I have read on several occasions, in several different books, of the incident in 1805 whereby Murat and Lannes captured the only bridge over the Danube after bluffing the Austrian Commander that an armistice had been signed and that the bridge had to be handed over to the French.
I was wondering whether anyone could tell me what the original source for this story was as in all the versions I have read not one author gives the source.
Is the versions of this event I have read actually true i.e. did Murat and Lannes really ride alone over the bridge in their full Marshals uniforms (or Murats equivalent thereof!!) decorations blazing, into the midst of the enemy and call their bluff?
Although Murat and Lannes bravery could never be questioned, I have difficulty believing that two of the most famous and highly decorated French Marshals would have exposed themselves to such danger. They would have been a prize capture for the Austrians or could quite easily have been killed.
Has the role of Murat and Lannes been exaggerated in this episode? If anyone knows and could tell me the original source, or any of the original sources, for this story I would be very grateful.