- "In Russia I ate my own corporal."
- — Sharpe's Revenge
General Jean-Baptiste Calvet is described as squat and having a broad, scarred face, burned with gunpowder stains. He was a brutal and effective soldier. The son of a ditch digger, he rose through the ranks in the post-revolution army, to become one of Napoleon's most dedicated adherents.
His demi-brigade of 2000 men was fought to a standstill by Richard Sharpe and his handful of men during the siege at Teste de Buch in Sharpe's Siege, after Sharpe used such desperate measures as dropping lime into the attacking forces to blind them.
When the met again in Sharpe's Revenge, he slapped Sharpe's face for using lime on his men. Sharpe returned the favor. The two then joined forces to retrieve the Imperial treasure from a Neapolitan villa. He then returned to Elba with the monies rescued.
By 1820, he was reported as living in Louisiana in the United States rather than remain in France under a Bourbon king.
General Maurice Calvet commanded a French brigade in both Sharpe's Siege and Sharpe's Mission. In both cases listening to intelligence agents cost him soldiers, and in the second case, his entire powder magazine.
In Sharpe's Revenge, he and Gaston tracked down William Frederickson, and demanded he take them to Richard Sharpe, accused of stealing Bonaparte's treasury. They believed Frederickson when he told them it had been Ducos to take the treasure and threw in with the two riflemen to retrieve it.
He is always accompanied by his batman, Corporal Gaston, with whom he shared the hardships of the Russian campaign.
Two separate actors played Calvet, Olivier Pierre in Sharpe's Mission and Siege, and John Benfield played Calvet in Sharpe's Revenge.