Digital Library

The documents digitised by the Fondation Napoléon (listed here) are full searchable, and any images can be viewed using the high resolution zoom feature.

  • Lecomte, (L.H.), Napoléon et le monde dramatique, (1912)

    Lecomte, (L.H.), Napoléon et le monde dramatique, (1912)

    • Paris
    • Daragon
    • 1912

    The history of all aspects of the theatre (musical and dramatic) during the Consulate and Empire. An appendix gives a chronological list of all the shows seen by Napoleon Bonaparte. Indispensable guide to the Parisian theatrical and musical world for the period 1799 to 1815. [This document is also available as en epub file]

  • Notice sur l’île d’Elbe, (1814)

    Notice sur l’île d’Elbe, (1814)

    • Paris
    • Tardieu-Denesle
    • 1814

    Containing a description of the island’s towns, augmented with a description of « Buonaparte’s » [sic] voyage to the place of his embarcation. [This document is also available as en epub file]

  • Correspondance de l’armée française en Egypte, interceptée par l’escadre de Nelson, (1798)

    Correspondance de l’armée française en Egypte, interceptée par l’escadre de Nelson, (1798)

    • Paris
    • Garney
    • An VI [1798]

    Selection of official and private letters intercepted at different times by Turkish and British warships, published by the British government in 1798 so as to « open Europe’s eyes » regarding the real reason for the Egyptian expedition and in order to give the true story of this « oriental tale » by publishing the actual experience of […]

  • Mehlisse (E.G.C.), [Liste de prisonniers français], (1826)

    Mehlisse (E.G.C.), [Liste de prisonniers français], (1826)

    • Paris
    • Henri Guillemé
    • 1826

    Tableau of the 16,000 soldiers who fought for France taken prisoner in the period 1810 to 1814 (Russia, Poland and Germany), including a list of all the those soldiers (out of the 16,000) still alive and in Russia. [This document is also available as en epub file]

  • Lort de Sérignan, Grognards et héros de vingt ans, (1914)

    • Paris
    • Perrin
    • 1914

    Contient : Le général Vergès et les derniers jours de Charette en Vendée; Le vrai capitaine Coignet ; Schulmeister l’espion en chef de Napoléon ; Le général de Brémond d’Ars, un élève de l’école militaire de Fontainebleau sous le Premier Empire ; De Paris à Vilna en 1812, l’aide-major Socrate Blanc pendant la campagne de Russie ; Une carrière militaire en 1810-1813, le lieutenant de Bontin.

  • Mémoire de M. le maréchal Masséna sur les événements qui ont eu lieu en Province en avril 1815, (1816)

    • Paris
    • Delaunay
    • 1816
  • Mémoires de Robert Guillemard, sergent en retraite, de 1805 à 1823, (1826)

    • Paris, Mons
    • Delaforest, Leroux
    • 1826
    • Tome premier

    1826 saw the emergence of one of the first sets of military memoirs on the First Empire: the memoirs of Robert Guillemard, a retired sergeant.

    Describing himself has the son of a notary from Six-Fours in southern France, conscripted in 1805, Robert Guillemard recounts the most noted episodes of a life that was already rich in adventures: he was on Redoutable at the Battle of Trafalgar, and allegedly fired upon the English officers of the Victory from the topmast, mortally wounding Nelson. Then, having become one of Admiral Villeneuve’s servants, he claimed to witness the latter Admiral’s death, which he described as an assassination. Afterwards, Guillemard was involved in a series of campaigns and escapades, in Spain and on the dreaded island of Cabrera, in Russia and Siberia, and allegedly was present at the execution of Murat in Naples, before leaving for Spain again in 1823, and then taking well-deserved retirement.

    The memoirs were an immediate hit in France as well as in England and Germany (where they were introduced and commented on by Goethe himself), but they also raised many questions and much scepticism.

    The English never believed that this was Nelson’s murderer; they had their own candidates crowned with the title of ‘avenger of Nelson’, who had sworn they had decimated every Frenchman perched on the foremast of Redoutable at the time.

    The French seemed particularly interested in the death of Villeneuve, as rumours of a falsified suicide were in circulation, on the orders, or so it was said, of Napoleon himself… Unfortunately, the story told by Guillemard was so littered with errors and inaccuracies that the trick was revealed in 1828 in the Annales maritimes et coloniales. It seemed impossible actually to meet the retired sergeant, so impossible indeed, that nobody had ever met him!

    The affair finally unravelled in 1830, again in the columns of the Annales maritimes et coloniales, when a certain Lardier, a former Navy accountant, who was quite unnerved by the impact of his false memoirs, admitted that ‘Guillemard was only an imaginary character, and his supposed memoires were a historical novel’.

    Bibliographers think that Alexandre Lardier, who was himself the son of a notary near Six-Fours, a sailor under the Empire and thus knowledgeable about the world of the Navy, was either helped by or gave help to a lawyer, Charles-Ogé Barbaroux, also a Provençal, whom the Restoration had reduced to living by his pen.

    • Tome second
  • Mémoires du colonel Combe sur les campagnes de Russie 1812, de Saxe 1813, de France 1814, (1896)

    • Paris
    • Plon et Nourrit
    • 1896