General Basile Guy Marie Victor Baltus de PouillyArtillery officer who served at Austerlitz, Friedland, Wagram, Ligny, and Wavre
Born: January 2, 1766
Place of Birth: Metz, Moselle, France
Died: January 13, 1845
Place of Death: Brie-Comte-Robert, France
Arc de Triomphe: BALTUS on the north pillar
Entering the artillery school of Metz in August of 1780, a year later Basile Guy Marie Victor Baltus de Pouilly joined the artillery regiment of La Fère as a lieutenant. After the onset of the French Revolution, he was promoted to capitaine in 1791. In 1792 Baltus fulfilled a variety of positions and then in 1793 he was assigned to the 18th Company of Horse Artillery and he joined the Army of the Alps. After serving with the Army of the Alps through 1795, in 1796 he joined the Army of the Rhine. The next notable event of Baltus' career came at the end of 1799 when he was promoted to chef de bataillon. In May of 1800 Baltus joined the Army of the Reserve and then two months later he joined the Army of Italy. In 1801 he resigned from the army due to reasons of health.
In June of 1804 Baltus returned to the army as a chef d'escadrons in the 5th Horse Artillery. He served with the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean and then for the campaign of 1805 against the Third Coalition he commanded the artillery of Oudinot's division in V Corps. Baltus served throughout the campaign, being named an Officer of the Legion of Honor in November, and fighting at the Battle of Austerlitz in December. In March of 1806 he was promoted to colonel and that August he took command of the 1st Horse Artillery. Two months later Baltus was named chief of staff of the artillery of Marshal Mortier's VIII Corps. In June of 1807 he fought at the Battle of Friedland and then in July he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor. Baltus received further rewards, being named a Knight of the Order of Saint Henry of Saxony and a Knight of the Order of the Sword of Sweden. In 1808 he served with the Army of Germany and in 1809 he was named a Baron of the Empire. Baltus served during the Danube campaign of 1809 and in July he was named chief of staff of artillery of Bernadotte's IX Corps. In this position he served at the Battle of Wagram .
For the next few years, Baltus bounced between different commands in Holland, Germany, and France and in May of 1811 he was promoted to général de brigade. In 1812 he was named deputy commander of the artillery of Marshal Davout's I Corps and he participated in the campaign against Russia that year. After returning from the disaster in Russia, in March of 1813 Baltus was placed in charge of the artillery of III Cavalry Corps. That June he took command of the artillery of Vandamme's I Corps and in August he escaped the disaster at the Battle of Kulm. Baltus was serving in Dresden when that city surrendered to the Sixth Coalition in November of 1813 and he was taken prisoner.
After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Baltus returned to France where he was well treated by the Bourbons. He was named a Knight of Saint Louis and placed in charge of artillery and engineering at the school at Metz. Nevertheless, when Napoleon returned from exile and resumed power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Baltus rallied to him. Baltus was placed in charge of the artillery of General Gérard's IV Corps for the campaign in Belgium. During that campaign he served at the Battle of Ligny and Battle of Wavre, and after the Second Restoration he was put on non-activity.
Updated June 2019
© Nathan D. Jensen