Jean-Baptiste Comte Jourdan, Marshal of France, 1762-1833

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Jourdan had one of the longest careers of any of Napoleon's Marshals, having served under Lafayette during the American War of Independence and then fighting in the French Revolutionary Wars, and on into the Napoleonic wars, surviving those to serve as governor of Les Invalides and Minister for Foreign Affairs under King Louis-Philippe. He became a Marshal in 1804 when he was appointed the commander of the Armee d'Italie which he commanded until September 1805. He became governor of Naples the following year and in 1808 became Chief of Staff to the Armee d'Espagne. He saw action at the battles of Talavera and Almonacid in 1809 returning to France in the October of that year. He returned to Spain in 1811 to become governor of Madrid and in 1812 fought at the battles of Salamanca and Vittoria while serving King Joseph as his Chief of staff. He was recalled to France in 1812 and retired in 1813 but this was not to last long. He was recalled to command the 14th and 15th Military divisions in 1814 but when the Bourbons retuned to power he quickly switched his allegiance back to the monarch and was made a Chevalier de Saint-Louis and commander of the 15th military division. After Waterloo he once again rallied to the monarchy and presided over the council of War that sentenced Marshall Ney to death. Despite his long record he was a timid commander more suited to the defensive warfare of a previous age than Napoleonic Warfare, Napoleon recognised this also and never gave Jourdan command of anything except secondary posts.

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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (11 March 2001), Jean-Baptiste Comte Jourdan, Marshal of France, 1762-1833, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_jourdan.html

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