General Alexis-Joseph, baron Delzons, 1775-1812

General Alexis-Joseph, baron Delzons (1775-1812) was a French general who was killed at the battle of Maloyaroslavets at the start of the disastrous retreat from Moscow.

Delzons joined the army as a volunteer after the French Revolution. He served with the Army of Italy and fought at Dego (14-15 April 1796), Lodi (10 May 1796) and Rivoli (14-15 January 1797).

He accompanied Napoleon to Egypt in 1798 and was promoted to general of brigade after his return.

Delzons fought at Wagram (5-6 July 1809) and Znaim (10-11 July 1809).

Russia 1812 - The Road to Moscow
Russia 1812
The Road to Moscow

He was promoted to general of division in 1811 and commanded the 13th Division in Prince Eugène's IV Corps during the invasion of Russia in 1812. He fought in the rearguard action at Ostrovno (25 July 1812) and at Borodino (7 September 1812). His division took part in the early attack that captured the village of Borodino. Later in the battle his cavalry was routed by the Russian cavalry attack in the northern part of the battlefield, an attack that forced Napoleon to move troops away from the main battle and delayed the afternoon attacks on the main Russian positions.  

When Napoleon finally decided to abandon Moscow his first plan was to move south. The leading elements of the Grande Armée ran into the Russians at Maloyaroslavets (24 October 1812). Delzons had found the town of Maloyaroslavets undefended on 23 October but had then withdrawn most of his troops to the River Lusha, allowing the Russians to retake the town. This forced the French to fight a major battle to retake the town. After this battle Napoleon decided to head west instead of south, committing his army to the dreadful retreat along the same road they had stripped of supplies on their way into Russia. Delzons didn't survive the battle. He was hit in the head by a ball and killed. His brother Major Jean-Baptiste Delzons attempted to retrieve his body but was also mortally wounded.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 May 2014), General Alexis-Joseph, baron Delzons, 1775-1812 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_delzons.html

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