General Charles-Antoine-Louse-Alexis, comte Morand (1771-1835) was one of Napoleon’s best divisional commanders, commanding the 1st Division in Davout’s corps during the main battles of 1806-1813.
Morand was the son of a lawyer, and before the revolution he worked in his father’s legal practise. In 1792 he enlisted in the French army, and served on the German and Italian fronts. He was part of the army that Napoleon took to Egypt, and was promoted to general de brigade in Egypt in September 1800.
During the Austerlitz campaign Morand commanded the 10th Léger, which formed a brigade within the 1st Division of Soult’s IV Corps. This brigade played a major part in the battle, and in December 1805 Morand was promoted to general de division as a reward. In February 1806 Morand was given command of the 1st Division of Davout’s Corps, a role he continued to perform until early in 1813.
At the battle of Auerstadt (14 October 1806) Morand’s division was the third of three French divisions to reach the battlefield, and played a major part in the eventual French victory.
Morand’s division arrived late in the day during the battle of Golymin (26 December 1806), and helped the French gain a temporary advantage of the Russians, but they were unable to take advantage of this success and the outnumbered Russians successfully defended their position all day, before retreated overnight.
At Eylau (7-8 February 1807) Morand’s division arrived during the afternoon of the second day (along with the rest of Davout’s Corps), and by applying pressure to the Russian left wing helped save Napoleon from suffering a serious defeat.
In 1808 Morand was ennobled as the comte de Morand, but he believed that Davout blocked any further promotion in order to retain his services as a divisional commander.
Morand’s division took part in the campaign that ended at Wagram, fighting at Abensberg (20 April 1809), Eggmuhl (22 April 1809) and Wagram (5-6 July 1809).
Morand took part in the Russian campaign of 1812 and was severely wounded in the jaw by a shell splinter at Borodino (7 September 1812). When he returned to action he was appointed to command the 12th Division of IV Corps and fought in the 1813 campaign in Germany, although he was trapped at Mainz and was unable to take part in the defence of France.
Morand’s division fought at Lützen (2 May 1813), one of Napoleon’s victories in the first campaign of 1813. Morand took part in the successful French attack during the afternoon of the first day of the battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813), but the French were unable to take advantage of this success. These successes helped Napoleon negotiate a brief armistice in the hope that he could use that time to improve the quality of this army.
When the fighting resumed in mid-August the Allies had benefited most from the break in the fighting and Napoleon faced a much larger Allied army.
At the battle of Dennewitz (6 September 1813) Morand’s division helped fight off the first major Prussian attack, but was soon forced to retreat and the battle ended as a major French defeat, ending a second attempt to reach Berlin.
Morand was present at the battle of Leipzig (16-19 October 1813), a crushing French defeat and at the battle of Hanau (30-31 October 1813), where the Allies were unable to prevent Napoleon from continuing his retreat. Towards the end of the German campaign of 1813 Morand was finally promoted to command IV Corps, but he was then trapped in Mainz, where he was trapped for the rest of the war.
In 1815 Morand rallied to Napoleon and was appointed colonel of the Chasseurs à Pied of the Imperial Guard. He commanded his new troops at Waterloo, where they took part in the bitter fighting against the advancing Prussians around Plancenoit.
Morand was exiled and condemned to death in his absence after the second restoration. The decision was reversed and his titled restored in 1820, but he didn’t hold any military posts until after the revolution of 1830. In October 1832 he was made a peer of France, but he died only three years later.