General Eléonore Bernard Anne Christophe Zoa Dufriche de ValazéEngineering officer who served with I Corps from 1805 to 1807 and then in Spain and Saxony
Born: February 12, 1780
Place of Birth: Essay, Orne, France
Died: March 26, 1838
Place of Death: Nice, France
Arc de Triomphe: VALAZÉ on the south pillar
The son of a member of the National Convention, Eléonore Bernard Anne Christophe Zoa Dufriche de Valazé entered the École Polytechnique in December of 1798. Two years later he left as a sous-lieutenant to attend the engineering school of Metz. Promoted to lieutenant at the end of 1801, Dufriche de Valazé was next employed at Cherbourg. In 1803 he was sent to the Army of Hanover where he served in the staff and that October he was promoted to capitaine.
In 1805 Dufriche de Valazé served with the Grande Armée on campaign against the Third Coalition. He served as part of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps, was wounded at the Battle of Austerlitz, and was then promoted to chef de bataillon and chief of staff of the engineers of I Corps. In October of 1806 Dufriche de Valazé was named deputy commander of the engineers of I Corps and in April of 1807 he became the commander of the engineers of I Corps. He fought at the Battle of Friedland in June of 1807.
Called to Spain in 1808, Dufriche de Valazé served as chief of staff of engineers at the Siege of Saragossa. In June of 1809 he took command of the engineers of VIII Corps in Germany and he was named a Knight of the Order of Saint Henry of Saxony. Dufriche de Valazé returned to Spain in 1810 and in March and April he directed the Siege of Astorga where he was wounded by a ball to the head. After receiving a promotion to colonel in May, in June he began to direct the Siege of Ciudad-Rodrigo. During that siege Dufriche de Valazé was wounded in the head and shoulder by a grenade. After the successful conclusion of that siege he was named commander of engineers of VIII Corps in the Army of Portugal. In January of 1811 Dufriche de Valazé was appointed chief of staff of the engineers of the Army of Portugal and then in June he became commander of the engineers of the Army of Portugal. He continued to serve in the Iberian Peninsula in 1812.
In 1813 Dufriche de Valazé served in Saxony as commander of the engineers of Marshal Ney's III Corps. That May he served at the battles of Lützen and Bautzen and in August he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and promoted to général de brigade. In September Dufriche de Valazé took command of the engineers of Marshal Macdonald's XI Corps and in October he served at the Battle of Leipzig and the Battle of Hanau. For the defense of France of 1814, he served in Champagne and in March he served at Arcis-sur-Aube.
After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, Dufriche de Valazé was sent to Magdebourg to handle the surrender of that place. He was then put on non-activity and named a Knight of Saint Louis. In 1815 Napoleon returned from exile and resumed power and Dufriche de Valazé was given command of the engineers of Gérard's IV Corps in the Army of the North. Dufriche de Valazé served in Belgium on the campaign in June and afterwards he took part in organizing the defense of Paris before joining the Army of the Loire. He was put on non-activity upon the Second Restoration but he resumed a successful military career in 1816. In 1820 he was named a Knight of the Order of the Sword of Sweden and in 1834 he was elected a deputy of Orne.
Updated February 2021
© Nathan D. Jensen