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The Napoleon Series > Biographies > Biographies

Horse Artillery Officers of the Netherlands Serving from 1813 to 1815: Gey, Adrianus Rudolf Willem

By Geert van Uythoven

List, Frederik Carel

Gey was born in Willemstad (present day Netherlands) on 25 November 1787. He was appointed to the Foot artillery battery no.1, promoted 2nd lieutenant on 28 January 1805. Took part in the 1805 campaign in Germany. In 1806 the company, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel A.J.J. de la Passières, was assigned to the 3rd (Dutch) Division (Lieutenant-General Jean Baptiste Dumonceau), taking part in the capture of the fortresses Hameln and Nienburg. He was present at the siege of Stralsund 1807. On 8 August 1808 he was promoted to 1st lieutenant and appointed with the horse artillery by King Louis Bonaparte. Gey took part in the 1812 campaign in Russia, as an ADC of General Baltus de Pouilly who commanded the artillery of the 1st Army Corps (Marshal Davout). He was promoted 2nd captain on 15 June 1813. Gey became a knight in the Légion d’Honneur.

On 22 January 1814, by decree Gey was appointed captain with the Horse artillery corps of the Netherlands army. He received command of the (depleted) 1st company of the Horse artillery corps, making mobile a half battery. This half battery was armed with three short 6-pdr bronze cannon, and a 24-pdr (iron) bronze howitzer. On 6 August 1814, Captain Petter marched with the 1st and 3rd company of the Horse artillery corps from Utrecht to Maastricht to continue to make mobile a horse battery there. Officially, he was part of the occupation corps of Prince Frederick of Orange, to replace two foot batteries initially assigned to this corps but had difficulties to be raised. On 21 January 1815, two half batteries were formed under the Captains Gey (1st company) and Petter (3rd company), while the surplus of personnel marched to the depot of the Horse artillery corps in Breda. Leaving Maastricht on 1 April, the half Horse artillery battery ‘Gey’ was attached to the 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade (Major-General Jean Baptiste Baron van Merlen) of the Netherlands Cavalry Division (Lieutenant-General Jean Antoine Baron de Collaert). This brigade arrived on the battlefield of Quatre-Bras somewhere around 3.00 p.m., accompanied by Captain Gey and only two guns commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Van Wassenaar van St.-Pancras; both other guns, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Reijntjes, had stayed behind with the heavy cavalry brigade. When they arrived, both guns deployed in front of the crossroads, left of the chaussee. Only moments later, both guns were charged by some squadrons of the 6me Régiment Chasseurs à Cheval (when an attack of Van Merlen’s light cavalry brigade had been defeated), was mauled in the process but remained operational. Even more, when Captain Gey noticed that the French cavalry was busy trying to carry off the guns of the Foot battery ‘Stevenart’, he used his own mounted gunners as cavalry, and reinforced with some volunteers charged the French, routed them and recaptured four of the lost guns.

At Waterloo, the half Horse artillery battery ‘Gey’ united with Captain Petter’s half Horse artillery battery was deployed just northeast of Hougoumont. As the senior officer Petter commanded both half batteries. When battle commenced, both half batteries were ordered forward about 200 to 300 paces, to support the defenders of Hougoumont. The half battery fought the whole day, also against the cavalry attacks later that day, and was targeted by the French guard artillery, suffering severe loss. After the battle of Waterloo, the half battery took part in the capture of the fortress-city Le Quesnoy, bombarding the place from 26 until 29 June. After that it took part in the capture of Valenciennes (20 July). During the last days of November the battery marched back to the Netherlands, being garrisoned in ‘s Hertogenbosch. Gey was appointed a knight 3th class of the Militaire Willemsorde (‘Military order of William’) on 18 July 1815. On 16 April 1820 he transferred to the army in the Dutch East Indies, taking part In fighting on Java island. He finally became a colonel. By royal decree of 21 November 1837, his name was changed in ‘Gey van Pittius’. He died in Zutphen on 6 March 1865.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: February 2014