Exelmans, Rene Joseph Isidore
EXELMANS, RENE JOSEPH ISIDORE, Count (1775-1852), marshal of France, was born at Bar-le-Duc on the 13th of November 1775. He volunteered into the 3rd battalion of the Meuse in 1791, became a lieutenant in 1797, and in 1798 was aide-de-camp to General Eblé, and in the following year to General Broussier. In his first campaign in Italy he greatly distinguished himself; and in April 1799 he was rewarded for his services by the grade of captain of dragoons. In the same year he took part with honour in the conquest of Naples and was again promoted, and in 1801 he became aide-de-camp to General Murat. He accompanied Murat in the Austrian, Prussian and Polish campaigns of 1805, 1806 and 1807. At the passage of the Danube, and in the action of Wertingen, he specially distinguished himself; he was made colonel for the valour which he displayed at Austerlitz, and general of brigade for his conduct at Eylau in 1807. In 1808 he accompanied Murat to Spain, but was there made prisoner and conveyed to England. On regaining his liberty in 1811 he went to Naples, where King Joachim Murat appointed him grand-master of horse. Exelmans, however, rejoined the French army on the eve of the Russian campaign, and on the field of Borodino won the rank of general of division. In the retreat from Moscow his steadfast courage was conspicuously manifested on several occasions. In 1813 he was made, for services in the campaign of Saxony and Silesia, grand-officer of the Legion of Honour, and in 1814 he reaped additional glory by his intrepidity and skill in the campaign of France. When the Bourbons were restored, Exelmans retained his position in the army. In January 1815 he was tried on an accusation of having treasonable relations with Murat, but was acquitted. Napoleon on his return from Elba made Exelmans a peer of France and placed him in command of the II. cavalry corps, which he commanded in the Waterloo campaign, the battle of Ligny and Grouchy's march on Wavre. In the closing operations round Paris Exelmans won great distinction. After the second Restoration he denounced, in the House of Peers, the execution of Marshal Ney as an "abominable assassination"; thereafter he lived in exile in Belgium and Nassau for some years, till 1819, when he was recalled to France. In 1828 he was appointed inspector-general of cavalry; and after the July revolution of 1830 he received from Louis Philippe the grand cross of the Legion of Honour, and was reinstated as a peer of France. At the revolution of 1848 Exelmans was one of the adherents of Louis Napoleon; and in 1851 he was, in recognition of his long and brilliant military career, raised to the dignity of a marshal of France. His death, which took place on the 10th of July 1852, was the result of a fall from his horse.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)