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AUGEREAU, Pierre-François-Charles

(1757-1816) Duc de Castiglione

French soldier, a fruiterer's son, who earned a reputation as a reliable and doughty divisional commander on the Pyrenean front, on the Rhine and during the Italian campaigns of 1796-97, receiving Napoleon's public praise for his performance at Castiglione in 1796. One of the original Marshalate created in 1804, he commanded the camp at Brest during preparations for the invasion of England and headed the Grande Armée's VII Corps through the Wars of the Third and Fourth Coalitions. Though he missed the Battles of Ulm and Austerlitz, Augereau was at Jena in October 1806 and suffered a very bad day at Eylau the following February, when he was wounded and his corps decimated.

Created Duke of Castiglione in March 1808, Augereau fought in the Peninsular War from June 1809 until transferred to Germany the following year. Napoleon's oldest active marshal, he was spared participation in the 1812 Russian campaign, but returned to the front line to lead IX Corps at Leipzig in 1813. Given command of the Army of the East (or the Rhône) for the defence of France, he spent early 1814 raising an army at Lyon to threaten the rear of the allied advance on Paris, but showed little enthusiasm for the task. His army eventually moved north from the city in early March, but retreated at the first sign of allied opposition and disintegrated after a desultory action at Saint-Georges on 18 March. Entering royal service in April, he did not return to Napoleon'side during the Hundred Days of 1815, but was retired in disgrace when he refused to take part in Ney's treason trial.
Source: Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, ed. S. Pope, London: Collins, 1999


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