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December 02, 2005

The Midget Frog General.

I was going to do a post on Napoleon today, it being the anniversary of Austerlitz, and his coronation as Emperor, and tomorrow being the anniversary of Hohenlinden -but I ran out of time this morning.

I offer instead an email Jim C sent me, from some mutal acquaintances who have dream jobs... teaching military history at the Command and General Staff College. They should have to pay to have those jobs... not get paid!

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wanted to reminder you of today's significance, being the 200th anniversary of the French victory over the combined Russian and Austrian armies at Austerlitz. The Battle of the Three Emperors is arguably Napoleon's greatest victory and using today's doctrine, an example of a commander who could visualize the battlefield- since he had picked it as a place to offer battle a least a week before and set the conditions to cause the enemy commander's to react as he wanted them.

Attached are two music files- Marche D'Austerlitz and Pas de Charge de la Marine Imperial to help you get in the mood for the day, as well as the text of Napoleon's address to his troops after the battle. His letter to Josephine is also telling- he wrote it the day after the battle and "was a little tired."

Mark

Soldiers, I am happy with you!

At this day of Austerlitz, you have justified everything that I expected of your intrepidity; you have enriched your eagles with an everlasting glory. A 100 000 man army, under command of the Emperors of Russia and Austria, was, within less than four hours, cut or disbanded. What escaped your blades drowned in the lakes. Forty flags, the banners of the Russian imperial guard, 120 pieces of artillery, twenty generals, more than 30,000 prisoners, are the result of this day now famous forever. This infantry so reputed, and superior in number, could not resist your shock, and now you have no rivals to fear. So, within two months, this third coalition was vanquished and disbanded. Peace cannot be far away; but, as I promised to my people before crossing the Rhine, I shall make only a peace that will give us guaranties and ensure retribution to our allies.

Soldiers, when the French people placed the imperial crown upon my head, I entrusted myself to you to maintain it forever in the high beams of glory which could only make it worth to my eyes. But in the same moment, our enemies thought about destroying and dishonoring it! And this crown of iron, conquered by the blood of so many French, they wanted to force me to place it upon the head of our most cruel enemies! Temerarious and insane projects which, upon this very anniversary of the crowing of your Emperor, you have annihilated and destroyed. You taught them that it is easier to defy us and threaten us, than to defeat us!

Soldiers, when everything that is necessary to ensure the happiness and prosperity of your fatherland will be accomplished, I shall bring you back to France; there, you will be objects of my outmost favours. My people shall see you back with joy, and it will be enough for you to say "I was at the Battle of Austerlitz" for you to be answered "here is a gallant man".

To the Empress, at Strasbourg,

"Austerlitz, 12th Frimaire, Year XIV (December 3, 1805)

"I have sent Lebrun to you from the battlefield. I defeated the Russian and Austrian army commanded by the two emperors. I am slightly tired.