When Napoleon Battled Russia

Following the French Army's brilliant victories at the twin battles of Jena and Auerstadt on October 14, 1806, the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte subsequently launched his Grande Armée in a devastating pursuit of the remnants of the Prussian Army. The end result was the disintegration of the Prussians as a viable fighting force and the occupation of their territory. On October 25, Marshal Nicholas Davout and his III Corps, the heroes of Auerstadt, were given the honor of leading the French Army into Berlin. On the 27th Napoleon received the keys to the city. Berlin, like Vienna, had fallen to the French.
The Battle of Waterloo
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The Battle of Waterloo

A few days earlier, on his way to the capital, the Emperor had stopped in Potsdam to pay homage at the tomb of Frederick the Great, one of the few military commanders he admired. After viewing in silence the final resting place of the great king, Napoleon ordered confiscated as military trophies several of Frederick's personal items, including his sword, general's sash, and Ribbon of the Black Eagle. These, the Emperor stated, were “for the consolation of those of our invalides who escaped the catastrophe of Rossbach.” Thus the Seven Years' War battle where France had been decisively defeated by Frederick's Prussians had been avenged.

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