Boisseleau, Alexandre de Rainier de Droué (c.1650–1698), marquis of Boisseleau , French major-general and governor of Limerick, was not yet 40 at the time of his appointment to command the besieged Jacobite forces in Limerick, but had spent most of his life in the French army, counting among his campaigns the battle of Saint-Denys and the sieges of Tournai, Douai, Lille, Maastricht, Artois, Valenciennes, Cambrai, and Luxembourg. After twenty-two years of soldiering he was posted to Ireland with the rank of major-general in the Jacobite army. On the arrival of King James II (qv) he was appointed commander in Cork in the place of Lord Mountcashell (qv). He accompanied James on his journey to meet the invading armies of the Williamite duke of Schomberg (qv). When the king broke camp at Dundalk (November 1689), he left six battalions of foot and fifty horse under Boisseleau's command. Boisseleau deemed Ireland to be a country ‘where there is no corn no bread or medicine and where a wounded man is as good as dead’ (Murray (ed.), Journal of John Stevens, p. lviii). Despite this criticism he himself was accused in February 1690 of retaining moneys destined for his troops, and was forced to defend himself against the charge.
From his base at Ardee Boisseleau spearheaded an attack with 1,000 men on a much larger force at Newry, which was rebuffed. He was also present at the battle of the Boyne and informed his wife in a letter that although the rout had been great the enemy had not profited from their advantage. He took the part of Patrick Sarsfield (qv), the duke of Berwick (qv), and Lord Clare (qv) in opposition to a proposal by Richard Talbot, duke of Tyrconnell (qv) to surrender Limerick to King William (qv) after the flight of King James.
Boisseleau had offered to stay in Limerick when the other French officers, including the duc de Lauzun (qv), had removed themselves to Galway. No officer in the Irish army had his experience in the art of siege warfare, and Tyrconnell appointed him governor of Limerick. This appointment went against the wishes of Irish malcontents such as John Wauchope (d. 1693), William Dorrington (d. 1718), and Henry Luttrell (qv), who believed that the French would betray the city.
Sarsfield's destruction of the Williamite siege-train at Ballyneety had a tremendous effect on morale and Boisseleau had more volunteers than he needed to defend the city. Although William had lost his siege-train he still had some 12-pounder guns, and some heavier guns were brought from Waterford. Boisseleau refused William's surrender terms at the gates of Limerick and ignored his ‘fire and sword’ threats. After one week William captured the star fort and ordered the duke of Württemberg, Tetlau, and Percy Kirke (qv) to attack the advanced redoubt. At the commencement of the cannonade Boisseleau personally led his men into the fray. He also brought up Col. Fitzgerald and 150 marksmen in the night and positioned the cavalry of Lord Kilmallock to fall on the attacking group the following morning. This was successful and the Danes and Prussians were beaten back. More fighting ensued and the redoubt was finally captured by the besiegers. The Williamites placed twelve 24-pounders and one 36-pounder in the redoubt. After five days of bombardment they had managed to make a hundred-yard breach in the walls. Boisseleau ordered a second inner wall to be built with a firing step on which the Grand Prior's regiment took its position. When the Williamite attack began, this regiment, along with Boisseleau's own, opened fire on the attackers. After great carnage Boisseleau refused to give the Williamites permission to bury the dead. In one of his many reports to the French war minister in the aftermath of the siege, Boisseleau stated that the officers of the defence ‘greatly distinguished themselves during a siege of twenty-one days of open trenches, and the Irish soldiers not merely fought well but sustained with extraordinary patience all the fatigues which were very great’ (Kinross, The Boyne and Aughrim, 73–4).
After the siege Boisseleau sought permission from Tyrconnell and Lauzun to go back to France. Although he informed Louvois that it been his honour to serve in Limerick, he had suffered maltreatment and impertinence from Tyrconnell and Lauzun, and had taken all possible pains to prevent outbreaks from seditious spirits. He later served with distinction at the sieges of Mons (1692), Namur (1692), and Neerwinden (1693), and became governor of Charleroi after it had been besieged and captured by a French force under the duke of Berwick. Named maréchal de camp (3 January 1696), he died 8 October 1698.