Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison


Nicolas-Joseph Maison was born in Epinay-Sur-Seine, France on December 19, 1771. He was Earl as of 1813 and Marquis as of 1818. His father was Joseph Maison and his mother Marie Genevieve Guiard. His wife was named Marie-Madeleine-Françoise Weigold.

He came from a very poor family and his father, who was a grocer, wanted him to become a merchant. However, at the age of 21, he enlisted as a volunteer in the French army on August 15, 1791, and took part in the war against Prussia. In 1792, he became a captain. He served with this rank until October 1795, according to his personal record, and took part in many campaigns and battles where he was wounded many times. He then served for a while in Italy, then in the Rhine Army, and afterwards in the Netherlands. Then in Hanover and Germany. He gained progressively and slowly his ranks, reaching in 1805 the rank of Brigadier General. With this rank he fought with the Great Army in Prussia, Spain and Germany, from 1809 to 1812, and took part in the great campaign against Russia. He was named Lieutenant General on the battlefield in 1812 by Napoleon and in 1813 he participated in the campaign in Saxony, where he was wounded in the battle of Leipzig. He was Governor of Paris during the years 1814, 1815 and 1816, and did everything he could to maintain order, while at the same time he adhered to constitutional ideals.

Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

During the wars of Napoleonic France that followed, Maison defended successfully Belgium four times, which was considered his greatest military achievement.

During his lifetime he took part in a total of about 50 battles and was wounded more than 30 times. Maison’s bravery was also recognized by Napoleon Bonaparte, who by his own decision awarded him a sword, as can be seen from French records.

On August 28, 1828, he arrived in Methoni in charge of the French Expeditionary Force, following a joint decision of the three Great Powers and in execution of the London Protocol of July 19, 1828, which provided for the withdrawal of the Egyptian Army from the Peloponnese. The purpose of the Corps of Maison was to evacuate the Peloponnese from Ibrahim’s enemy troops.

Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

Indicative of the prevailing situation is a letter from the Governor of Greece, I. Kapodistrias. The document bears his signature (“Io. A. Kapodistrias”) and it is addressed to the “Panhellenic, to the Extraordinary Commissioners throughout the State and to the Leaders of the land and sea forces”, by which he announces France’s decision to organize a campaign under Lieutenant General Maison. The letter is sent from Aegina, on August 13, 1828.

The letter bears a printed headline (“HELLENIC STATE / THE GOVERNOR OF GREECE”), and it is endorsed by the Secretary of State, Sp. Trikoupis.

“… Because the position of the Courts of England and Russia did not allow them to grant their part of the campaign, the King of France accepted it on his own, and it is now up to the French forces to undertake the task of Peace, which was promised to Greece and Europe by the Treaty of London. Lieutenant General Marquis DeMaison, was placed at the head of this campaign, which is formed by warriors who will arrive in a few days to the place which was deserted without mercy, by the presence of Ibrahim Pasca. If they arrive, this place will get rid of this scourge, and its fertility will soon alleviate some of our miseries … ».

Letter from the Governor of Greece, I. Kapodistrias to the “Panhellenic” announcing the decision of France to organize a campaign under Lieutenant General Maison. Aegina, August 13, 1828. Printed headline (“GREEK STATE / THE GOVERNOR OF GREECE”), endorsed by the Secretary of State Sp. Trikoupis (SHP collection).

The army consisted of 15,000 men and distinguished officers. Apart from the military, the French mission included many important personalities of various scientific disciplines, to which Greece owes a large number of important studies, such as for example the first topographic maps of the new state, the first records of archaeological sites, and even reports of fauna and flora.

Bory de Saint-Vincent, Jean-Baptiste, and others. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION OF MOREA, PARIS AND STRASBOURG: F.G. LEVRAULT, 1834-1835-1836 (SHP collection).

Expédition scientifique de Morée. Architecture, sculptures, inscriptions et vues du Péloponnèse, the Cyclades et de l’Attique, publiées par (G) A. Blouet. 3 vols. Paris, Didot, 1831-38 (SHP collection).

The jackal of the Morea (Canis aureus moreoticus) described for the first time by the Morea Expedition (Lithographs by Jean-Gabriel Prêtre, published by Bory de Saint-Vincent) (SHP collection).

Example of a plate devoted to botany in Expédition de Morée by Bory de Saint-Vincent (Nepeta argolica Bory & Chaub) (SHP collection).

It is worth noting that many Greeks participated also in the French mission in various positions. Indicatively, we refer to a letter of recommendation of July 31, 1828, written by the French author and diplomat CHATEAUBRIAND (François-René de), concerning the Greek official Konstantinos Schinas. The letter recommends him to participate in the French mission in Greece.

«Je crois (…) avoir l’honneur de vous proposer une chose utile au service du Roi, en vous demandant vos bontés pour le spathar Constantin Schinas, beau-frère du Prince Ypsilanti; il désire être employé dans l’expédition du Gal Maison. Vous connaissez déjà son affaire, et il vous l’expliquera encore mieux que moi (…)».

Konstantinos Schinas later took over the duties of judge, minister of justice, in Greece and he was the first rector of the University of Athens.

Konstantinos Schinas. 19th century lithography.

Another member of the same family, Michael Schinas, also took part in the Morea Campaign, and even participated in the scientific section (Department of Archaeology) of the French expeditionary corps. Michael Schinas lived in Paris until 1827, and had contributed to the delivery to Greece, of the sculpture “Ellinopoula”, the tomb statue erected in memory of Marcos Botsaris by the French sculptor Pierre-Jean David d’Angers.

Michael Schinas. 19th century lithography.

Letter of recommendation dated July 31, 1828, written by the author and diplomat CHATEAUBRIAND (François-René de), concerning the Greek official Konstantinos Schinas. The letter recommends him to participate in the French mission in Greece (SHP collection).

Although the evacuation of the Peloponnese was completed in October 1828, the French  Corps did not withdraw immediately. The aim of Governor I. Kapodistrias was the participation of General Maison’s army in the liberation of Western Greece and Evia, a goal that was in accordance with the instructions of the French Minister of War to Maison (August 27, 1828).

The handover of the castle of Morea in Patras, to General Nicolas Joseph Maison. Painting by the French painter Jean-Charles Langlois.

At the same time, the French Government made, through General Maison, a proposal to the Governor of Greece for the organization of a Regular Army by French officers. France would bear the costs of maintaining the Army by paying monthly grants, and an additional 100 or so French officers would be seconded to the Greek Army to train Greek officers. The commander would also be a person nominated by the Marshal. Indeed, Colonel Camille Alphonse Trézel, later Minister of War in France, was appointed General Director of the Regular Corps in July 1829. In addition, Maison determined that France would pay 100,000 French francs each month on the condition that the amount would be paid solely to the Greek army. The payment of these instalments, however, was abruptly stopped in July 1830, due to the change in the political situation in France.

The French expedition to Morea in 1828. Oil on canvas. Attributed to Noel-Dieudonne Finart (1797 – 1852) (SHP collection).

Nevertheless, in February 1829, the French Government obtained the consent of its allies to maintain in the Peloponnese, after the end of the military operations, part of the expeditionary corps, consisting of 5,000 men. The remaining French troops left four years later. Unfortunately, Kapodistrias’ attempt to use the French armed forces to liberate Attica, failed, as it faced resistance from other great powers, who did not want to further weaken the Ottoman Empire (which was facing a threat from Russia) and they insisted for the immediate departure of the French troops.

The personal seals of Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison. The coat of arms mentions “Aperte et Honeste” (SHP collection).

Thus, after completing his mission, General Maison left the Greek territory on May 22, 1829, receiving as a gift from Kapodistrias two swords, one belonging to Karaiskakis and a Byzantine one, for him and his lieutenant, Durriu, as witnessed by the General Gazette of Greece on the same day. Charles Fabvier also left Greece on the same ship.

The correspondence of the General with the Governor, after the departure of Maison, is enlightening for the appreciation that the General received from Kapodistrias, but also for Maison’s gratitude to the Governor and his devotion to the noble cause of the liberation of Greece.

General Maison’s campaign, in any case, facilitated the work of Kapodistrias and, above all, prepared the Greek territory for the forthcoming independence. According to the newspaper Aion, General Maison’s mission “set the last stone of Greek independence“, contributing together with the naval battle of Navarino to diplomatic decisions favourable to Greece on behalf of the Three Powers.

After the campaign in the Peloponnese, Maison retired and lived a private life in France. He took part in the opposition in the House of Peers. Liberal in his views, he supported the July Revolution in 1830. In the same year, he served as Foreign Minister of his country. He then served as ambassador to Vienna and St. Petersburg (1833). In addition, on April 30, 1835, according to his personal register, he was appointed Minister of War and served in that position until September 6, 1836.

He received the rank of Marshal under King Charles IX. The liberation of Greece, which was a demand of the public in France, contributed to the granting of this rank, on February 22, 1829.

Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison. 19th century lithography (SHP collection).

Nicolas-Joseph Maison died on February 13, 1840 in Paris, at the age of seventy-one, after a short and sudden illness.

During his career he was honoured with many medals. Among them we distinguish the medal of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour awarded on July 23, 1814, the medal of the Order of St. Louis in 1818, the medal of the Order of Charles III of Spain in 1835, the medal of the Order of Leopold of Belgium in 1836, etc. In Greece he was honoured with the Order of the Grand Cross of the Redeemer on November 26, 1834. In addition, his name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, along with the names of other great generals of France. In Greece, streets in Athens, Patras and Kalamata are named after him, to remind to the people  of his kind contribution to the liberation and restoration of the Peloponnese and Greece.

Maison street in the centre of Athens

The signature of Marshal Nicolas-Joseph Maison.

Commemorative medal of the presence of General Maison and the Expeditionary Corps in the Peloponnese (SHP collection).


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Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck Lithography of the 19nth century


Karl Wilhelm Freiherr von Heideck, also known as Heidegger (not to be confused with the famous philosopher of the 20th century), is associated with the fate of the foundation of the new Greek state, with his dual military and artistic identity.

He was an experienced soldier and officer, who took part in the Greek war of Independence during the period 1826 – 1829, while in the years 1833 – 1835 he served as one of the three advisers to King Otto, until he reached his maturity. He was an educated and charismatic painter, who created impressive war compositions, drawing inspiration from the Greek revolutionaries in combination with the Greek landscape. His work added a heroic dimension to the struggle of the Greeks for their independence. Forged on the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars, he was regarded as a capable military man who, among other things, possessed important administrative skills. It was this fine combination that led the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, to entrust him with the demanding task of reorganizing the army. The creation of the first military school, which later evolved into the Military School of Evelpidon, is largely attributed to Heideck.

He was born on December 6, 1788 in Sarralbe (Lothringen, Département Moselle) and was the son of the Swiss-French officer and amateur painter Hartmann Heidegger. He received his first education at the Zurich School of Fine Arts, and in 1801 he moved to Munich, where he enrolled at the Military Academy, without interrupting his painting studies. In 1805, after being naturalized Bavarian, he enlisted in the Bavarian army and took part as an artillery lieutenant in the campaigns of 1805, 1806 and 1809 against Austria, Prussia and Tyrol. In 1810 he found himself a volunteer lieutenant in the French army in Spain, against Napoleon, and was promoted there to a captain. The first experiences on the battlefields gave him material for some of his paintings, which, however, were created later. One of them isconcerns the Bridge of Cuenca (Die Brücke von Cuenca, 1825) from the area of ​​Castilla-La Mancha. His work Scene from the Massacre at Hanau on October 30, 1813 (Szene aus der Schlacht von Hanau am 30 Oktober 1813, 1840) is related to his participation in the so-called German Liberation Wars (Befreiungskriege). In 1814 he accompanied to England, with the rank of major, the then still Prince, Ludwig I of Bavaria (Ludwig I), father of the later King Othon of Greece. He also participated in the Congress of Vienna (September 18, 1814 – June 9, 1815).

Ludwig I of Bavaria, on whose side Heideck served for many years, was possessed, as a fervent Hellenist, by sincere philhellenic sentiments, which he manifested openly from the moment the Greek Revolution broke out. Indicative of his attitude is the historical report that when he was informed of the victory of Karaiskakis in the battle of Arachova (November 18-24, 1826), he exclaimed with enthusiasm: “My Greece has been resurrected!”.

Heideck was influenced, being a confidant of Ludwig I, by his philhellenic feelings. The Bavarian monarch himself in a letter to Kapodistrias (August 12, 1826), mentioned Heideck’s desire to come to Greece in person, and with him the most valuable officers of his army, in their Bavarian uniform and salary to be paid by the monarchy. “Thirsty only to serve the interest of humanity, they are only valued to serve you, providing their skill, knowledge and manliness“, he wrote and asked the members of the Greek government to accept them. The Bavarian philhellenic mission to Greece finally took place in the autumn of 1826 and was coordinated by the leader of the European philhellenic movement, the banker of Geneva, Jean Gabriel Eynard.

When Colonel Heideck met with a total of fourteen of his officers in December 1826 in Greece, he found himself in the vortex of war, and faced the new conditions after the tragic Fall of Messolonghi in April of the same year. The commander of the enemy forces, Mehmet Reshit Pasha or Kioutachis, had directed his army to central Greece with its final target being Athens. He had gathered 10,000 cavalry, infantry and artillery. The besieged Greeks in the Acropolis of Athens, who numbered only 1,400, drew moral strength from the example of the “Free Besieged” Messolonghi. When Athens was occupied by Turkish troops in August of the same year, the Athenians fortified themselves on the Acropolis led by head of the guard of the city, Giannis Gouras, and expected help from Karaiskakis and from the French philhellene general Fabvier.

Heideck had arrived with money and ammunition, and his clear plan was to organize a regular army composed by Greeks and his Philhellenes. He was, in fact, willing to fight under the orders of Greek commanders, to succeed in his mission, while it is stated that he had no narrow personal ambitions to satisfy. However, his willingness and enthusiasm to serve his philhellenic purpose in practice did not find initially find suitable ground among the members of the Greek government. In fact, the French philhellene Dr. Bailly in turn prevented him, explaining to him how difficult it was for the Greek revolutionaries to join a corps in line with foreign standards. One possibility was that those who would have agreed to fight wearing the uniform of the regular army, at the critical moment of the battle, would withdraw to join the forces of the Greek irregular fighters. Realizing these objective difficulties, Heideck rightly chose to remain discreetly on the side of the Greek fighters, following their advice.

Thus, he put himself in the service of the Struggle, initially following the deployment of the Greek troops in Piraeus and Faliro under the leadership of Karaiskakis. The urgent need to end the siege of the Acropolis (if it fell, the whole of Central Greece would submit), led to military initiatives in the sea. During this period, the state-of-the-art frigate Hellas arrived in Greece from the USA, while a little earlier the first steamship warship Karteria had also arrived, commanded by the famous English Philhellene, Frank Abney Hastings. The two emblematic ships had been purchased with the first loans received by Greece, and were assigned the task to serve as a distraction for the supply of the Greek forces on land, in order to alleviate the siege of the Acropolis. The frigate Hellas would block the north coast of Attica and Karteria would provide artillery support from Piraeus. At the same time, two corpses would land south of Athens to advance towards the city. Heideck agreed to serve under the command of the operation’s coordinator, Colonel Gordon. One unit of men would land in Elefsina and another in Faliro. Unfortunately, the plan did not go as originally scheduled, as the Turks immediately realized their moves. Faliro’s failure disappointed Gordon, who resigned and suggested to the Greek government to give a chance to Heideck to cut off the Turkish supply line to the north, launching an attack on the fortress of Oropos. Indeed, on February 26, Heideck assigned the frigate Hellas under the command of Miaoulis, the Karteria, under the command of Hastings, and a third ship, the Nelson viper, to reach Oropos.

Karteria and Hellas. Lithography of Karl Krazeisen (SHP collection)

The Greek forces landed in Oropos, suffered some losses, however they caused significant damage to the Turks and managed to cut off for a while the lines of supply and communication of Kioutachis who was besieging the fort of the Acropolis.

Heideck had met Ioannis Kapodistrias at the Congress of Vienna, and had decided to enlist in the Greek cause. At the same time, he may have had a thirst for adventure and action. In any case, he had envisioned assisting the Greeks in their painstaking effort to build the new Greek state. A perspective that was warmly supported by the Philhellene king Ludwig I. His offer was gratefully accepted by Kapodistrias, who was eagerly looking for capable companions for his vision. His office, his relationship with the philhellenic committees, the fact that he was a man of his age with equivalent experiences, multilingual and with a humanistic education, created in Kapodistrias a feeling of mutual respect and trust in Heideck, which gradually developed into a political and personal friendship between the two men. Both men attached great importance to the idea of ​​a modern European state and to the need to create a regular army, which would function as a central force to support the independence of the newly created state.

In the summer of 1827 Kapodistrias appointed Heideck governor of his capital (Nafplio). From this position Heideck immediately tried to stop the hostilities within the city walls and ordered the fighting groups to gather in camps outside its gates. In order to protect Palamidi from possible riots, he ordered the transfer of ammunition to the lower city, which could be better controlled thanks to its high fortifications, and established an arms depot. Because Kapodistrias considered him a man who could not be manipulated by personal passions, he assigned him the role of commander of the regular army, a position previously held by Fabvier. Heideck organized a unit for the supply of the army and took care of the repair of the ruined fortresses. On his initiative, the castle of Heideck or Bourtzi was erected in the same year, in order to protect the port of Poros and Neorio.

Castle Boutzi or Heideck in Nafplio. Lithography of Karl Krazeisen (SHP collection)

He painted this castle very faithfully in his oil painting in 1837. According to the testimony of the architect Leo von Klenze, he maintained a painting studio in Nafplio, although he always stressed that the purpose of his presence in Greece was his contribution to the organization of the state and not painting.

Kapodistrias was particularly pleased with these services of Heideck, and sent a letter to Ludwig I (February 26, 1828), in which he asked for his trusted collaborator to remain in Greece for another year. At the same time, he asked him to send to Greece “officers similar to K. Heideck and K. Snitslain for the artillery, the brigade, and the infantry”. On July 1, 1828, Kapodistrias founded the Evelpidon Military School (Central War School), in the operation and organization of which Heideck contributed, together with the French officer Pauzie.

The health of the trusted collaborator of the Greek Governor’s was particularly dire. Nevertheless, Kapodistrias assigned him at the beginning of 1829 the supervision of all the Greek fortresses. Heideck also assumed the prominent position of senior guard of Argolis and Corinth, assisted in his work by Colonel Pissa.

Due to his shaky health, he was forced to return to his homeland on August 23, 1829, despite Kapodistrias’ appeals to stay longer in Greece.

Throughout his military career, he kept notes of all the political and military events and wrote reports to Ludwig I to inform him. He was also interested and recorded the manners and customs of the areas which he visited. Finally, he recorded all his experiences from the Bavarian mission during the years 1826-1829 in Greece, which were published in Munich in 1897 under the title: “Die bayerische Philhellenen-Fahrt 1826-1829 aus dem Randschriftlichen Rucklass des RB Generallieutenants Karl Freiherrn von Heideck” (“The Bavarian, Philhellenic Mission of 1826-1829 from the Notes of General Baron Charles von Heideck”). His impressions were republished in Greek in the magazine Armonia in 1900. He had also handed over to the young historian Leopold Ranke various documents and notes that he had collected during his presence in Greece, with the aim of perhaps writing the History of the Greek Revolution. Heideck considered that he had participated in a world class historic achievement. It was this belief that shaped his thinking about his future plans in Greece.

In the period between his return to Munich and his new travel to Greece, in 1833, as a member of Othon’s Regency, he devoted himself to painting, including the difficult art of mural painting. After his involvement in Greek affairs, Ludwig I considered him not just a favorite military man, but also a member of his closest circle, and the bond that developed between them was crucial for the developments in Greece, but also in Bavaria and at the House of Wittelsbach. He was the first person chosen by Ludwig I as a member of Othon’s three-member Regency, as he saw in him a capable guarantor for the consolidation of the monarchy in Greece. In addition, the good relationship that he had with Othon made him a good mentor to the king in a foreign and special country. Heideck’s philhellenism and faith in his vision for Greece, but also for his monarch, led him once again to the newly formed Greek state, where he remained from July 1832 to June 1835. He took command as commander-in-chief of the military and naval affairs, accompanied by the leader of the Bavarian Constitutional Party, Count Joseph von Armansberg and the former Bavarian Minister of Justice, Professor Ludwig von Maurer.

His work as a writer, which referred exclusively to events in which he took part or of which he was an eyewitness, was supported by his work as a painter, in which he depicts places and persons with whom he came in direct contact. Together with the Bavarian philhellene Karl Krazeisen, who also participated in the Struggle and painted portraits of Greek fighters, they were the only ones to depict the events at the time they took place, relying on their experiences and not after narrations by others. An exception to the rule is Heideck’s composition “Moscho and Lambros Tzavelas”, which depicts Tzavelas’ injury at the Battle of Kiafa (July 1792), which took place before the Greek revolution.

Karl von Heideck, Moscho and Lambros Tzavelas, 1831 (SHP collection)


The painter Heideck

Heideck’s approach as a painter was to create watercolors and preliminary sketches on the scene, keeping precise notes on the location and colors of the natural environment, so that he could later complete them as oil paintings in his homeland. He created over forty works that refer to Greece, depicting battle scenes, famous warriors, archeological sites and landscapes. Scenes with human types and animals, capturing details of everyday life, e.g. of the glamorous Greek costumes or the occupations of the locals, reflect his interest on the folklore and ethnography. His idealized, heroic compositions are remarkable, and attracted the interest of the art-loving public of his time, among which were nobles, bourgeois, but also the Bavarian king himself.

His painting is distinguished by special softness on the surface, intense brightness, emphasis on the use of colour and a very good perspective in the organization of the space. Thanks to the faithful rendering of the morphology and the details in his compositions, we can retrieve historical information from his time. For example, his work titled “Ascent to the Acropolis” (Αufgang zur Akropolis, 1835), preserves the image of the medieval walls of the Propylaea, which were demolished in 1835.

Karl von Heideck, Aufgang zur Akropolis, 1835, 74,0 x 88,5 cm

Moreover, his painting with subject the Monastiraki, faithfully renders scenes of everyday life in Athens of the early 1830s.

Karl von Heideck, Monastiraki in Athens (SHP collection)

His interest in the antiquities of Greece and Italy is evident in many of his works. Antiquity does not play a leading role in his compositions. However, it is used in the background to offer a historical frame to the figures of the fighters, to capture and offer the historical basis of the Liberation Struggle. We refer for example to the oil painting of “Pallikaren vor dem Tempel von Korinth” (1829).

Karl von Heideck, Palikaren vor dem Tempel von Corinth, 1829, 46 x 59,8 cm

The composition “Camp of the Greeks during the Liberation Struggle” offers an artistic presumption for the cooperation of Greeks and Philhellenes during the Greek Revolution. There are no scenes of hostilities between Greeks and Turks, but the moments when the fighters recover in their camp, emphasizing details of ethnographic interest, e.g. their costumes or occupations.

Karl von Heideck, Philhellenenlager während des Unabhängigkeitskrieges, 1835, oil, 65x 84 cm

This work was the model used for the composition of the painter Theodoros Vryzakis “The camp of Karaiskakis” (1855). Vryzakis, the first Greek to enrol at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich (1844), captured in this work the Greek and Philhellene fighters who had encamped at Faliro during the siege of the Acropolis. Based on the portraits of Krazeisen, he captured the figures of Karaiskakis, Tzavelas, Makrygiannis, Notaras, Gordon, Hastings and Karl von Heideck (his “teacher”), to whom he pays tribute.

Theodore Vryzakis, «Karaiskakis’ camp in Pireas in 1827», 1855, 145 x 178 cm

Greece expressed its own gratitude to the Philhellene Heideck for his contribution during the years 1826-1829, granting him Greek political rights. Upon his final return to his homeland, he was awarded the title of Baron (Freiherr), Lieutenant General, and served as an adviser to the Ministry of War. He passed away on February 21, 1861.

Karl von Heideck’s grave

Sources – Bibliography:

  • Berthold Seewald, Karl Wilhelm Von Heideck: Ein Bayerischer General Im Befreiten Griechenland (1826-1835) (Beiträge Zur Militärgeschichte), Walter de Gruyter 1994
  • Vereinigung der deutsch-griechischen Gesellschaften (Hg.), Hellenika. Jahrbuch für griechische Kultur und deutsch-griechische Beziehungen. Neue Folge 9. LIT Verlag, Münster 2014
  • William St Clair, That Greece might still be free. The Philhellenes in the War of Independence, Open Book Publishers 2008
  • Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας, Επιστολαί Ι.Α. Καποδίστρια, Κυβερνήτου της Ελλάδος, διπλωματικαί, διοικητικαί και ιδιωτικαί, γραφείσαι από 8 Απριλίου 1827 μέχρις 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 1831, Τόμοι 1-2, Τύποις Κ. Ράλλη, 1841
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  • Μιλτιάδης Παπανικολάου, Γερμανοί ζωγράφοι εικονογραφούν το 1821, 7 Ημέρες, εφημερίδα Καθημερινή


Admiral Henri de Rigny, painting by Guillaume-François-Gabriel Lépaulle


Marie Henri Daniel Gaulthier de Rigny, better known in Greek history as Admiral de Rigny, was born on February 2, 1782 in the city of Toul in the region of Meurthe in France. His father, according to a French biography, was “Jean François Gautier de Rigni”; he was an officer and Knight of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis. Henry de Rigny lost him at the age of ten. His mother’s name was Perpétue Louis. His family was conservative and royalist, which forced them to leave France after the French Revolution, leaving the young de Rigny to his aunt with the rest of his brothers.

After completing his studies at the Brest Naval Academy, de Rigny enlisted in the French Navy as a cadet on the frigate “Embuscade” in 1798. He later became a non-commissioned officer and was placed on the frigate “La Bravoure” and then on “Le Muiron”. He took part in many operations against the English fleet and in missions to the French Antilles. In 1803 he was a Sublieutenant, appointed captain of a corvette. In 1806 and 1807 he served in the naval guard, which had been placed under the auspices of the Army. He fought in the campaigns in Prussia, Poland, in the battles of Iena and Pultusk, as well as in the sieges of Stralsund and Graudentz, where he was wounded.

Henri de Rigny also participated in the campaign in Spain in 1808, and he took part in battles in Rio-Secco and Sommo-Sierra, where he was again wounded. He also fought at Wagram in 1809, with the rank of Lieutenant. In 1811 he was promoted to Commander, and in 1816 to Captain. In May 1822 he was called to command the French naval forces in the East. During this time he carried out many missions against Greek and Turkish piracy in the Mediterranean and managed to ensure the safety of the navigation. His courage and qualifications were appreciated and he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1825.

During his naval presence in the East, he closely followed the conflicts between Greeks and Turks, and his philhellenic feelings led him many times to play the role of mediator between the Greeks and the Turks.

At the Battle of the Mills (Myloi in Peloponnese, Greece), for example, according to the Minutes of the Greek Senate and Rigas Palamidis, Dimitrios Ypsilantis received from de Rigny (who was present in the Bay of Myloi) advice and food supplies, which helped him achieve his goal. Moreover, Admiral de Rigny welcomed on his ship and cured the wounded General Makrygiannis. In addition, after the failed campaign of Karystos in 1826, when the Turks burned villages in the area, de Rigny rescued a large number of Greeks trying to escape.

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

A top case of his actions in favour of the Greeks, was his intervention for the release of Greek and Philhellenes prisoners after the failed battle of Haidari (Athens), but also for the safe removal and capitulation of the Athens Guard of the Acropolis sieged by the Turks, without hope of salvation, in June 1827. The Admiral’s correspondence was published in the Geniki Efimeris of August 1827; it testifies his tireless efforts to ensure the safety of those who were leaving the fortress, warriors and civilian population. In fact, as reported by Christos Byzantios, the Regular Corps boarded the Flag ship of Admiral de Rigny, who had mediated with Kioutachis Pascha all the previous time. There the Regular Corps “received great care” after the deprivations it had suffered, while the other warriors of the guard boarded other French ships.

De Rigny also took several initiatives to distribute food aid to alleviate the army and the poor Greek population. This fact is confirmed by the correspondence of Kapodistrias with the three Admirals of the allied forces.

The great moment in the career of Admiral de Rigny, was his participation in October 1827 in the Naval Battle of Navarino. De Rigny was the captain of the flagship of the French fleet (the frigate “La Sirène”). The French fleet cooperated with British and Russian forces. The Three Powers were called upon to enforce to the warring Greeks and Turkish-Egyptians the decisions of the Treaty of London of June 1827 (Greek Peace Treaty), which called for an end to hostilities and the start of peace talks, while allowing the foundation of a Greek state under the sovereignty of the Sultan. The treaty contained a very important article, according to which the country that would not accept the conditions would be forced by the Great Powers to capitulate. As expected, the Greek side willingly accepted the proposal of the three allies, while Turkey did not accept the Treaty.

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

Ibrahim had other plans, and continued with undiminished intensity his military operations in the Peloponnese, on land and sea, and the gradual transfer of the Greek population to Africa. It should be noted here that the allies had asked the Greek fleet, commanded by Cochrane, to withdraw to the Aegean. However, commander Hastings was left to patrol the Corinthian gulf, and after the battle of Agali (Itea), he neutralized the Turkish fleet, thus forcing Ibrahim to organize military and naval operations in the area. With this attitude, he gave the allied fleet the pretext it needed to achieve a final solution.

The Turkish-Egyptian fleet was significant both in number of ships and in firepower. But the crews were lacking in capabilities, and could not face the Allied fleet on the high seas. So Ibrahim chose to set a trap for the Allied fleet at Navarino, where he could muster the power of his ship’s cannons and that of the forts’ cannons, and have a good chance of success.

The fleets of the three powers entered the Gulf of Navarino and anchored in order to implement the Treaty. That is, either to persuade Ibrahim to leave (which was impossible), or to destroy his fleet, and thus his ability to receive supplies.

The Turkish-Egyptian fleet had managed to anchor in the lagoon and had formed a semicircle. Despite warnings from the British and the French Admiral, Ibrahim did not comply and opened fire on an English boat. The naval battle followed, on October 8/20, 1827, in which Ibrahim’s fleet was almost completely destroyed by the fleet of the three forces. The Turkish fleet consisted of 89 ships and 41 transporters, while the Allied ships did not exceed 30. The report of the naval battle was published in the newspaper “Geniki Efimeris of Greece”, on October 19, 1827.

The naval battle at Navarino, painting by a French painter. It bears the signature and date “Huet 1828” (SHP collection).

The European and American public opinion accepted with enthusiasm the result of the naval battle, as it was considered a victory of a people who had shed for six years their blood for their freedom, without the full support that the civilized world should have given them. The battle of Navarino saved the Greek Revolution from collapse and was a decisive step to ensure Greek independence a little later.

The role of the French forces and Admiral de Rigny was crucial. It is worth emphasizing that this victory was also important for France, which was again victorious in an important naval battle, after a long time. Admiral de Rigny had managed to organize the French fleet and make it re-combatable and equal to that of the other great powers.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the Battle of Navarino was the last major naval battle in history conducted entirely with sailing boats.

This brilliant victory resulted in de Rigny being honored in France with the rank of Vice-Admiral, the title of Earl and the post of Naval Commander of Toulon.

After the Battle of Navarino, Ibrahim found himself in a very difficult position: in August 1828, an agreement was signed between the ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, and Admiral Codrington. The agreement provided for the Turkish-Egyptian army to leave the Peloponnese and return to Egypt. Ibrahim systematically refused to abide by the agreement. This resulted in France setting up the famous Expédition de Morée (15.000 troops), to clear the area of ​​Turkish-Egyptian troops. With short military operations by the French troops, supported by de Rigny’s navy, all the castles of Peloponnese surrendered: Navarino (October 6, 1828), Methoni (October 7, 1828), Koroni (October 9, 1828) and of course the castle Moria near Rio of Patras (October 30, 1828). In all these operations, which founded the freedom of Greece, de Rigny’s role was decisive.

Marshal Maison meets with Ibrahim Pasha in Navarino in September 1828. Painting by Jean-Charles Langlois.

The French Admiral de Rigny had reached himself a personal agreement with Ibrahim on the process of withdrawal and embarkation of the Turkish-Egyptian troops, as shown by an agreement between them published in the newspaper L’Abeille Grecque, dated September 7, 1828. It is worth noting that the French expeditionary force had explicitly forbidden the departure of the Greek population together with the Turkish-Egyptians, without accepting any exceptions and for any reason.

The SHP has in its collection an important handwritten letter sent by Admiral de Rigny to Madame de Rigny in Paris dated “On the 14th (October 1828) in Navarino”. Unfortunately the reading and translation of the letter has not been possible so far, due to the extremely illegible graphic character of the author. However, from words and parts of phrases that we were able to discern and translate, we can say with confidence that in the three condensed pages of the letter, de Rigny refers to personal issues, but mainly to the course of the operations related to the departure of the Turkish-Egyptian troops: “… I just saw the exit (of Ibrahim’s troops) to Egypt, a complete abandonment … ”.

The letter was transported by a French warship to Marseilles, where it was disinfected, and then by mail-wagon to Paris, where it arrived on November 16, 1828.

Handwritten autograph letter sent by Admiral de Rigny to Madame de Rigny in Paris dated “14th (October 1828) in Navarino” (SHP collection).

Shortly afterwards, de Rigny returned to France, accompanying General Maison’s French troops.

In 1829, Admiral de Rigny asked to be appointed Minister of the Navy, but ultimately refused to take up his duties, and at his request was re-appointed commander of the French naval forces of the East, a position that he held until 1830, when he was forced to return to Toulon again for health reasons.

In 1830, after the July Revolution, he was appointed Minister of the Navy for a short time, and then again in March 1831. In the same year he was elected Member of Parliament, and remained Minister. During his tenure he fought for the settlement of issues related to the promotion of officers, but also for the protection of French interests in the country’s colonies, through specific legislation. On April 4, 1834, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs until November 10. He then returned to the Ministry of the Navy and remained Minister until March 4, 1835. He then resigned, but retained the title of Secretary-General of the Navy.

In June 1834 he was re-elected Member of Parliament, while in August 1835 he served on a French mission in Naples. When he returned to France in October, he fell ill. He died on November 6, 1835 in Paris, at the age of 53. About a year before he died he married Adèle Narcisse Defontaine with whom he had a daughter who was born after his death.

His funeral speech, published in Le journal des débats, underlines the charitable sentiments of de Rigny and his tireless work to combat piracy in the Aegean, to protect the Greek refugees, the captives, the persecuted by the Turks-Egyptians and especially the hungry ones of whom de Rigny took care, providing money and clothing sent from France. His contribution to the exchange and rescue of Greek prisoners by Ibrahim, is vividly reflected in the French press of Greece.

During his career he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honor, on August 12, 1832, in France, the Russian medal of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky and the English medal of the Order of the Bath, of the Commander of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, of Savoy. In Greece he was honoured with the medal of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer.

Many streets in Attica and other cities in Greece bear his name.

DERIGNY street (de Rigny) in the centre of Athens.

Moreover, Mount Rigny in Greenland bears the name of the great French Admiral.

His name was also given to streets in many cities in France (Paris, Nancy, Toul, Saint-Amand-Longpré, Arc-lès-Gray).

A monument in Pylos, Greece, dedicated to the brave Admirals and pioneers of the Battle of Navarino, bears his name.

Monument in Pylos dedicated to French Admiral de Rigny and the other two admirals (Codrington and Hayden)

The French Admiral, Count Henri de Rigny. Commemorative medal of 1835. The obverse side presents Victory (SHP collection).

De Rigny helped significantly the struggle of the Greeks, during most of its phases and on many occasions. Under his capacity of commander of the French fleet at the Battle of Navarino, his name remains indelible to remind his crucial contribution to the liberation and independence of Greece.

Greece and the Greeks, pay homage to the great Admiral.

19th century mantle clock, made in France. It presents the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)

19th century lithography. It depicts the French Admiral de Rigny (SHP collection)



  • Correspondance du comte J. Capodistrias, président de la Grèce, Tome 2, Genève, Paris, 1832.
  • Driault Édouard – Michel Lhéritier, Histoire diplomatique de la Grèce, de 1821 à nos jours, τ. 1, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1925.
  • Ασπρέας Γεώργιος, Πολιτική ιστορία της νεωτέρας Ελλάδος (1821-1912), Αθήνα, Χρήσιμα βιβλία, 1930.
  • Βακαλόπουλος Απόστολος, Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως του 1821, Αθήνα, ΟΕΔΒ, 1971.
  • Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, Ιστορία των κατά την Ελλην. Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833, Αθήνα, χ.ε., 1901.
  • Γενική Εφημερίς της Ελλάδος, τεύχη των ετών 1827 και 1828.
  • Εφημερίδα Journal des Débats, 12 Νοεμβρίου
  • Εφημερίδα L’Abeille Grecque, αρ. φ. 91, 17/29 Σεπτεμβρίου 1828, αρ. φ. 99, 16/28 Οκτωβρίου 1828, αρ. φ. 100, 20 Οκτωβρίου/1 Νοεμβρίου 1828.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LΗ2330/67.
  • Πρακτικά των συνεδριάσεων της Γερουσίας, Περίοδος Ε΄, 1858, συνεδρίαση 31/1/1857, Εν Αθήναις, Εκ του Δημοσίου Τυπογραφείου, 1858.




According to French records, Constantine Denis Bourbaki was born in Cephalonia on August 1, 1787 and was later naturalized in France on November 9, 1818. The bibliography usually refers to him as a philhellene of Greek descent.

His father, Konstantinos-Sotirios Bourbaki (Vourvachis), was a sailor and merchant, based in Marseilles. According to Averoff Michelle and her article on the Philhellenes, he was born in Sfakia, Crete, and his real last name was “Skordilis”. The name “Vourvachis” was given to him by the Turks, and meant “the one who beats first” or “the one who is in charge”, since his family was a family of fighters of the island. After the Arcadi Holocaust, the family emigrated to Kefalonia. In Marseilles, Father Vourvachis maintained a relationship with Joseph Bonaparte, which drove him to be selected for a dangerous mission. When Napoleon was in Egypt in December 1798, there was a need to notify him to return quickly to France, where his political opponents had caused unrest. Constantine-Sotirios managed with his ship to alert the emperor in time, without being noticed, neither by the Turks, nor by the English who had imposed a blockade. Since then, the Vourvachi family has become more closely associated with the Bonaparte family, who have taken on the task of protecting the sons of Constantine-Sotirios, Joseph and Dionysius. The latter moved to France after the death of their father.

Dionysios Vourvachis studied at the military school of Fontainebleau, from where he graduated in 1804 and joined the French infantry. He fought in Spain, Italy and Germany and was appointed aide de camp of Joseph Bonaparte when he became monarch of Spain. According to information from his personal record provided by Babis Anninos, who was the son of one of Dionysius’ three sisters living in Argostoli, Cephalonia, Vourvachis was seriously injured four times during his career in the French army, and three times he had received honorable mention for his services. Stefanos Papadopoulos in his monograph on Dionysios Vourvachis in Parnassos magazine, mentions that after Napoleon’s first exile on the island of Elva, Vourvachis resigned from the French army, but returned a little later. In addition, both he and Averoff note that Dionysios Vourvachis was reportedly the one who arrived on the island of Elva with great danger in order to warn Napoleon that his opponents were planning to exile him to a more distant place. So fate brought him to undertake a similar mission to the one undertaken by his father.

After Napoleon’s return, Vourvachis served as commander of the 31st Light Infantry Regiment of the French Army. According to the Greek biographer Henri Fornèsy, he had reached the rank of colonel when he was made redundant by the Bourbon regime. He then submitted his resignation to the French army, which was accepted only in 1820.

Vourvachis was a liberal in his beliefs, and after many adventures, wanderings and duels he was forced to exile himself to Spain, home of his wife Charlotte de Rica, where other Bonapartists had taken refuge. He later returned to France and retired to the small town of Pau.

When the Greek Revolution broke out, Vourvachis was in Paris. Excited by the Struggle for the Freedom of his Homeland, he initially tried to help her through his active engagement within the framework of the Hellenic Committee of Paris. However, the enthusiasm that overwhelmed him after the heroic exit of Messolonghi and his love for Greece pushed him to take part in the armed struggle for its liberation. Other French officers left for Greece with him. With the permission of the French government, Vourvachis arrived in Greece around the end of November 1826, or a little earlier, according to other scholars. He did not come as a simple warrior, but as an envoy of the Philhellenic Committee of Paris. He had money with him, while he was accompanied by other Greek volunteers. At the same time, his work was financially supported by the Corfu Committee, in which the brother of Capodistrias participated. The Commission carried out important work, and in fact systematically purchased Greek slaves from Messolonghi and elsewhere in many parts of the Mediterranean, and released them free in Greece.

When he arrived in Nafplio, Vourvachis obtained permission from the Administrative Committee to form his own Corps consisting of “a large number of Greeks and Philhellenes,” according to Fornèsy. These men were mainly Ionian and French philhellenes. Among them was Andreas Metaxas, his son-in-law. His Corps soon numbered about 800 men and, according to Gravière, was on a mission either to campaign in Western Greece or to reinforce Karaiskakis for the liberation of Central Greece. Vourvachis was devoted to Karaiskakis and to his mission. The main goal of the Greeks and Philhellenes at that time was to maintain liberated various areas in the Peloponnese and Central Greece, so that the issue of the Greek Revolution and the prospect of establishing a free Greek state were constantly on the agenda of diplomatic centers internationally. France supported this strategy, believing that a successful outcome would also strengthen its prestige.

Unfortunately, Vourvachis failed to carry out his plan, mainly because the Administrative Committee did not supply the Corps, and he was forced to buy his own food to support his men. The conditions were not good and so many of his men began to desert. In addition, many, including Makrygiannis, opposed Vourvachis as they disliked his son-in-law, Metaxas, and Kolokotronis, who were considered Russophiles. At the same time, Vourvachis was particularly troubled by a civil strife and conflicting interests.

Vourvachis left for Central Greece with the aim of meeting and coordinating with Karaiskakis, and now cooperating with him. To achieve this, he often ignored the orders of the Administration. After a fourth letter by the government, he decided to change course and head to Athens. The appreciation and love he nurtured for Karaiskakis emerges from a letter addressed to him during the controversial period, in which he states: “Chief! … I am always under your instructions, and ready to run wherever you deem me worthy to the benefit of our homeland. Your brother Vourvachis”.

The signature of Vourvachis from a  letter

In any case, everyone, from all sides, agreed that Vourvachis was an honest, selfless and pure patriot who was thirsty to see Greece free. Eventually, the Administrative Committee canceled his pursuit, and ordered him to go to Eleusis to reinforce the siege of Athens.

So at the end of 1826, he arrived in Eleusis. There, he met Vassos Mavrovouniotis, and in a few days Panagiotis Notaras also arrived. From Eleusis, Vourvachis and the two chiefs, with their forces united, moved to Menidi, where on January 22 they successfully clashed with Turkish forces.

On January 25, Vourvachis, along with Mavrovouniotis and Notaras, and 3,500 men, headed for Kamatero. At this point, two days later, they were attacked by 2,600 Turks. In the ensuing battle in Kamatero, there was a disagreement between the three leaders of the troops who were operating, regarding the tactics of the battle. Vourvachis, anticipating the frontal attack, encamped with his Corps in the plain as a kind of vanguard, while the bulk of the army remained on the hills, a little further away from him. The forces of the Greeks and Philhellenes were equivalent to those of the Turks, the plan was right and they would have succeeded if discipline prevailed. But the irregular forces of the Greeks feared the Turkish cavalry. Also, the lack of discipline of the Greek irregular soldiers, led once again to tragic results. Without discipline, it would have been impossible to implement a battle plan. This problem cost the Greek forces a lot, in many battles. And two months later, the same problem caused another painful defeat in Analatos and the death of the great fighter, General Karaiskakis.

When the attack of the Turkish forces began and the cavalry appeared, the irregular Greek fighters abandoned their positions and advanced towards the surrounding hills. So they left the Vourvachis Corps at the mercy of the Turks.

The battle was fierce, but the Greek and Philhellene Corps of Vourvachis had been besieged, and the struggle had become unequal. The three hundred men of Vourvachis, after fighting valiantly, were all slaughtered. Some Greeks fell alive into the hands of the Turks. Two Frenchmen, a German and the wounded Vourvachis. It is even said that especially for him, Turkish riders competed fiercely with each other, who would immobilize him to take as a prize a precious stone that adorned his yataghan (sword).

Admiral De Rigny, who was in the area, asked Kioutachis to respect the prisoners and accept to exchange them with Turkish prisoners. Kioutachis refused, ordered the beheading of all the Greeks and sent them to the Sultan with their uniforms, the helmet of Vourvachis, a 68-liter missile fired at the Turkish camp by the steamship “Karteria” that was operating in the area and was supporting the Greek forces and bread kneaded from American flour distributed by the frigate “Hellas” to the Greeks.

Kioutachis wanted to show in this way that he defeated an army that was strengthened, fed and commanded by foreigners, and mocked the Philhellenes and Philhellenism. This barbaric and foolish act angered French officials and the international community.

The tragic end of Vourvachis and his heroic death on January 27 / February 8, 1827, at the age of just 40, infuriated Admiral De Rigny, and as he pointed out to the Turks, he rekindled the philhellenic movement throughout Europe.

Thus, this great Greek served honestly and bravely both France (where he was called “Captain Graikos”) and Greece, and with his heroic death he honored both his homelands and their common values.

In France, his son Charles-Sotirios Vourvachis continued the glorious name of the family, as he later excelled as one of the bravest generals of Napoleon III.

Dionysios Vourvachis was honored in France with the award of the Legion of Honor, on December 27, 1814. Today, two streets in Kefalonia and Kamatero, bear his name, while the municipality of the region sometimes organizes competitions in his honor (“Bourvachia”). Dying, Dionysios Vourvachis uttered the name of the Acropolis for which he sacrificed everything, even his life. That is why a street in Athens that leads to the Acropolis has taken his name to remind us of this great hero. His heroic death will always remain indelible in the history of the liberation of Greece.

Vourvachi street at the corner with Syggrou Avenue



  • Alevras Constantin, Les volontaires hellènes en France pendant la guerre franco-allemande en 1870, Paris, R. Debresse, 1947.
  • Averoff Michelle, «Les Philhellènes », Bulletin de l’Association Guillaume Budé, no 3, Octobre 1967, σσ. 312-332.
  • Barth Wilhelm – Max Kehrig-Korn, Die Philhellenenzeit, von der Mitte des 18 Jahrhunderts bis zur Ermordung Kapodistrias am 9 Oktober 1831, εκδ. Hueber, Μόναχο
  • Jurien de la Gravière, La station du Levant, tome 2, Paris, Plon, 1876.
  • Άιδεκ Κάρολος, «Τα των Βαυαρών Φιλελλήνων εν Ελλάδι κατά τα έτη 1826-1829», Αρμονία, τ. 1 (1900) και τ. 2 (1901).
  • Άννινος Μπάμπης, Ιστορικά σημειώματα, εκδ. Εστία, Αθήνα 1925.
  • Βυζάντιος Χρήστος, Ιστορία των κατά την Ελλην. Επανάστασιν εκστρατειών και μαχών και των μετά ταύτα συμβάντων, ων συμμετέσχεν ο Τακτικός Στρατός, από του 1821 μέχρι του 1833, χ.ε., Αθήνα 1901.
  • Ηλεκτρονική βάση απονεμηθέντων παρασήμων της Λεγεώνας της Τιμής, Dossier LΗ321/81.
  • Παπαδόπουλος Στέφανος, «Διονύσιος Βούρβαχης (Denys Bourbaki) ένας Γάλλος φιλέλληνας του 1821 ελληνικής καταγωγής», Παρνασσός, τόμος Ε΄, 1963, σσ. 340-356.
  • Παρεντής Ευάγγελος, Ιστορία Κεφαλονιάς-Κέρκυρας-Ζακύνθου-Ιθάκης-Παξών, Αθήνα, 1978.
  • Στρατηγού Μακρυγιάννη, Απομνημονεύματα, Κείμενο-Εισαγωγή-Σημειώσεις Γιάννη Βλαχογιάννη, έκδοση Β΄, Αθήνα, 1947, τόμος 1.
  • Φορνέζι Ερρίκος, Το μνημείον των Φιλελλήνων, εκδ. Χ. Κοσμαδάκης & σία, Αθήνα 1968 [Απομνημονεύματα αγωνιστών του ΄21, τ. 20].
  • [πρόσβαση Ιούνιος 2020].


Uniform of a Lieutenant Colonel of the Hellenic Artillery, like the one Pauzié wore in Greece (archives of the General Staff of the Army)


Jean Henri Pierre Auguste Pauzié-Banne, as his full name is, was an Artillery officer in France. He was a graduate of the Polytechnic School of Paris, who became later the commander of the Artillery Corps in Greece, and, above all, the founder and first commander of the Military Academy in Nafplio.

Pauzié-Banne was born in Montpellier, Hérault region, France, on June 2, 1792. His father was François Pauzié-Banne and his mother Diane Elisabeth Colondre. The yearbook of the students of the Polytechnic School, however, refers to him as an orphan and with residence address the address of his father-in-law in Paris (81 rue du Faubourg du Roule, Paris, Seine). His personal examination bulletin indicates that Pauzié entered the Polytechnic School ranking 83rd, on October 22, 1810, with registration number 2334, while he completed his studies, ranking 32nd among the Artillery Officers, in January 1812, with the rank of Second Lieutenant.

In addition, the bulletin comprises a brief physical description of his shape and facial features: he had blond hair and eyebrows, a covered forehead, a long nose, blue eyes, medium mouth, round chin, full face and height 1 m. 69 cm.

After completing his education at the Polytechnic School, Pauzié continued his studies at the Metz Military School, and in 1813-1814 he served in the Army of Napoleon the Great. He took part in several battles and was wounded in two of them.

When Governor Kapodistrias asked for military advisers from the French Minister of Defense, Pauzié was serving in the Ministry of War. Further to a decision of the French government, he was assigned the duties of Kapodistrias’ military adviser. He arrived in Greece at the end of 1827 and took up his new duties on January 28, 1828. He joined the Greek army and reached the rank of Colonel.

Ioannis Kapodistrias wanted to establish an independent Artillery Corps (“Artillery Battalion”). Thus, at the end of June 1828, he commissioned the then Captain Pauzié, to study the formation and operation of an Artillery Academy. At the same time, he asked to submit to him an organization plan and a cost list of the expenditure required for the Academy. Pauzié underwent a full study of the theoretical and practical training of Artillery officers. The study proposed the number of students to range from twenty to twenty-five, and determined the duration of the education to two years.

Initially, the Artillery Battalion was established by decree issued on August 17, 1828, and two days later, the command of the battalion was assigned to the Colonel of the Artillery, Count Nikolaos Pierris. Two months later, Pauzié took command of the battalion, but for a while. Then Pierris took over again. The latter had submitted to the Governor in October 1828 a new “Draft Decree for the Academy of the Artillery Battalion”. This plan was finally implemented in the School from November 15, 1828 to January 12, 1829, when a part of the School was merged with the “Battalion of Cadets”. The School continued to operate until May 1829 as a school of military application entitled “School of the Artillery Battalion”, and provided technical and regular training to Artillery officers under Pierris’ command. The “Cadets Corps” was formed in July 1828 with the aim of training officers, but, despite high expectations, it failed to meet its goal, and the Governor ordered its dissolution and reorganization from zero.

In addition, on December 2, 1828, Pauzié, in consultation with the French Consul in Greece, Antoine Juchereau de Saint-Denys, submitted a proposal to the Governor for the establishment of a military polytechnic school in Nafplio. The Governor, although he considered the venture to be very ambitious, he gave his consent and named Pauzié “Superintendent”, i.e. Inspector of the “Battalion of Cadets” and of the Artillery School, in charge of the establishment of the Central War School. In fact, on December 28, 1828, Pauzié submitted a detailed draft law, entitled “Central War School,” a plan approved by the Governor under decree no. 8683 of January 12, 1829. Following this decree, the “Battalion of Cadets”, and in part the Artillery School, ceased to function and their students were absorbed by the above Central War School. Pauzié was named Commander of the War School, promoted from Captain to Lieutenant Colonel, on the grounds that, as reported in the General Gazette, he should have been promoted to a rank in line with his duties.

Capodistrias then asked Pauzié to find a suitable accommodation for the installation of the School in Nafplio.

The building of the first School of Cadets in Nafplio

Cadet of the first School of Cadets (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

As soon as the housing problem was solved, the unsuitable students were removed and the vacancies were filled by young people who came from the orphanage of Aegina, which hosted orphans of the fighters of the Revolution. The school was modeled on the Polytechnic School of Paris, which influenced many other European schools in the early 19th century, and Commander Pauzié was accountable to the Military Secretariat of the State.

During his tenure, Pauzié reformed the School from zero and increased the length of the studies. The training of the courses, which he had proposed, was registered in the statute of the School and provided for the operation of three educational classes.

The curriculum was based on the corresponding program of the French Polytechnic School, but was implemented at a lower level and was adapted to the Greek needs. Pauzié, in his attempt to create the War School, had many obstacles to face. One of them was the lack of Greek military textbooks. Most of the books were in French and needed to be translated, although the French language dominated the education of the Cadets.

The examinations of the first candidates took place before a committee chaired by General Trézel, leader of the Greek Regular Army, in October 1829 in the presence of the French Consul. The results of the examinations and the congratulatory speech of the Commander of the School, were published in the General Gazette of Greece, on November 23, 1829. In July 1831, the first students who had graduated were ready to join the army with the rank of Second Lieutenant. They received the epaulets of  non-commissioned officers from the Governor himself. The first graduates were only eight and all joined the Artillery.

In October 1830, the establishment of a “Council of Education and Discipline” was instituted, which consisted of seven members and was headed by the school’s director, following the standards of the “Perfection Council” of the Polytechnic School of Paris. In August 1831, after Pauzié’s departure, it was decided that the age of the candidates would range from 15 to 20 years. In general, from January 12, 1829 until 1834, the total number of candidates was 86.

Cadet in the small uniform, 1829 (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

Cadet in the big uniform, 1833 (archives of the General Staff of the Army)

Pauzié replaced Pierris in March 1829, and took again command of the Artillery Battalion, along with the command of the War School. He maintained these duties until his departure from Greece. Pauzié reorganized the battalion, which eventually included five artillery units. On December 4, 1829, the Corps celebrated for the first time, under the supervision of Pauzié, who had been promoted to Colonel, St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillery in Greece.

From this position, Pauzié also reorganized the Academy of the Artillery Battalion, which reopened from May 1830 to June 1831, with an enriched and revised program of training and internships.

According to Andreas Kastanis’ research, unfortunately, in December 1830, Pauzié came into conflict with the new leader of the Regular Army, Gerard, who had meanwhile replaced Trézel, for official reasons. This led Pauzié to resign on July 31. The Governor Capodistrias accepted his resignation on 12 August 1831. Subsequently, Pauzié left for France on 9 December 1831.

When he arrived in France, he was promoted to the rank of Major on December 31, 1835. The grades he had obtained in Greece did not apply in France. The official yearbooks of the French Army show him active in duty until 1847. In 1840 we meet him in Algeria and in 1847 as an Inspector of the powder magazine in Esquerdes. In addition, the few French reports confirm the Greek bibliography, according to which he died as a Major on February 9, 1848.

Pauzié was awarded the St. John’s Medal, the St. Louis Medal, and the Legion of Honor decoration on March 21, 1831, by the French state. In Greece he was honored with the gold medal of the Redeemer on May 20 / June 1, 1833.

The operation and training of the Academy of Guards was influenced by the French Philhellene Pauzié, and cadets still use many of the orders chosen by the founder of the School.

The building of the first Academy of Cadets in Nafplio as it is today



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Wilhelm Müller or Greek Müller


Ohne die Freiheit, was wärest du Hellas?
Ohne dich, Hellas, was wäre die Welt?
Without Freedom, what would you be Hellas?
Without you, Hellas, what would the world be like?
(“Hellas und die Welt”, Wilhelm Müller: Gedichte. Berlin 1906, S. 224-225.)


German Romanticism  was one of the cornerstones of European Romanticism, offered one of its most important lyric poets, who developed into a bard of 1821, a fiery Philhellene and the soul of the Philhellenic movement in Germany: Wilhelm Müller or “Müller of the Greeks“. He did not manage to see his beloved Greece free, as he passed away at the age of only 33 and without ever visiting his “Arcadia”. His songs about the Greeks (“Lieder der Griechen”) managed, as long as he lived, to stir up waves of excitement in the youth of his time, who were looking for their own resistance to Metternich‘s persecutions and authoritarianism. In the case of the Greek uprising, they recognized the model of the just struggle for freedom. In the poet Müller they saw the most important representative of German philhellenism.

Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was born in Dessau, Germany on 07/10/1794, where he died on 30/09/1827. He lived in an era of political, as well as social and cultural rearrangements, in which he actively participated as an artist and as a citizen. He came from a poor family. The untimely loss of his mother left much space for the intelligent Müller to develop independently of any instructions a close-knit family might have, and to devote himself to his innate inclinations, e.g. in the rapid learning of foreign languages. In order to escape the family’s dire financial situation, he was encouraged early to study at the university. In 1812, at the age of 18, he enrolled at the University of Berlin, where he studied philology, history and English. He devoted himself to his historical and philological studies, and met his mentor, Friederich August Wolf, a professor of classic philology, who later encouraged him to make important decisions about his life and artistic development. However, his enthusiasm for Greece dates back to those years, which guided his interest in classical cultural goods and standards, the living literary tradition and modern German and international literature.

The beginning of his studies coincides with a period during which politics dominated the atmosphere of the university after the collapse of Napoleon in Russia. He could not find any reason to be devoted to his theoretical interests, since the youth of Berlin, together with some professors, did not miss the opportunity to openly express their anti-Napoleonic sentiments. Nineteen-year-old Müller will find a way to channel his patriotic enthusiasm when the Prussian king Frederick William III announces the creation of a fighting corps of volunteers against Napoleon (10/02/1813), to which he enlisted two weeks later. A feeling of disappointment with the outcome of the “German Liberation War” (Befreiungskriege, 1813-1815) and the decisions of the subsequent Congress of Vienna, which led to more authoritarianism in Europe, turned the Greek struggle for independence into an event which captured Müller’s and his contemporaries’ desire for freedom. Some motifs of the so-called German poetry of the Liberation Wars will revive a little later in philhellenic poetry.

During the Liberation Wars, Müller channelled his patriotic passion into poetry. In 1815 he returned to his studies. As a member of the German Poets Association, which were clearly shaped by the ideology of German nationalism, he participated in the publication of the poetry collection “Bundesblühen” (1816) and published the study “Blumenlese aus den Minnesingern” (1816); he made some interpretations about the Song of the Nibelungs (Nibelungenlied) and translated Dr. Faust (“The Tragic History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus”) by Christopher Marlowe into German (1817).

Meanwhile, Müller’s relationship with his mentor, Wolf, was going through a crisis. Müller, who seemed to be facing an internal controversy over his religious beliefs, started regarding his beloved professor as an “anti-German amoralist” because of the latter’s enthusiasm for pagan antiquity and sensual joy. Wolf, on the other hand, watched his beloved student isolate himself and sink more into his patriotism after his experience in war. With the aim to disengage Müller from what he considered to be an obsession with his homeland Germany, Wolf made a crucial suggestion for the shaping of the future of “Greek Müller”: when the Prussian Baron Albert von Sack, who had long planned a trip to Greece and in the East turned to the Academy in search of a companion, Wolf suggested Müller, but also Arnold Böckh, who was engaged in the collection of inscriptions of ancient Greek monuments. He hoped that this trip would broaden his student’s horizons, and he was not wrong. Although Müller was at the time finishing his dissertation, he agreed to accompany the baron on his journey.

The voyage began on August 20, 1817 and Vienna was the first stop on the way to Constantinople. The reason for this extended stay was that a large number of Greek intellectuals lived there. At this time, Müller was encouraged to learn modern Greek. Through his association with many exiled Greeks and members of the Filiki Eteria (Φιλική Εταιρεία: Society of Friends) in Vienna, he gained acquaintance with their political and ideological struggles, who conveyed him their burning desire for liberation from Turkish rule. His identification with the Greek struggle begun in Vienna and will demonstrate itself in his Greek songs a little later.

An outbreak of a plague pandemic in Constantinople forced the traveller and his companion to continue their journey to Italy (06/11/1817): after crossing Trieste, Venice, Ferrara, and Bologna, they arrived in Florence, then descended to Rome. The charm of Rome as well as the presence of a large German “community”, made him decide a prolongation of his stay, even when his fellow travellers left. He wrote his “Italian” book, “Rom, Römer und Römerinnen”, with which he gained rapid recognition. The book does not reflect any archaeological or aesthetic interest, but rather focuses on the national cultural life of Italy, in line with the spirit of the national / romantic ideology of the Folklore Studies. Müller let himself be seduced by the charm of customs, traditions, dances, festivals, language and folk songs. This experience provided him with important new information about Italian contemporary art which served as a substrate for the “critical” intersection of the classical ideal with the “southern” way of life: this will be crucial for shaping Müller’s image for Greece. He also developed a political mentality that severely criticized religious despotism and dogmatism and managed to combine liberalism with national romanticism.

After returning to Dessau, he will earn a living by teaching Greek and Latin. In addition to being a poet, he was a philologist, literary historian and essayist, who wrote literary critiques, translations and edited miscellaneous texts. From 1821 onwards he devoted himself to a multifaceted publishing, literary and translation work related to Greece (proving that his Philhellenism was not limited to poetry). In “Songs of the Greeks” (“Lieder der Griechen”) he found a way to open up to a “political lyricism” similar to the one of his role models, Lord Byron and Beranger, with an aim to express an equivalent liberalism. He started writing as of the beginning of the Greek revolution, when everything was still extremely uncertain about its course, and kept constantly monitoring all developments taking place in Greece. Although Metternich’s police also monitored all actions in order to protect the Austro-Hungarian throne, Müller was not discouraged from publishing the first philhellenic collection of songs (“Lieder der Griechen”). Moreover, he continued to advocate in favour of Greece, even after his poems were censored, and even after the Battle of Peta (04/07/1822), when many Philhellenes returned disappointed to their home.

The works Lieder der Griechen and Neue Lieder der Griechen by Wilhelm Müller. First edition 1821, 1823 (SHP Collection)

In the first issue of his songs, the poet erupts with lyricism in favour of the just struggle of the Greeks in ten poems: among them we find his censored poem “Griechenlands Hoffnung” (“The Hope of Greece“). In it he expresses his position that Greece must fight alone and blatantly attacks Europe for acknowledging the Turkish sultan‘s authority:

“Europe wants peace and tranquillity, why did you disturb them? / Why do you want to deliberately beguile yourself with the delusion of freedom? / Do not hope for the help of any Lord when this turns against the joy of another Lord / Europe calls even the pillows of the sultan a throne”.

(“Ruh‘ und Friede will Europa- Warum hast du sie gestört / Warum mit dem Wahn der Freiheit eigenmächtig dich betört? / Hoff auf keines Herren Hülfe gegen eines Herren Frohn / Auch des Türkenkaisers Polsters nennt Europa einen Thron”).

His unwavering support for the insurgent Greeks must primarily be read as an expression of the quest for freedom: even when his anger is expressed against the Turkish sovereignty, it is clear that the same anger is directed against the political situation in other parts of Europe and Germany.  The Greek struggle is at the top of Müller’s vision for liberation. We find many sarcastic attacks on the reactionary role of the anti-Greek Holy Alliance in his poem “The Greeks to the Austrian Observer” (“Die Griechen an den Österreichischen Beobachter”), which demonstrate how high he placed the Greek struggle for independence.

In 1822 he published a second issue with eight other poems, one of which is dedicated to Alexander Ypsilanti (“Alexander Ypsilanti aus Munkacs”), in which he links him to Leonidas and the Spartans, thus demonstrating the historical continuity of the Greeks and praising the Greek nation through the centuries. His poem “The Little Hydriot” (“Der kleine Hydriot”) became very popular in Germany, where it is still known.

In 1823 he published three issues with “New Songs of the Greeks” (“Neue Lieder der Griechen”), in which he refers again to the tolerance of European governments towards the Turks and calls for help to Greece. The first issue contains seven chants, the second eight and the third seven. Some titles that reflect the spirit of these works are the following: “Thermopylae”, “Botsaris”, “Hydra”, “Bouboulina”, “The Souliote”, “The washing of the hands of Pontius Pilate”, “The infected freedom”.

The work Neue Lieder der Griechen by Wilhelm Müller. First edition 1823 (SHP Collection)

A year later the “Latest Songs of the Greeks” (“Neueste Lieder der Griechen”) were published, a collection of seven poems, including: “Konstantinos Kanaris”, “Markos Botsaris”, “The Last Greeks” and the wonderful “Greece and the World”, in which the poet expresses his position that without Greece there can be no concept of Freedom, which in turn gives meaning to the rest of the world. And for this reason, all peoples must participate in Greece‘s just struggle:

“Come people from every zone / come and help us release her / the one who set you all free!”

(“Kommt, ihr Völker aller Zonen / Kommt und helfet frei sie machen / Die euch alle frei gemacht!”).

At a difficult time for the Revolution, Müller remains a faithful supporter.

It is also amazing, that he writes a poem about Botsaris again, two years after the Battle of Peta (which resulted in many Philhellenes returning to their homeland disappointed). The poet Müller wants to inspire the ongoing struggle of the Greeks and Philhellenes and to remind them that their courage must always be confronted with that of their fellow comrades:

“Open your high gates, Messolonghi, City of Honours / where the bodies of the Heroes lie, who teach us to die with joy! […] We bring you the noble body of Markos Botsaris, / of Markos Botsaris! Who would dare complain to such heroes? ”

(“Öffne deine hohen Thore, Missolunghi, Stadt der Ehren / Wo der Helden Leichen ruhen, die uns fröhlich sterben lehren! […] Mark Bozzari’s edlen Leib bringen wir zu dir getragen, / Mark Bozzari’s! Wer darf’s wagen, solchen Helden zu beklagen? ”)

Müller also wrote an important poem about Lord Byron, as well as four others about Messolonghi. These were published in 1825.

The work Lieder der Griechen by Wilhelm Müller. Second edition of 1825, which includes a poem dedicated to Lord Byron (SHP Collection)

He also published a work related to the Greek Bios. His death did not allow him to complete a work on Modern Greek Bios. However, some of his works were published in 1829 under the title Egeria.

His poems have been set to music by Schubert (the famous Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin song collections) and Brahms. The most famous of Müller’s works in Greece, is the song “The Flamuria” from his poem “Lindenbaum”: less-known are the poems for 1821. A tribute in honour of V. Müller took place in 2000 at the Technopolis of the Municipality of Athens, with a concert by the Austrian tenor Wolfgang Holzmair and the publication of an honorary volume with translations of Müller’s philhellenic poems by Alexandros Isaris.

To honour the great Philhellene poet Wilhelm Müller, Greece “gratefully” offered Pentelic marble to his hometown, Dessau, to build a bust and erect a commemorative plaque in his home. The inscription on the monument is written in Greek: “Greece offers gratefully to the poet of Greek freedom, the stone from the Attic and Laconic quarries”. Depicted on all four sides of the pedestal are Poetry, Science, Germany and Greece as female figures: Greece breaks its chains by holding a sword. The unveiling of the statue took place on September 30, 1891.

The monument of Wilhelm Müller in Dessau’s main park

The tomb of Wilhelm Müller

Greece‘s gift of return to the great Philhellene poet may be noticed by in the area of Metaxourgeio in Athens. A street intersecting the Kerameikos Street was renamed in 1884 to “Millerou Street” (Müller‘s street) after a proposal to the mayor of Athens, Dimitris Soutsos, by the founder of the Folklore Studies in Greece, Nikolaos Politis. A small offer for a great poet who was the soul of Philhellenism in Germany.

Milerou Street sign, at the corner of Millerou and Kerameikos street



  • Marco Hillemann / Tobias Roth, Wilhelm Müller und der Philhellenismus, Frank & Timme GmbH- Verlag für wissenschaftliche Literatur, 2015
  • Ανδρέας Ν. Μακρίδης, Ο Βίλχελμ Müller και ο “Ιός της Ελευθερίας”, Λόγιος Ερμής.
  • Χριστίνα Στρατηγοπούλου, Ο Βαυαρικός Φιλελληνισμός μέσα από τον Βίλχελμ Müller (1794-1827), 24 grammata.


The painting depicts Napoleon the Great at a young age. His nephew Paul Marie Bonaparte’s is said to have looked very much like his uncle.


Paul Maria Bonaparte was born on 19 February 1809 in Canino, Italy and died on 7 September 1827 in Nafplio. He was a prince of the Bonaparte family, a nephew of Napoleon the Great. He was a Philhellene and took part in the war of Greek Independence. Paul Bonaparte was the third child of Napoleon’s older brother Lucien Bonaparte and his wife Alexandra de Blasab-Bonaparte.

The emblem of the Bonaparte family

At the age of 18 he started studying at the University of Bologna (Bologna). But in March 1827, he left the city secretly from his parents, and went to Ancona, from where he traveled to Greece using a fake name to take part in the war of independence.

He arrived first in the Ionian Islands and then in Nafplio, on August 24 / September 5, 1827. There he was received by the English Admiral Cochrane, who had taken command of the Greek fleet. Paul Maria Bonaparte, who looked very much like his famous uncle, immediately joined the crew of the frigate “Hellas”, the flagship of the Greek fleet.

The frigate “Hellas”. The most modern warship in the Mediterranean at that time.

After a series of naval moves, Cochrane’s fleet anchored outside Spetses.

The young prince was moved by the heroism of Leno Botsaris, daughter of Notis Botsaris, and asked to meet her heroic father who lived in Troizina. In fact, it is said that Notis Botsaris was impressed by the young prince and he prepared to marry him to a girl from his family.

However, on August 25 / September 6, and while Paul Maria Bonaparte was cleaning his gun, he was seriously injured by a clumsy handling. Unfortunately, the next day, Paul passed away at the age of 19.

Rumors circulated in Nafplio that the young man’s death may not have been accidental, as he was serving on the ship of British Cochrane. The suspicions were based on the differences between the English and his father Lucian Bonaparte, whom they had arrested in 1809 when he tried to leave for the United States. Lucian was then arrested by the British at the request of his brother, Napoleon the Great. Coincidentally, Cochrane was then in charge of the English fleet. Lucian was led to the United Kingdom, where he remained until 1814. Lucian was a liberal and revolutionary, something which led to a conflict with Napoleon. He even took part in a coup against him. Later, when Lucian was elected senator of the First French Empire, he disagreed with his brother’s expansionist aspirations, but also with the marriage he was planning. As early as 1804 he self-exiled to Rome.

However, the great American Philhellene Samuel Howe, who was a military doctor-surgeon of the Greek fleet, was an eyewitness to the events. Howe assures in his work Sketches of the Greek Revolution and in his diary, that when Cochrane learned that Paul’s injure was fatal “he began to walk into his cabin crying like a child …”.

The announcement of the death of Paul Maria Bonaparte in the General Gazette of Greece

The body of the young Bonaparte was kept for five years in a barrel of rum at the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Spetses. The French Navy received it in 1832 and buried the embalmed body of Paul Maria Bonaparte in a mausoleum on the island of Sfaktiria, along with the French sailors who were killed in the Battle of Navarino.

Sign in the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Spetses

Sources and Bibliography

  • Γενική Εφημερίς της Ελλάδος, 7 Σεπτεμβρίου 1827.
  • Δημήτρης Φωτιάδης, Η Επανάσταση του 21, ΜΕΛΙΣΣΑ 1971.
  • Dictionnaire de Biographie française, τόμος 6ος, Παρίσι
  • William St Clair (2008), That Greece Might Still be Free: The Philhellenes in the War of Independence, Cambridge: OpenBook.
  • René Puaux, « Paul Bonaparte, philhellène », Le Temps, 1921.
  • Gonzague Saint-Bris, « L’Accident – Les calèches de Spetsai », Le Monde,‎ 30 janvier 1978.


Painting of the German painter Peter von Hess (1792-1871). It shows a Philhellene in Greek uniform.


During the Greek struggle, many Philhellenes arrived in Greece and fought alongside the Greeks in many different roles and in many different contexts. However, some of them really wanted to understand the character of the Greek warriors and completely adopted the life of the Kleftes. William St Clair estimates these Philhellenes at about ten. Among them is the French Philhellene, Hyacinthe Delavillasse, almost unknown in Greek history. Any testimonies about this great Philhellene come exclusively through the works of other philhellenes or Greek comrades-in-arms.

The French Philhellene F. R. Schack, who met him in June 1826, states that De Lavillasse was born in Carpentras, France, near Avignon. He was an officer in Napoleon’s Grand Army, who was expelled by the French army and deported from France in 1820, “after serving his homeland for twenty years”. He appears to have been the victim of a political plot, and was accused of taking part in a conspiracy. According to an official list of the French Ministry of War, De Lavillasse was an infantry captain in 1817.

When he was expelled from his country, he turned his attention to the then in revolt Greece, with the Greeks fighting for freedom. He went to Greece on a Greek ship that departed from Marseilles on July 18, 1821. The same ship was carrying Alexandros Mavrokordatos (who had even chartered it and loaded it with ammunition he had bought), the French Philhellene Maxime Raybaud and 80 Greeks and Philhellenes.

The French philhellene Maurice Persat, notes that he was one of the first to arrive in Greece to participate in the Struggle. Indeed, in the Archives of Greek Paligenesia we find a first inscription referring to him as “Labilai” in 1822.

Another Frenchman, Philippe Jourdain, reports that De Lavillasse had fought in Peta, and that after the unfortunate battle and the grievances suffered by the forces of the Greeks and Philhellenes, he retreated with the rest of the suffering and sick Philhellenes who survived, to Messolonghi. From there, despite being sick with a fever, he took an active part in battles in the surrounding area. Later that year, Pouqueville reported that De Lavillasse was fighting in Argos, ill again.

Another source quoting De Lavillasse is Edward Blaquieres. He confirms his role in the siege of Patras, and in the siege of Tripolitsa, where De Lavillasse even led a corps of 80 volunteers from the Ionian Islands. According to Maxime Raybaud, after the fall of Tripolitsa, De Lavillasse joined the Regular Corps of Baleste for a while.

De Lavillasse then became a Greek citizen, and followed Kolokotronis as a captain. According to the testimony of Fotakos, he took part along with other chieftains, in the battle against Dramalis in Dervenakia on July 26, 1822, as a captain-bodyguard of Kolokotronis.

Michael Oikonomou describes a real incident for his friend De Lavillasse, after the successful battles of the forces of Kolokotronis near Patras, highlighting his unbridled enthusiasm. De Lavillasse, after reaching the gate of the “Gerokomeio” fortress, was the first to knock loudly and “with great joy for the victory of the nation”, turning to the Greeks who were watching him, shouting to them in poor Greek “come, come”. He invited them with gestures to break through the gate of the fortress and enter in it.

It is a fact that his bravery was recognized by both foreign and Greek comrades-in-arms, but also by the Greek administration. With the decision no. 154 of D. Ypsilantis, President of the Parliament, on June 24, 1822, “Captain Lavillaz” was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander for his work in his new homeland. It is striking that the decision was taken on the grounds that “the French captain Mr. Lavilaz, who has suffered a lot for twelve months now, endured all kinds of deprivations, works hard for the common interest in Patras”. This decision is a presumption of his presence in Greece from the beginning and the deprivations he suffered in the Struggle.

According to Henri Fornèsy and his notes on the Philhellenes, De Lavillasse gradually rose to the rank of Colonel. In fact, for some time he served as the Chief of the staff of Kolokotronis, to which he was assigned. The information is confirmed by Greek historians, including Ap. Vakalopoulos, who describes him as a comrade-warrior of Kolokotronis.

Even more, F.R. Schack cites him in his memoirs as a man who enjoyed the full confidence of Kolokotronis: “The two men were inseparable comrades-in-arms, fought together in a hundred battles, and twenty times their swords were stained with the blood of barbarians”.

De Lavillasse had a good reputation in the army, loved Greece and longed for its freedom. In a letter published on September 6, 1823, Pouqueville expressed his concern about the internal quarrels of the Greeks, which prevented them from completing the Struggle and endangered the country’s political situation. Even more, he admits that if the Greeks were united, the Turks would have been defeated long ago.

Moreover, Maxime Raybaud, De Lavillasse’s comrade-in-arms, also expresses his greatest appreciation for him in his memoirs, commenting on his special case as follows:

This success is largely due to the brave De Lavillasse, who leading some of the irregular Moraites, was the first to enter the city and pursue the enemy as far as the walls of the fortress. Being unsatisfied with the services to which we should be limited with his half-regular soldiers, almost always unhappy, malnourished and poorly paid, this officer decided, a few weeks after Ypsilantis returned to Tripoli, to leave the Baleste battalion to go outside Patras. Due to his bravery, he quickly gathered around him one hundred of the Armatoloi of Achaia. He left his uniform to dress in the clothes of the Kleftes, the pre-eminent clothes of the war, and followed in all areas the customs of his new comrades-in-arms, sharing with them the difficulties, the deprivations and even the complete absence of cleanliness that characterizes their way of life“.

More particularly, he points out that “in this easy abandonment of civilized manners for the sake of such harsh customs is perhaps hidden a greater value than we can imagine at first, a value which is better understood if we consider that it is the only foreigner who has managed to adapt to this way of life”. “This officer, as a witness to his brilliant deeds, had only people who forgot him. Too many times he has seen Turks fall from his strikes, but he leaves it to his friends to take care of making it known to the public”.

It seems that the poverty he was facing at that time was such, that in a letter addressed by De Lavillasse to the Minister of War, Ioannis Kolettis, in May 1822, he asked him to send him “a medicament made from tobacco and a French or Albanian shirt”. The tragic situation of De Lavillasse is testified by a dramatic incident reported by Fotakos, during the invasion of Dramalis, shortly before the battle of Dervenakia. According to his testimony, De Lavillasse hid in a vineyard where Turks were going to steal grapes, he killed a Turk and took off his clothes to wear as his own were completely worn.

Despite the privations and poverty, it appears that De Lavillasse continued for several years his actions in Greece and more specifically in Roumeli (main land). This is evidenced by a letter he sent to the Secretary of Defense, asking to allow him to enlist in the “Regular Corps” organized by the French General Gerard. A corps that gathered a large number of former irregular warriors during the period of Kapodistrias.

Officer of the Light Regiments of the Regular Army of Greece (archives of GES)

Unfortunately, his traces are lost somewhere in Greece, as no further details are known about him.

William St Clair states that De Lavillasse bore the title of marquis in his country, as he came from a noble family. He was also honored with the Legion of Honor for his service in the Grand Army.

De Lavillasse is another freedom fighter, honored by Greece for his contribution to its war of independence.



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Cavalry gendarmes and a Gendarmerie officer


François Graillard (Gralliardos), was one of the French Philhellenes who settled permanently in Greece.

He was born on August 23, 1792, to a French noble family in Dijon, France, and was the only son of a glorious colonel in the French Artillery. According to his personal military record in France, referred by Ch. Dimakopoulou in her study on Graillard and his work, Graillard studied at the Military School of Paris and enlisted as a volunteer in the French National Guard on May 15, 1812. In two months, he was promoted to caporal, and after three months, to sergeant. At the beginning of 1813 he was promoted to a non-commissioned officer and on 29 September 1813 to second lieutenant. He had received the specialty of Engineer in the National Guard.

During Napoleon’s campaign against the Netherlands in 1812, he was distinguished for his bravery and promoted to lieutenant on the battlefield. He served in the headquarters of the Great Army and took part in the campaign against Austria and Prussia in 1813. In the battle of Leipzig he was seriously wounded and taken prisoner, but then escaped captivity. He took part in the campaign against Russia, where he was also captured. He then returned to France in 1814, the year his father died, leaving him a significant fortune. He was later promoted to captain of the General Staff, and continued his military career, participating in the campaign of Napoleon the Great in France in 1815.

He was then placed in reserve, expelled and imprisoned repeatedly in France until 1820. Graillard was a follower of the French philosopher Saint-Simon, whose theory promoted new ideas for reorganizing society on the basis of an original form of socialist principles, and a supporter of the French Revolution.

Saint-Simon (1760 – 1825), philosopher and utopian precursor of “scientific socialism”, among the founders of French Sociology.

When the Greek Revolution broke out, excited about the noble cause of Greek freedom and committed to the ideas of the French Revolution, which he always deeply advocated, Graillard decided to give up his comfortable life and take part in the Greek Struggle.

According to the French Philhellene M. Raybaud, Graillard arrived in Argos on November 20, 1821, after first landing in Kalamata with other Frenchmen, the first philhellenes to arrive in Greece. He took part in the siege and raid on Nafplio and distinguished himself in the fall of Corinth. He served as a Captain of the Mavrokordatos Staff, and took part in the Battle of Peta, where he fought bravely, got wounded, and escaped captivity. From this experience, Graillard understood the particularly negative effects that the civil conflicts between the Greeks would have on Greece.

He then took part in a mission to Athens with Raybaud. Later he participated in the first siege of Messolonghi, in October 1822, as reported by Raybaud. During a clash with the Turks at the Acheloos river, he was injured seriously for the second time in a few months, risking losing his left leg.

He developed a friendship with Dimitrios Ypsilantis, whom he considered together with Kolokotronis, as the natural leaders of the Revolution. His bravery led Ypsilantis, who also appreciated the integrity of his character, to entrust him with confidential missions in Europe in favor of Greece.

Thus, in the autumn of 1823, Graillard left for France on the orders of Ypsilantis, accompanied by his compatriot Louis Stanislas Daniel. For this mission he had received an extended leave. In January 1824 he returned to Messolonghi, and a little later he left again for France, again together with Daniel, with new orders. Their mission was to mobilize the philhellenic circles of Paris for the benefit of the Greek cause, not only financially, but also diplomatically, as Spiliadis testifies.

Letter from D. Ypsilantis dated 10 March 1824 to the Minister of Justice of France. Ypsilantis recommends the French Philhellene Louis Stanislas Daniel bearing the letter, who had undertaken many secret missions in France on behalf of D. Ypsilantis, together with Graillard.

The French philhellene Graillard had played an important role in organizing the first Philhellenic committees in France, which later officially supported the Philhellenic movement, organized fundraisers and undertook to send supplies and weapons to Greece. This emerges from Graillard’s long correspondence, and is also confirmed by Ioannis Koniaris, mayor of Athens, his close friend and heir. Actually, Koniaris delivered the funeral speech at the funeral of Graillard, which was published in the newspaper Radamanthys.

After his return to Greece, Ypsilantis, appreciating his contribution, hired him as his aid de camp. Graillard then took part in the second siege of Messolonghi, and in the Battle of Myloi (the Mills) in June 1825, during which he was wounded and promoted to the rank of Colonel, after a proposal by Ypsilantis. According to Hariklia Dimakopoulou, it was rumored that Graillard led a movement in December 1826 aiming to establish a military government under Ypsilantis. During the Kapodistrian period, Ypsilantis was the commander-in-chief of the Army of Eastern Greece, and he hired Graillard as Chief of Staff. Graillard took part in the Battle of Thebes in May 1829, but also in the last battle of the Greek Struggle, that of Petra, in September of the same year.

Governor Kapodistrias had entrusted Ypsilantis with the command of the irregular troops, which were transformed later into chiliarchies, and Graillard sought to assist the Governor in his task of “regularizing” the irregular troops.

Graillard was a staunch supporter of the Regular Army, and he issued many Orders of the day, calling on the Chiliarchs to submit daily activity reports. As expected, these orders were not carried out and were quickly considered useless by the irregular warriors, who were not prepared to change their way of life. Graillard attempted to introduce into the army the rules of the Internal Organization of the French Army, remained a dead letter, as the Greeks were not familiar to these European-style structures.

According to Hariklia Dimakopoulou, during the period of Augustine Kapodistrias, Graillard undertook the secret mission of handing over to General Guéhéneuc (General Maison’s successor in the Peloponnese), a request from the pro-French circles of Nafplion for a French monarch to take over the crown of Greece. This mission was particularly important, as it took place at a time when, following the resignation of Duke Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg, there were ongoing meetings in London where two candidates were proposed for the Greek throne. The first one was Prince Paul of Wurttemberg and the second Prince Othon of Bavaria.

Following the departure of Augustine Kapodistrias, the Government Commission assigned the administration of the Regular Army to Graillard, following a proposal by D. Ypsilantis, according to Ch. Dimakopoulou. He was assisted in these tasks by Lieutenant Scarlatos Soutsos. Graillard submitted a memorandum on the general condition of the Regular Corps for the period from November 1831 to November 1832. The state of the Corps was deplorable. The lack of financial resources had affected all military units, the morale was low, the Model Battalion, which had been formed after an extraordinary effort, was disbanded. In this turbulent climate, the Light Battalions were transformed again into irregular troops, and all this, during a particularly difficult period for Greece.

The tragic character of the situation is evidenced by a series of letters written by Graillard in his capacity of head of the Regular Corps to the War Minister Ioannis Kolettis. In these letters he addressed a desperate appeal and asked him to settle, “in the name of God”, the economic problem of the Army, in order to avoid the desertion of the troops, which was about to take uncontrollable proportions. The government, in an effort to save the army, granted a transfer of the proceeds of the Nafplion Customs to the management of the Regular Corps. Unfortunately, the situation worsened, as the rioters threatened to invade the city of Nafplio, in a desperate attempt to receive their salaries. Under the threat of complete anarchy, Kolettis decided to seek help from the French army, part of which had remained in the Peloponnese under General Guéhéneuc’s orders. This operation led to bloody clashes and disastrous results.

During Othon’s reign, in February 1833, Graillard was appointed leader of Othon’s Military House, and later became head of the first National Gendarmerie which he organized, according to French standards, in June 1833. Graillard choose himself applying meritocratic and fair criteria the first officers of the Gendarmerie, both among the former irregular warriors and the well-known chieftains, as well as the Regular soldiers and the Philhellenes who had been distinguished for their bravery and behavior. He remained in this position until 1834. He was then put in reserve, most likely because of his saintsimonic ideas, which the government certainly did not approve. In fact, a royal decree was issued in this regard, denouncing saintsimonism as a sect.

Another serious reason that apparently brought him into conflict with the government was his constant request for an increase in the number of Gendarmerie officers and for the non-participation of the political power and the army, in its work. Already after the Battle of Peta, Graillard studied and analyzed in depth the structure of Greek society, and concluded that military affairs should be carried out only by the military, without the intervention of politicians (something he tried to ensure each time he took a position of responsibility).

For all these reasons, he submitted his resignation on January 12, 1835, setting a proud example for his subordinates. This is because, according to I. Koniaris, Graillard was “a ruthless enemy of intrigue and faithful to duty”, “he walked the straight path; honor was his compass, and the duty the rule of his conduct. These were placed beyond any ambition”.

Graillard, however, did not end there his career and continued to offer his services in other areas, as he was later called up for action again. He successively served as Garrison Commander of Messolonghi, and then of Athens-Piraeus, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of the Army, Chairman of the Committee for the Revision of the rules of procedure of the Army, Commander of a Brigade, etc. On February 19, 1848, he was again appointed Chief of the Gendarmerie, and remained in that position until the abolition of the Corps Headquarters on June 24 of the same year. The Headquarters were reorganized on November 29, 1848 under the leadership of A. Vlachopoulos. On May 19, 1854, he was transferred to the army and was promoted to lieutenant general. Since then, he remained in reserve, for health reasons, and retired in Kifissia.

The most important contribution of Graillard in Greece is undoubtedly recorded in the field of the development of the Greek society, which he had studied in depth during his long stay in Greece. The fruit of his thoughts led to the production of a work entitled “Memorandum on the Law of the Development of Modern Greek Civilisation” (Mémoire sur la loi du développement de la civilisation hellénique moderne). He submitted this memorandum to king Othon in 1835, shortly before he took office as monarch, in order for him to take it into account for the governance of the new Greek state. However, his rather progressive proposals were not accepted.

At that time, a large portion of the political world, Othon himself being the first among them, gave priority to the vision of the Great Idea and the development of the army. Graillard’s proposal was for the government to focus on tackling the devastation caused by the war, in organizing production and the economy, in order to achieve the development and prosperity of the Greek people, so that the new state can play again an important role as the heir of ancient Greek civilisation. At this point he was collaborating with another Philhellene and sainsimonist, Gustave Séligmann d’Eichthal (1804 – 1886), who lived in Greece from 1832 to 1835. He was commissioned by Prime Minister I. Kolettis to organize the Office of Public Economy (which much later evolved to the Hellenic Statistical Service).

Gustave Séligmann d’Eichthal (1804 – 1886), designed the Office of Public Economy.

The efforts of the French sainsimonists, who had begun to come to Greece, were unsuccessful, and all of them were removed from public offices.

Graillard undertook later other administrative positions.

The original and spontaneous love for the Greek nation is remarkable for this Philhellene. Without ever renouncing his French origins, Graillard wanted and sought the development and rebirth of the Greek nation. He was an idealist and a lover of Greece. According to an article by General Napoleon Dokanaris of the Gendarmerie, he was the first Philhellene to reject the specific title of “Filellin”, and, consequently, the privileges that accompanied it, unlike many others. It is characteristic that in many documents, and especially in letters to his friends, he signed in Greek “Gralliardos”. He had acquired a well-deserved Greek citizenship.

In his funeral speech, Koniaris describes him as “a lively and very pleasant spirit, a high character, a soul that is at the same time stable and flexible, a mind adorned and cultivated with education”, and “with the lures of the spirit”, and underlines that he had “all the strong virtues which impose the respect, and the sweet virtues, which attract the love”.

He died in Kifissia on May 9, 1863, with the rank of Commander in Chief of the army. He was honored with the Order of the Officer of the Legion of Honor from France, with the Silver of Excellence of the Greek Independence and with the Golden Cross of the Order of the Redeemer.



  • Raybaud Maxime, Mémoires sur la Grèce – Pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre de l’indépendance, τ. 2, εκδ. Tournachon-Molin, Παρίσι
  • Ανέκδοτη επιστολή του «Αρχείου Ιωάννη Κωλέττη» (Αρχειακή Συλλογή ΚΕΙΝΕ, Ακαδημία Αθηνών, Φ. 149Γ, έγγραφο 0014), την οποία απευθύνει ο Graillard στον Κωλέττη στις 8 Ιουλίου του 1832 και η οποία αποτελεί μέρος σειράς επιστολών του Graillard για το ίδιο θέμα.
  • Αντωνίου Σ. Κωνσταντίνος, Ιστορία Ελληνικής Βασιλικής Χωροφυλακής 1833-1967, τόμ. Α΄, εκδ. Χρηματιστήριον του Βιβλίου, Αθήνα 1964.
  • Ασπρέας Γεώργιος, Πολιτική ιστορία της νεωτέρας Ελλάδος (1821-1912), εκδ. Χρήσιμα βιβλία, Αθήνα 1930.
  • Βακαλόπουλος Απόστολος, Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Επαναστάσεως του 1821, εκδ. ΟΕΔΒ, Αθήνα 1971.
  • Βακαλόπουλος Απόστολος, Τα ελληνικά στρατεύματα του 1821, εκδ. Βάνιας, Θεσσαλονίκη 1991.
  • ΓΑΚ, Γραμματεία Στρατιωτικών, Φ. 121, υπόμνημα με ημερομηνία 21 Νοεμβρίου 1832, το οποίο περιγράφει ο Ανδρέας Καστάνης (ό.π. [υποσημ. 349], σσ. 36-39).
  • Δημακοπούλου Χαρίκλεια, Ο σαινσιμονιστής François Graillard περί των ελληνικών πολιτικών πραγμάτων – Παρατηρήσεις και προτάσεις [ανάτυπο από το Δελτίον της ΙΕΕΕ, τ. 22 (1979), σσ. 367-450]. Το Υπόμνημα του Graillard προς τον Όθωνα βρίσκεται στο ίδιο, σσ. 395 κ.ε.
  • Δοκανάρης Ναπολέων, «Ο Γάλλος Φιλέλληνας Φραγκίσκος Γκραγιάρ και το μεγαλειώδες σχέδιό του για την οικονομική και πολιτιστική ανάπτυξη της μεταπελευθερωτικής Ελλάδας», Στρατιωτική Επιθεώρηση, Ιούλιος-Αύγουστος 1991, σσ. 73-84.
  • Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη, Τμήμα Χειρογράφων και Ομοιοτύπων, χειρόγραφο 1.697: Henri Fornèsy, «Le monument des philhellènes», 1860.
  • Εφημερίδα Παλιγγενεσία, Αθήνα, αρ. φ. 141, 16 Μαΐου 1863.
  • Εφημερίδα Ραδάμανθυς, Αθήνα, αρ. φ. 17, 16 Μαΐου 1863.
  • Κτενιάδης Σ. Νικόλαος, Ελληνική Χωροφυλακή – Ιστορικαί σελίδες, τ. Α΄, χ.ε., Αθήνα 1960.
  • Λαλούσης Χαράλαμπος, «O Ελληνικός Στρατός την περίοδο του πρώτου Κυβερνήτη της Ελλάδος Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια (1828-1831)», Στρατιωτική Επιθεώρηση, τ. 2 (2000), σσ. 31-41.
  • Ν. Κτενιάδης, «Φραγκίσκος Γκραγιάρ, 1792-1863, Ο πρώτος Αρχηγός της Ελληνικής Χωροφυλακής», Αστυνομική Ανασκόπηση, τόμος 9, 1978, σσ. 319-321.
  • Σπηλιάδης Νικόλαος, Απομνημονεύματα δια να χρησιμεύσωσιν εις την νέαν ελληνικήν ιστορίαν (1821-1843), τ. 1-2, εκδ. Παναγιώτου Φ. Χριστοπούλου, Αθήνα 1972.



Auguste Michel Marie Étienne Régnault (or Régnaud) de St-Jean d’Angely, was born in Paris on July 30, 1794. His birth certificate states that he was the “son of Marie-Louise-Augustine Chenié, artist, and Michel-Louis-Etienne Desrichards, an officer of the Northern Army”. In fact, his father was Michel-Louis-Etienne Regnaud (1760-1819). Desrichards was the name of an area / property that belonged to the family on his father’s mother. His mother died shortly after his birth, and Auguste Régnault was adopted by his father’s new wife, Laure Regnaud de Saint-Jean d’Angély, in 1795.

His father was a lawyer as well as a Member of the Parliament for the area of Saint-Jean d’Angély. He held many important positions and had a significant influence on Napoleon, who greatly valued and respected his opinion. He was, among other things, a State Counselor, a member of the Paris Academy, General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Imperial Family (1807), while he also received the title of nobility of the Earl (Count).

Auguste Regnaud, was admitted to the prestigious Prytaneum of St Cyr (Military School), and then began his studies at the Saint-Germain Cavalry School, from which he graduated in 1812 with the rank of lieutenant. The following year he served in the 8th Hussar Regiment, and took part in the campaign in Russia and then in Saxony, where he fought in the Battle of Leipzig. On October 10, 1813, he was promoted to the aid of Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Corbineau, who was in turn the aid of Napoleon. Auguste Regnaud took part in the Campaign in France in 1814 and distinguished in the battle of Reims. He then served with the 1st Regiment of Hussar from the summer of 1814 until the spring of 1815. He then returned to the service of Napoleon, was promoted to captain, and was appointed officer of Napoleon’s headquarters. He fought at Waterloo and, on June 21, 1815, he was promoted to a Major by Napoleon himself on the battlefield, who recognized his bravery. This grade was deducted from him during the Restoration. Finally, he returned to his homeland after Napoleon’s second resignation, with the rank of lieutenant. He then traveled to the United States to accompany his father, who had been exiled for defending Napoleon. Once in the USA, he was arrested on August 28, 1815, for entering a foreign country without permission. Auguste Regnaud returned to France in 1816. He remained there for several years, expelled from the army, and followed a non-military life.

From the early 1820s, he was enthusiastic about the Greek Revolution, and supported the philhellenic initiatives in France, along with many other personalities of the time. In 1825 he decided to go to Greece and fight as a Philhellene volunteer on the side of the Greek revolutionaries. In Greece, he joined Colonel Fabvier’s Regular Corps, who had just taken over as commander. Auguste Regnaud undertook the formation from scratch, and the organization of a cavalry corps. In fact, he managed to train it according to the most advanced European standards. It is worth noting that he had brought with him all the necessary means for the organization of the Cavalry in Greece, which were an offer of the philhellenic committees of France. He also used these funds to purchase horses from the market. He himself refused to receive a salary from the Greek government, and even used personal money to support the work of his unit and his soldiers.

Around the end of October 1825, following an order from the Provisional Government, Fabvier went to Spetses on a mission with the Regular Corps. During this time, Captain Regnaud took over as Deputy Commander of the Army.

The cavalry corps, inspired by his example, soon excelled and received recognition under his command, especially during the campaign in Karystos. According to Henri Fornèsy, Auguste Regnaud enjoyed the undivided respect and esteem of his soldiers. During the campaign in Karystos, a small number of his men from the vanguard were killed and Auguste Regnaud just escaped death after being chased by three Turks. Then the remainder of the cavalry unit, being enraged at the loss of their comrades, pursued the enemy without waiting for an order from their leader. Auguste Regnaud, seeing that his corps was in danger, rushed across the lines of the Turkish cavalry and entered the battle to encourage his soldiers. However, the Greek Cavalry corps was small in number, it did not exceed one hundred men. Auguste Regnaud ordered a retreat which was executed by the Corps with “maximum bravery and prudence”, according to the historian Vyzantios. In this battle the Cavalry Corps lost about 20 men, as well as its famous flag, which had been embroidered by young Philhellene women in Paris and handed over to him, before his departure from France. Auguste Regnaud deeply regretted for the evolution of the campaign in Karystos, and a little later, he submitted his resignation, and left for his homeland. One of his officers, the great Portuguese Philhellene, Colonel Almeida, took his place.

Cavalry uniform of the first regular corps in Greece (GES archive).

However, his interest in the struggle of the Greeks did not stop. So Auguste Regnaud returned to Greece in 1828, as a volunteer in General Maison’s Army Corps, where he served as secretary-interpreter. The following year, Maison was promoted to General of France (Marshal). During this time, thanks to his persistent efforts, Auguste Regnaud rejoined the French army. After the revolution of 1830 in France, he was promoted to captain. On September 11, 1830, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then participated in the Belgian campaign from 1831 to 1833. On October 23, 1832, he was promoted to colonel and placed in the 1st Regiment of the Lancers, where he remained until 1841. Then, in December 18, 1841, he was promoted to Brigadier General and, in 1842, he commanded the 1st Corps of the Operations in Marne, and then the Meurthe Division. He held this position until 1844, when he became head of the cavalry brigade in the Moselle Corps of Operations. Between 1845 and 1848, he commanded the Versailles Cavalry Brigade and distinguished himself during the 1848 revolution for the stable and disciplined role of his Corps. He was later appointed commander of the Indre-et-Loire region, and of the 1st Light Cavalry Brigade of the Alpine Army. On July 10, 1848, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and took over the temporary command of the entire cavalry division in the Alpine Army. On November 26, 1848, he was elected Member of Parliament for the Charente-Inférieure region. On April 15, 1849, he was put in charge of the ground forces in the expeditionary force sent to the Mediterranean to restore papal power in Rome. On May 13, he was elected a representative of the Assembly for the same area. Between 1849 and 1855, he carried out a number of inspections. In 1850 he joined the Municipal Council of the Charente-Inférieure, where he remained for twenty years, as chairman of several councils.

Auguste Régnault (or Régnaud) de St-Jean d’Angely in military uniform.

General Auguste Régnault (or Régnaud) de St-Jean d’Angely.

In early 1851 (January 9-24), he served as Minister of War for a few weeks. On December 26, 1851, he served on the cavalry’s advisory committee, where he remained until 1853, when he became president for a year. On January 26, 1852, he was elected Member of Parliament. From 1862 to 1870 he was one of its vice presidents. In 1854, he commanded for a while the Imperial Guard, which took part in the Crimean War, and in 1855, he commanded the Reserve Corps in the East. Upon his return to France in 1856, he was appointed commander of the Imperial Guard in Paris, a position that he held until 1869, when he resigned for health reasons. In 1859 he played an important role in the war in Italy and was distinguished for his bravery as head of the Imperial Guard in the victory at Magnenta. The French monarch honored him for his achievements by issuing a decree on June 5, 1859, nominating him Marshal. On November 20, 1864, he inherited the title of Earl (Count) from his father by imperial decree. A title he later bequeathed to his adopted daughter’s husband, along with his last name.

Auguste Regnaud was awarded the Order of the Officer of the Legion of Honor (of which he had been a knight since 1813) in May 1831, the Order of the Senior Officer on January 12, 1849, and the Grand Cross on December 28, 1849. He also received the medal of St. Andrew’s Order, the medal of St. Helen, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in Great Britain, the Pontifical Order of Pope Pius IX. Greece honored him with the medal of the Order of the Redeemer on September 27, 1835. He died in Cannes on February 1, 1870, and was buried at public expense. His body is in the Invalides mausoleum.

Auguste Regnaud was another important personality who passed through Greece and contributed to the struggle for its independence.



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