On This Day in Napoleonic History – 2 April 1814

marechal_neyRevolt of the Marshals at Fontainebleau

The Senate declared ‘Napoleon Bonaparte and his family deprived of the throne, the French people and army freed from their oath of fidelity’. Although Napoleon wanted to march on Paris, his marshals refused, demanding his abdication.

‘The army will obey me!’ said Napoleon, to which Ney replied, ‘The army will obey its chiefs.’ They reminded Napoleon that he had once promised to do what was in the best interest of France. Napoleon accused them of wishing his abdication only to enjoy the riches he had given them over the years but even he knew the real reason. Given the strategic position they were in, none of them could see how they could possibly win. Napoleon’s abdication was the only way to end the war.





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