The guardian of Murat’s memory, Napoleon’s saber"Joachim Murat proudly bears the name of the marshal who became Napoleon’s saber and, 200 years after the death of the emperor, he vindicates the memory of his ancestor, whom he considers mistreated by the story...."spainsnews.comThe guardian of Murat's memory, Napoleon's saber | Spain's NewsParis, Apr 23 (EFE) .- Joachim Murat proudly bears the name of the marshal who...
Murat had too little regimental service and never learned how to care for either men or horses. He was an excellent cavalry commander from 1800-1807, and led the newly-founded Cavalry Reserve from 1805-1807 demonstrating 'a wonderful eye for terrain and cheerful courage' but also a 'lack of self-control and judgment. In action he might go completely out of his head in the excitement of leading charges, forgetting his larger responsibility as army cavalry commander.'
Coignet noted in Russia that 'One could reproach him for destroying our cavalry. He kept his divisions all firmly to the roads, but all of that cavalry dying of need, and in the evening these unfortunate troopers were not able to collect forage to feed their horses. For himself [Murat] had twenty to thirty spare horses, and every morning he started out on a fresh animal; he was the finest cavalier in Europe, but without foresight.'
After becoming King of Naples he executed an excellent amphibious operation that too the island of Capri from the British. As head of state in Naples, he gave the Neapolitans 'its first large-scale experience of law, order, and honest government.' He also reveled in 'show, glitter, fanciful uniforms... festivals and hunting parties.
In 1809 Bessieres, who did have the requisite regimental service as a cavaryman, took command of the Cavalry Reserve and proved to be a better commander in that role than Murat.
He and his wife, Napoleon's sister Caroline, plotted against Napoleon and France in 1814 and turned against Napoleon in order to keep Naples. He also attacked Eugene in northern Italy.
After Napoleon left the wreck of the Grande Armee in Poland in early 1813, Murat was left in command, but soon deserted to return to Naples without designating a successor. Berthier convinced Eugene to take command which not only saved the remnants of the army, but Eugene-through skill and determination-built up an effective army to face the Russians and later the Prussians until Napoleon arrived with a new Grande Armee.