This, the first of a 2-volume set, contains a preface and 10 chapters.
J(oel) T(yler) Headley (1813-1897), who wrote about a dozen books of an historical nature, was an American author who lived among the generation that was born at the very end of the Napoleonic era. To the best of my knowledge, Headley's 2-volume work, Napoleon and His Marshals, was first published in 1846, in the United States. Therefore, Headley was about 33 years of age when this work was published, and probably began working on it at least two years earlier.
Although the United States was undergoing tremendous growth at the time that Headley went through his boyhood and early manhood, and was developing its own resplendent history, Americans were still very conscious of the most significant event in world history since their own Revolutionary War; the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. However, as Headley will explain later in the preface to the first volume, he learned about Napoleon, the Napoleonic Wars and the Napoleonic era in Europe from the wrong source: "from English history and literature." As a consequence, he wrote an article entitled, Alps and the Rhine, which appeared in American Review, a periodical of that time, in which he portrayed Napoleon and the French in a very bad light. This, of course, as he will explain, was due to the English influence. However, he afterwards learned that he had been duped by the English in their campaign to slander Napoleon's name and character and throw the blame for much of what happened in Europe during the period 1797-1815 from their shoulder's to his. Naturally, Headley was extremely upset that he had been taken in by the English Napoleonic propaganda. After an abundence of research into non-English sources he learned how badly he had been duped by the English and set about to correct the problem. Napoleon and His Marshals is the first work produced by Headley in support of Napoleon, and in which he hoped to correct the American perception of one of the greatest men who ever lived; certainly the most important in modern history. In effect, through exposure to factual material, Headley was converted into an ardent Napoleonist.
Misinformation concerning Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars was not restricted to Headley's generation. It is unfortunate that the 19th century English version of the Napoleonic Wars is still being taught in many of our schools today. The truth is that most schools devote very little classroom time to the Napoleonic period of European history. And where did our teachers receive their perceptions of Napoleon? Most likely from their own teachers or from very abbreviated and erroneous accounts of the period in textbooks.
The advent of the Internet has made it possible for this and other websites to re-educate the world. If you are just beginning to study Napoleon, the preface and chapter I of Headley's Napoleon and His Marshals is the perfect starting point. It will give you the perspective of an author's reaction to his own re-education of Napoleon. If you are a student and need to find something that can be read quickly and that is for the most part factual, I encourage you to read the preface and chapter I, the hyperlinks to which appear below.
A Defense of Him against English Historians— Analysis of his Character— Causes of his Success— His Death.
The Talents a Revolution develops— Creation of the Marshals— Berthier's Character and History— Soliloquy of Napoleon— Berthier's Death.
His Early Life and Character— His Campaigns in Italy— Battle of Castiglione— Battle of Arcola— Revolution of the 18th Fructidor— Charge at Eylau— His Traitorous Conduct and Disgrace.
His Character— Battle of Auerstadt— Cavalry Action at Echmuhl [sic]— Retreat from Russia.
His Life— Character— Profession of a Painter— Combat at Biberach— Battle of Polotsk—Battle of Dresden
Principle on which Napoleon chose his officers— Passage of Lodi— Battle of Montebello— Battle of Marengo— Siege of Saragossa— Battle of Aspern, and Death of Lannes.
His Early Life— Operations in Spain— The Presentation by Napoleon of his Son to him and the National Guard— His noble Efforts in behalf of Ney— Reception of Napoleon's Body when brought from St. Helena
His Early Life— Battle of Trebbia— Quarrel with Napoleon— His Passage of the Splugen— Charge at Wagram— Defence at Leipsic— His Character.
His Early Life— Character— Battle of Dirnstein— Burning of Moscow— Blowing up of the Kremlin— His Bravery at Krasnoi.
His Early Career— Campaigns with Massena— His Character— Battle of Austerlitz— His First Campaign in Spain— Death of Sir John Moore— Storming of Oporto— Retreat from Portugal— Battle of Albuera— Second Campaign in Spain— Siege of St. Sebastiani— Soult's last Struggle for the Empire.