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Pierre Charles Courtois capturedat BattleOf Bailen
Posted by: Michael Cootware Date: January 04, 2002 at 14:31:21
  of 206

My ancestor Pierre Charles Courtois enlisted in Napoleons army about 1800 at the age of 14. Here is his obituary:

Burlington Free Press: February 12, 1875

Mr. Charles Cortwite (pronounced Cootware) of Plattsburg, whose death was announced last week, was born in Belle Isle, France, in 1779, and enlisted in the French service at the early age of 14. He served under Napoleon Bonaparte, was in the wars of Portugal and England, was on board a French ship at the battle of Trafalgar. In 1808 he was taken prisoner by the British, near Cadiz, Spain, and soon after enlisted in a British regiment and sent to Malta for five years. The regiment came out to Canada, and in September, 1813, Mr. Cortwite deserted from the British service and came to Burlington, where he enlisted in the U.S. Dragoons. He served in nearly all the battles on the northern frontier, until he lost a leg at Fort Erie in 1814. He had been a pensioner since 1849.

I've documented his US military service and his British service. Now all that remains is to document his French service. He enlisted in the Regiment de Meuron (a Swiss regiment under British command) at Gibraltar on May 30, 1809, he was at Malta for 4 years doing garrison duty. In June 1813 the Regiment de Meuron was sent to Canada for the War of 1812. They arrived in mid August 1813 at Chambly, Quebec, Canada. My ancestor deserted with 8 others on September 2, 1813 and enlisted in the 2nd US Light Dragoons on September 9, 1813.

I figure that he was captured at the Battle of Bailen in July 1808, because it matches his obituary for the date of his capture. Also it matches the location where the Regiment de Meuron recruited many french prisoners from the prison pontoon's off the coast of Cadiz, Spain, prisoners from the Battle of Bailen.

Now my questions. Does anyone have any idea how and where I can find any information about his service for Napoleon? Are the lists of the prisoners from the Battle of Bailen somewheres? Are there enlistment or service records on microfilm of Napoleons soldiers? Did Napoleons army have Muster Rolls or Paylists? His obituary states that he was at the Battle of Trafalgar. If paylists or muster rolls exist, they might document his participation there.

Here is his personal information from the Regimental Book of the Regiment de Meuron:

Pierre Courtois, # 1600, rifleman, enroled May 30, 1809, at Gibraltar,
22 years old, 5 feet 8 inches, born in Chambery, in Savoie, France;
desertion September 2, 1813, from Chambly. They striked out his name
October 28, 1815.

Any information or guidance would be appreciated!
Thank You,
Michael Cootware


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