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Noted in Passing: 18th Century Mob Control

13 Vendémiaire (5 October 1795)

Toulon and the Whiff of Grapeshot: Napoleon’s First Successes

Around one in the morning on 13 Vendémiaire, Napoleon decides to override the orders of the men commanding the Convention’s forces, and who had proved so ineffective until now. Sending a cavalry unit to retrieve a set 40 cannon from elsewhere in Paris, he assembled them in front of the royalist route of advance.

When the royalists attacked at ten in the morning, they outnumbered the Republicans six to one. But Napoleon’s careful positioning of the guns allowed him to bombard the attackers with canisters of grapeshot at close range, driving them back.

Over two hours of fighting, he defeated the royalists, leaving hundreds dead and their revolt in tatters. His horse was shot from underneath him during the fighting, but he emerged unscathed.

Historian Thomas Carlyle would later say that, on 13 Vendémiaire, Napoleon won with a whiff of grapeshot and in doing so effectively ended the French Revolution. Though the Convention lived on, he now had the fame and authority to take command of the French Army of Italy, and from there to take over the country.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Richard April 21, 2021, 12:15 PM

    The mob is merely one of the many iterations of Entropy. Darkness exists only to extinguish Light. Unfortunately, when it should have been resisted and expelled, its various members were being elected to the myriad organs of government. The reins of power were simply handed over without a shot being fired. Yet, this has always been the Lesson of the Universe: Everything put together, sooner or later falls apart.

  • gwbnyc April 21, 2021, 12:50 PM


  • EX-Californian Pete April 21, 2021, 12:57 PM

    In my opinion, fire hoses worked considerably well ‘back in the day’ for dispersing rioting mobs.

    Maybe we might “upgrade” that technique a bit, and use gasoline delivered by high-pressure hoses directed at the rioters before they reach burnable structures. That would force them to retreat and abandon any plans of igniting anything.
    If any further “convincing” needed to be done, just threaten to follow up with lighted road flares.

    I think even the stupidest of rioters would be convinced to leave immediately.
    And maybe the super-stupid ones would go ahead, light that molotov cocktail, and self immolate.

  • PA Cat April 21, 2021, 12:59 PM

    And in a little more than nine years after the “whiff of grapeshot,” the former army officer of the First French Republic had himself crowned as Empereur des Français in Notre-Dame Cathedral (narration by David McCullough):


  • Sundog April 21, 2021, 2:00 PM
  • Mike Austin April 21, 2021, 3:59 PM

    The Master shows us how it is done—how it must be done. Americans await their own “Man on Horseback”. Someday Americans will cry out for a Caesar. A Caesar will come.

    Firehoses? Really? And leave that degenerate mob alive to rampage again? Here is a hint: A dead BLM and ANTIFA cannot threaten civilization again. Ever. These creatures cannot be reasoned with. They would kill you and your entire family if they could. They are as the Amalekites of old. And just what did God command His Chosen to do to those wretches? Kill them all, men, women, children, animals, and destroy their possessions, their very memory.

    The Guatemalans have a saying: “To eliminate rabies, you kill the dog.” To those of us who shy away from such a hard lesson, get out of the way of hard men who will do what they must do.

  • Kevin in PA April 21, 2021, 4:58 PM

    Mike Austin,
    Very well stated.
    Hard times cometh.

  • Casey Klahn April 21, 2021, 10:09 PM

    I just had a premonition (nightmare). Don’t repeat this, like some kind of conspiracy theory. I am just imagining a move the Left might make.

    I understand they want to disarm cops on the beat. My own concerns go to our national defense, and I spun that out to how they might want to disarm the military stateside! Disarm the cops, and disarm the military. Why should you, John Q Citizen, have armaments? No govt entity has them (except the ATF, FBI, Federal Police, State Police [BLM, Antifa, Black Panthers, Interior Dept., etc.])

    If there is evil shit for them to do, you can bet they’ll have a contingency up their sleeve for it.

    Switch gears, just a bit. Suppose the policy goes out: no killing of blacks, no matter what. They could have a baby by the neck, a vial of bio weapon in their hand at the reservoir, and a suicide vest with a plunger in their hand…can’t shoot them. Off limits. Under no circumstances can the police, or a home owner or business owner shoot to kill anyone while black. What’s the outcome there? Eventually, if no race may be shot, the result will be that every race must be shot and for no reason but skin. In goes the bad policy – out comes the result by logical outcome.

    I need to stop thinking. I know this.

  • ghostsniper April 22, 2021, 4:14 AM

    Casey sed: “Suppose the policy goes out: no killing of blacks, no matter what.”
    How are you going to stop the biggest killer of negro’s, other negro’s?
    All the mouth pieces keep yammering that “We need to have a conversation about race.”, but nobody has the balls to deal with it straight up, they just want to nibble around the edges.

    There are aspects to the negro’s that are detestable to civilized people which causes them to avoid them. Why does every mid-size metropolis in the country have a “bad” part of town that is inhabited mainly by negro’s? Why are a disproportional amount of negro’s in jail, on welfare, on social services, in the free abortion clinics, involved in crimes and drugs, and unemployed? The people that despise and abuse negro’s the most are other negro’s as they seem to be over the top out of control emotionalist savages and have been throughout history. There is a reason they were considered 3/5 human back when. But nobody has the stones to deal with it.

  • Terry April 22, 2021, 8:03 AM

    Mike A has it correct.

    The USA has fallen to a communist coup de grace. These people are murderers, psychos.

    The only cure for this scourge is fire. No prisons, no slap on the face. Termination of the threat, period. Some of us are awakening. We, friends, are in their sights and they mean business. They have at least two well equipped armies of thugs and a whole slew of three letter, armed “agencies”. What they do not have is the love of God, love of family, love of country, American Patriot. Remember April 19, 1775.

    The typical leftist is a lazy, un-trained fool. Cannot provide or manufacture, repair, modify anything.


  • EX-Californian Pete April 22, 2021, 8:37 AM

    Since all the black-on-black killings and mass murders that happen daily in “ghetto areas” are completely ignored by the BLM and Media, maybe it would be best that we stop sending LEOs to those “areas of color” in response to 911 calls.
    After all, it seems that blacks and Liberals are the ones demanding that the Police be de-funded, and insisting that all LEOs are “racist” and “Nazi.”

    So wouldn’t it make sense that we should just let the blacks and ghetto-dwellers provide their own version of “justice,” so that we would not be interfering with their “cultural norms?”

    Oh, and seems that my suggestion of using gasoline as a crime deterrent has already caught on the the black community-

    Maybe the trend was inspired by this catchy tune?

  • James ONeil April 22, 2021, 10:24 AM

    Sitting up here on top of the world I gotta allow much of the madness don’t confront me none, at least not directly.

    Admittedly I’m at the end of a very long, vulnerable, supply chain, but, as is true of many Alaskans, I’ve learned how to make do and/or make what I need myself, if necessary.

    As of now I think the best any of us can do is stand your ground and, if it’s not defensible, assure you’ve an alternate pied-à-terre that is.

    No worries, it’ll all blow over in the next hundred years, meanwhile, avoid crowds.

  • Mike-SMO April 28, 2021, 7:46 PM

    1) Stay out of the kill zone,
    2) Shoot the Officers first.

    Why do you assume that the firepower and brutality will be on your side? The National Guard protected the coup not the Republic or the “People”.

    The entry into the Kill Zone is always the easy and obvious way. The “invitation” is to “Their” party, not the one you might hope for.

    Use care.

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