General Jacques-Nicolas Gobert
Born: June 1, 1760
Place of Birth: Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, France
Died: July 17, 1808
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Guarroman, Spain
Arc de Triomphe: GOBERT on the west pillar
Born at Guadeloupe, Jacques-Nicolas Gobert studied at the engineering school of Mézières and was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant in 1780. Two years later he was promoted to lieutenant, a rank he would hold until after the onset of the Revolution. In 1790 Gobert was employed at Calais and then elected as a substitute of the seneschal of Marie-Galande to the Estates-General, but he never participated in the government as a representative. The next year Gobert was promoted to capitaine and then in 1792 he was sent to the the Army of the North where he served under Théobald Dillon. After Théobald Dillon's death Gobert later served under Arthur Dillon and that August he was was promoted to chef de bataillon by General Dumouriez. At the end of the year Gobert joined the Army of the Ardennes.
In March of 1793 Gobert joined Dampierre's division and then served at Neerwinden . The next month Dampierre promoted him to général de brigade and appointed him as chief of staff of the Army of the North and then the Army of the Ardennes. In May Gobert took command at Mézières and then in June he commanded Cambrai. Later that summer he commanded at Landrecies, Quesnoy, and Philippeville until he was suspended at the end of July. Gobert retired to Corbeil where only two weeks later he was arrested and then transported to the prison of l'Abbaye in Paris. He was held for only a few weeks before being released but he was not given another command in the army.
In January of 1795 Gobert was finally allowed to rejoin the army as a chef de bataillon of engineers in the Army of the Coasts of Brest. That May he was named deputy director of fortifications and he employed as Port-Louis. Next Gobert became Hoche's chief of staff at Quiberon until the end of August when he returned to Port-Louis. Shortly thereafter he was relieved of command by the Committee of Public Safety. In February of 1796 Gobert was again reintegrated into the army and the next month he was again named deputy director of fortifications at Port Louis. He remained in this position until October of 1797 when he was relieved by the Directory.
Gobert returned to the army in September of 1799 and upon his return he was named a général de brigade of the line. He was employed in the 17th military division the next month and then in 1800 he joined the Army of the Reserve where he took command of the 1st Brigade of Loison's division. During the campaign in Italy that year, Gobert seized the city of Bard but also was wounded when he was hit by a spent ball directly in the chest. That June he served at Piacenza and then ordered the blockade of that city's fort and later received its surrender. At the end of the month Gobert was named chief of staff to General Dupont in the Army of Italy. He served under Moncey the next year in Italy and Switzerland and then was put on non-activity.
In 1802 Gobert was given the task of helping to organize the expedition to Guadeloupe that was to be carried out by General Richepanse. After completing organizations he set sail with the expedition, arriving at Basse-Terre in May and then taking part in the recovery of Fort Saint-Charles and Point-à-Pitre. That September Gobert left Guadeloupe to return to France and then in August of 1803 he was promoted to général de division. In 1804 he took command of the 20th military division at Périgueux and was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. The next year he took command of the 3rd military division at Metz.
In 1806 Gobert was employed in the Army of the North and named governor of Minden. At the end of 1807 he took command of a division under Marshal Moncey and then led his division into Spain. Gobert served at Madrid in June of 1808 and then left that city in July to join up with Dupont's corps. He served at Guarroman on July 12 and then at the Battle of Bailen on July 16 where he was struck in the head by a ball. Gobert was transported to Guarroman where he died the next day.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated January 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen