Jacques Le Coustumier: Le siège de Metz de 1814 (The Siege of Metz, 1814)
Over the centuries, the city of Metz, a focal point in the history of Lorraine, has fought to defend its integrity. During the winter of 1814, as Napoleon’s empire collapsed, Metz, once again under siege, remained defiant whilst Paris was brought to its knees by the coalition forces. This resistance was thanks, in part, to the officer known as “le petit brave”, General Durutte, who organised the defence of the city, one that lasted for eighty-five days in extremely difficult conditions. Instilling a strong synergy between the inhabitants of Metz and the city’s leaders, this patriot was everywhere, counting, noting, fixing and ordering. Five cohorts of the National Guard were assembled and his lieutenants led a number of fruitful raids against the enemy, even as the coalition forces grew stronger and typhus spread through the city. Isolated and bloodied, the city demonstrated its unwavering determination and remained unbowed right up to Napoleon’s abdication. This glorious but tragic episode in the history of the First Empire throws light on a largely unknown Napoleonic hero and on the city of Metz, besieged but not defeated.
The book, part of the Fondation Napoléon’s Bibliothèque Napoléon series and published by Nouveau Monde, also features a preface from Thierry Lentz, Director of the Fondation Napoléon.
Paris: Éditions of the Fondation Napoléon – Nouveau Monde Éditions, 2009, Series Études, 346 pages.
To order visit the website of Nouveau Monde Éditions.