Research Subjects: Biographies

Russian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars: General Count Charles-André Pozzo di Borgo

By Alexander Mikaberidze, FINS

(8 March 1764 – 15 February 1842)

General Charles-André Pozzo di Borgo

Pozzo was born on 8 March 1764, in Alata, Corsica, of a noble Corsican family. He was educated in Pisa and because of his noble Corsican background became politically allied with Napoleon early in his life. Pozzo was one of the two Corsican delegates to the National Assembly and as such demanded the incorporation of Corsica into France. Pozzo sat with the Girondists until the events of August 1792. When he returned to Corsica he found himself alienated from the Bonapartes, who were in the process of joining the Jacobins. While in Corsica, Pozzo became the procureur-général-syndic (chief of the civil government). He would shortly refuse to obey the summons to the bar of the Convention. Pozzo and Pascuale Paoli found themselves allied with the British, who established a protectorate over Corsica from 1794 to 1796. When French rule was restored on the island in 1796, Pozzo accompanied Sir Gilbert Elliot, the former British viceroy in Corsica, to Vienna, where he entered the Russian service. Of able and perceptive character, Pozzo was entrusted with several diplomatic missions. In 1805, he served as the Russian commissioner with the Anglo-Neapolitan forces in Italy, and in 1806 he served in similar capacity with the Prussians. In 1807, Pozzo was sent on a mission to Constantinople. When Alexander I and Napoleon concluded an alliance via the Treaty of Tilsit, Pozzo’s diplomatic career in Russia ended, and he moved to Vienna. Napoleon demanded his extradiction, but Metternich allowed him to leave for England. Pozzo di Borgo remained in England until 1812, when he was recalled to Russian service. He became general of the Russian army and negotiated with Sweden in 1812-1813, ensuring its alliance against the French. In 1814, when the Allies entered Paris, Pozzo served as commissary general to the provisional government. During the First Restoration, Pozzo served as Russian ambassador to France and sought to arrange a marriage between Duc de Berry and the Grand Duchess Anna, Alexander’s sister. He was present at the Congress of Vienna and during the Hundred Days he went with Louis XVIII to Belgium. After the Second Restoration, Pozzo remained in Paris for next fifteen years. He was made a count and peer of France in 1818. In 1830, as the Tsar Nicholas I was reluctant to acknowledge Louis Philippe, Pozzo di Borgo mollified an otherwise difficult situation. In 1833, he was in London in discussions with Wellington, and when Prince Lieven died in early 1835, Pozzo was made ambassador to England. His health declined in London and he retired in 1839, moving to Paris where he died on 15 February 1842.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2002


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