He served the First French Empire in the Army of the Rhine with Joseph Hugo, and became close friends with the younger man. He was the godfather and namesake of Joseph's son Victor Hugo. He served in the revolutionary armies, but souring on Napoleon joined the Moreau conspiracy. When the plan fell apart in 1801, he was proscribed and went into hiding on the estate of Joseph Hugo. There the young Victor Hugo got to know the general.
After fleeing abroad, he returned to France in 1808 and was arrested and held at La Force Prison. He was freed during the Malet coup of 1812, but after the coup's failure he was recaptured and executed.
- Edward King (1882). French Political Leaders. Putnam. p. 12.
- Edward Ryan (8 January 2003). Napoleon's Shield & Guardian: The Unconquerable General Daumesnil. Frontline Books. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-85367-553-9.
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