Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Joseph Marie, Count Dessaix

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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, Volume VII  (1878) 
Joseph Marie, Count Dessaix

DESSAIX, JOSEPH MARIE, COUNT (1764-1834), French general, was born at Thonon, in Savoy, September 24, 1764. He studied medicine, took his degree of doctor at Turin, and then went to Paris. When the Revolution broke out he served in the National Guard. Sympathizing with the extreme party, he attempted in 1791 to establish its principles in his native land ; but, being prosecuted by order of the king, he escaped to France. He had organized the so-called Legion of the Allobroges, and as its captain took part in the great conflict of August 10, 1792. In the following years he served at the siege of Toulon, in the army of the eastern Pyrenees, and in the army of Italy. He was captured at the battle of Rivoli, but was soon exchanged. In the spring of 1798 Dessaix was elected member of the Council of Five Hundred. In consequence of his opposition to the revolution of 18 Brutnaire (9th November 1799), by which Napoleon became supreme, he was excluded from the council, retaining, however, his military command. He was appointed successively com mander of Frankfort and of Breda, and in September 1803 was promoted general of brigade, and soon after commander of the Legion of Honour. He distinguished himself at the capture of Ulm, at the passage of the Tagliamento, and at the battle of Wagram. His brilliant courage at this battle procured him from the emperor the surname of " the Intrepid," and the dignity of count of the empire. He was also promoted general of division, and named grand officer of the Legion of Honour. He took part in the expedition to Russia, and was twice wounded. .For several months he was commander of Berlin, and afterwards delivered the department of Mont Blanc from the Austrians. His just conduct on this occasion earned him the title of the Bayard of Savoy. After the first restoration, Dessaix was created chevalier of St Louis. He nevertheless joined Napoleon in the campaign of the Hundred Days, and in 1816 was imprisoned for five months. The rest of his life was spent in retirement. He died October 26, 1834.