General Louis Jacques CoëhornOfficer who served at many of the great battles of the empire and who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813
Born: January 16, 1771
Place of Birth: Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France
Died: October 29, 1813
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Leipzig, Germany
Arc de Triomphe: COËHORN on the east pillar
The son of an infantry colonel, Louis Jacques Coëhorn enlisted in the Colonel Général dragoon regiment in 1783. A year later he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant and then four years after that in 1788 he was promoted to lieutenant. 1792 found Coëhorn serving in French Guiana and he was promoted to capitaine that June. In July of 1793 he resigned due to sickness and only a few weeks later he left Cayenne to return to France. Once back in France, Coëhorn joined the 1st Battalion of Soldiers of Nantes and he served with the Army of the Coasts of Brest. In 1794 he worked for Decaen and at the end of the year he joined the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. In April and May of 1795 Coëhorn distinguished himself near Mainz and then in June he joined the general staff of the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. In September he began serving with General Montrichard and then in November he fought at Pfeddersheim and Lambsheim. 1796 was a busy year for Coëhorn as he served near General Sainte-Suzanne before rejoining Decaen in the advance guard at the end of June. That month he fought at Renchen and then in July he fought at Rastadt and Ettlingen. Finally in August of 1796 Coëhorn became an official aide-de-camp to General Decaen. He next went on to serve at Neresheim and Geisenfeld. As the army retreated during September, Coëhorn tried to prevent soldiers from pillaging the countryside and the soldiers turned on him, inflicting eleven wounds on Coëhorn and leaving him for dead. Coëhorn was found by the enemy and taken prisoner, but he recovered from his wounds.
In May of 1797 Coëhorn was released and then in June he was promoted to chef de bataillon. In 1798 he served in the Army of England and then in 1799 he served with the Army of the Danube. That March he distinguished himself at Ostrach and four days later he fought at Stockach where he was wounded by a shot that broke his left foot in multiple places. In August Coëhorn was promoted to chef de brigade and then in April of 1800 he joined the Army of the Rhine in Delmas' division. At the end of the month he served at the crossing of the Alb and then he took command of the advance guard. May saw Coëhorn fighting at multiple battles, first winning at Hohentwiel, then fighting at Engen, Messkirch, and Biberach. He went on to serve at Weissenhorn and Neresheim and then he joined Grandjean's division. At the end of June Coëhorn served at the combat of Neubourg. As hostilities resumed that November, Coëhorn served under General Klein.
During the years of peace that followed, Coëhorn served in the 26th military division. In August of 1803 he was sent to the camp of Bruges where he later became chief of staff of the 1st Division under Davout. In 1805 the Grande Armée marched east to face the Third Coalition and Coëhorn served on the campaign with III Corps. During that campaign he took part in the combat of Lambach and then the Battle of Austerlitz. In 1806 Coëhorn fought against the Prussians at the Battle of Auerstädt where he was wounded. Continuing to serve, he was wounded by a ball before Warsaw in November. In March of 1807 Coëhorn was promoted to général de brigade and in April he took command of the 3rd Brigade of Oudinot's division. In May he served at Weichselmünde near Danzig and then in June he fought at the Battle of Friedland where he was wounded when a ball pierced his thigh. Coëhorn was named a Baron of the Empire in November of 1808.
In April of 1809 the Austrians attacked France's ally Bavaria and Coëhorn took command of the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division of Oudinot's corps. Later that month he served at Pfaffenhofen and Landshut and then the relief of Passau. In recognition of his achievements, he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. In May Coëhorn played an important part in the combat at Ebersberg and then he served at the Battle of Aspern-Essling . The following month he took command of the 1st Brigade of Frère's 2nd Division and he was named a Knight of the Order of Military Merit of Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria. Next in July Coëhorn served at the Battle of Wagram where he was again wounded.
In May of 1810 Coëhorn went on leave for health reasons and he remained on leave for more than a year. In the meantime he was named a Commander of the Order of Military Merit of Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria. Coëhorn returned to active duty in July of 1811 when he was employed in the 3rd Division of the Reserve Corps of Observation in Spain. However, less than two months later he fell sick at Pampelune and he returned to Paris to recover. In 1813 Coëhorn returned to active service again to take part in the campaign in Saxony. He took command of the 2nd Brigade of Bonet's 3rd Division of VI Corps and in May he served at the Battle of Lützen. Next Coëhorn passed to Friederichs' division and he served at Bautzen and later he defended Meissen. In October he fought at the Battle of Leipzig where his left thigh was shattered by a ball. Taken prisoner, Coëhorn agreed to an amputation of his leg to save his life, but unfortunately he died from complications of the amputation at the end of the month.
Updated March 2022
© Nathan D. Jensen