General Raymond-Pierre PenneGénéral de brigade who was killed at Wavre
Born: November 18, 1770
Place of Birth: Coarraze, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Died: June 19, 1815
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Place of Death: Bierge, Belgium
Arc de Triomphe: PENNE on the north pillar
Raymond-Pierre Penne first enlisted as a dragoon in 1788 but was dismissed from the service two years later. Undeterred, in September of 1792 he became a lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of Volunteers of Paris. Two months later Penne was promoted to capitaine of grenadiers and was serving with the Army of the Moselle. In 1794 he joined the Army of the Sambre and Meuse and the following year he participated in the fighting at Dusseldorf. In March of 1796 Penne served with the 102nd Ligne, and over the following years he served in the Armies of Germany, Mainz, the Danube, and Italy. General Brune promoted Penne to chef de bataillon in February of 1801.
In September of 1805, Penne was given command of a regiment of grenadiers in Italy, and over the next few years he served in Italy, Austria, Prussia, and Poland. In 1807 his regiment served under General Oudinot, and on Christmas Day of that year he was promoted to colonel of the 112th Ligne.
In 1809 Colonel Penne served in the Army of Italy, initially serving in Severoli's division but then in July he joined Pacthod's division. After the conclusion of that successful campaign, he was made a Baron of the Empire and Knight of the Iron Crown. In 1811 Penne was promoted to général de brigade and employed in the 23rd military division.
For the campaign of 1812 against Russia, General Penne initially served in the 4th Division of the Reserve, but then in August he took command of a brigade of the 5th Infantry Division of I Corps. After the retreat from Russia, in 1813 he commanded a brigade of Maison's 16th Infantry Division in V Corps during the campaigning in Germany. That April he served at Halle and then in May he served at Eichberg. The next month he was rewarded as a Commander of the Legion of Honor, and then in August he was wounded by a shot to the right knee at the combat of Lowenberg. He returned to France to recover and did not return to service until December of that year when he joined the 2nd Infantry Division of Maison's I Corps. In February of 1814, Penne served at Mons and Valenciennes before pushing back the enemy at Armentières. The next month he continued to fight at Courtrai and successfully occupied Ghent.
After Napoleon's abdication, Penne was made the inspector general of gendarmerie and a Knight of Saint Louis. When Napoleon returned for the Hundred Days, Penne rallied to him and was given command of the 2nd Brigade of Teste's 21st Infantry Division. That June, he fought at Ligny where he was wounded. On the second day of the Battle of Wavre, he was leading his men in an attack against the village of Bierge when he was killed by a cannonball.
Updated May 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen