Against All Odds Battle of Camarón Defines the Legend of the French Foreign Legion
On April 30, 1863, a small infantry patrol of 65 French Foreign Legion soldiers led by Captain Jean Danjou were attacked by Mexican Infantry and calvery. In the historic event, the French Foreign Legion made their stand against 3000 Mexican soldiers at the Hacienda Camarón de Tejeda, Veracruz, Mexico. Swearing an oath on Danjou’s wooden hand, they fought held of the Mexican troops for 9 hours until 3 men were left standing. The remaining 3 were allowed to return to the French lines as an escort of Captain Danjou’s body. Refusing to surrender, the bravery and the will of the French Foreign Legion’s fight-until-death dedication defined their legendary status of military prowess.
France invaded Mexico because their liberal government had refused to pay their debts to France. Napoleon III took this opportunity to add Mexico to the French empire.
Vivre la Legion etrangere!
The French Foreign Legion was formed March 10, 1831, by Louis Philippe, King of the French. Including foreign regiments of Swiss and and Germans, the primary use of the Legion was in the to protect France’s colonial empire in Africa. The fought in many wars including the Franco-Mexico War from 1863 through 1867. Captain Danjou’s would hand is kept in the Legion museum at Aubange (Musée de la Légion étrangère) , France, and is paraded annually on April 30, Camerone Day.
The Battle of Camarón took place almost a year after the Battle of Puebla (May 5, 1862) during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867) — better known as Cinco de Mayo. In the Battle of Puebla, 6,000 French soldiers faced 2,000 poorly supplied Mexican militia in the city known as Puebla de Los Angeles in eastern Mexico. The battle lasted one day until the French retreated. The Mexicans ultimately lose the war one month later on June 7, 1963.
Camerone Day 2013