Jean Pichegru

Jean PichegruFrench General

A former teacher, Jean Pichegru joined the French army in 1780 and served as a gunner in America.

His abilities led to regular promotion and in 1792 he was elected colonel.

Pichegru fought on the Rhine and by the end of 1793 was a general of division.

His skills made him the perfect replacement for General Jourdan at the head of the Army of the Rhine and the Army of the North.

With the latter he took the Austrian Provinces (Belgium), overran Holland and in 1795 captured the Dutch fleet with cavalry after the vessels became ice-locked.

He took Mainz, but stepped down from command after the Austrians recaptured it.

Moving into politics he was elected to the Cinq-Cents, becoming its president but, after the coup of Fructidor, he was exiled to Guiana.

A year later Pichegru staged an escape and wound up in London.

In 1803 he plotted against Napoleon Bonaparte and was a key participant, along with General Moreau, in the plan to kidnap the First Consul.

Its failure led to his arrest and on 5 April 1804 he was discovered strangled to death in his prison cell. It could have been murder, but the handkerchief tightened around his neck with a stick is generally accepted as being suicide.


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