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HistWar : Napoléon... First day...
« le: 31 juillet 2013, 11:01:56 am »
A small village in Northern France.



It was eight in the morning when the ordnance officer from the Emperor's headquarters arrived in the village where two companies of the 1st regiment of the imperial guard were stationed.
Every soldier understood what the arrival of such an officer meant; The army will soon be on the move.

When he arrived to the town's center, he immediately identified where the Corps commander was lodged. He stopped his horse and dismounted quickly.
As a corporal got a hold of the reins, the officer had already entered the house.

After a while, the two officers met again. They greeted each other like old acquaintance before separating.

Then the general sounded a proclamation which was followed by a big commotion in the village. The villagers watched in good spirit this spontaneous spectacle.

In the afternoon, the whole regiment was in formation. The general and his high command where standing in the court of the small church:
<<Officers, soldiers…The Emperor is asking us to march to battle against a new coalition that threatens the nation…>> He continued for a few more moments his speech before reading the marching orders sent by the imperial headquarter.

When he finished, there was a profound silence… and suddenly…a << Long live the Emperor>> resounded in the village.

The general was proud to command this guard regiment and this reaction made him even prouder…

July 31st 1805... Extract from the book of Sergent Bonheur

1st company, 1st battalion, 1st regiment of the grenadiers of the imperial guard.

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Re : HistWar : Napoléon... First day...
« Réponse #1 le: 08 août 2013, 15:33:21 pm »


On the roads of Northern France.

A week ago, the 1st regiment of the grenadiers of the imperial guard left their encampment heading towards the concentration zone.

Each morning, the troop would start its march at sunrise and, by early afternoon, would have traveled about thirty kilometers. Each hour, a halt of a few minutes was used to eat or smoke a pipe. Mid-way a 30 minute break allowed for a refreshing rest.
When arrived at destination, after finding lodging among the populace, the soldiers would try to find a bite to eat, even flirt with the young ladies who were always welcoming.

The officers would have many discussions which were closely followed. Sergeant  Bonheur was friends with the company leader, captain Le Sang...The courageous Bonheur, merely a corporal at the time, had saved him from certain death in an engagement at Marengo.

Also the sergeant knew the Emperor awaited his guard to march with it in this new campaign.

August 7th 1805... Excerpt from the book of Sergeant Bonheur
1st Company, 1st Battalion,  1st Regiment of the grenadiers of the imperial guard.

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Re : HistWar : Napoléon... First day...
« Réponse #2 le: 15 août 2013, 00:17:04 am »


Napoleon and his guard.

We arrived on August 12th and resided in the encampment around the Pont-de-Briques castle where Napoleon was, accompanied by his staff and his household. Companies from the “Chasseur a cheval” of the guard as well as from the “chasseurs a pied” of the guard had the honor of accompanying him.

This time, the men of our regiment were jealous, but they knew that they will have their chance to escort our respected little corporal.

On the 13th, captain Le Sang gathered the men from the first company and rigorously examined every soldier. Each man had to be flawless during the inspection; otherwise the commander of the 1st regiment would issue harsh sanctions. This however, had happened only once as far as the officers could remember.

Finally, at dawn, the two battalions making up the regiment marched towards the Emperor’s encampment with the band playing. Bayonets were fixed and sparkled in the rising sun.

Like in a parade, the five thousand men of the imperial guard took position in the vast garden in front of the large residence where Napoleon was staying.
We were waiting for him to come out on the balcony. All heads were looking at it. However a cheer came from the right. He was mounted on beautiful white horse followed by all his Marshals and ordnance officers.

He stood in front of us and his staff stood behind him.

His voice was loud and clear:
« Officers, Soldiers, my sons… our nation’s enemies threaten us… we will not let them invade us… »
And for half an hour, with poise, the Emperor addressed us with conviction…

Napoléon then stopped talking… no one knew if he had finished his speech… but a few seconds later, one grenadier screamed « Long live the Emperor»… followed by a second and then instantly they were joined by 5000 voices shouting “Long live the Emperor”.

August 14th 1805… Extract from the memoires of Sargent Bonheur.
1st company, 1st battalion, 1st regiment of the grenadiers of the imperial guard.