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"Was Colonel Déry wounded in 1809? 5e Hussards" Topic

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MarbotsChasseurs11 Jul 2023 2:31 p.m. PST

Hello everyone,

I am currently researching the 5e Hussards and I have an interesting update on the case of wounding of Colonel Déry (D'Hery) on 19 April 1809. First I will provide all of the secondary sources and then the primary sources below. I hope this shows how questioning secondary sources is a good thing to do if possible. We have so many resources available online than the authors of the past and we should use these to correct errors from the past. I am not bashing any author, as Martinien's work is the foundation for all of my current research, but even he sometimes misses an officer or two in the thousands that he recorded.

Let's start with Martinien's work on French Officer causalities from the Napoleonic War. Neither his first or second volume show that Déry was wounded during the 1809 campaign.


Next, we will take a look at the regimental history published in 1889 by chef d'escadron DE CASTILLON DE SAINT-VICTOR who served in the regiment. He wrote his history according to official documents taken from the Archives of the Ministry of War. He writes below of the combat and mentions nothing about the Colonel being wounded.

link to the regimental history link

Looking at the third secondary source, we find in his Fastes de la légion-d'honneur Tome IV there is no mention again of any wound in 1809. It even says in 1809, the campaign provided him with new opportunities to stand out. However, our next two sources will not only tell us that he was wounded, but his wound was so serious that he had to be taken to the rear and wear his arm in a sling. We are not told if his wound came from a gunshot or saber. wound.


In our first primary source, I will provide a snippet of the report from General Montbrun written directly after the battle at 7PM on 19 April 1809 found in Saski Tome II link Montbrun's report is the closest to the event and should be taken as truth.



However, it is also good to find confirmation somewhere else and we are given it by two officers of the 5e Hussards. One who has a well known memoir and the other who I recently found while doing research on the 5e Hussards in Base Leonore. We will take a look Hippolyte d'Espinchal's transalted account of the battle.

"Our brave colonel was seriously wounded there, as well as five officers and twenty-two hussars, nine of whom remained on the spot. For its part, the enemy lost many people and especially in pursuit of the 7th Hussars. General Montbrun displayed in this brilliant combat a valor and a talent which earned him the esteem and admiration of the troops; he had a horse killed under him by a ball, and General Pajol, sabering like a simple hussar, received a slight wound in the arm."

In d'Espinchal's memoirs, he mentions something very interesting and somewhat hard to believe. Below is the translation of what occurred after the battle.

"During the day we had the sad news that the detachment under the command of Commander Hirn, responsible for communicating with Marshal Davout, had suffered great losses and that its brave leader had been killed by a cannonball. This loss was all the more noticeable to us as the Colonel's absence was going to leave the regiment under the command of a squadron leader who had just arrived in the corps and who, in the battle at Peysing, had shown such pusillanimity that the whole body of officers had unanimously declared him unworthy of command; General Pajol, sharing this opinion, declared that he would command the regiment until the return of the colonel, whose absence could not be long, having sent word that he hoped to join us soon, although forced to have his arm in the air. scarf.
As for the squadron commander, he was immediately sent to the depot in France, under the pretext of organizing the reinforcements which were to arrive; but, before his departure, it was a second lieutenant of the regiment who informed him, in the name of all the officers, that if he did not take off the white pelisse he would be denounced to the Emperor, and we heard no more talk."

This seems very odd that a regiment who just lost its commanding officer, senior squadron commander and was in front of the enemy would willingly send another senior officer to the depot to bring back reinforcements. If this is true, it would leave the regiment with only 1 senior officer to command all three squadrons. The task could have been given to a younger officer or a lightly wounded officer. However, we are given confirmation of d'Espinchal's words. Below is a letter from Chef d'escadron Pierre de Saint-Pern, recently promoted former Capitaine from the 13e Chasseurs a Cheval. He states in a letter written on 20 May 1809 in Hamburg, Germany advancing himself for the Legion d'honneur that he is in route to rejoin the regiment in Erfurth (Erfurt). We know from the regimental history that regimental depot is found in Namur and the regiment was quartered in Erfurt prior to the start of the 1809 campaign. Theoretically, if Saint-Pern left Teugen-Hausen area on April 19-20th and traveled directly to Namur, then Hamburg, and then finally to Erfurt, he would be making a 1,702 Km round trip ride. From the date of his letter on May 20 1809, one month after the battle, he was about 363 km away from his final destination in Erfurth (Erfurt) if this is in fact the route he took.
His Base Leonore file link


Not only are we able to back up d'Espinchal's claim about an officer who was sent away, but we can also back up the claim that Colonel Déry was wounded in the first battle of the campaign from another letter by Saint-Pern dated 7 September 1809 in Brunn. He states that "I command the regiment throughout the campaign (Colonel having been wounded in the 1st battle). I have conducted myself with valor and honor." He signed the document Lt. Colonel commanding in interim the 5e Hussards.



So to sum it all up, Colonel Déry was seriously wounded in the arm on April 19th 1809, and we are given three eye witness statements to back up this claim from General Montbrun, commanding officer of the 3e Corps Light Cavalry Division, d'Espinchal, Adj. Major of the 5e Hussards. He was in constant contact with his Colonel Déry and well versed in the numbers of men per squadron and other such administrative duties. Lastly, Saint-Pern, chef d'escadron of the 5e Hussards and interim commander of the regiment in 1809.

Unfortunately, I do not have access yet to the XB files for the regiment in 1809, but I am sure the Etat nominatif for April to May 1809, would show Saint-Pern in route to the depot and give further evidence of Colonel Déry's wound.

Lastly, a picture of Colonel Pierre César Déry who was killed during the 1812 campaign in Russia.


Bernard180912 Jul 2023 10:09 p.m. PST

Belle recherche!

J'ai un doute sur le dernier portrait.

Ce portrait nous montre un général de division portant l'aiguillette.
Le colonel Dery a fini sa carrière comme Général de brigade.
Je ne vois pas non plus le rapport entre sa carrière militaire et le port de l'aiguillette?????


Bernard180913 Jul 2023 2:09 a.m. PST

De plus, Pierre César Déry était Officier de la Légion d'Honneur depuis 1807.
Le personnage dans le portrait porte l'écharpe rouge de Grand Croix de la Légion d'Honneur.
C'est incompatible.

Ma conclusion: Il ne s'agit pas d'un portrait de Pierre César Déry.


Lilian13 Jul 2023 4:42 a.m. PST

however such portrait is attributed to him and kept in the Royal Palace of Caserta, former Kingdom of Naples where he served as Aide-de-Camp to Murat
Chevalier de l'Ordre du Wurtemberg seems to appear on the right

other interesting point especially in this board where ignorants more interested to share their limited antinappyboneyfrenchbashing certainties than really interested and curious in History explain us that Napoleon-Hitler had expelled all the blacks and mulattos from the ranks of the French Army after 1803 despite you tried several times to precise that it is fully inaccurate, this officer and general born in La Martinique is actually a French mulatto officer and he was obviously not the only one

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