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Lasalle, Antoine Chevalier Louis Collinet

LASALLE, ANTOINE CHEVALIER LOUIS COLLINET, COUNT (1775-1809), French soldier, belonged to a noble family in Lorraine. His grandfather was Abraham Fabert, marshal of France. Entering the French army at the age of eleven, he had reached the rank of lieutenant when the Revolution broke out. As an aristocrat, he lost his commission, but he enlisted in the ranks, where his desperate bravery and innate power of command soon distinguished him. By 1795 he had won back his grade, and was serving as a staff-officer in the army of Italy. On one occasion, at Vicenza, he rivalled Seydlitz's feat of leaping his horse over the parapet of a bridge to avoid capture, and, later, in Egypt, he saved Davout's life in action. By 1800 he had become colonel, and in one combat in that year he had two horses killed under him, and broke seven swords. Five years later, having attained the rank of general of brigade, he was present with his brigade of light cavalry at Austerlitz. In the pursuit after Jena in 1806, though he had but 600 hussars and not one piece of artillery with him, he terrified the commandant of the strong fortress of Stettin into surrender, a feat rarely equalled save by that of Cromwell on Bletchingdon House. Made general of division for this exploit, he was next in the Polish campaign, and at Heilsberg saved the life of Murat, grand duke of Berg. When the Peninsular War began, Lasalle was sent out with one of the cavalry divisions, and at Medina de Rio Seco, Gamonal and Medellin broke every body of troops which he charged. A year later, at the head of one of the cavalry divisions of the Grande Armee he took part in the Austrian war. At Wagram he was killed at the head of his men. With the possible exception of Curely, who was in 1809 still unknown, Napoleon never possessed a better leader of light horse. Wild and irregular in his private life, Lasalle was far more than a beau sabreur. To talent and experience he added that power of feeling the pulse of the battle which is the true gift of a great leader. A statue of him was erected in Luneville in 1893. His remains were brought from Austria to the Invalides in 1891.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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