Official narrative of the French Foreign Legion:
Puebla was besieged by the French army.
The Legion had orders to ensure traffic and safety of transport within a 120-kilometer radius.
The commanding officer, Colonel Jeanningros, learned on April 29, 1863, that a French military convoy carrying 3 million francs in cash, arms, and ammunition were bound for Puebla.
Captain Danjou, his second-in-command, decided to send a company ahead of the convoy to reconnoiter the situation. The 3rd Company of the Foreign Regiment was selected for this, but no officers were available. Capitaine Danjou himself took command and the sous-lieutenants Maudet, who was also the flag bearer, and purser Vilain joined him voluntarily.
The company left on April 30 at 1 am with a strength of 3 officers and 62 men. They had traveled about 20 kilometers when they stopped in Palo-Verde around 7 a.m. to make coffee. At that moment, the enemy attacked, and shortly thereafter the battle was in full swing. Captain Danjou took up a defensive position with his company and withdrew fighting.
Several cavalry attacks were successfully repulsed and the legionnaires began inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Arrived at the Camerone hostel, a large building with walls about three meters high and a spacious courtyard, Captain Danjou decided to entrench himself in the hacienda and keep the enemy occupied in order to delay an attack on the following transport as long as possible.
While the legionnaires hurriedly organized their further defense in the hacienda, the Mexican officer called on Capitaine Danjou, pointing out the great superiority, to surrender. However, he read: "We still have ammunition and we will not surrender"! He then raised his right hand and swore to defend himself until his death. Likewise, he took the same oath from his men.
It was ten in the morning.
Until six o'clock in the evening, these sixty men, who had not eaten or drunk anything since dawn, braved the extreme heat, hunger and thirst. They defended themselves against 2000 Mexicans: 800 mounted and 1200 infantry.
Around noon, Capitaine Danjou was shot in the stomach, at two o'clock in the afternoon sous-lieutenant Vilain was killed. Then the Mexican colonel decided to set fire to the hacienda. The heat and smoke made their situation worse, but the legionnaires still held out. Most of them were wounded.
At five o'clock in the afternoon, Sous-Lieutenant Maudet still had a dozen able-bodied men at his side. The Mexican colonel rallied his soldiers to ask them if they were not ashamed of not being able to deal with this handful of men (a legionnaire who understood Spanish translated this to his comrades). The Mexicans were ready to storm the hacienda through the breaches they had made during the day, but Colonel Milan once again ordered sous-lieutenant Maudet to surrender. He rejected it with contempt.
The final assault began, and soon Maudet was left with only five men: Caporal Maine, and Legionnaires Catteau, Wensel, Constantin, and Leonhard. Everyone had a single cartridge left. They fixed the bayonet and retreated, backs to the wall, to a far corner of the hacienda. On command they threw themselves on the attacking Mexicans. Sous-Lieutenant Maudet and two legionnaires fell to the ground, mortally wounded. Maine and his two remaining comrades would have been massacred, but a Mexican officer rushed towards them and shouted, "Surrender!" Still with a bayonet outstretched, one replied: "We will only surrender if you promise us that we can take care of our wounded and that we can keep our weapons". The officer replied: "Men like you can't be denied anything".
Capitaine Danjou's sixty men have kept their oath. For eleven hours they withstood 2000 enemies, killing 300 and wounding as many. They sacrificed themselves, which allowed the transport to reach its destination safely. They have fulfilled the task entrusted to them.
Emperor Napoleon III. has ordered that the name "CAMERONE" be written on the flag of the Foreign Regiment and that the names of Danjou, Vilain and Maudet be carved in gold letters on the walls of Les Invalides in Paris.
A memorial was erected at the site of the battle in Camerone, Mexico, in 1892. It bears the inscription:
Here, there were less than 60 men against a whole army - whose mass has crushed them.
However, instead of losing heart, these French soldiers gave their lives on April 30, 1863.
To commemorate them, the Fatherland erected this monument for you.
Since that time, passing Mexican soldiers have been presenting their rifles in front of the monument.