General Nicolas-Augustin Paillard

Général de brigade who served throughout the Revolution and later commanded départements

Born: August 28, 1756

Place of Birth: Donzy, Nièvre, France

Died: December 31, 1831

Place of Death: Entrains, France

Arc de Triomphe: PAILLARD on the north pillar


Enlisting in the French army in 1775, Nicolas-Augustin Paillard became a grenadier and remained in this position until the onset of the Revolution in 1789. That year he was promoted to sous-lieutenant in the Parisian National Guard in September. In 1792 Paillard was promoted to lieutenant in the 13th Battalion of Light Infantry and he was sent to serve in the Army of the Center which was then renamed the Army of the Moselle. That October he received a promotion to capitaine, and a year later he was promoted to général de brigade, having skipped all the intermediate ranks. In November of 1793 Paillard took command of the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division and on the November 29th he served under Ambert at Kaiserslautern. He next served under General Vincent in April of 1794, and then in April of 1796 he served in Delaborde's division in the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. In October of 1796 Paillard went on leave and then he returned to the Army of the Rhine in March of 1797. In 1798 he served briefly with the Army of Mainz and then in 1799 he served in the Army of Switzerland. That April Paillard was driven out of Schaffhouse and then in May he served at Frauenfeld and seized Andelfingen. In June he presided over the council that revised the Army of Switzerland before taking command of a brigade again.

In 1800 Paillard joined the Army of Grisons and then in 1801 he commanded the southern Tyrol before he was put on non-activity. He returned to a command in 1802 when he became commander of the département of Ille-et-Vilaine and then later the commander of the département of Morbihan. Paillard was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1804 and in 1808 he took command of a brigade of flying infantry at Pontivy.

In 1810 General Paillard was sent to the Army of Spain to command a brigade of Séras' division in the rear guard. In 1811 he served in the province of Palencia and then at the end of the year received a leave for reasons of health. Back in France, Paillard took command of the département of Orne in February of 1812 and then in June he took command of the département of Calvados. As the campaign of 1813 in Germany got underway, Paillard was employed in the Grande Armée and in August of 1813 he took command of the 1st Brigade of Berthezène's 44th Division in XIV Corps. Paillard served at the Battle of Dresden where he was badly wounded by a shot to the right shoulder. Authorized to return to France to recover from his wound, he was instead intercepted by enemy partisans and held captive for a few days before being released.

After Napoleon's abdication in April of 1814, the restored Bourbons placed Paillard on non-activity but also named him a Knight of Saint Louis. He retired from the army but came out of retirement for the Hundred Days of 1815 when Napoleon resumed power after returning from exile. Napoleon placed Paillard in charge of the département of Doubs, but after the Second Restoration of the Bourbons Paillard again retired.


Updated October 2016

© Nathan D. Jensen