General Jean-Nicolas RazoutInfantry commander who served throughout many campaigns
Born: March 8, 1772
Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France
Died: January 10, 1820
Place of Death: Metz, France
Arc de Triomphe: RAZOUT on the south pillar
Like many others during the Revolution, Jean-Nicolas Razout joined the army in 1792 to defend the nation. Elected a sous-lieutenant in the 51st Infantry that January, he was promoted two months later to lieutenant. Razout went on to serve in the Army of the Alps until 1793 when he was sent to the Army of Italy. The following year he fought at the convent of San-Dalmazzo in the valley of Tende where he was wounded by a shot to the left leg. In October of 1794 Razout was named an aide-de-camp to General Pelletier and the next year he became an aide-de-camp to General Charton.
Taking part in the Italian campaign of 1796 under General Bonaparte, Razout was transferred to the 25th Ligne in May of 1796. When General Charton was killed that September, Razout then became an aide-de-camp to General Sahuguet. The next month he was promoted to capitaine and joined General Joubert's staff. In late 1797 Razout was promoted to chef de bataillon and he joined the 22nd Light before he became an aide-de-camp to General Joubert.
Razout followed Joubert to the Army of Holland in 1798 and then back to the Army of Italy. Still serving as aide to Joubert, he fought at the Battle of Novi in August of 1799 where Joubert was killed, and afterwards he served in the staff of the army. When Napoleon returned from Egypt, Razout supported him during the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon to power. Afterwards, Razout was sent to serve in Holland.
During the years of peace that followed, Razout was promoted to chef de brigade in 1801 and then went on to serve in the Army of Switzerland. In 1802 he returned to Holland and then in 1803 he joined the Army of Hanover and took command of the 94th Ligne. When war broke out in 1805, Razout served in Drouet's division in I Corps in the Grande Armée, serving on the campaign that fall and fighting at Austerlitz. The next year he took part in the campaign against Prussia and fought at Schleiz and Lubeck. January of 1807 saw Razout fighting at Mohrungen, and then the next month he received a promotion to général de brigade.
In early 1808 General Razout was sent to Verdier's infantry division stationed at Orléans. Then sent to Spain with the division, he served under Grandjean and that June he fought at Valencia where he was wounded by a shot to the right breast. Razout continued to serve in Spain until January of 1809 when he was recalled to Paris. He was next sent to the Army of Germany in April, and that May he replaced Andreossy in charge of Vienna. After the loss of the Battle of Aspern-Essling , Razout took command of a brigade of II Corps.
In 1810 General Razout returned to France for leave and that July he took command of the isle of Walcheren. The next year he was promoted to général de division and he took command of an infantry division under Marshal Ney. When war was declared against Russia in 1812, Razout's division became the 2nd Infantry Division of Ney's III Corps. Serving on the campaign against Russia, Razout led his men into combat at Valutina in August. During the retreat from Russia, he fought at Krasnoe in November where he was wounded in the head by grapeshot.
Razout returned to an active command in May of 1813 when he took command of the 45th Infantry Division. That August he was recognized as a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and a Count of the Empire. That same month Razout and his men joined XIV Corps under Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr and then in September he and his men served as part of I Corps at Dresden. Helping to defend Dresden, Razout was taken prisoner when the city finally capitulated in November of 1813.
After Napoleon's abdication, Razout was released to return to France in June of 1814. The restored Bourbons put him on non-activity. When Napoleon returned from exile in 1815 for the Hundred Days, he appointed Razout as commander of the 21st military division at Bourges.
Updated December 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen