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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Louis Charles Antoine Desaix de Voygoux

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DESAIX DE VOYGOUX, Louis CHARLES ANTOINE (1768-1800), one of the most eminent generals of the French republic, was born at the Chateau d Ayat, near Riom. in Auvergne, on the 17th August 1768. He studied at the military school founded by the Marshal d Effiat, and distinguished himself by his eagerness in acquiring a know ledge of his chosen profession. After joining the army he spent some time in garrison at Briangon and Huningue. He was favourable to the Revolution, but was an object of suspicion to the Convention, on account of his aristocratic birth and his popularity with his men. He was twice sus pended, and on the earlier occasion he was imprisoned for two months by order of Carnot. The first engagement in which he took part was the battle of Lauterburg, in which he was wounded ; and when Moreau executed his masterly retreat through the Black Forest, Desaix contributed not a little co the success of that memorable exploit. After some gallant achievements, such as the repulse of the Archduke Charles at Rastadt, and the defence of the bridge of Kehl, he accompanied Bonaparte (1798-9) to Egypt, where he dispersed the Arabs, and for his various services was made commander of Upper Egypt. The campaign of eight months in which he completed the conquest of L T pper Egypt was the great achievement of his military career. During his occupation he conducted himself in such a way as to win from the inhabitants the title of the Just Sultan, and to be compared by his soldiers to Bayard. On his return to Europe he found Napoleon marching to the con quest of Italy. With a small squadron he hastened to join the first consul, whom he overtook at Marengo at the very moment when the Austrians had deemed themselves secure of the victory. His timely arrival changed the fortune of the day ; but in the moment of victory he was shot through the heart and immediately expired, 14th June 1800. His body was embalmed at Milan, and finally deposited in the convent of Mount St Bernard, where a handsome monument is erected to his memory.