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Lasalle, Count Antoine Charles Louis (1775-1809).

French general. Principal wars: French Revolutionary (1792-1799) and Napoleonic Wars (1800-1815). Principal battles: Rivoli (1797), the Pyramids (1798), Austerlitz (Slavkov) (1805); Prenzlau, Stettin (Szczecin) (1806); Eylau (Bagrationovsk) (1807); Medina de Rioseca (1808); Medellin (near Valdivia), Aspern-Essling, Raab (Gyor), Wagram (1809).

Born May 10, 1775, at Metz in Lorraine; joined the Royalist army as a second lieutenant of infantry (1786) but transferred to the cavalry for the Revolutionary wars; he commanded a squadron of hussars in the Army of Italy and distinguished himself at Rivoli (January 14, 1797) by capturing an Austrian battalion; he transferred to the Army of Egypt and fought bravely at the Pyramids (July 21, 1798); he was taken prisoner in 1800 when the army surrendered but was quickly repatriated and later served in Italy and the Gironde; he was promoted to general of brigade (February 1, 1805) and distinguished himself at Austerlitz (December 2) and Schleiz (October 9, 1806); after Jena-Auerstadt (near Weimar) (October 14) his vigorous pursuit of the Prussian army was important in forcing Hohenlohe's surrender at Prenzlau (October 28); he then tricked the Prussian garrison of Stettin into surrendering to his force of 800 hussars (October 29); he witnessed Blucher's surrender at Lubeck (November 7) and then fought at Golymin (December 26); his exceptional service earned him a promotion to general of division (December 30) and the command of twelve regiments of hussars and chasseurs under Murat; his division was present at Eylau (February 7-8, 1807) but was inactive; he led the division at Heilsberg (Lidzbark Warminski) (June 10), where he saved Murat's life and was in turn rescued by Murat when his division was dispersed by Russian cavalry and artillery fire; he was created a Count of the Empire (March 10, 1808), and was transferred to the Army of Spain (1808), where he commanded a division of light cavalry at Torquemada (June 6) and Medina de Rioseca (July 14); at Medellin (March 28, 1809) he led the 26th Dragoons in a charge that broke a 6,000-man square and led to the rout of the Spanish army; he was then transferred to the Army of Germany (April 22) and commanded the light cavalry of Bessieres' Reserve Cavalry Corps; he fought at Aspern-Essling (May 21-22) and at the siege of Raab (July 15-24); during the second day of the battle of Wagram (July 5-6, 1809) he was shot through the forehead and killed while leading a charge.

Lasalle was the beau sabreur of the French Napoleonic light cavalry; he was intelligent, quick, aggressive, courageous, and the perfect light cavalry commander; he was a strict disciplinarian but took excellent care of his men and was much loved by them; he was too wild and reckless for corps command but performed credibly as a divisional commander; George Six described him as "only a saber, but well tempered." <BL>

Sources:
Clery, R. de, Lasalle. Paris, 1899.
Hourtoulle, I. G., Le General Conte Charles Lasalle. Paris,
     1970.
Six, G., Dictionnaire biographique des generaux et amiraux francais
     de la Revolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814), 3 vols. Paris,
     1934-1938.

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Author:Hawkins, Vincent B.
Publication:The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Words:510
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