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(24 February 1817 – 16 August 1882) was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
general. Ducrot served in Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...
, in the Italian campaign of 1859, and as a division commander in the Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...
At the Battle of Sedan
The Battle of Sedan was fought during the Franco-Prussian War on 1 September 1870. It resulted in the capture of Emperor Napoleon III and large numbers of his troops and for all intents and purposes decided the war in favour of Prussia and its allies, though fighting continued under a new French...
on 1 September 1870, he succeeded to command of the French army when Marshal Mac-Mahon was wounded early in the morning. By that time, it was obvious that a disastrous defeat was inevitable. Ducrot summed up the situation with the famous remark
Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés. (We are in a chamber pot, and we're going to be shit on.)
Ducrot ordered the army to withdraw, but then General de Wimpffen
Emmanuel Felix de Wimpffen was a French soldier and general of Austrian descent. Entering the army from the military school of Saint-Cyr, he saw considerable active service in Algeria, and in 1840 became captain; in 1847 chef de bataillon...
presented a commission authorizing him
to succeed Mac-Mahon. Wimpffen overruled Ducrot, and ordered a counterattack that failed completely. Emperor Napoleon III
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...
then surrendered the army to the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...
Ducrot refused to sign the articles of surrender, and was imprisoned by the Prussians. He soon escaped, and took part in the Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....
Ducrot commanded the most important French attack against the Prussian besiegers (the Battle of Villiers
The Battle of Villiers was the largest of the French sorties from besieged Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.-Background:After the French defeat at the battle of Le Bourget and hearing of the surrender of Metz, morale began to drop in Paris...
), 29 November - 3 December 1870. After the defeat of this attack, Ducrot urged the French government to make peace.