Jean-de-Dieu Soult

Nation: France

Military Leader

Birth Date: March 29, 1769
France Jean-de-Dieu Soult Military Leader Cover
I. Origins and Early Career
II. Marshal of the Napoleonic Empire
III. After Second Restoration
I. Origins and Early Career
Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult was born of humble parentage at Saint Amans la Bastide in the department of Tarn on March 29, 1769. In 1785, he entered an infantry regiment as a common soldier. Raised from the ranks, he became successively lieutenant and captain in his regiment. At that time, he servered on the Upper Rhine, and greatly distinguished himself at Kaiserslautern, Weissenburg, Fleurus, and other places. After successive promotions, he was named General of Division by Massena, to whose army he was attached.

In the unsuccessful campaign in Italy, Soult was wounded and taken prisoner, but obtained his liberty after the victory of Marengo in 1800. In 1803, he had the command of one of the three camps of the army intended against England, that at St. Omer.

Annandale, C. (1902). Soult, Nicolas Jean De Dieu. In The modern cyclopedia (Vol. 8, p. 41). London: Gresham Publishing.
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II. Marshal of the Napoleonic Empire
Soult was one of the marshals created immediately after the formation of the Empire in 1804. In the Austrian War of 1805, he distinguished himself at Ulm and Austerlitz. He acquired new fame in the Prussian campaign, and in 1807 after the Battle of Friedland, took Konigsberg. From 1808-12, he fought in Spain but - overmatched by Wellington - was unable to gain many laurels. In 1813, he was recalled in consequence of Napoleon's disasters to take the command of the fourth corps of the Grand Army, and commanded the infantry of the guard at Lutzen.On the news of Wellington's victory at Vittoria, he was sent back to reorganize the French force in Spain, and did his utmost to oppose Wellington's triumphant career until Napoleon's abdication.

Soult gave in his adhesion to Louis XVIII, who appointed him commander of the thirteenth military division and in 1814 made him Minister of War. On Napoleon's return, he joined his standard, and held the post of Major-General of the army in the Campaign of Waterloo.

Annandale, C. (1902). Soult, Nicolas Jean De Dieu. In The modern cyclopedia (Vol. 8, pp. 41-42). London: Gresham Publishing.
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III. After Second Restoration
After the Second Restoration, he took up his residence at Dusseldorf but was permitted to return to France in 1819. In 1827, he was raised to the peerage. After the July Revolution of 1830 and on two subsequent occasions, he held ministerial office. In 1846 on retiring from public life, he was created Grand-marshal of France. He died on November 26, 1851.

Annandale, C. (1902). Soult, Nicolas Jean De Dieu. In The modern cyclopedia (Vol. 8, p. 42). London: Gresham Publishing.
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