General Frédéric Auguste Beurmann

Cavalry officer who served in the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard in 1805 and later rose to become a general

Born: September 22, 1777

Place of Birth: Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France

Died: April 13, 1815

Cause of Death: Suicide

Place of Death: Metz, France

Arc de Triomphe: BEURMANN, J=F. on the west pillar


Born into a military family, Frédéric Auguste Beurmann was adopted as the child of the regiment of Salm-Salm in 1784 alongside his brother Jean Ernest Beurmann. He became a soldier and in 1792 he was provisionally commissioned as a sous-lieutenant in the 62nd Infantry. He also served at the camp of Sarreguemines. In June of 1793 Beurmann became an aide-de-camp to General Kléber and he served at the defense of Mainz. In 1794 he joined the Army of the Sambre and Meuse and at the end of 1795 he was promoted to lieutenant. Four years later in 1799 Beurmann served with the Army of the Danube and the Army of Switzerland and he became an aide-de-camp to General Mortier. That September, shortly after the French victory at the Battle of Zürich , Beurmann was promoted to capitaine by the commander-in-chief General Masséna. Beurmann was next sent to the Army of the Rhine in 1800 and that November he joined the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Consular Guard. Not long after he was sent on a mission with Duroc to Saint Petersburg.

In 1802 Beurmann was promoted to chef d'escadrons and he took command of one of the four squadrons of the prestigious Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard. In 1804 and 1805 he served with the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean and in 1805 he participated with the Grande Armée in the campaign in Austria. Beurmann fought at the Battle of Austerlitz where he was wounded by two bayonet blows. In February of 1806 he was promoted to colonel of the 17th Dragoons and so he left the Guard. That October Beurmann joined Laplanche's brigade in Sahuc's division and he took part in the campaign against Prussia. In May of 1807 Beurmann joined La Houssaye's division.

In 1808 Beurmann was named a Baron of the Empire and sent to Spain where he would remain for a few years. In January of 1809, on the night before the Battle of Corunna , he was wounded by a shot to the left heel. Four months later, on May 12th Beurmann defended the bridge of Amaranthe where he was wounded by a shot to the right cheek. That August he seized five cannons and ten caissons at the crossing of the Tage. In August of 1811 Beurmann was promoted to général de brigade and that year he returned to France.

At the end of 1811 Beurmann took command of the 14th Brigade of Light Cavalry and in 1812 he served under Marshal Ney for the campaign against Russia. In August of 1812 Beurmann fought at Inkowo and in September he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. After surviving the retreat from Russia, in the spring of 1813 he commanded a brigade of light cavalry under Vandamme. Serving in Saxony, in June Beurmann took command of the 10th Brigade of Light Cavalry in Marshal Ney's III Corps. That August he was fighting near Bunzlau where he was wounded in the kidneys by a ball. In October Beurmann fought near Dessau and then at the Battle of Leipzig . As the army retreated from the loss at Leipzig, Beurmann commanded the rear guard from the Rhine to Metz. During the defense of France of 1814, he took part in the defense of Metz. After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, Beurmann was placed on non-activity but also named a Knight of the Order of Military Merit. He was then given a command in the 15th military division but he requested to be retired instead. In April Beurmann committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol.


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Updated October 2019

© Nathan D. Jensen