Illustration of HMS Victory flying Nelson's signal (Catalogue reference: COPY 1/490)

This is a brief guide to researching British government and military records of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleonic War records are wide-ranging, sporadic and are kept in a variety of places. This guide will help you gain a general overview of the main sources of the information that exists, and where to find it. This guide is for people interested in the subject of the Napoleonic Wars as opposed to those interested in finding a specific person who fought in the conflicts.

  • What records can I see online?

    • There are no significant collections of records on the subject of the Napoleonic Wars available online.

Did you know?

The Napoleonic Wars were several conflicts involving the French Empire between c1803 and 1815.

There is no clear date marking the end of the French Revolutionary Wars and the start of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Napoleonic Wars ended at the Battle of Waterloo 18 June 1815.

There are a great number of records relating to the Napoleonic Wars at The National Archives. Try searching our catalogue with a specific term, name or subject to help focus your search.

There is likely to be some overlap between separate departmentsdepartment - The highest level in our records hierarchy, usually corresponding to the government department of origin on any given subject. For example, a decision made during the Napoleonic Wars may have been informed by the Foreign Office (FO), discussed by local commanders and then carried out by the Army (WO) and Navy (ADM).