Explore 1800s stories

Samovar taken from Napoleon’s baggage after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Emperor’s samovars

Two samovars that belonged to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shed light on his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. They also show how practices like tea drinking spread through different cultures.

explore this story
Coatee worn at Waterloo by Brigade-Major Thomas Noel Harris, 1815

Waterloo coatee’s provenance confirmed

In 2015, the National Army Museum was presented with a rare coatee worn by Major Thomas Harris at the Battle of Waterloo. A combination of historical evidence and modern forensic analysis was used to confirm its authenticity.

explore this story
Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley, 1910

Garnet Wolseley: The modern major-general

Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley won important victories in several colonial campaigns. Because of his reforming zeal and attention to detail the phrase ‘All Sir Garnet’ came to mean everything’s in order.

explore this story
10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars, 1812

Cavalry roles

Soldiers who fought on horseback were known as cavalry. Often dominating the battlefield, they performed a variety of roles, from smashing enemy formations to scouting and reconnoitring.

explore this story
General Sir John Moore, c1805

John Moore: Alone with his glory

An army reformer and pioneer of light infantry units, Sir John Moore's inspired leadership at Corunna in 1809 saved an army from destruction, but led to his death in action.

explore this story
Battle of Salamanca, 1812

Battle of Salamanca

The Earl of Wellington's victory at Salamanca in July 1812 defied his reputation as a purely defensive general and shattered French dominance on the Iberian Peninsula.

explore this story
The storming of Magdala, 1868

Abyssinia Expedition

The 1868 expedition to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) was one of the most ambitious and expensive military campaigns ever undertaken by the British Army.

explore this story
Battle of Aliwal, 1846

Battle of Aliwal

This battle was fought on 28 January 1846 during the First Sikh War. A British-Indian force took on the Sikh army of the Punjab. It ended in a decisive British victory and is seen by some as a ‘near perfect battle’.

explore this story
Soldiers and women on a march, 1811

Soldiering wives

During the 19th century soldiers' wives played a significant role in supporting troops on campaign. Here we take a look at some of these women, a few of whom became minor celebrities.

explore this story
Rebel sepoys, 1857

Why did the Indian Mutiny happen?

In 1857, Indian soldiers rose up against their British commanders. The reasons behind the rebellion stretch back to the origins of British involvement in Indian affairs.

explore this story
Hudson's Horse at Rhotuck, 1857

Decisive events of the Indian Mutiny

The 1857 rising was the biggest threat to Britain's colonial power during its rule of the Indian subcontinent.

explore this story
Storming of Amoy,1841

The Opium War

In 1839 British forces fought a war on behalf of drug traffickers. The victory they secured opened up the lucrative China trade to British merchants.

explore this story

Explore 1800s learning resources

Florence and Mary
Trail

KS1 (Age 5 to 7)

Florence and Mary

Follow this gallery trail to find out about soldiers' lives during the Crimean War.

find out more
Army and Empire
Trail

KS4-KS5 (Age 14+)

Army and Empire

Follow this gallery trail to become a documentary filmmaker exploring the British Empire in Africa.

find out more
War and society
Trail

KS4-KS5 (Age 14+)

War and society

Follow this gallery trail to become a time-travelling war correspondent reporting on conflicts of the 19th century.

find out more

Join the conversation

"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."