General Jacques-Pierre-Louis-Marie-Joseph PuthodInfantry commander who served at Danzig, Wagram, and Bautzen
Born: September 28, 1769
Place of Birth: Bagé-le-Châtel, Ain, France
Died: March 31, 1837
Place of Death: Libourne, France
Arc de Triomphe: PUTHOD on the north pillar
A career soldier, Jacques-Pierre-Louis-Marie-Joseph Puthod first enlisted in the infantry at age sixteen in 1785. Two years later he had risen to become a sous-lieutenant gendarme at Lunéville. After the arrival of the Revolution, in late 1791 Puthod became a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of Volunteers of Ain. Sent to the Army of the North in 1792, he served at the camp of Maulde and was promoted to capitaine before being briefly suspended in September. Puthod next served at the defense of Lille, and then in 1793 he was sent to the Army of the Rhine to execute the levée en masse drafting hundreds of thousands of men to defend France. That July he received a promotion to chef de bataillon, and then in late 1794 he was employed in the Army of the Rhine and Moselle. Puthod received a promotion to chef de brigade in June of 1795 and he was designated to return to the Army of the North, however he remained with the Army of the Rhine and Moselle until the end of the year when he was put at the disposition of the Ministry of War.
In December of 1798 Puthod was sent to the Army of Italy where he took a command in Montrichard's division in early 1799. The following July he was promoted to général de brigade by General Macdonald, and Puthod went on to serve at the Trebbia. In early 1800 he was sent back to the Army of the Rhine where he took command of a brigade, eventually serving as part of Gudin's division. That June Puthod saw plenty of action when he fought at the crossing of the Danube at Blenheim and then at the Battle of Hochstaedt and the cinbat of Neubourg. He continued to fight, serving at Fuessen in July until hostilities were temporarily suspended. When hostilities resumed that winter, Puthod served at the crossing of the Saal in December.
During the years of peace that followed, General Puthod was temporarily put on non-activity before he was employed in the 5th military division in 1802. In 1803 he was employed in the 6th military division, but in 1805 he returned to the 5th military division as commander of the département of Haut-Rhin. When war broke out that year, Puthod was attached to the II Corps of the Army of the Reserve. In 1806 he returned to the 5th military division and then at the end of the year he joined the army in Germany. Puthod was given command of a brigade of troops from Baden and he led them into action at Dirschau in February. The next month he commanded a brigade taking part in the Siege of Danzig as part of Marshal Lefebvre's corps. After peace was obtained at the Treaty of Tilsit, Puthod was appointed chief of staff of the Reserve Corps.
In June of 1808, General Puthod was called to Berlin to receive new orders and then sent with the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Division of I Corps to Spain. As part of Marshal Victor's I Corps, he distinguished himself at Espinosa that November and two weeks later he was promoted to général de division. In March of 1809 Puthod was recalled to Paris and then sent to the Army of Germany. On the campaign that spring, he commanded the province of Linz until he switched places with General Demont and took command of the 4th Division of Marshal Davout's III Corps. Leading this division, Puthod served at the Battle of Wagram . After General Boudet's untimely death later that year, Puthod assumed command of Boudet's division.
General Puthod was next sent to Holland until April of 1810 when he was appointed commander of the 25th military division at Maestricht. A month later he was named a Baron of the Empire, but in August of 1811 he was suspended for having arrested ordnance officer Mortemart who had been sent on a mission. However, Puthod did not remain without a command for long, for two months later he was sent to the 31st military division at Groningue.
In 1813 Puthod was given command of the 17th Division of V Corps to take part in the campaigns in Germany. That April he and his men fought at Mockern, and then in May they served at Bautzen and Neukirch. Puthod continued to fight, and in August he served at the Katzbach. After that battle, he and the remains of his division were taken prisoner at Loewenberg.
Puthod remained a prisoner of war until after Napoleon's abdication in 1814. After Puthod returned to France, he was named a Knight of Saint Louis and inspector general of infantry of the 5th military division. When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 for the Hundred Days, Puthod was given command of the National Guard of the 19th military division at Lyon. After Napoleon's second abdication, Puthod signed an agreement for the evacuation of Lyon and then was put on non-activity.
Updated August 2016
© Nathan D. Jensen