Louis XVIII’s Letter to Raguse
Once an aide-de-camp to General Bonaparte in Italy and in Egypt, and later made a Marshall by the Emperor, Auguste de Marmont, Maréchal Duc de Raguse changed sides in 1814 and became loyal to King Louis XVIII: he would later vote in favour of executing Marshal Ney (for more on Ney see the entry for 14 March).
In this signed letter from 19 March 1815, King Louis XVIII finally confirms his intention to leave Paris and gives orders to the Duc de Raguse to prepare his troops with an instruction not to return to the city.
The letter is commanding and brief. The King’s advisors had been divided as to whether he should stay in Paris or go into exile. The fact that he had arranged for the removal of the Crown Jewels as early as 13th March (see the entry for 15th March) shows that while he was publicly declaring his intention to stay put, he was nevertheless preparing for the alternative. By 19th March 1815, he had made up his mind.
Napoleon meanwhile had reached Auxerre on 18th March, and slept at Pont-sur-Yonne, within striking distance of Paris, on 19th March. The people of France had seemed overwhelming pleased to learn of his advance. The royal volunteers, on the other hand, had seemed ill-equipped to protect the King and the defection of Ney to Napoleon's cause, which the King learned about on 18th March, confirmed the Monarch's decision to leave the Tuileries palace.
Le Maréchal Duc de Raguse mettra sur le champ ma Maison Militaire en marche par le pont d'Iena et la dirigera avec toute célérité compatible avec le bon ordre, sur Saint Denys, où il recevra de nouveaux ordres. Aux Tuilleries ce 19 mars 1815. Louis
Le Maréchal Duc de Raguse ne fera connoître la Direction de la troupe, qu'à ceux auxquels il sera indispensable de la communiquer. Il est inutile d'ajoûter qu'il ne faut pas repasser par Paris. L.