Colonel Claude François Henry

Engineering officer who was killed at the Siege of Valencia

Born: March 12, 1773

Place of Birth: Champlitte-la-Ville, Haute-Saône, France

Died: January 2, 1812

Cause of Death: Mortally wounded

Place of Death: Valencia, Spain

Arc de Triomphe: HENRY on the west pillar


The son of a notary, Claude François Henry joined the army in February of 1793 as a sous-lieutenant in the 83rd Infantry Regiment. Serving with the Army of the Rhine, in 1794 he joined the engineers and in 1795 he was promoted to lieutenant. In 1796 Henry joined the Army of Italy and that April he was promoted to capitaine. In 1798 he was taken prisoner and he was held until peace was signed in 1801. When war broke out four years later in 1805, Henry served with the Army of Italy.

In 1808 Henry was designated for the Army of Spain, however he fell ill and was forced to stay at the military hospital at Palmanova for many weeks. Next he traveled to Besançon to recover his strength, and then later in 1808 he made his way to Spain. Once in Spain Henry took part in the Siege of Saragossa and in March of 1809 he was promoted to chef de bataillon. That June he was named director of fortifications of Saragossa and he later became chief of staff of the the engineers of the Army of Aragon. In 1810 Henry participated in the Siege of Lérida, he was named a Knight of the Legion of Honor, and he participated at the Siege of Tortosa where he was noticed by General Suchet and also by Suchet's chief of staff, Saint-Cyr-Nugues. Promoted to colonel in March of 1811, Henry next served at the Siege of Tarragona, the Siege of Sagonte, and then the Siege of Valencia. At Valencia he was wounded near the opening of the trenches during the night of January 1st, 1812, and he died the following day. His son Nicolas Edouard was named a Baron of the Empire three months later in his honor.


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Updated September 2018

© Nathan D. Jensen