General Jean Joseph Magdeleine Pijon
Born: September 7, 1758
Place of Birth: Lavaur, Tarn, France
Died: April 5, 1799
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Isola della Scala, Italy
Arc de Triomphe: PIJON on the south pillar
Jean Joseph Magdelaine Pijon first joined the military when he enlisted in the regiment of Condé in 1777. Taking part in the naval campaign of 1778 as part of the American Revolutionary War, he served on the ship Duc de Bourgogne. During the 1780s Pijon was promoted to sergeant but he was never commissioned as an officer. In 1792 he joined the 1st Battalion of Volunteers of Haute-Garonne and later that year he became a lieutenant colonel of his battalion. Sent to the Army of Italy, Pijon distinguished himself during the attacks on the camp of Authion in June of 1793. A few months later he was promoted to chef de bataillon and then at the end of the year he was promoted to chef de brigade. In May of 1794 Pijon distinguished himself in the attack on Mont Cenis and then he served at the combat of Carcare in September. That December he was promoted to général de brigade and then a few months later he joined Sérurier's division.
Continuing to serve in Italy, in 1796 when General Bonaparte took command Pijon was serving with Laharpe's division. That March he occupied Voltri but then he fell sick and had to hand his command off to Cervoni. After recovering, Pijon joined Masséna's division and he served with them at Lonato until he was surrounded and taken prisoner. At the end of the month he was freed, and he immediately went back into action. That September Pijon seized Cazano after a bloody fight, he fought at Roveredo, he avoided being taken prisoner at Cerea, and he fought at the Battle of Saint-Georges. In December Pijon was named commander of Pavia.
In 1798 General Pjion was designated for the Army of England but instead he went to Switzerland where he served under General Brune. He took part in the fighting at Fribourg and then he attacked Neuenegg but was forced to retreat when the enemy launched a counterattack. Next Pijon followed General Brune to Italy and joined Victor's division. While there, he contributed to the victory at Sainte-Lucia but then was mortally wounded at Magnano on April 5th.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated March 2023
© Nathan D. Jensen