Bazaine, François Achille

BORN 13 Feb 1811, Versailles, Yvelines - DIED 23 Sep 1888, Madrid
GRAVE LOCATION Madrid: Cementerio de San Justo (Patio de San Milán, Nichio 1976)

François Bazaine was born at Versailles as the son of the mathematician and engineer Pierre-Dominique Bazaine, who left his mother before he was born without supporting her financially. After he failed to be admitted to the École Polytechnique he entered the army in 1831. He served in the Foreign Legion and was quickly promoted. In 1848 he became a Lieutenant Colonel and in 1850 he bcame a full colonel. He married Maria Juana de la Soledad in 1852 in Versailles.

After a brave conduct at Sebastopol (where he was wounded) he became a General de Division and became the governor of Sebastopol. In 1862 he served under Forey in Mexico and he received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1863. In 1863 he became a marshal of France and a member of the senate. In Mexico he married a rich young lady, Pepita de la Peña y Azcarate. After Napoleon III decided to withdraw the French troops he was in command of the embarkation at Veracruz in 1867.

After the Franco-German War of 1870 broke out he was put in command of the Third Corps of the Rhine Army near Metz. On 13 Aug 1870 he succeeded Napoleon III as Commander-in-Chief of the entire French army. His troops were besieged by the Germans in Metz. After Napoleon III's surrender he refused to recognize the new government in France and he tried to negotiate between Prussia and the empress Eugénie, who had fled to Hastings. He didn't succeed and had to surrender his army at Metz.

In 1873 he was tried for treason and he was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment. He was transported to the Île Sainte-Marguerite near Cannes where he was treated as an exile. In 1874 he managed to escape into a boat that his wife had brought from Cannes. they sailed to Genoa and moved on to London.

In 1875 he settled in Madrid where he was more than welcome after his service as a young officer in the Carlist War. There he died in 1888. In French papers were still negative about him at the time of his death but the German press wrote that he had been mistreated by his own people.

Related persons
• was painted by Beaucé, Jean-Adolphe
• has a connection with Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico

27/10/1870Bazaine surrenders Metz to the Germans 


The grave of François Bazaine at the Cementerio de San Justo, Madrid.
Picture by Androom (07 May 2012)


• Edwards, Stewart, The Paris Commune 1871, Quadrangle Books, New York, 1977
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
François Achille Bazaine - Wikipedia

Beadnell, Maria

Published: 24 Jun 2012
Last update: 30 Jan 2018