General Jacques-Antoine-Adrien DelortCavalry commander who distinguished himself in Spain over many years
Born: November 16, 1773
Place of Birth: Arbois, Jura, France
Died: March 28, 1846
Place of Death: Arbois, France
Arc de Triomphe: DELORT on the west pillar
Volunteering to join the army during the Revolution, Jacques-Antoine-Adrien Delort joined the 4th Battalion of Jura in August of 1791. The next year he served in the Army of the Rhine and the Army of the Center and he received two promotions, to sous-lieutenant and then lieutenant. Over the following years Delort went on to serve in the Army of the Coasts of La Rochelle, the Army of the Alps, the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, and the Army of the Interior. During this time he was promoted to capitaine of cavalry in 1793 and he distinguished himself in combat in 1794.
In 1797 Delort was assigned to General Sérurier's staff and but he also continued to serve as a cavalry officer. Two years later he was serving with the Army of Italy and he fought at the Battle of Pastrengo, receiving a promotion to chef d'escadrons shortly after the battle. The year 1800 saw Delort serving with the 22nd Cavalry and distinguishing himself at Mantua. The next year he served in garrison, eventually staying at the 27th military division. Delort received a promotion to major in the 9th Dragoons in 1803 and he was sent with his men to the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean.
When war broke out in 1805, Delort served on the campaign. Serving at Wertingen in October, he took over command of the regiment after the commander Maupetit was wounded. Delort led the regiment into action at the Battle of Austerlitz, charging Russian cossacks and being wounded by two lance blows. In 1806 Delort was promoted to colonel of the 24th Dragoons and sent to the Army of Naples.
Delort remained in Italy until 1808 when he joined the French army in Spain. He served at the Sieges of Roses and Gerona and that December he served at Cardeheu and Molins del Rey. In February of 1809 Delort fought at Valls where he was wounded by a shot to the right leg. Later that year he served at the sieges of Hostalrich and Olot. 1810 was a very busy year for Delort, starting with him fighting at the pass of Cespina in January where he was wounded by a sabre blow to the left arm. In February he fought at Vich, in March he fought at Vendrell, and then in April he fought at Villafranca. That September he covered the retreat on Barcelona and won at Cervera, and then the following month he was recognized as a Knight of the Empire. Not slowing down, Delort went on to serve at the Siege of Tortosa and then in January of 1811 he was further recognized as a Baron of the Empire.
Delort still had plenty to do in Spain, and on January 15th of 1811 he fought at Valls again where he was badly wounded by multiple sabre blows. Nevertheless he recovered, and in June he took part in the assault on Tarragona. That July Delort received a promotion to général de brigade and he went on to later win at Villaréal. Delort served at the Battle of Sagonte in October and then won at Torrente in December. In 1812 he took part in the actions surrounding the Siege of Valencia and expeditions against Alicante. In that time Delort also took command of the cavalry of the advance guard of the Army of Aragon, and then in July he began a series of victorious actions, winning at Castalla, Aspe, Jumilla, Villena, and Yecla in 1812.
General Delort continued to serve in Spain, winning at the combat on the Jucar in June of 1813. The next month he covered Marshal Suchet's retreat as the French fell back, and then in August he helped to lift the siege of Tarragona. That September Delort fought at the pass of Ordal and then in October he fought at the defile of Gariga.
Delort was called back to Paris in January of 1814 to take command of a reserve brigade of cavalry. He took his brigade to Champagne and served during the defense of France, fighting at Montereau in February where he was badly bruised on the left leg. A little over a week later, he received a promotion to général de division and was given command of the 2nd Division of II Cavalry Corps.
After Napoleon's abdication in April, Delort was named a Knight of Saint Louis but also put on non-activity by the restored Bourbons. When Napoleon resumed power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Delort rallied to him and was given command of the 14th Cavalry Division in Milhaud's IV Cavalry Corps. General Delort took part in the campaign in Belgium that June, fighting at the Battle of Ligny where he and his men charged the Prussians. Two days later he fought at the Battle of Waterloo where he was wounded by a shot to the leg and a blow to the arm. After Napoleon's second abdication, the restored Bourbons put Delort on non-activity and he retired from the army.
Please see the Appendix about the name DELORT on the Arc de Triomphe.
Updated July 2015
© Nathan D. Jensen