Alfred-Amédée Dodds

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Alfred-Amédée Dodds
Gen. Alfred-Amédée Dodds on the cover of L'Illustration, 20 May 1893.
Born6 February 1842
Saint-Louis, Senegal
Died17 July 1922(1922-07-17) (aged 80)
Paris, France
Service/branchFrench Army
Years of service1862–1907
RankGeneral de division
Battles/warsFranco-Prussian War
Sino-French War
Second Franco-Dahomean War

Alfred-Amédée Dodds (6 February 1842 – 17 July 1922) was a French General, commander of French forces in Sénégal from 1890, commander of French forces in the second expeditionary force to suppress The Boxer Rebellion, and commander of French forces during the Second Franco-Dahomean War. As both an octoroon and a metis, he was famed in the African Diaspora at the beginning of the Twentieth century as an example of African leadership, despite the fact that he led the destruction of one of West Africa's most powerful pre-colonial states.

In 1892-1894, he led the conquest of Dahomey (present-day Bénin) against King Béhanzin. Close to the French Radical Party, Alfred Dodds owed his nomination as expedition leader to the personal intervention of powerful French politician Georges Clémenceau.

A graduate of Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1862, he was a lieutenant in the marine infantry in 1867. In service in the French colony of La Réunion, he distinguished himself during the riots of 1868.

He made captain in December 1869. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, his military prowess was noted at Bazeilles when he was made Knight of the Legion of Honour). Captured, he escaped after the capitulation at Sedan and rejoined the Armée de la Loire and then the Armée de l'Est. He was held in Switzerland at the end of the war.

He served in Senegal from 1871 to 1878, in Cochinchina from 1878 to 1879. Made battalion leader in 1879, he then served again in Senegal and participated in the fighting in Casamance from 1879 to 1883. Then made a lieutenant colonel, he served in the war of conquest in Tonkin.

A colonel in 1887, he served in the counter-insurgency warfare in the Fouta Djalon in French Guinea. He was decorated Commander of the Legion of Honour in 1891 and was given command of the 8th Colonial Army in Toulon. Then, in 1892, he was appointed Superior Commander of Dahomey and led the Second Franco-Dahomean War.

Dodds was named Brigadier General, Inspector of Naval Infantry, and Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour in 1892, then General of Division in 1898. In 1900, he was given the High Command of colonial troops in French Indochina.

From 1903 to 1907 he was High Commander of Naval Infantry and a member of the High Council of War. He was given the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour and Military Medallion in 1907.

He died in 1922.