Baste, Pierre

b. 21 November 1768, Bordeaux

d. 29 January 1814, Brienne

Son of a wood-merchant. Engaged as a cabin-boy at 12 years of age on an armed merchantman. Participated in the 1781-2 campaign of S. Domingo. Returned to France and then spent several years on land. Took to the sea again in 1787. By 1790 he was a lieutenant on the three-master, and in 1792 second captain on another vessel. On this, he found himself caught up in the insurrection S. Domingo. Having returned to France in 1793, he asked to serve in the war fleet, and became an ensign on a corvette on 8 December 1793. He served around S. Domingo again, and then in 1795 was on a brig attached to the Army of Italy, which supported the battle of Loano. In 1796 he commanded a "demi-galère" called "La Voltigeuse" on Lake Garda, then the whole flotilla there. He later commanded the flotilla operating on the lakes surrounding Mantua. He received a temporary brevet of lieutenant, and was sent to Venice to oversee the transport of the four bronze horses of St Mark to Paris. He distinguished himself at the capture of Malta, then transferred to the frigate "Diana" in Brueys' squadron. At the battle of the Nile, he was commanding a felucca and escaped the general disaster, gaining Malta, where General Vaubois gave him command of two forts. After the surrender of the island, he was promoted lieutenant de vaisseau (17 May 1800). He spent time on leave in Bordeaux, then in 1802 returned to service and sailed to S. Domingo again. On 24 September 1803 he was promoted capitaine de frégate, and was summoned to Paris to form the 3rd crew of the Marins de la Garde des Consuls (8 October). In 1804 he was involved in actions off Le Havre, and in 1805 off Calais and Boulogne. In 1807, he was involved in naval actions around Danzig. He then went to Spain, where he commanded the 3rd crew of the Marins and was made capitaine de vaisseau after the capture of Jaen. He was made prisoner at the surrender of Baylen on 21 July 1808. Released shortly afterwards, he was promoted colonel commandant of the crew of Marins (11 April 1809). With the Army of Germany, he made the crossing of the Danube on the eve of Wagram. Created a Count of the Empire on 15 August 1809, he returned to Spain with the Marins, and captured Almanza (10 July 1810). At the end of the year he returned to France and was promoted rear-admiral on 19 July 1811, as commander of the flotilla of Boulogne. In 1812 he was called to the Grande Armée, took part in the campaign with the flotillas of the Coasts of the Baltic, then served on land as a general of brigade. During the last days of 1813 and during the campaign in France, he commanded a brigade of the Young Guard. He was killed during a night attack on Brienne, on 29 January. He left his memoirs of the campaign of Andalusia (May-August 1808) which were published in 1824, in

volume two of A. de Beauchamp's collection Mémoires relatifs aux revolutions d'Espagne. Sources: Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933-, vol V, p. 781-2; Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol 3, pp. 250-1. (This gives Baste's date of birth as 11 November.)

No biography in Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, 1899.

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