Capture of Nam Định (1883) - Aftermath


The French found 98 cannon in the citadel of Nam Dinh, including five 30-millimetre rifled French guns ceded under the 1874 treaty. As the citadel was smaller than Hanoi’s and remained defensible despite the bombardment it had just suffered, Rivière decided to occupy it. He appointed chef de bataillon Badens commandant supérieur of Nam Dinh, giving him a garrison of 440 men and two gunboats. Badens quickly restored order in the town and reconstituted its municipal government, appointing new magistrates on the advice of the head of the local Catholic mission. By 31 March, when Rivière returned to Hanoi, the shops had reopened and many of the inhabitants had returned.

Rivière praised the conduct of the marine infantry who had made the assault, some of whom had also taken part in the capture of Hanoi citadel on 25 April 1882, in the following order of the day:

Vous venez de montrer, à la prise de la citadelle de Nam-Dinh, le même entrain, la même valeur, le même dévouement qu’à la prise de la citadelle d’Hanoï. Je vous confonds les uns et les autres, les anciens comme les nouveaux, dans cet éloge, que notre brave colonel blessé à votre tête vous décerne comme moi. La Patrie, qui vous suit de cœur dans les pays lointains où nous sommes, tressaillera bientôt d’émotion et d’orgueil en apprenant ce que vous avez fait. Vive la France!

(You have just shown, at the capture of the citadel of Nam Dinh, the same enthusiasm, the same valour and the same devotion as at the capture of the citadel of Hanoi. I congratulate you all, making no distinction between those there then and those here now, between old hands and newcomers; and our brave colonel who was wounded at your head sees you as I do. Our country, whose heart has followed you into these far-off regions, will soon thrill with emotion and pride when it learns what you have done. Long live France!)

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