The Surrender of Napoleon tells the true story of how the legendary French emperor surrendered to the British on HMS Bellerophon and the events between 24 May and 8 August 1815. While HMS Bellerophon was stationed off Rochefort in the Bay of Biscay observing French warships in the harbour, Napoleon has been defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. News had reached Rear Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland on 28 June that Napoleon was planning an escape to America from the French Atlantic coast, possible from Bordeaux. Believing that Rochefort was the more likely point of escape, Maitland also sent two ships to cover the ports of Bordeaux and Arcachon. With HMS Superb and a string of British frigates, corvettes and brigs watching the coast, there was no escape for Napoleon. Maitland’s instincts proved correct and Napoleon arrived at Rochefort in early July. Finding escape barred by the patrolling HMS Bellerophon and unable to remain in France, he authorised the opening of negotiations with the commander of the British warship off the coast. Maitland refused the request to allow Napoleon to sail for America, but offered to take him to England. The negotiations went on for four days, but eventually Napoleon acquiesced. He embarked on 15 July with his staff and servants where he surrendered to Maitland. Maitland placed his cabin at the former emperor’s disposal and sailed for England. She reached Torbay on 24 July, but was ordered to Plymouth, while a decision was made by the government over Napoleon’s fate. She sailed again on 4 August and while off Berry Head on 7 August, Napoleon and his staff were removed to HMS Northumberland, which conveyed him to his final exile on Saint Helena. The Surrender of Napoleon is Maitland’s detailed and stunning narrative of the French emperors time on HMS Bellerophon, which he originally published in 1826.
SURRENDER OF NAPOLEON The Capture of the Emperor After Waterloo
Maitland was the Captain of the Bellerophon, the Royal Navy ship to which Napoleon surrendered and which then transported Napoleon to England He describes the thin blockade that lead to Napoleon’s capture and prevention of his escape to America, which was a very near run thing.
Frederick Lewis Maitland
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Softback, 138 pages