Maurice Saxe, count de, a marshal of France, born in Germany in October, 1696, died at Chambord, Nov. 30, 1750. He was the natural son of Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony and king of Poland, by the Swedish countess of Königsmark, and at 12 years of age served in the army of the allies commanded by Marlborough and Eugene. He was present at the sieges of Tournay and Mons, and before the age of 15 was placed by his father in command of a regiment of cavalry, with which he did good service at the siege of Stralsund. He fought under Eugene against the Turks in 1717-18, went to Paris in 1720, and received from the duke of Orleans the commission of maréchal-de-camp with the command of a regiment, which he proceeded to discipline and manoeuvre according to a system of his own invention. For several years he studied mathematics and the art of war under Folard, and in 1726 proceeded to the north in the hope of being elected duke of Courland. The opposition of Russia and Poland compelled him to take refuge in France, notwithstanding he had secured his election. In 1728 he was recalled by the duchess, Anna Ivanovna, who had conceived an attachment for him, and with whom he might have shared the throne of Russia, to which in 1730 she was elevated, had not his inconstancy caused his dismissal.
In 1733 he obtained a command in the French army, and for services at the siege of Philippsburg was appointed a lieutenant general. In the general war which broke out in 1740 he served with credit in the campaigns of Bohemia and on the Rhine, and in 1743 was appointed a marshal of France. In 1744, at the head of an army in Flanders, he held his ground against forces thrice as numerous as his own, retaining all the conquests previously made by the French; and in 1745 he was appointed gen-eral-in-chief of the forces in Flanders, amounting to 100,000 men. The campaign began with the siege of Tournay, and on the approach of the allies under the duke of Cumberland to the support of the town, Saxe gave them battle at Fontenoy (May 11, 1745), and after an obstinate contest gained a memorable victory, which led to the speedy conquest of nearly the whole of the Austrian Netherlands. On this occasion, though suffering so severely from an attack of dropsy as to be obliged to travel in a litter, he caused himself to be conveyed to all parts of the field.
Louis XV. bestowed upon him the estates of Chambord, which yielded an annual revenue of 100,000 francs; and for the victory gained at Rau-coux over the allies under Charles of Lorraine, Oct. 11, 1746, he was made marshal general of France. In the campaigns of 1747-'8 Saxe captured Lawfeld, Bergen-op-Zoom, and Maestricht, which with other successes led to the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. He passed the rest of his life in princely style on his estate. Saxe was remarkable for his stature and bodily strength; he died prematurely from the effects of debauchery. He devoted several years to a work entitled Mes réveries (5 vols. 4to, 1757), containing many useful hints on the art of war, which was translated into English by Sir William Fawcett (London, 1757). Numerous biographies of Saxe have been published, including one by Delabarre-Duparcq (Paris, 1850), and one by Karl von Weber (Dresden, 1863); and Carlyle has drawn a portrait of him in his "Life of Frederick the Great".