Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, Laurent, marquis de (lōräNˈ märkēˈ də gōvyôNˈ-săN-sēr) [key], 1764–1830, marshal of France. He served in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and was made marshal following his victory at Polotsk (1812). After the Bourbon restoration he served twice (1815, 1817–19) as minister of war and was instrumental in passing a law to organize military recruitment by voluntary pledges and lottery and limit the arbitrariness of promotions. Because of these attempts to limit the influence of the émigré nobility in the officer corps, he was forced from office by the ultraroyalists. He wrote on the Napoleonic Wars and left personal memoirs.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.