1821: The Saturday Evening Post Reports on Napoleon’s Death

The passing of the imprisoned former emperor was breaking news.

Painting of Napoleon on a horse in the aftermath of a battle

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The Saturday Evening Post turns 200 this year, so we are bringing you excerpts from our archive to celebrate our long history. In this item from August 25, 1821, The Post reports on the death of Napoleon.

The illness of the ex-emperor lasted in the whole, six weeks. During the latter days of his illness he frequently conversed with his medical attendants on its nature, of which he seemed to be perfectly aware.

As he found his end approaching, he was dressed, at his request, in his uniform of Field Marshal with the boots and spurs, and placed on a camp bed, on which he was accustomed to sleep when in health.

In this dress he is said to have expired. Though Bonaparte is supposed to have suffered much, his dissolution was so calm and serene that not a sigh escaped him or an intimation to the bystanders that it was so near.

Featured image: Smoke and horrors: the emperor on his horse Marengo in a painting by Horace Vernet. Smoke fills the air from a recent battle. (Shutterstock)

This article is featured in the January/February 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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