List of duels

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The following is a list of famous duels.

Ilya Repin's picture of the duel from Eugene Onegin

Historical duels[edit]

American duels[edit]

Main article: Burr-Hamilton duel
  • May 30, 1806: Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson; Dickinson was killed, Jackson wounded, becoming the only President to have killed a man in a duel.
  • August 12, 1817: Thomas Hart Benton and Charles Lucas on Bloody Island; Attorneys on opposite sides of a court battle - Lucas challenged Benton's right to vote and Benton accused Lucas of being a "puppy"; Lucas was shot in the throat and Benton shot in the leg; Benton released Lucas from his obligation.
  • September 27, 1817: Benton and Lucas rematch on Bloody Island; Benton challenged Lucas after Lucas said the first fight at 30 feet (9.1 m) was unfair because Benton was a better shot. Benton killed Lucas at nine feet and was unhurt.
  • March 22, 1820: Stephen Decatur and James Barron; Decatur was killed.
  • June 30, 1823: Joshua Barton and Thomas C. Rector on Bloody Island (Mississippi River); Rector was critical of Barton's brother, Senator David Barton's blocking the appointment of Rector's brother William Rector to General Surveyor position. Barton was killed and Rector unhurt.
  • April 26, 1826: Henry Clay and John Randolph of Roanoke; at Pimmit Run, Virginia; Both unhurt.[1]
  • September 22, 1826: Representative Sam Houston of Tennessee severely wounded General William A. White in a pistol duel near Franklin, Kentucky, over the patronage political appointment of the Nashville Postmaster.[2]
  • August 26, 1831: Thomas Biddle and Spencer Darwin Pettis on Bloody Island (Mississippi River); Biddle challenged Pettis for comments about Biddle's brother who was president of the United States bank. Both died after firing from five feet.
  • August 10, 1832: While it is not clearly eligible to be on this list, the deceased had claimed his shooting and threatening fell under the law of duels, which is legally giving permission for his opponent to take shelter in the law of duels. Savannah physician Philip Minis shot and killed Georgia state legislator James Stark after Minis claimed that a valid duel had occurred. As well as mentioning the duel, Minis claimed his right to self-defense, as he had not agreed to the duel, he claimed he shot Stark to save his own life, and Minis was found not guilty by a jury.
    Main article: Stark-Minis duel
  • September 25, 1832: James Westcott and Thomas Baltzell; Baltzell unhurt, Westcott injured but survived to become a U.S. Senator.[3]
  • February 24, 1838: Kentucky Representative William Jordan Graves killed Maine Representative Jonathan Cilley in a pistol duel. Congress then passed a law making it illegal to issue or accept duel challenge in Washington, D.C.[4]
  • December 12, 1839: Florida Militia Brigadier General Leigh Read and Colonel Augustus A. Alston, Whig party leader, with rifles at 15 paces. Read had been challenged twice by Col. Alston, an overconfident duelist. Unexpectedly, Read killed Alston.[5] Tallahassee Mayor Francis Eppes, also Thomas Jefferson's grandson, was elected in large part to put down dueling and other lawlessness in the territory.
  • September 22, 1842: Future President Abraham Lincoln, at the time an Illinois state legislator, accepted a challenge to a duel by state auditor James Shields. Lincoln apparently had published an inflammatory letter in a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper, the Sangamon Journal, that poked fun at the Illinois State Auditor—Shields. Taking offense, Shields demanded "satisfaction" and the incident escalated with the two parties meeting on a Missouri island called Sunflower Island, near Alton, Illinois, to participate in a duel. Just prior to engaging in combat, the two participants' seconds intervened and were able to convince the two men to cease hostilities, on the grounds that Lincoln had not written the letters.[6]
  • July 26, 1847: Albert Pike and John Selden Roane; declared a draw, no injuries.
  • June 1, 1853: U.S. Senator William McKendree Gwin and U.S. Congressman J.W. McCorkle, no injuries.
  • August 26, 1856: Benjamin Gratz Brown and Thomas C. Reynolds on Bloody Island (Mississippi River); In what would be called the "Duel of the Governors" Brown was then the abolitionist editor of the St. Louis Democrat and Reynolds a pro-slavery St. Louis district attorney fought with Brown being shot in the leg and limping for the rest of his life while Reynolds was unhurt. Brown would become a Missouri Governor and Reynolds would become a Confederate Governor of Missouri.
  • September 13, 1859: U.S. Senator David C. Broderick and David S. Terry, formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California; Broderick was killed.
  • September 6, 1863: Brig. General Lucius Marshall Walker, the nephew of President James K. Polk, and General John Sapington Marmaduke, the future Governor of Missouri, over differences on the Confederate battlefield at the battles of Helena, Arkansas and Reed's Bridge in Jacksonville, Arkansas. The duel took place at 6 am near the north bank of the Arkansas River just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas (within eyeshot now of the current Clinton Presidential Library.) Both men missed with their first shots, but Marmaduke mortally wounded Walker with his second shot. Walker died the next day.
  • July 21, 1865: Wild Bill Hickok and David Tutt quarrelled over a pocket watch during a card game. Wild Bill wanted the pocket watch back, was refused and so they decided to have a gunfight. Tutt was killed.
  • March 9, 1877, gamblers Jim Levy and Charlie Harrison argued over a game of cards in a saloon in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Levy challenged Harrison to take it outside, Harrison agreed, and the two squared off in the street. Western novelist James Reasoner claims in a recent issue of Esquire that this was "the most 'Hollywood' showdown". During the duel, Harrison shot wild, while Levy took more careful aim and shot him. He then approached the dying Charlie and shot him again. Many accounts claimed that Harrison fired at Levy while sprawled on the ground, but contemporary opinion held that Levy had shot the man while he was down. Harrison died 13 days later.[7]
  • June 7, 1882: Louisiana State Treasurer Edward A. Burke was seriously wounded by C. Harrison Parker, the editor of the New Orleans Daily Picayune, in a duel with pistols. After Parker published unflattering remarks about Burke, Burke challenged him to a duel.[8]
  • July 19, 1879: Doc Holliday dueled and killed an army scout named Mike Gordon in a saloon in Las Vegas, Nevada.[9]
  • February 8, 1887: Jim Courtright killed by Luke Short during a duel at Fort Worth, Texas.

Antiquity[edit]

Asian duels[edit]

  • During the Three Kingdoms period of China, in 195[10] warlord Sun Ce encountered an enemy general, named Taishi Ci, by accident when both of them were scouting the other. The two fought until the arrival of their men compelled them to break off. The result was that Sun Ce seized Taishi Ci's weapon while Taishi Ci grabbed Sun Ce's helmet. There was however no record that any one of them was injured in this duel. This is one of the few examples of two generals dueling during a time of war.
  • During the Sengoku period of Japan, a daimyo called Uesugi Kenshin fought against a rival of his named Takeda Shingen. During one of their battles, Uesugi personally led a raiding party against the Takeda camp. Breaking through, Uesugi attacked Takeda, who fought back using his iron war fan. Uesugi was forced to retreat when reinforcements did not arrive.
  • In 1593 Siamese King Naresuan slew Burmese Crown Prince Minchit Sra, in a duel on the back of war elephants.[11]
  • On April 14, 1612 the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi dueled his rival Sasaki Kojiro on the island of Funajima. Musashi arrived late and unkempt to the appointed place. Musashi killed Sasaki with a bokken or wooden sword. He fashioned the bokken out of a boat oar on his way to the island. Sasaki's weapon of choice was the nodachi, a long sword. In addition, on a pilgrimage, Musashi fought sixty duels, and not once was he defeated.
  • 1906: In Istanbul, during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, a duel between a young Kurdish aristocrat named Abdulrazzak Bedirkhan and the chief of police of the city Ridvan Pasha occurred. The police chief was killed and subsequently the entire Bedirkhan family was exiled.
  • A very well recorded bolo duel reported internationally occurred in April 14, 1920 by Prescott Journal Miner which was known as "The First Bolo Duel in Manila since the American Occupation". It happened when Filipino farmers Angel Umali and Tranquilino Paglinawan met in a vacant lot near the center of the city just before dusk to settle their feuds. Paglinawan suffered the duel with his left hand cut off. With no law against bolo fights, Umali was charged only with minor charge.[12]

Australian duels[edit]

  • 1801: Captain John Macarthur duelled with Colonel William Paterson, shooting him in the shoulder. Macarthur was sent back to England to be court martialed.
  • 1832 William Nairne Clark (barrister, news proprietor and explorer) fought a duel at Fremantle, Western Australia, with pistols with George French Johnson (merchant), fatally wounding him in the right hip. Clark was subsequently charged with, and acquitted of, the murder of his opponent.
  • 1851: Major Sir Thomas Mitchell confronted Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson in Sydney. Mitchell issued the challenge because Donaldson had publicly criticised the cost of the Surveyor General's Department. Both duellists missed.

British and Irish duels[edit]

  • 1598: Playwright Ben Jonson kills actor Gabriel Spenser in a duel fought with swords. The cause is unknown.
  • 1609: Sir George Wharton and Sir James Stuart; fought a duel over a game of cards in Islington. Both were killed.
  • 1609: Sir Hatton Cheke and Sir Thomas Dutton fought in Calais. Cheke was killed.
  • 1613: Edward Bruce, 2nd Lord Kinloss and Sir Edward Sackville (later 4th Earl of Dorset); fought a duel over Venetia Stanley. They fought in Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands to avoid the wrath of the King; Lord Bruce was killed, but Venetia Stanley ended up marrying Sir Kenelm Digby.
  • 1613: Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos and James Hay (later 1st Earl of Carlisle)
  • 1652: George Brydges, 6th Baron Chandos and Colonel Henry Compton (grandson of Henry Compton, 1st Baron Compton); Compton was killed, Chandos was found guilty of manslaughter and died whilst imprisoned.
  • 1668: George Villiers (later 2nd Duke of Buckingham) and Francis Talbot, 11th Earl of Shrewsbury; Shrewsbury was killed, and George Villiers' second Sir J. Jenkins was killed by the Earl's second.
  • 1694: John Law and Edward Wilson; Wilson challenged Law over the affections of Elizabeth Villiers (later Countess of Orkney); Wilson was killed. Law was tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to a fine, upon the ground that the offence only amounted to manslaughter. Wilson's brother appealed and had Law imprisoned but he managed to escape to the continent.[13]
  • 1698: Oliver Le Neve and Sir Henry Hobart, 4th Baronet on Cawston Heath, Norfolk; Sir Henry was killed and Le Neve fled to Holland. [3]
  • 1711: Richard Thornhill, Esq and Sir Cholmeley Dering, 4th Baronet; Sir Cholmeley was killed and Richard Thornhill convicted of manslaughter.[14]
  • 1712: Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun and James Douglas, 4th Duke of Hamilton; both were killed. Their seconds George Macartney, Esq and Colonel John Hamilton were found guilty of manslaughter.
  • 1731: George Lockhart of Carnwath, Scottish spy, writer and politician, killed in a duel in Scotland.
  • 1731: William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath and John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey of Ickworth
  • 1736: Henry St Lawrence and Hamilton Gorges: Gorges kills St Lawrence, is tried for murder but acquitted.
  • 1749: Captain Clarke R.N. and Captain Innis R.N; Innis was killed. Clarke was sentenced to death but received a Royal Pardon.[15]
  • 1762: John Wilkes and Samuel Martin in Hyde Park. Martin, in his place in the House of Commons, had alluded to Wilkes as a "stabber in the dark, a cowardly and malignant scoundrel." Wilkes prided himself as much upon his gallantry as upon his wit and loyalty, and lost no time in calling Martin out. The challenge was given as soon as the House adjourned, and the parties repaired at once to a copse in Hyde Park with a brace of pistols. They fired four times, when Wilkes fell, wounded in the abdomen. His antagonist, relenting, hastened up and insisted on helping him off the ground; but Wilkes, with comparative courtesy, as strenuously urged Martin to hurry away, so as to escape arrest. It afterwards appeared that Martin had been practising in a shooting gallery for six months before making the obnoxious speech in the House; and soon after, instead of being arrested, he received a valuable appointment from the ministry. From: 'Hyde Park', Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 375–405. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45205. Date accessed: 25 December 2007.
  • 1765: William Byron, 5th Baron Byron and William Chaworth; Chaworth was killed. Byron was tried in the House of Lords and acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter, for which he was fined.
  • 1772: Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Captain Matthews; as the result of a quarrel between the two concerning Elizabeth Linley, to whom Sheridan was already secretly married, both men went to Hyde Park, but on finding it too crowded repaired instead to the Castle Tavern, Covent Garden, where they fought with swords. Both men were cut, but neither was seriously wounded.[16] Sheridan won this duel as Mathews pleaded for his life after losing his sword. They fought a second duel in July at Kingsdown near Bath to resolve a dispute over the first duel. Both men's swords broke, and Mathews stabbed Sheridan several times, seriously wounding him, before escaping in a post chaise.
  • 1779: Charles James Fox and Mr Adams
  • 1780: William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and Colonel Fullarton[16]
  • 1783: Richard Martin ("Humanity Dick"), who engaged in over 100 duels, fought George "Fighting" FitzGerald in the Castlebar barrack yard. Later in the same year Martin's cousin, James Jordan forces a duel: Jordan is shot and dies of his wounds. As a result of this, Martin later refuses to duel with Theobald Wolfe Tone, even though he was having an affair with his wife.
  • 1786: Lord Macartney and Major-General James Stuart; Lord Macartney was wounded.
  • 1787: Sir John MacPherson and a Major Browne; Browne had been British Resident at the court of Shah Alam II, he took offence at his recall and challenged MacPherson, the former Governor-General of India, on the latter's return to Britain. A pistol ball passed through MacPherson's coat and another struck a pocketbook in his coat pocket, but the two men were uninjured.
  • 1789: HRH Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Lennox; Lennox had called the Prince out after the Prince had accused him of making ".. certain expressions unworthy of a gentleman". Lennox had no recollection of making such expressions and his demands for a retraction were refused. Lennox demanded satisfaction; the two men met with pistols on Wimbledon Common on 26 May 1789. According to a report in The Times by the seconds, Lord Rawdon for the Prince and Lord Winchelsea for Lennox, Lennox's shot "grazed His Royal Highnesses' curl". The Prince then refused to fire stating that he had been called out to give satisfaction to Lennox and the satisfaction had been given and the matter was closed.
  • 1792: Lady Almeria Braddock and Mrs Elphinstone; so called "petticoat duel"; Lady Almeria Braddock felt insulted by Mrs Elphinstone and challenged her to a duel in London's Hyde Park after their genteel conversation turned to the subject of Lady Almeria's true age. The ladies first exchanged pistol shots in which Lady Almeria's hat was damaged. They then continued with swords until Mrs. Elphinstone received a wound to her arm and agreed to write Lady Almeria an apology.[17]
  • 1798: William Pitt the Younger and George Tierney
  • 1799: Colonel Ashton and Major Allen; Duel took place in India; Ashton was killed.
  • 1803: Captain James Macnamara and Colonel Montgomery; over a dispute between their dogs fighting in Hyde Park. Both were wounded, Montgomery mortally. Macnamara was tried for manslaughter at the Old Bailey but was acquitted.[18]
  • 1804: Captain Best fatally wounded Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford. He died three days later.[19]
  • 1807: Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet and James Pauli; both men were wounded.
  • 1808: Major Campbell and Captain Boyd; Major Campbell was tried and executed for killing Captain Boyd.
  • 1809: George Canning and Lord Castlereagh; Canning was slightly wounded.
  • 1815: Daniel O'Connell and Captain John Norcot d'Esterre; d'Esterre was killed.[20]
  • 1821: John Scott and Jonathon Henry Christie. Scott was the founder and editor of the London Magazine. The duel was born out of the Cockney School controversy. John Gibson Lockhart had been abusing many of Scott's contributors in Blackwood's Magazine (under a pseudonym (Z), as was then common). In May 1820, Scott began a series of counter-articles, which provoked Lockhart into calling him "a liar and a scoundrel". In February 1820, Lockhart's London agent, J.H. Christie, made a provocative statement, and Scott challenged him. They met on 16 February 1821, at a farm between Camden Town and Hampstead. Christie did not fire in the first round, but there was a misunderstanding between the seconds, resulting in a second round. Scott was hit in the abdomen, and died 11 days later. Christie and his second were tried for willful murder and acquitted; the collection for Scott's family was a notable radical cause.
  • 1822: Richard Temple-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos and Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford.[16]
  • 1824: The 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and Ensign Battier; Battier was a cornet in the Marquess' regiment. When Battier's pistol misfired, he declined the offer of another shot and left. He was later horsewhipped by the Marquess' second Sir Henry Hardinge.
  • 1826: David Landale, a linen merchant from Kirkcaldy, duelled with his bank manager, George Morgan, who had slandered his business reputation. This was the last duel to be fought on Scottish soil; George Morgan, a trained soldier, was shot through the chest and mortally wounded by Landale, who had never before held a pistol. Landale was tried for murder but found not guilty. The subject of a book "Duel" by his descendant James Landale.
  • 1829: The Duke of Wellington and the 10th Earl of Winchilsea; both aimed wide.
  • 1835: Mr Roebuck and Mr Black, editor of the Morning Chronicle
  • 1835: William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley and Morgan O'Connell, son of Daniel O'Connell. Alvanley asserted that Morgan's father had been "purchased" by William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne on his accession to the office of Prime Minister, O'Connell retorted by calling Alvanley "a bloated buffoon".
  • 1839: The 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and Henry Gratton
  • 1840: James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan and Captain Harvey Garnett Phipps Tuckett; Captain Tuckett was wounded. Cardigan was arrested, tried in the House of Lords and was acquitted.[21]
  • 1840: Prince Louis Napoleon and Charles, Count Léon; Police arrived to prevent the duel; both men were arrested and taken to Bow Street Prison.
  • 1843: Colonel Fawcett and Lieutenant Monro, in Camden; Colonel Fawcett was killed.
  • 1845: Lieutenant Henry Hawkey, Royal Marines, and James Alexander Seton; Seton died on 2 June, some days after the duel, as a result of an infected gunshot wound. Seton was the last known Briton to die because of a duel fought on British soil. This is recorded in other sites as having taken place at Browndown Camp, Gosport, Hampshire.
  • 1851: Mr William Henry Gregory and Captain the Hon. George Lawrence Vaughan, The duel took place in Osterley Park.
  • 1852: Lt. Frederic Constant Cournet and Emmanuel Barthelemy, two French refugees. The duel took place on Priest's Hill in Englefield Green. Barthelemy killed Cournet and was subsequently arrested for murder. However, he was later acquitted of charges of homicide.[22]

Canadian duels[edit]

  • 1800: John White, 39, Upper Canada's first lawyer and a founder of the law society, was fatally shot on January 3, 1800 by a government official named John Small, who challenged him to the duel. White was alleged to have gossiped at a Christmas party that Mrs. Small was once the mistress of the Duke of Berkeley in England, who'd tired of her and paid Small to marry her and take her to the colonies.
  • 1817: John Ridout, 18, was shot dead on July 12, 1817 at the corner of what is now Bay St. and Grosvenor St. in Toronto by Samuel Peters Jarvis, 25. The reason for the duel was unclear. On the count of two, the nervous Ridout discharged his pistol early, missing Jarvis by a wide margin. Ridout's second, James Small (whose father survived the only other duel in York) and Jarvis' second, Henry John Boulton insisted that Jarvis be allowed to make his shot. Ridout protested loudly and asked for another pistol, but Small and Boulton were adamant that the strict code of duelling must be observed. Jarvis shot and killed Ridout instantly. Jarvis was pardoned by the courts, even though he had shot an unarmed man.
  • 1819: What historians have called "The Most Ferocious Duel" in Canadian history took place on April 11, 1819, at Windmill Point near the Lachine Canal. The opponents were William Caldwell, a doctor at the Montreal General Hospital, and Michael O'Sullivan, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada. The dispute arose when Caldwell accused O'Sullivan of lacking courage. The two opponents exchanged fire an unheard-of five times. O'Sullivan was wounded twice in the process, and in the final volley, he took a bullet to the chest and hit the ground. Caldwell's arm was shattered by a shot; a hole in his collar proved he narrowly missed being shot in the neck. Amazingly, neither participant died during the fight, although both took a long time to recover. O'Sullivan went on to become Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench in Montreal, and when he died in 1839, an autopsy revealed a bullet still lodged against the middle of his spine.
  • 1826: Rudkin versus Philpot a duel fought in Newfoundland at St. John's who met at West's Farm near Brine's Tavern at the foot of Robinson's Hill, adjacent to Brine's River to settle their seemingly long standing differences that was further exacerbated by the love of an Irish colleen who lived in a cottage near Quidi Vidi and a game of cards that ended in an argument over the ownership of the pot.
  • 1833: The last fatal duel in Upper Canada[23] was fought in Perth, Ontario on June 13, 1833. Two law students and former friends, John Wilson and Robert Lyon, quarrelled over remarks Lyon made about a local schoolteacher, Elizabeth Hughes. Lyon was killed in the second exchange of shots on a rain-soaked field. Wilson was acquitted of murder, eventually married Miss Hughes, became a Member of Parliament, and later a judge.
  • 1836: Two duelling politicians from Lower Canada were lucky to have sensible seconds. Clément-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury, a member of the Lower Canadian Legislative Assembly, insulted fellow politician Charles-Ovide Perreault. Perreault then struck de Bleury, and a duel was set. Both men were determined to settle the matter with pistols, but their seconds came up with a unique solution. The two foes would clasp hands and de Bleury would say, "I am sorry to have insulted you" while at the same time Perreault would say, "I am sorry to have struck you." They would then reply in unison, "I accept your apology." The tactic worked, and the situation was resolved without injury.
  • 1837: William Collis Meredith and James Scott. On Monday, 9 August 1837, at eight o’clock in the evening, Meredith (who had articled under the previously mentioned Clement-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury from 1831 to 1833) and Scott (no stranger to duels) stepped out to face one another on the slopes of Mount Royal, behind Montreal. Earlier that day, following a dispute over legal costs, Meredith had challenged Scott. Meredith chose James M. Blackwood to second him, whilst Scott's choice was Louis-Fereol Pelletier. The pistols used were Meredith's which he had bought in London, on a previous trip to England. On the first exchange Scott took a bullet high up in his thigh, and the duel was called to a stop. The bullet lodged itself in Scott's thigh bone in such a way that it could not be removed by doctors, which caused him great discomfort for the rest of his days. Ironically for Scott, this was exactly where he had shot Sweeney Campbell in a duel when they were students. In the early 1850s (Scott died in 1852), when both the adversaries had become judges, one of the sights then to see was Meredith helping his brother judge up the steep Court House steps, a result of the lameness in his leg that had remained with Scott since their encounter. Meredith was later knighted and went on to serve as Chief Justice of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec.
  • 1840: Joseph Howe was called out by a member of Nova Scotian high society for his populist writing. When his opponent fired first and missed, Howe fired his shot in the air and won the right to refuse future challenges.
  • 1873: The last duel in what is now Canada occurred in August 1873, in a field near St. John's, Newfoundland (which was not Canadian territory at the time). The duellists, Mr. Dooley and Mr. Healey, once friends, had fallen in love with the same young lady, and had quarrelled bitterly over her. One challenged the other to a duel, and they quickly arranged a time and place. No one else was present that morning except the two men's seconds. Dooley and Healey were determined to proceed in the 'honourable' way, but as they stood back-to-back with their pistols raised, they must have questioned what they were doing. Nerves gave way to terror as they slowly began pacing away from each other. When they had counted off the standard ten yards, they turned and fired. Dooley hit the ground immediately. Healey, believing he had killed Dooley, was seized with horror. But Dooley had merely fainted; the seconds confessed they had so feared the outcome that they loaded the pistols with blanks. Although this was a serious breach of duelling etiquette, both opponents gratefully agreed that honour had indeed been satisfied.

French duels[edit]

  • 27 December 1386: Last legal judicial duel in France fought between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris over charges of rape Carrouges brought against Le Gris on behalf of his wife. After a lengthy trial and fight, Carrouges killed his opponent, thus "proving" his charges.
  • July 10, 1547: Guy Chabot de Jarnac, in a judicial duel with François de Vivonne de la Châtaigneraie, a favourite of the King and one of France's greatest swordsmen. Jarnac fooled La Châtaigneraie with a feint and hit him with a slash to the hamstrings. His dignity offended, La Châtaigneraie refused medical aid, and died. This both ended the practice of trial by combat in France, and created the myth of "Le Coup de Jarnac" - a legendary strike that supposedly allowed amateurs to defeat masters.
  • 27 April 1578: Duel of the Mignons claims the lives of two favorites of Henry III of France and two favorites of Henry I, Duke of Guise.
  • 12 May 1627: at the Place Royale in Paris, François de Montmorency-Bouteville killed the Marquis de Bussi d'Amboise in the course of a duel. Their seconds, François de Rosmadec, Comte de Chappelles, and François d’Harcourt, Marquis de Beuvron, also fought one another. While d'Harcourt-Beuvron took refuge in England, Montmorency and Rosmadec, despite their nobility, were beheaded at the Place de Grève in Paris on 22 June 1627.
  • 1641: Kenelm Digby and a French nobleman named Mont le Ros. Digby, a founding member of the Royal Society, was attending a banquet in France when the Frenchman insulted King Charles I of England and Digby challenged him to a duel. Digby wrote that he ".. run his rapier into the French Lord's breast until it came out of his throat again"; Mont le Ros fell dead.
  • 1718: Countess de Polignac and Marquise de Nesle fights a duel over their mutual lover, the Duke de Richelieu, one of the most talked about duels in the regency [17]
  • 1794 to 1813: Pierre Dupont de l'Étang and François Fournier-Sarlovèze fought over 30 duels, beginning with Fournier challenging Dupont after the latter had delivered a disagreeable message to his fellow officer. Dupont eventually overcame his opponent 19 years later in a pistol duel, and forced Fournier to promise never to bother him again. The story was immortalized by Joseph Conrad and made into the movie The Duellists by Ridley Scott.
  • 1830: French writer Sainte-Beuve and one of the owners of Le Globe newspaper, Paul-François Dubois, fought a duel under a heavy rain. Sainte-Beuve held his umbrella during the duel claiming that he did not mind dying but that he would not get wet.
  • 1832: Évariste Galois and (possibly) Pescheux d'Herbinville; Évariste Galois, the French mathematician, died of his wounds at the age of twenty.
  • 23 February 1870: Édouard Manet and Louis Edmond Duranty; Duranty, an art critic and friend of Manet, had written only the briefest of commentary on two works of art that Manet had entered for exhibition. The frustrated Manet collared Duranty at the Café Guerbois and slapped him. Duranty's demands for an apology were refused and so the men fought a duel with swords in the Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye three days later on the 23rd. Émile Zola acted as Manet's second and Paul Alexis acted for Duranty. After Duranty received a wound above the right breast the seconds stepped in and declared that honour had been satisfied. The men remained friends despite the encounter.
  • 1888: General George Boulanger and Charles Floquet (Prime Minister of the French Republic); the General was wounded in the throat but survived.
  • 5 February 1897: Marcel Proust fought journalist Jean Lorrain, after Lorrain published an excoriating review of Proust's first book "Pleasures and Days" and hinted that Proust was having an affair with Madame Alphonse Daudet's son, Lucien. Proust and Lorrain exchanged shots at 25 paces. Proust fired first, his bullet hitting the ground by Lorrain's foot. Lorrain's shot missed, and the seconds agreed that honor had been satisfied.[24]
  • 21 April 1967: The last official duel in the history of France happened between Gaston Defferre and René Ribière, both delegates at the French National Assembly. During an argument in the assembly room, Defferre said to Ribière "shut up, idiot" ("taisez-vous, abruti"). Defferre won the duel after four minutes of sword fighting, wounding his opponent twice.[25]

German duels[edit]

Italian duels[edit]

  • 1552: Isabella de Carazi and Diambra de Petinella fights a duel in rivalry about a common lover, Fabio de Zeresola: the duel became famous and the object of a painting by Jusepe de Ribera [26]
  • 1921: Benito Mussolini seriously wounded Francisco Ciccotti, at the time an editor in Rome, in a duel with swords. The duel lasted an hour and a quarter and ended with Ciccotti unable to continue due to wounds received.[27]

New Zealand duels[edit]

Portuguese duels[edit]

  • 1924: Prime Minister Álvaro de Castro fought a duel with swords with Flight Captain Ribeiro over a political dispute. The duel ended with Ribeiro being wounded in the arm.[28]

Russian duels[edit]

  • 1022: Tmutarakan' Prince Mstislav the Brave and Kasogs Prince Rededya.
  • September 8, 1380: Alexander Peresvet and Tatar champion Chelubey.
  • 1666: First recorded Russian duel featured two foreigners living at the German Quarter - Major Patrick Gordon and Major Montgomery.
  • March 3, 1801: Prince Boris Svyatopolk-Chetvertinsky challenged statesman Alexander Ribeaupierre for his alleged affair with Anna Lopukhina, a royal mistress. With heavily chopped arm, Ribeaupierre was exiled soon after the duel.
  • ca. 1807: Cavalryman Michael Lunin challenged Prince Alexey Orlov after latter permitted him to do so. Orlov, having harsh shooting skills, missed twice from twelve steps (first shot, however, hit Lunin's epaulette, and second holed his hat), while Lunin, being a notable marksman, kept stiff upper lip and also missed twice on purpose - shooting upwards in the skies, he then taught the Prince in French language, how to aim and squeeze the trigger properly, laughing at infuriated nobleman during the process. Third shot never happened. Details are still debated.
  • 1808: Gen. Nikolay Tuchkov was challenged by Prince Mikhail Dologukov. It happened amidst the Finnish War, so Tuchkov proposed to Dolgorukov, who also has the rank of a general, instead of conventional duel, to make joint appearance on the frontline, so a seldom enemy bullet could justify the argument. So was their decision, and Dolgorukov has been killed soon by a cannonball flown from Swedish lines.
  • 1814: Congress of Vienna: The Coalition's stubborn refusal to hand over all of Poland to Russia leads a tense Tsar Alexander I of Russia to supposedly challenge Metternich to a duel. The tsar changes his mind however and Poland is partitioned once more.
  • 1817: The honour of celebrated ballerina Avdotia Istomina occasioned a fourfold duel: kammerjunker count Alexander Zavadovsky kills podporutchik (lieutenant) of Chevalier Guards Regiment Basily Sheremetev (from not-titulated cadet branche of Sheremetev family), while the future Decembrist Yakubovich shot through a palm of the playwright Alexander Griboedov.
  • 1823: Mysterious duel of Aleksandr Pushkin with the poet Kondraty Ryleyev, who was also a leader of the Decembrists
  • 1823: General and rising statesman Pavel Kiselyov kills general Ivan Mordvinov; the duel was Mordvinov's call
  • 1820s: Fyodor Ivanovich Tolstoy killed eleven officers in various duels
  • 1836: Nicholas I of Russia challenged by a nobleman
  • 1837: The most famous and talked about Russian duel: Aleksandr Pushkin mortally wounded after a gunshot he received in a duel at the Black Rivulet with a French officer on Russian service Georges d'Anthès, rumoured to have an affair with Pushkin's wife Natalia. D'Anthès went on to become French minister and senator and married Pushkin's sister-in-law (a few weeks before the duel, in a last attempt to avoid the confrontation).
  • 1840: There was to be a duel between Mikhail Bakunin and Mikhail Katkov, but it was called off.[29]
  • 1841: Mikhail Lermontov killed in a duel with Nikolai Martynov, a year after his duel with De Barante, son of the French ambassador to Russia.
  • 1907: Parliamentary debates leading to a duel between Peter Stolypin and Fyodor Rodichev.
  • 1908: Lieutenant General Constantine N. Smirnov was seriously wounded in a pistol duel with Lieutenant General Foch. Foch challenged Smirnov after Smirnov publicly accused Foch of incompetence during the Siege of Port Arthur.[30]
  • 1909: Another parliamentary duel - Alexander Guchkov vs Count Sergey Uvarov.
  • 1909: Two first-rank Russian poets, Nikolay Gumilyov and Maksimilian Voloshin, duelling for the heart of a non-existent woman, poet Cherubina de Gabriak, at the Black Rivulet in St Petersburg.

Spanish Duels[edit]

South American Duels[edit]

  • 1814: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Colonel Luis Carrera, brother of Chilean revolutionary General José Miguel Carrera, killed Colonel Juan Mackenna in duel. The reason was the sense of honour that the Carreras had, as Mackenna disrespected the family name many times. This was the second time that both duellists met, and the third time that Mackenna was challenged in duel by a Carrera (the first time it was by Luis Carrera himself, while the second time it was by his brother, Juan José Carrera, the oldest of the brothers and noticeable by his strength. Yet Mackenna was able to run away from the duels both times). They duelled at night, in the first round, Mackenna shot at his head, but missed and blew Carrera's hat away, in the second round, Carrera was able to hit Mackenna in his hand, blowing his thumb away and piercing a hole in his throat, thus killing Mackenna. Carrera was arrested the next day, particularly because Mackenna was part of a secret society called Lautaro Lodge, which had the control of the government at the time.
  • 1920: Uruguay. Former President José Batlle y Ordóñez shot and killed Washington Beltrán Barbat in a formal duel. The former president challenged Beltrán, a journalist, after he became offended by statements published by Beltrán in the newspaper El País. The former president was no stranger to duels having previously challenged two others, whom he considered to have besmirched his dignity.[31]

Swedish duels[edit]

  • 1788: Count Adolph Ribbing and Baron Hans Henrik von Essen; the duel was held because Essen's proposal had been accepted by the father of a woman, the heiress Charlotta Eleonora De Geer, whom Ribbing had also proposed to and whom he believed to be in love with him. Essen was injured and Ribbing declared winner. The duel was regarded a scandal and a crime against the king[33]

Swiss duels[edit]

Proposed duels[edit]

  • In the summer of 30 BC Mark Antony challenged Octavian to a duel, after Octavian defeated Antony at the battle of Actium the year before and threatened to take Alexandria. Octavian refused the challenge.
  • In 1943 German field marshal Günther von Kluge challenged general Heinz Guderian to a duel with pistols, after several confrontations during the preparations for the Battle of Kursk. Although Guderian accepted, the duel did not happen because Hitler refused to give his permission.
  • In October 2002, four months before the US invasion of Iraq, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan suggested U.S. President George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein settle their difference in a duel.[34] He reasoned this would not only serve as an alternative to a war that was certain to damage Iraq's infrastructure,[35] but that it would also reduce the suffering of the Iraqi and American peoples. Ramadan's offer included the possibility that a group of US officials would face off with a group of Iraqi officials of same or similar rank (President v. President, Vice President v. Vice President, etc.). Ramadan proposed that the duel be held in a neutral land, with each party using the same weapons, and with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presiding as the supervisor. On behalf of President Bush, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer declined the offer.
  • During the 2004 Republican National Convention, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat who supported the reelection of President Bush, angrily retorted to political commentator Chris Matthews that he wished he lived in a time when he could challenge someone to a duel. The satellite connection between the two was bad, and Senator Miller erroneously heard Matthews insult Southern voters.

Duels in legend and mythology[edit]

Notable examples of single combat in legend and mythology

Duels in fiction[edit]

  • Westley (Dread Pirate Roberts) versus Iñigo Montoya: Inigo loses but survives.
  • Inigo Montoya versus Count Rugen: Inigo avenges his father's death.
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père; D'Artagnan commits himself to fight three consecutive duels with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis
  • Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand; Cyrano is famous for his dueling.
  • The Years Between, four-book series by Paul Féval, fils; and M Lassez: - 1928 features the ongoing conflict between the fiery Cyrano de Bergerac and D'Artagnan the aging legend. Three times they fight; various interruptions prevent either Gascon from receiving satisfaction.
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos; Valmont versus Danceny, Valmont allows himself to be killed.
  • A Sentimental Education by Flaubert
  • The Duel (also known as The Point of Honor: A Military Tale) by Joseph Conrad; Two officers of Napoleon Bonaparte's army fight a number of duels over many years. The story was transferred to the screen in 1977 by Ridley Scott as The Duellists.
  • The Duel, a philosophic novella by Anton Chekhov
  • War and Peace: Pierre and Dolokhov duel. Leo Tolstoy himself barely escaped duels with fellow writers Ivan Turgenev and Nikolai Nekrasov.
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen has an "offstage" duel between Colonel Brandon and Mr. Willoughby over the seduction of Colonel Brandon's adopted daughter.
  • Fathers and Sons: Kirsanov and Bazarov duel is a culminating point of the novel; Turgenev also wrote a short story called Duellist.
  • Vladimir Nabokov's Ada, or Ardour.
  • HMS Surprise by Patrick O'Brian; Stephen Maturin fights and kills Richard Canning over Diana Villers. Based on the Ashton–Allen duel?
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower in the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester; Horatio Hornblower duels Jack Simpson
  • In Ridicule, a French film directed by Patrice Leconte, protagonist Gregoire Ponceludon kills one of King Louis XVI's officers in a pistol duel.
  • The Highlander series features numerous duels between immortal warriors destined to fight. In the first film, a humorous duel occurs where a very drunk immortal fences with a sober man, is repeatedly run through but keeps getting back up to fight.
  • In Tombstone, Doc Holliday stands in for his friend Wyatt Earp in a duel with Johnny Ringo. This is based on one of several explanations for the unusual circumstances surrounding Ringo's death.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, The Count of Monte Cristo (Edmond Dantès) plans a duel with Viscount Albert Mondego, de Morcerf. However, no duel is ever fought, and Mondego apologizes. Monte Cristo also almost duels Mondego's father, the Count Fernand Mondego de Morcerf, but he learns Monte Cristo's true identity and bows out. There was also a recollection of Noitier de Villefort of him engaging with a duel and killing his opponent. He told the account to Franz d'Épinay, the son of the one Noitier killed. He did this in order to break up the plans of marriage to his granddaughter, Valentine.
  • Libertine, a Baroque-style music video by Mylène Farmer starts with a duel between the singer and a man, ending in the man's death.
  • The Skulls, a 2000 movie, culminates in a duel between the two main characters, though neither fires on the other and the fight is eventually interrupted by the father of one of the participants.
  • Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald; McKisco vs Barban.
  • Doctor Who, "The Christmas Invasion": The Doctor duels with the Sycorax Leader in a fight for Planet Earth
  • Barry Lyndon, the 1975 movie by Stanley Kubrick includes many duels. It begins with a duel in which Barry's father is mortally shot by an unknown man. Years later Barry duels Captain Quin for Nora. The movie culminates in a duel with Barry's stepson, Lord Bullingdon. This last duel is not in the original novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray.
  • In the novel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, a number of the students at Hogwarts attend a duelling lesson conducted by teachers Gilderoy Lockhart and Severus Snape. It was during a supervised practice duel with Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter's nature as a parselmouth was exposed.
  • Dark Shadows: in the 1795 storyline, Barnabas Collins had fought a duel against Jeremiah Collins in a duel after he learned he married his love Josette du Pres thanks to Angelique's spell, and the duel caused Jeremiah's death.
  • In The Devils by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolay Stavrogin duels Gaganov over a family insult. During the duel, Stavrogin intentionally fires into the air, which infuriates Gaganov.
  • In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet fights a duel with Laertes. The weapons are not supposed to be fatal, but Laertes' sword is sharp, and the tip is poisoned. Both men are killed.
  • In Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser, Flashman is forced into fighting a duel after a brief affair with a fellow officer's lover. Flashman gains a free shot after promising a large sum of money to the pistol loader to give his opponent blanks in his gun, but rather than attempt to kill his opponent, instead delopes and accidentally shoots the top off a bottle thirty yards away, an action that gives him instant fame and the respect of Duke of Wellington. In his next novel Royal Flash Flashman is kidnapped by Otto von Bismarck and is forced to acquire a pair of dueling scars administered by the duelmaster De Gautet. In disgust at having his face sliced like paper, Flashman lunges De Gautet and cuts his abdomen.
  • In the Simpsons episode "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)", Homer, imitating Zorro, inadvertently challenges a gun-toting Southern colonel to a duel. Initially avoiding the duel by running to the country (and inventing 'Tomacco'), the eventual duel results in Homer being shot in the arm (subsequently refusing hospitalisation for pie).
  • In the Blackadder the Third episode "Duel and Duality", the Prince Regent (Hugh Laurie) is challenged to a duel by the Duke of Wellington (Stephen Fry). Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) assumes his place but is saved in the eventual duel (using cannon) by a cigarette case. The Prince, in Blackadder's clothing, is shot dead by the Duke for insolence with Blackadder assuming the role of Prince (and later King).
  • In Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, the long-standing personal and philosophical differences between Naptha and Settembrini eventually result in a pistol duel; when Settembrini delopes by shooting into the air, Naphta calls him a coward and shoots himself.
  • In the Metal Gear Solid series there have been a number of duels, most of them between the hero and boss characters. Three memorable ones are; The duel between Solid Snake and Grey Fox, barehanded over a minefield. The duel between Liquid Snake and Solid Snake, barehanded fighting on Metal Gear REX; and the final duel between Old Snake and Liquid Ocelot, on top of Outer Haven.
  • Howard Waldrop's Fin de Cyclé culminates in a duel between Alfred Jarry and an antagonistic journalist, riding bicycles atop the Eiffel Tower.
  • In the videogame Red Dead Redemption, John Marston participates in several duels, in and out of the story.
  • In the movie Die Another Day, James Bond and Gustav Graves duel with a variety of swords, which ends with Bond slashing Graves across the chest with a longsword.
  • In the Firefly episode Shindig, Mal fights a duel against aristocrat Atherton Wing over a matter of Inara's honour. Despite Atherton's far superior skills as a swordsman, Mal gets the better of him with a deft punch, but then refuses to deliver the final blow, leaving Atherton humiliated.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://photos.historical-markers.org/v/virginia/va-arlington/162_6279.jpg.html
  2. ^ "A duel involving Representative Sam Houston of Tennessee: September 22, 1826". United States House of Representatives, History, Art & Archives: Historical Highlights. Retrieved 2013-02-23. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Jonathan Cilley: Maine Martyr to the Code Duello[dead link]
  5. ^ "Deadly Game Of Politics Stole Read's Immortality", August 22, 1999, \\Jim Robison, Orlando Sentinel
  6. ^ "Abraham Lincoln Prepares to Fight a Saber Duel", originally published by Civil War Times magazine
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters
  8. ^ Chivalrous Southrons, New York Times, 8 June 1882 
  9. ^ This Day in History: Doc Holliday
  10. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, Chapter 61, Han Annal 53, Emperor Xian of Han, the Second Year of Xingping
  11. ^ "Battle of the elephants: Giant warriors re-enact ancient fight in Thailand", dailymail.co.uk
  12. ^ Prescott Journal Miner: April 16, 1920
  13. ^ Adams, Gavin John (2012). Letters to John Law. Newton Page. pp. xxi. 
  14. ^ "The Newgate Calendar - RICHARD THORNHILL, ESQ". Exclassics.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  15. ^ "The Newgate Calendar - CAPTAIN CLARKE, R.N". Exclassics.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  16. ^ a b c "Hyde Park | British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. 2003-06-22. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  17. ^ a b Robert Baldick: The Duel: A History of Duelling
  18. ^ Tracy, Nicholas (2006). Who's Who in Nelson's Navy: 200 Naval Heroes. London: Chatham Publishing. p. 236. ISBN 1-86176-244-5. 
  19. ^ Hopton, Richard (2008). "Prologue". Pistols at Dawn: A History of Duelling. Piatkus Books. pp. 1–5. ISBN 978-0-7499-2996-1. 
  20. ^ http://multitext.ucc.ie/d/Daniel_OConnell
  21. ^ "The Newgate Calendar - THE EARL OF CARDIGAN". Exclassics.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  22. ^ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Englefield_Green#The_last_duel_in_England
  23. ^ http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/duel/ lists a later fatal duel on 22 May 1838 at Verdun, Québec,
  24. ^ "Marcel Proust's Duel, by Douglas W. Alden". The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  25. ^ Account of the Defferre-Ribière duel with pictures (French).
  26. ^ Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez,Nicola Spinosa,Andrea Bayer: Jusepe de Ribera: 1591 - 1652
  27. ^ "Il Duce's Deulist Dies in Argentina," Spartanburg Herald, September 15, 1937.
  28. ^ "Fought duel with Swords," Montreal Gazette, July 3, 1924.
  29. ^ Bakunin: The Creative Passion. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  30. ^ "Women Watch Duel of Russian Generals," NY Times, March 19, 1908.
  31. ^ "Ex-President of Uruguay Kills Editor In Formal Duel Fought With Pistols," NY Times, April 3, 1920.
  32. ^ [2][dead link]
  33. ^ Cecilia af Klercker (1903). Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok II 1783-1788 (The diaries of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte II) (in Swedish). P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. p. 212. 
  34. ^ "BBC article: Bush challenged to 'duel' with Saddam, October 3, 2002". BBC News. 2002-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  35. ^ From Kelly Wallace (CNN Washington Bureau) (October 3, 2002). "CNN.com - W.H. rejects Bush-Saddam duel offer - Oct. 3, 2002". Archives.cnn.com. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • The Duel: A history of duelling by Robert Baldrick
  • Banks, Stephen. A Polite Exchange of Bullets; The Duel and the English Gentleman, 1750–1850, (Woodbridge: Boydell 2010)
  • Banks, Stephen. "Very little law in the case: Contests of Honour and the Subversion of the English Criminal Courts, 1780-1845"

(2008) 19(3) King's Law Journal 575-594.

  • Banks, Stephen. "Dangerous Friends: The Second and the Later English Duel" (2009) 32 (1) Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies'' 87-106.
  • Banks, Stephen. "Killing with Courtesy: The English Duelist, 1785-1845," (2008) 47 Journal of British Studies 528-558.

External links[edit]