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Théophile Malo Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne (23 November 1743 –28 June 1800) was a French officer named by Napoleon "first grenadier of France". He was also a celtomaniac antiquarian who introduced the words "dolmen" and "menhir" into general archaeological usage.
He was the son of a lawyer named Corret, and was certainly baptised and perhaps born at Carhaix-Plouguer in Brittany, though nearby Saint-Hernin where his father had a position is one of a number of other places in the area put forward as his place of birth. His desire for a military career being strongly marked, he was enabled by the not uncommon device of producing a certificate of nobility signed by his friends, first to be nominally enlisted in the Maison du Roi, and soon afterwards to receive a commission in the line, under the name of Corret de Kerbaufret. Four years after joining, in 1771, he assumed with the help of a letter from the Duke of Bouillon the surname of La Tour d'Auvergne, claiming descent from an illegitimate half-brother of the great Marshall Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, one of Louis XIV's leading commanders. Many years of routine service with his regiment were broken only by his participation as a volunteer in the Duke de Crillon's Franco-Spanish expedition to Menorca in 1781. This led to an offer of promotion into the Spanish army, but he refused to change his allegiance.
In 1784 he was promoted captain, and in 1791 he received the Cross of St. Louis. In the early part of the French Revolution his patriotism was still more conspicuously displayed in his resolute opposition to the proposals of many of his brother officers in the Angoumois regiment to emigrate rather than to swear to the constitution, and he fought in the revolutionary army in the French Revolutionary Wars, refusing promotion beyond the grade of captain. In 1792 his lifelong interest in numismatics and questions of language was shown by a work which he published on the Bretons. At this time he was serving under Montesquiou in the Alps, and although there was only outpost fighting he distinguished himself by his courage and audacity, qualities which were displayed in more serious fighting in the Pyrenees the next year. He declined well-earned promotion to colonel, and, being broken in health and compelled, owing to the loss of his teeth, to live on milk, he left the army in 1795.
On his return by sea to Brittany he was captured by the English and held prisoner for two years. When released, he settled at Passy and published Origines gauloises (1796). In 1797, on the appeal of an old friend whose son had been taken as a conscript, he volunteered as the youth's substitute, and served on the Rhine (1797) and in Switzerland (1798–1799) as a captain. In recognition of his singular bravery and modesty Corret obtained a decree from Napoleon naming him the "first grenadier of France" (27 April 1800). This led him to volunteer again, and he was killed in action at the Battle of Neuburg on 27 June 1800.
La Tour d'Auvergne's almost legendary courage had captivated the imagination of the French soldier, and his memory was not allowed to die. It was customary for the French troops and their allies of the Rhine Confederation under Napoleon to march at attention when passing his burial place on the battlefield. His heart was long carried by the grenadier company of his regiment, the 46th. After being in the possession of Giuseppe Garibaldi for many years, it was finally deposited in the keeping of the city of Paris in 1883.
In 1800 Napoleon ordered, "His name is to be kept on the pay list and roll of his company. It will be called at all parades and a non-commissioned officer will reply, 'Mort au champ d'honneur.' " This custom, with little variation, is still observed in the 46th regiment on all occasions when the color is taken on parade.However, in early 1809, Napoleon himself put this tradition to an end. "What regiment has not had a general, a colonel, or finally, a brave man killed at its head? I have tolerated this singularity long enough" (Nap. Corr., vol 18, No. 14727). The urn was collected by the War Minister, showing that Napoleon preferred to celebrate the men who died to affirm his dynasty and build his Empire, rather than an individual whose association with the French Revolution was unmistakable
Louis Lazare Hoche was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army. He won a victory over Royalist forces in Brittany. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3. Richard Holmes says he was "quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France." A famous statement of general Hoche: "Facta, non verba"
François-Étienne-Christophe Kellermann or de Kellermann, 1st Duke of Valmy was a French military commander, later the Général d'Armée, a Marshal of the Empire and a freemason. Marshal Kellermann served in varying roles throughout the entirety of two epochal conflicts, the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. Kellermann is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.
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A menhir, standing stone, orthostat, or lith is a large man-made upright stone, typically dating from the European middle Bronze Age. They can be found solely as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones. Menhirs' size can vary considerably, but they are generally uneven and squared, often tapering towards the top.
La Grande Armée was the imperial army commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1804 to 1809, it won a series of military victories that allowed the French Empire to exercise unprecedented control over most of Europe. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, it suffered terrible losses during the disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812, after which it never recovered its tactical superiority.
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne was a member of the powerful House of La Tour d'Auvergne, Prince of Sedan and a marshal of France.
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The year 1800 in archaeology involved some significant events.
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Philippe d'Auvergne was a British naval officer and the adopted son of Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne the sovereign Duke of Bouillon. He chose a career in the Royal Navy that spanned a period of history where Great Britain was at the centre of wars and empire building and took him from Boston and the War of Independence to espionage with French Royalists; prisoner of war to shipwrecked; all this whilst hoping to become a Walloon ruler or, at least, heir to a princely fortune.
La Tour is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
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Louis Bastoul was a general French in the French Revolutionary Wars. He was born in Montolieu 19 August 1753, and died in Munich on 15 January 1801, of wounds received at the Battle of Hohenlinden.
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Antoine Digonet commanded a French brigade during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. He joined the French Royal Army and fought in the American Revolutionary War as a foot soldier. In 1792 he was appointed officer of a volunteer battalion. He fought the Spanish in the War of the Pyrenees and was promoted to general officer. Later he was transferred to fight French royalists in the War in the Vendée. In 1800 he was assigned to the Army of the Rhine and led a brigade at Stockach, Messkirch and Biberach. Shortly after, he was transferred to Italy. In 1805 he fought under André Masséna at Caldiero. He participated in the 1806 Invasion of Naples and led his troops against the British at Maida where his brigade put up a sturdy resistance. After briefly serving in the 1809 war, he took command of Modena and died there of illness in 1811. He never married.
Claude Marie Meunier became a French division commander during the Napoleonic Wars. He joined a volunteer regiment in 1792 and fought on the Rhine and in Italy as a captain. After a stint in the Consular Guard as a major, he became colonel of the 9th Light Infantry Regiment in 1803. His regiment fought at Haslach and Dürenstein in 1805, Halle, Waren and Lübeck in 1806, and Mohrungen and Friedland in 1807. Transferred to Spain, he led his troops at Uclés, Medellín and Talavera in 1809. He was promoted general of brigade in 1810 and fought at Barrosa in 1811.