Welcome. This page is your link to all the important battles that relate
to Napoleon. The links to the battles are in alphabetical order. The descriptions
of the battles are in chronological order. Enjoy!
The War of the First Coalition (1793-1797)
- France vs. Austria, Prussia, UK, Spain, the Netherlands, and Sardinia
Siege of Toulon
7 September - 19 December, 1793
During the revolution in France, a major port, Toulon became the site
of one of Napoleon's first battles.
August 28, 1793, Toulon was taken by the Bourbons and was occupied by
British and Spanish military forces. In several days, September 7, the
French retaliated and made several attempts to take back the city. All
these attacks failed due to poor leadership. Thus, no gains were made;
that is until a young artillery officer (he was twenty-four at the time)
by the name and rank of Captain Napoleone Buonaparte (as he used to spell
it before it was changed) submitted to his commander his plans to storm
a key enemy fort in a diversionary attack which would allow the French
to go after the British fleet in the harbor. On December 17 the attack
was carried out and in less than a day of fighting, the British fleet
(commanded by Admiral Lord Hood) retreated and sailed away. By December
19, the harbor was once again controlled by France and the successful
attack resulted in the promotion of Buonaparte to General of Brigade.
Italian Campaign (1796 - 1798)
April 12, 1796
Napoleon chose the conquest of Italy as a warm-up. He knew that the
Italians would be an easy target due to their weak offense. Being a country
run by city-states, it was very vulnerable to any invasion and could fall
if any of its key cities were taken. Napoleon saw this as a chance to
gain rank both militarily and politically and as a chance to gain port
Entering Lombardy, Napoleon met up against both a Piedmontese army of
25,000 men and an Austrian army of 35,000 men. Finding the area with the
smallest concentration, Napoleon used 10,000 men to break through this
weak link in the Austrian forces but his forces weren't strong enough
April 21, 1796
Following the battle at Montenotte, Napoleon again met up with the Piedmontese
at Mondovi. Although his first attacks had failed, Napoleon was able to
win this time due to an advantage in numbers.
Armistice at Cherasco
August 23, 1796
The Piedmontese, having been defeated, signed an armistice at Cherasco.
Lodi (Followed by the seizure of Milan)
May 10, 1796
Throughout the Italian Campaign, Napoleon's forces were inferior compared
to the combined Austrian forces. Luckily, for Napoleon, the Austrians
kept their forces divided up. By continually outmarching the Austrians,
and keeping his army together, Napoleon was able to defeat the Austrians
piece by piece rather than having to fight them all at once.
Setting his sites on the seizure of Milan, Napoleon avoided the Austrian
defensive line waiting for him at Milan and instead moved south. At Lodi
(town South of Milan), he met up with Beaulieu (Veteran Austrian General).
Beaulieu's forces were crushed and Napoleon entered Milan on May 15, 1796.
August 5, 1796
Austria readied three armies to keep Napoleon from taking Mantua and
these armies were set to join forces there. The battle started too soon
for all the armies to arrive and the French held off the largest of these
armies, keeping it from joining the other two. At the attack, Napoleon
decided to send one of his armies, led by General Massena, to fight on
the front line while his other troops got ready for a surprise flank attack.
The attack happened too early and the Austrians were able to avoid being
severely affected by it, though the French were still able to break through
the line and win. The Austrians lost twice as many men as Napoleon did.
September 8, 1796
Using his divide and conquer techniques, Napoleon was able to split
the Austrian army in two by sending out two of his armies, led by General
Augereau and General Massena, to attack from different sides. This forced
one division of the Austrian army to give up while the other was defeated
on the battlefield. As a result of the defeat, the Austrian army was ordered
to be increased to 28,000 men.
November 15 - 17, 1796
The French tried to push the Austrians back past the Arcola Bridge.
After three days of fighting, the French were able to cross the river
and force the Austrians to retreat. The French were now in position to
January 14, 1797
This battle was Austria's final attempt to defend Mantua. They tried
to trick Napoleon into being distracted by several diversionary attacks,
but it didn't work and when the real attack came, Napoleon was ready.
By moving his limited supply of artillery from one side to the other,
he was able to fend off Austria's numerous, dispersed, attacks. After
two days of fighting, the Austrians gave up. The Austrians lost three
times as many men as Napoleon when he finally took Mantua.
Egyptian Campaign (1798-1799)
June 11-12, 1798
Given a choice between an attack on England and an attack on Egypt,
Napoleon chose the less risky of the two. In an attempt to block English
dominance in the Mediterranean, Napoleon decided to take Egypt. His first
stop was Malta, an island off the coast of Italy. It had been held since
1520 by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem but it was no longer as powerful
as it once was. After only a day of fighting, the Knights surrendered
and Napoleon won Malta.
Battle of the Pyramids (Cairo)
July 21, 1798
Marching to Cairo, Napoleon's army was stopped by Murad Bey's (a prominent
military figure in Egypt) troops and some Turkish troops at a small village
called Embabeh. The French continually beat off attacks by Murad's army
and Murad's forces were soon defeated. Murad lost almost twenty times
as many troops as Napoleon and Lower Egypt was won for France.
Battle of the Nile (Aboukir)
August 1, 1798
Admiral Lord Nelson (commander of the British naval fleet) decided to
attack Napoleon's ships at Aboukir Bay. Nelson threw all his ships at
one point in the French line, breaking it in two. Then he finished off
each side. Using this tactic, Nelson was able to destroy the French fleet
(only four ships escaped) and Napoleon was trapped. This victory for Britain
ended Napoleon's chances of ever taking all of Egypt.
Syrian Campaign (1799)
March 7, 1799
Napoleon changed his plans and decided to invade Egypt through Syria.
Jaffa was the first battle of this campaign and the city fell after only
one day. The town was then pillaged and ransacked. 2000-3000+ Turkish
soldiers were put to death because there wasn't enough food to feed the
Saint John d'Acre
March 18, 1799 to May 20, 1799
The second battle in the Syrian Campaign didn't go as smoothly as the
first; Napoleon failed in his attempts to take the port of Acre (indefensible
medieval stronghold). Before the attack began, Napoleon's siege artillery
had already been defeated by Commodore Sidney Smith (a British naval commander).
After eight unsuccessful attempts to break into the city, Napoleon gave
up and marched his war-weary, diseased, downtrodden troops back to Egypt.
He informed France that a plague was ravaging the city (which was what
caused all his casualties).
July 25, 1799
After returning to Cairo, Napoleon got word that a Turkish army had
just landed in Aboukir. In ten days, he was there with a force of 10,000
men and, thereby, crushed them. The toll of lives on their part (Turks)
was massive and Napoleon turned around the failure at Acre and left for
Paris with a brilliant victory under his belt.
The War of the Second Coalition (1799
- France vs. UK, Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Austria, Naples, and Russia
After Napoleon became the First Consul of France, the rest of Europe
(Russia, UK, Ottoman Empire, Naples, Portugal, and Austria) decided that
they didn't want to be taken over by France. They formed a coalition and
tried to stop Napoleon. However, due to a failure to negotiate, they got
little done and Napoleon emerged as the dominant power in Europe. Though,
due to Britain's exceptional navy and Napoleon's inability to take Egypt,
France never conquered England.
June 14, 1800
By spreading his troops out, Napoleon was defeated by the attack that
the Austrians had planned at Marengo. By 3:00 P.M., the Austrians had
broken through the line and the French surrender (presumably). What the
Austrians hadn't expect was that the French General Desaix and his troops
arrived minutes later to lead another attack that the French won. This
battle cost the Austrians twice as many lives as it did the French (though
Gen. Desaix did die in the battle) and resulted in the French seizure
of everything from Lombardy, Italy to the Minicio River. If it hadn't
been for Desaix, this battle might have cost Napoleon his army and career.
The War of the Third Coalition (1805)
- France vs. Britain, Austria, Russia, Sweden, and Naples
October 19, 1805
In a brilliant maneuver, Napoleon was able to move his troops around the
Austrian forces at Ulm while intercepting their supply lines. The Austrians
tried to fight back but, since they were surrounded, were forced to surrender.
In all, 50,000 Austrians surrendered.
October 21, 1805
In an attempt to break the British blockade on France, Napoleon decided
to send his naval fleet to Spain so that they could lead the British fleet
over with them, join up with the Spanish fleet, and use the Franco-Spanish
fleet to defeat the British. This plan backfired when the French fleet,
after meeting up with the Spanish, got trapped in a harbor without any
defenses or backup. Nelson, seeing his opportunity, destroyed the Franco-Spanish
fleet. The losses for France were ten times the losses of England's, but
Nelson was killed in the battle. This battle destroyed any chance of Napoleon
ever taking England.
December 2, 1805
Napoleon, by making the Russian and Austrian armies think that he had
less troops than he actually did, tricked the two allied armies into creating
a battle plan that worked for them in the beginning. However, when Napoleon's
scheduled reinforcements arrived, the French army was soon able to crush
its enemies. The Allies' losses were a staggering three and a half times
the losses of Napoleon's army. This battle is often characterized as Napoleon's
The Prussian Campaign (1806 - 1808)
- Also The War of the Fourth Coalition
October 14, 1806
The battle began when Marshal Lannes came upon Prussian General Hohenloe's
force of 35,000 men. French reinforcements kept coming until Napoleon
had 90,000 men. With superior numbers, Napoleon pushed the Prussians into
open ground. The battle was going well until Ney launched an unauthorized
attack upon the center of the Prussian line. He fell right into a trap
and would have been destroyed if not for the French cavalry. Soon the
Prussian line fell and they fled. Napoleon lost 5000 men, but the Prussians
lost 25,000 men.
October 14, 1806
Expecting to only cut the line of retreat of what Napoleon had thought
was the main enemy force, Marshal Davout came upon the main Prussian army
(more than twice the size of his force). Going on the defensive, Davout
fortified a small village called Hassenhausen and held off the Prussian
attacks. However, Davout realized that the Prussians had low moral and
went on the offensive. Frederick William III ordered a retreat to escape
the ferocious assault of III Corps. Prussia lost 13,000 men and 115 guns.
February 8, 1807
Russian General Bennigsen managed to force Marshal Ney from camp with
an all out offensive near Konigsberg. However, Napoleon attacked Bennigsen's
force of 74,500 men with fewer than 50,000. A snowstorm hindered his assaults.
The arrival of Davout's reinforcements was countered by the arrival of
Prussian reinforcements and Ney's reinforcements didn't help the French
to gain an advantage. After fighting in what is regarded as the worst
weather of the era, the Russians withdrew. Russia had 23,000 casualties
and Napoleon had 22,000 casualties.
June 14, 1807
With over three times as many men, (Russia had 60,000 and France had
17,000) the Russian General Bennigsen confidently sent his troops in to
crush Marshal Lannes's troops. What he didn't expect was that: one, the
Alle River split his troops in two, making them more vulnerable to attack;
and two, Napoleon's troops arrived in the middle of the battle with 80,000
men to relieve the troops fighting. After Napoleon arrived, the battle
was over in a matter of hours. Russian lost total 20,000 while the French
lost only 12,000.
The Austrian War (1809)
April 22, 1809
Thinking that there was a smaller number of Austrians at Eckmuhl, Napoleon
sent General Davout to go there and win. To his surprise, there were 75,000
troops there compared to Davout's 20,000, and when the attack commenced,
Davout's strong line began to fall to Austria's greater numbers. Luckily,
Marshal Lannes arrived with 30,000 of his troops and was able to attack
the other side of the Austrian army with fresh soldiers. Due to this,
France won. The losses were not great but the victory was. The Austrians
lost 12,000 men as opposed to the French's 6,000.
Aspern - Essling
May 21-22, 1809
On May 21, Napoleon crossed the Danube River over a single bridge and
attacked the Austrian army, led by Archduke Charles, at two villages,
Aspern and Essling. For two days, both sides were unyielding. The French
fought hard because they didn't want to cross the Danube to retreat and
the Austrians were fighting hard because they saw this as an ideal chance
to defeat Napoleon and his army. In the end, the battle was a stalemate.
Napoleon lost 19,000 men and the Austrians lost 24,000 men.
July 5-6, 1809
Learning from the mistakes he made at Aspern-Essling, Napoleon set up
a port and supply chain that was well guarded. With his troops ready for
anything, Napoleon led a surprise attack on the Austrians east of Aspern-Essling.
This caught them off guard and drove them off for the time being. The
next day, Austria retaliated with several early surprise attacks that
caught Napoleon's forces off guard and resulted in the loss of important
land holdings and bridges. However, backup forces arrived, commanded by
Marshal Davout and Marshal MacDonald, which allowed France to defeat the
Austrians for good. The losses among the two sides were equal but Austria
wanted peace and so the Treaty of Schonbrunn was signed on October 14,
Russian Campaign and Napoleon's Downfall
September 7, 1812
The Russians had been continuously retreating from the French Grande
Armee. However, fewer than 120 kilometers from Moscow, Russian General
Mikhail Kutusov decided to face the French. After fortifying the area,
Kutusov's force of 120,000 men and 640 cannons waited for Napoleon's force.
With 133,000 men and 587 cannons, Napoleon launched a bloody frontal assault.
The battle became a mere battle of attrition, with neither side gaining
a decisive foothold. By the end of the day, both sides were exhausted
and the Russians had retreated. The Russians had 44,000 casualties and
the French had 33,000 casualties.
May 2, 1813
Thinking he could take Russia, Napoleon marched his troops in during
the winter. Due to bad weather and no decisive victories, Napoleon was
forced to turn back. Prussia, seeing Napoleon in a particularly weak position,
decided to declare war on France.
Napoleon, seeing the Prusso-Russian army move on his army at Leipzig,
decided to attack at Lutzen (south of Leipzig) to "cut them off at
the pass." When the Prussian and Russians had realized this, they
moved the bulk of their troops to Lutzen, only to meet a fully prepared
French army. Sending in battalion after battalion, Napoleon was able to
make the Prusso-Russian army retreat before nightfall. Losses on both
sides were equal, about 20,000 each.
May 20-21, 1813
After the defeat at Lutzen, the leaders of the Prusso-Russian army decided
to stop retreating and hold their ground at Bautzen. Having considerably
more men than the Allies, Napoleon felt very confident going into this
battle. The first day was successful until Marshal Ney, a French army
leader, messed up Napoleon's plans. By placing his troops in the wrong
area, he ruined Napoleon's strategy of encircling and demolishing the
Allies and thus let them get away. The next day of fighting was no more
successful and more mistakes by Marshal Ney ensured there would be no
solid defeat of the Allies. Both armies lost 20,000 men and victory for
the French was by no means spectacular.
August 26-27, 1813
Napoleon accepted a 10-week truce with the Allies so he could resupply
his armies after Lutzen and Bautzen. However, after the truce, the French
found themselves against an enemy of more than 400,000 men.
Enemy forces tried to occupy Dresden, the capital of Saxony and a key
city for the war, but French Marshal Gouvion St Cyr got there first. After
fortifying the city, Cyr's corps of 20,000 men faced Schwarzenberg's army
of 160,000 men. However, the enemy attacks were weak and the French held
them off until Bonaparte arrived with 50,000 men. When Cyr's men finally
got exhausted and lost key positions, the Imperial Guard retook them by
the end of the day.
After reinforcements had arrived in the night, Napoleon commanded an
army of 150,000 at dawn. He launched several successful attacks against
the Allies throughout the day. By nightfall, the Allies retreated. The
Allies had 40,000 casualties including General Jean Moreau, while the
French had only 10,000 casualties.
Leipzig (Battle of Nations)
October 16-19, 1813
200,000 French and allied troops faced 400,000 enemy troops at Leipzig.
Napoleon was forced to spread his forces, because the enemy approached
from different directions. Assaults by Austria's General Schwarzenberg
and Prussia's Marshal Blucher on the city were unsuccessful. After the
Swedish and Russian armies arrived, the Allies coordinated an attack on
the 18th. The French managed to hold 350,000 enemy troops at bay for nine
hours. Yet the odds were too great and Napoleon ordered a withdrawal across
a single escape bridge. Premature blowing of the bridge resulted in 20,000
troops getting trapped and many death, including French Marshal Poniatowski.
October 30, 1813
After three days of fighting, Napoleon won. Elsewhere in Europe, his
troops were losing ground. The ravages of war wore hard on the Grand Army.
Napoleon's army grew weak and France's visions of additional conquests
shriveled. After a typhus epidemic and losses from excessive battles,
only 80,000 men were left. In a little over a year, Napoleon had lost
400,000 men and all of Europe was now closing in on him.
Brienne, Champaubert, Montereau, Montmirail and Rheims
January 29 - March 31, 1814
After having his policies shot down in the Senate and his report on
governing the people lose overwhelmingly (in a vote of 231 to 31) in Senate,
Napoleon began to lose faith in the French politicians who had once been
on his side. France didn't want to fight any more.
Fearing the loss of his power and identity as leader of France, Napoleon
went all out in his last days as emperor. He launched multiple offensives
and defeated the vastly superior (in numbers, soldiers, and weapons) Allied
army hands down at Brienne, Champaubert, Montmirail, Montereau and Rheims.
But his army began to succumb to numbers. He had only 80,000 men while
the Allies had 350,000. He was fighting like mad, winning victory after
victory against superior armies but the numbers dwindled and his army
lost faith in him. Finally on March 31, 1814, his generals refused to
fight anymore and Paris surrendered.
On April 12, 1814, Napoleon abdicated his throne and got exiled to Elba
until May 1814, when he escaped to start again.
The 100 Days (1815)
June 16, 1815
After escaping from Elba, Napoleon was joined by a French army sent
to stop him. His strategy was to keep the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian armies
separate and defeat them one at a time. Deciding to fight the Prussians
first, Napoleon devised a plan to attack on several sides in order to
trap the Prussian army in their fortifications and then defeat them. This
plan worked incredibly well and the French won. The Prussian losses were
25,000 while the French losses were only 11,000. However, many of the
Prussians were able to escape in the retreat. This was Napoleon's last
June 18, 1815
When Duke Wellington (leader of the Allied forces) heard that Napoleon
had defeated the Prussian army at Ligny, he moved quickly north to meet
up with the Anglo-Dutch army at Mount-Saint-Jean (a town near Waterloo).
Napoleon, upon hearing that Wellington was moving, ordered Marshal Ney
to attack him (Wellington), but Ney, not believing that the British were
moving, decided to ignore Napoleon's orders. Angered by this, Napoleon
took command of Ney's forces and marched them in pursuit of Wellington.
Napoleon's other general (now south of Mount-Saint-Jean), Marshal Grouchy,
failed to defeat the Prussian army and allowed them to march North to
meet up with the Anglo-Dutch army at Mount-Saint-Jean. Grouchy was not
able to locate the Prussian army after they moved North, so their journey
to Mount-Saint-Jean was unimpeded.
On June 18, 1815, the Allied and French armies faced off at Waterloo
(where they had met up on the way to Mount-Saint-Jean). Beginning at 11:30
AM, Napoleon's first advances were unsuccessful. At 1:00 PM, the Prussian
army (lead by General Blucher), that had evaded Marshal Grouchy, was seen
advancing from the east. At 4:00 PM, the Prussian army joined the battle.
The French launched a counterattack on the Prussians that gained them
some ground and at 6:00 PM, Marshal Ney was able to briefly break the
center of the Anglo-Dutch line but was quickly pushed back.
With their characteristic square formations, the Anglo-Dutch armies were
able to beat the French attacks time and time again. At 8:00 PM, the Prussians
broke through the right side of Napoleon's forces, which scattered the
French around and made it easy for them to be picked off. Napoleon escaped
by the skin of his teeth as the Prussian and Anglo-Dutch armies decided
to continue to push the French back past the Sambre River, thus ending
the Age and Empire of Napoleon. Napoleon was once again forced to abdicate
his throne to Louis XVIII and was exiled to the island of St. Helena where
he stayed until his death.