mansfeld, only agreeing a ceasefire on 11 July 1815, a feat which earned him a place of honour in French schoolbooks. After Louis's second return to the throne, Lecourbe retired and on 22 October 1815 he died in Belfort after a long illness.

Elba Mediterranean island near Italy

Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the coastal town of Piombino, and the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. It is also part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park, and the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of the French island of Corsica.

Hundred Days period from Napoleons escape from Elba to the second restoration of King Louis XVIII

The Hundred Days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815. This period saw the War of the Seventh Coalition, and includes the Waterloo Campaign, the Neapolitan War as well as several other minor campaigns. The phrase les Cent Jours was first used by the prefect of Paris, Gaspard, comte de Chabrol, in his speech welcoming the king back to Paris on 8 July.

Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este Austrian archduke

Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este was the third son of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and of his wife Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este, last member and heiress of the House of Este. For much of the Napoleonic Wars he was in command of the Austrian army.

Legacy

A statue commemorating him stands in the Place de la Liberté in Lons-le-Saunier, where a street is also named after him. Streets named in his honour can also be found in Paris and in Besançon. In Belfort a statue commemorates him as "The glorious defender of the city".

Notes

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