Pierre Augereau

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Charles-Pierre-François Augereau
Belloc - Le marechal Charles Pierre Francois Augereau, duc de Castiglione.jpg
Born(1757-10-21)21 October 1757
Paris, France
Died12 June 1816(1816-06-12) (aged 58)
La Houssaye, France
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1750-1801).svg  Kingdom of Prussia
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples (1806).svg  Kingdom of Naples
Flag Portugal (1750).svg  Kingdom of Portugal
Years of service1774–1815
Rank Général de division
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars,
Napoleonic Wars
Battle of Loano
Battle of Millesimo
Battle of Castiglione
Third Siege of Gerona
Awards Marshal of France,
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour,
Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III of Spain,
title of Duke of Castiglione,
Peer of France,
Knight of the Order of Saint Louis

Charles Pierre François Augereau, 1st Duc de Castiglione (21 October 1757 12 June 1816) was a soldier and general and Marshal of France. After serving in the French Revolutionary Wars he earned rapid promotion while fighting against Spain and soon found himself a division commander under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy. He fought in all of Bonaparte's battles of 1796 with great distinction. During the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon entrusted him with important commands. His life ended under a cloud because of his poor timing in switching sides between Napoleon and King Louis XVIII of France. Napoleon wrote of Augereau that he "has plenty of character, courage, firmness, activity; is inured to war; is well liked by the soldiery; is fortunate in his operations." [1]

Castiglione delle Stiviere Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Castiglione delle Stiviere is a town and comune in the province of Mantua, in Lombardy, Italy, 30 kilometres northwest of Mantua by road.

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).



Augereau, by H. Rousseau (drawing), E. Thomas (engraving) AduC 222 Augereau (C.P.F., duc de Castiglione, 1757-1816).JPG
Augereau, by H. Rousseau (drawing), E. Thomas (engraving)

Early years

Pierre Augereau was born in Faubourg Saint-Marceau, Paris, as the son of a Parisian fruit seller (in some accounts, a servant). He enlisted in the army at the age of seventeen in the Clare Infantry Regiment, but was soon discharged. Later he joined the dragoons. He became a noted swordsman and duellist, but he had to flee France after killing an officer in a quarrel. For the next 13 years he drifted across Europe. He claimed to have served in the Russian army against the Ottoman Empire, being present at the siege of Izmail as a sergeant. [2] Afterwards deserting. He enlisted in the infantry regiment of Prince Henry of Prussia and said he served in the Prussian Foot Guards as well. He deserted by masterminding a mass escape and reached the border of Saxony where he taught fencing. [3]

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. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

Fruit Part of a flowering plant

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.

Duel Arranged engagement in combat between two individuals

A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules. Duels in this form were chiefly practiced in early modern Europe with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among military officers.

In 1781, King Louis XVI of France proclaimed an amnesty for deserters, so Augereau returned to his native land. He joined the cavalry in 1784, and after serving in the carabiniers he was sent to the Kingdom of Naples as part of a military mission. While in Naples, he eloped with Gabrielle Grach and the two lovers traveled to Portugal where they spent the years 17881791. After the French Revolution broke out, the Portuguese jailed Augereau as a dangerous foreigner. Somehow Gabrielle persuaded the authorities to release her husband and the couple returned to France. In September 1792, Augereau joined a volunteer cavalry unit, the German Legion, but this is without proof as Augereau claims that the papers were taken away from him during the Portuguese Inquisition. [4]

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Kingdom of Naples Former state in Italy

The Kingdom of Naples comprised that part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was created as a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate Kingdom of Sicily. Naples continued to be officially known as the Kingdom of Sicily, the name of the formerly unified kingdom. For much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Spanish dynasties. In 1816, it was reunified with the island kingdom of Sicily once again to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

French Revolutionary Wars

Augereau on the bridge at Arcole, 15 November 1796 by Charles Thevenin Charles Thevenin - Augereau au pont d'Arcole.jpg
Augereau on the bridge at Arcole, 15 November 1796 by Charles Thévenin

Augereau's unit was sent to put down the Revolt in the Vendée in April 1793. The German Legion proved useless in battle because many of the soldiers switched sides, and the officers, including Augereau and François Marceau found themselves in prison. Released, he served briefly in the 11th Hussars before serving as wagonmaster and as aide de camp to General Jean Antoine Rossignol. He was then assigned to train recruits for General Jean-Antoine Marbot at Toulouse. Marbot liked his work and Augereau soon became a close friend of the Marbot family. [5]

Jean Antoine Rossignol French general

Jean Antoine Rossignol, was a general of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Jean-Antoine Marbot French general and politician

Jean-Antoine Marbot, born 7 December 1754 in Altillac (Corrèze), died 19 April 1800 in Genoa (Liguria), was a French General and politician. He belongs to a family that has distinguished itself particularly in the career of arms, giving three Generals to France in less than 50 years.

Toulouse Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Toulouse is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean and 680 km (420 mi) from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with 466,297 inhabitants as of January 2014. In France, Toulouse is called the "Pink City".

It is not clear when, or if, Augereau received promotion to general of brigade, but he transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, and was promoted to general of division on 23 December 1793. [6] When Jacques François Dugommier became commander in January 1794, the army was thoroughly reorganized. Augereau became a division commander and played a significant role at the Battle of Boulou from 29 April to 1 May, where his feint attacks lured the Spanish army led by Luis Firmín de la Unión into a false position. After the victory at Boulou, the army advanced a short distance into Spain, with Augereau holding the right wing. At the Battle of San-Lorenzo de la Muga on 13 August, he skilfully repelled the assaults of 20,000 Spaniards with his 10,000 French troops. [7] On 17 November, Dugommier launched a major offensive against the Spanish at the Battle of the Black Mountain. On the first day, Augereau's attack crushed the Spanish left flank while other French attacks proved unsuccessful. Dugommier was killed on the second day, but after a day's pause, the advance resumed and the Spanish were routed.

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.

Jacques François Dugommier French general

Jacques François Coquille named Dugommier was a French general.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a European country located in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

After the Peace of Basel ended the War of the Pyrenees in July 1795, Augereau and his division transferred to the Army of Italy. On 23 November 1795, Augereau fought at the Battle of Loano against the Austrian Habsburgs and Piedmontese. During the fighting, his troops attacked on the right near the coast, while André Masséna's division pierced the Allied center. The following April, his close association with Napoleon Bonaparte began when Bonaparte took command of the army and launched the Montenotte Campaign. [8] Augereau fought the Battle of Millesimo on 13 April 1796, and accepted the surrender of the castle of Cosseria the next morning. He led his troops at the Battle of Ceva on the 16th. He served in the Lodi campaign in early May and fought at the Battle of Borghetto on 30 May.

Peace of Basel peace treaty

The Peace of Basel of 1795 consists of three peace treaties involving France during the French Revolution.

War of the Pyrenees 18th-century conflict between Revolutionary France and Spain and Portugal

The War of the Pyrenees, also known as War of Roussillon or War of the Convention, was the Pyrenean front of the First Coalition's war against the First French Republic. It pitted Revolutionary France against the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal from March 1793 to July 1795 during the French Revolutionary 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.

But it was at the Battle of Castiglione on 5 August 1796 that Augereau rendered the most notable services. In his memoirs, General Marbot described him as encouraging even Bonaparte himself in the confused situation that prevailed before that battle, though Marbot may not be the most reliable source, as he had not witnessed these events directly and due to his outspoken sympathy for Augereau. In any case it was Bonaparte's undoubted superiority as a strategist that made the victory at Castiglione a possibility. On 3 August, while Bonaparte defeated the Austrian corps of Peter Quasdanovich, Augereau held off the main Austrian army of Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser. With 11,000 men, he attacked Anton Lipthay's brigade and drove it back on the Austrian main body. By the end of the day, Augereau faced 20,000 Austrians. The fighting cost the Austrians about 1,000 casualties, while French losses were also heavy and included General of Brigade Martial Beyrand killed. Augereau's bold front allowed Bonaparte to dispose of Quasdanovich, then mass his main strength to beat Wurmser at Castiglione two days later. [9]

Shortly after Castiglione, Bonaparte tersely summed up Augereau's military qualities: "Much character, courage, steadiness, activity; is used to war, liked by the soldiers, lucky in his operations." [10]

In 1797 Bonaparte sent Augereau to Paris to encourage the Jacobin Directors. Augereau and the troops led by him coerced the "moderates" in the councils and carried through the coup d'état of 18 Fructidor (4 September 1797). He was then sent to command French forces in Germany.

Augereau took little part in the coup d'état of Brumaire (November 1799), and did not distinguish himself in the Rhenish campaign which ensued. Nevertheless, owing to his final adhesion to Bonaparte's fortunes, he received a Marshal's baton at the beginning of the First French Empire on 19 May 1804.

Napoleonic Wars

Marshal Pierre Augereau, duke of Castiglione by Robert Lefevre Robert Lefevre 20.jpg
Marshal Pierre Augereau, duke of Castiglione by Robert Lefèvre

Augereau commanded a camp in Brest, Brittany, during the preparations for the invasion of England. When Napoleon called off the invasion because of the growing threat from Austria and Russia, the camp became the VII Corps of the Grande Armée. With this force, Augereau fought in the War of the Third Coalition. His corps was charged with protecting the army’s lines of communications during the Ulm Campaign. He fought actions at Konstanz and Bregenz, and he tracked down and destroyed Franz Jellacic's Austrian division at Dornbirn in the Vorarlberg on 13 November 1805. This was followed by the occupation of Frankfurt am Main. His wife Gabrielle died while he was away. [11]

In the War of the Fourth Coalition he was again at the head of the VII Corps. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Jena on 14 October 1806 where his corps made up the left flank. Early in 1807 he fell ill with fever, and at the Battle of Eylau on 7 February 1807, he had to be supported on his horse. Nevertheless, he directed the movements of his corps with his usual bravery. His corps was almost annihilated and the marshal himself received a wound in the arm from grapeshot. [12]

He became Duke of Castiglione on 19 March 1808, a hereditary victory title (i.e. not in chief of an actual fief, but a hollow title), in honour of the 1796 victory. In 1809 he married the 19-year-old Adélaïde Josephine Bourlon de Chavange (1789 1869) whom he had become infatuated with. [13] Adélaïde, the daughter of Gilles Bernard Bourlon de Chavange and wife Jeanne Françoise Launuy, had no children with Augereau and the ducal title became extinct with his death. His wife later remarried Camille de Sainte-Aldegonde (1787 1853), by whom she had a daughter Valentine de Sainte-Aldegonde (1820 1891), who married the 3rd Duke of Dino.

When transferred to Catalonia, where he commanded from February to May 1810, Augereau gained some successes but tarnished his name by cruelty. In the campaign of 1812 he guarded the rear areas. He sat out the spring 1813 campaign because of illness. Before the Battle of Leipzig (October 1813), Napoleon reproached him with not being the Augereau of Castiglione; to which he replied, "Give me back the old soldiers of Italy, and I will show you that I am."[ citation needed ] Yet he led the IX Corps at Leipzig with skill and brought off his command in good order. [13]

In 1814 Augereau had command of the army of Lyon, and his slackness exposed him to the charge of having come to an understanding with the Austrian invaders. Thereafter he served the restored Bourbon King Louis XVIII of France. But, after reviling Napoleon, he went over to him during the Hundred Days. The Emperor repulsed him and charged him with being a traitor to France in 1814.

Louis XVIII, when re-restored to the royal throne, deprived him of his military title and pension. Augereau died at his estate of La Houssaye. [14] He is buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.


  1. Mark Grossman (1 January 2007). World Military Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary. Infobase Publishing. p. 24. ISBN   978-0-8160-7477-8.
  2. Macdonell, A. G. (Archibald Gordon), 1895-1941. (1996). Napoleon and his marshals. London: Prion. ISBN   1853752223. OCLC   36661226.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. Elting-Chandler, pp 2-3
  4. Elting-Chandler, pp 3-4
  5. Elting-Chandler, pp 4-5
  6. Elting-Chandler, pp 5-6
  7. Smith, p 88
  8. Elting-Chandler, p 6
  9. Boycott-Brown, pp 396-397
  10. Boycott-Brown, p 412
  11. Elting-Chandler, p 11
  12. Elting-Chandler, pp 11-12
  13. 1 2 Elting-Chandler, p 12
  14. Castle of La Houssaye on Napoleon & Empire website

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