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Almost a year after my return, I sat together at the same tables with my old enemies. I prefer meeting them on the field, like I always did. However, I know many of my countrymen cannot put their sons to the field again. The continuous campaigning created too much shattered families, and I cannot call on the sole remaining breadwinner of each family to fight on for me. I’m very sure it’s time to negotiate; before my enemies can once again concentrate their efforts to destroy the French State I created for my countrymen.
I sat very quietly at the table with my old enemies, and we sat there redrawing the maps of Europe. I made use of my enemies’ own internal quarrels over Poland and the Rhineland to make sure that I still can negotiate for the Empire a respectable place in the new Europe. However, I could not bring the Empire to its former boundaries, and I have to satisfy my countrymen and myself to the conquests we have for now.
My enemies put up a strong force to resist my return to power a year ago, especially the damned British under the Duke of Wellington. I returned from the Island Elba they imprisoned me to start another struggle for power and gloire for the French people, and the foolish and useless monarch taking my throne certainly cannot win the hearts of my countrymen from me. The monarch escaped once again to the safety of his protectors, and I reached Paris unopposed. By the time my enemies had mustered together armies with total numbers superior over my own. I had to make swift moves to destroy their forces separately to ensure my victory and the survival of the Empire.
Many who were under my command on my renew struggle for the Empire’s Gloire were old veterans who had served the Empire and me more than they serve their own families. I cannot use conscription to fill the ranks of my army as I always did. I didn’t have time to organize training and equipments for them, and therefore they would not stand a chance on the field. Despite of my ill health, I rode on my horse almost all the time, observing the battlefield, reviewing my troops, boosting moral, and care for any private’s problems. I knew that I could not possibly repay my countrymen for believing in me that I can bring them victory and win them and their children a better future, but I vowed not to let them down as I did after the Russian campaign.
I met my enemies at the Low Countries, with the Prussians and those damned British meeting me first. We fought several skirmishes, but no decisive battles happened. I knew my enemies were seeking a chance to merge their armies, or wait for the Russians and Austrian forces to arrive. The Prussians were no match to my army when I finally caught them from their rear and they suffered more them half of their total strength loss as I launched a series of unrelenting attacks with my Grand Armee. When I met the British, it was a different story; they were waiting for me, and stood firm on a very decent ridge for defense. I let my army rested in a small village, and I can remember it by the name of Waterloo.
The first infantry assaults made by me were driven back easily by the British. However, the enemies’ right wing began to crumble after a determined mass assault made by a combine force of cavalry and infantry. However, the British launched a surprised attack with their heavy cavalry and saved their left flank but driving my forces back. By this time a Prussian army appeared on my right and an outflanking maneuver seem possible. I decided to gamble with my opponents for the victory that could very well decide the fate of the Empire,\ and the whole world. After a barrage of cannon fire by my artillery, I decided to personally lead a charge with my Imperial Guards directly into the enemy’s center-right position. A cavalry assault shall be launched simultaneously with my infantry assault to the rear of my enemy to achieve a partial encirclement. If the plan works out, the enemy’s right flank will once again crumbles, but this time with their whole army being severed into two.
"Let me follow you, mon empereur.” My second in command, Marshal Ney and his men said this to me before some battalions of heavy cavalry and lancers lead by my marshal volunteered to support the charging of my Imperial Guards. My men, long battled hardened and knew the battlefield well, and they already have a sense of death with them by following my command and charging straight into the enemy’s line. However, they chose to follow me into the enemy lines, like my marshal, even if it meant certain death.
By the time we were ready for the charge, a stray shrapnel from the enemy’s cannon fire hit me in the chest and added to my pain caused by my already painful abdomen. However, I could not abandon my men and the charge was still to be lead by me. I believe one of my lungs was pierced as I continue to suffer from coughing out blood and breathing problems throughout the battle. However, compared to me, my soldiers’ ordeal was far greater. The enemy fired upon us when we were only about fifty meters away with deadly accuracy. Their cannons were equipped with grapeshots, which essentially worked as shotgun shells with devastating effect. I watched Marshal Ney fell as he and his cavalry charged up to the enemy cannons to destroy them. He and his cavalrymen took the main brunt of the punishing enemy’s fire and the field was literally drenched with the blood of my men and their horses. However, Marshal Ney’s charge allowed my guardsman to storm into the enemy ranks for close quarter combat. The British loss their advantage of defending a high ground as my men literally fought hand to hand combats with them on the ridge. Within moments the enemy broke and ran only to be met by my main cavalry assault and be destroyed. My thrust into the enemy’s rank successfully split the enemy into two, and the British army literally disintegrated. With the British gone, the Prussians could not mount a successful counterattack against me and retreated. The battle had been won.
Waterloo, Note: Thick Blue lines stands for the advances of troops for the final assault that defeated the coalition forces.
Marshal Ney died in my arms, leaving only “Mon empereur, we won right?” to me. His body had more than a dozen holes all seeping black red blood. I myself was wounded badly and collapsed to the ground with my marshal.
After I woke up it had been a dozen days after the battle. Although all of my wounds were treated, a part of the shrapnel in my lungs could not be taken out, as it was too close to my heart. Ever since I had a severe breathing problem, and no longer fit to ride and lead a battle. I can no longer satisfy my countrymen’s thirst for Gloire, as my deteriorating health now prevents me from going to the field to command. Thinking of these old memories now makes me feel I need to secure a better future for my Country now at the peace conference. After the decisive battle at Waterloo my other marshals did conquer back the Low Countries and large parts of Italy and Spain. However, Rhineland was loss as they were repelled near Nuremburg. The peace conference is now likely to grant the Prussians the Rhineland for some border adjustment in Poland. Though still a pygmy in the great power system and no match for the Empire for now, I somehow feel that Prussia will rise to the top within two to three generations if no actions were to limit their ambitions. France must be prepared to face the challenge of another Power when the time comes…
Napoleon I, 1816, Vienna