A recurring question on the rather lovely corner of Napoleonic Twitter I inhabit is: who was Napoleon’s best marshal? There are usually a variety of suggestions put forward; Davout and Masséna are usually branded the superior generals, Soult often touted as a fine tactician, Ney acknowledged as the man you’d be most inspired to follow and Bernadotte is always popular with those who have the strongest anti-Napoleon sentiments. There are of course other considerations; Berthier was absolutely the most essential of them all, Murat probably the bravest and, if you were ranking them based on who was the most morally decent man, the top spot would have to go to Moncey.Continue reading “Marshal Monday – the Marshals in Napoleon’s Words”
Seasons greetings and welcome to the Napoleonic Marshals Christmas party; the grandest party in all of Europe. The venue is large and opulent, festooned with numerous Christmas trees, each decorated with little gold bees and glittering Ns. They almost out-sparkled by the glittering decorations of the 27 uniformed men currently filling the main function room.Continue reading “Marshal Monday – The Marshals’ Christmas Party”
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a mum. I was broody from around the age of 19 and I was the kind of person who always said ‘I’ll do such and such when I have kids’. I met my husband in 2009, we married in 2014 and right from the early days we would say ‘That’s the kind of Halloween costume we’ll buy when we have kids’, ‘we’ll read those books when we have kids’, ‘that’s the kind of outfits we’ll get for our kids when we have them’. When, when, when.Continue reading “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting: Dealing with Infertility in your 20s.”
Louis-Nicolas Davout is generally accepted by most historians to be one of Napoleon’s best marshals. Described by A.G McDonnell as ‘the only pupil Napoleon ever had’, he was seldom beaten and demanded rigid discipline from his troops and thus earned the nickname ‘the Iron Marshal’. Sometimes he is described as though that were literally so; that he was cold, hard and unbending.Continue reading “Marshal Monday: How Davout risked the guillotine to save his mother.”
The lives of the twenty six Marshals of the Empire under Napoleon have become a real passion of mine following last year’s Marshal Monday series, so I’ve been buying up books on the subject left right and centre now that I’m getting the chance to do a little more reading again. One of these was A.G MacDonell’s Napoleon and his Marshals, which I downloaded on Kindle for about 99p before my baby arrived but have only got round to now. Continue reading “Marshal Monday: Napoleon and his Marshals by A.G. MacDonell”
As it’s LGBT History Month and the news has been full of the exciting recent discovery of the diary of Yorkshire farmer Matthew Tomlinson from 1810, in which he showcased a surprisingly progressive attitude towards homosexuality, I thought it seemed like a good time to take a look at the man who was probably the most high-profile gay person in Napoleonic France.
Here we are, the last of the Marshal Mondays!
Thank you very much to everyone who has engaged with this series since I started it in the summer. Whether you’ve interacted on Twitter, Instagram or here on the blog, I’m grateful that you’ve indulged my Napoleonic geekery. It has been so interesting to go through the lives of these 26 men – some of whom would never have risen above warrant officer under the Bourbons – and the part they had to play in an era that changed Europe for ever.
This week, we’re down to the final two and I’m looking at the only one of Napoleon’s marshals to win his baton in Spain, and the one who Napoleon described as “better than one might suppose”: Suchet and Victor. Continue reading “Marshal Monday: Suchet and Victor”
Twenty four marshals down and now only two to go!
I’m maybe chancing my luck leaving Suchet and Victor for next week, but this was going to wind up a ridiculously long post if I’d tried to fit all of the last four marshals in! This week, I’m looking at one of Napoleon’s honorary appointments to the marshalate, along with the man who had one of the most successful careers post-Waterloo.
I’ve got seven marshals left to cover to have written about all 26 (still one more backlog post to do as well) but only two Mondays left before I’m expected to have my baby so the next two weeks are going to have to be cluster-posts. This week I’m looking at Marshals Oudinot, Perignon and Poniatowski.
Another one of the real giants of the Napoleonic Wars today for #MarshalMonday. This week it’s the marshal who Napoleon called ‘the bravest of the brave’ and who would pay the ultimate price for returning to the Emperor’s side during the Waterloo campaign: Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen and Prince of Moscow. Continue reading “Marshal Monday: Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen”