Another fun Joachim Murat fact
The cavalry regiment he was part of as a young man - the Chasseurs du Champage, later the Chasseurs d’Ardennes, and still later the 12th Chasseurs - was drafted into the infamous “Flight to Varennes” escape attempt made by Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the immediate royal family in 1791.
A detachment of the regiment were instructed to travel to the town of Montmedy, near the French-Austrian border, where they were supposed to provide additional protection and security for the fleeing royals.
After the failure of the escape, the plan was discovered and the name of the Chasseurs d’Ardennes was found among several other cavalry regiments who were supposed to have defended the king’s carriage on the journey, and secured Montmedy for the night before the final rush into Austria.
As a result, the regiment became suspected of anti-government and Royalist leanings, and may well all have ended up on the wrong side of the guillotine blade later on.*
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, the colonel of the regiment decided to send his adjutant along with the then 23-year old Murat, who was Marshal de Logis of the Chasseurs, to negotiate the detachment’s rejoining of the regiment at their garrison in Schlestadt.
The two insisted to the governors of the town that the detachment and indeed the entire regiment had been completely unwitting in their participation in the flight, and that all the men were true Patriots to the constitutional cause in France.
And so the Chasseurs were absolved of their apparent crime - for the time being.
*Joachim, arrested in 1794, was only able to avoid the guillotine later on through managing to prove in writing that he was neither a royalist nor an aristocrat - his family, despite their great prosperity, were listed as mere “travalliers” on the registry of lodgers on land belonging to the Talleyrand family - yes, those Talleyrands.
I heard once that Marshal Joachim Murat was so extravagantly dressed one day while out on campaign that another commander who hadn’t ever seen Murat before mistook him for the drum major. Hilarity ensued.
"Junot, Lasalle, and Fournier were outstanding showoffs; occasionally the finery became ridiculous, as when Murat was mistaken for a drum major."
from Elting’s Swords Around a Throne.