Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier


Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier, 1st Comte Sérurier (December 8, 1742—December 24, 1819), was a French soldier and political figure who rose to the rank of Marshal of France.

Life

Early life

Born in Laon to middle-class parents, he became a lieutenant of the Laon militia, and then entered the French royal army, served in the Seven Years' War campaigns in Hanover (1759), Portugal (1762), and against Pasquale Paoli in Corsica (1771). At the beginning of the French Revolution he had attained the rank of major, and in its course he became colonel, brigadier-general and finally "général de division".

Revolution and Empire

He fought in the French Revolutionary Wars under François Christophe Kellermann and Barthélemy Schérer in the army of the Alps in 1795, and under Napoleon Bonaparte in the Italian Peninsula in the battles of Vico, Mondovì, Castiglione and in the siege of Mantua.

He also showed great administrative talent as governor of Venice (1801) and Lucca (1798). He helped Bonaparte to carry out his 18 Brumaire Coup (November 1799), and had an impressive career under the First French Empire, when he was made senator, count, marshal, and governor of Les Invalides in Paris, where, in March 1814, upon the arrival of the Sixth Coalition armies, he destroyed the 1,417 captured enemy flags and personally burned the sword and sash of Frederick the Great as to not let them fall in the allies' hands.

Later life

Nonetheless, Sérurier voted for the downfall of Napoleon that April, and under the Bourbon Restoration was made a Peer of France. He joined Napoleon during the Hundred Days, when he briefly returned to power; this caused him to lose his post at the Invalides after Napoleon's second downfall. Despite his Bonapartist sympathies, as Peer Sérurier voted in favour of the death penalty for Marshal Michel Ney.

Sérurier died in retirement and was buried at Père Lachaise until his body was transferred to the Invalides in 1847. A statue has been raised to his memory at Laon.


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