100 Days (Waterloo) Campaign
Tour Suggestions for Belgium
on the campaign
was the last campaign of the Napoleonic Wars and finally
ended Napoleon Bonaparte's
dreams of remaining emperor of France.
began with Bonaparte's now legendary escape from his exile
on the island of Elba to a France
that had quickly become disenchanted with the returned Bourbon
king Louis XVIII.
former emperor landed near Cannes with 600 guardsmen of
his bodyguard and moved towards Grenoble where he was confronted
by men of the 5th Regiment, which had been sent to arrest
alone Bonaparte said: "Soldiers of the 5th. You can
shoot your emperor if you dare." None did.
he advanced on Paris his military force grew with thousands
of old soldiers and regular troops flocking to his banner.
So many, in fact, that a notice appeared in the Place Vendome
in Paris: "From Napoleon to Louis XVIII. My good brother
- there is no need to send any more troops - I have enough."
March 19, the Bourbons fled for Belgium and a day later
Bonaparte took government and began preparations for the
Allied military onslaught he knew would come.
months after his return to France Bonaparte had an army
of 280,000 men, with half again due within another two months.
Impressive though that force was, it would be moved upon
by Allied armies filled with almost 1,000,000 men.
however, only England's Duke
of Wellington (110,000 men) and Prussia's Field
Marshal Blucher (120,000) were close enough to threaten
France and so Bonaparte decided to strike before the numbers
told against him.
with stunning speed, he invaded Belgium with 125,000 men
in a bid to split Wellington and Blucher's armies and defeat
strategic plan worked brilliantly and, picking the Prussians
as his first target, he despatched Marshal
Ney to hold off the Anglo-Allied force.