It is anecdotical but I want to know if the Marshalls of the Empire appointed by Napoleon got well along or if they could hardly tolerate each other.

I'm specially interested in Lannes, Davout, Desaix, Masséna, Murat, Ney and Soult.

I already know - please, correct me if I'm wrong - that Murat wasn't very much appreciated by Davout, Lannes or Ney. That Ney and Soult hated each other after Spain. That Desaix and Davout were friendly, and that Masséna refused to sentence Ney to death after the Hundred Days.

If all of the above is correct, is there anything else worth mentioning - relationship wise - among these seven Marshalls of the Empire?

  • 4
    Good question, wish I knew the answer. Possibly this book could be helpful. Jul 21 '17 at 14:21
  • 3
    Well, Bernadotte disliked Davout so intensely he risked court martial and possible execution by refusing to march to the guns at Auerstadt. As far as I know Bernadotte was both the only Marshall with Death to Tyrants tattooed on his butt, and the only one to found a still extant royal dynasty. Jul 22 '17 at 0:09
  • 2
    Out of curiosity, why include Desaix considering he died in December 1800? Jul 22 '17 at 0:11
  • 2
    @PieterGeerkens, Desaix was part of the Egyptian expedition, so, despite his early death at Marengo, he had the opportunity to meet most of these men. It's for a little project of mine, I included Desaix on it because your Desaix posts in this SE convinced me it was the only reasonable thing to do :)
    – Brasidas
    Jul 22 '17 at 6:59
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens the tatoo is a myth, coming from the play Le Camarade de lit by Louis-Émile Vanderburch and Ferdinand Langlé. Bernadotte did, however, once write in a letter that "Being a republican both by principle and by conviction, I want to fight all royalists to my death. " See faktoider.nu/bernadotte_eng.html
    – andejons
    Jul 24 '17 at 17:34

I'm going to base the following of an essay by Frans G Bengtsson, "Marskalkarna av Frankrike", found in Sällskap för en eremit. The essay in turn was written after he had read Gabriel d'Orgeval's Le Maréchalat de France and, particularly the part I will take my material from, G.A. Macdonell's Napoleon and his Marshals. I'll be using the word "hate" a lot as a catch-all since it is hard to tell from a short account exactly how strong the dislike actually was. I'll also cover dislikes between all the Marshal's, for the benefit of anyone finding this question in the future. Onward to the actual answer:

The Marshals seems to have rather disliked each other as a general rule:

  • Davout, Berthier and Bernadotte all hated each other.
  • Ney and Soult hated each other.
  • Soult and Masséna hated each other
  • Masséna and Bessières hated each other.
  • Macdonald and Gouvion Saint-Cyr hated each other.
  • Augereau and Murat hated each other.
  • Lannes hated Murat and Bessières, and they hated him in turn.

The following pairs appears to have been good friends:

  • Davout and Oudinot
  • Murat and Bessières
  • Lannes and Augereau

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.