General Jacques Léonard Muller
Born: December 11, 1749
Place of Birth: Thionville, Moselle, France
Died: October 1, 1824
Place of Death: Saintes, France
Arc de Triomphe: MULLER on the west pillar
The son of an army surgeon, Jacques Léonard Muller began a military career as a child of the Swiss regiment of Courten. In 1765 he officially joined the regiment, in 1771 he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant, and eight years later in 1779 he was promoted to lieutenant. Muller's next rewards came after the start of the French Revolution when in 1791 he was named a Knight of Saint Louis and promoted to capitaine. In August of 1792 he formed the 1st Battalion of French Chasseurs of the North and he was appointed the unit's lieutenant colonel. Muller served at the Battle of Jemappes in November and in January of 1793 he was promoted to colonel. Next he served in the Ministry of War, directing artillery and engineers. During this time Muller was promoted to général de brigade.
In July of 1793 Muller was named chief of staff of the Army of the Western Pyrenees. At the end of September the representatives of the people promoted him to général de division and then less than a week later they appointed him commander-in-chief of the Army of the Western Pyrenees. Back in Paris the Committee of Public Safety named General Dumas as commander of the army, but the representatives of the people with the army kept Muller in command. In February of 1794 Muller and his army repulsed the Spanish at the camp of Sans-Culottes and in July they seized the valley of Bastan. Continuing the offensive, in August they crossed the Bidassoa and seized Saint-Martial and Irun before forcing Fontarabie to surrender. Next named commander-in-chief of the Army of the Alps, he quit his command but instead of taking the new position he retired due to sickness.
In May of 1798 Muller returned to the army and he took command of the 12th military division. In 1799 he was named inspector general of infantry of the interior and in July he was given command of an army assembled on the Rhine. Leading this army, Muller occupied Heidelberg and laid siege to Philipsbourg but he was forced to lift the siege in September. Muller was replaced in command of the army and he was given command of the 7th Division in the army. In 1800 he commanded various military divisions and in 1801 he commanded the reserve of the Army of Observation of the South.
With peace finally obtained, Muller was named inspector general of infantry in 1802 and he fulfilled this role in a variety of locales, serving in Holland, Italy, Belgium, and the 1st military division. In 1804 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and in 1807 he became inspector general of the 16th and 24th military divisions. Next Muller was named inspector general of the Polish Legion in 1808 and then he was recalled to Paris in 1809. Named a Baron of the Empire in 1810, he finally retired from the army in 1814.
- Divry, Arnauld. Les Noms Gravés sur l'Arc de Triomphe. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2017.
- 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 2021
© Nathan D. Jensen