This blog occasionally makes an excursion into the Napoleonic period (see previous posts on Napoleon's final surrender to the English Navy and Napoleon's death on St.Helena ), and today's post commemorates the death by firing squad (commanded by himself - how's that for guts) of Marshal Ney in December 1815.
Ney was knows as "le Rougeaud" (he had ginger hair), and was a popular general, but attracted enemies firstly by siding with the Bourbons while Napoleon was on Elba, and secondly poor tactics at Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Bruno Nackaerts's article on the lack of opposition to Ney's execution includes mention of two good conspiracy theories - one that Wellington felt guilty and arranged for a mock execution with Ney spirited away to America where he became Peter Ney, a schoolteacher; the other conspiracy theory is another mock execution arranged by the masons, complete with stage blood!
Incidentally, the excellent Fondation Napoleon site has an interesting article on Napoleon's famous hat ('whilst most of his officers wore their hats "en colonne", that is, perpendicular to the shoulders, Napoleon wore his "en bataille", that is, with the corns parallel to shoulders').
There is also a link to various primary sources on the Napoleonica site, as well as some fun stuff - how about a classy Napoleonic e-card to your history buddies?.