By Jill Hamilton
In telling the poignant tale of Marengo, Jill Hamilton exhibits an unforeseen aspect to the Emperor. She explores Napoleon's huge, immense regard for horses in addition to why it used to be Marengo, and Marengo on my own, who grew to become a part of the Napoleonic legend -- now not Jaffa, Ali, Desiree or any of Napoleon's many mounts. With a bullet lodged in his tail and the imperial cipher of a topped letter 'N' burnt on his left flank, a diminutive Arab stallion drew crowds to Pall Mall, London, in 1823. Sightseers got here to stare upon the pony marketed as 'Bonaparte's own charger', whose occupation had spanned the total of the Napoleonic Wars, who, to the sound of marching songs had trotted, cantered and galloped from the Mediterranean to Paris, Italy, Germany and Austria, and on the age of 19, had walked 3 thousand miles to Moscow and again. considering that then, either lifeless and alive, this horse with an identical sonorous identify as Napoleon's nice victory, Marengo, has been a celeb express in Britain. At London's earliest army museum his articulated skeleton was once obvious via Queen Victoria and displayed because the horse that had carried his grasp at Austerlitz in 1805, at Jena in 1806, at Wagram in 1809, within the Russian crusade of 1812, and at Waterloo in 1815. For over one hundred fifty years certainly one of his hooves has stood on a glowing sideboard within the officials' mess at St James' Palace. this day his skeleton, defined as 'Napoleon's favorite horse', is the only real equine convey within the great Waterloo Gallery on the nationwide military Museum in Chelsea, London. Horses for Napoleon have been either utilitarian and glamorous. He used them for activity, for velocity and as majestic pedestals on which he seemed as a larger-than-life determine, yet quite often as unstoppable machines of battle. As he grew to become the ramshackle cavalry of the innovative military into the main striking cavalry strength in historical past he made remarkable use of horses in conflict. yet Jill Hamilton has exposed a mystery, hidden away for over a century, a mystery which brings her inspiring and relocating background to a devastating end.
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Additional info for Marengo: The Myth of Napoleon's Horse
Travelling had so many hazards that duplicate messages were sent by different routes. Ali quickly adapted to a range of testing conditions. A few months after a cramped passage to France, surviving on miserable dry rations, he moved into the former royal stables in front of the Hôtel de Longueville opposite the Tuileries. Horses destined for the personal service of the Consul went through a brutal toughening-up process under the riding master, whose aim was to make them reliable and immune to the traumas of battle.
Splendidly dressed, they were accompanied by a stirring military band. ’ For the review of the troops Napoleon rode an Arab stallion, but which one? Many of his horses were similar in colour and size, and there was often confusion about their identity. Napoleon’s personal horses were given high-quality attention by a staff of grooms, farriers, trainers and stablehands. Under Louis XVI the stables had been one of the most extravagant palace departments, where nothing was stinted and overspending was the norm, even though shortly after his accession in May 1774 he abolished la petite écurie, reducing the number of his horses from 6,000 to 1,800.
After installing himself and Josephine in the Tuileries, one of the first things Napoleon did was to move into his rooms busts of the men he admired: Alexander, Brutus, Caesar, Frederick the Great, Washington and Mirabeau – most of whom were famed as fearless riders. Napoleon, who was always extolling peace but always preparing for war, next set about creating new battalions and squadrons. Although schooled as an artillery man, he 43 MARENGO, the Myth of Napoleon's Horse Jill Hamilton relied primarily on flesh and blood – men and horses.
Marengo: The Myth of Napoleon's Horse by Jill Hamilton