Stéphane Calvet: Cambronne. La légende de Waterloo (Cambronne: the Legend of Waterloo)
“The man who won the battle of Waterloo was Cambronne”.
Victor Hugo, The Misérables
He is reputed to have declared to the English at Waterloo, while everything seemed lost: “The Guard dies and does not surrender”, or for refusing the defeat by another ruder word. He is still considered one of the greatest faithful followers of Napoleon, and the one who is believed to have saved the honour of the Imperial Guard in the final battle.
However, the life of the general Cambronne is not reduced to this romaticised image: the work of this historian makes it possible to draw up an unpublished portrait of this Nante-born recruit to the Revolutionary army, known for its brutality and its drunkenness, who would follow the Emperor into his last battles but ended his life as a notable faithful to the restored monarchy. Even as his legend was in contruction …
Paris: Editions of the Fondation Napoléon – Vendémiaire Éditions, coll. 19th-century library, February 2016
Stéphane Calvet, a PhD in history, devoted much of his research to the officers of the Grand Army and the Revolutionary and Imperial wars. He published Leipzig, the war of the peoples in 2013 (Vendémiaire editions).