Rigaud, Antoine (1758–1820)

By: Robert Wooster

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Antoine Rigaud (Rigau), Napoleonic general and officer at Champ d'Asile, was born at Agen, France, on May 14, 1758. After serving eight years in the French army he went to Belgium, where he fought in the 1788 campaign against Austria. Upon the formation of the First Coalition against France, Rigaud returned to his homeland and became a captain. He was seriously wounded at the battle of Rousselaer and was noted for bravery in combat. He participated in Napoleon Bonaparte's campaigns in the Germanies, Spain, and France and was made a general in 1807 and a baron in 1808. After the defeat of the First Empire, Louis XVIII selected Rigaud to head the Department of the Marne. Nonetheless, Rigaud rejoined Napoleon during the Hundred Days and was captured by the Russians at Châlons-sur-Marne in July 1815. His captors took him to Frankfurt, where he was freed late that year. He was sentenced to death for treason on May 16, 1816, and came to the United States in 1817. With a group of French exiles and adventurers, he led a shipload of men and supplies to Texas in early 1818. Under the leadership of Gen. Charles F. A. Lallemand they moved up the Trinity River and established the military colony of Champ d'Asile. The abortive colony failed within a year. Rigaud then moved with his daughter, Antonia, and son, Capt. Narcisse-Périclès Rigaud, to St. Martinville, Louisiana. The former baron subsequently criticized Lallemand's failure to distribute funds to the survivors of Champ d'Asile after the group's withdrawal. Rigaud died at New Orleans on September 4, 1820.

Biographie nouvelle des contemporains (Paris: Librairie historique, 1820–25), Vol. 18. Kent Gardien, "Take Pity on Our Glory: Men of Champ d'Asile," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 87 (January 1984). Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu'à nos jours (Paris: Institut de France, 1852–66), Vol. 42.
  • Peoples
  • French
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Military
  • Soldiers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robert Wooster, “Rigaud, Antoine,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/rigaud-antoine.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995