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The capture of General O'Hara.

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The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Josh&Historyland » February 28th, 2016, 6:53 pm

The Internet and some throwaway comments in books of the American Revolution tells me that General O'Hara surrendered to both Washington (or rather Lincoln) at Yorktown and then to a young Napoleon Bonaparte at Toulon.

I looked into it and it seems he didnt exactly formally surrender his sword, rather he was wounded in a sortie, and by his order left behind and troops apparently under command of Napoleon captured him, where he surrendered his sword.

However the more reliable sources I can find seem vague about who he actually surrendered to before being shipped off to prison.
Can anyone shed some light on his capture and surrender?

Josh,
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Re: The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Shannon Selin » February 28th, 2016, 7:53 pm

Hi Josh,

When he was on St. Helena, Napoleon told Dr. Barry O'Meara he had captured O'Hara himself, and gave a detailed account of how it happened. See pp. 131-133: https://archive.org/stream/napoleoninexile00frengoog#page/n154/mode/2up.

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Shannon
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Re: The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Josh&Historyland » February 28th, 2016, 8:28 pm

That's great Shannon, that is good enough for me, Napoleon did indeed capture him. Though of course all the particulars do not quite tally, for other books say that O'Hara was indeed shot twice in the arm and was carried back by two soldiers. He ordered them to leave him at the foot of the earthworks and save themselves for he was in fear of being "massacred" and Napoleon must have intervened to save him for the other bits I have read agree he treated O'Hara with great kindness. Napoleon did indeed have quite a memory.

Josh.
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Re: The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Shannon Selin » February 29th, 2016, 10:25 pm

Napoleon did have a good memory, and he probably did capture O'Hara, though I would take his particulars with a grain of salt, since he was prone to self-aggrandization. Also O'Meara, who was sympathetic to him, may have embellished the tale.

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Shannon
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Re: The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Josh&Historyland » March 15th, 2016, 3:40 pm

Although Napoleon seems to confirm that he captured the General, I've just ran across several references to it being Suchet that captured him. At Toulon he commanded the 4th battalion volunteers of Ardeche.

Scots Magazine volume 73. 1811
"On the 20th of September he [Suchet] took prisoner the English Commander in Chief, O'Hara"

Court and Camp of Bonapart. Harper 1832.
"In 1793, placed at the head of a Batallion he distinguished himself at the siege of Toulon and took prisoner General O'Hara"

Napoleon's Marshals. Pattison 1909.
"He had the double good fortune to make prisoner General O'Hara the English governor of the fortress, and to gain the friendship of Bonaparte."

Historical Dictionary of the Napleonic Wars. F. Nafzinger. 2001.
"He fought at the siege of Toulon and took English General O'Hara prisoner"

Conqueror And Administrator. Civil And Military Actions Of Marshal Louis Suchet By Major Jean-Philippe Rollet, 2015
"He earned a citation when he captured British General O'Hara during a supporting mission"

None specify any details, as Napoleon does, yet there is much more what we might call scolarly reference to Suchet being the officer to took O'Hara. Does anyone know of a definitive answer?

Josh.
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Re: The capture of General O'Hara.

Postby Shannon Selin » March 19th, 2016, 7:56 pm

Hi Josh,

Looking at the sources you've listed, I suspect they are all pulling from the 1811 Scots Magazine article (or whatever its source was). The Court and Camp of Bonaparte is amusing (I love reading it), but largely anecdotal. Napoleon's Marshals (Pattison), while more scholarly, is all second-hand (I've just been using it for a forthcoming post about Marshal Victor, and found some discrepancies). The other two -- unless they give a specific footnoted reference -- are probably working from one of your aforementioned sources. So I would look closely at the Scots Magazine article and see where it got the info from (often the magazine articles would be reviewing a book that is the original source). Suchet and Napoleon may have both been involved; unless someone left a more detailed account of Suchet's involvement, I'd say it was more likely Napoleon. Good luck pinning this down (if that's even possible). Loved the Britannia magazine piece.

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Shannon
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