General Sextius-Alexandre-François MiollisGeneral who served in Italy and Rome for much of his career
Born: September 18, 1759
Place of Birth: Aix, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Died: June 18, 1828
Place of Death: Aix, France
Arc de Triomphe: MIOLLIS on the south pillar
The son of a royal judge at Aix and a noble, Sextius-Alexandre-François Miollis joined the army as a cadet in the infantry regiment of Soissonnais in 1772. In 1779 he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant and then he traveled on the expedition to support the American Revolutionary War under Rochambeau's command. Serving in America, Miollis was badly wounded by the blast of a shell at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. The following year he was promoted to lieutenant.
At the onset of the Revolution, in September of 1789 Miollis was promoted to capitaine in the regiment of Béarn. In May of 1792 he was elected lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Battalion of Volunteers of Bouches-du-Rhône. Miollis served in the Army of the South and then Army of the Var with which he served at the action of Nice. Next he served with the Army of Italy and in June of 1793 he repressed the troubles of Antibes. In September of 1793 Miollis was promoted to chef de brigade, and then five months later in February of 1794 he was promoted to général de brigade by the representatives of the people with the army. In 1795 Miollis joined Sérurier's division and later Laharpe's division, and during that year he also destroyed the camp of Garessio and distinguished himself at the combat of Finale. Miollis remained with the Army of Italy in 1796 when General Bonaparte arrived and took command, and that April Miollis was designated as part of Sérurier's division. He served under Meynier at Mondovi and then was named commander at Ceva. Later during the campaign Miollis served at the Siege of Mantua and in September he defended the suburb of Saint-Georges. He next took command of Alexandria before returning to the blockade at Mantua at the end of October. In January of 1797 Miollis repulsed the Austrians at Saint-Georges and then he served at la Favorite, forcing the Austrians to retreat. After the surrender of Mantua he was named governor of Mantua. Next Miollis was employed in Delmas' division.
At the end of 1798 Miollis was ordered to take part in the expedition to Tuscany. In March of 1799 he occupied Livorno and then disarmed the troops of Tuscany. Furthermore, he arrested the diplomats of Great Britain and Russia and took the enemy ships in port there. Miollis next served under Gaultier in Tuscany and he was promoted to général de division in July of 1799. That August he fought at Recoo and then in October he defeated Klenau at Rapallo. In March of 1800 Miollis took command of the 1st Division of the right wing of the Army of Italy under General Soult. The next month he was defending Genoa when he was driven out of Monte Cornua and Monte Faccio, but only two days later he was able to retake Monte Faccio. Miollis was named governor of Genoa on April 9th, and then in May he served during the recovery of Monte Faccio and at the attack on Monte Cretto. When Genoa finally surrendered in June, Miollis remained there to recover. In July of 1800 Miollis was given command of the 1st Division of the Reserve Corps under General Duhesme and then in November he became commander of Tuscany. That November he evacuated Florence and then retook Arezzo, Florence, and Sienne.
In 1802 Miollis voted against the consulate for life for First Consul Bonaparte which damaged some of his future career prospects. He was put on non-activity until August of 1803 when he was named governor of Belle-Isle-en-Mer. In February of 1805 he took command of the troops stationed in Holland then in July he was named commander at Utrecht and the garrison of Walcheren. However, the next month he was sent back to Italy to serve as governor of Mantua. While in Mantua he ordered the construction of an obelisk dedicated to Virgil at Mantua and a column dedicated to Ariosto at Ferrare. While the Grande Armée campaigned in Austria, Miollis was named commander of the French troops stationed in Italy. After the conclusion of the War of the Third Coalition, he commanded the division sent to occupy Venetia under the command of Prince Eugene. Miollis was next employed in the Army of Dalmatia in December of 1806, and then in 1807 he was named a Commander of the Iron Crown. In February of 1808 he took command of the division stationed at Rome, a post he would retain for many years. Miollis received many awards in 1808 when he was named a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, a Count of the Empire, and a Commander of the Two Sicilies. In 1809 he oversaw the arrest of Pope Pius VII in the Vatican and in 1810 his command expanded to the 30th military division at Rome. In 1811 Miollis was named lieutenant of the governor general of Rome and he remained in Rome until March of 1814. At that time he left Rome based on an agreement established by King Murat of Naples and Fouché.
After Napoleon's abdication in April of 1814 and the Bourbon Restoration, the restored Bourbons named Miollis commander of the 1st subdivision of the 9th military division at Marseille. He was also named a Knight of Saint Louis. In March of 1815 when Napoleon landed at France, Miollis led the 58th of the Line and 83rd of the Line to attempt to intercept Napoleon. However, Napoleon's march was so fast and unopposed that Miollis was unable to intercept him, and he supported the Empire after Napoleon resumed power in Paris. Napoleon named Miollis commander of the 3rd military division at Metz, and after the Hundred Days Miollis retired from the army.
Updated January 2017
© Nathan D. Jensen