Pichegru, Charles

Pichegru, Charles

(shärl pēshgrü`), 1761–1804, French general in the 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.
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. Successful on the Rhine front (1793), he invaded (1794) the Netherlands, entered (1795) Amsterdam and captured the Dutch fleet, which had frozen in the ice. In the same year, however, he secretly negotiated with the Austrians in an attempt to restore the monarchy, to which his own fortune was tied. Pichegru deliberately allowed the Austrians to retake Mannheim. Recalled by the DirectoryDirectory,
group of five men who held the executive power in France according to the constitution of the year III (1795) of the French Revolution. They were chosen by the new legislature, by the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients; each year one director, chosen
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, he was relieved of his command. A deputy to the Council of Five Hundred (1797), Pichegru was elected its president by the royalist majority. He was later arrested in the coup of 18 Fructidor (1797), but he escaped to England. He returned to France in 1803 to carry out a royalist conspiracy with Georges CadoudalCadoudal, Georges
, 1771–1804, French royalist conspirator. A commander of the Chouans, he led the counterrevolutionists in the Vendée. He fled to England in 1801 after the failure of an attempted assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte.
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. Pichegru was arrested but was found strangled in his cell before the trial.

Pichegru, Charles

 

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.

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