General Nicolas-Hyacinthe Gautier

Général de brigade who served in Marshal Davout's III Corps for many years and was mortally wounded at Wagram

Born: May 5, 1774

Place of Birth: Loudéac, Côtes-d'Armor, France

Died: July 14, 1809

Cause of Death: Mortally wounded

Place of Death: Vienna, Austria

Arc de Triomphe: GAUTIER on the east pillar


Volunteering to join the army during the Revolution, Nicolas-Hyacinthe Gautier became a lieutenant in the 4th Battalion of Volunteers of Côtes-du-Nord in September of 1792. Over the following years he served with the Army of the North, the Army of the Moselle, and the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. In 1796 Gautier joined General Demont's staff and he was promoted to capitaine. He went on to take part in the defense of Kehl and then in April of 1797 he served at the crossing of the Rhine where he was wounded. Gautier served with the Army of Switzerland in 1798 and then in early 1799 he was promoted to chef de bataillon and he became an aide-de-camp to General Masséna. That September he served at the Battle of Zurich where he was promoted to chef de brigade on the battlefield.

In January of 1800 Gautier followed Masséna to Italy and he therefore took part in the defense of Genoa. That April he served under Fressinet during the attack of Ponte Inurea and then in May he served under Miollis at the action of Monte-Faccio and was wounded. After the surrender of Genoa and the conclusion of the campaign. Gautier was employed in the Army of Observation of the South for a time before he was sent to the 21st military division in 1802. In 1803 he joined others at the camp of Saint-Omer and then in 1804 he was named an Officer of the Legion of Honor. Gautier was promoted to général de brigade in February of 1805 and he was given command of the 2nd Brigade of Gudin's 3rd Division.

As the Grande Armée marched east to deal with the Third Coalition during the fall of 1805, Gautier's brigade served as part of Marshal Davout's III Corps. He served throughout the campaign against Austria in 1805. In October of 1806 Gautier fought at the Battle of Auerstadt where he was wounded, and then in December he won at Okunin. He continued to serve as part of Davout's corps and in 1808 he was named a Baron of the Empire. Later that year he was sent to the Army of Spain to serve as chief of staff to Marshal Lefebvre's IV Corps, however he was recalled to Paris in early 1809.

With the Austrians threatening France and her allies in 1809, Gautier took command of the 3rd Brigade of Friant's 2nd Division. During the Danube campaign that followed, he joined Demont's division and then after General Cervoni was killed at Eckmühl he replaced Cervoni as chief of staff to Marshal Lannes and II Corps. Gautier served under Lannes until Lannes was mortally wounded at the Battle of Aspern-Essling , and then Gautier became chief of staff to General Oudinot who assumed command of II Corps. Serving throughout that bloody campaign, Gautier was himself mortally wounded at the Battle of Wagram in July and died a week later.


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Updated August 2016

© Nathan D. Jensen