King of Sweden
Prince de Ponte Corvo
of the most controversial of Napoleon
Bonaparte's marshals, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was a committed
republican whose career, mainly a self-serving one, can be divided
into three stages.
first was his rise through the ranks of the French army from 1780
to 1794 and saw him go from enlisted man to general of division.
the way he fought, mainly along the Rhine, and won a victory at
Limburg in 1796. Two years later he was sacked for quitting his
command due to dissatisfaction with how the war against the Second
Coalition was being fought, but had the good fortune to marry
second period of Bernadotte's career started well, he performed
well at Austerlitz and earned
his princedom, but his military star was on the wane and in 1807
he again faced dismissal.
reason was his poor efforts at Jena
and Auerstadt, where he did not
help the much outnumbered Marshal Davout
at Auerstadt, nor did he lead his troops to Jena where Bonaparte
was fighting. Two things probably saved him.
first being Davout pulling off one of the great military victories
and the second being Bernadotte's wife, Desiree
Clary, was a former lover of Bonaparte.
from the dressing down he got from Bonaparte, Bernadotte successfully
chased General Blucher's Prussians
and forced the fierce warrior to surrender at Lubeck.
with a renewed taste for action he won clashes at Mohrungen, Spanden
and Linz but again failed when he erred at Wagram
and was sacked by the emperor.
led to his third and most successful time - as the newly elected
Crown Prince of Sweden!
by the childless Charles XIII, Bernadotte took his new country to
heart and put his talents to excellent use.
amicable with Bonaparte, things became strained when France occupied
Swedish Pomerania in 1812.
1813, Bernadotte joined the Sixth Coalition
against his former emperor and beat two former comrades in arms
- marshals Oudinot and Ney
at Gross Beeren and Dennewitz.
then added his Swedish troops to the Allied mix at Leipzig
earning political points with Bonaparte's eventual conquerors.
1814 he incorporated Norway into Sweden.
1818, Bernadotte became King Charles XIV of Sweden and, while regarded
as a traitor by the French, began a long new royal dynasty that
is still in existence today.