The title Marshal General of France or more exactly "Marshal General of the King's camps and armies" (maréchal général des camps et armées du roi) was given to signify that the recipient had authority over all the French armies in the days when a Marshal governed only one army usually. This dignity was bestowed only on Marshals of France, usually when the dignity of Constable of France was unavailable or, after 1626, suppressed.
List of incumbents
There were only six in the history of France:
Five in the pre-revolutionary kingdom:
- Charles de Gontaut, duc de Biron, 1562–1602:
- Admiral of France 1592;
- Admiral & Marshal 26 January 1594
- unclear when promoted to Marshal General;
- executed 1602.
- François de Bonne, duc de Lesdiguières, 1543–1626:
- Marshal 27 September 1609:
- Marshal General 30 March 1621;
- Constable of France 6 July 1622.
- Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, 1611–1675:
- Marshal 16 November 1643;
- Marshal General 4 April 1660.
- Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars, 1653–1734:
- Marshal 20 October 1702;
- Marshal General 18 October 1733.
- Maurice, comte de Saxe, 1696–1750:
- Marshal 26 March 1744;
- Marshal General 12 January 1747.
Only one under the House of Orléans' sole, constitutional king Louis-Philippe of France:
- Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, 1769–1851:
- Marshal of the Empire 19 May 1804
- Marshal General 15 September 1847
- Quid.fr (French language online encyclopedia)
- web.genealogie: les militaires (also online)
- Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography, edited by Trevor N. Dupuy et al. (most dates are from the latter)
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