General Joseph Pépin

Général de brigade who was killed at the Battle of Albuera

Born: May 23, 1765

Place of Birth: Pont-Saint-Esprit, Gard, France

Died: May 16, 1811

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Place of Death: Albuera, Spain

Arc de Triomphe: PEPIN on the west pillar


The son of a master mason, Joseph Pépin joined the army in August of 1792 when he was elected a sous-lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of Grenadiers of Gard. He initially served with the Army of the Alps but in 1793 he was sent to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees. In March of 1793 Pépin was promoted to lieutenant, in June he was promoted to capitaine, and in December he was promoted to chef de bataillon. Once peace was signed with Spain in 1795, Pépin was sent to the Army of Italy. The following year he distinguished himself at the Battle of Dego where he saved the flag of his battalion from being captured. In 1798 Pépin joined the Army of the Orient and he served with Reynier's division. That October during the revolt of Cairo he was grievously wounded by seven saber blows at the head and a pistol shot to the right leg. By 1799 he had recovered enough to serve on the expedition to Syria and in February he served at the Siege of El Arisch. Afterwards Pépin returned to Cairo and in October of that year he was promoted to chef de brigade of the 9th of the Line.

After returning to France, Pépin served in garrison at Autun and then at Strasbourg. In 1804 he joined Grouchy's division and in 1805 he served in Italy. Pépin remained in Italy through 1807 and then in January of 1808 he was sent home for living beyond his means. However the next month he was sent to Spain and then in March he was named colonel of the 2nd Regiment. Pépin served at Saint-Sébastien in April and then in July he took command of a brigade of the Army of Spain. That November he distinguished himself at the Battle of Tudela and he then went on to serve under Bisson in Navarre. In December Pépin was promoted to général de brigade and he served at Saragossa where he received three wounds. In February of 1809 Pépin took command of the 1st Brigade of Gazan's 2nd Division of V Corps. In 1810 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and a Baron of the Empire. That August he defeated Lascy at Manzanilla and retook Moguer, forcing the enemy to re-embark on their ships. In May of 1811 Pépin fought at the Battle of Albuera where he was killed in action.


Updated October 2019

© Nathan D. Jensen