The Orders of June 6

/The Orders of June 6

June 6 - The Orders of June 6

Soult summarized the orders sent on June 6 to Davout:

Monsieur le Maréchal,

J’ai l’honneur de prévenir Votre Excellence que conformément aux intentions de l’Empereur,

le 1er corps de l’Armée du Nord reçoit l’ordre de se concentrer sous Valenciennes au 13 de ce mois.
Le 2e corps de se concentrer près de Maubeuge à la même époque.
Le 6e corps d’être également rendu à Avesnes et le 3e de se concentrer aussi entre Marienbourg et Chimay. Le Général Vandamme établira son quartier général dans cette dernière ville.

Je prescris à M. l’Intendant général de veiller à ce que les troupes reçoivent éxactement les subsistances dans les nouvelles positions qui leur sont assignées, et de prendre des mesures pour que chaque soldat soit constamment maintenu dans l’avance de quatre jours de pain et d’une demie livre de riz;

Je lui recommande également de faire distribuer pour quatre jours d’avoine en avance à tous les chevaux de l’armée.

Agréez, Monsieur le Maréchal, l’assurance de ma haute considération.
Le Maréchal d’Empire
Major Général
duc de dalmatie

June 6 Soult to Davout 2

The entire Armée du Nord had now been given orders to their staging areas to arrive by June 13.  Using June 13 for final adjustments, Napoleon could advance on June 14.

Gérard’s orders had been sent the previous day, and as it was farthest from Paris, it would take longer to transmit.

Grouchy and the cavalry had received extensive orders on June 3, both a reorganization and movements, to be completed on June 12, but a days march south of the infantry staging areas.

The Guard was under Napoleon’s personal command with orders routed through Drouot.

Gérard, and particularly Delort’s Cavalry division, had significant distances to travel.  The Guard had very little margin for error in the timeline – but as Napoleon’s most seasoned troops, this was not extraordinary.  Lobau’s Corps was dispersed, but not for any great distance.

Thus, while one can draw a large square by taking the units at the extremities, this is an inaccurate view of the concentration.  The majority of the forces were essentially in theater.  The most impressive maneuver would be that of Napoleon himself – one moment handling highly visible government functions in Paris, and the next crossing the Sambre.

Napoleon’s plan was not a brilliant combination of maneuvers, it was a Kobe Bryant crossover done in plain sight, but if executed, would be impossible to defend.