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 Research | Napoleonic Cugnac Campaign of the Army of the Reserve in 1800 English Foreword

IN 1800


For hundred years, the orders of Berthier, the situations of the Army of the Reserve, the letters of Dupont, Lannes and Murat have slept forgotten, in Military Archives.

By publishing today these documents, perhaps called to destroy certain legends, we will join to it only the minimum of explanations and essential notes to facilitate the reading and to fill some gaps of it. They will be the orders and the reports which, being connected the ones with the others, will write themselves the history of the campaign of the Army of the Reserve and this book, far from approaching the strategic discussions, is only one simple collection of letters centenaries.

“Ah! old letters! a historian said. Like certain plants, they are with going up sap. Joys, disillusions, pains, hopes are only deadened there. Shake the sand which is still due to the writing, they begin again themselves with makes green (1). ”

Can in the same way this publication make live again, in all its strength and its sincerity, the thought of the First Consul, that of Berthier and its comrades in arms!

By dividing into sheets their correspondence, the reader will see, day per day, concerns, indecisions momentary and the energetic resolutions of the young French generals; he will follow step by step the meeting of the Army of the Reserve around Dijon, then his daring march through snows of the Great Saint Bernard and the chasms of the path of Albard.

  1. The Youth of the King Charles-Albert, p. 48, by the marquis Costa of Beauregard.

The major part of the documents published do not carry the indication of their origin; it is those which are drawn from the historical archives of the Ministry of War where they are classified by chronological order in the series of the following paperboards:

Correspondence Army of the Reserve, first line.
of Napoleon, part published (1).
of Napoleon, not published.
Army of the Rhine.
Army of Italy.
general military.
Registers of correspondence.
Historical memoires.

The states of services were extracted from the administrative archives of the Ministry of War.

Apart from the archives of the war, one collected some documents with the following sources:

Archives National, series AF IV.
committee of artillery.
committee of the engineers.
Gros-Bois, pertaining to The Prince of Wagram, grandson of Marshal Berthier.
of Major General Count Duhesme, grandson of General Duhesme.
principal cities of the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais Alps.
Great Saint Bernard.
town of Aoste.

Lastly, one took a small number of intelligence in already published works, in particular in OEstreichische militärische Zeitschrift, organ of the Austrian General Staff.

  1. The pieces already published in the Correspondence of Napoleon were indicated with the sequence number that they have in this publication.