La Croix Margueritte et tombe de Camille Varaigne
Historic site and monument at Floing
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The French army was deeply disorganised and caught off-guard as a result of several coinciding events: the succession of three commanders in chief in the space of three hours, the orders from the wise General Ducrot and the counter-commands from General Wimpffen, who was unaware of and thus unprepared for the situation.
Once the German net tightened and the French artillery shattered, the German infantry began to climb the hillsides of Terme around 2 pm in order to stop the enemy’s progression and General Marguerite’s cavalry division was thrown into the fray.
General Margueritte personally checked the enemy’s positions three times, which was 400 metres away, and he was fatally wounded near the Terme Inn when the attack was launched.
General De Galiffet immediately succeeds the General Margueritte. Everyone wanted to avenge their chief, particularly the First Regiment of African Chasseurs that he had led. The German skirmishers were taken aback, but were able to fight back against the charge, and a fray broke lose. Men and horses fell, covered in mud and blood, lieutenant colonel De Liniers who was leading the Third Regiment of the African Chasseurs second-in-command was killed as well as one of his officers, major de Varaignes, Albaret of the First Hussar in addition to many others.
The Division survivors rallied at their starting position from where they launched another attack, but the waves of German infantry kept surging forward.
Ducrot spoke one last time to the successor of General Margueritte and said: ‘Come on, my little Galiffet, one more last effort,’ and the latter replies : ‘as long as there is one left...’
These fierce battles lasted almost two hours and finished around 4.15 pm, except for major d’Alincourt and about sixty cuirassiers who launched a final suicidal attack with swords drawn, from Gaulier to Saint Albert, an attack of glory and despair.
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