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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



GIFT OF

Coimnodore Byron McCandless







NAPOLEON AT THE
BOULOGNE CAMP



THE SITE OF THE BOULOGNE CAMP.
{After a Painting by H. H'. B. Davis, K.A i



NAPOLEON AT THE
BOULOGNE CAMP

(BASED ON NUMEROUS HITHERTO
UNPUBLISHED DOCUMENTS)



BY

FERNAND NICOLAY



Translated by GEORGINA L. DAVIS



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS



CASSELL AND COMPANY, LIMITED
London, Paris, New York and Melbourne

MCMVII ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



DC

2^0.3

PREFACE

The reasons which induced me to pubhsh the present
work are briefly these : My father was a Boulonnais, and
owner of the land historically famous for its associations
with Bonaparte and Bruix. I have therefore in my pos-
session a number of documents, hitherto unpublished,
concerning the Camp of Boulogne.

Besides this, during the many years spent on mv
father's property at the Plateau d'Odre, I have had many
opportunities of acquiring information and collecting
circumstantial evidence on the spot itself, from old men
who had seen and talked with Napoleon, and had served
under him.

When writing these pages, in full view of the splendid
panorama of the Boulogne roadstead, and from the top
of the very cliff on which Napoleon and the Commander
of the Flotilla had once taken up their quarters, I could not
help thinking that the narrative of former events and of
memorable incidents would certainly be of psychological
interest to the public.

Added to this, it seemed to me that a faithful record
of typical details connected with Napoleon's Camp at
Boulogne, might even prove a useful contribution to tlie
military history of that period, in which the extra-
ordinary and fertile activity of Napoleon — seconded by
the ardour, so typical, of his soldiers and sailors — had
inspired England with fear, and served to organise an
incomparable army.

Fernand Nrolav.

Boulogne-sur-Mcy.

956358



NOTK ()\ KRONTISIMKCK.



Tins reproduction of an early study by the artist, on the site
of Napoleon's Camp at Boulogne, will give the reader a good
idea of that part of the Iron Coast that lay between Boulogne
and Cape Gris-Nez, presenting its armed front towards the
cliffs of England, frequently quite visible on the horizon.
During the Crimean War, Napoleon III. re-established the
Camp on the very ground occupied by the Grand Army in 1803-
1805, for it was his policy to keep up the Napoleonic tradition
by reviving memories connected with the First Empire. The
small wood-and-mud structure shown in the picture was what
remained in 1858 — when the study was painted — of a small
chapel, from which Mass was celebrated before the assembled
troops during the second Boulogne Camp.

The little town just discernible half-way along the coast-
line is Ambleteuse, whose history is closely connected with
England. For several centuries before it became a point of con-
centration for Napoleon's expeditionary forces, it had been
one of the chief ports for communication with the English,
and at one period was in their occupation.

In the sea, off Wimereux, is the Fort de Croï, mentioned in
the text. The headland stretching far out into the sea, beyond
Ambleteuse, is Cape Gris-Nez, the nearest point to England,
and one of great importance in Napoleon's organisation of
defence against any attack from the English squadrons. The
old shepherd standing in the foreground had been one of
Napoleon's veterans, and wore the St. Helena medal. He made
great friends with the artist, and was always ready to give his
recollections of the stirring times in which he had played a
modest part. He had been one of the garrison of Flushing,
and related, in the simple language of the French peasant,
the many difficulties that the English had to overcome in
their attack of the place, and how little the French soldiers
believed in the possibility of its ever falling into the hands of
the enemj'. His comments on the result of the operations were
brief, but suggestive: "Mais ils Tout piin tout-de-même!"*

G. L. D

* But tluv took it, all the same !



CONTENTS



l'Ar.r
Preface ....... ... V

CHAPTER I.

HOUSES OCCUPIED 15V \.\POLEON DURING HIS VISITS
TO BOULOGNE-.

L'Hôtel des Audroiiins — The Chateau de Pont-dc-Briqiics —
Roustan's bedroom — Description of the Emperor's Pavilion
— Bonaparte's Post of Observation — The Admiral's Pavilion
— Naval Semaphore, and the Chappe Signalling Station . i

CHAPTER II.

NAPOLEON AT THE TOUR d'ODRE — CALIGUL.\'s LIGHT-
HOUSE.

Archœological Research and Recollections — The Emperor's
Pavilion on the land of the Tonr du Vieil Homme — The
Herring Beacon — Remains of the Tower at the Epoch of
Boulogne Camp. . . . . . . . -35

CHAPTER III.

PSYCHOLOGY OF NAPOLEON.

His Visit to Terlincthun — Chapel of Jesus-Flagellé — Decree
of Floréal, Year XII. — The Gardens and Swans at the Post
of Observation — Epaulettes, pigtails, beer, barrels . . 50

CHAPTER I\'.

A "gold mine" is offered to THE "GR.\NI) .\KMV."

Psychology of Popular Feeling — Story of a Potter ; his reception

at the Pavilion — The Boulogne Ship-Boy and the Emperor 69

CHAPTER \'.

Bonaparte's inspections on the iron coast.

The Batteries of the Iron Coast — Bonaparte and the Battery of
", Monsters " — The Forge at Wimerciix — The déjeuner at
Ambleteuse — M. d'Ofïrethun's Snuff-Box — The "Grand
Army " and St. Peter's Well— The First Battery at Gris-Xcz
— The " i " Division at Calais ..... 78



viii CONTENTS.

chapti:k \i.

VAKIOrS VISITS OF NAPOLEON TO THE BOULONNAIS.

The First Consul at Etaples— He Visits the Château d'Hardelot—
The British Sailor — Bonaparte falls into the Harbour — His
Wardrobe at the Tour d'Odre — He Visits the Hospital ; Sister
Louise — The Knipcror Returns to Boulogne after the Coron-
ation ; Enthusiastic Reception. ..... 103

CHAPTER VII.

NAPOLEON AT LA POTERIE AND \\T MILLE.

A Visit to the Loppes — The Royalist Winiillois — Curé Patenaille

— The Winiereux Spy — An Original Expedient . .126

CHAPTER Vni.

MILITARY ESPIONAGE.

The Beautiful English Spy — An Interview at the Tavilion — The
English Prisoners — The Intelligence Department, Ruses and
Methods — The Cross of the Legion of Honoiir . .14-

CHAPTER IX.

ADMIRAL BRUIX IN COMMAND OF THE FLEET.

Appreciation and Biography of Bruix ; His Pavilion — Naval
Incidents — The Attack of 2-3 October, 1804, on the Ships
of the Line — ^lemorable Scenes between Bonaparte and
Bruix — Comparisons between the two Chiefs — Death of
Bruix — The Meaning of the Expression " Sent to the
Admiral " . . . . . . . . .159

CHAPTER X.

COMPARISON BETWEEN THE ENTERPRISES OF

napoleon's FLOTILLA AND C.ESAR's FLEET

AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN.

The Portus Itius and Boulogne Roadstead — Comparison between

the Roman Conquest and Napoleon's Scheme of Invasion . 190

CHAPTER XI.

THE FLAT-BOTTOMED BOATS OF THE FLOTILLA AND THE
GALLEYS OF FORMER TIMES.

Modern Praams or Galleys — Gunboats and Shallops — Ex-Galley
Slaves in Boulogne — Retrospect on the System of Convicts on
board the Galleys — The Nutshells — State of Steam Naviga-
tion at that Period : Fulton ...... 100



CONTENTS. ix

CHAPTER XII.

THE OLD PIRATES AND PRIVATEERS AT BOULOGNE.

I'.VGli

Difference between Piracy and the Right of " Giving Chase " —
Account of Prizes captured — the Boulogne Privateers, Cary,
Pollet, and Duchenne — Bucaille-Brocant interviewed by the
Emperor — Napoleon and the English sloop . . .219

CHAPTER XIII.

THE " GRAND ARMY " AT BOULOGNE.

The Composition of the " Army of England " — Right Camp and
Left Camp — Hutting and IMud Walls — Grenadiers, Sailors,
and Peasants, their good-fellowship — The Marines of the
Guard — Composition of the Staff at Boulogne Camp — Im-
pressions of a Contemporary — A " Vélite " at the Boulogne
Camp 238

CHAPTER XIV.

THE THEATRE IN CAMP,

The Stage during the First Republic — Madame Angot — The
Company of the Vaudeville Theatre in Paris comes to Bou-
logne — Performance of Diiguay-Trouin ; a few Extracts . 262

CHAPTER XV.

THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE " GRAND ARMY."

Games — Marching Songs — Soldiers' Choruses — Dances — Ball at
the Boulogne Camp — " Boulogne Camp March " performed
by the Military Bands ....... 276

CHAPTER XVI.

TWO MEMORABLE EVENTS OF THE CAMP AT BOULOGNE.

The distribution of Crosses of the Legion of Honour — Oath of
the Legionaries — Napoleon's Stone— The Column of Napo-
leon the Great ; and Marshal Soult — The Legion of Honour
and the Women Officers ...... 294

CHAPTER XVII.

" BONEY " AND ENGLISH CARICATURES.

Explanation of nicknames "Boney" and "Fleshy" — Bonaparte
and Gulliver — English Roast Beef and Plum Pudding —
French Soup — French Frog-Eaters — Caricatures of the
Flotilla, the "Grand Army," and the Intended Invasion . 317



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVIII.

DID NAPOLEON KNOW ENGLISH ?

VAl.ll

Admiral Bniix and the Chief of the Interpreters — Cuvelier dc

Tri's Vocabulary Revised by an Knj^lish Spy . . . 334

CHAPTER XIX.

LETTERS WRITTEN BY NAPOLEON AT THE BOULOGNE
CAMP.

Letters Written from Pont-de-Briques, from the Pavilion — Letter
to Josephine — Bonaparte's Handwriting — One of the First
Signatures of the Emperor ...... 348

CHAPTER XX.

PLANS FOR THE INVASION OF ENGLAND.

Was the Scheme for Crossing the Straits Capable of Realisation ?
— Were the Flotilla and Boiilogne Camp a Pretence ? — What
did England think of the Project, and what was her attitude ?
— Opinions of Pitt, Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott — Did
Bonaparte believe in the Possibility of the Invasion ? — Con-
clusion .......... 370




BONAPARTE, FIRST CONSUL.
By Isabey (VersailUs Collection).



NAPOLEON AT THE BOULOGNE
CAMP.

CHAPTER I.

HOUSES OCCUPIED BY NAPOLEON DURING HIS VISITS TO
BOULOGNE.

r/Hôtel des Androuins — The Château de Pont-de-Briqucs —
Roustan's Bedroom — Description of the Emperor's PaviUon
— Bonaparte's Post of Observation — The Admiral's PaviUon
— Naval Semaphore and the Chappe Signalling Station.

When Napoleon visited Boulogne * officially, on the
29th June, 1803, he was quartered in one of the finest
mansions of the Upper Town, L'Hôtel des Androuins,
so-called after its first owner, but belonging at that
period to a M. De Menncville.f

This residence, situated in the Place d'Armes (now
Place Godefroy-de-Bouillon), had been specially fitted
up for the reception of the illustrious guest.

At a later period, it had the distinction of harbouring
the Emperor and Empress Marie Louise, on the occasion
of their State visit. May 25th, 1810 ; and from that date
it was known as the " Imperial Palace." It was in 181 1
that Napoleon inhabited it for the last time (from Sep-
tember 19th to the 22nd).

One of the evidences of the historic interest attaching

* As will be seen in the chapter dealing with the Grande Armée. Napoleon
had already been to Boulogne on a tour of inspection, on 22 Pluviôse, Year 1.
(February loth, 1790).

t It belongs now to the Comtesse de Plinval, by whose courtesy I was
permitted to view the house.
B



2 NAFOLl'ON AT THE BOULOGNE CAMP.

to the; house, is to he seen in the State drawing-room,
where tlic ])anels are sculptured with garlands of gilded
laurels, which are carefully preserved.

Adjoining the drawing-room, is tlic chanilxr which
Bonaparte occupied ; and leading out of it, is a triangular
passage, where, tradition says. Napoleon's faithful
attendant Roustan, a Georgian, was wont to lie at
night, wrapped in a blanket, keeping watch over his




IMPERIAL PALACE IN THE UPPER TOWN.



master. The passage, however, is so small that to
enable him to lie at full length, it was necessary to open
the door of another room.

There is a terrace on the roof, and in those da\'s,
when the buildings of the Lower Town were far less
numerous than they are at present, one could look
over the town below and command a good view of the
harbour and roadstead. The First Consul, desirous of
taking every advantage of this outlook, gave orders for
the demolition of portions of various buildings which
obstructed his view of the sea.



HOUSES OCCUPIED BY NAPOLEON. 3

A guard of honour, formed by a body of young
townsmen, was stationed in front of the palace. Their
costume was sufficiently ])icturesque to deserve mention :
it consisted of scarlet dolman, white waistcoat, Nankeen
trousers, with black stripes ; sky-blue silk sash, yellow
plumes, hussar boots, sword and sabretache.

The appointments and table expenses of this, and
of another house, prepared for Bonaparte's suite, was
defrayed by the town ; and the expenditure amounted
to a little over 13,000 francs.

Among those who resided with Bonaparte at the
Hôtel des Androuins were his secretary, General Duroc,
de Beauharnais, the general on duty, two aides-de-camp,
the Prefect, and the senior offtcer of the palace ; while
others of the suite, Generals Moncey and Marmont, the
Naval Minister and the Minister of the Interior, the
State Councillors, Forfait, Cretet, and Bruix, were
lodged in the other house.

The author recently came across an old letter of
Audience dated at this period, which was couched in
the following terms : —

" The Prefect of the Palace has the honour of in-
forming the Citizen Mavor of Boulogne, that he will be
received by the First Consul this day, II. Messidor, Year
XL, at II o'clock in the morning.

" Boulogne-sur-mer, Thursday, June 30th, 1803, V.S.*
" Cii. Salmatokis Rossillion."

It would be no easy task to give an adequate idea
of the enthusiasm with which the peojile greeted the
hero of Italy and Egypt, on his hrst visit to Boulogne.
Triumphal arches were raised in his honour ; and from
the Place St. Nicholas to the Esplanade, columns
and pyramids of foliage were erected, and flowers were

♦ V.S. Abbreviation of " Vieux Style " (Old Style).



4 NAPOLEON AT THE BOULOGNE CAMP.

strewn along the road the conqueror was to take. At
night the whole town was illuminated.

Monseigneur de la Tour d'Auvergne, the Bishop of
Arras, came to pay his tribute of respect, and to thank
the First Consul publicly : —

" /?i this diocese, your Bishop of Arras glories in
the privilege of adding to the number of Napoleon^s ad-
herents. He fully appreciates the inestimable benefit
conferred on the country by the re-establishment of the
religion of our forefathers. So great is my joy in dis-
charging the debt of gratitude we all owe him, that I can-
not refrain from entreating his gracious acceptance of

our homage and love All my clergy share these

feelings.'^

Such were the sentiments expressed by the head of
the diocese.

As for the speech pronounced by the Prefect of the
Pas-de-Calais, Lachaise, it attained the very height of
rhapsody. The following is copied from the text itself : —

" Citizen First Consul, we have scarce had time to
realise the presence of your august person in our midst,
and already the whole of the department of the Pas-de-
Calais is thrilling with joy. The soil ichich for so long
has proved fatal to its children, has at last purged itself
of the poisonous germs which have produced such mon-
sters.* It can now boast of five hundred thousand loyal
and true French citizens, all of them eager to devote their
hearts, their arms, and their fortunes to your service. Con-
fident in our destiny, we now know that in order to secure
the glory and happiness of France, to ensure to all Xations
freedom of trade and of the sea ; in order to humiliate
the daring disturbers of peace in the old and new world,

* Some of the more notorious among the Terrorists were natives of the
Pas-de-Calais. (Translator's note.)



HOUSES OCCUPIED BY NAPOLEON. 5

and to establish il firmly on earth, Cod created Bonaparte,
and rested.''

It would be difficult, I think, to surpass tliis unre-
strained hyperbole.

On this occasion, the First Consul's visit was very
short, ])ut having in view the important works of which
Boulogne was so soon to become the centre, he thought
it e\})edient to secure a second residence.




NAPOLEON I.'S CHÂTEAU, PONT-DE-BRIQUES.

Besides his pavilion at the Tour d'Odre, of which
I shall speak ])resently, he determined to establish new
quarters for himsi'lf and his mihtary stall" in another
part of the district. Accordingly, the Chateau de
Pont-de-Briques, belonging to a family of the name
of Patras de Campaigno,* was selected for the con-
venience of its situation, and became the headquarters
of Napoleon, who resided alternately there and at the
Tour d'Odre.

One of the advantages which recommended the

* The Dc CainpaigiK.s have given several Seueselials to Boulogne.



6 NAI'OLI'.ON AT TllIC BOULOGNE CAMP.

Chateau * to Napoleon, was that it stood about two and
a 1 1. ill miles distant from Boulogne, on the high road to
Paris, iliis enabled the First Consul to arrive at night-
time, on those surj^rise visits by whieh he was wont to
test the ('ffK-ienry of his lieutenants.

By dawn the next day he would mount liis liorse,
and appear unexpectedly in some particular building-
yard, or at some strategic point along the coast, which
he wished personally and closely to inspect.

I have, as I write, different statements as to the dates
of his actual known visits, f but it is more than probable
that his sudden and unlooked-for appearances were far
more frequent than is generally supposed.

Indeed, if we study the Orders of the Day, or letters
written by his generals and ministers, and especially
the notices in the official journal, w'e see that Bonaparte
refrained from giving information of his movements to
the })ublic. The gazettes of the period were at liberty to
mention his absences from Paris, but any allusion to the
object of his journey was rarely permitted.

Napoleon's valet throws interesting light on his
master's reserve. He writes : "The Emperor maintained,
as a rule, the utmost secrecy concerning his journeys
up to the last moment before his departure ; and would
order horses at midnight, to travel to Milan or Mayence,
as though he were about to take a drive to Saint Cloud
or Rambouillet."

It would be useless, therefore, to depend solely upon
the notices in the Moniteur and other papers, in estimating
the number of days Bonaparte spent at Boulogne.

* From a collection of Orders of the Day, it appears that Joseph Bona-
parte also came to Pont-de-Briques, on 9 Floréal, XII. (.April 28th, 1804).

t A Boulonnais given to research, Mr. Lefebvre, has traced Napoleon's
presence on the following dates : Feb. 10, 179S ; June 29 to July i, 1803 ;
Nov. 4 to 17, 1803 ; January i to 5, 1804 ; July 19, 1804 ; August, 1804 ;
Aug. 3 to Sept. 2, 1805 ; May 25 to 26, 1810 ; Sept. 19 to 22, 1812.



HOUSES OCCUPIED BY NAPOLEON. 7

As far back as 1800, the First Consul had declared,
" Were I to give loose reins to the Press, I should not
remain in power three months ! " Accordingly, on the
27th Nivôse, Year VII., the Consuls, at Fouché's instiga-
tion, issued an order suppressing sixty newspapers out of
the seventy-three then in existence. The Moniteur only
mentioned Bonaparte when it was authorised to do so ;
as for the other organs they merely copied the official
information contained in the Moniteur, and the press
resigned itself to being colourless, for fear of becoming
suspect.

The following is a list of the thirteen newspapers
which, in 1800, were tolerated, but kept under the
supervision of the Press Bureau : — Lc Moniteur, Les
Débats, Le Journal de Paris, Le Bien Infornu', Le Puh-
liciste, Uanii des Lois, La Clef du Cabinet des Souverains,
Le Citoyen Français, Le Journal des Hommes Libres, Le
Journal du Soir, Le Journal des défenseurs de la Patrie,
La Décade Philosophique, La Gazette de France.

In 1805, Napoleon, having had reason to complain
of certain indiscretions in the papers concerning his
movements and actions, wrote to the Minister of Justice : —

" Give the Editors to understand that I shall end by
retaining one newspaper only."

The Château de Pont-de-Briques, whi(;li Napoleon
was able to reach so easily before anyone was aware of
his intention to do so, has now been transformed into
an agricultural institution.* I was anxious to go over
it in detail, because the memories connected with it are
well worth preserving.

The entrance gate is flanked by two massive square
towers, resembling gigantic sentry boxes. The stables,

* Now the Bcaucerf Catholic Orphanage. Before this the domain was
called " Château do Clocheville," after one of its owners, who purchased

it in iSio.



8 napolp:()N at tin-: no u log ne camp.

;m(l the coacli-liousc which sheltered Napoleon's travelling
coach, were still standing in 1904, on the right of the
spacions conrtyard, but these have since been demolished.

The chateau itself has a hue façade and two imj)ortant
wings. The ground lloor has a spacions dining-room
and several rooms used for domestic purposes. A stonct
staircase leads up to the first floor, and there wc find
ourselves in a long gallery, which still contains the large
wardrobes put up for the Empress's use. To the right is
a room called " Josephine's Chamber," but the tapestries
which once adorned it have been removed. Adjoining,
is the room which was occupied by the women-in-
waiting.

To the left of the gallery there is a sitting-room five
metres square, with a stone balcony overlooking the
park ; it was here that Napoleon is said to have dictated
straight off, while pacing to and fro, the famous campaign
of 1805, just previous to quitting the regions of the
Boulonnais.

Passing through this apartment, we come to the so-
called Imperial Chamber, an unpretentious-looking room,
four metres by three, and entirely devoid of ornamentation.
It had four windows, two overlooking the court, the
others opening on to the garden, and an alcove for
the bed. Behind the chamber is a closet, furnished with
coat stands, which was used as a cloak room. A passage
running by the side of the closet leads to the room that
was occupied by Roustan, in which a small flight of
stairs was contrived, and carefully concealed in the
woodwork ; this was to enable Bonaparte to go in
and out of his private apartments without having to
use the central staircase.

Inside the woodwork put up to conceal the secret
stairs, there was a space of about one metre square,
forming a sort of locker, which served to hide the bed



HOUSES OCCUPIED BY NAPOLEON.



of the faithful Mamchikc. His couch was a somewhat
primitive one, fashioned out of coarse canvas stretched
over a wooden frame, and was divided into two parts,
connected by a coui:)le of strong liinges. By this arrange-
ment, one third of the bed stood in tlie recess, and
during the day
the second por-
tion was folded
over the first
and shut up in-
side the cup-
board ; so that
both bed and
flight of stairs
were invisible.
At night the bed
was dropped,
and was sup-
ported by means
of two jointed
metal rods.

It appears,
however, that
Roustan gener-
ally preferred to
stretch himself
across the door-
way leading to

his master's apartment, so as to make liis guard more
efficient still, in case of emergency.

Above the apartments occupied by Napoleon, we
can see the " Marshals' Council Room," which is really
nothing more than the attic to the château. The stair-
case that leads up to it has been altered since those days,
but tlie one which existed then was so low, that it was




Secret Staircase



leadinR to the Emperor's Private
Apartments.



lo i\'.\i'()iJ-;()N AT Till-: iJorLodNi-: cami'.

necessary to rcinoxc one's hat before attempting the
ascent. The oflK crs' rooms, or so-called " Marshals'
chambers," consisted of three small apartments about
three metres square, with an alcove. Few servants
nowadays would be content with such wretched quarters
under the roof. The only ornaments the rooms possessed
were a few pegs on the wall, for hanging clothes.

Who was this Roustan, who was always seen with
Napoleon ? The Emperor's valet. Constant, alludes in
his memoirs to " this former slave of the East, who
became the watch-dog of the great conqueror."

The following biographical notice is all the more
interesting from the fact that Constant was Roustan's
intimate friend.

" Roustan," he writes, " better known as the
Emperor's Mameluke, was born of a good family in
Georgia ; at the age of six he was kidnapped and
taken to Cairo, where he was brought up with other
young slaves, who were trained to wait upon the Mame-



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