General Jean-Joseph-Augustin SorbierGénéral de brigade of engineers and aide-de-camp to Prince Eugene who was mortally wounded in 1809
Born: February 12, 1774
Place of Birth: Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, Gard, France
Died: May 21, 1809
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Verona, Italy
After entering the engineering school of Mézières in April of 1793, Jean-Joseph-Augustin Sorbier left the school four months later as a lieutenant in the Army of the Rhine. That December he was promoted to capitaine of engineers and his next assignment was to organize the defense of Huningue. In November of 1794 Sorbier served at the bridge of Mannheim and then in 1795 he served at Neuf-Brisach. Sorbier continued to assist with fortifications, serving in 1796 at Toulon, Narbonne, and Sète before he joined the Army of Italy. In January of 1797 he fought at the combat of Anghiari, and later that year he was charged with insubordination but acquitted when tried by a council of war.
In 1798 Sorbier was employed by the Army of the Orient and he set sail with the army for Egypt. Once in Egypt, he served at the action of Alexandria, and then in January of 1799 he was promoted to chef de bataillon by General Bonaparte. Two years later Sorbier was promoted to chef de brigade by General Menou and he then served at the combat of Lake Madieh. After the French surrendered in Egypt later that year, he returned to France where he was named deputy director of fortifications and assigned to the central committee of fortifications.
Sorbier was sent to the Italian Republic in 1802 and in 1804 he was honored as an Officer of the Legion of Honor. After war commenced with the Third Coalition in 1805, Sorbier served under Marshal Masséna at the attack on Verona. That December he took command of the engineers under Prince Eugene de Beauharnais during the blockade of Venice. Making a favorable impression, he was named an aide-de-camp to Prince Eugene in February of 1806 and then in March he was sent on a mission to Dalmatia. Later that year Sorbier was honored as a Knight of the Iron Crown.
Sorbier continued to serve in Italy until 1807 when he went on leave and was then assigned to the forces preparing to move into Spain and Portugal. After receiving a promotion to général de brigade in December of 1807, he later served in the Army of Portugal in 1808. However, that June he went on leave to France and then he was sent back to Italy to serve as Eugene's aide-de-camp again. Austria declared war the next year and Sorbier continued to serve as Eugene's aide. In late April Sorbier fought at the combat of Soave where he was wounded by a ball to the thigh. Badly wounded, he was transported to Verona where he died a few weeks later.
Please see the Appendix about the name SORBIER on the Arc de Triomphe.
Updated August 2015
© Nathan D. Jensen