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Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty

French cavalry commander

Died when: 46 years 258 days (560 months)
Star Sign: Gemini


Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty

Étienne-Marie-Antoine Champion, comte de Nansouty (French pronunciation: ?[etj?n ma?i ?~twan ??~pj?~ k?~t d? n?~suti]; 30 May 1768 – 12 February 1815) was a French cavalry commander during the French Revolutionary Wars who rose to the rank of General of Division in 1803 and subsequently held important military commands during the Napoleonic Wars.

Of noble Burgundian descent, he was a student at the Brienne military school, then was a graduate of the Paris military school.

Nansouty began his military career in 1785, as a sub-lieutenant in the regiment Bourgogne-Infanterie, where his father had served during the wars of Louis XV.

A cavalry officer at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792, Nansouty was commissioned as an aide-de-camp to Marshal Nicolas Luckner.

During the First Coalition, he saw service as a lieutenant-colonel and squadron commander in the 9th (heavy) Cavalry Regiment, campaigning with the French armies on the Rhine and in Germany.

Promoted to colonel in 1793 and given the command of the 9th Cavalry, he was noted for several well-led cavalry actions.

Finally made a brigadier general in 1799, after he had refused the promotion several times in the past, Nansouty fought the next year under General Jean Victor Moreau in southern Germany, in a decisive campaign of the Second Coalition.

Promoted to the top military rank of General of Division in 1803, Nansouty was called to the command of the 1st Heavy Cavalry Division in Emperor Napoleon I's newly created Grande Armée.

Commanding this division from 1804 to 1809, Nansouty was present at some of the most significant battles of the Third, Fourth and Fifth coalitions, leading cavalry actions at the battles of Austerlitz, Friedland, Eckmühl, Aspern-Essling and Wagram.

In 1812, during the campaign in Russia, Nansouty commanded the I Cavalry Corps, which he led with distinction at such battles as Ostrovno and Borodino, where he received a severe knee wound.

The next year, he commanded the Imperial Guard cavalry, which he led at Dresden, Leipzig and Hanau, where he was again wounded.

In 1814 he led his men in several engagements, including La Rothière, Montmirail, Vauchamps and Craonne until his incapacitation from wounds that year.

A member of the military elite of the First French Empire and a recipient of the Grand Aigle de la Légion d'Honneur, Comte de Nansouty was a member of the Military Household of the Emperor as First Squire of the Emperor, and also held the position of Colonel-General of Dragoons.

During the Bourbon Restoration, Louis XVIII awarded him additional honours and commands, including one in the Military Household of the King of France.

Nansouty died in February 1815 and is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.His name is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe and a street in the 14th arrondissement of Paris is named after him.

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