Monday, October 29, 2007

General Claims the French Conquered the "Largest City in the World"

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. 90-91.


Head Quarters, Grand Cairo, July.

RAMPON, General of Brigade, commanding the 18th and 32d Demi-Brigades of Battle.

Dear Brother,

I PROMISED in my last to write you from the largest(1) city in the world; and I hasten to prove to you how desirous I am of keeping my word.

It is impossible for me to enter into any details on our present situation, or on the privations we underwent in our march; the immediate departure of the vessel will not allow it—but the dispatches of the Commander in Chief, which you will be sure to see in the papers, will fully inform you of every thing that has passed. Milhot, and the eldest Rampon distinguished themselves in the battle of the Pyramids. Milhot was made Lieutenant on the field, and Rampon second Lieutenant, of the 7th regiment of hussars. I have now only the youngest on my hands; and in the next action that occurs, I doubt not but that I shall find an opportunity of providing for him—to tell you the truth, I am extremely well pleased with them all.

Adieu, my dear brother; may you as well as my sister, continue to enjoy your health: with respect to my own, it is not yet to be complained of; but I am fatigued to death, and the heats of this country take away all my strength. In a word, we must have patience, and courage; with these, we shall one day or other, perhaps, have the happiness of returning to our dear country.

Adieu, I embrace you with the utmost affection—a thousand and a thousand kind things to my sister, and to all our family; to all our friends, male and female, and to my sister Trappier, to whom I have not time to write.


Souillier, Milhot, and our two nephews, beg me to say every thing kind to you.


[British Translators' Notes]

(1)This is much for a Frenchman to say, but so he was told as Paris, and so he will continue to repeat. Cairo is far enough from being the largest city in the world, or even in Europe: London itself is twice as large.

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