Joseph Marie, Count Dessaia - Encyclopedia

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JOSEPH MARIE DESSAIA, Count (1764-1834), French general, was born at Thonon in Savoy on the 24th of September 1764. He studied medicine, took his degree at Turin, and then went to Paris, where in 1789 he joined the National Guard. In 1791 he tried without success to raise an emeute in Savoy, in 1792 he organized the "Legion of the Allobroges," and 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 Rivoli, but was soon exchanged. In the spring of 1798 Dessaix was elected a member of the Council of Five Hundred. He was one of the few in that body who opposed the coup d'etat of the 18th Brumaire (November 9, 1 799). In 1803 he was promoted general of brigade, and soon afterwards commander of the Legion of Honour. He distinguished himself greatly at the battle of Wagram (1809), and was about this time promoted general of division and named grand officer of the Legion of Honour, and in 1810 was made a count. He took part in the expedition to Russia, and was twice wounded. For several months he was commandant of Berlin, and afterwards delivered the department of Mont Blanc from the Austrians. After the first restoration Dessaix held a command under the Bourbons. He nevertheless joined Napoleon in the Hundred Days, and in 1816 he was imprisoned for five months. The rest of his life was spent in retirement. He died on the 26th of October 1834.

See Le General Dessaix, sa vie politique et militaire, by his nephew Joseph Dessaix (Paris, 1879).

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