The Prince de Polignac, Confederate officer, was born at Millemont Seine-et-Oise, France, on February 16, 1832, the son of Jules de Polignac and Marie Charlotte (Parkyns). His father had been president of the Council of Charles X of France. Polignac studied mathematics and music at St. Stanislas College in the 1840s. In 1853 he joined the French army and won a second lieutenant's commission in the Crimean War. He resigned in 1859 and traveled to Central America to study political economy and geography.
In 1861 he offered his services to the Confederacy and became a staff officer under P. G. T. Beauregard and Braxton Bragg. In January 1863 he was promoted to brigadier general and in March was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department to become the commander of a Texas infantry brigade. He led the Texans in skirmishes at Vidalia and Harrisonburg, Louisiana, in the spring of 1864, and at Mansfield in the first major action of the Red River campaign. Polignac rose to division commander that day and was soon promoted to major general, after the death of Alfred Mouton. Polignac led the division throughout the remainder of the campaign and during its service in Arkansas in the fall of 1864. In January 1865 he was sent to Napoleon III of France to request intervention on behalf of the Confederacy but arrived too late to accomplish anything.
After the war he again traveled to Central America, did some writing, and served as a brigadier general in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1874 he married Marie Adolphine Longenberger, who died at the birth of their daughter. He married Elizabeth Margaret Knight in 1883, and they had two daughters and one son. Polignac continued to study mathematics and music until his death on November 15, 1913. See also POLIGNAC'S BRIGADE.