This is a vital history of the battles and campaigns in Germany and France which led to the defeat of Napoleon written by an experienced British cavalry officer and diplomat who was present and actively engaged throughout them all. The authors unique position enabled him to write a superb account—part history, part personal experience—of these turbulent days of warfare that would result in the abdication of an emperor, the fall of the First Empire ,the occupation of Paris and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. This is the story of the 'War of the Sixth Coalition' when the hereditary Imperial Crowns of Europe finally determined and achieved the downfall of the man they considered as a usurper and who had brought a continent to its knees and soaked it in blood for over a decade. There would be many a hard fought day before that came about and the Emperor had one final stroke of genius in war to display before it was over. An essential addition to every library of Napoleonic history.
A strong redoubt and battery of the enemy’s in their centre kept General D’Yorck’s corps in check for some part of the day.
The enemy’s right flank having been gained by the heights of Belleville, their great loss in every part of the field, and their complete discomfiture on all sides, reduced them to the necessity of sending a flag of truce to demand a cessation of hostilities, they agreeing to give up all the ground without the barriers of Paris until further arrangements should be made.
The heights of Montmartre were to be placed by the stated generosity of a beaten enemy in our possession (Romainville and Belleville having been carried) at the very moment Count Langeron’s corps was about to storm them, and had already got possession of the crest of the hill.<br>
General Woronzoff’s division also carried the village of La Villette, charging with two battalions of chasseurs: they took twelve pieces of cannon, and were only stopped at the barrier of Paris, which they had forced, by the flag of truce. However, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and Prince Schwartzenberg, with that humanity which must excite the admiration of Europe, acceded to a proposition to prevent the city of Paris from being sacked and destroyed. Count Orloff, aide-de-camp to the Emperor, and Count Paar, aide-de-camp to Prince Schwartzenberg, were sent to arrange the cessation of hostilities; and Count Nesselrode, his Imperial Majesty’s minister, went into Paris to hold a conference with the constituted authorities at five o’clock the same evening, as soon as the battle ceased.<br>
The. results of this victory could not yet be known: numerous pieces of artillery, and a large number of prisoners fell into our hands. Our loss was considerable; but we had the consolatory hope that the brave men who fell had shared in accomplishing the downfall of despotism, and had assisted in rearing the standard of renovated Europe, about to return to its just equilibrium, and the dominion of its legitimate sovereigns.<br>
I feel it impossible to convey an accurate idea, or a just description of the scene that presented itself on the 31st in the capital of the French empire, when the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and Prince Schwartzenberg, made their entry at the head of the allied troops.<br>
The enthusiasm and exultation generally exhibited must have very far exceeded what the most sanguine and devoted friend of the ancient dynasty of France could have ventured to hope; and those who were less personally interested, but equally ardent in that cause, could no longer hesitate in pronouncing that the restoration of their legitimate king, the downfall of Buonaparte, and the desire of peace, had become the. first and dearest wish of the Parisians, who had by the events of the last two days been emancipated from a system of terror and anarchy which it is impossible to describe, and from a state of ignorance of what was passing around them, in which they had been hitherto kept by the arts of falsehood and deceit, almost incredible to an enlightened people, and incomprehensible to the reflecting part of mankind.<br>
The cavalry under his Imperial Highness the Grand-Duke Constantine, and the guards of all the allied forces, were formed into columns early in the morning on the road from Bondy to Paris. The Emperor of Russia, with all his staff, his generals, and the suites present, proceeded to Pantin, where the King of Prussia joined him with a similar cortége. The sovereigns, surrounded by all the princes and generals in the army, together with the Prince Field Marshal and the Austrian état-major, passed through the barrier of Paris, and entered the Fauxbourg St. Martin about eleven o’clock, the cossacks of the guard forming the’ advance of the march. The crowd was already so great, and the acclamations were so general, that it was difficult to move forward; but before the monarchs reached the Porte St. Martin to turn on the boulevards, it was next to impossible to proceed. All Paris seemed to be assembled and concentrated on one spot; one mind and one spring evidently directed their movements. They thronged in such masses around the Emperor and the King, that notwithstanding their condescending and gracious familiarity shown by extending their hands on all sides, it was in vain to attempt to satisfy the populace, who made the air resound with the cries of <I>“Vive l’Empereur Alexandre! Vive le Roi de Prusse! Vivent nos Liberateurs!”</I><br>
Nor were these cries alone heard; for with louder acclamations, if possible, they were mingled with those of <I>“Vive le Roi! Vive Louis XVIII! Vivent les Bourbons! À bas le tyran!”</I>
The white cockade appeared very generally, and many of the national guards whom I saw wore them.
This clamorous applause of the multitude was seconded by a similar demonstration from the higher classes, who occupied the windows and terraces of the houses along the line to the Champs Elysées. In short, to form an idea of such a manifestation of public feeling as the city of Paris displayed, it must have been witnessed, for no description can convey any conception of it.<br>
The sovereigns halted in the Champs Elysées, where the troops passed before them in the most admirable order; and the head-quarters were now established at Paris.