General François Ignace SchaalOfficer who served with the Army of the Rhine, frequently at Mainz, until the end of 1795
Born: December 5, 1747
Place of Birth: Sélestat, Bas-Rhin, France
Died: August 30, 1833
Place of Death: Sélestat, France
Arc de Triomphe: SCHAL on the east pillar
A career soldier, François Ignace Schaal joined the artillery of the French army in 1768. Two years later he joined the infantry regiment of Nassau and he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant. In 1777 he was promoted to lieutenant, in 1782 he served at Geneva, and in 1787 he was promoted to capitaine. After the start of the French Revolutionary Wars, in October of 1792 Schaal was named lieutenant colonel of the 93rd Regiment in the Army of the Rhine. He next seized Königstein and then became commander at Worms. In January of 1793 Schaal was promoted to chef de brigade and then in March he took refuge at Mainz with 6000 men during the retreat of the army on Landau. He took part in the defense of Mainz and after the surrender of the city he did not play an active part in events due to the terms of the surrender requiring soldiers to not serve against the First Coalition for a year. In July of 1794 Schaal was re-employed in the Army of the Rhine in the 4th Division and that October he was promoted to général de division by the representatives of the people with the army. In February of 1795 he took command of the blockade of Mainz and then at the end of April he took command of a division when the army came under General Pichegru's command. The next month Schaal distinguished himself at the combat of May 22nd and then he again distinguished himself at the recovery of the redoubt of Judensand. In October he commanded the new forces before Mainz but he was beaten at the end of the month. Two months later he retired from the army.
In 1800 Schaal became mayor of his hometown Sélestat, a position he would hold for the next seven years. In 1808 he was elected a deputy of Bas-Rhin in the Corps Législatif and he remained in this position for the following four years. In 1813 Schaal was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor and in 1814 his daughter married General Lagarde. The restored Bourbons recognized Schaal as a Knight of Saint Louis.
Updated April 2020
© Nathan D. Jensen