General Pierre Bellon Lapisse
Born: November 25, 1762
Place of Birth: Lyon, Rhône, France
Died: July 30, 1809
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Santa Olalla, Spain
Arc de Triomphe: LAPISSE on the west pillar
The son of a tapestry maker, Pierre Bellon Lapisse enlisted in infantry regiment of Armagnac in 1778 at age sixteen. He served with the French in the American Revolutionary War and after his return to France he was promoted to sergeant in 1784. Leaving the army in 1786, Lapisse returned to the military after the onset of the Revolution when he joined the Free Company of Corsican Chasseurs as a lieutenant in December of 1789. In 1793 his unit became the 16th Battalion of Light Infantry and he was promoted to capitaine that August. Serving in Corsica, Lapisse was wounded in the combat of Farinole in September and then again at the siege of Bastia. That November he became an aide-de-camp to General Gentilli and then in March of 1794 he was promoted to chef de bataillon by the representatives of the people with the army. Later that year Lapisse provisionally took command of the 16th Light and he served in Piedmont where he was wounded near Orméa in August. In January of 1795 he was named commander of Fort Saint-Nicolas at Marseille and then in November he was provisionally promoted to chef de brigade but he was not confirmed in this rank.
In May of 1796 Lapisse joined the Army of Italy and the next month he began to serve with the 57th of the Line. In 1797 he commanded Arles and Antibes and then in 1798 he was designated for the Army of England and then the Army of Mainz. Lapisse was officially promoted to chef de brigade in June of 1799, taking command of the 36th of the Line. He went on to see action under Chabran at the combat of Einsiedeln in August. The next month Lapisse served under General Soult and distinguished himself in the crossing of the Linth at the bridge of Grynau as part of the Battle of Zürich . He received a promotion to général de brigade on the battlefield. A few months later in December Lapisse was sent to the Army of Italy and he served under Delmas at Monzembano and then at Castelfranco in January of 1801.
Lapisse remained in Italy for a time but then in 1803 he was sent to the camp of Brest. In 1804 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. When the Grande Armée set out to confront the Third Coalition in August of 1805, Lapisse took command of the 1st Brigade of Desjardin's 1st Division of VII Corps. In 1806 he took part in the campaign against Prussia, serving at Jena in October and then in December he seized Plockk and fought at Kolozomb and Golymin . At the end of the month Lapisse was promoted to général de division. In February of 1807 he took command of the 2nd Division of I Corps, replacing Rivaud who was injured. Later that year he served at Spanden in June.
In 1808 Lapisse commanded the 2nd Division of Marshal Victor's I Corps and he was sent to Spain. That year he was also named a Knight of the Iron Crown and the Baron of Sainte-Hélène. Lapisse served at Espinosa in November and then at Madrid in December. Next he occupied Old Castile in January of 1809 and later that year made a demonstration on Ciudad-Rodrigo. In July Lapisse fought at the Battle of Talavera where he was mortally wounded.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated December 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen