Thomas Prosper Jullien

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Thomas Prosper Jullien
Thomas Prosper Jullien.jpg
Born(1773-12-21)21 December 1773
Lapalud, Comtat Venaissin
Died 2 August 1798(1798-08-02) (aged 24)
Alkam or Alquam, Egypt
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1789-1798
Relations Louis Joseph Victor and Frédéric Benoît Victoire (brothers)

Thomas Prosper Jullien (21 December 1773, Lapalud - 1798, Egypt) was a French army officer of the French Revolutionary Wars. Aide de camp to Bonaparte, he rose to the rank of captain and was brother of the famous general Louis Joseph Victor Jullien de Bidon.

Lapalud Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Lapalud is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.

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 the French Republic against Great Britain, Austria 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.

Louis Joseph Victor Jullien de Bidon French military officer

Louis Joseph Victor Jullien de Bidon was a French officer and nobleman.



Early military career (1792-95)

In 1789, aged 17, he entered the National Guard of Lapalud, which had just been created. Aged 19 he became a sous lieutenant in the régiment d’Aquitaine, which later became the 35th Infantry Regiment. Six months later, in 1792, he rose to lieutenant and replaced Louis Vincent Le Blond de Saint-Hilaire

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

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At the siege of Toulon (September - December 1793), Thomas Prosper met Bonaparte, then a lieutenant in the 34th Infantry Regiment, and took command of the chasseurs in second battalion. He then became a captain attached to the adjutant general St Hilaire (1794) and rose to captain on 3 April 1795.

Chasseur light infantry or light cavalry, troops trained for rapid action

Chasseur, a French term for "hunter", is the designation given to certain regiments of French and Belgian light infantry (chasseurs à pied) or light cavalry (chasseurs à cheval) to denote troops trained for rapid action.

Italy (1796-97)

With St Hilaire, he moved to the armée d’Italie, where he met the chief of staff in Milan. On 7 September 1796, Prosper fought in the battle at Covelo and the crossing of the Brenta gorges, where he was mentioned by Bonaparte in the same despatches as he mentioned Duroc and Augereau. On 5 October 1796, he rose to captain and Bonaparte attached him to his chief of staff, in which role the young Prosper often had the chance to meet Bonaparte at home on the rue Chantereine. He escorted Josephine from Milan to Paris with Junot and Louis Bonaparte. He became Bonaparte's aide de camp on 9 April 1798 but the end of the Italian campaign ended before he could take up the post. In 1797, Bonaparte chose him to accompany Marmont on his embassy to Rome to meet pope Pius VI, thinking that Prosper would make a good impression on the Romans as to the manners of the French army. General Desaix also described Prosper in his Journal de voyages [1] as "a jolly boy, good manners, swarthy". René Bouscayrol wrote of him as "a handsome, swarthy infantry captain"

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Louis Bonaparte King of Holland, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, member of the House of Buonaparte

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Egypt (1798)

On 3 May 1798 Bonaparte left Paris to embark at Toulon, accompanied by Josephine and Jullien. He became Bonaparte's aide de camp and together they set out for Egypt on 19 May that year on board the Orient. On 30 July 1798 Jullien left for Alexandria, escorted by a dozen men of 75th demi-brigade, with letters addressed to admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers "ordering him to moor immediately in the Old Port [of Alexandria] or take refuge in Corfu" and to generals Kléber and Jacques-François Menou. He and his escort were massacred by the inhabitants of the village of Alkam (also spelled Alquam) shortly afterwards, on 2 August.

French ship <i>Orient</i> (1791)

Orient was an Océan-class 118-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, famous for her role as flagship of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798, and for her spectacular destruction that day when her magazines exploded. The event was commemorated by numerous paintings and poems.

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Corfu Place in Greece

Corfu or Kerkyra is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the northwesternmost part of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality, which also includes the smaller islands of Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi. The municipality has an area of 610,9 km2, the island proper 592,8 km2. The principal city of the island and seat of the municipality is also named Corfu. Corfu is home to the Ionian University.

In Alexandria, Kléber wrote to Bonaparte on 22 August 1798, saying "I learned with true sorrow of the death of poor Julien [sic], your aide de camp". Bourienne wrote about the investigation into the killing, saying "No one has found any trace of this sad event besides a jacket button in the dust of a hut, situated not far from Alkam. This button bears the number of the corps which provided his escort.". On 25 August Bonaparte ordered general Lanusse to retaliate for the massacre by pillaging then destroying the village. This operation was carried out by captain Joseph-Marie Moiret (Jullien's escort formed part of the 1st battalion of the regiment in which Moiret was serving) and it discovered the bloodied clothing of Jullien and his men in one of the houses. Moiret wrote in his memoirs: [2]

These soldiers bodies were rediscovered - Ida de St Elme [3] mentions:

Although bloodied weapons and uniforms were found at Alkam, it is very improbable that Jullien's corpse was rediscovered. The attack occurred on the Nile or its banks and the punitive expedition arrived twenty days after the events.

Posthumous honours

The ancient Fort Rashid, commanding the boghâz of the River Nile at the river's junction with the Mediterranean, was renamed Fort Julien (or Fort Jullien in some sources) in his honour. It was in the course of fortifications work there that the Rosetta Stone was discovered. Faithful to Jullien's memory, Bonaparte set up a 0.63 metres (2.1 ft) high and 0.43 metres (1.4 ft) wide marble bust of him by Louis-Simon Boizot (1743–1809), executed in around 1803, in the salle des maréchaux, in the Tuileries throughout the First French Empire. This bust is now on show at the Trianon in the palace of Versailles. His brother, general and Comte d’Empire, commissioned five plaster copies, of which two were placed in Jullien's houses at Lapalud, two at Vannes (including one at the prefecture). O’Meara, Bonaparte's doctor on St Helena, declared in his memoirs that "the emperor loved [Jullien] greatly", whilst Bourienne's memoirs state he was a very worthy officer with great things ahead of him. All specialists on the First Empire agree that Jullien was a very talented officer who would probably have been promoted to Maréchal d’Empire by Napoleon had he not died in Egypt.

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  1. Journal de voyage en Italie p 77)
  2. Page 60
  3. In La contemporaine en Egypte, volume IV, page 196