He arrived at Versailles on the twenty-first of May, at two o’clock, the same day on which the troops entered Paris. On Sept. 20 Rochefort was tried with the Communists before the military tribunal of Versailles. Physically he seemed to have suffered much during his three months of incarceration. He is reported to have made anything but a brilliant defence, and to have restricted himself to pleading past actions and good services. He said that he suppressed The Marseillaise at a loss of 20,000 francs per month, when he had no other private means of support, because he thought the effect of its articles would weaken the plan of Trochu for the defence of Paris, and that when he (M. Rochefort) held the forces populaires, and had an occasion unique, he chose to play a subordinate part. He stated himself a journalist under the reign of the Commune, and not an active power in the Commune from which in the end he had to fly. Rochefort owned that his articles in the Mot d’Ordre had been more or less violent, but he pleaded the cause his “facon plus ou moins nerveuse a ecrire” and that from illness he did not sometimes see his own journal. When pandering to a vulgar audience, Rochefort seemed to have lost his rich vein of satire, and to have lost himself in vile abuse. On the 21st he was sentenced to transportation for life within the enceinte of a French fortress.
[Footnote 113: “Le mot de la fin,” the final word—the finale.]
THE EIGHTEENTH OF MARCH.
It was on the day of the 18th of March, exactly six months after the appearance of Prussians beneath the walls of Paris, that the Government had chosen for the repression of the rebellion. At four o’clock in the morning, the troops of the army of Paris received orders to occupy the positions that had been assigned to them. All were to take part in the action, but it is just to add here that the most arduous and fatiguing part fell to the share of the Lustielle division, composed of the Paturel brigade (17th battalion of Chasseurs), and of the Lecomte brigade (18th battalion of Chasseurs). Three regiments of infantry were entrusted with the guard of the Hotel de Ville; another, the 89th, mounted guard at the Tuileries. The Place de la Bastille was occupied by a battalion of the 64th, and two companies of the 24th. Three other battalions remained confined to barracks on the Boulevard du Prince Eugene. The Rue de Flandre, the Rue de Puebla, and the Rue de Crimee were filled with strong detachments of Infantry; a battalion of the Republican Guard and the 35th Regiment of Infantry were drawn up in the neighbourhood of the Buttes Chaumont. The whole quarter around the Place Clichy was occupied by the Republican Guard, foot Chasseurs, mounted gendarmes, Chasseurs d’Afrique, and a half battery of artillery.