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Meissonier - 1814, Campagne de France

The 1814 Campaign in France saw Napoleon desperately struggling for his survival as the Allies closed in after his defeat at the Battle of the Nations in 1813. Many historians avow that Napoleon's fight to retain his throne and his Empire during the early months of 1814, remain his greatest hour, despite that ultimately he failed.

During the months of January to late March, Napoleon executed a series of maneuvers and fought a series of battles which demonstrated his genius for warfare at the highest level as both a strategist and a tactician. Fighting against the overwhelming odds of two hostile armies converging on Paris, Napoleon moved with lightening speed, parrying and throwing back one adversary before lunging to the next. Despite his brilliance, however, he lacked the manpower by this late stage of the Napoleonic Wars to deliver a decisive blow, and, although his enemies were shaken and severely mauled, they were able to recover and to eventually unite with their superior strength before Paris and bring the war to its conclusion. The capture of Paris by the Allies saw the demise of the First Empire and the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte to the island of Elba. Read more...

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