On This Day in Napoleonic History – 13 October 1815

13Marshal Joachim Murat is executed

Murat landed at the Calabrian port of Pizzo five days earlier, attempting to rally support in the hope of regaining his kingdom. Instead, he was arrested and condemned to death by Procurator General. When his sentence was read out to him, Murat exclaimed, ‘How does Ferdinand IV wish my death? What have I done? It displeases me much to find the violence with which the Court of Naples has treated this affair.’

Murat told the confessor who came to take his confession, ‘My sins are so heavy that none but God himself can pardon them.’ When the confessor insisted upon confession, Murat took a pen and wrote, ‘I have lived a Christian and die a true Christian.’ When the time for his execution arrived, he refused to be blindfolded and gave the command to fire himself.

‘Murat has only had what he deserved,’ said Napoleon when the news of execution reached Saint Helena. β€˜It was all my own fault. I ought to have let him stay a marshal and not have made him a Duke of Berg, still less King of Naples.’

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