It's supposed to be summer (although to be pedantic season changes are supposed to occur on the equinox - so summer doesn't really start until 21 December), but you wouldn't know it from the swings in weather of the last week. Warm and sunny lasted week, then rain and wind on Sunday, drizzly and very humid on Monday, then heavy rain and quite a cool southerly airflow on Tuesday. Now on Friday it is sunny and warm. The forecasters say in may be fine for this weekend, but their record for accuracy is not renowned! At least there is one reminder of summer and that is that the Pōhutukawa trees are in bloom. One of the joys of being in the office at this time of year is looking out the window and seeing their joyous red blooms - and they are so good this year (the image below does not do justice to the expense of red I can see from the top floor. For me it is always a welcome and cheering sight in the stressful pre-Christmas chaos.
But the real purpose of this post is to acknowledge the start of the last brigade of Third Division, the Second Brigade, that comprised the 24e and 40e regiments and was commanded by 60 year old général de brigade Charles Micheler.
Born at Paris in 1810, Micheler had entered St Cyr in 1829, joining the 64e Régiment as a sous-lieutenant at the end of 1830 and was posted to Africa. Made captain in 1840, he transferred to the 25e Régiment as chef de batallion three years later. He took the position of lieutenant colonel in the 22e Légère in 1847 and colonel of the 34e Régiment in 1853. Made général de brigade in 1859 he served in Italy on the staff. For the next ten years he held numerous departmental commands until his appointment to Second Brigade in 1870. In reserve at Saarbrücken he led the brigade well at Spicheren but was in garrison in Metz until the fortress surrendered. Returning from internment in 1871 he led a division in the Versailles Army that retook Paris from the Communards. After the war he held various administrative posts, retiring in 1875.
The first unit of the brigade is the 24e Régiment and was commanded by Colonel Charles Louis Auguste d'Arguesse, about whom I have managed to discover very little other than he was born in 1823, entered the army via St Cyr in 1845, served as captain in the 85e Régiment and was made chef de batallion in the 2e Régiment in 1859. He inherited the title Baron d'Arguesse in 1864 and was colonel of the 24e in 1870. Post war he was made général de division in 1885 and died in 1901 aged 77.
|The First Battalion
The 24e Régiment was established in the Ancien Régime in 1775 as Régiment Brie and elements were sent to the Americas served at Martinique, Yorktown, Tobago and Saint-Christophe. Renamed the 24e in 1791 it fought first in the Low Countries at Neerwinden, Hondschoote and Fleurus.
|The Second Battalion
In the wars with Napoleon it fought at (among many other engagements) Jena, Eylau, Friedland (where it was named "the Brave 24e" by the Emperor after attacking and destroying a part of the Russian Guard in a bayonet charge), Essling and Wagram. Sent to Spain in 1809 and fought at Uclès, Medellín, Talavera, Ocaña and Vitoria.
|The Third Battalion
Under the restoration the regiment became the Legion of Maine-et-Loire, but regained its 24e title in 1820. It served in Spain in 1823 and the until 1870 served variously between Algeria and home service.
|The whole regiment
At Spicheren the regiment was heavily engaged for six hours on the heights accumulating 487 casualties from the 2154 that answered roll call that morning.
It was heavily engaged in WWI and in the Battle of France in 1940. It was reformed and fought in the liberation in 1944-45. Elements of the Regiment still exist in the army reserve today.
This is the penultimate regiment of my FPW collection.