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Six Days in October - The Soult Papers

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Pinetree:
Here are varous dispatches and correspondence of Marshal Soult dated  from  the 10th to the 20th October 1806.

They were discovered among a long forgotten and thought lost Spanish art collection in Paris in the 1930s

10th October
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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

Route of March:

Time to Spend Marching:

Expected Objective:

Rules of Engagement:

Dispatches:

This is a warning order. All units will prepare to march on 2 hour's notice from notification of formal orders.

It is expected that the objective will be Zwickau via Hof and Plauen. Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

Formal orders will be forthcoming.

Soult.
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 Mon Emperor, As I have not received any orders to date, I have taken the liberty of readying my corps for a march along our right flank to Zwickau via Hof and Plauen. I will await your formal order to march.

Soult

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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: Bayreuth to Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: 2 days

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  If fired on, halt and return fire. If enemy unit has not detected friendly unit and appears to be smaller then you may attack. If enemy unit appears larger, halt and send a runner to me for orders.

Dispatches:

Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.
Guyot will leave at 0600.
St. Hillaire will leave at 0700
Leval will leave at 0800
Legrand will leave at 0930

I will march with St. Hillaire.

Units will halt in place at nightfall. We will concentrate again at Hof.

Soult.

Pinetree:
11 October
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 Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,  Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: To Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: 1 day

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  If fired on, halt and return fire. If enemy unit has not detected friendly unit and appears to be smaller then you may attack. If enemy unit appears larger, halt and send a runner to me for orders.

Dispatches:

Order of march will be: Guyot,  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.
Guyot will cross the Saale River and halt 5km northwest on the road to Plauen and encamp there.
St. Hillaire will also cross the Saale. He will halt on the other side and encamp there. Maintain sentries to the north on the road to Schleitz.
Leval will halt in Hof and encamp there.
Legrand will halt just south of  Hof and encamp there.
I will join Leval in Hof.

We will then rest and await orders to move on to Plauen.

Soult.

---------------------------------------------------------
Sender: Soult

Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My lead units are on the outskirts of Hof. My Cavalry and a Division of Inf will cross the Saale and camp there. My other 2 divisions will be in Hof and just south of town. We will rest up here and await your orders to move.

Soult
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Sent from:  Hills before Hof, last river crossing before the Saal.

Sent at:  0700

Received by Soult -- 0800

Message:  Sir, I must report the presence of the Prussians in strength before Hof.  Minimum of two divisions seen.

I do not believe we have yet been identified as present.

I await your orders.

Guyot
---------------------------------------------------------

 Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipients:   Guyot

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:

Route of March:

Time to Spend Marching:

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

Dispatches:

Halt and deploy in line. Wait for the rest of the corps to join you.

Soult.

---------------------------------------------------------

 Sender:  Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Unit Marching:  All

Route of March: To Guyot before Hof via main road

Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

Expected Objective: Hof

Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

Dispatches:

Guyot reports 2 divisions, possibly more, before Hof.
Order of march will be St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

We will deploy for battle.

St. Hillaire will join Guyot and deploy in line on the left.

Leval will halt behind St Hillaire and deploy in line on the right

Legrand will halt behind the other two divisions and deploy in column. You will be the reserve.
 
I will be in the centre of the line.

Once we have ascertained the enemy's strength and deployment, we will plan for battle.

Soult.
---------------------------------------------------------
Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 0800

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My  cavalry have reported enemy forces in large numbers before Hof. 2 divisions, possibly more. I have ordered my corps to deploy and prepare for battle.


I have attached a copy of my orders to my corps:

"Guyot reports 2 divisions, possibly more, before Hof.
Order of march will be St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand.

We will deploy for battle.

St. Hillaire will join Guyot and deploy in line on the left.

Leval will halt behind St Hillaire and deploy in line on the right

Legrand will halt behind the other two divisions and deploy in column. You will be the reserve.
 
I will be in the centre of the line.

Once we have ascertained the enemy's strength and deployment, we will plan for battle."

---------------------------------------------------------

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 1300

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

My piquets are reporting 2 enemy divisions, approx. 12,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry defending the Saal River line centered on Hof.

My Corps is still forming as per my previous instructions.

Soult

Pinetree:
12th October
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From Control, 0500 Hours,

One of your piquet riders is brought to you by his colonel.

The rider is trembling.

He confesses, after a few sharp blows from his commander, that he and his comrade got raving drunk on local wine last evening.  When he awoke this morning, his comrade was gone, perhaps kidnapped by locals, and, more importantly, the Prussian army before Hof has begun a march to the Northeast

The dim light of dawn reveals no enemy presence in the village and the bridge in an undamaged condition.

The colonel sent out riders to try and locate the tail end of the Prussian train, but they have not returned.

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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: (UMPIRE)

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand

    Route of March: Through Hof  and across the river

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Northern bank of Saal

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports the enemy has vacated Hof. We must cross the river and find him.

    Legrand will march his Division through Hof and cross the Saal. He will deploy in line facing the North-east. Report back to me once you have done so.

    The rest of the Corp will form up in marching formation. Order will be Guyot, St. Hillaire, Leval.

    Guyot will have the drunken sentry shot for dereliction of duty.

    I will send further orders once Legrand has reported back.

    Soult.

-------------------------------------------------------

Sender: Soult

Time Sent: 0500

Recipient: Napoleon

Time Received: (UMPIRE)

Dispatches:

Mon Emperor,

The enemy has apparently withdrawn from Hof and is marching to the northeast. I am sending a division to investigate.

Soult

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DISPATCH -- Lagrand to Soult, 0830,

SENT: 0800

My Lord Marshal,

Having reconnoitered the Northeast bank of the Saal near Hof, I beg leave to report that there are no Prussian troops in evidence.

The village and both its banks are yours!

My men remain in position and await your further instructions.

S!
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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 0830

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand,Guyot

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Guyot, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Through Hof  and across the river

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Northern bank of Saal

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Legrand reports there is no enemy  to his front

    The rest of the Corp will march across the Saale in the order previously specified. I wish for Guyot's Cavalry to split into two wings. One will reconnoiter the road to Schleitz, the other to Plauen. Both will go no more a day's march and then send reports back.

    The rest of the Corps will halt on the the north bank  and wait further orders. Legrand will stay where he is. Leval will deploy on the Schleitz road. St. Hillaire will stay in reserve.

    Soult.

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DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 1300
SENT: 0600, 12th October


All congratulations to Soult! You have successfully found and blunted a possible opportunity thrust against us, protecting Purple route. Take up defensive positions and keep an eye on the Prussians. I doubt they have the numbers to flank or, worse, encircle you, but if they are insane enough to try that, they will soon regret it.
 
Your task for now is to hold Hof until Ney arrives for support, which isnít likely to happen until near the end of the 12th I expect. Take proper defensive precautions.
 
Should your enemy retreat, you should cautiously probe after them (with your cavalry ahead of the rest of the corps of course). Do not attack them unless they run into me during their retreat! -- I shall be scouting in force with Bessier today, checking Schleitz and coming back down the road toward Hof. Lefeb will remain camped at Saalbourg with the Imperial Guard infantry, waiting for the arrival of Augís corps. Ideally, weíll snap their LoC! But if they stay in place, so do you; I will not be assaulting them from the rear today.
 
Remember, in theory Ney will be advancing on Schleitz after he arrives (and perhaps rests a bit); your chief task, once Ney passes you, will be to probe up the road toward Zwicken.
 
But for now, hold Hof until Ney arrives; or else probe forward if your enemy retreats, looking for an opportunity to catch him in a pincer between us.
 
If you do probe forward following their withdrawal, be sure to camp behind a defensive river. Donít panic much if they sneak a division or two behind you either way -- Ney will ruin that surprise eventually.
 
In other news, I havenít heard from anyone in Central Thrust yesterday (Aug, Ney, or Bern); but I did hear from Murat: thank God, he just got confused in his terminology and was truly marching to the Red Route! The last I heard, he had passed Moiningen (or whatever that town is named), on the way to Red; but his scouts had detected at least one division (apparently one of Ruchelís) in the vicinity of Ohrdruf. Murat detached a division or two to keep an eye on things, and continues with his plan. He did not pass along any word received from Lannes or Davout.
 
Napoleon

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DISPATCH -- Ney to Soult, 1400,

SENT 1000, 12th October

My Dear Marshal Soult:

My 1st Infantry Division is marching to Hof, and if you have crossed over the Saale, and there is room, the 1st Division will also cross to support you. You may call upon it for assistance. I will accompany the 1st Division in person.

My 2nd Division is marching to a point 4 km south of Hof, to either move towards Hof and beyond, or to move northwards on the plane west of Hof (south of the Saale), as needed.

My cavalry should have a piquet line established north of Hof, but south of the Saale River, extending towards Lohenstein.

Please let me of your current disposition. If you need cavalry support, and/or we are to change our overall missions originally given to us by Napoleon, also let me know.
I am, your servant -  Ney, VI Corps
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1400,

Esteemed Marshal,

My Corps is currently all across the Saale, I have Lagrand's Div. deployed on the road to Plauen, Leval is deployed on the Schleitz road with St. Hillaire in reserve. I have split Guyot's Cavalry into half and both wings are currently reconnoitering both roads as the Prussians disappeared this morning.  Napoleon has ordered me to hold for now.

It might be best if you stay in Hof as it might be a crowded on the north bank. I currently don't need any other support but thank you for the offer! Hopefully we can find these Prussians and destroy them.

Kindest Regards,

Soult

Pinetree:
12th October (cont.)

DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1400
Mon Emperor,

I have split my Calvary in 2 and they are currently reconnoitering both roads leaving out of Hof. The rest of the corps is deployed on the north bank. Once I receive word on where the Prussians have gone, I will follow them.

I have received a dispatch from Marshal Ney, he has told me he is on his way here with his 1st Div.

Soult
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DISPATCH, Guyot to Soult, 1600
SENT 1400, 12th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that we have reached Plauen.

There are no Prussian forces in evidence, but locals, under interrogation, indicate a substantial force passed through quite recently.

S!

Guyot
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 1530

SENT 1300

Ney, my apologies for inclarity: the main plan has not changed; Soult should still be marching up the Zwickau road eventually. What I meant is that if Soult substantially followed retreating Prussians up toward Schleitz, then he is temporarily taking your place in the plan for opportunity's sake, but you should switch off with him when feasible so that you can proceed to Schleitz (per the original plan) and Soult can go back to working his way around the Eastern Wing of the operational area (per the original plan). He has the largest single force of all of us, so has the best chance of prosecuting a wing by himself.
 
There is something weird going on, and I donít understand it. Itís weird enough that I donít want either of you moving past Hof yet (or not more than you already have, Soult) until I get more clarification from Soult about what happened yesterday, October 11th. Ney should still get to Hof of course.
 
Iíll take the opportunity to pass along information we have found while scouting this morning (the 12th) ourselves.
 
First: we have been picking up steady indications [out-of-character, through Cyranoís behavior and comments on the gameclock thread of course] among the local peasantry, who naturally are going about their business and sending their own riders around to carry news and rumors (but not talking directly to us about it), that SOMEWHERE someone is having their skulls stomped into a street curb. I havenít been able to ascertain who is being stomped yet, but unless the Prussians have somehow teleported behind our lines and are murdering Augereau (whom I havenít heard from in a while), I must deduce this is referring to Davout and the West Wing. I have heard from Bernadotte this morning, who was assembling at Saalfield at 8am per instructions with no sign of the Prussians; and my infantry have not reported problems; and these rumblings started well before my most recent contacts with either of them anyway. You are both fine, Ney and Soult -- and Soult realistically was the only other option, and hasnít sent word of fighting actually occurring before sending word of his enemies leaving -- so that leaves the West Wing. I havenít heard from Davout (currently West Wing commander) since he reported detecting an advance division at Ohredruf, as I already passed on to you both. I expect Iíll receive more information late tonight or very early tomorrow morning.
 
Second: the information about Prussians in our area is confusing. I will relate what Iíve heard from Soult so far, and what I have discovered myself, in the best chronological order I can find.
 
Oct 11th 6 am: Soultís lead units camped on the outskirts of Hof, and at sunrise he was going to start moving into holding position in and north of Hof, to await Neyís arrival (per the grand plan).
 
8 am: Soult detects at least two (by deduction Prussian) divisions, maybe more, north of Hof, and begins arranging his own divisions to meet any advance of theirs.
 
Sometime between 8am and 1pm, Prussian forces are moving north of Schleitz toward Auma. I learned this when I arrived (with Bessierís cav division) in Schleitz this morning, and spent a couple of hours politely trying to get the local yeomanry to talk to us. I was unable to get any details about their relative numbers (half a corps? all a corps?) [out-of-character, I polled Cyrano about this, and received fuzzy intel back; he would only say the Prussians had left ďalmost a day beforeĒ my arrival at 8 am, thus my provisional timing. He does verify that divisions will not split into brigades in the game, so there was at least one division of mixed cav and infantry leaving Schleitz.]
 
1 pm: Soultís piquets clarify 2 enemy divisions, approx. 12,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry defending the Saal River line centered on Hof. This isnít far north of Hof (if the Saal River identification was correct.) Notably, this could only be half a Prussian corps! Where is the other half?
 
Per Soult, at least half a Prussian corps is sitting not far north of Hof for the rest of Oct 11th. Soult sends no word of fighting.
 
Oct 12th, 6 am: Soult sees the two Prussian divisions, still there overnight, leaving at dawn marching north on the Schleitz road. He sends Guyotís cavalry division forward to follow the two divisions, but despite French cavalry being able to march faster than Prussian infantry on a road, Guyot somehow loses the infantry (as well as the Prussian cavalry). Keep in mind that each Prussian division is organized to include brigades of both cavalry and infantry. They do not normally operate separately. [OOC: and Jim confirms that in the game brigades donít split up, so those divisions didnít split out the infantry and cavalry, ergo they marched at infantry Prussian speed.]
 
8 am: I arrive with Bessierís cavalry division at Schleitz. No Prussians. We spend a couple of hours politely questioning the local peasantry, having heard initial rumors about troop movements. No Prussians arrive during this time either. [OOC: I should have been on the road at 10 am per my orders to Control, but Jim accidentally got me going at 12 pm. Those hours will be credited back on courier dispatches, as noted.]
 
12 pm: Bess and I leave Schleitz marching down toward Hof. No Prussians.
 
1 pm: having reached the first river crossing, 5km south of Schleitz on the Hof road, my scouts finally detect other troops. They are Guyotís cavalry division, now not far south of Schleitz, trying to shadow a much slower pair of divisions. No Prussians. This is so weird I order a halt at the river until the cav catches up to us, just in case my scouts made a mistake.
 
2 pm: Guyotís cavalry arrives at our position, at the first river crossing south of Schleitz. No Prussians.

If we have been sending accurate data to each other, then no less than half a Prussian corps somehow eluded Guyís cavalry division and vanished from the road between here and Hof.
 
Iím going back up to Schleitz with Bessier to camp for the night and give the horses a rest. Iím sending Guy back to Soult.
 
Soult should find a place to hold until Ney catches up.  I donít feel secure about our Lines.
 
Once you catch up, Ney, tomorrow you should move on north to Schleitz. I recommend using your cavalry division off the road to the left to try to detect where this phantom half-corps-or-more has gone.
 
Soult, tomorrow you should strike off rightward to the road to Zwickau, but use your cavalry to scout around in the areas between the Schleitz and Zwickau roads out of Hof.
 
This will keep our side of the Central Thrust and the East Wing thrust back on track and on schedule, while also allowing us to spend some effort scouting for the missing half-corps. Either theyíre hiding left (west) of the road waiting for you both to pass through; or they shifted over to the Zwickau road for a withdrawal after marching toward Schweitz (or are hiding out between those roads waiting for us to pass).
 
Iíll send updates to the main other branches later tonight; and naturally Iíll pass long any information I receive.
 
Napoleon
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1700

My Lord,

My cavalry that reconnoitered the road to Plauen reports that enemy forces passed through there very recently. That is probably the direction the enemy that were at Hof went. Do you wish me to advance my Corps to Plauen?

Soult
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DISPATCH,Soult to Guyot, 1700

Guyot,

Hold position there. Hopefully I will get orders for the rest of the corps to join you soon.

Report on any enemy activity immediately

Soult
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DISPATCH, Soult to Cavalry wing in Schleitz, 1700
You are ordered to reconnoiter cross country and rejoin the rest of your division in Plauen.

You are to proceed first thing in the morning.

Report immediately on any enemy activity.

Soult
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 1700
My Lord,

Apologies, I see you have already ordered me to march to Plauen and Zwickau.

We shall leave first thing in the morning.

I have ordered my cavalry unit in Schleitz to recon cross country to Plauen.

Soult
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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 1700

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Road to Plauen

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective: Plauen

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports no enemy in Plauen.

    We will march there tomorrow at 6am.

    order of march is Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Soult.
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DISPATCH, Napoleon to Soult, 2330
Commander Soult,

I had actually been going to compliment you tonight in agreement with your plan to sanitize the area, so do not worry. The first priority for your corps has always been to close off approaches to Purple; your eventual probe toward Zwickau (and farther perhaps eventually) was always viewed as an extension of this principle.

By the same principle then, hunting for that vanished half-corps would be perfectly fine -- your part of the plan has always been flexible in this regard once you reached and secured Hof and Ney has passed on beyond you toward Schleitz. You will after all be acting more-or-less independently on the East Wing as the operation progresses.

Once you judge the half-corps has moved on out of a likelihood of interfering with us from the rear, you may proceed toward Zwickau as originally hoped. Or if you find it, you may envelope and neutralize it at your discretion. I suspect it has leaped off the road once out of your sight, to suggest it was marching toward us, when in fact they crossed overland east to the Zwickau road.

Good hunting and keep Ney up to date in case he can be of immediate assistance in flattening those daring Prussians! I will be sending out general dispatches around midnight once I am reasonably assured all news has arrived before dawn.

Napoleon

Pinetree:
13th October
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DISPATCH, Bernadotte - Soult, 0130
SENT 1400, 12th October

My Lord Soult,

I Corps has arrived in good order at Saalfeld.

No contact with the Prussians to report.

S!
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DISPATCH, Soult - Bernadotte, 0600
Esteemed Marshal,

I am in receipt of your message regarding your arrival at Saalfeld.

I am leaving Hof today for Plauen where we are in pursuit of 2 divisions of Prussians.

I wish you good hunting!

Kindest Regards,

Soult
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 0600
Esteemed Marshal,
I am leaving for Plauen this morning. My cavalry reported that the enemy was seen passing through there so I am going hunting. It is quite probable that they were the 2 divisions that were here at Hof. I am hoping that they trying to return to their parent Corps as I might be able to smash it piecemeal. I will keep you and the Emperor updated of my activities and informed of my intentions.

Kindest Regards,

Soult
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Napoleon, 0600
Mon Emperor,

I am departing Hof now for Plauen.

Late last night I received a dispatch from Bernadotte telling me he had reached Saalfeld at 1400 yesterday. I have sent him a dispatch this morning explaining my intentions. I have also informed Ney as well. I will keep him informed at the same time as you.

Your Servant,

Soult
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DISPATCH -- Napoleon to Soult, 0700
SENT 0400 hours, October 13th
 
To: Murat (pass along accordingly to your wing corps, with my good wishes); Bernadotte; Augereau; Soult; and Ney.
 
My Corps commanders!
 
Collecting and collating news across the front, I am sorry to say I have heard nothing more this morning at 4 am from Murat and his wing. I have no reason to believe anything is going wrong there yet, but our troops when in towns have been picking up rumors from the peasant network (traders etc.) of at least one division being wrecked somewhere. By the process of deduction, that must be on Muratís wing; and I trust he and his brave wing-men, Lannes and Davout, are doing the wrecking!
 
Bernadotte has been in Saalfield for all of the 12th, resting from his march, and reports no Prussian activity nearby. Late yesterday, Bern updated me that a division of Dragoons, dispatched by Murat at some time, has arrived at Saalfield to join his corps. We shall be making good use of them, if they are not too fatigued yet.
 
I have not heard from Augereau as to how close he is to Saalbourg yet and being ready for joint operations. He may need a day of rest once he arrives, but who knows?
 
Ney is approaching Hof, and may be there by now (sundown last night), but I have received unclear information from him about this (indirectly via Soult).
 
The Prussian half-corp (at least) facing Soult at Hof, marched away toward Schleitz yesterday morning around 8 am, and promptly vanished off the road. Soult wisely sent cavalry to shadow them, but never caught up! More on this in a minute.
 
Lefebvre, with the Imperial Guard infantry, have been camped and resting on guard at Saalbourg (not to be confused with Saalfield where Bern is). He has had no contact with Prussians, nor passed along any messages from Aug about when to expect some arrival.
 
As planned, I rode with Bessier to do some recon in force up to Schleitz, where we arrived mid-morning to find detritus of a hastily decamped Prussian force. A couple of hours of polite questioning revealed nothing more than that they had departed almost a day earlier (on the 11th), and so could not possibly be Soultís half-corp-or-more facing against him down at Hof. We were unable to get a relative size (another corps; a half-corps to match what Soult has seen?), but determined they had marched out on the road toward Auma.
 
After lunch we marched south again toward Soult on the Hof road, and in the early afternoon met Soultís cavalry division trying to shadow those two slow-moving Prussian divisions from earlier. The divisional commander, Guyot, had not been able to find them and had almost reached Schleitz! After comparing notes by courier with Soult, we guessed that the divisions had quickly marched off the road beyond scouting range somehow, and are either still in the Schleitz/Hof road area, or have struck off left or right, whether trying to get to Zwickau by an overland march to that road or else following a stream from the ridge down to Saalbourg where Lefeb is camped. Guyot split into brigades to check a wider range on either side of the road while marching back to Hof; Bessier and I marched back to Schleitz to rest for the afternoon and night.
 
The fact that I havenít heard progress reports from Augereau bothers me, along with questions of where that corps is. Soult only saw a half-corps (two divisions); where did they go? Where is the other half? One or both could be getting behind us somehow!
 
Tomorrow I will be moving Bess back to Saalbourg, and moving Lefeb up to Schleitz to camp on guard until we have more corps in the area. Once at Saalbourg, Bess and I will scout back along our trail for the day, attempting to find Augereau and perhaps one or both of those missing half-corps, if theyíve gone this direction. I plan to return to Saalbourg to camp for the evening.
 
Bernadotte: until further notice, your task will be to send your two cavalry divisions around northish and westish, to locate Prussians. Donít let them exhaust themselves; if Klein needs a rest, thatís fine. Let me know where you end up searching. I am particularly interested in the crossroads to your north across the river. You are still our pivot point; but if the Prussians have largely shifted westward and are giving Murat and Co. trouble, you will end up being the first response. Until we learn more I hesitate to make guesses. The enemy may have already penetrated our lines, even with only a small force, and could hamper our attempts to move forward.
 
Augereau and Ney: at this point I need better (or for Aug any!) estimates on when you will be arriving at Saalbourg and Hof (respectively).
 
Soult: has suggested staying in the Hof area to hunt for the missing divisions, and I fully agree with this plan, at least until Ney arrives, and afterward as Soult deems necessary. Soultís task has always been to secure Purple route against just this sort of tomfoolery -- any advance toward Zwickau and eventually Leipzig has always been intended as an extension of this principle. There is at least a 50/50 chance that half the enemy corps has gone on toward Zwickau; and indeed they are operating in such a way that the two divisions must still be in contact with a corps commander nearby! He may be operating independently, but the divisional commanders wonít be. [Out-of-character, not in this game anyway.] We may thus infer that wherever the two divisions went, the rest of the corps has already gone. Soultís job is to find them. You may operate as you see fit for this, Soult.
 
Ney: I donít know how fatigued your troops are, but eventually you need to be getting up to Schleitz. Unless you are in a dire way, donít rest at Hof. Once you have moved up to Schleitz (whenever that is), I will be freer to move around in the backfield. Keep me updated on estimated arrivals!
 
Murat and Company: no orders for you, as youíre operating independently. We all wish the best for you, and hope youíre kicking Prussian asses expediently! We havenít heard from you in a while, however, so keep us updated.
 
Aug: I am becoming worried a detachment of the enemy has gotten between us somehow. If you receive this encyclical, please confer with your divisionals about when youíll be arriving at Saalbourg, and let me know pronto (as my brother the king of Spain, says his subjects say).
 
Napoleon, before dawn on October 13th
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- NAPOLEON to SOULT, 1200
SENT 0800 Oct 13th

Soult,

Augereau has appeared, rested and ready to work, at Saalbourg, without trouble. So now we can be sure Murat and Company are in some kind of grand fight.

Consequently, I am activating the variation of the second stage of the main plan, where we start shifting our thrust more westward, seeking to relieve Murat & Co by enveloping the enemy generally (or at the very least determining the enemy's dispositions).

Aug and I will be marching down-creek from Saalbourg to Saalfield, to link up with Bernadotte, to start working on this stage of the plan.

I have ordered Lefeb's infantry division to march up to Schleitz to await Ney there, and to transfer to his command.

We know at least part of the enemy has marched from there northeast, not northwest, to Auma, although this might be a feint (as evidently happened some way with the two divisions you saw leaving the other day who then disappeared from the road.) Ideally I originally intended for Ney to work his  way northwest after linking with Lefeb in Schleitz, so he'll be closer to support us in supporting Murat's wing, and also to probe for clipping the enemy in his moderate backfield. However, I am now thinking of having you and Ney working together, independently of my command, on the East Wing from this point, hunting for that errant Prussian corps (or two??) up the east side of the map, with you on the Zwickau road, and Ney on the northeast road out of Schleitz.

So, since I will soon be out of any timely order range, let me make it more specific. You and Ney shall work your way northeast from Hof and Schleitz  (respectively), as the revised East Wing. You shall take the Zwickau road as originally planned. You may leave once Ney passes you on the road to Schleitz, which will probably have happened well before this courier arrives.

Your long-term goal shall be to work your way together off the map at the exit point.

Your medium-long goal shall be to snap the overall LoC of the Prussians near those exit points -- so don't leave the map for Berlin until time to do so.

Your short-term goal shall be to find the wandering Prussian corps (I doubt there is more than one, but there might be two) and, if so, cooperate together at your discretion to remove it from play. Since they must also suffer from LoC problems, I rather expect them to be solving this by moving northeast in your path(s), and perhaps attempting to retreat to protect their deep LoC and the exit points.

You and Ney can work out among yourselves who should be in overall command of the East Wing, or how you want to cooperate. You should of course send couriers to each other to keep each other updated during this operation; but since presumably Ney will be nearest to me, he will be responsible for sending me news reports about both himself and you. I will send a news dispatch to Ney at least once a day to keep him updated with what I know, and he should pass that along to you with your normal communications between you. Unless there is some radical emergency or opportunity, I will not be sending further orders to your East Wing.

I shall be sending a similar dispatch to Ney, of course: one shall try to find him directly, the other shall be waiting at Schleitz so that in the worst case scenario he will receive the update and revised detachment orders no later than his arrival there.


Good hunting, and may you reach Berlin before Christmas!


Napoleon

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DISPATCH -- LEGRAND to SOULT, 1400
SENT 1200, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

We have arrived at Plauen and have found there the "other half" of Guyot's division.  He is waiting the arrival of the balance of his force.  Further movement along the road is impossible unless he first vacates the road.

S!
CJA Legrand
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1500
Esteemed Marshal,

Legrand has reported to me that he has reached Plauen. I will halt there and wait for the rest of Guyot's Cavalry to complete their sweep of the country between Schleitz and Plauen.

I assume you are in Schleitz by now?

My regards,

Soult
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DISPATCH --SOULT to LEGRAND ,1500
General,

You may halt in place. We will wait at Plauen for the rest of the Cavalry to show up.

Soult
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DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT, 1600
SENT 1500, 13th October

My Lord Marshal,

Beg leave to report that my division has reunited in the vicinity of Plauen.

Having scouted between Schleitz and Plauen, I can report that no French forces were detected.

I await your further orders.

Respectfully Submitted,

GdB  C-E Guyot
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DISPATCH -- Soult to Ney 1600
Esteemed Marshal,

Guyot has just reported to me that he has completed the sweep with no enemy found. I am going to send his cavalry forward to scout the road towards Zwickau until nightfall. I shall halt the rest of the Corps in Plauen.

What are your intentions?

Regards,
Soult
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DISPATCH --SOULT to GUYOT , 1600
General,

Excellent work. I require you to scout up the Zwickau road. Halt at nightfall and send a dispatch when you have done so. The rest of the Corps will halt in Plauen for the evening.

Good luck,
Soult
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH -- NEY to SOULT, 1900
My dear Marshal,

I am consolidating at Schleitz, which I hope to do by this evening or early on the 14th of October.

I will then press northward, per Napoleonís orders, principally towards Gera. It is my hope to locate the Prussian troops that your scouts have seen in the past few days.

I will send couriers when we leave Schleitz, with my expected immediate objectives. Also, I will immediately send reports of sightings of the enemy, which will hopefully enable you to come done on their flank at some point.

Please let me know if I should sent any messages forward to the Emperor.
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DISPATCH -- GUYOT to SOULT, 2000
SENT1800, 13th October

Lord Marshal,

Prussian forces spotted North of our present position on the Plauen-Zwickau road.  They appear to be encamped.  I do not believe they have detected our presence.

S!

Guyot
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DISPATCH -- SOULT to GUYOT to , 2000
General,

That is excellent news! I will bring the rest of the Corps up to you tonight. Hold position there and see if you can find out more about the enemy.

Soult
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ATTENTION TO ORDERS!

    Sender:  Soult

    Time Sent: 2000

    Recipients:  St. Hillaire, Leval, Legrand

    Time Received: (UMPIRE)

    Unit Marching: Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval

    Route of March: Road to Zwickau

    Time to Spend Marching: As quick as possible

    Expected Objective:  enemy encampment on road to Zwickau

    Rules of Engagement:  Hold fire. You may fire back if attacked.

    Dispatches:

    Guyot reports enemy encampment on the road to Zwickau
    We will march there immediately.
    Order of march is Legrand, St. Hillaire, Leval. On arrival, we will stay behind the cavalry. Legrand will form line on the left, St. Hillaire will form line on the right. Leval will stay in the centre.

    I realise your men may be tired from the day's marching but we must close with them immediately. They will not escape this time. Prepare your men, they will not get much sleep tonight.
    En Avant, Soldiers of France!
    Soult.
-------------------------------------------------------
DISPATCH --SOULT to NEY, 2000
Esteemed Marshal,

My Cavalry reports enemy encampment on road to Zwickau, size unknown at this stage. I am marching my Corps immediately to join them. I intend to attack at dawn but that may change depending on enemy dispositions.
Please inform the Emperor.
Regards,
Soult

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