Charles Dumouriez


dumouriezCharles Francois Dumouriez (1739-1823) was a French military commander, famous for abandoning the national army during the Revolutionary War and defecting to the Austrians. Dumouriez was educated in Paris before joining the army in 1757 and obtaining an officer’s commission. He rose through the ranks to become a member of the royal secret service and a military advisor to the king’s government. During the revolution Dumouriez was politically active as a moderate. He was a foundation member of the Jacobin Club and a great admirer of both Mirabeau and Lafayette. In 1791 he offered his services to the National Assembly in the wake of the king’s attempt to flee the country. Concerned about the growing radicalism and unrest in Paris, Dumouriez aligned himself with the Girondins in late 1792. Held responsible for military defeats in early 1793, Dumouriez tried to organise a counter-revolutionary assault on Paris but was unable to rally enough support from his troops. In April he defected to the Austrians, an incident that discredited Dumouriez’s Girondinst supporters in the National Convention. For the rest of his life he wandered Europe in exile, before finally settling in Britain.


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