My Collection – Napoleonic – 1798-1799
General Louis-Cesar-Gabriel Berthier
note: General Cesar Berthier was the brother of Marshal Berthier. He was Adjutant General of Brigade and head of the topographical bureau in the army of Sambre-et-Meuse in 1796, after having been employed in the army of Rochambeau during the Revolution. He went to the army of Italy in 1797, responsible for maintaining roads for the army, then became head of the Topographical Bureau in Paris in 1799.
General Antoine Morlot
note: This is a document by General Morlot while commandant of the 10e division and dates the 1st of February 1798. He would serve under Lannes at Saragossa and would die of illness soon after the siege.(Siege of Saragossa)
Marshal Francois-Joesph Lefebvre
3 April 1798
Lefebvre, General of Division to General of Brigade Oudinot.
I’m surprised that General Dessaix and General Lecourbe have not corresponded. He is from 17 or 18 my aides-de-camp at Coutances. I will follow two or three days and I am flattered that every thing will be arranged.
note: Lefebvre was one of Napoleon’s Marshals. This is a document by Lefebvre at Limeil(Paris) while with the army of England(Angleterre). The document is dated the 3rd of April 1798 just a month and a half before Bonaparte set sail for Egypt. The letter mentions General Dessaix and General Lecourbe and the location of Coutances, which I think was a staging point for the invasion of England.(Lefebvre, Lefebvre, Oudinot, Dessaix, Lecourbe)
Dominique Vincent Ramel Nogaret
note: This is a document by Nogaret while the Minister of Finance and dated the 28th of May 1798.(Reverse)
Battle of the Nile
August 3, 1798
We have just been Witnesses my dear Friend to a naval Combat, the most bloody and unfortunate that for many Ages has taken place. As we know not all the circumstances, but those which we already acquainted with, are frightful in the extreme. The French Squadron consisting of thirteen sail of the line, one of which was a three Decker of 120 Guns and the three others of 80 were anchored in the line of Battle in the bay of Abukir, or Canope, the only one that exists on all the coast of Egypt. For the eight days and past several Ships and Frigates belonging to the English have at different times been in sight, reconnoitering the position of the Fleet; so that we have been in momentary expectations of being attacked.
In a direct line from Abukir to Rosetta, the distance is about 4 leagues and a half. From the heights of the latter our Fleet is perfectly seen, and distinguished. The 14th of this month at half past five O’Clock in the Evening we heard the firing of Cannon. This was the commencement of the Battle. We immediately got upon the Terraces, and the Top of the highest Houses, & little Eminences, from whence we plainly distinguished ten English Ships of the Line, the others we could not see. The cannonade was very heavy until a quarter after nine O’Clock, when favored by the night, we perceived an immense light which announced to us that some ship was on Fire. At this time the Thunder of the Cannon was heard with redoubled fury, & at ten O’Clock the Ship on fire blew up with the most dreadful Explosion, which was heard at Rosetta in the manner as the Explosion of the Grenille was heard at Paris. When this accident happened, the most profound silence took place for the space of about ten minutes. From the moment of the Explosion until our hearing it might take up about two. The firing commenced again and continued without intermission until 3 O’Clock in the morning when it ceased almost without entirely until five, when it commenced again with as great vivacity as ever.
I placed myself on a Tower which is about cannon shot from Rosetta and which is called Aboul Mandour. From thence I could distinctly see the whole Battle. At 8 O’Clock I perceived a ship on fire & in about half an hour blew up similar to the other last night, a Ship which until the moment of her explosion was not perceived on fire at all. The other ships moved to a greater distance from the shore , and the Fire on board her apparently diminished by which we presume that it was entirely extinguished, during the time the cannonading redoubled. A large Ship entirely dismasted was on shore on the Coast. I perceived others among the Fleet in similar manner dismasted entirely but the two Squadrons so mingled each other that it was impossible to distinguish French from English, nor on whose side the advantage was. The firing continued with unabating vivacity until about 2 O’Clock after Mid-day of the 15th and at this hour we perceived two sail of the Line and two Frigates under a press of sail on a Wind standing to the Eastward. We perceived the whole four were under French Colors. No other Vessel made any movement & the firing ceased entirely. Towards 6 O’Clock in the evening I returned to the tower of Aboul Mandour to reconnoitre the position of the two Fleets. It was the same as at 2 O’Clock. The four Ships under Way , were abreast of the mouth of the Nile. We know not what to think or conjecture. Twenty four hours passed without having any person to give us any details, and in our situation it was impossible to procure any by Land, on account of the Arabs who were assembled between Rosetta and Abukir, and by Sea on account of the difficulty of getting out of the opening or branch of the Nile.
You may judge of our Impatience and perplexity nothing good could be augur’d form the Silence however we were obliged to pass the whole of the night of the 15th in this uncertaintude, & at last on the morning of the 16th a boat which left Alexandria in the night gave us some details though little tending to our Comfort; they told us that the Officers of the French Fleet who saved themselves in a Boat arrived at Alexandria, had reported that in the commencement of the Battle Admiral Brueys had received three severe wounds, one in the Head, & two in the Body that notwithstanding he persisted in keeping his station, on the Arm, Chest, and that a fourth Shot took him in the Body, & cut him in two. At the same moment a Shot took off the Captain of the Ship Casablanca, that at this time they perceived the Ship to be on fire in such a manner as not to be able to Extinguish it; and at last the Ship had blown up about 10 O’Clock at night. They added that our Fleet was totally destroyed & lost with the exception of the four ships escaped, but that the remainder were entirely ruined. I returned to the Tower where I found things absolutely in the same situation as Yesterday. They were even so yesterday night, & this morning. I have now to Say how they appeared to our View, from the Castle of Abukir on the left, sweeping the Horizon to the right. Four Ships are without mast and under English Colors. The 2nd and 3rd are in a good state, but cannot distinguish theirs. The 4th has lost one mast, the 5th in good state & English Colors. The 6th has lost her Topmast, this morning she hoisted her Fore Top Mast Stay Sail; and set some after Sails. The 7th is without Top Gall Masts. The 8th is dismasted. The 9th is dismasted with the exception of the Bowsprit. The 11th, 12th & 13th for a kind of Group, having only seven masts between them. The 14th has only her Fore Mast. The 15th has lost her Fore and Mizon Top Gall Masts. The 18th has only a Foremast. The 19th, 20th & 21st form a Group with only four masts between them, and these without Top Gall Masts. The 22nd is entirely dismasted and on shore. She has English Colors up. The People on board her are trying to get her afloat, and to raise other masts. The 23rd is in good state under English Colors. The 24th also in good state.
This is all I can distinguish, from which results, that though the English have had the advantage, they have been very roughly handled, since they could not follow the vessels who went away on the 19th. For these two days these Ships have been perfectly inactive and seemingly destroyed. This morning news has arrived to us from Alexandria, which confirms our losses. Rear Admiral Descret is killed, also Vice Admiral Blanquet Duchalia – five Ships have struck their Colors. The Tonnant Admiral Bruey’s flagship was the last in action. Dupitelair who commanded her, had his two legs carried off by a Cannon shot. The Ships escaped are the Guillaume Tell, the Genereaux, with the Frigates Diana, and Justice. They say it was the Artimise which blew up the morning before yesterday. Many things relative to this Battle are yet to learn. They say that the English Admiral has sent a flag of truce to Alexandria demanding that they should receive, and take care of the wounded which amount to 1500. They will send us all our Prisoners. As yet I am ignorant of what has been decided on. You will receive in France the official Accounts of us, and the English. I know not what they will say, but you may rely upon what I have written because it is what I have seen. Communicate my letter to Citizen Corancez. His son who ought to have given him these accounts, is by me otherwise occupied. He has written six letters, and has not received one in return. I have no news of Citizen Mony whom I have named Agent at Demautrour. Berance who has been Ill is quite recovered. He is with me. Martin is extremely well, but has not received one line from his Family. I am the only fortunate one among them having received three letters from you since my Arrival in Egypt. One of the second Pairial one of the 27th & 28th. Most certainly several are lost, as the English have taken many of our Cruisers. I have had since my Arrival here my Portrait in Profile, taken by an able Artist Citizen Benoy. It is said to be very like, but we have so many English around us, that for fear of its falling into their hands, or going to the bottom of the Sea, I dare not send it. I could wish to be the bearer of it myself. Be assured that as soon as I can obtain that permission which shall not cease to solicit, I shall take my departure. Their is no fortune which shall retain me. I shall be contented to arrive with you naked as my hand. As to what remains to be said, I am in good health. Tomorrow morning I take my departure for Cairo in a handsome Boat with the money and Paymaster General, two armed Boats with 20 men as an Escort, and more than 40 passengers. I take with me a fine Arabia Horse which a Sheik made me a present of here. We go by the Nile – Adieu my Dear little Girl. Love me always & recall me often to the memory of all our Friends. I Embrace you and also my Children,
note: On the 12th of August 1798, British Admiral James Saurmarez the captain of the Orion, captured a French vessel that contained dispatches and letters from the Army of the Orient. One of these letters was written by Jean-Baptiste Poussielgue(1764-1845), Administrator of finance for the French army in Egypt, and an eyewitness to the Battle of Abukir Bay.
Minister Jean-Baptiste Treilhard
General Barthelemy-Louis-Joseph Scherer
note: This is a brevet for Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste Oustin and dated the 25th of September 1798.(Seal)
General Barthelemy Louis Joseph Scherer
note: This is a document by Scherer while Minister of War and dated the 4th of October 1798. General Scherer served in the Pyrenees, Italy, and Minister of War 1797-1799.
Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier
To the Headquarters of Cairo October 12, 1798
Citizen ALEXANDRE BERTHIER, General of Division
You citizen General CAFARELLI, that the citizen General in Chief, owing to the need of subjects has authorized Citizen Auger, Sapeur in the 6th Battalion, to keep on exercising in the Military Hospital No.1 the role of nurse, until 14th Brumaire, by which date he’ll be bound to rejoin his post.
note: Berthier was one of Napoleon’s Marshals and would either commit suicide or be murdered in 1815. This document was while he was in Egypt. Berthier would accompany Napoleon back to France while the army remained in Egypt.(Berthier, Berthier, Cafarelli)
Marshal Guillaume Marie-Anne Brune
…the exhibitor has the honor to observe that he was twice a prisoner of war in the looting of Verona, he lost his wagons and mules, the harassment, abuse the most outrageous…
note: Brune was one of Napoleon’s Marshals. He would be killed by royalist as he made his way to Paris after the Hundred Days. The document is while he was with the Army of Italy and dated the 25th of October 1798.(Brune, Brune)
General Augusta Caffarelli du Falga
note: The document concerns military discipline/prosecution and dated the 8th of November 1798.
General Jean-Marie-Mellon-Roger Valhubert
General Jacques-Claude Lecourbe
…Nothing new, my general. The enforcement of military rule on the locals will not have much effect. Today I’m going to Durheim after putting everything in order…
note: This letter by Lecourbe was written on the 31st of January 1798, just four days after he took Durheim. During the Hundred Days his 8,000 volunteers would hold off 40,000 Austrians at Belfort.(Cover, Lecourbe)
General Claude Dallemagne
The Quarter General of Coblentz, 12th February 1799.
General of Division Dallemagne
To Citizen Jourdan, General in Chief of the Army of Mayence.
I’m sending you the general inventory that was contained in the fortress when we took possession. I wanted to send it earlier but the quantity of copies that the Commissioner of War was obliged to ship, are due to what he said, was unable to me give it. As I expect that a moment of good weather for my departure, it is possible, Citizen General, that this letter is the last you will receive from me in service. I regret infinitely that I have maintained relations with you and have not been supported by a mutual acquaintance, convinced that it would have been able to cultivate more particularly valuable your friendship.
P.S. Not having received your response to the deserters that I had stopped at Coblentz, these unfortunate people who are deprived of everything and try to escape every day, I returned each in their municipality under the supervision of their formed authority. I have instructed General Soult, who will leave for Strasbourg to give you the ten thousand francs from the contribution of the village of Boschuttin.
note: This is a document by General Dallemagne while at Coblentz and dated the 12th of February 1799. The document concerns Marshal Jean-Bapitiste Jourdan(1762-1833) while he was General in Chief of the Army of Mayence. Lannes would serve with Dallemagne at Lodi.(Reverse, Dallemagne, Jourdan)
Marshal Pierre-Francois-Charles Augereau
Charles Joseph Lambrechts
note: This document concerns the Minister of Marine and dated the 24th of March 1799.(Reverse)
Captaine Pierre Gaubert
“the enemy is on the left bank of the Po and sank our boats with two gunboats on the night of 9 to 10. The enemy has passed the Po at Polizella the number of twenty, this item is being guarded by a small detachment of Piemontais whose report gave the whole horror Ferrara little troops that there was the bridge which was a few hundred men were ordered to close the retreat into the citadel, canonnièrres other boats that were at the bridge were coullées thoroughly by our own sailors to not let the enemy in power, I who did not want me up in the citadel did not have much confidence in his deffence I folded baggage and without fanfare and I went to Bologna with horses and all the crew, not wanting to leave Madame and her daughter Pte thank you to all the vexations that could have him, I brought with me, we stayed three days and when I saw that tranquility was restored, I am because income the horses were malnourished in Bologna … “
note: The document by Gaubert concerns the war in Italy while Napoleon was in Egypt and dated the 4th of April 1799. General Jean Joesph Guieu(1758-1817) would be with Lannes at Arcola.(Reverse, back, Battle at Arcola)
Marshal Jean Lannes
General Olivier Macoux Rivaud de La Raffiniere
“…attacked pulmonis as a result of fatigue of the war [.] And being in a state of stagnation that fear for his life.”
note: This document is granting leave to François Bouissary, a native of Bergerac, sergeant in the 8th company of the 3rd Battalion of the 98th 1/2 Infantry Brigade of the line, and dated the 16th of August 1799.(Rivaud, Reverse)
General Edmond Louis Alexis Dublois-Crance
Paris, the 2nd of November 1799.
The Minister of War
To Citizen Andreossy, Chef de Brigade of Engineers.
I announce you, Citizen that, based on the report I have presented them, the executive Director has authorized me through its order dated Vendemiaire 27th, to send their Commission documents to all the officers who have been promoted to superior ranks by the Generals en Chief. As a consequence, your nomination to the rank of General of Brigade, made on Thermidor 7th Year 7 by General Massena, is confirmed. Until I have your Brevet sent to you, you’ll bear the distinctive marks of your new rank, and you will take advantage of the appropriate remuneration.
note: This is a document by Dublois-Crance while Minister of War. The document concerns the promotion of General Victor Antoine Andreossy(1747-1814).(Reverse)
Marshal Louis-Gabriel Suchet
ARMY OF ITALY
To Headquarters of Finale
September 28, 1799
SUCHET: Division General, Head of the War Department
To Citizen Joseph Marchand, Army Courier
Having found, Citizen that your name was not included in the list of Couriers attached to the General Headquarters, I hereby inform yo that in accordance with the decision of the Commander in Chief you will receive remuneration for this month of Vendemiaire. With regard to this matter I am writing to the Paymaster General directing him to give the necessary orders so that this payment be made without any obstacle or delay. At the same time I have the pleasure to inform you that Chief of Staff, who is satisfied, with your services, devotion and zeal, has indicated that your dismissal was due only to the fact that there are too many Couriers in the Army. You are now free to seek other employment of this nature if the opportunity arises. Should this be impossible a passport will be given to you together with the sum of 2 francs 50 centimes so that you can reach Tyrol.
Mashal Andre Massena
Massena General en Chief
In execution of article 39 of the contract passed on the 19th of this month with Citizens Guyot de La Pomeraie and Co. by the Commissioner Orderly in Chief and approved by the General in Chief of the supply of food, bread and sundry supplies. The Commissioner in Chief will have 300,000 francs paid to Citizens Guyot de La Pomeraie and Co. as an advance installment on the advances referred to in article 39 of said contract. The sum will be taken from the credit of 1,500,000 francs, and replaced in that credit along with the payment of the funds coming from the Lingurian Government. The order will be transmitted to the General Paymaster and Orderly in Chief, who will execute it, each for what concerns him.
General Charles-Louis-Dieudonne Grandjean
note: This is a document signed by General Grandjean while with the 10e of cavalry. He would serve with Lannes at Saragossa.(Siege of Saragossa)