A Strategic Syllogism of the 1810 Portuguese Campaign: a Day of Wrath, A Day of Death: Tojal, 20 September 1810 – Part I
History and Strategic Applications: Studies for the Bicentenary, 1810-2010
By Roberto A. Scattolin, Italy
War memoir – historic archetype and literary construction: the verisimilitude of the memorial source
Absorbing study assiduities. Particularized academic elaborations.
These eloquent Portuguese history research papers illustrate how important primary sources and credible eye witnesses are to relating the truth of historical events.
In the early XIXth century process of cultural erudition and XXIst century historical examination, one stirring case emerged in the copious literary production of écritures commémoratives d’épopée (aptly intended as Napoleonic memorial works and literary genre).
That case refers to the military accident that occurred at Tojal (Portugal) – an inexplicably overlooked military matter.
The author’s preferential choice accorded for this subject-matter and for a serious developing investigative plan can be a remarkable lesson and a profitable scholarly corroboration either for enhancing the learned stylistic paradigms of historic education or for scholars interested in European modern history; in particular, to the topic of the conflict resolutions that occurred throughout the protracted political and military domination of the Premier Empire (1804-1814), the age of French predominance under the ego-dominated monocrat Napoleon I.
Edited French contemporary materials related to the 1810 French invasion in Portugal gave vibrant accounts about Marshal Masséna’s supposedly glorieuse participation; non-the-less, his executive role as commander-in-chief and his strategic abilities -- if searchingly subjected to documentary scrutiny -- proved ineffectively contrary to this course of intelligibility.
Chronicling the extensive aggression of Portuguese territory -- by an enemy swollen with vainglorious felonious conquest, under a dour tactician passionately styled by his master l’enfant gâté de la victoire, the spoiled child of victory --, a resourceful and young chef d’escadron (cavalry squadron commander) named Marbot left significant memorable passages.<
These were focused on an impressive military contingency, a stubbornly contested action d’armes (combat action) that due to unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances nearly failed to check the progression and the tactical proficiency of the French army corps in the eastern lands of continental Portugal.
The episode generated vividly felt repercussions which coupled tactics and strategic order.
This resounding military occurrence and the immediate consequences it engendered could have drawn, compromised, and fatally imperilled the whole expeditionary corps.
Abstracting from the indicated premises, one question is incidentally posed: which is the true nature and importance of an extensive memoir, and more consequentially of the exposed matière narrative and historical contingency?
Has Marbot’s dense historiographical work to be actually evaluated and quoted as a credible reference source, or must a discriminating critic exercise an attitude shaped to the dictates and limitations of severe analytical criteria?
To enhance the comprehension of this subject, a couple of categories and definitions are referenced.
The first, is primarily considered with the author’s reminiscent approach and methodological capabilities.
The second is referred to the literary matter’s morphemes, more properly comprehended in their peculiar functionality of historical excursus and of “lexemic construction” of the textual passages.
The treated dialectic matter has pertinent dignity of historical preservation; its integrity and reliability are constitutive elements of fundamental importance.
If the author can report the facts with intellectual posture and naturally, he can even manipulate the stylistic form of the writing – thus presenting an interpretative view of the contents.
Relatively speaking, what is in play is the historical conceptualization of the truth, of the consequential “historic true” and its preservation for future generations.
The war strategy may be traced or connected with the invasion of Portugal in September 1810.
The invading troops were led by Maréchal André Masséna.
The route of the invasion is appropriately specified.
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The principled constitutive vision of these historic research elaborations moves bravely forward.
It will continue by strictly examining narratives from sources generally inaccessible, the real cadre of the stirring 1810-1811 war operations beyond the merely evenemential dimension of understanding.
Without any major influence other than a passion for critical methodologies of analitic reconstruction, rectitude (integrity based on facts) and subject-matter propriety (direct consultation of documentary materials), these philological dissertations will be directed only by a superior respect and amor do país: that of the Nação de Portugal (Portugal), under its present constitution and popular trans-national cultural heritage.
No true limitation and humanity lie therefore for the rendered honours.
Entitled to more than ordinary consideration, important shared memories for the past, are in primis a cause of pity and a sacred tribute to the fallen combatants – Portuguese, English and French soldiers.
Memory of a time
“[…]. J’engage le colonel Marbot à continuer à écrire pour la defense de la gloire des armées françaises et à en confondre les calomniateurs et les apostats”.
Trnsl.: “[…]. I urge Colonel Marbot to continue writing for the defence of the glory of the French armies and to confound their detractors and apostates”.
In: Testament de Napoléon.
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“Masséna’s expedition very nearly came to an end at Viseu through lack of foresight on the marshal’s part”.
Comment: A semantically constructed eighteen-word statement.
The first phrase, at first sight, seems to express a lapidary and quite incisive final formulation.
The sentence is sharp and penetrating as a heavily posed accusation.
Its historical content referred to the military expeditionary corps – as invasion force – which Marshal Masséna led in Portugal, in the year 1810.
This is not the final verdict of a process in judgement (culprit, or innocent), but an objective taking of responsibility – of the Commandant-en-Chef of the French troops of the armée de Portugal. Strong words, and sustained tones are presented after the first impact in reading the text.
What transpires is an unchallengeable conclusion, followed by confirmed responsibilities.
The necessity to find and to verify the main authority culpable for the aforementioned failure is demanding, as the matière militaire (military subject matter) well appears to call for a “thorny ignominy” still not specifically related to a tactical involution at the general operative level.
It is hard, therefore, to repress the disdainful mood and the growing irritation caused to the author by this occurred strategic annoyance.
It is not a pronounced invective, quite the contrary; it is a sort of historical judgement – affirmed in a linear essence scripturale in the narrative style.
After a cursory reading and a brief overview of this telling passage, quick-witted analytical minds can recognize an element of imputation and one causal motivation which came to be ascribed to monsieur le Maréchal d’Empire Masséna.
This informative detail is explicit in the reported aggravating convenience: “[…] through lack of foresight on the marshal’s part”.
What does all of this mean?
It seems that Masséna, in his cognitive process and pondered evaluations, was not such a brilliant and experienced strategist as it was supposedly thought by his notoriété à l’armée (fame in the army), and that amid the many obstructing flaws of his personality the virtue of the prescience tactique (tactical far-sightedness) was not rated among the best of his military talents.
Marbot’s assessment, based on current evidence, is spoiled of any speculative preconception; however, in this instance, it acquires stronger marks of déception strategique (strategic disappointment).
An excessive irritated mood and bitter feelings of embarrassment were experienced towards the situation which the French army contingents had unexpectedly come upon reaching Viseu. Circumspect evaluation must be paid to this topographical specification as it pointedly indicates the location, a cidade em Portugal Continental.
This recollection properly describes the surroundings within the district at a time before the French grand convoi d’artillerie (great artillery convoy) reached the cited place.
If we try to decompose the morphological structure of the sentence, we obtain a three partition: 1. – “Masséna’s expedition very nearly came to an end […]”, principle tense; 2. – “[…] at Viseu […]”, complement of space, of location; 3. – “[…] through lack of foresight on the marshal’s part”, causal proposition.
An organic grammar order sequentiality, subdivided in three periods: first, second, third.
Three distinguished pieces are observed: valuable interconnected expository annotations, the author’s agile measure of punctiliousness and informative detail.
Merely subjected to the formal restriction of the interpretative analysis by itself, this phrase explains all, but it is not more comprehensible to enhance the circumstances of the military episode without being followed by Marbot’s enthralling narrative passages.
 More than an exclusively indicated preferential choice, it would be correct to consider that the “preferentiality” is of stringent cultural character, accorded the urgency to prevent stagnancy of historic dynamics of the past, and their corresponding knowledge after the incidence of the remote centuries. Easily conceptualized references: there is the main flowing of “history”, but there are similarly the memories of the participants, both of whom are valuable interconnected complementarities, neither of which can rise alone above the mêlée (fray) of cultivated literary and genre studies. A more specific and particular articulation for an in-depth and elaborate research lies in a concrete, pre-analyzed case study. There are noted military campaigns and epic clashes of arms during the Napoleonic expansion that have been largely investigated through multi-disciplinary approaches and a variety of methodologies. Surprisingly, on the reverse side of the coin there are still integral complexities of strategic and tactical cadres of manoeuver which have been overlooked in the annals of military history. Their existence was not at all an easily mastered case of understanding even to the military contemporaries of the recounted facts. In this conformity and in the category of história esquecida (forgotten history) can be discovered the contextual tactical and strategic impasse originated from the Portuguese assault on the French army artillery train and carriages – a stirring event that occurred in the month of September 1810 in Portugal.
Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcelin de Marbot was born in the castle of La Rivière à Beaulieu (Corrèze, France), on August 18, 1782 – and died in Paris (November 16, 1854). The son of général de division Jean-Antoine Marbot (Altillac, December 7, 1754-Genova, April 19, 1800), who died defending the town of Genova besieged by the Imperial troops. In 1813, Jean was created a baron of the Empire. He had been appointed Monsieur le Maréchal Masséna’s second aide-de-camp, a service he accomplished with honourable distinction.
Marbot’s fame and aphoristic réputation littéraire (literaly reputation) were consolidated chiefly – but not only – by the fascinating Mémoires of his life and military campaigns during the Empire. His work appeared published in French language in the year 1891, in Paris [vide: Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcellin, Baron de. Mémoires du général Baron de Marbot. Gênes –Austerlitz – Eylau – Madrid – Essling – Torrès-Védras – Polotsk – La Bérèsina – Leipzig – Waterloo. Paris, Plon, 1891. Trois volumes]. That was the time of the apogée, the grande vague of the napoleonic literary productions. A subsequent English edition was printed in 1892 [vide: Marbot, Baron De. The Memoirs of Baron de Marbot, late Lieutenant-General in the French army. Translated from the French by Arthur John Butler late fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. London-New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1892. Two volumes]. Prearranged to be composed as a respectable literary preservation for his family members, Marbot’s recollections need extreme analytic care and study work due to existing historical incongruities. Among his noticeable compositions were equally apprised a couple of pamphlets. The Remarques critiques sur l’ouvrage de M. le lieutenant-général Rogniat, intitulé: Considérations sur l’art de la guerre (1820); and, La Necessité d’augmenter les forces militaires de la France (1825). Worth mentioning is that the work (Remarques critiques)* owed him a special distinction: to be mentioned in the last will of the former French emperor Napoleon I. The article 31. recited: “To Colonel Marbot, one hundred thousand francs. – I recommend him to continue to write in defence of the glory of the French armies, and to confound their calumniators and apostates”. Beyond any pecuniary assessment, that was definitively a conspicuous “moral” legacy.
*This text [vide: Marbot, Colonel Marcelin. Remarques critiques sur l’ouvrage de M. le lieutenant-général Rogniat, intitulé Considérations sur l’art de la guerre. À Paris, chez Anselin et Pochard, sucesseur de Magimel, septembre 1810] had been written to counter the thesis contained in the publication of général Rogniat. A high-ranking officer, Joseph Rogniat had been assigned the role and executive posisition of commandant en chef du génie de l’armée du Nord (commander of the engineers of the Northern army) during the course of the 1815 campaign. His treaty and speculative theory were opposed by Marbot, and the “reply” firmly gave tones to the vital prominence of the human factor.
In the late XIXth century, in the United States of America Marbot’s Memoir was eulogistically praised. A clearly exposed recension, profitable to the literary and cultural points, was edited. Proper words and significant considerations: “The great value of these memoirs lies primarly in their obvious veracity. Marbot never writes for the sake of making an impression, he was a clear-sighted, practical soldier, straightforward in all things. The reader always feels that he records the exact facts. His record thus becomes of high merit to the historian of those tremendous times. Not only is the mighty Emperor seen in the field and in camps, but the marchings of his armies and the methods by which his fields were won are set before us. Moreover, the hand which does this is a hand which Napoleon, at the point of death, regarded with esteem, and which the reader of to-day can see [author: that he] well deserved that confidence” [vide: The New York Times, April 18, 1892].
Nominally, the compilator of the written text; in this case of analysis, Marbot’s used lexical richness is properly considered as the communicative language of the memoir and of the reported facts.
 Nevertheless, the subjective visuality of the writer, not to mention the interests of part, can incline the recounted facts and their right expository concatenation. An alternative and misleading cadre would thus be superimposed over the historical event, notably to condition the real logical understanding. When compared to the principal event extrapolated from the memory, the descriptive piéce would thus be a spurious rendering – and a convenience utilized for personal proposes. The original memoir would consequentially be covered by “the memories”, and obnubilated by the literary expedient called literary mimicry – or altered accounts. This represents a singular strategy of reversibility, of documentation and reminiscence. Remarks: the historical facts and the memory are two different concepts. The author can condition the vision of the historical fact in his thinking, by re-considering it, and analogously on
 “[…] Masséna entered Portugal after taking Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida” [vide: Marbot, Baron de. Adventures of General Marbot. Edited and illustrated by John W. Thomason Jr.. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, London, 1935, p. 264, l. 26-27].
 Military Synopsis. Among Marbot’s services de guerre can be recalled the following data: 1793-1798: studies in the college of Sorèze; 1799, 3 September: volunteered at seventeen in the 1er régiment de hussars Bercheny, French Republican army; 1 December: appointed maréchal des logis – he had taken prisoners seventeen Austrian hussars during a reconnaissance; 31 December: sous-lieutenant – at Mondovi, with his platoon, he had taken possession of one Austrian battery, and général Jean-Etienne Vachier called Championnet soon rewarded the intrepid action; 1800, 14 June: took part at the battle of Marengo; siege of Genova; 1803, October: lieutenant; 1805: in the VIIth corps; took part in the combats of Engen, Stoekah, Bregenz, Feldkirch; December: distinguished at Austerlitz; 1806: at the battle of Saalfeld; at the combat of Kahala; at the battle of Iena; in Poland: combats of Kolozomb, Sochoczyn, Golymin; 1807, January 1: capitaine; with the état-major of Maréchal Jean Lannes; 10 June: Heilsberg; 14 June: Friedland; wounded at the battle of Eylau; 1808: served in Spain under Lannes; 4 December: at the storming of the fort of Santa-Engracia; took part in the Austrian campaign of 1809 – Abensberg, Eckmühl, Ratisbonne; 22 May: at the battle of Essling; at Wagram, Kornen-burg, Guntersdorf, Znaïm; 1810-1811: had protracted service in the Peninsular theatre under Marshal André Masséna – at the siege of Ciudad-Rodrigo, at the battles of Busaço, Fornos, Fuente-Cuberta, Miranda de Corvo, Foz de Arunce, Guarda, Fuentes d’Oñoro; gained a convalescence of six months, and married Mme. Desbrières; 1811, 12 November: chevalier de l’Empire; 1812: promoted to the rank of colonel of the Belgian cavalry – 23e régiment de chasseurs à cheval; a brilliant light cavalry commander in the Russian campaign (Oudinot’s corps); at the combats of Wilkomir, Dünabourg, Drouia, Jakoubowo, Kliatitsoui, Sivotschina, Valensoni, Polotsk, Barisow, Zawniski, Plechtchénitsoni; fought at the battles of Dvina and Berezina rivers – wounded at Jakoubowo; 1813: at the Katzbach (in Silesia) and Wackau; fought in the German campaign, and was wounded at Leipzig and Hanau; 28 September: baron de l’empire; 1814, 8 October: commander of the 7e régiment de hussards; 1815: promoted général de brigade during the Hundred Days; June: wounded at the battle of Waterloo; 24 July: banned. 1819: Marbot came back to France after he had been exiled during the second restoration; 1830: came back to active service and assumed the function of an aide-de-camp to Ferdinand, duc d’Orléans; 1831, 21 March: commandeur of the Légion d’honneur; 1832: took part at the siege of Antwerp; 1835-1840: served in various expeditions in Algeria; 1836, 30 April: grand officier of the Légion d’honneur; 1838, 4 October: promoted lieutenant-général; 1845, 6 April: a member in the Chamber of Peers; 1848, 8 June: retired from the public life.
 Marbot, Baron de. Adventures of General Marbot. Edited and illustrated by John W. Thomason Jr.. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, London, 1935, p. 266, l. 28-29.
 André Masséna (Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, 6 May 1758-Paris, April 4, 1817), 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d’Essling, Maréchal d’Empire.
His native homeland was at that time part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He was the son of the shopkeeper Julés Masséna, and his wife Marguerite Fabre, who had married in 1754 (August 1). In 1789, Masséna had a nuptial tie (August 10) with mademoiselle Anne Marie Rosalie Lamare, who was a native of the town of Antibes (September 4, 1765), and would die in Paris on January 3, 1829. The domestic relations of the family were set at Antibes; this locality was accorded the best choice as living-place.
Residing in Antibes, brought a numerous progeny to the Massenas: to shortly name, a child died in childhood; Marie Anne Elisabeth (July 8, 1790-March 18, 1794); Jacques Prosper, 2nd Prince d’Essling (June 25, 1793-May 13, 1821); Victoire Thècle (September 28, 1794-March 28, 1857); François Victor, 2nd Duc de Rivoli, 3rd Prince d’Essling (April 2, 1799-April 16, 1863).
In May 1804, Masséna ascended the ladder of the military hierarchy, and entered the Marshalate of France. There can be no denying the fact that he was motivated by a desire to attain personal valour, and he never truly dissociated himself from the ethos of Napoleonic military conquests and power. Four years later (August 24, 1808), he was granted a new honour: a ducal victory title (namely 1st Duc de Rivoli). He was further rewarded in 1810 (January 31); for his determinated efforts at the stoutly-disputed Battle of Wagram (July 1809); he gained a second victory title (1st Prince d’Essling).
André Masséna, general-officer and legislator, was the son of Jules Masséna, owner at Levens; his mother named Catherine Fabre.
Military Synopsis. 1771: his early life began as a cabin boy; 1775, 18 August: enlistened as common soldier in the 1er bataillon d’infanterie légère (régiment Royal-Italien); 1776, 1 September: caporal; 1777, 18 April: sergent; 1783, 14 February: fourrier; 1784, 4 September: adjudant sous-officier; 1789: left the army, and retired to his native town; 1791, 21 September: adjudant-major in the 2e bataillon de volontaires du Var; 1792, 1 February: elected at Vence lieutenant-colonel en 2e of the 2e bataillon de volontaries du Var; 1 August: lieutenant-colonel en premier; September: at the 3e brigade of the armée du Var under the adjudant général Jean-Jacques-Bernardin Colaud de La Salcette; 1793, 17 August: chef de brigade of the 51e d’infanterie; 22 August: was promoted général de brigade; 20 December: appointed provisional général de division; 22 December: commander of Toulon; campaign of Italy: 1794, 17 April: in command of the French vanguard, took Ormea and Garessio; 29 April: he distinguished himself at Saorgio, where he captured ninety artillery pieces; 8 May: occupied the col de Tende; 29 August: confirmed in the rank of général de division; September: commander of the division of Albenga; 21 September: combat of Cairo; 22 September: occupation of Dego; 22 December: left the command due to wealth issues; 1795, April: took the command of the 1re division of the armée d’Italie; 25 June: repelled by the Austrian at Melogno; 27 June: failed in the attack at the redoubt of Melogno; 23-24 November: had a great share at Loano, a victory reported by Barthélemy-Louis-Joseph Schérer over the Piedmontese and Austrian troops; the following year: distinguished at the col de Borghetto; 27 March 1796: serving under General Bonaparte at the Armée d’Italie; after Millesimo he was given the command of the Grenadiers companies formed in operative corps; 10 May: crossed the Adda River at their head; was the first to enter at Milano, the capital town of the Austrian Lombardy; 3 June: occupied Verona; 3 August: won at Lonato; 5 August: served at Castiglione; 6 August: at Peschiera; 8 September: served at Bassano; 14 September: pushed back at Due Castelli; fought at Roveredo; 15 September: served at San Giorgio; 8 November: combat of Fontaniva; 12 November: Caldiero; November 15-17: at the battle of Arcole; 1797, 12 January: combat of San Michele; 14 January: at Rivoli; 16 January: at La Favorita, where he well deserved the nickname of l’enfant chéri de la victoire; 5 March: commander of the 1re division of the armée d’Italie; 22 March: combat of Tarvis; 2 April: won at Neumarkt; 2 April: Unzmarkt; 9 May: came back to Italy, bringing to the Directory the ratification of the preliminaries of Leoben; 12 July: came back to Italy with the ratification; 14 June: commander of the 1re division following the reorganization of the armée d’Italie; 1798, 12 January: appointed at the armée d’Angleterre; 3 February: commander of the detached troops from the armée d’Italie which had to occupy the Papal states; 23-25 February: was obliged to leave Rome, and to pass his military command to général Claude Dallemagne; Masséna had many troubles with his military subordinates, and he had to face military sedition; 8 March: called to Genoa, by order of the Directory; 16 August: appointed commander of one division at the armée de Mayence; 9 December: was called back to service, and given the command of the armée d’Helvétie (a force of 40,000 men which had to fight 100,000 Austrians under the Archduke Charles, and generals Bellegarde and Hotze); 11 December: arrived in Zurich; 1799, 6 March: invaded the Grisons; 7 March: took Coira; 22 March: Feldkirch; 25 September: gave orders to four infantry divisions (37,000 men) to cross the Limurat, under Zurich, and assaulted Korsakov (25,000 soldiers); 26 September: at Zurich, he had a resounded military success over Korsakov’s forces, capturing 200 guns and 5,000 prisoners; 7 October: won at Andelfingen; 23 November: appointed commandant en chef of the armée d’Italie (35,000 men), at the place of Jean-EtienneVachier, called Championnet; 1800, 17 January: established his Headquarters at Nice; February-4, June: besieged at Genoa by General Ott; 13 August: after the battle of Marengo he kept the command of the armée d’Italie, but he was soon replaced by Guillaume-Marie-Anne Brune on account of his continued depredations; 23 September: obtained one yearly pension of 30,000 francs; 1801, 6 October: obtained one sabre d’honneur; 1803, 28 July: took up his functions with the Corps Législatif; 1804: Maréchal d’Empire; 1805: decorated with the grand aigle, and chef of the 14e cohorte of the Légion d’honneur; 30 August: sent to the Italian front, to fight the Archduke Charles of Austria; 18 October: took the town of Verona; 30 October: bitter fighting of Caldiero; 11 December: commander of the 8e Corps of the Grande armée; 28 December: commandant en chef of the armée de Naples; 1806, 9 January: took his executive command at Bologna; was ordered to take possession of the kingdom of Naples; 12 February: took Capua; 14 February: entered into Naples with Joseph Bonaparte; 26 February: siege of Gaeta; 19 July: capitulation of Gaeta; August: occupied the Calabrie; 21 December: came back to Naples; 1807, 12 January: left Naples to reach the Grande Armée; to Poland; 24 February: commander of the 5e Corps of the Grande Armée, at the place of Jean Lannes; 6 March: took possession of his command at the place of Savary; 1808, 19 March: was make Duc de Rivoli; 24 April: confirmed in this title by letters patentes; 1809, 23 February: appointed commander of the corps d’observation of the armée du Rhein; distinguished in the Danubian military campaign; 21 April: distinguished at Landshut; 22 April: Eckmühl; 23 April: took Straubing; 3 May: incurring heavy losses, took the town, the bridge, and the castle of Ebersberg; 22 May: at Aspern-Essling; commander of the left wing of the French Army at the battle of Wagram; 6 July: severely tested near Aspern; 11 July: supported Auguste-Frédéric-Louis Viesse de Marmont near Znaïm; November: obtained the permission to come back to France; 1810, 31 January: created Prince d’Essling, with majorat, was given the princely castle of Thouars; 17 April: commandant en chef of the armée de Portugal; 10 May: took his executive command in the town of Valladolid; 10 July: took Ciudad Rodrigo by capitulation; 28 August: Almeida; 27 September: lost the battle at Busaco; 1 October: at Coimbra; October 1809-March 1811: blockade of the fortified line of Torrès- Vedras; 1811, 6 March: reached the Spanish border; 3-5 May: battle of Fuentes de Oñoro; 7 May: after his failures in Portugal and Spain, he was disgraced by Napoleon and substituted by Maréchal Marmont; 1812: had no military command; 1813, 16 April: gouverneur of the 8e division militaire; 1815, 2 June: appointed peer of France; 22 June-8 July: general-commander of the garde nationale in Paris; 3 July: gouverneur of Paris.
The name of maréchal Masséna is inscribed on the Southern façade of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile.
 “[…] the French army of Portugal, as it is denominated […]” [vide: Granville Eliot, William. A treatise of the defence of Portugal, with a military map of the country; to which is added, a sketch of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and principal events of the campaigns under Lord Wellington. London: Printed for T. Egerton, Military Library, Whitehall. 1811. Quoted in: Chapter XIV, The Campaign of 1810, p. 250, l. 16-18].
For practical convenience and easy hand consultation efforts, the compositive organism of the French Army of Portugal combined the following combat troops’ organization. Général en chef: Marshal André Massena, Prince d’Essling, Duc de Rivoli. Général de division Eblé, commander in chief of the artillery. Général de division Lazowski, commander in chief of the engineers. Général de division Fririon, chef of the état-major général. Adjudant commandant Delosne, sous-chef. Inspecteur aux revues Lambert, intendant général of the army. Aile droite. 8e Corps (right wing; VIII Corps): commanded by général de division Junot, duc d’Abrantès. Général de division Fouchet, commander of the artillery. Colonel Valazé, commander of the engineers. Général de brigade Pierre Boyer, chef of the état-major. 1st division commanded by General Clausel. 2nd division commanded by General Solignac. Total. 27 battalions, 10 squadrons. 16,672 men, 3,652 horses. Centre. 6e Corps (centre; VI Corps): commanded by Maréchal Ney, duc d’Elchingen. Général de brigade Charbonnel, commander of the artillery. Chef de bataillon Couche, commander of the engineers. Adjudant commandant Béchet de Léocour, chef of the état-major. 1st division commanded by General Marchand. 2nd division commanded by General Mermet. 3rd division commanded by General Loison. Total: 35 battalions, 6 squadrons. 23,175 men, 2,947 horses. Aile gauche. 2e Corps (left wing; II Corps): commanded by général de division Reynier. Général Tirlet, artillery commander. Chef de bataillon Brulley, commander of the engineers. Adjudant commandant Marbot, chef of the état-major. 1st division commanded by General Merle. 2nd division commanded by General Heudelet. Total: 27 battalions, 12 squadrons. 15,359 men, 2,709 horses. Réserve de cavalerie (cavalry reserve). Montbrun commandant en chef. Total: 3,651 men, 3,822 horses [vide: Koch, Jean-Baptiste, Général. Mémoires de Masséna. Rédigées d’après les documents qu’il a laissés et sur ceux du dépôt de la guerre et du dépôt des fortifications. Paulin et Lechevalier, Paris, 1848-1850. Tome 7, Pièces justificatives, N° III, Situation de l’armée de Portugal au moment de l’invasion (15 Septembre 1810), pp. 568-569-570].
“His troops were composed as follows: The second corps of veterans from Austerlitz, who had been under Soult the previous year at Oporto, and whom General Reynier now commanded, with Merle and Heudelet as generals of division; the sixth corps, also veterans, commanded by Ney, the divisions being under Marchand, Loison, and Mermet; the eight corps, composed of moderately good troops, commanded in chief by Junot, with Solignac and Clausel, the future marshal, as generals of division; two divisions of cavalry under Montbrun, and a powerful field artillery directed by General Eblé. General Lasouski commanded the engineers. Deducting the garrisons left at Rodrigo, Almeida, and Salamanca, with the sick, the total number of combatants amounted to 50,000, with sixty guns and a great quantity of ammunition chests” [vide: Marbot, Baron de. Adventures of General Marbot. Edited and illustrated by John W. Thomason Jr.. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, London, 1935, p. 264, l. 27-33, p. 265, l. 1-8, p. 266, l. 1].
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“L’armée française, prête à marcher sur le Portugal après ces trois siéges, était composée de sept divisions d’infanterie et de deux divisions de cavalerie, ce qui, en y joignant l’artillerie, ne formait pas plus de quarante mille hommes d’infanterie, et de six mille de cavalerie. Elle formait trois corps, comme on l’a déja dit: le 6e, sous M. le maréchal Ney; le 2e, sous le général Reynier, et le 8e sous le duc d’Abrantès; la cavalerie sous le général Monbrun; le général Masséna, prince d’Essling, commandant en chef” [vide: Delagrave, André. Campagne de l’armée française en Portugal, dans les années 1810 et 1811. Avec un précis de celles qui l’ont précédée. Par Mr. A.D.L.G., officier supérieur employé dans l’État-Major de cette armée. Paris, J. G. Dentu, Imprimeur-Libraire, Rue du Pont de Lodi, n° 9, près le Pont-Neuf. 1815, p. 44, l. 13-24].
Trnsl.: “The French army, ready to march on Portugal after these three sieges, was composed of seven divisions of infantry and of two divisions of cavalry, which, adding the artillery, did not form more than forty thousand men of infantry, and six thousand cavalry. It formed three corps, as it was already said: the 6th, under M. the Marshal Ney; the 2nd, under General Reynier; and the 8th under the Duke of Abrantès; the cavalry under General Monbrun; General Masséna, Prince of Essling, Commander-in-Chief”.
The numerical estimation of the French battle forces is quoted at less than 50,000 combatants; equivalences for active operations are thus given: “[…], avec une armée de 45 mille homes d’effectif sur les contrôles” [ibidem, p. 47, l. 25-26].
Trnsl.: “[…], with an army of 45 thousand men of effective on the controls”.
* * * * *
“[...] consisting of three corps d’armée [...]” [vide: Granville Eliot, William. A treatise of the defence of Portugal, with a military map of the country; to which is added, a sketch of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and principal events of the campaigns under Lord Wellington. London: Printed for T. Egerton, Military Library, Whitehall. 1811. Quoted in: Chapter XIV, The Campaign of 1810, p. 250, l. 18].
“[...] under Marshals Ney, Junot, and Regnier, and commanded by Marshal Massena, one of the most celebrated of Bonaparte’s generals, [...]. [...]. This formidable army, according to the proclamations of their Commander in Chief, amounted to 110,000 men; but its real effective force, according to the highest calculations we have been able to learn from official documents, never exceeded 80,000 men” [ibidem, quoted in: Chapter XIV, The Campaign of 1810, p. 250, l. 18, p. 251, l. 1-3, l. 7-13].
 Nòesis (id est, intellection).
 Important tactical informative details related to the mid September 1810 march into Portugal territory, are exposed by hardened Napoleonic veterans. “L’armée francaise se mit en movement le 15 septembre; les 2e et 6e corps se dirigèrent par Guarda sur Celorico. Le 8e marcha sur Pinhel, et continua sa route sur Viseu, en passant par Trancoso. Les autres corps, le 18, passèrent également sur Viseu, où tout l’armée devait se réunir” [vide: Delagrave, André. Campagne de l’armée française en Portugal, dans les années 1810 et 1811. Avec un précis de celles qui l’ont précédée. Par Mr. A.D.L.G., officier supérieur employé dans l’État-Major de cette armée. Paris, J. G. Dentu, Imprimeur-Libraire, Rue du Pont de Lodi, n° 9, près le Pont-Neuf. 1815, p. 49, l. 14-21].
Trnsl.: “The French army started its movement on 15 september; the 2nd and 6th corps were directed through Celorico on Guarda. The 8th marched on Pinhel, and continued its route on Viseu, passing by Trancoso. The others corps, the 18th, passed equally on Viseu, where all the army had to gather”.
* * * * *
“L’organisation de l’artillerie et des moyens de transports ne nous arrêtant plus, l’armée se mit en mouvement le 15 septembre, et pénétra en Portugal. Ma blessure me permit de suivre le sixième corps dont je faisais partie. Nous prîmes la route de Célorico, qui est extrêmement montueuse, cahoteuse et très-difficile pour l’artillerie” [vide: Guingret, P.-F.. Chef de bataillon, en demi-activité, et Officier de l’Ordre Royal de la Légion d’honneur. Relation historique et militaire de la campagne de Portugal, sous le Maréchal Masséna, Prince d’Essling; contenant les opérations militaires qui se rapportent à l’expédition de Masséna, et les divers faits de l’Armée de Portugal, jusqu’à la fin de la Guerre d’Espagne. Limoges, chez Bargeas, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue Ferrerie, Mai, 1817, p. 41, l. 23-24, p. 42, l. 1-6].
Trnsl.: “The organization of the artillery and of the means of transport no longer stopping us, the army was set in motion the 15th September, and penetrated in Portugal. My injury allowed me to follow the Sixth corps to which I belonged. We took the route of Celorico, which is extremely mountainous, bumpy and very difficult for the artillery”.
* * * * *
“Nous eûmes de mauvais chemins pendant les quatre ou cinq premières journées de marche, mais nous vîmes des villages d’un aspect beaucoup plus agréable que ceux que l’on rencontre dans la plupart des provinces de l’Espagne. Nous passâmes par Meingualdes, jolie petite ville ou l’on voit une commanderie de l’ordre de Malte, ou peut être de l’ordre du Christ; les édifices et les jardins qui en dependent sont du meilleur goût. Les plantes et les arbres indigènes, qui embellissent ce lieu, concourent à le rendre plus délicieux aux regards de l’étranger. Nous commençâmes, à Meingualdes, à trouver des monumens d’utilité publique, monumens très-rares en Espagne, où il en existait bien moins encore avant le règne de Charles III. Outre les monumens d’utilité publique, les diverses fabriques que l’on rencontre, les bonnes bibliothéques que l’on trouve si fréquemment dans les villes, et meme dans des villages, où les principaux habitans ont toujours un choix d’excellens ouvrages en différentes langues; les instrumens de mathématiques, de physique, d’astronomie, de marine, que l’on voit communément en Portugal, et dont on ignore même la forme en Espagne; tout cela, dis-je, semble attester que la nation portugaise est bien plus avancée que la nation espagnole” [ibidem, p. 43, l. 5-25, p. 44, l. 1-11].
Trnsl.: “We had bad roads during the first four or five days of march, but we saw some villages of one aspect more pleasant than those that one meets in most provinces of Spain. We passed by Meingualdes, a pretty little town where one sees a commandery of the Order of Malta, or may be of the Order of the Christ; the buildings and the gardens that depend on them are of the best taste. Plants and native trees, that embellish this place, contribute to make them more delicious to the eyes of the foreigner. We began, at Meingualdes, to find some monuments of public utility, monuments very rare in Spain, where they existed much less before the reign of Charles III. Besides the monuments of public utility, the different factories that one meets, the good libraries that one finds so frequently in the towns, and even in the villages, where the main inhabitants have always a choice of excellent works in different languages; the instruments of mathematics, of physics, of astronomy, of marine, which one sees commonly in Portugal, and whom one even ignores the form in Spain; all of this, I say, seems to confirm that the Portuguese nation is well more advanced that the Spanish nation”.
* * * * *
The slow advance of the French army is recalled with distinctive emphasis: clear, relevant punctualizations, of geographical space, and specifications on tactical mobility order. “Having left the neighborhood of Almeida on September 14, 1810, the army assembled next day at Celorico, where it saw the rich valley of the Mondego opening before it and might march on Coimbra by Sampayo and Ponte de Murcelha, over roads which, if not good, were at least tolerable. But under the influence of Major Pelet, his adviser, the marshal left the practicable country where the troops might have lived in comfort and went off to the right into the mountains of Viseu, where the roads are the worst in Portugal. One need only look at the map to see how unreasonable it was to go by Viseu on the way from Celorico to Coimbra; a mistake all the greater from the fact that Viseu is separated from the Sierra d’Alcoba by high hills, which the army might have avoided by marching down the valley on the Mondego” [vide: Marbot, Baron de. Adventures of General Marbot. Edited and illustrated by John W. Thomason Jr.. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, London, 1935, p. 266, l. 11-25].
* * * * *
“Le 16 septembre. L’armée se met en movement. Le 8e corps, tenant la droite, se porte sur Pinhel; le 6e, au centre, sur Alverca, et le 2e, formant la gauche, sur Guarda. L’avant-garde pousse jusqu’à Celorico. L’artillerie de la division bivouaque en avant de Pinhel sur le bord du ruisseau de la Pega, celle de la 2e division à côté, et le parc sur une hauteur en arrière” [vide: Noël, Colonel. Souvenirs militaires d’un officier du Premier Empire. Paris, À la Librairie des Deux Empires, 1999, p. 76, l. 1-4].
Trnsl.: “September 16. The army goes into movement. The 8th corps, holding the right, moves on Pinhel; the 6th, in the center, on Alverca, and the 2nd, forming the left, on Guarda. The vanguard pushes up to Celorico. The artillery of the division bivouacked in front of Pinhel on the edge of the stream Pega, that of the 2nd division in flank, and the park on a hill behind”.
 “L’armée francaise, pendant ce temps, arrivait tranquillement à Viseu, où il n’y avait pas un seul habitant. Cette ville, de huit à dix mille âmes, était absolument déserte. Les gens riches étaient allées jusqu’à Porto ou Lisbonne, le people s’était enfui dans les bois ou les montagnes voisines. Veillards, femmes, enfants, tout était parti. On ne pouvait se défendre d’un sentiment de tristesse et de pitié, en songeant que les malheureux habitans de cette jolie ville, don’t l’aspect était riant et pittoresque, erraient à travers les bois et les rochers, exposés à toutes sortes d’alarmes et de besoins. […]. Cette désertion momentanée, cette fois, n’était que l’ouvrage des Anglais. Un grand nombre d’habitans n’étaient point tant alarmés de l’approche des Francais, avec lesquels ils avaient eu tout le temps de se familiarizer à diverses reprises. Ils savaient que s’il y a quelque chose à redouter de nos troupes dans la première fougue de leur irruption dans le pays, c’est un moment bientôt passé; et que le soldat français revient promptement à son caractère humain et sociable, du moment qu’il n’est plus exaspéré par la résistance ou de trop longues privations. D’ailleurs il ne s’agissait plus de fuir le joug d’un étranger, puisque toute la nation se trouvait déjà sous celui des Anglais, et qu’il n’est point de people qui s’en accommode. […]. Les ordres les plus rigoreux prescrivaient aux habitans d’abandonner tous les lieux par où les Français pénétraient, et de détruire tout ce qu’ils ne pourraient pas emporter” [vide: Delagrave, André. Campagne de l’armée française en Portugal, dans les années 1810 et 1811. Avec un précis de celles qui l’ont précédée. Par Mr. A.D.L.G., officier supérieur employé dans l’État-Major de cette armée. Paris, J. G. Dentu, Imprimeur-Libraire, Rue du Pont de Lodi, n° 9, près le Pont-Neuf. 1815, p. 52, l. 25-27, p. 53, l. 23-27, p. 54, l. 1-12, l. 22-26].
Trnsl.: “The French army, during this time, arrived quietly in Viseu, where there was not a single person. This town, of eight to ten thousand souls, was absolutely deserted. The wealthy people had gone as far as Oporto or Lisbon, the people had fled into the woods or in the near mountains. The elderly, women, children, had all left. One could not defend himself from a sentiment of sadness and pity, by thinking that the unfortunate inhabitants of this beautiful town, of which the aspect was smiling and picturesque wandered through the woods and the rocks, exposed to all kinds of alarms and of needs. This momentary desertion, this time, was not but the work of the English. A great number of the inhabitants were not much alarmed by the approach of the French, with whom they had had all the time to familiarize themselves on several occasions. They knew that if there is anyething to fear from our troops in the first burst of their irruption in the country, it is a moment soon passed; and that the French soldier returns promptly to his humane and sociable character, from the moment that he is not more exasperated by the resistance or by too long deprivations. Indeed it was no longer necessary to flee the yoke of a foreigner, because the entire nation found herself already under that of the British, and that it is not matter for people that accomodate to it. […]. The most rigorous orders prescribed to the inhabitants to abandon all the places where the French penetrated, and to destroy all that they could not take”.
* * * * *
“Nous arrivâmes à Viseu le 19 septembre. Le huitième corps d’armée, sous les orders du duc d’Abrantès, nous y précéda de quelques heures; son avant-garde échangea quelques coups de fusil avec une portion de l’arrière-garde anglo-portugaise. Viseu, que je ne vis qu’en passant, est une ville de moyenne grandeur, dont les maisons sont bien massées et d’une architecture moderne; elle possède quelques grands édifices, et se trouve voisine de riches mines d’étain. Aux voitures élégantes que je vis sous des remises, à la richesse de quelques meubles que j’aperçus, à la somptuosité des jardins qui entourent la ville, je jugeai qu’il devait y avoir beaucoup de luxe” [vide: Guingret, P.-F.. Chef de bataillon, en demi-activité, et Officier de l’Ordre Royal de la Légion d’honneur. Relation historique et militaire de la campagne de Portugal, sous le Maréchal Masséna, Prince d’Essling; contenant les opérations militaires qui se rapportent à l’expédition de Masséna, et les divers faits de l’Armée de Portugal, jusqu’à la fin de la Guerre d’Espagne. Limoges, chez Bargeas, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue Ferrerie, Mai, 1817, p. 45, l. 7-23].
Trnsl.: “We arrived at Viseu the 19th September. The eighth army corps, under the orders of the Duke of Abrantès, preceded us by some hours; his vanguard exchanged some rifle-shoots with a portion of the anglo-portuguese rear-guard. Viseu, twhich I saw only in passing, is a town of medium size, whose houses are well massed and of a modern architecture; she possesses some great buildings, and is close by some rich mines of tin. Having elegant carriages that I saw under some sheds, at the richness of some furniture that I noticed, at the magnificence of the gardens that surrounded the town, I judged that there must be there a lot of luxury”.
“Les habitans avaient aussi abandonné Viseu; on y trouva seulement quelques vieilles femmes qui n’avaient pu fuir à cause de leur grand âge, ainsi qu’une partie des gens sans aveu qui étaient demeurés dans la ville avec l’intention de profiter du désordre pour dévaster quelques maisons opulentes. Tout le mal fut imputé à notre armée” [ibidem, p. 46, l. 25, p. 47, l. 1-8].
Trnsl.: “The people had also abandoned Viseu; one found there only some old women who had not escaped because of their great age, as well as a part of the people without profession who had remained in the town with the intention to profit by the disorder to devastate some opulent houses. All the evil was imputed to our army”.
* * * * *
“The neighborhood of Viseu produces no corn or vegetables, and the troops found nothing there but lemons and grapes – not very sustaining food” [vide: Marbot, Baron de. Adventures of General Marbot. Edited and illustrated by John W. Thomason Jr.. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, London, 1935, p. 264, l. 27-33, p. 265, l. 1-8, p. 266, l. 25-27].
* * * * *
“Nous rejoignons à Viseu le 8e corps. Viseu est une très belle ville sur la pente d’un coteau, dans un pays charmant et très fertile. Ses maisons sont agréablement bâties, bien meublées, et dénotent une grande aisance. Leur tenue indique aussi plus de propreté et de goût que dans les villes d’Espagne. Du 20 au 24, séjour et repos à Viseu. A Viseu, comme à Pinhel, comme dans tous les villages depuis notre entrée en Portugal, les habitants ont fui. Forcée de se procurer des vivres par tous les moyens en son pouvoir, triste loi de la guerre, l’armée à pillé; et, comme on ne se borne pas dans ces circonstances à prendre le nécessaire, les habitants ont beaucoup plus souffert que s’ils étaient restés chez eux. C’est pour l’armée aussi une cause de relâchement de la discipline, car le soldat prend l’habitude du pillage; et malheureusement les officiers, et même ceux des états-major, donnant le mauvais exemple, l’obéissance et le respect s’en ressentent. A notre arrivée, la ville avait dejà été pillée, et sous prétexte de chercher des vivres on avait tout dévasté” [vide: Noël, Colonel. Souvenirs militaires d’un officier du Premier Empire. Paris, À la Librairie des Deux Empires, 1999, p. 78, l. 31.32, p. 79, l. 1-12].
Trnsl.: “We reached at Viseu the 8th corps. Viseu is a very beautiful town on the slope of a hill, in a lovely country and very fertile. Her houses are pleasantly built, well furnished, and denote a great easing. Their keeping indicates equally more of propriety and of taste that in the towns of Spain. From 20 to 24, staying and rest at Viseu. At Viseu, as at Pinhel, as in all the villages after our entry into Portugal, the inhabitants have fled. Forced to procure herself with food by all means in her power, sad law of the war, the army has pillaged; and, as one does not limit in these circumstances to take the necessary, people have suffered much more than if they had stayed home. It is for the army also a cause of relaxation of the discipline, because the soldier goes into the habit of looting; and unfortunately the officers, and even those of the general-staffs, setting the bad example, the obedience and the respect are suffering from. When we arrived, the town had already been looted, and under pretext of searching for food they had destroyed everything”.
* * * * *
“The interior of Viseu was actually unsightly. The architecture of the churches and the buildings were not beautiful, but the surroundings were delightful and the scenery beyond was charming. Fine promenades and beautiful gardens surrounded the city. The luxuriant vegetation delighted and surprised at the same time. The trees were magnificent; cedars, aloes, a few palm trees, and many laurels gave a foreign atmosphere to this cheerful countryside that made it even more lively to us. Beautiful and swiftly running waters, often shaded by stately weeping willows, enhanced the splendor of this vigorous and vitalized greenery and added a charm found especially in the warm countries. We enjoyed finding oriental characteristics on the great number of fountains around the city and along the roads of Portugal. Without doubt it got its ancient name, Vicus Aquarius, from the abundance of water around it. All kinds of orange and lemon trees were laden with unripe fruit, and grapevines as large as trees displayed their last grapes. Ancient traditions added to the interest inspired by the beautiful view of the country. Near the city there was a wall six hundred yards in diameter, formed by an earth entrenchment twenty-five to thirty inches high. Some said that it was a Roman camp from the time of Sertorious, while others attributed it to Lusitani Viriatus. Viseu furnished little in the way of food and useful provisions but a great quantity of oranges, fruit, jelly, and abundant wine. Those who found so much charm in the scene of beautiful nature and in the industry of man, developed here to a rather high degree, were distressed at the prospect of the inevitable destruction which the passage of the army would bring. For them this was a very sad picture of a deserted city, momentarily occupied by conquering soldiers accustomed to sparing nothing. Even the hospitals, with all the sick, had been left without assistance. We immediately sent some guards and doctors there. At least the inhabitants, when forced to abandon their homes, had not burned or destroyed them as we had seen during some of our campaigns, and it was not long before they returned. The day after our entry we saw the governor of the neighboring district arrive with his secretary. He protested strongly against the iron yoke of the British and against the horrid harassments employed to force the inhabitants to flee. He gave us little information about the enemy but a great deal about the country, which he knew quite well. He summoned his wife and the inhabitants to come back. We saw the effects of his assurances by the return of many people as well as a few priests” [vide: Horward, Donald D.. The French campaign in Portugal 1810-1811. An account by Jean Jacques Pelet. Edited, annotated, and translated by Donald D. Horward. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1973, p. 165, l. 1- 28, p. 166, l. 1- 11].
 In a process of intelligibility, this same phrase can be equally reversed as follows (i.e., as compared literary equivalence): “[…] at Viseu […]”, “[…] through lack of foresight on the marshal’s part”, “Masséna’s expedition very nearly came to an end […]”.
 Marbot was an experienced veteran of the guerres napoléoniennes (Napoleonic wars). The situation was at the time difficult; worth mentioning is that this capable and talented officer had already been seriously realistic on the war in Spain, a detrimental aggression, a villainy that he had severely stigmatized with harsh reprimand: “une atrocité, un acte odieux, que l’histoire a flétri et que la Providence ne tarda pas à punir, car ce fut la guerre d’Espagne qui prépara et amena la chute de Napoléon”***. All in all, throughout the years of an exhausting military contest (1808-1814) Spain marked the birth of a veritable national sentiment of uprisings and fiery determined armed resistance against the foreign French oppressors. The Portuguese would have equally assumed the traits of national liberties, and the irreversible incompatibility to the autocratic “visuality” of political and military dominance of the Empire. “Guerra aos franceses”(war to the French) was the echoing incitatory cry during the French invasions in the years 1808, 1809, 1810-1811.
***Trnsl.: “an atrocity, a heinous act, that history has faded and that the Providence did not retard to punish, because it was the Spanish war which prepared and brought about the fall of Napoléon”.
 Under the profiled methodology of historic critic, they will be carefully discerned through the primary text source with the subsequent disquisitive researches and study elaborations.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2011 - December 2013
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