Julien Cosmao : biography

27 November 1761 - 17 February 1825

Late career

Cosmao-Kerjulien was made Rear Admiral on 29 May 1806. He took command of a division of the French Mediterranean Fleet, under Ganteaume from 1807. he took part in operations to resupply Corfu and to the landing in Sicily. His 4 ships, having sustained damage, retreated to Taranto.

In late 1809, Ganteaume was organising reinforcements to Barcelona. Cosmao set his flag on and took command of a squadron comprising , , and , as well as the frigates and , and a dozen of transports. The fleet departed Toulon on 24 April 1809, and returned on 1 May without incident.

Cosmao was made Baron in 1810. In August 1811, he served under Admiral Missiessy in the Escaut Squadron, commanding a division, with his flag in the ship-of-the-line Tilsit.

In 1813 he returned to the Mediterranean Fleet, where he commanded a 5-ship division, with his flag on the . At the Action of 5 November 1813, he saved the 74-gun and the frigates Pénélope and Melpomène which were under threat to be surrounded by superior English forces.

Romulus]] In February 1814, he set sail with three ships from Toulon to Genoa, threatened by the Austrians, to bring back the Scorpion. He escaped the forces of Admiral Pellew and successfully returned to Toulon on the 10th with the Scorpion without losing a ship, though the , at the rear, did suffer some damage.

During the first restoration, in April 1814, Cosmao-Kerjulien received command of the Mediterranean Fleet, and was made a Knight in the Order of Saint Louis. In 1815,upon the Emperor's brief return to power, he rallied to Napoleon, who made him préfet maritime of Brest in March, and Peer of France in June, right before the Battle of Waterloo.

Cosmao-Kerjulien was retired on 1 January 1816, and for one year he did not receive a pension. At the time of his retirement, he was 55, with 25 year in campaigns, and 11 battles without once being wounded or captured. He died at 64, on 17 February 1825.

Five paintings of him can be seen in the town house of his home town of Châteaulin, in the Finistère.


"The best sailor of the time; none was ever braver and more generous" -- Napoléon

  • Cosmao's name is engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
  • Legion of Honour from 7 April 1812
  • chevalier de Saint-Louis from 5 July 1814
  • Pair de France
Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine