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BERNADOTTE Jean Baptiste - LS 1806 discussing the allocation of eagles after Austerlitz and M. Clary's merit

  • £1,275.00

 Jean Baptiste BERNADOTTE (1763-1844)

Letter Signed and subscribed (“Je vous renouvelle lexpression de mes sentiments distingués, J. Bernadotte”) to Colonel Cavaignac, commander of the 10th regiment of Dragoons discussing the allocation of eagles for distinguished conduct following the battle of Austerlitz..
1 page folio in French with integral blank leaf, on blue-grey paper, Corplitz, 9 January 1806.    
Trans: “The imperial decree has allocated a certain number of eagles to each regiment. These eagles have been apportioned for distinguished conduct during the entire campaign, but especially for that shown at the battle of Austerlitz. M. Clary, not having fought on the eleventh frimaire [2 December, date of the battle of Austerlitz] in my corps of the army, is not entitled to any of the eagles allocated to this corps. It is from his own regiment that he must claim his right to this honourable reward as, according to your own account, he deserves it. It is as just that he should have it from the corps with which he fought as it would be unjust to deprive another brave officer for his sake.These reasons will no doubt decide you to include M. Clary in your account, as he deserves it.”
The battle of Austerlitz is generally regarded as Napoleon’s greatest victory. French losses were one-third those of the Austrian and Russian forces combined. By the end of 1805, Austria had capitulated and Alexander I’s troops had retreated to Russia. Bernadotte played an important part in the battle, and in 1806 created him Prince of Pontocorvo.
Napoleon’s relationship with Bernadotte was at best uneasy and he never fully trusted him, a sentiment which was, some years later, to prove justified. Ambitious, self-confident, and a firm supporter of the Republic, Bernadotte remained neutral at the time of Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1799, but later accepted Napoleon’s accession as Emperor. Despite his republican sentiments, Bernadotte eventually accepted the crown of Sweden, and was the founder of the House of Bernadotte, the Swedish royal house to this day.
Bernadotte was married to Napoleon’s former fiancée. Désirée Clary, whose sister Julie had married Napoleon’s elder brother Joseph, adding to the complexity of their relationship. M. Clary, mentioned in this letter, was quite likely related to Désirée, possibly a nephew.
Slightly frayed at the edges and some browning, particularly at the top of the letter, but otherwise in good condition.


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