Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French emperor who dominated European and even global affairs for over a decade from 1804 to 1814. Renown for being one of the greatest military commanders ever to rule, his campaigns and victories are still studied around the world today. He won the vast majority of his battles, which means his losses are often amplified and spoken about even more. History may tell you that his greatest loss was against the British at the battle of Waterloo, but was it really? What if we told you he once suffered an embarrassing defeat by a stubborn colony of bunny rabbits?
In 1807, Napoleon wanted to celebrate, he had just signed the Treaty of Tilsit which declared his victory and ended the war between France and Russia. To celebrate he wanted to have an amazing rabbit hunt and asked his chief of staff, Alexandre Berthier, to organize a huge hunt for him.
Berthier set out to organize the biggest rabbit hunt to this day, he knew that to please the emperor it had to be phenomenal and impress all Napoleon’s military officials. So he went out and collected as many rabbits as he could find. This is where history is a bit contradicting, so take it all with a grain of salt, some say there were hundreds of rabbits and others say there were thousands of rabbits. In any case what we can agree on is there were A LOT of bunny rabbits ready to hop out of their cages that day. The hunt was ready and the rabbits were released – that is when the great bunny war started!
You see the rabbits were not scared, they did not run away or flee in fear. In fact, they all started to mass together and run at the Emperor! At first, it was comical but Napoleon’s party quickly realized they were outnumbered, the bunnies were not going to stop! Hop hop hop! They were swarming the Emperor’s legs and climbing up his jacket! Nothing could stop them so they had to make a hasty retreat back to the imperial coach.
Napoleon rolled away, the man who had won so many victories and outsmarted so many opponents, was indeed no match for the force known as the bunny madness! So how did this happen?
Well as it turns out Berthier was a little lazy and did not want to spend time trapping thousands of wild hares. So he turned to farmers and procured tame rabbits. These rabbits were not afraid of humans and saw them as their lettuce delivery men! So when they saw Napoleon, they believed he was here to feed them.