When cigars save a blockade in Brest

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In August 1800 there was a blockade in the city of Brest. The conference given by Jean-Yves Besselièvre at the Musée de la Marine on February 1st was precisely the opportunity to return to the link between this event and cigars. Explanations.

Back to a little-known historical fact

Shortly after the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte took power. At that time, relations between France and England were quite tense. It must be said that the new French Republic gave ideas of rebellion to many neighboring countries. Ireland was no exception. In order to contain the French momentum, the English fleet has therefore developed a highly advanced maritime strategy.

Indeed, if it could not really approach the coasts of France, the English army positioned its ships strategically so that no French ship could leave its maritime space. It was therefore the famous blockade of the English army. This situation hurt the French who could no longer supply their armies, especially on the military level where the arsenal was lacking.

The truce and the famous box of cigars

On August 12, 1800, the truce was announced. For the occasion, the English captain William Cathcart, captain of the Triton went aboard the Frégate Furieuse, a French vessel commanded by Jean-Nicolas Topsent.

After some formalities, the commanders of the two armies exchanged a few words over a snack. The French remained very discreet about the positions of the boats, however, he did not hesitate to ask for some information on the English artillery force.

When the evening was well advanced, Topsent received a message from another French commander: La Touche. The latter mentioned that he had indeed received the box of cigars sent, but that he would not tolerate a flag of truce being sent to an officer of his command, otherwise he would seize the boat.

Having been able to attend the delivery of the ticket, Captain Cathcart mentioned this detail in his report. That’s how a simple box of cigars and all thecigar world which gave an important strategic shift during the blockade of Brest.

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