In the spring of 1792, the Legislative Assembly—particularly its Executive Committee, dominated by Girondins—took a more aggressive attitude toward Austria, repeatedly arguing that France needed to act first to ward off invasion and thereby not only preserve but advance the Revolution by spreading it across Europe. In June 1792, Jean–Marie Roland de la Platière, a Girondin minister in the King... Read More »
This account, probably by Thomas Howell, a soldier of the Highland Light Infantry regiment, offers a firsthand account of the skirmishes between British/Portuguese forces and the French armies. Little is known about Howell except that he was born in 1790 of Methodist parents. His memoir was published shortly after the events described (a second edition dates from 1819).
The “French” armies included units from many allied states. Excerpted below is the memoir of an ordinary foot soldier in Napoleon’s army. Jakob Walter came from Württemburg, one of the medium-size German states allied with Napoleon. He fought against other German states, in this instance Prussia.
This account by British Private William Wheeler of the 51st Regiment gives a vivid account of the hand–to–hand fighting in Portugal. Wheeler’s letters home were saved by the family and form the basis of their publication in 1949.
The general peace agreement lasted a scant two years after the treaty of 1801. Although unable to seriously threaten an occupation of the British Isles, Napoleon was very successful on the continent, launching major wars into Austria, Prussia, Spain, and Italy until overreaching into Russia in 1812. The attack on Ratisbon was a key part of a struggle against Austria. Although defeated before,... Read More »
Napoleon’s eventual acquisition of political power may be attributed partly to his success in publicizing his Egyptian campaign as a great victory for France that spread the values of the Revolution. These engravings by the writer and artist Vivant Denon were published in 1802, four years after the campaign when Napoleon was already in power. This first image depicts The Battle of the Pyramids... Read More »
After a six–week journey from France, the army of some 38,000 arrived in Egypt. The French stormed and took Alexandria first, then moved up the Nile toward Cairo. On 21 July Napoleon’s troops confronted and decisively defeated the army of the Mamelukes, who exercised rule in Egypt on behalf of the Ottomans.
In 1857, only 24 years after the British had abolished slavery in the empire, Mary Seacole (1805-1881) published her autobiography entitled the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands. Written in Britain, following Seacole’s experiences working among sick and wounded British soldiers fighting in the Crimean War, the book became an immediate bestseller. Seacole, who had grown up in... Read More »