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Bonchamps, Charles Melchior Artus

BONCHAMPS, CHARLES MELCHIOR ARTUS, Marquis de (c.1760-1793), Vendéan leader, was born at Jouverteil, Anjou. He gained his first military experience in the American War of Independence, and on his return to France was made a captain of grenadiers in the French army. He was a staunch upholder of the monarchy, and at the outbreak of the French Revolution resigned his command and retired to his château at St Florent. In the spring of 1793 he was chosen leader by the insurgents of the Vendée, and to his counsels may be attributed in great measure the success of the peasants' arms. He was present at the taking of Bressuire, Thouars and Fontenay, at which last place he was wounded; but dissensions among their leaders weakened the insurgents, and at the bloody battle of Cholet (October 1793) the Vendéans sustained a severe defeat and Bonchamps was mortally wounded. He died the next day. It is said that his last act was the pardoning of five thousand republican prisoners, whom his troops had sworn to kill in revenge for his death. A statue of him by David d'Angers stands in the church of St Florent.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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