S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[Louis Charles Desaix de Veygoux, a gallant French general; born in Auvergne, 1768; imprisoned during the Terror; general of division under Moreau, 1796; and in the expedition to Egypt, where he governed the province of Upper Egypt with firmness and moderation; killed at the battle of Marengo, 1800.]
The battle is lost, but there is time to gain another.
To Bonaparte, who thought at four oclock in the afternoon of June 14, that the battle of Marengo was lost; a large part of the French army being routed and in confusion. The advance of the division of Desaix saved the day. He was himself, however, struck by a bullet in the heart, and killed instantly: so that he could not have said, as reported, Tell the First Consul that I regret dying before I have done enough to make my name known to posterity. He was buried at the summit of the Pass of St. Bernard, where Bonaparte said, His tomb shall have the Alps for its pedestal, and the monks of St. Bernard for its guardians.
Napoleon told OMeara at St. Helena, January, 1817, that Desaix sent him the message quoted above; but it is distinctly denied by Marmont, Duke of Ragusa (Memoirs, II. 137).