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Ménon, Les montagnes de Dj'erf-el-Achard, 1841-1844.

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€3.500,00 EUR
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Manuscript description of inner Algeria 1841-1844

Ménon (1820-?).

Les montagnes de Dj'erf-el-Achard ou la vie d'un jeune soldat en Afrique. Détails sur différentes villes de France et distance d'un endroit à l'autre, le nom des différents bivouacs. Les différentes embarcation et distance.

Algeria, 1841-1844.

12°. 181 pp. With a paper sheet attached to front pastedown.

With pencil drawings depicting plans of a fort on recto of endpaper and a three-master ship on verso. Title-page illustrated in pencil with cacti and palm trees. Also with a gouache and pencil drawing of two Algerian armed men called “zouave” and “indigene” on paper pasted on back pastedown.

Sewn over vellum spine with cardboard sides, the front bearing the number 58.


Long, detailed and illustrated handwritten diary of a French soldier in Algeria, kept from March 22, 1841 until August 15, 1844. The author states on the first page that he was born on July 24, 1820 in the small French village of Gène and his name is Ménon. He does not mention his first names. “Ménon” does not seem to be a pseudonym because it also appears on his certificate of good health that is attached to the front pastedown. He was part of the 58th Line Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 5th Company, hence the number 58 on the front cover. He joined this regiment on March 22, 1841, which is also the day his diary begins. What follows is a lengthy account of his activities as a soldier in Algeria, providing generous descriptions of the places he visited, such as Koléa, Milliana, Blida and much more. The diary ends on August 15, 1844, in “Ben Siam” (Birkadem). On the last 21 pages the author has included a French-Arab dictionary, an Arab name glossary, a table of places and distances and the lyrics to “chansons gurrière” (battle songs).
The 58th line infantry regiment arrived in Africa in 1840 and left in October 1847. It saw a lot of military action. In 1840, before Ménon joined, it was part of the Médéa expedition, including battles at Oued-Ger, the Col de Mouzaïa and several fights against numerous gatherings of Kabaïles. During the following Miliana expedition the regiment witnessed two battles. This expedition continued in the years when Ménon was present. In 1841 the 58th found itself in action on May 3, 4 and 5 near Miliana. From September 27 to October 30, they participated in the autumn campaign in the province of Tittery. In 1842 the 58th was part, from July 12 to 18, of an expedition in the west of the caliphate of Miliana and took part in another expedition directed against the mountaineers of northern Miliana. In February 1843, still garrisoned in Miliana, the regiment made an expedition against the tribe of Beni-Ferrach and also against the Beni-Menacer, around Cherchell. In May and June, the regiment was included among the troops which made an expedition to the west of Ouarsenis and  overthrew the Kabaïles. Ménon’s diary presents a vast source of detailed information about the daily occurrences during these expeditions.

Condition: binding rubbed but solid. Minor thumbing, stains and browning throughout but generally in very good condition.

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