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HOCHE 1768-1797

Son of a groom in the Royal Stables at Versailles, Hoche entered the Army in 1784. During the early years of the Republic, he rose rapidly through the ranks, defending Dunkirk against the British and defeating an Austrian army on the Loire in 1793. His greatest achievement was the pacification of Brittany and the Vendée, ravaged by 3 years of civil war.

Aged just 28 in 1796, Hoche was already established as France's leading general, but his chief rival, Napoleon Bonaparte, was beginning to make his mark in Italy.

A military leader of courage and genius, Hoche had an abiding hatred of England and despite imprisonment during the Terror he was as zealous a republican as Tone himself: an ideal leader for the French force that was to help liberate Ireland.



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