Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Moreau, Jean Victor
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Moreau, Jean Victor
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|Edition of 1900. See also Jean Victor Marie Moreau on Wikipedia, and our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer.|
MOREAU, Jean Victor (mo-ro), French soldier, b. in Morlay, 11 Aug., 1763; d. in Laun, Bohemia, 2 Sept., 1813. He was graduated in law at Rennes, and had applied for admission to the bar when he was elected, 10 Sept., 1791, chief of battalion of the Rennois volunteers. He was made a lieutenant-general in 1794, and led the Army of the Flanders in a successful campaign. In 1796 he took command of the Army of the Rhine and Moselle and defeated the Archduke Charles of Austria at Heydenheim and in many engagements; but his supplies having been cut off by the withdrawal of Jourdan, who was to co-operate with him, he made a retreat of twenty-six days between three hostile armies, without losing a gun, bringing back 7,000 prisoners. He defeated the Austrians again at Huningen in the following year, commanded in Italy in 1799, and in Germany in 1800, defeating the Austrians at Hohenlinden on 3 Dec. As he was the only military rival of Napoleon Bonaparte, the first consul, becoming jealous, caused him to be accused of complicity with the royalists, and he was sentenced to exile in 1804. Moreau embarked for the United States, arriving with his wife in New York in December. He was received with enthusiasm in this country, but refusing all offers of service he travelled for some time through the country and settled in 1806 in New Jersey, where he bought a villa near Delaware river, a few miles from Trenton. He lived there till 1813, dividing his time between fishing, hunting, and social intercourse. His abode was the refuge of all political exiles, and representatives of foreign powers tried to induce him to raise his sword against Napoleon. When war seemed imminent between the United States and Great Britain, Moreau was offered by President Madison the command of the U. S. troops. He was willing to accept, but the events of the Russian campaign decided him to return to Europe. He was received with enthusiasm by the Emperor Alexander and the king of Prussia, drew the plan of campaign against Napoleon, and was directing a movement during the battle of Dresden, 27 Aug., 1813, when he was mortally wounded. His interesting correspondence while he was in the United States has been published several times. Moreau's biographies, both in French and in English, are also numerous. A good edition was published by Hyde de Neuville, French consul-general in New York, entitled “Éloge historique du Général Moreau” (New York, 1814).