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Antoine-Charles-Louis de Lasalle (10 May 1775 – 6 July 1809) was a General of Division of the French Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. A happy drinker with a touch of elan, he was a cavalry commander of Emperor Napoleon I of France.

Biography

Lasalle's final charge at the 1809 Battle of Wagram

Antoine Charles Lasalle was born in Metz in the Kingdom of France in 1775, and was a made a Lieutenant of a cavalry regiment in 1791 at the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. He joined the Army of Italy in 1793 and fought in the Battle of Rivoli in 1797, capturing eleven Austrian flags, six of which were captured by Lasalle himself. General Napoleon Bonaparte told him to rest on top of the flags, for his rest was well-deserved. He also took part in the Egyptian Campaign of Napoleon in 1798, and he fought at Salahieh, Remedieh, Samanhout, and Gehemi. Lasalle distinguished himself again at the Battle of Remedieh when he chopped the hands off of a Mameluke who was about to kill General Louis-Nicolas Davout, saving the general's life.

Now known as one of the best generals of light cavalry, Lasalle founded the Society of Alcoholic in Paris after the Egypt Campaign, shocking high society but not Napoleon. It was at one of these events that he once famously said "Any hussar who does not die by thirty is a blackguard". He continued to serve in the Napoleonic Wars as a general of division of Napoleon, fighting in the Battle of Austerlitz. In October 1806 he captured Stettin in Pommerania from Prussia. Lasalle became commander of the Hellish Guards of the Napoleonic cavalry and used it to save Marshal Joachim Murat and the 1807 Battle of Heilsberg. In 1808 he transferred to Spain to fight in the Peninsular War and in 1809 he and Marshal Claude-Victor Perrin defeated Gregorio de la Cuesta at the Battle of Medellin.

Lasalle proved his heroics again even in the French defeat at the Battle of Aspern-Essling later in 1809 against the Austrian Empire. During the Battle of Wagram, he set out to aid Marshal Etienne-Jacques MacDonald against Austrian grenadiers in the large battle, saying that his cavalry were the only ones who had not done anything in the battle. Lasalle led a valiant charge and was wounded by a shot to the chest, but continued to charge. An Austrian grenadier finished him with a shot between the eyes, and Lasalle fell dead.

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