Massena, André

b. 6 May 1758, Nice

d. 4 April 1817, Paris

"Born in Nice, then a town of the kingdom of Sardinia and Piedmont ... he had gone, after having served as a cabin boy on a merchant ship, on 18 August 1775 (or 1773), for a soldier in the 1st battalion of light infantry (then the Chasseurs de Provence), formed with the ex-Royal Italian Regiment, where his uncle Marcel was sergeant-major. He was made corporal on 1 September 1776; sergeant on 18 April 1777; quartermaster on 14 April 1783; adjutant NCO on 4 September 1784, he was released for his seniority on 30 September 1789. Having retired to Antibes, where it is said he took up smuggling, and where he married, and was an officer in the National Guard, he was elected adjutant-major of the 2nd battalion of volunteers of the Var in September 1791, then second lieutenant-colonel of the corps on 1 February 1792 and first lieutenant-colonel on the following 1 August. Colonel of the 51st Line infantry on 17 August 1793; general of brigade on 22 August; general of division before Toulon on 20 December 1793; confirmed in this rank on 29 August 1794; he continued to serve with the [French] Army of Italy until 1798. General in Chief of the [French] Army of Switzerland on 19 December 1798, he achieved the glorious victory of Zurich, and immortalised himself by his defence of Genoa in 1800. Marshal of the Empire on 19 May 1804, he commanded the [French] Army of Italy in 1805, at Naples, was then in the Grande Armée from 1807 to 1809, then in Spain and in Portugal until 1812. Deputy for the Seine in the Corps Legislatif on 28 July 1803 until 31 December 1807, Massena was appointed a peer of France on 2 June 1815. Duke of Rivoli in 1808, Prince of Essling in 1810, Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour, etc. Massena died in Paris at 94 rue du Bourbon (rue de Lille) ... His tomb is in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, near those of Lefebvre, Ney, Sérurier, Davout, Decrès, Suchet, Mortier, and Foy. Nice raised a statue to him, but the house where he was born has been sought in vain. Some scholars even maintain that he was not born in Nice, but in Levens, the cradle of his family.

His son-in-law was the future Marshal Reille. One of his grandsons, the Duke of Rivoli (Victor Massena) was deputy for the Alpes-Maritimes in the Corps Legislatif from 1863 to 1870. His former aide-de-camp, General Koch, published his Memoirs in 1848, in seven volumes, edited from his papers and correspondence." Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, 1899, p. 666.

The same source states that Massena stood 5ft 4in (in French measure), that is, 1.75m. (See p. 70, fn 2)

Amur leopards

A personal interest, and nothing to do with history.

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They are perhaps the most endangered animals in the world -- there are only about 30 left in the wild. They desperately need help from humankind. See www.amur-leopard.org.

Unless otherwise credited, original text, translations and photographs on this site are ©2001 Martin Boycott-Brown

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