Battle Of Cầu Giấy (Paper Bridge)
The Battle of Cầu Giấy or Paper Bridge, fought on 19 May 1883, was one of the numerous clashes during the Tonkin campaign (1883–86) between the French and the Black Flags. A small French force under the command of capitaine de vaisseau Henri Rivière attacked a strong Black Flag defensive position near the village of Cầu Giấy a few miles to the west of Hanoi, known to the French as Paper Bridge (Pont de Papier). After initial successes, the French were eventually enveloped on both wings, and were only with difficulty able to regroup and fall back to Hanoi. Rivière and several other senior officers were killed in the action.
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... The battle was a serious defeat for the French, but its ultimate result was to strengthen the resolve of Jules Ferry's administration to entrench the French protectorate in Tonkin ... The news of Rivière's defeat and death reached Paris on 26 May, and the French navy minister Admiral Peyron declared 'France will avenge her glorious children!' The Chamber of Deputies immediately voted a credit of three and a half million francs to finance the despatch of a strong expeditionary corps to Tonkin ...
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“Forty years after a battle it is easy for a noncombatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to have to direct the fighting while involved in the obscuring smoke of it.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)