General Louis-Ernest-Joseph Sparre
Born: July 8, 1780
Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France
Died: July 9, 1845
Place of Death: Paris, France
The son of the Count of Sparre with the same name as his father, Louis-Ernest Joseph Sparre was descended from a Swedish family living in France. In 1796 he joined the army as a sergeant in the Swedish Royal Guard. Two years later Sparre married the daughter of the Marquis de Sémonville, making Sparre a brother-in-law to General Joubert and Montholon. In 1799 Sparre was put at the disposition of the Army of Italy and he joined the Polish Legion as a chef d'escadrons. The next year he was sent to the staff of the Army of Holland and then placed with the 4th Dragoons.
In 1804 Sparre was appointed major of the 28th Dragoons and he served in the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean. When war broke out in 1805, he was sent to Italy where he served on the campaign and then remained there. In 1808 Sparre was promoted to colonel of the 5th Dragoons and then sent to serve in Spain. The next year he crossed the Douro and distinguished himself at Almonacid, and then in 1810 he served at Baza and was appointed an equerry to the Emperor. Sparre continued to serve in Spain, winning at Murcie in January of 1811 and then becoming a Baron of the Empire four months later. In 1812 he was promoted to général de brigade and given command of a cavalry brigade in the Army of the South. The next year as the French withdrew from Spain, Sparre fought on the Nive.
In 1814 Sparre was sent to Champagne to take part in the defense of France. Assigned to Roussel d'Hurbal's dragoon division, he fought at Craonne in March where he was wounded by a ball to the leg. Later that month Sparre commanded his dragoons defending Paris before Napoleon's abdication.
After Napoleon's abdication, Sparre was named a Knight of Saint Louis and promoted to lieutenant general before he was put on non-activity. When Napoleon resumed power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Sparre was named commander of the 11th Light Cavalry Division in the corps protecting the Western Pyrenees under General Clauzel. He was put on non-activity after Napoleon's second abdication.
Please see the Appendix about the name Sparre on the Arc de Triomphe.
- 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 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen