General René-Joseph de La Noüe
Born: September 7, 1731
Place of Birth: La Roche-Clermault, Indre-et-Loire, France
Died: November 17, 1795
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: LANOUE on the north pillar
Coming from the minor nobility, René-Joseph de La Noüe first joined the army at age twelve in 1744 as a lieutenant in the Regiment of the Crown. He served in Flanders from 1744 to 1748 and then in 1749 he was promoted to lieutenant in the grenadiers. During the Seven Years War, La Noüe was promoted to capitaine in 1757 and he then served the next five years in Germany. During that time he was also recognized as a Knight of Saint Louis in 1761. Ten years later La Noüe was promoted to colonel in 1771, a rank he would hold for quite some time. In 1788 he was finally promoted to maréchal de camp and his commander wrote that he was "always quite useful but does not have a fortune."
After the onset of the Revolution, in 1791 La Noüe was employed in the département of Nord and in 1792 he was promoted to lieutenant general. Shortly thereafter he joined the Army of the North and then in June of 1792 he commanded the camp of Maulde and the camp of Maubeuge. La Noüe resigned his command in August and then in October he was accused by the National Convention and arrested and imprisoned at Douai. However, a month later he was acquitted and then sent to serve with the Army of the Ardennes. La Noüe took command of the troops stationed at Liége and then in January of 1793 he commanded the left wing of the Army of the Ardennes. That February he served at the Siege of Maestricht before he was suspended in March.
La Noüe was summoned to appear before the National Convention and then the Revolutionary Tribunal before he was imprisoned at the Conciergerie. In May of 1793 he was interrogated and then all accusations against him were dropped by the Revolutionary Tribunal and he was therefore released. La Noüe's troubles with the revolutionary government were not over though, for in August of 1793 he was again arrested, though this time he was held at the hospital of Picpus. He was finally released in April of 1794 and later that year he was authorized to retire from the army.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated August 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen