General François-Pierre-Joseph Amey
Born: October 2, 1768
Place of Birth: Sélestat, Bas-Rhin, France
Died: November 16, 1850
Place of Death: Strasbourg, France
Arc de Triomphe: AMEY on the north pillar
The son of surgeon in the Swiss Regiment of Waldner, François-Pierre-Joseph Amey also joined the military, becoming a cadet in the Swiss Regiment of Vigier in 1783. In 1788 he was promoted to sous-lieutenant and then in 1790 he fought against the rioters of Nancy. October of 1792 saw Amey being named a capitaine in the 1st Company of the Legion of the Rhine, and barely a month later he became an aide-de-camp to General Custine. In 1793 he served in the Vendée where he was wounded, and during that year he received three promotions, to chef de bataillon, chef de brigade, and then général de brigade. That December Amey fought at the Battle of Mans where he was again wounded.
In August of 1794 Amey was briefly suspended for a month before being reintegrated and employed in the Army of the Alps. The next year he was not included in the work of the staff of the army and therefore he quit in July of 1795. Amey stayed out of active campaigning for the next several years, and when Napoleon seized power in November of 1799, Amey was serving at Saint-Cloud. The next year he was appointed to the Army of the Rhine.
In 1801 Amey set sail as part of the expedition to Saint-Domingue but he returned to France the next year. Sent to the 2nd military division, he took command of the département of Ardennes where he would remain until 1806. In the meantime he was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1804.
In September of 1806 Amey resumed an active command when he took command of the 1st Brigade of Heudelet's division in VII Corps. That December he fought at Golymin and then in February he fought at Eylau where he was wounded. Later that month Amey became governor of Elbing and then in April he took command of a brigade in Carra St. Cyr's division of IV Corps.
1808 saw Amey becoming a Baron of the Empire and then being sent to Spain. In January of 1809 he took command of the German legion in the 1st Division of VII Corps in Catalonia, and at the end of the year he distinguished himself at the siege of Gerona. In 1810 Amey was sent to Holland where he would remain until preparations began for the Russian campaign of 1812.
General Amey took command of a brigade in the 3rd Division of II Corps of the Grande Armée for the campaign against Russia. He served throughout the campaign and distinguished himself at the first Battle of Polotsk and then the second Battle of Polotsk . That November Amey was promoted to général de division and less than two weeks later he fought at the Berezina where he was wounded.
In 1813 Amey was named commander of the camp of Utrecht and a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. That October he was ordered to defend the line of the Ems River, but he was forced to fall back. In January of 1814 he was given a command in XI Corps, eventually becoming the 2nd Division of that corps. That March he was serving under Pacthod during the fighting at Fère Champenoise where he was taken prisoner.
After Napoleon's abdication, Amey was released and returned to France and the returning Bourbons named him a Knight of Saint Louis. He was given a command in the 21st military division at Limoges and he rallied to Napoleon for the Hundred Days. Amey retired from the military in September of 1815.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated June 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen