General Antoine Guillaume Rampon

Antoine Guillaume Rampon
General who served notably in Italy and Egypt before retiring to serve in the senate

Born: March 16, 1759

Place of Birth: Saint-Fortunat, Ardèche, France

Died: March 2, 1842

Place of Death: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe: RAMPON on the south pillar


A career soldier, Antoine Guillaume Rampon began his military career by enlisting in the regiment of Médoc in 1775. He slowly rose through the non-commissioned ranks over the course of many years, finally becoming a sergeant-major in 1789. With the French Revolution came a commission and faster promotions as Rampon was promoted to sous-lieutenant in early 1792 and then to lieutenant in August of that year. After working under Anselme at Nice for a short period of time, he joined the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. In September of 1793 Rampon was promoted to capitaine and less than a month later he was promoted to chef de bataillon. Only 9 days later he was promoted to chef de brigade on the battlefield of Villelongue. Rampon went on to serve at Prats de Mollo and Peyrestortes before being wounded and taken prisoner at Collioure at the end of the year. Once peace was secured with Spain in 1795, Rampon was released and before long he was sent to serve with the Army of Italy.

With the young General Bonaparte taking command of the Army of Italy, Rampon would soon share in the glory. At the start of the campaign, Rampon's unit came under heavy attack from superior Austrian numbers at the redoubt of Monte Legino. Sensing the dire situation, he reportedly swore to fight to the death and told his men, "It is here, my friends, that we must conquer or die."1 After successfully holding the position, General Bonaparte promoted him to général de brigade. The next day Rampon contributed to the victory at Montenotte and then over the next few days he went on to fight at Millesimo and Dego . That May Rampon took command of the 2nd Brigade in Masséna's division. Leading this brigade, he fought at Lonato, Salo, Peschiera, Roveredo, Arcola , Rivoli , La Favorite, and then he won at Friesack.

In January of 1798 Rampon was designated for the Army of England, but first he joined Mesnard's division under Brune and served in Switzerland. While there, he forced the crossing of Gümenen before returning to France to serve with the Army of the Orient on the expedition to Egypt. Upon arrival in Egypt Rampon took command of the 2nd Brigade of Bon's division and with them he served at the Battle of the Pyramids where he seized the village of Embabeh. For the next six months he commanded the province of Alfieh before joining the expedition to Syria as part of Bon's division again. During this campaign he fought at El Arisch, Gaza, Jaffa, Mount Tabor , and Acre. After Bon's death at the siege of Acre, Rampon took command of his former commander's division and led it into action at the Battle of Abukir. In January of 1800 he was promoted to général de division by General Kléber. That March Rampon fought at Heliopolis and later in 1800 he was named a senator despite not being in France. In 1801 he commanded the center at the Battle of Canope and after the loss he commanded the redoubts surrounding Alexandria until the French surrender. Returning to France in November, in the next year Rampon would take up his seat in the senate, receive a saber of honor, and retire from the military.

In 1804 Rampon received another award, being made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. In the future he would also become a Commander of the Iron Crown. In 1805 he took charge of the National Guard of Nord, Pas-de-Calais, and Somme and in 1806 he obtained a senate seat for Rouen. With the creation of the new nobility of the empire, Rampon was created a Count of the Empire in 1808. The next year, despite his official retirement, he took command of the camp of Boulogne before taking command of the 3rd and 4th divisions of the Army of the North under Marshal Bernadotte.

At the end of 1811, as soldiers were being sent east to prepare for the Russian campaign, Rampon was charged with organizing the National Guard of the 10th military division to defend the Spanish frontier. Two years later he took command of the National Guard at Antwerp, and as Allied forces began to press forward on all sides, he defended Gorcum. Forced to surrender at Gorcum in February of 1814, he was released after Napoleon's abdication and he returned to France.

With Napoleon's return in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Rampon was made a Peer of France and placed in charge of the 4th military division. After learning of the outcome of Waterloo, he took up a position defending a section of Paris. For his actions during these times, he was struck from the list of Peers of France by the Bourbons. In 1819 they reversed this decision and made Rampon a Peer of France again.



Updated April 2023

© Nathan D. Jensen