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Cluseret, Gustave Paul, 1823-1900


Biographical Note

Gustave Paul Cluseret, soldier of fortune, newspaper editor, French politician, and artist, was born in Paris in 1823. He graduated from the Military School of Saint-Cyr in 1843 and fought in several significant European military campaigns during the next 20 years. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Cluseret joined the many European adventurers who embarked for the United States. In January 1862, he was appointed a colonel and aide-de-camp to General McClellan but was soon transferred to General John C. Frémont. Though brevetted a brigadier general for his performance at the Battle of Cross Keys in 1862, Cluseret had developed a reputation as a trouble-maker and was reported under arrest in January, 1863, on unspecified charges. His resignation was tendered on March 2, 1863. In 1864, he became editor of The New Nation, using the newspaper to advance Frémont's presidential campaign and to stand in vehement opposition to the second nomination of Abraham Lincoln. He returned to Europe in 1866, but his inflammatory anti-government writings resulted in a prison sentence and eventual exile from France. Cluseret would twice return to his homeland during the next decade only to again become embroiled in insurrectionist activities and be forced to flee for his life. He returned a third time in 1884 and in 1889 was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, a body in which he served until his death. During his later years, Cluseret studied art, exhibiting his works at the Salon in Paris, and continued to write on political and military subjects. He died in 1900.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Benjamin Franklin Butler Notebook

Identifier: Ms-1990-060

Handwritten book-length draft manuscript providing a very critical view of the military leadership and personal character of General Ulysses S. Grant. Attributed to Benjamin Butler, though evidence suggests a different author, possibly former Union Army Brigadier General Gustave Paul Cluseret.

Dates: [1865?]