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HappyHiker18 Oct 2017 6:01 a.m. PST

I read some where that Napoleon named his artillery batteries(little daughters ?), but searching for it now I can't find any reference. Assuming I didn't just imagine it, does anyone have a list of which batteries had which names – just to add some flavour to my wip artillery?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2017 6:16 a.m. PST

You may be thinking of the nickname of the 12 pounders 'The Emperor's Beautiful Daughters'. The batteries in the French army only had numbers e.g. 4eme Companie, 2eme Regiment d'Artillerie a Cheval. There were no titles or nicknames (unlike the infantry). In the British Royal Artillery batteries were sometimes known by their commander's name (e.g. Bull's Troop) but officially they also had numbers and letters.

Brechtel19818 Oct 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

Batteries at Toulon were sometimes named by their gun crews. These were not artillery companies but artillery emplacements at the siege. The term 'battery' during the period in the French service any emplacement of artillery from one to however-many pieces are in the emplacement.

I've seen Napoleon's nickname for his 12-pounders translated as the above and also as 'pretty girls.' I prefer the latter. Period military French could have a different, more colloquial, translation/meaning from time to time.

Oliver Schmidt18 Oct 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

ignore this

Marcel180918 Oct 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

actually les belles filles " could also be translated as the emperor's daughters in law. Never been quite sure what the best interpretation would be

42flanker18 Oct 2017 8:54 a.m. PST

link

Beau, belle: beautiful, good-looking, handsome, lovely

link

Fille: 1.girl (child) 2.young girl, 3.daughter 4.nominative 5. employee 6. Bleeped text

link

Jolie: pretty, lovely, nice, attractive

link

'belle-fille' (hyphen)

42flanker18 Oct 2017 11:45 a.m. PST

Not 'nominative'- vocative.

Navy Fower Wun Seven18 Oct 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

The British RHA battery at Leipzig 1813 was thereafter known as 'Leipzig' battery – still is as far as I know, unless its disappeared in the latest defence cuts…

Le Breton18 Oct 2017 1:20 p.m. PST

Did you perhaps mean to ask about naming the artillery pieces or the gun barrels ?

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2017 1:35 p.m. PST

The RHA Battery at Leipzig was 'Bogue's Troop' RHA (actually O Troop). It was given the battle honour 'Leipsic' (sic) which was not a title and was dropped when the whole Royal Artillery received the battle honour 'Ubique'. The honour title became 'O Battery The Rocket Troop' and it is currently the HQ battery of 1 RHA.

Le Breton18 Oct 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

"I've seen Napoleon's nickname for his 12-pounders translated as the above and also as 'pretty girls.' I prefer the latter. Period military French could have a different, more colloquial, translation/meaning from time to time."

Can anyone provide an example of calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar before 1862? I am fearing that this was just something created by a novelist, albeit a rather famous one.

Les Misérables: Tome II – Cosette
Victor Hugo
"trois batteries de douze …. destinées à commencer l'action en battant Mont-Saint-Jean où est l'intersection des routes de Nivelles et de Genappe, l'empereur avait frappé sur l'épaule de Haxo en lui disant : Voilà vingt-quatre belles filles, général!"

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2017 5:08 p.m. PST

Battery names?
Duracell?
Everready?

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2017 12:37 a.m. PST

Belle fille, is also the woman who married your son. Yes to complicate the life, now.

42flanker20 Oct 2017 4:46 a.m. PST

Does not belle-fille
- 'daughter-in-law' require a hyphen?

Brechtel19820 Oct 2017 5:26 a.m. PST

If anyone is interested in seeing Napoleon's ideas, nicknames, or the like it would probably be in his Correspondence.

Le Breton20 Oct 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

"I've seen Napoleon's nickname for his 12-pounders …."
"If anyone is interested in seeing Napoleon's ideas, nicknames, or the like it would probably be in his Correspondence."

Where in the Correspondence could we find calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar?

I fear that this kind of nickname for 12-pounders was an invention of Victor Hugo, but would be happy to have this fear erased.

Le Breton20 Oct 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

For daughter-in-law or step-daughter in English, it would be "belle-fille" with hyphen in the era and (as the link above showed) to this day.

link

Brechtel19820 Oct 2017 8:47 a.m. PST

Where in the Correspondence could we find calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar?
I fear that this kind of nickname for 12-pounders was an invention of Victor Hugo, but would be happy to have this fear erased.

It is up to you to look it up, since it is you who doubt it.

Good luck and please keep us posted as you work your way through the Correspondence.

And since Napoleon was an artilleryman, and artillerymen do grow fond of the guns they serve, I don't doubt Napoleon's nickname for the 12-pounders.

Le Breton20 Oct 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

"It is up to you to look it up, since it is you who doubt it."
"I don't doubt Napoleon's nickname for the 12-pounders."

Actually, I had already done as you suggested. For all the Correspondence available through Google Search, GoogleBooks, Gallica or Russia State Library, one can text search. No "belles filles", "pretty daughters" or similar. Hence my question.

If you do not doubt the nickname, perhaps you know of some contemporary source for its use. Or, conversely, absent such a source, why should one not have doubts?

Brechtel19820 Oct 2017 7:27 p.m. PST

There are 33 volumes of Napoleon's Correspondence originally edited and published by order of Napoleon III.

There were later additions to the Correspondence covering material not previously published.

Have you read all of the volumes, at least the first 33?

If you're actually going to investigate your question it would appear that you have some work to do.

If not, that's fine also.

Art20 Oct 2017 7:52 p.m. PST

I have actually done the same thing…admittedly I only have 58 of the correspondances downloaded…

I still have more to download…and I am certain that there are even more hidden which I do not know of…

To be on the safe side…I then double checked the Correspondance inédite de l'Empereur Napoléon avec le commandant en chef de l'artillerie de la Grande-Armée pendant…

In any case…after using text search…nothing…

42flanker21 Oct 2017 5:21 a.m. PST

Mais qu'est alors cette vérité historique, la plupart du temps? Une fable convenue.

YouTube link

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP21 Oct 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

"It is up to you to look it up, since it is you who doubt it."

Erm, actually, that's not how the empirical method works: One has to prove an assertion, not a negative…

Brechtel19821 Oct 2017 2:06 p.m. PST

If you make an assertion that something is incorrect historically, it is up to that person to show or prove the assertion.

Saying something is incorrect is an assertion, so the burden of proof is quite simply up to the person making the assertion.

Le Breton21 Oct 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

I think there is an assertion here :
"I've seen Napoleon's nickname for his 12-pounders translated as the above and also as 'pretty girls.' "
"I don't doubt Napoleon's nickname for the 12-pounders."

The phrasing assumes that indeed there is something that we can term "Napoleon's nickname". So, following his own guidance, "the burden of proof is quite simply up to the person making the assertion", I believe the onus would more easily fall upon Mr. Brechtel. Or perhaps he would now prefer to re-phrase his prior posts?

I don't think I made any assertion. I think I asked a question:
"Can anyone provide an example of calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar before [Victor Hugo in] 1862?"

So far, the answer to my question is "no".

Brechtel19821 Oct 2017 3:35 p.m. PST

Whether or not an 'example' was provided, it doesn't mean that the nickname was not used by Napoleon.

Referring to Victor Hugo is a bad example and is definitely ahistorical.

Again, I would closely examine, if you are actually interested, Napoleon's Correspondence. And by that I mean actually read it instead of trying to use internet shortcuts.

If you're only interested in being a 'naysayer' then do as you please. You've made enough historical errors in your postings to certainly continue in that vein.

Le Breton22 Oct 2017 1:02 a.m. PST

"Whether or not an 'example' was provided, it doesn't mean that the nickname was not used by Napoleon."

1. Do you believe that the nickname was used by Napoleon?
2. If "yes", do you have a contemporary source for this?
3. If "no", why did you repeatedly post the phrase "Napoléon's nickname"?

This is a rather simple point. Let us strive for clarity.
Or, if you are reluctant to look at the sources for this supposed nickname because it impairs your abilty to believe in and re-tell a myth, we can just drop the matter.

Garde de Paris22 Oct 2017 3:46 a.m. PST

Is it true the Napoleon, at Toulon, was able to get French guns back into action when he names one of the batteries "batterie des hommes sans peur?" (Battery of fearless men?). I seem to remember that from the Abel Ganz movie years ago.

Gdep

langobard Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2017 6:11 p.m. PST

Gdep, I seem to remember Chandler mentioning that in his 'Campaigns of Napoleon', but where he got it from I can't say as I don't have my copy to hand. Will try to look it up later.

Oliver Schmidt22 Oct 2017 10:23 p.m. PST

By the way, Napoleon also called his howitzers "my little cauldrons" (mes petites marmites).

If you want to check yourself, it would probably be in his Correspondence. It is up to you to look it up, since it is you who doubt it.

Le Breton23 Oct 2017 12:03 a.m. PST

Garde de Paris,

Well …. not Victor Hugo this time. But it looks like Alexandre Dumas!

"La Batterie des Hommes Sans Peur! Quel nom prestigieux, magique! Il est ceux qui tranversant l'Hiztoire et qui flamoient en traits de feu les fastes de la gloire! Et la légende est venue auréoler encore ce, merveilleux nom de baptême, car la légende aime souvent à déformer peu ou prou la vérité pour lui donner un éclat nouveau et mieux l'imposer à l'âme des foules. Ce qui est vrai, c'est que cette batterie des Hommes Sans Peur étai ainsi appelée bein avant cette date du 15 décembre 1793, où dit-on, dans un instant critique, Bonaparte, dans une inspiration de génie, l'aurait ainsi dénommée pour relever le courage des canonniers démoralisés. Et la preuve de ce que nous avançons, se trouve dans l'ordre donné par Bonaprarte lui-même, ordre daté du 24 octobre et du quartier général d'Ollioules : "L'on établira ce soir la batterie des Hommes-Sans-Peur au-devant des Deux-Moulins. Je vous prie de faire vos dispositions en conséquence afin que ce poste soit protégé par un bon corps d'infanterie.""
Les Férigoulettes; recueil de contes, légendes, impressions et paysages de Provence.
Toulon : A. Paul, 1920
link
page 34

See also ….
Correspondance générale
éd. Fondation Napoléon
Paris : Fayard, 2004
Volume 4
link
page 138

On 14 November 1793, writing to the Ministre de la guerre, recently promoted chef de bataillon Bonaparte complains that the plans he proposed to the commanders (and Representatives of the People) at the siege of Toulon have not been adopted. He lists 7 established batteries (des Sans-Culottes, du Bréguart, de la Grand Rade, des Sablettes, des Quatre-Moulins, des Hommes Sans Peur, des Républicans du Midi) which "le général [Jean Dutheil ?] en a arrèté la construction". He proposes 3 more, without "honorific" names (the 7th, the 1st and 2nd opposing Malbousquet) and a platform of mortars to lob shells into Toulon city.
Correspondence de Napoléon Ier
publiée par ordre de l'empereur Napoléon III
Volume 1
Paris : H. Plon et J. Dumaine, 1858
link
pages 13 et seq.

The story of Napoléon naming the batterie, and posting a big sign to encourage (the assumedly literate ???) revolutionary cannoneers that they were "Men without Fear" seems to stem from the imagination of Alexander Dumas, as I cannot find such a story mentioned before it was included in one of Dumas' plays.
Napoléon Bonaparte, ou, Trente ans de l'histoire de France
Un drame en six actes et 26 tableaux.
Alexandre Dumas
(début à l'Odeon en 1831)
link
pages 4 et seq.

For what it is worth ….
The expression "hommes sans peur" with regard to resisting authority may stem from a 1772 play by Voltaire.
See : link
Bayard was known for centuries as "le bon chevalier sans peur et sans reproche".

langobard Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2017 2:02 a.m. PST

Le Breton, for what it is worth, Chandler doesn't cite his source :)

42flanker23 Oct 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

mes petites marmites

I find 'cauldrons' a little inflammatory. I prefer 'my little stewpots.'

HappyHussar23 Oct 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

"Beautiful Daughters" – for us older members the tune "Oh you beautiful doll, you great big beautiful doll" comes to mind! LOL

The sound of those guns pumping out the lead was indeed "music to Napoloen's ears." ;)

Art23 Oct 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

G'Day Gents

Once upon a time I was young and stupid…and I had a self-importance that was beyond the pale ;-)

Now I am just stupid…old…and wonder how I could of ever thought I was important ;-)

Anyway…once upon a time…a team from National Geographics was visiting my unit and I was selected to respond to their questioning…the compagnie commander thought he could trust me…WRONG…

I was asked if it was true that we were "des enfants perdus" when on a mission…I directly and most emphatically told him I was not an "enfant"…'and I am never lost'…

I remember later standing before the capitaine adjoint being told that "des enfants' and "des enfants perdus" were proper military terms…paint me stupid…he made me pay for my stupidity ;-)

Later…I paid for it again when the next dining-in came about…and I was forced to get on the table and explain my conduct…and show them my un-regulation corfam glossy U.S. dress shoes…and explain why I was an "enfant"… ;-)

- I was always on the table showing off my corfams when it was a dining in… ;-)

Afterwards I would thank the President for his excellent choice of wine…and my punishment (another glass of wine)…and of course my section were also forced to drink..since I was punished to drink a glass of wine :-)

if I recall correctly…later I was helped back to my quarters…ghastly punishment indeed ;-)

Best Regards
Art

seneffe23 Oct 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

Now I think of it- I have never seen a primary source for the belles filles/beautiful daughters term- but it is certainly repeated very frequently.
Not in a position to deny it by any means- and I would actually like it to be more than dialogue from c19th fiction- but all the references I have seen seem essentially secondary and repeated from each other.

Le Breton23 Oct 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

Hi Seneffe,

I would prefer it to be real also.
That's why I asked the question.

There is lots of this nicknaming and other "soldierly" stuff written about Napoléon. But ….

There is a probem finding contemporary "Beautiful Daughters"
The batterie des Hommes Sans Peur seems not to have been named by him,
I raised in another thread the usage of "Grognards".

It is sad if most or all of these turn out to be myths. Then Napoléon looks less like the beloved and caring leader of men and more like the typical autocrat throwing away countless men's lives to persue his dynastic ambitions. Tha tis not the picture that I really wanted to see.

Brechtel19823 Oct 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Then Napoléon looks less like the beloved and caring leader of men and more like the typical autocrat throwing away countless men's lives to persue his dynastic ambitions.

Raising another old myth-that of the 'Corsican Ogre'?

That old myth is the result of British and allied propaganda of the period.

Le Breton23 Oct 2017 6:04 p.m. PST

Mr. Brechtel,

Can you show us some examples of the British or their allies using the phrase "Corsican Orge" before the Cent Jours?

The first use I found was this rather silly book published during the restoration:
L'Ogre de Corse
C. J. Rougemaitre de Dieuze
link
The phrase was also used in the 10 March 1815 edition of the Le Moniteur Universel. And it became rather common thereafter.
But this is all royalist French material, "after the fact" and not British.

The first usage in English of "Corsican Ogre" I could find was from William Makepeace Thackeray, in 1829.
See link

So far it seems that you are wrong, that the "Cosrican Ogre" was not "[t]hat old myth is the result of British and allied propaganda of the period."
Can you please help us to see that you were not wrong?

Brechtel19824 Oct 2017 2:18 a.m. PST

You're missing the point.

With this inaccurate comment:

Then Napoléon looks less like the beloved and caring leader of men and more like the typical autocrat throwing away countless men's lives to persue his dynastic ambitions.

you are doing nothing but perpetuating the myths and propaganda used against Napoleon by the British and allies. It is also very clear that you understand little or nothing about Napoleon's personality, his government, and how he ruled France and the Empire. And for Napoleon the soldier and combat leader, it appears that you are also in the dark.

If you want to talk about autocrats, I suggest you begin a thread on Frances, Alexander, and Frederick William.

Regarding specifics as to when and where, the propaganda attacks, as well as assassination attempts on Napoleon by the Bourbons, sponsored by the British, were all aimed to either defame Napoleon as French head of state or to have him murdered.

Your comments merely perpetuate propaganda of the period.

Le Breton24 Oct 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

Mr. Brechtel wrote :
"…. the 'Corsican Ogre'? That old myth is the result of British and allied propaganda of the period."

I asked :
"Can you show us some examples of the British or their allies using the phrase "Corsican Orge" before the Cent Jours?"

Mr. Brechtel, *you* brought up the myth of the "Cosrican Ogre". You said it was "British and allied propaganda". OK, please demonstrate your assertion, since as you yourself wrote, "the burden of proof is quite simply up to the person making the assertion"

============

"It is also very clear that you understand little or nothing about Napoleon's personality, his government, and how he ruled France and the Empire. And for Napoleon the soldier and combat leader, it appears that you are also in the dark."

This is not about me. You can say I am as dumb as bait and know nothing about everything. I do not care.

However, I post actual sources, with academic citations and links to the works. I have nothing of my own to say, really. Everyone can read the sources and make up their own minds.

You, on the other hand, can't or won't answer any of the simple questions about the origin and source support for your posts presented here. Instead you respond that I am picking on you with "ad hominem" attacks merely because I ask a question – and have now resorted to just declaring that I "understand little or nothing" or am "in the dark".

==============

So, once again : where can we find "Cosrican Ogre" as "British and allied propaganda"?
You brought this up. You made the assertion. The onus to support your post rests with you, as when I looked for the origins of this phrase I could find nothing whatsoever to do the British or the Allies, nor even its use before the restoration.

Major Bloodnok24 Oct 2017 4:48 a.m. PST

Corsican Ogre? Isn't that Shrek? Out of curiosity would a nickname that Boney may have uttered out loud to someone show up in official documents? Wouldn't it be more likely to appear in a diary written by a member of Boney's staff?
Would it be something said in converstion with Sorbier, such as "how are les belle-filles today"? or "roll out les belle-filles". Can you see a British officer writing an official document that reads "Conkey Arty ordered us to fire on the Grognards"? Or would it read my "Lord Wellington ordered us to…" Just my tuppence-a'penny.

Le Breton24 Oct 2017 5:17 a.m. PST

Hi Major,

Exactly so.
And lots of these confidants left memoires and diaries – and I could not find belle filles or similar in any of them.

Thinking others, especially Mr. Brechtel (who asserted that this was "Napoleon's nickname"), knew more, I asked: can anyone provide an example of calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar before [Victor Hugo in] 1862?
So far, it looks like the answer is "no".

Actually, if there was nothing until 1862 and then, say, Haxo's family published his diary with this phrase, then OK. But in Les Miz ???

=============

As for "Corsican Ogre" (in English), I couldn't find it before 1829. And only twice before 1850 (when it starts getting some repeated use). So it is hard to see this as British war-time propaganda.

Brechtel19809 Nov 2017 4:31 a.m. PST

Thinking others, especially Mr. Brechtel (who asserted that this was "Napoleon's nickname"), knew more…

I never asserted that the term 'Corsican Ogre' was Napoleon's nickname. It is an epithet, not a compliment, and is meant to ridicule, defame, and deride.

Please don't misrepresent what I have posted.

As a hint to the term, you might want to take a look at Chateaubriand or others in Madame de Stael's 'circle.' She was virulently anti-Napoleon, mainly for the reason that he refused her advances. Talleyrand didn't think too highly of her either, but that's another story.

Relying on novelists such as Hugo or Dumas as source material is not a very good idea. And I don't believe that they knew enough of the actual history of the period to invent terms such as 'Corsican Ogre' and 'pretty girls' when referring to artillery pieces.

Le Breton09 Nov 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

@ Brechtel
You wrote :
"I've seen Napoleon's nickname for his 12-pounders translated as the above and also as 'pretty girls.' "
"I don't doubt Napoleon's nickname for the 12-pounders."

I wrote :
"Thinking others, especially Mr. Brechtel (who asserted that this was "Napoleon's nickname"), knew more, I asked: can anyone provide an example of calling French 12-pounders anything like "beautiful daughters" or "pretty girls" or similar before [Victor Hugo in] 1862?"

I asked you to support your contention that Napoléon had the nickname of "beautiful daughter" for 12-pounders. I could only find after Hugo put it in Les Miz, by which time Napoléon was long dead. You said twice here it was "Napoléon's nickname"? On what basis did you know this was true?

=================

You wrote :
"…. the 'Corsican Ogre'? That old myth is the result of British and allied propaganda of the period."
" It is an epithet, not a compliment, and is meant to ridicule, defame, and deride."

I asked :
"Can you show us some examples of the British or their allies using the phrase "Corsican Orge" before the Cent Jours?"

I asked you to support your contention that Napoléon had the epithet of Corsican Orge as a result of British propaganda. I could not find the term in English before 1829, long after the supposed "ogre" was gone. You said twice here it was the result of British propaganda ? On what basis did you know this was true?

=================

I am not relaying on Hugo or Dumas as source material. I am saying that as far as I can find "beautiful daughters" was an invention of Hugo and naming of the battery at Toulon by Napoléon as "Hommes Sans Peur" was an invention by Dumas. If you believe the "episodes" to have more factual roots, then I am all ears – please tell us your better sources. Otherwise, these look like myths, and I would regret that.

Brechtel19816 Nov 2017 3:28 p.m. PST

There is an interesting book out, Napoleon (Reputations) by RS Alexander that talks about Chateaubriand and the 'Ogre' theory regarding Napoleon. Chateaubriand apparently referred to Napoleon as the 'Prince of Darkness.'

badger2216 Nov 2017 6:49 p.m. PST

Major Bloodnok I agree, most people dont seem to write the way they speak. If I typed on here like I talked to my troops, the bleep o meter would wear out. Most army slang I know takes 10-15 years to work its way into normal speech, if it ever does. I just tried to find Razoo online, and while I can find a bunch of different usages, not one of them equates to its us in the army 30 years ago.

We cant ask old Hugo, did you make this up, or did you hear it from an old vet?

Owen

Le Breton16 Nov 2017 9:39 p.m. PST

Badger,

Point taken, but ….

22 years after Napoléon's remains were returned to France?
41 years after Napoléon's death?
63 years after Napoléon's becoming head of state?
77 years after Napoléon's commissioning as an officer of artillery?

That would be a really long delay for such a wonderfully evocative phrase to have gone un-noted by anyone, if it had been any sort of nickname actually in common usage by Napoléon.

badger2217 Nov 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

Part of that would be who he said it to and when. Once to a battery commander? May take a long time. Used it all the time, should be noted much sooner than it was.

So maybe did not use it all that often, or never. Or, and this is why I keep reading more new books, somebody digs up great grandfather yahoos diary, and there it is.

And I am afraid I have to agree, the evidence at this time is pretty thin on the ground.

Owen

Murvihill17 Nov 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

Were I looking for Corsican Ogre references I'd look at contemporary British newspaper cartoons.

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