“THE Emperor Napoleon having been pleased to communicate to me his opinion on the principal events of the Campaign of MDCCCXV, I have, in writing the following Narrative, availed myself of that favourable circumstance, and also of my own recollections of the great catastrophe, of which I was an eyewitness.
“I have read a great number of publications on the same subject, since I returned to Europe; but most of the authors appear to have been governed by anger or animosity, and others to have been blinded by overweening national partialities: few have studied to give a true picture of the events as they occurred.
“Error often repeated assumes at last the appearance of reality; but being in this instance possessed of the means of removing it, I feel that a longer silence on my part would be inexcusable. No other reason could have overcome my repugnance to expose myself to literary criticism.
“Writing as a military man, I have only alluded to political events in order to explain how it happened, that a single battle sufficed to subjugate the French nation, governed by the first Captain of modern times. It is not for me to attempt to discuss these great questions:—Has the battle of Waterloo consolidated or shaken every throne?—Has it secured the tranquillity of Europe or undermined all its foundations? Time will determine.
“The Public will find in this Work a simple but faithful recital of facts; the military reader, the information necessary to enable him to estimate the faults which were committed, and the talents which were unfolded; the French, a new proof, that, notwithstanding their misfortunes, their warlike reputation was not tarnished in the field of Waterloo.” (Gaspard Gourgaud)
Illustrated with a Map of the principal Theatre of War.