Page:Ninety-three.djvu/11

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NINETY-THREE.




PART FIRST.—AT SEA.




BOOK FIRST.

THE WOODS OF LA SAUDRAIE.




During the last of May, 1793, one of the Parisian battalions led into Brittany by Santerre was scouring the terrible woods of La Saudraie in Astillé. The battalion had only three hundred men left, for it had been decimated by the cruel war. It was at the time when after Argonne, Jemmapes, and Valmy, there remained of the first battalion of Paris, originally numbering six hundred volunteers, twenty-seven men; of the second battalion, thirty-three men; and of the third, fifty-seven. It was a time of epic conflicts.

The battalions sent from Paris to La Vendeé numbered nine hundred and twelve men. Each battalion had three pieces of cannon. The troops had been quickly raised. On the twenty-fifth of April, Gohier being minister of justice, and Bouchotte minister of war, the section of the Bon Conseil, had proposed to send battalions of volunteers to La Vendée. Lubin, member of the commune, had made the report: the first of May, Santerre was ready to send out twelve thousand soldiers, thirty field-pieces and a battalion of gunners. These battalions organized hastily were so well organized, that they serve as models to-day; the companies of the line are made up on the principle