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Napoleonic Wars: Europe in 1812

Napoleonic Wars: Europe in 1812


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Napoleonic War: Map of Europe in 1812

Map of Europe in 1812, showing the almost complete control of the continent enjoyed by Napoleon. Areas marked in dark blue had been absorbed into France herself. French involvement of Spain was very limited.

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War of 1812–1815

As an important neutral trading nation, the United States became ensnarled in the European conflict that pitted Napoleonic France against Great Britain and her continental allies.

In 1806 France prohibited all neutral trade with Great Britain and in 1807 Great Britain banned trade between France, her allies, and the Americas. Congress passed an embargo act in 1807 in retaliation, prohibiting U.S. vessels from trading with European nations, and later the Non-Intercourse Acts, aimed solely at France and Britain. The embargo and non-intercourse act proved ineffective and in 1810 the United States reopened trade with France and Great Britain provided they ceased their blockades against neutral trading. Great Britain continued to stop American merchant ships to search for Royal Navy deserters, to impress American seamen on the high seas into the Royal Navy, and to enforce its blockade of neutral commerce. Madison made the issue of impressment from ships under the American flag a matter of national sovereignty—even after the British agreed to end the practice—and asked Congress for a declaration of War on Great Britain on June 1, 1812. Many who supported the call to arms saw British and Spanish territory in North America as potential prizes to be won by battle or negotiations after a successful war.

Pro-British Federalists in Washington were outraged by what they considered Republican favoritism toward France. The leading Republican, Thomas Jefferson responded, that “the English being equally tyrannical at sea as he [Napoleon] is on land, and that tyranny bearing on us in every point of either honor or interest, I say ‘down with England.’” The United States declared the war on Britain. After Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, the British concentrated on the American continent, enacting a crippling blockading of the east coast, attacking Washington and burning the White House and other Government buildings, and acquiring territory in Maine and the Great Lakes region. American forces, however, won important naval and military victories at sea, on Lake Champlain, and at Baltimore and Detroit. Canadians defeated an American invasion of Lower Canada. By 1814 neither side could claim a clear victory and both war weary combatants looked to a peaceful settlement.

Under the mediation of the Czar of Russia, Great Britain and the United States came together in the summer of 1814 to negotiate the terms of peace. On Christmas Eve British and American negotiators signed the Treaty of Ghent, restoring the political boundaries on the North American continent to the status quo ante bellum, establishing a boundary commission to resolve further territorial disputes, and creating peace with Indian nations on the frontier. As the Ghent negotiations suggested, the real causes of the war of 1812, were not merely commerce and neutral rights, but also western expansion, relations with American Indians, and territorial control of North America.


To what extent were the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 related?

Both wars involved Great Britain during the same time frame, was there any interaction between the United States and Napoleon?

They were heavily intertwined. Until 1811, the primary issue had been free trade by neutral ships to Europe. Republican ideology was heavily invested in the notion of free ships make free goods, and that free trade would spread Republicanism. At the same time the occupation of Europe by Napoleon and the ongoing naval wars left the United States as the only major neutral shipping power remaining. For the first time West Indian and Latin American colonies were opened to American shipping resulting in a massive economic boom to the American economy helping to pull it out of its' post revolutionary war slum. Both Britain and France however gradually restricted the rights of Neutral carrying ships, leading to the diplomatic crisis, this was an attempt to strike at the oppsoing combatant as well as British fears of the expansion of American commercial shipping. As Napoleon was gradually losing in Europe it allowed for Britain to strengthen their diplomatic demands against the Americans. An overriding theme during negotiations in the first decade of the 19th century was that Americans were acutely aware of battles like Austerlitz and used them for diplomatic gain, when the war of 1812 itself broke out Americans understood that their own chances of success (especially after the initial offensives failed)were heavily tied to French success in Europe. The second issue related to the war was impressment, or the taking of British/French nationals from American ships to serve in the combatants navy. However make no mistake until mid 1811, impressment was not the major issue driving the United States into war. With the gradual defeat of the French navy however Britain was able to devote more and more ships to the West Atlantic, increasing seizures of American ships and crewmen oftentimes in sight of shore. This caused a change in Republican propaganda to the American public that emphasized impressment rather than free trade. Because France tended to seize ships in the Baltic and off Eastern Atlantic the effects on the American public were not as profound, furthermore the American ambassador to Britain was recalled in late 1811 leading to an end in negotiations while american officials in Denmark and other French allied/occupied countries were able to get the release of American crews and ships ( the Danes were particularly bad about seizing American ships in the Baltic).

In answer to your other question, there was no major cooperation between the United States and France during the war of 1812.

TLDR-Major issues related to the ongoing wars in Europe were the primary causes of the war of 1812

Sorry for the short answer 14 hour drive in 5 hours.

Check out the former leading historian on American Foreign relations in the early Republic Bradford Perkins book Prologue to war, England and the United States, 1805-1812


Contents

Napoleon seized power in 1799, creating a military dictatorship. [32] There are a number of opinions on the date to use as the formal beginning of the Napoleonic Wars 18 May 1803 is often used, when Britain and France ended the only short period of peace between 1792 and 1814. [33] The Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, which was the first of the Coalition Wars against the First French Republic after Napoleon's accession as leader of France.

Britain ended the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803. Among the reasons were Napoleon's changes to the international system in Western Europe, especially in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Historian Frederick Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleon's assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs, even though King George III was an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. For its part, Russia decided that the intervention in Switzerland indicated that Napoleon was not looking toward a peaceful resolution of his differences with the other European powers. [33]

The British hastily enforced a naval blockade of France to starve it of resources. Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, and sought to eliminate Britain's Continental allies to break the coalitions arrayed against him. The so-called Continental System formed a league of armed neutrality to disrupt the blockade and enforce free trade with France. The British responded by capturing the Danish fleet, breaking up the league, and later secured dominance over the seas, allowing it to freely continue its strategy. But Napoleon won the War of the Third Coalition at Austerlitz, forcing the Austrian Empire out of the war and formally dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. Within months, Prussia declared war, triggering a War of the Fourth Coalition. This war ended disastrously for Prussia, defeated and occupied within 19 days of the beginning of the campaign. Napoleon subsequently defeated Russia at Friedland, creating powerful client states in Eastern Europe and ending the fourth coalition.

Concurrently, the refusal of Portugal to commit to the Continental System, and Spain's failure to maintain it led to the Peninsular War and the outbreak of the War of the Fifth Coalition. The French occupied Spain and formed a Spanish client kingdom, ending the alliance between the two. Heavy British involvement in the Iberian Peninsula soon followed while a British effort to capture Antwerp failed. Napoleon oversaw the situation in Iberia, defeating the Spanish, and expelling the British from the Peninsula. Austria, keen to recover territory lost during the War of the Third Coalition, invaded France's client states in Eastern Europe. Napoleon defeated the fifth coalition at Wagram.

Anger at British naval actions led the United States to declare war on Britain in the War of 1812, but it did not become an ally of France. Grievances over control of Poland, and Russia's withdrawal from the Continental System, led to Napoleon invading Russia in June 1812. The invasion was an unmitigated disaster for Napoleon scorched earth tactics, desertion, French strategic failures and the onset of the Russian winter compelled Napoleon to retreat with massive losses. Napoleon suffered further setbacks French power in the Iberian Peninsula was broken at Battle of Vitoria the following summer, and a new coalition began the War of the Sixth Coalition.

The coalition defeated Napoleon at Leipzig, precipitating his fall from power and eventual abdication on 6 April 1814. The victors exiled Napoleon to Elba and restored the Bourbon monarchy. Napoleon escaped from Elba in 1815, gathering enough support to overthrow the monarchy of Louis XVIII, triggering a seventh, and final, coalition against him. Napoleon was decisively defeated at Waterloo, and he abdicated again on 22 June. On 15 July, he surrendered to the British at Rochefort, and was permanently exiled to remote Saint Helena. The Treaty of Paris, signed on 20 November 1815, formally ended the war.

The Bourbon monarchy was restored once more, and the victors began the Congress of Vienna to restore peace to the continent. As a direct result of the war, the Kingdom of Prussia rose to become a great power on the continent, [34] while Great Britain, with its unequalled Royal Navy and growing Empire, became the world's dominant superpower, beginning the Pax Britannica. [35] The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, and the philosophy of nationalism that emerged early in the war contrinbuted greatly to the later unification of the German states, and those of the Italian peninsula. The war in Iberia greatly weakened Spanish power, and the Spanish Empire began to unravel Spain would lose nearly all of its American possessions by 1833. The Portuguese Empire shrank, with Brazil declaring independence in 1822. [36]

The wars revolutionised European warfare the application of mass conscription and total war led to campaigns of unprecedented scale, as whole nations committed all their economic and industrial resources to a collective war effort. [37] Tactically, the French Army redefined the role of artillery, while Napoleon emphasised mobility to offset numerical disadvantages, [38] and aerial surveillance was used for the first time in warfare. [39] The highly successful Spanish guerrillas demonstrated the capability of a people driven by fervent nationalism against an occupying force. [40] Due to the longevity of the wars, the extent of Napoleon's conquests, and the popularity of the ideals of the French Revolution, the ideals had a deep impact on European social culture. Many subsequent revolutions, such as that of Russia, looked to the French as their source of inspiration, [41] [42] while its core founding tenets greatly expanded the arena of Human rights and shaped modern political philosophies in use today. [43]

The outbreak of the French Revolution had been received with great alarm by the rulers of Europe's continental powers, which had been further exacerbated by the execution of Louis XVI of France, and the overthrow of the French monarchy. In 1793, the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples, Prussia, the Spanish Empire, and the Kingdom of Great Britain formed the First Coalition to curtail the growing unrest in France. Measures such as mass conscription, military reforms, and total war allowed France to defeat the coalition, despite the concurrent civil war in France. Napoleon, then a general in the French army, forced the Austrians to sign the Treaty of Campo Formio, leaving only Great Britain opposed to the fledgeling French Republic.

A Second Coalition was formed in 1798 by Great Britain, Austria, Naples, the Ottoman Empire, the Papal States, Portugal, Russia, and Sweden. The French Republic, under the Directory, suffered from heavy levels of corruption and internal strife. The new republic also lacked funds, and no longer enjoyed the services of Lazare Carnot, the minister of war who had guided France to its victories during the early stages of the Revolution. Bonaparte, commander of the Armée d'Italie in the latter stages of the First Coalition, had launched a campaign in Egypt, intending to disrupt the British economic powerhouse of India. Pressed from all sides, the Republic suffered a string of successive defeats against revitalised enemies, supported by Britain's financial help.

Bonaparte returned to France from Egypt on 23 August 1799, his campaign there having failed. He seized control of the French government on 9 November, in a bloodless coup d'état, replacing the Directory with the Consulate and transforming the republic into a de facto dictatorship. [32] He further reorganised the French military forces, establishing a large reserve army positioned to support campaigns on the Rhine or in Italy. Russia had already been knocked out of the war, and, under Napoleon's leadership, the French decisively defeated the Austrians in June 1800, crippling Austrian capabilities in Italy. Austria was definitively defeated that December, by Moreau's forces in Bavaria. The Austrian defeat was sealed by the Treaty of Lunéville early the following year, further compelling the British to sign the Treaty of Amiens with France, establishing a tenuous peace.

Start date and nomenclature Edit

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. Possible dates include 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power on 18 Brumaire, the date according to the Republican Calendar then in use [44] 18 May 1803, when Britain and France ended the one short period of peace between 1792 and 1814 or 2 December 1804, when Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor. [45]

British historians occasionally refer to the nearly continuous period of warfare from 1792 to 1815 as the Great French War, or as the final phase of the Anglo-French Second Hundred Years' War, spanning the period 1689 to 1815. [46] Historian Mike Rapport (2013) suggested using the term "French Wars" to unambiguously describe the entire period from 1792 to 1815. [47]

In France, the Napoleonic Wars are generally integrated with the French Revolutionary Wars: Les guerres de la Révolution et de l'Empire. [48]

German historiography may count the War of the Second Coalition (1798/9–1801/2), during which Napoleon seized power, as the Erster Napoleonischer Krieg ("First Napoleonic War"). [49]

In Dutch historiography, it is common to refer to the seven major wars between 1792 and 1815 as the Coalition Wars (coalitieoorlogen), referring to the first two as the French Revolution Wars (Franse Revolutieoorlogen). [50]

Napoleon's tactics Edit

Napoleon was, and remains, famous for his battlefield victories, and historians have spent enormous attention in analysing them. [51] In 2008, Donald Sutherland wrote:

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one. [52]

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. [53]

Britain was irritated by several French actions following the Treaty of Amiens. Bonaparte had annexed Piedmont and Elba, made himself President of the Italian Republic, a state in northern Italy that France had set up, and failed to evacuate Holland, as it had agreed to do in the treaty. France continued to interfere with British trade despite peace having been made and complained about Britain harbouring certain individuals and not cracking down on the anti-French press. [54]

Malta had been captured by Britain during the war and was subject to a complex arrangement in the 10th article of the Treaty of Amiens where it was to be restored to the Knights of St. John with a Neapolitan garrison and placed under the guarantee of third powers. The weakening of the Knights of St. John by the confiscation of their assets in France and Spain along with delays in obtaining guarantees prevented the British from evacuating it after three months as stipulated in the treaty. [55]

The Helvetic Republic had been set up by France when it invaded Switzerland in 1798. France had withdrawn its troops, but violent strife broke out against the government, which many Swiss saw as overly centralised. Bonaparte reoccupied the country in October 1802 and imposed a compromise settlement. This caused widespread outrage in Britain, which protested that this was a violation of the Treaty of Lunéville. Although continental powers were unprepared to act, the British decided to send an agent to help the Swiss obtain supplies, and also ordered their military not to return Cape Colony to Holland as they had committed to do in the Treaty of Amiens. [56]

Swiss resistance collapsed before anything could be accomplished, and after a month Britain countermanded the orders not to restore Cape Colony. At the same time, Russia finally joined the guarantee with regard to Malta. Concerned that there would be hostilities when Bonaparte found out that Cape Colony had been retained, the British began to procrastinate on the evacuation of Malta. [57] In January 1803 a government paper in France published a report from a commercial agent which noted the ease with which Egypt could be conquered. The British seized on this to demand satisfaction and security before evacuating Malta, which was a convenient stepping stone to Egypt. France disclaimed any desire to seize Egypt and asked what sort of satisfaction was required but the British were unable to give a response. [58] There was still no thought of going to war Prime Minister Addington publicly affirmed that Britain was in a state of peace. [59]

In early March 1803, the Addington ministry received word that Cape Colony had been re-occupied by the British army in accordance with the orders which had subsequently been countermanded. On 8 March they ordered military preparations to guard against possible French retaliation and justified them by falsely claiming that it was only in response to French preparations and that they were conducting serious negotiations with France. In a few days, it was known that Cape Colony had been surrendered in accordance with the counter-orders, but it was too late. Bonaparte berated the British ambassador in front of 200 spectators over the military preparations. [60]

The Addington ministry realised they would face an inquiry over their false reasons for the military preparations, and during April unsuccessfully attempted to secure the support of William Pitt the Younger to shield them from damage. [61] In the same month the ministry issued an ultimatum to France demanding the retention of Malta for at least ten years, the permanent acquisition of the island of Lampedusa from the Kingdom of Sicily, and the evacuation of Holland. They also offered to recognise French gains in Italy if they evacuated Switzerland and compensated the King of Sardinia for his territorial losses. France offered to place Malta in the hands of Russia to satisfy British concerns, pull out of Holland when Malta was evacuated, and form a convention to give satisfaction to Britain on other issues. The British falsely denied that Russia had made an offer and their ambassador left Paris. [62] Desperate to avoid war, Bonaparte sent a secret offer where he agreed to let Britain retain Malta if France could occupy the Otranto peninsula in Naples. [63] All efforts were futile and Britain declared war on 18 May 1803.

British motivations Edit

Britain ended the uneasy truce created by the Treaty of Amiens when it declared war on France in May 1803. The British were increasingly angered by Napoleon's reordering of the international system in Western Europe, especially in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Kagan argues that Britain was especially alarmed by Napoleon's assertion of control over Switzerland. The British felt insulted when Napoleon said it deserved no voice in European affairs (even though King George was an elector of the Holy Roman Empire) and sought to restrict the London newspapers that were vilifying him. [33]

Britain had a sense of loss of control, as well as loss of markets, and was worried by Napoleon's possible threat to its overseas colonies. McLynn argues that Britain went to war in 1803 out of a "mixture of economic motives and national neuroses – an irrational anxiety about Napoleon's motives and intentions." McLynn concludes that it proved to be the right choice for Britain because, in the long run, Napoleon's intentions were hostile to the British national interest. Napoleon was not ready for war and so this was the best time for Britain to stop them. Britain seized upon the Malta issue, refusing to follow the terms of the Treaty of Amiens and evacuate the island. [65]

The deeper British grievance was their perception that Napoleon was taking personal control of Europe, making the international system unstable, and forcing Britain to the sidelines. [66] [67] [68] [69] is highly analytical and hostile to Napoleon. Numerous scholars have argued that Napoleon's aggressive posture made him enemies and cost him potential allies. [70] As late as 1808, the continental powers affirmed most of his gains and titles, but the continuing conflict with Britain led him to start the Peninsular War and the invasion of Russia, which many scholars see as a dramatic miscalculation. [71] [72] [73] [74] [75]

There was one serious attempt to negotiate peace with France during the war, made by Charles James Fox in 1806. The British wanted to retain their overseas conquests and have Hanover restored to George III in exchange for accepting French conquests on the continent. The French were willing to cede Malta, Cape Colony, Tobago, and French Indian posts to Britain but wanted to obtain Sicily in exchange for the restoration of Hanover, a condition the British refused. [76]

Unlike its many coalition partners, Britain remained at war throughout the period of the Napoleonic Wars. Protected by naval supremacy (in the words of Admiral Jervis to the House of Lords "I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea"), Britain did not have to spend the entire war defending itself and could therefore focus on supporting its embattled allies, maintaining low-intensity land warfare on a global scale for over a decade. The British government paid out large sums of money to other European states so that they could pay armies in the field against France. These payments are colloquially known as the Golden Cavalry of St George. The British Army provided long-term support to the Spanish rebellion in the Peninsular War of 1808–1814, assisted by Spanish guerrilla ('little war') tactics. Anglo-Portuguese forces under Arthur Wellesley supported the Spanish, which campaigned successfully against the French armies, eventually driving them from Spain and allowing Britain to invade southern France. By 1815, the British Army played the central role in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

Beyond minor naval actions against British imperial interests, the Napoleonic Wars were much less global in scope than preceding conflicts such as the Seven Years' War, which historians term a "world war".

Economic warfare Edit

In response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enacted by the British government on 16 May 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on 21 November 1806, which brought into effect the Continental System. [77] This policy aimed to eliminate the threat from Britain by closing French-controlled territory to its trade. Britain maintained a standing army of 220,000 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, of whom less than half were available for campaigning. The rest were necessary for garrisoning Ireland and the colonies and providing security for Britain. France's strength peaked at around 2,500,000 full-time and part-time soldiers including several hundred thousand National Guardsmen whom Napoleon could draft into the military if necessary. Both nations enlisted large numbers of sedentary militia who were unsuited for campaigning and were mostly employed to release regular forces for active duty. [78]

The Royal Navy disrupted France's extra-continental trade by seizing and threatening French shipping and colonial possessions, but could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of Britain. Britain had the greatest industrial capacity in Europe, and its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade. This ensured that France could never consolidate its control over Europe in peace. Many in the French government believed that cutting Britain off from the Continent would end its economic influence over Europe and isolate it.

Financing the war Edit

A key element in British success was its ability to mobilise the nation's industrial and financial resources and apply them to defeating France. Although the UK had a population of approximately 16 million against France's 30 million, the French numerical advantage was offset by British subsidies that paid for many of the Austrian and Russian soldiers, peaking at about 450,000 men in 1813. [78] [79] Under the Anglo-Russian agreement of 1803, Britain paid a subsidy of £1.5 million for every 100,000 Russian soldiers in the field. [80]

British national output remained strong, and the well-organised business sector channeled products into what the military needed. Britain used its economic power to expand the Royal Navy, doubling the number of frigates, adding 50% more large ships of the line, and increasing the number of sailors from 15,000 to 133,000 in eight years after the war began in 1793. France saw its navy shrink by more than half. [81] The smuggling of finished products into the continent undermined French efforts to weaken the British economy by cutting off markets. Subsidies to Russia and Austria kept them in the war. The British budget in 1814 reached £98 million, including £10 million for the Royal Navy, £40 million for the army, £10 million for the allies, and £38 million as interest on the national debt, which soared to £679 million, more than double the GDP. This debt was supported by hundreds of thousands of investors and taxpayers, despite the higher taxes on land and a new income tax. The cost of the war came to £831 million. [s] In contrast, the French financial system was inadequate and Napoleon's forces had to rely in part on requisitions from conquered lands. [83] [ page range too broad ] [84] [85]

From London in 1813 to 1815, Nathan Mayer Rothschild was instrumental in almost single-handedly financing the British war effort, organising the shipment of bullion to the Duke of Wellington's armies across Europe, as well as arranging the payment of British financial subsidies to their continental allies. [86]

Britain gathered together allies to form the Third Coalition against The French Empire. [88] [ page range too broad ] [89] In response, Napoleon seriously considered an invasion of Great Britain, [90] [91] and massed 180,000 troops at Boulogne. Before he could invade, he needed to achieve naval superiority—or at least to pull the British fleet away from the English Channel. A complex plan to distract the British by threatening their possessions in the West Indies failed when a Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve turned back after an indecisive action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805. The Royal Navy blockaded Villeneuve in Cádiz until he left for Naples on 19 October the British squadron caught and overwhelmingly defeated the combined enemy fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October (the British commander, Lord Nelson, died in the battle). Napoleon never again had the opportunity to challenge the British at sea, nor to threaten an invasion. He again turned his attention to enemies on the Continent.

In April 1805, Britain and Russia signed a treaty with the aim of removing the French from the Batavian Republic (roughly present-day Netherlands) and the Swiss Confederation. Austria joined the alliance after the annexation of Genoa and the proclamation of Napoleon as King of Italy on 17 March 1805. Sweden, which had already agreed to lease Swedish Pomerania as a military base for British troops against France, entered the coalition on 9 August.

The Austrians began the war by invading Bavaria on 8 September [92] 1805 with an army of about 70,000 under Karl Mack von Leiberich, and the French army marched out from Boulogne in late July 1805 to confront them. At Ulm (25 September – 20 October) Napoleon surrounded Mack's army, forcing its surrender without significant losses.

With the main Austrian army north of the Alps defeated (another army under Archduke Charles fought against André Masséna's French army in Italy), Napoleon occupied Vienna on 13 November. Far from his supply lines, he faced a larger Austro-Russian army under the command of Mikhail Kutuzov, with the Emperor Alexander I of Russia personally present. On 2 December, Napoleon crushed the Austro-Russian force in Moravia at Austerlitz (usually considered his greatest victory). He inflicted 25,000 casualties on a numerically superior enemy army while sustaining fewer than 7,000 in his own force.

Austria signed the Treaty of Pressburg (26 December 1805) and left the coalition. The treaty required the Austrians to give up Venetia to the French-dominated Kingdom of Italy and the Tyrol to Bavaria. With the withdrawal of Austria from the war, stalemate ensued. Napoleon's army had a record of continuous unbroken victories on land, but the full force of the Russian army had not yet come into play. Napoleon had now consolidated his hold on France, had taken control of Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and most of Western Germany and northern Italy. His admirers say that Napoleon wanted to stop now, but was forced to continue in order to gain greater security from the countries that refused to accept his conquests. Esdaile rejects that explanation and instead says that it was a good time to stop expansion, for the major powers were ready to accept Napoleon as he was:

in 1806 both Russia and Britain had been positively eager to make peace, and they might well have agreed to terms that would have left the Napoleonic imperium almost completely intact. As for Austria and Prussia, they simply wanted to be left alone. To have secured a compromise peace, then, would have been comparatively easy. But Napoleon was prepared to make no concessions. [93]

Within months of the collapse of the Third Coalition, the Fourth Coalition (1806–07) against France was formed by Britain, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, and Sweden. In July 1806, Napoleon formed the Confederation of the Rhine out of the many tiny German states which constituted the Rhineland and most other western parts of Germany. He amalgamated many of the smaller states into larger electorates, duchies, and kingdoms to make the governance of non-Prussian Germany smoother. Napoleon elevated the rulers of the two largest Confederation states, Saxony and Bavaria, to the status of kings.

In August 1806, the Prussian king, Frederick William III, decided to go to war independently of any other great power. The army of Russia, a Prussian ally, in particular, was too far away to assist. On 8 October 1806, Napoleon unleashed all the French forces east of the Rhine into Prussia. Napoleon defeated a Prussian army at Jena (14 October 1806), and Davout defeated another at Auerstädt on the same day. 160,000 French soldiers (increasing in number as the campaign went on) attacked Prussia, moving with such speed that they destroyed the entire Prussian army as an effective military force. Out of 250,000 troops the Prussians sustained 25,000 casualties, lost a further 150,000 as prisoners, 4,000 artillery pieces, and over 100,000 muskets. At Jena, Napoleon had fought only a detachment of the Prussian force. The battle at Auerstädt involved a single French corps defeating the bulk of the Prussian army. Napoleon entered Berlin on 27 October 1806. He visited the tomb of Frederick the Great and instructed his marshals to remove their hats there, saying, "If he were alive we wouldn't be here today". Napoleon had taken only 19 days from beginning his attack on Prussia to knock it out of the war with the capture of Berlin and the destruction of its principal armies at Jena and Auerstädt. Saxony left Prussia, and together with small states from north Germany, allied with France.

In the next stage of the war, the French drove Russian forces out of Poland and employed many Polish and German soldiers in several sieges in Silesia and Pomerania, with the assistance of Dutch and Italian soldiers in the latter case. Napoleon then turned north to confront the remainder of the Russian army and to try to capture the temporary Prussian capital at Königsberg. A tactical draw at Eylau (7–8 February 1807), followed by capitulation at Danzig (24 May 1807) and the Battle of Heilsberg (10 June 1807), forced the Russians to withdraw further north. Napoleon decisively beat the Russian army at Friedland (14 June 1807), following which Alexander had to make peace with Napoleon at Tilsit (7 July 1807). In Germany and Poland, new Napoleonic client states, such as the Kingdom of Westphalia, Duchy of Warsaw, and Republic of Danzig, were established.

By September, Marshal Guillaume Brune completed the occupation of Swedish Pomerania, allowing the Swedish army to withdraw with all its munitions of war.

Scandinavia and Finland Edit

Britain's first response to Napoleon's Continental System was to launch a major naval attack against Denmark. Although ostensibly neutral, Denmark was under heavy French and Russian pressure to pledge its fleet to Napoleon. London could not take the chance of ignoring the Danish threat. In August 1807, the Royal Navy besieged and bombarded Copenhagen, leading to the capture of the Dano-Norwegian fleet, and assuring use of the sea lanes in the North and Baltic seas for the British merchant fleet. Denmark joined the war on the side of France, but without a fleet it had little to offer, [94] [95] beginning an engagement in a naval guerrilla war in which small gunboats attacking larger British ships in Danish and Norwegian waters. Denmark also committed themselves to participate in a war against Sweden together with France and Russia.

At Tilsit, Napoleon and Alexander had agreed that Russia should force Sweden to join the Continental System, which led to a Russian invasion of Finland in February 1808, followed by a Danish declaration of war in March. Napoleon also sent an auxiliary corps, consisting of troops from France, Spain and the Netherlands, led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, to Denmark to participate in the invasion of Sweden. But British naval superiority prevented the armies from crossing the Øresund strait, and the war came mainly to be fought along the Swedish-Norwegian border. At the Congress of Erfurt (September–October 1808), France and Russia further agreed on the division of Sweden into two parts separated by the Gulf of Bothnia, where the eastern part became the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. British voluntary attempts to assist Sweden with humanitarian aid remained limited and did not prevent Sweden from adopting a more Napoleon-friendly policy. [96]

The war between Denmark and Britain effectively ended with a British victory at the battle of Lyngør in 1812, involving the destruction of the last large Dano-Norwegian ship—the frigate Najaden.

Poland Edit

In 1807 Napoleon created a powerful outpost of his empire in Central Europe. Poland had recently been partitioned by its three large neighbours, but Napoleon created the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, which depended on France from the very beginning. The duchy consisted of lands seized by Austria and Prussia its Grand Duke was Napoleon's ally the king of Saxony, but Napoleon appointed the intendants who ran the country. The population of 4.3 million was released from occupation and by 1814 sent about 200,000 men to Napoleon's armies. That included about 90,000 who marched with him to Moscow few marched back. [97] The Russians strongly opposed any move towards an independent Poland and one reason Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 was to punish them. The Grand Duchy was dissolved in 1815 Poland did not become a state again until 1918, following the dissolution of the Russian Empire. Napoleon's impact on Poland was huge, including the Napoleonic legal code, the abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of modern middle-class bureaucracies. [98] [99] [ page range too broad ]

The Iberian conflict began when Portugal continued trade with Britain despite French restrictions. When Spain failed to maintain the Continental System, the uneasy Spanish alliance with France ended in all but name. French troops gradually encroached on Spanish territory until they occupied Madrid, and installed a client monarchy. This provoked an explosion of popular rebellions across Spain. Heavy British involvement soon followed.

After defeats in Spain suffered by France, Napoleon took charge and enjoyed success, retaking Madrid, defeating the Spanish and forcing a withdrawal of the heavily out-numbered British army from the Iberian Peninsula (Battle of Corunna, 16 January 1809). But when he left, the guerrilla war against his forces in the countryside continued to tie down great numbers of troops. The outbreak of the War of the Fifth Coalition prevented Napoleon from successfully wrapping up operations against British forces by necessitating his departure for Austria, and he never returned to the Peninsular theatre. The British then sent in a fresh army under Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington). [100] For a time, the British and Portuguese remained restricted to the area around Lisbon (behind their impregnable lines of Torres Vedras), while their Spanish allies were besieged in Cadiz.

The Peninsular war proved a major disaster for France. Napoleon did well when he was in direct charge, but severe losses followed his departure, as he severely underestimated how much manpower would be needed. The effort in Spain was a drain on money, manpower and prestige. Historian David Gates called it the "Spanish ulcer." [101] Napoleon realised it had been a disaster for his cause, writing later, "That unfortunate war destroyed me . All the circumstances of my disasters are bound up in that fatal knot." [102]

The Peninsular campaigns witnessed 60 major battles and 30 major sieges, more than any other of the Napoleonic conflicts, and lasted over six years, far longer than any of the others. France and her allies lost at least 91,000 killed in action and 237,000 wounded in the peninsula. [103] From 1812, the Peninsular War merged with the War of the Sixth Coalition.

The Fifth Coalition (1809) of Britain and Austria against France formed as Britain engaged in the Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal. The sea became a major theatre of war against Napoleon's allies. Austria, previously an ally of France, took the opportunity to attempt to restore its imperial territories in Germany as held prior to Austerlitz. During the time of the Fifth Coalition, the Royal Navy won a succession of victories in the French colonies. On land the major battles included Battle of Raszyn, Battle of Eckmuhl, Battle of Raab, Battle of Aspern-Essling, and Battle of Wagram.

On land, the Fifth Coalition attempted few extensive military endeavours. One, the Walcheren Expedition of 1809, involved a dual effort by the British Army and the Royal Navy to relieve Austrian forces under intense French pressure. It ended in disaster after the Army commander, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, failed to capture the objective, the naval base of French-controlled Antwerp. For the most part of the years of the Fifth Coalition, British military operations on land (apart from the Iberian Peninsula) remained restricted to hit-and-run operations executed by the Royal Navy, which dominated the sea after having beaten down almost all substantial naval opposition from France and its allies and blockading what remained of France's naval forces in heavily fortified French-controlled ports. These rapid-attack operations were aimed mostly at destroying blockaded French naval and mercantile shipping and the disruption of French supplies, communications, and military units stationed near the coasts. Often, when British allies attempted military actions within several dozen miles or so of the sea, the Royal Navy would arrive, land troops and supplies, and aid the coalition's land forces in a concerted operation. Royal Navy ships even provided artillery support against French units when fighting strayed near enough to the coastline. The ability and quality of the land forces governed these operations. For example, when operating with inexperienced guerrilla forces in Spain, the Royal Navy sometimes failed to achieve its objectives because of the lack of manpower that the Navy's guerrilla allies had promised to supply.

Austria achieved some initial victories against the thinly spread army of Marshal Berthier. Napoleon had left Berthier with only 170,000 men to defend France's entire eastern frontier (in the 1790s, 800,000 men had carried out the same task, but holding a much shorter front).

In the east, the Austrians drove into the Duchy of Warsaw but suffered defeat at the Battle of Raszyn on 19 April 1809. The Polish army captured West Galicia following its earlier success. Napoleon assumed personal command and bolstered the army for a counter-attack on Austria. After a few small battles, the well-run campaign forced the Austrians to withdraw from Bavaria, and Napoleon advanced into Austria. His hurried attempt to cross the Danube resulted in the major Battle of Aspern-Essling (22 May 1809) — Napoleon's first significant tactical defeat. But the Austrian commander, Archduke Charles, failed to follow up on his indecisive victory, allowing Napoleon to prepare and seize Vienna in early July. He defeated the Austrians at Wagram, on 5–6 July. (It was during the middle of that battle that Marshal Bernadotte was stripped of his command after retreating contrary to Napoleon's orders. Shortly thereafter, Bernadotte took up the offer from Sweden to fill the vacant position of Crown Prince there. Later he actively participated in wars against his former Emperor.)

The War of the Fifth Coalition ended with the Treaty of Schönbrunn (14 October 1809). In the east, only the Tyrolese rebels led by Andreas Hofer continued to fight the French-Bavarian army until finally defeated in November 1809. In the west, the Peninsular War continued. Economic warfare between Britain and France continued: The British continued a naval blockade of French-controlled territory. Due to military shortages and lack of organisation in French territory, many breaches of the Continental System occurred and the French Continental System was largely ineffective and did little economic damage to Great Britain. Both sides entered further conflicts in attempts to enforce their blockade. As Napoleon realised that extensive trade was going through Spain and Russia, he invaded those two countries. [104] the British fought the United States in the War of 1812 (1812–15).

In 1810, the French Empire reached its greatest extent. Napoleon married Marie-Louise, an Austrian Archduchess, with the aim of ensuring a more stable alliance with Austria and of providing the Emperor with an heir (something his first wife, Josephine, had failed to do). As well as the French Empire, Napoleon controlled the Swiss Confederation, the Confederation of the Rhine, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Italy. Territories allied with the French included:

  • the Kingdom of Denmark
  • the Kingdom of Spain (under Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother)
  • the Kingdom of Westphalia (Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother)
  • the Kingdom of Naples (under Joachim Murat, husband of Napoleon's sister Caroline)
  • the Principality of Lucca and Piombino (under Elisa Bonaparte (Napoleon's sister) and her husband Felice Baciocchi)

and Napoleon's former enemies, Sweden, Prussia and Austria.

The Napoleonic Wars were the direct cause of wars in the Americas and elsewhere.

War of 1812 Edit

The War of 1812 coincided with the War of the Sixth Coalition. Historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right, while Europeans often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars. The United States declared war on Britain because of British interference with American merchant ships and forced enlistment into the British Royal Navy. France had interfered as well, and the US considered declaring war on France. The war ended in a military stalemate, and there were no boundary changes at the Treaty of Ghent, which took effect in early 1815 when Napoleon was on Elba. [105] [ page needed ]

Latin American Revolutions Edit

The abdication of kings Carlos IV and Fernando VII of Spain and the installation of Napoleon's brother as King José provoked civil wars and revolutions leading to the independence of most of Spain's mainland American colonies. In Spanish America many local elites formed juntas and set up mechanisms to rule in the name of Ferdinand VII, whom they considered the legitimate Spanish monarch. The outbreak of the Spanish American wars of independence in most of the empire was a result of Napoleon's destabilizing actions in Spain and led to the rise of strongmen in the wake of these wars. [106] The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 caused an exodus of French soldiers into Latin America where they joined ranks with the armies of the independence movements. [107] While these officials had a role in various victories such as the Capture of Valdivia (1820) some are held responsible for significant defeats at the hands of the royalist as is the case of Second Battle of Cancha Rayada (1818). [107]

In contrast, the Portuguese royal family escaped to Brazil and established the court there, resulting in political stability for Portuguese America. With the defeat of Napoleon and the return of the Braganza monarchy to Portugal, the heir remained in Brazil and declared Brazilian independence, achieving it peacefully with the territory intact.

The Haitian Revolution began in 1791, just before the French Revolutionary Wars, and continued until 1804. France's defeat resulted in the independence of Saint-Domingue and led Napoleon to sell the territory making up the Louisiana Purchase to the United States. [108]

Barbary Wars Edit

During the Napoleonic Wars, the United States, Sweden, and Sicily fought against the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean.

The Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 resulted in the Anglo-Russian War (1807–12). Emperor Alexander I declared war on Britain after the British attack on Denmark in September 1807. British men-of-war supported the Swedish fleet during the Finnish War and won victories over the Russians in the Gulf of Finland in July 1808 and August 1809. The success of the Russian army on land, however, forced Sweden to sign peace treaties with Russia in 1809 and with France in 1810, and to join the blockade against Britain. But Franco-Russian relations became progressively worse after 1810, and the Russian war with Britain effectively ended. In April 1812, Britain, Russia and Sweden signed secret agreements directed against Napoleon. [109] [ page needed ]

The central issue for both Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I was control over Poland. Each wanted a semi-independent Poland he could control. As Esdaile notes, "Implicit in the idea of a Russian Poland was, of course, a war against Napoleon." [110] Schroeder says Poland was "the root cause" of Napoleon's war with Russia but Russia's refusal to support the Continental System was also a factor. [111]

In 1812, at the height of his power, Napoleon invaded Russia with a pan-European Grande Armée, consisting of 450,000 men (200,000 Frenchmen, and many soldiers of allies or subject areas). The French forces crossed the Niemen River on 24 June 1812. Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, and Napoleon proclaimed a Second Polish war. The Poles supplied almost 100,000 men for the invasion force, but against their expectations, Napoleon avoided any concessions to Poland, having in mind further negotiations with Russia. [112] [ page needed ]

The Grande Armée marched through Russia, winning some relatively minor engagements and the major Battle of Smolensk on 16–18 August. In the same days, part of the French Army led by Marshal Nicolas Oudinot was stopped in the Battle of Polotsk by the right wing of the Russian Army, under command of General Peter Wittgenstein. This prevented the French march on the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg the fate of the invasion was decided in Moscow, where Napoleon led his forces in person.

Russia used scorched-earth tactics, and harried the Grande Armée with light Cossack cavalry. The Grande Armée did not adjust its operational methods in response. [113] This led to most of the losses of the main column of the Grande Armée, which in one case amounted to 95,000 men, including deserters, in a week. [114]

The main Russian army retreated for almost three months. This constant retreat led to the unpopularity of Field Marshal Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly and a veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, was made the new Commander-in-Chief by Tsar Alexander I. Finally, the two armies engaged in the Battle of Borodino on 7 September, [115] [ page needed ] in the vicinity of Moscow. The battle was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 men and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties. It was indecisive the French captured the main positions on the battlefield but failed to destroy the Russian army. Logistical difficulties meant that French casualties could not be replaced, unlike Russian ones.

Napoleon entered Moscow on 14 September, after the Russian Army had retreated yet again. [116] By then, the Russians had largely evacuated the city and released criminals from the prisons to inconvenience the French the governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered the city to be burnt. [117] Alexander I refused to capitulate, and the peace talks attempted by Napoleon failed. In October, with no sign of clear victory in sight, Napoleon began the disastrous Great Retreat from Moscow.

At the Battle of Maloyaroslavets the French tried to reach Kaluga, where they could find food and forage supplies. The replenished Russian Army blocked the road, and Napoleon was forced to retreat the same way he had come to Moscow, through the heavily ravaged areas along the Smolensk road. In the following weeks, the Grande Armée was dealt a catastrophic blow by the onset of the Russian Winter, the lack of supplies and constant guerrilla warfare by Russian peasants and irregular troops.

When the remnants of Napoleon's army crossed the Berezina River in November, only 27,000 fit soldiers survived, with 380,000 men dead or missing and 100,000 captured. [118] Napoleon then left his men and returned to Paris to prepare the defence against the advancing Russians. The campaign effectively ended on 14 December 1812, when the last enemy troops left Russia. The Russians had lost around 210,000 men, but with their shorter supply lines, they soon replenished their armies.

Seeing an opportunity in Napoleon's historic defeat, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, and several other German states switched sides joining Russia, the United Kingdom and others opposing Napoleon. [120] Napoleon vowed that he would create a new army as large as the one he had sent into Russia, and quickly built up his forces in the east from 30,000 to 130,000 and eventually to 400,000. Napoleon inflicted 40,000 casualties on the Allies at Lützen (2 May 1813) and Bautzen (20–21 May 1813). Both battles involved forces of over 250,000, making them some of the largest conflicts of the wars so far. Metternich in November 1813 offered Napoleon the Frankfurt proposals. They would allow Napoleon to remain Emperor but France would be reduced to its "natural frontiers" and lose control of most of Italy and Germany and the Netherlands. Napoleon still expected to win the wars, and rejected the terms. By 1814, as the Allies were closing in on Paris, Napoleon did agree to the Frankfurt proposals, but it was too late and he rejected the new harsher terms proposed by the Allies. [121]

In the Peninsular War, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, renewed the Anglo-Portuguese advance into Spain just after New Year in 1812, besieging and capturing the fortified towns of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and in the Battle of Salamanca (which was a damaging defeat of the French). As the French regrouped, the Anglo-Portuguese entered Madrid and advanced towards Burgos, before retreating all the way to Portugal when renewed French concentrations threatened to trap them. As a consequence of the Salamanca campaign, the French were forced to end their long siege of Cadiz and to permanently evacuate the provinces of Andalusia and Asturias. [122]

In a strategic move, Wellesley planned to move his supply base from Lisbon to Santander. The Anglo-Portuguese forces swept northwards in late May and seized Burgos. On 21 June, at Vitoria, the combined Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish armies won against Joseph Bonaparte, finally breaking French power in Spain. The French had to retreat from the Iberian peninsula, over the Pyrenees. [123]

The belligerents declared an armistice from 4 June 1813 (continuing until 13 August) during which time both sides attempted to recover from the loss of approximately a quarter of a million men in the preceding two months. During this time coalition negotiations finally brought Austria out in open opposition to France. Two principal Austrian armies took the field, adding 300,000 men to the coalition armies in Germany. The Allies now had around 800,000 front-line soldiers in the German theatre, with a strategic reserve of 350,000 formed to support the front-line operations. [121]

Napoleon succeeded in bringing the imperial forces in the region to around 650,000—although only 250,000 came under his direct command, with another 120,000 under Nicolas Charles Oudinot and 30,000 under Davout. The remainder of imperial forces came mostly from the Confederation of the Rhine, especially Saxony and Bavaria. In addition, to the south, Murat's Kingdom of Naples and Eugène de Beauharnais's Kingdom of Italy had 100,000 armed men. In Spain, another 150,000 to 200,000 French troops steadily retreated before Anglo-Portuguese forces numbering around 100,000. Thus around 900,000 Frenchmen in all theatres faced around 1,800,000 coalition soldiers (including the strategic reserve under formation in Germany). The gross figures may mislead slightly, as most of the German troops fighting on the side of the French fought at best unreliably and stood on the verge of defecting to the Allies. One can reasonably say that Napoleon could count on no more than 450,000 men in Germany—which left him outnumbered about four to one. [121]

Following the end of the armistice, Napoleon seemed to have regained the initiative at Dresden (August 1813), where he once again defeated a numerically superior coalition army and inflicted enormous casualties, while sustaining relatively few. The failures of his marshals and a slow resumption of the offensive on his part cost him any advantage that this victory might have secured. At the Battle of Leipzig in Saxony (16–19 October 1813), also called the "Battle of the Nations", 191,000 French fought more than 300,000 Allies, and the defeated French had to retreat into France. After the French withdrawal from Germany, Napoleon's remaining ally, Denmark-Norway, became isolated and fell to the coalition. [124]

Napoleon then fought a series of battles in France, including the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube, but the overwhelming numbers of the Allies steadily forced him back. The Allies entered Paris on 30 March 1814. During this time Napoleon fought his Six Days' Campaign, in which he won many battles against the enemy forces advancing towards Paris. During this entire campaign, he never managed to field more than 70,000 men against more than half a million coalition soldiers. At the Treaty of Chaumont (9 March 1814), the Allies agreed to preserve the coalition until Napoleon's total defeat. [125]

Napoleon determined to fight on, even now, incapable of fathoming his fall from power. During the campaign, he had issued a decree for 900,000 fresh conscripts, but only a fraction of these materialised, and Napoleon's schemes for victory eventually gave way to the reality of his hopeless situation. Napoleon abdicated on 6 April. Occasional military actions continued in Italy, Spain, and Holland in early 1814. [125]

The victors exiled Napoleon to the island of Elba and restored the French Bourbon monarchy in the person of Louis XVIII. They signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau (11 April 1814) and initiated the Congress of Vienna to redraw the map of Europe. [125]

The Seventh Coalition (1815) pitted Britain, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and several smaller German states against France. The period known as the Hundred Days began after Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed at Cannes (1 March 1815). Travelling to Paris, picking up support as he went, he eventually overthrew the restored Louis XVIII. The Allies rapidly gathered their armies to meet him again. Napoleon raised 280,000 men, whom he distributed among several armies. To add to the 90,000-strong standing army, he recalled well over a quarter of a million veterans from past campaigns and issued a decree for the eventual draft of around 2.5 million new men into the French army, which was never achieved. This faced an initial coalition force of about 700,000—although coalition campaign plans provided for one million front-line soldiers, supported by around 200,000 garrison, logistics and other auxiliary personnel.

Napoleon took about 124,000 men of the Army of the North on a pre-emptive strike against the Allies in Belgium. [126] He intended to attack the coalition armies before they combined, in hope of driving the British into the sea and the Prussians out of the war. His march to the frontier achieved the surprise he had planned, catching the Anglo-Dutch Army in a dispersed arrangement. The Prussians had been more wary, concentrating 75% of their army in and around Ligny. The Prussians forced the Armée du Nord to fight all the day of the 15th to reach Ligny in a delaying action by the Prussian 1st Corps. He forced Prussia to fight at Ligny on 16 June 1815, and the defeated Prussians retreated in disorder. On the same day, the left wing of the Armée du Nord, under the command of Marshal Michel Ney, succeeded in stopping any of Wellington's forces going to aid Blücher's Prussians by fighting a blocking action at Quatre Bras. Ney failed to clear the cross-roads and Wellington reinforced the position. But with the Prussian retreat, Wellington too had to retreat. He fell back to a previously reconnoitred position on an escarpment at Mont St Jean, a few miles south of the village of Waterloo.

Napoleon took the reserve of the Army of the North, and reunited his forces with those of Ney to pursue Wellington's army, after he ordered Marshal Grouchy to take the right wing of the Army of the North and stop the Prussians re-grouping. In the first of a series of miscalculations, both Grouchy and Napoleon failed to realise that the Prussian forces were already reorganised and were assembling at the village of Wavre. The French army did nothing to stop a rather leisurely retreat that took place throughout the night and into the early morning by the Prussians. As the 4th, 1st, and 2nd Prussian Corps marched through the town towards Waterloo the 3rd Prussian Corps took up blocking positions across the river, and although Grouchy engaged and defeated the Prussian rearguard under the command of Lt-Gen von Thielmann in the Battle of Wavre (18–19 June) it was 12 hours too late. In the end, 17,000 Prussians had kept 33,000 badly needed French reinforcements off the field.

Napoleon delayed the start of fighting at the Battle of Waterloo on the morning of 18 June for several hours while he waited for the ground to dry after the previous night's rain. By late afternoon, the French army had not succeeded in driving Wellington's forces from the escarpment on which they stood. When the Prussians arrived and attacked the French right flank in ever-increasing numbers, Napoleon's strategy of keeping the coalition armies divided had failed and a combined coalition general advance drove his army from the field in confusion.

Grouchy organised a successful and well-ordered retreat towards Paris, where Marshal Davout had 117,000 men ready to turn back the 116,000 men of Blücher and Wellington. General Vandamme was defeated at the Battle of Issy and negotiations for surrender had begun.

On arriving at Paris three days after Waterloo, Napoleon still clung to the hope of a concerted national resistance but the temper of the legislative chambers, and of the public generally, did not favour his view. Lacking support Napoleon abdicated again on 22 June 1815, and on 15 July he surrendered to the British squadron at Rochefort. The Allies exiled him to the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821.

In Italy, Joachim Murat, whom the Allies had allowed to remain King of Naples after Napoleon's initial defeat, once again allied with his brother-in-law, triggering the Neapolitan War (March to May 1815). Hoping to find support among Italian nationalists fearing the increasing influence of the Habsburgs in Italy, Murat issued the Rimini Proclamation inciting them to war. The proclamation failed and the Austrians soon crushed Murat at the Battle of Tolentino (2–3 May 1815), forcing him to flee. The Bourbons returned to the throne of Naples on 20 May 1815. Murat tried to regain his throne, but after that failed, he was executed by firing squad on 13 October 1815.

The Treaty of Paris, signed on 20 November 1815, officially marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned and restored the Bourbon house to the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law—an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

France's constant warfare with the combined forces of different combinations of, and eventually all, of the other major powers of Europe for over two decades finally took its toll. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France no longer held the role of the dominant power in Continental Europe, as it had since the times of Louis XIV, as the Congress of Vienna produced a "balance of power" by resizing the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. In this regard, Prussia was restored in its former borders, and also received large chunks of Poland and Saxony. Greatly enlarged, Prussia became a permanent Great Power. In order to drag Prussia's attention towards the west and France, the Congress also gave the Rhineland and Westphalia to Prussia. These industrial regions transformed agrarian Prussia into an industrial leader in the nineteenth century. [34] Britain emerged as the most important economic power, and its Royal Navy held unquestioned naval superiority across the globe well into the 20th century. [7]

After the Napoleonic period, nationalism, a relatively new movement, became increasingly significant. This shaped much of the course of future European history. Its growth spelled the beginning of some states and the end of others, as the map of Europe changed dramatically in the hundred years following the Napoleonic Era. Rule by fiefdoms and aristocracy was widely replaced by national ideologies based on shared origins and culture. Bonaparte's reign over Europe sowed the seeds for the founding of the nation-states of Germany and Italy by starting the process of consolidating city-states, kingdoms and principalities. At the end of the war, Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden mainly as a compensation for the loss of Finland which the other coalition members agreed to, but because Norway had signed its own constitution on 17 May 1814 Sweden initiated the Swedish–Norwegian War of 1814. The war was a short one taking place between 26 July – 14 August 1814 and was a Swedish victory that put Norway into a personal union with Sweden under Charles XIV John of Sweden. The union was peacefully dissolved in 1905. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands created as a buffer state against France dissolved rapidly with the independence of Belgium in 1830. [127]

The Napoleonic wars also played a key role in the independence of the Latin American colonies from Spain and Portugal. The conflict weakened the authority and military power of Spain, especially after the Battle of Trafalgar. There were many uprisings in Spanish America, leading to the wars of independence. In Portuguese America, Brazil experienced greater autonomy as it now served as seat of the Portuguese Empire and ascended politically to the status of Kingdom. These events also contributed to the Portuguese Liberal Revolution in 1820 and the Independence of Brazil in 1822. [36]

The century of relative transatlantic peace, after the Congress of Vienna, enabled the "greatest intercontinental migration in human history" [128] beginning with "a big spurt of immigration after the release of the dam erected by the Napoleonic Wars." [129] Immigration inflows relative to the US population rose to record levels (peaking at 1.6% in 1850–51) [130] as 30 million Europeans relocated to the United States between 1815 and 1914. [131]

Another concept emerged from the Congress of Vienna – that of a unified Europe. After his defeat, Napoleon deplored the fact that his dream of a free and peaceful "European association" remained unaccomplished. Such a European association would share the same principles of government, system of measurement, currency and Civil Code. One-and-a-half centuries later, and after two world wars several of these ideals re-emerged in the form of the European Union.

Enlarged scope Edit

Until the time of Napoleon, European states employed relatively small armies, made up of both national soldiers and mercenaries. These regulars were highly drilled, professional soldiers. Ancien Régime armies could only deploy small field armies due to rudimentary staffs and comprehensive yet cumbersome logistics. Both issues combined to limit field forces to approximately 30,000 men under a single commander.

Military innovators in the mid-18th century began to recognise the potential of an entire nation at war: a "nation in arms". [132]

The scale of warfare dramatically enlarged during the Revolutionary and subsequent Napoleonic Wars. During Europe's major pre-revolutionary war, the Seven Years' War of 1756–1763, few armies ever numbered more than 200,000 with field forces often numbering less than 30,000. The French innovations of separate corps (allowing a single commander to efficiently command more than the traditional command span of 30,000 men) and living off the land (which allowed field armies to deploy more men without requiring an equal increase in supply arrangements such as depots and supply trains) allowed the French republic to field much larger armies than their opponents. Napoleon ensured during the time of the French republic that separate French field armies operated as a single army under his control, often allowing him to substantially outnumber his opponents. This forced his continental opponents to also increase the size of their armies, moving away from the traditional small, well-drilled Ancien Régime armies of the 18th century to mass conscript armies.

The Battle of Marengo, which largely ended the War of the Second Coalition, was fought with fewer than 60,000 men on both sides. The Battle of Austerlitz which ended the War of the Third Coalition involved fewer than 160,000 men. The Battle of Friedland which led to peace with Russia in 1807 involved about 150,000 men.

After these defeats, the continental powers developed various forms of mass conscription to allow them to face France on even terms, and the size of field armies increased rapidly. The battle of Wagram of 1809 involved 300,000 men, and 500,000 fought at Leipzig in 1813, of whom 150,000 were killed or wounded.

About a million French soldiers became casualties (wounded, invalided or killed), a higher proportion than in the First World War. The European total may have reached 5,000,000 military deaths, including disease. [133] [134] [ verification needed ]

France had the second-largest population in Europe by the end of the 18th century (27 million, as compared to Britain's 12 million and Russia's 35 to 40 million). [135] [ page range too broad ] It was well poised to take advantage of the levée en masse. Before Napoleon's efforts, Lazare Carnot played a large part in the reorganisation of the French army from 1793 to 1794—a time which saw previous French misfortunes reversed, with Republican armies advancing on all fronts.

The French army peaked in size in the 1790s with 1.5 million Frenchmen enlisted although battlefield strength was much less. Haphazard bookkeeping, rudimentary medical support and lax recruitment standards ensured that many soldiers either never existed, fell ill or were unable to withstand the physical demands of soldiering.

About 2.8 million Frenchmen fought on land and about 150,000 at sea, bringing the total for France to almost 3 million combatants during almost 25 years of warfare. [20]

Britain had 750,000 men under arms between 1792 and 1815 as its army expanded from 40,000 men in 1793 [136] [ citation not found ] to a peak of 250,000 men in 1813. [19] Over 250,000 sailors served in the Royal Navy. In September 1812, Russia had 900,000 enlisted men in its land forces, and between 1799 and 1815 2.1 million men served in its army. Another 200,000 served in the Russian Navy. Out of the 900,000 men, the field armies deployed against France numbered less than 250,000.

There are no consistent statistics for other major combatants. Austria's forces peaked at about 576,000 (during the War of the Sixth Coalition) and had little or no naval component yet never fielded more than 250,000 men in field armies. After Britain, Austria proved the most persistent enemy of France more than a million Austrians served during the long wars. Its large army was overall quite homogeneous and solid and in 1813 operated in Germany (140,000 men), Italy and the Balkans (90,000 men at its peak, about 50,000 men during most of the campaigning on these fronts). Austria's manpower was becoming quite limited towards the end of the wars, leading its generals to favour cautious and conservative strategies, to limit their losses.

Prussia never had more than 320,000 men under arms at any time. In 1813–1815, the core of its army (about 100,000 men) was characterised by competence and determination, but the bulk of its forces consisted of second- and third-line troops, as well as militiamen of variable strength. Many of these troops performed reasonably well and often displayed considerable bravery but lacked the professionalism of their regular counterparts and were not as well equipped. Others were largely unfit for operations, except sieges. During the 1813 campaign, 130,000 men were used in the military operations, with 100,000 effectively participating in the main German campaign, and about 30,000 being used to besiege isolated French garrisons. [4]

Spain's armies also peaked at around 200,000 men, not including more than 50,000 guerrillas scattered over Spain. In addition the Maratha Confederation, the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Naples and the Duchy of Warsaw each had more than 100,000 men under arms. Even small nations now had armies rivalling the size of the Great Powers' forces of past wars but most of these were poor quality forces only suitable for garrison duties. The size of their combat forces remained modest yet they could still provide a welcome addition to the major powers. The percentage of French troops in the Grande Armee which Napoleon led into Russia was about 50% while the French allies also provided a significant contribution to the French forces in Spain. As these small nations joined the coalition forces in 1813–1814, they provided a useful addition to the coalition while depriving Napoleon of much-needed manpower.

Innovations Edit

The initial stages of the Industrial Revolution had much to do with larger military forces—it became easy to mass-produce weapons and thus to equip larger forces. Britain was the largest single manufacturer of armaments in this period. It supplied most of the weapons used by the coalition powers throughout the conflicts. France produced the second-largest total of armaments, equipping its own huge forces as well as those of the Confederation of the Rhine and other allies. [137]

Napoleon showed innovative tendencies in his use of mobility to offset numerical disadvantages, as demonstrated in the rout of the Austro-Russian forces in 1805 in the Battle of Austerlitz. The French Army redefined the role of artillery, forming independent, mobile units, as opposed to the previous tradition of attaching artillery pieces in support of troops. [38]

The semaphore system had allowed the French War-Minister, Carnot, to communicate with French forces on the frontiers throughout the 1790s. The French continued to use this system throughout the Napoleonic wars. Aerial surveillance was used for the first time when the French used a hot-air balloon to survey coalition positions before the Battle of Fleurus, on 26 June 1794. [39]

Total war Edit

Historians have explored how the Napoleonic wars became total wars. Most historians argue that the escalation in size and scope came from two sources. First was the ideological clash between revolutionary/egalitarian and conservative/hierarchical belief systems. Second was the emergence of nationalism in France, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere that made these "people's wars" instead of contests between monarchs. [138] Bell has argued that even more important than ideology and nationalism were the intellectual transformations in the culture of war that came about through the Enlightenment. [139] One factor, he says, is that war was no longer a routine event but a transforming experience for societies—a total experience. Secondly, the military emerged in its own right as a separate sphere of society distinct from the ordinary civilian world. The French Revolution made every civilian a part of the war machine, either as a soldier through universal conscription, or as a vital cog in the home front machinery supporting and supplying the army. Out of that, says Bell, came "militarism," the belief that the military role was morally superior to the civilian role in times of great national crisis. The fighting army represented the essence of the nation's soul. [140] As Napoleon proclaimed, "It is the soldier who founds a Republic and it is the soldier who maintains it." [141] Napoleon said on his career "I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution. " [142]

Intelligence played a pivotal factor throughout the Napoleonic Wars and could very well have changed the tide of war. The use and misuse of military intelligence dictated the course of many major battles during the Napoleonic Wars. Some of the major battles that were dictated by the use of intelligence include: The Battle of Waterloo, Battle of Leipzig, Battle of Salamanca, and the Battle of Vitoria. A major exception to the greater use of superior military intelligence to claim victory was the Battle of Jena in 1806. At the Battle of Jena even Prussian superior military intelligence was not enough to counter the sheer military force of Napoleons' armies.

The use of intelligence varied greatly across the major world powers of the war. Napoleon at this time had more supply of intelligence given to him than any French general before him. However, Napoleon was not an advocate of military intelligence at this time as he often found it unreliable and inaccurate when compared to his own preconceived notions of the enemy. Napoleon rather studied his enemy via domestic newspapers, diplomatic publications, maps, and prior documents of military engagements in the theaters of war in which he would operate. It was this stout and constant study of the enemy which made Napoleon the military mastermind of his time. Whereas, his opponents—Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia—were much more reliant on traditional intelligence-gathering methods and were much more quickly and willing to act on them.

The methods of Intelligence during these wars were to include the formation of vast and complex networks of corresponding agents, codebreaking, and cryptanalysis. The greatest cipher to be used to hide military operations during this time was known as the Great Paris Cipher used by the French. However, thanks to the hard work of British codebreakers like George Scovell, the British were able to crack French ciphers and gain vast amounts of military intelligence on Napoleon and his armies. [143] [ page needed ]

The Napoleonic Wars were a defining event of the early 19th century, and inspired many works of fiction, from then until the present day.


Contents

Great Britain was the central important force in encouraging and financing alliances against Napoleonic France. Napoleon was frustrated in his repeated attempts to defeat Britain. Attacks that involved naval power had all failed, with the systematic defeats of the combined French and Spanish navies. After the decisive defeat at Trafalgar, Napoleon made no attempt to rebuild his Navy. He turned instead to economic warfare, planning to ruin the British economy. It was thought that Britain depended completely upon trade with Europe for its prosperity, so cutting off trade with continental Europe would ruin the British economy and force it to sue for peace. A blockade was impossible because the Royal Navy controlled the seas, but if Napoleon controlled the ports of Europe, he could prevent British products from landing. [7]

The Royal Navy imposed a naval blockade of the French and French-allied coasts, on 16 May 1806. Napoleon resorted instead to economic warfare. Britain was Europe's manufacturing and business center as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Napoleon believed it would be easy to take advantage of an embargo on trade with the European nations under his control, causing inflation and great debt to undermine the British strength. His position was strengthened by the Fall of Berlin in October 1806, bringing swathes of Prussia under his control.

In November 1806, having recently conquered or allied with every major power on the European continent, Napoleon, in retaliation to the British Order-in-Council of 17 May 1806 blockading all ports from Brest to the Elbe, issued the Berlin Decree forbidding his allies and conquests from trading with the British. [8] Britain responded with further Orders in Council issued on 10 January and 11 November 1807. [9] These forbade French trade with Britain, its allies or neutrals, and instructed the Royal Navy to blockade all French and allied ports, and to prevent all shipping whether neutral or not. Napoleon responded again with the Milan Decree of 1807, declaring that all neutral shipping using British ports or paying British tariffs were to be regarded as British and seized.

Napoleon's plan to defeat Britain was to destroy its ability to trade. As an island nation, trade was its most vital lifeline. Napoleon believed that if he could isolate Britain economically, he would be able to invade the nation after its economic collapse. Napoleon decreed that all commercial ships wishing to do business in Europe must first stop at a French port in order to ensure that there could be no trade with Britain. He also ordered all European nations and French allies to stop trading with Britain, and he threatened Russia with an invasion if they did not comply as well. His orders backfired in the Iberian Peninsula, especially in Portugal (being allied to Britain), setting off the Peninsular War. He pushed Russia too hard, both in terms of the Continental System, and in his demands for control over part of Poland. His attempted punishment of Russia through a massive invasion 1812 was one of the famous military disasters in world history, and set the stage for Napoleon's final downfall.

Great Britain Edit

The System had mixed effects on British trade. The embargo encouraged British merchants to seek out new markets aggressively and to engage in smuggling with continental Europe. Napoleon's exclusively land-based customs enforcers could not stop British smugglers, especially as these operated with the connivance of Napoleon's chosen rulers of Spain, Westphalia and other German states. [10] [11] British exports to the Continent fell between 25% to 55% compared to pre-1806 levels. However, trade sharply increased with the rest of the world, covering much of the decline. [12] [13]

Britain, by Orders in Council, prohibited other countries (that is, its trade partners) from trading with France. The British countered the Continental system by threatening to sink any ship that did not come to a British port or chose to comply with France. This double threat created a difficult time for neutral nations like the United States. In response to this prohibition, the U.S. government adopted the Embargo Act of 1807 and eventually Macon's Bill No. 2. This embargo was designed as an economic counterattack to hurt Britain, but it proved even more damaging to American merchants. Together with the issues of the impressment of foreign seamen, and British support for Indian raids in the American west, tensions led to a declaration of war by the U.S. in the War of 1812. This war, not Napoleon's blockade, sharply reduced British trade with the United States. [14]

The British economy suffered greatly in 1810 to 1812, especially in terms of high unemployment and inflation. This led to widespread protest and violence, but the middle classes and upper classes strongly supported the government, which used the army to suppress the working class unrest, especially the Luddite movement. [15] [16]

France and Continental Europe Edit

The episode seriously hurt France itself. Shipbuilding, and its trades such as rope-making, declined, as did many other industries that relied on overseas markets, such as the linen industries. With few exports and lost profits, many industries were closed down. Southern France, especially the port cities of Marseille and Bordeaux, as well as the city of La Rochelle, suffered from the reduction in trade. Moreover, the prices of staple foods rose in most of continental Europe. [17]

Napoleon's St. Cloud Decree in July 1810 opened the southwest of France and the Spanish frontier to limited British trade, and reopened French trade to the United States. It was an admission that his blockade had hurt his own economy more than the British. It had also failed to reduce British financial support for its allies. [18] The industrialized north and east of France, and Wallonia (the south of today's Belgium) saw significantly increased profits due to the lack of competition from British goods (particularly textiles, which were produced much more cheaply in Britain).

In Italy, the agricultural sector flourished [19] but the Dutch economy, predicated on trade, suffered greatly as a result of the embargo. Napoleon's economic warfare was much to the chagrin of his own brother, King Louis I of Holland.

Scandinavia and the Baltic region Edit

Britain's first response to the Continental system was to launch a major naval attack on the weakest link in Napoleon's coalition, Denmark. Although ostensibly neutral, Denmark was under heavy French and Russian pressure to pledge its fleet to Napoleon. London could not take the chance of ignoring the Danish threat. In the Second Battle of Copenhagen in August–September 1807, the Royal Navy bombarded Copenhagen, seized the Danish fleet, and assured control of the sea lanes in the North Sea and Baltic Sea for the British merchant fleet. [20] [21] The island of Heligoland off the west coast of Denmark was occupied in September 1807. This base made it easier for Britain to control trade to North Sea ports and to facilitate smuggling. The attacks against Copenhagen and Heligoland started the Gunboat War against Denmark, which lasted until 1814.

Sweden, Britain's ally in the Third Coalition, refused to comply with French demands and was attacked by Russia in February and by Denmark/Norway in March 1808. At the same time, a French force threatened to invade southern Sweden, but the plan was stopped as the Royal Navy controlled the Danish straits. The Royal Navy set up a base outside the port of Gothenburg in 1808 to simplify operations into the Baltic Sea. The Baltic campaign was under the command of admiral James Saumarez. In November 1810 France demanded that Sweden should declare war upon Great Britain and stop all trade. The result was a phoney war between Sweden and Britain. A second navy base was set up on the island of Hanö in the south of Sweden in 1810. These two bases were used to support convoys from Britain to Gothenburg, then through the Danish straits to Hanö. From Hanö the goods were smuggled to the many ports around the Baltic Sea. To further support the convoys, the small Danish island of Anholt was occupied in May 1809. A lighthouse on the island simplified navigation through the Danish straits.

Russia also chafed under the embargo, and in 1810 reopened trade with Britain. Russia's withdrawal from the system was a motivating factor behind Napoleon's decision to invade Russia in 1812, which proved the turning point of the war.

Portugal and Spain Edit

Portugal openly refused to join the Continental System. In 1793, Portugal signed a treaty of mutual assistance with Britain. [22] After the Treaty of Tilsit of July 1807, Napoleon attempted to capture the Portuguese Fleet and the House of Braganza, and to occupy the Portuguese ports. He failed, as Queen Maria I of Portugal took her fleet and transferred the Portuguese court to Brazil with a Royal Navy escort. The Portuguese population rose in revolt against the French invaders, with the help of the British Army under Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon intervened, and the Peninsular War began in 1808. Napoleon also forced the Spanish royal family to resign their throne in favor of Napoleon's brother, Joseph.


Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 on the island of Corsica. Through his military exploits and his ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I, Emperor of the French.

The Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) were a series of wars between France and shifting alliances between other European powers. For a brief time, they made France the most influential power in Europe, as the conflicts cemented many of the fundamental changes emerging from the French Revolution not only in France but also in adjacent lands in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The social, political, and legal impacts spread even further in Europe and Spanish America.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica in 1769 and was trained in France as an engineer and artilleryman. In the army he rose from the rank of second lieutenant in the artillery to general in command of the French army in Italy (1796-97) and in Egypt (1798-99). Returning to France, he helped seize power to become First Consul (there were 2 others). In 1804, he crowned himself Emperor of the French. War with Britain resumed in 1803, soon involving other European countries as well, and this struggle lasted until 1814. Napoleon abdicated in April and was exiled to Elba, but returned to France in February 1815. His reign and the Napoleonic Wars ended with his defeat at Waterloo 18 June 1815.

Napoleonic Wars in Europe

As a military leader Napoleon combined energy, imagination, and speed of movement to repeatedly defeat Austrian, Prussian and Russian armies. He forced the rulers of those countries and others to sign treaties recognizing his conquests and supporting his economic warfare against Britain. The British, while financing continental allies with subsidies, relied on their navy for protection against invasion and to wage war by seizing French overseas territories, blockading European ports controlled by Napoleon, and maintaining forces in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).

Napoleon showed his intention to dominate all Europe by creating puppet states, making his brothers kings in neighbouring countries with himself King of Italy. In 1807 he invaded Portugal (ally of Britain) and used his troops in Spain to force its king to abdicate so he could replace him with his brother Joseph. The result was a sudden and widespread uprising of the people against French occupation, which led to bitter guerrilla warfare that tied down thousands of French troops in the Iberian Peninsula. This Peninsular War had consequences throughout the wide overseas empires of Portugal and Spain.

For many years the British blockade cut off the Spanish-American colonies from their European master and made them dependent on English trade for European goods, which contributed to their successful struggle for independence. Faced with the mounting financial pressures of incessant warfare, in 1803 Napoleon sold to the US the Louisiana Territory, the entire western drainage basin of the Mississippi River, precluding a French West in that part of North America. The acquisition doubled the size of the US land mass, and in many areas displaced Native Americans or destroyed their way of life.

Britain gained mastery of the seas from Nelson's naval victory at Trafalgar 21 Oct 1805. In response to the Royal Navy's blockade, Napoleon's Berlin and Milan Decrees (1806-07) closed the ports of western Europe to British ships as well as to neutral ones if they had previously been to a British port, beginning what was called the Continental System. Britain responded with a series of orders-in-council (1807) that imposed severe restrictions on neutral vessels seeking to trade with continental ports. Many of the neutral ships were American and the result was increasing Anglo-American antagonism that led to the American declaration of war on Britain on 18 June 1812 (WAR OF 1812).

Effect of the Napoleonic Wars on Canada

The European wars greatly stimulated the export economy of the Canadas (Upper and Lower) and the Maritimes, for they provided a secure source of timber needed in enormous quantities by Britain's navy, the American Revolution having left the supply from the former Atlantic colonies uncertain and the Continental System having closed the Baltic. The result was development of the Canadian forest industry, especially in New Brunswick, accompanied by some growth of the trade in grain. The Canadian colonies also benefited from unstoppable smuggling during the war with the US, for Americans brought supplies across the border to sell and sought to buy British goods.

After Napoleon's exile to St Helena, a legend of his glorious reign and military genius became stamped upon this period of history. Portraits of him in uniform with right hand tucked into his vest, a portraiture convention of the time, are instantly recognizable.


Napoleonic Wars

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly owing to the application of modern mass conscription. French power rose quickly as Napoleon's armies conquered much of Europe but collapsed rapidly after France's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon's empire ultimately suffered complete military defeat resulting in the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France.

The wars resulted in the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and sowed the seeds of nascent nationalism in Germany and Italy that would lead to the two nations' respective consolidations later in the century. Meanwhile, the global Spanish Empire began to unravel as French occupation of Spain weakened Spain's hold over its colonies, providing an opening for nationalist revolutions in Spanish America. As a direct result of the Napoleonic wars, the British Empire became the foremost world power for the next century, thus beginning Pax Britannica.

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. An early candidate is 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France with the coup of 18 Brumaire. 18 May 1803 is the most commonly used date, as this was when a renewed declaration of war between Britain and France (resulting from the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens), ended the only period of general peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814. The Napoleonic Wars ended following Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and the Second Treaty of Paris.

An article giving some insight on the aftermath of battles during this period: http://shannonselin.com/2016/07/napoleonic-battlefield-cleanup/

  • William Pitt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Pitt_the_Younger
  • Duke of Wellington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington
  • Horatio Nelson † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatio_Nelson,_1st_Viscount_Nelson
  • John Moore † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moore_(British_soldier)
  • Francis II http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor
  • Archduke Charles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archduke_Charles,_Duke_of_Teschen
  • Prince von Schwarzenberg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Philipp,_Prince_of_Schwarzenberg
  • Archduke John http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archduke_John_of_Austria
  • Alexander I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_I_of_Russia
  • Mikhail Kutuzov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Kutuzov
  • Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Andreas_Barclay_de_Tolly
  • Count Bennigsen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levin_August,_Count_von_Bennigsen
  • Pyotr Bagration † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyotr_Bagration
  • Frederick William III http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_William_III_of_Prussia
  • Gebhard von Bl࿌her http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebhard_Leberecht_von_Bl%C3%BCcher
  • Duke of Brunswick † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_William_Ferdinand,_Duke_of_Bru.
  • Prince of Hohenlohe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Louis,_Prince_of_Hohenlohe-I.
  • Ferdinand VII http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_VII_of_Spain
  • Miguel de Álava http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_%C3%81lava
  • Prince John http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_VI_of_Portugal
  • William Beresford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Beresford,_1st_Viscount_Beresford
  • Miguel Pereira Forjaz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Pereira_Forjaz
  • William, Prince of Orange http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_II_of_the_Netherlands
  • Ferdinand IV http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_IV_of_Naples
  • Gustav IV Adolf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_IV_Adolf_of_Sweden
  • Prince Charles John[o] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_XIV_John_of_Sweden
  • Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_William,_Duke_of_Brunswick-W.
  • Louis XVIII http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XVIII
  • Petar I Petrović-Njegoš http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petar_I_Petrovi%C4%87-Njego%C5%A1
  • Fath Ali Shah Qajar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fath_Ali_Shah_Qajar
  • Abbas Mirza http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbas_Mirza
  • Napoleon I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_I
  • Louis Alexandre Berthier http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Alexandre_Berthier
  • Joachim Murat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joachim_Murat
  • Louis Nicolas Davout
  • Jean Lannes † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Lannes
  • André Masséna
  • Michel Ney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Ney
  • Jean-de-Dieu Soult
  • Jean-Baptiste Bessières †
  • and other Marshals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshal_of_the_Empire
  • Louis Thomas Villaret de Joyeuse
  • Joseph I[p] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bonaparte
  • Louis I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Bonaparte
  • Prince Poniatowski † http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zef_Antoni_Poniatowski
  • Prince Eugène http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%C3%A8ne_de_Beauharnais
  • Jerome Napoleon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A9r%C3%B4me_Bonaparte
  • Maximilian I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_I_Joseph_of_Bavaria
  • Frederick Augustus I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Augustus_I_of_Saxony
  • Frederick I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_I_of_W%C3%BCrttemberg
  • Frederick VI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_VI_of_Denmark
  • Prince Christian August of Augustenburg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_August,_Crown_Prince_of_Sweden
  • Selim III
  • Mahmud II
  • Muhammad Ali Pasha
  • Fath Ali Shah Qajar
  • Abbas Mirza
Background 1789�

The French Revolution of 1789 had a significant impact throughout Europe, which only increased with the arrest of King Louis XVI of France in 1792 and his execution in January 1793 for "crimes of tyranny" against the French people. The first attempt to crush the French Republic came in 1793 when Austria, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples, Prussia, Spain and the Kingdom of Great Britain formed the First Coalition. French measures, including general conscription (levພ en masse), military reform, and total war, contributed to the defeat of the First Coalition, despite the civil war occurring in France. The war ended when General Napoleon Bonaparte forced the Austrians to accept his terms in the Treaty of Campo Formio. Only Great Britain remained diplomatically opposed to the French Republic.

The Second Coalition was formed in 1798 by Austria, Great Britain, the Kingdom of Naples, the Ottoman Empire, Papal States, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and other states. During the War of the Second Coalition, the French Republic suffered from corruption and internal division under the Directory. France also lacked funds, and no longer had the services of Lazare Carnot, the war minister who had guided it to successive victories following extensive reforms during the early 1790s. Bonaparte, the main architect of victory in the last years of the First Coalition, had gone to campaign in Egypt. Missing two of its most important military figures from the previous conflict, the Republic suffered successive defeats against revitalized enemies whom British financial support brought back into the war.

Bonaparte returned from Egypt to France on 23 August 1799, and seized control of the French government on 9 November 1799 in the coup of 18 Brumaire, replacing the Directory with the Consulate. He reorganized the French military and created a reserve army positioned to support campaigns either on the Rhine or in Italy. On all fronts, French advances caught the Austrians off guard and knocked Russia out of the war. In Italy, Bonaparte won a notable victory against the Austrians at Marengo in 1800, but the decisive win came on the Rhine at Hohenlinden later that year. The defeated Austrians left the conflict after the Treaty of Lunéville (9 February 1801), forcing Britain to sign the "peace of Amiens" with France. Thus the Second Coalition ended in another French triumph. However, the United Kingdom remained an important influence on the continental powers in encouraging their hostility towards France. London had brought the Second Coalition together through subsidies, and Bonaparte realized that without either defeating the British or signing a treaty with them he could not achieve complete peace.

Start date and nomenclature

No consensus exists as to when the French Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars began. Possible dates include 9 November 1799, when Bonaparte seized power in France 18 May 1803, when Britain and France ended the only period of peace in Europe between 1792 and 1814, and 2 December 1804, when Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor.

Sources in the UK occasionally refer to the nearly continuous period of warfare from 1792 to 1815 as the Great French War, or as the final phase of the Anglo-French Second Hundred Years' War, spanning the period 1689 to 1815.

In France, the Napoleonic Wars are generally associated with the French Revolutionary Wars : Les guerres de la Révolution et de l'Empire.

War between Britain and France, 1803�.

Unlike its many coalition partners, Britain remained at war throughout the period of the Napoleonic Wars. Protected by naval supremacy (in the words of Admiral Jervis to the House of Lords "I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea"), the United Kingdom maintained low-intensity land warfare on a global scale for over a decade. The British government paid out large sums of money to other European states, so that they would remain at war with France. These bribes are colloquially known as the Golden Cavalry of St George. The British Army provided long-term support to the Spanish rebellion in the Peninsular War of 1808�, assisted by Spanish guerilla ('little war') tactics. Anglo-Portuguese forces under Arthur Wellesley campaigned successfully against the French armies, eventually driving them from Spain and invading southern France. By 1815, the British Army would play the central role in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

In 1802, Napoleon victoriously brought to an end the War of the Second Coalition, with only Great Britain remaining formally at war. Isolated, Britain reluctantly agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens (25 March 1802). Bonaparte tried to exploit the brief peace at sea to restore French colonial rule in Haiti. The expedition, though initially successful, would soon turn to a disaster, with the French commander and Bonaparte’s brother-in-law, Charles Leclerc, dying of yellow fever and almost his entire force destroyed by the disease combined with the fierce attacks by the rebels.

Great Britain didn't respect the terms of the Treaty of Amiens by occupying Malta and gathered a Third Coalition against France. The French intervention in the Swiss civil strife, a breach of the Treaty of Lunéville (1801) between France and the Holy Roman Empire which guaranteed Swiss sovereignty, was taken as a pretext by the United Kingdom to break the peace of Amiens and declared war on France on 18 May 1803. The Coalition's war aims changed over the course of the conflict: a general desire to restore the French monarchy became closely linked to the struggle to stop Bonaparte.

Previous wars had seen France lose most of its colonial empire. By the beginning of the 19th century Haiti had won its independence, the Louisiana Territory had been sold to the United States of America, and British naval superiority threatened any potential for France to establish colonies outside Europe. Beyond minor naval actions against British imperial interests, the Napoleonic Wars were much less global in scope than preceding conflicts such as Seven Years' War[citation needed] which historians would term a "world war".

In response to the naval blockade of the French coasts enacted by the British government on the 16 May 1806, Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree on the 21 November 1806, which brought into effect the Continental System.[5] This policy aimed to eliminate the threat from Britain by closing French-controlled territory to its trade. Britain maintained a standing army of just 220,000 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, whereas France's strength peaked at over 2,500,000, as well as several hundred thousand national guardsmen that Napoleon could draft into the military if necessary however, British subsidies paid for a large proportion of the soldiers deployed by other coalition powers, peaking at about 450,000 in 1813.[6] The Royal Navy effectively disrupted France's extra-continental trade — both by seizing and threatening French shipping and by seizing French colonial possessions — but could do nothing about France's trade with the major continental economies and posed little threat to French territory in Europe. Also, France's population and agricultural capacity far outstripped that of Britain. However, Britain had the greatest industrial capacity in Europe, and its mastery of the seas allowed it to build up considerable economic strength through trade. That sufficed to ensure that France could never consolidate its control over Europe in peace. However, many in the French government believed that cutting Britain off from the Continent would end its economic influence over Europe and isolate it.

War of the Third Coalition 1805

As Britain was gathering the Third Coalition against France, Napoleon planned an invasion of Great Britain, and massed 180,000 effectives at Boulogne. However, in order to mount his invasion, he needed to achieve naval superiority—or at least to pull the British fleet away from the English Channel. A complex plan to distract the British by threatening their possessions in the West Indies failed when a Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve turned back after an indecisive action off Cape Finisterre on 22 July 1805. The Royal Navy blockaded Villeneuve in Cฝiz until he left for Naples on 19 October the British squadron subsequently caught and defeated his fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October (the British commander, Lord Nelson, died in the battle). Napoleon would never again have the opportunity to challenge the British at sea. By this time, however, Napoleon had already all but abandoned plans to invade Britain, and had again turned his attention to enemies on the Continent. The French army left Boulogne and moved towards Austria.

In April 1805, the United Kingdom and Russia signed a treaty with the aim of removing the French from the Batavian Republic (roughly present-day Netherlands) and the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland). Austria joined the alliance after the annexation of Genoa and the proclamation of Napoleon as King of Italy on 17 March 1805. Sweden, which had already agreed to lease Swedish Pomerania as a military base for British troops against France, formally entered the coalition on 9 August.

The Austrians began the war by invading Bavaria with an army of about 70,000 under Karl Mack von Leiberich, and the French army marched out from Boulogne in late July 1805 to confront them. At Ulm (25 September – 20 October) Napoleon surrounded Mack's army, forcing its surrender without significant losses. With the main Austrian army north of the Alps defeated (another army under Archduke Charles manoeuvred inconclusively against André Masséna's French army in Italy), Napoleon occupied Vienna. Far from his supply lines, he faced a larger Austro-Russian army under the command of Mikhail Kutuzov, with the Emperor Alexander I of Russia personally present. On 2 December, Napoleon crushed the joint Austro-Russian army in Moravia at Austerlitz (usually considered his greatest victory). He inflicted a total of 25,000 casualties on a numerically superior enemy army while sustaining fewer than 7,000 in his own force.

Austria signed the Treaty of Pressburg (26 December 1805) and left the Coalition. The Treaty required the Austrians to give up Venetia to the French-dominated Kingdom of Italy and the Tyrol to Bavaria.

With the withdrawal of Austria from the war, stalemate ensued. Napoleon's army had a record of continuous unbroken victories on land, but the full force of the Russian army had not yet come into play.

War of the Fourth Coalition 1806�

Within months of the collapse of the Third Coalition, the Fourth Coalition (1806�) against France was formed by Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In July 1806, Napoleon formed the Confederation of the Rhine out of the many tiny German states which constituted the Rhineland and most other western parts of Germany. He amalgamated many of the smaller states into larger electorates, duchies and kingdoms to make the governance of non-Prussian Germany smoother. Napoleon elevated the rulers of the two largest Confederation states, Saxony and Bavaria, to the status of kings.

In August 1806, the Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm III decided to go to war independently of any other great power except the distant Russia. The Russian army, an ally of Prussia, was still far away when Prussia declared war. In September, Napoleon unleashed all the French forces east of the Rhine. Napoleon himself defeated a Prussian army at Jena (14 October 1806), and Davout defeated another at Auerstํt on the same day. Some 160,000 French soldiers (increasing in number as the campaign went on) attacked Prussia, moving with such speed that they destroyed the entire Prussian army as an effective military force. Out of 250,000 troops the Prussians sustained 25,000 casualties, lost a further 150,000 prisoners 4,000 artillery pieces, and over 100,000 muskets. At Jena, Napoleon had fought only a detachment of the Prussian force. Auerstํt involved a single French corps defeating the bulk of the Prussian army. Napoleon entered Berlin on 27 October 1806. He visited the tomb of Frederick the Great and instructed his marshals to remove their hats there, saying, "If he were alive we wouldn't be here today". In total, Napoleon had taken only 19 days from beginning his attack on Prussia until knocking it out of the war with the capture of Berlin and the destruction of its principal armies at Jena and Auerstํt. By contrast, Prussia had fought for three years in the War of the First Coalition with little achievement.

In the next stage of the war the French drove Russian forces out of Poland and instituted a new state, the Duchy of Warsaw. Then Napoleon turned north to confront the remainder of the Russian army and to try to capture the temporary Prussian capital at Königsberg. A tactical draw at Eylau (7𠄸 February 1807) forced the Russians to withdraw further north. Napoleon then routed the Russian army at Friedland (14 June 1807). Following this defeat, Alexander had to make peace with Napoleon at Tilsit (7 July 1807). By September, Marshal Brune completed the occupation of Swedish Pomerania, allowing the Swedish army, however, to withdraw with all its munitions of war.

During 1807, Britain attacked Denmark and captured its fleet. The large Danish fleet could have greatly aided the French by replacing many of the ships France had lost at Trafalgar in 1805. The British attack helped bring Denmark into the war on the side of France.

At the Congress of Erfurt (September–October 1808), Napoleon and Alexander agreed that Russia should force Sweden to join the Continental System, which led to the Finnish War of 1808� and to the division of Sweden into two parts separated by the Gulf of Bothnia. The eastern part became the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland.

War of the Fifth Coalition 1809

The Fifth Coalition (1809) of the United Kingdom and Austria against France formed as the UK engaged in the Peninsular War against France.

Again the UK stood alone, and the sea became the major theatre of war against Napoleon's allies. During the time of the Fifth Coalition, the Royal Navy won a succession of victories in the French colonies.

On land, the Fifth Coalition attempted few extensive military endeavours. One, the Walcheren Expedition of 1809, involved a dual effort by the British Army and the Royal Navy to relieve Austrian forces under intense French pressure. It ended in disaster after the Army commander, John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, failed to capture the objective, the naval base of French-controlled Antwerp. For the most part of the years of the Fifth Coalition, British military operations on land apart from in the Iberian Peninsula remained restricted to hit-and-run operations executed by the Royal Navy, which dominated the sea after having beaten down almost all substantial naval opposition from France and its allies and blockading what remained of France's naval forces in heavily fortified French-controlled ports. These rapid-attack operations were aimed mostly at destroying blockaded French naval and mercantile shipping and the disruption of French supplies, communications, and military units stationed near the coasts. Often, when British allies attempted military actions within several dozen miles or so of the sea, the Royal Navy would arrive and would land troops and supplies and aid the Coalition's land forces in a concerted operation. Royal Navy ships even provided artillery support against French units when fighting strayed near enough to the coastline. However, the ability and quality of the land forces governed these operations. For example, when operating with inexperienced guerrilla forces in Spain, the Royal Navy sometimes failed to achieve its objectives simply because of the lack of manpower that the Navy's guerrilla allies had promised to supply.

Economic warfare also continued: the French Continental System against the British naval blockade of French-controlled territory. Due to military shortages and lack of organisation in French territory, many breaches of the Continental System occurred as French-dominated states engaged in illicit (though often tolerated) trade with British smugglers. Both sides entered additional conflicts in attempts to enforce their blockade the British fought the United States in the War of 1812 (1812�), and the French engaged in the Peninsular War (1808�). The Iberian conflict began when Portugal continued trade with the UK despite French restrictions. When Spain failed to maintain the continental system, the uneasy Spanish alliance with France ended in all but name. French troops gradually encroached on Spanish territory until they occupied Madrid, and installed a client monarchy. This provoked an explosion of popular rebellions across Spain. Heavy British involvement soon followed.

Austria, previously an ally of France, took the opportunity to attempt to restore its imperial territories in Germany as held prior to Austerlitz. Austria achieved a number of initial victories against the thinly spread army of Marshal Berthier. Napoleon had left Berthier with only 170,000 men to defend France's entire eastern frontier (in the 1790s, 800,000 men had carried out the same task, but holding a much shorter front).

Napoleon had enjoyed easy success in Spain, retaking Madrid, defeating the Spanish and consequently forcing a withdrawal of the heavily out-numbered British army from the Iberian Peninsula (Battle of Corunna, 16 January 1809). But when he left, the guerrilla war against his forces in the countryside continued to tie down great numbers of troops. Austria's attack prevented Napoleon from successfully wrapping up operations against British forces by necessitating his departure for Austria, and he never returned to the Peninsular theatre. In his absence the French situation in Spain deteriorated, and then became dire when Sir Arthur Wellesley arrived to take charge of British-Portuguese forces.

The Austrians drove into the Duchy of Warsaw, but suffered defeat at the Battle of Raszyn on 19 April 1809. The Polish army captured West Galicia following its earlier success.

Napoleon assumed personal command in the east and bolstered the army there for his counter-attack on Austria. After a few small battles, the well-run campaign forced the Austrians to withdraw from Bavaria, and Napoleon advanced into Austria. His hurried attempt to cross the Danube resulted in the massive Battle of Aspern-Essling (22 May 1809) — Napoleon's first significant tactical defeat. But the Austrian commander, Archduke Charles, failed to follow up on his indecisive victory, allowing Napoleon to prepare and seize Vienna in early July. He defeated the Austrians at Wagram, on 5𠄶 July. (It was during the middle of that battle that Marshal Bernadotte was stripped of his command after retreating contrary to Napoleon's orders. Shortly thereafter, Bernadotte took up the offer from Sweden to fill the vacant position of Crown Prince there. Later he would actively participate in wars against his former Emperor.)

The War of the Fifth Coalition ended with the Treaty of Schönbrunn (14 October 1809). In the east, only the Tyrolese rebels led by Andreas Hofer continued to fight the French-Bavarian army until finally defeated in November 1809, while in the west the Peninsular War continued.

In 1810, the French Empire reached its greatest extent. On the continent, the British and Portuguese remained restricted to the area around Lisbon (behind their impregnable lines of Torres Vedras) and to besieged Cadiz. Napoleon married Marie-Louise, an Austrian Archduchess, with the aim of ensuring a more stable alliance with Austria and of providing the Emperor with an heir (something his first wife, Josephine, had failed to do). As well as the French Empire, Napoleon controlled the Swiss Confederation, the Confederation of the Rhine, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Kingdom of Italy. Territories allied with the French included:

  • the Kingdom of Spain (under Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother)
  • the Kingdom of Westphalia (Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother)
  • the Kingdom of Naples (under Joachim Murat, husband of Napoleon's sister Caroline)
  • the Principality of Lucca and Piombino (under Elisa Bonaparte (Napoleon's sister) and her husband Felice Baciocchi)
  • and Napoleon's former enemies, Prussia and Austria.

The Invasion of Russia 1812

The Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 resulted in the Anglo-Russian War (1807�). Emperor Alexander I declared war on the United Kingdom after the British attack on Denmark in September 1807. British men-of-war supported the Swedish fleet during the Finnish War and had victories over the Russians in the Gulf of Finland in July 1808 and August 1809. However, the success of the Russian army on the land forced Sweden to sign peace treaties with Russia in 1809 and with France in 1810 and to join the Continental Blockade against Britain. But Franco-Russian relations became progressively worse after 1810, and the Russian war with the UK effectively ended. In April 1812, Britain, Russia and Sweden signed secret agreements directed against Napoleon.

In 1812, at the height of his power, Napoleon invaded Russia with a pan-European Grande Armພ, consisting of 650,000 men (270,000 Frenchmen and many soldiers of allies or subject areas). He aimed to compel Emperor Alexander I to remain in the Continental System and to remove the imminent threat of a Russian invasion of Poland. The French forces crossed the Niemen River on 23 June 1812. Russia proclaimed a Patriotic War, while Napoleon proclaimed a Second Polish war. The Poles supplied almost 100,000 men for the invasion-force, but against their expectations, Napoleon avoided any concessions to Poland, having in mind further negotiations with Russia.

The Grande Armພ marched through Russia, winning a number of relatively minor engagements and the major Battle of Smolensk on 16� August. However, in the same days, a part of the French Army led by Marshal Nicolas Oudinot was stopped in the Battle of Polotsk by the right wing of the Russian Army, under command of General Peter Wittgenstein. This prevented the French march on the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg the fate of the invasion was to be decided in Moscow, where Napoleon himself led his forces.

Russians used scorched-earth tactics, and harried the Grande Armພ with light Cossack cavalry. The Grande Armພ did not adjust its operational methods in response. This refusal led to most of the losses of the main column of the Grande Armພ, which in one case amounted to 95,000 men, including deserters, in a single week.

At the same time, the main Russian army retreated for almost three months. This constant retreat led to the unpopularity of Field Marshal Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly and a veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, was made the new Commander-in-Chief by Tsar Alexander I. Finally, the two armies engaged in the Battle of Borodino on 7 September, in the vicinity of Moscow. The battle was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 men and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties. The French captured the main positions on the battlefield, but failed to destroy the Russian army logistical difficulties meant that French losses were irreplaceable, unlike Russian ones.

Napoleon entered Moscow on 14 September, after the Russian Army retreated yet again. But by then, the Russians had largely evacuated the city and even released criminals from the prisons to inconvenience the French furthermore, the governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered the city to be burnt. Alexander I refused to capitulate, and the peace talks, attempted by Napoleon, failed. In October, with no sign of clear victory in sight, Napoleon began the disastrous Great Retreat from Moscow.

At the Battle of Maloyaroslavets the French tried to reach Kaluga, where they could find food and forage supplies. But the replenished Russian Army blocked the road, and Napoleon was forced to retreat the same way he had come to Moscow, through the heavily ravaged areas along the Smolensk road. In the following weeks, the Grande Armພ was dealt a catastrophic blow by the onset of the Russian Winter, the lack of supplies and constant guerilla warfare by Russian peasants and irregular troops.

When the remnants of the Napoleon's army crossed the Berezina River in November, only 27,000 fit soldiers remained, with some 380,000 men dead or missing and 100,000 captured.[16] Napoleon then left his men and returned to Paris, to prepare the defence against the advancing Russians, and the campaign effectively ended on 14 December 1812, when the last enemy troops left Russia. The Russians had lost around 210,000 men, but with their shorter supply lines, they soon replenished their armies.

War of the Sixth Coalition 1812�

Seeing an opportunity in Napoleon's historic defeat, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, and a number of German states re-entered the war. Napoleon vowed that he would create a new army as large as the one he had sent into Russia, and quickly built up his forces in the east from 30,000 to 130,000 and eventually to 400,000. Napoleon inflicted 40,000 casualties on the Allies at Lützen (2 May 1813) and Bautzen (20� May 1813). Both battles involved total forces of over 250,000, making them some of the largest conflicts of the wars so far.

Meanwhile, in the Peninsular War, Arthur Wellesley renewed the Anglo-Portuguese advance into Spain just after New Year in 1812, besieging and capturing the fortified towns of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and in the Battle of Salamanca (which was a damaging defeat to the French). As the French regrouped, the Anglo–Portuguese entered Madrid and advanced towards Burgos, before retreating all the way to Portugal when renewed French concentrations threatened to trap them. As a consequence of the Salamanca campaign, the French were forced to end their long siege of Cadiz and to permanently evacuate the provinces of Andalusia and Asturias.

In a strategic move, Wellesley planned to move his supply base from Lisbon to Santander. The Anglo–Portuguese forces swept northwards in late May and seized Burgos. On 21 June, at Vitoria, the combined Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish armies won against Joseph Bonaparte, finally breaking French power in Spain. The French had to retreat out of the Iberian peninsula, over the Pyrenees.

The belligerents declared an armistice from 4 June 1813 (continuing until 13 August) during which time both sides attempted to recover from the loss of approximately a quarter of a million total men in the preceding two months. During this time Coalition negotiations finally brought Austria out in open opposition to France. Two principal Austrian armies took the field, adding an additional 300,000 men to the Coalition armies in Germany. In total the Allies now had around 800,000 front-line soldiers in the German theatre, with a strategic reserve of 350,000 formed to support the frontline operations.

Napoleon succeeded in bringing the total imperial forces in the region to around 650,000𠅊lthough only 250,000 came under his direct command, with another 120,000 under Nicolas Charles Oudinot and 30,000 under Davout. The remainder of imperial forces came mostly from the Confederation of the Rhine, especially Saxony and Bavaria. In addition, to the south, Murat's Kingdom of Naples and Eugène de Beauharnais's Kingdom of Italy had a total of 100,000 armed men. In Spain, another 150,000 to 200,000 French troops steadily retreated before Anglo–Portuguese forces numbering around 100,000. Thus in total, around 900,000 Frenchmen in all theatres faced around 1,800,000 Coalition soldiers (including the strategic reserve under formation in Germany). The gross figures may mislead slightly, as most of the German troops fighting on the side of the French fought at best unreliably and stood on the verge of defecting to the Allies. One can reasonably say that Napoleon could count on no more than 450,000 men in Germany—which left him outnumbered about four to one.

Following the end of the armistice, Napoleon seemed to have regained the initiative at Dresden (August 1813), where he once again defeated a numerically superior Coalition army and inflicted enormous casualties, while sustaining relatively few. However, the failures of his marshals and a slow resumption of the offensive on his part cost him any advantage that this victory might have secured. At the Battle of Leipzig in Saxony (16� October 1813), also called the "Battle of the Nations", 191,000 French fought more than 300,000 Allies, and the defeated French had to retreat into France. Napoleon then fought a series of battles, including the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube, in France itself, but the overwhelming numbers of the Allies steadily forced him back. His remaining ally Denmark-Norway became isolated and fell to the coalition.

The Allies entered Paris on 30 March 1814. During this time Napoleon fought his Six Days Campaign, in which he won multiple battles against the enemy forces advancing towards Paris. However, during this entire campaign he never managed to field more than 70,000 men against more than half a million Coalition soldiers. At the Treaty of Chaumont (9 March 1814), the Allies agreed to preserve the Coalition until Napoleon's total defeat.

Napoleon determined to fight on, even now, incapable of fathoming his massive fall from power. During the campaign he had issued a decree for 900,000 fresh conscripts, but only a fraction of these ever materialized, and Napoleon's schemes for victory eventually gave way to the reality of the hopeless situation. Napoleon abdicated on 6 April. However, occasional military actions continued in Italy, Spain, and Holland throughout the spring of 1814.

The victors exiled Napoleon to the island of Elba, and restored the French Bourbon monarchy in the person of Louis XVIII. They signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau (11 April 1814) and initiated the Congress of Vienna to redraw the map of Europe.

Gunboat War 1807�

Initially, Denmark-Norway declared itself neutral in the Napoleonic Wars, established a navy, and traded with both sides. But the British attacked and captured or destroyed large portions of the Dano-Norwegian fleet in the First Battle of Copenhagen (2 April 1801), and again in the Second Battle of Copenhagen (August–September 1807). This ended Dano-Norwegian neutrality, beginning an engagement in a naval guerrilla war in which small gunboats would attack larger British ships in Danish and Norwegian waters. The Gunboat War effectively ended with a British victory at the Battle of Lyngør in 1812, involving the destruction of the last large Dano-Norwegian ship—the frigate Najaden.

War of 1812

Coinciding with the War of the Sixth Coalition but not considered part of the Napoleonic Wars by most Americans, the otherwise neutral United States, owing to various transgressions (such as impressment), by the British Royal Navy, declared war on the United Kingdom and attempted to invade British North America. The war ended in the status quo ante bellum under the Treaty of Ghent, signed on 24 December 1814, though sporadic fighting continued for several months (most notably, the Battle of New Orleans). Apart from the seizing of then-Spanish Mobile by the United States, there was negligible involvement from other participants of the broader Napoleonic War. Notably, a series of British raids, later called the Burning of Washington, would result in the burning of the White House, the Capitol, the Navy Yard, and other public buildings. The main effect of the War of 1812 on the wider Napoleonic Wars was to force Britain to divert troops, supplies and funds to defend Canada.

War of the Seventh Coalition 1815

See also Hundred Days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Days) and the Neapolitan War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolitan_War) between the Kingdom of Naples and the Austrian Empire.

The Seventh Coalition (1815) pitted the United Kingdom, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and a number of German states against France. The period known as the Hundred Days began after Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed at Cannes (1 March 1815). Travelling to Paris, picking up support as he went, he eventually overthrew the restored Louis XVIII. The Allies rapidly gathered their armies to meet him again. Napoleon raised 280,000 men, whom he distributed among several armies. To add to the 90,000-strong standing army, he recalled well over a quarter of a million veterans from past campaigns and issued a decree for the eventual draft of around 2.5 million new men into the French army. This faced an initial Coalition force of about 700,000𠅊lthough Coalition campaign-plans provided for one million front-line soldiers, supported by around 200,000 garrison, logistics and other auxiliary personnel. The Coalition intended this force to have overwhelming numbers against the numerically inferior imperial French army—which in fact never came close to reaching Napoleon's goal of more than 2.5 million under arms.

Napoleon took about 124,000 men of the Army of the North on a pre-emptive strike against the Allies in Belgium. He intended to attack the Coalition armies before they combined, in hope of driving the British into the sea and the Prussians out of the war. His march to the frontier achieved the surprise he had planned, catching the Anglo-Dutch Army in a dispersed arrangement. The Prussians had been more wary, concentrating 3/4 of their Army in and around Ligny. The Prussians forced the Armພ du Nord to fight all the day of the 15th to reach Ligny in a delaying action by the Prussian 1st Corps. He forced Prussia to fight at Ligny on 16 June 1815, and the defeated Prussians retreated in some disorder. On the same day, the left wing of the Armພ du Nord, under the command of Marshal Michel Ney, succeeded in stopping any of Wellington's forces going to aid Bl࿌her's Prussians by fighting a blocking action at Quatre Bras. Ney failed to clear the cross-roads and Wellington reinforced the position. But with the Prussian retreat, Wellington too had to retreat. He fell back to a previously reconnoitred position on an escarpment at Mont St Jean, a few miles south of the village of Waterloo.

Napoleon took the reserve of the Army of the North, and reunited his forces with those of Ney to pursue Wellington's army, after he ordered Marshal Grouchy to take the right wing of the Army of the North and stop the Prussians re-grouping. In the first of a series of miscalculations, both Grouchy and Napoleon failed to realize that the Prussian forces were already reorganized and were assembling at the village of Wavre. In any event the French army did nothing to stop a rather leisurely retreat that took place throughout the night and into the early morning by the Prussians.[19] As the 4th, 1st, and 2nd Prussian Corps marched through the town towards the Battlefield of Waterloo the 3rd Prussian Corps took up blocking positions across the river, and although Grouchy engaged and defeated the Prussian rearguard under the command of Lt-Gen von Thielmann in the Battle of Wavre (18� June) it was 12 hours too late. In the end, 17,000 Prussians had kept 33,000 badly needed French reinforcements off the field.

Napoleon delayed the start of fighting at the Battle of Waterloo on the morning of 18 June for several hours while he waited for the ground to dry after the previous night's rain. By late afternoon, the French army had not succeeded in driving Wellington's forces from the escarpment on which they stood. When the Prussians arrived and attacked the French right flank in ever-increasing numbers, Napoleon's strategy of keeping the Coalition armies divided had failed and a combined Coalition general advance drove his army from the field in confusion.

Grouchy organized a successful and well-ordered retreat towards Paris, where Marshal Davout had 117,000 men ready to turn back the 116,000 men of Bl࿌her and Wellington. Militarily, it appeared quite possible that the French could defeat Wellington and Bl࿌her, but politics proved the source of the Emperor's downfall. In any event Davout was defeated at Issy and negotiations for surrender had begun.

On arriving at Paris three days after Waterloo, Napoleon still clung to the hope of a concerted national resistance but the temper of the legislative chambers, and of the public generally, did not favour his view. The politicians forced Napoleon to abdicate again on 22 June 1815. Despite the Emperor’s abdication, irregular warfare continued along the eastern borders and on the outskirts of Paris until the signing of a cease-fire on 4 July. On 15 July, Napoleon surrendered himself to the British squadron at Rochefort. The Allies exiled him to the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where he died on 5 May 1821.

Meanwhile in Italy, Joachim Murat, whom the Allies had allowed to remain King of Naples after Napoleon's initial defeat, once again allied with his brother-in-law, triggering the Neapolitan War (March to May, 1815). Hoping to find support among Italian nationalists fearing the increasing influence of the Habsburgs in Italy, Murat issued the Rimini Proclamation inciting them to war. But the proclamation failed and the Austrians soon crushed Murat at the Battle of Tolentino (2 May to 3 May 1815), forcing him to flee. The Bourbons returned to the throne of Naples on 20 May 1815. Murat tried to regain his throne, but after that failed, a firing squad executed him on 13 October 1815.

Political effects

The Napoleonic Wars brought great changes both to Europe and the Americas. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule𠅊 feat that had not been accomplished since the days of the Roman Empire (although Charlemagne had nearly done so around 800 CE). However, France's constant warfare with the combined forces of the other major powers of Europe for over two decades finally took its toll. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France no longer held the role of the dominant power in Europe, as it had since the times of Louis XIV. In its place, the United Kingdom emerged as by far the most powerful country in the world and the Royal Navy gained unquestioned naval superiority across the globe. This, coupled with Britain's large and powerful industrial economy, made it perhaps the first truly global superpower and ushered in the Pax Britannica that lasted for the next 100 years.

In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire bought with it many products of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of privileges, etc. The increasing prosperity of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism, and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil-law legal systems, with clearly redacted codes compiling their basic laws𠅊n enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code. Societal legacies are showcased in the way many institutions responded to the people left destitute because of the wars, some of the oldest homeless shelters in London were a direct response to this, such as The Society for the Relief of the Homeless Poor.

During the wake of the Napoleonic period, nationalism, a relatively new movement, became increasingly significant. This would shape much of the course future European history. Its growth spelled the beginning of some states and the end of others, as the map of Europe changed dramatically in the hundred years following the Napoleonic Era. Rule by fiefdoms and aristocracy was widely replaced by national ideologies based on shared origins and culture. Importantly, Bonaparte's reign over Europe sowed the seeds for the founding of the nation-states of Germany and Italy by starting the process of consolidating city-states, kingdoms and principalities.

The Napoleonic wars also played a key role in the independence of the American colonies from their European motherlands. The conflict significantly weakened the authority and military power of the Spanish Empire, especially after the Battle of Trafalgar, which seriously hampered the contact of Spain with its American possessions. Evidence of this are the many uprisings in Spanish America after the end of the war, which eventually led to the wars of independence. In Portuguese America, Brazil experienced greater autonomy as it now served as seat of the Portuguese Empire and ascended politically to the status of Kingdom. These events also contributed to the Portuguese Liberal Revolution in 1820 and the Independence of Brazil in 1822.

Afterwards, in order to prevent another such war, Europe was divided into states according to the balance of power theory. This meant that, in theory, no European state would become strong enough to dominate Europe in the future.

Another concept emerged – that of a unified Europe. After his defeat, Napoleon deplored the fact that his dream of a free and peaceful "European association" remained unaccomplished. Such a European association would share the same principles of government, system of measurement, currency and Civil Code. Some one-and-a-half centuries later, and after another major conflagration (the Second World War), several of these ideals re-emerged in the form of the European Union.

Military legacy

The Napoleonic Wars also had a profound military impact. Until the time of Napoleon, European states employed relatively small armies, made up of both national soldiers and mercenaries. However, military innovators in the mid-18th century began to recognize the potential of an entire nation at war: a "nation in arms".

France, with one of the largest populations in Europe by the end of the 18th century (27 million, as compared to the United Kingdom's 12 million and Russia's 35 to 40 million), seemed well poised to take advantage of the levພ en masse. Because the French Revolution and Napoleon's reign witnessed the first application of the lessons of the 18th century's wars on trade and dynastic disputes, commentators often falsely assume that such ideas arose from the revolution rather than found their implementation in it.

But not all the credit for the innovations of this period go to Napoleon. Lazare Carnot played a large part in the reorganization of the French army from 1793 to 1794𠅊 time which saw previous French misfortunes reversed, with Republican armies advancing on all fronts.

The sizes of the armies involved give an obvious indication of the changes in warfare. During Europe's major pre-revolutionary war, the Seven Years' War of 1756�, few armies ever numbered more than 200,000. By contrast, the French army peaked in size in the 1790s with 1.5 million Frenchmen enlisted. In total, about 2.8 million Frenchmen fought on land and about 150,000 at sea, bringing the total for France to almost 3 million combatants.

The UK had 747,670 men[original research?] under arms between 1792 and 1815. The British Army expanded from 40,000 men in 1793 to a peak of 250,000 men in 1813.[22] Over 250,000 personnel served in the Royal Navy. In September 1812, Russia had about 904,000 enlisted men in its land forces, and between 1799 and 1815 a total of 2.1 million men served in the Russian army, with perhaps 400,000 serving from 1792 to 1799. A further 200,000 or so served in the Russian Navy from 1792 to 1815. There are no consistent statistics for other major combatants. Austria's forces peaked at about 576,000 and had little or no naval component. Apart from the UK, Austria proved the most persistent enemy of France, more than a million Austrians served in total. Prussia never had more than 320,000 men under arms at any time. Spain's armies also peaked at around 300,000 men, not including a considerable force of guerrillas. Otherwise only the United States (286,730 total combatants), the Maratha Confederation, the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Naples and the Duchy of Warsaw ever had more than 100,000 men under arms. Even small nations now had armies rivalling the size of the Great Powers' forces of past wars. However, one should bear in mind that the above numbers of soldiers come from military records and in practice the actual numbers of fighting men would fall below this level due to desertion, fraud by officers claiming non-existent soldiers' pay, death and, in some countries, deliberate exaggeration to ensure that forces met enlistment-targets. Despite this, the size of armed forces expanded at this time.

The initial stages of the Industrial Revolution had much to do with larger military forces—it became easy to mass-produce weapons and thus to equip significantly larger forces. The UK served as the largest single manufacturer of armaments in this period, supplying most of the weapons used by the Coalition powers throughout the conflicts (although using relatively few itself). France produced the second-largest total of armaments, equipping its own huge forces as well as those of the Confederation of the Rhine and other allies.

Napoleon himself showed innovative tendencies in his use of mobility to offset numerical disadvantages, as brilliantly demonstrated in the rout of the Austro-Russian forces in 1805 in the Battle of Austerlitz. The French Army reorganized the role of artillery, forming independent, mobile units, as opposed to the previous tradition of attaching artillery pieces in support of troops. Napoleon standardized cannonball sizes to ensure easier resupply and compatibility among his army's artillery pieces.

Another advance affected warfare: the semaphore system had allowed the French War-Minister, Carnot, to communicate with French forces on the frontiers throughout the 1790s. The French continued to use this system throughout the Napoleonic wars. Additionally, aerial surveillance came into use for the first time when the French used a hot-air balloon to survey Coalition positions before the Battle of Fleurus, on 26 June 1794. Advances in ordnance and rocketry also occurred in the course of the conflict.


The Napoleonic era

Napoleon ruled for 15 years, closing out the quarter-century so dominated by the French Revolution. His own ambitions were to establish a solid dynasty within France and to create a French-dominated empire in Europe. To this end he moved steadily to consolidate his personal power, proclaiming himself emperor and sketching a new aristocracy. He was almost constantly at war, with Britain his most dogged opponent but Prussia and Austria also joining successive coalitions. Until 1812, his campaigns were usually successful. Although he frequently made errors in strategy—especially in the concentration of troops and the deployment of artillery—he was a master tactician, repeatedly snatching victory from initial defeat in the major battles. Napoleonic France directly annexed territories in the Low Countries and western Germany, applying revolutionary legislation in full. Satellite kingdoms were set up in other parts of Germany and Italy, in Spain, and in Poland. Only after 1810 did Napoleon clearly overreach himself. His empire stirred enmity widely, and in conquered Spain an important guerrilla movement harassed his forces. Russia, briefly allied, turned hostile, and an 1812 invasion attempt failed miserably in the cold Russian winter. A new alliance formed among the other great powers in 1813. France fell to the invading forces of this coalition in 1814, and Napoleon was exiled. He returned dramatically, only to be defeated at Waterloo in 1815 his reign had finally ended.

Napoleon’s regime produced three major accomplishments, aside from its many military episodes. First, it confirmed many revolutionary changes within France itself. Napoleon was a dictator, maintaining only a sham parliament and rigorously policing press and assembly. Though some key liberal principles were in fact ignored, equality under the law was for the most part enhanced through Napoleon’s sweeping new law codes hereditary privileges among adult males became a thing of the past. A strongly centralized government recruited bureaucrats according to their abilities. New educational institutions, under state control, provided access to bureaucratic and specialized technical training. Religious freedom survived, despite some conciliations of Roman Catholic opinion. Freedom of internal trade and encouragements to technical innovation allied the state with commercial growth. Sales of church land were confirmed, and rural France emerged as a nation of strongly independent peasant proprietors.

Napoleon’s conquests cemented the spread of French revolutionary legislation to much of western Europe. The powers of the Roman Catholic church, guilds, and manorial aristocracy came under the gun. The old regime was dead in Belgium, western Germany, and northern Italy.

Finally, wider conquests permanently altered the European map. Napoleon’s kingdoms consolidated scattered territories in Germany and Italy, and the welter of divided states was never restored. These developments, but also resentment at Napoleonic rule, sparked growing nationalism in these regions and also in Spain and Poland. Prussia and Russia, less touched by new ideologies, nevertheless introduced important political reforms as a means of strengthening the state to resist the Napoleonic war machine. Prussia expanded its school system and modified serfdom it also began to recruit larger armies. Britain was less affected, protected by its powerful navy and an expanding industrial economy that ultimately helped wear Napoleon down but, even in Britain, French revolutionary example spurred a new wave of democratic agitation.

In 1814–15 the victorious powers convened at the Congress of Vienna to try to put Europe back together, though there was no thought of literally restoring the world that had existed before 1789. Regional German and Italian states were confirmed as a buffer to any future French expansion. Prussia gained new territories in western Germany. Russia took over most of Poland (previously divided, in the late 18th century, until Napoleon’s brief incursion). Britain acquired some former French, Spanish, and Dutch colonies (including South Africa). The Bourbon dynasty was restored to the French throne in the person of Louis XVIII, but revolutionary laws were not repealed, and a parliament, though based on very narrow suffrage, proclaimed a constitutional monarchy. The Treaty of Vienna disappointed nationalists, who had hoped for a new Germany and Italy, and it certainly daunted democrats and liberals. However, it was not reactionary, nor was it punitive as far as France was concerned. Overall, the treaty strove to reestablish a balance of power in Europe and to emphasize a conservative political order tempered by concessions to new realities. The former was remarkably successful, preserving the peace for more than half a century, the latter effort less so.


The Napoleonic Wars and Guerrilla Tactics: The Iberian Peninsula and Unconventional Warfare

During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon’s occupation of the Iberian Peninsula prompted one of the greatest outbreaks of unconventional warfare in military history.

In July 1807, Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula. Napoleon calculated that such a military operation would be be relatively easy due to perceived Spanish weakness and inept leadership. If successful, Napoleon could exploit Spain’s resources and expand his Continental System, denying the British another important trading partner.

Napoleon did not anticipate the will of the people to resist a foreign invader. Shortly after his successful invasion and defeat of conventional forces, guerrilla warfare ensued. In response to the demands of unconventional warfare, Napoleon’s initial invasion force of 50,000 swelled to 80,000 by 1808. Guerrilla tactics employed by ordinary peasants resulted in French forces precariously controlling only the ground they physically occupied.

Peasants and Guerrilla Warfare During the Napoleonic Wars

Shortly after Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, organized, regional guerrilla bands emerged. In an effort to quell resistance, the French intensified their efforts at retaliation. Such efforts resulted in guerrilla bands gaining fresh recruits and increased support from the population. One observer remarked, “…the priest girded up his black robe, and stuck a pistol in his belt the student threw aside his books, and grasped the sword the shepherd forsook his flock the husbandman his home.”

Guerrilla fighters varied in their composition and motivation. Mountaineers, who held suspicion and hate of anyone from outside the mountain areas, made up some guerrilla unites. The French brutality motivated many peasants throughout the countryside to join guerrilla units. French occupation of cities resulted in urban populations of varying social status to provide aid and recruits for guerrilla fighters.

For others, unconventional warfare provided opportunity. Bandits throughout the peninsula seized opportunities to raid French supply lines in the hopes of gaining valuable war material and food supplies. Former officers of the defeated Spanish army no longer had their regular unites to command. To make up for the lack of regular forces, many took command of guerrilla units. Others formed guerrilla units of their own.

Guerrilla Tactics Used Against Napoleon’s Army

The employment of unconventional warfare by the people of the Iberian Peninsula allowed them to take and hold the initiative. Guerrilla tactics included operating in small, local bands. Spanish guerrillas chose when and where to attack the French. They also had the advantage of not having to engage French forces in open combat. Rather, Spanish guerrillas attacked targets of opportunity with great effect.

In the early stages of guerrilla warfare in Spain, guerrilla units focused most of their attacks on French communications. Before long, the continued success of guerrilla attacks on French communications forced the French to provide military escorts up to 300 strong for each courier.

Such successes emboldened guerrilla bands to increase the intensity of their attacks and importance of their targets. Guerrillas began attacking French convoys, seizing weapons and food. The guerrillas constantly harassed and attacked targets of opportunity whenever they could.

Effects of Unconventional Warfare During the Napoleonic Wars

Like most wars, guerrilla warfare did not result in the wholesale destruction of French power in the Iberian Peninsula. Nor could local, scattered guerrilla bands realistically hope to achieve a decisive victory against the highly organized and well supplied professional French army.

Viewing the Napoleonic Wars as a whole however, the unconventional warfare waged by the people of the Iberian Peninsula did have an important material and psychological impact on the French. Guerrilla warfare in Spain forced Napoleon to increase his forces in the region to over 80,000 at any given time during the occupation. In spite of their efforts, for most of the occupation period the French merely controlled the ground they stood on, alone and isolated in a hostile, foreign land.

With escalating conflict on the European continent, Great Britain remaining dominant on the seas, and limiting French capacity to make war, Napoleon could ill afford grinding unconventional warfare on the Iberian Peninsula. Approximately 50,000 Spanish guerrilla fighters accounted for approximately 145,000 French dead, or roughly ten percent of the French army per year of occupation. To put the numbers in perspective, more Frenchmen died in the Iberian Peninsula fighting guerrillas than Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. The French experience in the Iberian Peninsula or the “Spanish Ulcer” as Napoleon called it, serves as poignant reminder that fighting an unconventional war often results in a commitment disproportionately higher than commanders of professional armies can predict or expect.


Napoleonic Wars: Europe in 1812 - History

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Napoleonic Wars and 1812

Though many argue that the Napoleonic Wars did not officially start until 1803, many earlier dates have been proposed. From a practical standpoint, the British involvement began with the Republican French government’s declaration of war on Britain in 1793. Warfare would rage on and off again from that date on to the end of the war in 1815, a period of twenty-two years.

While there had been some degree of modification of various regulations between the end of the American Revolution and the start of the Napoleonic Wars, in terms of the routine operation of the British Army little had changed. As such the continued presence of women as camp followers and nurses with the Army would receive little surprise.

What is surprising to most modern readers is the presence of such women amongst the British Navy.

At the time the common convention was to transport army units on board British Warships when traveling to an overseas location, be it France, Egypt, or North America. Those women in the employ of the unit, whether as cooks, sutlers, laundresses, seamstresses, or nurses, regularly shipped right alongside of the soldiers. During the 1801 invasion of Egypt, HMS Charon’s log book records having 30 women on board as part of the 30th Regiment’s compliment.

In some cases the disembarking of the regiment did not necessarily mean the disembarking of the women. Admiral Lord Keith, commander of the naval portion of the invasion, encouraged women to remain aboard ship as nurses. In exchange, they would be fed out of the ships stores, and not out of the regimental alotments. A number of women chose not to join the regiments ashore but instead stayed aboard to aid in treating those wounded who were evacuated to the ships, a position they would occupy for the entire seven month long campaign.

Not all women aboard ship at this time were there as a result of the transportation of Army units. Though Article XIV from the Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea specifically barred women being aboard ship without explicit instructions from the Admiralty, ships records frequently reference that this regulation was not followed on a regular basis. In one such case, then Commodore Horatio Nelson presided over a court martial for Lieutenant Nicholas Meager. Meager was on trial for assaulting the sailing master of HMS Dromedary. The testimony of witnesses revealed that at the time of the attack the sailing master (George Casey) was taking a stroll about the deck of the ship with his wife.

Another woman known to have spent time aboard ship was Ann Hopping. Married to a gunner’s mate, she witnessed the battles of Cape St. Vincent and the Nile while aboard HMS Orion. During these battles she was employed preparing flannel cartridges for the guns.

It is also clear from a study of ships records that some of these women were employed as nurses. HMS Goliath was a ship of the line that saw action during the 1798 Battle of the Nile. The ships muster book recorded four women as drawing rations as part of the crew, noting that they were “victualed at 2/3 allowance per Captain’s orders in consideration of their assistance in dressing and attending on the wounded, being widows of men slain in fight with the enemy on 1st August 1798.” These women were Sarah Bates, Ann Taylor, Elizabeth Moore, and Mary French.

The War of 1812 is often viewed as being a separate matter altogether from the Napoleonic Wars by North Americans. In Europe, however, it is considered to be an extension of the Napoleonic Wars, and with good reason. The war came about as a direct result of British naval activity related to the wars with France and Spain. The U.K. had declared a blockade of Europe that stifled American trade, and the needs to simultaneously maintain that blockade, fight the French and Spanish fleets, and transport vast numbers of troops throughout the far flung empire encouraged the impressment of American sailors on the high seas. The abilities and limitations of the British military during the 32 month long war also cannot be understood unless set against the needs and activities of the Napoleonic War.

Though far smaller in size, the U.S. Navy was modeled off of the British Navy. This included not only its general structure of regulation, but also its common conventions and standard practices. It is therefore no surprise that women could be found aboard American warships at this time. Two women in particular deserve mentioning in this document. In 1813 two women were invited to serve as nurses aboard the U.S.S. United States. Mary Marshall and Mary Allen both spent several months on board at the request of Commodore Stephen Decatur. They served in this capacity for several months, only ending their career as navy nurses when the United States was trapped in port in mid 1813 by a British blockade, rendering her inactive for the remainder of the war.

As can be seen by the evidence, Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton were not the first women to actively engage in military nursing. Their contributions do still deserve recognition even in light of this fact. While they may not have started women’s involvement in military nursing they certainly used their personal traits to standardized it and brought it to the forefront of the popular mind. Their well-deserved fame came not in spite of history, but built on the foundation laid in history by the many women who came before them in the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and many other wars not mentioned here.

Footnotes:

Lynn, John A. Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.

Don N., Hagist. "The Women of the British Army in America." Rev War '75. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://revwar75.com/library/hagist/britwomen.htm>.

Cuthbertson, Bennett. Cuthbertson's System for the Complete Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry. Bristol: Rouths and Nelson, 1768. Print.

Adkins, Roy. Nelson's Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World. New York: Penguin, 2004. Print.

Cordingly, David. Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives. 2007 Random House Trade Pbk. ed. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007. Print.

About the Author:

James Hinton is a former army soldier and armchair historian. He currently hangs his hat in Idaho, where he bores his daughters to tears discussing the minutia of Civil War era artillery tactics.


44. Hell is Frozen, and It Exists on Earth!

It’s hard to exaggerate the disaster which was Napoleon’s Russian campaign. In between the harrowing winter weather and skirmishes with Russian forces following them, the Grande Armée lost up to 530,000 men to battle, starvation, disease, desertion, or the cold. Witnesses reported many cases of cannibalism, as well as men choosing suicide by lying down in the snow and letting sleep overcome them. By the time that Napoleon’s forces left Russian territory, they were down to 27,000 men! To add insult to injury, Russian historians and writers of the time considered that year to have been a mild winter. We can just imagine what their enemies would have had to say about that!

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