General Jean-Baptiste DommangetGénéral de brigade of cavalry who served at many battles of the Empire
Born: October 17, 1769
Place of Birth: Possesse, Marne, France
Died: February 10, 1848
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: DOMMANGET on the north pillar
A clerk to a notary before joining the military, Jean-Baptiste Dommanget first enlisted in 1791 in the 23rd Cavalry Regiment. After serving in Champagne and then with the Army of the Rhine, at the end of 1793 he was sent to the Army of Italy. The next year Dommanget was promoted to lieutenant and then joined the 15th Chasseurs à Cheval. In 1796 he took part in the Italian campaign and received a promotion to capitaine, and then in 1797 he joined the 5th Dragoons. The following year Dommanget was sent to Belgium where he served against insurgents. Promoted to chef d'escadrons in 1800, Dommanget served with the 5th Dragoons under Duhesme as part of the Army of the Reserve. During the campaign in Italy that year, he distinguished himself at Crémone.
During the years of peace that followed, Dommanget was sent to Portugal for a period of time before returning to France and serving at the garrison of Joigny. In 1803 he went to the camp of Compiègne where he was appointed a major in the 8th Dragoons.
When war broke out in 1805, Dommanget's unit became part of the dragoon division commanded by General Beaumont. During the campaign that year Dommanget fought at Ried and Lambach before distinguishing himself at Austerlitz by taking Russian General Langeron prisoner. As war with Prussia loomed the following year, Dommanget was promoted to colonel of the 10th Dragoons and placed with Grouchy's division. In October of 1806 he led his men to victory at Wigneensdorf and then served at Prentzlow, and the next month he fought at Lubeck. In 1807 Dommanget fought at Hoff and Eylau in February before fighting at Friedland in June where he took a wound to the head.
Colonel Dommanget was next sent to the Spanish Peninsula in 1808. In 1809 he fought at Alba de Tormès and then in 1810 he was created a Baron of the Empire. 1811 saw Dommanget winning at Mondin and fighting at Fuentes de Onoro before being promoted to général de brigade and recalled to France.
For the campaign against Russia of 1812, General Dommanget was given command of the 3rd Light Cavalry Brigade in III Cavalry Corps. That April his unit was attached to Chastel's division, and then in August he fought at Smolensk and Wiazma. The next month he and his men fought at Borodino where he was wounded by a sabre blow to the head and another to the cheek.
After surviving the retreat from Russia, in 1813 Dommanget was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and then given command of a light cavalry brigade in the II Cavalry Corps. That May he was made a Knight of the Iron Crown and he fought at Wurschen. Continuing to serve, in October Dommanget fought at Zerbst, Leipzig , and Hanau before the army fell back to France. During the defense of France of 1814, he fought at Chaussée, Vauchamps , Vendeuvre, Bar-sur-Aube, and Villenauxe.
After Napoleon's abdication, the returning Bourbons made Dommanget a Knight of Saint Louis but also put him on non-activity. In the meantime he acquired more awards, becoming a Commander of the Order of Military Merit of Bavaria and a Commander of the Order of Saint-Henri of Saxony. When Napoleon escaped from Elba in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Dommanget rallied to him and was given command of the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Light Cavalry Division. He took part in the campaign in Belgium that June and fought at both Ligny and Waterloo.
After Napoleon's second abdication, Dommanget was again put on non-activity. In July of 1817 he was accused of a conspiracy and then secretly arrested and imprisoned in Lyon for over a month. Next Dommanget was transferred to a prison in Paris before he was finally released in October of 1817.
Updated July 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen