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Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout

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James Sterrett:
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,


James Sterrett:
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

James Sterrett:
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

James Sterrett:
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.

James Sterrett:
Sender: DAVOUT.
Day 2. 1800. 15km north of Hildburghausen

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.


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.


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