Pierre Dumanoir le Pelley

Vice-Admiral Count Pierre-Etienne-René-Marie Dumanoir Le Pelley (2 August 1770 in Granville – 7 July 1829 in Paris)[1] was a French Navy officer, best known for commanding the vanguard of the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Pierre-Etienne-René-Marie Dumanoir Le Pelley
Vice-amiral Dumanoir Le Pelley
Born2 August 1770
Died7 July 1829(1829-07-07) (aged 58)
Allegiance Kingdom of France
 Kingdom of the French
 French First Republic
 First French Empire
Service/branch French Navy
Years of service1787 – 1815
AwardsCount of the Empire

Grand officer of the Legion of Honour

Commander of the Order of Saint Louis
RelationsCousin to Georges-René Pléville Le Pelley


Dumanoir joined the Navy in 1787 as an élève de port and served in America until 1790. He was then promoted to ensign and served on the frigates Pomone and Néréide, cruising off Africa. He then embarked on the fluyt Dromadaire, bound for Cayenne.[1]

Promoted to lieutenant in 1790, he was appointed to the staff of Admiral Martin. He served on Sans-Culotte.[1]

Promoted to captain, Dumanoir took command of the Berwick in Richery's squadron, raiding commerce in the Mediterranean and in Newfoundland.[1]

In 1796, Dumanoir commanded a division under Admiral Bouvet during the Expédition d'Irlande, with his flag on Révolution. Upon his return to France, he encountered the Scévola, badly damaged in a storm, and rescued her crew.[1]

In 1798, Dumanoir took part in the preparation for the invasion of Egypt, and was tasked with supervising the harbour of Alexandria afterwards. The next year, he commanded the frigate Carrère, ferrying Lannes, Murat, Marmont and Parceval-Grandmaison to France, and sailing with the Muiron which carried ferrying Bonaparte, Gantheaume, Berthier, Andréossi, Monge, Berthollet, Denon, Lavalette et Bourienne.[1]

Dumanoir was promoted to contre-amiral on 21 November 1799, commanding a division of the squadron of Brest. During the Battle of Algeciras Bay, he was tasked with commissioning activities in Cadix, and after the battle, he was reprimanded for failing to reinforce Linois.[1]

In 1805, he was in command of a division in the French fleet commanded by Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve. He took part in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, flying his flag on the Formidable and commanding the six-ship vanguard of the French fleet; cut off from most of the fighting, he gave the signal for his ships to flee the battle, and four of them did (although the Spanish Valdes defied the order and had rowboats tow him back into battle); Dumanoir was chased down and captured by a squadron under Richard Strachan at the Battle of Cape Ortegal on 3 November and reached England in disgrace.[1][2]

He later was given commands in Danzig in 1811 and in Marseilles in 1815. He was promoted to vice-admiral on 27 January 1819.[1]



  1. Dictionnaire des capitaines de vaisseau de Napoléon (in French), Danielle & Bernard Quintin, SPM, 2003, ISBN 2-901952-42-9.
  2. p163-4, 167-9, Goodwin The Ships of Trafalgar, the British, French and Spanish Fleets October 1805
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