Claude Victor
Timeline: Louisiana Revolution

Claude-Victor Perrin
Portrait of Claude Victor: Bane of the Russians

Born December 7, 1764
Died March 19, 1814
Pskoff, Russia
Profession Military commander, Marshal of France
Claude Victor (1764 - 1814) was a prominent French commander during the European War. He was the first general to defeat tsar Alexander I himself and even captured him in the War of the Fourth Coalition. He was Napoleon I's personal friend and go-to commander when dealing with the Russians throughout the European War before his death in 1814 at the Battle of Pskoff during the first French invasion of Russia.

Military Service

War of the Fourth Coalition

Claude saw his first real leadership position in combat during the Prussian Campaign of the War of the Fourth Coalition. He took over for Napoleon, who left the area to invade Britain, and won a series of historic victories over the Russians against the superior skills and numbers of tsar Alexander I's forces. He defeated the tsar at Kustrin, trapping his forces against the Oder River and later captured him and his army at the Battle of Frankfurt, earning him various nicknames and titles such as "the bane of the Russians" and "the hero of France." He again defeated what remained of the Russians at Danzig, winning the war for France.

War of the Fifth Coalition

Victor saw more action during the war that followed, helping Napoleon tremendously during the Austrian Campaign. He was off to a shaky start when he was caught off guard and defeated at Nürnburg and had to be rescued by Napoleon. After this, he helped Napoleon capture Klagenfurt in Austria and allowed Napoleon an opportunity to divide the Russians and Austrians who were fighting. He gave chase to the Austrians who went to the west while Napoleon went north with the Russians to Vienna. Again, he ran into some bad luck when he and his force were captured by the Austrians at Munich and had to once again be rescued by Napoleon at Regensburg. Although he performed less positively in this war, he was still instrumental in defeating Austria.

War of the Sixth Coalition

In this war, Victor personally travelled with Napoleon for much of the duration. He first helped capture Gottingen from the Prussians and Russians in 1813, then Victor was placed in charge of conquering Prussia while Napoleon assembled an invasion force for Russia from Austria. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful, and lost hard at Potsdam, again being bailed out by Napoleon. Following this loss, he had to save Napoleon from capture at the Battle of Berlin days later, doing just enough to help defeat Prussia once and for all. Next came the most tragic part of his military career. He and Napoleon invaded Russia, winning a series of victories in the west and advancing north toward St. Petersburg. At the Battle of Pskoff, a few cities away from St. Petersburg, he and Napoleon suffered from the cold, their men starved, and the Russians claimed both victory, and the life of Claude Victor. He was thrown from his horse when it was killed by enemy gunfire, and was then stabbed to death by a Russian soldier, leaving Napoleon alone and forced to retreat from Russian territory.