Eugène de Beauharnais

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Eugène Rose de Beauharnais, Prince Français, Prince of Venice, Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy, Hereditary Grand Duke of Frankfurt, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg and 1st Prince of Eichstätt ad personam (3 September 1781 – 21 February 1824) was the first child and only son of the future French emperor Napoleon's first wife, Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie and Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais.

He was born in Paris, France and became the stepson and adopted child (but not the heir to the imperial throne) of Napoleon. His natural father was executed during the revolutionary Reign of Terror. He commanded the Army of Italy and was viceroy of Italy under his stepfather.

Historians have looked upon him as one of the ablest of Napoleon's relatives.[citation needed]


Military career

Eugène's first campaign was in the Vendée, where he fought at Quiberon. However, within a year his mother Joséphine had arranged his return to Paris. In the Italian campaigns of 1796–1797, Eugène served as aide-de-camp to his stepfather, whom he also accompanied to Egypt. In Egypt, Eugène was wounded during the Siege of Acre (1799). He returned to France in the autumn of 1799 and helped bring about the reconciliation which then took place between Bonaparte and his mother, torn apart by each other's affairs. When Napoleon became First Consul, Eugène became a captain in the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Consular Guard and with his squadron he took part in the Battle of Marengo.

During the War of the Fifth Coalition, Eugène was put in command of the Army of Italy, with General Étienne-Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre MacDonald as his military advisor. In April 1809 he fought and lost the Battle of Sacile against the Austrian army of the Archduke John, but Eugène's troops decisively won the rematch at the Battle of Raab that June. After the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon recalled the Army of Italy and after joining the main army, on the island of Lobau in the Danube, Eugène took part in the Battle of Wagram.

During the Russian campaign, Eugène again commanded the Army of Italy (IV Corps) with which he fought in the Battle of Borodino and the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. After Napoleon and then Joachim Murat had left the retreating army, Eugène took command of the remnants and led it back to Germany in 1813.

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