General Jean François Graindorge
Born: July 1, 1770
Place of Birth: Saint-Pois, Manche, France
Died: October 1, 1810
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Carquejo, Portugal
Arc de Triomphe: GRAINDORGE on the west pillar
Joining the army during the Revolution as a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion of Volunteers of Orne in September of 1791, Jean François Graindorge soon joined the Army of the North. In June of 1792 he was wounded by a shot to the right thigh at the combat of Grisoëlle near Maubeuge, and then in September he was wounded by a shot to the head. On September 8th, 1793 Graindorge fought at the Battle of Hondschoote where he was wounded by a shot to the body and then three weeks later he received a promotion to capitaine. In June of 1794 he served at Charleroi where he was wounded by four sabre blows, three to the head and one to the left arm. As the army was reorganized, Graindorge joined the Army of the Sambre and Meuse. In September of 1795 he served at the crossing of the Rhine where he was again wounded, this time by a shot to the left knee. Graindorge's next major action came in July of 1796 when he served at the crossing of the Rhine at Neuwied. In April of 1797 he took part in the second crossing of the Rhine where he was the first to enter the redoubts and General Hoche promoted him to chef de bataillon on the battlefield. In 1798 Graindorge joined the Army of Switzerland and in July of 1799 he won at Davos and he was promoted to chef de brigade but the promotion was not confirmed. Two months later he served at the Battle of Zürich at the crossing of the Limmat and he was again promoted to chef de brigade by General Masséna. Graindorge joined the 36th of the Line in November and then in 1800 he joined the Army of the Rhine. That May he served under Molitor at Messkirch and Memmingen.
During the years of peace that followed, Graindorge served in garrison at Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1803 he went to the camp of Saint-Omer and in 1805 he was promoted to général de brigade. Later that year the army moved out to confront the Third Coalition and Graindorge took command of the 2nd Brigade of Gazan's 2nd Division of Marshal Lannes' V Corps. That November he took part in the Battle of Dürenstein and when the situation got bleak he tried to escape aboard a boat but he was captured. Released in 1806, Graindorge retook command of his brigade in Gazan's division. For the campaign of 1806 against the Fourth Coalition, he fought at Saalfeld in October and then at Pultusk in December. In February of 1807, Graindorge fought at three battles, first at Ostrowno, then at Stanislawova, and last at Ostrolenka where he distinguished himself.
In October of 1807 General Graindorge joined the 3rd Division of I Corps of the Observation of the Gironde. Moving through Spain and into Portugal in 1808, he was named commander at Setubal in March. Graindorge remained in that position until July and then in November he joined the VIII Corps of the Army of Spain. In December he took command of the 1st Brigade of Heudelet's division and then in 1809 he was named a Commander of the Legion of the Honor and a Baron of the Empire. In January of 1810 Graindorge took command of the 2nd Brigade of Merle's division and in September he led his men into battle at the Battle of Bussaco . During the battle he was badly wounded by grapeshot fired by the British artillery and he died a few days later.
- Divry, Arnauld. Les Noms Gravés sur l'Arc de Triomphe. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2017.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated April 2019
© Nathan D. Jensen