In order to consolidate his régime, it was important to bring the civil unrest that had torn the country apart for so many years to an end. Measures of repression were thus carried out in the provinces where 'Military Tribunals' were used to put an end to what was commonly referred to as 'brigandage'. In the Vendée, General Brune (1763-1815) was charged with annihilating the last of the Chouans. It was, of course, a continuation of the policy already adopted by the Directory, but it also fell within the logic of Bonaparte's attitude towards peoples in insurrection first expressed in Italy: an exemplary punishment had to be meted out.
To General Brune, commander-in-chief of the Army of the West
…The government will do no more than it already has done for the departments of the west.
The Army of the West is made up of 60,000 men under arms. You will pursue the brigands with energy, you will put yourself in a position to quickly end this war. The peace of Europe is dependent on its end.
…The suspension of hostilities concluded between General Hédouville and the Chouans will only last until 1 Pluviôse [21 January]. Georges, who commands the rebels in the Morbihan, is not included.
I calculate that on the evening of the 27th [Pluviôse, or 16 February] you will arrive in Angers; only remain there long enough to order the 60th half-brigade and the troops you can relieve from this department to march for the Morbihan, and then leave for Nantes.
From there, march to the Morbihan where you will find the 22nd and the 72nd. Disperse Georges's assemblies. Take his cannon, his stores of grain (he has a great quantity on the coast which he sells to England). Finally, begin to make the whole weight and horror of war come down on the rebels of the Morbihan. At the beginning of Pluviôse, make sure: