Author Topic: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout  (Read 11384 times)

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Offline James Sterrett

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[Note that I have kept these messages in the order sent and received as best I am able - this means that you will find various messages at times that seem to arrive out of date or otherwise "out of order".  That's normal in a Kriegsspiel!]

ATTENTION TO ORDERS!
Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 1. 0600. Bamburg
Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division
Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march from Bamburg to Cobourg.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)

Route of March:
North to Cobourg via road.

Time to Spend Marching:
10 hours (40 km)

Expected Objective:
Bivouacked at Cobourg.

Rules of Engagement:
Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:

Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Napoleon indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Cobourg and Kronach Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 08:14:57 PM by James Sterrett »


Offline James Sterrett

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From: Davout
To: Murat and Lannes
Time:  0600 Day 1
Message:

    Marshals!

    In accordance with our Emperor's orders, I am at your disposal.

    I will begin marching towards YELLOW today and expect to reach it
in around three days.  I expect to reach Cobourg tonight.

    Marshal Murat, would you prefer I moved straight on through
Yellow, or took a day to rest before crossing the pass?  One day's
rest south of the pass will enable my corps to move through the pass
fully rested; without the rest, I will arrive at Gotha with 20 fatigue
or more.

   Will we cross the pass at the same time, or as we are able?

   - Davout

Offline James Sterrett

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DISPATCH -- Lannes to Davout, September 10, 1600

RECEIVED -- September 11, 0600

My Dear Marshal,

After a day's march, I believe my corps has reached a point approximately 1/2 the distance between Schweinfurt and Meningen.

I Embrace You,

Jean

Offline James Sterrett

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Message from Control -- September 10

Marshal,

After a full days march, your corps has encamped a few kilometers south of Cobourg.

No enemy contacts to report.

Control

Offline James Sterrett

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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 1. 1800. Just south of Cobourg

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march from Cobourg towards Gotha via Hildburghausen.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)
Route of March:


North to Cobourg, then NW to Hildburghausen, then N towards Yellow Pass, all via road.

Time to Spend Marching:
10 hours (40 km)

Expected Objective:

Bivouacked between Hildburghausen and the next town north.

Rules of Engagement:
Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:
Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Murat indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Morningen and Gotha Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.


Offline James Sterrett

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Messages to Murat and Lannes, sent 1800 Day 1 (10 September)

Murat is expected to be on the Morningen-Eisenach road.
Lannes is expected to be on the Morningen-Schweinfurt road.
Messengers should enquire with forces at Morningen for an improved location.

Marshals!

  This evening finds the corps encamped just south of Cobourg.  We
will march north of Hildburghausen tomorrow.

   - Davout


[You can see, over the course of these, the evolution in how we addressed our messages via Jim the Umpire; starting out with a very formal Word document and evolving into a looser but apparently functional style. Early in the campaign, as here, we are still pretty formal and under the impression we must direct the runners to their destinations.]

Offline James Sterrett

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A case of weird identities:

This message arrived to me:

DISPATCH -- Augereau to Ney (September 10, 1600)

Sender: Marshal Pierre Augereau.

Day 1. 1600, preparing to turn North to Cobourg on the Bamberg - Hof Road

Time Sent: 1600

Recipient:

VI Corps, Marshal Ney
Time Received:  September 10, 2100

Unit Marching:

VII Corps

Dispatches:


My good Marshal Ney, I am presently to your South at the location indicated above.  It is my intention to follow you in the initial stages of this campaign.  Your Servant -- Pierre Augereau
=========

This confused me, but apparently the rider was confused, having been misdirected through an umpire die roll.  After some discussion, the rider was redirected.

-------
In the belief that Ney is to be found at Bamberg or on the road south of it --

I would like to redirect the runner, with this message, to Bamberg with instructions to enquire about Ney's whereabouts there; and, if there is no better information there, to ride on the road south out of Bamberg to find him.
------

Offline James Sterrett

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DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, September 11, 0200

Received September 11, 0700

Marshal Davout -

Your message reporting your arrival south of Cobourg received at my headquarters at approximately 0200, 11th September.
 
The Cavalry Reserve has temporarily paused in its march north, somewhere in the vicinity of Hildburghausen. I anticipate that my forward elements should reach Suhl (the unnamed town that's just below the letter 'T' in 'Thuringe' on your map) by midday today. I shall be pausing there until morning of the 12th in order to thoroughly scout the pass to Ohrdruf before heading through the mountains.
 
For your information, I have detached a division of dragoons to proceed independently to Neustadt and there await Bernadotte's arrival. My personal sense is that without any support moving through the central pass to Saalfeld, his corps is the most dangerously exposed of all of us and he will likely need additional cavalry to either better scout his route of march, or to cover his withdrawal should the Prussians concentrate their inevitable counter-attack against him.
 
Please continue to keep me informed of the progress of your march, preferably sending messages at least twice a day (at noon and midnight, unless events dictate more frequent updates). It is essential that we carefully coordinate our three-way assault on Gotha once you and Lannes are in position.
 
- Murat

Offline James Sterrett

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Marshal Murat -

In reply to your message, received 0700 11 September:

I am also headed towards Suhl, via Hildburghausen, in order to use Yellow Pass.

Would you prefer that I change my route of march and direction of
approach, in order to reduce congestion?

I could also stop at Hildburghausen to give your forces room to move,
and in order to avoid blocking Lannes' movement through Morningen.

You could, perhaps, post a courier at Hildburghausen with orders if
you wish me to change my plan.

 - Davout

Offline James Sterrett

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Another instance of early confusion:

DISPATCH from Control

A courier arrived on the evening of October 10 indicating that Marshal Murat has detached Klein's cavalry division to your service.

It awaits your orders at Cobourg.

I would ask that you reframe your 0600 march orders for the 11th of October accordingly.


My Reply:  Put it at the head of the column, orders otherwise unchanged.


Their reply:  The runner from Murat informs you that Klein was left at Cobourg with the expectation of marching with Bernadotte.


My reply:

Klein: Get the f*ck out of my way, scum.  ;-)

No!  Not that...   More seriously:

Tell Murat and Klein he has two options: Take the road to Kronwich via
Neustadt and overland; or wait for my corps to pass Cobourg.  I
suggest the latter.  I am taking priority of the road in order to 1)
get my corps clear of Bamberg so the rest of the Army can move through
it; 2) my corps has farther to move to be in position than Klein does,
and under the Plan my corps needs to cross the frontier before
Bernadotte's does.

Umpire:

Ha!

He will clear your path.

He will ask, however, if you are aware of the location of Bernadotte.


Me:

Cancel my last.  Send him to Neustadt to await Bernadotte there.

[I am no longer sure why I changed my mind - I probably figured out where Bernadotte was actually meant to be and sent Klein there.]


Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 07:59:37 PM »
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout -- ARRIVED 1030 hours, 11 October

To: Marshal Davout (presumed location, somewhere on the road between Bamberg - Hildberghausen)

From: Marshal Murat

Time message sent: 0600, 11 September 1806

 

Marshal Davout, as of sunset last night, the lead elements of my Cavalry Reserve had reached the town of Hildburghausen and spent the night billeted there, with the rest of the corps bivouacked in column along the road south. This morning my corps will resume moving northwest, with the goal of reaching the crossroads north of Moiningen which heads towards Gotha by the end of the day. I shall be detaching a pair of divisions at Suhl (this is the small unnamed town lying directly south of the 'T' in Thuringe on your map) to perform reconnaissance and ensure that the Prussians do not make an unexpected thrust south from that direction.

 

I have not had any communications Marshal Lannes in the past 24 hours, but I feel confident he is conforming to the movements the Emperor directed previously. However, if I have not had any contact with him by the end of the day, I will notify you as such and it may become necessary for the two of us to modify our scheme of maneuver.

 

Please keep my informed of the progress moving north, advising me where you halt your march this evening. I will endeavor to do the same.

 

Your comrade in arms,

Murat

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 08:00:00 PM »
DISPATCH -- Murat to Davout, Sent 1400 Hours, 11th October

Received 1700 Hours, 11th October

To Marshal Davout
(believed somewhere on the Moiningen-Cobourg road, moving northwest)
From Marshal Murat (vicinity Moiningen, moving north)
 
My dear comrade -
I have received reports from my light cavalry scouts that Prussian troops have been sighted in the vicinity of Ohrdruf. Based on their insignia, we believe this division sized enemy force (approximately 5000 infantry and 1000 cavalry) to be the Advanced Guard of Ruchel's Corps.
 
I have detached two divisions to the crossroads north of Suhl, with the purpose of keeping this force under observation. I am continuing north with my main body to scout Eisenach.
 
Please advise your current status. I have not received any communications from you since the start of the campaign and it is vital that we coordinate our movements.
 
- Murat

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 08:00:15 PM »
To Marshal Murat
From Marshal Davout

Dear Marshal Murat -

Sent 1800 Hours, 11 October.

I am holed up for the night in a howling wilderness site some 15km
north of Hildburghausen.  No wine, just peasants and beer.  I do not
know how they survive in this uncivilized wasteland!

My understanding is that I am to march on Yellow tomorrow, stopping
short of it at the intersection to rest and await orders to proceed.
Please advise if you desire a different action from me; I am ready to
serve as needed.

- Yours, Marshal Davout

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 08:00:37 PM »
DISPATCH from Control -- 1800 Hours, 11th October

Marshal Davout,

Your lead elements have marched to a point some15 km North of Hildburghausen.  The remainder of your corps will close on this point and bivouac for the evening, pending further instructions.

Nothing further to report.

Offline James Sterrett

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Re: Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2018, 08:01:32 PM »
ATTENTION TO ORDERS!
Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 2. 1800. 15km north of Hildburghausen

Recipient:
III Corps Divisions
  1st, 2nd, & 3rd  Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division
Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

The III Corp will march northwards towards YELLOW, halting at the intersection just south of YELLOW.  March the standard marching rate. The order of march shall be:
Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (1st Division)
2d Infantry Division (2d Division)
3d Infantry Division (3d Division)

Route of March:

North to the intersection.

Time to Spend Marching:

4 hours (15 km)

Expected Objective:

Bivouacked at the intersection south of YELLOW.

Rules of Engagement:

Upon encountering the enemy in force, deploy the 1st Division to the front.  The cavalry will find an open flank for 2nd Division to deploy onto.  3rd Division will be in reserve.

Dispatches:

Upon arrival at evening camp, send a dispatch to Murat indicating position of the Corps.
Send riders up both the Morningen and Gotha Roads to open communication with the next Corps up the road. If riders encounter the enemy before reaching a friendly corps, retire with all haste upon the III Corps.
All units should be prepared for the possibility of contact with the Prussians from the direction of YELLOW.