Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

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Fernand Balden'- per ger





Biographical Notice vii



I. Remarks on the state of parties in France in 1793 — II.
Circumstances which occasioned the surrender of Toulon to
the English — III. Consequences of the reduction of Tou-
lon by the troops of the Convention — Appointment of Na-
poleon to the command of the artillery of the Army of
Italy 1


THE ARMY OF ITALY, 1792 1795.

I. Statement of the operations of the Army of Italy from
the commencement of the war, during the years 1792 and
1793, to the siege of Toulon — II. Napoleon directs the
army in the campaign of 1794. Taking of Saorgio,
Oneglia, the Col di Tende, and all the upper chain of
the Alps, (April, 1794) — III. March of the army across
Montenotte, (October, 1794) — IV. Maritime expeditions ;
battle of Noli, (March, 1795) — V. Napoleon appeases
several insurrections at Toulon. He quits the Army of
Italy, and arrives at Paris, (June, 1795) — VI. Kellerman
being defeated, rallies in the lines of Borghetto,(July, 1795)
—VII. Battle of Loano, (December, 1796.) 17



I. Constitution of the year III — II. Additional Laws — III.
The Sections of Paris take up arms in resistance — IV. Dis-
positions for the attack and defence of the Tuileries — V.
Action of the 13th of Vendemiaire — VI. Napoleon com-
mander-in-chief of the Army of the Interior — VII. Barras
— VIII. La Reveillere Lepeaux — IX. Rewbell — X. Car-
not — XI. Letoumeur dp la Manche 63




I. Italy— 11. '1 lie Alps- III. The Apennines— IV. The great
plain of lt;il\ -V. The Valley of the 1'". and the Valleys
whose waters fall into the Adriatic North and South of
the Po VI. Frontiers <>i' Italy on the land side- \H.
Lines which cover the Valley of the Po —VIII. Capitals of
Italy — IX. Her maritime resources — X. Situation of the
different powers of Italy in ]?!>G 91



I. Plan of the Campaign — II. State of the Armies — IIP
Napoleon arrives at Nice towards the end of March, 1796
— IV. Battle of Montenotte (April 12)— V. Battle of
Millestmo (April 14) — VI. Action of Dego (April 15) —
\ U. Action of Saint Michel (April 20); Action of Mon-
dovi I \|>m1 12) — VIII. Armistice of Cherasco (April 2S)
— IX. Examination of the expediency of passing the Po
and proceeding farther from France 136



I. Passage of the Po (May 7) — II. Action of Fomhio (May
8) — III. Armistice granted to the Duke of Parma (May
9)— IV. Battle of Lodi (May 10)— V. Entrance into
Milan (May 14) — VI. Armistice granted to the Duke of
Mndena May 20)— VII. Berthier — VIII. Massena — IX.
Augereau— X. Serrmier* 167



I. The army quits its cantonments to take up the line of
the Adigt II. Revolt of Pavia (May 24)— III. Taking
and sack of Pavia (May 26) — IVi Causes of this revolt —
V. The army enters the territories of the Republic of
Venice (May 28) — VI. Battle of Bor ghetto ; passage of the
Mincio (May 30) — VII. The army arrives on the Adige
(June S) — VIII. Description of Mantua— IX. Blockade of
Mantua (June 4) — X. Armistice with Naples (June 5). 19-fc


I. Motives of the march of the French army on the Apen-
nines — II. Insurrection of the Imperial Fiefs — III. En-


trance into Bologna and Ferrara (June 19) — IV. Armistice
granted to the Pope (June 23) — V. Entrance into Leg-
horn (June 29) — VI. Napoleon at Florence — VII. Revolt
of Lugo — VIII. Opening of the trenches before Mantua
(July 18) — IX. Favourable posture of affairs in Piedmont
and Lombardy 215



I. Marshal Wurmser arrives in Italy at the head of a new
army — II. Situation of the French army — III. Plan of the
Campaign — IV. Wurmser debouches in three columns
(July 29) the right by the road of theChiesa, the centre on
Montebaldo, between the Adige and the lake of Garda,
and the left by the valley of the Adige — V. Grand and
prompt resolution taken by Napoleon ; Action of Salo ;
Action of Lonato (July 31) — VI. Battle of Lonato (Au-
gust 3) — VII. Surrender of the three divisions of the
enemy's right, and of part of his centre — VIII. Battle of
Castiglione (August 5) — IX. Second blockade of Mantua
(end of August) — X. Conduct of the different nations of
Italy, on the news of the success of the Austrians . . 232



I. Position of the Austrian army in the Tyrol, on the 1st of
Sept.— II. Battle of Roveredo (Sept. 4) — III. Wurmser
descends into the plains of the Bassanese — IV. Actions of
Primolano, Covolo, and Cismone (Sept. 7) ; the French
army forces the dofiles of the Brenta — V. Action of Ve-
rona (Sept. 7)— VI. Battle of Bassano (Sept. 8) — VI.
Wurmser passes the Adige by the bridge of Porto Leg-
nago (Sept. 11) — VIII. Battle of Saint-Georges (Sept.
19) — Wurmser is shut up in Mantua (Sept. 18) — IX.
Third blockade of Mantua 256




I. Winter quarters — II. The Austrian armies of Germany
detach 30,000 men into Italy — III. Marches and actions
in the month of June — IV. The Army of the Rhine arrives
on the Necker on the 18th of July — V. The Army
of the Sambre and Meuse reaches the Mein on the
12th of July — VI. March of the Army of the Sainbre

vi cok"j i.N rs.

and Meuse from the Mein to the Naab ; position occu-
pied by it on the i3 1st of August — VII. March of the
Army of the Rhine from the Necker to the Lech; battle
of Neresheim (August 11); position occupied on the 23d
of August — VIII. Prince Charles's manoeuvre against the
Army of the Sambre and Meuse ; battle of Amberg(August
precipitate retreat of that army ; battle of Wurtzburg
S pt 3); the army encamps on the Lalm (September 10);
on the 20th it repasses the Rhine ; marches and counter-
marches of the Army of the Rhine, during September ; its
n treat— IX. Battle of Bibtrach (October 3) — X. Siege of
KebJ and of the tite de punt of Iluninguen — XI. Obser-
vations 277



I. Marshal Alvinzi arrives in Italy at the head of a third
army — II. Good condition of the French army ; all the
nations of Italy confident of its success — III. Battle of the
Brenta (Nov. 5); Vaubois evacuates the Tyrol in disorder
— IV. Battle of Caldiero (Nov. 12)— V. Murmurs and
various sentiments of the French soldiers — VI. Nocturnal
march of the army on Ronco, where the troops pass the
Adige over a bridge of boats (Nov. 14) ; the army re-en-
tera Verona in triumph, by the Venetian gate, on the right
hank (Nov. 18) 313



I. With the Republic of Genoa — II. With the King of Sar-
dinia—Ill. With the Duke of Parma— IV. With the Duke
ofModena — V. With the Court of Rome — VI. With the
Grand Duke of Tuscany — VII. With the King of Naples —
\ III. With the Emperor of (urmany — IX. Congress of
Lombardy. Cispadan Republic 372


I . Affair at Rome — II. Situation of the Austrian army — III.
Situation of the French army — IV. Plan of operations
adopted by the Court of Vienna — V. Action of St. Michel
■Ian. 1 .' — VI. Battle of Rivoli (Jan. 11)— VII. Passage
of the Adige bj General Provera; and his march on Man-
tua (Jan. 11)— VIII. Battle of la Favorite (Jan. 16.)—
IX. Capitulation of Mantua (Feb. 2) 401


Napoleon has commenced his Memoirs with the
siege of Toulon. He did not consider his actions
previous to that date as belonging to history ; but
public curiosity requiring information respecting the
origin and progressive elevation of a man who has
played so grand apart on the theatre of life, it is there-
fore conceived that some notice of his family, his early
years, and the commencement of his distinguished
career, will not be misplaced here.

The Bonapartes are of Tuscan origin. In the
middle ages they figured as senators of the republics
of Florence, San Miniato, Bologna, Sarzana, and Tre-
viso, and as prelates attached to the court of Rome.
They were allied to the Medici, the Orsini, and Lomel-
lini families. Several of them were engaged in the
public affairs of their native states ; whilst others em-
ployed themselves in literary pursuits at the period of
the revival of letters in Italy. Giuseppe Bonaparte
published one of the first regular comedies of that
age, entitled The Widow ; copies of which exist in
the libraries of Italy, and in the Royal Library at
Paris, where is also preserved the History of the Siege

* This Notice, like the rest of the work, was dictated by Napoleon.


of Home, by the Constable de Bourbon, of which
Nicolo Bonaparte, a Roman prelate, is the author.*'
This narrative is highly esteemed. In 1797, literary
men, whom no coincidence escapes, remarked the
circumstance, that since the time of Charlemagne
Rome had been twice menaced by great foreign
armies ; at the head of one of which was the Con-
stable de Bourbon, and at the head of the other,
one of the remote descendants of the family of his

When the French Army entered Bologna, the
Senate took care to have their Golden Book presented
to the General-in-chief by Counts Marescalchi and
Caprara, to draw his attention to the names of
several of his ancestors, inscribed amongst those of
the senators who had contributed to the honour of
their city.

In the fifteenth century, a younger branch of the
Bonaparte family settled in Corsica.^ At the time of
the campaign of Italy, there was no one left of all

* It appears, however, on referring to the work, in the Royal
Library at Paris, that this account of the sacking of Rome is written
by Jacopo, and not by Nicolo Bonaparte. Jacopo was a contempo-
rary and an ocular witness of the event ; his manuscript was printed for
the first time at Cologne, in 1756; and the volume contains a genea-
logy of the Bonapartes, which is carried back to a very remote period,
and describes them as one of the most illustrious houses of Tuscany.

Thip Nicolp Bonaparte, named in the text as the historian, was only
the uncle of Jacopo. He is, however, mentioned in the genealoiry as
a very distinguished scholar, and as having founded the class of Juris-
prudence in the University of Pisa.

t Zopf, in his Summary of Universal History, (Precis de l'histoire
univcrscllc) 20th edition, says that a scion of the Comnena family,
who had claims to the throne of Constantinople, retired into Corsica


the Italian branches, but the Abbe Gregorio Bona-
parte, Knight of St. Stephen, and Canon of San Mi-
niato. He was an old man of great respectability
and wealth. Napoleon, in his march on Leghorn,
stopped at San Miniato, and was received with his
whole staff at the house of his relation. During
supper, the conversation turned entirely on a Capuchin,
a member of the family, who had been beatified a
century before ; and the canon solicited the interest
of the General-in-chief to procure his canonization.
This proposal was several times made to the Emperor
Napoleon after the concordat ; but less importance
was attached to these pious honours at Paris than
at Rome.

Those who are well acquainted with the Italian
language know that it is optional to write Buona or
Bona. The members of the Bonaparte family have
used both these modes of orthography indiscrimi-
nately : of two brothers it has happened that one has
written his name with the u, and the other without it.
It seems that the suppression of this letter was com-
mon in very ancient times : in the church of St.
Francis, belonging to the Minor Friars in the town
of San Miniato, on the right of the principal altar
is a tomb with this inscription: —

iu 1462, and that several members of that family bore the name of
Calomeros, which is perfectly identical with that of Bonaparte.

KaAdv /xe'pos
bona parte.

It may hence be concluded that this name has been Italianized.
We do not believe that this circumstance was ever known to Na-








The Christian name of Napoleon has also been
the subject of much discussion. It was usual in the
Orsini and Loraellini families, from whom it was
adopted by that of Bonaparte. The manner of writing-
it has been disputed in Italy. Some pretended that
it was derived from the Greek, and signified Lion of
the desert ; others that it was derived from the Latin.
The correct way of writing it is Napoleone. This
name is not found in the Roman calendar. From
the searches made in the martyrologies at Rome, at
the period of the Concordat, it appears that Saint
Napoleone was a Greek martyr.

Napoleon's great grandfather had three sons,
Joseph, Napoleon, and Lucien. The first of these
left only one son, whose name was Charles ; the
second left only a daughter, named Elizabeth, who
was married to the head of the Ornano family ; the
third was a priest, and died in 1791, aged eighty
years ; he was archdeacon of the chapter of Ajaccio.
Charles, who thus became the only heir to his father,
was the father of Napoleon. He was educated at
Rome and Pisa, where he took his degree of Doctor
of Laws. At a very early age he married Letitia
Ramolino, a lady of a very good family of the country,
descended from that of Colalto of Naples. By her
he had five sons and three daughters. Charles Bona-


parte was twenty years of age at the breaking out of
the war of 1 768 ; he was a warm friend to Paoli, and
a most zealous defender of the independence of his
country. The town of Ajaccio being occupied, at the
commencement of hostilities, by the French troops,
he removed with his family to Corte in the centre
of the island. His young wife, then pregnant with
Napoleon, followed Paoli's head-quarters and the
army of the Corsican patriots, in the campaign of
1769, across the mountains, and resided a long time
on the summit of Monte Rotondo, in the parish of
Niolo. But her pregnancy advancing, she obtained
from Marshal Devaux a safe conduct to return to
her house at Ajaccio. Napoleon was bom on the
15th ot August, being the feast of the Assumption.

Charles Bonaparte followed Paoli, on his retire-
ment, as far as Porto Vecchio, and wished to have
embarked with him; but the entreaties of his family,
his attachment to his children, and his affection for
his young wife, retained him.

The French government appointed provincial states
in Corsica, and continued the magistracy of the twelve
nobles, who, like the Burgundian deputies, governed
the country. Charles Bonaparte, who was very
popular in the island, formed part of this magistracy.
He was attached as counsellor to the tribunal of
Ajaccio ; this was an intermediate step for getting
into the supreme council of the country. In 1779
the states appointed him deputy for the nobles to
Paris. The clergy chose the bishop of Nebbio, and the
third estate a Casabianca. Charles Bonaparte took
with him his two sons, Joseph and Napoleon, the
one aged eleven years, the other ten; he placed the


former in the boarding-school at Autun, and the lat-
ter entered the military school at Brienne as a pupil.

Napoleon remained six years at that school. In
17K3, Field-marshal the Chevalier Kergariou, inspector
of the military schools, selected him to pass the
following- year to the military school at Paris, to which
three of the best scholars, chosen by the inspector,
were annually sent from each of the twelve provincial
schools. Napoleon remained only eight months at
Paris. In the month of August 1785 he was ex-
amined by the Academician Laplace, and received
the brevet of a second lieutenant of artillery in the
regiment of La Fere ; he was then sixteen years of
age. Phelipeaux, Pecaduc, and Demasis passed at
the same examination : they all three emigrated at
the commencement of the Revolution. The first de-
fended St. Jean d'Acre, where he evinced much
talent, and where he died ; the second was a Breton,
and attained the rank of major in the Austrian army;
the third, who returned to France during the consul-
ate, was appointed administrator of the crown move-
ables, and chamberlain.

The regiment of La Fere was at Valence, in Dauphi-
ny, where Napoleon kept garrison for the first time.
Some commotions having taken place in the town of
Lyons, he was sent thither with his battalion. This
regiment afterwards passed to Douay in Flanders, and
to Auxonne in Burgundy. In 1791 Napoleon was
made a captain in the regiment of artillery of Grenoble,
then in garrison at Valence, whither he returned.
The revolutionary ideas began to prevail. Part of
the officers emigrated. Gouvion, Vaubois, Galbo
Dufour, and Napoleon, were the four captains who,


having" preserved the good opinion of the soldiers,
kept them within the limits of order.

Napoleon was in Corsica for six months in 1792.
He took the earliest opportunity of waiting on Paoli,
with whom his father had been intimate. Paoli re-
ceived him in a very friendly manner, and did all in his
power to retain him, and keep him out of the way of
the disturbances with which the mother-country was

In January and February 1793, Napoleon was in-
trusted with a counter attack on the North of Sardinia,
whilst Admiral Truguet was operating against Cagliari.
The expedition not having succeeded, he brought his
troops safely back to Bonifacio. This was his first
military achievement, and obtained him testimonials
of the attachment of the soldiers, and a local repu-

A few months after, Paoli, against whom an accu-
sation had been decreed by the senate, threw off the
mask and revolted. Previously to declaring himself,
he communicated his scheme to the young artillery
officer, of whom he used frequently to say " You see
that youth ; he is a man for a Plutarch's biography."
But all the persuasions and influence of this venerable
old man were unavailing. Napoleon agreed with him
that France was in a frightful state, but reminded him
that nothing that is violent can last long; and that
as he had an immense influence over the inhabitants,
and was master of the places of strength and of the
troops, he ought to maintain tranquillity in Corsica,
and let the fury of the moment pass away in France ;
that the island ought not to be torn from its natural
connexion on account of a momentary disorder ; that


it had every thing to lose in such a convulsion; thai
it belonged, geographically, either to France or Italy ;
that it never could be English ; and that as Italy was not
a single undivided power, Corsica ought constantly to
remain French. The old general could not controvert
all this, but he persisted in his plans. Napoleon quit-
ted the convent of Rostino, where this conference was
held, two hours afterwards. Affairs grew worse; Corte
openly revolted, bodies of insurgents from all quarters
advanced on Ajaccio, where there were no troops of
the line or means of resistance proportioned to the
attack. The Bonaparte family retired to Nice, ami
afterwards into Provence ; their property was devas-
tated ; their house, after being pillaged, was long used
as barracks by an English battalion. Napoleon, on
reaching Nice, was preparing to join his regiment,
when General Dugear, who commanded the artillery
of the Army of Italy, required his services, and em-
ployed him in the most delicate operations. A few
months after, Marseilles revolted ; the Marseillese
army got possession of Avignon ; the communications
of the Army of Italy were cut off; there was a want of
ammunition; a convoy of powder was intercepted ; and
the general-in-chief was greatly embarrassed by these
circumstances. General Dugear sent Napoleon to the
Marseillese insurgents, to try to induce them to let
the convoys pass, and at the same time to take all
necessary measures to secure and accelerate their pas-
sage. He went to Marseilles and Avignon, had inter-
views with the leaders of the insurgents, convinced
them that it was their own interest not to excite the
resentment of the Army of Italy, and got the convoys


During' these proceedings Toulon had surrendered
to the English: Napoleon, now a lieutenant-colonel
(c/iefde batailhn), was ordered on service to the siege
of Toulon, on the proposal of the committee of artillery.
He joined the besieging army on the 12th of Sep-
tember, 1793.

During his residence at Marseilles, when sent to the
insurgents, having an opportunity of observing all the
weakness and incoherence of their means of resist-
ance, he drew up a little pamphlet, which he published
before he left that city. He endeavoured to open the
eyes of these frantic people, and predicted that the
only result of their revolt would be to furnish a pre-
text to the men of blood of the day, for sending the
principal persons amongst them to the scaffold. This
pamphlet produced a powerful effect, and contributed
to calm the agitation which prevailed.




Chapter I.

I. Remarks on the state of parties in Fiance in 1793. — II.
Circumstances which occasioned the surrender of Toulon
to the English. — III. Consequences of the reduction of
Toulon by the troops of the Convention. Appointment
of Napoleon to the command of the artillery of the
Army of Italy.


The Constituent Assembly went in some
respects too far, and in others did too little.
It was composed of men endowed with dis-
tinguished talents, but devoid of experience.
It committed two errors, which might have
produced the total ruin of the nation : the
first was the establishment of a constitution at
variance with the experience of all ages and
states, and the mechanism of which was con-
trived, not for the purpose of strengthening-
social order and promoting national prosperity,

Memoirs. — vol. hi. b


but of restricting and annulling the public
power, which is that of government. Great
as this error was, it was less flagrant and had
less deplorable consequences than that of per-
sisting in re-establishing Louis XVI. on the
throne, after the affair of Varennes. What
then ought the Assembly to have done ? It
ought to have sent commissioners extraordi-
nary to Varennes, not to bring the King back
to Paris, but to clear the way for him, and to
conduct him safely beyond the frontiers; to
have decreed, by virtue of the Constitution,
that he had abdicated; proclaimed Louis XVII.
King; created a regency, confided the care of
the King, during his minority, to a Princess of
the House of Cond6, and composed the coun-
cil of regency and the ministry of the principal
members of the Constituent Assembly. A
government so conformable to principle, and
so national, would have found means to reme-
dy the disadvantages of the Constitution ; the
force of events would soon have led to the
adoption of the necessary modifications. It
is probable that France would have triumphed
over all her enemies, domestic and foreign, and
would have experienced neither anarchy nor
revolutionary government. By the period of
the King's majority, the Revolution would have


been so well rooted, that it might have defied
every attack. To act otherwise was intrusting
the steering of the vessel, during a most tre-
mendous storm, to a pilot no longer capable of
conducting her ; it was calling the crew to in-
surrection and revolt in the name of public
safety ; it was invoking anarchy.

The royalists formed the right side of the
Constituent Assembly ; the constitutionals
took the left side, placing themselves at the
head of the people. But in the Legislative
Assembly the constitutionals formed the right
side, and the Girojiclins the left. In the Con-

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