I. Michel

Michel, duke of Elchingen and prince of the Moskva, a French soldier, born at Saar-lonis, Jan. 10, 1769, executed in Paris, Dec. 7, 1815. He enlisted in the army at the age of 18, and when the revolution of 1789 broke out he was a sub-lieutenant of hussars. In 1794 he was a captain in the array of the Sambre and Meuse. Kleber caused him to be promoted, and intrusted him with several expeditions which proved highly successful. He was made a brigadier general, and on April 18, 1797, by a brilliant charge he contributed to the victory of Neuwied. A few days later he was captured in a skirmish, but was soon exchanged. In 1799, at the head of 150 men, he surprised Mannheim, for which he was made general of division. He accompanied Massena to the valley of the Danube, and during the battle of Zurich kept the archduke Charles at bay. He approved of the coup d'etat of the 18th Brumaire. Under Moreau he was in most of the engagements of the spring campaign of 1800, and participated in the victory of Hohenlinden. During the peace which followed he married, by Bonaparte's advice, Mile. Auguie, a friend of Hortense Beauharnais. He was appointed inspector general of cavalry and minister plenipotentiary to Switzerland, and in 1803 was placed in command of the sixth corps at the camp of Boulogne. On the proclamation of the empire, Ney received the title of marshal.

In 1805 he led one of the corps of the great army which, under command of the emperor, crossed the Rhine. His generalship and bravery at Elchingen won htm his title of duke. He forced Mack into Ulm, entered Tyrol, routed the archduke John, took possession of that province, and seconded the operations which resulted in the victory of Austerlitz. In the Prussian campaign of 1806-'7 he assisted in the victory of Jena, forced Magdeburg to capitulate, rescued Bernadotte at Mohrungen, defeated the Prussians under Lestocq, held his ground at Eylau, and determined the triumph of the French at Friedland, where he commanded the right wing, which stormed the town. He was sent to the peninsula in 1808, took possession of Asturias and Galicia, attacked Portugal with some success, and when Massena was compelled to fall back protected his retreat. But Napoleon suspected his fidelity, and recalled him. In 1812 he accompanied the emperor in the invasion of Russia. He defeated the Russians at Krasnoi, assisted in the capture of Smolensk, and bore himself so bravely at Borodino that Napoleon gave him the title of prince of the Moskva. During the retreat from Moscow he was separated from the army for several days, but reappeared with his corps greatly reduced, having defeated all the Russian troops that opposed him.

When Napoleon and Murat had left the army, Ney saved all that could be saved from the wreck. He subsequently worked night and day to reorganize the army, and he was conspicuous at Ltitzen, Bautzen, Dresden, and Leipsic; and when the French army evacuated Germany, he commanded the rearguard. When France was invaded in 1814, he fought the battles of Brienne, Montmirail, Craonne, and Chalons-sur-Marne. On Napoleon's abdication, April 11, 1814, Ney flew to Louis XVIII., who made him a peer of France, chief of nearly the whole French cavalry, and commander of the sixth military district. When Napoleon landed at Cannes, Ney promised Louis under oath that he would bring him "a prisoner in an iron cage." But when he heard of the enthusiastic reception of Napoleon at Lyons, when he saw his old companions flocking around the emperor, when his own troops called upon him to lead them to their chief, he yielded to the impulse of the moment, proclaimed Napoleon the only legitimate sovereign of France, joined him at Auxerre, and with him entered Paris, March 20, 1815. He led the right wing in the march to Belgium, fought all day at Quatre-Bras, and in the battle of Waterloo displayed the utmost energy and bravery in the attack upon La Haie-Sainte, having five horses killed under him.

In the chamber of peers, June 22, he declared that all was lost and the country could only be saved by negotiation. He was not employed by the provisional government; and the king on his return issued against him and several others, on July 24, a decree of proscription. Ney escaped to Auvergne, but was arrested in August, brought to Paris, and arraigned before a court martial, consisting of Marshals Moncey, Augereau, Massena, and Jourdan. These old brothers in arms availed themselves of a legal technicality to declare their incompetency to judge him, and the case was transferred to the court of peers. Here the majority consisted of his political or personal enemies, so that, notwithstanding the able defence of his counsel, Dupin and Berryer, he was sentenced to death on Dec. 6. On the following morning, after taking farewell of his wife and sons, he was marched to the end of the Luxembourg garden; there, placing himself in front of the troops who were to shoot him, and pressing his right hand to his heart, he cried: "Vive la France! Fellow soldiers, fire here! " He was killed instantly.

He was buried in Pere La-chaise. His Memoires (2 vols. 8vo, 1833) were published by his widow and sons, and Dumou-iin has given a full account of his trial (Histoire complete du proch du marechal Ney, 2 vols., 1815). Fruitless attempts were made to have the sentence reversed by the chamber of peers; but it was cancelled by public opinion, and a bronze statue was erected to him in 1854 on the spot where he was executed. Ney left four sons, Joseph Napoléon, Michel, Eugène, and Edgar.

II. Joseph Napoleon

Joseph Napoleon, prince of the Moskva, born in Paris, May 8, 1803, died at St. Germain-en-Laye, July 26, 1857. He married in 1828 the daughter of Jacques Laftitte, the banker, was appointed aide-de-camp to the duke of Orleans after the revolution of 1830, and was made a peer in 1831, but did not take his seat in the chamber till 1841. In 1848 he sided with the democratic party. He was elected to the legislative assembly by the departments of Moselle and Eure-et-Loir in 1849, and attached himself to the party of the prince-president. He was one of the first senators created under the empire. After being colonel of lancers and dragoons, he was appointed brigadier general in 1853; but he was better known as a patron of arts, literature, and the turf, than as a soldier. He composed an opera called Regine. His only daughter was married to Count Persigny.