Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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FOREY, Elie Frederie, French soldier, born in Paris, 10 January 1804; died there, 20 June 1872. He studied at the Louis le grand lyceum in Paris, and in 1822 entered the military school of Saint Cyr. He left it in 1830 and served as sub lieutenant in the 2d light dragoons, of which he was drillmaster. After distinguishing himself in Algiers he returned to France for his health, in 1844, with the rank of colonel. He became a major general in 1848, formed with his command part of the garrison of Paris, and was one of the generals who, at the coupd'etat of 2 December 1851, helped place Napoleon III. on the throne. On 22 Dec.. 1852, he was made lieutenant general and grand officer of the legion of honor. In 1854 he commanded the reserves of the army of the east, and was for a time commander-in-chief of the whole French army before Sebastopol. He fought through the campaign in Italy in 1859, and on 16 August was made senator of the empire, and decorated with the grand cross of the Legion of Honor.
When Napoleon resolved to send out his expedition to Mexico, Forey was made general-in-chief of the invading army, 31 October 1861. From the first he was opposed to the expedition, his good sense leading him to see that it would probably prove disastrous" but Louis Napoleon intimated to him that only by accepting the command could he obtain the staff of a marshal of France. He landed at Vera Cruz in January 1862, with 30,000 men admirably equipped. On 29 Jan. He issued a proclamation saying that he had only come to restore order, that life and property should be respected, and that the Mexicans should be free to choose the form of government that best suited them. This proclamation had a favorable effect. The government of the United States approved highly of it, but Napoleon was greatly exasperated. He wrote with his own hand to General Forey, reprimanding him severely, and threatening him with an immediate recall if his future acts should be in accordance with his promises. Forey, on receipt of this mandate, suppressed all sympathy with the Mexican cause, and confiscated the property of all Mexicans who would not aid him. After the surrender of Puebla by the Republicans, 17 May 1863, Forey marched on Mexico, which was taken by General Bazaine, 12 July 1863. After the fall of Puebla, General Forey, becoming disgusted with his task, demanded to be recalled, and his request was granted.
On 2 July he formed a provisory government, composed of three Mexicans, Almonte, the archbishop of Mexico, and General Salas. On 1 October he delivered the command of the army to General Bazaine, and sailed from Vera Cruz for France. He was made marshal and commander of the 2d division of the army, 24 December 1863. On various occasions he spoke long and eloquently in the senate in behalf of the Mexicans, and in the session of 10 February 1866, boldly declared that to subjugate Mexico it would be necessary to send thither an army of 150,000 men, and if that could not be done the project would have to be abandoned. Napoleon chose the latter alternative.
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