Tuesday, 1 November 2011

In the footsteps of Napoleon: Vilnius 1812

Cemetery of Antakalnis, Vilnius. Here in 2003 were reburied the remains of some 3500 soldiers of the Grand Army who died on the ill fated Russian campaign.

Roel Vos seems to have traced the footsteps of Napoleon across much of Europe, as well as to St Helena. His latest trip, covered on his excellent web site, was to Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania.

Here at Kaunas, on 24th June 1812 the Grand Army crossed the Niemen using three pontoon bridges.

The whole operation took about three days. Napoleon had a camp constructed on the hill overlooking the river, from where he surveyed the operation.

Arriving in Vilnius on 28th June 1812, Napoleon stayed until 16 July. He briefly returned on 6th December the same year, after his retreat from Moscow.

In that summer of 1812 Napoleon made his headquarters in the old episcopal palace, now the official residence of the President of Lithuania.

Many thanks to Roel for sharing his experiences and allowing me to reproduce images from his website.

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