Fornésy, Henry-François

b. 13 May 1750, Orbe (Vaud, Switzerland)

d. 30 March 1811, Orbe

Born in Orbe in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, he entered the service of the King of France as a volunteer in the Swiss regiment of Eptingen, which was then garrisoned at Neuf-Brisach in Alsace (1 October 1763). He became sous-lieutenant (July 1767) then lieutenant (August 1780) in the regiment, and served with it during the campaign in Corsica of 1768-69. On 21 November 1780 he received a commission as captain in the regiment. At the moment of his "licenciement" in September 1792, the regiment in which he had been serving had been called Reinach for five years and was garrisoned at Arras. It was in this town that he was elected second lieutenant-colonel of the 32nd battalion of Light infantry (31 October 1792). He made the campaign of 1793 with the Army of the Sambre and Meuse (Kléber's division) and that of 1794 with the Army of the North, taking part in the action at the wood of Espérance (17 May 1794). Having become commander of the 32nd Light demi-brigade on 19th May, he fought at Fleurus (26 June 1794) and stayed with the Army of the Rhine and Moselle until the end of Year IV. Having left for Italy with his unit, he served at Loano (23 November 1795), then passed to the 17th Light demi-brigade, which was then being formed (10 April 1796). At the combat of Monte Negino, the issue of which prevented the Austrians from capturing the magazines and the HQ of the army at Savona, he made a great contribution to the success of the day. At the battle of Lonato (3 August), charging at the head of his demi-brigade, he had his left shoulder pierced by a ball. At the combat at Caprino (17 November), while resisting three charges by an enemy that was superior in numbers, he was wounded again, and also at the battle of Rivoli. He retired after being wounded again in 1799. Source: Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933-, vol 14, p. 502-3.

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