Hiram Berdan (September 6, 1824 – March 31, 1893) was an American engineer, inventor and military officer, world-renowned marksman, and guiding force behind and commanding colonel of the famed United States Volunteer Sharpshooter Regiments during the American Civil War. He was the inventor of the Berdan rifle, the Berdan centerfire primer and numerous other weapons and accessoriesBerdan was born in Phelps, a small town in Ontario County, New York. A mechanical engineer in New York City, he had been the top rifle shot in the country for fifteen years prior to the Civil War. He invented a repeating rifle and a patentedmusket ball before the war. He had also developed the first commercial gold amalgamation machine to separate gold from ore. He invented a reaper and a mechanical bakery. His inventions had brought him wealth and international fameIn the summer and fall of 1861, he was involved in the recruiting of eighteen companies, from eight states, which were formed into two sharpshooter regiments with the backing of General Winfield Scott and President Abraham Lincoln. Berdan was named as Colonel of the resultant 1st and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters on November 30, 1861. His men, who had to pass rigorous marksmanship tests, were dressed in distinctive green uniforms and equipped with the most advanced long-range rifles featuring telescopic sights. Even when assigned to a brigade, the regiments were usually detached for special assignments on the field of battle. They were frequently used for skirmish duty. Berdan fought at theSeven Days Bat.tles and Second Battle of Bull Run. In September 1862, his sharpshooters were at the Battle of Shepherdstown. Berdan commanded the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of the Potomac in February and March 1863, then he commanded the 3rd Brigade at the Battle of Chancellorsville
Monday, 11 June 2012
Louis Lazare Hoche (24 June 1768 – 19 September 1797) was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army.
Born of poor parents near Versailles, he enlisted at sixteen as a private soldier in the Gardes Françaises. He spent his entire leisure in earning extra pay by civil work, his object being to provide himself with books, and this love of study, which was combined with a strong sense of duty and personal courage, soon led to his promotion.
When the Gardes françaises disbanded in 1789 he had reached the rank of corporal, and thereafter he served in various line regiments up to the time of his receiving a commission in 1792. In the defence of Thionville in that year Hoche earned further promotion, and he served with credit in the operations of 1792 - 1793 on the northern frontier of France, including the Battle of Wissembourg. At the Battle of Neerwinden (1793) he served as aide-de-camp to General le Veneur, and when Charles Dumouriez deserted to the Austrians, Hoche, along with le Veneur and others, fell under suspicion of treason. But after being kept under arrest and unemployed for some months he took part in the defence of Dunkirk, and in the same year (1793) he was promoted successively chef de brigade, general of brigade, and general of division. In October 1793 he was provisionally appointed to command the Army of the Moselle, and within a few weeks he was in the field at the head of his army in Lorraine. He lost his first battle at Kaiserslautern on 28–30 November 1793 against the Prussians, but even in the midst of the Reign of Terror the Committee of Public Safety retained Hoche in his command. Pertinacity and fiery energy, in their eyes, outweighed everything else, and Hoche soon showed that he possessed these qualities.
Before the following campaign opened, he married Anne Adelaide Dechaux at Thionville (11 March 1794). But ten days later he was suddenly arrested, charges of treason having been preferred by Charles Pichegru, the displaced commander of the Army of the Rhine, and by his friends. Hoche escaped execution, however, though imprisoned in Paris until the fall of Maximilien Robespierre. Shortly after his release he was appointed to command against the Vendéans (21 August 1794). He completed the work of his predecessors in a few months by the peace of Jaunaye (15 February 1795), but soon afterwards the war was renewed by the Royalists. Hoche showed himself equal to the crisis and inflicted a crushing blow on the Royalist cause by defeating and capturing de Sombreuil's expedition at Quiberon and Penthièvre (16–21 July 1795). Thereafter, by means of mobile columns (which he kept under good discipline) he succeeded before the summer of 1796 in pacifying the whole of the west, which had for more than three years been the scene of a pitiless civil war.
The belief spread that he had been poisoned, but the suspicion seems to have had no foundation. He was buried next to his friend François Marceau in a fort on the Rhine.
He is commemorated by a statue in Place Hoche, a gardened square not far from the main entrance to the Palace of Versailles. Another statue, the last major work by Jules Dalou, is in Quiberon, Brittany. In Les Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is enshrined, there is also a memorial to Hoche. A station on the Paris Metro is also called 'Hoche.'
. Supported by the British, the French Royalists allied themselves with the Federalists and took control of Toulon and Marseille. Faced with this uprising, the Revolutionary soldiers were forced to abandon Nîmes, Aix and Arles to the insurgents and fall back on Avignon. The inhabitants of Lambesc and Tarascon joined up with the rebels from Marseilles and together they headed for the Durance in order to march on Lyon, which had also revolted against the central government in Paris. The rebels hoped to destroy the Convention and put an end to the French Revolution.
Joseph Agricol Viala was a nephew of Agricol Moureau, a Jacobin from Avignon, editor of the Courrier d'Avignon and administrator of the département of Vaucluse. Joseph Agricol thus became commander of the "Espérance de la Patrie", a National Guard formed wholly of young men from Avignon.
On hearing news of the approach of the rebels from Marseille, at the start of July 1793, the Republican forces (mainly those from Avignon) gathered to stop the rebels crossing the Durance. Viala attached himself to the national guards from Avignon. Numerically inferior, their only solution was to cut the ropes of the bac de Bonpas under enemy fire. To do so, they had to cross a road completely exposed to rebel fire and behind which the Revolutionary forces had dug in. Despite its necessity, the Revolutionary forces were reluctant to undertake such a hazardous mission. According to accounts of the event, the 13-year-old Viala grabbed a hatchet, launched himself at the cable and started to cut it. He was the subject of several musket vollies and he was mortally wounded by a musket ball from one of them. One account stated:
|“||In vain they tried to hold him back ; he braved the danger and no one could stop him from carrying out his audacious plan. He seized a sapper's hatchet, he shot at the enemy several times with his musket, then, despite the musket balls whistling around him he reached the river bank and, seizing his hatchet, struck the rope with vigour. Luck seemed to be with him at first, he nearly completed his perilous task without being hit, when at that moment a musket ball pierced his breast. He still managed to get up ; but he fell again with great force, crying out [in Provencal dialect] "M’an pas manqua ! Aquo es egaou ; more per la libertat." ("They haven't missed me! All is equal - I die for liberty."). Then he expired after the sublime farewell, without a complaint or regret.||”|
Viala's attempt was unable to stop the rebels crossing the Durance, however. Nevertheless, it allowed the Revolutionary forces to carry out an ordered retreat without being able to pick up Viala's body. According to tradition, the Revolutionary soldier who heard Viala's last words tried to pick up the body but had to retreat before he could do so. This left the body to be insulted and mutilated by the advancing Royalists before they crossed the river. Learning of her son's death, Viala's mother said "Yes [...] he died for the fatherland
Dumas' paternal grandparents were Marquis Alexandre-Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman and Général commissaire in the Artillery in the colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) and Marie-Cesette Dumas, an Afro-Caribbean Creole of mixed French and African ancestry. Their son, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, married Marie-Louise Élisabeth Labouret, the daughter of an innkeeper. Thomas-Alexandre, then a general in Napoleon's army, fell out of favor and the family was impoverished when Dumas was born.
Thomas-Alexandre died in 1806. His widow was unable to provide her son with much of an education, but Dumas read everything he could obtain. His mother's stories of his father's bravery during the years of Napoleon I of France inspired Dumas' vivid imagination for adventure. Although poor, the family had their father's distinguished reputation and aristocratic position. In 1822, after the restoration of the monarchy, 20-year old Alexandre Dumas moved to Paris, where he worked at the Palais Royal in the office of Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans.
]While in Paris, Dumas began writing for magazines and plays for the theater. His first play, Henry III and His Courts, was produced in 1829, and was met with acclaim. The next year his second play, Christine, was equally popular, and he was financially able to write full-time. In 1830 he participated in the Revolution which ousted Charles X, and which replaced him on the throne with Dumas' former employer, the Duke of Orléans, who would rule as Louis-Philippe, the Citizen King.
Until the mid-1830s life in France remained unsettled, with sporadic riots by disgruntled Republicans and impoverished urban workers seeking change. As life slowly returned to normal, the nation began to industrialize, and with an improving economy—combined with the end of press censorship—the times were very rewarding for the skills of Alexandre Dumas.
After writing more successful plays, he turned his efforts to novels. Although attracted to an extravagant lifestyle, and always spending more than he earned, Dumas proved to be an astute marketer. Since newspapers wanted many serial novels, in 1838 Dumas rewrote one of his plays to create his first serial novel, titled Le Capitaine Paul, which led to his forming a production studio that turned out hundreds of stories, all subject to his personal input and direction.
From 1839 to 1841 Dumas, with the assistance of several friends, compiled Celebrated Crimes, an eight-volume collection of essays on famous criminals and crimes from European history, including Beatrice Cenci, Martin Guerre, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia as well as more recent incidents, including the cases of executed alleged murderers Karl Ludwig Sand and Antoine François Desrues.
Dumas also collaborated with his fencing master Augustin Grisier in his 1840 novel, The Fencing Master. The story is written to be Grisier's narrated account of how he came to witness the events of the Decembrist revolt in Russia. This novel was eventually banned in Russia by Czar Nicholas I, causing Dumas to be banned from visiting Russia until after the Czar's death. Grisier is also mentioned with great respect inThe Count of Monte Cristo, The Corsican Brothers and in Dumas' memoirs.
Dumas made extensive use of the aid of numerous assistants and collaborators, of whom Auguste Maquet was the best known. It was Maquet who outlined the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo, and made substantial contributions to The Three Musketeers and its sequels, as well as to several of Dumas' other novels. When they were working together, Maquet proposed plots and wrote drafts, while Dumas added the details, dialogues, and the final chapters. See Andrew Lang essay, Alexandre Dumas—in his Essays In Little (1891)—for an accurate description of these collaborations.
Dumas' writing earned him a great deal of money, but Dumas was frequently insolvent as a result of spending lavishly on women and sumptuous living. The large Château de Monte-Cristo that he built was often filled with strangers and acquaintances taking advantage of his generosity.
When King Louis-Philippe was ousted in a revolt, Dumas was not looked upon favorably by the newly elected President, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. In 1851 Dumas fled to Brussels, Belgium, to escape his creditors, and from there he traveled to Russia, where French was the second language, and where his writings were enormously popular. Dumas spent two years in Russia, before moving on to seek adventure and fodder for more stories. In March 1861 the kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, with Victor Emmanuel II as its king. For the next three years Alexandre Dumas would be involved in the fight for a united Italy, founding and leading a newspaper, named Indipendente, and returning to Paris in 1864.
Despite Alexandre Dumas' success and aristocratic background, his being of mixed race affected him all his life. In 1843 he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism. He once remarked to a man who insulted him about his mixed-race background:
"My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends."[On 1 February 1840 he married actress Ida Ferrier (born Marguerite-Joséphine Ferrand) (1811—1859) but continued with his numerous liaisons with other women, fathering at least four illegitimate children. One of those children, a son named after him, whose mother was Marie-Laure-Catherine Labay (1794—1868), a dressmaker, would follow in his footsteps, also becoming a successful novelist and playwright. Because of their same name and occupation, the father is often referred to as Alexandre Dumas, père, and the son as Alexandre Dumas, fils. His other children were Marie-Alexandrine Dumas (5 March 1831—1878) who later married Pierre Petel and was daughter of Belle Krelsamer (1803—1875), Micaëlla-Clélie-Josepha-Élisabeth Cordier, born in 1860 and daughter of Emélie Cordier, and Henry Bauer, born of an unknown mother.
In June 2005 Dumas' recently discovered last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, went on sale in France. Within the story Dumas describes the Battle of Trafalgar, in which the death of Lord Nelson is explained. The novel was being published serially, and was nearly complete at the time of his death. A final two-and-a-half chapters were written by modern-day Dumas scholar Claude Schopp, who based his efforts on Dumas' pre-writing notes.
Although he was originally buried where he had been born, in 2002 French President, Jacques Chirac, had his body exhumed. During a televised ceremony his new coffin, draped in a blue velvet cloth and flanked by four Republican Guards (costumed as the Musketeers—Athos,Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan), was transported in a solemn procession to the Panthéon of Paris, the great mausoleum where French luminaries are interred. In his speech President Chirac said:
"With you, we were D'Artagnan, Monte Cristo, or Balsamo, riding along the roads of France, touring battlefields, visiting palaces and castles—with you, we dream."
Also during that speech, Chirac acknowledged the racism that had existed, saying that a wrong had now been righted, with Alexandre Dumas enshrined alongside fellow authors Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. The honor recognized that although France has produced many great writers, none has been so widely read as Alexandre Dumas. His stories have been translated into almost a hundred languages, and have inspired more than 200 motion pictures.
Alexandre Dumas' home outside of Paris, the Château de Monte-Cristo, has been restored and is open to the public. The Alexandre Dumas Paris Métro station was named in his honour in 1970.
Dumas appears as a character in the Kevin J. Anderson novel Captain Nemo: The Fantastic History of a Dark Genius. He encourages Jules Verne to find his own voice and write about his friend Captain Nemo's exploits rather than emulate Dumas' historical fiction.