General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert (22 August 1755- 3 January 1823) was a French soldier, a participant in the French Revolution, who led a failed invasion of Ireland to assist Irish rebels in 1798.
Born in Saint-Nabord, Vosges, he was a sergeant in the National Guard of Lyon, and rapidly advanced through the ranks to become Brigadier General on 9 April 1794, and fought in the Western campaigns before being allocated to the Army of the Rhine.
Monument to General Humbert depicting Mother Ireland on Humbert Street, Ballina, County Mayo.
Invasion of Ireland:
In Ireland, although managing to land at Killala, meeting with initial success in the battle of Castlebar, and subsequently declaring a Republic of Connaught, with hopes of taking Dub-lin, but his small force was defeated at the battle of Ballinamuck and he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Kingdom of Great Britain.
He was shortly repatriated in a prisoner exchange, and later participated in several Caribbean campaigns for Napoleon Bonaparte, and was appointed governor of Saint Domingue (Haiti). A committed Republican, his displeasure at Napoleon’s Imperial pretensions led to a fall from favour and exile to Brittany.
Coming under increasing scrutiny and fearful of arrest, Humbert escaped to the United States in 1808. He settled in New Orleans, once again fighting the British at the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, and briefly participated in the Mexican War of Independence (on the revolutionaries’ side) in 1814. He then lived peacefully as a schoolteacher until his death in New Orleans.
War of 1812:
Infuriated by the Kentuckians’ fleeing, Jackson directed a French General, Jean Humbert, to cross the River and retake the American position. Humbert, who had fought under Na-poleon and always appeared in his old uniform was delighted to accept the assignment. But in the U.S. ranks, he was serving as a volunteer private. Since Jackson neglected to give him written authority, American officers on the west bank refused to take orders from a man who was not a citizen, and Humbert returned angrily to Jackson’s Headquarters ( From Union 1812: The Americans who Fought the Second War of Independence by A.J. Langguth)