Dumas, Thomas-Alexandre

Dumas, Thomas-Alexandre or Alexandre dümäˈ, älĕksäNˈ– [key] 1762–1806, French revolutionary general, b. Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) as Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, father of Alexandre Dumas père. The illegitmate son of a French nobleman and a black slave, he was brought by his father to France, and in 1786 he enlisted in the French army as Alexandre Dumas, using his mother's surname. In 1792 he was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the “Black Legion,” a regiment of free men of color, and from 1793 was a distinguished general in the French revolutionary army. Commander of the cavalry in Napoleon's Egyptian expedition, he was critical of Napoleon while in Egypt. Accused of mutiny, he requested to return to France. Forced to land at Taranto, Italy because his ship was sinking, Dumas was imprisoned (1799–1801) by forces loyal to the king of Naples. He died in poverty in France, his health broken by months in prison.

See biographies by J. G. Gallaher (1997) and T. Reiss (2012).

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