General Henri Catherine Baltazard Vincent
Born: May 22, 1775
Place of Birth: Valenciennes, Nord, France
Died: December 24, 1844
Place of Death: Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe: VINCENT on the east pillar
The son of a military surgeon, Henri Catherine Baltazard Vincent volunteered to join the 1st Battalion of the Eastern Pyrenees in January of 1792. Sent to serve in the Army of the Alps, he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant that August. In 1793 Vincent was sent to the Army of the Rhine where he was promoted to lieutenant. He remained with the Army of the Rhine until 1795 when he joined the Army of the North. Vincent served at Heidelberg before being captured and made a prisoner of war in October of 1795. The next month he was released and then in 1797 he joined the Army of the Sambre and Meuse. For 1798 through 1799 Vincent served first in the Army of England then the Army of the West and he joined the 24th Light in May of 1799. That November he was promoted to lieutenant and then in 1800 he joined the Army of Italy. Vincent went on to serve at the Battle of the Montebello where he distinguished himself and was promoted to capitaine on the battlefield. In December of 1800 he took part in the crossing of the Mincio where he was wounded by a shot to the right hand.
During the peace that followed, Vincent served in Portugal. In 1803 he became an aide-de-camp to General Ferey and he began serving at the camp of Saint-Omer. When in 1805 the Grande Armée marched east to confront the threat of the Third Coalition, Vincent continued in this role as part of IV Corps. He served at the Battle of Austerlitz that December and then in 1806 he took part in the Prussian campaign and served at the Battle of Jena. That November Vincent became an aide-de-camp to General Vandamme and he went on to serve before Breslau. In May of 1807 he fought at the action of the camp cut off from Glatz where he was wounded by a bayonet blow to the left foot. At the conclusion of the campaign, Vincent was promoted to chef de bataillon.
In 1809 Vincent took part in the Danube campaign and he served at the Battle of Wagram . Afterwards he was promoted to colonel and named a Baron of the Empire. In 1811 Vincent was named colonel of the 19th Chasseurs à Cheval and sent to the Army of Illyria. The next year he served on the campaign in Russia as part of the 12th Brigade of Light Cavalry in IV Corps. Vincent survived the retreat and took part in the campaign in Saxony in 1813. That August he joined the 2nd Brigade of Chastel's 3rd Light Cavalry Division and then in October he fought at the Battle of Leipzig where he was wounded. In December of 1813 he was promoted to général de brigade and named a colonel of the 3rd Regiment of the Guards of Honor.
For the defense of France of 1814, Vincent served in Champagne. That February he commanded the National Guard of Château-Thierry and tried to cover Paris, and he then served in Defrance's division. In March Vincent fought at the action of Epernay, defended Epernay, reunited with Compans, was beaten at Trilport, and then won at Montsaigle, taking 250 Prussian prisoners. Next he served under Marshal Marmont defending Paris until the marshal betrayed the army and the city.
After Napoleon's abdication and the restoration of the Bourbons, General Vincent was named a Knight of Saint Louis and Commander of the Legion of Honor. When Napoleon returned from exile in 1815 and resumed power, Vincent was employed in General Strolz's division in General Exelmans' corps. Vincent served on the campaign in Belgium and then was sent to serve at Paris in Piré's dragoons. He took part in the combat of Rocquencourt on July 1st, 1815 and was later put on non-activity.
- 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 August 2017
© Nathan D. Jensen