Saturday 15 July 2017 marks 202 years since the Napoleonic Wars finally came to an end. Former Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland of HMS Bellerophon on 15 July 1815.
Six weeks after his disastrous defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon faced an uncertain future. After his abdication, he was unwelcome in France, with his capture sought by Prussian and Austrian forces.
Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon wrote an account of the events that followed for a personal statement; this can be found at TFhe National Archives under the document reference FO 97/159.
On 10 July 1815, HMS Bellerophon was guarding the French port of Rochefort when a French vessel bearing a flag of truce approached. On board were General Anne Jean Marie Rene Savary and the Comte de Las (Count of) Cases, with the first announcement of Napoleon’s consideration to surrender to the British.
There was further contact between the French party and the Bellerophon over the following days.
At 07:00 on 14 July a vessel approached the Bellerophon. The Comte de Las Cases was again on board, this time accompanied by General L’Allarand. They had a letter from Napoleon, wishing to discuss the terms of General Bonaparte’s surrender.
After leaving Bellerophon, Comte de Las Cases returned at 19:00 the same day with a letter from Napoleon’s General, Count Bertrand revealing that Napoleon was currently on Isle D’Aix and fully prepared to surrender. Continue reading »