Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz

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Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Baron de Strolz sometimes written Stroltz (born 6 August 1771, Belfort, France – died 27 October 1841, Paris) was a French General during the Napoleonic wars, Chief of Staff of André Masséna during the Italian campaign, Aide-de-Camp to Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples and King of Spain, Baron of the First French Empire, Member of Parliament and pair de France.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Strolz was born in Belfort, a city in the then German-speaking region of the Kingdom of France the son of Royal inspector of Bridges and Streets in the Franche-Comté, Peter Leo, also known as Pierre Léon, and his wife Maria Clara, née Schmitt and was baptized on the same day.[2] Strolz' family was from the minor Austrian nobility, as a young man Peter Leo had fled his native Austria to avoid the ecclastical career his parents had him destined for. [3] His parents had him trained for a career as a lawyer,[4][5] but he gave up his studies during the French Revolution and joined the 1er Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval as a volunteer in 1790.[4][5]

Revolutionary wars[edit]

As a cavalry man of the French Revolutionary Army during the War of the First Coalition campaigns of 1793 and 1794, Strolz served with the 1st Régiment de Chasseurs à Chéval in the Armée de la Moselle, fought in the expedition into Germany, notably in the taking of Trier and at the Battle of Arlon. In 1794, his regiment was part of General Laboissière's cavalry brigade in the Saint-Cyr Division of the French Army of the Rhine. With the Armée du Nord, he fought at the battle of Fleurus and the battle of Hohenlinden among others. His reputation for boldness led to appointment in the Armée de Sambre-et-Meuse (1794–96). Made a brevet lieutenant, he was appointed aide de camp to General Kléber in September 1794.[6]

He was later appointed aide de camp to generals Jacques Maurice Hatry and Jean Victor Marie Moreau,[6][7] successively. Promoted to captain with the 16e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval in June 1798, Chef d’Escadron (=major) in February 1800. During the Campaign of 1800, after the Battle of Hohenlinden, he negotiated a local armistice on behalf of Moreau with Archduke Charles.[5] He was promoted to major, the equivalent of a today's lieutenant colonelship, with the 19e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval in 1803. Strolz received a battlefield promotion to full colonel by General, later Field Marshal, Massena on 29 October 1805 after the battle of Verona.[8][9] After service as Massena's chief of staff, he joined the ranks of the Army of Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples in February 1806.[10]

Service with Joseph Bonaparte in Italy and Spain[edit]

Promoted to brigadier general in the Kingdom of Naples on 30 October 1807, Strolz commanded an infantry brigade under general Mathieu in the Sicily campaign. Appointed as aide de camp to Joseph Bonaparte,[11] since 1808 King José I of Spain, he is later made Premier Ecuyer of the Royal Household.[12] Strolz served in the campaigns in Spain and distinguishes himself as commanding officer of a brigade of chasseurs à cheval at the battles of Alcabou and Almonacid.[13] On 27/28 July 1809, As part of the overall plan to rid the Spanish peninsula of Napoleonic influence, General Wellesley's 20,000 British troops advanced into Spain to join 33,000 Spanish troops under General Cuesta. Marching up the Tagus valley to Talavera de la Reina, c. 120 km southwest of Madrid, they encountered 46,000 French nominally led by the French king of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte, but with his military adviser field marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan effectively exercising command over field marshal Claude Victor's I Corps and Major-General Horace Sebastiani's IV Corps.[14][15]

On 28 July 1809, Strolz commanded a cavalry brigade in Christophe Antoine Merlin's Light Cavalry Division. The division was only formed on 25 July 1808 on the king's orders by merging most of IV Corps' cavalry assets with I Corps' cavalry, this to reinforce I Corps at the head of the Army's column.[16] Strolz' troops are the 10th Regiment de Chasseurs à Cheval led by Colonel Jacques-Gervais de Subervie and the 26th Regiment de Chasseurs à Cheval led by Colonel Jacques-Laurent-Louis-Augustin Baron Vial. Together with Colonel Francois Léon Ormancey's Brigade consisting of the Polish Vistula Lancers Regiment (Regiment de Lanciers Polonais de la Vistule) and the Westphalian Light Cavalry Regiment (Regiment de Chevaux-Légers de Westphalie) they succeeded in encircling the British 23rd Light Dragoons, thus being responsible for one of the few French successes during this battle of Talavera.[17][18]

On 30 August 1809, King Joseph wrote to Napoleon:

(...) General Strolz, my aide-de-camp had the good fortune to command the brigade which captured the 23d regiment of English cavalry. I pray your majesty to crate him officer of the Legion of honour, he is already a legionary; this is a reward which he will value more highly than any other that could be given him. He is the same officer whom your Majesty intrusted to reconnoitre on arriving at Vittoria and who, on giving account to your Majesty at Burgos deserved that you should say of him to me: "There is an officer of the right sort". He has proved himself such at the battle of Alcabou, at Talavera and at Almonacid. Sire, Your most devoted servant and affectionate brother. Joseph.[19]

Strolz did not receive the decoration for which Joseph Bonaparte had recommended him until 1814, but was appointed chevalier of the Ordre Royal d’Espagne and received a gift of 2 Million Spanish Reals.[20] Additionally, his service resulted in him being made a Baron of the French Empire by letters patent of 15 June 1810. Promoted to Spanish Major General (Général de Division) on 15 February 1811,[5] his rank was confirmed as a French rank by Napoleon on 14 January 1814.[5][6] When King Joseph abdicated from the throne of Spain and returned to France after the defeat of the main French forces by the British at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, Strolz, as his aide-de-camp followed him. In this appointment, he was part of Joseph Bonaparte's futile defense of Paris against the coalition troops during the Battle of Paris on 30 March 1814. Choosing to remain behind when Joseph fled the country after Napoleon's abdication, he was retired and made a Chevalier de Saint Louis during the Bourbon restoration.[6]

Hundred Days[edit]

After Napoleon's return from Elba, Strolz was appointed governor of Strasbourg on March 26, 1815.[21] On 7 June 1815 he was made officer commanding the 9th Cavalry Division. His division, together with the 10th Cavalry Division under General of Division Louis Pierre Aimé Chastel, and two horse artillery batteries, was part of general Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans II Cavalry Corps (2e Corps de cavalerie) of Napoleon's Armée de Belgique. Strolz's Division was formed up from 1st Cavalry Brigade under General de Brigade Baron André Burthe, (5e Régiment de Dragons under Colonel Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Canavas de Saint-Armand and 13th Dragoon Regiment under Colonel Jean-Baptiste Saviot).;[22] 2nd Cavalry Brigade commanded by Général de Brigade Baron Henri-Catherine-Baltazard Vincent (15e Régiment de Dragons under Colonel Claude-Louis Chaillot, 20e Régiment de Dragons under Colonel Armand-Francois-Bon-Claude de Briqueville and as Division Artillery 4e Companie 1er d'Artillerie à Cheval led by Capitaine Godet, equipped with 70 4x6lb guns and 2x5.5in howitzers).[23]

Battle of Ligny[edit]

On the afternoon of 15 June 1815, Strolz' cavalry vigorously pursued the Prussian rear guard. His dragoons defeated the 6th Uhlan Regiment and chased an infantry battalion out of the woods near Gilly, Belgium. On 16 June, Exelman's II, Cavalry Corps held the right flank in Napoleon's last victory. Recognizing the position of 20,000 Prussians at Gembloux, Exelman's cavalry commanders Strolz and Louis Pierre Aimé Chastel were unable to interfere with their retreat on 17 June, having only 3,000 cavalry under their command.[6][24]

Waterloo[edit]

During the battle of Waterloo, Strolz' 9th Cavalry Division fought at Wavre holding the extreme left flank on the west bank of the Dyle River while Chastel watched the far right flank on the east bank. There was a clash at Namur on the 20th in which the 20th Dragoon Regiment of the II Cavalry Corps was engaged.[6]

Rocquencourt and Le Chesnay[edit]

On 1 July 1815, Napoleon's Grande Armée fought its last battle in Rocquencourt and Le Chesnay, when Strolz' 2nd Cavalry Division, three battalions of the 44th Line Infantry Regiment, and a half battalion of the Sèvres National Guard hunted down Oberstleutnant Eston von Sohr's Prussian cavalry brigade, wrecking the 3rd Brandenburg and 5th Pommeranian Hussar Regiments.[citation needed]

King Louis XVIII[edit]

After the second restorationin of King Louis XVIII Strolz, due to his closeness to the Bonapartes, is put on the retirement list in July 1815. Strolz swears an oath of allegiance to the Bourbon King on December 1, 1816[25] and thereby qualifies for further service. From this time on, his name is written in the more French-speaker friendly "Stroltz" version in most official documents.[26] In most officIal documents On 8 November 1820, he is appointed as Commandant Supérieur du Département du Finistère et de la Place de Brest. The appointment was recommended by Lieutenant General, later Field Marshal Jacques Lauriston, who had held the command in Brest and nominated Strolz as his successor after he was made Ministre de la Maison du Roi. Never fully trusted by the Bourbon Restauration, he is put on the retirement list again in January 1821. Strolz settles down on a small estate near Nancy, Alsace.[6]

July Revolution 1830[edit]

After the July Revolution of 1830, on recommendation of Field Marshal Étienne Maurice Gérard, one of Strolz' old acquaintances, the new king Louis-Philippe reactivates him as inspector general of the French Gendarmerie with the rank of lieutenant general of cavalry.[6] He also served as a member of parliament, i.e. député of the Haut-Rhin region from 1831 to 1837.[27] He was elected on 5 July 1831 as member of the 5e collège du Haut-Rhin (Belfort), with 80 votes of a total of 156 votes cast from a pool of 171 registered voters against 68 for his competitor, Frédéric Japy.[28]

He was re-elected on 21 June 1834 with 116 of 186 votes from a pool of 213 registered voters against his competitor M. Roman who received 65 votes. He did not seek reelection in 1837, but chose to retire instead. Promoted to Grand Officier of the Légion d'Honneur on 18 August 1834,[6] he was made a Peer of France (Pair de France) in 1839.[28]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 28 April 1818, he married Rose Eléonore Virginie Louise (née Boinet; born 29 November 1797, Pirmasens, Bavaria – died 4 April 1848, Paris);[6] the couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. Both sons became officers, his second son later chose a career in diplomacy.[29]

Death[edit]

Stroltz died on 27 October 1841, aged 70, in Paris, survived by his wife and children. He is buried on the cimetière de Montparnasse, in Paris (14ème), his grave is at Division 15, avenue de l’Ouest, 2ème ligne.[30]

Distinctions[edit]

  • Strolz is one of 660 Officers who had their names engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. His name can be found on column 22.[28][31]
  • In Belfort (90000), his native city, a street was named after him, the "Rue du Général Strolz"[32]
  • Chevalier de la Légion d' Honneur (5 germinal an XI) (25 March 1804) (matricule no 13446)[33][34]
  • Knight of the Imperial Order of the Iron Crown Kingdom of Italy (1807)
  • Commandeur de l'Ordre des Deux Siciles (19 May 1808)
  • Grand-Croix de l'Ordre Royal d’Espagne (18 June 1810)[35]
  • Grand-Cordon de l'Ordre Royal d'Espagne (15 February 1811)[35]
  • Chevalier de Saint Louis (1 November 1814)[35]
  • Officier de la Légion d'honneur (9 November 1814)[34]
  • Commandeur de la Légion d' Honneur (23 May 1825)[34]
  • Grand Officier de la Légion d'Honneur (18 April 1834)[34]

Dates of rank and promotions[edit]

  • 1790 Engagé Volontaire 1st Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval
  • 8 April 1793: Chasseur à Cheval (1er Régiment de Chasseurs á Cheval)[6]
  • 22 September 1794: Brevet lieutenant and aide de camp to General Kléber[6]
  • 26 December 1795: Lieutenant (16e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval)
  • 2 January 1798: Aide de camp to General Hatry
  • 23 June 1798: Capitaine (=captain) (16e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval)[6]
  • 21 January 1799 Chef d’Escadron (=major) (16e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval)
  • 29 October 1803 (6 Brumaire XII): Major (=lieutenant colonel) (19e Régiment de Chasseurs à Cheval)[36]
  • Sous-chef de l'état major general de l'Armée d'Italy (=Deputy Chief of Staff of Napoleon's Italian Army)
  • 29 October 1805: Full colonel battlefield promotion at Verona [8]
  • 30 October 1807: Brigadier general
  • 20 May 1808: 1er Ecuyer and aide de camp of King Joseph of Naples
  • 15 June 1810: Baron of the French Empire (Letters patent of 15 June 1810)
  • 15 February 1811: Major general in the Army of the Kingdom of Spain
  • 14 January 1814: Major general, rank confirmed in the Imperial French Army
  • 10 July 1814: Retirement with the rank of lieutenant general
  • 26 March 1815: Appointed Governor of Strasbourg by Napoleon[6]
  • 7 June 1815: Officer commanding 9th Cavalry Division[37]
  • 25 July 1815: Retirement
  • 1 April 1820: Recalled to service in the General Staff
  • 8 November 1820: Commandant Supérieur du Département du Finistère et de la place de Brest (provisional)
  • 31 January 1821: Retirement
  • 1 September 1830: Lieutenant General of Cavalry[6] and Inspector General of the French Gendarmerie[6]
  • 1831-37: Member of Parliament (Député) for the Haut-Rhin region[38]
  • 1833 Institut Historique, Membre Correspondant de la 2e Classe - Histoire des langues et des littératures[39]
  • 15 August 1839: Retirement, Pair de France

References[edit]

  • Les Comtois de Napoléon: cent destins au service de l'Empire Thierry Choffat, Jean-Marie Thiébaud, Gérard Tissot-Robbe. Editions Cabedita, 2006, ISBN 978-2882954787
  • Liste des Mandats à l'Assemblée nationale ou à la Chambre des députés[38]
  • Bonnart, Médard, Chevalier des Ordres Royaux et Militaires de Saint-Louis et de la Légion-d'Honneur, Capitaine de Gendarmerie, en retraite: Histoire Vol. 2, Fiévet, Epernai, 1828. p. 366, ISBN 978-1272286187
  • Desormeaux, Baguenier H.: Kléber en Vendee, Documents, publies pour la Société d' Histoire Contemporaire, Picard, Paris 1907, p. 24
  • Dobson, W. (Ed.): The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Late Emperor of the French, from his Birth to his Departure to the Island of Saint Helena, Philadelphia, 1815, p. 168, ISBN 978-1236091406
  • Franklin, John, Embleton, Gerry A.: Waterloo (2), Ligny, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2015, ISBN 978-1472803665
  • Grandmaison Geoffroy de: L' Espagne et Napoléon 1809-1811, Paris 1925, ISBN 978-2013485555
  • Haythornthwaite, Philipp J.: Waterloo Armies, Men, Organization, Tactics, Bemsley Pen and Sword Military, 2007, p. 138, ISBN 978-1844155996
  • Hugo, Abel: Souvenirs et mémoires sur Joseph Bonaparte, in: Revue des Deux Mondes, Période Initiale, 2e série, tome 1, 1833, pp. 300–2, ASIN: B00JSA21AU
  • Jourdan, Jean Baptiste: Mémoires militaires du maréchal Jourdan (guerre d'Espagne), récrits par lui-même / publiés d'après le manuscrit original par M. le vicomte de Grouchy. Paris, Flammarion, [1899] xii, ISBN 978-1149468951
  • Michel, P.: Biographie Historique des Hommes Marquants de l'Ancienne Provence de Lorraine, (pp. 490–91)
  • Robert, Adolphe, Bourloton, Edgar, Cougny, Gaston: Dictionnaire des Parlementaires Français, Bourloton (ed.), Paris 1889, p. 414
  • Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003, ISBN 978-2901541066
  • Thiers, Adolphe: Historical Works, Vol. III, History of the French Consulate and Empire 1807-1812 translated by Thomas Redhead et al. (p. 417)
  • "Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz", in Adolphe Robert and Gaston Cougny, Dictionnaire des parlementaires français (1789-1891), Bourloton, Paris, 1889 Edition details Wikisource

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814), Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.(French)
  2. ^ "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Charter AT-VLA|DalaasPfA|83". Monasterium.net. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  4. ^ a b Robert, Adolphe, Bourloton, Edgar, Cougny, Gaston: Dictionnaire des Parlementaires Français, Bourloton (ed.), Paris 1889, p. 414
  5. ^ a b c d e "Biographies : 1789-1889" (PDF). Assemble-nationale.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Introduction" (PDF). Recherche-archives.vendee.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  7. ^ "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  8. ^ a b Michel, P.: Biographie Historique des Hommes Marquants de l' Ancienne Provence de Lorraine, (pp. 490-91)
  9. ^ "Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789 - 1814". Napoleon-series.org. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  10. ^ "Cuadernos de Ayala" (PDF) (in Spanish). Tejada.ho.es. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  11. ^ Hugo, p. 314
  12. ^ Grandmaison Geoffroy de: L'Espagne et Napoleon 1809-1811, Paris 1925, p. 635
  13. ^ "Full text of "Mémoires militaires du maréchal Jourdan (guerre d'Espagne) : écrits par lui-même"". Archive.org. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  14. ^ Dobson, W. (ed.), The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Late Emperor of the French, from his Birth to his Departure to the Island of Saint Helena, Philadelphia, 1815, p. 168
  15. ^ "The life of Napoleon Bonaparte, late Emperor of the French, &c. &c. &c. from ... - Citizen of the United States - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  16. ^ "The Dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington: During His Various ... - Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  17. ^ "p.85-6. History of the Consulate and the Empire of France Under Napoleon: Forming a Sequel". Forgottenbooks.com. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  18. ^ "Battle of Talavera (July 1809)". Worcestershire Regiment. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  19. ^ Thiers, p. 417
  20. ^ Grandmaison Geoffroy de: L'Espagne et Napoleon 1809-1811, Paris 1925, p. 353
  21. ^ Desormeaux, Baguenier H.: Kléber en Vendee, Documents, publies pour la Société d' Histoire Contemporaire, Picard, Paris 1907, p.24
  22. ^ Wootten, Geoffrey: Waterloo 1815, The Birth of Modern Europe, p. 20
  23. ^ "French Army order of battle : Waterloo : II Cavalry Corps : Battle of Waterloo : Napoleonic Wars : Napoleon : Bonaparte : Wellington : Duke of Wellington : La Belle Alliance :". Napoleonguide.com. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  24. ^ Franklin, John, Embleton, Gerry A.: Waterloo (2), Ligny, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2015.
  25. ^ "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  26. ^ "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  27. ^ "Jean Baptiste Alexandre Strolz", in Adolphe Robert and Gaston Cougny, Dictionnaire des parlementaires français (1789-1891), Bourloton, Paris, 1889 Edition details Wikisource
  28. ^ a b c "Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Strolz". Arcdetriomphe.info. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  29. ^ "Strolz - Ancestry.co.uk". Search.ancestry.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  30. ^ Rémy Godbert. "tombe du général STROLTZ. 15ème div". Lesapn.forumactif.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  31. ^ "Profile" (PDF). Arnauld.divry.pagesperso-orange.fr. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  32. ^ "Plan". M.gralon.net. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  33. ^ "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  34. ^ a b c d "Ministčre de la culture - Base Léonore". Culture.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  35. ^ a b c "Biographie historique et gיnיalogique des hommes marquans de l'ancienne ... - Louis-Antoine Michel - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  36. ^ Original commission document signed by Napoleon on 16 March 1804 (25 ventose an 12)
  37. ^ "The Waterloo Armies: Men, Organization and Tactics - Philip haythornthwaite - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  38. ^ a b "Base de données historique des anciens députés - Assemblée nationale". Assemblee-nationale.fr. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  39. ^ https://books.google.ch/books?id=JwIwAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA277&lpg=RA1-PA277&dq=%22Baron+Stroltz%22&source=bl&ots=ykYmRov-n2&sig=InBt5QZ6MXiFWdpPEq84xs1mNqw&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis_q3T_ePPAhVBNxQKHbr9ABsQ6AEIKzAD#v=onepage&q=%22Baron%20Stroltz%22&f=false