- Ney, Michel
- (1769–1815)A famous Napoleonic marshal and Napoleon Bonaparte ’s most loyal subordinate.Ney reached the rank of brigadier general in 1796 and commanded a division three years later. He distinguished himself in the Low Countries, on the Rhine, and in Switzerland during the Revolutionary Wars. Napoleon appointed him a marshal in 1804. During the campaign of 1805, Ney performed brilliantly at Elchingen against the Austrians, and later at Eylau and Friedland against the Russians in 1807. He was not very successful in the Peninsular War, where his relations with Marshal Masséna were poor.He commanded III Corps during the invasion of Russia and distinguished himself during the retreat from Moscow. Leading the rearguard, Ney performed heroically and is believed to have been the last Frenchman to cross the border into Poland, having led the last remnants of the Grande Armée to safety. He fought in almost every battle thereafter in Germany and France, and joined Napoleon during the Hundred Days, but failed to achieve victory at Waterloo in his capacity as de facto battlefield commander, as the emperor remained well behind the front line. He was court-martialed and shot for treason by the restored Bourbons.See also <
>.FURTHER READING:Atteridge, A. H. Marshal Ney: The Bravest of the Brave. Uxfield: Naval and Military Press, 2001;Chandler, David, ed. Napoleon ’ s Marshals. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000;Delderfield, R. F. Napoleon ’ s Marshals. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 2002;Horricks, R. Marshal Ney: The Romance and the Real. London: Archway, 1988;Macdonell, A. G. Napoleon and His Marshals. New York: Prion Books, 1996.GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.