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Title: Military Career of Napoleon the Great - An Account of the Remarkable Campaigns of the "Man of Destiny"
Author: Gibbs, Montgomery B.
Language: English
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[Illustration: (Coat of Arms)]

[Illustration: (Stylized "N")]

[Illustration: From a Painting by Paul Delaroche


                          Military Career
                         Napoleon the Great

               An Account of the Remarkable Campaigns
                      of the "Man of Destiny"

    Authentic Anecdotes of the Battlefield as Told by the Famous
             Marshals and Generals of the First Empire

                        Montgomery B. Gibbs

               "_He fought a thousand glorious wars,
                 And more than half the world was his;
               And somewhere, now, in yonder stars,
                 Can tell, mayhap, what greatness is._"


                       E. A. WEEKS & COMPANY,
                        521-531 Wabash Ave.


                         Mil. Car. Napoleon

                             My Friend
                         JOHN L. STODDARD
                          This Volume is


As the closing chapters of this volume were being written, a "Napoleonic
wave" seemed to be passing over the country, an echo, no doubt, of the
furore which Napoleon's name has excited in France during the past three
years. One writer wittily says:

    "Where'er I turn, I'm forced to learn,
    Some detail of his life,
    I read about his sword and hats,
    And how he beat his wife."

It seems but fair, therefore, for the author of this volume to declare
that the revival of interest in the career of the man who for fifteen
years had been the glory of France, has in no way caused the hasty
writing, or publication, of this anecdotal military history. It is the
result of years of study, and represents, not only a careful reading of
those authorities which all must have access to who would write
intelligently of the subject, but also of the more recent volumes which
have appeared from time to time, each having something new to reveal
concerning the seemingly inexhaustible fund of information pertaining
to this son of a poor Corsican gentleman, who as his greatest
biographer has said of him, "played in the world the parts of Alexander,
Hannibal, Cæsar and Charlemagne."

There has never been a time, during the last fifty years at least, when
the public was not eager to learn something new concerning the wonderful
career of the man who once held all Europe prisoner in the folds of the
French flag. The world regards Napoleon Bonaparte as a _military genius_
at least, whatever it may think of the political or social side of his
life, and its relation to France. The writer does not believe that they
are inseparably connected, and in offering this work it is his desire to
better acquaint the admirers, as well as the enemies of the "Little
Corporal," with his military career, not technically, but to picture him
as his marshals, generals and soldiers knew him on the battlefield and
around the campfire.

Many of these famous marshals and generals, who shared day by day all
the glories and perils of their chief, and who vied with him in their
activity and daring, have lately given to the world their "Memoirs,"
published many years after their death, for obvious reasons. From them
one gets a much clearer insight into the true characteristics of their
heroic leader. Being men of slight education their writings are confined
largely to the gossip of the campaigns in which they were active
participants, and in reading them one is often tempted to believe that
Napoleon was in command of both belligerent armies, so accurately did
this giant among warriors forecast the movements of the enemy on the
battlefield; and after victory had favored his bold strokes, finding
himself in a position to reshape, at will, the map of Europe; for he
conducted his campaigns with a degree of skill which, it is conceded by
all military authorities, has never been excelled.

No man ever understood how to excite emulation, by distributing praise
or blame, as did Napoleon. Chaboulon well says that the ascendancy
possessed by the Emperor over the minds and courage of the soldiery was
truly incomprehensible. A word, a gesture, was sufficient to inspire
them with enthusiasm, and make them face the most terrible ordeals. If
ordered to rush to a point, although the extreme danger of the manoeuvre
might at first strike the good sense of the soldiers, they immediately
reflected that their general would not have issued such a command
without a motive, or have exposed them wantonly. "He knows what he is
about," they would say, and immediately rush on to death, uttering
shouts of "Long live the Emperor!"

No attempt is here made to give a history of France from the time
Bonaparte first made his entrance into the drama of which he was so soon
to be the leading actor. The successive periods of the Revolution, the
Directory, the Consulate and the Empire are only introduced when found
necessary to explain the rapidly advancing steps of this wonderful
character in history, the worshiped idol of an entire nation, that his
military career may be the better understood; hence it has been thought
advisable to refer briefly, at times, to the relations of France with
other countries, and the cause of his spending, during the ten years of
his reign as Emperor, exactly fifty-four days less in camp, and under
the enemy's fire, so to speak, than he did in his royal residences!

This, then, is the story of the man who personally commanded in 600
skirmishes, and 85 pitched battles, resigning at last his leadership on
the field of Waterloo, a victim of treachery and incompetency exceeding
even his own well-grounded fears; but even after these years of constant
warfare and conquest, after maintaining huge armies in almost all parts
of the world, he left France the richest nation in the universe, and in
possession of a larger amount of specie than the rest of Europe; and
notwithstanding the fact that in 1796, when he was given command of the
Army of Italy, he found his government not only incapable of paying its
ragged and weary troops, but unable, even, to feed them!

    M. B. G.

_Chicago, Ill. December 31, 1894._


    BOYHOOD DAYS AND EARLY CAREER                            9


    BONAPARTE'S CAMPAIGN IN ITALY, 1796-7                   45


    EXPEDITION TO EGYPT                                    107




    ULM AND AUSTERLITZ                                     175


    THE BATTLE OF JENA                                     211


    THE BATTLE OF EYLAU                                    230


    FRIEDLAND AND PEACE OF TILSIT                          241


    WAR WITH SPAIN                                         253


    WAR WITH AUSTRIA. 1809                                 274


    THE BATTLE OF WAGRAM                                   288


    CAMPAIGN OF RUSSIA                                     305


    THE CAMPAIGN OF 1813                                   347


    THE INVASION OF FRANCE                                 373


    EXILE TO ELBA                                          409


    THE HUNDRED DAYS. WATERLOO                             435


    CONCLUSION                                             489

    INDEX                                                  507




    BONAPARTE AT THE SIEGE OF TOULON                        11

    BONAPARTE ESCAPES CAPTURE AT LONATO                     27

    BONAPARTE AT THE BRIDGE OF ARCOLA                       43

    BONAPARTE AT THE BATTLE OF RIVOLI                       59

    BONAPARTE AND THE SLEEPING SENTINEL                     75

    BONAPARTE AT THE BATTLE OF ST. GEORGE                   91

    SIEGE OF MANTUA                                        107


    BATTLE OF THE PYRAMIDS                                 139

    BONAPARTE AT THE SIEGE OF ACRE                         155

    RETURN OF THE FRENCH ARMY FROM SYRIA                   171

    NAPOLEON CROSSING THE ALPS                             187


    CAPITULATION OF GENERAL MACK AT ULM                    219

    BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ                                   235


    NAPOLEON AT THE BATTLE OF JENA                         267

    ENTRY OF NAPOLEON INTO BERLIN                          283

    NAPOLEON AT THE BATTLE OF EYLAU                        299

    THE 14TH LINE AT EYLAU                                 315

    NAPOLEON AT THE BATTLE OF FRIEDLAND                    331


    INSURRECTION IN MADRID                                 363

    NAPOLEON AT THE BATTLE OF WAGRAM                       379

    ARRIVAL OF THE GRAND ARMY AT MOSCOW                    395

    RETREAT FROM MOSCOW, "1812"                            411

    DEPARTURE OF NAPOLEON FOR PARIS                        427

    RETURN OF NAPOLEON FROM ELBA                           443

    NAPOLEON ON THE HEIGHTS AT LIGNY                       459

        WATERLOO                                           475

    NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO                                   491

        Military Career
       Napoleon the Great

  An Account of the Remarkable
     Campaigns of the "Man
          of Destiny"



When Napoleon was a pupil of the Military School at Brienne, as a
pensioner of the king, he wrote to his mother in Corsica:

"With Homer in my pocket, and my sword by my side, I hope to carve my
way through the world!"

Bonaparte was then a youth of but ten years of age. For nearly
thirty-five years from this time his life was a series of achievements,
the success of which has rarely been equalled,--from a military
standpoint, never.

His infancy was only different from that of most other boys in that he
showed great animation of temper, and an impatience of inactivity, by
which children of quick perception and lively sensibility are usually

It has been said that the name "Napoleon" was given to the new-born
infant of Madame Bonaparte, according to a common custom among
Catholics, of naming the child after the saint on whose festival it is
baptized, and that the 16th of August, the day of young Bonaparte's
baptism, was the festival of St. Napoleon, (Napoleone), a saint then
peculiar to Corsica.

On the confirmation of young Bonaparte at the Paris Military School the
archbishop who officiated, manifesting some astonishment at the name
"Napoleon," said he did not know of any such saint, and that there was
no such name in the calendar.

"That should be no rule," replied Napoleon quickly, "since there are an
immense number of saints, but only three hundred and sixty-five days!"

While an exile at St. Helena Napoleon said to O'Meara, his surgeon,
"Saint Napoleon ought to be much obliged to me, and place all his credit
in the other world to my account. The poor devil! No one knew him once,
he had not even a day in the calendar. I procured him one, and persuaded
the pope to assign to him the 15th of August, my birthday."

It has frequently been said of Napoleon that he was born to command.
From his earliest youth he chose arms for his profession, and in every
study likely to be of service to the future soldier he distinguished
himself above his contemporaries. With the mathematical tutors he was
always a great favorite. His ardor for the abstract sciences amounted to
a passion, and was combined with a singular aptitude for applying them
to the purposes of war, while his attention to pursuits so interesting
in themselves was stimulated by his natural ambition and desire of
distinction in this science.

Even before Napoleon began his systematic training for a military
career, and while but nine years of age, he developed a fondness for
mimic warfare that frequently astonished his older companions, many of
whom were his superiors both in strength and endurance; but none of whom
were able to cope with him in strategy, or whose resources, when put to
test, were so versatile. At Ajaccio, the place of his birth, the city
boys were often engaged in personal encounters with the youths from the
country. At first these contests were but the natural outcome of a
jealousy which is so often found to exist between city and country boys,
who meet upon the same playground. At length this feeling of rivalry
became more bitter, and on some occasions, especially on holidays, when
the country lads were in the habit of "coming to town," as many as a
score of them were often to be found on each side engaged in pitched
battles with sticks and stones.

[Illustration: From a Drawing by F. Grenier


The country youths had for a time been eminently successful in these
encounters, and were disposed to braggadocio manners. They went about
the streets with their heads lifted high, and as a result, the older
folks soon began to take an interest in the outcome of the assaults. On
several occasions, too, the parents of the youths were interested
spectators of the contests, and although the flying missiles were
extremely likely to injure the onlooker, no suggestion of putting an end
to the battles was ever proposed by the older heads.

Young Bonaparte was much chagrined at these defeats, and sought to find
reasons for them. When not an active participant he would often withdraw
to some secluded spot, and there watch the movements of either side,
hoping, no doubt, to detect some flaw in their manner of fighting that
he might take advantage of it at a later date, and thus recover the good
name of his city comrades. It could not be in numbers that defeat lay
for they were almost always equally divided, and besides, there seemed
to be an unwritten law between them that "Man against man" must in
common honor be observed.

Finally Bonaparte hastily gathered about him a few of his chosen
friends, in whom he had the most confidence, and laid before them a
plan, which, if followed, he assured them would not only humiliate their
hated rivals, but would also result in their complete overthrow. With
shouts of approval his plan was at once declared "a tip-top one" and his
lieutenants proceeded to carry out his orders. He directed that a
certain number of boys be formed into a company, whose duty it should be
to supply ammunition. A "defi" was then sent to the conquerors who
promptly replied that they had nothing to fear. It soon became noised
about among the inhabitants of Ajaccio that a "final contest" was to be
fought on a certain day, and hours before the time set, hundreds of
spectators were on hand to witness the contest which was destined to
re-establish the prestige of the city boys. At length the fated hour
arrived and the country boys made their appearance on the battlefield,
armed with short sticks,--their usual weapons,--and full of confidence.
For a short time Napoleon and his followers maintained their position
against these sturdy warriors, although, as heretofore, they found
themselves overmatched by mere force of brute strength.

Napoleon now gave the signal agreed upon to retreat. Slowly his forces
gave way, endeavoring at the same time to keep up an appearance of
fighting to the best of their ability. To reassure the country chaps
that they were overpowering their contestants purely on their fighting
merits, an occasional rally was ordered by the city leader; but this
show of resistance was always followed by him with another retreat more
pronounced than that which preceded it. At length Napoleon found himself
with his followers on the shore of the sandy beach and the country lads
believed themselves conquerors once more. "Victory!" "Victory!" they
cried, as they came rushing up, expecting a complete surrender. In their
haste to make a final assault the pursuers had not noticed that each of
the city boys had laid down his stick and had his hand upon the ground.
In it was grasped tightly a stone which was still partially covered by
the sands of the beach.

"Ready! Fire!" shouted Napoleon, and immediately the air was filled with
swift-flying stones, each of which was followed by a second and that by
a third missile, all landing with terrific force on the unprotected
heads and shoulders of the over-confident country lads. They had cried
victory before the battle was won.

In another moment they found themselves disorganized and the victims of
shouts of derision that came from the spectators who had followed the
retreating forces to see the final outcome of the battle. Sticks at a
distance of 20 or 30 feet were no match for the new weapons of the city
lads, and reluctantly they turned and fled, having themselves no stones
to throw.

Now it was Napoleon's forces who were the pursuers; but the ranks of the
sturdy country lads were sadly depleted and their resistance was brief.

That night Napoleon was a hero in Ajaccio. With the older folks gathered
about him he told and retold how he and his followers had spent the
preceding night burying stones in the sand, that they might have them
for weapons on the morrow when Napoleon's plan, which included retreat
to this point on the beach, might be turned into the victory they had
been assured would follow their arrival there.

The student of Napoleon's military campaigns will detect in this
manoeuvre a striking similarity to more sanguine contests on the
battlefield where human lives were at stake.

Throughout his life Napoleon's stronghold was strategy, and never was it
more clearly illustrated than in this harmless contest of his youth, and
to which he often recurred when passing an hour or two with his marshals
and generals while preparing for contests on which the fate of France

Up to a few years ago,--it may to this present time,--an interesting
relic of Napoleon's childhood was preserved in his native place. It was
a small brass cannon, weighing about thirty pounds, and it is said he
would leave all other amusements for the pleasure of firing off this
dangerous plaything. His favorite retreat was a solitary summer house,
among the rocks on the sea shore, about a mile from Ajaccio, where his
mother's brother had a villa. The place is now in ruins; it afterwards
came to be known as "Napoleon's Grotto." Nothing interested him more
during these early years, than to hear his mother tell the story of her
exciting hardships as she fled from one part of the island to another
before the conquering French. Thus, unconsciously, she no doubt nurtured
in her second son that warlike spirit which was manifested in him to
such a marked degree in after years.

During the time Napoleon attended school, young men were taught that the
only fame worth striving for was that won by military achievements.
Napoleon's parents, therefore, exerted all the influence they could
command to gain scholarships for the education of their two oldest
sons,--Joseph and Napoleon. Their prayers were at last granted owing to
the invaluable aid of Monsieur de Marboeuf, Bishop of Autun and nephew
of the governor of Corsica. Joseph was to take orders and to be placed
in the college of Autun; Napoleon, intended for the navy, was to go to
the school at Brienne, having previously gone through a course at Autun
so as to learn sufficient French to be able to follow the lectures. They
started on this journey, which was to have so much influence on their
future lives, on December 15, 1778. After a halt at Florence to procure
papers showing the ancient nobility of the Bonaparte family, and which
were necessary to Napoleon before entering the school at Brienne, they
proceeded to Autun. The herald declared that, "Young Napoleon Bonaparte
possessed the nobility necessary for admission into the ranks of the
gentlemen who are educated by his Majesty in the royal schools." Charles
Bonaparte had been able to satisfy the authorities that his patent of
nobility was authentic and privileged him to sign his name "de

Napoleon arrived at Brienne, on the 23d of April, 1779, having in three
months at Autun "learned sufficient French to enable him to converse
easily and to write small essays and translations."

At Brienne Bourrienne, whose friendship for him commenced thus early,
describes him as follows: "Bonaparte was noticeable at Brienne for his
Italian complexion, the keenness of his look, and the tone of his
conversation with masters and comrades. There was almost always a dash
of bitterness in what he said. He had very little of the disposition
that leads to attachments; which I can only attribute to the misfortunes
of his family ever since his birth and the impression that the conquest
of his country had made on his early years."

The fact that he was a brave, manly boy, all biographers agree in
recording. His poverty subjected him to mortification among his
comrades, who also ridiculed him on account of his country and twitted
him with the obsolete saint whose name he bore. These taunts he allowed
himself to settle with the offenders openly and never descended to
report them to his tutors. On one occasion, with Bourrienne, who became
his private secretary in later years, he suffered several days'
imprisonment rather than reveal the names of the real offenders who had
neglected their duties.

Napoleon's promptitude of reply was displayed on many occasions during
his attendance at this school. One day as he was undergoing an
examination by a general officer, he answered all the questions proposed
with so much precision, and accompanied by such a depth of penetration,
that the general, the professors and the students, were astonished. At
length, in order to bring the interrogatories to a close, Napoleon was
asked the following question:

"What line of conduct would you adopt in case you were besieged in a
fortified place and was destitute of provisions?"

"So long as there were any in the camp of the enemy, I should never be
at a great loss for a supply," came the answer quickly, amid the
applause of the pupils.

One of the most delightful winters of Napoleon's early life was that of
1782, spent at this military school. He was just at that age when a boy
most keenly enjoys new scenes and new excitements. It was the
thirteenth winter of his life. He was older than most boys are at
thirteen. His mind and his muscles were better developed. But,
nevertheless, he was still a boy.

It happened that this winter was one of the coldest and most severe in
the history of France, so memorable by the quantity of snow that fell
and which accumulated upon the roads in great quantities. The snow came
early and stayed late, and the students could find but little amusement
without doors. Napoleon was the first to suggest that it be used to
develop their practical knowledge, and at the same time to beguile the
weary hours they would otherwise be compelled to spend within doors. He
said one day:

"Let us divide into two hostile forces and battle, while the snow lasts,
for the possession of the play ground."

The proposition was received with favor and was unanimously accepted. By
common consent Napoleon, whose authority no one questioned, was chosen
to command the projected mimic war, the school being divided into two
equal armies. Extensive fortifications of snow were at once erected by
busy hands who then armed themselves for the coming fray. So complete
were the arrangements that even the inhabitants of the village gave up
all other pursuits to witness the battles. For fifteen days, while the
snow lasted, they built forts and counter-forts, dug trenches,
constructed bastions and made or met sallies with snowball battles,
neglecting for the nonce their less interesting studies.

It is related that Napoleon was greatly enraged one day to find that the
other side had tried to get the best of his men by putting a round stone
into each snowball, but when someone advised him to imitate the tactics
of the foe he indignantly refused, saying that he would win without
doing so or be beaten.

The fort of the enemy was at last captured after Napoleon had gone
through the formalities of a siege, in which he displayed much of the
quickness of combination for which he was noted on the battlefield in
after years. His soldierly methods electrified his fellow students and
astonished the professors as well. "This little sham war," says
Bourrienne, "was carried on for the space of a fortnight, and did not
cease until a quantity of gravel and small stones having got mixed with
the snow of which we made our bullets, many of the combatants, besiegers
as well as besieged, were seriously wounded. I well remember that I was
one of the worst sufferers from this sort of grape-shot fire."

In 1783 Bonaparte, on the recommendation of the inspector of the twelve
military schools, was sent from Brienne to the Royal Military School at
Paris to have his education completed in the general school,--an
extraordinary compliment to the genius and proficiency of a boy of
fifteen. He was one of three to receive that honor, a tribute paid to
the precocity of his extraordinary mathematical talent, and the
steadiness of his application. The entry made at that time in the
military records says:

"Monsieur de Bonaparte (Napoleon) born August 15th, 1769; in height
four feet, ten inches, ten lines; of good constitution, health
excellent, character mild, honest and grateful; conduct exemplary; has
distinguished himself by application to mathematics; understands history
and geography tolerably well; is indifferently skilled in merely
ornamental studies, as well as in Latin; would make an excellent
sailor; deserves to be passed to the Military School at Paris."

The young student did not arrive in Paris in the guise of the future
conqueror of the world. On the contrary, he looked like a "new-comer;"
he gaped at everything he saw, and gazed about in a dazed sort of way.
As a Corsican compatriot who met him as he was getting out of the coach
has said: "His appearance was that of a youth whom any scoundrel would
try to rob after seeing him, if indeed he had anything worth taking!"
However, it should not be forgotten that he was but a youth of fifteen,
felt his poverty keenly, and was about to enter into the noise and
extravagant life of the rich students of this royal military school. As
he himself said in 1811: "All these cares spoiled my early years; they
influenced my temper and made me grave before my time."

At the Paris school Napoleon labored hard, as he had done at Brienne for
five years, being especially proficient, as before, in mathematics.
Everything was very luxurious here, and Bonaparte complained in a
memorial, which he presented to the superintendent of the establishment,
that the mode of life was too expensive and delicate for "poor
gentlemen" and could not properly prepare them either for returning to
their "modest homes," or for the hardships they would encounter in war.
He proposed that instead of a regular dinner of two courses daily, the
students should have ammunition bread and soldiers' rations, and be
compelled to mend and clean their own stockings and shoes. "If I were
king of France," he said one day to a companion, "I would change this
state of things very quickly!" This memorial is said to have done him
no service, for every third boy that looked on him was a duke from his
cradle, while the Young Corsican was still a "pensioner of the king;"
but the schools established by him after he became Emperor were on that
severe plan. "Although believing in the necessity of show and
magnificence in public life," says Meneval, his second private
secretary, "Napoleon remained true to these principles, while lavishing
wealth on his ministers and marshals: 'In your private life' said he,
'be economical and even parsimonious; in public be magnificent.'"

On being reproved one day by an uncle of the Duchess d'Abrantes for
ingratitude as a "pensioner of the king," he broke out furiously with an
expression of indignation. "Silence!" said the gentleman at whose table
he was sitting; "It ill becomes you, who are educated by the king's
bounty, to speak as you do."

"I am not educated at the _king's_ expense," replied Bonaparte, his face
flushed with rage, "but at the expense of the _nation_!"

Young Napoleon made but poor advancement in the German language while at
this school, and by reason of it offended M. Bauer his tutor. One day,
not being in his place, M. Bauer inquired where he was, and was told
that he was attending his examination in the class of artillery.

"Oh! so he does learn something," said the professor ironically.

"Why, sire, he is the best mathematician in the school," was the reply.

"Ah, I have always heard it remarked and I have always believed, that
none but a fool could learn mathematics!"

"It would be curious," said Napoleon, who related this anecdote when he
was Emperor, "to know whether M. Bauer lived long enough to ascertain my
real character, and to enjoy the confirmation of his own judgment."

Napoleon had not been in the Military School of Paris a year,--during
which time his father had died,--and had barely completed his sixteenth
year, when he successfully passed the examination, in August 1785,--for
a commission in a regiment of artillery.

On September 1st the decree was signed which assigned Bonaparte as
Second-Lieutenant in the company of bombardiers of the regiment of La
Fere garrisoned at Valence. At the time of the examination there were
thirty-six vacant places. M. de Feralio, one of the professors of the
military school charged with this examination, is said to have inscribed
on the margin, opposite to the signature of Napoleon, the following: "A
Corsican by character and by birth. If favored by circumstances this
young man will rise high." This professor was very fond of his young
pupil, and when at school is said to have occasionally supplied him with
pocket money. After his death Napoleon granted a handsome pension to his

Napoleon's corps was at Valence when he joined it. Arriving there he was
an occasional frequenter of the drawing room of Madame du Colombier, and
it is said he made love to her daughter; but when not so engaged, he was
devoted to his military studies, and read frequently from the Lives of
Plutarch, a volume of which he generally carried about him. He also
occupied himself in writing a "History of Corsica" which, when
completed, the Abbe Raynal and other friends praised very highly; but he
was unable to find a publisher for it.

At Valence Napoleon found the officers of his regiment divided, as all
the world then was, into two parties; the lovers of the French monarchy,
and those who desired its overthrow. Napoleon openly sided with the
latter. "Had I been a general," said he, in the evening of his life, "I
might have adhered to the king; being a subaltern I joined the

In the beginning of 1792 Napoleon became captain of artillery,
unattached, and happening to be in Paris, witnessed the lamentable
scenes of the 20th of June, when the revolutionary mob stormed the
Tuileries, and Louis XVI. and his family, after undergoing innumerable
insults and degradations, with the utmost difficulty preserved their
lives. As he was strolling about with Bourrienne he saw the mob,
numbering between five and six thousand, ragged and ridiculously armed,
coming from the outskirts and making for the Tuileries. "Let us follow
these scoundrels," he said. They went with the crowd into the garden
before the palace, and when the king appeared at one of the windows on
the balcony, surrounded by Revolutionists, and with the red cap of
liberty, the emblem of the Jacobins, on his head, Napoleon could no
longer suppress his contempt and indignation. "Poor driveller!" said he,
loud enough to be heard by those near him; "how could he suffer this
rabble to enter? If he had swept away five or six hundred with his
cannon, _the rest would be running yet_!" Napoleon always abhorred
anarchy. He said there was no remedy for mobs but grape-shot, and
believed thoroughly in the theory of shooting first and listening to
peace negotiations afterwards.

He was also a witness of the still more terrible 10th of August, in the
same year, when the palace being once more invested, the National Guard
assigned for its defense took part with the assailants. This time the
royal family were obliged to take refuge in the National Assembly, and
the brave Swiss Guards were massacred almost to a man.

Bonaparte was a firm friend of the Assembly, to the charge of a part of
which, at least, these excesses must be laid; but the spectacle
disgusted him. The yells, screams, and pikes with bloody heads upon
them, formed a scene which he afterwards described as "hideous and
revolting." But with what a different feeling of interest would he have
looked on that infuriated populace, those still resisting though
overpowered Swiss, and that burning palace, had any seer whispered to
him: "Emperor that shall be, all this blood and massacre is but to
prepare your future Empire!"

He mingled little in society; but he saw much of the people and took
sides irrevocably with the cause of the nation. At this time he was
without employment and very poor, wandering idly about Paris, and living
chiefly at cheap restaurants. As yet he had been but a spectator of the
Revolution, destined to pave his own path to sovereign power; but it was
not long before circumstances called him to play a part in this tragic
drama which was then attracting the attention of the civilized world.

It was shortly after these stirring scenes in Paris, that Bonaparte
visited his mother in Corsica, arriving there with his sister Eliza on
September 17th, 1792. For the first time in thirteen years the family
was reunited, and their joy would have been complete had their
circumstances not been so sad. Their resources were diminishing day by
day and the recovery of what was due them became constantly more
difficult, owing to civil discords. The only fund upon which they could
rely seems to have been Napoleon's pay as an artillery officer.

The following year, while Bonaparte was still enjoying the leave of
absence from his regiment, an expedition arrived from France to deprive
General Paoli, governor of Corsica, of his control, he having denounced
the National Assembly as the enemy of France. Paoli endeavored to enlist
Napoleon in his cause; among other flatteries he patted him on the back
and said: "You were cast in an antique mould; you are one of Plutarch's
men. The whole world will talk of you," but the young Corsican was loyal
to France, and was not to be deceived by either entreaties or flattery.
He declared his belief that Corsica was too weak to maintain
independence, that she must fall under the rule either of France or
England, and that her interests would be best served by adhering to the
former. Napoleon then tendered his sword to Salicetti, one of the
Corsican deputies to the Convention, and was appointed provisionally to
the command of a battalion of National Guards.

The first military service on which he was employed for his native
country was the reduction of a small fortress, called the Torre di
Capitello, near Ajaccio. He took it, but was soon besieged in it, and he
and his garrison, after a gallant defense, and living for some time on
horseflesh, were glad to evacuate the tower, and escape to the sea.
Paoli was soon reinforced by England, and the Bonapartes were among
those who were banished from the country. During this Corsican
revolution the inhabitants were much divided as to the rights of England
and France in the island. An officer in the French troops, who sided
with England, was much scandalized at the position taken by the
Bonapartes,--Joseph, Napoleon and Lucien. One day, in the hearing of
Napoleon, the officer made use of some very harsh language towards them,
and was especially bitter against Napoleon. At this a friend defended
him with much warmth and finished by saying to the officer: "Sir, you
are not worth a pair of Napoleon's old boots!"

In the year 1800, Napoleon then being First Consul of France, the
officer who had defended him, and who had for some time followed his
standard, and had been raised to distinction by him, happening to meet
Bonaparte among a large party at dinner at the house of the First
Consul's mother, was drawn aside before the company placed themselves at
the table, and with his finger over his mouth, Napoleon said in a
half-joking, half-serious manner: "My dear sir, not a word, I entreat
you, about the old boots!"

As a result of the insurrection in Corsica Napoleon saw Ajaccio in
ashes, and the home of his childhood pillaged and burned ere he took his
departure. His mother and sisters took refuge first at Nice, and
afterwards at Marseilles, where for some time they suffered all the
inconveniences of poverty and exile. At that period nothing was more
deplorable than Bonaparte's prospects; nothing more uncertain than the
future. But he believed that fortune would not always abandon him.
France was in the hands of men who acted largely from self-interest, and
here he apparently saw a chance to carve his way to fame by getting in
the vortex of the Revolution. It was probably on this occasion that he
repeated the well-known words: "In a revolution a soldier should never
despair if he possesses courage and genius."

Napoleon now resolved to rejoin his regiment; he had chosen France for
his country, and ever afterwards it was his home until exiled to St.

During the night of August 27th, 1793, Toulon was delivered to the
English, and its subsequent siege and retaking was destined to be the
first incident of importance which enabled Bonaparte to distinguish
himself in the eyes of the French Government, and of the world at large.
The head of Louis XVI had rolled from the block, and a month afterwards
the Convention had declared war against England.

Early in September France was attacked on every side, and a third of her
provinces had rebelled against the government established at Paris,
which enforced its supremacy by a regime carried on under a Reign of
Terror. Among the provinces in open insurrection were all those of the
south. An army corps invested Lyons, while another, after subduing
Marseilles, marched against Toulon, the great arsenal and seaport, and
delivered by the Bourbons into the hands of England. Adjutant Cervoni
was at once dispatched to Marseilles to ascertain if he could find in
that town some artillery officer of distinction to whom might be
intrusted the chief command of the siege batteries before Toulon.

While strolling through the streets Cervoni met with a captain of
artillery who was, like himself, perambulating the thoroughfares. This
captain was a Corsican and a compatriot; his name was Napoleon
Bonaparte. He was covered with the dust of the road along which he had
been walking; for he had just arrived from Avignon, whither he had
escorted a convoy of ammunition, and was on his way to Nice. Cervoni
thought that Bonaparte would be just the man to watch over the
movements of the army before Toulon: he appeared very young,--he was
only twenty-four years of age--but it was stated that a month before the
Republican army was on the point of beating a retreat in front of
Avignon when he, with two field-pieces and eighty men, bombarded the
town in the rear so effectively that the inhabitants and federal troops
were overcome with fright and, convinced that they had been betrayed,
abandoned the place to the Republicans who entered victorious, thanks to
the boldness and foresight of Captain Bonaparte.

[Illustration: From a Painting by Lafit


Cervoni invited him to enter a café; Bonaparte accepted, and the two men
had a chat over a bowl of punch. The young captain doffed his hat, so
that his features were lighted up by the blue flame of the liquor; his
complexion was sallow and his head large, measuring as it did
twenty-three inches round. If the size of his skull was large, the space
between the two cheek-bones was enormous. The hair grew low on his
forehead; the well-arched brows disclosed large eyes, sharp as steel,
cold, clear and piercing; the aquiline nose was of the most delicate
shape, the lower lip strong and receding, while the chin and the jaws
were as well developed as the skull.

After a conference Napoleon departed for Toulon where he was promoted to
the rank of Brigadier-General of Artillery, with the command of the
artillery during the siege. The arsenal was filled with military stores,
and twenty-five English and Spanish battleships were then riding in the
harbor to protect it. Three months had passed, during which time no
apparent progress had been made towards the recapture of the town, and
when Napoleon arrived he was invested with the command of the artillery

A strong fort commanded the harbor, and after a careful examination
Napoleon said the only way to retake Toulon was to neglect the body of
the town, carry "Little Gibraltar," and the city would surrender in two
days. Napoleon's brother Lucien visited him about this time. They went
together one morning to a place where a fruitless assault had been made,
and two hundred Frenchmen were dead upon the ground. On beholding them
Napoleon exclaimed: "If I had commanded here all these brave men would
still be alive!" A moment later he added: "Learn from this example,
young man, how indispensable and imperatively necessary it is for those
to possess knowledge who aspire to the command of others."

Napoleon's own account of his experiences here is extremely interesting,
and was thus related by him during his exile at St. Helena:

"I reported, as I had been ordered to do," he said, "to General Cartaux,
(a portrait painter of Paris) who was in charge of the revolutionary
forces. He was a tall man, all covered with gilt decorations, and a type
of the militia officer. I saw at once that he was utterly incompetent to
the task that had been laid out for him. I said: 'I have been directed
to assist, under your order, in the taking of Toulon.' He replied: 'We
need no assistance in taking Toulon; but since they have sent you here
you may enjoy yourself as best you can and see the siege.' Then he gave
orders to have me treated with courtesy.

"Well, the next morning I went out with the general to look at the
preparations for bombarding the stronghold. He called an aid-de-camp and
asked in a business-like manner: 'Are the red-hot shot ready?' I was
surprised, but said nothing. The subordinate replied: 'Oh, yes, the men
have been busy all night heating them.' I was now more surprised than
ever, but still kept silent. What followed would have made me believe
they were trying to guy me if their manner had not been so serious.
General Cartaux asked how they were going to get the red-hot shot over
to the guns. That seemed to puzzle the aid-de-camp. The General himself
didn't know what to do. After a great deal of speculation, and some
swearing, he asked me what I would do under the circumstances. I said:

"'You will find it an excellent idea to try the range of your guns with
cold shot first. If the range isn't right the hot-shot will be of no

"He laughed merrily and agreed with me. The order was given to try the
range. The result was that the cold shot didn't carry more than a third
of the distance. The bombarding of the fort was put off another day.

"Luckily Gasparin, the direct representative of the people with plenary
powers, came riding up that night, and I told him what I had seen and
heard. He agreed that the man in command was incompetent, and put me in
charge. You all know the rest. I began the attack on the outlet of
Toulon and was successful. Gasparin consoled Cartaux by telling him that
I was only a subordinate, and that all the glory would go to him

During this siege of the "Little Gibraltar Castle" Bonaparte showed his
extensive knowledge of mankind, and which enabled him to discover and
attach to him those men whose talents were most distinguished, and most
capable of rendering him service. Several who afterwards became marshals
and generals under the Empire, first made Napoleon's acquaintance at
Toulon. Among these were Duroc and Junot. During one of the days of
this long siege Napoleon, in passing one of the trenches, called for
some one to write an order from his dictation, and in obedience to this
request a young and handsome soldier stepped out of the ranks, and
resting his paper on the breastwork, began to write as directed.
Scarcely had he done so when a cannon ball fell at his feet and covered
both commander and private with dirt. The soldier laughingly held up his
paper and said: "Thank you, now I shall need no sand."

Napoleon was so pleased with his bravery, and ready wit, that he
immediately promoted him. The name of this fortunate man was General
Junot; he subsequently became Duke of Abrantes and was one of the most
distinguished generals of the Empire under Napoleon. An apparent total
insensibility to fatigue was observed in the young Corsican officer at
this time. He worked through daylight, and slept nights wrapped in a
blanket under his guns till his batteries were ready to begin

During the siege Paris was very restless, and after a few weeks had
passed it became almost the sole topic of conversation at the capital;
the newspapers contained innumerable suggestions for the ending of the
siege, and hundreds of letters were addressed to the officers at Toulon,
telling them how to drive the English from the shores of France. One day
fifteen carriages arrived at Toulon containing sixty young men who had
journeyed thither from the capital; they were gorgeously arrayed and
asked to be presented to the commander-in-chief.

Bonaparte received the party courteously and asked what he could do for
them. "Citizen Bonaparte," said the spokesman, "we come from Paris. The
patriots there are indignant at your indecision and delay. The soil of
the Republic has been violated. She trembles to think that the insult
still remains unavenged. She asks, 'Why is Toulon not yet taken? Why is
the English fleet not yet destroyed?' In her indignation she has
appealed to her brave sons. We have obeyed her summons and burn with
impatience to fulfill her expectations. We are volunteer gunners from
Paris. Furnish us with arms. To-morrow we will march against the enemy!"

Early on the following day Napoleon conducted the "volunteers" to the
seashore. During the night he had ordered a number of cannon placed in
position and as he pointed to the black hull out at sea he said: "Sink
that ship!"

At some distance from the shore lay an English frigate, upon whose deck
were to be seen a formidable array of cannon, all pointed shorewards.

"But there is no shelter here!" said the volunteers in chorus. At this
moment a broadside was fired by the gunners on the frigate and the
brilliantly decorated patriots from the capital fled in every direction,
amid the smiles of the commander-in-chief who at once gave orders for
his own gunners to return the fire of the enemy.

Toulon was at last retaken on December 17th, the siege having lasted
four months.

When Bonaparte at last raised the French emblem over the city, and as it
floated with the breezes over a scene of desolation long remembered by
those who witnessed it, he said to Dugommier: "Go to sleep; we have
taken Toulon!"

It was here that Napoleon was first severely wounded. When his body was
being prepared for burial at St. Helena there was found upon his left
thigh so deep a scar that it was nearly possible to place one's finger
in it. This had been caused by a bayonet thrust received during this
engagement, and in consequence of which he nearly lost his leg. In
addition to the wound he had a number of horses shot under him. Another
of the dangers which he incurred was of a singular character. An
artilleryman being shot at the gun which he was serving, while Napoleon
was visiting a battery, the commander took up the dead man's rammer, and
to give encouragement to the soldiers, charged the gun with his own
hands. The gunner had been afflicted with a skin disease which Napoleon
contracted from the weapon, and for a number of years afterward he
suffered from its ravages.

Soon after the retaking of Toulon Bonaparte accompanied General
Dugommier to Marseilles. Some one struck with his appearance asked the
general _who that little bit of an officer was, and where he picked him

"That officer's name," replied the general, "is Bonaparte: I picked him
up at the siege of Toulon, to the successful termination of which he
eminently contributed; and you will probably see, one day, _that this
little bit of an officer_ is a greater man than any of us!"

Napoleon was now rapidly rising in reputation. His science
as an artillery officer and his valor had saved France from
humiliation--taught her enemies to respect her--had suppressed the
spirit of insurrection in the southern provinces, and had given the
government of the Convention control of the whole army.

It has been said that Napoleon's fame first came to the knowledge of
Barras, a member of the Directory, through a letter taken by his young
protegé to Paris not long after this siege. It was a commendatory letter
addressed to Carnot in which Barras thus expressed himself: "I send you
a young man who has distinguished himself very much during the siege,
and earnestly recommend you to advance him speedily: _If you do not, he
will most assuredly advance himself!_"

Bonaparte's name was on the list of those whom the veteran Dugommier
recommended for promotion, and he was accordingly confirmed in his
provisional situation of chief of battalion and appointed to hold that
rank in Italy. He therefore proceeded to join the headquarters of the
French army then lying at Nice. Here he suggested a plan by which the
Sardinians were driven from the Coe di Tendi. Saorgio, with all its
stores, soon surrendered, and the French obtained possession of the
maritime Alps, so that the difficulties of advancing into Italy were
greatly diminished. Of these movements, however, Napoleon's superior
officers reaped as yet the honor. While directing the means of attaining
these successes Bonaparte acquired a complete acquaintance with that
Alpine country in which he was shortly to obtain victories in his own
name, not in that of others who were now rapidly acquiring reputation by
acting on his timely suggestions.

One of his favorite methods of planning manoeuvres he originated at this
time while studying his maps and plans of the Alpine country. He had so
familiarized himself with the locality that no point of importance was
unknown to him. With this data before him, Bonaparte would sit for
hours, intent on studying the maps of the country, and upon which he had
stuck pins, the heads of which he had covered with wax of various
shades. One color was used to designate the French, another the enemy,
and by changing the location of the pins on the map he formed various
intricate plans of attack and retreat that some years later were most
valuable to him. This ingenious scheme is often used at the present day
by large wholesale houses to designate the territory of their salesmen
while travelling about the country.

While in Nice Napoleon was suddenly arrested and thrown into prison on
an order sent from Paris by the Committee of Public Safety. He had been
sent there with secret instructions from the government "to collect
facts that would throw light upon the intentions of the Genoese
government respecting coalition, etc.," and although he acquitted
himself with all the care necessary to success, his excess of zeal came
nearly ending fatally to him, for it was a time when it was safe to have
secrets from no one. It was a time, too, when revolutionists owed it to
themselves to arrest their predecessors, and as there had been a change
in the government, Napoleon's secret journey was unknown to Salicetti
and Albitte, who had succeeded Ricord.

Young Robespierre, who received the order of arrest, was much astounded
at it. The document added that the prisoner was to be at once brought
under a strong escort to Fort Carré near Antibes and there imprisoned
and tried "for treason against the Republic." Robespierre asked Napoleon
to come into his room, and showed him the document, which might mean
death. Then he said: "You must not go away yet. I will put you under
arrest, and then I will write to my brother, who has some influence with
the committee. He may be able to get the order rescinded."

Napoleon refused to get agitated over his arrest. Junot, Sebastiani and
Marmont, his young aides-de-camp, had formed a plan of escape and
advised him to choke the guard, steal a small boat, and flee to the
Corsican coast, where he could hide himself in the mountains. Bonaparte,
knowing his innocence, refused to try to escape, but addressed the
following letter to Junot, et al: "I fully recognize your friendship, my
dear Junot, in the proposition you make me: you have long known the
sincerity of mine for you, and I hope that you trust in it. Men may be
unjust towards me, my dear Junot, but for me my innocence is sufficient.
My conscience is the tribunal before which I summon my conduct. This
conscience is calm when I question it. Do nothing, therefore; all
friendly greetings. BONAPARTE.

_Under arrest at Fort Carré, Antibes._"

It was only when told that he was dismissed from the army, and declared
unworthy of public confidence, that he addressed a spirited letter to
Albitte and Salicetti, the committee that ordered his arrest, and which
caused them to reconsider their resolution.

In his dramatic communication to this committee, Bonaparte said in part:
"You have suspended me from my functions, arrested and declared me
suspected. Therein you have branded me without judging,--or rather
judged without hearing. * * * Hear me; destroy the oppression that
environs me, and restore me in the estimation of patriotic men. An hour
after, if villains desire my life, I shall esteem it but little; I have
despised it often."

In a few days the influence of the great Robespierre had made itself
felt; a message was consequently received rescinding the order and
Napoleon was honorably discharged from custody. His papers had been
examined, and as nothing was found in them to implicate him, he was set
at liberty at once. In those stormy times more than one innocent man had
been sent to the guillotine on a less flimsy accusation than this,
and Napoleon had, therefore, good reason to be thankful for the
interposition of Robespierre.

At this time the young warrior was most studious, and is said to have
thus early acquired the habit of taking short snatches of sleep, which
seemed to refresh him fully as much as the longer periods required by
others. While at Nice one of his friends, on a particular occasion, went
to Napoleon's apartments long before daybreak, and not doubting that he
was still in bed, knocked gently at the door, fearful of disturbing him
too abruptly. Upon entering his chamber he was not a little astonished
at finding Bonaparte dressed as during the day, with plans, maps and
various books scattered around him.

"What!" exclaimed the visitor, "not yet in bed?"

"In bed," replied Napoleon, "I am already risen."

"Indeed, and why so early?"

"Oh, two or three hours are enough for any man to sleep!" was the
general's reply.

Some years later, when Bonaparte was forming the "_Code Napoleon_," he
astonished the Council of State by the readiness with which he
illustrated any point in discussion by quoting the Roman Civil Law, a
subject which might seem entirely foreign to him, since the greater part
of his life had been passed on the battlefield. On being asked how he
had acquired so familiar a knowledge of law affairs he replied: "When I
was lieutenant I was put under arrest, unjustly, it is true, but that is
nothing to the point. The little room which was assigned for my prison
contained no furniture but an old chair and an old cupboard: in the
cupboard was a ponderous volume, older and more worm-eaten than all the
rest. It proved to be a digest of the Roman law. As I had neither
paper, pens, ink or pencil, you may easily imagine that this book was a
valuable prize to me. It was so voluminous and the leaves were so
covered with marginal notes in manuscript that, had I been confined one
hundred years I could never have been idle. I was only deprived of my
liberty ten days; but, on recovering it, I was saturated with Justinian
and the decisions of the Roman legislators. _Thus, I picked up my
knowledge of the Civil Law._"

Bonaparte did not resume his functions at Nice, after his release from
imprisonment, but repaired to Marseilles where his mother was living in
distressed circumstances. Before the end of the year he again came to
Paris to solicit employment. At first he met with nothing but repulses.
Aubry, president of the military committee, objected to his youth, at
which Bonaparte replied rather sharply: "One ages quickly on
battlefields, and I have just left one." The president, who had not seen
much actual service himself, thought he was insulted, and treated
Napoleon very coldly in consequence.

Shortly afterwards Bonaparte was offered the command of a brigade of
infantry which he refused, declaring that nothing could induce him to
leave the artillery. Writing to Sucy, a friend, on this subject,
Napoleon said: "I have been ordered to serve as a general of the line in
La Vendée. I will not accept. Many soldiers could direct a brigade
better than I, and few have commanded artillery with greater success."
His refusal was followed by the erasure of his name from the list of
general officers in employment. Some time later he asked for a
commission to Turkey to form a barrier against the encroachments of
Russia and England, but it was not granted. No answer was returned to
his memorial, over which he conversed for some weeks with great
enthusiasm. "How strange it would be," he said to his friends, "if a
little Corsican should become king of Jerusalem." Already he was
contemplating greatness, and firmly believed in his "Star of Destiny."

At length he was nominated to the command of a brigade of artillery in
Holland. The long-deferred appointment was, no doubt, very welcome; but
in the meantime his services were called for in a more important field.
When the National Guard sided with the enemies of the Convention, and
took up arms against the Government, a man of force and decision was
needed to defend them from the insurgents. A collision had taken place
on October 3rd, 1795, when the troops of the Convention were withdrawn
by that body. The insurgents, who represented the forty-eight sections
of Paris, were prepared to attack the Palace of the Tuileries next
morning with upwards of 40,000 men, and take the Government in their own
hands. The nation, and especially the superior classes, aided by the
Royalists, were indignant at the conduct of the members of the
Convention,--who schemed to perpetuate themselves in office,--and formed
a most formidable opposition to the measures of the existing Government.

General Bonaparte was at the theatre when informed of the events that
were passing. He at once hastened to the Assembly where he found the
members in the heat of debate and greatly exercised over their
approaching danger.

Deliberating with Tallien and Carnot, Barras, who had been present at
Toulon during the siege, said: "There is but one man who can save us. I
have the man whom you want; _it is a little Corsican officer who will
not stand upon_ _ceremony!_" Napoleon was sent for and notified that he
had been chosen to defend the Government as second in command under
Barras. Unknown to the Assembly, he had been present at their meeting,
and heard all that had been said of him. He deliberated on the best
course to pursue for more than half an hour, and at last decided to take
up their cause, if allowed to do so in his own way. When Barras
presented Napoleon to the Convention as a fit man to be intrusted with
the command, the President asked:

"Are you willing to undertake the defense of the Convention?"

"Yes," was the reply.

"Are you aware of the magnitude of the undertaking?"

"Perfectly; and I am in the habit of accomplishing that which I
undertake. I accept, but I warn you that, once my sword is out of the
scabbard, I shall not replace it until I have established order."

He refused, however, to accept the appointment unless he received it
free from all interference. The trembling Convention quickly yielded,
and although Barras enjoyed the title of "Commander-in-chief," Bonaparte
was actually in control of the troops.

Upon consultation with Menou, who was then in prison, and whom he
succeeded, Napoleon quickly obtained the information desired. He learned
that the available defense consisted of but 5,000 soldiers of all
descriptions, with 40 pieces of cannon then at Sablons and guarded by
only one hundred and fifty men. Without the loss of a moment Napoleon
began his preparations for the morrow which was to decide whether the
mob was to triumph, and France lose all the fruits of her Revolution, or
law and order be established. His first act was to dispatch Murat, then
a major of chasseurs, to Sablons, five miles off, where the cannon were
posted. The Sectionaries sent a stronger detachment to seize these
cannon immediately afterwards; and Murat, who passed them in the dark,
would have gone in vain had he received his orders but a few moments
later, or had he been less active.

When the reveille sounded on the morning of October 4th, over 32,000
National Guards advanced by different streets to the siege of the
palace; but its defense was in firmer hands than those of Louis
XVI.--the hero of Toulon was now at the helm.

At the Church St. Roche the column which was advancing along the Rue St.
Honoré, found a detachment of Napoleon's troops drawn up in line with
two cannon to dispute their passage. It is unknown which side began the
firing, but in an instant Napoleon's artillery swept the streets and
lanes, scattering grape-shot among the National Guards, and producing
such confusion that they were soon compelled to give way. The first shot
was a signal for opening all the batteries which Bonaparte had
established, the quays of the Seine opposite the Tuileries being
commanded by his guns below the palace and on the bridges.

In less than an hour the action was over. The insurgents fled in all
directions, leaving the streets covered with the dead and wounded. The
troops of the Convention then marched into the various Sections,
disarmed the terrified inhabitants, and before nightfall everything was
quiet. The sun went down as calmly over the helpless city as though
nothing had happened. That same evening the theatres were opened and
illuminated, and there were general rejoicings on almost every hand.

Napoleon's star rose that night above the horizon; all Paris rushed to
catch a glimpse of the young commander, and for many years afterwards
France continued to look to him for protection,--and not in vain.

On the night of the 13th Vendemiaire Napoleon wrote to his brother
Joseph, saying: "At last all is finished and I hasten to send you news
of myself. The Royalists, formed into Sections, were becoming daily more
threatening. The Convention gave orders for the disarmament of the
Lepelletier Section which resisted the troops. Menou, who commanded,
was, it is said, a traitor, and was immediately disgraced. The
Convention appointed Barras to command the armed forces; the committee
named me to command them under him. We placed our troops; the enemy came
to attack us at the Tuileries. We killed many of them, and lost thirty
killed and sixty wounded of our men. We have disarmed the Sections, and
all is peace again. As usual I am unhurt. P.S. Fortune is on my side.
Love to Eugenie and Julie."

Within five days from the defeat of the Sections Napoleon was named
second in command of the Army of the Interior, and shortly afterwards
Barras, finding his duties as director sufficient to occupy his time,
gave up the command to his "little Corsican officer."

After his inauguration as general of the armed force of Paris, Bonaparte
waited on each of the five directors. While on a visit to Carnot a
celebrated writer was there by invitation,--it being presentation
day,--and as the young commander entered, was singing at the piano forte
accompanied by a young lady. The entrance of Napoleon, then a short,
well-made, olive-complexioned youth, amidst five or six tall young men
who seemed to pay him the greatest attention, was a very surprising
contrast, and made something of a stir.

On Bonaparte's entrance Carnot bowed with an air of perfect ease and
self-possession, and as he passed by the author the latter inquired of
the host who the gentlemen were.

The director answered: "The general of the armed force of Paris and his

"What is his name?" said the author.


"Has he any military skill?"

"So it is said."

"What has he ever done to render himself conspicuous?"

"He is the officer who commanded the troops of the Convention on the
Thirteenth Vendemiaire." (Day of the defeat of the Sections).

A shade passed over the visage of the inquirer, who happened to be one
of the electors of the Vendemiaire, and he retired to one of the dark
corners to observe the new visitor in thoughtfulness and in silence.
Carnot then took occasion to predict that the young general would soon
take another step to fame and glory.

It was about this time that a lady asked Napoleon: "How could you fire
thus mercilessly upon your countrymen?"

"A soldier," he replied calmly, "is only a machine to obey orders!"

A few years before, while at a party given in the drawing rooms of M.
Neckar, a celebrated financier, the Bishop of Autun commended Fox and
Sheridan for having asserted that the French army, by refusing to obey
the orders of their superiors to fire upon the populace, had set a
glorious example to all the armies of Europe; because, by so doing, they
had shown themselves that men, by becoming soldiers, did not cease to be

[Illustration: From a Painting by H. Vernet


"Excuse me, if I venture to interrupt you;" said Napoleon quickly, "but
as I am an officer, I must claim the privilege of expressing my
sentiments. I sincerely believe that a strict discipline in the army is
absolutely necessary for the safety of our constitutional government and
for the maintenance of order. Nay, if our troops are not compelled
unhesitatingly to obey the commands of the executive, we shall be
exposed to the blind fury of democratic passions which will render
France the most miserable country on the globe!"

The action of the Assembly in placing Napoleon in command of the troops
in Paris had caused his name to appear frequently in the newspapers, and
thenceforth it emerged from obscurity. As commander his first act was to
intercede for and gain the acquittal of Menou, his predecessor, who was
then in prison, principally because of his failure to put down the

Bonaparte now began to hold military levees, at one of which an incident
occurred which gave at once a new turn in his mode of life, and a fresh
impetus to the advance of his fortunes. A beautiful boy about twelve
years old appeared before Napoleon and said: "My name is Eugene
Beauharnais. My father, Viscount, and a General of the Republican
armies, has died on the guillotine, and I am come to pray you, sir, to
give me his sword." Bonaparte caused the request to be complied with,
and the tears of the boy, as he received and kissed the relic, excited
the commander's interest. The next day the youth's mother, Josephine
Beauharnais, came to thank Napoleon for his kind treatment of her son,
and her beauty and singular gracefulness of address made a strong
impression upon him. Some time later he offered Josephine his hand; she,
after some hesitation, accepted it, and the young general by his
marriage, which was celebrated on March 5th, 1796, thus cemented his
favorable connection with the society of the Luxembourg, and in
particular, with Tallien and Barras, at that time the most powerful men
in France.

The first meeting with Eugene, and its influence upon Napoleon's
marriage with Josephine, has been sometimes questioned by historians,
many of whom have seemingly neglected the Exile's own verification of
the story at St. Helena, in which, after relating the incident of
Josephine's visit, he said to Dr. O'Meara: "I was much struck with her
appearance (Josephine's), and still more with her _esprit_. This first
impression was daily strengthened, and marriage was not long in

Tranquility was now restored in Paris, and the Directors had leisure to
turn their attention to the affairs of the Army of Italy, which was then
in a most confused and unsatisfactory condition. They determined to
place it under it a new general, and Bonaparte, then but twenty-six
years of age, was appointed to the command of the Army of Italy. It is
said that when the command was given Napoleon by Carnot (grandfather of
the late Sadi-Carnot, president of the present French Republic), the
latter told him it was to the command of men alone that he could be
appointed, the troops being destitute of everything but arms. Bonaparte
replied, that provided he would let him have men enough, that it was all
he wanted; he would answer for the rest, a promise that was soon
fulfilled, for instead of an army wanting everything, it became, at the
enemy's expense, one of the best appointed in Europe.

It was afterwards a matter of dispute between Carnot and Barras as to
which of them had first proposed his appointment to this command. It is
admitted in one of Josephine's letters that Barras had promised to
procure the position for Bonaparte before his marriage took place.

One of the Directors hesitated and said to Napoleon, "You are too

"In a year," he answered, "I shall be either old or dead!"



When Napoleon set out from Paris on the 21st of March 1796, to take
command of the Army of Italy, after a honeymoon of but three days, he
traversed France with the swiftness of a courier, turning aside but a
few hours at Marseilles with his mother and family, whom he was now able
to provide for in an adequate manner. His letters to Josephine were full
of passionate expressions of tenderness, and regret at their separation.
But after paying his tribute to the affections, his heart was speedily
filled with exultation and triumph. For the first time he was chief in
command; the power within him was now free to direct his actions,
unhampered by the restraint he had so long felt in the capital. He was
extremely anxious to commence the career to which Fate called him, by
placing himself at the head of the Army of Italy at once.

It would not be difficult to imagine with what delight this young
general--then scarcely twenty-six years old--advanced to an independent
field of glory and conquest, confident in his own powers, and in the
perfect knowledge of the country which he had previously acquired. He
had under his command such men, already distinguished in war by success
and bravery as: Augereau, Massena, Serrurier, Joubert, Lannes, Murat, La
Harpe, Stengel and Kilmaine, all of whom were astonished at the youthful
appearance of their new commander.

It was not without some discontent that the old generals beheld a young
man, lately their inferior, taking the command over their heads,--to
which each supposed he had a prior claim, and reaping the benefits of a
plan of operations they did not imagine to have originated with himself.
As he rode along the ranks the soldiers observed that he did not sit
well on horseback, and complained that a "mere boy" had been sent to
command them. The young general, however, soon obtained that respect for
his character, which had been denied to his physical constitution. The
firmness he exhibited, soon put a stop to the insubordination which had
prevailed in the army; and, even before they had conquered under him,
the troops became as submissive as at any subsequent period, when his
character was fully established.

Some years before, when Bonaparte was conversing at Toulon with M. de
Volney, the well-known Corsican traveler and literary man, at a dinner
given to the two friends by Turreau, then in command of the military
force at Nice, a campaign in Italy was suggested. After the dessert was
brought in Napoleon said to Turreau: "Don't you think it's altogether
too bad to have 10,000 men lying idle here at Nice when the Republic
could make such excellent use of them in Italy?"

"Possibly," replied Turreau, "but we can do nothing; we have no order to
move from the Committee of Public Safety."

"Then," said Napoleon, "it is your duty to make the committee ashamed of
its inactivity."

"What would you do if you could act as you pleased?" asked Turreau.
Napoleon promised to give a reply the next evening. At the time fixed he
came prepared with a complete plan of campaign written out and
classified under seventeen heads. It involved the invasion and conquest
of Italy on almost the same lines that he was now about to undertake,
and the outgrowth partially of that meeting, for Turreau forwarded the
plan to the Committee of Public Safety at Paris on condition that it be
put in the hands of Carnot, in whose judgment Napoleon had confidence.
Carnot looked over the plan and was delighted. He was unable to secure
immediate action, but two years later, when the invasion of Italy was
determined upon, he had sufficient influence to see that Napoleon was
put in charge of it.

Bonaparte arrived at the headquarters of the army at Nice on the 27th of
March, 1796. The French Army of Italy, which amounted to 31,000
available men, had endured great hardships and privations, were
destitute of shoes, clothing, and almost everything which their comfort
demanded. The cavalry was wretchedly mounted and they were very
deficient in artillery. To silence their complaints, and reconcile them
to their situation, as well as to endear them to himself, Napoleon lived
familiarly with his soldiers, participated in their hardships and
privations, and redressed many of their grievances. "My brave fellows,"
he said to them on one occasion, while endeavoring to revive their
spirits; "although you suffer great privations, you have no reason to be
dissatisfied; everything yields to power; if we are victorious, the
provisions and the supplies of the enemy become ours; _if we are
vanquished, we have already too much to lose_."

The allies, Austrian and Sardinian, were a greatly superior force,
numbering as they did 80,000 men, were well equipped with supplies, and
occupied in their own, or a friendly country, all the heights and passes
of the Alps. Berthier, then on Napoleon's staff as major-general, took
great pleasure in showing as a curiosity in after years a general order
by which three louis-d'or were granted as a great supply for an outfit
to each general of division, and dated on the very day of the victory at

On the 8th of April Napoleon wrote to the Directory: "I found this army,
not only destitute, but without discipline; their insubordination and
discontent were such that the malcontents had formed a party for
the Dauphin, and were singing songs opposed to the tenets of the
Revolution. You may, however, rest assured that peace and order will be
re-established; by the time you receive this letter, we shall have come
to an engagement."

It was under such circumstances that Bonaparte proposed forcing a
passage to Italy and converting the richest territory of the enemy into
the theatre of war. "Soldiers," said he to his destitute and
disheartened men, "you are naked and ill-fed; the Republic owes you
much, but she has nothing with which to pay her debts. Your endurance
and patience amidst these barren rocks deserves admiration; but it
brings you no glory. I come to lead you into the most fertile plains the
sun shines upon. Rich provinces, and great cities will soon be in your
power; there you will reap riches and glory--they will be at your
disposal. Soldiers of Italy! with such a prospect before you, can you
fail in courage and perseverance?"

This was the commander's first address to the army, and the words of
encouragement which he gave them shot martial enthusiasm through their
veins like electric fire. Under the incompetent management of Scherer
the army, which had obtained some success against the Austrian general,
De Vins, had been without glory, although their battalions were headed
by valiant officers whose leader had neglected to improve his good
fortune. The French soldiers were thirsting for a commander capable of
leading them on to fame and glory, the conquest of Italy, therefore,
seemed reserved for General Bonaparte.

Napoleon's system of tactics, although then unknown even to his
officers, were a fixity with him. They appear to have been grounded on
the principle that "the commander will be victorious who assembles the
greatest number of forces upon the same point at the same moment,
notwithstanding an inferiority of numbers to the enemy when the general
force is computed on both sides." He eminently possessed the power of
calculation and combination necessary to exercise these decisive

Napoleon's career of victory began, as it continued, in defiance of the
established rules of warfare, and what distinguished him above all his
contemporaries was his ability to convert the most unfavorable
circumstances into the means of success. He perceived that the time was
come for turning a new leaf in the history of war. With such numbers of
troops as the impoverished Republic could afford him, he soon saw that
no considerable advantages could be obtained against the vast and
highly-disciplined armies of Austria and her allies unless the
established rules of etiquette and strategy were abandoned. It was only
by such rapidity of motion as should utterly surprise the superior
numbers of his adversaries that he could hope to concentrate the entire
energy of a small force, such as he commanded, upon some point of a much
greater force, and thus defeat them. He knew he would have to deal with
veteran soldiers and experienced generals--men who had learned the art
of war before he was born. He therefore resolved that every movement
should be made with celerity, and every blow be leveled where it was
least expected.

To effect such rapid marches as he had determined upon, it was necessary
that the soldiery should make up their minds to consider tents and
baggage as idle luxuries; and that instead of a long and complicated
chain of reserves and stores, they should dare to rely wholly for the
means of sustenance on the countries into which their venturesome leader
might conduct them.

The objects of Napoleon's expedition were to compel the king of
Sardinia, who maintained a powerful army in the field, to abandon the
alliance of Austria; to compel Austria to concentrate her forces in her
Italian provinces, thus obliging her to withdraw them from the bank of
the Rhine where they had long hovered. It was hoped, also, to humble the
power of the Vatican and break the prestige of its Jesuitical diplomacy
forever. He had as yet achieved no fame in the field and not a general
in Europe would have blamed him if he had only succeeded in holding the
territory of Nice and Savoy, which France had already won.

Napoleon's plan of reaching the fair regions of Italy differed from that
of all former conquerors; they had uniformly penetrated the Alps at some
point of access in that mighty range of mountains; he judged that the
same end might be accomplished more easily by advancing along the narrow
strip of comparatively level country that intervenes between those
enormous barriers and the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and forcing a
passage at the point where the last or southern extremity of the Alps
melt, as it were, into the first and lowest of the Appenine range.

No sooner did he begin to concentrate his troops towards this region
than Beaulieu, the Austrian general, took measures for protecting
Genoa and the entrance of Italy with a powerful, disciplined and
well-appointed army. He posted himself with one column at Voltri, a town
on the sea some ten miles west of Genoa; D'Argenteau, with another
column occupied the heights of Montenotte, while the Sardinians, led by
General Colli, formed the right of the line at Ceva. This disposition
was made in compliance with the old system of tactics; but it was
powerless before new strategy. The French could not advance towards
Genoa but by confronting some one of the three armies and these Beaulieu
supposed were too strongly posted to be dislodged.

On the morning of the 12th of April, 1796, when D'Argenteau advanced
from Montenotte to attack the column of Rampon, he found that by
skillful manoeuvres during the night Napoleon had completely surrounded
him--a man who had fancied there was nothing new to be done in warfare.

On the previous day the Austrians had driven in all the outposts of the
French and appeared before the redoubt of Montenotte. This redoubt, the
last of the intrenchments, was defended by 1,500 men commanded by Rampon
who made his soldiers take an oath, during the heat of the attack, to
defend it or perish in the intrenchments, to the last man. The repeated
assaults of the French were without avail, their advancement was checked
and they were kept the whole night at the distance of a pistol shot, 400
men being killed by the fire of their musketry alone.

At daybreak, the following morning, Bonaparte then being at the head of
the French forces, and having introduced two pieces of cannon into the
redoubt during the night, the action was recommenced with great vigor
and with varying success. The contest had continued for sometime, when
Bonaparte, with Berthier and Massena appearing suddenly with the centre
and left wing of the army upon the rear and flank of the enemy, at once
commenced a furious attack, filled them with terror and confusion, and
decided the fate of the day. D'Argenteau, who commanded the rear, had
fought gallantly, but seeing that to continue the battle would only end
in total destruction, he fled, leaving his colors and cannon, a thousand
killed and two thousand prisoners.

Thus was the centre of the great Austrian army completely routed before
either its commander-in-chief at the left, or General Colli at the
right, knew that a battle had begun. It was from this battle, the first
of Napoleon's victories, that the French Emperor told the Emperor of
Austria, some years later, that he dated his nobility. "Ancestors?" said
Napoleon, "I, sir, am an ancestor myself; my title of nobility dates
from Montenotte!"

This victory enabled the French, under La Harpe, to advance to Cairo,
and placed them on that side of the Alps which slopes toward Lombardy.

Beaulieu now fell back on Dego, where he could open his communication
with Colli, who had retreated to Millessimo, a small town about nine
miles from Dego. Here the two commanders hoped to unite their forces.
They were soon strongly posted, and dispatching couriers to Milan for
reinforcements, intended to await their arrival before risking another
battle. It was their object to keep fast in these positions until succor
could come from Lombardy; but Napoleon had no intention of giving them
such a respite; his tactics were not those of other generals.

The morning after the victory of Montenotte Bonaparte dispatched
Augereau to attack Millessimo; Massena to fall on Dego, and La Harpe to
turn the flank of Beaulieu.

Massena carried the heights of Biestro at the point of the bayonet,
while La Harpe dislodged the Austrian general from his position, which
separated him hopelessly from the Sardinian commander and put him to
precipitate flight. By these movements Bonaparte was in such a position,
that, though they had not traversed, his army had at all events scaled
the Alps.

Meanwhile Augereau had seized the outposts of Millessimo and cut off
Provera, with 2,000 Austrians who occupied an eminence upon the mountain
of Cossaria, from the main body of Colli's army. Provera took refuge in
a ruined castle which he defended with great bravery, hoping to receive
assistance from Colli.

The next morning Napoleon, who had arrived in the night, forced Colli to
battle and compelled him to retreat towards Ceva. Provera imitated the
gallant example of Colonel Rampon in his defense, but not with the same
success. He was compelled to surrender his sword to Bonaparte at
discretion, after a loss of 10,000 in killed and prisoners, twenty-two
cannon and fifteen standards. The French found on the summit of the Alps
every species of ammunition and other necessities which the celerity of
their march had prevented them from carrying.

Dego, situated at the summit of the Alps, secured the entrance of the
French into Italy, cut off the communications between the Austrian and
Sardinian armies, and placed the conqueror in a situation to crush them
in succession one after the other. Beaulieu, fully sensible of the
danger of his situation, collected the best troops in his army, and at
break of day on the 15th of April, retook Dego at the head of 7,000 men.

The Austrians stood two attacks headed by Napoleon, but at the third
Causse rushed forward, holding his plumed hat on the point of his sword,
and Dego was soon again in possession of the French. For this piece of
gallantry he immediately received the rank of brigadier-general. Here
also, Lannes, who lived to be a marshal of the Empire, first attracted
the notice of Napoleon, and was promoted from lieutenant-colonel to
colonel. The triumph, however, was purchased with the life of the brave
General Causse. He was carried out of the mêlée mortally wounded.
Napoleon passed near him as he lay. "Is Dego retaken?" asked the dying
officer. "It is ours," replied Napoleon. "Then long live the Republic!"
cried Causse, "I die content."

Hotly pursued by the victors, Colli rallied his fugitives at Mondovi,
where they again yielded to the irrisistible onset of the French, the
Sardinian commander leaving his best troops, baggage and cannon on the
field. The action was a most severe one in which, among others, the
French general, Stengel, a brave and excellent officer, was killed, and
the cavalry would have been overpowered but for the desperate valor of

The Sardinians lost ten stands of colors and fifteen hundred prisoners,
among whom were three generals. The Sardinian army had now ceased to
exist, and the Austrians were flying to the frontiers of Lombardy.

Napoleon, following up his advantage, entered Cherasco, a strong place
about ten miles from Turin, as a conqueror. Here he dictated the terms
by which the Sardinian king could still wear a crown. From the castle
where he stood, and looking off on the garden-fields of Lombardy--which
had gladdened the eyes of so many conquerors--with the Alps behind him,
glittering in their perennial snows, Napoleon said to his officers:
"Hannibal forced the Alps--we have turned them." To his soldiers, whom
he addressed in a proclamation, he said: "In fifteen days you have
gained six victories, taken twenty-one stands of colors, fifty-five
pieces of cannon, several fortresses, and conquered the richest part of
Piedmont: you have made 15,000 prisoners, killed or wounded upwards of
10,000 men. Hitherto you have fought for barren rocks, rendered famous
by your valor, but useless to your country. Your services now equal
those of the victorious army of Holland and the Rhine. You have provided
yourselves with everything of which you were destitute. You have gained
battles without cannon! passed rivers without bridges! made forced
marches without shoes! bivouacked without strong liquors and often
without bread! Republican phalanxes, Soldiers of Liberty, only, could
have endured all this. Thanks for your perseverance! If your conquest of
Toulon presaged the immortal campaign of 1793, your present victories
presage a still nobler. But, soldiers, you have done nothing while so
much remains to be done; neither Turin or Milan are yours. The ashes of
the Conquerors of the Tarquins are still trampled by the assassins of

To the Italians Napoleon said: "People of Italy! The French army comes
to break your chains. The people of France are the friends of all
nations--confide in them. Your property, your religion and your customs
shall be respected. We make war with those tyrants alone who enslave

The French soldiers, flushed with victory, were eager to continue their
march, and the people of Italy hailed Napoleon as their deliverer. The
Sardinian king did not long survive the humiliation of the loss of his
crown--he died of a broken heart within a few days after signing the
treaty of Cherasco.

In the meantime the couriers of Napoleon were almost every hour riding
into Paris with the news of his victories, and five times in six days
the Representatives of France had decreed that the Army of Italy
deserved well of their country.

Murat was sent to Paris bearing the news of the capitulation of the king
of Sardinia, and twenty-one stands of colors. His arrival caused great
joy in the capital.

The consummate genius of this brief campaign could not be disputed, and
the modest language of the young general's dispatches to the Directory
lent additional grace to his fame. All the eyes of Europe were fixed in
admiration on his career.

In less than a month's campaign Napoleon laid the gates of Italy open
before him; reduced the Austrians to inaction; utterly destroyed the
Sardinian king's army, and took two great fortresses called "the keys to
the Alps!"

To effect the rapid movements required for such results, everything was
sacrificed that came in the way, not only on this occasion, but on every
other. Baggage, stragglers, the wounded, the artillery--all were left
behind, rather than the column should fail to reach the destined place
at the destined time. Napoleon made no allowance for accidents or
impediments. Things until now reckoned essential to an army were
dispensed with; and, for the first time, troops were seen to take the
field without tents, camp equipage, magazines of provisions, and
military hospitals. Such a system naturally aggravated the horrors of
war. The soldiers were, necessarily, marauders, and committed terrible
excesses at this first stage of the campaign; but every effort was made,
and with much success, to prevent this evil after conquest had put the
means of regular supply within the power of the commander-in-chief. The
wounded were frequently left behind for want of the means of conveyance.
According to one authority, the loss by the disorders inseparable from
this means of war was four times as great as by the fire or the sword of
the enemy.

The army, nevertheless, adored its fortunate general, and it still doted
upon him even when undeceived respecting his providence for it. "To be
able to solve this enigma," says General Foy, "it was requisite to have
known Napoleon, the life of camp and of glory, and, above all, one must
have a French head and heart." With the sufferings of the army, he
never failed to show an active sympathy when it did not tend to the
compromise of his plans. The hours, too, spent by Napoleon on the field
after a battle, endeared him to his followers. He visited the hospitals
in person and made his officers, after his example, take the utmost
interest in this duty. His hand was applied to the wounds; his voice
cheered the sick. All who recovered could relate individual acts of
kindness experienced from him by themselves or their comrades.

It was at this period that a medal of Napoleon was struck at Paris as
conqueror of Montenotte. The face is extremely thin, with long, straight
hair. On the reverse, a figure of Victory is represented flying over the
Alps, bearing a palm branch, a wreath of laurel and a drawn sword. It
was the first of the splendid series designed by Denon to record the
victories and honors of France's great warrior.

Napoleon determined to advance without delay, giving Tuscany, Venice,
and the other Italian States no time to take up a hostile attitude.
After accomplishing so much, a general of less enterprise might have
thought it right to rest awhile and wait for reinforcements before
attempting further conquest, but not so with Napoleon. The French army,
to which recruits were now flocking from every hospital and depot within
reach, was ordered to prepare for instant motion.

It was after one of the successful movements of this period that an old
Hungarian officer was brought prisoner to Bonaparte, who entered into
conversation with him, and among other matters asked what he thought of
the state of the war. "Nothing," replied the prisoner, who did not
know he was addressing the commander-in-chief, "nothing can be worse.
Here is a young man who knows absolutely nothing of the regular rules of
war; to-day he is in our rear, to-morrow on our flank, the next day
again in our front. Such violations of the principles of the art of war
are intolerable sir, and we do not know how to proceed!"

[Illustration: From a Painting by F. Philippoteaux


To secure the route to Milan it was necessary to drive the Austrians
from the banks of the Adda, behind which they had retired after a heavy
loss at Fombio. Lannes upon that occasion gave proofs of his astonishing
intrepidity; at the head of a single battalion, he attacked between
seven and eight thousand Austrians, and not content in causing their
flight, he pursued them ten miles, following the trot of their cavalry
on foot.

Having collected an immense quantity of artillery and the main division
of his army at a narrow wooden bridge erected across this stream at the
town of Lodi, General Beaulieu awaited the arrival of the French,
confident of defending the passage of the Adda and arresting their
progress. Beaulieu had placed a battery of thirty cannon so as to
completely sweep every plank of the bridge. Had he removed the
structure, which was about 500 feet in length, when he changed his
headquarters to the east bank of the river, he might have made the
passage much more formidable than even his cannon made it.

Well aware that his conquest would never be consolidated till the
Austrian army was totally vanquished, and deprived of all its Italian
possessions, Bonaparte hastened to pursue the enemy to Lodi. Coming up
on the 10th of May, he easily drove the rear-guard of the Austrian army
before him into the town, but found his further progress threatened by
the tremendous fire of thirty cannon stationed at the opposite end of
the bridge so as to sweep it completely. The whole body of the enemy's
infantry drawn up in a dense line, supported this appalling disposition
of the artillery.

Bonaparte's first care was to place as many guns as he could get in
direct opposition to the Austrian battery. He was determined that no
obstacle should oppose his victorious career, and at once resolved to
pass the bridge.

Exposed to a shower of grape-shot from the enemy's batteries, Napoleon
at last succeeded in planting two pieces of cannon at the head of the
bridge on the French side, and to prevent the enemy from destroying it a
column was immediately formed from the troops that at once appeared,
determined to carry the pass. The French now commenced a fearful
cannonading. Bonaparte himself appeared in the midst of the fire,
pointing with his own hand two guns in such a manner as to cut off the
Austrians from the only path by which they could have advanced to
undermine the bridge.

Observing, meanwhile, that Beaulieu had removed his infantry to a
considerable distance backwards, to keep them out of the range of the
French battery, Napoleon instantly detached General Beaumont and his
cavalry, with orders to gallop out of sight, ford the river, and coming
suddenly upon the enemy, attack them in the rear. When that took place
Napoleon instantly drew up a body of 3,000 grenadiers in close column
under the shelter of the houses, and bade them prepare for the desperate
attempt of forcing a passage across the narrow bridge, in the face of
the enemy's thickly-planted artillery.

A sudden movement in the flanks of the enemy now convinced Napoleon that
his cavalry had arrived and charged the enemy's flank, and he instantly
gave the word. In a moment the brave grenadiers wheeled to the left and
were at once upon the bridge, rushing forward at a charge step, and
shouting: "Vive la République!"; but the storm of grape-shot from the
enemy's guns checked them for a moment. It was a very sepulchre of death
and a burning furnace of destruction pouring out its broadsides of fire
in defense of its position; a hundred brave men fell dead. The advancing
column faltered under the redoubled roar of the guns and the rattle of

Lannes, Napoleon, Berthier and L'Allemand now hurried to the front,
rallied and cheered the men, and as the column dashed across and over
the dead bodies of the slain which covered the passageway, and in the
face of a tempest of fire that thinned their ranks at every step, the
leaders shouted: "Follow your generals, my brave fellows!"

Lannes was the first to reach the other side, Napoleon himself being

The Austrian artillerymen were bayoneted at their guns before the other
troops, whom Beaulieu had removed too far back in his anxiety to avoid
the French battery, could come to their assistance. Beaumont pressing
gallantly with his horse upon the flank, and Napoleon's infantry forming
rapidly as they passed the bridge, and charging on the instant, the
Austrian line at once became involved in inextricable confusion. The
contest was almost instantly decided; the whole line of Austrian
artillery was carried; their order of battle broken; their troops routed
and put to flight.

The slaughter of Austrians amounted to vast numbers, while the French
lost but 200 men. Thus did Bonaparte execute with such rapidity and
consequently with so little loss "the terrible passage," as he himself
called it, "of the bridge of Lodi." It is justly called one of the most
daring achievements on record.

The victory of Lodi had a great influence on Napoleon's mind. He
declared subsequently that neither his success in quelling the
"Sections," nor his victory at Montenotte, made him regard himself as
anything superior; but that after Lodi, for the first time the idea
dawned upon him that he would one day be "a decisive actor," as he
himself put it, on the stage of the military and political world. That
he was a fatalist is well-known, it being a frequent expression with him
that "every bullet is marked."

On this occasion the soldiers conferred on him the nick-name of "Little
Corporal." The original cause of the appellation, as applied to
Bonaparte, has been related by Napoleon himself. He says that when he
commanded near the Col di Tende the army was obliged to traverse a
narrow bridge, on which occasion he gave directions that no women should
be allowed to accompany it, as the service was particularly difficult,
and required that the troops should be continually on the alert; to
enforce such an order he placed two captains on the bridge with
instructions, on pain of death, not to permit a woman to pass. He
subsequently repaired to the bridge himself, for the purpose of
ascertaining whether his orders were being scrupulously obeyed, when he
found a crowd of women assembled, who, as soon as they saw him, began to
revile him, exclaiming: "Oh, then, _petit corporal_, it is you who have
given orders not to let us pass!"

Some miles in advance Napoleon was surprised to see a considerable
number of women with the troops. He immediately ordered the two captains
to be put under arrest and brought before him, intending to have them
tried immediately. They protested their innocence, asserting that no
women had crossed the bridge. Bonaparte caused some of the females to be
brought before him, and learned with astonishment, from their own
confession, that they had emptied some casks of provisions and concealed
themselves therein, by which means they had passed over unperceived.

After every battle the oldest soldiers convened a council in order to
confer a new rank on their young general, who, on making his appearance,
was saluted by his latest title. Bonaparte, therefore, was nominated
_corporal_ at Lodi, and _sergeant_ at Castiglione. It was "Little
Corporal," however, that the soldiery constantly applied to him ever

The fruits of this splendid victory at Lodi were twenty pieces of
cannon, and between two and three thousand killed, wounded and
prisoners, and the loss by the enemy of an excellent line of defense.

When Europe heard of the battle they named the conqueror "The Hero of

Beaulieu contrived to withdraw a part of his troops, and gathering the
scattered fragment of his force together, soon threw the line of the
Mincio, a tributary of the Po, between himself and his enemy. The great
object, however, he had attained,--he was still free to defend Mantua.

The French following up their advantages at Lodi, pursued the Austrians
with great celerity. They advanced to Pizzighitone, which immediately
surrendered. Pushing on to Cremona they met with like success, and the
vanguard, having taken the route to Milan, entered this city on the 14th
of May, having on their march received the submission of Pavia, where
they found most of the magazines of the Austrian army. The tri-colored
flag now waved in triumph from the extremity of the Lake of Como and the
frontiers of the country to the gates of Parma.

The Austrians having evacuated Milan, when the French prepared to enter
it, a deputation of the inhabitants laid the keys of its gates at their
feet. A few days later, although the archduke had fled from his capital,
overwhelmed with sorrow and mortification, the people collected in vast
multitudes to witness the entry of the French, whom they hailed as their
deliverers. The imperial arms were taken down from the public buildings
and at the ducal palace this humorous advertisement was posted up:

        "A HOUSE TO RENT.

          Inquire for the keys at

                CITIZEN SALICETTI'S,
                  The French Commissioner."

The entry of Bonaparte into Milan under a triumphal arch and surrounded
by the grenadiers of Lodi, among whom some generals were conspicuous,
was eminently brilliant. The splendid carriages of the nobility and
aristocracy of the capital went out to meet and salute him as the
"Deliverer of Italy," and returned in an immense cavalcade, amidst the
shouts and acclamations of an innumerable multitude, and accompanied by
several bands playing patriotic marches, the procession stopping at the
palace of the archduke, where Bonaparte was to take up his headquarters.
The ceremonies of the day were concluded by a splendid ball at which the
ladies showed their Republican feeling by wearing the French national
colors in every part of their dress. On the same day Bonaparte entered
Milan the treaty with the king of Sardinia and the Directory was signed
at Paris.

Napoleon now addressed himself again to his soldiers, reminding them of
their victories and responsibilities yet to come. "To you, soldiers," he
said, "will belong the immortal honor of redeeming the fairest portion
of Europe. The French people, free and respected by the whole world,
shall give to Europe a glorious peace, which shall indemnify it for all
the sacrifices it has borne the last six years. Then by your own
firesides you shall repose, and your fellow-citizens, when they point
out any one of you, shall say: 'HE BELONGED TO THE ARMY OF ITALY!'"

From that period the Army of Italy was no longer a tax upon France, but
on the contrary was a great source of revenue to her, and assisted in
paying her other armies. Six weeks after the opening of the campaign,
independent of ten million of francs placed at the disposal of the
Directory, Bonaparte sent upwards of two hundred thousand francs to the
Army of the Alps, and a million to the Army of the Rhine, thereby paving
the way to his future greatness.

Bonaparte remained but six days in Milan; he then proceeded to pursue
Beaulieu, who had planted the remains of his army behind the Mincio. The
Austrian general had placed his left on the great and strong city of
Mantua, which had been termed "the citadel of Italy," and his right at
Peschiera, a well-known Venetian fortress. The Austrian veteran occupied
one of the strongest positions that it is possible to imagine, and
Bonaparte hastened once more to dislodge him.

The French Directory, meanwhile, had begun to entertain suspicion as to
the ultimate designs of their young general, whose success and rising
fame had already reached so astonishing a height. That they were
exceedingly jealous of him there seems to be no doubt, and they
determined to check, if they could, the career of a man of whom they
seemed to be in fear. Bonaparte was therefore ordered to take half his
army and lead it against the pope and the king of Naples, and leave the
other half to terminate the conquest with Beaulieu at Mantua, under the
orders of Kellerman. He answered by offering to resign his command. "One
half of the Army of Italy cannot suffice to finish the matter with the
Austrians," said he. "It is only by keeping my force entire that I have
been able to gain so many battles and to be now in Milan. You had better
have one bad general than two good ones!"

The Directory did not dare to persist in displacing the chief whose name
was considered as the pledge of victory, and he continued to assume the
entire command of the Army of Italy.

Another unlooked-for occurrence delayed for a few days the march upon
Mantua. The success of the French and their exactions where victorious,
had fostered the ire of a portion of the populace throughout Lombardy.
Reports of new Austrian levies being poured down the passes of Tyrol
were spread and believed. Insurrections against the conqueror now took
place in various districts, placing thirty thousand men in arms. At
Pavia the insurgents were entirely triumphant; they seized the town and
compelled the French garrison to surrender. This flame, had it been
suffered to spread, threatened immeasurable evil to the French cause.

Lannes instantly marched to Binasco, stormed the place, burnt it and put
many of the insurgents to the sword. Napoleon appeared before Pavia,
blew the gates open, took possession and later caused the leaders to be
executed. At Lugo, where another insurrection took place, the leaders
were tried by court martial and condemned.

These examples quelled the insurrectionists, and the French advanced on
the Mincio. Bonaparte made such disposition of his troops that Beaulieu
believed he meant to cross that river, if he could, at Peschiera.
Meanwhile the French had been preparing to cross at another point, and
on the 30th of May actually forced the passage of the Mincio, not at
Peschiera, but further down at Borghetto. The Austrian garrison at this
point in vain destroyed one arch of the bridge. Bonaparte quickly
supplied the breach with planks, and his men, flushed with so many
victories, charged with a fury not to be resisted. While the French were
laboring to repair the bridge, under the fire of the enemy's batteries,
impatient of delay, fifty grenadiers threw themselves into the river,
holding their muskets over their heads with the water up to their chins,
General Gardanne, a grenadier in courage as well as in stature, being at
their head. The Austrians who were nearest, recollecting the terrible
column at Lodi, fled. When the bridge was repaired the French entered
Vallegio, where Beaulieu's headquarters had been stationed a short time
previous. The latter was obliged to abandon the Mincio as he had the
Adda and the Po, and to take up the new line of the Adige.

The left line of the Austrian force, learning from the cannonade that
the French were at Borghetto, hastened to ascend the Mincio with a view
of assisting in the defense of the division engaged with the enemy. They
arrived too late, however, to be of assistance, as the commander at
Borghetto had retreated before they arrived. They came, however,
unexpectedly, and at a moment when Bonaparte and a few friends,
believing the work of the day to be over and the village safe from the
enemy, were about to sit down to dinner, as they thought, in security.
Sebetendorff, who commanded the division, came up rapidly into the
village, but with no idea what a prize was within his grasp. Bonaparte's
attendants had barely time to shut the gates of the inn, and alarm their
chief by the cry, "To arms!" They defended the house with obstinate
courage while Bonaparte threw himself on horseback and galloping out by
a back passage, effected the narrowest of escapes, proceeding at full
speed to join Massena's forces.

It was shortly after this that Bonaparte met with an experience that
gave him the idea of the "Imperial Guard of Napoleon" and which
throughout his military career he ever afterwards maintained as a
personal guard. It was the duty of this body, consisting of veterans who
should number at least ten years of active service, to remain always
near the person of the commander-in-chief, and who were only brought
into action when important movements or desperate emergencies required
their utmost energies. They were placed under the command of Bessieres
at this time, and were known as "Le Corps de Guides."

During the same campaign Bonaparte again narrowly escaped being taken a
prisoner. Wurmser, who had been compelled to throw himself into Mantua,
having suddenly debouched on an open plain, learned from an old woman
that not many minutes before the French general, with only a few
followers, had stopped at her door and fled at the sight of the
Austrians. Wurmser immediately dispatched parties of cavalry in all
directions to whom he gave orders that if they came up with Napoleon he
should not be killed or harmed; fortunately, however, for the French
commander, destiny and the swiftness of his horse saved him.

In their different engagements, the grenadiers had learned to laugh and
sport at death; they despised the Austrian cavalry and nothing could
equal their intrepidity but the gaiety with which they performed their
forced marches, singing alternately songs in praise of their country and
of love. Instead of sleeping they amused themselves during most of the
night, each telling a tale, or forming his own plans of operation for
the following day.

Sebetendorff was soon assaulted by a French column and retreated, after
Beaulieu's example, on the line of the Adige. The Austrian commander
had, in effect, abandoned for a time the open country of Italy. He now
lay on the frontier, between the vast tract of rich province, which
Napoleon had conquered, and the Tyrol. Mantua, which possessed immense
natural advantages, and into which the retreating general had flung a
garrison of full fourteen thousand men, was, in truth, the last and only
Italian possession of the imperial crown, which, as it seemed, there
might be a possibility of saving.

Beaulieu anxiously awaited the approach of new troops from Germany, to
attempt the relief of this great city; and Bonaparte, eager to
anticipate the efforts of the imperial government, sat down immediately
before it.

Mantua lies on an island, being cut off on all sides from the main land
by the branches of the Mincio, and approachable only by five narrow
causeways of which three were now defended by strong and regular
fortresses or intrenched camps; the other two by gates, drawbridge and
batteries. The garrison was prepared to maintain the position, was
well-nigh impregnable and the occupants awaited the hour to discover
whether Napoleon possessed any new system of attack capable of
shortening the usual operations of a siege as effectually as he had
already done by the march and the battle.

It was a matter of high importance that Napoleon should reduce this
place quickly, for a large army under Field-Marshal Wurmser, one of the
most able and experienced of the Austrian generals, was about to enter
Italy. His commencement gave cause for much alarm to those within the
fortress. Of the five causeways, by sudden and overwhelming assaults, he
obtained four; the garrison was cut off from the main land except at the
fifth causeway, the strongest of them all, named from a palace near it,
"La Favorita." It seemed necessary, however, in order that this blockade
might be complete, that the Venetian territory, lying immediately behind
Mantua, should be occupied by the French, and the claim of neutrality
was not allowed to interfere with Napoleon's plans.

"You are too weak," said Bonaparte, when a Venetian envoy reached his
headquarters, "to enforce neutrality on hostile nations such as France
and Austria. Beaulieu did not respect your territory when his interest
bade him violate it; nor shall I hesitate to occupy whatever falls
within the line of the Adige."

Garrisons were placed forthwith in Verona and all the strong places of
that domain. Napoleon now returned to Milan to transact important
business, leaving Serrurier and Vaubois to blockade Mantua.

The king of Naples, utterly confounded by the success of the French, was
now anxious to secure peace on whatever terms proposed, and Bonaparte,
knowing that it would result in a withdrawal of some valuable divisions
from the army of Beaulieu, arranged an armistice which was soon followed
by a formal peace, and the Neapolitan troops, abandoning the Austrian
general, began their march to the south of Italy. This was followed by
peace arrangements with the Pope of whom Napoleon demanded, and
obtained, as a price of the brief respite from invasion, a million
sterling, one hundred of the finest pictures and statues in the papal
gallery, a large supply of military stores and the cession of Ancona,
Ferrara and Bologna, with their respective domains. The siege of the
citadel of Milan, rigorously pressed, was at length successful. The
garrison capitulated on the 29th of June, and by the 18th of July, one
hundred and forty pieces of cannon were before Mantua.

The French general had stripped Austria of all her Italian possessions
except Mantua, and the tri-color was waving from the Tyrol to the
Mediterranean. Napoleon was now, in effect, master of Italy. Future
success seemed to him to be assured, although the French Directory was
with difficulty persuaded to let him follow the course he had adopted
for himself.

The cabinet of Vienna at last resolved upon sending stronger
reinforcements to the Italian frontier, and Bonaparte was now recalled
from Milan to the seat of war to defend himself against them. What the
Austrian court now feared was that Napoleon, who had already annihilated
her Italian army, and had wrested from her the Italian domains, would
soon march into the heart of her Empire and dictate a peace under the
walls of her capital. All Italy was now subdued or in alliance with the
French Republic except Mantua.

Beaulieu, who had been so thoroughly routed by Napoleon, was to be no
longer trusted. Finding himself incompetent to withstand a general
"whose mistress was glory and whose companion was Plutarch" while
traversing the Tyrol with the wrecks of his army, forwarded a letter to
Vienna which fully displayed the irritated feelings of the veteran
commander at this time. He said: "I hereby make known to you that I have
only 20,000 men remaining, while the enemy's forces exceed 60,000. I
further apprise you, that it is my intention to retreat to-morrow,--the
next day--the day following--nay, every day,--even to Siberia, should
they pursue me so far. My age accords me liberty to be thus explicit.
Hasten to ratify peace, be the conditions what they may!" Wurmser, whose
reputation was of the best, and who was older than Beaulieu but not less
obstinate, was sent to replace him, and 30,000 men were drafted from the
armies on the Rhine charged with restoring the fortunes of Austria
beyond the Alps. Wurmser's orders, too, were to strengthen himself, on
his march, by whatever recruits he could raise among the warlike and
loyal population of the Tyrol.

When he fixed his headquarters at Trent, Wurmser mustered in all 80,000
men, while Napoleon had but 30,000--not 60,000 as Beaulieu had
stated--to hold a wide country in which abhorrence of the French cause
was now prevalent, to keep the blockade of Mantua, and to oppose this
fearful odds of numbers in the field. The French commander was now,
moreover, to act on the defensive, while his adversary assumed the more
inspiriting character of the invader.

Wurmser was unwise enough to divide his magnificent army into three
separate columns, which, united, Napoleon never could have met; but each
of which was soon successively broken and captured. Melas with the left
wing was to march down the Adige and expel the French from Verona;
Quasdonowich with the right wing followed the valley of the Chiese
towards Brescia, to cut off Napoleon's retreat on Milan; Wurmser himself
led the centre down the left shore of Lake Guarda towards the besieged
castle of Mantua.

The eye of Napoleon, who had hitherto been watching with the intensity
of an eagle's gaze all the movements of his antagonist, now saw the
division of Quasdonowich separated from the centre and left wing, and he
flew to the encounter, although he was obliged to draw off his army from
the siege of Mantua, something which very few generals would have done.
On the night of July 31st, he buried his cannon in the trenches and
intentionally marked his retreat with every sign of precipitation and
alarm. Before morning the whole French army had disappeared from Mantua
and by a forced march regained possession of Brescia. Napoleon was
hurrying forward to attack the right wing of the Austrian army before it
could effect a junction with the central body of Wurmser.

A courier could hardly have borne to Quasdonowich the news of his
raising the siege of Mantua before Napoleon had attacked and overwhelmed
him, and he was glad to save his shattered forces by falling back on the

This ill-omened beginning aroused the ire, and quickened the evolutions
of Wurmser, and falling on the rear-guard of Massena under Pigeon, and
Augereau under Vallette, the one abandoned Castiglione and the other
retired on Lonato. These inconsiderable Austrian successes were obtained
by good generalship, and Wurmser now attempted to open a communication
with his defeated lieutenant. His columns were weakened by extending the
line, and Massena at once hurled two strong columns on Lonato, retaking
it, and throwing the Austrian forces into utter confusion.

The battle of Lonato occurred on the 3d of August (1796). At daybreak
the whole of the French army was in motion, Augereau moving with the
right wing towards Castiglione. General Pigeon, who commanded the French
advance guard, was taken prisoner with three pieces of cannon; when, at
the moment the Austrians were extending their line, Napoleon sent
forward in close columns the 18th and 32d demi-brigades, which being
supported by a strong reserve, broke the enemy's line of battle. The
artillery and prisoners made under General Pigeon, were thus retaken,
and the French entered Lonato.

At Castiglione a firm stand was again taken by the fleeing Austrians,
but Augereau forced the position against a defense double in numbers and
for which he was afterward created Duke of Castiglione in memory of his

On that day the Austrians lost twenty pieces of cannon, from three to
four thousand men killed and wounded, and four thousand prisoners,
among whom were three generals. Before this engagement Napoleon suddenly
found himself placed between two armies each of which was more numerous
than his own. In this situation of affairs, no one of his generals
entertained the least hope; but what was the astonishment of the
soldiers, when they first assembled in presence of their chief, to
observe no alteration in his countenance. "Fear nothing," said the
commander to them, "show that you remain unchanged; preserve your valor,
your just pride, and the remembrance of your triumphs; in three days we
shall retake all that we have lost. Rely on me! You know whether or not
I am in the habit of keeping my word."

[Illustration: From a Drawing by F. Grenier


In this memorable battle Napoleon raised himself to an equality with the
greatest generals. Although the position in which he was placed was
critical to an eminent degree, he contrived to turn all the success
gained by Wurmser to the advantage of the French army, and that by the
mere strength of his genius alone. Junot distinguished himself by
extraordinary efforts of courage in these actions. He was thus mentioned
in the dispatch sent by Napoleon to the Directory after the victory: "I
ordered my aide-de-camp, General-of-Brigade Junot, to put himself at the
head of my company of Guides to pursue the enemy and overtake him by
great speed at Dezenzano. He encountered Colonel Bender with a party of
his regiment of hussars, whom he charged; but Junot, not wishing to
waste his time by charging the rear, made a detour on the right, took
the regiment in front,--wounded the colonel whom he attempted to take
prisoner when he was himself surrounded,--and after having killed six of
the enemy with his own hand, was cut down and thrown into a ditch."

The Austrians, still able to collect 25,000 men and a numerous cavalry,
now fled again in all directions upon the Mincio where Wurmser himself,
meanwhile, had been employed in revictualling Mantua. When Wurmser
reached this point he was utterly astounded to find the trenches
abandoned and no enemy to oppose. One of the defeated Austrian divisions
wandering about without method in anxiety to find their commander or any
part of his army that was still in the field, came suddenly on Lonato,
the scene of the recent battle, and at a moment when Napoleon was there
with only his staff and Guard about him. He was not aware that any
considerable body of the enemy remained in the neighborhood, and but for
his great presence of mind must have been taken prisoner. As it was, he
turned his critical position into an advantage. The officer who had been
sent to demand the surrender of the town was brought blindfolded,
according to custom on such occasions, to his headquarters. Bonaparte,
by a secret sign, caused his whole staff to draw up around him, and when
the bandage was removed from the messenger's eyes, exclaimed to him:
"What means this insolence? Do you beard the French general in the very
centre of his army? Go and tell your general that I give him eight
minutes to lay down his arms; he is in the midst of the French army, and
if a single gun is fired, I will cause every man to be shot." The
officer, appalled at discovering in whose presence he stood, returned to
his comrades with Napoleon's message.

The general of the enemy's column now made his appearance, stating his
willingness to surrender and capitulate. "No" replied Bonaparte with
energy, "you are all prisoners of war." Seeing the Austrian officers
consulting together Napoleon instantly gave orders that the artillery
should advance and commence the attack. On observing this the general of
the enemy's forces exclaimed, "We all surrender at discretion!" The
shortness of time allowed prevented the truth from being discovered, and
they gave in to a force about one-fourth of their own. They believed
that Lonato was occupied by the French in numbers that made resistance
impossible. When the four thousand men had laid down their arms they
discovered that if they had used them nothing could have prevented
Napoleon from being taken as their prize!

Wurmser, whose fine army was thus being destroyed in detail, now
collected together the whole of his remaining force, and advanced to
meet the Conqueror. He had determined on an assault and was hastening to
the encounter. They met between Lonato and Castiglione, and Wurmser was
totally defeated, besides narrowly escaping being himself taken a
prisoner. He was pursued into Trent and Roveredo, the positions from
which he had so lately issued confident of victory. In this disastrous
campaign he had now lost forty thousand soldiers--half his army--and all
his artillery and stores, while Bonaparte placed his own loss at seven
thousand. The French soldiers have called this succession of victories
"the campaign of five days." The rapid marches and incessant fighting
had exhausted the troops, and they now absolutely required rest.

During the exciting days while the campaign with Wurmser lasted,
Napoleon never took off his clothes, nor did he take the time to sleep
except at brief intervals of less than an hour. His exertions, which
were followed by such signal triumphs, were such as to demand some
repose, yet he did not pause until he saw Mantua once more completely
invested. The reinforcement and revictualling of the garrison were all
that Wurmser could show in requital of his lost artillery, stores and
forty thousand men.

While Napoleon was giving some respite to his wearied army and rendering
the subjugation of Italy complete, Austria was hurrying a new army to
the relief of its aged but not disheartened marshal. The reinforcements
of twenty thousand fresh troops at last arrived, and Wurmser was again
in the field with fifty thousand men--an army vastly larger than
Napoleon's. But once more he divided his forces and again each division
was to be cut to pieces. He marched thirty thousand men to the relief of
Mantua, and left Davidowich at Roveredo with twenty thousand men to
protect the passes of the Tyrol. The two Austrian divisions were now
separated and their fate was sealed.

On September 4, by the most rapid marches Europe had ever seen,
Napoleon, having penetrated the designs of the Austrian general, reached
Roveredo where Davidowich was intrenched in a strong position before the
city, covered by the guns of the Calliano castle overhanging the town.

The camp was yielded on the same day before the terrific charge of
General Dubois and his hussars. The latter, though mortally wounded,
cheered his men on with his dying words, and as he fell pressing the
hand of the general-in-chief, said: "Let me hear the shout of victory
for the Republic before I die." These words fired his troops with deep
ardor, and they drove the Austrians through the town and carried the
frowning heights of the castle at the point of the bayonet, as they had
carried the batteries of Lodi. The French pursued the fleeing Austrians
throughout the night and Wurmser was cut off from the Tyrol.

Scarcely had the Austrian commander recovered from his surprise at
hearing of the overthrow of his lieutenant at Roveredo before Napoleon,
by a march of sixty miles in two days, descended in front of his
vanguard at Primolano and cut it to pieces, taking four thousand
prisoners. The same night Napoleon's army advanced on Bassano where on
Sept. 8 Wurmser made his last stand with the main body of his army.

While Augereau penetrated the town on his left, Massena entered it on
his right, seizing the cannon that defended the bridge on the Bretna and
overthrowing the old grenadiers who attempted to cover the retreat of
their general. Five thousand prisoners, five standards, thirty-five
pieces of cannon with their caissons fell into the hands of the French,
and Wurmser himself narrowly escaped being taken. Lannes seized one of
the standards with his own hands; and, in consequence, Bonaparte
demanded for him the rank of general of brigade. "He was," he said, "the
first who put the enemy to rout at Dego, who passed the Po at Plaisance,
the Adda at Lodi, and the first to enter Bassano."

The number of the dead near the latter place was considerable. Curious
to ascertain the loss of the enemy, Bonaparte in the evening rode over
the field with his staff, when his notice was attracted by the howlings
of a dog that seemed to increase as they approached the spot whence the
yells proceeded. "Amidst the deep silence of a beautiful moon-light
night," said Napoleon some years later, "a dog, leaping suddenly from
beneath the clothes of his dead master, rushed upon us, and then
immediately returned to his hiding-place, howling piteously. He
alternately licked his master's hand, and ran toward us, as if at once
soliciting aid and seeking revenge. Whether, owing to my own particular
turn of mind at the moment, the time, the place, or the action itself, I
know not, but, certainly, no incident, on any field of battle, ever
produced so deep an impression on me. I involuntarily stopped to
contemplate the scene. This man, thought I, has friends in the camp, or
in his company, and here he lies forsaken by all except his dog. What a
lesson Nature presents here, through the medium of an animal. What a
strange being is man! And how mysterious are his impressions! I had,
without emotion, ordered battles which were to decide the fate of the
army; I beheld, with tearless eyes, the execution of those operations by
which numbers of my countrymen were sacrificed; and here my feelings
were roused by the howlings of a dog! Certainly, at that moment, I
should have been easily moved by a suppliant enemy. I could very well
imagine Achilles surrendering up the body of Hector at the sight of
Priam's tears."

In these terrible marches Napoleon endured the same privations as his
men;--baggage and staff appointments were unable to keep up with such
rapid movements. He shared his bread with one of his privates who lived
to remind him of this night when the Republican general had become the
Emperor of France. It was during Napoleon's progress through Belgium in
1804, while reviewing a division of the army that he was visited in one
of the towns by a soldier of the fourth regiment of infantry who
stepped forward and thus addressed him: "General, in the year Five of
the French Revolution, being in the valley of Bassano, I shared with you
my ration of bread when you were very hungry. You cannot have forgotten
the circumstance. I request, in return, that you provide bread for my
father who is worn with age and infirmity. I have received five wounds
in the service and was made corporal and sergeant on the field of
battle. I hope to be made a lieutenant on the first vacancy." Napoleon
recollected the soldier and immediately acknowledged the reasonableness
of both his demands, which were speedily complied with.

After the most heroic resistance Wurmser again fled. Six thousand
Austrians laid down their arms, and the commander with his fleeing
forces took refuge about the middle of September in Mantua, whither they
were pursued by Napoleon's cavalry.

Wurmser was now strictly blockaded within the citadel of Mantua with
sixteen thousand men. These, with ten thousand dispersed in the Tyrol,
were all that remained of his army of 60,000 men with which he was to
reconquer Italy. He had also lost seventy-five pieces of cannon, thirty
generals and twenty-two stands of colors. Marmont, one of Napoleon's
aids-de-camp, was sent with these latter trophies to the Directory at
Paris. Perceiving that Wurmser now intended to avoid a general action
Napoleon returned to Milan, leaving General Kilmaine to conduct the

While at Milan, Napoleon had just mounted his horse one morning, when a
dragoon, bearing important dispatches, presented himself.

The commander gave a verbal answer, and ordered the courier to take it
back with all speed.

"I have no horse," the man answered; "I rode mine so hard that it fell
dead at your palace gates."

Napoleon alighted. "Take mine," he said.

The man hesitated.

"You think him too magnificently caparisoned and too fine an animal;"
said Napoleon. "Nothing is too good for a French soldier!"

Again a call was made on Vienna to send a new army and a greater general
to restore the Hapsburg dominion in Italy. In reply another powerful
armament was dispatched to the Italian frontier and this, the fourth
campaign against Napoleon, was intrusted to the supreme command of
Alvinzi, an officer of high reputation.

Field-Marshal Alvinzi was placed at the head of an army of forty-five
thousand men to which he joined eighteen thousand under Davidowich in
the Tyrol. His object was to raise the blockade of Mantua, release
Wurmser and, with a force which would by the accession of the garrison
of the latter amount to an army of eighty thousand men with which to
oppose only thirty thousand. With these he expected to reconquer

Three large armies, advancing with similar prospects, had already been
destroyed by Napoleon; a fourth now prepared to pour down upon him,
under still more terrible circumstances. The battle of St. George and
the strict blockade of Wurmser in Mantua took place in the middle of
September. Alvinzi's army commenced its march in the beginning of

Napoleon instantly ordered Vaubois and Massena to advance to the attack
of Davidowich, whose forces were collected in the Tyrol, before he
could form a junction with Alvinzi. Both failed. Vaubois, after two
days' fighting was conquered; lost Trent and Calliano, and was forced to
retreat. Massena in consequence had to effect a retreat without
attempting an engagement, and Alvinzi approaching fast gained possession
of all the country between the Brenta and the Adige and the command of
the Tyrol. The two Austrian generals might now have effected a junction,
but they neglected their opportunity. Napoleon hastened to Verona,
Alvinzi having taken the same route.

It seemed likely that Austria, in this new campaign, was destined to
recover her immense losses. Napoleon was now contending against an enemy
vastly superior in numbers and most completely appointed. But twelve
battalions had been sent to him from France to recruit his exhausted
regiments, and nothing but the employment of the highest military skill
could now save him from destruction.

"The army" said he, in writing to the Directory, "so inferior in
numbers, has been more weakened by the late engagements, while the
promised reinforcements have not arrived. The heroes of Millessimo,
Lodi, Castiglione, and Bassano, are dead or in the hospitals. Joubert,
Lanusse, Victor, Lannes, Charlot, Murat, Dupuis, Rampon, Menard,
Chabrand, and Pigeon are wounded; we are abandoned at the extremity of
Italy. Had I received the 103d, three thousand five hundred strong, I
would have answered for everything. Whereas, in a few days, 40,000 men,
perhaps, will not be sufficient to enable us to make head against the

His men too, were becoming dispirited at the failure of the government
to send reinforcements, and no longer fought with their accustomed vigor
and enthusiasm. The retreating forces came before him with dejected
looks. But the genius of Napoleon was not yet exhausted; with him
discouragement was not despair. He ordered Vaubois' division--which had
abandoned Calliano--drawn up on the plain of Rivoli, and thus addressed
them: "Soldiers, I am not satisfied with you: you have shown neither
bravery, discipline, nor perseverance. No position could rally you: you
abandoned yourselves to a panic terror; you suffered yourselves to be
driven from situations where a handful of brave men might have stopped
an army. Soldiers of the 29th and 85th, you are not French soldiers.
Quartermaster-general, let it be inscribed on their colors: 'They no
longer belong to the Army of Italy!'"

The effect of these words was electric. The veteran grenadiers who had
braved the terrific charges at Lodi sobbed like children and broke their
ranks to cluster round their commander to plead for one more trial.
Several of the veteran grenadiers, who had deserved and obtained badges
of distinction, called out from the ranks: "General! we have been
misrepresented; place us in the van of the army and you shall then judge
whether we do not belong to the Army of Italy."

They were at last forgiven by their indignant commander, and when they
were again arrayed against the enemy they quickly redeemed their lost
reputation and gained new laurels. But a spirit of discontent pervaded
the French army. "We cannot work miracles," said the soldiers. "We
destroyed Beaulieu's great army, and then came Wurmser with a greater.
We conquered and broke him to pieces, and then came Alvinzi more
powerful than ever. When we have conquered him Austria will pour down on
us a hundred thousand fresh soldiers and we shall leave our bones in

Although much dispirited, Napoleon was by no means disposed to abandon
his campaign; to his soldiers he said by way of encouragement: "We have
but one more effort to make and Italy is ours. The enemy is no doubt
superior to us in numbers, but not in valor. When he is beaten Mantua
must fall, and we shall be masters of all; our labors will be at an end,
for not only Italy but a general peace is in Mantua. You talk of
returning to the Alps, but you are no longer capable of doing so. From
the dry and frozen bivouacs of those sterile rocks you could very well
conquer the delicious plains of Lombardy; but from the smiling flowery
bivouacs of Italy you cannot return to Alpine snows. Only beat Alvinzi
and I will answer for your future welfare."

Ere long the French forces were once more ready for battle. Alvinzi had
occupied the heights of Caldiero and by the middle of November
threatened Verona. Massena attacked the heights but found them
impregnable. The French were repulsed with considerable loss. Napoleon
found it necessary to attempt taking the heights by other means in order
to prevent the junction of Davidowich and Alvinzi. Pretending,
therefore, to retreat on Mantua after his discomfiture, he returned in
the night and placed himself in the rear of Alvinzi's army. When his
columns advanced on Arcola the enemy thought at first it was only a
skirmish and that the main army of the French was in Verona. The
position of Arcola rendered any attack upon it so extremely hazardous
that scarcely anyone would have conceived the idea of making the
attempt. The village is surrounded by marshes intersected by small
streams, by ditches and by three causeways or bridges, across which
alone the marshes are passable. Arcola and the bridge leading to it were
defended by two battalions of Alvinzi's army, and two pieces of cannon
which commanded the bridge. The other two causeways were unprotected.

Napoleon ordered a division to charge the bridge of Arcola at daybreak.
The attempt seemed even to the intrepid Augereau to be courting death,
but he was a true soldier and obeyed orders.

On November 15 a column advanced on each of the three causeways.
Augereau's division occupied the bridge of Arcola which was swept by the
enemy's cannon and assailed in flank by their battalions. Even the
chosen grenadiers, led by Augereau with a standard in his hand, faltered
and fell back under the destructive fire, fleeing over the corpses of
nearly half their comrades. It was a most critical situation, and one in
which a false step or the loss of a few moments meant ruin. Napoleon,
who knew that the moment was decisive, dashed at the head of the column,
snatched a standard, and hurrying onwards planted the colors with his
own hands on the bridge amidst a hail of balls from the enemy's
artillery and musketry. As he did so he cried out: "Soldiers! are you no
longer the brave warriors of Lodi? Follow your general!"

His soldiers rallied and rushed with him till they grappled with the
Austrian division, but the sudden arrival of a fresh column of the enemy
made it an impossibility to maintain their ground. The French fell
back, and Napoleon, being in the very midst of the fight, was himself
seized by his faithful grenadiers who bore him away in their arms
through smoke, the dead and dying, as they were driven backwards inch by
inch with dreadful carnage. Mounting a horse the commander once more
prepared to make a charge at the head of his heroic troops, when his
steed became unmanageable and plunged headlong throwing its rider into a
morass up to his waist.

The Austrians were now between Napoleon and his baffled column. As the
smoke rolled away the army at once perceived the critical position of
their general. During this crisis Lannes pressed forward through the
marsh and reached his commander as also did the gallant Muiron, the
friend and aide-de-camp of Napoleon. Almost at the same moment a shot
was fired at Napoleon. It was received by Muiron, who had interposed
himself, and he died covering Napoleon's body with his own. But still
the person of the commander remained in the utmost peril.

The grenadiers now formed in an instant, and with the cry, "Forward,
soldiers, to save your general!" threw themselves upon the enemy,
rescued their "Little Corporal" from his critical position and overthrew
the Austrian columns that defended the bridge. Napoleon was quickly at
their head again, rallied the column, struck terror through the ranks of
the enemy, and Arcola was soon taken. Two other engagements followed at
this point, in each of which the French were victorious, Massena
pursuing the enemy until darkness compelled him to desist. The Austrians
lost twelve thousand men killed, six thousand prisoners, eighteen pieces
of cannon and four stands of colors. The loss of the French was less
considerable in numbers than in the importance of the prominent
individuals who fell during those three days, when the generals acted as
soldiers, continually fighting at the heads of their columns. The great
art of Napoleon, on that occasion, he having but 13,000 to oppose 40,000
men, was to maintain the combat in the midst of a morass where the enemy
could not deploy. Upon such a field of battle, only the heads of the
columns could engage; whereas, on a plain, the French army would in all
probability have been surrounded.

Napoleon said at St. Helena that he considered himself in the greatest
danger at Arcola.

When too late Davidowich made an advance upon Verona, but retreated
quickly on hearing of Alvinzi's defeat at Arcola. Wurmser, too, made a
desperate sally and was repulsed. He still held out, however. The horses
of the garrison had long since been killed and salted for use; the men
were reduced to half rations, and their numbers were being rapidly
reduced by disease.

This fourth attempt of Austria to conquer Napoleon ended, therefore, as
did the previous ones, in failure. It was one of the most memorable
campaigns in history, in the course of which all the resources of
skilled warriors were exhibited, not in a contest of a few hours but a
succession of memorable battles. As yet, however, the young commander
was but a temporary victor; the weakness of the Army of Italy did not
permit him to draw all the advantages he had promised himself from
Arcola. Alvinzi was now thoroughly beaten, his losses were very great,
and like his predecessors he sent to Vienna for reinforcements to
continue his contest against Bonaparte, who had repaired to Verona which
he fixed upon as the central point of operations.

Once more the Austrian general's preparations were completed for a fresh
campaign, and on January 7, 1797, at the head of sixty thousand
soldiers, consisting of volunteers from the best families in Vienna and
battalions from the Army of the Rhine, Croats, Hungarians, Tyroleans,
etc., Alvinzi descended from the northern barriers of Italy to release
the brave Wurmser from his prison at Mantua, and again attempt to
"overwhelm the French invaders." A messenger dispatched to Wurmser from
the imperial court was captured by the French, and dispatches concealed
in wax balls recovered. From these Napoleon learned the present designs,
signed by the emperor's own hand, of the Austrian government:--Alvinzi
was once more placed at the head of sixty thousand men, and was again to
march into Lombardy and to raise the siege of Mantua: Wurmser was
directed to hold out to the last extremity: If the army of Alvinzi could
be reunited with the garrison, the destruction of the French seemed
undoubted; if not, and if, in the course of hostilities, he found it
best to abandon Mantua, he was directed to cut his way into Romagna and
to take command of the papal troops, the pope having broken the treaty
of Bologna, and raised an army of seven thousand men to act in concert
with Wurmser, when he should be released from Mantua.

Again the Austrian army,--the fifth--was divided, one column under
Alvinzi for the line of the Adige; the other for the Bretna under
General Provera, who was to join the marshal under the walls of Mantua.

When Napoleon learned this at his headquarters at Verona he posted
Joubert at Rivoli to dispute Alvinzi's passage, and Augereau to watch
the movements of Provera, knowing that within a few hours he could
concentrate his own forces on either column.

At sunset on the 13th of January Joubert's messenger brought the news
that he had met Alvinzi and with difficulty held him in check through
the day. Napoleon examined with the utmost attention the maps and
descriptions of the places, the reports of the generals, and those of
his spies and light troops and passed a part of the night in a state of
uncertainty and indecision. At length on receiving fresh reports he
exclaimed: "It is clear--it is clear: to Rivoli!" and, quickly giving
his orders to his aides assigning the troops to their different routes,
he left a garrison at Verona and with General Massena and all the
disposable troops he repaired to General Joubert. By one of his
lightning marches he reached the heights of Rivoli two hours after
midnight. Below in the valley five separate encampments of the Austrian
army were visible in the moonlight. Napoleon quickly decided to force
Alvinzi to battle before he was ready. Joubert, confounded by the
display of Alvinzi's gigantic force was in the very act of abandoning
his position when the French commander checked his movement, and,
bringing up more battalions, forced the enemy from a position they had
seized on the first symptoms of the French retreat.

From the eminence on which he stood Napoleon's keen eye soon penetrated
the secret of Alvinzi's weakness,--that his artillery had not yet
arrived. To force him to accept battle, Napoleon took every possible
means to conceal his own arrival and prolonged, by a series of petty
manoeuvres, the enemy's belief that they had to do with a mere outpost
of the French. Alvinzi was fully deceived, and instead of advancing on
some great and well-arranged system, suffered his several columns to
endeavor to force the heights by insulated movements which the real
strength of Napoleon easily enabled him to baffle. Two field-pieces had
been abandoned by their drivers and which were seized by the enemy, when
an officer whose name is not recorded, advancing, cried out:
"Fourteenth, will you let them take your artillery?" Berthier, who had
purposely suffered the enemy to approach, then opened a terrible fire,
which leveled men and horses round the guns, and upon which the
Austrians immediately fell back.

[Illustration: From a Drawing by F. Grenier


A moment later the bravery of the enemy resulted in their nearly
overthrowing the French on a point of pre-eminent importance, but
Napoleon himself, galloping to the spot, roused by his voice and action
the division of Massena who, having marched all night, had laid down to
rest in the extreme of weariness. They started up at the commander's
voice and the Austrian column was speedily repulsed.

The French artillery was soon in position, while that of the Austrians,
as Napoleon had guessed, had not yet come up, and this circumstance
decided the fortune of the day. The batteries of the French made havoc
of the broken columns; the cavalry made repeated charges; four out of
the five divisions were thus broken and utterly routed. The fifth now
made its appearance in the rear of the French. It had been sent round to
outflank Napoleon and take higher ground in his rear according to the
orders of the Austrian general before the action. When Lusignan's
division achieved its destined object it did so,--not to complete the
misery of a routed, but to swell the prey of a victorious, enemy.
Instead of cutting off the retreat of Joubert, Lusignan found himself
insulated from Alvinzi and forced to lay down his arms to Bonaparte.
Had this movement been made a little sooner it might have turned the
fortune of the day: as it was, the French soldiers only exclaimed: "Here
come further supplies to our market!" and very soon the Austrians,
exposed to a heavy fire from the artillery, were forced to surrender.

"Here was a good plan," said Napoleon, "but these Austrians are not apt
to calculate the value of minutes."

Had Lusignan gained the rear of the French an hour earlier, while the
contest was still hot in front of the heights of Rivoli, he might have
aided in the complete overthrow of Napoleon instead of being defeated on
one of the brightest days in the young commander's career.

In the course of the day Bonaparte had remained in the hottest of the
fight, which lasted during twelve hours, and had three horses shot under
him, and although much fatigued, hardly waited to see Lusignan surrender
ere he set off with reinforcements to the Lower Adige to prevent Wurmser
from either housing Provera or joining him in the open field and so
effect the escape of his own formidable garrison. The flying troops of
Alvinzi were left to the care of Massena, Murat and Joubert.

Marching all day and the next night Napoleon reached the vicinity of
Mantua late on the 15th. He found the enemy strongly posted and
Serrurier's position highly critical. A regiment of Provera's hussars
had but a few hours before established themselves in the suburb of St.
George. This Austrian corps had been clothed in white cloaks resembling
those of a well-known French regiment of hussars, and advancing towards
the gate would certainly have been admitted as friends but for the
sagacity of an old sergeant, who could not help fancying that the white
cloaks had too much of the gloss of novelty about them to have stood the
wear and tear of three Bonapartean campaigns. He instantly closed the
barriers and warned a drummer who was near him of the danger. These two
gave the alarm and the guns of the blockading force were instantly
turned upon their pretended friends who were forced to retire.

Napoleon himself passed the night in walking the outposts, so great was
his anxiety. At one of these he found a grenadier sentinel asleep from
exhaustion and taking his gun, without waking him, performed a
sentinel's duty in his place for about half an hour. When the man,
starting from his slumbers, perceived with terror and despair the
countenance and occupation of his general, he fell on his knees before
him. "My friend," said Napoleon mildly, "here is your musket. You had
fought hard and marched long and your exhaustion is excusable; but a
moment's inattention might at present ruin the whole army. I happened to
be awake and have held your post for you. You will be more careful
another time!"

Such acts of magnanimity endeared Napoleon to his soldiers, and, while
he rarely relaxed in his military discipline, he early acquired the
devotion of his men who told and retold anecdotes of his doings in camp
and on the battlefield, and as the stories spread from column to column
his followers came to regard him with a veneration that few older
commanders have been able to instill in their men. Another anecdote is
related of Bonaparte, when upon the point of commencing one of his great
battles in Italy. As he was disposing his troops in order of attack, a
light dragoon stepping from the ranks, requested of the commander a few
minutes private conversation to which Napoleon acquiesced, when the
soldier thus addressed him: "General, if you will proceed to adopt such
and such measures, the enemy must be defeated."

"Wretched man," exclaimed the commander, "hold your tongue; you will
surely not betray my secret" at the same time placing his hand before
the mouth of the dragoon.

The soldier in question was possessed of an inherent military capacity
and appreciated every arrangement necessary to insure victory. The
battle terminating in favor of Napoleon, he issued orders that the poor
fellow should be conducted to his presence; but all search for him
proved fruitless, he was nowhere to be found: a bullet had no doubt
terminated his military career.

The next morning there ensued a hot skirmish, recorded as the battle of
St. George. The tumult and slaughter were dreadful and Provera with his
whole force were compelled to lay down their arms. Wurmser, who had
hazarded a sortie from Mantua to join his countrymen, was glad to make
his way back again, and retire within the old walls, in consequence of a
desperate assault headed by Napoleon in person, who threw himself
between Wurmser and Provera and beat them completely one after the
other. Provera now found himself cut off hopelessly from Alvinzi and
surrounded by the French; he was disheartened and defeated. He and his
five thousand men laid down their arms on the 16th of January, and
various bodies of the Austrian force scattered over the country followed
their example. This latter engagement was called the battle of La
Favorita from the name of a country house near which it was fought. The
75th at this battle refused cartridges: "With such enemies as we have
before us," said they, "we must only use the bayonet."

The battles of Rivoli and La Favorita had disabled Alvinzi from
continuing the campaign. Thus had the magnificent army of Austria ceased
to exist in three days.

Such was the prevailing terror of the enemy at this time that in one
instance René, a young officer keeping guard of a position with about
one hundred and fifty men, suddenly encountered and took prisoners a
small body of Austrians. On advancing to reconnoitre, he found himself
in front of a body of eighteen hundred more, whom a turn in the road had
concealed from his sight. "Lay down your arms!" said the Austrian
commandant. René answered with boldness, "Do you lay down your arms! I
have destroyed your advance guard;--ground your arms, or no quarter!"
The French soldiers joined in the cry, and the whole body of the
astonished Austrians absolutely laid down their arms to a party, which
they found to their exasperation when too late, was in numbers one
twelfth of their own.

Wurmser was now thoroughly disheartened in not receiving relief, and as
his provisions were by this time exhausted, found himself at length in
dire straits. Napoleon sent him word of the rout and dispersion of the
Austrian army and summoned him to surrender. The old soldier proudly
replied that "he had provisions for a year," but a few days later he
sent his aide-de-camp, Klenau to the headquarters of Serrurier with an
offer of capitulation. General Serrurier, as commander of the blockade,
received the bearer of Wurmser's message in which he stated that he was
"still in a condition to hold out considerably longer, unless honorable
terms were granted."

Napoleon, who had been seated in a corner of his tent wrapped in his
cloak, now came forward and addressed himself to the Austrian envoy, who
had no suspicion in whose presence he had been speaking, and taking his
pen, wrote down marginal answers to the conditions proposed by Wurmser.
He granted terms more favorable than might have been exacted in the
extremity to which the veteran was reduced. "These," said he, "are the
conditions to which your general's bravery entitles him if he opens his
gates tomorrow. He may have them to-day; a week, a month hence, he shall
have no worse: he may hold out to his last morsel of bread. Meantime
tell him that General Bonaparte is about to set out for Rome."

The envoy now recognized Napoleon, and on reading the paper perceived
that the proposed terms were more liberal than he had dared to hope for;
he then owned that only three days' provisions remained in Mantua.

The capitulation was forthwith signed and on the 2d of February, 1797,
Wurmser and his garrison of 13,000 men marched out of Mantua: 7,000 were
lying in the hospitals. When the aged chief was by the fortunes of war
to surrender his sword, he found only Serrurier ready to receive it.
Napoleon was unwilling to be a witness to the humiliation of the
distinguished veteran, and had left the place before the surrender, thus
sparing the conquered veteran the mortification of giving up his sword
to so youthful a commander. This delicate generosity on the part of the
French general was never forgotten by Wurmser.

The terms of surrender agreed to by Bonaparte were not readily accepted
by the French Directory, who urged him to far different conduct. "I have
granted the Austrian," he wrote in reply, "such terms as were, in my
judgment, due to a brave and honorable foe, and to the dignity of the
French nation." The loss of the Austrians at Mantua amounted altogether
to not less than 30,000 men, besides innumerable military stores and
upwards of 500 brass cannon.

The conquerer sent Augereau to Paris with the sixty captured standards
of Austria, and his arrival at the capital was celebrated as a national
festival. Thus it was that Napoleon, with a total force at the utmost,
of 65,000 men, conquered, in their own country, and under the
eye and succoring hand of their own government, five successive
armies, amounting, in all, to _upwards of 300,000 well-appointed
well-provisioned soldiers_, under old and experienced commanders of
approved courage. Such was the conquest of Lombardy.

Some time later Wurmser sent Napoleon a letter by special messenger
acknowledging the generosity and delicacy of conduct of the French
commander at Mantua, and at the same time apprising him by his
aide-de-camp of a conspiracy to poison him in the dominions of the pope,
with whom he was about to wage war.

A few brief engagements with papal troops followed the capitulation of
Wurmser, the pope fearing that the conqueror would enter the "Eternal
City;" but Napoleon, by a rapid movement, threw his infantry across the
river Senio, where the enemy was encamped, and met with but a brief
resistance. Shortly afterwards the pope entered into negotiations with
the French commander, and the treaty of Tolentino followed on the 13th
of February, 1797, conceding to the French one hundred of the finest
works of art, several castles and legations, and about two millions of

Napoleon was now master of all Northern Italy with the exception of the
territories of Venice, which announced that it had no desire but to
preserve a perfect neutrality.

More than a month had now elapsed since Alvinzi's defeat at Rivoli; in
nine days the war with the pope had reached its close; and, having left
some garrisons in the town on the Adige to watch the neutrality of
Venice, Napoleon hastened to carry the war into the hereditary dominions
of the Austrian Emperor. Twenty thousand fresh troops had joined his
victorious standard from France, and at the head of perhaps a larger
force than he had ever before mustered, he proceeded towards the Tyrol
where, according to his information, the main army of Austria, recruited
once more to its original strength, was preparing to open a sixth
campaign under the orders,--not of Alvinzi, but of a general young like
himself, and hitherto eminently successful, the Archduke Charles, who
had defeated the courage and skill of Jourdan and Moreau on the Rhine,
and was now to be opposed to Napoleon.

The story of this sixth campaign is but a repetition of the five that
preceded it. The archduke, a young prince of high talents, and upon whom
the last hopes of the Austrian Empire reposed, compelled by the council
of Vienna to execute a plan he had the discrimination to condemn, was
destined to lead but a short campaign, although he had the best army
Austria could enroll. This army once more proceeded to begin operations
on a double basis, and Napoleon permitted him to assume the offensive.

On the 9th of March, 1797, the French commander's headquarters were
fixed at Bassano, and he proceeded vigorously on his career of conquest.
He issued one of his stirring proclamations, in which he told his
soldiers that a grand destiny was still reserved for them, and then
advanced to attack the archduke. He found the latter posted upon the
plains bordering on the banks of the river Tagliamento in front of the
rugged Carinthian mountains which guard the passage in that quarter from
Italy to Germany. Detaching Massena with a division of cavalry to effect
the passage of the Piave where the Austrian division of Lusignan was
posted, Napoleon determined to charge the archduke in front. Massena was
successful in driving Lusignan before him as far as Belluno, where he,
with a rear guard of 500, surrendered, and thus turned the Austrian

On the 16th of March, the two armies headed by Napoleon, and the
Archduke Charles in person, were drawn up on opposite sides of the
Tagliamento, face to face. Bonaparte then attempted to effect the
passage of the river, but after a formal display of his forces, which
was met by similar demonstrations on the Austrian side of the river, he
suddenly broke up his line, retreated, and took up his bivouac. The
archduke concluded that, as the French had been marching all the night
before, their leader wished to defer the battle until another day, and
in like manner withdrew to his encampment. About two hours later
Napoleon rushed with his whole army, who had merely laid down in ranks,
upon the margin of the Tagliamento,--no longer adequately guarded,--and
had forded the stream ere the Austrian line of battle could be formed.
In the passage of the Tagliamento Napoleon was so nearly drowned, by
the submersion of his carriage, that he for some moments gave up all
thoughts of being rescued.

This affair was the first in which the division of Bernadotte had borne
a part. He arrived upon the borders of the Tagliamento at the very
moment of the combat: throwing himself into the river he exclaimed to
his followers, "Think that you are the Army of the Rhine, and that the
Army of Italy is looking on you!"

In the action which followed the troops of the archduke displayed much
gallantry, and charged the French repeatedly with the greatest courage,
but every effort to dislodge Napoleon failed; at length retreat was
deemed necessary, and eight pieces of cannon and some provisions were
left behind, the French following in close pursuit.

Adjutant General Kellerman distinguished himself at the head of the
French cavalry and received many wounds in executing the manoeuvres that
decided the success of the day; he was subsequently charged with
carrying the trophies taken from the enemy to France.

The pursuers stormed Gradisca, where they made 6,000 prisoners; and the
archduke continuing his retreat, occupied in the course of a few days
Trieste, Fiume and every stronghold in Carinthia. In the course of a
campaign of twenty days the Austrians fought Bonaparte ten times; but
the overthrow on the Tagliamento was never recovered. Their army was
melting away like the snows of the Tyrol.

At last the Austrian leader decided to reach Vienna by forced marches,
there to gather round him whatever force the loyalty of his nation could
muster, and make a last stand beneath the walls of the capital. The
archduke expected to reap great advantage from enticing the French army
into the heart of Austria, where, divided by many wide provinces and
mighty mountains and rivers from France, and with Italy once more in
arms behind them, he hoped to cut off their source of supplies and
compel them to retreat from a greatly reinforced imperial army.

From the period of the opening of the campaign the archduke had lost
nearly 20,000 men made prisoners, so that the Austrians could make no
stand except upon the mountains in the neighborhood of the Capital.

Vienna, however, was terror-stricken on hearing that Napoleon who was
only sixty leagues distant, had stormed the passes of the Julian Alps.
The imperial family--embracing little Marie Louise, then scarcely six
years old, afterwards Napoleon's wife--fled with their crown jewels and
treasures into Hungary; the middle classes became clamorous for a
termination of the six years' war, and the archduke was ordered to avail
himself of the first pretense which circumstances might afford for the
opening of a negotiation. Napoleon wrote to the archduke suggesting
peace: "While brave soldiers carry on war they wish for peace;" he said,
"Has not the war already lasted six years? Have we not killed men
enough, and inflicted sufficient sufferings on the human race? Europe
has laid down the arms she took up against the French Republic. Your
nation alone perseveres; yet blood is to flow more copiously than ever.
Whatever be the issue, we shall kill some thousands of men on both
sides, and after all we must come to an understanding, since all things
have an end, not excepting vindictive passions. * * * For my part,
general, if the overture I have the honor to make to you should only
save the life of a single man, I should feel more proud of the civic
crown, I should think I thereby merited, than of all the melancholy
glory that the most distinguished military successes can afford."

The archduke replied within two hours after the receipt of the letter
and a series of negotiations followed, which with Napoleon's rapid
advance on Vienna, finally brought about the provisional treaty of
Leoben, signed April 18, 1797. Napoleon, without waiting for full power
from the Directory to complete the treaty, took the responsibility upon
himself and signed it on the part of France on the 19th of April. The
Austrian plenipotentiaries had set down as a primary concession that
"the Emperor acknowledged the French Republic."

"Strike that out!" said Napoleon; "the Republic is like the sun that
shines by its own light; none but the blind can fail to see it. We are
our own masters and shall establish any government we prefer." "If the
French people should one day wish to create a monarchy," he afterwards
remarked, "the Emperor might object that he had recognized a Republic."

This treaty was followed by a complete surrender on the part of the
Venetian Senate which had violated its pledges of neutrality, and a
democratic government was formed, provisionally, on the model of France.
Venice consented to surrender to the victor large territories on the
mainland of Italy; five ships of war, $600,000 in gold and as much more
in naval stores, twenty of her best works of art and 500 ancient
manuscripts. Napoleon took possession of the city, and the history of
the Venetian Republic was ended. In their last agony the Venetian
Senate made a vain attempt to bribe Napoleon with a purse of seven
millions of francs for more favorable terms, reminding him of the
proverbial ingratitude of all popular governments and of the slight
attention which the French Directory had hitherto paid to his personal
interests. "That is all true enough," he replied, "but I will not place
myself in the power of this duke." To a larger tender on the part of
Austria he replied: "If greatness or richness is to be mine, it must
come from France."

Among the works of art sent by Napoleon to Paris was the celebrated
picture of St. Jerome from the Duke of Parma's gallery. The duke, to
save this treasure, offered Napoleon two hundred thousand dollars, which
the conqueror refused to take, saying: "The sum which he offers us will
soon be spent; but the possession of such a masterpiece at Paris will
adorn that capital for ages, and give birth to similar exertions of

The fall of Venice gave Napoleon the means of bringing his treaty with
Austria to a more satisfactory conclusion than had been indicated in the
preliminaries of Leoben. After settling the affairs of Venice and
establishing the new Ligurian Republic he took up his residence at the
palace of Montibello, near Milan, with Josephine, whom he had not seen
since his departure from France a year before. The final settlement with
Austria's commissioners was purposely delayed by that Empire, it being
the universal belief that the government of France was approaching a new
crisis, and Austria hoped from such an event to derive considerable
advantage. Napoleon was becoming weary of the protracted negotiations
and threats of the Austrian ambassadors. One day in the latter's
chamber, he suddenly changed his demeanor. "You refuse to accept our
ultimatum," said he, taking in his hands a beautiful vase of porcelain,
which stood on the mantelpiece near him. The Austrian bowed. "It is
well," said Napoleon, "the truce is broken, war is declared, but mark
me,--within three months I shall shatter Austria as I now shatter this
brittle affair!" So saying he dashed the fragile piece furiously to the
floor, breaking it into a thousand pieces, and left the room. The
ambassador followed him, and finding him preparing to march on Vienna,
made submissions which induced him to once more resume negotiations, the
result of which was the treaty of Campo-Formio, so called from the
humble village at which it was signed on the 17th of October, 1797.

Bourrienne relates that while Napoleon was occupied with the
organization of Venice, Genoa and Milan, he used to complain of the
want of _men_. "Good God!" said he, "how rare _men_ are! There are
eighteen millions in Italy and I have with difficulty found two real
ones,--Dandolo and Lelzi." These two actual "men" were immediately
employed in important services, and justified his estimation of them.

It was from the palace of Montibello, five leagues from Milan, that
Napoleon wrote to the Directory: "From these different points (the
islands of the Mediterranean, which he proposed to seize) we can command
that sea, keep an eye on the Ottoman Empire, which is crumbling to
pieces, and we can render the supremacy of the ocean almost useless to
Great Britain. _Let us take possession of Egypt_, which lies on the road
to India, and there we can found one of the mightiest colonies in the
world. It is in Egypt we must make war on England."

To perfect the treaty with Austria Napoleon received orders from the
French Directory to appear at a congress at Rastadt, all the German
powers being summoned to meet there for that purpose. He took an
affecting leave of his soldiers, in which he said in closing: "Soldiers,
when you talk of the princes you have conquered, of the nations you have
set free, and the battles you have fought in two campaigns, say: 'In the
next two we shall do still more.'" He then proceeded by way of
Switzerland, carrying with him the unbounded love and devotion of one of
the finest armies that the world had ever seen.

A person who saw Napoleon at this time described his impressions of him
in the following letter, which appeared in one of the Paris journals in
December 1797: "With lively interest and extreme attention, I have
observed this extraordinary man, who has performed such great deeds, and
about whom there is something which seems to indicate that his career is
not yet closed. I found him very like his portraits--little, thin, pale,
with an air of fatigue, but not of ill-health, as has been reported of
him. He appears to me to listen with more abstraction than interest, and
that he was more occupied with what he was thinking of than with what
was said to him. There is a great intelligence in his countenance, along
with which may be marked an air of habitual meditation which reveals
nothing of what is passing within. In that thinking head, in that bold
mind, it is impossible not to believe that some daring designs are
engendering _which will have their influence on the destinies of

"My extreme youth when I took command of the Army of Italy," Napoleon
remarked afterwards, "made it necessary for me to evince great reserve
of manners and the utmost severity of morals. This was indispensable to
enable me to sustain authority over men so greatly superior in age and
experience. I pursued a line of conduct in the highest degree
irreproachable and exemplary. In spotless morality I was a Cato and must
have appeared such to all. My supremacy could be retained only by
proving myself a better man than any other man in the army. Had I
yielded to human weakness I should have lost my power."

At the first interview between Napoleon and the veteran generals whom he
was to command, Rampon undertook to give the young commander some
advice. Napoleon who was impatient of advice, exclaimed: "Gentlemen, the
art of war is in its infancy. The time has passed in which enemies are
mutually to appoint the place of combat, advance hat in hand and say:
'_Gentlemen will you have the goodness to fire_!' We must cut the enemy
to pieces, precipitate ourselves like a torrent upon their battalions
and grind them to powder. Experienced generals conduct the troops
opposed to us. So much the better! Their experience will not avail them
against me. Mark my words, they will soon burn their books on tactics
and know not what to do."

Arriving at Rastadt Napoleon found that the multiplicity of details to
be arranged was likely to require a long stay, and as his personal
relations with the Directory were of a doubtful kind, he abandoned the
conduct of the diplomatic business to his colleagues and reached Paris
after a triumphal march, on the 20th of November, 1797. During his
absence he had been the salvation of France, and his arrival created a
great sensation in the capital. He was hailed with the most rapturous
applause by the people, the streets through which he was expected to
pass were thronged, and wherever he was seen the air was filled with
shouts of, "Long live the General of the Army of Italy!"

[Illustration: From a Drawing by Ch. Chasselat




On the 2nd of October, 1797, during Napoleon's absence in Italy, the
Directory announced to the French people its intention of carrying the
war with England into England itself. The immediate organization of a
great invading army was therefore ordered, and "Citizen General
Bonaparte," the Conqueror of Italy, was designated to command the

It was some months before this decision was acted upon, however, and in
the meantime Napoleon lived quietly in a small, modest house in the Rue
Chantereine, which he had occupied before he set out for Italy. Shortly
after his return, on going home one evening, he was surprised to find
workmen engaged in changing the sign bearing the name of the street to
"Rue de la Victoire," in commemoration of his Italian campaign. He
seemed to avoid as much as possible at this time the honors of popular
distinction and applause that the people heaped upon him. One morning he
sent his secretary to a theatre manager to ask him to give that evening
two very popular pieces, "if such a thing were possible."

"Nothing is impossible for General Bonaparte," replied the courtly
manager; "the Conqueror of Italy has long ago erased that word from the

This flattering answer afforded Napoleon a hearty laugh. He went to the
performance and although endeavoring to maintain his usual privacy, was
discovered and loudly called upon to come forward. The honor which he
esteemed most was his nomination as a member of the Institute. He
frequently attended its meetings and was also fond of appearing in the
costume worn by the members.

When congratulated by Bourrienne on some noisy demonstration of popular
favor, he answered in the words of Cromwell; "Bah! they would crowd as
eagerly about me if I were on my way to the scaffold!"

Wherever he went he was still the Bonaparte of Lodi, Arcola and Rivoli.

Meanwhile the government gave him no adequate reward for his important
services in Italy. He had not when he returned to France, three hundred
thousand francs in his possession, though he had transmitted fifty
millions to the State. "I might easily," he said to Las Casas, "have
brought back ten or twelve millions; I never made out any accounts, nor
was I ever asked for any." On the eve of his departure for Egypt he
became possessed of Malmaison and there deposited nearly all his
property. He purchased it in the name of his wife, older than himself,
and consequently, in case of his surviving her, he must have forfeited
all right to the same. The fact, as stated by himself, was, that he
never had a taste or desire for the acquirement of riches.

He willingly accepted the new appointment now pressed upon him by the
government, who seemed anxious that he should not remain in Paris to
take part in the civil business of the State. In this latter direction
he had no desire for continued service. In Napoleon's own language, "the
pear was not yet ripe," and, like Cæsar, he would have preferred being
first in a village to being second in Rome. The first scheme of the
French Directory was to make a descent upon England and to place
Napoleon at the head of the invading army, but their counsels
continually fluctuated between this project and the Egyptian expedition.
Napoleon said to Bourrienne on the 29th of January: "Bourrienne, I shall
remain here no longer; they (the Directory) do not want me; there is no
good to be done; they will not listen to me. I see, if I loiter here, I
am done for quickly. Here everything grows flat; my glory is already on
the wane. This little Europe of yours cannot supply the demand. We must
move to the East. All great reputations come from that quarter. But I
will first take a turn round the coast to assure myself what can be
done. If the success of a descent upon England appears doubtful, as I
fear, the army of England shall become the army of the East, and I am
off for Egypt." He at length resolved to bring the question of the
invasion to a decision by a personal survey of the coast opposite
England. While there he busied himself for a time in suggesting
improvements in fortifications and in selecting the best points for
embarking an invading force. Many local improvements of great
importance, long afterwards effected, were first suggested by him at
this period; but the time had not come for invading England.

Napoleon had suggested to Talleyrand, minister of foreign affairs, some
months before, the propriety of making an effort against England in
another quarter of the globe; i. e., of seizing Malta, proceeding to
Egypt, and therein gaining at once a territory capable of supplying to
France the loss of her West Indian colonies, and the means of annoying
Great Britain in her Indian trade and empire.

The East presented to him a field of conquest and glory, and to this he
now again recurred. "Europe is but a mole hill," he said; "All the great
glories have come from Asia where there are six hundred millions of
men." He soon returned to Paris and made his views known to the
Directory, declaring that an invasion of England was a wild chimera. To
Bourrienne, his school companion, who asked him concerning his
contemplated invasion after he had been on the coast a week he said:
"The risk is too great; I sha'n't venture it. I don't want to trifle
with the fate of France."

The temptation of the Directory was great, and as it would find
employment for Napoleon at a distance from France, the Egyptian
expedition was finally determined upon; but kept a great secret.

While the attention of Great Britain was now riveted on the coast, it
was on the borders of the Mediterranean that his ships and the troops
really destined for action, were assembling. Everyone wished to
accompany Napoleon to the East--civilians, scholars, engineers, artists,
all wished to make the journey. Napoleon selected and equipped the army,
raised money and collected ships. He was employed night and day in the
organization of the armament which was to be under his command

In April and May 1798 the various squadrons of the French fleet were
assembled at Toulon, and everything was soon in readiness. The main body
was assembled at Toulon but the embarkment was to take place at Civita
Vecchia. When asked if he should remain long in Egypt, Napoleon replied:
"A few months, or six years; it all depends upon circumstances."

When all was in readiness Bonaparte called his vast army together and in
sight of the ships which were to carry them from the shores of France,
said to his followers: "Rome fought Carthage on sea as well as on the
land; England is the Carthage of France. I have come to lead you, in the
name of the Divinity of Liberty, across mighty seas, and into distant
regions, where your valor may achieve such life and glory as will never
await you beneath the cold skies of the West. Prepare yourselves,
soldiers, to embark under the tri-color for achievements far more
glorious than you have won for your country on the blushing plains of

He agreed to give each soldier seven acres of land, and as his promises
had not hitherto been violated, the soldiers heard him with joy, and
prepared to obey him with alacrity. They answered his address with loud
cheers and cries of, "Long live the Republic!" The English government
vigilantly observed the preparations that were going on, and kept a
fleet in the Mediterranean under the command of Nelson. It was highly
important that the French squadron should sail without delay, in order
to avoid the risk of being discovered by the English cruisers, but
contrary winds detained it for ten days. This interval was employed by
Napoleon in attention to the minutest details connected with the finely
appointed force under his command.

On the evening of the 19th of May, 1798, fortune favored him, and the
troops were all embarked, while the English fleet, under Nelson, "the
Neptune of the Seas," was compelled to go into port to repair ships
disabled in a violent gale. The French fleet, which was supplied with
water for a month, and with food for two months, carried about 40,000
men of all sorts, and ten thousand sailors. In the army were many
veteran soldiers, selected from the Army of Italy and commanded by the
first generals of France. Kléber, Desaix, Berthier, Regnier, Murat,
Lannes, Andreossi, Junot, Menou, and Belliard all served in this

Josephine had accompanied her husband to Toulon, and remained with him
to the last moment; their farewell was most affecting. As the last of
the French troops stepped on board, the sun rose with great brilliancy
on the mighty armament--one of those dazzling suns which the soldiers
often referred to with delight as "the suns of Napoleon," and sails were
immediately set for the East.

On the 8th of June the convoys from Italy joined the squadron out at
sea; on the 10th the whole fleet was assembled before Malta. The first
object of Napoleon was to take possession of that island. He had
already secured a secret party among the knights, and a very slight
demonstration of hostilities spread consternation among them and they
opened their gates to the French without delay. Nearly all the knights
entered the ranks of the French army. As the French troops passed
through the almost impregnable fortifications General Caffarelli dryly
remarked to Napoleon that it was fortunate there was some one to open
the gates for them; had there been no garrison at all, it would have
been terrible hard work.

Leaving a sufficient garrison in Malta the French squadron was again
under sail on the 16th. While the officers and savants devoted much time
to the discussion of military and scientific topics the great object of
excitement and solicitude was to elude the English fleet. The French
vessels were encumbered with civil and military baggage, provisions,
stores, etc., and densely crowded with troops. Napoleon was anxious to
avoid such an encounter: "God grant that we may pass the English
without meeting them," he remarked to Admiral Brueyes.

Nelson was now in full pursuit. At Naples he heard of their landing at
Malta and that their destination was Egypt. He arrived at Malta just
after they had left the island and missed overtaking them by an
accident. During a hazy night, on which they lay off Candia, the French
were alarmed by the report of guns on their starboard, and it afterwards
proved that those were signals between the ships of Nelson's fleet, so
close were the two hostile squadrons to each other without being aware
of it. Napoleon received positive information of this proximity the
following morning and ordered Brueyes to steer at once for Cape Aza,
about twenty-five leagues distant from Alexandria. This precaution
foiled Nelson who crowded sail for Alexandria.

Napoleon finally reached his destination on the first of July
undisturbed, the tops of the minarets of Alexandria announcing that his
point was gained. As he was reconnoitring the coast at the very moment
that danger seemed over a strange sail appeared on the verge of the
horizon: "Fortune!" exclaimed he, "I ask but six hours more,--wilt thou
refuse them?" The vessel proved not to be English, but French and the
disembarkation, near a structure called the tower of Marabout, three
leagues to the eastward of Alexandria, immediately took place in spite
of a violent gale and a tremendous surf. Egypt was then nominally a
province of the Porte, and governed by a Turkish Pasha who was at peace
with France.

Bonaparte met with no opposition in landing, and by 3 o'clock in the
morning commenced his march upon Alexandria with three divisions of his
army. He had little difficulty in entering Alexandria, although he met
with resistance and General Kléber, who commanded the attack, was
wounded. The French lost about two hundred men.

Bonaparte exacted of his troops, under penalty of death, consideration
of all the laws and religion of the country, and to the people of Egypt
he addressed a proclamation in which he said: "They will tell you that I
come to destroy your religion; believe them not: I come to restore your
rights, to punish the usurpers, and I respect, more than the Mamelukes
ever did, God, his Prophet and the Koran. * * * Thrice happy they
who shall be with us! Woe unto them that take up arms for the
Mamelukes!--they shall perish."

The Mamelukes were considered by Napoleon to be, individually, the
finest cavalry in the world. They rode the noblest horses of Arabia, and
were armed with the best weapons which the world could produce:
carbines, pistols, etc., from England, and sabres of the steel of
Damascus. Their skill in horsemanship was equal to their fiery valor.
With that cavalry and the French infantry, Bonaparte said it would be
easy to conquer the world.

Napoleon himself remained some days in Alexandria and left on the 7th of
July, leaving Kléber in command, being anxious to force the Mamelukes to
an encounter with the least possible delay. General Desaix was sent
forward with 4500 men to Beda. The commission of learned men remained at
Alexandria, until Napoleon should reach Cairo, with the exception of
Monge and Berthollett who accompanied the commander.

The march over the burning sands of the desert brought extreme misery
and unheard-of sufferings to the troops; the air was full of pestiferous
insects, the glare of the sand weakened the men's eyes, and water was
scarce and bad. Even the gallant spirits of Murat and Lannes could not
sustain themselves, and they trampled their brilliant cockades in the
sand in a fit of rage in the presence of the troops. The common soldiers
asked, with sarcastic or angry murmurs, if it was here the general
designed to give them their "seven acres of land." "The rogue" said
they, "he might, with safety, have promised us as much as we pleased; we
should not abuse his good nature." They, however, bore a grudge against
Caffarelli, who they thought had advised the expedition, and used to
say, as he hobbled past with his wooden leg, "He does not care what
happens; he is sure to have one foot at least in France."

Napoleon alone was superior to all these evils. It required, however,
more than his example of endurance and the general influence of his firm
character to prevent the army from breaking into open mutiny. "Once,"
said he at St Helena, "I threw myself amidst a group of generals, and,
addressing myself to the tallest of their number with vehemence, said,
'You have been talking sedition; take care lest I fulfill my duty; your
five feet ten inches would not hinder you from being shot within two

On the 10th of July, 1798, the army reached the Nile at Rahmanié: "We no
sooner saw the river," says Savary in his memoirs, "than soldiers,
officers and all rushed into it; each, regardless whether it was
sufficiently shallow to afford security from danger, only sought to
quench his burning thirst, and stooped to drink from the stream, the
whole army presenting the appearance of a flock of sheep." "We
encamped," says Napoleon, "on immense quantities of wheat, but there
was neither mill nor oven in the country." The men bruised the grain
between stones and baked it in the ashes or parched and boiled it.

The army soon moved on towards Cairo, but the men were unable to leave
the ranks for a single instant without certain death from the spears or
scimitars of those matchless Mameluke horsemen; and, therefore, although
so near the Nile, several fell dead from thirst. But the worriment of
their minds was their worst evil. They began to say there was no great
city of Cairo; that they believed it would prove only a collection of
wretched huts. In this state they came up, on the 13th, with the
Mamelukes at Chebreis. They were drawn up in battle array under Mourad
Bey, one of their most powerful chiefs, and were a magnificent body of
cavalry, glittering with gold and silver and mounted on splendid horses.

The battle commenced without a moment's hesitation on either side. Each
Mameluke, feeling in himself the valor of a host, rushed in the
singleness of his purpose, as if alone against the opposing mass; and
with repeated charges, endeavored, by every means of unbridled fury or
consummate skill, to break the solid squares of the French army. They
were at length beaten back with the loss of about three hundred.

After the action at Chebreis the French army continued to advance during
eight days without opposition of any enemy except the hovering Arabs who
lay in wait for every straggler from the main column. The order of march
towards Cairo was systematically arranged; each division of the army
moved forward in squares six men deep on each side; the artillery was at
the angles; and in the centre the ammunition, the baggage, and the
small body of cavalry still remaining. Napoleon himself when he rode
always made use of a dromedary, though he at first suffered a sensation
resembling seasickness from its peculiar motion. "I never passed the
desert," said he sometime later, "without experiencing very painful
emotions. It was the image of immensity to my thoughts. It showed no
limits. It had neither beginning nor end. It was an ocean for the foot
of man."

On the 19th of July the soldiers' eyes were gladdened by the sight of
the grand pyramids on the horizon. Still advancing towards Cairo, the
distant monuments swelling upon the eye at every step, the army reached
Embabé on the 21st and found the Mamelukes in battle array to dispute
their further progress.

While every eye was fixed on these hoary monuments of the past, Napoleon
sighted with his glass a vast army of the Beys spread out before him,
the right posted on an intrenched camp by the Nile, its centre and left
composed of that brilliant cavalry with which they were by this time
acquainted. Napoleon perceived, too, and what had escaped the
observation of all his staff, that the 40 pieces of cannon on the
intrenched camp of the enemy were without carriages, and consequently
could be leveled in but one direction. He instantly decided on his plan
of attack by preparing to throw his forces on the left, where the guns
could not be available. Mourad Bey, who commanded the Mamelukes,
penetrated the French commander's design, and his followers at once
advanced gallantly to the encounter.

"Soldiers, you are about to fight the rulers of Egypt," said Napoleon,
as he raised his hands high in the air and formed his troops into
separate squares to meet the assault; "from the summits of yonder
pyramids forty centuries behold you." These imposing and mysterious
witnesses were not appealed to in vain, and the great battle began at
once at the foot of the ancient and gigantic monuments, the French
advancing in five grand squares, Napoleon heading the centre square. In
an instant the Mamelukes came charging up with impetuous speed and loud
cries. They rushed on the line of bayonets, backed their horses upon
them, and at last, maddened by the firmness which they could not shake,
dashed their pistols and carbines into the faces of the French troops.

The first manoeuvre of the French army disconcerted the plans of the
Mamelukes; still they continued to charge. The places of the dead and
dying were instantly supplied by new warriors, who fell in their turn.
They daringly penetrated even between the spaces occupied by the squares
commanded by Regnier and Desaix, so that the desperate horsemen were
exposed to the incessant fire of both faces of the divisions at the
distance of fifty paces. Many of the French fell from each other's fire
in the resistance to this act of desperation.

Those who had fallen wounded from their seats crawled along the sand and
hewed at the legs of their enemies with their scimitars; but nothing
could move the intrepid French. Bayonets and the continued roll of
musketry by degrees thinned the host around them. When Bonaparte at last
advanced with his battalions upon the main body, and divided one part
from the other, such was the confusion and terror of the Mamelukes that
they abandoned their works and flung themselves by hundreds into the
Nile. The carnage was prodigious, thousands were left bleeding on the
sands, and multitudes more were drowned. It was the custom of the
Mamelukes to carry their treasures with them on their bodies when they
went to battle, and every one that fell made a French soldier rich for
life, as the bodies of the slain were all rifled. In his report of the
engagement, Bonaparte said: "After the great number of battles in which
the troops I command have been opposed to superior strength, I cannot
but praise their discipline and coolness on this occasion; for this
novel species of warfare has made them display a patience contrasting
oddly with French impetuosity. If they had given way to their ardor,
they would not have gained the victory, which was only to be obtained by
great calmness and patience. The cavalry of the Mamelukes evinced great
bravery. They defended their fortunes; for there was not one of them
upon whom our soldiers did not find three, four or five hundred gold

Savary, who fought in Desaix's division, which had to stand the first
attack of the Mamelukes, has given a striking description of the
impression produced by their furious onset. "Although," he says, "the
troops that were in Egypt had been long inured to danger, every one
present at the battle of the Pyramids must acknowledge, if he be
sincere, that the charge of the Mamelukes was most awful, and that there
was reason, at one moment, to apprehend their breaking through our
formidable squares, rushing upon them, as they did, with a confidence
which enforced silence in our ranks, interrupted only by the word of
command. It seemed as if we must inevitably be trampled in an instant
under the feet of this cavalry of Mamelukes, who were all mounted upon
splendid chargers, richly caparisoned with gold and silver trappings,
covered with draperies of all colors and waving scarfs, and who were
bearing down upon us at full gallop, rending the air with their cries.
The whole character of this imposing sight filled the breasts of our
soldiers with sensations to which they had hitherto been strangers, and
made them vividly attentive to the word of command. The order to fire
was executed with a quickness and precision far exceeding what is
exhibited in an exercise or upon parade."

More than fifty pieces of cannon and four hundred loaded camels became
the spoil of the conquerors.

Mourad and a remnant of 2000 of his Mamelukes retreated on Upper Egypt.
These were all that escaped with life out of the matchless body of men
who in such superb array had bid scornful defiance to the European
invaders only a few hours before. Cairo surrendered; Lower Egypt was
entirely conquered. Such were the immediate consequences of the "Battle
of the Pyramids."

Many of the promiscuous rabble of infantry reached Cairo in advance of
the French and there they spread realistic accounts of the dreadful
power of Napoleon and his army.

The name of Bonaparte now spread panic through the East, and the victor
was considered invincible. The inhabitants called him "King of Fire,"
from the deadly effect of the musketry in the engagement at the Pyramids
which decided the conquest of the country. By the earliest dawn the
victor prepared to take possession of the conquest he had made, but was
spared all difficulties by its unconditional surrender. A deputation of
the shieks and chief inhabitants waited upon him at his headquarters in
the country house of Mourad Bey, to implore his clemency and submit to
his power. He received them with the greatest kindness and informed
them of his friendly intentions towards them and that his hostility was
entirely confined to the Mamelukes.

Cairo and its citadel were immediately occupied by the French troops,
and on the 24th of July Napoleon made his public entry into the capital,
amidst a great concourse of people.

The savants who accompanied Bonaparte on the expedition lost no time in
taking advantage of their opportunities, and at once began to ransack
the monuments of antiquity, and founded collections which reflected much
honor on their zeal and skill. Napoleon himself, accompanied by many
officers of his staff, visited the interior of the Great Pyramid of
Cheops, attended by many muftis and imans, and on entering the secret
chamber in which, three thousand years before, some Pharaoh had been
interred, repeated once more his confession of faith: "There is no God
but God, and Mohammed is his Prophet." The learned Orientals who
accompanied him responded with sarcastic solemnity: "Thou hast spoken
like the most learned of the prophets; but God is merciful."

Ten days after the battle at the pyramids had been fought and won,
Nelson, who had scoured the Mediterranean in quest of Napoleon,
discovered the French fleet, commanded by Admiral Brueyes, at anchor in
the Bay of Aboukir. A terrific engagement ensued, lasting twenty-four
hours, including a whole night. A solitary pause occurred at midnight
when the French ship _Orient_, a superb vessel of 120 guns, took fire
and blew up in the heart of the conflicting squadrons, with an explosion
that for a moment silenced rage in awe. Admiral Brueyes himself
perished. The next morning two shattered ships, out of all the French
fleet, with difficulty made their escape to the sea. The rest of the
magnificent fleet was utterly destroyed or remained in the hands of the
English, who have since called the engagement "The Battle of the Nile."

The ships were arranged in a semi-circular compact line of battle, and
so close to the shore that Brueyes had supposed it was impossible to get
between them and the land; but his daring enemy, who well knew all the
surroundings, soon convinced him of his mistake. The van of the English
fleet, six in number, successfully rounded the French line, dropping
anchor between it and the shore, and opened their fire, while Nelson,
with his other ships, ranged along it on the outer side and so placed
the French fleet between two tremendous fires. Admiral Brueyes was
wounded early in the action, but continued to command with the utmost
energy. When he fell mortally wounded he would not suffer himself to be
carried below. "A French admiral ought to die on his quarter-deck," he
replied to the entreaties of his friend Gantheaume who succeeded him.

It was on his return from Salahié to Cairo, whither Napoleon had pursued
the Mameluke chief, Ibrahim-Bey, and defeated him, that he was met by a
messenger, with information of the destruction of the French fleet by
Nelson in the roads of Aboukir. It was a terrible blow to Napoleon, who
was thus shut off from all intercourse with France; his soldiers were
thus completely isolated, hundreds of miles from home, and compelled to
rely on their own arms and the resources of Egypt. He had been so
anxious about the fleet as to write twice to Admiral Brueyes to repeat
the order that he should enter the harbor of Alexandria, or sail for
Corfu; he had also, previously to leaving Cairo, dispatched Julien, his
aide-de-camp, to enforce the order; but this unfortunate officer was
surrounded and killed, with his escort, at a village on the Nile, where
he had landed to obtain provisions.

[Illustration: From an Engraving by Gustave Levy


A solitary sigh escaped Napoleon when he heard the news. "To the army of
France," said he, "the fates have decreed the empire of the land--to
England the sovereignty of the seas." Some years later, on learning of
the results of the terrible naval battle at Trafalgar, in which Nelson
was again victorious, but which cost him his life, Napoleon repeated
this remark, adding, "Well, I cannot be everywhere." The seamen who had
landed at Alexandria were now formed into a marine brigade, and made a
valuable addition to the army. Very soon afterwards the Porte declared
war against France.

Public improvements of various kinds were now begun at Cairo and
Alexandria under Bonaparte's direction, and many continue to this day.
In all quarters the highest discipline was preserved; and Napoleon
exerted all the energy of his nature to increase the resources which
remained to him, and to preserve and organize Egypt as a French
province. "At each step of his advance," says Savary, "General Bonaparte
quickly foresaw everything that was to be done to render available the
resources of the most fertile country in the world and give them a
suitable application." So quickly had his mind recovered its tone that,
on the 21st of August (only a week after he had learned of the
destruction of his fleet at Aboukir), he founded an Institute at Cairo
exactly on the model of that learned society in France. Monge was
president; Napoleon himself, vice-president.

At Cairo a terrible insurrection occurred on the 21st of October, but it
was soon put down by the French troops, after a bitter struggle in which
many soldiers lost their lives. Napoleon was in the thickest of the
conflict on horseback in the centre of thirty Guides and soon restored
confidence among his soldiers. Tranquility was restored in three days,
after which many of the leaders were put to death. The others were

Napoleon now proceeded to explore the Isthmus of Suez, where a narrow
neck of land divides the Red Sea from the Mediterranean. He visited the
Maronite Monks of Mount Sinai, and, as Mohammed had done before him,
affixed his name to their charter of privileges; he examined, also, the
Fountains of Moses, and on the 28th of December, 1798, nearly lost his
life in exploring, during low water, the sands of the Red Sea, where
Pharaoh is supposed to have perished while in pursuit of the Hebrews.
"The night overtook us," says Savary, "the waters began to rise around
us; the Guard in advance exclaimed that their horses were swimming.
Bonaparte saved us all by one of those simple expedients which occur to
an imperturbable mind. Placing himself in the centre he bade all the
rest circle around him, and then ride out, each man in a separate
direction, and each to halt as soon as he found his horse swimming. The
man whose horse continued to march the last, was sure, he said, to be in
the right direction; then accordingly we all followed, and reached Suez
at two in the morning in safety, though so rapidly had the tide advanced
that the water was at the breastplate of our horses ere we made the
land." In referring to this narrow escape from sharing the fate of
Pharaoh, Napoleon remarked to Las Casas: "This would have furnished all
the preachers in Christendom with a splendid text against me."

On his return to Cairo Bonaparte dispatched a trusty messenger into
India, inviting Tippoo Saib to inform him of the condition of the
English army in that section, and declaring that Egypt was only the
first port in a march destined to surpass that of Alexander. According
to his secretary, "he spent whole days in lying flat on the ground
stretched on maps of Asia."

After having passed the balance of the year at Cairo the commander
declared the time for action had now arrived. Leaving 15,000 men in and
about Cairo, the division of Desaix in Upper Egypt, and garrisons in the
chief towns, Bonaparte, on the 11th of February, 1799, marched for Syria
at the head of 10,000 picked men, with the intention of crushing the
Turkish armaments in that quarter before their chief force, which he
learned was assembling at Rhodes, should have time to reach Egypt by

The hostility of the Porte, which would of course be encouraged and
assisted by England, implied impending danger on two points,--the
approach of a Turkish army via Syria and the landing of another on the
coast of the Mediterranean, under the protection of British ships. The
necessity of forestalling their designs by an expedition to Syria was
therefore apparent. In January, 1799, two Turkish armies were assembled;
one at Rhodes; the other in Syria. The former was intended to make a
descent upon the coast of Egypt at Aboukir, the latter had already
pushed forward its advance guard to El-Arisch, a fort within the
Egyptian territory, had established large magazines at Gaza and landed
at Jaffa a train of artillery of forty guns.

Traversing the desert, seventy-five leagues across, which divides Egypt
from Syria, with about twelve thousand men, one regiment being mounted
on dromedaries, Napoleon took possession of the fortress El-Arisch on
February 17th, after a vigorous assault. The march was made rapidly and
in good order. Having resolved upon an immediate expedition into Syria,
he did not wait to be attacked on both sides at the same time; but,
according to his usual custom, determined to push forward and encounter
one division of his enemies at a time. He addressed two letters to the
Pasha of Syria, surnamed Djezzar or "the Butcher," from his horrible
cruelties, offering him friendship and alliance, but the pasha observed
a contemptuous silence as to the first communication, and replied to the
second in his favorite fashion--seized the messenger and cut off his
head. There was, consequently, nothing to be done with Djezzar but to
fight him with such generals as Kléber, Bessieres, Caffarelli, Murat,
Lannes, Junot and Berthier.

Pursuing his march, Napoleon took Gaza, the ancient city of the
Philistines, without serious opposition, although three or four thousand
of Djezzar's horse were drawn up to oppose them. At Jaffa, the Joppa of
Holy Writ, the Moslems made a resolute defense, on March 6th, but at
length the walls were carried by storm. Three thousand Turks died with
arms in their hands in defense of the city, and the town was given up
for three hours to pillage more savage than Napoleon had ever before
permitted. This was followed by a massacre of hundreds of the barbarians
who were marched out of Jaffa some distance from the town, in the centre
of a battalion under General Bon, divided into small parties and shot or
bayoneted to a man. Like true fatalists they submitted in silence, and
their bodies were gathered into a pyramid where for half a century their
bones were still visible in the whitening sand.

Napoleon, while admitting that the act was one of the darkest stains on
his name that he had to acknowledge, still justified himself on the
double plea that he could not afford soldiers to guard so many
prisoners--estimated variously from 1200 to 3,000--and that he could not
grant them the benefit of parole because they were the very men who had
already been set free by him on such terms at El-Arisch after they had
given their word not to serve against him for a year. "Now," said
Napoleon at St. Helena, "if I had spared them again and sent them away
on their parole, they would directly have gone to St. Jean d'Acre, where
they would have played me over again the same trick that they had done
at Jaffa. In justice to the lives of my soldiers, since every general
ought to consider himself as their father, and them as his children, I
could not allow this. To leave as a guard a portion of my army, already
small and reduced in number, in consequence of the breach of faith of
those wretches, was impossible. I therefore * * * ordered that the
prisoners should be singled out and shot. * * * I would do the same
thing to-morrow and so would any general commanding an army under such

Napoleon now ascertained that the Pasha of Syria was at St. Jean d'Acre,
so renowned in the history of the Crusades, and determined to defend
that place to extremity with the force which had already been assembled
for the invasion of Egypt. Sir Sidney Smith, with two ships of war, was
cruising before the port and the garrison was assisted by European

The French army moved on Acre, eager for revenge, while the necessary
apparatus of a siege was ordered to be sent round by sea from
Alexandria. Sir Sidney Smith was informed by Djezzar, of the approaching
storm, and hastened to support him in the defense of Acre. Napoleon's
vessels, conveying guns and stores from Egypt, fell into his hands and
he appeared off the town two days before the French army came in view of
it. He was permitted to regulate the plan of defense, turning Napoleon's
own cannon against him from the walls.

Napoleon commenced the siege on the 18th of March and opened his
trenches immediately on his arrival. "On that little town," he said to
one of his generals, as they were standing together on an eminence, "On
yonder little town depends the fate of the East: behold the key of
Constantinople or of India." "The moment Acre falls," he said about the
same time to Bourrienne, "all the Druses of Mount Lebanon will join me;
the Syrians, weary of Djezzar's oppressions, will crowd to my standard:
I shall march upon Constantinople with an army to which the Turks can
offer no effectual resistance, and it is not unlikely that I may return
to France by the route of Adrianople and Vienna, destroying the house of
Austria on my way."

For ten days the French labored hard in their trenches, being exposed to
the fire of extensive batteries, formed chiefly of Bonaparte's own
artillery. On March 28th, however, a breach was at last effected and the
French mounted with such fiery zeal that the garrison gave way. Shortly
afterwards Djezzar himself appeared on the battlements, and flinging his
pistols at the head of his flying men, urged and compelled them to renew
the defense, which they finally did, causing the French to retreat with
great loss.

In the meantime Junot, having marched with his division to encounter a
large Mussulman army that had been gathered among the mountains of
Samaria, and was preparing to descend upon Acre, Napoleon was compelled
to follow him to Nazareth, where he was rescued on April 8th. Here, as
usual, the splendid cavalry of the Orientals were unable to resist the
solid squares and well-directed musketry of the French. General
Kléber, with another division, was in like manner rescued by the
general-in-chief at Mount Thabor on April 15th, after the former had
fought against fearful odds from six in the morning till one in the

Napoleon now returned to the siege of Acre with all possible dispatch,
pressed it on with desperate assaults day after day, losing many of his
best soldiers. Accustomed to the easy victories which he had obtained on
every encounter with the Turkish forces in Syria, he was not prepared to
expect the determined resistance by which his progress was now arrested.
Acre is surrounded by a wall flanked with towers, and was further
defended by a broad and deep ditch with strong works. At one time the
French succeeded in forcing their way into the great tower and in
establishing themselves in one part of it for a time despite all
opposition; but they were finally dislodged; each advantage ended with
itself and no progress was made towards subduing the place. At another
time a break was made in the walls in a distant part of the town, and a
French party entered Acre at the opening. Djezzar then threw such a
crowd of Turks upon them that all discipline was lost and nearly every
French soldier met death. The brave Lannes, who headed the party, was
with difficulty rescued after being desperately wounded.

During this siege Napoleon sent an officer with an order to the most
exposed position; he was killed. He sent another, who was also killed;
and so with a third. The order was imperative and Bonaparte had but two
aides with him, Eugene Beauharnais and Lavalette. He signaled to the
latter to come forward, and said to him in a low voice, so that Eugene
could not hear: "Take this order, Lavalette, I don't want to send this
boy and have him killed so young; his mother (Josephine) has intrusted
him to me. You know what life is. Go!" The aide returned in safety.

On another occasion during the siege a piece of shell struck Eugene on
the head: he fell, and lay for a long time under the ruins of a wall
which the shell had knocked down. Bonaparte thought he was killed, and
uttered a cry of grief. The youth was only wounded, however, and at the
end of nineteen days asked leave to return to his post, in order to take
part in the other assaults, which failed like the first, in spite of
Bonaparte's obstinacy. "This wretched hole," said he, "has cost me a
good deal of time and a great many men, but things have gone too far; I
must try one last assault."

An instance of the enthusiastic attachment which Napoleon was capable of
inspiring occurred during this memorable siege. One day, when the
commander was in the trenches, a shell thrown by Sir Sidney Smith, fell
at his feet. Two grenadiers immediately rushed towards him,--placed him
between them, and raised their arms above his head so as to completely
cover every part of his body. The shell burst without injuring one of
the group, although they were covered with sand. Both these grenadiers
were made officers immediately; one of them, subsequently, was the
General Dumesnil, so much talked of 1814, for his resolute defense of
Vincennes against the Russians. He had lost a leg in the campaign of
Moscow; and to the summons to surrender he replied, "Give me back my leg
and I will give up the fortress!" The fate of his heroic companion is
not recorded.

The siege had now continued for sixty days. Napoleon once more commanded
an assault on the 8th of May, and his officers and soldiers obeyed him
with devoted but fruitless gallantry. "That Sidney Smith," he said
later, "made me miss my fortune." The loss his army had by this time
undergone was very great, and the hearts of all the men were quickly

Among the officers and men who fell on this memorable 8th of May was
Croisier, the aide-de-camp, who had incurred the commander's displeasure
at Jaffa. Napoleon had once before been violently irritated against him
for some seeming neglect at Cairo, and the word "coward" had escaped
him. The feelings of Croisier, then deeply affected had become
insupportable since the event at Jaffa, and he sought death at every
opportunity. On this day Napoleon observed the tall figure of his
unfortunate aide-de-camp mounted on a battery, exposed to the thickest
of the enemy's fire, and called loudly and imperatively, "Croisier, come
down! you have no business there." Croisier neither replied nor moved;
the next instant he received his death wound.

A Turkish fleet had now arrived to reinforce Djezzar, and upon the utter
failure of the attack of the 21st of May, the eleventh different attempt
to carry the place by assault, Napoleon yielded to stern necessity,
raised the siege, and began his retreat upon Jaffa. On leaving this
latter place some six days after, a number of plague patients in the
hospitals were found to be in a state that held out no hope of their
recovery, and the commander, unwilling to leave them to the cruel
practices of the Turks, suggested that opium be administered by one of
the medical staff as a speedy death.

The various accounts of this incident in no way agree in detail.
Bonaparte denied at St. Helena that the opium was given, but said that
the patients, seven in number were abandoned. He declared also, that if
his own son had been among the number he would have advised that it be
done rather than to leave them to suffer the tortures of the Turks. Sir
Sidney Smith found seven alive in the hospitals when he came up. A rear
guard had been left to protect them and they probably galloped off
before the English entered the place. Bourrienne, who acted as secretary
to Napoleon at this time, gives a different account, while others assert
that 500 men were thus disposed of. The real facts will probably never
be known although both Hazlitt and Sir Walter Scott acquit Napoleon of
all blame after a careful investigation of all the facts. That
Bonaparte's motives were good his enemies generally admit, as he seems
to have designed, by shortening these men's lives, to do them the best
service in his power.

The retreating march was a continued scene of misery; the wounded and
sick were many, the heat oppressive, and the burdens almost intolerable.
Dejected by the sight of so much suffering Napoleon issued an order that
every horse, mule and camel should be given up to the sick, wounded and
infected. Shortly afterwards one of his attendants came to ask which
horse he wished to reserve for himself. "Scoundrel!" the commander
cried, "do you not know the order? Let every one march on foot--I the
first! Begone!" He accordingly, during the rest of the march, walked by
the side of the sick, cheering them to hope for recovery, and exhibiting
to all the soldiery the example at once of endurance and compassion. As
he had done in Italy, Napoleon always shared the privations and fatigue
of the army and their extremities were sometimes so great that the
troops were compelled to contend with each other for the smallest
comforts. Upon one occasion in the desert, the soldiers would scarcely
allow their general to dip his hands in a muddy pool of water; and when
passing the ruins of Pelusium, almost suffocated by heat, a soldier
yielded him the ruins of an ancient doorway beneath which he contrived
to shade his head for a few minutes and which Napoleon observed, "was no
trifling favor."

On the march between Cesarea and Jaffa, Napoleon very narrowly escaped
death. Many of the men had by this time regained their horses, owing to
the continual death of the wretched objects who had been mounted upon
them. The commander was so exhausted that he had fallen asleep on his
horse. A little before daybreak, a native, concealed among the bushes
close to the roadside, took aim at his head, and fired. The ball missed:
the man was pursued, caught and ordered to be instantly shot. Four
Guides drew their triggers, but all their carbines hung fire, owing to
the extreme humidity of the night. The Syrian leaped into the sea, which
was close to the road; swam to a ledge of rocks, which he mounted and
there stood, undaunted and untouched by the shots of the whole troop,
who fired at him as they pleased. Napoleon left Bourrienne behind to
wait for Kléber, who formed the rear guard and to order him "not to
forget the Naplousian." It is not certain that he was shot at last.

On his return to Cairo on the 14th of June, 1799, after a march of
twenty-five days, Napoleon once more re-established himself in his
former headquarters; but he had not long occupied himself with the
establishment of a new government for Egypt which was then in a state of
perfect tranquility, when word came to him of a probable uprising at
Alexandria. The commander therefore decided to go there at once. He
arrived on the 24th of July and found his army posted in the
neighborhood of Aboukir, prepared to anticipate an attack of the Turks
which had appeared off Aboukir under the protection of two British ships
commanded by Sir Sidney Smith, on the morrow. Surveying their intrenched
camp from the heights above, the commander said to Murat; "Go how it
may, the battle of tomorrow will decide the fate of the world." "Of this
army at least," answered Murat; "but the Turks have no cavalry, and if
ever infantry were charged to the teeth by horse, they shall be so by
mine," a promise which the brave cavalry leader made good.

Next morning the Turkish outposts were attacked and the enemy driven in
with great slaughter. The retreat might have ended in a rout but for the
eagerness of the enemy who engaged in the task of spoiling and maiming
those who fell before them. This gave to Murat the opportunity of
charging the main body,--which had been drawn up in battle array on the
field,--in flank with his cavalry. From that moment the engagement was
no longer a battle but a massacre. The French infantry, under the
rallying eye of Napoleon, forced a passage to the intrenchments, and
attacking the Turks on all sides, caused them to throw themselves
headlong into the waves, rather than await the fury of the French
cavalry and the steady fire of the artillery. The sea at first appeared
literally covered with turbans. It was only when weary with slaughter
that quarter was given to about 6,000 men--the rest of the Turkish army,
consisting of 18,000 having perished on the field or in the sea. Six
thousand were taken prisoners.

The defeat of the Turks at Aboukir filled the French soldiers at Cairo
with extreme rapture; Murat was promoted to the rank of a general of
division and Napoleon ordered his name and that of Roize and the numbers
of the regiments of cavalry present at the battle, engraved upon pieces
of brass cannon. Mustapha Pasha, the commanding general of the Turks, on
being brought into the presence of his victor, was saluted with these
words: "It has been your fate to lose this day; but I will take care to
inform the sultan of the courage with which you have contested it."

"Spare thyself that trouble," answered the proud pasha, "my master knows
me better than thou." On the evening after the battle, General Kléber
embraced Bonaparte and said to him, "General, you are as great as the
world!" "It is not written on high that I am to perish by the hands of
the Arabs," replied Napoleon.

This splendid and most decisive victory at Aboukir concluded Bonaparte's
career in the East. It was imperiously necessary, ere he could have
ventured to quit the command of the army, that he should have to his
credit some such glory after the retreat from Syria. It preserved his
credit with the public and enabled him to state that he left Egypt for
the time in absolute security. After the engagement Napoleon sent a flag
of truce to Sir Sidney Smith, and an interchange of civilities commenced
between the English and the French. This circumstance, trifling in
itself, led to important consequences. Among other things, a copy of a
French journal, dated the 10th of June 1799 was sent ashore by Sir
Sidney Smith. No news from France had reached Egypt for ten months.
Napoleon seized the paper with eagerness and its contents verified his
worst fears; he had said some time before while at Acre that he feared
France was in trouble. As he opened the paper he exclaimed: "My God! My
presentiment is realized; the imbeciles have lost Italy! All the fruits
of our victories are gone! I must leave Egypt." He then spent the whole
night in his tent reading a file of the English newspapers which had
been furnished him. From these he learned of Suwarrow's victories over
the French in Italy and of the disastrous internal state of France. In
the morning Admiral Gantheaume received hasty orders to prepare the two
frigates _Muiron_ and _Carrére_ and two corvetts, for sea, with the
utmost secrecy and dispatch, furnishing them with two months provisions
for five hundred men.

Napoleon returned to Cairo on the 9th of August, but it was only to make
some parting arrangements as to the administration of affairs there, for
he had resolved to intrust Egypt to other hands, and at once set out for
France. He reached Alexandria once more, and was there met by those whom
he had decided should make the return voyage with him. He selected
Berthier, Lannes, Murat, Marmont and Andréossy with five hundred picked
men to accompany him: these with Monge and Denon proceeded to depart
from Alexandria without delay. On the 18th a courier from Gantheaume
brought information that Sir Sidney Smith had left the coast to take
water at Cyprus. This was the signal for Napoleon's instant departure.

On the morning of August 23d, 1799, Bonaparte and his chosen followers
embarked at Rosetta on two frigates and two smaller vessels, which had
been saved in the harbor of Alexandria. A lack of water, and an accident
to one of the English ships had compelled the enemy to raise the
blockade and so favored his departure. In writing to the Divan and
announcing his departure he said: "Remind the Musselmen frequently of my
love for them. Acquaint them that I have two great means to conduct
men--persuasion and force; with the one I gain friends, and with the
other I destroy my enemies."

General Kléber was now placed in command of the Army of Egypt by
Napoleon who informed his successor of the reasons of his departure for
France, and his intention of sending recruits and munitions at the
earliest possible moment. He said to Kléber, "The army which I confide
to you is composed of my children; in all times, even in the midst of
the greatest sufferings I have received the mark of their attachment;
keep alive in them these sentiments. You owe this to the particular
esteem and true attachment which I bear myself towards you."

The French frigates had hardly passed from sight of land when they were
reconnoitred by an English corvette, a circumstance which seemed of evil
augury. Bonaparte assured his companions by his usual allusions to his
own "destiny" which he declared would protect him on sea as well as
land. "We will arrive safe," said he, "fortune will never abandon
us--we will arrive safe despite the enemy."

Napoleon left no responsibility upon the admiral to whom the various
manoeuvres have been ascribed: "As if," says Bourrienne, "any one could
command when Bonaparte was present!"

By express directions of Napoleon, the squadron, instead of taking the
ordinary course, kept close to the African coast, in the direction of
the southern point of Sardinia; his intention being to take a northerly
course along the northern coast of that island. He had irrevocably
determined, that should the English fleet appear, he would run ashore;
make his way, with the little army under his command, to Orin, Tunis, or
some other port; and thence find another opportunity of getting to

The entire voyage was one of constant peril, for the Mediterranean was
traversed in all directions by English ships of war. For twenty-one
days, adverse winds, blowing from west or northwest, continually drove
the squadron on the Syrian coast, or back towards Alexandria. It was
once proposed that they should again put into that port, but Napoleon
would not hear of it, declaring that he would brave any danger. On the
30th of September he reached Ajaccio, and was received with enthusiasm
at the place of his birth; but according to his own phrase, "it rained
cousins" and he was wearied with solicitations. "What will become of
me," he said, "if the English, who are cruising hereabouts, should learn
that I have landed in Corsica? I shall be forced to stay here. That I
could never endure. I have a torrent of relations pouring upon me." "His
brilliant reputation," says Bourrienne, "had prodigiously augmented his
family connections, and from the great number of his pretended
god-children it might have been thought that he had held one-fourth of
the children of Ajaccio at the baptismal font." It was during his stay
in Corsica that Napoleon first heard of the loss of the battle of Novi
by the French army and of the death of Joubert. "But for that confounded
quarantine" he exclaimed, "I would hasten ashore, and place myself at
the head of the Army of Italy. All is not over; and I am sure that there
is not a general who would refuse me the command. The news of the
victory gained by me, would reach Paris as soon as the battle of
Aboukir; that, indeed, would be excellent!"

On the 7th of October the voyage was at last resumed, the winds being
again favorable, and on the morning of the 9th, after a narrow escape
from the English, he moored in safety in the bay of Fréjus.

The story he brought of the victory of Aboukir, gave new fuel to the
flame of universal enthusiasm, and Napoleon's return to Paris bore all
the appearance of a triumphal procession. The shouts of welcome with
which he was hailed were echoed by the whole population of France. He
returned from Egypt as a "conqueror," although almost alone; yet
Providence designed in this apparently deserted condition that he should
be the instrument of more astonishing changes than the greatest efforts
of the greatest conquerors had ever before been able to effect upon the
civilized world. Napoleon was regarded as the champion of liberty, as
well as the successful military leader; and none of his actions, or
expressed opinions had as yet contradicted such an estimation of his

The campaign in Egypt was of little service to France, but to Napoleon
it was most useful. Of the aides-de-camp whom he took with him four
perished there, Croisier, Sulkowski, Guibert and Julian; two, Duroc and
Eugene Beauharnais were wounded; Lavalette and Merlin alone returned
safe and sound. Bonaparte had the highest regard for Josephine's son
Eugene. He was brave and manly, and although a youth of seventeen soon
won Bonaparte's lasting affection. If there was a dangerous duty,--to
ride into the desert and reconnoitre the bands of Arabs or Mamelukes,
Eugene was always the first to volunteer. One day when he was hastening
forward with his usual eagerness, Bonaparte called him back, saying:
"Young man, remember that in our business we must never _seek_ danger;
we must be satisfied with doing our duty, doing it well, and leaving the
rest to God!"

At the capital Napoleon was received with every demonstration of joy by
the French people, who now looked upon him as their liberator. All
parties seemed to be weary of the Directory, and to demand the decisive
interference of the unrivalled soldier. On his return he was much
surprised to learn of the real condition of France, and to an emissary
of Barras he said with some degree of feeling: "What have you done with
that land of France which I left to your care in so magnificent a
condition? I bequeathed you peace, and on my return find war. I left you
the memory of victories, and now I have come back to face defeats. I
left with you the millions I had gathered in Italy, and today I see
nothing in every direction but laws despoiling the people, coupled with
distress. What have you done with the one hundred thousand of French
citizens, my companions in glory, all of whom I knew? You have sent
them to their death. This state of things cannot last; for it would lead
us to despotism, and we require liberty reposing on a basis of
equality." The Directory offered him the choice of any army he would
command. He did not refuse, but pleaded the necessity of a short
interval of leisure for the recovery of his health and speedily withdrew
from the conference in order to avoid any more such embarrassing offers.
He had by this time, evidently, a very clear perception of the course
before him, and had made up his mind to place himself in circumstances
to confer high offices and commands, instead of accepting them.

In talking afterwards to Madame de Rémusat about this period in his
career, Napoleon said: "The Directory was not uneasy at my return; I was
extremely on my guard, and never in my life have I displayed more skill.
Everyone ran into my traps, and when I became the head of the State
there was not a party in France that did not base its hopes on my



At the time of Napoleon's return from the Egyptian expedition the
legislative bodies of Paris were divided into two parties, the
Moderates, headed by Sieyes, and the Democrats, by Barras. Finding it
impossible to remain neutral, Bonaparte took sides with the former.
Lucien, his brother, had just been elected president of the Council of
Five Hundred; the subtle and able Talleyrand and the accomplished Sieyes
were his confidants, and he determined to overwhelm the imbecile
government and take the reins in his own hands. He had measured his
strength, established his purpose, and, as France stood in need of a
more energetic and regenerated government, he now went calmly to its

During his absence in Egypt France had cause to deplore the loss of his
military genius, and had hailed his return with rapturous acclamations.
Napoleon's intentions were no sooner suspected than he was surrounded by
all those who were discontented with the established government, and who
found in him such a leader as they had long looked for in vain.

He soon opened negotiations with Sieyes who commanded a majority in the
Council of Ancients, and had no sooner convinced him that the project of
overturning the Directorial government was his object, than he was
regarded as the instrument destined to give France that "systematic"
constitution he had so long deliberated on and desired. Napoleon's
overtures were therefore cordially met, and Sieyes gave all the weight
of his influence to the impending revolution. Two men whose names have
since been known all over Europe, were also added to the number of his
adherents, Talleyrand, who had been recently deposed from a place in the
ministry; and Fouché, minister of police. The talents of both were
actively employed in his service and materially promoted his success. He
had no faith in Fouché and used him without giving him his confidence.
Lucien Bonaparte held the important post of president of the Council of
Five Hundred; a circumstance highly advantageous to his brother at this
juncture. It was there that the greatest opposition would be made to any
attempt which was hostile to the Constitution of the Year Three.

A large portion of the army was certain to side with Napoleon. His house
was now the resort of all the generals and men of note who had served
under him in his campaigns in Italy and Egypt, Bernadotte alone standing

A meeting took place between Napoleon and Sieyes on the 6th of November
1799, in which it was finally determined that the revolution should be
attempted on the 9th. This date, called in the history of the period,
the 18th Brumaire, was exactly one month from the day of Napoleon's
landing at Fréjus on his return from Egypt. The measures resolved upon
were as follows: The Council of Ancients, taking advantage of an article
in the constitution, which authorized the measure, were to decree the
removal of the legislative bodies to St. Cloud, beyond the walls of the
city. They were next to appoint Napoleon commander-in-chief of their own
guard, of the troops of the military division of Paris, and of the
National Guard. These decrees were to be passed at seven in the morning;
at eight Napoleon was to go to the Tuileries, where the troops should be
assembled, and there assume the command of the capital.

The Council of Ancients at length gathered in the Tuileries at an early
hour, every arrangement having been made in accordance with these
resolutions, declared that the salvation of the State demanded vigorous
measures, and proposed through its president, (one of Napoleon's
confidants)--the passage of the decrees already agreed upon. The decrees
were at once adopted without debate and Napoleon notified. All had
occurred as had been prearranged. Early on the morning of the 18th
Brumaire, the house of Napoleon in the Rue de la Victoire was crowded
with a large assemblage of officers. It was too small to hold them all
and many were in the court-yard and entrances. Numbers of these were
devoted to him; a few were in the secret, and all began to suspect that
something extraordinary was soon to happen. Every one was in uniform
except Bernadotte who appeared in plain clothes. Displeased at this mark
of separation from the rest Napoleon said hastily: "How is this? You are
not in uniform!"

"I never am on a morning when I am not on duty," replied Bernadotte.

"You will be on duty presently," rejoined Napoleon.

"I have not heard of it; I should have received my orders sooner," came
the answer quickly.

Napoleon now drew him aside, disclosed his plans and invited him to take
part with the new movement against a detested government. Bernadotte's
only answer was that "he would not take part in a rebellion," and with
some reluctance made a half promise of neutrality.

The moment the decrees of the Council of Ancients arrived Napoleon came
forward to the steps of his house, read the documents, and invited them
all to follow him to the Tuileries. The enthusiasm of those present was
now at the highest pitch and all the officers drew their swords,
promising their services and fidelity. Napoleon instantly mounted, and
placed himself at the head of the generals and officers. Attended by one
thousand five hundred horse, he halted on the boulevard at the corner
of the street Mont Blanc; he then dispatched some confidential troops
under Moreau to guard the Luxembourg, and the Directory ceased to exist,
although Barras entered a mild protest and then retired to his country
residence to live upon the great spoils of his office.

The Council of Five Hundred, an hour or two afterwards, assembled to
learn its fate. Resistance would have been idle, and adjourning for
their next session at St. Cloud, they mingled with the enthusiastic
people shouting, "Vive la République!" When they assembled at St. Cloud
the next morning they found that beautiful chateau completely invested
by the brilliant battalions under the orders of Murat.

At about one o'clock on the 19th Brumaire Napoleon appeared at St. Cloud
attended by Berthier, Lefebvre, Lannes and all the generals in his
confidence. Upon his arrival he learned that a heated debate had
commenced in the Council of Ancients on the subject of the resignation
of the directors and the immediate election of others. Napoleon hastily
entered the hall accompanied only by Berthier and Bourrienne who
attended as his secretary. He addressed the body with much difficulty
and after many dramatic interruptions, told them that it was upon
them he relied, declaring his belief that the Council of Five
Hundred--corresponding in part with the lower house of Congress--would
restore the Convention, popular tumults, the scaffold, the Reign of
Terror. "I will save you from all these horrors," he said, "I and my
brave comrades, whose swords and caps I see at the door of this hall;
and if any hireling traitor talks of outlawry, to those swords will I
appeal. You stand over a volcano. Let a soldier tell the truth frankly.
I was quiet in my home when this Council summoned me to action. I
obeyed: I collected my brave comrades, and placed the arms of my
country at the service of you who are its head. We are repaid with
calumnies--they talk of Cromwell--of Caesar. Had I aspired to power the
opportunity was mine ere now. I swear that France holds no more devoted
patriot. Dangers surround us. Let us not hazard the advantages for which
we have paid so dearly--Liberty and Equality!" Rallying at the uproar
which pursued him to the door, Napoleon turned round and called upon the
Council to assist him in saving the country; and with the words, "Let
those who love me follow," he passed quickly out, reached the courtyard
where he showed the soldiers the order naming him commander-in-chief,
and then leaped upon his horse, shouts of "Vive Bonaparte!" resounding
on all sides.

In the meantime the hostile Council of Five Hundred had assembled, and
there a far different scene was passing. With the same steadiness of
purpose and calmness of manner, Bonaparte walked into the chamber with
two grenadiers on either side, who halted at the doors that were left
open, while the general advanced towards the centre of the chamber.

At the sight of drawn swords at the passageway, and the presence of
armed men at the doors of that deliberative body, loud cries of "Down
with the traitor!" "Long live the Constitution!" etc., broke forth.
Several of the members rushed upon Napoleon, some seized him by the
collar and one is said to have attempted his life with a dagger. In an
instant the grenadiers rushed forward exclaiming, "Let us save our
general," and bore their commander from the hall.

Napoleon was quickly in the midst of his soldiers and found ready ears
and enthusiastic spirits to listen to his excited words. "Soldiers," he
said, "I offered them victory and fame--they have answered me with

It was at this moment that Augereau, whose faith in his former general's
fortune began to waver, is said to have addressed him with the words, "A
fine situation you have brought yourself into!" Upon which Napoleon
answered, "Augereau, things were worse at Arcola; take my advice, remain
quiet; in a short time all this will change."

Meanwhile the commotion in the Council of Five Hundred rose to the
highest pitch, a scene of the wildest confusion was taking place in the
Assembly, and the grenadiers sent by Napoleon once more entered and bore
Lucien, the president, from his colleagues. They had charged him with
conspiracy and were about to vent their fury upon him, when he flung off
the insignia of his office and was rescued.

Lucien found the soldiery without in a high state of excitement. He
mounted a horse quickly that he might be seen and heard the better, and
dramatically addressed the assembled troops: "General Bonaparte, and
you, soldiers of France," he said, "the President of the Council of Five
Hundred announces to you that factious men with daggers interrupt the
deliberations of the Senate. He authorizes you to employ force. The
Assembly of Five Hundred is dissolved." The soldiers received his
harangue with shouts of, "Vive Bonaparte!" Still there was an appearance
of hesitation, and it did not seem certain that they were ready to act
against the representatives of the people, till Lucien drew his sword,
and vehemently exclaimed, "I swear that I will stab my own brother to
the heart, if he ever attempts anything against the liberty of

This statement roused the soldiers to action and they were now ready to
obey any order from Napoleon. At a signal from him, Murat, at the head
of a body of grenadiers, at once started to execute the order of the
president. With a roll of drums and leveled pieces, Lucien followed the
detachment, mounted the tribune, and dispersed the Council of Five
Hundred. The deputies were debating in a state of wild indecision and
anxiety when the troops slowly entered. Murat, as they moved forward,
announced to the Council that it should disperse. A few of the members
instantly retired; but the majority remained firm. A reinforcement now
entered in close column headed by General Leclerc, the commanding
officer, who said loudly, "In the name of General Bonaparte, the
Legislative Corps is dissolved; let all good citizens retire.
Grenadiers, forward!" The latter advanced, leveling their muskets with
fixed bayonets and occupying the width of the hall. Most of the members
at once made their escape by the windows with undignified rapidity; in a
few minutes not one remained.

Lucien immediately assembled the "Moderate" members of the Council who
resumed its session, and in conjunction with that of the Ancients, a
decree was passed investing the entire authority of the State in a
Provisional Consulate of three--Napoleon, Sieyes and Roger-Ducos who
were known as "Consuls of the French Republic." Thus ended the 18th and
19th Brumaire, (November 10th and 11th, 1799) one of the most decisive
revolutions of which history has preserved any record; and, so admirable
had been the arrangements of Napoleon, that it had not cost France a
drop of blood. "During the greater part of this eventful day," says
Bourrienne, "he was as calm as at the opening of a great battle."

The next day the three Consuls met at Paris, and France once more began
to make progress. At this meeting, Sieyes, who had up to this moment
conceived himself to be the head, and the others but the arms of the new
constitution, asked, as a form of politeness, "Which of us is to
preside?" "Do you not see," answered Ducos, "that the general presides?"

Sieyes had expected that Napoleon would content himself with the supreme
command of all the armies, and had no idea that he was conversant with,
or wished to interfere in profound and extensive political affairs and
projects. He was, however, so astonished at the knowledge displayed by
Napoleon in questions of administration, even to the minutest details,
and in every department, that when their first conference was concluded,
he hurried to Talleyrand, Cabanis, and other counselors, assembled at
St. Cloud, exclaiming, "Gentlemen, you have now a master. He knows
everything, arranges everything, and can accomplish everything."

Those persons must know the character of Napoleon very imperfectly, who
consider him great only at the head of armies; for he was able to acquit
himself of the various functions of government with glory, shining
equally as conspicuous in the cabinet as in the field.

Napoleon guided and controlled everything; humane laws were enacted;
Christianity was again restored, and upwards of 20,000 French citizens
now came forth from the prisons to bless his name. Many who had been
exiled because they did not approve of the Reign of Terror and the
despotism of the Directory were recalled, and many other salutary
reforms at once stamped the new government with the seal of public
approbation and the confidence of Europe. In everything that was done
the genius of Napoleon was visible. A great man was at the helm, and the
world saw that his creative genius was regenerating France. The new
constitution met the approval of the people, and in February 1800 the
First Consul took up his residence in the Tuileries, the old home of the
monarchs of France. Shortly afterwards Napoleon reviewed the Army of
Paris, amounting to 100,000 men. When the 96th, 43rd and 50th
demi-brigades defiled before him he was observed to take off his hat and
incline his head, in token of respect at the sight of their colors torn
to shreds with balls, and blackened with smoke and powder.

For the first time in modern history the world saw the greatest general
of the age the civil chief of the most brilliant state in Europe. The
First Consul now held frequent and splendid reviews of the troops. He
traversed the ranks, now on horseback, now on foot; entered into the
minutest details concerning the wants of the men and the service, and
dispensing in the name of the nation, distinctions and rewards. A
hundred soldiers who had signalized themselves in action, received from
his hand the present of a handsome sabre each, on one of these

The Parisians received the new constitution with delight. The
inhabitants also viewed the pomp and splendor of the Consular government
with surprise and self-complacency. They reasoned little and hoped much.
Napoleon was their idol, and from him alone they expected everything.
The constitution continued the executive power in the hands of three
consuls, who were to be elected for the space of ten years, and were
then eligible to re-election. The First Consul held powers far superior
to his colleagues. He alone had the right of nominating all offices,
civil and military, and of appointing nearly all functionaries
whatsoever. Napoleon assumed the place of First Consul without question
or debate. He then named Cambacérès and LeBrun as Second and Third
Consuls respectively.

It was about this time that Napoleon learned of the death of Washington.
He forthwith issued a general order commanding the French army to wrap
their banners in crape during ten days in honor of "a great man who
fought against tyranny, and consolidated the liberties of his country."
He then celebrated a grand funeral service to the memory of Washington
in the council-hall of the Invalides. The last standards taken in Egypt
were presented on the same occasion; all the ministers, the counselors
of state and generals, were present. The pillars and roof were hung with
the trophies of the campaign of Italy and the bust of Washington was
placed under the trophy composed of the flags of Aboukir.

"From this day," says Lockhart, "a new epoch was to date. Submit to that
government, and no man need fear that his former acts, far less
opinions, should prove any obstacle to his security--nay, to his
advancement." In truth the secret of Bonaparte's whole scheme is
unfolded in his own memorable words to Sieyes: "We are creating a new
era--of the past we must forget the bad, and remember only the good."

During the absence of Bonaparte in Egypt the tri-color which he had left
floating on the castles along the Rhine, and from the Julian Alps to the
Mediterranean, had been humbled, and England and Austria, with the
allies they could bring into the coalition, were preparing once more to
compel the French to retire to their ancient boundaries, and ultimately
offer the crown to the exiled Bourbons.

But Napoleon knew that France needed internal repose, and he desired
universal peace in Europe. He even went so far, in order to bring this
about, as to address a letter to George III. in which he said: "Your
Majesty will see in this overture only my sincere desire to contribute
effectually, for a second time, to a general pacification--by a prompt
step taken in confidence, and freed from those forms, which, however
necessary to disguise the feeble apprehensions of feeble states, only
serve to discover in the powerful a mutual wish to deceive. France and
England, abusing their strength, may long defer the period of its utter
exhaustion; but I will venture to say that the fate of civilized nations
is concerned in the termination of a war, the flames of which are raging
throughout the whole world. I have the honor, etc., etc., BONAPARTE."

If the king himself had had an opportunity to reply to this letter, as
he afterwards admitted, it would have saved England millions of money,
and Europe millions of lives; but in a very short-sighted letter, Lord
Grenville, then Secretary of State, replied to Talleyrand, France's
minister of Foreign Affairs, in which he said: "The war must continue
until the causes which gave it birth cease to exist. The restoration of
the exiled royal family will be the easiest means of giving confidence
to the other powers of Europe." The refusal of England to treat with the
Consular Government of France was to be expected, being perfectly in
accord with the principles which guided the rulers of England at that
period. They had joined the other governments of Europe in commencing
war against France, in order to restore its legitimate sovereign,
contrary to the will of the French people.

When Napoleon read the letter he said: "I will answer that from Italy!"
and immediately called his generals together and ordered them to get
ready for another campaign beyond the Alps. It is said that on receiving
the reply from England Napoleon exclaimed to Talleyrand, "It could not
have been more favorable," but this is credited by but few historians as
it appears that his sincere convictions were that peace was best for

Three days after the Grenville letter, the First Consul electrified
France by an edict for an army of reserve embracing all the veterans
then unemployed, who had ever served the country, and a new levy of
30,000 recruits or conscripts as they were termed; and the most active
preparations were rapidly made. At this time four great armies were
already in the field--one on the North coast was watching Holland, and
guarding against any invasion from England; Jourdan commanded the Army
of the Danube, which had repassed the Rhine; Massena was at the head of
the Army of Helvetia, and held Switzerland; and the fragment of the
mighty host that Napoleon had himself led to victory, still called the
Army of Italy.

Upwards of 350,000 men were now marched to various points of conflict
with the European powers--England, Austria and Russia, together with
Bavaria, Sweden, Denmark, and Turkey, which made a formidable array of
enemies with whom Napoleon had to contend. The operations were conducted
with the utmost secrecy. Napoleon had decided to strike the decisive
blow against Austria in Italy, and to command there in person. An
article in the new constitution forbade the First Consul taking the
command of an army but he found a ready way to evade it. Berthier was
superseded by Carnot as minister of war and given the nominal command of
the Army of Italy. It was generally believed that the troops were to
advance upon Italy. Meantime, while Austria was laughing with derision
at the French conscripts and "invalids" then at Dijon and amused itself
with caricatures of some ancient men with wooden legs, and little boys
twelve years old entitled "Bonaparte's Army of Reserve," the real Army
of Italy was already formed in the heart of France and was marching by
various roads towards Switzerland and was commanded by officers of
recognized ability and courage. The artillery was sent piecemeal from
different arsenals; the provisions, necessary to an army about to cross
barren mountains, were forwarded to Geneva, embarked on the lake, and
landed at Villeneuve, near the entrance of the valley of the Simplon.

The daring plan of Napoleon was to transport his army across the Alps;
surmounting the highest chain of mountains in Europe, by paths which are
dangerous and difficult to the unencumbered traveler; to plant himself
in the rear of the Austrians, interrupt their communications, place them
between his own army and that of Massena who was in command of the
12,000 men at Genoa, cut off their retreat and then give them battle
under circumstances which must necessarily render one defeat

After dispatching his orders Napoleon joined Berthier at Geneva on May
8th, 1800. Here he met General Marescot, the engineer, who by his orders
had explored the wild passes of the Alps. He described to the First
Consul most minutely the all but insuperable obstacles that would oppose
the passage of an army.

[Illustration: From an old Drawing, artist unknown


"Difficult, granted; but is it possible for an army to pass?" Napoleon
at last impatiently inquired.

"It might be done," was the answer.

"Then it shall be; let us start," said the First Consul, and
preparations for that most herculean task were at once made, the
commander intending to penetrate into Italy, as Hannibal had done of
old, through all the dangers and difficulties of the great Alps

For the treble purpose of more easily collecting a sufficient stock of
provisions for the march, of making its accomplishment more rapid, and
on perplexing the enemy on its termination, Napoleon determined that his
army should pass in four divisions, by as many separate routes. The left
wing, under Moncey consisting of 15,000 men, detached from the army of
Moreau, was ordered to debouch by the way of St. Gothard. The corps of
Thureau, 5,000 strong, took the direction of Mount Cenis; that of
Chabran, of similar strength, moved by the Little St. Bernard. Of the
main body, consisting of 35,000 men, although technically commanded by
Berthier, the First Consul himself took charge, including the gigantic
task of surmounting, with the artillery, the huge barriers of the Great
St. Bernard. Once across he expected to rush down upon Melas, cut off
all his communications with Austria, and then force him to a conflict.

The main body of the army marched on the 15th of May from Lausanne to
the village of St. Pierre, at the foot of the Great St. Bernard, at
which point all traces of a practicable path entirely ceased. Field
forges were established at St. Pierre to dismount the guns. The
carriages and wheels were slung on poles and the ammunition boxes were
to be carried by mules. To convey the pieces themselves a number of
trees were felled, hollowed out, or grooved, and the guns being jammed
within these rough cases, a hundred soldiers were attached to each whose
duty it was to drag them up the steeps. All was now in readiness to
commence the great march.

"The First Consul set forth on his stupendous enterprise," says Botta in
his description of this campaign, "his forces being already at the foot
of the Great St. Bernard. The soldiers gazed on the aerial summits of
the lofty mountains with wonder and impatience. On the 17th of May
the whole body set out from Martigny for the conquest of Italy.
Extraordinary was their order, wonderful their gaiety, and astonishing
also, the activity and energy of their operations. Laughter and song
lightened their toils. They seemed to be hastening, not to a fearful
war, but a festival. The multitude of various and mingled sounds were
re-echoed from hill to hill, and the silence of these solitary and
desolate regions, which revolving ages had left undisturbed, was for the
moment broken by the rejoicing voices of the gay and warlike.
Precipitous heights, strong torrents, sloping valleys, succeeded each
other with disheartening frequency. Owing to his incredible boldness and
order, Lannes was chosen by the First Consul to take the lead in every
enterprise of danger. They had now reached an elevation where skill or
courage seemed powerless against the domain of Nature. From St. Pierre
to the summit of the Great St. Bernard there is no beaten road whatever,
until the explorer reaches the monastery of the religious order devoted
to the preservation of travelers bewildered in these regions of eternal
winter. Every means that could be devised was adopted for transporting
the artillery and baggage; the carriages which had been wheeled were now
dragged--those which had been drawn were now carried. The largest cannon
were placed in troughs and on sledges, and the smallest swung on
sure-footed mules. The ascent to be accomplished was immense. In the
windings of the tortuous paths the troops were now lost and now revealed
to sight. Those who first mounted the steeps, seeing their companions in
the depths below, cheered them on with shouts of triumph. The valleys on
every side re-echoed to their voices. Amidst the snow, in mists and
clouds, the resplendent arms and colored uniforms of the soldiers
appeared in bright and dazzling contrast: the sublimity of dead Nature
and the energy of living action thus united, formed a spectacle of
surpassing wonder.

"The Consul, exulting in the success of his plans, was seen everywhere
amongst the soldiers, talking with military familiarity to one and now
another, and, skilled in the eloquence of camps, he so excited their
courage that, braving every obstacle, they now deemed that easy which
they had adjudged impossible. They soon approached the highest summit,
and discerned in the distance the pass which leads from the opening
between the towering mountains to the loftiest pinnacle. With shouts of
transport they hailed this extreme point as the termination of their
labors and with new ardor prepared to ascend. When their strength
occasionally flagged under excess of fatigues, they beat their drums,
and then, reanimated by the spirit-stirring sound, proceeded forward
with fresh vigor.

"At last they reached the summit and there felicitated each other as if
after a complete and assured victory. Their hilarity was not a little
increased by finding a simple repast prepared in front of the monastery,
the provident Consul having furnished the monks with money to supply
what their own resources could not have afforded for such numbers. Here
they were regaled with wine and bread and cheese, enjoyed a brief repose
amid dismounted cannon and scattered baggage, amidst ice and
conglomerated snow; while the monks passed from troop to troop in turn,
the calm of religious cheerfulness depicted on their countenances. Thus
did goodness and power meet and hold communion on this extreme summit."

The troops made it a point of honor not to leave their guns in the rear;
and one division, rather than abandon its artillery, chose to pass the
night upon the summit of a mountain, in the midst of snow and excessive

Thus did this brave army reach the Hospice of St. Bernard, singing
amidst the precipices, dreaming of the conquest of that Italy where they
had so often tasted the delights of victory, and having a noble
presentiment of the immortal glory which they were about to acquire; as
they climbed up and along airy ridges of rock and eternal snow, where
the goatherd, the hunter of the chamois, and the outlaw smuggler, are
alone accustomed to venture; amidst precipices where to slip a foot is
death; beneath glaciers from which the percussion of a musket-shot is
often sufficient to hurl an avalanche.

The labor was not so great for the infantry, of which there were 35,000
including artillery. As for the 5,000 cavalry, these walked, leading
their horses by the bridle. There was no danger in ascending but in the
descent, the path being very narrow, obliging them to walk before the
horse, they were liable, if the animal made a false step, to be dragged
by him into the abyss. Some accidents of this kind, not many, did
actually happen, and some horses perished but scarcely any of the men.

After a brief rest at the hospice the army resumed its march and
descended to St. Remy without any unpleasant accident. Napoleon rested
and took a frugal repast at the convent, after which he visited the
chapel, and the three little libraries, lingering a short time to read a
few pages of some old book. He performed the descent on a sledge, down a
glacier of nearly a hundred yards, almost perpendicular. The whole army
effected the passage of the Great St. Bernard in the space of three

The transfer of the gun carriages, ammunition wagons and cannon was the
most difficult of all, but the genius of Napoleon accomplished even this
seemingly impossible feat. The peasants of the environs were offered as
high as a thousand francs for every piece of cannon which they succeeded
in dragging from St. Pierre to St. Remy. It took a hundred men to drag
each; one day to get it up and another to get it down.

It has been said that Napoleon had his fortune to make at this period;
but, at the moment of crossing Mount St. Bernard, he had fought twenty
pitched battles, conquered Italy, dictated peace to Austria,--only sixty
miles distant from Vienna,--negotiated at Rastadt, with Count Cobentzel
for the surrender of the strong city of Mentz, raised nearly three
hundred millions in contributions,--which had served to supply the army
during two years,--created the Cisalpine Army, and paid some of the
officers of the government at Paris. He had sent to the museum three
hundred _chef d'oéuvres_, in statuary and painting; added to which he
had conquered Egypt, suppressed the factions at home and totally
eradicated the war in La Vendée.

Napoleon has been pictured crossing the Alpine heights mounted on a
fiery steed. As a matter of fact he ascended the Great St. Bernard in
that gray surtout which he usually wore, sometimes upon foot, and again
upon a mule, led by a guide belonging to the country, evincing even in
the difficult passes the abstraction of mind occupied elsewhere,
conversing with the officers scattered on the road, and then, at
intervals, questioning the guide who attended him, making him relate the
particulars of his life, his pleasures, his pains, like an idle traveler
who has nothing better to do. "This guide," says Thiers, "who was quite
young, gave him a simple recital of the details of his obscure
existence, and especially the vexation he felt because, for want of a
little money, he could not marry one of the girls of his valley. The
First Consul, sometimes listening, sometimes questioning the passengers
with whom the mountain was covered, arrived at the hospice, where the
worthy monks gave him a warm reception. No sooner had he alighted from
his mule than he wrote a note which he handed to his guide, desiring him
to be sure and deliver it to the quartermaster of the army, who had been
left on the other side of the St. Bernard. In the evening the young man,
on returning to St. Pierre, learned with surprise what powerful traveler
it was whom he had guided in the morning, and that General Bonaparte
had ordered that a house and a piece of ground should be given to him
immediately, and that he should be supplied, in short, with the means
requisite for marrying, and for realizing all the dreams of his modest

This mountaineer lived for a number of years, and when he died was still
the owner of the land given him by the First Consul. The only thing
remembered by this attendant in after years of the conversation of
Napoleon during his trip was, when shaking the rain-water from his hat
he exclaimed, "There! See what I have done in your mountains--spoiled my
new hat!--Well, I will find another on the other side."

The passage of the Alps had been achieved long before the Austrians knew
Napoleon's army was in motion. So utterly unexpected was this sudden
apparition of the First Consul and his army, that no precaution whatever
had been taken, and no enemy appeared capable of disputing his march
towards the valley of Aosta. After a brief engagement at the fortress of
St. Bard and other minor battles in which the French were victorious,
they now advanced, unopposed down the valley to Ivrea which was without
a garrison. Here Napoleon remained four days to recruit the strength of
his troops.

Napoleon now took the road for Milan. The Sesia was crossed without
opposition; the passage of the Tesino was effected after a sharp
conflict with a body of Austrian cavalry, who were put to flight; and,
on the 2d of June, the First Consul entered Milan, amidst enthusiastic
acclamations of the people, who had all believed that he had died in
Egypt and that it was one of his brothers who commanded this army. He
was conducted in triumph to the ducal palace, where he took up his
residence. He remained six days in Milan during which time he gained
the most important information, all the dispatches between the court of
Vienna and General Melas falling into his hands. From these he learned
the extent of the Austrian reinforcements now on their way to Italy; the
position and state of all the Austrian depots, field-equipages, and
parks of artillery; and the amount and distribution of the whole
Austrian force. Finally, he clearly perceived that Melas still continued
in complete ignorance of the strength and destination of the French
army. His dispatches spoke with contempt of what he called "the
pretended army of reserve," and treated the assertion of Napoleon's
presence in Italy as a "mere fabrication." Possessed of all this
valuable information Napoleon knew how to proceed with clearness and

The eyes of the Austrian general were at length opened and he was
preparing to meet the emergency with all the energy that the orders from
Vienna and his great age of eighty years permitted; but his delay had
been sufficient to render his situation critical. His army was divided
into two portions, one under Ott near Genoa; the other, under his own
command at Turin. The greatest risk existed that Napoleon would,
according to his old plan, attack and destroy one division before the
other could form a junction with it. To prevent such a disaster, Ott
received orders to march forward on the Tesino, while Melas, moving
towards Alessandria, prepared to resume his communications with the
other division of his army.

Napoleon now advanced to Stradella where headquarters were fixed. On the
9th of June, Lannes, who continued to lead the van-guard of the French
army was attacked by an Austrian division superior in numbers and
commanded by Ott. The battle, though severely contested, ended in the
complete defeat of the Austrians, who lost three thousand killed and six
thousand prisoners. The battle of Montebello was won by sheer hard
fighting, there being little opportunity for skill or manoeuvre, the
fields being covered with full-grown crops of rye. The shower of balls
from the Austrian musketry was at one time so intense, that Lannes,
speaking of it afterwards, described its effect with a horrible graphic
homeliness. "Bones were cracking in my division" he said, "like a shower
of hail upon a skylight." Lannes was subsequently created Duke of

Napoleon remained stationary for three days at Stradella, employing the
time in concentrating his army, in hopes that Melas would be compelled
to give him battle in this position; he was unwilling to descend into
the great plain of Marengo, where the Austrian cavalry and artillery
which was greatly superior in numbers, would have a fearful advantage.
Meanwhile he dispatched an order to Suchet to march on the river
Scrivia, and place himself in the rear of the enemy.

General Desaix now joined the army with his aides-de-camp Rapp and
Savary, he having returned from Egypt and landed in France almost on the
very day that Napoleon left Paris, and had immediately received a
summons from him to repair to the headquarters of the Army of Italy,
wherever they might be situated. Desaix and Napoleon were warmly
attached to each other and their meeting was a great and mutual
pleasure. Desaix was appointed to the command of a division, the death
of General Boudet having left one vacant, and was extremely anxious to
signalize himself. Under the impression that the Austrians were
marching upon Genoa, Napoleon dispatched Desaix's division in form of
the van-guard upon his extreme left, while Victor, arriving at Marengo
from Montebello, where he had assisted Lannes, routed a rear guard of
four or five thousand Austrians and made himself master of the village
of Marengo.

The French and Austrian armies finally came together on June 14th on the
plains of Marengo, to decide the fate of Italy.

Marengo was a day ever to be remembered by those who participated in the
stubborn struggle. Napoleon fought against terrible odds in numbers and
position. A furious cannonading opened the engagement at daybreak
along the whole front, cannon and musketry spreading devastation
everywhere--for the armies were but a short distance apart, their pieces
in some cases almost touching. The advance under Gardanne, was obliged
to fall back upon Victor,--who had been stationed with the main body of
the first line,--for more than two hours and withstood singly the
vigorous assaults of a far superior force; Marengo had been taken and
retaken several times by Victor ere Lannes, who was in the rear of him,
in command of the second line, received orders to reinforce him. The
second line was at length ordered by Napoleon to advance, but they found
the first in retreat, and the two corps took up a second line of
defense, considerably to the rear of Marengo. Here they were again
charged furiously, and again after obstinate resistance, gave way. The
retreat now became general, although Lannes fell back in perfect order.

The Austrians had fought the battle admirably. Their infantry had opened
an attack on every point of the French line, while the cavalry
debouched across the bridge which the French had failed to destroy, and
assailed the right of their army with such fury and rapidity that it was
thrown into complete disorder. The attack of the Austrians was
successful everywhere; the centre of the French was penetrated, the left
routed, and another desperate charge of the cavalry would have
terminated the battle. The order for this, however, was not given; but
the retreating French were still in the utmost peril. Napoleon had been
collecting reserves between Garafolo and Marengo and now sent orders for
his army to retreat towards these reserves, and rally round his guard
which he stationed in the rear of the village of Marengo and placed
himself at their head.

To secure a position more favorable for resisting the overpowering
numbers of the enemy, Bonaparte now seized a defile flanked by the
village of Marengo, shut up on one side by a wood and on the other by
lofty and bushy vineyards. Here from the astonishing exertions of their
commander the French made a firm stand, and fought bayonet to bayonet
with Austrian infantry, whilst exposed at the same time to a battery of
thirty pieces of cannon, which was playing upon them with deadly effect.
Every soldier seemed to consider this the defile of Thermopylae, where
they were to fight until all were slain. With a heroism worthy of the
Spartan band they withstood the tremendous shock of bayonets and
artillery, the latter not only cutting the men in pieces, but likewise
the trees, the large branches in falling killing many of the wounded
soldiers who had sought a refuge under them. At this awful moment
Bonaparte, unmoved, seemed to court death, and be near it, the bullets
being observed repeatedly to tear up the ground beneath his horse's
feet. Alarmed for his safety the officers exhorted him to retire,
exclaiming, "If you should be killed all would be lost." But the hero of
Lodi and Arcola would not retire. Undismayed and unmoved amidst this
dreadful tempest, he observed every movement and gave orders with the
utmost coolness. The soldiers could all see the First Consul with his
staff, surrounded by the two hundred grenadiers of the guard and the
sight kept their hopes from flagging. The right wing, under Lannes,
quickly rallied; the centre, reinforced by the scattered troops of the
left, recovered its strength; the left wing no longer existed; its
scattered remains fled in disorder, pursued by the Austrians. The
contest continued to rage, and was obstinately disputed; but the main
body of the French army, which still remained in order of battle, was
continually, though very slowly, retreating.

The First Consul now dispatched his aide-de-camp, Bruyere, to Desaix,
with an urgent message to hasten to the field of battle. Desaix on his
part, had been arrested in his march upon Novi, by the repeated
discharges of distant artillery; he had in consequence made a halt, and
dispatched Savary, then his aide-de-camp, with a body of fifty horse, to
gallop with all possible haste to Novi, ascertain the state of affairs
there, according to the orders of Napoleon, while he kept his division
fresh and ready for action.

Savary found all quiet at Novi; and returning to Desaix, after the lapse
of about two hours, with this intelligence, was next sent to the First
Consul. He spurred his horse across the country, in the direction of
Marengo, and fortunately met General Bruyere, who was taking the same
short cut to find Desaix. Giving him the necessary directions, Savary
now hastened towards Napoleon. He found him in the midst of his guard,
who stood their ground on the field of battle; forming a solid body in
the face of the enemy's fire, the dismounted grenadiers were stationed
in front and the place of each man who fell was instantly supplied from
the ranks behind.

Maps were spread out before Napoleon; he was planning the movement which
was to decide the action. Savary made his report and told him of
Desaix's position.

"At what hour did he leave you?" said the First Consul pulling out his
watch. Having been informed he continued, "Well he cannot be far off;
go, and tell him to form in that direction (pointing with his hand to a
particular spot); let him quit the main road, and make way for all those
wounded men, who would only embarrass him, and perhaps draw his own
soldiers after them."

It was now three o'clock in the afternoon; had Melas pursued the
advantage with all his reserve the battle was won to the Austrians; but
that aged general (he was eighty years old) doubted not that he had won
it already. At this critical moment, being quite worn out with fatigue,
he retired to the rear leaving General Zach to continue what he now
considered a mere pursuit.

Napoleon's army was still slowly retiring from the field, one corps
occupying three hours in retiring three quarters of a league, when
Desaix, whose division was now forming on the left of the centre, rode
up to the commander, and taking out his watch, said in reply to a
question: "Yes, the battle is lost; but it is only three o'clock; there
is time enough to gain another!"

Bonaparte was delighted with the opinion of Desaix, whose division had
arrived at a full gallop after a force march of thirty miles, and
prepared to avail himself of the timely succor brought to him by that
far-seeing general, and of the advantage insured to him by the position
he had lately taken. Napoleon quickly explained the manoeuvre he was
about to effect and gave the orders instantly. He now drew up his army
on a third line of battle, and riding along said to the different corps:
"Soldiers! We have fallen back far enough. You know it is always my
custom to sleep on the field of battle." The whole army now wheeled its
front up the left wing of its centre, moving its right wing forward at
the same time. By this movement Napoleon effected the double object of
turning all the enemy's troops, who had continued the pursuit of the
broken left wing and of removing his right at a distance from the
bridge, which had been so fatal to him in the morning. The artillery of
the guard was reinforced by that which belonged to Desaix's division,
and formed an overwhelming battery in the centre.

The Austrians made no effort to prevent this decisive movement; they
supposed the First Consul was only occupied in securing his retreat.
Their infantry, in deep close columns, was advancing rapidly, when at
the distance of a hundred paces they suddenly halted, on perceiving
Desaix's division exactly in front of them. The unexpected appearance of
six thousand fresh troops, and the new position assumed by the French,
arrested the battle: very few shots were heard; the two armies were
preparing for a last effort.

The First Consul rode up in person to give the order of attack while he
dispatched Savary with commands to Kellerman, who was at the head of
about six thousand heavy cavalry, to charge the Austrian column in
flank, at the same time Desaix charged it in front. Both generals
effected the movement rapidly and so successfully that in less than half
an hour the French had put the enemy to rout on nearly all sides. A
final charge was now made, when Desaix, whose timely arrival with
reinforcements had saved the day, and who was then in the thickest of
the engagement, was shot dead, just as he led a fresh column of 5,000
grenadiers to meet and check the advance of Zach. But a few moments
before Desaix said to Savary, "Go and tell the First Consul that I am
charging, and that I am in want of cavalry to support me." As the brave
man fell he said: "Conceal my death, it might dishearten the troops."
Napoleon embraced him for an instant, and said, as his eyes filled with
tears: "Alas, I must not weep now--" and mounting his horse again
plunged into the thickest of the battle.

The whole army fought with renewed vigor on learning of Desaix's death,
every soldier being bent on avenging individually the loss of their
leader. The combined forces now concentrated themselves and hurled their
invincible columns upon the Austrian lines, marching victorious at last
over thousands of slain. General Zach, and all his staff, were here made
prisoners. The Austrian columns behind, being flushed with victory, were
advancing too carelessly, and were unable to resist the general assault
of the whole French line, which now pressed onward under the immediate
command of Napoleon. Post after post was carried. The terrified cavalry
and broken infantry fled in confusion to the banks of the Bormida, into
which they were plunged by the French cavalry who swept the field. The
Bormida was clogged and crimsoned with corpses, and whole corps, being
unable to effect the passage, surrendered. The victory, which had seemed
quite secure to the Austrians at 3 o'clock was completely won by the
French at six. Napoleon's conduct throughout the day and the bravery of
his troops were beyond all praise; and it is no less a fact, that the
appearance of victory in one or two parts of the extended field roused
the courage of the Austrians to enthusiasm and in some cases fatal
recklessness. They pressed forward to complete their triumph when the
Consular guard, called the "wall of granite," met and successfully
resisted the shock. The eye of Napoleon fixed the fortune of the day: he
foresaw that the enemy, in the ardor of success, would extend his line
too far; and what he had conjectured happened. Then it was that Desaix's
division rushed amidst the all but triumphant foe, divided his ranks,
and finally completed his ruin.

In this sanguine engagement the Austrians lost about 8,000 men in killed
and wounded, and 4,000 more were taken prisoners--one-third of their
army. The life of Desaix was the sacrifice. The French loss amounted to
6,000 killed or wounded and about 1,000 of them were taken prisoners, a
loss of about one-fourth out of 28,000 soldiers present at the battle.

In the estimation of the First Consul this loss was great enough to
diminish the joy that he felt for the victory. When Bourrienne, his
secretary, congratulated him on his triumph saying, "What a glorious
day!" he replied: "Yes it would have been glorious indeed, could I but
have embraced Desaix this evening on the field of battle. I was going to
make him minister of war; I would have made him a prince if I could."
The triumph of this decisive victory was poisoned by Desaix's death. It
seems that he never loved, nor regretted, any man so much and he never
spoke of him without deep feeling. Desaix met his death at the early age
of thirty-three, and France lost in him a great general and a man of
rare promise. Savary, who was much attached to him, sought for his body
amongst the dead, and found him completely stripped of his clothes,
lying among many others in the same condition. "France has lost one of
her most able defenders and I my best friend," Napoleon said after the
battle; "No one has ever known how much goodness there was in Desaix's
heart; how much genius in his head." Then after a short silence, with
tears starting into his eyes, he added, "My brave Desaix always wished
to die thus; but death should not have been so ready to execute his

[Illustration: From a Drawing by H. Vernet


Though the vast plain of Marengo was drenched with French blood, joy
pervaded the army. Soldiers and generals alike were merited for their
gallant conduct and were fully aware of the importance of the victory to
France. Thus ended the battle of Marengo, one of the most decisive which
had been fought in Europe, and one which opened to Napoleon the gates of
all the principal cities of northern Italy. By one battle he regained
nearly all that the French had lost in the unhappy Italian campaign of
1799 while he was in Egypt. He had also shown that the French troops
were once more what they had been when he was in the field to command

In talking with Gohier one day, Napoleon said: "It is always the greater
number which defeats the lesser."

"And yet," said Gohier, "with small armies you have frequently defeated
large ones." "Even then," replied Napoleon, "it is always the inferior
force which was defeated by the superior. When with a small body of men
I was in the presence of a large one, collecting my little band, I fell
like lightning on one of the wings of the hostile army, and defeated it.
Profiting by the disorder which such an event never failed to occasion
in their whole line, I repeated the attack, with similar success, in
another quarter, still with my whole force. I thus beat it in detail.
The general victory which was the result was still an example of the
truth of the principle, that the greater force defeats the lesser." One
of his favorite maxims is said to have been, "God always favors the
heaviest battalions."

The Austrians were completely enveloped, and had no alternative but to
submit to the law of the conqueror. Melas sent a flag of truce to
Napoleon at daybreak on the following morning, and peace negotiations
were at once began. In the meeting which followed Bonaparte required
that all the fortresses of Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy and the Legations
should be immediately given up to France, and that the Austrians should
evacuate all Italy as far as the Mincio.

The surrender of Genoa was strongly objected to by Melas, but the
conqueror would not waive this point. The baron sent his principal
negotiator to make some remonstrances against the proposed armistice:
"Sir," said the First Consul with some warmth, "my conditions are
irrevocable. It was not yesterday that I began my military life; your
position is as well known to me as to yourselves. You are in
Alessandria, encumbered with dead, wounded, sick, destitute of
provisions; you have lost the best troops of your army, and are
surrounded on all sides. There is nothing that I might not require, but
I respect the gray hair of your general, and the valor of your troops,
and I require, nothing more than is imperatively demanded by the present
situation of affairs. Return to Alessandria; do what you will, you shall
have no other conditions."

The treaty of peace was signed at Alessandria, the same day, June 15th,
1800, as originally proposed by General Bonaparte. He then started for
Paris by way of Milan, where preparations had been made for a solemn Te
Deum in the ancient cathedral, and at which the First Consul was
present. He found the city illuminated, and ringing with the most
enthusiastic rejoicings. The streets were lined with people who greeted
him with shouts of welcome. Draperies were hung from the windows, which
were crowded by women of the first rank and who threw flowers into his
carriage as he passed. He set off for Paris on the 24th of June and
arrived at the French capital in the night between the 2nd and 3rd of
July, having been absent less than two months. Massena remained as
Commander-in-chief of the Army of Italy.

To one of his traveling companions with whom he conversed on the journey
to Paris about his remarkable victory at Marengo, he said: "Well, a few
grand deeds like this campaign and I may be known to posterity." "It
seems to me," said his companion, "that you have already done enough to
be talked about everywhere for a time." "Done enough," said Bonaparte
quickly, "You are very kind! To be sure in less than two years I have
conquered Cairo, Paris and Milan; well, my dear fellow, if I were to die
to-morrow, after ten centuries I shouldn't fill half a page in a
universal history!"

At night the city of Paris was brilliantly illuminated and the
inhabitants turned out en masse. Night after night every house was
illuminated. The people were so anxious to show their pleasure at
Napoleon's miraculous victory that they stood in crowds around the
palace contented if they could but catch a glimpse of the preserver of
France. These receptions so deeply touched him that twenty years
afterwards, in loneliness and in exile, a prisoner at St. Helena, he
mentioned it as one of the proudest and happiest moments of his life.

On the day following his return to the capital the president of the
Senate--the entire body having waited upon him in state--complimented
the conqueror of Marengo in language such as kings were formerly
addressed in, and in closing his address said: "We take pleasure in
acknowledging that to you the country owes its salvation; that to you
the Republic will owe its consolidation, and the people a prosperity,
which you have in one day made to succeed ten years of the most stormy
of revolutions."

In November following Napoleon's return to the capital he received a
letter addressed to him by Count de Lille (afterwards Louis XVIII.)
which the exiled prince of the House of Bourbon evidently believed would
place him on the throne of France. He said: "You are very tardy about
restoring my throne to me; it is to be feared that you may let the
favorable moment slip. You cannot establish the happiness of France
without me; and I, on the other hand, can do nothing for France without
you. Make haste, then, and point out, yourself, the posts and dignities
which will satisfy you and your friends."

The First Consul answered thus: "I have received your Royal Highness'
letter. I have always taken a lively interest in your misfortunes and
those of your family. You must not think of appearing in France--_you
could not do so without marching over five hundred thousand corpses_.
For the rest, I shall always be zealous to do whatever lies in my power
towards softening your Royal Highness' destinies, and making you forget,
if possible, your misfortunes. BONAPARTE."

The battle of Marengo was celebrated at Paris by a fête on the 14th of
July, which presented a singularly interesting spectacle owing to the
appearance of the "wall of granite," the members of which, just as the
games were about to begin, marched into the field. The sight of those
soldiers, covered with the dust of their march, sun-burned and
powder-stained, and bearing marks of heroic deeds on the battlefield,
formed a scene so truly affecting that the populace could not be
restrained by the guards from violating the limits, in order to take a
nearer view of those interesting heroes.



Napoleon had now reached such a point of power that the Bourbons
resigned all hopes of restoration through his agency, and as the next
best means of obtaining control of the throne of France assassination
was decided upon. The First Consul had scarcely been in Paris a month,
after the engagement at Marengo when Ceracchi, a sculptor of some fame,
attempted Bonaparte's life as he was entering the theatre. But for his
betrayal by a co-conspirator the plot would have succeeded. This attempt
by means of the dagger was followed by the explosion of an infernal
machine, which consisted of a barrel of gunpowder surrounded by an
immense quantity of grape shot. On the night of October 10th the machine
was placed at Nacaise, a narrow street through which Napoleon was to
pass on his way to the opera house.

Some years later, in telling of the narrow escape he had on that night,
he said: "I had been hard at work all day, and was so overpowered by
sleep after dinner that Josephine, who was quite anxious to go to the
opera that night, found it quite difficult to arouse me and persuade me
to go. I fell asleep again after we had entered the carriage, and I was
dreaming of the danger I had undergone some years before in crossing the
Tagliamento at midnight by the light of torches, during a flood, when I
was waked by the explosion of the infernal machine. 'We are blown up,' I
said to Bessieres and Lannes, who were in the carriage, and then quickly
commanded the coachman to drive on."

The coachman, who was intoxicated, heard the order, and having mistaken
the explosion for a salute, lashed his horses furiously until the
theatre was reached. The machine had been fired by a slow match, and the
explosion took place just twenty seconds too soon. Summary justice was
executed upon the perpetrators of this infamous deed, and some time
later the Duke d' Enghien atoned for the part, whatever it might have
been, that the Bourbons had taken in these murderous schemes.

Austria delayed for several months final negotiations of the treaty
agreed upon after the engagement at Marengo, evidently reassured by the
attempts made on the First Consul's life. Preliminaries of peace had
been signed at Paris, between the Austrian general, Saint Julian, and
the French government. Duroc was dispatched to the Emperor of Austria,
to obtain his ratification of the articles; but having reached the
headquarters of the Army of the Rhine, he was refused a pass to proceed
on his journey.

Napoleon immediately ordered Moreau to recommence hostilities, unless
the Emperor delivered up the fortresses of Ulm, Ingolstadt and
Phillipsburg as pledges of his sincerity. Austria, accordingly,
purchased a further protraction of the armistice at this heavy price; at
the same time offering to treat for peace on new grounds. News of the
occupation of the three fortresses by the French troops, was announced
in Paris on the 23d of September 1800, where the fresh hopes of peace
caused universal satisfaction.

These hopes, however, proved delusive. Austria delayed and equivocated,
until it became evident the Emperor would make no peace separate from
England, and that the latter power was prepared to support her ally.

Napoleon, perceiving that he was being trifled with, now gave orders (in
November, 1800) to all his generals to put their divisions in march
all along the frontiers of the French dominions. The shock was
instantaneous, from the Rhine to the Mincio. Brune overwhelmed the
Austrians on the Mincio; Macdonald held the Tyrol, and Moreau achieved
the glorious victory of Hohenlinden after a desperate and most
sanguinary battle. This latter contest decided the fate of the campaign.
Thus with three victorious armies, either of which could have marched
triumphantly into Vienna, Napoleon hesitated long enough before taking
that final step, to allow Austria to sign an honest and definite peace.
The treaty of Luneville was at last signed in good faith on February
9th, 1801. By the peace of Luneville, Napoleon for the second time
effected the pacification of the Continent. Of all the powerful
coalition which threatened France in 1800, England alone continued
hostile in 1801 if we except Turkey, with which no arrangement could be
made until the affairs of Egypt were settled.

On the 8th of March, 1801, a British army of 17,000 men landed in Egypt
under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby. The French were very
ill-prepared for an attack. The English army overcame the resistance of
the forces which opposed their landing through the heavy surf formed on
the beach, and advanced upon their enemy. No general action occurred
until the 21st when the English obtained a decisive victory and drove
Menou,--who had succeeded to the command of the troops in Egypt at the
death of Kléber,--with great loss within the walls of Alexandria. Here
he was blockaded and General Belliard, cut off from all communication
with him, capitulated after which Menou submitted. Each capitulated on
condition of being taken back to France with all his troops and their
arms and baggage. Thus ended the conquest of Egypt by Napoleon. The
French admiral, Gantheaume, had long been making fruitless efforts to
land reinforcements in Egypt, but had been unable to elude the British
ships. He was now ordered to return to Toulon, where preparations were
made to receive the French troops.

After the news of the reverses of the French army in Egypt, and the
great sea victory of Copenhagen by Nelson, Napoleon was determined to
bring England to negotiations of peace and a recognition of the French
Republic, and with this in view he gathered an army of 100,000 men on
the coasts of France, with a flotilla sufficiently large to effect a
landing in England, whenever circumstances seemed to favor such a
movement. At this very moment it was, that Fulton, the inventor of
steam-boats, communicated his discovery to the First Consul. Napoleon
thus had the first chance placed in his hands of possessing exclusively
for a time, the greatest and most diversified means of physical power
ever known in the world. Scarcely deigning to bestow a thought upon the
subject the First Consul treated the inventor as a "visionary."

Whether or not Napoleon ever intended to invade Great Britain, he
succeeded at all events in convincing the world for a time that such was
his design, and when the peace of Amiens was signed on March 25th, 1802,
Paris and London rejoiced, as did all civilized nations. The peace of
Amiens left the military resources of France unemployed on the hands of
Bonaparte. This induced him to think of profiting by the European calm,
and effect the conquest of St. Domingo. He gave the command of the
expedition to his brother-in-law, Leclerc; but it was unsuccessful.

The inauguration of Christian worship once more in France in 1802 gave
Napoleon an opportunity to show that he had the interest of the people
at heart. France was an infidel nation, and it was the fashion to
believe there was no God. The signing of the Concordat by Pope Pius VII.
gave to France what she had long needed--a form of religious worship. It
required no little strength of purpose to take this step. "Religion is a
principle which cannot be eradicated from the heart of man;" said
Napoleon. "Last Sunday I was walking here alone, and the church bells of
the village of Ruel rang at sunset. I was strongly moved, so vividly did
the memory of early days come back with that sound. If it be thus with
me, what must it be with others? In re-establishing the Church, I
consult the wishes of the great majority of my people." A grand
religious ceremony took place at Notre Dame Cathedral to celebrate the
proclamation of the Concordat, at which the First Consul presided with
great pomp, attended by all the ministers and general officers then in
Paris. Another measure, adopted at this period, was the decree
permitting the return of the emigrants, provided they appeared and took
the oath to the government within a certain period. It is estimated that
a hundred thousand exiles returned to their country in consequence of
this decree.

It was about this period, too, that the First Consul turned his
attention to the system of a national education. He also commenced the
herculean task of preparing a code of law for the French nation with the
result that the "Code Napoleon" is known to every civilized nation of
the earth. Public improvements, formerly projected, were now carried
out, and sciences and the arts progressed as never before.

The order of the Legion of Honor owes its inception to Napoleon
Bonaparte, and it was he who placed it on such a footing in France
that it has since thrived there as has no similar institution on
the Continent. When established by him, after months of careful
consideration, he believed it necessary to France. To his Counselors of
State he said: "They talk about ribbons and crosses being the playthings
of monarchs, and say that the old Romans had no system of honorary
rewards. The Romans had patricians, knights, citizens and slaves,--for
each class different dresses and different manners--mural crowns, civic
crowns, orations, triumphs and titles. When the noble band of patricians
lost its influence, Rome fell to pieces--the people were a vile rabble.
It was then that you saw the fury of Marius, the proscriptions of
Scylla, and afterward of the Emperors. In that manner Brutus is talked
of as the enemy of tyrants; he was an aristocrat, who stabbed Caesar
because Caesar wished to lower the authority of the senate. You call
these ribbons and crosses child's rattles--be it so: It is with such
rattles that men are led. I would not say that to the multitude, but in
a council of wise men and statesmen one may speak the truth.... Observe
how the people bow before the decorations of foreigners. Voltaire calls
the common soldiers 'Alexanders at five sous a day.' He was right. It is
just so. Do you imagine you can make men fight by reasoning? Never! You
must bribe them with glory, with distinctions and rewards.... In fine,
it is agreed that we have need of some kind of institutions. If this
Legion of Honor is not approved, let some other be suggested. I do not
pretend that it alone will save the State, but it will do its part."

The Legion of Honor was instituted on the 15th of May 1802. When
Napoleon had seen the fruits of it, he said: "This order was the reward
of every one who was an honor to his country, stood at the head of his
profession, and contributed to the national prosperity and glory. Some
were dissatisfied because the decoration was conferred alike on officers
and soldiers; others, because it was given for civil and military merits
indiscriminately; but if this order ever cease to be the recompense of
the brave private, or be confined to military men alone, it will cease
to be what I made it,--the Legion of Honor."

The First Consul was, in right of his office, captain general of the
legion and president of the council of administration. The nomination of
all the members was for life. The grand officers were endowed with a
yearly pension of upwards of $1000. Pensions, decreasing in amount, were
also affixed to the subordinate degrees of rank in the order. All the
members were required to swear, upon their honor, to defend the
government of France, and maintain the inviolability of her Empire, to
combat, by every lawful means against the re-establishment of feudal
institutions, and to concur in maintaining the principle of liberty and
equality. On the day the order was instituted, Napoleon, by act of the
Senate was appointed Consul for life. The First Consul accepted the
offered prolongation from the Senate, on the condition that the
opinion of the people should be consulted on the subject. The question
put to them, as framed by Cambacérès and Le Brun, was: "Napoleon
Bonaparte--Shall he be Consul for life?" Registers were opened in all
municipalities; and the answer of the people qualified to vote was
decisive. Upwards of three million five hundred thousand voted for the
proposal; 8,300 against it. In the month of August Napoleon was formally
declared Consul for life and a decree of the Senate immediately
consolidated his power, by permitting him to appoint his successor.

This personal elevation had its ample share in contributing to the
number of Napoleon's enemies. In fact it appears in some measure
astonishing how any individual could persuade a whole nation, day after
day, to yield him up such a portion of its rights and privileges.
However, among many instances that might be adduced of his powers of
persuasion, one which occurred about this period is not the least
remarkable. In the beginning of the summer of 1802 some officers of
rank, enthusiastic republicans, took umbrage at Napoleon's conduct, and
determined to go and remonstrate with him upon the points that had given
them offense, and speak their minds freely. On the evening of the same
day, one of the party gave the following account of the interview: "I do
not know whence it arises, but there is a charm about that man,
indescribable and irresistible. I am no admirer of his; I dislike the
power to which he has risen; yet I cannot help confessing that there is
something in him which seems to speak him born to command. We went into
his apartment, determined to declare our minds; to expostulate with him
warmly; and not to depart till our subject of complaint should be
removed. But in his manner of receiving us there was a certain tact
which disarmed us in a moment; nor could we utter one word of what we
had intended to say. He talked to us for a length of time, with an
eloquence peculiarly his own, explaining with the utmost clearness and
precision, the necessity of steadily pursuing the line of conduct he had
adopted, and, without contradicting us in direct terms, controverted our
opinions so ably, that we had not a word to offer in reply, we therefore
retired, having done nothing but listen to, instead of expostulating
with him, fully convinced, at least for the moment, that he was right,
and that we were altogether in the wrong!"

Towards the close of the year 1802 it became evident that the peace of
Amiens was based on a hollow foundation, and was destined at no distant
period to be overthrown. At an interview held with Lord Whitworth, an
ambassador from England, Napoleon said: "No consideration on earth shall
make me consent to your retention of Malta; I would as soon agree to put
you in possession of the Faubourg St. Antoine. Every wind that blows
from England brings nothing but hatred and hostility towards me. An
invasion is the only means of offense that I can take against her, and I
am determined to put myself at the head of the expedition. There are a
hundred chances to one against my success; but I am not the less
determined to attempt the descent, if war must be the consequence of the
present discussion." He now quickly brought matters to a crisis. He
attacked the ambassador in vigorous language at a diplomatic meeting at
the Tuileries which ended in an abrupt termination of the conference by
Napoleon leaving the room.

The armistice lasted until March 18th, 1803, when England again declared
war upon France. All commerce of the French nation was ordered seized,
wherever found, and two hundred vessels, containing at least $15,000,000
worth of property fell into the hands of England. Napoleon retaliated by
arresting upwards of ten thousand Englishmen then in France. The tocsin
of war was sounded in every part of Europe, and 160,000 French soldiers
were marshaled on the coasts of France, again threatening an invasion of
England. France at this time was totally unprepared for war; a proof
sufficient to show that the First Consul had not desired the termination
of peace. The army was completely on a peace establishment; great
numbers of the troops were disbanded and the parks of artillery were
broken up. New plans for re-casting the artillery had been proposed, and
they had already begun to break up the cannon to throw them into the
furnaces. The navy was in a still less serviceable condition. In an
address to the Senate Napoleon said: "The negotiations are ended and we
are attacked; let us at least fight to maintain the faith of treaties
and the honor of the French name." The nation responded with enthusiasm
to the call; sums of money were voted by the large towns for building
ships and the army was rapidly recruited.

The first hostile movement of Napoleon was upon the continental domains
of George III. General Mortier invaded the Electorate of Hanover with
15,000 men and the Hanoverian army laid down its arms. The second
movement of the First Consul was the occupation of Naples. No resistance
was attempted. These measures, besides enabling Napoleon to maintain his
army by levies on the foreign states he occupied, also crippled the
commerce of England by shutting up all communication with many of the
best markets on the Continent. The First Consul now visited the
principal towns, accompanied by Josephine, where he made observations
and gave orders respecting the fortifications. These measures were all
preparatory on the part of Napoleon to his determined plan to attempt
the invasion of England. Funds were secured in part by the sale of
Louisiana to the United States.

Assassination was now again resorted to that Napoleon might be
overthrown; but every attempt, as heretofore, proved futile. Conspiracy
after conspiracy was detected--all traced to Napoleon's political
enemies. The First Consul resolved on retaliation and ordered the arrest
of the Duke d'Enghien at his castle in the Duchy of Baden. Three days
afterwards the duke was conveyed to Paris, and after a few hours'
imprisonment, was taken to the old State Prison of France, where he was
tried by court martial, and in a most summary and hasty manner
pronounced guilty of having fought against the Republic and condemned to
death. He was led down a winding stairway by torchlight, and shot in a
ditch in the castle at six o'clock in the morning. All Europe shuddered
at the deed, but it produced exactly the result Napoleon intended by it;
he was safe from attempts on his life forever afterwards.

Before the discovery of this plot the French Senate had sent an address
to Napoleon congratulating him on his escape from a former conspiracy in
which one hundred persons had schemed to take his life. In answer he
said: "I have long since renounced the hope of enjoying the pleasures of
a private life; all my days are employed in fulfilling the duties which
my fate and the will of the French people have imposed upon me. Heaven
will watch over France, and defeat the plots of the wicked. The citizens
may be without alarm; my life will last as long as it will be useful to
the nation; but I wish the French people to understand that existence,
without their confidence and affection, would be to me without
consolation, and would for them have no object."

The title of First Consul, by which Napoleon had been distinguished for
more than four years, was exchanged on the 18th of May 1804 for that of
Emperor by the advice of the Senate, where it was first publicly
broached, and by the universal assent of the French nation. Upwards
of 3,500,000 voted for the measure and about 2,000 against it. The
debates in the Senate were somewhat protracted and so great was the
impatience of the military that the garrison of Paris had resolved to
proclaim their chief as Emperor, at the first review; and Murat,
governor of the city, was obliged to assemble the officers at his house,
and bind them by a promise to restrain the troops. The spirit of the
army at Boulogne was soon manifested, by their voting the erection of a
colossal statue of Napoleon, in bronze, to be placed in the midst of the
camp. Every soldier subscribed a portion of his pay for the purpose; but
there was a want of bronze. Soult, who presided over the completion of
the undertaking, went, at the head of a deputation to Napoleon, and
said: "Sire, lend me the bronze, and I will repay it in enemy's cannon
at the first battle," and he kept his word.

[Illustration: From a Painting by J. L. David


On the 27th of May Napoleon received the oath of the Senate, the
constituted bodies, the learned corporations and the troops of the
garrison of Paris. Louis XVIII. immediately addressed a protest to all
the sovereigns of Europe against the usurpation of Napoleon. Fouché, who
was the first who heard of this document, immediately communicated the
intelligence to the Emperor, with a view to prepare the necessary orders
to watch over those who might attempt its circulation; but great was his
surprise, on receiving directions to have the whole inserted in "The
Moniteur" the following morning, where it actually appeared. This was
all the notice taken of the matter by Napoleon.

On December 1st of the same year, the lists of votes in favor of the
establishment of the hereditary succession of the Empire in his family
were publicly presented by the Senate to Napoleon, and on the following
day, in the midst of one of the most imposing and brilliant scenes ever
enacted in France, Napoleon and Josephine were crowned Emperor and
Empress of France by Pius VII., the Pontiff of Rome, in the Cathedral of
Notre Dame.

The Emperor took his coronation oath as usual on such occasions, with
his hand upon the Scripture, and in the form repeated to him by the
Pope; but in the act of coronation itself there was a marked deviation
from the universal custom. The crown having been blessed by the Pope,
Napoleon took it from the altar with his own hands and placed it on his
brow. He then put the diadem on the head of Josephine. The heralds
proclaimed that "the thrice glorious and thrice august Napoleon, Emperor
of the French, was crowned and installed;" and so ended the pageant.
"Those who remember having beheld it," says Sir Walter Scott, "must now
doubt whether they were waking, or whether fancy had formed a vision so
dazzling in its appearance, so extraordinary in its origin and progress,
and so ephemeral in its endurance."

The senators of the Italian Republic soon afterwards requested that
Napoleon be crowned as their king, and on the following May 1805, in the
ancient cathedral of Milan, he assumed the Iron Crown of the Lombard
kings, saying as he did so, "God has given it to me; let him beware who
would touch it!"

The new order of knighthood, that of the Iron Crown, with these words
for its motto, arose out of this ceremony.

On the 8th of May, while on the road to Milan, Napoleon expressed a wish
to visit the battlefield of Marengo, on which he had reconquered Italy
five years before. All the French troops in that part of Italy were
therefore mustered there, to the number of 30,000. Covered with the hat
and uniform which he wore on the day of that memorable conflict--the
Emperor passed the army in review on horseback, and distributed crosses
of the Legion of Honor, with the same ceremonies which had been observed
on the Champ de Mars and the same return of enthusiastic devotion on the
parts of the troops. "It was remarked," says Bourrienne, "that the
worms, who spare neither the costumes of living kings, nor the bodies of
deceased heroes, had been busy with the trophies of Marengo, which,
nevertheless, Bonaparte wore at the review." Napoleon did not continue
his journey until after he had laid the first stone of the monument
consecrated to those who had been slain on the battlefield, and on the
same day he made his entry into Milan. Meanwhile the activity in France
continued unabated, and scarcely a day passed without some trifling
engagement, brought on by the rigorous pursuit of the squadrons of the
French fleet, as they advanced to Boulogne.

Scarcely had the Emperor entered Paris after his return from the
coronation in Italy, before he learned that a new coalition had been
formed against him, and that England, Russia, Austria and Sweden, with
half a million men, were preparing once more for war. The objects
proposed were, briefly, the independence of Holland and Switzerland; the
evacuation of Hanover, and the north of Germany by the French troops;
the restoration of Piedmont to the King of Sardinia; and the complete
evacuation of Italy by France. Great Britain, besides affording the
assistance of her forces by sea and land, was to pay large subsidies for
supporting the armies of the coalition. Napoleon had, in a great degree,
penetrated the schemes of the allied powers, but was not prepared for
the sudden assumption of arms by Austria without any declaration of war;
a measure which Austria justified by referring to the increasing
encroachments of France in Italy.

As the Emperor desired leisure to prosecute and perfect the great public
works he had begun, or projected, he most earnestly wished for peace,
and he again addressed a letter to the King of England, and which was
treated with contempt. An envoy was sent to Frankfort-on-the-Main to
ascertain definitely whether Austria really intended to trample another
treaty in the dirt, and so soon after the fatal day at Marengo. The
messenger soon returned with the best maps of the German Empire, and
opening them on the council table of the Tuileries, said: "The Austrian
general is advancing on Munich: the Russian army is in motion, and
Prussia will join them."

The Emperor of Russia had pushed on to Berlin to win over the Prussian
monarch to the great Bourbon coalition, and to make the compact more
impressive, he asked his royal brother to visit with him the tomb of
Frederick the Great. They descended by torchlight to the vault, and
there, over the honored dust of Frederick, Francis, his heir, took a
solemn oath, as he pointed to the sword of his ancestor as it lay on the
coffin, to join the European coalition. Some weeks afterwards Napoleon
visited the tomb as a conqueror, and said to his attendant, as he seized
the precious relics: "These orders and sword shall witness no other such
scene of perjury over the ashes of Frederick!"

The young Emperor of France now gathered his eagles to lead them toward
the Danube. To the French Senate, whom Napoleon informed of the hostile
conduct of Russia and Austria, the Emperor said: "I am about to quit my
capital to place myself at the head of my army in order that I may
render prompt assistance to my allies, and defend the dearest interests
of my people.... I groan for the blood which it will cost Europe; but
it will be the means of adding new lustre to the French name." Another
campaign against the kings of Europe was inevitable, and he proceeded to
achieve the destruction of Mack's army, not as at Marengo by one general
battle, but by a series of grand manoeuvres, and a train of partial
actions necessary to execute them, which rendered assistance and retreat
alike impossible.

The great army that had been assembled on the coast of France to invade
England was now relieved from its inactivity and directed to march upon
the German frontiers. The Count de Ségur, who had command of the
detachment of the Guard at the Tuileries, and accompanied Napoleon on
this campaign, relates in his "Memoirs" a remarkable scene in the
Emperor's private quarters at Boulogne before Napoleon started for the
frontier. The Emperor had just received news that Admiral Villeneuve had
taken the French fleet to Ferrol and left the channel. On learning this
the Emperor at once decided that the contemplated invasion of England
was then impossible. Ségur then says: "Sit there," Napoleon said to M.
Daru, then acting as intendant-general of the army "and write." And
then, without a transition, without any apparent meditation, with his
brief and imperious accent, he dictated to him, without hesitation, the
plan of the campaign of Ulm as far as Vienna! The army of the coast,
fronting the ocean for more than two hundred leagues, was at the first
signal to turn round and march on the Danube, in several columns! The
order of the marches, their duration, points of concentration, of
reunion of the columns, surprises, attacks, various movements, the
enemy's mistakes--all was foreseen.... The battlefields, the victories,
even the dates on which we were to enter Munich and Vienna--all was then
written just as it happened, and this two months in advance, at this
very hour of the 13th of August, and from this quarter-general on the
coast. Daru, however accustomed to the inspirations of his chief,
remained dumfounded, and he was even more surprised when afterwards he
saw these oracles realized. The Emperor returned to Paris without delay,
and there laid before the Senate the state of the army and announced the
commencement of hostilities.

It was five years since the soldiers had been in battle; and for two and
a half years they had been waiting in vain for an opportunity to cross
over into England. It would be difficult to form any conception then of
their joy or of their ardor when they learned they were going to be
employed in a great war. Old and young ardently longed for battles,
dangers, distant expeditions. They had conquered the Austrians, the
Prussians, the Russians; they despised all the soldiers of Europe and
did not imagine there was an army in the world capable of resisting
them. They set off singing, and shouting, "Vive l'Empereur!"

At the same time Massena received orders to assume the offensive in
Italy, and force his way, if possible, into the hereditary States of
Austria. The two French armies, one crossing the Rhine and the other
pushing through the Tyrolese, looked forward to a junction before the
walls of Vienna. After appointing Joseph Bonaparte to superintend the
government in his absence Napoleon quitted Paris on the 24th of
September 1805, accompanied as far as Strasbourg by Josephine: here they
separated. The Emperor put himself at the head of his army and crossed
the Rhine on the 1st of October. He now begun a series of grand
manoeuvres and partial actions, requiring consummate skill, with a view
to the destruction of the great Austrian army under General Mack.

Mack, at the head of the Austrian forces, established his headquarters
on the western frontier of Bavaria, at Ulm. Prudence would have
suggested that he occupy the line of the river Inn, which, extending
from the Tyrol to the Danube at Passau, affords a strong defense to the
Austrian territory, and on which he might have awaited, in comparative
safety, the arrival of the Russian forces, then on the march to aid
Austria in the campaign.

Napoleon hastened to profit by Mack's error, and by a combination of
manoeuvres with his different divisions, the great body of the French
army advanced into the heart of Germany by the left of the Danube, and
then throwing himself across the river, took ground in the Austrian
general's rear, when he expected to be assaulted in front of Ulm. As it
was, Mack's communication with Vienna was interrupted, and he was
completely isolated.

Never was astonishment equal to that which filled all Europe on the
unexpected arrival of the French army. It was supposed to be on the
shores of the ocean, and in twenty days, scarcely time enough for the
report of its march to spread to this point, it appeared on the Rhine.

Napoleon did not effect his purpose of taking up a position in the rear
of Mack without resistance, but in the various engagements with the
different divisions of the Austrian army at Wertingen, Gunzburgh,
Memingen and Elchingen, the French were uniformly successful. At
Memingen General Spangenburg was forced to capitulate, and 5,000 men
laid down their arms. Not less than 20,000 prisoners fell into the hands
of the French between the 26th of September and the 13th of October.

The Emperor passed in review the dragoons of the village of Zumershausen
when he ordered to be brought before him a dragoon named Marente, of the
4th regiment, one of the gallant soldiers who, at the passage of the
Lech, had saved his captain, by whom he had, a few days before, been
cashiered from his rank. Napoleon then bestowed upon him the eagle of
the Legion of Honor.

"I have only done my duty," observed the soldier, "my captain degraded
me on account of some violation of discipline but he knows I have always
proved a good soldier."

The Emperor expressed his satisfaction to the dragoons for the bravery
they had displayed at the battle of Wertingen and ordered each regiment
to present a dragoon, on whom he also bestowed the decoration of the
Legion of Honor.

Napoleon looked upon the battle of Elchingen which followed the actions
at Wertingen and Gunzburgh as one of the finest feats of arms that his
army had ever accomplished. From this field of battle he sent the Senate
forty standards taken by the French army in the various battles which
had succeeded that of Wertingen. "Since my entry on this campaign," he
wrote, "I have disposed of an army of 100,000 men. I have taken nearly
half of them prisoners; the rest have either deserted, are killed,
wounded, or reduced to the greatest consternation ... Assisted by Divine
Providence I hope in a short time to triumph over all my enemies."

By the 13th of October General Mack found himself completely surrounded
at Ulm with a garrison of fully 20,000 good troops. On this day Napoleon
made an exciting address to his soldiers on the bridge of the Lech, amid
the most intense cold, the ground being covered with snow, and the
troops sunk to the knees in mud. He warned them to expect a great
battle, and explained the desperate condition of the enemy. He was
answered with acclamations and repeated shouts of, "Vive l' Empereur!"
In listening to his exciting words, the soldiers forgot their fatigues
and privations and were impatient to rush into the fight.

As Napoleon passed through a crowd of prisoners, an Austrian colonel
expressed his astonishment on beholding the Emperor of the French
drenched with rain, covered with dirt, and as much, or even more
fatigued than the meanest drummer in his army. An aide-de-camp present
having explained to him what the Austrian officer said, the Emperor
ordered this answer to be given: "Your master wished me to recollect
that I was a soldier; I hope that he will allow that the throne and the
imperial purple have not made me forget my original profession."

From the height of the Abbey of Elchingen Napoleon now beheld the city
of Ulm at his feet, commanded on every side by his cannon; his
victorious troops ready for the assault, and the great Austrian army
cooped up within the walls. Four days later a flag of truce came from
General Mack.

Napoleon had called upon the commander to surrender, and unlike the
brave Wurmser, who held Mantua to extremity during the campaign of
Alvinzi, he capitulated without hazarding a blow. On the previous day
Mack had published a proclamation urging his troops to prepare for the
"utmost pertinacity of defense" and forbidding, on the pain of death,
the very word "surrender" to be breathed within the walls of Ulm. He
announced the arrival of two powerful armies, one of Austrians, the
other of Russians, whose appearance "would presently raise the
blockade." He even declared his intention of eating horseflesh rather
than listen to any terms of capitulation!

On the morning of October 15th Napoleon finally resolved to bring the
affair to a close, and gave orders to Marshal Ney to storm the heights
of Michaelsberg. All at once a battery unmasked by the Austrians, poured
its grape-shot upon the imperial group. Lannes, who was to flank Ney,
abruptly seized Napoleon's horse to lead him out of the galling fire.
The latter had taken up a position to watch Ney, who had set his columns
in motion. Changing to a safe position, the Emperor saw this intrepid
leader climb the intrenchments raised on Michaelsberg, and carry them
with the bayonet. Lannes secured another point of attack a moment later.

Napoleon then suspended the combat until the next day, when he ordered a
few shells to be thrown into Ulm, and in the evening sent Ségur to
General Mack summoning him to surrender. The envoy had great difficulty
in getting into the place. He was led blindfold before Mack, who,
striving to conceal his anxiety, was nevertheless unable to dissemble
his surprise and grief on learning the extent of his disaster and
hopeless position.

On the 17th Mack signed articles by which hostilities were immediately
ceased and he with all his men agreed to surrender(!) themselves as
prisoners of war within ten days, unless some Austrian or Russian force
should appear and attempt to raise the blockade. On the 19th, after a
personal visit to Napoleon's camp, Mack submitted to a "revision" of the
treaty, and on the 20th a formal evacuation of Ulm took place.

Thirty-six thousand soldiers filed off and laid down their arms before
Napoleon and his staff. A large watchfire had been made, near which the
Emperor posted himself to witness the ceremony. General Mack came
forward and delivered his sword, exclaiming, with grief: "Here is the
unfortunate Mack!" Napoleon received him and his officers with the
greatest courtesy. Eighteen generals were dismissed on parole, an
immense quantity of ammunition of all sorts fell into the hands of the
victor, and a wagonful of Austrian standards was sent to Paris.

Napoleon enforced the strictest silence on his troops while this
ceremony, so painful to their enemies continued. In one instance he
instantly ordered out of his presence one of his own generals from whom
his quick ear caught some witticism passed on the occasion.

All the Austrian officers were allowed to return home, on giving their
word of honor not to serve against France until a general exchange of
prisoners should take place.

This campaign is perhaps unexampled in the history of warfare for the
greatness of its results in comparison with the smallness of the expense
at which they were obtained. Of the French army, scarcely fifteen
hundred men were killed and wounded; while the Austrian army of almost
ninety thousand men was nearly annihilated; all, with the exception of
15,000 who escaped, being killed, wounded, or prisoners; and having lost
also, 200 pieces of cannon and ninety flags. It was a common remark
among the troops, "The Emperor has found a new method of carrying on
war; he makes us use our legs instead of our bayonets." Five-sixths of
the French army never fired a shot, at which the troops were much

Massena was also successful in his advance from Lombardy, the Archduke
Charles, who commanded an army of 80,000 men for Austria, being forced
to abandon Italy, and Marshal Ney whom Napoleon had detached from his
own main army with orders to advance in the Tyrol, was no less
successful. The number of prisoners taken in this campaign was so great
that Napoleon distributed them amongst the agriculturists that their
work in the fields might make up for the absence of the conscripts, whom
he had withdrawn from such labor.

Rumors of the approach of the Russians, headed by the Emperor Alexander
in person, came fast and frequent. The divisions of Massena and Ney were
now at the disposal of Napoleon, who was concentrating his forces for
the purpose of attacking Vienna, and, with the main body, now moved on
the capital of the Austrian Emperor. The Emperor Francis, perceiving
that Vienna was incapable of defense, quitted his palace on the 7th of
November, and proceeded to the headquarters of Alexander at Brunn.

While Napoleon was riding on horseback on the Vienna road, he perceived
an open carriage approaching, in which were seated a priest, and a lady
bathed in tears. The Emperor was dressed, as usual, in the uniform of a
colonel of the chasseurs of the guard. The lady did not recognize him.
He inquired the cause of her distress and where she was going.

"Sir," said she, "I have been robbed, about two leagues hence, by a
party of soldiers, who have killed my gardener. I am going to request
that your emperor will grant me a guard; he once knew my family well,
and lay under obligations to them."

"Your name?" inquired Napoleon.

"De Brunny" answered the lady. "I am the daughter of M. de Marbeuf,
formerly governor of Corsica."

"I am delighted to meet with you madame" exclaimed Napoleon with the
most charming frankness, "and to have an opportunity of serving you,--I
am the Emperor."

The lady expressed much surprise and passed on agreeing to wait for the
commander at headquarters. Here she was furnished a piquet of chasseurs.

On the 13th the French entered Vienna, and Napoleon took up his
residence in the Imperial Palace of Schoenbrunn, the home of the
Austrian Cæsars. While at this point Napoleon learned of the success of
the English at Trafalgar on October 19th,--the day after Mack
surrendered at Ulm. It was a battle sternly contested and resulted in
the final annihilation of the French fleet. Great as the triumph was for
England, it was dearly purchased--for Nelson fell, mortally wounded,
early in the action. He lived just long enough to hear the cheers of
victory, and as he passed away, said, "Thank God! I have done my duty!"

The tidings of Trafalgar served but as a new stimulus to Napoleon's
energy. "Heaven has given the empire of the sea to England," he said,
"but to us has fate decreed the dominion of the land." But though such
signal success had crowned the commencement of the campaign, it was
necessary to defeat the haughty Russians before the object of the war
could be considered as attained. The broken and shattered remnant of the
Austrian forces had rallied from different quarters around the yet
untouched army of Alexander; Napoleon had therefore waited until the
result of his skillful combinations had drawn around him the greatest
force he could expect to collect, ere venturing upon a general battle.
He then quitted Vienna and put himself at the head of his columns which
soon found themselves within reach of the Russian and Austrian forces,
at length combined and ready for action, and under the eye of their

Now it was to be a battle of three emperors,--France, Russia and
Austria. Napoleon fixed his headquarters at Brunn, where he arrived on
the 20th of November, and riding over the plain between this point and
Austerlitz, a village about two miles from Brunn, said to his generals:
"Study this field well,--we shall, ere long, have to contest it."

Napoleon, on learning that the Emperor Alexander was personally in the
hostile camp, sent Savary to present his compliments to that sovereign,
and of course "incidentally to observe as much as he could of the
numbers and condition of the enemy's troops." The messenger reported
that the Russians labored under a belief that the reverses of the
previous campaign were the result of unpardonable cowardice among the
Austrians, and the first general battle would show the sort of warriors
the Russians were. Savary said that from the conversations he had for
three days with nearly thirty coxcombs about the person of Alexander,
that presumption, inconsiderateness, and imprudence, reigned in the
decisions of the military as much as in the political cabinet, and that
an army so conducted must of necessity commit great faults.

The Czar sent a young aide-de-camp to return the compliment carried by
Savary, and he found the French soldiery engaged in fortifying their
position--a position which Napoleon had some time before determined to
occupy; but the negotiations were of no avail: Napoleon wanted either an
overwhelming battle or peace. The aide-de-camp sent by Alexander was
impressed with what appeared to him to be evidence of fear and
apprehension on the part of the French. The placing of strong guards and
fortifications, thrown up with such haste, appeared to him like the
precautions of an army half beaten. The Russian prince discussed every
point with an air of impertinence difficult to be conceived. He spoke to
Napoleon as if he had been conversing with a Russian officer; but the
Emperor repressed his indignation, and the young man returned under a
full conviction that the French army was on the brink of ruin. Several
old Austrian generals, who had made campaigns against Napoleon, are said
to have warned the Russian council against too much confidence as they
were to march against old soldiers and able officers. They said they had
seen Napoleon, when reduced to a handful of men, repossess himself of
victory, under the most difficult circumstances, by rapid and unforseen
operations, in which manner he had destroyed numerous armies. The
presumptuous young man declared that the presence of the Russian Emperor
would inspire the troops to victory especially as they would be aided by
the picked troops of the imperial guard of Russia.

On the 1st of December, on seeing the Russians begin to descend from a
chain of heights on which they might have received an attack with great
advantage to themselves, and have remained in safety until the Archduke
Charles could come up with the 80,000 men in Bohemia and Hungary,
Napoleon exclaimed rapturously, as he witnessed the rash manoeuvre: "In
twenty-four hours that army will be mine!" In the meantime, withdrawing
his outposts and concentrating his forces, he continued to imitate a
conscious inferiority, which was far from existing. In the order of the
day (December 1) before the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon inserted the
following proclamation:

"Soldiers, the Russians are before you, to avenge the Austrian army at
Ulm. They consist of the same battalions you beat at Hollenbrun and have
constantly pursued. The positions we occupy are formidable; and, while
they march to my right, they shall present me their flank.--Soldiers, I
will direct myself all your battalions. I shall keep at a distance from
the firing, if, with your accustomed bravery, you carry confusion and
disorder into the enemy's ranks; but, should victory appear for a moment
doubtful, you shall see your Emperor expose himself to the first blows;
for victory cannot hesitate on this day, in which the honor of the
French infantry, of so much importance to the whole army, is concerned.
Suffer not the ranks to be thinned, under pretense of carrying off the
wounded; but let each man be well persuaded that we must conquer the
hirelings of England, who are animated with so deep a hatred of our
nation. This victory must terminate our campaign; when we shall resume
our winter quarters, and be joined by the new armies forming in France.
The peace which I make will be worthy of my people, of you and myself.



[Illustration: From a Drawing by Raffet


At one o'clock on the morning of the 2nd of December, Napoleon, having
slept for an hour by a watchfire, got on horseback and proceeded to
reconnoitre the front of his position. He wished to do so without being
recognized, but the soldiers penetrated the secret, and, lighting great
fires of straw along the line, 80,000 men received him from post to post
with great enthusiasm. They reminded him that it was the anniversary of
his coronation, and declared that they would celebrate the day in a
manner worthy of his glory.

"Only promise us," cried one old grenadier, "that you will keep yourself
out of the fire: I promise you in the name of the grenadiers of the army
that you will have to fight only with your eyes, and we will bring you
the flags and artillery of the Russian army to celebrate the anniversary
of your coronation."

"I will do so," answered the Emperor, "but I shall be with the reserve
_until you need us_." This promise Napoleon soon repeated in his
proclamation. As he threw down his pen after signing this document, he
exclaimed: "This is the noblest evening of my life; but I shall lose too
many of these brave fellows to-morrow. The anguish which I experience at
this idea makes me feel they are really my children; and truly I am
vexed with myself for these sensations, as I fear they will unman me on
the field of battle."

In his preparations for this decisive contest which he made immediately,
ten battalions of the Imperial Guard, with ten of Oudinot's division,
were to be kept in reserve in the rear of the line, under the eyes of
Napoleon himself, who destined them, with forty field-pieces, to act
wherever the fate of battle should render their services most

"The battle was planned by Napoleon in every detail," says Ségur, "just
as he had planned the strategic movements of the army. In the early
morning he sent for all his aides-de-camp to come to the small house
where he had spent the night. We had a slight repast, which, like
himself, we ate standing; after which, putting on his sword, he said,
'Now gentlemen, let us go and begin a great day.' We all ran to our
horses. A moment afterwards we saw, on the top of the hill which the
soldiers called 'the Emperor's hill,' arriving from the various points
of our line, followed each by their aides-de-camp, all the chiefs of our
army corps, Murat, Lannes, Bernadotte, Soult, Davoust,--all coming to
receive final orders. If I were to live as long as the world shall last,
I would never forget that scene."

After a hazy, misty daybreak, the sun at last arose with uncommon
brilliancy, so bright in fact that "the sun of Austerlitz" afterwards
fell into a proverb with the French soldiery, who hailed similar dawns
with exultation and as a sure omen of victory. The Emperor said, as he
passed in front of several regiments: "Soldiers, we must finish this
campaign by a thunderbolt which shall confound the pride of our
enemies." Immediately they raised their hats on the bayonets' points and
cries of, "Live the Emperor!" formed the actual signal for battle. A
moment afterwards the horizon cleared up and as the sun darted forth its
glistening rays the cannonading was heard at the extremity of the right
line. The great battle of Austerlitz had begun.

At the opening of the engagement, Kutusoff, the Russian
general-in-chief, fell into a snare laid for him by Napoleon, and sent a
large division of his army to turn the right of the French. His troops,
detached for this purpose, met with unexpected resistance from Davoust,
and were held in check. Napoleon at once seized the opportunity given
him by the enemy in leaving a deep gap in their line, and upon that
space Soult forthwith poured a force which entirely cut off all
communication between the Russian centre and left.

The Czar quickly perceived the fatal consequences of the movement, and
ordered his guards to rush to the eminence called the hill of Pratzen,
where the encounter was taking place, and beat back Soult. The Russians
succeeded in driving the French before them, when Napoleon ordered
Bessieres to their rescue with the Imperial Guards. The Russians had
become somewhat disordered from the impatience of their temporary
victory, and although they resisted Bessieres sternly, they were finally
broken and fled. The regiment of the Grand Duke Constantine, who
gallantly led the Russians, was now annihilated and the duke only
escaped by the fleetness of his horse.

The French centre now advanced, and the charges of Murat's cavalry were
most decisive, while the left wing, under the command of Lannes, marched
forward, _en echelons_, by regiments, in the same manner as if they had
been exercising by divisions. A tremendous cannonade then took place
along the whole line; two hundred and three pieces of cannon, and nearly
two hundred thousand men, being engaged, so that it was indeed a giant
combat. Success could not be doubtful: in a moment the Russians were all
but routed, their colonel, artillery, standards and everything being
already captured. At 1 o'clock the victory was decided; it had never
been doubtful for a moment; and not a man of the reserves was required.

From the heights of Austerlitz the Emperors of Russia and Austria beheld
the total ruin of their centre as they had already of their left. The
right wing only remained unbroken, it having contested well the
impetuous charge of Lannes; but Napoleon could now gather round them on
all sides, and, his artillery plunging incessant fire on them from the
heights, they at length found it impossible to hold their ground and
were driven from position to position. They were at last forced down
into a hollow where some frozen lakes offered them the only means of
escape from the closing cannonade. As they did so the French broke the
ice about them by a storm of shot from 200 heavy cannon, and nearly
2,000 men died on the spot, some swept away by artillery, but the
greater part being drowned beneath the broken ice.

The cries of the dying Russians, as they sank beneath the waters, were
drowned, however, by the victorious shouts of the French, who were
pursuing the scattering remnants of the enemy in every direction. In the
bulletin of the engagement Napoleon compared the scene to that at
Aboukir, "when the sea was covered with turbans."

The Emperor had addressed his soldiers on the evening preceding the
battle to heighten their courage, and presage to them the victory; he
did not forget to address himself to them again after the fight, and
felicitate them upon having so nobly contributed to verify his
prediction. "Soldiers," he said to them, "You have on this day of
Austerlitz justified all that which I expected from your intrepidity.
You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory. When all that is
necessary to assure the happiness and prosperity of our country is
accomplished, I will lead you back to France. There you will be the
objects of my tenderest solicitude. My people will joyously greet you
again, and it will suffice for you to say: 'I was at the battle of
Austerlitz,' and for them to reply, 'Behold a brave man!'"

In later years Napoleon said of this engagement: "I have fought thirty
battles like that, but I have never seen so decisive a victory, or one
where the chances were so unevenly balanced." At another time while at
St. Helena he said, "If I had not conquered at Austerlitz I should have
had all Prussia on me."

It was with great difficulty that the Emperors of Russia and
Austria rallied some fragments of their armies around them, and,
terror-stricken, effected their retreat. With the conqueror there
remained 20,000 prisoners, 40 pieces of artillery, and all the standards
of the Imperial Guard of Russia. Such was the battle of Austerlitz, or
as the French soldiers delighted to call it, "The Battle of the
Emperors"; and thus did Napoleon's army fulfill its pledge to celebrate
the anniversary of his coronation.

The fleeing Emperors halted at midnight for council, and decided to send
a messenger to Napoleon at daylight with proposals for peace. The envoy
was courteously received, and arrangements were at once made for a
meeting of the Austrian and French Emperors at ten o'clock the next day.
They met about three leagues from Austerlitz, near a mill. Napoleon was
the first to arrive on the ground; he at once ordered that two fires be
made, and with a squadron of his Guard drawn up at a distance of about
two hundred paces, awaited the arrival of Francis and his personal
suite. When Francis came in sight, accompanied by several princes and
generals, and an escort of Hungarian cavalry, Napoleon advanced to his
carriage, and embraced him. The two Emperors, each with an attendant,
then went to one of the fires near the entrance to a military hut, while
the suites of the two sovereigns drew around the other fire, a few paces

"Such are the palaces you have compelled me to occupy for these three
months," said Napoleon, pointing to his modest quarters.

"You have made such good use of them," answered Francis, "that you ought
not to complain of their accommodation."

The defeated Emperor is represented as having thrown the blame of the
war upon the English. "They are a set of merchants," he said, "who would
set the continent on fire, in order to secure themselves the commerce of
the world."

When the two great leaders separated, after an interview lasting an
hour, they again embraced, Napoleon saying in the hearing of the
gentlemen of the suites,--Prince John of Lichtenstein, near Francis, and
Marshal Berthier, near Napoleon--: "I agree to it; but your Majesty must
not make war upon me again." "No, I promise you I will not," said
Francis in reply; "I will keep my word"--a promise that was soon

It was understood that the Emperor of Russia, although not present, was
to abide by the agreement for an armistice. Alexander so assured Marshal
Davoust, who had pursued him the night of the battle, and the Russians
were allowed by Napoleon to retire unmolested to their own territory, on
the royal word of Francis that Russia would adhere to his ally of

"The Russian army is surrounded," said Napoleon to Francis; "Not a man
can escape me but I wish to oblige their Emperor, and will stop the
march of my columns if your Majesty promises me that these Russians
shall evacuate Germany, and the Austrian and Prussian parts of Poland."
"It is the purpose of the Emperor Alexander to do so," was the reply. No
other engagement was required of the Czar than his word.

When the negotiations had been completed, and the Emperor Francis had
departed, Napoleon walked hurriedly to and fro for a short time, and
after a deep silence he was heard to say: "I have acted very unwisely. I
could have followed up my victory, and taken up the whole of the
Austrian and Russian armies. They are both entirely in my power.
But--let it be. It will at least cause some less tears to be shed."

Napoleon then went over the field of battle, ordering the wounded to be
removed, when some of those unfortunates, forgetting their sufferings
asked, "Is the victory quite certain?" The foot guards of the Emperor,
not having been permitted to engage, actually wept and insisted upon
doing something to identify them with the victory.

"Be satisfied," said Napoleon, "you are the reserve; it will be better
if you have nothing to do today."

The commander of the artillery of the imperial Russian guard having lost
his cannon, met the French Emperor and said, "Sire, order me to be shot,
I have lost my cannon."

"Young man," replied Napoleon, "I esteem your grief; but one may be
beaten by my army, and still retain some pretension to glory."

The brief campaign was followed by a treaty with the Emperor of Austria,
signed December 15th, 1805, and another with Prussia, signed December
26th at Vienna. The victor of Austerlitz made his own terms in the
negotiations. Austria gave up the last of her Italian usurpations to be
annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, and the Tyrol to Bavaria, and yielded
other stipulations which the conqueror demanded, but which were so
moderate that they excited the wonder and admiration of all Europe.

Previous to Napoleon's departure for Schoenbrunn on the 27th of December
he issued the following proclamation to his army:

"Soldiers! Peace between myself and the Emperor of Austria is signed.
You have, in this late season of the year, made two campaigns. You have
performed everything I expected. I am setting out for my capital. I have
promoted and distributed rewards to those who have most distinguished
themselves. I will perform everything I have promised. You have seen
that your Emperor has shared all your dangers and fatigues; you shall
likewise behold him surrounded by all that grandeur and splendor which
become the sovereign of the first nation in the world. In the beginning
of the month of May, I will give a grand festival in Paris; you shall
all be there. We will celebrate the memory of those who, in these
campaign have fallen on the field of honor. The world shall see that we
are ready to follow their example, and, if necessary, do more than we
have done, against those who suffer themselves to be misled by the gold
of the eternal enemy of the continent."

The news of the success of the army was received with the greatest
enthusiasm by the majority of the French people.

Madame de Rémusat in writing to her husband from Paris after the receipt
of the news of the battle of Austerlitz, said: "You cannot imagine how
excited everyone is. Praise of the Emperor is on everyone's lips; The
most recalcitrant are obliged to lay down their arms, and to say with
the Emperor of Russia, 'He is a man of destiny.'"

The campaign had consolidated the Empire of Napoleon, and when he
returned to France he was received with exultation by the citizens, who
tendered him fête after fête such as had not been witnessed at the
capital for years. This was followed by the elevation of many of his
kinsmen and heroes to thrones of pomp and power, coronation following
coronation in rapid succession, princedoms and dukedoms being
accompanied with grants of extensive estates in the countries which the
French armies had conquered. From that moment, the fanaticism of
military glory quite effaced the few remaining impressions made by the
love of liberty.



The establishment of the Confederation of the Rhine, which was one of
the great consequences of Austerlitz, rendered Napoleon in effect,
sovereign of a large part of Germany. The kings of Bavaria and
Wurtemberg, Prince Murat, the Grand Duke of Berg, and several other
sovereigns of Germany, had leagued together in an alliance with the
French Empire; and they constituted so formidable a power that the
Emperor added a new title to his name--the "Protector" of this
confederacy. Thus Napoleon became sovereign of a principal part of
Germany, and his allies were obliged to furnish, at his call, 60,000
armed men. The only method of counteracting the consolidation of French
power over all Germany seemed to be that of creating another confederacy
in the Northern circles, capable of balancing the league of the Rhine,
and to be known as the Northern Alliance. This alliance Napoleon
determined to suppress. The relations between France and Prussia
continued in an unsettled state, Prussia refusing on the one hand to
embrace the Confederation proposed by the cabinet of Berlin, and yet
declining on the other to form part of the Rhenish league to which
Bonaparte had frequently and urgently invited it.

A year had elapsed since the Emperor of Russia had signed the famous
treaty of Potsdam, wheedling the pliant King of Prussia and his wife
with all sorts of promises, including an offer on the part of England to
pay the costs of another campaign against Napoleon and his Empire. For
some weeks strong hopes were entertained of a satisfactory conclusion to
peace overtures, but in the end the negotiations broke up, on the
refusal of Napoleon to concede Malta to England, unless England would
permit him to conquer Sicily from the unfortunate sovereign whose
Italian kingdom had already been transferred to his brother Joseph.

The death of Fox, according to Napoleon himself, was the immediate cause
of the failure of these negotiations. The Emperor maintained that had
the great English statesman lived--he died on the 23rd of January,
1806--the negotiations would have been resumed and pushed to a
successful close. When the Emperor of Russia went to Berlin he offered
Prussia all the forces of his own great Empire. War-like preparations of
every kind filled the Kingdom of Prussia during August and September
1806. Notwithstanding the protestations made almost daily by the
Prussian government, through its minister at Paris, towards the middle
of August her preparations assumed such a decided character that her
real object could no longer be concealed. A friendly letter was even
dispatched from the King of Prussia to Napoleon and the French
ambassador at Berlin was treated with due consideration but which was
far from honest at heart.

On the 21st of September Napoleon wrote to the princes of the
Confederation of the Rhine, requesting them to furnish their contingent
troops for his army, and which was complied with, according to treaty.
On the 25th the Emperor quitted his imperial residence to place himself
at the head of the army. While at the theatre at St. Cloud he received a
dispatch from Murat containing an account of an attack made on French
troops by some Prussian detachments. "I see they are determined to try
us," he said to Count Rapp and orders were immediately given to prepare
for departure to the frontier. He arrived at Mayence on the 28th and on
the 1st of October passed the Rhine.

On this same day the Prussian minister at Paris presented a note to
Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs, an ultimatum in which Prussia
demanded, among other things, that the formation of a Confederacy in the
North of Germany should no longer be thwarted by French interference, to
renounce the kingdoms of Holland and Italy, and that the French troops
within the territories of the Rhenish league should recross the Rhine
into France by the 8th of the same month of October,--a virtual
declaration of war.

The conduct of Prussia in thus rushing into hostilities, without waiting
for the advance of her allies, the Russians, was as rash as her holding
back from Austria during the campaign of Austerlitz was cowardly.
Napoleon had not patience to finish reading this document, conveying
those demands, but threw it down with contempt.

Napoleon made answer to the Prussian note from his headquarters at
Bamberg on October 6th. He addressed a proclamation to his army to
inform them of the enemy they were about to fight. "Soldiers," said he,
"the war-cry has been heard at Berlin; for two months our provocation
has been increased each day ... Let us march--let the Prussian army meet
with the same fate it evinced fourteen years ago on the plains of
Champagne." Thiers, the eminent historian, says in his "History of the
Consulate and the Empire of France under Napoleon": "It was the height
of imprudence on the part of Prussia to enter into a contest with
Napoleon at a moment when the French army, returning from Austerlitz,
was still in the heart of Germany, and more capable of acting than any
army ever was."

It was evident that Napoleon did not feel the least concern about the
approaching war. He wrote to his brothers in Naples and in Holland at
this time assuring them that the present struggle would be terminated
more speedily than the preceding. He called upon them to observe in what
manner a German sovereign still dared to insult the soldiers of
Austerlitz. Napoleon was then on the German side of the Rhine in person.
The Prussian Council had directed their army to advance towards the
French instead of lying on their own frontier, and the army accordingly
invaded the Saxon provinces. The Elector of Saxony was compelled to
accept the alliance which the cabinet of Berlin urged on him, and
reluctantly joined his troops with those of Prussia.

At Bamberg, on the same day he issued his proclamation to his soldiers,
Napoleon said to Berthier: "Marshal, we have a rendezvous of honor
appointed for the 8th; a Frenchman never fails to keep them; but as we
are told that a beautiful queen wishes to be a witness of the fight, let
us be courteous, and march, without sleeping, for Saxony." Napoleon
alluded to the Queen of Prussia who was with the Prussian army, dressed
as an Amazon, wearing the uniform of her regiment of dragoons, "writing
twenty letters a day" said the first bulletin sent to Paris, "to fan the
flame in all parts."

No sooner did Napoleon learn that the Prussians had advanced into the
heart of Saxony than he formed his plan of campaign: and they,
persisting in their advance, and taking up a position on the Saale,
afforded him the means of repeating at their expense, the very
manoeuvres which had ruined the Austrians in the preceding campaign. The
French commander at once perceived that the Prussian army was extended
upon too wide a line, thus enabling him the better to destroy it in
detail. He also discovered that the enemy had all its principal stores
and magazines at Naumburg to the rearward, and he resolved to commence
operations by an attempt to turn the flank and seize the magazines ere
the main body of the Prussians, lying at Weimar, could be aware of his
movement. The Emperor quitted Bamberg on the 8th, at three in the
morning, and arrived on the same day at Cronach. Every corps of the army
was then in motion.

The French came forward in three great divisions; the corps of Ney and
Soult in the direction of Hof; Davoust, Murat and Bernadotte towards
Saalburg and Schleiz, and Lannes and Augereau upon Coburg and Saalfeld.
These last generals were opposed at Saalfeld with much firmness by
Prince Louis of Prussia, cousin-german to the king, who imprudently
abandoned the bridge over the Saale,--which he might have defended with
success,--and came out into the open plain where his troops were
overpowered by the French. Fighting hand to hand with a subaltern who
ran up to him and cried, "Surrender, General!" the brave young officer
in brilliant uniform and adorned with all his decorations, replied with
a sabre cut, and was immediately struck down by a mortal thrust in the
face with a sabre, which occasioned it to be remarked in the second
bulletin that "the first blow of the war had killed one of its authors."

Prince Frederick Christian Louis of Prussia had been very impatient to
commence the war and urged and hastened hostilities. He was, besides, a
man of great courage and talent. Rapp in his "Memoirs" says: "Napoleon,
who did not like this petulant eagerness, was conversing with us one
evening respecting the generals of the enemy's army. Some one present
happened to mention Prince Louis. 'As for him' said he, 'I foretell that
he will be killed in this campaign.' Who could have thought the
prediction would so soon have been fulfilled?"

The Prussians fled, leaving the bridge which gave the French access to
the country behind the Saale. The flank of the Prussian position was
turned; the French army passed entirely around them, and Napoleon seized
and blew up the magazines at Naumburg. The explosion announced to the
King of Prussia and his generalissimo, the Duke of Brunswick, that
Napoleon was in their rear. From this moment the Prussians were isolated
and completely cut off from all their resources--as completely as the
army of Mack was at Ulm the year before. The engagement at Schleiz
contributed to hasten the retreat of the enemy which threw away upon the
roads a great number of muskets and hats, and leaving in the hands of
the French 400 prisoners and as many killed or wounded. But the moral
effect of the action was greater than the material, the Prussians
learning for the first time the sort of soldiers they had to deal with.

Napoleon was extremely pleased with this first action at Schleiz, as it
proved how little the Prussian cavalry, though excellently mounted and
very skillful in the management of its horses, was to be feared by his
solid infantry and bold horse soldiers.

The Duke of Brunswick who flattered himself that the French could not
debouch, hastily endeavored to concentrate his forces for the purpose of
cutting his way back again to the frontier which he had so rashly
abandoned. Napoleon, meanwhile, had posted his divisions so as to watch
the chief passages of the Saale, and awaited the coming of his outwitted

The manifesto of Frederick William had arrived at the capital a day or
two after Napoleon had quitted Paris for the camp, and it was now that
he found time to answer it by calling on his own marshals to witness
how "The French army has done as it was bidden; this is the 8th of
October, and we have evacuated the territories of the Confederation of
the Rhine!"

To the King of Prussia Napoleon wrote: "Believe me, my strength is such
that your forces cannot long balance the victory. But wherefore shed so
much blood? To what purpose? I will hold to your Majesty the same
language I held to the Emperor Alexander two days before the battle of
Austerlitz: 'Why should we make our subjects slay each other? I do not
prize a victory which is purchased by the lives of so many of my
children.' If I were just commencing my military career, and if I had
any reason to fear the chances of war, this language would be wholly
misplaced. Sire, your Majesty will be vanquished; you will have
compromised the repose of your life, the existence of your subjects,
without the shadow of a pretext. At present you are uninjured, and may
treat with me in a manner conformable with your rank; before a month has
passed you will treat, but in a different position."

On learning of the fall of Naumburg, the Prussian king knew full well
the imminent danger of his position. His army was at once set in motion
in two great masses, one commanded by himself, advancing towards
Naumburg, the other attempting in like manner to force its passage
through the French line in the neighborhood of Jena. The king's march
was arrested at Auerstadt by Davoust, who, after a severely contested
action, at length repelled the assailant. Napoleon himself, meanwhile,
was engaged with the other great body of the Prussians.

Arriving on the evening of the 13th of October at Jena, he at once
perceived that the enemy was ready to attempt the advance next
morning, while his own heavy train was still thirty-six hours' march in
his rear. "But," as the Emperor said in his bulletin of the battle
fought next day, "there are moments in war when no consideration can
balance the advantage of being before-hand with the enemy, and of
attacking first."

[Illustration: From a Drawing by Martinet


On the heights from Jena to Landgrafenberg he placed Gazan's division on
the left, in the right Souchet's division, and in the centre and rear
the foot guard. He made the latter encamp in a square of 4000 men, and
in the centre of this square overlooking the plains below, he
established his bivouac. Ever since that time the people have called
that height "Napoleonsberg," marking by a heap of rough stones the spot
where the Emperor had spent part of that memorable night.

The Emperor labored hard, torch in hand, directing and encouraging his
soldiery to cut a road through a ledge of rocks and draw up by that
means such light guns as he had at command to a position on a lofty
plateau in front of Jena. It was a most formidable position, and one
that was destined to prove more decisive than that of a much larger one
might have been under other circumstances. Napoleon spent the entire
night among the men, helped drag the guns to the cliffs, and offering
rewards for every piece of cannon that should be placed on the heights.
He reminded his followers that the Prussians were about to fight--not
for honor, but for their lives.

"The night," says Napoleon, "offered a spectacle worthy of observation;
that of the two armies, one of which embraced with its front an extent
of six leagues, and peopled the atmosphere with its fires, the other,
whose apparent fires were concentrated in a small point, and in both
encampments activity and motion. The fires of the two armies were within
half cannon-shot; the sentinels almost touched each other, and not a
movement could be made without being heard."

At about 5 o'clock Napoleon asked Marshal Soult, "Shall we beat them?"

"Yes, if they are there," answered the marshal; "I am only afraid they
have left."

At that moment the first musketry was heard, "There they are," said the
Emperor joyfully; "there they are! The business is beginning."

Napoleon then rode through the ranks addressing his soldiers. He bade
them remember that, a year ago, at the same period, they had conquered
Ulm and recommended that they be on their guard against the Prussian
cavalry, which had been represented as so formidable. "This cavalry," he
said, "must be destroyed here, before our squares, as we crushed the
Russian infantry at Austerlitz." He told them that if they should
succeed in endeavoring to fight their way through any point, the corps
that would suffer them to pass, must forfeit its honor and character.

The soldiers answered his animated discourse by demanding to be led
against the enemy; and the cries of, "Forward! Let us march!" were heard
in every direction.

Again, as at Austerlitz, a cloud of mist completely enveloped the
contending hosts. Both armies were almost in the heat of battle before
the different divisions were distinguishable. Augereau commanded the
right wing, Soult the left, Cannes the centre and Murat the reserve of
cavalry. Escorted by men carrying torches, Napoleon again went along in
front of the troops, talking to the officers and soldiers. He exhorted
them to keep on their guard against the Prussian cavalry and to receive
it in square with their usual firmness. His words everywhere drew forth
shouts of "Forward! Vive l'Empereur!" At that moment the corps of Lannes
set itself in motion on a signal from Napoleon.

The battle began on the right and left and the conflict proved terrible.
Davoust, in particular, was placed in a situation sufficient to try a
man of the most determined courage and firmness but Bernadotte refused
to support him. He paraded around Apolda, while 26,000 French troops
were engaged with 60,000 picked men, commanded by the Duke of Brunswick
and the King of Prussia. Thus, says General Gourgaud, he caused the
death of five or six thousand Frenchmen and hazarded the success of the
day, for which he experienced a very short disgrace. Napoleon on this
occasion observed that Bernadotte did not behave well, and that he would
have felt gratified had Davoust been defeated; "but," added the Emperor,
"the affair reflects the highest honor on the conqueror, and the more
so, as Bernadotte rendered his situation a most difficult one."
Bernadotte's conduct was such that a decree was signed by Napoleon that
must have resulted in his being shot, but out of regard to his wife the
Emperor destroyed the order the moment he was about to put it into the
hands of one of his officers.

A hand to hand struggle followed the first charge of the Prussians. It
was received by Soult and was a doubtful engagement until Ney appeared
with a fresh division and drove the Prussians back. Nothing but the
smoke of battle now obstructed the view, the famous sun of Napoleon
having mounted the heavens was throwing a flood of light on a terrific
engagement. Charge after charge followed, both sides maintaining their
positions with firmness and valor. The commanders were constantly
executing manoeuvres as though on parade. At one time the Emperor
observed Ney, whom he had supposed to be in the rear, engaged with the
Prussians. He hastened up greatly displeased, but on discovering the
brave marshal defending himself in the centre of two weak squares
against the whole of the Prussian cavalry, his displeasure gave way to
admiration, and an immediate relief was ordered and brought up by
Bertrand and Lannes. During the time that elapsed before relief arrived
he fought as intrepidly as before, and was not in the least disconcerted
by his hazardous position. Davoust's plans were so well laid, and his
generals and troops displayed such courage and skill, that Blucher, with
12,000 cavalry, had not the satisfaction of penetrating through a single
company. The king, the guards, and the whole army, attacked the French
without obtaining better success. Amidst the deluge of fire that
surrounded them on all sides, they preserved all their national gaiety.
A French soldier, nick-named "the Emperor" impatient at the obstinacy of
the Prussian guards, exclaimed, "On with me, grenadiers! Come, follow
the Emperor!" when, rushing into the thickest of the battle, the troops
followed, and the enemy was penetrated. For this deed he was raised to
the rank of a corporal.

Napoleon, field-glass in hand, at length ordered a general onslaught all
along the lines, to be followed by a bold charge of Murat's cavalry at a
point where the Emperor had detected a weakness in the enemy's lines.
As the signal blast for advancing was sounded, the eager squadrons that
had been smelling the smoke of battle for hours with impatience, rushed
onward to glory or to death. On, on they charged with all the vehemence
and impetuosity of the French cavalryman, each of whom believed that on
him, and him alone, rested the fate of the day, and as on so many
similar occasions, they were victorious. The sturdy Prussian columns
were broken,--infantry, cavalry, guards and grenadiers were mowed down
by thousands. The French infantry gave fresh proof of their valor and
sustained their reputation at this engagement. In one of the charges
which the divisions under Morand had to sustain from the numerous
Prussian cavalry under Prince Henry, the 17th regiment, before
presenting arms, placed their caps at the ends of their bayonets,
crying, "Vive l'Empereur!" "Why not fire then?" exclaimed Colonel
Lanusse who apprehended the enemy would be upon them before they were
ready. "Oh, time enough for that" they replied, "at fifteen paces you
shall see." In fact a murderous discharge at that distance made the
Prussians turn their horses' heads and retire.

The ardor of the troops on this important day was such that some corps,
which circumstances prevented from taking part in the engagement, loudly
expressed their dissatisfaction. One of these traits is sufficiently
characteristic of the soldier and the Emperor under whose eyes they
fought. At an early period of the conflict, while the French cavalry was
anxiously expected, Napoleon seeing his infantry wings in a state of
agitation, being threatened by the enemy's cavalry, set off at a full
gallop to direct the manoeuvres and change the front into squares. The
infantry of the imperial guard, seeing all the rest of the troops
engaged, while the Emperor left them in inaction, many voices were heard
to cry "Forward!" "Who is that?" asked the Emperor quickly, as he
presented himself in front of the battalions; "This is some beardless
young man, who wishes to anticipate what I intend to do. Let him wait
until he has commanded in thirty pitched battles, before he pretends to
give me advice."

Out of the 70,000 Prussians who had appeared on the field of battle, not
a single corps remained entire, not one retreated in order. Out of the
100,000 French, composed of the corps of Marshals Soult, Lannes,
Augereau, Ney, Murat and the Guard, not more than 50,000 had fought, and
they had been sufficient to overthrow the Prussian army.

This rout ended in the complete breaking up of the Prussian army, horse
and foot all flying together, in the confusion of panic, upon the road
to Weimar. At that point the fugitives met and mingled with their
brethren, flying as confusedly as themselves, from Auerstadt.

In his account of the battle of Jena Napoleon spoke with pleasure of the
enthusiasm shown by his soldiers during the heat of battle. In
conclusion he said: "In so warm a fight, in which the enemy lost almost
all their generals, we should thank that Providence which watched over
our army, that no man of note has been killed or wounded. Marshal Lannes
had his breast scratched without being wounded. Marshal Davoust had his
hat carried away and a great number of balls in his clothes." To
Josephine, who was awaiting the results of the campaign at Mayence, he
wrote on October 16th: "Everything has turned out as I planned, and
never was an army more thoroughly beaten and destroyed." The Emperor
confessed, that, during the night before the battle of Jena, he had been
exposed to the most imminent danger, and might have disappeared without
anyone knowing clearly his fate. He had approached the bivouacs of the
Prussians in the dark, to reconnoitre, having only a few officers about
his person. The French army was almost everywhere on the alert, under a
persuasion that the Prussians were strongly addicted to nocturnal
attacks. Returning from that survey, the Emperor was fired at by the
first sentinel of his own camp, which proved a signal for the whole
line; and he had no resource left but to throw himself flat on his face
until the mistake should be discovered. His principal apprehension,
however, was not realized; he feared least the Prussian line, then very
near him, might act in the same manner.

When the conflict ended 20,000 Prussians lay dead on the battle field,
or were taken prisoners, including twenty generals. Among the trophies
of war were 300 cannon and sixty royal standards.

The Queen of Prussia was a fearless horsewoman and had faced great
dangers at Jena. When she rode before her troops in her helmet of
polished steel, shaded by a plume, in her glittering golden cuirass, her
tunic of silver stuff, her red boots with gold spurs, she resembled
Tasso's heroines. The soldiers burst into cries of enthusiasm as they
saw their warlike queen: before her were bowed the flags she had
embroidered with her own hands and the old, torn, and battle-stained
standards of Frederick the Great. After the battle she was obliged to
take flight, at full gallop, to avoid being captured by the French

The Duke of Brunswick, who had contended with Napoleon in this memorable
engagement, was wounded in the face with a grape-shot early in the
battle and was carried off the field never to recover.

The various routed divisions roamed about the country seeking separately
a means of escape, and fell an easy prey to the French. The Prince of
Hohenlohe at length drew together not less than 50,000 of these
wandering soldiers and threw himself at their head into Magdeburg, but
that great fortress had been stripped of all its stores for the service
of the Duke of Brunswick's army before Jena, and Hohenlohe was compelled
to retreat. He was defeated in a number of skirmishes, and at length,
finding himself devoid of ammunition or provisions, laid down his arms.
The Duke of Wurtemburg, one of the Prussian generals, had taken a
position at Halle and Bernadotte marched upon him. He attacked the enemy
with the bayonet, killing and routing all who dared oppose him. The
slaughter was dreadful and Napoleon, visiting the field of battle the
ensuing day, was struck with the sight of the heaps of dead surrounding
the bodies of the French soldiers. Observing on the uniforms some of the
buttons of the 32d, he said with a sigh, "So many of that regiment were
killed in Italy, Egypt, and elsewhere, I thought none could be

General Blucher was shortly afterwards compelled to lay down his arms
after a loss of 4,000 men out of 10,000 at Lubeck, where a severe action
was fought in the streets of the town on the 6th of November. The
fortresses of the Prussian monarch now capitulated as fast as their
commanders were requested to do so, and Napoleon entered Berlin in
triumph on the 25th of October. The honor of taking possession of that
city Napoleon reserved for Davoust's corps, which had contributed so
much to the victory at Jena.

The Prussians could not comprehend the rapid marches and the promptitude
with which they were met in their flights. As the Emperor said in his
14th bulletin: "These gentry are doubtless accustomed to the manoeuvres
of the 'Seven Years' War.' They would demand three days to bury their
dead. 'Think of the living' replied the Emperor, 'and leave the care of
interring the dead to us; there is no need of a truce for that.'"

Thus in a campaign of a week's duration had the proud Prussian monarchy
been leveled to the ground. The people, believing that the fall of the
military meant necessarily the fall of the monarchy itself, the pride
and strength of the nation disappeared and every bond of union among the
various provinces of the crown seemed to be at once dissolved.

On the 25th of October, 1806, after passing in review the Imperial foot
guards, commanded by Lefebvre, Napoleon visited the tomb of Frederick
the Great at Potsdam where were stored a number of mementos of the great
warrior. The court of Prussia had fled with so much precipitancy from
Potsdam, that nothing had been carried away. Even the sword of Frederick
the Great, the belt and the cordon of his orders, were left there.

On finding that the court had not thought of placing these relics out of
the reach of invasion, the Emperor took possession of them. As he
displayed the sword of Frederick, he said: "I prefer these trophies to
all the King of Prussia's treasures. I will send them to my veterans who
served in the campaigns of Hanover. I will present them to the Governor
of the Hospital of the Invalides, who will preserve them as a testimony
of the victories of the army, and the revenge it has taken for the
disasters of Rosbach."

"The door of the monument was open," says General Ségur; "Napoleon
paused at the entrance in a grave and respectful attitude. He gazed into
the shadow enclosing the hero's ashes, and stood thus for nearly ten
minutes motionless, silent, as if buried in deep thought. There were
five or six of us with him: Duroc, Caulaincourt, an aide-de-camp and I.
We gazed at this solemn and extraordinary scene, imagining the two great
men face to face, identifying ourselves with the thoughts we ascribed to
our Emperor before that other genius whose glory survived the overthrow
of his work, who was as great in extreme adversity as in success."

During his stay at Berlin Napoleon issued the famous "Berlin Decrees" by
which he attempted to establish the "continental system," whose object
was to shut out the commerce and intercourse of Great Britain from the
Continent of Europe. The ruin of France's maritime power at Trafalgar,
and the almost universal supremacy of the French Empire on land left
Napoleon in his own judgment, no other means of retaliation. Through
this continental system he endeavored, for several years, to annihilate
all commercial intercourse between the continent and England.

The Prince of Hatzfeld was detected, during Napoleon's stay at Berlin,
in sending secret information of the state and movements of the French
army to the enemy. One of his letters fell into the hands of the French
and he was arrested. His wife gained access to Napoleon's apartments,
and, ignorant of her husband's conduct, spoke with the boldness of
innocence in his favor. On being handed the letter written by her
husband she was completely overcome and fell on her knees before the
Emperor, imploring his forgiveness. "Throw that paper into the fire,
madam," said Napoleon, "and the military commission will then have no
proof of his guilt."

With a cry of joy the princess did as she was directed and the order of
arrest, which would have resulted in Hatzfeld's death in an hour, was

While at Berlin the Emperor addressed his troops in a proclamation in
which he said: "Our entrance into Potsdam and Berlin had been preceded
by the fame of our victories. We have made 60,000 prisoners, taken
sixty-five standards, among which are the colors of the King of
Prussia's guards, six hundred pieces of cannon, and three fortresses.
Among the prisoners there are upwards of twenty generals; yet,
notwithstanding all this, more than half our troops regret their not
having fired a single shot * * * Soldiers, the Russians boast of coming
to meet us, but we will advance to encounter, and save them half their
march; they shall meet another Austerlitz in the heart of Prussia. A
nation that can so soon forget our generous treatment after that
battle,--owed their safety only to the capitulation we granted them,--is
a power that cannot successfully contend against us. We will not again
be the dupes of a treacherous peace."

Before leaving Berlin Napoleon received a deputation of the Senate, sent
from Paris to congratulate him on the success of his campaign.
Accompanied by representatives from the army, he made them the bearer of
the trophies of his recent victories. He then prepared to extinguish
whatever resistance existed in a few garrisons of the Prussian monarchy
and to meet, before they could reach the soil of Germany, those Russians
who were now advancing, too late, to the assistance of Frederic William.



Before opening the great campaign with Russia Napoleon received the
explanation of the Elector of Saxony, who truly stated that Prussia had
forced him to take part in the war. The apology was accepted, and from
this time the Elector adhered to the league of the Rhine and was a
faithful ally of Napoleon. On November 25th, 1806, the Emperor of France
left Berlin and established himself on the 27th at Posen, a central town
of Poland, which country began to manifest an agitation arising from the
animating prospect of restored independence. The unfortunate but brave
Poles entreated his aid; but Napoleon could not make them a positive
promise of their restoration as a kingdom. His observation on the
subject was, "that, if the match should once be lighted, there was no
knowing how long it might continue to burn."

From the headquarters at Posen, Napoleon addressed his soldiers on
December 2nd, saying: "It is a year ago to-day, at this very hour, that
you were on the battlefield of Austerlitz. The dismayed Russian
battalions fled in disorder, or, surrounded, gave up their arms to their
victors. The next day they sued for peace, but we were imposed on:
scarcely escaped by our, perhaps, overweening generosity, from the
disasters of a third coalition, they ventured upon a fourth....
Soldiers, we will not lay down our arms until the general peace shall
have fixed and assured the power of our allies and restored to our
commerce its safety and its colonies." The proclamation produced an
exhilarating effect on the soldiers and throughout Germany.

In the meantime Warsaw was put in a state of defense, and the auxiliary
forces of Saxony and the new confederates of the Rhine were brought up
by forced marches, while strong reinforcements from France repaired the
losses of the early part of the campaign.

The French army at length advanced in full force and crossed
successively the rivers Vistula, the Narew and Bug, forcing a passage
wherever it was disputed, the Russian detachments being repulsed as
often as they presented themselves. But it was not the intention of
Bennigsen, the Russian general, to give battle to forces superior to his
own, and he therefore retreated behind the Wkra. On the 23rd of December
Napoleon arrived in person upon the Wkra and ordered the advance of his
army in three divisions. He was fully aware that he was approaching a
conflict of a very different kind from that which he had maintained with
Austria, and more lately against Prussia. These troops, however highly
disciplined, wanted that powerful and individual feeling which was a
strong characteristic of the Russians,--a feeling that induces the
soldier to resist to the last moment, even when resistance can only
assure him of revenge. They were, in fact, those same Russians of whom
Frederick the Great said, "that he could kill, but could not defeat
them." They were also of strong constitution and inured to the iron
climate in which Frenchmen were now fighting for the first time. The
Cossacks are trained from early childhood to the use of the lance and
sword, and familiarized to a horse peculiar to the country,--tractable,
hardy, swift and sure-footed, beyond any breed perhaps in the world. On
the actual field of battle the Cossack's mode of attack is singular;
instead of acting in line, a body of them about to charge disperse at
the word of command, and joining in a loud yell and hurrah, each acting
individually upon the object of attack, whether infantry, cavalry or
artillery, to all of which they have been in this wild way of fighting
most formidable assailants.

In this campaign the Cossacks took the field in great numbers, under
their celebrated hetman Platoff. The Russians also had in their service
Tartar tribes who resemble the Cossacks in warfare; but they were little
better than hordes of roving savages. On the plain between the town of
Pultusk and the wood the right of the Russian position was formed, and
on December 26th they were attacked by the French division of Lannes and
Davoust with but partial success. The French lost nearly 8,000 men,
killed and wounded, while the Russian loss amounted to about 5,000. The
French retreated after nightfall. On the same day another division
engaged in action at Golymin, driving back the French after which the
Russian commander retreated for the purpose of concentrating his forces
with the Grand Army. Both engagements were without immediate results,
and instead of pressing their operations, the French retreated into
winter quarters, Napoleon withdrawing his guard as far as Warsaw, while
the other divisions were cantoned in the towns to the eastward.

Bennigsen was now placed in supreme command of the Russian forces,
amounting to 90,000 men, and he at once resolved not to wait for
Napoleon's onset, but chose rather to anticipate him, wisely concluding
that his enemy's desire of desisting from active operation, as evinced
by cantoning his troops in winter quarters, ought to be a signal to the
Russians to again take the field. Thus the French Emperor found himself
forced into a winter campaign, and he at once issued general orders for
drawing out his forces for the purpose of concentrating them at
Willenberg, in the rear of the Russians, who were then stationed at
Mohringen. The duration of the winter quarters, in which the French
troops had been placed, lasted no longer than the weather would permit.
The army reposed almost the whole of the month of December, and towards
the beginning of January 1807, movements on both sides seemed to
indicate more serious operations. It appeared the Russians had adopted a
vast plan of defense. Their generals seemed to have regained confidence,
on seeing Napoleon stop amidst the advantages he had acquired, and
imputed that to fear which arose in him from motives of prudence. They
could not imagine what other reason he could possibly have for going
into cantonments upon the Vistula.

Napoleon now proposed to force his enemies eastward towards the Vistula,
as at Jena he had compelled the Prussians to fight with their rear
turned to the Rhine. Bernadotte had orders to engage the attention of
Bennigsen upon the right, and detain him in his present situation; or
rather, if possible, to induce him to advance eastward so as to
facilitate the operations he meditated.

The Russian commander learned Bonaparte's intention from an intercepted
dispatch, and changed his purpose of advancing on Ney and Bernadotte.
Marches and counter-marches took place, through a country at all times
difficult, and now covered with snow. Bennigsen was aware that it was to
his advantage to protract the campaign in this manner, as he was near
his reinforcements, and the French were distant from theirs:--every loss
therefore telling more in proportion to the enemy than to his own army.

Notwithstanding this apparent advantage, the distress of the Russian
army was so extreme from the lack of suitable provisions that it induced
General Bennigsen, against his judgment, to give battle at all risks,
and for this purpose to concentrate his forces at Preuss-Eylau, which
was decided upon as the field which he proposed to contest with

It had been the intention to maintain the town itself which Bennigsen
had entered on the 7th of February, and a body of troops had been left
for that purpose; but in the confusion attending the movement of so
large an army, the orders had been misunderstood, and the division
designed for this service evacuated the place as soon as the rear-guard
had passed through it. A Russian division was hastily ordered to
re-occupy the town; but they found the French already in possession, and
although they dislodged them, they were themselves driven out in turn by
another division of French to whom Napoleon had promised unusual
rewards. A third division of Russians now advanced, Bennigsen being
desirous of protracting the contest for the town until the arrival of
his heavy artillery which joined him by a different route. When it
came up he would have discontinued the struggle for Eylau but it was
impossible to control the ardor of the Russian columns who persevered in
advancing, with drums beating, rushed into the town and surprised the
French in the act of sacking it,--putting many of them to death by the

[Illustration: From a Painting by F. Gerard


Another division of the French now advanced under cover of the hillocks
and broken ground which skirt the village, threw their fire upon the
streets and the Russians once more retreated with considerable loss. The
town was now once more and finally occupied by the French. Night fell
and the combat ceased only to be renewed with increased fury the next

The Russians occupied a space of uneven ground, about two miles in
length and a mile in depth, with the village of Serpallen on their left.
In the front of their army lay the town of Preuss-Eylau, situated in a
hollow and in possession of the French. The latter occupied Eylau with
their left, while their centre and right lay parallel to the Russians,
upon a chain of heights which commanded, in a great measure, the ground
possessed by the enemy. The French also expected to be reinforced by
Ney's division which had not yet come up, and which was destined to form
on the extreme left. The space between the hostile armies was open and
flat, covered with snow and intersected with frozen lakes. The soldiers
could trace each other's positions by the pale glimmer of watch lights
upon the snow.

Napoleon, who slept but three or four hours that night in a chair in the
postmaster's house, placed the corps of Marshal Soult at Eylau itself,
partly within the town, partly on the right and left of it, Augereau's
corps and the Imperial Guard a little in the rear, and all the cavalry
upon the wings till daylight should enable him to make his final
disposition of the fifty odd thousand men, exclusive of Ney's corps, and
which were to meet the ninety thousand Russians and Prussians.

At daybreak on the 8th of February, 1807, two strong columns of the
French advanced for the purpose of turning the right and storming the
centre of the Russians, who had commenced the firing at one and the same
time; but they were driven back in great disorder by the heavy and
sustained fire of the Russian artillery. An attack on the enemy's left
was equally unsuccessful. The Russian infantry stood like stone
ramparts, each time repulsing the French assault--their cavalry then
came to the support, pursued the retiring assailants and took standards
and eagles.

About mid-day a heavy snowstorm set in, which the wind drove right in
the faces of the Russians, adding to the obscurity caused by the smoke
of the burning village of Serpallen that rolled along the line. The snow
having now ceased, a melancholy spectacle presented itself. Thousands of
dead and wounded lay on the ground, and several of the divisions were
still hors de combat. Augereau's two divisions had been swept down by an
unmasked battery of seventy-two pieces, and Augereau, wounded himself,
but more affected by the disaster of his corps than by his personal
danger, was carried to the cemetery of Eylau to the feet of Napoleon. To
the Emperor he complained, not without bitterness, of the failure to
send him timely succor. Silent grief pervaded every face in the imperial
staff. Napoleon, calm and firm, addressed a few soothing words to
Augereau, then sent him to the rear, and took measures for repairing the

Dispatching in the first place the chasseurs of the Guard and some
squadrons of dragoons which were at hand, he sent for Murat and ordered
him to make a decisive effort on the line of the infantry which formed
the centre of the Russian army, and which, taking advantage of
Augereau's disaster began to press forward. At the first summons Murat
came up at a gallop: "Well," said Napoleon, "are you going to let those
fellows eat us up?" He then ordered the heroic chief of his cavalry to
collect the chasseurs, the dragoons, the cuirassiers, and to fall upon
the Russians with eighty squadrons, to see what effect such a mass of
horse, charging furiously, would have on an infantry reputed not to be
shaken. The cavalry of the Guard was brought forward ready to add its
shock to that of the cavalry of the army.

The moment was critical, for if the Russian infantry were not stopped it
would soon attack the cemetery, the centre of the French position, and
Napoleon had but six foot battalions of the Imperial Guard to defend it.
Murat galloped off, collected his squadrons, made them pass between the
cemetery and Rothenen where Augereau's corps had marched to almost
certain destruction. Charge after charge was made and successfully
resisted. At length one of them, rushing on with more violence, broke
the enemy's infantry at one point and opened the breach through which
cuirassiers and dragoons rushed, each eager to penetrate first. The
Russians' first and second lines being broken, they turned the batteries
of their artillery on the confused mass, killing as many of their own
soldiers as those of the French, not caring whether they killed friends
or foes so that they got rid of the formidable French force; but their
efforts were useless.

Napoleon, graver than usual, in a gray riding-coat and Polish cap, sat
motionless in the cemetery, in which were heaped bodies of a great
number of his officers; his Guard was behind him and before him the
chasseurs, the dragoons, the cuirassiers; they formed anew and were
ready to devote themselves as he might direct. The Emperor waited long
before determining definitely on his last attack. Never had he nor his
soldiers been engaged in such a hotly contested fight. The bullets
whistled around and a shell burst within a few paces of him. Augereau's
arm was broken and Lannes was wounded but not severely.

Under cover of darkness six columns of the French now advanced with
artillery and cavalry and were close on the Russian position ere they
were opposed. Bennigsen, at the head of his staff, brought up the
reserve in position, and, on uniting with the first line bore the French
back at the point of the bayonet. Their columns, partly broken, were
driven again to their own position where they rallied with difficulty. A
French regiment of cuirassiers, which during this part of the action had
made an opening in the Russian line, were charged by the Cossacks, and
found their defensive armor no protection against the lance. All but
eighteen were slain.

At the moment when the Russians appeared to be the victors Davoust's
division, which had been manoeuvring since the beginning of the action
to turn the left and gain the rear of the Russian line, now made its
appearance on the field. The effect was sudden and demoralizing to the
Russians; Serpallen was lost, the Russian left wing, and a portion of
its centre were thrown into disorder, and forced to retire and change

At this point in the contest the Prussian reinforcements, long expected,
appeared in turn suddenly on the field, and passing the left of the
French and right of the Russians, pushed down in three columns to redeem
the battle on the Russian centre and rear. The Prussians, under their
gallant leader L'Estocq, never fired until within a few paces of the
enemy and then used the bayonet with fearful effect. They redeemed the
ground which the Russians had lost and drove back in their turn the
troops of Davoust and Bernadotte who had lately been victorious. Ney, in
the meantime appeared on the field with his advanced guard and occupied
Schnaditten, a village on the road to Konigsberg. As this endangered the
communication of the Russians with that town, it was thought necessary
to carry it by storm; a resolution which was successfully executed, the
enemy's rear-guard retreating in disorder.

This was the last act of that bloody day at Eylau. It was ten o' clock
at night and darkness put an end to the combat. After fourteen hours of
fighting both armies occupied the same positions taken in the morning.
It was in fact the longest and by far the severest battle Napoleon had
yet been engaged in. At the beginning of the contest, Augereau was
scarcely in his senses, from the severity of rheumatic pain to which he
was subject; but the sound of the cannon awakens the brave: he flew at
full gallop at the head of his corps, after causing himself to be tied
to his horse! He was constantly exposed to the hottest of the fire, and
was only slightly wounded.

A few days after the battle Napoleon sent to Paris sixteen stands of
colors taken on that occasion and ordered the cannon to be melted down
and made into a statue of General d' Haulpoult, in the uniform of his
regiment, he having gallantly commanded the second division of
cuirassiers, when he was killed in the action.

In three letters which the Emperor wrote to Josephine during the month
of February he alluded with the deepest affection to the horrors of this
engagement. "We had yesterday," he said, "a great battle. The victory
was mine, but I have been deprived of a great many men. The loss of the
enemy, still more considerable, does not console me." "The land is
covered with dead and wounded," he adds in a second letter; "This is not
the noble portion of war. One is pained, and the soul is oppressed at
the sight of so many victims."

In the biting frost, in face of thousands of dead and dying, when the
gloomy day was sinking into a night of anguish, the Emperor had said:
"This sight is one to fill rulers with a love of peace and a horror of
war," and in his bulletin of the engagement he said: "Imagine, on a
space of a league square, nine or ten thousand corpses, four or five
thousand dead horses, lines of Russian knapsacks, fragments of guns and
sabres; the earth covered with bullets, shells, supplies; twenty-four
cannon, surrounded by their artillerymen, slain just as they were trying
to take their guns away; and all that in plainest relief on the stretch
of snow!"

Twelve of Napoleon's eagles were in the hands of the Russians, and the
field between them was covered with 50,000 corpses, of whom at least
half were French. Each leader claimed the victory. The Russians retired
from Eylau towards Konigsberg the very night after the battle, and the
French made no effort to pursue but remained on the field nine days to
allow the troops some repose.

It was in truth a drawn battle. The point of superiority on this
dreadful day would have been hard to decide, but the victory, if rightly
claimed by either party, must be pronounced to have remained with
Napoleon; for Bennigsen retreated and left him master of the field of
battle where he slept and remained for days; but it was a ghastly
triumph. During the whole time the contest lasted Napoleon's countenance
was never observed to change; nor did he show any emotion whatever; but
all accounts agree that he was deeply impressed with the horrors of the
succeeding night.

Finally, on the 19th of February, Napoleon left Eylau and retreated with
his whole army to Osterode on the Vistula. Here he established his
headquarters, living in a sort of barn, governing his Empire and
controlling Europe. The doubtful issue of the battle of Eylau had given
a shock to public opinion and it required all the Emperor's prudence and
address to overcome it. Great despondency was produced in Paris by the
bulletin of the battle and a marked depression took place in the funds.



Napoleon soon decided that it would be fatal rashness to engage in
another campaign in Poland while several fortified towns, and above all,
Dantzic, held out in his rear. He determined to capture all these places
and to summon new forces from France before again meeting in the field
such enemies as the Russians had proved themselves to be.

Dantzic was at length compelled to surrender on May 7th 1807, Marshal
Lefebvre receiving the title of Duke of Dantzic in commemoration of his
important success, after which event Napoleon's extraordinary exertions
in hurrying supplies from France, Switzerland and the Rhine country, and
the addition of the division of 25,000 men which had captured Dantzic,
enabled him to take the field again by the first of June at the head of
not less than 280,000 men. The Russian general had also done all in his
power to recruit his army which was now reinforced by 90,000 men, during
this interval.

The Russians were in the field by the 5th of June and were the first
assailants; but nothing but skirmishes resulted until the Russian army
was forced to retire towards Heilsberg where they halted, and there
concentrating their forces, made a most desperate stand. They were,
however, overpowered by superior numbers, after maintaining their
position during a whole day. The battle had continued until midnight
upon terms of equality, and when the morning dawned the space between
the Russians and French was literally sheeted over with the bodies of
the dead and wounded.

The Russians retired after the battle, crossing the river Aller, and on
the 13th of June reached Friedland, a town of some importance on the
west side of the stream, communicating with the eastern, or right bank
of the river by a long wooden bridge. It was the intention of Napoleon
to induce the Russian general to pass by this narrow bridge by the left
bank, and then to decoy him into a general action, in a position where
the general difficulty of defiling through the town, and over the
bridge, must render retreat almost impossible. For this purpose he
showed only such portion of his forces as induced General Bennigsen to
believe that the French troops on the western side of the Aller
consisted only of Oudinot's division, which had been severely handled in
the battle of Heilsberg, and which he now hoped to altogether destroy.
Under this deception Bennigsen ordered a Russian division to pass the
bridge, defile through the town and march to the assault. The French
took great care to offer no such resistance as would show their real
strength, and Bennigsen supposing he had only a single division of the
French army before him, and forgetting the usual promptitude of
combination for which Napoleon was distinguished, had pushed on and
brought an action which he believed he could terminate quickly and
triumphantly. He was soon led to reinforce this first division with
another. This was followed by other still divisions, and as the
engagement was now becoming heated the Russian general at length
transported all his army, one division excepted, to the left bank of the
Aller, by means of the wooden bridge and three pontoons, and arrayed
them in front of the town of Friedland, to overpower, as he supposed,
the crippled division of the French to which alone he believed himself
exposed. But no sooner had he taken this irretrievable step than the
mask was dropped.

Napoleon was at first unable to believe that Bennigsen would venture to
leave any part of his army for any period in so perilous a position as
that in which he had placed it, maintaining a doubtful combat with no
means of retreat but through the entanglement of the town of Friedland,
and across the long narrow bridge of the Aller. His astonishment was
great, therefore, when he learned from the officers he sent to
reconnoitre that the whole Russian army was crossing the bridge, with
the exception of one small division, and forming in front of the town.
He had secured a victory by his numbers and position, but his remark to
Savary, who carried him the information of the Russian movement, was
characteristic, "Well," said he, "I am ready now, I have an hour's
advantage of them, and will give them the battle, since they wish for

The French skirmishers advanced in force, heavy columns of infantry
began to show themselves, batteries of cannon were placed in position,
and Bennigsen found himself in the presence of the whole French army.
His position, a sort of plain surrounded by woods and broken ground, was
difficult to defend; with the town and a large river in the rear it was
dangerous to attempt a retreat, and an advance was prevented by the
inequality of his force. Bennigsen found it expedient to detach 6,000
men to defend the bridge at Allerberg, some six miles from Friedland on
the Aller, and with the rest of his forces he resolved to maintain his
present position until night, hoping for Prussian reinforcements from
General L'Estocq, via the town of Wehlau.

At about 10 o'clock on the morning of the 14th the French advanced to
the attack. "This is the 14th of June; it will be a fortunate day for
us," said Napoleon, recurring to the most glorious day of his life; "it
is the anniversary of the battle of Marengo." The broken and wooded
country which the French occupied enabled them to maintain and renew
their efforts at pleasure, while the Russians in their exposed position
could not make the slightest movement without being observed. At about
noon the French seemed to be sickening of the contest and about to
retire. This, however, was only a feint to give repose to such of the
forces as had been engaged, and to bring up reinforcements. The
cannonading continued until after 4 o'clock, the Russian line having
sustained charge after charge and had neither recoiled or broken before
infantry or cavalry. Napoleon, from his point of observation near the
battlefield, had witnessed the failure of every strategem and the charge
of every division, and at last finding the day waning, drew up his full
force in person for the purpose of making one of those desperate and
generally irrisistible efforts to which he often resorted to force a
decision of a doubtful day.

There was not a marshal in his Empire under whom the troops would not
behave gallantly, but when the Emperor put himself at the head of his
army and led them to the charge, nothing could resist the shock. The
brave Oudinot, hastening up with coat perforated by balls, and his horse
covered with blood, exclaimed to the Emperor: "Make haste, sire, give me
a reinforcement, and I will drive all the Russians into the water!" The
day was far advanced, and some of Napoleon's lieutenants were of the
opinion that they ought to defer the final and decisive movement till
the morrow. "No! No!" replied Napoleon. "One does not catch an enemy
twice in such a scrape." He then made his disposition of the several
corps for the final attack.

Surrounded by his lieutenants, he explained to them, with energy and
precision, the part which each of them had to act. Grasping the arm of
Marshal Ney, and pointing to Friedland, the bridges, the Russians
crowded together in front, he said: "Yonder is the goal, march to it
without looking about you; break into that thick mass whatever it costs
you; enter Friedland, take the bridges, and give yourself no concern
about what may happen on your right, on your left or on your rear. The
army and I shall be there to attend to that."

Ney at once set out at a gallop to accomplish the formidable task.
Struck with his martial attitude Napoleon, addressing Marshal Mortier,
said with much satisfaction: "That man is a lion!"

The order for attack all along the line with cavalry, infantry and
artillery was now given, and simultaneously the Russians began to yield,
the French advancing at the same time with shouts of assured victory.
The Russians were now obliged to retreat in front of the enemy, and in
half an hour the rout was complete. In vain did the enemy make all their
reserves advance; Friedland was at last carried, but in the midst of a
horrible carnage. The enemy left 20,000 men on the field, of whom 15,000
were killed and 5,000 wounded, and among the number thirty generals.

Dupont, who had been sent to assist Ney, met him in the heart of
Friedland, then in flames, and they congratulated one another on the
glorious success: Ney had continued to march straight forward, and
Napoleon, placed in the centre of the divisions which he kept in
reserve, had never ceased to watch his progress. It was now half past
ten at night. Napoleon in his vast career had not gained a more splendid
victory. He had for trophies eighty pieces of cannon, few prisoners, it
is true, for the Russians chose rather to drown themselves than
surrender. Twenty-five thousand Russians were killed as against 8,000
French. Out of 80,000 French 25,000 had not fired a shot. Meanwhile the
bridge and pontoons were set on fire to prevent the French who had
forced their way into the town, from taking possession of them. The
smoke rolling over the scene increased the horror of the surroundings.

The Russian centre and right, which remained on the west side of the
Aller, effected a retreat by a circuitous route, leaving on the right
the town of Friedland with its burning bridges no longer practicable for
friend or foe, and passed the Aller by a ford found in the very moment
of extremity further down the river. Napoleon sent no cavalry in
pursuit, though he had forty squadrons who might have cut them to
pieces. Many animadversions have been cast upon him for not improving
his victory in this manner; but the reason appeared clear: his object
was to make peace with the Emperor Alexander, and the butchery of the
broken battalions of the Russian guard would in no way have forwarded
that object, and no power remained to oppose itself to the immense force
under France's victorious warrior.

Thus ended the great battle of Friedland. "My children," wrote Napoleon
to Josephine, "have worthily celebrated the battle of Marengo. The
battle of Friedland will be equally celebrated and glorious for my
people.... It is a worthy sister of Marengo, Austerlitz and Jena."

Napoleon visited the battlefield the next morning and beheld a frightful
spectacle. The order of the Russian squares could be traced by a line of
heaps of slain; and the position of their artillery might be guessed by
the dead horses. As Savary well says: "It might be truly said that
sovereigns ought to have great interests of their subjects at stake to
justify such dreadful sacrifices."

The Emperor Alexander, overawed by the genius of Napoleon which had
triumphed over troops more resolute than had ever before opposed him,
and alarmed for the consequences of some decisive measure towards the
reorganization of the Poles as a nation, began to think seriously of
peace. On the 21st of June General Bennigsen asked for an armistice and
to this the victor of Friedland gave an immediate assent on his arrival
at Tilsit. On the 22nd of June a proclamation was addressed by Napoleon
to his army in which he said; "From the banks of the Vistula, we have
arrived upon those of the Niemen with the rapidity of the eagle's
flight. You celebrated at Austerlitz, the anniversary of the coronation,
and you have this year celebrated, in an appropriate manner, the battle
of Marengo, which put a period to the second coalition. Frenchmen, you
have proved worthy of yourselves and me. You will return to France
covered with laurels after having obtained a glorious peace, which
carries with it the guarantee for its duration."

It was known that the Emperor Alexander was on the other side of the
Niemen, at a village not far distant, and Napoleon addressed his reply
to the sovereign in person. Its purport was to the effect that he was
quite ready to make peace but would not consent to an armistice, if war
were to continue. The result was a proposal on the part of Alexander
that an interview should take place between the Emperor of France and
himself, which was accepted. The armistice was ratified on the 23rd of
June and on the 25th the Emperors of France and Russia met personally,
each accompanied by a few attendants, on a raft moored midstream in the
river Niemen, near Tilsit, the town which gave its name to the secret
treaty agreed upon at this time. The sovereigns embraced as they met,
with their armies on the two banks of the river and retiring under a
canopy, amid the cheers of the troops, had a long conversation, to which
no one was a witness.

At its termination the appearance of mutual good will and confidence was
marked, and the two Emperors established their courts there and lived
together, in the midst of the lately hostile armies, more like old
friends than enemies and rivals, attempting by diplomatic means the
arrangement of differences which had for years been deluging Europe with
blood. By this treaty the King of Prussia was admitted as a party,
Napoleon restoring to Frederick William ancient Prussia and the French
conquests in Upper Saxony,--the king agreeing to adopt the "Continental

The beautiful and fascinating Queen of Prussia also arrived at Tilsit,
but too late to obtain more favorable terms for her country than had
already been granted her husband. "Forgive us," she said, as Napoleon
received her, "forgive us this fatal war; the memory of the great
Frederick deceived us; we thought ourselves his equal because we are his
descendants; alas! we have not proved such!"

The Queen used every strategem which wit and genius could devise, and
every fascination to which beauty could lend a charm, but without avail.
Foiled in her ambition she died soon after, it is said, of chagrin.

No single episode in the career of Napoleon Bonaparte has been more
adversely commented on than his alleged breach of faith with the Queen
of Prussia, when the domain of her husband was absolutely at his feet.
He always denied that he had broken his word, and according to his own
story, as told after his final retirement, the Queen had no cause of

"The Queen of Prussia was still a beautiful woman," he said, "but she
had lost many of the charms of youth. She evidently expected to use her
powers of persuasion on me for the benefit of Prussia. At dinner I took
a beautiful rose from the table and presented it to her. She took it,
smiled sweetly, and exclaimed: 'At least with Magdeburg, I hope.' I
answered: 'Your majesty will observe that I am doing the giving and you
are receiving what I give.'

"I hastened the preparations for the completion of the treaty, and it
was signed. When the Queen learned that Magdeburg had not been given to
Prussia she was very angry. She went to the Czar Alexander, and said,
with tears in her eyes: 'That man has broken his word with me.' 'Oh,
no!' the Czar answered. 'I can hardly think that. I believe I have been
present on every occasion when you have met Napoleon, and I have
listened more carefully than you have thought. But, if you can prove to
me that he made any promise that he has not kept, I pledge you my word
as a man I will see that he keeps it.'

"'Oh, but he gave me to understand--'

"'That is precisely the point,' responded the Czar. 'He has promised
nothing.' The Queen turned quickly and left the apartment. She was too
proud to acknowledge that in her effort to outwit me she had been

At a subsequent meeting with Napoleon the Queen said, "Is it possible,
that, after having the honor of being so near the hero of the century
and of history, he will not leave me the power and satisfaction of being
enabled to assure him he has attached me to him for life?"

"Madam" replied the Emperor, in a serious tone, "I am to be pitied; it
is the result of my unhappy stars." He then took leave of the Queen,
who, on reaching her carriage, threw herself on the seat in tears.

[Illustration: From a Painting by Baron Gros


Alexander was charmed by the presence of Napoleon. They spent some days
at Tilsit together, and never did he leave the French Emperor without
expressing his unbounded admiration of him. "What a great man," he said
incessantly to those who approached him; "What a genius! What extensive
views! What a captain! What a statesman! Had I but known him sooner how
many faults he might have spared me! What great things we might have
accomplished together!"

In July Napoleon hastened back to Paris, arriving there on the 27th. He
was received by the Senate and other public bodies as well as by the
people with demonstrations similar to those which had been shown him on
his return from the victory at Austerlitz. Fêtes and celebrations in
honor of his achievements dazzled the world. He had now wrung from the
last of his reluctant enemies, except England, the recognition of his
imperial power, which already embraced a wider territory and a far
greater number of subjects than Charlemagne ruled over, as Emperor of
the West, a thousand years before. The power of Napoleon, the prosperity
of France, and the splendor of Paris may be said to have been at their
greatest height at this period. The regulation of the whole Empire lay
in the hand of Napoleon himself, and as the glory of France had always
been, and continued to be his grand object, every faculty of his
intellect was bent to its promotion.

"I am inclined to think that I was happiest at Tilsit," said Napoleon
one day to Gourgaud at St. Helena on being asked at what time he was
happiest. "I had experienced vicissitudes, cares, and reverses," he
continued, "Eylau had reminded me that fortune might abandon me, and I
found myself victorious, dictating peace, with emperors and kings to
form my court. After all that is not a real enjoyment. Perhaps I was
really more happy after my Italian victories hearing the people raise
their voices, only to bless their liberator, and all that at twenty-five
years of age! From that time I saw what I might become, I already saw
the world flying beneath me, as if I had been carried through the air."

Napier, the eminent historian, and himself an actor in many of the
scenes he describes, says: "Up to the peace of Tilsit, the wars of
France were essentially defensive; for the bloody contest that wasted
the Continent so many years was not a struggle for pre-eminence between
ambitious powers--not a dispute for some acquisition of territory--nor
for the political ascendancy of one or another nation--but a deadly
conflict to determine whether aristocracy or democracy should
predominate--whether aristocracy or privilege should henceforth be the
principle of European governments."

On the 15th of August the Emperor repaired in great pomp to Notre Dame,
where the Te Deum was sung and thanksgiving offered up for the peace of
Tilsit--a peace that gave much glory to France, but which as has
generally been conceded, was "poor politics"; but, as Thiers has well
said: "In war Napoleon was guided by his genius, in politics by his



At the signing of the treaty of Tilsit Napoleon had attained an eminence
which, had his career ended at that time, would have left him a name
revered by all the world--except, perhaps, it be by those enemies whom
he had defeated on the field of battle. His star of destiny, however,
was soon to be dimmed by acts which he ever afterwards regretted, and
which, as he himself more than once declared, were the means to the end
which finally caused his decline and fall.

Napoleon now turned his attention to Spain, where scenes shocking to
morality were being enacted under the protection of Charles IV., the old
and imbecile Bourbon king, in order, as he then believed, to insure the
success of his "continental system." Ferdinand, the crown prince, had
formed a party against his father and was attempting to dethrone him,
while murderous courtiers filled the halls of the royal palace of
Madrid, and dictated laws to the crumbling monarchy.

The vast extent to which the prohibited articles and colonial
manufactures of England found their way into the Spanish peninsula, and
especially into Portugal, and thence through the hands of whole legions
of audacious smugglers into France itself, had fixed the attention of
Napoleon, who was exasperated at the violation of his "Berlin decrees"
against the continental traffic with England. In truth, a proclamation
issued at Madrid shortly before the battle of Jena, and suddenly
recalled on the intelligence of that great victory, had prepared the
Emperor to regard with keen suspicion the conduct of the Spanish court,
and to trace every violation of his system to its deliberate and hostile
connivance. Napoleon knew that the Spanish cabinet, like that of
Austria, was ready to declare itself the ally of Russia, Prussia and
England, when the battle of Jena came to deceive the hopes of the
coalition. The last hour of the ancient regime was at hand beyond the
Pyrenees; Napoleon felt himself called upon to give the signal to sound
the fearful knell of its interment.

A treaty was ratified at Fontainebleau on the 29th of October 1807
between France and Spain, providing for the immediate invasion of
Portugal by a force of 28,000 French soldiers, under the orders of
Junot, and of 27,000 Spaniards; while a reserve of 40,000 French troops
were to be assembled at Bayonne ready to take the field by the end of
November, in case England should lend an army for the defense of
Portugal, or the people of that country meet Junot by a national
insurrection. Junot forthwith commenced his march through Spain, where
the French soldiery were everywhere received with coldness and
suspicion, but nowhere by any hostile movement of the people. He arrived
in Portugal, on a peremptory order from Napoleon, late in November. The
contingent of Spaniards arrived there also, and placed themselves under
Junot's command.

On November 29th, and but a few hours before Junot made his appearance
at the gates of Lisbon, the prince-regent fled precipitately and sailed
for the Brazils. The disgust of the Portugese at this cowardly act was
eminently useful to the invaders, and with the exception of one trivial
insurrection, when the conqueror took down the Portugese arms and set up
those of Napoleon in their place, several months passed in apparent
tranquility. "The House of the Braganza (Bourbon's), had ceased to
reign," as announced in the "Moniteur" at Paris.

Napoleon thus saw Portugal in his grasp; but he had all along considered
it as a place of minor importance, and availing himself of the treaty of
Fontainebleau,--although there had been no insurrection of the
Portugese, he ordered his army of 40,000 men, named in the treaty, to
proceed slowly but steadily into the heart of Spain and, without
opposition. The royal family quietly acquiesced in this movement for
some months, being apparently much more interested in its own petty
conspiracies and domestic broils. A sudden panic at length seized the
king and his minister, who prepared for flight. On the 18th of March,
1808, the house of Godoy, the court favorite, was sacked by the
populace, Godoy himself assaulted, and his life saved with extreme
difficulty by the royal guards, who placed him under arrest. At this
Charles IV. abdicated his throne in terror, and on the 20th of March
Ferdinand his son was proclaimed king at Madrid amid a tumult of popular

Murat had, ere this, assumed command of all the French troops in Spain,
and hearing of the extremities to which the court factions had gone, he
now moved rapidly on Madrid, surrounded the capital with 30,000 troops
and on the 23rd of March took possession of it in person at the head of
10,000 more. Charles IV., meanwhile, dispatched messengers both to
Napoleon and to Murat asserting that his abdication had been
involuntary, and invoking their assistance against his son.

Ferdinand entered Madrid on the 24th, found the French general in
command of the capital, and in vain claimed his recognition as king.
Napoleon heard with regret of the action of Murat, who had risked
arousing the pride and anger of the Spaniards. He therefore sent Savary,
in whose practiced skill he hoped to find a remedy for the military
rashness of Murat, and who was to assume the chief direction of affairs
at Madrid.

Ferdinand was at length persuaded by Savary that his best chance of
securing the aid and protection of Napoleon lay in meeting him on his
way to the Spanish capital and strive to gain his ear before the
emissaries of Godoy should be able to make an impression concerning
Charles' rights. Ferdinand, therefore, took his departure, and passing
the frontier, arrived at Bayonne on the 20th of April where he was
received by Napoleon with courtesy. In the evening he was informed by
Savary, who had accompanied him, that his doom was sealed,--"that the
Bourbon dynasty had ceased to reign in Spain," and that his personal
safety must depend on the readiness with which he should resign all his
pretensions into the hands of Napoleon.

Murat was now directed to employ means to have the old king and queen
repair also to Bayonne, which they did, arriving there on May 4th.
Following a bitter family quarrel, Charles IV. resigned the crown of
Spain for himself and his heirs, accepting in return from the hands of
Napoleon a safe retreat in Italy and a splendid mansion. At the first
interview Charles IV. and his son were irrevocably judged. "When I
beheld them at my feet," Napoleon said later, "and could judge of all
their incapacity, I took pity on the fate of a great nation; I seized
the only opportunity which fortune presented me with, for regenerating
Spain, separating her from England and closely uniting her with our
system." A few days afterward Ferdinand VII. followed the example of his
father and executed a similar act of resignation.

A suspicion that France meditated the destruction of the national
independence in Spain now began to spread, and on the 2nd of May when
Don Antonio, president of the Council of Regency at Madrid, and uncle of
Ferdinand, began preparations for departing from the capital, the
inhabitants became much enraged. A crowd collected around the carriage
intended, as they concluded, to convey the last of the royal family out
of Spain; the traces were cut and imprecations heaped upon the French.
Colonel La Grange, Murat's aide-de-camp, happening to appear on the
spot, was cruelly maltreated, and in a moment the whole capital was in
an uproar. The French soldiery were assaulted everywhere, about seven
hundred being slain. The French cavalry, hearing the tumult, entered the
city and a bloody massacre ensued. Many hundreds were made prisoners.
The troops then charged through the streets from end to end, released
their comrades, and ere nightfall had apparently restored tranquility.
Murat ordered all the prisoners to be tried by a military commission,
which doomed them to instant death.

The reports of the insurrection spread rapidly throughout the peninsula,
and in almost every town in Spain depredations were committed against
the French citizens, many of the acts being fomented by agents of
England, whose navies hung along the coast inflaming the passions of the

Napoleon received this intelligence with alarm, but he had already gone
too far to retreat. He proceeded, therefore, to act precisely as if no
insurrection had occurred. Tranquility being re-established in Madrid
the Council of Castile was convoked and Napoleon's brother Joseph was
chosen by an imperial decree as their ruler. Ninety-five notables met
him in Bayonne and swore fealty to him and a new constitution. Joseph on
entering Spain was met by many demonstrations of disapproval and hatred,
but the main road being occupied with Napoleon's troops, he reached
Madrid in safety.

England now became anxious to afford the Spaniards every assistance
possible. On the 4th of July the king addressed the English parliament
on the subject, declaring that Spain could no longer be considered the
enemy of Great Britain, but was recognized by him as a natural friend
and ally. Supplies of arms and money were liberally transmitted
thither, and Portugal, catching the flame, and bursting into general
insurrection, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive was soon
concluded between England and the two kingdoms of the peninsula.

It was impossible for Napoleon to concentrate the whole of his gigantic
strength of 500,000 men on the soil of Spain, as his relations with
those powers on the Continent whom he had not entirely subdued, were of
the most unstable character. His troops, moreover, being drawn from a
multitude of different countries and tongues, could not be united in
heart or discipline like the soldiers of a purely national army. On the
other hand the military genius at his command had never been surpassed
in any age or country. His officers were accustomed to victory, and his
own reputation exerted a magical influence over both friends and foes.

At the moment when the insurrection occurred, 20,000 Spanish troops were
in Portugal under the orders of Junot; 15,000 more under the Marquis de
Roma were serving Napoleon in Holstein. There remained 40,000 Spanish
regulars, 11,000 Swiss and 30,000 militia to combat 80,000 French
soldiers then in possession of half of the chief fortresses of the

After various petty skirmishes, in which the French were uniformly
successful, Bessieres came upon the united armies of Castile, Leon and
Galicia, commanded by Generals Cuesta and Blak on the 14th of July at
Riosecco, and defeated them in a desperate action in which not less than
20,000 Spaniards were killed. This calamitous battle opened the gates of
Madrid to the new king, who arrived at the capital on the 20th of the
month only to quit it again in less than a fortnight to take up his head
quarters at Vittoria to preserve his safety. The English government,
meanwhile, had begun its preparations for interfering effectually in the
affairs of the peninsula. Thousands of English troops were landed,
Dupont, Lefebvre and Junot meeting with reverses that resulted finally
in the evacuation of the whole French army from Portugal.

The battle of Baylen was one of the first and most fatal reverses of the
French. Here, after a desperate engagement on the 23rd of July, upwards
of 18,000 men, under General Dupont, surrendered to the Spaniards,
defiled before the Spanish army with the honors of war, and deposited
their arms in the manner agreed on by both parties. General Dupont and
all the officers concerned in the capitulation, who were permitted to
return to France, were arrested and held in prison. Napoleon deeply
appreciated the importance of the reverse which his armies had
sustained, but he still more bitterly felt the disgrace. It is said that
to the latest period of his life he manifested uncontrollable emotion at
the mention of this disaster. Subsequently an imperial decree appeared,
which prohibited every general, or commander of a body of men, to treat
for any capitulation while in the open field; and declared disgraceful
and criminal, and as such, punishable with death, every capitulation of
that kind, of which the result should be to make the troops lay down
their arms.

The catastrophe at Baylen and the valiant defense of Saragossa had in
some measure opened the eyes of Napoleon to the character of the nation
with whom he was contending. He acknowledged, too late, that he had
imprudently entered into war, and committed a great fault in having
commenced it with forces too few in number and too wildly scattered. On
hearing of the ill-luck of his three generals, he at once perceived that
affairs in the peninsula demanded a keener eye and a firmer hand than
his brother's, and he at once resolved to take the field himself, to
cross the Pyrenees in person at the head of a force capable of sweeping
the whole peninsula "at one fell swoop," and restore to his brother's
reign the auspices of a favorable fortune.

When setting out from Paris in the early part of October, 1808, the
Emperor announced that the peasants of Spain had rebelled against their
king, that treachery had caused the ruin of one corps of his army, and
that another had been forced by the English to evacuate Portugal.
Recruiting his armies on the German frontier and in Italy, he now
ordered his veteran troops to the amount of 200,000, including a vast
and brilliant cavalry and a large body of the Imperial Guards, to be
drafted from those frontiers and marched through France towards Spain.

As these warlike columns passed through Paris Napoleon addressed to them
one of those orations that never failed to fill them with enthusiasm.
"Comrades," said he at a grand review which was held at the Tuileries on
the 11th of September, "after triumphing on the banks of the Danube and
the Vistula, with rapid steps you have passed through Germany. This day,
without a moment of repose, I command you to traverse France. Soldiers,
I have need of you. The hideous presence of the English leopard
contaminates the peninsula of Spain and Portugal. In terror he must fly
before you. Let us bear our triumphant eagles to the pillars of
Hercules; there also we have injuries to avenge. Soldiers! You have
surpassed the renown of modern armies; but you have not yet equalled the
glory of those Romans, who, in one and the same campaign were victorious
on the Rhine and the Euphrates, in Illyria and on the Tagus! A long
peace, a lasting prosperity, shall be the reward of your labors. A real
Frenchman could not, should not rest, until the seas are free and open
to all. Soldiers, what you have done and what you are about to do, for
the happiness of the French people, and for my glory, shall be eternal
in my heart."

Having thus dismissed his faithful troops, Napoleon himself traveled
rapidly to Erfurt, where he had invited the Emperor Alexander to confer
with him. Here they addressed a joint letter to the King of England,
proposing once more a general peace, but as they both refused to
acknowledge any authority in Spain save that of King Joseph, the answer
was in the negative. Austria also positively refused to recognize Joseph
Bonaparte as King of Spain, and this answer was enough to satisfy
Napoleon that she was determined on another campaign.

On the 14th of October the conference at Erfurt terminated, Napoleon
sincerely believing himself the friend of Alexander, and little thinking
he would one day say of him: "He is a faithless Greek!" Ten days later
Napoleon was present at the opening of the legislative session at Paris,
where he spoke with confidence of his designs and hopes in regard to
Spain. "I depart in a few days to place myself at the head of my
troops," he said, "and, with the aid of God, to crown the king of Spain
in Madrid, and plant my eagles on the forts of Lisbon."

Two days later he left the capital and reached Bayonne on the 3rd of
November, where he remained directing the movements of the last columns
of his army until the morning of the 8th. He arrived at Vittoria, the
headquarters of his brother Joseph, on the same evening. At the gates of
the town he was met by the civil and military authorities, where
sumptuous preparations had been provided, but instead of accepting their
hospitality, entered the first inn he observed, and calling for maps and
a detailed report of the position of all the armies, French and Spanish,
proceeded instantly to draw up his plan for the prosecution of the war.
Within two hours he had completed his task. Soult, who had accompanied
him from Paris, set off on the instant, and within a few hours the whole
machinery of the army, comprising 200,000 men, was in motion.

Ere long Napoleon saw the main way to Madrid open before him, except
some forces said to be posted at the strong defile of the Somosierra,
within ten miles of the capital. Saragossa on the east, the British army
in Portugal on the west, and Madrid in front were the only far-separated
points on which any show of opposition was still to be traced from the
frontiers of France to those of Portugal, and from the sea cost to the

Having regulated everything on his wings and rear, the Emperor with his
Imperial Guards and the first division of the army, now marched towards
Madrid, his vanguard reaching the foot of the Somosierra chain on the
30th of November. Here he found that a corps of 12,000 or 13,000 men had
been assembled for the defense of that pass under General San Juan, an
able and valiant officer who had established an advance guard of 3,000
men at the very foot of the slope which the French would have to ascend,
and then distributed over 9,000 men at the pass of Somosierra, at the
bottom of the gorge; there the advancing army would be obliged to go
through. One part of San Juan's force, posted on the right and left of
the road, which formed numerous windings, was to stop the advance of the
French by a double fire of musketry. The others barred the causeway
itself, near the most difficult part of the pass, with the battery. The
defile was narrow and excessively steep, and the road completely swept
by sixteen pieces of cannon.

At daybreak on the 1st of December the French began their attempts to
turn the flank of San Juan, who imagined himself invincible in his
position. Three battalions scattered themselves over the opposite sides
of the defile and a warm skirmishing fire had begun. At this moment
Napoleon came up, at the head of the cavalry of his Guard rode into the
mouth of the pass, surveyed the scene for an instant, and perceiving
that his infantry was making no progress, at once conceived the daring
idea of causing his brave Polish lancers to charge up the causeway in
face of the battery.

The Emperor had stopped near the foot of the mountain and attentively
examined the enemy's position, the fire from which seemed to redouble,
many balls falling near him, or passing over his head. Colonel Piré was
first dispatched at the head of the Poles and having reconnoitred the
position, countermanded the advance, and sent an officer to notify
Napoleon "that the undertaking was impossible." Upon this information
the Emperor much irritated and striking the pommel of his saddle
exclaimed, "Impossible! Why, there is nothing impossible to my Poles."

General Wattier, who was present endeavored to calm him but he still
continued to exclaim, "Impossible! I know of no such word. What, my
Guard checked by the Spaniards,--by armed peasants?" At this moment the
balls began to whistle about him and several officers came forward and
persuaded him to withdraw. Among these Napoleon observed Major Philip
Ségur; to him he said, "Go, Ségur, take the Poles, and make them take
the Spaniards, or let the Spaniards take them."

Colonel Piré, having informed Kozietulski, commander of the Polish
troops, of what the Emperor had said, that officer replied, "Come then
alone with me, and see if the devil himself, made of fire as he is,
would undertake this business."

Advancing, they saw 13,000 Spaniards placed as if in an amphitheatre in
such a way that no one battalion was masked by another, and they could
only join in columns. From that point the Poles had to sustain forty
thousand discharges of musketry and as many of cannon, every minute.
However, the order was positive.

"Commandant," said Ségur, "let us go, it is the Emperor's wish; the
honors will be ours; Poles advance. Vive l'Empereur!" Napoleon wished to
teach his soldiers that with the Spaniards they must not consider
danger, but drive them wherever found.

The smoke of the skirmishers on the side hills mingled with the thick
fog and vapors of the morning, and under this veil the brave cavalry of
the Guard led the way fearlessly and rushed up the ascent. A brilliant
cavalry officer, General Montbrun, at this time somewhat out of favor
with the Emperor, advanced at the head of the Polish light horse, a
young troop of elite which Napoleon had formed at Warsaw that he might
have all nations and costumes in his Guard. General Montbrun with those
gallant young soldiers dashed at a gallop upon the cannon of the
Spaniards, and in defiance of a horrible fire of musketry. The first
squadron received a discharge which threw it into disorder, sweeping
down thirty or forty men in the ranks; but those that followed, passing
beyond the wounded, reached the pieces, cut down the gunners and took
all the cannon.

As the rushing steeds passed the Spanish infantry the latter fired and
then threw down their guns, abandoned their intrenchments and fled. The
brave San Juan, covered with blood, having received several wounds,
strove in vain to stop his soldiers, who fled to the right and to the
left in the mountains, leaving colors, artillery, 200 wagons with stores
and almost all the officers in the hands of the victors. By the time the
Emperor reached the top not only was the French flag found floating over
Buitrago, but Montbrun's cavalry was pursuing the routed Spanish a
league beyond the town.

Napoleon was delighted to have proved to his generals what the Spanish
insurgents were, what his soldiers were, and in what estimation both
were to be held, and to have overcome an obstacle which some had seemed
to think extremely formidable. The Poles had about fifty men killed or
wounded. That evening Napoleon complimented and rewarded the survivors
and included in the distribution of his favors M. Philippe de Ségur who
had received several shot wounds in this charge; he also destined him to
carry to the Legislative Body at Paris the colors taken at Somosierra
and appointed Montbrun general of division.

On the morning of the 2nd three divisions of French cavalry made their
appearance on the high ground to the north-west of the capital. The
inhabitants of Madrid for eight days had been preparing to resist an
invasion. Six thousand regular troops were within the town, and crowds
of citizens and of the peasantry of the adjacent country were in arms
with them. The pavement had been taken up, the streets barricaded, the
houses on the outskirts loop-holed and occupied by a strong garrison.
Many persons, suspected of adhering to the side of the French, were put
to death, and amid the ringing of the bells of churches and convents, a
general uprising for all means of defense was in operation when the
French cavalry appeared.

The day was the anniversary of Napoleon's coronation and of the battle
of Austerlitz, and for the Emperor as well as his soldiers a
superstition was attached to that memorable date. The fine cavalry, on
beholding its glorious chief, raised unanimous acclamations, which
mingled with the shouts of rage sent up by the Spaniards on seeing the
French at their portals.

At noon the town was summoned to open its gates. The young officer
carrying the message barely escaped with his life, the mob being
determined to massacre him. Only the interference of the Spanish
regulars saved his life by snatching him out of the hands of the
assassins. The Junta directed a Spanish general to convey a negative
answer to the summons of the French. When sent back he was assured that
firing would commence immediately, although told that in resisting they
would only expose a population of women, and children and old men to the
slaughter, and was informed that the city could not hold out long
against the French army.

[Illustration: From a Painting by Horace Vernet


Napoleon waited until his artillery and infantry came up in the evening
and then the place was invested on one side. The Emperor made a
reconnaissance himself on horseback around Madrid and formed the plan of
attack which might be divided into several successive acts, so as to
summon the place after each of them, and to reduce it rather by
intimidation than by the employment of formidable military means.

At midnight the city was again summoned and the answer still being
defiant, the batteries began to open. Terror now began to prevail
within, and shortly afterward the city was summoned for the third time.
Thomas de Morla, the governor, came to demand a suspension of arms. He
said that all sensible men in Madrid were convinced of the necessity of
surrendering; but that it was necessary to make the French troops retire
and allow the Junta time to pacify the people and to induce them to lay
down their arms.

Napoleon replied with some show of anger that Morla himself had excited
and misled the people: "Assemble the clergy, the heads of the convents,
the alcaldes, the principal proprietors," he said "and if between this
and six in the morning the city has not surrendered it shall have ceased
to exist. I neither will nor ought to withdraw my troops.... Return to
Madrid. I give you till six tomorrow morning. Go back, then; you have
nothing to say to me about the people but to tell me that they have
submitted. If not, you and your troops shall be put to the sword."

Morla returned to the town and urged the necessity of instantly
capitulating, to which all the authorities but Costellas, the commander
of the regular troops agreed. The peasantry and citizens continued
firing on the French outposts during the night and then Costellas,
seeing that further resistance was useless, withdrew his troops and
sixteen cannon in safety.

At eight o'clock on the morning of the 4th Madrid surrendered. The
Spaniards were at once disarmed and the French troops filled the town
and established themselves in the great buildings. Napoleon took up his
residence in a country house near the capital. He gave orders for a
general and immediate disarming, and tranquility was once more restored,
the shops and theatres being opened as usual.

Napoleon now exercised all the rights of a conqueror and issued edicts
abolishing, among other evils, the Inquisition of the Jesuits, as well
as the feudal institutions of the Middle Ages. He received a deputation
of the chief inhabitants who came to signify their desire to see his
brother Joseph among them again. His answer was that Spain was his own
by right of conquest; that he could easily rule it by viceroys; but if
they chose to assemble in their churches, priests and people, and swear
allegiance to Joseph, he was not indisposed to listen to their request.
He distinctly affirmed that he would, in case they proved disloyal, put
the crown upon his own head, treat the country as a conquered province
and find another kingdom for his brother: "for" added he, "God has given
me both the inclination and the power to surmount all obstacles."

Meanwhile Napoleon was making arrangements for the completion of his
conquest. His plan was to invade Andalusia, Valencia and Galicia by his
lieutenants, and march in person to Lisbon.

On learning on December 19th that the English army under Sir John Moore,
amounting to 20,000, men, had put itself in motion, had advanced into
Spain and left Salamanca to proceed to Valladolid; that a separate
British corps of 13,000 men under Sir David Baird had recently landed at
Corunna with orders to march through Galicia and effect a junction with
Moore, either at Salamanca or Valladolid, Napoleon resolved to advance
in person and overwhelm Moore. His resolution was instantly taken with
that promptness of decision and unerring judgment which never forsook
him. He instantly put himself at the head of 50,000 men and marched
with incredible rapidity, with the view of intercepting Moore's
communications with Portugal, and in short hemming the English commander
in between himself and Soult.

Moore no sooner heard that Napoleon was approaching than he perceived
the necessity of an immediate retreat; and he commenced, accordingly, a
most calamitous one through the naked mountains of Galicia, in which his
troops displayed a most lamentable want of discipline. They ill-treated
the inhabitants, straggled from their ranks, and in short lost the
appearance of an army except when the trumpet warned them that they
might expect the French to charge.

Leaving Chamartin on the morning of the 22nd of December Napoleon
arrived at the foot of the Guadarrama as the infantry of his Guard was
beginning to ascend it. The weather, which till then had been superb,
had suddenly become terrible, and at the very moment when forced marches
were to be performed, as it was necessary that they lose no time in
coming up with the English.

Napoleon, seeing the infantry of his Guard accumulating at the entrance
of the gorge, in which the gun-carriages were also crowded together,
spurred his horse into a gallop, and gained the head of the column which
he found detained by the hurricane. The peasants declared that it was
impossible to pass without being exposed to the greatest dangers. This,
however, was not sufficient to stop the conqueror of the Alps. He made
the chasseurs of his Guard dismount, and ordered them to advance first
in close column, conducted by guides. These bold fellows, marching at
the head of the army, and trampling down the snow with their own feet
and those of their horses, formed a beaten track for the troops who

The Emperor himself climbed the mountain on foot, amidst the chasseurs
of his Guard, merely leaning, when he felt fatigued, on the arm of
General Savary. The cold, which was as severe as at Eylau, did not
prevent him from crossing the Guadarrama. General Marbot, who
accompanied Napoleon on the journey, says in his "Memoirs": "A furious
snowstorm, with a fierce wind, made the passage of the mountains almost
impracticable. Men and horses were hurled over precipices. The leading
battalions had actually begun to retreat; but Napoleon was resolved to
overtake the English at all cost. He spoke to the men, and ordered that
the members of each section should hold one another by the arm. The
cavalry, dismounting, did the same. The staff was formed in similar
fashion, the Emperor between Lannes and Duroc, we following with locked
arms; and so, in spite of wind, snow and ice, we proceeded, though it
took us four hours to reach the top. Half way up the marshals and
generals, who wore jackboots, could go no farther. Napoleon, therefore,
got hoisted on to a gun, and bestrode it; the marshals and generals did
the same, and in this grotesque order they reached the convent at the
summit. There the troops were rested and wine served out. The descent
though awkward, was better."

Napoleon spent the night in a miserable post-house in the little
village of Espinar. On the mules laden with his baggage had been
brought the wherewithal to serve him with supper, and which he shared
with his officers, cheerfully conversing with them on that series of
extraordinary adventures which had commenced at the school of
Brienne--to end, he knew not where!

Next day the Emperor proceeded with his Guard; but the infantry advanced
with difficulty and the artillery could not stir owing to the frightful
quagmires. The stragglers and baggage came up slowly while Napoleon,
anxious to meet the fleeing English troops, pushed on with his advance
guard and with his chasseurs until Benevento was reached. Here he came
up with his own troops in pursuit of Moore at Benevento, on the 29th of
December, and enjoyed for a moment, from his headquarters established
there, the spectacle of the English army in full retreat.

The French columns seemed to rival each other in their efforts to
overtake the enemy. In their precipitation the English abandoned their
sick, hamstrung their horses, when unable to keep up with them, and
destroyed the greater part of their ammunition and baggage.

Marshal Soult, who had taken another road, was much nearer the enemy.
His orders to follow the English intermission were difficult of
accomplishing as the mud was deep and the soldiers sank up to their

Napoleon now decided that Moore was no longer worthy of his own
attention and intrusted the consummation of his ruin to Soult, who was
ordered to pursue the English to the last extremity, and "with his sword
at their loins." He therefore set out at once, his troops marching past
the Emperor.

Soult hung close on the rear of the English; he came up with them in the
mountains of Leon and continued to pursue them until they reached the
port of Corunna. Here Moore perceived that it would be impossible to
embark without a convention or battle and he chose the latter. The
attack was made by the French on the 16th of January in heavy columns
and with their usual vivacity; but it was sustained and repelled by the
English and they were permitted to embark without further molestation.
Sir John Moore fell in the action mortally wounded by a cannon shot. His
body was wrapped in a military cloak, instead of the usual vestments of
the tomb, and deposited in a grave hastily dug on the ramparts of the
citadel of Corunna, while the guns of the enemy paid him funeral honors.
The next morning the grenadiers of France, who had been struck with
admiration at the chivalry of the English commander, gathered reverently
around the new-made grave, and while the English fleet was yet visible
on the bosom of the Mediterranean, they erected a monument over his
body and placed thereon an appropriate inscription.

Napoleon, having been informed of the embarkation of the English army,
instead of returning to Madrid to complete his Spanish conquest,
proceeded at once towards Astorga where his fears with reference to
Austria were heightened by news from Paris by courier. The storm that
was gathering once more along the shores of the Danube was of more vital
consequence to France than the kingdom of Joseph Bonaparte. On his
arrival at Astorga he changed all his plans. "It was late at night when
the Emperor and Lannes, escorted only by their staffs, and some hundred
cavalry, entered Astorga," says General Marbot. "So tired and anxious
for shelter and warmth was everyone that the place was scarcely
searched. If the enemy had had warning of this, and returned on their
tracks, they might perhaps have carried off the Emperor; fortunately
they were in too great a hurry, and we did not find one of them in the
town. Every minute fresh bodies of French troops were coming up and the
safety of the Imperial headquarters was soon secured."

Proceeding to Valladolid with his Guard, which he wished to keep as near
to events in Germany as himself, after placing Joseph on the throne at
Madrid again, he soon afterwards hastened to Paris with all speed,
riding on post horses on one occasion not less than eighty-five miles in
five and one-half hours. He had traversed Spain with the rapidity of
lightning, followed by his Guard, to the spot where new dangers and
triumphs awaited him. He left behind a feeble king, equally as incapable
of keeping as obtaining a conquest; and marshals who, no longer
restrained by the presence of an inflexible chief, for the most part
delivered themselves over to their own self-love or private jealousies.

In his "Memorial" written in exile at St. Helena, Napoleon said "that
the war of Spain destroyed him, and that all the circumstances of his
disasters connect themselves with this fatal knot." "In the crisis
France was placed in," he said at another time, "in the struggle of new
ideas in the great cause of the age against the rest of Europe, we could
not leave Spain behind."



Before Napoleon returned to Paris from Spain he learned that, yielding
to England's instigations, Austria was about to take advantage of his
being so far away, to cross its borders, invade Bavaria, carry the war
to the banks of the Rhine, and then effect the liberation of Germany.
The opportunity was an excellent one for attempting such an undertaking.
The Emperor had been compelled to send the pick of his battalions to the
other side of the Pyrenees, thus greatly reducing the number of French
foes in Germany. The French minister of foreign affairs, Talleyrand, had
during Napoleon's absence made every effort to conciliate the Emperor
Francis, but the warlike preparations throughout the Austrian dominions
proceeded with increasing vigor.

After the declaration of war by Austria on the 6th of April, couriers
were at once dispatched with orders to the armies on the Rhine, and
beyond the Alps, to concentrate themselves on the field. To the
ambassadors at Paris the Emperor spoke most freely of the coming
conquest. "They have forgotten the lessons of experience there," he
said; "They want fresh ones; they shall have them, and this time they
shall be terrible I promise you. I do not desire war; I have no interest
in it, and all Europe is witness that my whole attention and all my
efforts were directed towards the field of battle which England had
selected, that is to say, Spain. Austria, which saved the English in
1805 when I was about to cross the straits of Calais, has saved them
once more by stopping me when I was about to pursue them to Corunna. She
shall pay dearly for this new diversion in their favor. Either she shall
disarm instantly, or she shall have to sustain a war of destruction. If
she disarms in such a manner as to leave no doubt on my mind as to her
further intentions, I will myself sheathe my sword, for I have no wish
to draw it except in Spain against the English; otherwise the conflict
shall be immediate and decisive, and such that England shall for the
future have no allies on the Continent."

The instant Napoleon ascertained that Bavaria was invaded by the
Archduke Charles, he at once proceeded, without guards, without
equipage, accompanied solely by the faithful Josephine, to Frankfort and
thence to Strasbourg. Here he assumed command of the army on the 13th of
April, and immediately formed the plan of his campaign. He found the two
wings of his army, the one under Massena, the other under Davoust, at
such a distance from the centre that, had the Austrians seized the
opportunity, the consequences might have been fatal to the French.

On the 17th of April, while at Donawerth, Napoleon commanded Davoust and
Massena to march simultaneously towards a position in front, and then
pushed forward the centre in person, to the same point. The Archduke
Louis, who commanded the Austrian divisions in advance, was thus hemmed
in unexpectedly by three armies, moving at once from three different

At Donawerth Napoleon addressed his troops in a proclamation in which he
said: "Soldiers, the territory of the Confederation has been violated.
The Austrian general expects us to fly at the sight of his arms, and to
abandon our allies to him. I arrive with the rapidity of lightning.
Soldiers, I was surrounded by you when the sovereign of Austria came to
my camp in Moravia; you have heard him implore my clemency, and swear an
eternal friendship towards me. Victors, in three wars Austria has owed
everything to your generosity; three times has she perjured herself. Our
past successes are a safe guarantee of the victory which awaits us. Let
us march, and at our aspect may the enemy acknowledge his conqueror."

It should be remembered that at this time, while Napoleon was
astonishing Europe by the rapidity of his movements, and the display of
the resources of his military and political genius, he had left an army
in the Peninsula, distributed over an immense space of territory,
weakened by diseases, reduced by partial combats, and without receiving
reinforcements from the interior of the Empire. During the whole of the
German campaign of 1809, the French in Spain were merely able to
maintain themselves in the positions they had occupied soon after
Napoleon's departure.

Austria had reckoned on the absence of Napoleon and his Guard, and on
the veteran troops of Marengo and Austerlitz being far distant. She knew
that there did not remain more than 80,000 French scattered throughout
Germany, while her army divided into nine bodies, under the orders of
the Archduke Charles, had not less than 500,000 men.

The Archduke Louis was defeated and driven back at Abensberg on the
20th, and utterly routed at Landshut on the 21st, losing 9,000 men,
thirty guns and all his stores. Those unfortunate Austrians who had been
led from Vienna singing songs, under a persuasion that there was no
longer a French army in Germany, and that they should only have to deal
with Wurtemburgers and Bavarians, experienced the greatest terror when
they came to conflict and found themselves defeated. The Prince of
Lichtenstein and General Lusignan, were wounded, while the loss of the
Austrians in colonels, and officers, of lower rank was considerable.

In the battle of Abensberg which occurred on the 20th, Napoleon was
resolved to destroy the corps of the Archduke Louis, and of General
Keller, amounting to sixty thousand men. The enemy only stood his ground
for an hour and left eighteen thousand prisoners. The cannonade of the
French was successful at all points and the Austrians, disconcerted by
Napoleon's brilliant movements, beat a hasty retreat leaving eight
standards and twelve pieces of cannon. The French loss was very small.

Before this engagement Napoleon saw defile before him on the plateau in
front of Abensberg the Wurtemberg and Bavarian troops, allies of the
French, who were going to put themselves in line and whom the pride of
fighting under a general of his renown filled with enthusiasm. The
Emperor caused them to be drawn up and proceeded to harangue them, one
after the other, the officers translating his words to the troops. He
said that he was making them fight, not for himself, but for themselves;
against the ambition of the house of Austria, which was enraged at not
having them, as of yore, under its yoke; that this time he would soon
restore them peace, and forever, and with such an increase of power that
for the future they should be able to defend themselves against the
pretensions of their old dominators. His presence and words electrified
his German allies, who were flattered to see him amongst them, he
trusting entirely to their honor, for at that moment he had no other
escort than some detachments of Bavarian cavalry.

When Napoleon arrived that evening at Rotterburg he was intoxicated with
joy. The engagement, which was of short duration, had cost the Austrians
7,000 or 8,000 men, and he saw his adversary driven back on the Iser at
the very beginning of the campaign, and the Austrian soldiers
disheartened, like the Prussians after Jena.

The battle of Landshut completed the defeat of the preceding evening. On
this day General Mouton, at the head of a column of grenadiers rushed
through the flames that were consuming one of the bridges of the Iser;
"Forward, but reserve your fire!" he shouted to the soldiers in a voice
of thunder; and in a few moments he had penetrated into the town, which
then became the seat of a sanguinary struggle, and which the Austrians
were not long in abandoning.

Next day Napoleon executed a variety of manoeuvres, considered as
amongst the most admirable of his science, by means of which he brought
his whole force, by different routes, at one and the same moment upon
the position of the Archduke Charles, who was strongly posted at Eckmuhl
with 100,000 men. On both sides all was ready for a decisive action.
Until 8 o'clock a thick fog enveloped that rural scene which was soon to
be drenched with the blood of thousands of men. As soon as it cleared
away both sides prepared for action. Not a musket or a cannon shot was
fired before noon, however.

There was no need of a signal for battle as the terrible contest began
on both sides simultaneously about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Napoleon
commanding and leading the charge, and accompanied by Lannes and
Massena. One of the most beautiful sights war could produce now
presented itself; one hundred and ten thousand men were attacked on all
points, turned to their left, and successively driven from all their
positions, although not a half of the French troops were engaged. The
battle was stern and lasted until twilight, ending with the utter defeat
of the Archduke's army, and leaving Napoleon with 20,000 prisoners,
fifteen imperial standards and a vast number of cannon in his hands,
while the defeated and routed enemy fled back in confusion on the city
of Ratisbon. The Austrian cavalry, strong and numerous, attempted to
cover the retreat of the infantry, but was attacked by the French both
on the right and left. The Archduke Charles was only indebted for his
safety to the fleetness of his horse, when darkness at length compelled
the victors to halt.

While the French were galloping along the road in pursuit of the
Austrians, finding the plain to which they had retreated swampy, they
endeavored to regain the road, and thus became mingled with the mass of
victorious cavalry. A multitude of single combats then took place by the
uncertain light of the moon, and nothing was heard but the clashing of
sabres on their cuirasses, the shouts of the commandants, and the heavy
tramp of horses. The French cuirassiers, wearing double cuirasses, which
covered them all round, could more easily defend themselves than the
Austrians, who, having only breastplates, fell in great numbers,
mortally wounded by the thrusts dealt them from behind. Night put an end
to a contest where there were scenes of carnage that had not been
equalled in years.

At the battle of Abensberg the Emperor beat separately the two corps of
the Archduke Louis and General Keller; at the battle of Landshut he took
the centre of their communications and the general depot of their
magazines and artillery; and, finally, at the battle of Eckmuhl, the
corps of Hohenzollern, Rosenberg, and Lichtenstein, were defeated.

The Austrians, astonished by rapid movements beyond their calculation,
were soon deprived of their sanguine hopes, and precipitated from a
delirium of presumption to a despondency bordering on despair. Two days
later the Archduke made an attempt to rally his troops, and not only to
hold Ratisbon, but to meet Napoleon. He was obliged to give up the place
at the storming of the walls by the French, who drove the Austrians
through the streets. All who resisted were slain. The enemy's commander
fled precipitately into Bohemia, abandoning once more the capital of
the Austrian Empire to the mercy of the Conqueror.

Napoleon was wounded in the foot during the storming of Ratisbon. He had
approached the town amidst a fire of sharpshooters kept up by the
Austrians from the walls, and by the French from the edge of a ditch.
Whilst he was looking through a telescope he received a ball in the
instep, and said, with the coolness of an old soldier: "I am hit!" When
the Emperor received his wound he was talking with Duroc. "This," said
he to his marshal, "can only come from a Tyrolian; no other marksman
could take an aim at such a distance; those fellows are very clever."

The wound might have been dangerous for had it been higher up the foot
would have been shattered and amputation inevitable. The first surgeon
of the Guard, Dr. Larrey, being near took off his boot and prepared to
dress the wound, which was not serious.

At the news that the Emperor was wounded the troops crowded around him
in great alarm. Officers and soldiers ran up from all sides; in a moment
he was surrounded by thousands of men, in spite of the fire which the
enemy's guns concentrated on the vast group. The Emperor, wishing to
withdraw his troops from this useless danger, and to calm the anxiety of
the more distant corps who were getting unsteady in their desire to come
and see what was the matter, mounted his horse the instant his wound was
dressed and rode down the front of the whole line amid loud cheers.
Those around remonstrated with him for continually exposing his person,
to which he replied: "What can I do? I must see how things are going

"It was at this extempore review," says General Marbot, "held in
presence of the enemy, that Napoleon first granted gratuities to private
soldiers, appointing them Knights of the Empire and members, at the same
time, of the Legion of Honor. The regimental commanders recommended, but
the Emperor also allowed soldiers who thought they had claims, to come
and represent them before him; he then decided upon them himself."

An old grenadier, who had made the campaigns of Italy and Egypt, not
hearing his name called, came up, and in a calm tone of voice asked for
the cross.

"But," said Napoleon, "what have you done to deserve it?"

"It was I, sir, who, in the desert of Joppa, when it was so terribly
hot, gave you a watermelon!"

"I thank you for it again," said the Emperor, "but the gift of the fruit
is hardly worth the cross of the Legion of Honor." Then the grenadier,
who up till then had been as cool as ice, working himself up into a
frenzy, shouted at the top of his voice, "Well, and don't you reckon
seven wounds received at the bridge of Arcola, at Lodi, at Castiglione,
at the Pyramids, at Acre, Austerlitz, Friedland; eleven campaigns in
Italy, Egypt, Austria, Prussia, Poland--."

But the Emperor cut him short laughing, and mimicking his excited
manner, cried;--"There, there, how you work yourself up when you come to
the essential point! That is where you ought to have begun; it is worth
much more than your melon. I make you a Knight of the Empire, with a
pension of 1200 francs. Does that satisfy you?"

"But your Majesty, I prefer the cross."

"You have both one and the other since I make you a Knight."

[Illustration: From a Drawing by L. Marin


"Well, I would rather have the cross," and the worthy grenadier could
not be moved from that point. It took much explaining to make him
understand that the title of Knight of the Empire carried with it the
Legion of Honor. He was not appeased on this point until the Emperor had
fastened the decoration on his breast, and he seemed to think a great
deal more of this than of his annuity of 1200 francs.

It was by familiarities of this kind that the Emperor made the soldiers
adore him, but as Marbot again well says, it was a means that was only
available to a commander whom frequent victories had made illustrious;
any other general would have impaired his reputation by it.

Napoleon now sent an aide-de-camp to Lannes urging him to expedite the
taking of Ratisbon. This intrepid marshal had directed all his artillery
against a projecting house which rose above the wall surrounding the
town. The house was knocked down and the ruins fell into the ditch.
Still there were two fortified positions to take. Ladders were procured
and placed at the critical points by the grenadiers, but every time one
of them appeared he was instantly brought down by the well-aimed balls
of the Austrian sharpshooters. After some men had been thus struck, the
rest appeared to hang back. Thereupon Lannes advanced, covered with
decorations, seized one of the ladders and cried out: "You shall see
that your marshal, for all he is a marshal, has not ceased to be a
grenadier!" Two aides-de-camp sprang forward and snatched the ladder out
of his hands, and the grenadiers followed them, took the ladders, and,
notwithstanding the continued fire of the sharpshooters, made the
crossing in safety, followed by hundreds of others in an instant.

The walls being scaled, the town was soon in the hands of the French,
who rushed along the blazing streets taking prisoners in all directions.
Suddenly they were stopped with a cry of terror uttered by the
Austrians; "Take care, we shall all be blown up!" shouted an officer.
There were some barrels of powder left in the street which were in
danger of being fired by the shots exchanged on either side. The
belligerents stopped with one accord and joined hands in removing the
barrels to a place of safety. The Austrians then withdrew and left the
town to the French troops.

After the taking of Ratisbon Napoleon issued an address to his soldiers
complimenting them highly on their valor. "You have justified my
expectations," he said. "You have made up for numbers by your courage;
you have gloriously marked the difference which exists between the
soldiers of Cæsar and the armies of Xerxes. In a few days we have
triumphed in the three battles of Tann, Abensberg and Eckmuhl, and the
affairs of Peising, Landshut and Ratisbon. One hundred pieces of cannon,
fifty thousand prisoners, three equipages, three thousand baggage
wagons, all the funds of the regiments, are the results of the rapidity
of your marches, and of your courage.... Before a month we shall be in

Thus in five days, in spite of inferiority of numbers and of the
unfavorable manner in which his lieutenants had distributed an inferior
force; by the sole energy of his genius, did Napoleon triumph over the
main force of his opponent. The Emperor reviewed his army on the 24th,
distributing rewards of all sorts with a lavish hand. Upon Davoust he
bestowed the title of Duke of Eckmuhl.

On May 3rd a body of 30,000 Austrians remaining from the army of
Landshut, fell back upon Ebersberg, where Massena engaged in a stubborn
battle, General Claparéde being obliged to defend himself for three
hours with but 7,000 men against 30,000 Austrians. Reinforcements at
last arrived and the enemy retired in disorder upon the Ens, where they
burned the bridge so as to protect their flight in the direction of
Vienna. The battle cost the Austrians 12,000 men, of whom 7,500 were
prisoners. The field of carnage was hideous, and the town of Ebersberg
was so wrapped in flames that the wounded could not be withdrawn. To
prevent the fire from reaching the bridge it had been necessary to cut
off the approach at either end, so that communication was interrupted
for several hours between the troops who had crossed the river and those
coming to their aid. Napoleon had galloped up on hearing the cannonade,
and though inured to all the horrors of war, is said to have been
greatly shocked at the sight he beheld.

Passing before the ruins of the castle of Dirnstein, on an eminence
beyond the Molck, and in the direction of Vienna, whither he was going,
Napoleon said to Marshal Lannes, who was at his side: "Look! Behold the
prison of Richard Coeur de Lion. Like us, he went to Syria and
Palestine. Coeur de Lion, my brave Lannes, was not braver than thou. He
was more fortunate than I at St. Jean d'Acre. The Duke of Austria sold
him to an emperor of Germany who had him imprisoned there. That was in
the barbarous ages. How different to our own civilization! You have seen
how I treat the Emperor of Austria, whom I could have taken prisoner.
Ah! well! I shall treat him again in the same manner. It is not my wish,
but that of the age!"

From Molck the headquarters of the Emperor were transferred to St.
Polten and two days later, at 9 o'clock in the morning, Napoleon was at
Vienna, which he desired to take forthwith, but to take without
destroying if possible.

Meeting with resistance in entering the city, the inhabitants having
prepared for a vigorous defense, Napoleon began to play with his heavy
batteries upon the city. The bombardment soon convinced them that it was
hopeless to resist, and Vienna surrendered May 12th after suffering
severely. In a few hours eighteen hundred shells had fallen in the city.
The streets were narrow, the houses high, and the population crowded
within the narrow fortifications, were terrified and infuriated at the
sight of the damage caused by the shells which started fires in every
direction. Who would have said to the Viennese, who were then hurling
all manner of imprecations at Napoleon, the author of all their woes,
that ten months later they would be singing the praise of this detested
Emperor, and would be voluntarily setting French flags in their windows
as symbols of friendship?

All the royal family had fled except the young Archduchess Marie Louise,
who was detained in the palace, suffering from small-pox. When Napoleon
heard she was sequestered there he ordered that no battery should be
directed to that part of the town in which lay she who was destined to
be his bride within less than a year! At this time Napoleon himself
would no doubt have laughed heartily had he been told that in that
palace was a woman who was to succeed Josephine in his struggle for a
dynasty, to be Empress of the French, and later, to bear him the long
wished for son and heir.

That Marie had no such thoughts or inclinations can readily be guessed
from the fact of the present campaign in which her father, the Emperor,
was battling for his Empire. The Emperor Francis had left his capital on
April 8th, 1809, leaving there his wife and children, but all of whom
departed, except Marie, on May 5th. From Vienna Marie wrote frequently
to her father. A rumor had reached the capital that the battle of
Eckmuhl had been a brilliant victory for the Austrians, and the young
Archduchess wrote to her father on April 25th: "We have heard with
delight that Napoleon was present at the great battle which the French
lost. May he lose his head as well! There are a great many prophecies
about his speedy end, and people say that the Apocalypse applies to him.
They maintain that he is going to die this year at Cologne, in an inn
called the 'Red Crawfish.' I do not attach much importance to these
prophecies, but how glad should I be to see them come true!"

On May 13th the capitulation of the Austrian capital was signed, and
Napoleon's army again entered Vienna, the Emperor taking up his old
quarters at the imperial palace of Schoenbrunn. He said to his soldiers:
"The people of Vienna, according to the expression of the deputation,
wearied, deserted, widowed, shall be the object of your regards. I take
the inhabitants under my special protection. As for the turbulent and
ill-disposed, I will make a severe example of them. Let us be kind
towards the poor peasants, towards these good people, who have so many
claims upon our esteem. Let us not be vain of all our successes; but
look upon them as a proof of that divine justice which punishes
ingratitude and perjury."



The Austrian army, in abandoning the capital of the Empire, had not
renounced the war, although in thirty-three days Napoleon had, with one
stroke of his sword, cut in two the mass of their armies, and with a
second burst open the gates of Vienna. He was now firmly established in
that capital, and master of the main resources of the monarchy; but his
work was far from being done, either in Austria or in Germany. A great
difficulty remained to be overcome,--that of crossing a vast river in
the face of the enemy, and to give battle with the river behind him.
This difficulty Napoleon had been unable to prevent, and it resulted
inevitably from the nature of things. On leaving Ratisbon he had been
obliged to take the route which was shortest, thus keeping the two main
divisions of the Austrian army separated from each other. He was
consequently obliged to march along the right bank of the Danube,
abandoning the left to the Austrians, but securing to himself
exclusively the means of crossing from the one to the other.

The Archduke Charles was soon tempted to quit the fastness of Bohemia,
and try once more the fortune of a battle. Having re-established the
order, and recruited the numbers of his army to 100,000 men, he was soon
posted on the banks of the Danube. Opposite were the French, and the
river being greatly swollen, and all the bridges destroyed, the two
armies seemed separated by an impassable barrier. Napoleon determined to
pass it and after an unsuccessful attempt at Nussdorff, met with better
fortune at Ebersdorff, where the river is broad and intersected by a
number of low and woody islands, the largest of which bears the name of
Lobau. Here Massena had thrown several bridges over the arms of the

On these islands Napoleon established the greater part of his army on
May 19th, and on the following day made good his passage by means of a
bridge of boats to the left bank of the Danube, where he took possession
of the villages of Asperne and Essling, with so little show of
opposition that it became evident that the Archduke wished the
inevitable battle to take place with the river between his enemy and

On the 21st, at daybreak, the Archduke appeared on a rising ground,
separated from the French position by an extensive plain. His whole
force was divided into five heavy columns and protected by not less than
two hundred pieces of artillery. The battle began at 4 o'clock in the
afternoon with a furious assault on the village of Asperne, which was
taken and retaken several times, and remained at nightfall in the
occupation partly of the French and partly of the assailants, who had
established themselves in the church and churchyard. Essling sustained
three attacks also, but there the French remained in complete
possession. At one time Lannes, who defended this point, was so hard
pressed, that he must have given way had not Napoleon relieved him, and
obtained him a breathing spell by a well-timed and terrific charge of
cavalry under Bessieres, which fell upon their centre.

Night finally interrupted the action, the Austrians exulting in their
partial success; and Napoleon surprised that he should not have been
wholly victorious. On either side the carnage had been terrible, and
the pathways of the villages were literally choked with the dead.

Just as Napoleon was about to retire for a few hours' rest he was
interrupted by a violent altercation between two of his chief
lieutenants, Bessieres and Lannes, the former of whom complained of the
language used by the latter, his inferior in rank, in giving a necessary
order for a charge of cuirassiers and chasseurs, then under the orders
of Marshal Bessieres himself. Massena, who was on the spot, was obliged
to interfere between these gallant men, who after having braved for a
whole day the cross-fire of 300 pieces of cannon, were ready to draw
their swords for the sake of their offended pride. Napoleon allayed
their quarrel, which was to be terminated next day by the enemy in the
saddest way for themselves and for the army.

Next morning the battle recommenced at 4 o'clock with equal fury, the
French recovering Asperne; but the Austrian right wing renewed its
assaults on that point, and in such numbers that Napoleon guessed that
their centre and left had been weakened for the purpose of strengthening
their right. Believing this he instantly moved such masses upon the
Austrian centre that the Archduke's line was shaken, and for a moment it
seemed as if the victory of the French was secure. In fact it was
extremely doubtful if the Austrian centre could withstand the mass of
20,000 infantry and 6,000 horse which Lannes had thrown upon it.

The Archduke Charles now hastened to the spot to prevent the catastrophe
that threatened his centre, and in this critical moment discharged at
once the duties of a general and a common soldier. He brought up
reserves, replaced the gaps which had been made in his line by the
furious onslaught of the French, and while awaiting the execution of
these orders, seized a standard and himself led the grenadiers to the
charge, while his bravest officers were struck down by his side. Lannes,
who also headed his soldiers in person, seeing the Austrian infantry
disordered, let loose upon them Bessieres and his own cuirassiers, who,
charging Hohenzollern's corps, broke several squares and took prisoners,
cannon and flags.

Success now seemed certain, and Lannes sent a staff officer to acquaint
Napoleon of his progress and asked him to cover his rear whilst he was
advancing in the plain and leaving so large a space between him and
Essling. The officer found Napoleon watching the grand spectacle
of which he was the director. He did not express anything like
the satisfaction he might have been expected to feel at such a
communication. The fact was, an unfortunate accident had occurred. At
this critical moment the bridge connecting the island of Lobau was being
wholly swept away by means of fire-ships sent down the river by the
Austrians. Napoleon at once perceived that if he wished to preserve his
communication with the right of the Danube, where his reserve still lay,
he must instantly fall back on Lobau. The want of troops, however, was
not the first consequence of the rupture of the bridge, for the 60,000
already passed over were enough to beat the Austrians. What was most to
be regretted was the want of ammunition, a prodigious quantity of which
had already been consumed, and of which there would soon be a scarcity.

Napoleon therefore resolved upon a painful sacrifice in order not to
expose himself to risks which prudence forbade him to brave. Having
formed this resolution, in an instant he ordered the staff officer to
return to Lannes as fast as possible and tell him to suspend the
movement and fall back gradually on the Essling and Asperne line. He was
also to recommend the marshal to be sparing of ammunition.

On receiving this order Lannes and Bessieres were compelled, to their
deep regret, to halt in the midst of the vast plain of Marchfield. No
sooner did the French troops commence their backward movement than the
Austrians recovered their order and zeal, charged in turn, and finally
made themselves masters of Asperne.

Essling, where Massena commanded, held firm, and under the protection of
that village and numerous batteries erected near it, Napoleon succeeded
in withdrawing his whole force during the night. The Commander had sent
earlier in the day to inquire of Massena if he could rely on the
possession of Asperne; for as long as it and Essling remained, the safe
retreat of the army was insured. The staff officer who took the message
found Massena on a heap of rubbish, harassed with fatigue, with
blood-shot eyes, but with unabated energy of spirit.

On receiving the message he stood up and replied with extraordinary
emphasis: "Go tell the Emperor I will hold out two hours,--twenty-four
--so long as it is necessary for the safety of the army!"

It was during this exciting retreat that a dreadful calamity befell the
army. Whilst Lannes was galloping in front of the line from one corps to
another, encouraging the soldiers by his voice and example, an officer
who was alarmed at seeing him exposed to so much danger, entreated him
to dismount for greater safety. He followed the advice, though it was
far from his habit to be careful of his life. At that instant he was
struck by a cannon ball that shattered both his knees. Bessieres and an
aide raised him up, and found him bathed in blood and almost senseless.
Bessieres, with whom he had quarreled on the preceding day, pressed his
weak hand. He was laid on a cuirassier's cloak and carried to a little
bridge where an ambulance was stationed. The news soon spread through
the army and filled it with sorrow. The surgeon declared his wounds to
be mortal.

In his frenzy the brave marshal called for Napoleon, his friend. The
latter observed a group advancing, supporting Lannes on a bier formed of
crossed fire-locks and some branches of oak. Twelve old grenadiers,
covered with blood and dust, bore this illustrious warrior along. As
soon as the Emperor saw it was the Duke of Montebello he hastened to
meet him. The grenadiers stopped, and Napoleon, throwing himself upon
his old companion-in-arms, who had fainted from the loss of blood, in a
voice scarcely articulate, said, several times, "Lannes, my friend, do
you know me? It is the Emperor, it is Bonaparte, your friend."

At these words Lannes opened his eyes, till then closed, collected his
spirits, and made some attempts to speak; but, being unable, he could
only lift his dying arms to pass them round the neck of Napoleon. The
fear of exhausting the little life still remaining in the marshal
determined the Emperor to leave him.

Sometime later Napoleon visited his wounded friend and conversed with
him briefly. "My noble marshal," said the Emperor, "It is all over."
"What!" cried the dying man, "can't _you_ save me?" He died in delirium
some days later in the arms of his chief, who wept over him as he had
done at the death of Desaix at Marengo. The French soldiery delighted to
call him the "Roland of the Camp," and Napoleon said, "It was impossible
to be more brave than Lannes." No man could inspire his troops with more
confidence than could this brave soldier who had been the companion of
the fortunes and glory of Napoleon from the very beginning of his public

Napoleon had charged Lannes to maintain Essling at all hazards and he
valiantly fulfilled his task. At length, at nine at night, the
sanguinary conflict ceased; the French preserving the position they had
occupied in the morning, and the Austrians bivouacking where they were.
Both sides sustained an equal loss, from fifteen to twenty thousand men
having been killed, or wounded, on both sides. Among the Austrians were
four field-marshals, eight generals and six hundred and sixty-three
officers killed or wounded.

On the morning of the 23rd of May the French were cooped up in Lobau and
the adjacent islands,--Asperne and Essling--the whole left bank of the
river, remaining in the possession of the Austrians. On either side a
victory was claimed. In the eyes of Europe it was a check for Napoleon,
accustomed to crush his enemy, to have been unable at this time to drive
the Austrians from their position.

The situation of the French Emperor was imminently hazardous; he was
separated from Davoust and his reserves, and, had the enemy either
attacked him in the islands, or passed the river higher up and so
overwhelmed Davoust and relieved Vienna, the results might have been
fatal. But the Archduke's loss in these two days had been very great;
and, in place of risking an offensive movement, he contented himself
with strengthening the position of Asperne and Essling, and awaiting
quietly the moment when his enemy should choose to attempt once more the
passage to the left bank, and the reoccupation of these stubbornly
contested villages.

Napoleon availed himself of this pause with his usual skill. That he had
been checked was true, and that the news would be heard with enthusiasm,
he well knew. It was necessary, therefore, to regain the fame which had
surrounded the beginning of the campaign, and he made every preparation
for another decisive battle. Some weeks elapsed ere he ventured to
assume the offensive.

On the 4th of July, 1809, Napoleon at last re-established his
communication with the right bank, and arranged the means of passing to
the left at a point where the Archduke had made hardly any preparation
for receiving him. On the 5th of July, at 10 o'clock at night, the
French began to cross from the islands in the Danube to the left bank.
Gunboats prepared for the purpose silenced some of the Austrian
batteries; others were avoided by passing the river out of reach of
their fire on bridges that had been secretly erected by the French. When
Napoleon had a river to be crossed he began the operation by suddenly
conveying some determined men to the opposite side in boats. These
proceeded to disarm or kill the enemy's advanced posts, and to fix the
moorings to which the boats were to be attached that were to carry the
bridge. The army then passed over as quickly as possible.

The first of these operations was the most difficult in presence of an
enemy so numerous and so well prepared as were the Austrians. To
facilitate it, Napoleon had large flat boats constructed, capable of
carrying 300 men each, and having a moving gunwale to protect the men
from musketry, which on being let down, would serve instead of planks
for landing. Every corps was provided with five of these flat-boats,
which made an advance guard of 1500 men carried over at once, and the
enemy, not knowing exactly where the crossing would be made, could not
confront the French with advanced posts in sufficient numbers to prevent
their landing.

The Austrians having rashly calculated that Asperne and Essling must
needs be the object of the next contest, as of the preceding, they were
taken almost unawares by Napoleon's appearance in another quarter. They
changed their line on the instant and occupied a position, the centre
and key of which was the little town of Wagram. Here, on the 6th of
July, the final and decisive battle was to be fought. Adding together
the troops of Massena, Oudinot, Davoust, Bernadotte, Prince Eugene,
Macdonald, Marmont, de Wrede and the Guard, there appeared to be 150,000
men; of whom 26,000 were cavalry and 12,000 artillerymen serving 550
guns; an enormous force, such as Napoleon had never yet mustered on a
field of battle, and according to some authorities, such a host as had
never been brought into action by any leader. Besides this vast force
Napoleon had with him the invincible Massena, who was then suffering
from a fall from his horse, but who was capable of mastering all
physical sufferings on a day of battle; the stubborn Davoust, the
impetuous Oudinot, the intrepid Macdonald, and a multitude of others who
were ready to purchase the triumph of the French arms with their blood.
The heroic Lannes was the only one missing. Fate had forbidden him to
witness a victory to which he had powerfully contributed by his conduct
in this campaign.

When the day dawned on the banks of the river, about 4 o'clock in the
morning, a most imposing spectacle presented itself to both armies. The
sun glistened on thousands of bayonets and helmets, and seventy thousand
men were already in line of battle on the enemy's side of the river
capable of making a good fight with the Archduke's forces. Seeing
Napoleon ride along the front of the lines his soldiers raised their
shakos on their bayonets and cried: "Vive l'Empereur!" The ground
covered by the two armies was about two leagues in extent. The troops
nearest were about 1200 fathoms from the city of Vienna, so that the
towers, steeples, and tops of the highest houses, were covered by the
numerous population, thus become spectators of the terrible contest then

The Archduke had extended his line over too wide a space, and his former
error enabled Napoleon to at once see an opportunity to ruin him by his
old device of pouring the full shock of his strength on the centre. In
fact, so apparently weak was the position of the Austrians at this time
that the Emperor, in his bulletin of the engagement sent to Paris, had
this to say: "This disposition of the army appeared so absurd that some
snare was dreaded, and the Emperor hesitated some time before ordering
the easy dispositions which he had to make in order to annul those of
the enemy, and render them fatal to him." At sunrise the cannonade
commenced upon the two lines. Napoleon, perceiving that the Prince of
Rosemberg was moving upon Marshal Davoust, repaired in person to the
right wing, which he reinforced with the cuirassiers under General
Arrighe, and caused twelve pieces of light artillery to advance upon
the flank of the enemy's columns. After an obstinate engagement of two
hours' duration, Davoust succeeded in repulsing his adversary as far as

While the French army thus signalized itself by success in the beginning
of the day, the battle was carried along the rest of the line with great
determination. The fire of musketry and cannon was now general on that
vast front of nearly three leagues, along which 300,000 men and 1100
pieces of cannon were arrayed against each other. It was a principle of
Napoleon's that by concentrating on one point the action of certain
special arms that grand effects were to be produced, and therefore it
was that he bestowed an immense amount of artillery on the Guard and had
kept under his hand a reserve of fourteen regiments of cuirassiers.

The Emperor now ordered that the whole of the artillery of the Guard,
together with all that could be spared by the several corps, advance at
a gallop. Just then General de Wrede arrived on the ground with
twenty-five pieces of excellent artillery, and solicited the honor of
taking part in the decisive movement, to which Napoleon consented. He
then sent for General Macdonald, his design being to shake the Austrian
centre with 100 guns, and then pierce it with Macdonald's bayonets and
Nansouty's sabres. These orders were obeyed on the instant.

While awaiting the carrying out of these movements, impatient for the
arrival of Macdonald and Lauriston, Napoleon rode about the field on his
Persian horse of dazzling whiteness, giving orders to his aides
constantly. The cannonading had by this time acquired the frequency of
musket-firing, and everybody shuddered at the thought of seeing the
man, on whose life so many destinies depended, struck by one of those
blind messengers of death. The hundred guns were now ranged in line and
instantly began the most tremendous slaughter ever known to those who
witnessed it. Napoleon observed with his glass the effect of that
formidable battery, saw the enemy's artillery dismounted, and was
satisfied with the correctness of his own conceptions. But artillery was
not sufficient to break the Austrian centre; bayonets, too, were

[Illustration: From a Painting by Baron Gros


The intrepid Macdonald now advanced at the head of his corps under a
deluge of fire, leaving the ground covered at every step with his dead
and wounded, still closing the ranks without wavering, and communicating
his own gallant bearing to his soldiers. "What a brave man!" Napoleon
exclaimed several times, as he saw him thus march under the shower of
grape and bullets. The Archduke's centre, shaken by the fire of a
hundred pieces of ordinance, retreats, as does also his right. Davoust
now shakes the Austrian left wing, and as he does so Napoleon exclaims:
"The battle is won!",--and so it was. Lauriston, with a hundred pieces
of cannon, and Macdonald at the head of a chosen division, charged the
Austrians in the centre and broke through it. The victory was for the
French once more.

At length the Austrian army fell into disorder, their centre was driven
back two or three miles out of the line; cries of alarm were heard, the
right wing gave way and the left soon followed. The rout was now
complete. At the close of the battle there remained 20,000 prisoners,
besides all the artillery and baggage in the hands of the French.
Napoleon showed all his courage and talents on this day, and was ever
in the hottest of the action, though the appearance of his retinue drew
on him showers of grape by which he was repeatedly endangered. From
early morning, he was occupied in galloping through the different lines,
encouraging the troops by his presence and persuasive eloquence; many
being killed by the balls that flew about him. It was observed that the
enemy's fire was particularly directed against the Emperor; in
consequence of which Napoleon was obliged to change his surtout three
times. The aides-de-camp and officers of the staff were also given to
understand that they should keep more at a distance, and the regiments
were instructed not to salute the Emperor with acclamations at the
moment he was passing.

On the following morning, after surveying the field of battle, Napoleon
went to place himself in the midst of his troops who were about to
pursue the retreating enemy. He walked round the bivouacs without either
hat or sword, his hands being crossed behind him, and as he talked with
the soldiers of his Guard his manner and countenance expressed the
utmost satisfaction and confidence. On passing Macdonald, with whom he
had lost favor, and who had not followed the fortunes of the Emperor for
some years, Napoleon stopped and held out his hand, saying: "Shake
hands, Macdonald; no more animosity between us, we must henceforth be
friends; and, as a pledge of my sincerity, I will send you your
marshal's staff, which you so gloriously earned in yesterday's battle."
The general, pressing the Emperor's hand affectionately, exclaimed: "Ah,
sire; with us it is henceforth for life and for death." The act was
heightened by the grace and good will with which it was performed. The
same rank was granted a few days after to General Oudinot and the Duke
of Ragusa (Marmont), for their eminent services.

After the battle Napoleon recognized among the dead a colonel who had
displeased him. He stopped and looked at the mangled body for a moment
and then said, "I regret not having told him before the battle that I
had forgotten everything."

The Archduke fled in great confusion as far as Znaim in Moravia,
abandoning, as trophies of his defeat, ten standards, forty pieces of
cannon, nearly 18,000 prisoners, nine thousand wounded, and a great
quantity of equipage.

The loss of the French, while much less than that of the enemy, was
6,000 wounded and 2,600 killed. Marshal Bessieres was among the former.
The French army had to lament the loss of the valiant LaSalle, one of
the first generals of light cavalry. His death was greatly regretted
both by the Emperor and the army. He was considered the best light
cavalry officer for outpost duty and had the surest eye. He could take
in a whole district in a moment, and seldom made a mistake, so that his
reports on the enemy's position were clear and precise. He was a
handsome man of bright wit, an excellent horseman and brave to the point
of rashness. He first attracted the notice of General Bonaparte at the
battle of Rivoli when he galloped down a descent to which the fleeing
Austrians had resorted to escape, and took some thousand prisoners under
the eyes of General Bonaparte and the army. From that time LaSalle was
in high favor with Napoleon who promoted him rapidly and took him to
Egypt where he made him colonel. He distinguished himself at Austerlitz
and in Prussia.

The Imperial Council perceived that further resistance was useless and
an armistice was agreed to at Znaim. Napoleon, on returning to Vienna,
continued occupied until October. For the third time he found himself
master of the destinies of the House of Lorraine, which he had accused
of ingratitude and perjury before Europe and in the face of history; for
the third time this conqueror, so violent in his menaces, so
overwhelming in his reproaches, eagerly received the proposals of those
who had provoked the war, whose hopes had been overthrown, and whose
resources were destroyed on the day of Wagram. The results of the
battle, without being as extraordinary as those of Austerlitz, Jena or
Friedland, were great nevertheless.

The announcement of the armistice with Austria put an end, in effect, to
all hostile demonstrations on the Continent, except in the Peninsula,
and Germany in apparent tranquility awaited the result of the
negotiations of Vienna.

A few days after Napoleon had returned to Schoenbrunn from Moravia he
narrowly escaped the dagger of a young man who rushed upon him at a
grand review of the Imperial Guard, and while in the midst of all his
staff. Berthier and Rapp threw themselves upon the would-be assassin and
disarmed him at the moment when his knife was about to enter the
Emperor's body.

Napoleon demanded to know what motive had actuated the assassin. "What
injury," said he, "have I done to you?"

"To me personally, none," answered the youth, "but you are the oppressor
of my country; the tyrant of the world; and to have put you to death
would have been the highest glory of a man of honor."

The youth, a son of a clergyman of Erfurt named Staaps, was condemned to
death. It is said Napoleon wished to pardon Staaps, whose frankness and
courage had struck him, and in whom, besides, he saw but a blind
instrument of the passions incited by the monarchy; but his orders
arrived too late. The young German met his death with the greatest
coolness, exclaiming: "Hail, Liberty! Germany forever! Death to the

The length to which the negotiations with Austria were protracted
excited much wonder, but Napoleon, who was occupied incessantly with his
ministers and generals, and seldom showed himself in public, had other
business on hand besides his treaty with the Emperor Francis. His
long-standing quarrel with the Pope now reached its crisis, growing out
of the Concordat, involving affairs in Spain and Portugal, and finally
by a refusal of the pontiff to acquiesce in the Berlin and Milan decrees
against England's commerce. On the 17th of May Napoleon had issued from
Vienna his final decree declaring the temporal sovereignty of the Pope
to be wholly at an end, incorporating Rome with the French Empire, and
declaring it to be his second city, settling a handsome pension on the
holy father in his spiritual capacity, and appointing a committee of
administration for the civil government of Rome. The Pope replied with a
bull of excommunication against Napoleon which finally resulted in the
removal of His Holiness to Fontainebleau where he continued a prisoner,
though treated personally with respect and magnificence, during more
than three years.

The treaty with Austria was at last signed at Schoenbrunn on the 14th of
October, Austria giving up territory to the amount of 45,000 square
miles, with a population of four millions, and depriving her of her
last seaport. Yet, when compared with the signal triumphs of the
campaign at Wagram, the terms on which the conqueror signed the peace
were universally looked upon as remarkable for moderation. Napoleon
afterwards expressed himself as highly culpable in having left Austria
too powerful after the affair at Wagram, using the following words on
that occasion: "The day after the battle I ought to have published in
the order of the day that I would ratify no treaty with Austria, until
after a previous separation of the crown of Austria, Hungary, and
Bohemia; to be placed on three different heads."

Napoleon quitted Vienna on the 16th of October, and was congratulated by
the public bodies of Paris at Fontainebleau on the 14th of November as
"the greatest of heroes, who never achieved victories but for the
happiness of the world." When he reappeared at the palace at
Fontainebleau on Oct. 26th 1809, crowned with the victory of Wagram,
there was one to whom dark forebodings came--Josephine felt that her
fate was sealed. In fact, as a modern writer has said, the immediate
result of Wagram was the divorce from the Empress.

The first public intimation of a measure which had for a considerable
period occupied Napoleon's thoughts came from the Emperor himself when
he said, in an imperial speech in which he described the events of the
past year, and the state of France: "I and my house will ever be found
ready to sacrifice everything, even our own dearest ties and feelings,
to the welfare of the French people."



Long before Napoleon assumed the imperial title his hopes of offspring
from the union with Josephine were at an end, but the Empress lived for
a time in hope that the Emperor would be content to adopt her son
Eugene. Louis Bonaparte married Hortense Beauharnais, daughter of
Josephine, and an infant son became so much the favorite of Napoleon
that the Empress, as well as others, come to regard this boy as the heir
of France. But the child died early and the Emperor then began to direct
his thoughts towards the best means of dissolving his marriage with
Josephine, in order that he might form an alliance with some daughter of
Russia, or other imperial family. The Emperor Alexander was approached
on this subject, and informed that one of his sisters, the Grand Duchess
Anne, would be acceptable, but the Empress-mother hesitated, and this
being taken by Napoleon as a refusal, he sought the hand of the
Archduchess Marie Louise, daughter of the Emperor Francis of Austria.

On the 15th of December, 1809, the Emperor summoned his council and
announced to them, that at the expense of all his personal feelings, he,
devoted wholly to the welfare of the State, had resolved to separate
himself from his most dear consort. "Arrived at the age of forty years"
he said, "I may conceive the hope of living sufficiently long to
elevate, in my mind and after my ideas, the children with which it shall
please Providence to bless me. God knows how much this resolution has
cost my heart; * * * I should also add, that, far from ever having to
complain, I have on the contrary, only had cause to laud the attachment
and tenderness of my beloved wife. She has adorned fifteen years of my
life. The recollection thereof will always remain graven on my heart."

Josephine then appeared among them, and not without tears, expressed her
acquiescence in the decree. "I believe I acknowledge all these
sentiments," she said, "by consenting to the dissolution of a marriage
which, at present, is an obstacle to the welfare of France, which
deprives it of being one day governed by the descendants of a great man,
so evidently raised by Providence to efface the ills of a terrible
revolution, and re-establish the altar, the throne, and social order."

The council, after addressing the Emperor and Empress on the nobleness
of their mutual sacrifice, accepted and ratified the dissolution of
marriage. The title of Empress was preserved to Josephine for life and a
pension of two million francs, to which Napoleon afterwards added a
third million from his privy purse. She then retired from the Tuileries,
residing thenceforth mostly at Malmaison, and in the course of a few
weeks Austria was called upon for her daughter.

Having given her hand at Vienna on the 11th of March, 1810, to Berthier,
who had the honor to represent the person of the Emperor, the young
Archduchess set out for France on the 13th.

On the 28th, as her carriage was proceeding towards Soissons, Napoleon
rode up to it, in a plain dress, altogether unattended, and introduced
himself to his proxy bride. She had never seen his person till then,
and it is said her first exclamation was, "Your Majesty's pictures have
not done you justice."

They spent the evening at the chateau of Compiegne and a religious
marriage was celebrated on the 1st of April at St. Cloud amidst every
circumstance of splendor; the next day they made their entry into the
capital. Napoleon in his exile said that "the Spanish ulcer" and the
Austrian match were the two main causes of his ruin;--and they both
contributed to it largely, although by no means equally. The Exile's own
opinion was that the error lay, not in seeking a bride of imperial
birth, but in choosing her at Vienna. Had he persisted in his demands,
the Czar, he doubted not, would have granted him his sister; the proud
dreams of Tilsit would have been realized, and Paris and St. Petersburg
become the only two capitals of Europe. Possibly, then, he would not
have had occasion to say that he "set his foot upon an abyss of roses"
when he married Marie.

Had he married a daughter of France, or even an imperial princess of
Russia, he could have done so without the sacrifice of the prestige of
the nobility, and even the divinity of the people he had so gloriously
contended for; but when it was announced that he had contracted an
alliance with the House of Hapsburg,--that hated race against whom and
whose principles he had fought a hundred battles, they were convinced
that no good would come of it--and they were right.

The war, meanwhile, continued without interruption in the Peninsula;
whither, but for his marriage Napoleon would certainly have repaired in
person, after the peace of Schoenbrunn left him at ease. So illy was
that Spanish campaign conducted during Napoleon's absence that not an
inch of soil could be counted by the French beyond their outposts. Their
troops were continually harassed and thinned by the indomitable
guerrillas who acted singly or in bands as occasion offered.

The Emperor's marriage was speedily followed on the 20th of April, 1811,
by the birth of a son and heir whom Napoleon announced to the waiting
courtiers in these words: "It is a King of Rome!" The happy event,
announced to the populace by the firing of one hundred and one guns, was
received with many demonstrations of loyal enthusiasm. Even Josephine
joined in expressing her satisfaction at the event which seemed to
portend so much for the founding of a Napoleonic dynasty which the
Emperor now saw possible by direct lineage.

When the Emperor of Russia was informed of Napoleon's approaching
nuptials with the Austrian princess his first exclamation was, "Then the
next thing will be to drive us back into our forests." In truth the
conferences at Erfurt had but skinned over a wound which nothing could
have cured but a total alteration of Napoleon's policy. The Russian
nation suffered so much from the continental system that the Czar soon
found himself compelled to relax the decrees drawn up at Tilsit in the
spirit of those previously declared at Berlin and Milan. Certain harbors
were opened partially for the admission of colonial produce and the
export of native productions; and there ensued a series of indignant
reclamations on the part of Napoleon, and haughty evasions on that of
the Czar, which, ere long, satisfied all near observers that Russia
would not be slow to avail herself of any favorable opportunity of once
more appealing to arms.

During the summer of 1811 the relations of Russia and France were
becoming every day more dubious and when towards the close of it the
Emperor of Austria published a rescript granting a free passage through
his territories to the troops of his son-in-law, England, ever watchful
of her great enemy, perceived clearly that France was about to have an
ally. Alexander had long since ceased to regard the friendship of the
great man as a blessing of heaven. Of the solemn cordiality of Tilsit,
and the more recent meeting at Erfurt, there remained in the soul of the
Czar naught but the displeasure and resentment arising from extinct
affection and deceived hopes.

From the moment in which the Russian government began to reclaim
seriously against certain parts of his conduct, Napoleon increased by
degrees his military force in the north of Germany, and the Grand Duchy
of Warsaw, and advanced considerable bodies of troops nearer and nearer
to the Czar's Polish frontier. These preparations were met by similar
movements on the other side; yet, during many months, the hope of
terminating the differences by negotiations was not abandoned. The
regulations of the Continental System were especially objected to by
Russia, and the Czar having lent his ear to the representations of the
English cabinet, asked that they be dispensed with as he declared he
could no longer submit to see the commerce of an independent Empire
trammeled for the purpose of serving the policy of a foreign power.

Napoleon admitted that it might be necessary to modify the system
complained of, and expressed his belief that it would be found possible
to devise some middle course by which the commercial interests of France
and Russia might be reconciled. A very considerable relaxation in the
enforcement of the Berlin code was at last effected, and a license
system arranged which admitted Alexander to a share in the pecuniary
advantages. Had there been no cause of quarrel between these powers
except what appeared on the face of their negotiations, it is hardly to
be doubted but a new treaty might have been effected. The Czar, however,
from the hour of Marie Louise's marriage, felt a conviction that the
diminution of the Russian power in the north of Europe would form the
next great object of Napoleon's ambition. The Czar therefore assured
himself that if war must come, there could be no question as to the
policy of bringing it on before Austria had entirely recovered from the
effects of the campaign of Wagram, and, above all, while the Peninsula
continued to occupy 200,000 of Napoleon's troops.

As concerned the Spanish armies, it might still be said that King Joseph
was in military possession of all but some fragments of his kingdom. The
English had been victorious in Portugal and the French troops in Spain
lost more lives in this incessant struggle, wherein no glory could be
achieved, than in any similar period spent in any regular campaign; and
Joseph, while the question of peace or war with Russia was yet
undecided, became so weary of his situation, that he earnestly entreated
Napoleon to place the crown of Spain on some other head. Such were the
circumstances under which the eventful year of 1812 began.

Most persuasive appeals were made to Napoleon by his ministers to
refrain from entering into a campaign of aggression against Russia. To
Fouché, minister of police, Napoleon is reported to have said, in reply,
"Is it my fault that the height of power which I have attained compels
me to ascend to the dictatorship of the world? My destiny is not yet
accomplished,--the picture exists as yet only in outline. There must be
one code, one court of appeal, and one coinage for all Europe. The
states of Europe must be melted into one nation, and Paris be its

In the arguments used by Napoleon's advisers at this time they attempted
to show him, among other things, the great extent of Alexander's
resources,--his 400,000 regulars, and 50,000 Cossacks, already known to
be in arms--and the enormous population on which he had the means of
drawing for recruits; the enthusiastic national feeling of the
Muscovites; the distance of their country; the severity of their
climate; the opportunity which a war would afford to England of urging
her successes in Spain; and the chance of Germany rising in insurrection
in case of any reverses.

With the greater part of the population of France, and especially with
the army, the threatened war was exceedingly popular. Russia, the most
extensive Empire in Europe, it was fondly imagined, was on the point of
falling before the power of the Great Nation; and England would then be
left to struggle, unaided, for mastery with France. It was deemed a
certain pledge of victory, since the Emperor himself was to lead his
veteran legions to the new scene of triumph.

Cardinal Fesch, uncle of the Emperor, appealed to him on other grounds.
The Cardinal had been greatly affected by the treatment of the Pope, and
he contemplated this new war with dread,--as likely to bring down the
vengeance of heaven upon the head of one who had dared to trample on
its vice-regent. Napoleon led the Cardinal to the window, opened it, and
pointing upwards, said, "Do you see yonder star?"

"No Sire," replied the Cardinal. "But I see it," answered Napoleon; and
the churchman was dismissed.

Trusting to this star,--his "Star of Destiny" in which he yet firmly
believed,--he was far from being awed when in April, 1812, Russia
declared war against France. It was an indefensible violation of the
treaty of Tilsit, but it showed Napoleon that Europe was determined to
crush him, and he rallied the forces of his Empire for a more terrible
conflict than he had yet been summoned to.

Not satisfied with disposing everything for war in the bosom of the
Empire, Napoleon, who wished to march into Russia at the head of his
vast army of Europe, busied himself in forming and cementing,
externally, powerful allies. Two treaties were concluded to this effect;
the one with Prussia and the other with Austria on the 24th of February
and 14th of March, 1812.

Alexander's minister was ordered in the beginning of April to demand the
withdrawal of the northern troops, together with the evacuation of the
fortress in Pomerania, in case the French government still entertained a
wish to negotiate. Napoleon replied that he was not accustomed to
regulate the distribution of his forces by the suggestions of a foreign
power. The ambassador then demanded his passports and quitted Paris.

The Emperor of France was confident, and seems to have entertained no
doubt of his success in the coming campaign. "The war" he said, "is a
wise measure, called for by the true interests of France and the general
welfare. The great power I have already attained compels me to assume
an universal dictatorship. My views are not ambitions. I desire to
obtain no further acquisition; and reserve to myself only the glory of
doing good, and the blessings of posterity."

Leaving Paris with the Empress on the 9th of May, 1812, on his way to
join the Grand Army then forming on the Polish frontier, the imperial
pair were accompanied by a continual triumph. Not merely in France but
throughout Germany the ringing of bells, music and the most enthusiastic
greetings awaited them wherever they appeared. On May 16th, the Emperor
arrived at Dresden where the Emperor of Austria, the Kings of Prussia,
Naples, Wirtemberg, and Westphalia and almost every German sovereign of
inferior rank had been invited to meet him. He had sent to request the
Czar also to appear in this brilliant assemblage, as a last chance of an
amicable arrangement, but the messenger could not obtain admission to
Alexander's presence.

Marie Louise was now sent back to France and the Russian campaign began.
Marshal Ney, with one great division of the army, had already passed the
Vistula; Junot, with another, occupied both sides of the Oder. The Czar
was known to be at Wilna, collecting the forces of his immense Empire
and entrusting the general arrangements of the approaching campaign to
Marshal Barclay de Tolly, an officer who had been born and educated in
Germany. The season was advancing and it was time that the question of
peace or war should be forced to a decision.

Napoleon, before leaving the gay court of Dresden, where he was hailed
as "the king of kings," dispatched Count de Narbonne to the Emperor
Alexander to make a fresh attempt at negotiation in order to spare the
shedding of more blood. On his return Narbonne stated that "he had found
the Russians neither depressed nor boasting; that the result of all the
replies of the Czar was, that they preferred war to a disgraceful peace;
that they would take special care not to risk a battle with an adversary
so formidable; and, finally, that they were determined to make every
sacrifice to protract the war, and drive back the invader."

Napoleon arrived at Dantzic on the 7th of June, and during the fortnight
which ensued, it was known that the final communications between him and
Alexander were taking place. On the 22nd the French Emperor broke
silence in a bulletin in which he said: "Soldiers, Russia is dragged on
by her fate; her destiny must be accomplished. Let us march; let us
cross the Niemen, let us carry war into her territories. Our second
campaign of Poland will be as glorious as the first; but our second
peace shall carry with it its own guarantee. It shall put an end forever
to that haughty influence which Russia has exercised for fifty years
over the affairs of Europe."

The Czar announced the termination of the negotiations by stating the
innumerable efforts to obtain peace and concluded in these words:
"Soldiers, you fight for your religion, your liberty and your native
land. Your Emperor is amongst you; and God is the enemy of the

Napoleon reviewed the greater part of his troops on the battlefield of
Friedland, and having assured them of still more splendid victories over
the same enemy, issued his final orders to the chief officers of his
army. The disposition of his forces when the campaign commenced was
as follows:--The left wing, commanded by Macdonald, and amounting to
30,000 men, had orders to march through Courland, with the view, if
possible, of outflanking the Russian right, and gaining the possession
of sea coast in the direction of Riga. The right wing, composed almost
wholly of Austrians, 30,000 in number, and commanded by Schwartzenberg,
was stationed on the Volhynian frontier. Between these moved the various
corps forming the grand central army under the general superintendence
of Napoleon himself, viz., those of Davoust, Ney, Jerome Bonaparte,
Eugene Beauharnais, Prince Poniatowski, Junot and Victor; and in numbers
amounting to 250,000 men. The communication of the centre and the left
was maintained by the corps of Oudinot, and those of the centre and the
extreme right by the corps of Regnier, who had with him the Saxon
auxiliaries and the Polish legion of Dombrowski. The chief command of
the whole cavalry of the host was assigned to Murat who was in person at
the headquarters of the Emperor, having immediately under his order
three divisions of horse--those of Grouchy, Montbrun and Nantousy.
Augereau, with his division was to remain in the north of Germany to
watch over Berlin and protect the communications with France. Napoleon's
base of operations, as will be seen by the map, extended over full one
hundred leagues, and the heads of his various columns were so
distributed that the Russians could not guess whether St. Petersburg or
Moscow formed the main object of his march.

[Illustration: From a Painting by Lionel Royer


The Russian army, under de Tolly, had its headquarters at Wilna, and
consisted, at the opening of the campaign, of 120,000 men. Considerably
to the left lay "the second army," as it was called, of 80,000 men
under Bagration with whom were Platoff and 12,000 of his Cossacks; while
at the extreme of that wing, "the army of Volhynia," 20,000 strong,
commanded by Tormazoff, watched Schwartzenberg. On the right of de Tolly
was Witgenstein with 30,000 men and between these again and the sea, the
corps of Essen 10,000 strong. Behind the whole line two armies of
reserve were rapidly forming at Novogorod and Smolensk, each, probably,
of about 20,000 men. The Russians actually in the field at the opening
of the campaign were, then, as nearly as can be computed, 260,000; while
Napoleon was prepared to cross the Niemen at the head of 470,000 men.

The Czar was resolved from the beginning to act entirely on the
defensive and to draw Napoleon, if possible, into the heart of his own
country ere he gave him battle. The various divisions of the Russian
force had orders to fall back leisurely as the enemy advanced,
destroying whatever they could not take with them, and halting only at
certain points where intrenched camps had already been formed for their

The difficulty of feeding half a million men in a country deliberately
wasted beforehand, and separated by so great a space from Germany, to
say nothing of France, was sure to increase at every hour and every
step. Alexander's great object was, therefore, to husband his own
strength until the Polar winter should set in around the strangers, and
bring the miseries which he thus foresaw to a crisis.

Napoleon, on the other hand, had calculated on being met by the Russians
at, or even in advance of their own frontier, (as he had been by the
Austrians in the campaign of Austerlitz and by the Prussians in that of
Jena); of gaining a great battle, marching immediately either to St.
Petersburg or Moscow, and dictating a peace within the walls of one of
the Czar's own palaces.

On June 24th the Grand Imperial Army, consolidated into three masses,
began their passage of the Niemen,--Jerome Bonaparte at Grodno, Eugene
at Pilony, and Napoleon himself near Kowno. The Emperor rode on in front
of his army at two o'clock in the morning to reconnoitre the banks,
escaping observation by wearing a Polish cloak and hat; his horse
stumbled and he fell to the ground. "A bad omen--a Roman would return,"
some one remarked. After a minute investigation he discovered a spot
near the village of Poinemen, above Kowno, suitable for the passage of
his troops, and gave orders for three bridges to be thrown across at
nightfall. The first who crossed the river were a few sappers in a boat.
All was deserted and silent on the foreign soil, and no one appeared to
oppose their proceedings with the exception of a single armed Cossack,
who asked, with an appearance of surprise, who they were and what they
wanted. "Frenchmen," was the reply; "we come to make war upon your
Emperor; to take Wilna, and deliver Poland."

The Cossack struck spurs into his horse and three French soldiers
discharged their pieces into the gloomy depths of the woods, where they
had lost sight of him, in token of hostility. There came on at the same
moment a tremendous thunder storm. Thus began the fatal invasion.

The passage of the troops was impeded for a time; as the bridge over the
Vilia, a stream running into the Niemen, had been broken by the
Russians. The Emperor, however, despising this obstacle, ordered a
Polish squadron of horse to swim the river. They instantly obeyed; but
on reaching the middle the current proved too strong for them, broke
their ranks, and swept away and engulfed many of them. Even during their
last struggles the brave fellows turned their faces towards the shore,
where Napoleon was watching their unavailing efforts with the deepest
emotion, and shouted with their dying breath, "Vive l'Empereur!"

Three of these noble-spirited patriots uttered this cry when only a part
of their faces was above the waters. The army was struck with a mixture
of horror and admiration. Napoleon watched the scene apparently unmoved,
but gave every order he could devise for the purpose of saving as many
of them as possible, though with little effect. It is probable that his
strongest feeling, even at the time, was a presentiment that this
disastrous event was but the beginning of others, at once tremendous and

As these enormous hosts advanced into the Russian territory Alexander
withdrew his armies as deliberately as the invader pushed on. Wilna, the
capital itself, was evacuated two days before the French came in sight
of it, and Napoleon took up his quarters there on the 28th of June. Here
it was found that all the magazines, which he counted on seizing, had
been burnt before the Russians withdrew. Already the imperial bulletins
began to denounce the "barbarous method" in which the enemy resolved to
conduct his defense.

Napoleon remained twenty days at Wilna during which time he redoubled
his efforts to secure quantities of provisions which were to be conveyed
along with his army; these were to render him independent of the
countries through which he might pass. The destruction of the magazines
at Wilna reassured him that he had judged well in departing from the old
system of marauding, which had been adopted in previous campaigns with
success. At the end of this period Napoleon became aware that while the
contracts entered into by his war minister were adequate for the army's
needs, the handling of such enormous quantities of provisions, under the
most favorable circumstances, must be slow and in some degree uncertain.
Thus the Emperor found himself under the necessity, either of laying
aside his invasion for another year, or of urging it in the face of
every difficulty, all of which he had forseen except the slowness of a
commissariat department.

When Napoleon arrived at Wilna, he was regarded by the people as their
liberator. A deputation was sent to him by the Diet of Warsaw entreating
his assistance towards the restoration of their ancient kingdom, the
re-establishment of Poland having been proclaimed. They came, they said,
to solicit Napoleon the Great to pronounce these few words: "Let the
kingdom of Poland exist!" and then it would exist; that all the Poles
would devote themselves to the orders of the fourth French dynasty, to
whom ages were but a moment, and space no more than a point.

Napoleon's reply was not satisfactory, "In my position, I have many
interests to reconcile," he said "and many duties to fulfill." His
answer was so extremely guarded, that the Poles became dissatisfied and
offered little or no support to the French. "Had Poland been
regenerated" says Bourrienne, "Napoleon would have found the means of
succeeding in his expedition. In his march upon Moscow, his rear and
supplies would have been protected, and he would have secured that
retreat which subsequent reverses rendered but too needful."

During this delay Alexander was enabled to withdraw the troops which he
had been maintaining on the flanks of his European domains and bring
them all to the assistance of his main army. The enthusiasm of the
Russian nation appeared in the extraordinary rapidity with which
supplies of every kind were poured at the feet of the Czar. From every
quarter he received voluntary offers of men, money, and whatever might
assist in the prosecution of the war. The Grand Duchess Anne, whose hand
Napoleon had solicited, set the example by raising a regiment on her
estate. Platoff, the veteran hetman of the Cossacks, promised his only
daughter and 200,000 rubles to the man by whose hand Napoleon should
fall. Noblemen everywhere raised troops, and displayed their patriotism
by serving in the ranks themselves and entrusting the command to
experienced officers chosen by the government.

Napoleon at length re-entered the field without having done much to
remedy the disorders of his commissariat. He at first determined to make
St. Petersburg his mark, counting much on the effects which a triumphal
entry into the capital would produce throughout the country, but his
troops meeting with some reverses at Riga and Dunaburg, he changed his
plans and resolved to march on Moscow instead.

The centre of the army was now thrown forward under Davoust with the
view of turning Barclay's position and cutting off his communication
with Bagration. This brought about an engagement with the latter on the
23rd of July near Mohilow, the French remaining in possession of the
town. The Russian commander in retreating informed Barclay that he was
now marching, not on Vitepsk, but on Smolensk.

During the three days of the 25th, 26th and 27th of July the French were
again victorious. Napoleon halted at Vitepsk for several days in order
to allow his troops to recuperate. On the 8th of August the Emperor
quitted Vitepsk and after a partial engagement at Krasnoi on the 14th,
came in sight of Smolensk on the 16th. On the 10th of August Napoleon
was observed to write eight letters to Davoust, and nearly as many to
each of his commanders. "If the enemy defends Smolensk" he said in one
of his letters to Davoust, "as I am tempted to believe he will, we shall
have a decisive engagement there, and we cannot have too large a force.
Orcha will become the central point of the army. Everything induces me
to believe that there will be a great battle at Smolensk."

The day on which the combat at Krasnoi was fought happened to be the
Emperor's birthday. There was no intention of keeping it in these
immense solitudes, and under the present circumstances of peril and
anxiety. There could be no heartfelt festival without a complete
victory. Murat and Ney, however, on giving in the report of their recent
success, could not refrain from complimenting the Emperor on the
anniversary of his nativity. A salute from a hundred pieces of artillery
was now heard,--fired according to their orders.

Napoleon, with a look of displeasure, observed, that in Russia it was
important to be economical of French powder; but he was informed in
reply, that it was Russian powder, and had been taken the night before.
The idea of having his birthday celebrated at the expense of the
Russians made Napoleon smile.

Prince Eugene also paid his compliments to the Emperor on this occasion,
but was cut short by Napoleon saying, "Everything is preparing for a
battle. I will gain that, and then we will see Moscow." Ségur says that
Eugene was heard to observe, on leaving the imperial tent, "Moscow will
destroy us!"

The first and second armies of the Czar, under Bagration and Barclay,
having at length effected a junction, retired with 120,000 men behind
the river which flows at the back of this town.

As soon as Napoleon saw these masses of men approaching from the
distance he clapped his hands with joy, exclaiming, "At last I have
them!" The moment that was to decide the fate of Russia or the French
army, had apparently arrived.

Napoleon passed along the line, and assigned to each commander his
station, leaving an extensive plain unoccupied in front between himself
and the Dneiper. This he offered to the enemy as a field of battle, but
instead of accepting the challenge Barclay and Bagration were seen next
morning in full retreat.

During the night the Russian garrison had withdrawn and joined the army
across the river. Before they departed they committed the city to
flames, and, the buildings being chiefly of wood, the conflagration,
according to the French bulletin, "resembling in its fury an eruption of
Vesuvius." "Never," said Napoleon, "was war conducted with such
inhumanity; the Russians treat their own country as if it were that of
an enemy." It now, however, began to be difficult in the extreme to
extinguish the flames created by the retreating Russians. The Emperor in
person used every effort to stop the progress of the devouring element
and render succor to the wounded. "Napoleon," says Gourgaud, "is of all
generals, whether ancient or modern, the one who has paid the greatest
attention to the wounded. The intoxication of victory never could make
him forget them, and his first thought, after every battle, was always
of them."

It was very evident that the Russian commander had no desire that
Napoleon should establish himself in winter quarters at this point. From
Smolensk the Russians retreated to Dorogoburg, and thence to Viasma;
halting at each of these towns and deliberately burning them in face of
the enemy. Having returned to Smolensk, Napoleon became a prey to the
most harassing reflections on the opportunity which had so lately
escaped him of destroying the whole of the Russian army, and attaining a
speedy conclusion of peace. Uncertainty began to gain ground with him;
vague presentiments made him desire to terminate as soon as possible
this distant campaign. "We are too far engaged to fall back," said the
Emperor on arriving at Ougea; "and if I only proposed to myself the
glory of warlike exploits, I should have but to return to Smolensk,
there plant my eagles, and content myself with extending my right and
left arms which would crush Witgenstein and Tormasoff. These operations
would be brilliant; they would finish the campaign very satisfactorily,
but they would not terminate the war. Our troops may advance, but are
incapable of remaining stationary, motion may keep them together: a halt
or retreat would at once dissolve them. Ours is an army of attack, not
of defense; of operation, not of position. We must advance upon Moscow,
gain possession of that capital, and there dictate terms of peace to the
Czar! Peace is before us; we are but eight days march from it; when the
object is so nearly attained, it would be unwise to deliberate. Let us,
therefore, march upon Moscow!"

At this period Barclay was appointed to the war ministry at St.
Petersburg, and Kutusoff, who assumed the command in his stead, was
beginning to doubt whether the system of retreat had not been far enough
persisted in. Napoleon ordered a vigorous pursuit of the enemy, hoping
to come up with and crush him, before he could reach his ancient
capital. The honor of marching with the advance guard devolved upon
Marshal Ney, who gloriously justified the confidence of Napoleon by the
intelligence and bravery which he displayed at the battle of Valoutina.
This was a most sanguinary fight. Four times were the Russians driven
from their positions, and on each occasion, brought up reinforcements,
and retook them; at length they were finally overthrown by the valorous
Gudin who charged at the head of his division, the vigor and impetuosity
of which led the enemy to believe that they were exposed to the shock of
the Imperial Guard. Thirty thousand men were brought into action on
either side, and the slaughter was terrible. Much individual bravery was
also displayed on this occasion. But for the failure of Junot,--who had
begun to show signs of approaching insanity,--to faithfully execute his
orders, the victory might have been decisive. The Emperor was much
gratified, however, at the conduct of his troops at Valoutina. He
repaired in person to the field of battle and passed in review the
divers regiments which had distinguished themselves there. "Arrived at
the 7th light infantry" says Gourgaud, "he ordered the captains to
advance, and said to them, 'Show me the best officer of the regiment.'
'Sire, they are all good--' 'that is no answer; come at least to the
conclusion of Themistocles; 'I am the first; the second is my

At length Captain Moncey, who was absent on account of his wounds, was
named. "What," said the Emperor, "Moncey who was my page! the son of the
marshal! Seek another!" "Sire, he is the best." "Ah, well!" said
Napoleon, "I shall give him the decoration."

Up till this time the 127th regiment had marched without an eagle,
having had no opportunity of distinguishing itself. The Imperial ensign
was now delivered to it by Napoleon's own hands.

The new Russian general at length resolved to comply with the clamorous
entreaties of his troops and fixed on a strong position between Borodino
and Moskowa on the highroad to Moscow, where he determined to await the
attack of Napoleon who was pushing the war vigorously, sword in hand, in
the hopes of closing hostilities by one pitched battle.

On the 5th of September Napoleon came in sight of the position of
Kutusoff and succeeded in carrying a redoubt which had been erected to
guard the high-road to Moscow. This was effected at the bayonet point,
though not without great slaughter on either side.

The next day the two armies lay in presence of each other preparing for
a great contest. On the eve of, and before daybreak on the 6th, the
Emperor was on horseback, wrapped in his gray coat, and exhibited all
the alacrity of his younger days. On his return to headquarters he
found a courier had arrived with dispatches announcing Marmont's defeat
and the deliverance of Salamanca into the hands of Wellington. M. de
Beausset also arrived bringing from Paris a portrait of Napoleon's son
which deeply moved the Emperor. He caused the picture to be placed
outside his tent where it was viewed by his officers. He then said to
his secretary, "Take it away, and guard it carefully; he sees a field of
battle too early."

The Russians were posted on an elevated plain; having a wood on their
right flank, their left on one of the villages, and a deep ravine, the
bed of a small stream, in front. Extensive field-works covered every
prominent point of this naturally very strong ground; and in the centre
of the whole line, a gentle eminence was crowned by an enormous battery,
serving as a species of citadel. The Russian army numbered about 120,000
men against which were opposed almost an equal number of French troops.
In artillery, also, the armies were equal. The Emperor fixed his
headquarters in the redoubt whence he had issued the order for battle in
the morning; the elevation of the ground permitted him to observe the
greatest part of the Russian line, and the various movements of the
enemy. The young guard and the cavalry were before him, and the old
guard in his rear.

Before the engagement Napoleon addressed his troops: "Here is the battle
you have looked for,"--he said, "for it brings us plenty; good
winter-quarters, and a safe retreat to France. Behave yourselves so that
posterity may say of each of you,--'He was in that great battle beneath
the walls of Moscow.'"

At 4 o'clock on the morning of the 7th the French advanced under cover
of a thick fog, and assaulted at once the centre, the right, and the
left of Kutusoff's position. Such was the impetuosity of the charge that
they drove the Russians from their redoubts but this was for a short
time only as they rallied under every line of the fire from the French,
and instantly advanced. Russian peasants who, till that hour, had never
seen war, and who still wore their usual rustic dress, distinguished
only by a cross sewed on it in front, threw themselves into the thickest
of the combat. As they fell, others rushed on and filled their places.
Some idea may be formed of the obstinacy of the contest from the fact
that one division of the Russians which mustered 30,000 in the morning
only 8,000 survived. These men had fought in close order, and unshaken,
under the fire of eighty pieces of artillery. The Russians had the
advantage of ground, of speaking but one language, of one uniform, of
being a single nation, and fighting for the same cause. By 2 o'clock,
however, according to the imperial bulletin, all hope had abandoned the
enemy; the battle was at an end, although the cannonade was not yet
discontinued. The Russians fought for their retreat and safety, but no
longer for the victory.

The result of this terrible day, in which the French fired sixty-six
thousand cannon balls, was that while the Russians were defeated they
were far from routed. "However great may have been the success of this
day," says Ségur, "it might have been still more so if Napoleon, instead
of finishing the battle at 4 o'clock in the afternoon had profited by
the remainder of the day to bring his Guard into the field, and thus
changed the defeat of the enemy into a complete rout."

That the Emperor suffered intensely during the day is well-known. He had
passed a restless night and a violent and incessant cough cut short his

As to his desire of preserving a reserve uninjured, and forming it from
a chosen and devoted body, such as his Guard, Napoleon explained it to
his marshals by saying: "And if there should be a second battle
tomorrow, what could I oppose to it?"

General Gourgaud has added: "If the Guard had been destroyed at the
battle of Moskowa, the French army, of which their guard constantly
formed the core, and whose courage it supported during the retreat,
could scarcely have ever repassed the Niemen."

This refusal of Napoleon to engage his Guard is generally held to have
been one of his greatest military lapses. At the time they were demanded
by Ney and others the enemy was all but beaten and the appearance of the
Emperor at their head would in all probability have closed the day with
a great victory to his credit, and, according to the opinions of many
military men of this day, have ended the Russian campaign by this one

Night found either army on the ground they had occupied at daybreak. The
number of guns and prisoners taken by the French and the Russians was
about equal; and of either host there had fallen not less than 40,000
men. Some accounts give the total number of the slain as 100,000.

The Russian commander fought desperately but was at last compelled to
retire. His army was the mainstay of the country and had it been
destroyed, the Czar would have found it difficult to form another.
Having ascertained then the extent of his loss and buried his dead,
among whom was the gallant Bagration, the Russian withdrew from his
intrenchment and marched on Mojaisk. Marshal Ney was rewarded for the
noble share he had in the success of this battle, by the title of Prince
of the Moskowa.

The small number of prisoners taken at Moskowa,--or Borodino as the
battle is frequently called,--the circumstance of the Russians being
able to carry away their wounded, and many other considerations amply
prove that such another contest would have ruined Napoleon. The Russians
ordered _Te Deums_ to be chanted at Moscow in honor of what they termed
a victory for themselves and Napoleon sent similar instructions to his
bishops in France.

Napoleon was so fortunate as to be joined exactly at this time by two
fresh divisions from Smolensk which nearly restored his muster to what
it had been when the battle began, and thus reinforced commanded that
the pursuit be pushed. On the 9th the French vanguard came in sight of
the Russian rear again and Napoleon prepared for battle but once more
Kutusoff fled precipitately in the direction of the capital.

The Emperor reached the "Hill of Salvation,"--so called because from
that eminence the Russian traveler obtains his first view of the ancient
metropolis affectionately called "Mother Moscow," and hardly less sacred
in his eyes than Jerusalem. The soldiery beheld with joy and exultation
the magnificent extent of the place; its mixture of Gothic steeples and
oriental domes; and high over all the rest the huge towers of the
Kremlin, at once the palace and citadel of the old Czars. The cry of
"Moscow! Moscow!" ran through the lines. Napoleon himself reined in his
horse, and exclaimed, "Behold, at last, that celebrated city!"

It was soon observed that no smoke came from the chimneys, and again,
that no military appeared on the battlements of the old walls and
towers. Murat, who commanded the van, now came riding up and informed
the Emperor that he had held a parley with Milarodowitch, general of the
Russian rear-guard, and that he had declared that unless two hours were
granted for the safe withdrawing of his troops, he would at once set
fire to Moscow. Napoleon immediately granted the armistice. When the
Emperor halted at the barrier he had the exterior of the city
reconnoitred; Eugene was ordered to surround it on the north, and
Poniatowski to embrace the south, whilst Davoust remained near the
centre; the Guard was then ordered to march, and, under the command of
Lefebvre, Napoleon entered Moscow, and prepared to establish himself in
the city. He found the capital deserted by all but the very lowest and
most wretched of its vast population. The French soldiers soon spread
themselves over its innumerable streets filling the magnificent palaces,
the bazaars of the merchants, the churches, convents and public
buildings of every description. The meanest soldier clothed himself in
silk and furs and drank at his pleasure the costliest wines. Napoleon,
perplexed at the abandonment of so great a city, had great difficulty in
keeping together 30,000 men under Murat, who followed Milarodowitch, and
watched the walls on that side.

At midnight the Emperor, who had retired to rest in a suburban palace,
was awakened by the cry of "Fire!" The chief market-place was in flames
and it was some hours before it could be extinguished. While the fire
still burned Napoleon established his quarters in the Kremlin, and wrote
by that fatal light, a letter to the Czar, containing proposals for
peace. In his letter he assured the Czar, "that whatever might be the
vicissitudes of war, nothing could diminish the esteem entertained for
him by his friend of Tilsit and Erfurt."

[Illustration: From a Painting by Horace Vernet


The letter was committed to a prisoner of rank but no answer was ever
received to it. On the next day the flames broke out again and in a
short time various detached parts of the city were in flames,
combustibles and matches were found in many places, and the water-pipes
cut so that attempts to control the spreading flames were almost
useless. The wind changed three times in the course of the night and the
flames always broke out again with new vigor in the quarter from which
the prevailing breeze blew right on the Kremlin. It was now found that
the governor, in abandoning the city, had set all the malefactors in the
numerous jails at liberty.

For four days the fire continued with more or less fury and four-fifths
of the city was wholly consumed. "Palaces and temples," says Karamsin
the Russian author, "monuments of arts and miracles of luxury, the
remains of ages long since past, and the creation of yesterday, the
tombs of ancestors, and the cradles of children were indiscriminately
destroyed. Nothing was left of Moscow save the memory of her people, and
their deep resolution to avenge her fall."

On the third night the equinoctial gale arose, the Kremlin itself, from
which point Napoleon had witnessed the spread of this fearful
devastation, took fire and it became doubtful whether it would be
possible for the Emperor to withdraw in safety.

About 4 o'clock in the morning, one of Napoleon's officers awoke him, to
inform him of the conflagration. He had thrown himself on the bed only
a few minutes before, after having dictated orders to the various corps
of his army, and labored with his secretaries. He watched from the
windows the course of the fire which devoured his fair conquest, and the
exclamation burst from him: "This is then how they make war! The
civilization of St. Petersburg has deceived us; they are indeed

During several hours he remained immovable at the Kremlin. The palace
was now surrounded by the flames and he consented to be conducted out of
the city. He rode out through streets in many parts arched over with
flames, and buried, where this was not the case, in one dense mantle of
smoke. "It was then" says Ségur, "that we met the Prince of Eckmuhl
(Davoust). This marshal, who had been wounded at the Moskowa, had
desired to be carried back among the flames to rescue Napoleon, or to
perish with him. He threw himself into his arms with transport; the
Emperor received him kindly, but with that composure which in danger he
never lost for a moment."

"Not even the fictions of the burning of Troy" said the Emperor, "though
heightened by all the powers of poetry, could have equalled the
destruction of Moscow."

It was in the afternoon of the 16th that Napoleon left Moscow and before
nightfall had reached Petrowsky, a country palace of the Czar, about a
league distant, and where he fixed his headquarters.

On the 20th, the flames being at length subdued, or exhausted, Napoleon
returned to the Kremlin still hoping that the Czar would relent on
learning of the destruction of his ancient and sacred metropolis. Day
after day passed and still there came no answer from Alexander. The
Emperor's position was becoming hourly more critical. On every side
there was danger; the whole forces of Russia appeared to be gathering
around him. Then, too, the season was far advanced; the stern winter of
the North was at hand and the determined hostility of the peasants
prevented the smallest supplies of provisions from being introduced into
the capital.

Daru advised the Emperor to draw in all his detachments, convert Moscow
into an intrenched camp, kill and salt every horse, and trust to
foraging parties for the rest--in a word to lay aside all thoughts of
keeping up communication with France, or Germany, or even Poland; and
issue forth from Moscow, with his army entire and refreshed, in the
commencement of the Spring. But Napoleon feared, and not without reason,
that were he and his army cut off from all communication, during six
months, the Prussians and the Austrians might throw off the yoke; while,
on the other hand, the Russians could hardly fail, in the course of so
many months, to accumulate, in their own country, a force before which
his isolated army, on re-issuing from their winter quarters would appear
but a mere speck.

Another letter was now sent by Napoleon to the headquarters of Kutusoff
for Alexander. Count Lauriston was received by the commander in the
midst of his generals and answered with such civility that the envoy
doubted not of success. In the end, however, he was informed that no
negotiations could be entertained and he declared his inability to even
sanction the journey of any French messenger to St. Petersburg, without
the authorization of his master. Kutusoff offered, finally, to send
Napoleon's letter by one of his own aides-de-camp, and to this
Lauriston was obliged to agree. The interview occurred on the 6th of
October; no answer could be expected before the 20th. There had already
been one fall of snow, and the dangers attendant on a longer sojourn in
the ruined capital were increasing every hour.

It was under such circumstances that Napoleon lingered on in the Kremlin
until the 19th of October when he decided to depart from Moscow. That
evening several divisions were put in motion and the metropolis was
wholly evacuated on the morning of the 22nd. This sudden departure was
due in part to Murat's engagement with Bennigsen at Vincovo on the 18th,
the day on which the suspension of arms expired, causing him to lose
3,000 prisoners and forty pieces of artillery. General Milarodowitch,
during a conversation with Murat a few days before, talked very frankly
of the situation. Murat looked upon peace as indispensable to Russia,
and was enlarging upon "the continued success of the French" and
having opened for them the gates of Moscow. "Yes General," replied
Milarodowitch, briskly, "the campaign is over with the French, and it is
now time it should commence with the Russians."

On the 19th of October the Emperor with 6,000 chosen horse began his
journey towards Smolensk, the care of bringing up the main body being
given to Eugene Beauharnais, while Ney commanded the rear.

As Napoleon left Moscow he said to Mortier: "Pay every attention to the
sick and wounded. Sacrifice your baggage,--everything to them. Let the
wagons be devoted to their use, and, if necessary your own saddles. This
was the course I pursued at St. Jean d' Acre. The officers will first
relinquish their horses, then the sub-officers, and finally the men.
Assemble the generals and officers under your command, and make them
sensible how necessary, in their circumstances, is humanity. The Romans
bestowed civic crowns on those who preserved their citizens; I shall not
be less grateful."

From the commencement of this march hardly a day elapsed in which some
new calamity did not befall those hitherto invincible legions. The
Cossacks of Platoff came upon one division at Kolotsk, near Borodino, on
the 1st of November, and gave them a total defeat. A second division was
attacked the day after and with nearly equal success, by the irregular
troops of Count Orloff Denizoff. The French now became separated by
attacks made by Milarodowitch and the soldiers began to suffer from
extreme hunger. On the 6th of November their miseries were heightened by
the setting in of the Russian winter. Thenceforth, between the heavy
columns of regular troops which on every side watched and threatened
them, the continued assaults of the Cossacks who hung around them in
clouds by day and by night, rushing on every detached party like the
Mamelukes of Egypt, disturbing every bivouac, breaking up bridges
before, and destroying every straggler behind them, to the terrible
severity of the climate, the frost, the snow, the wind--the sufferings
of this once magnificent army were such as have hardly been equalled in
the world's history.

The enormous train of artillery which Napoleon brought from Moscow was
soon diminished and the roads were blocked up with the spoils of the
city, abandoned of necessity, as the means of transport failed. The
horses, having been ill-fed for months, were altogether unable to resist
the united effects of cold and fatigue. They sank and stiffened by
hundreds and by thousands. The starving soldiery slew others of these
animals that they might drink their warm blood and wrap themselves in
their yet reeking skins! All discipline had vanished.

They were able to keep together some battalions of the rear-guard, and
present a bold aspect to the pursuers, the heroic Marshal Ney not
disdaining to bear a firelock, and share the meanest fatigues of his
brave followers.

The main Russian army, having advanced side by side with the French, was
now stationed to the southwest of Smolensk, in readiness to break the
enemy's march whenever Kutusoff should choose. Milarodowitch and Platoff
were hanging close behind, and thinning every hour the miserable bands
which had no longer heart, nor, for the most part, arms of any kind
wherewith to resist them. All the reports brought to headquarters by the
officers, represented Kutusoff as disposed to oppose the French army and
risk a battle, rather than abandon his positions which were on the road
he wished to close against the continued retreat of the Emperor.
Napoleon was not convinced by these reports. At daybreak, mounted on
horseback, he started out to reconnoitre the camp and disposition of the
enemy who was preparing to dispute Kalouga. As the Emperor arrived near
Malojaroslawetz a body of Cossacks was seen approaching. Napoleon and
his escort prepared to defend themselves. Rapp had scarcely time to
seize his chief's bridle and say, "It is the Cossacks, turn back!" ere a
fierce band galloped towards them. The Emperor, scorning flight, drew
his sword, and reigned his horse to the side of the road. The troop
dashed past wounding Rapp and his horse. "When Napoleon saw my horse
covered with blood," says Rapp in his "Memoirs," "he demanded if I had
been wounded. I replied that I had come off with a few bruises, upon
which he began to laugh at our adventure, although I, for my part, found
it anything but amusing." The appearance of Marshal Bessieres, who
arrived at the head of some squadrons of grenadiers of the Guard,
sufficed to stay the disorder and put the Cossacks to flight.

The Grand Army had mustered 120,000 men when it left Moscow. Including
the fragments of various divisions which met the Emperor at Smolensk it
was with great difficulty that 40,000 men could now be brought together
in anything like fighting condition. These Napoleon divided into four
columns, nearly equal in numbers; of the first which included 6,000 of
the Imperial Guard, he himself took the command, and marched with it
towards Krasnoi. The second corps was that of Eugene Beauharnais; the
third Davoust's; and the fourth destined for the perilous service of the
rear, and accordingly strengthened with 3,000 of the Guard, was
intrusted to the guidance of Marshal Ney.

Eugene and Ney at length entered Smolensk. The name of that town had
hitherto been the only spell that preserved any hope within the soldiers
of the retreat. There, they had been told, they should find food,
clothing, and supplies of all kinds, and there being once more assembled
under the eye of Napoleon, speedily reassume an aspect such as none of
the northern barbarians would dare to brave.

These expectations were far from realized. Smolensk had been almost
entirely destroyed by the Russians in the early part of the campaign.
Its ruined walls afforded only a scant shelter to the famished and
shivering fugitives, and the provisions assembled there were so
inadequate to the demands of the troops, that after the lapse of a few
days Napoleon found himself under the necessity of once more renewing
his disastrous march. While at Smolensk Napoleon received dispatches
from France, informing him that a false report of his death had
occasioned an outbreak and which threatened for a brief period the
colossal Empire he controlled. On receiving the news he exclaimed, with
deep feeling, and in the presence of his generals: "Does my power then,
hang on so slender a thread? Is my tenure of sovereignty so frail that a
single person can place it in jeopardy? Truly my crown is but ill-fitted
to my head if, in my very capital, the audacious attempt of two or three
adventurers can make it totter. After twelve years of government,--after
my marriage--after the birth of my son--after my oaths--my death would
have again plunged the country into the midst of revolutionary horrors.
And Napoleon II., was he no longer thought of?"

Napoleon left Smolensk on the 13th of November, 1812, having ordered
that the other corps should follow him on the 14th, 15th and 16th
respectively thus interposing a day's march between every two divisions.

It seems to be generally accepted that the name of Napoleon saved
whatever part of his host finally escaped from the territory of Russia.
Kutusoff appears to have exhausted the better part of his daring at
Borodino and thenceforth adhered to the plan of avoiding battle. He
seems to have been unable to again shake off that awe which had been the
growth of a hundred of Napoleon's victories;--had he been able to do so
the Emperor would probably have died on some battlefield between
Smolensk and the Beresina, or been taken a prisoner in the country
which three months before he had invaded at the head of half a million
of men. The army of Napoleon had been already reduced to a very small
fragment of its original strength, and even that fragment was now split
into four divisions against any one of which it would have been easy to
concentrate a force overwhelmingly superior.

The Emperor reached Krasnoi unmolested although the whole of the Russian
army, moving on a parallel road, were in full observation of his march;
Eugene, who followed him, was, however, intercepted on his way by
Milarodowitch, and after sustaining the contest gallantly against very
disproportionate numbers, and a terrible cannonade, was at length saved
only by the fall of night. During the darkness Eugene executed a long
and hazardous _detour_, and joined the Emperor at Krasnoi on the 17th;
the two leading divisions now united, mustered scarcely 15,000 men. It
was then thought advisable to await the arrival of Davoust's and Ney's
divisions before proceeding. Kutusoff was again urged to seize this
opportunity of pouring an irresistible force on the French position, and
although he thinned the ranks of the enemy with 100 pieces of artillery
well placed, he ventured on no closer collision than one or two isolated
cavalry charges. Napoleon, therefore, held his ground in face of all
that host, until nightfall, when Davoust's division, surrounded and
pursued by innumerable Cossacks, at length was enabled to rally once
more around his headquarters. Ney, however was still at Smolensk.

The Emperor now pushed on to relieve Eugene who was in command of the
van with orders to march on Liady and secure the passage of the Dneiper
at that point.

Davoust and Mortier were left at Krasnoi with orders to hold out as long
as possible in the hope of being there joined by Ney. Long, however,
before that gallant leader could reach this point, the Russians, as if
the absence of Napoleon had at once restored all their energy, rushed
down and forced on Davoust and Mortier the battle which Napoleon had in
vain solicited. On that fatal field the French left forty-five cannon
and 6,000 prisoners, besides the slain and wounded. The remainder with
difficulty effected their escape to Liady, where Napoleon once more
received them, and crossed the Dneiper.

Ney, meanwhile, having as directed by the Emperor, blown up whatever
remained of the walls and towers of Smolensk, at length set his
rear-guard in motion and advanced to Krasnoi, without being harassed by
any except Platoff whose Cossacks entered Smolensk ere he could wholly
abandon it. Ney continued to advance on the footsteps of those who had
thus shattered Davoust and Mortier and met with no considerable
interruption until he reached the ravine in which the rivulet Losmina
has its channel. A thick mist lay on the ground and Ney was almost on
the brink of the ravine before he perceived that it was manned
throughout by Russians, while the opposite banks displayed a long line
of batteries deliberately arranged, and all the hills behind covered
with troops.

A Russian officer appeared and summoned Ney to surrender. "A Marshal of
France never surrenders!" was his intrepid answer, and immediately the
batteries, distant only two hundred and fifty yards, opened a tremendous
storm of grape-shot. Ney, nevertheless, had the hardihood to plunge into
the ravine, clear a passage over the stream, and charge the Russians at
their arms. His small band was repelled with fearful slaughter; but he
renewed his efforts from time to time during the day, and at night,
though with numbers much diminished, still occupied his original
position in the face of a whole army interposed between him and
Napoleon. The Emperor had by this time given up all hopes of ever again
seeing anything of his rear column.

During the ensuing night Ney effected his escape--an escape so
miraculous that the history of war can scarcely furnish a parallel. The
marshal broke up his bivouac at midnight, and marched back from the
Losmina, until he came on another stream, which he concluded must also
flow into the river Dneiper. He followed this guide, and at length
reached the great river at a place where it was frozen over, though so
thinly, that the ice bent and cracked beneath the feet of the men who
crossed it in single files. The wagons laden with the wounded, and what
great guns were still with Ney, were too heavy for this frail bridge.
They attempted the passage at different points, and one after another
went down, amid the shrieks of the dying and the groans of the

The Cossacks had by this time gathered hard behind, and swept up many
stragglers, besides the sick. But Ney had achieved his great object; and
on the 20th of November he, with his small and devoted band of 1500 men,
joined the Emperor once more at Orcha. Napoleon, on seeing him received
him in his arms, and exclaimed, "What a man! What a soldier!" He could
not find words to express the admiration which the intrepid marshal had
inspired him with; he hailed him as "the bravest of the brave" and
declared with transport: "I have two hundred millions (of francs) in
the cellars of the Tuileries, and I would have given them all to save
Marshal Ney!"

The Emperor was once more at the head of his united "grand army"--a sad
remnant of its former glory and power. Between Smolensk and the Dneiper
the Russians had taken 228 guns, and 26,000 prisoners. At leaving
Smolensk Napoleon had mustered 40,000 effective men--he now could count
only 12,000, after Ney joined him at Orcha. Of these there were but one
hundred and fifty cavalry; and, to remedy this defect, officers still in
possession of horses, to the number of 500, were now formed into a
"sacred band," as it was called, commanded by General Grouchy, under
Murat, for immediate attendance upon the Emperor's person.

The Russians were now uniting all their forces for the defense of the
next great river on Napoleon's route,--the Beresina. The Emperor had
hardly resolved to cross this river at Borizoff, ere, to renew all
perplexities, he received intelligence that by a combat with Dombrowski
there the enemy had retained possession of the town and bridge. Victor
and Oudinot advanced immediately to succor Dombrowski and retook
Borizoff; but the Russians burned the bridge before re-crossing the

Napoleon now decided to pass the Beresina higher up, at Studzianska, and
forthwith threw himself into the huge forests which border the river,
adopting every stratagem by which his enemies could be puzzled as to the
immediate object of his march. His 12,000 brave and determined men were
winding their way amidst these dark woods, when suddenly the air around
them was filled with sounds which could only proceed from the march of
some far greater host. They were preparing for the worst when they
found themselves in the presence of the advanced guard of the united
army of Victor and Oudinot, who, although they had been defeated by
Witgenstein, still mustered 50,000 men, completely equipped and hardly
shaken in discipline.

Napoleon now continued his march on Studzianska, employing, however, all
his wit to confirm the belief among the Russians that he meant to pass
the Beresina at a different place, and this with so much success that
the Russian rear-guard abandoned a strong position commanding the river,
during the very night which preceded the Emperor's appearance there.

Two bridges were erected, and Oudinot had passed over before Tchaplitz,
in command of the Russian rear-guard, perceived his mistake, and
returned again toward Studzianska. Discovering that the passage had
already begun, and that in consequence of the narrowness of the only two
bridges, it must needs proceed slowly, Tchichagoff and Witgenstein now
arranged a joint plan of attack. Platoff and his indefatigable Cossacks
joined Witgenstein arriving long before the rear-guard of Napoleon could
pass the river. The French that had made the passage were attacked by
Tchaplitz, and being repelled by Oudinot left them in unmolested
possession, not only of the bridges on the Beresina, but of a long train
of wooden causeways extending for miles beyond the river over deep and
dangerous morasses which but a few sparks were needed to ignite and

Victor with the rear division, consisting of 8,000 men, was still on the
eastern side when Witgenstein and Platoff appeared on the heights. The
still numerous retainers of the camp, crowds of sick, wounded, and
women, and the greater part of the artillery were in the same situation.

When the Russian cannon began to open upon this multitude, crammed
together near the bank, and each anxiously expecting the turn to pass, a
shriek of utter terror ran through them, and men, women, horses and
wagons rushed pell-mell upon the bridges. The larger of these, intended
solely for wagons and cannon, ere long broke down precipitating all that
were upon it into the dark and half-frozen stream. "The scream that
arose at this moment," says one that heard it, "did not leave my ears
for weeks; it was heard clear and loud over the hurrahs of the Cossacks,
and all the roar of artillery."

The remaining bridge was now the only resource, and all indiscriminately
endeavored to gain a footing on it; exposed to the incessant shower of
Russian cannonade they fell and died in thousands. Victor stood his
ground bravely until late in the evening, and then conducted his
division over the bridge. Behind was left a great number of the
irregular attendants besides those soldiers who had been wounded during
the battle, and guns and baggage-carts in great quantities. The French
now fired the bridge and all those were abandoned to their fate. The
Russian account states that when the Beresina broke up in the Spring
36,000 bodies were found in the bed of the river.

On the 3d of December Napoleon reached Morghoni, and announced to his
marshals that the news he had received from Paris at Smolensk concerning
Mallet's attempt to overthrow his government by announcing the death of
the Emperor, and the uncertain relations with some of his allies,
rendered it indispensable for him to quit his army without further delay
and return to Paris with all possible speed. They were now, he said,
almost within sight of Poland; they would find plenty of everything at
Wilna. It was his business to prepare at home the means of opening the
next campaign in a manner worthy of the great nation.

At Morghoni, on the 5th, the garrison at Wilna met the Emperor and then,
having intrusted to these fresh troops, the protection of the rear, and
given the chief command to Murat, he finally bade adieu to the rulers of
his host. He set off in a sledge at midnight, accompanied by
Caulaincourt, whose name he assumed. Having narrowly escaped being taken
by a party of irregular Russians at Youpranoni, the Emperor reached
Warsaw at nightfall on the 10th of December. Here he met his ambassador,
the Abbé de Pradt, to whom he said, "I quit my army with regret; but I
must watch Austria and Prussia, and I have more weight on my throne than
at headquarters. The Russians will be rendered fool-hardy by their
successes. I shall beat them in a battle or two on the Oder, and be on
the Niemen again within a month--Monsieur L'Ambassadeur, from the
sublime to the ridiculous there is but a step."

Resuming his journey, Napoleon reached Dresden on the evening of the
14th of December, where the King of Saxony visited him, and reassured
him of his fidelity. He then resumed the road to his capital and arrived
at the Tuileries on the 18th, late at night, after the Empress had

The remnant of the Grand Army meanwhile moved on towards France in
straggling columns. They passed the Niemen at Kowno, and the Russians
did not pursue them into Prussian territory. Here about 1000 men in
arms, and perhaps 20,000 more utterly demoralized, were received with
compassion. They took up their quarters and remained for a time
unmolested, in and near Konigsberg. The French army crossed the Niemen
on the ice, on the 13th of December, defended still by Ney, who had to
fight with the Russians in Kowno. He now fought at the head of only
thirty men and was the last individual of the French army who left
Russian territory, as he did so he threw his musket into the river
defying the enemy with his last breath. When he came up with General
Dumas in Prussian Poland he was scarcely recognizable, and on being
asked who he was replied, with eyes red and glaring, "I am the
rear-guard of the Grand Army; I have fired the last musket shot on the
bridge of Kowno!"

The few who survived all these horrors, men who had fought in all
Napoleon's campaigns, and wore the cross of the Legion of Honor on their
breasts, were now so wasted with famine that they wept when they saw a
loaf of bread!

The total loss in this terrible campaign was somewhere near 450,000 men;
fatigue, hunger and cold had caused the death of 132,000; and the
Russians had taken prisoners of 193,000--including forty-eight generals
and three thousand regimental officers. The eagles and standards left in
the enemy's hands were seventy-five in number and the pieces of cannon
nearly one thousand.

[Illustration: From a Painting by H. Bellange




To the premature cold, and burning of Moscow, Napoleon attributed the
failure of his campaign in Russia. His arrival at the Tuileries had been
preceded by the 29th bulletin in which the fatal events of the campaign
were fully and graphically recited. While he had not been able to
conquer the elements he found the Senate and all the public bodies full
of adulation and willingness to obey his commands. However, what had
been foreseen by almost every person of discernment, except Napoleon,
soon followed, viz., an alliance against France by Prussia, Russia and

New conscriptions were now called for and yielded; regiments arrived
from Spain and Italy; every arsenal resounded with the preparation of
new artillery. "The wonderful energies of Napoleon's mind," says Scott,
"and the influence which he could exert over the minds of others, were
never so striking as at this period of his reign. He had returned to the
seat of his Empire at a dreadful crisis, and in a most calamitous
condition. His subjects had been ignorant for three weeks whether he was
dead or alive. When he arrived it was to declare a dreadful catastrophe.
* * * Yet Napoleon came, and seemed but to stamp on the earth, and armed
legions arose at his call: the doubts and discontents of the public
disappeared as mists at sunrising, and the same confidence which had
attended his prosperous fortunes, revived in its full extent, despite of
his late reverses."

Ere many weeks had elapsed Napoleon found himself once more in a
condition to take the field with not less than 350,000 soldiers. Such
was the effect of his new appeal to the national feelings of the French
people. Meanwhile the French garrisons dispersed over the Prussian
territory were wholly incompetent to overawe a nation which thirsted
for vengeance. The king endeavored to protect Napoleon's soldiers
but it soon became manifest that their safety must depend on their
concentrating themselves in a small number of fortified towns. Murat now
resigned command of the troops, being succeeded by Eugene Beauharnais
who had the full confidence of the Emperor. The new commander found that
Frederick William could no longer, even if he would, repress the
universal enthusiasm of the Prussians who were clamorous for war. On the
31st of January, 1813, the king made his escape to Breslau, in which
neighborhood no French were garrisoned, erected his standard and called
on the nation to rise in arms. Eugene, thereupon, retired to Magdeburg
and shut himself up in that great fortress, with as many of the troops
as he could assemble to the west of the Elbe. When Napoleon heard that
Prussia had declared war against France he said with perfect calmness,
"It is better to have a declared enemy, than a doubtful ally."

It was now six years since the fatal day of Jena, and in spite of all of
Napoleon's watchfulness the Prussian nation had recovered, in a great
measure, its energies. The people answered the call as with the heart
and voice of one man. Youths of all ranks, the highest and the lowest,
flocked indiscriminately to the standard. The women poured their
trinkets into the king's treasure, the gentlemen melted their
plate,--England poured in her gold with a lavish hand. The thunder of
the cannon of the Beresina had raised the hopes of the House of Bourbon
until Louis XVIII. finally caused to be published in England, and
distributed throughout the Continent, a proclamation in which he
addressed himself to the people adroitly supporting the common opinion
which attributed to Napoleon the prolongation of the war, and promising,
among other things, "to abolish the conscription."

The Emperor of Russia was no sooner aware of this great movement, than
he resolved to advance into Silesia. Having masked several French
garrisons in Prussian Poland, and taken others, he pushed on with his
main army to support Frederick William. Evidently he did not intend to
permit the Prussians to stand alone the first onset of Napoleon, of
whose extensive arrangements all Europe was aware.

The two sovereigns met at Breslau on the 15th of March. Tears rushed
down the cheeks of Frederick William, as he fell into the arms of
Alexander; "Wipe them," said the Czar; "they are the last that Napoleon
shall ever cause you to shed."

The aged Kutusoff having died, the command of the Russian army was now
given to Witgenstein; while that of the Prussians was intrusted to
Blucher, an officer who had originally trained under the great Frederick
and who, since the battle of Jena, had lived in retirement. The soldiers
had long before bestowed on him the title "Marshal Forwards" and they
heard of his appointment with delight. Blucher hated the very names of
France and Bonaparte, and once more permitted to draw his sword, he
swore never to sheathe it until the revenge of Prussia was complete.
Bernadotte, now the Crown Prince of Sweden, and an ingrate,--owing not
only his position but his very existence to Napoleon,--now landed at
Stralsund, and advanced through Mecklenburg while the sovereigns of
Russia and Prussia were concentrating their armies in Silesia. It was
announced and expected that German troops would join Bernadotte, so as
to enable him to open the campaign on the lower Elbe with a separate
army of 100,000 men. Wellington, too, was about to advance once more
into Spain with his victorious armies. Three great armies, two of which
might easily communicate with each other, were thus taking the field
against Napoleon at once.

Ere the Emperor once more left Paris, he named Marie Louise
Empress-Regent of France in his absence. As the time approached when he
was expected to assume the command of his army in the field his devoted
subjects again and again expressed their loyalty to him and to France.
He quitted Paris in the middle of April.

On starting to join his youthful and inexperienced army at Erfurt,
Napoleon said, "I envy the lot of the meanest peasant in my dominion. At
my age he has fulfilled his duties to his country, and he may remain at
home, enjoying the society of his wife and children; while I--I must fly
to the camp and engage in the strife of war. Such is my fate."

"My good Louise" he said at the same time, "is gentle and submissive, I
can trust her. Her love and fidelity for me will never fail(!). In the
current of events there may arise circumstances which decide the fate of
an Empire. In that case I hope the daughter of the Cæsars will be
inspired by the spirit of her grand-mother, Maria Theresa."

In three months an army of 350,000 men was raised, equipped and brought
together, and General Ségur says: "At any hour of the day or night the
Emperor, whatever he was doing, could have told the numbers, the
composition, the strength of every one of the thousands of detachments
of every branch of the service which he set in movement from every part
of the Empire, the way they were uniformed or equipped, the number of
marches each one had to make, the day, the place, even the hour at which
each was to arrive."

On the 18th he reached the banks of the Saale where the troops he had
been mustering and organizing in France had now been joined by Eugene
and the garrison of Magdeburg.

The Czar and his Prussian ally were known to be at Dresden, and it soon
appeared that, while they meditated a march westwards on Leipsic, the
French intended to move eastward with a view of securing the possession
of that great city. He had a host nearly 200,000 strong concentrating
for action while reserves of almost equal numbers were gradually forming
behind him on the Rhine. Napoleon arrived at Erfurt on the 23d of April,
whilst Marshal Ney was taking possession of Weissenfels, after a contest
which caused him to say "he had never at any one time, seen so much
enthusiasm and _sang froid_ in the infantry." And yet the veterans of
Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland and Wagram had nearly all disappeared from
the ranks, and the honor of those eagles, so long victorious, had been
committed to young conscripts, hardly conversant with their exercise,
and by no means habituated to the fatigues of war.

The armies met on the first of May,--sooner than Napoleon had ventured
to hope,--near the town of Lutzen, then celebrated as the scene of the
battle in which King Gustavus Adolphus died. The evening before the
battle Marshal Bessieres was forcing a defile near Poserna, and having,
according to custom, advanced into the very midst of the skirmishers, a
musket-ball struck him in the breast, and extended him lifeless on the
ground. His death was concealed from the brave men he had so long
commanded and by whom he was greatly beloved, until after the victory of
the following day.

The allies crossed the Elster suddenly, under the cover of a thick
morning fog, and attacked the left flank of the French, who had been
advancing in column, and who thus commenced the action under heavy
disadvantages. But the Emperor so skillfully altered the arrangement of
his army, that, ere the day closed, the allies were more afraid of being
enclosed to their ruin within his two wings, than hopeful of being able
to cut through and destroy that part of his force which they had
originally charged and weakened, and which had now become his centre.

Night interrupted the conflict and the next morning the enemy retreated,
leaving Napoleon in possession of the field. His victory was less
complete than was desirable although he lost but ten or twelve thousand
men while the allies lost above twenty thousand.

A great moral effect was, however, produced by the battle. Napoleon, who
had been regarded as already conquered, was again victorious. The
Emperor immediately sent dispatches to every court in alliance with
France, to announce the event. "In my young soldiers," he said, "I have
found all the valor of my old companions-in-arms. During the twenty
years that I have commanded the French troops I have never witnessed
more bravery and devotion. If all the Allied Sovereigns, and the
ministers who direct their cabinets, had been present on the field of
battle, they would have renounced the vain hope of causing the Star of
France to decline."

Beaten at Lutzen, Alexander and the King of Prussia fell back on
Leipsic, thence on Dresden, and finally across the Elbe to Bautzen. A
want of cavalry prevented their pursuit.

Napoleon entered Dresden on the 11th of May, and on the 12th was joined
by the King of Saxony who still adhered to him. The Saxon troops once
more decided to act in concert with the French. As Napoleon approached
Dresden, he was waited upon by the magistrates who had been treacherous
to him and to their king, and had welcomed the allies.

"Who are you?" Napoleon asked severely.

"Members of the municipality," replied the trembling burgomasters.

"Have you bread for my troops?" inquired Napoleon.

"Our resources," they answered, "have been entirely exhausted by the
requisitions of the Russians and Prussians."

"Ah!" replied Napoleon, "it is impossible, is it? I know no such word.
Get ready bread, meat and wine. You richly deserve to be treated as a
conquered people. But I forgive all from regard for your king. He is the
saviour of your country. You have been already punished by the presence
of the Russians and Prussians, and having been governed by Baron

On becoming master of Dresden, the Emperor, as usual, sent proposals of
a pacific nature to the allies, suggesting that a general congress
should assemble at Prague to treat for peace. Neither Russia nor
Prussia, however, would listen favorably to what they considered would
be an admission of their incapacity to realize their boast of speedily
dethroning "the scourge and tyrant of Europe and mankind."

Austria had been sounded, and expressed her willingness to join the
coalition on the first favorable opportunity. She was at this time
increasing her military establishment largely, and a great body of
troops was already concentrated behind the mountainous frontier of
Bohemia. Austria, therefore, was enabled to turn the scale on whichever
side she might choose.

Napoleon now determined to crush the army which had retreated from
Lutzen, ere the ceremonious cabinet of Vienna should have time to come
to a distinct understanding with the headquarters of Alexander and
Frederick William. That victory was the best method of securing
Austria's help, Napoleon clearly saw.

The allies, on their retreat, had blown up the magnificent bridge over
the Elbe at Dresden, and this being replaced in part by some arches of
wood, Napoleon now moved towards Bautzen and came in sight of the enemy
on the morning of the 21st of May. The position of the allies was almost
perfect: in their front was the river Spree; wooded hills supported
their right, and eminences well fortified their left.

The action began with an attempt to turn their right, but Barclay de
Tolly anticipated this movement and repelled it with such vigor that a
whole column of 7,000 dispersed and fled into the hills of Bohemia for

Napoleon now determined to pass the Spree in front of the enemy, and
they permitted him to do so, rather than come down from their position.
He took up his quarters in the town of Bautzen, and his whole army
bivouacked in presence of the allies.

The battle was resumed at daybreak on the 22d; when Ney on the right,
and Oudinot on the left, attempted simultaneously to turn the flanks of
the position; while Soult and Napoleon himself directed charge after
charge on the centre. During four hours the struggle was maintained with
unflinching obstinacy. The wooded heights, where Blucher commanded, had
been taken and retaken several times, ere the allies perceived the
necessity of retiring or losing the engagement. They finally withdrew,
panic-stricken, continuing their retreat with such celerity as to gain
time to rally on the roads leading to Bohemia, all others being closed
against them. The want of cavalry, however, again prevented Napoleon
from turning his success to account.

During the whole of the ensuing day Napoleon, at the head of the cavalry
of the Guard, urged pursuit and exposed at all times his own person in
the very hottest of the fire. By his side was Duroc, grand master of the
palace--his dearest friend. "Duroc," said the Emperor, on the morning of
the battle, "fortune has a spite at us to-day."

About 7 o'clock in the evening, Duroc was conversing on a slight
eminence, and at a considerable distance from the firing, with Marshal
Mortier and General Kirgener,--all three on foot,--when a cannon-ball,
aimed at the group, ploughed up the ground near Mortier, ripped open
Duroc's abdomen and struck General Kirgener dead on the spot.

Napoleon hastened to Duroc as soon as he heard of the event and was
deeply moved on beholding him. The latter, who was still conscious, said
to the Emperor: "All my life has been devoted to your service, and I
only regret its loss for the use which it might still have been to you."

"Duroc," replied the Emperor, "there is another life! it is there that
you will await me and there we shall one day meet."--"Yes, Sire, but
that will be in thirty years, when you shall have triumphed over your
enemies, and realized the hopes of your country; I have lived an honest
man and have nothing to reproach myself with. I leave a daughter, your
Majesty will be a father to her."

At Duroc's own solicitation the Emperor retired to spare him further
grief. Napoleon had ordered his troops to halt, and he remained all the
afternoon in front of his tent, surrounded by the Guard, who did not
witness his affliction without tears. He stood by Duroc while he died
and drew up with his own hand an epitaph, to be placed over his remains
by the pastor of the place, and who received two hundred napoleons to
defray the expense of a fitting monument. Thus closed the 22d.

That night Napoleon, after dictating the bulletin of the battle, wrote
the following decree, "which," says Alison, "all lovers of the arts, as
well as admirers of patriotic virtue, must regret was prevented by his
fall from being carried into execution:"--"A monument shall be erected
on Mount Cenis; on the most conspicuous space the following inscription
shall be written: 'The Emperor Napoleon, from the field of Wurschen, has
ordered the erection of this monument in testimony of his gratitude to
the people of France and of Italy. This monument will transmit, from age
to age, the remembrance of that great epoch, when, in the space of
three months, twelve hundred thousand men flew to arms, to protect the
integrity of the French Empire.'"

The allies, although strongly posted during the most of the day, had
lost 10,000 men. They continued to retreat into Upper Silesia, and
Napoleon advanced to Breslau and released the garrison of Glogau.
General Regnier obtained fresh advantage over the Russians in the affair
of Gorlitz on the following day, and on the 24th Marshal Ney forced the
passage of the Neiss and in the morning of the 25th was beyond the
Quiess where he met the Emperor.

Meanwhile, the Austrians, having watched these indecisive though bloody
fields, and daily defeats of the allies, sought to bring about an
armistice, but only with a view of gaining them time to recuperate. The
sovereigns of Russia and Prussia expressed a willingness to accept it,
and Napoleon also was desirous of bringing his disputes to a peaceful
termination until the 10th of August. He agreed to an armistice, and in
arranging its conditions, agreed to fall back out of Silesia, thus
enabling the allies to reopen communications with Berlin. On the first
of June the lines of truce to be occupied by the armies was signed, the
French Emperor returned to Dresden, and a general congress of
diplomatists prepared to meet at Prague, England alone refusing to send
a representative alleging that Napoleon had as yet signified no
intention to recede from his position with regard to Spain.

The armistice was arranged purely to gain time. Napoleon's successes,
while unproductive, were dazzling in their execution, and the allies
found it of the utmost importance to stop hostilities until the advance
of Bernadotte, and secure further time for the arrival of new
reinforcements from Russia; for the completion of the Prussian
organization and, above all, for determining the policy of Vienna.

While inferior diplomatists wasted much time in endless discussions at
Prague one interview between Prince Metternich and Napoleon, at Dresden,
brought the whole question to a definite issue. The Emperor, during the
course of their conversation, is said to have asked "What is your price?
Will Illyria satisfy you? I only wish you to be neutral--I can deal with
these Russians and Prussians single-handed."

Metternich answered that the time in which Austria could be neutral was
past; that the situation of Europe at large must be considered. He
declared that the Rhenish Confederacy must be broken up, that France
must be contented with the boundary of the Rhine and pretend no longer
to maintain her unnatural influence in Germany. Napoleon replied, "Come
Metternich, tell me honestly how much the English have given you to take
their part against me?"

At length the Austrian Court sent a formal document containing its
ultimatum, the tenor of which Metternich had indicated in his
conversation. Napoleon was urged by his ministers, Talleyrand and
Fouché, two arch-intriguers, to accede to the proffered terms. Their
arguments were backed by intelligence of the most disastrous character
from Spain. Wellington, on perceiving that Napoleon had greatly weakened
his armies in that country, while preparing for his campaign against
Prussia and Russia, had once more advanced and was now in possession of
the supreme authority over the Spanish armies as well as the Portugese
and English, and had appeared in greater force than ever. The French
had suffered defeat at several points and on the 21st of June, Joseph
Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan had sustained a total defeat, and the
former was now retreating towards the Pyrenees.

Berthier concurred in pressing upon the Emperor the desirability of
making peace on the terms proposed, or to draw in his garrisons on the
Oder and Elbe, whereby he would strengthen his army with 50,000 veterans
and retire to the Rhine. There, it was urged, with such a force
assembled on such a river, and with all the resources of France behind
him, he might bid defiance to the united armies of Europe, and, at
worst, obtain a peace that would leave him in secure tenure of a nobler
dominion than any of the kings, his predecessors, had even hoped to
possess. "Ten lost battles," he replied, "would not sink me lower than
you would have me place myself by my own voluntary act; but one battle
gained enables me to seize Berlin and Breslau and make peace on terms
compatible with my glory."

Finally, Metternich suddenly broke off all negotiations, and on the 12th
of August, Austria declared war against France. It was an act of bold
and shameless perfidy; but Metternich was richly rewarded for his
treachery by the crowned heads of Europe. It was then that Napoleon
discovered the depth of the abyss on which he had set his foot. He had
lived in the hopes that his alliance with the House of Austria, by
marriage with Marie Louise, would prevent the Archduchess' father from
taking the field against him, but in this he was sadly disappointed.
Austria now signed an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Russia and
Prussia. Thus was consolidated at last the great coalition. The
sovereigns of the nations of Europe had leagued together and sworn to
crush the Emperor of France.

On the night between the 10th and 11th rockets answering rockets, from
height to height along the frontiers of Bohemia and Silesia, had
announced to all the armies of the allies this accession of strength and
the immediate recommencement of hostilities. Napoleon had now been
several weeks with his army at Dresden and it had been fondly hoped by
the populace that on the birthday of the French Emperor, a peace with
Europe would be signed. They had prepared a magnificent festival in his
honor and to celebrate the restoration of peace. Their hopes were
considerably lessened, however, by an order for the fête to take place
on the 10th in conjunction with a grand review of the army. On the great
plain of Ostra-Gehege, near Dresden, the imperial troops were drawn up,
and in the presence of the King of Saxony, the Emperor's brothers,
marshals, and the chief dignitaries of the Empire, Napoleon held his
last review. Twenty thousand of the Old Guard, five thousand of whom
were mounted on fine horses richly caparisoned, with the whole of his
vast army, defiled before their Imperial Commander. At night a banquet
was spread for his gallant veterans.

Military preparations had been progressing on both sides during the
cessation of hostilities. Napoleon now had a force of 250,000 men
distributed as follows: Macdonald lay with 100,000 at Buntzlaw, on the
border of Silesia; another corps of 50,000 had their headquarters at
Zittau, in Lusatia; St. Cyr, with 20,000 was at Pirna on the great pass
from Bohemia; Oudinot at Leipsic, with 60,000; while with the Emperor
himself at Dresden remained 25,000 of the Imperial Guard, the flower of

Behind the Erzgebirge, or Metallic Mountains, and having their
headquarters at Prague, lay the grand army of the allies, consisting of
120,000 Austrians and 80,000 Russians and Prussians; commanded in chief
by the Austrian general Schwartzenberg. The French corps at Zittau and
Pirna were prepared to encounter these, should the attempt to force
their way into Saxony, either on the right or the left of the Elbe. The
second army of the allies, consisting of 80,000 Russians and
Prussians,--called the army of Silesia,--and commanded by Blucher, lay
in advance of Breslau. Lastly, the Crown Prince of Sweden, Bernadotte,
who had been influenced by a belief that he was to succeed to the throne
of France, was at Berlin, with 30,000 of his own troops, and 60,000
Russians and Prussians. Oudinot and Macdonald were so stationed that he
could not approach the upper valley of the Elbe without encountering one
of them, and they also had the means of mutual communication and

Napoleon had evidently arranged his troops with the view of making
isolated assaults, and beating them in detail. He was opposed, however,
by generals who were well acquainted with his tactics but none of whom,
except Blucher, was above mediocre in generalship. The three allied
commanders had prepared counter schemes to frustrate his arrangements,
having agreed that whosoever of them should be first assailed or pressed
by the French, they should on no account accept battle, but retreat;
thus tempting Napoleon in person to follow, leaving Dresden open to the
assault of some other great branch of their confederacy, and to enable
them at once to seize all his magazines, to break the communications
between the remaining divisions of his army, and interpose a hostile
force in the rear of them all--between the Elbe and the Rhine.

This plan of campaign is believed to have been drawn up by two of
Napoleon's old marshals--Bernadotte and Moreau--both traitors. The
latter had just returned from America on the invitation of the Emperor
Alexander, whither he had gone after being exiled, and had joined the
Allies in their warfare on the French Emperor.

The first movement was made by Blucher, and no sooner did Napoleon
become aware that he was threatening the position of Macdonald than he
quitted Dresden. He left with his Guard and a powerful force of cavalry
on the 15th of August, and proceeded to the support of his marshal. The
Prussian commander adhered faithfully to the general plan and retired
across the Katsbach, in the face of his enemies. While in pursuit of him
Napoleon was informed that Schwartzenberg had rushed down from the
Bohemian hills and abandoning Blucher to the care of Macdonald, sent his
Guard back to Dresden leaving for the same point himself on the 23d.

Schwartzenberg made his appearance on the heights to the south of the
Saxon capital on the 25th, having driven St. Cyr and his 20,000 men
before him.

The army of St. Cyr had thrown itself into the city of Dresden and on
the 26th were assailed in six columns, each more numerous than its
garrison. The French marshal had about begun to despair when the
Imperial Guard made its appearance, crossing the bridge from the eastern
side of the Elbe, and in their midst was the Emperor himself. His
arrival was most timely and the two sallies executed by those troops,
hot and tired from their long and tiresome march, caused the allies to
be driven back some distance. Night then set in and the two armies
remained very near together until the next morning when the battle was
renewed amidst a storm of wind and rain.

[Illustration: From a Drawing by F. Grenier


The Emperor, by movements most phenomenal, now had 200,000 men gathered
round him, and he poured them out with such skill on either flank of the
enemy's line, that ere the close of the day they were forced to
withdraw. At 3 o'clock the battle of Dresden was definitely gained for
Napoleon. The allied monarchs, in danger of losing their communication
with Bohemia, were obliged to provide for their safety and beat a
retreat leaving in the power of the Conqueror from twenty-five to thirty
thousand prisoners, forty flags, and sixty pieces of cannon.

Napoleon remained on the field until his victory was decided, and then
returned to Dresden on horseback; his gray-coat, and weather-worn hat
streaming with water, and his whole appearance forming a singular
contrast to that of Murat, who rode by his side with all the splendor
of his usual battle-dress. The latter had, however, especially
distinguished himself during the action.

On either side 8,000 men had been slain or wounded and one of the ablest
of all the enemy's generals--Moreau, had fallen. Early in the day
Napoleon had observed a group of reconnoitring officers and ordered that
ten cannon be prepared at once. He believed that he recognized in the
group "the traitor Moreau." He at once ordered that the heavy guns,
charged with all their power, be pointed in that direction. He
superintended the operation and decided himself the angle of elevation,
the aim and the moment to fire. Ten pieces went off at once, carrying a
storm of cannon-shot over the heads of the contending armies. This was
followed by a movement which was thought to indicate that some person of
importance had been wounded.

A peasant came in the evening and brought with him a bloody boot and a
grey-hound, both the property, he said, of a great man who was no more;
the words on the dog's collar were: "I belong to General Moreau." Moreau
was dead. Both his legs had been shot off. It is said he continued to
smoke a cigar while the surgeon dressed his wounds, in the presence of
Alexander, and died shortly after.

The fatigues Napoleon had undergone between the 15th and 28th of August
now overcame him and he was unable to remain with the columns in the
rear of Schwartzenberg, but returned to Dresden. Here he learned of
Vandamme's failure in an engagement in the valley of Culm with a
Prussian corps commanded by Count D'Osterman, wherein the French
lieutenant laid down his arms with 8,000 prisoners. This news reached
Napoleon, still sick, at Dresden. "Such," he said to Murat, "is the
fortune of war--high in the morning, low ere night; between triumph and
ruin there intervenes but one step."

No sooner did Blucher perceive that Napoleon had retired from Silesia
than he resumed the offensive, still carrying out Moreau's advice,
"attack Napoleon where he is not!" and descended from the position he
had taken at Jauer. He encountered Macdonald,--who was by no means
prepared for him,--on the plains between Wahlstadt and the river
Katsbach, on the 26th of August, and after a hard fought day, gained a
complete victory. The French lost 15,000 men and 100 guns and fell back
on Dresden. Oudinot was defeated on the 23d of August by Bernadotte at
Gross-Beeren and Ney suffered like reverses on the 7th of September at
Dennewitz, leaving 10,000 prisoners and forty-six guns in the hands of

Napoleon now recovered his health and activity, and the exertions he
made at this time were never surpassed, even by himself. On the 3d of
September he was in quest of Blucher who had now advanced near to the
Elbe, but the Prussians retired and baffled him as before. Returning to
Dresden he received the news of Dennewitz and immediately afterwards
heard that Witgenstein had a second time descended towards Pirna. He
flew thither on the instant, the Russian gave way, according to the plan
of campaign, and Napoleon returned once more to Dresden. Again he was
told that Blucher on the one side, and Witgenstein on the other, were
availing themselves of his absence, and advancing. He once more returned
to Pirna; a third time the Russian retired. Napoleon followed him as far
as Peterswald and once more returned to his centre point.

Bernadotte and Blucher finally effected a junction to the west of the
Elbe, despite the heroic exertions of Ney who, on witnessing the
combination of these armies retreated to Leipsic. Napoleon now ordered
Regnier and Bertrand to march suddenly from Dresden to Berlin in the
hope of recalling Blucher, but without success. Meantime Schwartzenberg
was found to be skirting round the hills to the westward, as if for the
purpose of joining Blucher and Bernadotte, in the neighborhood of

It became manifest that Leipsic was now becoming the common centre
towards which the forces of France and all her enemies were converging.
Napoleon reached that venerable city on the 15th of October and almost
immediately the heads of Schwartzenberg's columns began to appear
towards the south. Napoleon, having made all his preparations,
reconnoitred every outpost in person, and distributed eagles to some new
regiments which had just joined him. The young soldiers, with a splendid
ceremony, swore to die rather than witness the dishonor of France. Five
hundred thousand men were now in presence of each other under the walls
or in the environs of Leipsic and a grand battle had become inevitable.

At midnight three rockets, emitting a brilliant white light, sprang into
the heavens to the south of the city. These marked the position on which
Schwartzenberg--having with him the Emperor of Austria, as well as
Alexander and Frederick William, had fixed his headquarters. They were
answered by four rockets of a deep red color ascending from the northern

Napoleon now became convinced that he was to sustain, on the morrow, the
assault of Blucher and Bernadotte as well as the grand army of the
allies. Blucher was indeed ready to co-operate with Schwartzenberg, and
though the Crown Prince had not yet reached his ground, the numerical
strength of the enemy was very great. Napoleon had with him to defend
the line of villages to the north and south of Leipsic, 134,000 infantry
and 22,000 cavalry; while, even in the absence of Bernadotte, who might
be hourly looked for, the allies mustered not less than 340,000
combatants, including 54,000 cavalry.

At daybreak on the 16th of October, the battle began on the southern
side, the allies charging the French line there six times in succession,
and were as often repelled. But it was not sufficient for the Emperor to
resist with success and to hold his positions; he had, more than ever,
need of a signal triumph, of a decisive victory; and when his enemies
failed in their first attack, it was for him to attack them briskly in
turn without giving them time to stay the disorder and discouragement of
their columns, and to replace by fresh troops the fatigued and beaten
soldiers; and this Napoleon did. He at once charged and with such
effect, that Murat's cavalry were at one time in possession of a great
gap between the two wings of the enemy. The Cossacks of the Russian
Imperial Guard, however, encountered the French horse, and pushed them
back again, preserving the army of the allies from a total defeat. The
combat raged without intermission until nightfall, when both armies
bivouacked exactly where the morning light had found them. "The allies
were so numerous" said Napoleon at St. Helena, "that when their troops
were fatigued they were regularly relieved as on dress parade!" With
such a numerical superiority, they could scarcely be definitely beaten;
therefore, notwithstanding the prodigies of valor performed by the
French army, the victory remained almost undecided. In the centre and to
the right the French had maintained their position but on the left
treachery made them lose ground.

Marmont commanded on this side. Blucher attacked him with a vastly
superior force in numbers and while nothing could be more obstinate than
his defense, he lost many prisoners and guns, was driven from his
original ground, and occupied when the day closed, a new position, much
nearer the walls of the city.

Napoleon became convinced that he must at last retreat from Leipsic and
he now made an effort to obtain peace. General Merfeld, the same
Austrian officer who had come to his headquarters after the battle of
Austerlitz, to pray for an armistice on the part of the Emperor
Francis, had been made prisoner in the course of the day, and Napoleon
resolved to employ him as his messenger. Merfeld informed him that the
King of Bavaria had at length acceded to the alliance, thus adding
greatly to his perplexities in finding a new enemy stationed on the line
of his march to France.

The Emperor asked the Austrian to request for him the personal
intervention of Francis. "I will renounce Poland and Illyria" said he,
"Holland, the Hanse Towns, and Spain. I will consent to lose the
sovereignty of the kingdom of Italy, provided that state remain as an
independent one, and I will evacuate all Germany. Adieu! Count Merfeld.
When on my part you name the word armistice to the two emperors, I doubt
not the sound will awaken many recollections."

Napoleon received no answer to his message. The allied princes had sworn
to each other to entertain no treaty while one French soldier remained
on the eastern side of the Rhine. He therefore prepared for the
difficult task of retreating with 100,000 men, through a crowded town,
in presence of an enemy already twice as numerous, and in hourly
expectation of being joined by a third great and victorious army. During
the 17th the battle was not renewed except by a distant and partial
cannonade. The allies were determined to have the support of Bernadotte
in the decisive contest.

On the morning of the 18th the battle began again about 8 o'clock and
continued until nightfall without intermission. Never was Napoleon's
generalship or the gallantry of his troops more thoroughly tested than
on this terrible day. He again commanded on the south and again, in
spite of the vast superiority of the enemy's numbers, the French
maintained their ground to the end. On the north the arrival of
Bernadotte enabled Blucher to push his advantages with irresistible
effect; and the situation of Marmont and Ney was further perplexed by
the shameful defection of 12,000 Saxons who went over with all their
artillery to the enemy in the very midst of the battle. These Saxons,
forming nearly a third of the left, ran over to the Russians, entered
their ranks, and at Bernadotte's request discharged their artillery on
the French, their fellow-soldiers, whom they had just abandoned!

The loss on either side had been very great. Napoleon's army consisted
chiefly of very young men, many were merely boys, yet they fought as
bravely as the Guard. The failure of the Emperor was partly occasioned
by a want of ammunition; as in the course of five days, having fired
more than two hundred and fifty thousand shots, his troops had not
sufficient to continue the firing two hours longer. As the nearest
reserves were at Magdeburg and Erfurt, Napoleon determined to march for
the latter place. He gave orders at midnight for the commencement of the
inevitable retreat, and while the darkness lasted, the troops continued
to file through the town, and across the two bridges, over the Pleisse,
beyond its walls. One of these bridges was a temporary fabric and broke
down ere daylight came to show the enemy the movement of the retreating

The confusion necessarily accompanying the march of a whole army,
through narrow streets, and upon a single bridge, was fearful. The
allies stormed at the gates on either side, and, but for the heroism of
Macdonald and Poniatowski, to whom Napoleon intrusted the defense of
the suburbs, it is doubted whether he himself could have escaped in
safety. At 9 in the morning of the 19th Napoleon bade farewell to the
King of Saxony who had remained all the while in the heart of his
ancient city. The King was left to make whatever terms he could with the
Allied Sovereigns.

The battle was now raging all round the walls and at 11 o'clock the
allies had gathered close to the bridge. The officer to whom Napoleon
had committed the task of blowing up the structure, when the advance of
the enemy should render this necessary, set fire to the train much too
soon. The crowd of men, urging each other on to a point of safety could
not at once be stopped and soldiers, horses and cannon, rolled headlong
into the deep, but narrow river. Marshal Macdonald swam the stream in
safety, but the gallant Poniatowski, who defended the suburbs inch by
inch, and had been twice wounded ere he plunged his horse into the
current, sank to rise no more. This order was given to Poniatowski by
the Emperor himself: "Prince" said Napoleon to him, "you will defend the
southern faubourg." "Sire" he replied, "I have but few people." "Ah!
well! you will defend yourself with what you have." "Ah! Sire, we will
maintain it! We are always ready to perish for your Majesty." The
illustrious, unfortunate Pole kept his word; he was never again to
behold the Emperor. Later Napoleon said of him: "Poniatowski was a noble
man, honorable and brave. Had I succeeded in Russia, I intended to make
him king of Poland."

The body of the Prince was found on the fifth day by a fisherman. He had
on his gala uniform, the epaulets of which were studded with diamonds,
and upon his fingers were several rings covered with brilliants, while
his pockets contained snuff-boxes of considerable value, and other
trinkets. Many of these were eagerly purchased by Polish officers who
had been made prisoners. Twenty-five thousand Frenchmen, the means of
escape being entirely cut off, now laid down their arms within the city
with more than two hundred pieces of cannon. In killed, wounded and
prisoners, Napoleon lost at Leipsic at least 50,000 men.

"This defeat at Leipsic" says St. Amand, "was for Napoleon a combination
of grief and surprise. Of all the battles he had fought, this was the
first that he had lost. Up to that time he could boast that if he had
been conquered by the elements he had never been conquered by man; and
now he was to know for himself the sufferings he had inflicted on
others. He was to learn by personal experience the bitterness of defeat,
the anguish of retreat, the desperation of useless bloodshed. War, which
up to this time had been a source of gratification to his unparalleled
pride, now showed to him its horrors, with its humiliations and
inexpressible anguish. The hour had struck when he could make tardy
reflections on the emptiness of genius and glory on the intoxication of
pride that had turned his head."

The retreat of the French through Saxony was a sad ending to the
auspicious beginning which the Emperor had opened the campaign with.
Napoleon conducted himself as became a great mind amidst great
misfortunes; he appeared at all times calm and self-possessed, receiving
every day that he advanced new tidings of evil, for the peasantry was
hostile, supplies scarce, and added to this was the persevering pursuit
of the Cossacks who attacked at every opportunity.

The Emperor halted for two days at Erfurt, where extensive magazines had
been established, employing all his energies in the restoring of
discipline. He resumed his march on the 25th of October, 1813, towards
the Rhine. The Austro-Bavarians hastened to meet him and had taken up a
position amidst the woods near Hanau before the Emperor reached the
Mayne. He came up with them on the morning of the 30th, and his troops
charged on the instant with the fury of desperation. Napoleon cut his
way through ere nightfall, and Marmont, with the rear, had equal success
on the 31st. In these actions the French lost 6,000 men but the enemy
had 10,000 killed or wounded, and lost 4,000 prisoners.

The mill on the river Kinzig which runs without the town, was the scene
of many desperate struggles. Here the French drove the Bavarians to the
banks, precipitating hundreds into the deep stream. The miller, however,
at the risk of his life, at length coolly went out, amidst a shower of
balls and stopped the flood-gates, so as to leave a safe retreat to the
Bavarians over the mill-dam. The side of the town next to the scene of
battle was constantly taken and retaken by the contending armies, and
during the night of the 30th the watch-word was changed not less than
seven times. Six of the Austro-Bavarian's generals were killed or
wounded and both cannon and flags were left in the power of the

The pursuit of Napoleon, which had been intrusted to the Austrians, was
far from vigorous and no considerable annoyance succeeded the battle of
Hanau. The relics of the French host, now reduced to 60,000 men, at
length passed the Rhine; and the Emperor, having quitted them at
Mayence, arrived in Paris on the 9th of November.



By the defeat of the Emperor in the campaign of 1813 the Confederation
of the Rhine was dissolved forever. The princes who adhered to that
league were now permitted to sue for forgiveness by bringing a year's
revenue and a double conscription to the banner of the Allies.
Bernadotte turned from Leipsic to reduce the garrisons which Napoleon
had not seen fit to call in, and one by one they fell, though in most
cases, particularly at Dantzic, Wirtemberg and Hamburg, the resistance
was obstinate and long.

The Crown Prince of Sweden having witnessed the reduction of some of
these fortresses, and intrusted the siege of others to his lieutenants,
invaded Denmark and the government of that country severed its long
adhesion to Napoleon by a treaty concluded at Kiel on the 14th of
January, 1814. Sweden yielded Pomerania to Denmark; Denmark gave up
Norway to Sweden; and 10,000 Danish troops having joined his standard,
Bernadotte turned his face towards the Netherlands. Holland also
revolted after Leipsic, the Prince of Orange returning in triumph from
England and assumed administration of affairs in the November following.
On the side of Italy, Eugene Beauharnais was driven beyond the Adige by
an Austrian army headed by General Hiller, and it was not at all likely
that he could hope to maintain Lombardy much longer. To complete
Napoleon's perplexity his brother-in-law, Murat, was negotiating with
Austria and willing, provided Naples was guaranteed to him, to array
the force of that state on the side of the Confederacy. Beyond the
Pyrenees, Soult, who had been sent from Dresden to retrieve, if
possible, the fortunes of the army defeated in June at Vittoria, had
been twice defeated; the fortresses had fallen, and except a detached,
and now useless force under Suchet in Catalonia, there remained no
longer a single French soldier in Spain.

Such were the tidings which reached Napoleon from his Italian and
Spanish frontiers at the very moment when it was necessary for him to
make head against the Russians, the Austrians, and the Germans, chiefly
armed and supplied at the expense of England, and now rapidly
concentrating in three great masses on different points of the valley of
the Rhine. The royalists, too, were exerting themselves indefatigably in
the capital and the provinces, having recovered a large share of their
ancient influence in the society of Paris even before the Russian
expedition. The Bourbon princes watched the course of events with eager
hope. The republicans, meanwhile, were not inactive. They had long since
been alienated from Napoleon by his assumption of the imperial dignity,
his creation of orders and nobles, and his alliance with the House of
Austria; these men had observed, with hardly less delight than the
royalists, that succession of reverses which had followed Napoleon in
his last two campaigns. Finally, not a few of Napoleon's own ministers
and generals were well prepared to take a part in his overthrow.
Talleyrand, and others only second to him in influence, were in
communication with the Bourbons, before the allies crossed the Rhine.
"Ere then," said Napoleon, "I felt the reins slipping from my hands."

The Allied Princes issued at Frankfort, a manifesto on the 1st of
December in which the sovereigns announced their belief that it was for
the interests of Europe that France should continue to be a powerful
state, and their willingness to concede to her, even now, greater extent
of territory than the Bourbon kings had ever claimed--the boundaries,
namely, of the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. Their object in
invading France was to put an end to the authority which Napoleon had
usurped over other nations. The hostility of Europe, they said, was
against,--not France, but Napoleon--and even as to Napoleon, against not
his person but his system. These terms were tendered to the Emperor
himself, and although he authorized Caulaincourt to commence
negotiations in his behalf, it was merely for the purpose of gaining

Napoleon's military operations were now urged with unremitting energy.
New conscriptions were called for, and granted; every arsenal sounded
with the fabrication of arms. The press was thoroughly aroused and with
its mighty voice warned the allies against an invasion of the sacred
soil of France. The French Senate was somewhat reluctant, however; they
ventured to hint to the Emperor that ancient France would remain to him,
even if he accepted the proposals of the allies. "Shame on you," cried
the Emperor, "Wellington has entered the south, the Russians menace the
northern frontier, the Prussians, Austrians, and Bavarians the eastern.
Shame! Wellington is in France and we have not risen _en masse_ to drive
him back! All my allies have deserted--the Bavarian has betrayed me. No
peace until we have burned Munich! I demand a levy of 300,000 men--with
this and what I already have, I shall see a million in arms. I will
form a camp of 100,000 at Bordeaux; another at Mentz; a third at Lyons.
But I must have grown men: these boys only serve to incumber the
hospitals and the road-sides. Abandon Holland! Sooner yield it back to
the sea! Senators, an impulse must be given--all must march--you are
fathers of families--the head of the nation--you must set the example.
Peace! I hear of nothing but peace when all around should echo to the
cry of war!"

The Senate drew up and presented a report which renewed the Emperor's
wrath. He reproached them openly with designing to purchase inglorious
ease for themselves, at the expense of his honor. "In your address" he
said, "you seek to separate the sovereign from the nation. I alone am
the representative of the people. And which of you could charge himself
with a like burden? The throne is but of wood, decked with velvet. If I
believed you, I should yield the enemy more than he demands; in three
months you shall have peace, or I will perish. It is against me that our
enemies are more embittered than against France, but on that ground
alone am I to be suffered to dismember the State? Do not sacrifice my
pride and my dignity to obtain peace. Yes, I am proud because I am
courageous; I am proud because I have done great things for France.
* * * You wished to bespatter me with mud, but I am one of those men who
may be killed yet not dishonored.

"Return to your homes * * * even supposing me to have been in the wrong,
there was no occasion to reproach me publicly; dirty linen should be
washed at home. For the rest; _France has more need of me, than I have
of France_."

Having uttered these words the Emperor repaired to his council of state
and there denounced the Legislative Senate as one composed of one part
of traitors and eleven of dupes. "In place of assisting," he said, "they
impede me. Our attitude alone could have repelled the enemy--they invite
him. We should have presented a front of brass--they lay open wounds to
his view. I will not suffer their report to be printed. They have not
done their duty, but I will do mine--I dissolve the Legislative Senate!"

The Pope was now released from his confinement and returned to Rome
which he found in the hands of Murat, who had ere then concluded his
treaty with Francis and was advancing into the north of Italy, with the
view of co-operating in the campaign against Beauharnais, with the
Austrians on one side and on the other with an English force recently
landed at Leghorn, under Lord William Bentinck. Ferdinand also returned
to Spain, after five years of captivity, amid universal acclamations.
"When first informed of Murat's treason, by the Viceroy (Eugene)," says
Bourrienne "the Emperor refused to believe it. 'No!' he exclaimed to
those about him, 'It cannot be! Murat--to whom I have given my sister!
Eugene must be misinformed. It is impossible that Murat has declared
himself against me.' It was, however, not only possible but true." As
St. Amand well says, in speaking of Murat's desertion: "He might have
united his forces with those of Prince Eugene and have attacked the
invasion in the rear; he would have saved the Empire of France; he would
have died on the throne, covered with glory, instead of being shot!"

For a time the inhabitants of the French provinces on the frontier
believed it impossible that any foreign army would dare to invade their
soil, and it was not until Schwartzenberg had crossed the Rhine between
Basle and Schaffhausen on the 20th of December, that they were willing
to believe in the sincerity of the Allies and their determination to
carry the war into France itself. Disregarding the claim of the Swiss to
preserve neutrality, Schwartzenberg advanced through that territory with
his grand army, unopposed--an indefensible act in itself, and began to
show himself in Franche-Compté, in Burgundy, even to the gates of Dijon.

On the 1st of January, 1814, the Silesian army, under Blucher, crossed
the river at various points between Rastadt, and Coblentz; and shortly
after, the army of the north, commanded by Witzingerode and Bulow, began
to penetrate the frontier of the Netherlands.

The Pyrenees had been crossed by Wellington and the Rhine by three
mighty hosts, amounting altogether to 300,000 men and including every
tongue and tribe from the Germans of Westphalia to the wildest
barbarians of Tartary. "Seven hundred thousand men," says Dumas,
"trained by their very defeats in the great school of Napoleonic war,
were advancing into the heart of France, passing by all fortified places
and responding, the one to the other, by the single cry, 'Paris!

The allies proclaimed everywhere as they advanced, that they came as the
friends, not the enemies of the French nation, and that any of the
peasantry who took up arms to oppose them must be content to abide the
treatment of brigands; a flagrant outrage against the most sacred and
inalienable rights of mankind.

Meanwhile, nearer and nearer each day the torrent of invasion rolled on,
sweeping before it, with but slight resistance, the various corps which
had been left to watch the Rhine. Ney, Marmont, Victor and Mortier,
commanding in all about 50,000 men, retired of necessity before the

[Illustration: From a Painting by H. Bellange


It now became apparent that the allies had resolved to carry the war
into the interior without waiting for the reduction of the great
fortresses on the Rhenish frontier. They passed on with hosts
overwhelmingly superior to all those of Napoleon's lieutenants, who
withdrew, followed by crowds of the rustic population, rushing onwards
towards Paris by any means of transport. Carts and wagons, filled with
terrified women and children thronged every avenue to the capital.

The Emperor now resolved to break silence to the Parisians and prepared
to reappear in the field. On the 22d of January, 1814, the official news
of the invasion appeared. The next morning--Sunday--the officers of the
National Guard to the number of nine hundred were summoned to the
Tuileries. Napoleon took his station in the centre of the hall and
immediately the Empress, with her son, the King of Rome, carried in the
arms of Countess Montesquiou, appeared at his side.

"Gentlemen," said the Emperor "France is invaded; I go to put myself at
the head of my troops, and with God's help and their valor, I hope soon
to drive the enemy beyond the frontier." Here he took Marie Louise in
one hand and her son in the other, and continued, "But if they should
approach the capital, I confide to the National Guard the Empress and
the King of Rome--my wife and my child!"--Several officers stepped from
their places and approached with tears in their eyes.

The Emperor spent part of the 24th of January in reviewing troops in the
court-yard of the Tuileries, while the snow was falling, and at 3
o'clock in the morning of the 25th once more left his capital, after
having burnt his most secret papers, and embraced his wife and son for
the last time, to begin his fifteenth campaign. Thiers says of this
farewell: "Napoleon, when he left, unconscious that he was embracing
them for the last time, hugged tenderly his wife and son. His wife was
in tears, and she feared she would never see him again. She was in fact
fated never to see him, although the enemy's bullets were not to kill
him. She would certainly have been much surprised if she had been told
that this husband, then the object of all her care, was to die on a
distant island, the prisoner of Europe, and forgotten by her. As for
him, no prediction would have astonished him,--whether the cruelest
desertion, the most ardent devotion,--for he expected anything from men;
he knew them to the core, though he treated them as if he did not know
what they really were."

The Emperor again appointed Marie Louise Empress-Regent, placed his
brother Joseph at the head of her council, gave orders for raising
military defenses around Paris, and for converting many public buildings
into hospitals. He arrived at Chalons ere midnight and found that
Schwartzenberg with 97,000 men, and Blucher with 40,000 men, were now
occupying an almost complete line between the Marne and the Seine.
Blucher was in his own neighborhood and he immediately resolved to
attack the right of the Silesian army,--which was pushing down the
valley of the Marne, while its centre kept the parallel course of the
Aube,--ere the Prussian marshal could concentrate all his own strength
or be supported by Schwartzenberg who was advancing down the Seine
towards Bar.

On the 27th of January a sharp skirmish took place at St. Dizier; and
Blucher, who had committed all sorts of excesses during the last two
days, warned of Napoleon's arrival, at once called in his detachments
and took a post of defense at Brienne--the same town where Bonaparte had
received his military education.

The Emperor marched through a thick forest upon the scene of his
youthful studies and appeared there on the 29th, having moved so rapidly
that Blucher was at dinner in the chateau when the French thundered at
his gates, and with difficulty escaped to the rear through a passage, on
foot and at the head of his staff.

The invaders maintained their place in the town courageously, and some
Cossacks, throwing themselves upon the rear of the French, the Emperor
was involved in the mêlée; he quickly drew his sword and fought like a
private dragoon and General Gourgaud shot a Cossack while in the act of
thrusting a spear at Napoleon's back. The town of Brienne was burned to
the ground by the Prussians in order to cover their retreat.

Alsusieff, the Russian commander, and Hardenberg, a nephew of the
Chancellor of Prussia, were made prisoners and there was considerable
slaughter on both sides. Blucher retired further up the Aube with a loss
of 4,000 men and posted himself at La Rothiere, where Schwartzenberg,
warned by the cannonade, hastened to co-operate with him.

While at St. Helena Napoleon said that during the charge of the Cossacks
at Brienne defending himself, sword in hand, he recognized a particular
tree under which, when a boy, he used to sit and read the "Jerusalem
Delivered" of Tasso. The field had been in those days, part of the
exercise-ground of the students, and the chateau, whence Blucher escaped
so narrowly, their lodging.

Blucher now assumed the offensive, having joined Schwartzenberg, and on
the 1st of February assaulted the rear-guard of the French army. Proud
of their numerical superiority they reckoned upon an easy triumph. The
battle lasted all day. At nightfall the French were left in possession
of their original positions. A battery of guns had been taken, however,
and Napoleon lost on this occasion seventy-three guns, and some hundred
prisoners, besides a number of killed and wounded. The result of this
action was equivalent to a defeat of the French army. The cannoniers
saved themselves, with their baggage, by forming a squadron and fighting
vigorously as soon as they perceived that there was no time to use their

The battle of Brienne and the defense of La Rothiere, Dienville and La
Giberie, had gloriously opened the campaign, but Blucher and
Schwartzenberg had such considerable forces at their disposal that
Napoleon might fear being surrounded, or cut off from his capital, if he
persisted in retaining his position in the environs of Brienne. The
allies had now definitely resolved to march on Paris.

While the division of Marmont retired down the Aube before Blucher,
Napoleon himself struck across the country to Troyes which he had
reasons to fear must be immediately occupied by Schwartzenberg. Here he
was joined by a considerable body of his Guard, in high order and
spirits, whose appearance restored, in a great measure, the confidence
of the troops who had been engaged in the defense of La Rothiere. On the
3rd of February the Emperor received a dispatch from Caulaincourt,
informing him that Lord Castlereagh, the English Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, had arrived at the headquarters of the allies, that
negotiations were to be resumed the morning after at Chatillon, and
requesting him to intimate distinctly at what price he would be willing
to purchase peace.

Napoleon replied by granting Caulaincourt full powers to do everything
necessary "to keep the negotiations alive and save the capital." The
Duke was unwilling to act upon so broad a basis and sent back once more
for a specific detail of the Emperor's purposes.

Napoleon had his headquarters at Nogent, on the Seine, some leagues
below Troyes, when the dispatch reached him on the evening of the 8th of
February, and his counsellors urged him to make use of this, probably
last, opportunity. He was prevailed upon to agree to abandon Belgium,
the left of the Rhine, Italy and Piedmont, but in the night after the
consultation, and before the ultimatum had his signature, he received
information which caused him to change all his views. When Maret visited
him with his dispatches ready for signing Napoleon was poring over his
maps, tracing the route of Blucher on Paris. "Oh here you are!" he
exclaimed as Maret entered, "but I am now thinking of something very
different--I am beating Blucher on the map. He is advancing by the road
to Montmirail; I will set out and beat him to-morrow. Should this
movement prove as successful as I expect it will, the state of affairs
will be entirely changed, and we shall then see what can be done."

The Emperor had learned that Blucher, instead of continuing his march
down the Aube, and in communication with Schwartzenberg on the Seine,
had transferred his whole army to the Marne, and was now advancing
towards Paris by the Montmirail road.

The separation of their forces by the allies was a great blunder and the
Emperor, who at once detected it, could not resist the temptation which
it presented to make one warlike effort more. Napoleon, therefore,
refused to sign the dispatch on the morning of the 9th and having left
small forces to defend the bridge over the Seine at Nogent and at Bray,
commenced his march, with the main body of his army, upon Sezanne,
prepared for one of the most extraordinary and successful manoeuvres
which has ever been recorded in the annals of war.

Forty miles were traversed over a most difficult country, usually
considered impassable in winter,--ere the troops halted with the dark.
Next morning the army moved again with equal alacrity, and at length
debouched on the road by which Blucher's army was advancing, at

The central division was passing when Napoleon suddenly appeared at this
point, and was altogether unable to resist his assault. They dispersed
in confusion with great loss and fled towards the Marne. The
General-in-chief, Ousouwieff, at the head of twelve regiments was
completely routed. He was taken with 6,000 of his men, and the remainder
were drowned in a swamp, or killed on the field of battle. Forty pieces
of cannon, and all the ammunition and baggage were left in the power of
the victor. Napoleon had now interposed his army between the advanced
guard of the Silesian army, commanded by Sacken, and the rear commanded
by Blucher himself.

The van of the same army turned, on hearing the cannonade of
Champaubert, and countermarched with the view of supporting Alsusieff
only to share the fate of the centre, and were put to flight after the
loss of one-fourth of the division.

Now it was Blucher's turn to be beaten. Napoleon mounted his horse at
midnight on the 13th and came up with him at Montmirail. At 8 o'clock in
the morning the shouting of the soldiers announced the presence of the
Emperor. Blucher would gladly have declined battle, but it was out of
his power. He was conquered but retreated with great skill and courage.
After many hours of hard fighting his retreat became a flight. Blucher
was frequently obliged to defend himself with his sabre during the day,
surrounded by his staff, and chiefly owed his escape to the darkness of
the night.

He retired in alternate squares, sustaining all day the charges of the
French with much loss of life and at length cut his way, at Etoges,
through a column of heavy horse, sent round to intercept him, and drawn
up on the causeway.

On the following day there was a fresh success. A hostile column,
endeavoring to protect Blucher's retreat, was taken at Chateau Thierry,
where the French troops entered pell-mell upon the Russians and
Prussians. Five generals of these two nations were among the prisoners.

Blucher finally crossed the Marne at Chalons. In five days Napoleon's
armies had been successful three times; he had shattered and dispersed
the Silesian army, and above all, recovered the spirits of his own

A column of 7,000 Prussian prisoners, with a considerable number of guns
and standards, reminded the Parisians that the commander of the French
troops had not forgotten the art of warfare and their hopes were
considerably heightened on hearing of these successes against the
allies. But these allied armies, annihilated each day, reappeared
incessantly, and always ready for battle. All Europe was now contending
against the Emperor and her beaten and dispersed soldiers were
immediately replaced by fresh troops. "So alarmed were the Allies at the
near approach of their terrible enemy," says Scott, "that a message was
sent to Napoleon, from the Allied Sovereigns, by Prince Schwartzenberg's
aide-de-camp, Count Par, stating their surprise at his offensive
movements, since they had given orders to their plenipotentiaries at
Chatillon to sign the preliminaries of peace, on the terms which had
been assented to by the French envoy." Napoleon had, however, learned
the meaning of such messages in the course of his career, and paid no
attention to this one.

Scarcely had the Parisians seen the prisoners from Montmirail marched
along their boulevards, before they heard that the Cossacks were in
possession of Fontainebleau. Napoleon had left small divisions of his
army to guard the Seine at Nogent and Bray, and the enemy soon
discovered that the Emperor and his chief force were no longer in that
quarter. While he was beating Alsusieff, Sacken and Blucher had made
good the passage of the Seine at three different points, driving the
discomfited guardians of these important places before them.
Schwartzenberg now had his quarters at Nangis, and was, obviously,
resolved to reach Paris, if possible, while Napoleon was on the Marne.
The light troops of the grand allied army were scattering confusion on
both sides of the Seine, and one party of them was so near the capital
as Fontainebleau.

Napoleon now committed to Marmont and Mortier the care of watching the
Chalons road and the remains of Blucher's army, and marched with his
main body on Meaux where on the 15th of February he received
reinforcements of 20,000 veterans from Spain, commanded by Grouchy.

The latter's troops had aided Marmont on the 14th in a victory over
Blucher at the village of Vauchamp which cost the allies ten thousand
prisoners, ten flags, ten pieces of cannon and many prisoners, including
General Ouroussoff, in command of the Russian rear-guard.

On the 16th Victor and Oudinot were engaged with the van of
Schwartzenberg, on the plains of Guignes, when the Emperor came rapidly
to their assistance. The enemy immediately drew back, and concentrated
his strength at Nangis. Napoleon attacked that position on the morning
of the 17th, and with such effect that the allies were completely routed
and retreated after considerable loss. They halted, however, at
Montereau and Victor, who commanded the pursuers on that route, failed
to dislodge them because of greatly inferior numbers. Napoleon came up
on the morning of the 18th and rebuked Victor; then dismissed him from
the service. The marshal, with tears streaming down his face, said: "I
will procure a musket, I have not forgotten my old trade; Victor will
place himself in the ranks of the Guard."

The Emperor was vanquished by this noble language. "Well! Well! Victor,"
said he, tendering his hand, "remain; I cannot restore you your corps,
since I have given it to Gerard, but I award you two divisions of the
Guard; go and take the command of them, and let there be no longer a
question of anything between us."

The attack then commenced with fury and the bridge and town of Montereau
were carried. The defense was long and stern, however, and Napoleon was
occasionally seen pointing cannon with his own hand, under the heaviest
of the fire. The artillerymen protested at the exposure of his person
and entreated him to withdraw. He persisted in his work, answering
gaily, "My children! the bullet that shall kill me is not yet cast." The
inhabitants of Montereau associated themselves with this triumph by
firing from their windows on the Austrians as they passed through the

After distributing praises and rewards to the generals who had
contributed to gaining this battle, Napoleon thought of those who had
delayed their march, or exhibited negligence in their command, and among
those reprimanded were Generals Guyot, Digeon and Montbrun, the latter
for having abandoned the forest of Fontainebleau to the Cossacks,
without resistance.

Pursuing his advantage Napoleon saw the grand army of the invaders
continue their retreat in the direction of Troyes, and on the morning of
the 22d arrived before Mery. This town he found occupied, much to his
astonishment, not by a feeble rear-guard of Schwartzenberg but by a
powerful division of Russians, commanded by Sacken and therefore
belonging to the apparently indestructible army of Blucher. These
unexpected enemies were charged in the streets, and at length retired
out of the town,--which was burnt to the ground in the struggle,--and
thence beyond the Aube. The Emperor then halted, and spent the night of
the 22d of February in a charcoal burner's cottage at Chatres.

Meanwhile negotiations were still pending at Chatillon. Caulaincourt,
receiving no answer to his second dispatch sent to Napoleon at Nogent on
the 8th of February, proceeded to act on the instructions dated at
Troyes on the 3d; and in effect accepted the basis of the Allies. When
Schwartzenberg was attacked at Nangis, on the 17th, he had just received
the intelligence of Caulaincourt's having signed the preliminary
articles, and he, therefore, sent a messenger to ask why the Emperor, if
aware of his ambassador's act, persisted in hostilities; but received no

Napoleon sent instead a private letter to the Emperor of Austria, once
more trying to gain his friendship. The reply of Francis, written to him
from Nangis, reached Napoleon at Chatres on the 23d. It announced
Francis' resolution on no account to abandon the general cause, but
declared that he lent no support to the Bourbonists, and urged Napoleon
to avert by concession, ere it was too late, total ruin from himself and
his House. Napoleon returned the envoy with a note signifying that now
he would not consent to a day's armistice, unless the Allies would fall
back so as to leave Antwerp in their front. The same evening news came
from Paris that the Council of State had discussed the proposals of the
Allied Powers, and with only one dissenting voice, now entreated the
Emperor to accept them. He was urged, anew, to send to Chatillon and
accept the basis to which Caulaincourt had agreed. He answered that he
had sworn at his coronation to preserve the territory of the Republic
entire, and that he could not sign this treaty without violating his
oath. "If I am to be scourged" said he, "let the whip come on me of
necessity, and not through any voluntary stooping of my own." The truth
of these attempts at negotiation is that the Allies merely desired a
simple suspension of arms, in order to gain time to reinforce
themselves, and also in order to interrupt the too rapid course of
Napoleon's successes in the last eight days. This the Emperor easily
discerned through the maze of the contrary declarations of the foreign
negotiators, and in fact is avowed by the historians of the campaigns of
the Allies.

Napoleon now resolved to push on as far as Troyes, at the same time
permitting proposals for an armistice to be considered at Lusigny, and
negotiations for peace to proceed at Chatillon. The Emperor had
meanwhile requested Oudinot and Macdonald, with their divisions, to
manoeuvre in the direction of Schwartzenberg, in order to keep the
Austrians in check.

Napoleon learned at Troyes, in the night of the 26th of February, that
the Prussian army was in motion. His resolution was soon taken. He again
hastened to the succor of his capital, and came, with the prodigious
celerity which rendered his marches and manoeuvres so distinguishing, to
fall upon the rear of Blucher, who still had Marmont and Mortier in
front. Marching rapidly across the country to Sezanne he received
intelligence that these two generals, finding themselves inferior in
numbers to Blucher, had retired before him in the direction of
Ferté-sous-Jouarre, and were in full retreat to Meaux. This point he
considered as almost a suburb to Paris and he quickened his speed
accordingly. Hurrying on, at Ferté-Goucher he was at once met and
overtaken by evil tidings. Schwartzenberg, having discovered the
Emperor's absence, had immediately assumed the offensive, defeated
Oudinot and Macdonald at Bar-sur-Aube on the 27th, and driven them
before him as far as Troyes; and Augereau, who commanded in the
neighborhood of Lyons, announced the arrival of a new and great army of
the Allies in that quarter. On the 1st of March an important treaty was
ratified at Chaumont between the sovereigns of Austria, England, Russia
and Prussia, by which the four contracting powers bound themselves each
to maintain in the field an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men
until the objects of the war were attained; England, as usual, engaging,
over and above, to furnish a subsidy of four millions sterling. In a
second clause, each of the four powers was bound never to make a
separate peace with the common enemy. About the same time the
commissioners at Lusigny broke up the negotiations for an armistice, on
the plea of inability to settle the line of demarcation.

Napoleon's operations were not checked, however. Having been detained
for some time at Ferté, in consequence of the destruction of the bridge,
he took the direction of Chateau Thierry and Soissons, where he hoped to
receive Blucher, while Mortier and Marmont received orders to assume the
offensive in front of Meaux. The Emperor hoped in this manner to throw
himself on the flank of Blucher's march, as he had done before at
Champaubert; but the Prussian received intelligence of his approach and
drawing his troops together, retired to Soissons. Napoleon proceeded
thither with alacrity, believing that the French garrison intrusted with
the care of that town, and its bridge over the Marne, was still in
possession of it, and would enable him, therefore, to force Blucher into
action with this formidable obstacle in his rear. He did not know that
Soissons had been taken by a Russian corps, retaken by a French one and
fallen once more into the hands of the enemy, ere the Emperor came in
sight of it. He assaulted the place with much vigor but the Russians
repelled the attack. Learning that Blucher had filed his main body
through the town and posted himself behind the Marne, Napoleon marched
up the left bank of the river and crossed it also at Bery.

A few leagues in front of this place, on the height of Craonne, two
Russian corps,--those of Sacken and Witzingerode,--were already in
position, and the Emperor lost no time in charging them there, in the
hope of destroying them ere they could unite with Blucher. The battle of
Craonne began at 11 a. m. on the 7th of March and lasted until 4 o'clock
in the afternoon. The resistance of the enemy was most stubborn and the
Emperor was preparing for a final effort, when suddenly the Russians
began to retreat and he remained master of the field. He followed them;
but they continued to withdraw having been ordered to fall back on the
plateau of Laon, in order to form thereon the same line with Blucher,
who was once more eager for a decisive conflict,--having been reinforced
by the vanguard of Bernadotte's army.

On the 9th of March Napoleon found his enemy strongly posted along an
elevated ridge, covered with wood, and further protected in front by a
succession of terrace walls,--the enclosures of vineyards. There was a
heavy mist on the lower ground and the French were advancing up the hill
ere their movement was discovered. They were met by a storm of cannonade
which broke their centre, and on either flank the French were all but
routed. On all points they were repelled, except at the village of
Athies, where Marmont had some advantage. Night interrupted the
contest, and the armies bivouacked in full view of each other. Napoleon,
although he had suffered severely, resolved to renew the attack and
mounted his horse accordingly at 4 o'clock in the morning of the 10th.
At that moment news came that Marmont's corps had just been assaulted at
Athies and were compelled to fly towards Corbeny.

The battle of Laon continued, all day, however; Napoleon was unable to
turn his adversaries and on the 11th he commenced his retreat, leaving
thirty cannon and 10,000 men. Soissons had been evacuated by the allies
when concentrating themselves for the battle of Laon, and Napoleon threw
himself into that town, and was making rapid efforts to strengthen it in
expectation of the Prussian advance, when he learned that a detached
Russian corps had seized Rheims.

The possession of this city could hardly fail to establish Blucher's
communications with Schwartzenberg, and Napoleon instantly marched
thither in person leaving Marmont to hold out as well as he could in
case that should be the direction of Blucher's march. The Emperor came
upon Rheims with his usual rapidity and on the 13th took the place by

In this crisis, in which Napoleon was battling against numbers
overwhelmingly his superior, it is remarkable to note the energy with
which he turned from enemy to enemy, and behold his fearless assaults on
vastly superior numbers, his unwearied resolution and exhaustless
invention. In his every movement he seemed a perfect master of warfare;
but he was battling against odds which even his indomitable will,
courage and foresight, could not overcome. It should not be forgotten,
also, that in addition to this extraordinary series of campaigns, he
continued to conduct, from his perpetually changing quarters, the civil
business of his Empire.

The Allies, by a series of victories in various quarters, were now, to
all appearance, in full march upon Paris, both by the valley of the
Marne, and by that of the Seine, at a moment when Napoleon had thought
to defeat their movements by taking up a position between them at
Rheims. When Schwartzenberg learned that the Emperor was at this point
his old terror returned, and the Austrian instantly proposed to fall
back from Troyes. This did not please Lord Castlereagh who announced
that the Grand Army might retire if the sovereigns pleased, but that if
such a movement took place the subsidies of England must be considered
at an end. The Czar also opposed the over-caution of Schwartzenberg, who
then took courage, and his columns instantly resumed their march down
the Seine, to offer battle to Napoleon at Arcis.

The Emperor was now struggling to decide which of two courses to pursue;
should he hasten after Blucher on the Marne, what was to prevent
Schwartzenberg from reaching Paris ere the Silesians, already victorious
at Laon, could once more be brought to action by an inferior force:
should he throw himself on the march of Schwartzenberg, would not the
fiery Prussian be at the Tuileries long before the Austrian could be
checked on the Seine? There remained a third course--namely, to push at
once into the country in the rear of the Grand Army and thus strike the
advancing Allies, both the Austrians and Prussians, with terror, and
paralyze their movements. Would they persist in their cry, "On to
Paris!" when they knew Napoleon to be posting himself between them
and their resources, and at the same time relieving and rallying around
him all the garrisons of the great fortresses of the Rhine? While
Napoleon was thus tossed with anxiety for means to avert, if it were yet
possible, the visitation of these mighty armies upon Paris, and unaware
of Castlereagh's very effective threat, the capital showed small
symptoms of sympathizing with him. The machinery of government was
clogged in every wheel, and the necessity of purchasing peace by
abandoning him was the common burden of conversation.

[Illustration: From a Drawing by Eug. Charpentier


In this extreme situation, the gravity and peril of which he measured
with a glance, the Emperor felt that he could only escape by a striking
and decisive action, and he did not hesitate to direct the intended blow
towards Schwartzenberg, whose approach already spread alarm throughout
the capital. The Emperor Alexander, on learning the successes of
Napoleon at Craonne and Rheims, had feared that Schwartzenberg, by
approaching the capital alone, would be again beaten separately, and
that all these daily and isolated defeats would end by discouraging the
troops of the Coalition, already filled with apprehension and alarm. The
Czar, therefore, insisted in that council of war held at Troyes, that
the two grand allied armies should forthwith manoeuvre so as to effect
their junction in the environs of Chalons, in order to march thence on
Paris, and crush everything which might be opposed to their passage.

This advice had prevailed and Napoleon met, on the 20th, before Arcis,
the entire army of Schwartzenberg, which was bearing in a mass for this
town, in order to cross the Aube, and rapidly gain the plains of
Champagne where the junction was to be effected.

This sudden change of system in the military operations of the Allies
completely disarranged all the plans of Napoleon, who quickly perceived
the difficult and perilous position in which he was placed, by
encountering an army three times as strong as his own, where he had only
thought to find a rear-guard. However, he quickly decided to take the
chance by casting into the struggle the weight of his own example, and
reckoning his personal dangers for nothing. His cavalry had orders to
attack the Austrian light troops while the infantry debouched from
Arcis; but they were repulsed by the overpowering numbers opposed to
them and driven back upon the town. In this extremity, Napoleon evinced
the same heroic and almost reckless courage which he had shown at Lodi
and Arcola, and on other occasions. He threw himself, sword in hand,
among the broken cavalry, called on them to remember their former
victories, and checked the enemy by an impetuous charge in which he and
his staff-officers fought hand to hand with the invaders. "Surrounded in
the crowd by the charges of cavalry," says Baron Fain, in a volume
called "The Manuscript of 1814," giving an account of the engagement at
Arcis, "he freed himself only by making use of his sword. On divers
occasions, he fought at the head of his escort, and, far from avoiding
the dangers, he seemed, on the contrary, to brave them. A shell fell at
his feet; he awaited its bursting, and disappeared in a cloud of dust
and smoke; he was believed to be lost; presently he arose, flung himself
upon another horse, and again went to place himself beneath the fire of
the batteries! * * * Death would have nothing to do with him!"

In spite of the prodigious efforts of the French army, and the
unchangeable heroism of its chief, the battle of Arcis could not hinder
the passage of the Aube, by the Austrians. The Emperor retired in good
order, on the 21st, after having done the enemy much harm, and held him
in check for a whole day; but Schwartzenberg ended by gaining the road
which was to conduct him to Blucher.

Napoleon now decided on throwing himself upon the rear of the Allies.
They were for some time quite uncertain of his movements after he
quitted Rheims, until an intercepted letter to Marie Louise informed
them that he was at St. Dizier, where Napoleon had slept on the 23d. He
continued to manoeuvre on the country beyond this point for several
days. Having seized the roads by which the Allies had advanced, he took
many prisoners of distinction on their way to headquarters and at one
time the Emperor of Austria himself escaped narrowly a party of French
hussars. At St. Dizier, Caulaincourt rejoined the Emperor and announced
to him the definite rupture of the negotiations with the Allies. This,
however, was no surprise; but was expected. The only real discomfiture
it caused was among the malcontents in the army, whose chief regret was
at being from Paris, and who asked each other, barely out of hearing of
the Emperor, "Where are we going? What is to become of us? If he falls,
shall we fall with him?"

On the 26th of March the distant roaring of artillery was heard at
intervals on the boulevards of Paris and the alarm began to be violent.
On Sunday the 27th, Joseph Bonaparte held a review in the Place
Carrousel. That same evening the allies passed the Marne at various
points and at 3 o'clock in the morning they took Meaux. The regular
troops now marched out of the capital, leaving all the barriers in
charge of the National Guard. On the 29th the Empress, her son, and most
of the members of the Council of State, set off attended by 700
soldiers, for Rambouillet from which they continued their journey to
Blois. Queen Hortense, afflicted at seeing the Empress-Regent and her
son abandon the capital to intriguers and conspirators, strongly pressed
her to remain, and said with a prophetic conviction: "If you leave the
Tuileries, you will never see them again!"

"One of the most astonishing circumstances of the moment," says Pons de
L' Herault, a historian of the period, "is undeniably, the obstinacy
with which the King of Rome refused to depart. This obstinacy was so
great, that it became necessary to use violence in order to remove the
young prince. The cries of the infant-king were heart-rending. He
repeated several times: 'My father told me not to go away!' All the
spectators shed tears." The young prince had declared again and again
that "his papa was betrayed" and his declaration has never been
satisfactorily accounted for and can only be explained by the
supposition that he had heard the subject discussed among those who
considered that all was lost in abandoning the capital.

Joseph now published the following proclamation: "Citizens of Paris! A
hostile column has descended on Meaux. It advances; but the Emperor
follows close behind, at the head of a victorious army. The Council of
Regency has provided for the safety of the Empress and the King of Rome.
I remain with you. Let us arm ourselves to defend this city, its
monuments, its riches, our wives, our children--all that is dear to us.
Let this vast capital become a camp for some moments; and let the enemy
find his shame under the walls which he hopes to overleap in triumph.
The Emperor marches to our succor. Second him by a short and vigorous
resistance, and preserve the honor of France."

The appeal did not produce the results hoped for. Some officers urged
Savary to have the streets unpaved and persuade the people to arm
themselves with stones and prepare for a defense such as Saragossa. He
answered, shaking his head, "the thing cannot be done."

On the 30th the Allies fought and won the final battle. The French
occupied the whole of the range of heights from the Marne at Charenton,
to the Seine beyond St. Denis; the Austrians beginning the attack about
11 o'clock towards the former of these points, while nearly in the midst
between them, a charge was made by the Russians on Pantin and
Belleville. The French troops of the line were commanded by Marmont and
Mortier; those battalions of the National Guard, whose spirit could be
trusted, and who were adequately armed, took their orders from Marshal
Moncey and formed a second line of defense. The scholars of the
Polytechnic School volunteered to serve at the great guns, and the
artillery though weak in numbers, was well arranged. At the barrier of
Clichy, in particular, the Allies met with a spirited resistance. The
pattern of the French soldiers, the brave Moncey, was there, with his
son, and with him Allent, the leader of his staff; celebrated artists
and distinguished writers surrounded him and shared his perils. Among
the former was Horace Vernet whose Napoleonic pictures have since
become famous in two continents. The defense of the city, while brave
and determined was ineffectual, and courage was at length compelled to
yield to numbers.

By 2 o'clock the Allies were victorious at all points except Montmartre.
Marmont then sent several aides-de-camp to request an armistice and
offer a capitulation in order to save the capital. The Czar and the King
of Prussia professed their willingness to spare the city, provided the
regular troops would evacuate it.

Blucher meanwhile continued pressing on at Montmartre and shortly after
4 o'clock, the victory being completed in that direction, the French
cannon were turned on the city and shot and shells began to spread
destruction within its walls. The capitulation was drawn up at 5
o'clock, close to the barrier St. Denis.

It was not until the 27th that Napoleon distinctly ascertained the fact
of both the allied armies having marched directly on Paris. He instantly
resolved to hasten after them, in hopes of arriving on their rear ere
they had mastered the heights of Montmartre. Arriving at Doulevent on
the 29th he received a message from Lavalette, his Post-Master General,
who wrote: "The partisans of the Stranger are making head, aided by
secret intrigues. The presence of the Emperor is indispensable--if he
desires to prevent his capital from being delivered to the enemy. There
is not a moment to be lost!"

Urging his advance accordingly, Napoleon reached Troyes on the night of
the 29th, his men having marched fifteen leagues since daybreak. General
Dejean, his aide-de-camp, rode on before him bound for Paris to announce
to the Parisians that the Emperor flew to succor them.

On the 30th Macdonald attempted to convince him that the fate of Paris
must have been decided ere he could reach it, and advised him to march,
without further delay, so as to form a conjunction with Augereau. "In
that case," said the marshal, "we may unite and repose our troops, and
yet give the enemy battle on a chosen field. If Providence has decreed
our last hour, we shall at least die with honor, instead of being
dispersed, pillaged and slaughtered by Cossacks."

The Emperor was unwilling to abide by the counsel of his marshal, but
continued to advance; finding the road beyond Troyes clear he threw
himself into a postchaise and traveled on before his army at full speed.
At Villeneuve L'Archereque he mounted on horseback and galloping without
a pause, reached Fontainebleau late at night. Here he ordered a
carriage, and taking Caulaincourt and Berthier, drove on towards Paris.
He was still of the belief that he was yet in time--until, while he was
changing horses at an inn called "La Cour de France," but a few miles
from Paris, General Belliard came up, at the head of a weary column of
cavalry marching towards Fontainebleau, in consequence of the provisions
of Marmont's treaty with the Allies. He was too late! Paris had

Leaping from his carriage as the words reached his ears, the Emperor
exclaimed, "What means this? Why here with your cavalry, Belliard? And
where are the enemy? Where are my wife and boy? Where Marmont? Where

Belliard, walking by his side, told him of the events of the day. Still
the Emperor insisted on continuing his journey although again informed
there was no longer an army in Paris; that the regulars were all coming
behind, and that neither they nor he himself, having left the city in
consequence of a convention, could possibly return to it. It seemed
impossible for him to comprehend the astounding intelligence of Belliard
who said; "Paris is surrounded by one hundred and thirty thousand

Napoleon bade Belliard turn with his cavalry and follow him. "Come" said
he "we must return to Paris,--nothing goes aright when I am away--they
do nothing but blunder!" As he progressed he continued, "You should have
held out longer--you should have raised Paris--they cannot like the
Cossacks--they would surely have defended their walls. Go! Go! I see
everyone has lost his senses. This comes of employing fools and

The Emperor and Belliard continued Paris-ward, until they were met, a
mile beyond the post-house, by the first column of the retreating
infantry. Their commander, General Curial, reiterated what Belliard had
said. "In proceeding to Paris," he said, "you rush on to death or
captivity." The Emperor then became at once perfectly composed and
abandoned his design, gave orders that the troops, as they arrived,
should draw up behind the little river Essonne, and dispatched
Caulaincourt to Paris to ascertain if it were yet possible for him to
interpose in the treaty. Having taken this measure he turned back
towards Fontainebleau.

Caulaincourt reached the Czar's quarters at Pantin early in the morning
of the 31st of March where he found a deputation from the municipality
of Paris waiting to present the keys of the city and invoke the
protection of the conqueror. The Czar received them immediately on
arriving and promised that the capital, and all within it, should be
treated with perfect consideration.

Caulaincourt then found his way to Alexander; but he was dismissed
immediately. The Allies had practically agreed in favoring the
restoration of the Bourbons, ere any part of their forces entered the
capital, and a proclamation signed, "Schwartzenberg, Commander of the
Chief of the Allied Armies" was distributed throughout Paris in which
there were many phrases not to be reconciled with any other position.
The royalists welcomed with exultation the dawn of the 31st and issued
proclamations of their own appealing for restoration, besides parading
the streets without interruption from either the civil authorities or of
the National Guard, although decorated with the symbols of their cause.

At noon the first of the Allied troops began to pass the barrier and
enter the city, and the triumphal procession lasted for several hours.
Fifty thousand troops, horse, foot and artillery, marched along the
boulevards and in their midst appeared the youthful Czar and the King of
Prussia, followed by a dazzling suite of princes, ambassadors and

The Czar repaired to the hotel of Talleyrand where a council was
convened. Alexander and Frederick were urged to re-establish the House
of Bourbon. They hesitated: "It is but a few days ago" said the Czar,
"since a column of five or six thousand troops suffered themselves to be
cut in pieces before my eyes, when a single cry of '_Vive le Roi!_'
would have saved them." One of those present answered "Such things will
go on as long as you continue to treat with Bonaparte even although at
this moment he has a halter round his neck." The Czar did not understand
this allusion until it was explained to him that the Parisians were busy
pulling down Napoleon's statue from the top of the great pillar in the
Place Vendome.

Alexander now signed a proclamation asserting the resolution of the
Allies "to treat no more with Napoleon Bonaparte, or any of his family."
That same evening the Czar, by his minister, declared that "Louis XVIII
will immediately ascend the throne." A few days later myriads of hands
were busy in every corner of the city pulling down the statues and
pictures and effacing the arms of Napoleon.

Caulaincourt returned to Fontainebleau in the night between the 2d and
3d of April and informed Napoleon that the monarchs he had so often
spared, and whose royal destinies he could have closed after Austerlitz,
Jena, and Wagram, refused to treat with him,--and demanded his
abdication. He added that the Allies had not yet, in his opinion, made
up their minds to resist the scheme of a regency, but that he was
commissioned to say that nothing could be arranged as to ulterior
questions, until he, the Emperor, had formally abdicated.

Napoleon was not yet prepared to give up his throne; the news both
irritated him and made him indignant. He again wished to try the lot of
arms; but his old companions-in-arms declared they would take no further
part in the war. The next day, the 4th of April, he reviewed some of his
troops, addressed them on "the treasonable proceedings in the capital,"
and announced his intention of instantly marching thither, being
answered by shouts of "Paris! Paris!" Nearly 50,000 men were now
stationed around Fontainebleau. On parade, Napoleon looked pale and
thoughtful, while his convulsive motions manifested his internal
struggles, and he did not stop many minutes. On retiring to the
chateau, after the review, the Emperor was followed by his marshals, who
informed him that if he refused to negotiate on the basis of his
personal abdication, and persisted in risking an attack on Paris, they
would not accompany him. He paused for a moment in silence--then a long
debate ensued, ending in his drawing up and signing the following: _The
Allied Powers having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon was the sole
obstacle to the re-establishment of peace in Europe, he, faithful to his
oath, declares that he is ready to descend from the throne, to quit
France, and even to relinquish life, for the good of his country; which
is inseparable from the rights of his Son, from those of the Regency in
the person of the Empress, and from the maintenance of the laws of the

_Done at our Palace of Fontainebleau, April the 4th, 1814._


Caulaincourt was appointed to bear this document to Paris and the
marshals proposed that Ney should accompany him. It was suggested that
Marmont should also form a part of the deputation but he being in
command at Essonne, Macdonald was named in his stead. The officers now
desired to know on what stipulations, as concerned the Emperor
personally, they were to insist. "On none," he answered; "obtain the
best terms you can for France--for myself I ask nothing." They then

Shortly afterwards Napoleon asked Oudinot if the troops would follow
him. "No, Sire" answered the marshal, "you have abdicated."

"Yes, upon certain conditions."

"The soldiers" resumed Oudinot, "do not comprehend the difference; they
think you have no more any right to command them."

"Well then," said Napoleon, "it is no more to be thought of; let us wait
for accounts from Paris."

Marmont, whom he had loaded with favors, had in the meantime joined the
Allies, and by a nocturnal march of his army passed over into the midst
of the enemy, enabling them to appear more exacting than ever, and which
caused Napoleon to denounce his treason to the army by an order of the
day in which he scanned the conduct of the Senate who had also, on April
2d, declared Napoleon Bonaparte and his family expelled from the throne
of France. "Marshal Marmont's desertion was a mortal blow to the
Imperial cause," says Meneval. "It decided the Emperor Alexander, who
till then had appeared to hesitate on the question of a regency, to
exact in the name of the Allied Powers, the unconditional abdication of
the Emperor." Talleyrand said dryly, when someone called Marmont a
traitor, "his watch only went a little faster than the others," and in
this he spoke truthfully, for officers of all ranks now rapidly
abandoned the camp at Fontainebleau, and presented themselves to swear
allegiance to the new government, impatient to enjoy in peace the honors
and riches with which Napoleon had loaded them.

Caulaincourt, Ney and Macdonald, on being admitted to the presence of
the Czar, the act of abdication was produced. Alexander was surprised
that it should have contained no stipulations for Napoleon personally;
"but I have been his friend" said he "and I will willingly be his
advocate. I propose that he shall retain his imperial title, with the
sovereignty of Elba, or some other island."

When Napoleon's envoys retired from the presence of the Czar it still
remained doubtful whether the abdication would be accepted in its
present form, or the Allies would insist on an unconditional surrender.
At length they signified their intention to accept of nothing but an
unconditional abdication. These terms were finally borne by the marshals
to their waiting chief. The marshals returned in the night about twelve.
Ney entered first: "Well, have you succeeded?", said Napoleon.

"Revolutions do not retrograde," answered the veteran marshal, "this has
begun its course; it was too late: tomorrow the Senate will recognize
the Bourbons."

"Where shall I be able to live with my family?"

"Where your Majesty pleases; for example, in the isle of Elba, with a
revenue of six millions."

"Six millions! that is a great deal for a soldier as I am. I see very
well I must submit."

The form of abdication submitted by the marshals was to the following

1st. The imperial title to be preserved by Napoleon, with the free
sovereignty of Elba, guards, and a navy suitable to the extent of that
island; a pension, from France, of six millions of francs annually.

2d. The Duchies of Parma, Placentia and Guastalla to be granted in
sovereignty to Marie Louise and her heirs, and

3d. Two millions and a half of francs annually to be paid, by the French
government, in pensions to Josephine and other members of the Bonaparte

Napoleon hesitated when he received the formal ultimatum of the invading
powers. He thought seriously of continuing the war, but the group of his
personal followers had been rapidly thinned by desertion.

On the 11th of April he at length abandoned all hope and the next day
executed an instrument called the treaty of Fontainebleau formally
"renouncing for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy."
Concerning the act Napoleon said, "I blush for it; what avails a treaty,
since they will not settle the interests of France with me. If only my
personal interests are concerned, there is no need of a treaty. I am
conquered; I yield to the fate of arms. All I ask is, not to be
accounted a prisoner of war." To all suggestions referring to his
providing for his future wants he replied, "What matters it? A horse and
a crown a day are all I want!"

"Napoleon, when he affixed his name to the abdication" says Baron Fain,
his secretary, "made two or three scratches, and a dent, with the stump
of his pen, or back of a knife, on the little, round, claw-footed,
yellow table, on which it was signed. After the resignation of the
Empire, he spent his time either in conversation in his apartment, or in
a small English garden at the back of the palace.... Napoleon, during
those days of distress, was seated alone for hours and amused himself by
kicking a hole, a foot deep, with his heel, in the gravel beneath.... At
the moment of Bonaparte's abdication, he remarked that instruments of
destruction had been left in his way; he seemed to think that they were
placed there purposely, in order that he might attempt his own life; and
with a sardonic smile, said, 'Self-murder is sometimes committed for
love--what folly! Sometimes for the loss of fortune--there it is
_cowardice_! Another cannot live after he has been disgraced--_what
weakness_! But to survive the loss of Empire, to be exposed to the
results of one's contemporaries,--_that is true courage_!'"



The armies of the Allies had gradually pushed forward from Paris and now
nearly surrounded Fontainebleau. When the last of the marshals had
quitted Napoleon's presence for the night, after imperiously demanding
his resignation, he revolted at the humiliations he had to undergo and
disgusted at their cowardice, exclaimed: "These men have neither hearts
nor entrails. I am conquered less by fortune than by the selfishness and
ingratitude of my brothers-in-arms!" The same night, in a fit of despair
he swallowed a weak poison contained in a bag that he had worn around
his neck since 1808. The palace was aroused by his cries and Dr. Yvan
hastily summoned by his valet. An antidote was given him and his life
saved. To Caulaincourt he said an hour later: "God would not allow it. I
could not die. Why did they not let me die? It is not the loss of my
throne that makes existence insupportable to me. My military career is
enough glory for one man. Do you know what is more difficult to bear
than reverses of fortune? It is the baseness, the horrible ingratitude
of men. I turned my head away with horror from the sight of their
meanness and their contemptible selfishness, and I am disgusted with
life. What I have suffered during the last three weeks, no one can

Some months later, while at Elba, Napoleon ascribed his ruin entirely to
Marmont, to whom he had confided some of his best troops, and a post of
the greatest importance, as a person on whose devotion to him he could
most depend. "For how could I expect to be betrayed," he said, "by a man
whom I had loaded with kindness from the time he was fifteen years of
age? Had he stood firm, I could have driven the Allies out of Paris, and
the people there,--as well as throughout France,--would have risen, in
spite of the Senate, if they had had a few troops to support them."

The Emperor remained long enough at Fontainebleau to hear of the
restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy, and on the 20th of April, the
commissioners of the Allied Sovereigns having arrived, he once more
called his loyal officers about him and signified that they were
summoned to receive his last adieu. A few of the marshals and others who
had sworn fealty to the new monarch were also present. "Louis" (the
King), Napoleon said, "has talents and means: he is old and infirm; and
will not, I think, choose to give a bad name to his reign. If he is
wise, he will occupy my bed, and only change the sheets. He must treat
the army well, and take care not to look back on the past, or his time
will be brief. For you, gentlemen, I am no longer to be with you;--you
have another government; and it will become you to attach yourselves to
it frankly, and serve it faithfully as you have served me."

As he passed along he beheld all that now remained of the most brilliant
and numerous courts in Europe, reduced to about sixteen individuals, who
thus waited to manifest their regard and respect for the fallen Emperor.
Junot, had died the year before, and Caulaincourt and General Flahault
were absent on missions. Napoleon shook hands with them all; then
hastily passing the range of carriages, he advanced towards the relics
of the Imperial Guard which he had desired to be drawn up in the
courtyard of the castle. He advanced to them on horseback and tears
dropped from his eyes as he dismounted in their midst. "Soldiers of the
Old Guard," said he, "I bid you farewell! During twenty years you have
been my constant companions in the path of honor and glory. In our last
disasters, as well as in the days of our prosperity, you invariably
proved yourselves models of courage and fidelity. With such men as you,
our cause could not have been lost; but a protracted civil war would
have ensued, and the miseries of France would thereby have been
augmented. I have, therefore, sacrificed all our interests to those of
the country. I depart: you, my friends, will continue to serve France,
whose happiness has ever been the only object of my thoughts, and still
will be the sole object of my wishes. Do not deplore my fate. If I
consent to live, it is that I may still contribute to your glory. I will
record the great achievements we have performed together. Farewell, my
comrades! I should wish to press you all to my bosom. Let me at least
embrace your standard."

[Illustration: From a Painting by E. Meissonier


At these words, General Petit took the eagle and came forward. Napoleon
received the general in his arms, and kissed the flag. The silence of
this affecting scene was only interrupted by the occasional sobs of the
soldiers. Having kissed the flag, Napoleon said with great emotion,
"Farewell once more my old comrades! Let this kiss be impressed on all
your hearts!"

On this occasion the English commissioner who stood near him, and had
previously been his inveterate enemy, was so deeply moved that he was
affected in the same degree as Napoleon's attendants. When leaving
Napoleon called for Rustan, his Mameluke servant, but the latter had
concealed himself, though on the preceding day he had received from his
master, at Fontainebleau, a present of 30,000 francs to provide for his
wife and family during his absence. The Emperor, in speaking afterwards
of this man who nightly slept across his doorway, said, "I am by no
means astonished at his conduct, as he was imbued with the sentiments of
a slave; and, finding me no longer master, he imagined his services
might be dispensed with."

Napoleon now hurried through the group that surrounded him--stepped into
his carriage, and instantly drove off. The carriages took the road to

Four commissioners, one each from the great Allied Powers, Austria,
Russia, Prussia and England, accompanied him on his journey. He was
attended by the ever faithful Bertrand, Grand Master of the Palace, and
some other attached friends and servants. While fourteen carriages were
conveying him and his immediate suite towards Elba, 700 infantry and
about 150 cavalry of the Imperial Guard,--all picked men and
volunteers,--marched in the same direction to take on them the military
duties of the exiled court.

Not far from Lyons Napoleon met Augereau, general-in-chief of the Army
of the East, whose conduct during the late campaign had been that of a
traitor. When Augereau had taken his leave from his ex-chief one of the
commissioners ventured to express surprise that Napoleon should have
treated him with such a show of affection. "Why should I not?" he asked.

"Your Majesty is perhaps unacquainted with his conduct. Sire, he entered
into an understanding with us several weeks ago!"

The Emperor afterwards confirmed this anecdote, adding: "The conqueror
of Castiglione might have left behind him a name dear to his country;
but France will execrate the memory of the traitor of Lyons."

During the early part of his progress the Exile was received
respectfully by the civil functionaries of the different towns and
departments, and many tokens of sympathy on the part of the people were
expressed. As he increased the distance between himself and his capital,
and was carried into provinces wherein his name had never been extremely
popular, he was once or twice subjected to personal insult, and danger
of violence, when the horses were changing. At Lyons, an old woman in
mourning, and with a countenance full of enthusiasm, rushed forward to
the door of the carriage. "Sire" said she, with an air of solemnity,
"may the blessing of heaven attend your endeavor to make yourself happy.
They tear you from us; but our hearts are with you, wheresoever you go."

The Austrian commissioner, quite disconcerted, said to his companion,
"Let us go; I have no patience with this mad woman!"

At length Napoleon disguised himself and sometimes appearing in an
Austrian uniform, at others riding on before the carriages in the garb
of a courier, reached in safety the place of embarkation. A French
vessel had been sent round from Toulon to Cannes, for the purpose of
conveying him to Elba; but there happened to be an English frigate also
in the roads and he preferred sailing under any flag rather than the
Bourbon. The voyage to Elba was uneventful. Napoleon succeeded in making
a favorable impression on the English crew and when, on finally leaving
the "Undaunted," he caused some two hundred napoleons ($800) to be
distributed among the sailors, the boatswain undertook to return thanks
in the name of the crew by "wishing him a long life--_and better luck
next time_!" As he left the vessel a royal salute was fired.

The Emperor of the little island of Elba came in view of his new
dominions on the afternoon of May 4th, 1814, and went ashore in disguise
the same evening, in order to ascertain for himself whether the feelings
of the Elbans were favorable or otherwise. He found the people
considered his residence as likely to increase in every way the
importance and prosperity of their island, and returned on board the
ship; at noon the day following he made his public entry into the town
of Porto-Ferrajo amidst many popular demonstrations of welcome and
respect. The English and Austrian commissioners landed with him, those
from Russia and Prussia having departed at the coast of Provence. When
the Exile climbed to the hill above Ferrajo, and looked down upon the
whole of his territory, as upon a map, he remarked to Sir Neil Campbell,
the English commissioner, "It must be confessed that my island is very

The island, however, mountainous and rocky, for the most part barren,
and of a circumference not exceeding sixty miles, was his. He forthwith
devoted to it the same anxious care and industry that had sufficed for
the whole affairs of France, and a large portion of Europe besides. In
less than three weeks he had thorougly acquainted himself with its
history, resources and the character of its people, had explored every
corner of the island "and projected more improvements of all sorts"
according to one historian, "than would have occupied a life-time to
complete." He even extended his "Empire" by sending some soldiers to
take possession of a small adjacent islet, hitherto unoccupied for fear
of Corsairs. He established residences in four different corners of Elba
and was continually in motion from one to the other. All the etiquette
of the Tuileries was adhered to as far as possible, and Napoleon's eight
or nine hundred veterans were reviewed as frequently and formally as if
they had been the army of Austerlitz or Friedland, and over which hung
the flag of Elba which the Emperor had adopted, and which was that of
the island,--white, striped with purple and studded with stars. Sometime
later he adopted a new flag as King of Elba; silver with a red band, the
latter having bees of gold on it. The Emperor wore the uniform of the
Colonel of the Horse Chasseurs of the Guard. He had substituted on his
chapeau the red and white cockade of the island for the tri-colored
cockade. His presence gave a new stimulus to the trade and industry of
the island and the port of Ferrajo was crowded with vessels from the
opposite coast of Italy.

Napoleon received no money whatever from the Bourbon court, his pension
having been entirely forgotten by his successors at the capital. His
complaints on this head were not even considered, and the exchequer of
the Exile being rapidly depleted by his generous expenditures, he soon
became in need of many necessities. These new troubles imbittered the
spirit of the fallen Chief and but for the course of events at Paris, of
which he was kept fully advised, would have become overpowered by a
listlessness which at one time affected him seriously.

While on the island the Emperor observed that his new flag had become
the first in the Mediterranean. It was held sacred, he said, by the
Algerians, who usually made presents to the Elban captains, telling them
they were paying the debt of Moscow. Some Algerian ships once anchoring
off the island, great alarm was caused among the inhabitants, who
questioned the pirates, and asked them plainly whether they came with
any hostile views. "Against the Great Napoleon;" they replied, "Oh!
never; we do not wage war on God!"

Louis XVIII. had made his public entry into Paris on the 21st of April.
He was advanced in years, gross and infirm in person, yet he was,
perhaps, less unpopular than the rest of his family; but it was his
fatal misfortune to continue to increase day by day the bitterness of
those who had never been sincerely his friends. The King had been called
to the throne by the French Senate in a decree which provided that he
should preserve the political system "which Napoleon had violated," and
which declared the legislative constitution as composed of a hereditary
sovereign and two houses of assembly; to be fixed and unchangeable.
Louis, however, though he proceeded to France on this invitation, did
not hesitate to date his first act in the twentieth year of his reign.
The Senate saw in such assumptions the traces of those old doctrines of
"the divine right of kings," of which Louis was a shining example, and
which they, who though not originally of his party, had consented to his
recall--although they had through life abhorred and combatted such
principles; and they asked themselves, why, if all their privileges were
but the gifts of the King, they might not, on any tempting opportunity,
be withdrawn by the same authority. They, whose titles had all been won
since the death of Louis XVI., were startled when they found, that,
according to the royal doctrine, _there had been no legitimate
government all that time in France_!

The first tumult of the Restoration being over, and the troops of the
Allies withdrawn, things began to so shape themselves that there were
many elements of discontent amongst all classes, one of the most
powerful of which was in the army itself. The Allies had restored,
without stipulation, the whole of the prisoners who had fallen into
their hands during the war. At least 150,000 veteran soldiers, all of
whom had fought under Napoleon on many battlefields, were thus poured
into France ere Louis was well seated on the throne; men, too, who had
witnessed nothing of the last disastrous campaigns; who had sustained
themselves in their exile by recounting their earlier victories; and who
now, returning fresh and vigorous to their native soil, had but one
answer to every tale of misfortune which met them: "These things could
never have happened had we been here!"

The Empress Marie was at Blois at the time Napoleon signed his
abdication, and Savary has described her grief as very great, but her
own reverses were sufficiently severe to account for this, without any
strong feeling for Napoleon. By direction of Napoleon she applied for
protection to the Emperor of Austria and went to Rambouillet to meet
him, where he explained to her that she was to be separated from her
husband "for a time." The Emperor Alexander visited her also, very much
against her will, and a few days afterwards she departed for Vienna.
Alexander also visited Josephine, and found her distress at Napoleon's
abdication very great. She appears never to have recovered from the
shock for she survived it only about six weeks. She died on the 29th of
May, 1814, at Malmaison, and was buried in the church of Ruel. Her
funeral was attended by several generals of the allied armies, and
marshals and generals of France. The body was afterwards placed in a
magnificent tomb of white marble, erected by her two children, and
bearing the simple inscription: "Eugene and Hortense to Josephine."

Napoleon's mother, and sister Pauline, as well as a number of ancient
and attached servants of his civil government and his army, visited him
during the summer of 1814. Not the least of these was Pauline, who made
repeated voyages to Italy, and returned again as mysteriously. In the
circles of Ferrajo new and busy faces now appeared and disappeared--no
one knew whence they had come or whither they went and an air of bustle
and mystery pervaded the atmosphere of the place. The Emperor continued
to review his handful of veteran soldiers with as much pride as if
they had been the innumerable hosts he had led to victory on the
Continent, and seemed to be fairly well contented with his situation
notwithstanding he had fallen from an eminence that had been reached by
no other man in modern times. The only notable change observed in his
habits was that he became grave, and reserved, and seemed no longer to
take any interest in the improvements he had effected on the island.

It was evident, however, that something was preparing; but the
commissioners who watched over Napoleon were unable to fathom it. They
repeatedly remarked on the absurdity of the Allied Powers in withholding
his pension, which they had solemnly pledged should be paid every
quarter, thereby tempting him to release himself; but their reports were
left unnoticed by those in whose hands they fell. This obliged the
Emperor to sell every luxury and comfort around him to raise the means
of paying his current expenses. Then it was that he began to forecast
the future and to contemplate a bold stroke, not only for liberty, but
to regain his lost throne before he could be transported to St. Helena
which he had been informed privately was being discussed at Vienna.

In this he was aided by a nation which was far from satisfied with the
man whose possession of the royal sceptre had only been made possible by
the force of foreign armies, and it was apparent to nearly everyone that
Louis XVIII. could not long rule France tranquilly, even though Napoleon
did not return.

Ere autumn closed Napoleon granted furloughs on various pretexts to
about two hundred of his Guard, and these at once scattered themselves
over France singing his praises. It now began to be whispered that the
Exile would return to the soil of France in the spring of the coming
year. Among the soldiery and elsewhere he was toasted under the
_sobriquet_ of "Corporal Violet," a flower or a ribbon of its color
being the symbol of rebellion, and worn openly in the sight of the
unsuspecting Bourbons. It was by this secret symbol that Napoleon's
friends knew each other. Rings of a violet color with the device, "It
will re-appear in the spring," became fashionable; women wore
violet-colored silks and the men displayed watch-strings of the same
color; while the mutual question when these friends met was generally,
"Are you fond of the violet?" to which the answer of a confederate was,
"Ah! well."

The representatives of all the European princes had met in Vienna to
settle finally a number of questions left undecided at the termination
of the war, including a division of the "spoils." Talleyrand was there
for France, Wellington for England, Metternich for Austria. On the 11th
of March these representatives, who were then discussing among other
things "how to get rid of the Man of Elba," were thrown into a panic by
the news that Napoleon Bonaparte had reared his standard once more in
France and was marching on Paris!

Of the state of affairs in France Napoleon had been fully advised as
well as of the sessions of the ministers at the Congress of Vienna, who
had suggested that, as the French government would not honestly pay his
pension, he should be taken to some place of greater safety, and St.
Helena was even mentioned at this time. This determined Napoleon to act,
especially as he was fully convinced that he had a good chance of being
well received by the twenty or thirty millions of people who were being
treated with contempt by Louis XVIII. and his followers. The arrival
also of M. Fleury de Chaboulon, with secret messages from Maret, (Duke
of Bassano) then at Paris, had much to do with the hasty determination
of Napoleon to quit Elba at the earliest moment possible. Reserved as
the Exile was with others he told his mother of his plans. "I cannot die
on this island," he said to her, "and terminate my career in a repose
unworthy of me. Besides, want of money would soon leave me here alone,
exposed to the attack of my enemies." His mother reflected for some time
in silence and then replied, "Go, my son--go and fulfill your destiny!
You will fail perhaps, and your failure will soon be followed by your
death. But I see with sorrow that you cannot remain here; let us hope
that God, who has protected you amid so many battles, will save you once

Bertrand, who was sharing Napoleon's exile, was now informed of the
Emperor's decision as was also Druot who at once commenced secret
preparations for the approaching expedition. Eleven hundred soldiers
were collected of whom 800 belonged to the Guard and 300 to the 35th
light infantry that Napoleon had found in the island. None of these men
had any idea of the projected enterprise. Colonel Campbell, who was
watching proceedings in Elba for the English, had left Ferrajo and gone
to Leghorn. There remained then only the cruisers that were easily
deceived or avoided. In order to keep his preparations a profound
secret, Napoleon, two days before embarking, laid an embargo on the
vessels in the harbors of Elba, and cut off all communication with the
sea. He then ordered his ordnance officer, Vantini, to seize one of the
large vessels lying in the port, which, with the "Inconstant" of
twenty-six cannon, and six other smaller craft, making in all seven
vessels, he secured the means of embarking his eleven hundred men and
four pieces of field artillery. He had decided to commence his romantic
enterprise on the 26th of February, 1815. On this day he allowed his
soldiers to remain at their usual employment until the middle of the
day. They were suddenly summoned in the afternoon and after being
lightly fed, were assembled with arms and baggage on the pier where they
were informed that they were to go on board the vessels. The inhabitants
of the island regretted the Exile's departure as they feared its
prosperity would go with him. Napoleon's staff and about three hundred
men embarked on board the "Inconstant," the others being distributed in
the other vessels of the flotilla.

The discharge of a single cannon at about 7 o'clock in the evening was
the signal agreed upon for weighing anchor, and when the sails were
unfurled, and the little fleet steered its course, reiterated cries of
"Paris or death!" were heard from the exultant troops. The Emperor had
said to them, "Grenadiers! we are going to France; we must march to

The English commissioner immediately attempted to get Napoleon's mother
and sister to betray his destination and being unsuccessful, at once
pursued; but was unable to overtake his charge. On the voyage a French
ship-of-war crossed his path; but the Emperor made all his soldiers and
those persons who could be suspected descend under the deck, and the
steersman of the "Inconstant," who happened to be well acquainted with
the commanding officer, had received and answered the usual challenge
without exciting any suspicion. In reply to the question of how they
left the Emperor at Elba, Napoleon himself made answer by signal that,
"He was very well."

During the voyage he dictated two proclamations which were copied by
almost all his soldiers and attendants who could write. These were to be
duplicated on landing and distributed throughout France.

The Emperor, having left Elba on the 26th of February, arrived off
Cannes, near Fréjus, on March 1st,--the very spot he had touched when he
arrived from Egypt, and from which he had embarked ten months before. He
landed without opposition, and his handful of men,--500 grenadiers of
the Guard, 200 dragoons and 100 Polish lancers, these last without
horses and carrying their saddles on their backs, were reviewed and
immediately began their march on Paris. He bivouacked that night in a
plantation of olives, with all his men about him. As soon as the moon
rose, the reveillé sounded. A laborer who was going thus early to work
in the fields recognized the Emperor's person, and uttering a cry of
joy, said he had served in the Army of Italy and would join the ranks.
"Here is a reinforcement already!" said Napoleon to Bertrand, and after
spending the balance of the evening in chatting familiarly with his
Guard, the march towards Paris recommenced.

Early in the morning they passed through the town of Grasse, and halted
on the height beyond it. There the whole population of the place
surrounded them, some cheering and many others maintaining perfect
silence; but none offered any show of opposition. The peasants blessed
his return; but, on viewing his little band looked upon him with pity,
and entertained no hope of his ultimate success. The roads were so bad
that the pieces of cannon which they had with them were abandoned in the
course of the day, but they marched full twenty leagues ere they halted
for the night at Seranon. "Before arriving at this stopping place," says
Thiers, "the Emperor stopped a few minutes in a hut, occupied by an old
woman and some cows. Whilst he warmed himself before a brushwood fire he
entered into conversation with the old country-woman, who little
imagined what guests she entertained beneath her humble thatch, and was
asked, 'What news from Paris?' She seemed surprised at a question to
which she was little accustomed, and replied very naturally that she
knew of none. 'You don't know what the King is doing then?' said

"'The King?' answered the old woman, still more astonished, 'the King!
You mean the Emperor--he is always _yonder_.'"

This dweller in the Alpine country was wholly ignorant that Napoleon had
been hurled from his throne and replaced by Louis XVIII. All present
were struck with astonishment at witnessing this extraordinary
ignorance. Napoleon, who was not less surprised than the others, looked
at Druot and said, "Well, Druot, of what use is it to disturb the world
to fill it with one's name?"

On the 5th of March the Emperor reached Gap, where he published his
first proclamations,--one to the army and another to the French people.
The former said: "Soldiers! We have not been conquered. Two men, raised
from our ranks, (Marmont and Augereau) have betrayed our laurels, their
country, their prince, their benefactor. In my exile I have heard your
voice. I have arrived once more among you, despite all obstacles, and in
all perils. We ought to forget that we have been the masters of the
world; but we ought never to suffer foreign interference in our affairs.
Who dares pretend to be master over us? Take again the eagles which you
followed at Ulm, at Austerlitz, at Jena, at Eylau, at Friedland, at
Tudela, at Eckmuhl, at Essling, at Smolensk, at Moskowa, at Lutzen, at
Wurtchen, at Montmirail. Soldiers! come and range yourselves under the
banners of your old chief. Victory shall march at the charging step. The
eagle, with the national colors, shall fly from steeple to steeple, till
it reaches the towers of Notre Dame! In your old age, surrounded and
honored by your fellow-citizens, you shall be heard with respect when
you recount your high deeds. You shall then say with pride, 'I also was
one of that great army which entered twice within the walls of Vienna,
which took Rome, and Berlin, and Madrid and Moscow, and which delivered
Paris from the stain printed on it by domestic treason, and the
occupation of strangers.'"

Between Mure and Vizele, Cambronne, who commanded Napoleon's advanced
guard of forty grenadiers, met suddenly a battalion sent forward from
Grenoble to arrest the march. The colonel refused to parley with
Cambronne and either party halted until the Emperor came up. Napoleon
did not hesitate for a moment but dismounted and advanced alone; some
paces behind him came about a hundred of his Guard, with their arms
reversed. There was perfect silence on all sides until the returned
Exile was within a few yards of the men. He then halted, threw open his
surtout, so as to show the star of the Legion of Honor, and exclaimed,
"If there be among you a soldier who desires to kill his general--his
Emperor--let him do it now. Here I am!"

The old cry of "Vive l'Empereur!" burst instantly from every lip.
Napoleon threw himself among them, and taking a veteran private, covered
with scars and medals, by his beard, said, "Speak honestly, old
Moustache, couldst thou have had the heart to kill thy Emperor?"

The old soldier dropped his ramrod into his piece to show that it was
not loaded, and answered, "Judge if I could have done thee much
harm--_all the rest are the same_!" The soldiers had now broken their
ranks and were surrounding the Emperor, kissing his hands and calling
him their general, their Emperor, their father. The commander of the 5th
battalion, thus abandoned by his soldiers, knew not what to do, when
Napoleon, freeing himself from the throng stepped forward, asked his
name, his grade, his services and then added: "My friend, who made you
chief of battalion?" "You, Sire," "Who made you captain?" "You, Sire,"
"And would you fire on me?" "Yes" replied the brave man, "in the
performance of my duty." He then gave his sword to Napoleon, who took
it, pressed his hand and in a voice that clearly indicated that the
weapon would be restored at that point, said, "Meet me at Grenoble."
Turning to Bertrand and Druot the Emperor then said: "All is decided:
within ten days we shall be in the Tuileries!"

Napoleon now gave the word, and the old adherents and the new began the
march together towards Grenoble. Ere they reached that town Colonel
Labedoyere, an officer of noble family, and who had been promoted by
Louis XVIII., appeared on the road before them at the head of his
regiment, the seventh of the line. These men and the Emperor's little
column, on coming within view of each other, rushed simultaneously from
their ranks and embraced with mutual shouts of, "Live Napoleon! Live the
Guard! Live the Seventh!"

Labedoyere now produced an eagle, which he had kept concealed about his
person, and broke open a drum which was found to be filled with
tri-colored cockades. As these ancient ensigns were exhibited by the
first officer of superior rank who voluntarily espoused the side of the
returned Exile, renewed enthusiasm was apparent on all sides. Napoleon
then questioned young Labedoyere concerning the state of Paris, and
France in general. That gallant officer answered with much frankness:
"Sire, the French will do everything for your Majesty; but your Majesty
must do everything in return for them; no more ambition, no more
despotism; we are determined to be free and happy. It is necessary,
Sire, to renounce that system of conquest and power which occasioned the
misfortune of France and yourself."

[Illustration: From a Drawing by L. Marin


Napoleon replied, "I know that. I return to revive the glory of France,
to establish the principles of the Revolution and to secure to the
nation a degree of liberty which, though difficult at the commencement
of my reign, is now become not only possible but necessary."

This act of Labedoyere was most decisive, for in spite of all the
efforts of General Marchand, commandant at Grenoble, the whole of that
garrison, when he approached the walls, shouted "Vive l'Empereur!"
Though welcoming Napoleon with their voices and shaking hands with his
followers through the wicket below, they would not so far disobey the
governor as to throw open the gates. Neither could any argument prevail
upon them to open fire on the advancing party and in the very teeth of
all their batteries Napoleon calmly planted a howitzer or two and blew
the gates open. Then, as if the spell of discipline was at once
dissolved, the garrison broke from their lines and dragging the Emperor
from his horse, bore him aloft on their shoulders towards the principal
inn of the place, amidst the clamors of enthusiastic and delirious joy.
The inhabitants of Grenoble, being unable to bring him the keys of the
city, brought him with acclamations, the shattered gates instead,
exclaiming: "For want of the keys of the good city of Grenoble, here are
the gates for you!" Next morning he reviewed his troops, now amounting
to about 7,000, and on the 9th recommenced his march.

On the 10th of March Napoleon came within sight of Lyons and was
informed that Marshal Macdonald had arrived to take the command, had
barricaded the bridge of Guillotierre, and posted himself at the head of
a large force to dispute the entrance of the town. Nothing daunted with
this intelligence, the column moved on, and at the bridge of Lyons, as
at the gates of Grenoble, all opposition vanished when the person of the
Emperor was recognized by the soldiery. Macdonald was forced to retire
and Napoleon entered the second city of France in triumph. Macdonald
would have been taken prisoner by his own troops, had not some of them,
more honorable than the rest, insisted on his escape being unobstructed.
He thereupon returned to Paris where he once more hoped to make a stand.

A guard of mounted citizens who had been formed to attend on the person
of Count d'Artois, the heir of the Empire, and who had accompanied
Macdonald, were the foremost to offer their services to the Emperor
after he reached the hotel; but he rejected their assistance and
dismissed them with contempt. Finding that one of their number had
followed the Prince until his person was out of all danger, Napoleon
immediately sent to that individual the cross of the Legion of Honor.

Meanwhile, during the week that the Emperor had continued his march
Parisward without opposition, the newspapers of the capital were silent,
and none ventured to make any allusion whatever to his successes. There
then appeared a royal decree, proclaiming Napoleon Bonaparte "an
outlaw," and convoking, on the instant, the two Chambers. Next day the
"Moniteur" announced that, surrounded on all hands by faithful
garrisons and a loyal population, this "outlaw and invader" was already
stripped of most of his followers, was wandering in despair among the
hills, and certain to be a prisoner within two or three days at the
utmost! Louis received many addresses full of loyalty and devotion from
the public bodies of Paris, from towns and departments, and, above all,
from the marshals, generals and regiments who happened to be near the
capital. The partisans of Napoleon at Paris, however, were far more
active than the royalists. They gave out everywhere that, as the
proclamation addressed "To the French people" from Gap had stated,
Napoleon came back thoroughly cured of that ambition which had armed
Europe against his throne; that he considered his act of abdication
void, because the Bourbons had not accepted the crown on the terms which
it was offered, and had used their authority in a spirit, and for
purposes at variance with the feelings and the interests of the French
people; that he was come to be no longer the dictator of a military
despotism, but the first citizen of a nation which he had resolved to
make the freest of the free; that the royal government wished to
extinguish by degrees all memory of the Revolution; that he was
returning to consecrate once more the principles of liberty and
equality, ever hateful to the eyes of the old nobility of France, and to
secure the proprietors of forfeited estates against all machinations of
that dominant faction;--in a word, that he was fully sensible of the
extent of his past errors, both of domestic administration and of
military ambition, and desirous of nothing but the opportunity of
devoting, to the true welfare of peaceful France, those unrivalled
talents and energies which he had been rash enough to abuse in former

Napoleon's friends declared, too, and with much show of authority, that
the army was, high and low, on the side of the Emperor; that every
detachment sent to intercept him would but swell his force so that
nothing could prevent him from taking possession of the Tuileries ere a
fortnight more had passed over the head of the Bourbon King.

Napoleon remained at Lyons from the 10th to the 13th of March. Here he
formally resumed the functions of civil government, published various
decrees, one of which commanded that justice be administered everywhere
in his name after the 15th, another abolishing the Chambers of the Peers
and the Deputies and summoning all the electoral colleges to meet in
Paris to witness the coronation of Marie Louise and her son, and settle
definitively the constitution of the State; a third, ordering into
banishment all those whose names had not been erased from the list of
emigrants prior to the abdication of Fontainebleau; a fourth, depriving
all strangers and emigrants of their commissions in the army; a fifth,
abolishing the order of St. Louis, and bestowing all its revenues on the
Legion of Honor; and a sixth restoring to their authority all
magistrates who had been displaced by the Bourbon government.

These publications soon reached Paris and caused much alarm among the
adherents of the King.

Marshal Ney now received orders from the Minister of War to take command
of a large body of troops whose fidelity was considered sure, and who
were about to be sent to Lons-le-Saunier, to intercept and arrest the
returning Exile before he could make further progress. Ney immediately
rode to Paris from his retired country-seat and there, for the first
time, learned of the disembarkation of Napoleon from Elba. He is even
said to have declared that he would bring his former chief to Paris in a
cage, like a wild beast, in the course of a week. On reaching
Lons-le-Saunier he received a letter from Napoleon reminding him of
their former campaigns and summoning him to join his standard as the
"bravest of the brave." Ney had a secret interview with a courier who
brought this letter, with one from Bertrand. Generals Lecourbe and
Bourmont, by whom the marshal was attended, advised him not to oppose a
torrent which was too powerful for any resistance he could bring against
it. While in this state of doubt and indecision, sorely perplexed as to
his exact duty, he received intelligence that his vanguard, posted at
Bourg, had gone over to Napoleon, and that the inhabitants of
Chalons-sur-Saone had seized the park of artillery. All this confirming
what Ney had just been told by the courier, he exclaimed, "It is
impossible for me to stop the incoming water of the ocean with the palm
of my hand!" Accordingly, on the following morning, he published an
order of the day, declaring that "the cause of the Bourbons was lost
forever, and that the legitimate dynasty which the French nation had
adopted was about to reascend the throne." This order was read to the
troops and was received by them with rapture; some of the officers,
however, remonstrated and left their command. One, before he went away,
broke his sword in two, and threw the pieces at Ney's feet, saying, "It
is easier for a man of honor to break iron than to infringe his word."

Ney put his soldiery in motion forthwith, and joined the march of the
Emperor on the 17th of March at Auxerre, being received by Napoleon
with open arms. Ney avowed later that he had chosen the part of Napoleon
long ere he pledged his oath to Louis, adding that the greater number of
the marshals were, like himself, original members of the Elban
conspiracy to again place him on the throne.

In and about the capital there still remained troops sufficient in
numbers to overwhelm the advancing column, and Louis intrusted the
command of these battalions to Marshal Macdonald, who proceeded to
establish himself at Melun with the King's army, in the hopes of being
supported by his soldiers in the discharge of his commission.

On the 19th Napoleon slept once more in the chateau of Fontainebleau,
and on the morning of the 20th he advanced through the forest, alone,
and with the full knowledge of Macdonald's arrangements. About noon the
marshal's troops, who had been for some time under arms on an eminence
beyond the wood, perceived suddenly a single open carriage coming at
full speed towards them from among the trees. A handful of Polish
horsemen, with their lances reversed, followed the equipage. The little
flat cocked hat; the gray surtout; then the person of Napoleon was
recognized. In an instant the men burst from their ranks, surrounded him
with the cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" and trampled their white cockades
in the dust. Macdonald escaped to Paris but Louis had not awaited his
last stand. He had set off from the Tuileries in the middle of the
preceding night, amidst the tears and lamentations of several courtiers,
taking the road to Lisle. McDonald soon overtook and accompanied him to
the frontier of the Netherlands, which he reached in safety.

Napoleon once more entered Paris on the evening of the 20th of March. He
came preceded and followed by the soldiery on horseback, and on whom
alone he had relied. At the Tuileries he was received with every
possible demonstration of joy and was almost stifled by the pressure of
those enthusiastic adherents who, the moment he stopped in the
court-yard of the palace, mounted him on their shoulders and carried him
in triumph up the great staircase of the palace. The Emperor, during
this dramatic proceeding, continued to exclaim, "Be steady my good
children; be steady I entreat you." A piece of his coat being either
purposely or by accident torn off, was instantly divided into hundreds
of scraps, for the procurement of each remnant of which, by way of
relic, there was as much struggling as if the effort had been made to
become possessed of so many ingots of gold. He found in the apartments,
which the King had but lately vacated, a brilliant assemblage of those
who had in former times filled the most prominent places in his own
councils and court.

"Gentlemen," said Napoleon, as he walked round the circle, "it is
disinterested people who have brought me back to my capital. It is the
subalterns and the soldiers that have done it all. I owe everything to
the people and the army."

All night long the cannon of Marengo and Austerlitz pealed forth their
joyous sounds, the city was brilliantly illuminated, and all except the
Bourbons, who, as Thiers happily says, "during twenty-five years had
neither learned or forgotten anything," were rejoicing at the return of
the Exile. Napoleon had now proved that he was not only Emperor of the
army but of the citizens, the people, the peasantry, and the masses.
With a handful of men he had marched from one end of the kingdom to the
other, entered the capital and taken possession of the throne, and that
without shedding even one drop of blood!

He assigned, among other reasons for leaving Elba, that in addition to
the violation of the treaty of Fontainebleau in failing to pay his
pension, that his wife and child had been seized, detained, and never
permitted to join him; that the pensions to his mother and brothers were
alike refused, and that assassins had been sent over to Elba, for the
express purpose of murdering him. This last charge has also been made by
Savary with much positiveness. "Last year," said Napoleon, "it was said
that I recalled the Bourbons; this year they recall me; so we are

Previous to the morning of the 20th of March the nights had been rainy
and the days sombre and cloudy; but on this morning, the anniversary of
the birth of the young King of Rome, the day was ushered in by a
brilliant sun and which produced a strong effect on the populace who
again referred in their acclamations to the "sun of Napoleon" as they
had that of Austerlitz, ten years before. On the following day the whole
population of the capital directed their steps towards the Tuileries and
repeated anon and anon their pleasure at the return of the Emperor who
had, between the 1st and the 20th of March, fulfilled that strange
prophecy in which he said, victory would march at the charging step, and
that the imperial eagle would fly, without pause, from steeple to
steeple, to the towers of Notre Dame, even to the dome of the Palace of
the Tuileries!



The instant that news of Napoleon's daring movement reached Vienna, the
Congress, although on the point of dissolution, published a proclamation
in which it was said: "By breaking the Convention which had established
him in Elba, Bonaparte destroyed the only legal title on which his
existence depended; and by appearing again in France, with projects of
confusion and disorder, he has deprived himself of the protection of the
laws, and has manifested to the universe that there can be neither peace
or truce with him. The powers consequently declare, that Napoleon
Bonaparte has placed himself without the pale of civil and social
relations, and that as an enemy and disturber of the tranquility of the
world, he has rendered himself liable to public vengeance."

All Europe was now prepared once more for war. A formal treaty was
entered into by which the four great powers, England, Austria, Russia
and Prussia, bound themselves to maintain, each of them, at least
150,000 troops in arms until Napoleon should either be dethroned, or
reduced so low as no longer to endanger the peace of Europe. The other
states of the Continent were to be invited to join the alliance,
furnishing contingents adequate to their respective resources.

It was stipulated that in case England should not furnish all the men
agreed upon she would compensate by paying at the rate of $150 per annum
for every cavalry soldier, and $100 for every foot soldier under the
full number.

On the day following his return from Elba, Napoleon reviewed all the
troops in Paris, and addressed them in one of those stirring and
eloquent speeches which had never failed to excite their enthusiasm. In
beginning his address, he said: "Soldiers, I am returned to France with
twelve hundred men, because I relied upon the love of the people, and
the remembrance of me with the veteran troops. I have not been deceived
in my expectations; I thank you, soldiers. The glory of all that is
achieved is due to the people and yourselves. My only merit consists in
having justly appreciated you."

Cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" filled the air and were redoubled when
General Cambronne entered at the head of the officers of the battalion
of the Guard, which had accompanied him to and from Elba, and carrying
the imperial eagles. On observing the ancient emblems, Napoleon
exclaimed, "Behold the officers of the battalion who accompanied me in
the hour of misfortune! They are all my friends; they are dear to my
heart; whenever I beheld them, they presented to my view the different
regiments composing the army; for, in the number of these six hundred
brave men, there are individuals of every corps. In loving them, it is
all of you, soldiers of the whole army, that I loved. They come to
restore you those eagles; let them prove to you the rallying point!
Swear that they shall be found everywhere, when the interests of the
country shall require them; that the traitors, and those who would
subjugate our territory, may never be able to support their view." "We
swear!" came the vociferous replies of the soldiers to the strains of
the band playing: "Let us watch over the safety of the Empire."

Among the peals that rent the air, those of the working class were
particularly audible, their incessant cries being couched in these
terms: "The Great Contractor is returned; we shall now eat bread!"

Napoleon was hardly reseated on his throne ere he learned that he must
in all likelihood defend himself against 225,000 Russians, 300,000
Austrians, 236,000 Prussians, an army of 150,000 men furnished by the
minor States of Germany, 50,000 contributed by the government of the
Netherlands, and 50,000 English, commanded by the Duke of Wellington; in
all 1,100,000 soldiers! From the moment he re-established himself in the
Tuileries, he began that period of his government, which has been
designated the "Hundred Days," in order to meet this gigantic
confederation. Carnot became once more Minister of War, and showed the
same energy he had manifested during the Consulate. Napoleon had the
nation with him at that moment, notwithstanding the proclamations of
Louis XVIII.,--which had found their way into the capital,--announced
the speedy arrival of a million foreign soldiers under the walls of
Paris to replace him on his throne and drive away the "usurper."

The Duchess d'Angoulême was the last of the royal family who remained in
France. She had thrown herself into Bordeaux, trusting to the friendly
feeling of the mayor and citizens. She made strong efforts to maintain
the Bourbon cause, and behaved with so much spirit as to make Napoleon
pass an eulogium on her as "the only man of her family." But her efforts

The effective force of the army in France, when Napoleon landed at
Cannes, consisted of but about 93,000 men. The cavalry had been greatly
reduced, and the disasters of 1812, 1813 and 1814 were still visible in
the deficiency of military stores, and arms,--especially of artillery.
By almost incredible exertions, although now unable to adopt the old
method of conscription, by the middle of May the Emperor had over
375,000 men in arms,--including an Imperial Guard of 40,000 chosen
veterans,--all in a splendid state of equipment and discipline; a large
and brilliant force of cavalry, and a train of artillery of proportional
extent and excellence. He had labored unremittingly to raise the
military strength of France to a height sufficient once more to repel
the attack of all Europe, and was employed fifteen or sixteen hours a
day during the whole of this period. Men, clothing, arms, horses, and
discipline were wanting.

All the veterans were now recalled to the ranks. They came in crowds,
leaving the employments to which they had applied themselves to the
number of one hundred thousand men. All the officers on half pay were
also summoned to action.

Napoleon made several attempts to open a negotiation with the Allies,
and urged three arguments in defense of his "breach of the Convention"
by which he had become sovereign of Elba: 1st, the detention of his wife
and son by the Court of Austria: 2d, the non-payment of his pension, and
3d, the voice of the French nation which he had heard and obeyed, as
evidenced by the fact that by the end of March the tri-colored flag was
displayed on every tower in France.

During the last days of the Congress of Vienna, Murat's possession of
the throne of Naples was under discussion, and Talleyrand was
endeavoring to dethrone him and place thereon the King of the Sicilies.
When Napoleon landed on the shores of France, Murat resolved to rival
his brother-in-law's daring and without further pause marched to Rome,
at the head of 50,000 men, the Pope and cardinals fleeing at his
approach. Murat then advanced into the north of Italy, inviting "all
true Italians" to rally round him, and assist in the erection of their
country into one free and independent state, with himself at their head.

The Austrian commander in Lombardy put his troops in motion at once to
meet Murat, and the latter's followers fleeing in confusion, their
leader sought personal safety in flight. On quitting his wretched
remnant of an army he returned incognito to his capital on the evening
of the 18th of May. As he embraced his queen,--Napoleon's sister,--he
exclaimed, with emotion, "All is lost, Caroline, except my own life, and
that I have been unable to throw away!"

He departed in a fishing vessel which landed him near Toulon about the
end of May. Here he lingered for some time, entreating Napoleon to
receive him at Paris, and being unsuccessful, after a series of
extraordinary hardships, relanded on the coast of Naples after the King
of the Two Sicilies had been re-established on that throne.

Murat hoped to invite an insurrection and recover what he had lost; but
was seized, tried, and executed, meeting his fate with heroic fortitude.
To those who took his life he said at the last moment, "Save my face;
aim at my heart!" At St. Helena, Napoleon often said that the fortune of
the world might have been changed had there been a Murat to head the
French cavalry at Waterloo.

Austria was now concentrating all her Italian forces for the meditated
re-invasion of France; the Spanish army began to muster towards the
passes of the Pyrenees, the Russians, Swedes and Danes were already
advancing from the north, while the main armies of Austria, Bavaria and
the Rhenish princes were rapidly consolidating themselves along the
Upper Rhine. Blucher was once more in command of the Prussians in the
Netherlands; and Wellington, commanding in chief the British,
Hanoverians and Belgians, had also established his headquarters at
Brussels by the end of May. It was very evident to Napoleon that the
clouds were thickening fast and he at once began preparations to defend
himself ere his frontier had been crossed on all sides.

Among other preparations, the Emperor had now strongly fortified Paris
and all the positions in advance of it on the Seine, the Marne, and the
Aube, and among the passes of the Vosgesian hills. Lyons, also, had been
guarded by very formidable outworks. Massena, at Metz, and Suchet, on
the Swiss frontier, commanded divisions which the Emperor judged
sufficient to restrain Schwartzenberg for some time on the Upper Rhine.
Should he drive them, in the fortresses behind could hardly fail to
detain him much longer.

Meanwhile Napoleon had resolved to himself attack the most alert of his
enemies, the Prussians and the English, beyond the Sambre,--while the
Austrians were thus held in check on the Upper Rhine; and ere the armies
of the North could debouch upon Manheim, to co-operate by their right
with Wellington and Blucher, and by their left with Schwartzenberg.

On the 14th of May, previously appointed as the day of procession and
solemn festival of the "Federates,"--operatives and artisans of
Paris--the Emperor rode along their ranks, received their acclamations,
and harangued them in his usual strain of eloquence. In the meantime,
however, Fouché, Minister of Police, had already begun to hold
traitorous communications with the Austrian government. In one instance
Napoleon had discovered this fact, and had nearly caused him to be
arrested; but he abstained, apparently from apprehension of the
Republican party, amongst whom Fouché was a busy pretender.

The ceremony of the "Champ-de-Mai" took place on the 1st of June, in the
open space facing the Military School. The Imperial and National Guards
and troops of the line, amounting in all to 15,000 soldiers, were drawn
up in squares in the Champ-de-Mars and an immense concourse of
spectators thronged every vacant space from which a view of the scene
could be gained. After a religious solemnity, a patriotic address was
delivered to the Emperor by the electors of the departments, to which he
replied: "Emperor, Consul, Soldier--I hold all from the people. In
prosperity, in adversity, in the field of battle, in council, on the
throne, in exile, France has been the sole object of all my thoughts and

The Emperor then proceeded to the altar and took an oath to observe the
new constitution, which had been adopted by upwards of a million and a
half votes, and in which he was followed by his ministers and the
electoral deputations. The ceremony concluded with the distribution of
the eagles to the troops, and with loud and repeated acclamations, and
cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" from the soldiers and multitude assembled.
On the following day the Emperor gave a grand fête, in the gallery of
the Louvre, to the deputies of the army and the electors, on which
occasion he was again greeted with every manifestation of devotion and
fidelity. On the 4th of June, Napoleon attended in person the opening of
the Chambers and delivered addresses which were both firm, open and

By this time the Emperor had made most extraordinary progress in his
preparations for war. The effective strength of the army had been raised
to 365,000 men, of whom 117,000 were under arms, clothed, disciplined
and ready to take the field. They were formed into seven grand corps,
besides several corps of observation stationed along the whole line of
the frontiers, which were then threatened on every side. What Napoleon
now required was time to prepare the means of defense; but this his
enemies were far from intending to allow.

Their immense armaments were already passing on towards the frontiers of
France, in different lines, and at considerable intervals, for the
convenience of subsistence. The Emperors of Russia and Austria, and the
King of Prussia, had once more placed themselves at the head of their
respective armies. The Austrians, amounting to 300,000 men, commanded in
chief by Schwartzenberg, were divided into two bodies, one of which was
to enter France by Switzerland, the other by the Upper Rhine. Two
hundred thousand Russians were marching towards Alsace, under the
Archduke Constantine. The Prussian army amounted to two hundred and
thirty-six thousand men; of whom one half were already in the field. The
minor states of Germany had furnished one hundred and fifty thousand;
the Netherlands, fifty thousand; England, eighty thousand, including the
king's German legion, and other troops in British pay, under the command
of the Duke of Wellington;--in all 1,016,000 soldiers!

Among these hosts it was the army commanded by the Duke of Wellington,
and the Prussians under Blucher, which were first in the field. They
occupied Belgium and amounted to upwards of two hundred thousand men,
of whom rather less than one half were ranged under the English


Two plans of campaign presented themselves to the mind of Napoleon. One
was to remain entirely on the defensive, leaving to the Allies the odium
of striking the first blow against the liberties of nations. He believed
that as they would not begin the invasion until the middle of July, it
would be the middle of August before they could make their way through
the fortresses, and appear in force before Lyons and Paris. Large
armies, could, before that time, be concentrated by him under the walls
of these two cities, and there the battles must be fought and decided.
The second plan was to assume the offensive before the Allies had
completed their operations, by marching into Belgium and attacking the
armies of Wellington and Blucher. His numbers would be inferior, but his
tactics would aim at preventing the junction of the two armies opposed
to him and beating them separately, in which event Belgium would to a
certainty rise and join his cause. He finally resolved on the latter
plan of campaign. His calculations, were, in part, disturbed by a
serious insurrection in La Vendée, which obliged him to send 20,000 men
into that province, in order to quell it, and reduced his disposable
forces to one hundred and twenty thousand men; but did not alter his
determination. The army was put in motion, and every preparation made
for the approaching struggle.

The Emperor left Paris on the night between the 11th and 12th of June,
as some writers declare "to measure himself against Wellington." The
Imperial Guard had commenced its march on the 8th, and all the
different corps of the army were in motion towards Maubeuge and
Phillipville. When he had made known his intention of commencing the
war, Caulaincourt solicited the favor of attending him. "If I do not
leave you at Paris" answered Napoleon, "on whom can I depend?" Even then
he felt that it was not the Allies alone that he had to contend against;
and when he had left Paris he seemed less apprehensive of the enemies
before, than those he had left behind him. To Bertrand's wife he said,
as he took her hand at departing, "Let us hope, Madame Bertrand, that we
may not soon have to regret the Island of Elba."

Napoleon arrived at Vervins on the 12th of June and assembled and
reviewed at Beaumont on the 14th, the whole of the army which had been
prepared to act immediately under his own orders. They had been most
carefully selected, and formed, and it was, perhaps, the most perfect
force, though far from the most numerous, with which he had ever taken
the field. The returns showed that his army amounted to one hundred and
twenty-two thousand four hundred men, with three hundred and fifty
pieces of cannon. These included 25,000 of his Imperial Guard, 25,000
cavalry in the highest condition, and artillery admirably served. "The
whole army was superb and full of ardor;" says Count Labedoyere, "but
the Emperor, more a slave than could have been credited to recollections
and old habits, committed the great fault of replacing his army under
the command of its former chiefs, most of whom, notwithstanding their
previous addresses to the King, did not cease to pray for the triumph of
the Imperial cause; yet were not disposed to serve it with that ardor
and devotion demanded by imperious circumstances. They were no longer
men full of youth and ambition, generously prodigal of their lives to
acquire rank and fame; but veterans, weary of warfare, who, having
attained the summit of promotion, and being enriched by the spoils of
the enemy, or the bounty of Napoleon, indulged no other wish, than the
peaceable enjoyment of their good fortune under the shade of those
laurels, they had so dearly acquired."

The Emperor reminded his soldiers, in a fiery proclamation issued on the
14th of June, that the day was the anniversary of the battle of Marengo
and of Friedland. "Then, as after Austerlitz and Wagram" he said "we
were too generous. We gave credit to the protestations and oaths of the
princes whom we suffered to remain on their thrones. Now, however,
having coalesced among themselves, they aim at the independence and the
most sacred rights of France. They have commenced the most unjust of
aggressions. Are we no longer the same men? Fools that they are! A
moment of prosperity blinds them. The oppression and the humiliation of
the French people are out of their power. If they enter France, there
will they find their tomb. Soldiers! We have forced marches to make;
battles to wage; perils to encounter; but with constancy the victory
will be ours. The rights--the honor of the country--will be honored. For
every Frenchman who has a heart, the moment has now arrived either to
conquer or perish!"

The army of Blucher numbered at this time about 120,000 men. They
communicated on their right with the left of the Anglo-Belgian army,
under Wellington, whose headquarters were at Brussels. Blucher's forces
extended along the line of the Sambre and the Meuse, occupied Charleroi,
Namur, Givet, and Liege. The Duke of Wellington's host amounted in
all to 75,000 men; his first division occupied Enghien, Brain-le-Compte
and Nivelles, communicating with the Prussian right at Charleroi. The
second division,--Lord Hills',--was cantoned in Halle, Oudenard and
Gramont, together with the greater part of the cavalry. The reserve,
under Sir Thomas Picton, was quartered at Brussels and Ghent. The
English and Prussian commanders had thus arranged their troops with the
view of being able to support each other, wherever the French might
hazard their assault.

In the night between the 14th and 15th, scouts returned to the
headquarters of the French, reporting that there was no movement among
the invaders at Charleroi, Namur or Brussels, thus verifying the
Emperor's belief that the plans for concealing the movements of his army
during the last few days were successful. The Duke of Wellington, in a
letter to Lord Bathurst, on the 13th, declared his disbelief in the
report that Napoleon had joined the army, and it was not until the
afternoon of the 15th that he possessed any knowledge of the position
and intentions of Napoleon. On that day, an officer of high rank arrived
at Wellington's headquarters in Brussels with the intelligence of
Napoleon's decisive operations.

General Bourmont, a protegé of Ney, with Colonels Clouet and
Villoutreys, and two other officers, had gone over to the enemy with all
the Emperor's plans. Napoleon knew from Marshal Ney that Bourmont had
shown some hesitation, and he had been backward in employing him.
Bourmont, however, having given General Gerard his word of honor to
serve the Emperor faithfully; and the general in question, whom Napoleon
valued highly, having answered for his integrity, the Emperor consented
to admit him into the service. He had covered himself with glory in
1814, and it was not to be expected that he would in 1815 go over to the
enemy on the eve of a battle. A drum-major, who deserted from the French
ranks some hours before General Bourmont and his two companions, was
conducted under an escort to the headquarters of Blucher, at Namur,
where he gave the first intelligence of Napoleon's intended attack. This
was confirmed by Bourmont, Clouet and Villoutreys who added details with
which the drum-major could not possibly have been acquainted.

Later on, in speaking of these traitors, Napoleon said, "Their names
will be held in execration so long as the French people form a nation.
This desertion increased the anxiety of the soldiers."

The Emperor immediately made those alterations in his plan of attack, as
such unexpected treason rendered necessary, and then proceeded to carry
out the details of his campaign. He had determined on first attacking
the Prussians, as he believed Blucher would give him battle at once, in
order to allow the English time to collect their forces. He believed
also, that if the English army were attacked first, Blucher would more
rapidly arrive to the support of the English than the latter were likely
to do if the Prussians were first attacked.

Ney had been placed in command of 43,000 men, with orders to advance on
the road to Brussels and make himself master of the position of
Quatre-Bras, at all points, so as to prevent Wellington from supporting
the Prussians. He was to march at daybreak, on the 16th, occupy the
position and intrench himself.

On Thursday, the 15th of June, the French drove in all the outposts on
the west bank of the Sambre at daybreak and at length assaulted
Charleroi, it being the intention of the Emperor to crush Blucher ere he
could concentrate all his own forces,--far less be supported by the
advance of Wellington,--and then rush on Brussels. Zietten held out with
severe loss at Charleroi; but long enough for the alarm to spread along
the whole Prussian line and then fell back on a position between Ligny
and Amand, where Blucher now awaited Napoleon's attack at the head of
his whole army, except the division of Bulow, which had not yet come up
from Liege.

The design of beating the Prussians in detail was not a success but the
second part of the plan--that of separating them wholly from Wellington,
might still succeed. With this view, while Blucher was concentrating his
force about Ligny, the French held the main road to Brussels from
Charleroi, beating some Nassau troops at Frasnes, and following them as
far as Quatre-Bras, a farm-house, so-called because it is there that the
roads from Charleroi to Brussels, and from Nivelles to Namur cross each

On Thursday a Prussian officer arrived at Wellington's headquarters in
Brussels, with the intelligence of Napoleon's decisive operations. It is
still an open question just what hour this news was received by the
Duke, the time being variously stated at from 1 to 6 o'clock p.m. This
news was to the effect that the attack had commenced and the outposts of
the Allies had been driven back--much to Wellington's surprise, as he
was not wholly prepared for the news. There was to be a ball in Brussels
on Thursday evening, at the Duchess of Richmond's hotel, attended by the
Duke of Wellington and most of his general officers. Notwithstanding the
intelligence, they all went; but a second dispatch arrived at 11
o'clock, announcing that "the French had entered Charleroi that morning,
and continued to march in order of battle on Brussels; that there were
one hundred and fifty thousand strong; and that the Emperor was at their
head!" It was now but too clear that no more time should be lost and the
Duke and all of his officers hurried out of the ball-room.

Wellington, now fully aware of his situation, at once issued orders for
the breaking up of his cantonments, and the concentration of the forces,
which were spread over a very great extent. He rode off at an early hour
on the 16th, to Quatre-Bras, to visit the position, and thence to Bry,
where he had an interview with Blucher.

Napoleon, whose manoeuvres had thus far succeeded to his wish, on coming
up from Charleroi about noon on the 16th, was undecided whether Blucher
at Ligny, or Wellington at Quatre-Bras, ought to form the main object of
his attack. He at length determined to give his own personal attention
to Blucher.

The advanced guards met at the village of Fleurus, and those belonging
to the Prussians having retreated, their army now appeared drawn up in
battle array;--their left on Sombref; their centre on Ligny; their right
on St. Amand. The reserves were on the heights of Bry. Upon the summit
of this high ground the mill of Bry was conspicuous, and behind the
mill, in a depression, stood the village of Bry, whose steeple only was

The Prussian forces occupied a line nearly four miles in extent. The
French army, not including Ney's division, amounting to 60,000 men,
halted and formed. The Emperor now rode to some windmills on the chain
of outposts on the heights, and reconnoitred the enemy.

The Prussians displayed to him a force of about 80,000 men. Their front
was protected by a deep ravine; but their right was exposed, and had
Ney's division at Quatre-Bras, as the Emperor supposed, in the rear. A
staff officer now arrived from Ney, to inform Napoleon that he had not
yet occupied Quatre-Bras, in consequence of reports which made him
apprehensive of being turned by the enemy; but that he would advance, if
the Emperor still required it. Napoleon blamed him for having lost eight
hours, repeated the order, and added that, as soon as Ney had made good
that position, he (Ney) was to send a detachment by the causeway of
Namur and the village of Marchais, whence it should attack the heights
of Bry in the Prussian rear. Ney received this order at 12 o'clock,
noon; his detachment might reach Marchais by about 2 o'clock.

At this latter hour, therefore, the Emperor having descended from the
heights whence he had formed a correct view of his position, gave orders
for an immediate attack by a change of the whole front, divided into
several columns, on Fleurus. The attack extended all along the line of
the enemy, and which would be enclosed between two fires on the arrival
of the detachment from Ney's division in the rear of the Prussians. "The
fate of the war," said Napoleon, in answer to a question from Count
Gérard, "may be decided in three hours. If Ney executes his orders well,
not a gun of the Prussian army will escape." The soldiers had hardly
advanced a few paces, amid vociferous cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" when
terrible ravages were made in their ranks by the chain-shot from the
village and the balls from the batteries above. A single ball killed
eight men in one of the columns. But the enthusiasm of the troops, all
eager for battle, was too great to cause them to waver and they advanced
almost without firing, drove the Prussians at the point of the bayonet
from their positions in the gardens and orchards, and entered the
village after a stout resistance, only to retire a short time later
being unable to conquer the masses of infantry drawn up in a semi-circle
on a slope which surmounted the hill of Bry. The action at Ligny had
commenced a little later but not less aggressively. As Gérard's three
columns approached the village of Ligny they were received with such a
volley that they were obliged to fall back. A large body of artillery
was then thrown forward and riddled the village of Ligny and Gérard's
columns again advanced, finally taking possession of the place. This was
followed by a series of combats, exceedingly ferocious, as the French
gave no quarter nor did they receive any from the Prussians.

Blucher now advanced at the head of his soldiers and made a vigorous
attempt upon the three St. Amands; but with only partial success for a
time. At length, by a series of skillful attacks and manoeuvres, the
French became masters of these three points, but had not been able to
cross the sinuous stream of Ligny. It was now 5:30 o'clock and Napoleon
was directing the Imperial Guard upon Ligny in support of the advantages
already gained by Count Gérard at the head of 5,000 men, at St. Amand,
when he was informed that an army of 30,000 was advancing upon Fleurus.
The Emperor suspended the movement of his Guard in order to meet this
new force; but the alarm was unfounded. It proved to be the first
corps,--Count d'Erlon's,--which formed part of Ney's division, at last
complying with Napoleon's repeated orders, and had come up to take the
enemy in the rear:--their unexpected appearance had occasioned the loss
of two hours.

The Old Guard now resumed its suspended movements upon Ligny: the ravine
was passed by General Pecheux, at the head of his division, supported by
the infantry, cavalry, artillery and Milhaud's cuirassiers. The reserves
of the Prussians were driven back with the bayonet, and the centre of
the line broken and routed. A bloody conflict ensued in which the French
were victorious. The slaughter among the Prussians, was most remarkable.
They, however, divided into two parts, effected a retreat, favored by
the night and by the failure of that attack in the rear which Ney had
been so expressly ordered to make by a detachment from his force. Their
loss amounted to the prodigious number of 18,000 men, killed, wounded or
prisoners; forty pieces of cannon and eight stands of colors, while the
French loss was between 8,000 and 9,000.

For five hours, two hundred pieces of ordnance deluged the field with
slaughter, blood and death, during which period the French and
Prussians, alternately vanquished and victors, disputed that ensanguined
post hand to hand and foot to foot, so that no less than seven times in
succession Ligny was taken and lost.

The Emperor had repeatedly sent to Ney saying "that the destiny of
France rested in his hands" but the veteran marshal failed to appreciate
the importance of the orders and did not act promptly.

Many of the Prussian generals were killed or wounded; and Blucher
himself was overthrown, man and horse, by a charge of cuirassiers, and
galloped over by friends and foes. Night was coming on and the marshal,
who was much battered and bruised, effected his escape. He joined a body
of his troops, directed the retreat upon Wavres, and continued to mask
his movements so skilfully, that Napoleon knew not until noon on the
17th what way he had taken.

The total loss of the French amounted to no more than nine thousand,
killed or wounded--the extraordinary disproportion being occasioned by
the more skillful disposition of the French troops, whereby all their
shots took effect, while more than half of those of the enemy were

On the same day as the battle of Ligny,--June 16th,--was also fought
the battle of Quatre-Bras, and at about the same time. Ney, with 45,000
men, began an attack on the position of Wellington at Quatre-Bras. At
this point the French were posted among growing corn as high as the
tallest man's shoulder, and which enabled them to draw up a strong body
of cuirassiers close to the English, and yet entirely out of their view.
The 49th and 42d regiments of Highlanders were thus taken by surprise,
and the latter would have been destroyed but for the coming up of the
former. The 42d, formed into a square, was repeatedly broken, and as
often recovered, though with terrible loss of life, for out of 800 that
went into action, only ninety-six privates and four officers remained

The pressing orders of Napoleon not allowing the marshal time for
reflection, and doubtless anxious to repair the precious time lost in
which he might have taken possession of Quatre-Bras, he did not
sufficiently reconnoitre but entered into the contest without being
wholly prepared. The first successful attack was soon suspended by the
arrival of fresh reinforcements, led by the Duke of Wellington, and the
shining bravery of the Scotch, Belgians and the Prince of Orange
suspended the success of the French. They were repulsed by a shower of
bullets from the British infantry added to a battery of two guns which
strewed the causeway with men and horses.

Ney was desirous of making the first corps, which he had left in the
rear, advance; but Napoleon had dispatched positive orders to Count
d'Erlon, at the head of that body, to join him, for which purpose the
latter had commenced his march. Ney, when made acquainted with this
fact, was stationed amidst a cross-fire from the enemies' batteries. "Do
you see those bullets?" cried the marshal, his brow clouded by despair;
"would that they would all pass through my body!" and he instantly sent
General Delcambre with all speed after Count d'Erlon, directing that
whatsoever might have been his orders, although received from the
Emperor himself, he must return. This he did, but when he arrived in the
evening, Ney, dispirited by the checks already received, and
dissatisfied with himself and others, had discontinued the engagement.
D'Erlon had spent the day in useless marches, his valor wasted by a
fatality over which he had no control. Between 5 and 6 o'clock General
Delcambre had overtaken the first corps on its march to Bry and brought
it back towards Quatre-Bras!

Night found the English, after a severe and bloody day, in possession of
Quatre-Bras, the French being obliged to retreat. The gallant Duke of
Brunswick, fighting in front of the line, fell almost in the beginning
of the battle. The killed and wounded on the side of the French was
4,000 and the Allies' loss was nearly 6,000, in consequence of their
having scarcely any artillery. As at Ligny, little quarter was either
asked or given, there being much hatred between the French and
Prussians. The French were next driven out from the Bois de Bossu by the
Belgians, and the English divisions of Alten, Halket, Maitland, Cooke,
and Byng, successively arrived.

By neglecting to move the whole of his division upon Quatre-Bras early
in the morning, Ney failed to cut off the means of junction between the
Prussian and English armies; and by not sending the detachment to attack
the Prussians in the rear at Ligny, it now appears that the whole
Prussian army was saved from being destroyed, or made prisoners, before
it could receive the full support which had been promised by the Duke of
Wellington. The latter intended to advance on Quatre-Bras at 2 o'clock,
and debouch on St. Amand at 4 p. m. Ney, however, did an important act
in checking the advance of five or six divisions of the main army during
the rest of the day while the battle of Ligny was decided, and in this
repaired, in a measure, his various faults committed on the 16th.

The French bivouacked, on the night of the 16th, on the battlefield of
Ligny, with the exception of Grouchy's division, which encamped at
Sombref. The Duke of Wellington passed the night at Quatre-Bras,--his
army gradually joining him till the morning of the 17th,--when they
amounted to 50,000 men. The victory acquired by Napoleon at Ligny did
not fulfill his expectations. "If Marshal Ney had attacked the British
with his united forces," said the Emperor, "they must inevitably have
been crushed; after which, he might have given the Prussians a
conclusive blow; but, even if after neglecting that first step he had
not committed a second, in impeding the movement of Count d' Erlon, the
appearance of the first corps would have curtailed Blucher's resistance,
and secured his overthrow without a possibility of doubt; then his
entire army must have been captured or annihilated."

Ney was now ordered to advance on Quatre-Bras at daybreak, and attack
the British rear-guard, while Count Lobau was to proceed along the
causeway of Namur, and take the British in flank. General Pajol, at
daybreak, also went in pursuit of the Prussians under Blucher. He was
supported by Grouchy, with Excelmans' cavalry, and the third and fourth
corps of infantry, amounting in all to about 32,000 men. Grouchy was
ordered by the Emperor to "above all things, pursue the Prussians
briskly, and keep up a communication with me to the left" so as to
rejoin the main army whenever required.

Napoleon rode over the field of battle at Ligny, and directed every
assistance be given to the wounded. He then hurried to the support of
Ney's attack on Quatre-Bras. He learned that it was still held by the
British, and that Ney had not made the attack. He reproached Ney on
meeting him, and the marshal excused his delay by declaring he believed
the whole British army was there. This, however, was not the case.

The Duke of Wellington, who intended a junction with the Prussians at
Quatre-Bras,--but had been frustrated by their disastrous defeat at
Ligny,--now ordered a retreat on Brussels, leaving the Earl of Uxbridge,
with his cavalry, as a rear-guard. Napoleon directed Count Lobau's
division to advance, and the British cavalry then began to retire in
battle-array. The French army moved forward in pursuit, the Emperor
leading the way.

The weather was extremely bad, the rain falling in torrents, so that the
roads were scarcely passable. The attack of cavalry on the British
rear-guard was, therefore, impracticable, but they were much discomfited
by the French artillery. About 6 o'clock the air became extremely foggy,
so that all further attack was relinquished for the night; but not until
the Emperor had ascertained that the whole English army was encamped on
the field of Waterloo, in front of the forest of Soignies.

Napoleon, having ascertained the retreat of Blucher on Wavres, and
committed the pursuit of him to Marshal Grouchy, believed that the
latter was close to the same place,--as he ought to have been; but was
not. At 10 o'clock on the night of the 17th the Emperor dispatched an
officer to Wavres, to inform Grouchy that there would be a great battle
next day; that the English and Belgian armies were posted on the field
of Waterloo, its left supported by the village of La Haye; and ordered
him to detach seven thousand men, of all arms, and six pieces of cannon,
before day break to St. Lambert, to be near to the right of the French
army, and co-operate with it; that as soon as Blucher evacuated Wavres,
either towards Brussels, or in any other direction, he should instantly
march with the rest of his force, and support the detachment sent to St.
Lambert. About an hour after this dispatch was sent off, the Emperor
received a report from Grouchy, dated from Gembloux at 5 o'clock,
stating that "he was still at this village, and had not learned what
direction Blucher had taken!"

At 4 o'clock in the morning a second officer was sent to Grouchy to
repeat the communication, and the orders which had been sent to Wavres
at 10 o'clock. Another dispatch soon after arrived from Grouchy,--who
had not at that time been found by either of the officers sent by the
Emperor, to state that, "he had learned that Blucher was in Wavres, and
would follow him--in the morning!"

The Emperor was now convinced that he had not an hour to spare. He saw
the possibility of the Duke's retreat with Blucher through the forest,
their subsequent junction, while the great armies of Russia and Austria
were about to cross the Rhine and advance on Paris. He now regretted
more than ever that he had been unable to attack the English army before
the night had intervened, and determined to follow and attack it now, if
it commenced a retreat.

It was not until 6 o'clock on the 17th of June that the advance guard of
the French army arrived on the plains of Waterloo,--a delay being
occasioned by unfortunate occurrences upon the road,--otherwise the
forces would have gained the spot by 3 o'clock in the day. The
circumstance appeared to disconcert the Emperor extremely, who, pointing
to the sun, exclaimed with much emphasis, "What would I not give, to be
this day possessed of the power of Joshua, and enabled to retard thy
march for two hours!"

The Duke of Wellington, on being made aware of Blucher's march on Wavre,
and in adherence to the common plan of campaign, had given orders for
falling back from Quatre-Bras. He had before now been heard to say, that
if it ever were his business to defend Brussels, he would choose to give
battle on the field of Waterloo, in advance of the forest of Soignies;
and he now retired thither, in the confidence of being joined there in
the morning by Blucher. The English at last reached the destined field,
over roads covered with deep mud, and in the face of considerable
rain. The troops, although somewhat discouraged by the command to
retreat, were enthusiastic when they heard of their leader's purpose,
and having taken up their allotted stations, bivouacked for the night
assured of a battle on the morrow--the 18th of June.

[Illustration: From a Painting by Hte. Bellange


Arrangements having been effected early in the evening, Wellington now,
it appears, according to Lockhart, although the statement is not fully
substantiated, rode across the country to Blucher to inform him
personally that he had thus far effected the plan agreed on, and to
express his hope to be supported on the morrow by two Prussian
divisions. Blucher replied that he would reserve a single corps to hold
Grouchy at bay as well as they could, and march himself, with the rest
of his army upon Waterloo. Wellington then returned to his post.

The cross-roads at Mont St. Jean were in an almost impassable condition
and the rain continued to fall in torrents. Wellington was before the
village of Mont St. Jean, about a mile and a half in advance of the
small town of Waterloo, on a rising ground, having a gentle and regular
declivity before it,--beyond this a plain of about a mile in
breadth,--and then the opposite heights of La Belle Alliance, on which
the French were expected to form their line. The Duke had 76,700 men in
all; of whom about 30,000 were English. He formed his first line of the
troops on which he could most surely rely,--the greater part of the
British infantry, with the troops of Brunswick and Nassau, and three
corps of Hanoverians and Belgians. Behind this the ground sinks and then
rises again. The second line, formed in the rear of the first, was
composed of the troops whose spirit and discipline were more
doubtful--or who had suffered most in the action at Quatre-Bras; and
behind all these was placed the cavalry. The position crossed the two
highways from Nivelles and Charleroi to Brussels, nearly where they
unite. These roads gave every facility for movement from front to rear
during the action; and two country roads running behind, and parallel
with the first and second lines, favored movements from wing to wing.
The chateau and gardens of Hougomont, and the farm-house and inclosures
of La Haye Sainte, about 1,500 yards apart, on the slope of the
declivity, were strongly occupied and formed the important out-works of
defense. The opening of the country road leading directly from Wavre to
Mont St. Jean, through the wood of Ohain, was guarded by the British
left, while those running further in advance might be expected to bring
the first of the Prussians on the right flank of the French, during
their expected attack. The British front extended in all over about a
mile, with the strong outposts of Hougomont (situated near the centre of
the right) and La Haye (which was in front of the centre) and in the
rear the village of Mont St. Jean with the reserve force stationed
there,--further back, the town of Waterloo (which has given its name to
the battle because it was thence that the English general dated his
dispatches)--and the forest of Soignies, as positions to retire upon, to
make a stand or cover a retreat. A more advantageous ground for
receiving an attack could not easily be obtained in any open country,
not previously fortified. It was, therefore, sufficiently evident that
the Duke of Wellington had availed himself of all these means of
defense, by a circumspect and masterly disposition of his forces.

It was Wellington's design to hold Napoleon at bay until the Prussian
advance should enable him to charge the French with superior numbers,
while it was Napoleon's wish to beat the Anglo-Belgian army, or at least
to divide it, as well as to cut off its communications, ere Blucher
could arrive on the field.

Napoleon hoped to turn the left wing of the Duke's army, it being the
weakest, and divide it from the right wing because he should thus
intercept its junction with the Prussians by the road from Wavre,--and
because he was in constant expectation of being joined himself by
Grouchy from that side. Having effected this separation of the wings,
and made a vigorous attack on both wings to distract the attention, it
was his design to fall suddenly on the centre, break it, and rout all
its component parts in detail. The Duke considered it his business to
defeat, if possible, all these attempts; not to venture a general attack
in return, but to hold his defensive position in the most cautious and
determined manner until the arrival of Blucher.

The Emperor had in the field 72,000 men, all French veterans--each of
whom was, as he declared, worth one Englishman and two Prussians, Dutch
or Belgians. Napoleon's forces, however, unlike those of Wellington's,
had been on the march all through the tempestuous darkness, many of them
had not had sufficient food, and the greater part of them did not reach
the heights of La Belle Alliance until the morning of the 18th was
considerably advanced. The Duke's followers had by that time had
refreshment and some hours of repose.

At 1 o'clock in the morning, the Emperor having issued the necessary
orders for the battle during the earlier part of the night, went out on
foot, accompanied by his grand marshal, and visited the whole line of
the main guards. The forest of Soignies, occupied by the British,
appeared as one continued blaze, while the horizon between that spot and
the farms of La Belle Alliance and La Haye Sainte, was brightened by the
fires of numerous bivouacs; the most profound silence reigning. Some
time later the rain began to fall in torrents. Napoleon feared more than
anything else that Wellington would continue his retreat on Brussels and
Antwerp,--thus deferring the great battle until the Russians should
approach the valley of the Rhine. The night of June 17-18, often called
the "Vigil of Waterloo" was solemn, dark and without unusual incident
during the early hours. Several officers sent to reconnoitre, and others
who returned to headquarters at half-past three, announced that the
British had made no movement. At 4 o'clock the scouts brought in a
peasant, who had served as a guide to a brigade of English cavalry which
had proceeded to secure a position on the left at the village of Ohain.
Two Belgian deserters, who had just quitted their regiments, also
reported that their army was preparing for a battle; and that no
retrograde movement had taken place; that Belgium prayed for the success
of the Emperor, as the English and Prussians were alike unpopular.

The French troops bivouacked amidst deep mud and the officers thought it
impossible to give battle on the following day; the ground being so
moistened that artillery and cavalry could not possibly manoeuvre, while
it would require twelve hours of fine weather to dry the soil. On
reaching the eminence of La Belle Alliance at sunrise, and beholding the
enemy drawn up on the opposite side and in battle array, the Emperor
exclaimed, with evident joy, "At last! at last, then, I have these
English in my grasp!" And yet, at this time, his exertions had been most
phenomenal, and he was far from being in the physical condition
necessary for such a contest as he had every reason to expect. He had
been eighteen hours in the saddle on June 15th, and had slept but three
hours before the battle of Ligny. On the 16th he was again for eighteen
hours on horseback. On the 17th he rose at five in the morning and that
night was almost continually astir.

The Emperor's breakfast was served at 8 o'clock and many officers of
distinction were present. "The enemy's army" said Napoleon, "is superior
to ours by nearly a fourth; there are, nevertheless, ninety chances in
our favor, to ten against us." The Emperor now mounted his horse, and
rode forward to reconnoitre the English lines; after which he remained
thoughtful for a few moments, and then dictated the order of battle. It
was written down by two generals seated on the ground, after which two
aides-de-camp promptly distributed it among the different corps. The
army moved forward in eleven columns, and as they descended from the
heights of La Belle Alliance the trumpets played "To the Field!" and the
bands alternately struck up airs which recalled the memories of many

The French line of battle was formed in front of Planchenois, having the
heights of La Belle Alliance in the rear of its centre. The forces were
drawn up in six lines, on each side of the causeway of Charleroi. The
first and second lines were of infantry, having the light cavalry at
each of its wings, so as to unite them with the six lines of the main
force. The artillery was placed in the intervals between the brigades.
All the troops were in their stations by about 10:30 o'clock.

Amidst this mass of men there was an almost painful silence until the
Emperor rode through the ranks when he was received with the utmost
enthusiasm; then, giving his last orders, he galloped to the heights of
Rossome, which commanded a complete view of both armies below, with a
considerable range on each side beyond.

While Napoleon's design for making his grand attack from the centre, on
La Haye Sainte,--which was directly in front of the enemy's centre,--was
preparing, he gave orders for the commencement of the battle.

The grand attack on the centre of the Anglo-Belgian army was to be made
by Marshal Ney. The marshal had sent word to Napoleon that everything
was ready, and he only awaited the order to begin. Before giving it
Napoleon looked over the field of battle and the surrounding
country,--the last he was ever to contest. He then perceived a dark mass
at a distance in the direction of St. Lambert, where he had ordered
Grouchy to send a detachment. The glasses of all the officers were
instantly turned towards the object. Some thought it only a mass of dark
trees. To remove all doubts the Emperor dispatched General Daumont, with
a body of three thousand light cavalry, to form a junction with them if
they were the troops of Grouchy, or to keep them in check if they were
hostile. Through a Prussian hussar, who was brought in a prisoner, it
was learned that the dark mass was the advanced guard of Bulow, who was
coming up with thirty thousand fresh men; that Blucher was at Wavres
with his army, and that Grouchy had not appeared there.

A messenger was immediately dispatched to Marshal Grouchy, to march on
St. Lambert, without a moment's delay, and take Bulow's division in the
rear. It was believed that Grouchy must be near at hand, whether he had
received the various orders sent him or not, as he himself had sent word
that he should leave Gembloux in the morning, and from this place to
Wavres was only three leagues distance.

Napoleon had a high opinion of Grouchy and his punctuality, he being an
officer of great experience; but the Emperor was in a state of great
suspense on account of his failure to hear from him. He now ordered
Count Lobau to follow and support the cavalry of Daumont, and to take up
a strong position, where, with ten thousand men, he might keep thirty
thousand in check; also to redouble the attack directly he found that
Grouchy had arrived on the rear of the Prussians. Napoleon thus early
found himself deprived of the services of ten thousand men on this grand
field of battle. These events caused some change in his first plans,
being deprived of the men whom he was thus obliged to send against
General Bulow.

"We had ninety chances for us in the morning," said Napoleon to Soult;
"but the arrival of Bulow reduces them to thirty; we have still,
however, sixty against forty; and if Grouchy repairs the horrible fault
he has committed by amusing himself at Gembloux, victory will therefore
be more decisive for the corps of Bulow must in that case be entirely

It was now 11:30 o'clock and the Emperor at once turned his attention to
the main attack and sent word to Ney to begin his movement. Instantly
one hundred and twenty pieces of artillery were unmasked. Then the
French opened their fire of musketry on the advanced post of Hougomont
and Jerome Bonaparte, under cover of its fire, charged impetuously on
the Nassau troops in the wood about the house. They were driven before
the French, but a party of English guards instantly unmasked forty
pieces of cannon and maintained themselves in the chateau and garden,
despite the desperate character of many repeated assaults. Jerome,
masking the post thus resolutely held, pushed on his cavalry and
artillery against Wellington's right. The English formed in squares to
receive them and defied all their efforts. For some time both parties
opposed each other here, without either gaining or losing a foot of
ground. At length the English forced back the French, and the garrison
of Hougomont was relieved and strengthened. There was great loss on the
side of the British, owing to the suddenness of the attack, and the
fixed position and dense array of the squares. The loss of the French
was also considerable; and as the squares remained unbroken, no apparent
advantage was gained by the assault.

The French, being again repelled, a communication was reopened with
Hougomont and the small body of English guards, defending the chateau,
received a reinforcement under Colonel Hepburn. The garrison of
Hougomont now made a combined charge; and, after a furious struggle, in
which the utmost valor, both individual and collective was displayed on
either side, drove back the French once more out of the wood, and
recovered the position. The French in their turn rallied,--returned with
renewed vigor,--and the English were now dislodged and driven out with
great slaughter. They rallied in turn and immediately returned, and
again they recovered the position. The French charged again but the
martial spirit of the English guards was now wrought up to the highest
pitch, and all the attempts of the assailants to dislodge them proved
unavailing. This contest lasted through the greater part of the day. The
killed and wounded on both sides during the struggle for this single
outpost has been estimated at upwards of four thousand.

The Emperor, calmly observing the whole from the heights, praised the
valor of the English guards highly. He now ordered Hougomont to be
attacked by a battery of howitzers and shells. The roofs and barns then
took fire, and the remnant of the English guards remaining were obliged
to retreat before the flames, over the mingled heaps of dead and dying
bodies of their comrades and assailants.

The first onslaught of the French made a series of dreadful gaps along
the whole of the enemy's left and one of its divisions was completely
swept away. The gaps were quickly filled by fresh men, however, as a
column of French began to advance. Before it could be supported a grand
charge of English cavalry was made, which broke the column of French
infantry, routed it, and took two eagles and several pieces of cannon.
While the English were wheeling off triumphantly, they were met by a
brigade of Milhaud's cuirassiers. A desperate conflict ensued at sword's
length, the combat lasting much beyond the usual time, the result of a
meeting of two bodies of cavalry being generally determined in a few
minutes. A quartermaster of the lancers, named Urban, rushed into the
thickest of the fight, and took prisoner the brave Ponsonby, commander
of the 1,200 Scotch dragoons,--called the "Scotch Greys," from the color
of their horses. The Scotch sought to free their general but Urban
struck him dead at his feet; he was then attacked by several dragoons,
but instantly rushing at the holder of the standard of the 45th he
unhorsed him with a blow of his lance, killed him with a second, seized
the colors, killed another of the Scotch who pursued him close, and
then, covered with blood, returned to his colonel with the trophy which
had but a short time before been captured from Marcognet's division.

Desperate charges of infantry and cavalry now followed in rapid
succession, the immediate object of the French being the occupation of
the outpost of the Anglo-Belgian army at the farm of La Haye Sainte, and
thence to push on to the farm of Mont St. Jean. Some of the Scotch
regiments made a gallant defense, but were overpowered; the 5th and 6th
English divisions were nearly destroyed, and General Picton, who
commanded the English left, was laid dead on the field.

The French eventually carried La Haye Sainte; a body of their infantry
pushed forward beyond the farm, and overwhelmed and scattered several
regiments; but were charged in their turn by two brigades of English
foot and heavy cavalry and routed. In consequence of this the farm of La
Haye Sainte was vigorously assaulted by the English; and with the
assistance of cannon and shells, was recovered.

This important post was taken and retaken several times, with an energy
that never relaxed on either side. An error in tactics, of which Ney and
d'Erlon had been guilty, had left four or five columns of French
infantry at the mercy of the enemy's cavalry, and cost them 3,000 men in
dead, wounded and prisoners. The English had lost part of their
dragoons, part of Kempt and Pack's cavalry, and Generals Picton and
Ponsonby,--all amounting to about the same number as the French had
lost; but the English had maintained their position and the whole
operation was to be recommenced under the disadvantage of having foiled
in the first attempt.

The French were still masters of a part of La Haye Sainte farm and were
rallying again on the side of the valley which lay between them and the
English. Napoleon joined them, and walked in front of their ranks midst
bullets rebounding from one line to another, and howitzers resounding in
the air, General Desvaux, commander of the artillery of the Guard being
killed at his side.

During these assaults on the centre of the British line, the French
cuirassiers had advanced to the charge in the face of a terrific fire
from the artillery in front of the British infantry. The infantry
awaited it, formed in a double line of squares, placed checkerwise, so
that the sides of each square could fire a volley on the advancing
cavalry, and protected in front by a battery of thirty field-pieces. The
French cuirassiers rode up to the very mouths of the cannon, charged the
artillerymen, drove them from their guns, and then rode fiercely on the
squares behind. These remained steadfast, withholding their fire until
the French were within a few yards of their bayonets, and then opened on
them with deadly effect. The cavalry was all but broken, then rallied
and renewed their charge. This they did several times, and always with
the same result. Sometimes they even rode between the squares, and
charged those of the second line. As the cuirassiers retired the
artillerymen rushed from behind the squares, formed four deep, manned
their guns, and fired grape-shot with terrible effect on the retreating
body of gallant but ineffective cavalry.

At length protracted exposure to such a murderous fire completed the
ruin of these fearless cavaliers, the far greater part being annihilated
in this part of the battle.

When the relics of the cuirassiers at last withdrew, the French
cannonade opened up furiously once more all along the line. It was
vigorously returned, but the effect was far more devastating amidst the
British ranks than in those of their assailants. The English were then
commanded by Wellington to lie flat on the ground for some space, in
order to diminish its effects. The Duke had by this time lost 10,000 men
and Napoleon possibly a few more.

It was now 4 o'clock and about this time the Emperor received
intelligence from Gembloux, that, notwithstanding his repeated orders,
Marshal Grouchy had not left his encampment at that place till after 10
o'clock in the morning, in consequence, it was said, of the state of the
weather. The body of ten thousand men, under Count Lobau and General
Daumont, were now in action with the Prussians under Bulow, near St.
Lambeth. The cannonade continued for considerable time; the Prussian
centre was then attacked and beaten back, but its wings advancing, Count
Lobau was obliged to retire.

At this crisis Napoleon dispatched General Dufresne, with two brigades
of infantry of the young guard, and twenty-four pieces of cannon, and
the Prussian advance was checked. They still endeavored to out-flank the
French right, when several battalions of the Old Guard, with sixteen
pieces of cannon, were sent forward; the Prussian line was then
out-flanked, and Bulow driven back.

At about 5 o'clock Count d'Erlon had taken possession of the village of
Ter-la-Haye; out-flanking the English left and Bulow's right. It appears
that Count Milhaud's cuirassiers--which Ney had so often led against
the enemy, and who were behind d'Erlon--and the Chasseurs of the
Guard, supported by an incessant fire from the infantry of General
Lefebvre-Desnoettes, dashed across the plain beyond the farm of La
Haye Sainte. The advance of eight regiments and four brigades of
their formidable horsemen created a great sensation, as it was
believed the final moment was come. As General Milhaud passed before
Lefebvre-Desnoettes, he grasped his hand and said, "I am going to
charge, support me!" The commander of the light cavalry of the Guard
believed it was by order of the Emperor he was desired to support the
cuirassiers, and following their movement he took up a position behind
them. It was Ney's belief, as he had said to Druot, that were he allowed
to act he could, unaided, with such a body of noble cavalry at his
disposal, now put an end to the English army.

A fierce struggle ensued in which Ney had some advantage over the
English, but not what had been expected. He now hastened towards
Lefebvre-Desnoettes, made a signal to advance, and precipitated him on
the Duke of Wellington's English and German cavalry. This charge allowed
the somewhat disorganized cuirassiers time to form again, and they, with
the chasseurs and lancers, fell again upon the English cavalry.
Thousands of hand-to-hand conflicts now were in progress, ending in the
enemy retreating behind the squares of the English infantry, thus
stopping the onward progress of the French horsemen.

Ney had two horses killed under him, but he was still determined to
fulfill his vow to break the English lines. Observing now, on the other
side of the plateau, 3,000 cuirassiers and 2,000 mounted grenadiers of
the Guard that had not been yet engaged, the Marshal asked that they be
given him to complete the victory.

About 6 o'clock there was disorder in a great part of the Duke of
Wellington's army. The ranks were thinned by the number killed, by those
carried off wounded, and by desertions. Soldiers of various nations,
Belgian, Hanoverian and English "crowded to the rear" and fled in a
panic from this dreadful action. "A number of our own dismounted
dragoons" says Captain Pringle, "together with a portion of our
infantry, were glad to escape from the field. These thronged the road
leading to Brussels, in a manner that none but an eye-witness could have

Cries of "Victory!" now resounded from the French over different parts
of the field. Napoleon on hearing this, observed,--"It is an hour too
soon; but we must support what is done." He then sent an order for a
grand charge of three thousand cuirassiers under Kellerman on the left,
and who were to move forward briskly and support the cavalry on the low

A distant cannonade was now heard in the direction of Wavres. It
announced the approach of Grouchy--or Blucher!

At 12:30 o'clock Grouchy was midway between Gembloux and Wavres. The
tremendous cannonade of Waterloo resounded from the distance. General
Excelmans rode up to the marshal, and told him that "he was convinced
that the Emperor must be in action with the Anglo-Belgian army; that so
terrible a fire could not be an affair of outposts or skirmishing; and
that they ought to march to the scene of action, which, by turning to
the left, they might reach within two hours."

Grouchy paused awhile, and then reverted to his orders to follow
Blucher, although he did not know where Blucher really was. Count Girard
came up, and joined in the advice of General Excelmans. Still Grouchy
remained doubtful, and as if stupefied. "At one moment" says Hazlitt "he
appeared convinced; but just then a report came that the Prussians were
at Wavres, and he set out once more after them," instead of instantly
hurrying off to join the Emperor in his great battle.

It was a rear-guard which Blucher had left at Wavres; and the Prussian
leader had gone to Waterloo, at the head of 30,000 men, having been
advised, as previously stated, that the Duke of Wellington would hazard
a battle on the morning of the 18th, if he could depend on the
co-operation of the Prussians. The veteran marshal, at an early hour,
had detached the corps of Bulow, with orders to march on St. Lambert,
leaving Mielman with his corps at Wavres.

The Duke had expected to be joined by Blucher as early as 11 o'clock;
but the roads were in such a condition that the Prussians could not
accomplish the march in any such time as had been calculated. Their
advance was necessarily slow,--but it was in the right direction!

Meanwhile, the Emperor on the battlefield of Waterloo, had reluctantly
ordered the charge of Kellerman's three thousand cuirassiers, asked for
by Ney, to sustain and follow up the advantage of the cuirassiers of
Milhaud and the chasseurs of the Guard, on the plain below. The
marshal's contest had been carefully watched by Napoleon who declared at
once that Ney was too impatient, and had begun an hour too soon. "This
man is always the same." said Marshal Soult. "He will compromise
everything as he did at Jena and Eylau."

Kellerman was now all ready for action, but he condemned the desperate
use which at this moment was to be made of the cavalry. Distrusting the
result, he kept back one of his brigades, the carbineers, and most
unwillingly sent the remainder to Ney, whom he accused of foolish zeal.

These twenty squadrons, led on by their generals and officers, now
advanced at full gallop as if in pursuit of the English army, shouting,
"Vive l'Empereur!" and under the cannonade of the Prussians, for Bulow
was still pressing upon the flank and rear. Other bodies of cavalry also
advanced upon the centre of the Anglo-Belgian army, making a spectacle
which General Foy, an eye-witness, afterwards declared that during his
long military career he had never been present at such a fearful scene
as he then beheld.

While Napoleon was watching their several charges, General Guyot's
division of heavy cavalry was seen following the cuirassiers of
Kellerman. This latter movement was without the Emperor's orders, and
seems to have been the result of ungovernable excitement on the part of
the officers and men, who thought they could finish the battle by a
_coup de main_.

The Emperor instantly sent Count Bertrand to recall them; but it was too
late! The cavalry, once started, nothing could arrest its rush--they
were in action before the order could reach them; and to recall them now
would have been dangerous, even if possible. This division was the
reserve, and ought by all means to have been held back. Thus was the
Emperor deprived of his reserve of cavalry as early as 5 o'clock.

[Illustration: From an old Drawing by F. Grenier


It is said that during the preparation of this grand charge of 12,000
French cavalry,--the finest in the world,--the Duke of Wellington ran
forward with his glass in front of the lines, amidst the hot fire which
preceded the charge. He was reminded that he was exposing himself too
much. "Yes," said the Duke, "I know I am,--but I must see what they are
doing." To an officer who asked for instructions in case he should be
slain, he answered; "I have no instructions to give; there is only one
thing to be done--to fight to the last man and the last moment!"

Some years later the Duke said, "I have never seen anything more
admirable in war than those ten or twelve reiterated charges of the
French cuirassiers upon our troops of all arms."

It was obvious to the English commander, as he viewed this splendid
spectacle, that unless this last and decisive onset should drive him
from the post which he had continued to hold during nearly seven hours
of intermitting battle, his allies would come fully into the field and
give him a vast superiority of numbers wherewith to close the work of
the day. The Duke now decided to sacrifice the remainder of his cavalry,
and he moved them forward to meet the shock of the advancing foe.

The matchless body of French cavalry continued to dash forward towards
the hostile lines, in successive masses, and with all the triumphant
fury of a charge upon a retreating enemy. Breaking through many squares
of infantry, overthrowing the opposing cavalry, and overwhelming the
artillery in front of the lines, they were received by the squares of
British infantry, first with a volley of musket-balls, and then upon
the immovable array of bristling bayonets. Men and horses, struggling in
the agonies of violent death, bestrewed the ground. In his extremity
Wellington determined on employing Cumberland's one thousand hussars,
who had not yet been engaged; but at sight of this scene of slaughter
the hussars fell back in disorder.

The resistance of the Duke was most stubborn but Ney still hoped to
destroy the English army at the point of the sword by keeping up a
continued charge, having been reinforced by the heavy cavalry of the
Guard whose advance had been made apparently without orders.

Meanwhile Ney, seeing Kellerman's carbineers in reserve, hastened to
where they were, asked what they were doing and then, despite
Kellerman's resistance, led them to the front where they succeeded in
making fresh breaches in the British infantry, but were unable to get
beyond the second line.

For the eleventh time Ney led on his 10,000 horse to the attack. The
cuirassiers wheeled about, reformed, and again charged with tremendous
energy, and a valor that set at contemptuous defiance the tempest of
grape-shot, and balls of the artillery and musketry which opposed their
advance. Men rolled off, and horses fell plunging; even pistols were
discharged in their faces, and swords thrust over their bayonets in
vain. The British infantry, though shaken for a moment again closed
their ranks, fell into line and continued to fire. About this time Ney
was heard to say to General d'Erlon, "Be sure, my friend, that for you
and me, if we do not die here under the English balls, nothing remains
but to fall miserably under those of the émigrés." To his artillery a
few moments before he had said, "It is here, my friends, that the fate
of our country is about to be decided; it is here that we must conquer
in order to secure our independence!"

The Emperor, who was now suffering great bodily pain, scarcely able to
sit upon his horse, and falling at times into a sort of lethargy, was
much moved by this spectacle. He had never before commanded in person
against the English soldiery; but he knew them now--when it was too
late! He observed their wonderful self-command, and unflinching courage,
and praised it;--but it was his ruin!

Again and again did the brilliant cavalry of the French rush forward to
the charge with redoubled fury. They frequently passed between the
squares of the first line amidst their united cross-fire from front and
rear, and charged the squares of the second line whose fire they also
received, but no general effect was produced, no real advantage gained
beyond an occasional breaking of the squares in both lines, particularly
the second. The baffled cuirassiers were always obliged to retire,
receiving the terrible cross-fire of the squares as they passed between
them and followed by a volley of musketry and often by the grape-shot of
the artillery.

Four thousand of the French cavalry now strewed the ground, while 10,000
English, horse and foot had laid down their lives. Many were the deeds
of individual gallantry performed by officers and men on both sides,
among cavalry and infantry all over the field. During the conflict
Colonel Heymes hastened to Napoleon to ask for the infantry of which Ney
was in need. "Infantry!" cried the Emperor, with considerable
irritation, "where does he suppose I can get them? Does he expect me to
make them? You can see the task before me, and you see what troops I
have!" When the Emperor's irritation had somewhat subsided he sent
another message to Ney, more hopeful than the former. He made Colonel
Heymes tell the marshal that if he were in a difficult position at Mont
St. Jean, he was himself in still greater difficulties on the banks of
the Lasne, where he was opposed by the entire Prussian army, but when he
had repelled, or even checked them, he, with the Guard, would hasten to
complete the conquest of the English; until then the plateau was to be
held at any cost for an hour when he might reckon on reinforcements.

The desperate assaults of the French cavalry ought to have been
supported by strong bodies of infantry; they could not, however, be
spared, being needed for the contest with Bulow, on the French right and
to prevent his advance.

By 7 o'clock, Bulow's corps of 30,000 men was successfully repulsed, and
Count Lobau, with 10,000 men, occupied the positions from which the
Prussian general had been driven.

Still the French cavalry could do no more than maintain itself on the
plateau from which the Duke's 36,000 men had made a slight retrograde
movement. A fresh cannonade was opened by the French along the British
line, after the assaults of the cuirassiers, but no further advance was
attempted by the former. As one authority truly says, the British were
beaten to a stand-still--_but there they stood!_ It was, in effect, a
drawn battle up to this time.

There was not the least demonstration on the part of the Duke of
Wellington to make any general advance during this almost interminable
contest,--nor had there been all day,--and as little sign of his moving
back. About twenty thousand men had already been killed, or otherwise
lost, on each side.

It was now nearly 7 o'clock. The distant cannonade, which had been
faintly heard in the direction of Wavres, opened nearer at hand. It was
the announcement,--not of the arrival of Grouchy, in the rear of Bulow's
division; but that of the two columns of Blucher, amounting to about
31,000 fresh troops!

The relative strength of the two armies, allowing twenty thousand as
lost on both sides, was now considerably over two to one against the
French,--the majority on the other side being chiefly composed of fresh
men. Wellington was heard to say during the day, "Would to God that
Blucher or night would come!" and now both were at hand.

The presence of mind of the Emperor now became most alert, and it was
never so clearly manifested as at this critical moment when everything
hung in the balance.

The fresh army, advancing to the assistance of the Anglo-Belgian forces,
was soon discovered by the French troops, who were in action on the
field. The cavalry on the plain were waiting in constant expectation of
the Emperor's orders for the advance of his reserves of the infantry of
the Guard. They were not alarmed when they saw the communication finally
effected between Bulow and the English, but when they perceived the
approach of the dense columns of Blucher, they were confounded, and
several regiments began to fall back.

Napoleon now sent his aides-de-camp along the whole line to announce the
arrival of succor, and that Blucher's advance was only a retreat before
Grouchy, who was pressing on his rear. It was a clever ruse, and
warranted by the situation in which he now found himself, as it
momentarily revived the spirits of the weary troops to a wonderful

At the head of four battalions of the infantry of the Guard, the Emperor
now advanced on the left in front of La Haye Sainte. He ordered General
Reille to concentrate the whole of his corps near Hougomont and make an
attack. He then sent General Friant to support the cavalry on the plain
with four battalions of the middle guard. If, by sudden charge, they
could break and disorder the centre of the British line before the
columns of Blucher could force their way into the plain, a last chance
of success still remained. Blucher was hurrying on to La Haye; there was
not a moment to lose!

The attack was made, the infantry drove back all that opposed them, and
repeated charges of the French cavalry disordered the hostile ranks.
Presently some battalions of the Old Guard came up. They too were going
to the attack to retrieve the ground lost by the young guard who had
fallen back, for, as Thiers says, "It is the privilege of the Old Guard
to repair every disaster." The Emperor ranged his veterans by brigades;
two battalions being in line, and two in column. As he rode along in
front of these battle-scarred battalions, he said, "My friends, the
decisive moment is come; it will not do to fire; you must come hand to
hand with the enemy, and drive them back at the point of the bayonet
into the ravine whence they have issued to threaten the army, the Empire
and France."

General Friant was now carried by, wounded. He said that all was going
well, but that the attack could not be successful till the balance of
the Guard were employed. This movement could not be effected on the
instant and in a few minutes it was too late, as the Prussians were
coming up in great numbers. The British still stood on the defensive and
Blucher had reached the village of La Haye. A violent struggle now
ensued, but it was of brief duration; the overwhelming mass of fresh men
soon bore down all opposition.

The Duke of Wellington now prepared,--for the first time during the
day,--to advance his entire line. He was aware that the decisive moment
was at hand and that his safety, as well as that of his gallant men,
depended on this last effort.

A panic soon seized some of the French soldiers, exhausted and maddened
by the terrible strain they had undergone during the day, and at the
sudden appearance before them of the dark mass of fresh assailants, the
cry of "Sauve qui peut!" (Every man for himself!) was raised. The
disorder soon became general and the men fled as the columns of
Prussians poured into the plain.

Napoleon instantly changed the front of the Guard so as to throw its
left on La Haye Sainte and its right on La Belle Alliance; he then met
the fugitives and led them back to their post. They at once faced the
Prussians, whom they immediately charged. The fresh brigade of the
English cavalry from Ohain arrived at this crisis and forced their way
between General Reille's corps and the Guard, to their utter separation.
The Emperor now ordered his four reserve squadrons to charge the fresh
brigade of English cavalry but their attack met with no success. As he
was leading the four battalions destined to their place of attack on the
Charleroi road he met Ney, who was greatly excited, and who declared
that the cavalry would certainly give way if a large reinforcement of
infantry did not immediately arrive. Napoleon gave him the battalions he
was bringing up and promised to send six more.

The ranks of the French were now in general confusion all over the
field. Napoleon had barely time to gallop into one of the squares of the
Guard which still maintained its position; Ney, Jerome, Soult, Bertrand,
Druot, Corbineau, de Flahaut, Labedoyere, Gourgaud and others drew their
swords, became soldiers again and followed close to their chiefs heels.
They entered the square of the last battalion of reserve,--the
illustrious and unfortunate remains of the "granite column" of the
fields of Marengo, who had remained unshaken amidst the tumultuous waves
of the army. The old grenadiers, incapable of fear for themselves, were
alarmed at the danger threatening the Emperor, and appealed to him to
withdraw. "Retire" said one of them, "You see that death shuns you!" The
Emperor resisted, and commanded them to fire.

The four battalions of the Guard, and the cavalry which had so long held
the plains below in opposition to the whole Anglo-Belgian army, were
being rapidly depleted. Wellington had ordered Maitland's guards to fire
on them at short range as they moved forward for the last time. The
sudden shock did not cause the advancing soldiers to stop, but closing
their ranks they continued to push on. They were soon beaten, however,
by overwhelming numbers of cavalry, both English and Prussian, and were
at last compelled to retire that they might not be cut off from the
centre of the army, while the enemy continued to advance, preceded by
their artillery, which poured forth a most destructive fire.

But one last effort to stem the torrent still remained. If the British
centre could be broken, and their advance checked, some favorable chance
was just possible. The Emperor therefore ordered the advance of the
reserve infantry of the Imperial Guard,--the flower of his army. He
exhorted them, by a hasty personal appeal, and confided the direction of
their efforts to "the bravest of the brave," who had had five horses
killed under him and who now advanced on foot, sword in hand. The 2900
heroic stalwarts moved forward in two columns, headed by Ney, and
supported by a heavy fire of artillery, while four battalions of the Old
Guard, formed into squares, took post in their rear as a reserve and to
protect the march of the columns.

Either wing of the English had by this time advanced in consequence of
the repulses of the French and their line now presented a concave. They
were formed in an unbroken array, four deep, and as the French advanced
poured on them a shower which never intermitted, each man firing as
often as he could reload. Wellington gave the order to advance in the
familiar and brusque terms of, "Up guards and at them!" The English
wings kept moving on all the while; and when the heads of the French
columns, who continued to advance till within forty or fifty yards,
approached to this point, they were met with such a storm of musketry in
front, and on either flank, that they in vain endeavored to deploy into
line for the attack, under a terrific and unremitting fire. They stopped
to make this attempt, reeled, lost order, and the 800 men who were left
standing fled at last in one mass of confusion.

The Duke of Wellington now dismounted, placed himself at the head of his
line and led his men against the remaining numbers of four battalions
of the Old Guard--the only unbroken troops remaining behind, while Ney
was striving to rally his fugitives. His cocked hat was gone, and his
clothes were literally riddled with bullets, though he himself remained
untouched. The intrepid marshal, at Wellington's approach, took part
once more in the mêlée, sword in hand, and on foot. But nothing could
withstand the impetuous assault of the victorious British.

Napoleon, who had watched this last terrible contest from the heights of
La Belle Alliance suddenly exclaimed, "They are mingled together, all is
lost for the present," and accompanied by but three or four officers, he
gave the signal for retreat and hurried to the left of Planchenois, to a
second position, where he had placed a regiment of the Guard, with two
batteries in reserve.

The four battalions of the Old Guard, under General Cambronne, still
remained to protect the retreat of the French army. If they could
succeed in holding the British in check, and prevent their advance
during half an hour longer, darkness would enable the army to retreat in
safety, and partially recover its disorder by morning. The Old Guard
formed in square, flanked by a few pieces of artillery, and by a brigade
of red lancers. "The Duke of Wellington" says Captain Pringle, "now
ordered his whole line to advance and attack their position." They
advanced to the charge in embattled array, condensed and tremendous,
against the remnant of noble veterans of that old Imperial Guard, which,
during twenty years of slaughterous wars, had never once been
vanquished. Gathering round the standards of their former glory, they
received the dreadful onset with souls prepared for death. Nothing
could now withstand the vigor of the attack of the British soldiers who
thus had an opportunity to relieve their breasts of the heavy burden
they had borne all day when compelled, for hours, to stand the fierce
attacks of the French, being frequently driven back, and never making an

The Old Guard, as was to be expected, were beaten down,--slaughtered.
Their general, Cambronne, was called upon to surrender by some British
officers who seemed to revolt at the uneven contest. The only reply made
by him was,--not the generally believed, but inaccurate declaration
recorded by some historians, "The Old Guard dies, but does not
surrender!" but was a single word of military jargon frequently used by
French soldiers. Almost immediately afterwards he fell from his horse,
cut down by a fragment of a shell striking him on the head; but he would
not allow his men to leave their ranks to bear him away.

Once more these heroes, now reduced to but one hundred and fifty men,
are commanded to surrender; "We will not yield!" they answer back, and
discharging their muskets for the last time, rush on the cavalry and
with their bayonets, kill many men and horses, and then sink to the
earth exhausted or in death.

The Old Guard was destroyed,--not defeated! The advancing British troops
rode over their prostrate bodies piled in ghastly heaps,--a monument to
their valor and heroism, even in death. Ney, bareheaded, his clothes
hanging in shreds, and with his broken sword in his hand, seeing a
handful of his followers still remaining, ran forward to lead them
against a Prussian column that was pursuing them. As the fearless
marshal threw himself once more into the fray he exclaimed, "Come my
friends; come see how a marshal of France can die!" But his time had not
come: he was not destined to die upon the battlefield. His small band
was soon overpowered and scarcely two hundred escaped death. Rulliere,
who commanded the battalion, broke the flag-staff, hid the eagle beneath
his coat, and followed Ney who had been unhorsed for the fifth time, but
who was still unwounded. Under cover of the darkness they made their

The Emperor attempted to protect the retreat and rally the fugitives;
but it was now fast growing dark. The soldiers could not see him or they
might have rallied, while many believed the report that he had been
killed. "He is wounded," said some, "He is dead" cried others. Nothing
could be heard above the uproar and hideous confusion that everywhere
prevailed. The Prussian cavalry, supported by some battalions of
infantry, and the whole of Bulow's corps, now advanced by the right of

In a few minutes the Emperor was almost surrounded by hostile forces. He
had formed the regiment into a square, and was still lingering, when
Marshal Soult seized the bridle of his horse, exclaimed that he would
not be killed, but taken prisoner, and, pulling him away, the Emperor at
last yielded to his destiny! Behind him on the battlefield lay 60,000
French, English and Prussians, dead or wounded. The battle of Waterloo
was lost and this hitherto almost invincible warrior was obliged to
gallop across the fields in the dark, amidst the whistling of the
Prussian bullets, and detachments of their cavalry which were scouring
the field in all directions.

Napoleon was so fatigued, on the road to Genappe, that he would no doubt
have fallen from his horse, had he not been supported by General
Gourgaud and two other persons, who remained his only attendants for
some time.

Wellington and Blucher met about 10 o'clock, at the farm-house of La
Belle Alliance, and after congratulating each other on the success of
the day, the Prussian commander, whose men were still fresh, eagerly
undertook to continue the pursuit during the night, while the English
general halted to rest his weary men and care for the dead and wounded.

The English loss on this eventful day was 100 officers slain and 500
wounded; very many mortally. The Duke who was himself exposed to great
danger throughout the day, and one other person, were the only two among
his numerous staff who escaped unhurt. The enemy, according to their own
accounts, lost over thirty thousand men, including Hanoverians, Belgian
troops of Nassau, Brunswick, etc.; those of the English army alone
amounted to 22,800; to which are to be added 8,000 to 10,000 Prussians.
Of the 72,000 men whom Napoleon headed in this, his 85th pitched battle
and greatest defeat, not more than 30,000 were ever again collected in
arms. The remainder were either killed or wounded on the battlefield, or
deserted and fled separately to their homes, or were murdered by the
Prussians who followed hard on the miserable and defenseless fugitives,
cutting down all they overtook without resistance or mercy.

Several French officers blew out their brains to escape their brutality
and some of the veterans of the Imperial Guard, who lay wounded upon the
battlefield, killed themselves when they heard the Emperor had lost the
battle, in order that they might not fall into the hands of the enemy,
or through remorse at the downfall of their chief.

Napoleon made a brief halt at Genappe, at about 11 o'clock at night; but
all his attempts to rally the frantic masses were in vain. He then
continued his course towards Quatre-Bras, where he dismounted at a
bivouac at about 1 o'clock in the morning. At Phillipville, he received
news of Grouchy's movements, and sent him word of the loss of Mont St.
Jean, (Waterloo).

At this point he caused orders to be dispatched to Generals Rapp,
Lecourbe and Lamarque, to proceed by forced marches to Paris, and to
commanders of fortified towns to defend themselves to the last
extremity. He also dictated two letters to his brother Joseph, one to be
communicated to the council of ministers relating imperfectly the fatal
issue of the day, and the other for his private perusal giving a
faithful account of the total rout of the army, and declaring that he
would soon have an army of 300,000 troops with which to oppose the
enemy. The Duke of Bassano (Maret) and Baron Fleury now came up and
greeted the Emperor who was much affected at meeting them, and was
scarcely able to suppress his emotions. He then prepared to set off in a
calash, accompanied by Bertrand. At Rocroi, where Napoleon stopped to
take refreshments, his attendants appeared in a pitiable state; their
clothes were covered with blood and dust, their looks were haggard, and
their eyes were filled with tears. Napoleon continued his journey to
Paris, via Laon, accompanied by two or three hundred fugitives, who had
been collected to form an escort, arriving at the capital on the evening
of the 20th of June.



The "military career" of Napoleon Bonaparte having ended at Waterloo,
but little remains to be added here. Other writers, especially those
noble self-sacrificing friends who shared with the Exile his life at St.
Helena, have told in detail of his weary hours on the rocks in the
Atlantic Ocean, and a brief summary of the events which finally ended in
Napoleon becoming a prisoner of England for life will only be recited.

The arrival of the Emperor at Paris had been preceded by the
news--received on June 19th, of the victories at Charleroi and Ligny,
and one hundred cannon had been fired in honor of his successes. On the
morning of the 21st it became known that the Emperor had arrived the
night before, at the Elysée. When he stopped at the flight of steps
leading to the palace General Druot, who had accompanied him exclaimed,
"All is lost!" "Except honor," answered Napoleon quickly. He had not
spoken before since leaving Laon.

Immediately on his arrival the Emperor was received by Caulaincourt--his
censor in prosperity and real friend in adversity. To him he said, with
head bowed by grief and fatigue, "The army performed prodigies; a panic
seized it, and all was lost. Ney conducted himself like a madman; he got
my cavalry massacred. I can say no more--I must have two hours' rest,
to enable me to prepare for business"; "I am choking here!" he exclaimed
a moment later, laying his hand upon his heart. After ordering a bath,
and a few moments silence he said: "My intention is to assemble the two
Chambers in an imperial sitting and demand the means of saving the

He was then informed that the deputies appeared hostile towards him, and
were little disposed to grant his requests. While he remained in his
bath the ministers and great officers of state hastened towards the
Elysée. When they arrived, his clothes were still covered with dust, as
he had left the field of Waterloo; yet, exhausted by the fatigues of
three battles, and the dreadful events of his flight and the hurry of
his journey being still vivid in his mind, he gave a rapid but distinct
view of the resources of the country, the strength already organized for
resistance, and the far greater power still capable of development.
Among his listeners were his brothers Joseph and Lucien.

While consulting with his ministers, presided over by Joseph, on the
morning of the 21st, as to what manner he should inform the Chambers of
his great misfortune, news was received that both assemblies had met on
learning of his defeat and resolutions passed,--one of which declared
the State to be in danger, and the other that their own sittings be made
permanent. Thus the Chamber of Representatives overturned the new
constitution, and put aside the authority of the Emperor. These
resolutions were also adopted by the Chamber of Peers. Lucien Bonaparte,
and some of Napoleon's more intimate friends, wished him to instantly
put himself at the head of 6,000 of the Imperial Guard, who were then in
the capital, and dissolve the Senate, which was unfriendly to him. The
Emperor, however, was undecided; as Lucien said of him ever after
that, "the smoke of Mont St. Jean had turned his brain."

[Illustration: From a Painting by C. Steuben


Late in the evening of the 21st Napoleon held a council to which the
presidents and vice presidents of both Chambers were admitted, but no
decision was arrived at. Lafayette, the friend of Washington, declared
that nothing could be done until "a great sacrifice could be made." The
Emperor heard all in silence and broke up the meeting without having
come to any decision.

"I have often asked myself," said Napoleon to Las Casas at St Helena,
"whether I have done for the French people all that they could expect of
me--for that people did much for me. Will they ever know all that I
suffered during the night that preceded my final decision? In that night
of anguish and uncertainty, I had to choose between two great courses;
the one was to save France by violence, and the other to yield to the
general impulse." He finally decided that abdication was the only step
he could adopt, and his determination was taken.

Early next morning--the 22d--the Chambers again met, and the necessity
of the Emperor's abdication was discussed with vigor. It was demanded on
all hands, and without any reservation or condition whatever. Finally,
Lafayette instructed that word should be sent Napoleon that he would be
given an hour in which to abdicate, and be told if he had not done so by
that time he would be deposed. Between noon and 1 o'clock the abdication
was signed and carried by Carnot to the Chamber of Peers, and by Fouché
to the Chamber of Deputies.

When Fouché appeared, the Deputies were about to declare the Emperor
deposed, and he saved them that trouble by producing the following
proclamation, in the handwriting of Joseph Bonaparte, to whom it had
been dictated, and addressed to the French people:

    "Frenchmen! When I began war for the maintenance of the national
    independence, I relied upon the union of all efforts, all wills
    and all the national authorities. I had reason to hope for
    success, and I braved all the declarations of the powers against
    my person. Circumstances appear to be changed. I offer myself as
    a sacrifice to the hatred against France. May they prove sincere
    in their declarations, and to have aimed only at me! My
    political life is ended. I proclaim my son under the title of
    Napoleon II., Emperor of the French. The present ministers will
    provisionally form the council of the Government. The interest
    which I take in my son induces me to recommend the Chambers
    should immediately enact a law for the organization of a
    Regency; unite together for the general safety, and to the end
    of securing your national independence. Done at the Palace of
    the Elysée, June the 22d, 1815.--NAPOLEON."

The Chambers had awaited this reply in a state of the greatest
impatience in both houses. In the Chamber of Peers, Carnot, having
received some exaggerated accounts of the force and success of Grouchy,
endeavored to persuade the Assembly that the marshal must ere then have
added 60,000 men at Laon to Soult, the relics of Waterloo, thus forming
an army capable, under proper guidance, of yet effectually retrieving
the affairs of France.

Ney, who had arrived in Paris the same morning, declared otherwise.
"Grouchy" said he, "cannot have more than twenty, or at most, more than
twenty-five thousand men; and as to Soult, I myself commanded the Guard
in the last assault--I saw them all massacred before I left the field.
Be assured there is but one course,--negotiate and recall the Bourbons.
In their return I see nothing but the certainty of being shot as a
deserter. I shall seek all I have henceforth to hope for in America.
Take you the only course that remains for France."

Ney's prophecy was soon to be fulfilled, for on the return of the
Bourbons to the throne he was shot as a traitor to France, although, as
has been frequently said of him, he fought more than five hundred
battles for his country and never raised arms against her!

A deputation from the Senate waited on the Emperor at the Elysée, and in
respectful terms thanked him for the sacrifice he had made, but he was
unable to exact from them the avowal that his abdication necessarily
carried with it the immediate proclamation of Napoleon II.

The Emperor, for the last time clothed in imperial garb, and surrounded
by his great officers of state, received the deputation with calmness
and dignity. "I thank you for the sentiments which you express," he
said, "I desire that my abdication may produce the happiness of France;
but I cannot hope it; the State is left by it without a chief, without a
political existence. The time lost in overturning the Empire might have
been employed in placing France in a position to crush the enemy. I
recommend that the Chamber promptly reinforce the armies; whoever wishes
for peace must be ready for war. Do not place this great nation at the
mercy of strangers. Beware of being deceived in your hopes. This is the
real danger. In whatever position I may be placed, I shall always be
satisfied, if France is happy."

He perceived clearly that there was no hope for his son. Thus ended the
second reign--the "Hundred Days" of Napoleon. His public career was
ended. The council of ministers broke up, and the palace of the Elysée
soon presented the appearance of being deserted. Napoleon, surrounded
only by a few friends, had now become a private individual. When
Caulaincourt advised him to seek safety from the Allies in flight to the
United States, he replied; "What have I to fear? I have abdicated--it is
the business of France to protect me!"

The repeated protestations of Napoleon and his friends, that unless
Napoleon II. was recognized the abdication of his father was null, and
that the country that could hesitate about such an act of justice was
worthy of nothing but slavery, began to produce a powerful effect among
the soldiery in Paris, and Napoleon was called upon to signify to the
army that he no longer claimed any authority over them, to which he

A provisional government was now proclaimed, consisting of Fouché,
Carnot, Caulaincourt and Generals Grenier and Quinette, and installed in
the Tuileries. Fouché declared that Napoleon's continued presence at the
capital might produce disturbance, and Carnot was deputed to request him
to withdraw to Malmaison, which he was compelled to do on the 25th.
Arriving there he soon became aware of the fact that he was in effect a
prisoner, for Fouché's police surrounded him on all sides--ostensibly
"to protect his person." It was at Malmaison, in compliance with the
suggestions of some members of the government, that Napoleon addressed
his last proclamation to the army; "Soldiers!" he said, "When I yield to
the necessity which forces me to separate myself from the brave French
army, I take away with me the happy conviction that it will justify, by
the eminent services which the country expects from it, the high
character which our enemies themselves are not able to refuse to it.
Soldiers! I shall follow your steps, though absent. I know all the
corps, and not one among them will obtain a single advantage over the
enemy that I shall not render homage to the courage which it will have
shown. You, and I, have been calumniated. Men, incapable of appreciating
your actions, have seen, in the marks of attachment which you have given
me, a zeal of which I was the whole object; let your future success
teach them that it was the country, above all, that you served in
obeying me, and that if I have any part in your affection, I owe it to
my ardent love of France, our common mother. Soldiers, some efforts
more, and the coalition will be destroyed. Napoleon will know you by the
blows that you will give to it. Save the honor, the independence of the
French; be what I have known you for twenty years, and you will be

This address, however, although written at the instigation of the
government, its representatives would not allow to be published in the

The relics of Waterloo, and Grouchy's division, were now marching
towards Paris under Soult, followed closely by Wellington and Blucher.
The provisional government began to feel some anxiety concerning
Napoleon, whom they feared might make his escape from Malmaison and
place himself at the head of an armed force to take the field against
the invaders, and in favor of Napoleon II.

General Becker, who had been appointed by Fouché to the unthankful
office of guarding Napoleon, was prevailed upon to repair to Paris and
convey a letter to the government, in which the ex-Emperor offered to
assume the command of the army and beat the enemy, not with an intention
of seizing the sovereign power, but agreeing to pursue his journey as
soon as victory should give a favorable turn to the negotiations. In
this letter, which was addressed to the Committee of Government,
Napoleon said: "In abdicating the sovereign authority, I did not
renounce the noblest right of a citizen, that of defending my country.
The approach of the Allies upon the capital leaves no doubt of their
intentions and bad faith. Under these weighty circumstances, I offer my
service as general, still considering myself the first soldier of my

Fouché read the letter aloud, and then exclaimed, "Is he laughing at us?
Come, this is going too far." His proposal was of course rejected,
although Carnot was desirous that his prayer should be granted.

General Becker was instructed to carry back to Malmaison this response;
"The duties of the Committee toward the country do not permit it to
accept the proposition and the active assistance of the Emperor

He found the Emperor in uniform, believing a favorable reply would be
returned. When he had finished the missive Napoleon said: "These men are
incapable of energy. Since that is the case, let us go into exile."

Fouché now urged his prisoner to consent to depart at once for some
foreign port--naming the United States as a haven in which he might find
relief from outside interference. If Napoleon had acted promptly, as he
had all his life been accustomed to do, he might in all probability have
made his escape to this country, as our vessels were in every French
port--and he could have crossed the Atlantic; but he hesitated, and
those golden moments, which meant so much to him, even liberty itself,
were soon irretrievably lost. Fouché, who was extremely anxious to have
the man who had made him all he was out of the way, did not hesitate to
resort to questionable means of pressure to get Napoleon to leave
France. One of these was the stimulating of the personal creditors of
the dethroned Emperor, and his family, who repaired incessantly to
Malmaison to torment him with their demands.

Meanwhile Fouché sent to the Duke of Wellington announcing that Napoleon
had declared his intention of departing for America, and requesting for
him a safe conduct across the Atlantic. The Duke replied that he had no
authority to grant passports to Napoleon Bonaparte but the request, as
Fouché hoped, had the effect of causing the English admirality to
quicken their diligence and there was immediately stationed no less than
thirty cruisers along the western coasts of France in order to intercept
Napoleon should he attempt to depart. No one could be deceived as to the
intention of this proceeding; it clearly denoted that the men, who, for
the moment, possessed the government of France, had determined that the
late Emperor should not leave the country freely. The fear that he might
return to the capital, and to his throne, had made them take a step
which was certain to place him in the power of the English government.

The next move was to inform Napoleon of the Duke's reply and with it the
declaration that two frigates, and some smaller vessels, awaited his
orders at Rochefort. He was informed that "if he repaired thither on the
instant" he would still be in time. For a moment he hesitated, wavering
between hope and doubt. Baron Fleury then went to Paris and learned that
the Prussians designed to carry off the Emperor; that Blucher had said,
"If I can catch Bonaparte, I will hang him up at the head of my army,"
but that Wellington had strenuously opposed such a cowardly design. At
half past 3 o'clock in the morning Napoleon was informed that Wellington
had refused him safe conduct, and he was ordered to depart immediately
from Malmaison. Preparations were hurriedly made, and on the 29th of
June, eleven days after the battle of Waterloo, he left Malmaison,
accompanied by Savary, Bertrand and Las Casas, and others of his
attached servants, and attended by a guard of mounted men.

If one of his followers had not taken the precaution to have the bridges
in front of Malmaison burned, Napoleon would have run a great risk of
falling into the hands of the Allies, as three corps of Prussian cavalry
appeared there in quest of him very soon after he started. They had
arrived by a circuitous route, and must have been led by a guide well
acquainted with the locality. Napoleon, however, had escaped this
danger. He slept at Rambouillet the first night, at Tours on the 30th,
and at Niort on the 1st of July. He was well received wherever he was
recognized; but at the last named place the enthusiasm of the people and
troops was extreme.

Rochefort was reached on the 3rd of July. Here Napoleon, who was joined
by his brother Joseph, took up his residence in the prefect's house with
the view of embarking immediately, but he was informed that a British
line-of-battle ship, and some smaller vessels of war, were off the
roads, watching the roadstead and harbor, and his departure was
therefore impossible.

Meanwhile the French army had once more retired from before the walls of
Paris under a convention, and Blucher and Wellington were about to enter
the capital and reseat Louis on the throne. The only alternative,
therefore, was to open negotiations with Captain Maitland, who commanded
the Bellerophon, an English man-of-war which had taken up its station at
Rochefort two days before the arrival of the ex-Emperor.

On being asked for a safe conduct to America the English commander
replied that his orders were to make every effort to prevent "Bonaparte"
from escaping, and if so fortunate as to obtain possession of his
person, to sail at once with him for England. Savary and Las Casas, who
conducted the negotiations, were unable to exact a definite promise from
the captain, when they visited him on the 10th of July, or to learn from
him if it was the intention of the British government to throw any
impediment in the way of his voyage to the United States. In the course
of the conversation, Captain Maitland, according to his own statement,
threw out the suggestion, "Why not seek an asylum in England?" to which
various objections were urged by Savary, and thus the interview

The succeeding days were passed by Napoleon in discussing various plans
devised for his escape, but they were all abandoned by him. He saw no
possible chance of success, for, as he himself said: "Wherever wood can
float, there is the flag of England. I will throw myself into her
hands--a helpless foe." Then, too, Napoleon was weary of strife, and had
the feelings of one who had done with action, and whose part it was to
endure. He at last rejected all such proposals, and once more dispatched
Las Casas, accompanied by Lallemand, to Capt. Maitland, on the 14th of
July, with instructions to inquire again whether the intentions of the
British government were yet declared as to a passage to America, or if
permission for Napoleon to pass in a neutral vessel could be obtained.
The answer was in the negative; but Capt. Maitland again suggested his
embarkation on board the Bellerophon, in which case he should be
conveyed to England. The words of Captain Maitland, quoted by himself to
Lord Keith were; "If he chooses to come on board the ship I command, I
think, under the orders I am acting with, I may venture to receive him,
and carry him to England." Upon this a negotiation took place, which
terminated in Las Casas saying; "Under all circumstances, I have little
doubt that you will see the Emperor on board the Bellerophon."

Las Casas returned to the Isle of Aix after his interview with Captain
Maitland on the 14th. The result of his mission appeared to be "that
Captain Maitland had authorized him to tell the Emperor if he decided
upon going to England, he was authorized to receive him on board; and he
accordingly placed his ship at his disposal." Napoleon then finally made
up his mind to place himself on board the British vessel. On the same
day Gourgaud delivered to Captain Maitland the following letter
addressed to the Prince Regent of England:

    "Royal Highness:--Exposed to the factions which divide my
    country, and to the hostility of the greatest powers of Europe,
    I have closed my political career. I come, like Themistocles to
    seek the hospitality of the English nation. I place myself under
    the protection of their laws, which I claim from your Royal
    Highness as the most powerful, and most constant, and the most
    generous of my enemies.

    Rochefort, July the 13th, 1815.


The letter was received by the royal commander and sent to England, but
no answer was returned.

On the 15th Napoleon and his friends decided to board the Bellerophon
and were transported thither by a barge sent by Captain Maitland. The
parting scenes with those left behind were most affecting. The English
commander received his charge in a respectful manner, but without salute
or distinguished honors; Napoleon uncovered himself, on reaching the
quarter-deck, and said in a firm tone of voice, "I come to place myself
under the protection of your prince and laws!"

The captain then led him into the cabin, which was given up to his use,
and afterwards, by his own request, presented all the officers to him.
He visited every part of the ship during the morning, conversing with
much freedom with those on board, about naval and other affairs. About
noon the ship got under weigh and made sail for England.

On the 23d of June the Bellerophon passed Ushant, and for the last time
Napoleon gazed long and mournfully on his beloved country, but said
nothing. At daybreak on the 24th they were close to Dartmouth, and when
the ship was at anchor the captain was instantly admonished by the Lords
of the Admiralty to permit no communication of any kind between his ship
and the coast. On the 26th the commander was ordered to Plymouth Sound,
where he was the object of great curiosity on the part of thousands of
people who swarmed about the vessel in small boats, eager to behold the
man who had had the attention of the world for so many years. Napoleon
appeared on deck and was greeted with loud cheers, to which he bowed and
smiled in return, and remarked to Captain Maitland: "The English appear
to have a very large portion of curiosity." On one occasion the captain
counted upwards of a thousand boats within view, each containing on an
average eight people.

On the 31st of July Napoleon was visited by Sir Henry Bunbury,
under-Secretary of State, and Lord Keith admiral of the channel fleet,
who came on board and announced the final decision of the British
government respecting him, and which was that "General Bonaparte," their
prisoner, should not be landed on the shores of England, but removed
forthwith to St. Helena, as being the situation which, more than any
other at their command, the government thought safe against a second
escape, and the indulgence to himself of personal freedom and exercise,
and which might be reconciled with the "indispensable precautions which
it would be necessary to employ for the security of his person."
Secondly, with the exception of Savary and Lallemand, he was to be
permitted to take with him any three officers he chose, besides one
surgeon and twelve domestics, none of whom were to be allowed, however,
to quit the island without the sanction of the British government.

Napoleon, on listening to the decree which sealed his fate for life,
made no comment whatever until the reading of the decision had ended. He
then solemnly protested against their cruel and arbitrary act. He
protested, not only against the order, but against the right claimed by
the English government to dispose of him as a prisoner of war. "I came
into your ship" said he, "as I would into one of your villages. If I had
been told I was to be a prisoner I would not have come. I asked him if
he was willing to receive me on board, and convey me to England. Captain
Maitland said he was, having received, or telling me he had received,
special orders of government concerning me. It was a snare then, that
had been spread for me. As for the Island of St. Helena, it would be my
sentence of death. I demand to be received as an English citizen." He
objected strenuously to the title given him, declared his right to be
considered as a sovereign prince, that his father-in-law, or the Czar,
would have treated him far differently, and concluded by expressing his
belief that "if your government act thus, it will disgrace you in the
eyes of Europe." "Even your own people will blame it," he added.

His protests were in vain, however, and at length, the interview having
terminated, he was informed that Admiral Sir George Cockburn was ready
to receive him on board the Northumberland to convey him to St. Helena.
Napoleon then declared with animation, "No, no, I will not go there; I
am not a Hercules; but you shall not conduct me to St. Helena. I prefer
death in this place. You found me free--send me back again; replace me
in the condition in which I was, or permit me to go to America." Still
his protests were ignored and preparations were at last begun for
departure. In a private conversation with Captain Maitland, Napoleon
reverted to the painful subject in the following terms: "The idea is a
perfect horror to me. To be placed for life on an island within the
tropics, at an immense distance from any land, cut off from all
communication with the world, and everything I hold dear to it! It is
worse than Tamerlane's iron cage. I would prefer being given up to the

Napoleon's suite, as finally arranged, consisted of Counts Bertrand,
Montholon and Las Casas, General Gourgaud, and Dr. O'Meara, an Irish
naval surgeon. Bertrand and Montholon were accompanied by their ladies
and children, and twelve upper domestics of the late imperial household,
who desired to share in the fortunes of their master. The money,
diamonds and salable effects Napoleon had with him he was deprived of.
When the search of his belongings was in progress, Bertrand was invited
to attend, but he was so indignant at the measure that he positively
refused. Four thousand gold napoleons ($16,000) were taken from him; the
rest of the money, amounting to about one thousand five hundred
napoleons, were returned to enable the Exile to pay such of is servants
as were about to leave him.

The Northumberland sailed for St. Helena on the 8th of August. After a
voyage of about seventy days, without unusual incident, on the 15th of
October, 1815, Napoleon had his first view of his destined retreat. He
was then forty-six years of age, enjoyed fairly good health, and but for
the repeated denials of many necessary comforts to which he was now to
be subjected might, in a measure, have enjoyed the remaining years of
his life. Here he found himself immured for life in a small volcanic
island, in the southern Atlantic, measuring ten miles in length and
seven in breadth, at a distance of two thousand leagues from the scenes
of his immortal exploits in arms, and separated from the two great
continents of Africa and America by the unfathomable ocean.

The admiral landed about noon with a view of finding a fitting abode for
Napoleon and his suite, returning in the evening. On the 16th the
imperial prisoner landed, and as he left the Northumberland the officers
all assembled on the quarter-deck with nearly the whole of the crew
stationed in the gangways. Before he stepped into the small boat to be
taken ashore he took leave of the captain and desired him to convey his
thanks to his officers and men. He then made off for the shore to take
up his residence at "the Briars," a small cottage about half a mile from
Jamestown, during the interval which must elapse before other quarters
could be provided for him. On the 10th of December he took possession of
his newly appointed abode at Longwood, a villa about six miles distant
from Jamestown. At this latter place he died on the 5th of May 1821 at
half past 5 o'clock in the evening, after an exile of nearly six years.
His death was no doubt hastened by a succession of petty annoyances on
the part of his "jailer," Sir Hudson Lowe, governor of the island, which
began on his arrival, and were followed up during all the years of his
exile, despite his repeated protestations. He had already lived much
longer than he desired, and had completed all his preparations for
death's coming, during his last year of bad health. In his final hours
he was surrounded by Bertrand, Montholon and other devoted friends to
whom he had given his final instructions.

Four days later, or on May 9th, with the cloak he had worn at Marengo
thrown over his feet, and clothed in the uniform of the Chasseurs of his
Guard, he was buried with military honors, surrounded by the sorrowing
friends who had shared his long confinement. The only inscription
permitted on the tablet over his body was "General Bonaparte."

Nineteen years later, at the request of the French government, England
honored a request for his ashes, and his body was disinterred and
conveyed to France to rest once more "on the banks of the Seine, among
the French people whom he had loved so well." On December 15th 1840, in
the midst of the most imposing and magnificent ceremonies Paris had
ever witnessed, the body of the Emperor was borne to the Invalides where
it lay for many days publicly exposed. On the 6th of February 1841 the
coffin was taken from the imperial cenotaph and placed in the chapel of
St. Jerome, in the Church of the Invalides where it was to remain till
the completion of the mausoleum some years later. Beneath the golden
dome which crowns the Invalides, and towards which the faces of all
visitors to Paris are most frequently turned, there still rests all that
is mortal of this most wonderful warrior and statesman. His magic name
continues to defy even time itself, and as the years roll on each
generation inquires of its predecessors what they knew of this man who
was so great that his name fills more pages in the world's solemn
history than that of any other mortal.




  Abensberg, battle of, 277.

  Abercromby, Sir Ralph, victory of over the French in Egypt, 178.

  Aboukir, battle of, 134.

  Abrantes, Duchess d', 20.

  Abdication, Napoleon's first, 405.
    Second, 491-2.

  Acre, siege of, 128.

  Ajaccio, birthplace of Napoleon, 11.
    Destruction of, 25.
    Landing of Napoleon on return from Egypt at, 138.

  Alexander, Czar, at Austerlitz, 200.
    Interview of, with Napoleon on the Niemen, 248.
    Meeting of, with Napoleon at Erfurt, 261.
    Alliance of, with King of Prussia, 349.
    In Paris, 1814, 403.
    Visit of, to Josephine, 417.

  Alexandria, conquest of, 113.

  Alps, passage of the, 154-61,

  Alessandria, conditions of peace signed at, 173.

  Alvinzi, Austrian general, in Italy, 82.
    Success of, on the Tyrol, 83.
    Defeated at Arcola, 88.

  Amiens, peace of, 179.
    Rupture of peace of, 183.

  Ancients, Council of, conduct of on 18th Brumaire, 143.

  Angouleme, Duchess d', 437.

  Anne, Grand Duchess, of Russia, 320.

  Arcola, battle of, 85.

  Arcis, battle of, 396.

  Astorga, Napoleon at, 273.

  Augereau, (Marshal and General) at Millessimo, 53.
    At Arcola, 86.
    At Castiglione, 74.
    At Jena, 220.
    At Eylau, 235.
    Conduct of in 1814, 412.

  Austerlitz, battle of, 204.

  Autun, College of, 15.

  Austria, efforts of, in Italy, 1796, 50.
    Insincere policy of, to France, 1800, 177.
    Joins Bourbon coalition, 189.
    French campaign in, results of, 1805, 197.
    Treaty with France after Austerlitz, 209.
    Declares war against France, 1809, 274.
    Armistice with France after Wagram, 302.
    Treaty with France, 1812, 312.
    Policy of 1813, to France, 354.
    Joins alliance to dethrone Napoleon, 435.
    Preparations of, for re-invasion of France, 439.

  Avignon, Napoleon victorious at, 27.


  Bagration, Russian general, in 1812, 320.
    Death of, 329.

  Bamberg, Napoleon's headquarters at, 214.

  Barras, member of French Directory, 32.
    Selects Napoleon to defend the Convention, 38.

  Bassano, battle of, 79.

  Bauer, M., tutor of Napoleon, 20.

  Bautzen, battle of, 354.

  Bavaria, invasion of, 275.
    King of, joins the Allies, 368.

  Baylen, battle of, 259.

  Bayonne, meeting of Charles IV. and Napoleon at, 256.

  Beauharnais, Eugene, first meeting of, with Napoleon, 43.
    In Egypt, 130.
    At Wagram, 296.
    In retreat from Russia, 334.
    Succeeds Murat in command of troops, 348.
    Defeated in Italy, 1813, 373.

  Beauharnais, Hortense, 305.

  Beaulieu, Austrian gener'l, in Italy, 51.

  Beaulieu, defeated by Napoleon, 72.

  Bellerophon, Napoleon on board the, 501-3.

  Belliard, General, defeated at Alexandria, 178.
    In campaign of 1813, 401.

  Bennigsen, Russian general, retreat behind the Wkra, 231.
    At Eylau, 234.
    Defeat of at Friedland, 248.

  Beresina, passage of the, 343.

  Berlin, entry of Napoleon into, 1806, 226.

  Berlin decrees, 228.

  Berthier, Major-General to Napoleon, 48.
    Marshal and General, at Rivoli, 91.

  Bessieres, (Marshal and General) in Italy, 68.
    At Austerlitz, 205.
    In Spain, 259.
    At Essling, 290.
    Death of, before Lutzen, 352.

  Bernadotte, (Marshal and General) in Italy, 100.
    On the 18th Brumaire, 144.
    At Austerlitz, 204.
    Conduct of, at Jena, 221.
    At Wagram, 296.
    Joins the Allies, (Crown Prince of Sweden), 350.
    In campaign of 1813, 361.

  Bertrand, General, at Elba, 421.
    At Waterloo, 482.
    Accompanies Napoleon to St. Helena, 503.

  Blucher, Prussian general, at Jena, 222.
    Defeat of, at Lubeck, 226.
    Commander-in-Chief Prussian army, 1813, 349.
    In command of Silesian army, 1814, 378.
    In campaign of 1815, 440.
    Narrow escape at Ligny, 452.
    At Waterloo, 479-88.

  Bonaparte, Letitia Ramolino, mother of Napoleon, 9.

  Bonaparte, Charles, father of Napoleon, 15.

  Bonaparte, Eliza, 23.

  Bonaparte, Jerome, in Russian campaign, 317.
    At Waterloo, 466.

  Bonaparte, Joseph, at Autun, 15.
    Made King of Spain, 258.
    Head of the Council in Paris, 380.

  Bonaparte, Lucien, President of Council of Five Hundred, 142.
    In 1815, 490.

  Bonaparte, Napoleon (see Napoleon).

  Bonaparte, Pauline, at Elba, 418.

  Bourbon, Monarchy, restoration of, 410.

  Bourmont, General, treason of, 446.

  Bourrienne, Napoleon's early friendship with, 15.
    In Egypt, 132.

  Borodino, battle of, 325-29.

  Boulogne, headquarters of French army at, 191.

  Brienne, Military school of, 9.
    Arrival of Napoleon at, 15.
    Battle of, 381.

  Brueyes, Admiral, death of, 122.

  Brumaire, the 18th and 19th, Revolution of, 143-61.

  Brune, General, defeats Austrians on the Mincio, 177.

  Brunswick, Charles William Frederick, Duke, defeat of, at Jena, 226.

  Brunswick, Frederick William, Duke of, killed at Quatre-Bras, 454.

  Brussels, headquarters of British army 1815, 440.

  Bulow, General, at Waterloo, 464.
    Repulsed by Count Lobau, 478.


  Cartaux, General, in command at Toulon, 28.

  Carnot, member of French Directory, 32.
    Appoints Napoleon commander of Army of Italy, 44.
    Minister of war under Consulate, 154.
    In 1815, 437.

  Cairo, French army march on, 114.
    In the occupation of the French, 121.
    Revolt at, 124.

  Cambacérès, Consul with Napoleon, 151.

  Cambronne, General, commander of the Guard, 425.
    Wounded at Waterloo, 484-5.

  Campo-Formio, treaty of, 104.

  Castiglione, battle of, 74.

  Caulaincourt, French diplomatist, in retreat from Russia, 345.
    Employed to negotiate treaty in 1814, 383.
    Pleads Napoleon's cause before Czar Alexander, 402.
    At Fontainebleau, 404.
    After Waterloo, 494.

  Cervoni, Adjutant, interview with Napoleon, 26.

  Causse, General, at Dego, 54.

  Charleroi, engagement at, 448.

  Chebreis, engagement at, 116.

  Champaubert, battle of, 384.

  Champ de Mai, ceremony of, 441.

  Charles, the Archduke, Austrian commander in Italy, 98.
    Forced to abandon Italy, 198.

  Charles, the Archduke, invades Bavaria, 275.
    Defeated at Eckmuhl, 279.
    Defeated at Essling, 289.
    At Wagram, 301.

  Charles IV., King of Spain, abdicates, 255.

  Clouet, Colonel, treason of, 446.

  Coalition, Bourbon, 190.

  Code Napoleon, anecdote of, 36.
    Formation of, 180.

  Colli, General, defeated by Napoleon, 53.

  Colombier, Madame du, 21.

  Committee of Public Safety, 34.

  Concordat, signing of, 179.

  Conspiracy, to assassinate Napoleon, 176.

  Convention, French, Napoleon undertakes defense of, 39.

  Confederation of the Rhine, established, 211.
    Dissolved, 373.

  Consuls of the French Republic, 148.

  Continental System, adopted by Prussia, 249.
    Modification of, 309.

  Consular Government, organization of, 149.

  Corunna, combat at, 272.

  Consul, life, Napoleon appointed, 182.

  Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon, 9.
    Revolution in, 24-5.

  Craonne, battle of, 392.

  Culm, engagement at, 364.


  Dantzic, surrender of, 242.

  Davidowich, General, defeat of, at Roveredo, 78.

  Danube, French army crosses the, 295.

  Daru, M., at Boulogne, 191.

  Daru, Count, at Moscow, 353.

  Davoust, (Marshal and General) at Austerlitz, 205.
    At Jena, 221.
    At Eylau, 238.
    At Eckmuhl, 284.
    At Wagram, 296.
    In Russia, 315.
    At Moscow, 332.

  Desaix, General, in Egypt, 114.
    In Italy, 163.
    Death of, at Marengo, 169.

  Dego, battle of, 54.

  Dennewitz, battle of, 364.

  Desvaux, General, killed at Waterloo, 469.

  Dneiper, Ney crossing the, 341.

  Dresden, arrival of Napoleon at, in 1812, 313.
    Entry of Napoleon into, 1813, 353.
    Engagement at, 362.

  Druot, General, at Elba, 421.
    At Waterloo, 482.

  Duroc, General, Napoleon's first meeting with, 29.

  Duroc, death of, at Bautzen, 355-6.

  Dugommier, General, at Toulon, 31.

  Dubois, General, death of, 78.

  Ducos, Roger, Consul with Napoleon, 148.
    Surrenders at Baylen, 259.

  Dufresne, General, at Waterloo, 470.

  Dupont, General, at Friedland, 246.


  Ebersberg, battle of, 285.

  Eckmuhl, battle of, 279.

  Egypt, French expedition to, determined upon, 110.
    Disembarkation in, of Napoleon, 113.
    Improved condition of, under Napoleon, 123.
    Napoleon leaves, 136.
    Lost to France, 178.

  Elchingen, battle of, 194.

  Elba, exile of Napoleon to, 413.
    Arrival of Napoleon at, 414.
    Napoleon on the island of, 415.
    Departure of Napoleon from, 421.

  Emperor, Napoleon proclaimed, 1804, 186.

  Enghien, Duke d', execution of, 185-6.

  England, French project of invasion of, 1797, 108.
    Refuses to treat with Consular Government, 152.
    French preparations for invasion, 1802, 179.
    Declares war on France, 184.
    Alliance with Spain, 258.
    Joins alliance to dethrone Napoleon, 435.

  Erfurt, meeting between Napoleon and Alexander at, 261.

  Erlon, Count d', at Quatre-Bras, 454.
    At Waterloo, 468, 471.

  Essling, battle of, 289.

  Eylau, battle of, 234-41.


  Fesch, Cardinal, uncle of Napoleon, 311.

  Ferdinand, Prince of Spain, disputes of, with his father, 253.
    Proclaimed King of Spain, 255.
    Resigns his throne. 257.

  Five Hundred, Council of, dissolved 147.

  Fox, English statesman, 42.
    Effect of the death of, 212.

  Fouché, Minister of Police, 142.
    Opposed to Russian campaign, 310.
    Treason of, 440.
    Conduct of, after Waterloo, 494-97.

  Fontainebleau, treaty of, between France and Spain, 254.

  Fontainebleau, arrival of Napoleon at, 1814, 401.
    Treaty of, (abdication) 408.
    Napoleon attempts suicide at, 409.
    Adieu of Napoleon and Old Guard at, 410.
    Arrival of Napoleon at, on return from Elba, 432.

  Francis II., Emperor of Austria, meeting of, with Napoleon, 207.
    Advice to Napoleon in 1814, 389.
    After surrender of Paris, 417.

  France, condition of, on Napoleon's return from Egypt, 140.
    Invasion of, 378.

  Frankfort, manifesto issued by Allied Princes, 375.

  Fréjus, arrival of Napoleon at, on return from Egypt, 139.
    Arrival of Napoleon at, on return from Elba, 422.

  Frederick the Great, Napoleon at tomb of, 227.

  Frederick William, King of Prussia, 349.

  Friedland, battle of, 242-47.


  Gasparin, Representative of the people, at Toulon, 29.

  Gap, Napoleon at, 424.

  Genoa surrender of, to Napoleon, 172.

  Gerard, General, at Ligny, 451.

  Godoy, Minister of Spain, 255.

  Gourgaud, General, at battle of Brienne, 381.
    At retreat from Waterloo, 487.
    Accompanies Napoleon to St. Helena, 503.

  Grenoble, arrival of Napoleon, on return from Elba, 427.

  Gross-Beeren, battle of, 364.

  Grouchy, (Marshal and General) in Russian campaign, 342.
    Operations of, before Waterloo, 456-57, 465.
    One cause of defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, 472-3.

  Guadarrama, passage of the, by Napoleon, 270.


  Hanover, conquest of, 185.

  Hanau, battle of, 372.

  Hatzfeld, Princess, Napoleon's clemency to, 228.

  Haulpoult, General d' death of, 240.

  Heilsberg, battle of, 242.

  Holland, Napoleon's appointment in, 38.

  Hohenlinden, battle of, 177.

  Hundred Days, the, 437.


  Institute of Cairo, organized by Napoleon, 123.

  Imperial Guard, organization of, 68.

  Iron Crown, order of, instituted, 188.

  Italy, Army of, Napoleon appointed commander-in-chief, 44.
    Condition of, in 1796, 45.
    Improved state of, 65.
    Napoleon crowned King of, 188.

  Invalides, Hotel des, resting place of Napoleon, 506.


  Jaffa, massacre of prisoners at, 126.
    Retreat of French army from, 131.

  Jena, battle of, 218-25.

  Joubert, General, at Rivoli, 89.

  Jourdan, Marshal, commander of Army of the Danube, 153.
    Defeated in Spain, 359.

  Josephine, marriage with Napoleon, 44.
    Coronation of, as Empress, 187.
    Divorce of, 304-6.
    Visited by Alexander, 417.
    Death of, 418.

  Junot, General, first meeting of, with Napoleon, 29.
    In Italy, 75.
    In Egypt, 129.
    Invades Portugal, 254.
    In Russia, 324.


  Keith, Lord, announces decision of British Government effecting
              Napoleon, 502.

  King of Rome, (Napoleon's son) birth of, 308.
    Anecdote of, 398.

  Kirgener, General, death of, 355.

  Kellerman, General, in Italy, 100.
    At Marengo, 169.
    At Waterloo, 472-77.

  Kléber, General, at Alexandria, 114.
    Commander of the Army of Egypt, 137.
    Death of, 178.
    Flight of Napoleon from, 332.

  Krasnoi, engagement at, 321.
    Battle of, in retreat from Russia, 340.

  Kozietulski, Polish general, in Spain, 264.

  Kremlin, (Moscow) Napoleon at, 330.

  Kutusoff, Russian general, at Austerlitz, 204.
    At Borodino, 325.
    In pursuit of French army in Russian retreat, 338.


  Lafayette, member of French government, 1815, 491.

  Laon, battle of, 392.

  Labedoyere, Colonel, loyalty of, to Napoleon, 426.
    At Waterloo, 482.

  Lannes, (Marshal and General) at Dego, 54.
    At Lodi, 61.
    At Bassano, 79.
    In Egypt, 129.
    At Montebello, 162.
    At Ulm, 196.
    At Austerlitz, 205.
    At Jena, 220.
    At Eckmuhl, 279.
    At Ratisbon, 283.
    At Essling, 289.
    Death of, 293.

  Landshut, battle of, 278.

  Lauriston, Count, at Wagram, 298.
    In Russia, 333.

  La Belle Alliance, Napoleon on heights of, 462.

  La Salle, General, French cavalry leader, death of, 301.

  Las Casas, General, accompanies Napoleon to St. Helena, 503.

  Lavalette, in Egypt, 130.
    In 1814, 400.

  Le Brun, Consul with Napoleon, 151.

  Lefebvre, (Marshal and General) at Jena, 227.
    At Dantzic, 242.
    In Spain, 259.
    In Russia, 330.

  Lefebvre-Desnoettes, General, at Waterloo, 471.

  Leipsic, battle of, 365-71.

  Leoben, provisional treaty of, 102.

  Legion of Honor, established by Napoleon, 180.

  Ligny, battle of, 449-53.

  Lobau, Count, at Waterloo, 470.
    Repulses Bulow's corps, 478.

  Lobau, Napoleon decides to fall back on, 291.
    Napoleon on the island of, 294.

  Lodi, battle of, 59-63.

  Lombardy, conquest of, 97.

  Lonato, battle of, 74.
    Napoleon's escape from capture at, 76.

  Louis XVI. attacked by the mob, 22.
    Execution of, 26.

  Louis XVIII., correspondence with Napoleon, 174-5.
    Protests against Napoleon's usurpation, 187.
    Restoration of, 416.
    Flight from Paris, 432.
    Restored to the throne in 1815, 499.

  Louis, Prince of Prussia, death of, 216.

  Louis, the archduke, defeated at Abensberg, 277.

  Louisiana, sale of, by Napoleon, to U. S., 185.

  Lubeck, battle of, 226.

  Luneville, treaty of, 178.

  Lutzen, battle of, 352.

  Lyons, Napoleon issues proclamations at, 430.


  Maitland, Captain, negotiations with on Napoleon's behalf, 499-501.

  Macdonald, (Marshal and General) at Wagram, 298-301.
    In Russian campaign, 315.
    In campaign of 1813, 360.
    At Leipsic, 369.
    At Lyons, 428.

  Mack, Austrian general, 193.
    Surrenders at Ulm, 196.

  Madrid, insurrection at, 257.
    Surrender of, 266-68.

  Mallet, conspiracy of, 344.

  Malta, capture of, by Napoleon, 112.

  Mamelukes, Egyptian cavalry, Napoleon's opinion of, 114.

  Mantua, siege and fall of, 81, 96.

  Marboeuf, Bishop of Autun, 15.

  Marbot, General, in Spain, 270.

  Marengo, battle of, 164-71.
    Napoleon visits battlefield of, 188.

  Marie Louise, illness of at Vienna, 286.
    Napoleon's marriage with, 306.
    Empress-Regent, 350.
    Last interview with Napoleon, 380.
    Departure from Paris in 1814, 398.
    Return to Vienna 417.

  Marseilles, Napoleon at, 26.

  Maret, French diplomatist, at Nogent, 383.
    Sends secret message to Napoleon, 420.

  Marmont, (Marshal and General) at Nice, 34.
    In Italy, 81.
    At Wagram, 296.
    Defeated at Salamanca, 326.
    At capitulation of Paris, 400.
    Joins the Allies, 406.

  Massena, (Marshal and General) at Montenotte, 52.
    At Biestro, 53.
    At Lonato, 74.
    In Switzerland, 153.
    Appointed commander of the Army of Italy, 173.
    Success of, in Lombardy, 198.
    At Eckmuhl, 279.
    At Ebersberg, 285.
    At Essling, 289.
    At Wagram, 296.

  Melas, Austrian general, in Italy, 73.
    Defeat of, by Napoleon, 172.

  Memingen, capitulation of, 193.

  Meneval, private secretary to Napoleon, 20.

  Menou, at Alexandria, 178.

  Menou, General, defeat of, 41.
    Released from prison at Napoleon's request, 43.

  Merfeld, General, at Leipsic, 367.

  Metternich, Diplomatist and Minister of Austria, 358-9.

  Milan, entry of Napoleon into, 64.
    Surrender of, 71.
    Arrival of Napoleon in 1800, 161.

  Milarodowitch, Russian General, 330.

  Milhaud, General, at Waterloo, 471.

  Millessimo, battle of, 53.

  Mincio, French Army advances on, 67.

  Moncey, Marshal, at the defense of Paris, 399.

  Moncey, Captain, in Russia, 325.

  Mondovi, battle of, 54.

  Mont St. Jean, village of, near Waterloo, 459.

  Montbrun, General, in Spain, 265.

  Montenotte, battle of, 51.

  Montholon, General, accompanies Napoleon to St. Helena, 503.

  Moore, Sir John, in Spain, 269.
    Death of, at Corunna, 272.

  Montebello, battle of, 163.

  Montereau, battle of, 387.

  Montmirail, battle of, 385.

  Morla, Thomas de, governor of Madrid, 267.

  Moreau, General, operations in Italy, 155.
    At Hohenlinden, 177.
    Joins the Allies in 1813, 362.
    Death of, at Dresden, 363.

  Mortier, (Marshal and General,) invades Hanover, 185.
    At Krasnoi, 340.
    At capitulation of Paris, 399.

  Moses, fountains of, Napoleon visits, 124.

  Moscow, arrival of French army at, 329.
    Conflagration of, 330-32.
    French retreat from, 334.

  Moskowa, battle at, (see Borodino.) 325.

  Mourad Bey, Mameluke chief, defeated, 120.

  Mouton, General, at Abensberg, 278.

  Murat, (Marshal and General; King of Naples), at battle of Sections,
    Takes Captured Standards to Paris, 56.
    In Egypt, battle of Aboukir, 134.
    At Austerlitz, 205.

  Murat, at Jena, 220.
    At Eylau, 237.
    In Spain, 255.
    In Russia, 315.
    Resigns command of troops, 348.
    Negotiates with Allies, 373.
    Treason of, to Napoleon, 377.
    Efforts of, to regain his throne, 438.
    Death of, 439.

  Muiron, death of, at Arcola, 87.


  Napoleon, (As the name "Napoleon" appears several times on almost
            every page of this book, and the events chronicled herein
            relating to him are indexed under their separate titles,
            it has been thought advisable to omit their repetition
            under this heading).

  "Napoleon's Grotto," 14.

  Naples, Napoleon's policy towards, 71.

  National Assembly, French, 23.

  National Guards, take up arms against French government, 38.
    Napoleon's address to, 379.

  Naumburg, fall of, 217.

  Nelson, Admiral, in pursuit of French fleet, 111.
    Defeats French in Bay of Aboukir, 121.
    Death of, at Trafalgar, 199.

  Ney, (Marshal and General) at Ulm, 196.
    At Jena, 221.
    At Friedland, 245.
    In Russia, 324.
    At Moskowa, 329.
    Heroism of, in retreat from Russia, 337.
    Rejoins the Emperor at Orcha, 341.
    At Kowno, 346.
    Sent to arrest Napoleon, 430.
    Rejoins the Emperor, 431.
    At Quatre-Bras, 453.
    At Waterloo, 464-486.
    Execution of, 493.

  Nice, Napoleon at the headquarters of the French army at, 33.
    Napoleon imprisoned at, 34.

  Niemen, passage of the, 317.

  Nile, arrival of the French army at the, 115.
    Battle of the, 122.

  Notre Dame, Cathedral of, Napoleon's coronation at, 188.

  Northumberland, Napoleon transferred to, 503.
    Napoleon's departure from, 504.


  O'Meara, Doctor, incidents of Napoleon related by, 10, 44.
    Accompanies Napoleon to St. Helena, 503.

  Orcha, Marshal Ney's arrival at, 341.

  Osterode, Napoleon establishes headquarters at, 241.

  Oudinot, (Marshal and General,) at Friedland, 245.
    At Wagram, 296.
    In Russian campaign 315.
    In 1813, 360.


  Paoli, General, Governor of Corsica, 24.

  Pavia, submission of, 64,
    Insurrection at, 67.

  Paris, Napoleon's first arrival at, 19.
    Napoleon solicits employment in, 37.
    Napoleon returns to, after first Italian campaign, 106.
    Welcomes Napoleon after Marengo, 173-4.
    Return of the Emperor to, after Friedland, 251.
    Return of French army to, after Russian campaign, 346.
    Defense of, 1814, 399.
    Capitulation of, 400.
    Entry of the Allied Army into, 1814, 403.
    Napoleon returns after exile to Elba, 433.
    Napoleon's departure from, to begin campaign, 1815, 443.
    Entry of the Allies in 1815, 498.
    Interment of Napoleon's body in 1840, at, 505-6.

  Pius VI., Pope, peace negotiations of, with Napoleon, 71.

  Pius VII., Pope, signs concordat, 179.
    At coronation of Napoleon and Josephine, 188.
    Imprisonment of at Fontainebleau, 303.
    Release of, 377.

  Platoff, hetman of the Cossacks, 232, 320.

  Poland, Napoleon fixes his headquarters in, 280.
    Policy of Napoleon to, 1812, 319.

  Poniatowski, Polish prince, death of, 370.

  Ponsonby, General, death of at Waterloo, 467.

  Portugal, invasion of, 254.
    Insurrection in, 258.

  Prague, congress of diplomatists at, 357.
    Headquarters of the Allies, 361.

  Prussia, prepares for war against France, 213.
    Treaty with France, 1812, 312.
    Declares war against France, 348.
    Joins alliance to dethrone Napoleon, 435.

  Pradt, Abbe, French ambassador at Warsaw, 345.

  Provera, General, defeat of in Italy, 94.

  Pyramids, battle of, 117.


  Quatre-Bras, battle of, 453.

  Queen of Prussia, with Prussian army, 215.
    At Jena 225.
    At Tilsit, 249.
    Quasdonowich, Austrian general, defeated by Napoleon, 73.


  Rapp, General, in Russia, 336.

  Ratisbon, storming of, 280.
    Napoleon wounded at, 281.

  Rastadt, Congress of, 105.

  Revolution, French, 23, 25.

  Reign of Terror, 26.

  Regnier, General, in Russia, 315.
    In campaign of 1813, 357.

  Rheims, battle of, 393.

  Rivoli, battle of, 90-2.

  Rochefort, Napoleon at, 498, 500.

  Robespierre, intercession of, for Napoleon, 34.

  Rome, incorporated with French Empire, 303.

  Roveredo, battle of, 78.

  Royal Military School, Napoleon at, 18.

  Russia, joins Bourbon coalition, 1805, 189.
    Relations with France in 1811, 309.
    Declares war against France 1812, 312.
    Invasion of, by Napoleon, 318.
    Results of French campaign in, 346.
    Joins alliance to dethrone Napoleon, 435.


  Saalfeld, battle of, 216.

  St. Helena, arrival of Napoleon at, 504.
    Death of Napoleon at, 505.

  St. Cyr, (Marshal and General) in campaign of 1813, 360.

  St. Dizier, engagement at, 381.

  St. Domingo, expedition to, 179.

  St. George, battle of, 94.

  Salamanca, battle of, 326.

  Sardinia, annihilation of army of, 55.

  Savary, (Duke of Rovigo,) in Egypt, 119.
    At Marengo, 166.
    Diplomatist, in Spain, 256.
    Negotiates with Captain Maitland, 499.

  Saxony, Elector of, ally of Napoleon, 230.
    Fidelity to Napoleon, 345.

  Saxons, defection of, at Leipsic, 369.

  Saragossa, siege of, 260.

  San Juan, Spanish General, 263.

  Schleiz, engagement at, 217.

  Schwartzenberg, Austrian general, in 1813, 361.
    In the invasion of France, 378.

  Schoenbrunn, attempt to assassinate Napoleon at, 302.
    Treaty of, 303.
    At Ulm, 196.

  Ségur, Count, in Spain, 264, 266.

  Senate, French, conduct of in 1813, 375-77.

  Serrurier, Austrian general, at Mantua, 95.

  Sections, defeat of the, 40.

  Sieyes, member of the French Directory, 142.
    Consul with Napoleon, 148.

  Smith, Sir Sydney, at the siege of Acre, 127.

  Smolensk, capture of, 321.
    Retreat of the French army to, 337.

  Somosierra, combat at, 263.

  Soult, (Marshal and General) at Austerlitz, 205.
    At Jena, 220.
    At Eylau, 235.
    In campaign of Spain, 272.
    At Waterloo, 482.
    Marches towards Paris, 495.

  Spain, policy of Napoleon to, 253.
    Napoleon exercises rights of a conqueror in, 268.
    Results of war with, 274.
    Conditions in, 1812, 310.
    Disasters of French in, 1813, 374.

  Suchet, (Marshal and General) in Italy, 163.
    In Spain, 374.

  Sweden, joins Bourbon coalition, 189.

  Syria, Napoleon's expedition to, 125.


  Tallien, member of French Directory, 38.

  Tagliamento, passage and battle of, 99.

  Talleyrand, French diplomatist, 109.
    Perfidy of, to Napoleon, 374.

  Thabor, Mount, battle of, 129.

  Tilsit, treaty of, 248.
    Arrival of Queen of Prussia at, 249.

  Tolentino, treaty of, 98.

  Tolly de, Barclay, Russian general, 313.
    At Wilna, 315.

  Torre di Capitello, Napoleon reduces fortress of, 24.

  Toulon, delivered to the English, 26.
    Napoleon in command at, 27.
    Re-capture of, 31.

  Trafalgar, naval battle of, 199.

  Tuileries, Palace of, storming, 22.
    Napoleon takes up his residence at, 150.
    Return of Napoleon to, after exile at Elba, 433.

  Turreau, commander of military force at Nice, 46.

  Turkey, Napoleon seeks a commission to, 37.


  Ulm, surrender of, 195.

  Ushant, Napoleon's last view of France, 501.


  Valence, Napoleon at, 21-2.

  Vandamme, General, defeated at Culm, 364.

  Valoutina, battle of, 324.

  Vaubois, General, defeat of in Italy, 83-4.

  Vendemiaire, 13th, 41.

  Venice, Republic, fall of, 102.

  Vernet, French artist, at defense of Paris, 399.

  Victor, (Marshal and General) at Marengo, 164.
    At the Beresina, 342.
    At Montereau, 387.

  Vienna, entry of Napoleon into, 1805, 199.
    Treaty of, after Austerlitz, 210.
    Surrender of, 1809, 286.
    Congress of, 420, 435.

  Villoutreys, Colonel, treason of, 446.

  Vittoria, defeat of French at, 374.


  Wagram, battle of, 296-99.

  Washington, Napoleon honors, 151.

  Waterloo, bivouac of, 458-62.
    Battle of, 463-86.

  Wellington, Duke of, in Spain, 326.
    In Spain, 1813, 350.
    Final success in Spain, 358.
    Commander-in-chief British army, 1815, 440.
    At Waterloo, 458-88.

  Wertingen, battle of, 193.

  Wilna, headquarters of Napoleon at, 318.

  Witgenstein, Russian general, 316.
    In command of Russian army, 349.

  Wrede de, General, at Wagram, 298.

  Wurmser, Austrian general, in Italy, 70.

  Wurmser, replaces General Beaulieu, 72.
    Defeat of, 77.


  Znaim, armistice at, 302.


Punctuation standardized; minor typographical errors silently corrected.

Spelling inconsistencies resolved when a word or name is mostly spelled
the same way in this book, but unchanged when no clear preference can
be found.

Page 187: 'Allegorial' unchanged; it's spelled this way in several

Page 263: 'and from the sea cost' could be 'coast' or 'east'

Pages 151, 182, 508: "Cambacérès" spelled three different ways; all
changed to "Cambacérès".

Page 315: refers to a map "as will be seen by the map," but there are
no maps in this book.

Page 411: caption reads "1814" but should be "1812".

Index: Many alphabetizing sequence errors corrected.

Some pages included decorative head-, center-, and tail-pieces. Those
are not indicated here.

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