The Marquise de Lescure escapes from the Vendean army’s destruction at Savenay

January 17, 2011

The Flag of the Royal Catholic Army, La Vendée 1793

During the darkness, some of the officers warned the women to make their escape with their children. “All is lost,” said [Gaspard de Bernard de] Marigny to Madame de Lescure, who had followed the army through all its troubles. “It is impossible to stand tomorrow’s attack. In twelve hours the army will be exterminated. For my part, I hope to die in the defense of my flag. But you—fly while you can!” She obeyed. With Madame de Donissan, under the guidance of the Abbé Jagault, she left the town some hours before the battle commenced, and threw herself upon Breton hospitality.

Memoirs of Madame de Larochejacquelein

She lived to write that thrilling story of her adventures, known as the Memoirs of Madame de Larochejacquelein. Nine years afterwards she married Louis, brother of Henri de Larochejacquelein. A great number of women saved themselves in the midst of the darkness, although a few preferred to remain and share the fate of their husbands or brothers. Many priests might have saved themselves; but they stayed to exhort the soldiers, to confess them before battle, and bless them in death. The officers were equally faithful. M. de Donissan, a man who had shared all the dangers, and claimed none of the honors, of the whole campaign, was entreated by his child and his wife to share their flight.

Le Vendéen by Julien Le Blant

“My daughter,” he replied, “save your child and your mother. I must remain with the army as long as it exists. Adieu; take care of all that I love.” These were the last words Madame de Lescure heard her father utter. As he had said, he remained to the end; and died crying Vive le Roi!

George J. Hill, The Story of the War in La Vendée and the Little Chouannerie (New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. n.d.), pp. 107-108.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 41

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  • A poignant account of the extermination of the Catholic and Royal Army of the Vendee, but one that highlights the selfless dedication of Guy Joseph de Donissan, Marquis of Citran, and of so many others, especially his wife and his daughter, the famous Madame de Larochejacquelein.

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