(catalogue number: BCD174)

The Three Horsemen of Napoleon

The recollections of Dragoon Onyon, Dragoon Auvray and Mounted Hunter Wolfe Tone of ten years of the Napoleonic Wars

Critical edition

Translated by the well-known historian and writer Jiri Kovarik

In 1893, a group of men gathered around the newly founded Musée de l,Armée in the Invalides in Paris founded the military-historical monthly Carnet de la Sabretache, Notebook of the Sabre Bag. It was published until 1937, and among its founding fathers and leading figures was the distinguished painter of battle scenes, Édouard Detaille. The journal, which ran to six hundred pages each issue, published a plethora of articles and studies on French military history, and no small part of this was due to the publication of manuscript memoirs and reminiscences of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. We have tried to resurrect three of them from oblivion for Czech readers, and the choice was not random. Together they give a rather unusual picture, illustrating the entire course of the Napoleonic Wars from the glory days and dazzling victories to their bitter end.

Jean-Auguste Onyon, a non-commissioned officer of the 4th Dragoon Regiment, the author of the first memoir, tells of the war and the campaign he experienced in a whimsical, almost jocular manner and with that inimitable French lightness. Although he experienced many hardships, he writes about the campaign that took him to Moravia in 1805 with a detachment so great that it would seem that the war was just an amusing adventure.

The second lieutenant of the 23rd Dragoon Regiment seems to have picked it up over time, but in his almost diary-like memoirs he describes war and military life from a different perspective, perhaps because he did not join the army of his own free will. In style he does not reach Onyon's level, but in content he has given a much deeper insight into the everyday and the 'grandeur and misery of military life'. The fighting is less frequent, the heroism lacks boasting, and most of all there is talk of hunger, perpetually empty stomachs, marching in discomfort and sleeping in conditions we can hardly imagine.

Lieutenant William-Theobald Wolfe Tone of the 8th Mounted Hunting Regiment is a rarity in origin and nationality, being the son of a famous Irish rebel who was given a new home by France. He tells of the twilight of Napoleon's glory, the campaign of 1813 and many battles including Dresden and Leipzig as if to add to and enrich Auvray's memories of this period. The magnitude and misery of military life reach their peak here, and the bitterness of defeat mingles with personal suffering."

The book is accompanied by extensive notes and a number of contemporary black and white illustrations.

  • Elka Press, Prague 2020
  • Jiří Kovařík
  • Bound book, 360 pages, black and white illustrations
  • Dimensions 148 x 210 mm
  • ISBN 978-80-87057-43-8

This book is in Czech language only!

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