wire of tradesman, very young orphan, growed at the devil way.
At 13 years, he embarks on a vessel in the capacity as foam.
Four years later, he engages in the regiment Royal-Italian where
he is useful during 14 years. In 1789, adjudant for several years,
he has reached the node of the hierarchy for the commoners. He
leaves the army, settles with Antibes, got married.
Engaged in the National Guard, he is quickly named brigadier
general on 22 August 1793, then major general on December 20
of the same year.
When Bonaparte is named general as a head of the Army of Italy,
Masséna receives the command of the avant-garde. Present
with Montenotte, Dego, Lodi, he enters the first the Milanese.
In Rivoli, his action is decisive. He became a significant man,
about which one speaks a time like possible Director. The Directory
charges him with replacing Berthier with the command of the troops
of occupation of the States Pontificaux. Masséna represses
the insurrection of dissatisfied soldiers hard not to be paid.
The officers mean to him that they do not recognize him for head:
Masséna must leave his station at the end of three days.
He turns to Bonaparte, writes to him: «What will I become?
I have recourse to your kindness, I await you very». Bonaparte
does not move. The Directory recalls him in February
1799: the hostilities with Austria began again. Initially controlling
Army of Helvétie, the Danube and the Rhine after the dismissal
of Bernadotte and Jourdan, he gives an opinion, awaits the fault
of the enemy. In September 1799, he beats the Austrians and the
Russians in Zurich.
After the 18-Brumaire, Bonaparte sends Masséna in Italy.
The Austrians divide the army in two, and Masséna must
take refuge in Genoa, in April 1800. After three months of seat,
he capitulates on June 4, 1800. His resistance enables him to
evacuate the city with the honors of the war. Masséna
knows disgrace again, perhaps not to have approved the strike
of state of the 18-Brumaire. He is withdrawn in Rueil. Become
appointed in July 1803, he votes against the consulate at life.
He receives nevertheless the stick of marshal in 1804. The following
year, Napoleon recalls him to the command of the Army of Italy.
Masséna takes Vérone and occupies the troops of
the archduke Charles while Napoleon walks on Vienna.
After the signature of the treaty of Presbourg in 1805, Masséna
receives the command of the Army of Naples, whose objective is
to install Joseph on the throne. He joined then the Emperor in
Poland after the battle of Eylau (February 8, 1807), where he
controls the right wing of the Grande Armée to the signature
of the peace of Tilsit. Masséna returns to Rueil, with
the title of duke of Rivoli. He loses one eye at the time of
an accident of hunting.
March 1809, he organizes a body of 40 000 men and joined the
Grande Armée for the campaign of Austria. After the battles
of Landshut and Eckmühl (April 21), he manages to take Ebersdorff
(May 3), thus opening the road of Vienna. When Lannes is killed
in Essling on May 22, Masséna, with the head of the men
remained on left bank of the river, must protect the bridge which
makes it possible the French Army to be cut off in the island
from Lobau. In Wagram July the 5 and 6, he contains large Austrian
attack. At the end of this campaign, Masséna is made prince
In 1810, he receives the command of the Army of Portugal. After
having invaded the country, taken Ciudad-Rodrigo on July 10 and
Almeida, Masséna runs up against Wellington, and his fortifications
of Torres-Vedras on July 27. Once again, he holds, on standby
of reinforcements which will not come. He is forced to withdraw
himself in 1811. Once again, he knows the disgrace of Napoleon,
perhaps this time for his new depredations. He will not know
any more the battle field.
Military governor in Marseille, he remains in function with the
first Restoration. During the Hundred Days, Masséna is
joined the Emperor. Controlling national Guard of Paris after
Waterloo, he is quickly dislocated of this function by Louis
XVIII. He dies two years later, at 59 years old.