The French Army
After a first attempt in February - April 1793, the French army invaded the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands under the leadership of General Jean-Charles Pichecru at the end of July 1794. Soon the south was conquered, but the great rivers Rhine, Maas and Waal formed a natural barrier. 1795 experienced a harsh winter and the Armée du Nord could easily cross our frozen rivers in December. In January 1795 the whole country was conquered and the patriots proclaimed the Batavian Republic (in the then spelling Bataafsche Republiek). In 1801 the name is changed to the Batavian Commonwealth (Bataafs Gemenebest). This was a republic that included the largest part of the current Netherlands. The republic was formed by example and with military support from the French Republic, of which the Batavian Republic was a sister republic and de facto a vassal state. On 1 March 1796, for the first time in Dutch history, a national and democratically elected parliament came together. The Batavian Republic came to an end with the establishment of the Kingdom of Holland in 1806, with Louis Napoleon, a brother of the Emperor, on the throne. On 9 July 1810 our country was incorporated into the French Empire.
The Treaty of The Hague of 16 May 1795 agreed with France that in exchange for the definitive recognition of a sovereign state, the Batavian Republic undertook to pay France 100 million guilders for the "liberation" of the Northern Netherlands, as well as a French army of 25.000 men on Dutch soil for a long time to dress and feed.
The troop force of the "ally" in the Netherlands ran up to 200.000 men in practice. They always came out starved and with ragged clothes into the country and when they left, well fed and dressed, they were relieved by new hunger slaves. The headquarters of the Armée du Nord and the staff quarters of the three divisions came in Gorinchem, The Hague, Middelburg and Zwolle. In Zwolle, the Division A of the Armée du Nord was led by division general Joseph Souham.
In the French army handstamps were used for the military mail:
Letter from the Général de Division de l'Armée du Nord to Joseph Souham in Zwolle to the Général and Chef Jean Victor Marie Moreau in Gorinchem, 26 November 1795. French military postmark Don A ARM. DU NORD in red.
In order to indicate freedom of postage, G(énéral) Souham wrote his name at the bottom right.
Fred Boom has recorded 10 covers with this handstamp.
Content of the letter.
Last update 27.09.2023 8:52 PM->
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G.L. van Welie FRPSL
Secretary of the Nederlandse Academie voor Filatelie
Representative of the Royal Philatelic Society London for the Netherlands
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