Napoleon's addresses during the Austerlitz Campaign
Proclamation to the Troops on the Commencement of the War of the Third Coalition: September, 1805
"Soldiers: The war of the third coalition is commenced. The Austrian army has passed the Inn, violated treaties, attacked and driven our ally from his capital. You yourselves have been obliged to hasten, by forced marches, to the defence of our frontiers. But you have now passed the Rhine; and we will not stop now till we have secured the independence of the Germanic body, succored our allied, and humbled the pride of our unjust assailants. We will not again make peace without a sufficient guarantee! Our generosity shall not again wrong our policy. Soldiers, your Emperor is among you! You are but the advanced guard of the great people. If it is necessary they will all rise at my call to confound and dissolve this new league, which has been created by the malice and gold of England. But, soldiers, we shall have forced marches to make, privations of every kind to endure. Still, whatever obstacles may be opposed to us, we will conquer them; and we will never rest until we have planted our eagles on the territory of our enemies!"
Address to the Austrians, after the Fall of Ulm: October 1805
"Gentlemen: War has its chances. Often victorious, you must expect sometimes to be vanquished. Your master wages against me an unjust war. I say it candidly, I know not for what I am fighting, I know not what he requires of me. He has wished to remind me that I was once a soldier. I trust he will find that I have not forgotten my original avocation. I want nothing on the continent, I desire ships, colonies, and commerce. Their acquisition would be as advantageous to you as to me."
Address to the Troops after the War of the Third Coalition: October, 1805
"Soldiers of the Grand Army: In a fortnight we have finished the entire campaign. What we proposed to do has been done. We have driven the Austrian troops from Bavaria, and restored our ally to the sovereignty of his dominions.
That army, which, with equal presumption and imprudence, marched upon our frontiers, is annihilated.
But what does this signify to England? She has gained her object. We are no longer at Boulogne, and her subsidy will be neither more nor less.
Of a hundred thousand men who composed that army, sixty thousand are prisoners. They replace our conscripts in the labour of agriculture.
Two hundred pieces of cannon, the whole park of artillery, ninety flags, and all their generals are in our power. Fifteen thousand men only have escaped.
Soldiers: I announced to you the result of a great battle; but, thanks to the ill-devised schemes of the enemy, I was enabled to secure the wished-for result without incurring any danger, and, what is unexampled in the history of nations, that result has been gained at the sacrifice of scarcely fifteen hundred men killed and wounded.
But we will not stop here. You are impatient to commence another campaign.
The Russian army, which English gold has brought from the extremities of the universe, shall experience the same fate as that which we have just defeated.
In the conflict in which we are about to engage, the honor of the French infantry is especially concerned. We shall now see another decision of the question which has already been determined in Switzerland and Holland; namely, whether the French infantry is the first or second in Europe.
Amongst the Russians there are no generals in contending against whom I can acquire any glory. All I wish is to obtain the victory with the least possible bloodshed. My soldiers are my children."
Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Austerlitz: December 1, 1805
"Soldiers: The Russian army has presented itself before you to revenge the disasters of the Austrians at Ulm. They are the same men that you conquered at Hollabrunn, and on whose flying trails you have followed. The positions which they occupy are formidable. While they are marching to turn my right, they must present their flank to your blows.
Soldiers: I will myself direct all your battalions. I will keep myself at a distance from the fire, if, with your accustomed valor, you carry disorder and confusion into the enemies' ranks. But should victory appear for a moment uncertain, you will see your Emperor expose himself to the first strokes. Victory must not be doubtful on this occasion."
Proclamation after the Battle of Austerlitz: December 3, 1805
"Soldiers: I am satisfied with you. In the Battle of Austerlitz you have justified all that I expected from your intrepidity. You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory. An army of one hundred thousand men, commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been, in less than four hours, either cut in pieces or dispersed. Thus in two months the third coalition has been vanquished and dissolved. Peace can not now be far distant. But I will make only such a peace as gives us guarantee for our future, and secures rewards to our allies. When everything necessary to secure the happiness and prosperity of our country is obtained, I will lead you back to France. My people will behold you again with joy. It will be enough for one of you to say, 'I was at the battle of Austerlitz;' for all your fellow citizens to exclaim, 'There is a brave man.'"
Address to the Soldiers on the Signing of Peace with Austria: December 26, 1805
"Peace has just been signed by the Emperor of Austria. You have in the last autumn made two campaigns. You have seen your Emperor share your dangers and your fatigues. I wish also that you should see him surrounded by the grandeur and splendor which belong to the sovereign of the first people in the world. You shall all be there. We will celebrate the names of those who have died in these two campaigns in the field of honor. The world shall ever see us ready to follow their example. We will even do more than we have yet done, if necessary to vindicate our national honor, or to resist the efforts of those who are the eternal enemies of peace upon the continent. During the three months which are necessary to effect your return to France, prove the example for all armies. You have now to give testimonies, not of courage and intrepidity, but of strict discipline. Conduct yourself like children in the bosom of their family."