The 1814 Campaign for France
Having managed to survive through both the disastrous 1812
and 1813 campaigns in Russia
and Germany, Napoleon Bonaparte
made the politically fatal error of not agreeing to peace
terms set by the Allied Powers.
ever-strengthening Allies wanted to restrict France to borders
based on the Rhine and the Alps but Bonaparte felt, as he
had done before, that he would be able to best the combined
forces ranged against him.
time, however, his inexperienced troops would be assailed
from all sides and by seasoned and numerous soldiers led
by the likes of the Duke of
Wellington, Field Marshal
Blucher and a former French marshal, now Crown Prince
of Sweden, Jean-Baptiste
the odds, an energised Bonaparte performed brilliantly and
handed out defeat after defeat to his enemies.
at Brienne, La
Montereau and Craonne
had the Allies reeling, but the losses by Marshal Macdonald
at Bar-sur-Aube, and marshals Mortier
and Marmont at La Fere-Champenoise
did not help the cause.
being greatly outnumbered, Bonaparte was forced to take
increasingly desperate actions and launched a high-risk
assault on Blucher at Laon.
He lost and then moved to attack Austria's Field Marshal
Karl Schwarzenberg at Arcis-sur-Aube.
Again he lost and, before he could reinforce Marmont and
Mortier near Paris, the former surrendered his army.
was occupied on 31 March and within a week his marshals
had forced Bonaparte to abdicate. The Allies, however, would
accept nothing less than unconditional surrender and so
the emperor agreed on 11 April.
lay exile on the island of Elba.