Monday, April 30, 2012

Camerone Day

Captain Danjou's Hand
Every year on April 30th the French Foreign Legion celebrates Camerone Day. This celebrates an engagement between 62 soldiers and 3 officers of the the Legion and over 2000 Mexican soldiers at the Hacienda Cameron in Veracruz, Mexico on 30 April 1863. The Mexican forces surrounded the Legionaires and asked for their surrender. Their Commander Capt. Danjou refused and then he and the men swore an oath to fight to the death.
The battle raged, but the legionaires refused to surrender. As the evening approached , out of ammunition, only five legionaries and the last officer, Lt. Maudet, survived. These last men refused to surrender, so they fixed bayonets and charged out at the Mexican soldiers. Most of the Legionaires were shot down but the Mexican commander stopped his men from killing the last two.They still refused to surrender, they demanded the Mexican soldiers allow them safe passage home, to keep their arms and to escort the body of Captain Danjou. To that the Mexican commander commented "What can I refuse to such men? No, these are not, men they are devils!", and out of respect, agreed to their terms.
The most sacred relic of the French Foreign Legion is the wooden prosthetic hand of Captain Danjou. On April 30th the hand is taken out  for display and presented in special ceremonies.

Vive La Legion


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