Military career of Napoleon Bonaparte

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Napoleon I
Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries - Google Art Project.jpg
Nickname(s)"General Vendémiaire", "The Little Corporal", "Napoleon the Great"
Born(1769-08-15)August 15, 1769
Ajaccio, Corsica
DiedMay 5, 1821(1821-05-05) (aged 51)
Longwood, St. Helena
AllegianceFrance
Service/branchTrained as an artillerist
Years of service1779–1815
RankCommander in Chief (Head of State)
Commands heldArmy of Italy
Army of the Orient
French Army
Grande Armée
Battles/warsFrench Revolutionary Wars

Napoleonic Wars

AwardsGrand Master of the Legion of Honour
Grand Master of the Order of the Reunion
Grand Master of the Order of the Iron Crown
Grand Master of the Order of the Three Golden Fleeces
RelationsHouse of Bonaparte
Other workSovereign of Elba, writer

The military career of Napoleon Bonaparte spanned over 20 years. As emperor, he led the French armies in the Napoleonic Wars. Widely regarded as a military genius and one of the finest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns have been studied at military schools worldwide. He fought more than 70 battles, losing only eight, mostly at the end.[1] The great French dominion collapsed rapidly after the disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon was defeated in 1814 and exiled to the island of Elba, before returning and was finally defeated in 1815 at Waterloo. He spent his remaining days in British custody on the remote island of St. Helena.[2]

Early career[edit]

Napoleon's early career is well covered.[3][4] The most thorough coverage of his campaigns is by David G. Chandler.[5]

1769

August 15 – Born Nabulione di Buonaparte in Ajaccio, Corsica

1778

December 15 – Leaves Corsica for mainland France

1779

January 1 – Enters a religious school at Autun

May 15 – Enters cadet school at Brienne-le-Château

1784

October 30 – Enters the École Militaire in Paris

1785

September 1 – Graduates from the École Militaire and is commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant of Artillery

October 30 – Reports to first posting with the La Fère Artillery Regiment at Valence-sur-Rhône

1786

September 1 – Goes to Corsica on long furlough until June 1788

1788

June – Rejoins his regiment at Auxonne, attached to the School of Artillery

1789

September 15 – Goes on second leave to Corsica, becomes involved in revolutionary activities and attempts to gain favour with Pasquale Paoli

1791

February 10 – Returns from Corsica to regimental duty at Auxonne

April 1 – Promoted to 1st Lieutenant

September 1 – Third furlough to Corsica

1792

February 6 – Promoted to Captain (antedated)

April 1 – Elected Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, Corsican Volunteers. Is implicated in a riot in Ajaccio

May 28 – Returns to Paris, instead of rejoining his regiment

September 15 – Escorts his sister, Elisa, back to Corsica

1793

February 22–25 – Commands artillery during an abortive French landing on Maddalena Island, Sardinia

March 3 – Breaks with Paoli, blaming the failed landing on him

June 13 – Arrives with his family in Toulon, having been banished from Corsica by Paoli

August 27 – Toulon handed over to the British by Royalists

September 16 – Given command of the artillery besieging Toulon

October 18 – Promoted to Major

December 17–19 – Leads the successful recapture of Toulon from the British and Royalists

December 22 – Promoted to Brigadier General.

Battles[edit]

For comprehensive coverage, see Chandler (1973).[6] For an overall view of the military history of the era see Trevor N. Dupuy and R. Ernest Dupuy, The Encyclopedia of Military History (2nd ed., 1970) pp. 730–770.

Victories[edit]

Defeats[edit]

Indecisive[edit]

Battle record summary[edit]

Date Battle Opponent Location Outcome
29 Aug-19 Dec 1793 Siege of Toulon Kingdom of Great Britain French Republic Victory
24-28 Apr 1794 Saorgio Habsburg MonarchyKingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
5 Oct 1795 13 Vendémiaire Kingdom of France French Republic Victory
11-12 Apr 1796 Montenotte Habsburg MonarchyKingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
12-13 Apr 1796 Millesimo Habsburg MonarchyKingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
14-15 Apr 1796 Second Battle of Dego Habsburg MonarchyKingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
16 Apr 1796 Ceva Kingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
21 Apr 1796 Mondovi Kingdom of Sardinia Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
7-9 May 1796 Fombio Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
10 May 1796 Lodi Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
30 May 1796 Borghetto Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
4 Jul 1796-2 Feb 1797 Siege of Mantua Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
3-4 Aug 1796 Lonato Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
5 Aug 1796 Castiglione Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
4 Sep 1796 Rovereto Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
8 Sep 1796 Bassano Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
15-17 Nov 1796 Arcole Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
14-15 Jan 1797 Rivoli Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
16 Jan 1797 La Favorite Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
16 Mar 1797 Valvasone Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
16 Mar 1797 Tagliamento Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
21-23 Mar 1797 Tarvis Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Italy Victory
10-12 Jun 1798 Malta Sovereign Military Order of Malta Malta Victory
2 Jul 1798 Alexandria Ottoman Empire Mameluk Egypt Victory
13 Jul 1798 Shubra Khit Ottoman Empire Mameluk Egypt Victory
21 Jul 1798 Pyramids Ottoman Empire Mameluk Egypt Victory
21-22 Oct 1798 Revolt of Cairo Fictitious Ottoman flag 2.svg French Egypt Victory
11-19 Feb 1799 Siege of El Arish Ottoman Empire Mameluk Egypt Victory
3-7 Mar 1799 Siege of Jaffa Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire Victory
20 Mar–21 May 1799 Acre Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire Defeat
16 Apr 1799 Mount Tabor Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire Victory
25 Jul 1799 Abukir Ottoman Empire French Egypt Victory
14 May-1 Jun 1800 Siege of Fort Bard Habsburg Monarchy Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
14 Jun 1800 Marengo Habsburg Monarchy Kingdom of Sardinia Victory
15-20 Oct 1805 Ulm Habsburg Monarchy Electorate of Bavaria Victory
2 Dec 1805 Austerlitz Habsburg MonarchyRussian Empire Archduchy of Austria Victory
14 Oct 1806 Jena Kingdom of PrussiaElectorate of Saxony Kingdom of Prussia Victory
9 Nov 1806-15 Jun 1807 Greater Poland Uprising Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia Victory
23 Dec 1806 Czarnowo Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Prussia Victory
7-8 Feb 1807 Eylau Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Prussia Victory
14 Jun 1807 Friedland Russian Empire Kingdom of Prussia Victory
30 Nov 1808 Somosierra Spain Spain Victory
19 Apr 1809 Teugen-Hausen Austrian Empire Kingdom of Bavaria Victory
20 Apr 1809 Abensberg Austrian Empire Kingdom of Bavaria Victory
21 Apr 1809 Landshut Austrian Empire Kingdom of Bavaria Victory
21-22 Apr 1809 Eckmühl Austrian Empire Kingdom of Bavaria Victory
23 Apr 1809 Ratisbon Austrian Empire Austrian Empire Victory
21-22 May 1809 Aspern-Essling Austrian Empire Austrian Empire Defeat
5-6 Jul 1809 Wagram Austrian Empire Austrian Empire Victory
26-27 Jul 1812 Vitebsk Russian Empire Russian Empire Victory
16-18 Aug 1812 Smolensk Russian Empire Russian Empire Victory
7 Sep 1812 Borodino Russian Empire Russian Empire Victory
26-29 Nov 1812 Berezina Russian Empire Russian Empire Victory
2 May 1813 Lützen Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Saxony Victory
20-21 May 1813 Bautzen Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Saxony Victory
22 May 1813 Reichenbach Russian Empire Kingdom of Saxony Victory
26-27 Aug 1813 Dresden Austrian EmpireKingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Saxony Victory
16-19 Oct 1813 Leipzig Austrian EmpireKingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire Kingdom of Saxony Defeat
30-31 Oct 1813 Hanau Kingdom of Bavaria Duchy of Frankfurt Victory
29 Jan 1814 Brienne Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
10 Feb 1814 Champaubert Russian Empire French Empire Victory
11 Feb 1814 Montmirail Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
12 Feb 1814 Chateau-Thierry Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
14 Feb 1814 Vauchamps Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
17 Feb 1814 Mormant Austrian EmpireKingdom of BavariaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
18 Feb 1814 Montereau Austrian EmpireFlagge Königreich Württemberg.svg French Empire Victory
5 Mar 1814 Berry-au-Bac Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
7 Mar 1814 Craonne Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
9-10 Mar 1814 Laon Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Defeat
12-13 Mar 1814 Reims Kingdom of PrussiaRussian Empire French Empire Victory
20-21 Mar 1814 Arcis-sur-Aube Austrian EmpireKingdom of BavariaRussian Empire French Empire Indecisive
26 Mar 1814 Sain-Dizier Russian Empire French Empire Victory
16 Jun 1815 Ligny Kingdom of Prussia United Kingdom of the Netherlands Victory
18 Jun 1815 Waterloo Kingdom of PrussiaUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom of the Netherlands Defeat

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts says his losses came at Siege of Acre (1799), Battle of Aspern-Essling (1809), Battle of Leipzig (1813), Battle of La Rothière (1814), Battle of Laon (1814), Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube (1814), and Battle of Waterloo (1815). Andrew Roberts, "Why Napoleon merits the title 'the Great,'" BBC History Magazine (1 November 2014)
  2. ^ Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life (2014)
  3. ^ Andrew Roberts, Napoleon: A Life (2014)
  4. ^ Frank McLynn, Napoleon: A Biography (1997)
  5. ^ David G. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon (1973) 1172 pp; a detailed guide to all major battles excerpt and text search
  6. ^ David G. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon (1973) excerpt and text search
  7. ^ Jean Tranié et Juan-Carlos Carmigniani, Napoléon : 1814 - La campagne de France, Pygmalion/Gérard Watelet, 1989, 315 p.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bell, David A. The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Bruce, Robert B. et al. Fighting Techniques of the Napoleonic Age 1792–1815: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon (1973) 1172 pp; a detailed guide to all major battles excerpt and text search
  • Crowdy, Terry. Napoleon's Infantry Handbook (2015)
  • Delderfield, R.F. //Imperial Sunset: The Fall of Napoleon, 1813-14 (2014)
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. and Dupuy, R. Ernest. The Encyclopedia of Military History (2nd ed. 1970) pp 730–770
  • Dwyer, Philip. Napoleon: The Path to Power (2008) excerpt vol 1; Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power (2013) excerpt and text search v 2; most recent scholarly biography
  • Elting, John R. Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grand Armee (1988)
  • Esdaile, Charles. Napoleon's Wars: An International History 1803-1815 (2008), 621pp
  • Gates, David. The Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815 (NY: Random House, 2011)
  • Griffith, Paddy. The Art of War of Revolutionary France, 1789–1802 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Harvey, Robert (2013). The War of Wars. Constable & Robinson. p. 328., well-written popular survey of these wars
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. Napoleon's Military Machine (1995) excerpt and text search
  • Hazen, Charles Downer. The French Revolution and Napoleon (1917) online free
  • Kagan, Frederick W. The End of the Old Order: Napoleon and Europe, 1801-1805 (2007)
  • McLynn, Frank. Napoleon: A Biography (1997)
  • Nafziger, George F. The End of Empire: Napoleon's 1814 Campaign (2014)
  • Parker, Harold T. "Why Did Napoleon Invade Russia? A Study in Motivation and the Interrelations of Personality and Social Structure," Journal of Military History (1990) 54#2 pp 131–46 in JSTOR.
  • Pope, Stephen (1999). The Cassel Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars. Cassel. ISBN 0-304-35229-2.
  • Rapport, Mike. The Napoleonic Wars: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP, 2013)
  • Riley, Jonathon P. Napoleon as a General (Hambledon Press, 2007)
  • Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A Life (2014) Major new biography by a leading British historian; 926 pp
  • Rothenberg, Gunther E. (1988). "The Origins, Causes, and Extension of the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon". Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 18 (4): 771–793. JSTOR 204824. JSTOR 204824
  • Rothenberg, E. Gunther. The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon (1977)
  • Schneid, Frederick C. (2011). The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Mainz: Institute of European History.
  • Schneid, Frederick C. Napoleon's Conquest of Europe: The War of the Third Coalition (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Shoffner, Thomas A. Napoleon's Cavalry: A Key Element to Decisive Victory (2014)
  • Smith, Digby George. The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book: Actions and Losses in Personnel, Colours, Standards and Artillery (1998)