Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DUMAS, Alexandre Davy (de la Pailleterie), born in Jeremie, Haiti, 25 March 1762 ; died in Villers Cotterets, near Paris, 26 February 1806. He was the son of the Marquis de la Pailleterie, a wealthy Creole, and an African woman, Tiennette Dumas, whose surname the boy adopted when he enlisted in 1776 in the queen's dragoons. In 1793 he had risen to the rank of general of division, and as such commanded for some time the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees, served in the Army of the Alps, and took possession of the Great Saint Bernard and Mont Cenis.
In 1794 he was commander-in-chief of the Army of the West. Assigned to service under Bonaparte in 1796, he assisted at the siege of Mantua, and at the battle of Brixen in 1798 he alone defended a bridge against a small force of cavalry till the French could come to the rescue. For this deed Bonaparte presented him to the directory as the "Horatius Cocles of the Tyrol." General Dumas accompanied Bonaparte to Egypt in May 1798, and in August suppressed a military insurrection at Cairo. On account of the climate and a disagreement with General Berthier, he applied for a furlough, and sailed for France in 1799. A storm obliged the vessel to put into Taranto, and he was arrested by the Neapolitan government and detained for twenty-eight months as a prisoner. After his release the first consul declined to give him an appointment on account of his republican principles. General Dumas was the father of the well-known French novelist, Alexander Dumas, the elder.
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