Jean Bsiptiste Bessieres, duke of Istria, a French soldier, born at Praissac, Aug. 5, 1768, killed near Lutzen, May 1, 1813. He entered the service in 171)0, and after the victory of Roveredo, Sept. 4, 1796, Bonaparte made him colonel. Commander of the guards of the gen-eral-in-chief in Italy and Egypt, he remained attached to that corps for the greater part of his life. In 1802 he became general of division, and in 1804 marshal. He fought in the battles of Rivoli, St. Jean d'Acre, Aboukir, Marengo (where he commanded the last decisive cavalry charge), Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, and Fried-land. In 1808 he achieved a victory at Medina del Rio Seco in Spain. After the failure of the English Walcheren expedition, Napoleon substituted Bessieres for Bernadotte in command of the Belgian army. In the same year (1809) he was created duke of Istria. At the head of a cavalry division he routed the Austrian general llohenzollern at the battle of Aspern and Essling. In the Russian expedition he acted as chief commander of the mounted guard, and on the opening of the German cam-paign of 1818 he was at the head of the French cavalry, He fell while attacking a defile on the Hippaeh in Saxony, on the eve of the battle of Lutzen. Napoleon, fearing to discourage his soldiers, with whom Bessieres was exceedingly popular, prevented for some time the announcement of his death.
Greatly affected by his gallant end, and mourning him as one of his most skilful and devoted officers, he wrote a touching letter of condolence to the duchess of Istria, and bequeathed at St. Helena 100,000 francs to the son. A statue in honor of Bessieres has been erected in his native town, and his name was inscribed on the arch of triumph and on the bronze tablets at Versailles.