General Achille-Claude-Marie Tocip GrignyGeneral with a mysterious past who became friends with Hoche and was killed before the Siege of Gaeta
Born: April 7, 1766
Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France
Died: February 10, 1806
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Place of Death: Gaeta, Italy
Arc de Triomphe: GRIGNY on the south pillar
A clerk before the Revolution, Achille-Claude-Marie Tocip Grigny was a man with a confusing past and important connections. Allegedly he was the son of Jacques Tocip, a bourgeois of Paris, but during the Revolution he was denounced as a noble. At the time he declared himself without a father and stated, "I do not know any parent, I call my uncle a citizen who brought me to his place and raised me among his children..." In 1791 Tocip was appointed secretary to Marshal Rochambeau, and interestingly this was the same time that Picot de Dampierre was appointed an aide-de-camp to Marshal Rochambeau. Tocip is the reverse of Picot, implying his name was invented rather quickly. Regardless of his origins, at some point in time he began to call himself Grigny. In June of 1792 Grigny joined the army as a sous-lieutenant in the 1st Cavalry. Three days later he was named an assistant to the generals in the Army of the North, and then in July he followed Marshal Luckner to join the Army of the Center. Next Grigny served in the Army of the North under General Kellermann and he served at the Battle of Valmy, and then he finished the year in the Army of the Moselle.
In September of 1793 Grigny was appointed chief of staff of the Army of the Moselle and in November he served at Kaiserslautern. General Hoche had taken command of the Army of the Moselle and Grigny was named chief of staff to Hoche, with the two quickly becoming friends. That December Grigny served at Geisberg, and then in January he was promoted to général de brigade by the representatives of the people. Grigny continued as chief of staff during numerous interim commanders and in July of 1794 he served at Trippstadt. However, on July 17 he was suspended for having "misled the Committee of Public Safety". With the Thermidorian Reaction overthrowing Robespierre later that month, Grigny was reintegrated in his former position in the Army of the Moselle in September.
Grigny was next sent west to help deal with the rebellion in the Vendée in 1795. He served as chief of staff of the Army of the Coasts of Brest and then the Army of the West, and then in September he became deputy chief of staff of General Hoche. Grigny continued to serve with Hoche, for in 1796 he was assigned to serve in the expedition to Ireland that ultimately failed in December of that year. In the meantime he served as commander of the 12th military division and then in July of 1797 he was rewarded by the Directory with an armor manufactured at Versailles. While serving with the 12th military division, Grigny was appointed commander of Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, and Loire-Inférieure. In March of 1800 he joined the Army of the Rhine.
In 1801 Grigny was briefly put on non-activity but he received a sabre of honor. That May he joined the staff of the Army of the West and then in 1802 he took command of the département of Landes in the 11th military division. In 1804 Grigny was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and then in 1805 he was sent to the Army of Italy. When in 1806 Napoleon moved to take Naples after Naples treacherously joined the Third Coalition, Grigny served with the French Army of Naples. As the army was moving towards Gaeta and preparing for a siege, Grigny was decapitated by a cannonball on February 10, 1806.
Updated September 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen