|About the Book|
Marshal Nicolas Charles Oudinot ( 1767-1847), joined the Bourbon infantry as a volunteer in 1784. He served during the French Revolutionary wars from 1792 and Napoleonic wars to the 1814 campaign in France and Napoleons abdication, He remained loyalMoreMarshal Nicolas Charles Oudinot ( 1767-1847), joined the Bourbon infantry as a volunteer in 1784. He served during the French Revolutionary wars from 1792 and Napoleonic wars to the 1814 campaign in France and Napoleons abdication, He remained loyal to the Bourbons during the Waterloo campaign.The French Revolution changed his fortunes, and in 1792, on the outbreak of war, he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the 3rd battalion of the volunteers of the Meuse. His gallant defense of the little fort of Bitsch in the Vosges in 1792 drew attention to him- he was transferred to the regular army in November 1793, and after serving in numerous actions on the Belgian frontier he was promoted general of brigade in June 1794 for his conduct at the Battle of Kaiserslautern.He continued to serve with distinction on the German frontier under Louis Lazare Hoche, Charles Pichegru and Jean Victor Marie Moreau, was repeatedly wounded and once (in 1795) taken prisoner. He was André Massénas right hand all through the Swiss campaign of 1799, first as a general of division, then as chief of staff, and won extraordinary distinction at the Battle of Zürich. He was present under Massena at the Siege of Genoa, and so distinguished himself at the Battle of Monzambano that Napoleon presented him with a sword of honour. He was made inspector-general of infantry, and, on the establishment of the empire, given the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, but was not included in the first creation of marshals.During the Napoleonic Wars Oudinot was elected a member of the chamber of deputies, but had little time to devote to politics. He took a leading role in the war of 1805, commanding the famous division of grenadiers Oudinot, made up of hand-picked troops and organized by him, with which he seized the Vienna bridges, received a wound at the Battle of Schöngrabern in Lower Austria against the Russians and delivered the decisive blow in the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1807 he participated in Joachim Murats victory in a battle at Ostrolenka in Poland and fought with resolution and success at the Battle of Friedland.In 1808 he was made governor of Erfurt and Count of the French Empire, and in 1809, after displaying brilliant courage at the Battle of Wagram, he was promoted to the rank of Marshal of France. He was made a titular duke in chief of the duché-grand fief of Reggio in the satellite Kingdom of Naples, and received a large money grant in April 1810.Oudinot administered the government of the Kingdom of Holland from 1810 to 1812, and commanded the II Corps of La Grande Armée in the Russian campaign. He was present at the Battle of Lutzen (1813) and the Battle of Bautzen, and when holding the independent command of the corps directed to take Berlin was defeated at the Battle of Grossbeeren. He was then superseded by Marshal Ney, but the latter was defeated at the Battle of Dennewitz.Oudinot was not disgraced. He held important commands at the Battle of Leipzig and in the campaign of 1814. On Napoleons abdication, he rallied to the new government, and was made a Peer of France by the Bourbon Restoration King Louis XVIII. Unlike many of his old comrades, he did not desert to his former master during Bonapartes 1815 return.