General Claude-Antoine Compère

Aide-de-camp to General Saligny and général de brigade who was killed at Borodino

Born: May 21, 1774

Place of Birth: Châlons-sur-Marne, Marne, France

Died: September 7, 1812

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Place of Death: Borodino, Russia

Arc de Triomphe: COMPERE on the west pillar


The younger brother of Louis-Fursy-Henri Compère, Claude-Antoine Compère joined the army in September of 1792 when he volunteered to join the 10th Battalion of Paris, known as the Friends of the Fatherland. Despite not having prior military experience, he was named a sergeant and sent to the Army of the North. Two months later in November Compère fought at the wood of Assche where he was wounded. In late 1793 Compère was employed in the administration of the Army of the North, and then in 1794 he was attached to Saligny, beginning a long association. When the army was reorganized that year, Compère and Saligny joined the Army of the Sambre and Meuse. The next year Compère received a promotion to lieutenant in April of 1795 and then in October of 1796 he was promoted to capitaine. In 1797 he served with the Army of Germany and then in 1799 he was assigned to the Army of the Danube. That year Compère served at the crossing of the Linth which was part of the larger Battle of Zurich . On the battlefield he was promoted to chef de bataillon and officially named an aide-de-camp to Saligny who was promoted to general at the same battle.

In 1800 Compère served in the Army of the Rhine and then in 1802 he was assigned to the 13th Light. The next year he was sent to the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean and assigned to the 9th Light. Over the following years Compère served at the camps of Bruges, Boulogne, and Montreuil. During the summer of 1805, he returned to General Saligny's side as an aide-de-camp and then accompanied him on the campaign in Austria that year. Compère next followed Saligny to the Army of Naples in 1806 where he took command of the advance guard under General Reynier. He served at Campo-Tenese in March and then at Santa-Eufemia in July where he had his arm broken by a shot.

Compère continued to serve in Italy and in 1807 he was named colonel of the Grenadiers of the Neapolitan Royal Guard. The next year he was further honored as a Commander of the Order of Two Sicilies and then promoted to général de brigade in the service of Naples. Compère did not follow Joseph Bonaparte and General Saligny to Spain in 1808, instead remaining in Naples. In November of 1809 he was promoted to général de division and then in 1810 he was named inspector general of the gendarmerie. Later that year Compère led a Neapolitan division to service in Catalonia and in October of 1811 he served under Marshal Suchet at the Battle of Sagonte.

In 1812 Compère left the service of Naples to return to the French army as a général de brigade. He was given command of the 1st Brigade of Razout's 11th Division of Marshal Ney's III Corps for the campaign in Russia. That September Compère was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor only a few days before the Battle of Borodino. He led his men into action at Borodino where he was killed.


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Updated January 2016

© Nathan D. Jensen