French prisoners of war at Ashburton

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p.80.


H. Scott Tucker

Prepared by Michael Steer

Pierre Jacques Étienne Cambronne, later Pierre, 1st Viscount Cambronne (26 December 1770 - 29 January 1842), was a General of the French Empire. He fought during the wars of the Revolution and the Napoleonic Era and was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 65. FRENCH PRISONERS OF WAR AT ASHBURTON. - Among the French prisoners of war taken at Waterloo was General Cambronne who commanded the First Chasseurs of the Old Guard at that battle, and was left wounded on the field and captured by the English. During the fight he was called upon to surrender and replied - here history wavers — either by the famous phrase "La garde meurt et ne se rend pas" or by a single word more forcible if less polished. In July, 1815, 20 or 25 days after his capture, he was sent to Ashburton, where he remained until December, when he was released. During at least the early part of his stay he was attended by a local doctor for his wound, which was far from slight and left upon his forehead a scar which he bore through the rest of his life. Is anything now known at Ashburton or in its neighbourhood of the gallant soldier, and is he remembered to have spoken of either the phrase or the word?
                                                                               H. SCOTT TUCKER