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Gerard, Etienne Maurice

GERARD, ETIENNE MAURICE, Count (1773-1852), French general, was born at Damvilliers (Meuse), on the 4th of April 1773. He joined a battalion of volunteers in 1791, and served in the campaigns of 1792-1793 under Generals Dumouriez and Jourdan. In 1795 he accompanied Bernadotte as aide-de-camp. In 1799 he was promoted chef d'escadron, and in 1800 colonel. He distinguished himself at the battles of Austerlitz and Jena, and was made general of brigade in November 1806, and for his conduct in the battle of Wagram he was created a baron. In the Spanish campaign of 1810 and 1811 he gained special distinction at the battle of Fuentes d'Onor; and in the expedition to Russia he was present at Smolensk and Valutina, and displayed such bravery and ability in the battle of Borodino that he was made general of division. He won further distinction in the disastrous retreat from Moscow. In the campaign of 1813, in command of a division, he took part in the battles of Lützen and Bautzen and the operations of Marshal Macdonald, and at the battle of Leipzig (in which he commanded the XI. corps) he was dangerously wounded. After the battle of Bautzen he was created by Napoleon a count of the empire. In the campaign of France of 1814, and especially at La Rothière and Montereau, he won still greater distinction. After the first restoration he was named by Louis XVIII. grand cross of the Legion of Honour and chevalier of St Louis. In the Hundred Days Napoleon made Gérard a peer of France and placed him in command of the IV. corps of the Army of the North. In this capacity Gérard took a brilliant part in the battle of Ligny (see Waterloo Campaign), and on the morning of the 18th of June he was foremost in advising Marshal Grouchy to march to the sound of the guns. Gérard retired to Brussels after the fall of Napoleon, and did not return to France till 1817. He sat as a member of the chamber of deputies in 1822-1824, and was re-elected in 1827. He took part in the revolution of 1830, after which he was appointed minister of war and named a marshal of France. On account of his health he resigned the office of war minister in the October following, but in 1831 he took the command of the northern army, and was successful in thirteen days in driving the army of Holland out of Belgium. In 1832 he commanded the besieging army in the famous scientific siege of the citadel of Antwerp. He was again chosen war minister in July 1834, but resigned in the October following. In 1836 he was named grand chancellor of the Legion of Honour in succession to Marshal Mortier, and in 1838 commander of the National Guards of the Seine, an office which he held till 1842. He became a senator under the empire in 1852, and died on the 17th of April in the same year.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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