Emperor of the French Napoleon I.

The confidential correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte with his brother Joseph (Volume 2) online

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846 & 348 BROADWAY.







Spain : military movements Distribution of troops French successes .
Circulation of news Instructions for commanders Battle of Villa
Franca Prospects as to peace Revolt of Toro Blunders of Le-
febvre Arrangements for Joseph's entry into Madrid Deputations
The fourth corps Disorders in Madrid Events in Gallicia An-
dalusian expedition Capture of Zamora Army clothing Necessity
of severe measures Instructions to Joseph Instructions for the head
of the staff Napoleon's departure New coinage Instructions for
the route of troops 7


Spain: army regulations and movements; supply Joseph's appanage
suppressed His government too lenient Disarming of towns In
structions to Ney Joseph's complaints of his position Disapproval
of his proceedings Instructions for his guidance Fall of Saragossa
Orders to Berthier Conduct of Austria and Russia Orders to
Clarke The ' Courier EspagnoP Fortification of Tudela and Sara-

i English troops in Lisbon 44


Introductory remarks Spain : Napoleon's orders and instructions Chief
command given to Soult Landing of English troops anticipated
Provision for siege of Hostalrich Dissatisfaction with Joseph's pro-



ceedings Battle of Talavera ; Jottrdan's report ; disapproval of his
conduct Misinformation Defensive works Formation of a new
army Propriety of exaggerating one's own resources ; Napoleon's
constant practice 65


Introductory remarks Spain : Napoleon's orders and instructions Orga
nisation and employment of divisions and corps Junot's command
Berthier chief of the staff Approval of Suchet Employment of
Loison's corps Destination of prisoners and colours Change of De
signations State of the cavalry Approval of Augereau Rernissness
of Suchet Arrest of officers ordered 80


Introductory remarks Spain: Napoleon's orders and instructions
Changes in army arrangements Services of Loison and Suchet
Capture of Olot Finance Advice on the expedition to Andalusia
Military administration of conquered provinces Brigades to be
broken up Composition and distribution of corps Provision for
siege of Lerida Joseph's dissatisfaction Approval of Bonnet Levy
ing of contributions Decrees Displeasure with Suchet Approval
of him Lerida to be destroyed The English army Dorsenne's
command Soult's command Supply of money to Spain Provision
for invasion of Portugal Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo Renewal of
Joseph's complaints Affair of Villa G arcia Malpractices of officers
English and French forces in Portugal Drouet's command For
mation of Army of the Centre Caffarelli's command Displeasure
with Soult Affairs of Portugal 93


Introductory Remarks Spain : Napoleon's orders and instructions Gov
ernment of Madrid Portuguese affairs Army funds Approval of
Suchet Valencia and Tarragona Successes against tha Spaniards
Province of Aragon; increase of Suchet's command Catalonia
Plan of operations for Baraguay d'Hilliers and for Soult Birth of the
King of Rome Monthion's mission to Bayonne Movements of the
English Means of transport The Asturias Towers of observation
Army clothing Administration Capture of Figueras; approval
of Macdonald Decaen's command Banditti Battle of Arrozo del
Morino Expedition to Murcia Recall of officers Army returns
Transport contracts 161



Summary Spain : Napoleon's orders and instructions Suchet's govern
ment ; organisation of his corps Catalonia- Artillery for Portugal
Reille's appointment Ciudad Rodrigo Censure of Marmont
Capture of Valencia Plan of operations for Decaen Joseph com-
mander-in-chief English force in the Peninsula Augmentation of
Suchet's command Retreat of Marmont His report of the battle of
Salamanca, and Napoleon's criticisms on it Reports for the ' Moni-
teur' Reverses Siege of Burgos..,...., , ..." 203


Introductory remarks Account by Desprez of his interview with Napo
leon at Moscow, and of the retreat of the French army Instructions
to Joseph as to the government of Spain and the command of the
army Battle of Vittoria Joseph resolves to retire 239


Introductory remarks Joseph offers his services to Napoleon Napoleon's
proposals to him Joseph's title Payment of troops Battle of
Brienne Congress of Chatillon Preparations against reverses
Army returns Measures for the protection of Paris Formation of
army of reserve State of Paris ; its resources Proposed departure
of the Empress Measures to be adopted in the event of the capture
of Paris Distrust of Talleyrand Security of the Empress and the
King of Rome Italy and Spain Deficiency of muskets Proposed
religious ceremony National guards False information of the Min
ister of Police Dispositions and strength of the army Strength of
the allies Remaining alternatives 251


Introductory remarks Victories at Baye, Champ-Aubert, Montmirail,
and Chateau-Thierry Public opinion in Paris Want of money and
clothing for troops^- Attack on Nogent Defensive measures No-
gent evacuated Defence of Montereau Battle of Vauchamp
Protection of Paris Disagreement of the marshals Retreat of the
allies National guard of Paris Armistice proposed by Schwartz-
enberg "Natural" and "ancient" limits of France Tei-ms of
peace 284



Introductory remarks Capture of Montereau Disgrace and restoration
of Victor Retreat of allied sovereigns Want of ammunition Hos
pital accommodation in Paris Movements and conduct of the allies
Proposed addresses and proclamation by the Empress Instruc
tions for Jerome State of Toulouse and Bourdeaux General discon
tent National guard Joseph's fears unfounded Deputations Ter
ror of the enemy Movements of Blucher Conscripts Conduct of
Murat Congress of Chatillon 307


Close of campaign of 1814 ; summary of events Movements of the army
Capture of La Fert Negotiations for an armistice Deficiency of
arms and money Loss of Bar-sur-Auhe Retreat of Blucher Peace
indispensable Surrender of Soissons Napoleon ill seconded Supply
of arms Battle of Craonne Movements of the allies Junction of
the Russian and Prussian armies Levies en-masse ordered Attack
on Clary Fortifications of Paris Bernadotte Capture of Reims
Safety of the Empress and the King of Rome Funds Capture of
Mery Attack on Arcis Defensive measures Retreat of the Em
press and court; Napoleon's instructions General desire for peace
Joseph's appeal to Napoleon 324


Introductory remarks Organisation of Spaniards in France, and forma
tion of a junta New house of peers Campaign of 1815 : battle of
Ligny Napoleon's intention to surrender to Captain Maitland Ber-
trand's narrative of the last days and death of the Emperor 360


Louis-Napoleon's account of his removal from prison after the failure of
his attempt at Strasbourg 369







Benevento, Jan. 1, 1809.

My Brother, General La Romana has less than 1000 men
pressed into the service, naked, and dying of hunger ; he no
longer dares trust his army in the field, exasperated as it is
against him. Marshal Soult attacked him on the 26th with
2 cavalry regiments, and took 1500 men and 2 standards. He
entered Leon on the 30th, and found 2000 sick in the hospitals.
The army of Gallicia cannot be said to have really existed after
the affair of Espinosa, and now less than ever.

This first day of the year Marshal Soult is at Puente-de-
Orvigo. Marshal Bessieres slept at La Banesa, and is marching
on Astorga, where we shall be to-day. The English have aban
doned on the road 1500 tents, 4000 blankets, all their rum, an
immense number of waggons, and many stragglers. I have not
yet done with them ; I shall pursue them vigorously. I shall
reach Astorga this evening. I sent you word that Dessolles's
division was on its way back to Madrid : the communication by
way of Valladolid, Burgos, Segovia, and Guadarrama, will thus
be secured. Order posts to be placed on the road to Villa Castin,


and on the roads between Madrid and Segovia, and Segovia and
Valladolid. Ask for returns, and take all the soldiers that can
be spared, in order to strengthen the garrison of Madrid. By
my returns it appears that you have received 2000 or 3000 men
in marching companies belonging to the different corps. The
Dutch brigade which is at Aranda should proceed to Madrid.
The army of Castanos is in the same state as that of Romana.
Each of them was called a week ago from 15,000 to 20,000 men;

1 am sure that neither now amounts to 4000. The weather is
bad, the season severe, but this will not stop us ; we must en
deavour to have done with the English. You will no doubt
send agents to Leon. Try to establish a correspondence between
that town and Madrid ; above all, spread printed papers. We
have taken by the bayonet Montetorrero, before Saragossa, and
the siege operations are carried on vigorously. General St. Cyr
reached Barcelona on the 19th, and went and took all before him.
I have there 30,000 men, whose influence is felt to a distance of
twenty miles round.

Reding has been taken.


Astorga, Jan. 2, 1809.

My Cousin, Give orders to the 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th,
35th, and 36th marching companies, which are on their way to
Burgos, to remain there on the 3rd and 4^h, and to leave it on
the 5th for Valladolid. Give the same order to the 39th, 40th,
41st, and 42nd marching companies, the same order to the first
company of the 3rd regiment of foot artillery, also to the Nassau
detachment, as well as to the 168 horse soldiers belonging to the
10th, 15th, and 22nd chasseurs; all are to go to Valladolid. In
the dispositions made this morning for the organisation of the
Duke of Dalmatia's corps I forgot to say that the battalion of
the 31st light infantry should join its own regiment in Mermet's
division, in order that the regiment may consist of four battalions.
Desire the 17th light infantry and the 27th horse chasseurs to
proceed to Valladolid, and give the same order to Heudelet's


division ; if from Burgos it went to Leon, let it go on to Valla-


Astorga, Jan. 2, 1809.

My Brother, The Dutch brigade, 1600 men strong, ought
to reach Madrid on the 6th of January. It marches by Aranda,
together with the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, and 36th marching
companies, composed of soldiers formerly belonging to the 1st

The 39th, 40th, 41st, and 42nd marching companies, composed
of soldiers formerly of the 4th corps, forming altogether 1800 men,
were to arrive at Burgos on the 2nd of January. At Aranda is
General Treilhard with a battalion of the 118th and 2000 men
from the cavalry depots ; and, besides these, the third battalion
of the 43rd and 51st infantry, the Irish and Russian battalion,
the Westphalian battalion, and the third battalion of the 5th
light infantry, all under the command of General Treilhard.


Astorga, Jan. 2, 1809.

My Brother, I reached Astorga yesterday. Marshal Bes-
sieres is now near Villa Franca. He has taken 2000 Spaniards
and 500 English, and burnt a great quantity of baggage and
magazines. There have been found on the roads more than 800
dead horses and a considerable amount of ammunition and bag
gage. Terror reigns in their ranks. The Duke of Dalmatia is
pursuing them. The guards are to return to Benevento. I am
myself drawing near to the centre of my army. I can make
nothing out of the Duke of Dantzic's letters. I hope that Mer
lin has rejoined him. It is probable that more than half of the
British army will be in our power ; the English themselves think
so. As to Romana, his corps has been almost destroyed; 2000
men were taken prisoners at Leon, and 2000 in this place. For
this last fortnight they have received neither pay nor provisions,
and they are almost entirely without clothing.

On the 22nd the position of Montetorrero, which protected

VOL. II. 1*


Saragossa, was taken, and 1000 prisoners. I believe that 1 told
you that General Saint Cyr had arrived at Barcelona, and joined
General Duhesme.

Order the guns to fire a salute in honour of our successes over
the English. By the time this letter reaches you, General Des-
solles ought to be half way to Madrid.


Benevento, Jan, 4, 1809.*

My Brother, The Chief of the Staff sends you instructions
for the manoeuvre to be made by the Duke of Belluno on the left
bank of the Tagus. Dessolles's division wiL be at Guadarrama
on the . . .f at latest. The Polish battalion which is intended
for Segovia ought to have arrived ; if it should still be at Somo
Sierra, you may desire it to join you, leaving two companies at
Somo Sierra.

I have ordered the third battalions of the 43rd and of the
51st to repair to Madrid. After resting eight or ten days, Des
solles's division ought to amount to 9000 men. General St. Cyr
arrived at Barcelona on the 17th. On the 15th he had an action
with the Spanish Generals Vives and Reding, whom he beat
completely ; he took from them six pieces of cannon and 1500
men. I have had Zamora and Toro occupied by brigades of
cavalry. A brigade of infantry is to remain at Leon. Send
intendants to these provinces. Print 12,000 or 15,000 copies of
the 'Gazette de Madrid;' let it be circulated in every direction.
It would be well to reprint the gazettes which have appeared
since your entry into Madrid. I think that I sent you word
that on the 2nd two Spanish regiments belonging to La Romana,
two standards, and two Spanish generals, who were preparing to

* Napoleon received, on his road to Astorga, despatches which induced
him to expect a war with Austria. He altered his plans, and, instead of su
perintending in person the pursuit of Sir John Moore, he left it to Marshal
Soult, and returned to Benevento, and from thence to Valladolid, in order to
communicate more rapidly with France. The French historians of course at
tribute to this circumstance the escape of the English army. TR.

f Illegible. ED.


enter Gallicia, were taken. The cavalry was not able to advance
on Villa Franca on the 3rd, as the defile was occupied by English
infantry. On the evening of the 3rd, Merle's division arrived and
charged the English rearguard, which held a fine position on the
heights of Pierros. The English were routed. Several hundred
prisoners were taken. We had forty men killed and wounded.
General Colbert, who was in advance, burning with impatience to
charge the fugitives with his cavalry, was hit in the forehead by
a ball, and killed. At Villa Franca the English had immense
magazines ; every place is filled with them. We shall find there
the greater portion of the English sick. I am very anxious for
news of the Duke of Dantzic. I cannot understand his having
made such an eccentric manoeuvre* without orders. If you want
him, give him the requisite orders ; but if you do not want him,
let him remain where he is, and I will find him employment. I
shall probably sleep to-night at Medina de Rio Seco.


Benevento, Jan. 4, 1809.

My Cousin, Write word to General Loison that there is a
printing office at Leon, and desire him to print 6000 copies of
the Emperor's proclamation, and of every newspaper which has
appeared at Madrid since our entry, and to send 3000 to Marshal
Soult, 500 to Marshal Ney at Astorga, and 500 to General
Lapisse at Benevento. Give orders at Vittoria to have 3000
copies of the Emperor's proclamation printed and distributed all
over the province, and in Navarre. Order General Darricau to
proceed to Valladolid to take the command of all the battalions
and marching companies which pass through.


Benevento, Jan. 4, 1809.

My Cousin, You will make General Lapisse aware that he
is under the orders of the Chief of the Staff; that he is to stay
at Benevento, where he will form a corps of observation ; that

* Towards Avila. TR.


he is to canton his troops in Benevento and in the environs, to
give them rest, and to re-establish order and discipline ; that he
is to have a flour-store containing flour for 100,000 rations of
bread ; that he is always to have 20,000 rations of bread ready ;
that he is to collect all his carriages and make biscuit, so as to
be able to start whenever he is wanted; that he is to repair his
carriages, and take the [horses*] of the soldiers, to increase the
means of conveyance. He will have under his orders the brigade
of dragoons of General Davenay, who is at Toro, and that of
General Maupetit, who is at Zamora. It is the business of these
two brigades to disarm those provinces, to reduce the town& and
to publish my proclamations. They are to correspond with the
Chief of the Stan 7 and with General Lapisse, in order that, if
necessary, he may support them with infantry. You will let
Marshal Ney know that I wish him to remain at Astorga, to
administer the country, and establish magazines, in which he
should always keep 100,000 rations of flour and 20,000 of bread ;
and that he is to order biscuit to be made for . . .* j and that I
desire that a dep5t of cavalry may be formed at Astorga, to
receive all the lame horses belonging to the corps in Gallicia;
that he should find a place in which this depot may be esta
blished; that he should undertake to guard the defiles which
connect Gallicia with the kingdom of Leon, and establish posts,
so as'to have rapid communication; that some of his staff officers
should always be with Marshal Soult ready to proceed whither
soever they may be required, if the English, instead of re-em
barking, were to land fresh troops.


Benevento, Jan. 5, 1809.

My Brother, Seven marching companies, forming . . .* men,
ought to have reached Madrid on the 4th of January; . . . *
marching companies, 500 men strong, were to arrive there on the
5th, as well as the first marching battalion, which is composed of
900 conscripts. Therefore, between the 4th and the 5th, nearly

* Obliterated. ED.


8000 men, old soldiers and conscripts, ought to have reached you,
some belonging to the divisions at Madrid, and the rest of them
to those which remain at the Retiro. These men must be re
viewed when they get to Madrid, and those who belong to the
division of Villate allowed to rest before they start.

p.g. On the 3rd our advanced guard had an action before
Villa Franca with the English, and beat them. During the last
week we have taken ten standards, 2000 or 3000 men, and seve
ral Spanish generals belonging to La Roinana's corps ; we have
nearly 1500 English prisoners.

On the 4th the Duke of Dalmatia's head-quarters were four
leagues from Villa Franca, on the Lugo road. I start to-morrow
for Valladolid.


Benevento, Jan. 6, 1809.

My Brother, I thank you for your new-year's day wishes.*
I have no hopes of peace in Europe for this year at least. I
expect it so little, that I signed yesterday a decree for raising
100,000 men. The fierce hatred of England, the events at Con
stantinople, all betoken that the hour of peace and repose has
not yet struck. As for you, your kingdom seems to be settling
into tranquillity. The provinces of Leon, of the Asturias, and
of New Castile, desire nothing but rest. I hope that Gallicia
will soon be at peace, and that the country will be evacuated by
the English.

Saragossa must fall before long, and General St. Cyr, who has
30,000 men, ought to settle the affairs of Catalonia.


Valladolid, Jan. 7, 1809.

My Brother, I arrived yesterday evening at Valladolid;
the roads are horrible. Marshal Soult ought to reach Lugo to
day. I found here one of your intendants, who appears to me

* They were wishes for peace. TK.


to be possessed of considerable zeal and ability ; he has been very
much hampered by the people of the country. I will execute
severe justice upon them. Send to me, by a deputation from
Madrid and the councils, the record of the oath which has been
taken : when I have received it, I will give my decision.*

The Duke of Dantzic is at Avila. I cannot conceive such
folly. I have given him no orders, and, if you on your part
have sent him none, let me know, in order that I may give him
something to do. At any rate there is no objection to his corps
resting a few days at Avila. All the men who are at Guadar-
rama and Villa Castin belonging to the foreign regiment must
fall back, as in future the route of the army is to be through
Segovia. I think that a battalion of this regiment would be of
great use at Avila to hold the province, and that you may
send thither an intendant to be put at the head of the admin

It seems that Lasalle's division and some of the Poles were
not able to fall back on Talavera ; but Dessolles' division, and
3000 or 4000 men in marching regiments and companies, com
posed of conscripts, as well as of old soldiers, ought, by this
time, to have reached Madrid. I suppose that Marshal Victor
has commenced operations.

It is of great consequence that the Madrid newspapers should
be sent hither, and that they should contain much intelligence
about the army, and letters from Lugo, Corunna, and all those
parts. Perhaps it would be well to create some Spanish regi
ments. You might form one in the north, at Palencia, another
at the Escurial, and in different directions. They must be com
manded by several inferior officers, Spaniards on whom you can
rely 5 you should add a few French officers, give ensigncies to
many of your old serjeant-majors. There exists, in truth, no
longer even the shadow of a Spanish army. The 4000 or 5000
men who were taken prisoners from La Romana were in a horri
ble state ; still worse than those taken by the Duke of Dantzic
in Estremadura.

* As to Joseph's return to inhabit Madrid. He was at this time residing
in La Florida, a country house near Madrid. TR.



Valladolid, Jan. T, 1809.

My Brother, War with Austria seems imminent, and her
troops are already encamped upon her frontiers. My army and
that of the Confederation are also in motion. I asked you for
General Merlin or General Lasalle. Send back to me Borde-
soult likewise. If you are not actually in want of Belliard, send
him back to Paris, and give the command of Madrid to one of
the two generals of division Pacthod. However, as General
Belliard has had much experience in preserving Madrid, I think
that it would be foolish to deprive you of him as yet. His ser
vices in the army are not so valuable to me but that I can do
without him. Send me back the cadres of the 3rd squadron
belonging to the 24 dragoon regiments in Spain, first taking
every available man to reinforce the first two squadrons. I wish
you to send me back 4he brigadier-generals of cavalry, Bron,
Lagrange, and Davenay; the generals of infantry, Gautier,
Puger, and Roger ; the general of division Grandjean, who is
before Saragossa ; and the brigadier-generals Bron and Razout.
As these three last are before Saragossa, I have addressed direct
orders to them to return. I have also ordered the Duke of
Istria to return; he will be replaced by the general of division


Valladolid, Jan. 8, 1809.

My Brother, I have received no letters from you since the
2nd of January. The orderly officer Germain started yesterday
with letters from me to Madrid. I suppose that your couriers
have gone by Benevento.

You will find annexed a copy of my letter of yesterday,
in case any accident should have delayed its delivery. You
will also find the packets which have come for you by the

Online LibraryEmperor of the French Napoleon IThe confidential correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte with his brother Joseph (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 31)