Encyclopedia > Pierre François Charles Augereau, duc de Castiglione

  Article Content

Pierre François Charles Augereau, duc de Castiglione

Pierre François Charles Augereau, duc de Castiglione (1757 - 1816), marshal of France, was born in Paris to an undistinguished family. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the carabineers[?] and thereafter came into note as a duellist. Having drawn his sword upon an officer who insulted him, he fled from France and roamed about in the Levant. He served in the Russian army against the Turks; but afterwards escaped into Prussia and enlisted in the guards at the age of 17. Tiring of this, he deserted with several others and reached the Saxon frontier. Service in the Neapolitan army and a sojourn in Portugal filled up the years 1788 - 1791; but the events of the French Revolution brought Augereau back to his native land. He served with credit against the Vendeans and then joined the troops opposing the Spaniards in the south. There he rose rapidly, becoming general of division on 23 December 1793. His division distinguished itself even more when transferred to the army of Italy; and under Bonaparte he was largely instrumental in gaining the Battle of Millesimo[?] (1796) and in taking the castle of Cosseria[?] (14 April 1796). At the Battle of Lodi[?] (10 May 1796), the turning movement of Augereau and his division helped to decide the day. But it was at the Battle of Castiglione[?] (5 August 1796) that he rendered the most signal services.

General Marcellin Marbot[?] describes him as encouraging even Bonaparte himself in the confused situation that prevailed before that battle. Though this is exaggerated, there is no doubt that Augereau largely decided the fortunes of those critical days. Bonaparte summed up his military qualities: "Has plenty of character, courage, firmness, activity; is inured to war; is well liked by the soldiery; is fortunate in his operations."

In 1797 Bonaparte sent Augereau to Paris to encourage the Jacobinical 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 Empire (19 May 1804).

In the campaign of 1805 Augereau did good service around Constance and Bregenz, and at Jena (14 October 1806) his corps distinguished itself. Early in 1807 he fell ill of a fever, and at the Battle of Eylau (7 February 1807) he had to be supported on his horse, but directed the movements of his corps with his wonted bravery. His corps was almost annihilated and the marshal himself received a wound from which he never quite recovered. He became duke of Castiglione on 19 March 1808.

When transferred to Catalonia, Augereau gained some successes but tarnished his name by cruelty. In the campaign of 1812 in Russia and in the Saxon campaign of 1813 his conduct was little more than mediocre. 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".

In 1814 Augereau had command of the army of Lyons, and his slackness exposed him to the charge of having come to an understanding with the Austrian invaders. Thereafter he served the restored King Louis XVIII, but, after reviling Napoleon, 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 throne, deprived him of his military title and pension.

Augereau died at his estate of La Houssaye on 12 June 1816. In person he appeared tall and commanding, but his loud and vulgar behaviour frequently betrayed the soldier of fortune.

As authorities consult:

  • Kock, Mémoires de Masséna
  • Bouvier, Bonaparte en Italie
  • Count A. F. Andrbossi, La Campagne sur le ..., 1800 - 1801
  • Baron A. Ducasse, Précis de la campagne de ... de Lyon en 1814
  • Marbot, Mémoires

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

... simiiar to the limitations clause in the Charter. These limits include: limits on public trial rights that have also been recognized by the Canadian courts (art. 6(1) ...

This page was created in 37.4 ms