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Napoleon's Command Post

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  • Napoleon's Command Post

    In the field Napoleon used a large carriage as a mobile command post. It had strength, stability and was very manoeuvrable and was weather-proofed.
    Inside considerable ingenuity had ensured that the needs of a commander on campaign were met. One seat across the back was partially partitioned so that two persons could work without being thrown around. Opposite this, was a lockable cabinet with a leaf which could be pulled out to make a writing desk, and contained several drawers for files, despatches and a map case.
    Napoleon's carriage taken at Waterloo was exhibited at the Egyptian Hall in 1816. Napoleon's dormeuse was built by Goeting during April 1815. After its capture by Maj von Keller on 18 June 1815, William Bullock acquired the carriage. Napoleon aroused the curiosity of the English. They flocked to see items that were once his. The exhibit was a tremendous success earning William Bullock 35,000 pounds.

    3.
    Usually painted a dark blue or green, (most French coaches were traditionally painted with yellow bodies and red chassis and wheels). The dormeuse was embellished with frieze ornament in gold.
    The undercarriage and wheels were in blue and heightened in gold.
    A lamp was fitted to each upper corner of the bodywork, with another placed centrally at the back below the roof.
    This covered an aperture in the bodywork to provide internal illumination.
    The door panels, emblazoned with the Imperial Arms, were bullet-proof and were fitted with locks and bolts, while behind the windows were blinds that could be operated by a spring.
    The windows were also provided with louvred shutters which could be removed and stored when not in use; these shutters may have been in place at the time of capture.
    Over the front windows was a roller blind of canvas which, when extended, was designed to prevent the windows being blocked with snow or obscured by rain.
    Below the front windows was a box extension of about two feet in length, so placed as to increase the space of the interior.
    In front of this box was a seat which, when the Emperor was present in the carriage, was occupied by his mameluke .
    Other cupboards contained writing materials, books, telescopes, food, drinks and toilet necessities, a silver chronometer hung on one wall. Napoleon's seat could be converted into a bed, and at night the interior was lit by a suspended lantern. His camp bed was under the driver's seat, and spare clothes and bedding were in the boot. The carriage was designed so that the Emperor and his chief of staff, usually Berthier could travel and work on the move.
    Riding on the outside would be a duty equerry on the right and a senior officer of the Guard cavalry on the left. Messages could be handed through the window, maps consulted, orders written and ADCs summoned to deliver them-all without stopping.




    On one of the carriage doors were two holsters containing pistols of Versailles manufacture, with a further holster " close to the seat" containing a double-barrelled pistol. These weapons were apparently unremarkable other than that they were old and battered and the letters "NB" were engraved in gold on the barrels. They were rifled and sighted, and complete with tools for charging and repair.
    The carriage was acquired by Madame Tussaud's in 1842. The dormeuse remained in the Tussaud collection for some 80 years. On 18 March 1925 a disastrous fire swept through the museum, destroying not only the carriage but also its setting: the Napoleon Room and much else disappeared in the flames. In 1976 the pathetic remains of this once splendid vehicle -- a single heat-warped axle -- was presented to the Museum at Malmaison.
    Last edited by Post Captain; 07 Aug 07, 11:36.
    Never Fear the Event

    Admiral Lord Nelson

  • #2
    Awsome post. There's still a lot of stuff I don't know about Napoleon, now there's one more thing that I do know.
    All warfare is based on deception.
    Sun Tzu - Art of war - Chapter One - Laying Plans


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    • #3
      Originally posted by mike brown View Post
      On 18 March 1925 a disastrous fire swept through the museum, destroying not only the carriage but also its setting: the Napoleon Room and much else disappeared in the flames. In 1976 the pathetic remains of this once splendid vehicle -- a single heat-warped axle -- was presented to the Museum at Malmaison.
      I always hate to hear of disasters destroying historical records and memorabilia like that. Pieces of human history that are now gone forever -- very sad.
      "I am not an atomic playboy."
      Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mirrorshades View Post
        I always hate to hear of disasters destroying historical records and memorabilia like that. Pieces of human history that are now gone forever -- very sad.
        My sentiments, i would have loved to have to seen that carriage, if that fire had occurred today it would have probably been saved with all the fire precautions in effect in many museums. HMS victory for one example is covered with firefighting equipment and alarms.
        Last edited by Post Captain; 08 Aug 07, 09:32.
        Never Fear the Event

        Admiral Lord Nelson

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mike brown View Post
          HMS victory for one example is covered with firefighting equipment and alarms.
          So was the Cutty Sark!

          Regarding Boney's perambulator, it should have been exhibited at Waterloo Station... in an iron cage.
          The long toll of the brave
          Is not lost in darkness
          Over the fruitful earth
          And athwart the seas
          Hath passed the light of noble deeds
          Unquenchable forever.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Von Richter View Post
            So was the Cutty Sark!

            Regarding Boney's perambulator, it should have been exhibited at Waterloo Station... in an iron cage.
            Yes but HMS victory is in the middle of the Naval Base, i worked there for 10 years and they take fire precautions very serious, we were constantly on firefighting courses, drills and lectures, they drove us scatty, and all alarms are connected to the local fire station, we once had a false alarm and the brigade were there within 5 minutes.
            HMS victory has survived a bomb in WWII exploding nearby, and a fire in the seventies.

            Reminds me of a conversation heard when a French party visited Victory; Frenchman; "have you any cannonballs from that period"
            British guide; "no sir, the French navy have all of them"

            "They overexaggerate. In an iron cage! Has anyone asked for that? "
            Last edited by Post Captain; 09 Aug 07, 15:12.
            Never Fear the Event

            Admiral Lord Nelson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mike brown View Post
              "They overexaggerate. In an iron cage! Has anyone asked for that? "
              Hihihi...

              Great you guys !!!!

              Napoleon's carriage was kinda like a modern caravan or mobile home ! Wish I could have seen it also...but alas, forever gone up in smoke !!!!


              Greets,
              Stratego
              Last edited by Stratego; 09 Aug 07, 11:10.
              Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

              It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

              Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

              BORG

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              • #8
                Image sources

                Hello,

                I'm doing some research on Napoleon's carriage and am having some trouble locating images. Does anyone have a print source for the diagram and photo posted on this thread, or a place I could find a higher-resolution file? Thanks very much.

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                • #9
                  Welcome to the Napoleonic Forums.
                  I'm sure someone has images that might help you.
                  You should write PM to Post Captain, Zouave or Stratego. There's other members that might help, but give this 3 a try.
                  All warfare is based on deception.
                  Sun Tzu - Art of war - Chapter One - Laying Plans


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                  • #10
                    Do wish that that carriage was still around. Would love to see that major artifact.
                    "Female virtue has been held in suspicion from the beginning of the world, and ever will be." -Napoleon

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                    • #11
                      A list of personal items found in Napoleon's carriage that was captured by the Prussians after Waterloo.

                      http://www.napoleon-series.org/resea...toiletkit.html
                      My avatar: Center of the Cross of the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour) of the First French Empire (Napoleonic Era), 3rd type (awarded between 1806-1808). My Légion d'honneur. :-)

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