Pierre de Failly

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General de Failly

Pierre Louis Charles Achille de Failly (born January 21, 1810 in Rozoy-sur-Serre , Aisne department , † November 15, 1892 in Compiègne , Oise department ) was a French general .


Pierre de Failly attended Saint-Cyr Military School , enlisted in the army in 1826, became a second lieutenant in 1828, and took part in the capture of Algiers in 1830 . He was promoted to captain in 1837, battalion chief in 1843 and colonel in 1851, during which time he served mostly in Africa.

From 1848 to April 1850 he was in command of the military school in Toulouse. In 1854 he was promoted to brigadier general and took part in the Crimean War in this rank . There he did himself both in the Battle of the Alma and later in the assault on the White Works of Sevastopol (June 7, 1855), which he directed, and in the attack on the Redan (June 10) and in the Battle of the Chernaya distinguished through bravery and prudence. For this he was appointed division general and imperial adjutant .

In 1859, during the Sardinian War , he commanded a division in Adolphe Niels Corps. As president of the advisory committee of the infantry , he introduced the Chassepot rifle . As commander of the corps that was sent to Rome in 1867 to protect the Pope against Garibaldi , he had the opportunity to try out the rifle at Mentana. According to his report, it worked like a miracle weapon.

1870 Failly was given command of the Fifth Army Corps , but played in the Franco-German War a very unfortunate role when he on August 6, from his headquarters Bitsch neither Frossard in the battle of spicheren still MacMahon in the Battle of Wörth to help came and, after retiring to Châlons , was surprised by the enemy at Beaumont on August 30th during the march to Sedan . After the heavy losses of that day, he was replaced on August 31 by General Emanuel Félix de Wimpffen and on September 2, as a "spectator" of the military operations, he was taken prisoner by Germany . After the peace agreement, he was never again given command in the French army.


Against the violent accusations made because of his mistakes, he wrote:

  • Campagne de 1870. Opérations et marches du 5th corps jusqu'au 31 août . - Brussels: Lebègue et Cie, 1871