It was not until the middle of the Napoleonic Wars that the concept of the levée en masse, first proclaimed by the French Assembly in 1793, became anything like a reality. Lazare Carnot might have been eulogized as the ‘organizer of victory’, but Napoleon and his Imperial bureaucrats and military officials succeeded in mobilizing a far greater percentage of France’s manpower and other resources for their war effort than their Revolutionary predecessors, thereby exploiting thoroughly the intertwined notions of conscription and guerre à l’outrance. If, amounting to 200 000 men, the Grande Armée which he led into Germany in 1805 was probably the largest single field force Europe had ever seen, the host he amassed for the invasion of Russia was three times the size. While both of these campaigns were underway, moreover, he had scores of thousands of other troops protecting or consolidating what was to become the most expansive empire since Roman times. This situation persisted even after the disastrous retreat from Moscow, when, in Germany alone, Napoleon was still able to raise no fewer than 575 000 fresh soldiers, mostly conscripts, to supplement the veteran cadres he withdrew from Spain and Italy and the dregs of the old Grande Armée. Faced with such quantitative strength, his adversaries had no alternative other than to activate their own manpower on a similar scale. They eventually rose to the challenge, however, with the result that battles became ever grander affairs. Wagram in 1809, in which 161 000 Austrians backed by 534 guns were pitted against 180 000 French and allied troops with 488 guns, was the largest battle the gunpowder age had witnessed. But even this was surpassed four years later, when, over three days, all of 520 000 soldiers with some 2070 guns clashed around Leipzig along a front which at times extended for up to 42 kilometres.
-David Gates, Warfare in the nineteenth century, pp. 32-33