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The author mentions the general principles behind Napoleon's tactics to
We know from this sentence that Napoleon used many different methods to achieve his military goals, but the author tells us that these actions were not random but chosen according to an overriding system of principles.
While one of the general principles was to maintain the initiative, we know that Napoleon also reacted to the situation at hand, which could have easily been created by the actions of his enemy.
Having general principles does not mean that Napoleon was limited in his actions, as we know from the fact that he achieved this feat (i.e. his goals) in different ways according to the situation at hand.
The author is trying to explain the logic behind Napoleon's actions, not show how they diverged from the accepted battle plans of the day, about which we have no information. This comparison is done in the beginning of the next paragraph, but the comparison is made to exemplify the general principles, not the other way around.
The passage explicitly states that Napoleon reacted to the situation at hand, which means that he did not always have a preconceived plan.