March 20, 1815.
History and contemporaneous memoirs have truncated, or badly related, or even omitted altogether, certain details of the arrival of the Emperor in Paris on March 20, 1815. But living witnesses are to be met with who saw them and who rectify or complete them.
During the night of the 19th, the Emperor left Sens. He arrived at three o'clock in the morning at Fontainebleau. Towards five o'clock, as day was breaking, he reviewed the few troops he had taken with him and those who had rallied to him at Fontainebleau itself. They were of every corps, of every regiment, of all arms, a little of the Grand Army, a little of the Guard. At six o'clock, the review being over, one hundred and twenty lancers mounted their horses and went on ahead to wait for him at Essonnes. These lancers were commanded by Colonel Galbois, now lieutenant general, and who has recently distinguished himself at Constantine.
They had been at Essonnes scarcely three-quarters of an hour, resting their horses, when the carriage of the Emperor arrived. The escort of lancers were in their saddles in the twinkling of an eye and surrounded the carriage, which immediately started off again without having changed horses. The Emperor stopped on the way at the large villages to receive petitions from the inhabitants and the submission of the authorities, and sometimes to listen to harangues. He was on the rear seat of the carriage, with General Bertrand in full uniform seated on his left. Colonel Galbois galloped beside the door on the Emperor's side; the door on Bertrand's side was guarded by a quartermaster of lancers named FerrĀs, to-day a wineshop keeper at Puteaux, a former and very brave hussar whom the Emperor knew personally and addressed by name. No one on the road approached the Emperor. Everything that was intended for him passed through General Bertrand's hands.
Three or four leagues beyond Essonnes the imperial cortege found the road suddenly barred by General Colbert, at the head of two squadrons and three regiments echelonned towards Paris.
General Colbert had been the colonel of the regiment of lancers from which the detachment that escorted the Emperor had been drawn. He recognised his lancers and his lancers recognised him. They cried: "General, come over to us!" The General answered: "My children, do your duty, I am doing mine." Then he turned rein and went off to the right across country with a few mounted men who followed him. He could not have resisted; the regiments behind him were shouting: "Long live the Emperor!"
This meeting only delayed Napoleon a few minutes. He continued on his way. The Emperor, surrounded only by his one hundred and twenty lancers, thus reached Paris. He entered by the BarriĀre de Fontainebleau, took the large avenue of trees which is on the left, the Boulevard dim Mont-Parnasse, the other boulevards to the Invalides, then the Pont do la Concorde, the quay along the river and the gate of the Louvre.
At a quarter past eight o'clock in the evening he was at the Tuileries.