Presenting the battles of Hanau and Montmirail in the same book might seem at first to be taking rather a hasty shortcut. The first was fought on 30 and 31 October 1813. The second took place on 11 February 1814, more than three months later. Two battles, two campaigns, Two accounts? This would be without taking into account their common ties which contributed to bringing them together. If Hanau enabled the debris of the Imperial Army to get back into French territory, Montmirail gave hope back to a country which was losing confidence and which everyday longed a bit more for peace. But beyond all these considerations there loomed, like a phoenix arising from its embers, ever in the heart of the Army's hopes, that the scourge of the Empire's enemies: the Imperial Guard.
Hanau and Montmirail, two separate battles united by the same ties, invisible but powerful: the unswerving ranks of veterans, the cream of fighting armies. The Guard fought and won.
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