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Aimable Jean Jacques Pélissier

Aimable Jean Jacques Pelissier (November 6, 1794 - May 22, 1864), Duke of Malakoff, was a marshal of France.

He was born at Maromme (Seine Inférieure), of a family of prosperous artisans, his father being employed in a powder-magazine. After attending the military college of La Flèche and the special school of St Cyr, he entered the army in 1815 as sub-lieutenant in an artillery regiment. Brilliant examination results in 1819 secured his appointment to the staff. He served as aide-de-camp in the Spanish campaign of 1823, and in the expedition to the Morea~n. 1828-29. In 1830 he took part in the expedition to Algeria, and on his return was promoted to the rank of chef d’escadron.

After some years' staff service in Paris he was again sent to Algeria as chief of staff of the province of Oran with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and remained there till the Crimean War, taking a leading part in many important operations. However, the severity of his conduct in suffocating a whole Arab tribe in the Dahra or Dahna caves, near Mustaganem, where they had taken refuge (June 18, 1845), aroused such indignation in Europe that Marshal Soult, the minister of war, publicly expressed his regret; but Marshal Bugeaud, the governor-general of Algeria, not only approved, but secured for Pélissier the rank of general of brigade, which he held till 1850, when he was promoted to general of division. After the battles of October and November 1854 before Sevastopol, Pélissier was sent to the Crimea, where on May 16 1855 he succeeded Marshal Canrobert as commander-in-chief of the French forces before the Battle of Sevastopol.

His command was marked by relentless pressure of the enemy and unalterable determination to conduct the campaign without interference from Paris. His perseverance was crowned with success in the storming of the Malakoff on September 8. On the 12th he was promoted to be marshal. On his return to Paris he was named senator, created Duke of Malakoff (July 22, 1856), and rewarded with a grant of 100,000 francs per annum. From March 1858 to May 1859 he was French ambassador in London, but was recalled to take command of the army of observation on the Rhine. In the same year he became grand chancellor of the Legion of Honour. In 1860 he was appointed governor-general of Algeria, and he died there.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.