General François Isidore Wathiez
Born: September 1, 1777
Place of Birth: Versailles, Yvelines, France
Died: February 24, 1856
Place of Death: Versailles, France
Arc de Triomphe: WATHIEZ on the east pillar
François-Isidore Wathiez's military career began in late 1793 when at age 16 he joined the 25th Chasseurs à Cheval as a sous-lieutenant. He initially served against the rebels in the south and then in 1794 he went to the Army of Italy. Once there, he fought at Cairo in September of 1794 where he was wounded by a shot below the left knee. Wathiez resigned from the army in 1796, only to return in 1799 at the depot of Versailles. In the year 1800 he was promoted to capitaine and he served in the staff of the Army of the Reserve. During the years of peace that followed, Wathiez served in the staff of the 1st military division.
When the War of the Third Coalition began in 1805, Captain Wathiez was given a position in the staff of the Cavalry Reserve. He served throughout the campaign of 1805 and he served at Ulm and Austerlitz. Wathiez continued to serve on the staff in 1806, and then in January of 1807 he was promoted to chef d'escadrons while also becoming an aide-de-camp to General Lasalle. That June he fought at the Battle of Heilsberg where he was wounded by a lance blow to the neck.
In 1808 Wathiez was sent to Spain where he served at Torquemada and Cabezon before being wounded by a bayonet at Medina del Rio Seco in July. In August he became an adjudant-commandant, in September he became chief of staff to Lasalle's division, and in November he was wounded by a shot between the eyes at Burgos. Next he and Lasalle went to Germany to serve against the Austrians in the Danube campaign of 1809, and Wathiez fought at the Battle of Wagram where Lasalle was killed. In recognition of his services, in 1810 he was created a Knight of the Empire.
Preparing for the Russian campaign in 1812, Wathiez was named chief of staff of Montbrun's II Cavalry Corps. He served throughout Russia in 1812 and then in Saxony in 1813. In June of 1813 Wathiez was promoted to général de brigade and then in August he was given command of a brigade in Exelmans' light cavalry division. Wathiez went on to fight at Leipzig and then Hanau, where he was wounded by a lance blow. Afterwards, he was created a Baron of the Empire.
Wathiez served during the defense of France of 1814, mostly in Champagne under Roussel d'Hurbal. In March he was suspended for disobedience, and then when the Bourbons returned in April he was put on non-activity. The Bourbons also made Wathiez a Knight of Saint Louis but he did not hesitate to rejoin Napoleon in 1815. For the Hundred Days, Wathiez took command of the 2nd Brigade of Lancers of Piré's 2nd Cavalry Division. He fought at Waterloo where he was wounded, and afterwards he was put on non-activity. A few years later Wathiez resumed his military career.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated February 2022
© Nathan D. Jensen