Orders for Grouchy!

/Orders for Grouchy!

June 12 - Orders for Grouchy!

One of the common criticisms of Soult is that he forgot to send the final concentration orders to Grouchy, and this is why Napoleon found Grouchy in Laon.  This is not the case.  Soult only received the final concentration orders on June 12, and possibly after Napoleon had already arrived in Laon.

Soult’s first act after received Napoleon’s final concentration orders was to issue orders to Gérard, as previously explained.

In the featured image of this post, we find orders to Grouchy, but they are stricken out.  Striking through a draft is a common method to indicate that it was executed.  Bertrand struck through his drafts for letters that were sent, or orders that were issued.  Stoffels draft of his Waterloo book had every page struck through, and many of these pages exist as form copies ready for the typesetter.

But in Soult’s case, each entry that is not struck through has engrégé- in the margin, for “Registered.”  At the top of the page is Expédié le 12, “sent on the 12th.”

Avesnes le 12 juin
Au Mal Grouchy, en lui envoyant copie de l’ordre de l’Empr du 10, et le prevenant du mouvement de la 14e divon de cavalerie lui donner ordre de mettre en marche les 1e 2e 3e et 4e corps de cavalerie et de les diriger sur Avesnes, d’où ils continueront leur marche pour aller s’établir, les 1er et 2e corps, en avant de Solres le château, occupant les villages de [Coursolres, Lengries, Grandieu, Hestrud, Eccles, Solrinnes, Aire et quierelont] et leurs dépendances. Les 3e et 4e corps à Solre le château, où sera le quartier gal, [Borieu, L’Epinoy, Clairfait, Epineharnaut, Lesfontaines, Stratz et offies] M le Mal Grouchy s’établira a Solres et il sera prévenu que le mouvement de ces 4 corps de cavalerie doit être terminé le 13 au soir.

In Soult’s Registry, Mouvement des Troupes, this draft is not registered.  Below the crossed out draft is a draft for Lobau, which is numbered “2”, remember Gérard’s was numbered “1.”  In Soult’s registry, item #306 is an order to Lobau, which follows item #305 that was the order to Gérard.

Draft 3 are engrégé- orders to Grouchy:

Avesnes le 12 juin.

Mr le Mal j’ai l’honneur de vous adresser copie de l’ordre de l’Empeur en date du 10 relatif a la position de l’armée au 13 l’Empeur ordonne que vous mettiez en marche les 1er 2e 3e et 4e corps de cavie et que vous les dirigiez sur Avesnes d’où ils continueront leur route pr aller s’établir les 1er et 2e corps en avant de Solre le Château, occupant les villages de Coursolre, [Lengries], Grandrieu, [Hestrad], Eccles, Solrinnes [quierelont] et leurs dépendances.
Les 3e et 4e corps à Solre le château, en occupant [Beaurien], [Barello], l’Epinay, [Clairfait], Epine-Harnault, les fontaines, [Sarht et offies]; vous devez, Mr le Mal vous établir de votre personne à Solres, et faire toutes les dispositions prque le mouvt de ces 4 corps de cavie soit terminé le 13 au soir.
Je vous prie Mr le Mal de me rendre compte de l’exécutn de cet ordre [recevez etc.]

Further, the staff officer who carried this order is identified, Chef de bataillon Joachim Benjamin GENTET.

In Service Historique de la Défense, Armée du Nord – 1er au 10 juin – 1815, GR 15 C5, there is a copy of the order Soult sent to Grouchy which indicates it was signed by Soult.

The order that was registered and sent is consistent with the Mons order, with only minor changes from order that appears was abandoned.

It seems that Soult decided that Grouchy’s order could not be sent, listing the villages for his Cavalry to occupy, until he had created more clarity for the dispositions in the Army’s center.

The relevant registry pages can be seen below: