NAPOLEON I (1769-1821). Emperor of the French.
Letter Signed ('Napole' with a flourish) to Marshal Clarke, Duke of Feltre and Minister of War, 2 pages 4to, Fontainebleau, 22 October 1810. A note pinned to the foot reads: 'reçu le 23 8bre, et remis le même jour à M Gerard, qui s'entendra avec M Barnier'.
Giving orders for the augmentation of the Corfu garrison, the men for which were to be drawn from the Mediterranean Regiment: Napoleon instructs that three companies of 200 men each are to be formed from the battalions at Porto Ferraio (for which he stipulates that they must be the best of the battalion and native speakers of French), Bastia, and Ajaccio respectively, and are to embark separately for Leghorn and proceed from there to Rome; there they are to be reviewed by the major of the 14th Regiment of Light Infantry, who will remove any men who are sickly or badly kitted-out, supply anything that they lack and send them to Otranto for embarkation to Corfu, where they will be under the command of General Donzelot. If the General wishes, he may deploy the officers and NCOs in the 14th Regiment of Light Infantry. This will increase the size of the Corfu garrison by 600 men, plus the 200 pioneers who are coming from Alexandria.
Corfu, ceded to the French by Russia in 1807, was for Napoleon the key to the Adriatic, and he was careful to keep the garrison there well supplied, telling his stepson Eugène de Beauharnais that if the British took the island, the Adriatic would be lost. In the event the British never did take Corfu, but Napoleon never obtained the overall control of the Adriatic that he desired, and the French lost control of the island on the fall of Napoleon in 1814 (see Desmond Gregory, Napoleon's Italy, p. 73).
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