First Italian Campaign |
The Egyptian Campaign |
Second Italian Campaign |
The Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign |
The Prussian Campaign |
The Peninsular War |
The Austrian War |
The Russian Campaign |
From Lützen to Elba
The Waterloo Campaign
From Lützen to Elba, 1813-1814
was the beginning of the end," Napoleon's former
foreign minister Charles Talleyrand said. After Napoleon's
lost most of his army in Russia, Britain, Russia, Prussia,
and Sweden united against him. Only Austria, ruled by
his new wife's father, wavered. But they wouldn't remain
neutral for long all of Europe smelled blood
with Napoleon's defeat.
star was fading," Napoleon said. "I felt the reins slipping
out of my grasp, and could do nothing to stop it."
HORNE: But the
remarkable thing was he managed to, yet again, produce
a new army. He still had the extraordinary mystique
that he could look Frenchmen in the eye and say,
"Soldier, I will give you victory."
to the hope that one decisive battle could turn his
luck around, Napoleon rallied France for yet another
campaign in central Europe. He battered the Allies at
the battles of Lützen on May 2, 1813. The two sides
signed the Armistice of Pleiswitz a month later, giving
each side time to recover. With little time to maneuver,
both Napoleon and the Allies turned to Austria, hoping
to persuade them to enter the war on their side.
greeted his father-in-law's ambassador, the dashing
and arrogant Clemens Fürst Von Metternich, with
icy disdain. Metternich told Napoleon that Austria would
remain neutral for a "ransom" which included
returning some territories taken from them by Napoleon
in previous campaigns. "I will give you nothing because
you have not defeated me," Napoleon shot back. "So it's
war you want," he added, "You shall have it. I will
beat you." "But I have seen your troops," Metternich
coolly replied, "they are boys and old men. You are
lost, sire. I am certain of it."
August 12, 1813, Austria declared war on France and
joined the Allies on the battlefield. The allied generals,
after suffering defeats for nearly two decades, had by
now learned how to fight back against Napoleon.
thing the allies had learned was that they had to
fight together. They agreed never to fight an army
if Napoleon was in command. If one of his marshals
was in command, to go at him full force. And this
the fall of 1813, the Allies caught Napoleon at Leipzig
where they outnumbered him two to one and punished his
armies in a bruising battle that lasted three days.
dealt them a defeat at Hanau on October 30, but the
legend of Napoleons invincibility was over. His
armies were now in retreat everywhere in Europe. "A
year ago," he said, "the whole of Europe was marching
alongside of us. Today the whole of Europe is marching
was lost to the Empire on November 13. The Austrians
occupied Switzerland on December 30, threatening the borders
of France. The tide of war was running against Napoleon; in two months he lost 400,000 men. Still, he fought
on. "There was nothing left to do but fight," he
said, "yet every day our chances grew smaller and
the beginning of 1814, Napoleon was again in Paris when
he learned that the Allies had invaded France itself.
Throughout the winter and spring, Napoleon defeated
larger Allied armies at Brienne, Champaubert, Montmirail,
Montereau and Rheims. It was a desperate campaign, and
Napoleon fought with all his old brilliance. But 85,000
Frenchmen stood no chance against 350,000 allies.
HORWARD: He was
just fighting here, fighting there, fighting the
next place, hopelessly outnumbered, could never
win, but still fighting like mad.
worry," Napoleon told his wife and son. "We shall beat
Trust me." On the morning of
January 25, they said goodbye. He would never see his
wife or his son again.
March 31, 1814 the Allies marched down the Champs Elysées.
The war was all but over. Now even his own marshals
turned against him. When he prepared to summon what
remained of his army to march on Paris, they refused
to fight any longer.
April 12, 1814, Napoleon picked up a pen and renounced
his throne. Once master over an empire of seventy million
people, he would now become the emperor of the tiny
island of Elba. His enemies thought Napoleon's exile
would bring peace to Europe. Napoleon had other plans.