Around one in the morning on 13 Vendémiaire, Napoleon decides to override the orders of the men commanding the Convention’s forces, and who had proved so ineffective until now. Sending a cavalry unit to retrieve a set 40 cannon from elsewhere in Paris, he assembled them in front of the royalist route of advance.
When the royalists attacked at ten in the morning, they outnumbered the Republicans six to one. But Napoleon’s careful positioning of the guns allowed him to bombard the attackers with canisters of grapeshot at close range, driving them back.
Over two hours of fighting, he defeated the royalists, leaving hundreds dead and their revolt in tatters. His horse was shot from underneath him during the fighting, but he emerged unscathed.
Historian Thomas Carlyle would later say that, on 13 Vendémiaire, Napoleon won with a whiff of grapeshot and in doing so effectively ended the French Revolution. Though the Convention lived on, he now had the fame and authority to take command of the French Army of Italy, and from there to take over the country.