Once he lost power, he was never forgotten, especially not by the surviving veterans of his Grande Armée, who continued honoring his name and historic leadership over the years. On the day that Napolean died, while it continued to be nothing more than an ordinary day for most people throughout Europe, this was a special day for the surviving French veterans who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. In fact, they perceived it to be a day of great significance which couldn't go unnoticed. Every year, marking his anniversary, veterans would dress in their military uniforms and march to Place Vendôme in Paris to pay respect to the fallen emperor.
Below you will see a collection of captivating portraits that were most likely taken on any one of those occasions during the 1850s. They are most probably the only surviving images of veterans of Napoleon's Grande Armée dressed in their original uniforms. You will notice that the veterans are almost all in their late 70s and 80s and they are all wearing the Saint Helena medals that were issued on August 12,1857. This medal was granted to the soldiers about 42 years after the devastating battle of Waterloo, in which, Napoleon I's nephew, Napoleon III decided to honor all the soldiers who had served in the Grand Armée during the Napoleonic Wars.
According to most accounts, over 400,000 soldiers proved that they served in the Grande Armée, thus receiving the Saint Helena medal for their service. The portraits of the veterans below are among thousands of soldiers who received this medal. The photos are part of the Anne S.K. Brown military collection, though no one can claim how Mrs. Brown managed to acquire them. See these incredible photos below: