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Fort l'Ecluse 1815

The Emperor has returned from the island of Elba in the month of March 1815 and has retaken control of France. Louis XVIII has fled to Ghent and the allied powers have sworn to not rest until Napoleon is beaten once and for all. War is inevitable and the French military authorities have ordered the creation of free corps in all frontier provinces.

The departements of Ain, and the valley of Gex in particular, are concerned with these preparations as the Austrians are expected to invade via Switzerland, like they had done in 1814. The Fort of Ecluse, striding the only road linking Geneva and France, has benefitted from substantial repair works over the last few months and is fully stocked with supplies.

In the month of May 1815, commander Villetard de la Guérie is appointed to take charge of the fort and has gathered a force of old soldiers and national guards. To further strengthen his command, he has called all available troops either on leave on retired, to rally to the fort's defence.

A new day dawns on Fort l'Ecluse

In the officers' quarters, a soldier is tending to their needs...

...and enjoy some breakfast.

The NCOs are also having breakfast...

...but there's a mountain of paperwork to do!

...the soldiers are getting ready...

...or patiently wait...

...to visit the fort's doctor.

A patrol is sent out.

The fort commander, accompagnied by his sergeant-major, inspects the defensive works...

...and orders that they be better consolidated.

The washer-woman of the garrison.

The patrol returns to the fort...

...the day is almost over.

It's Sunday, the day of the weekly review...

...and the cleanliness of the living quarters.

It would seem that more efforts are necessary.

One last quick inspection...

...before the arrival of the fort commander.

The men are rather well equipped...

...and the review can now come to an end.

The commander lectures his NCOs about certain lack in standards...

...while the doctor takes time to talk to the womenfolk of the fort.



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