b. 25 May 1769, Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée)
d. 28 January 1832, Brussels
Son of a public prosecutor at the royal tribunal of Fontenay-le-Comte. He participated in the formation of a company of patriots at the beginning of the Revolution, which was incorporated into the National Guard in October 1791, resulting in Belliard becoming a lieutenant in that corps. On 8 December he was elected captain of the 1st battalion of volunteers of the Vendée. He became an assistant to the adjutant generals on Dumouriez's staff on 22 August 1792, and was present at the battle of Valmy (20 September), and Jemappes (6 November). He was promoted adjutant general chef de bataillon on 8 March 1793, and fought at Neerwinden on the 18th of the month, being wounded in the subsequent retreat. After Dumouriez's defection, Belliard was sent to the Army of the Coasts of Rochelle. He was accused of treason and suspended on 30 July 1793. On 15 August 1794, he enrolled as an ordinary trooper in the 3rd Chasseurs à Cheval, and on 10 September 1795 he was reinstated as adjutant general. He served in the Army of the West, then transferred to the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean on 1 January 1796, but on 22 February he transferred again, to the Army of Italy.
He became chief of staff of Sérurier's division, then Augereau's, and served at Castiglione, San Giorgio (15 September), and Caldiero. He was also close by Bonaparte when the latter tried to incite his troops to cross the bridge at Arcole. A few days later, he was promoted general of brigade on the field of battle. He was confirmed in this rank on 6 December, and in January 1797 served in Joubert's division. He participated in the capture of Trento, and was mentioned in despatches for his contribution. He took part in the expedition to Egypt, and served with great distinction as the commander of the 1st brigade of Desaix's division. After the departure of Desaix, Belliard continued to serve under Friant, and was seriously wounded on 8 April 1800. Having been promoted general of division, and made commander of Cairo, he was besieged there, forced to surrender, and returned to France, taking with him his wounded men, and the body of Kléber. Belliard then commanded the 24th military division at Brussels.
In 1805 he became Murat's chief of staff, and was distinguished at Wertingen, Amstetten, the capture of the bridge to Vienna, and Austerlitz, being made Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. In 1806 he was at Jena. During the campaign of 1807, he fought at Golymin, Eylau, Heilsberg, and Friedland. Belliard then went to Spain with Murat, as his chief of staff, and then transferred to Jourdan in the same capacity. He was governor of Madrid and New Castille from 4 December 1808 to 24 December. On 9 March 1810 he was made a count of the Empire. In December 1811 he was sent to Germany to command an infantry division, and then became chief of staff of Murat's cavalry reserve for the Russian campaign of 1812. He served at Kouviaki, Ostrowno, Vitebsk, Smolensk, and Borodino. The day after the battle of Borodino, near Mojaisk, he was wounded. By the end of the campaign he was colonel general of the cuirassiers, and he returned to France at the end of February 1813. On 19 July he was made Aide-major general of the Grande Armée, and had his left arm smashed by shot at Leipzig, but still served at Hanau. He made an important and brilliant contribution to the campaign in France, where he commanded the cavalry. Before his abdication, Napoleon made him Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour. Belliard then served the Bourbons, though he maintained a position of some independence, and found himself opposing the Duke of Berry on more than one occasion.
On Napoleon's return from Elba, Belliard accompanied the princes to Beauvais, then, having been released from his oath by the Count of Artois, he served Napoleon again. He was sent on a mission to Murat in Naples, where he arrived on 9 May. Ten days later, he was back in France, and was given command of the 14th Corps, which was around Metz. He was involved in minor engagements, but the defeat at Waterloo made his position irrelevant. He was arrested on 22 December 1815, but was released on 3 June 1816. On 30 December 1818 he was returned to the active list, and on 5 March 1819 was also reinstated as a peer of France. In July 1830, he supported the government of Louis-Philippe, who made him ambassador to Vienna, then ambassador to Brussels. He died of apoplexy.
During his lifetime, he had been interested in agriculture and animal breeding, establishing a stud-farm for Arab and Andalusian horses, and introducing merino sheep into the Vendée. Sources: Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933-, vol V, p. 1356-8; and Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol. 3, pp. 575-8. (This gives Belliard's date of death as 30 January.)
Caldwell, R. J. The Era of the French Revolution: A Bibliography of the History of Western Civilization, 1789-1799, 1985 lists 5 biographical titles.
No biography in Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, 1899.