NAPOLEON I. (NAPOLEON BONA PARTE), called THE GREAT, EMPEROR of the French; born in Ajaccio, Corsica, Aug. 15, 1769. He was the son of Charles Bonaparte, a noble Corsican of little fortune and his wife, Letizia Ramo lino, a woman of great beauty, courage, and ability. Having early evinced a de cided taste for military life, he was, at the age of 11, sent to the military school of Brienne, in Champagne, France, and in 1784, to the military school of Paris. In 1785 he was nominated sub-lieu tenant of artillery, and sent on duty in his native country. In 1792 he was driven out of the island by Paoli, the ally of the English, and retired to Marseilles, where he lived in poverty with his mother and sisters. He was made a captain in 1793, and soon after he was employed to subdue Marseilles, a mission in which he was successful. The same year he was sent to join the be sieging army before Toulon, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. For his serv ices at Toulon, Napoleon was appointed Brigadier-General of artillery, with the chief artillery command in the S. of France; but having been suspected on acount of a mission to Genoa, his name was erased from the active-service list. He was ere long, however, called to active and important duties in his own country. When the directors were re duced to extremities by the insurrection of the sections, in October, 1795, they gave him the command of their forces, which were only 5,000, shut up in the quarters of the Carousel and Louvre. Napoleon immediately adopted his plan of action, and planted cannon in all the streets round the assembly; and when the National Guard, to the number of 30,000, approached to drive out and ar rest the Convention, he played on their ranks with grape-shot with such effect that, after a vain struggle of many hours, the National Guards broke and fled, and were ultimately during the night surrounded in their different re treats, attacked, disarmed, and sent to their homes. For this important serv ice, the Convention appointed him sec ond in command of the army of the interior, and subsequently, by the retire ment of Barras, to the post of General of the Interior.
Soon after Napoleon married Jose phine Beauharnais he was, in February, 1796, given the command of the army of Italy, which for the last four years had lain inoperative at the base of the Alps between Savoy and the sea. A few
days after his marriage he set out for his command. He found the troops in a most miserable condition. Descending like a torrent from the summit of the Alps, he soon carried everything before him. In a year and a half, the "Little Corporal," as he came to be called by his admiring soldiery, had either routed or destroyed five armies, each stronger than his own—that of the Piedmontese, at Mondovi, that of Beaulieu, at Cairo, Montenotte, Millesimo, Dego, and the bridge of Lodi, that of Wiirmser, at Castiglione, Roverdo, and Bassano; that of Alvinzi, at Arcole, Rivoli, and Mantua; and that of Prince Charles, whom he pursued into Germany as far as Leoben, on the road to Vienna. The result of this unexampled career of vic tory was the treaty of Campo-Formio, which secured to France a vast acces sion of territory. The young general was now the most popular man in France, and the Directory, eager to get rid of their dangerous rival, accepted a proposal made by him for the invasion of Egypt, and appointed him command er-in-chief of a finely equipped expedi tion which sailed for the East in 1798. He took Alexandria, gained over Mourad Bey the battle of the Pyramids, and, though the fleet had been destroyed by Nelson at Aboukir, the French were soon masters of Egypt. Wishing then to join Syria to his conquests Napoleon crossed the desert which separates Asia and Africa, stormed Jaffa, and laid siege to Acre; but after a siege of 57 days, the murmurings of his army, decimated with hunger and pestilence compelled him to raise the siege. He retreated to Egypt after having, with 2,000 men, defeated 20,000 Ottomans with great slaughter, at Mount Tabor. Napoleon next engaged 20,000 Janissaries, whom the English landed in the bay of Aboukir, and nearly annihilated them. The political condition in France impelled him to return there. After narrowly missing capture by the English cruisers he appeared unex pectedly at Paris at the end of the year 1799.