General Gabriel Jean Fabre

Officer who supported Napoleon's coup d'état in 1799 and as a general was badly wounded at Wiazma in 1812

Born: February 20, 1774

Place of Birth: Vannes, Morbihan, France

Died: May 12, 1858

Place of Death: Laval, France

Arc de Triomphe: FABRE on the south pillar


The son of a lieutenant in the maréchaussée, the precursor to the gendarmerie, Gabriel Jean Fabre entered the army as a sous-lieutenant in the 39th Infantry in January of 1792. He served aboard the Vengeur and then the Aréthuse and with that ship he was in Toulon when Toulon revolted against the government in Paris. Fabre escaped from Toulon and then he was promoted to capitaine and he served at the Siege of Toulon to retake Toulon. Three years later he was serving with the Army of Italy and in April of 1796 he was wounded three times at Cossaria. The next month Fabre joined the advance guard under Dallemagne and then in June he served at the action of Verona. In July he fought at Corona where he was wounded by a shot to the head and left for dead on the battlefield. Fabre was taken prisoner by the Austrians and sent to the prisons of Roveredo, which the French then liberated in September. He rejoined his men and served in the Tyrol in 1797.

In 1798 Fabre served on the staff of the Army of Italy and then in March of 1799 he was promoted to chef de bataillon and he took command of the grenadiers of the advance guard of Montrichard's division. Not long after, Fabre fought at Legnago where he was wounded by a shot to the right thigh. To recover from his wound, he returned to Paris and was posted to the 17th military division in Paris. This placed Fabre in an important position during General Napoleon Bonaparte's coup of 18 Brumaire, and Fabre supported the coup d'état. For his support he received a promotion in January of 1800. In 1801 Fabre served with Army of the West until September when he quit due to poor health.

In 1803 Fabre was named chief of staff of the 12th military division at Nantes. He remained here until October of 1806 when he was called to join the Grande Armée. In 1807 Fabre was given command of Warsaw and he was named chief of staff of Suchet's division. That June he took part in the combats on the Omulew and later he was named a Knight of the Iron Crown.

Fabre was sent to Spain in 1808 and in March of 1809 he was promoted to général de brigade in III Corps. He seized Jaca that month and then in March of 1810 he was named a Baron of the Empire and employed in the 13th military division. Fabre took part in the Russian campaign of 1812, serving with the general staff and then in Marshal Davout's I Corps. That November he fought at Wiazma where he was badly wounded by a ball that ripped open up his lower abdomen. Fabre was sent back to France but only a few months later he was well enough to take command of the département of Côtes-du-Nord.


Updated May 2019

© Nathan D. Jensen