Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte
One of the most famous of Napoleon's Marshals who unlike his one time Emperor was to survive the Napoleonic wars, and who founded the current Swedish Royal family. He was a determined , courageous and capable commander. He became a Marshal of France in 1804 and in 1805 fought at Ulm and Austerlitz. In 1809 he commanded the Saxon army which became IX Corps but badly mishandled his troops at Wagram and was quickly dismissed. He was then given command of the French troops opposing the British landings at Walcheren but once again offended Napoleon with a proclamation given to his troops and was summoned to Vienna where he was once more dismissed. He was adopted by Charles XIII, king of Sweden in 1810 after being elected as Crown Prince by the Swedish States-General earlier that year and fully committed himself to the role of future head of state. In 1812 when Napoleon's forces invaded Swedish Pomerania Bernadotte allied himself with the Russians, bringing Sweden into the Sixth Coalition in 1813, fighting at Grossbeeren, Dennewitz and Leipzig. He then invaded Holstein and forced Denmark to cede Norway to Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel 14th January 1814. He became Charles XIV of Sweden in 1818, quite an achievement for a one time French Marshal and it is said that when he died a tattoo was found on his body which he had during the revolutionary wars with the motto 'Death to Monarchs'