Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon
|Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon|
Portrait of Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon by Philippe-Auguste Hennequin
31 May 1754|
Grenade-sur-Garonne, Kingdom of France
25 December 1818 (aged 64)|
Paris, Kingdom of France
|Years of service||1769–1818|
|Commands held||Armée des Pyrénées orientales|
French Revolutionary Wars |
Legion of Honour |
Order of Saint Louis
Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe
He was born to a family of small nobility in Grenade-sur-Garonne, Languedoc. After a roturier appointment in the grenadier corps of the Aquitaine Regiment, he retired to his estate. Pérignon welcomed the French Revolution, and gained a seat in the Legislative Assembly (1791), where he sat on the Right, but soon resigned and made his military career during the French Revolutionary Wars.
In 1793-1795 he held commands in the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, defeating the Spanish troops at the battle of Escola with "a sombre kind of energy". He succeeded Jacques François Dugommier as army commander after that general's death at the Battle of the Black Mountain. He successfully concluded the Siege of Roses in early 1795. In 1796, he was elected by Haute-Garonne to the Council of Five Hundred. He became the French Directory's ambassador to Spain, concluding the Treaty of San Ildefonso against the Kingdom of Great Britain.
He was then involved in a smuggling affair and compromised with a young woman who was a Royalist spy. In 1798 Perignon was recalled and remanded to the Army in Liguria where he was assigned to command the left wing. Wounded and captured by Second Coalition armies at the Battle of Novi, he returned to France in 1800.
Empire and Restoration
Pérignon was a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte, was made senator (1801), Marshal (1804) and count of the French Empire; in 1805, he received the Legion of Honor. From September 18, 1806 to July 23, 1808, he was the Governor-general of the Duchy of Parma. Later moved to the Kingdom of Naples, Pérignon, recently ennobled, became a close acquaintance of the royal couple (King Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte).
He returned to France in 1814 and rallied to the Bourbon Restoration and Louis XVIII - he was stricken off the list of Marshals during the Hundred Days, and voted in favor of the death penalty for Michel Ney. He was raised to marquis de Grenade, a Peer of France and awarded the Order of Saint Louis. As Dr. George Ostermann commented, "M. de Perigon died as if the Empire he served well, though reluctantly, had never existed."