Tuesday, October 23, 2007

French Voyage Characterized by Hunger, Despair

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. 1, pp. 52-53.


Terzi, July 25th.


I HASTEN, my dear friend, to give thee some account of myself, and to say a few words to thee on the hardships and dangers we have experienced.

The uncertainty in which I still remain respecting the fate of my baggage, gives me from time to time the greatest uneasiness. I am almost in a state of nakedness, having nothing to cover me but my shirt, and the clothes I had on when I left Alexandria. I beg thee, therefore, to send me my trunks by Douzelot(1), if he will have the goodness to take charge of them; if not, by one of the officers commissioned to bring up the baggage of the demi-brigade. Do, pritheee, contrive to let me know what is become of Daure, of my money, and my jewels: I cannot hear one syllable about them.

So much for my private affairs; I must now tell thee that is hardly possible to form an idea of what we have gone through: sufferings upon sufferings, privations, mortifications, fatigues, we have exhausted them all! Three-fourths of the time we have been dying with hunger! Such is the correct, but rapid sketch of my life, since we parted.

At present, indeed, our means are more ample, but our condition is not therefore more happy. Remote from all our friends, I shall not enter into the details of our military successes, thou wilt hear enough of them from other quarters.

Adieu, my dear friend: think of my request: consider that I am absolutely naked, and that thou wilt render me the most essential service.



P.S. Remember me to Tellier.

To the Commissary at War,

COLLASSE, Superintendent of the town, &c. of Alexandria.

[British Translators' Notes]

(1)Douzelot’s rank is not mentioned. He is the person to whom Savary’s Letter is addressed (see No. XII.), and appears to be in some office of consequence.

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