Jean Lannes

Last updated


Jean Lannes

Julie Volpeliere (d'apres Gerard) - Le marechal Lannes (1769-1809), 1834.jpg
Portrait by Julie Volpelière, 1834 (after François Gérard)
Nickname(s) Roland of the Grande Armée
Born(1769-04-10)10 April 1769
Lectoure, Kingdom of France
Died31 May 1809(1809-05-31) (aged 40)
Ebersdorf, Austrian Empire
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
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  First French Empire
Service/branch Army
Years of service1792–1809
Rank Marshal of the Empire
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars

Napoleonic Wars

AwardsMarshal of the Empire
Titular Prince of Siewierz and Duke of Montebello
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
Named on the Arc de Triomphe
Relations Gustave Olivier Lannes de Montebello (son)

Jean Lannes, 1st Duke of Montebello , Prince of Siewierz (10 April 1769 – 31 May 1809), was a Marshal of the Empire. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". [1] A personal friend of the emperor, [2] he was allowed to address him with the familiar "tu", as opposed to the formal "vous".

Contents

Early life

Lannes' birthplace in Lectoure Lectoure-maisonLannes.jpg
Lannes' birthplace in Lectoure
Lannes as a Sous-Lieutenant of the 2nd battalion of the Gers in 1792 Jean lannes.jpg
Lannes as a Sous-Lieutenant of the 2nd battalion of the Gers in 1792

Lannes was born in the small town of Lectoure, [1] on the slopes of the Pyrenees, [3] in the Gers department in the south of France. He was the son of a Gascon small landowner and merchant, Jeannet Lannes (1733–1812, son of Jean Lannes (d. 1746), a farmer, and wife Jeanne Pomiès (d. 1770) and paternal grandson of Pierre Lane and wife Bernarde Escossio, both died in 1721), and wife Cécile Fouraignan (1741–1799, daughter of Bernard Fouraignan and wife Jeanne Marguerite Laconstère). He was apprenticed in his teens to a dyer. [1] [3] He had little education, but his great strength and proficiency in many sports caused him in 1792 to be elected sergeant-major of the battalion of volunteers of Gers, which he had joined on the breaking out of war between Spain and the French republic. He served under general Marbot through the campaigns in the Pyrenees in 1793 and 1794, and rose by distinguished conduct to the rank of chef de brigade. During his time in the Pyrenees he was given some important tasks by general Dugommier and recommended for promotion by future marshal Davout. [4]

Campaigns of Italy and Egypt

Lannes at the Battle of Bassano, 1796 Lannes a Bassano.jpg
Lannes at the Battle of Bassano, 1796

He served under general Schérer, taking part in the Battle of Loano. [4] However, in 1795, on the reform of the army introduced by the Thermidorians, he was dismissed from his rank. [5] He re-enlisted as a simple volunteer in the French Armée d'Italie.[ citation needed ] He served in the Italian campaign of 1796, and fought his way up to high rank once again,[ citation needed ] being given command of a brigade in Augereau’s division [6] and later of a 3 battalions of the permanent advance guard at different times. [7] He was distinguished in every battle. He played an important role in the victory at Dego. [7] At the Battle of Bassano, he captured two enemy flags with his own hands [7] and received multiple wounds in the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole but kept leading his column in person. [8] He led troops troops under Victor in the invasion of the Papal States. [8] When he and a small reconnaissance party ran into 300 papal cavalry he averted danger by astutely ordering to return to base, convincing them not to attack. [6] [8] He was chosen by Bonaparte to accompany him to Egypt as commander in one of Kléber's brigades, [9] in which capacity he greatly distinguished himself, especially on the retreat from Syria. He was wounded at the Battle of Abukir. He went back to France with Bonaparte, and assisted him in his 1799 coup. [6] After Bonaparte's takeover and appointment as Consul of France, Lannes was promoted to the ranks of general of division and commandant of the consular guard. Back with the Armée d'Italie, Lannes commanded the advanced guard in the crossing of the Alps in 1800, was instrumental in winning the Battle of Montebello, [10] from which he afterwards took his title, and played a large part in the Victory at Marengo. [5] [11]

Service to the Empire

Lannes' victory at the Battle of Saalfeld, 1806 Desmoulins - Victoire du marechal Lannes sur les troupes prussiennes a Saalfeld sur la Saale en Thuringe.jpg
Lannes' victory at the Battle of Saalfeld, 1806

Murat and Bessières schemed to have Lannes removed over a budget deficit. [12] Augereau bailed him out. [12] As a result Lannes was not totally disgraced. [12] instead he was sent as ambassador to Portugal 1801. [6] [12] Opinions differ as to his merits in this capacity; Napoleon never made such use of him again. Lannes purchased the seventeenth-century Château de Maisons, near Paris, in 1804 and had one of its state apartments redecorated for a visit from Napoleon.

On the establishment of the empire, he was created a Marshal of France [13] (1804). In 1805 he fully regained Napoleons favour, [13] which when he lost during the consulate. [14] At Austerlitz, he had the left of the Grande Armée. In the 1806-07 campaign, he was at his best, commanding his corps with the greatest credit in the march through the Thuringian Forest, the action of Saalfeld (which is studied as a model today at the French Staff College) and the Battle of Jena. His leadership of the advanced guard at Friedland was even more prominent. [5]

In 1807, Napoleon recreated the duchy of Siewierz (Sievers), and he granted it to Lannes after Prussia was forced to cede all her acquisitions from the 2nd and 3rd partitions of Poland.

After this, Lannes was to be tested as a commander-in-chief, for Napoleon took him to Spain in 1808 and gave him a detached wing of the army, with which he won a victory over Castaños at Tudela on 22 November. In January 1809, he was sent to attempt the capture of Saragossa, and by 21 February, after one of the most stubborn defences in history, he was in possession of the place. He said, "this damned Bonaparte is going to get us all killed" after his last campaign in Spain. In 1808, Napoleon created him duc de Montebello, and in 1809, for the last time, gave him command of the advanced guard. He took part in the engagements around Eckmühl and the advance on Vienna. With his corps, he led the French army across the Danube and bore the brunt, with Masséna, of the terrible battle of Aspern-Essling. On 22 May 1809, he received a mortal wound. His eldest son was made a peer of France by Louis XVIII. [5]

Death

Lannes' death at Essling, 1809 Lannes mortally wounded at Essling (E. Boutigny).jpg
Lannes' death at Essling, 1809

On 22 May 1809, during a lull in the second day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Marshal Lannes went and sat down at the edge of a ditch, his hand over his eyes and his legs crossed. As he sat there, plunged in gloomy meditation on having seen his friend, General de Brigade Pouzet, decapitated mid-conversation by a cannonball, a second cannonball fired from a gun at Enzersdorf ricocheted and struck him just where his legs crossed. The knee-pan of one was smashed, and the back sinews of the other torn. The Marshal said, "I am wounded; it's nothing much; give me your hand to help me up." He tried to rise, but could not. He was carried to the tête de pont, where the chief surgeons proceeded to dress his wound. One of the marshal's legs was amputated within two minutes by Dominique Jean Larrey. He bore the operation with great courage; it was hardly over when Napoleon came up and, kneeling beside the stretcher, wept as he embraced the marshal. On 23 May, he was transported by boat to the finest house in Kaiserebersdorf. Eight days later, he succumbed to his wounds at daybreak on 31 May. Lannes was initially buried in Les Invalides, Paris, but in 1810, he was exhumed and reinterred in the Panthéon national after a grandiose ceremony.

Family

He married twice, in Perpignan, 19 March 1795 to Paulette Méric, whom he divorced because of infidelity in 1800, after she had given birth to an illegitimate son while he was campaigning in Egypt:

He married secondly at Dornes on 16 September 1800 to Louise Antoinette, Comtesse de Guéhéneuc (Paris, 26 February 1782 – Paris, 3 July 1856), by whom he had five children:

one who succeeded in his titles and three others who used the courtesy title of Baron. One of his direct descendants, Philippe Lannes de Montebello, was until 2008 the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Assessment

Lannes's tomb in the Pantheon Tombeau de Lannes.jpg
Lannes's tomb in the Panthéon

Lannes ranks with Louis Nicolas Davout and André Masséna as the ablest of all of Napoleon's marshals. He was continually employed in tasks requiring the utmost resolution and daring, and more especially when the emperor's combinations depended upon the vigour and self-sacrifice of a detachment or fraction of the army. It was thus with Lannes at Friedland and at Aspern as it was with Davout at Austerlitz and Auerstädt, and Napoleon's estimate of his subordinates' capacities can almost exactly be judged by the frequency with which he used them to prepare the way for his own shattering blow. Dependable generals with the usual military virtue, or careful and exact troop leaders like Soult and Macdonald, are kept under Napoleon's own hand for the final assault which he himself launched; the long hours of preparatory fighting against odds of two to one, which alone made the final blow possible, he entrusted only to men of extraordinary courage and high capacity for command. Lannes's place in his affections was never filled. [5]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 "Jean Lannes, duc de Montebello | French general". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  2. Rothenberg, Gunther E., 1923-2004. (2004). The emperor's last victory : Napoleon and the Battle of Wagram. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN   0297846728. OCLC   56653068.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. 1 2 Dunn-Pattison. p. 117.
  4. 1 2 Dunn-Pattison. p 119.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Chisholm 1911.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Macdonell, A. G. (Archibald Gordon), 1895-1941. (2012). Napoleon and his marshals. Stroud: Fonthill Media. ISBN   9781781550366. OCLC   796280659.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. 1 2 3 Dunn-Pattison, p. 120.
  8. 1 2 3 Dunn-Pattison. p. 121
  9. Dunn-Pattison p. 122
  10. Dunn-Pattison p. 123
  11. Dunn-Pattison p. 124
  12. 1 2 3 4 Dunn-Pattison p. 125
  13. 1 2 Dunn-Pattison. p.126
  14. Dunn-Pattison. 124-125

Related Research Articles

Battle of Marengo 1800 battle between French and Austrian forces

The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Near the end of the day, the French overcame Gen. Michael von Melas's surprise attack, driving the Austrians out of Italy and consolidating Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.

Jean-Baptiste Bessières Marshal of France

Jean-Baptiste Bessières, 1st Duke of Istria was a Marshal of the Empire of the Napoleonic Era. His younger brother, Bertrand, followed in his footsteps and eventually became a divisional general. Their cousin, Géraud-Pierre-Henri-Julien, also served Napoleon I as a diplomat and Imperial official.

Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr Marshal of France

Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr, 1st Marquis of Gouvion-Saint-Cyr was a French commander in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars who rose to Marshal of the Empire and Marquis.

Louis-Nicolas Davout Marshal of France

Louis-Nicolas d'Avout, better known as Davout, 1st Duke of Auerstaedt, 1st Prince of Eckmühl, was a French general who was Marshal of the Empire during the Napoleonic era. His talent for war along with his reputation as a stern disciplinarian earned him the title "The Iron Marshal". He is ranked along with Masséna and Lannes as one of Napoleon's finest commanders. His loyalty and obedience to Napoleon were absolute. During his lifetime, Davout's name was commonly spelled Davoust, which is how it appears on the Arc de Triomphe and in much of the correspondence between Napoleon and his generals.

Jacques MacDonald Marshal of France

Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st Duke of Taranto was a Marshal of the Empire and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Aspern-Essling battle

In the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon attempted a forced crossing of the Danube near Vienna, but the French and their allies were driven back by the Austrians under Archduke Charles. The battle was the first time Napoleon had been personally defeated in over a decade, but Aspern would be a sign of numerous military defeats and blunders that would soon hinder Napoleon. However, Archduke Charles failed to secure a decisive victory as Napoleon was able to successfully withdraw most of his forces.

Battle of Abensberg battle

The Battle of Abensberg took place on 20 April 1809, between a Franco-German force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a reinforced Austrian corps led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Louis of Austria. As the day wore on, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller arrived with reinforcements to take command of the three corps that formed the Austrian left wing. The action ended in a complete Franco-German victory. The battlefield was southeast of Abensberg and included clashes at Offenstetten, Biburg-Siegenburg, Rohr in Niederbayern, and Rottenburg an der Laaber. On the same day, the French garrison of Regensburg capitulated.

Battle of Ratisbon battle

The Battle of Ratisbon, also called the Battle of Regensburg, was fought on 23 April 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars, between the army of the First French Empire, led by Napoleon I, and that of the Austrian Empire, led by Archduke Charles. Scene of the last engagement of the Bavaria phase of the campaign of 1809, the brief defense of the city and installation of a pontoon bridge to the east enabled the retreating Austrian army to escape into Bohemia. During the assault, Marshal Jean Lannes led his troops up ladders onto the walls, and Napoleon was wounded in his ankle by a small artillery round. The shot had been fired at great distance and did not severely hurt the Emperor, but caused a contusion.

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.

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.

Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty French cavalry commander during the French Revolutionary Wars

Étienne-Marie-Antoine Champion, comte de Nansouty was a French cavalry commander during the French Revolutionary Wars who rose to the rank of General of Division in 1803 and subsequently held important military commands during the Napoleonic Wars.

Army of the Eastern Pyrenees

The Army of the Eastern Pyrenees was one of the French Revolutionary armies. It fought against the Kingdom of Spain in Rousillon, the Cerdanya and Catalonia during the War of the Pyrenees. This army and the Army of the Western Pyrenees were formed by splitting the original Army of the Pyrenees at the end of April 1793 soon after the war started. Shortly after the Peace of Basel on 22 July 1795, the fighting ended and the army was dissolved on 12 October that same year. Many of its units and generals were transferred to join the Army of Italy and fought under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796.

Jean-Marie Dorsenne French general

Jean-Marie-Pierre-François Doursenne, called Dorsenne, count Lepaige was a French military commander of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He eventually became one of the senior commanders in the Imperial Guard.

Jacob François Marulaz French general

Jacob François Marulaz or Marola, born 6 November 1769, died 10 June 1842, joined the Army of the Kingdom of France as a cavalry trooper and rose to become a field officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. Under the First French Empire, he became a general officer and fought under Emperor Napoleon I of France in two notable campaigns.

Capitulation of Pasewalk

The Capitulation of Pasewalk on 29 October 1806 resulted in the surrender of Oberst (Colonel) von Hagen's 4,200 Prussian soldiers to an inferior force of two French light cavalry brigades led by Generals of Brigade Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud and Antoine Lasalle. The Prussians were completely demoralized after a two-week-long retreat following their decisive defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Pasewalk is 110 kilometers north of Berlin and about 40 kilometers west of Szczecin (Stettin), Poland.

Nicolas Léonard Beker French general

Nicolas Léonard Beker or Nicolas Léonard Becker or Nicolas Léonard Bagert, born 18 January 1770 – died 18 November 1840, joined the French army as a dragoon before the French Revolutionary Wars and rose in rank to become a general officer. In 1800 he married the sister of Louis Desaix, who was killed at the Battle of Marengo. He led an infantry brigade in the 1805 campaign and commanded a dragoon division in 1806 and 1807. In 1809 he became chief of staff to Marshal André Masséna but ran afoul of Emperor Napoleon and was banished from the army for several years.

Bernard-Georges-François Frère French noble and general

Bernard-Georges-François Frère, Count of the Empire, was a French soldier of the French Revolutionary Wars, who later rose to the top military rank of General of Division, taking part in the Napoleonic Wars.

François Nicolas Fririon French general of the French Revolutionary Wars

François Nicolas Mathus Fririon joined the French army and rose through the ranks during the French Revolutionary Wars to become a general officer by 1800. After commanding a brigade with distinction during the War of the Fifth Coalition at Aspern-Essling and Wagram he was promoted and made chief of staff to Marshal André Masséna. He served in this role during Masséna's 1810–1811 invasion of Portugal. His history of that campaign was published posthumously by his son. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 16.

Pierre Charles Pouzet, baron de Saint-Charles was a French general who was killed at the battle of Aspern-Essling.

Pierre Decouz French soldier and officer

Pierre Decouz became a French division commander during the later Napoleonic Wars. He was born in the Kingdom of Sardinia but after the region was annexed to France, he joined a volunteer battalion in 1793. He fought in Italy during the War of the First Coalition. He participated in the French campaign in Egypt and Syria, fighting at the Pyramids, Acre and Abukir. After distinguishing himself at Austerlitz in 1805, he was promoted to command an infantry regiment. In 1806–1807 he led his regiment at Auerstädt, Pultusk and Eylau. In 1809 he fought at Eckmühl, Ratisbon and Wagram, winning promotion to general of brigade. After leading an Imperial Guard brigade at Lützen and Bautzen in 1813, he was promoted general of division. He commanded a Young Guard division at Dresden and Leipzig. Still leading a Young Guard division, he was fatally wounded at the Battle of Brienne and died three weeks later. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 17.

References