May 20 - The Initial Plans
On May 20, Napoleon dictated nine pages of notes to Soult regarding future orders to the north with an emphasis on Avesnes. On May 21, an additional five pages of dictation included the following, “The war will not take place for fifteen to twenty days and he must first restore domestic tranquility.” In this, Napoleon referred to the insurrection in the Vendée where General Lamarque would be dispatched with an army of over 10,000 men.
On May 22, Napoleon dictated an additional 13 pages to Soult, which included, “If the Armée du Nord took the offensive it is probable the Armées du Rhin and de la Moselle would receive orders accordingly and their movements would be subordinated.” Unfortunately, these collections of dictations remain in private collections, as they were sold at auction on May 17, 2006. In the auction descriptions, it is clear these notes were once contained in the archives, joining the long list of archival items that have been removed and subsequently sold. It is highly probable that when this collection of notes was in the archives, they were the source for entry 3332, titled Notes et lettres de Soult dictées par l’Empereur, Fin mai 1815, in Arthur Chuquet’s Inédits Napoléoniens, Volume 2, published in 1919.