Vox Day covered this a while back, but I thought it was worth mentioning again. Ethan Arsht calculated the “win above replacement” scores for generals throughout history.
Among all generals, Napoleon had the highest WAR (16.679) by a large margin. In fact, the next highest performer, Julius Caesar (7.445 WAR), had less than half the WAR accumulated by Napoleon across his battles. Napoleon benefited from the large number of battles in which he led forces. Among his 43 listed battles, he won 38 and lost only 5. Napoleon overcame difficult odds in 17 of his victories, and commanded at a disadvantage in all 5 of his losses. No other general came close to Napoleon in total battles. While Napoleon commanded forces in 43 battles, the next most prolific general was Robert E. Lee, with 27 battles (the average battle count was 1.5). Napoleon’s large battle count allowed him more opportunities to demonstrate his tactical prowess. Alexander the Great, despite winning all 9 of his battles, accumulated fewer WAR largely because of his shorter and less prolific career.
An impressive dataset and methodology, wherein the author admits to various flaws. Still, the peanut gallery had plenty to say – “What? Lee wasn’t that great?!” “You cite bad sources, sir!” – without offering a better model let alone building one. All very interesting.