Manuscript intitled "Lettres du général Dumas"
Manuscript entitled "Letters from General Dumas to S.A.J. Prince Joseph in 1805" with autograph corrections (s.l.n.d. after 1805). 126 pp. bound in a volume in-4. Half red basane and marbled paper, spine with eight gilt fillets, gilt title "letters of General Dumas", head and spine rubbed.
Very interesting unpublished manuscript retracing the Battle of Austerlitz. This one is divided in two parts, with a "Tables of Contents".
The first part includes three letters from General Dumas to his majesty Prince Joseph. The pages are numbered from 1 to 56 and include corrections by the general. These three long letters describe the events of the Battle of Austerlitz and form a chapter to his account. As described in the second letter, Dumas is going to tell "the development & the conclusion of the first part of the vast plan of war of invasion that the Emperor dared to undertake [...]". His testimony is rich in details "the first dispositions of S.M., the first direction given to the army corps of Mr. Soult General Marmont passed the same day, 21, the Minden and the Guntz, to post himself on Hlerdissen, where he was to form the center of the line of battle [...] Marshal Ney received orders to seize the bridge and the position of Elchingen, in order to tighten the Enemy [...]"...
The second part entitled "Battle of Austerlitz" is composed of a map of the theater of operations, a terrain carefully chosen by the Emperor between Brünn and Austerlitz. Next comes the account entitled "Bataille d'Austerlitz ou Notes sur la dernière partie de la Campagne de la grande Armée en 1805 [...]". Here again, General Dumas describes for 67 pages, the continuation of this battle, correcting here and there the text. Contrary to the first part (in the form of correspondence), the unfolding of this masterly battle is punctuated by numerous annotations in the margin, forming chapters (see Table of Contents at the end of the manuscript). For example, General Dumas indicates "Position of the French army on the 1st of February" underneath "left wing - 3rd corps Maréchale Lannes" then "Center 1st corps", "reserve" these indications allow a better understanding of the story and indicate the locations of "General Milhaud's brigade" or of the "17th Infantry Regiment"...
The narrative concludes with a brief paragraph describing the effects produced by the "mission of the Prince of Lichtenstein".
The manuscript studied here, is present neither in the Précis des événements militaires de 1799 à 1807, nor in Souvenirs du lieutenant-général comte Matthieu Dumas, 1770-1836.
Mathieu Dumas was born on November 23, 1753 in Montpellier. He came from a family of small Languedoc nobility. He became, among others, the aide-de-camp of the Marquis de Puységur (in 1776), then the aide-de-camp of General Rochambeau whom he followed to America, that of Marshal de Broglie in 1789, of La Fayette after the taking of the Bastille.
Director of the War Office in 1791, then commander of the National Guards of the province, he was in charge of bringing Louis XVI back to Paris after his arrest at Varennes.
Marshal of camp on June 30, 1791 and commander of the 3rd military division, he organized the first company of horse artillery that existed in France.
He was a deputy to the Legislative Assembly, director of the depots of field plans during the Terror and deputy to the Council of Five Hundred in 1795. He was "proscribed on the 18th of Fouctidor" and took refuge in Hamburg for a while.
Back in France after the establishment of the Consulate, he organized the reserve army that conquered Italy, and distinguished himself at the passage of the Grand-Saint-Bernard pass.
He proposed the creation of the Legion of Honor, he was elevated to the dignity of grand officer in this order, and promoted to general of division in 1805.
Minister of War in Naples, under Joseph Bonaparte, then grand marshal of the palace and grand dignitary of the royal order of the Two Sicilies, he became count of the Empire by letters patent of February 14, 1810.
He was present at the crossing of the Danube on July 4, then at the battle of Wagram, and was in charge of the execution of the conditions of the armistice of Znaïm. Quartermaster of the Grand Army in 1812, he was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Leipzig in 1813 and only returned to France during the Restoration.
Louis XVIII appointed him successively, honorary State Councillor, commissioner, of the verification of the titles of former officers, general director, of the accounting of the armies, commander of Saint-Louis, grand-croix of the Legion of Honor.
During the Hundred Days he took back his former titles and others that Napoleon I added to them, and was retired on September 4, 1816.
State Councillor and president of the War Committee in 1819, deputy of Paris (Seine) in 1828, he signed the 221 address in 1830.
During the revolution of 1830, he was part of the commission of twelve deputies who, on the evening of July 30, went to the castle of Neuilly to notify the Duke of Orleans of the deliberation calling him to the general lieutenancy of the kingdom...
He died in Paris on October 16, 1837.