Folard, Charles

, an eminent French officer and author, famous for his skill and knowledge in the military art, was born at Avignon, in 1669, of a noble but not a rich family. He discovered early a happy turn for the sciences, and a strong passion for arms; which last was so inflamed by reading Cxsar’s Commentaries, that he actifally enlisted at sixteen years of age, and although his father obtained his discharge, and shut him up in a monastery, he made his escape in about two years after, and entered himself a second time in quality of cadet. His inclination for military affairs, and the great pains he took to accomplish himself in every branch of the art, recommended him to notice; and he was admitted into the friendship of the first-rate officers. M. de Vendome, who commanded in Italy in 1720, made him his aid-de-camp, having conceived the highest regard for him; and soon after sent him with part of his forces into Lombardy. He was entirely trusted by the commander of that army; and no measures were concerted, or steps taken, without consulting him. By pursuing his plans, many places were taken, and advantages gained; and his services were remunerated by a pension of four hundred livres, and the cross of St. Lewis. He distinguished himself greatly, Aug. 15, 1705, at the battle of Cassano; where he received such a wound upon his left hand, as entirely deprived him of the use of it. M. de Vendome, to make him some amends, tried to have him made a colonel, but did not succeed. It was at this battle, that Folard conceived the first idea of that system of columns, which he afterwards prefixed to his Commentaries upon Poly bins.

The duke of Orleai6 sending de Vendome again into Italy in 1706, Folard had orders to throw himself into Modena, to defend it against prince Eugene; where he acquitted himself with his usual skill, but was very near being assassinated. The description which he has given of the | conduct and character of the governor of this town, may be found in his “Treatise of the Defence of Places,” and deserves to be read. He received a dangerous wound on the thigh at the battle of Blenheim, or Malplaquet, and was some time after made prisoner by prince Eugene. Being exchanged in 1711, he was made governor of Bourbourg. In 1714, he went to Malta, to assist in defending that island against the Turks. Upon his return to France, he embarked for Sweden, having a passionate desire to see Charles XII. He acquired the esteem and confidence of that celebrated monarch, who sent him to France to negociate the reestablishment of Jarnes II. upon the throne of England; but, that project being dropped, he returned to Sweden, followed Charles XII. in his expedition to Norway, and served under him at the siege of Frederickshall, where that prince was killed, Dec. 11, 1718. Folard then returned to France, and made his last campaign in 1719, under the duke of Berwick, in quality of colonel. From that time he applied himself intensely to the study of the art military, as far as it could be studied at home; and built his theories upon the foundation of his experience and observations. He contracted an intimacy with count Saxe, who, he then declared, would one day prove a very great general. He was chosen a fellow of the royal society at London, in 1749; and in 1751, made a journey to Avignon, where he died in 1752, aged eighty-three years. He was the author of several works, the principal of which are, 1. “Commentaries upon Polybius,” in 6 vols. 4to. 2. “A Book of new Discoveries in War.” 3. “A Treatise concerning the Defence of Places, &c.” in French. Those who would know more of this eminent soldier, may consult a French work entitled, “Memoires pour servir a THistoire de M. de Chevalier de Folard. Ratisbone, 1753,” 12mo. As a man of letters, he drew his knowledge from ancient authors, which as a military man he explains with great clearness. The form of his writings is not so pleasing as the matter. The abundance of his ideas led him into too great a profusion of words. His style is negligent, his reflections detached, and his digressions either useless, or too long; but he was undoubtedly a man of genius. 1


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Memoires as above.