General Jean-Ambroise Baston de LariboisièreGénéral de division of artillery who befriended Napoleon before the Revolution
Born: August 18, 1759
Place of Birth: Fougères, Ille-et-Vilaine, France
Died: December 21, 1812
Cause of Death: Fatigues of war
Place of Death: Koenigsberg, Prussia
Arc de Triomphe: LARIBOISSIERE on the east pillar
Jean-Ambroise Baston de Lariboisière was a career artillery soldier who was commissioned as a lieutenant in the artillery regiment of La Fère in 1781. While there, he met a young artillery officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, and befriended him. Once the Revolution got underway, in 1791 Lariboisière was promoted to capitaine and the following year he served in the Army of Vosges under General Custine. In 1793 he was promoted to chef de bataillon and became deputy director of the artillery park of Mainz, and after the surrender of Mainz he was taken as a prisoner of war.
Finally released and returned to France, Lariboisière became the deputy director of the artillery park of Landau at the end of 1794. In 1795 he became the director of the artillery park of the Army of the Rhine, and in 1796 he was promoted to chef de brigade. Continuing his trend of running artillery parks, Lariboisière became deputy director of artillery at Caen in 1797 and then in 1798 and 1799 he went on to serve as director of the artillery park of the Army of Switzerland and then the Army of the Danube. In 1800 he joined the Army of the Rhine and became the director of artillery at Strasbourg.
During the years of peace that followed, Lariboisière was promoted to général de brigade in 1803 and then took command of the artillery school of Strasbourg in 1804. In 1805 he commanded the artillery of the camp at Bruges and when war broke out that year he assumed command of the artillery of Marshal Soult's IV corps. After serving at the Battle of Austerlitz that December, Lariboisière remained with IV corps and served at Jena in October of 1806. Continuing to serve, he fought at Lubeck the next month where he was lightly wounded.
In 1807 Lariboisière was promoted to général de division and then made commander-in-chief of the artillery of the Imperial Guard. In this position he fought at Eylau and afterwards he was sent to the X Corps to command the artillery at the Siege of Danzig . That May he was wounded at Danzig, and afterwards he became Governor of Hanover and a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. For the impending peace treaty, Lariboisière supervised the construction of the raft used for the negotiations of the Treaty of Tilsit. Later he was rewarded as a Knight of the Order of Saint Henri of Saxony and a Commander of the Military Order of Baden.
In February of 1808 Lariboisière took command of the artillery of the Army of Spain. Later that year he was named a Count of the Empire and he went on to serve at Somosierra and Madrid. The next year Lariboisière was given the Grand Cross of the Iron Crown and recalled to Paris. After a brief stay in Paris, he took command of the artillery park of the Army of Germany for the Danube campaign. When General Lauriston was absent, Lariboisière took command of the Artillery of the Guard and then in June he replaced Songis as commander-in-chief of the artillery. At the end of the year, he returned to Paris and took command of the Artillery of the Imperial Guard.
In 1811 Lariboisière became inspector general of artillery and the following year he was appointed commander-in-chief of the artillery of the Grande Armée. Taking part in the campaign against Russia, he served at Smolensk and Borodino and then later during the retreat he prepared Smolensk for defense. Lariboisière continued to serve despite the harsh conditions and he fought at Krasnoe before finally falling ill at Wilna. He died not long thereafter.
Updated August 2015
© Nathan D. Jensen