General Jacques Nicolas Bellavène

Jacques Nicolas Bellavène
Promising officer and leader who had to fulfill administrative posts after losing a leg at the Battle of Rastadt in 1796

Born: October 20, 1770

Place of Birth: Verdun, Meuse, France

Died: February 16, 1826

Place of Death: Milly, France

Arc de Triomphe: BELLAVESNE on the east pillar


The son of a cavalry captain, Jacques Nicolas Bellavène enlisted in the 2nd Cavalry in 1791. In May of 1792 he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant and he was employed with the staff of the Army of the Rhine. On May 19th, 1793 Bellavène was named an aide-de-camp and he immediately distinguished himself the same day by participating in a charge that captured the Austrian Colonel Count Klenau. Later that year in December he retook Haguenau and took four hundred prisoners while doing it, further distinguishing himself. In April of 1794 Bellavène was promoted to chef de bataillon and then in May he seized Neuhoffen and took two hundred prisoners. The representatives of the people with the Army of the Rhine promoted Bellavène to chef de brigade that June. Next Bellavène served at the blockade of Mainz and in November he twice surprised the defenders at Weissenau during night attacks.

In 1796 Bellavène was appointed by General Moreau to help plan the crossing of the Rhine. That June Moreau promoted Bellavène to général de brigade. In July Bellavène fought at the Battle of Rastadt where he had both his body and his career hurt when a ball carried away one of his legs. Once sufficiently recovered, the government placed Bellavène with the topography cabinet and then the 3rd military division. In 1800 he served as inspector of reviews and he commanded the 4th military division during the Congress of Lunéville. In 1801 Bellavène was named administrator general of posts and then in 1803 he became deputy commander and director of studies of the military school of Fontainebleau. In 1804 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and in 1807 he was promoted to général de division. In 1812 Bellavène began serving as inspector general of military schools and interim commander of the cavalry school of Saint-Germain. The next year he was named a Baron of the Empire. After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, Bellavène was put on non-activity. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Bellavène became inspector general of military schools again and he also took command of the school of Saint-Cyr. That October he retired from the military.


Updated January 2020

© Nathan D. Jensen