Perhaps the most famous of all Napoleonic memoirs to be written in any language are those written by Marbot. They stand in a league of their own. Napoleon, himself left a donation of 100,000 to him, for his refutation of General Rogniat's work - to quote Napoleon's will "I recommend him to continue to write in defense of the glory of the French armies, and to confound their calumniators and apostates."
So entertaining and full of vivid details that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fictionalized them into his adventures of Brigadier Gerard.
In this second volume, de Marbot continues his varied adventures under Napoleon's eagles, He writes of the battle of Wagram and the death of General Lasalle the finest light cavalry commander of the time. He is assigned to Masséna's campaign to conquer Portugal in 1810 and faces his opponents at Busaco and records the features of the impregnable Line of Torres Vedras. More interesting than the mere descriptions of the battles, combats and affairs he is involved in, are the intrigues and fall-outs at the Headquarters between Marshal Masséna and most of his divisional generals including the famous Marshal Ney, sometimes over his military handling of the campaign and at others over his bringing his mistress Miss---X. with him.
He provides a somewhat skewed but vivid account of the battle of Fuentes d'Oñoro in 1811 and withholds no venom in his descriptions of Masséna in particular, and also the other bickering generals, controlling their fiefdoms in the Peninsular.
He joins the 23rd Chasseurs-à-Cheval for the campaign in Russia. His unit is part of the flank guard for the Grande Armée's push to Moscow and provides details of the battle go Polotsk. He gives an incisive portrait of Marshal Gouvion Saint-Cyr, who he portrays as brilliant but cold and eccentric. Present at the crossing of the Beresina, he recounts the woes of the army he finds in pieces after the retreat from Moscow, beaming with pride at the state of his regiment.
He moves rather briskly into the wars of German liberation and the epoch defining battle of Leipzig in 1813. He describes the action as best as any eye-witness can of three days of rolling battle and carnage can be. Bitterly and with some passion, he speaks of Napoleon's German allies turning on the French. He is rather fulsome in his criticism of his senior commanders especially Exelmans.
The campaign of 1814 in defence of France is but briefly covered, and the 1815 campaign not at all.
Contains portrait of de Marbot from 1812 as a lieutenant-general, and maps illustrating the battle of Leipzig.
Additional notes have been added to this edition.
Author - Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcelin, Baron de Marbot, 1782-1854
Translator - Arthur John Butler 1844-1910
|Series:||Memoirs of Baron de Marbot - late Lieutenant General in the French Army , #2|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
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