A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Replacement Marshal Marmont

Still on the regulation Tesco milk bottle top, and with his varnish still a little too shiny (it should calm down overnight), here's my new figure of Auguste Marmont, ready for basing. This is a recent Art Miniaturen figure - very nice sculpt - I can't remember who the casting was supposed to be - maybe Rapp - or it could be Berthier. Whatever, it is now Augie Marmont, one of the classic baddies of Napoleonic France. Offhand, I can only think of Bernadotte and maybe Talleyrand who would rate more boos and hisses in the Pantomime of the Emperor. [Oh, yes they would.]

Apart from having a remarkably bad day at Salamanca, and having had the sense to place the interests of his nation above those of his megalomaniac boss at the siege of Paris in 1814, Marshal Marmont fought well throughout his career, and he was also an exceptional administrator. I feel rather guilty about his compromised reputation - it is not helped by my own (MS Foy's) hatchet job on his standing as a general in my (Foy's) own history of the War in the Peninsular. No matter - history has made its judgement. This little metal version of Auguste looks confident enough. He can join his first ADC, and the second ADC will be along in a day or two.

The old Marmont figure in my collection will be recycled and will become Marshal Soult (also Art Miniaturen, the casting was always supposed to be Soult anyway), and I have something rather fancy in the way of an ADC lined up for that particular group. That will be a bit later. I attach a splendid, borrowed photo of a large figure of Marshal Soult's ADC, which has nothing at all to do with me, just to give an idea - you may imagine what my Old School attempt at painting a mounted 20mm version might be like, but you may feel free to admire my optimism...

Louis Brun de Villeret, Soult's ADC in Spain


  1. My opinion of Marmont was that he was a capable Marshal. Is that a Pegaso model? If so, the painter who renders these Pegaso models is a master. Unattainable standard for a mere mortal like myself. Love the yellow and blue.

    1. It might well be a Pegaso - I've had the pic in my painting files for so long that I've forgotten, but that rings a bell. [Ting.]

      Agreed on Marmont himself - good record in Dalmatia (you can stay in his residence in Split, by the way - presumably French Napoleonic fans go there and write bad words on the toilet wall). In French mainstream tradition - and even the primary school education my mother received in Paris - Auguste is ranked right up there with Judas. From his ducal title (Ragusa - I think that's Dubrovnik?) comes the French verb "raguser", which means to betray, of course, and is still in everyday usage. That's quite an achievement - to have something bad named after you in posterity is impressive. I have now given up, but for a while I tried to launch the modern English verb, "to cameron" (transitive or intransitive), which means to initiate something unpleasant - a fight in a bar-room might be an example - and then disappear into hiding before it gets started.

      I fear that "to foy" might come to mean "to go on at great length about something of very minor importance, with frequent and pointless digressions".

      In passing, I am disappointed to observe that my default search engine assumed I was searching for Marshal Marmot (the well known, small furry general), and then, when I clarified my search, gave me many screens of results for a large hotel in Los Angeles. Once again, I am reminded of the need for more focus, greater precision...

    2. So the English translation of Raguser is 'to Gove'?
      A very handsome figure, to be sure. I've always thought Marmont has had a bit of a rough deal, reputation-wise, but he was never going to get a good deal from the Bonaparte lovers. Didn't he outlive all the other marshals though, so maybe he got the last laugh?

    3. So many opportunities for discussion in your reply, Tony!

      Visit to Split - I will remember your "tradition" if I ever make it there for a visit.

      As for having ones name committed into the vernacular, I vote for "foyble." Yeah, that is good one and would cover the context of your verb, "to foy."

      Marmots - Well! You have stumbled upon the unofficial mascot of my fair city, Spokane, WA! I see these critters often when out cycling in the summer. Chubby and cute, yet fast as lightening and vicious to boot.

    4. Chris - not only did he outlive all the others, but he even got to be personal tutor to Napoleon's son in Vienna, an idea which would have driven Napoleon nuts if he had foreseen it. Sadly, I think Auguste's life was a bit thin on joy and personal satisfaction, so he will have gained no pleasure from his long life. His memoires are written near the end of his life, and they are stuffed with explanations, justifications, blame-shifting - this is a man who was worn down with regrets, I fear - he was banned from living in France, which he took very personally, since his alleged betrayal of Napoleon was for patriotic reasons.

  2. Marmont - I guess you either love him or hate him? Bye-the-way the red on that saddle cloth looks just right to me!

    1. That's probably true - I am kind of so-so about him - I think he was a smart chap, a decent general, but his memoires are a real magnum opus of self-promotion (worth a read, though) and he comes over as a little conceited. On the other hand, his marriage was wretched and I feel he has had a raw deal from history, so I feel a bit of sympathy.

      Red shabraque - so much for Santa Red - it came out OK, but these Americana paints tend to dry a different shade. I have a top consultant in these matters.