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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 530 pages of information about La Vende.

CHAPTER VI

Recruiting.

On the Monday following the meeting at Durbelliere, Larochejaquelin, Denot, the Cure of St. Laud, Foret and Cathelineau joined M. de Lescure at Clisson, and on the day afterwards, the soldiers of the Republic, when attempting to collect the conscripts at a small town near Clisson, were resisted and treated as they had been at St. Florent.  There was not quite so much of a battle, for the officer in command knew what was likely to occur, and not having received any reinforcement of troops, thought it advisable to give in early in the day, and capitulate with the honours of war.  He was allowed to march his men out of the town, each man having stipulated that he would not again serve in any detachment sent into La Vendee for the collection of conscripts; but they were not allowed to take their arms with them, muskets, bayonets, and gunpowder being too valuable to the insurgents to be disregarded.  So the soldiers marched unarmed to Nantes, and from thence returned, before two months were over, in spite of the promises they had given, and requited the mercy of the Vendeans with the most horrid cruelties.

The people were equally triumphant in many other towns.  In Beauprieu, Coron, Chatillon, and other places, the collection of conscripts was opposed successfully, and generally speaking, without much bloodshed.  In Coron, the military fired on the people, and killed three or four of them, but were ultimately driven out, In Beauprieu, they gave up their arms at once, and marched out of the place.  In Chatillon, they attempted to defend the barracks, but they found, when too late, that they had not a single day’s provisions; and as the townspeople also knew this, they were at no pains to besiege the stronghold of the soldiers.  They knew that twenty-four hours would starve them out.  As it was, the lieutenant in command gave up, half an hour after his usual dinner time.

These things all occurred within a week of the revolt at St. Florent.  Beauprieu and Chatillon were carried on the Wednesday.  Coron was victorious on the Thursday; and on the Friday following, a strong detachment of soldiers marched out of Cholet, of their own accord, without attempting to collect their portion of the levy, and crossed the river Loire, at the Pont de Ce, thus retreating from La Vendee.

These triumphs inspired the insurgents with high hopes of future victories; they gave them the prestige of success, made them confident in the hour of battle, and taught them by degrees to bear, undaunted, the fire of their enemies.  The officers of the Republic were most injudicious in allowing their enemies to gather head as they did; had they brought a really formidable force of men, in one body, into the province of Anjou, immediately upon the revolt of St. Florent, they might doubtless have driven the Vendeans, who were then unarmed and undisciplined, back to their farms; but they affected to despise them, they neglected to take vigorous measures, till the whole country was in arms; and they then found that all the available force which they were enabled to collect, was insufficient to quell the spirit, or daunt the patriotism of the revolted provinces.

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