Bessieres, Jean Baptiste, Duc d'Istria and Marshal of France, was born of humble parentage in 1768, and entered the army as a private soldier. In the battles of Roveredo and Rivoli his courage was witnessed by Bonaparte, who advanced him rapidly and took him to Egypt in command of a brigade. In the second Italian campaign he won the battle of Marengo by a well-timed cavalry charge. After serving honourably at Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, and Friedland, he was sent to Spain in 1808, won several engagements against the Spaniards, and was recompensed with a dukedom. He commanded the cavalry of the Guard in the beginning of the Leipsic campaign of 1813, and was killed the day before the battle of Lutzen.