General Jean-Baptiste-Marie-Charles Meusnier de la Place

Mathematician and general of engineers who was mortally wounded at the siege of Mainz

Born: June 19, 1754

Place of Birth: Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France

Died: June 13, 1793

Cause of Death: Mortally wounded

Place of Death: Mainz, Germany

Arc de Triomphe: MEUNIER on the north pillar

A very intelligent engineer, Jean-Baptiste-Marie-Charles Meusnier de la Place entered the engineering school of Mézières in 1774 as a lieutenant. Ten years later in 1784 he was appointed to the Academy of Sciences, and then in 1787 he was promoted to capitaine and in 1788 to major.

With the arrival of the Revolution, Meusnier was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1789. Three years later he was named colonel of the 14th Infantry Regiment and then employed in process of manufacturing money. That May Meusnier was sent to the army of the South to serve under General Montesquiou and then in September he received a promotion to maréchal de camp and returned to Paris. Meusnier next served in the Ministry of War for a number of months.

In February of 1793 Meusnier was sent to the Army of the Rhine, and during the maneuvers that followed he was with the French force that became trapped at Mainz. As the enemy laid siege to Mainz, Meusnier defended the fort of Kastel. That April he led a sortie that seized Kostheim in the middle of the night, but he and his men were then forced to abandon the place due to the fire of the enemy. Later that same month he attempted to reach the isles of the Rhine and then retook Kostheim but again had to give it up. As the siege continued on, in May General Meusnier successfully seized the isle of Kopf during a night attack, and then in June he seized Burgereau. However, as the fighting continued, Meusnier was struck by grapeshot in the knee while at the fort of Kastel. He was transported to Mainz but died there on June 13th, 1793.

Meusnier had been promoted to général de division on May 5th but due to the siege of Mainz the documents were not able to reach him before his death.


Updated June 2014

© Nathan D. Jensen