Intendant General Claude Petiet
Born: February 9, 1749
Place of Birth: Châtillon-sur-Seine, Côte-d'Or, France
Died: May 25, 1806
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: PETIET on the north pillar
Claude Petiet began his military service as a gendarme of the king, but he later became a commissary for the army. In 1774 he was appointed war commissary of Brittany where he remained for the next fifteen years until the arrival of the Revolution. Serving during the Revolution, Petiet was appointed a war commissary to the Army of the Sambre and Meuse and later to the Army of the Coasts of Brest. In this latter position he took command at Nantes and defended it from the Vendéens until he was finally forced to surrender and taken prisoner. However, the Vendéens recognized Petiet's honesty and sense of justice and released him.
Petiet was next elected to the Council of Ancients to represent Ille-et-Vilaine in 1795. The following year he was appointed Minister of War, but in 1797 at the coup of 18 Fructidor Petiet was ousted out of power due to a suspicion that he held royalist sympathies. Undeterred, Petiet was elected by the people of the Seine to the Council of 500. When Napoleon seized power in the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, Petiet immediately rallied to him and supported him. Napoleon responded by naming Petiet a Councilor of State and inspector of reviews.
In 1800 Napoleon entrusted the government of Lombardy to Petiet, and Petiet remained there governing the province through 1802. Next he traveled to the camp of Boulogne where he served as Intendant General at the camp. When war broke out in 1805 and the army marched out, Petiet accompanied Napoleon as an intendant and assisted at the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz. The next year he was made a senator but he died less than a week later.
- Fierro, Alfred, André Palluel-Guillard, and Jean Tulard. Histoire de Dictionnaire du Consulat et de l'Empire. Paris: Robert Laffont, 1995.
- Lievyns, A., Jean Maurice Verdot, and Pierre Begat. Fastes de la Légion-d'honneur: biographie de tous les décorés, accompagnée de l'histoire législative et réglementaire de l'ordre. Paris: Bureau de l'Administration, 1842.
Updated August 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen