Jacques MacDonald

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Jacques MacDonald
MacDonald par Antoine Jean Gros.jpg
Jacques MacDonald
Born(1765-11-17)17 November 1765
Sedan, France
Died25 September 1840(1840-09-25) (aged 74)
Beaulieu-sur-Loire, France
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of France.svg French Republic
Flag of France.svg French Empire
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Kingdom of France
Flag of France.svg French Kingdom
Service/branch French Army
Years of service1785–1830
Rank Maréchal de France
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars
Napoleonic Wars
Awards Marshal of the Empire
Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour
Other workChancellor of the Legion of Honour

Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st Duke of Taranto (17 November 1765 25 September 1840 [1] ) was a Marshal of the Empire and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. [2]

Taranto Comune in Apulia, Italy

Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base.

Marshal of the Empire military rank

Marshal of the Empire was a civil dignity during the First French Empire. It was created by Sénatus-consulte on 18 May 1804 and to a large extent resurrected the formerly abolished title of Marshal of France. According to the Sénatus-consulte, a Marshal was a grand officer of the Empire, entitled to a high-standing position at the Court and to the presidency of an electoral college.

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 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.

Contents

Family background

MacDonald was born in Sedan, Ardennes, France. His father, Neil MacEachen, later MacDonald, came from a Jacobite family from Howbeg in South Uist, in the west of Scotland. He was a close relative of Flora MacDonald, who played a key role in the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after the failure of the 1745 Rising.

Sedan, Ardennes Subprefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Sedan is a commune in the Ardennes department and Grand Est region of north-eastern France. It is also the chef-lieu of the arrondissement of the same name.

Jacobitism political ideology

Jacobitism was the name of the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The movement was named after Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

South Uist island of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland

South Uist is the second-largest island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. At the 2011 census, it had a usually resident population of 1,754: a decrease of 64 since 2001. The island, in common with the rest of the Hebrides, is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Gaelic language in Scotland and the population – South Uist's inhabitants are known in Gaelic as Deasaich (Southerners) – is about 90% Roman Catholic.

Military Life

In 1784, MacDonald joined the Irish legion, was made Lieutenant on April 1785, raised to support the revolutionary party [3] in the 1581-1795 Dutch Republic against the 1701–1918 Kingdom of Prussia and was made its Lieutenant on 1 April 1785. After it was disbanded, he received a commission in the regiment of Dillon. [3] At the start of the French Revolution, the regiment of Dillon remained loyal to the King, except for MacDonald, who was in love with Mlle Jacob, whose father was an enthusiastic revolutionary. [3] After his marriage, on 17 August 1792, he was promoted to Captain, and on 29 August 1792, he was appointed aide-de-camp to General Charles François Dumouriez. [3] He distinguished himself at the Battle of Jemappes, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 12 November 1792 and then Colonel on 8 March 1793.

Dutch Republic Republican predecessor state of the Netherlands from 1581 to 1795

The Dutch Republic, or the United Provinces, was a confederal republic that existed from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first Dutch nation state.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Charles François Dumouriez French general

Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez 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.

He refused to desert to the Austrians with Dumouriez and as a reward was made général de brigade on 26 August 1793 and appointed to command the leading brigade in Pichegru's invasion of the Netherlands. [3] His knowledge of the country proved useful, and he was instrumental in the capture of the Dutch fleet by French hussars in January 1795. [3]

Habsburg Monarchy former Central European empire (1526–1804)

The Habsburg Monarchy – also Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Hussar light cavalry originally from Hungary

A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

In 1797, having been made général de division back in November 1794, he now served first in the Army of the Rhine [3] and later in the Army of Italy as of 24 April 1798.

When he reached Italy in 1798, the Treaty of Campo Formio had been signed [3] on 18 October 1797, and Bonaparte had returned to France; but, under the direction of Berthier, MacDonald occupied Rome in the 1798-1799 Roman Republic, of which he was made governor on 19 November 1798, and then in conjunction with Championnet he defeated General Mack [3] at the Battle of Ferentino, the Battle of Otricoli, the 5 December 1798 Battle of Civita Castellana, and two military affairs, first at Calvi Risorta and then on 3 January 1799 at Capua, and then by 10 January 1799, he had resigned his Office due to disagreements with Championnet. However, despite any differences, the men managed to conquer the 1282-1799 Kingdom of Naples, which then became known as the Parthenopaean Republic.

Treaty of Campo Formio 1797 treaty between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria

The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Roman Republic (18th century) republic at the Apennine Peninsula between 1798-1799

The Roman Republic was proclaimed on 15 February 1798 after Louis Alexandre Berthier, a general of Napoleon, had invaded the city of Rome on 10 February. The Roman Republic was a client republic under the French Directory composed of territory conquered from the Papal States. Pope Pius VI was exiled to France and died there in 1799. It immediately took control of the other two former-papal revolutionary administrations, the Tiberina Republic and the Anconine Republic. The Roman Republic was short-lived, as the Papal States were restored in October 1799.

When Suvorov invaded northern Italy in March 1799 with an Austro-Russian army, and was undoing the conquests of Bonaparte and defeated Moreau at Cassano and San Giuliano. In response MacDonald moved northwards in command of the Armée de Naples. With 36,000 men, he attacked Suvorov's 22,000 men at the Trebbia. After three days' fighting, receiving no help from Moreau, he was utterly defeated and retreated to Genoa. Later, he was made governor of Versailles and acquiesced, even if he did not participate, in the events of the 18 Brumaire. [3]

In 1800, he received command of the army in the Helvetic Republic, maintaining communications between the armies of Germany and of Italy. [3] He carried out his orders diligently, and in the winter of 1800–01, he was ordered to march over the Splügen Pass at the head of the Army of the Grisons. This achievement is described by Mathieu Dumas, his chief of staff, and is as noteworthy as Bonaparte's passage of the St Bernard before the Battle of Marengo, although MacDonald did not fight a battle. On his return to Paris, MacDonald married the widow of General Joubert, and was appointed French ambassador to Denmark. Returning in 1805, he was associated with Moreau and thus incurred the dislike of Napoleon, who did not include him in his first creation of marshals. [3]

Under Napoleon

Serving throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, MacDonald led major formations in the 1809 campaign against Austria, in Spain (1810-1811), Russia (1812), Germany (1813), and in France (1814). Charpentier-Jacques MacDonald.jpg
Serving throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, MacDonald led major formations in the 1809 campaign against Austria, in Spain (1810–1811), Russia (1812), Germany (1813), and in France (1814).

He remained without employment until 1809, but then Napoleon made him military adviser to Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy and a corps commander. He led the army from Italy to join with Napoleon, and at Wagram, led the attack which broke the Austrian centre and won the victory.

Napoleon made him a Marshal of France on the field of battle, and soon after created him duke of Taranto [3] in the Kingdom of Naples.

In 1810, MacDonald served in Spain and in 1812, he commanded the left wing of the Grande Armée for the invasion of Russia. He was sent to the north but did not succeed in occupying Riga. In 1813, after participating in the battles of Lützen and Bautzen, he was ordered to invade Silesia, where Blücher defeated him with great loss at Katzbach. [3] At the Battle of Nations in 1813, his force was pushed out at Liebertwolkwitz by Johann von Klenau's IV Corps (Austrian); on a counterattack, his troops took the village back. Later that day, Klenau foiled his attempt to flank the Austrian main army, commanded by Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. After the Battle of Leipzig, he was ordered to cover the evacuation of Leipzig with Prince Poniatowski. After the blowing up of the last bridge over the river, he managed to swim the Elster, but Poniatowski drowned. [3] During the defensive campaign of 1814, MacDonald again distinguished himself. He was one of the marshals sent by Napoleon to take the notice of his abdication to Paris. When all were deserting Napoleon, MacDonald remained faithful. He was directed by Napoleon to give his adherence to the new régime, and was presented with the sabre of Murad Bey for his fidelity. [3]

Under the Bourbons

Jacques MacDonald, portrait by Francois Gerard (1770-1837). The red riband of the Legion of Honour has been replaced by the blue riband of the Order of the Holy Spirit. Jacques MacDonald portrait Gerard.jpg
Jacques MacDonald, portrait by François Gerard (1770–1837). The red riband of the Legion of Honour has been replaced by the blue riband of the Order of the Holy Spirit.

At the Restoration, he was made a peer of France and knight grand cross of the royal order of St. Louis; he remained faithful to the new order during the Hundred Days. [3] In 1815, he became chancellor of the Legion of Honour, a post he held till 1831. In 1816, as major-general of the royal bodyguard, he took part in the debates of the Chamber of Peers, created under the Charter of 1814, voting consistently as a moderate Liberal. [3]

From 1830, he lived in retirement at his country place Courcellesle-Roi (Seine-et-Oise), [4] where he died on 25 September 1840(1840-09-25) (aged 74).

Personal life

In 1791, he married Marie-Constance Soral de Montloisir (died 1797) and had 2 daughters:

In 1802, he married Felicite-Francoise de Montholon (died 1804), the widow of General Joubert, and had a daughter:

In 1821, he married Ernestine-Therese de Bourgoing (1789–1825) and had a son:

Scottish legacy

On 30 April 2010, a plaque was unveiled to the memory of Marshal of France Jacques MacDonald on the Outer Hebridean island of South Uist, the familial home of MacDonald. MacDonald had visited South Uist in 1825 in order to find out more about his family roots. [5]

Summation

Of him, the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 says:

MacDonald had none of that military genius that distinguished Davout, Masséna and Lannes, nor of that military science conspicuous in Marmont and St Cyr, but nevertheless his campaign in Switzerland gives him a rank far superior to such mere generals of division as Oudinot and Dupont. This capacity for independent command made Napoleon, in spite of his defeats at the Trebia and the Battle of Katzbach, trust him with large commands till the end of his career. As a man, his character cannot be spoken of too highly; no stain of cruelty or faithlessness rests on him. [3]

Notes

  1. France (1841). Bulletin des lois de la République Française. Impr. Nat. des Lois. p. 542.
  2. In the English translation of the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814) his name and title is given as James Stephen Alexander Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum (Alphonse de Lamartine (translated by Michael Rafter). The History of the Restoration of Monarchy in France. H. G. Bohn, 1854 (New York Public Library). pp 201-207)
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Macdonald, Jacques Etienne Joseph Alexandre"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 210–211.
  4. Castle of Courcelles-le-Roi on Napoleon & Empire website
  5. "South Uist honour for Scot who was one of Napoleon's generals". Herald Scotland.

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References

MacDonald was especially fortunate to have accounts of his military exploits recorded by Mathieu Dumas and Ségur who were on his staff in Switzerland.

His diary of 1825 has been translated into English with a commentary ...