General Jean-Louis De Billy
Born: July 30, 1763
Place of Birth: Dreux, Eure-et-Loir, France
Died: October 14, 1806
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Place of Death: Auerstadt, Germany
Arc de Triomphe: DEBILLY on the east pillar
The son of a pewterer, Jean-Louis De Billy was a professor of mathematics in Paris in the 1780s, but after the Revolution began in 1789 he joined the National Guard of Paris. By 1792 he had become capitaine of a company of cannoniers and was employed in the Army of the Interior. The next year he became chief of staff of the artillery of the Army of the Coasts and was then promoted to chef de bataillon. At the end of 1794 De Billy was promoted to chef de brigade and he became chief of staff to General Kléber, before long serving in the Army of the Rhine. Later that year he became Marceau's chief of staff in the Army of the Sambre and Meuse, and then in 1797 he became Championnet's chief of staff in the Army of Germany.
In March of 1799 De Billy was placed in Gouvion St. Cyr's division in the Army of the Danube, and then two months later he joined Legrand's division. He was wounded at a minor action in Zurich in June, and then the next month he was promoted to général de brigade. At the end of the year De Billy joined the Army of the Rhine, and then in April of 1800 he joined the reserve of the same army. That May he fought at Biberach where he was wounded in the left shoulder by a ball. Next he took command of the 1st Brigade of Decaen's division and he led them into action at Hohenlinden that December.
During the years of peace, De Billy was employed in the département of Deux-Nèthes before going to the camp of Bruges in 1803. The next year he was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor, and in 1805 he took command of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of III Corps. Named commander of Munich in October of that year, in November he joined Caffarelli's division and fought with them at Austerlitz.
In 1806, General De Billy joined Morand's division and led his men on the campaign against Prussia that October. At the Battle of Auerstadt, he was killed.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated June 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen