The woman was a native of the Swiss Alps who had followed the armies of France as a sutler, or vivandière, for twenty years, through many of Napoleon's campaigns. Bronzed, intrepid, facing death with a gesture, she said to M. Correard:
I am a useful woman, you see, a veteran of great and glorious wars. Therefore, if you please, be so good as to continue to preserve my life. Ah, if you knew how often I have ventured upon the fields of battle and braved the bullets to carry assistance to our gallant men! Whether they had money or not, I always let them have my goods. Sometimes a battle would deprive me of my poor debtors, but after the victory others would pay me double or triple for what they had consumed before the engagement. Thus I came in for a share of the victories.
It was during a lull of the dreadful conflict among these pitiful castaways that M. Savigny was moved to exclaim:
The moon lighted with her melancholy rays this disastrous raft, this narrow space on which were found united so many torturing anxieties, a madness so insensate, a courage so heroic, and the most generous, the most amiable sentiments of nature and humanity.