General Jean-Maximilien Lamarque

Jean-Maximilien Lamarque Général de division who took the isle of Capri and whose death in 1832 sparked the June Rebellion depicted in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables

Born: July 22, 1770

Place of Birth: Saint-Sever, Landes, France

Legion of Honor: Grand Cross

Imperial Nobility: Baron

Died: June 1, 1832

Cause of Death: Illness

Place of Death: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe: LAMARQUE on the west pillar

The son of a deputy to the National Constituent Assembly, Jean Maximilien Lamarque joined the army as a grenadier in the 4th Battalion of Landes in January of 1792. In 1793, he was promoted to lieutenant in April, and then joined the Army of the Western Pyrenees and was promoted to capitaine the next month. While there, Lamarque served with the infernal column of Latour d'Auvergne and was twice wounded. In August of 1794 he was selected to take the captured flags of the enemy to the National Convention, and after presenting the flags he was promoted to chef de bataillon. The next year Lamarque was promoted to chef de brigade.

In 1797 Lamarque joined the Army of the Rhine and then two years later he joined that army's staff. Significant fighting came in 1800 when in May Lamarque fought at Engen, Messkirch, and Biberach, in June he fought at Hochstaedt, and then in December at Hohenlinden. The next year he was promoted to général de brigade and commanded the troops on the expedition to Cadiz.

In 1803 General Lamarque joined the camp at Bayonne, and then in 1804 the camp at Brest. When war broke out in 1805 he took command of the 2nd Brigade of Desjardin's division in VII Corps. After participating in the campaign of 1805, the next year he followed Joseph Bonaparte and passed into the service of Naples. In June he fought against Fra Diavolo and served at the siege of Gaeta. Next he seized Camerotta and battled the English at the cape of Licersa.

In April of 1807 General Lamarque became chief of staff to King Joseph Bonaparte of Naples, and then at the end of the year he was promoted to général de division. In October of 1808, Lamarque led an attack on the Isle of Capri, successfully forcing the English governor Hudson Lowe to surrender. Next Lamarque became chief of staff to Marshal Murat when Murat arrived in Naples, and he was rewarded with a Grand Cross of the Order of the Two Sicilies.

February of 1809 saw Lamarque named to the Army of Italy, taking command of a division. In April he was given the 2nd Division of the right wing under General Macdonald. That May he fought at Piave, Prewald, and Laibach, and then in July he took part in the fighting at Enzersdorff and Wagram.

Lamarque bounced around various commands before returning to Naples to resume the position of chief of staff to Murat in April of 1810. He was rewarded as a Baron of the Empire and served in Calabria before being sent to Lower Catalonia in Spain in late June. In January of 1812 he was present at Ordal and Altafulla, and then in November he fought at Ametta and Casa Massana. Lamarque won a victory at Banolas in June of 1813, and then took part in the rescue of Tarragona that August.

After Napoleon's abdication in 1814, General Lamarque was put on non-activity but then rewarded as a Knight of Saint Louis. When Napoleon returned for the Hundred Days, Lamarque was given command of a division but then transferred to take command of the Army of the Loire. With this force he won at Rocheservière against the Royalists in June and then signed a peace treaty with them. Nevertheless, Napoleon abdicated again after Waterloo and Lamarque was proscribed. Lamarque left France and retired to Brussels and then Amsterdam, finally returning to France in October of 1818 once authorized.

Starting in 1820, Lamarque began running for an office in parliament in the hopes of becoming a deputy of the Landes département. Each time he was defeated by the incumbent, Monsieur du Lyon, until Monsieur du Lyon's death in 1828. After du Lyon's death, Lamarque successfully defeated all the other challengers and was elected as the representative for Mont-de-Marsan, the capital of Landes. Once in office, Lamarque sat on the left and in 1830 he signed the Address of the 221 which helped lead to the July Revolution and abdication of King Charles X.

After Louis-Philippe took power, Lamarque continued to sit on the left and he supported reuniting Belgium with France, the abrogation of the treaties of 1815, and the reconstitution of Poland as a nation. In 1831 he was rewarded with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and due to his outspoken politics he became known as a defender of the people. His untimely death in 1832 contributed to the riots of June of 1832 that figure in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables.


Updated February 2014

© Nathan D. Jensen