Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,044 pages of information about Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete.

On learning of the victory of Lutzen, and the entrance of the Emperor into Dresden, the Emperor of Austria hastened to send M. de Bubna to his son-in-law.  He arrived on the evening of the 16th; and the interview, which his Majesty immediately granted, lasted until two hours after midnight.  This led us to hope that peace was about to be concluded, and we consequently formed a thousand conjectures, each more encouraging than the other; but when two or three days had passed away, and we still witnessed only preparations for war, we saw that our hopes were cruelly deceived.  Then it was I heard the unfortunate Marshal Duroc exclaim, “This is lasting too long!  We will none of us outlive it!” He had a presentiment of his own death.

During the whole of this campaign the Emperor had not a moment of repose.  The days passed away in combats or marches, always on horseback; the nights in labors in the cabinet.  I never comprehended how his body could endure such fatigue, and yet he enjoyed almost continuously the most perfect health.  The evening before the battle of Bautzen he retired very late, after visiting all the military posts, and, having given all necessary orders, slept profoundly.  Early next morning, the 20th of May, movements began, and we awaited at headquarters with eager impatience the results of this day.  But the battle was not over even then; and after a succession of encounters, always ending in our favor, although hotly contested, the Emperor, at nine o’clock in the evening, returned to headquarters, took a light repast, and remained with Prince Berthier until midnight.  The remainder of the night was passed in work, and at five o’clock in the morning he was on his feet and ready to return to the combat.  Three or four hours after his arrival on the battlefield the Emperor was overcome by an irresistible desire for sleep, and, foreseeing the issue of the day, slept on the side of a ravine, in the midst of the batteries of the Duke of Ragusa, until he was awaked with the information that the battle was gained.

This fact, which was related to me in the evening, did not astonish me in the least; for I have already remarked that when he was compelled to yield to the necessity of sleep, that imperious want of nature, the Emperor took the repose which was so necessary to him when and where he could, like a true soldier.

Although the result was decided, the battle was continued until five o’clock in the evening.  At six o’clock the Emperor had his tent erected near a solitary inn, which had served as headquarters for the Emperor Alexander during the two preceding days.  I received orders to attend him there, and did so with all speed; but his Majesty, nevertheless, passed the whole night receiving and congratulating the chief generals, and working with his secretaries.

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Recollections of the Private Life of Napoleon — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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