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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

A Guide to the French Marshals

By Alexandre Mikaberidze, FINS

The French Revolution and subsequent Age of Napoleon produced a galaxy of generals, whose names thundered throughout the continent. The foremost among them were twenty six generals elevated by Napoleon to the rank of the Marshal (le marechal). Napoleon initially created eighteen marshals, leaving two vacancies to be filled afterward. Four of these were honorary appointments (Kellerman, Lefevre, Periguin, and Serruier), were given to those who had distinguished themselves in previous battles. The other fourteen were conferred on generals destined for active service, but in reward of their former deeds. The fourteen active marshals were Jourdan, Berthier, Massena, Lannes, Ney, Augereau, Brune, Murat, Bessières, Moncey, Mortier, Soult, Davoust, and Bernadotte. All these generals had distinguished themselves on the battlefields, except Berthier whose expertise laid in administrative sphere. The title of the marchal was not a military rank, like general of division, but rather it signified the persons' social and court position in the imperial hierarchy.