Thursday, August 11, 2011
Soldier of Monarchy: Marshal Elie Frederic Forey
Determined not to repeat the mistakes of his failed predecessor General Lorencez, General Forey moved slowly and deliberately. Known as "the Bear" by his men, Forey was not going to underestimate his enemy and took measures to try to win whoever he could over to the French side as he moved carefully and in force with two divisions under Generals Bazaine and General Douay. He issued a proclamation which stressed the peaceful intentions of his master Emperor Napoleon III and of the "love he bore for Mexico and the gallant Mexicans". When he sent a copy of the proclamation to the republican commander of Puebla, General Jesus Ortega, the Juarista sent it back to him saying that such a proclamation could not be allowed to appear in the government archives. Forey moved against Puebla with great care and deliberation, placing his men and setting up his batteries. He sent word to Paris that he had commenced the bombardment on the birthday of the Prince Imperiale.
General Forey marched on virtually unopposed to occupy Mexico City and was widely celebrated at home and was given full military and civil powers over his theatre of operations. When he took Mexico City it was a grand event with huge crowds turning out to cheer the conquerors. Forey thought it extremely telling but he did not know that General Juan Almonte had paid the crowd of people 30 cents each to come out and cheer the French army. Nonetheless, Forey was determined to enjoy his role as occupier and held a grand ball for the ladies of Mexico -at the expense of his officers. When he moved about the city he so won over the local children he met that whenever he was spotted out of doors crowds of children would come running shouting, "Don Forey! Don Forey!".