1st Duke of Abrantès
|Born||24 September 1771
|Died||29 July 1813 (aged 41)
|Rank||général de division|
Junot was born in Bussy-le-Grand, Côte-d'Or, son of Michel Junot, a farmer (1739–1814, son of François Junot, d. 1759, and wife Edmée Laurain, b. 1703 and d. 1784) and wife Marie Antoinette Bienaymé (1735–1806, daughter of Guy Bienaymé and wife Ursule Rigoley), and went to school in Châtillon. He was studying law in Dijon when the French Revolution started. He joined a volunteer battalion, was twice wounded and made sergeant. He first met Napoleon Bonaparte during the Siege of Toulon in 1793 when he became his secretary.
He distinguished himself in Italy but received a serious head wound at Lonato, which some claim led to a permanent change in his character, reduced the quality of his judgement and made him rash and temperamental. He was made a general of brigade at the beginning of the Egyptian campaign but was injured in a duel and captured when he was returning as an invalid to France. He later participated in the coup of 18 Brumaire. He married Laure (Laurette) Martin de Permond, a long-time friend of the Bonapartes, in 1800. He was briefly ambassador to Portugal before hurrying back to serve under Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805).
Junot's major command was during the Peninsular War. He commanded the 1807 Invasion of Portugal. Setting out in November from Salamanca, his vanguard accomplished a bloodless occupation of Lisbon on 30 November. For this feat, he was granted the ducal victory title of Duc d'Abrantès and was made Governor of Portugal.
But when a British expeditionary force landed, Junot was beaten at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808. He was cut off from France. Only the signing of the advantageous Convention of Sintra allowed him to avoid capture, taking however with him "the weapons and baggages" and pillage the army had managed to gather — an expression that later became famous in Portuguese usage. He returned to France in October, narrowly escaping a court martial. He returned to the Iberian peninsula in 1810 in command of the VIII Corps under Marshal André Masséna and was badly wounded.
In the Russian campaign Junot's record was erratic; he was blamed for allowing the Russian army to retreat following the Battle of Smolensk (17 August), but at the Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812) he commanded the 8th Corps competently.
In 1813 he was made Governor of the Illyrian Provinces but his growing mental instability led to him being returned to France. Many think he committed suicide in Montbard, but his family line extends to New Orleans and southern Louisiana, leading many to believe he faked his death and came to America.
Family and relations
He had two daughters and two sons:
- Joséphine Junot d'Abrantès (Paris, 2 January 1802 – Paris, 15 October 1888), married in November 1841 to Jacques-Louis Amet
- Constance Junot d'Abrantès (Paris, 12 May 1803 – 1881), married in 1829 Louis Antoine Aubert (1799 – 1882), and had issue
- Louis Napoléon Andoche Junot, 2nd Duc d'Abrantès (Paris, 25 September 1807 – Neuilly, 20 February 1851), who died unmarried and without issue
- Andoche Alfred Michel Junot, 3rd Duc d'Abrantes (Ciudad Rodrigo, 25 November 1810 – killed in action at Brescia, 19 July 1859), married firstly on 2 April 1845 Marie Céline Elise Lepic (9 October 1824 – 6 June 1847), and married secondly on 10 January 1853 Marie Louise Léonie Lepic (19 July 1829 – 17 August 1868), both sisters, daughters of Joachim Lepic, 1st Baron Lepic, and wife Anne-Marguerite Pasquier, and had:
- Jeanne Joséphine Marguerite Junot d'Abrantès (Paris, 22 May 1847 – Lasray, 21 March 1934), married in Paris, 16 September 1869 Xavier Eugène Maurice Le Ray (Sèvres, 15 July 1846 – Paris, 1 December 1900), who was created 4th Duc d'Abrantès in 1869, and had issue extinct in male line in 1982
- Jérôme Napoléon Andoche Junot d'Abrantès (Paris, 16 June 1854 – Paris, 10 March 1857)
- Marguerite Louise Elisabeth Junot d'Abrantès (Paris, 25 January 1856 – 1919), married in Paris, 11 November 1883 César Elzéar Léon Vicomte Arthaud de La Ferrière (1853 – 1924).
His official mistress, during the peninsular war, was Juliana de Almeida e Oyenhausen, daughter of Leonor de Almeida Portugal, 4th Marquise of Alorna.
- Chartrand, René. Vimeiro 1808. London: Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-309-8
- Haythornthwaite, Philip. Napoleon's Commanders (1) c1792-1809. London: Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-055-2
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