General Pierre Decouz

Pierre Decouz
Général de division of infantry in the Young Guard who was mortally wounded at Brienne

Born: July 18, 1775

Place of Birth: Annecy, Haute-Savoie, France

Died: February 18, 1814

Cause of Death: Mortally wounded

Place of Death: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe: DECOUZ on the east pillar


Like many others during the Revolution, Pierre Decouz first joined the military as a volunteer, joining the the 2nd Battalion of Mont-Blanc in March of 1793. Less than two months later he was elected a sous-lieutenant and later that year he served at the Siege of Toulon . After the successful conclusion of the siege he was promoted to lieutenant and he was next sent to the Army of Italy where he joined the 19th demi-brigade. While serving with the Army of Italy, in early 1797 Decouz joined General Rambeaud's staff. In 1798 he stayed with Rambeaud's staff and therefore took part in the expedition to Egypt. That September Decouz was promoted to capitaine and he joined the staff of General Lannes' division. The next year he distinguished himself at the Battle of Abukir and afterwards he was promoted to chef de bataillon. Shortly thereafter, Decouz became an aide-de-camp to General Friant.

After returning to France in 1801, Decouz served as the chief of staff of the 7th military division until war was declared in 1805. For the 1805 campaign, he was appointed as the deputy chief of staff to Marshal Lannes' V Corps. In this position he served at the Battle of Austerlitz and later that month he was promoted to colonel of the 21st of the Line in General Gudin's division. The next year, during the campaigning against Russia, he performed notably at the Battle of Pultusk .

Decouz stayed with Gudin's division and in 1808 he was rewarded as a Baron of the Empire. He took part in the Danube campaign of 1809 and that June he drove the Austrians from the island of Stadt Aue. Over the following months Decouz was rewarded with a promotion to général de brigade and he became a Commander of the Legion of Honor and Knight of the Iron Crown. Decouz was next sent to Italy and employed in the Army of Naples, where he was ordered to watch the port of Otranto. In 1811 he was given command of the 3rd Brigade in the Corps of Observation of Italy.

General Decouz's next major command came in March of 1813 when he joined the Old Guard as a major in the 1st Chasseurs à Pied. A month later he was given command of the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Young Guard. That August Decouz was promoted to général de division, he took command of the 51st Infantry Division in XIV Corps, and he fought at the Battle of Dresden. At Dresden he also took command of the 3rd Division of the Young Guard. The next month Decouz served under Marshal Oudinot, and then in December he took command of the 2nd Division of the Young Guard. With France now under attack, in January of 1814 Decouz was placed under Marshal Ney's command, and he fought at the Battle of Brienne where he was shot twice in the chest. Three weeks later he finally succumbed to these wounds.


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Updated October 2015

© Nathan D. Jensen