Eduoard Mortier

Marshal Eduoard MortierFrench Marshal
Duc de Trevise

Reliable, talented and brave, Edouard Mortier was one of those rare soldiers who refused a promotion to general - only to have it reoffered later and then go on to win a marshalship.

Mortier had risen through the ranks of the National Guard and served as a captain of volunteers at Jemappes, Namur, Neerwinden, Fleurus and Zurich.

He was offered a generalship in 1797 but did not accept it until two years later when, after Zurich, he made an almost immediate jump to general of division.

In 1803, he oversaw the occupation of Hanover and the next year accepted his marshal's baton and took over the Imperial Guard infantry.

During the Austerlitz campaign, Mortier won great acclaim for his courageous handling of a small force of men at Durrenstein.

His 5000 men were left behind by Marshal Murat's careless pursuit of the Russians after Ulm and found themselves attacked by some 40,000 enemy troops. Mortier's men fought tenaciously and extricated themselves from the suicidal position. Both sides lost some 3000 men.

After Austerlitz he took over V Corps and a year later commanded VIII Corps conquest of Hanover and Hesse. More battles followed including Friedland, Somosierra, Saragossa, Ocana and Badajoz.

Mortier led the Young Guard into battle at Borodino and then took over administration of the enemy capital, where he refused to follow an order to blow up the fire-ravaged city on the French withdrawal.

During the retreat, he fought at Krasnoe and Beresina and in the 1813 Campaign saw action at Lutzen, Bautzen, Dresden and Leipzig.

The 1814 defence of France saw him involved in several of the major clashes.

He joined Napoleon Bonaparte upon his return from exile, but illness stopped him having any hand in the 100 Days' Campaign.

His next service was an unwilling one, where he had to serve at Marshal Ney's court martial. He was no doubt pleased when the court dismissed itself.

In 1834, Mortier was made Minister of War, but died a year later - killed by a bomb at a parade.

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