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CLARKE Henri Duc de Feltre - Letter Signed 1808 regarding troop movements

  • £495.00

Henri Jacques Guillaume CLARKE, Duc de Feltre (1765-1818)

Letter Signed (“Cte d’Hunebourg”) as Minister of War to Marshal Lefebvre, Duke of Danzig, sending him instructions for troop movements going to Orleans and thence to Bayonne.

2 pages folio in French, Paris, 9 September 1808.             

A letter marking the earliest days of the Peninsular War.  

The troops which were to mass at Bayonne would eventually make their way into the Iberian peninsula. Napoleon himself was to follow, arriving at Bayonne on 3 November, en route to Vittoria, Burgos, and eventually Madrid. By mid-January, Napoleon again passed through Bayonne, never to return to Spain.

Trans: “It is the Emperor’s intention that you be in Orleans on the 14th of this month, in order to review the troops of General Leval’s division, made up of the corps of Nassau, Baden, Hesse Darmstatt and the Prince Primate’s battalion.

His Majesty intends that these troops will stop at Orleans and thence continue to Bayonne.

As a result, the Duke of Nassau’s regiment, which will arrive in Orleans on the 14th September will stay there the 15th and 16th and will leave on the 17th going towards Bayonne where it will arrive on 11 October.

The Grand Duke of Baden’s regiment . . . will arrive at Orleans on 15 September, will remain there the 16th and 17th, and will leave on the 18th, travelling to Bayonne where it will arrive on 12 October.

The Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstatt’s regiment . . . will arrive at Orleans on 16 September . . . and will leave on the 19th, going to Bayonne where it will arrive on 13 October.

The Prince Primate’s battalion will arrive at Orleans on the 21st September . . . and will leave on the 24th, also going towards Bayonne, where it will arrive on 18 October.

I have the honour to send herewith to Your Excellency the orders for the route for these various corps, so that they may make their way to Bayonne on the dates designated.

I would ask you . . . to give the commanders of these corps the orders and instructions required to ensure the most exact discipline . . . I would ask Your Excellency . . . to inform me of their departure for Bayonne.

In May 1808 Joseph Bonaparte became king of Spain, following the deposition of Ferdinand VII. Spain immediately erupted in a popular rising. The English, who clearly saw Spain as Napoleon’s weakest point, were only too happy to take advantage of the situation, and in June of the same year, Arthur Wellesley learned that he would be despatched to the Peninsula with 9000 men to assist the Spanish and Portuguese in their struggle against the French.



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