Born in Dinan into a soldier family, Duchemin married a soldier named Brûlon and served from 1792–1799 in the defence of Corsica. She initially fought disguised as a man along with her husband, but was eventually discovered to be a woman. Despite this, she had shown such valour in battle that she was allowed to remain in service. She survived her husband and was proficient with sword and dagger in hand-to-hand combat. In 1797, she asked to be allowed into Les Invalides after she received severe wounds in the siege of Calvi, but was denied seven years. When she received the pension in 1804, she was also promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Napoleon III decorated her as a Knight of the French Legion of Honour, the first of her gender to receive that honor. The first request on her behalf, filed by marshal Sérurier in 1804, had not been granted.
- Jean-Loup Avril 1000 Bretons: dictionnaire biographique- 2002 - Page 133 "Marie-Angélique Duchemin quitte l'armée, puis est admise à l'Hôtel des Invalides où elle passera 61 ans. ... Ce ne sera que par décret du 15 août 1851 à l'occasion de la fête impériale que Marie-Angélique Duchemin, veuve Brulon, figurera ..."
- Linda Grant De Pauw Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the ... 2000- Page 139 "The soldiers called her Liberte the Fusilier, and those under her command composed the following tribute: "We the garrison at Calvi certify that Marie-Angelique Josephine Duchemin veuve Brulon, acting sergeant, commanding the attack of ..."
- Alain Pigeard L'Armée Napoléonienne, 1804-1815 - 1993 Page 617 "2224 DUCHEMIN Marie-Angélique-Joséphine Née à Dinan (Côtes-du-Nord) le 20 janvier 1772 Épouse fort jeune un militaire du 42e, dénommé Brulon"
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