General Charles Etienne Gudin de la Sablonniere (1768-1812)

General Charles Etienne Gudin de la Sablonniere (1768-1812) was a French general who played a major part in the French victory at Auerstädt, fought at Eylau, Eckmühl and Wagram and was killed during the French invasion of Russia in 1812.

Gudin was an aristocrat who entered the army before the revolution and served in the royal guard. Despite this background he served with some success during the Revolutionary Wars. He was the chief of staff for General Gouvion Saint-Cyr and was promoted to general de brigade in 1799.

In 1799-1800 he served in Switzerland and Germany. Gudin commanded the French force that attempted to defend the St. Gotthard Pass (24 September 1799) against a Russian and Austrian army under Field Marshal Suvorov. Gudin held the Russians up for some time but was eventually forced to retreat. He was promoted to general de division in July 1800.

In 1805 Gubin was given command of a division in Marshal Davout's corps of the Grand Army.

At the battle of Auerstädt (14 October 1806) Gudin's division led Davout's corps as it advanced towards the Prussians. The division was involved in a hard fight around the village of Hassenhaussen, and eventually formed the centre of Davout's line. It took part in the victorious French advance and helped defeat a Prussian rearguard. Gudin was wounded during the battle, but he recovered in time to take part in the battle of Eylau (7-8 February 1807).

He was still part of Davout's corps during the 1809 campaign in Austria. He took part in the engagement of Hausen-Teugn (19 April 1809), before becoming part of Marshal Lannes' command. He then took part in the battle of Abensberg (19-20 April 1809) and the battle of Eckmühl (22 April 1809), both still serving under Lannes. He then took part in the storm of Regensburg (23 April 1809).
 
As the French advanced on Vienna Gudin re-joined Davout's corps. Gudin remained on the south bank of the Danube during the battle of Aspern-Essling (21-22 May 1809).

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

In May-June 1809 Gudin was sent east to watch Pressburg. At the start of June he made an attack on an Austrian bridgehead south of the Danube opposite Pressburg. Gudin was recalled to the Grand Armée before the Battle of Wagram (5-6 July 1809). His division played an important part in the fighting on the French right, where the battle was effectively won.

Guduin took part in the French invasion of Russia in 1812. On 19 August 1812 Gudin was involved in a hard fight at Valuntino, during the French pursuit after their victory at Smolensk on 17 August. During the fighting he was hit by a roundshot which broke both of his legs. The wound proved to be fatal.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 August 2012), General Charles Etienne Gudin de la Sablonniere (1768-1812), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_gudin.html

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