What Did Napolean and His Men Eat?

Napoleon Crossing the Saint-Bernard Pass, 20 May 1800. /Musee de l'Histoire de France/Corbis, via The Salt

Napoleon Crossing the Saint-Bernard Pass, 20 May 1800. /Musee de l’Histoire de France/Corbis, via The Salt

Not much.

On the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte’s most celebrated statement about food and warfare – “An army marches on its stomach” – is worth recalling.

Except there is no record of him saying it. Just as there is no record of Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake.”

If he did say it, the words would have been as hollow as the stomachs of his soldiers. Though one of the greatest military generals of all time, Napoleon was surprisingly negligent about feeding his army.

Read the rest on The Salt.

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