Berthier, Louis Alexandre


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Berthier, Louis Alexandre

(lwē älĕksäN`drə bĕrtyā`), 1753–1815, marshal of France. He served in the American Revolution and in the French Revolutionary Wars, distinguishing himself under Napoleon in Italy, where he served as chief of staff. He was twice minister of war and from 1805 was chief of staff of the Grande Armée. The emperor made him prince of Neuchâtel and Wagram and arranged his marriage with a Bavarian princess. Berthier accommodated himself to the return of the Bourbons in 1814. Torn by divided allegiance when Napoleon returned from Elba, he withdrew to Bavaria, where he killed himself or was killed on June 1, 1815.

Berthier, Louis Alexandre

 

Born Nov. 20, 1753, at Versailles; died June 1,1815, in Bamberg. Marshal of France (1804); prince of Neuchâtel (1805); duke of Valangin (1806); prince of Wagram (1809).

Berthier participated in the War of Independence of the USA (1775–83). In 1789 he became chief of staff of the national guard at Versailles. From 1792 to 1795 he was chief of staff for General Luckner during the suppression of the Vendée rebellion, and in 1795 he became chief of staff in the army of General F. C. Kellermann. From 1796 to 1797 he was chief of staff and from 1797 to 1798, commander of the French army in Italy. Under Napoleon he was minister of war (1799–1807, with a break in 1800). Until 1814, Berthier was permanent chief of staff for Napoleon, who valued him highly for his capacity for work, accuracy, and efficiency. Berthier worked out the principles of staff service which were later adopted by all European armies. After Napoleon’s abdication, Berthier joined the service of Louis XVIII, but during the Hundred Days he went to Bamberg, Bavaria, and committed suicide.