Paul Grenier

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Paul Grenier
General Paul Grenier.JPG
Paul Grenier
Born29 January 1768 (1768-01-29)
Saarlouis, in modern-day Germany
Died17 April 1827 (1827-04-18) (aged 59)
Dammartin-Marpain, Jura, France
Allegiance Flag of France.svg France
Service/branchInfantry
Years of service1784-1815
Rank General of Division
Battles/wars
Awards1808, Count of the Empire
Other work1818, Chamber of Deputies

Count Paul Grenier (29 January 1768 – 17 April 1827) joined the French royal army and rapidly rose to general officer rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division in the 1796-1797 campaign in southern Germany. During the 1800 campaign in the Electorate of Bavaria he was a wing commander. Beginning in 1809, in the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon I entrusted him with corps commands in the Italian theater. A skilled tactician, he was one of the veteran generals who made the Napoleonic armies such a formidable foe to the other European powers. After the Bourbon Restoration he retired from the army and later went into politics. Grenier is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a sovereign state whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

A general officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

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.

Contents

French Revolution

Born in 1768 to a father who was a minor government official in Saarlouis (then a French territory), Grenier joined the French royal army as a private soldier in the Nassau Infantry Regiment on 21 December 1784. After the French Revolution broke out he continued in the army. He fought at the Battle of Valmy, becoming a captain. After notable actions at the Battle of Jemappes, he received promotion to adjutant general. He was elevated to the rank of general of brigade on 29 April 1794. [1] Grenier later fought at the Battle of Fleurus in Jean Étienne Championnet's division. His brigade included the 18th Line Infantry Regiment and the 1st Dragoon Regiment. [2] For his distinguished actions, he was promoted to general of division on 11 October. He commanded the advance guard at the passage of the Rhine River on 6 September 1795. [1] He led a division at the Battle of Würzburg on 3 September 1796. Under his leadership were three battalions each of the 20th Light, 16th Line, and 67th Line Infantry Demi-Brigades, one battalion of the 23rd Line Infantry Regiment, the 1st and 2nd Dragoon Regiments, the 6th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiment, one foot artillery company, and one horse artillery company. [3] He won praise for his leadership in the Battle of Neuwied on 18 April 1797. [1]

Saarlouis Place in Saarland, Germany

Saarlouis is a city in the Saarland, (Germany), capital of the district of Saarlouis. In 2017, the town had a population of 34,758. Saarlouis, as the name implies, is located on the River Saar. It was built as a fortress in 1680 and named after Louis XIV of France.

Battle of Valmy victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution

The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. The action took place on 20 September 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris. Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez stopped the advance near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne.

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.

During the War of the Second Coalition, Grenier led a division at the battles of Verona, Magnano, and Cassano d'Adda in the spring of 1799. His command consisted of three battalions each of the 17th, 24th, and 106th Line Infantry Demi-Brigades, one battalion each of the 1st Polish Legion and 2nd Swiss Legion, 450 cavalry, and a foot artillery company. [4] Later he fought in the Army of the Alps under Championnet. [1] While leading 8,000 men of his division, he defeated Friedrich Heinrich von Gottesheim and 5,000 Austrians at Fossano on 16 September 1799. For a loss of 200 killed and wounded, his troops inflicted 300 killed and wounded on their opponents and captured 700 more. [5] At Centallo on 31 October, Grenier's 7,000 troops fought 15,000 Austrians under Michael von Melas. This time he was drubbed, losing 1,000 casualties and four guns, while the Austrians only lost 200 men. [6]

War of the Second Coalition Attempt to contain or eliminate Revolutionary France

The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.

Battle of Verona (1799) 1799

Battle of Verona on 26 March 1799 saw a Habsburg Austrian army under Pál Kray fight a First French Republic army led by Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer. The battle encompassed three separate combats on the same day. At Verona, the two sides battled to a bloody draw. At Pastrengo to the west of Verona, French forces prevailed over their Austrian opponents. At Legnago to the southeast of Verona, the Austrians defeated their French adversaries. The battle was fought during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Verona is a city on the Adige River in northern Italy.

In the Battle of Magnano on 5 April 1799, an Austrian army commanded by Pál Kray defeated a French army led by Barthélemy Schérer. In subsequent battles, the Austrians and their Russian allies drove the French out of nearly all of Italy. This action was fought during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

In 1800, he served under Jean Moreau, fighting at the Battle of Höchstädt on 18 and 19 June 1800. [1] After the summer truce expired in November, Moreau placed him in charge of the three-division Left Wing. On 1 December, he supervised the divisions of Michel Ney and Jean Hardÿ in a successful rearguard action in the Battle of Ampfing. One historian writes, "Grenier possessed an unmatched knowledge of complex tactical evolutions." [7] Two days later, he commanded the three divisions of Ney, Louis Bastoul (for the wounded Hardÿ), and Claude Legrand in Moreau's decisive victory at the Battle of Hohenlinden. [8]

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.

The Battle of Höchstädt was fought on 19 June 1800 on the north bank of the Danube near Höchstädt, and resulted in a French victory under General Jean Victor Marie Moreau against the Austrians under Baron Pál Kray. The Austrians were subsequently forced back into the fortress town of Ulm. Instead of attacking the heavily fortified, walled city, which would result in massive losses of personnel and time, Moreau dislodged Kray's supporting forces defending the Danube passage further east. As a line of retreat eastward disappeared, Kray quickly abandoned Ulm, and withdrew into Bavaria. This opened the Danube pathway toward Vienna.

Michel Ney French soldier and military commander

Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney, 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva, popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander of German origin who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves by Napoleon.

Napoleonic Wars

Grenier became the governor of Mantua after the 1805 campaign. Emperor Napoleon I made him a count of the Empire.

Mantua Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, and capital of the province of the same name.

At the start of the 1809 campaign, Grenier commanded an infantry division in Eugène de Beauharnais' Army of Italy. [9] He fought at the Battle of Sacile on 16 April. [10] At the Battle of Piave River on 8 May, he led a 16,800-strong corps of two divisions. [11] At the Piave, his successful attack on the right flank caused the Austrian withdrawal. [12] He intercepted and crushed Franz Jellacic's Austrian division in the Battle of Sankt Michael on 25 May, where he demonstrated his superior generalship. [13] He also led his corps at the Battle of Raab on 14 June [14] and at the Battle of Wagram on 5–6 July. At the latter battle he commanded three divisions [15] and was rewarded with the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur. [1]

Eugène de Beauharnais French general and adoptive son of Napoleon I

Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg was the first child and only son of Alexandre de Beauharnais and Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, first wife of Napoleon I.

Battle of Sacile battle

The Battle of Sacile on 16 April 1809 and its companion Clash at Pordenone on 15 April saw an Austrian army commanded by Archduke John of Austria defeat a Franco-Italian army led by Eugène de Beauharnais and force it to retreat. Sacile proved to be the most notable victory of John's career. The action took place east of the Livenza River near Sacile in modern-day Italy during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Piave River (1809) battle

The Battle of Piave River was fought on 8 May 1809 between the Franco-Italian army under the command of Eugène de Beauharnais and an Austrian army led by Archduke John of Austria. The Austrian commander made a stand behind the Piave River but he suffered a defeat at the hands of his numerically superior foes. The combat took place near Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Historian Frederick C. Schneid rates Grenier above Auguste Marmont and Jacques MacDonald, both of whom became marshals in 1809. He writes that Eugene's

"... corps commanders were some of the better generals of the empire. Of the three generals promoted to Marshal of France in 1809, two participated in the campaign in Italy. The best of the lot, however, was not one of the two, but General Paul Grenier." [16]

The spring of 1813 found Grenier serving under Eugène in Saxony as Napoleon assembled a new army to replace the one destroyed in Russia. In the Battle of Möckern on 5 April, Grenier was wounded. [17] After the summer armistice, Eugène and Grenier returned to Italy to prepare the Italian army for hostilities with Austria. One authority notes that Grenier was "perhaps the best commander in Italy" at this time and was assigned to lead the 1st Corps. [18] During August 1813, he led his troops with success against the Austrian army of Johann von Hiller near Villach. When Hiller established a bridgehead across the Drava River at Feistritz an der Drau, Grenier attacked and defeated the Austrians on 6 September. [19] The Franco-Italian strategic situation soon deteriorated and Eugène slowly withdrew to the Adige River in October and November. On 31 October, Grenier won a smart victory over Christoph Ludwig von Eckhardt's column at Bassano del Grappa, sending the Austrians fleeing into the mountains. [20] He commanded his corps under Eugène at the Battle of the Mincio River on 8 February 1814. In independent command, he defeated an Austrian force at Parma in northeast Italy on 2 March 1814. [21] Hostilities ended in mid-April when the news of Napoleon's abdication arrived. [22]

Later career

Grenier played a role in the provisional government after the Hundred Days. He retired from military service at the second restoration of King Louis XVIII of France. In 1818 he became a deputy in the Assembly. He died on 17 April 1827 in Dammartin-Marpain. The name GRENIER is inscribed on Column 14 of the Arc de Triomphe. [1]

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 French Wikipedia, Paul Grenier
  2. Smith, p 86
  3. Smith, p 121
  4. Smith, pp 149-152
  5. Smith, p 165
  6. Smith, p 172
  7. Arnold, p 219
  8. Arnold, p 274
  9. Bowden & Tarbox, p 101
  10. Smith, p 286
  11. Bowden & Tarbox, p 110-112
  12. Schneid, p 82
  13. Schneid, pp 86-87
  14. Bowden & Tarbox, p 118
  15. Bowden & Tarbox, p 148
  16. Schneid, p 61
  17. Smith, p 413
  18. Schneid, p 111
  19. Schneid, p 118
  20. Schneid, p 123
  21. Smith, p 506
  22. Schneid, p 141

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