General Pierre-François-Joseph, comte Durutte, 1767-1827

General Pierre-François-Joseph, comte Durutte (1767-1827) was a French general whose career was harmed by his close association with Moreau, but who went on to perform well from 1809 to Waterloo.

Durutte joined the army in 1792. He fought at the battle of Jemappes and in 1795 became a staff officer under General Moreau, one of Napoleon's most bitter rivals. Durutte was promoted to general of division in 1803 but remained out of favour and was used on garrison duties until 1809.

In 1809 Durutte was given command of a division in Prince Eugene's army in Italy. He fought in the initial campaign in Italy, where an Austrian invasion led by the Archduke John was defeated. Durutte's division was formed as the war got underway and so he missed the earliest battles. He joined the army at the start of May, just as the Austrians were retreating to the Piave. Durutte's men threatened the Austrian left and helped force them to retreat across the Piave. He took part in the battle of the Piave (8 May 1809), where the Austrian position on the river was broken. He then took part in the pursuit that forced the Austrians to retreat back across the Alps, and was the leading division during the advance into Styria. He fought at the battle of St. Michael (25 May 1809), another French victory which saw Jellacic's isolated division destroyed. The French then advanced into Hungary, defeating a large Austria army at Raab (14 June 1809). Durutte's division was heavily involved in this battle.

While Eugene was winning his series of victories Napoleon had suffered a significant defeat at Aspern-Essling (21-22 May 1809). In the aftermath of this battle Napoleon made great efforts to gather reinforcements. Durutte's division joined the main army (along with most of the Army of Italy), and he fought in the battle of Wagram (5-6 July 1809).

War of Liberation 1813 - Autumn Campaign
War of Liberation 1813 - Autumn Campaign

Durutte was ennobled as a baron in August 1809 as reward for his efforts in Italy and at Wagram.

In 1812 he commanded the 32nd Division, part of Augereau's XI Corps, during the invasion of Russia.

He fought in the campaign of 1813, and played a part in the battle of Grossbeeren (23 August 1813)

In 1814 he was governor of Metz and held the city from January to March. He remained in the army after the first Bourbon restoration, but joined Napoleon in 1815. He commanded the 4th Division in d'Erlon's I Corps at Waterloo, where his division was posted at the far right of the French line. Durutte was caught up in the fighting at the end of the battle and lost his right eye and right army to sabre wounds. His injures forced him into retirement, and he spent the rest of his life in Belgium.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 June 2014), General Pierre-François-Joseph, comte Durutte, 1767-1827 ,

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