Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars fought between the French Empire and its allies, under Emperor Napoleon I, and a series of alliances, or coalitions, among other nations of Europe, primarily Great Britain and Prussia. The Napoleonic Wars were spawned by continuing issues in the aftermath of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s desire to dominate continental Europe. The Napoleonic Wars ended with the French defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Napoleon was exiled to the island of St. Helena, where he died in 1821.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Failing Health at Dresden

By Eric Niderost

Napoleon had occasional health problems before 1810. He seems to have experienced seizures one or two times, episodes that resembled epilepsy, although most medical historians feel that he did not have the disease—at least not a classic version of it. Read more

Napoleonic Wars

The Glorious First of June

By David A. Norris

British Admiral Lord Richard Howe, standing on the quarterdeck of his 100-gun ship of the line Queen Charlotte, snapped his signal book shut on the morning of June 1, 1794. Read more

Napoleonic Wars

Black Spartacus

By Gregory Peduto

Wind billowed and waves crashed onto the deck of the massive 120-gun French flagship L’Ocean. From a window in his quarters, Captain General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc studied the vast flotilla as it plowed through the lapping foam of the Atlantic. Read more

To get at England, Bonaparte sets out in grand style to conquer the East.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon’s Egyptian Adventure

By Jeremy E. Green

By the year 1798, the First Coalition was collapsing. Only Britain remained as France’s implacable foe. With the advent of relative peace, the governing body of France, the Directory, ever in need of cash, now sought new means of employment for the army and its general, Napoleon Bonaparte. Read more

Napoleonic Wars

North Sea Duel at Camperdown

By Michael E. Haskew

By the autumn of 1797, revolutionary France had been at war with the combined forces of the First Coalition for four long years. Read more

Napoleonic Wars

Joachim Murat: Napoleon Bonaparte’s ‘Premier Chevalier’

By Jeremy Green

Dashing hussars in beautifully braided dolmans and fur-lined pelisses; chasseurs in their brilliant green uniforms; the heavy cavalry of cuirassiers in their glistening breastplates, mounted on magnificent chargers; and the dragoons, wearing brass Grecian helmets with long, flowing manes of black horsehair—all magnificent in their martial and fashionable airs. Read more

Their backs to Moscow, the Russians fought Napoleon Bonaparte with exceptional tenacity at the Battle of Borodino.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon Bonaparte & The 1812 Battle of Borodino

by Jonathan North

At 11 o’clock on the evening of June 23, 1812, the first elements of Napoleon’s mighty army marched on three pontoon bridges over the river Niemen and set foot on Russian soil; the epic invasion of Russia had begun. Read more

An eyewitness account of the Battle of Leipzig by Colonel Saint-Chamans and others.

Napoleonic Wars

Colonel Saint-Chamans & The Battle of Leipzig

by Jonathan North

[Editor’s note: The following are participant accounts—mainly those of Alfred Armand Robert Saint-Chamans—of Napoleon’s 1813 campaign in Germany ending in the decisive battle of Leipzig. Read more

The long retreat during the Russian winter of 1812 doomed Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee, and brought defeat at the hands of the Sixth Coalition.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon Bonaparte & The Russian Winter of 1812

by Michael Haskew

Although the French Empire and Imperial Russia were nominal allies following their agreement of mutual support concluded at Tilsit in 1807, divergent interests drove a wedge between them in subsequent years. Read more