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1st Empire Legion D`Honneur


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According to Tardy  (Poincons d' Argent, Paris)  the fasces small guarantee mark ceased being used on 31 August 1809. (Les usages de ces poincons (excepts ceux des objets de hazard supprimes le 5 Mai 1819) a cesse le 31 Aout 1809), sorry about the bad copying but I don't know how to do accents on replies If anyone can advise my how to do it I would be extremely grateful.

Paul

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  • 3 weeks later...

In studying the history of the Legion d'Honneur during the First Empire, it is hard to find details on the number of LOH's awarded during the so-called 100 days, from 20th March till 22d June, 1815. As the Palace of the Legion d'Honneur was burned by the communards in 1871, many archives are lost. However, a figure of around 6,000 is sometimes mentioned in books on the LOH (of course for the battle of Waterloo no LOH's were awarded).  This seems to me quite a high number, if one considers that during the whole period from July 1802 untill April 1814, around 37,000 LOH's were awarded. 

If any member has read about another number, I would like to hear that.  If 6,000 is more or less correct, poor Grand Chancellor of the Legion d'Honneur, Comte de Lacépede, must have had a busy 100 days, signing all the award documents for these LOH's.

regards, Pieter

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Pieter,

Just a thought but could it be there was a back log of LdH's from late 1813 early 1814 which had not, for very good reasons, been processed and therefore the 100 days figure of 6,000 may largely reflect awards made prior to the first abdication.

Paul

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Paul,

that could indeed have been the case, didn't think of that. In the period till 1814, as far as I know, the nominee would first be notified of the Emperor's decision by an avis provisoire from the Chief of Staff Berthier. Later, the official award document would follow. So it could well be that in 1815 there was a backlog of Legion d'Honneur documents that still had to be issued. For interest of the reader, I have enclosed here a copy of such avis provisoire for a nomination in officer LdH in 1811.

Funny thing though, is that with the 100 days the numbering of the documents apparently started again from no.1.  Included is a picture of an award document from the 100 days period of 29 May 1815 and is numbered 2,866. Also,  the document mentions the date of nomination, so, it could actually have been issued much later. The document is simpler than the document from the first period, but still signed by the Grand Chancelier, comte de Lacapéde.

To compare, I have added a document from the first period, dated 1809, numbered 21898 (although I am not sure of the 1, could be a narrow 9). No date of the nomination by Napoleon is mentioned. 

Much is written about the Legion d'Honneur itself, but on the (for me at least) interesting aspect of the documents, very little has been written. Of course any additional information on this subject is most welcome.

regards, Pieter

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Edited by pieter1012
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  • 4 weeks later...

Pieter,

thanks for sharing these documents, fascinating to see them (first time I have seen original LoH 1st empire award paperwork).  I agree that these early original documents are worthy of further research and display.  I suspect not too many have survived or come to market (other than the Ste Helene, of which I have seen many examples...but then it was half a century later).  

Owen

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Owen,

Fortunately, sometimes french dealers of orders and medals offer Napoleontic documents such as the award document for the Legion d'Honneur, that's how I could obtain them.  The paper used for these documents is very nice too; it has as watermark the imperial eagle. If you ever happen to visit Paris, you should visit the Musee nationale de la Legion d'Honneur; a treasure trove if you are interested in the Napoleontic area. I have spent many many hours there.

regards,Pieter

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