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[personal profile] sirandrew
Today is Camerone Day.

 On April 30, 1863, Captain Jean Danjou of the French Foreign Legion, with two officers and sixty-two legionnaires, faced two thousand Mexican guerrillas  and soldiers at the farmhouse of Camerone.  The legionnaires were tasked with defending a vital supply convoy destined for the seige of Puebla.  Danjou and his troops occupied a farmhouse with a small courtyard and were quickly surrounded by the Mexican force.
The battle lasted all day.  The legionnaries had no food or water and their ammunition was low.  Captain Danjou was killed and his place was taken by his second in command, Lieutenant Villian.  Villian went to each of the exhausted legionnaries and asked each one to give him their personal promise that they would not surrender, and would buy every last moment for the fleeing supply convoy to escape.  Shortly after Villian was also killed. By 5:00pm all that was left of Danjou's original command was Lieutenant Clement Maudet and four men. 

Each of Maudet's men had one cartridge, which they loaded in their rifles.  The Mexicans, who had taken the courtyard, offered the legionnaries the opportunity to surrender honorably, in point of fact, they begged them to do so.  In response Maudet ordered each of his four soldiers to fire their last round and charge the nearly two thouseand enemy soldiers with fixed bayonet.  They obeyed. 

Maudet was shot and died instantly, as did another of his men.  The remaining three waded into the mass of enemy troops and were subdued with rifle butt and fist, leaving only two survivors.  The two legionnaries were surrounded by thousands of Mexican troops who stared at them in awe, many of them remarking "These are not men, surely they must be demons."  The commander of the Mexican forces, Colonel Milan once again offered surrender to the two legionnaries, they only accepted under the condition that they be allowed to leave unmolested with their weapons, and with the body of Captain Danjou.  To this request, Milan could only respond "What can I refuse to such men," and accepted their terms. 

To this day, Captian Danjou's wooden hand is kept on display at the Legion barracks in Aubagne France.  If you ever have cause to see it, remember to get drunk on the Legion's cheap French red wine and think on grand ideas like courage, honor and duty.  Just don't claim to understand that this is more than just an old war story to a French Forigen Legionnare.
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