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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Gustave Le Gray: Camp de Châlons (1857)

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Gustave Le Gray
Camp de Châlons
(1857)
 
  

The Spectator (Oct, 9, 1857)
 
"L'empire c'est la paix," but in the fashion of perfect equipment for the field. France possesses at the present moment two enormous assemblies of troops—one near Lyons, one at Chalons. This double muster would appear to be dictated by two objects, and we can easily divine them. Lyons is a point from which a weight could be brought to bear either upon Spain, upon Switzerland, or upon Italy. The other camp at Chalons offers a ground upon which the empire can develop its military resources to the highest degree of perfection; it is this camp over which the Emperor presides in person, surrounded by the elite of his generals, in Marshals Pelissier, Canrobert, Magnan, and General de Grammont, with many officers of high rank. Marshal Canrobert is the permanent Commander-in-chief. The camp comprises a complete army, with its infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineers, and even commissariat. Since June it has been undergoing thorough training, even in grand manoeuvres. Speaking in laudation of the Chalons Camp, the Moniteur says, that " the most redoubtable armies at the opening of a campaign have always been those familiarized by a long stay under canvass, in time of peace, with the rough exigencies of discipline and fatigue." Napoleon the First liked to have troops trained as armies, habituated to move in organized masses, and his nephew preserves the same strategy. The prime object in rendering the army available for immediate service, has already been attained. "It may now be said," the Moniteur announces, " that the education of the troops is complete, not only in a limited sense, as applied to one branch of the service, but as applied to the whole body of troops acting together on a vast field of operations." Has this camp a further purpose, or has it not? 
  

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