Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcelin, Baron de Marbot (August 18, 1782 – November 16, 1854), French soldier, son of General Jean Antoine de Marbot (1754-1800), who died in the defence of Genoa under Masséna, was born at La Riviere (Correze).
He joined the republican army as a volunteer in 1799. At the time there was no officer school for cadets. He rose rapidly to commissioned rank, and was aide-de-camp to Marshal Augereau, commanding the VII corps, in the war against Kingdom of Prussia and Russia in 1806-7. After this he served with great distinction in the Peninsular War under Lannes and Masséna, and showed himself to be a dashing leader of light cavalry in the Russian War of 1812 and the German campaign of the following year. After a slow recovery from the wounds he had received at Leipzig and Hanau, he was promoted general of brigade by Napoleon during the Hundred Days, and took part in, and was wounded at, the battle of Waterloo.
He was exiled at the second restoration and only returned to France in 1819, after which, however, his intimacy with the duke of Orleans secured him important military positions. After the July restoration he was made maréchal-de-camp, and in this rank he was present at the siege of Antwerp in 1832. He was promoted lieutenant-general in 1836. From 1835 to 1840 he served in various Algerian expeditions, and in 1845 he was made a member of the Chamber of Peers. Three years later, at the fall of Louis Philippe, he retired into private life.
Marbot wrote two pamphlets, Remarques critiques sur l'ouvrage de M. le general Roguet, intitulé Considérations sur l'art de la guerre (1820), and La Necessité d'augmenter les forces militaires de la France (1825).
The first pamphlet owed him the distinction of being mentioned in the will of Napoleon :
31. Item. To Colonel Marbot, one hundred thousand francs.--I recommend him to continue to write in defence of the glory of the French armies, and to confound their calumniators and apostates.
His fame rests chiefly, if not indeed wholly, on the fascinating Memoirs of his Life and Campaigns which were published in Paris in 1891 (Eng. trans., 1902). To ordinary readers and to students of history alike these give a picture of the Napoleonic age of warfare which for vividness and romantic interest has never been surpassed.
His elder brother, AAM de Marbot was also a military man of some note.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
- Works by Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcelin, Baron de Marbot at Project Gutenberg
- The Memoirs Of General Baron De Marbot, available freely at Project Gutenberg