Persistent for merit.
History not only teaches the fallacy of the idea that military schools confer the high qualifications of a generalship; but it also teach that the country which has pursued the system of promoting for merit, and not by mere favoritism, has produced the greatest number of great generals.
No country in the tide of time has produced a greater number of military heroes and distinguished captains than France
since 1790; and it is astonishing to find how many of her great historical names have sprung from the ranks, and in almost every case from the bosom of the community, without the advantage of military education.
We have at considerable pains compiled a list of the most conspicuous French generals of modern times, with the dates of their promotions in rank.
It is a remarkable fact that all of Napoleons great marshals, with one or two exceptions, rose from the ranks, and that probably every one of them was without the advantage of a military education.
There were indeed real generals before West Point
undertook the manufacture of them.
— a celebrated General of the French Revolution
— soldier 1784, General 1795, poisoned in 1797-one of the best Generals
of that period.
— Soldier 1789, General 1795; very distinguished; killed at the battle of Novi.
, Marchal de France
— Soldier 1778, General 1789, Marchal 1804.
, well known — Soldier in 1792, General 1797.
— Soldier at 15 years old, 1750; General 1792.
, (son of the aboge,)--Soldier 1793, General 1797; decided the victory of Marengo
Kleber — Educated in a Bavarian military school, General in 1794, assassinated in Egypt
d'auvergne — Alternately soldier and General; the latter when he was called upon to save the army, returning afterwards to the ranks as a simple grenadier; kill on in the rank as such 8th June, 1800. His heart was preserved and carried in a box for a long time by the oldest grenadier, who answered for him at roll call even after Napoleon
Honor to the patriotic soldier — a rare example of self-denial.
No pay, no glitter of epaulets, tempted him.
Lannes — Rose from the ranks to a Marshal
Lanriston — From schools.
, Marchal de France
— Soldier 1773, Sergeant
1788, General 1798, Marshal
1504, died 1820.
Letebvre-Desnouettes — soldier 1752; Colonel
1804, General 1806, refugee in america, drowned in the Alblon.
— Born in Jancerre, France
, 1765, Lieutenant
in an Irish regiment 1784; General 1795, Marshal
Marcean — Born 1769, soldier 1784, Lieutenant Colonel
1792, was arrested by representing
from the army; General 1793, killed in 1795.
army solicited an armistice to attend his funeral, so highly was he estimated by all.
, from the military school — Lieutenant
1774, General 1793, Marchal 1809.
— Well known; surnamed "Enfant cheri de la victoire; " soldier 1790, General 1793, Marshal
1804, died 1817.
Moncey, Marechal de France
— Soldier 1773, Lieutenant
1778, General 1794; Marshal
Morean, a lawyer — Major
1792, General 1794, exited conspirator 1804, killed 1813.
, Marechal de France
1791, General 1793, Marshal
-Duvernet — Soldier 1787, Captain
1806, General 1811.
— Born 1768, sub-Lieutenant 1791, Major
1796, General 1797, Marshal
1804, shot 1816.
Nansouty — Born 1768, Lieutenant
1788, Lieutenant Colonel
1792, General 1800, died 1815.
, military school — Somewhat known as a General.
of)--Born 1766, Colonel
1789, General 1791, died 1831.
— Born at Sarre-Louis, France
, 10th January, 1769; enlisted very young as a hussar, and rose successively through the various grades, until he was made Captain
in 1794, Major
in 1795, General on the field of battle 1796, Marshal
1804, shot 7th December, 1815.
— Born 1767, soldier 1784, Major
1792, General 1799, Marshal
about 1774, General 1791, Marshal
1805; not very remarkable.
Pichegru — Soldier 1782, officer 1789, General 1792, deserter and conspirator, died in prison 1804.
)--Born 1771, Colonel
1792, General 1793, died in Paris
1815; nothing remarkable.
of cavalry in 1802, in Portugal
, under Junot
)--Born 1775 in Corsica
, then Captain
; General about 1794, went through all the campaigns until 1815, Ambassador to Turkey
in 1805 and member of the Chamber of Deputies
)--Born 1780, Soldier 1800, Major
1808, General 1812; occasionally Ambassador to Denmark
,) Marachal de France
— Born 1742, officer at first, General about 1798, died 1819.
— Born 1769, soldier 1785, officer 1790, Major
1789, General 1794, Marshal
Suchet — Born at Lyons
1772, soldier 1792, then sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant
in 1793, Colonel
1797, General 1798, Marshal
Tasher de in Pagerie, (Count
;) a relation of Josephine, Captain
before 1807, Major
in 1807, General in 1814; the end.
,) born 1775, Major
at 17, (1791,) Colonel
1800, General 1804; until Waterloo
of) born 1757, Lieutenant
1784, General 1792; retired after Waterloo
d'unebourg) officer about 1790, General 1793, prisoner in 1813 in Bohemia, exiled in 1815.
Victor Marechal de France
, born 1765, soldier 1781, General 1793, Marshal
of) born 1753, officer 1750, Captain
1793, General 1796; retired in 1815.
The value of this catalogue is very great.
It shows the importance of promotion for merit and service, and the exceeding hazard of promotion from mere caprice or favoritism.
The experience of the present war has brought into conspicuous view and into great popular favor, four able generals, two of them happening to be thoroughly educated officers of the West Point school
, and two of them men of great natural capacity and talent for command.
The fact shows that West Point
has little to do with making a general; it neither confers the talent for command nor takes it away.