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FOREY, Elie Frédéric

(1804-1872) Maréchal de France

Elie Frédéric Forey was the son of Frédéric Forey and Angélique-Jeanne Roche. Frédéric was a Capitaine de cavalerie, later post master in Meudon, and finally head of weights and measures in the arrondissement of Versailles. Meanwhile Angélique was post mistress in Meudon and then receiver of post at Château-Chinon. The Forey family originated from Bourgogne and had been part of the petite bourgeoisie for several generations. Elie Forey was born on 10 January, 1804, in Paris. He enrolled in the Ecole spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr on 14 November, 1822. On 1 October, 1824, he became Sous-Lieutenant in the 2e légère infantry regiment, where he remained until 1839. He was involved in Algeria from 1830 onwards, fighting in the Battle of Staouëli on 19 June, and becoming Lieutenant on 8 September. Forey was promoted to Capitaine on 22 June, 1835. He participated in the Mascara expedition in 1835, and then in Tlemcen and the first expedition of Constantine in 1836. He became chef de battalion of the 59th regiment of Infanterie de Ligne on 15 November, 1839. From 1840 to 1842 he was head of the newly created 6e Battaillon de Chasseurs à Pied. He returned to Algeria again between 1841 and 1844, and in 1841 he participated in the Oued Foddah expedition and in operations around Miliana. He was wounded twice in combat, firstly at Aïn Affour on 4 June, 1842, and then again at Tletat on 17 October, 1844. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 14 August, 1842, and placed in the 58th regiment of the Infanterie de Ligne. Forey was appointed Commandant Supérieur of Teniet el-Haad, and he became colonel on 4 November, and commanded the 26th regiment of Infanterie de Ligne until 1848. On the 17 August, 1848 he became Général de Brigade as head of the 2nd brigade of the 2nd reserve infantry division. From then until 1851, he commanded the 2nd brigade of the 2nd division of the Army of Paris. Forey took part in the Coup d'état on 2 December and was promoted general of the 22nd division. From 1852-53 he was a member of the Comité de l'infanterie. He then commanded the reserve division and again during in the Crimean War, before leading the 4th infantry division. He was then called back to France. From 18 December 1855 he commanded the Army of Paris, a role that he maintained until 1859, from which date  he commanded the first infantry division of the first Corps of the Army of Italy. On 1 July, 1862, Forey was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Mexican Expeditionary Corps after a brief stint in politics. On the 6 July he was also made plenipotentiary minister in Mexico. On 17 May, 1863, he took the town of Puebla, finally entering Mexico City on 10 June. On 2 July he was promoted to the rank of Maréchal and then replaced by Bazaine, his subordinate, whereupon he returned to France. He continued his military career in Europe until 1867. He died in Paris on 20 June 1872.
Source: Dictionnaire du Second Empire, p. 532, Paris: Fayard, 1995, ed. PH and AM
Oct. 2011


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