Part 4 out of 11
suspected it a long time, and always teased him with his attachment
"And he always denied it, did he not?"
"Yes, he did, and yet--"
"And he denied it to-day too, when the lie would have saved him at
once. He would die rather than be a peasant-girl's bridegroom! You
see, therefore, that he does not love me, Elza. But my lie saved his
life, and no one must find out that Ulrich is not my bridegroom. For
if my father and his friends should discover it, they would kill
him, because he insulted them too deeply to be forgiven. He must
remain my bridegroom until tranquillity is re-established in the
"Yes, my Lizzie, my darling!" exclaimed Elza, encircling Eliza's
neck with her arms; "yes, let him remain your bridegroom, my
sagacious, brave Tyrolese girl. I always said and knew that you
would be a heroine if you should have to meet a great danger, and
to-day you WERE a heroine."
"Not yet Elza, but I shall be one. I am going to prove to my father
and all his friends that I am a true daughter of the Tyrol, even
though the Bavarian captain is my bridegroom. And now, farewell,
dearest Elza; I must go down again to my father. But listen, I have
to tell you something else yet. I shall leave our village with my
father to-day. We shall march with our friends to Andreas Hofer, for
the Tyrolese must concentrate their whole forces in order to be
strong enough when they have to meet the enemy. Hence, it was
resolved at the very outset, that, so soon as it was time for the
people to rise against the Bavarians, Speckbacher and his friends,
and my father with the peasants of the Puster valley, should join
the men of the Passeyr valley under Hofer's command. I know that
father will set out to-day, and I shall accompany him, Elza. I am
not afraid of death and the enemy; I know that our cause is just,
and that the good God will be on our side."
"But, nevertheless, many noble hearts will be pierced for this just
cause, and yours, dearest Lizzie, may be among them," exclaimed
Elza, tenderly folding her friend to her heart. "Oh, stay here, my
darling, let the men fight it out alone; stay here!"
"No, Elza, I must go with them. My honor requires it, and forbids me
to stay at our house with Ulrich von Hohenberg, for whose sake my
father called me publicly to-day a recreant daughter of the Tyrol,
and threatened to disown me forever. I must prove to all the world
that I am a loyal daughter of the Tyrol; and I feel, Elza, that it
will do me good to contribute my mite to the deliverance of the
fatherland. I am not gentle and patient enough to sit quietly at
home and wait until dear Liberty looks into my door and says to me,
'God bless you, Lizzie! I am here now. and you also may profit by
the happiness which will be caused by my arrival.' No, Elza, I must
go with my father, I must help him to find this dear Liberty on the
mountains and in the valleys, and must say to her, 'God bless thee,
Liberty! I am here now, and thou mayst profit by my strength, and I
will help thee that thou mayst rule again over the mountains and
valleys of our dear Tyrol.'"
"Oh, Lizzie, you are a genuine heroine!" exclaimed Elza; "I blush to
think that I shall not accompany you and fight by your side for
"You cannot," said Lizzie, gravely. "You have an aged father who
will stay at home, and whom you must take care of, and the poor and
sick count upon you, for they know that Elza will always be their
good angel. Stay at home and pray for me. But never go down to my
father's house, do not inquire for Ulrich, and do not try to have
him brought to the castle here. He is under Schroepfel's
surveillance, and Schroepfel would shoot him if he should suspect
that all is not as it should be. But if God should decree my death,
Elza, Ulrich would be free at once, and my father would not injure
him, inasmuch as he was his Lizzie's affianced bridegroom. He would
set him free. Ulrich would then come to you, and, Elza, you will
tell him not to think that Lizzie Wallner was a bad girl, and that
she was intent only on getting an aristocratic husband. You will
tell him that my sole object was to save his life, and that I never
thought of marrying him. You will tell him also that I forgave him
the injury which he did me to-day, and that I shall pray to God
Almighty for him. And when you stand before God's altar, and the
priest joins your hands, think of me, and do not forget that I loved
you, dearest Elza, better than any once else on earth. And now,
farewell, Elza; I shall not kiss you again, for it makes my heart
"Lizzie, Lizzie!" shouted a powerful voice outside at this moment;
"Lizzie, where are you? 'Tis time to set out!"
"Here I am, dear father!" exclaimed Lizzie, stepping quickly out on
the balcony. "I shall come down to you now. I was only taking leave
of Elza. Now I am ready to set out and fight for the dear Tyrol and
the dear Emperor Francis!"
"Hurrah, we will do so!" cried the Tyrolese. "We will fight for the
dear Tyrol and the dear Emperor Francis! Hurrah! We will expel the
Bavarians! Hurrah! the Austrians are coming! Hurrah! the Tyrol will
be free again!"
THE BRIDGE OF ST. LAWRENCE.
Anthony Wallner and his men marched all day and all night through
the Puster valley, along the road to the Muhlbach pass. His daughter
Eliza, and young John Panzl, his friend and sympathizer, walked by
his side; and behind him marched the brave Tyrolese, whose force
gained strength at every step as it advanced, and who, amidst the
most enthusiastic acclamations, appointed Anthony Wallner commander-
in-chief of the men of the Puster Valley, and John Panzl his
lieutenant and assistant.
"I accept the position, my friends," said Wallner, taking off his
hat and kindly greeting the men; "yes, I accept the position, and
will be your commander, and will always lead you faithfully and
honestly against the enemy. But will you always follow me? Will you
not be afraid of the enemy's fire, and take to your heels before his
"No, we will not," shouted the brave men; "we will stand by you
faithfully, and fight with you for the fatherland and the emperor!"
"That is right, men," cried John Panzl, making a leap which drew
loud exclamations of admiration from the Tyrolese. "I tell you it is
right in you to think so, and therefore I will likewise joyfully
accept the honor which you have offered to me; I will be your second
commander, will always obey the orders of our brave commander-in-
chief, and assist him and you in driving the enemy from our country,
for the glory of God and our emperor. Ah, my dear Tyrolese, I would
we could catch the French and the Boafoks at length, take them by
the neck, and hurl them out of the country. I tell you, after we
have done it, I shall dance so merrily with Eliza Wallner, my dear
cousin, that the snowy heads of the Gross-Glockner and Venediger
will become warm and melt with delight. Lizzie, we two, the most
celebrated dancers of the whole Puster valley, will perform a dance
in honor of our victory, will we not?"
"We will, Cousin Panzl," said Eliza, smiling. "But before dancing,
we must march on and never run back."
"No, never run back," shouted the merry and courageous Tyrolese.
"Forward, then, forward!" commanded Anthony Wallner, and the whole
force set out again and marched rapidly across the mountains and
through the valleys; it was received everywhere with deafening
cheers, and gained at every step fresh accessions of men, who rushed
enthusiastically out of their buts, armed with their rifles, or
other weapons, even though they had only wooden clubs, and bravely
joined the defenders of the country.
Already they approached their destination; in the expansive valley
below, yonder, lay the town of Brunecken, surmounted by Castle
Bruneck and other ancient and decaying feudal castles; and behind
it, on the way down toward Brixen, in the narrower gorge, bordered
on both sides by precipitous mountains, through which the Rienz
hurls its foaming waters, they beheld already the small town of St.
Lawrence. After reaching St. Lawrence they had only an hour's march
to the Muhlbach pass, which, in accordance with Andreas Hofer's
orders, the brave men of the Puster valley were to occupy and defend
against the enemy moving up from Botzen.
But all at once, right in the midst of the march, Anthony Wallner
stood still, and, turning to Panzl, who was walking by the side of
the column, gave him a sign to halt. The whole column stopped and
Yes, there was no doubt about it, that was the rattle of musketry at
a distance! And now they heard also the loud booming of artillery,
and the ringing of the tocsin at Brunecken and St. Lawrence.
"Now forward, Tyrolese, forward!" shouted Anthony Wallner. "At the
double-quick down to Brunecken!"
"Forward!" shouted the men; and their exclamations were echoed
joyously by the women who had courageously accompanied their
husbands, and who were ready, like them, to fight for their country
and their emperor.
They marched with great speed down the Brunecken. The whole town was
in the utmost commotion. Young and old men, women, children--all
were hurrying toward the gate leading to St. Lawrence.
"What is the matter?" shouted Anthony Wallner, grasping the arm of
an old man, who, armed with a pitchfork, was speeding along at a
"What is the matter?" echoed the old man, endeavoring to disengage
his arm from Wallner's powerful grasp. "The matter is, that the
insurrection has broken out at length. The Bavarians are bent on
destroying the bridge of St. Lawrence, in order to prevent the
Austrians from crossing it. The whole military detachment left our
place some time ago for the bridge, and sappers and miners, who are
to blow it up, have arrived this morning from Brixen. But we will
not allow them to do it. They must shoot us all before we permit
them to destroy the bridge."
"No, we will not!" cried Anthony Wallner. "Forward, men of the
Puster valley, forward to the bridge of St. Lawrence!"
They continued their march through the valley at the double-quick.
They heard the rattle of musketry and the booming of artillery more
and more distinctly, and now, at a bend in the valley, the most
wonderful and striking spectacle presented itself to their eyes.
Yonder at a distance lay the well-known bridge, composed of a single
arch, between tremendous rocks; by its side stood two battalions of
Bavarian infantry in serried ranks, and on a knoll, close to the
bank of the river Rienz, had been planted three cannon pointed
menacingly both against the bridge and the people who were moving up
to it in denser and denser masses. Captains and other officers were
galloping up and down in front of the Bavarians, and encouraging
their men to attack these insurgents who were coming up behind, in
front, and on both sides of them. The courageous sons of the Tyrol
rushed down from all the heights, the tocsin of Brunecken and St.
Lawrence had not called them in vain. They came down the mountains
and up the valley; they came, men and women, old men and children;
and all were armed: he who did not possess a gun had a flail, a
pitchfork, or a club. Like a broad, motley river, the crowd was
surging up from all sides, and at the head and in the midst of the
war-like groups were to be seen priests in holy vestments, holding
aloft the crucifix, blessing the defenders of the country with
fervent, pious words, and uttering scathing imprecations against the
And amidst this commotion thundered the field-pieces, whose balls
crashed again and again against the bridge; the bells were tolled in
the church-steeples, and the musketry of the Bavarians rattled
incessantly. But few of their bullets hit their aim. The Tyrolese
were too remote from them, and only occasionally a loud scream
indicated that a half-spent bullet had found its way into the breast
of a Tyrolese.
More fatal and unerring were the bullets of the Tyrolese
sharpshooters, who bad concealed themselves on the heights on both
sides of the valley, and fired from their hiding-places at the
Bavarians, never missing their aim and picking off a soldier by
every shot they discharged.
Anthony Wallner comprehended the whole situation at a glance.
"Boys!" he shouted, in a ringing voice, "we must take the cannon. We
must not permit the enemy to destroy the bridge which the Austrians
are to cross. Let us attack the Bavarians! We must take the cannon!"
"Yes!" shouted the men, "we must take the cannon!"
And the shouts reached another troop of armed peasants, who repeated
it with tumultuous enthusiasm, and soon the men on the heights and
in the valley cried, "We must take the cannon!"
Anthony Wallner gave the signal to his sharpshooters, and moved with
them into a small forest extending up the mountain near the cannon.
The courageous men disappeared soon in the thicket, and, as if in
accordance with a general agreement, the other Tyrolese likewise
entered the forest. Below, in the valley, knelt the women and
children, and before them stood the priests with their crucifixes,
protecting them therewith, as it were, from the enemy who was posted
on the other side of the valley, and whose ranks were thinned more
and more by the bullets of the Tyrolese.
All at once, on the height above the cannon, where there was a
clearing, and where the rocks were moss-grown and bare, the Tyrolese
were seen rushing in dense masses from the forest. They were headed
by Anthony Wallner and John Panzl. Each of them jumped on a
projection of the rocks and raised his rifle. They fired, and two
gunners fell mortally wounded near the cannon.
The Tyrolese greeted this exploit of their leaders with loud cheers;
but up from the Bavarians resounded the commands of the officers; a
whole volley crashed, the bullets whistled round the ears of Wallner
and Panzl, but none hit them; and hen the smoke cleared away, John
Panzl was seen to make a triumphant leap in the air, which he
accompanied with a shout of victory, while Anthony Wallner calmly
raised his rifle again. He fired, and the gunner at the third field-
piece fell dead.
"Now, boys, at them; we must take the cannon!" shouted Wallner,
jumping forward, and the Tyrolese followed him down the slope with
"Forward, forward!" shouted the Lieutenant-Colonel in the valley to
his Bavarians; "forward! the cannon must not fall into the hands of
the peasants; we must defend them to the last man. Therefore,
forward at the double-quick!"
And the Bavarians rushed forward up the slope.
But the Tyrolese had already succeeded in shooting or knocking down
all the gunners, and taken possession of the cannon. While Anthony
Wallner, at the head of a furious detachment of his men, hastened to
meet the approaching Bavarians, and hurled death and destruction
into their ranks, John Panzl remained with the others to defend the
A furious hand-to-hand fight now arose; the Bavarians were repulsed
again and again by the Tyrolese, and the sharp-shooters, posted
behind the trees and rocks, assisted their fighting brethren with
their rifles, which, aimed steadily, never missed their man. But the
Bavarians. who were drawn up farther down in the valley, likewise
endeavored to assist their struggling comrades: but the bullets
which they fired up the hill frequently struck into the ranks of
their countrymen, and not into those of the Tyrolese. Often, on the
other hand, these bullets did not miss their aim, but carried wounds
and death into the midst of the insurgents. Whenever this occurred a
young woman was seen to rush amidst the deadliest shower of bullets
into the ranks of the fighting men, lift up the fallen brave, and
carry him in her strong arms out of the thickest of the fight to the
quiet spot on the edge of the forest, which a protruding rock
protected from the bullets of the enemy.
This young woman was Eliza Wallner. Behind the rock she had
established a sort of field hospital; a few women and girls had
assembled around her there, and taken upon themselves the sacred
care for the wounded, while two priests had joined them to
administer extreme unction to the dying. But Eliza Wallner had
reserved the most difficult and dangerous part of this work of love
for herself. She alone was courageous enough to plunge into the
thickest of the fight to remove the fallen brethren; she alone was
strong enough to carry them to the quiet asylum, and it was only the
joyous enthusiasm inspired by the consciousness of doing good that
imparted this strength to her. Her eyes were radiant, her cheeks
were flushed, and the face of the young girl, formerly so rosy and
serene, exhibited now the transparent paleness, and grave, proud
calmness which only great resolves and sublime moments impart to the
And the women followed her example with joyous zeal; they washed the
wounds of the brave Tyrolese with water fetched from the neighboring
spring, tore their handkerchiefs and dresses to make the necessary
bandages of them, and closed, with tears of devout compassion, the
eyes of those who gave up the ghost amid the blessings of the
From these pious works of charity the women were suddenly aroused by
the loud cheers of the Tyrolese. Eliza sprang forth from behind the
rock to see what was the matter. Renewed and still louder cheers
resounded, for the victory was gained. Anthony Wallner and his men
had attained their object. They had succeeded in hurling the three
field-pieces from the height into the Rienz, which was rolling along
far below in its rocky bed. The earth was shaking yet from the
terrific crash, and echo was resounding still with the thundering
noise with which the field-pieces had fallen into the Rienz, whose
waters had hurled their foaming spray into the air, and were rolling
now with an angry roar over the sunken cannon.
This exploit, which excited the transports of the Tyrolese, exerted
a contrary effect upon the Bavarians. They had lost their artillery,
and with it the means of blowing up the bridge; and now they stood
before the enemy uncovered and almost defenceless. In obedience to a
loud command uttered by Anthony Wallner, the Tyrolese returned
quickly into the forest, and, hidden behind trees and rocks, hit a
Bavarian with every bullet, while the Bavarians vainly fired at the
The commander of the Bavarians, Lieutenant-Colonel Wreden,
perceiving the danger and uselessness of a continuance of the
struggle, ordered his troops to retreat; and no sooner had the
Bavarians received this longed-for order, than they fell back at the
double-quick from the bridge and took the road to Sterzing.
This retreat of the enemy was greeted by the renewed cheers which
Eliza Wallner had heard; and, both laughing and weeping for joy, she
hastened to fold her father to her heart, and thank God that no
bullet had hit him.
Wallner embraced her tenderly, and imprinted a kiss on her forehead.
"You have behaved very bravely, Lizzie," he said; "I saw how you
carried our poor brethren out of the thickest of the fight. My heart
was proud of you, and I should not have wept to-day even though you
had fallen in the sacred service of the fatherland. But I thank God
that nothing has happened to you, and I beseech you, dearest Lizzie,
do not accompany us any farther. I now believe again in you, and I
know that you are a true daughter of the Tyrol, although you
unfortunately love a Bavarian. Therefore go home; for it is no
woman's work that is in store for us; we have a hard struggle before
us, and a great deal of blood will be shed before we have driven the
mean Bavarians and the accursed French from our beloved country."
"No, father, I shall stay with you," exclaimed Eliza, with eager
determination. "I am not able to sit at home and spin and pray when
my father is fighting for the country. Mother can attend alone to
our household affairs, and Schroepfel will assist her; but you
cannot attend alone to the hard work here, and I will help you,
dearest father. I will be the doctor and surgeon of your men until
you have found a better and more skilful physician. You must not
reject me, dearest father, for you would commit wrong against the
poor wounded who have no other assistance than what they receive at
my hands and at those of the women whom I beg and persuade to help
"You are right, Lizzie; it would be wrong in me to send you home and
not permit you to assist and nurse the wounded," said her father,
gravely. "May God and the Holy Virgin help and protect you! I devote
you to the fatherland to which I devote myself."
He kissed her once more, and then turned to the Tyrolese, who,
encamped in groups on the edge of the forest, and reposing from the
struggle, were partaking of the bread and meat which they had
brought along in their haversacks.
"Brethren," exclaimed Anthony Wallner, in a powerful voice, "now let
us be up and doing! We must cut off the enemy's retreat to Sterzing.
We must also occupy the Muhlbach pass, as Andreas Hofer ordered us
to do in the Archduke John's name. The enemy has set out thither,
and if he gets before us through the gap of Brixen and reaches the
bridge of Laditch, we shall be unable to prevent him from passing
through the Muhlbach pass and marching to Sterzing. Hence, we are
not at liberty to repose now, but must advance rapidly. One
detachment of our men, commanded by my Lieutenant Panzl, will push
on quickly on the mountain-road to the Muhlbach pass. The rest of us
will follow you, but we must previously detain the enemy at the gap
of Brixen; and while we are doing duty, another detachment of our
men will go farther down to the bridge of Laditch and destroy it in
order to prevent the enemy from crossing the Eisach. Forward, my
friends! Forward to the gap of Brixen! We must roll down trees,
detach large fragments from the rocks, and hurl them down on the
enemy; we must fire at them from the heights with deadly certainty,
and every bullet must hit its man. Forward! forward! To the bridge
"Yes, yes!" exclaimed the Tyrolese, with enthusiastic courage.
"Forward to the bridge of Laditch!"
THE BRIDGE OF LADITCH.
Night had at length brought some repose to the exhausted Bavarians.
At no great distance from the gap of Brixen they had halted late in
the evening, and encamped on the bare ground in the valley below.
The green turf was their bed, a stone their pillow; nevertheless,
they had been able to enjoy a few hours of peaceful slumber, for
they were familiar with the habits of the Tyrolese; they knew that
they never undertook any thing, not even a hunting-excursion, in the
dead of night, and that they had nothing to fear from them until
But now the first streaks of dawn illuminated the sky; it was time,
therefore, to continue the march. Lieutenant-Colonel von Wreden rose
from the couch which the soldiers had prepared for him of moss and
branches, and reviewed, accompanied by his officers, his small
force, which began sullenly and silently to form in line. A cloud
darkened Wreden's face when, marching through the ranks, he counted
the number of his soldiers. He had arrived yesterday at the bridge
of St. Lawrence with nearly four hundred men; scarcely one-half of
them were left now; the other half lay slain at the bridge of St.
Lawrence, or, exhausted by the loss of blood and by the pains of
gaping wounds, had sunk down on the road and been unable to continue
"And these poor men will likewise be killed to-day unless speedy
succor comes," murmured the Lieutenant-Colonel to himself; "we are
all lost if the miserable rabble of peasants reach the gap of Brixen
before us. We are all lost, for we shall be entirely cut off from
our friends and surrounded by our enemies, who are able to avail
themselves of their mountain fastnesses and hiding-places, while we
must march through the valley and across the open plain. But all
these complaints are useless. We must do our duty! The soldier's
life belongs to his oath and his king; and if he falls in the
service, he has done his duty."
And with strong determination and bold courage the lieutenant-
colonel threw back his head, and fixed his eye steadfastly on his
"Forward," he shouted, "forward, boys! Forward against these
miserable peasants, who have violated the faith they plighted to our
king. Forward! forward!"
The column, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel von Wreden, commenced
moving. His eyes glanced anxiously over the plain now opening before
them. Suddenly they are riveted on a point yonder on the mountain-
road leading southward to Italy. What is that? Does it not flash
there like a mass of bayonets? Does it not look as though a
brilliant serpent, glittering in blue, red, and gold, were moving
along the road? It draws nearer and nearer, and the Lieutenant-
Colonel is able to distinguish its parts. Yes, these parts are
soldiers; this serpent consists of regiments marching along in
Lieutenant-Colonel von Wreden uttered a cry of joy and galloped
forward. Already he discerned distinctly the uniforms of the staff-
officers riding at the bead of the column. They were friends; they
were French soldiers headed by General Bisson.
Wreden galloped forward to salute the general and communicate to him
in brief, winged words his own disaster and his apprehensions
regarding the immediate future.
"Well, you have nothing to fear now," said General Bisson, with a
pleasant and proud smile. "It was no accident, but a decree of Fate,
that caused us to meet here. I was ordered by my emperor to march
with a column of four thousand men from Mantua to Ratisbon, and I am
now on the road to the latter place. Hence, our route leads us
through the gap of Brixen, and as a matter of course you will join
us with your troops. I hope our united forces will succeed in
routing these miserable peasants!"
"Yes, if we could meet them in the open plain," sighed Lieutenant-
Colonel von Wreden. "But in their mountains and gorges our thousands
will vainly struggle against their hundreds. The bulwarks of their
mountains protect them."
"We shall drive them from these bulwarks." said General Bisson,
haughtily. "But I believe the rabble will not even wait for this,
but take to their heels as soon as they see the head of my column.
Therefore, join my regiments, lieutenant-colonel, and let us march
fearlessly through the gap of Brixen."
Half an hour afterward they had reached the dark and awe-inspiring
gap of Brixen; and the united Bavarian and French troops marched
with a measured step along the narrow road, on both sides of which
rose steep gray rocks, covered here and there with small pine
forests, and then again exhibiting their naked, moss-grown walls,
crowned above with their snowy summits glistening like burnished
silver in the morning sun.
The column under General Bisson penetrated deeper and deeper into
the gorge. Enormous rocks now closed the road in their front and
rear. A profound, awful stillness surrounded them; only here and
there they heard the rustling of a cascade falling down from the
mountains with silvery spray, and flowing finally as a murmuring
rivulet through the valley; now and then they heard also the hoarse
croaking of some bird of prey soaring in the air, otherwise, all was
General Bisson, who was riding in the middle of his column, turned
smilingly to Lieutenant-Colonel Wreden "Did I not tell you, my dear
Lieutenant-Colonel ," he said, "that these miserable peasants would
take to their heels so soon as our column came in sight? They were,
perhaps, able to cope with your few hundred men, but my four
The loud crash of a rifle interrupted his sentence; a second, third,
and fourth report followed in rapid succession. The heights seemed
all at once to bristle with enemies. Like an enormous man-of-war,
lying at first calm and peaceful, and then opening her port-holes,
these gray rocks seemed suddenly to open all their port-holes and
pour out death and destruction.
From the rock in front yonder, from the steep mountains on both
sides, from the precipitous hill jutting out in their rear and
closing the gloomy gorge, rifle shots rattled down with unerring
aim; every bullet hit its man, every bullet struck down a soldier in
the ranks of the Bavarians and French; then were heard the
triumphant cheers of the Tyrolese, who, for a moment, stepped forth
from their safe hiding-places, danced on the rocks, jeered at the
enemy with loud, scornful words, and disappeared again so quickly,
that the bullets which the soldiers fired at them glanced harmlessly
from the flanks of the rocks.
But the Tyrolese fought not with their rifles alone against the
enemy marching through the deep and awful gorge. Nature had prepared
other means of defence for them; it had given them trees and rocks.
They hurled the trees, which the storms had felled years ago, and
which fragments of rock had held on the brink of the precipice, into
the depth of the gorge; they detached large fragments from the
rocks, and rolled them down on the soldiers, many of whom were
crushed by these terrible missiles. And when these trees and rocks
fell into the depth, and spread death and confusion in the ranks of
the soldiers, the Tyrolese profited by this moment to aim and strike
down additional victims by their rifle-bullets.
And there was no escape for these poor soldiers, who, exposed to the
fury of their enemies, did not even enjoy the consolation of
wreaking vengeance upon them. In silent despair, and shedding tears
of rage, the French and Bavarians continued their march; the corpses
of their brethren, which the rear-guard met on the horrible road,
could not detain them; they bad to pass over them, and abstain even
from coming to the assistance of their dying friends; crushed under
their feet, the latter had to give up the ghost.
At length the gorge widens before them; the rocks in front recede on
both sides, and a bright, expansive plain opens to their view. The
soldiers greet this prospect with loud cheers of delight, which
their officers dare not repress in the name of discipline; for, on
emerging from an open grave, a soldier feels like a human being, and
thanks God for the preservation of his life. Hundreds had fallen,
but several thousands were left, and their ardent rage, their fiery
revengefulness longed for the struggle in which they might avenge
their fallen comrades. And Fate seemed intent on fulfilling their
wishes. Yonder, at the extremity of the plain through which the
soldiers were now marching; yonder, on the bank of the Eisach, was
seen a motley crowd ascending the slopes of the mountains on both
sides of the river.
"Yes, there are the Tyrolese, there are our enemies," cried the
Bavarians and French, with grim satisfaction; and they marched at
the double-quick toward the bank of the river.
"The peasants, I believe, intend to prevent us from crossing the
river," said General Bisson, with a contemptuous shrug. "They have
taken position in front of the bridge of Laditch, and so closely
that I can see nothing of it," replied Lieutenant-Colonel von
Wreden. Suddenly he uttered a cry of surprise, and looked
steadfastly toward the extremity of the valley, where the rocks
jutted out again into it, and where the furious Eisach makes a
sudden bend from one side of the valley to the other. Formerly there
had risen here, between tremendous rocks, the majestic arch of the
bridge of Laditch. For many centuries past this wonderful arch had
spanned the abyss; it was a monument dating from the era of the
ancient Romans, and Caesar himself, perhaps, had crossed this bridge
on his march against the free nations of the North. But now this
arch had disappeared, or rather its central part had been removed,
and between its two extremities yawned a terrible abyss, through
which the Eisach rushed with thundering noise.
"The Tyrolese have destroyed the bridge!" exclaimed Von Wreden, in
"Ah, the brigands!" said Bisson, contemptuously. "It will,
therefore, be necessary for us to construct a temporary bridge in
order to get over to the other side."
Yes, the Tyrolese had destroyed the bridge of Laditch; and while a
small division of their men had quickly moved on to occupy the
Muhlbach pass, the others, under the command of Anthony Wallner, had
taken position on the opposite bank of the Eisach, in order to
prevent the enemy from crossing the river. All the men from the
neighboring village of Laditch had joined the forces of Anthony
Wallner, and on the mountains stood the sharpshooters from the
villages far and near, called out by the tocsin, and ready to
dispute every inch of the beloved soil with the enemy.
The columns of the Bavarians and French approached, and shots were
exchanged on both sides. "Forward!" shouted Anthony Wallner, and he
advanced with his brave men to the Puster valley, close to the
bridge upon which the enemy was moving up.
The bullets whistled around him, but he paid no attention to them;
he saw only the enemy, and not the dangers menacing him. But the
other Tyrolese saw them only too well. Up in the mountains they were
brave and resolute; but in the plain, where they were on equal
ground with the enemy they felt ill at ease and anxious. Moreover,
the odds of the enemy were truly formidable, not only in numbers but
also in arms. Only a part of the Tyrolese were provided with rifles
and muskets; more than half of them were armed only with flails,
pitchforks, and clubs. The soldiers had not only their muskets, but
also field-pieces, whose balls thundered now across the plain and
carried death into the ranks of the Tyrolese.
Terror and dismay seized the sharpshooters; they turned and began to
flee into the mountains. But an unexpected obstacle obstructed their
path. A number of intrepid women, who had flocked to the scene from
the neighboring villages, met them at this moment. They received the
fugitives with threatening invectives; they drove them back with
uplifted arms, with flaming eyes, with imprecations, and scornful
laughter, down the slope, regardless of the bullets whistling around
them, and of the enemy moving up closer and closer to them. The
fugitives are obliged to turn and plunge once more into the
struggle, which becomes more and more furious. Yonder, close to the
fragments of the bridge, stand the Tyrolese; here, near the
fragments on this side of the river, are the soldiers and the French
engineers advancing to construct a temporary bridge across the
chasm, and thereby unite again the disrupted ends of the ancient
The fire of the Tyrolese becomes weaker; loud lamentations burst
from their ranks. They are exhausted and weary, owing to the heavy
exertions of the day; hunger and thirst torment them, and their
strength is gone.
"Give us something to eat! Give us something to drink!" they shout
to the women occupying the mountain-path in their rear up to the
solitary house, the inn Zur Eisach, which has already been hit by
many a ball from the enemy's guns.
"Courage, brethren, courage!" shouted Eliza Wallner. "I will bring
And, like a gazelle, she hastens up the hillside, skipping from rock
to rock until she reaches the battered house. The bullets whistle
around her, but she laughs at them, and does not even turn to
vouchsafe a glance at the danger. She leaps on courageously; now she
reaches the house, she disappears through the door, and no sooner
has she entered than a cannonball strikes the wall right above the
door. After a very brief space of time, Eliza Wallner reappears in
the door. On her head she carries a keg, which she supports with
both her uplifted arms. With a serene glance, with rosy cheeks and
smiling lips, a charming picture of grace, loveliness, and
courageous innocence, she descends the mountain-path again, and even
the bullets of the enemy respect her; they whistle past her on both
sides, but do not hit her. Eliza hastens down the slope, and now she
reaches the bridge, and arrives where are posted the Tyrolese, who
receive the courageous girl with deafening cheers.
All at once she feels a jerk in the keg on her head, and immediately
after its contents pour in a clear cold stream down on her face and
neck. A bullet had struck the keg and passed clear through it. Eliza
bursts into merry laughter, lifts the keg with her plump, beautiful
arms from her head, and stops the two holes with both her hands, so
that the wine can no longer run out.
"Now come, boys," she shouts, in a loud, merry voice; "come and
drink, else the wine will run out. The enemy has tapped the keg; he
wished to save us the trouble. Come and drink."
"Stand back, Lizzie," shouts Panzl to her; "step behind the rock
yonder, that the bullets may not hit you."
"I shall not do it," said Eliza, with a flushed face; "I shall not
conceal myself. I am a true daughter of the Tyrol, and God will
protect me here as well as there.--Come, boys, and drink. Bring your
glasses, or rather apply your mouth to the keg and drink."
Two young Tyrolese sharpshooters hastened to her. Eliza held up the
keg; the two young men knelt before her and applied their mouths to
the holes made by the bullet, and sucked out the wine, looking with
enamoured glances up to the heroic girl who looked down on them
"Now you have drunk enough, go and fight again for the fatherland,"
she said, and signed to two other sharpshooters to refresh
themselves from the keg. The two young men hastened back to their
comrades, not knowing whether it was the wine or the sight of the
lovely Tyrolese girl that filled them with renewed courage and
The two other Tyrolese had drunk likewise. Suddenly another bullet
whistles along and darts past close to Eliza's cheeks, causing her
to reel for a moment. A cry of dismay burst from the lips of those
who saw it; but Eliza already smiled again, and she exclaimed, in a
merry voice: "Make haste, boys! else another bullet will come and
pierce the keg again, when the wine will run into the grass.
Therefore, make haste!"
Two other Tyrolese hastened up to drink; then two more, and so on,
until the keg was empty.
"Now you have refreshed yourselves," cried Eliza, "and you must
bravely return to the struggle."
And the Tyrolese took position on the river-bank, with redoubled
courage and enthusiasm, to prevent the French from finishing the
But the fire of the enemy thinned the ranks of the Tyrolese
fearfully; their shots became few and far between, and gradually a
regular panic seized them. They began to give way; even the scornful
cries of the women, who tried to obstruct their path, were powerless
to keep them back. They pushed the women aside, and rushed
resistlessly up the mountain-path.
At this moment loud cheers burst from the lips of the enemy. The
Tyrolese started. They looked back, and saw to their dismay that the
engineers had succeeded in finishing the temporary bridge across the
Eisach, and that nothing prevented the enemy now from passing over
to their side of the river.
"Surrender! Lay down your arms!" shouted Lieutenant-Colonel von
Wreden, on the other bank.
The Tyrolese were silent, and gazed with mute dismay upon the
bridge. All at once they heard a voice resounding on the hills above
them as it were from the clouds. This voice shouted. "The
imperialists are coming! The Austrians, our saviours, are coming!"
And at the same time a detachment of light-horse appeared on the
heights of Schaps. They galloped down the slope, and were followed
by several companies of chasseurs and infantry, who rushed down at
Loud, exulting cheers burst from the lips of the Tyrolese, and found
thundering echoes in the mountains and gorges.
The French and Bavarians started, for this sudden apparition took
them completely by surprise; they had not even suspected that the
Austrians had already invaded the Tyrol. They hesitated, and did not
venture to cross the river.
This hesitation of the enemy and the arrival of the Austrians filled
the Tyrolese with transports. Some threw down their rifles to
embrace each other and swing their hats merrily, while others were
dancing with their rifles as though they were their sweethearts; and
others again sang and warbled ringing Tyrolese Jodlers. Finally,
some of them, filled with profound emotion and fervent gratitude,
sank down on their knees to thank God for this wonderful rescue and
the long-wished-for sight of the dear Austrian uniforms.
The French and Bavarians, in the mean time, thunderstruck at the
sudden arrival of the Austrians, whose numbers they were as yet
unable to ascertain, had made a retrograde movement in their first
terror. But this did not last long. "If we do not want to perish
here to the last man, we must try to force a passage," said General
Bisson. "Forward, therefore, forward!"
The troops moved, and began to march across the bridge.
But now the Austrians had come close up to them. The Tyrolese
received them with deafening shouts of "Long live the Emperor
Francis! Long live Austria!"
Then they turned once more with fervent enthusiasm toward the enemy.
"Down with the base Bavarians! Forward! forward! Down with them!"
they shouted on all sides; and the Tyrolese rushed with furious
impetuosity upon the enemy. Their scythes and flails mowed down
whole ranks, and many soldiers were soon laid prostrate by the
unerring aim of the mountain sharpshooters. Mountains of corpses
were piled up, rivers of blood flowed down into the waters of the
Eisach, and the crimson-colored waves carried down through the Tyrol
the intelligence that the struggle for the fatherland had commenced.
Nevertheless, the forces of the enemy were too numerous for the
Tyrolese and the small advanced guard of the Austrians to annihilate
them entirely. The Bavarians and French forced a passage through the
ranks of their enthusiastic enemies with the courage and wrath of
despair; hundreds of them remained dead on the bloody field, but
nearly two thousand ascended the Eisach toward Sterzing.
Anthony Wallner beckoned to his daughter, and stepped with her
behind a jutting rock. "First, Lizzie, my heroic girl, give me a
kiss," he said, encircling her with one of his arms, and pressing
her fondly to his broad breast. "You have been your father's joy and
pride to-day, and I saw that the dear little angels were protecting
you, and that the bullets for this reason whistled harmlessly around
you. Hence, you are now to render an important service to the
fatherland. I must send a messenger to Andreas Hofer, but I need the
men for fighting here; and, moreover, the enemy might easily catch
my messenger. But he will allow a Tyrolese girl like you to pass
through his lines, and will not suspect any thing wrong about her.
Now will you take my message to Andreas Hofer?"
"I will, father."
"Run, then, my daughter, run along the mountain-paths; you can climb
and leap like a chamois, and will easily get the start of the enemy,
who is marching on the long roads in the valley. Hasten toward
Sterzing. If all has passed off as agreed upon, you will find
Andreas Hofer there. Tell him now in my name that the Austrians are
coming up from Salzburg and that I have done my duty and redeemed my
pledge. Tell him further that the whole Puster valley is in
insurrection, and that we are bravely at work, and driving the
Bavarians and French from the country. But tell him also to be on
his guard, for we have not been able to annihilate the enemy
entirely, and they will soon make their appearance at Sterzing. Let
him be ready to receive the enemy there as they deserve it."
"Is that all, dearest father?"
"Yes, Lizzie, it is. Tell Andy what has happened here, and do not
forget to tell him how you brought down the keg of wine that the
boys might drink courage from it."
"No, father, I shall not tell him that. It would look as though I
thought I had done something great, and wished to be praised for it.
But now, farewell, dearest father. I will hasten to Andreas Hofer."
"Farewell, dearest Lizzie. The angels and the Holy Virgin will
protect you. I have no fears for your safety."
"Nor I either, dearest father. The good spirits of the mountain will
accompany me. Farewell!"
She kissed her hands to him, and bounded up the mountain-path with
the speed and gracefulness of a gazelle.
ON THE STERZINGER MOOS.
While these events were going on below Brixen, Andreas Hofer had
marched with the men of the Passeyr valley across the Janfen. The
inhabitants everywhere had received him with loud exultation; they
had risen everywhere, ready to follow him, to fight under him for
the deliverance of the fatherland, and to stake their fortunes and
their lives for the emperor and the beloved Tyrol. Hofer's column
accordingly gained strength at every step as it advanced. He had set
out with a few hundred men on the 9th of April; and now, on the
morning of the 11th of April, already several thousand men had
rallied around him, and with them he had reached the heights of
Sterzing. Andreas Hofer halted his men here, where he had a splendid
view of the whole plain, and ordered his Tyrolese to encamp and
repose after their long and exhausting march. He himself did not
care for repose, for his heart was heavy and full of anxiety; and
his glance, usually so serene, was clouded and sombre.
While the others were resting and partaking gayly of the wine and
food which the women and girls of the neighboring villages had
brought to them with joyous readiness, Andreas Hofer ascended a peak
from which he had a full view of the mountain-chains all around and
the extensive plain at his feet. His friend and adjutant, Anthony
Sieberer, had followed him noiselessly; and on perceiving him,
Andreas Hofer smiled and nodded pleasantly to him.
"See, brother," he said, pointing with a sigh down to the valley,
"how calm and peaceful every thing looks! There lies Sterzing, so
cozy and sweet, in the sunshine; the fruit-trees are blossoming in
its gardens; the daisies, primroses, and hawthorns have opened their
little eyes, and are looking up to heaven in silent joy. And now I
am to disturb this glorious peace and tranquillity, tear it like a
worthless piece of paper, and hurl it like Uriah's letter, into the
faces of the people. Ah, Sieberer, war is a cruel thing; and when I
take every thing into consideration, I cannot help thinking that men
commit a heavy sin by taking the field in order to slay, shoot, and
stab, as though they were wild beasts bent on devouring one another,
and not men whom God created after His own likeness; and I ask
myself, in the humility of my heart, whether or not I have a right
to instigate my dear friends and countrymen to follow me and attack
men who are our brethren after all."
"If you really ask yourself such questions, and have lost your
courage, then we are all lost," said Sieberer, gloomily. "It is
Andreas Hofer in whom the men of the Passeyr valley believe, and
whom they are following into the bloody struggle. If Hofer
hesitates, all will soon despond; and it would be better for us to
retrace our steps at once, and allow Bonaparte and the French to
trample us again in the dust, instead of lifting our heads like
freemen, and fighting for our rights."
"We have gone too far, we can no longer retrace our steps," said
Andreas Hofer, shaking his head gently, and lifting his eyes to
heaven. After a pause he added in a loud, strong voice: "And even
though it were otherwise, even through we still retrace our steps, I
should not consent to it. I shall never repent of having raised my
voice in behalf of the Tyrol and the emperor; nor have I lost my
courage, as you seem to think, brother Sieberer. I know full well
that we owe it to our good emperor and the fatherland to defend it
to the last breath, and I do not tremble for myself. I have
dedicated my life to the dear fatherland; I have taken leave of my
wife and my children, and belong now only to the Tyrol and the
emperor. If my blood were sufficient to deliver our country, I
should joyously and with a grateful prayer throw myself down from
this peak and shatter my bones; and dying, I should thank God for
vouchsafing such an honor to me, and allowing me to purchase the
liberty of the country with my blood. But I am but a poor and humble
servant and soldier of the Lord, and my blood will not be
sufficient; but many will have to spill theirs and die, that the
rest maybe free and belong again to our dear emperor. And this is
the reason why, on contemplating the brave men and courageous lads
who have followed my call, I feel pity, and ask myself again and
again, Had I a right to call them away from their homes, their wives
and children, and lead them, perhaps, into the jaws of death? Will
not the Lord curse me for preaching insurrection and war instead of
submissiveness and humility?"
"Well, you are a pious man, Andy," said Sieberer, with a reproachful
glance," and yet you have forgotten what our Redeemer said to the
"What do you mean, Anthony? Tell me, if it will comfort me."
"He said, `Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and
unto God the things that are God's.' Now, I think that our Tyrol is
the emperor's, and that the Bavarians and French have nothing to do
with it, but have merely stolen it from the emperor. Therefore, we
act only in accordance with the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ,
if we stake our lives and fortunes to restore to the emperor that
which is the emperor's. And I think, too, that the churches and
convents are the houses of the Lord and belong to Him alone. Now,
the Bavarians have stolen the houses of the Lord in the Tyrol, and
have ignominiously driven out His servants. Hence we act again in
accordance with the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ, if we stake
our lives and fortunes to restore to God that which is God's; and
if, in doing so, we should all lose our lives, we should die in the
holy service of God and the emperor!"
"You are right, brother Sieberer," exclaimed Hofer, joyfully, "and I
thank you for comforting and strengthening my heart. Yes, we are in
the service of God, our emperor, and the beloved Tyrol."
"And God and the emperor have imposed on Andreas Hofer the duty of
acting at the same time as prophet of the Lord and as captain of the
emperor. Go, then, Andreas, and do your duty!" said Sieberer,
"I shall do my duty bravely and faithfully to the last!" exclaimed
Hofer, enthusiastically. Then he raised the small crucifix from his
breast, kissed it devoutly, and prayed in a low voice.
A sarcastic smile overspread Anthony Sieberer's face, but it
disappeared quickly when he happened to turn his eyes to the
neighboring mountains. He looked keenly and searchingly toward the
mountain-path leading to Mittewald. He saw there a small black speck
which was advancing with great rapidity. Was it a bird? No, the
speck had already become larger; he saw it was a human being--a
woman speeding along the mountain-path. Now she was so close to them
that he could distinguish her face; it was that of a young girl; her
cheeks flushed, her eyes radiant; bold and intrepid as a chamois,
she hastened forward; her long, black tresses were waving round her
head, and her bosom heaved violently under the folds of her white
Now, she stood still for a moment, and seemed to listen; then she
bent far over the precipice, on the brink of which she was standing,
and below which the Tyrolese were encamped. No sooner had she
perceived them than she uttered a loud cry of exultation, and
bounding forward, she exclaimed joyously: "There are the men of the
Passeyr valley! Now I shall find their leader, Andreas Hofer, too!--
Andreas Hofer where are you, Andreas Hofer?"
"Here I am!" shouted Andreas Hofer, starting up from his fervent
prayer, and advancing a few steps.
The young girl gave a start on discovering the two men, who had
hitherto been concealed from her by a large rock; but she looked at
them searchingly, and did not seem to be frightened or anxious.
"Are you really Andreas Hofer" she asked, breathlessly.
"Ask him if I am," said Hofer, smiling and pointing to Sieberer.
"That is unnecessary," she replied calmly; "I see that you are
Andreas Hofer. You look precisely as my father described you to me.
There is the long beard, the crucifix, the saint's image on your
breast; and there are the kind eyes, and the whole dear face. God
bless you, Andreas Hofer! I bring you many cordial greetings from my
father, Anthony Wallner-Aichberger."
"God bless you, maiden," exclaimed Andreas Hofer, holding out both
his hands to her. Eliza took them, bent over Hofer's right hand, and
imprinted a glowing kiss on it.
"Girl, what are you doing?" asked Hofer, blushing with confusion.
"I kiss the dear hand which the Lord has chosen to deliver the
Tyrol," she said; "the dear hand which holds the rosary so piously
and the sword so bravely; the hand into which my father laid his
hand, as if on an altar, when he swore to God that he would assist
in delivering the Tyrol from the enemy and restoring it to the
emperor." "Look at this girl, Sieberer; how well she knows how to
flatter me," exclaimed Andreas, smilingly patting her flushed cheek.
"And you say your father sent you to me?"
"Yes, he did, Andreas Hofer. I ran all day yesterday; and this
morning I rose with the sun and continued my trip in order to reach
you as soon as possible, and deliver my father's message to you."
"You must be tired, poor little girl!" said Hofer, compassionately.
"Sit down on the rock yonder. There! And now speak!"
"In the first place, Anthony Wallner sends greeting, and informs you
that he has kept his word faithfully. The whole Puster valley has
already risen in insurrection; all the men followed him, and were
ready and eager to fight for the Tyrol and the dear Emperor Francis.
We have fought already a bloody battle at the bridge of St.
Lawrence, and another at the bridge of Laditch. Many soldiers of the
enemy were killed in the gap of Brixen, and many French and
Bavarians fell at the bridge of Laditch; but we also lost a great
many men there. Our men fought bravely, but there were too many of
the Bavarians and French, and so they finally succeeded in breaking
through our ranks and continued their march toward Sterzing. Hence,
my father sent me to you in the greatest haste to inform you of what
has occurred, and tell you to be on your guard. There are several
thousand Bavarians and French on the march to Sterzing. It is true,
our men have occupied the Muhlbach pass; but the enemy is too
strong, our men will not be able to annihilate him entirely."
"Then he will come hither," exclaimed Andreas Hofer.
"Yes, and we shall have a fight at length," said Anthony Sieberer,
joyously. "I am glad that our men will at length be face to face
with the enemy and see bloodshed."
"And the Austrians are not coming yet," sighed Andreas Hofer.
"Yes! they are!" exclaimed Eliza. "Anthony Wallner instructed me to
tell you that too. Several hundred Austrians joined us already at
the bridge of Laditch. It was their advanced guard, and they said
that all the others would follow them soon."
"It is General Hiller with the troops moving up from Salzburg," said
Hofer. "But where are Chasteler and Hormayr, who were to join us
from Carinthia? I think they are tarrying too long."
"But the Bavarians do not tarry," said Eliza, "and they are savage
and cruel men. I did not enter the town of Sterzing, but the people
on the road told me how the Bavarians killed, burned, and plundered
there yesterday; and those who told me cried with rage and grief.
The whole town is in insurrection; all have armed for the Emperor
Francis, and will die rather than longer obey the Bavarians and
French. Major von Baerenklau, the commander of the Bavarians in
Sterzing, finally got frightened; and on being informed that Andreas
Hofer moving against him on one side with the men of the Passeyr
valley, and that Anthony Wallner with the men of the Puster valley,
on the other side, had occupied the bridge of Laditch, he deemed it
prudent to evacuate Sterzing and await our men in the open plain. I
saw his troops marching through the valley while I was walking on
the heights; and I think it will not be long until we can see them
below in the plain."
"See, there they are already!" exclaimed Anthony Sieberer, who,
while Eliza was speaking, had spied with his keen eyes far into the
plain called the Sterzinger Moos.
In fact, a large, motley mass was to be seen moving up in the
distance yonder; yes, they were Bavarian soldiers, and they were
drawing nearer and nearer.
"Hurrah! the Bavarians are coming, the struggle begins," exclaimed
Anthony Sieberer, joyously; and the Tyrolese encamped below echoed
his shout with loud exultation: "The Bavarians are coming! The
"The struggle begins," said Hofer, "and God grant, in His mercy,
that not too much blood may be shed, and that we may be victorious!
Come, dear girl, I will take you under my protection, for you cannot
immediately set out for home, but must stay here with me. I shall
see to it that no harm befalls you, and, while we are fighting, we
will try to find a cave or nook in the rocks where we may conceal
"I do not want to conceal myself, Andreas Hofer," said Eliza,
proudly. "The priests and women have likewise to perform their parts
in war-times: they must carry the wounded out of the range of the
enemy's bullets and dress their wounds; they must pray with the
dying, and nurse those whose lives are spared."
"You are a brave daughter of the Tyrol; I like to listen to your
soul-stirring words," exclaimed Andreas Hofer. "Now come, we will
speak with our men."
He grasped Eliza's hand, beckoned to his adjutant Sieberer, and
descended with them the path toward the Tyrolese.
They were no longer reposing, but all had risen and were looking
with rapt attention in the direction of the enemy. On beholding
Hofer, they burst into loud cheers, and asked him enthusiastically
to lead them against the enemy.
"Let us ascertain first where he is going, and what his intentions
are," said Hofer, thoughtfully. "Perhaps he does not know that we
are here, and intends to continue his march. In that case we will
let him pass us, follow him, and attack him only after he has
entered the Muhlbach pass."
"No, he does not intend to continue his march," exclaimed Sieberer.
"Look, he takes position in the plain and forms in squares as he has
learned to do from Bonaparte. Oh, brethren, let us attack him now.
Never fear. I know such squares, for, in 1805, I often attacked them
with our men, and we broke them. Forward, then, my friends, forward!
Now let us fight for God and our emperor!"
"For God and our emperor!" shouted the Tyrolese; and all seized
their arms and prepared for the struggle.
"Hold on!" cried Hofer, in a powerful voice. "As you have elected me
commander, you must be obedient to me and comply with my orders."
"We will, we will!" shouted the Tyrolese. "Just tell us, commander,
what we are to do, and we shall obey."
"You shall not descend into the plain, nor attack the enemy on all
sides. For you see, the squares are ready to shoot in all
directions, and if you attack them on all sides in the open plain,
you will be exposed to their most destructive fire; moreover, as
they are by far better armed than we, and have cannon, many of our
men would be uselessly sacrificed in such an attack."
"What the commander says is true," growled the Tyrolese. "It is by
far better for us to attack the enemy from a covered position, and
have our rear protected by the mountains."
"And I will show you now such a covered position from which you are
to attack the enemy," said Andreas Hofer, with impressive calmness.
"Look there, to the left. Do you see the ravine leading into the
mountains yonder? Well, we will now ascend the mountain-path
rapidly, descend into the ravine, and thence rush upon the enemy."
"Yes, yes, that is right! We will do so. Andreas Hofer is a good
captain!" said the Tyrolese to each other.
Hofer waved his hand imperatively toward them. "Now keep very
quiet," he said, "that we may not attract the attention of the enemy
prematurely, and thereby cause him to occupy the ravine before we
have reached it. Forward, then, quickly through the forest, and then
descend noiselessly into the valley. But before setting out, we will
pray two rosaries. If we long for success in battle, we must invoke
He took his rosary and prayed; and the Tyrolese bent their heads
devoutly, and prayed like their commander. Then they glided quickly
and noiselessly through the thick forest, headed by Andreas Hofer,
who led Eliza Wallner with tender solicitude by the hand. At length
they reached the gorge, and Andreas Hofer was just about entering it
with the others, when Anthony Sieberer, Jacob Eisenstocken, and a
few other prominent Tyrolese, stepped to him and kept him back with
"A general does not accompany his soldiers into the thickest of the
fight," said Eisenstocken. "That is not his province. He has to
direct the battle with his head, but not to fight it out with his
"But bear in mind that Bonaparte does not leave his soldiers even in
battle," said Andreas Hofer, trying to push them aside and advance.
"No, dearest commander," exclaimed Anthony Sieberer, "you must not
go down with the men. Think of it, what would become of us and our
cause if an accident befell our commander and a bullet shattered his
beloved head! Our friends and sharpshooters would feel as though
that bullet had shattered all their beads; they would be discouraged
and give up our cause as lost. No, no, Andreas Hofer, you owe it to
your fatherland, your emperor, and your Tyrolese, not to expose
yourself to too great dangers; for your life is necessary to us, and
you are the standard which the Tyrolese are following. If our
standard sinks to the ground, our Tyrolese will be panic-stricken
and run away. Consequently you must not go into battle, either to-
day or at any time hereafter." "You are right, I see it," said
Hofer, mournfully. "They would be thunderstruck if a bullet should
hit their commander; hence I submit, and shall stay here. You will
stay with me, Lizzie Wallner, and Ennemoser, my secretary, shall do
so too. Now go, all of you, and God grant that we may all meet
again. I shall stay at this very spot, and he who wants to see me
must come hither. I can survey from here the whole plain of the
Sterzinger Moos. Now, my dear friends and brethren," he shouted in a
loud, ringing voice, "for God, the fatherland, and your emperor!"
"For God, the fatherland, and our emperor!" shouted the Tyrolese,
rushing down the mountain-path into the ravine whence they were to
attack the enemy.
But the Bavarians had been on their guard, and their commander,
Colonel Baerenklau, divining the tactics of the Tyrolese, had
ordered his two guns to be pointed against the ravine.
Now the first shots thundered from their mouths, and volleys of
musketry were discharged from all the squares at the same time, at
the advancing column of the Tyrolese. The Tyrolese, not prepared for
so sudden and violent an attack, dismayed at the havoc produced in
their ranks by the balls and bullets of the Bavarians, gave way and
ran over the corpses of their brethren back to the ravine. But there
stood the crowd of women who had accompanied the column, who had
hastened up from Sterzing, and the whole neighborhood, and had
advanced with the Tyrolese out of the ravine almost close to the
squares of the enemy. They received the fugitives with invectives
and angry glances; they strove to kindle their courage; they went
and begged them with clasped hands and tearful eyes not to desert
the cause of the fatherland, become discouraged in so disgraceful a
manner in the very first battle, and thereby make themselves the
laughing-stock of the hateful Bavarians and French.
And the men listened to these voices; they drank courage from the
wine which the women handed to them, and rushed forward a second
time. Their rifles crashed and mowed down the front ranks of the
Bavarians, but behind the corpses stood the rear ranks, and their
volleys responded to the Tyrolese, and the cannon thundered across
the plain reeking with gore and powder.
The Tyrolese gave way a second time, for the murderous fire of the
Bavarians filled them with stupor and dismay
"In this manner we shall never gain a victory, and our men will be
uselessly slaughtered," said Andreas Hofer, who was watching the
struggle with breathless suspense. "But we must not incur the
disgrace of losing the first battle, for that would discourage our
men for all time to come. Come, Ennemoser, run down to them and tell
them to try a third time. If they do not, Andreas Hofer will rush
ail alone upon the enemy and wait for a bullet to shatter his head."
Young Ennemoser, the secretary, sped down the ravine; Hofer pressed
his crucifix to his lips and prayed; Eliza Wallner advanced close to
the edge of the precipice, and peered down into the plain. Her eyes
filled with tears when she perceived the many corpses piled up on
both sides of the ravine, but the squares of the enemy likewise had
been considerably thinned, and death had made fearful havoc in their
"Andreas Hofer," she cried, exultingly, "your message was
successful. Our men are rushing forward. Do you not hear their
"I do, and may the good God grant them success!" sighed Andreas
Hofer stepping close up to Eliza.
They saw the Tyrolese emerging again at the double-quick from the
ravine, and rushing upon the enemy, who received them with volleys
of musketry and artillery-fire. But, alas! they saw the Tyrolese
give way again and retreat, though more slowly than before, to the
"This will never do," cried Hofer, despairingly. "Our men are
slaughtered in this way, and cannot reach the enemy, whose cannon
are mowing them down like scythes. O God, show the a way to help our
His eyes glanced despairingly over the plain, as if searching for
relief. All at once a bright flash of joy lit up his features.
"I have found a way! I thank Thee, my God!" he exclaimed, aloud.
"See, Lizzie, look there! What do you see in the plain yonder behind
"I see there four large wagons tilled with hay," said Lizzie; "yes,
four wagons filled with hay, nothing else."
"And these wagons filled with hay will save us. They must be driven
toward the ravine directly toward the enemy; our sharpshooters will
conceal themselves behind them, and will safely advance; and when
close enough to the enemy, they will discharge their rifles, and
first pick off the gunners, in order to silence the guns which have
made such havoc among our men. Come, Lizzie, we will go down to
Sieberer and the other captains, and give them my orders. I hope
there will be four lads intrepid enough to drive the hay-wagons
toward the enemy."
"There will be!" exclaimed Eliza, enthusiastically.
"It is only necessary for one to risk his life, and drive the first
wagon. The other wagons will be covered by the first. But the driver
of the first wagon will doubtless be killed, and I shall be
responsible for his death."
"He will die for the fatherland," exclaimed Eliza. "Go, Andreas
Hofer, descend and tell our men what is to be done, for it is high
tune for the hay-wagons to come up and cover our men."
"Come, let us go, Lizzie; give me your hand."
"No, lead the way; I will follow you immediately."
Andreas Hofer had already descended half the mountain-path with a
rapid step, and he did not once look behind him, for he was sure
that Wallner's daughter was following him, and he kept his eyes
steadfastly fixed on his friends and brethren.
But Eliza did not follow him. She looked after him until the dense
shrubbery below concealed her from his eyes; then she knelt down,
and, lifting both her hands to heaven, exclaimed, in a loud,
beseeching voice: "Holy Virgin, protect me! Grant. success to my
enterprise for the beloved fatherland!"
She then jumped up, and, quick as a chamois, scarcely with her feet,
she hastened toward the point where the hay-wagons were standing.
Meanwhile, Andreas Hofer had descended into the ravine whence
constantly new crowds of Tyrolese were rushing forward, although
they were driven back again and again by the murderous fire of the
enemy. On beholding Hofer's erect and imposing form, and his fine
head, with the splendid long beard, the Tyrolese burst into loud
cheers, and his presence seemed to inspire them with fresh courage.
They advanced with the most intrepid impetuosity. Andreas Hofer
called the brave captains of his sharpshooters to his side, and
communicated to them briefly the stratagem he had devised.
"That is a splendid and very shrewd idea," said Anthony Sieberer.
"The hay-wagon is your Trojan horse with which, like Ulysses, you
will conquer your Troy," exclaimed the learned Ennemoser, Hofer's
"I do not know where Troy is situated," said Andreas Hofer, quietly,
"but I know where the Sterzinger Moos lies, and what should be done
there. For the rest, there are no horses before the hay-wagons, but
oxen, and it is all-important that the gunners should not
immediately hit the driver of the first wagon."
"But his last hour has surely come, and he may rely on going to
paradise to-day!" exclaimed Ennemoser. "But look! what throng is
yonder in the ravine, and what causes the women to shout so
vociferously? Their shouts sound like triumphant cheers. And the
lads now join in the acclamations too, and all are rushing forward
Indeed, the whole mass of men and women assembled in the rear of the
ravine rushed forward with loud shouts, like a single immense wave,
surging with extraordinary impetuosity up to Andreas Hofer and the
captains standing by his side.
All at once this wave parted, and in the midst of all this eager,
shouting throng, which took position on both sides of the ravine,
appeared two of those broad-horned, brown-red oxen, of a beauty,
majesty, and strength such as can be found only in the Tyrol and in
Switzerland. Behind these two oxen came the wagon filled up with
But who drove the hay-wagon? Was it really the lovely young girl
hanging on the back of the ox--the beautiful creature whose face was
radiant with enthusiasm, whose cheers were glowing like the morning
sun, and whose eyes flashed like stars?
Yes, it was she--it was Eliza Wallner, who, with sublime courage,
had mounted the back of the ox, and who now was driving forward with
loud shouts and lashes of the whip the two animals, frightened by
the crowd and the shots crashing incessantly.
"Eliza Wallner!" cried Andreas Hofer, with an air of dismay, as the
heavily-laden wagon rolled more rapidly forward.
She turned her head toward him, and a wondrous smile illuminated her
face. "Send greetings to my dear father!" she exclaimed. "Send
greetings to him in my name, if I should die."
"I cannot allow her to do it--it is certain death!" cried Andreas
Hofer, anxiously. "Let me go and lift her from the ox."
"No, no, Andreas," said Anthony Sieberer. "Let her proceed. The
intrepidity of this young girl will fire the courage of the lads;
and, for the rest, if lives have to be sacrificed, the life of a
girl is not worth any more than that of a lad. We are all in God's
"May God and His heavenly host protect her!" said Andreas Hofer,
laying his hand on the image of St. George, which adorned his
"Now, boys," shouted Anthony Sieberer, "do not allow the girl to
make you blush. Quick, march behind the hay-wagon, and when you are
close enough to the enemy, step forward and shoot down the gunners."
Ten young lads hastened forward, amid loud cheers, and took position
in pairs behind the wagon, which advanced heavily and slowly, like
an enormous avalanche.
There was a breathless silence. All eyes followed the wagon, all
hearts throbbed and addressed to heaven prayers in behalf of the
courageous girl who was driving it.
Suddenly a cry of horror burst from all lips. A cannon-ball had
struck the hay-wagon, which was shaking violently from the
But now a ringing cheer was heard in front of the wagon. By this
cheer Eliza Wallner announced to the Tyrolese that the ball had not
hit her, and that she was uninjured.
The cannon boomed again, and Eliza's ringing voice announced once
more that the balls had penetrated harmlessly into the closely
Meanwhile the wagon rolled out farther and farther into the plain of
the Sterzinger Moos. Even the oxen seemed to be infected with the
heroism of their fair driver, and trotted more rapidly toward the
enemy, whose balls whistled round them without hitting them.
Suddenly Eliza stopped their courageous trot, and, turning back her
head, she shouted: "Forward now, boys! Do not be afraid of the
Bavarian dumplings. They do not hit us, and we do not swallow them
as hot as the Bavarians send them to us!"
The young sharpshooters concealed behind the wagon replied to Eliza,
amid merry laughter: "No, we are not afraid of the Bavarian
dumplings, but we are going to pick off the cooks that send them to
And with their rifles lifted to their cheeks, five sharpshooters
rushed forward on either side of their green bulwark. Before the
Bavarians had time to aim at the ten daring sharpshooters, the
latter raised their rifles and fired, and the gunners fell dead by
the sides of their guns.
The Bavarians uttered loud shouts of fury, and aimed at the
sharpshooters; but the Tyrolese had already disappeared again,
whistling and cheering, behind the wagon, which was still advancing
toward the enemy.
The other hay-wagons now rolled likewise from the ravine. The first
of them was driven by another young girl. Imitating the heroic
example set by Eliza Wallner, Anna Gamper, daughter of a tailor of
Sterzing, had courageously mounted the back of an ox, and drove
forward the wagon, filled with an enormous quantity of hay. Twenty
young sharpshooters, encouraged by the success of their comrades,
followed this second wagon. Behind them came the third and fourth
wagons, followed by twenty or thirty more sharpshooters, who were
well protected by the broad bulwark which the wagons formed in front
The gunners had fallen; hence the cannon no longer thundered or
carried destruction and death into the ranks of the Tyrolese; only
the musketry of the Bavarians was still rattling, but they only hit
the hay, and not the brave girls driving the, oxen, nor the
sharpshooters, who, concealed behind the hay, rushed from their
covert whenever the enemy had fired a volley, raised their rifles
triumphantly, and struck down a Bavarian at every shot.
All four hay-wagons had now driven up close enough, and the
Tyrolese, who were nearly one hundred strong, burst with cheers from
behind them, and rushing forward in loose array, but with desperate
resolution, using the butt-ends of their rifles, fell with savage
impetuosity upon the Bavarians, who were thunderstruck at this
unexpected and sudden attack.
Loud cheers also resounded from the ravine. The whole force of the
Tyrolese advanced at the double-quick to assist their brethren in
annihilating the enemy.
A violent struggle, a fierce hand-to-hand fight now ensued.
The Bavarians, overwhelmed by the terrible onset of the peasants,
gave way; the squares dissolved; and the soldiers, as if paralyzed
with terror, had neither courage nor strength left to avoid the
furious butt-end blows of the peasants.
Vainly did Colonel von Baerenklau strive to reform his lines; vainly
did those who had rallied round him at his command, make a desperate
effort to force their way through the ranks of the infuriated
Tyrolese. The fierce bravery of the latter overcame all resistance,
and rendered their escape impossible.
"Surrender!" thundered Andreas Hofer to the Bavarians.
"Lay down your arms, and surrender at discretion!"
A cry of rage burst from the pale lips of Colonel von Baerenklau,
and he would have rushed upon the impudent peasants who dared to
fasten such a disgrace upon him. But his own men kept him back.
"We do not want to be slaughtered," they cried, perfectly beside
themselves with terror; "we will surrender, we will lay down our
A deathly pallor overspread the cheeks of the unfortunate officer.
"Do so, then," he cried. "Surrender yourselves and me to utter
dishonor! I am no longer able to restrain you from it."
And with a sigh resembling the groan of a dying man, Colonel von
Baerenklau fainted away, exhausted by the terrible exertion and the
loss of blood which was rushing from a gunshot wound on his neck.
"We surrender! We are ready to lay down our arms!" shouted the
Bavarians to the Tyrolese, who were still thinning their ranks by
the deadly fire of their rifles and their terrible butt-end blows.
"Very well, lay down your arms," cried Andrews Hofer, in a powerful
voice. "Stop, Tyrolese! If they surrender, nobody shall hurt a hair
of their heads, for then they are no longer our enemies, but our
brethren.--Lay down your arms, Bavarians!"
The Tyrolese, obedient to the orders of their commander, stopped the
furious slaughter, and gazed with gloomy eyes at their hated
There was a moment of breathless silence, and then the Bavarian
officers were heard to command in tremulous voices, "Lay down your
And their men obeyed readily. Three hundred and eighty soldiers, and
nine officers, laid down their arms here on the plain of the
Sterzinger Moos, and surrendered at discretion to the Tyrolese.
[Footnote: "Gallery of Heroes: Andrews Hofer," p. 3l.]
On seeing this, the Tyrolese burst into loud cheers, and Andreas
Hofer lifted his beaming eyes to heaven. "I thank Thee, Lord God,"
he said; "with Thy assistance we have achieved a victory. It is the
first love-offering which we present to fatherland and our Emperor
"Long live the Tyrol and our Emperor Francis!" shouted the Tyrolese,
The Bavarians stood silent, with downcast eyes and pale faces, while
the active Tyrolese lads hastily collected the arms they bad laid
down and placed them on one of the wagons, from which they had
quickly removed the hay.
"What is to be done with our prisoners, the Bavarians?" said Anthony
Sieberer to Andreas Hofer. "We cannot take them with us."
"No, we cannot, nor will the enemy give us time for doing so,"
replied Hofer. "Anthony Wallner has informed me that a strong corps
of Bavarians and French is approaching in the direction of the
Muhlbacher Klause. They must not meet us here on the plain, for a
fight under such circumstances would manifestly be to our
disadvantage. They would be a great deal stronger here than we. But
in the mountains we are able to overcome them. They are the
fortresses which the good God built for our country; and when the
enemy passes, we shall attack and defeat him."
"And shall we take the prisoners with us into the mountains,
"No, we will not, for we cannot guard them well up there, and they
would escape. We will not take the prisoners with us, but convey
them to the Baroness von Sternberg at Castle Steinach. She is
ardently devoted to our cause, and loves the Tyrol and the emperor.
She will take care of the prisoners, and they will be unable to
escape from the large tower, the Wolfsthurm, on the crest yonder,
which you can see from here."
"But who is to convey the prisoners to Castle Steinach? Are we all
to march thither and deliver them before advancing farther?"
"No, no, Anthony Sieberer; we have not time for that. We must bury
the corpses here quickly, and remove every trace of the contest, in
order that the French, on arriving here, may not discover what has
occured, and that we are close by. Only thirty of our men shall
escort the prisoners to Castle Steinach."
"Only thirty, commander? Will that be sufficient for three hundred
and eighty prisoners? If they should attack our men on the road,
they would beat them, for they would be twelve to one."
"That is true," said Andreas Hofer in confusion; "what are we to do
to get a stronger escort for the prisoners?"
He stroked his beard nervously, as was his wont in moments of great
excitement, and he glanced uneasily, now here, now there. All at
once a smile illuminated his face.
"I have got it," he said merrily. "Look there, Sieberer, look there.
What do you see there?"
"The women who have accompanied us, and who are kissing Eliza
Wallner and Anna Gamper for their heroic conduct."
"The women shall help our thirty sharpshooters to escort the
prisoners to Castle Steinach. Our women have brave hearts and strong
arms, and they know how to use the rifle for the fatherland and the
emperor. Let them, then, take some of the arms which we have
conquered, and, jointly with thirty of our men, escort the prisoners
to the good Baroness von Sternberg. Oh, Lizzie Wallner, Lizzie
"Here I am, commander," cried Eliza, hastening to Andreas Hofer with
flushed cheeks and beaming eyes.
He patted her cheeks smilingly. "You are a brave, noble girl," he
said, "and none of us will ever forget what you have done to-day;
and the whole Tyrol shall learn what a splendid and intrepid girl
you are. But I wish to confer a special reward on you, Lizzie; I
wish to appoint you captain of a company, and your company is to
consist of all those women."
"And what does the commander-in-chief order me to do with my company
of women?" asked Eliza Wallner.
"Captain Lizzie, you are to escort with your company and thirty
Tyrolese sharpshooters the three hundred and eighty Bavarians to
Castle Steinach. Your arms you will take from the wagon yonder,
which Captain Lizzie drove so heroically toward the enemy. Will you
undertake to escort the prisoners safely to Steinach?"
"I will, commander. But after that I should like to return to my
father. He must be uneasy about me by this time, acid he would like
also to know how the Tyrolese have succeeded on this side. Oh! he
will be exceedingly glad when I bring him greetings from his beloved
"Go, then, my dear child," said Andreas Hofer, nodding to her
tenderly, and laying his hand on her beautiful head.
"Go, with God's blessing, and greet your father in my name. Tell him
that God and the Holy Virgin are with us and have blessed our cause;
therefore we will never despond, but always fight bravely and
cheerfully for our liberty and our dear emperor. Go, Lizzie; escort
the prisoners to Steinach, and then return to your father."
Eliza kissed his hand; then left him and communicated Andreas
Hofer's order to the women. They received it joyously, and hastened
to the wagon to get the arms.
Half an hour afterward a strange procession was seen moving along
the road leading to Castle Steinach. A long column of soldiers,
without arms, with heads bent down and gloomy faces, marched on the
road. On both sides of them walked the women, with heads erect, and
proud, triumphant faces, each shouldering a musket or a sword. Here
and there marched two Tyrolese sharpshooters, who were watching with
the keen and distrustful eyes of shepherds' dogs the soldiers
marching in their midst.
CAPTURE OF INNSPRUCK.
General Kinkel, governor of Innspruck, had just finished his dinner,
and repaired to his cabinet, whither he had summoned some of the
superior officers to give them fresh instructions. To-day, the 11th
of April, all sorts of news had arrived from the Tyrol; and although
this news did not alarm the Bavarian general, he thought it
nevertheless somewhat strange and unusual. He had learned that
Lieutenant-Colonel von Wreden, despite General Kinkel's express
orders, had rashly evacuated his position at Brunecken and destroyed
the bridge of Laditch. Besides, vague rumors had reached him about
an insurrection among the peasants in the neighborhood of Innspruck;
and even on the surrounding mountains, it was said, bands of armed
insurgents had been seen.
"We have treated these miserable peasants by far too leniently and
kindly," said General Kinkel, with a shrug; when his officer
communicated this intelligence to him. "We shall adopt a more
rigorous course, make examples of a few, and all will be quiet and
submissive again. What do these peasants want? Are they already so
arrogant as to think themselves capable of coping with our brave
"They count upon the assistance of Austria," replied Colonel
Dittfurt; "and General von Chasteler is said to have promised the
peasants that he will invade the Tyrol one of these days."
"It is a miserable lie!" cried the general, with a disdainful smile.
"The Austrians will not be so bold as to take the offensive, for
they know full well that the great Emperor Napoleon will consider
every invasion of Bavarian territory an attack upon France herself,
and that we ourselves should drive the impudent invaders from our
"That is to say, so long as the mountains are still ours, and not
yet occupied by the peasants, your excellency," said Major Beim, who
entered the room at this moment.
"What do you mean?" asked the general.
"I mean that larger and larger bands of peasants are advancing upon
Innspruck, that they have already attacked and driven in our
pickets, and that the latter have just escaped from them into the
"Then it is time for us to resort to energetic and severe steps,"
cried General Kinkel, angrily. "Colonel Dittfurt, send immediately a
dispatch to Lieutenant-Colonel von Wreden, who is stationed at
Brixen. Write to him in my name that I am highly indignant at his
evacuating his position at Brunecken and destroying the bridge of
Laditch. Tell him I order him to act with the utmost energy; every
peasant arrested with arms in his hands is to be shot; every village
participating in the insurrection is to be burned down; and he is to
advance his patrols again to and beyond Brunecken. These patrols are
to ascertain if Austrian troops are really following the insurgent
peasants. Bring this dispatch to me that I may sign it, and then
immediately send off a courier with it to Lieutenant-Colonel von
Wreden." [Footnote: General Kinkel sent of this dispatch a day after
Wreden had been defeated by the Tyrolese, and after the Austrians
had invaded the Tyrol. The Bavarian authorities at Innspruck were in
complete ignorance of all these events.]
Colonel Dittfurt went to the desk and commenced writing the
dispatch. "Miserable peasants!" he murmured, on handing the dispatch
to the general; "it is already a humiliation that we must devote
attention to them and occupy ourselves with them."
"Yes, you are right," sighed the general, signing the dispatch;
"these people, who know only how to handle the flail, become every
day more impudent and intolerable; and I am really glad that I shall
now at length have an opportunity to humiliate them and reduce them
to obedience. Henceforth we will no longer spare them. No quarter!
He who is taken sword in hand, will be executed on the spot. We must
nip this insurrection in the bud, and chastise the traitors with
inexorable rigor. Well, what is it?" he asked vehemently, turning to
the orderly who entered the room at this moment.
"Your excellency, I have to inform you that all our pickets have
been driven into the city. The peasants have assembled in large
masses on the neighboring mountains and opened thence a most
murderous fire upon our pickets. Only a few men of each picket have
returned; the others lie dead outside the city."
"Matters seem to become serious," murmured General Kinkel. "All our
pickets driven in! That is to say, then, the peasants are in the
immediate neighborhood of the city?"
"All the environs of Innspruck are in full insurrection, your
excellency, and the citizens of Innspruck seem likewise strongly
inclined to join the insurrection. There are riotous groups in the
streets, and on my way hither I heard all sorts of menacing phrases,
and met everywhere with sullen, defiant faces."
"Ah, I will silence this seditious rabble and make their faces mild
and modest!" cried the general, in a threatening voice. "Let all the
public places in the city be occupied by troops, and field-pieces be
placed on the bridges of the Inn. Let patrols march through the
streets all night, and every citizen who is found in the street
after nine o'clock, or keeps his house lighted up after that hour,
shall be shot. Make haste, gentlemen, and carry my orders literally
into execution. Have the patrols call upon all citizens to keep
quiet and not appear in the streets after nine o'clock. Sentence of
death will be passed upon those who violate this order."
Owing to these orders issued by the general, a profound stillness
reigned at night in the streets of Innspruck; no one was to be seen
in the streets, and on marching through them the patrols did not
find a single offender whom they might have subjected to the
inexorable rigor of martial law. But no sooner had the patrols
turned round a corner than dark forms emerged here and there from
behind the pillars of the houses, the wells, and the crucifixes,
glided with the noiseless agility of cats along the houses, and
knocked here and there at the window-panes. The windows opened
softly, whispers were heard and the rustling of paper, and the forms
glided on to commence the same working and whispering at the next
The Bavarian patrols had no inkling of these dark ravens flitting
everywhere behind them, as if scenting in them already the prey of
death; but the citizens of Innspruck considered these birds of the
night, who knocked at their windows, auspicious doves, even though,
instead of the olive-branch, they brought only a sheet of paper with
them. But this sheet of paper contained words that thrilled all
hearts with joy and happiness; it announced that the Austrians had
already invaded the Tyrol; that General von Chasteler was already
advancing upon Innspruck; that the Emperor Francis sent the Tyrolese
the greetings of his love; and that the Archduke John was preventing
the French troops in Italy from succoring the Bavarians in the
Tyrol; nay, that he and his army would deliver and protect the
Tyrol. Some of the brave sharp-shooters of the Passeyr valley had
been bold enough to steal into the city of Innspruck despite the
presence of the Bavarian troops, and the patrols could not prevent
the citizens from receiving the joyful tidings of the approach of
the Austrians, nor the Tyrolese sharpshooters from whispering to
them: "Be ready early tomorrow morning. Tomorrow we shall attack the
city; assist us then, hurl down from the roofs of your houses on the
Bavarians stones, jars, and whatever you may have at hand; keep your
doors open, that we may get in, and hold food and refreshments in
readiness. We shall come to-morrow. Innspruck must be delivered from
the Bavarians to-morrow!"
The morrow came at last. The 12th of April dawned upon the city of
The Bavarians had carried out the orders of General Kinkel; they had
occupied all the public places, and planted batteries on the bridges
of the Inn.
But so ardent was the enthusiasm of the Tyrolese, that these
batteries did not deter them. They rushed forward with loud shouts;
using their spears, halberds, and the butt-ends of their muskets,
they fell with resistless impetuosity upon the Bavarians, drove them
back, shot the gunners at the guns, and carried the important bridge
Tremendous cheers announced this first victory to the inhabitants of
Innspruck. The Tyrolese then rushed forward over the bridge and
penetrated into the streets of the Hottinger suburb. The street-
doors of the houses opened to them; they entered them, or took
position behind the pillars, and fired from the windows and their
hiding-places, at the Bavarians who were stationed on the upper
bridge of the Inn, and were firing thence at the Tyrolese. The
Bavarian bullets, however, whistled harmlessly through the streets,
the alert Tyrolese concealing themselves, before every volley, in
the houses or behind the walls. But no sooner had the bullets
dropped than they stepped forward, sang, and laughed, and discharged
their rifles, until the exasperated Bavarians fired at them again,
when the singing Tyrolese disappeared once more in their hiding-
All at once loud cheers and hurrahs resounded on the conquered
bridge of Muhlau, and a tall, heroic form, surrounded by a
detachment of armed Tyrolese, appeared on the bridge.
It was Joseph Speckbacher, who, after capturing Hall by a daring
COUP DE MAIN, had now arrived with his brave men to assist the
Tyrolese in delivering Innspruck from the Bavarians.
The Tyrolese thronged exultingly around him, informing him of the
struggle that had already taken place, and telling him that the
Bavarians had been driven from the bridge and hurled back into the
"And now you stand still here, instead of advancing?" asked
Speckbacher, casting fiery glances toward the enemy. "What are you
waiting for, my friends? Why do you not attack the enemy?"
Without waiting for a reply, Speckbacher took off his hat, swung it
in the air, and shouted in a loud, enthusiastic voice "Long live the
Emperor Francis! Down with the Bavarians!"
All repeated this shout amid the roost tumultuous cheers. All cried,
"Long live the Emperor Francis! Down with the Bavarians!"
"Now forward! forward! We must take the bridge!" shouted
Speckbacher. "Those who love the Tyrol will follow me!"
And he rushed forward, like an angry bear, toward the bridge of the
The Tyrolese, carried away by their enthusiasm, followed him at the
double-quick toward the bridge, where the mouths of the cannon were
staring at them menacingly. But the Tyrolese were not afraid of the
cannon; death had no longer any terrors for them! their courage
imparted to them resistless power and impetuosity. They rushed up to
the cannon, slew the gunners with the butt-ends of their rifles, or
lifted them up by the hair and burled them over the railing of the
bridge into the foaming waters of the Inn. Then they turned the
cannon, and some students from Innspruck, who had joined the
Tyrolese, undertook to man them.
A dense column of Bavarians advanced upon them; the peasants uttered
loud cheers, the cannon thundered and mowed down whole ranks of
them. They gave way, and the Tyrolese, who saw it, advanced with
triumphant shouts into the city and took street after street. And
wherever they came, they met with willing assistance at the hands of
the citizens; in every street which they entered, the windows
opened, and shots were fired from them at the Bavarian troops; every
house became a fortress, every tower a citadel. A frightful scene
ensued: the Bavarians in some places surrendered and begged for
quarter; in others they continued the combat with undaunted
resolution; and in the melee several bloody deeds were committed,
which, in their cooler moments, the Tyrolese would have been the
first to condemn.
All at once loud cheers burst forth in the streets, and the Tyrolese
repeated again and again the joyful news: "Major Teimer has arrived;
he has several companies of the militia under his command, and with
these brave men he has already penetrated into the heart of the
city, up to the principal guardhouse! He has already surrounded the
Engelhaus, General Kinkel's headquarters, and is negotiating a
capitulation with the general." This almost incredible intelligence
raised the enthusiasm of the Tyrolese to the highest pitch. They
rushed forward with irresistible impetuosity toward the barracks and
disarmed all the soldiers who had remained there in order to relieve
their exhausted comrades. Then they rushed again into the street,
toward the principal guard-house, where an obstinate struggle was
going on. There, at the head of his regiment, stood Colonel
Dittfurt, firmly determined to die rather than surrender to the
But the peasants came up in overwhelming numbers, and detachment of
sharpshooters, headed by Major Teimer, had already penetrated into
the general's house, and entered his sitting-room. From the houses
all around, the Tyrolese were firing at the soldiers, who, gnashing
their teeth with rage and grief, did not even enjoy the satisfaction
of wreaking vengeance on them; for their enemies were concealed
behind the walls and pillars, while the soldiers were defenceless,
and had to allow themselves to be laid prostrate by the unerring aim
of the sharpshooters.
Angry, scolding, imperious voices were now heard at General Kinkel's
window, and a strange sight was presented to the eyes of the
dismayed soldiers. Teimer's face, flushed with anger and excitement,
appeared at the window. He was seen approaching it hastily and
thrusting General Kinkel's head and shoulders forcibly out of it.
"Surrender!" threatened Teimer; "surrender, or I shall hurl you out
of the window!" [Footnote: Hormayr's "History of Andreas Hofer,"
vol. i., p. 249.]
"Colonel Dittfurt," cried General Kinkel, in a doleful voice, "you
see that further resistance is useless. We must surrender!"
"No!" shouted the colonel, pale with rage; "no, we shall not
surrender; no, we shall not Incur the disgrace of laying down our
arms before this ragged mob. We can die, but shall not surrender!
Forward, my brave soldiers, forward!"
And Dittfurt rushed furiously, followed by his soldiers, upon the
Tyrolese who were approaching at this moment.
Suddenly he reeled back. Two bullets had hit him at the same time,
and the blood streamed from two wounds. But these wounds, instead of
paralyzing his courage, inflamed it still more. He overcame his pain
and weakness, and, brandishing his sword, rushed forward.
A third bullet whistled up and penetrated his breast. He sank down;
blood streamed from his mouth and his nose.
The Tyrolese burst into deafening cheers, and approached the fallen
officer to take his sword from him. But he sprang once more to his
feet, he would not fall alive into the hands of the peasants; he
felt that he had to die, but he would die like a soldier on the
field of Honor, and not as a prisoner of the peasants. Livid as a
corpse, his face covered with gore, his uniform saturated with
blood, Dittfurt reeled forward, and drove his soldiers, with wild
imprecations, entreaties, and threats toward the hospital, whence
the Tyrolese poured their murderous fire into the ranks of the
Bavarians. But scarcely had he advanced a few steps when a fourth
bullet struck him and laid him prostrate.
His regiment, seized with dismay, shouted out that it would
surrender, and, in proof of this intention, the soldiers laid down
The Bavarian cavalry, to avoid the disgrace of such a capitulation,
galloped in wild disorder toward the gate and the Hofgarten. But
there Speckbacher had taken position with the peasants, who, mostly
armed only with pitchforks, had hurried to the scene of the combat
from the immediate environs of Innspruck. But these pitchforks
seemed to the panic-stricken cavalry to be terrible, murderous
weapons; cannon would have appeared to them less dreadful than the
glittering pitchforks, with which the shouting peasants rushed upon
them, and which startled not only the soldiers but their horses
also. The soldiers thought the wounds made by pitchforks more
horrible and ignominious than utter defeat, and even death.
Thunderstruck at their desperate position, hardly knowing what
befell them, unable to offer further resistance, they allowed
themselves to be torn from their horses by the peasants, to whom
they handed their arms in silence. The Tyrolese then mounted the
horses, and in a triumphant procession, headed by Joseph
Speckbacher, they conducted their prisoners back to Innspruck.
[Footnote: Hormayr's "History of Andreas Hofer," vol. i., p. 250.]
There the enemy had likewise surrendered in the mean time, and the
barracks which, until yesterday, had been the quarters of the
oppressors of the Tyrolese, the Bavarian soldiers, became now the
prisons of the defeated. Escorted by the peasants, the disarmed and
defenceless Bavarians were hurried into the barracks, whose doors
closed noisily behind them.
Innspruck was now free; not an armed Bavarian soldier remained in
the city, but the Tyrolese, to the number of upward of fifteen
thousand, poured into the streets, and the citizens joined them