The Battle of Camarón (French: Bataille de Camerone) which occurred over ten hours on 30 April 1863 between the French Foreign Legion and the Mexican army, is regarded as a defining moment in the Foreign Legion’s history. A small infantry patrol, led by Captain Jean Danjou and Lieutenants Clément Maudet and Jean Vilain, numbering just 65 men was attacked and besieged by a force that may have eventually reached 3,000 Mexican infantry and cavalry, and was forced to make a defensive stand at the nearby Hacienda Camarón, in Camarón de Tejeda, Veracruz, Mexico. The conduct of the Legion, who refused to surrender, led to a certain mystique — and the battle of Camarón became synonymous with bravery and a fight-to-the-death attitude.
Captain Danjou had a wooden hand. When the Legion moved to France, Capitaine Danjou’s wooden hand was taken to Aubagne, where it remains in the Legion Museum of Memory. The hand is the most cherished artifact in Legion history and the prestige and honor granted to a Legionnaire to carry it on parade in its protective case is among the greatest bestowed on a Legionnaire.
This is one of the most cherished of Legion holiday’s. It is celebrated at Legion outposts everywhere in the world. I once had the pleasure of sharing this day with 2 former legionaries. They’re like Marine’s, no ex’s.) It got very drink out that night. But it was a great evening.
Viva La Legion !
with thanks to Wirecutter.