Wellington: The Great Military Leader Who Led His Armies To Victory Against Napoleon

The armies that fought against Napoleon are some of the most celebrated in British history. Under the leadership of the Duke of Wellington, they drove the…

Source: Wellington: The Great Military Leader Who Led His Armies To Victory Against Napoleon

The art of storytelling in times of war

“…In 1990 a young girl offered a heart wrenching testimony to how Iraqi soldiers had forced their way into a maternity ward in Kuwait, how they’d destroyed the islolettes and left newborn and premature infants to die. She called herself Nayira. Her testimony made a tremendous impression and it had a huge emotionally impact in the first Gulf War against Iraq. The problem was, though: the story was a hoax. Nayira was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to USA. Her testimony was produced by a PR agency, and what she told had no root in reality…” Wikipedia.

This story has everything. Young, crying girl, premature infants, barbarian soldiers. As Frank Zappa would have said: It is carefully designed to suck…

Source: The art of storytelling in times of war

Charades with the Duke of Wellington – Shannon Selin

A game of charades in Vanity Fair

Charades, which began in 18thC France as a type of riddle, became a popular 19thC parlour game. Let’s sit in on a game of charades played by the Duke of Wellington in 1821.

Source: Charades with the Duke of Wellington – Shannon Selin

Tales from the Archive: Joséphine and the French Prophetess – The Bowes Museum’s Blog

Portrait of Marie-Anne Lenormand by Jeanne-Philiberte Ledoux

The central dome of The Bowes Museum houses the Museum’s Reading Room and Archive. Aside from panoramic views of Teesdale, it is well worth making the trip up to the top of the Museum for the conte…

Source: Tales from the Archive: Joséphine and the French Prophetess – The Bowes Museum’s Blog

Al-Nakba – Al Jazeera English

“The Nakba did not begin in 1948. Its origins lie over two centuries ago….”

So begins this four-part series on the ‘nakba’, meaning the ‘catastrophe’, about the history of the Palestinian exodus that led to the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, and the establishment of the state of Israel.This sweeping history starts back in 1799 with Napoleon’s attempted advance into Palestine to check British expansion and his appeal to the Jews

Source: Al-Nakba – Al Jazeera English

Who shot Edward Vyse in the head? The Corn Law Riots, 1815 – About1816

In 1815 the soldiers and sailors won the war against Napoleon but the government handed the victory to the landlords. They had profited from the high price of   grain during the war blockade, and s…

Source: Who shot Edward Vyse in the head? The Corn Law Riots, 1815 – About1816

German Sausages and Flying Ambulances

When I first saw the term “flying ambulance” I thought it was something that had originated in Africa, or in the Australian outback, a vehicle for flying doctors. In fact it goes back much further than that. To the Napoleonic Wars, as I discovered only recently.

I was researching the Battle of Waterloo for my book, A Lady for Lord Randall, and it was impossible not to think about the casualties. More than 40,000 soldiers died on the battlefield and given the state of medical knowledge at that time, it is debateable which was worse, to be killed outright or seriously wounded. Dr Howard Martin has written two wonderfully detailed books on the subject (Wellington’s Doctors and Napoleon’s Doctors) if you want to find out a lot more fascinating details. One thing that became clear to me is that in the treatment and care of injured soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars the French had the advantage. Bonaparte was very forward-thinking when it came to the health of his army. He preferred prevention to medical treatment, he advocated good food, good hygiene, fresh air and high morale. He also supported the use of quinine and…

Source: German Sausages and Flying Ambulanc

June 20 1815: News of Waterloo Reaches London


At 11 o’clock on the night of 21 June [1815] a dirty travelling-coach rolled into St James’s Square and came to a halt outside No. 18. Passers-by stopped and stared with curiosity at two military colours, their staffs topped with gilded Napoleonic eagles, which protruded from one of the coach windows. Its occupant, Major Henry Percy, one of Wellington’s aides-de-camp, alighted and bounded up the steps of Castlereagh’s house. On being informed that the Foreign Secretary was dining with Mr Edmund Boehm at No. 16, along with the Prince Regent and Lord Liverpool, Percy seized the two French colours and went to find him there. A moment later he burst into the dining room, threw the colours at the feet of the Prince Regent and announced that Wellington had won a great victory over Napoleon, who had fled the field followed by the remnants of his shattered army. Before he had…

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Bonaparte the Bookworm – Napoleon Was An Avid Reader; So What Were His Favourite Books? | militaryhistorynow.com

Originally posted on militaryhistorynow.com.

Napoleon routinely took time from empire building to lose himself in a good book.

Napoleon routinely took time from empire building to lose himself in a good book.

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE was a voracious reader. He had a personal librarian, he always travelled with books, and he took a great interest in constructing the ultimate portable library to accompany him on his military campaigns. Napoleon’s taste in books was primarily classical. He had some lifelong favourite authors, including Plutarch, Homer and Ossian. But what else did he like to read?

Napoleon’s love of books

According to his classmate (and later secretary) Louis Bourrienne, Napoleon read avidly from an early age. Whenever they had free time at the military school at Brienne:

[Napoleon] would run to the library, where he read with great eagerness books of history, particularly Polybius and Plutarch. He also especially liked Arrian, but had little taste for Quintus Curtius. (1)

At the École Militaire in Paris and as a young artillery officer, Napoleon continued to read classical scholars, as well as more recent French and Italian authors. He also read a number of English works in translation. An idea of his favourites might be judged by what he chose to bring with him during a…

via Bonaparte the Bookworm – Napoleon Was An Avid Reader; So What Were His Favourite Books? | militaryhistorynow.com.

The Expectant Hope of Victory. | Adventures In Historyland

Originally posted on Adventures In Historyland.

Dawn of Waterloo. Lady Butler.

The day dawned fresh and cool after the rain which had stopped some time after first light, only fitful showers reimagined and passed across the sky as a farewell gesture from the storm. The sultry heat of the past three days had broken and clouds were still thick in the sky. Slats of sunlight shone down on the scene below.

In the daylight the battlefield unfolded itself to the eye. On either side of the main Brussels Chaussée were wide expanses of open fields bordered by ditches and hedges, the crops were ready to harvest and stood as tall as a man. To the east was the Bois de Paris, and to the north, hidden by Mont St Jean ridge, was the Bois de Soignes. The ridge rose distinctively but undramatically up from a valley formed by the rival height of Trimontiau, where advance elements of the French army had spent the night.

Regiments were coming awake and going through their practised routines as if nothing of moment was about to occur. Breakfast was put on the boil, equipment checked and cleaned, picquet’s posted, foragers sent out, drums and bugle calls sounding for the morning parade, parade state given and recorded, and half rations of alcohol were administered. Meanwhile the senior officers waited for orders. Though the procedure was slightly different in each army, military life has a pattern that most soldiers recognise.

Many had awoken with premonitions of death, wills were hurriedly written after stand too. Soon slips of paper were being passed around. They all said similar things, give this to my loved ones if I don’t make it, and I’ll do the same for you. In the ranks of the British contingent everything was…

via The Expectant Hope of Victory. | Adventures In Historyland.

The Holy Roman Empire: from Charlemagne to Napoleon

British Museum blog

Joachim Whaley, Professor of German History and Thought, University of Cambridge

Replica crown of the Holy Roman Empire, 1913. © Anne Gold, Städtische Museen for the City Hall, Aachen Replica crown of the Holy Roman Empire, 1913. © Anne Gold, Städtische Museen for the City Hall, Aachen

The object labelled Charlemagne’s crown in the British Museum’s exhibition Germany: memories of a nation reminds us of a long history that ended over a century before the Third Reich began, but which nonetheless continues to shape Germany and German-speaking Europe even today. Like the polity which it recalls, the crown has a complex history. The object itself is a replica made in 1913 of the imperial crown which was once kept in Nuremberg and has been in Vienna since 1796. This crown almost certainly originated around AD 960, made by a Lower Rhineland workshop, perhaps in Cologne. Whether Charlemagne himself was actually crowned is unclear and while we know that he crowned his son at Aachen in 813 we do…

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Hunt is on for Battle of Waterloo descendants for 200th anniversary in 2015 | Waterloo 200 | 1815 – 2015

First Night History

Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler
Prints of Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler are available to buy at FirstNightVintage


Originally posted on Waterloo 200 | 1815 – 2015.

A call is going out to the nation and beyond to find descendants of those who fought in the Battle of Waterloo, the last great conflict of the age of the sword, cannon and musket in Western Europe, ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Battle in 2015.

On 18th June 1815, one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever was fought by the Duke of Wellington and his allied army, bringing to an end a long campaign against the might of Napoleon Bonaparte. Over rolling countryside between two ridges, 11 miles south of Brussels, the entire course of European history changed as Napoleon was defeated, ending his leadership of the French Empire. Waterloo literally means ‘wet meadow’ and the condition of the…

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May 29 1814: Joséphine Dies


On May 29 1814, at about noon, Joséphine, the first wife of the Emperor Napoleon, and herself the first Empress of the French, dies. She dies in the Chateau Malmaison with her children, Hortense and Eugene. She receives the last rites at eleven in the morning. Her son was with her when she died. Some accounts write that she died in his embrace. Her daughter, overcome, had earlier fainted and been carried from her room. Josephine’s last words are variously recorded, and probably involve a degree of alteration, and embellishment. One version of her last words has her saying:

At least,” said Josephine, with dying accent, ” at least I shall carry with me some regrets. I have aimed at the good of the French people ; I have done all in my power to promote it, and I may say with truth to all who attend me in my last moments, that never, no, never…

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