On 1 September 1870 the Sedan battle began in the early hours of 4 am, with the attack of the Bavarians against Bazeilles.
At 5.45am, Marshal MacMahon rode up to Rapaille between Balan and La Moncelle.
Around 6 am, while he observed the French and German positions, shrapnel fired from Pont-Maugis seriously injured him.
During his escape, he sent a message to General Ducrot, who was commanding the 1st Army Corps, to ask him to replace him at the head of his army. His message reached its destination at 7.30.