Woll (1795–1875) was born in Saint Germain en Laye, about 10 kilometers, or 6 and 1/4 miles, west of Paris, on December 2, 1795. His military career began in 1813, when he was 18, when he served as a private in the 2nd Guard Regiment in the defense of Paris against the enemies of Napoleon in 1814. By the time of the surrender of the city on March 31, 1814, he had been promoted to Sub Lieutenant and was transferred to the 4th Battalion, 10th National Guard Legion and promoted to Captain on April 17, 1814.
He emigrated to the United States of America and enlisted in the army as Sergeant Major and was appointed as Field Adjutant to General Winfield Scott. Later in New York, he met Spanish General Francisco Javier Mina who gave him a position as a Lieutenant Colonel in July 1816. He then participated in an expedition against New Spain and came ashore at the Soto la Marina sand bar on April 15, 1817, Woll was sent on to New Orleans aboard the Congreso Mexicano vessel to pick up and transport a body of volunteers. By the time he returned to Soto la Marina, General Mina had advanced into the interior of Mexico and the fort they had built at Soto la Marina had been captured by the Spaniards. Woll then converted the Congreso Mexicano into a raider. He later moved to Mexico and lived as a civilian until after the war for Mexican independence was won. On August 15, 1830, after Spain invaded Mexico, he was called into active service by the Mexican government for the duration of the war against Spain. Woll served as the Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief of the Mexican troops, General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Woll took part in the assault on Tampico, the battle in Tamaulipas, and was wounded during the assault on the coastal fort on September 11. He was then promoted to the rank of Colonel.
In 1832 he served as the Second in Command of the Jalisco Division under General José de la Cuesta. He captured Zamora on November 13, and in recognition of his actions, he was promoted to the rank of General. In 1836 Woll served with the Army of Operations of the Texas campaign, under the command of General Santa Anna, but after the disastrous Battle of San Jacinto, he was sent by General Vicente Filisola to the Texas camp, to hear the agreements made between Santa Anna and Sam Houston. Woll remained with the Army of the North as Commandant of the Second Division, and then was Second in Command and finally became the Commander in Chief. Woll then undertook his expedition against the then-Mexican town of San Antonio de Bexar. On September 11, 1842, after two hours of intense musket fire, his soldiers rounded up 150 prisoners. On his return march to his base camp on the Rio Grande, he was defeated by the Texans at the Battle of Salado Creek on September 17, and also at the Battle of Hondo River on September 22. The Mexican government awarded him with a plaque designed exclusively for him, which had a gold edged circle of dark blue enamel with a white 5-point Texas star, with its top point broken off, all this surrounded with a burst of gold rays, 4 inches in diameter. Woll later retired from all public activity in France in 1865, after he was sent to France on a special commission by Emperor Maximilian, and he never again returned to Mexico. After the fall of the French empire, he stayed in Montauban, France, where he died peacefully in 1875, at the age of 80.