The Waterloo Drum

A few weeks ago I took my kids for a drive out to Benalla in country Victoria to visit a few Ned Kelly memorial sites (Ned is a very famous Australian folk hero).

To my surprise, at the Benalla and District Historical Society, I discovered this display. It is, apparently, one of the drums used by the Dutch forces at Waterloo and was handed down to a local family.

Waterloo drum

Campfires Of Napoleon

One of my sisters gave me this gift for Christmas: “Campfires of Napoleon”, by Henry Clay Watson and published 1854 by Porter Coates in Philadelphia. Watson, a journalist and editor by profession, wrote the book when he was only 23.

Campfires Of Napoleon

It’s a very pro-Napoleon book written, I suspect, for high school kids a mere 33 years after Napoleon’s death. Each chapter covers one of his battles and is called “Campfires” because it imagines the stories being told around the bivouacs after the battle. As it is out of copyright, I’m tempted to read each chapter on a podcast designed for kids.

You can read the entire text online thanks to Google Books.

Happy Birthday J. David Markham!

Dec 26 is Mr Markham’s birthday so please send him your birthday wishes. Rather than buy him a present, why not buy someone else a copy of one of his books as a gift? I’m sure he’d appreciate that.

When I originally had the idea to start a podcast about Napoleon, I thought about doing it myself but knew that my knowledge was sorely inadequate. When I started looking for a co-host, I had no idea I would ever be so lucky as to find someone like David willing to do the show. I thought I should share with you how that came about.

On my other podcast, G’Day World, I had earlier interviewed New York-based author Staton Rabin about her book “Betsy and the Emperor” (listen to the interview). When I finally was toying with the idea of the Napoleon show, I thought I’d try to get an author involved in each episode. I sent Staton an email asking if she would be interested in doing an episode on St Helena. She said she didn’t really consider herself an expert on the subject either, but knew a few historians and would be happy to introduce me. Her introductions didn’t need to go further than David. She introduced us via email and he said yes and I was very excited.

In all honesty, when we started the show, I never thought it would find much of an audience, I mean, who wants to listen to a show about a guy who has been dead for 200 years?? I just thought it would be awesome to have an excuse to talk to David once a month about one of my favourite subjects. And here we are, almost two years and 34 episodes later, getting close to wrapping up this series but planning lots of other projects together.
I am very fortunate to consider him a colleague and a friend and so, on behalf of myself, my family (David has had light saber duels with my kids via webcam), and you, his 30,000 closest friends, I’d like to say:


The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #34 – The Battle of Waterloo Part 2

The Battle of Waterloo, along with the Battle of Wavre, was fought on 18 June 1815, and was Napoleon Bonaparte’s last battle. His defeat put a final end to his rule as Emperor of the French. It is probably one of the most famous battles in history. It has been the subject of much debate for nearly 200 years and we’ll probably still be debating it 200 years hence. We could have spaced this episode out over several more episodes but this show is about providing an introduction to Napoleon, we’re not trying to deliver the definitive commentary on his life, so we’ve covered the battle, as best we can, in a little over 90 minutes. What were the reasons for Napoleon’s defeat? Was it superior strategy on behalf of the Allies? Inferior strategy on behalf of Napoleon? Treachery? Incompetence? Illness? Bad luck? A combination of all of these?

The Battle Of Waterloo by William Sadler

This show is based on David’s book “Napoleon For Dummies”.

Napoleon love story page sells for €23,000

Clisson et EugenieA single manuscript page from a love story written by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for €23,000 (£17,000) at Osenat auction house in France yesterday.
It was the first page of the final draft of Napoleon’s 1795 short novel Clisson and Eugenie, only 22 pages in its original handwritten form. The story, loosely based on the author’s brief romance with the sister of his brother’s wife, Desiree Clary, was not published in Napoleon’s lifetime. (link)

The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #33 – The Battle of Waterloo Part 1

On this episode we discuss the first two major battles of the 1815 Waterloo campaign – Quatre Bras (16 June) and Ligny (16 June). The Battle of Quatre Bras was fought near the strategic crossroads of Quatre Bras, Belgium, on 16 June 1815 between Wellington’s Anglo-Dutch army and the left wing of the Armee du Nord under Marshal Michel Ney. The Battle of Ligny was fought on 16 June 1815 when French troops of the Armee du Nord (Army of the North) under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, defeated a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blucher. Ligny was Napoleon’s last victory. Blucher’s defeated army survived to play a pivotal part two days later at the Battle of Waterloo.

Battle map of the Waterloo campaign:


This show is based on David’s book “Napoleon For Dummies”.

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