Pierre Daru, the System of Military Administration, and le Code Militaire, 1805
For some time military history has been changing today from the traditional description of strategical operations, battles or statistical analysis of fighting forces. The bitter experience of military conflicts of modern time has compelled current historians to reexamine warfare as a broader social and cultural phenomenon. The study of the French army of the last years of the ancien régime, during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars of 1792-1815 is a particularly complex task. It endured the traumatic transformational experience of the Revolution; political ferment and social upheaval ripped the fabric of the old military institutions, which was shaken by the reforms of Choiseul, Saint-Germain, de Ségur and the others. Under the Revolutionary government and Napoléon, the military was transformed into a powerful instrument not only of a new system of warfare; it also became the expansion of a new mentalité, as well as the cornerstone of the political and economic life of his European Empire and vehicle for promoting new ideas of modern social organization.
Most of the studies on the development of European warfare have generally centered on a discussion of the evolution of organization of the armies, their strategy and tactical capabilities. The majority of these studies have emphasized the periods of the Revolutionary wars, which culminated in the turbulent Napoleonic era. Little time has been spent analyzing the intimate bond existing between military developments and those of an administrative nature. As a result, a great deal is known about almost all mechanics of Napoléon’s army corps – its organization, leaders, aspects of uniform and equipment to name but a few, but too little information is available on how these mechanics evolved under the stress of administrative apparatus of the First Empire since its establishment in 1804. Yet, it was in this period of short peace that the fitful movement of the further professionalization of the army was terminated with success, and the foundation laid for the victorious Grande Armée and eventually, the modern French military forces.
“My real glory,” Napoléon once reminisced, “is not the forty battles I won – for my defeat at Waterloo will destroy the memory of those victories… What nothing will destroy, what will live forever, is my Civil Code.” And it is rightly so, for this Code in fact was partly a stepping-stone in creation of a new French statesmanship in the modern sense of this word. What should be added, however, that the major component of Napoléon’s energy was, above all, dedicated to the military aspects, which predominated in all his earlier decrees, thus giving way to his another less known achievement – Code Militaire (hereinafter, the Military Code). Elaborated in 1805 in a committee of appointed military experts, this document represents the culmination of decades of military thought. It offers a unique vantage point from which we can assess Napoléon’s global views on the military institution as part of the broader social and political order he sought to bring to fruition. The following presentation, which is work in progress, shall bring some highlights on this less-known Napoléon’s project through the prism of the development of his military administration.
Note, that this was not an original idea of the Emperor of the French; attempts at military codification had been taking in direct line from the Ancien Régime, especially during the era of Louis XIV and Louis XV, but they all presented nothing more than a compilation of royal decrees and ordonnances either in a chronological or thematically arranged order. Perhaps, the most influencing examples of these was the set of military codes compiled in 1761 by Pierre de Briquet, an employee of the Secretary of State for War, who offered it in an alphabetically arranged order, while each title was broken down chronologically, based on the existing the royal decrees and ordonnances. Further in 1788, the newly formed Conseil de la Guerre under comte de Guibert’s designed a plan for the future military code but the upcoming Revolution prevented its finalization. Since then it was worked on and off under the National Assembly, Convention and Directory but never achieved a tangible result. Not until the spring of 1805 the military professionals were able to return fully to work on the Code under the general supervision of Pierre-Antoine-Noël-Bruno Daru, whose experience in military administration ran almost unbroken from 1792.
In order to fully understand the system of Napoléon’s military and administrative organization in preparation for works on the Military Code the following background is necessary. The new Constitution of the French Republic, adopted on 22 Frimaire Year VIII (13 December 1799) reflected Bonaparte’s will and was characterized by a powerful executive, a weak legislature, and the virtual elimination of popular sovereignty. According to Article Forty-one, the First Consul secured after himself the power “to promulgate laws, name and revoke members of the Conseil d’État, ministers and ambassadors… officers of the army and navy, members of the local administration and governmental officials at tribunals.” Further, Article Eighty-four confirmed the analogical stipulation form the Constitution Year III, which stated, identically, that “the public force is of essential obedience and nullity to any open deliberation.”
The First Consul continued his policy to subordinate military bureaucracy that was left from the Directory by an important “Decree regulating functions of Commissaires de guerres and Inspectors aux Revues”, which was issued on 9 pluviôse Year VIII (30 January 1800). This decree created a formal division between these two offices. The first tier was inspecteurs aux revues that took orders directly from the Minister of War, at that time Louis-Alexandre Berthier (first tenure in the office from 11 November 1799 to 2 April 1800). They were charged with “organization, embrigadement, incorporation, levies, discharges, payment and compatibility of the military corps, and conducting of revues.” Since the field forces of the French Republic were stationed in twenty-six military divisions, inspecteurs généraux who were assigned to a particular area, were supposed to conduct reviews there once a year, while inspecteurs and sous-inspecteurs – three times a year.
The second tier were the commissaires des guerres (first organized by the Comité Militaire on 20 September 1791), and whose duties remained regulated by the law of 28 nivôse Year III (17 January 1795) with the object “to assist [general officers] in all details of the military administration in fortified towns and in garrisons and also in assembly of troops in camps”. Article Six of this law established functions of commissaires des guerres as a special assistance to the commander of the military division and their work with the local municipalities; Article Thirteen instructed them how to keep “register-journal of inventory”, which should contain “transcripts of the minutes” and discussion on “principal operations.” And “the vanity of every member of the commissaires des guerres was in ferment about the creation of that corps”, wrote later Henry Beyle (Stendhal) who served at that time as one of the numerous clerks at the Ministry, “and still more about design of the uniform of the inspecteurs aux revues.”
The war with the Second Coalition ended and the War Ministry received its further development by decree of 2 Thermidor Year IX (21 July 1801). According to the new plan, the entire agency was subdivided into eight divisions: compatibility and funds, organization of troops, personnel, substances, pensions and veteran affairs, military operations, artillery and engineers and finally, Secretariat général, an entity inherited from the previous layout. An independent position of the Secrétaire général to Berthier was first assigned to an experienced administrative operative, Inspecteur aux revues Antoine Denniée, who coordinated work with all chiefs de division, including thirty-six chefs de bureau, thirty-six sous-chefs and 280 commis (clerks and low-staffers). The War Ministry also included Dépôt général de la guerre under général de division Antoine François Andreossy, which managed historical archives and supervised ingénieurs géographes. To augment the ministry, the military section of the Conseil d’État continued to employ specially organized committees’ lead by its inspecteurs généraux, as follows:
There also were established:
The peacetime of the Consulate kept all these committees and directories intact, only changing its certain members over the time period. This was the most productive period for building field forces; these agencies fully assisted to straighten old and adding new innovations in many different fields. For example, by decree of 4 brumaire Year X (26 October 1801), and for the first time since 1791, the French army received equipment that was precisely confirmed for all branches of service by describing its dimensions, fabric and imposing fixed price tags. Further, on 1 vendémiaire Year XII (24 September 1803), a regulation on the uniform of general officers, staff officers, inspecteurs and other administrative and medical services has appeared, thus prescribing in most notorious details, the distinction in ranks, armament and the horse equipment for its numerous personnel. Committees also worked on the establishment of a “pension plan” for the military personnel, organisation of hospitals, creating new artillery organisation, known as “System of the Year XI”, which made the existing system of Gribeauval better and more tactically capable. In sum, these committees and offices touched all aspects of the French armed forces, producing various documentations from discharge certificates and encampment of the troops to payment and establishment of hospitals and various military and technical schools.
Although Bonaparte, as the First Consul may posses an unlimited power to all things military, the high power in the French Republic was still a collegial in nature. Thus, on 17 Ventôse Year X (8 March 1802), her consuls decreed “a creation of the director of the Military Administration with the rank and functions of the ministry; [which] shall be presided by the Conseil d’administration and consult its work in presence of War Ministry.” The new Department of the Military Administration was divided in three sections; it has roughly resembled the Fourth division of the War Ministry, thus being responsible for compatibility, substances, hospitals, convoys, transports and the like. From now on it also supervised in close surveillance all commissaires de guerre, agents of military administration and officers de santé. It also consisted of secretariat, bureau particulier, directory of clothing and equipment and finally, central directory of military hospitals, including famous Hôtel National des Invalides. In four days, “in a name of the French people”, the First Consul Bonaparte nominated its first director for the Department of the War Administration, général de division Jean François Dejean, who would hold this post until 1810 (see chart)
On 28 floréal Year XII (18 May 1804) the Senate drew up the new Constitution, proclaiming Napoléon “the Emperor of the French.” The regime, which was established on a more permanent foundation, had all attributes of a dynastical power by creating titled offices such as those in Maison de l’Empereur and the princely court. The structure of the Emperor Napoléon’s Conseil d’État, as it previously was under the Consulate, has also included its Secretariat now led by Hughes Maret. Along with its many subdivisions, it also had Military section, which was presided over by général de division Jean Gerard Lacuée-Cessac being assisted by général de division Henri Jacques Guillaume Clarke, who also shared the title of Secrétaire du Cabinet of the Emperor. From the military standpoint, the two most important agencies, the War Ministry and the Ministry of the Military Administration, were the precise mechanism, which soon would play a prominent role in creation of the Military Code, by which Napoléon allegedly decided to give more authority to his armed forces. This task was assigned to the member of the Tribunat and adjoint to l’Intendant-général Claude-Louis Petiet, Pierre Daru. Subsequently, on 2 March 1805, he received the Emperor’s order appointing him the President of the Commission du Code Militaire.
A few weeks later, on 1 germinal Year 13 (21 March 1805) at his residence in Malmaison, Napoléon signed an official decree, which outlined the future work on the Military Code, as follows:
In the meantime, a plan for 15 books (livres), each divided in titles, sections and paragraphs was sent to Daru on 7 germinal Year XIII (28 March 1805) by the President of the Military section, Lacuée-Cessac, who accompanied it with his own letter. Note that in contrast with the discursive methods employed by Military Committee of the National Assembly in 1789-91, new Napoleonic bureaucracy was not democratic in nature but rather authoritarian because it was most concerned with the accomplishment of the specific goals rather than evaluating or establishing various objectives, including political. This is why out of many candidates, offering their service to the project, Daru have chosen trusted colleagues and old friends, such as sous-inspecteur aux revues Louis Joinville, commissaire des guerres Gilbert Dufour and others who were amongst eight principle collaborators, including his own brother, sous-inspecteur aux revues Martial Daru.
Daru explained his ideas in one of his earlier letters to War Minister Berthier dated 17 ventôse Year XIII (9 March 1805). The current legislation is misrepresented by multiple dispositions and their incoherence, while there is a great need for clarity and stability and therefore, the military laws are more subject of a change than the civil laws. Further, Daru estimated necessary principles for the Military Code, which should determine the composition of the army, its discipline and administration but it should be done not in the theoretical notions but rather in regulations subjected to actual executions. At the end Daru proposed his own plan based on example of the Civil Code.
All titles relative to the military administration should be dispensed in three books (livres) – one book is related to the internal administration of the branches of arms (corps) while two others to general army administration. Partisan of simplification, Daru wanted to avoid too numerous a detailing, which is constantly changing and proposed to establish some invariable principles instead. Predicting difficulties to clarify the line of democratization between legal principles and regulated dispositions, Daru find a solution: each title of the Code should be referring to the existing regulation for further details. Daru thought that it was necessary to keep in the Code only those regulations, which are not a subject to variations for they could be additionally worked in, if necessary. A priori, Daru did not want many innovations, thinking that in this instance the Code would be ill accepted.
In no time the draft (manuscrit) of the code was created, which survived until our days in seven big volumes of green cover. It was finalized in three books (livres) – Book One, Book Two and Book Three (in five parts) by analogy with the military codes of the Ancien Regime, where they adopted some sort of a natural, systematic order. Note, however, that members of the
Commission for the Military Code did not created anything particularly new, as far as legal mechanism for the army organization is concerned. Nor were they occupied with the notion of the army place within the civil society. Rather, they were researching and describing numerous aspects of military establishment through the set of existing laws and regulations, matching its various provisions with proposed articles and at the end organizing a type of cross-reference compendium.
In their preparatory work, members of the Commission for the Military Code have assembled various memoranda and essays regarding the general information on organization of the troops thus enabling them to draft the army constitution (in this instance, not a legal provision, but what army is actually constitutes of). For example, the Title regarding the troop organization was using the predeceasing system of 1788, which well worked under the Empire – a systematic characteristics of various branches of arms, from the l’état-major to the diverse foreign troops. Further developing this title, the Commission adopted principles that followed set of existing codes. There were made historical précis and chronological tables of ordonnances, regulations, laws and decrees (some traced back as far as to the reign of Louis XIV), which should became articles of a new army organization and regulate its each and every aspect. Thus, the Title called “Disposition of the Civil Code applicable to military personnel…” embraced no less than ninety articles including observation on military marriage with the question presented: “Whether is it an advantage for the State favoring marriage of military personnel?” It was further marked that the chiefs of the each corps should be preoccupied by the trusted and adequate choice of their subordinates and such question was codified in 41 articles, adding a special provision related to “The infants of the troops”.
Further, Book One of the Code proper has outlined special points for the army Constitution, which find its way in many titles: the intérieur service, police and discipline of the troops, vivandières and blanchisseurs, punishment of the deserters, public works, sick leaves and discharges from the active service, seniority in service (préséances militaires), military honors, veteran affairs, and the Légion d’honneur.
Book Two was dedicated to the service and means of creation the officer corps (professional service personnel), which was decreed by regulations for various branches of arms. Thus, the First Title included statement on military schools and its development from the era of the L’Ecole Militaire organized in 1751; then school of artillery and engineers, veterinary and regimental schools. It followed by the detailed responsibilities for the town commanders (627 articles total), assembly for the inspection and parade, service of the troops on the march and on campaign, camping for infantry and cavalry, concluding with questions on military prisons and execution of the imposed judgment.
Book Three (in five parts) of the Code, which has attracted the most attention of Pierre Daru, embraced various articles on the material organization of the army on the solid base. The financial problems were the most addressed issue, and the title on uniform and equipment meticulously stipulated each and every price for various articles of a soldier’s outfit including flags and decorative laces for NCOs. Then, the part titled “The administration and compatibility of the corps” was grouped in a way of various printed works, statements, journals and registers along with those that were previously suppressed or corrected. The number of new articles codified the pay along with compensation for retirees and pensions, indemnity for the lodgment, travel and gratification for campaign, postal expenses, letters and countersigns. But it was not sufficient enough only to pay and compensate the troops; it was also necessary to procure, whenever possible, a certain material comfort whether clothing, lodging or nourishing them.
Therefore, the big number of articles in detailed titles was collected there, such as clothing, linen, shoemaking and the camp necessities. In regards to hospitals, nearly 700 articles were composed to define the work on the permanent, temporary and ambulatory medical and sanitary service. After this Title (medical service), being itself of a new concept, followed those related to caserns, its heating, bread and meat provisions, forages, aux étapes, and furnishing for the siege. At the end there were articles on the cavalry remounts, equipages, convoys and many previously adopted decrees that related to it. Because the smocking of tobacco was so important in the military, it was necessary to organize its proper allocation in terms of to avoid contraband. Therefore, the Title “Tobacco” was supplied with its own memoire on the tobacco use in the royal armies since 1680s, with particular points for its distribution and use. At the end there were titles on prisons, chambers of police, masse de ferrage and medicaments for the horses, all concluded with the elaborate history of Les Invalides.
In such a way this project was destined to be submitted to the Emperor and impress him, for the manuscript on the Military Code represent considerable work. The quantity of the preparation (or, how it was finalized in the final redaction) permitted to present its solid basis and the quality of Daru’s collaborators, which was reinforced with their own experience as military administrators. However, on 5 Thermidor Year XIII (23 July 1805) Daru, being appointed Intendant-général de la Maison de l’Empereur had ceased his personal involvement in works on Military Code. Further, on 2 Vendémiaire Year XIV (24 September 1805), at the height of war against Austria, the War Minister Berthier authorized sending to the army quarters pieces of redactions of the Code Militaire, while bureau in charge of copying was continuing its work. But in the milieu of battles the spirit to this work, which required a great deal of patience and erudition, did not last very long. So, this grand Napoléon’s project did not achieve such consecration, which could be left to posterity in the way it was done for five major codes he sponsored - the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Code of Civil Procedures, the Code of Criminal Instructions and the Penal Code.
To many specialists the Military Code is Napoléon’s forgotten – even unknown code – for it was never implemented. One possible explanation is that the upcoming war with the Third Coalition in August 1805 has re-directed the Emperor’s attention form theory to more pressing practical considerations. But there is also plausible that, perhaps, Napoléon felt that in the final analysis he did not want to have his hands tied by a document, which would have effectively granted a certain degree of autonomy to the army. Seen from this perspective, the non-implementation of Military Code, far from reducing its significance, makes it all more important to understanding the question of Napoléon's consideration of the proper rapport established between the state and its army. Finally, the Military Code has been designed explicitly for the military purpose, promoting professionalism as the only criteria of a successful career (particularly, in the officer corps). By becoming such a close corporate document, it slowly abandoned the idea of a “citizen-soldier” thus making it elitarian rather than egalitarian.
But, despite all odds and especially toward the end of his regime, that is, in 1811-1812, the unrealized Military Code of Napoléon began to be implemented, albeit in different form. It appeared in stressing out the provisions for the actual combat experience and supplies for the army, forming the military administration on the occupied territories, which resulted changing the very nature of the French fighting forces and war itself as a cultural phenomenon turning it to a prolonged and dramatic all-European conflict.
 See, e.g., Richard Cobb, Les armées revolutionnaires instrument de la Terreur dans les départements (Paris, 1961); Samuel F. Scott, The Response of the Royal Army to the French Revolution (Oxford, 1978); Jean-Paul Bertaud, La Révolution armée. Les soldats citoyens et la Révolution Française (Paris, 1979); John A. Lynn, The Bayonets of the Republic: The Motivation and Tactics in the Army of Revolutionary France, 1791-94 (University of Illinois Press, 1984); Tim Blanning, The French Revolutionary Wars 1878-1802 (London, 1996); Paddy Griffith, The Art of War of Revolutionary France, 1789-1802 (London, 1998) and many others. As an exception, one could consider recent book of Everett T. Dague, Napoléon and the First Empire’s Ministries of War and Military Administration (2006). However, the author’s major flaw is that he examined the system of the military administration through the narrow prism of internal developments in the ministries of War and Military Administration and biographies of its major agents, such as Berthier, Dejean and especially, Clarke, which is somewhat superficial and contextualized.
 See, e.g., Frédéric Leonard, Réglemens et ordonnances du roy pour les gens de guerre, in 15 vols. Paris, 1680-1706; Lieutenant colonel baron de Sparre, Code militaire ou compilation des réglemens et ordinances de Louis XIV faites pour les gens de guerre depuis 1651 jusqu’à present. Paris, 1709. All preserved in the Bibliothèque National de France (BNF).
 Briquet, Pierre de. Code militaire ou compilation des ordonnances des Rois de France concernant les gens de guerre, in 8 vols. Paris, 1761, BNF
 “Constitution de la République Françoise” in Almanach national de France – l’an neuvième (1801). All citations in this paragraph are from this source.
 “Arrèté qui règle les functions des commissaires des guerres et des inspecteurs aux revues. – Du 9 pluviôse an 8”, Journal Militaire, 1799/1800 (vol. 20), 162-66. Unless otherwise indicated, all citations in this paragraph are from this source.
 “Loi sur l’organisation des commissaires des guerres, et les functions, tant aux armées que dans les divisions militaires de la république. – Du 28 nivôse an 3, Journal Militaire, 1794/95 (vol. 10), 381-85.
 Stendhal, Vie de Henri Brulard, (Oeuvres completes. Paris, 1956), vol. 18, 16.
 “Arrêté contenant organisation des bureaux du ministère de la guerre. – Du 2 Thermidor an 9”, SHD/DAT, MS. XS 128; Organisation centrale: Consulate et Empire.
 Almanach National de France. – An X (Paris, 1802), passim; Champeaux, l’adjudant-commandant, État Militaire de la République Française (Paris, An X. – 1802), 12-13.
 “État des dimensions et prix des effets confectionnés de toute nature don’t les troupes doivent se pourvir sur les masses, le 4 brumaire an 10”, Journal Militaire, 1801/1802 (vol. 24), 173-89.
 “Réglement sur les uniformes..., Du 1 vendémiaire an 12”, Journal Militaire, 1803 (vol. 28), 213-32.
 For example, Marmont offered to replace 4- and 8-pdr Gribeauval guns with a newly designed single piece – the 6-pdr, which was approved by decree of 12 Floréal Year XI (2 May 1803); SHD/DAT 2w 84, “Opinion du général Marmont sur le changement à faire dans le materiel de l’artillerie”; see also Mémoires du maréchal Marmont duc de Raguse de 1792 à 1841, in 9 vols (Paris: Perrotin, 1857), vol. 1, 120.
 “Arrêté relatif aux attributions du ministre de la guerre, à la création d’un directeur de administration de ce département”, Journal Militaire, 1801/1802 (vol. 24), 469-70.
 “Senatus-Consilte Organique, 28 Floréal an 12”, as quoted in Pierre-Armand Dufau et al, Collection des Constitutions, vol. I, 217-39.
 Lacuée-Cessac was appointed head of the military section on 14 September 1802; see “Arrêté du 27 fructidor 10”, Journal Militaire, 1802 (vol. 25), 829. Napoléon’s decree, 1 Germinal an XIII (22 March 1805), Correspondаce de Napoléon Ier, publiée par ordre de l’Empereur Napoléon III (Paris, Imprimerie impériale, 1858-69), No. 8463, vol. X, 253-54.
 Original preliminaries could be found in SHD/DAT “Memoires et Reconnaissance” sub section 1M 1950 “Justice Militaire” and “Lettre de Lacuée, président de la section de la guerre au Conseil d’État, 7 germinal an XIII”, A.N. 138 AP 17, dir. 2, respectively.
 As discussed in Dague, Napoléon and the First Empire’s Ministries,
 “Mémoires, rapports et lettres au ministre de la Guerre, projects de dècrets concernant ce travail, 17 ventôse - 9 messidor an XIII”, A.N. 138 AP 17, dir. 2. All following citations are from this sort.
 The major source for this part of the paper is the actual Le Code Militaire itself, derived from A.N. 138 AP 18-21.
 The Commission members under Daru’s supervision examined a tremendous amount of acts and legislation left from the previous regimes in printed forms: Actes Royaux (1750-1781), Ordonnances de la Guerre (1787-1788), Procès-verbaux des séances des l’Assemblée Nationale, Convention and Conseil de Cinq Cents (1789-1799), Journal Militaire (1790-1804), along with many decrees of Napoléon and privite projects existing up to-date.
 A.N. IV 917, “Extrait des Minutes de la Secrétairerie d’État, 5 Thermidor an 13”, in Livrets Chronologiques des arrêtés et décrets. Subsequently, on 19 October 1806 Daru was appointed Intendant général of the Grande Armée, SHD/DAT, X p 21 “Les armées Françaises de 1791 à 1870. La Grande Armée (Généralité)”.
 The latest redaction the author encountered was dated by mid-February 1806.
Placed on the Napoleon Series: March 2009
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