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Dreyfus rejoins the ranks

Dreyfus rejoins the ranks

Squadron leader

"Light has been shed: crystal clear, brilliant and absolute." Speaking these words to the Chamber of Deputies, Radical deputy Adolphe Messimy intended to show that the legislature should ratify compensation due to lieutenant colonel Picquart and Captain Dreyfus. Despite 32 opposing votes, including that of Maurice Barrès, who protested the "new judicial truth," 432 deputies voted for a law that promoted artillery captain Dreyfus (Alfred) to squadron leader. Despite the protestations of General Mercier, who had been elected senator from the Lower Loire, the Senate ratified the text by 182 votes to 30; the president of the Senate saw it as "the rectification of a great judicial error that brings honor yet again to this assembly that issued the first calls for truth and justice." Nevertheless, Dreyfus's friends shared the point of view that Joseph Reinach expressed in volume VI of his History of the Dreyfus Affair-he lamented that in the rank to which Dreyfus had been reinstated, "he will be subordinate to some one hundred artillery officers, lower in rank than himself (…) any chances of his achieving the highest ranks, which had been his life's goal, have been taken from him before they could be dashed."

Knight of the Legion of Honor

On 20 July, after the Legion's Council had approved the War Minister's proposal, the Journal Officiel published Dreyfus's nomination as a Knight of the Legion of Honor. During the hearing, General Mensier stated that, over and above its compliance with regulations, the decision was "just compensation with respect to a soldier who has endured an unparalleled martyrdom." In the afternoon of the next day, in the small courtyard of the Ecole Militaire-selected by Dreyfus himself-two squadrons of the 1st Cavalry and two horse batteries paid honor to officers Targe and Dreyfus. Targe was given an officer's cross, and Dreyfus was made a knight by General Gillain, who then gave him the traditional kiss. Although he found that words failed to describe his feelings and the "delicious embrace of all those he loved, for whom he had had the courage to live", Alfred Dreyfus noted that "the brass section sang high and clearly on this day of elation" and that to cries of "Long live Dreyfus!" he had responded "No. Long live the Republic, long live the truth".