Prince de Essling
Duc de Rivoli
eager to go to sea, Andre Massena found life on the waves was not
what it should be and so set out for a career in the French army.
quickly he discovered he had made the right choice and rose rapidly
to sergeant. Despite his promise, the army released Massena in 1789
and he took up smuggling on the Cote d'Azure.
two years, however, the call of the drums took him back to the army
and he joined the National Guard and was voted in as colonel.
1793, he was a general of division and his abilities gave him first
battle victory at Lonato in 1795.
that, Massena teamed up with a young General
Napoleon Bonaparte and was a key soldier in the stunning 1796
Campaign and the battles of Montenotte,
Lodi, Castiglione, Bassano,
1799, Massena took command of the army in Switzerland and ran into
Russia's Field Marshal Suvarov
at the second battle of Zurich.
his reputation soared and even the harrowing siege and eventual
surrender of his men at Genoa could not tarnish it.
succeeded Bonaparte as commander of the Army of Italy, but his unashamed
looting required his almost instant dismissal.
was forgiven in time and in 1804 he became a marshal and a year
later had taken Verona and fought at Caldiero.
command of the campaign against Naples he was recalled, again for
massive pillaging, and had his loot taken from him by the emperor.
the Danube campaign of 1809,
Massena again put soldiering first and proved his abilities at Landshut,
and Znaim. His courage and skill
at Aspern-Essling earned him the title Prince d'Essling.
Austria, Massena was moved to Spain, together with his mistress
who dressed as a dragoon, and found himself sorely tested by British
troops in the Peninsular War.
first taste was at Bussaco, where
he was given a brutal lesson by the Duke
of Wellington, and then again at Fuentes
to France, Massena did not hold an active field command again, a
harsh end for a talented, but flawed, leader.