General Pierre Poinsot de Chansac


Officer who became a general during the French Revolution and who served in Italy in 1800 and 1809 and in Spain in 1808, 1810, and 1811



Born: February 7, 1764

Place of Birth: Chalon-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, France

Died: July 30, 1833

Place of Death: Dijon, France

Arc de Triomphe: POINSOT on the north pillar




Beginning his military career by enlisting in the infantry regiment of Beauvoisis in 1779, Pierre Poinsot was sent to Corsica where he was wounded by a shot to the leg. In 1784 he was dismissed from the regiment and in 1787 he became a dragoon in the regiment of La Rochefoucauld. After the first years of the French Revolution, in 1791 Poinsot was dismissed from the regiment and the following year he joined the Constitutional Guard of the King. At the end of May of 1792 he became a capitaine of chasseurs à cheval in the Legion of Nord and he began serving with the Army of the North. In February of 1793 Poinsot served at the Siege of Bréda where he was wounded by a sabre blow to the right arm and just a few days later he was promoted to chef de bataillon. That June he was sent to the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees and in July he served at the combat of Thuir and then was wounded by a shot to the jaw at the combat of Mas d'Eu. Poinsot was next promoted to général de brigade in September by the representatives of the people with the army and in October he served under Dagobert. However, in November he was suspended from his duties by the representatives of the people for having served in the Constitutional Guard. He was also accused of improbity and being indelicate.

In July of 1796 Poinsot was reintegrated into the army and he was sent to serve with the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. The next year he joined the Army of Mainz and then in 1800 he served in Italy in Gazan's division at the Siege of Genoa . That April Poinsot served at the action of Monte-Faccio, he retook the mountain of Hermette, and he served at the attack of Ponte-Inurea. At the end of the month he took command of the reserve and then in May he took part in the recovery of Monte-Faccio and the attack of Monte-Cretto. After the conclusion of the campaign, Poinsot took command of a brigade of heavy cavalry in Rivaud's division.

In 1801 Poinsot returned home for a period of time and then he was employed in the 18th military division. In February of 1803 he was assigned to Saint-Domingue and he arrived there in May. Poinsot did not stay long, after serving in Brunet's division at Cayes he returned to France in August where he was then sent to the isle of Walcheren. In June of 1804 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. In 1805 Poinsot was not actively employed and then in 1806 he returned to the 18th military division.

In late 1807 Poinsot took command of the 1st Brigade of Vedel's division. Serving in Spain, in June of 1808 he served at the combat of Despena Perros and then in July he was taken prisoner at the surrender at Bailen . Sent back to France, Poinsot was next assigned to the 2nd Dragoon Division of the Army of Italy. In the meantime he was named a Knight of the Iron Crown and then in 1809 he took part in the campaign in Italy, fighting at the Battle of the Piave where he was wounded by two shots. At the end of the year Poinsot was attached to the cavalry of the Army of Spain and then in February of 1810 he became Baron of Chansac. That June he served in Reynier's II Corps of the Army of Portugal and then in September he began serving under Kellermann in the Army of the North in Spain.

In 1811 Poinsot de Chansac was made available for new assignments and then in 1812 he organized four squadrons in the 6th military division. Later that year he took command of the cavalry of Marshal Augereau's XI Corps. In February of 1813 Poinsot de Chansac won at Strausberg and then in April he joined the 2nd Division of Cuirassiers of II Cavalry Corps of the Grande Armée. A few days after the Battle of Bautzen he entered into combat with the Russians at the combat of Commorn and he was wounded by two lance blows and taken prisoner.

Poinsot de Chansac was allowed to return to France in May of 1814 where he was named a Knight of Saint Louis but also put on non-activity and then retired. During the Hundred Days of 1815, he was employed under Margaron at the cavalry depot of Amiens and afterwards he returned to retirement.


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Updated September 2021

© Nathan D. Jensen