General Jean-Claude Roussel

Général de brigade who was killed by friendly fire at Ostrowno

Born: September 25, 1771

Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France

Died: July 26, 1812

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Place of Death: Ostrowno, Russia

Arc de Triomphe: ROUSSEL on the east pillar

Jean-Claude Roussel first joined the army in July of 1791 when he volunteered to join the 1st Battalion of Volunteers of Paris. Appointed a sergeant, he was sent to the Army of the North where he received promotions to sous-lieutenant and then lieutenant in 1793. In 1794 Roussel was sent to the Army of the Rhine and Moselle where he became an aide-de-camp to General Reneauld. Two years later he received a promotion to capitaine in the 76th of the Line, and then in 1797 he joined the Army of Switzerland.

Roussel remained with the Army of Switzerland until 1799 when he joined the Army of Italy and became an aide-de-camp to General Partouneaux. That June he also received a promotion to chef de bataillon in the 6th of the Line and then fought at San-Giuliano where he was wounded by a shot to the head. In December of 1799 Roussel fought at Monte-Faccio and then the next day he was promoted to chef de brigade of the 106th of the Line. A year he later he fought at Vasto where he was wounded by a shot to the chest.

During the years of peace that followed, Roussel was placed in garrison at Brescia. When war broke out in 1805, he was posted to the Army of Italy where he remained for a number of years. As Austria prepared for war in 1809, Roussel was promoted to général de brigade in the Army of Italy and given command of the 2nd Brigade of Seras' division. During the campaign that followed he fought at Sacile, Saint-Michel, and Raab and afterwards he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. Roussel continued to serve in Italy and he was created a Baron of the Empire in 1810.

For the Russian campaign of 1812, Roussel took command of the 2nd Brigade of Delzons' 13th Division in the Grande Armée. While on campaign he visited the advance posts at night to reconnoiter the enemy positions near Ostrowno. As he was returning to the French camp, a French sentry mistook him for the enemy and shot and killed him.

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


Updated March 2015

© Nathan D. Jensen