Napoleon Bonaparte (6)
Emperor of France
Portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon not murdered, say scientists
hoping for peace negotiations, Bonaparte delayed leaving the capital
for too long and on his march back to France disaster
hit the Grande Armee.
cold, lack of supplies and constant attacks by Russian forces whittled
away the once-magnificent army so that when it finally stumbled
out of Russia its survivors numbered fewer than 20,000.
the French almost on their knees the revenge-seeking Prussians broke
their alliance with Paris and, together with Sweden, joined the
Tsar's campaign to kick the French out of Germany.
1813 Campaign through Germany saw
a weakened Bonaparte fight and win the battles of Lutzen,
Bautzen and Dresden,
but the sheer weight of numbers caught up with him at Leipzig,
where some 200,000 Frenchmen took on 400,000 enemy troops in
a massive three-day battle.
Defeated, and his forces also facing an unbeaten and advancing British
army in Spain, Bonaparte gathered strength for his last roll of
the die - the battle for France.
following campaign saw Bonaparte return to his brilliant best and
he won battle after battle with weak and inexperienced forces pitted
against seasoned and seemingly innumerable enemies.
however, the numbers told and he was forced to abdicate by his marshals
on 6 April 1814. He gave a final farewell
to his Old Guard at Fontainbleau on 20 April and chose 600 men to
go into exile with him on Elba.
On the island Bonaparte plotted his return and taking advantage
of lax security and in the knowledge there was a growing resentment
of the restored Bourbons and Louis XVIII, he landed in France in
early March of 1815.
being branded an Enemy of Humanity by his enemies, the French people
flocked to him and within months he had rebuilt his army for the
expected arrival of the armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden
than wait he launched a lightning campaign into Belgium in the hope
of catching the British, under the Duke
of Wellington, and the Prussians, under Field
Marshal Blucher, off guard.
The plan worked, but a series of command errors by subordinates
blew the opportunities offered and despite victory at Ligny
and a tactical draw at Quatre Bras,
he was defeated at Waterloo.
a second time, the man who ruled Europe spent his last six years
on a small island in the South Atlantic called St
death in 1821 brought relief to the royal houses of Europe and it
was only in 1840 that his body was allowed to return to his beloved