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Born Feb. 16, 1761, in Les Planches, near the city of Arbois, Franche-Comté; died Apr. 6, 1804, in Paris. French military and political leader; major general (1793). Son of a peasant.
Pichegru graduated from college in 1780 and taught in the military school in Brienne. In 1783 he fought in the War of Independence in North America. In 1791 he was president of the Jacobin Club in Besançon and subsequently commanded a battalion in the National Guard. Pichegru rose in the ranks during the revolutionary wars. In 1793 he commanded the Army of the Rhine, and in 1794-95 he led the Army of the North in the conquest of Holland. In April 1795 he suppressed a Jacobin uprising in Paris and then took command of the Army of the Rhine-Moselle. In 1795, Pichegru established contacts with émigré royalists, and in 1796 he was relieved of his command. In 1797 he was elected chairman of the Council of the Five Hundred. Relying on the royalist majority there, he spoke out against the Directorate. As a result of the coup d’etat of 18 Fructidor (Sept. 4, 1797), Pichegru was arrested and exiled. In 1798 he fled to England and from there to Prussia. Together with G. Cadoudal, he prepared an attempt on the life of Napoleon in 1803-04, but he was arrested and later committed suicide while in prison.