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François Athanase de CHARETTE DE LA CONTRIE

French François Athanase de CHARETTE DE LA CONTRIE

born François Athanase CHARETTE

French soldier and politician, one of the leaders of the bloody Revolt in the Vendée

Source :  Lucette DHUICQUE

Born: on April 21, 1763 in Couffé, France
Died: on March 29, 1796 in Nantes, Loire Atlantique, France


A nobleman born in Couffé, arrondissement of Ancenis, Charette served in the French Navy under Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte, notably during the American War of Independence, and became lieutenant de vaisseau. He quit the Navy in 1789 and emigrated to Koblenz (Trier) in 1792 (a common move for royalist aristocrats). He soon returned to France to live at his property in La Garnache, and became one of those defending King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette from physical harm during the mob attack on Tuileries Palace (the Journée du 10 août); arrested in Angers, he was released through the intervention of Charles François Dumouriez.

In 1793, the Revolt in the Vendée against the First French Republic broke out, and the peasant fighters asked Charette to be their leader. He joined Jacques Cathelineau and fought in most of the battles of the Armée catholique et royale. After the parting of the Vendean leaders in September 1793, he and his men retreated. He became the leader of the Lower Vendée, and successfully used guerilla warfare against the Republican troops, even managing to capture a Republican camp in Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron, near Challans, but ran out of supplies and was decisively attacked by the troops of Nicolas Haxo.

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