William Godwin's Diary


After defeats in the Peninsular War and his retreat from Russia, Napoleon regrouped in Germany. The allies, comprising Britain, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, challenged him at Leipzig in what was the largest battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought between 16-19 October and often referred to as the 'Battle of the Nations'. Allied forces put 350,000 men and 1,500 cannon against Napoleon’s 200,000 men and 700 cannon. This was the decisive battle of the campaign and Napoleon’s loss of 73,000 men on the day and many more after due to desertion and illness marked the beginning of Napoleon's downfall. News of the battle reached London on 3 November, as Godwin records.

See Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996) pp. 287-89 and The Times, 4 November 1813.