Davout, Louis-Nicholas, Duke of Auerstädt

BORN 10 May 1770, Annoux, Bourgondië - DIED 1 Jun 1823, Paris
BIRTH NAME d'Avout, Louis Nicolas
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 28, ligne 02, P, 33)

Davout was the only marshal in the Napoleonic era who never lost a battle. He was of noble descent and joined the army in 1788 and distinguished himself in the baalte of Neerwinden. During 1794-1797 he served on the Rhine and he went to Egypt with Desaix.

In 1801 he married Aimée Leclerc, a sister of general Leclerc. It was a happy marriage and although they were often seperated, Davout is not known to have had any affairs.

He fought at the Battle of Marengo under Napoleon and the latter made him a division general. When Napoleon became emperor Davout was made marshal of France. He was involved at the Battle of Austerlitz and with 28.000 men he won an 'impossible battle' against 63.000 Prussions at Auerstädt on October 14th, 1806. Bernadotte had failed to come to his aid at Auerstädt. Davout was so angry that wanted to challenge him with a duel, but the emperor intervened.

In 1807 Napoleon named him governor-general of the new Duchy of Warsaw and after he battled the Austrians near Eckmühl on April 22th, 1809, the emperor named him Prince of Eckmühl.

Davout commanded the First Corps of the Grand Armée in 1812 and he defeated the Russians at Mohilev before his troops joined the rest of the army. In 1813 he defende Hamburg during a long siege and only surrendered after the fall of Napoleon when Louis XVIII ordered him to do so. He now retired to private life, but when Napoleon returned from Elba he immediately joined him. The emperor made him Minister of War and he was in Paris during the Battle of Waterloo.

After the second restoration he lost his titles. He tried to prevent the condemnation of Ney and took full responsibility for his own generals. After a reconciliation with the Bourbons his titles were restored to him and he became a member of the Senate in 1819.

Related persons
• served under Napoleon I Bonaparte

14/10/1806Davout defeats the Duke of Brunswick at Auerstadt 
22/4/1809Davout defeats the Austrians near Eckmühl. The battle was opened by Davout and the Bavarian army. In the afternoon Napoleon joined in with the of Lannes and Masséna as well as the Württemberg troops under Vandamma. After a cavelry attack the Austrians under Archduke Karl were forced to withdraw to Regensburg. He lost 6,000 of his 26,000 soldiers during the battle. The French troops counted 65,000 heads and suffered much smaller losses. Shortly after the battle Regensburg and Munich were occupied by the French. Davout received the title Prince of Eckmühl. [Karl, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Teschen][Lannes, Jean, Duc de Montebello][Masséna, André, duc de Rivoli, prince d'Essling]


The grave of Louis-Nicholas Davout at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
Louis-Nicolas Davout - Wikipedia

Davy, Humphry

Published: 18 Nov 2007
Last update: 26 Jan 2022