DescriptionNapoleon Bonaparte Letter Signed "Np". One page in French, 7.5" x 9", September 5, 1811, Compiegne, France, to French Minister of War Marshall Henri J. G. Clarke (Duc de Feltre), concerning unruly conscripts headed to war with Russia. In part: "All the unruly conscripts in France from now on will be sent to Wesel and Strasbourg, with the exception of those on the far side of the Alps . . . There would also be the inconvenience of assembling too large a number of unruly men on Corsica . . . I want to know the number of deserters and unruly soldiers the departments may still provide and I will see if it wouldn't be expedient to send them to Illyria." Included with the letter is a short note (3" x 1.75") stating that the letter had been forwarded.
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) added thousands of new conscripts to his Grande Armee after receiving news that Russia was making war preparations against the French. This large army, which numbered around 500,000 when it invaded Russia in 1812, was difficult for the French commanders to control. After losing nearly 60,000 men at the Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon returned to France where he soon abdicated and was exiled to Elba. Henri J. G. Clarke (1765-1818) had been Napoleon's private secretary in the early 1800s; in 1807, he was promoted to the minister of war.
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