Jean-Antoine Marbot

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General Jean-Antoine Marbot (1754-1800).png
General Jean-Antoine Marbot
Born(1754-12-07)7 December 1754
Altillac, France
Died19 April 1800(1800-04-19) (aged 45)
Genoa, Italy
Allegiance Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
 French First Republic
RankGénéral de Division
Commands heldWar of the First Coalition

War of the Second Coalition

AwardsName engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
RelationsAntoine Adolphe Marcelin Marbot (Son)
Jean-Baptiste Antoine Marcellin Marbot (Son)
Marie-Louise Dupuy de Certain (Spouse)
Other workPolitical offices:

Military offices:

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.


Jean-Antoine Marbot

Ancien Régime[edit]

He was born into a family of military nobility in Altillac, in the province of Quercy in southwestern France. His career began in the Maison militaire du roi de France in Versailles, where he joined the cavalry unit of the royal Gardes du Corps of King Louis XV, with the rank of Second-lieutenant. In 1781 he was promoted to the rank of Captain of the dragoons and became aide-de-camp to Lieutenant General de Schomberg, Inspector General of the cavalry, in 1782.

Assemblée législative[edit]

Following of the ideas of Enlightenment, he retired from military service at the beginning of the Revolution and returned to his properties in Altillac. He was elected administrator of the department of Corrèze in 1790 and then deputy of this department in the Legislative Assembly on 3 September 1791 with 206 votes out of 361, where he sat in the majority. On 5 April 1792, he presented a report on the finances of the state in front of the assembly, and proposed a national loan plan, the purpose of which was to reduce the number of assignats in circulation to 12 million, so that acquirers of national property would have to pay in metallic values.

War of the Pyrenées[edit]

He reentered military service during the War of the Pyrenées against Spain with the rank of Captain of the mountain chasseurs. On 30 August 1793, he was promoted to the rank of General of Brigade and fought with the Army of the Eastern Pyrenées (French: Armée des Pyrénées orientales), distinguishing himself during the capture of Spanish Cerdanya under the orders of General Dagobert de Fontenille. He then joined the Army of the Western Pyrenées (French: Armée des Pyrénées occidentales) from 1794 to 1795, where he was promoted to the rank of General of Division. He distinguished himself for valour and won numerous victories against the enemy forces, particularly on 12 August 1794 at Saint-Engrace et Alloqui, on 4 September 1794 at Lescun, on 24–25 November 1794 at Ortès, and on 12 May 1796 during the attack on enemy positions between Glossua and Elgoibar, where he made many prisoners. In 1795 he was dismissed for political motives by Representatives on mission (French: Représentants en mission), envoys of the National Convention before being definitively reinstated on 25 Prairial Year III.

Seal of the Council of Ancients

Conseil des Anciens[edit]

He was elected Deputy of Corrèze in the Council of the Ancients, the upper house of French legislature during the French First Republic on 23 Vendémiaire Year IV (15 October 1795), with 121 votes out of 236. His republican convictions led him to become opposed to the Club de Clichy, which he accused of conspiring against the interest of the Republic and he subsequently approved the coup d'état of 18 Fructidor Year V, engineered by Generals Napoleon Bonaparte and Pierre Augereau, his protégé during the War of the Pyrenées. On 6 September 1797, he was elected President of the Council of Ancients. On 11 January 1798, he passed a proposal aiming to contain the uprising that was being ignited by émigrés in the county of Avignon, in the south of France. Re-elected President of the Council of Ancients on 19 June 1798, he delivered a commemorative speech during the celebrations of the 14th of July, and favoured decisive actions against the coalition powers at war with France. On 18 April 1799, he supported a bill for the conscription of two hundred thousand men for the army, opposing the system adopted by the Minister of the Interior, François de Neufchâteau.

Military governor of Paris[edit]

In 1799, he was appointed Military governor of Paris, replacing General Barthélemy Joubert at the head of the 17th Military Division stationed in Paris. He became opposed to the planned coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, which was to overthrow the government of the Directory and replace it with the more autocratic Consulate after General Napoleon Bonaparte's return from the Egyptian campaign. Directors Emmanuel Sieyès, Paul Barras and the remaining authors of the planned coup knew that they needed the support of the armed forces in Paris. Fearing its current commander's attachment to republican ideals, they offered him a new position in the leadership of the Army of Italy (French: Armée d'Italie) which he accepted. After his resignation, the more favorable General François Lefebvre succeeded him as Military governor of Paris.

Plan of the fortifications of Genoa in 1800

Italian campaign[edit]

Shortly before the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, he was sent as General of Division to the Army of Italy, which was then under the command of General Jean-Étienne Championnet. After his death, he obtained the command of the Army of Italy until the arrival of General André Masséna. He commanded one of the Divisions of the French forces fighting in Liguria, and was stationed in the city of Savona. The heights of the city were the subject of numerous battles, especially on 6 and 13 April 1800, as the Austrian troops were trying to make their way to the city of Genoa. He soon fell ill and had to be transported to Genoa to receive medical treatment. He died on 19 April 1800, during the Austrian siege of Genoa as a result of his wounds and of typhus. He was accompanied by his son, then Second-lieutenant and later General Marcellin Marbot, who also took part in the siege and described his father's last moments in his famous Memoirs.


The name of General Jean-Antoine Marbot on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

General Jean-Antoine Marbot is among the 660 personalities to whom Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte paid tribute for fighting and dying for France during the Napoleonic Wars. His name is engraved on the western pillar, 34th column of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


General Jean-Antoine Marbot

On 3 October 1775, he married Marie-Louise Dupuy de Certain, with whom he had four sons:

His wife was related to François Certain de Canrobert, Marshal of France during the Second French Empire.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
André-Daniel Laffon de Ladebat
President of the Council of Ancients
Succeeded by
Emmanuel Crétet
Preceded by
Claude Ambroise Régnier
President of the Council of Ancients
Succeeded by
Étienne Maynaud de Bizefranc de Lavaux
Military offices
Preceded by
Barthélemy Catherine Joubert
Military governor of Paris
Succeeded by
François Joseph Lefebvre
Preceded by
Louis-Gabriel Suchet
Commander of the Armée d'Italie
Succeeded by
André Masséna