Research Subjects: Biographies

Cavalry Officers of the Netherlands: Lieutenant-General Etienne Jacques Travers Baron de Jever

By Geert van Uythoven

Born in Saint-Georges-de-Néhou (Manche department, France), 22 October 1765.

French army 1790 – 1806

Entered the French army on 11 May 1790, serving as a soldier in the 5me Régiment de Dragons ‘Colonel-Général’. Serving with the Armée du Nord 1792-1794; Promoted brigadier-fourier on 1 May 1792, wounded by a musket ball during a combat near Le Quesnoy in 1793. Serving with the Armée de Sambre-et-Meuse 1794-1795. Serving with the Armée d’Italie 1796-1797; promoted maréchal des logis 20 April 1796, maréchal des logis chef 22 April 1796, sous-lieutenant 6 January 1797. With the Armée d’Angleterre in 1798. In Belgium 1799; promoted lieutenant 12 January 1799, captain 2 February 1800. Serving in the Vendée, after that in the Camp of Amiens 1800. With the Corps d’Observation de la Gironde in 1801. With the Armée des Côtes de l’Océan 1803 – 1805; promoted major 21 February 1804; chef d’eskadron 22 June 1804. He became a knight in the Légion d’Honneur on 18 July 1804. On 26 August 1805 he was with the 3me Régiment de Dragons à Pied of the 2nd Brigade (Boussart) of the Division Baraguey d’Hilliers. Serving with the Grande Armée from September 1805 – 1806. Authorised to transfer to the service of King Louis Bonaparte in the army of the Kingdom of Holland on 7 June 1806.

Army of the Kingdom of Holland 1806 - 1810

Travers was one of the French officers transferring to the army of the newly created Kingdom of Holland, gaining quick promotion and receiving many honours much to the disgust of the former ‘Dutch / Batavian’ officers. On 3 July promoted lieutenant-colonel, one day later promoted colonel and assigned commander of the Regiment Garde-Cavalerie (1ste Regiment Cavalerie 17 September 1806; 1ste Regiment Kurassiers 1 March 1807). On 13 September 1806 with the Expeditionary Force under Dumonceau in Camp Zeist. Leaving for Germany with part of his regiment on 29 October 1806. Serving in Westphalia during November, returning to Holland with King Louis Bonaparte on the 13th. On 1 January 1807 appointed a knight in the Koninklijke Orde van Verdienste (became on 14 February 1807 Koninklijke Orde van Holland). On 16 February 1807 commander in the Koninklijke Orde van Holland (became on 23 November 1807 Koninklijke Orde der Unie). Without command when his regiment was disbanded on 1 November 1807; on 2 December 1807 appointed commander of the Regiment Gardehuzaren (became on 5 December 1807 the Regiment Garde te Paard).

Promoted major-general and appointed adjutant of King Louis Bonaparte on 5 March 1808. On 6 August 1808 appointed colonel-general of cavalry and gendarmerie, and as such being a grand-officer of the kingdom, replacing Bonhomme. Appointed first adjutant of the king on 10 August 1808. Received the grand cross of the Koninklijke Orde der Unie on 12 August 1808. On 27 March 1809 appointed captain of the guards of the king. Naturalised, becoming Dutch on 30 March 1809. On 17 June 1809 replaced as first adjutant of the king by vice-admiral Bloys van Treslong, but remained adjutant of the king. Appointed commander of the reserve of the army in Noord-Brabant on 7 August 1809, after the British invasion of Walcheren. On 17 August sent to Noord-Holland with part of the guard, to reinforce the coastal defence. Two days later appointed commander of the coastal defence. On 18 September 1809 appointed Opperritmeester and commander of the Lijfwacht te Paard. Raised to the peerage of the Kingdom of Holland by King Louis Bonaparte on 1 June 1810, becoming baron of Jever on 10 June 1810. He received the castle of Jever as majority, and a yearly dotation of 6,000 guilders out of the private domains of the king. After his abdication, he accompanied King Louis Bonaparte to Bohemia on 2 July 1810.

French Empire and Hundred Days 1810 - 1816

Returned to French service as a general de brigade on 11 November 1810. On 24 December 1810 appointed commander of the Dyle department of the 24me Division Militaire. Becoming a Baron of the Empire by Imperial Decree of 18 January 1811. Temporary inspector of remontes of the 16me, 24me, and 25me Divisions Militaires on 7 May 1811. Received the grand cross of the l’Ordre de la Réunion on 22 February 1812. On 6 April appointed commander of the Cohortes de Gardes nationales du Premier Ban. Again commander of the Dyle department on 15 June 1812. On 21 August 1812 appointed commander of the 9th Brigade of theGardes nationales du Premier Ban. Confirmed as Baron of the Empire, with recognition of his title as Baron de Jever, by open letters of 3 January 1813.

Appointed commander of a lancer brigade of the Grand Duchy of Berg on 10 February 1813. On 5 March 1813 receiving a yearly dotation of 4,000 francs out of the domains of the Rome department. Serving with the Grande Armée in 1813; during the battle of Leipzig (16 October) he received a severe contusion to his chest by a cannon ball. Serving in France in 1814. Appointed by General Maison as commander in chief of the fortress-city Condé on 5 February 1814. Placed on non-activity on 20 June 1814.

On 30 December 1814 attached to the general inspection of the 18me and 21me Divisions Militaires. Knight in the Order of St.-Louis on 17 January 1815. Sided with Napoleon during the Hundred Days, receiving on 12 may 1815 command of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Reserve Cavalry Division (Milhaud) of the Armée du Nord. On 3 June 1815 receiving command of the 2nd Cuirassier Brigade of the 13th Cavalry Division (Watier de Saint-Alphonse) of the 4th Cavalry Corps; battle of Quatre Bras (16 June 1815), wounded during the battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815). Placed on non-activity on 6 August 1815. Residing at Brussels, receiving a monthly allowance of King William I of Orange on 24 March 1816. Resigning from the French army on 5 April 1816.

Netherlands army 1816 - 1827

Entered Netherlands service as a major-general on 24 November 1816. Appointed commander of the 1st Brigade of the Heavy Cavalry Division at Zutphen on 25 February 1817. In charge of the instruction of the cavalry in the 2de Groot Militair Commando on 25 February 1819. Appointed commander of the Gelderland province on 16 January 1821. Becoming a Baron of the Netherlands by Royal Decree of 21 September 1824. Promoted lieutenant-general and appointed inspector-general of the gendarmerie on 20 October 1825.

He died on his castle Nieuwenhoven near Sint Truyen (southern Netherlands), 10 September 1827.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2013

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