General François-Xavier Roussel

Chief of staff in the Imperial Guard who was killed at Heilsberg

Born: December 3, 1770

Place of Birth: Charmes, Vosges, France

Died: June 10, 1807

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Place of Death: Heilsberg, Poland

After first joining the army in May of 1789 as a dragoon, François-Xavier Roussel left his regiment in 1792 and then became a capitaine in the 9th Battalion of Volunteers of Meurthe. Serving with the Army of the Moselle, in March of 1793 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the same battalion. That September Roussel fought at Pirmasens where he was taken prisoner.

Finally released in July of 1795, Roussel next joined the Army of the North with the rank of the chef de bataillon. In 1796 he served with the 60th of the Line and the Army of the Sambre and Meuse, and in 1797 General Hoche promoted him to chef de brigade of the 60th of the Line. Roussel went on to serve in the Army of Germany later that year and then in Holland in 1798 and 1799. August of 1799 saw him receiving a promotion to général de brigade and then he was employed with the Army of Observation of the Rhine. Roussel took command of a brigade in the army throughout the reorganizations and he led his brigade into action at Engen and Biberach in May of 1800. That November he was placed with Montrichard's division and then in December he served at the combats of Gotzing and Kremsmunster.

During the years of peace that followed, General Roussel was assigned to the 2nd military division as commander of the département of Meuse and in 1804 he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. When war broke out in 1805, Roussel briefly served as Marshal Lannes' chief of staff before he was appointed to the Imperial Guard as chief of staff to Marshal Lefebvre. Roussel took part in the campaigns of 1805 and 1806, and in late 1806 he fought at Biezun. In January of 1807 he became chief of staff to Marshal Bessières and later received a promotion to général de division. When the campaign resumed later that year, General Roussel was serving at Heilsberg in June where he was hit by a ball and killed.

Please see the Appendix about the name ROUSSEL on the Arc de Triomphe.


Updated March 2015

© Nathan D. Jensen