Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Re: Waterloo Campaign - June 13th Part 1

Unfortunately, I cannot summarize all my arguments for these postings... the book is over 530 pages, of which more than half are appendices of substantiating material. It has been an incredible struggle just to string a narrative together that focuses on the military aspects of this campaign including Soult's machinations.

I do not think Soult was in league with Bourmont, rather, I think Soult had become aware of who Bourmont answered to, and used that. In fact, what I document is that Soult was behind the major screw ups in the campaign (most of this is black and white) but in each case, someone else is the culprit! It is Brilliant! Bourmont! Vandamme! Ney! D'Erlon! Grouchy! And Soult is sure to leave a strong paper trail of each of their failures (except Vandamme, curiously). Yet in each case, what he writes as Major General, what Napoleon will repeat later, one can see in the aggregated record, Soult was the root cause.

There are some that claim Soult was in league with the Bourbons - but I see his connections with the family as more a conduit of information rather than cooperation. Too many questions - did some say they wanted him shot when he returned in 1819 just to provide him cover? No reason they would do that. According to Houssaye, Soult tried to get Bourmont removed from the army in May, but I have not seen the correspondence and extent of it.

Soult was thinking big here - rid France of Napoleon, but be at Napoleon's side, was a way to regain standing with the anti-Bourbon forces which had just put Napoleon on the throne. That is pretty strong calculus. Then, be part of the crew that props France back up. I am also certain he was aware that overtly hurting Napoleon was not politically wise. Bonapartists were, for a long time in France, a powerful force that went well beyond Napoleon, and 30 years later would rule again.

Had Soult told the truth, he would have stayed with the army - but he lied so many times that it is very hard to guess his motivations in 1815 - if he wasn't scheming, then what? Fighting to defend France, he stays with army - but he didn't.

He would get credit for being at Waterloo while Bourmont/Guizot/others would struggle with the backlash even from Legitimists and Republicans. It is amazing how ignorant those that lived through 1815 were of Soult's actions - even if he was just incompetent, the details were missing.

This was a brilliant man... and the miscalculation he made, many made, was that the Bourbons would be restored so quickly and decisively.

But I know this is just a circumstantial case. I am quite confident in the military analysis - and if Soult was simply over his head, then at least there is finally substantiation for that.

Of course, and this will be my broken record, we could all probably learn a lot if Soult's ancestors just released everything they had. It might be nothing... but Soult's silence and the sequestration of these materials implies to me that there is something.

Maybe it will be Soult lamenting is poor performance and an explanation that completely refutes my thesis of nefariousness... and if that were true, that would be great. I don't care if Soult is good or bad or indifferent - never met the guy. But I note that I raise a lot of questions that those who don't like me thesis completely ignore because there really are not many good answers for a lot of what Soult did - and I'm not even finished yet....

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Waterloo Campaign - June 13th Part 1
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