Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bonaparte Book 1. The Legend of Bonaparte

France…one of the most powerful nations in Europe, had fallen on hard times. The Bourbons, as lazy as they were extravagant, hath left the once mighty nation in bitter decay, but in such times, extraordinary men are born. This is the story of one such man…

Book I. Little Boy from Corsica

“Et Liberte du Mortem…Give me Liberty, or give me Death.”…Maximilian Robespierre

Some men are born into greatness; others to witness them. My name is Allian Juppe. At different times, a vagabound, a soldier, adventurer…Once I was marshal, but perhaps, Napoleon gave that title too lightly, but then again, to be in the service of one such as him was a great honor.


Maximilian Robespierre, French Revolutionary leader during the Reign of Terror

I did not think much of him at first. Respect did not come naturally to one such as myself. Like all things in his life, Napoleon would come to earn it. He was but a boy in those days, and a small one at that. Shorter than his peers.

We had come to know each other in this elite school for the nobility. For Napoleon’s father, Carlo Bonaparte, was one such noble. He hath been born in Corsica. In those days, it was but a weak Italian island-nation, and that the powerful armies of France hath conquered. Napoleon the boy was given to easy fits of tantrums that amused me and other classmates alike.

At times, he vowed to be a great man….one of destiny. But what could a minor noble like him ever hope to accomplish in the orpulent courts of Bourbon France? Tut…tut…was my response. The teacher would often punish the young Napoleon for his arrogance. “You are just a little boy!” Monsieur Gauchet would say. High regard was not one of the things either Gauchet or for that matter anyone held for Napoleon in those days.

When he was a young man, Napoleon left Paris to go back to his homeland where he got himself into some mighty problems at Ajaccio. In those days, the lush fields of Corsica was swarmed with Frenchmen who migrated into it. Young Napoleon got mixed up with the Corsican nationalist leader Paolo, who was trying to secede from France. There were many violent events. At one time, Napoleon had to flee from a burning storeroom, but his father’s house at Ajaccio was no more. Luckily, only Paulo was executed.

There was no way for Napoleon to return to Corsica anymore. Like it or not, he had to become a Frenchmen like us. As it turns out, it would not be such a bad thing for him or us. Napoleon entered the Royal Military Academy and rose in rank, eventually becoming a lieutenant.

But France tw’as not such a peaceful country in those days. The Bourbon dynasty hath been a mighty nation under Louis XIV, but the only thing Louis XVI had in common to his grandfather was his name. His beautiful wife, Queen Marie Antoniette, was an Austrian, and a conceited one at that. She spent all her time partying in expensive garden balls, while the treasury wasted away and the people of France went hungry. Without the ready hands of Finance Minister Colbert to guide us, the price of bread skyrocketed, but the nobility continued to ignore the peasants.

There were many riots in those days. The Bourbons made few concessions to the peasants and did so only grudgingly. The brave hero, Marquis de Lafayette, who hath helped our allies, the Americans, against the British (our enemies) was made General of the Royal Guard. Despite his obvious fondness of revolutionary ideals, he was a high-born Marquis, and for that reason, King Louis trusted him with his life.

One day, a hungry young man who could not afford bread, that aromatic material on which all French men lived on, looked at the Palace of Versailles’ gilded glass windows and saw high-born nobles gorging themselves upon food whilst he starved. He lifted a stone and threw it at the glass and shouted, “Et Liberte du Mortem!” (“Give me Liberty of Give me Death!”)

The palace guards came out to get him, but the people hath armed themselves into a fearsome mob. Many of the guards sympathized with the citizens and refused to harm them. Soon, a Revolution was brewing in the Streets of Versailles and Paris, and the prisoners of the Bastille (a political prison) was breaking away. The situation hath come out of control.

King Louis, who was then dancing in his wife’s ball, looked out and asked Lafayette, “Is it a riot (Fronde), my dear Marquis?”

But Lafayette replied, “No, your Majesty, it is a Revolution!”

For all his impeccable pedigree, Lafayette was a common man’s man and a Revolutionary at heart. He sympathized with them, much as he had sympathized with the Americans fighting the British monarch, and it tw’as he that opened the gates of the Versailles Palace to the Revolutionaries.

The Bourbon dynasty was overthrown in a few weeks’ time, and soon, King Louis’s face was no longer in the punch bowl but under the guillotine of the Revolutionaries. They had remembered the repression and unjust treatment, and the ragged young man who hath first thrown the stone stood by King Louis’s side at his sentencing. Maximillian Robespierre, leader of the Jacobin faction, pronounced Louis guilty of cruelty and gross negligence of his duties. The other Revolutionary leaders such as the Girodist leader Marat also came to fore, but amongst these men, only Maximillian could win the respect of the Army, men like myself and Napoleon Bonaparte.

And so it was in this manner that the Revolution happened and that Louis lost his head. Napoleon became a protégé of Maximilian, who persecuted many a troublesome counter-revolutionary and monarchist. There was not a day in France, then known of Maximilian’s Reign of Terror, that Napoleon and myself did not executed someone who opposed the Revolution.

The rival faction leader, Marat, also grew in prominence. Many non-military groups sided with the Girondists against the Jacobins, and Marat was a man lost in the politics of power. He was more likely to raise his tongue in rhetoric and harangue than to raise his sword or musket against Robespierre, and it was known that like all good speakers he was less likely to listen than to talk.

One day, he was found dead in his bath tub, blood running deep through the pool of water. It was clear that the Girondist were defeated, but they would also avenge themselves for the death of Marat. After the death of Marat, the Jacobins came to dominate French politics even more, and killings and persecution of our political enemies became even more severe. A peasant was executed for decorating his home with King Louis’s discarded regalia.

Finally, the other politicians rose up against Jacobin rule, and Robespierre was overthrown. The day Maximilian’s head fell under the guillotine of the Moderates, the Moderate chose to discard the guillotine and use imprisonment instead. It was also the day Napoleon, myself, and many other officers fell from favor of the state. It was a low point in our career instead.

But times were different. The other nations of Europe still had kings. They watched France, a country that hath slain its own king, with suspicious eyes for danger, and they were all for destroying us. Soon, our enemies led by Britain would align. It was a time for trouble, and under such circumstances, heroes …would rise.

Bonaparte Book 2. Napoleon in Napoli

“I regret that I have but ONE life to give to my country.”…Last words of John Hancock, American patriot

After the most disgraceful death of Maximilian Robespierre and the inglorious end to his Reign of Terror, Corporal Napoleon’s stature in Paris itself fell significantly. He was reduced to living in a squalid studio and was at best a lowly and unappreciated military officer. I was not much better than him. That I would have to admit, and yet it seems that the gods have things changed.

For at that time, there was serious conflict between the various factions given the constant bickering of the weak Moderates government that was known as the Directory. Lawlessness prevailed in Paris, for it marked the end of the Reign of Terror, and any form of control was considered as a return to Robespierre’s days.

One day, the monarchists and other dissident groups rose up against the government of the Moderates led by Director Barras, who preferred to refer to himself as Citizen Barras. Some of the monarchists were armed, and some of the farmers even joined them with mere pitchforks. They declaimed the Directory for being godless and wanted to return France to the rule of the Bourbons.

Napoleon, a firm believer in the Republic, wouldst not let this be. He saved a young priest called Fouche from being stampeded over by the unruly mob. Then, despite his junior status, ordered high-ranking men to follow his command by sheer weight of his personality. Men such as Joachim Murat and even Barras himself acceded to Napoleon’s command in this dire hour, for Barras himself was at a loss as to what to do.

It was Napoleon who ordered the firing on the mobsters. Brave was he, and more resolute still that he would lead from the front. By the end of the day, 1,000 Parisian monarchist mobsters hath been slain near the Tullieres Gate. The young corporal Napoleon hath saved the Republic of France! I looked at him in a different light. Even as the lanterns shown upon the face of “the Little Corporal”, Bonaparte hath become a changed man. When my eyes met his, I could see clearly that there was greatness in him! And from that moment, I knew this was the man that I would serve to the ends of my days, and so did Captain Joachim Murat, even though he was more senior than Napoleon himself by many ranks.

In an amazing turn of fate, the Parisians paraded Napoleon as their “General”. He was the “Great Man” even though yesterday, he was nothing but a mere Corporal. To avoid the humiliation of admitting their mistake and the fact that the hero, far braver and more glorious than any of them, was a mere corporal, the Directorate rushed through Napoleon’s rank to brigadier and then full general in a few days. With his new salary, Napoleon could now afford a posh mansion known as the Ma Maisson.

And it was not only the hearts of men that Napoleon would win. One man implicated for his monarchist sympathies was the Count de Beauharnais. At that time, his son Eugene requested the return of his father’s sword, and was granted it by Napoleon. The beautiful Countess Josephine de Beauharnais decided to meet Napoleon and thank him. There, an affair began, and against the better counsels of his conservative Corsican mother, Napoleon married Josephine in that autumn, adopting young Eugen and comely Hortense as his own children.

At this time, the allied nations led by Britain came together against France. Their motivation was to crush the lone republic and restore the Bourbons to the throne of Versailles, so that their own thrones would be safe. The six nations included Britain, Naples, Portugal, Holland, Austria, and Prussia. Shortly after fighting internal problems, France hath to battle enemies on all sides.

In later history, the conflict became known as the War of First Coalition. Historians…huh! They put everything in nice little books, but nothing was neat and tidy in those days. General Kellermann, a peer who Napoleon respected very much, held off the Prussians with the help of Captains Joachim Murat and brave Ney. The war against Prussia was bloody indeed. Kellermann was badly injured, but yes he held out against the Prussians.

During this time, Napoleon ran from one front to another. I was still a lieutenant in his army them. The great men we had with us included Captain Lannes. Our first battle was against the Austrians at Toulon. Because the once great French army was split up between so many fronts, only small portions led by Napoleon hath come to Toulon. The Austrian army that met us there was twice larger than our own. Their general hath already planted the flag of Austria on French soil and he loudly shouted, “Vengeance for Queen Marie Antonette! Death to the godless republic.”

For Marie Antonette was like him an Austrian, but these men fought to conquer all lands, our republic, our freedom! And Napoleon knew it, so he inspired the men to fight like lions. And whilst the Austrian general commanded the attack from behind, cautious for his own person, Napoleon, as always, commanded from the front. He didst not care for his own life. For “the Little Corporal”, nothing was more important than the glory of France. After seven days of bitter fighting, the Austrians withdraw from Toulon.

In that day, we ragged men of France became heroes. I could not forget how Lannes dashed through the Austrian lines, how Napoleon was almost shot dead by the Austrians, and I myself almost blinded by the light of gunpowder…but we won, we prevailed, and for that and that alone, France and the world is better place today…and yet, there was so little time to celebrate the victory.

Although a general was not authorized to do such a thing, Napoleon took the initiative to establish the Helvetic Republic over Switzerland, which he conquered from Austria. The Alpine country was beautiful and mountainous, and the soldiers rejoiced that a new republic was found. France was no longer the only free country of Europe.

However, to the north, the arrogant British and Dutch forces were encroaching our borders and entering Provence! Lord Darnley, the British general, boasted that he wouldst conquer France as Henry V did before him in the Hundred Year’s War. The inept appointee of Barras, General Croagan, was defeated and was fleeing from the battlefield, and dishonoring the name of France. Desperate for victory, Barras ordered Napoleon north to deal with the crisis.

The French army was not entirely the best or an even a well-equipped army, but under Napoleon, we marched to Provence tirelessly and with discipline. Constantly, he reminded us the values of the Republic we fought for and the evils of Bourbon rule. Now, Darnley hath great disdain for the French, especially one led by a young general such as Napoleon.

“Huh!” Darnley said, “One day, he defeats some prancing Austrian at Toulon and now he thinks he can challenge the King’s men!”

So Napoleon pretended to flee in a disorderly manner, and Darnley pursued him, but we knew the fields of Provence better than the enemy. In the same time, the fearless Captain Lannes, now promoted to Major, rode behind the English lines and attacked the Dutch supply unit. With no supplies, the British was forced to retreat back to their allies in Holland.

Now, the fortress of Amsterdam was strong, and Lord Darnley and the Dutch Staetholder William had much benefit by staying it in and refusing combat. Then, Napoleon pondered upon the question of why both Belgium (Flanders) and Holland were called the Netherlands, and he realized that many years ago, the entire nation was under water. So he ordered Lannes to break the dams of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Soon, the entire nation was under water.

“They don’t call it the Low Countries for nothing!” jested Napoleon to Lannes. The smile was brimming on their faces, for Staetdholder William and his British guest was forced to flee. Soon, the French rebuilt the dams, and it t’was conquered by Napoleon now. Once again, Napoleon established new democracies in these lands. At Amsterdam, he declared the House of Orange overthrown and renamed Holland as the Batavian Republic. Staetdholder William lived in London with his allies, who promised to protect his colonies. Napoleon vowed to free those colonies one day. Of course, he was never empowered by the Directory to do so.

While Napoleon proved victorious in the north and Kellermann strained to hold the Prussians at bay, the situation on the Italian peninsula was less favorable, the Austrian forces were all over the country, and they were reinforced by the Portuguese navy. The French interests were being threatened. Napoli, also known as the wealthy kingdom of Naples, was under Bourbon rule, and France claimed it, but the Bourbons were also related to the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria. What was more important was that much of Naples was now under Austrian occupation, including the cities of Trieste, Modena, Capua, and Pavia. Because the Pope Pius believed Republican France to be godless, he lent his assistance in arms and money to the Austrians, much to the benefit of their leader the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. It was time for Napoleon to deal with the situation.

Now, the invasion of Italy was not an easy thing. Napoleon did take some of his key staff, like the mathematician Berthier, the fearless Lannes, and even Joachim Murat was transferred to help him, but the Army of Italy was a brand new one. I too was in Italy with him, though I was a man of little note at that.

We marched upon Trieste before the Austrians could even properly response. So fast did Napoleon move, but it was not that simple. It took much motivation and gathering of resources before the moribund Army of Italy was whipped into shape. Next, we faced the Austrians in Modena. In truth, they were better armed than us, but the Army of Italy was full of warrior Frenchmen, all of whom were eager to prove that they had a new future within the Republic and a duty in protecting French interests in Italy. The Austrians were complacent. We fought harder and won. Napoleon allowed the French to loot Modena, and much dissatisfaction followed from this mistake. The French were no longer viewed by the Italians as liberators. The people of Modena, supported by Pope Pius, rebelled, for they considered us no better than the invading Austrians, but we managed to suppress down the rebellion nevertheless.

In the Battle of Pavia, a large force of Portuguese led by Crown Prince Pedro reinforced the Austrians, and they were confident of victory. They felt that they knew the soil better than us and were equally matched in numbers. Between our two forces hung the great Bridge of Agricola.

In a daring charge, the diminutive Napoleon led the Frenchmen across and ordered them to open fire without abandon. The fiery spirit with which the French fought at Agricola was amazing. Although the Austrians and Portuguese were well-provisioned and well-armed, their commanders, Pedro and Mack, were rather cautious. Amazingly, victory fell to our hands again. Pedro fled back to Portugal, but a French navy hath arrived and occupied that country. Pedro then fled to Brazil, the largest Portuguese colony, where he proclaimed himself Emperor and became more of a hassle to his own Braganza dynasty than France.

Napoleon’s victory was quickly making him very popular, to the extent that the French politicians including Baras himself became jealous.

“We have but one more city to attack, and Rome will fall, General Bonaparte,” said Major Berthier. We all came around him hoping to see the plans for the final invasion.

“The Portuguese have left the Austrians to our device, but now the Papal army, all strong Swiss guards, will defend Rome with their lives. Such is the power of dogma and gold,” Napoleon replied.

It was then that Lannes walked up and slapped Napoleon on his back, “And have you ever failed us, General Bonaparte?”

“Of course not,” said Napoleon. “And neither shall I fail you now.”

At this, Napoleon and Berthier went back to the drawing room and drew up plans to attack Capua. The Austrian army hath been shattered at Agricola, and the Papal Swiss Guards used outdated weapons compared to France, but they were some of the most disciplined warriors of Europe. They had sold their lives for gold and had sworn allegiance to the Pope over their own lands in the Alps, now occupied by French soldiers.

The Battle of Capua may not have been heroic like Agricola, but it was the crowning success for Napoleon. For in the battle, the brave Swiss guards stood before him like titans from the Greek legends, daring him to attack, but Napoleon was wiser and he gunned them down as one would gun down animals. The great victory allowed the French to enter the Vatican Palace of Rome and forced the Pope to recognize French interests in the Italian Peninsula. The Austrians bitter after their defeat hath now been forced to return to their homelands.

The great victory by France under Napoleon’s leadership was truly a landmark success for the Revolution. For the first time, the allies realize that they could not simply re-impose the Bourbons upon France…at least not without severe casualties and costs to both sides.

Bonaparte Book 3. Abu Qir

“The ancient Egyptians have achieved great things well before their time. We would do well to learn from them.”…Napoleon Bonaparte

Shortly after the end of the War of First Coalition, the War of the Second Coalition began. Britain had moved against French interests in India, and Napoleon convinced France to attack Egypt in order to cut their mortal enemies off. However, this angered the Ottoman Empire, the mighty Oriental power that ruled all of the Middle East, including Egypt. So the Ottomans allied themselves with Britain against France, and four other nations, Russia, Austria, Spain, and Sardinia, followed suit.

Although the Directorate did not spare Napoleon much army in terms of the invasion, they were better armed than the Ottomans. Napoleon sailed on this great ship manned by Admiral Villenueve, a navy man from the Bourbon days who was spared for his seamanship. When they landed with just 15,000 French troops, they discovered that the Mameluke warriors, who served the Ottomans, came forth to meet them in battlefield with an army thirty times their size. Berthier was shocked, but a general of Napoleon’s stature would not show fear…not one iota of it. I was amazed!

Berthier: “Lord General, we are like a needle in the midst of the Mameluke sea. Surely, it is safer to board Admiral Villeneuve’s ships and head back to Paris. The Ottomans would never attack Europe. We do not need this war.”

Napoleon: “Don't be foolish, Berthier. The quality of the French army is second to none. The Ottomans may be brave, but the quality of their guns are nothing next to our muskets. I shall not flee from a bunch of marauding barbarians, and you mustn’t think of them as cowards. They had once invaded the heartlands of Europe in the Battle of Vienna and challenged all but the Polish Sobieski and the great warrior Eugene of Savoy many generations ago.”

Berthier: “Neither of them were French, General Bonaparte.”

Napoleon: “Your history is as appalling as your mathematics is brilliant, Berthier. Savoy was born French!”

Berthier: “But you are not, General”…Suddenly, Berthier regretted his words, for his cheekiness seemed to step over the bounds as Napoleon threw an angry look his way.

Napoleon: “Enough of this, Berthier. I shall address the troops now.”

Dutifully, Berthier scampered on to do his bidding, only whispering a reply, “Yes, my Generale.”

“Men of France, this war was not started by us,” Napoleon began. “The monarchists of all colors, even those who are not of Christian faith, have united against us. Us, revolutionaries and atheists, who wouldst have opposed the Crusades had it been our choice. Though today, we encroach on Ottoman lands, let it be known that they have encroached upon our liberties and our French values first. Let it be known that we are to free Egypt, to liberate them from Ottoman yoke, and not to make conquest merely for the glory of France.”

The French propaganda of freedom to Egypt annoyed the Mamelukes and Ottoman forces, and so they opened the attack on Napoleon’s army much as he wanted. The French fired mercilessly at the enemy, who fell like birds of the sky. Very few Frenchmen were shot to death, and only a few were cut down by the scabbards of the enemy who approached too near. The number of dead enemies were more numerous than the stars. Soon, the Mamelukes retreated. Napoleon hath conquered Egypt. The thirty-something general, who years before had been our  “Little Corporal”, was now master of an area larger than France itself.

At first, Napoleon’s goal was to civilize the Egyptians. One day, he tried to show them how the balloon worked with hot gas through science. The Egyptians were superstitious, but Berthier totally blew it with some screwups. The balloon did not fly, and Napoleon was very embarrassed.

Instead, the Egyptians showed him some ancient scrolls, and Napoleon realized how brilliant the ancient Egyptians must have been when the French (then known as Celtic Gauls) were still climbing silly trees by the Seinne. His respect for ancient Egypt grew more and more each day. On some days, I could see Napoleon admiring the Pyramids of Giza, the ruins of the Library of Alexandria, and the enigmatic Sphinx. All these things and the ancient scrolls piqued his interest and every inquisitive mind.

While I believe that Napoleon was a great general, I also felt that he never became a true genius until he learned the secrets of ancient Egypt. An archaeologist that we brought into Egypt, Mr. Rosetta, was the man who found inscriptions that would later become world-famous. The stone, known as the Rosetta Stone, contained Greek letters on one side and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics on the other. By reading the translations, Mr. Rosetta decoded the entire language! He was such a genius, and it was such men that worked for our Leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

One day, Napoleon caught French soldiers bullying an Egyptian local. He punished and reprimanded the man brutally. We could not understand him. I, for one, asked him why he did that. “After all,” I said, “There are nothing but savages.”

But Napoleon would not hear of it. “There are not savages. The ancient Egyptians had achieved great things well before their time. We would do well to learn from them.” Such was the respect that Napoleon had for indegenious people of that country.

But army life was harsh, and the Battle raged on. Though Napoleon continued to improve the fortunes of the Egyptians, some of them remained loyal to the Ottomans, their former oppressive masters. One day, we found that the Ottoman army and their Mameluke beys had amassed a force greater than anything in Europe at Abu Qir.

Napoleon hath become so used to Egypt it was getting hard to leave everything behind. At the time, his informants told Napoleon that his wife, Josephine, hath committed adultery! For a man of conservative Corsican sensibilities, such a thing was inconceivable. At this time, Napoleon committed an adultery with the beautiful Madame Floures and stayed with her in the orpulent palace of Muhammad Ali, pasha of Egypt.

Nevertheless, war takes us to strange places, so he deserted her and marched upon Abu Qir in Syria. Such is the fate of great men and fair damsels in the days of the French Revolution. Now, the Ottoman forces were led by Sultan Murad and his son Crown Prince Mustafa themselves, but if Napoleon had any fear, he did not show it. In those days, I or even fearless Lannes or Murat would not have fought for any other general, certainly not fiercely. They said Kellermann was the man of our times, but I’d say Napoleon Bonaparte was more than his match.

I could not be sure how many Ottoman troops were ahead of us. It sure looked like 100,000 men.

“Surrender now, or face the consequences!” Prince Mustafa said.

“Say that to yourself!” Napoleon replied. If he felt any fear, he did not show it. We fired all our muskets without fears and slew many Ottomans. They too had guns and cannons, but it was not the best of kinds. Many of our men fell, but far more of theirs. In the end, only a few brave Ottomans entered the French ranks, but Lannes and Murat, though badly injured, showed them just how well a Frenchman could use his sword. We were heroes that day. I wonder if Alexander the Great could claim such a great victory as we did at Abu Qir. It was a magnificent sight to behold, and General Napoleon simply knew no bounds to his ambitions or possibility.

By sunset, the Ottomans had retreated, and the Mamelukes had surrendered. Our army was badly injured, but we found the dead body of Crown Prince Mustafa. Napoleon ordered me to return his body to Constantinople where the Sultan now cowered behind the safety of his palace.

I saw tears in the eyes of Sultan Murad, who was injured himself, and yet, I gritted my iron heart and said, “I am Captain Juppe, emissary of the General Napoleon Bonaparte. If you do not withdraw your troops from Egyptian borders, France shall march upon Constantinople itself.”
Upon hearing this, the Sultan agreed to surrender, but he also said, “You must know, Captain Juppe. My allies of the Second Coalition will not forgive me for this, particularly Britain. Even as we speak, the Admiral Horatio Nelson has sent a big navy to Egypt. You may very well be trapped. Do not blame me for the deeds of Britannia.”

“I shall not,” I replied, and then I took the white flag back to the French camp in exchange for Prince Mustafa’s body. We would not march to Constantinople but would go back to Egypt. I could see Napoleon’s smiling face as I entered. Who would not be happy to see the beautiful Madame Floures? If Helen of Troy were alive, I’d imagined she’d look like the glorious beauty on Earth too.

Napoleon: “What did Sultan Murad say, Allian?”

I (Allian Juppe): “Constantinople surrenders, on grounds that you do not march into their premises. The Sultan grants you five thousand talents of gold as recompense but warns you that the British fleet is even now in the Nile, and asks that you not hold it against him. For his fatherly heart is broken, and he has no will to fight the might of France anymore even as his allies comes to his rescue.”

“Shit!” Napoleon exclaimed, “There is no time to rest. We must march back to Alexandria (Egypt) at once.”

And so that was how the great battle of Abu Qir was fought, and that was how it came time for us to return to fight our most formidable enemy…Nelson.

Bonaparte Book 4. Battle of the Nile

“Napoleon rules the land, but Nelson rules the sea.”

Admiral Horatio Nelson…that was a name that struck fear into the hearts of every Frenchmen, for though Napoleon ruled the land, it was Nelson who ruled the seas. The British navy was not a nice thing. Men had to be abducted and trained into sailors, but Nelson joined it for adventure ever since he was young. In India, the twenty year old seaman saw real action against Indian and French pirates, and he annihilated them quite thoroughly. Now, an Admiral of Britain, he was the most feared warrior of the sea, and his navy had entered the River Nile. They would attack our possession in Egypt. The French army was exhausted. The British navy were fresh. It was an uneven fight to say the least.

Near the wide shores of Alexandria, we sought to blockade him. Our admiral Villeneuve led the large but ill-equipped French navy against him. I was fortunate to see action and to have made a name for myself in that battle. Napoleon and Berthier were also on board, but they were land men, not seamen. And neither was I, but I am a good gunman, and such soldiers do well anywhere.

The way the British ships moved was amazing! It was as though the sails were guided by gods rather than Nelson’s navigators. They were so quick. Although we had arrived at the Nile first and knew the lay of the river better than they, we were like elephants fighting against sharks. Nelson’s ships swerved left and right and did massive damage. In simple words, Villeneuve was outclassed.

Nevertheless, the fighting was brutal. Cutlass and musket fires were everywhere. Canons shot whenever they had a chance. In many instances, our artillery fell on our own ships. The fighting was narrow. Similar mistakes were made by the English, but not quite enough. At that point, I scored a big one for Mother France. I aimed hard at Nelson’s heart, but alas, Providence protected the bastard, though my shot got him well in the left arm.

I heard later that Nelson was carried away and had to amputate his left arm. Yet, shortly afterwards, he issued commands to the English, and they fought even harder. Such was the spirit of the English fighting where they knew best….the waters. Unable to do much, we were stranded in the Egyptian deserts for another three months.

In one of the captured English soldiers, we found a French newspaper. Basically, Director Barras or “Citizen” Barras was attacking Napoleon for his failures to defeat Nelson in Egypt. Barras claimed that Napoleon was wasting valuable resources of the French economy on this Egyptian adventure. Napoleon was chagrined. While we fought for France, our corrupt paper-pushing bosses were sniping us behind our back. They had all known how popular Napoleon had become during the Italian campaign and the victory of Abu Qir and were looking for an opportunity to discredit him.

I (Allian Juppe): “Those bastards! How could they betray us after all we have done?!”

Napoleon: “They are politicians.”

Joachim Murat: “Is your brother not a politician too?”

Napoleon: “Lucien? Why yes? But he is of a different sort? I have not heard from him for a long time. Wonder how he fares in such a nest of vipers! T’is more dangerous than coming to combat as we do here.”

Murat: “Perhaps, we should throw down our weapons and surrender to Britain. HUH!!”

Napoleon: (appearing slightly annoyed) “This is the wrong attitude, Murat. You are not helping our cause.”

Lannes: (sounding drunk by that time) “Aye…we should kick some butts in Paris, I say!!”

After a moment of thought, Napoleon said, “You are right, Lannes!”

Lannes: “What do you mean, General Bonaparte?”

Napoleon: “Kick some butts! We will return to Paris and depose Barras.”

I (Allian): “This is insane, General!! You are talking treason.”

Napoleon: “Am I? Or is it Barras who has betrayed the spirit of the Revolution in return for his own ends!?!”

Murat knew that Napoleon had other causes for anger. It was said that his wife, Josephine de Beauharnais, had slept with Citizen Barras during his absence, but Murat hated Barras as much as he admired Napoleon, and so he replied, “I say, we follow Napoleon. If none shall go with the General, I alone shall brave all of France with him.”

Suddenly, I realized how much my feelings were torn between the nobility of Napoleon and the self-serving men of the Directorate and exclaimed, “I would die for you, General, and for France!”

Lannes took up another cup of champagne and said, “To General  Bonaparte! To the Revolution!”

All except Berthier raised his cup in salute to Napoleon. Napoleon looked straight into Berthier’s eyes and asked him, “Are you with us, Major Berthier?”

Solemnly, the brilliant Berthier replied, “I am always with you, General, but we must do this quietly. In addition, we can not do this without the help of Admiral Villeneuve, who commands the ships we need to sail back to Paris.”

Murat: “I shall take my sword to his neck and see if Villeneuve sides with us or those pigs in the Directorate.”

Suddenly, Villeneuve entered the room, much to the surprise of us all and he replied, looking straight into Murat’s eyes, “There is no need for coercion, Joachim. Though I outrank Napoleon himself, there is no man greater than he in destiny and fortitude, no better leader for France than him. Like you, Allian Juppe, I would take a bullet for the General Bonaparte.”

And so, it was decided…that we should sail back to Paris and grab destiny by its horns.

At that time, there were only about 12,000 French soldiers under Napoleon’s command, 1000 Egyptian mercenaries who were deemed loyal, and Villenueve probably had another 5,000 sailors. However, we held some 100,000 Mamelukes and Ottoman soldiers as prisoners. With the prisoners outnumbering us by five times, there was no question of keeping them. They had to be killed.

As we shot some of them, Napoleon said “We are wasting too many bullets.”

At this point, a common soldier said, “I have a way to prevent this waste, General.”

Surprised, Napoleon asked the private, “What is your name, son?”

“Ney”, the private replied.

Napoleon: “Have a try then. We have many wars to fight ahead of us.”

And so, Ney took command as was Napoleon’s style. He ordered the French soldiers to drive the prisoners to the sea at gunpoint, and any who turned back were killed with bayonets. In this way, many prisoners foolishly risked drowning by trying to swim through the sea. There was less blood and no bullets wasted, but it was effective nevertheless.

One Mameluke warrior, obviously a warrior of general rank, resisted violently, murdered some French soldiers, and made for Ney and Napoleon themselves. Ney defended himself with the bayonet, and the warrior had great courage and fought back grabbing the French’s weapon. Before he could harm Ney, however, he was shot dead by a bullet that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Colonel Berthier examined the dead body and informed Napoleon, “It is Pasha Muhammad Ibrahim. Before our conquest of Egypt, the Ottomans put this province in his care.”

Looking down at the dead body of the warlord, Napoleon asked the mystery sniper, “What is your name, son? Why have you not obeyed my directions not to use bullets? Do you know the what punishment for insubordination is?”

The young sniper looked at Napoleon with iron determination and replied confidently, “My name is Messina, General? I know that countermanding a senior officer’s command could lead to capital punishment, but I have also sworn to protect my General and comrades with my life.”

Napoleon made a grim expression and said, “Then face the consequences bravely, young man.”
There was no fear in Messina’s face either. Suddenly, Napoleon smiled, turned around and ordered Colonel Joachim Murat, “Murat!”

Murat: “Yes sir!”

Napoleon: “From today onwards, I promote Ney and Messina to the ranks of Major.”

“Major!” a collective gasp went up amongst the soldiers, and then, there was applause. Napoleon’s armies were true meritocracies. A man who was willing to give his life for France and deliver victories could be promoted from obscurity to greatness overnight. This was why we loved our “Little Corporal” so much!!

Just then, a dispatch arrived from Admiral Villeneuve:
“To General Napoleon, order a march to the Nile Delta. It is the only area safe from British blockade. I await you there, my fellow patriot.”

And so, we set off for the great march across the hot Sahara once more, having disposed of all the prisoners with two new majors and little waste of ammunition.

One incident during the Long March across the Sahara truly warmed my heart. We were all very thirsty. One water boy bought us some water, but it was really only enough for Napoleon to drink. As Napoleon reached for the water, my parched throat ached for it too.

However, to the surprise of all, Napoleon poured all the water away. It quickly evaporated in the hot desert sand. Then he said, “I shall not drink while France thirsts.”

Although we were all so thirsty that it pained to even speak, we cheered him. Such was the simple ways in which Napoleon won the hearts of French soldiers. That day, I re-affirmed my faith in him. Treason we may attempt, but we do it to protect the Republic, and I would die for Napoleon if it was the price to pay.

After all spirits were lifted, we marched forward and finally reached the Nile Delta. There, Villeneuve picked up the forces. We circumvented Nelson’s blockade and made it back to France at the port of Aquitaine. Needless to say, the British gained control of Egypt, but there was little we could do at that time. At least, Nelson did not succeed in convincing the Ottomans into returning to the War against France, and Napoleon, with the gold he received as Ottoman reparations, was a wealthy man…and in the Revolution’s time, wealth was power.

In Aquitaine, Napoleon set to work at once. The Fifth Infantry had served him well during the Italian Campaign, and they would be loyal to his command, while Joachim Murat had many friends in the Second Cavalry during the time he served under the now deceased hero General Kellermann, who also had great respect for Napoleon.
“Time is of the essence, gentlemen.” Napoleon began, “Murat, Lannes, you lead the Second Cavalry to Paris immediately. Once there, Lannes will block any opposition to our cause at the Vendee. Let them know that it was I who commanded to suppression of the monarchist coup and that you march under my orders. Murat, you shall blockade the Directorate’s residence and cut of all communications. Put Barras under arrest until I reach Paris. In the meanwhile, I will lead the Fifth Infantry to Paris. A month from now, France will be saved.”

“Affirmative, General!” Both Murat and Lannes replied in unison. And then, I marched along with the Fifth Infantry.

The march was swift. In a matter of weeks, all opposition from Napoleon’s rule was swept away from Paris. Napoleon confronted Barras directly in the Directorate’s Residence.

Barras: “This is treason, General Bonaparte.”

Napoleon: “But against whom, Citizen Barras? The Republic, the Directorate, or simply you?!”

Barras: “Against the Republic of course. I am but a loyal servant of the State, and YOU…should be in Egypt serving your country in like manner.”

Napoleon: “While you withhold supplies and men from us and spew poison into the ears of our countrymen?!? I think not, Citizen. The Republic will fall if those in charge like yourself care more about your own pockets and safety than that of the country. It is YOU! Who have spawned treason against the Republic. You are not longer a Director of France. In fact, the Directorate is over.”

With the help of his brother Lucien, who was now President of the Assembly, Napoleon gained a majority of voices from the remaining Directors to dissolve the Directorate. Some of the directors tried to kill him, but Murat and Lannes escorted him to safety. None of the directors were hurt, but all were dismissed but two. With Napoleon, they formed the Consulate. The citizens of France first voted Napoleon as First Consul for life by an incredible majority, such was the admiration that France had for the hero of Agricola.

That day, as the confetti spilled across the streets of Paris, and Napoleon and Josephine united at last looked over the citizens they now ruled, I stood next to Murat.

Murat: “Looks like we’ve lost Egypt but gained France. Just to let you know, Juppe, I will marry the First Consul’s sister in a few months.”

I (Allian): “Is that so? Does he know?”

Murat: “Gods! No.” Then, he smiled and walked away. Indeed, Murat’s words still rung true to my ears. Napoleon was now truly the ruler of France.

Only ten years ago, he was still a poor soldier without the means to proper living. But destiny reached out to him, and he took it by the horns.

Bonaparte Book 5. The Talented Archduke Charles

“The Earth, the heavens, the commander, and the wind…from these four elements, I can deduce the outcome of any war.”…Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Upon his accession as First Consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte sought to better the lives of the common man and strengthen the country even further. In one instance, he gave prices for any man who could find a better way of storing food. This resulted in France’s invention of bottled foods storing picked products. In another, he decreed a better measure system, which soon became adopted by the rest of the world as the metric system. Even our ways of marching soon became the front runner of cars in the Continent running on one side of the road that was followed by all nations of the world except those under British occupation.

Because Napoleon found it inappropriate to command the troops directly as he had in the past, it would open ways to some of France’s first defeats, for the War of Second Coalition still raged over most of Europe, and Austria had found an able commander in Archduke Charles Louis John, the younger son of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II.

Now, Napoleon did not dawdle behind, but he also did not take the main stage of war against Austria and Russia, allowing Generals Ney and Messina to prove themselves on those battlefields. Instead, Napoleon himself accompanied the army led by General Berthier to Spain, but it was truly he that was in command of the expedition.

That day, he commanded General Joachim Murat to come before him and take orders to march against Sardinia with the Fifth Infantry and the Second Cavalry. Sardinia was the strongest of the Italian states. The island was not ruled by the weak Bourbons, but the House of Peidmont-Savoy, descended from the heroic Austrian general Eugene of Savoy. Murat decided to confront him with his own plans to marry Napoleon’s youngest sister Caroline.

Murat: “I intend to marry Caroline, Napoleon, and I wish to have your blessings.”

Napoleon: “Ye Gods! We are in the midst of a war here, Joachim. Would you have my sister be a widow?!”

Murat: “Would you have Josephine be a widow then, First Consul?”

Napoleon: “What nonsense is this, Murat? Why must you marry my sister? I treat you as a brother and friend enough. There is no need to seek favors in such shameless manner!”

Now, Murat was livid with anger, and I thought he would strike the First Consult. But he managed to keep his legendary temper and continue: “So did you marry Josephine because she was a Countess? Is that why you do not divorce her after her affair?!”

Napoleon: “For love, Murat! For love! Because I can not live without Josephine. It is not that I am without anger, but it is because I know I can not live without Josephine. Now, look me in the eye and tell me if you truly love Caroline and are not doing this for politics.”

Murat: “I love Caroline more than life itself.”, and he looked Napoleon in the eye with stronger determination than the man who braved the Bridge of Agricola.

Napoleon: “Very well, Murat. You have my blessings.” Then, Napoleon smiled and embraced Murat before continuing, “Now, go to Sardinia and make France and Caroline proud.”

Murat: “I promise…Brother.”

In the meantime, the Third Consul had died of cholera. The Second Consul Desauix saw that the Consulate was but a sham with all political powers solely in Napoleon’s hands, so he offered to give up his consulship in return for being a general. Much as Napoleon doubted Desauix’s generalship, he wanted to be Sole Consul of France and so accepted his resignation. Desauix then marched north to meet the English invaders at the Channel. He would prove himself an able commander beyond Napoleon’s expectations and become one of his trusted inner circle, later forcing England to sign the Treaty of Amiens which left France master of Continental Europe.

And so, as Consul Napoleon rode off to Spain, Ney and Messina led a great force out to meet the Hapsburg Archduke Charles Louis John at Zurich, Switzerland. They believed they knew the ground better than Austrians. After all, hath not Switzerland already been renamed the Helvettic Republic in their favor?

Messina did not think much of the Archduke. For all they knew, he was just another pampered prince of the storied Hapsburg clan that ruled over much of Europe like the Bourbons. Suddenly, Ney spotted a contingent of Austrian soldiers lower than the mountains where they hath encamped. Clearly, it was the foolish Archduke.


The House of Hapsburg during Napoleon’s time

Ney immediately ordered the riflers of the Third Infantry to open fire on the Austrians, but shoot as they might, the Austrians who were afar did not seem hurt or injured. Ney then ordered his scouts to examine. The scout returned with a most shocking report. They were but rough wooden sculptures designed to trick the French!!

Suddenly, the Archduke led his real army behind Ney and outflanked him. Messina tried to come to his rescue but was unsuccessful, for the Russians led by General Suvorov hath already ambushed them. In this bitter defeat, the French led by Ney and Messina were forced to relinquish Switzerland to the allies. The cunning Archduke thereby declared an end to the Helvettic Republic and annexed Switzerland as part of the Hapsburg Empire.

The shattered French Army was no longer able to defend its border. Despite the victory of Desauix over England, he was suddenly surrounded by a massive army of Austrians led by Karl Mack. Desauix fought hard, and with his uncanny ability for combat, may have won the day, but alas, the General was not so lucky.

Soon, a great army led by Archduke Charles marched northwards against him and forced him to retreat. Charles then declared the Batavian Republic of Holland nullified.

While Archduke Charles achieved victories in Holland and Switzerland, Murat forced the Sardinians to retreat from the Italian Peninsula. The Sardinians led by their king Victor Reiner I had been invading French domains in Naples, but when Murat came, he retreated to the safety of his island. Murat demanded that Sardinia surrender to the French Republic, but Reiner simply ignored him.

So Murat led a great naval and land expedition to invade Sardinia, and he bombed the island for forty days and forty nights, and many Frenchmen perished in this most bitter campaign. A friend of mine Aruso told me that the sky darkened with soot from canons of both sides, and dead corpses were floating all around the Straits of Sardinia.

But still, Reiner would not surrender. One day, a republican partisan shot the king while he was leaning out of the palace window. After his death, agents of the French stormed the palace and welcomed Murat as a liberator. Murat declared an end to the House of Piedmont-Savoy, but he could not capture its remaining heirs who would later return to Sardinia a decade later.

But in truth, Murat’s victory was an irony. For Archduke Charles, like a god of war, sped his troops down with Karl Mack and the Russians led by Suvorov following on his heels. The allies had marched over Milan and conquered all of Naples while Murat fought in Sardinia.

Murat’s army was outnumbered five to one by the Austrians, and it was annihilated. Clearly, the Pope, who saw the Holy Roman Emperor as the protector of the Catholic faith, had financially supported Archduke Charles and blessed his attempt. Thus, it was easy for the citizens of Naples and other smaller cities such as Trieste to open their gates to the Austrians, who were seen as liberators, even though they were really restoring Hapsburg yoke upon these people.

Once again, Charles declared the Revolution of France illegal and disbanded the Cisalpine and Ligurian Republics. The House of Piedmont-Savoy was restored to Sardinia, but all of them served as fiefs of the Hapsburg, much to the chagrin of the Russians. Surely, the crack was beginning to build up between the victorious allies, but Archduke Charles was clearly the man of the moment. He had defeated men who were trained by Napoleon. Now, all that remained was drawing the Consul of France into his trap, crushing him, and putting the peasants in their place.

In a period of less than a year, it seems that the great Archduke Charles Louis John had undone all that we of the French Revolution had fought for. He was the nephew of our hated Queen Marie Antoinette, and that alone was enough reason to hate him. But what good was it to hate someone and not be able to crush him? That day, I swore that if I ever caught the hero of Austria, I would skewer him on the cross like the ancient Romans had done before our time.

Meanwhile, Berthier’s…or rather Napoleon’s…army was at the Basque border of Spain gaining support from the native rebels against the Bourbon monarchs of Spain when he heard the news. He realized that Archduke Charles was still young but probably the most capable general Austria produced since Eugene of Savoy.

At this time, he spoke out loud but to himself. What he said, I wouldst never have forgotten.

“A new lion has risen in the East…One day, I must return to tame it.”

But first, we had to subdue Spain….

Bonaparte Book 6. The Glory of Charlemange

“Keep your friends close, and your enemies…closer.”, Montgomery Burns

Like the Hapsburgs, the Bourbons were a power to be reckoned in Europe. Before the Revolution, they hath ruled three nations, namely France, Naples, and Spain. The Revolution hath overthrown their dynasties in all but Spain. Now, Napoleon threatened the Bourbon monarch Charles on the Spanish border itself. The French army was dispersed over many battlefields, so the Bourbon Spanish army that he faced here outnumbered the French slightly.

Though Berthier was the General in this campaign, all men knew that Consul Napoleon was truly in charge. Napoleon outlined all the logistics and strategies, while Berthier helped calculate all that was needed. The French soldiers were in healthy mood, fighting for their liberty and democracy under the motto “Et liberte du Mortem” (“Give me Liberty, or Give me Death). They were well-equipped with modern rifles, while the disillusioned Spanish fought for greedy Bourbon monarchs who were little better than Louis XVI of France was. Was it a strange thing? After all, they were cousins.

At this point, Crown Prince Ferdinand of Bourbon Spain led his army out to meet Napoleon. He looked at the Consul in disdain, for he had the bigger army of the two.

Ferdinand arrogantly said to Napoleon, “Surrender now, peasant, for I shall be merciful.” The looks on the face of the Spaniard soldiers smirked. They did not like it. Many of them were peasants too.

Napoleon could see that they did not love the Bourbon monarch but simply chafed under his oppressive rule. They would not fight as the French would fight for their freedom, so he calmly addressed the corpulent prince of Spain, “I do not know how many Spanish soldiers would gladly die for you, but I do know that I myself would gladly die for any of my soldiers.”

The French received Napoleon’s words with standing ovation and were enheartened by his loyalty to their cause, while the Spaniards saw only the selfishness and indifference of their incompetent prince. They did not fight hard. Many Spaniards fled as the French rushed on them with their bayonets and fired at them with muskets. Every French soldier seemed willing to give up his life for Napoleon.

Though outnumbered, the French charged bravely and broke the Spanish line. Soon, even Prince Ferdinand himself was forced to retreat. Only one man, Alatriste, a noble mercenary warlord, braved the French torrent and fought me on the field. Alatriste shot me on my left shoulder and nearly killed me with his cutlass, but then, someone on horseback sprang to my rescue.

It was General Joachim Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon!! He hath been defeated by noble Archduke Charles Louis John in Naples, but there was fight in him yet. Alastriste was a great swordsman, but he fought on foot, and therein lies his disadvantage. Eventually, he was slain by Murat.

Napoleon ordered Murat to bury Alatriste well, for there was greatness and nobility in his soul. At the end, Napoleon uttered the words, “May God bless the hero in this man.” And I was much surprised. Christian though I was, I understood that atheism was the spirit of the Revolution, and that no one embodied the Revolution more than our Consul. Little did I know how much of the old values Napoleon still held dear.

Our forces marched south to Barcelona and captured Prince Ferdinand himself, and it was here that King Charles came forth to parry with Napoleon.

King Charles: “What are your terms, Consul of France?”

Napoleon: “First that Spain shall cede Louisiana to the Republic of France.” Louisiana was a vast piece of land in the Americas that France hath ceded to Spain during the Wars of Spanish Succession. It was named for our King Louis XIV.

King Charles: “Very well, and you shall release my son and take your troops off Spanish soil…and any other conditions, Consul?”

Napoleon: “Yes, that Spain be an ally of France.”

King Charles was taken much aback by Napoleon’s suggestion. The French hath overthrown and killed his cousin Louis XVI and yet here they came seeking friendship. But Napoleon guessed right, for Charles was not in the position to bargain, so Charles agreed, “Very well, my friend. We shall be allies.”

And so, Napoleon subdued Spain and gained Louisiana for us. Yet, at his moment of glory, a ragged General Desauix, once Second Consul of France, appeared in Barcelona and stomped to meet Napoleon immediately.
Napoleon: “Welcome, Consul.”

Desauix was annoyed. Though Napoleon’s mistake was an innocent one, he corrected his curtly for he was in a foul mood. “Consul Bonaparte, a consul with no powers is not a consul at all! I would rather that you address me as General for I have served you well in that capacity.”
Napoleon: “Ah…I can see that”…Napoleon said teasingly.

Desauix was infuriated. He had executed the war against England well, and had it not been for the talented Archduke Charles Louis John, Holland would have remained in French hands. But more mature perhaps than even Napoleon himself, Desauix replied, “Be that as it may, Consul. I am here to report that I came here en route Paris. You are in dire danger. The Austrians and their Russian allies may cross Provence into French territory anytime. There are Bourbon monarchists and other non-Jacobin enemies of yours who are provoking for war. At any time, they will assist the Austrians in capturing Paris and replacing you. Hence, you must return to Paris at once.”

Napoleon could see the seriousness in Desauix’s voice. “Very well, General. I will return to Paris and deal with the situation.”

And so, in this manner, did we return to Paris. I was carried back on a stretcher, for I was very much tired and injured.

Meanwhile, the Consulate hath sent Talleyrand to meet with the Austrians led by Archduke Charles Louis John, who was now joined by his father Holy Roman Emperor Francis II near the border of Provence. Talleyrand was a French noble from the ancient family of that nobility. He was refined and cultured, the very type of person Napoleon would hate…and need.

At the approval of Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s younger brother and deputy, he offered the Austrians 1 million francs, a large sum in our days, in return for withdrawing troops from French borders. Once the Austrians withdrew, the Russians would follow suit, for General Suvorov did not possess the courage to invade France on his own. In that day, the expert Austrian diplomat, Prince Karl von Metternich, was not by the side of the Emperor to advise him.

Emperor Francis: “Do you deny that Napoleon is a threat to Hapsburg and all monarchs of Europe? Now that my son has defeated him, you will ask me to withdraw?”

Talleyrand: “Ah, but you have not defeated Napoleon…Only his generals, and if Napoleon were such a threat to European monarchies, why then did he not invade Spain and depose the Bourbons there too? Instead, he extended his friendship upon them. France only wants to get things in order in our own house and would not interfere with the affairs of other nations, my Leige.”
Archduke Charles: “Certainly, the kings of Holland and Naples would not agree with your assessment, Marquis Talleyrand, and I would very much like to try my mettle against those of your famed Consul, if he is still even in charge. Is it not true that the French constitution prevents a civilian Consul from commanding a military force?”

Talleyrand: “Be that as it may. Berthier is a good general, but hardly the man to have defeated Spain on such unequal terms. Why can’t Austria and France not be friends again? We have no grudges against you. Did not our monarchs intermarry in the days before, your Highness?”

Emperor Francis: “Aye! But we do against you. The talented pianist Beethoven of my country now praises your Napoleon for his Republicanism. I should have him killed for his bitter rhetoric, had his music not been so sweet. And do you not remember the death of my sister, who was the last Queen of France?”

Talleyrand: “I grieved for Queen Marie Antonette’s death no less than yourself, my Leige, but the men responsible for that are now dead. Marat, Robespierre, a kind and noble man as Napoleon would not even think to harm the perfect beauty that your sister was. Please, your Majesty, I beg you on bended knees that you give Europe the peace…or a truce it requires…perhaps 3 months, and we will settle things internally.”

Archduke Charles: “But how? Is Napoleon not the protege of Robespierre and the scourge of all Europe? Did France not make him Consul for life?”

Talleyrand then replied wickedly, “But how long does a man live, my Leige?”

At that moment, it seems the Austrians got some idea, and so they graciously accepted Talleyrand’s offer, and there was peace in France…for a while.

And so by the time Napoleon reached Paris, he hath become a hero, bringing victories in Spain and buying the peace with Austria under Talleyrand’s successful mission. The Consul, Josephine, and their family rode on a coach to meet the common people and receive celebrations. Adulation was everywhere. It was the dawn of a new era under the Consulate that was the most effective government the French Republic ever had.

Just then, an explosion happened. Men and women were killed as they waited for Napoleon’s carriage to pass. Both Napoleon and Josephine survived unscathed, but Josephine’s daughter, beautiful Hortense, was injured and bleeding as her head knocked the carriage. Her brother, brave Eugene, rescued her, and took her aside.

At this point, Napoleon realized that the Republic was not working. The monarchists still constantly wanted to return the Bourbons to power. Some of the poor felt their beliefs within the Catholic Church were left out. Napoleon himself had great admirations for the French king Charlemagne of the days gone by, and he no longer intended to keep it a secret.
To everyone’s surprise, he announced that he would become Emperor of France. This was the only way to bring all Frenchmen together under one roof.

His brother Lucien objected violently, “When I endorsed you for Director and Consul, I promised the people that if one day, you should become tyrant, I would kill you with my own hands.”

Napoleon looked at his mild-mannered brother and replied calmly, “Lucien, if I shall be Emperor of France, it shall be by the will of the people. This is the only way we can attain peace internally and externally with monarchies of Austria and England. Did you not say yourself that France is weary of wars?”

And so, Napoleon appointed the cunning ex-churchmen-cum-secret-security cop, Fouche, as Minister of Interior and Talleyrand as Foreign Minister, despite suspicions that Talleyrand, the monarchists, and the Austrians or British were behind the attempt on his life. Fouche subdued any opposition, and soon, 80% of France voted to crown the Consul as Emperor Napoleon I with the consent of Pope Pius in Rome.

Before the coronation, Napoleon adjusted his new imperial robes, while his brother Lucien implored him, “As you go on with this madness that betrays all the Republic stands for, the Austrian composer Beethoven whose voice is sweeter than the best French honey doth pollute the minds of all, saying you are a hypocrite who has destroyed the republic! I beg you, stop this insanity, brother, or at least…at least, don’t make that viper Talleyrand Foreign Minister.”

But Napoleon was always his own man. Lucien may have been President of the Assembly once, but he was still Napoleon’s younger brother, so the Emperor of France replied, “You will hear me as one hears the voice of an Emperor, as a younger heeds the wisdom of the elders. As for Talleyrand, do you not know the saying ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’ I despise him more than anyone in France.”

And in this manner, Napoleon and Josephine went forth to receive the crown from Pope Pius, but then, when the Pope was about to place the crown upon his head, Napoleon snatched it from him and crowned himself. Then, he repeated the words of his childhood hero Charlemagne who had created the country we now call France and the Holy Roman Empire that Austria now usurped, “By my own hands shalt I be crowned.”

And I looked there from the glorious audience room in Paris, my arm recovering but still half aching, what I saw was short of amazing. It was hard enough to believe that a skinny Corsican boy would grow to become a respected general, but literally beyond imagination for him to rule as Emperor of the most powerful nation in Europe.

Bonaparte Book 7. The Battle of Three Emperors

“Offence is the best defense.” …Sun Tzu

Upon his accession to the imperial throne of France, Napoleon’s first act was to wage war against his two last enemies who remained vigilant in the War of Second Coalition: Austria and Russia. Archduke Charles and General Suvorov were the true leaders of the allies in this battle, but their Emperors, Francis II of Austria and Tsar Alexander I of Russia, also followed them to the battle. They were intent on crushing the large French forces there and ending the threat that France posed to Europe once and for all. In the humble city of Austerlitz, Napoleon met this vastly superior army with courage that only one man in his time could possess.

In truth, Francis had a great disdain for Napoleon. He did not think the low-born Corsican noble was his equal as Emperor. Only the pure blood of Bourbon was deemed worthy to rule the rival empire of France, and he imagined putting them back on the throne at his debt. Likewise, the religious tsar Alexander felt that Napoleon was no more than a serf (Russian for ‘peasant’) who overreached his bounds and attempted to establish a dynasty. It was an ungodly deed, and Mother Russia would put an end to it.

Nevertheless, when the newly crowned Emperor of France reached Austerlitz, the troops gained heart and were not afraid of the enemies even though they were outnumbered five to one. They had known Napoleon as the general who never lost. If Nelson had defeated Napoleon not once but twice at sea, the news was safely suppressed by Fouche, Napoleon’s insidious Minister of the Interior and arguably the second most powerful man in France. They remembered the story of how Napoleon went thirsty in Egypt rather than drink alone. If he did not have nobility of blood like Francis and Alexander, it did not matter, for the nobility of his deeds and heroism far exceeded all of them combined.

Archduke Charles Louis John was a great military leader, but like the British, he still maintained certain conventions. Where he excelled was speed, though not quite as well as Napoleon. The Archduke marched quickly to the French army base in Austerlitz, hoping to crush them in one go, with the Russians following him with a three day lag on the march. Surprisingly, when he reached the base, Charles found very few die-hard French soldiers there making the appearance of defending the base. He realized something was wrong, but the Archduke could not quite put a finger on it.

Many days had passed, and yet there was no communications from Suvorov’s Russians, and the supplies did not come! Francis repeatedly asked his son what was going on. He had been exhausted by the young man’s forced march, but now that they won control of the army base, there was neither enough supply nor water. The Holy Roman Emperor was much displeased. He even went so far as to call the Archduke a “disappointment!”

Meanwhile, Napoleon’s army cut through the lines of communication between Austria’s quick army and the slow Russians, while Joachim Murat and Desauix successfully plundered the supply lines and food depot. Soon, the Austrians would know the meaning of starvation. The three French forces converged on Suvorov’s Russians.

Suvorov too was depending on the Austrians for supplies, for Russia was a far way from this battlefield and the tsar already had an understanding with the Austrians beforehand. Taken by surprise, Suvorov’s half-starved unready army, though vastly superior in numbers, proved no match for the French, who seemed to fire at him from all side.

Suvorov ordered the Cossacks to break the French lines. The Cossacks were born on horseback and an immensely brave tribe, but they were few in number compared to the core Russian army or even the French. Furthermore, they were less accustomed to the terrain than Murat’s Second Cavalry. In the bitter combat that followed, Murat made short work of them. Unable to gain help from the Austrians and not wanting the tsar to be captured by the French, Suvorov presented his sword to Napoleon in formal surrender.

Suvorov: “The Russians will never forgive me if I allow the son of Romanov (Russia’s dynastic name) to be captured. Please take my sword and perhaps my life if only to save the life of my liege, Emperor Napoleon.”

Napoleon: “Why should I not shame the son of Romanov, good General? You fought well, and for that, I shall admire you. But this war was never of necessity if Russia did not provoke us first. Like the tsar, I too am monarch. France is no longer a Republic, yet your tsar did not deign to treat us with friendship. How then do you come before me today and ask for kindness?”

Tsar Alexander: “It was the Austrians who instigated this war, who poured poison into my young ears, that I should turn my sword upon a noble Emperor like yourself. Forgive me, Emperor of France, …Let us be friends.”

Napoleon knew Alexander was lying, but he did not wish to battle both Austria and Russia at the same time, so he inquired, “So it is true that Austria plotted against my life? And is it also true that the monarchists and Talleyrand had a hand in this?”

Desperate for peace, Suvorov replied, “It is true, my Lord. Talleyrand does not deserve your kindness but death, and the Austrians…they are simply…low, but I beseech you, give my Tsar a second chance, and for that, the people of Russia will be eternally grateful.”

Desauix: “Will you now execute the cur Talleyrand, Sire? It was as Lucien told us all along.”

Smiling, Napoleon replied, “I knew his treachery all along, Desauix, but he is a useful dog. Talleyrand has no match in diplomacy in all of Paris, and for that, I shall use him. The secrecy of his crime is something I can use to keep him in his place, as my rebuke of my younger brother (Lucien) served very much the same purpose. Familiarity breeds contempt. It was necessary for Lucien to understand that I am now Emperor of France.”

Desauix and Murat looked at their Emperor and knew he was an extraordinary man. Many said that Napoleon was a man who could not keep his temper, but nothing could be further from the truth. Those tantrums were all a farce, designed to serve some political purpose. All of his life…was a stage play, much in the style of Shakespeare.

And so, Napoleon agreed to these terms, and Tsar Alexander retreated from Austerlitz back to his snowy empire in disgrace. Now, it was time to march against the Austrians. Young Archduke Charles was an arrogant man who thought himself a peerless commander. Now, Napoleon would show him who the greatest general of Europe truly was.

Initially, Archduke Charles, commander of the Austrian forces, thought of waiting for the French to attack. After all, he had captured their stronghold, and it seemed to be a position of strength. However, his men were starved, and there was no means of getting food supplies to them even if Austria remained wealthy. Soon, morale was dropping. He had to do something! So against his good senses, he attacked!

The French were well-rested and well-supplied, and that day, we fought for Napoleon and we fought like lions. Though the Austrians were equally matched, their morale was low. We beat them back easily, and the Austrian casualties were high.

Swallowing his pride, Archduke Charles went forth to meet Napoleon and offer his terms of surrender, but our Emperor demanded the return of all territories recently seized by Austria, such as Holland, Switzerland, and all of Italy. This was simply too much for the proud Archduke. When he told his father Emperor Francis of Napoleon’s demands, Francis cursed Napoleon, so the siege of Austerlitz continued.

And so the war continued. The French remained strong and well-supplied, while the Austrians grew weaker by the day. Charles ordered his men to be fed on a full ration, hoping to enhearten them, and then he went out for another all-out attack. But Napoleon was a great warrior, and he inspired his men not to be complacent. Once again, France triumphed. Archduke Charles went forth to ask for terms of surrender, and Napoleon did not budge. The Emperor Francis cursed Napoleon and all that was France, though Charles could see that his resolute curses seemed weaker than the first time now.

Finally, Napoleon stormed the greatly weakened stronghold of Austerlitz, obliterating most of the Austrian army. His “divide-and-rule” tactic hath worked, and the Austrians did not think he would attack fiercely after showing patience for so long. Utterly defeated, Archduke Charles presented his sword to Napoleon, “Accept this as terms of surrender. Take Holland, Switzerland, and Italy and perhaps my life too, but spare that of my father. I beseech you, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Seeing the humbled Archduke, Napoleon replied regally, “To address an Emperor, one only needs to mention his first name. By the way, you have fought well, Archduke Charles, though your cause is unjust. I salute you for your bravery, misguided though they may be.”

Charles had intentionally done that to prevent truly acknowledging our Emperor, but Napoleon, as always, saw through the ruse. Charles nodded, realizing that Napoleon was sparing their lives in return for the death of his aunt, Queen Marie Antonette of France.

As such, the War of Second Coalition came to an end with the surrender of once mighty Austria. Napoleon was now truly Emperor, for he would anoint his elder brother Joseph as king of Naples, his younger brother Louis (the lawyer) as king of Holland, and his brother-in-law Joachim Murat as king of Milan.

The minor Corsican warlord and awkward child at the French Academy did not simply rule a country. He was the most powerful monarch of Europe today.

But then, Europe was never happy with Napoleon at its helm. Beneath the calm facade, Austria, Prussia, and Britain conspired against him once again even as Napoleon found allies in Spain and the petty German states of Bavaria, Baden, and Württemberg. The War of Third Coalition was about to begin in earnest. Perhaps under our great Emperor, much as I loved him, France would know no ends to conflict and war.

Bonaparte Book 8. Nations for Sale

“Diplomacy is simply war by other means.”…Napoleon Bonaparte

For the first time, Napoleon, Emperor of France, had more friends than enemies. The count of Baden would normally have bowed down to the combined wills of Austria and Prussia with regards to his choice of heirs, but he saw a new protector and ally in Napoleon. Soon, other city states that chafed under Austrian autocracy like Württemberg and Bavaria formed an alliance with him too. By virtue of their friendship, the last Bourbon king, Charles of Spain, came to his aid. All was set, except for one minor, teeny, weenie problem mentioned by that most annoying man.

Thomas Jefferson of America doubled his territory by buying Louisiana from Napoleon.

Montague, Finance Minister of France, told the Emperor bluntly that after two massive wars France simply could not fund a third. “We would need at least a million francs to do so,” Montague told his sire. Napoleon was annoyed. “Yes, money was needed,” he understood, “So go find it. Sell something. You are the man of money. Is this not your job?”

Montague: “Whom shall we sell to on such notice? Britain, the richest nation in the world, is our sworn enemy, and so is Austria! You simply make too many enemies, your Majesty.”

Napoleon: “Umm…what of Louisiana? We can not defend that territory in the New World if Jefferson attacks us now. As Sun Tzu always said, ‘The astute general does not divide his army on many fronts.’”

Montague was dumbfounded, “But surely Your Majesty jests. Louisiana is an area bigger than France itself.”

Napoleon: “I never jest in matters of war, Dear Minister. See to it that Jefferson buys Louisiana. My price is 1 million francs. Know once we defeat the Third Coalition, the world will be ours, I can have Louisiana back any time.”

And so, Montague sailed to Washington DC to meet the newly minted President of the United States in an effort to sell Louisiana. It was the biggest distressed selling of all times.

I was not there with Montague in Washington that day, but stories of his conversation with President Jefferson became stuff of general knowledge in Paris soon after.

Jefferson: “You would SELL me the Louisiana territory for an amount of one million francs!”

Montague: “Yes, I do not question the words of Emperor Napoleon, my President. It’s take it or leave it.”

Jefferson: “It is a vast sum of money, but worthy of a territory the size of the United States itself. You have my word, Mr. Minister. We shall deliver one million francs for this deed before you set sail.”

And so in one fell swoop and with no bloodshed, President Jefferson purchased a piece of land larger than the United States, while France gained the funds it needed to fight the Third Coalition.

And so with the means to do combat from the Americans, Napoleon marched forward against the Prussian forces at Jena. The Prussians felt that they had studied well from their hero Frederick II the Great in the time gone by and had fought against Kellermann (and later slew him), so they were confident of defeating Napoleon. Some of them said Napoleon was not half the general Kellermann was…Oh, how wrong they were!

But Napoleon had another predicament. He could not simply defeat Prussia. He had to annihilate them with minimal cost to France. Otherwise, the Austrians led by Karl Mack could come forth and obliterate him in later combat. So at Jena, he insisted that the German allies marched forward, while the Spanish allies kept the Austrians at bay at Marengo for the meantime.

The Bavarians and the counts of Baden and Wurtemburg fought against the Prussians at Eylau and Jena, but they felt they were no match against Prussia, foremost of the German states. As the Bavarians retreated, the Hessians (Redcoat soldiers hired by the British to assist Prussia) cut them down further. Soon, it was clear that the field would belong to the Third Coaltion.

Out of nowhere, Napoleon and Murat (now king of Milan) sprang a trap on the Prussians. The Second Cavalry of France cut the Prussians from behind, while the Fifth Infantry made short work of the surprised Hessians and their few British commanders. Napoleon charged in shouting his great war cry, “Victory for France and Bavaria!” In that day, I was a Major with the Fifth Infantry, and I was not sure if I saw Napoleon or Mars, the god of war, but that was how glorious he seemed.

Murat cut through the Prussian lines and shouted, “Let terror strike! By Charlemagne and Napoleon!”, and it was as though the Prussians saw the Devil Lucifer himself, and fear struck their heart. For battle against Murat and Napoleon was not for the faint of heart, and to face both in combat would make even the bravest soldiers cringe in fear. Frederick III, a descendant of the great king Frederick II, ordered a retreat.

Napoleon looked at him and could only say, “Greatness is not hereditary, Murat. Train your sons well.” With the help of the Bavarians, Murat pursued Frederick into the depths of Prussia. Finally, Frederick sued for truce and ceded Silesia to France, even offering his alliance to Napoleon. In this manner did Prussia, foremost of the German states in his grandfather’s time, slunk away shamelessly from Napoleon’s combat. Now, it was time for us to put the Austrians in their place again. To Marengo!

At Marengo, Napoleon realized that his Spanish allies were really poor fighters. Karl Mack was a veteran general of Austria renowned for his intellect and seniority. When Archduke Charles failed to defeat Napoleon, he reprimanded the Archduke for his inexperience, and the Emperor Francis gave command of the Austrian army to him. Mack followed iron discipline that was instilled since the time of Eugene of Savoy. The tacky army led by King Charles of Spain was easily defeated and beaten back. Just then, Karl Mack paused, for Napoleon had won the victory of Jena and rejoined with his Spanish allies in Marengo.

In that battle, Archduke Charles accompanied Karl Mack as his second-in-command despite his greater intellect. “Are you afraid?” the Archduke asked.

“Certainly not, your Excellency,” Mack replied, “I live and breathe the campaign. I have more experience than any man, even this Napoleon of yours. Hath I led the campaign at Austerlitz, his Majesty would never have been humiliated thus!”

“Very well,” Archduke Charles replied boringly. Mack was a favorite of his father and close friend of his brother, the heir Joseph. Hence, he had nothing to fear from the young though talented Archduke.

Suddenly, a scout came to warn Mack. “Lord Generale, the French led by Desauix and Lannes have outflanked us and cut our supplies.”

“Here we go again,” the Archduke said, “Told you not to underestimate Napoleon, General. His strength lies in the ungodly speed with which he strikes.”

But Mack would not be cowered by the Archduke, “Peace, your Excellency!” he said annoyed. “I know how to deal with him. We must pursue him and free our supplies.”

So the Austrians pursued the French, but by then, they had disappeared with their supplies. Napoleon wiped out any Austrian troop in the main stronghold that Mack left behind. After five outflanking moves, the Austrian troops were decimated. Mack knew he was no match for Napoleon…and probably not even for the Archduke. His defeat at Marengo was pretty much complete.

The word Marengo means deep red that is the color of blood, and in truth, the field was strewn with Austrian dead. The emergence of the French forces hath turned the tide for their Spanish allies. Swallowing the pride in his intellect and “theories” as Archduke Charles mocked him, Mack walked forward to Napoleon with his sword in hand.

Mack: “Please accept my sword, Emperor Napoleon, for you are the better man.”

Napoleon knew this was but a truce, but his German allies needed a victory, and he needed to turn north to face the British. And so he agreed to accept Mack’s sword and once again allow the destroyed Austrian army to retreat in disgrace.

Bonaparte Book 9. Lord of the Seas

“England expects every man to know his duty.”…Nelson

If France achieved magnificent victories on the Continent, the same could not be said of its overseas colonies in the East. Upon his coronation, King Louis of Holland, brother of Napoleon, appointed Admiral Daendals to take possession of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Daendals was pro-French from the start, and he liked Louis’s Republican and rule-of-law ideas, for Louis was lawyer before he was king. Daendals, however, was only able to secure control of the East Indies for a short period of time before…

…a British officer of India known as Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles led the invasion of Daendals’ fortress. Raffles was a better sailor and soldier than Daendals. He outmaneuvered the Lieutenant-Governor on sea and eventually forced Daendals to flee. The disgraced and wet Daendals finally appeared in Amsterdam to inform King Louis of the great shame. The Dutch East Indies was now in English hands. Raffles, who later went on to found Singapore, claimed he was holding it in safeguard for the return of the House of Orange, the rightful rulers of Holland. But alas, this was not the only French disgrace in the East.

In those days, both France and Britain had armies and allies in India. The British, led by Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, was far more well-established in Calcutta. A generation earlier, they had already captured the French capital of India, Pondicherry, but France maintained some alliances with native rulers, such as Tippoo of Punjab. It was said that Tippoo was descended from the great rulers of Mahratta that had broken the power of the Moghul emperors of India before the Europeans even came.

The French Resident of Srinaghar was Chaplain Montcalm. Under direct orders of Napoleon, he provoked war against powerful British India. This was a mistake, for Dalhousie had a capable general in his brother, Sir Arthur Wellesley. In the Battle of Assaye, an overconfident Montcalm and Tippoo, who was eager to avenge the name of his ancestor Siraj-ad-din (who had been vanquished by the British general Robert Clive), marched out to meet Wellesley.

They thought he was weak, but though the Tippoo’s forces outnumbered Wellesley’s men three to one, the British Redcoats were fine soldiers. Shouting “For King and country!”, Wellesley marched forward with supreme confidence too. Montcalm told Tippoo not to worry. No army could defeat Napoleonic France, but that day, it seemed like the replay of the Hundred Year’s War, for Wellesley made short work of Tippoo and the French. Their discipline was far superior. For the first time in a long while, Napoleonic France was defeated in a land battle. As a result of Assaye, French presence in India was wiped out. Montcalm was jailed, and Tippoo forced to abdicate.

To make matters worst, the upstart Wellesley, now fully puffed up by victory, said that one day, he would return to Europe and bring defeat and disgrace to Emperor Napoleon himself! I could feel myself reaching out to grab him by the neck, but India was 3,000 miles away from Calais, where I was stationed. Nevertheless, I swore that I would never forget the name of Wellesley. Neither did I know that most of France or the world for that matter would find it hard to forget this man too. He seemed destined for greater things, much to the bad fortune of France.

The loss of Srinaghar and British conquest of Punjab greatly infuriated Napoleon. Thereupon, he ordered Admiral Villeneuve to invade Britain itself, and if the war was successful, he would promote Villeneuve to the rank of Commodore, the highest possible naval rank in France.

Villeneuve: “Surely, your Majesty jests. How can we hope to conquer Britain directly?”

Napoleon: “I will have ample ships from France and our ally Spain at your service Villeneuve. On such short notice, the dispersed British will not be able to summon as great a force. To add to that, I have required Denmark to send us a fleet. They are not our allies yet, but they fear France’s overland attack and so will comply. I have confirmation from the Danish Admiral Andreas.”

Villeneuve: “Surely, there is a better way…Your Majesty. Starve the British by trade. Aye…your Continental System!”

Napoleon: “There is no time for such niceties, Admiral! The Russians, though I have spared their tsar at Austerlitz, constantly violate my blockade against the British, enriching them through trade. Would that you rather have us invade Russia, whose territory and manpower is infinite?! No!! Conquer Britain for me. By gods, I will have you on George’s (George III of England) throne if you succeed, but do not countermand my orders more than once!!”

And so, Villeneuve set forth to conquer Britain. The French fleet reinforced by Admiral Gonzalez of Spain and Admiral Andreas of Denmark was a mighty force. It was true that even if the Devonshire heroes Sir Francis Drake were revived from his grave, he would admire the greatness of it. France and their allies were set to conquer Britain with a force greater than the Spanish Armada many centuries ago. Only one man stood in their way, the fearless Admiral Nelson…Lord Nelson, a man who had defeated Villeneuve and Napoleon in Egypt many years ago.

But Villeneuve was confident. His forces were far superior. Today, he would avenge himself upon Nelson and clear his name. Nelson would present his sword to Villeneuve with his remaining good arm…and Villeneuve smiled at the thought.

For some strange reason, Villeneuve wanted me to accompany him to sea. I was a rifleman, useful anyway. He even promoted me to the rank of full major. I could see clearly the reason for the Admiral’s confidence. Villeneuve learned a thing or two from his long years at sea. The great French fleet was in the center as we approached Trafalgar. The Spanish and Danish flanked our left and right. It was a magnificent sight.

In fact, that day, Villeneuve felt so sure of victory that he sent an envoy on the little ship to meet with Nelson. That envoy was me. Villeneuve greatly admired Nelson’s skills and had no wish of killing the storied Admiral of England, a worthy enemy in his view.

I (Colonel Allian Juppe): “Lord Nelson, the Admiral Villeneuve of France is no cruel man. He will spare your men if you surrender. He honors you a worthy enemy.”

Nelson realized the numerical superiority of our fleet. Yet, his men were also watching their single-minded, one armed hero. It was I who shot him at Nile, and he knew the significance of me acting as Villeneuve’s envoy. But he did not show fear or even bat an eye, merely uttering words that would be immortalized by later generations: “England expects every man to know his duty.”

And so, Nelson made it clear that he would die fighting France, defending his country. There was no contempt or bitterness, but from the looks on his eyes, I could see that he viewed Napoleon as no more than a bloodthirsty tyrant. How a noble man like Nelson could serve a mad king like George III was simply beyond me, but political discernment was not my job.

“Very well, Admiral Nelson”, I bowed and went back to the French fleet on my little boat. There would be total war with England now, and soon, the tricolor flag of France would rise high over the Buckingham Palace in London.

The Spanish and Danish ships formed a pincer formation that closed in on the English, but Nelson was cunning as a fox. His ships were arranged in a triangular wedge aimed at the French center—Villeneuve’s ship, on which I rode too. As they closed to us, the wedge opened into a square. The English ships on the side opened fire with their cannons on our Spanish and Danish allies, judging that their resolve was weaker than those of the French and English. After all, this war was really ours. For Spain and Denmark, they were doing it out of deference to France.

Soon, Nelson’s five ships surrounded the core French fleet, putting us at a disadvantage. There was also an element of luck at Trafalgar, for on that day, the western wind blew against France and in English favor. The Danish, seeing our disadvantage, retreated. Seeing the might of Britain at sea, they now had more to fear from Nelson than France. Deeply angered, Admiral Villeneuve cursed them, “Andreas, you coward. Deserting your allies in times of need.” But the curse only served to weaken the French resolve, and Andreas sailed back to the safe harbors of Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, the English firing took a toll on the French fleet, which was cut in half by Nelson’s masterful charge in the middle. The wedge hath broken France in Trafalgar. Many English jumped across to the French flagship, while I did the opposite, jumping directly over to Nelson’s flagship, the Horatio. Today, I would slay him if it was the last thing I did.

My charge was relentless. Left and right, I slew the English with my cutlass, for I was a great fighter. I did not become Colonel out of pure luck. Finally, I found the one-armed monster and shot him with my pistol. He was pre-occupied with the duties of command watching the French fleet from his telescope.

The shot struck him, and Nelson bled profusely but did not die. A British soldier called Hawkins caught me and would have slain me if Nelson did not stay Hawkins’ hands.

Nelson: “What is your name, brave soldier of France?”

I (Colonel Allian Juppe): “I am Allian Juppe, Colonel of the French Fifth Infantry.”

Nelson: “Ah, a landsman  yet doing so well at sea. I will let you live, for I too value bravery, but I will let you see me destroy Napoleon’s dream.”

I gritted my teeth in anger, but could do little. I was basically prisoner of the English by now.

Nelson continued to order Captain Aubrey who commanded his left flank of ships to put pressure on the Spanish without engaging them directly. Soon, the Spanish admiral Gonzalez also retreated. The entire French fleet was destroyed, and the English captured our Admiral Villeneuve. The Battle of Trafalgar ended with English victory, but Nelson never lasted to see his final moments. For by my bullet, he was slain. Yet, his death did little to console me. Aubrey took up command of the victorious English ships, but kept Nelson’s words and released myself and Villeneuve.

Needless to say, the Emperor’s plans to conquer Britain had failed. “Napoleon ruled the lands, while Nelson ruled the seas…even from his deathbed, it was that way.”

And so Lord Hamilton bought back the corpse of Nelson to London in great honor, where he was buried and a statue was erected in Nelson’s honor at Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar changed the history of the world. Had the Spanish and Danish been more resolute or Villeneuve been more capable at sea command that day or the winds more in our favor, the King of England would be a Bonaparte not one from the House of Hannover, not a madman like George III of France. But for that the English thanked brave Nelson, and Emperor Napoleon grudgingly respected the man who destroyed his dreams.

Bonaparte Book 10. The Countess of Warsaw

“I’d rather face an army of angry Celts than resist your charms.” Julius Caesar to Cleopatra

While Napoleon was preoccupied with taming the English Channel…or being tamed at that, the Austrians and Prussians reneged on their truce and encroached on French territory, but their armies were in decrepit position. As soon as Napoleon retaliated, the enemies retreated at once. Napoleon’s army easily overran Poland, Germany, and Yugoslavia.

Tw’as a great victory indeed. Napoleon decreed that Holy Roman Empire was abolished. In its place, the Confederation of Rhine was established with its capital in Munich. As such, his archenemy Francis II was reduced to Emperor Francis I of Austria. The Empire that was founded by Charlemagne, whom Napoleon admired, was destroyed by Napoleon himself many centuries later. Finally, Yugoslavia became the Illyrian Provinces. The capital of the Illyrian Provinces was Belgrade.

In the meantime, Napoleon pondered upon the fate of Poland…

As the Emperor and his great Army of Germany marched through the streets of Warsaw in their victory march, the Poles crowded around to see the victors. Poland had no love lost for Austria, for the aristocratic and haughty empire hath conquered them by stealth and treachery, and now they viewed the French as liberators. At that time, Napoleon came across one incredible beauty, whose name was Countess Walewska, and he was greatly bewitched by her.

That night, the Polish nobility arranged a great banquet in the Emperor’s honor. When it was over, the nobles including Marie Walewska’s husband left her alone with Napoleon, and he made love to her like there was no tomorrow. For Walewska was far more beautiful than the Empress Josephine could ever hope to be.

Before he departed, Marie hath grown pregnant with his son. Napoleon made sure that they were well taken care off by her husband, the Count Walewska, and taken as his own to avoid a scandal with Josephine when he got back to France. The Polish nobles succeeded, for Napoleon deigned Poland to be the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and gave them a certain level of autonomy.

The affair between Napoleon and Marie Walewska strained his relationship with Josephine when he returned to Paris. Although it is true that no man, not even a valiant general as he, could resist her charms anymore than the mighty Julius Caesar of Rome resist the charms of fair Cleopatra, women were an unpredictable thing, and Empress Josphine would not understand. They were indeed estranged for many days.

Not only that, Napoleon’s mother, Dowager Letizia, had always felt that Josephine was not worthy of him. In her view, she had only born her ex-husband a son, Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, but had never had a son for Napoleon himself.

After several attempts on his life, it is understandable that Napoleon would want to discourage assassins by setting up his own dynasty. For that, he needed a son. In doing so, he would convince his enemies that killing him would not end the Bonapartist style of ruling France.

While his brother Lucien would have welcomed a nephew, he did not sympathizes with Napoleon’s dynastic ambitions, for he was a democrat to the core. Even though Lucien Bonaparte was Napoleon’s ablest brother and would have been part of this great dynasty, he never welcomed it. Eventually, he fled to the United States, where his grandfather would one day become an American senator.

But if Napoleon was greatly disappointed by Lucien’s departure, his ambitions would never be quenched. He now had great protectorates to the east, and his family members (Joseph, Louis, and Murat) ruled friendly kingdoms to the north and south of France. Napoleon was truly the man at the height of his powers.

But the gods would never favor any man too much, especially one such as Napoleon who did not believe in them. Even as his enemies scurried away from him, his friends, Spain, turned their hearts against him, for Crown Prince Ferdinand was gaining an upper hand in his quest for power against his father, King Charles. One Bourbon split against each other, it seemed Ferdinand was inclined to become an enemy to Napoleon. In fact, it was said that he was in secret contact with enemy nations of France, such as Prussia and Russia. When the king of Sweden offered diplomatic support against those who disobeyed French garrisons in Denmark, Ferdinand applauded Sweden’s independence.

Even though Napoleon sent his disapproval to King Charles many times, the response was not favorable. Clearly, Charles could no longer keep his unruly son under a short leash as before. Even as all of France, Empress Josephine, and Foreign Minister Talleyrand begged Emperor Napoleon for peace, Napoleon replied very simply, “Peace, for now, shall be an elusive goal for France.”

The days of peace were over…the return to war about to begin.