Who was present at Napoleon’s death?

Share it

Servants, the companions, their wives and children, the doctors, British officers or priest… This factfile is a key to all the people represented in Steuben’s famous picture of Napoleon’s death at Longwood House on St Helena.

You may also like to find out more about this famous painting by Baron Charles Steuben, based on accounts of the event.

Both these files are part of our Close-up on the death of Napoleon.

Who was present at Napoleon’s death?
The Death of Napoleon by Baron Charles Steuben.

A / Grand Marshal Henri-Gatien Bertrand, utterly loyal servant of Napoleon’s to the last. His memoirs of the exile on St Helena were not published until 1949. Only the year 1821 has ever been translated into English.

B / General Charles Tristan de Montholon, courtier and companion of Napoleon’s exile. Montholon managed to ease Bertrand out and become Napoleon’s closest companion at the end, highly rewarded in Napoleon’s will, which Montholon helped write. Montholon’s untrustworthy memoirs were published in 1846/47.

C / Doctor Francesco Antommarchi. Corsican anatomy specialist. Sent by Napoleon’s mother from Rome to St Helena to be Napoleon’s personal physician on the expulsion of Barry O’Meara. Napoleon disliked and distrusted Antommarchi. Antommarchi’s untrustworthy memoirs were very influential and published in 1825.

D / Angelo Paolo Vignali, Abbé. Corsican assistant-chaplain, sent by Madame Mère from Rome to St Helena in 1819.

E / Countess Françoise Elisabeth “Fanny” Bertrand and her children: Napoléon (F), who carried the censer at Napoleon’s funeral; Hortense (G); Henry (H); and Arthur (I), youngest by six years of all the Bertrand children and born on the island. She was wife of the Grand Marshal, very unwilling participant in the exile on St Helena. Her relations with Napoleon were difficult since she refused to live at Longwood. She spoke fluent English. Was however very loyal to Napoleon.

J / Louis Marchand, Napoleon’s valet from 1814 on and one of his closest servants. As Napoleon noted in his will, “The services he [Marchand] rendered were those of a friend”.

K / “Ali”, Louis Étienne Saint-Denis, known as “the Mamluk Ali”, one of Napoleon’s longest-serving and intimate servants. He became Librarian at Longwood and was an indefatigable copyist of imperial manuscripts.

L / Ali’s English (Catholic) wife, Mary ‘Betsy’ Hall, sent out from England by UK relatives of the Countess Bertrand to be governess/nursemaid to the Bertrand children. Married Ali aged 23 in October 1819.

M / Jean Abra(ha)m Noverraz, from the Vaud region in Switzerland. Very tall and imposing figure that Napoleon called his “Helvetic bear”. He was himself ill during Napoleon’s illness.

N / Noverraz’s wife, Joséphine née Brulé (married in July 1819), the Countess Montholon’s lady’s maid. Noverraz and Saint-Denis had a fist fight for the hand of Joséphine.

O / Jean Baptiste Alexandre Pierron, cook, dessert specialist, long in Napoleon’s service and who had accompanied Napoleon to Elba.

P /Jacques Chandelier, cook, from the service of Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, arrived on St Helena with the group from Rome in 1819.

Q /Jacques Coursot, butler, from the service of Madame Mère, Napoleon’s mother, he arrived on St Helena with the group from Rome in 1819.

R / Doctor Francis Burton Irish surgeon in the 66th regiment who had arrived on St Helena only on 31st March 1821. He is renowned for having made Napoleon’s death mask (with ensign John Ward and Antommarchi).

S/ Doctor Archibald Arnott, surgeon in the 20th regiment. Brought in to tend to Napoleon in extremis on 1 April 1821.

T/ Captain William Crokat, a Scot, orderly officer at Longwood for less than a month, having replaced Engelbert Lutyens on 15 April 1821. He received the honour of carrying the news of Napoleon’s death back to London and also the reward, namely, a promotion and £500, privileges of which Lutyens was deliberately deprived by the governor.

Share it