The First French Army of Spain, Spring-Summer 1808

The First French Army of Spain, Spring-Summer 1808

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The First French Army of Spain, Spring-Summer 1808

1st Corps of Observation of the Gironde2nd Corps of Observation of the GirondeCorps of Observation of the Ocean CoastCorps of Observation of the PyreneesCorps of Observation of the Eastern PyreneesImperial GuardReinforcements in June, July and August 1808

1st Corps of Observation of the Gironde

Commander: General Junot
Chief of Staff: General Thiébault

1st Division: General Delaborde

Brigades Avril and Brennier
15th of the Line (3rd battalion)
47th of the Line (2nd battalion)
70th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)
86th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)
4th Swiss Regiment (1st battalion)

Total Strength: 7,848

2nd Division: General Loison

Brigades Charlot and Thomières
2nd Léger (3rd battalion)
4th Léger (3rd battalion)
12th Léger (3rd battalion)
15th Léger (3rd battalion)
32nd of the Line (3rd battalion)
58th of the Line (3rd battalion)
2nd Swiss Regiment (2nd battalion)

Total Strength: 8,481

3rd Division: General Travot

Brigades Graindorge and Fusier
31stLéger (3rd battalion)
32nd Léger (3rd battalion)
26th of the Line (3rd battalion)
66th of the Line (3rd and 4th battalions)
82nd of the Line (3rd battalion)
Légion de Midi (1st battalion)
Hanoverain Legion

Total Strength: 5,538

Cavalry Division: General Kellerman

Brigades Margaron and Maurin
26th Chasseurs
1st Dragoons
3rd Dragoons
4th Dragoons
5th Dragoons
9th Dragoons
15th Dragoons

Total Strength: 1,754

Artillery and Baggage Train
Total Strength: 1,297

22 battalions of infantry, seven squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 24,918

2nd Corps of Observation of the Gironde

Commander: General Dupont
Chief of Staff: General Legendre

1st Division: General Barbou

Brigades Pannetier and Chabert Garde de Paris (2nd battalion from 1st and 2nd regiments)
3rd Legion of Reserve (1st and 2nd battalions)
4th Legion of Reserve (1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions)
Marines of the Guard
4th Swiss Regiment (2nd battalion)

Total Strength: 7,836

2nd Division: General Vedel

Brigades Poinsot and Cassagne 1st Legion of Reserve (three battalions)
5th Legion of Reserve (three battalions)
3rd Swiss Regiment (1st battalion)

Total Strength: 6,884

3rd Division: General Frere

Brigades Laval and Rostolland 15th Léger (2nd battalion)
2nd Legion of Reserve (three battalions)
2nd Swiss Regiment (1st battalion)

Total Strength: 5,204

Cavalry Division: General Fresia

Brigades Rigaud and Dupré 1st Provisional Cuirassiers
2nd Provisional Cuirassiers
1st Provisional Chasseurs
2nd Provisional Chasseurs
6th Provisional Dragoons

Total Strength:

Artillery and Baggage
Total Strength: 1,204

twenty one battalions of infantry, fifteen squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 24,428

Corps of Observation of the Ocean Coast

Commander: Marshal Moncey
Chief of Staff: General Harispe

1st Division: General Musnier

Brigades Brun and Isemburg 1st Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
2nd Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
3rd Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
4th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
Westphalian battalion

Total Strength: 9,699

2nd Division: General Gobert

Brigades Lefranc and Dufour 5th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
6th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
7th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
8th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
Irish Legion

Total Strength: 8.393

3rd Division: General Morlot

Brigades Bujet and Lefebvre
9th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
10th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
11th Provisional Regiment of Infantry (four battalions)
Prussian Battalion

Total Strength: 7,149

Cavalry Division: General Grouchy

Brigades Privé and Wathier 1st Provisional Dragoons
2nd Provisional Dragoons
1st Provisional Hussars
2nd Provisional Hussars

Total Strength: 2,850

Artillery and Baggage
Total Strength: 1,250

Forty Seven battalions of infantry, twelve squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 29,341

Corps of Observation of the Pyrenees

Commander: Marshal Bassières
Chief of Staff: General Lefebvre-Desnouettes

1st Division: General Merle

Brigades Darmagnac and Gaulois 47th of the Line (1st Battalion)
86th of the Line (two companies)
3rd Swiss Regiment (2nd battalion)
1st Régiment de Marche (two battalions)
1st Supplementary Regiment of the Legions of Reserve (two battalions)

Total Strength: 5,248

2nd Division: General Verdier

Brigades Sabathier and Ducos 17th Provisional Regiment (four battalions)
18th Provisional Regiment (four battalions)
13th Provisional Regiment (four battalions)
14th Provisional Regiment (four battalions)

Total Strength: 8,518

Cavalry Division: General Lasalle

10th Chasseurs
22nd Cahsseurs
Escadron de Marche of Cuirassiers

Total Strength: 1,082

Artillery, Baggage
Total Strength: 408

Detached Troops

Garrison of Pampeluna: General D'Agoult
15th Regiment of the Line (4th battalion)
47th Regiment of the Line (3rd battalion)
70th Regiment of the Line (3rd battalion)
5th Escadron de Marche of Cuirassiers

Garrison of San Sebastian: General Thouvenot 2nd Supplementary Regiment of the Legions of Reserve (4th battalion)
Dépôt Battalion
Cavalry Dépôt

Total Strength: 3,830

Twenty seven and a quarter battalions of infantry, nine squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 19,086

Corps of Observation of the Eastern Pyrenees

Commander: Gereral Duhesme
Chief of Staff: Colonel Fabre

1st Division: General Chabran

Brigades Goulas and Nicolas 2nd of the Line (3rd battalion)
7th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)
16th of the Line (3rd battalion)
37th of the line (3rd battalion)
56th of the Line (4th battalion)
93rd of the Line (3rd battalion)
2nd Swiss Regiment (3rd battalion)

Total Strength: 6,045

2nd Division: General Lecchi

Brigades Milosewitz 2nd Italian Line (2nd battalion)
4th Italian Line (3rd battalion)
5th Italian Line (2nd battalion)
Royal Vélites (1st battalion)
1st Neapolitan Line (1st and 2nd battalions)

Total Strength: 4,596

Cavalry Brigade: General Bessières

3rd Provisional Cuirassiers
3rd Provisional Chasseurs

Total Strength: 825

Cavalry Brigade: General Schwartz

Italian Chasseurs of the Prince Royal
2nd Neapolitan Chasseurs

Total Strength: 892

Artillery, Baggage
Total Strength: 356

Fourteen battalions of infantry, nine squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 12,714

Imperial Guard

Commander: General Dorsenne


1st Fusiliers
2nd Fusiliers
Marines of the Guard

Total Strength: 3,069

Total Strength: 1,762

Artillery and baggage
Total Strength: 1,581

Six battalions of infantry, nine squadrons of cavalry, total strength: 6,412

Reinforcements sent to Spain in June-August 1808

Division Mouton

Brigades Rey and Reynaud
2nd Léger (1st and 2nd battalions)
4th Léger (1st, 2nd and 4th battalions)
12th Léger (1st and 2nd battalions)
15th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)
Garde de Paris (one battalions)

Total Strength: 5,100

Division Bazancourt

14th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)
44th of the Line (1st and 2nd battalions)

Total Strength: 3,102

Polish Brigade

Two battalions each from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of the Vistula

Total Strength: 3,951

Divison of General Reille at Perpignan

113th Regiment (two battalions)
National Guard of the Pyrenees Orientales
1st Provisional Battalion of Perpignan
2nd Provisional Battalion of Perpignan
Three mixed battalions
5th Legion of Reserve (one battalion)
Battalion of the Valais
Two squadrons of Tuscan Dragoons
Two escadrons de Marche
Two batteries of artillery

Total Strength: 8,370

Other Units

4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Bataillions de March2,281
Division of General Chabot - Reserve of Perignan2,667
Portuguese Troops used at Saragossa553
National Guard of the Pyrenees971
General Dépôt at Bayonne7,659
Infantry drafts8,637
Cavalry drafts3,911
Artillery drafts851
Engineers and other reinforcements101

Total Strength: 48,204

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Who conquered Spain in 1808?

The Spanish occupation by the Moors began in 711 AD when an African army, under their leader Tariq ibn-Ziyad, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from northern Africa and invaded the Iberian peninsula 'Andalus' (Spain under the Visigoths). 5.

Subsequently, question is, who was King of Spain 1808? Ferdinand VII. Ferdinand VII, byname Ferdinand the Desired, Spanish Fernando el Deseado, (born October 14, 1784, El Escorial, Spain&mdashdied September 29, 1833, Madrid), king of Spain in 1808 and from 1814 to 1833. Between 1808 and 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars, Ferdinand was imprisoned in France by Napoleon.

Accordingly, how did Spain defeat Napoleon?

Spanish situation Spain was an ally of Napoleon's First French Empire however, defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 had removed the reason for alliance with France. Godoy&mdashwho was a favourite of King Charles IV of Spain&mdashbegan to seek some form of escape. Spanish troops marched into Denmark in early 1808.

Has Spain ever been invaded?

The Visigothic Kingdom conquered all of Hispania and ruled it until the early 8th century, when the peninsula fell to the Muslim conquests. After a period of Muslim dominance, the medieval history of Spain is dominated by the long Christian Reconquista or "reconquest" of the Iberian Peninsula from Muslim rule.


In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was confronted by Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès—one of five Directors constituting the executive branch of the French government—who sought his support for a coup d'état to overthrow the Constitution of the Year III. The plot included Bonaparte's brother Lucien, then serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, and Talleyrand. On 9 November 1799 (18 Brumaire VIII under the French Republican Calendar) and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control. [ clarification needed ] They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the Consulate, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. He thus became the most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the Constitution of the Year X, which made him First Consul for life.

The Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800) inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its development until Napoleon's Moscow campaign. Napoleon planned only to keep the Duchy of Milan for France, setting aside Austria, and was thought [ by whom? ] to prepare a new campaign in the East. The Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of Egypt, was a temporary truce. He gradually extended his authority in Italy by annexing the Piedmont and by acquiring Genoa, Parma, Tuscany and Naples, and added this Italian territory to his Cisalpine Republic. Then he laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the pope. When he recognised his error of raising the authority of the pope from that of a figurehead, Napoleon produced the Articles Organiques (1802) with the goal of becoming the legal protector of the papacy, like Charlemagne. To conceal his plans before their actual execution, he aroused French colonial aspirations against Britain and the memory of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, exacerbating British envy of France, whose borders now extended to the Rhine and beyond, to Hanover, Hamburg and Cuxhaven. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the new bourgeoisie and the old aristocracy. [13]

On 12 May 1802, the French Tribunat voted unanimously, with the exception of Carnot, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France. [14] [15] This action was confirmed by the Corps Législatif. A general plebiscite followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay. [16] On 2 August 1802 (14 Thermidor, An X), Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life.

Pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the "Recess of 1803", which brought Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden to France's side. William Pitt the Younger, back in power over Britain, appealed once more for an Anglo-Austro-Russian coalition against Napoleon to stop the ideals of revolutionary France from spreading.

On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was given the title of "Emperor of the French" by the Senate finally, on 2 December 1804, he was solemnly crowned, after receiving the Iron Crown of the Lombard kings, and was consecrated by Pope Pius VII in Notre-Dame de Paris. [c]

In four campaigns, the Emperor transformed his "Carolingian" feudal republican and federal empire into one modelled on the Roman Empire. The memories of imperial Rome were for a third time, after Julius Caesar and Charlemagne, used to modify the historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of Great Britain was never executed, the Battle of Ulm and the Battle of Austerlitz overshadowed the defeat of Trafalgar, and the camp at Boulogne put at Napoleon's disposal the best military resources he had commanded, in the form of La Grande Armée.

In the War of the Third Coalition, Napoleon swept away the remnants of the old Holy Roman Empire and created in southern Germany the vassal states of Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt and Saxony, which were reorganized into the Confederation of the Rhine. The Treaty of Pressburg, signed on 26 December 1805, extracted extensive territorial concessions from Austria, on top of a large financial indemnity. Napoleon's creation of the Kingdom of Italy, the occupation of Ancona, and his annexation of Venetia and its former Adriatic territories marked a new stage in the French Empire's progress.

To create satellite states, Napoleon installed his relatives as rulers of many European states. The Bonapartes began to marry into old European monarchies, gaining sovereignty over many nations. Older brother Joseph Bonaparte replaced the dispossessed Bourbons in Naples younger brother Louis Bonaparte was installed on the throne of the Kingdom of Holland, formed from the Batavian Republic brother-in-law Joachim Murat became Grand-Duke of Berg youngest brother Jérôme Bonaparte was made son-in-law to the King of Württemberg and King of Westphalia, adopted son Eugène de Beauharnais was appointed Viceroy of Italy and adopted daughter and second cousin Stéphanie de Beauharnais married Karl (Charles), the son of the Grand Duke of Baden. In addition to the vassal titles, Napoleon's closest relatives were also granted the title of French Prince and formed the Imperial House of France.

Met with opposition, Napoleon would not tolerate any neutral power. On 6 August 1806 the Habsburgs abdicated their title of Holy Roman Emperor in order to prevent Napoleon from becoming the next Emperor, ending a political power which had endured for over a thousand years. Prussia had been offered the territory of Hanover to stay out of the Third Coalition. With the diplomatic situation changing, Napoleon offered Great Britain the province as part of a peace proposal. To this, combined with growing tensions in Germany over French hegemony, Prussia responded by forming an alliance with Russia and sending troops into Bavaria on 1 October 1806. During the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon destroyed the Prussian armies at Jena and Auerstedt. Successive victories at Eylau and Friedland against the Russians finally ruined Frederick the Great's formerly mighty kingdom, obliging Russia and Prussia to make peace with France at Tilsit.

The Treaties of Tilsit ended the war between Russia and France and began an alliance between the two empires that held as much power as the rest of Europe. The two empires secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes. France pledged to aid Russia against the Ottoman Empire, while Russia agreed to join the Continental System against Britain. Napoleon also forced Alexander to enter the Anglo-Russian War and to instigate the Finnish War against Sweden in order to force Sweden to join the Continental System.

More specifically, Alexander agreed to evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia, which had been occupied by Russian forces as part of the Russo-Turkish War. The Ionian Islands and Cattaro, which had been captured by Russian admirals Ushakov and Senyavin, were to be handed over to the French. In recompense, Napoleon guaranteed the sovereignty of the Duchy of Oldenburg and several other small states ruled by the Russian emperor's German relatives.

The treaty removed about half of Prussia's territory: Cottbus was given to Saxony, the left bank of the Elbe was awarded to the newly created Kingdom of Westphalia, Białystok was given to Russia, and the rest of the Polish lands in Prussian possession were set up as the Duchy of Warsaw. Prussia was ordered to reduce its army to 40,000 men and to pay an indemnity of 100,000,000 francs. Observers in Prussia viewed the treaty as unfair and as a national humiliation.

Talleyrand had advised Napoleon to pursue milder terms the treaties marked an important stage in his estrangement from the emperor. After Tilsit, instead of trying to reconcile Europe, as Talleyrand had advised, Napoleon wanted to defeat Britain and complete his Italian dominion. To the coalition of the northern powers, he added the league of the Baltic and Mediterranean ports, and to the bombardment of Copenhagen by the Royal Navy he responded with a second decree of blockade, dated from Milan on 17 December 1807.

The application of the Concordat and the taking of Naples led to Napoleon's first struggles with the Pope, centered around Pius VII renewing the theocratic affirmations of Pope Gregory VII. The emperor's Roman ambition was made more visible by the occupation of the Kingdom of Naples and of the Marches, and by the entry of Miollis into Rome while General Junot invaded Portugal, Marshal Murat took control of formerly Roman Spain as Regent. Soon after, Napoleon had his brother, Joseph, crowned King of Spain and sent him there to take control.

Napoleon tried to succeed in the Iberian Peninsula as he had done in Italy, in the Netherlands, and in Hesse. However, the exile of the Spanish Royal Family to Bayonne, together with the enthroning of Joseph Bonaparte, turned the Spanish against Napoleon. After the Dos de Mayo riots and subsequent reprisals, the Spanish government began an effective guerrilla campaign, under the oversight of local Juntas. The Iberian Peninsula became a war zone from the Pyrenees to the Straits of Gibraltar and saw the Grande Armée facing the remnants of the Spanish Army, as well as British and Portuguese forces. General Dupont capitulated at Bailén to General Castaños, and Junot at Cintra, Portugal to General Wellesley.

Spain used up the soldiers needed for Napoleon's other fields of battle, and they had to be replaced by conscripts. Spanish resistance affected Austria, and indicated the potential of national resistance. The provocations of Talleyrand and Britain strengthened the idea that the Austrians could emulate the Spanish. On 10 April 1809, Austria invaded France's ally, Bavaria. The campaign of 1809, however, would not be nearly as long and troublesome for France as the one in Spain and Portugal. Following a short and decisive action in Bavaria, Napoleon opened up the road to the Austrian capital of Vienna for a second time. At Aspern, Napoleon suffered his first serious tactical defeat, along with the death of Jean Lannes, an able Marshal and dear friend of the emperor. The victory at Wagram, however, forced Austria to sue for peace. The Treaty of Schönbrunn, signed on 14 December 1809, resulted in the annexation of the Illyrian Provinces and recognized past French conquests.

The Pope was forcibly deported to Savona, and his domains were incorporated into the French Empire. The Senate's decision on 17 February 1810 created the title "King of Rome", and made Rome the capital of Italy. Between 1810 and 1812 Napoleon's divorce of Joséphine, and his marriage with Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, followed by the birth of his son, shed light upon his future policy. He gradually withdrew power from his siblings and concentrated his affection and ambition on his son, the guarantee of the continuance of his dynasty, marking the high point of the Empire.

Undermining forces, however, had already begun to impinge on the faults inherent in Napoleon's achievements. Britain, protected by the English Channel and its navy, was persistently active, and rebellion of both the governing and of the governed broke out everywhere. Napoleon, though he underrated it, soon felt his failure in coping with the Peninsular War. Men like Baron von Stein, August von Hardenberg and Johann von Scharnhorst had begun secretly preparing Prussia's retaliation.

The alliance arranged at Tilsit was seriously shaken by the Austrian marriage, the threat of Polish restoration to Russia, and the Continental System. The very persons whom he had placed in power were counteracting his plans. With many of his siblings and relations performing unsuccessfully or even betraying him, Napoleon found himself obliged to revoke their power. Caroline Bonaparte conspired against her brother and against her husband Murat the hypochondriac Louis, now Dutch in his sympathies, found the supervision of the blockade taken from him, and also the defense of the Scheldt, which he had refused to ensure. Jérôme Bonaparte lost control of the blockade on the North Sea shores. The very nature of things was against the new dynasties, as it had been against the old.

After national insurrections and family recriminations came treachery from Napoleon's ministers. Talleyrand betrayed his designs to Metternich and suffered dismissal. Joseph Fouché, corresponding with Austria in 1809 and 1810, entered into an understanding with Louis and also with Britain, while Bourrienne was convicted of speculation. By consequence of the spirit of conquest Napoleon had aroused, many of his marshals and officials, having tasted victory, dreamed of sovereign power: Bernadotte, who had helped him to the Consulate, played Napoleon false to win the crown of Sweden. Soult, like Murat, coveted the Spanish throne after that of Portugal, thus anticipating the treason of 1812.

The country itself, though flattered by conquests, was tired of self-sacrifice. The unpopularity of conscription gradually turned many of Napoleon's subjects against him. Amidst profound silence from the press and the assemblies, a protest was raised against imperial power by the literary world, against the excommunicated sovereign by Catholicism, and against the author of the continental blockade by the discontented bourgeoisie, ruined by the crisis of 1811. Even as he lost his military principles, Napoleon maintained his gift for brilliance. His Six Days' Campaign, which took place at the very end of the War of the Sixth Coalition, is often regarded as his greatest display of leadership and military prowess. But by then it was the end (or "the finish"), and it was during the years before when the nations of Europe conspired against France. While Napoleon and his holdings idled and worsened, the rest of Europe agreed to avenge the revolutionary events of 1792.

Napoleon had hardly succeeded in putting down the revolt in Germany when the emperor of Russia himself headed a European insurrection against Napoleon. To put an end to this, to ensure his own access to the Mediterranean and exclude his chief rival, Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. Despite his victorious advance, the taking of Smolensk, the victory on the Moskva, and the entry into Moscow, he was defeated by the country and the climate, and by Alexander's refusal to make terms. After this came the terrible retreat in the harsh Russian winter, while all of Europe was turning against him. Pushed back, as he had been in Spain, from bastion to bastion, after the action on the Berezina, Napoleon had to fall back upon the frontiers of 1809, and then—having refused the peace offered to him by Austria at the Congress of Prague (4 June – 10 August 1813), from fear of losing Italy, where each of his victories had marked a stage in the accomplishment of his dream—on those of 1805, despite the victories at Lützen and Bautzen, and on those of 1802 after his disastrous defeat at Leipzig, when Bernadotte—now Crown Prince of Sweden—turned upon him, General Moreau also joined the Allies, and longstanding allied nations, such as Saxony and Bavaria, forsook him as well.

Following his retreat from Russia, Napoleon continued to retreat, this time from Germany. After the loss of Spain, reconquered by an Allied army led by Wellington, the uprising in the Netherlands preliminary to the invasion and the manifesto of Frankfurt (1 December 1813) [17] which proclaimed it, he was forced to fall back upon the frontiers of 1795 and was later driven further back upon those of 1792—despite the forceful campaign of 1814 against the invaders. Paris capitulated on 30 March 1814, and the Delenda Carthago, pronounced against Britain, was spoken of Napoleon. The Empire briefly fell with Napoleon's abdication at Fontainebleau on 11 April 1814.

After less than a year's exile on the island of Elba, Napoleon escaped to France with a thousand men and four cannons. King Louis XVIII sent Marshal Ney to arrest him. Upon meeting Ney's army, Napoleon dismounted and walked into firing range, saying "If one of you wishes to kill his emperor, here I am!" But instead of firing, the soldiers went to join Napoleon's side shouting "Vive l'Empereur!" Napoleon retook the throne temporarily in 1815, reviving the Empire in the "Hundred Days." However, he was defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo. He surrendered himself to the British and was exiled to Saint Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic, where he remained until his death in 1821. After the Hundred Days, the Bourbon monarchy was restored, with Louis XVIII regaining the French throne, while the rest of Napoleon's conquests were disposed of in the Congress of Vienna.

Timeline: Consulate/1st French Empire

The Consulate and the Empire are two key periods in the history of France and of Europe. Here you can read about Napoleon’s early years, his coming to power, and other events during his reign. Some of these dates are expressed using the system of the Republican calendar. Click here to find out more about the Republican calendar.


On 15 August 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, in Corsica. The Bonapartes were a noble family who owned land, vineyards, and a comfortable house, but they were not always well-off. Bonaparte’s father never stopped trying to consolidate his family’s wealth and social standing. In 1771, he succeeded in having his family’s noble Tuscan origins recognised by France, which meant that not only could his sons benefit from study grants handed out by the king, but they could also attend schools reserved for the nobility. Napoleon’s first few years at school in Autun and then at military school in Brienne were difficult: his Corsican accent and his solitary nature frequently singled him out for teasing and jokes. He then moved onto military school at Paris where he received his officer’s diploma on 28 October 1785. His first regiment was stationed in Valence, in the south of France.

Did you know? Corsica was a dependent of the Genoan Republic until 1768, when it came under French control.

Illustration: Léonard-Alexis Daligé de Fontenay, The birthplace of Napoleon I in Ajaccio © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée des Châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau) / Jean Schormans


From 1787, Bonaparte alternated between Paris and Corsica. In Ajaccio, he participated in politics, supporting the unification of Corsica with France. This brought him into conflict with Pascal Paoli, who advocated Corsican independence and who was supported by the English.

The French Revolution in 1789 pitched the defenders of the monarchy, the privileged aristocracy and the high-ranking clergymen against the partisans for a more egalitarian society, known as republicans. The insurrection crystallized with the abolition of privileges on August 4, 1789. Bonaparte was only 19 years old. The revolutionary legislative assembly, which was to transform the absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy, gave way to the Convention in 1792, which set up the First French Republic. The new regime tried to find a balance between the moderates (Girondins) and the more radical faction (Montagnards).

After the king was executed in 1793, political life was irredeemably and dramatically changed. The Regime known as the “Terror” was imposed by the Montagnards. The same year, 1793, because of their allegiance to the Convention, and opposition to Corsican Independence, the Bonapartes were forced to leave the island and seek refuge in Toulon, on the south coast of France. Whilst the Terror ended on the 9 Thermidor Year II (July 27, 1794), a new constitution was drawn up for a year, culminating in the Convention of 5 Fructidor Year III (22 August 1795). In Paris, Napoleon took part in crushing the royalist insurrection against the Convention (13 Vendémiaire Year IV (5 October 1795), which resulted in his being named Division General on 16 October 1795.

Did you know? On 10 August 1792, Napoleon was present at the storming of the Palais des Tuileries, during which the palace was sacked and pillaged, the Royal Guard massacred and the Royal family forced to seek refuge at the Assembly. Profoundly influenced by this dramatic experience, Napoleon would later focus all his attention on avoiding popular uprising in Paris during his reign.

Illustration: Raffet, “13 vendémiaire, Saint Roch 1795” (detail), Musée National du Château de Malmaison © RMN


On 2 March 1796, the Directory named Napoleon Commander-in-chief of the Armée d’Italie and dispatched him with orders to counter Austrian influence in Italian territory. The Convention thus wanted to help young republics known as “sisters” of the Revolution to free themselves from the monarchies of the Ancien Regime and spread revolutionary ideals. This plan also aimed to oblige the enemy European powers of the Republic, united in coalition, to let go of the front that they had opened in France in 1792.

The young general was able to put into practice the military strategy that he had been developing in the course of his reading: target the enemy’s weak point, move quickly, and attack with surprise to gain a psychological advantage. April and May 1796 were marked by a series of victories, but in the summer, the Austrians took the advantage. On 15 November, Napoleon launched an attack near Rivoli, and after three days of fighting, achieved victory. The Austrians signed the treaty of Campoformio on 17 October 1797. Seven victories in seven months against a much larger army demonstrated that General Bonaparte was a great strategist. He also turned his hand to installing new ‘sister’ republics in Italy (the Cisalpine Republic and the Ligurian Republic).

Did you know? It was during this first campaign that Napoleon began to create the image of his invincibility and divine providence. He founded two newspapers, Le Courrier de l’armée d’Italie and La France vue de l’armée d’Italie, intended to maintain army morale and to inform the French public of their General-in-chief’s victories. “Bonaparte flies like lightning and strikes like thunder. He is everywhere and sees everything. He is sent by the Great Nation.” It was a publicity campaign before its time!

Portrait: Gros, “General Bonaparte on the bridge of Arcola, 17 November 1796”, © Château de Versailles Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Christophe Fouin


In 1798, the Directory sent Napoleon to Egypt to combat England’s growing commercial influence in the area. Keeping the expedition secret for as long as possible was crucial to slow any possible counter-attack by the English Navy, commanded by Admiral Nelson, Napoleon had his ships leave from different ports. Landing in Alexandria on 1 July, Napoleon and his troops were faced with a very hot climate and an uninhabitable terrain, blessed with very few resources. Nevertheless, the French army challenged and overturned the army of Mamluks, (reputed warriors, kidnapped in their youth in Muslim countries and attached to a sultan or caliph, whose leader, on the orders of Mourad Bey, had taken power with Ibrahim Bey in Egypt), at the Battle of the Pyramids near Cairo on 21 July. The French settlement in Cairo provoked an uprising of the native inhabitants which was harshly suppressed. At the same time, the French fleet lay in Abukir Bay, believing itself to be safe and protected. But on 1 August, Admiral Nelson blocked the French fleet from escaping and bombarded the ships. It was a disaster for the French fleet: 1,700 sailors were killed and almost all the ships were sunk. On top of this, the Syrian conquest, launched in January 1799, finished in defeat. Despite the land-based victory at Abukir on 25 July 1799, Napoleon decided to return to France, arriving back in Paris on 16 October. The departure of the French on 30 August 1801 confirmed English dominance in the region.

Did you know? The military campaign also provided the opportunity for a scientific expedition. Napoleon was accompanied by 160 scholars, geologists, botanists, chemists, and doctors. Besides offering logistical support and treatment for the soldiers, the scientists also made detailed drawings of the temples, pyramids and present-day towns, studied the arabo-islamic social customs and discovered the flora and fauna of Egypt. All these discoveries are described in detail in a magnificent ten-volume publication called La Description de l’Egypte (“Description of Egypt”).

Illustration: Gros, “Napoleon Bonaparte haranguing the army before the Battle of the Pyramids 21 July 1798”. Musée du Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Daniel Arnaudet / Jean Schormans


In 1799 the Directory was a government in decline, corrupt and hated by the French. Some of the Directors solicited Bonaparte’s return from Egypt, who agreed to help them overthrow the government. On 18 Brumaire (9 November), the two legislative assemblies were moved to the Château de Saint Cloud under the pretext that they needed protection from a potential plot. Bonaparte was charged with the protection of the “deputes”. He gave a confused speech in front of the assemblies this caused trouble in the ranks, and Bonaparte was heckled by the men present. Order was restored thanks to the intervention of General Murat and his troops. The next morning, the constitution for a new, provisional government was passed. Revealing his political ambitions, Bonaparte imposed himself as candidate for First Consul. Under the new constitution of Year VIII signed on 22 Frimaire Year VIII (13 December 1799), he could name not only the members of the “Conseil d’État” who drafted the laws, but also ministers, ambassadors, army officers and judges. The “Tribunat” and the “Corps législatif” were charged with the voting of the laws and the “Sénat” was the ‘guardian’ of the constitution.

The Consulate (1799-1804) oversaw the modernisation of France: the Banque de France was created and the currency stabilised, France underwent an administrative organisation (the creation of “départments” and “préfets”), the “Code Civil” was written, the “Légion d’honneur” was instituted, and canals, roads and tunnels were built throughout French territory. These new institutions created during the Consulate that survive to this day were known as the “Masses de granite”. Find out more.

Did you know? Bonaparte’s installation as First Consul gave rise to both Republican and monarchist opposition and that a number of plots would threaten the stability of the regime. On 24 December 1800, while on his way to the Paris Opera, Napoleon survived a bomb attack on rue Saint-Nicaise. Illustration: Bouchot, “Le Dix Huit Brumaire, 10 November 1799. Bonaparte in the conseil des Cinq-Cents at Saint-Cloud”, Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)


Austria and England were not prepared to accept the emergence in European politics of a Republican France under an ambitious First Consul Bonaparte. General Moreau was sent to fight Austrian presence in Germany, while Bonaparte looked to repeat his previous exploits of the first Italian campaign. On 14 June 1800, he narrowly defeated the Austrians at Marengo, a victory that led to the signature of the Peace of Lunéville in February 1801. After numerous diplomatic exchanges, England signed the peace treaty of Amiens in 1802. Europe entered a period of relative peace…

Did you know? In order to catch the enemy unawares, Napoleon and his entire army, including canons, munitions and horses, crossed the Alps. During May there was heavy snow and the Austrians, who could not believe it, were taken completely by surprise.

Illustration: Thévenin, “The crossing of the Great St Bernard Pass, 20 May 1800. Château du Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot


Looking to wipe the slate clean on an unequal, monarchist and catholic society, the French Revolution had suppressed Catholicism and abolished the clergy. The creation of a secular cult, unpopular and poorly supported by the population, had severely disrupted French society and succeeded only in setting French citizens against each other. Concerned for civic peace, Bonaparte entered into discussion with the Holy See (the central government of the Catholic Church), resulting in the signature of the Concordat on 15 July 1801. Catholicism was recognised as the “religion of the French majority” and places of worship were reopened. Nevertheless, Bonaparte reinforced his control over the church by obtaining the power to name bishops, and the introduction of an oath of loyalty to the government that the clergy had to take.

Did you know? “Les Articles organiques” were appended to the Concordat after ratification by the Catholic Church. These “Articles”, which were never approved by the Pope, allowed Bonaparte to reinforce his political dominance over the spiritual authority held by the church since the Middle Ages.

Illustration: Baron Gérard, “The signing of the Concordat between France and the Holy See, 15 July 1801”, Musée National du Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot


A few days after having been voted “Consul for life” by the Sénat on 12 May 1802, Napoleon founded the order of the “Légion d’honneur” (“Legion of honour”) on 19 May 1802. After the disruption of the Revolution, this decoration intended to bring together French citizens based on values and talents such as courage, civic ingenuity, and art. It was not a military award civilians, industrialists, scientists and artists, and men and women alike, could all receive the honour. Besides the medal and a title (“Grand Officier”, “Commandants”, “Officier”, “Légionnaire”), the recipient also received a regular allowance for life. The legionary had to pledge loyalty to the Republic and its government (and later on to the Empire and the Emperor).

Assistance could also be accorded to needy members and, concerned about the education of young girls, Bonaparte introduced educational centres for the daughters and granddaughters of titulars. The Légion d’honneur was accorded for the first time on 15 July 1802 at a grand and impressive ceremony held in the church of Saint-Louis des Invalides.

Did you know? The Légion d’honneur is part of the ‘masses de granit’, the name given by Napoleon to what he considered to be his most important laws that reorganised France during the Consulat.

Illustration: Debret, “First distribution of the Croix de la Légion d’Honneur in the Church of Les Invalides”, Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)


In 1792, the Muséum Central des Arts was created, situated in the Palais du Louvre. The aim was to bring together the works of the greatest painters and sculptors, allowing the general public to admire them and artists to be inspired by them. In 1802, Napoleon named as head of the museum Vivant Denon, a man of prodigious artistic talents who had also accompanied Napoleon on his Egyptian expedition. Denon was in charge of acquisitions and official commissions for not only for the Musée Napoléon (as it was renamed in 1803) but also for the fifteen new provincial museums, created in Lyons, Bordeaux and Marseilles and other towns. Through the wealth of its collections, the museum was to reflect the power of the French state. Throughout his reign, Napoleon continued to re-organise the Palais du Louvre he also commissioned contemporary artists to paint his portrait celebrating his political power, as well as works depicting (in the best light, of course) the events and the great successes of his reign, including coronations, Imperial marriages, treaty signatures and military victories. Every two years, the “Salon” for living artists would put on a public display of its works some of these would end up hanging in imperial palaces or becoming diplomatic gifts.

Did you know? During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the French government enriched its collections by taking many works of arts from the museums of its defeated enemies? After the fall of the Empire, a large number of these works were returned to their original homes.

Illustration: Couder, “Napoleon I visiting the staircase of the Louvre guided by the architects Percier and Fontaine”, Musée du Louvre © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Thierry Ollivier


After the foiling of a royalist plot in March 1804, Napoleon suspected that the duke was the instigator. After multiple attempts on his life, Napoleon wanted to put an end to these assassination plots as well as protect himself against any possible return of the Bourbon monarchy. The duke was arrested and, after a quick trial, executed on 21 March. His death gave rise to cries of protest in every royal court in Europe.

Almost a month later, a new constitution was created: the First Empire was proclaimed by the senatus-consulte (vote of the Senate by law) of 28 Floreal, Year XII (18 May 1804). This senatus-consulte was approved on 6 November later the same year.

On 2 December 1804, Napoleon was crowned Emperor of the French. Over 12,000 people were present at the ceremony which lasted for more than four hours in the freezing Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The Pope also made a special trip from Rome for the ceremony. However, in placing the crown upon his head himself and crowning his own wife Josephine, Napoleon succeeded in reducing the Pope to a simple blessing of the ceremony, thus reaffirming his power in face of the Catholic Church. Napoleon planned every detail of the ceremony which was intended to put him on an equal footing with other European monarchs. However, only a few months earlier, the godson of Louis XVI, the Duc d’Enghien, had been executed on Napoleon’s orders.

Illustration: David, “The coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and the Empress Josephine at Notre Dame de Paris, 2 December 1804”, Musée National du Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Hervé Lewandowski


In 1805, England organised a new coalition against France, which included Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Grande Armée (the French Imperial army) won a series of victories, including Ney’s victory at Elchingen on 14 October and Napoleon’s victory at Ulm on 20 October. French troops entered Vienna on 14 November, and on 2 December, a year after his coronation in Paris, Napoleon crushed the Russian and Austrian troops at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Austrians signed the peace treaty at Presbourg on 26 December. The war lasted for two years: the French double-victory at Jena and Auerstadt on 14 October 1806 against the Prussians followed by victory over Russia at Friedland on 14 June 1807 confirmed Napoleon’s dominance in Europe. On 8 July 1807, Russia and Prussia were forced to sign the peace treaty at Tilsit, and Napoleon created the Duchy of Warsaw from Polish territory taken from Prussia.

Illustration: Gérard, “Battle of Austerlitz, 2 December 1805”, Musée National du Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)


In 1806, Napoleon appeared invincible. Emperor of the French since 1804, he also became King of Italy in 1805, Protector of the German Confederation in 1806 and had been Mediator of the Helvetian Confederation since 1803. Little by little he installed family members on the European thrones: his stepson Eugene de Beauharnais was made Viceroy of Italy in 1805, his brothers Louis and Joseph became Kings in Holland and Naples respectively in 1806, and later on, in 1807, Jerome was named to Westphalia. In 1808, his brother-in-law Murat was also installed as King of Naples.

However, the main enemy was still England, who controlled the seas and world trade. The development of English industries, notably textiles, rested on the exportation of the raw materials from the colonies in India and the Caribbean. Realising that he could not launch a direct attack on the English navy (the French suffered a bitter defeat at Trafalgar in 1805), Napoleon decided to weaken England’s economy by imposing a continental blockade in 1806. A decree obliged all French and allied ports (including Holland and Spain) to refuse entry to British ships. However, some of the allies were reluctant to apply the blockade with any real conviction for fear that their own trade would suffer, and smuggling increased. On top of this, Napoleon was forced to mobilise a lot of men to oversee the blockade, many of whom were taken from army contingents.

Illustration: James Gillray, Dividing up the world © RMN. Caricature showing Napoleon (right) and the British Prime-minister William Pitt (left) in 1805 greedily serving themselves large portions of the world.


Traditionally, Spain had been an ally of France, playing an important role in the continental blockade of England trade. However, in April 1808, Napoleon’s concern over dynastic conflicts between the king of Spain Charles IV and his son Ferdinand led him to install his own brother Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne. The new king was poorly received by the people in Madrid and there was an uprising on 2 May. France’s repressive response on 3 May fuelled opposition in the country, which was supported by a heavyweight ally, England. Napoleon was victorious at Somosierra on 30 November and Madrid capitulated on 4 December, but he was soon obliged to return to Paris due to the Austrian threat. The conflict, a real war of independence for the Spanish, also contributed to the weakening of the Napoleonic army and served to demonstrate to the whole of Europe that it was no longer invincible. Despite several victories, the French troops, exhausted by obstinate guerrilla fighting, were defeated at Vitoria on 21 June 1813 and shortly after Joseph was forced to yield the throne to King Ferdinand VII.

Illustration: Goya, Dos de Mayo 1808, Madrid (the 2 nd May) © Museo Nacional del Prado, Dist. RMN-GP


In April 1809, Austria was looking for revenge. Thus began the hardest-won campaign of Napoleon’s career, a campaign notable for its victories (Eckmühl on 22 April, Ratisbonne on 23 April and Wagram on 6 July) but also for its defeats (the battle of Essling on 20-21 May for example). The victory at Wagram on 6 July imposed peace on the Austrians, which was signed in Vienna on 14 October. As well as losing Galicia to the Duchy of Warsaw, Austria was forced to yield to France all of its Adriatic territories. On 12 October Napoleon, who was in Vienna for the signature of the peace treaty, survived another assassination attempt. Whilst observing a military parade at Schönbrunn Palace, Napoleon was approached by a young man who put his hand to his coat, ready to brandish a dagger. An officer stopped him in time, and Napoleon was not even aware of what had happened. The son of a German pastor, Frédéric Staps had decided to eliminate the “tyrant” Napoleon. The Austrian defeat put an end to any hope of liberation from French dominance that the German states had. Staps was initially sentenced to death, but to avoid any patriotic popular uprising, Napoleon had him declared insane – he was however later executed.

Illustration: Vernet, “Napoleon I at the Battle of Wagram, 6 July 1809, Musée National du Château de Versailles © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)

1810 – A NEW HOPE

In December 1809, Napoleon I divorced Empress Josephine who, despite producing two children from her first marriage (Eugene and Hortense de Beauharnais), had failed to give him a son that would consolidate the Imperial regime and perpetuate the new reigning dynasty, the Bonapartes. In 1810, Napoleon engaged Tsar Alexander I on the possibility of marrying one of the Russian monarch’s sisters. When Alexander refused, Napoleon turned to his forced ‘ally’, Austria. On 1 April, he married the young Archduchess Marie-Louise Habsburg, daughter of the Emperor Francis I. A year later, on 20 March 1811, the new Empress gave birth to a son named Napoleon after his father and given the title “Roi de Rome” (King of Rome). More about the Roi de Rome.

Did you know? Marie-Louise was the grandniece of Queen Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793). Ironically, this made Napoleon the great nephew, by marriage, of Louis XVI.

Illustration: Georges Rouget, The Religious marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise, 2 April 1810 in the Salon Carré at the Louvre, © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles)


The peace at Tilsit in 1807 did not prevent Franco-Russian antagonism for long. Alexander I could not accept the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw and was becoming impatient regarding war with the Ottoman Empire and its division. Taking the French annexation of the German Duchy of Oldenburg as a pretext, he declared war on 8 April 1812. In June, Napoleon invaded Russia with a force of 480,000, keeping in reserve another 120,000 soldiers. The Russian tactics centred on refusing battle, disrupting the French forces and forcing them to spread out and become dispersed.

The French easily took Vilnius and then Smolensk but on 7 September, neither Napoleon nor Koutousov emerged victorious from the battle of Borodino, at the gates of Moscow. A week later, the French entered a city soon to be consumed in flames the Russians had sacrificed it in order to destroy any supplies or ammunition from which the French could have profited.

Napoleon thus began his retreat on 18 October. The army experienced great difficulty in crossing the swollen Berezina (a river in Belarus) 28-29 November, and Napoleon, warned of a possible coup d’état in Paris, was forced to push on ahead. He left Ney and Murat in charge of the remaining troops, but the horrendous weather conditions meant that only 20,000 soldiers returned to France alive.

Illustration : François Fournier-Sarlovèze, The French army crossing the Bérésina, 28 November 1812 © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais Pascal Segrette


In 1813, as the exhausted Grande Armée returned to France from Russia, a Russo-Prussian coalition was formed. Despite two victories at Lützen on 2 May and at Bautzen on 20 May, Napoleon was defeated on 16 and 19 October at the Battle of Leipzig (known as the “Battle of the Nations” because of the number of nationalities involved – French, allied with Poles, Neapolitans, Saxons (the Kingdom of Saxony changed sides) against the Russians, Austrians, Prussians and Swedes – as well as the number of soldiers present – nearly 200,000 men on the French side, and more than 300,000 on the coalition side). Upon hearing the news of this defeat, Belgium and Holland rebelled while Austria, with the support of Murat, began re-establishing itself in Italy. And with Spain lost, France was all that remained for Napoleon.

Illustration: after Johann Adam Klein, Battle of Leipzig, 16, 18 et 19 October 1813 © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais


After the defeat at Leipzig, English forces invaded southern France while the Prussians, Austrians and Russians threatened Paris. On 24 January 1814, Napoleon entrusted the regency to the Empress Marie-Louise and took charge of an army of 60,000 young soldiers. Despite French victories at Brienne (29 January), Champaubert (10 February) and Montmirail (11 February) in the face of much larger enemy forces, Napoleon could not prevent the invading coalition from entering Paris on 31 March 1814. When he learned of the capitulation of the capital, he made a U-turn and headed for the Chateau de Fontainebleau, the nearest Imperial residence.

On 2 April, the Senate voted in favour of deposing the Emperor, and at Fontainebleau Napoleon abdicated, in favour of his son, Napoleon II. But by 6 April, the abdication was unconditional. He was exiled to the island of Elba and Louis XVIII was restored to the Bourbon throne.

Illustration: Delaroche, Napoleon I at Fontainebleau, 31 March 1814 © Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais


On 1 March 1815, Napoleon landed at Golfe Juan, crossed the Alps and arrived in Grenoble where an army commanded by Ney awaited him. On 20 March, Napoleon took back possession of the Palais des Tuileries, abandoned the previous day by Louis XVIII, who had fled to Belgium. Napoleon decided to pre-empt the allied forces and invaded Belgium with a force of 130,000 soldiers.

After defeating Blücher’s Prussian troops at Ligny on 16 June, he prepared for the decisive battle at Waterloo, south of Brussels. However, a combination of Ney and de Soult’s blunders, Grouchy’s failure to contain Blücher and prevent him from rejoining Wellington, and staunch English and Prussian resistance resulted in Napoleon’s defeat on 18 June. Refusing to prolong a resistance campaign, as he was advised by a number of his close associates, Napoleon capitulated on 22 June.

Did you know? During the first few months of Louis XVIII’s reign, the violet became the rallying emblem for Bonapartists. This discreet spring flower was seen as a symbol of loyalty to Napoleon and indicated a hope that a Bonaparte would return to the throne.

Illustration : after Charles de Steuben, The return from Elba © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau) / Jean Schormans


On 22 June 1815, four days after the defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon abdicated for the second time in his reign. He initially made for the island of Aix, from where he hoped to set sail for (possibly) the United States. At the same time, the English and French were working to prevent his escape. He eventually surrendered to British forces on 14 July he soon learned that his captors had decided to exile him to the island of St Helena, a small isolated island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. He was joined in exile by some of his loyal supporters: Marshal Bertrand, Count Montholon and their wives Count de Las Cases and his young son General Gourgaud and ten servants, including Marchand and Saint-Denis. On 17 October 1815, after a voyage of more than two months, Napoleon landed at St Helena: accessible only via a small port surrounded by tall cliffs, it was the perfect natural prison. At his residence at Longwood, originally a barn, with damp and dark rooms, Napoleon dedicated himself to dictating his memoirs. Many hours were spent, not only reliving his greatest moments, but also explaining the errors of his reign. Each day Napoleon’s health worsened due to the poor climate, a lack of privacy and the general tedium of an existence marooned on an isolated island over 2000 km from any landmass. Napoleon’s moods swung between bouts of depression, during which time he would refuse to leave Longwood, and periods of intense activity, including the conception of a new garden. His final words before his death on 5 May 1821 were of Josephine and the army.

Illustration : Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse, Napoleon I on his deathbed 5 May 1821 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau) / Michèle Bellot


Eighteen years after the death of Napoleon in exile on the island of St Helena, with the legend of Napoleon at its apogee, King Louis-Philippe organised the return of Napoleon’s mortal remains.

On 15 December 1840, a large crowd gathered along the route of the procession. Many had not experienced life under the Empire but their imaginations had been captivated by the tales of their elders.

The funeral coach was eleven metres tall, drawn by sixteen horses, and adorned with golden caryatids supporting a display coffin. Napoleon’s actual coffin was hidden in the base of the carriage. No members of the Imperial family were able to attend the ceremony as they were still banished. The body of Napoleon now rests in the crypt of the Dome Church at Les Invalides. 100 years later, the body of his son, who died in 1832 at Schönbrunn, was interred next to Napoleon.

Did you know? In France during the 19th century, the word “cendres” (“ashes”) was systematically used to refer to a person’s mortal remains even if they had not been cremated.

Illustration : Henri-Félix-Emmanuel Philippoteaux, The return of the mortal remains of Napoleon I, Dorade arrives in Courbevoie, 14 December 1840 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau) / Daniel Arnaudet

"French Artillery Poundage in the Peninsula" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

What would the breakdown of a typical (say, 1809) Foot artillery battery be? What size guns, and what about howitzers?

A typical foot battery (company) would be six 6 or 8 pdrs and two 6 inch or 24 pdr howitzers. The aspiration was to be uniform with the 6 pdrs and 24 pdr howitzers but a number of the older equipments were still around.

So the Gribeauval system took a bit to phase out? That makes sense. I suppose I'll have some of my batteries with the older guns.

I've skimmed To Assure My Dynasty, the Et Sans Resultat campaign book for Iberia 1808, and the breakdown of the French batteries listed for various scenarios seemed tilted towards 8-pdrs over 6-pdrs. Many of the troops initially sent to Spain were second-line forces, which would explain why the older weapons might have been more common.

There was even one light battery of 4-pdrs listed!

The Spanish artillery corps was also armed with Gribeauval system guns (remember, they had been a French ally) so they would be quite common in the theater.

I crowdsourced a question to TMP awhile back about the Army of Portugal results at this link:

Key takeaways: the Army of Portugal seemed to have been armed almost entirely with 8 and 4 pound Gribeauval guns. No 6 or 12 pounders, even though the An XI system guns were in widespread service elsewhere. I have heard that few 6 pounders made it to Spain, and after the initial campaign, the French brought few 12 pounders, because the roads were so bad.

Not sure whether any of the other armies in the Peninsula got 6 pounders, though.

My recollection was that Gribeauval was the norm in Iberia, with An XI going to Germany, and only showing up in the south after Vittoria. Capturing Spanish Gribeauval equipment would have reinforced this. Reequipping an entire major power is no joke, and not done overnight. And Spain was never the priority theater for Napoleonic France.

See tanks in NATO South vs NATO Center in the Cold War--or 12-lb Napoleons in the Army of Tennessee as opposed to the ANV. Whenever some historian gives you the date at which the army was equipped with Weapon X, rest assured there was some poor grunt in a backwater theater still using Weapon V--if not Weapon U.

Also, answers to this appeared in links provided in the 'Redux' thread.. go fish, it couldn't be easier&hellip

>>second-line forces, which would explain why the older weapons might have been more common.

No, it doesn't actually.
Guns were organised gunners were allocated (or vice-versa) and the piecemeal build up of infantry largely built from cadres and depots- read conscripts, as well as 'retained' manpower within France, were created with as little effect as possible of the 'main' army's in Germany and Italy, or their respective replacement troops.

I'd say Bailen 1808 weighed heavily on the mind and another such disaster with an homogenous corps was to be avoided, as the clouds of 1809 gathered.

The Systeme AN XI was never fully implemented and so only augmented the Gribeauval System instead of replacing it.

The only field pieces that were produced in any numbers were the 6-pounder long gun and the 5.5-inch (or 24-pounder) howitzer.

The Gribeauval gun carriages were better designed than those of Systeme AN XI and modified Gribeauval gun carriages, used for the 6-pounder for example were used.

The Gribeauval field pieces were still being used in Germany by Davout's command in 1809 (see Saski, Volume I) while the AN XI field pieces were used to equip the new II and IV Corps that were formed for that campaign.

The Gribeaval limbers and caissons were still being used by the French artillery arm during the period.

The Gribeauval System was finally phased out/replaced when the new Valee Artillery System was introduced in 1827.

The Spanish Army had adopted the Gribeauval System some time after it was introduced in France, and they were still using the field pieces and ancillary vehicles when fighting the French after 1807.

There is some excellent information on the Spanish artillery arm of the period in Rene Chartrand's Ospreys on the Spanish army of the period.

If remember correctly when the Baden contingent's artillery got to the Spanish frontier their 6pdrs were replaced by 4pdrs. I wonder if this was done to simplify ammo. supply.

I read a report/ book passage back in the 1980s that stated that none French batteries were made to exchange larger caliber guns for lighter guns before they went on into Spain.

It very well could have been if the French 6-pounder ammunition wasn't a good fit for the Baden field pieces.

I've seen OBs for the Army of Portugal, and the standard battery was 4 4-lb, 2 8-lb and 2 howitzers. The 4-lb was popular because it as easy to move and required less horses overall to move, important considerations in the Peninsula.

I also recall reading that after losing its guns on the retreat from northern Portugal, Soult's Corps was released- equipped with Austrian pieces, possibly recently-captured ones.

Soult's II Corps had six foot and three horse companies in January 1809. Ordnance was as follows:
4 x 12 pdr
20 x 8 pdr
16 x 4 pdr
14 x 6" howitzers

Many of the troops initially sent to Spain were second-line forces

Exactly wrong as it happens. The French troops initially sent to Spain were the veterans of Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, Friedland etc. The army whittled away there was the cream.

The second-rate armies were those raised afterwards to fight Austria in 1809, Russia in 1812, and the Sixth Coalition in 1813-14. There is a connection between the outcome of those campaigns and the quality of the armies sent.

Napoleon did regularly raid his Spanish forces for cadres, replacements, NCOs and officers for these other armies, while sending conscripts there. By 1814 the French forces there were probably as bad as those everywhere else. This doesn't alter the fact that the vaunted Grande Armee of 1805-7 was constructively wiped out in Spain by the Peninsular allies.

That is incorrect. Levi is correct in his comment regarding the first French army of invasion in Spain. The first French army of invasion, which included Dupont's corps, were not the veterans of the Grande Armee which had fought in the above campaigns.

The units sent were composed of newly -inducted conscripts, five legions of the reserve which had been intended as coastal defense troops, and a few veteran units such as the Sailors of the Guard.

After the disaster at Baylen veteran units from the Grande Armee were formed for the second invasion which was commanded and led by Napoleon. Napoleon left 90,000 veterans, including Davout's III Corps and the heavy cavalry, in central Europe under Davout. That was the core of the Army of Germany that defeated the Austrians in 1809.

That is also incorrect. Perhaps you should take a look at John Elting's Swords Around A Throne in order to understand the Grande Armee.

Charles Oman in Volume I of his history of the Peninsula War, pages 103-107, succinctly covers what troops were sent into Spain by Napoleon for the first invasion.

'In dealing with the history of the imperial armies in the Peninsula, it is our first duty to point out the enormous difference between the troops who entered Spain in 1807 and 1808, under Dupont, Moncey, and Murat, and the later arrivals who came under Bonaparte's personal guidance when the first disastrous stage of the war was over.'

'The victors of Jena and Friedland were left in their cantonments on the Rhine, the Elbe, and the Oder, while a new force, mainly composed of elements of inferior fighting value, were sent across the Pyranees.'

The veteran units that were assigned to the French invasion forces numbered 31,200 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. 1,800 of the infantry were from newly formed 4th battalions.

Troops organized in temporary formations or foreign troops numbered 64,200 infantry and 10,500 cavalry.

Of the 25,000 infantry that belonged to the regular army, 17,500 of them were assigned to Junot. The rest of the verteran troops, 5,000 of them, were assigned to Duhesme in Catalonia. Dupont had only two battalions of regulars, the rest, 17,300, of his infantry were new conscripts. Moncey had no veteran units and Bessieres had only four battalions of veterans.

The Grande Armee's veterans were in central Europe, not Spain, and would not enter Spain until after Baylen and even then 90,000 of them remained in central Europe under Davout.

Thanks Brechtel! Yes, I was referring to those troops sent as part of the occupation and then the initial response to the Spanish uprising.

In any case, it sounds like Gribeauval 8- and 4-pdrs would be more common for most of the formations that served in the peninsula for long periods.

Generally speaking, the Gribeauval 4- and 8-pounders were the field pieces employed in Spain.

For the artillery aspect of the 1809 campaign in Bavaria and Austria, Volume I of Campagne de 1809 en Allemagne et en Aurtiche by Commandant Charles-Gaspard-Louis Saski has primary source material on the artillery assigned to newly organized and forming Army of Germany.



In 1792 the Kingdom of France was overthrown by the First French Republic, led by Maximilien de Robespierre, but it made several enemies with King Louis XVI of France's allies. His wife Marie Antoinette was a member of the Austrian and Spanish House of Habsburg, so the French preemptively declared war on Austria and her allies Britain, Spain, the United Provinces, and the Russian Empire. From 1792 to 1800 they fought against two coalitions and invaded Egypt in 1798, and their greatest general in these wars was Napoleon Bonaparte, a rustic Corsican artillery officer who rose to command the Army of Italy and later the Egyptian expedition. When he returned home in 1799 he overthrew the Directorate in a Christmas coup d'etat and proclaimed himself "First Consul", a dictator. He defeated the Second Coalition by 1802, when he finally forced Britain to make peace, and that year he was proclaimed emperor of France by Pope Pius VII, who sat on a bench as he was crowned.

Empire of Napoleon

In 1805 Emperor Napoleon was faced with the Third Coalition: Austria, Britain, Sweden, Russia, Naples, and Sicily, who were opposed to his claim to being Emperor. He showed his genius for warfare again by driving Austria out of the war in the First Battle of Wagram, and with forked tongues, the Austrians made an armistice and alliance. However, he backed his protectorate of Westphalia against his other allies, the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of Italy, and made peace with Italy and recaptured lost lands from the Dutch. By the end of 1805 he had defeated the Austrians again at the Battle of Austerlitz, where he also destroyed a Russian army. Afterwards he forced both countries to make peace and he won his first war as Emperor.

By this time, the Empire had become different from the Kingdom of France. It accepted Jews as well as Catholics and Huguenot Protestants, and was a diverse land. There were many poor people, but many of these eagerly enlisted in the army or were drafted. A massive army bolstered by fresh conscripts and brilliant generals seemed unstoppable. The French Navy was also strong, but the Royal Navy of Great Britain was by far more aggressive and modern and frequently defeated the French attempts at a cross-channel invasion. 

In 1806, only a few months after Austerlitz, the Fourth Coalition was declared as Austria, Britain, Russia, Sweden, the Two Sicilies, and their new Prussian allies invaded France. The French defeated the Prussians and Austrians at the Battle of Jena and the Battle of Auerstadt and forced the two enemies to make peace once more after a victory at the Battle of Friedland in 1807. 

A year later, Napoleon embarked on an ambitious invasion of Spain, occupying the whole country after capturing Madrid and Pamplona from the Spanish. The French faced not only Spain as an enemy, but also Great Britain. In the longest war of the Napoleonic Wars (1808-1814), the Spanish, Portuguese, and British slowly pushed the French out of France and ended the war by capturing Toulouse in 1814.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Austrians alone mobilized and fought France in the "Fifth Coalition" although not much of a coalition (Prussia failed to send aid and Russia was hostile), the Austrians won at the Battle of Aspern-Essling in 1809 but were defeated in the Second Battle of Wagram. Austria again surrendered, and along with Prussia formed an alliance with France and blocked trade with Britain. 

In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia, hoping to capture Moscow and complete his conquest of Europe. But Russian troops burnt the lands and homes as they retreated, as they had Cossack raiders and attrition on their side. The French had nowhere to rest and nothing to eat, and they were nearly defeated at the Battle of Borodino. He was forced to leave occupied Moscow because of the chilling winter and the lack of food or supplies, and as he retreated most of his army died. Of millions of men, only 150,000 troops returned to France in a drastic waste of life. Austria and Prussia betrayed him and formed the Sixth Coalition in 1813, defeating Napoleon at Dresden. Napoleon bloodily recaptured Dresden after another battle at Lutzen, but at the decisive Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon's army was annihilated and he was forced to rewind time to the 1792 map he only owned France, as the rest of Europe was liberated. In 1814 he fought a series of battles in the Defense of France, and won all of them. But the Allies captured Paris instead of falling into his plot he was a tactical genius, but he made a fool of himself. The French Empire was at its end.

In June 1815, however, Napoleon returned from Exile. King Louis XVIII of France sent Michel Ney and an army of French troops to arrest Napoleon, but Ney delivered his troops under Napoleon's command. The French Army occupied Paris and Louis fled to Paris, but on 18 June 1815 the French were defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon's defeat led to his capture and he was exiled to Saint Helena in the Atlantic. For him, there was no escape, and he died in 1824 on the miserable rock.

Managing the Grand Empire, 1808�

The Treaty of Tilsit established a formal political alliance between Russia and France. European states outside of this continental association were limited to Britain, Portugal , Sweden and the Ottoman Empire. 39 Britain's dominance at sea wreaked havoc with the Spanish colonial empire and threatened American commerce with Latin America and Europe. Napoleon's distrust of his Spanish allies led to their overthrow in the spring of 1808. Napoleon replaced the Spanish Bourbons with his older brother Joseph (1768�).

The invasion of Spain initiated a six-year war that drained Napoleon of vital manpower resources. It provided Britain with a new continental ally and a base of operations to strike at France. The war in Spain (1808�) witnessed the widespread use of guerrilla warfare against French forces in tandem with conventional Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish armies. This new alliance was a formal military agreement between the powers. 40 There is debate among historians concerning the extent to which ideology played a role in the guerilla war in Spain. Certainly, the anti-clerical policies of Revolutionary France had served to rally the Spanish population against the French invasion in 1794, but Napoleon was not anti-clerical and had made amends with the papacy in 1801. Recent arguments place the guerilla war in a traditional context, with soldiers rather than peasants forming the majority of Spanish guerilla forces. 41

Popular unrest and guerilla warfare did not first appear in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, but in Naples in 1799 and again after French conquest in 1806. The San Fedesti revolt in 1799 swept away the French satellite of the Parthenopean Republic in Naples. After the French returned in 1806, a revolt in Calabria led to an insurgency that lasted five years. In 1809, Andreas Hofer (1767�) led a popular revolt in the Tyrol, not against French, but Bavarian rule. Also in 1809, there were significant attempts in Germany to raise popular revolt against French domination. All but the Spanish insurgency failed. 42 Each rebellion was shaped by local issues and remained isolated from rebellions elsewhere.

Napoleon's focus on Spain provided Austria with the opportunity to rearm and strike. The Austrians attempted to gain Prussian and Russian support for their war in 1809, but failed on both accounts. Britain provided monetary subsidies, but their military power remained in Iberia . Napoleon managed to secure Russia's commitment to his alliance, and a Russian army invaded Galicia (Austrian Poland) a month after hostilities began. 43 The Austrians went to war against Napoleon's coalition of Russia, the Confederation of the Rhine and the kingdom of Italy. Austria's inability to garner support from Prussia or Russia undermined its war effort and enabled Napoleon to outmaneuver Austria on the battlefield and in the political arena. The war in 1809 was certainly the greatest test of the newly-structured Grand Empire, but Napoleon's allies held to their agreements despite the opportunity to undermine French hegemony. 44

Austria's defeat in 1809 led the following year to the dynastic marriage of Marie Louise (1791�), the daughter of Francis, to Napoleon. This Habsburg-Bonaparte union can be seen as a restoration of the Austro-French alliance of the eighteenth century. From the Austrian perspective, it enabled the Habsburgs to establish themselves above the Prussians and Russians within the context of Napoleon's European empire. It was a way in which the Habsburg dynasty could reassert its influence in the "new Europe" after it was abandoned by Prussia and Russia in 1809. 45

Anti-French coalitions were virtually impossible to establish between 1810 and 1812. Britain's commitments in Portugal and Spain, and later its war with the United States in 1812 stretched its military and financial resources to the limit. 46 Tsar Alexander I found it increasingly difficult to maintain a solid French alliance after 1809. Napoleon's demand that the Continental System be enforced and his increasingly unilateral actions in Europe, such as the integration of northwest Germany into the French Empire without Russian consultation or compensation placed Russia on a collision course with Napoleon. In the meantime, Russia was still at war with the Ottoman Empire, and from 1808 to 1809 fought with Sweden for control of Finland . Furthermore, Napoleon had made several overtures to the Persians, seeking to improve relations and to compromise Russia's southern frontier.

When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, the armies of Imperial France included troops from every state in the Grand Empire. Austria and Prussia went to war with Russia as allies of France too. The nature of coalition warfare from 1807 to 1812 favored Napoleon. An Anglo-Russian alliance could do little as each held to the peripheries of Europe. Napoleon's defeat in 1812 offered the first opportunity in years for a new anti-French coalition.

Reign of Joseph I

The Josephine State had its legal basis in the Bayonne Statute.

When Fernando VII left Bayonne, in May 1808, he asked that all institutions co-operate with the French authorities. On 15 June 1808 Joseph, the elder brother of Napoleon was made King. The Council of Castile assembled in Bayonne, though only 65 of the total 150 members attended. The Assembly ratified the transfer of the Crown to Joseph Bonaparte and adopted with little change apart from a constitutional text drafted by Napoleon. Most of those assembled did not perceive any contradiction between patriotism and collaboration with the new king. Moreover, it was not the first time a foreign dynasty had assumed the Spanish Crown: at the start of the eighteenth century, the House of Bourbon came to Spain from France after the last member of the House of Habsburg, Charles II, died without offspring.

Napoleon and Joseph both underestimated the level of opposition that the appointment would create. Having successfully appointed Joseph King of Naples in 1806 and other family rulers in Holland in 1806 and Westphalia in 1807, it came as a surprise to have created a political and later military disaster. [2]

Joseph Bonaparte promulgated the Statute of Bayonne on 7 July 1808. As a constitutional text, it is a royal charter, because it was not the result of a sovereign act of the nation assembled in Parliament, but a royal edict. The text was imbued with a spirit of reform, in line with the Bonaparte ideals, but adapted to the Spanish culture so as to win the support of the elites of the old regime. It recognized the Catholic religion as the official religion and forbade the exercise of other religions. It did not contain an explicit statement about the separation of powers, but asserted the independence of the judiciary. Executive power lay in the King and his ministers. The courts, in the manner of the old regime, were constituted of the estates of the clergy, the nobility and the people. Except with regard to the budget, its ability to make laws was influenced by the power of the monarch. In fact, King was only forced to call Parliament every three years. It contained no explicit references to legal equality of citizens, although it was implicit in the equality in taxation, the abolition of privileges and equal rights between Spanish and American citizens. [ vague ] The Constitution also recognized the freedom of industry and trade, the abolition of trade privileges and the elimination of internal customs.

The Constitution established the Cortes Generales, an advisory body composed of the Senate which was formed by the male members of the royal family and 24 members appointed by the king from the nobles and the clergy, and a legislative assembly, with representatives from the estates of the nobility and the clergy. The Constitution established an authoritarian regime that included some enlightened projects, such as the abolition of torture, but preserving the Inquisition.

The Spanish uprising resulted in the Battle of Bailén 16-19 July 1808, which resulted in a French defeat and Joseph with the French high command fleeing Madrid and abandoning much of Spain. [2]

During his stay in Vitoria, Joseph Bonaparte had taken important steps to organise the state institutions, including creating an advisory Council of State. The king appointed a government, whose leaders formed an enlightened group which adopted a reform program. The Inquisition was abolished, as was the Council of Castile which was accused of anti-French policy. He decreed the end of feudal rights, the reduction of religious communities and the abolition of internal customs charges.

This period saw measures to liberalize trade and agriculture and the creation of a stock exchange in Madrid. The State Council undertook the division of land into 38 provinces.

As the popular revolt against Joseph Bonaparte spread, many who had initially co-operated with Bonaparte dynasty left their ranks. But there remained numerous Spanish, known as afrancesados, who nurtured his administration and whose very existence gives the Spanish war of independence civil war character. The afrancesados saw themselves as heirs of enlightened absolutism and saw the arrival of Bonaparte as an opportunity to modernize the country. Many had been a part of government in the reign of Charles IV, for example, François Cabarrus, former head of finance and Mariano Luis de Urquijo, Secretary of State from November 1808 to April 1811. [2] But there were also writers like playwright Leandro Fernández de Moratín, scholars like Juan Antonio Llorente, the mathematician Alberto Lista, and musicians such as Fernando Sor.

Throughout the war, Joseph Bonaparte tried to exercise full authority as the King of Spain, preserving some autonomy against the designs of his brother Napoleon. In this regard, many afrancesados believed that the only way to maintain national independence was to collaborate with the new dynasty, as the greater the resistance to the French, the greater would be the subordination of Spain to the French imperial army and its war requirements. In fact, the opposite was the case: although in the territory controlled by King Joseph I modern rational administration and institutions replaced the Old Regime, the permanent state of war reinforced the power of the French marshals, barely allowing the civil authorities to act.

The military defeats suffered by the French army forced Joseph I to leave Madrid on three occasions, the first in July 1808, following the Battle of Bailén until it was recaptured by the French in November. [2] The second time was from 12 August until 2 November 1812 whilst the Anglo-Portuguese army occupied his capital. The king finally left Madrid in May 1813 and Spain in June 1813, following the battle of Vitoria, ending the failed stage of enlightened absolutism. Most of Joseph's supporters (about 10,000 and 12,000) fled to France into exile, along with the retreating French troops after the war, their property was confiscated. Joseph abdicated.

Post Abdication

Joseph spent time in France before travelling to the United States (where he sold the jewels he had taken from Spain). He lived there from 1817 to 1832, [3] initially in New York City and Philadelphia, where his house became the centre of activity for French expatriates.

Joseph Bonaparte returned to Europe, where he died in Florence, Italy, and was buried in the Les Invalides building complex in Paris. [4]

Following in his father’s footsteps, Hureau was an artillery commander who eventually became a general. One of the best gunners of his generation, he won fame through the successful use of massed batteries. Traditionally, artillery had been utilized in a supporting role on the battlefield. Massed batteries turned it into a devastating offensive weapon and a hallmark of Napoleonic French armies.

Hureau was made a baron in 1808 and artillery commander of the French Army of Spain in 1809. In October 1810, while commanding artillery at the siege of Cadiz, he was killed by a howitzer shell.

Battle of the Pyramids on 21 July 1798 by Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1808



Bell, David Avrom: The First Total War, London et al. 2007.

Broers, Michael: The Concept of “Total War” in the Revolutionary-Napoleonic Period, in: War In History 15 (2008), pp. 247–268.

Esdaile, Charles J.: Conscription in Spain in the Napoleonic Era, in: Donald J. Stoker et al. (eds.): Conscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?, London et al. 2009, pp. 102–121.

Grab, Alexander: Conscription and Desertion in Napoleonic Italy, 1802–1814, in: Donald J. Stoker et al. (eds.): Conscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?, London et al. 2009, pp. 122–134.

Guibert, Jacques-Antoine-Hippolyte de: Essai général de tactique, précédé d’un Discours sur l’état actuel de la politique et de la science militaire en Europe, avec le plan d’un ouvrage intitulé: La France politique et militaire, London 1772, vol. 1–2, online: [20/01/2012].

Hippler, Thomas: Conscription in the French Restoration: The 1818 Debate on Military Service, in: War In History 13 (2006), pp. 281–298.

Mikaberidze, Alexander: Conscription in Russia in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries: “for faith, Tsar and Motherland”, in: Donald J. Stoker et al. (eds.): Conscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?, London et al. 2009, pp. 46–65.

Pavković, Michael F.: Recruitment and Conscription in the Kingdom of Westphalia: “The Palladium of Westphalian freedom”, in: Donald J. Stoker et al. (eds.): Conscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?, London et al. 2009, pp. 135–148.

Showalter, Dennis: Europe’s Way of War, 1815–1864, in: Jeremy Black (ed.): European Warfare, 1815–2000, New York 2002, pp. 27–50.

Stephens, H.M. / Kiste, John van der: Art. “Frederick, Prince, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827)”, in: H.C.G. Matthew et al. (eds.): Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 2004, vol. 20, pp. 900–902.

Tallett, Frank et al. (eds.): European Warfare, 1350–1750, Cambridge et al. 2010.

Walter, Dierk: Meeting the French Challenge: Conscription in Prussia, 1807–1815, in: Donald J. Stoker et al. (eds.): Conscription in the Napoleonic Era: A Revolution in Military Affairs?, London et al. 2009, pp. 24–45.

Wilson, Peter H.: Social Militarisation in Eighteenth-Century Germany, in: German History 18 (2000) pp. 1–39.

Woloch, Isser: Napoleonic Conscription: State Power and Civil Society, in: Past and Present 111 (1986), pp. 101–129.


  1. Nicholson, Medieval Warfare 2004, pp. 40–44.
  2. Anderson, War 1998, pp. 21–24 Tallett, European Warfare 2010.
  3. Anderson, War 1998, pp. 91–92, 113–114, and 120 Wilson, Social Militarisation 2000.
  4. Guibert, Essai général 1772, vol. 1, pp. 17–18, 22.”But imagine that a vigorous people will arise in Europe that combines the virtues of austerity and a national militia with a fixed plan for expansion, that it does not lose sight of this system, that, knowing how to make war at little expense and to live off its victories, it would not be forced to put down arms for reasons of economy. One would see that people subjugate its neighbours, and overthrown our weak constitutions, just as the fierce north wind bends the slender reeds. … Between these peoples, whose quarrels are perpetuated by their weakness, one day there might still be more decisive wars, which will shake up empires.”, transl. by K.L.
  5. Starkey, War 2003.
  6. Stephens / Kiste, Art. “Duke of York” 2004.
  7. Bell, Total War 2007 Forrest, Conscripts and Deserters 1989.
  8. Griffith, Art of War 1998, pp. 80–82.
  9. See for the reports that led to the law, and[07/06/2011].
  10. Woloch, Conscription 1986.
  11. See [12/01/2012] for articles White, Enlightened Soldier 1989.
  12. Broers, Europe 1996.
  13. Grab, Conscription 2009.
  14. Pavković, Recruitment 2009.
  15. Blackbourn, Germany 2003, pp. 58–59.
  16. The French text of the treaty is available on[07/06/2011].
  17. Rothenberg, Great Adversary 2007 Mikaberidze, Conscription 2009.
  18. Cookson, British Armed Nation 1997.
  19. Esdaile, Conscription 2009.
  20. Walter, Conscription 2009.
  21. Hippler, Conscription 2006.
  22. Showalter, Europe’s Way 2002.
  23. Bond, War 1983.
  24. Broers, “Total War” 2008.

Editor: Peter H. Wilson
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