Napoleons Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire

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Many of the men, mostly conscripted by ballot, had never before been beyond their native village.

The Napoleonic Empires/French Empires : Every Month

What did they make of their extraordinary experiences, fighting battles thousands of miles form home, foraging for provisions or garrisoning town in hostile countries? What was it like to be a soldier in the revolutionary and imperial armies? We know more about these men and their reactions to war than about the soldiers of any previous army in history, not just from official sources but from the large number of personal letters they wrote.

Napoleon's Men provides a direct insight into the experiences and emotions of soldiers who risked their lives at Austerlitz, Wagram and Borodino.


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Not surprisingly, their minds often dwelt as much on what was happening at home, and on mundane questions of food and drink, as on Napoleon himself or the glory of France. The Soldiers and their Writings.

Official Representation of War. The earliest publication yet located of this famous palindrome is in the "Witty and Whimsical" section of The Saturday Reader , Vol.

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Napoleon Bonaparte

II, No. O'Meara if he really thought he could have invaded England at the time he threatened to do so, replied in the following ingenious anagram [sic]: — "Able was I ere I saw Elba. Helena An army of sheep, led by a lion, is better than an army of lions, led by a sheep. Give them a whiff of grapeshot. This is often quoted as a command Napoleon issued when dispersing mobs marching on the National Assembly in Paris 5 October , or it is occasionally stated that he boasted "I gave them a whiff of grapeshot" sometime afterwards, but the first known use of the term "whiff of grapeshot" is actually by Thomas Carlyle in his work The French Revolution , describing the use of cannon salvo [ salve de canons ] against crowds, and not even the use of them by Napoleon.

A constitution should be short and obscure. He told Talleyrand to advise Bonaparte to adopt the former as it was " short and " — he was about to add " clear " when the diplomatist cut him short with the words, " Yes: short and obscure! There is no known basis to attribute this saying to Napoleon.

Napoleon Bonaparte
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