But the Allies had only fallen back behind the Elbe, and taken up a strong position at Bautzen, on the Spree, about twelve leagues from Dresden, whilst an army under Bülow covered Berlin. No sooner did the Allies fall back to the right bank of the Elbe than Davoust attacked Hamburg on the 9th of May with five thousand men, and vowed vengeance on the city for having admitted the Allies. To their surprise the citizens found themselves defended by a body of Danes, from Altona, who were the allies of France, but had been just then thinking of abandoning Napoleon. But the fate of the battle of Lützen changed their views, and they retired in the evening of that day, leaving
Hamburg to the attacks of the French. Bernadotte, not having received the promised reinforcements, did not venture to cover Hamburg. Davoust entered the place like a devil. He shot twelve of the principal citizens, and drove twenty-five thousand of the inhabitants out of the city, pulled down their houses, compelling the most distinguished men of the town to work at this demolition and at raising the materials into fortifications. The people had long been subjected by the French to every possible kind of pillage and indignity; no women, however distinguished, had been allowed to pass the gate without being subjected to the most indecent examinations. But now the fury of the French commander passed all bounds. He levied a contribution of eighteen millions of dollars: and not satisfied with that, he robbed the great Hamburg bank, and declared all his doings to be by orders of the Emperor.
Napoleon, reinforced by a number of French, Bavarian, Würtemberg, and Saxon troops, moved off to attack the Allies at Bautzen, on the 19th of May. He had detached Lauriston and Ney towards Berlin to rout Bülow, but they were stopped by Barclay de Tolly and Yorck at K?nigswartha and at Weissig, and compelled to retreat. On the 21st Ney combined with Napoleon, and they made a united attack on Blucher’s position on the fortified heights of Klein and Klein-Bautzen. In this battle German fought against German, the Bavarians against Bavarians, for they took both sides, such was the dislocated state of the nation. It was not till after a long and desperately-fought battle that the Allies were compelled to give ground, and then they retired, without the loss of a single gun, and posted themselves strongly behind the fortress of Schweidnitz, so famous in the campaigns of Frederick of Prussia.
In this battle the Allies lost in killed and wounded ten thousand men, the French not less than fifteen thousand. The French generals Bruyères, Kirchner, and Duroc were amongst the killed. Duroc had long been one of the most intimate friends and attendants of Buonaparte, who was so much cut up by his loss that for the first time in all his terrible campaigns he became unable to attend to further details, but answered every call for orders with “Everything tomorrow!” When he came to find that not a gun, not a prisoner was left behind by the Germans and Russians, Napoleon seemed to comprehend the stern spirit in which they were now contending, and exclaimed, “How! no result after such a massacre? No prisoners? They leave me not even a nail!” He advanced to Breslau, various slight conflicts taking place on the way, and on the 1st of June he entered that city, the princesses of Prussia removing thence into Bohemia.
An armistice was now demanded by the Allies—it is said at the instance of Austria, who desired to act as mediator—and gladly assented to by Napoleon, who was desirous of completing his preparations for a more determined attack. The armistice was signed on the 4th of June at the village of Pleisswitz.
At the time of this armistice, Napoleon, by the great battles of Lützen and Bautzen, had recovered his prestige sufficiently to induce the German Confederates of the Rhine to stand by him; but he was by no means what he had been. The opinion of his invincibility had been irreparably damaged by the Russian campaign, and the success in these battles was not of a character to give confidence to his own army. They saw that the Allies had lost all superstitious fear of him. To assist in the negotiations of this armistice, Buonaparte sent for his two ablest heads, Fouché and Talleyrand, whom he had so long thrown from him for their sound advice. If Buonaparte could have heard, too, what was really going on in France, what were the growing feelings there, he would have been startled by a most ominous condition of things. But he had thoroughly shut out from himself the voice of public opinion, by his treatment of the press and of liberty, and he now was to suffer for it. Great Britain, on the 14th of June, had concluded an alliance with Russia and Prussia, and promised to send ample materials of assistance, even an army to the north of Prussia; and many British officers of the highest rank repaired to the headquarters of the Allies. When Great Britain was asked to take part in this negotiation she refused, declaring it useless, as Napoleon would not grant the only demands which the Allies ought to make.
Austria professed great friendliness to Napoleon, and he thought that she would not like to break with him on account of the Empress. But Austria, on the 27th of June, signed an engagement with Russia and Prussia, at Reichenbach, in Silesia, binding herself to break with him if he did not concede the terms which they demanded. These were to restore Illyria and the whole of Austrian Italy; to reinstate the Pope; to leave Poland to the three Powers who had formerly possessed themselves of it, and to renounce Spain, Holland, Switzerland, and the Confederation of the Rhine. Buonaparte treated these demands as sheer madness; but he was nearly mad himself when Talleyrand and Fouché, and still more, his best military counsellors, advised him at least to fall back to the left bank of the Rhine, and make that the boundary of France. He offered to annihilate the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, giving up the whole of Poland to Russia—such was his gratitude to the Poles!—to restore Illyria to Austria, but to cut down Prussia still more by pushing the Rhenish Confederation to the Oder.
His terms were rejected with disdain. Yet he had a last interview with Metternich, in which he hoped to terrify him by a dread of the future preponderance of Russia; but, seeing that it made no impression, he became incensed, and adopted a very insolent tone towards the Austrian Minister. “Well, Metternich,” he demanded, “how much has England given you to induce you to play this part towards me?” Metternich received the insult in haughty silence. Buonaparte, to try how far the diplomatist still would preserve his
deference towards him, let his hat fall: Metternich let it lie. This was a sign that the Austrian had taken his part; it was, in fact, the signal of war. Yet, at the last moment, Napoleon suddenly assumed a tone of conciliation, and offered very large concessions. He had heard the news of the defeat of Vittoria. But it was too late. The Congress terminated on the 10th of August, and the Allies refused to re-open it. On the 12th of August, two days after the termination of the armistice, Austria declared herself on the side of the Allies, and brought two hundred thousand men to swell their ranks. This redoubtable force was commanded by her general, Prince von Schwarzenberg.
Immediately after the termination of the armistice the Russians and Prussians joined the great army of the Austrians, which had been concentrated at Prague. Their plan was to fall upon Buonaparte’s rear. Full of activity, that unresting man had been busy, during the whole armistice, in defending his headquarters at Dresden by fortifications. He had cut down all the trees which adorned the public gardens and walks, and used them in a chain of redoubts and field-works, secured by fosses and palisades. He was in possession of the strong mountain fortresses of the vicinity, as well as those of Torgau, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, and others, so that the valley of the Elbe was in his hands; and he had a bridge of boats at K?nigstein, extending his communications to Stolpe: thus guarding against an attack on the side of Bohemia. In the beginning of August he assembled two hundred and fifty thousand men in Saxony and Silesia. Of these, sixty thousand lay at Leipsic under Oudinot, and one hundred thousand in different towns on the borders of Silesia, under Macdonald; he himself lay at Dresden with his Imperial Guard. Eugene Beauharnais he had dispatched to Italy, where he had forty thousand men. Besides these, he had a reserve of Bavarians, under General Wrede, of twenty-five thousand men.
Besides the grand army of the Allies, of two hundred thousand, marching from Bohemia, one hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, and eighty thousand Russians and Prussians, Blucher lay on the road to Breslau with eighty thousand; the Crown Prince of Sweden, near Berlin, with thirty thousand Swedes and sixty thousand Prussians and Russians; Walmoden lay at Schwerin, in Mecklenburg, with thirty thousand Allies; and Hiller, with forty thousand Austrians, watched the army of Italy.
NAPOLEON’S INTERVIEW WITH METTERNICH. (See p. 67.)
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Whilst these gigantic armies were drawing towards each other, in the early part of August, for what was afterwards called “the grand battle of the peoples,” the weather seemed as though it would renew its Russian miseries on the French. They had to march in constantly deluging rains, up to the knees in mud, and to risk their lives by crossing flooded rivers. Amid these buffetings of the elements the conflict began, on the 21st of August, between Walmoden and Davoust, at Vellahn. A few days afterwards, in a skirmish with Walmoden’s outposts at Gadebusch, Korner, the youthful Tyrt?us of Germany, fell.
The plan of the campaign is said to have been laid down by Bernadotte, and adopted, after some slight revision, by General Moreau. That general, whom the jealousy of Buonaparte had expelled from France, and who had retired to America, now returned in the hope of seeing the fall of Buonaparte effected, and peace and a liberal constitution given to his country. He came not to fight against France, but against Buonaparte. The plan showed that they who devised it knew Napoleon’s art of war. It was to prevent him from attacking and beating them in detail. Whichever party was first assailed was to retire and draw him after them, till the other divisions could close round him, and assail him on all sides. Blucher was the first to advance against Macdonald and Ney. As had been foreseen, Buonaparte hastened to support these generals with the Imperial Guard and a numerous cavalry, under Latour-Maubourg. But Blucher then retired, and, crossing the Katzbach, sat down near Jauer, so as to cover Breslau. The purpose was served, for Schwarzenberg, accompanied by the sovereigns of Russia and Prussia, as well as by Moreau, had rushed forward on Dresden, driving St. Cyr and twenty thousand men before them, who took refuge in Dresden. The Allies were at his heels, and on the 25th of August began to attack the city. They hoped to win it before Buonaparte could return, in which case they would cut off his line of communication with France—stopping the advance both of his supplies and reinforcements. But the very next day, whilst they were in vigorous operation against the city, and had already carried two redoubts, Buonaparte was seen advancing in hot haste over the bridges into Dresden. Warned of its danger, he had left Macdonald to defend himself, and now led his troops across the city and out at two different gates upon the enemies. The battle continued that day, and was resumed the next, by Buonaparte pushing forward immense bodies of troops from different gates, and concentrating them on the Allies. The attempt to take the city in Buonaparte’s absence had failed, and now they saw themselves in danger of being enclosed by Murat—who had again been induced to join the Emperor—on the Freiberg road, and by Vandamme on the road to Pirna, by the Elbe. They were, therefore, compelled to fall back, and the withdrawal soon proved a flight. Napoleon pursued them hotly amid torrents of wind and rain, and made great slaughter, especially of the Austrians, who were seized with a panic of the enemy who had so often beaten them. Seven or eight thousand French were killed and 长沙桑拿休闲娱乐会所 wounded; but of the Allies, chiefly Austrians, more than twenty thousand were killed or disabled. During the engagement Moreau had both his legs shot away by a cannon ball, and died in a few days.
VIEW IN DRESDEN.
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Buonaparte continued the pursuit of the Allies as far as Pirna, whence, owing to indisposition, he returned to Dresden; but Vandamme, Murat, Marmont, and St. Cyr pushed forward by different ways to cut off the route of the fugitives into the mountains of Bohemia. Vandamme, however, having passed Peterswald, beyond which he had orders not to proceed, was tempted to try for T?plitz, where the Allied sovereigns lay, and take it. In doing this he was enclosed, in a deep valley near Kulm, by Ostermann and other bodies of the Allies, completely routed, and taken prisoner, with Generals Haxo and Guyot,长沙桑拿洗浴休闲中心 the loss of two eagles, and seven thousand prisoners. This was on the 29th of August.
On the 26th Blucher had nearly annihilated the division of Macdonald. No sooner did he learn the return of Buonaparte to Dresden than he wheeled round upon Macdonald, taking him by surprise, and driving his troops into the rivers Katzbach and Neisse, swollen by the rains. The battle raged the most fiercely near Wahlstadt, and, on the subsidence of the floods, hundreds of corpses were seen sticking in the mud. A part of the French fled for a couple of days in terrible disorder along the right bank of the Neisse, and were captured, with their general, by the Russian commander, Langeron.
The same fate befell the troops of Ney, who had been sent to dislodge Bernadotte and Bülow before Berlin. He was beaten at Dennewitz on the 6th of 长沙桑拿交流论坛 September, with a loss of eighteen thousand men and eighty guns. Macdonald had lost on the Katzbach many thousands slain or dispersed, eighteen thousand prisoners, and a hundred and three guns. His army was nearly annihilated. Between this period and the end of September the French generals were defeated in every quarter: Davoust by Walmoden; another body of French by Platoff, on the 29th; Jerome by Czernicheff, on the 30th; and Lefebvre by Thielemann and Platoff, at Altenburg.
These defeats, which were gradually hemming Napoleon round by his enemies in Dresden, were the direct result of the active aid of Great Britain to the Allies. Sir Charles Stewart, the brother of Lord Castlereagh, had been dispatched to the headquarters of the Allies. By means of the abundant supplies of arms and money, the population of Hanover was 长沙桑拿洗浴 raised; Bernadotte was kept firm to his support of the Coalition; and, by Sir Charles, he was also urged to march on Leipsic, and be present at the final conflict. Brigadier-General Lyon was sent to head the troops in Hanover; and the Duke of Cambridge to conduct the civil government of the country. Money was supplied in abundance, in addition to military stores. Two millions were advanced to the Crown Prince of Sweden for his army, two millions more to the Russians and Prussians, and another half million to Russia to equip its fleet in the Baltic. Without these vast supplies the combined armies could not have kept their ground.
From the 24th of September till the commencement of October Buonaparte continued to maintain himself at Dresden, though the Allies were fast gathering round him. Occasionally he made a rush from the 2019长沙桑拿论坛 city, and on one occasion pursued Blucher as far as Nollendorf, beyond Kulm; but these expeditions only served to exhaust his troops, without producing any effect on the enemy. As he chased one body on one side, others were closing up on other sides. Seeing that he could not remain long at Dresden, and that Bernadotte and Bülow had quitted the neighbourhood of Berlin, he suddenly conceived the design of marching rapidly on that city, and taking up his headquarters there; but this scheme met with universal disapprobation from his officers, and he was compelled to abandon it. He then continued for days, and even weeks, in a state of listless apathy, for hours together mechanically making large letters on sheets of paper, or debating some new schemes with his generals; but the only scheme to which they would listen was that 长沙桑拿按摩论坛社区 of retreating to the left bank of the Rhine. In fact, they and the army were completely worn out and dispirited.
The Allies now determined to close in on all sides, and compel the French to a surrender. But Buonaparte, after some man?uvres to bring Blucher to action—that general and the Crown Prince of Sweden having crossed to the left bank of the Elbe—found it at length necessary to retreat to Leipsic. He reached that city on the 15th of October, and learned, to his great satisfaction, that whilst his whole force would be under its walls within twenty-four hours, the Austrians were advancing considerably ahead of the Prussians; and he flattered himself that he should be able to beat the Austrians before the other Allies could reach them.
Leipsic is nearly surrounded by rivers and marshy lands, and only, therefore, accessible by a number of bridges. The Pleisse and the Elster on the west, in various divisions, stretch under its walls; on the east winds far round the Parthe; on the south only rise some higher lands. On the 16th of October, at break of day, the Austrians attacked the southern or more accessible side with great fury, headed by Generals Kleist and Mehrfeldt, and were opposed by Poniatowski and Victor. Buonaparte was soon obliged to send up Souham to support these generals. Lauriston also was attacked by Klenau at the village of Liebertvolkwitz. After much hard fighting, Buonaparte ordered up Macdonald, who broke through the Austrian line at the village of Gossa, followed by Murat; Latour-Maubourg and Kellermann galloped through with all their cavalry. Napoleon considered this as decisive, and sent word to the King of Saxony that the battle was won, and that poor dupe and unpatriotic king set the church bells ringing for joy. But a desperate charge of Cossacks reversed all this, and drove back the French to the very walls of the town. In the meantime, Blucher had attacked and driven in Marmont, taking the village of Machern with twenty pieces of cannon and two thousand prisoners. On the side of the Pleisse Schwarzenberg pushed across a body of horse, under General Mehrfeldt, who fell into the hands of the French; but another division, under General Giulay, secured the left bank of the Pleisse and its bridges, and had he blown them up, would have cut off the only avenue of retreat for the French towards the Rhine. Night fell on the fierce contest, in which two hundred and thirty thousand Allies were hemming in one hundred and thirty-six thousand French; for the Allies this time had adopted Buonaparte’s great rule of conquering by united numbers.
The next day the battle paused, as by mutual consent; and as it was evident that the French must eventually retreat, this day should have been spent in preparing temporary bridges to cross the rivers; but, as at Moscow, the presence of mind of Buonaparte seemed to have deserted him. He dispatched General Mehrfeldt to the Allied monarchs, to propose an armistice, on condition that he would yield all demanded at the previous Conference—Poland, and Illyria, the independence of Holland, Spain, and Italy, with the evacuation of Germany entirely. Before he went Mehrfeldt informed him that the Bavarians had gone over in a body to the Allies. But in vain did Buonaparte wait for an answer—none was vouchsafed. The Allied monarchs had mutually sworn to hold no further intercourse with the invader till every Frenchman was beyond the Rhine.
On the morning of the 19th the battle recommenced with fury. The French were now fighting close under the walls of the town, and Napoleon, posted on an eminence called Thonsberg, watched the conflict. Till two o’clock the fight raged all along the line, round the city; and neither party seemed to make any advance. At length the Allies forced their way into the village of Probstheide, and threw the French on that side into great confusion. Ney, on the north side, was also fearfully pressed by Blucher and the Crown Prince of Sweden, and was compelled to retreat under the walls. On a sudden, as the Russians advanced also against Ney, the Saxons—ten thousand in number—went over to them with a shout. They were sent to the rear, but their cannon was at once turned against the enemy. By evening it was clear that the French could not hold their position another day. Schwarzenberg announced to the Allied sovereigns that victory was certain, and they knelt on the field and returned thanks to God. The French knew this better than their opponents, for in the two days they had fired two hundred and fifty thousand cannon-balls, and had only about sixteen thousand cartridges left, which would not serve for more than two hours, much of their artillery having been sent to Torgau. The retreat, therefore, commenced in the night. There was only one bridge prepared, of timber, in addition to the regular stone bridge, over which one hundred thousand men must pass, with the enemy at their heels. To add to the misery, the temporary bridge soon broke down. Napoleon took a hasty leave of the King and Queen of Saxony, ordered Poniatowski to defend the rear, and himself made for the bridge. It was not without much difficulty, and considerable alarm lest he should be surrounded and taken, that he and his suite got across. Then there was a terrible scene of crushing and scrambling; and the enemy, now aware of the flight, were galloping and running from all sides towards the bridge, to cut off the fugitives. Soon after Buonaparte had got over, the bridge was blown up by the French officer in charge of the mine already made, and twenty-five thousand men were left to surrender as prisoners in the town. Amongst these were Marshals Macdonald and Poniatowski; but, disdaining to surrender, they sprang, with their horses, into the Pleisse—to swim. Macdonald escaped, but Poniatowski, though he crossed the Pleisse, was again nearly cut off, and plunging into the deep and muddy Elster, was drowned. No braver man perished in these tragic campaigns; both Allies and French in Leipsic followed his remains to the tomb, in sincere honour of his gallantry. The triumph of the Allied monarchs was complete. They met in the great square of the city, and felicitated each other. The King of Saxony was sent, without any interview, under a guard of Cossacks to Berlin, and at the General Congress he was made to pay dearly in territory for his besotted adhesion to the invader of Germany. In this awful battle the French lost three hundred guns. The slain on both sides amounted to eighty thousand, and thousands of the wounded lay for days around the city, exposed to the severe October nights, before they could be collected into lazarettos; and the view of the whole environs of Leipsic, covered with dead, was fearful.
On the 23rd of October Napoleon reached Erfurt, whose fortifications afforded him the means of two days’ delay, to collect his scattered forces. As they came straggling in, in a most wretched condition, and without arms, his patience forsook him, and he exclaimed, “They are a set of scoundrels, who are going to the devil! I shall lose eighty thousand before I get to the Rhine!” In fact, he had only eighty thousand men left, besides another eighty thousand in the garrisons in the north of Germany—thus also lost to him. Of his two hundred and eighty thousand men, had utterly perished one hundred and twenty thousand. He sent orders to those in the garrisons to form a junction in the valley of the Elbe, and so fight their way home; but this was not practicable; and in a few months they all surrendered, on conditions. He here dismissed such of the Saxons and Baden troops as remained with him, and offered the same freedom to the Poles; but these brave men—with a generosity to which the betrayer of their country had no claim—refused to disband till they had seen him safe over the Rhine. Murat, with less fidelity, took his leave again, on the plea of raising troops on the frontiers of France to facilitate Napoleon’s retreat, but in reality to get away to Naples and make terms for himself.
Before Buonaparte quitted Erfurt he learned that his late allies, the Bavarians, with a body of Austrians under General Wrede, were marching to cut off his line of retreat to the Rhine, and that another body of Austrians and Prussians were marching from near Weimar, on the same point, with the same object. He left Erfurt on the 25th of October, amid the most tempestuous weather, and his rear incessantly harassed by the Cossacks. He met Wrede posted at Hanau, but with only forty-five thousand men, so that he was able to force his way, but with a loss of six thousand, inflicting a still greater loss on the Austro-Bavarians, of nearly ten thousand. On the 30th of October Napoleon reached Frankfort, and was at Mainz the next day, where he saw his army cross, and on the 7th of November he left for Paris, where he arrived on the 9th. His reception there was by no means encouraging. In addition to the enormous destruction of life in the Russian campaign, the French public now—instead of the reality of those victories which his lying bulletins had announced—saw him once more arrive alone.