On the 30 April 1863 65 men the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion Légion Étrangère having halted for coffee, were attacked by a force of more than 800 Mexican cavalry. Their Commanding Officer Captaine Jean Danjou ordered his Legionaries to form a square and they rebuffed several cavalry attacks while battling their retreat to the Hacienda Camaron. An Inn protected by a three metre high wall.
Under the inspirational leadership of 2nd Lt Vilan they held out for another 4 hrs before Vilan fell in battle. By 5pm all that remained where 12 Legionaries under the command of their junior officer 2nd Lt Maudet. With their ammunition exhausted Maudet give the order to Fix Bayonets and led the charge. Taking fire before being beaten to the ground all save two were killed including Maudet.
Impressed by the sheer bravery of the Legionaries Milan stopped his men from killing the last two heroes of Camraon and offered them quarter. Stating that they would only do so if assured of safe passage, be allowed to retain their arms and recover the body of Captain Danjou. Milan agreed, replying. "What can I refuse to such men? No, these are not men, they are devils".
On the 30th April every year, on what has become Camarone Day, the Legion Officers serve the enlisted men coffee in remembrance of those who did not get the chance at Camaron.
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