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List Of Contents | Contents of Massacres of the South, by Dumas, Pere
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it happened.

The garrison of Nimes was composed of one battalion of the 13th
Regiment of the line, and another battalion of the 79th Regiment,
which not being up to its full war-strength had been sent to Nimes to
complete its numbers by enlistment.  But after the battle of Waterloo
the citizens had tried to induce the soldiers to desert, so that of
the two battalions, even counting the officers, only about two
hundred men remained.

When the news of the proclamation of Napoleon II reached Nimes,
Brigadier-General Malmont, commandant of the department, had him
proclaimed in the city without any disturbance being caused thereby.
It was not until some days later that a report began to be circulated
that a royal army was gathering at Beaucaire, and that the populace
would take advantage of its arrival to indulge in excesses.  In the
face of this two-fold danger, General Malmont had ordered the regular
troops, and a part of the National Guard of the Hundred Days, to be
drawn up under arms in the rear of the barracks upon an eminence on
which he had mounted five pieces of ordnance.  This disposition was
maintained for two days and a night, but as the populace remained
quiet, the troops returned to the barracks and the Guards to their

But on Monday a concourse of people, who had heard that the army from
Beaucaire would arrive the next day, made a hostile demonstration
before the barracks, demanding with shouts and threats that the five
cannons should be handed over to them.  The general and the officers
who were quartered in the town, hearing of the tumult, repaired at
once to the barracks, but soon came out again, and approaching the
crowd tried to persuade it to disperse, to which the only answer they
received was a shower of bullets.  Convinced by this, as he was well
acquainted with the character of the people with whom he had to deal,
that the struggle had begun in earnest and must be fought out to the
bitter end, the general retreated with his officers, step by step, to
the barracks, and having got inside the gates, closed and bolted

He then decided that it was his duty to repulse force by force, for
everyone was determined to defend, at no matter what cost, a position
which, from the first moment of revolt, was fraught with such peril.
So, without waiting for orders, the soldiers, seeing that some of
their windows had been broken by shots from without, returned the
fire, and, being better marksmen than the townspeople, soon laid many
low.  Upon this the alarmed crowd retired out of musket range, and
entrenched themselves in some neighbouring houses.

About nine o'clock in the evening, a man bearing something resembling
a white flag approached the walls and asked to speak to the general.
He brought a message inquiring on what terms the troops would consent
to evacuate Nimes.  The general sent back word that the conditions
were, that the troops should be allowed to march out fully armed and
with ail their baggage; the five guns alone would be left behind.
When the forces reached a certain valley outside the city they would
halt, that the men might be supplied with means sufficient to enable
them either to rejoin the regiments to which they belonged, or to
return to their own homes.

At two o'clock A. M. the same envoy returned, and announced to the
general that the conditions had been accepted with one alteration,
which was that the troops, before marching out, should lay down their
arms.  The messenger also intimated that if the offer he had brought
were not quickly accepted--say within two hours--the time for
capitulation would have gone by, and that he would not be answerable
for what the people might then do in their fury.  The general
accepted the conditions as amended, and the envoy disappeared.

When the troops heard of the agreement, that they should be disarmed
before being allowed to leave the town, their first impulse was to
refuse to lay down their weapons before a rabble which had run away
from a few musket shots; but the general succeeded in soothing their
sense of humiliation and winning their consent by representing to
them that there could be nothing dishonourable in an action which
prevented the children of a common fatherland from shedding each
other's blood.

The gendarmerie, according to one article of the treaty, were to
close in at, the rear of the evacuating column; and thus hinder the
populace from molesting the troops of which it was composed.  This
was the only concession obtained in return for the abandoned arms,
and the farce in question was already drawn up in field order,
apparently waiting to escort the troops out of the city.

At four o'clock P.M. the troops got ready, each company stacking its
arms in the courtyard before: marching out; but hardly had forty or
fifty men passed the gates than fire was opened on them at such close
range that half of them were killed or disabled at the first volley.
Upon this, those who were still within the walls closed the courtyard
gates, thus cutting off all chance of retreat from their comrades.
In the event; however, it turned out that several of the latter
contrived to escape with their lives and that they lost nothing
through being prevented from returning; for as soon as the mob saw
that ten or twelve of their victims had slipped through their hands
they made a furious attack on the barracks, burst in the gates, and
scaled the walls with such rapidity, that the soldiers had no time to
repossess themselves of their muskets, and even had they succeeded in
seizing them they would have been of little use, as ammunition was
totally wanting.  The barracks being thus carried by assault, a
horrible massacre ensued, which lasted for three hours.  Some of the
wretched men, being hunted from room to room, jumped out of the first
window they could reach, without stopping to measure its height from
the ground, and were either impaled on the bayonets held in readiness
below, or, falling on the pavement, broke their limbs and were
pitilessly despatched.

The gendarmes, who had really been called out to protect the retreat
of the garrison, seemed to imagine they were there to witness a
judicial execution, and stood immovable and impassive while these
horrid deeds went on before their eyes.  But the penalty of this
indifference was swiftly exacted, for as soon as the soldiers were
all done with, the mob, finding their thirst for blood still
unslacked, turned on the gendarmes, the greater number of whom were
wounded, while all lost their horses, and some their lives.

The populace was still engaged at its bloody task when news came that
the army from Beaucaire was within sight of the town, and the
murderers, hastening to despatch some of the wounded who still showed
signs of life, went forth to meet the long expected reinforcements.

Only those who saw the advancing army with their own eyes can form
any idea of its condition and appearance, the first corps excepted.
This corps was commanded by M. de Barre, who had put himself at its
head with the noble purpose of preventing, as far as he could,
massacre and pillage.  In this he was seconded by the officers under
him, who were actuated by the same philanthropic motives as their
general in identifying themselves with the corps.  Owing to their
exertions, the men advanced in fairly regular order, and good
discipline was maintained.  All the men carried muskets.

But the first corps was only a kind of vanguard to the second, which
was the real army, and a wonderful thing to see and hear.  Never were
brought together before or since so many different kinds of howl, so
many threats of death, so many rags; so many odd weapons, from the
matchlock of the time of the Michelade to the steel-tipped goad of
the bullock drovers of La Camargue, so that when the Nimes mob; which
in all conscience was howling and ragged enough, rushed out to offer
a brotherly welcome to the strangers, its first feeling was one of
astonishment and dismay as it caught sight of the motley crew which
held out to it the right hand of fellowship.

The new-comers soon showed that it was through necessity and not
choice that their outer man presented such a disreputable appearance;
for they were hardly well within the gates before demanding that the
houses of the members of the old Protestant National Guard should be
pointed out to them.

This being done, they promptly proceeded to exact from each household
a musket, a coat, a complete kit, or a sum of money, according to
their humour, so that before evening those who had arrived naked and
penniless were provided with complete uniforms and had money in their
pockets.  These exactions were levied under the name of a
contribution, but before the day was ended naked and undisguised
pillage began.

Someone asserted that during the assault on the barracks a certain
individual had fired out of a certain house on the assailants.  The
indignant people now rushed to the house indicated, and soon left
nothing of it in existence but its walls.  A little later it was
clearly proved that the individual accused was quite innocent of the
crime laid to his charge.

The house of a rich merchant lay in the path of the advancing army.
A cry arose that the owner was a Bonapartist, and nothing more was
needed.  The house was broken into and pillaged, and the furniture
thrown out of the windows.

Two days later it turned out that not only was the merchant no
Bonapartist, but that his son had been one of those who had
accompanied the Duc d'Angouleme to Cette when he left the country.
The pillagers excused themselves by saying they had been misled by a
resemblance between two names, and this excuse, as far as appears,
was accepted as valid by the authorities.

It was not long before the populace of Nimes began to think they
might as well follow the example set them by their brothers from
Beaucaire.  In twenty-four hours free companies were formed, headed
by Trestaillons, Trupheny, Graffan, and Morinet.  These bands
arrogated to themselves the title of National Guard, and then what

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