No Christian Heart Is Ignorant Of This Name

August 2, 2018

Frederick Francis II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

The difficulties were enormous. The Duke of Mecklembourg, whose right wing rested on Vendome, was about to join in the plain of Beauce the divisions of Prince Charles, who was coming by forced marches from the confines of Lorraine. It was a wall of iron which the French troops were to pierce to prevent this junction form being effected which would altogether crush the army on the Loire. Chateaudun had been chosen for the point of defence; but the French troops were only composed of a few Marines and groups of Mobiles from different provinces! One noble corps only were to be distinguished from the rest; this was the legion of Volunteers from the west, commanded by Colonel de Charette. “It was the one piece of good news,” exclaimed General de Sonis, and “I was only too happy to find among the troops under my command those Pontifical Zouaves whom I had followed, heart and soul, in those heroic fights of Castelfidardo, Monte-Libretti and Mentana.” He wrote to de Charette on the 18th of Novemmber:

Général Louis-Gaston de Sonis

My dear Colonel,

      I have know you for a long time, for no Christian heart is ignorant of your name. When I arrived last night at Chateaudun, I hoped to go and see you today, and I had asked one your young Zouaves for your address. But I am obliged to start with my division. Before leaving the neighbourhood, however, I wish to salute your fine and heroic troop in the person of its admirable head, and to tell you that I venerate all that you revere, and that I love all that you love. In these sad times it is a consolation to die amidst brave men like you, and to feel that God has not quite abandoned France, since He has given her such noble sons. A Dieu, my dear Colonel! I place my hand in yours, and beg of you to let us share together our prayers and our sacrifices.

Your devoted servant,
De Sonis

The life of General de Sonis, from his papers and correspondence by Baunard, Mgr., 1826-1919; Herbert, Mary Elisabeth À Court Herbert, Baroness, 1822-1911, p. 182-3

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 637

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