Dessaix, Louis Charles Anthony

, a brave French general in the revolutionary war, was born August 17, 1768, at Ayat, in the department of Puy-de-Dome. He was educated at the military school of Effiat, and when the revolution broke out, refused all advice to emigrate, although his principles were inclined to royalty. He remained at his studies, a stranger to the excesses of the factions, and a stranger even to the names by which they were designated. Absorbed in his profession, his thoughts were occupied solely by military manceuvres, traits of heroism, and fields of battle. He first entered the foot regiment of Britany, as sub-lieutenant, in 1784; but in 1792, he appeared so intelligent and active, that he became successively aide-de-camp to generals Broglio and Custine. The services which were derived from his presence of mind and his counsels, on occasion of the reverses experienced at the lines of Weissembourg, induced the national commissaries to raise him to the rank of general of brigade. In spite of his merit, however, the committee of public safety twice made an order for him to be deprived of his command, with which the general in chief constantly refused to comply. He was wholly ignorant of this fact till a third order arrived to the same effect, at the moment when he had gained the admiration of his comrades at the blockade of Landau; and the whole army opposed the unjust decree, which induced the commissary to disregard it. Dessaix commanded the left wing of the army in the memorable retreat of general Moreau, and had | his full share in the dangers and laurels of that campaign. He returned to defend Kehl for four months against the whole force of the archduke; and under him the army effected the passage of the Rhine, in circumstances which rendered it as daring an achievement as was ever attempted.

After the treaty of Campo Formio, he followed Buonaparte into Egypt, and was by him presented with a short sword, superbly wrought, on which were inscribed the words “The taking of Malta; the battle of Chebreis, the battle of the Pyramids.” He was charged to reduce Upper Egypt, whither the Mamelukes had retired; here he gained several victories; and he acquired a distinction more honourable than the triumph of arms, for the inhabitants gave him the title of “The Just Sultan.” Returning from Egypt in consequence of the treaty of El Arisch, he was detained by lord Keith, but was at length set at liberty. He then repaired to his native country, from which he again, with the utmost expedition, joined Buonaparte, and arrived just in time to be present at the battle of Marengo, the fate of which he turned, and in which he fell, June 14, 1800, esteemed by the French soldiers, honoured by the Austrians, and loved by all who knew him.

His body was carried to Milan, embalmed there, and placed in the hospital of Mount St. Bernard, where a monument has been erected to his memory. Dessaix united to bravery the most unimpeachable probity, and in all respects seems to have deserved of his country the additional tribute of a superb monument since erected at Paris. On this is commemorated the share he had in the battles of Landau, Kehl, Weissembourg, Malta, Chebreis, the Pyramids, Sediman, Sammanhout, Kene, Thebes, and Marengo. 1


Dict. Hist. Hist, of the French Revolution, quoted in the Month. Rev.