France Fifty-sixth Balloon of the Siege: 1871 entire letter to Madam Gadala, Arcachon, Bordeaux, franked by Napoleon III 20c Empire tied by neat red official circular date stamp for ‘9 JAN’ carried by the Balloon 'Gambetta' which departed Paris on the 10th January 1871. Backstamped with Arcachon and Bordeaux arrival marks for ‘15 JAN’.
A fine and attractive entire letter, offered with an English translation of the original contents. A fascinating and personal insight into the suffering experienced in Paris during the Siege.
The Gambetta was named after leader of the resistance, Leon Gambetta who had escaped Paris by Balloon on 7th October 1870.
Gadala writes to his wife of the Prussian atrocities committed during the war, "The Prussians only recognise strength and they have found it easy to kill old people, women and children... We cannot believe we are dealing with civilised people."
The letter was sent just eighteen days before the surrender of Paris to the Germans on 28th January 1871.
During the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, the post from the capital survived thanks to a fleet of balloons and a host of carrier pigeons. At the time, Paris had been shelled by the Germans and Napoleon’s empire had fallen.
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