Click this link for ' A Glossary of Military Terms   & Relevant Information Battles


Battles that Sharpe fought in are in green

The British are in Red and the French are in Blue

The Prussians are in Purple


1784 – Parliamentary Board of Control is established to deal with political matters, the appointment of officials (except the very highest) and the management

of business is left entirely in the hands of the East India Company, an arrangement that remains in force until 1858.

1792 – War breaks out with the Tippoo Sahib of Mysore. The Tippoo is forced to surrender half his dominions.


1799 – At the instigation of the French, the Tippoo takes up arms again. Seringapatam is captured, the Tippoo slain and the rest of his dominions pass into English control.


1803 – The occupation of Mysore brings the English into contact with the Mahratta States, which extend from the Deccan plains to Delhi.


1803 – 5 First Mahratta War. English victories under Wellesley at Assaye and Lake at Laswaree establish an English protectorate over the Mahrattas.



1807 – Napoleon determines on the annexation of Spain and Portugal. Junot with 30,000 men enter Portugal, and the Portugese Government flee to Brazil.


1808 – Charles IV of Spain and his Son Ferdinand are induced to abdicate in favour of Joseph Bonaparte. In turn, Joseph is forced to evacuate Madrid in the face of

Spanish insurrections. Wellesley lands in Portugal and defeats Junot at Rolica and Vimeiro. The French agree to evacuate Portugal under the Convention of Cintra.

Moore is forced to retreat to the coast by Soult, whom he defeats at Corunna (Jan 1809), but is himself killed in the battle.


1809 – The French army under Marshal Soult threaten Oporto, another under Marshal Victor moves down the Tagus. Wellesley drives Soult from Oporto and turns

southwards to defeat Victor at Talavera. The victory is rendered fruitless by the arrival of Soult and his re-organised army. Wellesley retires to Portugal, where he

constructs the lines of Torres Vedras, anticipating a French invasion.


1810 – Marshal Massena invades Portugal with 65,000 men is defeated by Wellington at Busaco and retreats from Torres Vedras.


1811 – Graham defeats Victor at Barossa. Wellington prepares to invade Spain and forms the sieges of Almeida and Badajoz, both on the frontier and held by the French.

Massena, advancing to relieve Almeida, is checked by Wellington at Fuentes d’Onoro, and the fortress surrenders.

Soult attempts to raise the siege at Badajoz, but is defeated by Beresford (owing to the stubborn bravery of the British troops) at Albuera, but the fortress at Badajoz is

saved by the French.

1812 – Wellington suddenly storms Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz and invades Spain. He defeats Marmont at Salamanca and occupies Madrid. Soult’s approach from

Andalusia means Wellington has to fall back to Portugal.


1813 – The French troops are weakened in numbers and quality due to Napoleon’s campaign in Russia. Wellington decides to strike at the frontier of France. The French

armies falling back before him are defeated at Vitoria, and again in the Battle for the Pyrenees, they are forced back into France, closely followed by Wellington.

1814 – English victories at Orthes and Toulouse. Napoleon abdicates!


The Hundred Days

The Congress of Vienna is interrupted with the news that Napoleon has escaped from Elba, landed in France and the French King, Louis XVIII, has

taken refuge in Brussels. A general invasion of France is agreed. The British, under Wellington, and the Prussians, under Blucher are to advance from

Belgium, and the other allies from the Rhine. Organising the allies takes some time and Napoleon is able to make the first move by attacking Belgium.

The allied troops need to be spread over a long line of frontier, the British from Antwerp to Charleroi and the Prussians from Charleroi to Liege.



June 15 – Napoleon collects his army on the Sambre, attacks the Prussians at Charleroi and drives them back towards Ligny.

June 16 – 17 – The Prussians are able to concentrate at Ligny and the British at Quatre Bras. Napoleon is slow to attack and appears to wait until midday. Ney just

manages to hold his own against the British and Napoleon succeeds in forcing the Prussians from Ligny. The success would be decisive except that both the Emperor

and Ney summon d’Erlon’s Corps of 20,000. D’Erlon is confused by the contradictory orders and stays put. Napoleon makes a fatal error in the direction of the Prussian

retreat . He sends Grouchy with 30,000 men to Namur, but Blucher has retreated to Wavre. The British and Belgians retire to Waterloo, ground that Wellington has selected.


June 18 – The Battle of Waterloo

The British troops are posted on high ground from Hougemont, behind La Haye Sainte to Papelotte. The French are on the hills opposite, from Hougemont, past La Belle

Alliance, to Frichermont.

There has been heavy rain overnight and Napoleon chooses not to attack until almost midday. The lost hours prove to be important as Grouchy has not held the Prussians

and three quarters of their force is now marching from Wavre towards Waterloo.

Napoleon directs his first assault against the Chateau of Hougemont. He believes capturing this is a preliminary to the main attack. He did not take into account British

stubborness in it’s defence and troops are engaged there all day. In the end, the French fail to capture the Chateau.

At half past one, d’Erlon leads an attack on the British left between Papelotte and La Haye Sainte. The French are driven back with heavy losses.

From four o’clock to six o’clock, assaults, led by Marshal Ney, are directed against the British right centre (to the west of the Charleroi Road). Now the approach of the

Prussians towards Plancenoit was clear and Napoleon has to cover his line of retreat. He sends some battalions of the Imperial Guard against the Prussians, troops that

would be invaluable to Ney. Ney’s cavalry has spent itself against British infantry squares to little effect.

Between seven o’clock and eight o’clock Napoleon orders a general assault on the British position. Ney leads the Old Guard, but is repulsed, The battle is over!

About nine o’clock Wellington and Blucher meet at La Belle Alliance. There are heavy losses on all sides: British 13,000, Prussians 7,000, French 25 – 30,000.

There is nothing to stop the allied advance to Paris, which they reach on July 7th.

After abdicating in Paris on June 22nd, Napoleon flees to Rochefort and surrenders to the Captain of the British Man of War Bellerophon. Later he is exiled to St Helena

in the South Atlantic where he eventually dies in 1821.


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