JOACHIM-NAPOLéON MURAT (French pronunciation: ; born JOACHIM
MURAT; Italian : Gioacchino Napoleone Murat; German : Joachim-Napoleon
Murat; 25 March 1767 – 13 October 1815) was a
Marshal of France and
Admiral of France under the reign of
Napoleon . He was also the 1st
Prince Murat ,
Grand Duke of Berg from 1806 to 1808, and King of
Naples from 1808 to 1815. He received his titles in part by being
Napoleon's brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister,
Caroline Bonaparte , as well as personal merit. He was noted as a
daring, brave, and charismatic cavalry officer as well as a flamboyant
dresser and was known as "the
* 1 Early life
French Revolutionary Wars
* 2.2 Italian and Egyptian campaigns
* 4 Death
* 5 Coats of arms
* 6 Titles and styles
* 7 Children
* 8 Relatives
* 9 Footnotes
* 10 References
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
Joachim Murat was born on 25 March 1767 in La Bastide-Fortunière ,
Labastide-Murat after its renowned citizen), in Guyenne
(present-day Lot department of
France ) to Pierre Murat-Jordy, (d. 27
July 1799), an affluent farmer and an innkeeper , and his wife Jeanne
Loubières (La Bastide Fortunière, b. 1722 – La Bastide
Fortunière, d. 11 March 1806), daughter of Pierre Loubières and of
his wife Jeanne Viellescazes. Pierre Murat-Jordy was the son of
Guillaume Murat (1692–1754) and his wife Marguerite Herbeil (d.
1755); paternal grandson of Pierre Murat, born in 1634, and wife
Catherine Badourès, who died in 1697; and maternal grandson of
Bertrand Herbeil and wife Anne Roques.
Joachim Murat's parents intended he pursue a career in the church,
and he was taught by the parish priest, after which he won a place at
the College of Saint-Michel at
Cahors when he was ten years old. He
then entered seminary of the Lazarists at
Toulouse , but when a
regiment of cavalry passed through the city in 1787, he ran away from
seminary and enlisted on 23 February 1787 in the Chasseurs des
Ardennes, which the following year became known as the Chasseurs de
Champagne, also known as the 12th Chasseurs. In 1789, an affair forced
him to resign, and he returned to his family, becoming a clerk to a
haberdasher at Saint-Ceré.
FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS
French Revolutionary Wars
Joachim Murat as
a sous-lieutenant of the 12th Chasseur-à-cheval ; portrait by
Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin
By 1790, he had joined the National Guard , and when the Fête of the
Nation was organized on 14 July 1790, the Canton of Montaucon sent
Murat as its representative. Then he became reinstated into his old
regiment. Part of the 12th Chasseurs had been sent to Montmédy to
protect the royal family on its flight to Varennes , meaning regiment
had to defend its honor and loyalty to the Republic; Murat and the
regiment's adjutant made a speech to the assembly at Toul to that
effect. In 1792, he joined the
Constitutional Guard , but left it
that same year; his departure was attributed to various causes,
including his constant quarreling and dueling, although he claimed he
left to avoid punishment for being absent without leave.
An ardent Republican, Murat wrote to his brother in 1791 stating he
was preoccupied with revolutionary affairs and would sooner die than
cease to be a patriot. Upon his departure from the Constitutional
Guard, he reported to the Committee of Surveillance of the
Constitutional Assembly that the Guard was guilty of treason and that
his Lieutenant Colonel, a man named Descours, had encouraged him to
serve in the émigré army of
Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé , then
Koblenz . This garnered for him the support of the
Republicans, for he rejoined his former regiment and was promoted to
Corporal in April of that year, and to Sergeant in May. By 19
November 1792, he was 25 years old and elated at his latest promotion.
As a sous-lieutenant, he thought, his family must recognize that he
had no great tendency for the priesthood, and he was hoping to prove
that he had not been wrong in wishing to be a soldier. One of the
Ministers had accused him of being an aristocrat, confusing him with
the noble family of Murat d'Auvergne, an accusation that continued to
haunt him for the next several years.
In the autumn of 1795, three years after King Louis XVI of
deposed, royalist and counter-revolutionaries organised an armed
uprising. On 3 October, General
Napoleon Bonaparte , who was stationed
in Paris, was named commander of the French National Convention's
defending forces. This constitutional convention, after a long period
of emergency rule, was striving to establish a more stable and
permanent government in the uncertain period after the Reign of Terror
. Bonaparte tasked Murat with the gathering of artillery from a suburb
outside the control of the government's forces. Murat managed to take
the cannons of the Camp des Sablons and transport them to the centre
Paris while avoiding the rioters. The use of these cannons – the
famous "whiff of grapeshot " – on 5 October allowed Bonaparte to
save the members of the
National Convention . For this success,
Joachim Murat was made chef de brigade (colonel) and thereafter
remained one of Napoleon's best officers.
ITALIAN AND EGYPTIAN CAMPAIGNS
Further information: Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary
French campaign in Egypt and Syria General Murat at the
battle of Abukir , where 11,000 Ottoman soldiers drowned in the
In 1796, with the situation in the capital and government apparently
stabilised and the war going poorly (See also: French Revolutionary
Napoleon lobbied to join the armies attempting to secure the
revolution against the invading monarchist forces. Murat then went
with Bonaparte to northern Italy, initially as his aide-de-camp, and
was later named commander of the cavalry during the many campaigns
against the Austrians and their allies. These forces were waging war
France and seeking to restore a monarchy in revolutionary France.
His valour and his daring cavalry charges later earned him the rank of
général in these important campaigns, the battles of which became
famous as Bonaparte constantly used speed of maneuver to fend off and
eventually defeat individually superior opposing armies closing in on
the French forces from several directions. Thus, Murat's skills in no
small part helped establish Bonaparte's legendary fame and enhance his
popularity with the French people.
Murat commanded the cavalry of the French Egyptian expedition of
1798, again under Bonaparte. The expedition's strategic goal was to
threaten Britain's rich holdings in India. (Some had been taken from
France during the Seven Years\' War ). However, the overall effort
ended prematurely because of lack of logistical support with the
defeat of the French fleet due to British sea power (See: Battle of
Nile ). After the sea battle,
Napoleon led his troops on land
Europe (via Palestine and thence
Ottoman Turkey ).
The remaining non-military expedition staff officers, including
Murat, and Bonaparte returned to France, eluding various British
fleets in five frigates . A short while later, Murat played an
important, even pivotal, role in Bonaparte's "coup within a coup" of
18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), when
Napoleon first assumed national
power. Along with two others (including Director Abbé Sieyès),
Napoleon Bonaparte set aside the five-man directory government,
establishing the three-man
French Consulate government. Marriage
Joachim Murat and
Caroline Bonaparte . Archives
Caroline Bonaparte in a civil ceremony on 20 January
1800 at Mortefontaine and religiously on 4 January 1802 in
thus becoming a son-in-law of
Letizia Ramolino as well as
Joseph Bonaparte ,
Napoleon I of
France , Lucien
Elisa Bonaparte ,
Louis Bonaparte ,
Pauline Bonaparte and
Jérôme Bonaparte .
Napoleonic wars Murat leads a charge at
Battle of Jena
Battle of Jena , 14 October 1806.
Napoleon made Murat a
Marshal of France on 18 May 1804, and also
granted him the title of "First Horseman of Europe". He was created
Prince of the Empire in 1805, appointed
Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves
on 15 March 1806 and held this title until 1 August 1808, when he was
King of Naples . He was in charge of the French Army in Madrid
when the popular 2 May uprising that started the Peninsular War
Murat was equally useful in
Russian Campaign of 1812 and during the
German Campaign of 1813
German Campaign of 1813 in the
Battle of Leipzig . However, after
France's defeat at Leipzig, Murat reached an agreement with the
Austrian Empire in order to save his own throne.
Hundred Days , he realized that the European powers,
meeting as the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna , had the intention to remove him
and return the Kingdoms of Naples to their pre-Napoleonic rulers.
Murat deserted his new allies before the War of the Seventh Coalition
and, after issuing a proclamation to the Italian patriots in Rimini,
moved north to fight against the Austrians in the
Neapolitan War to
strengthen his rule in Italy by military means. He was defeated by
Frederick Bianchi , a general of Francis I of Austria , in the Battle
of Tolentino (2–3 May 1815).
This section IS INCOMPLETE. (November 2016)
Murat fled to
Corsica after Napoleon's fall. Joined by around a
thousand followers, he hoped to regain control of Naples by fomenting
an insurrection in
Calabria . Arriving at the Calabrian port of Pizzo,
Murat attempted to rally support in the town square, but his plan
turned awry. The crowd was hostile and he was attacked by an old woman
blaming him for the loss of her son.
Calabria had been badly hit by
Murat's repression of local piracy and brigandage during his reign.
He was captured and imprisoned in the small castle of the harbor,
from where he wrote several letters, especially to his family.
On the 13th of October, King Ferdinand, under the advice of the
British ambassador, issued a decree by which "the condemned shall be
granted only half an hour to receive the aid of religion."
When the fatal moment arrived, Murat walked with a firm step to the
place of execution, as calm, as unmoved, as if he had been going to an
ordinary review. He would not accept a chair, nor suffer his eyes to
be bound. Before his death, he said; "I have braved death too often to
fear it." He stood upright, proudly and undauntedly, with his
countenance towards the soldiers; and when all was ready, he kissed a
cameo on which the head of his wife was engraved, and gave the word
« Soldats! Faites votre devoir ! Droit au cœur mais épargnez
le visage. Feu ! »
"Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face.
Pizzo Calabro Castle, Murat's imprisonment and execution place.
Murat's death sentence, shown in Naples State Archive.
Murat met a fearless death, taking the shots standing and
St.George's Church in
Pizzo Calabro , Murat's burial place.
The gravestone in the centre of the nave in St.George's Church in
Pizzo Calabro honouring Joachim Murat's burial place.
* Portraits of Joachim Murat
Murat in French uniform
Murat in hussar uniform and a black page.
Murat in Polish uniform.
Murat as a
Marshal of the Empire .
Joachim Murat entering Florence, 19 January 1801
King of Naples .
COATS OF ARMS
Coat of arms as
Grand Duke of Berg .
Coat of arms as
King of Naples .
TITLES AND STYLES
* 25 MARCH 1767 – 1 FEBRUARY 1805: Mr Joachim Murat
* 1 FEBRUARY 1805 – 15 MARCH 1806: His Imperial Highness
Joachim-Napoleon, French Prince
* 15 MARCH 1806 – 12 JULY 1806: Duke of Berg
* 12 JULY 1806 – 1 AUG 1808:
Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves
* 1 AUGUST 1808 – 19 MAY 1815: His Majesty, by the Grace of God
and the Constitution of the State, King of Naples
Murat and Caroline had four children:
* Achille Charles Louis Napoléon Murat, Hereditary Prince of Berg,
Prince of Naples, 2nd
Prince Murat (
Paris , 21 January 1801 –
Jefferson County, Florida , 15 April 1847), m.
Tallahassee, Florida ,
12 July 1826 Catherine Daingerfield Willis (near Fredericksburg ,
Virginia , 17 August 1803 –
Tallahassee, Florida , 7 August 1867),
Colonel Byrd C. Willis (29 August 1781 – 1846) and wife
Mary Lewis, and great-grandniece of
George Washington , without issue.
* Princess Marie Letizia Josephine Annonciade Murat (it) (Paris, 26
April 1802 –
Bologna , 12 March 1859), m.
Venice , 27 October 1823
Guido Taddeo Pepoli, Marchese
Pepoli , Conte di Castiglione (
7 September 1789 –
Bologna , 2 March 1852), and had issue.
* Lucien Charles Joseph Napoléon Murat, 2nd Sovereign Prince of
Prince Murat (
Milan , 16 May 1803 – Paris, 10 April
Bordentown, New Jersey , 18 August 1831 Caroline Georgina
Charleston, South Carolina , 13 April 1810 – Paris, 10
February 1879), daughter of Thomas Fraser and wife Anne Lauton, and
had issue; he was an associate of his first cousin
Napoleon III of
France . Ancestor of
René Auberjonois (actor) .
* Princess Louise Julie Caroline Murat (Paris, 21 March 1805 –
Ravenna , 1 December 1889), m.
Trieste , 25 October 1825 Giulio Conte
Rasponi (it) (
Ravenna , 19 February 1787 –
Florence , 19 July 1876)
and had issue.
He had a brother named Pierre Murat (La Bastide-Fortunière, 27
November 1748 – La Bastide-Fortunière, 8 October 1792), who married
at La Bastide-Fortunière on 26 February 1783 Louise d'Astorg (La
Bastide-Fortunière, 23 October 1762 – 31 May 1832), daughter of
Aymeric d'Astorg, born in 1721, and wife Marie Alanyou, paternal
granddaughter of Antoine d'Astorg, born 18 November 1676, and wife
Marie de Mary (4 May 1686 – 7 October 1727) and maternal
granddaughter of Jean Alanyou and wife Louise de Valon.
His other brother named André Murat (1760–1841) was created 1st
Count Murat in 1810.
Pierre and Louise were the parents of Marie Louise, Pierre Adrien
(d.1805), Marie Radegonde (d.1800), Thomas Joachim and Marie
Antoinette Murat , whom Emperor
Napoleon I arranged to marry Charles,
Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen ; Karl III and Marie were the
Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern from whom descended
Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Queen of Portugal; her brother
Carol I of Romania
Carol I of Romania and Carol I nephew
Albert I of Belgium
Albert I of Belgium .
Another descendant of note is his great-great-great-grandson, the
American actor René Auberjonois .
* ^ Chavanon, Jules and Georges Saint-Yves, Joachim Murat
(1767–1815), (Libraire Hachette, 1905), 4.
* ^ Ramsey Weston Phipps. Armies of the First French Republic.
London: Greenwood Publishers, 1926, vol. 1, pp. 146–47.
* ^ Phipps, p. 146
* ^ Phipps, p. 146.
* ^ Phipps, p. 147.
* ^ Phipps, p. 147.
* ^ Phipps, p. 147.
* ^ Phipps, pp. 148–49.
* ^ Connelly, pp. 20–21.
* ^ Murat, Caroline (1910). My Memoirs. London. p. 23.
* Bonar, Hugh S. (Jr.),
Joachim Murat : lieutenant of the Emperor,
Consortium on Revolutionary
Europe 1750–1850 (University of
Florida), Articles relatifs totalement ou partiellement à la période
1795–1815, Proceedings 1989.
* Chavanon, Jules and Georges Saint-Yves, Joachim Murat
(1767–1815), Libraire Hachette, 1905.
* Connelly, Owen, Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military
Campaigns, Scholarly Resources Imprint, 1987.
* Phipps, Ramsey Weston . Armies of the First French Republic.
London: Greenwood Publishers, 1926, vol. 1.
* Potocka-Wąsowiczowa, Anna z Tyszkiewiczów. Wspomnienia naocznego
świadka. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1965.
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