Napoleon’s Most Humiliating Defeat

I love history. Sometimes I find an irresistible tale. This is one of them.

While Waterloo was no doubt Napoleon’s most crushing defeat, it was not his most embarrassing.bonaparte

In 1807, Napoleon was in high spirits having signed the Peace of Tilsit, a landmark treaty between France, Russia and Prussia. To celebrate, he suggested that the Imperial Court should enjoy an afternoon’s rabbit-shooting.

It was organised by his trusted chief-of-staff, Alexand Berthier, who was so keen to impress Napoleon that he bought thousands of rabbits to ensure that the Imperial Court had plenty of game to keep them occupied.

The party arrived, the shoot commenced, and the game keepers released the quarry. But disaster struck. Berthier had bought tame, not wild, rabbits, who mistakenly thought they were about to be fed rather than killed.

Rather than fleeing for their life, they spotted a tiny little man in a big hat and mistook him for their keeper bringing them food. The hungry rabbits stormed towards Napoleon at their top speed of 35 mph (56 kph).

The shooting party – now in shambolic disarray – could do nothing to stop them. Napoleon was left with no other option but to run, beating the starving animals off with his bare hands. But the rabbits did not relent and drove the Emperor back to his carriage while his underlings thrashed vainly at them with horsewhips.

According to contemporary accounts of the fiasco, the Emperor of France sped off in his coach, comprehensively beaten and covered in shame.

16 Responses

  1. Oh, how I hope that is a true story!!!!

    • It just has to be true. I read it in a book. One day, when I am near our wonderful Alexander Library in Perth I shall go and check the old newspaper microfilms. This tale is dated so I may be able to find a reference in the Times or the Tattler.

  2. Oh course it’s true …………… isn’t it? ………

  3. Yes, this is all very interesting, but how is it going to help Mlle Raincoaster to deal with the G M C [the Great Meerkat Conspiracy] over on her Blogge

    Your pleasanter & more innocent visitors may think these erudite social mammals are cute, sociable beings, like that kindly Rudd-Creature

    BUT they would NOT be saying that if they were scorpions or giant centipedes, captured by greedy Packs of Hungry Meerkats, who are heavily armed as you will see from the troubling photo of a Meerkat Sniper over on R-C’s bogge

    • I believe that after gin and 51 posts, the wet one will be totally unconscious for several days. Meercats will be the least of her worries. I would not like to be her head when she awakens and I am glad I am not her twitter account which will be subject to insufferable rants and complaints about this evil daylight stuff which will resonate like a volcanic explosion within her cranium. Meercats, schmeercats!

  4. That’s a great tale! I like your blog.

  5. Another example of The Killer Rabbits!!! Did they escape from Monty Python or were they stolen from him, one wonders?

  6. Das ist outRAGEous [zess ees so annoyink]

    Nochmals hat der AusÄRGERliche Sensibliche und Kindliche Aerchie noch ein Mensch von geTaste und geDisKrimischation gefunden, Monsieur nroBmuHcS

    [Yet again has der outRAGEously Anti-Soviet und geKindly geAerchie yet another geGentleHomme de Taste et Discrimination geFound, viz [videlicet = Australine for namely] Herr ScHumGEBorn]

    Im Gross Britannien, der Land der Wundervolle von Braun, ist das streng VerBoten

    [In the Great Britain, la Lande de le Brown und les Free et over-geRegulated et Over=taxed] das ist strongly geForbidden

    Ich wunsche das ich so viel Freunde hÄttte
    [ visc zat I had zo many Friends

  7. Are you sure they aren’t confusing Napoleon with another world leader?

  8. Yes this is a true store my professor at college told me about it in one of the classes we,re studing it in french history . I laugh so hard just thinking about it mostly because i can just see my 3 lb. Rabbit runny down the hill after him God i love history lol

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