General Jean-Baptiste Gouvion

Engineering officer who served in the American Revolutionary War before being killed near Maubeuge

Born: January 8, 1747

Place of Birth: Toul, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France

Died: June 11, 1792

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Place of Death: Glisuelle, France

Arc de Triomphe: GOUVION on the north pillar


A soldier for much of his life, Jean-Baptiste Gouvion's military career began when he became a lieutenant at the engineering school of Mézières in January of 1769. In 1777 Gouvion left the service of France to join the revolutionary army of the American War of Independence. While serving with the Americans, he was promoted to capitaine in 1779 and then colonel in 1781. After the successful conclusion of the war, Gouvion returned to France and in 1783 he was given the rank of lieutenant colonel in the French army. The following year he was recognized as a Knight of Saint Louis and then in 1787 he was promoted to mestre de camp.

Colonel Gouvion was active in the French Revolution from the start. Known to Lafayette from his service in America, he was appointed major general of the Parisian National Guard in August of 1789. Two years later he was promoted to maréchal de camp in the regular army and appointed inspector general of the 17th military division. In September of 1791 Gouvion was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a deputy for Paris and the following month he joined the military committee.

In April of 1792 General Gouvion resigned his position in the government to serve in the army. Joining Lafayette's army, a few months later he was killed by a shot from a cannon near Maubeuge.

Please see the Appendix about the name GOUVION on the Arc de Triomphe.


Updated February 2015

© Nathan D. Jensen