After the devastating retreat through Russia, an apparition burst in upon French General Matheiu Dumas at breakfast. In alarm, Dumas asked, ""Who are you?"" ""You don't know me? I am the rear guard of the Grand Army. I have fired the last shot on the bridge of Kovno. I have thrown the last of our muskets into the Niemen. . . I am Marshal Ney!"" Dubbed by Napoleon and known thereafter as the Bravest of the Brave, Michel Ney, whose modest origins would have entitled him to no more than a sub-lieutenancy in less turbulent times, rose rapidly to command, proved himself the most audacious of Napoleon's generals, and the most dependable. Yet when the Allies were closing in, he persuaded Napoleon to abdicate for the good of France. Upon the Bourbon return, he and his wife were insulted or ignored by the old aristocracy; still, notified that Napoleon was en route, he reaffirmed his allegiance to the King. Just what he said is in doubt; what he did thereafter--proclaiming for Napoleon and joining his entourage--laid him open to the charge of treason after Waterloo and Napoleon's downfall. He was executed--although a French-born schoolteacher in North Carolina claimed on his deathbed to be Ney. From the author of Rebel Sea Raider and Southern Frontiersman, a well-researched, vividly written account of a dramatic career which brings both the Napoleonic Wars and the Little Corporal in close focus.