Vogüé, Charles François Elzéar, Marquis de

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Charles François Eléazard, marquis de Vogüé, Comte de Montlaur, Baron d'Aubenans and of the Languedoc States

French lieutenant-general (1758-60), general-inspector of the cavalry (1760-62)

born July 14, 1713, France

died 1782, France


Charles François Elzéar was born in France on July 14, 1713.

The Arms of the House of Vogüé were d’azur au coq hardi d’or barbé, crêté et membré de gueules (ou becqué et crêté d’or). The livery of the House of Vogüé was probably white and yellow (probably a white field with yellow distinctives).

On January 7 1729, at 16 years old, Vogüé entered into the service of the king, joining the Mousquetaires de la Garde in the 1st company (Mousquetaires gris).

On November 17 1730, as captain, he obtained a company in the dragoons regiment of d'Armenonville.

During the War of the Polish Succession, from 1732 to 1735, he commanded this company and was present at the camp of the Moselle, at the sieges of Giera d'Adda and Pizzighitone, at the affair of Colorno, at the battle of Parma, at the retreat of the Secchia, at the battle of Guastalla, and at the captures of Gonzague, Raggiolo, Revere and Goito.

On March 11 1736, de Vogüé was promoted mestre-de-camp-lieutenant of the cavalry regiment of Anjou (later Artois Cavalerie).

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1742, Vogüé commanded this regiment on the frontier of Flanders.

In 1743, Vogüé commanded at the Army of the Rhine from May 1 to June 4. He was then transferred to Bavaria and returned to France with the army in July. He finished the campaign in Haute-Alsace under the command of the Maréchal de Coigny, contributing to drive the enemy out of this province.

In 1744, Vogüé served once more with the Army of the Rhine under the command of the Maréchal de Coigny and was present at the capture of Weissembourg and of the lines of the Loutre, at the affair of Auguenein, and at the siege and capture of Fribourg. He then spent the winter at the Army of the Lower Rhine under the command of the Maréchal de Maillebois .

In March 1745, Vogüé contributed to the capture of the post of Cronembourg. On April 1, Vogüé became maréchal-général-des-logis of the cavalry in the Army of Italy under the command of the Maréchal de Maillebois, his relative. He took part in the conquests of Piémont and Montferrat and was present at the sieges of Tortonne, Valence and of the Castle of Casal, he participated in the passage of the Tanaro and, September 27, in the Battle of Bassignano. In November, he was promoted brigadier of cavalry.

Vogüé spent the winter 1745-46 in Italy where he continued to assume the charge of maréchal-général-des-logis of the cavalry. On June 15, he was at the Battle of Piacenza. On July 20, he was promoted mestre-de-camp-lieutenant of Dauphin Dragons and ceded his charge in Anjou Cavalerie to the Comte de Lupcourt-Drouville. On August 10, Vogüé distinguished himself in the combat of Tidon where he was praised by the Comte de Gage and chosen to bring the news to the king.

In 1747, Vogüé served in Provence and, in February, marched with the Comte de Belle-Isle in the vanguard of the army, forcing the enemy to retire and to repass the Var. In June, he commanded Dauphin Dragons at the camp of Gap. From July 9 to October, he served on the frontiers of Provence when his regiment was transferred to Alsace.

On January 1 1748, Vogüé was promoted maréchal-de-camp and employed in this function on the frontier of Piémont till August 1.

On August 1 1756, Vogüé received a letter of service to serve as premier aide-maréchal-général-des-logis with the Army of Germany.

On May 1 1757, de Vogüé took command of the corps attached to the army staff, destined to act as vanguard during the invasion of Hanover and consisting of the Grenadiers Royaux de Solar, the Volontaires de Flandre and the Volontaires du Hainaut. On July 24, at the head of this corps, reinforced with 10 grenadier coys, he moved closer to the Allied Army to reconnoitre its position and to locate a débouché to march against it. He cannonaded the positions of the Allies who retired during the night. On July 25, he was ordered to incorporate the Navarre Brigade to his corps, to pass by the débouché which he had reconnoitred and to make a junction with [[M. de Chevert in the plain of Hastenbeck. On July 26, Vogüé took part in the victorious Battle of Hastenbeck which led to the conquest of Hanover. At the end of the campaign, he was detached to take command of the troops who had marched to the Duchy of Lüneburg; to establish the winter-quarters of the left wing of the army; and to facilitate the junction with the Army of Brunswick which was supposed to pass under French pay. This junction was cancelled with the repudiation of the Convention of Kloster-Zeven. Vogüé then took part in all manoeuvres made by the French Army to force the Allies to retire from the banks of the Aller where they had taken position. A letter dated November 29, retained his service for the winter season.

In 1758, Vogüé was charged of various important missions by the Maréchal de Richelieu and later by the Comte de Clermont who ordered him to march to Neustadt and Nienburg to put these two essential posts in state of defence. Vogüé arrived in the latter place on the day when the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, after passing the Weser, had attacked Hoya. Vogüé rallied the remnants of the French units and, after having taken measures to keep Nienburg, marched with all speed to Neustadt to retire his garrisons (4 bns) from this place, thus preventing its capture by Ferdinand of Brunswick who appeared in front of the place an hour later at the head of his army. Vogüé commanded the rearguard of the French Main Army during its retreat from Hanover to Wesel. On February 15, the Comte de Vogüé was promoted inspecteur-général surnuméraire ( supernumerary general-inspector) of the cavalry and dragoons. Letters dated March 16, attached him to the Army of Germany. He was then detached from the army assembled at Rheinberg with 20 grenadier and piquet coys, and a few dragoons and hussars to occupy the post of Clostercamp and to observe the Allied Army encamped 4 km from this abbey. His dispositions and his fire put a stop to the advance of the Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick who was marching in 7 columns of which 3 were directed against his positions. Vogüé retired only after having been ordered to do so and realised that the Allies were trying to outflank his positions and thus cut his line of retreat. On June 23, he fought in the Battle of Krefeld. On December 28, he was promoted lieutenant-general.

In 1759, Vogüé served once more with the Army of Germany under the command of the Maréchal de Contades. On August 1, at the Battle of Minden, the Marquis de Vogüé commanded the right wing of the cavalry consisting of the cavalry brigade Colonel Général. In this battle, two of his sons: Mestre-de-camp Comte Cérice de Vogüé and Captain Chevalier Fleurimont de Vogüé were severely wounded, Cérice being taken prisoner.

On January 4 1760, Vogüé made himself master of the town of Herborn where he took 150 prisoners. On January 18, he obtained the charge of general-inspector of the cavalry. During this winter, he assumed command of the winter-quarters of the left wing of the army. Letters dated May 1, assigned him to the Army of Germany where he was attached to the Reserve of the Comte de Lusace. In this corps, Vogüé successfully commanded various detachments and was charged of the attack on the entrenched camp of Kassel which the Allies abandoned after some resistance.

In 1761, letters dated April 8 assigned Vogüé to the Army of the Lower Rhine. On July 4, he was commanding the rearguard when he was successively attacked by Allied light troops and by the vanguard of their army. He fought valiantly, giving enough time to the columns and train to escape before retiring in good order. On July 16, Vogüé commanded the troops who stormed the redoubt and village of Scheidirighen. After this affair, he assumed general command of the 3 vanguards of the army. On August 19, at the head of a detachment, he marched on Lembs, driving back an Allied corps of 3,000 men, surprising its rearguard and capturing 50 men, some cavalry tents of General Scheiter and about 30 wagons. On September 3, he was detached once more to recapture the post of Dorstein recently occupied by the Allies. Upon his approach, the latter abandoned the post. However, Vogüé sent a detachment across a ford which he had reconnoitred on the Lippe. This detachment cut the line of retreat of the Allied garrison (about 200 men) who were taken prisoners. For the rest of the campaign, Vogüé commanded a separate corps.

During the winter of 1761-62, Vogüé assumed command of the Army of the Lower Rhine. By his dispositions and manoeuvres, he foiled the project of the Hereditary Prince to drive the French Army from its winter-quarters in the Country of Bergh.

In April 1762, Vogüé assumed once more the charge of maréchal-général-des-logis for the Army of Germany. He transmitted command of the Army of the Lower Rhine to the Prince de Condé and rejoined the Maréchal d'Estrées and the Maréchal de Soubise at Kassel where the army was assembled. During this campaign, Vogüé took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal on June 24, in the Combat of Nauheim on August 30 and in the Combat of Amöneburg on September 21.

After the signature of the preliminaries of peace, Vogüé assumed general command of the French Army, from the departure of Soubise till the return to France of all troops and artillery.

In 1763, de Vogüé became governor of the City of Montmedy.

In January 1764, Vogüé received command of the Province of Alsace during the absence of the Maréchal de Contades and under his authority.

On November 2 1777, Vogüé was named commander-in-chief of the County of Provence.

On June 7 1778, de Vogüé received the distinction of chevalier des Ordres du Roi.

Vogüé died in 1782.

The Marquis de Vogüé was one of the most active officer of Louis XV's reign. From 1732 to 1762, he participated in all campaigns in Italy, Germany, Bavaria, Piémont and Hanover. He took part in 14 sieges and storming of strongholds and in 10 battles and military actions.

Charles François Elzéazard, Marquis de Vogüé, was the father of Cérice Comte de Vögué who, from May 1759, was mestre-de-camp of Vogüé Cavalerie.



Jean-Louis Vial of Nec Pluribus Impar for the initial version of this article.