Jean-Antoine Marbot

Jean-Antoine Marbot (7 December 1754 – 19 April 1800) was a French General and politician. He belongs to a family that has distinguished itself particularly in the career of arms, giving three Generals to France in less than 50 years.

General Jean-Antoine Marbot
Born(1754-12-07)7 December 1754
Altillac, France
Died19 April 1800(1800-04-19) (aged 45)
Genoa, Italy
Allegiance Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
French Republic
RankGénéral de division
(Divisional general)
Commands heldWar of the First Coalition

War of the Second Coalition

AwardsName inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
(Western pillar, 34th column)
RelationsAntoine Adolphe Marcelin Marbot, Brigadier general
Jean-Baptiste Antoine Marcellin Marbot, Divisional general
Other workPolitical offices:

Military offices:


Ancien Régime

Jean-Antoine Marbot, known as Antoine Marbot, was born into a family of military nobility in Altillac, in the ancient province of Quercy in southwestern France. His career began in the Military household of the king of France in Versailles, where he joined the cavalry unit of the royal Gardes du Corps of King Louis XV, with the rank of Second lieutenant. In 1781 he was promoted to the rank of Captain of the dragoons and became aide-de-camp to Lieutenant-Général de Schomberg, inspector general of the cavalry, in 1782.

Legislative Assembly

Following of the ideas of Enlightenment, he retired from military service at the beginning of the Revolution and returned to his properties in Altillac. He was elected administrator of the department of Corrèze in 1790 and then deputy of this department in the Legislative Assembly on 3 September 1791 with 206 votes out of 361, where he sat in the majority. On 5 April 1792, he presented a report on the finances of the state in front of the assembly, and proposed a national loan plan, the purpose of which was to reduce the number of assignats in circulation to 12 million, so that acquirers of national property would have to pay in metallic values.

War of the Pyrenées

He reentered military service during the War of the Pyrenées against Spain with the rank of Captain of the mountain chasseurs. On 30 August 1793, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier general and fought with the Army of the Eastern Pyrenées, distinguishing himself during the capture of Spanish Cerdanya under the orders of General Dagobert de Fontenille. He then joined the Army of the Western Pyrenées from 1794 to 1795, where he was promoted to the rank of Divisional general. He distinguished himself for valour and won numerous victories against the enemy forces, particularly on 12 August 1794 at Sainte-Engrâce and Olloqui, on 4 September 1794 at Lescun, on 24–25 November 1794 at Orthez, and on 12 May 1796 during the attack on enemy positions between Glossua and Elgoibar, where he made many prisoners. On 9 June 1795 he was dismissed for political motives by Représentants en mission, special envoys of the National Convention, before being definitively reinstated on 13 June of the same year.

Council of Ancients

On 15 October 1795, he was elected Deputy of Corrèze in the Council of Ancients, the upper house of French legislature during the French First Republic, with 121 votes out of 236. He became opposed to the Club de Clichy, which he accused of conspiring against the interest of the Republic and he subsequently approved the Coup of 18 Fructidor (4 September 1797), engineered by Generals Napoleon Bonaparte and Pierre Augereau, his protégé during the War of the Pyrenées. On 6 September 1797, he was elected President of the Council of Ancients. On 11 January 1798, he passed a proposal aiming to contain the uprising that was being ignited by émigrés in the county of Avignon, in the south of France. Re-elected President of the Council of Ancients on 19 June 1798, he delivered a commemorative speech during the celebrations of the 14th of July, and favoured decisive actions against the coalition powers at war with France. On 18 April 1799, he supported a bill for the conscription of two hundred thousand men for the army, opposing the system adopted by the Minister of the Interior, François de Neufchâteau.

Military governor of Paris

He was appointed Military governor of Paris on 5 july 1799, replacing General Barthélemy Joubert at the head of the 17th Military Division stationed in Paris. After General Napoleon Bonaparte's return from the Egyptian campaign, he opposed the planned coup d'état, which was to overthrow the government of the Directory and replace it with a more autocratic Consulate. Its authors, led by Director Emmanuel Sieyès, knew that they needed the support of the armed forces in Paris to pursue their scheme. Fearing its current commander's attachment to republican ideals, they offered him a new position in the leadership of the Army of Italy, which he accepted. After his resignation, the more favourable General François Lefebvre succeeded him as Military governor of Paris.

Italian campaign

Shortly before the Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), he was sent as Divisional general to the Army of Italy, which was then under the command of General Jean-Étienne Championnet. After his death, he obtained the command of the Army of Italy until the arrival of General André Masséna. He commanded one of the Divisions of the French forces fighting in Liguria, and was stationed in the city of Savona. The heights of the city were the subject of numerous battles, especially on 6 and 13 April 1800, as the Austrian troops were trying to make their way to the city of Genoa. He soon fell ill and had to be transported to Genoa to receive medical treatment. He died on 19 April 1800, during the Austrian siege of Genoa as a result of his wounds and of typhus. He was accompanied by his son, then Second-lieutenant and later General Marcellin Marbot, who also took part in the siege and described his father's last moments in his famous Memoirs.


On 3 October 1776, he married Marie-Louise Certain du Puy (1756–1826), with whom he had four sons:

His wife was related to François Certain de Canrobert, Marshal of France during the Second French Empire.


General Jean-Antoine Marbot is among the 660 personalities to whom Emperor Napoleon paid tribute for fighting and dying for France during the Napoleonic Wars. His name is inscribed on the western pillar, 34th column of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

See also


  • Marcellin Marbot, The Memoirs of General the Baron de Marbot, Translated by Oliver C. Colt, Project Gutenberg Etext, 2000, Volume 4, Chapters 1–11
  • (in French) Jean-Antoine de Marbot (1754–1800), Ressources de la Bibliothèque nationale de France,
  • (in French) Adolphe Robert, Gaston Cougny, Dictionary of French Parliamentarians from 1789 to 1889, Paris, Bourloton, 1889, Volume 4, pp. 251–260
Political offices
Preceded by
André-Daniel Laffon de Ladebat
President of the Council of Ancients
Succeeded by
Emmanuel Crétet
Preceded by
Claude Ambroise Régnier
President of the Council of Ancients
Succeeded by
Étienne Maynaud de Bizefranc de Laveaux
Military offices
Preceded by
Barthélemy Catherine Joubert
Military governor of Paris
Succeeded by
François Joseph Lefebvre
Preceded by
Louis-Gabriel Suchet
Commander of the Army of Italy
Succeeded by
André Masséna
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