General François Antoine Desnoyers


General of the early French Revolutionary Wars who was also a royalist and spent the years of the empire in prison



Born: June 2, 1755

Place of Birth: Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France

Died: December 9, 1816

Place of Death: Belleville, France





Enlisting in the regiment of Boulonnois in 1783, François Antoine Desnoyers was finally commissioned as a sous-lieutenant in January of 1792. Only four months later he was promoted to lieutenant and he went on to serve with the Army of the Alps. In 1793 Desnoyers joined the Army of the Western Pyrenees, became an aide-de-camp to General Dubouquet, and was promoted to chef de bataillon. Desnoyers next served as a divisional chief of staff and then in June of 1794 he was promoted to général de brigade and named chief of staff of the Army of the Western Pyrenees. In March of 1795 Desnoyers was promoted to général de division by the representatives of the people and then the next month he took command of a division. That August he resigned from his command due to poor health.

In 1799 Desnoyers returned to duty and he was employed in the 6th military division. That September he was sent to serve with the Army of the Rhine. Sometime around this time Desnoyers opened communications with the royalist politician d'André who was working for the Count of Provence, also known as the exiled Louis XVIII. In 1800 Desnoyers was sent to the 7th military division and in 1801 he was put on non-activity. Retired in 1803, later that year Desnoyers traveled to Warsaw to see the Count of Provence. Upon his return to France in 1804 he was arrested and later that year he lost his rank and pension. Desnoyers spent the next seven years in prison, living at la Force, l'Abbaye, the Temple, and the dungeon of Vincennes. In 1811 he was released from prison but then in 1812 he was accused of complicity in General Malet's conspiracy and attempted coup d'état. Once again Desnoyers was arrested and taken to prison, first at l'Abbaye and then to the dungeon of Vincennes. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Desnoyers was reintegrated with the rank of maréchal de camp but also put on non-activity. In 1815 he was named a Knight of Saint Louis and in 1816 he retired from the army.


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Updated February 2020

© Nathan D. Jensen