General Jean-Pierre Doumerc


Jean-Pierre Doumerc Commander of heavy cavalry who served at Austerlitz, Friedland, and the Berezina



Born: October 7, 1767

Place of Birth: Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France

Legion of Honor: Grand Cross

Imperial Nobility: Baron

Died: March 29, 1847

Place of Death: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe: DOUMERC on the north pillar




A career cavalry soldier, Jean-Pierre Doumerc first enlisted in the Dauphin's Dragoons in 1783. He left the service in 1788 only to return in 1791 as a sous-lieutenant in the 4th Chasseurs à Cheval. In 1792 Doumerc served in the Army of the Alps and was promoted to lieutenant, and in 1793 he joined the Army of the Rhine. Later that year he was appointed an aide-de-camp of General Pichegru. 1794 saw Doumerc joining the Army of the North, receiving a promotion to chef d'escadrons, and joining the 11th Cavalry Regiment. In late 1795 Doumerc returned to the 4th Chasseurs à Cheval and rejoined the Army of the Rhine. Doumerc served with the Army of Italy in 1797 and then the Army of England in 1798 and 1799, and he was promoted to chef de brigade in 1799 and went on to serve in the 9th Cavalry in the Army of the Rhine.

After the years of peace of the early 1800s, Colonel Doumerc joined General Nansouty's division in August of 1805 for the campaign against Austria. At the conclusion of the campaign, he fought at the Battle of Austerlitz that December. When Prussia went to war with France in 1806, Doumerc continued to serve in Nansouty's division in Prussia. At the very end of the year he received a promotion to général de brigade and was then employed in General Grouchy's division. In April of 1807 Doumerc took command of the 2nd Brigade of Cuirassiers and he led them into action that June at the Battle of Friedland.

In 1808 General Doumerc was recognized as a Baron of the Empire and assigned to the Army of Germany. He continued to command the 2nd Brigade of Nansouty's division until March of 1810 when he became inspector of cavalry depots of the 5th military division. In November of 1811 Doumerc was promoted to général de division and given command of the 3rd Cuirassiers.

For the campaign of 1812 against Russia, General Doumerc and his division were attached to the III Cavalry Corps. That May he and his men were detached to serve with Marshal Oudinot's II Corps and during the campaign they fought at both the first Battle of Polotsk and the second Battle of Polotsk . After rejoining what was left of the main army, Doumerc served at the Battle of the Berezina where he distinguished himself.

In 1813 Doumerc continued to command the 3rd Cuirassiers, this time serving in Latour-Maubourg's I Cavalry Corps. That August he and his men fought at the Battle of Dresden. In 1814 they continued to fight during the defense of France, notably serving at La Rothière, Vauchamps , Lizy-sur-Ourcq, and Neuilly-Saint-Front.

After Napoleon's abdication, the restored Bourbons named Doumerc inspector general of cavalry for the 9th and 10th military divisions and a Knight of Saint Louis. In December of 1814 he was appointed inspector general of cavalry for the 3rd military division. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he appointed Doumerc to a commission to examine promotions made by the Bourbon government. After the loss of the Battle of Waterloo, Doumerc was ordered to form a cavalry corps from a variety of units at Saint-Denis. A few months later he was put on non-activity.


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Updated December 2014

© Nathan D. Jensen