Segur, Philippe Paul, Comte De
SEGUR, PHILIPPE PAUL, COMTE DE (1780-1873), French general and historian, son of Louis Philippe, comte de Segur, was born in Paris on the 4th of November 1780. He enlisted in the cavalry in 1800, and forthwith obtained a commission. He served with General Macdonald in the Grisons in 1800-1801, and published an account of the campaign in 1802. By the influence of Colonel Duroc (afterwards due de Frioul) he was attached to the personal staff of Napoleon. He served through most of the important campaigns of the first empire, and was frequently employed on diplomatic missions. During the campaign in Poland in 1807 he was taken prisoner by the Russians, but was exchanged at the peace of Tilsit. His brilliant conduct in the cavalry charge at Somo Sierra on the 3oth of November 1808 (see PENINSULAR WAR) won him the grade of colonel, but his wounds compelled him to return to France. As general of brigade he took part in the Russian campaign of 1812, and in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 he repeatedly distinguished himself, notably at Hanau (October 1813), and in a brilliant affair at Reims (March 1814). He remained in the army at the Restoration, but, having accepted a command from Napoleon during the Hundred Days, he was retired until 1818, and took no further active part in affairs until the revolution of 1830. During his retirement he wrote his Histoire de Napoleon et de la grande armee pendant I'annee 1812 (Paris, 2 vols., 1824), which ran through numerous editions, and was translated into several languages. The unfavourable portrait of Napoleon given in this book provoked representations from General Gourgaud, and eventually a duel, in which Segur was wounded. On the establishment of the July monarchy he received, in 1831, the grade of lieutenant-general and a peerage. In 1830 he was admitted to the French Academy, and he became grand cross of the Legion of Honour in 1847. After the revolution of 1848 he lived in retirement. He died in Paris on the 25th of February 1873. His works include: Histoire de Russie et de Pierre le Giand (1829); Histoire de Charles VIII, (2 vols., 1834-1842), in continuation of the history of France begun by his father; and the posthumous Histoire et memoires (8 vols., 1873).
See Un Aide-de-camp de Napoleon (1800-1812), memoires du general comte de Segur, new edition by his grandson Louis de Segur (3 vols., 18941895), of which an abridged English version was published in 1895.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)