|Weapons||Cavalry Saber, 1777 Charleville Musket, 8 Pound Cannon|
|Battle Status||Lost vs. George Washington|
|Experts||Mathew Cape (19th Century Weapons Expert)
Phillipe Simon (Napoleonic Historian)
"If I had succeeded, I would have been the greatest man known to history."-Napoleon
Napoleon Bonaparte, the bloodthirsty French Emperor whose maniacal dream was to conquer the world;
George Washington, the American hero who, against all odds, defeated the mighty British Army.
Stats[edit | edit source]
- Circa - 1805 (Joining the French Army in 1785, Coronation as Emperor on December 2, 1804, first arrest on 11 April 1814, escaped imprisonment 26 February 1815, second arrest 8 July, 1815)
- Age - 37 (born 15 August 1769)
- Height - 5' 6" (above average for the time period; the rumor of his shortness was a miscalculation)
- Weight - 140 lbs
- Symbol - 8 Pound Cannon (Signature Weapon)
[edit | edit source]
The events of the French Revolution are officially viewed between 5 May 1789 – 9 November 1799. France during the 1700s was led by the House of Bourbon; a royal family that saw their rule as divine and thus, ignored the lower class of France. The nation became bankrupt due to the clergy, nobility and wealthy not paying any taxes and the reckless spending done by the Bourbons; which included massive luxurious projects (like the Palace of Versailles) and costly wars (like the 7 Years War and the American Revolution). Despite France becoming bankrupt and the lower class facing famine; the royal elites maintain enormous wealth. This economic divide created tensions that erupted into revolt. Revolutionaries also believed the rumor that the monarchy was a puppet of other European powers.
The monarchy of King Louis XVI was declared abolished on 21 September 1792 by the revolutionary National Convention and The First French Republic was officially declared. On 21 January 1793 the king was executed.
Throughout the revolution and the formation of the Republic; Britain instigated a series of conflicts against the French Empire, known as the Napoleonic Wars, involving every major European power. The French revolutionaries wanted to spread republicanism internationally and the monarchies of Europe wanted to prevent such anti-monarchical revolts by discrediting and destroying the republican government. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe, and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European nations as French client states.
In 1796, Napoleon invaded and occupied the Papal States led by Pope Pius VI. The Pope condemned the French Revolution that overthrew the Catholic monarchy and attempted to remove Catholic political influence; sometimes through repressive means. In 1798 the Pope was arrested by Napoleon for refusing to give up his power. In 1799 the Pope died in prison. Napoleon's puppet-state, the Kingdom of Italy, heavily influenced Italian Nationalism: which would lead to the Italian Unification movements that occurred shortly after the fall of the Napoleonic Empire.
Between 1798–1801, Napoleon invaded Ottoman territories within Egypt and The Levant in order to blockade trade between the British Raj and the UK to weaken the British Army logistically. The British Navy blockaded the French, leading to their defeat due to having their logistics cut off. This was one of the first major disasters for Napoleon as much of this French army was killed by disease or abandoned in the Middle East.
Between 1791 – 1804 the French slave colony of Haiti was under a slave revolt. With Napoleon infuriating the population by trying to reintroduce slavery to the colony (to maintain profits to fund his wars) and the English (enemies of the French at this time) funding the revolutionaries, the revolt ended with Haitian independence. The French had lost two-thirds of forces sent to the island in an attempt to suppress the revolution; most died of yellow fever. 
In 1803, Napoleon saw the collapse of the Haitian colony as a sign that other American territories were going to be difficult to maintain as well and thus Napoleon saw these territories as liabilities. The Louisiana Purchase allowed Napoleon to discard the Louisiana Territory to his allies the USA. This action, combined with the US-Mexico War, would begin the westward expansion of the USA that would make the USA a global superpower but also displace or slaughter millions of Native Americans.
On 12 July 1806, Napoleon created the Confederation of the Rhine; basically turning the Holy Roman Empire into a puppet-state of the French Empire. The people within the Confederation resisted French influence fiercely; to do so they began the first movements of a unified German nationalism to confirm the linguistic and cultural differences between themselves and their French occupiers. After the French Empire fell, the unification efforts created by Napoleon's puppet-state would eventually influence German Unification under Otto von Bismarck in 1871.
Between 1807–14 Napoleon fought Spain and Portugal in The Peninsular War. The initial cause for the war was Napoleon retaliating against Portugal for refusing to embargo Great Britain. The Spanish monarchy was replaced by Napoleon's brother: Jose Bonaparte. The Spanish and Portuguese people were outraged and those still loyal to the previous Ferdinand VII of Spain led a guerrilla war that eventually removed French influence. However during this time the Spanish colonies were experiencing revolts; taking advantage of the chaos within the mainland. While the Spanish Empire attempted to crack down on these revolts even during Napoleonic occupation; this was the beginning of the end of the Spanish Empire. The most noticeable revolutionary was Simon Bolivar; who liberated or assisted the liberation of; Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (a nation that named itself after Bolivar). The Napoleonic Wars also indirectly led 1822 Independence of Brazil as a result of the Peninsular War weakening Portugal.
The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. Like Portugal, Russia refused to maintain the embargo against the UK: Napoleon saw this as reason to invade Russia. His Grande Armée saw success on the battlefield, but the Russians maintained strategical advantages by committing to a scorched earth policy that exhausted Napoleon's troops. When Napoleon captured Moscow, the Russians burned their own city. Napoleon feared a new guerrilla war with the patriotic and merciless Russians and so retreated. In this retreat the Grande Armée was badly damaged in the campaign due to a typhus outbreak responsible for 90% of the fatalities (80,000). Desertion, famine, other diseases and hypothermia also contributed to these causalities. Napoleon invaded Russia with 685,000 troops, but left with only 10,000. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeat Napoleon's now devastated Grande Armée at Leipzig; the following year, the Coalition invaded France, forcing Napoleon to abdicate, and exiled him to the island of Elba.
Less than a year later, he escaped Elba and returned to power. The new king Louis XVIII sent the French Army to arrest Napoleon; yet they defected to Napoleon and Louis fled into exile. But Napoleon's return and his Second Republic (dubbed the 'Hundred Days') was met by his European enemies forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic (one of the most isolated islands in the world).
He died on November 5, 1821 from stomach cancer, though there are rumors that he was poisoned. Other historians agree that he was poisoned, but not intentionally; rather arsenic was used in the paint of his green bedroom. This practice of using arsenic paint was common at the time, as most were unaware of its toxicity. Napoleon's tomb is within the Les Invalides in Paris.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Louis XVIII returned to the throne immediately after Napoleon's defeat. The House of Bonaparte however remained in French politics.
The French Revolution of July 1830 overthrew the French King Charles X; replacing the Bourbon Restoration with the July Monarchy and restricting the monarchy's power to be constitutional.
In 1848, the Second French Republic formed out of the European Revolutions of 1848. This Republic was ironically overthrown by Napoleon III (Napoleon's nephew): who became France's last monarch and founded the Second French Empire that lasted 2 December 1852 – 4 September 1870. Napoleon III attempted to launch conquests similar to his uncle, only for the majority of his military campaigns and colonization attempts to be disastrous. Kaiser William I and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck began German Unification which was seen as a threat to France (especially when the German Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern attempted to take the throne of Spain to surround France); leading Napoleon III to declare the Franco-Prussian War between 19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871. The French forces suffered a crushing defeat and at the Battle of Sedan on 1–2 September 1870, Napoleon III was captured and the last French monarchy fell: creating the Third French Republic on 4 September 1870.
The French Tricolor is seen as a symbol of republicanism and has been mimicked by at least 15 other modern national flags.
Napoleon Bonaparte himself is a national icon within France itself and his remembered for his tactical genius and short term yet large scale conquests, but his legacy remains controversial in other nations. Many view Napoleon as a powerhungry military dictator with an unending thirst for global conquest. The Kingdom of France existing in the aftermath of Napoleon's reign was noticeably smaller than during the First French Empire, as the Napoleonic Wars in the longterm caused France to lose several colonies.
Weapons[edit | edit source]
|Short Range||Cavalry Sabre|
|Medium Range||1777 Charleville Musket|
|Long Range||8-Pound Cannon|
|Tactics||"Bait and Bash"|
Battle[edit | edit source]
The battle starts with Napoleon and his soldiers coming over a hill looking above General Washington's militia. Napoleon's lieutenant hands him a telescope so that he can get a better view on their situation. Below, Washington looks up at Napoleon's small regiment just as he gives the signal for his soldiers to advance. Washington commands his men to arm up their Brown Bess Muskets and begin firing as Napoleon's lieutenant gives the order to open fire, killing one militia man. The militiamen fire back with their muskets and kill a Frenchman. Washington then orders the militia sniper to take out Napoleon's lieutenant, shooting him off of his horse with the Pennsylvania Long Rifle.
Both teams then give the orders to prepare their cannons. Napoleon's 8 pounder is the first to fire, shooting and killing an American revolutionary as the ball blasts clean through his mid-section. Washington then fires off his 6 pounder, decapitating a Grand Army soldier. Washington commands the cannon to be reloaded, but quickly orders his men to get down as Napoleon's men fire off another shot which cripples the cannon. Washington then gives the order to charge as he makes for his horse. Back up on the hillside, the Napoleonic cannoneer loads grapeshot into the cannon as Washington's remaining two men charge up the hill, muskets in hand. The cannoneer hurriedly slams the grapeshot into the back of the cannon as the fuse quickly burns into the cannon and dives for cover as the grapeshot rips down the hill, killing one militia man and wounding the other.
Napoleon then mounts up on his horse as Washington rides past his fellow man, who is struggling to get to his feet. Washington rides up to the remaining cannoneer and strikes him across the neck with his Colichemarde sword, killing him instantly. Bonaparte does the same to the wounded militia man, riding past him and slicing him with his cavalry saber.
Both men face each other down in the middle of the battlefield, swords in one hand and reins in the other. Both generals charge and clash swords, with Washington getting thrown off his horse. Washington recovers quickly and retrieves his tri-corn hat as Napoleon dismounts and rushes to confront his opponent, both saluting with their swords and assuming a fighting stance. Washington thrusts at Napoleon, who parries and counter-attacks. Washington parries and punches Napoleon across the face. Napoleon continues to attack with Washington parrying every strike until he sees an opening in Napoleon's defense. Seeing the opening, Washington thrusts his sword through the side of Napoleon's neck. He then pulls out the sword and wipes the blood from it, looking off into the horizon.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- It was unlikely that Napoleon had a habit of tucking his hand in his shirt or coat. This was an artistic technique; even the best painters of the 1800s could not accurately draw hands and so found ways to draw poses where the hand was hidden. Other figures of this time, including George Washington, have several paintings with similar poses that allowed the painter to ignore the hands. However it should also be noted that this posture remained popular during the introduction of photography and continued as recently as the mid 20th century. 
- It is widely believe that the Napoleon Cannons in the 1850s were named after Napoleon I, but in reality it was named after the King of France at that time, Napoleon III (Napoleon's nephew). Still some believe that the Napoleon cannons were named after Emperor Napoleon I for his expertise in artillery warfare.
- While Napoleon was famous for building a European empire, he also gave up Spanish and French colonies in the Americas. This allowed the early independence of many central and South American countries and the fall of the New Spain Empire. The Louisiana purchase also allowed the United States to expand westward. It is believed that Napoleon was either uninterested in these territories or wanted to move his resources and attention to Europe.
- While Napoleon was famous for his conquests and military achievements, his political rule was also unique. Despite a totalitarian rule, Napoleon allowed many aspects of freedom and liberty introduced by the French Revolution. This political shift strongly influenced the politics of the modern day French Republic.
- Since Napoleon was born on Corsica, he wasn't born under a French speaking family. Even as an adult he had difficulties spelling in French.
- After his defeat in the Battle of Leipzig 1813 The Frankfurt Proposals, Napoleon was offered the chance to stay as Emperor of France if he surrendered to the European powers. He rejected the proposal, as he would have needed to surrender some of France's territory if he agreed.
- Napoleon allowed the Metric System to become the dominant measurement system of the world by making it the scientific standard of the nations he conquered. While some nations tried to reverse the Metric System after Napoleon's defeat; his longterm influence made the Metric System survive his empire's fall.
- The USA is one of the few nations not to adapt the Metric System as the English Empire initially refused to be influenced by their rivals, the French, in any manner.
- While it is true that many of the Napoleonic Wars were caused by Napoleon's attempts at imperialism, a majority of these wars were European powers invading France. This was because Napoleon and the French Revolution stood as anti-monarchistic symbols in a continent dominated by monarchies. The monarchs of Europe feared that revolutions similar to the French Revolution would occur if the French Republic gained popularity.
- This trend of multiple superpowers attacking a popular revolution has happened multiple other times in history; including the Russian Civil War and the Iranian Revolution. Even after the revolutions ended; the USSR and Iran became ostracized by the international community because if the revolution gained international influence; other nations would collapse to similar revolts.
- Charles Barbier, a captain in Napoleon's army, created night writing: a prototype of Braille. He did this to send coded messages that didn't need candlelight to be viewed.
- The first purpose-built steam battleship in the world was named after Napoleon.
- Napoleon's chief of staff collected hundreds of rabbits for a rabbit hunt that Napoleon wanted to hold in 1807. But when the bunnies were released from their cages, they swarmed Napoleon and his guests. Napoleon ended up running away from his rabbits instead of hunting them.
- Although Haiti gained independence from the Napoleonic Empire; Charles X of France of the Bourbon Kingdom of France threatened to reconquer Haiti or demand Haiti to pay $20 billion (later reduced to $12 billion) in indemnities. In 1825 he send 12 warships to the island. The Haitian Revolution was successful primarily due to aid from the British Empire (which was one of Napoleon's greatest enemies during his war); but the monarchy of Charles X was a strong ally of the British (possibly being a puppet of them) and Haiti was still decimated from their revolution. Unable to defend themselves, the Haitians agreed to pay. The dept was paid off in 1947, however Haiti still suffers from the economic toll of this dept even today. France refuses to repay Haiti, despite many other nations agreeing that the indemnities were illegal, unjust, and absurdly extreme.
- Both Washington and Napoleon faced the same enemy; King George III. However in 1811, George III's mental illness rendered him unable to reign. This left Napoleon to face the King's son and regent, George IV.
- Napoleon appointed his brother Louis Bonaparte as King of Holland. Initially, Louis was poor at speaking dutch, and so in an infamous speech he declared himself Konijn (rabbit) instead of Koning (king). His enemies kept this unfortunate nickname 'Rabbit King'.
- Napoleon first appeared in the Vlad the Impaler vs. Sun Tzu episode as one of the examples of military leaders who used Sun Tzu's tactics. Napoleon has admired and studied other strategists of the ancient world, including Hannibal and Alexander the Great.
- The War of 1812 was directly caused by the Napoleonic Wars. The British forces were stretched thin due to both maintaining their Empire and fighting Napoleon. At the same time; navy volunteers were at an all time low as sailor salaries have been stagnant for many years while other occupations grew in salary. Many citizens were also discouraged by the fact that the quality of life on British ships was relatively poor; sailors lived in unsafe cramp and overcrowded conditions with tasteless salty food and hearing damage from cannon fire. To compensate, Great Britain implemented impressment; the kidnapping of civilian naval merchants in order to forcefully conscript them into the British navy. However the British kidnapped foreigners as well; especially Americans. The US government saw these kidnappings as illegal and an act of war. The British argued that since the USA was founded by British citizens; all Americans born before the American Revolution were British citizens that were still owned by the British Crown.
- The French Revolutionaries assisted the Irish Rebellion of 1798 in an attempt to repel the British. Instead, the British crushed the rebellion and implemented the repressive Acts of Union 1800.
- Napoleon's campaign in Egypt led to the re-popularization of Ancient Egyptian history and culture within the Western World (dubbed Egyptian Revivalism), the rediscovery of the Sphinx and the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.
- The town of Waterloo (where the Battle of Waterloo was fought) has a monument that is a massive tombstone for the leg of Lord Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey & 2nd Earl of Uxbridge. Lord Uxbridge's leg was surgically amputated after it was hit by grapeshot. Uxbridge ordered a full military funeral for his leg.
- Napoleon actually lost more wars than he won.
- One of the most infamous French Revolutionaries was Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade; who's name is referenced as the word 'sadistic'. Marquis de Sade was known for his brutal blasphemous criticism of the Catholic Church and also for his gore, murder and torture themed pornographic literature. His novella Justine and Juliette were so infamous that Napoleon ordered his arrest in 1801. Marquis de Sade was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but was re-declared to be insane and put into an asylum.
- Napoleon's Gold Sabre, used during the 1800 Battle of Marengo, was valued at $6.5 million in 2018: making it the most expensive saber in the world.
- Napoleon's bicorn hat sold for $2.4 million in 2014.
- Napoleon focused primarily on making his infantry and cavalry light and mobile; as other European armies had rigid formations that were vulnerable to flanking maneuvers.
- Joseph Stalin closely studied the French Revolution. Stalin copied strategies used during the Reign of Terror and Napoleon's coup d'etat, implementing these political maneuvers to maintain political power and to implement the Stalinist purges.
- Époisses de Bourgogne is a French cheese that is famous for being enjoyed by Napoleon.
- It is estimated that 3.2 to 6.5 million people died during the Napoleonic Wars.
- According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon officially owned the Principality of Elba during his exile on the island in 1814. Napoleon initiated reforms and policies during his reign on Elba; had Napoleon not left the island, it could have been maintained as a legitimate European government. However Napoleon launched his Waterloo Campaign as he feared that his enemies in Europe were planning to attack Elba or remove Napoleon from power entirely, which was a likely possibility.
- Napoleon attempted to flee to the USA after his defeat at Waterloo, as the USA was Napoleon's most consistent and powerful ally during the Napoleonic Wars.
- This is a link for lesser known trivia on Napoleon .