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30 April 2016

Today is Camerone Day

   Today is Camerone Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Camerone. On this day in 1863, three officers and sixty-two men of the French Foreign Legion exemplified stoic determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

   Surrounded by as many as two thousand Mexican troops, the Legionnaires under Captain Jean Danjou made a stand in an old hacienda. When called up on to surrender, Captain Danjou replied, "We have munitions. We will not surrender." In the ensuing battle, nearly all of the Legionnaires, including Captain Danjou, were killed. When the last five unwounded men ran out of ammunition, under the command of Lieutenant Maudet, they loaded their last round, fixed bayonets, and charged the enemy.

   Inevitably, they were surrounded and captured (although not without a fight). The last remaining NCO, Corporal Maine, insisted that the wounded be treated, the survivors be sent with their arms back to France, and that the body of Captain Danjou be escorted for a proper military burial. The Mexican commander, a Colonel Milan, reportedly said "Que podré negar a cierto hombres? No, estos no son hombres, son demonios." (What can I refuse to such men? No, these are not men, they are devils.)

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