A few months earlier, the English had defeated the French in Spain. Beethoven simply overlaid an English folk tune (to represent the English army) and a French folk tune (to represent the French). The resulting clash represented the battle -- with the English victory being represented by a rousing finale: "God Save the King."
[Ironically, by the time Beethoven had completed the symphony, the Panharmonicon was out of service. Beethoven re-scored the work for an orchestra and added cannon shots and musket fire. The Battle Symphony proved more popular than anything he had ever written.]