Volume VIII: 1808 – Expansions méridionales et résistances

NAPOLÉON VIVolume eight of The General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte covers the year 1808 and the following January, 1809. Forming what could be described as the empire’s turning point, 1808 lurches from apogee – territorial expansion and the meeting at Erfurt – to decline – the war in Spain, the Continental Blockade’s limited application, intensifying Austrian hostility, and the pressing issue of succession. 1808 marks the point of no return and the beginning of a headlong charge towards Cadix and Moscow. From hereon in, the success of the regime would depend on the success of these campaigns. The imperial troops’ lack of preparation for the asymmetric nature of the war that awaited them in Spain did not bode well…

Twenty-five percent of the letters published in this volume did not appear in the Second Empire edition.

The Fondation Napoléon is supported in this unprecedented adventure of historic proportions by the Archives de France, the Fondation La Poste and more than one hundred project volunteers.


– Preface, by General Gilles Robert, head of department at the Service Historique de l’Armée de Terre
– Introduction, by Gabriel Madec
– Correspondence: 3,019 annotated letters
– List of letters in private collections: contents unknown

– Studies
— The imperial archives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, by I. Richefort
— The correspondence of Joseph Bonaparte: 1808-1809, by V. Haegele

– Annexes
— Two “mysteries” of Napoleon’s correspondence, by T. Lentz
— The Bayonne treaty with Charles IV, by M. Kerautret
— Treaty between Napoleon and Ferdinand, by M. Kerautret
— Treaty between Napoleon and Joseph, by M. Kerautret
— The Baylen surrender, by M. Kerautret
— The Spanish House of Bourbon
— The House of Bourbon – Two Sicilies
— The House of Bourbon-Parma
— Detailed timeline (January 1808 – January 1809), by I. Delage
— Table of measures and currencies

— Maps:
—- Plans of the Château de Marracq
—- The Iberian peninsula in 1808
—- The invasion of Spain and Portugal, 1807 – May 1808
—- The Spanish campaign, June – August 1808
—- Germany and the Confederation of the Rhine 1807 – 1808

Gabriel Madec (ed.), assisted by François Houdecek and Marie Baudouin; preface by General Gilles Robert.

Paris, Éditions Fayard, 2011, 1700 pages.