General Jacques Félix Jan de La Hamelinaye
Born: February 22, 1769
Place of Birth: Montauban de Bretagne, Ille-et-Vilaine, France
Died: April 14, 1861
Place of Death: Rennes, France
Arc de Triomphe: HAMELINAYE on the north pillar
The son of a lawyer, Jacques Félix Jan de La Hamelinaye joined the army as a sous-lieutenant in the 36th Infantry in 1791. In 1792 he served under General Custine in the Army of the Rhine and in January of 1793 he distinguished himself by saving a convoy near Bingen. Later that year Jan de La Hamelinaye was named an aide-de-camp of General Isembert and he served at the defense of the lines of Wissembourg. In October he was promoted to lieutenant and then in January of 1794 he was promoted to capitaine. That year Jan de La Hamelinaye served with the Army of the Moselle and then the Army of the Sambre and Meuse and in October he distinguished himself at the Battle of the Roër. In 1796 he joined the 92nd of the Line with which he would serve for the next few years. In 1798 Jan de La Hamelinaye served with the Army of Mainz and in 1799 he served with the Army of the Danube before serving with the Army of the Rhine. That July he was promoted to chef de bataillon and then in November he was named an aide-de-camp to Bernadotte. In May of 1800 Jan de La Hamelinaye distinguished himself at Blaubeuren and then in June he was named chief of staff of Souham's division. Later that month he served at Hochstaedt and then in September he was sent to Holland.
In 1801 Jan de La Hamelinaye was employed in the 14th military division at Caen and then in 1803 he was sent to the camp of Compiègne. Next he was sent to the camp of Montreuil where he became chief of staff of Loison's division. When in 1805 the Grande Armée marched east to confront the Third Coalition, Jan de La Hamelinaye continued in this role and in October he served at Gunzbourg and Elchingen . In October of 1806 he was named deputy chief of staff of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps and he went on to serve at the combat of Halle, the action of Lübeck, and the Battle of Mohrungen. Jan de La Hamelinaye next became Bernadotte's premier aide-de-camp in February of 1807 and then in June he served at Spanden before later serving in the Hanseatic Cities.
In 1809 Jan de La Hamelinaye served on the campaign against Austria and in May he served at Linz, in June he was promoted to général de brigade, and in July he distinguished himself at the Battle of Wagram . In 1810 he was sent to Naples to serve in Calabria in Lamarque's division. That July Jan de La Hamelinaye was named a Knight of the Empire and he began to command the coastline of Scilla and Reggio. Named a Baron of the Empire in January of 1811, he was next sent to Piacenza in April. In June Jan de La Hamelinaye was sent to the Army of Catalonia and he was attached to Lamarque's division in September. In January of 1812 he served at the combats of Tarrega and Altafulla and then in May he became chief of staff of Army of Catalonia under Decaen. The next month Jan de La Hamelinaye was wounded in a combat in Catalonia. In November of 1813 he was named commander of the 1st Brigade of the 4th Division of Marshal Suchet's Army of Aragon and Catalonia.
In 1814 during the defense of France, Jan de La Hamelinaye was given command of a brigade of the reserve at Paris and promoted to général de division. He took command of the 2nd Division of the reserve at Troyes in January but then left the army in February due to illness. Jan de La Hamelinaye went to Charenton on leave to recover. Once well, in June he was named commander of the département of Mayenne by the restored Bourbons. Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days and he placed Jan de La Hamelinaye as commander of the 22nd military division at Tours. After the end of the Hundred Days, Jan de La Hamelinaye was put on non-activity until 1816 when he resumed his military career and he finally retired in 1832.
- 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 January 2021
© Nathan D. Jensen