Colonel Joseph César Michault de Saint-Mars

Joseph César Michault de Saint-Mars
Officer who served as aide-de-camp to Marshal Lannes

Born: November 18, 1778

Place of Birth: Avesnes, Nord, France

Died: September 21, 1853

Place of Death: Lavault-Saine-Anne, France

Arc de Triomphe: DE ST MARS on the north pillar


The son of Sir Saint-Mars who was an inspector of supplies, Joseph César Michault de Saint-Mars' first military service was in 1799 when he served with the 9th Dragoons in Italy. In 1800 he joined the engineers and then in 1802 he was promoted to lieutenant and he became an aide-de-camp to General Bertrand. Three years later in 1805 Michault became an aide-de-camp to Marshal Lannes and he served on the campaign in Austria that year. That November he was wounded by a shot to the shoulder at Hollabrunn and then in December he was wounded by a shot to the thigh at the Battle of Austerlitz. In May of 1806 Michault was promoted to capitaine and that fall he served on the campaign against Prussia. In December he served at the Battle of Pultusk and afterwards he was promoted to chef de bataillon for his conduct. Michault continued to attract wounds for in June of 1807 he served at the Battle of Friedland where he was wounded by a shot to the arm.

In 1808 Michault served in Spain and he was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor. In 1809 he accompanied Marshal Lannes to the Army of Germany to serve during the Danube campaign. That May Michault was badly wounded by saber blows as the army approached Vienna. After the death of Marshal Lannes, Michault was promoted to colonel in June and then at the end of July he took command of the 3rd Chasseurs à Cheval. He was named a Baron of the Empire and then in 1812 he continued to lead his unit for the campaign against Russia. That July he fought at the combat of Mogilev where he was wounded by five lance blows and he was taken prisoner by the Russians.

Michault remained a prisoner until after Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration. Once back in France he retook command of his regiment which had since been renamed and he was named a Knight of Saint Louis. When Napoleon returned from exile in 1815 and resumed power for the Hundred Days, Michault did not take part in events and instead retired to his home. When the Bourbons were once again restored, he was therefore in favor. Michault married the niece of Marshal Macdonald in 1817 and in 1818 he inherited the title of Viscount of Saint-Mars. In 1840 he served as secretary to the commission on the Arc de Triomphe.


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Updated April 2018

© Nathan D. Jensen