Archive for January 6th, 2010

1794: Maurice Joseph Louis Gigost d’Elbee, Vendean general

Add comment January 6th, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1794, one of the great royalist generals of the Vendee revolt was shot by the French Revolution’s Republican forces at Nourmoutier.

The 1793 counterrevolutionary uprising in the Vendee had roused retired cavalryman Maurice Joseph Louis Gigost d’Elbee (English Wikipedia link | French), and he became the second commander of the Royal and Catholic Army upon the death of Jacques Cathelineau.

Unfortunately for d’Elbee, even with English support, the balance of force rather tipped in favor of Paris, and the Revolutionary government was obviously not shy about sealing its victories in blood.

D’Elbee suffered a grievous wound at the Battle of Cholet in October 1793, and for a couple of months was spirited one step ahead of the advancing Republicans.

As Charles MacFarlane writes in The French Revolution, Vol. 3, he ran out of room to run at the island of Noirmoutier.

D’Elbee was lying in bed between life and death; his wife might have escaped, but would not leave him: they were both taken. As Turreau’s soldiers entered their chamber the wounded royalist exclaimed, “Yes, here I am! Here is d’Elbee, your greatest enemy! If I had been strong enough to fight or stand upon my feet, you would not have taken me in my bed!” They kept him for five days, treating him with execrable barbarity, and then carried him in an arm-chair to the place appointed for fusilading the prisoners, and there shot him. His wife was fusiladed the next day, and her brother and brother-in-law perished in the same manner.


Mort du General d’Elbee, by Julien Le Blant, depicts the general shot with three other royalist officers. Not pictured: Hundreds of other Vendean prisoners massacred in the aftermath of the Battle of Savenay.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,France,History,Martyrs,Power,Shot,Soldiers,Treason,Wartime Executions

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