General André-François Bron de BaillyCavalry commander who served in Egypt and was taken prisoner by the British in Spain
Born: November 30, 1757
Place of Birth: Vienne, Isère, France
Died: May 18, 1847
Place of Death: Batignolles-Monceau, France
Arc de Triomphe: BRON on the south pillar
A career soldier, André-François Bron de Bailly first enlisted as a dragoon in the regiment of Artois in 1777. He earned the nickname "the good Bron" but did not advance in his career until after the onset of the Revolution. In September of 1791 Bron de Bailly was promoted to sous-lieutenant in the 18th Dragoons, and then in June of 1792 he was again promoted, this time to lieutenant. After serving with the Army of the Var he was sent to the Army of the Western Pyrenees where he was promoted to capitaine in April of 1793. Bron de Bailly saw action that July and he was wounded by a pistol shot and two sabre blows to the head in battle. In March of 1794 he was promoted to chef d'escadrons in the 24th Chasseurs à Cheval. Bron de Bailly next served in the Army of Italy throughout 1796 and 1797, and in April of 1797 he served at Storo and Brück. He was promoted to chef de brigade of the 3rd Dragoons that September.
Bron de Bailly served for a brief time in 1798 with the Army of Switzerland before being designated for the Army of the Orient. Taking part in the expedition to Egypt, in July he commanded the citadel of Cairo under General Dupuy and then in August he served at the combat of Salahieh. Bron de Bailly next served under General Murat on the expedition to Syria and he remained with the army after General Bonaparte left to return to France. In September of 1800 the commander-in-chief General Menou promoted Bron de Bailly to général de brigade. The next year Bron de Bailly served at the combat of Lake Madieh and the Battle of Canope in March. After the surrender of the French in Egypt, he returned to France and was then sent to serve under Murat in the Cisalpine.
In 1804 Bron de Bailly was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and he was assigned to the Army of Naples. Two years later he served in the reserve of dragoons under Mermet and then in January of 1807 he joined the Grande Armée to command a brigade of Grouchy's 2nd Dragoon Division. That May Bron de Bailly took command of the cavalry depot of Danzig.
In 1808 Bron de Bailly took command of a cavalry brigade organized at Poitiers and he then led them to join the Army of Spain. Once in Spain, he joined the general staff and served at Soria in December. However, before long Bron de Bailly was recalled to France and sent to the Army of Italy in early 1809. In May of 1809 he took command of the cavalry depot at Penzing and then in August he resumed command of a brigade. Next Bron de Bailly was sent back to Spain to serve in the VIII Corps under General Junot. In September of 1811 he commanded a brigade of dragoons in Latour-Maubourg's division in the Army of Andalucia. The next month he fought at the combat of Arroyo-Molinos where he was wounded and taken prisoner by the British.
Held as a prisoner of war, Bron de Baily was nonetheless named a Baron of the Empire in January of 1813. He was finally returned to France in June of 1814 and the restored Bourbons named him commander at Dôle. When Napoleon resumed power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he employed Bron de Bailly at the cavalry depot of Troyes. After the end of the Hundred Days, Bron de Bailly retired from the army.
Updated August 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen