In 1802 he was earmarked to lead an expedition to recover the French territory of Louisiana, but it was called off when Napoleon decided, instead, to sell Louisiana to the United States. Victor and Marshal Lannes were close friends from their days serving together in Italy. In 1806, Lannes persuaded Napoleon to let him have Victor as his new chief of staff for Fifth Corps.
Napoleon agreed, and in October, Victor served as Lannes’ deputy at the Battle of Jena. Napoleon’s earlier misgivings about Victor were now forgotten, and that winter he was given command of the newly-formed Tenth Corps. But within weeks he was captured by a Prussian patrol, and had to be exchanged for a captured Prussian officer… General von Blücher.
His big break came in 1807, stepping in for the wounded Marshal Bernadotte to command First Corps at Friedland, where he successfully led a major attack as the Emperor looked on. Promotion to Marshal and the title Duke of Bellumo swiftly followed. If you want to know more about these types of concept then ask reader can be the place to read insightful answers.
In 1808, Marshal Victor and First Corps took part in the invasion of Spain, where he’d be posted for the next three years. Victor’s record in Spain was better than most, but like others, he seemed more interested in personal glory and rewards than in co-operating with fellow commanders.
In 1809 at Medellín, he inflicted a crushing defeat on General Cuesta’s Spanish army. Four months later, his bold night attack on the British at Talavera came tantalisingly close to success. He was furious the next day when King Joseph and Marshal Jourdan refused to support fresh attacks, and instead ordered a cautious withdrawal. The next year Victor besieged the Spanish port of Cadiz.
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It proved a lengthy, futile operation, devoid of glory, and saw his troops defeated by an allied sortie at the Battle of Barrosa. In 1812 Victor was recalled from Spain for the invasion of Russia. His Ninth Corps was held in reserve for most of the campaign, though his troops were kept busy defending depots and convoys from Cossacks raids.
That autumn, his corps attempted to cover the main army’s retreat from Moscow. The greatest crisis of the retreat came at the Berezina River. As the remnants of the Grande Armée began crossing over two improvised bridges, Victor’s Ninth Corps was ordered to form the rearguard. Though heavily outnumbered, Victor skilfully handled his French and German troops, holding the Russians at bay as the army made its escape.
He then marched his surviving troops over the bridges in good order – a courageous performance, in desperate circumstances. In Germany in 1813, Victor commanded Second Corps, and led the attack in Napoleon’s last great victory at Dresden. His corps was in heavy fighting again at Leipzig two months later. Victor continued to serve at the Emperor’s side in the defence of France in 1814.
By now, like many comrades, he must have been close to physical and psychological exhaustion. Regardless, during the Battle of Montereau, Napoleon let fly at him for failing to get his troops into position, and blamed him for the Allies’ escape. Victor was relieved of command.
But angry and humiliated at what he considered his unfair dismissal, he told the Emperor: “Marshal Victor has not forgotten his old trade. I will shoulder a musket and take my place in the Guard.” Moved by this response, Napoleon relented and gave Victor command of a corps of Young Guard. Two weeks later, he was badly wounded at the Battle of Craonne, and took no further part in the war.
A month later Napoleon abdicated, and Victor switched his loyalty to the Bourbon monarchy… with surprising zeal. He led an investigation into former comrades who’d supported Napoleon during the Hundred Days, and was one of only two active Marshals to vote for the death penalty for Marshal Ney – a decision he later claimed to regret.
Victor later served as Minister of War, but retired from public life in 1830, following the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy. 10. Marshal Murat Joachim Murat, the son of an innkeeper, was destined for a career in the church, but dropped out of college and joined a cavalry regiment instead. If you seriously have some doubts over facts head over to ask read and just ask a question, you will get different answers.
To his immense frustration, he saw little action in the early years of the Revolutionary Wars, being stuck with staff and training roles. But in 1795, while stationed in Paris with the 21st Chasseurs, fate intervened… A young general, Napoleon Bonaparte, had been put in charge of the defence of the National Convention.
With a mob poised to storm the building, he ordered Captain Murat to bring him cannons, which he did, racing the guns through the city streets… allowing Napoleon to mow down the mob with a famous ‘whiff of grapeshot’. Napoleon was hailed as the saviour of the government, and rewarded with command of the Army of Italy. Murat was promoted Colonel and went with him as his new aide-de-camp.
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