The First European War was a conflict fought between two alliances, one lead by the French Empire and the other by the United Kingdom, fought from 1803-1812. It is a continuation of the French Revolutionary Wars, which lasted from 1792 to 1802, and started the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte, who would later become French Emperor through a 1799 coup d'état. The war has been divided into three main theaters: the European Theater, North Atlantic Theater and the North American Theater. In Europe there were three main fronts over the course of the war: the Eastern Front, the Iberian Front and, later in the war, the British Front, which climaxed with the 1812 Invasion of Russia. The North Atlantic Front fought between the French and British Navies, which climaxed at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. The North American Front was fought between the United States of America against the United Kingdom, and climaxed at the Battle of Quebec City.
1803-1806: War in Austria and the RhinelandThe War in Austria and the Rhineland began in 1803 when Britain broke the Treaty of Amien and declared war on France, although no moves were actually made until 1805. In this year, Napoleon, already Emperor of France, declared himself Emperor of Italy, giving him and his army a clear path to Austria, an ally of Britain which had also declared war on France, along with Russia.
In August 1805, Napoleon lead 210,000 French soldiers into what became known as the Ulm Campaign, and allied to him were 25,000 Bavarian soldiers. A 72,000-man Austrian army, led by General Mack von Liebereich, prepared to match Napoleon, blow-for-blow. After the Austrians went on the offensive in Bavaria in October 1805, but faced defeat just three days after their campaign had started at the Battle of Wertingen. Smaller campaigns continued over the next couple of weeks, resulting in two small battles at Haslach-Jungingen and Elchingen. Then on October 16, Napoleon led 150,000 soldiers to fight General Mack's forces at Ulm, and after three days of fighting, the 72,000-man army was surrendered and Mack himself taken prisoner. The French army tried to follow the remaining Austrians back to Vienna.
Meanwhile, across late October to early November, the Russian Army, under Mikhail Kutuzov, tried to delay the French advance into Austria as much as possible, mainly through destroying bridges. After an inconclusive battle at Durenstein between French and Russian forces, the Russians pulled back deeper into Russia. A week after Durenstein, Russian forces met French forces at Hollabrunn, resulting in a strategic victory for Russia. The two sides knew a climactic battle would soon come between the two sides, but neither of them could predict how the next battle would turn out. On December 2, 72,000 French soldiers, led by Napoleon, met Austrian and Russian forces at Austerlitz, and fighting began at 8:00 AM. The Russians, however, arrived late due to a misunderstanding in timing, and the French pulled a complete rout of the Coalition right after a failed Austrian attack. Another attack on the Coalition center pushed the Austrians back, and one final push forced the battle to end.
The Ulm Campaign was a major victory for the French Army as Austria was forced to give up much land in Central Europe that France remade into the Confederation of the Rhine. The next year, Francis II abdicated the Holy Roman throne and the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist. But the growing French power in Central Europe troubled Prussia, who would lead the next Coalition to war against France in 1806.
1806-1807: War in Prussia and PolandIn October 1806, Prussia, seeing France's growing influence in Central Europe as a threat to its power, declared war on France, who then proceeded to send an army into Prussia, led by Napoleon, to fight the war. The first engagement came on October 9, at the Battle of Schleiz, when an entire Prussian division was destroyed, and then another on the following day at the Battle of Saafeld, where Prince Louis Ferdinand was killed. Then on October 14, at the dual-battle of Jena-Auerstedt, 120,000 French soldiers defeated 100,000 Prussians and killed the Duke of Brunswick. The final battle occurred on October 17, when a French victory at Halle forced the last Prussian reserves across the Elbe River, and ten days later, Napoleon entered Berlin, effectively ending the Prussian Campaign, resulting in a French-occupied Prussia.
The next length of the campaign to further distress Russia was Napoleon's invasion of Poland, which he finished after only a two week campaign in early 1807, and captured Warsaw without firing a shot on June 8. The next day, Napoleon declared the Duchy of Warsaw, with Frederich Augustus, King of Saxony, as its head, and Warsaw as its capital. Then Napoleon turned north towards the Russians to capture the temporary Prussian capital of Königsberg. After a draw at the Battle of Eylau on February 7-8, and then routed them at Friedland on June 14, after which Alexander sued for peace with Napoleon, which became the Treaty of Tilsit, signed on July 7, 1807. Another short concurrent campaign against the Swedes from April-August 1807 lead Swedish Pomerania being occupied by France, but the Swedes were allowed to bring all of their munitions of war back to Sweden. With Prussia and Russia subdued yet again, and Prussia under French occupation, France remained dominant on the continental Europe, and in Central Europe.
1807-1809: War on the IberianOn October 27, 1807, Napoleon signed a treaty with the Spanish Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, which split Portugal into three separate states, one of which was a small rump Kingdom of Portugal. In November, after Prince Regent John of Portugal refused to make Portugal part of Napoleon's Continental System, Napoleon sent an army through Spain to conquer Portugal. Although Portugal had originally made an agreement with Spain for their mutual defense, Spain made a secret pact with France to gain Portugal and its territories after the war. When France invaded Portugal in November, two Spanish divisions accompanied them into Portugal. Although the Portuguese were prepared to defend their ports, the French capture of Lisbon on November 30th, marked the end of the war in Portugal, and the Portuguese Royal Family was captured during the fall of Lisbon while trying to flee by boat and forced to surrender themselves and their country. They were then allowed to leave into exile. But even though Portugal was out of the war, the fight for the Iberian peninsula was only beginning.
In February of 1808, a large French army was sent into Spain, allegedly to help occupy Portugal. Napoleon ordered the commander of the army to "enter and protect" Spanish cities and fortresses, and use force for ones that were uncooperative. Although this was clearly an invasion of Spain, the Spanish Army, only 100,000 men, could do nothing to stop the French onslaught, who occupied Barcelona, Madrid and Seville rapidly. By May, Spanish aristocrats had forced King Charles IV to abdicate his throne in favor of his son, who was crowned Ferdinand VII.
Ferdinand was deposed within days, however, though he did manage to get frantic messages out, asking Great Britain for help. He received it when 30,000 men of the British Army, sent by a British government encouraged by rebellions in Portugal and Spain, landed on Spain's northern coast to assist the Spanish, a number that would soon grow. They chose to land here rather than Portugal, as the rebellion there had largely been put down by that point. Over the course of the next 14 months, the British army, increased in number to 150,000 troops, fought against Napoleon's Grande Armée and suffered defeat after defeat until the final blow to British forces came on March 14, 1809, when the British were forced to retreat back to Britain from San Sebastian, and harassed all the way back by the French Navy. On April 4, 1809, Spain and Portugal were officially disestablished and remade into the United Kingdom of Spain and Portugal, ruled by Joseph Bonaparte.
1809: War in Eastern Italy and Austria
By 1809, only Austria seemed capable of fighting a land campaign against the French, who had defeated Prussia, Russia, Britain, Spain, Portugal, and Sicily - Napoleon's Grand Armée seemed invincible. A reformed Austrian Army crossed the Inn River and invaded Bavaria on April 10. But bad weather had halted the Austrian movements, regardless of the Bavarian retreat, and Napoleon marched his army from Spain to Germany in a very short time. The French Army planned to meet up with the Bavarian Army and the two armies march together to engage the Austrians. On the 16th, the Austrians pushed the Bavarians back to Landshut, and the next day Napoleon and his army arrived and crossed the Isar River that evening. And after arriving on the 17th from Paris he planned to engage the Austrians, who he believed had only a small force, only to arrive and see 80,000 Austrians prepared for battle. But at Abensberg, the Austrians unsuccessfully attacked the French at the loss of 10,000 men, after which Napoleon realized the full amount of Austrian forces he was facing. After another short series of battles, Napoleon captured Ebelsberg on May 3, and then Vienna ten days later.Over the next few months Napoleon fought the remaining Austrian forces, until the Battle of Wagram forced Archduke Charles to surrender to Napoleon, and the Armistice of Znaim ended the Austrian campaign. A Franco-Austrian alliance was established, and Napoleon married Marie Louise of Austria, after finalizing his divorce with Josephine, forever binding the two royal families.
While all of this was going on, Archduke John of Austria led an army into Northern Italy, and fought against Napoleon's stepson Eugene, who quickly moved to counter him. After failing to defeat John at Sacile, and being forced back to Verona and the Adige River, he was soon repulsed back into Austria by a regrouped French Army under Eugene, and joined Napoleon at Wagram. After the battle, Eugene returned to Italy as the client kingdom's viceroy. Several other campaigns also took place in Poland and in Saxony, but these campaign were minor and also resulted in a French victory.
1811: War in Russia
For two years, Napoleon had prepared his Grande Armée for his final and greatest campaign, an invasion of the Russian Empire. On April 22, Napoleon led an army of 700,000 from Warsaw to invade the Russian mainland, a move that completely surprised Alexander I along with the entire Russian high command, whose army had been reduced to 150,000 via treaty, and was barely ready for an invasion of this scale. Russia had run out of good commanders from years of war with France. Bagration was killed at Friedland, Kutuzov died leading a doomed cavalry charged at Austerlitz, and Barclay de Tolley at Pultusk. During April 1811, Louis Alexandre Berthier landed a force of 54,000 soldiers into Stockholm, seizing the city after a several hour-long sea battle took the city's port.
After a lengthy siege of Stockholm from around the city, a direct landing eventually secured the city's center, and with it, the city itself. The Armée du Nord attacks west, seizing several key ports along the Swedish coastline, including Goteborg and Helsinborg. With the capture of these cities, the French welcomed Danish-Norwegian soldiers into their army, and prepared for a westward assault. As they move east, so does Napoleon's Army, with his army beginning their invasion by sending in camouflaged units which would penetrate into Russia, and seize vital roads and bridges. These advanced soldiers, called Sappers (from the French word "sappe" for digging) captured several key bridges that became the necessity of Napoleon's Army as they moved on towards Minsk, a large trading city.
Berthier's soldiers used their ships in Stockholm to cross 4,500 initial soldiers by sea to seize the vital port city of Helsinki. Helsinki, the largest city in the Grand Duchy of Finland, is also the cross point of multiple roads, one of which goes to St. Petersburg. As late June weather sets in, Berthier moves his forces onto land, and bombards the city by water. With Helsinki under pressure by sea, Berthier personally lands in the city, and surrounds and besieges it, much like his action at Stockholm. With the Russian Army pinned down in the city, the besieged state of mind sets in their heads, leading them to riot. Finnish militias staunchly attempt to defend their city's resources, but it does little good against the Russian soldiers. As the riots spread out across Russia, Berhtier takes advantage of their plight, and launches a frontal assault on the city, easily capturing it. Berthier puts a local council of lawyers and businessmen in charge of the city, to manage it as a French client. With the drag of managing captured territory lifted, Berthier moves on to St. Petersburg.As Berthier advances farther, so does Napoleon, who has by late June, not only captured Minsk, but has also captured Smolensk, even farther to the northeast. Napoleon's army has come many miles since exiting Warsaw, and he allows them to rest for several days to recover from the long march east. But as he relaxes, the Russians seize it as an opportunity to counterattack. At the town of Valutino, outside of Smolensk, 12,000 Russian soldiers move in to seize upon the resting Frenchmen. Napoleon, having turned Smolensk into his fortress, moves his artillery from the center of the city, to concentrate on the attacking Russians. Russia's highest ranking officer, Dmitry Dokhturov, believes if he can summon up enough troops, that he can encircle Napoleon's Army. Napoleon, seeing his army surrounded by the Russians, looks to ancient Rome for inspiration. Just as Caesar did at the Battle of Alesia, Napoleon proceeds to lead his army by himself, and leads a combined charge against the Russian soldiers in the northeast, smashing a hole in enemy lines. With Napoleon's soldiers encouraged by their brave commander, they also counterattack, breaking the Russian hold around Smolensk, and decisively beating the Russians.
Napoleon renews his advance soon afterwards, having taken only 7,500 casualties in the battle, and resumes his march on Moscow. Upon reaching Moscow by September 1, 1811, Napoleon meets a defending Russian Army under the command of Dokhturov, who has decided to proactively attack the French Army, rather than see them take their city by siege. 43,000 desperate Russian soldiers, on harsh rations, see a strong, well-fed, French-allied Army come to the fields of Borodino. There the French begin their attack with a wide-spreading frontal infantry assault, which the Russian manage to push off. But when Napoleon calls in his cavalry to attack the Russians on their flanks, their ranks collapse, allowing a second infantry assault to succeed. With the Russians finally defeated, Napoleon marches triumphantly into Moscow, with his army soldiers marching alongside him.
From there, Napoleon leaves 20,000 soldiers behind as a garrison in Moscow, from where he marches on to the ancient city of Novgorod. Novgorod was only lightly defended by 4,000 Russian militiamen, who although vigorous, did little good against Napoleon's massive, veteran army. Novgorod taken, was made into Napoleon headquarters as the siege of St. Petersburg began. St. Petersburg was one of Russia's largest cities, the Imperial capital, and the last major holdout of Russia's Imperial Army. There, 18,000 Russian soldiers, along with Imperial Guard units, defend the city, and have been making preparations since the Battle of Borodino to defend the city from Napoleon. Berthier had been launching economic raids and keeping an on-and-off siege of the city since July of that year, and had now proven to be a superb commander of a siege, and made sure that constant naval pressure was kept on St. Petersburg, cutting off the city from all sides. When Napoleon arrived on September 23, he found a prepared siege surrounding the city, combat engineers have dug trenches, hundreds of guns ready to bombard the local fortifications, all they needed was Napoleon's order to fire. When Napoleon gave the order, a hellish fire from the cannons descended upon St. Petersburg, and no Russian soldier seemed likely to give up.
As the siege dragged on, Napoleon began to see snow as September turned to November, Napoleon feared if the campaign went on any longer, the harsh Russian winter would set in and his army would be doomed. He also feared that a Russian Army could surprise him and be raised out of the south of Russia and the Ukraine. Napoleon ordered a frontal assault, taking many fortifications, which gave Napoleon a sigh of relief. As the Grand Armée moved on into the city of St. Petersburg, the Russian garrison surrendered, leaving the city, and the Russian Imperial family at the mercy of Napoleon. As Napoleon entered the city as the conqueror of Russia, he declared that the Tsar Alexander, would remain in power, but that a council of his generals would act as his advisors. Berthier is made the head of the Directory of Russia, and is basically made the nominal ruler of the Russian Empire, as Alexander is stripped of much of his power.
1812: Hundred Days in Belgium and Eighteen Weeks in Britain
As Napoleon's massive Grand Armée moved back west, he began to prepare for his invasion of Britain, but the British Field Marshal William Beresford, begins to plan for a surprise attack on Napoleon. Britain pulled together its last groups of reserves in soldiers and in ships, and prepared a counterattack into Belgium. Napoleon's buildup of soldiers has mainly been in preparation miles west in Normandy, where ships are gathering Bayeux and Le Havre. Beresford leads his surprise attack of 68,000 soldiers to the Belgian coast, but knowing that the large port of Antwerp is too heavily defended, they move instead to the port of Oostende. There, the British take the port with ease, as the preparations for the invasion had thinned out the number of ships participating in the blockade of Britain. From Oostende, Beresford moved down southeast, where he planned to go to seize the local capital of Brussels, from where he then believed he could establish a British client republic, and then make a choice from there.
Napoleon, surprised by the attack, moved away from the invasion preparations, and rode with his army from Le Havre along the French coastline, and prepared to move northeast, absorbing more garrisons as he moved along. When he reached the town of Litte, he found that a large portion of the French Paris garrison, buffered by re-enforcements from Orleans, met Napoleon with a force of 40,000, where they then marched on to defeat Beresford. Napoleon's army, now numbering at 72,000 soldiers, marched along the friendly roads to Brussels, where they prepared to defeat the French. Beresford's army planned to surround Brussels, working to find the hole in the French defenses, and taking many of the towns around the city. Napoleon's allies, the Confederation of the Rhine, and the Kingdom of Italy, sent men and supplies to support Napoleon's counterattack on the British.
In their first engagement south of Brussels, at the major crossroad of Quatre Bras, Beresford lead his soldiers to a victory against French forces under the command of Field Marshal Michel Ney. But Napoleon's Army remained resilient, and continued to move into battle towards Brussels, which began to show signs of Beresford's new strategy of living off the land. The local civilians forcibly kept the British from raiding their towns incurring casualties on both sides. French Field Marshal Étienne Maurice Gérard lead his forces against the British at the town of Ligny, which he knew the Germans would be using to reinforce the French. There, however, the British successfully defended their positions in the town, and kept the Germans from crossing and converging with the French at Quatre Bras. However, Napoleon gained a bit of luck when his French soldiers and German allies captured the town Wavre, southeast of Brussels. From there, Napoleon believed he could achieve a quick victory over the British.
Napoleon launched a second attack on Ligny, which he promptly took after a 15-hour battle on June 16, from where he moved to surround the town of Quatre Bras. At the Second Battle of Quatre Bras, Napoleon's army surrounded the town, and his cannons fired upon the unlucky British soldiers. After hours of bombardment shattered the British morale, the French charged, and the British lines broke, allowing the French to seize back the town, and the roads that run through it. From there Napoleon launched his French and German Armies forward, and looked to capture the small town of Waterloo, the last major crossroad before Brussels.
At the Battle of Waterloo, Beresford formed his lines to the northwest, and Napoleon to the southeast, from where the British then launched a frontal assault. The British launched their attack in two waves of infantry, both were beaten back with heavy casualties, allowing for a French counterattack. Napoleon's cavalry flanked the British on their left, where the British left their infantry reserves, and then ordered the Germans to march their infantry to the British left flank, and then wait. With the British reserves smashed, the French cavalry rode to fight the British cavalry reserves, where chaotic fighting occurred. Men fell off their horses, their bodies dead upon hitting the ground, and pistols and sabres clashed between the cavalrymen as they scattered across the fields. Upon swiveling around, they attacked the British artillery on their left flank. There the French cavalry and their German infantry allies charged forward, smashing into the British flank, who knuckled under the Franco-German assault. The French launched a frontal assault, which was lead by the French Imperial Guard, moved up from the reserves by Napoleon's personal recommendation. The British fell back in disarray, but had no place to go, as Brussels was reopened to the French, and their ships were destroyed in the harbor. After the failed British invasion, the captured British soldiers were sentenced to prisons in southern France, and Napoleon returned to Le Havre to continue plans for his invasion.
French soldiers crossed the English Channel on August 18, 1812, and moved quickly to seize the vital ports in Southern England. There they met little resistance before they moved up into the area around London, where they began to find heavy resistance by civilians and soldiers. The initial French numbers swelled up soon from 25,000 to 125,000 in about two weeks, and the French slowly moved up Great Britain. But the British Army, after the epic loss of Beresford's Gamble, could do little themselves to stop the French onslaught. The French laid siege to London beginning on September 8, but would last three weeks before the city finally fell on September 30. With their capital gone, many of the remaining British soldiers simply gave up, even though the government and the royal family had already retreated north to Edinburgh.
After eight more weeks in England, the French successfully surrounded the city of Edinburgh, and with it, they surrounded the remnants of the British government. Meanwhile, 15,000 French soldiers crossed the Irish Sea, where they vehemently attacked the British garrisons there, and were soon supported by Irish nationalists, who wished to see Ireland made independent again from British rule. Napoleon announced plans that after the war's end, the French would see to it that Ireland was once again made an independent state, now under a republican government. The British Army finally surrendered Edinburgh after weeks of siege, and after doing so, effectively ended the war in Europe. Plans soon began to sign a treaty between the warring powers.
1807-1809: War at the Great Lakes
Following their defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar in late 1805, the British fleet rapidly lost its once-dominance over the North Atlantic, being reduced over the next two years to only being active in the North Sea, British Isles and near their colonies in North America. The remaining vessels at the American Station, off the coast of the United States attempting to prevent American resources from getting to the French, were largely cut off from European supplies, including replacement sailors. The British Fleet had long used impressment to fill out the crew on its ships - and had even gone so far as taking Americans from merchant vessels and port cities to fill out their complements.
As their situation in Europe and on the seas deteriorated, this became worse and worse - on one occasion in 1806, armed mobs had even stopped British sailors from doing this in Boston, when they had tried to take an entire tavern of sailors and make them join their crew. Calls for war after this event were barely put aside, and resulted in the passage of the Embargo Act that October, banning British goods and ships from American ports. Even New England, who would otherwise have opposed the cession of their British trading - what remained of it - supported it in light of the events in Boston.
But, on June 22, 1807, no longer being able to enter American ports for new crew members, the British ships took a step even farther. A number of sailors from a British ship on the Station had deserted, and joined the crew of a vessel of the United States Navy. The commander of the Station promptly sent one of his weaker ships of the line, the Leopard, after the American frigate, the Chesapeake, to retrieve the deserters. After being refused permission to come aboard and retrieve them, the Leopard opened fire and forced the Chesapeake to surrender. The deserters, along with several other American citizens, were taken back to the Leopard and forced into service or executed.
Coming so soon after the events of the previous year, calls for war were enormous, and President Jefferson could no longer ignore them. As such, he asked for a formal declaration of war on August 3rd, which was quickly granted by Congress. While the American military was unprepared and unready for the conflict, the situation faced by the British troops to the north was even worse. News of the beginning of the war between the two only reached British forces days before the first attacks by American troops began, overwhelming several border outposts, key among them the settlement of Amherstburg, near Fort Detroit, and Fort Michilimackinac. Of course, it was not successful all over the region, as Fort Niagara, across the Niagara River from the British Fort George, was seized by forces under Colonel Isaac Brock, later the commander of British and Loyalist forces in the region.On the lakes themselves, where they existed, naval battles ensued between small British and American vessels. In most cases, British forces came out on top, though only temporarily as the shortage of supplies from overseas soon hit them and allowed American forces to out-build and out-number them - only on Lake Champlain, to the east of the Great Lakes, would American forces immediately hold an advantage. By the end of fighting on the lakes in 1809, only Lake Huron would be under any semblance of British control any longer, their having been forced out of Lakes Ontario and Erie in 1808. Lake Huron would turn into an American lake with the launching of the first vessels from the shipyard established at Fort Gratiot, named for its designer, north of Fort Detroit, in early 1810 and the subsequent burning of the British naval base at Nottawasaga Bay.
Through 1808, and into 1809, American militia would duel British forces on the Niagara frontier, and near Fort Detroit. Many would refuse to cross the border, however, though in some locations, under more able commanders, they would do so, making minimal advances. Most American troops would fight the native allies of the British, led by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, in the Northwest Territory, winning a major battle in the fall of 1808, under General William Henry Harrison, at the Battle of Fort Wayne, and putting the natives to flight back towards Canada. Similar successful actions were led to the south, against the Creek tribes, after agents of Tecumseh incited the more radical tribes to attack the white settlers in the area, by Colonels John Coffee and Andrew Jackson of the Tennessee militia.
The small American Navy, backed up by a few French vessels, managed to force the British Ships of the American Station, as well as a few from Halifax Station to the north who attempted to institute a blockade of the New England coastline, to flee north to Halifax after their loss in the Battle of Cape Cod. This is the last major attempt by the British to interfere with American shipping, aside from privateers based in Nova Scotia.
1809-1810: War in Upper Canada
With the Great Lakes now under American control, trade with Europe largely restored, and the native allies of the British sent packing, more regular American forces could be used against the British and Canadian forces to the north. With their resolve steeled by regular forces, and increased in number by new recruits, American soldiers and militia finally advanced into Upper Canada, at four separate points: Fort Michilimackinac, Niagara, Fort Detroit, and the town of Ogdensburg, in Northern New York State.
The main advance would be from Niagara, under General Harrison. The now-General Jackson, and Colonel Coffee, would lead the attack from Detroit with their militia. The attacks from Ogdensburg and Michilimackinac would be conducted by General Jacob Brown and Colonel Caleb Hopkins, and Colonel Alexander Macomb, respectively. All of this was directed under the Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn, and the commanding general of the Army, James Wilkinson. From Michilimackinac, Macomb and his adjutant, Captain Charles Gratiot, would defeat the remaining British forces on the lake, and burn their shipyard. They would spend the rest of the campaign raiding along the Canadian coastline, with ships built at Gratiot's well-designed fort, that bears his name today and has long been the capital of the state of Michigan.
In the fall of 1809, facing the specter of revolt from the population and an increasingly difficult situation, the Governor of Lower Canada made a deal with the locals: they would be granted complete freedom of religion, law, and granted the right to speak their language and conduct an assembly - so long as they remained loyal. The leaders of the local population agreed to do so, their demands having been met, and fearing what the Americans, with their anti-Catholic biases, might do to them. This had a direct bearing on the advance under Brown from Ogdensburg, as the advance quickly halted when Quebecois militia ambushed the troops and drove them back over the border, wounding Brown very early on. He would later be exonerated for the defeat, as his second in command, Caleb Hopkins, had become responsible for the defeat following his loss of consciousness; he would later be the head of the Army.
At the Niagara frontier, Harrison, holding a large advantage in numbers over his British opponents, advanced recklessly, and paid for it: while he managed to maintain a steady rate of advance, he also suffered horrific casualties before being forced to stop after an extremely bloody victory over the native allies of the British at the Battle of 40 Mile Creek. His inability to advance farther than this would be his eventual undoing, as other generals passed him in prestige and rank. Yet, advancing from Detroit, it was General Jackson, and the soon-to be General Coffee, who saved the day. Despite only having the same numbers as their opponents, they managed to win several victories, capturing almost the entire force opposing them under Colonel Henry Procter at the Battle of the Thames in April of 1810.
This opened up the way eastwards for them - this rapid advance, following the haggard retreat of Procter to the forces at 40 Mile Creek led by General Brock, is what led first to the retreat of British forces to the capital of Upper Canada at York, and following a landing nearby, farther east to Kingston, where they holed up for the winter. This signaled the end of the Upper Canada campaign. As a result of the failures of Harrison, Jackson would be named commander for the invasion of Lower Canada, while Harrison would be shunted off to command the defenses of Washington, D.C.
In late 1809, Georgia and Mississippi Territory militia, at the behest of their greedy commanders and politicians, begin to move into the Spanish colony of Florida, following a Spanish pullout from the region, as they pulled troops out of the Vice-royalty of New Spain, as well as Florida, in the face of a Mexican revolt and attacks by Seminole natives as well as remnants of the Southern tribes defeated in the last two years' fighting in the USA in the Florida colony. These forces would entangle themselves badly, eventually needing regular forces and better equipped militia to force the natives to the swamps and end the fighting, though resistance would continue past the end of the war.
1810-1812: War in Lower Canada
In August of 1810, a task force of American warships under Commodore John Rodgers landed marines on the southernmost reaches of the Nova Scotia colony. While unable to take control of much territory, they persisted there, drawing valuable forces from elsewhere, for the next year before being reinforced and beginning the Siege of Halifax in July, 1811. The remainder of the British fleet at Halifax would flee to a safer anchorage at Quebec in October of 1811, as French warships and American privateers began to make their position unsecured.
On April 4th, 1811, despite resistance from "Loyalists" in Upper Canada, American troops under General Jackson launched the invasion of Lower Canada from their winter headquarters at Kingston, now renamed Jackson after the general. Another assault would also move northwards from Plattsburgh, on Lake Champlain, under Generals Coffee and Macomb. The goal of these two attacks was the capture of Montreal. Fighting several small battles, the two forces would eventually join up in June. On the 25th, the American troops finally trapped about half of the opposing British and Quebecois forces against the St. Lawrence River at the village of Saint-Eustache, across the river from the island of Montreal, as they were awaiting transport to the island. The resulting Battle of Saint-Eustache would be a victory for the Americans, with the surrender of the entire enemy force. The British would be imprisoned, while the Quebecois would be freed if they agreed to not take up arms against the American government - most agreed. While this move met with some hostility in Washington, it was a political necessity, given the American quasi-alliance with Napoleon and his French Empire.
American forces would continue their advance up the valley, taking Montreal almost unopposed on the 28th. In November, as winter set in in earnest, American forces, despite the pressure put on their supply lines by distance and guerrilla attacks, arrived at the walls of Quebec itself. Here, the British and Quebecois were ready for a siege - and were backed by the British warships that had fled from Halifax the month before. American forces set up camp just outside of cannon range from the walls for the winter. In the United States, many today refer to this as the Second Battle of Quebec, after the American Revolutionary War battle of the same name - elsewhere it is usually just simply called the Battle of Quebec.
Spring would see a renewed advance. American detachments, under Macomb and Coffee, advanced north, and east, of Quebec respectively. Jackson remained at the siege, from where he directed all progress in the theater. General Coffee's forces, marching along the coast of the New Brunswick colony, where the Acadians aided them in advancing to Nova Scotia, where they participated in the siege. Concurrent with this, A small detachment of American soldiers crossed the border in the District of Maine as well, from which they seized the colonial capital of Fredericton and the town of Saint John over the summer of 1812.General Macomb's forces would seize the remaining Quebecois settlements in the region north of the city. The small American Navy, again backed by some French battleships, landed New England militia on the islands around the Gulf of St. Lawrence from early May, until the end of the war in mid-October, when news of the British surrender reached North America. In this time, they managed to seize all of the islands but Newfoundland, where the militia, along with a detachment of French Marines, had St. John's besieged when news of the end of the war came.
At Quebec itself, Jackson was frustrated, as news from Europe had the British on the ropes, having lost London in July of 1812, meaning the war would soon be over - and Quebec still held out. Eventually, his adjutant, the now-Colonel Charles Gratiot, came up with an idea that would win them the city: under the cover of night, engineers installed a large explosive charge on a ledge underneath the cliff edge of the city. Setting it off just before dawn, it set a large amount of rocks and soil falling into the river, and thus damaged a section of the city walls, leaving them vulnerable to an assault. While extremely bloody, the assault succeeds in taking the city on September 24th, with only minor, repairable, damage to the walls and buildings.
1803-1804: War in the Eastern MediterraneanThe naval campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean began when Napoleon sent the French Navy to disrupt British shipping from India and Britain's other overseas colonies in India, East Africa and Australia. The French Mediterranean fleet was a powerful campaign that pitted the navies of France and its ally, the Ottoman Empire, against the British Royal Navy. The French and Ottoman Navies continuously damaged British shipping, until the Royal Navy came up with the strategy of convoys.
This strategy worked for a few months as shipping now continued to come through to Britain, Napoleon ordered the Navy to work in large groups of ships and to fight convoys. This strategy also worked and the War in the Eastern Mediterranean became a stalemate, and continued this way for a few months. Then on February 17, 1804, a large fleet of 20 ships of the line, and 12 frigates sailed from their base in Alexandria, and towards Mediterranean side of the trails that connected the Red Sea with the Mediterranean.
At 9 AM, they spotted what appeared to be a large British convoy forming up at the end of the trails, at the port-city of Suez, and sailed towards it, believing it to be lightly defended. But, after they opened fire on the fleet, they realized it was protected quite moderately, and it turned out by 12 ships of the line, 24 Frigates and multiple other smaller vessels. After a fight lasting 14 hours, the French won a decisive victory, the French lost one ship of the line, had three frigates damaged and two frigates were captured by the British. The British, however, lost five ships of the line, seven frigates and three ships were captured, after which the British stopped shipping coming from the east.
1804-1805: War in the Western MediterraneanThe War in the Western Mediterranean was a continuation of the war in the Eastern Mediterranean as the French Navy, which continued to grow, fought many decisive battles against the British, which eventually led to French naval dominance over Britain. In early 1805, the British and Russians attempted a military invasion via the Sea of Naples, but a swift land campaign by France and Naples quickly destroyed the idea and the ships that brought them there were caught off the coast of Sicily by the French Navy. The British were defeated after a short battle and limped back to their port at Gibraltar, and the French continued to make many moves to neutralize British naval movements in the Mediterranean. The end of British naval dominance was quite possible at this point, and soon would reach a tipping point in Southern Spain.
By this point, the Mediterranean was controlled by France, and the British attempted multiple times to break this. The final try at this was on October 21, 1805, when a British fleet of 33 ships, including 27 ships of the line, sailed from Gibraltar, lead by Horatio Nelson, to attack a joint Franco-Spanish fleet gathering at Trafalgar to attack Gibraltar, by now numbering 41 ships, 33 of which were ships of the line. The British fleet achieved surprise and launched an attack that was supposed to have cut the joint fleet in half, but ended up backfiring when the French and Spanish divided into their two fleet and charged onto the sides of the British fleet in a pincer movement, overwhelming the British.
Horatio Nelson was killed by a French sniper while on his flagship, the HMS Victory, which was taken by the French commander, Pierre-Charles Villeneuve, and given to Napoleon on December 2 to celebrate the first anniversary of his coronation as Emperor. The French and Spanish lost no ships, losing only 458 and little over 1200 wounded, while the British lost one ship, had ten captured, over 3000 dead, 2700 wounded, and 8000 captured. This was Britain's final naval defeat, as Britain lost its naval dominance and no longer was capable of performing real naval campaigns in the Atlantic. Gibraltar was attacked on October 27, and taken the next day.
1807-1808: War in the North Sea
Napoleon's next target for naval dominance was the North Sea, where Coalition naval dominance continued to threaten his allies, mainly Denmark-Norway. He ordered the French navy to send troops to break a naval blockade surrounding the Danish and Norwegian coasts. The Swedish Navy was France's main enemy in this theater, but they too proved too little a threat to France for this to matter, but if Napoleon's full plans were to be realized, Denmark-Norway, and more importantly, the North Sea, would need to be accessible. Multiple naval skirmishes allowed France to break the blockades of Copenhagen and Oslo, and the combined fleets of France and Denmark allowed the two to go on the offensive against the Swedish Navy.
The first and only major battle of this campaign happened just outside of Stockholm, at the Battle of Aland, as the combined Franco-Danish Navy of 40 ships fought the Swedish Navy of 32 ships, demolishing the Swedish Navy, destroying or capturing eight ships and leading to the end of the Coalition naval dominance in the North Sea.
1808-1810: War Along the British Isles
With all of the North Atlantic under the naval hegemony of France, the only areas under naval control of Britain were the British Isles themselves. Napoleon then ordered the French Navy to blockade the British Isles, mainly along the Southern British coast and the Irish Sea. French ships stopped all merchant ships from getting to the British Isles and the French ships begin to bombard the British naval ports, forcing many citizens to move inland and leaving Britain to starve over the next few years. Numerous breakout attempts were attempted, and all failed, and by this time, the British Navy had lost all hope of ever regaining its dominance of the sea.
Over the next few years, Britain was starved of resources and food and continued to lose men overseas to France's continuous conquest as Britain was pressed into an inevitable surrender. When Napoleon's final campaign against the British conquered Britain in 1812, the British Navy had been devastated and only 12 Ships of the line has been left in the British Navy, leaving Britain and its naval dominance forever lost to France and the United States.
Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris, signed on May 7,1813, was signed by the representatives of the warring states, mainly Britain, Russia, Austria, France, the United States, and the Confederation of the Rhine.
The terms of the treaty were:
- All of Britain's territories in Africa will be transferred to France.
- Both the Hudson's Bay Company and British East India Company will be allowed to keep their territory and trading posts.
- Upper and Lower Canada, along with the other British North American colonies, will be transferred to the United States.
- The Oregon territory will be granted to the United States below a latitude of 52 degrees, with the Hudson's Bay Company controlling the remainder, as well as being allowed to maintain its posts south of that line.
- Hudson's Bay Company given title to areas north of its territory as well.
- Control of Florida will be officially transferred to the United States.
- Mexico, Haiti and Brazil recognized as independent.
- Finland and the Ukraine will be occupied by France.
- Britain shall acknowledge the independence of the Republic of Ireland.
- All Neapolitan land in Italy, not already occupied by France, will be transferred to the Kingdom of Italy.
- All Swedish land along the Vattern will be transferred to Norway.
The Treaty of Paris would be driving force behind politics for the remainder of the 19th century, and the shock waves it created would resonate for centuries.