Just as soon as I was finished painting and ready to base my Colonel of the 13th Chasseurs à Cheval (see the last post), up popped a portrait of the man himself. Colonel Jean- Baptiste Demengeot was exactly one day younger than Napoleon, being born on 16 August 1769 and so was, like the Emperor, 40 in 1809. One thing was immediately clear from his portrait: he wasn’t blonde! Going by a later portrait, he certainly shaved off his cavalry moustache some time during his retirement from active service. When exactly the earlier portrait was painted isn’t clear but he is dressed as a light cavalry colonel with twin-fringed silver epaulettes (see Post 67). He proudly displays his Legion of Honour. He received all three ranks of the order, the most senior in 1849 when he was 80 years old. In 1809, he had already been awarded the first two ranks. As I mentioned in the last post, he retired from active service in August 1809. He had served as ADC to General Oudinot in 1800, General Massena advanced his career in the same year, he was

Here I Go Again!

wounded twice at Hollabrunn in 1805, promoted to Colonel and given com-mand of the 13th  Chasseurs in 1806, he fought in Prussia and Poland, and was wounded once more at Golymin in 1806 and again at Eylau in 1807. He was created Baron of the Empire in 1808. Three years as regimental field commander and suffering at least four wounds sounded
to me like an impressive innings. Perhaps there was something significant in Napoleon’s army about reaching the age of 40 as Demengeot retired the day after his birthday.
LEFT & BELOW My Colonel not blonde any more but with something of a Demengeot-esque shaped moustache and hair greyed.
POST 163