General Alexandre-Camille Taponier
Born: February 2, 1749
Place of Birth: Valence, Drôme, France
Died: April 14, 1831
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: TAPONIER on the north pillar
A career soldier, Alexandre-Camille Taponier first enlisted in the French Guard in 1767. Thirteen years later in 1780 he was promoted to sergeant. On the day of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, he left the army. Six weeks later Taponier was serving with the National Guard of Paris as a capitaine and he remained there until August of 1791 when he was assigned as a capitaine to the 103rd Infantry. In 1792 Taponier was recognized as a Knight of Saint Louis and sent to the Army of the Moselle. The next year he received a promotion to chef de bataillon in October from the representatives of the people, and only three weeks later the representatives skipped all intermediary ranks and promoted him to général de division. Taponier wasted no time in his new command, leading his men to seize Hornbach in November and then fighting at Kaiserslautern. That December he also took part in the attack at Geisberg. In 1794 General Taponier served at Trippstadt in July and then the Siege of Luxembourg at the end of the year. The next year he was placed with the Army of the Rhine and Moselle where he took command of the 4th Division for a period of time. However, by this time he had received his share of wounds and he retired from the army to recover.
Taponier returned to the army in 1796 when he took command of the 8th Division of the Army of the Rhine and Moselle and served under General Gouvion St. Cyr. Serving on the campaign, that July he fought at Rastadt and Ettlingen and then won at Cannstadt. The next month Taponier served at the Battle of Neresheim but he was then sent to the rear of the army by General Moreau. Moreau officially sent Taponier to the rear due to Taponier's health, but unofficially he accused Taponier of having arbitrarily raised contributions on the population in July.
Taponier retired from the army again and went to live at Vanves near Paris. In August of 1799 he rejoined the army and served with the Army of England. Only two months later he took command of the 13th military division at Pontivy. Taponier next joined the Army of the Rhine for a short period of time and then worked in the département of Forêts. He was named a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1805 and he retired from the military permanently in 1811.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated December 2015
© Nathan D. Jensen