General Pierre Jadart Du Merbion

Commander of the Army of Italy in 1794 who won the Battle of Saorgio

Born: April 30, 1737

Place of Birth: Montmeillant, Ardennes, France

Died: February 25, 1797

Place of Death: Montmeillant, France

Arc de Triomphe: DUMERBION on the south pillar


The son of an infantry major, Pierre Jadart Du Merbion enlisted in the army in 1752 at age fifteen. Two years later he was promoted to lieutenant in a militia battalion but in October of 1757 he left that battalion. The next month du Merbion joined the infantry regiment of Vastan as a lieutenant. Serving in the Seven Years War, he was taken prisoner only a month later at Harbourg. Du Merbion was exchanged in 1761 and then in 1762 he served on board a ship. In 1765 he was sent to serve in France's American colonies where he was promoted to capitaine in 1769. After returning to France in 1773, du Merbion remained a capitaine for many years but he was honored as a Knight of Saint Louis in 1779.

After the onset of the Revolution, du Merbion was named a lieutenant colonel of the 91st Regiment in February of 1792. Eight months later he was promoted to colonel, and then in November he was promoted to maréchal de camp and assigned to the Army of Italy. In May of 1793 du Merbion was promoted to général de division and then in August he was named commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy. However, during his time in charge he continually served under other commanders until January of 1794 when he officially became commander of the army. That April du Merbion led his forces to victory at the Battle of Saorgio and then in August he was named commander of both the Army of the Alps and the Army of Italy. He and his men defeated the Austrians at Cairo that September, but by now his age was catching up to him. In November of 1794 du Merbion was replaced by General Schérer and he was authorized to retire, receiving a pension for his service.


Updated September 2016

© Nathan D. Jensen