General Jacques Thomas SarrutGénéral de division who distinguished himself in Spain and was mortally wounded at Vitoria
Born: August 16, 1765
Place of Birth: Saverdun, Ariège, France
Legion of Honor: Commander
Imperial Nobility: Baron
Died: June 26, 1813
Cause of Death: Mortally wounded
Place of Death: Vitoria, Spain
Arc de Triomphe: SARRUT on the south pillar
Born into a bourgeois family, Jacques Thomas Sarrut studied at the seminaries of Pamiers and Toulouse where he specialized in mathematics. In 1782 he enlisted in the Picardie regiment of infantry. After the onset of the Revolution, in 1792 Sarrut was assigned to the Army of the North. He was promoted to capitaine of the 2nd Infantry and named an aide-de-camp to General Drouet. Sarrut distinguished himself at the Battle of Jemappes in November and then returned to his regiment. In April of 1794 he joined Souham's division and distinguished himself at Mouscron. The following month Sarrut received a promotion to chef de bataillon. In June he served at Hooglède and then he next went on to serve at the siege of Nimègue. In February of 1796 Sarrut was promoted to chef de brigade of the 8th of the Line. Over the following years he served in the Army of the Sambre and Meuse, the Army of the Danube, and the Army of the Rhine. In 1800 Sarrut joined Richepanse's division and he fought at the Battle of Hohenlinden. After that battle, he fought at the combats of Salzburghofen, Schwandstadt, and Lambach in December.
During the peace that followed, in 1803 Sarrut was sent to the Army of Hanover and promoted to général de brigade. Next he was sent to the camp of Brest where he built the fort of Toulinguet. In 1804 Sarrut was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor and in 1805 when the army prepared to fight the Third Coalition he was named commander of the 1st Brigade of Maurice Mathieu's division in Marshal Augereau's VII Corps. In May of 1806 he took command of the 2nd Brigade of Heudelet's division of VII Corps. That October Sarrut served at the Battle of Jena and then in December he served at Golymin . In February of 1807 he fought at the Battle of Eylau where he was wounded by two shots. With the dissolution of VII Corps, Sarrut was sent to join Bernadotte's I Corps.
In November of 1808 Sarrut took command of the 2nd Brigade of Mouton's division in II Corps of the Army of Spain. That month he won at San Vicente de la Barquera where he distinguished himself. At that battle, Sarrut had only 1000 infantry and 150 cavalry, and he fought 5000 Spanish, taking 2000 prisoner. He next took command of a brigade of Merle's division and in January he served before Lugo and then in March he served at Oporto. In 1810 he continued to command a brigade in Merle's division, now serving as part of II Corps under General Reynier. Sarrut was named a Baron of the Empire and that September he fought at the Battle of Bussaco . After Merle was badly wounded, Sarrut took command of the division. In June of 1811 Sarrut was promoted to général de division and he took command of the 4th Division of the Army of Portugal. Next he successfully resupplied Santona. In 1812 after the Battle of Salamanca Sarrut supported the retreat of the army. The next year he fought at the Battle of Vitoria where he was hit by grapeshot and taken prisoner. Sarrut succumbed to his wounds five days later in the British hospital at Vitoria.
Updated April 2018
© Nathan D. Jensen