About the Website
Updates and status of the site can be found on the front page. You can also follow/like the official Facebook and/or Google+ pages to see notable updates as they are posted.
Whenever I read another Napoleonic book, I make notes on any interesting facts about the Napoleonic personalities that I come across, and then I go back and add them to the specific biography. I also cite where I found the fact with footnotes. These types of minor updates will not make the front page, so be sure to check back occasionally on a biography you find useful to see if it has been updated!
Combining passion for Napoleonic military history with technical skills and a desire for a better encyclopedia of French officers, Nathan D. Jensen designed and built this entire site as the architect, designer, and writer. As a historian, he is a Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society. He currently resides in Papillion, a suburb of Omaha, and works on the site in his spare time. You can email me at
Site Inspiration and Purpose
The inspiration for this site originally came from my frustration at not having a similar resource. While reading through numerous books on the Napoleonic Era, I would find myself coming across names that I recognized, but could not place. Had I seen that name attached to a division in a battle, or had this individual done something remarkable that made a good story? After obtaining some biographical dictionaries, my troubles were lessened, but it still wasn't enough. Such dictionaries are often limited in pictures and scope, only offering pictures of the most famous individuals, and usually covering only the most significant facts and events about an individual's life, which are oftentimes not the most interesting.
On my trip to France in 2004, my two primary destinations were Paris and the rural countryside. During my Paris stay, of course I visited the Arc de Triomphe. At the Arc de Triomphe, I was surprised by how little information was presented about the individuals and battles it commemorates. Sadly, I suspect the heroic names and bloody battles inscribed upon it are scarcely understood by the monument's many visitors. While a quick internet search will turn up the marshals and some of the more famous generals, there are far more individuals who cannot be found on the internet easily.
While traveling through the more rural regions of France, I stopped at the town hall of one small town. An entire room of the town hall was dedicated to Revolutionary and Imperial heroes of this small town, complete with a life-size portrait of each individual adorning the walls. That got me wondering, how many of these individuals knew each other? Were some of similar age, and perhaps grew up together? How many other towns did I drive through and not know that I was driving through a place of historical significance as the hometown of a Napoleonic general?
No other resource seemed to fit what I was looking for, and thus, the inspiration for this site was born. Originally in my mind it was an encyclopedia of generals, containing not only their facts of life, like their birthdates, but more, such as the interesting facts and stories that really make an individual come alive. Putting a face and a personality to a name wherever possible, keeping track of the extraordinary events of an individual's life.
A work of this size and scope combined with my imperfect command of the French language is bound to cause a few mistakes. If you spot a mistake, don't hesitate to let me know. If it's a simple typo or misspelling I will immediately fix it, if it's a fact in historical dispute I may ask for information on the source.
Special ThanksSpecial thanks goes to:
- Alarzy for the exceptional photograph in the top left corner, which was released on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
- Arnauld Divry for sharing his insight on the sometimes confusing names on the Arc de Triomphe.
- The many individuals who sent me rare pictures of officers.
This site originally launched on December 2, 2005, as Napoleonic-Officers.net. Since then various features have come and gone, the look has changed a few times, I moved it to the shorter address VirtualArc.com. After that, in 2012 got my hands on an easier to remember but harder to spell domain name, ArcDeTriomphe.info, and in 2015 the site moved to FrenchEmpire.net.
Once I have enough biographies completed, I intend to publish the set of biographies as a book. The research and work I've done here will then be easier to cite as a reference and will outlive me (I have yet to figure out how to pay a web hosting bill past the grave....)
Site copyright © Nathan D. Jensen 2005-2015.