Jean-Baptiste Jourdan

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Jean-Baptiste Jourdan
Signature Jean-Baptiste Jourdan.PNG

Jean-Baptiste, Comte Jourdan (born April 29, 1762 in Limoges , † November 23, 1833 in Paris ) was a French officer and military leader during the Revolutionary Wars . In 1804 he was appointed Maréchal d'Empire .


Jourdan was the son of a surgeon . He joined the army at the age of 16 and participated in the War of Independence in North America. Upon his return, he was first haberdasher in Limoges, after which it was in 1790 Capitaine in the Garde nationale of Limoges and 1791 chef de battalion in 12 e régiment d'infantry in the northern army . He took part in the First Coalition War under General Charles-François Dumouriezand among others Participated in the campaign in the Netherlands in 1792 and 1793. Here he did so well that he was promoted to Général de division on July 30, 1793 .

After he had fought with his division at Hondschoote (September 8, 1793), two days later he succeeded the recalled Commander -in- Chief Jean-Nicolas Houchard and defeated the Austrians at Wattignies (October 15/16, 1793). Soon after, he was dismissed for opposition to the Welfare Committee's plan to go on a winter campaign.

In the spring of 1794 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Moselle Army, then of the Sambre and Maas Army . On June 26, he won the victory at Fleurus (June 26, 1794), and after several happy meetings on the Roer , drove the Austrians across the Rhine back, took the fortress Luxembourg on June 7, 1795 , crossed the Rhine on September 6 and besieged Kastel and Mainz , but was defeated by Clerfait before Höchst (October 11, 1795) and had to retreat to the left bank of the Rhine. In 1796 he crossed the Rhine for the second time and advanced from the Lahn to the Upper Palatinate , but suffered defeats in front of Amberg (August 24, 1796) and in the Battle of Würzburg (September 1-3, 1796) by Archduke Karl and withdrew returned to Düsseldorf with great losses , where he resigned from his command.

Jean-Baptiste Jourdan (painting by Eugène Louis Charpentier )

He later tried to refute the accusations that this withdrawal brought him in the Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la campagne de 1796 (Paris 1819). In March 1797 he was elected to the Council of Five Hundred .

In 1799 he was given supreme command of the Armée de Mayence and the Danube Army and on March 1, 1799, he crossed the Rhine near Basel. He was defeated by Archduke Karl near Ostrach (March 21, 1799) and Stockach (March 25, 1799) and therefore deposed. His approach in this campaign sought to justify his work Précis des opérations de l'armée du Danube sous les ordres du général Jourdan (Paris 1799).

When Napoleon came to power on November 9, 1799 (→ coup d'état of 18th Brumaire VIII ), Jourdan, although a strict republican, behaved neutrally and was therefore entrusted by the First Consul in 1800 with the administration of Piedmont , which he led excellently. In 1803 he was appointed to the Senate . Emperor Napoleon I raised him to the rank of count in 1804, appointed him Maréchal d'Empire and gave him a seat and vote in the Conseil d'État , but never an independent command. When Joseph Bonaparte became king of Naples in 1806 , he appointed Jourdan military governor of the city of Naples . After the abdication of King Charles IV of Spain , Joseph Bonaparte succeeded him on August 6, 1808 and took Jourdan with him to Spain as chief of staff , which he held until 1814 with an interruption (1809-1812).

Jourdan fought together with King Joseph et al. in the Battle of Vitoria (June 21, 1813) and was crushed. Jourdan was replaced by General Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult . He returned to France after the Battle of Vitoria and remained inactive until the following year, when he was nevertheless appointed head of the 19th Military Division, an order confirmed during the Restoration. During the reign of the Hundred Days , Jourdan was appointed Peer of France by Napoleon . After the Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815) Jourdan joined the Bourbons and supported King Louis XVIII. and later also his successor Karl X.

In 1815, after the Second Restoration , he became chairman of the court martial , which was to convict Michel Ney . The court martial, however, declared that it was not competent to judge a pair from France. In 1816 he received the 7th Military Division, in 1819 he was again by Louis XVIII. appointed to the Chambre des Pairs . Jourdan did not play a significant role in the July Revolution of 1830 . After the revolution, King Louis-Philippe I appointed him his foreign minister . Originally, Édouard Bignon was intended for this office; also Horace-François Sébastiani had ambitions in this regard. Jourdan was chosen because of his role in the previous revolutions, despite his old age and inexperience in foreign policy. In this capacity he took part in the inauguration of King Louis-Philippe I on August 9, 1830. After a few days he gave up the post of foreign minister again and was appointed governor of the Hôtel des Invalides with effect from August 11, 1830 . At the age of 71, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan died on November 23, 1833 in Paris and found his final resting place in the cathedral of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ The small encyclopedia , Encyclios-Verlag, Zurich, 1950, volume 1, page 793
  2. a b c d e f Laurent Theis: Jourdan, Jean-Baptiste . In: Lucien Bély, Laurent Theis, Georges-Henri Soutou and Maurice Vaïsse (eds.): Dictionnaire des ministres des affaires étrangères . Fayard, 2005, ISBN 2-213-62503-4 , pp. 283 .
  3. Online at Google books: Memories of the history of the campaign in 1796 in a German translation from 1823
  4. ^ Béatrice Capelle et Jean-Claude Demory, Maréchaux d'Empire, E / P / A, 2008, 287 p. ( ISBN 978-2-85120-698-5 ), “Jourdan, le maréchal non anobli”, page 27.


  • Karl Bleibtreu : Marshals, Generals, soldiers of Napoleon I. VRZ-Verlag, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-931482-63-4 (unchanged reprint of the Berlin 1899 edition).
  • Frédéric Hulot : Le maréchal Jourdan , Pygmalion, Paris 2010, ISBN 9782756402994 .
  • René Valentin : Le Maréchal Jourdan (1762-1833) , Charles-Lavauzelle et cie, Paris 1956.
    • German translation: Die Marshals Napoleon I. Verlag Schmidt & Günther, Leipzig 1898 (translated by Oskar Marschall von Bieberstein).
  • Charles Mullié: Biography of the célébrités militaires des armées de terre et de mer de 1789 à 1850 . Poignavant, Paris 1851 (2 vol.)
  • Digby Smith : The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book . Greenhill, London 1998, ISBN 1-85367-276-9 .
  • Jürgen Sternberger : The marshals of Napoleon . Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86805-172-8 .

Web links

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