Duc de Bellune
Victor began his military career in the artillery and, not surprisingly,
became known to Napoleon Bonaparte
during the siege of Toulon.
abilities as a leader became obvious fairly quickly and by the age
of 27 was a general of brigade. Six years later he was a general
of division and, at Marengo in
1800, Victor was one of Bonaparte's chief subordinates.
earned his marshal's baton at Friedland
in 1807 and was made a duke the following year.
to Spain, Victor had some successes - defeating Spanish troops at
Espinosa and Medillin - but lost the battles of Talavera
the disastrous Russian campaign
the few remaining French survivors owed their lives, in very large
part, to Victor's fighting skills at Beresina
which kept the last line of escape open.
performed well at Dresden and Leipzig,
but was criticised for his leadership before Montereau
and released from duty. Refusing to accept the order, he said he
would fight with the troops and won a reprieve from the loyalty-conscious
Bonaparte who gave him an Imperial Guard command.
to serve the Bourbons upon their restoration, Victor did not stray
from that pledge and did not rejoin his emperor during the
100 Days' Campaign.
to his own pledges, Victor found it hard to side with senior officers
who had switched from Bonaparte, to the Bourbons and back to Bonaparte.
led an investigation into those who had sided with Bonaparte during
the Waterloo Campaign and voted for Marshal