Georges Cadoudal

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Georges Cadoudal

Georges Cadoudal (1 January 1771 – 25 June 1804), sometimes called simply Georges, was a French politician, and leader of the Chouannerie during the French Revolution. He was named a Marshal of France in 1814.

Cadoudal means in Breton language "warrior returning from the fight".[1] Born in Brech, in Brittany, after completing his education, he remained true to his Royalist and Roman Catholic convictions during the start of the Revolution. From 1793 he organized a rebellion in the Morbihan against the National Convention of the First Republic. It was quickly suppressed, and he thereupon joined the army of the Vendée insurrection, taking part in the battles of Le Mans and of Savenay in December of the same year.

Returning to Morbihan, he was arrested, and imprisoned at Brest. He succeeded, however, in escaping, and began again the struggle against the Revolution. In spite of the defeat of his party, and of the fact that he was forced several times to take refuge in England, Cadoudal did not cease both to wage war and to conspire in favour of the Royalist pretender Louis, count of Provence. He refused to come to any understanding with the government, although offers were made to him by Napoleon Bonaparte, who admired his skill and his obstinate energy.

From 1800 it was impossible for Cadoudal to continue to wage open war, so he centered his efforts on conspiracies. He was indirectly involved in Pierre Saint-Regent's attempt on the life of the First Consul, in December, and fled to England again.

On the night of 23 August 1803, HMS Vincejo landed Georges and several other Chouans at the foot of the cliffs of Biville.[2] The conspirators wanted to undertake a new assassination attempt on Bonaparte. Although under nominal police surveillance, he succeeded in eluding pursuit for six months, but was arrested for long periods. Found guilty and sentenced to death, he refused to ask for pardon and was guillotined in Paris, along with eleven of his companions. Before being executed, he shouted to the crowd: "And now, it's time to show to the Parisians how Christians, Royalists and Bretons die".[3]

During the Restoration, in 1814, Cadoudal was made a Marshal of France posthumously, by Louis XVIII.

Cadoudal features as a main character in the 1940 Rafael Sabatini novel, Marquis of Carabas (tr. "Master-at-Arms"). He is also portrayed in The Companions of Jehu and The Knight of Sainte-Hermine by Alexandre Dumas.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Le Notre, G. The House of the Combrays.[1] - accessed 7 October 2013.
  3. ^ Sanson, Mémoires des bourreaux (Paris, 1688-1847, tome 6)