General François Lanusse

François Lanusse
Général de division who was killed at Canope

Born: November 3, 1772

Place of Birth: Habas, Landes, France

Died: March 21, 1801

Cause of Death: Mortally wounded

Place of Death: Canope, Egypt

Arc de Triomphe: LANUSSE on the south pillar


Joining the National Guard of Agen in 1789, François Lanusse remained with them until 1792 when he joined a company of grenadiers of Limoges as a lieutenant. In February of 1793 he joined the 5th Battalion of Volunteers of Haute-Vienne and two weeks later he was elected a lieutenant colonel of the volunteers. Lanusse spent 1793 serving in the Vendée and he was then transferred to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. While serving under Sauret in 1794, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Montagne Noire and was promoted to chef de brigade shortly afterwards.

In early 1796 Lanusse was placed in charge of one of the mobile columns traveling to join the Army of Italy. Once there he joined Masséna's division, distinguishing himself at the head of the 8th Light at the Battle of Dego . Later that month General Bonaparte promoted him to général de brigade to replace the fallen General Causse. Next Lanusse commanded the 3rd Brigade under Masséna and he fought at Fombio. He was then placed under Despinoy to take part in the siege of the citadel of Milan and then in August he joined Augereau's division. After commanding Augereau's light infantry at Primolano, in November he fought at Brenta where he was grievously wounded by a saber blow and consequently taken prisoner. Freed not long after, by February of 1797 he was recovered and he took command of a brigade under Victor.

Serving as commander of Toulon in September, Lanusse was designated for the Army of England and then later the Army of the Orient. He left for Egypt on the sloop Vif in June of 1798. After disembarking at Alexandria, Lanusse traveled with the army until August when he was named governor of the province of Menouf, replacing Zayonchek. In this capacity he won the battle of Mit-Ghamar and alongside Murat he won the battles of Mit-el-Haroun and Gebelal Tell. In 1799 Lanusse retook Damanhour which had revolted against French rule and he defeated El Modhy at Koufour-Negoum. Next he was attached to Rampon's division for the upcoming Battle of Abukir. Shortly after the victory at Abukir, he returned to govern his province and he later commanded from Damietta.

In January of 1800 Lanusse was ordered to return with his troops to Cairo. That same month he replaced Friant as commander of the columns returning to Cairo and he was promoted by General Kléber to général de division. In March of 1801 Lanusse joined Friant and tried to stop the British march by Lake Madieh. Slightly wounded in the action and overpowered by the superior numbers of the British, he was forced to fall back. Barely more than a week later, Lanusse was commanding the left at the Battle of Canope . During the night attack, he attacked the British defensive positions and also rallied Valentin's brigade. Sometime during the course of the battle, Lanusse reportedly accused General Menou of incompetence.1 He was perhaps justified in this statement, for the loss of the battle effectively ended the French presence in Egypt, and as the battle continued to rage his left knee was shattered by grapeshot. His leg was amputated but it was not enough to save him for Lanusse died within a few hours.



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Updated March 2023

© Nathan D. Jensen