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Germany from the Earliest Period Vol. 4 by Wolfgang Menzel, Trans. Mrs. George Horrocks

Part 4 out of 8

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the people of Passeyr and Algund, resolved at all hazards not to
submit to the depredations of the Italian brigands under Rusca,
flocked around him and compelled him to place himself at their head
for a last and desperate struggle. Above Meran, the French were thrown
in such numbers from the _Franzosenbuhl_, which still retains its
name, that "they fell like a shower of autumnal leaves into the city."
The horses belonging to a division of cavalry intended to surround the
insurgent peasantry were all that returned; their riders had been shot
to a man. Rusca lost five hundred dead and one thousand seven hundred
prisoners. The Capuchin was also present, and generously saved the
captive Major Doreille, whose men had formerly set fire to a village,
from the hands of the infuriated peasantry. But a traitor guided the
enemy to the rear of the brave band of patriots; Peter Thalguter fell,
and Hofer took refuge amid the highest Alps.--Kolb, who was by some
supposed to be an English agent, but who was simply an enthusiast,
again summoned the peasantry around Brixen to arms. The peasantry
still retained such a degree of courage, as to set up an enormous
barn-door as a target for the French artillery, and at every shot up
jumped a ludicrous figure. Resistance had, however, ceased to be
general; the French pressed in ever-increasing numbers through the
valleys, disarmed the people, the majority of whom, obedient to
Hofer's first mandate, no longer attempted opposition, and took their
leaders captive. Peter Mayer was shot at Botzen. His life was offered
to him on condition of his denying all participation in the patriotic
struggles of his countrymen, but he disdained a lie and boldly faced
death. Those among the peasantry most distinguished for gallantry were
either shot or hanged. Baur, a Bavarian author, who had fought against
the Tyrolese, and is consequently a trusty witness, remarks that all
the Tyroleso patriots, without exception, evinced the greatest
contempt of death. The struggle recommenced in the winter, but was
merely confined to the Pusterthal. A French division under Broussier
was cut off on the snowed-up roads and shot to a man by the peasantry.

Hofer at first took refuge with his wife and child in a narrow rocky
hollow in the Kellerlager, afterward in the highest Alpine hut, near
the Oetzthaler Firner in the wintry desert. Vainly was he implored to
quit the country; his resolution to live or to die on his native soil
was unchangeable. A peasant named Raffel, unfortunately descrying the
smoke from the distant hut, discovered his place of concealment, and
boasted in different places of his possession of the secret of his
hiding-place. This came to the ears of Father Donay, a traitor in the
pay of France;[17] Raffel was arrested, and, in the night of the 27th
of January, 1810, guided one thousand six hundred French and Italian
troops to the mountain, while two thousand French were quartered in
the circumjacent country. Hofer yielded himself prisoner with calm
dignity. The Italians abused him personally, tore out his beard, and
dragged him pinioned, half naked and barefoot, in his night-dress,
over ice and snow to the valley. He was then put into a carriage and
carried into Italy to the fortress of Mantua. No one interceded in his
behalf. Napoleon sent orders by the Paris telegraph to shoot him
within four-and-twenty hours. He prepared cheerfully for death.[18] On
being led past the other Tyrolese prisoners, they embraced his knees,
weeping. He gave them his blessing. His executioners halted not far
from the Porta Chiesa, where, placing himself opposite the twelve
riflemen selected for the dreadful office, he refused either to allow
himself to be blindfolded or to kneel. "I stand before my Creator," he
exclaimed with a firm voice, "and standing will I restore to Him the
spirit He gave!" He gave the signal to fire, but the men, it may be,
too deeply moved by the scene, missed their aim. The first fire
brought him on his knees, the second stretched him on the ground, and
a corporal, advancing, terminated his misery by shooting him through
the head, February 29, 1810.--At a later period, when Mantua again
became Austrian, the Tyrolese bore his remains back to his native
Alps. A handsome monument of white marble was erected to his memory in
the church at Innsbruck; his family was ennobled. Count Alexander of
Wurtemberg has poetically described the restoration of his remains to
the Tyrol, for which he so nobly fought and died.

"How was the gallant hunter's breast
With mingled feelings torn,
As slowly winding 'mid the Alps,
His hero's corpse was borne!

"The ancient Gletcher, glowing red,
Though cold their wonted mien,
Bright radiance shed o'er Hofer's head,
Loud thundered the lavine!"

Haspinger, the brave Capuchin, escaped unhurt to Vienna, in which
Joseph Speckbacher, the greatest hero of this war, also succeeded,
after unheard-of suffering and peril.--The Bavarians in pursuit of him
searched the mountains in troops, and vowed to "cut his skin into
boot-straps, if they caught him." Speckbacher attempted to escape into
Austria, but was unable to go beyond Dux, the roads being blocked up
with snow. At Dux, the Bavarians came upon his trace, and attacking
the house in which he had taken refuge, he escaped by leaping through
the roof, but again wounded himself. During the ensuing twenty-seven
days, he wandered about the snow-clad forests, exposed to the bitter
cold and in danger of starvation. During four consecutive days he did
not taste food. He at length found an asylum in a hut in a high and
exposed situation at Bolderberg, where he by chance fell in with his
wife and children, who had also taken refuge there. The watchful
Bavarians pursued him even here, and he merely owed his escape to the
presence of mind with which, taking a sledge upon his shoulders, he
advanced toward them as if he had been the servant of the house. No
longer safe in this retreat, he hid himself in a cave on the
Gemshaken, whence he was, in the beginning of spring, carried by a
snow-ravine a mile and a half into the valley. He contrived to
disengage himself from the snow, but one of his legs had been
dislocated and rendered it impossible for him to regain his cave.
Suffering unspeakable anguish, he crept to the nearest hut, where he
found two men, who carried him to his own house at Rinn, whither his
wife had returned. But Bavarians were quartered in the house, and his
only place of refuge was the cow-shed, where Zoppel, his faithful
servant, dug for him a hole beneath the bed of one of the cows, and
daily brought him food. The danger of discovery was so great that his
wife was not made acquainted with his arrival. He remained in this
half-buried state for seven weeks, until rest had so far invigorated
his frame as to enable him to escape across the high mountain passes,
now freed by the May sun from the snow. He accordingly rose from his
grave and bade adieu to his sorrowing wife. He reached Vienna without
encountering further mishap, but gained no thanks for his heroism. He
was compelled to give up a small estate that he had purchased with the
remains of his property, the purchase-money proving insufficient, and
he must have been consigned to beggary, had not Hofer's son, who had
received a fine estate from the emperor, engaged him as his steward.

[Footnote 1: Without any attempt being made on the part of the
government to prepare the minds of the people by proper instruction,
the children were taken away by force in order to be inoculated for
the smallpox. The mothers, under an idea that their infants were being
bewitched or poisoned, trembled with rage and fear, while the Bavarian
authorities and their servants mocked their dismay.]

[Footnote 2: Hofer was, in 1790, as the deputy of the Passeyrthal, a
member of the diet at Innsbruck which so zealously opposed the reforms
attempted by Joseph II.; he had fought, as captain of a rifle corps,
against the French in 1796, and, in 1805, when bidding farewell to the
Archduke John on the enforced cession of the Tyrol by Austria to
Bavaria, had received a significant shake of the hand with an
expressed hope of seeing him again in better times. Hofer traded in
wine, corn and horses, was well known and highly esteemed as far as
the Italian frontier. He had a Herculean form and was remarkably
good-looking. He wore a low-crowned, broad-brimmed black Tyrolean hat,
ornamented with green ribbons and the feathers of the capercalzie. His
broad chest was covered with a red waistcoat, across which green
braces, a hand in breadth, were fastened to black chamois-leather
knee-breeches. His knees were bare, but his well-developed calves were
covered with red stockings. A broad black leathern girdle clasped his
muscular form. Over all was thrown a short green coat without buttons.
His long dark-brown beard, that fell in rich curls upon his chest,
added dignity to his appearance. His full, broad countenance was
expressive of good-humor and honesty. His small, penetrating eyes
sparkled with vivacity.]

[Footnote 3: A youth of two-and-twenty, slight in person and extremely
handsome, at that time a bridegroom, and inspired by the deepest
hatred of the Bavarians, by whose officers he had been personally

[Footnote 4: The daughter of a tailor, named Camper. As the balls flew
around her, she shouted, "On with ye! who cares for Bavarian

[Footnote 5: The Austrian general, Marschall, who had been sent to
guard the Southern Tyrol, was removed for declaring that he deemed it
an insult for the military to make common cause with peasants and for
complaining of his being compelled to sit down to table with Hofer.]

[Footnote 6: Proclamation of the emperor Francis to the Tyrolese:
"Willingly do I anticipate your wish to be regarded as the most
faithful subjects of the Austrian empire. Never again shall the sad
fate of being torn from my heart befall you."]

[Footnote 7: The Count von Stachelburg from Meran, who fought as a
volunteer among the peasantry, fell at that time. He was the last of
his race.]

[Footnote 8: He was joined here by his son Anderl, a child ten years
of age, who collected the enemy's balls in his hat, and so obstinately
refused to quit the field of battle that his father was compelled to
have him carried by force to a distant alp.]

[Footnote 9: He paid a visit, in disguise, to the commandant within
the fortress, extinguished a grenade with his hat, crept undiscovered
into the fortress and spoiled the fire-engines, cut loose the ships
moored beneath the walls, etc. Joseph Speckbacher of the Innthal was
an open-hearted, fine-spirited fellow, endowed with a giant's
strength, and the best marksman in the country. His clear bright eye
could, at the distance of half a mile, distinguish the bells on the
necks of the cattle. In his youth, he was addicted to poaching, and
being, on one occasion, when in the act of roasting a chamois,
surprised by four Bavarian Jaeger, he unhesitatingly dashed the melted
fat of the animal into their faces, and, quick as lightning, dealt
each of them a deathblow with the butt-end of his rifle.]

[Footnote 10: He cited the following names immortal in the Tyrol: A.
Hofer, Straub of Hall, Reider of Botzen, Bombardi, postmaster of
Salurn, Morandel of Kaltern, Resz of Fleims, Tschoell of Meran,
Frischmann of Schlanders, Senn, sheriff of Nauders, Fischer, actuary
of Landek, Strehle, burgomaster of Imbst, Plawen, governor of Reutti,
Major Dietrich of Lermos, Aschenbacher, governor of the Achenthal,
Sieberer of Cuffstein, Wintersteller of Kisbuechl, Kolb of Lienz, Count
Sarntheim, Peer, counsellor to the court of appeal. Count Sarntheim
was taken prisoner and carried into Bavaria, together with the heroic
Baroness of Sternbach, who, mounted on horseback and armed with
pistols, accompanied the patriot force and aided in the command. She
was seized in her castle of Muehlan, imprisoned in a house of
correction at Munich, and afterward carried to Strasburg, was deprived
of the whole of her property, ignominiously treated, and threatened
with death, but never lost courage.--_Beda, Water's Tyrol._
Wintersteller was a descendant of the brave host of the same name who,
in 1703, adorned his house, which was afterward occupied by
Wintersteller, with the trophies won from the Bavarians.]

[Footnote 11: When incessantly pursued and ready to drop with fatigue,
they found a cask of wine, and a drummer, knocking off its head,
stooped down to drink, when he was pierced with a bullet, and his
blood mingled with the liquor, which was, nevertheless, greedily
swallowed by the famishing soldiery.--_Jacob's Campaign of the

[Footnote 12: The Tyrolese aimed at the windows and shot every one who
looked out. As soon as the houses were, by this means, filled with the
dead and wounded, they stormed them and took the survivors prisoner.
Two hundred and thirty men of Weimar and Coburg, commanded by Major
Germar, defended themselves to the last; the house in which they were
being at length completely surrounded and set on fire by the Tyrolese,
they surrendered. This spot was afterward known as the
"_Sachsenklemme_." Seven hundred Saxon prisoners escaped from their
guards and took refuge on the _Krimmer Tauern_, where they were
recaptured by the armed women and girls.]

[Footnote 13: Bartholdy relates that Lefebvre, disguised as a common
soldier, mingled with the cavalry in order to escape the balls of the
Tyrolese sharpshooters. A man of Passeyr is said to have captured a
three-pounder and to have carried it on his shoulders across the
mountain. The Tyrolese would even carry their wounded enemies
carefully on their shoulders to their villages. A Count Mohr greatly
distinguished himself among the people of Vintschgau. The spirit shown
by an old man above eighty years of age, who, after shooting a number
of the enemy from a rock on which he had posted himself, threw
himself, exclaiming "Juhhe! in God's name!" down the precipice, with a
Saxon soldier, by whom he had been seized, is worthy of record.]

[Footnote 14: Von Seebach, in his History of the Ducal Saxon Regiment,
graphically describes the flight. During the night time, all the
mountains around the beautiful valley of Innsbruck were lighted up
with watch-fires. Lefebvre ordered his to be kept brightly burning
while his troops silently withdrew.]

[Footnote 15: He did not set himself above his equals and followed his
former simple mode of life. The emperor of Austria sent him a golden
chain and three thousand ducats, the first money received by the Tyrol
from Austria; but Hofer's pride was not raised by this mark of favor,
and the naivete of his reply on this occasion has often been a subject
of ridicule: "Sirs, I thank you. I have no news for you to-day. I
have, it is true, three couriers on the road, the Watscher-Hiesele,
the Sixten-Seppele, and the Memmele-Franz, and the Schwanz ought long
to have been here; I expect the rascal every hour." The honest fellow
permitted no pillage, no disorderly conduct; he even guarded the
public morals with such strictness as to publish the following orders
against the half-naked mode, imported by the French, at that time
followed by the women: "Many of my good fellow-soldiers and defenders
of their country have complained that the women of all ranks cover
their bosoms and arms too little, or with transparent dresses, and by
these means raise sinful desires highly displeasing to God and to all
piously-disposed persons. It is hoped that they will, by better
behavior, preserve themselves from the punishment of God, and, in case
of the contrary, must solely blame themselves should they find
themselves disagreeably covered. Andre Hofer, chief in command in the

[Footnote 16: During the pillage of the monastery of Seeben by the
French, a nun, in order to escape from their hands, cast herself from
the summit of the rock into the valley.]

[Footnote 17: Donay had devoted himself to the service of the church,
but having committed a theft, had been refused ordination. Napoleon
rewarded him for his treachery with ordination and the appointment of
chaplain in the _Santa Casa_ at Loretto.]

[Footnote 18: Four hours before his execution he wrote to his
brother-in-law, Poehler, "My beloved, the hostess, is to have mass read
for my soul at St. Marin by the rosy-colored blood. She is to have
prayers read in both parishes, and is to let the sub-landlord give my
friends soup, meat, and half a bottle of wine each. The money I had
with me I have distributed to the poor; as for the rest, settle my
accounts with the people as justly as you can. All in the world adieu,
until we all meet in heaven eternally to praise God. Death appears to
me so easy that my eyes have not once been wet on that account.
Written at five o'clock in the morning, and at nine o'clock I set off
with the aid of all the saints on my journey to God."]

CCLVIII. Napoleon's Supremacy

Napoleon had, during the great war in Austria, during the intermediate
time between the battles of Aspern and Wagram, caused the person of
the pope, Pius VII., to be seized, and had incorporated the state of
the church with his Italian kingdom. The venerable pope, whose
energies were called forth by misfortune, astonished Christendom by
his bold opposition to the ruler over the destinies of Europe, before
whom he had formerly bent in humble submission, and for whose
coronation he had condescended to visit Paris in person. The
reestablishment of Catholicism in France by Napoleon had rendered the
pope deeply his debtor, but Napoleon's attempt to deprive him of all
temporal power, and to render him, as the first bishop of his realm,
subordinate to himself, called forth a sturdy opposition. Napoleon no
sooner spoke the language of Charlemagne than the pope responded in
the words of Gregory VII. and of Innocent IV.: "Time has produced no
change in the authority of the pope; now as ever does the pope reign
supreme over the emperors and kings of the earth." The diplomatic
dispute was carried on for some time, owing to Napoleon's expectation
of the final compliance of the pope.[1] But on his continued refusal
to submit, the peril with which Napoleon's Italian possessions were
threatened by the landing of a British force in Italy and by the war
with Austria, induced him, first of all, to throw a garrison into
Ancona, and afterward to take possession of Rome, and, as the pope
still continued obstinate, finally to seize his person, to carry him
off to France, and to annex the Roman territory to his great empire.
The anathema hurled by the pope upon Napoleon's head had at least the
effect of creating a warmer interest in behalf of the pontiff in the
hearts of the Catholic population and of increasing their secret
antipathy toward his antagonist.

In 1810, Napoleon annexed Holland and East Friesland "as alluvial
lands" to France. His brother Louis, who had vainly labored for the
welfare of Holland, selected a foreign residence and scornfully
refused to accept the pension settled upon him by Napoleon. The first
act of the new sovereign of Holland was the imposition of an income
tax of fifty per cent. Instruction in the French language was enforced
in all the schools, and all public proclamations and documents were
drawn up in both Dutch and French.[2] Holland was formed into two
departments, which were vexed by two prefects, the Conte de Celles and
Baron Staffart, Belgian renegades and blind tools of the French
despot, and was, moreover, harassed by the tyrannical and cruel
espionage, under Duvillieres, Duterrage, and Marivaux, which, in 1812,
occasioned several ineffectual attempts to throw off the yoke.[3] In
1811, Holland was also deprived of Batavia, her sole remaining colony,
by the British.

Lower Saxony, as far as the Baltic, the principalities of Oldenburg,
Salm, and Aremberg, the Hanse towns, Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck,
were, together with a portion of the kingdom of Westphalia, at the
same time also incorporated by Napoleon with France, under pretext of
putting a stop to the contraband trade carried on on those coasts,
more particularly from the island of Heligoland. He openly aimed at
converting the Germans, and they certainly discovered little
disinclination to the metamorphosis, into French. He pursued the same
policy toward the Italians, and, had he continued to reign, would have
followed a similar system toward the Poles. The subjection of the
whole of Italy, Germany, and Poland lay within his power, but, to the
nations inhabiting those countries he must, notwithstanding their
incorporation with his universal empire, have guaranteed the
maintenance of their integrity, a point he had resolved at all hazards
not to concede. He, consequently, preferred dividing these nations and
allowing one-half to be governed by princes inimical to him, but whose
power he despised. His sole dread was patriotism, the popular love of
liberty. Had he placed himself, as was possible in 1809, on the
imperial throne of Germany, the consequent unity of that empire must,
even under foreign sway, have endangered the ruler: he preferred
gradually to gallicize Germany as she had been formerly romanized by
her ancient conquerors. His intention to sever the Rhenish provinces
and Lower Saxony entirely from Germany was clear as day. They received
French laws, French governors, no German book was allowed to cross
their frontiers without previous permission from the police, and in
each department but one newspaper, and that subject to the revision of
the prefect, was allowed to be published.--In Hamburg, one Baumhauer
was arrested for an anti-gallic expression and thrown into the
subterranean dungeons of Magdeburg, where he pined to death. The same
tyranny was exercised even on the German territory belonging to the
Rhenish confederation. Becker, privy-councillor of the duke of Gotha,
was transported beyond the seas for having published a pamphlet
against France. Several authors were compelled to retire into Sweden
and Russia; several booksellers were arrested, numerous books were
confiscated. Not the most trifling publication was permitted within
the Rhenish confederated states that even remotely opposed the
interests of France. The whole of the princes of the Rhenish
confederation were, consequently, under the _surveillance_ of French
censors and of the literary spies of Germany in the pay of France.
Hormayr's Archives contain a pamphlet well worthy of perusal, in which
an account is given of all the arrests and persecutions that took
place on account of matters connected with the press.--Madame de Stael
was exiled for having spoken favorably of the German character in her
work "de l'Allemagne," and the work itself was suppressed; Napoleon,
on giving these orders, merely said, "Ce livre n'est pas Francais,"

His treatment of Switzerland was equally unindulgent. The Valais,
which, although not forming part of Switzerland, still retained a sort
of nominal independence, was formally incorporated with France; the
canton of Tessin was, as arbitrarily, occupied by French troops, an
immense quantity of British goods was confiscated, the press was
placed under the strictest censorship, the _Erzaehler_ of Muller-
Friedeberg, the only remaining Swiss newspaper of liberal tendency,
was suppressed, while Zschokke unweariedly lauded Napoleon to the
skies as the regenerator of the liberties of Switzerland and as the
savior of the world. A humble entreaty of the Swiss for mercy was
scornfully refused by Napoleon. Instead of listening to their
complaints, he reproached their envoys, who were headed by Reinhard of
Zurich, in the most violent terms, charged the Swiss with conspiracy,
and said that a certain Sydler had ventured to speak against him in
the federal diet, etc.; nor could his assumed anger be pacified save
by the instant dissolution of the federal diet, by the extension of
the levy of Swiss recruits for the service of France, and by the
threat of a terrible punishment to all Swiss who ventured to enter the
service of England and Spain. The Swiss merely bound their chains
still closer without receiving the slightest alleviation to their
sufferings. Reinhard wrote in 1811, the time of this ill-successful
attempt on the part of the Swiss, "a petty nation possesses no means
of procuring justice." Why then did the great German nation sever
itself into so many petty tribes?

The marriage of Napoleon on the 2d of April, 1810, with Maria Louisa,
the daughter of the emperor of Austria, surrounded his throne with
additional splendor. This marriage had a double object; that of
raising an heir to his broad empire, his first wife, Josephine
Beauharnais, whom he divorced, having brought him no children, and
that of legitimating his authority and of obliterating the stain of
low birth by intermingling his blood with that of the ancient race of
Habsburg. Strange as it must appear for the child of revolution to
deny the very principles to which he owed his being and to embrace the
aristocratic ideas of a bygone age, for the proud conqueror of all the
sovereigns of Europe anxiously to solicit their recognition of him as
their equal in birth, these apparent contradictions are easily
explained by the fact that men of liberal ideas were the objects of
Napoleon's greatest dread and hatred, and that he was consequently
driven to favor the ancient aristocracy, as he had formerly favored
the ancient church, and to use them as his tools. Young and rising
nations, not the ancient families of Europe, threatened his power, and
he therefore sought to confirm it by an alliance against the former
with the ancient dynasties.[4] The nuptials were solemnized with
extraordinary pomp at Paris. The conflagration of the Austrian
ambassador's, Prince von Schwarzenberg's, house during a splendid fete
given by him to the newly-wedded pair, and which caused the death of
several persons, among others, of the Princess Pauline Schwarzenberg,
the ambassador's sister-in-law, who rushed into the flaming building
to her daughter's rescue, clouded the festivities with ominous gloom.
In the ensuing year, 1811, the youthful empress gave birth to a
prince, Napoleon Francis, who was laid in a silver cradle, and
provisionally entitled "King of Rome," in notification of his future
destiny to succeed his father on the throne of the Roman empire.[5]

Austria offered a melancholy contrast to the magnificence of France.
Exhausted by her continual exertions for the maintenance of the war,
the state could no longer meet its obligations, and, on the 15th of
March, 1811, Count Wallis, the minister of finance, lowered the value
of one thousand and sixty millions of bank paper to two hundred and
twelve millions, and the interest upon the whole of the state debts to
half the new paper issue. This fearful state bankruptcy was
accompanied by the fall of innumerable private firms; trade was
completely at a standstill, and the contributions demanded by Napoleon
amounted to a sum almost impossible to realize. Prussia, especially,
suffered from the drain upon her resources. The beautiful and
high-souled queen, Louisa, destined not to see the day of vengeance
and of victory, died, in 1810, of a broken heart.[6]

While Germany lay thus exhausted and bleeding in her chains, Napoleon
and Alexander put the plans, agreed to between them at Erfurt, into
execution. Napoleon threw himself with redoubled violence on luckless
Spain, and the Russians invaded Sweden.

The Germans acted a prominent part in the bloody wars in the
Peninsula. Four Swiss regiments, that had at an earlier period been in
the Spanish service, and the German Legion, composed of Hanoverian
refugees to England, upheld the Spanish cause, while all sorts of
troops of the Rhenish confederation, those of Bavaria and Wurtemberg
excepted, several Dutch and four Swiss regiments, fought for Napoleon.

The troops of the Rhenish confederation formed two corps. The fate of
one of them has been described by Captain Rigel of Baden. The Baden
regiment was, in 1808, sent to Biscay and united under Lefebvre with
other contingents of the Rhenish confederation, for instance, with the
Nassauers under the gallant Von Schaefer, the Dutch under General
Chasse, the Hessians, the Primates (Frankforters), and Poles. As early
as October, they fought against the Spaniards at Zornoza, and at the
pillage of Portugalete first became acquainted with the barbarous
customs of this terrible civil war. The most implacable hatred,
merciless rage, the assassination of prisoners, plunder, destruction,
and incendiarism, equally distinguished both sides. The Germans
garrisoned Bilboa, gained some successes at Molinar and Valmaseda,
were afterward placed under the command of General Victor, who arrived
with a fresh army, were again victorious at Espinosa and Burgos,
formed a junction with Soult and finally with Napoleon, and, in
December, 1808, entered Madrid in triumph.--In January, 1809, the
German troops under Victor again advanced upon the Tagus, and, after a
desperate conflict, took the celebrated bridge of Almaraz by storm.
This was followed by the horrid sacking of the little town of Arenas,
during which a Nassauer named Hornung, not only, like a second Scipio,
generously released a beautiful girl who had fallen into his hands,
but sword in hand defended her from his fellow-soldiers. In the
following March, the Germans were again brought into action, at Mesa
de Ibor, where Schaefer's Nassauers drove the enemy from their
position, under a fearful fire, which cut down three hundred of their
number; and at Medelin, where they were again victorious and massacred
numbers of the armed Spanish peasantry. Four hundred prisoners were,
after the battle, shot by order of Marshal Victor. Among the wounded
on the field of battle there lay, side by side, Preusser, the
Nassauer, and a Spanish corporal, both of whom had severely suffered.
A dispute arose between them, in the midst of which they discovered
that they were brothers. One had entered the French, the other the
Spanish service.--A Dutch battalion under Storm de Grave, abandoned at
Merida to the vengeance of the enraged people, was furiously assailed,
but made a gallant defence and fought its way through the enemy.

In the commencement of 1809, Napoleon had again quitted Spain in order
to conduct the war on the Danube in person. His marshals, left by him
in different parts of the Peninsula, took Saragossa, drove the British
under Sir John Moore out of the country, and penetrated into Portugal,
but were ere long again attacked by a fresh English army under the
Duke of Wellington. This rendered the junction of the German troops
with the main body of the French army necessary, and they consequently
shared in the defeats of Talavera and Almoncid. Their losses, more
particularly in the latter engagement, were very considerable,
amounting in all to two thousand six hundred men; among others,
General Porbeck of Baden, an officer of noted talent, fell: five
hundred of their wounded were butchered after the battle by the
infuriated Spaniards. But Wellington suddenly stopped short in his
victorious career. It was in December, 1809, when the news of the
fresh peace concluded by Napoleon with Austria arrived. On the
Spaniards hazarding a fresh engagement, Wellington left them totally
unassisted, and, on the 19th of November, they suffered a dreadful
defeat at Ocasia, where they lost twenty-five thousand men. The
Rhenish confederated troops were, in reward for the gallantry
displayed by them on this occasion, charged with the transport of the
prisoners into France, and were exposed to the whole rigor of the
climate and to every sort of deprivation while the French withdrew
into winter quarters. The fatigues of this service greatly thinned
their ranks. The other German regiments were sent into the Sierra
Morena, where they were kept ever on the alert guarding that key to
Spain, while the French under Soult advanced as far as Cadiz, those
under Massena into Portugal; but Soult being unable to take Cadiz, and
Massena being forced by the Duke of Wellington to retire, the German
troops were also driven from their position, and, in 1812, withdrew to
Valencia, but, in the October of the same year, again advanced with
Soult upon Madrid.

The second corps of the Rhenish confederated troops was stationed in
Catalonia, where they were fully occupied. Their fate has been
described by two Saxon officers, Jacobs and Von Seebach. In the
commencement of 1809, Reding the Swiss, who had, in 1808, chiefly
contributed to the capture of the French army at Baylen, commanded the
whole of the Spanish forces in Catalonia, consisting of forty thousand
Spaniards and several thousand Swiss; but these guerilla troops,
almost invincible in petty warfare, were totally unable to stand in
open battle against the veterans of the French emperor, and Reding was
completely routed by St. Cyr at Taragona. In St. Cyr's army were eight
thousand Westphalians under General Morio, three thousand Berglanders,
fifteen hundred Wurzburgers, from eight to nine hundred men of
Schwarzburg, Lippe, Waldeck, and Reuss, all of whom were employed in
the wearisome siege of Gerona, which was defended by Don Alvarez, one
of Spain's greatest heroes. The popular enthusiasm was so intense that
even the women took up arms (in the company of St. Barbara) and aided
in the defence of the walls. The Germans, ever destined to head the
assault, suffered immense losses on each attempt to carry the place by
storm. In one attack alone, on the 3d of July, in which they met with
a severe repulse, they lost two thousand of their men. Their demand of
a truce for the purpose of carrying their wounded off the field of
battle was answered by a Spaniard, Colonel Blas das Furnas, "A quarter
of an hour hence not one of them will be alive!" and the whole of the
wounded men were, in fact, murdered in cold blood by the Spaniards.
During a second assault on the 19th of September, sixteen hundred of
their number and the gallant Colonel Neuff, an Alsatian, who had
served in Egypt, fell. Gerona was finally driven by famine to
capitulate, after a sacrifice of twelve thousand men, principally
Germans, before her walls. Of the eight thousand Westphalians but one
battalion remained. St. Cyr was, in 1810, replaced by Marshal
Augereau, but the troops were few in number and worn out with fatigue;
a large convoy was lost in an unlucky engagement, in which numbers of
the Germans deserted to the Spanish, and Augereau retired to
Barcelona, the metropolis of Catalonia, in order to await the arrival
of reinforcements, among which was a Nassau regiment, one of Anhalt,
and the identical Saxon corps that had so dreadfully suffered in the
Tyrol.[7] The Saxon and Nassau troops, two thousand two hundred
strong, under the command of General Schwarz, an Alsatian, advanced
from Barcelona toward the celebrated mountain of Montserrat, whose
hermitages, piled up one above another _en amphitheatre_, excite the
traveller's wonder. Close in its vicinity lay the city of Manresa, the
focus of the Catalonian insurrection. The German troops advanced in
close column, although surrounded by infuriated multitudes, by whom
every straggler was mercilessly butchered. The two regiments,
nevertheless, succeeded in making themselves masters of Manresa, where
they were instantly shut in, furiously assailed, and threatened with
momentary destruction. The Anhalt troops and a French corps,
despatched by Augereau to their relief, were repulsed with
considerable loss. Schwarz now boldly sallied forth, fought his way
through the Spaniards, and, after losing a thousand men, succeeded in
reaching Barcelona, but was shortly afterward, after assisting at the
taking of Hostalrich, surprised at La Bisbal and taken prisoner with
almost all the Saxon troops. The few that remained fell victims to
disease.[8] The fate of the prisoners was indeed melancholy. Several
thousand of them died on the Balearic Islands, chiefly on the island
of Cabrera, where, naked and houseless, they dug for themselves holes
in the sand and died in great numbers of starvation. They often also
fell victims to the fury of the inhabitants. The Swiss engaged in the
Spanish service, sometimes saved their lives at the hazard of their

Opposed to them was the German Legion, composed of the brave
Hanoverians, who had preferred exile in Britain to submission to
Jerome, and had been sent in British men-of-war to Portugal, whence
they had, in conjunction with the troops of England and Spain,
penetrated, in 1808, into the interior of Spain.[9] At Benavente, they
made a furious charge upon the French and took their long-delayed
revenge. Linsingen's cavalry cut down all before them; arms were
severed at a blow, heads were split in two; one head was found cut in
two across from one ear to the other. A young Hanoverian soldier took
General Lefebvre prisoner, but allowed himself to be deprived of his
valuable captive by an Englishman.--The Hanoverians served first under
Sir John Moore. On the death of that commander at Corunna, the troops
under his command returned to England: a ship of the line, with two
Hanoverian battalions on board, was lost during the passage. The
German Legion afterward served under the Duke of Wellington, and
shared the dangers and the glory of the war in the Peninsula. "The
admirable accuracy and rapidity of the German artillery under Major
Hartmann greatly contributed to the victory of Talavera, and received
the personal encomiums of the Duke."

Langwerth's brigade gained equal glory. The German Legion was,
however, never in full force in Spain. A division was, in 1809, sent
to the island of Walcheren, but shared the ill-success attending all
the attempts made in the North Sea during Napoleon's reign. The
conquest and demolition of Vliessingen in August was the only result.
A pestilence broke out among the troops, and, on Napoleon's successes
in Austria, it was compelled to return to England. A third division,
consisting of several Hanoverian regiments, was sent to Sicily,
accompanied the expedition to Naples in 1809, and afterward guarded
the rocks of Sicily. The Hanoverians in Spain were also separated into
various divisions, each of which gained great distinction, more
particularly so, the corps of General Alten in the storming of
Ciudad-Rodrigo. In 1812, the Hanoverian cavalry broke three French
squares at Garcia Hernandez.

The Russians had, meanwhile, invaded Sweden. Gustavus Adolphus,
hitherto Russia's firmest ally, was suddenly and treacherously
attacked. General Buxhovden overran Finland, inciting the people, as
he advanced, to revolt against their lawful sovereign. But the brave
Finlanders stoutly resisted the attempted imposition of the yoke of
the barbarous Russ, and, although ill-supported by Sweden, performed
prodigies of valor. Gustavus Adolphus was devoid of military
knowledge, and watched, as if sunk in torpor, the ill-planned
operations of his generals. While the flower of the Swedish troops was
uselessly employed against Denmark and Norway, Finland was allowed to
fall into the grasp of Russia.[10] The Russians were already expected
to land in Sweden, when a conspiracy broke out among the nobility and
officers of the army, which terminated in the seizure of the king's
person and his deposition, March, 1809. His son, Gustavus Vasa, the
present ex-king of Sweden, was excluded from the succession, and his
uncle Charles, the imbecile and unworthy duke of Sudermania,[11] was
proclaimed king under the title of Charles XIII. He was put up as a
scarecrow by the conspirators. Gustavus Adolphus IV. had, at all
events, shown himself incapable of saving Sweden. But the conspirators
were no patriots, nor was their object the preservation of their
country; they were merely bribed traitors, weak and incapable as the
monarch they had dethroned. They were composed of a party among the
ancient nobility, impatient of the restrictions of a monarchy, and of
the younger officers in the army, who were filled with enthusiasm for
Napoleon. The rejoicings on the occasion of the abdication of Gustavus
Adolphus were heightened by the news of the victory gained by Napoleon
at Ratisbon, which, at the same time, reached Stockholm. The new and
wretched Swedish government instantly deferred everything to Napoleon
and humbly solicited his favor; but Napoleon, to whom the friendship
of Russia was, at that time, of higher importance than the submission
of a handful of intriguants in Sweden, received their homage with
marked coldness. Finland, shamefully abandoned in her hour of need,
was immediately ceded to Russia, in consideration of which, Napoleon
graciously restored Rugen and Swedish-Pomerania to Sweden. Charles
XIII. adopted, as his son and successor, Christian Augustus, prince of
Holstein-Augustenburg, who, falling dead off his horse at a
review,[12] the aged and childless monarch was compelled to make a
second choice, which fell upon the French general, Bernadotte, who
had, at one time, been a furious Jacobin and had afterward acted as
Napoleon's general and commandant in Swedish-Pomerania, where he had,
by his mildness, gained great popularity. The majority in Sweden
deemed him merely a creature of Napoleon, whose favor they hoped to
gain by this flattering choice; others, it may be, already beheld in
him Napoleon's future foe, and knew the value of the sagacity and
wisdom with which he was endowed, and of which the want was so deeply
felt in Sweden at a period when intrigue and cunning had succeeded to
violence. The Freemasons, with whom he had placed himself in close
communication, appear to have greatly influenced his election.[13] The
unfortunate king, Gustavus Adolphus, after being long kept a close
prisoner in the castle of Gripsholm, where his strong religious bias
had been strengthened by apparitions,[14] was permitted to retire into
Germany; he disdainfully refused to accept of a pension, separated
himself from his consort, a princess of Baden, and lived in proud
poverty, under the name of Colonel Gustavson, in Switzerland.--
Bernadotte, the newly adopted prince, took the title of Charles John,
crown prince of Sweden. Napoleon, who was in ignorance of this
intrigue, was taken by surprise, but, in the hope of Bernadotte's
continued fidelity, presented him with a million _en cadeau_;
Bernadotte had, however, been long jealous of Napoleon's fortune, and,
solely intent upon gaining the hearts of his future subjects, deceived
him and secretly permitted the British to trade with Sweden, although
publicly a party in the continental system.

This system was at this period enforced with exaggerated severity by
Napoleon. He not only prohibited the importation of all British goods,
but seized all already sent to the continent and condemned them to be
publicly burned. Millions evaporated in smoke, principally at
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Frankfort, and Leipzig. The wealthiest mercantile
establishments were made bankrupt.

In addition to the other blows at that time zealously bestowed upon
the dead German lion, the king of Denmark attempted to extirpate the
German language in Schleswig, but the edict to that effect, published
on the 19th of January, 1811, was frustrated by the courage of the
clergy, schoolmasters, and peasantry, who obstinately refused to learn

[Footnote 1: The pope, among other things, long refused his consent to
the second marriage of the king of Westphalia, although that prince's
first wife was merely a Protestant and an American citizen.]

[Footnote 2: Bilderdyk, whom the Dutch consider as their greatest
poet, was, nevertheless, at that time, Napoleon's basest flatterer,
and ever expressed a hypochondriacal and senseless antipathy to

[Footnote 3: At Amsterdam, in 1811; in the district around Leyden, in
1812. Insurrections of a similar character were suppressed in April,
1811, in the country around Liege; in December, 1812, at Aix-la-
Chapelle; the East Frieslanders also rebelled against the

[Footnote 4: It was during this year that Napoleon caused the seamless
coat of the Saviour, which had, during the Revolution, taken refuge at
Augsburg, to be borne in a magnificent procession to Treves and to be
exposed for eighteen days to public view. The pilgrims amounted to two
hundred and fifty thousand.--Hormayr, who had, during the foregoing
year, summoned the Tyrolese to arms against Napoleon, said in his
Annual for 1811, "By the marriage of the emperor Napoleon with Maria
Louisa, the Revolution may be considered as completely terminated and
peace durably settled throughout Europe."]

[Footnote 5: His birth was celebrated by numerous German poets and by
general public rejoicings, but with the basest adulation in
Switzerland. Meyer of Knonau relates, in his History of Switzerland,
that the king of Rome was at one of the festivals termed "the blessed
infant." Goethe's poem in praise of Napoleon appeared at this time.
The clergy also emulated each other in servility.]

[Footnote 6: At that time the noble-hearted poet, Seume, who had
formerly been a victim of native tyranny, died of sorrow and disgust
at the rule of the foreigner in Germany, at Toeplitz, 1810.]

[Footnote 7: This regiment was merely rewarded by Napoleon for its
gallantry with 15 gros (1s. 6-1/4d.) per man, in order to drink to his
health on his birthday.--_Von Seebach_.]

[Footnote 8: What the feeling among the Germans was is plainly shown
by the charge against General Beurmann for general ill-treatment of
his countrymen, whom he was accused of having allowed to perish in the
hospitals, in order to save the expense of their return home. Out of
seventy officers and two thousand four hundred and twenty-three
privates belonging to the Saxon regiment, but thirty-nine officers and
three hundred and nineteen privates returned to their native country.
Vide Jacob's Campaigns of the Gotha-Altenburgers and Von Seebach's
History of the Campaigns of the Saxony Infantry. Von Seebach, who was
taken prisoner on his return from Manresa, has given a particularly
detailed and graphic account of the campaign.]

[Footnote 9: Beamish has recounted their exploits in detail. The
"Recollections of a Legionary," Hanover, 1826, is also worthy of

[Footnote 10: The gallant acts of the Finlanders and the brutality of
the Russians are brought forward in Arndt's "Swedish Histories."]

[Footnote 11: When regent, on the death of Gustavus III., he had
spared his murderers and released those criminated in the conspiracy.
On the present occasion, he yielded in everything to the aristocracy,
and voted for the dethronement of his own house, which, as he had no
children, infallibly ensued on the exclusion of the youthful

[Footnote 12: An extremely suspicious accident, which gave rise to
many reports.]

[Footnote 13: Vide Posselt's Sixth Annual.]

[Footnote 14: This castle was haunted by the ghost of King Eric XIV.,
who had long pined here in close imprisonment, and who had once
before, during a sumptuous entertainment given by Gustavus Adolphus
IV. to his brother-in-law, the Margrave of Baden, struck the whole
court with terror by his shrieks and groans.]

[Footnote 15: Wimpfen, History of Schleswig.]

CCLIX. The Russian Campaign

An enormous comet that, during the whole of the hot summer of 1811,
hung threatening in the heavens, appeared as the harbinger of great
and important vicissitudes to the enslaved inhabitants of the earth,
and it was in truth by an act of Divine providence that a dispute
arose between the two giant powers intent upon the partition of

Napoleon was over-reached by Russia, whose avarice, far from being
glutted by the possession of Finland, great part of Prussian and
Austrian Poland, Moldavia, and Wallachia, still craved for more, and
who built her hopes of Napoleon's compliance with her demands on his
value for her friendship. Belgrade was seized, Servia demanded, and
the whole of Turkey in Europe openly grasped at. Napoleon was,
however, little inclined to cede the Mediterranean to his Russian
ally, to whose empire he gave the Danube as a boundary. Russia next
demanded possession of the duchy of Warsaw, which was refused by
Napoleon. The Austrian marriage was meanwhile concluded. Napoleon,
prior to his demand for the hand of the archduchess Maria Louisa, had
sued for that of the grandduchess Anna, sister to the emperor
Alexander, who was then in her sixteenth year, but, being refused by
her mother, the empress Maria, a princess of Wurtemberg, and Alexander
delaying a decisive answer, he formed an alliance with the Habsburg.
This event naturally led Russia to conclude that she would no longer
be permitted to aggrandize herself at the expense of Austria, and
Alexander consequently assumed a threatening posture and condescended
to listen to the complaints, hitherto condemned to silence, of the
agricultural and mercantile classes. No Russian vessel durst venture
out to sea, and a Russian fleet had been seized by the British in the
harbors of Lisbon. At Riga lay immense stores of grain in want of a
foreign market. On the 31st of December, 1810, Alexander published a
fresh tariff permitting the importation of colonial products under a
neutral flag (several hundred English ships arrived under the American
flag), and prohibiting the importation of French manufactured goods.
Not many weeks previously, on the 13th of December, Napoleon had
annexed Oldenburg to France. The duke, Peter, was nearly related to
the emperor of Russia, and Napoleon, notwithstanding his declared
readiness to grant a compensation, refused to allow it to consist of
the grandduchy of Warsaw, and proposed a duchy of Erfurt, as yet
uncreated, which Russia scornfully rejected.

The alliance between Russia, Sweden, and England was now speedily
concluded. Sweden, who had vainly demanded from Napoleon the
possession of Norway and a large supply of money, assumed a tone of
indignation, threw open her harbors to the British merchantmen, and so
openly carried on a contraband trade in Pomerania that Napoleon, in
order to maintain the continental system, was constrained to garrison
Swedish-Pomerania and Rugen, and to disarm the Swedish inhabitants.
Bernadotte, upon this, ranged himself entirely on the side of his
opponents, without, however, coming to an open rupture, for which he
awaited a declaration on the part of Russia. The expressions made use
of by Napoleon on the birth of the king of Rome at length filled up
the measure of provocation. Intoxicated with success, he boasted, in
an address to the mercantile classes, that he would in despite of
Russia maintain the continental system, for he was lord over the whole
of continental Europe; that if Alexander had not concluded a treaty
with him at Tilsit he would have compelled him to do so at
Petersburg.--The pride of the haughty Russian was deeply wounded, and
a rupture was nigh at hand.

Two secret systems were at this period undermining each other in
Prussia, that of the _Tugendbund_ founded by Stein and Scharnhorst,
whose object being the liberation of Germany at all hazards from the
yoke of Napoleon, consequently, favored Russia, and that of
Hardenberg, which aimed at a close union with France. Hardenberg,
whose position as chancellor of state gave him the upper hand, had
compromised Prussia by the servility with which he sued for an
alliance long scornfully refused and at length conceded on the most
humiliating terms by Napoleon.[1]

Russia had, meanwhile, made preparations for a war unanticipated by
Napoleon. As early as 1811, a great Russian army stood ready for the
invasion of Poland, and might, as there were at that time but few
French troops in Germany, easily have advanced as far as the Elbe. It
remained, nevertheless, in a state of inactivity.[2] Napoleon
instantly prepared for war and fortified Dantzig. His continual
proposals of peace, ever unsatisfactory to the ambition of the czar,
remaining at length unanswered, he declared war. The Rhenish
confederation followed as usual in his train, and Austria, from an
interested motive, the hope of regaining in the East by Napoleon's
assistance all she had lost by opposing him in the West, or that of
regaining her station as the third European power when the resources
of the two ruling powers, whose coalition had threatened her
existence, had been exhausted by war. Prussia also followed the eagles
of Napoleon: the Hardenberg party, with a view of conciliating him,
and, like the Rhenish confederation, from motives of gain: the
_Tugendbund_, which predominated in the army, with silent but
implacable hate.

In the spring of 1812, Napoleon, after leaving a sufficient force to
prosecute the war with activity in Spain and to guard France, Italy,
and Germany,[3] led half a million men to the Russian frontiers.
Before taking the field, he convoked all the princes of Germany to
Dresden, where he treated them with such extreme insolence as even to
revolt his most favored and warmest partisans. Tears were seen to
start in ladies' eyes, while men bit their lips with rage at the petty
humiliations and affronts heaped on them by their powerful but
momentary lord. The empress of Austria[4] and the king of Prussia[5]
appear, on this occasion, to have felt this most acutely.

For the first time--an event unknown in the history of the world--the
whole of Germany was reduced to submission. Napoleon, greater than
conquering Attila, who took the field at the head of one-half of
Germany against the other, dragged the whole of Germany in his train.
The army led by him to the steppes of Russia was principally composed
of German troops, who were so skilfully mixed up with the French as
not to be themselves aware of their numerical superiority. The right
wing, composed of thirty thousand Austrians under Schwarzenberg, was
destined for the invasion of Volhynia; while the left wing, consisting
of twenty thousand Prussians under York and several thousand French,
under the command of Marshal Macdonald, was ordered to advance upon
the coasts of the Baltic and without loss of time to besiege Riga. The
centre or main body consisted of the troops of the Rhenish
confederation, more or less mixed up with French; of thirty-eight
thousand Bavarians under Wrede and commanded by St. Cyr; of sixteen
thousand Wurtembergers under Scheeler, over whom Marshal Ney was
allotted the chief command; single regiments, principally cavalry,
were drawn off in order more thoroughly to intermix the Germans with
the French; of seventeen thousand Saxons under Reynier; of eighteen
thousand Westphalians under Vandamme; also of Hessians, Badeners,
Frankforters, Wurzburgers, Nassauers, in short, of contingents
furnished by each of the confederated states. The Swiss were mostly
concentrated under Oudinot. The Dutch, Hanseatic, Flemish, in fine,
all the Germans on the left bank of the Rhine, were at that time
crammed among the French troops. Upward of two hundred thousand
Germans, at the lowest computation, marched against Russia, a number
far superior to that of the French in the army, the remainder of which
was made up by several thousand Italians, Portuguese, and Spaniards,
who had been pressed into the service.[6]

The Prussians found themselves in the most degraded position. Their
army, weak as it was in numbers, was placed under the command of a
French general. The Prussian fortresses, with the exception of
Colberg, Graudenz, Schweidnitz, Neisse, and Glatz, were already
garrisoned with French troops, or, like Pillau near Koenigsberg, newly
occupied by them. In Berlin, the French had unlimited sway. Marshal
Augereau was stationed with sixty thousand men in Northern Germany for
the purpose of keeping that part of the country, and more particularly
Prussia, in check to Napoleon's rear; the Danish forces also stood in
readiness to support him in case of necessity. Napoleon's entire army
moreover marched through Prussia and completely drained that country
of its last resources. Napoleon deemed it unnecessary to take measures
equal in severity toward Austria, where the favor of the court seemed
to be secured by his marriage, and the allegiance of the army by the
presence of Schwarzenberg, who neither rejected nor returned his
confidence. A rich compensation was, by a secret compact, secured to
Austria in case the cession of Galicia should be necessitated by the
expected restoration of the kingdom of Poland, with which Napoleon had
long flattered the Poles, who, misled by his promises, served him with
the greatest enthusiasm. But, notwithstanding the removal of the only
obstacle, the jealousy of Austria in regard to Galicia, by this secret
compact, his promises remained unfulfilled, and he took possession of
the whole of Poland without restoring her ancient independence. The
petitions addressed to him on this subject by the Poles received
dubious replies, and he pursued toward his unfortunate dupes his
ancient system of dismembering and intermingling nations, of
tolerating no national unity. Napoleon's principal motive, however,
was his expectation of compelling the emperor by a well-aimed blow to
conclude peace, and of forming with him an alliance upon still more
favorable terms against the rest of the European powers. The
friendship of Russia was of far more import to him than all the
enthusiasm of the Poles.

The deep conviction harbored by Napoleon of his irresistible power led
him to repay every service and to regard every antagonist with
contempt. Confident of victory, he deviated from the strict military
discipline he had at one time enforced and of which he had given an
example in his own person, dragged in his train a multitude of useless
attendants fitted but for pomp and luxury, permitted his marshals and
generals to do the same, and an incredible number of private
carriages, servants, women, etc., to follow in the rear of the army,
to hamper its movements, create confusion, and aid in consuming the
army stores, which being, moreover, merely provided for a short
campaign, speedily became insufficient for the maintenance of the
enormous mass. Even in Eastern Prussia, numbers of the soldiery were
constrained by want to plunder the villages.--On the 24th of June,
1812, Napoleon crossed the Niemen, the Russian frontier, not far from
Kowno. The season was already too far advanced. It may be that,
deceived by the mildness of the winter of 1806 to 1807, he imagined it
possible to protract the campaign without peril to himself until the
winter months. No enemy appeared to oppose his progress. Barclay de
Tolly,[7] the Russian commander-in-chief, pursued the system followed
by the Scythians against Darius, and, perpetually retiring before the
enemy, gradually drew him deep into the dreary and deserted steppes.
This plan originated with Scharnhorst, by whom General Lieven was
advised not to hazard an engagement until the winter, and to turn a
deaf ear to every proposal of peace.[8] General Lieven, on reaching
Barclay's headquarters, took Colonel Toll, a German, Barclay's right
hand, and Lieutenant-Colonel Clausewitz, also a German, afterward
noted for his strategical works, into his confidence. General Pfull,
another German, at that time high in the emperor's confidence, and
almost all the Russian generals opposed Scharnhorst's plan and
continued to advance with a view of giving battle; but, on Napoleon's
appearance at the head of an army greatly their superior in number
before the Russians had been able to concentrate their forces, they
were naturally compelled to retire before him, and, on the prevention,
for some weeks, of the junction of a newly-levied Russian army under
Prince Bragation with the forces under Barclay, owing to the rapidity
of Napoleon's advance, Scharnhorst's plan was adopted as the only one

Napoleon, in the hope of overtaking the Russians and of compelling
them to give battle, pushed onward by forced marches; the supplies
were unable to follow, and numbers of the men and horses sank from
exhaustion owing to over-fatigue, heat, and hunger.[9] On the arrival
of Napoleon in Witebst, of Schwarzenberg in Volhynia, of the Prussians
before Riga, the army might have halted, reconquered Poland have been
organized, the men put into winter quarters, the army have again taken
the field early in the spring, and the conquest of Russia have been
slowly but surely completed. But Napoleon had resolved upon
terminating the war in one rapid campaign, upon defeating the
Russians, seizing their metropolis, and dictating terms of peace, and
incessantly pursued his retreating opponent, whose footsteps were
marked by the flames of the cities and villages and by the devastated
country to their rear. The first serious opposition was made at
Smolensko,[10] whence the Russians, however, speedily retreated after
setting the city on fire. On the same day, the Bavarians, who had
diverged to one side during their advance, had a furious encounter--in
which General Deroy, formerly distinguished for his services in the
Tyrol, was killed--at Poloczk with a body of Russian troops under
Wittgenstein. The Bavarians remained stationary in this part of the
country for the purpose of watching the movements of that general,
while Napoleon, careless of the peril with which he was threatened by
the approach of winter and by the multitude of enemies gathering to
his rear, advanced with the main body of the grand army from Smolensko
across the wasted country upon Moscow, the ancient metropolis of the
Russian empire.

Russia, at that time engaged in a war with Turkey, whose frontiers
were watched by an immense army under Kutusow, used her utmost
efforts, in which she was aided by England, to conciliate the Porte in
order to turn the whole of her forces against Napoleon. By a
master-stroke of political intrigue,[11] the Porte, besides concluding
peace at Bucharest on the 28th of May, ceded the province of
Bessarabia (not Moldavia and Wallachia) to Russia. A Russian army
under Tschitschakow was now enabled to drive the Austrians out of
Volhynia, while a considerable force under Kutusow joined Barclay. Had
the Russians at this time hazarded an engagement, their defeat was
certain. Moscow could not have been saved. Barclay consequently
resolved not to come to an engagement, but to husband his forces and
to attack the French during the winter. The intended surrender of
Moscow without a blow was, nevertheless, deeply resented as a national
disgrace; the army and the people[12] raised a clamor, the venerable
Kutusow was nominated commander-in-chief, and, taking up a position on
the little river Moskwa near Borodino, about two days' journey from
Moscow, a bloody engagement took place there on the 7th of September,
in which Napoleon, in order to spare his guards, neglected to follow
up his advantage with his usual energy and allowed the defeated
Russians, whom he might have totally annihilated, to escape. Napoleon
triumphed; but at what a price! After a fearful struggle, in which he
lost forty thousand men in killed and wounded,[13] the latter of whom
perished almost to a man, owing to want and neglect.[14]

Moscow was now both defenceless and void of inhabitants. Napoleon
traversed this enormous city, containing two hundred and ninety-five
churches and fifteen hundred palaces rising from amid a sea of
inferior dwellings, and took possession of the residence of the czars,
the 14th of November, 1812. The whole city was, however, deserted, and
scarcely had the French army taken up its quarters in it than flames
burst from the empty and closely shut-up houses, and, ere long, the
whole of the immense city became a sea of fire and was reduced, before
Napoleon's eyes, to ashes. Every attempt to extinguish the flames
proved unavailing. Rostopchin, the commandant of Moscow, had,
previously to his retreat, put combustible materials, which were
ignited on the entrance of the French by men secreted for that
purpose, into the houses.[15] A violent wind aided the work of
destruction. The patriotic sacrifice was performed, nor failed in its
object. Napoleon, instead of peace and plenty, merely found ashes in

Instead of pursuing the defeated Russians to Kaluga, where, in
pursuance of Toll's first laid-down plan, they took up a position
close upon the flank of the French and threatened to impede their
retreat; instead of taking up his winter quarters in the fertile South
or of quickly turning and fixing himself in Lithuania in order to
collect reinforcements for the ensuing year, Napoleon remained in a
state of inaction at Moscow until the 19th of October, in expectation
of proposals of peace from Alexander. The terms of peace offered by
him on his part to the Russians did not even elicit a reply. His
cavalry, already reduced to a great state of exhaustion, were, in the
beginning of October, surprised before the city of Tarutino and
repulsed with considerable loss. This at length decided Napoleon upon
marching upon Kaluga, but the moment for success had already passed.
The reinforced and inspirited Russians made such a desperate
resistance at Malo-Jaroslawez that he resolved to retire by the
nearest route, that by which he had penetrated up the country, marked
by ashes and pestilential corpses, into Lithuania. Winter had not yet
set in, and his ranks were already thinned by famine.[16] Kutusow,
with the main body of the Russian army, pursued the retreating French
and again overtook them at Wiazma, the 3d November. Napoleon's hopes
now rested on the separate _corps d'armee_ left to his rear on his
advance upon Moscow, but they were, notwithstanding the defeat of
Wittgenstein's corps by the Bavarians under Wrede, kept in check by
fresh Russian armies and exposed to all the horrors of winter.[17] In
Volhynia, Schwarzenberg had zealously endeavored to spare his
troops,[18] and had, by his retreat toward the grandduchy of Warsaw,
left Tschitschakow at liberty to turn his arms against Napoleon,
against whom Wittgenstein also advanced in the design of blocking up
his route, while Kutusow incessantly assailed his flank and rear. On
the 6th of November, the frost suddenly set in. The horses died by
thousands in a single night; the greater part of the cavalry was
consequently dismounted, and it was found necessary to abandon part of
the booty and artillery. A deep snow shortly afterward fell and
obstructed the path of the fugitive army. The frost became more and
more rigorous; but few of the men had sufficient strength left to
continue to carry their arms and to cover the flight of the rest. Most
of the soldiers threw away their arms and merely endeavored to
preserve life. Napoleon's grand army was scattered over the boundless
snow-covered steppes, whose dreary monotony was solely broken by some
desolate half-burned village. Gaunt forms of famine, wan, hollow-eyed,
wrapped in strange garments of misery, skins, women's clothes, etc.,
and with long-grown beards, dragged their faint and weary limbs along,
fought for a dead horse whose flesh was greedily torn from the
carcass, murdered each other for a morsel of bread, and fell one after
the other in the deep snow, never again to rise. Bones of frozen
corpses lay each morn around the dead ashes of the night fires.[19]
Numbers were seen to spring, with a horrid cry of mad exultation, into
the flaming houses. Numbers fell into the hands of the Russian boors,
who stripped them naked and chased them through the snow. Smolensko
was at length reached, but the loss of the greater part of the cannon,
the want of ammunition and provisions, rendered their stay in that
deserted and half-consumed city impossible. The flight was continued,
the Russians incessantly pursuing and harassing the worn-out troops,
whose retreat was covered by Ney with all the men still under arms.
Cut off at Smolensko, he escaped almost by miracle, by creeping during
the night along the banks of the Dnieper and successively repulsing
the several Russian corps that threw themselves in his way.[20] A thaw
now took place, and the Beresina, which it was necessary to cross, was
full of drift-ice, its banks were slippery and impassable, and
moreover commanded by Tschitschakow's artillery, while the roar of
cannon to the rear announced Wittgenstein's approach. Kutusow had this
time failed to advance with sufficient rapidity, and Napoleon, the
river to his front and enclosed between the Russian armies, owed his
escape to the most extraordinary good luck. The _corps d'armee_ under
Oudinot and Victor, that had been left behind on his advance upon
Moscow, came at the moment of need with fresh troops to his aid.
Tschitschakow quitted the bank at the spot where Napoleon intended to
make the passage of the Beresina under an idea of the attempt being
made at another point. Napoleon instantly threw two bridges across the
stream, and all the able-bodied men crossed in safety. At the moment
when the bridges, that had several times given way, were choked up by
the countless throng bringing up the rear, Wittgenstein appeared and
directed his heavy artillery upon the motionless and unarmed crowd.
Some regiments, forming the rearguard, fell, together with all still
remaining on the other side of the river, into the hands of the

The fugitive army was, after this fearful day, relieved, but the
temperature again fell to twenty-seven degrees below zero, and the
stoutest hearts and frames sank. On the 5th of December, Napoleon,
placing himself in a sledge, hurried in advance of his army, nay,
preceded the news of his disaster, in order at all events to insure
his personal safety and to pass through Germany before measures could
be taken for his capture.[21] His fugitive army shortly afterward
reached Wilna, but was too exhausted to maintain that position.
Enormous magazines, several prisoners, and the rest of the booty,
besides six million francs in silver money, fell here into the hands
of the Russians. Part of the fugitives escaped to Dantzig, but few
crossed the Oder; the Saxons under Reynier were routed and dispersed
in a last engagement at Calisch; Poniatowsky and the Poles retired to
Cracow on the Austrian frontier, as it were, protected by
Schwarzenberg, who remained unassailed by the Russians, and whose
neutrality was, not long afterward, formally recognized.

The Prussians, who had been, meanwhile, occupied with the unsuccessful
siege of Riga, and who, like the Austrians, had comparatively
husbanded their strength,[22] were now the only hope of the fugitive
French. The troops under Macdonald, accordingly, received orders to
cover the retreat of the grand army, but York, instead of obeying,
concluded a neutral treaty with the Russians commanded by Diebitsch of
Silesia and remained stationary in Eastern Prussia. The king of
Prussia, at that time still at Berlin and in the power of the French,
publicly[23] disapproved of the step taken by his general,[24] who
was, on the evacuation of Berlin by the French, as publicly rewarded.

The immense army of the conqueror of the world was totally
annihilated. Of those who entered Moscow scarcely twenty thousand, of
the half million of men who crossed the Russian frontier but eighty
thousand, returned.

[Footnote 1: Vide Bignon.]

[Footnote 2: From a letter of Count Minister in Hormayr's Sketches of
Life, it appears that Russia still cherished the hope of great
concessions being made by Napoleon in order to avoid war and was
therefore still reserved in her relations with England and the
Prussian patriots.]

[Footnote 3: French troops garrisoned German fortresses and
perpetually passed along the principal roads, which were for that
purpose essentially improved by Napoleon. In 1810, a great part of the
town of Eisenach was destroyed by the bursting of some French
powder-carts that were carelessly brought through, and by which great
numbers of people were killed.]

[Footnote 4: Who was far surpassed in splendor by her stepdaughter of

[Footnote 5: Segur relates that he was received politely but with
distant coolness by Napoleon. There is said to have been question
between them concerning the marriage of the crown prince of Prussia
with one of Napoleon's nieces, and of an incorporation of the still
unconquered Russian provinces on the Baltic, Livonia, Courland, and
Esthonia, with Prussia. All was, however, empty show. Napoleon hoped
by the rapidity of his successes to constrain the emperor of Russia to
conclude not only peace, but a still closer alliance with France, in
which case it was as far from his intention to concede the
above-mentioned provinces to Prussia as to emancipate the Poles.]

[Footnote 6: Napoleon said at that time to a Russian, "Si vous perdez
cinq Russes, ne perds qu un Francais et quatre cochons."]

[Footnote 7: This general, on the opening of the war, published a
proclamation to the Germans, summoning them to throw off the yoke of
Napoleon.--_Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 327_. Napoleon replied with, "Whom
are you addressing? There are no Germans, there are only Austrians,
Prussians, Bavarians, etc."--_All. Zeitung, No. 228._]

[Footnote 8: Vide Clausewitz's Works.]

[Footnote 9: At each encampment the men were left in such numbers in
hastily erected hospitals that, of thirty-eight thousand Bavarians,
for instance, but ten thousand, of sixteen thousand Wuertembergers, but
thirteen hundred, reached Smolensko.]

[Footnote 10: The Wuertembergers distinguished themselves here by
storming the faubourgs and the bridges across the Dnieper.]

[Footnote 11: The Greek prince, Moruzi, who at that time conducted
Turkish diplomacy, accepted a bribe, and concluded peace in the
expectation of becoming Prince of Moldavia and Wallachia. Sultan
Mahmud refusing to ratify this disgraceful treaty, gold was showered
upon the Turkish army, which suddenly dispersed, and the deserted
sultan was compelled to yield. Moruzi was deprived of his head, but
the Russians had gained their object. It must, moreover, be considered
that Napoleon was regarded with distrust by the Porte, against which
he had fought in Egypt, which he had afterward enticed into a war with
Russia, and had, by the alliance formed at Erfurt with that power,

[Footnote 12: Colonel Toll was insulted during the discussion by
Prince Bragation for the firmness with which he upheld Scharnhorst's
plan, and avoided hazarding a useless engagement. Prince Bragation was
killed in the battle.]

[Footnote 13: A Russian redoubt, the key of the field of battle, was
taken and again lost. A Wuertemberg regiment instantly pushed through
the fugitive French, retook the redoubt and retained possession of it.
It also, on this occasion, saved the life of the king of Naples and
delivered him out of the hands of the Russians, who had already taken
him prisoner.--_Ten Campaigns of the Wurtembergers._]

[Footnote 14: Everything was wanting, lint, linen, even necessary
food. The wounded men lay for days and weeks under the open sky and
fed upon the carcasses of horses.]

[Footnote 15: This combustible matter had been prepared by Schmid, the
Dutchman, under pretext of preparing an enormous balloon from which
fire was to be scattered upon the French army.]

[Footnote 16: As early as the 2d of November the remainder of the
Wuertembergers tore off their colors and concealed them in their
knapsacks.--_Roos's Memorabilia of 1812._]

[Footnote 17: On the 18th of October, the Bavarians, who were
intermixed with Swiss, performed prodigies of valor, but were so
reduced by sufferings of every description as to be unable to maintain
Poloczk. Segur says in his History of the War that St. Cyr left
Wrede's gallant conduct unmentioned in the military despatches, and
that when, on St. Cyr's being disabled by his wounds, Wrede applied
for the chief command, which naturally reverted to him, the army being
almost entirely composed of Bavarians, Napoleon refused his request.
Voelderndorf says in his Bavarian Campaigns that St. Cyr faithlessly
abandoned the Bavarians in their utmost extremity, and when all peril
was over returned to Poland in order to retake the command. During the
retreat from Poloczk he had ordered the bridges to be pulled down,
leaving on the other side a Bavarian park of artillery with the army
chest and two-and-twenty ensigns, which for better security had been
packed upon a carriage. The whole of these trophies fell, owing to St.
Cyr's negligence or ill-will, into the hands of the Russians. "The
Bavarians with difficulty concealed their antipathy toward the
French." On St. Cyr's flight, Wrede kept the remainder of the
Bavarians together, covered Napoleon's retreat, and, in conjunction
with the Westphalians and Hessians, stood another encounter with the
Russians at Wilna. Misery and want at length scattered his forces; he,
nevertheless, reassembled them in Poland and was able to place four
thousand men, on St. Cyr's return, under his command. He returned home
to Bavaria sick. Of these four thousand Bavarians but one thousand and
fifty were led by Count Rechberg back to their native soil. A great
number of Bavarians, however, remained under General Zoller to
garrison Thorn, and about fifteen hundred of them returned home.--At
the passage of the Beresina, the Wuertembergers had still about eighty
men under arms, and in Poland about three hundred assembled, the only
ones who returned free. Some were afterward liberated from
imprisonment in Russia.]

[Footnote 18: This was Austria's natural policy. In the French
despatches, Schwarzenberg was charged with having allowed
Tschitschakow to escape in order to pursue the inconsiderable force
under Sacken.]

[Footnote 19: The following anecdote is related of the Hessians
commanded by Prince Emilius of Darmstadt. The prince had fallen asleep
in the snow, and four Hessian dragoons, in order to screen him from
the north wind, held their cloaks as a wall around him and were found
next morning in the same position--frozen to death. Dead bodies were
seen frozen into the most extraordinary positions, gnawing their own
hands, gnawing the torn corpses of their comrades. The dead were often
covered with snow, and the number of little heaps lying around alone
told that of the victims of a single night.]

[Footnote 20: Napoleon said, "There are two hundred millions lying in
the cellars of the Tuileries; how willingly would I give them to save

[Footnote 21: He passed with extreme rapidity, incognito, through
Germany. In Dresden he had a short interview with the king of Saxony,
who, had he shut him up in Koenigstein, would have saved Europe a good
deal of trouble.--Napoleon no sooner reached Paris in safety than, in
his twenty-ninth bulletin, he, for the first time, acquainted the
astonished world, hitherto deceived by his false accounts of victory,
with the disastrous termination of the campaign. This bulletin was
also replete with falsehood and insolence. In his contempt of humanity
he even said, "Merely the cowards in the army were depressed in spirit
and dreamed of misfortune, the brave were ever cheerful." Thus wrote
the man who had both seen and caused all this immeasurable misery! The
bulletin concluded with, "His Imperial Majesty never enjoyed better

[Footnote 22: In the French despatches, General Huenerbein was accused
of not having pursued the Russians under General Lewis.]

[Footnote 23: The secret history of those days is still not
sufficiently brought to light. Bagnon speaks of fresh treaties between
Hardenberg and Napoleon, in which he is corroborated by Fain. These
two Frenchmen, the former of whom was a diplomatist, the other one of
Napoleon's private secretaries, admit that Prussia's object at that
time was to take advantage of Napoleon's embarrassment and to offer
him aid on certain important considerations. Prussian historians are
silent in this matter. In Von Rauschnik's biographical account of
Bluecher, the great internal schism at that time caused in Prussia by
the Hardenberg party and that of the _Tugendbund_ is merely slightly
hinted at; the former still managed diplomatic affairs, while York, a
member of the latter, had already acted on his own responsibility.
Shortly afterward affairs took a different aspect, as if Hardenberg's
diplomacy had merely been a mask, and he placed himself at the head of
the movement against France. In a memorial of 1811, given by Hormayr
in the Sketches from the War of Liberation, Hardenberg declared
decisively in favor of the alliance with Russia against France.]

[Footnote 24: Hans Louis David von York, a native of Pomerania, having
ventured, when a lieutenant in the Prussian service, indignantly to
blame the base conduct of one of his superiors in command, became
implicated in a duel, was confined in a fortress, abandoned his
country, entered the Dutch service, visited the Cape and Ceylon,
fought against the Mahrattas, was wounded, returned home and
re-entered the Prussian service in 1794.]

CCLX. The Spring of 1813

The king of Prussia had suddenly abandoned Berlin, which was still in
the hands of the French, for Breslau, whence he declared war against
France. A conference also took place between him and the emperor
Alexander at Calisch, and, on the 28th of February, 1813, an offensive
and defensive alliance was concluded between them. The hour for
vengeance had at length arrived. The whole Prussian nation, eager to
throw off the hated yoke of the foreigner, to obliterate their
disgrace in 1806, to regain their ancient name, cheerfully hastened to
place their lives and property at the service of the impoverished
government. The whole of the able-bodied population was put under
arms. The standing army was increased: to each regiment were appended
troops of volunteers, _Joegers_, composed of young men belonging to
the higher classes, who furnished their own equipments: a numerous
_Landwehr_, a sort of militia, was, as in Austria, raised besides the
standing army, and measures were even taken to call out, in case of
necessity, the heads of families and elderly men remaining at home,
under the name of the _Landsturm_.[1] The enthusiastic people, besides
furnishing the customary supplies and paying the taxes, contributed to
the full extent of their means toward defraying the immense expense of
this general arming. Every heart throbbed high with pride and hope.
Who would not wish to have lived at such a period, when man's noblest
and highest energies were thus called forth! More loudly than even in
1809 in Austria was the German cause now discussed, the great name of
the German empire now invoked in Prussia, for in that name alone could
all the races of Germany be united against their hereditary foe. The
following celebrated proclamation, promising external and internal
liberty to Germany, was, with this view, published at Calisch, by
Prussia and Russia, on the 25th of March, 1813. It was signed by
Prince Kutusow and drawn up by Baron Rehdiger of Silesia.

"The victorious troops of Russia, together with those of his Majesty
the king of Prussia, having set foot on German soil, the emperor of
Russia and his Majesty the king of Prussia announce simultaneously the
return of liberty and independence to the princes and nations of
Germany. They come with the sole and sacred purpose of aiding them to
regain the hereditary and inalienable national rights of which they
have been deprived, to afford potent protection and to secure
durability to a newly-restored empire. This great object, free from
every interested motive and therefore alone worthy of their Majesties,
has solely induced the advance and solely guides the movements of
their armies.--These armies, led by generals under the eyes of both
monarchs, trust in an omnipotent, just God, and hope to free the whole
world and Germany irrevocably from the disgraceful yoke they have so
gloriously thrown off. They press forward animated by enthusiasm.
Their watchword is 'Honor and Liberty.' May every German, desirous of
proving himself worthy of the name, speedily and spiritedly join their
ranks. May every individual, whether prince, noble, or citizen, aid
the plans of liberation, formed by Russia and Prussia, with heart and
soul, with person and property, to the last drop of his blood!--The
expectation cherished by their Majesties of meeting with these
sentiments, this zeal, in every German heart, they deem warranted by
the spirit so clearly betokened by the victories gained by Russia over
the enslaver of the world.--They therefore demand faithful
cooperation, more especially from every German prince, and willingly
presuppose that none among them will be found, who, by being and
remaining apostate to the German cause, will prove himself deserving
of annihilation by the power of public opinion and of just arms. The
Rhenish alliance, that deceitful chain lately cast by the breeder of
universal discord around ruined Germany to the destruction of her
ancient name, can, as the effect of foreign tyranny and the tool of
foreign influence, be no longer tolerated. Their Majesties believe
that the declaration of the dissolution of this alliance being their
fixed intention will meet the long-harbored and universal desire with
difficulty retained within the sorrowing hearts of the people.--The
relation in which it is the intention of his Majesty, the emperor of
all the Russias, to stand toward Germany and toward her constitution
is, at the same time, here declared. From his desire to see the
influence of the foreigner destroyed, it can be no other than that of
placing a protecting hand on a work whose form is committed to the
free, unbiased will of the princes and people of Germany. The more
closely this work, in principle, features and outline, coincides with
the once distinct character of the German nation, the more surely will
united Germany retake her place with renovated and redoubled vigor
among the empires of Europe.--His Majesty and his ally, between whom
there reigns a perfect accordance in the sentiments and views hereby
explained, are at all times ready to exert their utmost power in
pursuance of their sacred aim, the liberation of Germany from a
foreign yoke.--May France, strong and beauteous in herself,
henceforward seek to consolidate her internal prosperity! No external
power will disturb her internal peace, no enemy will encroach upon her
rightful frontiers.--But may France also learn that the other powers
of Europe aspire to the attainment of durable repose for their
subjects, and will not lay down their arms until the independence of
every state in Europe shall have been firmly secured."

Nor was the appeal vain. It found an echo in every German heart, and
such plain demonstrations of the state of the popular feeling on this
side the Rhine were made that Davoust sent serious warning to
Napoleon, who contemptuously replied, "Pah! Germans never can become
Spaniards!" With his customary rapidity, he levied in France a fresh
army three hundred thousand strong, with which he so completely awed
the Rhenish confederation as to compel it once more to take the field
with thousands of Germans against their brother Germans. The troops,
however, reluctantly obeyed, and even the traitors were but lukewarm,
for they doubted of success. Mecklenburg alone sided with Prussia.
Austria remained neutral.

A Russian corps under General Tettenborn had preceded the rest of the
troops and reached the coasts of the Baltic. As early as the 24th of
March, 1813, it appeared in Hamburg and expelled the French
authorities from the city. The heavily oppressed people of Hamburg,[2]
whose commerce had been totally annihilated by the continental system,
gave way to the utmost demonstrations of delight, received their
deliverers with open arms, revived their ancient rights, and
immediately raised a Hanseatic corps, destined to take the field
against Napoleon. Dornberg, the ancient foe to France, with another
flying squadron took the French division under Morand prisoner, and
the Prussian, Major Hellwig (the same who, in 1806, liberated the
garrison of Erfurt), dispersed, with merely one hundred and twenty
hussars, a Bavarian regiment one thousand three hundred strong and
captured five pieces of artillery. In January, the peasantry of the
upper country had already revolted against the conscription,[3] and,
in February, patriotic proclamations had been disseminated throughout
Westphalia under the signature of the Baron von Stein. In this month,
also, Captain Maas and two other patriots, who had attempted to raise
a rebellion, were executed. As the army advanced, Stein was nominated
chief of the provisional government of the still unconquered provinces
of Western Germany.

The first Russian army, seventeen thousand strong, under Wittgenstein,
pushed forward to Magdeburg, and, at Mokern, repulsed forty thousand
French, who were advancing upon Berlin. The Prussians, under their
veteran general, Blucher, entered Saxony and garrisoned Dresden, on
the 27th of March, 1813; an arch of the fine bridge across the Elbe
having been uselessly blown up by the French. Blucher, whose gallantry
in the former wars had gained for him the general esteem, and whose
kind and generous disposition had won the affection of the soldiery,
was nominated generalissimo of the Prussian forces, but subordinate in
command to Wittgenstein, who replaced Kutusow[4] as generalissimo of
the united forces of Russia and Prussia. The emperor of Russia and the
king of Prussia accompanied the army and were received with loud
acclamations by the people of Dresden and Leipzig. The allied army was
merely seventy thousand strong, and Blucher had not formed a junction
with Wittgenstein when Napoleon invaded the country by Erfurt and
Merseburg at the head of one hundred and sixty thousand men. Ney
attacked, with forty thousand men, the Russian vanguard under
Winzingerode, which, after gallantly defending a defile near
Weissenfels, made an orderly retreat before forces far their superior
in number. The French, on this occasion, lost Marshal Bessieres.
Napoleon, incredulous of attack, marched in long columns upon Leipzig,
and Wittgenstein, falling upon his right flank, committed great havoc
among the forty thousand men under Ney, which he had first of all
encountered, at Gross-Gorschen. This place was alternately lost and
regained owing to his ill-judged plan of attack by single brigades,
instead of breaking Napoleon's lines by charging them at once with the
whole of his forces. The young Prussian volunteers here measured their
strength in a murderous conflict, hand to hand, with the young French
conscripts, and excited by their martial spirit the astonishment of
the veterans. Wittgenstein's delay and Blucher's too late arrival on
the field[5] gave Napoleon time to wheel his long lines round and to
encircle the allied forces, which immediately retired. On the eve of
the bloody engagement of the 2d of May, the allied cavalry attempted a
general attack in the dark, which was also unsuccessful on account of
the superiority of the enemy's forces. The allies had, nevertheless,
captured some cannons, the French, none. The most painful loss was
that of the noble Scharnhorst, who was mortally wounded. Bulow had, on
the same day, stormed Halle with a Prussian corps, but was now
compelled to resolve upon a retreat, which was conducted in the most
orderly manner by the allies. At Koldiz, the Prussian rearguard
repulsed the French van in a bloody engagement on the 5th of May. The
allies marched through Dresden[6] and took up a firm position in and
about Bautzen, after being joined by a reinforcement of eighty
thousand Bavarians. Napoleon was also reinforced by a number of
French, Bavarian, Wurtemberg, and Saxon troops,[7] and despatched
Lauriston and Ney toward Berlin; but the former encountering the
Russians under Barclay de Tolly at Konigswartha, and the latter the
Prussians under York at Weissig, both were constrained to retreat.
Napoleon attacked the position at Bautzen from the 19th to the 21st of
May, but was gloriously repulsed by the Prussians under Kleist, while
Bluecher, who was in danger of being completely surrounded, undauntedly
defended himself on three sides. The allies lost not a cannon, not a
single prisoner, although again compelled to retire before the
superior forces of the enemy. The French had suffered an immense loss;
eighteen thousand of their wounded were sent to Dresden. Napoleon's
favorite, Marshal Duroc, and General Kirchner, a native of Alsace,
were killed, close to his side, by a cannon ball. The allied troops,
forced to retire after an obstinate encounter, neither fled nor
dispersed, but withdrew in close column and repelling each successive
attack.[8] The French avant-garde under Maison was, when in close
pursuit of the allied force, almost entirely cut to pieces by the
Prussian cavalry, which unexpectedly fell upon it at Heinau. The main
body of the Russo-Prussian army, on entering Silesia, took a slanting
direction toward the Riesengebirge and retired behind the fortress of
Schweidnitz. In this strong position they were at once partially
secure from attack, and, by their vicinity to the Bohemian frontier,
enabled to keep up a communication, and, if necessary, to form a
junction with the Austrian forces. The whole of the lowlands of
Silesia lay open to the French, who entered Breslau on the 1st of
June.[9] Berlin was also merely covered by a comparatively weak army
under General Bulow,[10] who, notwithstanding the check given by him
to Marshal Oudinot in the battles of Hoyerswerda and Luckau, was not
in sufficient force to offer assistance to the main body of the French
in case Napoleon chose to pass through Berlin on his way to Poland.
Napoleon, however, did not as yet venture to make use of his
advantage. By the seizure of Prussia and Poland, both of which lay
open to him, the main body of the allied army and the Austrians, who
had not yet declared themselves, would have been left to the rear of
his right flank and could easily have cut off his retreat. His troops,
principally young conscripts, were moreover worn out with fatigue, nor
had the whole of his reinforcements arrived. To his rear was a
multitude of bold partisans, Tettenborn, the Hanseatic legion,
Czernitscheff, who, at Halberstadt, captured General Ochs together
with the whole of the Westphalian corps and fourteen pieces of
artillery, Colomb, the Herculean captain of horse, who took a convoy
and twenty-four guns at Zwickau, and the Black Prussian squadron under
Lutzow. Napoleon consequently remained stationary, and, with a view of
completing his preparations and of awaiting the decision of Austria,
demanded an armistice, to which the allies, whose force was still
incomplete and to whom the decision of Austria was of equal
importance, gladly assented.

On this celebrated armistice, concluded on the 4th of June, 1813, at
the village of Pleisswitz, the fate of Europe was to depend. To the
side that could raise the most powerful force, that on which Austria
ranged herself, numerical superiority insured success. Napoleon's
power was still terrible; fresh victory had obliterated the disgrace
of his flight from Russia; he stood once more an invincible leader on
German soil. The French were animated by success and blindly devoted
to their emperor. Italy and Denmark were prostrate at his feet. The
Rhenish confederation was also faithful to his standard. Councillor
Crome published at Giessen, in obedience to Napoleon's mandate and
with the knowledge of the government at Darmstadt, a pamphlet entitled
"Germany's Crisis and Salvation," in which he declared that Germany
was saved by the fresh victories of Napoleon, and promised mountains
of gold to the Germans if they remained true to him.[11] Crome was at
that time graciously thanked in autograph letters by the sovereigns of
Bavaria and Wurtemberg. Lutzow's volunteer corps was, during the
armistice, surprised at Kitzen by a superior corps of Wurtembergers
under Normann and cut to pieces. Germans at that period opposed
Germans without any feeling for their common fatherland.[12] The king
of Saxony, who had already repaired to Prague under the protection of
Austria, also returned thence, was received at Dresden with extreme
magnificence by Napoleon, and, in fresh token of amity, ceded the
fortress of Torgau to the French.[13] These occurrences caused the
Saxon minister, Senfft von Pilsach, and the Saxon general, Thielmann,
who had already devoted themselves to the German cause, to resign
office. The Polish army under Prince Poniatowsky (vassal to the king
of Saxony, who was also grandduke of Warsaw) received permission (it
had at an earlier period fallen back upon Schwarzenberg) to march,
unarmed, through the Austrian territory to Dresden, in order to join
the main body of the French under Napoleon. The declaration of the
emperor of Austria in favor of his son-in-law, who, moreover, was
lavish of his promises, and, among other things, offered to restore
Silesia, was, consequently, at the opening of the armistice, deemed

The armistice was, meanwhile, still more beneficial to the allies. The
Russians had time to concentrate their scattered troops, the Prussians
completed the equipment of their numerous _Landwehren_, and the Swedes
also took the field. Bernadotte landed on the 18th of May in
Pomerania, and advanced with his troops into Brandenburg for the
purpose, in conjunction with Bulow, of covering Berlin. A German
auxiliary corps, in the pay of England, was also formed, under
Wallmoden, on the Baltic. The defence of Hamburg was extremely easy;
but the base intrigues of foreigners, who, as during the time of the
thirty years' war, paid themselves for their aid by the seizure of
German provinces and towns, delivered that splendid city into the
hands of the French. Bernadotte had sold himself to Russia for the
price of Norway, which Denmark refused to cede unless Hamburg and
Lubeck were given in exchange. This agreement had already been made by
Prince Dolgorucki in the name of the emperor Alexander, and Tettenborn
yielded Hamburg to the Danes, who marched in under pretext of
protecting the city and were received with delight by the unsuspecting
citizens. The non-advance of the Swedes proceeded from the same cause.
The increase of the Danish marine by means of the Hanse towns,
however, proved displeasing to England; the whole of the commerce was
broken up, and the Danes, hastily resolving to maintain faith with
Napoleon, delivered luckless Hamburg to the French, who instantly took
a most terrible revenge. Davoust, as he himself boasted, merely sent
twelve German patriots to execution,[14] but expelled twenty-five
thousand of the inhabitants from the city, while he pulled down their
houses and converted them into fortifications, at which the principal
citizens were compelled to work in person. Dissatisfied, moreover,
with a contribution of eighteen millions, he robbed the great Hamburg
bank, treading underfoot every private and national right, all, as he,
miserable slave as he was,[15] declared, in obedience to the mandate
of his lord.

Austria, at first, instead of aiding the allies, allowed the Poles[16]
to range themselves beneath the standard of Napoleon, whom she
overwhelmed with protestations of friendship, which served to mask her
real intentions, and meanwhile gave her time to arm herself to the
teeth and to make the allies sensible of the fact of their utter
impotency against Napoleon unless aided by her. The interests of
Austria favored her alliance with France, but Napoleon, instead of
confidence, inspired mistrust. Austria, notwithstanding the marriage
between him and Maria Louisa, was, as had been shown at the congress
of Dresden, merely treated as a tributary to France, and Napoleon's
ambition offered no guarantee to the ancient imperial dynasty. There
was no security that the provinces bestowed in momentary reward for
her alliance must not, on the first occasion, be restored. Nor was
public opinion entirely without weight.[17] Napoleon's star was on the
wane, whole nations stood like to a dark and ominous cloud threatening
on the horizon, and Count Metternich prudently chose rather to attempt
to guide the storm ere it burst than trust to a falling star. Austria
had, as early as the 27th of June, 1813, signed a treaty, at
Reichenbach in Silesia, with Russia and Prussia, by which she bound
herself to declare war against France, in case Napoleon had not,
before the 20th of July, accepted the terms of peace about to be
proposed to him. Already had the sovereigns and generals of Russia and
Prussia sketched, during a conference held with the crown prince of
Sweden, the 11th July, at Trachenberg, the plan for the approaching
campaign, and, with the permission of Austria, assigned to her the
part she was to take as one of the allies against Napoleon, when
Metternich again visited Dresden in person for the purpose of
repeating his assurances of amity, for the armistice had but just
commenced, to Napoleon. The French emperor had an indistinct idea of
the transactions then passing, and bluntly said to the Count, "As you
wish to mediate, you are no longer on my side." He hoped partly to win
Austria over by redoubling his promises, partly to terrify her by the
dread of the future ascendency of Russia, but, perceiving how
Metternich evaded him by his artful diplomacy, he suddenly asked him,
"Well, Metternich, how much has England given you in order to engage
you to play this part toward me?" This trait of insolence toward an
antagonist of whose superiority he felt conscious, and of the most
deadly hatred masked by contempt, was peculiarly characteristic of the
Corsican, who, besides the qualities of the lion, fully possessed
those of the cat. Napoleon let his hat drop in order to see whether
Metternich would raise it. He did not, and war was resolved upon. A
pretended congress for the conclusion of peace was again arranged by
both sides; by Napoleon, in order to elude the reproach cast upon him
of an insurmountable and eternal desire for war, and by the allies, in
order to prove to the whole world their desire for peace. Each side
was, however, fully aware that the palm of peace was alone to be found
on the other side of the battle-field. Napoleon was generous in his
concessions, but delayed granting full powers to his envoy, an
opportune circumstance for the allies, who were by this means able to
charge him with the whole blame of procrastination. Napoleon, in all
his concessions, merely included Russia and Austria to the exclusion
of Prussia.[18] But neither Russia nor Austria trusted to his
promises, and the negotiations were broken off on the termination of
the armistice, when Napoleon sent full powers to his plenipotentiary.
Now, was it said, it is too late. The art with which Metternich passed
from the alliance with Napoleon to neutrality, to mediation, and
finally to the coalition against him, will, in every age, be
acknowledged a master-piece of diplomacy. Austria, while coalescing
with Russia and Prussia, in a certain degree assumed a rank
conventionally superior to both. The whole of the allied armies was
placed under the command of an Austrian general, Prince von
Schwarzenberg, and if the proclamation published at Calisch had merely
summoned the people of Germany to assert their independence, the
manifesto of Count Metternich spoke already in the tone of the future
regulator of the affairs of Europe.[19] Austria declared herself on
the 12th of August, 1813, two days after the termination of the

[Footnote 1: Literally, the general levy of the people.--_Trans._]

[Footnote 2: The exasperation of the people had risen to the utmost
pitch. The French rascals in office, especially the custom-house
officers, set no bounds to their tyranny and license. No woman of
whatever rank was allowed to pass the gates without being subjected to
the most indecent inquisition. Goods that had long been redeemed were
continually taken from the tradesmen's shops and confiscated. The
arbitrary enrolment of a number of young men as conscripts at length
produced an insurrection, in which the guard-houses, etc., were
destroyed. It was, however, quelled by General St. Cyr, and six of the
citizens were executed. On the approach of the Russians, St. Cyr fled
with the whole of his troops. The bookseller Perthes, Prell, and von
Hess, formed a civic guard.--_Von Hess's Agonies_.]

[Footnote 3: The people rose _en masse_ at Ronsdorf, Solingen, and
Barmen, and marched tumultuously to Elberfeld, the great manufacturing
town, but were dispersed by the French troops. The French authorities
afterward declared that the sole object of the revolt was to smuggle
in English goods, and, under this pretext, seized all the foreign
goods in Elberfeld.]

[Footnote 4: Kutusow had, just at that conjuncture, expired at

[Footnote 5: The nature of the ground rendered a night march
impossible. The Russian, Michaelofski Danilefski, however, throws the
blame upon an officer in Blucher's headquarters, who laid the
important orders committed to his charge under his pillow and
overslept himself.]

[Footnote 6: It may here be mentioned as a remarkable characteristic
of those times that Goethe, Ernest Maurice Arndt, and Theodore Koerner
at that period met at Dresden. The youthful Koerner, a volunteer Jaeger,
was the Tyrtaeus of those days: his military songs were universally
sung: his father also expressed great enthusiasm. Goethe said almost
angrily, "Well, well, shake your chains, the man (Napoleon) is too
strong for you, you will not break them!"--_E. M. Arndt's

[Footnote 7: "Unfortunately there were German princes who, even this
time, again sent their troops to swell the ranks of the oppressor;
Austria had, unfortunately, not yet concluded her preparations;
consequently, it was only possible to clog the advance of the
conqueror by a gallant resistance."--_Clausewitz_. The Bavarians stood
under Raglowich, the Wuertembergers under Franquemont, the Saxons under
Reynier. There was also a contingent of Westphalians and Badeners.]

[Footnote 8: Bluecher exclaimed on this occasion: "He's a rascally
fellow that dares to say we fly." Even Fain, the Frenchman, confesses
in his manuscript of 1813, in which he certainly does not favor the
Germans: "The best Marshals, as it were, killed by spent balls. Great
victories without trophies. All the villages on our route in flames
which obstructed our advance. 'What a war! We shall all fall victims
to it!' are the disgraceful expressions uttered by many, for the iron
hearts of the warriors of France are rust-grown." Napoleon exclaimed
after the battle, "How! no result after such a massacre? No prisoners?
They leave me not even a nail!" Duroc's death added to the
catastrophe. Napoleon was so struck that for the first time in his
life he could give no orders, but deferred everything until the

[Footnote 9: But they merely encamped in the streets, showed
themselves more anxious than threatening, and were seized with a
terrible panic on a sudden conflagration breaking out during the
night, which they mistook for a signal to bring the _Landsturm_ upon
them. And yet there were thirty thousand French in the city. How
different to their spirit in 1807!]

[Footnote 10: Brother to the unfortunate Henry von Bulow.]

[Footnote 11: Crome was afterward barefaced enough to boast of this
work in his Autobiography, published in 1833. Napoleon dictated the
fundamental ideas of this work to him from his headquarters. His
object was to pacify the Germans. He promised them henceforward to
desist from enforcing his continental system, to restore liberty to
commerce, no longer to force the laws and language of France upon
Germany. L'empereur se fera aimer des Allemands. The Germans were, on
the other hand, warned that the allies had no intention to render
Germany free and independent, they being much more interested in
retaining Germany in a state of division and subjection. The unity of
Germany, it was also declared, was alone possible under Napoleon,

[Footnote 12: This arose from hatred to the party that dared to uphold
the German cause instead of a Prussian, Saxon, etc., one, and by no
means by chance, but, as Manso remarks, intentionally, "through low
cunning and injustice."]

[Footnote 13: The king of Saxony was, in return, insulted by Napoleon,
in an address to the ministers was termed _une veille hete_, and
compelled to countenance immoral theatrical performances by his
presence, a sin for which he each evening received absolution from his
confessor. Vide Stein's Letter to Muenster in the Sketches of the War
of Liberation.]

[Footnote 14: He also said, like his master, "I know of no Germans, I
only know of Bavarians, Wuertembergers, Westphalians," etc.]

[Footnote 15: His written defence, in which he so lyingly, so humbly
and mournfully exculpates himself that one really "compassionates the
devil," is a sort of satisfaction for the Germans.]

[Footnote 16: Poniatowsky's dismissal with the Polish army from Poland
was apparently a service rendered to Napoleon, but was in reality done
with a view of disarming Poland. Poniatowsky might have organized an
insurrection to the rear of the allies, and would in that case have
been far more dangerous to them than when ranged beneath the standard
of Napoleon.]

[Footnote 17: The people in Austria fully sympathized with passing
events. How could those be apathetic who had such a burden of disgrace
to redeem, such deep revenge to satisfy? An extremely popular song
contained the following lines:

"Awake, Franciscus! Hark! thy people call!
Awake! acknowledge the avenger's hand!
Still groans beneath the foreign courser's hoof
The soil of Germany, our fatherland.

"To arms! so long as sacred Germany
Feels but a finger of Napoleon.
Franciscus! up! Cast off each private tie!
The patriot has no kindred, has no son."

All the able-bodied men, as in Prussia, crowded beneath the imperial
standard and the whole empire made the most patriotic sacrifices.
Hungary summoned the whole of her male population, the insurrection,
as it was termed, to the field.]

[Footnote 18: Russia was to receive the whole of Poland, the
grandduchy of Warsaw was to be annihilated. Such was Napoleon's
gratitude toward the Poles!--Illyria was to be restored to Austria.
Prussia, however, was not only to be excluded from all participation
in the spoil, but the Rhenish confederation was to be extended as far
as the Oder. Prussia would have been compelled to pay the expenses of
the alliance between France, Russia, and Austria.]

[Footnote 19: "Everywhere," said this manifesto, "do the impatient
wishes of the people anticipate the regular proceedings of the
government. On all sides, the desire for independence under separate
laws, the feeling of insulted nationality, rage against the heavy
abuses inflicted by a foreign tyrant, burst simultaneously forth. His
Majesty the emperor, too clear-sighted not to view this turn in
affairs as the natural and necessary result of a preceding and violent
state of exaggeration, and too just to view it with displeasure, had
rendered it his principal object to turn it to the general advantage,
and, by well-weighed and well-combined measures, to promote the true
and lasting interests of the whole commonwealth of Europe."]

CCLXI. The Battle of Leipzig

Immediately after this--for all had been previously arranged--the
monarchs of Russia and Prussia passed the Riesengebirge with a
division of their forces into Bohemia, and joined the emperor Francis
and the great Austrian army at Prague. The celebrated general, Moreau,
who had returned from America, where he had hitherto dwelt incognito,
in order to take up arms against Napoleon, was in the train of the
czar. His example, it was hoped, would induce many of his countrymen
to abandon Napoleon. The plan of the allies was to advance, with their
main body under Schwarzenberg, consisting of one hundred and twenty
thousand Austrians and seventy thousand Russians and Prussians,
through the Erzgebirge to Napoleon's rear. A lesser Prussian force,
principally Silesian _Landwehr_, under Blucher, eighty thousand
strong, besides a small Russian corps, was, meanwhile, to cover
Silesia, or, in case of an attack by Napoleon's main body, to retire
before it and draw it further eastward. A third division, under the
crown prince of Sweden, principally Swedes, with some Prussian troops,
mostly Pomeranian and Brandenburg _Landwehr_ under Bulow, and some
Russians, in all ninety thousand men, was destined to cover Berlin,
and in case of a victory to form a junction to Napoleon's rear with
the main body of the allied army. A still lesser and equally mixed
division under Wallmoden, thirty thousand strong, was destined to
watch Davoust in Hamburg, while an Austrian corps of twenty-five
thousand men under Prince Reuss watched the movements of the
Bavarians, and another Austrian force of forty thousand, under Hiller,
those of the viceroy Eugene in Italy.

Napoleon had concentrated his main body, that still consisted of two
hundred and fifty thousand men, in and around Dresden. Davoust
received orders to advance with thirty thousand men from Hamburg upon
Berlin; in Bavaria, there were thirty thousand men under Wrede; in
Italy, forty thousand under Eugene. The German fortresses were,
moreover, strongly garrisoned with French troops. Napoleon had it in
his power to throw himself with his main body, which neither Blucher
nor the Swedes could have withstood, into Poland, to levy the people
_en masse_ and render that country the theatre of war, but the dread
of the defection of the Rhenish confederation and of a part of the
French themselves, were the country to his rear to be left open to the
allies and to Moreau, coupled with his disinclination to declare the
independence of Poland, owing to a lingering hope of being still able
to bring about a reconciliation with Russia and Austria by the
sacrifice of that country and of Prussia, caused that idea to be
renounced, and he accordingly took up a defensive position with his
main body at Dresden, whence he could watch the proceedings and take
advantage of any indiscretion on the part of his opponents. A body of
ninety thousand men under Oudinot meantime acted on the offensive,
being directed to advance, simultaneously with Davoust from Hamburg
and with Girard from Magdeburg, upon Berlin, and to take possession of
that metropolis. Napoleon hoped, when master of the ancient Prussian
provinces, to be able to suppress German enthusiasm at its source and
to induce Russia and Austria to conclude a separate peace at the
expense of Prussia.

In August, 1813, the tempest of war broke loose on every side, and all
Europe prepared for a decisive struggle. About this time, the whole of
Northern Germany was visited for some weeks, as was the case on the
defeat of Varus in the Teutoburg forest, with heavy rains and violent
storms. The elements seemed to combine, as in Russia, their efforts
with those of man against Napoleon. There his soldiers fell victims to
frost and snow, here they sank into the boggy soil and were carried
away by the swollen rivers. In the midst of the uproar of the
elements, bloody engagements continually took place, in which the
bayonet and the butt-end of the firelock were almost alone used, the
muskets being rendered unserviceable by the wet. The first engagement
of importance was that of the 21st of August between Wallmoden and
Davoust at Vellahn. A few days afterward, Theodore Korner, the
youthful poet and hero, fell in a skirmish between the French and
Wallmoden's outpost at Gadebusch.--Oudinot advanced close upon Berlin,
which was protected by the crown prince of Sweden. A murderous
conflict took place, on the 23d of August, at Gross-Beeren between the
Prussian division under General von Bulow and the French. The Swedes,
a troop of horse artillery alone excepted, were not brought into
action, and the Prussians, unaided, repulsed the greatly superior
forces of the French. The almost untrained peasantry comprising the
_Landwehr_ of the Mark and of Pomerania rushed upon the enemy, and,
unhabituated to the use of the bayonet and firelock, beat down entire
battalions of the French with the butt-end of their muskets. After a
frightful massacre, the French were utterly routed and fled in wild
disorder, but the gallant Prussians vainly expected the Swedes to aid
in the pursuit. The crown prince, partly from a desire to spare his
troops and partly from a feeling of shame--he was also a
Frenchman--remained motionless. Oudinot, nevertheless, lost two
thousand four hundred prisoners. Davoust, from this disaster, returned
once more to Hamburg. Girard, who had advanced with eight thousand men
from Magdeburg, was, on the 27th, put to flight by the Prussian
_Landwehr_ under General Hirschfeld.

Napoleon's plan of attack against Prussia had completely failed, and
his sole alternative was to act on the defensive. But on perceiving
that the main body of the allied forces under Schwarzenberg was
advancing to his rear, while Blucher was stationed with merely a weak
division in Silesia, he took the field with immensely superior forces
against the latter, under an idea of being able easily to vanquish his
weak antagonist and to fall back again in time upon Dresden. Blucher
cautiously retired, but, unable to restrain the martial spirit of the
soldiery, who obstinately defended every position whence they were
driven, lost two thousand of his men on the 21st of August. The news
of Napoleon's advance upon Silesia and of the numerical weakness of
the garrison left at Dresden reached Schwarzenberg just as he had
crossed the Erzgebirge, and induced him and the allied sovereigns
assembled within his camp to change their plan of operations and to
march straight upon the Saxon capital. Napoleon, who had pursued
Blucher as far as the Katzbach near Goldberg, instantly returned and
boldly resolved to cross the Elbe above Dresden, to seize the passes
of the Bohemian mountains, and to fall upon the rear of the main body
of the allied army. Vandamme's _corps d'armee_ had already set forward
with this design, when Napoleon learned that Dresden could no longer
hold out unless he returned thither with a division of his army, and,
in order to preserve that city and the centre of his position, he
hastily returned thither in the hope of defeating the allied army and
of bringing it between two fires, as Vandamme must meanwhile have
occupied the narrow outlets of the Erzgebirge with thirty thousand men
and by that means have cut off the retreat of the allied army. The
plan was on a grand scale, and, as far as related to Napoleon in
person, was executed, to the extreme discomfiture of the allies, with
his usual success. Schwarzenberg had, with true Austrian
procrastination, allowed the 25th of August, when, as the French
themselves confess, Dresden, in her then ill-defended state, might
have been taken almost without a stroke, to pass in inaction, and,
when he attempted to storm the city on the 26th, Napoleon, who had
meanwhile arrived, calmly awaited the onset of the thick masses of the
enemy in order to open a murderous discharge of grape upon them on
every side. They were repulsed after suffering a frightful loss. On
the following day, destined to end in still more terrible bloodshed,
Napoleon assumed the offensive, separated the retiring allied army by
well-combined sallies, cut off its left wing, and made an immense
number of prisoners, chiefly Austrians. The unfortunate Moreau had
both his legs shot off in the very first encounter. His death was an
act of justice, for he had taken up arms against his fellow-
countrymen, and was moreover a gain for the Germans, the Russians
merely making use of him in order to obscure the fame of the German
leaders, and, it may be, with a view of placing the future destinies
of France in his hands. The main body of the allied army retreated on
every side; part of the troops disbanded, the rest were exposed to
extreme hardship owing to the torrents of rain that fell without
intermission and the scarcity of provisions. Their annihilation must
have inevitably followed had Vandamme executed Napoleon's commands and
blocked up the mountain passes, in which he was unsuccessful, owing to
the gallantry with which he was held in check at Culm by eight
thousand Russian guards, headed by Ostermann,[1] who, although merely
amounting in number to a fourth of his army, fought during a whole day
without receding a step, though almost the whole of them were cut to
pieces and Ostermann was deprived of an arm, until the first corps of
the main body, in full retreat, reached the mountains. Vandamme was
now in turn overwhelmed by superior numbers. One way of escape, a
still unoccupied height, on which he hastened to post himself, alone
remained, but Kleist's corps, also in full retreat, unexpectedly but
opportunely appeared above his head and took him and the whole of his

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