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We knew, from the archives of the Commission de l’exploration scientifique du Mexique that a Capitaine Roussel took numerous photographs during his stay in Mexico.
We recently found eight albumen prints from paper negatives that we can, with certainty, attribute to this Roussel. A quick research in the French army archive allowed us to have more details about his work and biography. As far as we know, these prints are the first ones to surface.
Louis Edouard Roussel was born in 1828. Graduating from the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy in 1850, he was part of the Crimea expedition in 1854, and then served in Algeria in 1855 and 1856.
In January 1862, he sails to Mexico and arrives in Veracruz in March. He is injured during the battle of Las Cumbres on April 28th. In July, he is attached to the chief of staff of the French army, in charge of topographical studies.
In April 1863 he starts working for the Commission scientifique du Mexique as a geographer and hydrologist and is based in Mexico City.
He leaves Mexico during February 1865. He dies, a General, in 1899.
The eight prints we can attribute to him are mostly in good condition. Interestingly, Roussel uses the same outdated paper negative technique than Emile Leroy (see previous post). Of these eight prints, five are views of Puebla, probably dated late May 1863, during the early days of the French occupation of the city; and four are views of the Zocalo of Mexico City, probably dated June 1863 (General Bazaine troops enter the capital on June 10th 1863).
These prints belonged to Lieutenant Antoine Le Begue de Germiny, who served as a chief of staff officer in Mexico from early 1864 to early 1867, and was therefore in close contact to Roussel. The prints remained in his family ever since.