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Napoleon’s Last Army
(Under Development)

This is a groundbreaking series of books in English by author, re-enactor, and equestrian Paul L. Dawson that use thousands of pages of French archival documents, translations of more than 200 French eyewitness accounts, and dozens of new paintings by Keith Rocco to tell the story of Napoleon’s final military operations and his defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s Last Army (NLA) is the most comprehensive study ever made of the French army in 1815, using primary source information that provides new insights into this famous campaign.

In February 1815 Napoleon escaped from his exile on the island of Elba and landed in the south of France. He then marched to Paris and resumed the throne as Emperor. In March at the Congress of Vienna, representatives of Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain declared Napoleon an outlaw and began raising armies to fight him once again as they had for the past ten years.

In just eight weeks, Napoleon assembled 128,000 soldiers in the French Army of the North and on 15 June moved into Belgium (then a part of the kingdom of the Netherlands). Before the large Russian and Austrian armies could invade France, Napoleon hoped to defeat two coalition armies, an Anglo-Dutch-Belgian-German force under the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army led by Prince von Blücher. He nearly succeeded.

Napoleon’s Army of the North was an improvised force that Napoleon’s Last Army describes in detail showing how specific units such as his Imperial Guard were rebuilt so quickly. All Guard units—as well as many of the regular army formations—are illustrated in full color.

The Napoleon’s Last Army series initially includes the following four hard cover volumes, each consisting of 128 pages with tables, graphs, color photos of historical artifacts, and 16 Rocco paintings (some of these Rocco illustrations are based upon portraits of men who fought in 1815):

Volume 1: Imperial Guard Cavalry and Administration Battalion

Volume 2: Imperial Guard Infantry, and Foot and Horse Artillery, Engineers, Train

Volume 3: Line Cavalry, including Carabiniers, Cuirassiers, Dragoons, Chasseurs, Hussars, and Lancers

Volume 4: Line and Light Infantry, and Foot and Horse Artillery, Engineers, Train

Volumes 1 and 2 will be first produced as eBooks (PDFs), with the printed versions following within a few months. Sign up for updates using the button at the top of this page.

Napoleon’s Last Army will expose persistent myths and errors about the French forces at Waterloo and in the campaign of 1815. NLA provides the first thorough account of the French Army of the North in precise detail using English translations of previously untapped personal reminiscences and archival documents.


Paul Dawson

Research, Translations and
Narrative by Paul L. Dawson

A graduate with honors of the University of Bradford, Paul Dawson earned his MA in History from the University of Leeds. He is a professional field researcher, archaeologist, and horseman recognized as one of the best cavalry living historians in Europe. In 2003 he was made a Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society in recognition of his research into the armies of Napoleon. Paul is co-author of the critically acclaimed Napoleonic Artillery published in 2007 by The Crowood Press. In addition he has written more than 50 academic papers and several small press books on Napoleonic subjects, equine nutrition, and three books on the history of West Yorkshire.

Since 2000, Paul has been commandant of Association Britannique de la Garde Imperiale, the oldest Napoleonic re-enactment society in Europe, which specialises in recreating artillery and cavalry of the epoch. He began riding in the early 1980’s, and since 2008 has volunteered for the Riding for Disabled Association, as well as competing dressage within the RDA and being a class winner in 2010. He is a groom and historical rider for film, TV work, and live shows. Paul also does free-lance equitation, coaches skill at arms, and is an equine artist—his first exhibition was in 2014.

Keith Rocco

Illustrations by
Keith Rocco

In 1985 Keith Rocco was proclaimed by the French magazine Uniformes, as an “artist in the tradition of Remington and Detaille.” His works currently hang in many major collections of historical art in the United States and several abroad. These include the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Pentagon, the Atlanta Historical Society, the House of Representatives, Gettysburg National Park, the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the National Guard Heritage Collection, the U.S. Army War College and numerous private collections. In 1992, Keith set about producing the largest paintings of his career to date with a commission to create three murals for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison which opened in June of 1993. This project was dwarfed in scale by the 1999 completion of Pamplin Historical Park for which he created more than 4,000 square feet of murals of Civil War soldiers. In 2003, he designed the mural “Gettysburg” for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. His work has been featured on numerous book and game covers.

Working with Paul Dawson, as well as his own personal collection of Napoleonic artifacts and research materials, Keith has created nearly 80 new illustrations of French soldiers in 1815 for Napoleon’s Last Army using the latest archival information on uniforms and equipment plus portraits of some of the men who fought in this pivotal campaign.

Dana Lombardy

Project Editor
Dana Lombardy

Since 1972, Dana has done research, editing, and design and currently publishes books and magazines through his Lombardy Studios. The first LS book was Grant Rising, a map study of U.S. Grant’s early life, Mexican War service, and Civil War career through 1862.

Dana was an Associate Online Editor for Armchair General magazine and is known for his nearly twenty television appearances, including multiple episodes of The History Channel’s “Tales of the Gun” series. He has contributed as an author, editor, cartographer, graphic artist, and designer on hundreds of books, games, and magazines, and published Napoleon Journal from 1996-2000. He currently helps publish and designs games for World War One Illustrated magazine for the non-profit World War One Historical Association.


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