General Jean Baptiste Jeanin

Jean Baptiste Jeanin
Colonel of the 12th Light who rose to become a division commander and served at the Battle of Waterloo

Born: January 22, 1769

Place of Birth: Laneyriat, Jura, France

Died: May 2, 1830

Place of Death: Saulieu, France

Arc de Triomphe: JEANIN on the south pillar


Joining the army in August of 1792 as a lieutenant, Jean Baptiste Jeanin started his career with the 10th Battalion of Volunteers of Jura. He and his unit served with the Army of the Rhine and in October of 1793 he served in the attack of the lines of Wissembourg. The next month Jeanin fought at the combat of Brumpt. In 1794 he was promoted to capitaine and in January of 1795 he served at the siege of a fort near Mannheim. In 1796 Jeanin served with the 69th of the Line in Italy and in March of 1797 he served at the action of Gradisca and the crossing of the Isonzo. In 1798 he took part in the expedition to Egypt and that July he fought at Chebreiss and the Battle of the Pyramids . The next year Jeanin served on the expedition to Syria and he was wounded by grapeshot at the Siege of Acre. Returning from Syria, he fought at the Battle of Abukir in July. In 1800 Jeanin served at the Battle of Héliopolis and then in 1801 he finally returned to France after the French surrendered to the British in Egypt.

Back in France, Jeanin was named a capitaine in the Chasseurs à Pied of the Consular Guard. In January of 1804 he was promoted to chef de bataillon and later that year he began serving at the camp of Boulogne. Jeanin was promoted to colonel of the 12th Light in August of 1805 and in 1806 he married the daughter of the painter Jacques Louis David. Later that year he joined Dupas' division and then in 1807 he served with Michaud's 1st Division in X Corps. Jeanin fought at the Battle of Heilsberg in June where he was wounded by grapeshot.

In 1808 Jeanin was named a Baron of the Empire and sent to Spain. That November he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and Napoleon promoted him to général de brigade at the review of Burgos. Despite his promotion, Jeanin remained with his regiment until May of 1809 when he returned to France due to ill health. In November of 1809 he returned to Spain to serve with VIII Corps. Jeanin served at the Siege of Astorga in March and April of 1810 and then in July he was named commander of the province of Astorga.

In December of 1811 Jeanin returned to France and then late in 1812 he was given command of a brigade of the National Guard. In 1813 he saw active campaigning again for he was sent to the Illyrian Provinces. Named commander at Karlstadt, Jeanin took Czettin but then in August was forced to evacuate Karlstadt and retreat on Fiume. Next he took command of a brigade of Palombini's division in Italy and in September he won at Wechselburg. Jeanin went on to serve Caldiero and San-Michel in November and then in December he served at Boara. In 1814 Jeanin commanded the 1st Brigade of Marcognet's 4th Division in Italy and in March he served at the combat of Parma.

After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, Jeanin was named a Knight of Saint Louis and promoted to lieutenant general. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he placed Jeanin in charge of the 20th Infantry Division in Mouton's VI Corps. Leading his division, Jeanin fought at the Battle of Waterloo in June. Afterwards he was put on non-activity and he finally retired from the army at the end of 1824.


Updated January 2021

© Nathan D. Jensen