General Guillaume de Latrille LorencezAide-de-camp to Augereau who later married Marshal Oudinot's daughter
Born: April 21, 1772
Place of Birth: Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Legion of Honor: Grand Officer
Died: October 1, 1855
Place of Death: Bar-le-Duc, France
Arc de Triomphe: LATRILLE DE LEZ on the west pillar
Despite his noble birth, Guillaume de Latrille Lorencez supported the Revolution by volunteering to join the 2nd Battalion of Basses-Pyrénées in December of 1791. Sent to the Army of the Pyrenees, he was promoted to sous-lieutenant in November of 1792 and then in 1793 when the army was reorganized he went to the Army of the Western Pyrenees. In 1795 Lorencez was sent to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees where he became an aide-de-camp to General Augereau. The next year he followed Augereau to Italy and took part in the campaign in Italy, receiving a promotion to capitaine and taking command of a company.
September of 1797 saw Lorencez promoted to chef de bataillon in the 51st Ligne, but shortly thereafter he became an aide-de-camp to Augereau again, this time with the Army of Germany. In 1798 Lorencez joined the Army of England and then in 1799 he was sent to Holland where he remained until 1801.
Lorencez was sent to the camp of Brest in 1804 and the following year he was promoted to colonel of the 46th Ligne. When war broke out that August, his unit became part of Vandamme's division of IV Corps of the Grande Armée. Colonel Lorencez participated in the campaign that year, serving at Ulm and Austerlitz. The next year he remained with the same division, now commanded by General Leval, and took part in the fighting at Jena. Continuing to serve, he fought at Eylau in February of 1807 and a few days later he received a promotion to général de brigade. Lorencez was then given command of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division of IV Corps.
In 1808 Lorencez became the Baron of Lorencez and then was given command of the 2nd Brigade of Gudin's division in III Corps. The next year when the Austrians invaded Bavaria, Lorencez joined a new division formed under the command of General Saint-Hilaire. That June he fought at Wagram where he was wounded, and afterwards he was appointed to the staff to serve under Marshal Berthier.
In 1810 Lorencez was sent to Spain to serve in the Army of Catalonia and after arriving there he was employed in Frère's division. The next year he found time to marry Caroline Oudinot, the daughter of Marshal Oudinot. Nevertheless he continued to serve, fighting at the siege of Tarrogona where he was wounded. Two months later Lorencez was posted to Holland to serve under his father-in-law Marshal Oudinot as chief of staff of the 17th and 31st military divisions.
In 1812 Lorencez took on a new position as chief of staff of Oudinot's II Corps. He served in this capacity throughout the Russian campaign and during the retreat he received four wounds before Smolensk in November. After surviving the retreat and returning to France, Lorencez was promoted to général de division in March of 1813. A few days later he was given command of the 14th Infantry Division which initially was part of IV Corps but in April was placed in XII Corps under his father-in-law Oudinot. Lorencez led his men into action that May at Bautzen where he was wounded by a shot to the left thigh. Due to his wound, he returned to France to recover.
In January of 1814 Lorencez returned to service to take command of 14th military division. After Napoleon's abdication, the returning Bourbons named Lorencez a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and inspector of infantry in the 3rd military division. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he ordered Lorencez to organize the National Guard of the 3rd military division. After Napoleon's second abdication, Lorencez was put on non-activity.
Updated June 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen