Jean Victor Moreau

Moreau, Jean Victor


Born Feb. 14, 1763, in Morlaix, Brittany; died Sept. 2, 1813, in Laun, now Louny, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. French military commander; general. Son of a lawyer.

Moreau joined the National Guard in 1789 and volunteered for the French Army in 1791. He advanced in the service during the revolutionary wars of 1792–94 and was promoted brigadier general in 1793 and major general in 1794. He became commander of the Northern Army in 1794 and of the Rhine-Moselle Army in 1796; Moreau won several victories over the Austrians in 1795–97 and became known as one of the best generals of the French Republic. In 1799, while commanding the Italian Army, he was defeated by A. V. Suvorov’s troops on the Adda River and at Novi. Moreau supported Napoleon Bonaparte during the coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire. In 1800, while commanding the Rhine Army, he defeated the Austrians at Hohenlinden. Since he was an opponent of Bonaparte’s one-man dictatorship, he left the service and maintained relations with opposition elements, mainly the royalists. In 1804 he was arrested, accused of complicity in C. Pichegru’s conspiracy, and sentenced to two years in prison; but he was soon pardoned and emigrated to the USA. In 1813, Moreau went to Europe on the invitation of Emperor Alexander I and became an adviser to the staff of the Allied Armies. On August 27 he was mortally wounded in the battle of Dresden of 1813.