Jean-Baptiste Jourdan

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Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
JEAN BAPTISTE JOURDAN (1762-1833).jpg
Born29 April 1762 (1762-04-29)
Limoges, France
Died23 November 1833 (1833-11-24) (aged 71)
Paris, France
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  First French Republic
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  First French Empire
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Kingdom of France
Flag of France.svg Kingdom of France
Years of service1778–1815
Rank Marshal of France
Battles/wars American Revolutionary War

French Revolutionary Wars

Napoleonic Wars

Other work Governor of Les Invalides
(1830–1833)

Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, 1st Comte Jourdan (29 April 1762 – 23 November 1833), enlisted as a private in the French royal army and rose to command armies during the French Revolutionary Wars. Emperor Napoleon I of France named him a Marshal of France in 1804 and he also fought in the Napoleonic Wars. After 1815, he became reconciled to the Bourbon Restoration. He was one of the most successful commanders of the French Revolutionary Army.

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.

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).

Bourbon Restoration Period of French history, 1814-1830

The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the first fall of Napoleon in 1814, and his final defeat in the Hundred Days in 1815, until the July Revolution of 1830. The brothers of the executed Louis XVI came to power and reigned in highly conservative fashion. Exiled supporters of the monarchy returned to France. They were nonetheless unable to reverse most of the changes made by the French Revolution and Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna they were treated respectfully, but had to give up nearly all the territorial gains made since 1789.

Contents

Early career

Born at Limoges, France into a surgeon's family, he enlisted in the French royal army in early 1778 when he was not quite sixteen. Assigned to the Regiment of Auxerrois, he participated in the ill-fated assault at the Siege of Savannah on 9 October 1779 during the American War of Independence. After service in the West Indies, he returned home in 1782 sick with a fever. Bouts of illness (possibly malaria) troubled him for the rest of his life. In 1784 he was discharged from the army and set up a haberdashery business in Limoges. He married a dressmaker in 1788 and the couple had five daughters. [1]

Limoges Prefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Limoges is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and was the administrative capital of the former Limousin region in west-central France.

Siege of Savannah Siege during the American Revolutionary War

The Siege of Savannah or the Second Battle of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia, had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah, from September 16 to October 18, 1779. On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish nobleman Count Casimir Pulaski, leading the combined cavalry forces on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint attack, the siege was abandoned, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, near the end of the war.

West Indies Island region in the Caribbean

The West Indies is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.

War of the First Coalition

Battle of Fleurus, won by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan over the Austrian forces led by the princes of Coburg and Orange on 26 June 1794. Bataille de Fleurus 1794.JPG
Battle of Fleurus, won by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan over the Austrian forces led by the princes of Coburg and Orange on 26 June 1794.

When the National Assembly asked for volunteers, Jourdan was elected Chef de bataillon of the 2nd Haute-Vienne Battalion of volunteers. He led his troops in the French victory at the Battle of Jemappes on 6 November 1792 and in the defeat at the Battle of Neerwinden on 18 March 1793. Jourdan's leadership skills were noticed and led to his promotion to général de brigade on 27 May 1793 and to général de division two months later. On 8 September, he led his division at the Battle of Hondschoote, in which he was wounded in the chest. On 22 September he was named to lead the Army of the North. [2] Three of his predecessors, Nicolas Luckner, Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine, and Jean Nicolas Houchard were under arrest and later executed by guillotine.

National Assembly (French Revolution) assembly during the French Revolution

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly, which existed from 14 June 1789 to 9 July 1789, was a revolutionary assembly formed by the representatives of the Third Estate of the Estates-General; thereafter it was known as the National Constituent Assembly, though popularly the shorter form persisted.

Battle of Jemappes battle

The Battle of Jemappes took place near the town of Jemappes in Hainaut, Austrian Netherlands, near Mons during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. One of the first major offensive battles of the war, it was a victory for the armies of the infant French Republic, and saw the French Armée du Nord, which included a large number of inexperienced volunteers, defeat a substantially smaller regular Austrian army.

Battle of Neerwinden (1793) 1793 battle between the French and the First Coalition

The Battle of Neerwinden saw a Republican French army led by Charles François Dumouriez attack a Coalition army commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The Coalition army's Habsburg Austrians together with a small contingent of allied Dutch Republic troops repulsed all French assaults after bitter fighting and Dumouriez conceded defeat, withdrawing from the field. The French position in the Austrian Netherlands swiftly collapsed, ending the threat to the Dutch Republic and allowing Austria to regain control of her lost province. The War of the First Coalition engagement was fought at Neerwinden, located 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Brussels in present-day Belgium.

His first assignment was to relieve Jacques Ferrand's 20,000-man garrison of Maubeuge which was besieged by an Austrian-Dutch army commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg. The Committee of Public Safety felt that this mission was so important that it dispatched Lazare Carnot to oversee the operation. Jourdan defeated Coburg on 15–16 October at the Battle of Wattignies and broke the siege. Carnot claimed that it was his own intervention that won the victory. Historian Michael Glover writes that the first day's attack was a failure because of Carnot's interference, while the second day's success resulted from Jourdan using his own tactical judgment. In any case, only Carnot's account reached Paris. [3]

Maubeuge Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Maubeuge is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.

Committee of Public Safety De facto executive government in France (1793–1794)

The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the Convention and of the government ministers appointed by the Convention. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.

Lazare Carnot French political, engineering and mathematical figure

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite, Count Carnot was a French mathematician, physicist and politician. He was known as the Organizer of Victory in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

On 10 January 1794, after refusing to carry out an impossible order, Jourdan was brought before the Committee of Public Safety. Carnot presented Jourdan's arrest warrant, which was signed by Maximilien de Robespierre, Bertrand Barère, and Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois. Jourdan was saved from certain execution when an eyewitness, Representative-on-mission Ernest Joseph Duquesnoy rose and contradicted Carnot's version of events at Wattignies. Spared from arrest, Jourdan was nevertheless dismissed from the army and sent home. [4]

Bertrand Barère French politician, freemason, journalist, and one of the most notorious members of the National Convention during the French Revolution

Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac was a French politician, freemason, journalist, and one of the most prominent members of the National Convention during the French Revolution.

Jean-Marie Collot dHerbois French actor and writer

Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois was a French actor, dramatist, essayist, and revolutionary. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror and, while he saved Madame Tussaud from the Guillotine, he administered the execution of more than 2,000 people in the city of Lyon.

Ernest Dominique François Joseph Duquesnoy was a French revolutionary.

The government soon recalled Jourdan to lead the Army of the Moselle. In May, he was ordered north with the left wing of the Army of the Moselle. This force was combined with the Army of the Ardennes and the right wing of the Army of the North to form an army which did not officially become the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse until 29 June 1794. With 70,000 soldiers of the new army, Jourdan laid siege to Charleroi on 12 June. A 41,000-man Austrian-Dutch army under William V, Prince of Orange defeated the French at the Battle of Lambusart on 16 June and drove them south of the Sambre river. Casualties numbered 3,000 for each army. [5] Undeterred, Jourdan immediately marched on Namur to the east-northeast of Charleroi. Instead of attacking Namur, he suddenly swung west and appeared to the north of Charleroi. After a brief siege, the 3,000-man Austrian garrison of Charleroi surrendered on 25 June. [6] Military strategist B. H. Liddell Hart cited Jourdan's maneuver as an example of the Indirect approach, even though it was probably inadvertent on the French general's part. [7] Too late to save Charlerloi, Coburg's 46,000-strong army attacked Jourdan's 75,000 French on 26 June. The Battle of Fleurus proved to be a strategic French victory when Coburg called off his attacks and retreated. [8] During the action, the Allied attacks pushed back both French flanks, but Jourdan stubbornly fought it out and was saved when François Joseph Lefebvre's division held its ground in the center. [9]

The Army of the Moselle was a French Revolutionary Army from 1791 through 1795. It was first known as the Army of the Centre and it fought at Valmy. In October 1792 it was renamed and subsequently fought at Trier, First Arlon, Biesingen, Kaiserslautern, Froeschwiller and Second Wissembourg. In the spring of 1794 the left wing was detached and fought at Second Arlon, Lambusart and Fleurus before being absorbed by the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse. In late 1794, the army captured Trier and initiated the Siege of Luxembourg. During the siege, the army was discontinued and its divisions were assigned to other armies.

Army of the Ardennes

The Army of the Ardennes was a French Revolutionary Army formed on the first of October 1792 by splitting off the right wing of the Army of the North, commanded from July to August that year by La Fayette. From July to September 1792 General Dumouriez also misused the name Army of the Ardennes for the right wing of what was left of the Army of the North after the split, encamped at Sedan and the name of Army of the North for the left flank of the army.

Charleroi Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. By January 1, 2008, the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,462 square kilometres (564 sq mi) with a total population of 522,522 by January 1, 2008, ranking it as the 5th most populous in Belgium after Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, and Ghent. The inhabitants are called Carolorégiens or simply Carolos.

After Fleurus, the Allied position in the Austrian Netherlands collapsed. The Austrian army evacuated Belgium and the Dutch Republic was extinguished by the advancing French armies in 1795. On 7 June 1795, Jourdan's army concluded the long but successful Siege of Luxembourg. [10] Operations east of the Rhine were less successful that year, with the French capturing, then losing Mannheim. [11]

In the Rhine Campaign of 1796 Jourdan's Army of Sambre-et-Meuse formed the left wing of the advance into Bavaria. The whole of the French forces were ordered to advance on Vienna, Jourdan on the extreme left and Jean Victor Marie Moreau in the centre by the Danube valley, Napoleon on the right in Italy. The campaign began brilliantly, the Austrians under the Archduke Charles being driven back by Moreau and Jourdan almost to the Austrian frontier. But the archduke, slipping away from Moreau, threw his whole weight on Jourdan, who was defeated at the Battle of Amberg in August. Jourdan failed to retrieve the situation at the Battle of Würzburg and was forced over the Rhine after the Battle of Limburg, which cost the life of François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers. Moreau had to fall back in turn, and the operations of the year in Germany were a failure. The chief cause of defeat was the plan of campaign imposed upon the generals by their government. Jourdan was nevertheless made the scapegoat and was not employed for two years. In those years he became prominent as a politician and above all as the framer of the famous conscription law of 1798, which came to be known as the Jourdan law. [12]

War of the Second Coalition

When the war was renewed in 1799, Jourdan was at the head of the army on the Rhine, but again underwent defeat at the hands of the Archduke Charles at the battles of Ostrach and Stockach in late March. Disappointed and broken in health, he handed over command to André Masséna. He resumed his political duties, and was a prominent opponent of the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, after which he was expelled from the Council of Five Hundred. Soon, however, he became formally reconciled to the new régime, and accepted from Napoleon fresh military and civil employment. In 1800 he became inspector-general of cavalry and infantry and representative of French interests in the Cisalpine Republic. [12]

Napoleonic Wars and later life

Portrait of marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, by Eugene-Louis Charpentier Le marechal Jourdan.jpg
Portrait of marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, by Eugène-Louis Charpentier

In 1804, Napoleon appointed Jourdan a marshal of France. He remained in the newly created Kingdom of Italy until 1806, when Joseph Bonaparte, whom his brother made king of Naples in that year, selected Jourdan as his military adviser. He followed Joseph into Spain in 1808; but Joseph's throne had to be maintained by the French army, and throughout the Peninsular War the other marshals, who depended directly upon Napoleon, paid little heed either to Joseph or to Jourdan. [12] Jourdan was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Talavera in 1809 and replaced by Marshal Nicolas Soult. He was reinstated as Joseph's chief of staff in September 1811, but given few troops. [13] After the disastrous French defeat at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812, Joseph and Jourdan were forced to abandon Madrid and retreat to Valencia. Joining with Soult's army, which evacuated Andalusia, the French were able to recapture Madrid during the Siege of Burgos campaign and push Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army back to Portugal.

The following year, Wellington advanced again with a large, well-organized army. Repeatedly outmaneuvering the French, the Anglo-Allied army forced Joseph and Jourdan to fight at the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813. After the decisive French defeat, which resulted in the permanent loss of Spain, Jourdan held no important command up to the fall of the Empire. He adhered to the Bourbon Restoration of 1814, and though he rejoined Napoleon in the Hundred Days and commanded a minor army, he submitted to the Bourbons again after the Battle of Waterloo. Jourdan refused to be a member of the court which sentenced Marshal Michel Ney to death. He was made a count, a peer of France in 1819, and governor of Grenoble in 1816. In politics he was a prominent opponent of the royalist reactionaries and supported the revolution of 1830. After this event he held the portfolio of foreign affairs for a few days, and then became governor of the Invalides, where his last years were spent. Jourdan died in Paris on 23 November 1833 and was buried in Les Invalides. [12]

While in exile on Saint Helena, Napoleon admitted,

I certainly used that man very ill ... I have learned with pleasure that since my fall he invariably acted in the best manner. He has thus afforded an example of that praiseworthy elevation of mind which distinguishes men one from another. Jourdan is a true patriot; and that is the answer to many things that have been said of him. [14]

Jourdan wrote Opérations de l'armée du Danube (1799); Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire sur la campagne de 1796 (1819); and unpublished personal memoirs. [12]

Footnotes

  1. Glover-Chandler, p 158
  2. Glover-Chandler, p 159
  3. Glover-Chandler, p 160
  4. Glover-Chandler, pp 160–161
  5. Smith, pp 84–85
  6. Smith, pp 85–86
  7. Liddell-Hart, p 97
  8. Smith, pp 86–87
  9. Glover-Chandler, pp 161–162
  10. Smith, p 103
  11. Smith, pp 104–107
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 Britannica, Jourdan
  13. Glover-Chandler, pp 164-165
  14. Glover-Chandler, p 168

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References

Further reading