Michel NEY

Family tree of Michel NEY

French Revolution & Empire, 19th Century

FrenchBorn Michel NEY

French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars

Born on January 10, 1769 in Saarlouis, Germany , Germany

Died on December 07, 1815 in Paris, France

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Ney was born in Saarlouis, the second son of Pierre Ney (1738 – 1826), a master barrel cooper and veteran of the Seven Years' War, and wife Margarethe Grewelinger (1739 – 1791). Ney was paternal grandson of Matthias Ney (1700 – 1780) and wife Margarethe Becker (d. 1767), and maternal grandson of Valentin Grewelinger and wife Margaretha Ding. His hometown was then a French-speaking enclave in a predominantly German-speaking portion of Lorraine, and Ney grew up bilingual.

Ney was educated at the Collège des Augustins, and, after his education, became a notary in Saarlouis, and then overseer of mines and forges.


The life as a civil servant did not suit Ney, and he enlisted in the Colonel-General Hussar Regiment in 1787. Ney rapidly rose through the non-commissioned ranks. He served in the Army of the North from 1792-94, with which he saw action at Cannonade of Valmy, Neerwinden, and other engagements. Ney was commissioned in October 1792, transferred to the Sambre-et-Meuse in June 1794, and wounded at the Siege of Mainz. Ney was promoted to général de brigade in August 1796, and commanded cavalry on the German Fronts. On 17 April 1797, during the battle of Neuwied, Ney led a cavalry charge against Austrian lancers trying to seize French cannons. The lancers were beaten back, but Ney’s cavalry were counter-attacked by heavy cavalry. During the mêlée, Ney was thrown from his horse and made a prisoner of war; on 8 May he was exchanged for an Austrian general. Following the capture of Mannheim, Ney was promoted to géneral de division in March 1799. Later in 1799, Ney commanded cavalry in the armies of Switzerland and the Danube. At Winterthur, Ney was wounded in the thigh and wrist. After Ney’s recovery he fought at Hohenlinden under General Moreau in December 1800. From September 1802, Ney commanded French troops in Switzerland and performed diplomatic duties.

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Geographical origins

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