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Vandamme, Dominique Rene, Count

VANDAMME, DOMINIQUE RENE, COUNT (1770-1830), French soldier, was born at Cassel, near Dunkirk, on the 5th of November 1770. He enlisted in the army in 1786, served in Martinique in 1788 and on returning to France entered into the Revolutionary movement, raising a company of light infantry at his native plSce. His extraordinary bravery and vigour in the campaign of 1793 ensured his rapid promotion, and after Hondschoote he was made a general of brigade. He served in this rank in the campaigns of 1794 in the Low Countries, 1795 on the Rhine and 1796 in Germany, and at the outbreak of the war in 1799 he was promoted general of division. In that year and in 1800 he served under Brune, Moreau and Macdonald in Holland, Germany and Switzerland. He was renowned for his tenacity and fearlessness as a fighting general as well as for his frank, rough manners and plundering and dissolute life, but once he came under Napoleon's influence he was (unlike most of the Rhine Army officers) his absolutely devoted servant. In 1805, for his splendid leadership at Austerlitz, he was given the Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour, and in 1806-7 he commanded a small corps of the Grande Armee which reduced the Silesian fortresses. In 1808 he was made count of Unebourg. In 1809 he served in the Eckmiihl campaign with distinction, but in 1812, while commanding the Westphalian contingent he quarrelled with King Jerome Bonaparte and returned to France. He returned to the army in 1813. But his corps, sent against the line of retreat of the Allies at the time of the battle of Dresden, was entangled in the mountains, surrounded and after a fierce resistance compelled to surrender at Kulm (see NAPOLEONIC CAMPAIGNS). In his captivity he appears to have been treated with especial harshness, and when the end of the war released him he was forbidden to enter Paris, and sent to Cassel by Louis XVIII. He was thus free of all obligations towards the Bourbons, and when Napoleon returned, joined him without hesitation. The emperor made him a peer of France and placed him at the head of the III. corps in the Army of the North (see WATERLOO CAMPAIGN). After Waterloo, under Grouchy's command, he brought back his corps in good order to Paris and thence to the Loire. The Restoration first imprisoned and then exiled him, and unlike most of his comrades he was never reemployed as a general. He died at Cassel on the 15th of July 1830.

See Du Casse, Le General Vandamme et sa correspondance.

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

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