|This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:|
|A fact from this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the On this day... section on December 7, 2005, December 7, 2006, December 7, 2007, December 7, 2008, December 7, 2009, December 7, 2011, and December 7, 2014.|
- 1 North Carolina?
- 2 Copyedit and NPOV nomination
- 3 comments
- 4 Napoleonic Wars Career
- 5 Post Napoleon Career / Ney During the Hundred Days
- 6 Early life comment
- 7 Please clarify Marriage and children
- 8 Translation of "Le Rougeaud"
- 9 The eventual fate of Michael Ney
- 10 Eugène Michel Ney
- 11 Return of the North Carolina connection
- 12 Kingdom of France tricolor is backwards?
- 13 Possible escape section
There is a tale in my family that Ney came to America after being supposedly executed. He taught my ancestors as a travelling tutor, in Wake County, North Carolina. He never let on about his past except during evenings when he became intoxicated and strutted around, speaking French, and claiming to be Marshal of France.
For your information.
John Coan email@example.com
- Yes, this was on Unsolved Mysteries, about a red haired French immigrant School Master in North Carolina who may have been Michel Ney. It might be worth a mention in the article, as long as it is clearly stated as unverified, but the editor adding this would have to be very very careful with the phrasing. Additionally, while the concept is fascinating, I am not sure it really is relevant to this article, instead more an afterthought or a final exclamation point to the legend to say, "Oh yeah, he might have escaped to America." GestaltG 20:22, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
- Actually this legend seems to be more credible than appears at first glance. There do appear to be some legitimate researchers who have found evidence supporting it. See http://library.davidson.edu/archives/ency/ney.asp and http://www.salisburypost.com/2001oct/100601c.htm. The mention of handwriting matches is especially noteworthy. Kadri
It's just so damn lowbrow. Must every Wikipedia article eventually devote space to conspiracy theorists? It's like the National Enquirer version of history. Profhum (talk) 06:20, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
- The article citation says the evidence is "tenuous at best" then proceeds to give the exact opposite in the form of both circumstantial AND physical evidence that in my opinion, does too good a job of making this complete and utter fact. Is there any way to cite a source that goes about picking this "legend" apart? It seems like the only evidence against Ney's survival in America is simply saying "not true", whereas the side supporting it has a buttload of evidence from his similar handwriting, similar appearance, and similar physical scars and admission. I'm never one to believe in conspiracy theories; I believe the US did land on the moon and too much evidence supports that, and I believe Lee Oswald killed Kennedy alone and there is too much evidence to support that. But this "legend" has too much evidence supporting the "conspiracy" theory, and no evidence not supporting it. Someone please clarify this? AndarielHalo (talk) 15:49, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The man who called himself Peter Stuart Ney is known to have worked in North Carolina as well as South Carolina. Pleas read the discussion under the subtitle “The eventual fate of Michael Ney”. In it I have done my best to debunk all counterarguments I could come up with.
Copyedit and NPOV nomination
I have nominated this page for the following reasons:
- First, this article needs "clean-up" and some Wikifying, which I have started but not completed. I have edited down to the Battle of Waterloo, but I am currently working on another more involved article and cannot finish the edit. Hopefully, someone will finish.
- Second, in reading this page, I got the sense of "hero-worship" by the original editor. Thus, this page lacks a NPOV and needs to be expanded and subdivided. Particularly, in opposite to the overall tone of this page, other sources have indicated that Marshal Ney was not particularly brilliant, and thus the discussion of the criticisms of Ney need to be expanded. GestaltG 20:22, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
A couple of comments:
- It would be nice to have something covering the gap between his early life as a manual laborer and his later life as an extremely high-ranking officer.
- The part about "However, Ney also had part of the blame, for he was cowardly" may be true, but it's extremely incongruous compared to his depiction in the rest of the article. If it's true, the article should state it in a way that acknowledges this incongruity. Otherwise it's simply confusing for the reader.--188.8.131.52 06:31, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
- I agree, I added a request for a citation, the "cowardly' part seams to be personal opinion.--Bryson 14:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Napoleonic Wars Career
I re-wrote the 'Soldier for Napoleon' section, which I found to be filled with both hero worship and statements about Ney being a terrible commander, as well as many un-sourced statments. I have re-written it in a chronological order, fact based way (ie. dates, places, titles, events etc.), and added many notes. I also added the ‘Revolutionary Wars Career’ section to cover a previously void part of Ney’s life. --Bryson 23:18, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
"During the retreat from Torres Vedras, Ney worsted Wellington in a series of much-lauded rearguard actions" Shouldn't the word "worsted" be "bested" if he defeated or had the upper hand? Worsted is a term used for textiles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 22:31, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Post Napoleon Career / Ney During the Hundred Days
I replaced the ‘After Napoleon’s fall’ section with two re-written sections. I have keep some original text, but the rest I wrote to fill in some details, as well as added a number of notes. --Bryson 04:11, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Early life comment
Is it just me or does "Michel Ney was born in Saarlouis, a French enclave in the German-speaking Lorraine, something that made Ney bilingual." read rather poorly. I have also read in Military History that Ney was of half Scottish stock, I also read this on a history web site, but when I added said comments, they were removed. --Diarmada
- I wrote that section and have to admitt that me english isn't the best in world since I am swedish, but I try and hope that my fellow editors will help. About the other thing, I found nothing about Ney being half scottish in the sources I used to rewrite the early life section, so I removed it. Can You give sources were you have read it and if it was his mother or father that was scottish? Carl Logan 23:28, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
- It could use re-wording; I did not change that section when I cleaned up this article awhile back. I have a biography on Ney, Ney spoke German at home and learned French at school, but I can’t find anything about him being part Scottish – do you have a source for Ney being half Scottish?--Bryson 23:36, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
- I came across the following article after typing "Michel Ney Scottish in Google. It is far from empirical, but it was the first article that I checked, my time is limited so maybe this will point someone in the right direction, I do remember the Military History article on Ney, I will try and root it out:
"December 7, 1815- MARSHAL NEY SHOT. Michel Ney, Napoleon's right hand at Waterloo, was executed. Called Le Rougeaud -the Redhead- because his hair color was inherited from his Scottish father, who was a follower of Bonny Prince Charlie. After the French defeat at Waterloo, the restored French royalty needed a scapegoat to blame for the embarrassing ease with which the Corsican upstart took back France. Michel Ney was courtmartialed by his peers, executed against a wall in the Luxembourg Gardens. The fiery warrior offered no repentance and even gave the :"Ready, Aim, -Fire!" order himself. Recently some theorists have claimed that the execution was a sham arranged by Wellington and that Ney lived on. Their reasons were that the public was kept away from the execution site and that the soldiers of the firing squad were handpicked from Neys old veterans. When shot he is said to have fallen forward instead of backwards after being hit by 12 -68 caliber musketballs, and that the customary coup de grace pistol shot to the brain was not administered. Instead, the body was immediately bundled up into a carriage and driven away. That night the officer in charge of the firing squad was arrested by the Royalist government. Twenty two years later in 1837 on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean a French immigrant schoolteacher named Michael Stewart died of old age in North Carolina. On his deathbed he told his confessor " I swear before God that I am Michel Ney, Marshal of France." When embalming the body his family saw he was covered with scars from old musket and saber wounds." Diarmada 10:08, 14 February 2007 (UTC)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Diarmada (talk • contribs) 10:08, 14 February 2007 (UTC).
In the French edition of Wikipedia his mother is said to be Scottish. It also recites some anecdotes about a Pierre Ney living in North Carolina, who claimed to be Marshall Ney. There is no source quoted in the French Wikipedia edition. By the way, they don't bother with embroidering his early life. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 00:44, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Please clarify Marriage and children
These points could do with clarification
- by whom he had issue extinct in male line and a bastard son married without issue. Was the bastard son with someone else? Presumably but I'm reluctant to change the original sense of the words since I don't know; did they have the son together but he was technically bastard for some reason? Or was he not a bastard but something else that made him ineligible to inherit?
- Edgar Napoléon Henry, recognized as 3rd Prince de La Moskowa 1857... the title went back to his older brother's issue. Which brother's issue?
- Joseph Napoléon, 2nd Prince de La Moskowa... Michel Louis Félix, recognized as 2nd Duc d'Elchingen 1826. Presumably Joseph isn't "recognised" since he got it as soon as his father died?
- is this correct? (Maybe these are standard terms in this field, if so a note in reply to this would be useful; if not please clarify the article)
- if so why the gap from his father's death to the 2nd Duc being recognised?
- The gap, as I understand it, was because Napoleonic titles weren't initially recognised by the restored Bourbon kings. There were two sons, and the titles were divided between them and their issue. When one son's line ended, the titles passed to the other son's descendants. Coemgenus 16:27, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Translation of "Le Rougeaud"
Wouldn't "Big Red" or just "Red" be a better translation of this nickname? Nobody is called "ruddy" in English anymore, and "Red" is a common English nickname for red-headed people.Mtsmallwood (talk) 05:45, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
The eventual fate of Michael Ney
|The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.|
I don’t think Michael was shot to death in 1815. I think Peter Stuart Ney with the greatest probability was Michael Ney. These are my arguments:
¤ When Michael was to be executed by firing squad several people where watching. According to them he literally hit his own chest at the same time as the shoots where fired.
These arguments are taken from an article by Pascal Cazottes published on the website of the International Napoleonic Society (http://www.napoleonicsociety.com). If you want to read the original French version please click on “French”, then on the word “Articles” at the left side. Then you get to a list of articles where you can choose “Le Maréchal Ney est-il mort en Amérique ?”. If you want the English translation by Ben Weider you can choose “English”, then “Articles” and finally “Did Marshal Ney die in America ?”. Sure, the translator is stated as “Jinny Addesa” but it was used as user name by Ben. This is no secret: everyone who received an e-mail from Ben during his last years knows this. Although the sender was stated as “Jinny Addesa” the e-mails where consistently signed with “Ben Weider”. I had myself a lengthy correspondence with Ben during 2007 about the cause of Napoléon’s death. Curiously, the captions of the article are in French. I think Ben did not manage to finish the translation before he died. This would explain the several strange expressions in the translation. They don’t follow English language usage but are still understandable. Please also note that Moscow is consistently spelled “Moskowa” in the translation. All quotes in my list of arguments are copied from the English translation of the article. I don’t know the original language of them.
In the article on the website of the International Napoleonic Society Pascal Cazottes gives an explanation for how Michael Ney could survive his own apparent execution. The soldiers of the firing squad took aim besides him so they did not shot him to death. Michael had a bladder full of animal blood hidden under his clothes. When the soldiers fired he hit his own chest breaking the bladder and releasing its content of blood. At the same time he intentionally collapsed. It looked like a real execution albeit slightly different than expected. Please note that these where the expectations of persons which had seen people being executed by firing squad before and thus know what to expect. After taking farewell of his family Michael somehow managed to escape to Bordeaux. No doubt the greatest problem would have been avoiding people which did not only recognise him but also where ready to report him. In Bordeaux he went on board a ship bound for Philadelphia together with two friends. In Philadelphia a fellow passenger saw Michael visiting a shop to bye a flute. In the article Pascal Cazottes does not tell what he think Michael did during the following three years. What we know for sure is that a 50 year old man matching the description of Michael turned up in a village in South Carolina in 1819. He introduced himself as Peter Stuart Ney and offered to work as a teacher. In this profession he made a living in different places until his retirement at the age of 73. If I understand it correctly he lived his last four years in the home of his friend Osborne Giles Foard in Rowan Mills, North Carolina. On his death bed in 1846 Peter confessed that he was Michael. This is where the search for truth about Michael Ney’s eventual fate begins. If what he confessed on his death bed was true most of the questions around the mysterious Peter Stuart Ney can be answered. My points are these:
¤ The unexpected details around Michael Ney’s execution can be explained by it being faked.
To be really sure about the eventual fate of Michael Ney we could open his grave in Paris as well as Peter Stuart Ney’s grave. What we find in these graves could be DNA-tested and compared to a male line only descendant of Michael. A sample form the real Michael Ney should not only have the same Y chromosome as the descendant. The similarity of the rest of the genome should also be consistent with the number of generations between them. For example if the man is a fifth generation descendant he and Michael should share 1/32 of the variable genes. However, as mentioned before the grave in Paris said to be Michael’s is most likely empty. If it is and the DNA-testing of Peter’s remains turns out to be as described only the most ignorant and stubborn will not be convinced that Michael died a natural death in 1846. I know that people have different opinions about the suitability of such an examination. If there is a way to find out if a grave is empty without opening it I would certainly welcome that.
Please note that I am not a conspiracy theorist. In fact I am convinced that real-world conspiracies are very different from what conspiracy theorists imagine. These people have far too many misconceptions about how things work especially the human mind and the laws of nature. Conspiracy theorists also commit many logical fallacies including frequent circular reasoning. As soon as I get time and an account on a web hosting service I will write a comparison between conspiracy theories and real-world conspiracies and post it on the discussion page of the headword “conspiracy theory”. For me history is the search for the objective truth about the past. Sometimes this search leads to major revisions of details, a person turns out to have died from an other cause, an other person turns out to have had an other fate, a certain procedure does not work as intended, or an old invention turns out to have existed in few and precious copies long earlier. In each of these cases the revised scenario was already considered possible by mainstream science. I am not an expert just an ordinary sceptic. As long as you refrain from ad hominem attacks on me questions will be answered to the best of my ability.
2010-06-04 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.
Let me state that I don’t admire Michael. In fact I don’t know much about him. I am not even sure for what crime he was sentenced to death. It may have been for betraying his king but in that case I can understand him. Michael may well have wanted to follow Napoléon to Elba. However, if this was not possible he would have tried to make the best out of his bad situation. I consider it morally unfair to demand unswerving loyalty to a leader a person has not voluntarily chosen to follow. Anyway, I am against death penalty since I don’t think anyone deserves to die. As such I consider it heroic to save the life of someone sentenced to death. Although Michael Ney’s eventual fate is still being researched his origin is already known beyond a reasonable doubt. The claim that Michael was an American is a clear example of pseudohistory.
In the article on the website of the International Napoleonic society Pascal Cazottes does not tell how he knows how Michael’s execution was faked. But the scenario he describes is entirely plausible. Michael could have received a bladder filled with animal blood from the priest known to have accompanied him to the place of his apparent execution. He would have hidden it between his chest and his clothes as fast as possible. The soldiers intended to execute him would have aimed as close to him as they could without actually shooting him. At the same time as the soldiers fired Michael would hit the bladder to break it and at the same time intentionally collapse. He then had to lie as motionless as possible and keep his breath when he heard people nearby. Furthermore, he would have had to keep his eyes closed so that their appearance would not revel that he was still alive. If he closed his eyes right before he collapsed this would seem natural. All combined would have made him appear dead as long as nobody checked his pulse. We know with reasonable certainty that nobody did this. To make sure that people would not have stayed close to him longer than he could reasonably keep his breath the soldiers could have been placed in a ring with their backs towards him. If they had been placed at some distance they could have prevented people from getting close enough to see the small movement of his chest. When the seemingly dead Michael was transported away he had to keep his breath from the time they approached him and until they had put him in his body bag. However, this would not have had to take more than a couple of minutes. I see no sensible reason to think that the body bags used in 1815 would have been airtight so breathing inside one would not have been any problem. He only had to lie motionless enough for no intentional movement to be visible from the outside of the bag. The nun intended to wash the dead Michael would have been involved in the forgery too. Instead of washing a dead man she would have waited up to a living man washing off the blood and putting on clean clothes. When he took farewell of his family they could have given him things he needed for the journey to the United States. None of these things would have been marked in such a way as to make it easy to find out the identity of the owner. If a passport was needed he would have used the fake one made for him by Joseph Fouché shortly after the battle of Waterloo. Back then we know that Michael tried to flee to the United States but this attempt to escape failed. The second time he would have had to avoid people which would not only recognise him but where also willing to report him. Once the ship was to far from the French coast for visual communication he would be relatively safe provided he called himself something else and did not tell too much about his past. If the execution was faked in the way described and all these precautionary measures taken Michael could very well have died a natural death at the age of 77.
This is text is not based on my original research but that of Pascal Cazottes. Neither the original French version nor the English translation of the article has any references to sources. However, it is quite clear that he bases his claims on contemporary eyewitness accounts. Several times he quotes them directly. When he does not he often mentions the name of eyewitnesses or tells which people were present at a certain occasion. I consider this to be the next best thing to formal referencing. For example the guy who said that he saw Michael in Philadelphia had the surname Pietri. My educated guess is that very few people would have believed him when he said that he had seen Michael alive.
Pascal Cazottes suggests that Michael’s life was saved by the Freemasons. I know that the Freemasons are one of the favourite enemies of conspiracy theorists due to the secretiveness of this organisation. However, this is something they had both motif and means to do. Michael is known to have been a Freemason. So were several of the people intended to carry out his execution. It is also known how friendly the Freemasons were to each other outside the very battles. As such there would have been motif for saving his life. The means described are simple, mundane ones already known to have existed at the time. The plan may have required extraordinary bravery but no superhuman skill. Michael had to stand very close to the spot the firing squad aimed for and pretend to be shot in the way previously described. Then he had to play dead until he was alone with the nun. (Although she would have been involved in the plan she would not have been a Freemason since women were not allowed into this organisation.) As previously described the persons responsible for his execution could have taken measures to prevent people from finding out that he was still alive. Michael’s escape was ultimately possible because he would be recognised by very few people he had not met personally. For comparison Joachim Murat was too famous to have escaped this way and as such must have been shot to death. This is also why Joseph Bonaparte had to openly take refuge in the United States. Both had been made kings by Napoléon I Bonaparte – Joachim mostly because he was married to Napoléon’s sister Caroline – and had a lot of coins made with their images during several years. In fact the widespread use of coins with Napoléon’s image is part of my reasoning behind the idea that the 2001 movie “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is pseudohistory rather than alternate history. A possible look-alike could not have left his home district or home town without being taken for the person he was not. Personally, I am completely convinced that Napoléon never used a political decoy. The closest to a suitable decoy would have been his own brother Lucien. Yet differences in posture, age and eye colour made credible impersonating impossible. I have more arguments but I will describe them later. Let me take a few examples of famous historical persons claimed to have had another eventual fate than the history books tells:
¤ Louis Charles de Capet most likely died in prison in 1795. The dead boy’s heart was smuggled out by one of the physicians performing the autopsy. The heart was embalmed and kept in an ornamented glass container for over 200 years. In 2000 this heart was DNA-tested and found to come from the son of Marie Antoinette. The only problem is that the heart might have been from his brother but I don’t know how likely this is.
In most cases like these pseudohistorians claim things to have happened in way they could not have happened. My point is that the theory that Michael Ney was not shot to death in 1815 differs radically from conspiracy theories. It neither begun with wrongful expectations nor a paranoid view of the government nor inability to imagine that something can happen by accident. Instead it begins with an old man’s confession on his deathbed, something that never occurs to most conspiracy theorists. As such there is no claim of secrecy so tight that literary nothing comes out. Just like many real-world conspiracies it is the existence of unambiguous leaks which makes it possible to tell that there was any secret plan at all. The evidence is not found in the most easily available places. Instead it consists mainly of the written testimony of contemporary eyewitnesses laboriously collected. These eyewitnesses were people present when Michael was apparently executed, people which knew Louise Ney personally and people which meet and talked with Peter Stuart Ney. The two comparisons of Michael’s and Peter’s handwriting was made by persons who’s expertise was recognised by people with formal qualifications. Finally, we have the guy who opened Michael’s grave in Paris and witnessed that it was empty. I see no motif for him to lie about such a thing.
2010-06-08 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.
Eugène Michel Ney
Is it known under which circumstances Eugène Michel Ney died? Pascal Cazottes has suggested that he did not die but instead immigrated to the United States. I just want to know if such a scenario is plausible. The guy referred to as “E.M.C. Neyman” may well have lied when he claimed to be the son of Michael and Louise Ney. Questioning is nothing wrong. The problems arise when people reject without thinking.
2010-06-09 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.
Return of the North Carolina connection
I noticed another editor had placed a huge section about PS Ney and Michel Ney's possible escape. I removed it because it was overly long, incited, and speculative, as well as un-encyclopedic. I think perhaps that info should be put into a Peter Stuart Ney article, and have a link to that on this page. I live in Iredell County, about 20 minutes from PS Ney's grave, and would be more than willing to help, including by adding my own pictures of the grave. I just don't think this article is he place for more than a very very brief summary. Cdtew (talk) 03:33, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
- the entire article needs rewriting and the whole section about PS Ney needs to be reduced to a couple of phrases, which is actually more yhan it deserves, really. The whole Ps Ney story is at best highly speculative and probably is a hoax altogether. What reslly belongs in such an article is more detail about this extraordinary man's childhood , his battlefield exploits, his temperament and his legacy. To take just an example: he wrote a manual for infantry tactics, which was significant at the time and which is not even mentioned... --Alexandru Demian (talk) 22:11, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Kingdom of France tricolor is backwards?
- Possibly to distinguish it from the Republic's tricolour (10 August (French Revolution)).--Technopat (talk) 09:06, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Possible escape section
The sourcing is really weak. First two paragraphs have none with a citation needed tag. Some of the other links are 404, and another is from a Time magazine letter from 1936. This section could be removed entirely if better sourcing isn't found. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 20:56, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
- Looking a bit deeper. One source was to a Masonic lodge. The page 404's and now links to a facebook page. Another is a local news story that cites an amateur historian and his personal theory. These are weak, weak sources. I removed the entire section, citing WP:UNDUE. Naive readers will be mislead into thinking this is a mainstream theory. Re-insert the section when there is stronger sourcing. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 21:08, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
- There is no reference to this in any of the mainstream biographies I've read. Unless at least a couple of them are provided, the section can only be considered as being fiction and should stay out of the article. --Alexandru Demian (talk) 10:32, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
- Agreed fully. This seems like a simple case of WP:UNDUE.
- Note that the IP editor keeps re-instating the section without discussing it. I invite this IP editor to produce mainstream sources to back up this section. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 19:18, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
- I concur that this story does NOT belong in article. Many links provided in previous comments have gone to rot. I never found a reliable source. I read of Ney as a child and recall the story as being presented as fact, and his purported last words in the story were: "I am Michel Ney, Marshal of France" The Masonic Order could have indeed pulled this off, but there are no reliable sources. Here are some recent links: http://www.napoleon-series.org/faq/c_ney.html . Also see Find a Grave http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gs& and search Peter Stuart Ney. There is a book: Historic Doubts as to the Execution of Marshal Ney, James A. Weston 1895, which is NOT a reliable reference.Tjlynnjr (talk) 19:29, 29 April 2014 (UTC).