General Jean Nicolas Seroux du Fay
Born: December 3, 1742
Place of Birth: Paris, Paris, France
Died: September 5, 1822
Place of Death: Compiègne, France
Arc de Triomphe: SEROUX on the north pillar
The son of a councilor of the king and a war commissary, Jean Nicolas Seroux entered the artillery as a gentleman cadet in June of 1755. In 1757 he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant and in 1758 he served at Hastenbeck and Crefeld. After being promoted to lieutenant in 1762, in 1765 Seroux joined the artillery regiment of Toul. Four years later in 1769 he was promoted to capitaine, a rank he would hold for a long time, and in 1783 he was named a Knight of Saint Louis. After the onset of the French Revolution, in January of 1791 Seroux was named a lieutenant colonel and then in 1792 he was given command of Calais and ordered to arm the coasts from Dunkirk to Boulogne. In March of 1793 he was promoted to chef de brigade of the 7th Foot Artillery but then in September he was arrested by the representatives of the people and imprisoned.
Seroux remained in prison until January of 1795 when he was released and then in April he was reintegrated into the army. He was sent to serve with the Army of the Sambre and Meuse and in July of 1796 he served at the action of the fort of Koenigstein. The next year Seroux served at the crossing of the Rhine at Neuwied in April and then in November he was sent to Holland to command the French artillery there. A promotion to général de brigade arrived in February of 1799 and then that September Seroux served at Bergen. Initially in 1800 Seroux served on the central artillery committee and then he was sent to the Army of Italy. In 1801 he was named commander-in-chief of the artillery of the Army of Observation of the South.
In 1802 Seroux was appointed commander of the artillery school of Douai. The following year he was named inspector of artillery in Belgium and then in October he went to the camp of Montreuil to command the artillery under Ney. In 1805 when the army marched east to battle the Third Coalition, Seroux was named commander-in-chief of the artillery of Marshal Ney's VI Corps. He served throughout the campaign of 1805 and then in February of 1806 he was promoted to général de division. Next Seroux served during the campaign against the Fourth Coalition and in June of 1807 he fought at the Battle of Friedland. A month later he was named a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and then in 1808 he became the baron of Fay.
In September of 1808 Seroux du Fay went to Spain with VI Corps. In 1809 he returned to France and then in August he was named commander of the artillery in the Army of Antwerp under Marshal Bernadotte. Servoux du Fay went on to inspect the artillery at Belle-Ile-en-Mer and then near the end of 1811 he was sent to Rome to serve against brigands. In 1812 he rejoined the Grande Armée and that August he was named commander of the artillery at Magdebourg. Seroux du Fay remained at Magdebourg up until May of 1814 after the end of Napoleon's rule. Later in 1814 he was put on non-activity and he finally retired from the army in 1819.
- 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 September 2020
© Nathan D. Jensen