Jean Baptiste Jourdan, count, a French general, born in Limoges, April 29, 1762, died in Paris, Nov. 23, 1833. He enlisted in the army when scarcely 16 years old, served five years in America under Count d'Estaing, and was discharged in 1784. He then became a merchant's clerk, and had married a milliner and adopted her business when the revolution broke out. He became a lieutenant of the national guards, and was in 1791 elected to command a battalion of volunteers; he joined the army of the north, distinguished himself in Belgium under Dumouriez, was appointed brigadier general in 1793, and four months later promoted to the rank of general of division. Wounded at the battle of Hondschoote, he had scarcely recovered when he was placed in command of the army of the north. He drove the imperial troops from their position at Wattignies, Oct. 16, 1793, and was called to Paris to consult with the committee of public safety; but being unexpectedly placed on the retired list, he returned to his shop at Limoges. But his services could not well be dispensed with, and on April 15, 1794, he received the command of the army of the Moselle. A few days later he was transferred to that of the Sambre and Meuse, with which he won (June 26) the victory of Fleurus, executed several other successful operations, and drove the Aus-trians beyond the Rhine. In 1795 he displayed uncommon talents in crossing that river.
In 1796 he advanced into Germany, and defeated Clerfayt at Altenkirchen; but being subsequently worsted near Wurzburg by the archduke Charles, he was obliged to fall back, and resigned his command. In 1797 he was elected to the council of 500, where he procured the adoption of the law of military conscription. He was president of that body in October, 1798, when he resigned his legislative functions to assume the command of the army on the Danube. After a short and unsuccessful campaign, he returned to Paris, was reelected to the council of 500, refused to participate in the plans of Bonaparte for the subversion of the directorial government, and was one of the members excluded from the corps 1egislatif formed after the 18th Brumaire. He nevertheless was sent by the first consul on a special mission to Piedmont, and reconciled that country to the French domination. He was appointed marshal of the empire and grand eagle of the legion of honor in 1804, but received no important command, and lived in comparative inactivity until he was appointed in 1806 governor of Naples, and became the principal adviser and friend of Joseph Bonaparte. He accompanied Joseph to Spain, with the title of major general of the armies of his Catholic majesty; but he had as such neither authority nor influence, and was not answerable for the reverses of the French armies in the Peninsula from 1808 to 1813. He was treated by Napoleon with a coldness amounting to disgrace.
In 1814, having assented to the deposition of Napoleon, he received a peerage from Louis XVIII. He joined Napoleon during the hundred days, but on his defeat at Waterloo went back to the Bourbons, was created a count, then governor of the seventh military division, and in 1819 peer of France. On the revolution of July, 1830, he held for a few days the ministry of foreign affairs, and was appointed by Louis Philippe governor of the Invalides. He was honest, and died poor.