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
Egyptian Campaign, 1798-99
Bonaparte waited for the right moment to seize power,
he looked to win new glories. Great Britain dominated
the seas and enjoyed unbridled success in overseas
trade. France was still at war with Great Britain, and
Bonaparte hoped to disrupt British trade routes to India
and establish French domination in the exotic east.
He eluded a British fleet, captured the port of Malta,
and on July 1, 1798, landed with 35,000 soldiers in
Bonaparte finds himself in a country of legends,
myths, and a great history. But it was really madness
on his part because all of the military calculations
at the time held that it was impossible for a European
army to conquer the East.
is completely absurd. The Egyptian expedition is
probably the craziest expedition in the history
quickly captured Alexandria, and then on July 3, led
his soldiers across the desert toward Cairo and
a looming battle.
centuries the Egyptians had been part of the Turkish
Empire, ruled by the fiercest warriors in the Middle
East the Mamelukes. Remarkable for their courage,
pride, and cruelty, the Mamelukes waited fearlessly
for the French armies.
They werent afraid of Napoleon at all. The
Mamelukes were brought up with fierce principles
of courage and chivalry. Fear was not part of their
July 21, 1798, after marching two weeks across the desert,
Bonapartes armies came within sight of the pyramids
and 10,000 Mamelukes drawn up on horseback across
Bonaparte said, "from the height of these pyramids,
forty centuries look down upon you."
Mamelukes charged. Bonapartes men stood in tight
formation and held their fire until the Mamelukes reached
within fifty paces of their ranks.
The Mamelukes are
their horses rearing,
plunging. Napoleon himself recognizes their courage.
The Mamelukes charge the cannons with their sabers
and their horses
with arms from the Middle Ages.
It was a meeting between the Europe of the future
and the Egypt of the past.
Napoleon just organized
his army into five gigantic squares. These are men
kneeling and standing and firing so you got a continual
rolling fire. The Mamelukes rode around the squares
and were shot at by that square and by this square.
The French lost thirty men, the Mamelukes lost probably
five or six thousand.
Battle of the Pyramids was over in an hour. Three days
later, Bonaparte led his army into Cairo.
was full of dreams," he said. "I saw myself founding
a new religion, marching into Asia riding an elephant,
a turban on my head, and in my hand the new Koran."
Bonapartes dreams of an empire in the middle East
were quickly shattered. The British Admiral Horatio
Nelson caught the French fleet anchored off the Egyptian
coast and blew it to pieces. Bonaparte and 35,000 soldiers
were trapped in Egypt.
only link that he had with France were his ships,
his fleet of war ships. You can imagine what a disaster
this was. He was forced to stay in Egypt and live
with the Egyptians, to find his bread and water in
Egypt, and even the ammunition for his weapons in
off from France, Bonaparte remained undaunted. Installed
in a palace in Cairo, he imagined himself an eastern
potentate, following in the footsteps of Alexander the