A Swiss of the French extraction, Antoine-Henri Baron de Jomini (1779-1869) received first-hand experience in the Napoleonic Wars by serving in various capcities as a staff officer beginning in 1805. He was quckly promoted, and by the end of 1810 de Jomini had already became general de brigade, was awarded the Legion of Honor and was given the title of Baron of the French Empire. At that time, he was also a renowned military theorist, writing on the campaigns of Frederick the Great and Napoleon's campaigns in italy in 1796-97 and 1800. After 1808 Jomini considered his rewards and recognition in the French army rather inadequate and began to search for a strong patronage, which resulted in the Russian Tsar Alexander I offering him service with a subsequent promotion.
After his service at the General Staff and as head of the section of historical research, Baron de Jomini took part in the Russian campaign of 1812. He served on the line of communications: first, as a military governor of Vilna and then as commandant of Smolensk. During the retreat and the following crossing of the Berezina, de Jomini performed a series of reconnaissance missions, which allowed the Emperor Napoleon to save the remnants of his Grande Armee.
In 1813 Baron de Jomini rejoined the French army as a Chief of Staff of Marechal Ney. He was nominated for a promotion and decoration for his distinctive service at the Battle of Bautzen. However, being unable to produce an important report and answer certian demands of his superiors, de Jomini was deprived of the long sought promotion; angry and frustraited, he joined allied forces in mid-August of 1813.
Most references to Baron de Jomini during the time period of 1812-13 are extremly limited or distorted. However, presence of the rescent archival material available in Russia, Switzerland and France allows reevaluation of de Jomini, his career and his contribution during the most crucial periods in European history.