Achille François Bazaine

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Bazaine, Achille François

 

Born Feb. 13, 1811, at Versailles; died Sept. 23,1888, in Madrid. Marshal of France (1864). Participated in wars in Algeria (1835) and Spain (1837), as well as in the Crimean War (1853–56), the Austro-Italian-French War of 1859, and the Mexican expedition (1862–67).

Bazaine was a protégé of reactionary court circles. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) he commanded the III Corps and, after August 12, the entire Army of the Rhine. After the battles of August 18 at Gravelotte and Saint-Privat, Bazaine led the Army of the Rhine to the fortress of Metz, where it was surrounded by the Prussian troops. On Oct. 27, 1870, Bazaine made a shameful surrender of Metz and his 173,000-man army. In 1873 he was condemned to death by a military court; the sentence was reduced to 20 years’ imprisonment. In 1874, Bazaine escaped from prison and spent his last years in Spain.