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Six Days in October: The Collected Correspondence of Marshal Davout

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James Sterrett:
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.


  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.]

James Sterrett:
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


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

Unit Marching:

VII Corps


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.

James Sterrett:
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

James Sterrett:
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

James Sterrett:
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.



He will clear your path.

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


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.]


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