The Sovereign of ElbaFollowing the defeat in the Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon withdrew into France with a reduced army of 70,000 troops. His enemies now included the Saxon factions, who turned against him and were marching on Paris with the allied coalition, as well as the British advancing on France from the south. With Napoleon attempting to cut off the Austrian army northeast of Paris in Lorraine, Paris soon found itself under siege by the Allies with its Emperor out of reach. Leaving his brother Joseph in charge, Napoleon received word from his Empress Marie-Louise by way of courier on March 31, 1814 that Joseph had surrendered Paris to the Allies. Furious at his brother, Napoleon decided to head to Fontainebleau in order to negotiate a truce or peace treaty.
Meanwhile, Prince Talleyrand, who was a regular correspondent of the brother of the late King Louis XVI (later to be known as Louis XVIII) attempted to make preparations for the restoration of the Bourbon family to the throne. Talleyrand convened a special session of the Senate to focus on replacing the emperorŐs regime as well as to convincing King Friedrich Wilhem of Prussia to deny negotiations with Napoleon or any Bonaparte. On April 1st, Czar Alexander wrote to Napoleon to inform him that negotiations were futile, to which Napoleon threatened military reprisal. However, he was unable to garner willing support of his military to march on his behalf. On April 2nd, a proclamation issued by the General Council of the Seine declared an unconditional surrender by Napoleon, which he protested on the grounds that they reserve the crown for the empress on behalf of his son. This was rejected as the Senate voted in accordance with the General Council of the Seine to overthrow Napoleon and his entire family.
On April 6th, Napoleon conceded to abdicate his throne after hours of a wild and irrational tirade. The Senate immediately proclaimed Louis XVIII the new king of France, and on the 11th Napoleon formally drafted and signed his abdication at the Palace of Fontainebleau. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau, it was arranged so Napoleon was permitted to retain his title of Emperor as well as to be exiled to the island of Elba and separated from his wife and son, who were to be sent to Vienna. Napoleon reacted by imbibing poison, prepared for him by a doctor several years back, which he stored in a vial tied around his neck in the instance that he was taken prisoner. However, because the poison was old, he survived despite some measure of sickness that took place in the days to follow.
On April 27th, Napoleon boarded the British warship HMS Undaunted and set sail for Elba, where he arrived in the port-capital of Portoferraio on May 4th, 1814. There, Napoleon was heavily restricted without money to a small palace where he attempted to keep busy by running it as though it were a small country. He was constantly paranoid about the possibility of assassination, and justifiably so with the steady designs of Talleyrand in Paris. Napoleon was not to remain in Elba much longer with the support of friends, whom were to write him of the desire for his return to power by the French people. On February 26th, 1815, Napoleon left Elba under sail of the Elban flag after proclaiming to a crowd of his men, "Grenadiers, it has been decided. We are going to France, we are going back to Paris!" As soon as his ship had passed far enough from the island, the Elban flag was replaced with that of the tricolor. Upon landing at Cannes on March 1st, Napoleon was to proclaim to all upon entering the city, "I am the sovereign of the Island of Elba, and have come with six hundred men to attack the King of France and his six hundred thousand soldiers. I shall conquer this kingdom."