Pierre Francois Charles Augereau, duke of Castiglione, a French soldier, born in 1757, died in June, 1816. At an early age he entered the Neapolitan army, in which he continued a private until he was 30 years old, when he settled at Naples, and gained his livelihood by teaching fencing, until, being suspected of revolutionary principles, he was ordered to quit Italy. Entering the French republican army of the south, he rose rapidly from grade to grade, merely by intrepidity, for he had no military genius. His numerous and contemptible vices made him everywhere hated, but he had great physical courage. In 1794 he was made brigadier general in the army of the eastern Pyrenees, and afterward general of division. On the peace with Spain he was appointed to the army of Italy, and served in all its campaigns under Bonaparte. By his charge at Lodi he decided the victory, and he still more distinguished himself by storming the position of Castiglione (1796). On the overthrow of the directory, on the 18th Fructidor (1797), he expected the succession to one of the expelled directors; but being disappointed, he affected the severe republican, and on Bonaparte's return from Egypt held aloof from him until after the revolution of Brumaire (1798). Shortly after the establishment of the empire he was rewarded with the baton of a marshal, and created duke of Castiglione (1805). He fought bravely in the wars with Austria and Prussia (1805 and 1806), especially at Jena. At Eylau (1807), when so ill that he could hardly sit upright, he compelled his servants to tie him to his saddle, and thus led his column into the fight.
Being wounded, however, he was compelled to fall back, hks men were thrown into disorder, and Napoleon unjustly sent him home in disgrace. In 1810 he served in Spain, and in 1813 distinguished himself at Leipsic; and when France was invaded in 1814, he was intrusted with the defence of Lyons, which he pledged himself to maintain to the last; but failing through want of means to make good his word, he was again unjustly disgraced. While in retirement at Valence, a proclamation appeared in his name stigmatizing the emperor as "an odious despot, and a mean coward, who knew not how to die as becomes a soldier;" and although the authenticity of the document has been denied by his defenders, Napoleon believed in it. On the way to Elba, Napoleon met his ex-marshal, on the road near Valence; and both descending from their carriages, an interview followed, which terminated in an altercation. Augereau gave in his adhesion to Louis XVIII., received the cross of St. Louis and the command of the 14th division, and was appointed a peer of France. On the return of Napoleon from Elba, he remained inactive until the emperor was actually in Paris, when he would have returned to his party, but Napoleon would not trust him.