Jean-Baptiste KLÉBER (1753-1800) general.... - Lot 361 - Rossini

Lot 361
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Jean-Baptiste KLÉBER (1753-1800) general.... - Lot 361 - Rossini
Jean-Baptiste KLÉBER (1753-1800) general. Partially autograph manuscript, [late 1793-early 1794]; 13 1/2 pages in-fol. mounted on tabs, modern half tan morocco binding (some small tears, repairs). Notes on the events following the lifting of the siege of Angers until the battle of Savenay, at the end of the Galerne's campaign, from 16 frimaire to 6 nivôse II (6-26 December 1793), in the form of chronological notes for his Mémoires.the leaves are numbered from 1 to 8, with a later pagination in red ink (129-144). This narrative was probably dictated by Kléber to his aide-de-camp, Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Strolz (1771-1841), with autograph corrections, and one sheet in his hand (pp. 139-140); some notes have been crossed out, after being expanded. The account is sometimes in the first person ("This same day my dismissal was sent by the minister Bouchotte"...), sometimes in the third person ("18 frimaire. The gal Kleber has order to remain in St Matthieu "... The period corresponds to the weeks following the defeat of the Republicans at Antrain, and their victories at Le Mans and Savenay (December 12-13 and 22-23). Here are some excerpts. "That same day [15 frimaire] my dismissal was sent by the minister Bouchotte to the gal-in-chief Rossignol, as well as that of Marigny and gal Haxo, who remained on the left bank of the Loire. Marigny avoided this disgrace by being killed by a cannonball in the vicinity of Durtal [...] Carrier, who had followed all of Gal Haxo's conduct, did not allow his dismissal to be handed over to him, and they did not dare to communicate mine to me, probably for fear that I would have a strong following among the chiefs of the army of Mayence, and even among the soldiers... Marceau's promotion, Kléber's interim command of the Army of the West, with the mission of pursuing the rebels while awaiting the arrival of General Turreau... Mention of the "300 sick or wounded brigands, dead or dying" at the Jesuit College of La Flèche, who died "for lack of care, and were buried successively at La Flèche (note in the margin of Hippolyte de Châteaugiron [then Marceau's aide-de-camp]: "they were all massacred the same day and thrown into the street where I saw them"). More than 12,000 women, priests and other people who were in no condition to fight had followed the brigands; their leaders helped themselves to the stores... Marceau, Westermann and Kléber converged at Le Mans, where, despite the crossings in the streets, "Vesterman tumbled over everything, made a horrible carnage of these scelerats and pushed them into the town square. Marceau immediately occupied all the streets leading to it, occupied the roads of Savenai, Tours, Vendome up to the river Huine, and proposed to spend the night in this position, at the same time that he sent me an order to evacuate with my division. I received this order, but at the same time I learned that Miller's column, in the midst of a rout, was running away at full speed to Fouilletourte. I therefore did not think it prudent to run with mine through these fugitives... In the rain, he had fires lit to attract the disbanded soldiers, and was surprised to discover Generals Miller and Legros with their staffs at the head of the rout. The representatives Prieur, Turreau [the general's cousin] and Bourbotte met Miller at the entrance to Foulletourte, and "Prieur in his anger not only accused Miller of foolishness, but also gave him a few flat blows with his saber. This undue procedure was undoubtedly well deserved, but what will astonish forever is that this man was continued in his command"... Kléber tells of an interview he had in Derval, on the 30th, with a beautiful rebel prisoner, to whom he lavished protective gestures and words, then continues his report of the march on Blain and Savenay. "The charge was then heard everywhere: Canuel knocked down the enemy on the left, Marceau on the center and I on the right. The cry of "vive la repque" resounds in the air, the brigands flee and fall under the iron of the republicans: the enemy cannoniers have their throats cut on their pieces; we cross Savenay, each column takes a different direction in pursuit of the rebels. The carnage becomes horrible, one sees everywhere only piles of corpses, a great part goes to drown in the marshes of Montoir: the remainder throws itself in the wood or soon, they are discovered killed or made prisoners. Equipments guns, ornaments of church, papers relative to their administration, all falls in our power, and for this time the defeat of the enemi its destruction is certain "... Etc.Old collection of the marquis Hippolyte de CHÂTEAUGIRON (October 15-30, 1851, n° 975; notes of his hand on the document).
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