Ney, Michel, Duc d’Elchingen, Prince de la Moskowa

MARSHAL (GERMANY)
BORN 10 Jan 1769, Saarlouis - DIED 7 Dec 1815, Paris: Closerie des Lilas
CAUSE OF DEATH executed by firing squad
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 29, ligne 01, R, 33)

Son of a German barrel cooper. He entered the French army in 1788 and rapidly climbed the ranks until he was appointed général de brigade in 1796. In 1797 he became a prisoner of war during the battle of Neuwied. Afterwards he was exchanged for an Austrian general. After he captured Mannheim he was promoted to géneral de division (1799). In 1802 he married Aglaé Louise Auguié (1782-1854). He was a loyal follower of Napoleon, who made him Marshal of the Empire in 1804.

In 1807 Ney saved Napoleon from defeat at Eylau and in 1808 he was sent to Spain. In 1810 he joined Masséna for the invasion of Portugal, but in 1810 sent him away because of insubordination (he had refused an order that he considered foolish). In 1812 he was in command of the Third Corps of the Grand Armée that invaded Russia. During the retreat he was cut of from the main army but was able to rejoin it. For this Napoleon called him 'the bravest of the brave' and gave him the title of Prince of Moskwa.

After the fall of the empire he supported the Bourbon restoration. He had pressed Napoleon to accept his abdication and Louis XVIII rewarded him by making him a peer. When Napoleon entered France he said he would bring Bonaparte back to Paris in an iron cage, but after he read Napoleon's proclamation he decided to offer his services to him on March 3th, 1815. On June 16th, 1815, Ney attacked Wellington at Quatre-Bras, but he was critized for doing this too slowly. During the Battle of Waterloo he commanded the left wing of the army and his failure to break through the enemy infantry contributed to Napoleon's defeat.

He was arrested in August, tried by the Chamber of Peers and found guilty of treason. His conviction served as an example for Napoleon's other marshals and generals. On December 7th he was executed, ordering the soldiers to fire himself.

Related persons
• employed Jomini, Antoine Henri, baron
• has a connection with Masséna, André, duc de Rivoli, prince d'Essling
• served under Napoleon I Bonaparte

Events
7/9/1812Battle of Borodino: Napoleon defeats Kutusov. The armies consisted both of circa 130,000 men. The French army was slightly larger. Kutusov was assisted by Prince Pyotr Bagration and Barclay de Tolly. Napoleon brought Eugène de Beauharnais, Ney and Davout. The battle was intense and pieces of land changed hands several times. Eugène de Beauharnais managed to occupy Borodino. The French lost 30,000 men and the Russians probably even more. But the French victory wasn't decisive because the French failed to destroy the Russian army. [Beauharnais, Eugène Rose de, Duke of Leuchtenberg][Davout, Louis-Nicholas, Duke of Auerstädt][Murat, Joachim, king of Naples][Napoleon I Bonaparte]
20/5/1813Battle of Bautzen: Napoleon defeats Russia and Prussia. A Prusso-russian army was driven back by Napoleon but it escapted destruction. The battle took place from 20 to 21 May. It was not the decisive victory that Napoleon had hoped for. His friend General Geraud Duroc was wounded mortually on the day after the battle. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]

Images

The grave of Michel Ney at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)

 

Sources
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Wikipedia (EN): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Ney
Battle of Bautzen (1813) - Wikipedia


Nhil, Robert

Published: 21 Dec 2007
Last update: 26 Jan 2022