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 Jean Baptiste Kleber

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Jean Baptiste Kleber

  • Birth 9 Mar 1753
  • Death 14 Jun 1800
  • Burial Strasbourg, Departement du Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France
  • Plot ashes are inhumed in base of statue
  • Memorial ID 9570

French General. Born the son of a mason in Strasbourg, France, he began his career as a student of architecture in Paris. At the beginning of the French Revolution, in July of 1789, however, he joined the National Guard as a grenadier. In January, 1792 he joined the 4th Battalion of Volunteers of Haut-Rhin. Promoted to general de brigade, he suppressed the counterrevolutionary uprising in the Vendée area of France in 1793. In June 1794, he was given command of a division and won victories at Charleroi and Chapelle d’Herlaymont. He resigned his post in November of 1796, and though citing health reasons, it is generally accepted that he was dissatisfied with the progress of his career. In April 1798, however, intrigued by the proposed expedition to Egypt, he rejoined the army as a general de division and headed a division of the Army of the Orient. During the French invasion of Alexandria in July, he received a facial wound which prevented any further involvement on his part in the Egyptian campaign. He remained in Alexandria as governor for several months, and then returned to the field for the Syrian campaign of 1799. He commanded the vanguard, and took El-Arish, Gaza, Jaffa, and defeated the Turks at Mount Tabor in April. In June, he was appointed governor of the provinces of Damiette and Mansourah. Upon Napoleon’s departure for France in August, he was left in command of the French forces in Egypt. Left in an untenable position, he had no way of bringing his army back to France or of consolidating his conquests, so in January 1800, he signed a convention with British Admiral, Sidney Smith, allowing the French safe passage back to France. When the British government refused to ratify the accord, he led the Army of the Orient against the Turks in Egypt, trouncing the much larger Turkish force at Heliopolis in March, and recapturing Cairo in April. He initiated a reorganizing the administration of Egypt. On June 14th, however, as he walked through a garden in Cairo, he was attacked by a knife-wielding fanatic and stabbed multiple times. He later died as a result of his wounds. His assassin was quickly captured and publicly impaled. His body was eventually sent back to France, and was buried in Strasbourg. His heart was interred beneath the altar of the Saint Louis Chapel in Les Invalides in Paris. His name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe.

Bio by: Iola





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 May 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9570
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jean Baptiste Kleber (9 Mar 1753–14 Jun 1800), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9570, citing Place Kleber, Strasbourg, Departement du Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .