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Pelissier, Aimable Jean Jacques

PELISSIER, AIMABLE JEAN JACQUES (1794-1864), duke of Malakoff, marshal of France, was born on the 6th of November 1794 at Maromme (Seine Inferieure), of a family of prosperous artisans or yeoman, his father being employed in a powdermagazine. After attending the military college of La Fleche and the special school of St Cyr, he in 1815 entered the army as sub-lieutenant in an artillery regiment. A brilliant examination in 1819 secured his appointment to the staff. He served as aide-de-camp in the Spanish campaign of 1823, and in the expedition to the Morea in 1828-29. In 1830 he took part in the expedition to Algeria, and on his return was promoted to the rank of chef d'escadron. After some years' staff service in Paris he was again sent to Algeria as chief of staff of the province of Oran with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and remained there till the Crimean War, taking a prominent part in many important operations. The severity of his conduct in suffocating a whole Arab tribe in the Dahra or Dahna caves, near Mustaganem, where they had taken refuge (June 18, 1845), awakened such indignation in Europe that Marshal Soult, the minister of war, publicly expressed his regret; but Marshal Bugeaud, the governor-general of Algeria, not only gave it his approval, but secured for Pelissier the rank of general of brigade, which he held till 1850, when he was promoted general of division. After the battles of October and November 1854 before Sevastopol, Pelissier was sent to the Crimea, where on the 16th of May 1855 he succeeded Marshal Canrobert as commander-in-chief of the French forces before Sevastopol (see CRIMEAN WAR). His command was marked by relentless pressure of the enemy and unalterable determination to conduct the campaign without interference from Paris. His perseverance was crowned with 1 The legend was commonly believed in the middle ages. Epiphanius, bishop of Constantly, in his Physiologus (1588), writes that the female bird, in cherishing her young, wounds them with loving, and pierces their sides, and they die. After three days the male pelican comes and finds them dead, and his heart is pained. He smites his own side, and as he stands over the wounds of the dead young ones the blood trickles down, and thus are they made alive again. The pelican " in his piety " -4.e. in this pious act of reviving his offspring was a common subject for 15th-century emblem books; it became a symbol of self-sacrifice, a type of Christian redemption and of the Eucharistic doctrine. The device was adopted by Bishop Fox in 1516 for his new college of Corpus Christi, Oxford. [H. CH.l success in the storming of the Malakoff on the 8th of September. On the 12th he was promoted to be marshal. On his return to Paris he was named senator, created duke of Malakoff (July 22, 1856), and rewarded with a grant of 100,000 francs per annum. From March 1858 to May 1859 he was French ambassador in London, whence he was recalled to take command of the army of observation on the Rhine. In the same year he became grand chancellor of the Legion of Honour. In 1860 he was appointed governor-general of Algeria, and he died there on the 2 and of May 1864.

See Marbaud, Le Marechal Pelissier (1863); Castillo, Portraits historiques, 2nd series (1859).

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

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