General Charles-Louis-Joseph-Olivier GuéhéneucBrother-in-law and aide-de-camp to Marshal Lannes who later became an aide-de-camp to Napoleon
Born: June 7, 1783
Place of Birth: Valenciennes, Nord, France
Died: August 26, 1849
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: GUÉHÉNEUC on the west pillar
The son of a senator, Charles-Louis-Joseph-Olivier Guéhéneuc's sister Louise had married General Lannes in 1800. He first joined the military in 1803 and served in the 10th Light, being promoted to sergeant in late 1803. The next year he was attached to the staff of the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean at the camp of Boulogne and promoted to sous-lieutenant.
In 1805 Guéhéneuc became aide-de-camp to his brother in law, Marshal Lannes, and served throughout the Austrian campaign. In the summer of 1806 he received a promotion to lieutenant and then served throughout Prussia and Poland for the remainder of the year, being promoted to captain at the very end of 1806. Still continuing as an aide-de-camp to his brother-in-law, he was wounded by a ball to the left arm at the Battle of Friedland. Rewards followed in the form of being named a Knight of the Order of Saint-Henri of Saxony and receiving a promotion to chef de bataillon.
Following Lannes to Spain, Guéhéneuc was wounded by a shot at Tudela in November of 1808. Two months later he received a promotion to colonel and then returned to France and then Germany to take part in the Danube campaign of 1809. On April 20th, he successfully captured 82 Austrian dragoons at Abensberg. After Lannes' death that May, Guéhéneuc was given a new position as aide-de-camp to Napoleon. Later that summer he was made a Baron of the Empire.
In the intervening years, Guéhéneuc was named colonel of the 26th Light. Taking part in the Russian campaign of 1812, he was assigned to Legrand's 6th Division of II Corps. Near the start of the campaign, when it came time for the army to cross the Neris River, Guéhéneuc swam across the river leading a group of swimming soldiers to secure a crossing. Afterwards when a lancer began to be swept away by the current, he leapt back into the river fully clothed and rescued the man.1 Months later during the retreat from Russia, he was wounded in the arm at the Battle of the Berezina, but in December he was promoted to général de brigade and again became an aide-de-camp to the Emperor. He served in this capacity in Saxony in 1813.
After Napoleon's abdication, General Guéhéneuc was put on half pay and he moved to Antibes. He did not take part in the Hundred Days.
- Armand de Caulaincourt, With Napoleon in Russia, ed. Jean Hanoteau and George Libaire, (Mineola: Dover Publications, 2005), 49.
Updated August 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen