NAPOLEON I | early signed letter, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Interior, to the Minister of War, 
EARLY LETTER SIGNED ("BUONAPARTE"), AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMY OF THE INTERIOR, TO THE MINISTER OF WAR
in French, asking that Marmont be promoted to "chef de batallion d'artillerie" and made Napoleon's aide-de-camp in place of Songis, who has been appointed to the Comité Central d'Artillerie, and commending Marmont's services in Italy and Germany, 1 page, 4to, printed stationery with vignette ("Armée de l'Intérieur") Paris, 19 nivôse an 4, [9 January 1796]
The rare early Italian form of Napoleon's signature. Auguste Marmont (1774-1853) was one of Napoleon's trusted commanders who became Duke of Ragusa in 1808 and a Marshal of France in 1809. In 1814 he became notorious in France for surrendering Paris, having contacted the Allies and reaching a secret agreement with them to halt the war. The Minister of War at this time, presumably the addressee, was J.-B. Aubert du Bayet (1759-1797).
This letter is not in the Correspondance de Napoléon Ier. The last letter included there in which Napoleon uses his original Italian name "[Napoleone di] Buonaparte" is letter no.85 of 11 March 1796. Shortly after his marriage to Joséphine on 9 March, he began to sign himself as a Frenchman: "Bonaparte".
Sotheby's, 21 May 1998, lot 85 (formerly in the De Coppett collection).
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