Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux

Last updated

Jean Baptiste Camille de Canclaux
AduC 076 Canclaux (J.B.C., 1756-1817).JPG
Born 2 August 1740
Died 27 December 1817(1817-12-27) (aged 77)
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
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  First French Empire
Flag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg Kingdom of France
Years of service 1756–1800
Rank General of Division
Commands held Army of the Coasts of Brest
Army of the West
Army of the Reserve, Second Line
Awards Knight of Saint-Louis, 1773
Other work Ministre plénipotentiaire to the court of Naples, 1796–97
Senator, 1800–14
Count of the Empire, 1808
Peer of France, 1815

Jean Baptiste Camille de Canclaux (2 August 1740, in Paris – 27 December 1817, in Paris) was a French army commander during the French Revolution and a Peer of France. He joined a cavalry regiment the French Royal Army in 1756 and fought at Minden in the Seven Years' War. He attained the rank of maréchal de camp (brigadier general) in 1788 and lieutenant general in 1792. He commanded the Army of the Coasts of Brest from May until October 1793 fighting several actions during the War in the Vendée. Replaced for political reasons, he led the Army of the West in 1794–1795. He held interior posts during the rest of the French Revolutionary Wars and under the First French Empire of Napoleon.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Battle of Minden battle

The Battle of Minden—or Tho(r)nhausen—was a decisive engagement during the Seven Years' War, fought on 1 August 1759. An Anglo-German army under the overall command of Field Marshal Ferdinand of Brunswick defeated a French army commanded by Marshal of France, Marquis de Contades. Two years previously, the French had launched a successful invasion of Hanover and attempted to impose an unpopular treaty of peace upon the allied nations of Britain, Hanover and Prussia. After a Prussian victory at Rossbach, and under pressure from Frederick the Great and William Pitt, King George II disavowed the treaty. In 1758, the Allies launched a counter-offensive against the French forces and drove them back across the Rhine.



Military career

Ancien Régime

He entered the École de cavalerie de Besançon, then served as a volunteer in the régiment de Fumel-cavalerie (1756), and was promoted to cornette (1757). In the course of the Seven Years' War, he was involved in the Hanover campaign, rising to captain in 1760 and was demobilized at the peace.

Cornet (rank) military rank

Cornet was originally the third and lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop, after captain and lieutenant.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved every European great power of the time and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions, led by the Kingdom of Great Britain on one side and the Kingdom of France, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Swedish Empire on the other. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal. The war's extent has led some historians to describe it as World War Zero, similar in scale to other world wars.

Immediately re-entering the régiment de Conti-dragons, he taught the theory of major cavalry manoeuvres at the École de Besançon and published a book on tactics : Instruction à l'usage du régiment de dragons Conti. He rose to major (1768), mestre de camp (1773) with the rank of colonel, brigadier (1 January 1784) and was promoted to maréchal de camp on 10 March 1788, all the while remaining the commander of his regiment. He was made a knight of Saint Louis in 1773.

Mestre de camp or Maître de camp was a military rank in the Ancien Régime of France, equivalent to colonel. A mestre de camp commanded a regiment and was under the authority of a Colonel General, who commanded all the regiments in one "arme". The rank also existed in Portugal and Spain, as mestre de campo.

Maréchal de camp was a general officer rank used by the French Army until 1848.

Order of Saint Louis French military order

The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis is a dynastic order of chivalry founded 5 April 1693 by King Louis XIV, named after Saint Louis. It was intended as a reward for exceptional officers, notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles. By the authorities of the French Republic, it is considered a predecessor of the Legion of Honour, with which it shares the red ribbon.

French Revolution

In 1790, he was one of the generals charged with verifying the regimental accounts and gathering their grievances. He was sent into Brittany in 1791 and 1792 to appease insurrection movements that had just broken out there, and to repress those that had not yet broken out. He brought himself to note by moderation and conciliatory spirit, winning a brilliant success near Quimper on 8 July.

Brittany Historical province in France

Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

On 7 September 1792 he was made lieutenant général and commander of the 13e division militaire, and was put in charge of embarking at Brest the troops intended for Saint-Domingue.

Brest, France Subprefecture and commune in Brittany, France

Brest is a city in the Finistère département in Brittany. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon. The city is located on the western edge of continental Europe. With 142,722 inhabitants in a 2007 census, Brest is at the centre of Western Brittany's largest metropolitan area, ranking third behind only Nantes and Rennes in the whole of historic Brittany, and the 19th most populous city in France; moreover, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany. Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture of the department is the much smaller Quimper.

Saint-Domingue French colony on the isle of Hispaniola

Saint-Domingue was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804, in what is now Haiti.

Made lieutenant general on 7 September 1792, the French National Convention put him in command of the Army of the Coasts of Brest. With scarcely 12,000 men, he successfully defended Nantes on 29 June 1793, after several fierce and deadly clashes repulsing an attack by a Vendéen army of 50,000 Vendéens under Jacques Cathelineau. Victorious again at the battle of Montaigu (against François de Charette, who he would defeat again at Mortagne-sur-Sèvre), he was defeated at the battle of Tiffauges and suspended from his command. Despite a subsequent success at Saint-Symphorien, he was then replaced on 29 September. He then retired to one of his estates, at the Château du Saussay (Essonne), but was recalled after the revolution of 9 thermidor year II (1794) and again made supreme commander of the Army of the West. He seconded Lazare Hoche to this army around the time of the counter-revolutionary invasion of France in 1795, sending him for some of the reinforcements he needed. Hoche replaced him in command later in 1795, and Canclaux retired from the army.

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar is a three-star military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

The Army of the Coasts of Brest was a French Revolutionary Army formed on 30 April 1793 by splitting the Army of the Coasts into this army and the Army of the Coasts of Cherbourg. The formation was first put under the command of Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux and charged with fighting the War in the Vendée, combatting the Chouannerie and protecting the coasts of Brittany against a British invasion. After successfully defending Nantes and suffering setbacks at Tiffauges and Montaigu, Canclaux was recalled on 5 October 1793 and many of the army's soldiers were absorbed into the Army of the West. Over the next few years, Jean Antoine Rossignol, Jean-François-Auguste Moulin, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Lazare Hoche and Gabriel Venance Rey led the army in turn. In June–July 1795 the army crushed a Royalist invasion at Quiberon. On 5 January 1796 the formation and two other armies were merged into the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean and placed under the command of Hoche.

The Battle of Nantes was a battle between Royalist and Republican French forces at Nantes on 29 June 1793 during the War in the Vendée. It consisted of the siege of that town, and was a Republican victory. Louis Marie Turreau wrote of it:

Administrative career

Sent to the MIDI in 1796 to organise the army intended for Italy (what would become the Army of Italy), at the end of that year he was made ministre plénipotentiaire to the court of Naples, a role he held until 1797.

In 1799, he was recalled to state service as a member of the military committee established after the Directory. After the Coup of 18 Brumaire, he adhered to Napoleon's party, and as during the Consulate Napoleon put him in command of the 14e division militaire, at Caen, where he and general Gabriel Marie Joseph, comte d'Hédouville were charged with pacifying Normandy.

In 1800 he briefly became commander of the Army of Reserve of the Second Line, which formed the nucleus of the Army of the Grisons. He became inspector-general of the army's cavalry, and on 22 October 1804, he was appointed to the Sénat conservateur.

En 1806 and 1807, he was commander of the gardes nationaux of Seine-Inférieure and the Somme. In 1808 he was made a comte d'Empire.

In December 1813, he was extraordinary-commissioner in Ille-et-Vilaine.

In 1814, he voted in the Senate in favour of deposing Napoleon.

Restoration and the Hundred Days

Made a pair de France on the Restoration, Napoleon kept him as such during the Hundred Days but Canclaux refused to support him, though this did not prevent him being struck from the list of peers by the royal ordinance of 24 July 1815.

On 10 August 1815, he again became a pair de France and voted in favour of the death of Ney.

His name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe (west side)


Military offices
Preceded by
Anne François Augustin de La Bourdonnaye
Interim Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Coasts
15–30 April 1793
Succeeded by
Army of the Coasts of Brest
Preceded by
Army of the Coasts
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Coasts of Brest
1 May–5 October 1793
Succeeded by
Jean Antoine Rossignol
Preceded by
Thomas-Alexandre Dumas
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the West
24 October 1794–6 September 1795
Succeeded by
Lazare Hoche
Preceded by
Guillaume Brune
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the Reserve, Second Line
16 August–2 September 1800
Succeeded by
Jacques MacDonald

Related Research Articles

Lazare Hoche French general

Louis Lazare Hoche was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army. He won a victory over Royalist forces in Brittany. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3. Richard Holmes says he was, "quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France."

Emmanuel de Grouchy, marquis de Grouchy French general and marshal

Emmanuel de Grouchy, 2ème Marquis de Grouchy was a French general and marshal.

Pierre Claude Pajol French cavalry general and military commander during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and political figure

Claude-Pierre, Comte de Pajol, was a French cavalry general and military commander during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and political figure.

Charles Oudinot eldest son of Napoleon Is marshal Nicolas Oudinot of his first marriage with Charlotte Derlin, also made a military career

Lieutenant-General Charles Nicolas Victor Oudinot, 2nd Duc de Reggio, the eldest son of Napoleon I's marshal Nicolas Oudinot and Charlotte Derlin, also made a military career.

Gabriel, comte dHédouville French general

Gabriel-Marie-Théodore-Joseph, comte d'Hédouville was a French soldier and diplomat.

Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blond de Saint-Hilaire French general noted for his participation to the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blond, comte de Saint-Hilaire was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Army of Italy (France) field army of the French Revolutionary Army

The Army of Italy was a field army of the French Army stationed on the Italian border and used for operations in Italy itself. Though it existed in some form in the 16th century through to the present, it is best known for its role during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

Général Baron Claude Testot-Ferry was a cavalry veteran of the armies of the First French Republic, First French Empire and Bourbon Restoration.

Jean, chevalier du Teil de Beaumont, seigneur d'Ancy, was a French soldier in the Ancien Régime, Revolutionary and Imperial armies and theoretician of the use of artillery.

Jean-Marie Defrance French general

Jean-Marie Defrance (1771–1855) was a French General of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was also a member of the Council of Five Hundred, and a teacher at the military school of Rebais, Champagne.

Pierre David de Colbert-Chabanais French general

Pierre David Édouard de Colbert-Chabanais was a general of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, noted for his unbreakable loyalty to Napoleon I.

Jean-Barthélemot Sorbier French artillery general during the Napoleonic Wars

Jean-Barthélemot Sorbier, count, (1762–1827), was a French general of the Napoleonic Wars.

Armand Jean d'Allonville was a French nobleman from an old family in Beauce. He was nicknamed le balafré and served as maréchal des Camps et des armées du Roi, commander of the exiled Les Gentilshommes de la province de Champagne, then those of Brittany and the régiment d'Allonville.

Régiment Royal-Allemand

The Régiment Royal-Allemand cavalerie was a regiment in the French Royal army, composed of German-speakers. In 1791 it became the "15e régiment de cavalerie", and in 1792 it was disbanded.

Jean René Moreaux French general

Jean René Moreaux commanded the French Army of the Moselle during the French Revolutionary Wars. He joined the French Royal Army in 1776 and was badly wounded in the American Revolutionary War two years later. After leaving military service, he married and took over the family business. At the time of the French Revolution he was elected second in command of a volunteer battalion. He was rapidly promoted, emerging as a general officer in May 1793. After another promotion, he led a corps at Pirmasens and a division at Wissembourg. He was appointed commander of the Army of the Moselle in June 1794. In November he was sent with three divisions to invest the fortress of Luxembourg. He caught a fever and died during the Siege of Luxembourg. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

Paul-Alexis Dubois commanded French divisions during the War of the First Coalition and was killed in action fighting against Habsburg Austria. He enlisted in a French infantry regiment in 1770 and transferred into the cavalry in 1776. Thereafter he served in several different cavalry and infantry regiments. From sous-lieutenant in 1791, he served in the Army of the Moselle and was rapidly promoted to general of brigade by August 1793. After briefly commanding an infantry division in the Army of the Rhine at Wissembourg he switched back to the Army of the Moselle to fight at Kaiserslautern before being wounded at Froeschwiller in December 1793.

Amédée Willot French soldier and politician

Amédée Willot, Count of Gramprez, held several military commands during the French Revolutionary Wars but his association with Jean-Charles Pichegru led to his exile from France in 1797. He joined the French Royal Army as a volunteer in 1771 and was a captain by 1787. He was elected commander of a volunteer battalion in 1792 and served in the War of the Pyrenees. Shortly after being promoted commander of a light infantry regiment Willot was appointed general of brigade in June 1793. A few months later he was denounced as a Royalist and jailed. In the light of later events, this may have been an accurate assessment of Willot's sentiments. After release from prison in January 1795, he led troops in Spain during the summer campaign. He was promoted to general of division in July 1795.

The Army of the Coasts of the Ocean was a French Revolutionary Army that was only in existence during 1796. The army was formed by combining the three armies that were engaged in the War in the Vendée and appointing Lazare Hoche to command. While the army's nominal strength was 182,956 men at the time of its formation, this declined to 117,746 during the year. Because its operations were successful, the army was disbanded in September 1796 and approximately half its personnel sent to other armies.

Hugues Alexandre Joseph Meunier French military personnel (1751-1831)

Hugues Alexandre Joseph Meunier was a French Army general during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.