samedi, décembre 02, 2006

Soldiers, I am happy with you!

December 2nd 1805

“The Russian army facing you intends to avenge the Austrian army at Ulm: they are the same battalions as you defeated at Hollabrünn and that you have relentlessly pursued until now…

“Soldiers, I shall lead your battalions myself: if you, with your usual bravery, wreak havoc and confusion on the enemy ranks, I shall stay far from their fire; but if at any time victory is uncertain, you will see your Emperor face the fire in the front lines, for victory cannot hesitate, on this day most of all when the honour of the French infantry is at stake, which is so vital to the honour of the Nation…

“This victory will conclude our campaign, and we can return to our winter quarters where we will be joined by the new armies that are being raised in France. Then, the peace that I shall make will be worthy of my people, of you, and of me.”

Soldiers, I am happy with you!
At this day of Austerlitz, you have justified everything that I expected of your intrepidity; you have enriched your eagles with an everlasting glory. A 100 000 man army, under command of the Emperors of Russia and Austria, was, within less than four hours, cut or disbanded. What escaped your blades drowned in the lakes. Forty flags, the banners of the Russian imperial guard, 120 pieces of artillery, twenty generals, more than 30,000 prisoners, are the result of this day now famous forever. This infantry so reputed, and superior in number, could not resist your shock, and now you have no rivals to fear. So, within two months, this third coalition was vanquished and disbanded. Peace cannot be far away; but, as I promised to my people before crossing the Rhine, I shall make only a peace that will give us guaranties and ensure retribution to our allies.
Soldiers, when the French people placed the imperial crown upon my head, I entrusted myself to you to maintain it forever in the high beams of glory which could only make it worth to my eyes. But in the same moment, our enemies thought about destroying and dishonoring it! And this crown of iron, conquered by the blood of so many French, they wanted to force me to place it upon the head of our most cruel enemies! Temerarious and insane projects which, upon this very anniversary of the crowing of your Emperor, you have annihilated and destroyed. You taught them that it is easier to defy us and threaten us, than to defeat us!
Soldiers, when everything that is necessary to ensure the happiness and prosperity of your fatherland will be accomplished, I shall bring you back to France; there, you will be objects of my outmost favours. My people shall see you back with joy, and it will be enough for you to say "I was at the Battle of Austerlitz" for you to be answered "here is a gallant man".

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