Napoleon Critiques his Generals - August 14, 1796


TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORY

HEADQUARTERS, BRESCIA, 14th August 1796. I think it worth while to give you my opinion of the generals serving with this army. You will see that very few of them are of any use to me.

Berthier: ability, energy, courage, character everything in his favor,
Augereau: plenty of character, courage, firmness, energy; is accustomed to war, popular with his men, lucky in the field.
Massena: active, tireless, enterprising, grasps a situation and makes up his mind quickly.
Serurier: fights like a soldier; dislikes responsibility; firm, has too poor an opinion of his men; an invalid.
Despinoy: dull, slack, unenterprising; doesn't understand war, is unpopular with his men, doesn't use his head; in other ways a man of high character, intelligence, and sound political principles; good for a home command.
Sauret: good, an excellent soldier; not enough education for a general; unlucky.
Abbatucci: not fit to command fifty men.
Garnier, Meunier, Casabianca:incapable; unfit to command a battalion on such an active and serious campaign.
Macquart: a good fellow; no ability; lively.
Gaultier: all right for a clerical job; has never seen a shot fired.
Vaubois and Sahuget were on garrison duty, and have only just been listed for active service: I will try to form an opinion of them. They have done very will in the duties so far assigned them: by the example of General Despinoy, who did very well at Milan, and very badly at the head of his division, compels me to judge men by their actual performance.