an other book about the French Navy by Sophie Muffat
I announce you the upcoming publication of my next book, "Les Marins de l'Empereur", published by SOTECA. These are four years of research to dissect and analyze the daily life of sailors under the Consulate and the First Empire, on land and at sea, from officers to the humblest of foams.
You will discover the real life of captive sailors, that of invalids, combatants, ouvriers de la Marine, engineers, medical officers, clerks, crews and officers. This is an opportunity for me to challenge a certain number of received ideas.
I would like to thank here all those who opened their private archives to me and whose ancestors find their true place here, whether it is the gunner Gaspard Dot or the lieutenant (navy) Guérin, both on the same ship.
Daily life on the Emperor's ships The sailors of the Consulate and the Empire are the unloved ones of the imperial epic. Napoleon is not a sailor, and upsets the conditions of existence of men whom he intends to transform into interchangeable soldiers, against their will, against the will of his minister. Because beyond battles and ships, the Navy is about men. They are called Gaspard Dot the gunner, or Pain the administration officer. The life of a sailor begins very young and it begins on land. The sailor of the arsenal is a worker, builder, engineer, the one who embarks is a sailor, petty officer, naval officer, or supernumerary. To be a sailor under the Empire is to be poor, subject to maritime registration and to live for months in the hundreds in an extremely small space, in precarious or relatively comfortable conditions depending on the rank. Life on board depends on the talents of the health officer, the conservation of water and rations, combat, victory or defeat. It is then the return to land of the prisoners, for a life in a bond "on parole" awaiting the exchange cartel or on the pontoons of sinister reputation. At the end of his career, and if he's lucky after 300 months of campaigning, he can hope for retirement. Unless he is receiving reform or invalidity treatment. This book investigates the real conditions of existence of the sailors of the Consulate and the Empire, by shaking up preconceived ideas. These are the lives of the two ministers Forfait the engineer and Decrès the admiral, Pierre Lair and Jean-Denis Chevillard the builders, Fulton and Tupinier the forgotten and misunderstood engineers who are evoked. They are also those of the petty officers Palkène and Brasseur, of Guérin the lieutenant of Aboukir, the extravagant Fréminville or sworn enemies Nelson and Villeneuve.