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A Timeline of the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary Wars


Europe was at war from 1792, when the French Revolutionary Wars began, until 1815, when Napoleon was deposed for a second, and final, time. We have an overview of the conflict here, and more detailed accounts of all seven anti-French coalitions, as well as the French Revolution which started things, and Napoleon who prolonged them.

April 20: France declares war on the Holy Roman Emperor. The invasion of France follows as retaliation.
July 29: The Duke of Brunswick issues a Manifesto threatening to destroy Paris if the French royals are harmed. Parisians massacre prisoners in response.
September 20: Battle of Valmy: France defeats Prussia.
November 6: Battle of Jemappes: France defeats Austria.

February 1: France declares war on Britain.
February 24: France issues a levy calling for 300,000 soldiers; regions of France erupt in rebellion.
March 7: France declares war on Spain
August 10: The levee on masse mobilises the entire French nation.
August 27: Toulon welcomes in the British navy.
December 19: France retakes Toulon, aided by one Captain Napoleon Bonaparte.

June 26: Battle of Fleurus: France takes Belgium.

April 5: Prussia and France sign a peace deal.
May 16: France signs a peace with the Dutch.
July 22: France signs a peace with Spain.
October 1: Belgium incorporated into France.
October 5: Napoleon saves the government from a rebellion. He is given the Army of the Interior five days later.

February 23: Napoleon given the Army of Italy.
April – May: Napoleon leads the Army of Italy through a succession of victories, repelling Austria and creating republics.
May 10: Battle of Lodi: Napoleon defeats Austria.
November 15-18: Battle of Arcola: Napoleon defeats Austria.

January 14: Battle of Rivoli: Napoleon wins.
October 18: Peace of Campo Formio signed by Austria and Napoleon, who is unofficially representing France.
October 18: France gives Napoleon the new Army of England.

February: Napoleon argues for Egypt not England.
May 19: Napoleon sails with an army for Egypt.
July 1: French forces land in Egypt.
July 21: Battle of the Pyramids: Napoleon wins.
July 31: Battle of the Nile: Nelson eradicates the French fleet stranding Napoleon’s army.
September 9: Ottomans declare war on France.
November: Second Coalition forms and attacks Italy.

March: Coalition forces rampage through Italy and over the next months retake Napoleon’s gains.
August 22: Napoleon sneaks away from Egypt.
October 19th: Russia, under a mad Emperor, leaves the coalition.
November 9-10: Coup of Brumaire: Consulate established under Napoleon.

May 6: Napoleon marches with an army to Italy, risking the Great St Bernard Pass.
June 14: Battle of Marengo: Napoleon defeats Austria. Armistice agreed.
December 3: Battle of Hohenlinden: France under Moreau beats Austria.
December 16: Creation of the League of Armed Neutrality.

February 9: Peace of Lunéville signed by Austria and France.
March 21: Final defeat of French forces in Egypt.
March 23: Tsar Paul assassinated; decline of League of Armed Neutrality.
April 2: Battle of Copenhagen: Nelson’s naval force neutralises Danish navy.

March 27: Treaty of Amiens signed by Britain and France. Peace in Europe.

May 16: Britain declares war on France.

October 21: Battle of Trafalgar: Britain defeats France. British Admiral Nelson is killed, but the French navy is destroyed as a viable component of the war.
April – August: Third Coalition forms against Napoleon.
August 26: Napoleon marches his army from Boulogne, where he was notionally waiting to attack Britain, and begins an advance into Germany.
October 15 – 22: Napoleon surrounds Mack’s Austrians at Ulm, and after negotiations the entire 23,000 man army is surrendered.
November 3: Prussia promises to join Russia and fight France if Napoleon refuses to negotiate, but is talked into peace.
November 15: Napoleon takes Vienna.
November 17: Napoleon leaves Vienna to lure the coalition army into battle.
December 2: Battle of Austerlitz: Napoleon defeats Austria and Russia. Austria signs an armistice soon after and Russian forces retreat east.
December 26: Peace of Pressburg signed by France and Austria.

November 21: Berlin Decree issued by Napoleon, orders a blockade of Britain.
July 12: Napoleon upsets Prussia by creating the Confederation of the Rhine; the latter seek the aid of the Russians.
August 26: Prussia orders France to withdraw forces from Germany or face war; the latter refuses.
October 14: Battles of Jena, where Napoleon defeats the Prussians, and Auerstädt, where French Marshalls defeat more Prussians.
October 27: Napoleon arrives in Berlin.
November 7: Last large Prussian force surrenders to the French. Prussia ruler Frederick William III flees to Russia.
November 2: Napoleon advances into Poland to break the Russo-Prussian alliance.
November 28: Napoleon takes Warsaw, but the advance stalls in winter.

February 8: Battle of Eylau: France and Russia draw in a bitter snowstorm and return to winter bases.
May 27: French enter Danzig.
June 14: Battle of Friedland: Napoleon’s forces defeat the Russians decisively.
June 19: French take Tilsit.
June 23: France and Russia sign an armistice.
June 25: Tsar Alexander meets Napoleon on a floating structure in the middle of the Niemen; they agree an alliance.
August: Portugal warned by France to boycott British goods.
October 19: French enter Spain under Junot, officially to attack Portugal.
November 20: Junot takes Lisbon.

January: French troops now occupy parts of Spain.
May 2: Madrid rises in rebellion against the French; they are put down, but the rebellion spreads across Spain.
August 1: British expeditionary force lands in Portugal under Wellesley (later Wellington).
August 21: Wellesley defeats Junot at Vimeiro, but newly arrived British officers give France lenient terms.
August 30: Convention of Cintra: Britain lets Junot escape.
October: The British, under Moore, advance to aid Spanish troops.
November 6: Napoleon assumes command of the armies in Spain. Victories over the Spanish follow.
November 30: Moore, learning of the Spanish defeats, withdraws.

January 1: Napoleon leaves Spain, never to return. Soult is given command.
January 16: Battle of Corunna: Moore’s English win and are able to withdraw, but Moore is killed.
April 6: Austria announces a resumption of the war.
April 22: Battle of Eckmühl, part of a series of fights where Napoleon pushes the Austrians back. Wellesley resumes command of the British in the peninsular.
May 13: Napoleon marches into Vienna.
May 20-22: French forces cross the Danube at Aspern-Essling but are driven back by the Austrians.
July 4-5: The French now successfully cross the Danube, in the same place.
July 6: Battle of Wagram: Napoleon defeats Austria.
July 27-28: Battle of Talavera: Wellington defeats the French but is forced to withdraw soon after.
October: Start of construction on the Lines of Torres Vedras.
October 14: Peace of Schõbrun between France and Austria.

April 17: Masséna assumes command of the French in the Peninsular.
June: Masséna has success taking key fortresses.
October 10: Masséna sieges the Lines of Torres Vedras.

March: Masséna’s suffering army retreats.
May 3-5: Battle of Fuentes de Onoro: Masséna’s attempt to break the siege of Almeida fails.
May 10: Marmont takes over from Masséna in the peninsular.

January 19: Wellington takes the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo.
April: Tsar Alexander issues an ultimatum to Napoleon on troop locations and the continental system.
April 5: Wellington takes the fortress of Badajoz.
June 24: French forces under Napoleon cross the Niemen.
July 22: Battle of Salamanca: Wellington defeats Soult.
August 17: Russia takes Smolensk, the Russians continue to withdraw.
August 22: British forces reach Madrid, but then withdraw.
September 7: Battle of Borodino. France technically wins, but the Russians are able to withdraw.
September 14: Napoleon enters Moscow. Russia refuses to come to terms.
September 22: Wellington appointed Supreme Commander of the Spanish armies.
October 19: French forces begin to retreat from Moscow.
October 24: Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Napoleon is forced back down the ravaged road he advanced through.
November 26-28: French forces cross the Berezina under Russian attack; many left behind.
December 5: Napoleon leaves the retreating French and rides for Paris to raise a new army.
December 18: A fraction of the invading French force makes it back across the Niemen.

February 26: Prussia and Russia ally, and a sixth coalition forms.
May: Napoleon wins victories at the battles of Lützen and Bautzen.
June 4: Armistice gives both sides time to reorganise.
June 21: Battle of Victoria: Wellington defeats Joseph Bonaparte.
June 26: Napoleon refuses Austrian mediation.
July 26 – August 1: Battle of the Pyrenees: Soult cannot stop Wellington’s advance.
August 11: Austria joins the coalition and declares war.
August 26-27: Napoleon wins at Dresden, but the allied armies win elsewhere and he gathers his forces at Leipzig.
October 16-19: Battle of Leipzig / Battle of Nations: large coalition forces defeat Napoleon.
November 10: Wellington enters France.

January 1: Prussia crosses the Rhine.
February: Showing his youthful ability once more, Napoleon wins a string of victories, but the allies have too many armies and keep advancing.
March 31: Paris surrenders to the coalition.
February 27: Wellington takes Bordeaux.
Aril 11: Having tried to abdicate in favour of his son on the 6th, Napoleon abdicates completely.
April 10: Battle of Toulouse: Wellington drives Soult from Toulouse.
May 4: Napoleon arrives in exile on Elba.

March 1: Napoleon arrives back in France. A seventh coalition forms to stop him.
March 20: Napoleon reaches Paris; French king flees.
June 16: Battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny; allies forced back.
June 18: Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon defeated by Wellington and Blucher; it is his last battle.
June 22: Napoleon abdicates a final time.
November 20: The Treaty of Paris ends the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

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