University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

The Marshals of Napoleon

1791 - 1836

Manuscript Collection Number: 384
Accessioned: Gift of W. Atlee Burpee, 1961.
Extent: .3 linear ft. (67 items)
Content: Autographed letters, documents, portraits.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: January 1999 by Arthur Siegel.

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Table of Contents

Historical Note

On May 19, 1804, just one day after being proclaimed emperor of France, Napoleon created the office of Maréchal, or "Marshal of the Empire," an elite civil (rather than military) rank that was bestowed upon a number of prominent and loyal generals in his army. The title of "Marshal of France" had been used by the Bourbon kings as a way to honor highly esteemed commanders in the royal army, and Napoleon sought to revive this tradition. By 1815, twenty-six individuals had been appointed to this rank, though the original Marshalate of 1804 comprised only eighteen members: Pierre Augereau (1757-1816), Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte (1763-1844), Louis-Alexander Berthier (1753-1815), Jean-Baptiste Bessières (1763-1813), Guillaume Brune (1763-1815), Louis-Nicolas Davout (1770-1823), Jean-Baptiste Jourdan (1762-1833), François Christophe Kellerman (1735-1820), Jean Lannes (1769-1809), Lefebvre (1755-1820), Massena (1758-1817), Bon-Adrien Moncey (1754-1842), Edouard A.C.J. Mortier (1768-1835), Michel Ney (1769-1815), Joachim Murat (1767-1815), Catherine Dominique Pérignon (1754-1818), Jean Sérurier (1742-1819), and Jean-de-Dieu Soult (1769-1851).

The remaining marshals were appointed in the years following, primarily after major military victories: C. P. Victor (1764-1841) in 1807; Jacques Macdonald (1765-1840), Auguste Marmont (1774-1852), and Charles Oudinot (1767-1847) in 1809; Louis Gabriel Suchet (1770-1826) in 1811; Gouvion St. Cyr (1764-1830) in 1812; Joseph-Antoine Poniatowski (1763-1813) in 1813; and Emmanuel Grouchy (1766-1847) in 1815. In addition to Napoleon's twenty-six marshals, Louis XVIII appointed H.J.G. Clarke (1765-1818) to the Marshalate in July 1816, a year after Waterloo.

Many of those appointed to the Marshalate continued to serve in the army, but others, such as St. Cyr and Moncey, were inactive and served in high-ranking positions within the government. Most received ducal titles in connection with their appointment to the Marshalate, as well as grants of money and privilege. Promotions were based on military service, and the marshals were generally picked from the two most important armies -- that of the Rhine and that of Italy. Most of the marshals were of the gentry and merchant class, though several (Augereau, Lannes, and Ney) came from plebeian backgrounds, and others from the upper nobility. That members of the lower class were appointed to the Marshalate demonstrates the merit-based nature of the imperial army and government.


Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1966.

Chandler, David G. Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1979.

Churchill, W. A. Watermarks in Paper: In Holland, France, England, etc. in the XVII and XVIII Centuries and their Interconnection. Amsterdam: Menno Hertzberger & Co., 1935.

Haythornthwaite, Philip J. The Napoleonic Sourcebook. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1990.

Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution. ed. Samuel F. Scott & Barry Rothaus. 2 vol. Westport, Ct: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Scope and Content Note

The sixty-seven documents and portraits in the Marshals of Napoleon collection span the dates 1791-1836 and were assembled for their associative value with Napoleon. The individual who collected these representative documents is not known, but the collection was a gift from W. Atlee Burpee.

The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by name of marshal, with items related to other individuals and Napoleon at the end of the collection. All but two of Napoleon's twenty-six marshals, Murat and Suchet, are represented. In addition, the collection includes documents from H. J. G. Clarke (appointed Marshal under Louis XVIII), Alexander Lameth, Eugène de Beauharmais, Hughes Marat, Louis Philippe de Ségur, and Napoleon.

Each individual is represented by one or more signed documents, and there are portraits of all but Jean Sérurier. The portraits are hand-colored engravings, most of which are plates which were removed from books. One of the two portraits of Napoleon in the collection is printed on velum, and is a copy of part of the Messonier painting "The Campaign of 1814."

The documents in the collection reflect the various administrative duties of the signers; they primarily concern military orders such as the movement of troops or requisition of supplies. Most of the items written between 1792 and 1805 are dated according to the calendar of the Republic (year one began on 22 September 1792), though a few of the letters maintained Gregorian calendar dates for that period.

Nearly all of the documents are holograph letters, and a few bear printed headings of the "Armée République Française" and slogans of "Liberté, Égalité." Several of the papers are watermarked, most interestingly the holograph letter associated with Hughes Marat, duc de Bassano. His undated letter is written on paper watermarked with the imperial eagle, the seal "Napoleon Empereur des Français, Roi d'Italie," and the papermaker's name, F. Johannot.

One report signed by H. J. G. Clarke is annotated "annuled" and signed "Nap"; another report from Berthier, dated 12 September 1811, is initialed by Napoleon. The folder for Napoleon includes an undated order on paper printed "Bonaparte Générale en Chef de L'Armée d'Italie" and signed Bonaparte. This last letter was possibly written in 1796 or 1797, before he became emperor and during the period in which he was head of the Army of Italy. Even though the letter is undated, it can be said for certain that it was written before May 18, 1804, for that is the date that his signature changes on all extant correspondence from "Bonaparte" to "Napoleon."

Contents List

Folder -- Contents

     Marshals, 1791-1836  (53 items)
     The names of twenty-four marshals of Napoleon, as well as the one marshal that was
     appointed by Louis XVIII, are listed in alphabetical order.  All of the letters and
     documents are one page, unless otherwise noted, and several are written on paper with
     notable watermarks.  In addition, all documents except the one by Séruier are
     accompanied by colored portraits.

F1   Augereau, Pierre François Charles, duc de Castiglione  (1755-1816)
     2 items
     ALS, 21 Avril 1810, Gironne, to Monsieur L'Ordonnateur en chef de L'Armée de
     Portrait:  "Pierre Augereau, Duc de Castiglione, Maréchal de France, Décoré de la Grand-Croix 
     de la Légion d'honneur, Né à Paris le 21 Octobre 1757"
F2   Bernadotte, Jean-Baptiste Jules, prince de Ponte Corvo and King of Sweden  (1763-1844)
     2 items
     ADS, 29 Thermidor 8 [16 Aug 1800], Armee de l'Ouest, to le Quartier-général de Brest 
     [possibly Eustache Bruix].  Written on letterhead of the Armée de l'Ouest. 
     Portrait: "Charles Jean (Bernadote), Prince Royale de Suède, Décoré du grand-Aigle de la
     Légion d'honneur, Né à Pau (Basses-Pyrénées) le 26 Janvier 1764"

F3   Berthier, Louis-Alexandre, prince de Neuchâtel et de Wagram  (1753-1815)
     4 items
     ALS, 18 Fructidor 12 [4 Sep 1804], Armée d'Hanovre, to le Chef d'Escadron Lamarre. 
     Written on letterhead of the Army of Hanover, with a red seal on the lower left corner and
     marks from the seal on the top of the page.
     ALS, June 1806, Munich, to le [     ] Alexandre, Duc de Neuchâtel, Major Général. 
     Berthier's signature accompanies a marginal note written over the original letter.  Written
     on paper watermarked with the papermaker's name, "C & I Honig."
     ALS, 12 Sep 1811, Compiegne, to Napoleon.  Signed "Alexandre," and with Napoleon's
     signature in left-hand margin.  Written on paper watermarked with the seal "Napoleon
     Empereur des Français, Roi d'Italie." 
     Portrait: "Alexandre Berthier, Prince de Wagram, Maréchalet Pair de France, Grand-Croix 
     des Ordres de Maximilien Joseph de Bavarie, de l'Aigle d'Or de Wurtemburg, de
     la Couronne de St. Henri de Saxe, de la Fidélité de Bade, de Hesse, de St. Joseph de
     Wurzbourg, de St. Etienne de Hongrie, de l'Aigle Noir de Prusse, de la Légion
     d'Honneur, Commandeur de l'ordre Royal et Militaire de St. Louis, Né en 1753 à
     Versaille, Dept. de Seine et Oise"

F4   Bessières, Jean-Baptiste, duc d'Istrie  (1768-1813) 
     2 items
     ALS, n.d., to an unknown recipient.  
     Portrait: "N. Bessieres, Duc d'Istrie, Maréchal de France, Grand-Croix de la Légion
     d'Honneur.  Né à Pressac (Lot) 1769.  Mort le 1er Mai 1813, veille de la bataille de

F5   Brune, Guillaume Marie Anne  (1763-1815)
     2 items
     ALS, 14 Frimaire 9 [4 Dec 1800], Brescia, to le Général en Chef [Bruix].  Written on
     letterhead of the Army of Italy.
     Portrait: "Brune, Conseiller d'État. Général en chef de l'Armée d'Italie, Né à Brives,
     Dept. de la Correz, le 13 May, 1763"

F6   Clarke, Henri Jacques Guillaume, duc de Feltre  (1765-1818)  
     3 items
     ADS, 12 Juin 1811, to Napoleon.  Signed and briefly annotated by Napoleon ("Nap"),
     and signed by Clarke, "duc de Feltre."  This text, written on letter head of the Ministry of
     War, which is watermarked with the imperial eagle.  The letter is two pages and contains
     a lot of marginal scrawl.   A brief, typed description of the document is pasted on the
     back page.
     ALS, 13 Oct 1813, Paris, to an unknown count.  Written on letterhead of the Ministry of
     War and watermarked with the "Pro Patria," in a style very similar to that of maker Jean
     Villedary.  Signed by Clarke, "duc de Feltre."
     Portrait: H.-J.-G. Clarke, Duc de Feltre, Maréchal et Pair de France, Ministre de la
     Guerre.  Né à Landrecie (Nord), le 17 Octobre 1765

F7   Davout, Louis Nicolas, duc d'Auerstadt and prince of Eckmühl  (1770-1823)  
     2 items
     ALS, 3 Juillet 1813, Hambourg, to "Votre Excellence"
     Portrait: "Louis-Nicolas Davoust. Prince d'Eckmühl Duc d'Auerstadt, Maréchal de
     France, grand Croix et Chevalier de plusiers Ordres, Né le 10 mai 1770, à Annoux, Dépt.
     de Lyonne"

F8   Grouchy, Emmanuel, marquis de  (1766-1847)
     2 items
     ALS, 1793, Nantes, to le président de la Convention Nationale, whom Grouchy terms
     "citoyen président."  Written on paper watermarked with the "Pro Patria."
     Portrait: "Emmanuel Grouchy, Comte, Maréchal de France, Décoré de la Grand-Croix de
     la Légion d'Honneur, Né à Paris le 23 Octobre 1766"

F9   Jourdan, Jean-Baptiste  (1762-1833)  
     2 items
     ALS, 23 Thermidor 2 [10 Aug 1794], Warew, to Général Kléber.  Written on letterhead
     of the Army of Moselle.
     ALS, 30 Dec 1831, Pavia, to Monsieur le Maréchal, Duc de Dalmatie, Ministre Secrétaire
     d'État de la Guerre [possibly Marshal Soult].  Written on letterhead of the Hôtel Royal
     des Militaires Invalides, and watermarked "VanderLey."
     Portrait: "Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, Maréchal de France, Décoré de la Grand-Croix de la
     Légion d'Honneur, Né à Limoges (Haute-Vienne) en 1762"
     Portrait: "Jourdan (Jean-Baptiste, Comte de) le 19 Mai 1804, Maréchal de France +1833"

F10  Kellermann, François Etienne Christophe, duc de Valmy  (1735-1820) 
     2 items
     ALS, 18 Janvier 1791, to an unknown recepient and signed on the reverse. 
     Portrait: "François Christophe Kellermann, Duc de Valmy, Maréchal et pair de France,
     Grand-Croix des Ordres de la Fidélité de Bade et de l'Aigle d'Or de Wurtemberg, Grand
     Cordon de la Légion d'Honneur, Grand Croix de l'Ordre Royal et Militaire de St. Louis,
     Né le 13 Mai 1735 à Strasbourg, Dépt. du Bas-Rhin" 

F11  Lannes, Jean, duc de Montebello  (1769-1809) 
     3 items
     ALS, 15 Avril 1806, Paris, to le Grand Chanielieu.  Also included is a typed translation
     of the letter.
     Portrait: "Lannes"

F12  Lefebvre, François Joseph, duc de Danzig  (1755-1820)  
     2 items
     ALS, 27 Fevrier 1793, Paris, to le Commandant militaire à Metz.  
     Portrait: "Lefevre, Général des Armées de la Rep. Française"

F13  Macdonald, Jacques Etienne Joseph Alexandre, duc de Tarente  (1765-1840)
     2 items
     ALS, 19 [8th mo.] 4., Austeritz, to the général de Division at Ligne.  The document is
     two pages in length, and includes a typed description of the letter.
     Portrait: "Macdonald, Général en Chef de l'Armée des Grisons.  Né à Sedan, Dépt. des
     Ardennes le 17. Novembre, 1765"

F14  Marmont, Auguste Frederic louis Viesse de, duc de Raguse  (1774-1852), 
     2 items
     ALS, n.d., to [Kinghausen?].  Includes a small, red seal of a crown atop a ring.
     Portrait: "Aug[us]te Fréd[er]ic Viesse Marmont, Duc de Raguse, Maréchal de France,
     Décoré de la Grand-Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, Né le 20 Juillet 1774 à 
     Chatillon-sur-Seine Dépt. de la Côte d'Or"

F15  Massena, André, duc de Rivoli, prince d'Essling  (1758-1817)
     2 items
     ALS, 30 G[erminal] 9 [19 Apr 1801], to Citoyen [Defly], Paris.  Remnants of a wax seal
     on the corners.
     Portrait: "Massena, Général des Armées de la Rép. fr.  Né à Nice le 6 Mai 1756"

F16  Moncey, Bon Adrien Jannot de, Duc de Conegliano  (1754-1842) 
     2 items
     ALS, 8 Decembre 1814, Paris, to an unnamed general.  Moncey was also Inspector
     General of the Gendarmerie.
     Portrait: "Bon-Adrien Moncey, Duc de Conegliano, Maréchal de France, Grand-Croix de
     la Légion d'Honneur.  Nè en 1764 à Moncey (Dépt. du Doubs)"

F17  Mortier, Adolphe Edouard Casimir Joseph, duc de Trévise  (1768-1835)
     2 items
     ALS, 13 Brumaire 10 [4 Nov 1801], Paris, to le Président du 2e Conseil de Guerre de la
     [Premi]ere Division.  Written on letterhead of the First Military Division, of which
     Mortier himself was the commander-in-chief.
     Portrait: "Edouard-Adolphe-Casimir-Joseph Mortier. Duc de Trévise, Maréchal et pair de
     France, Chevalier de l'Ordre royal et Militaire de St. Louis et de la Couronne de Fer,
     Grand-Cordon de la Légion de l'Honneur, Né en 1768 à Cateau-Cambresis, Dépt. du

F18  Ney, Michel, Prince de la Moskowa, duc d'Elchingen  (1769-1815)
     2 items
     ALS, 28 Nivôse 8 [17 Jan 1800], [Kircheim-boland], to Citoyen Inspecteur.  Written on
     letterhead of the Army of the Rhine, Fourth Division.
     Portrait: "Michel Ney, Prince de la Moskowa, Duc d'Elchingen, Maréchal et pair de
     France.  Né à Sarrelouis, le 10 Janvier 1769.  Fusillé à Paris, le 7 Décembre, 1845"

F19  Oudinot, Nicolas Charles, duc de Reggio  (1767-1847) 
     2 items
     ALS, 12 Aôut 1814, Paris, to an unnamed general. 
     Portrait: "Charles Oudinot, Duc de Reggio.  Maréchal de france, décoré de la 
     Grand-Croix de la Légion d'Honneur.  Né à Bar sur Ornain, (Meuse) le 25 Avril 1765"

 F20 Pérignon, Catherine Dominique, marquis de  (1754-1818) 
     2 items
     ALS, 5 Thermidor 13 [23 Jul 1805], Paris, to Monsieur le Maréchal Moncey.  Written on
     personal letterhead, with a watermark of an imperial seal and the "Pro Patria."  Pérignon
     was a senator of the French Republic, as well as Governor of Naples.  The letter is two
     pages in length, and in the upper left-hand corner of the first page is writing in a different
     Portrait: "Dom[ini]que Cath[eri]ne Pérignon (comte), Maréchal de France, Sénateur,
     Gouverneur de Naples, Décoré de la Grand-Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, Né en 1754 à
     Grenade (Haute Garonne)"

F21  Poniatowski, Josef Anton, Prince  (1763-1813)  
     2 items
     ADS, 16 Janvier 1808, [Warsaw?].  In Polish on official letterhead, inscribed with a
     stamp of the Minster Woyny seal.  The watermark is a three-[branched] cross inscribed
     with the letters "N H I"
     Portrait: "Poniatowski (Joseph-Antoine, Prince), 16 Octobre 1813, Maréchal de France

F22  Saint Cyr, Laurent Gouvion, comte and later marquis de  (1764-1830)  
     2 items
     DS, 20 Janvier 1818, Paris.  An official order of appointment sent to Monsieur Bertin,
     lieutenant of cavalry.  Written of watermarked letterhead from the Ministry of War /
     Bureau of Cavalry.
     Portrait: "Le Maréchal Gouvion St. Cyr"

F23  Sérurier, Jean Mathieu Philibert, comte  (1742-1819)
     1 item
     ALS, 15 Vendemière 6 [6 Oct 1797], Trevise, to un général de division [    ] commandant
     une division de cavalrie.  Written on letterhead of the Army of Italy, possessing the seal
     of the Republic and a watermark of a lion and crown. 

F24  Soult, Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu  (1769-1851)  
     2 items
     ALS, 21 Septembre 1832, Paris, to Monsieur le Comte d'Argout, Ministre du Commerce
     et des Travaux publics.  Written on letterhead of the Ministry of War / Bureau of the
     Rhine, and signed "duc de dalmatie."  Also included is a stamp of the Ministry of
     Commerce and Public Works.
     Portrait: "Jean-de-Dieu Soult, Duc de Dalmatie, Maréchal de France, Décoré de la 
     Grand-Croix de la Légion d'Honneur, Né le 29 Mars 1769 à St. Amans Dépt. du Tarn"

F25  Victor, Claude Victor-Perrin, (so-called) duc de Bellune  (1764-1841)
     2 items
     ALS, 26 [September]1836, [Besune], to Monsieur Fierre, Directeur des contributions
     indirects à Vassy (Haute [    ]).  The letter is signed "le M[aréch]al de Bellune"
     Portrait: "Victor"  Also a copy of his signature, which reads "Victor," and is thus different
     from the letter.

     Other Individuals, 1791-1817 and n.d.  (14 items)
     These items bear signatures of individuals who were not members of the Marshalate,
     including Beauharnais, Lameth, Maret, Ségur, and Napoleon himself.  Also included are
     portraits, and a watercolored sketch of the emperor on vellum.  Several of the documents
     signed by Napoleon are housed in oversized boxes.

F26  Beauharnais, Viceroi Eugène de  (1781-1824) 
     3 items
     ALS, 3 [Septembre]1809, [Willach], to General [Honoré] Vial.  Written on paper
     watermarked with the papermaker's name, "Buttanshaw / 1804."  Also included is a
     separate translation of the letter, as well as a typed note on the back explaining the letter's
     contents.  Beauharnais was the son of the Empress Josephine, who married Napoleon in
     1796, and the letter is signed "Eugène Napoléon."
     Portrait: "Eugène de Beauharnais"  

F27  Bonaparte, Napoleon   (1769-1821)
     5 items
     DS, 11 Septembre 1811, Marseilles.  An official grant of trading privileges to A.E.
     Belknap in the Port of Marseilles, written on paper watermarked with an anchor, Viking
     ship, trident, and other nautical symbols.  Signed by the Minister of the Interior, the
     Minister of the Marines and Colonies, the Secretary of State, and the Councellor of State.
     DS, 12 Novembre 1813, Saint Cloud.  A notice of appointment, written on behalf of
     Julien Giuliani, and signed by the Grand Judge Minister of Justice and the Interim
     Secretary of State.
     ALS, n.d., to le Congrès L'état.  On personal letterhead which reads "Bonaparte / Général
     en Chef de l'Armée de l'Italie."  Written on paper watermarked with a star inside a ring.
     Portrait: "Napoleon Bonaparte.  From a drawing by baron D. V. Denon in the collection
     of Lord Ribblesdale"
     Watercolored sketch of Napoleon on a horse.  

F28  Lameth, Alexander-Théodore-Victor, comte de  (1760-1829)
     2 items
     ALS, 28 [Septembre]1791, Paris, to le Comité Militaire.  Affixed to the letter is a wax
     seal which reads "Comité Militaire Ass[emblé] Nat[ionale]."  Written on paper
     watermarked with the "Pro Patria."
     Portrait: "Alexandre Lameth"

F29  Maret, Hughes-Bernard, duc de Bassano (1763-1839)  
     2 items
     ALS, n.d., to an unknown recipient.  The letter is signed "le duc de Bassano," and is
     written on paper watermarked with the imperial eagle, the seal "Napoleon Empereur des
     Français, Roi d'Italie," and the papermaker's name, F. Johannot.  Maret was a writer for
     the newspaper Moniteur Universel, and was appointed foreign minister by Napoleon.
     Portrait: "Marat."  Also includes a copy of his signature, which is different from that on
     the letter.

F30  Ségur, Louis-Philippe, comte de  (1753-1830) 
     2 items
     ALS, 8 Fevrier [1817?], Versailles, to an unknown recipient.   Written on paper
     watermarked with the "Pro Patria."  De Ségur was Napoleon's master of ceremonies.
     Portrait: "Louis-Philippe de Ségur, comte de l'Empire, Sénateur Grand Maître des
     Cérémonies, Grand Croix des Ordres de Wurtemberg et de Wurtzbourg, Grand Aigle de
     la Légion d'Honneur, Né le 10 Septembre 1753, á Paris, Dépt. de la Seine"
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