'The grenadiers got a handsome, perfectly groomed colonel named Dorsenne, a soldier of high valor and many wounds, fair, honest, and so hard that the toughest veterans jumped to please him. In a year's time he made them a model for the whole army. 'He raised our waistcoats to see if our shorts were fresh; looked to see if our feet were clean, if our nails were trimmed, and even inspected our ears. He checked out foot lockers to make certain they didn't contain dirty linen; he looked under our matresses.' If there were any dust in a squad room, its corporal got four days in the guardhouse.' -John Elting, Swords Around a Throne, 185.
From Georges Six:
-Volunteer in a battalion from the Pas de Calais in 1791.
-Wounded in a combat at Pas-de-Baisieux in April 1792.
-Captain in the 10th Bataillon de voluntaires nationaux des reserves in September 1792.
-Served in the Armee du Nord from 1792-1794.
-Wounded in the right arm at ‘l’affaire de Tourcoing’ in May 1793.
-Transferred to the 24th Demi-brigade in December 1793.
-Served in the Armee de Sambre-et-Meuse from 1794-1796.
-Assigned to Bernadotte’s division of the Armee d’Italie in January 1797.
-Distinguished himself at the passage of the Tagliamento in March 1797 and was named a chef de bataillon on the field of battle by Napoleon in March 1797.
-Served in the Armee d’Egypte from 1798-1801.
-Assigned to Desaix’s division in May 1798.
-Served at the Pyramides in July 1798.
-Wounded at the combat at Kene in Upper Egypt in February 1799.
-Named a provisional chef de brigade of the 61st Ligne by Kleber in May 1800.
-Wounded at the battle of Alexandria in March 1801.
-Confirmed in the grade of chef de brigade of the 61st Ligne in July 1802.
-Assigned to the Armee des Cotes de l’Ocean in 1804.
-Assigned as major in the Grenadiers a Pied in March 1805.
-Served in the Grande Armee from 1805-1807.
-Promoted to colonel-major in the Guard in October 1805.
-Served at Austerlitz.
-Promoted to colonel in the Guard in December 1805.
-Promoted to general of brigade in December 1805.
-Assigned to a brigade of dragoons a pied in September 1806.
-Appointed as the commandant of the Grenadiers a Pied of the Imperial Guard replacing General Hulin in November 1806.
-Served at Eylau.
-Appointed Colonel of the Grenadiers a Pied of the Imperial Guard in January 1808.
-Commandant of the infantry of the Imperial Guard in Spain in November 1808.
-Commandant of the brigade of Grenadiers and Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard in Germany in April 1809.
-Served at Ratisbon.
-Served at Essling and was wounded in the head.
-Promoted to general of division June 1809.
-Commandant of the 2d Guard infantry division in July 1809.
-Served at Wagram.
-Served in Spain as commander of the Guard in April 1810.
-Appointed Governor of the province of Burgos in June 1810.
-Appointed Governor of Old Castile in December 1810.
-Commander of the Armee du Nord in Spain, replacing Bessieres, in July 1811.
-Died in Paris in July 1812 while undergoing a trepanning operation on the head wound incurred at Essling in May 1809.
From Coignet's Memoirs, The Notebooks of Captain Coignet, 98:
'But a colonel, named Dorsenne, came to us from Egypt, covered with wounds; he was just the sort of soldier needed to discipline and drill an efficient guard. In a year's time we might have served as a model for the whole army. He was so severe that he made the most unruly soldier tremble; he reformed all abuses. He might have been held up as an example for all our generals, both for courage and bearing. A finer soldier was not to be seen on the battlefield. I have seen him one moment covered with dirt by shells, and the next he would be up again saying, 'It is nothing, grenadiers, your general is near you.'
From pages 99-100:
'…In the order that he sent for the Sunday review, Colonel Dorsenne recommended that nothing should be neglected in the uniforms of the men. The whole store of clothing was turned upside down; all the old uniforms were renovated, and he inspected us at ten o'clock. He was so stern that he made the officers tremble…'
From page 178 commenting on the fighting at Essling in May 1809:
'There were no gunners left to work our two pieces. General Dorsenne sent forward twelve grenadiers to take their places, and bestowed the cross on them. But all those brave fellows perished beside their guns. No more horses, no more artillerymen, no more shells. The carriages were broken to pieces, and the timbers scattered over the ground like logs of wood. It was impossible to make any more use of them. A shell fell and burst near out good general, covering him with dirt, but he rose up like the brave soldier that he was, saying, 'Your general is not hurt. You may depend upon him, he will know how to die at his post.' He had no horse any longer; two had been killed under him. How grateful the country ought to be for such men!'
From Military Life Under Napoleon: The Memoirs of Captain Elzear Blaze, Translation by John R. Elting, 103-104:
'There are men, however, who, gifted with an extraordinary strength of spirit, can cold-bloodily face the greatest dangers…what I have seen General Dorsenne do-and never have seen it done by anyone else-was to stand motionless, his back to the enemy, facing his bullet-riddled regiment, and say 'Close up your ranks,' without once looking behind him. On other occasions I have tried to imitate him. I have tried to turn my back to the enemy, but I could never remain in that position-curiosity always made me look to see where all those bullets were coming from.'