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Grouchy, Emmanuel, Marquis of (1766-1847).

French Marshal of the Empire. Principal wars: French Revolutionary (1792-1799) and Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815). Principal battles: Novi (1799); Hohenlinden (near Munich) (1800); Eylau (Bagrationovsk), Friedland (Pravdinsk) (1807); Wagram (1809); Borodino, Maloyaroslavetz (near Kaluga), Krasnoye (Smolensk region) (1812); Vauchamps (near Montmirail), Craonne (1814); Ligny, Wavre (1815).

Born October 23, 1766, at the Chateau of Villette near Paris, the son of Francis James, Marquis of Grouchy; a cadet in the Strasbourg Artillery School (1780-81) and was commissioned a lieutenant in the artillery (1781); he transferred to the cavalry (1784); after a brief return to civilian life, served as a cavalry commander in the armies of the Center and of the Alps (1792); he assisted in suppressing the Vendee insurrection (1793); forced to resign because of his noble status; he returned to duty (1794); he served as chief of staff under Hoche in the Army of the West (1795) suppressing the British-supported revolt in the Quiberon peninsula (June-July 1795); he was Hoche's second in command for the unsuccessful invasion of Ireland (1796); served in Italy as chief of staff to Moreau (1799); at Novi he was wounded and captured by the Russians under Suvarov (August 15, 1799); after he was exchanged, he commanded an infantry division in the Army of the Rhine at Hohenlinden (December 3, 1800); he was inspector general of cavalry (1801-1805); commanded a division under Marmont in the Ulm-Austerlitz (Slavkov) campaign (1805); he fought with distinction at Eylau (February 7-8, 1807); he was at Friedland (June 14); cavalry commander of the Army of Spain and governor of Madrid; in Italy, he commanded the 1st Dragoon Division under Prince Eugene, Viceroy of Italy (1809); he led this division brilliantly at the Raab (June 14); at Wagram he commanded a cuirassier division in Davant's corps (July 5-6); in the Russian campaign he commanded the III Corps of Reserve Cavalry under Prince Eugene, making decisive charges at Borodino, where he was again wounded (September 7, 1812); he fought at Maloyaroslavetz (October 24-25), Krasnoye (November 17), and at the Berezina River (November 27-29); his failing health prevented him from taking an active part in the campaign in Germany (1813), but he was made commander in chief of the cavalry, fighting in most of the engagements of the 1814 campaign; during the First Restoration, he was inspector general of chasseurs and lancers, but he returned to Napoleon's service for the Hundred Days; he was the twenty-sixth and last of Napoleon's marshals to receive his baton (April 15, 1815); he commanded the cavalry of the Army of the North, and then the right wing of the army; he fought at Ligny (June 16) and Wavre (June 18); his failure either to reinforce Napoleon at Waterloo or to prevent Blucher from supporting Wellington contributed to Napoleon's defeat; during the Second Restoration he left France in disgrace for America; when the ban against him was lifted he was restored to the rank of marshal on November 19, 1831; he died in Paris June 7, 1847; his memoirs were edited and published by G. de Grouchy in 1873.

Grouchy was a courageous and decisive cavalry commander, as evident from his many victories, but he lacked the imagination and confidence necessary for large, independent commands; Napoleon was partly to blame for Grouchy's failure in the Waterloo campaign since he knew Grouchy's weaknesses and did not give sufficiently detailed instructions, but Grouchy's lack of vigor was his own failure. <BL>
Delderfield, R. F., Napoleon's Marshals. New York, 1962.
Grouchy, Emmanuel de, Memoires de marechal de Grouchy. Paris,
Six, George, Dictionnaire biographique des generaux et amiraux
     francais de la Revolution et de I'Empire (1792-1814), Vols. I and II.
     Paris, 1934-1938.
Young, Peter, Napoleon's Marshals. New York, 1973.

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Author:Hawkins, Vincent B.
Publication:The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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