10.05.

1770: Napoleon’s “Iron Marshal”

1770: Napoleon’s “Iron Marshal”
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 10 May 1770
  • Louis-Nicolas Davout got the nickname "The Iron Marshal" because of his strictness towards subordinates. On one occasion, he performed a feat when he took a corps of 28,000 soldiers and defeated the enemy, who had over 63,000 men.

On this day the powerful Napoleon’s Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout was born. 

He got the nickname “The Iron Marshal” because of his strictness towards subordinates. In terms of maintaining military discipline, he was probably the most stern of all Napoleon’s marshals. But Davout was also known as a great military strategist. It is believed that he was the most capable of Bonaparte’s military commanders, along with marshals Massena and Lannes.

Louis-Nicolas Davout was born in a noble family, which is obvious from his surname. The name “Davout” actually originates from d’Avout (prefixes “de” and “d” are typical for nobles in France). Being an aristocrat at the time of the French Revolution was not exactly the best for one’s career; Davout was at one point removed from active service because of his noble birth. However, he later returned and particularly distinguished himself under Napoleon Bonaparte.

At the famous Battle of Jena–Auerstedt, Marshal Davout performed a feat when he and his corps of 28,000 soldiers defeated an enemy that numbered more than 63,000 men. To reward him for this success, Napoleon created him “Duke of Auerstädt” (French:Duc d’Auerstaedt).

He later received the even higher title of “Prince of Eckmühl” (French:Prince d’Eckmühl). The title of prince was the highest in the French Empire. Marshal Davout did not live for much longer after the fall and death of Napoleon. He died only two years after his emperor, at the age of 53.

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