CIVIL

Napoleon’s address to the troops after the War of the Third Coalition-1805

Address to the Troops after the War of the Third Coalition, October, 1805.

Napoleon

“Soldiers of the Grand Army: In a fortnight we have finished the entire campaign. What we proposed to do has been done. We have driven the Austrian troops from Bavaria, and restored our ally to the sovereignty of his dominions.

“That army, which, with equal presumption and imprudence, marched upon our frontiers, is annihilated.

“But what does this signify to England? She has gained her object. We are no longer at Boulogne, and her subsidy will be neither more nor less.

“Of a hundred thousand men who composed that army, sixty thousand are prisoners. They will replace our conscripts in the labors of agriculture.

“Two hundred pieces of cannon, the whole park of artillery, ninety flags, and all their generals are in our power. Fifteen thousand men only have escaped.

“Soldiers: I announced to you the result of a great battle; but, thanks to the ill-devised schemes of the enemy, I was enabled to secure the wished-for result without incurring any danger, and, what is unexampled in the history of nations, that result has been gained at the sacrifice of scarcely fifteen hundred men killed and wounded.

“Soldiers: this success is due to your unlimited confidence in your Emperor, to your patience in enduring fatigues and privations of every kind, and to your singular courage and intrepidity.

“But we will not stop here. You are impatient to commence another campaign.

“The Russian army, which English gold has brought from the extremities of the universe, shall experience the same fate as that which we have just defeated.

“In the conflict in which we are about to engage, the honor of the French infantry is especially concerned. We shall now see another decision of the question which has already been determined in Switzerland and Holland; namely, whether the French infantry is the first or the second in Europe.

“Among the Russians there are no generals in contending against whom I can acquire any glory. All I wish is to obtain the victory with the least possible bloodshed. My soldiers are my children.”

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