The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #47 – Louis Davout, The Iron Marshal

Welcome back! On episode #47, David and I have our first special guest!

Jerry Gallaher is Past President of the Napoleonic Alliqance and author of the 1976 classic account of one of Napoleon’s greatest Marshals, Louis Davout – “Iron Marshal – A Biography of Louis N. Davout.” He’s also a true gentleman, scholar and totally charming. Meeting him was one of the highlights of the INS congress in Corsica last July.

So I’m sure it will be of no surprise to you to learn that our subject tonight is The Iron Marshal himself, Louis-Nicolas d’Avout (May 10, 1770 – June 1, 1823), better known as Davout, 1st Duc d’Auerstaedt, 1st Prince d’Eckmühl, and Marshal of France.

David Markham’s Letter Regarding INS

HI folks! Just a quick note to update you on a few things.

1. First of all, let me thank EVERYONE who has supported TPN’s Pledge Drive! We appreciate your support for indy media and helping us stay alive.

2. David Markham has written all INS members a letter outlining his new role as President following the passing of INS Founder Ben Weider.

3. Finally, David and I have scheduled time to record new episodes of both our Napoleon and Biography shows for next week! So stay tuned!

Napoleon’s Chess Games

Victor Sheely again comes up with the goods – he sent me this link to a handful of Napoleon’s chess games. I just played through this game between Napoleon and Bertrand on St Helena in 1820 and it’s a SHOCKER. I’d always heard that Napoleon wasn’t a very good chess player but, seriously, my kids would have kicked his ass if he played like this. And they are only 8. Mind you, as we discussed on the show, Napoleon was probably riddled with arsenic at this stage so I guess I should cut him some credit. 🙂

A New President!

No, not Barack Obama.

Today I received the below letter today from Eric Weider, son of the late Ben Weider, advising me that his father’s wish was for J. David Markham to assume the role of President of the International Napoleonic Society. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there isn’t a better person to assume the role of promoting the awareness and study of Napoleonic history than David. He has given his time, knowledge and energy freely to helping me produce this podcast over the last few years and, as a result, tens of thousands of people have been introduced to the history of Napoleon who may otherwise have missed out on learning about the fascinating man and period of history.

So on behalf of all of us, I would like to congratulate David! Salute!

PS would one of you like to update David’s profile on Wikipedia? I’m been slapped on the wrist by the Wikipedia moderators for updating David’s profile in the past. Apparently I’m not an objective source. 🙂

Markham President INS

Iced Earth – “Waterloo”

One of our listeners, Victor Sheely, sent me a link to this song “Waterloo” by Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth. The video uses footage from Bondarchuk’s famous 1971 film “Waterloo” and if you are trying to work out the lyrics, you can find them here. Thanks for the link Victor!

Napoleon CD competition – Entry #1

We have our first entry to our Napoleon competition as mentioned on episode #46! This entry is from Simon Walter from Duesseldorf who writes:

My name’s Simon, I’m 20 years old and studying History and English in Duesseldorf (which is – of course – where Heinrich Heine, who was a great admirer of Napoléon, was born); aside of my studies (I just started one month ago) I’m totally into poetry and if there’s any chance to establish my passion as financial basis of my life, I’ll certainly go for it. My first play (‘Menschenfelder’ – only available in german so far) was published in August and I’m storing alot of stuff on my blog ( – mostly german too). How I got into Napoleonic History, I cannot really recall; we didn’t cover the subject in school (or at least I don’t remember anything) but I internalized the idea of Napoléon as a great and positive force for human history very early in life. When I was 18 I got hold of two biographies and even though they were obviously intended to be critical of Napoléons career, they encouraged me to research this mysterious’ mans life further and I eventually ended up discovering your podcast (around episode ~30); since then I’ve been nothing but enthusiastic. I’ve not been to France yet but one of my primary goals in life is to visit Paris and in fact follow the very route Napoléon took after his return from Elba, before my 30th birthday; I have however read a tremendous amount of literature on Napoléon and visited Schloss Arenenberg this summer (which is where Hortense and her son, the later Napoléon III. lived – they have a very nice museum up there and are rebuilding the beautiful park at the moment), getting more and more absorbed into this outstanding and unique life. What fascinates me the most – finally getting to the subject; no idea whether I’ve already crossed the 200-words-line) is Napoléons steadiness. I think you, Cameron, defined this feeling once as the constant question “What would Napoléon do?”, which, for myself, is not bound to concrete situations, but in fact a greater scheme to approach life successfully. When I wrote my play during the last three years I’d often encounter moments where I felt like “Man, you are just 18/19/20, what’s it all about? Go out and have some fun” or “Nobody will read it anyway, why don’t you spend your time on more practical matters?” and always I somehow found myself confronted with the image of Napoléon and knew I had to stay firm. It’s not like “Oh, I don’t know what to do – What would Napoléon do?” but in fact a way of mastering the everlasting doubts of life; his career, his accomplishments, his glory tell me, that everyone has the power to make his very dreams come true, that everyone can accomplish whatever he or she is aiming for, as long as one stands firm and doesn’t lose trust in him-/herself.
Napoléon will always be there; in fact I’m surrounded by four images of the emperor right now (no originals obviously; all printed out and framed by myself) and when I celebrated my namesday (no idea whether this is common in Australia) on Tuesday, my parents presented me a little golden bell, showing an ancient battle scene, the emperor standing on top in his familiar gesture. I could write so much more about the ideas Napoléon granted me, about the way he has influenced my lyrical projects and will do so in the forseeable future, about how I decided to learn french as a tribute to his input to my life or how his quotes use to touch and inspire me.

However, I think this has gone far beyond the intended 200 words (600+, I just checked) and I’ll therefore come to an end; I just want to add how very grateful I am towards David and you for putting so much time and passion into an excellent show; I’ve never really contributed on the website and this is the very first e-mail I write to you, so obviously I have to make up for quite a bit. Keep up your good work and may the imperial eagle protect you.

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