Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, Jr., was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 5, 1830, the son of Jerome Napoleon and Susan May (Williams) Bonaparte. He was the grandson of Jerome Bonaparte, the younger brother of the Emperor Napoleon I of France. While serving as a lieutenant in the French navy Jerome Bonaparte met and married Elizabeth Patterson of Baltimore, "a reigning belle of that city," and the couple had one child. The emperor took exception to his brother's marrying a commoner, however, and the marriage did not last. On July 1, 1852, Jerome N. Bonaparte, Jr., graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, eleventh in his class. He was brevetted a second lieutenant in C Troop of the Regiment of Mounted Rifles and was assigned to duty at Fort Inge. On August 30, 1853, he was promoted to the substantive rank of second lieutenant. His letters from Fort Inge and Fort Ewell, now at the Maryland Historical Society, shed considerable light on the life of a junior officer on the Texas frontier in the 1850s. On August 16, 1854, after two years of frontier duty, he resigned from the United States Army when Napoleon III summoned him to Paris to commission him into the French army. Bonaparte served in Algiers, the Italian campaign, the Crimean War, and the Franco-Prussian War and eventually rose to the rank of colonel. In 1871 he returned to the United States to marry Mrs. Caroline Edgar. With the exception of a prolonged stay in Paris from 1873 through 1879, he spent the rest of his life in America. He died at Pride's Crossing, Massachusetts, on September 3, 1893. Gen. Dabney H. Maury wrote that Bonaparte's "commanding appearance, the grace and gentleness of his demeanor, and his fine intelligence win him the admiration of all who know him." Bonaparte was said to have been held high in the esteem of his kinsman, the emperor Louis Napoleon.
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Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Dabney Herndon Maury, Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars (New York: Scribner, 1894).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
William D. Hoyt, Jr.,
“Bonaparte, Jerome Napoleon, Jr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1994