Cambronne probably would not have suppressed a curse of amazement. The body of Charles Étienne Gudin de la Sablonnière, loyal general of the emperor Napoleon’s death in 1812, would have been found in Russia. His bones lay among the debris of a wooden coffin, as well as the recount of our colleagues in the Point . It is in Smolensk, where took place the battle of Valoutina Gora, a team of archaeologists of the franco-Russian has made this amazing discovery at the beginning of this month of July.
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experts have discovered a skeleton without a left leg, and in which the bones of the right were severely damaged. The general Gudin died on the field of battle on 19 August 1812, after losing his leg broke by a cannon ball enemy. Despite an amputation, the military is death three days later of gangrene, at 44 years of age.
Charles Étienne Gudin de la Sablonnière army Museum
“The discovery is based on a bundle of three elements,” explains the historian David Chanteranne, curator of the Napoleon Museum in Brienne-le-Château. Namely, the known occurrence of the characters high-ranking officers buried in these ditches, the missing leg of the general, and the presence of barrels of cannon.”
traces Of the artillery pieces found during the excavations testify to a grave high with four barrels of gun by one of the subordinates of the general, colonel Marion. The passage of the German airforce during the Second world War would have destroyed in the last century.
EXCLUSIVE. Archaeological excavations in the footsteps of Napoleon’s soldiers in Russia : we found the general Gudin ! https://t.co/eu8zXK9NeD @LePoint
— Marc Leplongeon (@MarcLeplongeon) July 9, 2019
“The excavations will have consequences on the battle of Valoutina Gora and to which it is linked – Smolensk. They have an undeniable historical interest”, welcomes David Chanteranne. The origin of this project is the Foundation for the development of initiatives of historical franco-Russian, created by the French Pierre Malinowski, considered close to Vladimir Putin.
A general close of Napoleon
In August 1812, the French troops and the armies of the Czar are clashing on the borders of great Russia. Under the command of marshal Ney, the general Gudin leads 10,000 men, and fifteen cannons. “It was one of the officers, the most distinguished of the army ; he was commendable for his moral qualities as much as by his bravery and his fearlessness,” wrote Bonaparte in the aftermath of the death of his soldier. It is said that Étienne Gudin died in the arms of Napoleon, in tears. The sovereign wore a special attention to this general brave, a of 1 500, which ministered unto him during his campaigns.
Born in Montargis in 1768, Charles Étienne Gudin studied at the school of Brienne, and with, young, Napoleon. Past lieutenant in 1791, he knows his first feats of arms in the army of the Rhine in 1795, became general of division in 1800. Six years later, his dedication, and his tactical intelligence to make it glossy at the battle of Auerstaedt ; Napoleon the scroll at the head of the troops. In 1809, he is wounded at Wagram. The officer is distinguished for the last time during the Russian campaign, launched in June 1812, before death.
A funeral at the Invalides?
so far, the identity of the skeleton is still far from certain: “The human brain always wants to believe in great discoveries, but only scientific analysis will be satisfactory,” recalls David Chanteranne. A descendant of the military has to go to Russia to conduct a DNA test. An operation that may take two to three months.
If the DNA test proved successful, and the bones return to France. A burial in the Invalides in paris is considered. Remains to be seen whether the family, whose burial vault is located in Montargis, in the Loiret, would agree. One thing is for sure, she would welcome with joy the return of the relics of their glorious ancestor: “The family has always wanted to find the body of their ancestor,” says David Chanteranne.
Only element preserved until today, the heart of the military, from 1822 to the Father-Lachaise. “His body was buried in the citadel of Smolensk. His heart, brought back to France by order of the Emperor Napoleon I, rests here…”, we read on the tomb in paris. The name of Charles Étienne Gudin is also engraved on the Arc de Triomphe of the Star and his bust can be found in the gallery of battles of the château de Versailles. So many honors, which will definitely give a historical value to the transfer of the skeleton. If it is indeed hers.
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