Pierre Antoine, count Dupont de l'Etang - Encyclopedia

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PIERRE ANTOINE DUPONT DE L'ETANG, Count (1765-1840), French general, first saw active service as a member of Maillebois' legion in Holland, and in 1791 was on the staff of the Army of the North under Dillon. He distinguished himself at Valmy, and in the fighting around Menin in 1793 he forced an Austrian regiment to surrender. Promoted general of brigade for this feat, he soon received further advancement from Carnot, who recognized his abilities. In 1797 he became general of division. The rise of Napoleon, whom he warmly supported in the coup d'etat of 18th Brumaire, brought him further opportunities. In the campaign of 1800 he was chief of the staff to Berthier, the nominal commander of the "Army of Reserve of the Alps" which won the battle of Marengo. After the battle he sustained a brilliant combat, against greatly superior forces, at Pozzolo. In the campaign on the Danube in 1805, as the leader of one of Ney's divisions, he earned further distinction, especially at the action of Albeck-Haslach, in which he prevented the escape of the Austrians from Ulm, and so contributed most effectively to the isolation and subsequent capture of Mack and his whole army (see Napoleonic Campaigns). At Friedland he won further fame. With a record such as but few of Napoleon's divisional commanders possessed, he entered Spain in 1808 at the head of a corps. After the occupation of Madrid, Dupont, newly created count by Napoleon, was sent to subdue Andalusia. After a few initial successes he had to retire on the passes of the Sierra Morena. Pursued and cut off by the Spanish army under Castanos, his corps was defeated and he felt himself constrained to capitulate (Baylen, 19th-23rd July; see Peninsular War). The disgrace which fell upon the general was not entirely merited. His troops were for the most part raw levies, and ill-luck contributed materially to the catastrophe, but, after his return to France, Dupont was sent before a court-martial, deprived of his rank and title, and imprisoned from 181 2 to 1814. Released only by the fall of Napoleon, he was employed by Louis XVIII. in a military command, which he lost on the return of Napoleon. But the Second Restoration saw him restored to the army, and appointed a member of the conseil prive of Louis XVIII. From 1815 to 1830 he was deputy for the Charente. He lived in retirement from 1832 till his death in 1840. Amongst the writings Dupont left are some poems, including L' Art de la guerre (1838), and verse translations from Horace (1836), and the following military works: Opinion sur le nouveau mode de recrutement (1818), Lettres sur l'Espagne en 1808 (1823), Lettre sur la campagne d'Autriche (1826). At the time of his death he was on the point of publishing his memoirs.

See Lieut.-Col. Titeux, Le General Dupont: une erreur historique (Paris, 1903).

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