Saint-Arnaud, Canrobert, P lissier. And the Toulon

Saint-Arnaud, Canrobert, P;lissier. And the Toulon siege by Napol;on Bonaparte. Historical and biographical essay

It’s possible to look at the Crimean War of 1853-1856 from different historical positions.

Yevgeny Tarle in his historical works described in detail the activities of the "Lazarev team": Nakhimov, Kornilov, Istomin, as well as Totleben and other organizers and participants of the defense of Sevastopol (1854-1855).

Yevgeny Tarle gave assessments to the Russian military and political leadership,  who was fulfiling the "managment" above Nakhimov, Kornilov, Istomin...

Some information in the works of Yevgeny Tarle is presented about the command of the allies who was  besieging Sevastopol.

Who are they, leaders of the allied forces?

Let's start with a leaders, who not existed.

The huge losses of the Allied forces were the result of infectious and other diseases, combat injuries.

The heads of an effective sanitary, medical services were absent.

Soon after the siege began, the French commander in chief Saint-Arnaud fell ill with cholera, after which he had to relinquish his post in favour of General Canrobert.

Saint-Arnaud died three days later, on September 29, 1854, aboard the ship Bertholet, which was supposed to return him into the France.

Lord Raglan died of dysentery in June 1855, and in November of that year, the Commander of the French Fleet in the Black Sea, Armand Joseph Bruat, died of cholera.

ARMAND-JACQUES-ACHILLE LEROY DE SAINT-ARNAUD was the son of Jean Dominique Leroy (1758-1803), avocat, membre du Tribunat, puis pr;fet de l'Aude and de Louise Catherine Papillon de Latapy (1780-1852).

In 1814, the young Armand Leroy, a high school student, works on the fortifications of Paris and, after the fall of Napoleon I, participates in the activities of the National Guard.

He then gets his nickname Achilles and takes the surname Saint Arnaud.

(During his student life, Otto von Bismarck also received the nickname Achilles. But Bismarck won a duel in the same period, where his opponent was a man named Coffin).

Saint-Arnaud works as a bodyguard. He is convicted of theft.

He enters the infantry regiment. He is forced to resign after he summoned his commander to a duel.

He enters in 1821 a regiment of volunteers who go to Greece to rid this country of the Turkish yoke. Frustrated by his adventure, he returned to France and lived in style of an irregular and miserable existence before applying for reinstatement in the army in 1827.

He was assigned to the infantry unit.

Assigned to go to Martinique, he resigns, and the life of adventure begins again. He teaches languages, teaches fencing, music and plays comedies under the name Florival. Passed through jail for non-payment of debts.

He must wait until 1831 to finally begin his career. His meeting with General Bugeaud changes the life of Saint-Arnaud.

Having become a lieutenant on December 9, 1831, under the command of General Bugeaud, he took part in the suppression of the unrest in the  Vend;e.

His military career began in earnest during the conquest of Algeria, as captain of the French Foreign Legion. He was convicted by Inspector General of a large embezzlement, but his battalion commander was able to hush up the case.

In 1837 he distinguished himself in the siege of one of the cities and received the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

In 1840, when he was permitted by royal decree to be called Leroy de Saint-Arnaud, General Schramm said: “Arnaud is the officer and brave soldier. He distinguished himself several times. He is worthy of promotion. "

In 1841 he was appointed commander of the battalion, he commanded a regiment of zouaves and in 1842 became a lieutenant-colonel in an infantry regiment.

He was promoted to g;n;ral de division after a military expedition in 1851.

Saint-Arnaud describes his daily life in Algeria: "We devastate, burn, rob, destroy crops and trees."

He finds that “Africa is losing its poetry” when he practices mass slaughter by a method consisting of killing with smoke of hundreds of people who have taken refuge in caves.

He wrote to his brother: “I was sick, but my conscience did not reproach me for anything, I fulfilled my duty as commander, and tomorrow I will do it again, but I took Africa with disgust!”

Saint-Arnaud  was appointed by the Minister of War on October 26, 1851 (according the order of Prince-President Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte). Saint-Arnaud actively contributes to the success of the December 2, 1851 coup by shooting at the "bastards". The coup d';tat of 2 December 1851 placed Louis Napoleon on the throne as Emperor Napoleon III.

Exactly one year after that, in December 1852, during the Empire, he was promoted to marshal of France.

In 1854 he took command of the Crimean expedition. Although his health is already deteriorating, the Emperor trusts him.

Saint-Arnaud brilliantly won the battle of Alma on September 20, 1854, but his health was long undermined by disease. He fell ill with cholera and on September 26 handed over the command to Canrobert.

On September 29, 1854, he boarded the Berthollet ship at ten in the morning to sail to Constantinople, but he died that day at fifteen o'clock. Napoleon III buried him in the Les Invalides.

FRAN;OIS DE CANROBERT was born on June 27, 1809. He died in Paris on January 28, 1895.

Canrobert was born into a family of the old bourgeoisie. He was born in in Saint-C;r; in Lot.

At his birth, his father, Antoine Canrobert, former captain, was already 55 years old. This officer of the old regime emigrated in 1791 and served n the Arm;e de Cond;.

At the age of 17, Canrobert enters to the ;cole Royale sp;ciale militaire de Saint-Cyr on November 19, 1826, where he was appointed corporal on May 18, 1828.

Upon graduation, he entered the infantry regiment with the rank of sous-lieutenant.

He was promoted to lieutenant on June 20, 1832.

In 1835, he arrived with his detachment in Algeria, where he fought in numerous battles and received numerous awards.

April 26, 1837 he was promoted to captain.

Appointed battalion commander on May 22, 1842.

Lieutenant-colonel (October 26, 1845) ...

Prince-President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte remembered Canrobert and appointed him  mar;chal de camp (g;n;ral de brigade) on January 12, 1850.

The commandant of the infantry brigade of the 1st Division of Paris, on March 8, 1850, then the commandment of the 3rd Brigade, on February 9, 1851.

He contributed to the success in Paris of the French coup d';tat of 1851 ...

Canrobert contributes to the success of the Paris coup on December 2, 1851. On the afternoon of December 4, 1851, on the boulevards of Montmartre and Poissonier, division soldiers under the command of Canrobert opened fire at a crowd of curious and protesting people.

From one hundred to 300 people, including women and children, and hundreds of wounded, die in the slaughter, but from the evening of December 4, the Paris resistance to the coup was suppressed.

Was promoted to G;n;ral de division, on January 14, 1853. He commanded an infantry division.

He became the inspector general of the 5th Infantry Arrondissement for the year 1853 before being designated to the infantry division of the Orient Army, on February 23, 1854.

G;n;ral de division, he participated in the Crimean War. He took command after Marshal Saint-Arnaud. He takes part in the battles of Dobrudja and the battle of Alma, where he is slightly injured. Was awarded. Member of the battles of Balaclava and Inkerman. He was wounded again on November 5, 1854.  Was awarded repeatedly.

As a commander (who accepted the post after Saint-Arnaud), he was recognized as too timid. (His disagreements with Lord Raglan, a British army general, forced him to resign.)

He is replaced by General P;lissier.

In the current moral situation, Napoleon III insists that Canrobert return to France.

March 18, 1856 Canrobert was awarded the title of Marshal of France.

Participates in the Italian campaign. He distinguished himself in the battle of Magenta (June 4, 1859) and in many respects contributed to the victory in the battle of Solferino (June 24, 1859).

On January 19, 1863, he married Leila-Flora MacDonald, the daughter of a British Army captain and great-granddaughter of Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald. They had a daughter and two children.

He was captured along with Marshal Bazaine during the surrender of Metz on October 28, 1870. After several months of captivity, he was released and returned to France in March 1871.

Member of the highest military council in 1872, member of the defense committee in 1873.

What follows is a parliamentary career. An outstanding figure of the Bonapartist party.

Dean of the Marshals of France of his time.

He dies in his house in Paris on January 28, 1895.  His funerals were celebrated on Sunday February 3, 1895 at the Church of Saint-Louis-des-Invalides where he was buried.

Admiral Henri Rieunier, Minist;re de la Marine, participated in the funeral.

AIMABLE-JEAN-JACQUES P;LISSIER, the Duc de Malakoff, was born on November 6, 1794, and died in Algeria on May 22, 1864.

The professional artillerist (artilleryman).

P;lissier became the Marshal of France after the fall of Sevastopol on September 12, 1855.

Named by the Duke of Malakoff as a reward for this victory, P;lissier held office in the Second Empire before being appointed Governor General of Algeria in 1860. He died while on duty in Algeria on May 22, 1864.

The son of Pierre P;lissier, commissaire des poudres et salp;tres, and de Catherine Chartier.

P;lissier chose a military path and entered the La Fl;che Academy on January 12, 1814. Shortly afterwards, on August 25, he entered Saint-Cyr School and was promoted to second-lieutenant on March 18, 1815.

How did P;lissier study? It is safe to assume that he knew military history well. In any case, he knew well the history of the campaigns of Napoleon I.

Here is what Yevgeny Tarle writes about the capture of Toulon in 1793.

“The revolutionary army besieged Toulon from land.

The siege was sluggish and unsuccessful. The siege was led by a certain Karto.

The political leader of the army, which pacified the uprising of the royalists in the south, was Bonaparte's acquaintance, the Corsican Saliceti, who together with him opposed Paoli.

Bonaparte visited his fellow countryman in a camp near Toulon and then showed him the only way to take Toulon and and drive the English fleet away from the coast.

Saliceti appointed the young captain as assistant chief of siege artillery.

The assault, carried out in early November, failed because the commander that day Donnet ordered to retreat, contrary to Bonaparte’s opinion and desire, at the most decisive moment. Bonaparte was sure that the French would have won the victory if it had not been for this gross mistake. He himself walked in front of the assault column and was wounded.

After long resistance and procrastination on the part of the higher authorities, who did not really trust a completely unknown young man who accidentally found himself in the camp, the new commander of Dugommier finally allowed him to carry out his plan.

Arranging the batteries, as he had long wanted, Bonaparte, after a terrible cannonade, by storm, in which he personally participated, took that point (l'Eguillette), which was a command height above the raid, and opened fire on the English fleet.

After a two-day fierce cannonade, the Republicans stormed the fortifications on December 17. There were 7 thousand people assaulting, and they were, after a fierce battle, thrown back. But then Bonaparte arrived with a reserve convoy, and this intervention decided the victory ... The Republican army entered the city. ”(Yevgeny Tarle“ Napoleon ”).

In 1823, P;lissier participated in the Spanish expedition as an adjutant and received the crosses of the Legion of Honor and St. Ferdinand of Spain.

In 1828, P;lissier took part in the campaign of Morea and on this occasion received the cross of St. Louis.

P;lissier took part in an expedition to Algeria in 1830.

After several years at headquarters in Paris, he was sent back to North Africa in 1844, during the first Moroccan war, and he commanded the left flank of the French at the Battle of Isley. He served as chief of staff with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

P;lissier behaved especially inhumane in June 1845, he killed a thousand fighters and civilians, without distinction, who thought to find refuge in the caves of Dahra.

He was promoted to g;n;ral de division (Major-General) in 1850, then first appointed Governor-General of Algeria in May 1851, a position he held for seven months.

Information about P;lissier’s participation in the coup of the prince-president is not found. He was not originally assigned to the army bound for Crimea.

The results of the battles in the Crimea did not suit Napoleon III.

“We need Suvorov,” Napoleon III once said to his Minister of War. “We have P;lissier,” he answered.

P;lissier was sent to the Crimea, where on May 19, 1855 he replaced Canrobert as commander-in-chief of the French troops at Sevastopol.

P;lissier’s command is characterized by ruthless pressure on the enemy and a constant determination to carry out the  campaign, evading all Parisian instructions.

"And rage with him was a power". (Alexander William Kinglake "THE INVASION OF THE CRIMEA" VOL. VIII).

The leadership of the fighting armies suffered losses.

On March 7 (19), 1855, Admiral Istomin was killed by a shell, and Totleben was wounded on June 8 (20), 1855. Finally, on June 28 (July 10), 1855, Nakhimov was mortally hit by the bullet.

Field Marshal Lord Raglan died near Sevastopol from cholera on June 28, 1855.

“... the British government could not find a worthy candidate to replace Raglan. General Simpson, who wholeheartedly hated this post, was appointed interim commander. (...) The fact that General Simpson could not cope with this post became more and more obvious. Responsibility pressured the general with a heavy load, and in just a few weeks he grew old for several years. And yet, on September 8, [1855], when the last assault on the city took place, he was still leading the army. ” (Hibbert, Christopher. The Destruction of Lord Raglan: A tragedy of the Crimean War 1854–55). [the reverse translation from Russian]

The assault on the Malakhov Kurgan, undertaken by P;lissier on June 6 (June 18), 1855, was repelled, and the French lost more than 3 thousand people.

“The emperor and his military encirclement in Paris believed that there was no need to lose further strength and time for a siege that did not promise quick success and was exterminating the allied army. But it was necessary to turn against the Russian army in the vicinity, defeat it completely, occupy Simferopol, and to surround after that Sevastopol is also on the North side - and even then take decisive action against this fortress. General P;lissier never wanted to lift the siege from Sevastopol, or even reduce any ... operations against the besieged city. (...)

... the position of the defenders of Sevastopol seemed critical. The mounted fire of more than 150 large mortars, which were part of the siege artillery, was supposed to produce terrible destruction on the fortifications, and in the rear behind the bastions, and in the city. (...)

From the night of August 24, the bombardment has unheard of intensified. On average, up to 2,500 or more city defenders perished every day. (...)

At noon three volleys from all the enemy’s guns burst at once, and the French, suddenly leaving the trenches, rushed at a cursory step towards Malakhov Kurgan. From the most advanced trenches, from which the French dense chains came, to the Malakhov Kurgan there were only 18 sazhens [38 metres], and these sazhens  [metres] would have cost dearly if the Malakhov Kurgan could have met them as he had met during the assault on June 6 (18). But Malakhov Kurgan was silent this time ... His cannons were almost all disabled, the artillery servants were killed. The enemy burst onto the Malakhov Kurgan ... ”(Yevgeny Tarle“ Crimean War ”).

“P;lissier’s letter of resignation was already on the way to the army, when his supporters managed to convince the Emperor and intercept this order literally at the last moment. (...)

... the French, whose losses were three times greater than the British, despite fierce resistance, managed to capture and hold the Malakhov Kurgan. Prince Gorchakov understood that with the loss of fortifications on the Malakhov Kurgan, defense of the city became impossible. Powerful explosions shaking the earth were heard all night and all morning in the city: the Russians blew up their arsenals, warehouses and barracks, as well as the dock of the Sevastopol port. Soon the Allies entered the ruins left over from the city. And although the peace treaty was signed in Paris only at the end of March, the war, in essence, has already ended. ” (Hibbert, Christopher. The Destruction of Lord Raglan: A tragedy of the Crimean War 1854–55). [the reverse translation from Russian]

P;lissier's insistence was rewarded on August 27 (September 8), 1855, with success during the assault on the Malakhov Kurgan.

Napoleon III tried to implement his own strategic plan in the Crimea - a plan based on the idea of encircling Sevastopol.

“Quite simple in general, it abounded with numerous details that required complex, painstaking work. According to the plan, the Allied army should be divided into three parts. The first army was to remain in place and continue to block Sevastopol and defend the Allied bases south of the city. The second army was to go around the city and link the Russian field army at the heights east of Sevastopol. The third army was planned to land in the opposite part of the Crimean peninsula. It was assumed that she would step in the direction of Simferopol, cut off enemy communications and, joining the second army, take part in a decisive assault on the city from the north. ” (Hibbert, Christopher. The Destruction of Lord Raglan: A tragedy of the Crimean War 1854–55). [the reverse translation from Russian]

The plan implemented by P;lissier is the plan of the artilleryman. The battle led by P;lissier for Malakhov Kurgan (1855) resembles the capture of Toulon by the young, unknown captain Napoleon Bonaparte (December 17, 1793).

On September 2, 1855, P;lissier was promoted to Marshal of France.

Upon his return to Paris, he was appointed senator, he was made the Duke of Malakoff. Him was provided by Napoleon III with an annual pension of 100,000 francs.

From March 1858 to May 1859 he was the Ambassador of France to London, from where he was recalled to command the army of observation on the Rhine.

Reappointed Governor of Algeria. Died in Algeria.

Unlike Saint-Arnaud and Canrobert, there is no specific information about P;lissier's funeral. Marshal P;lissier was buried in the Les Invalides in Paris.

The health and age of Marshal P;lissier freed him from the events of 1870-1871 ...

October 4, 2019 17:37

Translation from Russian into English: October 5, 2019  00:01.
Владимир Владимирович Залесский «Сент-Арно, Канробер, Пелисье. И Тулон Наполеона Бонапарта. Историко-биографический очерк».