General Cyrille Simon Picquet
Born: November 14, 1774
Place of Birth: Lorient, Morbihan, France
Died: September 2, 1847
Place of Death: Heidelberg, Germany
Arc de Triomphe: PICQUET on the west pillar
The son of a merchant, Cyrille Simon Picquet was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant in the 104th Infantry in 1792. Serving with the Army of the North, in October he was promoted by General Dumouriez to be a capitaine of chasseurs à cheval in the Legion of Nord. In 1793 Picquet served in the Vendée and that July he was wounded by a saber blow at the action of the chateau of Leseur. The next year he joined the Army of the Moselle and the 19th Dragoons and then in November he was made an aide-de-camp to General Joba. In 1795 Picquet returned to the 19th Dragoons before being transferred to the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. Two years later in 1797 he joined the Army of Italy and in November of that year he distinguished himself at the combat of Porto di Fermo. In 1798 Picquet served with the Army of Rome and in 1799 he joined the Army of Naples. That February he was promoted to chef d'escadrons by General Championnet and in June he distinguished himself at the Battle of the Trebbia . Next, in 1800 Picquet returned to the Army of Italy.
In 1802 Picquet was sent to Saint-Domingue. By 1804 he had returned to France and he served with the staff of the camp of Brest. When the army marched off to war in 1805, Picquet was placed with the staff of Marshal Augereau's VII Corps. He served on the campaigns in Austria, Prussia, and Poland from 1805 to 1807 and in February of 1807 he was promoted to colonel of the 6th Dragoons. Picquet and his men served as part of Bron de Bailly's brigade in Grouchy's division.
Picquet was next sent to serve on the Spanish Peninsula from 1808 to 1812. In September of 1810 he was serving in Lorcet's brigade in Montbrun's division. A promotion to général de brigade came in March of 1813 and two months later Picquet took command of a brigade of Pajol's division in I Cavalry Corps in Germany. That year he served on the campaign in Saxony and in July he took command of the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Division of III Cavalry Corps. In September Picquet conducted a column of reinforcements from Mainz to the army in Germany and then in October he took command of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Light Cavalry Division in I Cavalry Corps. Later that month he distinguished himself at the Battle of Hanau.
For the defense of France of 1814, Picquet took command of the 1st Brigade of Defrance's division. In January he won at Saint-Mihiel and he served at Brienne, and then in February he served at La Rothière and Champaubert . In March Picquet fought at Reims where he was wounded by a blow from a lance.
After Napoleon's abdication and the Bourbon Restoration, the Bourbons named Picquet a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor. Nevertheless, he rallied to Napoleon during the Hundred Days and he was given command of a brigade of L'Héritier's cavalry division. Sent to the Army of the Moselle in April, in June Picquet and his brigade were transferred to Kellermann's III Cavalry Corps. Picquet went on to fight at the Battle of Waterloo where he was wounded. Afterwards, he was promoted to lieutenant general by the provisional government, but when the Bourbons were again restored, they removed this promotion. Picquet was briefly put on non-activity before resuming a successful military career.
- Divry, Arnauld. Les Noms Gravés sur l'Arc de Triomphe. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2017.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated July 2021
© Nathan D. Jensen