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Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes


Dec 11, 2021

Charles, comte Lefebvre-Desnouettes or Lefèbvre-Desnoëttes (14 September 1773, in Paris – 22 April 1822) became a French officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and a general during the Napoleonic Wars. He later emigrated to the United States.[1]

French military officer
Charles, comte Lefebvre-Desnouettes.

. . . Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes . . .

He joined the army in 1792, and served with the armies of the North, of the Sambre et Meuse and Rhine et Moselle in the various campaigns of the French Revolution. Six years later he had become captain and aide-de-camp to General Napoleon Bonaparte. At the Battle of Marengo in June 1800 he won further promotion.[2]

Under the Empire, Lefebvre-Desnouettes fought with distinction at the Battle of Elchingen in 1805. Later that year, he became colonel after the Battle of Austerlitz. He served also in the Prussian campaigns of 1806-1807. He was promoted to general of brigade in September 1806 and general of division in November 1807.[citation needed] He was created a count of the Empire in March 1808.[2]

Sent with the army into Spain, he conducted the first and unsuccessful Siege of Saragossa. Later he commanded the IV Corps in several actions in Spain. On 29 December 1808, he was taken prisoner in the action of Benavente by the British cavalry under Henry Paget (later Lord Uxbridge, and subsequently Marquess of Anglesey).[2]

For over two years Lefebvre-Desnouettes remained a prisoner in England, living on parole from Norman Cross Prison at Cheltenham with his wife Stephanie.[3] In 1811 he broke his parole, an act which greatly offended British public opinion, and escaped; in the invasion of Russia in 1812, he led the Guard Chasseurs à cheval cavalry. In 1813 and 1814, he and his men distinguished themselves in most of the great battles, especially Brienne (where he was wounded), La Rothière, Montmirail,[2]Vauchamps and Arcis-sur-Aube. He joined Napoleon in the Hundred Days and was appointed commander of the Guard Light Cavalry Division, which he commanded at the Battle of Quatre Bras. [4] At the battle of Waterloo he was taken prisoner and placed under the guard of a single Dragoon, on his solemnly pledging his honour that he would not attempt to escape. When the Dragoon had taken him to the place where he was to be received, and had taken the saddle off his own horse, the General clapped spurs to his horse, and rode off, but the Dragoon, as quick as lightning, followed him on horseback, gave him a cut with his sabre on the forehead, and brought him back.[5]

. . . Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes . . .

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. . . Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes . . .