Murat even attached his favorite white feather plume to the Polish Confederate
Joachim Murat in the Confederate
This passion became especially noticeable after the Egyptian campaign, where Murat suddenly found himself in the fabulous world of oriental luxury. Since then, he has fallen in love with leopard skins and various products from them once and for all: in the campaign against Russia in 1812 he took as many 20 leopard blankets.
For his overly pompous and "theatrical" appearance, Murat was condemned not only by enemies, but also by people who treated him with sympathy. The stigma of the narcissistic fanfaron tightly stuck to him, and therefore it is now customary to even regard the real royal title he received from Napoleon as an operetta. Some compared this situation with the well-known episode of Cervantes' novel, when a bored duke appointed Sancho Panza the ruler of a certain "island" - with the difference that Napoleon did not appoint a squire, but Don Quixote, who played the role of this duke.
But, oddly enough, many historians assess Murat’s rule in Naples as a whole, positively. This was not the result of some special administrative talent of the Gascon, but he had the mind not to meddle in matters in which he did not understand, but to trust the professionals.
King Joachim. Naples, Palazzo Reale, 1888
Commemorative medal with the image of King Joachim Murat
But how did Murat end up on the throne, and how did his short (less than seven years) rule in Naples end?
Joachim Murat: the beginning of a long journey
That great era in France opened up many talented and even brilliant people who, under the Old regime, did not have the slightest chance of such an exaltation. Murat, who began his military career in 1787 with the rank of rank-and-file cavalryman in a horse-jaeger regiment, already in 1792 we see him as a sub-lieutenant, in 1794 - as a captain. And this despite the fact that in 1789, for violation of discipline and disrespect for his superiors, he was expelled from service for two years.
Sub-lieutenant of the 12-th Horse-Jaeger Regiment I. Murat. 1792 year
The real takeoff was awaiting him after meeting with the young General Bonaparte, to whom he, during the royalist rebellion (October1795), managed to deliver 40 guns. Having under the command of all 200 cavalrymen, Murat not only literally crawled through the crowds of rebels, but also did not lose his precious train, which was perceived by many as a real miracle.
Napoleon Bonaparte commands the suppression of a popular uprising in October 1795. Engraving. XVIII century
Well versed in people, Napoleon brought close to him a promising Gascon. And he for many years justified the trust of his patron - the general, first consul, emperor.
During the famous Italian campaign, Colonel Murat, at the head of the cavalry units, took part in almost all battles. The blow of the three cavalry regiments under his command put Piedmont's army to flight. Commanding the vanguard units, he occupied the important Tuscan port of Livorno. As a result, at the age of 29, he became a brigadier general. In that year, an interesting motto appeared on his saber: “Honor and Ladies”.
In 1798, Murat commanded the French cavalry during the Egyptian campaign of Napoleon, was part of the so-called Syrian army during the campaign in Palestine, participated in the assault on Gaza, captured the march camp of Damascus and the huge city of Tiberias. food supplies. Then he distinguished himself in the assault on the fortress of Saint-Jean-d'Acre, and especially in the battle with the Turkish landing at Abukir. During the latter, despite his wound, he personally captured the Turkish commander in chief, Said Mustafa Pasha. Soon after, Murat was awarded the following military rank - the division general. It is not surprising that Murat was one of the few who accompanied Napoleon during his return from Egypt to France.
Murat in the form of a general of the Republic
In November 1799 (19 brumaire according to the revolutionary calendar), Murat rendered Napoleon a truly invaluable service, leading the grenadiers who literally kicked out of the conference room of the deputies of the “500 Council”. But Napoleon himself, the same people before this, nearly fainted with their indignant cries and threats to declare him illegal. Unaware of fear on the battlefield, Bonaparte was suddenly confused and left parliament almost in prostration, and Murat confidently ordered the soldiers: “Throw all this audience out!”
And recently, such brave and formidable deputies ran to the race - many not even through the doors, but through the windows they break.
Murat accelerates “500 Council”
English caricature of the 19 Brummer event
In April 1800, Murat commanded the cavalry during Napoleon's new campaign in Italy. He managed to capture Milan and Piacenza, to expel the army of the Kingdom of Naples from the Papal States. And, of course, he fought at Marengo.
But Murat’s career was particularly accelerated by his marriage to Bonaparte’s sister Caroline (20 of January 1800 of the year): Napoleon, like any Corsican of those years, was kind to family ties and finding a suitable crown for his beloved sister (and at the same time for her husband) was for him, as they say, a matter of honor.
In fact, at first Napoleon categorically objected to this marriage:
in the position where fate has lifted me, I simply cannot allow my family to become related with such mediocrity. ”
However, after the events of 19 Brummer, he slightly corrected his position:
"Its origin is such that no one will accuse me of pride and the search for a brilliant relationship."
Murat's sword with the profile of his wife Carolina
Jean-Louis Ducis. Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples 1810
This marriage was concluded for love, and when the first impulse of passion passed, the couple, despite numerous mutual infidelities, maintained a good relationship for a long time.
It was in the family of Joachim and Carolina that the first boy of the Bonaparte clan (Achille-Charles-Napoleon) was born, and before Napoleon adopted the children of Josephine Bogarne, he was the first contender for the imperial throne. And then a son was born to Napoleon himself, so that the son of Joachim and Carolina could be forgotten about the imperial crown forever.
In total, the Murat family had four children.
Francois Gerard. Carolina Murat with children (the eldest son is dressed in a suit, similar to the uniform of Napoleon himself, so that everyone can understand who is his real heir!). Around 1808 year
Carolina was perhaps the most ambitious of Napoleon’s sisters, and she promoted her husband with all her might, jealously watching that he was not inadvertently circumvented in awards and honors, as well as in cash bonuses. By the way, she bought one of them for herself the Champs Elysees - the current residence of the presidents of France.
In 1804, Murat became the governor of Paris and the Marshal of France, in 1805 - "Prince of the French", the Grand Admiral of the Empire and the Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves. The capital of his possessions was Dusseldorf.
Duchy of Berg and Cleve on the map
New exploits of the frantic Gascon
Murat’s "Gascons" during the 1805 campaign were already described in a previous article. During the war with Prussia in 1806, he completed the rout of the Prussian army in the battle of Jena and drove its remains for a long time.
Murat in the battle of Jena
And then with some cavalrymen he captured the hometown of Catherine II - Stettin. On this occasion, Napoleon wrote to Murat:
“If our light cavalry takes fortified cities in this way, I will have to dismantle the engineering troops and send our guns for re-melting.”
The series "Napoleon". Claudio Amendola as Murat. To the left of the emperor
The following year, at the Battle of Preisisch Eilau, Murat led a massive attack by the French cavalry (“80 squadron attack”), which the British historian Chandler called “one of the greatest cavalry attacks in stories". The first wave of the French, led by Dahlman, scattered the Russian cavalry, the second, which was already led by Murat himself, broke through two infantry lines. And this attack took place because, at 500 meters from himself, Napoleon suddenly saw the Russians breaking through French positions. And he turned to Murat: “Will you really let them gobble us up ?!”
Murat did not allow it.
Napoleon and Murat before the "attack of 80 squadrons"
This episode is often called the peak of Murat’s entire military career. In Tilsit, the impressed Alexander I awarded him the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called.
In the 1808 year, Murat fought in Spain, first capturing Madrid (March 23), and then crushing the rebellion in it (May 2). From Escorial, he took and sent to France the sword of Francis I, with whom he was captured at the Battle of Pavia.
By the way, after the victory over Prussia in 1806, Napoleon also brought home some souvenirs: the sword and watches of Frederick the Great. And even after renunciation, he did not give them away - he took with him to the island of St. Helena.
But back from 1806 year to 1808. Murat’s victory went to the emperor’s brother, Joseph. Many historians are sure that this appointment was Napoleon's mistake, believing that an experienced in military affairs Murat would have acted in Spain much more successfully and would have brought more benefits. However, the emperor decided differently: in troubled, literally boiling, Spain, his brother, not shining with talents, went, and the active warrior-Murat 1 of August of that year was put at the head of a completely peaceful Neapolitan kingdom.
By the way, few people know that Murat then changed his name - he began to call himself Joachim Napoleon (but he once wanted to take the name of the dead Charlotte Cord Marat).
Kingdom of neapolitan
Coat of arms of Murat, king of Naples
Coin of King Joachim
King of Naples Joachim
How did our hero rule his kingdom? Oddly enough, pretty reasonable. He relied on local cadres in everything, did not impose or promote aliens from outside, and even made some attempts to abandon the role of a weak-willed puppet of the powerful emperor of the French. Political criminals, many of whom were Napoleon's enemies, he immediately pardoned. He defiantly went to bow to the relics of the patron saint of Naples - St. Januarius. Then he knocked out the British from the island of Capri belonging to his kingdom. In 1810, he tried to capture Sicily, but did not succeed. Murat’s further steps give reason to suspect timid attempts to follow the path of another French marshal - Bernadotte. But Bernadotte was the ruler of a no-but independent state, while Murat was on the throne of a country dependent on France and its emperor. Even these awkward attempts to show independence, Napoleon apparently suffered only because he did not want to deprive his sister of the crown.
So, for starters, Murat tried to get rid of the French parts in his kingdom. Napoleon naturally refused to withdraw his troops, and then Murat demanded that the French officials of the kingdom become subjects of Naples. Carolina fully supported her husband in this intrigue against her brother, moreover, they believe that she was the initiator of such unfriendly actions. Napoleon said that all subjects of the Kingdom of Naples are citizens of his empire, and therefore there is no need for the reassignment of bureaucrats. Quiet confrontation with the dictates of the emperor continued. In response to the introduction of a double duty on the import of silk from Naples, a retaliatory blow follows - a complete ban on its import into France, which is extremely worried for both Parisian fashionistas and Napoleon.
Napoleon, by the way, understood well who was in charge of this pair. “The queen’s little finger has more energy than her husband’s entire personality,” he said then.
But Murat gradually began to realize that he was turning into a purely nominal figure, and there was a discord in relations between the spouses, exacerbated by the turbulent novels of both. But this did not prevent the founding of a military school in Naples, engineering, polytechnic, artillery, and maritime schools, the construction of new roads and bridges. At the same time, they built an observatory and expanded the botanical garden.
Patrick Courcelles and Jacques Girbal. Murat in Naples in 1813
In 1812, Murat was forced to leave Naples and join the Great Army of his overlord. He commanded the cavalry units of the Great Army (4 corps with a total number of 28 thousand people), pursued the Russians - and could not catch up with them. In a battle near Ostrovno, he personally participated in an equestrian battle with the Cossacks.
Richard Knotel. Cavalry battle
He became one of the heroes of the battle of Borodino (in one of the attacks of Semyonovsky flashes a horse was killed under him) and one of the first to enter Moscow. If you believe L.N. Tolstoy, his appearance made a great impression on the Muscovites remaining in the city:
“All with timid bewilderment looked at the strange, adorned with feathers and gold long-haired chief.
“Well, is that himself, perhaps, their king?” Nothing! “Quiet voices were heard.”
“Well, is that himself, perhaps, their king?” Nothing! “Quiet voices were heard.”
(The novel "War and Peace.")
It was the Murat cavalrymen who discovered the camp of the retreating Kutuzov. Moreover, according to Marbo,
“Murat, proud of his high growth, his courage, always wore very strange, shiny costumes, attracted the attention of the enemy. He liked to negotiate with the Russians, so he exchanged gifts with the Cossack commanders. Kutuzov took advantage of these meetings to support the false hopes for peace in the French. ”
But soon Murat himself became convinced of the intransigence of the Russians.
The vanguard of the Great Army, under his command of about 20-22 of thousands of people, stood on the Chernyshna River with 12 (24) on September. The Russian army received a replenishment, despondency that gripped everyone after leaving Moscow, gave way to indignation and a desire for revenge. The subordinates demanded decisive action from Kutuzov, and the separately standing French units seemed an ideal target. Alas, the famous Tarutino battle, although it was the first victory of the Russian army, still did not lead to the complete defeat of the French. The main reason for this was the uncoordinated actions of the Russian generals, many of whom were openly at odds for a long time, and therefore did not seek too much to support their rivals and mutual assistance. As a result, on the appointed day, the Russian divisions did not take up the positions prescribed by them, and many infantry units did not appear the next day. On this occasion, Kutuzov said to Miloradovich:
“You have everything in the language to attack, but don’t see that we don’t know how to do complex maneuvers.
But the Russian strike was unexpected for the French, and the chances of their complete defeat were very high. Murat himself was then wounded in the thigh by a lance. L.N. Tolstoy described this attack of the Cossack and cavalry regiments of Orlov-Denisov in the novel War and Peace:
“One desperate, frightened cry of the first Frenchman who saw the Cossacks, and everything that was in the camp, naked, awake, threw guns, guns, horses, and ran anywhere. If the Cossacks had pursued the French, not paying attention to what was behind and around them, they would have taken Murat and all that was there. The bosses wanted this. But it was impossible to budge the Cossacks when they got to the prey and the prisoners. ”
The pace of the attack was lost, the French who came to their senses lined up for battle and managed to repulse the advance of the approaching Russian jaeger regiments, which retreated, having lost several hundred people killed, including General Baggovut. Bennigsen asked Kutuzov for reinforcements for a new attack by the retreating French, but received an answer:
“They didn’t know how to take Murat alive in the morning and arrive on time in place, now there’s nothing to do.”
It was after Tarutinscoro’s battle that Napoleon realized that there would be no peace proposal and decided to leave Moscow.
A.S. Chagadaev. Offensive after Tarutino
During the "great retreat" Murat was only a shadow of himself and gave the impression of an absolutely depressed and morally broken man. Perhaps this was a consequence of the death before his eyes of the magnificent cavalry of the Napoleonic army. At Berezina, he “became famous” for the offer to save the command staff, giving soldiers the opportunity to deal with the advancing enemy themselves. Especially strange seems the decision of Napoleon to appoint Murat as his successor as commander of the remnants of the army.
In Prussia, Murat, who had completely lost his head, gathered a council of war on which he hinted to his comrades that Napoleon was crazy, and therefore they all - kings, princes, dukes, should enter into negotiations with the enemy with the aim of securing crowns and thrones for themselves and their descendants. Marshal Davout, the Duke of Auerstedt and Prince Ekmulsky answered him that, unlike the Prussian king and the Austrian emperor, they are not “monarchs by the grace of God” and can retain their possessions only by remaining faithful to Napoleon and France. And it is not clear what is more in these words: offended honor or pragmatism.
Unknown artist. Marshal Davout. Lithography. Around 1840
Having found no understanding among the other commanders, Murat said that he was suffering from fever and jaundice, transferred the command to Eugene Beauharnais and hurriedly went to his capital, Naples. He spent only two weeks on the road, earning a stinging compliment from Evgeny Beauharnais: "Not bad for a seriously ill patient."
In 1812, Mr. Murat should apparently have died in one of the battles, having forever remained in the memory of the descendants the faithful paladin of France, the fearless knight of cavalry attacks. But Murat remained alive, and all his subsequent existence was a shameful agony of a man who could earn the title of a hero, but could not stay them until the end.
Napoleon in Paris gathered a new army, the number of which in three months reached 400 thousand people. And Joachim and his wife at this time entered into negotiations with Metternich (who had once been Carolina's lover for a whole year). Murat was already ready to betray his emperor, and the Austrians were inclined to keep power in Naples behind him - in exchange for help in the war against France. But they were late with their proposal, and Murat went to Napoleon to head the cavalry of his new army.
There is a version that a courier with Austrian proposals (which was supported by Alexander I) met Murat on the way, but the letter with important information was not decrypted and read. And the most convenient moment for betrayal was lost.
In August 1813, near Dresden, Murat won his last victory, overthrowing the Austrian troops of Schwarzenberg.
But already in October, 7 days after the battle of Leipzig, Murat left the emperor, who, understanding everything, nevertheless, friendly hugged him goodbye. He still hoped at least for the neutrality of his old ally and son-in-law. But already on the way to Naples, Murat sent a letter to Vienna with a promise to join the anti-French coalition. At home, Carolina fully supported him: in her opinion, his brother was already doomed, and you could still try to save the royal power.
On the 17 of January of the 1814 of the year the appeal "To the peoples of the Apennine Peninsula" was published, which was actually a declaration of war on the "French Emperor."
And in an appeal to the soldiers, Murat said:
“There are only two banners in Europe. On one you will read: religion, morality, justice, moderation and tolerance. On the other are false promises, violence, tyranny, persecution of the weak, war and mourning in every family! Choose you! "
Thus, the Kingdom of Naples joined the VI Anti-French Coalition.
Napoleon, oddly enough, then did not blame Murat, but his own sister, for betrayal:
“Murat! No, It is Immpossible! No. The reason for this betrayal is his wife. Yes, this is Carolina! She completely subdued him. ”
After the abdication of Napoleon, all his relatives lost their thrones - except for Murat and Carolina. However, the new allies of the four Murats did not intend to endure them on the throne for a long time: the principles of legitimism proclaimed by the victors demanded a return to the situation that existed on 1 of January 1792 of the year. And therefore, the right to the crown of Naples had only King Napoleon expelled by Ferdinand from the Bourbon dynasty. Joachim and Carolina tried to maneuver between Austria and France, entering into negotiations with both Metternich and Talleyrand. But the whole "game" was mixed by Napoleon's return from the island of Elba and his enthusiastic meeting in France. Murat’s throne staggered, and his nerves could not stand it. He ventured once more to believe in Bonaparte's “star”, and, contrary to Carolina’s advice, declared war on Austria. He did not know that Napoleon was no longer going to fight the whole world, and sent the most peace-loving messages to all the monarchs of Europe.
On 2-3 on May 1815, Murat’s army was defeated in a battle on the Tolentino River.
“Madame, do not be surprised to see me alive, I did everything I could to die,” he said, returning, to Carolina.
As a result, Murat fled from the country to Cannes, from where he wrote Napoleon a letter offering his services as commander of the cavalry, and the Austrians from Naples were taken away to Carolina to Trieste.
The emperor did not answer Murat and afterwards regretted it. “Still, he could bring us victory. We really missed him at some moments of that day. To break through three or four English squares - Murat was created for this, ”he said on St. Helena.
After Waterloo, Murat fled again - now to Corsica. The Austrians, in exchange for voluntary abdication, offered him a county in Bohemia, but Murat by that time seemed to have lost his adequacy and sense of reality.
In September 1815, on six ships with 250 soldiers on board, he went to Naples, hoping to repeat Napoleon's triumphant return. A storm swept these ships, and only at the beginning of October 1815, Murat, at the head of all 28 soldiers, was able to land near the small town of Pizzo in Calabria. Apparently, hoping to impress his former subjects, he was dressed in a ceremonial uniform, strewn with jewelry and orders. According to some reports, the city residents met the former king extremely unfriendly: so much so that he had to run away from them, throwing money into the crowd (in the hope of distracting the pursuers).
One way or another, but Murat was detained by local gendarmes. During interrogation, he stated that he had no intention of organizing an uprising, but found appropriate proclamations in his things.
On 3 on October 1815, a military court sentenced Murat to be shot with immediate execution. In the last letter to Carolina, he wrote that he regrets that he is dying away from her and the children. He told the priest that he did not want to confess, "because he had not committed sin."
Murat refused to turn his back on the soldiers, and did not allow him to blindfold. Before the formation, he kissed the portrait of his wife and children, which was kept in his medallion, and gave the last order in his life: “Do your duty. Aim for the heart, save my face. The fire!"
Friedrich Kamp. The shooting of Murat in Naples 3 October 1815 year, engraving
Murat’s burial site is unknown. According to some reports, his body was buried in the nearest church, but no signs were placed above the grave, and therefore it was not possible to find it later. Others claimed that his remains "were dismembered and mixed with the remains of thousands of people in the dungeons of the church of St. George the Martyr in Pizzo so that it was impossible to identify them."
Carolina did not observe mourning for long. In the year 1817, she secretly married Francesco MacDonald, the former Minister of King Joachim.
In 1830, when Louis Philippe came to power in France, Carolina turned to him for a pension (as the widow of the Marshal of France) and received it.
The grave of Carolina Murat at Pere La Chez cemetery in Paris. On the tombstone there is a profile of Murat