Admiral Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien

Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien
Captain who fought at Trafalgar and was later promoted to admiral and who served frequently at Toulon

Born: November 27, 1761

Place of Birth: Châteaulin, Finistère, France

Died: February 17, 1825

Place of Death: Brest, France

Arc de Triomphe: COSMAO on the north pillar


The son of a notary and lawyer, Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien entered the navy in June of 1776. He served on a campaign to the Antilles before serving on a variety of vessels. In 1779 Cosmao-Kerjulien joined the crew of the brig Hirondelle and with them he made a campaign to Guyana where he took part in a combat against two corsairs in November of 1780. Receiving a promotion to lieutenant of frigate in September of 1781, he next served on Pégase and in February of 1782 he took part in a naval battle. Cosmao-Kerjulien served on many different ships over the following years before the Revolution.

In January of 1792 Cosmao-Kerjulien was serving aboard Orion when he was promoted to lieutenant of vessel. He then took part in the attack of Cagliari and in May he took command of the frigate Sincère0. In April of 1793 Cosmao-Kerjulien was promoted to captain of vessel and he began serving at the port of Toulon. In 1795 he took command of Tonnant serving under Rear Admiral Martin and during his command he took the frigate Alceste, fought at the naval combat before Noli, and fought at the gulf of Fréjus. In 1799 Cosmao-Kerjulien took command of the vessel Jemappes and he served in the naval forces under Admiral Bruix's command.

In 1801 Cosmao-Kerjulien took part in the expedition to Saint-Domingue, serving under Rear Admiral Dordelin. In 1805 he took command of the vessel Pluton in Admiral Villeneuve's squadron and that June he seized the fort on Diamond Rock near Martinique. That July Cosmao-Kerjulien took part in a battle at Cape Finistère where he came to the rescue of the Spanish vessel Fermo. In October the French and Spanish fleets entered into battle with the British fleet under Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. After the French-Spanish loss, Cosmao-Kerjulien rallied the fleet and retook two Spanish vessels that had been captured by the British fleet before taking refuge in Cadiz.

Cosmao-Kerjulien was promoted to rear admiral in May of 1806 and he was given command of a division of Admiral Ganteaume's squadron at Toulon. In 1808 he crossed the Mediterranean toward Corfu and later he supplied Barcelona. In 1810 Cosmao-Kerjulien was named a Baron of the Empire and in 1811 he took command of the 2nd Division of Admiral Missiessy's squadron of the Scheldt. The following year he returned to Toulon where he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. On November 5th, 1813 he battled the British fleet and on February 10th, 1814 he again battled them.

After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, Cosmao-Kerjulien was named a Knight of Saint Louis. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Napoleon appointed Cosmao-Kerjulien the maritime prefect at Brest and named him a Peer of France. After the Second Restoration, Cosmao-Kerjulien retired from the navy.


Updated April 2019

© Nathan D. Jensen