The week after the National Guard of the city of Paris had been called into service, the chiefs of the twelve legions and the general staff were admitted to take the oath of fidelity at the Emperor’s hands. The National Guard had already been organized into legions; but the want of arms was keenly felt, and many citizens could procure only lances, and those who could not obtain guns or buy them found themselves thereby chilled in their ardor to equip themselves. Nevertheless, the Citizen Guard soon enrolled the desired number of thirty thousand men, and by degrees it occupied the different posts of the capital; and whilst fathers of families and citizens employed in domestic work were enrolled without difficulty, those who had already paid their debts to their country on the battlefield also demanded to be allowed to serve her again, and to shed for her the last drop of their blood. Invalided soldiers begged to resume their service. Hundreds of these brave soldiers forgot their sufferings, and covered with honorable wounds went forth again to confront the enemy. Alas! very few of those who then left the Hotel des Invalides were fortunate enough to return.
Meanwhile the moment of the Emperor’s departure approached; but before setting out he bade a touching adieu to the National Guard, as we shall see in the next chapter, and confided the regency to the Empress as he had formerly intrusted it to her during the campaign in Dresden. Alas this time it was not necessary to make a long journey before the Emperor was at the head of his army.