General Augustin Darricau

Augustin Darricau
General who served much of his career in Spain under Drouet d'Erlon

Born: July 5, 1773

Place of Birth: Tartas, Landes, France

Died: May 6, 1819

Cause of Death: Illness

Place of Death: Dax, France

Arc de Triomphe: DARRICAU on the south pillar


Joining the army during the Revolution, Augustin Darricau volunteered and was elected a capitaine in the 1st Battalion of Landes in October of 1791. Sent to serve in the Army of the Alps, he participated in the Siege of Toulon at the end of 1793. Next Darricau was sent to the Army of Italy and in July of 1795 he was wounded by a shot to the left leg at the combat of Melogno. In 1796 he participated in the Italian campaign under the new commander General Bonaparte and Battle of Dego when the tibia of his left leg was fractured by a ball. Two years later in 1798 he was named to the Army of Switzerland but then he was ordered to join the Army of the Orient. Serving in Egypt, in September of 1799 Darricau was promoted by General Kléber to chef de bataillon in the 75th of the Line. The next month he distinguished himself in a combat against the Arabs. In March of 1801 as the British approached, Darricau was wounded by a shot to the right thigh near Alexandria. The next month General Menou promoted Darricau to chef de brigade of the 32rd of the Line, replacing Darmagnac who had been promoted to general.

After the French surrender in Egypt, Darricau returned to France where he was confirmed in his rank and position. In 1803 he joined the 2nd Brigade of Dupont's division in the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean. Darricau and his men remained as part of Dupont's division in 1805 when the Grande Armée moved east to confront the Third Coalition. Serving on that campaign, Darricau fought at Haslach and Albeck in October. That November he served at Dürenstein where he was instrumental in helping to rescue Gazan's division. The next year Darricau took part in the campaign against Prussia, leading his men into action at Halle in October, Nossenetin in November, and Mohrungen in January. In February of 1807 he was promoted to général de brigade and then in April he took command of the 2nd Brigade of the Lapisse's 2nd Division of I Corps. That June Darricau served at the Battle of Friedland.

In 1808 Darricau was named a Baron of the Empire and he and his men were sent to the Army of Spain as part of I Corps. In November he commanded the reserve at Espinosa and served at the Battle of Somosierra and then in December he served at Madrid. In January of 1809 Darricau served at Benavente and then he seized Toro and Zamora. He went on to seize Salamanca and Alcantara. After General Lapisse was mortally wounded at the Battle of Talavera , Darricau temporarily assumed command of the division. In May of 1810 he was named governor of Sainte-Marie and Seville, and in the meantime he had been named a Knight of the Iron Crown. Darricau successfully repulsed the enemy at the end of June of 1811 and the next month he was promoted to général de division. That November he took command of the a division under Drouet d'Erlon and then in 1812 they won at Castillejos. In October of 1812 Darricau seized the fort of Chinchilla and then he beat the rear guard of the enemy at San Munos. Continuing to serve in Spain, he next took command of the 4th Division of the Army of Andalusia in May of 1813. The next month Darricau fought at Vittoria where he was wounded by a shot to the right arm. In July he took command of the 6th Division in Drouet d'Erlon's center corps and he served at the combat of the pass of Maya. As the French began to withdraw from Spain, Darricau served at the combat on the Nivelle in October and then the Battle of Saint-Pierre d'Irube in December. Afterwards he served under General Clauzel.

For the defense of France of 1814, Darricau took command of the département of Landes and organized its defense. He evacuated Dax at the end of February and joined the army at Tarbes, and then in March he took command of the 1st Division of the Army of the South under Marshal Soult. Darricau served at the Battle of Toulouse under Drouet d'Erlon again before word reached them that Napoleon had abdicated the throne of France. The restored Bourbons named Darricau a Knight of Saint Louis, placed him in charge of a subdivision of the 10th military division at Perpignan, and named him a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. Nevertheless, when Napoleon returned from exile and resumed power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Darricau rallied to him. Darricau was given command of 24 battalions of tirailleurs of the National Guard of Paris and he did not serve on the campaign of the Hundred Days. After Napoleon's second abdication and the Second Restoration of the Bourbons, Darricau was put on non-activity.


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Updated December 2016

© Nathan D. Jensen