Friday, September 28, 2007

French Quartermaster Complains of Poor Conditions

From: Copies of original letters from the army of General Bonaparte in Egypt, intercepted by the fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson. With an English translation (London, J. Wright, 1798-1800, 3 vols.), vol. 2, pp. 159-160.


Cairo, August 17th.

DEZIRAD, Quarter Master to the 18th Regiment of the Dragoons, to the female Citizen ADELINE, at Marseilles.

My dear Love,

I AVAIL myself [of] the departure of Citizen Veyssiere, Commodore, of our regiment, who quits us this morning for France, to send you a letter, and at the same time to renew the vow which I have so often made, of loving you to the last moment of my life. Yes, I repeat it once more—there has not been an instant since our unhappy separation, that you have not been present to my view, and that I have not covered your dear portrait with kisses. Yes, Adeline! If you love me, as you have always sworn you did, we will finish our days together. Alas! When will the happy moment arrive of a reunion so desired?

Since we have been in Egypt we have done nothing but suffer. The immense fatigues which we experienced in the Desert, the prodigious heat of the sun, which sets the very ground on fire, the absolute want of food, and the necessity of continual marching, have carried off a vast number of volunteers, who dropt down dead at our feet from mere exhaustion.

We have had several severe contests with the Mameloucs [Mamluks]; whom we have always defeated. In our last affair, I had my horse wounded.

Say a thousand things for me to Doux: tell him never to have the weakness to take shipping for this infernal country; and add, that I envy his good fortune, exceedingly.

I conclude, my love, with embracing you a thousand times. Believe me,

Ever faithfully your’s.


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