General Amédée WillotGeneral of the Revolution who won at Lecumberry but was exiled for his royalist beliefs
Born: August 31, 1755
Place of Birth: Belfort, Territoire de Belfort, France
Legion of Honor: Commander
Died: December 17, 1823
Place of Death: Santeny, France
Arc de Triomphe: WILLOT on the west pillar
Joining the army as a volunteer in the provincial regiment of Mantes in 1771, Amédée Willot served well and four years later he was promoted to lieutenant and joined the provincial regiment of Paris. In 1779 he served with de Vaux in Brittany and then in 1787 he was promoted to capitaine. After the onset of the Revolution, Willot's regiment was disbanded and in 1791 he took command of the National Guard of the district of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In 1792 he was named lieutenant-colonel of the 5th Battalion of Infantry and the following year he joined the Army of the Western Pyrenees. The commander of the Army of the Western Pyrenees, General Servan, promoted Willot to chef de brigade of the 5th Light in June of 1793. Later that month Willot served at the combat of the Mountain of Louis XIV and he then received another promotion. This time the representatives of the people with the army promoted him to général de brigade and placed him in charge of the advance guard. However, only a few months later in October Willot was suspended and imprisoned in the citadel of Saint-Esprit at Bayonne as a suspected royalist.
Willot was released from prison in January of 1795 and he rejoined the Army of the Western Pyrenees. That June he took command of the 1st Division and then in July he decided the victory at the combat of Lecumberry from the 3rd to the 6th. On the battlefield the representatives of the people promoted him to général de division. Willot next occupied Miranda and then he was sent to the Army of the West where he took command of the 3rd Division. He temporarily assumed command of the army while General Hoche was absent but during this time he also entered into discussion with the Count of Artois during a visit to Île d'Yeu. In January of 1796 Willot was placed on leave and sent to the Pyrenees but in actuality he was disgraced and his leave was an excuse to remove him from command. Later that year Willot briefly served with the Army of the Rhine and Moselle and then commanded the 8th military division.
In April of 1797 Willot was elected a deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône to the Council of Five Hundred. He served as secretary of the council and later as inspector of the hall. That September during the coup of 18 Fructidor he was arrested as a royalist and sent to Sinnamary in French Guiana. He escaped in June of 1798 and then was authorized to return to France after the coup of 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power. However, Willot instead refused to return to France and he tried to form a corps of royalist volunteers to invade southern France. He served with the émigrés at Genoa in June 1800 and then left for Sicily. Willot next commanded the isle of Elba for the King of Naples for a period of time and then he took refuge in Minorca in 1802. Next the traveled to London and then in 1804 he traveled to the United States, where he discussed matters with the exiled General Moreau. In July of 1813 Willot left the United States and returned to England where he joined Louis XVIII. He returned to France with Louis XVIII after Napoleon's abdication, and during the Hundred Days of 1815 he followed Louis XVIII to Ghent.
Updated September 2017
© Nathan D. Jensen