Our site offers a series of articles on Napoleon, his family, his generals, the history of the era and other topics relating to that history. The first paragraph or two of some of them are presented here to give you an idea of what we have. The full articles are available to members.
Our bimonthly Newsletter also contains several articles, as well as news items. And members also receive longer articles in our Newsletter Supplements.
JOSEPHINE’S JEWELS: FIT FOR AN EMPRESS
By Aliz Sundqist
The ring that young general Napoleon Bonaparte offered Josephine for their engagement in 1776 recently sold at auction for an astonishing $949,000. The winning bidder, allegedly a Russian who wishes to remain anonymous, paid almost 50 times the $20,000 the auction house Osenat had estimated. Adding Osenat’s 25 percent commission, the ring fetched $1.17 million.
“In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times,” said auctioneer Emily Villane. “We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.”…
SOULS NOT WANTING: THE MARSHALATE’S BETRAYAL OF NAPOLEON
By Claudio Innocenti
“Sire, the army will obey its leaders.” With these words, Marshal Michel Ney, at the head of a cabal of French marshals, mutinied against Emperor Napoleon I on the morning of April 3, 1814, at Fontainebleau. Napoleon wanted to attack the Allied occupying army in Paris, but his marshals refused to carry on with the campaign. Two days later, Marshal Auguste Marmont ordered his corps straight into the center of the Allied army, where it surrendered. Thus, Napoleon was betrayed by men who he had fought with for over fifteen years, and without the support of these men he was forced to abdicate his throne. Napoleon, with the marshals leading his corps, had won countless victories while campaigning in Italy, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Balkans, and Russia. Ironically, Napoleon’s most desperate campaign, fought in 1814 to save both his throne and his country, was ended by the very men he most counted on to defend France: his marshals…
SIR CHARLES BRISBANE – FROM THE SAME CLOTH AS NELSON
By Hank Zucker
“Now or Never Spanish Dollars.” So reads a recruiting poster (full poster shown) for an 1805 cruise led by Capt. Charles Brisbane. On that cruise Brisbane and his crew would find glory and very nearly get those Spanish dollars. Brisbane would be honored and knighted and become governor first of Curacao and then St. Vincent.
Brisbane was one of the most daring and successful frigate captains of the Age of Nelson. He was the son of an RN captain and entered naval service at age 10. Two years later as a midshipman on the ship of the line Hercules, 74 he participated in Admiral Rodney’s great victory over de Grasse at the Battle of Les Saintes. During the battle young Brisbane was seriously wounded in the back and taken below. Showing the mettle he would display throughout his career, he returned to duty after the wound was dressed. His captain was much impressed at the courage and determination of this 12-year old and later helped him get his lieutenant’s commission.
COLLECTING NAPOLEONIC MILITARIA
By Sheperd Paine
Of all Napoleonic collectibles, few combine physical beauty with historical significance as spectacularly as the military relics of that era. In addition to being beautiful objects in their own right, these splendid survivors of the battlefields of the Empire were not just “eyewitnesses” but actual participants in some of the most dramatic events of modern history.
Most people assume that all the tangible remnants of Napoleon and his Empire are locked up in museums, and never realize that it is possible to own genuine relics of the events that so stir our imagination. Yet these items are not only available, but remain within many collectors’ financial reach…
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON
By Sheperd Paine
The first question that comes to mind in considering the daily life of Napoleon is why, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, we should concern ourselves with the trivial details of a man who lived two hundred years ago. The first answer is that Napoleon was not born to royalty, and his lifestyle gives us a glimpse into the way many upper class people lived at the time. The second and far more important answer is that it allows us to study the mind and methods of the most brilliantly talented chief executive officer ever to manage a major human enterprise…
NAPOLEON IN THE MIDDLE EAST 1798 -1799
By David Markham
When Napoleon returned in triumph from his success in Italy, the situation for France seemed quite good. Only England remained in overt opposition to France, and without her continental allies, perhaps she could be dealt with once and for all. England’s greatest fear had always been an invasion across the channel, and this was the next order of business for Napoleon. He was put in charge of planning for such an invasion. The most critical difficulty was, of course, the complete domination of the channel by the British fleet. While the French navy, joined by Spanish ships, could be a significant force, they were no match for the British…
CAROLYN BONAPARTE QUEEN OF NAPLES
By Frank B. Goodrich
Carolyn-Maria-Annonciada Bonaparte, the youngest sister of Napoleon, was born at Ajaccio in 1782. She was, therefore, 11 years old when her mother and family were compelled to leave Corsica for Marseilles, and to accept the bounty of the convention. On going to Paris the next year, she was placed at Madame Campan’s boarding school, where she acquired some accomplishments and many affectations. In 1798, her brother Joseph was appointed ambassador of the republic near the papal government, and Carolyn spent some time with him in Rome. Then only 16, her rather precocious beauty attracted many admirers, among whom were Joachim Murat, aide-de-camp of Bonaparte, and the young prince to Santa Croce. Murat was evidently the favorite, but he was unable to prosecute his suit, as he fell at this period into disgrace with the general-in-chief on account of an unskillful maneuver before the walls of Mantua. He lingered for many months under Bonaparte’s displeasure, but redeemed himself in Egypt, at Aboukir, and in the struggle with Mourad Bey. One his return to France, Josephine strongly urged him to apply at once to Napoleon for the hand of the sister Carolyn, hoping by thus espousing his interests, to secure to herself a partisan in the very bosom of her husband’s family…
ELISA BONAPARTE PRINCESS OF LUCCA
By Frank B. Goodrich
Marianna-Elisa Bonaparte, the eldest of Napoleon’s sisters, was born in a Ajaccio, in the year 1777. She received a better education than either Pauline or Carolyn, for during her youth Corsica was tranquil, and the influence of her family considerable. They commanded sufficient credit to obtain her admission as a free pupil to the school of St. Cyr, where she remained till the Revolution broke out in Corsica, in 1792, in consequence of the capture of the island by the English. Madame Laetitia and her daughters now took up their residence at Marseilles, subsisting, as has been already stated, upon a fund voted by the convention for the support of Corsican refugees…
NAPOLEON’S IRISH LEGION: LA LEGION IRLANDAISE 1803 – 1815
By Virginia Medlen
Established on 31 August 1803, the Legion Irlandaise was originally created in anticipation of an invasion of Ireland. The purpose was to establish a core of trained Irish officers and NCOs who could raise the population of Ireland in a war of liberation against the English rulers of Ireland. By using Irish soldiers, Napoleon hoped to achieve three important goals: (1) the invasion force would be viewed by the Irish population as an army of liberation, rather than a foreign invader; (2) a minimum number of French troops would be required for the effort; and, (3) such an invasion, if properly carried out, would tie up a maximum number of English troops for years to come, and could result in the English suing for peace…