General Augustin-Daniel Belliard, 1769-1832

General Augustin-Daniel Belliard (1769-1832) was a French officer who served as a staff officer for most of his career, serving under Murat for long periods.

Belliard's military career began in the French National Guard. He then became a staff officer, and served in that role at Valmy (20 September 1792) and Arcola (15-16 November 1796)

Belliard took part in Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, where he served under General Desaix and took part in his campaign in Upper Egypt. One of his most impressive achievements was a march across the desert to the Red Sea port of Kossier, which he briefly occupied. After the British invaded Egypt Belliard surrendered Cairo without a fight in order to avoid a pointless loss of life (28 July 1801). This was not a popular move in France, but Belliard retained a reputation for personal bravery. He also retained his interest in Egypt and after the end of the Napoleon Wars wrote a history of the expedition.

In 1805 he served as Murat's chief of staff. He then performed the same role for Joseph Bonaparte, before returning to Murat for the 1812 invasion of Russia. After the capture of Smolensk Belliard attempted to make Napoleon understand how serious the loss of horses was in the Grand Army. At Borodino he was one of the messengers that Murat sent back to Napoleon to ask for the Guard to be committed, but Belliard's report that the Russians appeared to be forming a new defensive line played a part in Napoleon's refusal to use the Guard.

During the 1814 campaign in France Belliard served as a cavalry commander, and had to take the news of the surrender of Paris to Napoleon. He accepted the first Bourbon restoration. In 1815 he rejoined Napoleon and was sent as envoy to Murat. He was later accepted by the Bourbons for a second time. After the wars he wrote his book on Egypt and his memoirs. 

Napoleonic Home Page | Books on the Napoleonic Wars | Subject Index: Napoleonic Wars

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 May 2014), General Augustin-Daniel Belliard, 1769-1832 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_belliard_augustin.html

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