Napoleon Series Archive 2015

sépultures de guerre à la fin du Premier Empire

Les sépultures de guerre en France à la fin du Premier Empire
Jacques Hantraye

Burying the dead before the military graveyards : soldiers’ funerals at the end of the Napoleonic era

Most of the soldiers and officers who died at the end of the Napoleonic era were buried in common graves. It does not mean that they were neglected. Soldiers and civilians tried to identify them for administrative purposes prior to burying operations. They took much care of the corpses, organizing decent funerals as frequently as they could. Though officers were the most honoured, foot soldiers were not left aside. Some of those celebrations were organized for political reasons.During the first half of the 19th century, the memory of fallen soldiers and officers had to face the reaction of State and Church after Waterloo and was taken on merely by veterans and liberals. Speeches, recollections of memories and monuments building show that the memory of dead soldiers was a very important matter, 50 years before the first military graveyard appeared.