Joseph Souham

Joseph Souham

Infobox Person
name = Joseph Souham

caption =
birth_date = April 30, 1760
birth_place = Lubersac
death_date = April 28, 1837 (aged age|1760|4|30|1837|4|28)
death_place = Versailles
other_names =
known_for =
occupation =
nationality = Italian

Joseph Souham (April 30, 1760 - April 28, 1837) was a French general who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was born at Lubersac and died at Versailles.

French revolutionary years

Souham served in the Royal French army as a private from 1782 to 1790. In 1792, having shown himself active in the cause of the Revolution, he was elected commandant of a volunteer battalion from the Corrèze. He served with his unit at the Battle of Jemappes.

By 1793, Souham had risen to the rank of general of division. When his army commander, Charles Pichegru fell ill, Souham assumed army command and defeated the Allied army at the Battle of Tourcoing in May 1794. He served under Pichegru in Holland (1795), but in 1799 he fell into disgrace on suspicion of being involved in Royalist intrigues. He was reinstated in 1800 and served under Jean Moreau in the Danube campaign of that year. During the Consulate he appears to have been involved in conspiracies and was suspected with his old commanders Moreau and Pichegru of participation in the plot of Georges Cadoudal.

Empire and later years

He was unemployed from 1800 to 1809. In the latter year a shortage of available experienced officers caused him to be put back on active duty. He was sent to Spain where he took a notable part in Gouvion St Cyr's operations in Catalonia. The actions at Vichy in which he was wounded won him the title of count.

In 1812, Marshal Marshal Massena declined the command of Marmont's army which had just been defeated at the Battle of Salamanca, but Masséna recommended Souham for the job. In October 1812, Souham's reinforced Army of Portugal forced Wellington to abandon the Siege of Burgos. After a pursuit which included the Battle of Venta del Pozo, he pressed the Anglo-Portuguese army back to Salamanca. In January 1813, he was recalled to France.

In 1813, he took command of a division in Marshal Michel Ney's III Corps. At the Battle of Lützen (1813) he greatly distinguished himself. Faced by the bulk of the combined Russian and Prussian armies, he bitterly defended the area around Gross-Gorschen. At the Battle of Leipzig he was wounded while leading III Corps.

After the fall of the First Empire he deserted the emperor and, having suffered for the Royalist cause, was well received by Louis XVIII, who gave him high commands. These honors Souham lost at the return of Napoleon and were regained once more after the Second Restoration. He retired in 1832, and died on 28 April, 1837 in Versailles.


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