Michel Ney(redirected from Bravest of the Brave)
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See biography by J. T. Foster (1968).
Born Jan. 10, 1769, in Saarlouis; died Dec. 7, 1815, in Paris. Marshal of France (1804), duke of Elchingen (1808), prince of Moscow (1812). Son of a cooper.
In 1788, Ney joined the cavalry and was promoted in 1794–95 during the revolutionary wars. In 1796 he became a brigadier general, and in 1799 a major general. Ney took part in all the Napoleonic Wars. In 1800 he commanded a division, from 1802 the forces in Switzerland, and from 1803 to 1814 a corps. He operated successfully in the Elchingen region near Ulm (1805), as well as in the battles of Jena (1806) and Friedland (1807). From 1808 to 1811, Ney suffered a number of defeats in Spain. At the Battle of Borodino of 1812 he was in command of the center of Napoleon’s army; it was his group that attacked the Semenovskoe fleches. During the retreat from Moscow, Ney commanded the rear guard, which was almost completely wiped out near Krasnyi.
Ney was distinguished for his personal bravery and enjoyed great popularity among the soldiers. After Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, Ney entered the service of the Bourbons. He became a peer of France and a member of the Military Council, but during the period of the Hundred Days in 1815 he again allied himself with Napoleon. At the battle of Waterloo he commanded the center of the army. After the defeat of Napoleon’s army Ney hid, but he was arrested and shot by sentence of a court-martial.