On This Day in Napoleonic History – 5 July 1815

5Joseph offers to change places with Napoleon

Joseph arrived at Rochefort, where Napoleon was awaiting his fate following his second abdication, and generously offered to exchange identities with his brother, since they looked alike. Napoleon was to take Joseph’s place in a vessel bound for America.

Rather than grasping the moment, Napoleon hesitated. He believed that any disguise was beneath his dignity. It was one of the very few instances when one of Napoleon’s siblings was actually useful to him but unfortunately Napoleon didn’t profit by this opportunity.

Joseph himself would later escape to America on the same vessel he was offering to his brother.

Leave a Reply