General Olivier Macoux Rivaud de la Raffinière
Born: February 10, 1766
Place of Birth: Civray, Vienne, France
Died: December 19, 1839
Place of Death: Angoulême, France
Arc de Triomphe: RIVAUD DE LA RERE on the south pillar
Olivier Macoux Rivaud came from a distinguished family as his father was a councilor of the king and lieutenant general of police. In 1792 the young Rivaud volunteered to join a company of chasseurs at Blanzac. Elected as a capitaine in this unit, he fought at Jemappes within a few months. In 1793 Rivaud fought at Neerwinden and was promoted to chef de bataillon before becoming General Duquesnoy's chief of staff. That September he fought at Hondschoote , was wounded by a shot to the left leg at Werwicq, and received a promotion to chef de brigade. The next month Rivaud fought at Wattignies and then in November he followed Duquesnoy to the Army of the West.
1794 was spent with the Army of the Coast of Brest before Rivaud transferred to the Army of the Alps. In 1796 Rivaud joined up with the Army of Italy and fought at Roveredo, Bassano , and Saint-Georges in September. At Saint-Georges he was wounded in the head, but Rivaud continued to serve and later went on to fight at Arcola and Rivoli . After Rivoli, Rivaud became chief of staff to Victor's division. In 1798 Colonel Rivaud was designated for the Army of England, however he did not end up going to Egypt with many of the others. At the end of that year he was promoted to général de brigade.
General Rivaud's next major command came in the spring of 1800 when he joined the Army of the Reserve as part of Chambarlhac's division. In this command he fought at Montebello and was wounded by grapeshot at Marengo. In 1801 he served in the Army of Portugal and then in 1802 he was promoted to général de division. The following year Rivaud took command of an infantry division at the camp of Nimègue.
When war broke out in 1805, Rivaud assumed command of the 2nd Division of Marshal Bernadotte's I Corps. A few weeks later he was instead designated to command the 1st Division, but regardless he served throughout the campaign and participated at Ulm, Nordlingen, and Austerlitz. Rivaud continued to serve during the campaign of 1806, seeing action at Halle and Lübeck. In 1807 he fought at Mohrungen and then a few days later broke his arm while falling from a horse. Afterwards, he was made governor of the Duchy of Brunswick.
At the end of 1807 General Rivaud passed to the service of Westphalia. In 1808 he became Baron of La Raffinière and then commander of the 26th military division. During the Danube campaign of 1809 Rivaud took command of the 1st Division of the Reserve Corps under Junot. He fought at Bayreuth that July where his leg was crushed. Briefly sent to Spain that fall, he returned to France to assume command of the 12th military division. He remained in that position until 1815.
After Napoleon's first abdication, the returning Bourbons made Rivaud a Knight of Saint Louis. During the Hundred Days, Rivaud was unemployed due to his association with the Marquis of La Rochejacquelein.
- Six, Georges. Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution et de l'Empire (1792-1814). 2 vols. Paris: Gaston Saffroy, 2003.
Updated January 2014
© Nathan D. Jensen