Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dillon, Theobald

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DILLON, THEOBALD (1745–1792), general in the French service, erroneously described by French writers as brother of General Arthur Richard Dillon [q. v.], whereas he was only a distant relation, was born at Dublin in 1745, being probably the son of Thomas Dillon, naturalised by the parliament of Paris in 1759. He entered Dillon's regiment as a cadet in 1761, gradually rose to be lieutenant-colonel (1780), took part in the attack on Grenada and the siege of Savannah in 1779, was appointed a knight of St. Louis 1781, was authorised to wear the order of Cincinnatus 1785, and was awarded a pension of 1500f., 1786. He became brigadier-general in 1791, and in the following year had a command under Dumouriez in Flanders. He was ordered to make a feigned attack on Tournay to prevent its assisting Mons, to be attacked the same day by Biron. On his ordering a retreat, according to instructions, a panic seized the cavalry, the whole force fled in confusion, cries of ‘treachery’ were raised, and Dillon was murdered by his troops under circumstances of great barbarity. The convention voted a pension to Josephine Viefville, with whom he had cohabited nine years, but, as he stated in his will made the previous day, had not had time to marry, as also to their three children, whose descendants took the name of Dillon, and are still living in France with the title of counts.

[Archives de la Guerre, Paris; Mercure Français, 1792; Memoires de Carnot; Annuaire de la Noblesse, 1870.]

J. G. A.