Battle of Paris.
March 1814 .
No Hostile Army Had
Reached Paris For 400 Years.

Langeron's Russian infantry 
storming Montmartre Heights.
Battle of Paris 1814. 
Picture by Oleg Parkhaiev. 1. Introduction: Paris and France in 1814.
2. Military Operations -
- - "It's a Beautiful Chess Move !"

3. Battle of Paris.
- - Strength and deployment of French troops. >
- - Map. >
- - "To Arms !" >
- - Fight for Montmartre Heights >
- - Capitulation - "Joseph is an ass..." >
4. Allies in Paris.
- - The Parisians. >
- - The Cossacks were having fun. >
- - French Royalists and the English. >
- - The Bourbons are back. >
5. Napoleon's abdication.
6. Allies meeting in London.
7. Congress of Vienna.
- - "When the eagle was silent,
- - the parrots began to jabber."

Picture by Oleg Parkhaiev: the Battle of Paris, 1814. General Langeron (a French emigree in Russian service) and General Alexandr Rudsevich led the assault on French positions. The Russian drummers beat the rhythm. Some officers, riding out in front of the ranks with their sabers unsheathed, barked out words of encouragement. The Russians marched through the gardens and then up the slope and carried off the Montmartre batteries.

"I shall not make peace as long
as Napoleon is on the throne."
- Tsar Alexander

"It is not for my crown I am fighting,
but to prove that Frenchmen
were not born to be ruled by Cossacks."
- Napoleon in 1814

Introduction: Paris and France in 1814.
"Sadly, loyalty to the Emperor was so much diminished
in the Senate and the legislative body, that there were
leading members of these assemblies, such as Tallyrand,
... and others, who through secret emissaries informed
the allied sovereigns of the dissatisfaction among
the upper-class Parisians with Napoleon, and invited them
to come and attack the capital." - de Marbot

Campaign of France in 1814 The Russian, Prussian, and Austrian armies entered France and after several battles reached the gates of Paris. (See map.)
The British army entered southern France, while Bellegarde's Austrian corps pursued Eugene's French army in Italy.

France did not rise in mass against the invaders as did the Spaniards in 1809-1814, or the Russian people against the French in 1812.
Baron de Marbot explains why: "There are those who have expressed surprise that France did not rise in mass, as in 1792, to repel the invader, or did not follow the Spanish in forming, in each province, a centre of national defence. The reason is that the enthusiasm which had improvised the armies of 1792 had been exhausted by 25 years of war, and the Emperor's over-use of conscription, so that in most of the departments there remained only old men and children."

"As for the people, they thought it monstrous that the Emperor, after losing two huge armies in successive disasters, should presume to form another. In the course of a few months, Napoleon became downright unpopular. The nation wanted peace, and was rapidly coming to the conclusion that its master did not want to give it. With a running commentary from the royalists, the allied proclamation was having its effect. There was no thought of preferring the Bourbons to Napoleon, for they symbolised the Ancien Régime; but the French were weary and discouraged, and the began to offer passive resistance- the only right he had left them. The malcontents, who had been growing in number since 1812, were now beyond computation. People stopped paying taxes; requisition orders were not obeyed. The population looked on the invasion and took no action, at any rate, as long as the allies managed to hold their troops in check; and in the south the English were quite well received, for they could be relied upon to pay their way." (Georges Lefebvre - "Napoleon from Tilsit to Waterloo")

Paris and the Seine River. Paris was a metropolis, it had 550,000 people. The overall impression of the city was created by its theaters, gardens, museums, Ecole Militaire, Champ-de-Mars, monuments, churches, broad avenues and grand palaces. Paris was the capital of great country, France was one of the most populous and wealthiest nations in the World, the leading political, military and cultural power. The French language was spoken in all European countries.

Marbot described the situation in Paris in 1814: "Sadly, loyalty to the Emperor was so much diminished in the Senate and the legislative body, that there were leading members of these assemblies, such as Tallyrand, the Duc de Dalberg, Laisné and others, who through secret emissaries informed the allied sovereigns of the dissatisfaction among the upper-class Parisians with Napoleon, and invited them to come and attack the capital."

Napoleon was in Paris in January. On 24th January he wore the uniform of the commander in chief of the National Guard, and received the officers of the Paris garrison. "It was his last night in Paris." (Lachoque - "The Anatomy of Glory" p 342)
The Emperor had ordered the Montmartre Height to be fortified but Generals Clark and Hulin had neglected to do this.


From the beginning of this campaign
Napoleon had "put on his Italian boots"
and disconcerted the Allies
by the rapidity of his maneuvers.

Military Operations.
"It's a Beautiful Chess Move !"
- Napoleon on Allies' maneuver.

Emperor Alexander of Russia. The driving and decisive force in this campaign were the Russian and Prussian armies. Both monarchs were in a close relationship and the King of Prussia very often supported the Tsar. The Frenchmen in city of Troyes even described the King as Tsar's aide-de-camp.

The Austrian emperor leaned toward coming to terms with Napoleon so as to restrain the ambitions of the Russian emperor. But the Tsar was determined, he said "I shall not make peace as long as Napoleon is on the throne." The Russian monarch had support of Prussian king and Russian and Prussian generals.

In early 1814 Lord Castlereugh undertook to try to persuade the Tsar of the necessity for reopening negotiations but all his arguments failed to produce any effect on Alexander. The Russian monarch maintained that the only course to continue the war, and to act more vigorously than they had hitherto done.

French cuirassiers and dragoons 
attacked Prussian Guard infantry 
at Etoges 1814.  Picture by W.Kossak. Napoleon had appointed his wife, Marie Louise, as regent and had left Paris to place himself at the head of the French army. From the beginning of this campaign Napoleon had "put on his Italian boots" and disconcerted the Allies by the rapidity of his maneuvers. He was able to race from one Aliies' army to the other and confront them successively. The old but energetic Blucher was badly beaten at Champaubert, Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry and Vauchamps. The younger but slower Schwarzenberg was caught at Montereau and defeated.

The King of Prussia and Emperor of Austria had been quickly demoralized by the defeats and talked about general retreat but the Tsar was more determined than ever. He imposed his will on Schwarzenberg and the wavering monarchs. Allies' armies were again advancing against Napoleon. Napoleon defeated Russians at Craonne but his casualties were very heavy. At Laon he was unable to dislodge the Prussians and Russians. The French had taken Reims, but they had lost Soissons. The surrender of Soissons compromised Napoleon's strategic plan.

To contain Blucher's army, Napoleon left Marmont. He had to hold the Aisne River and to fight a deleying action. The Emperor then immediately marched against Schwarzenberg.

Napoleon's approach sent the Allied headquarters into mental convulsions. Schwarzenberg reportedly issued 3 contradictory orders on the 16th alone. Then he ordered his army to face Macdonald.

Confused and frightened Schwarzenberg ( collapsed with an attack of gout before ordering a general retreat.

Meanwhile Napoleon's own minister Talleyrand sent a secret letter to the Allies describing how the popular sentiment in Paris was running strongly against Napoleon and that the city would joyfully open its gates to the Russians, Prussians and Austrians as soon as they showed themselves on the horizon. (Talleyrand was a prototype of the witty, cynical diplomat. His corruption was undeniable, and his pliability enabled him to hold power under the ancien régime, the Revolution, Napoleon, the Restoration, and the July Monarchy.)

On March 20th, 1814 Tsar Alexander rode to Arcis-sur-Aube where, it was said, Napoleon was going to try his last chance. He took position on a hill and watched the battle raging in front of his eyes. Due to Schwarzenberg's half-measures the Allies' army was unable to win despite heavily outnumbering the French. Some time after the battle Tsar Alexander rode out to meet the King of Prussia and Schwarzenberg. He came upon them on the road, dismounted, had a map spread out on the ground, and explained the course of the action he favored. The main Allies' army was ordered to march on Paris while Russian general Wintzingerode with a huge mass of 10.000 cavalrymen rode toward Saint-Dizier to deceive Napoleon.
Tsar's stratagem was successful.
Guard artillery on the road in 1814. 
Picture by Keith Rocco, USA Having dispersed the Allies' cavalry Napoleon was astonished to learn from intercepted dispatches that it was not the advance guard of the main army, as he had imagined, but a divisionary detachment sent to keep him amused while the Russians and Prussians swooped down upon Paris. Napoleon was impressed: "It's a beautiful chess move ! ... I should never have thought a general of the coalition was capable of it." The Allied armies were nearing Paris and the roads were full of refugees.


Near the burning Torcy the Russians and Prussians
marched on both sides of the road and made
"the air resound with their trumpets and war songs."

Battle of Paris
March 30-31st, 1814.

Blucher was disposed to make a severe retaliation upon Paris
for the calamities that Prussia had suffered from France.

Austrian artillery in battle "The Allied armies of Silesia and Bohemia united at Meaux on 28 March and planned their culminating advance on Paris. With only the weak forces of Mortier and Marmont facing them - perhaps 23,000 men in all - and the defenses of the French capital in a very incomplete state, the 107,000 Allies made predictable progress toward their objective from the eastern and northern sides." (Chandler - "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars" p 286)

The allied armies reached Paris, with some Russians shouting "Paris ! Paris !", breaking their ranks and pressing forward to see the glorious city. The Allies brought approx. 100.000 troops (63.000 of them were Russians).

No hostile army had reached Paris for 400 years. The Enlish newspapers advocated the burning of the city. Emperor Alexander however was dominated by one idea; Napoleon had entered Moscow two years ago and now Alexander wished to enter Paris riding at the head of his Imperial Guard. He was not filled with the dreams of blood and fire which haunted the Prussians.
Prussian General Blucher was disposed to make a severe retaliation upon Paris for the calamities that Prussia had suffered from the armies of France. Blowing up the Parisian Bridge of Jena was said to be one of his contemplated acts. The discipline of the troops was relaxed and looting began with Allies and French soldiers with torches carrying off furniture to their bivouacs.

Russian General de Tolly Although the overall command of the Allies armies had Schwarzenberg, the direct command at Paris had Russian General Mikhail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly. (In 1809 he won a reputation by a daring march over the frozen Gulf of Bothnia, which allowed him to surprise the Swedish forces and seize Umeå. During Napoleon's Invasion of Russia in 1812 Barclay assumed the command of the the largest of the Russian armies facing Napoleon. He proposed the now famous tactic of drawing the French deep into one's own territory. Barclay commanded the right flank at Borodino with great valor and presence of mind. After Kutuzov's death, he once again became commander-in-chief of the Russian forces. Barclay took part in the invasion of France in 1814 and commanded the taking of Paris, receiving the baton of a field marshal in reward. In 1815 during the Waterloo Campaign, de Tolly was commander of the Russian army which invaded France.)

Strength and deployment of French troops.
Napoleon had charged his brother Joseph
and 40,000-65,000 soldiers with the defence of Paris.
Many soldiers thought that Napoleon was on his way to Paris.

Emperor Alexander of Russia spent the night at the Chateau of Bondy. The next day he met with General Schwarzenberg, the commander-in-chief of allied forces in France, and with General Barclay de Tolly, commanding the siege of Paris.

On March 28th the Empress (Napoleon's wife) left for Rambouillet with her son, the ministers and the Council of State and the Queen Catherine of Westphalia.

It is only on March 29 that King Joseph and Minister Clark decided to gather 84 cannons on the heights of Belleville and Montmartre. The artillery pieces were escorted by 1.200 men of the Imperial Guard and detachment of Elite Gendarmes.

Napoleon had charged his brother Joseph and 40,000-65,000 soldiers with the defence of Paris, the city, walls and 56 gates. The discipline was much relaxed. Looting had begun and one saw soldiers with torches carrying off furniture to their bivouacs.

French troops in Paris:
- Marshal Mortier's 8,000-15,000 guardsmen (mostly Young Guard)
- Marshal Marmont's 15,000-20,000 line troops.
- Marshal Moncey's 15,000-30,000 poorly trained National Guard
- field artillery and "40 fortress guns in fixed emplacements" (- Henri Lachoque)
- there were also three Polish field batteries led by officers: Walewski, Bujalski and Pietka, and some cavalry: 3rd Eclaireurs and part of 1st Guard Lancers.

Map of Battle of Paris, 1814. The French troops were deployed as follow: Christiani's infantry division defended the north of Paris, Belliard's cavalry was deployed on the plain of Saint-Denis, Ornano's cavalry stood to the left of Belliard, Compans' infantry has holding area of Romainville, Curial's infantry defended Les Maisonettes.
These troops were supported by artillery, National Guard and civilians.

King Joseph set up his command post on top of Montmartre. Mortier's Young Guard camped near their combat positions. Six batteries under Major Pion des Loches were placed on the outskirts of La Villette and Pantin, and near the Barriere du Combat.
Two divisions occupied the positions in front of Pantin.

Division under Boyer de Reberval (2,000 men) was made of two battalions of 11th Voltigeurs, one battalion of Flanqueurs-Grenadiers, and a battalion of th Tirailleurs. They held the Saint-Gervais meadows and the banks of the plateau of Beauregard.

Division under General Michel (4,000 men) was formed from the depots of infantry, of which a thousand, arriving from the towns of the Departments of the West, had been armed only that morning. This division covered the hamlet of the Maisonnettes and kept the bridges of the channel of Ourcq.

In front of Clichy was General Dautancourt with 320 cavalrymen drawn from all depots of the Guard. The battalion of the sappers of the engineers of the Guard occupied the heights of Montmartre.

Many soldiers thought that Napoleon was on his way to Paris.

"To Arms !"
"We have not enough troops to resist
these large armies for long; but today,
more than ever before, we are fighting
for our honor." - Marshal Mortier

In early morning the French NCOs cried "To Arms !" and in approx. the same time the young Polytechnicians arrived with General Evain at the Barrière du Trône. They were joined by veteran gunners and 28 guns of the reserve.
Marshal Mortier Marshal Mortier took up his position very early before La Villette in a redoubt whose 24pdr commanded the highroad. He said to his staff: "We have not enough troops to resist these large armies for long; but today, more than ever before, we are fighting for our honor." The men shared their commanders' determination, if not their military experience. Some were in a state of glee and excitement under the impression that they are to be led out to attack the 'northern barbarians' at the gates of Paris. Innocently unaware of war's grim realities, these units wore a variety of uniforms and were largely indifferent to the complexities of battalion maneuver. They would rely on patriotism rather than tactical proficiency to vanquish the hated enemy.

Russian infantry storming
the Montmartre Heights.
Battle of Paris 1814. At daybreak the fighting began and Parisians had been watching the battle through telescopes. Russian skirmishers had hard time to defeat the French skirmishers so the Astrahan and Pskov Cuirassiers drew sabers and charged the enemy. The French were broken and pursuedas far as the batteries of Belleville. (Mikhailofsky-Danilefsky A. - “History of the Campaign in France” London; Smith, Elder, and Co. Cornhill, 1839, p 356)

As the escalating roar of battle gave evidence that the Allies had begun their assault, the Mamelukes and Guard Eclaireurs came sweeping toward the eastern suburbs, driving Allies skirmishers before them.

Between 6 and 7 a.m. a sharp fight took place near Romainville, whose strategic importance was considerable. The green-clad Russians dislodged the Young Guard. The 11th Voltigeurs of Young Guard counterattacked.

Many troops fought in skirmish order or small battle groups defending streets, gardens and buildings. As the armed Parisians and infantrymen waited along the fence-lined edge of a garden in eastern Paris, their commanding officer rode forward to assess the situation. Moments later, he came galloping back, and ordering the men to their feet.
Over the fence and forward through the garden they went, opening fire on the advancing Russians. The pieces of Guard artillery placed in La Villette were firing continuously.

To the north, Blücher's Prussians attacked in Aubervilliers. But the Prussians didn't press too hard. To the southeast, Prince of Wurtemberg seized Saint-Maur and Charenton. Four regiments of Russian cuirassiers had sallied out of the village of Pantin but had found themselves handicapped by ditches and enclosures and exposed to artillery fire. The French counterattacked and the cuirassiers withdrew toward Pantin.

The artillery of Napoleon's Imperial Guard was firing continously and sent for more ammunition. They fired until the Prussian Guard arrived and joined the fighting allied troops. Then the gunners hurled 2 guns into the canal and abandoned other 2 as they retired. Allies artillery was busy too and even the Horse Grenadiers of Old Guard found themselves under fire.

King Joseph moved to Chateau of Brouillard.
Group of voltigeurs of Young Guard was surrounded at St. Denis by Russians and Prussians. They ran out of ammunition, and the tirailleurs of Young Guard and 80 Polish cavalrymen led by "hero of Somosierra" Kozietulski, tried to bring them cartridges.

Lafitte with Guard Chasseurs-a-Cheval and Kozietulski with Polish Guard Lancers led several charges until Marshal Moncey ordered them to retreat. At Parc des Buttes Chaumont, the National Guard and marine artillery fought a desperate battle against the assaults of the Prussians, before surrendering.

When Russian Chuguyev Uhlans captured French battery, they discovered that many of the French gunners were students of the École Polytechnique. Some of the prisoners were crying while others were hostile and defiantly stood by their cannons.

Montmartre Heights 
in early 19th century. Most of the fighting however took place on Montmartre Heights.

Fight for Montmartre Heights.
"The Old Guard Has Never
Laid Down Its Arms".

General Langeron (a French emigree in Russian service) and General Alexandr Rudsevich led the assault on French positions. The Russian drummers beat the rhythm. Some officers, riding out in front of the ranks with their sabers unsheathed, barked out words of encouragement. The Russians marched through the gardens and then up the slope and carried off the Montmartre batteries.

The French fought with desperation, Marshal Marmont's uniform was torn and blood-stained, his boots covered with mud and face black with powder. Marmont retired to Telegraph Hill from where he personally led a series of counterattacks. Although wounded and bleeding, he refused to surrender. Near Montmartre was fighting part of the 3rd Eclaireurs led by Dwernicki.

Grenadier of Old Guard.
Picture by Vernet, France. Lieutenant Viaux of 2nd Grenadiers of Old Guard collected 20 soldiers at Montmartre and fought to the end. His body full of wounds was found under a tree, with saber in his hand and surrounded by corpses of dead and wounded Prussians.

Near Courbevoie the invalids of Old Guard refused to surrender shouting "The Old Guard has never laid down its arms". The invalides gave up the fight only after had been granted a honorable terms. At Saint-Denis 400 voltigeurs of Young Guard led by Major Savarin refused to surrender to the Russians.

"Joseph is an ass..."
- Napoleon

Everyone was expecting Napoleon to come, and there were several false alarms.

There were as many as 18.000 killed and wounded. The doctors, military and civilian, were on the go all day. Next day they had to tend the enemy as well.

King Joseph Bonaparte. Marshals Mortier, Moncey and Marmont fought until King Joseph Bonaparte abandoned Paris desiring Marmont to conclude a convention for its surrender. Napoleon was furious and wrote: "...they must hold out until night ! Everyone has lost his head. Joseph is an ass ..." But the three marshals in Paris surrendered. Only one battalion of voltigeurs of Young Guard under Mjr. Savarin still held out for a while.

Emperor Alexander of Russia summoned Orlov and ordered him to accompany a French officer and to go with him to King Joseph as an envoy to hasten the surrender. The Russian monarch said to Orlov: "When God made me powerful and gave my armies success He wished me to secure the peace of the world. If we can do so without shedding any more blood we shall be glad, but if not, we shall carry on the fight to the end ... Whether it be in the palaces or on the ruins, Europe will sleep tonight at Paris."

Orlov had shown himself to be a sincere friend of France but the Prussian officer Muffling (was with Wellington in 1815) in his impatience was already asking Alexander whether Paris should not be set on fire (According to French author l'Houssaye).

Marshal Marmont, 
considered by most French 
as a traitor. Marshal Marmont took Orlov to his house while the Parisians were most anxious to learn the terms of capitulation. Marmont and Mortier learned that Alexander wished to spare the Parisians. The capitulation was signed at Marmont's house at 2 a.m.

Next day Marmont's troops marched out of Paris toward Essones and Mortier's to Mennecy. For the French Marshal Marmont was traitor and deserter. Baron de Marbot writes: "By King Louis XVIII Marmont was made a Peer of France, and Captain of the Garde-du-Corps. When Napoleon landed from Elba, he was denounced as a traitor for the part he had acted in the drama of the abdication."
The 3rd Eclaireurs refused to follow Marmont's troops and surrender to the Russians. They left Paris hoping to join Napoleon in Fountainbleu.

By this time Talleyrand had presented the keys of Paris to Alexander.


A huge bonfire was lighted in the court of Invalides
and hundreds of standards captured from the Allies
by French soldiers "were given to the flames."

Allies in Paris.
Russian General Sacken became
the new Governor of Paris.

Parisian deputation went to Emperor Alexander and presented the capitulation of the city. After Napoleon's surrender at Rochefort, King Joseph and many generals and officers went to the Americas.

The Allies made feverish preparations to enter Paris, "the modern Babylon." They were brushing their uniforms, polishing buttons and waxing their boots. At 11 a.m. they entered Paris through the Pantin Gate.

The French National Guard was lined up on either side of the way, making way for the men they had been fighting the day before. (The French regular troops left Paris during the night - according to the terms of armistice. Only the National Guard was allowed to stay.)
Parisians had climbed up into trees, on top of carriages and rooftops, and heads appeared at every window. Napoleon was in Fontainebleau where - as Mihailovski-Danilevski wrote - "he remained a silent witness of the triumph of Alexander in Paris."

Allies enter Paris in 1814.
In the lead the Lifeguard Cossacks. Alexander and the Lifeguard Cossacks appeared in Paris being greeted in a way "no pen is able to describe." The Russian monarch rode on grey thoroughbred named Eclipse (gift of Napoleon), on his one side was King of Prussia and on his other side Schwarzenberg representing the Emperor of Austria.
Approx. 1.000 Russian, Austrian, Prussian, Bavarian, Wirtembergian, Baden and British officers followed the monarchs. According to Mihailovski-Danilevski the order in which the Allies entered Paris was as follow:

  • Prussian Guard Cavalry
  • Russian Guard Light Cavalry
  • Austrian grenadiers
  • Russian grenadiers
  • Russian, Baden and Prussian Guard Infantry
    And finally, in the tail rode the long lines of booted to their knees and "full of vigor" Russian 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Cuirassier Division with horse artillery to create the climax of this parade march.

    Almost 400 guns passed by making an earsplitting din and raising a murmur of amazement.

    Allies enter Paris in 1814.
Picture by Weygand, France. Alexander halted, some ladies climbed up on the horses of officers as they wanted to get a closer look at the "Agamemnon of people." Alexander said in a loud voice: "I do not come as an enemy, I come to bring you peace and commerce !" The Parisians cheered and a citizen took a step forward and cried: "We've been waiting for you a long time !" The monarch replied: "If I didn't come sooner it is the bravery of French troops that is to blame !"
    The Parisians shouted: "Long live Alexander ! Long live the Allies !" After the parade was over Alexander went to the residence of Talleyrand and slept there.

    A Russian officer Glinka was impressed with Paris and its surroundings. He wrote that all the villages around Paris were well build, and the castles, palaces and gardens with fountains decorated the landscape. Only the smell of decomposed bodies of recently killed soldiers and horses spoiled the picture and polluted the air. Another officer, Löwenstern, experienced an indescribable feeling when he first time saw Paris. As he wrote, this is from this city laws, fashion and culture radiated on the entire Europe.
    For many Russians it was only during the peacetime that they noticed the cheerful nature of the French. The Parisian girls and women were described as cheerful, and either singing and speaking unceasingly. "And they are pretty"- as Glinka added. The girls and women were one of the main atractions for the cavalry.
    A. Chertkov of Russian Guard Cavalry Regiment enjoyed visiting the Palais Royal where on the third floor he met prostitutes and on the second floor could play the roulette.
    Other attraction were visits to Musée du Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, opera and theaters. Some officers slept in hotels, full of carpets and big mirrors, although they complained for the high prices. Glinka wrote ("Pisma russkogo ofitzera" Part V) that one day in Parisian hotel would cost 15 roubles (!)

    However not all Russians were so enthiusistic about Paris; after all here the bloody revolution and the Napoleonic expansion were born. So although they admitted that Paris looked grandious and rich they were disgusted in the excess of luxury. Officers wrote that Paris occupies smaller space than Moscow and is more crowded. That in Moscow every family has its own house but in Paris "one finds family behind every window."

    Parade of Russian, Prussian 
and Austrian troops in Paris, 
10th April 1814 Within next months there were held reviews of the Allies' troops with thousands of Parisians as curious spectators. The troops were ordered drilling and spit and polish sessions to look at their best. The Cossacks set their headgears with an air of defiance and cheerfulness everytime they passed the monuments erected for the glory of the French army.
    The Russians made remarks that they were busier because of the preparations to parades than during the campaign. The French, British and German observers expressed their enthiusiasm for the way the Russian Guard looked and marched. The crowd's reaction was one of bewildered awe.

    The Parisians.
    Many Parisians very still hostile.
    The Royalists however were mad with joy
    and paraded the streets shouting
    "Long live the Bourbons !"

    The reaction of Parisians to the occupying forces varied, some were angry and hostile, while other were very friendly. A hostile group of Parisians surrounded several Russian officers. The Russians dashed to nearby shop but the crowd followed them. One Frenchwoman approached them and set her fist at the face of Russian officer Löwenstern, cursing and shouting. The French National Guard, responsible for order, arrived and walked the Russians into safety.

    The French royalists however were mad with joy and paraded the streets shouting "Long live the Bourbons !" The new Governor of Paris became Russian General Sacken. When Russian hussars under Pahlen crossed the Austerlitz Bridge they were met by groups of royalists who offered bread and wine. Some hussars became so drunk so quickly that they had trouble to stay in saddles.

    During the occupation, "the British were looked down, the Prussians were hated but the Russians succeeded to create a friendly relationship with the French." Just like the town of Givet, which was so relieved to receive a Russian garrison and to see the departure of the Prussians. The Russian army stayed in Paris in its vicinity from spring to summer 1814. Then part of the troops and the Guard was ordered to march home.

    The Cossacks were having fun.
    The no-nonsense warriors bivouacked in the square
    of the Carousel before his majesty's windows,
    and dried their shirts and trousers on the
    iron railings of the palace.

    Cossacks in Paris. In the beginning the Parisians were scared of the Cossacks. Russian and Cossack officers gathered in certain restaurants and hammered on the tables yelling bistro ! which is Russian word for "quickly". Hence the name bistro for this type of restaurant.

    The dreaded Cossacks were received with the best meals but they preferred to cook their own meals. The no-nonsense warriors bivouacked in the square of the Carousel before his majesty's windows, and dried their shirts and trousers on the iron railings of the palace. The Cossacks also camped out on the famous Champs Elysees.

    (The Cossacks were again in Paris in 1815. In 1815 a group of Cossacks was despatched to find the Prussians and English armies advancing on Paris and they were the first Allies' troops who marched through Paris after Waterloo.)

    French Royalists and the English.
    The French Royalists decorated their houses
    in Paris with Bourbons' symbols.

    The French royalists and English newspapers described Napoleon as a coward, a charlatan and compared him to Cromwell and leader of the Huns, Attila. The French royalists were overjoyed when their king returned to Paris. They decorated their houses and gates with Bourbons' symbols.
    In 1793, Napoleon freed Toulon from the royalists and from the British troops supporting them. In 1795, when royalists marched against the National Convention in Paris, he had them shot. The French royalists then devised a plot that involved kidnapping and assassinating Napoleon and inviting the Duke of Enghien, to lead a coup d'etat that would precede the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy.
    German farmer, mounted Cossack 
and an Englishman, enjoying a duel
between robust Blucher and the 
little Buonaparte.  
Picture by G. Shadow, England The British government of William Pitt the Younger had contributed to this Royalist conspiracy by financing one million pounds and providing naval transport to the royalists.

    In English caricature Napoleon was portrayed as a little Corsican upstart and Josephine as a tart. The cartoons of Gillray drew crowds of people to the shops and discounts were offered for buying larger numbers of prints. Napoleon was demonised and British mothers would tell their children at night, 'If you don't say your prayers, Boney will come and get you.'

    When Napoleon left France for Elba Island the Bourbons have returned in full strength. They were disliked by many Frenchmen and political caricatures and cartoons appeared on walls. One of them showed the fat King Louis XVIII riding behind a Cossack, "over the corpses of French soldiers."

    The Bourbons are back.
    Marshal Marmont was not the only one
    falling in love with the old regime.
    Ney "The Bravest of the Brave",
    Macdonald, Oudinot, Souham, and others
    followed Marmont's steps.

    King Louis XVIII On May 3rd took place a solemn entry of King Louis XVIII in Paris. He was seated beside his niece, Marie-Antoinette's daughetr and sole survivor of the former royal family. The royalist diarist de Boigne writes: "The procession was escorted by the Imperial Guard. Its aspect was imposing, but it froze us. It marched quickly, silent and gloomy. With a single glance it checked our outbursts of affection. ... The silence became immense, and nothing could be heard but the monotonous tramp of its quick striking into our very hearts." Another royalist, Chateaubraind had noticed how the veterans had "pulled their bearskins down over their eyes and presented arms with a gesture of fury."

    Marshal Ney Marshal Marmont was not the only one falling in love with the old regime. Marshal Michel Ney "The Bravest of the Brave", Marshal Macdonald (nothing in common with the fast-food chain), the stalwart Marshal Oudinot and generals Compans, Souham, and Bordesoulle followed Marmont's steps.

    On April 5th several other generals held a secret meeting. General Pelet was one of the few who considered this meeting illegal and refused to attend. However the commander of the 1st Division of Old Guard, Friant, warned Pelet that no further orders would be received from Napoleon. Ney and Macdonald had forbidden Berthier to transmit Napoleon's orders to the army.

    Even 5 days after Napoelon's abdication Davout's men, bottled up in Hamburg and still fighting on, hadn't yet heard of it. So that when, at dawn on 9 May, they'd seen "the enemy line decked out in white flags, the marshal [Davout] ordered us to fire on them. After a quarter of an hour they'd been knocked down by our gunfire. New flags quickly appeared, out of range of our roundshot."

  • ~

    Chateaubriand related that "when the King passed,
    the grenadiers of Old Guard bared their teeth like tigers.
    When they presented arms they did so with a movement of fury,
    and with a noise which filled the onlookers with terror."

    Napoleon's abdication.
    "Down with the traitors !
    On to Paris !" - Old Guard

    Grenadiers of the Old Guard 
during the campaign in France 
in 1814. Napoleon abdicated on April 6. However, occasional military actions continued in Italy, Spain, and Holland throughout the spring of 1814.

    Part of the French army was very unhappy with the new situation. On April 7th the Chasseurs and Grenadiers of the Old Guard, and elements of the Middle Guard, came out of their barracks in Fountainebleau carrying torches and weapons shouting "Vive l'Empereur !" and "Down with the traitors !" These lads were looking for trouble.
    Already few days earlier Chateaubriand related that "when the King passed, the grenadiers of Old Guard bared their teeth like tigers. When they presented arms they did so with a movement of fury, and with a noise which filled the onlookers with terror."

    Kozietulski, the Hero of Somosierra, declared that his Polish Guard Lancers were in a fighting mood and were completely devoted to the Emperor. Count Krasinski, commander of the regiment, wearing beautiful boots, his black horse caparisoned like a charger in the 'Arabian Nights' drew up his unit in two lines of battle.

    The French Old Guard and Polish lancers lit torches and marched to the city. The generals however were tired of fighting.

    On April 7th Napoleon called for volunteers from his Old Guard to serve in his guard on Elba Island. The Allies allowed for 500 infantrymen, 120 cavalrymen and 120 artillerymen. Generals Petit and Pelet were soon swamped with requests. Many officers asked to serve as simple privates. Out of 400 volunteers of Guard Artillery 100 were selected for Elba. Out of the Marines 21 men were accepted, and out of the entire French and Polish cavalry only 100 Polish lancers were chosen. There were additionally several hundred volunteers from infantry, 300 grenadiers and 300 chasseurs of Old Guard.
    Charles Parquin wrote: "General Krasinski who commanded the Polish lancers ... came forward with his officers. As he took his leave of the Emperor he uttered these words, which do the greatest credit to his nation: "Sire, if you had mounted the throne of Poland, you would have been killed upon it; but the Poles would have died at your feet to a man."
    Krasinki wearing his parade uniform announced to his lancers that "God has visited misfortune upon the Emperor" and all began to weep. They regreted they had not all been killed before hearing that anyone had dared demand Napoleon's abdication. Loud cries for vengeance were heard along with "Vive l"Empereur!" Sabers and lances were brandished and the cavalry moved toward Fontainebleau. They passed through Nainville before Sebastiani's ADC halted them.
    Krasinski galloped off to headquarters to protest that his duty and honor called him to Napoleon's side, since it was not to France but to Napoleon that his lancers had pledged their lives. The lancers bivouacked near Fountainebleau where also the loyal French Guard Artillery set their camps.

    Napoleon farewell in 1814. On April 20, 1814 the Emperor of France bid farewell to the soldiers of his Old Guard. Tears trickled down their cheeks and they struggled to maintain composure (see picture) when he said:
    "Soldiers of my Old Guard: I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have constantly accompanied you on the road to honor and glory. In these latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have invariably been models of courage and fidelity. ...
    I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. ... Adieu, my friends. Would I could press you all to my heart."
    At these words General Petit waved his sword in the air and cried Vive l'Empereur ! which was rapturously echoed by the whole Imperial Guard. But when Napoleon was leaving not one of the old warriors was able to utter a sound. They watched in mournful silence, some cried. On the way home they beat up some royalists and gendarmes and nailed to the bridge a placard inscribed 'Long live Napoleon the Great !'

    The Russian and Prussian armies were drawn up on both sides of the road leading to Paris. They presented arms to the few French troops. General Bordesoulle met the 30th Dragoon Regiment and ordered them to draw sabers and render the honors. The colonel of the 30th Dragoons was in very bad mood. He angrily replied: "If my dragoons draw sabers it will be to charge !"


    "Twenty times Tsar Alexander had to appear on the balcony
    to respond to the ovations of the English." (- Henri Troyat)

    Allies meeting in London.
    Allies monarchs were guests at a diner
    held by British merchants and bankers.

    In England news of Napoleon downfall was greeted with euphoria and Emperor Alexandr's earlier duplicity was forgotten while the English newspapers heaped praise upon the Russian troops. When Allies leaders (Emperor Alexander, King of Prussia, Prince Metternich, Prince of Liechtenstein, Hannoverian Prince, generals Schwarzenberg, Blucher, Platov, de Tolly and many others) disembarked at Dover, they realized that the English were as infatuated with them as the Parisians (or rather the French royalists).

    Huge crowds cheered Emperor Alexander along the road. The Londoners unhitched the horses from the barouche in which the Tsar of Russia was sitting with the King of Prussia and pulled the carriage through the streets. While the monarchs were waiting for a visit from the Prince Regent, an enthusiastic crowd gathered in front of the house. "Twenty times Tsar Alexander had to appear on the balcony to respond to the ovations of the English." (- Henri Troyat)

    Important events in London:

  • 7th June - arrival of Allies leaders
  • 16th June - Allied monarchs are guests at a diner held by merchants and bankers.
  • 20th June - Blucher, Wellington and Barclay de Tolly reviewed 12,000 British troops in Hyde Park. (See below).

    The Allied Sovereigns and Generals Attending a Review
    Of British Troops in Hyde Park, in 1814.

    Allied sovereigns and generals were showered with gifts and awards. Alexander received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University and showed himself in Hyde Park on horseback dressed in English uniform. He also visited Westminster, the British Museum and the races at Ascot. The Tsar met with the Quakers and discussed religious questions and talked with Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher and jurist. He was also invited to Guildhall, at which 700 guests gathered. Italian singers did their best to charm the distinguished guests and the dinner was served on gold plates.
    Suddenly the Russian Grand Duchess Catherine abruptly asked that the Italians be silent, she detested music. Alexander was hard of hearing and didn't understand the embarrassed murmurs all around him. Her demand threw the company into great confusion and the monarch couldn't wait to leave this country that was too proper and stiff for his taste.

    On top of this embarasment there were disagreements between Alexander and the Prince Regent. Alexander noticed that the British court and diplomats strongly objected to his views on Poland and further strengthening of the Russian Empire. Alexander took ship at Dover and sailed to France before returning to Russia. He rode through Germany, Poland, and the devastated western Russia before reaching S. Petersburg.

    Allies monarchs' popularity faded quickly but Platov and his bearded Cossacks were liked to the very end. Platov was awarded a golden sword and a honorary degree by the University of Oxford.

  • ~

    When Castlereagh of Britain sided with France and Austria,
    Emperor Alexander of Russia reminded Castlereagh that
    there was 400,000 Russian troops in Poland and Saxony,
    and he invited Britain to remove them if it could.

    Congress of Vienna.
    When the eagle was silent,
    the parrots began to jabber.

    Congress in Vienna After Napoleon' abdication in 1814 a congress met in Vienna. It was a conference between ambassadors, from the major powers in Europe that was chaired by the Austrian statesman Metternich. Its purpose was to redraw the map of Europe. When the eagle was silent, the parrots began to jabber.

    Initially, the representatives of the four victorious powers hoped to exclude the French from serious participation in the negotiations, but Talleyrand managed to skillfully insert himself into "her inner councils" already in the first weeks of negotiations.

    - France was represented by its foreign minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord.
    - Although Russia's official delegation was led by the foreign minister, Count Nesselrode, Emperor Alexander I for the most part acted on his own behalf.
    - Britain was represented first by its Foreign Secretary, Viscount Castlereagh.
    - Austria was represented by Prince Metternich, the Foreign Minister, and by his deputy, Baron Wessenberg.
    - Prussia was represented by Prince Hardenberg, the Chancellor, and the diplomat and scholar von Humboldt.
    - Marquis of Labrador, Spain's representative, was invited too. There were also reprsentants of Portugal, Sweden, Netherlands and several german states.
    - Even the Iroquois Confederacy from America participated in the congress as it had been an ally of the British during the War of 1812 which was viewed by the British as part of the Napoleonic Wars.

    Most of the work however was performed by the five main powers:

  • Russia
  • Great Britain
  • Austria
  • Prussia
  • and former enemy, France

    Emperor Alexander of Russia set forth what he expected: Poland should become monarchy under himself, and wanted Prussia to have Saxony. When Castlereagh of Britain sided with France and Austria, Emperor Alexander reminded Castlereagh that there was 400,000 Russian troops in and around Poland and Saxony, and he invited Britain to remove them if it could.

    The Congress's principal results: Russia was given most of the Duchy of Warsaw (Poland) and was allowed to keep Finland (which it had annexed from Sweden in 1809 and held until 1917). Prussia was given 2/5 of Saxony, parts of the Duchy of Warsaw, Danzig (Gdansk), and the Rhineland/Westphalia. Sweden ceded Swedish Pomerania to Prussia. The neutrality of Switzerland was guaranteed. Austria regained control of the Tirol and Salzburg; of the former Illyrian Provinces, and received Lombardy-Venetia in Italy and Ragusa in Dalmatia. The Papal States were under the rule of the pope. Great Britain received parts of the West Indies at the expense of the Netherlands and Spain and kept the former Dutch colonies of Ceylon and the Cape Colony, and also kept Malta and Heligoland. A large United Kingdom of the Netherlands was created for the Prince of Orange.
    The slave trade was condemned.

    Marie Louise, Napoleon's wife received the Duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla.

  • Links.

    History of Paris.
    Marshal Bon-Adrien Jannot de Moncey.
    Marshal Auguste Frédéric Louis Viesse de Marmont.
    (Russian) General Mihail Bogdanovich Barclay de Tolly
    (Rusia) General Petr Hristianovich Wittgenstein
    (Austrian) General Karl-Phillip, Furst zu Schwarzenberg
    (Prussian) General Gebhard-Leberecht Blucher
    Montmartre Heights.
    Travel to Paris.
    Bonapartist Refugees in America.

    Russian Army. ~ Austrian Army. ~ Prussian Army

    Napoleon, His Army and Enemies