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Photos of Veterans from the Napoleonic Wars

 Napoleon is best known for his military success in Europe. In fact, his story is not just known in France and the rest of Europe, but the world as well. He is described as having one of the greatest military minds in the history of warfare and managed to achieve what was considered unthinkable - he became the first French Emperor to conquer much of Europe. His remarkable military career lasted over 20 years. He fought 60 battles and lost only eight - mostly toward the end of his reign. 
 
 
Napoleon Wars

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:  

Grenadier Burg 24th Regiment of the Guard 1815.
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Monsieur Dreuse of 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard c. 1813-14.
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Monsieur Ducel Mameluke de la Garde 1813-1815.
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Monsieur Dupont Fourier for the 1st Hussar. 
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Monsieur Lefebre sergeant 2nd Regiment of Engineers 1815. 
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Monsieur Loria 24th Mounted Chasseur Regiment Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. 
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Monsieur Maire 7th Hussars c. 1809-15. 
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Monsieur Mauban 8th Dragoon Regiment 1815. 
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Monsieur Moret of the 2nd Regiment 1814/15. 
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Monsieur Schmit 2nd Mounted Chasseur Regiment 1813-14.
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Monsieur Verlinde of the 2nd Lancers 1815. 
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Monsieur Vitry Departmental Guard.
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Quartermaster Fabry 1st Hussars.
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Quartermaster Sergeant Delignon in the uniform of a Mounted Chasseur of the Guard, 1809-1815.
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Sergeant Taria Grenadiere de la Garde 1809-1815. 
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Photos by: Brown University Library
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Related Topics: photos, history, incredible, war, veterans, Napoleon
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