Masséna, André(äNdrā` mäsānä`), 1758–1817, marshal of France, b. Nice. Of humble origin, he entered (1791) the French army and rose rapidly because of his brilliant tactical abilities. He served under Napoleon Bonaparte in the Italian campaign, won the battle of Rivoli (1797), where he earned a reputation for rapaciousness, and distinguished himself in Napoleon's campaigns of 1800 and 1809 against Austria. In 1799, Masséna's victory over the Russians at Zürich saved France from invasion by the Second Coalition (see French Revolutionary WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars,
wars occurring in the era of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, the decade of 1792–1802. The wars began as an effort to defend the Revolution and developed into wars of conquest under the empire.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Masséna's subsequent failure in the Peninsular WarPeninsular War,
1808–14, fought by France against Great Britain, Portugal, Spanish regulars, and Spanish guerrillas in the Iberian Peninsula. Origin and Occupation
..... Click the link for more information. is often attributed to the lack of cooperation of the other French commanders. Masséna's relations with Napoleon were somewhat strained because of Masséna's republican convictions, but he lacked political ambition, and Napoleon honored his military achievements by making him duke of Rivoli (1808) and prince of Essling (1810). After Napoleon's fall in 1814, Masséna supported Louis XVIII, who raised him to the peerage (1815). His neutral attitude during the Hundred Days was attacked by the royalists after the Restoration.
See his Mémoires (7 vol., 1848–50, repr. 1966–67); biography by J. H. Marshall-Cornwall (1965).
Born May 6, 1758, near Nice; died Apr. 4, 1817, in Paris. Marshal of France (1804); duke of Rivoli (1808); prince of Esslingen (1810). Son of a wine merchant.
Masséna entered the army in 1775 and served as a soldier; in 1789 he retired but entered the revolutionary army in 1791. In 1793 he was a brigadier general and took part in the siege of Toulon. In 1794 he became a division general. Massena operated successfully at the head of the vanguard of the army in Napoleon’s Italian campaign of 1796-97. In 1799 he commanded troops in Switzerland and defeated General A. M. Rimskii-Korsakov’s Russo-Austrian corps. In 1800, Massena commanded the troops besieged at Genoa. In the war between Austria and France in 1809 he commanded the left wing at Wagram. In 1810-11 he was commander of troops in Portugal but was removed for a series of defeats. In 1814 he went over to the side of the Bourbons and in 1815 was made a peer of France.