‘La Guerre d’Espagne, 1807 – 1813’

Having watched the film ‘Napoleon’ at the weekend, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby, I am reminded of a French ancestor, Louis Duperrouzel, from Normandy, who served in Napoleon’s army.

The French Revolution caused disarray in Normandy as the monarchy was replaced by an absolute republic which strengthened Parisian centralisation. The people of Normandy, therefore, became disheartened as their expectations were not realised. Consequently, in 1798, when young men aged between twenty and twenty five were called to military service very few showed any spirit for the Napoléonic wars. In addition, Napoléon requisitioned their horses and cattle thus impoverishing their land. Not surprisingly, when Napoléon visited Cherbourg in 1811, he received a lukewarm reception.

As a result of the Napoléonic conscription, Louis Duperrouzel, the eldest son of Jean Pierre Duperrouzel and Catherine Françoise Carré, joined the Fusiliers-Grenadiers in February 1807. He was nineteen years of age. Louis came from Saint-Louet-sur-Lozon, near Coutances, Manche where his father was later to be elected Mayor in 1818. Within two years of joining Louis was fighting in Spain for Napoléon. He died in 1809, aged twenty one, fighting in the Grande Armée in Valladolid. Edmond Lemonchois, a keen follower of the first French Republic, provided the following information:

…Duperrouzel, Louis fils de Jean Pierre Duperrouzel et de Catherine Françoise Carré né à Saint Louet sur Lozon le 2 septembre 1787, taille 1m77, yeux roux, cheveux châtains. Admit dans les fusiliers grenadiers de la Jeune Garde le 10 février 1807. Mort à l’hôpital de Valladolid (Espagne) le 11 mars 1809. Il a fait les campagnes de 1807 à la Grande Armée (Prusse Pologne) de 1808 et 1809 en Espagne…

Click here to read more on pages 33-35 ‘PETROSELLUM A Global History of the Families Dupérouzel / Duperrouzel’.