Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Siege of Paris Female Unit

Warfare in the Age of Steam has an entry on Cantinieres in 1870-1 Paris.

The blog entry reminded me on an attempt to raise a battalion of women in the defense of Paris  was done by Felix Belly in 1870 and was published as a pamphlet available on Google books in French....

The recruiting notice went something like this if Google Translation is close...


"To meet the wishes that have been expressed by many letters and generous provisions for a large part of the female population of Paris, it will be successively formed, as in el as resources that we will be provided for their organization and arming ten battalions of women, without distinction of social classes, which will take the title L'Amazones of the Seine.
These battalions are primarily designed to defend the walls and barricades, in conjunction with the most sedentary of the National Guard, and to make the fighters in the ranks which they are distributed by companies, all domestic services and fraternal, consistent with moral order and military discipline. They will take care also of the wounded on the walls, first aid, they will avoid the agony of waiting for several hours. They will be armed with guns having at least a range of 200 meters, and the Government will be asked to assimilate the National Guards At Rate Of Pay pay 1 franc. 50.
The costume of the Amazons of the Seine will consist of black pants orange stripes, a black wool coat with hood and a black cap orange edging, with a bandolier slung.
A desk is open enrollment Turbigo Street, 36, from nine in the morning at five o'clock in the evening for the formation of the first battalion, under the direction of a senior retired. We could not go forward only if accompanied by a National Guard as a referee. The battalion will consist of eight companies of 150 Amazons, 1,200 total, and each company will be immediately exercised by instructors in the use of the gun and the regimental march.
To cover the cost of this item to be improvised, they could become useless, a call made by means of the press, all the ladies of the wealthy classes, seek their patriotism and their true interests, sacrifice of their surplus to the sacred cause of the country. They have enough bracelets, necklaces and jewelry, their pluck robbery Prussian if Paris succumbed to arm a hundred thousand of their sisters. They do not refuse, I hope to show their feelings by the broader civic subscriptions, and thus reverse the barrier that has too long separated the working classes. A register was opened in the office of enrollment, and rigorous accounts, which will be published to justify the importance of donations and their jobs.
An experienced physician, as many as possible female, will be attached to each battalion. One of the r battalion will assist in recruiting its staff, and an ambulance will be assigned to special Amazon injured, under the direction of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Coudret. A committee of ladies, which features family council, will provide for hygienic, maintenance of the ambulance and the needs of the poor season.
Armourers and gentlemen are invited to submit (to the) Arquebusiers office, the types of weapons they could provide, including the review will be conducted by officers of artillery.
The moments are precious. The women, too, feel that their country and civilization need all their strength to resist the violence of wild Prussia. They want to share our own, support our courage, we give the example of the contempt of death and thus securing their emancipation and civil equality. They have more than us the fire of divine saving high resolutions, and dedication that supports active and console. Let us open our ranks to receive, on the ramparts, the beloved household companions, and that Europe learns with admiration that they are not only thousands of people, but thousands of women who are defending Paris, the world's freedom against a new inundation of barbarians.
The temporary head of the 1st battalion,
Felix BELLY.
Paris, October 10, 1870."

The attempt was not taken seriously as these two cartoons show.....
(Victoria and Albert Museum)

The Cartoon below shows M. Felix Belly commanding the "Board of Review" of prospective recruits.

I don't have much on M. Belly other than that he was involved in projects in Latin and South America and was quoted in the New York Times in 1859 warning France about the United States in Latin America.

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