Thursday, 1 November 2012

Marshals and Generals


Edouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier  

Born: 1768 LeCateau-Cambresis, France 

Died: 1835 Paris, France  

Rank: Marshal of France

Edouard Mortier was born at the Le Cateau-Cambresis on 13thFebruary 1768, son of Charles Mortier and mother Marie Anne Joseph Bonnaire and at the age of 23 Mortier entered the army as a sub-lieutenant in 1791 after his job as a clerk to a merchant at Dunkirk. There he learned the Spanish language, and behaved remarkably well.
He served in the French Revolutionary Wars in the campaigns of 1792 and 1793 on the north-eastern frontier and in the Netherlands and on the Meuse and the Rhine. 
In the war against the Second Coalition in 1799, he was promoted successively general of brigade to general of division. During the Second Battle of Zurich, Mortier led a force of 8000 troops in the attack from Dieticon on Zurich. His conduct of the French occupation of Hanover, bringing about the Convention of Artlenburg, led Napoleon to include Mortier in the first list of marshals created in 1804.
Mortier commanded a corps of the Grande Armee in the Ulm campaign in which he distinguished himself. In the campaign of the middle Danube in the battle of Austerliz, Napoleon placed him in command of a newly-formed VIII Corps. He over-extended his line of march on the north shore of the Danube and failed to take napoleon’s advice to protect his north flank. A combined force of Russian and Austrians, under over-all command of Mikhail Kutuzov enticed Mortier to send his 2nd Division into a trap where the French troops were caught in a valley between two Russian columns. They were rescued by the timely arrival of a second division, under commend of Pierre Dupont de L’Etang’s 1st Division, which covered a day’s march in half a day.
On November 11th in 1805 the Battle of Durrenstein fought well into the night. Both sides claimed a victory, the French lost more than a third of the participants, while Gazan’s division had over 40% losses. The Austrians and Russians also had heavy losses, close to 16%. After Austerliz, Napoleon dispersed the Corps and Gazan received the Legion of Honor, but Mortier was simply reassigned to a new position.
In 1806 Mortier was serving in Hanover and north-western Germany. In 1807 he then again served with the Grande Armee in the Friedland campaign, in the siege of both Stralsund and Kolberg.
In 1808, Napoleon created him Duke of Trevise in his own Kingdom of Italy, and shortly after he commended and army corps in Napoleon’s campaign for the recapture of Madrid.
Mortier remained in Spain for two campaigns, winning the victory of Ocana in November 1809. In 1812 and 1813 he commanded the Imperial Guard, and in the defensive campaigns of 1814 he rendered brilliant services in command of rearguards and covering detachments.
In 1815, after the flight of the Bourbon King Louis XVIII of France, he rejoined Napoleon during the 100 days and was given commend of the Imperial Guard once more. But at the opening of the Battle of Waterloo he was unable to continue his duties due to severe sciatica. 
After the second Bourbon Restoration he was for the first time in disgrace, but then in 1819 he was readmitted to the Chamber of Peers and in 1825 received the Order of the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom’s highest.
In 1830-31 he was Ambassador of France to Russia at St Petersburg, and in 1834-35 minster of war and president of the council of ministers.
It was on the 28th July 1835 in Paris while accompanying Louis-Philippe and his three sons to a review of the National Guard, a machine consisted of twenty-five barrels, charged with various species of missiles, which were fired simultaneously by a train of gunpowder with intent to destroy the French king. The king and his sons escaped but Marshal Mortier, was shot dead, and many more were dangerously wounded. Such were the circumstances under which one of after escaping the perils of the battle-field, perished in a time of peace, in the streets of the capital. It is said that the king bitterly mourned him, and wept openly at the marshal’s funeral. 

Mortier was Married to Eve Anne Hymmes on 26 January 1799 and is said that they had seven children.