Jean-Andoche Junot

Jean-Andoche Junot
1st Duke of Abrantès

Jean-Andoche Junot
Born 24 September 1771 (1771-09-24)
Bussy-le-Grand, France
Died 29 July 1813 (1813-07-30) (aged 41)
Montbard, France
Allegiance France
Rank général de division

Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès (24 September 1771 29 July 1813) was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.


Early life

Junot was born in Bussy-le-Grand, Côte-d'Or, son of Michel Junot, a farmer (1739–1814, son of François Junot, d. 1759, and wife Edmée Laurain, b. 1703 and d. 1784) and wife Marie Antoinette Bienaymé (1735–1806, daughter of Guy Bienaymé and wife Ursule Rigoley), and went to school in Châtillon. He was studying law in Dijon when the French Revolution started. He joined a volunteer battalion, was twice wounded and made sergeant. He first met Napoleon Bonaparte during the Siege of Toulon in 1793 when he became his secretary.

Italian campaign

He distinguished himself in Italy but received a serious head wound at Lonato, which some claim led to a permanent change in his character, reduced the quality of his judgement and made him rash and temperamental. He was made a general of brigade at the beginning of the Egyptian campaign but was injured in a duel and captured when he was returning as an invalid to France. He later participated in the coup of 18 Brumaire. He married Laure (Laurette) Martin de Permond, a long-time friend of the Bonapartes, in 1800. He was briefly ambassador to Portugal before hurrying back to serve under Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805).

Peninsular War

Junot's major command was during the Peninsular War. He commanded the 1807 Invasion of Portugal. Setting out in November from Salamanca, his vanguard accomplished a bloodless occupation of Lisbon on 30 November. For this feat, he was granted the ducal victory title of Duc d'Abrantès and was made Governor of Portugal.

But when a British expeditionary force landed, Junot was beaten at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808. He was cut off from France. Only the signing of the advantageous Convention of Sintra allowed him to avoid capture, taking however with him "the weapons and baggages" and pillage the army had managed to gather — an expression that later became famous in Portuguese usage. He returned to France in October, narrowly escaping a court martial. He returned to the Iberian peninsula in 1810 in command of the VIII Corps under Marshal André Masséna and was badly wounded.

Later years

In the Russian campaign Junot's record was erratic; he was blamed for allowing the Russian army to retreat following the Battle of Smolensk (17 August), but at the Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812) he commanded the 8th Corps competently.

In 1813 he was made Governor of the Illyrian Provinces but his growing mental instability led to him being returned to France. Many think he committed suicide in Montbard.

Family and relations

He had two daughters and two sons:

His official mistress, during the peninsular war, was Juliana de Almeida e Oyenhausen, daughter of Leonor de Almeida Portugal, 4th Marquise of Alorna.



Further reading

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