General Auguste Étienne Marie Gourlez de Lamotte

Cavalry commander who served with the Grande Armée from 1805 to 1807 and then served in Spain and Germany

Born: April 5, 1772

Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France

Died: May 8, 1836

Place of Death: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe: DELAMOTTE, A. on the south pillar


The son of a professor of medicine, Auguste Étienne Marie Gourlez de Lamotte joined the army in 1793 as a capitaine in the 12th Hussars and an aide-de-camp to General Frégeville. He served with the Army of the Pyrenees and in 1795 he quit the service due to a wound he had received. In 1798 Gourlez de Lamotte was sent by Brune on a diplomatic mission to the area of Grisons and in 1799 he served on the staff of the Army of Italy during the blockade of Gaeta. Next he was named an aide-de-camp to General Debelle and he served at the Battle of Novi where he was wounded. In 1800 Gourlez de Lamotte returned to serving with the 12th Hussars.

In 1801 Gourlez de Lamotte was named an aide-de-camp to General Oudinot and then promoted to chef d'escadrons. In 1805 he served with the Grande Armée against the Third Coalition and he was wounded at Hollabrunn in November. Gourlez de Lamotte was promoted to colonel of the 4th Dragoons in January of 1806 and then in October he and his men became part of Fauconnet's brigade in Klein's 1st Dragoon Division. Fighting at the combat of Deppen in February of 1807, he was grievously wounded. Gourlez de Lamotte was back in action with Oullenbourg's brigade of Latour-Maubourg's dragoon division in May and in June he served at the Battle of Friedland where he was again wounded.

Gourlez de Lamotte was named a Baron of the Empire in October of 1808 and the next month he was sent to Spain. In March of 1809 he received a promotion to général de brigade and then he was sent to Germany to command a brigade of dragoons. However, before the end of the year Gourlez de Lamotte was back in Spain, serving with VIII Corps. In 1810 he commanded a brigade of dragoons in the Army of Portugal and in July he was named commander of the light cavalry of Marshal Ney's VI Corps at the Siege of Almeida. The next year Gourlez de Lamotte served at the combat of Foz d'Arunce which the British won. Blamed partially for the defeat and accused of negligence, he was arrested and sent back to France by Marshal Marmont, where he retired.

A need for experienced officers in 1813 led to Gourlez de Lamotte being recalled into military service. That March he began serving with the III Cavalry Corps and then in August he took command of a brigade of the 6th Heavy Cavalry Division in V Cavalry Corps. Taking part in the defense of France in 1814, Gourlez de Lamotte served in Alsace and then Champagne. During that campaign he distinguished himself at Pavillon and Saint-Dizier in March and then in April he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and promoted to lieutenant general.

The restored Bourbons named Gourlez de Lamotte a Knight of Saint Louis but also put him on non-activity. After Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he dismissed Gourlez de Lamotte who was under indictment for wanting to hand Bayonne over to the Spanish. In November Gourlez de Lamotte married the widow of General Béchaud.


Updated January 2021

© Nathan D. Jensen