The departure of Napoleon

The 16th February 1815 Napoleon wrote to General Drouot, the following orders: "Give order that the brig enters the dockyard and is turned on stern, polished, its waterways and careenage well capped, including any other thing that is necessary to keep the sea. It will be painted as a British brig. I expect you to present me a quote concerning all this tomorrow. The brig will be rearmed and provided with biscuits, rice, beans, cheese, half of supply in brandy and the other half in wine, and water for 120 men for three weeks. As for salted meat, 15 days provision will be embarked. Make sure there is wood and that nothing is missed at all. I want it to be ready from the 24th to 25th of this month as I said. "

Napoleon left Elba on the 26th of February 1815. There are many stories around his departure, many of which have as a background the night of the dance party (the masquerade), organized by her sister Pauline at the Vigilanti Theatre that was built upon the deconsecrated church of Carmine. It is a rooted popular belief that Napoleon exploited the costume party to escape from Elba.

In fact Napoleon did not escape from Elba, but greeted her on February 26, 1815 at 16:00.

Preparations for his departure were being organized for days, and the brig got ready right after the orders received on February 20, commanded the captain Chautard.
Once supervision of the British weaken because of the absence of Colonel Campbell, who had gone to Livorno, Napoleon before departure run in the central hall where Mother Letizia, Mère San Ségale and his sister Pauline, were into tears watching his moves from a window.

He gave them a hug and a kiss and left fast for fear that they could notice his intense emotion.

He crossed Via Ferrandini, the Pompone staircase and Granguardia Square until he reached Porta a Mare and then Punta del Gallo.
He left from the same point of arrival among the crowd waiting for him at boarding. While jumping on the raft towards the brig Inconstant, anchored between the Pier and the Gallo Tower in Hammer he said his last words to the people of Elba "I will return my children; I entrust to you my mother and my sister."

The Incostant shoved off with the Emperor on board armed with 18 guns and some of his soldiers. His little fleet , including two schooners a French bombard. Later 400 grenadiers embarked on '' Incostant ", and 200 on '' Etoile", the knights on the "Saint-Esprit" and 40 artillerymen with 300 hunters from Corsican followed on other boats, while one of the schooners was a lookout post during navigation. As a precaution, the destination was kept initially secret and the vessels headed west separately to disguise the convoy. In fact, Campbell, who left the port of Livorno the following day with its frigate to return to Elba, didn't have any suspicion.

The historical events regarding Napoleon after his departure from the island are pretty well known; as for instance, the Battle of Waterloo, the exile on St. Helena where his illness led to him to death. The last words the emperor uttered just before dying are still famous: "Six years ago, exactly, I came to Elba Island. It was raining. I could recover, if only I could feel that rain again. "

Napoleon died on May 5, 1821, and every year on this day in Elba, a mass celebrates the memory of Napoleon in the Church of Reverenda Misericordia in Portoferraio.
Every year during the month of May, there are many historical commemorations and celebratory events that recall the sovereignty of Napoleon in Elba.

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