Napoleonic Wars casualties

The casualties of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), direct and indirect, break down as follows:

Note that the following deaths listed include both killed in action as well as deaths from other causes; Deaths from diseases such as those from wounds; of starvation; exposure; drowning; friendly fire; and atrocities; Medical treatments were changed drastically at this time. 'Napoleon's Surgeon', Baron Dominique Jean Larrey, used horse-drawn carts as ambulances to quickly remove the wounded from the field of battle. This method became so successful that he was subsequently asked to organize the medical care for the 14 armies of the French Republic.

The Peninsular campaigns had witnessed 60 major battles and 30 major sieges, more than any other of the Napoleonic conflicts, and had lasted over six years, far longer than any of the others. France and her allies lost in the peninsula at least 91,000 killed in action and 237,000 wounded.

French Empire

  • 371,000 killed in action[1]
  • 800,000 killed by wounds, accidents or disease, primarily in the disastrous invasion of Russia[2]
  • 600,000 civilians[2]
  • 65,000 French allies (mainly Poles fighting for independence lost in 1795)[2]
  • 1,800,000 French and allies (mostly Germans and Poles) dead in action, disease and missing[1]
  • 1,700,000 Frenchmen from "pre-1792 borders"

The effect of the war on France over this time period was considerable. According to David Gates, the Napoleonic Wars cost France at least 916,000 men. This represents 38% of the conscription class of 1790–1795. This rate is over 14% higher than the losses suffered by the same generation one hundred years later fighting Imperial Germany.[3] The French population suffered long-term effects through a low male-to-female population ratio. At the beginning of the Revolution, the numbers of males to females was virtually identical. By the end of the conflict only 0.857 males remained for every female.[4] Combined with new agrarian laws under the Napoleonic Empire that required landowners to divide their lands to all their sons rather than the first born, France's population never recovered. By the middle of the 19th century France had lost its demographic superiority over Germany and Austria and even the United Kingdom.


  • 120,000 Italian dead or missing.[5]
  • Russian 289,000 killed in major battles.[6]
  • Prussian 134,000 killed in major battles.[6]
  • Austrian 376,000 killed in major battles.[6]
  • Spanish: more than 300,000 military deaths[5] — more than 586,000 killed[7]
  • Portuguese: up to 250,000 dead or missing.[8]
  • British 311,806 dead or missing.[9]
  • Killed in battle: 560,000 – 1,869,000 [10]
  • Total: 2,380,000 – 5,925,084 [11]
Royal Navy, 1804–15
  • killed in action: 6,663
  • shipwrecks, drownings, fire: 13,621
  • wounds, disease: 72,102

Total: 92,386.[12]

British Army, 1804–15
  • killed in action: 25,569
  • wounds, accidents, disease: 193,851

Total: 219,420[12]

Total dead and missing

  • 2,500,000 military personnel in Europe
  • 1,000,000 civilians were killed in Europe and in rebellious French overseas colonies.[13]

Total: 3,500,000 casualties

David Gates estimated that 5,000,000 died in the Napoleonic Wars. He does not specify if this number includes civilians or is just military.[14]

Charles Esdaile says 5,000,000–7,000,000 died overall, including civilians.[15] These numbers are subject to considerable variation. Erik Durschmied, in his book The Hinge Factor, gives a figure of 1.4 million French military deaths of all causes. Adam Zamoyski estimates that around 400,000 Russian soldiers died in the 1812 campaign alone—a figure backed up by other sources. Civilian casualties in the 1812 campaign were probably comparable. Alan Schom estimates some 3 million military deaths in the Napoleonic wars and this figure, once again, is supported elsewhere. Common estimates of more than 500,000 French dead in Russia in 1812 and 250,000–300,000 French dead in Iberia between 1808 and 1814 give a total of at least 750,000, and to this must be added hundreds of thousands of more French dead in other campaigns—probably around 150,000 to 200,000 French dead in the German campaign of 1813, for example. Thus, it is fair to say that the estimates above are highly conservative.

Civilian deaths are impossible to accurately estimate. While military deaths are invariably put at between 2.5 million and 3.5 million, civilian death tolls vary from 750,000 to 3 million. Thus estimates of total dead, both military and civilian, range from 3,250,000 to 6,500,000.


  • Blanning, Tim (2007), The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions that Made Modern Europe, New York: Penguin Group, p. 672 
  • Canales, Esteban (2004), 1808–1814: demografía y guerra en España (PDF) (in Spanish), Autonomous University of Barcelona, retrieved 3 May 2017 
  • Esdaile, Charles (2008), Napoleon's Wars: An International History 1803–1815, New York: Penguin Group. Viking 
  • Gates, David, The Napoleonic Wars 1803–1815, New York: St. Martin's Press, p. 272 
  • Gates, David (2011), The Napoleonic Wars 1803–1815, Random House .
  • Philo, Tom (2010), Military and Civilian War Related Deaths Through the Ages, archived from the original on 20 April 2010 
  • White, Matthew (2014), "Statistics of Wars, Oppressions and Atrocities of the Nineteenth Century (the 1800s)", the Historical Atlas of the 20th Century, .[lower-alpha 1] (See Matthew White) White cites:
    • Clodfelter, Michael, Warfare and Armed Conflict: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1618–1991 
    • Bodart, Gaston (1916), Losses of Life in Modern Wars 
    • Danzer, Arme-Zeitun (in German) 
    • Dumas, Samuel (1923), Losses of Life Caused By War  cites four sources
    • Eckhardt, William (1987), "Three page table", in Sivard, Ruth Leger, World Military and Social Expenditures 1987–88 (12th ed.) 
    • Ellis, Geoffrey (2003) [1991], The Napoleonic Empire (2d ed.) , cites Esdaile
    • Levy, Jack (1983), War in the Modern Great Power System [lower-alpha 2]
    • Payne, Stanley G., A History of Spain and Portugal, 2 
    • Sorokin, Pitiri (1962) [1937], In Three volumes, ed., Social and Cultural Dynamics [lower-alpha 2]
    • Payne, Stanley G., A History of Spain and Portugal, 2 
    • Urlanis, Boris (1971), Wars and Population 


  1. White notes: "The era of almost continuous warfare that followed the overthrow of the French monarchy is traditionally split into three parts: The Revolution itself (including all internal conflicts) The Revolutionary Wars during which France fought international wars as a Republic" (White 2014).
  2. 1 2 White notes in section called "Main sequence" on another page "There's a string of authorities who seem to build their research on each other's earlier guesstimates: Sorokin, Small & Singer, Eckhardt, Levy, Rummel, the Correlates of War Project, etc. Most mainstream statistical analysis of war is based on these authorities; however, if you look at the individual authorities on the Main Sequence, you'll see that some have specific problems that carry over as they borrow from one another. See the wars in Algeria or South Africa for examples of how the Main Sequence agrees with itself and not with historians of the specific war" (White 2014).
  1. 1 2 White 2014 cites Bodart 1916
  2. 1 2 3 Philo 2010.
  3. Gates & St. Martin's, p. 272.
  4. Blanning 2007, p. 672.
  5. 1 2 White 2014 cites Urlanis 1971
  6. 1 2 3 White 2014 cites Danzer
  7. Canales 2004.
  8. White 2014 cites Payne
  9. White 2014 cites Dumas 1923 citing Hodge: 92,386 Royal Navy + 219,420 British Army
  10. White 2014 cites Urlanis 1971 560,000; Danzer 799,000 ; Bodart 1916 ~ 1 million; Dumas 1923 (citing Delbrück) 1.5 million; Levy 1983 1,869,000
  11. White 2014 cites Eckhardt 1987 2,380,000; Ellis 2003 (citing Esdaile) 3 million combatants + 1 million civilians; Dumas 1923 (citing Fröhlich) 5,925,084
  12. 1 2 White 2014 cites Dumas 1923 citing Hodge
  13. White 2014 cites Ellis 2003 (citing Esdaile); Eckhardt 1987; Fröhlich
  14. Gates 2011, p. .
  15. Esdaile 2008, p. .
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