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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.