Charles Dumouriez

(Charles Francois du Perier Dumouriez)


Charles Francois du Perier Dumouriez was a career soldier who defected from during the French Revolution. Rather than being motivated by idealism, Dumouriez was motivated by political ambition and a certain practicality. Although he supported the cause of liberty, his more moderate leanings (especially his defense of Louis XVI at the kingís trial) made the Revolutionary climate of France rather unhealthy for him.

Dumouriezís father was a commissary in the royal army, who raised his son with a military career in mind. Dumouriez joined the army at age 18, during the Seven Year's War with Austria, and quickly climbed through the ranks. Although he was married for several years, his focus on his military career and his unfaithfulness caused his wife to leave him. A believer in liberty, Dumouriez was more than ready to throw in his lot with the Revolution. Unfortunately, his outspoken criticism of the proceedings of the National Constituent Convention regarding certain military decrees, his defense of Louis XVI, and a major military defeat combined to put Dumouriez in danger of falling to the Committee he had helped defend. Dumouriez saw the writing on the wall and bolted, taking the future king of France, Louis Philippe, with him.

In later years, Dumouriez became somewhat lost without the Revolution or the causes he believed in. He traveled through Europe for several years before coming to England during the Napoleonic Wars. Here he was a valued resource for the War Office. He remained in England after the conclusion of the war, and died there.

Key events during the life of Charles Dumouriez:

Born in Cambrai, Northern France.
Begins military career as a volunteer in the Rossbach campaign.
At the end of the Seven Years War, retired as a captain, with a small pension and the cross of St Louis.
Recieves military command as deputy quartermaster general to the Army of Corsica. Later becomes member of the Secret Service under Louis XV.
Sent to Poland. Fall of Choiseul brings about his recall.
Recieves staff position with the Lorraine regiment writing diplomatic and military reports
Imprisoned in the Bastille for six months.
Released from the Bastille upon the accession of Louis XVI.
Marries his cousin, Mademoiselle de Broissy.
Recieves post of commandant of Cherbourg, remains there for ten years.
Madam Dumouriez seeks separation from her husband because he proves neglectful and unfaithful, takes refuge in a convent.
Goes to Paris upon outbreak of Revolution, joins the Jacobin club.
Appointed French military advisor to the newly established independent Belgian government. Remained dedicated to the cause of an independent Belgian republic.
Offered to march to the assistance of the National Constituent Assembly after the flight to Varennes
Promoted from president of the War Council to major-general, and attached to the Twelfth Division.
Attached himself to the Girondist party, became French Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Played a major part in the declaration of war against Austria, planned the invasion of the Low Countries.
Took the post of Minister of War, resigned it two days later because of the King's refusal to come to terms with the National Constituent Assembly.
Kellermann repulses the Prussians at Valmy, and Dumouriez severely defeats the Austrians at Jemappes.
Returns to Paris and works to save Louis XVI from execution. This causes more radical revolutionaries to believe he is a traitor to the Revolution.
Arrests the four deputy-commissioners of the National Convention who had been sent to inquire into his conduct, and defects along with the duc de Chartres (afterwards King Louis Philippe) and his younger brother, the duc de Montpensier.
Settles in England after many years of travel, becomes valuable advisor to the British war office during the Napoleonic Wars.
Attempts to procure from Louis XVIII the baton of a marshal of France but fails.
Dies at Turville Park, near Henley-on-Thames, on March 14th.

Short Biography
Robespierre Key figure of the French Revolution. Leader of the Reign of Terror.
Jean-Paul Marat Radical Doctor who became Leader of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.
Georges Danton Key figure of the French Revolution who was eventually lost his head.
Louis Philippe French prince with liberal sympathies. Proclaimed king after abdication of Charles X.
Duke of Orleans Liberal cousin of Louis XVI who voted to execute the king, but was later beheaded by the Paris mob.
Maria Antoinette Extravagant Queen of France. Beheaded during French Revolution.
Louis XVI King during the French revolution. Beheaded by republicans who sought to overthrow the monarchy.