General Gazan de la Peyrière: Fighting for Napoleon

Natalia Griffon de Pleineville remembers a career soldier in Napoleon's army who won distinctions for his energy and commitment over twenty years, but who made a decisive mistake in 1813.

General Honoré Theodore Maxime Gazan de la Peyrière (1765-1845) is barely remembered today even in France. Yet he was the equal of many of his better-known colleagues in Napoleon's armies. He fought for almost twenty years, being involved in dozens of actions in the Rhine, Italy, Bavaria and Poland, and was rewarded with important posts, though he never gained national prominence, nor was he given strategic command. He has to shoulder part of the blame for the French defeat in the Peninsula War, as he commanded an important force, and made a crucial blunder, at the decisive battle of Vitoria in June 1813.

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