Louis Desaix

French General

Louis DesaixA nobleman, Louis Desaix joined the Republican armies in 1791 and within three years was a general of division.

His main area of operations was in Germany and he fought at Rastadt, Ettlingen and Neresheim and won his first independent battle at Biberach.

He campaigned with Napoleon Bonaparte in North Italy and in 1798 joined the expedition to Egypt.

He masterminded the capture of Malta and victory at Ramanieh and, when Bonaparte set out to conquer Syria, Desaix pacified Upper Egypt and chased an elusive Murad Bey.

Returning to France he was captured by the British navy, but made it back to his homeland in time to save Bonaparte at Marengo.

Desaix had been sent with two divisions to block the Austrian army's escape when he heard the roar of guns at Marengo.

Quickly returning, he summed up the battle by saying to Bonaparte that this battle had been lost, but there was still time to win another.

Launching his men at the Austrians, Desaix was killed during the crucial assault. Bonaparte mourned his death, but knew a potential rival was no more.

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