Monnier, Jean-Charles

b. 22 March 1758, Cavaillon, near Avignon

d. 30 January 1816, Paris

Second lieutenant in the infantry in 1791, he made his first campaigns with the Army of Italy. His conduct at Lodi and Arcole brought him promotion to General of Brigade in 1796. "A Rivoli il enleva les positions avantageuses d'où l'ennemi tenait en échec l'armée française." After Campo Formio he was given command of Ancona and other departments. During the Naples campaign (1798?) he was blockaded in Ancona by 40,000 enemy troops and by a Russian squadron at sea. At that time he had only 3,000 men, but gave an extraordinary display of resourcefulness. "On vit alors, rapporte un écrivain, cet habile générale trouver dans l'activité de son génie toutes les ressorces que les circonstances lui refusaient. Il improvisa une place de guerre sur des rochers à peine couverts de quelques vieilles fortifications, fabriqua de la poudre, coula des mortiers, construisit des moulins à bras, transforma un port marchand en port de guerre, et, toujours combattent pendant ces gigantesques travaux, ils soutint, avec une poignée de braves, cent cinq jours de siége régulier contre un ennemi quinze fois plus nombreux. Enfin, après avoir livré vingt combats, presque tous avec succès, il accepta la capitulation honorable que lui offrit le général autrichien Froelich (23 brumaire an VIII)." Promoted General of Division on 15 ventôse of the same year by Bonaparte. In 1800 he was in Italy with Bonaparte. At Marengo he made an important contribution - he took and then re-took Castel Ceriolo. He opposed Bonaparte's despotism, so he was inactive during the Empire. He was part of the Royal army that tried to stop Napoleon during the Hundred Days. Made a count in August 1815. Died during the night of 29-30 January 1816. Source: Hoefer, D. Nouvelle biographie universelle/générale, 1852-66, vol 35, p. 1030)

Had been in Paris National Guard as a volunteer until 1792. Supposedly threw himself into the Revolution on 14th July 1789. In 1792 was nominated Second Lieutenant in the 7th Line, then on staff and in camps near Paris. In February 1793 he left for Italy. After capitulating at Ancona [see above] he returned to France to await exchange. Interestingly he was exchanged with Lusignan in early 1800. This edition states that no cause for his non-employment during the Empire is known. [Dates in this edition may be suspect - battle of Rivoli 15th March!] Source: Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol 28, p. 639.

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