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"The 4th Legere in 100 days Campaign" Topic


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marshalGreg10 Feb 2015 10:32 a.m. PST

Upto to this point in time, all my OOB/QB battle information had indicated that the 4th Ligne was in the second brigade of the 9th Division (Foy) of the French II Corps instead of in the 7th Division (Girard).
With the recent accounts presented by Mr J Franklin, of both Reille and Foy, indicated that the unit was in fact the 4th Legere.
So which one is it and what is the evidence to distinguish the most most likely it is to be?
Hope to have a definitive conclusion.
And thank you in advance to your contribution to the post.
MG

John Franklin10 Feb 2015 1:05 p.m. PST

Hi there,

The following has been derived from the records held at the Château de Vincennes (C15/4, C15/5 and C15/35 in particular), and partially translated into English:


9th Infantry Division
Commanding Officer: Lieutenant-général Maximilien-Sébastien, Comte Foy
Chief of Staff: Colonel Chevalier Jean-Martin Hudry
Premier Aide-de-camp: Capitaine Adrien-Hippolyte Foy

1st Brigade
Commanding Officer: Maréchal-de-camp Baron Jean-Joseph Gauthier
92e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (Colonel Jean-Marie Tissot)
1er Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Luccio)
17 officers and 536 men
2e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Bugat)
18 officers and 447 men

93e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (Chef de Bataillon Nicolas-François Massot)
1er Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Massot)
16 officers and 455 men
2e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Lugnot)
18 officers and 454 men
3e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Basset)
18 officers and 500 men

2nd Brigade
Commanding Officer: Maréchal-de-camp Baron Jean-Baptiste Jamin
4e Régiment d'Infanterie Léger (Colonel Vincent Peyris)
1er Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Dehaynin)
17 officers and 519 men
2e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Damame)
18 officers and 518 men
3e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Carret)
18 officers and 518 men

100e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne (Colonel Joseph Braun)
1er Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Duprat)
17 officers and 406 men
2e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Poutis)
18 officers and 406 men
3e Bataillon (Chef-de-bataillon Dey)
16 officers and 237 men

Divisional Artillery
1er Compagnie, 6e Régiment d'Artillerie à Pied (Capitaine Tacon)
4 officers and 84 men (six 6-pound guns and two 5½" howitzers)
2e Compagnie, 1er Escadron du Train d'Artillerie (Capitaine Hubert)
2 officers and 97 men

Divisional Engineers
5e Compagnie, 1er Bataillon 1er Régiment de Sapeurs (Capitaine Charve)
4 officers and 81 men

The OOB reproduced in the recent Quatre Bras book is a fraction of that I provded, due to limitations of space. Osprey had suggested that they were going to publish the 'expanded' OOBs in a separate book, but I would not allow this when I discovered the identity of the publiscation.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards

John

marshalGreg10 Feb 2015 2:23 p.m. PST

John,
Thank you for the prompt confirmation!
For what seems a significant time the OOBs seem to have had it as the 4th Ligne. is this source a new discovery or it is in conflict with some others and that is the path other authors chose to take?
Just curious

MG

John Franklin10 Feb 2015 2:42 p.m. PST

MG

I can only say that where possible I base my work on extant manuscript sources. The various returns in C15/35 show that there was considerable transition within the evolution of the II Corps (although not as much as other corps), but that the 4e Léger was clearly part of the 9th Division on the 10th June – the time of the last recorded Parade State Return. The regiment's involvement within the 9th Division is confirmed by various accounts, such as Reille and Foy, and corroborated by others, like Chef de Bataillon Jean-Baptiste Jolyet, 1er Bataillon, 1er Régiment d'Infanterie Léger, who noted the position of the 4e Léger when his troops left the Bois de Bossu late in the fighting at Quatre Bras. Here's my translation of this passage:

'An aide-de-camp of General Guilleminot brought me the order to gain the road and march against the English. I found myself under cannon fire as soon as I left the wood in columns in order to support the Tirailleurs of the 4e Régiment Léger, who were engaged with the English. I had my horse killed under me and lost a lot of men in a very short time. The Tirailleurs of the 4e Léger moved to the right and I found myself alone with my battalion in the middle of a large plain, having considerable numbers of English troops in front of me. Two cavalry regiments, one of Cuirassiers and one of Lanciers appeared and launched several attacks on the English squares, but as they were unsuccessful they retired. Seeing that I was alone, and being unwilling to lose any more men, I moved towards a large farm [Gémioncourt], which served as a rallying point, and two companies of the 3rd Battalion joined me. We were pursued by a cloud of English skirmishers, who were supported by artillery and columns of infantry. Nevertheless, we were able to maintain ourselves in the surroundings of the farm until nightfall. I then began to retreat, and I was soon joined by our Colonel [Cubières], who had been wounded at the beginning of the action, and who, despite the injury [to his face] came to look for us. He told me that the army corps was camping behind Frasnes. After calling back for the 2nd Battalion, which had remained at the edge of the wood, we rejoined our corps.'


Best regards

John

xxxxxxx11 Feb 2015 12:24 p.m. PST

The major of the 4e légère, since March 1813, had been Jean-Louis Baux, dit Lebeau (1780-1849). He passed to the 1er légère on 1 March 1815, and – as far as I know – was not replaced in the 4e légère by the (official) appointment of another major before the regiment took the field for the Cent Jours.

The chefs de bataillon in the 4e légère were then, in order of seniority :
….Jean-Louis Dehaynin (1771-1843) : promoted chef de bataillon in 1799, passed to the 4e légère (the régiment de Monsieur-infanterie légère) in August 1814 upon repatriation of prisoners held in Spain – he had very limited regimental experince (18 months in the 23e légère), having throughout his career served mostly as an aide-de-camp – he was serving after the Cent Jours as the president of the regiment's council of administration (indicating the absence of a titular major and the wounded colonel)
…. Charles-André Damame, ou Damamm (1767-1827) : passed to the 4e légère upon his promotion to chef de bataillon in May 1807, prisoner of war from 1809 to the repatriation of prisoners in summer 1814, wounded on 16 June 1815
…. Charles-François Carret (1774-1827) : long service officer of the 4e légère, promoted chef de bataillon in 1811
…. Jean-Pierre-Louis de Hennault de Bertancourt (1785-1859) : promoted chef de bataillon in January 1814, passed to the 4e légère in August 1814, wounded on 18 June 1815 by a bullet which passsed through both of his thighs

So, we have 4 chefs de bataillon and 3 bataillons de guerre. So one must ask ….

Did the chef de bataillon Dehaynin take the field for the Cent Jours, or did he act as the régiment's major and remain at the depot?
Since the chef de bataillon de Bertancourt was clearly in the field as shown by his wounding, and since he was the most junior chef de bataillon and by standard practice under the Empire (but not the Restauration) would have led the 1er bataillon, should we not think him a more likley candidate as that battalion's commandant for the Cent Jours?

Also, due to losses, did not the 4e légère form on 18 June in two battalions, not three?

- Sasha

xxxxxxx11 Feb 2015 1:03 p.m. PST

By the way ….
There is shown above a "Capitaine Hubert"

I would be thinking that this was the lieutenant Jean-Honoré Hubert (1770 -1828).
Commissioned in the train d'artillerie in 1807, chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1809, he had not been included in the re-organization of the artillery under the first restauration, but was called back to service in the 1er escadron du train d'artillerie on 18 April 1815. After the Cent Jours, he definitively retired at the end of the year.

If he was indeed somehow promoted to capitaine, but retained command of a compagnie du train d'artillerie, it would be very interesting – as these were typically or historically commanded by lieutenants. Was there some idea during the Cent Jours that these positions would be captaincies? Were there promotions made that were later rescinded under the second restauration?

- Sasha

John Franklin11 Feb 2015 1:33 p.m. PST

Sasha,

According by my research Major Jean-Louis Baux, dit LeBeau, transferred to the 1er Régiment de Ligne. This is corroborated by the account of the fighting at Hougoumont written by Maréchal Bugeaud in 1831 (translated from French):

'Colonel [sic] Lebeau commanded the 1er Régiment de Ligne Waterloo. He was at its head when he took the farm of La Belle Alliance [Hougoumont], in a manner that should be recorded as a document of war. He established himself at the foot of the wall, the palisade being a heap of rubble. A moment of inspiration made him throw one of these stones over the wall, and his troops copied him. This new fire drove the defenders from the wall, which was immediately scaled with one man pushing another over the wall.'

Lebeau also confirmed his command of the 1er Régiment de Ligne in a letter to the Minister of war, dated 16th April 1833. Perhaps you have this?

Kind regards

John

P.S. I've been looking through the service records of those commanding the artillery trains in both the I and II Corps. Almost all of these officers were appointed as captains in April (most late April) 1815, and at the second restoration they were dismissed or placed on the non-active lists, and subsequently forced to retire.

xxxxxxx11 Feb 2015 2:50 p.m. PST

Dear John,

Very interesting "P.S." regarding the command of the compagnies du train d'artillerie. Thank you!

The career of Lebeau is rather well-known, for his later association with the Légion étrangère. I thought I had a copy of his 1833 letter to the maréchal Soult. But I cannot find it. If you are looking for a copy, Mr. Bernard Coppens, I believe, provided to me my copy – and I am sure he can provide one to you if you have not seen it.

Relieving the colonel baron Cornebize of the 1er de ligne was perhaps a surprise?
Born in a miniscule Burgundian village, the son of low level legal clerk, and an volonteer at the time fo the Revolution, he owed nothing at all to the monarchy.
But, he must have developed interest with the monarchy to get appointed as the colonel of régiment du Roi, and the crown was quite quick to confirm his baroncy in early 1816. But how and why did he "change sides" so much as to be considered politically unreliable by Napoléon during the Cent Jours?
Perhaps because of his new-ish wife (married in May 1813), who was a de Lapeyrère. But I know the de Lapeyrère as rather obscure Gascons, not likely to have much influence or interest with the monarchy.
Do you know more of this "story"?

And, what do you think about the (actual, in the field) battalion commanders for the 4e légère?

- Sasha

John Franklin11 Feb 2015 3:05 p.m. PST

Sasha,

I do indeed have a copy of the original document, obtained during one of my visits to Vincennes. I have collected a number of Lebeau's accounts of Waterloo (most of which are unknown in the English language), but have not made a detailed study of his career. This is because my primary interest is the German contingents and the Prussian army in the campaign.

With regards to the premise you have put forward, it is plausible, of course, but without evidence beyond the injury to Chef de bataillon de Bertancourt, it is only supposition.

Kind regards

John

Tregor19 Jul 2018 4:09 a.m. PST

Hello,
A newcomer on this fascinating forum, I happen to descend from Chef de Bataillon Charles André Damamm (1767-1827) on whom I have already carried out some research.
Thanks to the different personal files I have consulted (officer's file, pension file and Legion of Honor file), I can confirm most of the information provided above on this officer's career (promotion and transfer to the 4th Light Infantry Regiment in 1807, POW from May, 11th 1809 to May, 23rd 1814: Damamm had been wounded on March 29th 1809 during the first battle of Oporto and captured during the second battle of Oporto on May, 12th 1809).
However, I didn't know Damamm led the second battalion of his Regiment in 1815 and that he was wounded on June 16.
Have you got more information on this event? Could you please tell me where you found the mention of this wound which doesn't appear on the personal military records I have consulted so far?
Thank you very much in advance.
Kind regards
Tregor

Edwulf20 Jul 2018 3:25 a.m. PST

I have the 4th line in the 2nd Brigade, 7th Division (along with 12th light)
I have the 4th light in 2nd Brigade, 9th Division (along with 100th Line)

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