Research Subjects: Biographies

Foot Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Du Pont, A. Willem

By Geert van Uythoven

Of Swiss origin, Du Pont was born in Maastricht (present day Netherlands) in 1751, son of Anthony l’Espérance Du Pont, who was colonel of the artillery from 1785 until his death in 1788. Willem Du Pont joined the Dutch artillery corps, promoted sous-lieutenant on 15 September 1770. On 30 September 1774 he was promoted ordinary master-fireworker. On 18 November 1781 promoted captain-lieutenant, he was again promoted to captain-commander on 18 November 1787, becoming commanding officer of the 3rd company of the 1st battalion known by his own name: Compagnie Artillerie van Willem du Pont in garrison in Breda. He took part in the campaign in Flanders in 1793. On 6 May 1793 he became a major commanding the field train of the Dutch army, and already a few months later lieutenant-colonel on 11 December 1793, receiving overall command of the artillery of the Dutch Field Army. In this function, he was with the siege of Landrecies (20-30 April 1794), and in the battle of Fleurus (26 June 1794). When the Dutch Republic ceased to exist, being changed in the Batavian Republic, a French satellite, on 10 April 1795 Du Pont resigned from the army, moving to Osnabrück and enlisting in the Royal Dutch army which was raised there, receiving command of the artillery. Already a short while later we find him appointed as a lieutenant-colonel with the artillery of the Dutch Brigade in England, present in the 1799 campaign in North-Holland. From 1 July until 6 September 1806 he served as a colonel in the service of Orange-Nassau.

Having remained loyal to the House of Orange the whole time, he naturally immediately entered Netherlands service in 1813 again. He was promoted major-general on 3 February 1814. On 14 March 1814, not surprisingly with his forty five years of service with the artillery and always having been loyal to the House of Orange, Du Pont was appointed General-Inspector of the Artillery. On the 23rd of that same month, Du Pont was again promoted to lieutenant-general this time. He received the commanders cross of the Militaire Willemsorde (‘Military Order of William’) on 8 July 1815. With the function of General-Inspector of the Artillery abolished, he was pensioned on 1 September 1818 on his own request, made a baron by King William. Leaving for Switzerland to live his final years, he died in Lausanne on 11 December 1829.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2013

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