See also: Dufour
The general Guillaume-Henri Dufour was born with Constance the September 15th 1787. Its family had found refuge there after the disorders of Geneva in 1782 carried out by the Genevese aristocratic party. At the time of the French revolution, its family could go back to Geneva, and the child made his studies there. He had as Master of physics Marc-Auguste Pictet (1752 - 1825), which could give him the taste of mathematics and physics.
Young man, it followed the courses of the Polytechnic school (X1807 Promotion), where it learned the civil and military technical bases, then it continued its studies at the School of application of Metz to study the genius of the fortifications there. Of 1811 with 1817, he was officer of the genious in the French active service, which he leaves to take the post of cantonal engineer of Geneva, including/understanding the military businesses and town planning.
As of 1817, Dufour proposes a Swiss federal flag, of red color, in the form of square divided into 9 square sectors, whose 5 central sectors form a white cross. Deployed for the first time in 1821 and adopted in Argovie in 1833, it was adopted by the diet for the federal army in 1840, and was devoted by the Constitution of 1848 with a small modification.
In August 1819, it belongs to the founders of the federal central Military academy of Thoune, where he was drill captain of the troops of genius and the officers of Artillerie. In 1827, it is promoted with the rank of colonel, and was the central principal of 1831 to 1834. It had as raises, the future Napoleon III.
As a Engineer, person in charge of the Town planning, it made carry out with Geneva great work, of which the new quays, several bridges and footbridges, old bastions, the installation of the island to the Boats (island Rousseau). In 1823, it made build, with Geneva, the first suspended bridge of the world, with a central pillar on which rest six carrying cables, which end at each end with two other pillars, laid out on both sides of the ditch. The bridge weighed only 8 tons and could support juqu' with 10,5 tons of traffic, on a broad roadway of 2 Mr.
Appointed leading seaman as a chief, it takes also the direction of the missions of topography and founds in 1832 the federal Survey office with like mission of working out the Atlas of the national cards of Switzerland. This first complete topographic atlas of Switzerland, called “Chart Dufour”, was finished in December 1864. In its honor, more the high summit of Switzerland was baptized Pointe Dufour.
In 1847, it takes the head of the Swiss army with the rank of general. This same year it carried out the Guerre of Sonderbund against the 7 catholic separatist cantons and gained peace, thanks to its talents of strategist, in 25 days of war, with a minimum of losses for all the parts. At the time of this war, it ordered with its soldiers to save the casualties, the prisoners and those which were without defense. The diet indicated it under the term of “peacemaker”, and a Swiss news Confédération was founded in 1848.
At the time of the Business of Neuchâtel with the Prussia in 1856, it tried to obtain the concliation of Napoleon III as a diplomat, but on December 19th the Federal council finding the guarantees of the emperor insufficient, named a council of war chaired by the chief of the federal military department, the Colonel Friedrich Frey-Herosé and composed of the Dufour general and the colonels Adolf Fischer, Johann Konrad Egloff, Christoph-Albert Kurz, Frederic Veillon, Eduard von Salis, Stehelin, Louis-Henri Delarageaz and of Linden. December 30th, 1856, the federal Assemblée again named it with the head of the army.
He was also the cofounder of the Croix-Rouge with Henri Dunant of which he was the first president.
The Dufour General definitively withdrew from the federal Staff in 1867 and from all his public office to die out in his family field of the Water-Sharp in Geneva, the July 14th 1875 at the 87 years age.
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