General Jean Pierre Firmin Malher

Jean Pierre Firmin Malher
Général de division who was killed in a training accident at Valladolid

Born: June 29, 1761

Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France

Died: March 13, 1808

Cause of Death: Accident

Place of Death: Valladolid, Spain

Arc de Triomphe: MALHER on the north pillar


Jean Pierre Firmin Malher first enlisted in the army in 1777 and then two years later he served on the ship Couronne. After the French Revolution began, in October of 1789 he joined the National Guard of Paris. In 1792 Malher joined the 14th Battalion of Light Infantry and he served with them in the Army of the North, and then in August he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant. The next year he was promoted to lieutenant and he became an aide-de-camp to General Queyssat. Malher continued to serve with the Army of the North and in 1794 he was promoted to chef de brigade and he became the chief of staff to General Bonnaud's division.

Malher's next major command came in September of 1799 when he became Vandamme's chief of staff in the Army of Holland. The next month he served at Castricum , he was promoted to général de brigade, and he joined Boudet's division. In 1800 General Malher joined the Army of the Reserve in Watrin's division and that May he seized Aoste and fought at Montestrutto, Ivrée, and Chiusella. In June he fought at Montebello and then he was wounded at Marengo. That November Malher returned to Paris.

During the years of peace that followed, Malher was employed in the 24th military division and he received a promotion to général de division in 1803. In 1804 he was sent to the camp of Montreuil where he took command of the 3rd Infantry Division that would become part of Marshal Ney's VI Corps the next year. Malher led his division throughout the campaign of 1805 and he fought at Gunzbourg in October. On Christmas Day of 1805, Malher was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

The next year, a few weeks into the campaign in Prussia, General Malher was replaced in his command by General Vandamme. In 1807 he was employed in the interior and then given command of the 13th military division at Rennes. That November Malher took command of the 3rd Division of Dupont's II Corps. Named a Count of the Empire in March of 1808, he and his men traveled into Spain and were at Valladolid. On March 13th, Malher was participating in a firing training exercise when a soldier fired his gun but had left his ramrod in the barrel. The ramrod flew out of control and through Malher's skull, killing him.


Updated October 2023

© Nathan D. Jensen