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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.

The tumpetter calls the start of the military day...

...but some soldiers have more difficulty than others waking up!

The officers, with their ordonnance, undertaking their morning inspection...

...and the NCOs get their reports ready.

The washerwoman is already working.

A punished man is preparing to be put in prison.

The advanced posts fire on an enemy patrol...

The infantry in the guard house arrive to support them...

...the firing has finished once the sergeant arrived.

After this incident, the officer conducted a through inspection of the fortifications with his NCOs.

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