Henri François Delaborde

Early career

He was the son of a baker of Dijon.[1] In 1783, Delaborde joined the Regiment of Condé Dragoons as a private.[2] At the outbreak of the French Revolution he joined the 1st Battalion of Volunteers of the Côte-d'Or, and passing rapidly through all the junior grades, was made général de brigade after the combat of Rheinzabern (1793).[1] As chief of the staff, he was present at the siege of Toulon in the same year and promoted général de division. He was, for a time, governor of Corsica.

In 1794 Delaborde served in the War of the Pyrenees against Spain, distinguishing himself at the Baztan Valley on 25 July and at Orbaizeta on 16 October.[1]

His next command was on the Rhine. At the head of a division he took part in the celebrated campaigns of 1795-1797, and in 1796 covered général de division Jean Victor Marie Moreau's right when that general invaded Bavaria at the battles of Neresheim and Emmendingen.[1] In late 1799, Delaborde led a division in actions at Philippsburg and at the French defeat at the battle of Wiesloch as part of général de division Claude Lecourbe's corps. In the 1800 campaign in southern Germany, Delaborde led a small division in Sainte-Suzanne's corps,[3] which was part of Moreau's army.

Delaborde was in constant military employment during the Consulate and the early Empire and was made commander of the Legion of Honour in 1804.[1]


In 1807 he led a division in the Invasion of Portugal with General of Division Jean-Andoche Junot's army. Delaborde received the dignity of count in 1808. Against Sir Arthur Wellesley's English army he fought a skillful and brilliant rear-guard action at the Battle of Roliça.[1] At the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, he was wounded while leading his troops in an unsuccessful frontal attack. He commanded a division under Marshal Nicolas Soult at the Battle of Corunna, the Battle of Braga in the First Battle of Porto campaign and the Second Battle of Porto.

Later career

In 1812 Delaborde was one of Marshal Édouard Mortier's divisional commanders in the Russian campaign, leading the Young Guard. In early December when Napoleon abandoned his crippled Grand Army, Delaborde was still at Mortier's side.[4] In 1813, he led the 3rd Division of the Young Guard until wounded in action at Pirna.[5] In the following year he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and was governor of the Castle of Compiègne. He joined Napoleon in the Hundred Days and became Chamberlain and a peer. Marked for punishment by the returning Bourbons, he was sent before a court-martial and only escaped condemnation through a technical flaw in the wording of the charge. The rest of his life was spent in retirement.[1]

He was the father of the painter Henri Delaborde.


  • Chandler, David. Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Macmillan, 1979. ISBN 0-02-523670-9
  • Chandler, David (ed.). Gray, Randal. Napoleon's Marshals, "Mortier: The Big Mortar." New York: Macmillan, 1987. ISBN 0-02-905930-5
  • Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN 1-85367-276-9


  1.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Delaborde, Henri François". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 941.
  2. Chandler, p 117
  3. Smith, p 178
  4. Chandler-Gray, p 320
  5. Chandler, p 118
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