The Paris Commune 1871

“Paris Libre”

Translated: from the newspaper by Mitchell Abidor for 2005;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005;
Edited by Pierre Vésinier (1824-1902), the newspaper “Paris Libre” appeared between April 12-May 24, 1871. Vésinier (who Marx described as “lacking great literary value”) had been head of the French Section of London of the First International, which was expelled in 1868. His political activities continued unabated, and he was arrested for his part in seizing the town hall of the 20th arrondissement in October 1870. Exonerated, he was elected to the Commune on April 16, 1871, was a member of the Garibaldi legion, collaborated on several journals, was named editor of “Le Journal Officiel” on May 8, and edited “Paris Libre.” He fled to London after the defeat of the Commune, and remained politically active until his death.

April 12, 1871

This morning, April 11 at 7:00, the cannons still rumbled, but the defenders of the Commune, solidly set up in their positions, have nothing to fear from the enemy.

The damages they caused have been repaired.

The well-commanded National Guard is full of confidence,

All worry has ceased.

Formidable barricades are going up from the Porte de Neuilly to the Champs Elysées.

All is calm at our forward positions.

Our lines are stronger than ever and ready to support an attack by the Versaillais, if one dared to occur.


When on March 18 the people of Paris made a revolution to the cry of “Long Live the Commune” it was in order to re-conquer all civil, political and economic rights, to preserve their weapons, rifles, and cannons that had served to defend Paris against the foreigner and which must, by remaining in their hands, ensure all the conquests of the Revolution.

So let the men of Versailles not come here talking of granting us a municipality of Paris, for that is not what it’s a question of.

We want, we’ll have, we have proclaimed and founded the great Paris Commune. We will maintain it; we know how to defend it, to see it triumph, or to die for it.

April 13,1871

This morning the royalists began again the attack on Clamart. The fighting is rapidly spreading. Like yesterday, it is the fort of Issy that appears to be the objective of their movements.

MacMahon commands the Versaillais; the movement was foreseen yesterday by general Dombrowski. He is carrying out strategic movements that will make the enemy dearly pay for his brazen aggression.

The word had spread in Paris that General Eudes had been wounded. We are in a position to formally deny this information.

General Eudes paid with his person in yesterday’s combat, but happily he is safe and sound.

The gendarmes, the police, and the chouans of Charette and Cathelinau were less vigorous in this morning’s attack. Yesterday’s defeat demoralized them a bit.


We are actively working at transforming the Place de la Concorde into an entrenched camp. We have already begun digging deep entrenchments at the entries of the main streets, at the Quai Cours-de-la-reine, the Rue Royale, and the Rue de Rivoli, which will be blocked by high and solid barricades.

Other works will be executed around the Champs Elysées.

April 14, 1871

Since last night we are in complete possession of Neuilly, where General Dombrowski yesterday began a full-fledged siege. The chouans have been dislodged from all their positions, and our columns, ready to go on the offensive, at the hour we go to press occupy the bridgehead.


The Paris Commune,

Considering that the imperial column is a barbaric monument, a symbol of brute force and false glory, an affirmation of militarism, a negation of international law, a permanent insult on the part of the victors to the vanquished, a perpetual attack on one of the three great principles of the French republic, Fraternity,


Sole article: The Column of the Place Vendome shall be demolished

The Paris Commune


Since yesterday Artillery Captain Caillau has taken command at the Porte de Maillot.

He has excited to the highest degree the zeal of the soldiers in charge of the pieces.

But in another area he is poorly seconded, for having asked for workers to repair during the night the damages caused by the enemy batteries, he didn’t obtain what he asked for.

A few engineering officers came, but they established a barricade at the rear of the Porte de Maillot that is ridiculous as a form of defense and at the same time very dangerous for the besieged, for it is entirely made of stone, so when a shell falls on it many pieces of stone are thrown out in all directions.

April 15, 1871

At midnight the enemy attacked the fort of Vanves and was pushed back. At the current time all is calm

– G. Cluseret

The Commune authorizes Citizen Gustave Courbet, president of the Painters, named in General Assembly, to as quickly as possible reestablish the museums of the city of Paris in their normal state, to open the galleries to the public, and to encourage the work usually done there.

To this effect the Commune authorizes 46 delegates, who shall be named tomorrow Thursday, April 13, at a public session at the School of Medicine (Great Amphitheatre) at exactly 2:00.

In addition, it authorizes Citizen Courbet, as well as the assembly, to reestablish, with the same urgency, the annual exhibit on the Champs Elysées.

Paris April 12, 1871

The Executive Commission
Avrial, F. Cournet, Celescluze, Felix Pyat, G. Tridon, E. Vaillaint, Vermorel

April 16, 1871

April 15 7:30 am: The commandant of the fort of Grand Montrouge and General Eudes announce that they successfully fought all night, that they repelled five enemy attacks.

A large artillery detachment will be joining the garrison of the fort.


Yesterday at 1:00 pm a Company of Vengeurs de Paris passed on the Boulevard Monmartre, escorting a hearse decorated with red flags transporting to Pére Lachaise Cemetery the mortal remains of a young man of 17, Duval, who signed up to fight against the Versailles government and was killed in combat the day before yesterday at the advanced positions of Moulin-de-Pierre, before Issy.

Mortally struck by two bullets to the head, this courageous and valiant child of Paris fell while crying out: Vive la France, Vive la Commune!


The construction has begun on the scaffolding that will be used in dismantling the Vendome Column.

April 17, 1871

Theatre directors went yesterday to the Commune asking for authorization to open their theatres to organize benefit performances for the widows and orphans of those who have died for the Republic.

The request was favorably received. The Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin will open the march and in a few days will put on a brilliant show with the participation of the principal artists of the capital.

April 18, 1871

Letter from General Dombrowski: April 16, 1871


The siege of Neuilly advances little by little.

We have occupied the whole of a new quarter, taken three barricades.

At one of them we took a flag of the Pontifical Zouaves and from another one that seems to be American.

The parquets of houses taken, covered with large pools of blood, bear witness to the fact that the enemy suffered great losses.

In order to more vigorously carry out the operations I need more men, artillery and munitions.

The troops’ sprits are good. The National Guard is making progress, and is getting used to fire, privations, and shows a remarkable enthusiasm.

Salut et Fraternité




In order to avoid accidents on the streets of Paris the former rule on horsemen is once again in effect.

It is forbidden to all horsemen, military staff officer or civilian, to circulate at a gallop on the streets of Paris.

The National Guard, the civil police, and the population are charged with execution of the present order and the arrest of delinquents.

The commanding general of the place: P-O.

April 19, 1871

Three small attacks on Vanves and Issy

Few losses

All is well

Intermittent fusillade

Very calm night

– Eudes


The Versaillais were pushed back yesterday at 2:00 in the morning.

They had attempted an attack on the fédérés who still occupy Asnières. We had the sorrow of losing a Mexican general who had spontaneously put his sword at the service of the Commune.

April 20, 1871


The Citizen Delegate for War learns that barricades are being constructed the plans of which haven’t been submitted to him, and that promises of high salaries are being made for this work. These high salaries will not be paid.


At Neuilly yesterday the affair was heated. But General Dombrowski arrived, and soon everyone was in place, the National Guard assembled, the officers led their men and the positions were retaken.


The Professional Chamber of Tailors:

In order to respond to the decree of the Paris Commune of April 16, the chamber believes itself obliged to make a fraternal appeal to the professional chambers of workers, as well as all the existing workers’ societies, in order to immediately convoke a meeting to name delegates charged with carrying out an inquiry on the organization of labor, which is called for by said decree.

Never has a more favorable occasion been offered by a government to the laboring class. To abstain would be to betray the cause of the emancipation of labor.

The secretaries:
Dupire, Verbeck

April 21, 1871

Yesterday was extremely satisfactory.

The attacks by the Versaillais were pushed back at all points.

The National Guard took a magazine of military equipment and provisions at Asnières.

The losses of the Versaillais were out of all proportion to ours.


Versaillais dress as National Guards and fire from houses.

April 22, 1871

8:00 a.m. – Firing begins again with a new fury.

100 shots are fired precipitously. The barricade of the Rue Peronnet, behind which the Versaillais are sheltered with machine guns, has just been penetrated.

The boutique of Citizen Claise, dairyman, was set on fire by a cannon ball.

The artillerymen are heroic.


The Commune has just published its program, which the reactionary journals have been calling for in the hope that it will be embarrassed to formulate it.

This program, as simple as it is practical, reasonable, and moderate, will remain in history as the most beautiful moment of good sense and practical capacity that the working class has ever demonstrated.

It would have been impossible to more clearly formulate, with greater precision and clarity, the demands of the Parisian populace, and we are convinced that this program will have the marvelous effect of rallying to the Commune the great majority of the population of Paris... From this point on, the cause defended so courageously by Paris has been won in public opinion. And since it is after all the latter that triumphs, we have no doubt in the definitive success of the Commune.

April 23, 1871

The enemy is losing ground with every passing minute. His fire has been extinguished at several points.

We become aware of the retreat of the Versaillais by the aim of their projectiles.

The projectiles land further and further from our ramparts.

April 24, 1871

Neuilly: Calm night. 7:30- a strong fusillade opens the engagement.

The fighting is heated and the melee was about to become general when the 1st Belleville Battery arrived at the theatre of action and fired at a short distance.

The Versaillais disperse and flee in all directions.

April 25, 1871

The newspapers have published that the Central Committee, having fulfilled its mission, has dissolved itself. This story is completely false. Like the National Guard, of which it is emanation, it will only disappear along with liberty. It hopes that this response will suffice for its detractors.

April 26, 1871

It is said in the newspaper of Citizen Jules Vallès:

In the garden of the Legion of Honor more than 500 kilos of silverware were found buried that General Eudes had sent to the mint.

April 27, 1871

7:30:The fusillade begins, the cannon roars and the machineguns crackle.

The fight is engaged from the Porte Maillot to Asnières.

8:00 – The firing becomes more intense, the machine guns play a more active role.

The fédérés advance, causing great losses to the enemy.

All is well.


Proposed decree:

The Paris Commune:

Considering that the calumnies that are circulating among a certain public are of a nature to hinder defense and to raise the provinces up against Paris;

Given that the defenders of Paris are accused of pillage by agents provocateurs;

Given that in a well-constituted government police work should be done by the people themselves;


Art. 1 – Any citizen spreading word of pillage without immediately denouncing it to the authorities will be arrested, and if the fact is false, punished as a slanderer.

Art. 2 – Any citizen suspected of knowing of a true case of pillage and who will not have made this known to the competent authorities, shall be arrested as an accomplice and condemned to the same penalty as those truly guilty.

Art. 3 – The National Guard is charged with the execution of the present decree.

April 28, 1871

The Commune was proclaimed at Le Mans.

The garrison fraternized with the people.

Two regiments that were called for from Rennes in order to suppress the people of Le Mans did the same.

Cuirassiers arrived. Surrounded by the people they were forced to lay down their arms.

April 29, 1871

The bombardments from the forts in the south continue.

We respond vigorously and keep at a distance the Versaillais who are sheltered behind the woods of Clamart and Chatillon.


All night the detonations from both camps rivaled each other in intensity.

April 30, 1871

War to the Executive:

I return from visiting Issy and Vanves. The defense of the fort of ‘Issy is heroic. The fort is literally covered in projectiles. While at the fort of Vanves I witnessed a ferocious musket combat between Versaillais. It lasted three quarters of an hour. Meudon is in flames.


The Executive Commission,

In execution of a decree relative to night work in the bakeries.

After having consulted the bakers, owners and workers,


Art. 1 – Night work is forbidden in bakeries effective Wednesday May 3;

Art. 2 – Work cannot start before 5:00 am.

Art. 3 – The Delegate for Public services is charged with the execution of the present decree.

Paris April 28, 1871.


The fight continues across the entire line.

Yesterday a heated affair took place at the bridge of Ansières, from which the Versaillais were forced to abandon by retreating to the station.


8:00 am:

The Freemasons from the suburban communes, banners at their head, passed through the gates to go to the demonstration which is to take place at 10:00 in the courtyard of the Louvre.

Everywhere their passing is saluted.

Their arrival produces an indescribable enthusiasm.

So compact is the crowd that circulation on the Rue de Rivoli is completely halted.

100,000 men are there.

We shall see if Thiers will stay say that this is a handful of dissidents.

May 1, 1871

The fire of the fédérés destroyed the barricade set up across from the Asnières road.

The Versaillais took advantage of the armistice imposed by the Freemasons in order to reconstruct this barricade.

A house situated almost on the quay, near the bridge of Asnières, was caved in by the shells of the Versaillais. In collapsing, it buried many inoffensive tenants.


Two Freemasons were wounded by the shrapnel from shells.

The Freemasons were received with a sympathetic enthusiasm on the ramparts by the National Guardsmen and he artillerymen.

May 2, 1871

The Executive Commission has removed and had arrested General Cluzeret.

The Commune approved his determination.

Citizen Cluzeret was immediately replaced at War by the Colonel of Engineers Rossel, who will provisionally fulfill the functions of delegate.

The choice of his successor shall be submitted for it approval to the Commune.

May 3, 1871

Fort of Issy: The Royalists dared call on the Republicans to surrender. They answered that they should come and try to dislodge them, and that rather than surrender they’d blow up the fort.

Porte Maillot:

8:30 a.m. – The fight continues to be violent. The Versaillais are concentrating their efforts against this position. They are constantly repelled with great losses.


The bombardment of Ternes continues with the greatest intensity.

Thiers sends incendiary and petrol bombs: this fact has been confirmed.

Not only do these bombs cause fires, but they cause holes 50 centimeters deep and of a width eight times greater than their diameter. These are the famous bombs invented by a non-commissioned officer of the Engineering Corps – Sergeant Toussaint if I remember correctly – and which our generals didn’t want to use against the Prussians. It is only natural for them that they try them out against Frenchmen.

May 4, 1871

Porte Maillot: 9:30 The artillerymen are still at work. The firing is continuous.

This battery has earned the recognition of the Commune.

Yesterday two of them were wounded.


Friend MacMahon, doubtless disgusted by his lack of success against the Parisians, has resigned as General in Chief of the army of Versailles.

May 5, 1871

Porte des Ternes: 8:00 a.m. The artillery battery of Belleville is on the alert.

At the least sign of movement from the Versaillais the fuse is lit, cannonball flies, and the gendarmes fall.

Recquiescat in pace.


The municipal elections that just took place in the departments have almost all been favorable to the Commune.

Republican candidates were elected with a great majority...The provinces know that the legislators from the Assembly at Versailles are the worst reactionaries in the world, that they are more royalist than the king, more ultra-Montain than Veuillot, more intolerant, more cruel than Torquemada. The also know that their ferocious orders, composed of gendarmes, of cops of the vilest kind, of the most abject policemen, of former municipal officers of Paris guardians, of police informants, of hired assassins, of Bonapartist bandits, December assassins, pillagers of China, Mexican buccaneers, butchers of Mentana, cowards of Sedan and Metz, of the capitulators of the National Defense, of Chouans and Vendéens, were the vilest collection of rascals and brigands ever seen on the face of the earth.


The fédérés are holding up well and their attitude, far from permitting the Versaillais to continue their forward march has, on the contrary, forced them to retreat.

Last night at 11:00 there was a strong attack by regular troops, and since this time the fighting hasn’t ceased.


General Dombrowski, with one of his aides-de-camp, yesterday went to the forts of Vanves and Issy.

The small garrison of the latter is still faithfully at its post and has decided to remain there, whatever messieurs of Versailles might say or do.

May 6, 1871

Clichy: Ferocious combat all day yesterday. The firing has slowed down this morning.

Asnières: 8:00 am-terrible cannonades and fusillades since yesterday. The ferocity seems to be growing today. The Versaillais are making a great effort to advance, but they are being held in check but the armored machines and the battery of the barricade situated at the bridge of Asnières.

May 7, 1871

Clichy: Calm night.

The Versaillais are making attacks on the armored machine that continually worries them.

Porte Maillot: Calm Night.

This morning at 6:00 the cannonade regained its intensity.

The Versaillais shells reach the Champs Elysées.

The chouans have attacked without success, but not without losses.


The Committee of Public Safety:

Considering that the building known as the Expiatory Chapel of Louis XVI is a permanent insult to the first revolution and a perpetual protest of reaction against the justice of the people,


Art. 1 – The so-called Expiatory Chapel of Louis XVI shall be destroyed.

Art. 2 – Its materials shall be sold in public auction for the benefit of the administration of domains.

Art. 3 – The director of Domains shall see to the execution of this decree within the next week.

Paris, 16 Floréal, year 79 (May 5, 1871)
The Committee of Public Safety

Ant. Arnaud, Ch. Gerardin, Leo Melliet, Felix Pyat, Ranvier.

May 8, 1871

Porte Clichy: Calm night.

This morning the Versaillais fire a few shells to which we don’t even respond.

Neuilly: The Versaillais attacked this morning.

We haven’t yet answered.

Clamart: 10:30 a.m. Heated fusillade from the trenches and attack on the Clamart station. Victorious fédérés occupy the station.


Yesterday at Issy forty deserters who had abandoned their posts were brought before Colonel Rossel, accompanied by his aides-de-camp.

Citizen Rossel, who is a soldier in all meanings of the word, lined the deserters up in two rows and announced to them that as punishment he was going to slice the right shoulder of their capotes, and that afterwards they’d be executed.

Their prayers and supplications found the colonel impassible.

The captain, the lieutenant and the sub-lieutenant of the deserters were the first to suffer the degradation.

After this beginning to the execution, Colonel Rossel allowed himself to be swayed by those around him.

He then addressed a few strong and serious words, which had a great effect. The soldiers asked to be immediately returned to the fire, swearing that they’d die for the republic.

This act shows the energy of Col. Rossel and what we can expect of him.


The Commune Decrees:

Art 1 – All pledges pawned at the Mont-de-Pieté dating from prior to April 25, 1871 for clothing, furniture, bedding, and work tools with a price of less than 20 francs can be claimed for free dating from this May 12

Art 2 – The abovementioned objects can only be delivered to those bearers who can prove their identity and that they are the original borrowers..

May 9, 1871

Porte des Ternes: At 6:30 The combat picks up again with vigor.

Mont-Valerien answers the fire of the fédérés without causing us losses of note.

Montrouge: Night of the 6th, Bas-Fontenay attacks the fort of Montrouge, which vigorously ripostes. Versaillais reduced to silence.

3:00 am, heated fusillade by the fédérés on the Versaillais defending a barricade at Chatillon.


A new committee has just been formed. It is said it will serve as an intermediary between the Commune and the Central Committee.

All of its members belong to the International. Its seat, it is said, will be at the Hotel de Ville.


Vaugirard is being bombarded. Its residents are beginning to move out.


Asnières is becoming a veritable retrenched camp. Fédérés and ruraux increasingly fortify their positions with each passing day.

May 10, 1871

Issy: All day yesterday a frightful cannonade continuously fired projectiles on the houses neighboring on the ramparts.

Shells exploded as far as the Rue de Vaugirard.

Porte Maillot: Continuous bombardment.

It is still on this point that the enemy directs his greatest efforts, but our brave artillerymen don’t allow themselves to be intimidated, and the riposte doesn’t cede to the attack.


In Rochefort 1,389 ballots were found in the urns with this simple motion:

For the Paris Commune!

What must M. Thiers think of this?


[At Issy] the ruraux again attacked, but they were pushed back across the line. They tried to take the barricade at the Rue de Paris in order to more easily reach the town hall.

They are ready to blow up the fort at the first signal. Explosives have been put in place with this end in mind.


The fusillade at Neuilly could be heard all day.

The ruraux attacked at several points and were pushed back everywhere.

Passy is being vigorously bombarded.


A red flag floats over Cette.

May 11,1871

Porte Clichy: Heated fusillade last night. It continues this morning.

The cannon has not been fired.

Porte d’ Asnières: Cannonade and fusillade all night the entire length of the Seine from Levallois to Neuilly.

Our artillery believes it caused much damage to the Versaillais.

Vanves, Issy: The ruraux don’t dare advance too far into these areas.


The area around Grenelles, like that of Vaugirard, is riddled with shells. The residents are closing themselves in their cellars.


Colonel Vetzel bravely fell at his combat post. He didn’t have the time to turn his command over to Colonel Brunel, who was to replace him. He was killed at the barricade of the Grand’Rue, where the shells fall like hailstones.


An attack much like that of the preceding days occurred yesterday at Neuilly. Fighting was furious on the barricades of the park.

The combat lasted three hours. The belligerents still occupy their respective positions.


Yesterday’s events were very grave. The fort of Issy was evacuated, though according to the opinion of many the position was not yet absolutely untenable.

The Versaillais, perhaps fearing that the fort had been mined have not yet occupied it.

May 12,1871

Vanves: Yesterday evening the Versaillais carried out a furious attack. The 1st Battalion of the 1st arrondisement, which has been in the trenches for the last two weeks, is conducting itself heroically.

This battalion suffered much yesterday, but it caused the Versaillais to suffer three times their own losses.

At 5:00 pm it is impossible to remain near the ramparts.

Neuilly: Violent artillery combat since yesterday evening.

The enemy doesn’t advance.


At today’s session, May 10, 1871, at 7:00 pm, the Commune decided:

1 – The Naming of Citizen Delescluze to the functions of civil delegate of War

2 – The sending before a court martial of Citizen Rossel, ex-Delegate for War.


The two places upon which the Versaillais are concentrating are the Pont-du-Jour and the bastions of Auteuil. These unfortunate bastions are literally covered with shells, and the surrounding neighborhoods suffer much from bombardments. The artillerymen posted under the viaduct hardly fire at all.

The shells are falling on the Grenelle Bridge and as far as the roundabout where the bus company’s offices were until la few days ago.

The batteries of Mont-Valerien and Courbevoie continue to cause a rain of projectiles to fall on Asnières and Neuilly.

In Neuilly the fire is extremely violent.

At Levallois a fusillade between skirmishers on both sides of the river.

This village, exposed to the fires of the Becon batteries, has been virtually abandoned by its inhabitants.

May 13, 1871

Porte des Ternes: The Versaillais are massed on this side.

They have attempted several attacks. Each time pushed back.

The 25th fédéré battalion had the honors of the day.

It took part in all the attacks and caused great losses to the enemy.

Porte Maillot: Furious cannonade.

The Versaillais established defense works , which were promptly destroyed by our artillerymen’s fire.



To Citizens members of the Commune:


Since our arrival at the ministry we have completed the various positions of defense and attack; we have made sure that the guards on the ramparts were sufficiently established and that a good reserve force was in place in case of surprise.

The position of Issy has hardly changed. That of the fort of Vanves was slightly compromised. At a certain moment it was even evacuated.

At 4:00 am General Wroblewski, accompanied by the chief and several members of his headquarters, placed himself at the head of the 187th and 105th battalions, led by the brave chief of the 11th legion.

They entered the fort at bayonet point and dislodged the Versaillais, who believed themselves to already be its master. Reinforcements were directed to this point, and we can without a doubt speak of sure success.

There was nothing at Neuilly, and at Asnières things were relatively calm.


The Telegraph Delegation has the honor of informing the public that from day until further notice, it will not consider applications for employment addressed to it, forced as it is to eliminate much of its too numerous, and consequently useless, personnel.

Paris, May 11, 1871
The Delegates for Telegraphy

Edmond Bizot, Mallet, M.Prost


At the Porte Dauphine a woman has just been killed in her bed by a cannonball. The son of this poor woman is a captain in the army of Versailles.


A guard of the 137th battalion, Citizen Dufour, informs us that the fort of Issy is not occupied.

The Position, it appears, is untenable for everyone.

Marine pieces have thus not been installed there, as several newspapers have affirmed.


The ramparts of the Porte d’Issy and Vanves have just been armed with strong marine pieces.

May 14,1871

Asnièères: Horrible din all night.

The firing was at almost point blank range.

The cannons and the machineguns add to the horror of the combat.

More exposed than the fédérés, the ruraux suffer serious losses and are retreating to their last entrenched positions.

Porte d’Issy: The Versaillais have failed in an attempt to retake the barricade of the park.

They had many dead and wounded.


Citizen Vésinier, member of the Commune, has been delegated to take over the direction of l’Officiel.


A Versailles newspaper says that the employees of the ministries have been warned to be ready to take up again their positions in Paris at the end of the month.

I think this is a little premature, my good Thiers; what do you think?


Levallois and Clichy was the target of machinegun fire and shells, and it can be presumed that the Versaillais will attack on this side.

May 15, 1871

Montrouge: Strong attack by the Versaillais repelled. They suffered serious losses.

Issy: Violent combat. Despite the unheard of efforts of the Versaillais we have preserved our positions.

Asnières: Violent combat.

The Versaillais take refuge behind their entrenchments.


The Paris Commune decrees:

Sole article – In the matter of the separation of bodies, the presiding judge can allocate alimony to the woman requesting separation that will serve her until it has been otherwise decided by the tribunal.


Yesterday the public arrested on the Boulevard Denis a priest in civilian clothes who was tearing down posters of the Commune.

The crowd, which doesn’t have much sympathy for priests, wanted to roughly handle him.


At 4:00 pm the Boulevard Sebastopol was much aroused by the arrest of a young couple that was promenading arm in arm.

The appearance of the woman being suspicious to the National Guardsmen, the latter approached and recognized that the so-called maiden was a big strong man preparing to flee to escape recruitment.

Upon hearing the howls of the crowd our draft-dodger had the stupid look of the fox of the fable.


Once again the Versaillais attempted to take our barricades by surprising the fédérés during the night. But the latter were on the alert, and when the royalists were a few steps away a heated fusillade forced them to retreat, leaving their dead and wounded on the field.

May 16, 1871

Porte Maillot: Yesterday at 9:00 in the evening an infernal bombardment sent projectiles to the area of the gate.

The detonations are deafening.

One would think it was a Walpurgis Night.

This morning the same din and the same results.

Our artillerymen are still at their pieces, aiming with the same courage, and lighting the fuses with the same ardor.

All blows are returned.

Porte des Ternes: Same situation as at Porte Maillot

Southern forts: The forts furiously attacked and defended.

Many dead and wounded on both sides.

The same respective positions.


In Saint-Quentin all the members of the municipal commission were elected. They passed at the head of the lists. The voters eliminated all the members of the former council, regarded as reactionaries.


We expect the greatest service from the cannons of Montmartre that, it appears, are served by 60 artillerymen who deserted the cause of Versailles to come to Paris.

May 17, 1871

The Versaillais were beaten yesterday at the Bois de Boulogne.

Southern Forts: The fédérés had to evacuate the fort of Vanves, whose position was untenable. But contrary to the assertions of several newspapers, the Versaillais didn’t dare occupy it.

Solid ramparts were constructed to block the passage of the enemy between the fort and the rampart.


The demolition of the Vendome Column will take place today at 2:00 in the afternoon.


The Versaillais continue to gather in the Bois de Boulogne in an imposing fashion. The noise of fusillades and the detonations of machineguns are incessant on this side. The bullets reach the interior of Paris. Several chance victims have been cited, among them a child who was wounded in the foot by a bullet when passing through the Avenue d’Eylau.

May 18, 1871

The battle has been ferocious since yesterday. The ruraux, who see the provinces trembling understand that they are lost if victory doesn’t promptly crown their efforts.

But our brave fédérés are holding out. They too know the state of spirits in France, and, despite all the rage of the royalists, Paris stands for the defense of the Republic and its rights.


As we announced yesterday, we evacuated the fort at Vanves, but it is false that it is occupied by the Versaillais. On the contrary, the truth is that we could reoccupy the position if it weren’t so dangerous. At the very least we have the resources to blow it up, and we hope that this time we won’t fail to do so.

May 19, 1871

The battle is general. The fighting is heated everywhere.

The noise of arms fills Paris with courage and resolution.

At Issy, like in Vanves, at Neulliy as in Asnières, and everywhere our rights are threatened, the enemy finds the National Guard there to defend them.

The defense grows in proportion to the danger.


Petrol bombs continue to set alight frequent fires in Neuilly.


Monmartre from time to time makes heard its loud voice. It has already reduced several Versaillais batteries to silence.


For two days a furious fight has been engaged in the Bois de Boulogne, and it continued much of the Neuilly the fight was no less heated than at the Bois de Boulogne. There too the fight was hand to hand, but without any results.

May 20, 1871

Porte des Ternes: The fusillade is general, from Clichy to the Porte Maillot.

Asnières: A battle. The machineguns dominate the fight. A great attack is expected from here.

We are ready to welcome them.

Montrouge and Asnières are holding out.

Wherever liberty is threatened, its defenders are there, opposing breast to breast, bayonet to bayonet.


The Committee of Public Safety

Art. 1. – The newspapers “La Commune,” “L’Echo de Paris,” “L’Indépendance Francaise,” “L’Avenir National,” “La Patrie,” “Le Pirate,” “Le Rèpublicain,” “La Revue des Deux-Mondes,” “L’Echo de l’Ultramar,” and “La Justice” are and remain suppressed.

Art. 2. – No new newspaper or political periodical can appear before the end of the war.

Art. 3. – All articles must be signed by their authors

Art. 4. – Attacks on the Republic and the Commune shall be referred to the court martial.

Art. 5. – Printers in violation will be pursued as accomplices and their pressed put under seal.

Art. 6. – The present decree shall be immediately made known to the suppressed newspapers by citizen Le Moussu, commissioner delegated to this effect

Art. 7. – General Security is charges with seeing to the execution of the present decree.

Hotel de Ville 28 Floreal year 79

The Committee of Public Safety
Ant Arnaud, Eudes, Billioray, F. Gamson, G. Ranvier


Yesterday at one in the morning the Versaillais attempted an assault, but they were vigorously repelled.

Following the Avenue de la Grande Armée they arrived at the Porte Maillot with considerable forces.

But the fédérés held out, and the enemy was obliged to withdraw after having lost many.

The enemy also attempted an assault on the fort of Montrouge yesterday.

It appears this was the order given all along the line, but all along the line the royalists were repelled with losses considerable greater than ours.


* *

We read in a letter that Garibaldi wrote to his friends in Nice:

My dear friends, that which pushes the Parisians to war is a sentiment of justice and human dignity, it’s the great family called Commune that wants to make and eat the pissaladina (a kind of cake common in Nice) without asking for permission of Peking or Berne. It’s not a question of communism, as the black detractors of the proletariat want to define it, that is, partisans of a system that consists of enriching the poor and impoverishing the rich.

May 21, 1871

Yesterday the Versaillais suffered a bloody reverse at the Bois de Boulogne.

Exasperated by this defeat, they returned to the charge last night without obtaining the least success.

These combats do honor to our artillerymen, whose precise fire has contributed much to the results.

The combat continues under the same conditions.


At Montrouge a troop of soldiers of the line advanced without apparent arms on the forward positions of the fort, announcing their decision to surrender.

Handshakes were exchanged, but suddenly these men fired on our National Guards.


At the Severin Club, Citizen Pacotte recounts that a poor woman, wounded at the forward positions and transported to the Hotel-Dieu, where she still is, received this response from Doctor de Maison-Neuve:

“Do I still have long to live?”

“No, he replied, “but even before that our brave soldiers will have wiped out your husband’s battalion along with all the miserable insurgents.”

Three citizens were immediately designated to accompany Citizen Pacotte to the Hotel-Dieu to assure themselves of the truth of this infamous statement.

The indignant hall unanimously voted that the name of this wretch be signaled by the newspapers for public indignation, and informed the Commune of this.

May 22, 1871

Neuilly: The fight continues, terrible, ferocious.

Asnières and Saint-Ouen: The fire of the Monmartre batteries holds the Versaillais at a distance.

Vaugirard: The combat around the whole perimeter of the Southern forts has had no advantageous result for the enemy.


The chouans attempted a decisive assault at the Porte of Versailles. The affair was extremely heated. The fédérés, overcome by the numbers and the rain of bullets that fell on them, bent for a moment. But they nevertheless held out until the arrival of reinforcements, who caused the Versaillais to flee.


The cannonade hasn’t ceased across the whole line.


From Clichy to Point-du-Jour the combat remains ferocious. The energy of the fédérés doesn’t flag a single instant.

May 23, 1871

According to the latest information, the Versaillais have entered by the Saint-Cloud gate. The fédérés, forced to withdraw, retrenched themselves at some distance from their barricades, where the enemy, incidentally not very numerous, didn’t dare worry them.

The Versaillais have entered! And now? This is precisely where we expected them, as we said yesterday. Their position is critical. They must be confronted with street and barricade fighting, at which Parisians are so redoubtable. Will they dare?

They are master of one point. Very well. But how many forces do they require in order to confront all the attacks that will occur?

From all sides battalions are arriving and massing at the Tuileries.

Full of enthusiasm, they prepare to fight the enemy to that cry a thousand times repeated: Vive la Commune!



Enough of militarism, no more braided and gilded commanders! Make room for the people, the fighters with bare arms. The hour for revolutionary warfare has sounded.

The people know nothing of studied maneuvers; but when it has an arm in hand, a paving stone under its feet, it fears none of the strategists of the monarchist school.

To arms, citizens, to arms! You know that it’s a matter of winning or falling into the pitiless hands of the reactionaries and the clericals of Versailles who, in a partisan fashion, delivered France to the Prussians and who make us pay the ransom of their treason!

If you want the blood that has flowed for the past six weeks to not be infertile; if you want to live free in a free and egalitarian France, to spare your children your pain and misery, you will rise up as one man and, before your formidable resistance, the enemy who boasts that he is returning you to the yoke will have to pay for the useless crimes with which he has sullied himself for the past two months.

Citizens, your representatives will fight and die with you if necessary, but in the name of this glorious France, mother of all popular revolutions, permanent home of the ideas of justice and solidarity which must and will be the laws of the world, march on the enemy and let your revolutionary energy show him that they can sell Paris, but it can be neither delivered nor defeated.

The Commune counts on you.

Count on the Commune.

The Civil Delegate of War
Ch. Delescluze

The Committee of Public Safety

May 24, 1871


The Versaillais must understand that at this moment Paris is as strong today as yesterday.

Despite the shells that they rain as far as the Porte Saint-Denis on an inoffensive populace, Paris is standing, covered in barricades and combatants!

Far from spreading terror, their shells only excite even more the anger and courage of the Parisians!

Paris fights with the energy of great days!

Despite all the enemy’s desperate efforts he hasn’t been able to gain an inch of ground since yesterday.

He is held in check everywhere. Everywhere he dares show himself our cannons and guns spread death in his ranks.

The people, taken by surprise for an instant by treason, have found themselves again. The defenders of right have made themselves known, and it is in swearing to win or die for the Republic that they have descended en masse on the barricades!

Versailles has sworn to slaughter the Republic: Paris has sworn to save it!

No! A new December 2 is no longer possible for, strengthened by its experience of the past, the people prefer death to servitude!

Let the men of September know this: the people remember. It has had enough of the traitors and cowards who by their shameful defections delivered France to the foreigners.

Already the soldiers, our brothers, retreat before the crime they want them to commit.

A great number of them have passed into our ranks.

Crowds of their comrades will follow their example.

Thiers’ army will find itself reduced to its gendarmes. – We know what these men want and why they fight.

Between us and then there is an abyss!

To arms!

Courage, citizens. A supreme effort and victory is ours!

Everything for the republic

Everything or the Commune!

The Editorial Committee of “Paris Libre”


Federation of the National Guard
Central Committee
Soldiers of the army of Versailles:

We are fathers,

We fight to prevent our children from one day living under military despotism like you.

One day you will be fathers.

If you fire on the people today your sons will curse you like we curse the soldiers who ripped the guts of the people in June 1848 and December 1851.

Two months ago, on March 18, your brothers of the army of Paris, their hearts full of resentment against the cowards who sold out France, fraternized with the people. Imitate them.

Soldiers, our children, our brothers, listen well to this, and let your conscience decide:

When the order is unspeakable, disobedience is an obligation.

3 Prairial, year 79
The Central Committee


We have received the following letter from Citizen Paschal Grousset the following letter:


The newspapers from Versailles claim that I have left Paris.

Please reassure my friends and tell them that I am incapable of quitting my post.

Greetings and equality,

Paschal Grousset
At the hotel de Ville May 22, 1871


The Versailles papers are trying to disorganize the defense by having it believe that the members of the Commune have fled.

And so they spread about the word that citizen Protot was arrested at the advanced posts of the Versaillais.

Yesterday at 5:00 we saw Citizen Protot at the Hotel de Ville.

Citizen Raoul Rigault, who they killed in their newspaper columns, is at the head of his battalion and will probably make more that one royalist bite the dust before falling.