Although it looks peaceful in this image, which is online via the Library of Congress, the Borodino battlefield was a vicious place for everyone involved in the September 7, 1812 battle. About one hundred years later, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii took this picture (circa 1911). Borodino was the gateway to Napoleon's goal of capturing Moscow. Many, many men died as a direct result of that unrealized objective.


Outside of England, British men and ships were fighting against Napoleon and his forces.

Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet near Alexandria, Egypt in August of 1798. Known as the "Battle of the Nile," during which the French ship L’Orient famously exploded, Nelson (among other things) denied Napoleon his dream of conquering India.

Then, on the 21st of October, 1805, Nelson's brilliant naval-battle tactics defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet at Cape Trafalgar. (Follow the "defeated" link for an animated battle recreation.) Mortally wounded from a musket shot, Nelson died aboard his ship,the HMS Victory.

Despite such setbacks, however, Napoleon’s kingdom grew.

In an effort to conquer Britain (an objective which continued to elude him), Napoleon concluded a treaty with Russia even as his marriage to Josephine (reportedly his one true love) ended and his own reputation began to suffer.

Attempts at peace were short-lived.  The treaty with Russia was soon tossed-aside.

Well before 1812, when he invaded the Russian Empire with his Grande Armée of 600,000 men, Napoleon was himself a bonafide Emperor. (Approximately 270,000 of those Russia-invading troops were French; the rest were from allied countries or subject powers.) 

Napoleon was sure many more victories were in his future, including in the land of the Tsars.

Russia, however, employed a scorched-earth policy, usually with bloody (but indecisive) results.  No matter the lives lost, on both sides, Napoleon pushed-on while the Tsar pushed-back. 

Then ... following the horrific Battle of Borodino, Napoleon and his men captured (and largely burned) Moscow (on 14 September 1812). 

Still ... Tsar Alexander I and his forces refused to give up.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: Jul 07, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"NAPOLEONIC WARS" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2004. Jun 04, 2020.
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