At an early age he entered a cavalry regiment, but soon left the service and went to Paris. He embraced enthusiastically the ideas of the Revolution, and in 1790 became greffier of the municipality of Haguenau. After a short imprisonment on a charge of inciting emeutes at Haguenau, he returned to Paris, where he joined Danton and played an important part in the attack on the Tuileries on August 10 1792.
He accompanied Dumouriez on his campaigns and assisted him in his negotiations with the Austrians, being arrested as an accomplice after the general's defection. He succeeded, however, in proving his innocence, and was sent with the rank of general of brigade into La Vendée, where he distinguished himself by his extraordinary courage, by the audacity of his manoeuvres, and by his severe treatment of the insurgents. After suffering a defeat at Chatillon, he vanquished the Vendeans at Beaupreau, Laval, Granville and Bauge, and in December 1793 annihilated their army at Le Mans and Savenay. He was then summoned to Paris, where he was proscribed with the Dantonist party and executed on the 5th of April 1794.
See P Holl, Nos generaux alsaciens ... Westermann (Strassburg, 1900).