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we request the attention of our readers to the following circumstance, p. 85.
• In General Bernadotte's baggage (taken at Möhrungen) the money seized in the town of Elbing for his own private use, 10,000 ducats, exclusive of 2500 for his staff, was recovered; and there were found, to a great amount, various pieces of plate, candlesticks, &c. bearing the arms of almost all the States of Germany. The marshal's servant was so ashamed of this plunder, that he would not claim it, when purposely desired to point out his master's property; but as the articles were taken in the marshal's own quarters, and in his trunks, and were in such quantity, they must have been there with his knowledge. There was likewise found an order for the reception of Buonaparte at Warsaw, directing where he was to be hailed with shouts of Vive l'Empereur, together with official accounts of actions prepared for publication, and private duplicates with the real facts stated for Buonaparte's own perusal.-General Benningsen has the papers.'
Bernadotte is not the only general in the French service, who has adopted this mode of rendering war a source of profit as well as glory. The baggage of Dupont, when he surrendered to Castanos in Andalusia, after the battle of Baylen, contained abundance of the same ill-gotten wealth. We fear, indeed, that unless the high situation which the Swedes have lately thought fit to confer upon Bernadotte, should have changed his character and disposition, that nation will soon have cause to execrate his rapacity, and deplore their own imprudence. It is, however, to the latter part of the preceding extract, that we attach the greatest importance; and we are glad that the circumstance is announced in such an authentic shape: it proves undeniably to what a regu lar and well combined system of artifice Buonaparte has recourse, in order to throw around his actions that dazzling but fictitious lustre, which, having deluded nations almost into a belief of his supernatural powers, has made them accessary to their own destruc tion. We will take the liberty of producing a later instance of this system. Our readers may, perhaps, recollect, that in the Moniteur of November 23, 1810, there appeared a letter, purporting to be written by Massena, and dated Alenquer, November 3d. It is stated to have been brought to Paris by General Foix, and amongst other things it represents Massena as denying the truth of the accounts which he professes to have read in the English newspapers, respecting the condition of his army.
Now, not to observe, that it is next to impossible that General Foix could have marched from Alenquer to Paris, even if he had been altogether free from interruption, within the period in question; we assert, upon no slight grounds, that he actually left the French army on the 7th of October. As to what Massena is made to say about the accounts in the English newspapers, this
again is evidently false; for the paragraphs referred to appeared in this country after the receipt of letters from Portugal, of the 14th of October, and consequently no newspaper containing them could have reached the French army by the 3d of November. We think it therefore obvious, that no letter, bearing that date, conveyed under those circumstances, and containing those passages, was ever received at Paris, and that pure fiction was resorted to, in order to tranquillise the minds of the people, in regard to the state of the army in Portugal. So deeply laid is this plan of deceit, and so essential does it appear to the operations of the French government, that it is extended not merely to the details of military operations, but to every department of literature, which has any (even the most remote) reference to political questions. It is not for us to determine how long these deceptions may continue to produce the consequences which we conceive to flow from them; we nevertheless think it a matter of no small importance, that the imposture should be detected, and the world know that documents, stamped with the authority of Buonaparte himself, are intentionally false and fraudulent. We return to the progress of the compaign.
As soon as it was ascertained that the whole French army was in motion to attack the Russians, General Benningsen felt the necessity of retiring; and after having experienced great difficulties, and no small loss during the retreat, (which appears to have been most ably and gallantly protected by Prince Bragration,) the Russian army took up its position in the rear of Preuss Eylau, and prepared for the conflict which was obviously about to ensue. If it would not greatly exceed our limits, we would gladly present our readers with the whole of Sir Robert's able account of the important events of the 7th and 8th of February; but we must content ourselves with recommending an attentive perusal of it, and with giving the following extract, explanatory of the grounds which determined General Benningsen to retire upon Koenigsberg.
'About eleven o'clock, (on the night of the Sth,) the Russian generals assembled, still on horseback, when General Benningsen informed the circle, that he had determined, notwithstanding his success, to fall back upon Koenigsberg, for he had no bread to give the troops, and their ammunition was expended; but by a position in the neighbourhood of such a city, his army would be certain of every necessary supply, and be assured of the means of re-equipping itself, so to appear again in the field, before the enemy could repair his losses.
All the Russian generals entreated General Benningsen to keep the field, and not to render nugatory a victory so dearly bought. They assured him that the enemy was in retreat, that his own army was ready to advance at the moment; and General Knoring, and Genera
Tolstoy (the Quarter Master General, and second in command) offered to move forward, and attack whatever troops Buonaparte might have rallied, and thus complete their victory: and at all events they pledged their lives, that if he but remained on his ground, the enemy would retire altogether. General Lestoque also urged the same arguments; but General Benningsen thought it his duty not to incur the hazard of a reinforcement of fresh troops, enabling the enemy to cut off his communications with Koenigsberg. He found the privations of his army pressing heavily upon their physical powers. He knew his own loss was not less than 20,000 men, and he was not then aware of the full extent of the enemy's disorganization and loss, which was afterwards found to exceed 40,000 men, including 10,000 who had quitted their colours, under pretence of escorting wounded, &c. he therefore persevered in his original determination, directed the order of his march, and after thirty-six hours passed on horseback, without any food, and being almost exhausted, placed himself in a house, filled with hundreds of dead and dying, to obtain an hour's repose.'
The retreat of the army was unmolested; nor was it till two days after the battle that the French advanced in pursuit: their forward movements, however, were attended with very bad success, and the author mentions a variety of serious affairs of cavalry, in which the enemy suffered considerable loss, and which are altogether sunk in the French Bulletins, or very slightly noticed. In the mean time Buonaparte tried the effect of a proposition for an armistice with Prussia, which the King had the courage and magnanimity to refuse; and finally, on the 19th of February, the whole French army retired (not without much molestation and loss) into their cantonments in front of the Vistula.
The battle of Eylau was one of the most sanguinary and desperate that has occurred in modern times; and was attended by consequences which materially affected the relative situation of the two armies. It appears by an intercepted dispatch, addressed to Bernadotte, which fell into the hands of General Benningsen at the end of January, that when Buonaparte broke up his first winter quarters, his object was to cut off the Russian army from their frontiers. The accidental knowledge of this intention, rendered the project abortive, at least in its full extent; but Buonaparte felt the necessity of driving back the Russians beyond the Pregel, and of obtaining possession of Koenigsberg, to be so strong, that he pressed the Russian army with considerable vigor and so confident was the expectation of securing Konigsberg, and the supplies of all sorts which were collected in that town, that Berthier wrote to the Empress Josephine, on the 7th of February,
'We shall be at Koenigsberg to-morrow: and he adds, Since leaving winter quarters we have made about 10,000 prisoners, taken twenty-seven pieces of cannon, and killed and wounded a great number,
without taking into account the advantages which must result from the whole, and ultimately prove fatal to the enemy.'
These objects, however, were frustrated by the battle of Eylau, which nevertheless Buonaparte represented as a decisive victory on his part.
'He gains the victory,' says Sir Robert Wilson, according to his own account; but what are the results of this most sanguinary battle? What are the advantages that he obtains? -The maintenance of his position in the field, and the occupation on the succeeding day of the Russian ground; a state of inaction for eight days, except with his cavalry, which is disgraced and defeated with heavy loss in every rencontre; the retreat of his army on the tenth day, after having endured the greatest distress from famine and pestilence, and the abandonment of a great part of his wounded, tumbrils, &c.'
We consider these facts as abundantly sufficient to show that the French had not much to boast of at Eylau; and nothing can be more contemptible than the mode by which Buonaparte attempted in a subsequent bulletin, to account for not having taken possession of Koenigsberg. It was fortunate,' he says, for that town, that it did not come within the plan of the French Generals to drive the Russians from the position which they occupied in its neighbourhood.' This statement our readers will observe, is directly at variance with the letter of Berthier, to which we have already referred. Sir Robert informs us,
That the corps of the French army were (upon returning into winter quarters) extremely weak, and that in addition to the casualties of the field, sickness was so prevalent, that in Warsaw alone, there were 25,000 men in the hospitals, and that the French cavalry were entirely unfit for active service. To repair these losses, Buonaparte raised the siege of Colberg, nearly evacuated Silesia, ordered under the severest penalties, a new levy in Switzerland; marched troops from Dalmatia, Calabria, Italy, and the very invalids of Paris, to recruit his army in Poland and in a message to the Senate, dated Osterode, March the 10th, demanded a new Conscription of the year 1808.'
In the interim the main bodies of the respective armies continued inactive in their cantonments; but Buonaparte, feeling the vast importance of obtaining Dantzic, and thus securing the line of the Vistula, determined to press the siege of that fortress; the investment of which, we find by one of the bulletins, was completed on the 14th of March. Many interesting events occurred during the siege, and different attempts were made, but without success, to relieve the place. The last was on the 18th of May, when an English vessel of twenty-two guns, endeavoured to force her way up the Vistula, in order to introduce a supply of powder into the garrison. This attempt however failed, like the rest, and
Dantzic,' says Sir Robert Wilson, 'was reduced to the last ex
tremity; General Kalkreuth had protracted the defence to a most extraordinary length (fifty-two days open trenches.) He had done all that ability and loyalty could effect; he had applied, he had exhausted every resource, and could entertain no hope of succour. Therefore as the enemy were preparing to storm the Hacklesberg, he proposed to capitulate, if allowed to retire with his garrison and arms, on condition of not serving, without being regularly exchanged, for one year, against France or her allies.'
The garrison had originally consisted of 16,000 men; besides two Russian battalions, and some Cossaques: it had suffered, however, severe losses during the siege, and when, on the 27th of May, it marched out for Koenigsberg, did not exceed 9000 men.
As the war was concluded within a very few days after the fall of Dantzic, we will finish our sketch of the principal events of the campaign, before we enter upon the considerations which press upon our minds in tracing the progress of this important
'On the third of June, notwithstanding the surrender of Dantzic had disengaged 30,000 of the enemy's troops; notwithstanding the Russian means had not been subsequently augmented, General Benningsen proposed a plan of operations, by which he hoped to cut off Marshal Ney; and, if successful, to fall on Marshal D'Avoust at Allenstein. Circumstances retarded the march until the 5th; when the Prussians, 10,000 strong, and the Russians 75,000 strong, (exclusive of 17,000, under General Tolstoy on the Narew,) immediately under the command of General Benningsen, opened the campaign against an enemy, who' could oppose to that force 130,000 men, and who had re-collected between the Vistula and the Memel, by the most vigorous exertions that Buonaparte had ever occasion to make (exertions unparalleled in the history of Europe) 190,000 men, including the garrison of Dantzic, whilst his cavalry had been reinstated, almost renewed, by considerable remounts drawn from Silesia, and the country about Elbing.'
The first operations of the Russians, being directed principally against the single corps of Marshal Ney, were attended with some success, and the enemy was driven back from his advanced position with considerable loss. Ou the 8th of June, in consequence of some information from prisoners, General Benningsen› determined to fall back with his army upon Heilsberg, leaving Prince Bragration to cover the retreat of his left, and General Platow the right.' The conduct of these two officers during this arduous operation was highly meritorious; for although Prince Bragration had only 1500 cavalry, and 5000 infantry, and General Platow only 2000 Cossaques, and a regiment of Hussars, they not only succeeded in protecting the retiring army from insult, but upon different occasions resumed the offensive with great vigour and effect.