Destaing, Jacques-Zacharie

b. 6 November 1764, Aurillac

d. 5 May 1802

"Son of Pierre, a lawyer in parliament, and Marie-Gabrielle Delzons. In 1789 he served in the National Guard of his town, then left as a volunteer for the defence of the frontiers on 1 June 1791. He was made lieutenant on 7 July 1792, and lieutenant-colonel three days later. He went to serve with the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees (1793-95), where the Representatives with the army appointed him adjutant-general chef de brigade on 22 February 1794. He was wounded at the siege of St Elme (end of May 1794), took part in the action at St Laurent de la Mouga in the following August. Sent to the Army of Italy in 1796, he distinguished himself at Dego on 15 April, was wounded again at La Corona on 29 July, received four sabre cuts at Lonato on 3 August, and wound from a musket-shot at Rivoli, and was hit by a stone at Milbach in the Tyrol. Having transferred to the Army of the Orient in 1798, he was appointed general of brigade on the field of battle of the Pyramids, commanded at Cairo, and served under Murat at Aboukir. While commanding the province of Bahireh (August 1799), he distinguished himself at Alexandria and commanded the centre of the army at the battle of Canope, where he was twice wounded by firearms. Appointed general of division by Menou, who took him as his chief of staff, it was he who ordered him to arrest General Reynier. Having returned to France after the surrender of Egypt, he was challenged to a duel by Reynier, who killed him ... His portrait, by Dutertre, is in the museum of Versailles." Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, Paris, 1933-, vol. 11, p. 95.

"French general, he had commanded the 4th Light demi-brigade for several years, and received five wounds on the field of battle, when Bonaparte numbered him among the officers who were to follow him to Egypt. It was a great proof of confidence and esteem, and Destaing justified the opinion of his commander. Promoted general of brigade on the field of battle, he commanded the light infantry at the battle of Aboukir, and his dispositions were so well made that at the first shock the Turks were overthrown and thrown into the sea. Having remained in Egypt after the departure of Bonaparte, he continued to serve under Kléber and Menou, and was appointed general of division on 25 germinal Year 9 (15 April 1801), after having been severely wounded at the action of 30 ventôse. He was party to the convention which was signed by Menou and the English Admiral, Keith, and returned to France to recover his health. A little later, General Reynier having published a work on Egypt, in which he severely criticised his brother officer, Destaing, the two generals met, and Destaing, hit by a bullet, died at the place (1803 [sic]). The Consular government granted his widow a pension." Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol. 10, p. 364.

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