AUGEREAU (Pierre, 1757-1816, Marshal of the French Empire, 1804, 1st Duke of Castiglione, 1808)

Document Signed to General François Joseph LEFEBVRE (1755-1820, Marshal of the Empire, 1804, 1st Duke of Dantzig, 1808), "Commander in Chief of the Left Wing of the Regiments" of the Army of Germany, in French with translation, forwarding "a request [not present] from Citizen Levêque, former Commissioner of Wars, and a letter from General Jacobé-Trigny" (Augustin Jean-Baptiste,1751-1814, General of Brigade, 1795), "who recommends him. I need your advice in order to make up my mind about this Citizen, whom you must know better than I", and ending "Friendly regards", with an autograph footnote "Find out about the other citizen mentioned", at the head is a fine engraving (unsigned) of Marianne on a column bearing "French Republic. Constitution of the Year 3", (which set up the Directory, 1795-1799), below her are an officer drawing his sword and a female warrior holding a flag "The Victorious Armies", the attractive background includes an encampment, a flag "Vanquish or Die", a field gun, and cavalry galloping to cross a bridge, with Augereau's name as commanding the Army of Germany, 1 side tall folio, Offenburg, Baden, 26th Brumaire Year 6, 16th November

Written during the uneasy peace that ended the struggle between France and the First Coalition (1792-1797). The Austrians had retreated from the Netherlands, and while in 1796 they had been victorious on the Rhine, Bonaparte in Italy had triumphed and had dictated terms at Campo Formio near Udine (18th October 1797).
Augereau received his title from the battle of Castiglione, 5th August 1796, 6 miles south of Lake Garda. Bonaparte sent him to carry the enemy standards back to the Directory, and his popularity rivalled Bonaparte's. A staunch republican at heart, he helped drive out the moderates in the coup of 4th September 1797, and was then sent to command the united army of Germany. However, peace ensued and he began to resent his treatment by the Directory, and the present letter shows his wariness in dealing with any Commissioner of Wars they sent. As a republican he opposed the coup that ended the Directory, but afterwards threw in his lot with Bonaparte and received his marshal's baton in 1804.
Lefebvre took part in all the important battles of the North, between 1793 and1799, and was the first republican general to cross the Rhine (Neuwied, 18th April 1797). In September 1797 he took over the Army of the Sambre-et-Meuse, but it was very soon merged with that of the Rhin-et-Moselle to form the Army of Germany under Augereau. The arrangement (and, we must suppose, the engraving in the present document) was short lived, for in mid-December the army was split into the Army of the Rhine under Augereau, and the Army of Mainz. Later, as military governor of Paris, during the coup of 18th Brumaire (19th November 1799) that ended the Directory, it was Lefebvre who protected Lucien Bonaparte in the chamber and drove out the deputies.

Item Date:  1797

Stock No:  55533      £750

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