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Return from Exile on Elba

Napoleon and his Guard landing at Golfe Juan on 1815 March 1st
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Napoleon landing in Golfe Juan

On 26 February 1815, when the British and French guard ships were absent, he slipped away from Portoferraio with some 600 men and landed at Golfe-Juan near Antibes on 1 March 1815. Except in royalist Provence, he received everywhere a welcome that attested to the attractive power of his personality and the nullity of the Bourbons. He avoided much of Provence by taking a route through the Alps, marked to this day as the Route Napoléon. Firing no shot in his defense, his little troop swelled day by day until it became an army. On 5 March, the nominally royalist 5th Infantry Regiment went over to Napoleon en masse.
An old anecdote illustrates Napoleon’s popularity. When royalist troops deployed to stop the march of Napoleon's force at Grenoble, Napoleon stepped out in front of them, ripped open his coat and said “If any of you will shoot your Emperor, shoot him now.” The men all joined his cause.
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