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"Je fus ambitieux; tout homme l'est, sans doute; 
Mais jamais roi, pontife, ou chef, ou citoyen, 
Ne conçut un projet aussi grand que ie mien. : ' 

Voltaiee, Mahomet. 




major-general united states army; 

author of " elements of military art and science ;" * international law, 

and tiie laws of war," ac, ac. 




1 8 G 4, 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1SG4, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 

District of New York. 


Electrotyped by Kjiitu & McPougal, 82 & ^4 Lteekman-street. 
Printed by C. A. Alvosd, 15 Vandewater-street. 



CHAPTER XVIII.— Con tinned 



Napoleon finally determines to retreat — Attack on Murat — Departure 
from Moscow — Retreat on Borowsk — Position of the two Armies — 
Battle of Wiasma — Approach of Winter — Conspiracy of Mallet ami 
Lahorie — Disaster of Krasnoi — Desperate Efforts of Ney — New Diffi- 
culties of the Retreat — March of Kutusof on Elvira — Projects of the 
Russians — Battle of the Beresina — Remarks on this Passage — Contin- 
uation of the Retreat — Napoleon departs for Paris — Motives of this 
Departure — General Causes of the Failure of this Campaign — Continua- 
tion of the Retreat under Murat — He resigns the Command to Eugene 
— Final Refuge of the Army behind the Elbe — Summary of the Cam- 
paign of 1812 in Spain — The English destroy the Bridge of Almaraz 
— Capture of Salamanca — Wellington enters Madrid — His unsuccessful 
Siege of Badajos — He retires into Portugal — Operations in the East of 
"jpain — Conclusion 



General State of Europe — Mission of Bubna — Amicable Protestations of 
Austria — Napoleon's Preparations fur a new Campaign — Eugene behind 
the Elbe — Prussia declares against Napoleon — March of the Allies on 




the Elbe — They enter Saxony — Negotiations with Austria — She declares 
an armed Mediation — Napoleon rejoins his Army — He advances on the 
Saale — Organization of his Army — Levy in Mass in Prussia — Movements 
of the Allies — Position of their Armies — Napoleon effects his Junction 
with Eugene — He directs his March on Leipsic — Project of the Allies — 
Battle of Lutzen — Remarks on this Battle — Pursuit of the Allies on 
Dresden — Eugene sent to organize an Army in Italy — New Negotia- 
tions — Another Mission of Bubna — Napoleon accepts the Proposition of 
a Congress — Caulaincourt's Proposition to Russia — Napoleon repairs to 
Bautzen — Fortified Position of the Allies — Ney's March to turn this 
Position — Combats of Weissig and ' Konigswarth — Ney debouches on 
Klix — Battle of Bautzen — Remarks on this Battle — Nesselrode's Reply 
to the Overtures of Caulaincourt — Combats of Reichenbach and Haynau 
— The Allies throw themselves on Schweidnitz — Armistice of Neumark 
— Combat of Luckau — Treaty with Denmark — Third Mission of Bubna 
— Negotiations of the Allies at Reichenbach — Metternich at Dresden — 
His Interview with Napoleon — Envoys to the Congress of Prague — 
Napoleon meets his Empress at Mayenco — Military Projects of the Allies 
—Negotiations at Prague — Summary of Operations in Spain — Battle of 
Victoria — Suchet's Operations in the East of Spain 05 




Renewal of Hostilities — Immense Efforts of the Coalition — Organization of 
the Allied forces — Organization of the French Army — Relative Position 
of the opposing Forces — Different Combinations of the Theatre of War 
— Preliminary Movements — Plan of Operations — Napoleon marches 
against Blucher — His Instructions to Macdonald — The Command of the 
Allied Forces — March of the Allies on Dresden — Their singular Disposi- 
tions for Attack — Napoleon's Project to cut them off at Konigstein — 
Battle of Dresden — The Allies retreat — Operations of Vandamme near 
Konigstein — His Disaster at Culm — Oudinot defeated at Gros-Beeren — 
Macdonald's Disaster at the Katzbach — Napoleon marches to his Assis- 
tance — Ney's defeat at Dennewitz — Remarks on this Battle — Remarks 
on Napoleon's Plan of Campaign — His Demonstrations on Bohemia — 
Third Attempt against Blucher— New Hans of the Allies — They assume 
the Offensive — Napoleon marches against Blucher and Bernadotte — 
Napoleon's Project of Manceuvering against Berlin — It is defeated by the 
Defection of Bavaria — The Allies concentrate on Leipsic — Singular Pro- 
ject of Schwartzeuberg — First Day of Leipsic — Napoleon proposes an 



Armistice which is refused — The Allies receive Reinforcements — Second 
Day of Leipsic — Third Day of Leipsic — Remarks on this Battle — Napo- 
leon retreats on Erfurth — Pursuit of the Allies — Departure of Murat 

Threatening March of the Bavarians — Their Defeat at Hanau — The 
French retire behind the Rhine — Capitulation of Dresden — Operations 
before Hamburg — Capitulation of Dantzic — Siege and Blockade of the 
other Fortresses — Operations of Eugene in Italy — Soult's Operations in 
Spain 132 




General State of France — Change of the French Ministry — Propositions of 
the Allies — Dissolution of the Chamber — Preparations for Defense — 
Negotiations for the Restoration of Ferdinand — Situation of Affairs in 
Italy — Extraordinary Efforts of the Coalition — They resolve to invade 
France — Their Motives of Action — They pass the Rhine — Napoleon 
marches against them — He attacks Blucher — First Combat of Brienne — 
Battle of Brienne — Congress of Chatillon — Faults of Blucher — Position 
of the two Armies — Combat of Champ- Aubert — Combat of Montmirail 
— Affair of Chateau-Thierry — Defeat of Blucher at Vauchamps and Etoges 
— He rallies his Army at Chalons — Movement of the Allies on Nogent — 
Napoleon flies to the Seine — Slow March of Schwartzenberg — Combat 
of Nangis — Combat of Montreau — Schwartzenberg evacuates Troyes — 
Operations of Eugene and Augereau — Proposal of an Armistice — New 
Disposition of the Allied Forces — Blucher marches on Meaux — Opera- 
tions of Mortier and Marmont — Napoleon marches against Blucher — 
Blucher repasses the Aisne — Battle of Craone — Ultimatum of Chatillon 
rejected — Battle of Laon — Affair of Reims — Schwartzenberg on the 
Aube — His Vanguard crosses the Seine — The Empress and Regency 
retire to Blois — Napoleon moves against the grand Allied Army — 
Battle of Arcis — Remarks on Napoleon's Position — Success of the Allies 
in the South — New Project of Manoeuvring on the Enemy's Rear — 
Operations of Blucher — The Marshals are separated from Napoleon — 
Alexander decides to march on Paris — Efforts of Napoleon to communi- 
cate with his Marshals — The latter retire on Paris — Difficulties of Napo- 
leon's Situation — He flies to the Defense of the Capital — Battle of Paris 
— Situation of France — Want of Public Spirit in Paris — Conduct of the 
Emperor of Russia — Intrigues of the Factions — Abdication of Fontaine- 
bleau — Battle of Toulouse — Napoleon retires to Elba — Evacuation of 
Italy — Concluding Remarks 231 





Napoleon at Elba— Division of Parties in France — Course pursued by 
Louis XVIII. — Different Forms of Government — Defects of the Charter 
of Louis XVIII. — Errors in its Administration — Napoleon's Reasons 
for returning to France — His Departure from Elba — His Reception in 
France and March on Lyons — The Bourbons prepare for Defense — 
Decrees of Lyons — Ney declares for the Emperor — Napoleon resumes 
his Authority as Emperor — Composition of his Ministry — His Position 
towards Europe — General Coalition against him — Declaration of the 
Congress of Vienna — Operations of the Duke d'Angoulême in the South 
of France — Troubles in La Vendée — Affairs of Naples — Preparations to 
repel Aggression upon France — Motives of Napoleon's defensive Atti- 
tude — He refuses to adopt revolutionary Measures — The Champ de Mai 
— Opening of the Chambers — Their Addresses — Dogmatic Controversies 
of the Deputies — Napoleon's Reply — Military Preparations of Napoleon 
— Preparations of the Allies — Napoleon's general Plan of Campaign — 
He joins his Army — Plan of Operations — Opening of the Campaign — 
Passage of the Sambre, June 15th — Measures of the Allies — Decisive 
Movement prescribed to Ney — He delays its Execution — His Delay in 
•narching on Quatre-Bras — Reconnoissance of the Position of the Prus 
siaus — Dispositions for forcing their Position — Battle of Ligny — Ney 
repulsed at Quatre-Bras— Position of Affairs on the Morning of the Sev- 
enteenth — Grouchy sent in Pursuit of the Prussians — The Reserves and 
Left Wing march against the English — Commencement of the Battle of 
Waterloo — First Appearance of the Prussians — Napoleon hastens the 
Attack on the English — Ney's first Attack on the Centre — Attack of 
the Left on Hougomont — Ney's second Attack — Bulow debouches on 
Planchenois— General Charge of the French Cavalry— Arrival of Blucher 
and Bulow— Wellington's Dispositions— Defeat of the French Right- 
Last Efforts and Rout of the French Army — Operations of Grouchy — 
Manoeuvres of the Allies— The French retreat on Avesnes— Napoleon's 
Return to Pans — Military Resources of France — Conspiracies of Napo- 
leon's Adversaries — Dispositions of the Populace — Napoleon's second 
Abdication — He retires from France — He is exiled to St. Helena — His 







34. BATTLE OF MALO-JAROSLAYflTZ, 24th October. 1812. 

35. BATTLE OF KRASNOI, 16th, 17th and 18th November, 1812. 

36. PASSAGE OF THE BERESINA, 26th, 27th and 28th November, 1812. 

37. BATTLE OF LUTZEN, 2d May, 1813. 

38. BATTLE OF BAUTZEN, 20th and 21st May, 1813. 

39. BATTLE OF DRESDEN, 26th and 27th August, 1813. 

40. BATTLE OF CULM, 29th August, 1813. 

4L BATTLE OF THE KATZBACH, 26th August, 1813. 

42. BATTLE OF DENNEWITZ, 6th September, 1813. 

43. BATTLE OF LEIPSIC, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th October, 1813. (Sheet 1.) 

44. BATTLE OF LEIPSIC, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th October, 1813, (Sheet 2.) 

45. BATTLE OF HANAU, 30th October, 1813. 

4G. MAP OF PARTS OF FRANCE AND BELGIUM, to illustrate the 
Campaigns of 1814-15. 

47. BATTLE OF LA ROTHIÈRE, 1st February, 1814. 

February. 1814 

49. BATTLE OF MONTMIRAIL, 11th February, 1814 

50. BATTLE OF CRAONE, 7th March, 1814. 
61. BATTLE OF LAON, 9th March, 1814. 

52. BATTLE OF ORTHES, 27th February, 1814. 

53. BATTLE OF TOULOUSE, 10th April, 1814. 

54. BATTLE OF FÈRE CHAMPENOISE, 25th March, 1814. 

55. PARIS AND ITS ENVIRONS, to illustrate the Battle of Paris, 30th 
March, 1814. 

56. BATTLE OF LIGHT, 16th June, 1815. 

57. BATTLE OF QUATRE BRAS, 16th June, 1815. 

58. BATTLE OF WATERLOO, 18th June, 1815, Sheet 1, Morning of the 

59. BATTLE OF WATERLOO, 18th June, 1815, Sheet 2, Crisis of the Battle. 

60. BATTLE OF WAVRE. 18th and 19th June, 1815. 



Part II. — Retreat fboîi Moscow. 

Napoleon finally determines to retreat — Attack on Murat — Departure from 
Moscow — Retreat on Borowsk — Position of the two Armies — Battle of 
Wiasnia — Approach of "Winter — Conspiracy of Mallet and Lahorie — Disaster 
of Krasnoi — Desperato Efforts of Ney — New Difficulties of the Retreat — 
March of Kutusof on Elvira — Projects of the Russians — Battle of the Bere- 
sina — Remarks on this Passage — Continuation of the Retreat — Napoleon 
departs for Paris — Motives of this Departure — General Causes of the 'Failure 
of this Campaign — Continuation of the Retreat under Murat — He resigns 
the Command to Eugene — Final Refuge of the Army behind the Elbe — 
Summary of the Campaign of 1812 in Spain — The English destroy the 
Bridge of Almaraz — Capture of Salamanca — Wellington enters Madrid — His 
unsuccessful Siege of Badajos — He retires into Portugal — Operations in the 
East of Spain — Conclusion. 

Napoleon finally determines to retreat.— The time neces- 
sary for a reply from St. Petersburg to my overtures having 
passed, it was evident that the enemy did not desire peace. 
As our occupation of the salient point of Moscow had not 
produced the desired effect, and as the winter-season was 
rapidly advancing, it was now absolutely necessary to regain 
the line of the Borysthenese, in order to cover our communi- 
cations. It was impossible to pass the winter amid the ruins 
of Moscow. On the thirteenth of October there was a light 
fall of snow. This was a powerful spur in hastening our 
departure. I hoped to be in motion by the twentieth of 
October. On the fifteenth the hospitals were evacuated, the 
sick being sent to Smolensko. The snow of the thirteenth 
was followed by fine weather. 

* Continued from Vol. HI. 


Attack on Murat. — On the eighteenth of October Ney's 
corps entered Moscow preparatory to beginning the retreat, 
and while I was passing it in review the news came that 
Murat was exposed to a total defeat : a heavy cannonade 
had been heard all the morning, and the alarm had already 
reached Moscow. In fact, the Russians, certain that Murat 
was not in sufficient force to resist their entire army, had 
conceived a project to destroy him. It had been verbally 
agreed to avoid a war of outposts, until an answer to my 
proposition could be received ; but Kutusof had rejected 
every proposal for an armistice, saying that he had no author- 
ity to make one. Murat was over-confident and off his 
guard, and our soldiers, unaccustomed to a repose which 
they regarded as a forerunner of peace, did not think there 
was any danger of their being troubled. Benningsen, at the 
head of two-thirds of the Russian army, thought to carry 
away our van-guard at AVinkowo. The false direction of 
one of his columns accelerated his attack, and prevented the 
success of his plan. Nevertheless Murat was compelled to 
yield to superior forces, and, although he escaped a total 
defeat, we lost considerable baggage, several cannon, and 
many brave men. 

Departure from Moscow.— I left Moscow on the nine- 
teenth of October, while Lauriston went to seek the expected 
reply from St. Petersburg : Murat, at the same time, denied 
by the left to disengage himself from the presence of the 
enemy. I, at first, took the road to Taroutina, but, at 
Troitzkoje, I inclined to the right by the road to Kalouga in 
order to reach Borousk and Malojaroslawetz before Kutusof 
could be informed of my intention. If we should gain this 
last city before him, nothing could prevent our reaching, 
if not Kalouga, at least Joucknow, to take the road to 

We left Moscow with a train equal to the army of Darius. 


My forces numbered about eighty thousand combatants, and 
some fifteen thousand convalescents ; we had some six hun- 
dred pieces of cannon, and two thousand carriages for the 
artillery. To diminish my train as much as possible I had 
preserved only such of my lighter bridge equipages as might 
be necessary in urgent cases. As we could not rely upon 
regular distributions, each company formed an equipage of 
two or three carts for the transportation of such provisions 
as it had collected from the ruins of Moscow, and from the 
surrounding villages. To these equipages were added those 
in which, under the pretext of carrying provisions, they con- 
cealed the illicit booty which the soldiers, and even the offi- 
cers, had found in the deserted cellars and stores of Moscow. 
In order the better to conceal this booty, they pretended 
that these carts contained clothing, &c. } to protect them 
from the cold. The officers not serving with troops had also 
each their cart or britscha for the same purposes, and under 
the same pretext. There were almost as many wagons as 
combatants : never did a modern army present such a spec- 
tacle ; and it was with such impedimenta that we were about 
to make the most delicate and difficult retreat ever under- 
taken by an army.* 

I was forced to tolerate these abuses, as they were almost 
our only resource. Our train diminished daily, and the 
wagons emptied of their provisions served for the transporta- 
tion of our sick and wounded, or for barricades against the 
enemy's light troops. Our numerous body of horses con- 

* The people who accompanied the army in its retreat from Moscow were 
mainly Jews, Germans, and Italians who had remained there, rotwithstanding 
the orders of the Russian authorities for its entire abandonment on the ap- 
proach of the French. Knowing that, for this disobedience, they would be 
given up to the barbarity of the Cossacks, on the return of the Russians, they 
were obliged to join the French in order to save their owu lives. A large 
portion of these families, however, were murdered by the Cossacks, or perished 
from cold and hunger, during the retreat. It is estimated that sixty thousand 
perished in this way. 


sunned all the forage on the way, and gradually diminished 
for the want of food. The traces which we left behind us 
attested that great enterprises perish from the very greatness 
of 'the preparations required for their success. 

Mortier remained at Moscow with seven or eight thousand 
men. He was to cover our communications till our march well begun, and then to blow up the Kremlin, destroy 
the public buildings, and evacuate the place.* He was to 
rally the remains of Junot's troops at Mojaisk, and follow 
my army on the first favorable opportunity. 

Retreat on Borowsk. — Although I had determined to 
fallow the route to Borowsk, I first marched on the old road 
to Kalouga, in order to deceive the Russians, and enable the 
king of Naples to collect his scattered troops. On the twen- 
tieth, the viceroy, who formed my van-guard turned to the 
right in order to reach, at Bykassowo, the road from Bo- 
rowsk on Malojaroslawetz, which, on the twenty-third, was 
occupied by our troops. I was exceedingly impatient to 
reach Borowsk where I could learn whether Kutusof had 
got wind of our departure, and had taken any measures to 

* The task assigned to Mortier was a most difficult one, and few of his friends 
ever expected to see him again. Napoleon embraced him in taking leave, and 
said to him frankly, yet sadly : " I rely on your good fortune. Still, in war, 
we must sometimes make part of a sacrifice." In addition to his danger from 
hosts of the enemy who surrounded him, he had to destroy an immense amount 
of military munitions left behind. Thousands of barrels of powder were col- 
lected in the vaults, and halls and appartments of the Kremlin. On abandon- 
ing the place a slow match was attached to this mine. " The Cossacks, eager 
for plunder, rushed within the deserted halls. Suddenly the majestic fabric 
was raised into the air. The earth shook under the fret of Mortier. The ex- 
plosion, in most appalling thunder peal, startled the army in its midnight 
bivouac. From the darkened and sulphurous skies there was rained down 
upou the city a horrible shower of fragments of timber, rocks, shattered 
weapons, heavy pieces of artillery, and mangled bodies." It should be re- 
marked that while preparing to destroy these magazines, Mortier and his divi- 
sion was hotly pressed by the enemy around the Kremlin, and a single spark 
from his own or the enemy's fire, must have destroyed him and all his men. 
His success was couplet:, but almost miraculous. 


intercept our march on Kalouga. Hero also I was to Le 
joined by Murat, and from hero I proposed to push forward 
Eugene in the direction of Malojaroslawetz. Our future 
safety depended upon our reaching this point before Kutu- 
sof, which, if he had not heard of our departure, was still 
possible, although three days had been spent in insignificant 
movements by which we had gained only ten leagues on our 
line of march. The twenty-third I departed on a gallop for 
Borowsk, which place Eugene had occupied the night before, 
and where Murat had already arrived. Nothing being per- 
ceived of the enemy except reconnoitering parties on the 

possible. We now had every reason to think that we should 
reach, without obstacle, the new road from Smolensko by 
Elnia (Jelnia). 

Bell uno had been ordered to occupy that place by the divi- 
sion of Baraguay d'Hilliers which consisted of about ten 
thousand men of the provisional regiments, or recruits, des- 
tined for the different regiments of the army. I also directed 
the governor of Wiasma to send a movable column of three or 
four thousand men with estafettes in the direction of this 
new road. 

The numerous parties of the enemy on the left denoted 
some important movement. At Borowsk I learned that 
Mortier, with powder found in the mines of the Kremlin, 
had blown up a part of its buildings, and especially its 
arsenal, and on the twenty-third, had taken the road to 
Mojaisk, carrying with him General Winizingerode, who 
had ventured alone with his aide-de-camp into the streets 
of Moscow. I hardly thought that Kutusof could debouch 
in time on Borowsk : but Eugene, who did not understand 
my projects, and who was occupied with the enemy on his 
left, advanced too slowly ; he did not fear an engagement, 

VOL. IV. 2. 


Lut thought that I might be attacked, and if so, that it 
would be necessary for him to return to take part in the 

But one of those fortuitous events, which seemed connected 
with this fatal campaign, now defeated my designs. Kutu- 
so f, hearing of Eugene's march on Borowsk, but not sup- 
posing that we were retreating, had projected a plan to strike 
the fourth corps-d'armée, as he had Murat. Doctorof, with 
twenty-five thousand men was directed to accomplish this 
object. On approaching Borowsk he encountered our army, 
but supposed it nothing more than Eugene's corps. The 
partisan Seslavin, getting wind, of our approach, informed 
Doctorof of it, but that general was incredulous. The bold 
Cossack, piqued at his report not being believed, advanced 
even to the gates of Borowsk, and captured an officer of the 
Young Guard, who confirmed his story. Doctorof s chief of 
staff hastened to Taroutina, to announce to Kutusof that I 
had left Moscow, and that all my army was on the road to 
Kalouga: at the same time, the corps which had been sent 
to surprise Borowsk, directed its march on Malojaroslawetz. 
This fortuitous incident produced the most grave conse- 
quences ; for the Russian army, which would have remained 
quiet at Taroutina, had it not been for this accidental receipt 
of the important news of my retreat, raised their camp on 
the twenty-fourth, and also directed their march on Maloja- 
roslawetz. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, Doctorof 
reached that city, and expelled our detachment; but tie 
viceroy soon arrived with his whole corps, and retook the 
place. An obstinate combat followed, and continued all 
day. The viceroy sustained himself with glory against a 
superior force. The Russian corps, which successively ar- 
rived, continually reënforced the engaged troops. Seven 
times was the burning city taken and retaken ;. but its ruins 
finally remained in the hands of the viceroy. \Ve lost the 


brave Delzons, and Pino and two of Eugene's aides were 
woumled. Toward night my army also reached Malojarosla- 
wetz. Davoust sustained Eugene with two divisions which 
established themselves on the flanks of the fourth corps, so 
as to enable it to maintain its position. 

We were now masters of this city, or rather of a funeral 
pile covered with dead ; but we were none the further 
advanced towards the accomplishment of our object. Ku- 
tusof had taken position at some distance and still barred 
our passage. To force this barrier it would have been neces- 
sary to give battle to an army which had already established 
itself on the very communication which we wished to open ; 
or to give battle for the purpose of effecting a lateral retreat. 
But such a course seemed to me the less prudent, as it was 
not indispensable, the road to Wereya being still open in our 
rear. The chance appearing to me too hazardous, I re- 
nounced the project of piercing my way to Kalouga, and 
decided to regain the road to Wiasma, — the only way which 
was now open to me. During the twenty-fifth, the two 
armies remained in position, almost within cannon range of 
each other. But, on the twenty-sixth, I took the road to 

Every thing in this retreat seemed to be at the caprice of 
fortuue ; for, at the very moment that I renounced the 
intention of piercing the enemy's lines, Kutusof, on his side, 
fearing to risk a general battle, ordered a retrograde move- 
ment. I was soon informed of this, but persisted in my 
resolution, which was certainly a fault. I had a consultation 
with my officers, and all, even to the stoic Mouton, were of 
the opinion that it was necessary to regain the Niémen by 
the shortest and least difficult rcut. Thus, instead of taking 
the direct road to Medyn and Joucknow on Elnia, driving 
before us the cavalry which still barred the way, I returned 
by Wereya on Mojaisk. 


Respective Position of the two Armies.— Our chances of 
a retreat were now most unfavorable, as may readily seen by 
examining the respective position of the parties. The Rus- 
sian army reached Taroutina with sixty thousand old soldiers 
and twenty thousand irregular troops ; but while there, it 
had been reënforced to ninety thousand regular soldiers and 
thirty thousand militia and Cossacks. The Cossack cavalry, 
though unfit for battles, is intelligent, enterprising, and inde- 
fatigable. There are no European horses, nor even Russian, 
that can rival those of the Don, in enduring fatigue and pri- 
vations ; and, in our present situation, this militia was even 
more useful to the enemy than the elite regiments of the 

Our line of retreat now lay on a single isolated road ; 
while the enemy's army had a road, even shorter than ours, 
that led obliquely on Wiasma, Smolensko, Krasnoi, and 
Kopys. We had now not more than fifteen thousand horse, 
and at the end of two weeks not over five thousand, with 
which to make reconnoisances in front, and to protect our 
flanks and immense parks. My infantry numbered from 
sixty to sixty-five thousand brave men ; but what could they 
do against an enemy who, by the lateral direction of his line 
of operations, could select his time and attack us in the most 
critical position, either in front or rear ? If we had taken 
the road to Elnia, the enemy would have followed us only in 
rear, and we should not have been exposed to parallel 
attacks on our line of retreat, thus daily compromising our 

Having regained the great road to Smolensko, I continued 
to follow it. Our only object now was to escape as soon as 
possible across this desolated country. To avoid inconve- 
nience in the march, I divided my army into four corps, which 
followed each other at about half a day's distance. I began 
the march with my guards ; then came successively the corps 


of Ney, the Viceroy, and Davoust. The latter formed the 

Kutusof sent, in pursuit of us, his Cossacks and an 
advanced guard of twenty-five thousand men, under the 
orders of General Miloradowitsch, who overtook our rear- 
guard on the first of November, near Gjath. The main 
body of the Eussian army marched directly on Wiasma, 
with the intention of cutting off our retreat. We, however, 
reached that city before the Russians. I passed through the 
city, directing Ney to await there the arrival of the Viceroy 
and Davoust, who might otherwise be cut off. The event 
justified the necessity of this precaution. 

Battle of Wiasma.— On the third day of November Milo- 
radowitsch executed very skillfully a forced march parallel 
to the great roads, and debouched on that road between 
Wiasma and Federowskoe. The viceroy had already reached 
Wiasma, but Davoust had not yet passed Federowskoe. 
The circumstance was critical ; but the viceroy accomplished 
everything by the vigor of his resolution. He immediately 
turned back and assailed the Russians, who, hemmed in on 
the other side by the troops of Davoust, were obliged to de- 
camp in haste, and open a passage to those in rear. My 
two corps now fell back on Wiasma closely followed by the 
Russians who had received a reënforcement. 

Seeing us in retreat, the enemy redoubled his energy, and 
drove our rear-guard from Wiasma and across the river of 
that name. This affair, which we might regard as a victory, 
since we repelled and defeated the enemy, cost us about five 
thousand men hors de combat. It might, however, have 
had disastrous consequences for us, if the main body of the 
Russian army, which had already reached the road from 
Wiasma to Joucknow, had acted with decision ; but Kutu- 
sof, who feared to engage in a general battle, had stopped at 
Bykowo, three leagues from Wiasma, and sent forward only 


[Cii. XVIII. 

a, heavy detachment of cavalry. This was held in check 
during the battle by the corps of Ney. The operations of 
Kutusof on this occasion have been criticised. 

In a tactical point of view they were certainly faulty, for 
if his sixty thousand men encamped at Bykowo, had driven 
Ney from Wiasma, he would have destroyed the half of my 
army : but on the other hand, as he was certain of our re- 
treat to the Niémen, he deemed it more safe not to risk a 
battle, but rather to build for us a bridge of gold ! 

Approach of Winter. — Having escaped this imminent 
danger my army continued its retreat on Smolensko. Our 
march was becoming every day more difficult ; the provi- 
sions which we brought from Moscow were exhausted ; 
our horses were dying from starvation ; this forced us to 
leave much of our artillery : winter now succeeded to 
an extraordinarily fine autumn. Ney who now commanded 
the rear-guard complained of the disorder which was daily 
increasing among our men. My eagles, formerly the emblem 
of triumph, had now become to our faithful soldiers only a 
talisman for privation and suffering. Death seemed the 
inevitable fate of those who still pressed around them with 
courageous resignation. 

Conspiracy of Mallet and Lahoric.— Fate seemed resolved 
now to heap upon me every misfortune. As if those which 
had arrayed themselves before our eyes here, were not suffi- 
cient, it prepared in France the overthrow of my throne by 
a simple state's-prisoner ! On the sixth of November, 
within a day's march of Smolensko, I heard of the conspiracy 
of Generals Mallet and Lahorie, — the most singular, perhaps, 
in the history of the world. 

General Mallet, more renowned for his exploits of gallantry 
than for his feats of arms, was an ardent demagogue ; but 
not a partisan of the Bourbons as some have since pretended. 
His conduct had compelled me (tor the last four years) to 


shut him up in prison. He had afterwards been transferred, 

on account of ill health to a maison de santé, where he was 
on parole. Here this ardent adventurer conceived the bold 
project of overthrowing my government. He had heard of 
our arrival in Moscow, and of the burning of that city. 
Foreseeing the result of the campaign or thinking that I 
would be so much occupied at eight hundred leagues from 
Paris as not to be able to check his designs, he escaped on 
the night of the twenty-third and twenty- fourth of October, 
presented himself at the barracks, announced my death, and, 
supplied with a forged order from the staff of the place, he 
demanded a detachment in the name of the provisional 
government which had just assumed the reins of state. At 
the head of his troop he flew to the Conciergerie, and released 
General Lahorie, former aid-de-camp of Moreau ; this offi- 
cer with a detachment of a hundred men, marched to the 
house of the minister Savary, arrested him and sent him to 
prison in his own place, while he installed himself as minister 
in the place of Savary. Mallet had gone to the residence of 
General Hullin, commandant of Paris, whom he hoped also 
to replace. Finding him more disposed to resistance, Mallet 
fired a pistol at him and wounded him ; but Colonel La- 
borde, having recognised Mallet as an escaped prisoner, seized 
hold of him, and struggled with him till the guard could 
secure his person. The troops now saw that they had been 
deceived, and returning to the office of police, they seized 
Lahorie just as he was being measured for a minister's coat, 
and carried him back to the Conciergerie. 

The senate, called together by the archchancellor, met 
just in time to learn the arrest of these insane conspirators, 
who, on being tried by a military commission, received the 
reward due to their rash attempt. 

If this movement had been delayed till the news of our 
disastrous retreat had reached Paris, the result might have 


been different. We should not have escaped so cheaply, if, 
taking- example from Prince Edward, a Bourbon prince had 
landed at Havre at the same time that they installed a pro- 
visional government at Paris. I communicated this news 
only to a small number of my officers, and I was convinced, 
from the effect which it produced on them, that the fragile 
nature of my power astonished them more than the misfor- 
tunes that were hanging over us. 

Renewed Disasters in the Retreat.— On the seventh of 
November, the cold began to be more serious, and developed 
with frightful rapidity the germs of dissolution which had 
already appeared at Wiasma. We had left Moscow with 
more than ninety thousand men ; but not half this number 
was under arms at Dorogobuje. We now had only two 
marches to make before reaching Smolensko ; we were about 
to receive the hand-mills Avhich had been sent from Paris, 
and for the want of which our soldiers had been obliged to 
live on boiled rye. I hoped to find here provisions and a 
sufficient shelter to enable us to reestablish order. The divi- 
sion of Baraguay-d'Hilliers, coming from France with reen- 
forcements for the regiments, had been cantoned on the road 
to Elnia which we were about to reach. The sight of these 
soldiers, in order and in discipline, would be calculated to 
produce a beneficial influence upon our veterans. I more- 
over trusted to the firmness of Ney to have time to effect 
the reorganization of the army. But a crowd of circum- 
stances combined to destroy these frail combinations and 
deceitful hopes. 

Flank March of Kutusof on Elnia. — Kutusof had left to 
his Cossacks the care of pursuing us, while he himself, with 
the main body of his army, marched parallel to the great 
road by Elnia. This plan was the more advisable on his part, 
as it took his army over a more fertile country while, at the 
uime time, it threatened my line of retreat, and forced me to 


hasten my march without giving my troops any repose. His 
vanguard thus fell upon Liakowo in the midst of the divi- 
sion of Baraguay-d'Hilliers, and carried off Augercau's 
brigade, after an insignificant comhat. 

I arrived at Smolensko on the ninth, and the remainder 
of my army on the thirteenth. We had looked upon this 
place as the Land of Promise, and as the termination of all 
our misfortunes. But how greatly were we deceived. This 
city, which in the summer had appeared to us so charming, 
and whose environs, especially on the south side, seemed so 
rich and prolific in grain, now presented only deserted houses 
filled with the sick and dying, and destitute of magazines ! 
The presence of Belluno's corps for two months in the vicin- 
ity, the garrison of the place, the fifteen thousand sick and 
wounded, and the passing troops, had consumed sixty thou- 
sand rations per day, — an immense supply, sufficient for my 
whole army of Italy, hut which had here been consumed as 
fast as it arrived. Thus, instead of the supplies which I had 
expected, I found at Smolensko only scenes of desolation. 
My army arrived in disorganized bands ; three days of severe 
cold weather, though in no way extraordinary, had sufficed 
to break up, in a great degree, our organization, and to cause 
us to abandon nearly two hundred pieces of artillery. 

On leaving Dorogobuje, the viceroy's corps took the road 
to Doukowchina which he had followed in our advance, but 
in a very different attitude. Closely pursued by the five 
thousand horse of Platof, he found himself closed in on the 
Vop, a stream scarcely perceptible in the summer, but now 
so swollen by the rains as to be fordable only in certain 
places. The bridges had been destroyed, and the steep 
banks of the river were now covered with snow and ice. 
After numerous efforts Eugene succeeded in crossing with a 
few pieces and his infantry, who were obliged to ford the 
stream with the water up to their shoulders ; but the artil- 


lery and baggage were lost. The half famished remains of 
this corps reached Smolensko at the same time with the rear- 
guard of Ney. 
Plan of the Russians to cut off Napoleon's Retreat. — I 

was greatly relieved by the arrival of these two corps, but 
still there was the most urgent necessity for an immediate 
march. The enemy now exhibited as much activity as auda- 
city, and almost everywhere gained an ascendency over my 

Wittgenstein, cooperating with the corps of Steinheil to 
cut off St. Cyr's retreat on the Dwina had attacked him at 
Polotsk ; St. Cyr and Wrede had repelled his attaek, it is 
true, but not finding themselves in condition to sustain a 
second assault, they abandoned Polotsk and fell back on 
Czeivya. Wittgenstein had followed in pursuit as far as 
Zcasnicki on the Oula. This circumstance had forced Victor 
to leave Smolensko in order to rally the wrecks of Oudinot ; 
the two marshals had established themselves at Czereya, in 
order to hold Wittgenstein in check ; his army, reënforced 
by the militia of St. Petersburg and the troops of Finland, 
now numbered not less than seventy-five battalions and 
thirty-eight squadrons, without including the Cossacks. 
Tschighagof had also taken the offensive on Minsk and the 
Bug, with one hundred and two battalions and one hundred 
and sixteen squadrons. 

The corps of Schwartzenberg and Pteynier, seeing them- 
selves opposed by superior numbers, after the junetion of 
Tormassof and the army of Moldavia, instead of adopting 
Minsk as the pivot of their operations, recrossed the Bug and 
based themselves on Warsaw, thus renouncing all coopera- 
tion with my army. In consequence of this grave error, 
Admiral Tschighagof left Sacken to observe the Austrians, and 
prepared to advance with the rest of the army of Moldavia 
on Minsk, where he could cooperate with Wittgenstein so as 


to establish a formidable mass on our rear. On the other 
.side the grand Russian army, already established en the 
road to Poslaw, was ready to intercept the route to Mistislaw 
and menace that to Krasnoi. 

Napoleon retreats on Krasnoi.— It was now necessary 
to hasten our retreat before this last hope should be closed 
against us. I left Smolensko with my guards on the four- 
teenth. The viceroy, Davoust, and Ney followed at the 
distance of a day's march. The latter reënforced by the 
fresh troops of the garrison of Smolensko blew up the wails 
of that city, and departed, as my rear-guard, on the seven- 
teenth. This march, with columns in echelons, at a con- 
siderable distance, and across a desolate country where no 
subsistence could be procured, has been the subject of criti- 
cism ; and I must confess that a retreat by wings, in three 
columns, by parallel roads, would have been more advan- 
tageous. If I had foreseen the event of Krasnoi, I should 
have descended the Dnieper by the right bank by Katana as 
far as Doubrowna or Orcza, thus placing that river between 
my army and the enemy. It is certain that this resolution 
would have saved us many cruel losses. But, as our maps 
of the country were defective, and we had no knowledge of 
the existence of practicable roads in that direction, I could 
not venture upon such an uncertainty. 

We had already sustained immense losses ; our artillery 
was reduced one half, and our cavalry entirely ruined. Even 
the horses which had survived the effects of hunger and 
fatigue, were not properly shod for the ice, and there was no 
iron in the country to supply this deficiency. From Wiasma 
to Orcza there are numerous little hills, and the streams had 
cut for themselves deep beds. These steep slopes of the road 
were so covered with ice that our horses could not draw our 
pieces and caissons ; our men were continually obliged to 
assist in moving these loads, and every day a large number 


of carriages were abandoned in the road. The pen of history 
can never fully describe the misfortunes of this retreat ; the 
horrors suffered by our army exceed the most exaggerated 
stories of fiction. 

Battle of Krasnoi. — It was now scarcely possible that we 
could reach Krasnoi without encountering the enemy. In 
fact, the advanced guard of Miloradowitsch appeared, on the 
fifteenth, between that city and Korytnia. I reached Kras- 
noi with the main body of my guards ; but the rear of the 
column had to sustain an unequal combat. The next day 
the viceroy found Miloradowitsch in a position commanding 
the great road, and closing the passage. He attempted to 
cut his way, sword in hand, but failed. The enemy thinking 
him lost beyond hope, summoned him to surrender. But the 
viceroy was not a man to be easily discouraged : while h te 
rear-guard amused the Russians with demonstrations of an 
attack on the great road, he escaped with the main body 
between that road and the Borysthenese. He reached Kras- 
noi in the night, if not without loss, at least with glory, for 
he had saved the greater part of his corps. On the same 
day, the sixteenth, Kutusof also arrived before Krasnoi, 
and established himself within a short distance of the city 
on the road to Roslaw. 

My situation was now critical. Davoust and Ney were 
still in rear, and if I suspended my retreat till they came up, 
the enemy might prolong himself by the left, and easily 
intercept our only line of communication. But it seemed a 
hard extremity to abandon the half of my army to the Rus- 
sians. I therefore determined to brave the danger, and wait 
at Krasnoi, at least till the arrival of Davoust. But to 
remain here inactive would only embolden the enemy ; I 
therefore resolved to act on the offensive. On the morning 
of the seventeenth I caused the village of Ouwarowo to be 
assailed by Mortier, and marched there myself at the head of 


the Old Guard. The combat was continued with varied 
success until the arrival of the first corps. Kutusof. fearing 
the result of a general battle, and trusting to cold and hun- 
ger to effect the destruction of my army, had directed Milo- 
radowitsch not to compromise himself for the sake of opposing 
the march of Davoust. This general, menaced with an 
attack, fell back on the right of the army, and did not again 
reach the great road, till the troops of the marshal had en- 
tirely passed. The Russian van-guard now made a vigorous 
attack upon our left, while Kutusof detached the greater 
part of his army to turn Krasnoi, to debouch on the road 
between that city and Liady, to turn our right, and thus 
entirely cut us off. On learning the march of this column, 
I felt that I had not a moment to lose, and ordered an 
instant retreat. Our rear-guard experienced a considerable 
loss, but the main body of the army was saved. We passed 
the night at Liady, and the next day continued our retreat 
on Doubrowna and Orcza. 

I think I acquired some glory in this affair of Krasnoi. 
Perhaps my march in echelons on a single road may be criti- 
cised ; but the impartial historian will say with what resolu- 
tion I disengaged successively the corps of Lavoust and 
Eugene. Marching on foot through the snow, and support- 
ing myself with a cane while crawling up the slippery slopes 
of the road, I myself directed the columns which drove back 
the enemy. 

Happy would I have been, if like the Emperor Julian, 1 
had here encountered death, which I desired ! But since 
the invention of gunpowder there are no combats hand to 
hand, as in antiquity, with the sword and buckler of the 
Romans ; and I found no Parthian to terminate my career. 

Desperate Efforts of Key. — I had taken the road to Orcza, 
with the deepest regret at the necessity of abandoning jSVy 
in order to save the rest of the army ; he seemed lost beyond 


hope. But to our utter astonishment this brave general suc- 
ceeded in saving his eagles and the élite of his corps. On 
reaching Krasnoi on the evening of the eighteenth, he found 
the Russian array established in a position commanding the 
great road ; after admirable but unsuccessful efforts to dis- 
lodge the enemy, he found himself completely cut off. But 
taking council from his own courage alone, he put himself in 
march with about three thousand men on Gousinoe, where he 
crossed the Borysthenese on recently formed ice. The first 
battalion succeeded in reaching the right bank, but the ice 
broke with those in rear, and many were drowned. The 
remainder of this corps and the stragglers from the rest of 
the army, finding no chance of retreat, were compelled to 
surrender. Ney had succeeded in crossing the river only to 
fall into the midst of the Cossacks of Platof. The enemy 
had a good battery of artillery, while Ney had not a single 
cannon, nor a single cavalry soldier. His soldiers were des- 
titute of munitions and could scarcely discharge their fire- 
arms ; but having recourse only to their own valor and their 
bayonets, they finally succeeded, after some severe combats, 
in joining us at Orcza, on the night of the twentieth and 
twenty-first. My joy was so much the greater as I had 
regarded them as lost. Ney was saluted by the whole army, 
as the most intrepid of its chiefs. 

New DiiuSciilties to be Encountered.— The affairs of Kras- 
noi had cost me one-half of my combatants, and I now had 
to devise means for saving the remainder, which was no easy 
matter. The first thing to be done was to renounce the sys- 
tem of echelons on single roads, for a march by parallel 
columns ; but how could we expect to do this with two 
thirds of our soldiers reduced to a disorderly mob ? More- 
over, the roads from Orcza to Wilna were intercepted by 
Wittgenstein, and Admiral Tschighagof might advance on 
the line of the Beresina, so as to close the roads from Orcza 


to Minsk. On leaving Smolensko, I had ordered Oudinot to 
place himself at Bohr, so as to reconnoitre the road to Minsk, 
and, at the same time, had directed Victor to try what 
resistance Wittgenstein was likely to oppose to our inarch 
on Wilna. On the fourteenth, Victor attacked the Rus- 
sians at Czasniki, hut, finding them solidly based on the 
Oula, lie returned to Czereya. 

At Doubrowna I learned that Tschighagof had advanced 
on Minsk, while the garrison of that place had fallen back 
on Borisof ; and it was to be feared that Dombrowsky, who 
was blockading Bobrouisk had not been able to gain the tête- 
de-pont of the Beresina. I hesitated at Orcza what course to 
pursue. Should I advance against Tschighagof with all my 
remaining forces, or direct my march against Wittgenstein 
so as to form a junction with Belluno ? If I advanced in 
the direction of Polotsk, might not Kutusof unite with the 
army of Moldavia and anticipate, me at Wilna ? 

Hoping still, by forced marches, to anticipate the admiral 
on the Beresina, I gave my troops but a single day's repose 
at Orcza, and. on the twenty-first, I resumed our march on 
Cokrano. Oudinot's corps was now to form the van-guard, 
and that of Victor the rear-guard. I reached Tolocsin on 
the twenty-second, and Bohr the next day. I here found it 
was necessary to open a passage sword in hand, as the Rus- 
sians had anticipated us on the Beresina. The admiral had 
entered Minsk on the seventeenth, and on the twenty-first 
his advanced guard attacked and carried the intrenchments 
of the tttc-dc-pont of Borisow before Dombrowski, who had 
just arrived from Boronisk, had been able to establish him- 
self. The next day the admiral passed the Beresina. His 
advanced guard at Bohr was defeated and completely routed 
on the twenty-third by Oudinot's corps. The admiral had 
merely time to repass the Beresina, and destroy the bridge 
of Borisow. 


This success was therefore useless, and my position more 
critical than ever. I called to me a general- officer who had 
indicated the existence of a direct road from Jemhin to Mu- 
lodeschno ; I imparted to him my embarrassment and my 
projects. Reasoning on the principles of war, I thought to 
fall, as at Castiglione and Ratisbon, on the armies that an- 
noyed me the most. I thought to unite my guard and 
remaining forces to Belluno's corps, and, with these fifty 
thousand men, to attack Wittgenstein, drive him back on 
the Dwina, form a junction with Macdonald, and retake the 
road to Wilna. This general objected that this manœuvre, 
perfectly correct under any other circumstances, would now 
be accompanied with numerous inconveniences. It was 
objected : 

1st. That the country of Lepel and the upper Beresina 
was covered with marshes, the dikes of which Wittgenstein, 
with his one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, could defend 
till Kutusof came to his assistance ; 

2d. That the destitute condition of our army would not 
permit us to delay the retreat ; 

3d. That, by taking the direction of the Dwina, we should 
expose ourselves to be attacked in rear by the united forces 
of Kutusof and the admiral, before we could finish with 
Wittgenstein ; 

4th. That, as the road to Minsk was occupied by the 
enemy, it would be more prudent to take the road from 
Jembin on Molodeschno, for, if we found that closed, we 
could then take the passage of Vileika. Both of these roads, 
and especially that from Jembin, passed through a fertile 
country which had not yet been laid waste. 

But these peremptory reasons were not sufficient to deter 
me from my plan ; I still adhered to a manœuvre which 
might procure us glorious results, and rescue us from the 
hands of the enemy. I called another general who had been 


sent the day before by Belluno, and who might have more 
positive information respecting the positions of Wittgenstein. 
His opinions only tended to confirm those of the other officer 
and, urged by the advice of Murat and Eugene, I finally 
relinquished my project. I, therefore, left on the twenty- 
fourth, for Lochnitsa, and, on the twenty -fifth, collected all 
my forces at Borisow, except Victor's corps. This last, pur- 
sued by Wittgenstein, also moved on Lochnitsa, instead of 
taking the road to Baran so as to cover our march. 

Passage of the Bcresiua.— Never had my situation been so 
desperate as now. Hemmed in on the right and left, and in 
rear, by superior forces, I found myself arrested in front bv 
a river difficult to cross, ami defended by an entire army. 
And it was with soldiers half dead with hunger and cold that 
I now had to overcome obstacles that would have frightened 
the best organized army in the world. Fortune seemed 
resolved to heap upon us every possible calamity during this 
fatal retreat. The cold, so severe on our arrival at Smo- 
lensko as to close the Dnieper, suddenly moderated after mv 
arrival at Krasnoi ; a thaw of two days broke the ice, and 
the Beresina was much swollen. This was a double mis- 
fortune. If the river had been frozen sufficiently to enable 
us to pass with cannon, we should have crossed in twenty- 
four hours in sufficient force to crush Tschighagof, without 
even the trouble of building a bridge. 

This river, on the contrary, was now greatly swollen and 
filled with large masses of floating ice, so as to render the 
construction of our bridges not only difficult, but almost im- 
possible. But, as I could not command the elements, it was 
necessary to take my part and redouble my efforts to over- 
come the immense obstacles which both nature and the 
enemy opposed to my passage. 

The forces which I had brought from Moscow did not 
exceed fifteen thousand combatants including the guards, and 
VoL. iv. — .'). 


the corps of Belluno and Oudinot amounted only to about 
the same number. In our front disputing tins difficult pas- 
sage, was Tschigbagof with twenty-eight thousand men ; on 
our right Wittgenstein and Steinheil with twenty-five thou- 
sand men, and on our left Kutusof with fifty thousand. I 
felt that I could effect this passage only by a surprise ; and 
to do this it was important to make demonstrations on 
several poiu ts in order to deceive the vigilance of the enemy. 
Oudinot displayed the heads of his columns in the direction 
of Oucholoda, toward the Lower Beresina, while the other 
detachments in silence ascended the river toward Wesselowo. 
These demonstrations produced the desired result ; the ad- 
miral prolonged himself by his right toward the road to 
Igoumen. We profited without delay by the false move- 
ment to effect the jmssage above Borisow. On the night of 
the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth, we moved from Borisow 
to Studenka, where we arrived on the morning of the twenty- 
sixth. General Aubry had constructed a bridge of poor 
materials for infantry, while General Eble, with the sappers 
and pontoniers, erected a trestle bridge, for the passage of all 
arms. This bridge, eighty toises in length, was constructed 
with admirable rapidity by our brave sappers, who precipi- 
tated themselves into the water up to their shoulders, not- 
withstanding the severe cold and the enormous masses of ice 
that floated in the Beresina. One-half of these intrepid 
men perished in their devoted efforts to save the army. 
Nothing could diminish their ardor. The vanguard of 
General Tschoplitz hastened to oppose itself to our projects ; 
as this might prevent the construction of the bridge, the 
cavalry of Corbineau swam the river w r ith their horses, and 
were supported by a battalion of sharp-shooters, who crossed 
on a raft. The enemy was repelled, but he soon succeeded 
in reestablishing himself so as to command the debouch. 
As soon as the bridge of plank was finished, Oudinot'» infan- 


try crossed over and drove Tschoplitz to Strakow, a league 
from Borisow ; being reënforced by Pahlen at this place, he 
resumed the offensive. But Oudinot, taking advantage of a 
piece of woods, succeeded in maintaining his position. Our 
brave soldiers seemed convinced of the importance of this 
combat, and every one redoubled his energy ; Frenchmen, 
Poles, Swiss, Croates, covered themselves with glory, and the 
enemy was held in check the whole evening. Thus far every- 
thing had gone for the best ; but it was still necessary to secure 
the road from Jembin, which crossed a marsh, over which 
was a kind of dyke with three bridges of one hundred toises 
each. If the enemy shoul 1 destroy these, the ice not being 
sufficiently strong to supply their place, all would be lost. 
Oudinot was ordered to send in haste a detachment, which 
fortunately arrived there in time to secure the road. In the 
meantime the remainder of our broken troops and the corps 
of Belluno, approached Studzianka. Ney crossed in the 
night with the Poles and a division of the Young Guard, 
amounting in all to not more than twenty-five hundred men ; 
he was to unite with Oudinot, and he put himself at the 
head of the few forces which we could oppose to Tschighagof. 
I crossed with my head-quarters after, noon, and the passage 
continued a part of the night and all day of the twenty- 
seventh. It could only be effected slowly, the trestle bridges 
having broken twice, on account of the muddy bed of the 
stream and the masses of floating ice. Tschighagof thus 
gained time to return to Borisow with the two divisions 
which he had taken in the direction of Ouscha ; but, instead 
of marching directly against Oudinot, he remained opposite 
Borisow, and sought to communicate with Wittgenstein. 
Belluno's corps had left that city in the night of the twenty- 
sixth and twenty-seventh, to inarch to Studzianka leaving 
Parthouneaux's division to ^uard Borisow until noon, as 


much to draw the attention of Tschighagof as to afford a 
momentary check to Wittgenstein. 

This detachment was unfortunate ; hardly had the division 
returned to Borisow when it was announced that it was cut 
off. As soon as Parthouneaux learned that Wittgenstein 
had established himself at Staro-Borisow between him and 
Belluno, he attempted to effect his escape. There are two 
roads leading from Borisow to Studzianka, one of which was 
closed by Wittgenstein, while the other was still open. Un- 
fortunately, Parthouneaux took the one occupied by the 
enemy. Ignorant of the enemy's force, he attacked him with 
bravery ; but, after useless efforts, ho fell into the hands of 
the Cossacks and was taken prisoner. The next morning his 
division, numbering about three thousand men, besides some 
four thousand stragglers from other corps, surrendered to the 
enemy. A battalion which at the same time took the other 
road, succeeded in effecting its escape. The taking of Bori- 
sow enabled Tschighagof to establish a bateau-bridge so as 
to communicate with Wittgenstein ; he was now reënforced 
by Jermolof and Platof. 

The enemy combined, for the twenty-eighth, a simul- 
taneous effort on the two banks of the river, and the result 
was calculated to decide the fate of our army. Wittgen- 
stein prepared to attack Belluno by the left bank, while the 
admiral marched at the head of his divisions on Stakhow. 
We anticipated him by attacking his advanced guard, 
which we drove back on Stakhow, notwitstanding a glorious 
resistance. Ney threw a division of Dournerc's cuirassiers 
into the woods which Avere occupied by the Kussian chas- 
seurs ; they made great havoc in the enemy's ranks and 
captured between twelve and fifteen hundred prisoners. 
The enemy was driven back, but, after a bloody combat 
which continued till after ten o'clock at night, they succeeded 
in holding Stakhow. The brave Generals Zayonschek and 


Legrand were wounded and the remains of the second corps 
fell, covered with the laurels which they had won within the 
last two days. 

In the mean time Victor had made a no less glorious resist- 
ance against the attack of Wittgenstein. He first bravely 
disputed, with only seven or eight thousand men, the heights 
which border the avenues of Studzianka, but finding that he 
was likely to be surrounded, he concentrated his forces near 
the bridges. The Russians now crown the heights with their 
batteries and pour in a heavy fire upon the multitude of sick 
and wounded and stragglers, and the innumerable quantity 
of carriages which had collected here for the purpose of cross- 
ing the river. This confused mass of men, horses and 
wagons, rush with such impetuosity to the bridges, that 
three-quarters of them are either trampled under foot or 
precipitated into the river. 

The piercing cries of these wretched beings, as they are 
thrust forward to inevitable death by their own countrymen, 
in their haste to escape the murderous fire of the enemy's 
batteries ; the horrible aspect of the thousand women who 
have followed in the train of the army, as they are trampled 
under foot by the flying columns, or driven into the river, or 
mutilated by the enemy's artillery ; caissons and shells explod- 
ing in the midst of this straggling mass ; the bed of the 
Beresina covered with the wrecks of broken carriages and the 
bodies of the dead ; all together formed a scene of desolation 
without parallel in the annals of history ! 

The firmness of Belluno saved the remains of this multi- 
tude, by affording them time to escape by the bridges ; but 
they had the greatest possible difficulty in opening a passage 
through the broken carriages, and the dead bodies of men 
and horses. The cannonade continued till night, and it was 
not till the morning of the twenty-ninth, that Belluno passed 


the Beresina with three thousand men who remained to burn 
the bridges. 

Remarks on this Passage— Had it not been for the mis- 
fortune of Parthouneaux, we might have prided ourselves on 
this famous passage. It was a fine spectacle to see eight or 
nine thousand men, under Ney and Oudinot, repelling the 
three divisions of Tschighagof, while on the other side, Bel- 
luno's eight thousand men were gloriously contending against 
the efforts of Wittgenstein. And in what a situation did 
our soldiers sustain this desperate combat ? A prey to 
famine and cold, surrounded by the enemy, six hundred 
leagues from their country, without hope of escape from 
destruction, destitute of munitions, and seeing nothing but 
disorder around them, they nevertheless fought and died like 
heroes ! The Kussians, on the contrary, inured to the 
climate, well furnished with supplies, fighting for their own 
firesides, encouraged by success far surpassing their hopes, 
with a large army ready to sustain them ; having a numerous 
cavalry, and well-served artillery ; in a word, certain that 
success would secure for them rich trophies, fought under 
advantages immensely superior to ours. 

But it must be confessed that these advantages were in 
some degree counterbalanced by several fortuitous circum- 
stances. In the first place, through a misunderstanding, one 
half of Wittgenstein's corps remained in rear, so that that 
general could not act upon Belluno with the desired vigor. 
Again, the numerous stragglers in the train of our army, 
though useless as combatants, deceived the enemy respecting 
our numbers, and made him more cautious in his operations. 
Moreover Tschighagof, being a sailor by profession, was not 
accustomed to military operations on land, and his cavalry 
could not act with advantage in the woods, while the same 
obstacle assisted in covering our infantry, and concealing 
their numbers. But it must not be supposed from these 


remarks, that I wish in the slightest degree, to depreciate 
the glory won on that memorable occasion. I merely wish 
to present a true picture of the relative circumstances, in 
order that posterity may do justice to all. With resrject to 
the circumspection of Kutusof which has been so much 
criticized, it is certain that if he had acted with more celerity 
and audacity, he would have overtaken us. But it must be 
remembered that, like most of the Russian generals, he 
overestimated our numbers, and was compelled by political 
considerations to spare the remains of his army. It was 
important that Russia should be able, on her return to the 
Niémen, to exhibit a considerable force in order to detach 
Prussia and Austria from our alliance. 

Continuation of the Retreat. — But let us return to the 
remains of my army. The sad victory which we had just 
gained was glorious, but it did not ameliorate our situation ; 
it did not avert, but merely retarded our ruin. It was neces- 
sary to continue our retreat, although the exhausted condi- 
tion of our troops rendered them incapable of any longer 
enduring the fatigues and privations to which they were 
exposed. To crown our misfortunes the cold, which had 
moderated for some days before, now set in with redoubled 
severity ; and the enemy, piqued at having allowed us to 
escape at the Beresina, pursued us with renewed energy. 
Our march from Jembin to Smorgoni completed the dissolu- 
tion of our army. 

Napoleon departs for Paris. — I was deeply affected by 
the disasters of my troops ; but I felt that, as a sovereign, I 
was bound to act for the salvation of the entire nation, rather 
than for the few. I could do nothing more for this army ; 
but the interest and destinies of a great people reposed on 
me ; my duty to this people now required that I should 
return to France, and organise the means of repairing this 
great disaster. I, therefore, at Molodesclmo, on the fifth of 

40 LIFE F N APOLBOK, [Cil. XV 1 1 1. 

December, gave the command of llie remains of my army to 
the king of Naples, and set out for Paris. 

3Iotivcs of this Measure. — My detractors have loudly de- 
claimed against this departure. If I had been the grandson 
of Louis XIV., and my natural successor had been in France, 
ready to mount t lie throne, I should not have hesitated to 
share the fortunes of my companions in arms ; for my 
presence in France would not have been necessary to save 
the empire. Bat what could I do with thirty thousand half 
starved and half frozen men, six hundred leagues from their 
own country, fighting against all Germany, and with a 
Russian army in their rear ? Ought I to augment the 
trophies of the enemy by my own capture, merely for the 
purpose of remaining with an army which must necessarily 
pass "beneath the Caudine forks ? I left with only two offi- 
cers, and returned three months after with three hundred 
thousand men, of which there existed only the skeleton 
when I first put foot on the French territory. This fact 
alone should forever silence the critics who make war only 
in the salons of the capital. Who besides myself could have 
raised this army, and organised a new train of six hundred 
pieces of artillery, which appeared triumphant in the fields 
of Lutzen and Bautzen ? 

General Causes of tSic Disasters of this Campaign. — But 
before passing to the discussion of this memorable resurrec- 
tion, let us review the principal causes of the failure of my 
expedition into Russia. Some of my partisans have attri- 
buted the ill-success of the campaign entirely to the prema- 
ture and excessively cold weather ; this is not true. The 
cold weather did not begin till the seventh of November, and 
was not excessive, for, until our arrival at Krasnoi it varied 
from 3° to 8°, and after the twentieth, it continued to thaw 
till our arrival on the Beresina. There was no time when 
the ice on the Dnieper would bear infantry. This cold did 


not exceed that of the Eylau campaign, but then we were in 
a country abundantly supplied with resources, whereas, in 
1812, there were no means of supplying our most pressing 
wants. Our numerous columns became disorganised, and it 
required a week's halt in some intrenched camp well stored 
with magazines to enable us to recruit our men and reorgan- 
ise our regiments. We expected to find such a camp at 
Smolensko, but failing in this, our only other asylum was on 
the Vistula, and our army was destroyed before it could 
reach it. The cold was quite supportable previous to our 
arrival on the Beresina, and then we had left only fifty thou- 
sand combatants out of the three hundred thousand which I 
had led to the banks of the Dwina and to Moscow. The 
true causes of this catastrophe were : — 

1st. I did not intend in commencing the war to advance 
further than Smolensko, the first campaign ; but the diffi- 
culty of procuring supplies for two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand men in that devastated and sparsely populated country ; 
and more especially the erroneous statements of Murat that 
he had cut up the Eussian army on the Lonja, induced me 
to advance too far into the interior. 

2d. I hoped to fight a decisive battle between Wilna and 
the Dwina, but was unable to bring the enemy to a general 
action. If I could have found another Austerlitz or Fried- 
land in the plains of Lithuania, all Europe would have been 
subject to my power. 

3d. Jerome neglected to profit by a favorable opportunity 
to destroy Bagration. 

4th. The Poles of Yv T olhynia and Podolia, did not second 
my projects with the ardor I expected. If the corps of Po- 
niatowski had been sent into these provinces instead of the 
Austrians, a better result would probably have been pro- 

5th. Lithuania, from the failure of the crops the previous 


year and the requisitions of the Russians, did not afford us 
the resources I anticipated. I neglected no means to repair 
the evil, and ordered hand-mills from Paris to grind the rye 
which we found in the country ; hut they arrived too late to 
be of any great use. 

6th. The cattle which I had purchased in Poland and 
Galicia did not reach us in time, and moreover, were insuffi- 
cient to supply our wants. And the immense magazines 
which I had collected at Dantzic could not be transported to 
Smolensko in sufficient quantities for the support of such an 
immense army. I had organised thirty-four battalions of 
the train, each battalion conducting one hundred and fifty 
four-horse wagons. Twenty of these battalions followed my 
army, making a provision train of twelve thousand horses, 
carrying four millions of rations. But this was merely 
sufficient for fifteen days ; whereas it required four times 
this number for regular distributions, inasmuch as my depots 
were twenty-five days' march in rear of the army. The con- 
voys required fifty days to go and return. To obviate this 
difficulty, I ordered boats from France to transport m}- mag- 
azines up the Is iemen and the Wilia ; and where the water 
was too shallow in the latter stream for navigation, I directed 
rafts to be constructed. What more could I do ? Great 
enterprises into distant countries, says Montesquieu, perish 
from the very extent of the preparation required to secure 
their success. 

7th. I remained two weeks at Wilna, whereas I ought, by 
the first of July, to have pushed on against the main army to 
Gloubokoe and Polotsk, or to have directed my march on 
Minsk against Bagration. Had I profited by the false direc- 
tion of the principal army of the enemy toward Drissa, to 
turn their left and throw them back upon the Baltic, the 
destruction of their army would have been certain. But the 
difficulty of obtaining provisions, and the fear that Bagra- 


tion might defile on my rear in order to regain Drissa, in- 
duced me to make the halt at Wilna, which eventually cost 
us dearly. 

8th. Murat failed to do any thing with his thirty thousand 
horse to harass and cut up the enemy in his retreat. 

9th. At Borodino we were ignorant of the existence of 
Touckzof's corps toward Oustitza, which modified the effect 
of the first plan of attack. We failed to throw a sufficient 
mass against the enemy's left, hy the old road to Smolensko, 
and, for reasons already given, my reserve did not come into 
action at the most opportune moment. 

10th. It was unfortunate that I did not pursue the enemy 
still further than Moscow ; it was a choice of evils, it is true, 
hut perhaps he would have accepted battle at Taroutina, and, 
if victorious, I would have been master of the rich provinces 
of Kalouga ; if the enemy had continued his retreat to the 
Wolga, I should have had a more favorable line of retreat 
by Roslaw. But the fear of penetrating further into the 
enemy's country induced me to halt at Moscow. 

11th. We had no good maps of the country, and knew 
not the position of the practicable roads ; while the enemy 
profited by his superior knowledge in this respect. 

12th. Turkey signed the treaty of peace at the moment 
when I expected her to renew the war with vigor ; and Ber- 
nadotte at the same time deserted my cause, and allied him- 
self with the Russians. This double incident changed the 
chances of the war. Sebastiani or Andreossi should have 
been sent to Constantinople, six months sooner, with money, 
to induce the divan to continue the war with Russia. 

13th. The enemy had greatly improved in the art of war. 
After the camp of Drissa his operations were conducted with 
skill ; and the concentration of his forces on the Beresina, 
ordered by the Emperor Alexander, was one of the finest 
military movements of the age. 


14th. I committed a capital fault in not uniting the corps 
of Macdonald, Oudinot, St. Cyr, and Victor under a single 
chief, possessing vigor and skill. These hundred thousand 
men united, might have destroyed Wittgenstein, and secured 
my line of retreat. 

15th. Finally, I was deceived in the military character of 
the Emperor Alexander, as well as in the efforts of the Rus- 
sian nation to sustain him. 

Some writers, instead of looking at the natural causes of 
our disasters, have preferred to attribute them to super- 
natural means, like the manna of the desert, and the closing 
of the waters of the Red Sea. These writers can see no fault 
in my operations, and no merit in those of our adversaries. 
Never have they rendered me a worse service than in de- 
preciating the actions of my opponents ; they thus tarnish 
my own glory and that of the French army, for that glory 
consists in having surmounted unforeseen obstacles. The 
Russians certainly effected a retreat of three hundred leagues 
without having their army cut to pieces, and without leaving 
us any trophies. Barclay and Bagration, after being separated 
by a hostile force of three hundred thousand men, again 
effected their junction in spite of all our efforts : Wittgen- 
stein, though opposed by three marshals with a force twice 
his own, maintained a threatening attitude during the whole 
campaign ; and the army, defeated at Borodino, was again 
in condition to dispute our passage at Krasnoi : — how could 
all this have happened if my enemies did nothing but com- 
mit faults ? Again, how could men possessing no talents or 
merit collect their scattered forces, and concentrate them 
with troops from Finland and the Pruth, late in the autumn, 
on the Beresina, to dispute the passage of that river ? Un- 
doubtedly they were favored by a thousand advantageous 
circumstances, but it would be unjust to refuse them the 
praise which they deserve. 


Undoubtedly the Russians committed some great errors, 
especially in the first period of the campaign ; their primitive 
position, their direction on Drissa, and their retreat from 
Smolensko, are the most prominent. It is true also that 
Kutusof might have done more, for, in his place, I certainly 
should not have failed to destroy the army that left Moscow; 
but his circumspection did not prevent his making skillful 
manoeuvres ; these manœuvres were the result of the instruc- 
tions of Alexander or of his staff, and it would be unjust to 
say that they were Avithout merit. It is ridiculous to say 
that our disasters were in no way due to the Russians : it is 
true that they were not the result of any great victories 
gained ; but in the second period of this campaign, the gen- 
erals, the army, the government, and the nation, all did 
their duty. 

But if my admirers have been unjust towards my rivals, 
my personal enemies have not been less so towards me. My 
conduct in this campaign was not below the renown which I 
had previously gained. I did not venture into an inhospi- 
table country Avithout due preparation. But the immense 
distance to be passed over, and the enormous preparations 
required to support so large an army, all turned against me. 
My forces were prudently disposed of in echelons, and no 
point Avas needlessly exposed ; if I ventured much, it was 
only after having taken every precaution which human fore- 
sight could suggest to secure the success of my operations. 
But let us return from this digression, and conclude the 
operations of my lieutenants after my return to Paris. 

Continuation of the Retreat under Murat.— In leaving 
Molodeschino I resigned the command of my army to Murat, 
giving him Berthier as his chief of staff, (major-general). 
The former, of a rash and chivalric character, had not any 
more than the other the will of iron suited to such difficult 
circumstances. My departure became the signal of new dis- 


asters, still more terrible than any which preceded them. 
The cold increased to thirty degrees, and even the birds fell 
dead to the earth ! In the three marches from Smorgoni to 
Wilna more than twenty thousand men fell by the way-side; 
and the remainder, half dead with cold and hunger, threw 
themselves into Wilna like a troop of madmen. This 
flourishing city contained immense resources ; a part of our 
magazines had been brought here from Kônigsberg, and the 
Duke of Bassano had collected here supplies from all Lithua- 
nia ; but the disorder was so great that it was impossible to 
make regular issues ; a part was given up to pillage, and the 
remainder left, untouched, to the enemy. Wittgenstein and 
Tschighagof pressed close on our rear, while Kutusof fol- 
lowed within two days' march. The division of Loison, 
which had opened the passage, and was echeloned on the 
road, now formed the rear-guard. The intrepid Ney who 
had successively commanded the whole army, was still 
charged with sustaining here the shock of the enemy. Al- 
though composed of fresh and robust soldiers, Loison's divi- 
sion lost, in these three days, two-thirds of the men present, 
and there were scarcely five thousand men left before Wilna 
to oppose the Russians. Ney fought with resignation and 
courage, but his feeble force could not prevent the enemy's 
partisans from penetrating into the suburbs of the city. 
Sixty thousand half-famished men had quartered themselves 
in the hospitals, magazines, and private dwellings ; by feed- 
ing on heavy half-baked bread they had contracted diseases 
not less fatal than the severe cold. In two days Wilna was 
but one vast lazaretto. Those who could drag themselves 
along, left at the sound of the enemy's cannon. 

Two leagues from Wilna is the mountain of Ponary 
whose steep and icy slope became, for our horses and the 
remains of our artillery and baggage- train, a true barrier of 
iron. All our remaining carriages were here abandoned ; 


our treasure was divided among our soldiers who, loaded 
down with gold, half-famished with hunger and half-dead 
with cold, took in mournful despair the road to Kowno. 
The Emperor Alexander, having returned to his army in 
order to gather the fruits of his plan of campaign, entered 
Wilna amid scenes of desolation exceeding even the romantic 
description of fiction. He halted here to afford succor to 
the twenty thousand dying men who filled the city, and to 
provide for the wants of his own army which now began to 
suffer as much as ours. His columns continued the pursuit 
on Kowno. 

The severe cold had closed the Niémen so that it could be 
readily crossed with artillery. This circumstance, which 
would have been so favorable to us on the Beresina, now 
became fatal to our army, which had scarcely six thousand 
men capable of firing a gun. The Cossacks reached the 
Niémen at the same time with the wreck of our forces, and 
threatened the debouches of the bridge. Each one sought 
for himself an issue ; some took to the woods of Wilkowisk, 
and the road to Warsaw, while the greater number, with 
Murat and his head-quarters, took the road to Kônigsberg ; 
Ney, who had been left in the city with a rear-guard of only 
five hundred combatants, found on evacuating the town, that 
the enemy were in possession of the bridge across the Niémen. 
Valiant as Achilles, and strong as Ajax and Diomede, this 
hero seized a musket, and throwing himself upon the enemy 
with forty brave men, cut his way through the ranks of his 
astonished foes.* 

* Abbott thus describes Key's final retreat, and crossing of the Niémen : 
" On the twelfth of December, the French arrived at Kowno, upon the banks 
of the Niémen. On the thirteenth, they crossed the bridge, but about thirty 
thousand in number. The ' Old Guard' was now reduced to three hundred 
men. They still marched proudly, preserving, even unto death, their martial 
and indomitable air. The heroic Ney, through miracles of suffering and valor, 
had covered the rear through this awful retreat. The march from Viasma to 


M ura t has been reproached for having taken the road to 
old Prussia and thus exposing himself to be thrown into thé 
sea ; but the hope of being reënforced by the garrison of 

the Niémen had occupied thirty-seven days and nights. During this time, four 
rear-guards had melted away uuder his command. 

"Receiving four or five thousand men, the number would soon be reduced 
to two thousand, then to one thousand, then to five hundred, and finally to 
fifty or sixty. He would then obtain a fresh supply to be strewn in death 
along the road. Even more perished from fatigue and the cold than from the 
bullets of the enemy. 

'• In the following way he conducted the retreat. Each afternoon, at about 
five o'clock, he selected some commanding position, and stopped the advance 
of the Russians. His soldiers then, for a few hours, obtained such food and 
rest as was possible under such circumstances. 

"At ten o'clock he again resumed, under cover of night, his retreat. At 
daybreak, which was about seven o'clock, he again took position, and rested 
until ten o'clock. By this time the enemy usually made Lis appearance. Cau- 
tiously retiring, Ney fought them back all day long, making as much progress 
as he could, until five o'clock in the evening, when he again took position. 

" In order to retard the advance of the Cossacks, powder and shells were 
placed in the wagons which it was found necessary to abandon, and a long 
lighted fuse attached. The Cossacks, observing the smoke, dared not approach 
until after the explosion. Thus, for more than a month, by night and by day. 
Ney struggled along against blinding storms of snow and freezing gales, with 
his ranks ploughed by the shot and shells of the enemy. 

'• At Kowno, Marshal Ney collected seven hundred fresh troops, and plant- 
ing a battery of twenty-four pieces of cannon, beat back the enemy during the 
whole day, while the army was defiling across the bridge. As these troops 
melted away before the fire of the foe, he se.zcd a musket, and with difficulty 
rallied thirty men to stand by his side. At last, having seen every man safely 
across the river, he slowly retired, proudly facing the foe. 

" The bullets flew thickly around him ; still, he disdained to turn his back 
upon the foe or to quicken his pace. Deliberately walking backward, he fired 
the last bullet at the advancing Russians, and threw his gun into the stream. 
He was the last of the ' Grand Army' who left the Russian territory. 

" General Dumas was seated in the house of a French physician, on the Ger- 
man side of the river, when a man entered, enveloped in a large cloak. His 
beard was long and matted, his emaciated visage was blackened with gun- 
powder, his whiskers were singed by fire, but his eyes beamed with the lustre 
of an indomitable mind. 

"'At last I am here,' slid he, as he threw himself into a chair. 'What, 
General Dumas, do you not know me?' 

'• ' No,' was the reply; • who are you ?' 

" ' I am the rear-guard of the Grand Army, Marshal Ney. I have fired the 
last musket-shot on the bridge of Kowuo, I have thrown into the Niémen the 
last of our arms, and I have walked hither as you see mo, across the forest.'" 


Kônigsberg, and of getting supplies in that rich country, and 
the idea of basing himself on Dantzic, are the excuses which 
he gave in justification of his resolution. 

Including the Prussian contingent, Macdonald had still 
twenty-four thousand men. In my march on the Beresina I 
had employed every means in my power to send him orders 
to move on Wilna and Kowno ; but Wittgenstein, after the 
passage of the Beresina, had forced him to take the road to 

Being abandoned on his march by the Prussian corps of 
York, and his right wing being turned, Macdonald was for- 
tunate in gaining Kônigsberg with the Polish division, 
which he afterwards directed on Dantzic to reënforce the 

Murat, after having also directed the division of Heudelet 
on Dantzic, cantoned twenty thousand men behind the 
Vistula, his right on Thorn, and his left in the direction of 
Elbing. But the defection of the Prussians rendered the 
position untenable, and exposed our communications : the 
enemy had only to present himself on our right flank, in 
order to throw these wrecks on Dantzic. In fact, the Rus- 
sians attacked Eugene's head-quarters at Marienwerder, and, 
through the negligence of the out-posts, succeeded in pene- 
trating into the place. The alarm was given, and Eugene 
at the head of a few brave men, opened a passage ; but more 
than a thousand prisoners fell into the hands of the enemy. 
The extreme left of our cantonments retired into Dantzic, 
while the right, composed of Bavarians, entered Thorn : 
fifteen thousand men directed their march on Posen, forming 
echelons on the road. The Russians satisfied themselves 
with Bromberg and Elbing. 

Continuation of the Retreat under Eugene.— Seeing that 
there was no further hope of effecting the reorganization of 
the army, and convinced of the defection of Prussia, Murat 


resolved to return to his kingdom, without waiting for my 
permission. He left Posen on the seventeenth of January, 
in spite of the remonstrances of the viceroy, who represented 
to him the irregularity of his conduct both as a marshal of 
France and as my lieutenant. Blinded by the hope of pre- 
serving his throne, he departed under the name of one of his 
aids-de-camp, and left to Eugene the care of continuing the 

The viceroy remained ten days at Posen to restore more 
order to his columns ; and the Russians, arrested by the for- 
tifications of Thorn and Dantzic, also halted behind the 
Vistula. Rapp, who commanded at Dantzic, had collected 
an army of more than thirty thousand men, but at least ten 
thousand of these were invalids. Nevertheless, it was a con- 
siderable army, and I hoped that, under the protection of 
these formidable ramparts, it would afford occupation for the 
enemy. But it was unable to take the field, and did not 
equal my expectations. 

The Russians waited for the opening of navigation to 
besiege the place, causing it to be observed, first by General 
Lewis, and afterwards by the duke of Wurtemberg. General 
Barclay was left before Thorn, with two divisions of 
grenadiers, and a siege-park, afterwards organized by the 
Prussians, enabled them to form a regular attack. 

The defection of General York was soon followed by a 
convention which neutralized the Austrian corps of Schwart- 
zenberg. This marshal, in leaving to Tschichagof the field 
free to march on the Beresina, had entitled himself to the 
gratitude of our enemies : he had fallen back on Warsaw, 
and stipulated with the Russian generals an armistice, 
which, it is true, enabled Reynier to retire, but which, at 
the same time, neutralized the Austrian army, and permitted 
the enemy to pursue us to the last extremity. 

Kutusof, not trusting to the continuance of this neutral- 


ity, left Saeken to observe him ; but lie had sufficient troops 
besides this to destroy the wrecks of the forces of the viceroy, 
who redoubled his efforts to find some place of refuge. 

Twenty thousand French and their allies, mutilated by 
the frost, and fifteen or sixteen thousand men still capable 
of bearing arms, pursued by an army of sixty thousand active 
men, inured to the climate, thus dragged themselves along 
from Wilna to the Oder, through a hostile population. 

His Army finally takes Refuge behind the Elbe.— This 
sad, but glorious, retreat is a phenomenon in history ; and 
one hardly knows at which to be most astonished, — the great 
disasters which befell our army, or the final return of the 
viceroy to the Elbe. Except a warm engagement near Ka- 
lisch between Reynier's corps and the Russians, there were no 
further military events worthy of notice. The arrival on the 
Oder of fifteen thousaud fresh troops from Italy, under Gen- 
eral Grenier, enabled Eugene to retire in good order behind 
the Elbe. A new campaign was now about to open. 

But diplomatists were in the mean time coolly discussing 
the best means of profiting by my disasters in the North ; 
and, as if to give them additional hopes, fortune had been 
but little less fatal to my armies in Spain than on the banks 
of the Beresina.* We will give a brief summary of our 
affairs in the Peninsula. 

* "Many attempts," says Thiers, "have been made to reckon up the losses 
suffered by France and her allies in this Russian expedition, and although such 
a calculation is as impossible as terrible, some idea of the truth may, neverthe- 
less, be attained. The total force of the army, intended to act from the Rhine 
to the Niémen consisted of six hundred and 'twelve thousand men (with the 
Austriaus, six hundred and forty eight thousand), and one hundred and fifty 
thousand horses. Of these five hundred and thirty three thousand had passed 
the Niémen, of whom there remained, under the Prince Schwartzenberg and 
Reynier, about forty thousand Austrians and Saxons, fifteen thousand Prus- 
sians and Poles under Marshal Macdonald, and some isolated troops, numbering 
about thirty or forty thousand. 

"Of the remaining four hundred and thirty-eight thousand, about one hun- 
dred thousand had fallen into the hands of the Russians: and. according to 


Summary of the Campaign in Spain.— While my troops 
were triumphant at Tarragona and Valencia, the Cortes of 
Cadiz were planning the basis of their constitutional edifice. 
The liberals or communeros, were in the majority, and they 
excelled even the extravagance of our constitutent assembly. 
Their intentions were no doubt pure, for they imitated revo- 
lutionary France even to excluding the members of their 
constitutent assembly from the first elections to the legisla- 
tive body. Nevertheless, their principles were not pleasing 
either to the grandees or the high clergy ; and the opposition 
of the latter was the more decided as the Cortes, following 
my example, had ventured to strike at the abuses of the 
Church. Joseph had made pacific overtures to the Cortes, 
and the disasters of Tarragona and Valencia had somewhat 
shaken their courage ; the more reasonable of the Spaniards 
began to reflect, that, if England should deliver their country, 
they would become still more dependent on the cabinet of 
London, than Godoy had ever been on that of France. They, 
therefore, thought that they might obtain a preferable result 

this calculation, therefore, about three hundred and forty thousand would have 
perished : but this happily was not the case, for a certain number of men who 
had deserted their ranks at the commencement of the campaign, had gradually 
rejoined their country across Poland and Germany. Nevertheless it can be 
no exaggeration to say, that in the course of the campaign about three hun- 
dred thousand men fell beneath the enemy's fire and the severity of cold and 

M. Laurent de FArdèche, Vol. II., p. 166, estimates the loss of the French 
army during the Russian campaign at three hundred and fifty thousand men, 
more than sixty thousand horses, a thousand cannon, and nearly twenty thou- 
sand wagons aud carriages. He also says that, including the population of the 
abandoned cities, who perished for want of food and shelter, the loss of the 
Russians must have far exceeded that of the invaders. 

Large numbers of women and children, when driven from their homes by 
their own countrymen or the Cossacks, in pursuance of the orders of the gov- 
ernment to lay waste the country as fast as the French advanced, perished, in 
the fields and forests, from hunger, fatigue, and exposure. In some places the 
road-sides and plains were covered with the unburied dead of the Russian 
inhabitants. Had their own government permitted these people to remain in 
their homes, very few of them would have been molested by the French. 


by treating with my brother, and thus become the arbiters 
of their own future. Joseph offered to recognize their con- 
stitution with certain indicated modifications, and they de- 
cided to send deputies to Madrid to treat on these bases ; 
and these deputies were actually on their way, when the dis- 
astrous battle of Salamanca entirely changed the face of 

The English had redoubled their efforts during this cam- 
paign, the retreat of Massena and the success of Wellington 
and Beresford serving as a stimulus to incite them. 

They recruited in Germany from the prisoners of war, and 
even from the malefactors ; anything seemed good enough 
to oppose us. 

In making this statement I must not be accused of under- 
valuing their army, for their own parliamentary debates 
prove that they sought criminals in the bottom of the prisons 
to incorporate them in the regiments employed in the Penin- 

The taking of Ciudad-Kodrigo and Badajos, as glorious 
for Wellington as discreditable to the two generals who per- 
mitted these disasters to take place, began to show the extent 
of our danger. It was thought that the English general, 
able in a war of positions, but wanting enterprise in an open 
country, had taken these posts only the better to secure his 
line of defense in Portugal. They expected that he would 
now trouble our two armies in Estremadura, but they did 
not attach to these events the importance which they 

On the approach of the war in Eussia, I had recalled all 
my guard from Spain, as well as the legions of the Vistula 
and several skeletons of dragoon regiments, destined to form 
lancers ; I had, moreover, withdrawn many men of the élite 
to complete the Old Guard, and dissolved what has been 
called the " Army of the North." Nevertheless, our forces 


in the west and south amounted to one hundred and thirty 
thousand men ; Soult had forty-five thousand in Andalusia ; 
and Marmont nearly as many toward Salamanca. Souhani 
guarded old Castile with twelve thousand men ; Joseph, with 
his guard and the army of the centre, held La Mancha, the 
banks of the Tagus, and Madrid. Independently of these 
forces, divisions of occupation were stationed in Navarre, in 
the Asturias, in Leon, and in Biscay. On deciding to march 
against Kussia, I at first had the intention of concentrating 
all my forces behind the Ebro ; but the important successes 
of Suchet in the kingdom of Valencia and the destruction 
of Blake's army, animating our hopes in the Peninsula, 
caused me to change my plan and to persist in guarding 

Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army had been increased 
to more than seventy-five thousand men, and the Cortes had 
finally given him the general command of the Spanish army 
of sixty thousand men. Moreover, the natural advantages 
of his position were very great. Our line of operations, ex- 
tending from Bayonne to Cadiz, was more than two hundred 
leagues in depth. Portugal was like an impenetrable for- 
tress, placed on the flank and centre of this line, while the 
fortifications of Ciudad-Bodrigo and Badajos served as ad- 
vanced works to the main bulwark. Wellington, departing 
from such a base, was certain to act with advantage against 
an enemy who was obliged to occupy a whole kingdom and 
to secure himself against a multitude of Spaniards, little 
formidable in line, but continually harassing our posts with 
indefatigable activity. As it was impossible, on account of 
the guerrillas, to form any system of regular magazines, the 
French could not remain long together in large masses, and, 
their positions being greatly extended in order to cover their 
supplies and their line of retreat, they were exposed to attack 
on every side. 

Ch. xviil] invasion or Russia. 55 

Wellington saw the advantage of his position, and at last 
took tlie offensive. He had three plans from which to 
choose : first, to move to the right on Soult ; second, to 
debouch at the centre on Madrid ; third, to operate at the 
left on Marmont. By operating at the south Wellington 
would draw there the principal masses of the French, and 
only the more completely effect the invasion of Spain. But 
in going to the north he would draw Soult in that direction. 
and thus deliver over the south of Spain to the junta of 
Cadiz. If the French should commit the error of attempt- 
ing to guard Seville instead of going to the support of Mar- 
mont, then the latter would be defeated, and, as the line of 
retreat on Bayonne lay in that direction, a victory on the 
Douro would be certain to cause the evacuation of half of 
the Peninsula, and even of the capital. This was too evident 
to escape my penetration ; but deceived in the character of 
their chief, I hoped that the English would not venture to 
commit their troops far from Portugal. I, however, gave a 
carte blanche to Joseph and Jourdan, who thought, like my- 
self, that they could face the danger. 

The English destroy the Bridge of the Tagus at Almaraz.— 
Conformably to his plan of operations, Wellington debouched 
from Portugal in the month of May. In order to retain 
Suehet in the east and prevent reënforcements from being 
sent to Joseph, Wellington requested the landing of ten 
thousand English and six thousand auxiliaries from Minorca 
on the coast of Catalonia. The general wisely commenced 
\\\i operations by destroying the great bridge of Almaraz 
across the Tagus, in order to cut off all communication 
between the armies of Soult and Marmont. This bridge 
was not only secured by a well-constructed tête-de-pont, but 
also by the little fort of Mirvales which closed the gorges 
through which passes the road to Truxillo. Hill succeeded 
in turning this fort by ascending the rocks of Manaderos 


with all the necessary implements for an escalade. The offi- 
cer who commanded the foreign battalion in the tête-de-j^ont, 
allowed himself to be surprised on the eighteenth of May, 
and the detachment which guarded a part of the works on 
the right bank basely fled ; its chief was condemned to death, 
but the evil w r as without remedy. After this important 
coiqj-de-main, Hill returned to Badajos. Soult and Mar- 
mont each sent divisions to sustain the place, but the bridge 
and great depot of munitions had been destroyed, and, as 
the enemy had also disappeared, our troops returned to their 
respective quarters. 

Taking of Salamanca.— Wellington, having completed his 
preparations, crossed the Tormes at a ford, on the seven- 
teenth of June, invested Salamanca and established himself 
in observation at San Christoval. Marmont, having col- 
lected his forces, presented himself there on the twentieth, 
but not venturing to attack the enemy, he retired again after 
two days' manoeuvering, and asked for reënforcements from 
Joseph, and from General Caffarelli, who was commanding 
in Castile. The three small forts constructed to cover Sala- 
manca, being warmly battered, surrendered on the twenty- 
fourth, Marmont then fell back on the Douro between Toro 
and Tordesillas, where he was joined by Bonnet's division 
from the Asturias ; his force now numbered between forty- 
two and furty-five thousand. Wellington followed him with 
at least an equal army. Joseph, indecisive like all mediocre 
men, first 'declared that he could not detach any reënforce- 
ment from Madrid, and that the marshal must do all he 
could to sustain himself. Caffarelli also replied that he was 
hard pressed by the insurgents of Navarre and the Asturias. 
The marshal, judging that it was necessary at whatsoever cost 
to drive the enemy back into Portugal, resolved to take the 
offensive as soon as he was joined by Bonnet's division. 
After making new demonstrations on Toro, he fell back to 


the left on Tordesillas, passed the Douro, and advanced 
against the extreme right of the English. 

After some manœuvres intended to deceive his adversary, 
Marmont collected the mass of his forces behind the hills of 
the Arapiles, and resolved to drive the English from these 
heights, from which place he hoped to operate with advan- 
tage on their right, if they remained in position, or to cut 
them up if they attempted to retreat. 

General Maucune had orders to carry this post with the 
advanced guard. This valiant soldier executed his task with 
audacity, but afterward advanced with too much precipitancy 
into the plain beyond. Marmont ascended the eminence to 
ascertain the state of affairs, and just as he saw the enemy, 
instead of retreating, making preparations to assail with ad- 
vantage, his arm w r as broken by the bursting of a shell. It 
was now necessary to sustain this division, and to attack the 
second hill opposite the enemy's centre. The battle was 
thus begun in a disadvantageous situation. The wounded 
marshal resigned the command to Clausel, but all the expe- 
rience of this brave general could not remedy an affair so im- 
properly begun. Maucune was separated from the rest of 
the line by half a league, and Wellington moved one Spanish 
and four English divisions and all his cavalry on the point 
where we were 'most exposed to his attacks. Imitating the 
example of Frederick at Rosbach, or rather mine at Auster- 
litz, he waited till our left was well separated, then ordered 
Beresford to attack the heights of Arapiles, and directed, by 
an oblique march, the half of his army on the extreme left. 
Taken in front and flank this wing was thrown on the centre 
which evacuated the Arapiles in pretty good order, but was 
finally involved in the defeat of the left. 

Foy, who commanded our right, thought to assist the 
centre by a lateral movement, but was assailed by the 
enemy's left and reserve, and succeeded with difficulty in 


covering the retreat. This defeat which cost us eight or 
nine thousand men hors-de-combat, was calculated to decide 
the fate of Spain. The consequences were the more to bo 
deplored as they destroyed the hope of effecting an arrange- 
ment with the Cortes, or of securing the pacification of the 
Peninsula. I was the more displeased with this result, as 
Joseph had changed his mind in relation to reën-forcing 
Marmont, and marched with his guard, his reserve and part 
of Caffarelli's troops on Segovia to rejoin the army of 

This circumstance prejudiced me against this imprudent 
marshal, as it seemed that he had compromised our safety 
on account of his jealousy and the desire to decide the ques- 
tion before the approach of my brother. But as it was not 
absolutely certain that he knew of the vicinity of the king, I 
only replaced him in the command, and directed that he 
should not even be informed of this until the recovery of his 
wounds. I had an old affection for my companion in arms ; 
he and Junot had been the first of my aids-de-camp. The 
loss of Spain is, however, to be dated from this catastrophe, 
and posterity will decide whether it was the fault of Joseph 
or of Marmont. 

Wellington enters Madrid.— The military results of this 
campaign were, for us, as unfortunate as its political con- 
sequences. The broken army of Marmont retired to Burgos ; 
Clausel did not even deem it prudent to hold Valladolid, for 
fear of being obliged to accept a new battle. Wellington, 
getting possession of that city on the thirtieth of July, 
caused the army of Portugal to be observed by two divisions, 
and on the fifth of August inarched on Madrid by Segovia. 
Joseph, on hearing the loss of the battle of Salamanca, and 
not being able to unite with Clausel without danger, retired 
by Gruadarama on Madrid, evacuated that capital after hav- 
ing thrown his baggage in the Eetiro, and fell back with the 


army of the centre behind the Tagus, and urged Soult to 
send him twenty thousand men from Andalusia. This un- 
fortunate army of the south caused all our embarrassments, 
and, nevertheless, was the resource to which it was always 
necessary to resort. As Soult could not, without com- 
promising his army, send half of it to the king, he proposed 
to Joseph to fall back on him, to hold Andalusia, and give 
me time to send reënforcements into the north of Spain to 
drive out the English. This project would have been good, 
if I had been tranquil at Paris ; but as I was then in Mos- 
cow, it was therefore exceedingly objectionable. 

Joseph, listening to better advice than that of Soult, 
ordered him to abandon Andalusia, and join him at Valen- 
cia, where he retired with the troops of Count d'Erlon. 
Hardly had he left his capital when the English general 
entered there in triumph (August 12th). The intoxication 
with which he was received soon gave place to very different 
feelings, when it was known that he had levied a contribu- 
tion on that city of ten millions ! 

The Retiro had been fortified for the last two years, to 
serve as a depot : its enceinte was a double line ; the first 
line was too extended, and required too many forces for its 
defense ; the second was too confined, and its garrison was 
exposed to the fire of the besiegers. The garrison being too 
weak to defend the first line, Wellington carried it at the 
first onset ; he then bombarded the second, which was sur- 
rendered by the commandant a few hours after, with censur- 
able precipitation. They captured here one hundred and 
eighty pieces of cannon and rich stores. 

Wellington has been blamed for going to Madrid for a 
triumph instead of pursuing the wrecks of Marmont's corps. 
It is very certain that a second victory over Clausel would 
have driven his army to the Pyrenees, and have greatly em- 
barrassed Soult and Joseph in the south But the English 


o-eneral relied much upon the moral effect which the taking 
of the capital would produce upon the already flagging 
courage of the Spaniards. 

On the reiterated orders of the king, Soult determined to 
sacrifice the immense works which his army had erected 
around Cadiz, and, on the twenty-fifth of August, took the 
road to Grenada and Lorca on Yecla, after having effected, 
at Huesca, his junction with the corps of Count d'Erlon ; he 
conferred with Joseph and Suchet at Almanza, and then 
immediately directed himself on the Tagus by the road from 
Alicante to Madrid. Ballesteros, who had fought against 
him with so much constancy during the whole summer, did 
not trouble his retreat which he might have done, either by 
operating on the flanks, or by the direct road from the Sierra 
Morena to Madrid. It appears that he had been ordered 
into La Mancha to act under the orders of Wellington ; but 
his pride revolted at serving under another, and he preferred 
to let our columns escape unmolested. The Cortes broke 
him of his command, and banished him to Ceuta. 

Wellington's unsuccessful Siege of Burgos.— In the mean 
time Wellington had left Madrid to return to the north 
against Clausel, who had just resumed the offensive against 
the divisions left in observation near Burgos, and had already 
advanced on the Douro to disengage Toro and Zamora. 
Wellington left General Hill, with three Anglo-Portuguese 
divisions, to guard Madrid, and marched anew against Bur- 
gos at the head of four divisions and the Spanish army of 
Galicia. General Souham (to whom Clausel, who was sick 
with his wound, had given the command), fell back on 
Briviesca, a formidable position on the principal spur of the 
Pyrenees which covers the left bank of the Ebro. The 
English general, though destitute of his park of heavy artil- 
lery, determined to attack the castle of Burgos, hoping that 
what could not be effected by his large field-pieces and 


howitzers, could be accomplished by subterranean warfare, 
and sapping the foot of the walls with his miners. 

General Dubreton, who commanded the garrison, was a 
man of head and heart. He executed many sorties with 
success, on the trenches ; nevertheless the breaches were 
finally made practicable, and the assault given ; but it com- 
pletely failed. Our great depots were in a kind of intrenched 
camp between the castle and the old donjon. Wellington 
now redoubled his efforts, giving a new assault on the eighth 
of October, but with the same ill-success as before : and 
finally, on the twenty-second, he raised the siege after a loss 
of thirty days and three thousand men. 

He retires into Portugal. — Two circumstances decided 
Wellington to retreat. First the approach of Souham to 
El Olmo, his army being reënforced by General Caffarelli 
with two divisions of infantry, and a brigade of cavalry. 
The second was the march of Soult on Aranjuez and Madrid, 
threatening to cut off his line of retreat by Portugal. The 
English army immediately retired behind the Douro, but not 
without considerable losses in the combats which its rear- 
guard had to sustain against our light cavalry and the divi- 
sions of Foy and Maucune, especially at Celada, Villadrigo, 
and Villa-Muriel. Wellington, after blowing up the fine 
bridges of Zamora, Toro, and Tordesillas, regained Sala- 

Joseph and Soult. after driving Hill from Madrid, also 
took the road to Salamanca, and on the tenth of November 
our three armies united on the Tormes. They still num- 
bered eighty thousand foot-soldiers and ten thousand horse. 
Although worn out with a fatiguing and ill-directed war, the 
idea of avenging the defeat of Salamanca had revived their 
enthusiasm ; and the soldiers loudly demanded to be led 
against the enemy. Soult, to whom the king had given the 
command, wished to profit by this feeling to act on Welling- 


ton's line of retreat ; but he was delayed by the difficulty 
of crossing the Alba, and the English general, taking advan- 
tage of a terrible rain and fog, effected his retreat towards 

Wellington was now driven back to the position from 
which he had started ; but his operations had resulted in the 
deliverance of all the south of Spain ; — Grenada, Seville, 
Andalusia, Cadiz, and Alicante ; and he had acquired a 
marked ascendency over my generals. This campaign, 
although slow and measured, did honor to Wellington. The 
choice of his strategic direction was wise, and his tactical 
dispositions, skillful. Nevertheless it must be confessed 
that, with an army of seventy-five thousand men assisted by 
ten millions of Spaniards and Portuguese, full of fervor for 
their cause, and with only a fraction of our own force to 
oppose him, he was bound to accomplish some important 
results. The thirty days lost at Burgos certainly militate 
against him ; and he has been justly blamed for giving 
Clausel time to reform the army which had been defeated at 

Secondary Operations in Catatonia, &c— In the east the 
war does not offer "the same interest as in the former cam- 
paigns. General Suchet, satisfied with the taking of Valen- 
cia and Peniscola, and annoyed by the unfortunate expedi- 
tion of Montbmn, rested on his laurels. General Decaen, 
with Lamarque and Maurice Mathieu, kept up an active 
contest with the Catalonians who, under Lascy, threatened 
at the same time Tarragona, Barcelona, Gerona, and Tortosa. 
The distance of Suchet's troops had revived the war-like 
ardor of the intrepid mountaineers of Monserrat, Manresa, 
Reuss and Vicque. Maurice Mathieu encountered Lascy, on 
the twenty-third of January, on the heights of Alta-Fulla, 
routed his army, captured all his artillery, and took near 
two thousand prisoners. Decaen carried the mountain of 


Olot, drove Sarsfield on Centelles, and explored the whole 
country to Barcelona. 

But these successes did not destroy the activity of the 
insurgent parties in Catalonia, and it was only with the 
greatest care on our side that Ave could maintain Barcelona, 
and keep its garrison supplied with provisions. After com- 
pleting the organization of Valencia, Suchet made a recon- 
noissance of Alicante. Joseph O'Donnel had organized a 
corps of eight or nine thousand men to cover the environs of 
the city, and Suchet was soon convinced that the place was 
too strong to be taken without a regular attack. At this 
epoch the English made known their intention of landing 
ten or twelve thousand Anglo-Sicilians under General Mait- 
land on the eastern coast of Spain. On hearing this I 
united the corps of Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia under 
the orders of Suchet. While the English squadron was 
making demonstrations at the mouth of the Xucar, O'Don- 
nel thought to surprise and destroy General Delort at Cas- 
tella (July 22d). This intrepid officer, without fearing 
the enemy's numbers, and taking advantage of an injudicious 
movement of the Spanish cavalry, threw himself on his 
adversaries with the twenty-fourth dragoons and his cuiras- 
siers, captured their artillery, sabred and dispersed their 
infantry, and returned with more prisoners than he himself 
had soldiers. This brilliant exploit of eighteen hundred 
Frenchmen against nine thousand Spaniards crowned the 
expedition of Suchet. The Irish General Elliot succeeded 
O'Donnel in the command, but was not more fortunate than 
his predecessor. Not venturing to land in the midst of our 
troops, Maitland debarked near Alicante, and again threatened 

Suchet was at this time obliged to shelter the columns of 
Joseph, who returned from Madrid with the burlesque cor- 
tège of a fugitive court. The contrast between the army of 


Aragon, well-clothed and equipped, and the army of the 
centre, undisciplined, destitute of everything, and serving as 
a mere escort to the thousand carriages of the grandees of 
Spain who shared the fortunes of the king, formed a picture 
worthy the pencil of Calot. As soon as he could get rid of 
this embarrassment, Suchet resolved to again menace Ali- 
cante. Maitland, on his side, sought to get possession of 
Denia ; but Duncan's brigade was repulsed, and Suchet, to 
threaten the enemy in his position, pushed forward Harispe's 
division even under the cannon of Alicante. 

In the mean time the war in Catalonia continued without 
material change. The bands of Eroles, Milans, Kovira, and 
Sarsfield, distinguished themselves by their boldness and 
activity, and our convoys had great difficulty in getting sup- 
plies into Barcelona. It required all the talents of Decaen, 
Lamarque, and Maurice-Mathieu, and all the constancy, 
bravery, and resignation of their soldiers, to drive Lascy from 
Vicque. The bands of Aragonese, although less enterprising 
than the Catalonians, continued to harass the division which 
had been left to guard that province. 

Conclusion. — The news of the retreat from Moscow, and 
the terrible bulletin that announced my return to Paris, was 
calculated to precipitate the ruin of our affairs in Spain, and 
revive the confidence and enthusiasm of our enemies. In 
fact, the disas-ters of the Russian expedition destroyed the 
morale of our army which was more fatigued by the char- 
acter of the war than discouraged by the chances and perils 
of battle. 

But it is time to close this brief outline of the campaign 
of 1812 in Spain, and return to the dispositions which I 
made to save France from the dangers that threatened her 
on all sides. 



General State of Europe — Mission of Bubna — Amicable Protestations of Aus- 
tria — Napoleon's Preparations for a new Campaign — Eugene behind the Elbe 
— Prussia declares against Napoleon — March of the Allies on the Elbe — They 
enter Saxony — Negotiations with Austria — She declares an armed Media- 
tion — Napoleon rejoins his Army — He advances on the Saale — Organization 
of his Army — Levy in Mass in Prussia — Movements of the Allies — Position 
of their Armies- -Napoleon effects his Junction with Eugene — He directs 
his March on Leipsic — Project of the Allies — Battle of Lutzen — Remarks on 
this Battle — Pursuit of the Allies on Dresden — Eugene sent to organize an 
Army in Italy — New Negotiations — Another Mission of Bubna — Napoleon 
accepts the Proposition of a Congress — Caulaincourt's Proposition to Rus- 
sia — Napoleon repairs to Bautzen — Fortified Position of the Allies — Ney's 
March to turn this Position — Combats of "Weissig and Konigswarth — Ney 
debouches on Klix — Battle of Bautzen — Remarks on this Battle — Nessel- 
rode's Reply to the Overtures of Caul'aincourt — Combats of Reichenbach and 
Haynau — The Allies throw themselves on Schweidnitz — Armistice of Neu- 
mark — Combat of Luckau — Treaty with Denmark — Third Mission of Bubna 
— Negotiations of the Allies at Reichenbach — Metternich at Dresden — His 
Interview with Napoleon — Envoys to the Congress of Prague — Napoleon 
meets his Empress at Mayence — Military Projects of the Allies — Negotia- 
tions at Prague — Summary of Operations in Spain — Battle of Victoria — 
Suchet's Operations in the East of Spain. 

General State of Europe. — Europe was not less astonished 
at my reverses that it had been at my successes. I had just 
lost that army which had been the terror of the world ; and 
my enemies might now hope to conquer the remainder, for the 
relative proportion of forces was changed. I was not to be 
deceived respecting the sentiments which now agitated Eu- 
rope, for I foresaw that, the first moment of surprise being 
passed, I should find against me a formidable league, of which 

I now only heard the smothered cries of joy. 
vol. iv. — 5. 


Mission of Bubna.— The moment of defeat is certainly an 
unfavorable time for concluding a treaty of peace. Austria, 
however, hoping to derive greater advantages from her alliance 
with me than from any which she could form with my 
enemies, interposed to mediate a peace. 

General Bubna was sent to me, on the part of that court, 
to assure me of its benevolent dispositions. In his officiai 
language Bubna spoke only of the good offices of the cabinet 
of Vienna for the reëstablishment of peace, and was most 
prodigal in his protestations and assurances of the wish of 
his government for the maintenance of our alliance. But in 
the salons, and m private conversations, he let it be under- 
stood, that, as a return for these dispositions, his government 
expected the retrocession of some of its provinces, and par- 
ticularly of Illyria. This desire was perfectly natural, and 
I should not have hesitated to gratify it, if I had known pre- 
cisely what my father-in-law wished ; that is, what he was 
disposed to do for me, and what price he set upon this assist- 
ance. We were reciprocally distrusting each other for want 
of a frank and open explanation. It was evident that Aus- 
tria would profit by her situation to recover a part of her 
lost power ; but to attain this object by honorable means, it 
was essential that she should not hesitate to declare herself. 
Her situation, however, was somewhat embarrassing, for she 
had only a single alternative ; she had either to maintain our 
alliance and seek to obtain from me concessions sufficiently 
important to reestablish the equilibrium between us, or 
to break the alliance and declare herself in favor of my 

The first of these seemed the most advisable course to pur- 
sue, although it was no easy matter to dictate conditions to 
one of my character, and, moreover, my father-in-law could 
not, with very good grace, say to me : I am your ally, and 
you must give me your provinces. Austria, therefore, pre~ 


ferred to show how necessary she was to me, and thus induce 
me to explain what I would be disposed to do for her. I, 
on the contrary, wished to gain time, being persuaded that 
under any circumstances I could make better terms after 
gaining a battle. I formed a just estimate of my resources 
and felt confident that, in two or three months, I could beat 
the enemy and drive him behind the Vistula, thus regaining 
my European preponderance. 

The second plan was not less embarrassing for Austria 
than the other ; for, if my preponderance had appeared ex- 
cessive and threatening, there were also equal reasons for fear, 
if that preponderance should pass entirely into the hands of 
Russia. Moreover, an ally is not to be instantly converted 
into a public enemy ; time and the formalities of negotia- 
tions are required to accomplish this. 

Under all the circumstances, I determined not to volun- 
tarily offer myself to be despoiled, but to wait till I could 
ascertain the exact intentions of the cabinet of Vienna ; in 
the mean time seeking to obtain from Austria some formal 
declaration respecting the continuance of our alliance. As 
Bubna only spoke of the desire of his master to intercede 
for peace, I reiterated to him all the assurances which he 
could desire, and confirmed them by my direct correspondence 
with my father-in-law. The reports which reached me from 
Vienna were, however, daily becoming more alarming. Lord 
Walpole, the secret envoy of England, promised, it was said, 
to Austria ten millions of pounds sterling, Illyria, and even 
the kingdom of Italy, if she would declare against me. 
Thus a power, which had not a single battalion to dispose 
of, was generously offering to give away vast provinces on 
the continent, to which not the shadow of a title had yet been 

Amicable Protostations of the Cabinet of Vienna.— Never- 
theless, the protestations of Metternich were so positive that 


I was for a time deceived. I saw in his proffer of good offi- 
ces only a sincere desire on the part of Austria to interpose 
between the contending parties, and thus increase her own 
importance. How could I fail to believe a minister who 
said to mine on the fourteenth of February, u that my alli- 
ance with Russia was an alliance of war, imposed by victory, 
and ought from its nature to be dissolved ; but on the con- 
trary that the alliance with Austria reposed on the most 
permanent interests ; that Austria had herself voluntarily 
sought this alliance, and that if she now had it to make over 
again she would make it upon precisely the same basis ; that 
if it did not already exist, she herself would now solicit it, 
for a half century had demonstrated the advantages of the 
one precisely similar which had been negotiated by Prince 
Kaunitz in 1756." 

Nor did the cabinet of Vienna confine itself to these pro- 
testations ; it announced, the middle of March, that Prince 
Schwartzenberg, as chief of the auxiliary corps, was coming 
to Paris to receive my orders ; and Metternich spoke of 
bringing one hundred thousand, instead of thirty thousand 
men, into the field, if the enemy should still refuse to make 
peace. The letter announcing the return of Schwartzenberg 
was certainly remarkable : 

" His presence at Paris has, under the circumstances, been 
deemed necessary by the Emperor of Austria for the recip- 
rocal interests of the two courts. As an embassador and 
chief of the auxiliary corps he will be of service to Napoleon, 
in the negotiations, if they are commenced, or in receiving 
his orders for the coming campaign, if, contrary to the dearest 
wishes of the Emperor of Austria, it becomes necessary to 
continue the war.'' 

At the same time M. de Floret communicated, by the 
orders of his court, the overtures of the cabinet of Vienna 
to England and Russia ; and also the views of the Emperor 


of Austria on the events that were transpiring in Prussia. 
" The personal sentiments," said to be, " of the Emperor of 
Austria are most strongly opposed to measures like those 
resorted to by Prussia. Ho blamed, in the strongest terms, 
such defection ; his sentiments were most unequivocally in 
favor of continuing the alliance ; and his zeal was both 
strongly and truly in favor of peace, — a peace less necessary 
for France than for Austria herself. Such were the declara- 
tions of the agents of the cabinet of Vienna. It had ex- 
plained its views in the same way, it was said, at Berlin, at 
Wilna, and at London. " Their course of conduct was 
purely Austrian, and they wished to place France in lier 
true attitude, which was not to fear the continuance of the 
war, nor to oppose the negotiation of peace." 

My minister of foreign affairs, however, distrusted these 
fine protestations, and proposed to me to restore Ferdinand 
to Spain, and the Pope to Rome. 

It was thought that by this means I might voluntarily 
accomplish what Europe would perhaps sooner or later im- 
pose by force ; and, moreover, that I might in this way 
obtain an additional force of one hundred thousand men to 
assist me in Germany, and thus show to Europe that I re- 
nounced both Spain and Rome, the better to maintain my 
ascendency in the north. I consented to the restoration of 
the Pope, and went myself to Fontainebleau, under the pre- 
text of a hunting party. I saw the Pontiff, and frankly pro- 
posed to him to forget our spiritual and temporal quarrels, 
offering him the restoration of Rome, provided he would 
maintain the independence of the Gallican Church. A new 
concordat was signed to this effect on the twenty-fifth of 
January. But the restoration of Ferdinand was a different 
matter. The new retreat of Wellington into Portugal, not- 
withstanding the victory of Salamanca, gave me hopes of 
still maintaining our power in the Peninsula. I preferred to 


risk my throne, rather than to surrender the maritime inter- 
ests of France. They could not regard the restoration of the 
Pope as the resuit of fear, for I could have nothing to appre- 
hend from that quarter ; hut the return of Ferdinand might 
give my enemies an exaggerated idea of our embarrassments. 

Energetic Preparations for a new Campaign.— During 
the interval of these negotiations, I was making every pre- 
paration to resume an imposing attitude on the Oder. The 
disasters of Moscow, instead of discouraging me, had anima- 
ted me with new ardor ; I felt equal to the exigency of the 
occasion, and France shared my confidence and my energy 
Never did a people present a more noble and lofty character. 
Instead of mourning over our losses, we thought only of the 
means of repairing them ; in three months I accomplished 
my object. This fact alone is sufficient to confound the 
declamations of those intriguers who triumph only in the dis- 
asters of their country. France, it is true, showed herself 
great in misfortune ; but if there was in the whole of my 
career a single moment which merits the admiration of pos- 
terity, it was this, beyond all doubt. 

In less than three months, more than six hundred pieces 
of cannon and two thousand caissons were on the road to 
the Elbe ; the cohorts of the first ban were formed into regi- 
ments of the line ; the number of these regiments was in- 
creased to one hundred and fifty by the creation of twenty 
new cadres ; the newly levied conscripts filled up the old 
cadres. The depots of the regiments in Spain were com- 
pleted and organized as provisional ; the cadres of one hun- 
dred battalions were drawn, for this purpose, from the army 
in Spain, their soldiers being all transferred to the battalions 
which remained with that army. I increased the number of 
the regiments of the Young Guard to sixteen, so as to incite 
among the conscripts a rivalry to get into these corps ; which 
then passed as the elite of my army, but which in reality 


were inferior to the ordinary regiments of the camp at Bou- 
logne. The)'' were not wanting in courage, but in the habit 
of enduring fatigues, privations, and dangers ; in a word, 
they wanted, the force of discipline and experience. 

The personnel of the artillery was reorganized by means 
of the companies of cannoneers, which had been attached to 
each cohort of the bans : seventy of these companies were 
sent into Germany. I had six fine regiments of well- 
disciplined marine-artillerists ; these were withdrawn from 
the ports, and also sent into Germany. These brave men 
did not object to the loss of their prerogatives, while I 
directed them to act as infantry. 

A small number of these companies, however, were re- 
quired to complete the artillery of the guard. The reorganiza- 
tion of cavalry was more difficult. I, however, remounted, 
in Hanover, the squadrons which had lost their horses in 
Russia ; I levied a part of the postillions, and the sons of 
postmasters, and of the mounted guards of the forests ; I 
also formed guards of honor in order to stimulate the proud 
and warlike youth of the country. The gensdarmerie also 
offered me a resource ; two thousand officers and non- 
commissioned officers of this corps d'élite left their resi- 
dences to aid me in forming the cadres of our young cavalry. 
The order, regularity, and activity which marked the fusion 
of all these heterogeneous elements constitute, perhaps, the 
most remarkable trait of my administration. 

I thus re-appeared, at the opening of the campaign, as 
formidable as ever, at least in numbers. The enemy was 
surprised at the sudden return of our eagles. The army 
which I commanded, and especially the cavalry, was less 
warlike than that of Boulogne ; but the heritage of glory 
gave it confidence, and I led it to the field against the enemy 
without hesitation. 

I had a great task before me : it was necessary to reëstab- 


lish our military ascendency, and to resume a contest which 
had been so near its termination. I still held Italy, Holland, 
and most of the fortified places of Germany. The army of 
Spain, though defeated at Salamanca, had soon regained its 
supremacy by the concentration of its forces ; it had again 
confined Wellington to Portugal, and with the exception of 
Andalusia and Galicia, still occupied nearly all the penin- 
sula. A reënforcement of thirty thousand conscripts ought 
to enable it to maintain its position. I had, therefore, lost 
but little ground ; it was only the prestige of my invincibil- 
ity that was gone : it still required well-combined efforts on 
the part of my enemies to overthrow me, and these efforts 
might fail for want of union. England, however, redoubled 
her activity, and Prussia was preparing to make war en 
masse. The levies ordered by Russia in 1812 were collecting 
from all quarters into Poland to complete the organization 
of her army. Austria, convinced that the moment for pro- 
nouncing was approaching, armed herself with all possible 
activity. The princes of the Confederation, compelled by 
their own weakness to follow the strongest party, marched 
with hesitation under my flag. But my declared enemies, 
and doubtful allies caused me less inquietude than the secret 
societies which were formed for the overthrow of my power. 
These societies were organized in Bavaria, Saxony, and 
Wesphalia, while agents of the coalition were preaching a 
crusade against me in every part of Germany. 

Eugene behind the Elbe. — While I was preparing my 
forces for a new contest, Eugene completed his long and 
difficult march from the Vistula to the banks of the Elbe. 
Prince Schwartzenberg in consequence of the convention with 
the Russian generals, had left General Frimont to march 
back his corps into Austrian Galicia. Poniatowski, by a 
subsequent convention, had retired without arms across the 
Austrian territory to rejoin me on the Elbe. Eugene, al- 


though reënforced by Grenier, had been obliged to garrison 
the places of the Oder, and brought for the defense of the 
Elbe only twenty thousand men, exclusive of the Saxons who 
were destined for the garrison of Torgau. 

Prussia declares against Napoleon.— Prussia, after having 
disapproved the defection of York, sent to me, first, Prince 
Hatzfeld, and then General Krusemarck, to claim the reim- 
bursement of the ninety millions of francs which she said we 
owed her for supplies furnished to our army. If I had had 
to deal only with Frederick-William, I should have retained 
him in my alliance by restoring a part of his lost provinces, 
and by paying him the money which he claimed : but I 
knew that he would be induced by the feelings of the army 
and of the nation to declare against me : in fact, his cabinet 
was even then negotiating with Russia. I thought it useless 
to deceive Krusemarck, and told him plainly that I was not 
disposed to supply arms to my enemies. The Prussian gov- 
ernment now no longer concealed its hostility : a treaty of 
alliance was signed with Russia, on the twenty-seventh of 
February, at Kalisch, and the two sovereigns soon after met 
at Breslau to concert their political and military operations. 
Russia promised to bring one hundred and fifty thousand 
men into the field, and Prussia eighty thousand as a mini- 
mum, and double that number if circumstances permitted. 
It was agreed to make an appeal to the people and princes 
of Germany, and to strip of their territories all those who 
did not join in the coalition. A committee was formed, first, 
under the presidency of Kotschubey, and afterward of Stein, 
for inciting and directing the levée en masse. It is also said 
that a secret convention was signed, near the close of March, 
stipulating for the assistance of Austria. 

March of the Allies on the Elbe.— The Russian army, 
having passed the Oder and the Rohr, moved its head- 
quarters to Bunzlau, where Kutusof, already aged and 


broken down by the fatigues of the campaign, died of an 
epidemic fever which prevailed in the army, and also in the 
countries through which they passed. Count Wittgenstein 
succeeded him in the command, and directed a part of his 
army with Blucher on Dresden, and the remainder, with the 
corps of Buluw, Kleist, and York, by Frankfort on Berlin. 
Eugene, finding himself unable to defend the Spree against 
the united armies of Prussia and Kussia, fell back from 
Copenick on Wittenberg, and Augereau, who had at Berlin 
only a few conscripts, evacuated that capital on the approach 
of the allies, and followed the retreat of the army behind the 

Eugene, informed of the reënforcements which were ap- 
proaching, thought to defend the line of that river ; Belluno, 
with two new divisions which afterward formed the second 
corps-d'armée on the Saale, covered the space between 
Magdebourg and the confluence of that river. Davoust, 
with a part of the eleventh corps, defended the interval 
between Torgau and Dessau ; while Reynier was to secure 
Dresden with Durutte's division and the wrecks of the 
Saxons and Bavarians. As it was less important to guard 
this line than to assemble the scattered forces, I directed him 
to concentrate toward Magdebourg. Davoust and Reynier, 
after some difficulty with the citizens who opposed the 
blowing up of some of the arches of the bridge of Dresden, 
left the Saxons at Torgau, and descended the river with 
their few remaining troops. I had also directed on Magde- 
bourg the regiments of infantry formed by the cohorts of the 
first ban. This reënforcement of twenty-four thousand men, 
under the orders of Lauriston, increased the number of com- 
batants in the vicinity of the city to fifty thousand. Van- 
damme went to command a corps-d'armée formed of the 
cohorts in the departments of the mouths of the Elbe and 
the Weser. 

On. XIX.] SPRING C A M P A I N OF 1813. 75 

The Allies enter Saxony.— The enemy continued to ad- 
vance with excessive confidence ; Count Wittgenstein and 
the Prussians, under Bulow, entered Berlin : the first, leav- 
ing Count Woronzof to mask Magdebourg, passed the Elbe 
in the environs of Dessau ; and Bluchcr, with the corps of 
Silesia and that of Miloradowitsch, debouched by Dresden. 
At the approach of the enemy's columns, the king of Saxony 
left for Ratisbon ; but afterwards, on the invitation of Aus- 
tria, returned to Prague, where he was at the same time more 
secure and nearer to his states. The cabinet of Vienna was 
making every effort to enclose this prince in her toils : it 
sought to induce him to unite his destinies with those of 
Austria, with the hope of acting the mediator. Such a step 
was directly opposed to our treaties, and to the statutes of 
the Confederation of the Rhine, and consequently could not 
be approved by the principles of morality. A model of 
virtue and loyalty, this prince at first resisted all those in- 
sinuations : but finally, drawn on by the hope of contributing 
to the general pacification, and of saving his country from 
the disasters of war, he declared that he would follow in 
every respect the course which Austria might pursue. Such 
was the condition of affairs in Germany when I was prepared 
to resume the contest, and to take the initiative in the new 

Continuation of Negotiations with Austria.— In the mean 
time Austria continued to speak of peace, reproving the 
defection of others, and protesting her fidelity to the alliance 
of 1812. 

If she negotiated with Russia and England, it was, she 
,said, only for us and with us ; and she communicated to me 
all her correspondence. Nevertheless, the news from Vienna 
was very different from these fine official protestations. 
Public opinion at Vienna was the same as at Berlin. All 
official notes were of the most pacific character ; but con- 


fidential overtures indicated other and different intentions. 
They manifested the wish that I should renounce the pro- 
tectorate of the Confederation of the Rhine, and also my 
projects respecting the Duchy of Warsaw. But the cabinet 
did not present these as its own conditions, but as those 
expected by the allies. It protested its own disinterested- 
ness, but let me understand that it expected the restitution 
of Illyria. I determined a little late, and, perhaps, too 
indirectly, to sound the views of the Austrian cabinet, by 
authorizing the Duke of Bassano to hold out the offer of 
Silesia ; so as to see whether Austria placed her hopes else- 
where than in the results of a cooperation with France. 
Silesia had been taken from Austria by Frederick the Great ; 
it was a valuable province ; and as Prussia had declared 
against me, it would be necessary to punish her severely. 
But instead of being satisfied with this acquisition, the cabi- 
net of Vienna manifested the most opposite views by laying 
down as a principle that Prussia was to be reconstructed in 
proportions even greater than in 1806. 

As the correspondence of my ambassador at Vienna, Count 
Otto, seemed too much in the views of Austria, I thought it 
prudent to replace him with M. Narbonne, a shrewd courtier, 
capable of penetrating the mysteries of that cabinet. His 
reports soon confirmed my fears. The Prince of Schwartzen- 
berg, announced for more than a month, did not arrive ; and 
it was evident that Austria merely wished to gain time to 
increase her forces. She expended her paper-money, regard- 
less of the depreciation produced by large issues, provided it 
furnished her with battalions. 

As I was about to join my army, I took leave of Bubna, 
charging him with a letter to my father-in-law, in which I 
repeated what I desired to do for peace, and the means which 
seemed best calculated to lead to negotiations. My position 
was so delicate that I could not do anything abruptly. If I 


provoked Austria to formal declarations which proved un- 
favorable, I would thus accelerate the crisis which I wished 
to avoid. I was preparing to strike decisive blows in Ger- 
many, blows calculated to secure her fidelity, and procure 
me an honorable peace, independent of her arbitration. 

Schwartzcnberg finally reached Paris just as I was leaving 
to join my army. I merely asked him if the Austrian contin- 
gent was still at my disposal. On receiving his affirmative an- 
swer, I left him to complete his negotiations with the Duke 
of Bassano. My minister used all his diplomacy to draw the 
Austrian negotiator further towards an alliance than the 
other desired. But the object on both sides was to gain 
time, and all the negotiations of Bubna, Floret, and Schwart- 
zenberg, tended only to that object. And so long as Austria 
remained in her present line of conduct, it was not good 
policy for us to push matters, for I felt assured that a vic- 
tory in Saxony would retain her under my flag. 

Austria declares an armed Mediation. — The negotiations 
of Narbonne at Vienna finally drew from Austria the avowal 
that she intended to offer an armed mediation, that is, to 
make herself the arbiter of peace. Schwartzenberg soon re- 
ceived new instructions. In a note as long as it was obscure, 
in which he spoke with affectation of the Jacobin ferment 
which threatened the stability of thrones, of the disinter- 
estedness of the emperor for his monarchy, and of his soli- 
citude for the general repose, he let it be understood that, in 
order to obtain new sacrifices from the Austrian people, his 
master could not announce a formal intention of uniting his 
forces to those of France, but that he wished merely to show 
himself in arms in order to obtain peace. But notwith- 
standing its general ambiguity, this note contained some 
protestations very amicable for France ; for it avowed the 
partiality of Austria for its, as ive sincerely desired peace. 
Quieted by these new assurances, we thought that Austria 


really intended to act the part of a friend, when the fit occa- 
sion should arrive. However, Metternich and even the em- 
peror himself, in their conferences with Narbonne, advanced 
a little farther. They spoke already of the independence of 
the Confederation of the Rhine, the dissolution of the Duchy 
of Warsaw, the restitution of Illyria, the reconstruction of 
the Prussian monarchy, as conditions which would be de- 
manded by our enemies, and which it would be difficult for 
a mediator to refuse. This new state of things gave rise to 
two questions : would Austria break our alliance, by declar- 
ing herself the mediating power ? would she leave me her 
contingent ? On the first point Metternich did not fail to 
make the most positive assurances: "The alliance," he 
said, " continued ; Austria would instantly contract it, if it 
did not already exist ; she would persist in it ; and would 
change in no respect its conditions. This alliance was based 
on interests too identical, too inherent in the nature of things 
and too invariable in their character, to be influenced by 
either reverses or successes." With respect to the contingent, 
he said, that, in order to preserve the appearance of impar- 
tiality, the cabinet of Vienna could take no active part in 
the war ; it was enough for her to be secretly inclined in 
our favor, without having its mediation rejected by my ene- 
mies on account of her furnishing me with troops. 

Napoleon returns to his Army.— During these discussions, 
I left Paris to rejoin my army. As my enemies were not 
yet prepared I wished to profit by the occasion to resume the 
offensive and recover our glory. The Russian army which 
had pursued us to the Elbe was broken by the winter cam- 
paign. Having left some corps before Dantzic, Thorn, Mod- 
lin, Zamosc, and Custrin, and another to occupy Poland 
and follow Poniatowski, it now scarcely numbered sixty 
thousand combatants. For the moment, Prussia could not 
unite with it more than fifty thousand combatants. By 


uniting the cohorts of the first ban, which I had very for- 
tunately organized in 1812, and amalgamating a levy of one 
hundred and twenty thousand conscripts with the remains 
of my army which had returned from Russia, we could count 
on two hundred and fifty thousand men, and concentrate 
them on the enemy before he could collect an equal number. 
I resolved to profit by this circumstance. My enemies have 
not failed to attribute this to personal ambition, and to 
accuse me of having lost this opportunity to restore the 
peace of the continent ! Was it more j^roper for me to now 
submit to the yoke and implore the good-will and support 
of the cabinet of Vienna, or to first beat the enemy while 
still inferior in numbers, to finish my armaments, and then 
subscribe to an honorable and advantageous peace ? 

He advances on the Saale. — On the twenty-fifth of 
April, I arrived at Erfurt h, where I found my guard reor- 
ganized. Ney's corps assembled at Weimar numbered forty- 
eight thousand ; Marmont's corps at G-otha, numbered not 
less than twenty-five thousand ; Bertrand, who commanded 
about the same number from Italy and Wurtembourg, was 
already at Saalfeld, and Oudinot, with as many at Cobourg. 
I was thus again at the head of one hundred and forty thou- 
sand men, exclusive of the viceroy, who, with forty thousand 
combatants, was under the cannon of Magdebourg, and of 
Belluno and Davoust on the Lower Elbe. Independently of 
these forces, Augereau was directed to organize at Wurz- 
burg a small army for the three-fold purpose of imposing on 
Austria, observing Bohemia, and maintaining Bavaria. I 
had as yet only eight or ten thousand cavalry, those who had 
escaped on foot from Russia were waiting in different parts 
of Germany for their horses. But this arm is far less im- 
portant in gaining a victory, than in deriving the full advan- 
tage from success. I had sufficient means for opening the 
campaign, especially as the chances were in our favor, and 


as the enemy exposed himself to our blows. I therefore, did 
not hesitate. 

Organization of the French Array. — My army was at 
this time organized into twelve corps : 

1st corps, Vandamme. 3 divisions, 

2d '• BeUuno. 2 i: 

3d " Xjj. 5 

4th " Bertrand 3 

5th " Lauriston, 3 " 

Gth " Marmont, 3 " 

7th '■ The Saxons, at Torgau, 

8th " Poniatowski, 

9th " fhe Bavarians, 

10th '' Rapp, at Dantzic, 

11th '■ Micdonald. 3 divisions, 

1 2th '• Oudiitot, 3 " 

Augereau's army at Wurtzburg was composed of five divi- 
sions of infantry ; its battalions arrived in June and July. 

Levy in Mass in Prussia.— No sooner had the king of 
Prussia pronounced for the enemy than his council took every 
measure in their power to incite the people of Germany 
against us. The ordinances of April 21st, directing a levée 
en masse, promised to make every city a Saragossa, and 
every village a funeral pile. The good Saxons, Silesians, 
and Westphalians, were to transform themselves into fero- 
cious Aragonese : liberty could not be too dearly purchased ! 
They go still farther, and proclaim equality / Old honors 
have been effaced by the disgrace of bearing a foreign yoke ! 
The new genealogical trees are to date from 1812, and no 
one is to hold public office who has not served one year in 
the War of Independence ! It must be confessed that these 
measures were not calculated to favor the permanent inter- 
ests of sovereigns, however advantageously they might assist 
the accomplishment of their temporary objects. A civilized 
people is not easily satisfied with the mere hopes of an ideal 
liberty. The desire to crush my power made the sovereigns 
forget the danger of exciting popular passions. 

Ci. XIX.] s I' Kl Xi; CAMPAIGN Oï 1 1813. 81 

Movements of the Allies. — But cas these proclamations 
produced little effect, without the support of the bayonet. 
the allies resolved to j> -the Elbe, and spread, with im- 
petuosity, over the country between that river and the Rhine. 
Tettenborn entered Hamburg at the head of a few hundred 
Cossacks, without opposition ; Westphalia and Hanover., 
more exasperated than in 1800, were only waiting for the 
signal to rise ; and Denmark on being summoned declared 
against us. It was important to prevent the fatal conse- 
quences of these irruptions. Pushing rapidly on Hamburg 
the corps of Yandamme, formed of the garrisons and depots 
of the Lower Rhine, I sent Marshal Davoust to command in 
that important part of the theatre of war. 

Position of their Armies.— On the other side, the army of 
Wittgenstein marched on the Saale with the same assurance 
which had proved so fatal to the Prussians in 1806. This 
general had just been placed, by the sovereigns, at the head 
of the combined forces. He was with thirty thousand men 
between Dessau and Halle. Blucher had collected twenty- 
five thousand men at Altenbourg ; and Miloradowitsch was 
at Chemnitz, with fifteen thousand Russians. The Russo- 
Prussian reserves were advancing from Dresden on L-ipsic ; 
the corps of Bulow and Woronzof were masking Magde- 
bourg, and covering Berlin against the viceroy. The diverg- 
ent direction of all these corps showed that the enemy 
arranged his operations more with reference to giving force 
to his proclamations, than to opposing a formidable army. 

Napoleon effects his Junction with the Viceroy.— As it 
was important to effect a junction with the viceroy, with the 
least possible delay, I resolved to advance immediately. I 
arrived at Naumbourg on the twenty-eighth of April, and, 
the next day, Ney entered Weissenfels, after driving back the 
Russian van-guard of cavalry ; Marmont reached Kôsen, 
aud Bertrand, Dornbourg ; Oudinot had not yet passed 

vol. iv. — 6. 


Saalfeld ; but the viceroy, after having ascended the left 
bank of the Saale, arrived at Mersebourg. Count Wittgen- 
stein marched parallel with Eugene on the right of the Saale 
and the Elster, and concentrated his forces on Leipsic ; 
Blucher filed by his right, and marched on Borna ; while 
Miloradowitsch and the reserves advanced in the direction of 
A 1 ten bourg. 

Xapekon directs his Forces on Leipsic. — Having secured 
my junction with the viceroy, I resolved to march on Leipsic, 
with the intention of attacking the enemy wherever I should 
meet him. My affairs required a victory, and my superiority 
in numbers now gave me promise of success. On the first 
of May the Eussian advance-guard, which we encountered 
at the defile at Ripach between Weissenfels and Lutzen, was 
thrown on Pegau, after an engagement which, except for the 
death of Marshal Bessières, was unimportant. This veteran 
and faithful general was here killed by a musket-ball : a sad 
end for an old warrior who had survived so many battles, to 
die in a petty skirmish of a 1 car-guard.* 

* Thiers thus describes Bessières' death: 

" At daybreak Marshal Key's troops advanced upon the vast Lutzen plain, 
formed in squares, which were accompanied by artillery, and preceded by 
numerous tirailleurs. Arriving at the brink of a long and deep ravine, called 
the Ripach Ravine, from the name of a village which it traversed, the squares 
broke for the purpose of passing it, and when it had been crossed, reformed 
and continued their advance. The division Souharn held the foremost place ; 
marching with an excellent bearing, and had just deployed, when Marshal 
Bessières, who usually commanded the cavalry of the guard, and should not 
consequently have been where he now was, advanced a little to the right, for 
the purpose of being better able to observe the enemy's movements, and sud- 
denly fell dead, struck by a bullet in the breast. 

'It was tbo second time, alas! that this brave man had been hit on the 
battle-field by Napoleon's side, the first time being at Wagram, where a bullet 
had struck him, but only caused a contusion. His death on the present occa- 
sion caused, in spite of the general confidence, a painful foreboding in more 
than one heart. 

"He was a valiant man, of a lively Gascon temperament, but possessed of a 
fine intellect, and of a courage which frequently led him to express to Napo- 
leon useful truths both impressively aud opportunely. Napoleon loved and 


My army was now in echelons from Naumbourg to Leij)sic. 
Lauriston's corps and the army of the viceroy formed the 
head, between Leipsic and Marckranstedt ; Eugene and the 
corps of Macdonald occupied the latter of these towns ; my 
guards and head-quarters were established at Lutzen, which 
was covered on the side towards Pegau by Ney's corps ; 
Marmont arrived at Poserna, and Berthier was in march for 
the same point ; Oudinot, still further in rear, marched from 
Jena to Naumbourg. On the morning of the second of May, 
the viceroy continued his movement on Leipsic. I wished 
to follow at his right on Marckranstedt. Impatient to learn 
whether the enemy would abandon' to us the important stra- 
tegic point of Leipsic, the centre of all the great communica- 
tions of northern Germany, I set out with my guard to 
ascertain whether any opposition would be made : the 
enemy, however, was preparing to surprise me on another 

Project of the Allies. — The allies, recovering from the ex- 
cessive confidence inspired by the reports of their couriers, 
now saw that mere demonstrations, by the head of their 
columns, were not sufficient to drive us from Germany. 
They heard with astonishment of my return on the Saale 
with a powerful army, but, considering the reports of my 
strength to be exaggerated, they still hoped, by concentrat- 
ing their own masses, to beat in detail our hastily levied 
conscripts, who were now assembling by twenty different 

esteemed him, and felt a sincere pang of sorrow at his loss; but then ex- 
claiming. ' Death comes nigh us !' pushed forward to watch the march of his 
young soldiers, and experienced in the spectacle a satisfaction equal to that 
felt by Ney two days before ; beholding his conscripts repelling again and again 
the repeated charges of the enemy's cavalry, and strewing the ground before 
them with three or four hundred killed and wounded foemen. 

" The troops halted at Lutzen. and Xapoleon went to visit the monument of 
Gustavus Adolphus, who had been struck down on this plain, as Epaminondas, 
in the bosom of victory, and gave orders that a monument should also be flaised 
to the memory of the Duke of Istria, killed on the same ground." 


routes ; it was not supposed that these forces could contend 
with the old Lands of Russia and the troops of the elite 
which Prussia had reorganized within the last six years. 
Supposing the corps of Ney, Marmont, and Mortier, much 
less than they really were, the allies resolved to attack them 
on the march, so as to prevent their junction. This project 
seemed the more admissible for the allies, as they hoped by 
it to draw over to their side Saxony, which was disposed to 
abandon our cause. The king, it is true, retired at the ap- 
proach of the allies, but the people, acted on by the emis- 
saries of the Tugenhund, were uncertain, and might carry 
over their sovereign in spite of himself. Already a tacit 
convention had neutralized the Saxon corps of General 
Thielmann under the cannon of Torgau, and the enemy was 
negotiating with Prague to obtain its adhesion to the coa- 

Stimulated by these powerful motives, and deceived re- 
specting the numbers of our troops, the allied sovereigns re- 
solved to take the offensive and manoeuvre against my ex- 
treme right. "With this object Wittgenstein had left only a 
corps of five thousand men to defend Leipsic, and had uni- 
ted between Zwenkau and Pegau a mass of seventy thousand 
men, composed of his own army, the corps of Blucher, and 
the allied reserves. With this mass he resolved to pass the 
Elster and march on Lutzen, so as to assail in rear my army 
which he supposed to have filed on Leipsic. Miloradowich 
directed himself on Zeits to cover the flank and communica- 
tions of the allies during their operations beyond the Elster. 

Battle of Lutzen. — It was extremely important for us to 
sustain ourselves at Lutzen, as the possession of that place 
by the enemy would enable him to cut my army in two. 
Wittgenstein debouched on that city on the morning of the 
second, but instead of finding here my extreme right, he en- 
countered the centre of my army. This manœuvre of the 

[Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1313. 85 

enemy, although it foiled in its object, was certainly worthy 
of praise ; so little was I expecting to be assailed on this 
side, that I had taken with me Marshal Ney, leaving his 
corps without its chief. It would be difficult to say what 
would have been the result if the enemy had made good use 
of his twelve thousand superb cavalry, for Ney had not six 
hundred horse with which to oppose them. While Wint- 
zingerode paraded his squadrons before Tournau, and the 
Prussians were losing time in forming, Ney's troops ran to 
arms ; the four French divisions were in echelons in the 
villages which covered Lutzen on the side toward Pegau and 
Zwenkau. The fifth, composed of German troops, covered 
their left. The first division composed entirely of conscripts, 
eighteen years of age, was attacked at eleven o'clock, and, 
seconded by the division of Girard, sustained the combat 
with glory. The troops being arranged in echelons, the 
attacks were successive and partial, which was favorable for 
our new troops. The Prussian brigades of Klux and Ziethen 
advanced on Goeschen ; that of Roder served as a reserve ; 
Dulfs' cavalry was directed on Starsiedel, with the hope of 
turning the columns of Ney. York's corps and the Russian 
division of Berg formed the second line. The Russian corps 
of Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg was in column of march 
to the left, where the cavalry of Wintzingerode deployed. 
There was no unity of action in this first effort; Souham 
ànd Girard, after having disputed Gros-Goeschen and 
Raima, were forced to fall back on Klein-Goeschen, which 
Souham also abandoned. 

At the sound of this violent attack Ney left me to fly to 
the head of his troops ; I also returned to Lutzen with my 
guard, and directed Eugene to renounce his march on Leipsic 
and join the contest. Officers were also sent to Marmont, 
directing him to hasten into line on the right of Ney, and to 
Bertrand directing him to fall upon the enemy's flank. 


Ney, having reached his corps about noon, assembled his 
divisions, and threw those of Souham, Girard and Brenier 
on Klein-Goeschen, thus dislodging the Prussians. This 
vigorous blow retards the operations of the allies and gives 
time for the corps of the right and left to come to the assist- 
ance of the centre. Marmont, having reached the field dur- 
ing this interval, prolongs the right of the army which the 
enemy sought to gain, and debouches toward Starsiedel, 
without troubling himself with the numerous cavalry which 
Wintzingerode deployed in the fields of Kobson, or that of 
the Prussians which afterward formed between this first vil- 
lage and Kahna. These squadrons finally advanced to the 
charge ; the divisions of Campans and Bonnet, formed in 
squares, repel them ; they several times renew the attack. 
but our brave regiments oppose an impenetrable front ; a 
single battalion is broken by the Russian cavalry. 

But this first reinforcement has not yet restored the equi- 
librium in our favor ; for Blucher has at the same time 
ordered York's corps and the Bussian division of Berg to 
enter into the first line and retake the villages of Raima and 
Klein-Goeschen which Ney had just gained. The shock 
now becomes more general and more serious. Ney is forced 
to fall back behind Kaya, which he defends with all the 
vigor of which he is capable. The enemy throws himself 
with impetuosity on this village ; twice is Ney driven out ; 
and a final effort of Berg's division secures its momentary 
possession to the allies. Our young soldiers surpass my 
hopes in this obstinate contest ; but, more brave than ex- 
perienced, they suffer severe losses. I arrive at this point 
the moment when Ney is preparing a final effort to regain 
Kaya with the division of Ricard. I order Count Lobau to 
put himself at the head of this troop, while the marshal 
conducted his other divisions to assist him. This movement 
is executed with the rapidity of lightning ; Count Lobau 


penetrates into Kaya with that steadiness for which he is so 
distinguished ; he is warmly supported by the divisions of 
Brenier, Girard and the remains of Souham which Ney 
leads back to victory. A terrible combat is engaged between 
this village and Klein-Goeschen where the enemy debouched 
with all his united means. Girard and Brenier fall like 
heroes at the head of their young soldiers, whom they persist 
in leading to the fight, although severely wounded. Girard 
cries to his men : " Soldiers this is the daij for France ; 
let us avenge the defeat of Moscoio or die." 

The enemy now felt that victory would escape liiin unless 
Blucher was more effectively sustained. For this purpose 
Wittgenstein moved from the left to the right the corps of 
Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg which had at first marched 
in the opposite direction. One of these divisions debouched 
from Eisdorf beyond the Flosgraben, and pushed the division 
of Marchand ; the other reènforced Berg at Klein-Goes- 
- chen ; this village was again carried, and Ney for a third 
time driven behind Kaya. The arrival of the grenadier 
corps and the Kussian guard which the allied sovereigns 
were awaiting with impatience, might decide the battle 
against us. The moment was decisive ; I threw on Kaya 
the two divisions of the Young Guard which returned and 
debouched from Lutzen, followed by the Old Guard and 
all my cavalry. The enemy was driven back to Klein- 

Here a new scene is developed. Seeing the inutility of 
his efforts against the centre, Wittgenstein prepared to strike 
on the left of Ney ; the corps of grenadiers under the orders 
of Konownitzin, had just arrived on the field of battle ; its 
two divisions debouched by Eisdorf and Gros-Gocschen. 
This movement which might have been decisive if all my 
troops had been engaged, did not have the success which the 
allies expected ; I had taken measures to provide for this 


event. Eugene had received the orders of which I have 
already spoken ; but seeing Lauriston's columns engaged in 
the faubourgs of Leipsic, and thinking he ought to leave 
them to occupy that city, he hastened to Macdonald's corps 
and directed it on Kitzen. The arrival of these three fresh 
divisions decided everything ; the victory was no longer 
doubtful. Konownitzin and the Prince of Wurtemberg 
vainly sought to defend the village of Eisdorf ; being at- 
tacked on all sides they were forced to abandon it. The 
allies now saw their right turned, while Ney and Mar mont 
pressed them in front towards Goeschen, and Lauriston, 
master of Leipsic, prepared to push Kleist in the direction 
of Connewitz, and Bertrand, debouching at the opposite 
extremity, at the head of Morand's division, turned the left 
of the allies by Gosserau and Pobles. Seeing the danger of 
their position, they now abandoned the four burnt villages 
and fell back behind Gros-Goeschen where the arrival of 
the Russian guards enabled them to maintain their position. 

Darkness even did not terminate the battle. The scouts 
of Marmont advanced in the dusk beyond Starsiedel, and 
gave the alarm to the Prussians. A night combat ensued in 
which the enemy was at first repulsed. Blucher then put 
himself at the head of his reserve of cavalry and executed a 
rash charge. Some squadrons penetrated between our lines, and 
our troops, being unprepared for the attack fell into disorder ; 
this was still further increased by a hourra of the Cossacks 
on the ambulances in rear of our line. But this attack was 
attended by no serious consequences ; our troops soon recov- 
ered from their surprise and made Blucher pay dearly for his 
isolated and ill -conceived enterprise ; his squadrons did not 
regain their line without considerable loss. 

Remarks on this Battle— The day had been bloody with- 
out being decisive. Ney's corps alone had lost twelve thou- 
sand men and five hundred officers lwrs-de-combaf, and we 


had gained neither trophies nor results. The number of men 
wounded in the hand was so great that our young conscripts 
were accused of self mutilation in order to avoid the fatigues 
of the war. Perhaps this resulted from their being unaccus- 
tomed to the use of weapons. The accusation was, neverthe- 
less, of sufficient importance to merit an examination. 

This battle, having been unforeseen, had produced no im- 
portant results. I therefore determined to renew it the next 
day in order to complete the defeat of the enemy, if he com- 
mitted the fault of remaining on the left of the Elster. To 
obtain still greater results, I ordered Lauriston, who had 
entered Leipsic during the battle and driven Kleist on 
Wurtzen, to leave only a detachment in the city and with 
the mass of his corps to march along the left bank of the 
Elster, so as to threaten the enemy's bridges. 

But Wittgenstein, having already perceived the danger of 
his position, profited by the night to recross the river. The 
following day the allied army continued its retreat in two 
columns on Dresden and Meissen ; Wittgenstein with the 
Russians took the road to Altenbourg and Chemnitz ; I 
caused him to be pursued by Bertrand and Oudinot. Blucher 
took the direct road to Colditz ; I myself followed him with 
Marmont, the guard, and the corps of Macdonald, com- 
manded by the viceroy. Ney, with the third and fifth corps, 
took the road to Leipsic on Torgau, from which place he was 
to act in concert with the Duke of Belluno who was leading 
the second corps from Magdebourg on Wittemberg. Davoust 
and Vandamme at the head of the first corps again entered 

Pursuit of the Allies on Dresden.— Although the pursuit 
was made with activity, yet, for want of cavalry we obtained 
no results. We overtook the rear-guard of Blucher on the 
Mulde where it was much cut up ; but the fresh corps of 
Miloradowitsch appeared to cover the retreat, and conducted 


itself with that cool bravery and steadiness so characteristic 
of the Kussian army, and which results from their fine mili- 
tary institutions and severe discipline. The viceroy engaged 
in three successive combats, at Elsdorf, Nossen and Wils- 
druf ; he pushed the enemy, but did not succeed in cutting 
him up. The Russians recrossed the Elbe on the seventh, 
at Dresden, and the Prussians at Meissen. Finally, on the 
eighth of May, we arrived before the capital of Saxony ; 
Miloradowitsch blew up the bridges, burned the magazines, 
and prepared to defend the new town which is situated on 
the right of the Elbe. I made a reconnoisance of the ad- 
vantageous heights of Priesnitz ; a bridge of boats was 
thrown across here under the protection of eighty pieces of 
the guard, and two battalions of voltigeurs crossed on rafts. 
As at Essling, a sudden rise of the Elbe threatened the 
security of our bridges ; but the army had not yet passed ; 
and even if they had commenced the passage, the enemy 
w r ould not have been prepared to attack us. Our troops, in 
their impatience, used long beams to build over the two arches 
of the stone bridge which had been blown up by the enemy ; 
finally the approach of night decided the Russian general to 
begin his retreat. Dresden was now in our possession, and 
its magistrates came out to meet me. I reproached them for 
the conduct of the inhabitants in Eugene's retreat, and on 
the approach of the enemies of their sovereign, and pardoned 
them only on condition of their sending a deputation to their 
king to solicit his return. 

The information which reached me after I entered this 
capital was far from agreeable : On the one hand, I learned 
that General Thielmann, the governor of Torgau, had been 
several times at the head-quarters of the allies, and Ney 
informed me that he refused to open the gates of the place 
to my troops. This revelation indicated the use which Aus- 
tria expected to make of her influence and her mediation ; 


this state of uncertainty could not continue. I therefore 
immediately detached my aid-de-camp, Montesquiou to 
Prague ; he was the bearer of dispatches demanding to know 
of the King of Saxony, if he was still a member of the Con- 
federation of the Bhine, and what treaty had released him 
from the engagements which he had contracted. This brave 
and loyal prince answered by coming himself to Dresden on 
the twelfth of May, having previously forwarded a formal 
order to receive us at Torgau. Thielmann, being enraged 
against us, abandoned his sovereign and passed into the ser- 
vice of Kussia. The Saxon troops, again placed under the 
orders of Beynier, formed, with Durutte's division, the 
seventh corps-d'armée. Nevertheless, this difficulty lost us 
five days in the pursuit, and Nov did not cross the Elbe at 
Torgau till the thirteenth. 

Eugene seat to organize an Army in Italy. — The political 
horizon began to lower in the direction of Austria: I, there- 
fore, resolved to send Eugene into Italy where he might be 
more useful to me in case of a rupture. The most pressing 
orders had been sent there to replace the French troops which 
had been withdrawn, and to form again the Italian army, 
which the cruel losses in Catalonia and Russia had almost 

Negotiations between Bassano and Schwartzenberg. — 
While 1 was thus inarching to new victories, I had left the 
Duke of Bassano and Schwartzenberg at Paris to discuss our 
reciprocal interests. Although my minister had the same 
confidence as myself in the success of our military operations, 
and although he would have preferred to discuss directly the 
question of peace, yet under the circumstances his mission 
was naturally limited to ascertaining the intentions of 
Schwartzenberg, without making any offers himself, at least 
not until after the first events of the campaign. It was im- 
portant to ascertain what were the intentions of my enemies, 


and what the limits assigned by Austria to the sacrifices 
required of me ; and at the same time to avoid any formal 
declaration which might be immediately changed by the 
results of a victory. As Bassano and Schwartzenberg had 
been negotiators of my family-alliance, an intimacy had 
sprung up between them favorable for a frank explanation. 
In one of their conferences in which Bassano sought to ascer- 
tain the influence which my marriage might exercise on 
Austria, Schwartzenberg replied that policy had concluded 
that marriage, and that policy might break it again. It 
was evident from this that the considerations of kindred 
were, in Austria, to be made subordinate to the interests of 
the cabinet. Bassano pretended not to notice the remark, 
and turned the conversation to matters of less importance. 
He immediately informed me of the fears which this con- 
ference had excited in his mind, concealing, however, the 
threatening words, lest the anger excited in me by them 
might interfere with the negotiations. " It is necessary," he 
wrote to me, "to hasten the treaty with Austria, and to 
profit by her present hesitation to draw more closely the ties 
of blood and policy which now connect the two powers." 
A few days afterwards Prince Schwartzenberg communicated 
dispatches from London, in which Baron Weissenberg an- 
nounced the ill-success of his overtures. " Austria," said 
he, " is very far from submitting the peace of the cabinet to 
the caprices of England. The zeal of the cabinet of Vienna 
will not diminish, and she will soon take a very peremptory 
step towards the allied powers to bring them to final ex- 
planations." The mission of Prince Schwartzenberg closed 
with these new assurances. He had just left Paris when the 
renewal of hostilities was followed by the battle of Lutzen. 

IVew Mission of Budna.— On arriving at Dresden I learned 
the departure of Schwartzenberg, and the opinions formed 
from these conferences by my minister respecting the ques- 

en. xix.] s ri: i ni; campaign of i8is. 93 

tion of a general peace. Great events were now to be 
decided : it was natural to hope that my victory at Lutzen 
would reestablish my relations with Austria. Unfortunately 
the results of this victory were not sufficiently decisive to 
influence Austria as was desired. Metternich, informed at 
the same time of the too frank explanations of Schwartzen- 
berg and of my victory at Lutzen, felt that he was about to 
be compromised ; he trembled lest I might profit by the 
occasion to have a reconciliation with Kussia. The conse- 
quences might thus become still more important than the 
battle itself. It was not impossible but that I might have 
a frank understanding with the Emperor Alexander, as at 
Tilsit ; I flattered myself that I would have found him dis- 
posed to a reconciliation, if I sacrificed to him the Duchy of 
Warsaw. The wily diplomat hastened to send to him Count 
Stadion, and to dispatch to me by Budna a letter from my 
father-in-law. The same protestations as before were here 
renewed, in nearly the same terms. The mediator, wrote the 
emperor, is your sincere friend : it is important to place on 
an immovable basis your dynasty, whose existence is nolo 
inseparably connected with that of his own. 

In the absence of the Duke of Bassano, I directed Caulain- 
court to confer with this envoy, whose language differed a 
little from that of his sovereign. Budna confessed that the 
alliance was suspended at least in some of its articles, but 
when pressed to specify what these were, he pretended that 
on this point he had no precise instructions. There was 
every reason to believe that the first of the articles referred 
to was that of the guarantee of the territories. In that case 
it was important to know what changes were expected in the 
state of things guaranteed in March, 1812. Although Budna 
had no instructions on this subject, it was understood from 
him that Austria hoped for Illyria, a part of Galicia, and 
the Innviertel ; and that the allies required the dissolution 


of the Confederation of the Bhine, and of the Duchy of 
Warsaw. These were rather given to be understood than 
positively asserted ; they, however, were only a repetition of 
what had already been said to M. de Narbonne at Vienna. 
Austria proposed a congress for explaining herself more cate- 
gorically. Coming to me, as they did, immediately after my 
brilliant victory, these ambiguous and exacting propositions 
wounded my feelings, and in a moment of displeasure I 
remarked that " if Budna annoyed me with such pretensions, 
I would treat at any price with Russia, and then have an 
explanation with these Austrians !" These words were 
foolishly repeated by my imprudent admirers, and, coming 
to the ears of my father-in-law, were calculated to prejudice 
him against me, and to favor the inclinations of his cabinet 
in favor of my enemies. 

Proposition for a Congress accepted. — The reports which 
reached me from all directions were of a nature to destroy 
my last illusions. With an extraordinary refinement of 
address, Austria sought to paralyze my allies. " She ap- 
peared in Denmark, in Saxony, in Bavaria, in Wurtemberg, 
and even at Naples, as a friend of France, who only wished 
for peace ; she negotiated ivith them to discontinue their 
military preparations, as being both ruinous and, useless, 
for, if I consented to treat, she was ready to put one hundred 
and fifty thousand, men in the scales in my favor !" 

During the few days which had just passed, events were 
pressing beyond the Elbe, where the enemy were concentrat- 
ing at two days' march from my head-quarters ; I left for 
Bautzen to cut the knot, so artistically formed by Austria. 
However, without rejecting anything, I answered Budna : 
"Austria can, if she pleases, renounce the alliance ; I shall 
not be wounded by it ; I fear nothing so much as half-way 
measures, the common resource of irresolution and weakness ; 
I accept the proposition to assemble a congress at Prague, 


ami if the other powers accept it, I am willing to facilitate 
a treaty of peace by concluding an armistice." 

Bubna transmitted my proposition directly to Stadion at 
the head-quarters of the allied sovereigns, and, in his letter, 
In did justice to the pacific dispositions which I manifested, 
notwithstanding my victorious attitude. On my part, I 
wrote to my father-in-law to renew the sentiments which I 
felt towards him ; hut I declared that, as a good French- 
man, I would rather die, arms in hand, them to subscribe to 
conditions presented at the point of the sword. I was ready 
to negotiate, but not to receive the law. 

Caulaincourt's Propitious to Russia.— Buhna left for 
Vienna with these assurances. On my side, I wished to 
profit by the occasion which the proposition of an armistice 
presented, to send Ciulaincourt to the Emperor Alexander ; 
he received the order on the eighteenth of May. I preferred to 
give the advantages of peace to a noble and chivalric enemy, 
rather than to these traders in mediation, who subjected 
everything to selfish calculation, and coolly counted the price 
of defection. The instructions which I gave to Caulaincourt, 
dated at Hartha, May 19th, sufficiently attest the sentiment 
which animated me. They contain these words : " His 
Majesty does not reject the possibility that new circumstances 
and new combinations may induce him to return to his sys- 
tem with Austria ; but, in the present situation of affairs, 
such is not his thought. His intention is to negotiate with 
Russia a peace which may be glorious for that power, and 
which may pay Austria the price of her bad faith, and the 
political fault she has committed against the alliance of 
1812, by drawing together Russia and France. If the con- 
vention made for Poland, after the peace of Vienna, had 
been accepted, with some changes in the terms, there would 
have been no bitterness, and no war. The Emperor Alexan- 
der will readily reply to these arguments by referring to the 


radical vice of the existence of the Duchy in respect to 
Russia ; which will naturally lead, after much mystery and 
reserve, to the following proposition, of which the secret will 
be previously asked of him, in case he should not accept it : 

" To limit the existence of the Confederation of the Rhine 
to the Oder, drawing a line from Glogau to Bohemia : this 
will give to Westphalia an increase of one million five hun- 
dred thousand souls. Prussia will have in compensation the 
Duchy of Warsaw with the territory of Dantzic, except a 
small arrondissement for Oldenbourg ; Prussia will then 
acquire four or five millions of inhabitants, Dantzic, Thorn, 
Modlin, and all the Vistula. She will become complete, and 
will form, for Russia, a new frontier which will cover her, 
and form for her a great security, inasmuch as Prussia, 
having her capital near to her, will be in her system. France 
and Russia will be separated by three hundred leagues, with 
a respectable power between them. The king of Prussia, 
having his capital at Warsaw, Konigsberg, or Dantzic, will 
be in the Russian system. Thus France and Russia, having 
nothing more to fear from each other, will easily place them- 
selves in such relations as naturally to produce a close 

It was also stated in these instructions : 

"It is useless to revert to the stipulations of Tilsit, which 
were directed against England only ; whereas now the ques- 
tion is for a general peace, and the Emperor Alexander will 
sooner or later feel the necessity of adopting a proper system 
for causing his flag to be respected." 

Napoleon £oes to Bautzen.— Caulaincourt repaired to the 
advanced posts and waited, the nineteenth, for an answer to 
his request for a safe-guard to the head-quarters of the allied 
sovereigns. In the meantime I did not sleep on vague hopes; 
military operations were continued ; the moment of an in- 
evitable and decisive shock was approaching. My masses 


were in motion ; it was necessary that the armistice should 
be agreed upon on the twentieth, or that the arena should 
be left open for new combats ; and, to give more weight to 
my propositions, I flew to the point where my glory and 
interest called me. 

After the passage of the Elbe there was some uncertainty 
about the enemy's movements : the public rumor announced 
that the Prussian army had descended the river to join Bu- 
low's corps which covered Berlin, thus separating from the 
Russians who were said to bo fortifying themselves at 
Bautzen. The fact was that the - whole allied army was 
occupying the superb positions around that city, when the 
arrival of some recnforcements, among which were two divi- 
sions of grenadiers which returned from the siege of Thorn, 
under the orders of Barclay de Tolly, seemed to encourage 
them to receive a new battle. I caused them to be observed 
by the corps of Bertrand, Marmont, Macdonald, and Oudi- 
not. I was expecting, on my side, some fine divisions of 
cuirassiers and light cavalry, reorganized by Latour-Mau- 
bourg, and two divisions of the Young Guard. When these 
troops had joined me, I went, on the twentieth, before Baut- 
zen. No reply to Caulaincourt's application for a safe-guard 
had reached the out-posts ; it was therefore necessary to 
resort to the chance of arms, which of all others I feared 
the least. 

Fortified Position of the Allies.— The allies had profited 
by the ten days' repose to surround their camp with field- 
works. Their principal position was located on the famous 
mountains of Klein-Bautzen and Kreckwitz, which had 
served as a refuge for Frederic the Great after the sur- 
prise of Hochkirch, and where, by the strength of his posi- 
tion, he had braved the superior army of the victorious 
Daun. It is true that the Austrian marshal came from the 
direction of Goerlitz, and we came from the opposite direc- 

VOL. IV. — 7. 


tien by Dresden. The left, supported on the great chain of 
the mountains of Bohemia, was but little exposed to an 
attack ; the right, established behind the lakes of Malch- 
witz, was difficult of access ; but by turning it at a greater 
distance toward Bergern, it might be taken in reverse. How- 
ever strong it might be on the front and flanks, this position 
offered two grave inconveniences : it had only one line of 
retreat, by Wurschen and Hochkirch, on Raichenbach ; and 
as its line of battle rested on the neutral frontier toward its 
extreme left, it was clear that we should cut off the enemy's 
retreat, if we could gain the least success at the opposite 
wing. The army of Wittgenstein was charged with the 
defense of the left, from Baschutz and Nieder-Kayna to the 
mountains near Kunitz ; that of Blucher held the right, 
from Malchwitz to Kreckwitz ; the centre and reserves were 
between Litten and Baschutz. 

Ney's March to turn their Position.— It will be remem- 
bered that Ney had debouched from Torgau with the ten 
infantry divisions of the third, fifth and seventh corps. If 
the report of the separation of the enemy's armies were con- 
firmed, I should have left him in the interval between them, 
and should have assisted him by a movement to the left, 
throwing myself on the right of the Russians. In every 
state of the case, I thought it best to place under the orders 
of this marshal the second corps commanded by Belluno, 
and to prescribe to him a demonstration on Berlin, causing 
him to be sustained by the corps of Reynier, who would 
advance toward Dahme (Sayda). The marshal was to 
remain with the third corps on the great road from Luckau 
to Lubben, and to detach only Lauriston from his right on 
Hoyerswerda, in order to reënforce me toward Bautzen. 
Ney, attaching too much importance to the movement on 
Berlin, was about to go there in person ; he was, fortunately, 
prevented from doing so by the news received from Lubben, 


which announced the arrival of Barclay in the direction of 
Bautzen. As soon as I learned the concentration of the 
enemy's forces on this last point, I wished to prolong Ney 
toward Kalhau and Spremberg. This movement was good 
to force the enemy from his position without battle, but it 
was not sufficiently concentric to gain great results. Ney fell 
back, on the seventeenth, from Kalhau on Senftenberg ; he 
was advised to direct Belluno and Sebastiani on Spremberg, 
to complete the manœuvre for seizing the only line of retreat 
of the allies. This movement was not executed, either 
because Ney feared to isolate this corps too much or that 
Belluno would march too slowly to arrive in time. 

The conqueror of Elchingen then advanced in procession, 
from the eighteenth, with the third corps in the woods of 
Senftenberg, preceded by Lauriston, and followed by Reynier 
and Belluno. Our communications had been troubled by 
the partisans of Lutzow ; many of my orders had been inter- 
cepted. Duplicates were sent by messengers, to direct a 
movement which he had been making for two days. 

Combats of Wcissig and Konigswartha. — The ground 
between the Spree and the Schwarz-Elster is cut up by great 
marshy forests ; it is a turf-bog where it is not possible to 
travel in the autumn or spring except by two narrow roads. 
Lauriston, detached after the passage of Torgau, had 
marched, with slow and measured steps, by Dobrilugk ; his 
baggage obstructed the roads. Ney arrived, on the nine- 
teenth, at the middle of his columns at Hoyerswerda, and 
directed them on Weissig to flank his march and open the 
road of Konigswartha, which he had followed with the third 
and seventh corps. At the report of his approach, the allies, 
ignorant of his force and thinking, undoubtedly, that they 
had to deal only with the corps of Lauriston, conceived the pro- 
ject of fighting him separately, and for that purpose detached 
against him General Barclay with his corps and that of York. 


Informed, on my side, of the arrival of Ney at the en- 
virons of Hoyerswerda, I pushed, on the nineteenth, an 
Italian division of Bertrand's corps on Kônigswartha, in 
order to secure the junction. This incident gave place to a 
double engagement. Barclay, marching to Kônigswartha, 
fell upon the Italian division, which was not on its guard, 
although bivouacked in the middle of the woods ; it was 
surprised and dispersed with the loss of all its cannon and 
two thousand prisoners. This took place within a league of 
Ney's advanced guard ; Kellerman, who commanded this 
vanguard, hastened to save the wrecks of the Italians, and 
Barclay fell back at his approach. York had not been so 
fortunate ; his column encountered the centre corps of Lau- 
riston, and was defeated with a loss of near five thousand 
Prussians. Maison's division gained the honors of the 

Xey debouches on Klix.— These incidents had no in- 
fluence on the great question ; the loss was nearly equal on 
both sides, and the allies rejoined their army. On the 
twentieth, Ney debouched at Kônigswartha on Leichnam and 
Klix. In order to give the allies no opportunity to molest 
him, and at the same time to drive them from all the ad- 
vanced positions which covered their camp, I ordered an 
attack upon the city of Bautzen and the heights occupied by 
the left of the Kussians. Oudinot and Macdonald carried 
Dobershau and Strehla, then advanced to Binewitz and Au- 
ritz. My right and centre passed the Spree, carried the city 
of Bautzen, and dislodged the enemy from the heights of 
Nieder-Kayna and Nadelwitz which covered the front of the 
intrenched camp. My manœuvre accomplished its object ; 
the allies reënforced Miloradowitsch in the mountains, and 
Ney concentrated the third and fifth corps behind Klix, 
ready to strike, the next day, a blow not inferior to either 
Ratisbon or Friedland in the importance of its results. 

Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 18 13. 101 

Battle of Bautzen. — On the twenty-first of May, at the 
break of day, the battle was commenced throughout the 
whole line. We renewed against the left of the allies the 
demonstration of the previous day. Oudinot wished to pierce 
by Kunitz on Rachlau ; but Miloradowitsch drove him 
beyond Binowitz ; I ordered Macdonald to sustain him ; my 
centre is deployed to impose on the enemy, but not to engage 
him. Ney crosses the Spree at Klix, places Maison's divi- 
sion as flankers behind the lake of Malschwitz, pushes the 
two other divisions of Lauriston on Gottainelde, and con- 
ducts the entire third corps on the wind-mill of Glein ; 
these forces afterwards direct their march on the spires of 
Hoclikirch* and the seventh corps, which was expected 
about one o'clock, was to act as their reserve. Lauriston 
was to march by Baruth, and Belgern in the same direction. 

This manœuvre was perfect and ought to have produced 
incalculable results ; but several unfortunate circumstances 
marred its success. I had expected, rather late, to give Ney 
instructions as to the part which he was to play in this 
battle. But these instructions did not reach him in time, 
and were of rather too general a character. At eight o'clock 
in the morning I had written him a pencil note giving him 
only a laconic order to be, by eleven o'clock, at the village of 
Preititz, and to attack the enemy's right. The officer who 
carried this note made a long detour by Klix in the hopes of 
finding the marshal there ; at ten o'clock he arrived on the 
heights of Glein which Ney had just taken possession of, 
much sooner than I had expected. 

Thus far all was well : for the directions assigned to the 
columns of our left on the spires of Hochkirchen accomplished 
the same object as my order to march on Preititz. It was 
now only ten o'clock : Preititz being only eight or nine hun- 

* The credit of this manœuvre is claimed by Jomini, who was at this time 
acting as Ney's chief of staff. 


dred toises from the heights of Grlein, Ney was unwilling to 
accelerate the attack by an hour. He waited for Reynier's 
corps, and lost three-quarters of an hour in forming his 
troops : he then only advanced Souham on Preititz, leaving 
his three other divisions at the distance of half a league, and 
the third at the distance of a league. Souham, penetrating 
the village without support at the moment when Blucher 
detached Kleist to reënforce Barclay, fell into the midst of 
these two corps, and suffered severely without producing any 
result : his division fell back in disorder. Ney caused him 
to be sustained by his batteries of reserve and the division of 
Delmas. Finally, near one o'clock, hearing the approach of 
Reynier's columns which appeared in rear of Klix, the mar- 
shal sent three of his divisions on Preititz. Lauriston, who 
had been engaged towards Gottamelde at the head of two 
divisions of infantry against a feeble detachment of three 
thousand men under General Tschaplitz, affirmed that he 
was opposed by superior forces, and advanced with great 
caution over the ploughed ground that separated him from 
the village of Baruth. Men and precious time were thus 
lost by unreasonable delay. If Key had operated with deci- 
sion, as at Friedland, he would have arrived about noon in 
rear of the enemy's line on the road to Wurschen, between 
Belgern and Purschwitz ; and no one can calculate the im- 
mense results of a movement like that which Blucher exe- 
cuted against us at Waterloo. 

Success, however, was only postponed, for there was stilî 
time at one o'clock to obtain great results. But unfor- 
tunately Ney did not appreciate his position. As he pene- 
trated Preititz, Blucher, who found himself assailed in rear, 
caused some battalions to descend from the heights of Klein- 
Bautzen with twenty pieces of artillery. These cannon, 
firing against the flank of the marshal's columns, made him 
forget the direction of Hochkirch which he had indicated in 


the morning ; and instead of debouching in front on the road 
to Wurschen, he directed the head of his column to the 
right, and climbed the hills in rear of Klein-Bautzen, a posi- 
tion which, it is true, commanded the whole field of battle, 
but which deviated entirely from the manœuvre which had 
been directed in order to get possession of the enemy's line 
of retreat. The appearance of twenty of the enemy's squad- 
rons in the plain between Preititz and Purschwitz contri- 
buted to induce Ney to adopt this unfortunate movement. 
He had only six feeble squadrons of cavalry, and feared to 
expose himself in the plain while Blucher occupied the 
heights in his rear. 

While this was passing at the decisive point of the battle. 
I brought into action the corps which were to assail the 
enemy's front. Oudinot, at the extreme right, continued to 
fight with ardor at the foot of the mountains of Bohemia, 
against Miloradowitsch and Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg ; 
Macdonald seconded him and maintained the combat toward 
Biuowitz and Eabitz. Marmont and the Duke of Treviso 
held in check the enemy's centre and reserves on the heights 
between Kreckwitz, Baschutz, and Jenkwitz. At twelve 
o'clock Ney's cannon announced that the moment had come 
for striking at the centre. Soult, at the head of the corps 
of Bertrand, threw himself from Baschutz on the heights of 
Kreckwitz where he assailed Blucher in front, at the moment 
when the latter had weakened his forces in order to defend 
Preititz. The Duke of Bagusa, placed before the Eussian 
intrenchments of Baschutz, first battered them with hi? 
artillery and then prepared for an assault. My Young Guard 
and eight thousand horse of Latour-Maubourg waited in the 
ravine of Nadelwitz for me to give them the signal for vic- 
tory. Blucher, reënforced by York was threatening to repel 
Bertrand, when I threw this reserve of the elite on Litten. 
Blucher being thus turned on the left by Treviso and Latour- 


Maubourg, threatened in reverse by Ney, and assailed in 
front by Soult, saw the impossibility of resisting these con- 
centric attacks and retired beyond Burschwitz, like a lion 
pursued by audacious hunters. Marmont then penetrated 
toward Baschutz, which the Kussians could no longer defend 
without exposing themselves to be cut off. 

Ney, advancing at the same instant from Preititz on the 
hills of Klein-Bautzen found not a single enemy to oppose, 
but saw them defile by a road to which he had been much 
nearer than they were only two hours before. This marshal 
had begun the battle in rear of the allies' camp, and ended 
it almost in rear of the columns of our centre ! 

The retreat of the Prussians was protected by Barclay, 
who, defeated on the heights of Glein, instead of changing 
front to form a crotchet en potence, prepared to place himself 
in echelons more distant on the heights of Belgern, and thus 
covered the avenue of Wurschen against Lauriston and Rey- 
nier. The latter had not reached the field of battle till near 
three o'clock ; he formed himself in the plain of Cannewitz, 
and at four o'clock engaged in a warm cannonade against 
Barclay. Ney supported him with the third corps ; Lauris- 
ton joined his left, by forming opposite Rackel. At dark 
Barclay put himself in retreat, and the Saxons entered pell- 
mell with his rear-guard into Wurschen. 

In the mean time the Russian left had fought bravely at 
the foot of the mountains against the corps of Oudinot and 
Macdonald ; as soon as we were masters of Purschwitz and 
Litten I ordered Marmont to move from the centre to the 
right so as to take that wing; in reverse and cut it off from 
the road to Hochkirch. But it was too late ; the enemy had 
begun his retreat and for want of cavalry our troops could 
not reach the road in time. Night terminated the combat 
here as at Wurschen. 

Remarks on this Battle. — In tracing out the movements 


of the different masses on the field of battle, we see that 
Ney and Lauriston, with eight divisions, contended with 
Kleist and Barclay who had only twenty thousand men ; 
they ought to have destroyed them, whereas they allowed 
them to destroy the division of Souham. 

If Ney had executed the precise order which had been 
given to him at eight o'clock in the morning, and had dis- 
played one-half the energy which he exhibited at Friedland, 
Elchingen,Moskowa, and numerous other occasions, the enemy 
would have lost the greater part of his army and all his ma- 
terials ; the allies could never have saved their left wing and 
their cavalry. Austria after such a victory would have 
ranged herself under my banners, which I would have again 
carried victorious to the Niémen. 

The fate of my empire thus depended upon the faulty 
movement of the most valiant of my generals ; it is just, 
however, that I should take my own share of the blame. 
After the left wing under Ney was on the decisive point of 
the battle, I should have moved there myself with a part of 
the Old Guard and my reserve of cavalry, or at least have 
sent to the marshal a more detailed order than the brief pen- 
cil note simply directing him to march on Preititz. I should 
also have instructed him to oblique to the left in the direc- 
tion of Drehsa, which was the same as that of the spire of 
Hochkirch. It is true that I had indicated to him this 
point of Drehsa in my dispatch of the eighteenth, but then 
he was too far from the field of battle. 

If Latour-Maubourg's cavalry, debouching in the morning 
from Nieder-Gurch by Malschwitz, had been directed to second 
Ney at Preititz, no doubt we would have captured Blucher's 
infantry, and I should now be on the throne. But as it was, 
we took no prisoners and found on the field only a few dis- 
mounted cannon ; we had again sacrificed twenty thousand 
men without any important result. 


Reply to the Overtures of Caulaincourt.— The next day 
after the battle we received Nesselrode's reply to the over- 
tures of Caulaincourt ; the letter was dated the twentieth 
and accompanied by a note dated the twenty-first. The 
Emperor Alexander, already allied with Austria, refused to 
receive any proposals not coming through that power. It 
was natural to infer from tins that these powers were already 
intimately connected. This refusal of the Emperor of Rus- 
sia was dictated by a praiseworthy but exaggerated loyalty ; 
he refused to become the arbiter of the peace of Europe for 
allies who w r ere far from grateful. 

€ouibats of Reichenbach and Haynau. — The next day I 
pursued the allies, and rudely assailed their rear-guard which 
had taken position near Reichenbach. The enemy stood 
firm : impatient at the opposition, I myself repaired to the 
vanguard to animate it with my presence : the enemy fled ; 
but I paid dearly for the advantage. A spent ball killed 
both Marshal Duroc and General Kirgener of the engineers, 
who were in my rear ; Bruyère, one of my old soldiers of 
Italy, had fallen only a few hours before. Duroc was a man 
dear to my heart, and his loss greatly affected me.* 

* The following is Thiers' account of Duroc's death: 

" After the cavalry engagement which had thus taken place on the plain. 
General Reynier with the Saxon infantry occupied the Reichenbach height?, 
and Napoleon, considering that sufficient had been now effected for this day, 
gave orders that his tent should bo pitched on the ground the troops then 

" As he was alighting from his horse there arose a cry, ' Kirgener is dead!' 
On hearing these words Napoleon exclaimed, ' Fortune nous en veut bien au- 
jourd'hui I' But to the first cry immediately succeeded a second, ' Duroc is 
dead!' 'Impossible !' said Napoleon, 'I have just been speaking to him. It 
was, however, not only possible, but the actual fact. A bullet, which had 
struck a tree close to Napoleon, had, in its rebound, slain successively General 
Kirgener, an excellent engineer officer, and then Duroc, himself, the grand- 
marshal of the palace. 

" Duroc, a few minutes before his death, overcome by a singular feeling of 
sadness, had said to M. de Caulaincourt, ' My friend, do you observe the em- 
peror? After a series of misfortunes he is now victorious, and should profit 


A few hours after, a still warmer combat took place at 
Haynau. Profiting by my want of cavalry to reconnoitre 
our line of march, Blucher laid an ambuscade for Ney, who 
advanced with haste at the head of the fifth corps, and 
crossed the valley of Weisse, without exploring the heights 
beyond. The infantry of Lauriston, while about to establish 
their bivouacs, were suddenly assailed by three thousand 
horse ; Maison and Puthod formed squares ; but the cavalry 
had time to sabre a battalion which was in advance of the 
others, and to capture several pieces of artillery. Lauriston 

by the teachings of misfortune .... But see 1 he is still the same, still 
as insatiable as ever for war .... The end of all this cannot possibly 
be a happy one.' He had received a cruel wound in his entrails, and there 
could be no hope that he could survive it. Napoleon hastened to him, took 
him by the hand, called him his friend, and spoke to him of a future life, where 
at length they might find rest ; uttering these words with a feeling of remorse 
which he did not acknowledge, but which thrilled the inmost recesses of 
his heart. 

"Duroc thanked him with emotion for these testimonies of regard, confided 
to his care his only daughter, and expressed a hope that his master might live 
to vanquish the enemies of France, and then to enjoy repose in the midst of 
that peace of which the world had so much need. 'As for myself,' he con- 
tinued, ' I have lived as an honorable man should live ; I die as a soldier should 
die. I have nothing to reproach myself with. Let me again recommend my 
daughter to your care.' And then, as Napoleon remained beside him, holding 
his hands, and seeming overwhelmed with serious reflections, he added, ' Go, 
sire, go ; this spectacle is too painful for you.' And Napoleon left him, saying, 
' Adieu, my friend. We shall meet again, and perhaps soon . . .1" 

' : It has been asserted that these words uttered by Duroc, ' I have nothing 
to reproach myself with,' were an allusion to some unjust reproaches made 
against him by Napoleon, who in his moments of excitement did not spare 
even the men whom he esteemed the most. But he rendered full justice to 
his grand-marshal, who was the second sincere and truly devoted friend whom 
he had lost during the space of twenty days. 

"Napoleon was. indeed, profoundly moved by his loss. 

'•Leaving the cottage in which the dying Duroc had been placed, ho went 
to sit down upon some fascines near the advanced posts ; and there remained, 
overpowered with grief, his hands lying listlessly on his knees, his eyes wet 
with tears, deaf to the fire of the tirailleurs, unconscious of the caresses of a 
dog belonging to one of the regiments of the guard, which frequently ran beside 
his horse, and now stood before him licking his hands. Such, and so change- 
able is human nature I So contradictory in its various aspects ; so incapable 
of being judged by any but God alone." 


drew upon himself this loss by placing his cavalry (twelve 
hundred horse) on his left flank, instead of pushing it in 
advance of his position to reconnoitre the roads. 
The Allies throw themselves on Schweidnitz.— The allies 

had continued their retreat by Lauban, Lôwenberg, and 
Goldberg ; I supposed they would repass the Oder, but they 
left the road to Breslau at Goldberg, and directed themselves 
by Jauer and Striegau on Schweidnitz. This change of their , 
line of operations gave me some uneasiness : to allow them- 
selves to be cut off from the Oder and Poland, and to throw 
themselves against the mountains of Glatz, was, on the part 
of the enemy, a fault so manifest in a military point of view 
that it could only be accounted for on grounds of political 
policy, by supposing that the allies were already certain of 
the accession of Austria to the coalition ; but I did not be- 
lieve that the affair was as yet so far advanced. 

Armistice of Neumark. — The allies now proposed an 
armistice which I accepted for the three-fold purpose of not 
offending the cabinet of Vienna by a refusal, of enabling 
myself to ascertain more clearly the intrigues of Austria, and 
of seeking to effect a new understanding with the Emperor 

This armistice is perhaps the greatest fault of my life. 
By consenting to it, I probably lost the only remaining op- 
portunity to restore my former power. By thus yielding to 
the intercession of Austria, I had inspired her with con- 
fidence in her own strength, and thus hastened her decision 
against me. If, on the contrary, I had continued hostilities, 
my firmness would have imposed on her ; the Russo-Prussian 
army, turned by its right, overpowered by my superiority, 
and thrown back into the mountains of Glatz, would there 
have found its Caudine Forks, while Austria, intimidated by 
my success, would not have ventured to offer the allies a free 
passage through her states. I would have become again 


master of Europe, dictating peace as a conqueror. Even 
admitting that Austria had resolved to permit the entrance 
of the allied troops into her territory, my position would not 
have been worse than it was in the month of September ; 
for, if my army recruited one hundred thousand men during 
the armistice, that of the enemy received more than double 
that number, exclusive of those which Austria organized 
'during the interval. 

Combat of Luckau. — At the moment of signing this 
armistice Marshal Oudinot sustained a slight check at 
Luckau. I had directed him on that city, after the battle 
of Bautzen, to attack Bulow's corps which had followed the 
march of Belluno when he left Wittenberg to join Ney, and 
thus threatened our line of operations. Bulow was stronger 
than we supposed, and the Duke of Reggio did not succeed 
in his mission, which, however, was rendered useless by the 

Treaty with Denmark.— On returning to Dresden, on the 
tenth of June, I found there an envoy from the king of 
Denmark, who had left Copenhagen after the battle of 
Lutzen to form a still closer alliance. Never was a treaty 
more easily concluded : we had the same interests and the 
same enemies. An English squadron was before his capital, 
and had summoned the king to cede Norway to Bernadotte ; 
what other part could Denmark take than to throw herself 
into our arms ? The Duke of Bassano soon concluded with 
that power an offensive and defensive alliance. 

Third Mission of Bubna. — The course pursued by Austria 
was very different : Bubna also returned to Dresden, but 
bringing neither the powers nor the instructions which he 
had sought at Vienna. He announced that England had 
rejected all the insinuations of Weissenberg ; that she had 
found even the conditions of Luneville too favorable to 
France. Austria then announced that she had proposed at 


London the basis of the treaty of Luneville ! Bubna seemed 
to forget the proposition of a congress ; he affirmed that 
Austria, having a schedule of the pretensions of Russia and 
Prussia, now wished to know what concessions I would 
make. Thus showing that the negotiations in a congress 
was to be carried on through the intermediation of Austria, 
who would then have at her mercy all the other continental 
powers. Astonished at this new pretension, I directed the 
Duke of Bassano to address a note directly to Metternich, to 
ask for formal explanations. 

Aegotiations of the Allies at Reichcnbach. — The emperor 
of Austria had just established his court at Gitschin. The 
Emperor Alexander and the king of Prussia were at Reichen- 
bach and Peterswalde : they had assigned a rendezvous for 
Bernadotte at Trachenberg, for forming a plan of operations. 
This prince-royal of Sweden, although allied for a year past 
to Russia and England, had not deemed it proper to take an 
active part in the war of 1812. But as they now promised 
him Norway in exchange for Finland, which had been ceded 
to Russia in 1809, and as the English had undertaken to 
put him in possession of that kingdom, he had agreed to 
bring twenty-five thousand Swedes on the Elbe, and had just 
landed at Stralsund. 

It was at the head-quarters of Reichenbach that the allied 
powers bound themselves by new engagements through the 
intervention of England. Russia promised to bring into the 
field one hundred and sixty thousand soldiers, exclusive of 
her garrisons ; Prussia, one-half that number ; while Eng- 
land was to furnish subsidies : neither of the contracting 
powers was to treat separately. 

Count Stadion transmitted these negotiations to the cabi- 
net of Vienna, which authorized him to accede to them, if I 
should reject the ultimatum which would be proposed to me. 
By a formal convention of the twenty-seventh of June the 


allies agreed to the mediation of the cabinet of Vienna, 
having previously stipulated the conditions which should be 
imposed on me. Thus Austria, who was boasting of her 
partiality for me, had actually acceded to the coalition 
against me, previous to the opening of the negotiations ! 

Metternich repairs to Dresden. — Under these circum- 
stances Metternich deemed it best to come himself to Dres- 
den to try his diplomatic talent in making the formal 
explanations which I had demanded : he protested his mode- 
ration and his love of peace. I well knew what his interests 
were in carrying on the war ; but even if there had been any 
means left for attaching him to our alliance, I must confess 
that I did not adopt those most likely to accomplish that 
object. Supposing myself in the place of the cabinet of 
Vienna, would I have neglected to profit by the only oppor- 
tunity which had occurred during the last fifteen years for 
recovering, by a single stroke of the pen, what had been lost 
in ten unsuccessful campaigns ? under such circumstances 
would it not have been politic in me to offer Austria advan- 
tages sufficient to retain her in my alliance ? 

The question is difficult to decide. To offer her great 
concessions on my part might seem a pusillanimous act, and 
inspire her with contempt for my weakness. The demands 
which the cabinet afterwards addressed to me through 
Bubna, were transmitted as the conditions of Russia and 
Prussia ; they seemed to me exaggerated. I exhibited 
anger, and my threats were repeated ; and it is probable that 
these influenced her ulterior conduct. 

The exact epoch at which Austria entered into formal 
engagements with the allies is not yet known. There, how- 
ever, is good reason to believe that it was even previous to 
the battle of Lutzen ; for the king of Prussia gives this to 
be understood in his proclamation to his people on the eighth 
of May. Upon this date will depend the judgment of pos- 


terity respecting her conduct and mine. It was plain that I 
sought to leave her in the position agreed upon by our reci- 
procal treaties ; and even admitting that it would have been 
more skillful on my part to have offered her great advantages 
in the month of January, it must, at least, be confessed that 
I did not fail in any of my engagements by seeking to con- 
quer and to make peace without recurring to her mediation. 
My object and my means were equally legitimate. 

His Interview with Napoleon. — My interview with Met- 
ternich at Dresden completed the breach with the cabinet of 
Vienna. After some discussion on the interest of different 
parties and on that of Austria to remain in my alliance, this 
cunning diplomatist enumerated the concessions which the 
allies required, and to which I must subscribe, if I wished 
Austria to declare in my favor. He required not only the 
surrender of Illyria, but also that of Poland, of a part of 
Germany and Italy, the restoration of the Pope to Koine, 
the independence of Spain, Holland, and the Confederation 
of the Khine ! 

What impression ought it to make upon a victorious sol- 
dier to require him to surrender, without drawing his sword, 
all the territory which he had won in ten campaigns and a 
hundred battles ? I must, indeed, have fallen in the esti- 
mation of those who could propose to me to abandon coun- 
tries which the allies could not even threaten ; countries 
which were separated from them by a powerful and victorious 
army and by numerous formidable fortresses ! To make 
such propositions to me, they must have supposed me more 
base than the senate of Carthage ! My feelings of insulted 
honor as a man, got the better of my cooler calculations as a 
statesman, and I replied to Metternich in terms well calcula- 
ted to make him my mortal enemy. In this I was wrong. 
I should have sought to separate the Austrian interest from 
those of Kussia and Prussia, and instead of asking Metier- 

Cil XIX.] 


nicli how much England had given him for making such 
propositions to me, I should have told him that Austria had 
two interests to consult, and that I was ready to satisfy 
both ;— that it was for her interest that we should remain 
the arbiters of the continent, and that he had only to enu- 
merate the measures which he deemed Lest calculated to 
secure this ohject. Perhaps the moment for doing this had 
already passed ; nevertheless, by making the attempt, I 
should have performed my duty to my throne and to France. 
On the contrary, by this exhibition of my indignation, I 
destroyed the only remaining hope of a pacific arrangement. 
Metternich retired, convinced that war, though only -partially 
successfid, ivould restore to Austria her lost power, and that 
this was his only means of saving his honor and serving his 
master. But, although war was now fully decided on, Aus- 
tria still wished to gain time, either to complete her prepa- 
rations or to determine the bases of her arrangement with the 
coalition. A congress at Prague was, therefore, agreed upon, 
and the armistice extended to the tenth of August. 

At the moment that Metternich was leaving Dresden, I 
received the news of Joseph's defeat at Vittoria. This in- 
creased the embarrassment of my position, and if England 
had been included in the proposed treaty I might have ac- 
cepted the conditions offered ; but to close this war with all 
the difficulties of my maritime quarrel still on my hands, 
was too important a step to be hastily taken. 

It will be remembered that my threat to make peace with 
Russia had been reported to Austria. This inconsiderate but 
laudable frankness, joined to my angry remarks to Metter- 
nich, embroiled me with Austria, and perhaps cost me my 
crown. In 1803, my warmth to Wentworth contributed to 
involve me in the war with England. The head of a state 
should treat all foreign ministers with cool reserve, and nego- 
tiate with them only through the medium of adroit and 
vol. iv. — 8. 


skillful agents. They should never he admitted to his inti- 
macy. The abrupt frankness of a soldier is not well suited 
to affairs of diplomacy. 

Napoleon's Envoys to the Congress cf Prague.— Hoping 
that the congress of Prague might afford me means of ex- 
plaining myself at the same tima to Russia, Prussia and 
Austria, I sent there the Duke of Vicenza and Narbonne. 
In taking leave of the former, I explained my feelings at the 
equivocal conduct of Austria ; I announced to him that I 
regarded it as an indignity to reward her by giving her all 
the advantages of the peace ; that I should prefer to see 
Russia profit by it, as she had purchased these advantages 
by her heroic devotion, the ravage of her provinces, and the 
loss of Moscow ; in a word, I repeated the instructions which 
I had given to him when intrusted with a mission to the 
Emperor Alexander, previous to the battle of Bautzen. 

Arrival of the Empress Maria Louisa at Majencc.— The 
court of Austria had returned from Gitschin to the chateau 
of Frewald near Prague ; I had left for Mayence where the 
empress then was, and where I had called together some of 
my ministers to consult upon the measures to be taken for 
the interior of France on the probable resumption of hostili- 
ties. The minister of finance had come to receive the keys 
to my treasury of reserve in the vaults of Marsan, forty mil- 
lions of which were now appropriated to the most urgent 
expenses required in preparation for another campaign. 

Some have thought that this interview with the empress 
was had for the purpose of dictating to lier measures calcu- 
lated to influence the resolutions of the Emperor of Aus- 
tria. This is erroneous. It is true that I dictated to her a 
letter to her father, for I saw no wrong in inciting in him 
favorable sentiments toward us ; but to imagine that I 
reposed the destinies of my empire on such means is too 
absurd. The empress took no part in state affairs, and 1 


knew too well the character of the Austrian cabinet to sup- 
pose that such a measure could be decisive. 

Military Projects of the Allies.— Before going to Mayence, 
I was informed of the military and diplomatic council at 
Trachenberg, where, since the ninth of July, the allies had 
been discussing a plan of operatipns. Austria had designa- 
ted General Waquant as her commissioner in this council of 
sovereigns ; and young Count Latour was to assist in ar- 
ranging the plan of campaign in the name of that power. 
Some wished to form three armies of one hundred and fifty 
thousand each ; the first under Bernadotte and composed of 
Russians, Prussians, and Swedes, was to operate at the north 
with Berlin as a centre, and to attack Hamburg ; the second 
under Blucher in Silesia, to advance by Lusace on Dresden ; 
while the Austrians reënforced by fifty thousand Russians 
and Prussians, were to operate on Dresden by Bohemia. 
The. Emperor Alexander and his generals were in favor of 
drawing Blucher's army into Bohemia, in order to cover 
Prague and the line of operations, while the grand army 
acted by the left bank of the Elbe. This course was more 
wise, more skillful, and more in accordance with military 
principles. But it was opposed by Austria, because she was 
unwilling to see two hundred and twenty thousand foreigners 
in Bohemia, and by Prussia, who wished to cover Silesia and 
to have the means of sustaining Bernadotte in case Berlin 
should be threatened. The plan of three armies was adopted, 
leaving that of Blucher on the Oder ; but the Emperor 
Alexander insisted on the necessity of reenforcing the grand 
army at the expense of those of a secondary character, and 
it was agreed that one hundred thousand Russo-Prnssians 
should move from Silesia into Bohemia, under the orders of 
Barclay de Tolly, to act in concert with the same number of 
Austrians by Freyburg and Toplitz on Dresden. 

In order to avoid reverses on secondary points, they de- 


cided that Blucher and Bernadotte shoidd never accept bat- 
tle when I moved against them, but that they should resume 
the offensive as soon as I moved to other points. This well- 
conceived plan failed to accomplish its object, on account of 
its faulty execution, and the vigor of my first operations. 
If I had then known the tenor of their plan, I should not 
have exhausted myself in vain pursuits of Blucher, but have 
taken, from the opening of the campaign, the most certain 
means of striking decisive blows wherever it suited me. 

Negotiations at Prague. — In the mean time the negotia- 
tions made very little progress at Prague. The choice of 
ministers to treat with the Duke of Vicenza was unfortunate. 
Russia had sent M. Anstett, a Frenchman by birth, and my 
personal enemy ; the laws of the empire prohibited any 
treaty with him. The commissioners appointed to sign the 
armistice of Neuraark had no power to extend it. All the 
month of July was thus consumed in preliminary discussion. 
The armistice was finally extended to the tenth of August, 
which left hardly two weeks in which to arrange the most 
complicated interests of all Europe. Moreover, difficulties 
arose about conducting the negotiations, whether in open 
council, or through a mediator, or by written notes. Each 
one sought to show his diplomatic knowledge by discussing 
the forms followed by the congress of Teschen and of Utrecht, 
and no progress was made. Austria wished every thing to 
be dene by written notes, through her, as the mediator. 
This made her the arbiter of peace, and prevented all ar- 
rangement between France and the other powers. Nothing 
could justify such a pretension ; moreover, Metternich had 
said at Dresden that Austria had no intention of making 
herself the arbiter. My negotiator could not yield to such 
unexpected demands ; and Metternich well knew that I was 
at Mayence, and that no new instructions could be received 
from me much before the expiration of the armistice. I had 


supposed that the negotiations would commence by the 
twenty-sixth of July, and that five or six days would be 
required for the discussion of the conditions of peace. That 
time was sufficient for my journey to Mayence. What was 
my surprise to learn on my return that my plenipotentiaries 
had not exchanged a single word with MM. Anstett and 
Humboldt, the plenipotentiaries of Eussia and Prussia ! A 
blind man could have seen that no negotiations were possible 
under such circumstances. I now had but one course to 
pursue, and I adopted it without hesitation. This was, not 
to open these negotiations at all, as they had not been com- 
menced, but to demand directly of the mediator what were 
the conditions necessary for concluding peace. As Caulain- 
court was no longer a plenipotentiary in the congress, I 
directed him, on the sixth of August, to address that ques- 
tion to Metternich, who replied on the seventh. He de- 
manded the restitution of Illyria, the reconstruction of Prus- 
sia with her frontier on the Elbe ; the surrender of the 
Duchy of Warsaw, to be partitioned out to Eussia, Prussia 
and Austria ; the renunciation of the Protectorate of the 
Confederation of the Ehine ; the guarantee of all the 
powers, great and small, and that none should be changed 
without a general consent ; the independence of Holland ; 
and the independence of Spain under Ferdinand VII. ; the 
publicity and execution of the last article were to be post- 
poned till the conclusion of a maritime peace, provided that 
this should be calculated to facilitate that object. 

There was nothing new in these sacrifices, except that they 
were now put in the shape of positive demands. I could 
not persuade myself that the allies did not wish to trace 
around me the circle of Popilius, and that all their negotia- 
tions consisted in dictating positive conditions to be signed 
by me without modification ; in a word, that it was pro- 
posed to force me to comply with the exaggerated preten- 


sions of Metternich. From these harsh conditions I turned 
my thoughts to the fine field between the Elbe and the Oder, 
all the keys of which I now held in my power, and was 
daily augmenting their value by constructing vast intrenched 
camps at Dresden, and Pirna, and a tête-de-pont at Konig- 
stein. My confidence was increased by the success of the 
new levies in France, and the assurances of attachment sent 
through the prince of Neufchatel by the king of Bavaria. 
Although desirous of peace, which was much needed by his 
people, the brave and loyal Maximilian swore that he would 
lose his life rather than desert my alliance. 

There were a thousand other circumstances which seemed 
to ensure me a victory, and which inclined me to reject con- 
ditions so harshly imposed. 

At Presbourg, Tilsit, and Schônbrunn, time was allowed 
for negotiation, although interests less general were discussed, 
and sacrifices less important were required. When Austria 
yielded me the Tyrol, I was master of her capital and vic- 
torious at Austerlitz. When she ceded me Illyria, I was 
master of Vienna and victorious at Wagram. When I im- 
posed on Prussia the cession of her provinces, I was not only 
master of Berlin, but also of Konigsberg and Prussia. In 
making these treaties with defeated Austria, two whole 
months were allowed for negotiation ; but now, this power 
wished to impose, without discussion, conditions much more 
harsh, upon a general who had just gained two glorious vic- 
tories ! It is customary for a state which has lost ten pro- 
vinces in a war to sacrifice one-half of these, in order to 
obtain peace and the remainder ; but it would be a new 
thing for a state which had lost only Poland, to sacrifice 
Germany, Holland, and the half of Italy, and her own 
dignity ! I had before declared to ray father-in-law that I 
never would submit to conditions dictated by the sword, and 
I now could not, without dishonor, subscribe to these pro- 


positions. I therefore spent the ninth in weighing these con- 
ditions and the consequences of rejecting them. If they 
could he modified, I might agree to them without dishonor, 
for they would no longer have the appearance of an imposed 
■ultimatum. This desire might have sprung from self-love, 
but the feeling was natural and laudable, springing as it did 
from a sense of honor. I, therefore, wrote to the Duke of 
Vicenza, on the night of the ninth and tenth, that I would 
accept the ultimatum, with the reservation of Trieste and the 
guarantee of the integrity of Denmark. The reservation of 
Trieste may seem a small affair to be weighed against a ques- 
tion of peace, but on account of its maritime importance, and 
for the reasons above given, I determined to make it. The 
article concerning Denmark was an act of loyalty, but should 
have been sooner mentioned, if intended to be insisted on. 

Perhaps, however, the delay was of little importance ; for 
if they wished peace, the treaty could be signed as well 
during the ten days' notice of the renewal of hostilities, as- 
before the denunciation of the armistice. The allies thought 
differently, and as my reply did not reach them till the 
eleventh, Austria declared the negotiation broken ; the Rus- 
sian and Prussian ministers decamped in the greatest haste, 
and notice was immediately given of the cessation of the 
armistice. These facts prove incontestably that the allies 
preferred war to peace. It must be confessed that in this, 
as the events proved, they consulted their own interest ; but 
it would be unjust to charge me with the consequences of 
the rupture. 

I, however, was still ignorant of the formal decision of the 
allies, ami their departure from Prague, when Bubna left 
Dresden to join his court at Gitschin. My minister advised 
me not to compromise peace by any concealments. Yielding 
to his solicitations I authorized him to see Bubna, and to 
give him the formal assurance that I would accept all which 


was desired by the cabinet of Vienna. Vain hope ! The 
demon of discord had prevailed. The allies had already 
entered Bohemia, and their numerous columns were ap- 
proaching Dresden. 

Narbonne, being forced to leave Bohemia, returned to 
Dresden to render an account of the sad result of his negotia- 
tion. Caulaincourt, who had a private mission, remained 
some days for my final orders. He received these orders to 
accept all the conditions of Austria. But the cabinet of 
Vienna now replied that it was too late, the commissioners 
having left. This was a mere pretext, for if Austria, as the 
arbiter, considered these conditions just and suitable for the 
general interest of Europe, she could easily transmit them to 
the other parties who were interested in them. The Emperor 
Francis had a rendezvous with the Emperor Alexander at 
Gitschin, on the fourteenth, and did not hesitate to declare 
that he was resolved to run all the chances of the war : a 
profession which left nothing to be added, for no one could 
misinterpret it. 

In thus waiting till the last moment before subscribing to 
the harsh conditions of the allies, I had supposed that, if the 
armistice should be denounced, the congress would continue 
till the resumption of hostilities, if not during the war. 
Those of Westphalia and Utrecht had lasted several years, 
during which the military operations were continued. The 
dissolution of the congress and the sudden departure of the 
plenipotentiaries characterize, better than I could, the resolu- 
tion of my enemies. I have been reproached for this meas- 
ure, but it is perfectly evident that this rupture was less 
my work than that of a coalition, who were anxious to divide 
my spoils. 

Such are the true points from which we must view this 
important epoch, which decided the fate of my Empire and 
of Europe. A Mazarin or a Ximenes, remembering the fable 

Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 121 

of the oak and the reed, would have bent before the storm in 
the hope of rising again, more strong than ever, when it had 
past. But self-respect, or rather the honor of the victorious 
captain prevailed over the cool deliberations of the states- 
man. What general in my place would have taken a dif- 
ferent course ? 

But we must render unto Caesar the things which are 
Caesar's, and the event proved that, if the conduct of Austria 
was base, it was nevertheless conformable to her temporary 
interests. Afterwards, at Frankfort and Chatillon, the same 
can not be said for her. Before that time it was for me to 
parry the blow ; and if I did not, it would be unjust to im- 
pute it either to an excess of presumption or a want of 
sagacity ; I was deceived by the promises of Bubna and 
Schwartzenberg, and by the insignificant results of my first 
victories. The world will never agree respecting this nego- 
tiation ; some will accuse Metternich of felony, while those 
whom he benefited will praise him to the skies. By an im- 
partial writer, the matter may be summed up as follows : 

In the month of January, Austria wished to jtrofit by her 
advantageous situation to regain her lost territories ; but she 
feared to ask these openly. As it was sufficient for my pur- 
poses that this power remained neutral in the eai'ly part of 
the campaign, I did not hasten to retain her in my alliance, 
by restitutions which could only be made at my own ex- 
pense. As her indirect overtures through her ministers at 
Paris and Vienna had not accomplished what she desired 
previous to the battle of Lutzen, she now sought to obtain 
it by concert with my enemies. But still preferring to 
acquire provinces by treaty rather than by incurring the 
chances of war, she hoped to enrich herself with my spoils, 
through her character of mediator : when she distrusted the 
results of this calculation she determined to risk the chance 
of arms ; for she had much to gain and nothing to lose. 


The difference in the language of the Austrian cabinet at 
the two epochs will be regarded by some as a violation of 
good faith : it must be confessed, however, that the first 
declarations of Austria ma} 7 have been honorable, and made 
to see what effect her insinuations might produce ; she may 
be reproached for not explaining herself more openly, but 
she may say in excuse that she was deterred from doing so 
by the fear of irritating me. Some writers, in their desire to 
enhance my glory and good faith, have overlooked the cor- 
respondence of the cabinet of Vienna, or have given it only 
in a mutilated state. In this it is plainly shown that, after 
the month of April, Metternich and the emperor gave M. 
Xarbonne to understand that it would be necessary to restore 
Illyria, renounce the Protectorate of the Confederation of the 
Rhine, and the Duchy of Warsaw, and finally the restoration 
of the Prussian monarchy. Nor should it be forgotten that 
Austria did not dissemble that she would go to war, if I 
should not accept her conditions as the mediating power. I 
am far from excusing the conduct of the Austrian cabinet, 
especially in her attempts to seduce my allies, and, while 
pretending friendship, to hedge me about with difficulties. 

This conduct on her part is the more inexcusable as she 
had every reason to pursue a course of policy frank and 
open, and at the same time loyal and strong. Instead of 
sounding me by the mission of Bubna, Schwartzenberg, and 
Metternich, she had only to say : "The alliance of 1756 was 
calculated to make France and Austria the arbiters of the 
continent ; the alliance of 1810 and of 1812, had the same 
object. This also is what now is desired. But you have 
reduced us to a secondary part by destroying our influence 
abroad, and by taking from us our finest provinces, and our 
only port. It is just that we should profit by the present 
occasion to regain them ; unless we do so our alliance will 
be odious to our people. Therefore restore to us the frontiers 

Ch. XIX.] SI 1 KIN G CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 123 

of 1805, and the Tyrol, and renounce the Confederation of 
the Rhine. Holland may remain in your possession until a 
maritime peace is made. You can retain Italy, and settle 
the question of Spain and of England without our inter- 
ference. Join us in treating, without delay, with Kussiaand 
Prussia, on just and moderate terms ; let us amicably arrange 
the question of the Duchy of Warsaw ; since the disaster of 
Moscow this can only be an apple of discord, without the 
slightest advantage to you. Austria will then bring two 
hundred thousand men into the field to sustain your cause, 
and dictate these conditions to your enemies : then we will 
always be your allies." 

I should have immediately subscribed to such conditions, 
for I should have seen in them the good faith and real inter- 
est of Austria ; and even if I had not consented to these 
sacrifices, Austria could then have attacked me openly and 
honorably, proving to Europe that my ambition had forced 
her into the war. My position in this affair was less com- 
plicated than hers, and my conduct was indisputably more 
frank. To maintain our treaties, and thus paralyze the 
action of that power, while I planted my victorious eagles on 
the Niémen, — such was my object. I should have accom- 
plished it, without violating any of my engagements, if the 
victory of Bautzen had equaled my expectations. But I 
failed, by gaining only a half victory, and my conduct 
seemed rash and even audacious. If the movement of the 
left wing had been conducted conformably to the order given 
by Xey's chief of staff in the morning. I would still have 
been master of Europe. Thus the destinies of nations often 
depend upon the most insignificant incidents. But it is 
time to quit the diplomatic arena, and return to military 
events. Before, however, we continue our relation of the 
operations of the armies in Saxony, we will hastily review 
the condition of affairs in Spain. 


Summary of Operations in Spain. — Wellington, after hav- 
ing obtained, in 1812, the liberation of Andalusia by his 
manœuvres on theDouro, and the bold occupation of Madrid, 
had been forced to raise the siege of Burgos, before the united 
arms of Soult and Joseph. He had taken up his winter- 
quarters about Ciudad-Rodrigo, and profited by it to re- 
enforce his corps. His army, in the spring of 1813, was 
composed of seventy-five thousand Anglo-Hanoverians and 
Portuguese. The Cortes of Spain conferred on him the 
command of all their forces, and took measures to place a 
corps of fifty thousand Spaniards at his immediate disposi- 
tion, in the west and north. The evacuation of Andalusia, 
Grenada, Galicia, Estremadura, La Mancha, and the Asturias, 
enabled the Cortes to double their levies, and they neglected 
nothing to incite ardor and patriotism in the hearts of the 

Our forces in this part of the theatre of war amounted to 
about ninety thousand men. Besides these, Suehet had 
from thirty-five to forty thousand men in the east. Two 
divisions of dragoons, and twelve thousand of the best troops, 
had been drawn from the Peninsula to the army in Saxony. 
Soult also had rejoined me just before the battle of Bautzen. 
The regiments in Spain were very weak ; climate, battles, 
guerilla bands, assassinations, &c, had cost us many men, 
and my immediate wants in Saxony had compelled me to 
draw there, in provisional regiments, the recruits intended 
for the army in Spain. To disguise our real weakness, we 
preserved the names of the army of Portugal, the army of 
the south, the army of the centre, and the army of the north, 
for skeleton corps not numbering more than fifteen or sixteen 
thousand men. Eeille commanded the army of Portugal, 
Drouet, that of the centre, Gazan, that of the south, and 
Clausel, that of the north. Joseph's guard, which was 
reduced to three thousand Frenchmen, and a thousand 

Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 125 

Spaniards, with a feeble Spanish division, formed the 

It will be remembered that after the union of our three 
armies on the Tormes, Joseph had returned to Madrid, where 
he hoped to maintain himself by supporting his right on the 
Douro, and his left on the Tagus towards Toledo. In a 
military jxnnt of view such a position was not defensible ; 
but such is the unfortunate alternative of an army which 
has, at the same time, to resist organized masses, and to 
keep in subjection an insurgent population. To subsist their 
forces in a country which is destitute of the means of trans- 
portation or of navigation, extension was necessary ; whereas, 
to fight the opposing forces, concentration was equally essen- 
tial. The Anglo-Portuguese army had greatly the advan- 
tage in this respect, as they could receive provisions from 
Lisbon and Oporto by the Douro, which was navigable to 
near Miranda, and by numerous brigades of mules which 
carried provisions for a distance of three hundred miles. 
This enabled them to act against us with united forces 
whenever they pleased. 

Having completed his preparations for resuming the offen- 
sive by the end of May, Wellington deemed the decisive 
point to be the right of the French on the Douro. By 
obtaining a success here, he threatened our only line of 
retreat, and a victory like that of Salamanca would throw 
us back on the Pyrenees. The evacuation of the south had 
enabled the Junta to raise troops, and assemble a consider- 
able Spanish corps on the Tagus which threatened our left 
and the capital. The army of Galicia and the Asturias 
might take the right in reverse, and advance by Bilboa to 
the defiles of Tolosa. Wellington, favored by these two 
demonstrations, resolved to pass the Douro, the middle of 
May, near Lamega, to fall on Zamora, and thus turn all 
Joseph's system of defense. After having succeeded in this 


first operation, the English general concentrated his forces at 
TorOj and continued his march towards Palencia. 

Joseph now, for the first time, renounced the defense of 
Madrid and collected his forces at Burgos. The increasing 
efforts of the Anglo-Spaniards, the sad effects of our disasters 
in Eussia, and the necessity of seeking the security of the 
army rather than the preservation of a useless capital, justi- 
fied this resolution ; hut it was now necessary to instantly 
take the initiative against the enemy, or to retire. Joseph 
prefered to remain on the defensive. But the new demon- 
strations of the enemy soon forced him to blow up the fort 
of Burgos and to retire into the plains of Vittoria. 

It would be difficult to find a worse place for a battle, 
under the circumstances in which Joseph was situated. The 
gulf of Biscay closes the frontier of France and Spain into 
a kind of gorge between Bayonne and St. Jean-Pied-de-Port. 
There is but a single road on the west of the Pyrenees, which 
runs from Madrid to Bayonne. There is another road prac- 
ticable for cannon, from Vittoria to Pampeluna ; whence it 
runs on one side to the Col-de-Maya, and on the other, to 
St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, by the valley of Eoncevaux, cele- 
brated under Charlemagne by the famous retreat of Eoland. 
To take a position parallel to a road would enable the enemy 
to occupy a corresponding line, and by the least effort of his 
left against our right, to intercept our communications. If 
we add to this that the basin of Vittoria is surrounded by 
commanding mountains, precisely in the prolongation of the 
English left, and in the direction of their approach, it will 
be seen how ill-suited it was for our army. It was necessary 
either to take the initiative and to attack the enemy where- 
ever he might be found, or to retire upon the Pyrenees. 
The latter was certainly the wisest plan ; for a victory which, 
before 1812, would have been decisive, would now be of little 

Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 127 

Battle of littoria. — Joseph's left, under Clausel, remained 
at Logrono to cover the important road to Pampeluna. A 
flying corps was sent to Bilboa under Foy, to cover the 
debouch from that city on St. Sebastian. These two detach- 
ments were the necessary consequence of giving battle in a 
defensive position. In any other country than Spain, it 
would have been preferable to renounce the road to Bayonne, 
to retire parallel to the Ebro to Saragossa, so as to join 
Sachet and fall on Wellington when separated some one 
hundred and fifty leagues from his vessels and his depots. 
The national guards of the south and some battalions of the 
line would have been sufficient to watch the Bidassoa and 
guard the place of Bayonne ; and the English general would 
not have ventured to enter the Pyrenees with one hundred 
thousand Frenchmen in his rear. This manoeuvre had the 
assent of the best generals in the army ; but Joseph and 
Marshal Jourdan thought that the spirit of the Catalonians 
and Aragonese rendered this strategic line unsafe. If it was 
necessary to base themselves on Bayonne, they ought to have 
avoided a battle, or at least to have received it on the heights 
of S.ilinas. Jourdan, it is said, formed this project, but was 
overruled by the others, who feared the embarrassment of 
Joseph's impedimenta, and who wished to dispute the pos- 
session of Castile. Joseph's camp resembled that of Darius ; 
he was encumbered with the families and baggage of the 
unfortunate Spaniards who had taken office under him. A 
part was sent away the evening before the battle to Tolosa, 
under the escort of Maucune's division of the army of Portu- 
gal ; nevertheless, there still remained much more than the 
situation of our affairs justified. 

The allies passed the Ebro on the fifteenth of June. On 
the twenty-first they presented themselves before Joseph's 
corps-de-bataille, which was posted parallel to Zadorra and 
the road. There was sufficient time during these five days to 


adopt a course suited to the circumstances, Lut they did 
nothing. The battle which decided the fate of the Penin- 
sula took place on the twenty-first of June. It was more 
disastrous than bloody. The left and centre were driven 
back on Vittoria by Hill and Beresford, who attacked them 
concentrically toward Ariniz and the bridge of Mamorio, 
penetrated the interval between them, and thus forced them 
into a precipitate retreat. The right wing, after having sus- 
tained a vigorous combat against General Graham at Go- 
marra Mayor, near the great road to Bayonne, suffered them- 
selves to be defeated after hearing the loss of Vittoria. An 
English division, turning the right wing, succeeded in gain- 
ing the road before our troops ; the alarm immediately spread, 
and each one hastened to gain, in disorder, the road to Pam- 
peluna, the only one remaining by which they could reach 
the Pyrenees. The entire column of equipages fell into the 
hands of the conqueror ; cannon, baggage, caissons, in a 
word, every thing was abandoned, and Joseph arrived at 
Bayonne in a worse plight than I reached the Beresina. A 
ïnost scandalous disorder blasted all the laurels of the army 
of Spain, caused only by a panic terror, like that of the 
Austrians at Marengo. 

Joseph merited many reproaches for his military conduct 
in this affair ; but not those which have been made by his 
detractors. The fault was not so much in the disposal of 
his troops, as in his giving battle at all in this position. He 
should have taken the offensive ; or if not, have received 
battle in the defensive position of Salinas. 

The news of this disaster made me regret that I did not 
evacuate Spain on my return from Moscow. This would 
have enabled me to assemble one hundred thousand veteran 
troops behind the Khine. The Spaniards would never have 
crossed the Pyrenees, had I abandoned the country to Fer- 
dinand ; and Wellington would not, with Lis English forces 

Cil. XIX.] SPRING CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 129 

alone, have attempted the invasion of France. His theatre 
of operations would probably have been transferred to Hol- 
land or elsewhere. 

Operations of Suchet.— In the east of Spain fortune was 
more favorable. Dissatisfied with the conduct of General 
Maitland, the English had replaced him with Murray, a 
chief of staff of much merit. He arrived at Alicante with 
orders to take the offensive so as to favor the projects of Wel- 
lington against the line of the Douro. During the winter 
the allies had reorganized and reënforced the Spanish army 
of Elliot. In the month of April, 1813, Murray took posi- 
tion at Castella, with twenty thousand Anglo- Sicilians and 
Spaniards, and detached some corps to Villena. Between 
the twentieth and twenty-second of April, Suchet, by a rapid 
march, enveloped a battalion at Villena, defeated Elliot's 
corps at Yecla, and the English vanguard in the defile of 
Biar. This success brought him before Murray's position at 
Castalla, which he immediately resolved to attack. But as 
he failed to carry it, Murray made an attack in his turn, but 
was arrested by our artillery in the defile. Our army re- 
turned to Valencia Avith its prisoners, but did not long remain 
inactive. Not venturing an attack on our intrenchments, 
Murray decided to evacuate the east and seek to operate on 
our communications. 

He reëmbarked his troops, and his fleet passed Valencia on 
the first of June. He again debarked his troops at Salo, 
where he got possession of Fort San Felipe de Balaguer, and 
began an attack on Tarragona. Twenty-eight heavy cannon 
were landed for this purpose. 

Hearing of this danger, Marshal Suchet immediately moved 

by Perdillo, and in three forced marches with his infantry 

arrived in sight of Fort Balaguer ; the English fleet defended 

the shore and commanded with their guns the high road. 

Making a détour through the mountains to avoid their fire, 
vol. rv. — 9. 


Suchet carried a column of infantry in' sight of Tarragona, 
at the moment when General Maurice Mathieu, from Barce- 
lona, approached on the other side. Seeing his danger, Mur- 
ray now blew up Fort Balaguer, abandoned his heavy artil- 
lery, reërnbarked his troops, and resigned the command to 
Lord Bentinck, who returned to Alicante. In the mean time 
the Spanish army of Alicante, under the Duke del Parque, 
attacked Generals Harispe and Habert on the Xucar, but 
was defeated Suchet returned to Valencia in triumph. 

But hardly had he arrived there, when he received news 
of the battle of Vittoria, and orders to approach the fron- 
tiers of France. The evacuation of Valencia commenced on 
the fifth of July. The retreat of this army was accompanied 
by the sincere regrets of a large number of the inhabitants. 
Good officers with well provisioned garrisons were left at 
Denia, Peniscola, and Saguntum ; the last of these places 
contained six months' supplies for the whole army. Tortosa, 
Tarragona, Lerida, Mequinenza, and Monzon, were also pro- 
vided for. More than twenty thousand men were thus sacri- 
ficed to the vain hope of still holding the Peninsula, when 
their presence on the Rhine, and in Champagne, a few months 
later, might have saved France. Suchet was not to blame 
for this disposition ; he had received positive orders. Our 
victory at Bautzen was known to him ; as also the meeting 
of the congress of Prague ; but he knew nothing of the 
defection of Austria, and hoped soon to receive orders to 
return to Valencia. 

On reaching Barcelona, Suchet united with his own the 
army of Catalonia under General Decaen. Together they 
occupied the line of the Llobregat which they retained fur 
several months. In the early part of August, General Ben- 
tinck threatened Tarragona. The French army crossed the 
Col de Santa Christiana and offered him battle, which he 
refused and retired toward Cambrils and the C;>1 de Balaguer 


Suchet now blew up the fortifications of Tarragona and 
removed the garrison to Barcelona. The enemy afterward 
established himself at Villa-Franca and the Col de Ordal. 
The latter place was attacked by the marshal on the night 
of the thirteenth of September, and carried, after an obstinate 
defense. We captured three field-pieces and three or four 
hundred men. The twenty-seventh English regiment of 
the line perished almost to a man. The next day our army 
reached Villa-Franca. General Bentinck prepared to retire 
on Tarragona, but our cavalry greatly harassed his retreat. 

This victory secured us quiet cantonments between the 
Llobregat and Barcelona, and the winter passed away with- 
out any remarkable event, or any thing to disturb our forces, 
except the sad news of our disasters in Saxony. Our skir- 
mishes with the Catalonians were regarded only as an every- 
day affair ; they had become a matter of habit, and a daily 




Renewal of Hostilities — Immense Efforts of the Coalition — Organization of the 
Allied forces— Organization of the French Army — Relative Position of the 
opposing Forces — Different Combinations of the Theatre of War — Prelimin- 
ary Movements — Plan of Operations — Napoleon marches against Blucher — 
His Instructions to Macdonald — The Command of the Allied Forces — March 
of the Allies on Dresden — Their singular Dispositions for Attack — Napoleon's 
Project to cut them off at Konigstein — Battle of Dresden — The Allies retreat 
— Operations of Vandamme near Konigstein — His Disaster at Culm — Ou- 
dinot defeated at Gros-Beeren — Macdonald's Disaster at the Katzbach — 
Napoleon marches to his Assistance — Xey's defeat at Dennewitz — Remarks 
on this Battle — Remarks on Napoleon's Plan of Campaign — His Demonstra- 
tions on Bohemia— Third Attempt against Blucher — New Plans of the Allies 
— They assume the Offensive — Napoleon marches against Blucher and Ber- 
nadette — Napoleon's Project of Manoeuvering against Berlin — It is defeated 
by the Defection of Bavaria — The Allies concentrate on Leipsic — Singular 
Project of Schwartzenberg — First Day of Leipsic — Napoleon proposes an 
Armistice which is refused — The Allies receive Reenforcements — Second Day 
of Leipsic — Third Day of Leipsic — Remarks on this Battle — Napoleon 
retreats on Erfurth — Pursuit of the Allies — Departure of Murat — Threaten- 
ing March of the Bavarians — Their Defeat at Hanau — The French retire 
behind the Rhine — Capitulation of Dresden — Operations before Hamburg — 
Capitulation of Dantzic — Siege and Blockade of the other Fortresses — Oper- 
ations of Eugene in Italy — Soult's Operations in Spain. 

Renewal of Hostilities. — Although the overthrow of my 
brother's throne had no immediate influence on the military 
operations in Germany, nevertheless, it greatly complicated 
my affairs. I had always supposed that I could at any time 
draw fifty thousand men from beyond the Pyrenees to the 
Elbe ; but the unfortunate defeat of Vittoria not only des- 
troyed these hopes, but on the contrary caused me alarm for 

l'ii. XX] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 133 

the safety of my own territory. These events probably had 
their influence in the negotiations of Prague, and contributed 
to their unfortunate issue. Some future statesman may 
think that this failure, by destroying all further hopes of 
success in the Peninsula and drawing all my efforts to the con- 
tinent, should have been an additional inducement for Austria 
to unite with me ; but the cabinet of Vienna thought differ- 
ently, and only rejoiced at the increase of my embarrassment 
and the probability of my fall. The congress of Prague 
having been dissolved on the tenth of August, as has already 
been said, the armistice expired on the fifteenth and hostili- 
ties recommenced the next day. 

Immense Efforts of the Coalition.— The efforts of the 
coalition were almost incredible ; I regarded the accounts of 
them which reached me as ridiculously exaggerated. Prussia 
alone had put in the line two hundred and forty thousand 
men, of which thirty-two thousand were cavalry. I had 
never thought her forces one-half that number. The Rus- 
sians, besides the corps of Sacken and Langeron, received 
near one hundred thousand veterans from the hospitals and 
recruits from the depots ; they were the remainder of the 
levies of 1812, who, on account of their distance from the 
theatre of war, had not been able to arrive in time to take 
part in the campaign of 1812. The whole number of the 
troops of the first line put in motion against me, amounted 
to six hundred and fifty thousand men with eighteen hundred 
pieces of cannon, all included. The reserves and garrisons 
amounted to one hundred and sixty thousand, making a 
grand total of eight hundred and ten thousand men against 

* This number must be intended to represent the strength of the allied forces 
at the renewal of hostilities, for in September, as is stated immediately after, 
they numbered eight hundred and eighty-nine thousand three hundred and 
twenty men, and one thousand nine hundred and sixty-six pieces of artillery. 
and in December, their force was increased to one million one hundred thou- 
sand men. 



[Ch. XX. 

me, in the north and in Italy, exclusive of the English, 
Spaniards, Portuguese, and Sicilians, in the Peninsula. It 
is true that some of these were militia and irregular troops ; 
but if they did not serve in the line, they did us still more 
injury by their partisan warfare. 

The English aided these efforts by subsidies and sup- 
plies of arms and artillery ; they sent to Prussia, and to the 
Prince of Sweden, field-batteries and men to manage them, 
several companies of Congreve-rocketeers, and a siege- 
equipage which served in the attack of Glogau. They also 
carried four hundred thousand muskets, and one hundred 
thousand sabres to the continent, to assist in the armament 
of Germany. 

Organization of the Allied Forces.— The following table 
exhibits the detailed organization of the allied armies in 
September, 1813 : 

Armies and 



< -. 

b z 


H r 














23,000 00 

P>arclav < 

6,000 ; — 
36,000 | 250 
108,500 | 438 




53 | SO 

133 | 100 


4 1 18 
7 1 18 


Schwartzenberg -I 









I 42 

121* | 126 

1.-:",*0m ; '-'.-.> 









Blucher -j 


St. Priest 



132 | 104 


96.700 | 356 

* Previous to the battle of Dresden the Austrians had but one hundred and 
twelve battalions ; they here lost ten which were replaced by nineteen others, 
making one hundred and twenty-one battalions. In addition to this number 
they had thirty-four battalions in garrison at Prague, Theresien-Stadt, and 



A i:\iiks AND 




CO *> 




B > 
t- M 


Rernadotte < 













'. 8,500 

: s,! 













1 29 






P.piiniiiL'sen 1 


1 120 






£-3 fDantzic. 

|u J Stettin . . . 
;l 1 Custrin... 
&£ Glogau.., 
o5 l Zamosa.. , 

Russ. and Pruss. Duke of Wurtem- 

I berg 


" Hinricks 

" I Rosen 

Russians ■ — 


















— . 








1 64 I 32 I 11 I 122,2^0 | 1 79 

The Kussians employed in these sieges were militia, except 
at Dantzic, where there were four battalions of the old 
regiments, and the militia of St. Petersburg, who had fought 
gloriously during the war. 

Becapitulation of these Forces. 

Men. Artillery 

Grand army in Bohemia (Barclay and Schwartzenberg) 239,360 696 

Army of Blucher 96,700 356 

Army of Bernadotte 154,060 .387 

Army ofBenningsen 60,000 108 

Austrians and Bavarians under General Wrede 55,000 120 

Army of General Hill in Italy 50,000 120 

Siege-corps " 102,200 179 

Reserve of Landwehr in the interior of Austria 60,000 — 

Prussian reserve and garrisons 32,000 — 

Reserve under Prince Labauof 40,000 — 

Total 889,320 1,966 

If we add to this number one hundred and forty-five thou- 
sand regulars, and one hundred and forty-five thousand 

* TValmoden's corps was composed of Russians, Germans, Swedes and 




[Ch. XX. 

Landwehr raised by the Germanic Confederation in the 
month of December, we have a grand total of more than 
one million one hundred thousand men, armed against France, 
exclusive of the forces in the Peninsula. 

Organization of the French Army. — I also had profited 
by the armistice to reënforce my army in Germany, and, by 
almost inconceivable activity on my own part, and that of 
my officers, we had increased its numbers to near four hun- 
dred thousand, and the artillery to one thousand two hun- 
dred and fifty pieces. It was organized as follows : 

Infantry. 1st corps under Yandamme, 







7 th 






13 th 






Victor, 3 

Ney (afterwards Souham) 5 

Bertrand, 3 

Lauriston, 3 

Marmont. 3 

Reynier, 3 

Poniatowski, 2 

Augereau, 2 

Rapp, at Dantzic, 

Macdonald, 3 

Oudinot. 3 

Davoust. 3 

St. Cyr, .. 3 

Latour-Maubourg 4 

Sebastiani, 3 

Arrighi, 4 

Kellennan Jr., 3 

Relative Positions of the opposing Forces.— The respec- 
tive forces were distributed as follows : on my right, twenty- 
five thousand Bavarians, assembled at Munich, were in obser- 
vation before an army of nearly equal force which Austria had 
collected in the environs of Lintz. They were sustained, or 
rather restrained, by a corps of twenty thousand men which 
Augereau had assembled in the environs of Wurtzburg and 
Bamberg. On my left, Davoust occupied Hamburg and 
Lubeck with thirty thousand French and Danes, forming the 
thirteenth corps. He had before him the corps of Wal- 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 137 

moden, of equal force. Bernadotte, Prince-Royal of Sweden, 
commanded, in the environs of Berlin, an army of some 
hundred and twenty thousand Russians, Swedes, and Prus- 
sians ; I opposed to him Oudinot, who with seventy thou- 
sand men, placed himself at Dahme on the road from Torgau 
to Berlin. My grand army of two hundred and thirty thou- 
sand men were cantoned from Dresden to Liegnitz ; it was 
composed of eleven corps of infantry, and four of cavalry, 
including the forces under Oudinot. Murat, having returned 
from Naples after my victory at Bautzen in order to obtain, 
by his devotion, pardon for his conduct in the retreat from 
Russia, was charged with the command of the reserve. The 
Russo-Prussian army of two hundred thousand combatants 
was in the environs of Schweidnitz, and one hundred and 
thirty thousand Austrians had united in Bohemia. 

I have been reproached for having employed Davoust with 
thirty thousand men at Hamburg. This position, they say, 
had no connection with the great question to be decided on 
the Elbe ; the strength of my position depended upon the 
right and not the left, and the enemy could not throw him- 
self upon Hamburg, so long as I was victorious between 
Magdebourg and Dresden. All this is true ; but then the 
English might have thrown ten thousand men, arms and 
money into the north of Germany, have raised Hanover and 
Westphalia, and, by uniting with Walmoden, have brought 
sixty thousand men on my rear, and even drawn Denmark 
after them. The position of Davoust freed me from this 
apprehension and, moreover, gave occupation to an equal 
number of the enemy. If ever a detachment was indispensa- 
ble and useful, this one was. 

Different Combinations of the Theatre of War.— The new 
theatre upon which we were about to Avage so terrible a war, 
was different from those which preceded it. In examining 


its various combinations I found four systems from which to 

The first was to make the Elbe the pivot of all my move- 
ments ; I held all the fortified points, Kônigstein, Dresden, 
Torgau ; Wittemberg, and Magdebourg made me master of 
the course of this river, as Stettin, Glogau and Custrin com- 
manded the Oder. I was certain of having bridges for man- 
œuvering at my pleasure between the two rivers, with great 
advantage against the enemy who did not possess a single 
fortified passage. My position, it is true, was taken in re- 
verse by Bohemia ; but if the enemy wished to manoeuvre 
by the left bank of the Elbe against Saxony, I could para- 
lyze all who remained on the right bank, and throw myself 
in mass on those debouching from Bohemia. Thanks to the 
situation of the little fort of Kônigstein, I could even operate 
in my turn against the communications of the enemy, if he 
should descend the Elbe to Dresden. I might even allow the 
mass of the allied forces to break their heads against my 
barrier of the Elbe, while I threw myself alternately on the 
armies of the north and of Silesia. In either case, the tac- 
tical advantage was on my side. 

The second system was to profit by the places of Magde- 
bourg, Torgau and Goerlitz on Yung-Bunzlau or Prague, to 
take in reverse the grand army of the sovereigns which was 
moving on the Eger. This would have entirely changed my 
line of operations and have based me on the Danube and 
Bavaria. The success of this plan would have produced im- 
mense results ; but, in case of reverse, all my defenses on the 
Elbe and my depots would have been abandoned to them- 
selves ; it is true that they were well provided and might 
have held out for some months. In order to execute this 
grand operation, it would have been necessary to draw my 
army of Silesia into Bohemia, and leave to Oudinot the care 
of throwing good garrisons in Torgau and Dresden to form 

I il. XX.] AUTUMN C A M P A I ( i X OF 1813. 139 

my mar guard on Zittau. The union of three hundred thou- 
sand Frenchmen in Bohemia in the plains of Yung-Bunzlau 
would have greatly embarrassed the sovereigns, for, by beat- 
ing their principal army near Laun, it would have been 
thrown back near Egra on the Boehmerwald or on the 
Voightland, and been cut off from its base, from Blncher, 
and from Bernadotte ; finally, its magazines, collected at 
great expense, would, have amply provided us with provisions. 
It can not be denied that this plan was manifestly superior 
to either of the others. It may be said, perhaps, that its 
execution required a knowledge of the march decided on by 
the sovereigns at Trachenberg, and which I did not know till 
the sixteenth ; but that was of little importance. Whether 
I found Schwartzenberg with one hundred thousand Aus- 
trians, or encountered the grand allied army, I would become 
master of the southern side of the theatre of war and drive 
the enemy to the other side where the advantages were 
already in my favor. Nevertheless, this manoeuvre had the 
inconvenience of requiring, at its commencement, a retro- 
grade movement of the army of Macdonald before the army 
of Silesia which would have pursued and perhaps have cut 
up the French marshal. However, Macdonald had the ad- 
vantage of disputing in his retreat the defile from Lauban to 
Keichenberg, ground favorable for defense. The want of 
practicable roads was the greatest obstacle to the adoption 
of this system ; for we had, in order to execute it, only the 
road from Rombourg and Gabel, and that from Lauban on 

The third system was to face toward the western frontiers 
of Bohemia, by placing my left near Dresden and extending 
my line in the direction of Zwichau and Plauen, abandoning 
all the right bank of the Elbe. Although the advocate of 
defensive war would give this the preference, it did not 
at all suit me. I should have been destitute of common 


sense to abandon voluntarily all the advantages of the Elbe 
and enable three allied armies to unite, when I could divide 
their efforts. My left, abandoned at Dresden, would have 
had to contend alone against these three armies ; or, if I 
had wished to bring the rest of my forces to its assistance I 
should necessarily have been obliged to change my front, in 
order to place myself in battle on the Elbe. This would 
have been war without reason and without results. 

The fourth system was to evacuate Germany and establish 
myself behind the Rhine ; several of my generals, who did 
not comprehend my position, were inclined to adopt this 
plan. It was an absurd idea. There was no necessity for 
such a measure ; it would have been better to subscribe at 
once to all the sacrifices imposed by the coalition. Such a 
course would have been more honorable and more advanta- 
geous than to retire of my own accord, and draw upon the 
frontiers of France all Europe in arms, without putting an 
end to the war. To retire behind the Rhine would have 
been to surrender the Confederation, Italy, Switzerland, and 
Holland. Moreover, what could we have done with only 
four hundred thousand men to defend the whole line from 
Amsterdam to Bale ? It would have required half of this 
force to garrison the fortifications, and we would have had 
only two hundred thousand men in the field to fight six 
hundred thousand allies who assailed us in Saxony and Fran- 
conia. Here we might at least oppose to them all our forces 
and preserve our own territory untouched. Instead of throw- 
ing one hundred and fifty thousand men into our fortresses 
and ruining the soil of France, we could here keep these 
forces active, augment their numbers still further by the con- 
tingents of the Confederation, and carry on the war at the 
expense of others. 

Preliminary Movements. — Every thing being arranged for 
the new campaign I left Dresden on the fifteenth, and went 


to Zittau.* The hostilities were not to begin till the six- 
teenth, but the allies put themselves in motion on the twelfth, 
to execute the plan which had been agreed upon at Trachen- 
berg. Barclay, with more than one hundred thousand men, 
filing by his left, crossed Bohemia. His junction with the 
Austrians formed a mass of two hundred and twenty thou- 
sand men, destined to march on Dresden by the left bank of 

* The following note, put by Jomini in the mouth of Napoleon, contains 
the substance of Napoleon's own dictations at St. Helena, as given in his Me- 
moirs by Montholon and Gourgaud. 

" On arriving at Bautzen I learned that General Jomini, chief of Marshal 
Ney's staff, had gone over to the Russian army. Although this event has been 
generally misjudged by the historians of the campaign, it was, nevertheless, of 
a nature to greatly annoy me. Jomini was a susceptible man, violent, self- 
willed, but too frank to conduct any premeditated intrigue. Many circum- 
stances contributed to induce him to take this step. He was a Swiss. Con- 
stantly maltreated by the Prince of Neufchatel, he had already, in 1810, wished 
to enter the Russian service where he had been in fact offered the rank of 
general in the suite of the Emperor Alexander. He had asked for his dis- 
charge, but I had refused it. After having recently distinguished himself at 
Bautzen, as has been shown in the preceding chapter, he was arrested on the 
charge of not having sent, in time, certain returns and information which he 
could not obtain, and under this futile pretext he was published to the army in 
an order of tho day as guilty of neglect of duty. Twice during the armistice, 
Ney had proposed him for the grade of general of division to which ho had 
just claims for recent and important services. Numerous promotions had been 
made in his corps-d'armée ; he alone was excepted, and instead of being re- 
compensed, was subjected to unmerited punishment. Exasperated at such 
injustice, and certain, from what had occurred in 1810, that I would not accept 
his resignation, he determined to join a prince who promised him a distin- 
guished reception, and whose magnanimity has been greatly extolled. 

" However violent this step, the attenuating circumstances which accom- 
panied it render it excusable. It was the result of a very natural feeling, — 
that of submitting to no humiliation. This officer was not a Frenchman, and 
was bound to our flag by no feelings of patriotism, the only feelings which can 
enable one to submit to ill-treatment. 

" Some ill-informed writers have attributed to this event the retreat of our 
troops behind the Bober, by accusing Jomini of having communicated my 
plans to the enemy. He was incapable of such an act ; moreover, he did not 
know my plan, for it could not have been communicated to him till after tho 
renewal of hostilities. Others have attributed Blucher's attack to information 
given him by Jomini ; this is equally false ; Blucher entered the neutral ter- 
ritory on the twelfth of August, whereas Jomini did not leave for Prague till 
the fourteenth, and had previously had no communication with the Prussian 


the Elbe. Blucher, left in Silesia with about one hundred 
thousand men, inundated the neutral territory, took posses- 
sion of Breslau, and advanced on the Katzbach. My corps 
in Silesia were obliged to raise their cantonments in haste, and 
retire behind the Bober. Until now, I had believed that the 
Eussian and Prussian masses, forming the general centre of 
the allies in Silesia, would advance on the Buber, and that 
the Austrians would attack me in flank with one hundred 
thousand men. All my dispositions were made to observe, 
with eighty thousand men each of the masses of the enemy, 
and to throw myself with a suitable reënforcement upon 
either, as occasion required. 

Plan of Operations.— I had pushed Poniatowski, the 
seventeenth of August, on Gabel, to ascertain what was pass- 
ing in Bohemia : we there learned at the same time the march 
of the sovereigns and the grand army on Bohemia, and the 
retreat of my army of Silesia. These two events left me no 
further doubt as to the part I was to take. As Blucher was 
coming against the mass of my forces, it was necessary to 
begin by getting rid of him. It has been thought that I 
would have done better to push forward on Yung-Bunzlau, 
so as to fall on the grand army of the sovereigns. Perhaps 
I should have done so, if there had been time ; but as the 
armies of Oudinot and Macdonald had not been prepared for 
such an enterprise, I thought it more safe to fall at once on 

general. He proved, besides, that so far from compromising Ney, ho himself 
had taken, in spite of the marshal, every precaution to cover his camps, order- 
ing, on his own authority, the light cavalry of General Beurmann to Liegnitz 
to place it in advance of the Katzbach. This fact alone attests that Jomini 
was a slave to his duty, and that in taking this desperate step he had obeyed 
his head, rather than his heart. His loss was a serious one ; for, of all my 
officers, he best understood my system of war, and had rendered me important 
services at Ulm, at Jena, in Poland, at Eylau, in Spain, at the Beresina, and at 

The different views taken of Jomini's conduct by his friends and his enemies 
are briefly stated in the biographical sketch of the author at the beginning of 
the first volume of this translation. 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 143 

Blucher, leaving the grand question to be afterward decided. 
Although my information announced that the sovereigns were 
advancing on Bohemia, yet there was nothing to indicate 
whether they would cross the Elbe, or place themselves at 
Gabel, Leypa and Reichenberg ; in the last supposition, the 
attack on Prague would be only a front attack. 

Napoleon marches against Blucker. — Having resolved to 
march into Silesia, I left St. Cyr to guard Dresden ; Van- 
damme and Poniatowski remained in echelons on the road to 
Gabel ; Belluno remained at Zittau to sustain them ; these 
last three corps were to mask my rear and cover my com- 
munications with the Elbe. I advanced into Silesia at the 
head of one hundred and forty thousand men. Mortier, 
Marmont, the guards, and Murat's cavalry, followed the 
corps of Ney, Lauriston, and Macdonald. We passed the 
Bober on the twenty-first. Unfortunately for us, Blucher 
refused battle, as had been agreed upon at Trachenberg. If 
I had known this intention, I should have changed my plan, 
and not have hesitated to march on Prague. Blucher fell 
back on Jauer. I could not follow him without compromis- 
ing the safety of Dresden, threatened as it was by the grand 
army of the allies ; this point was the more important as it 
was to serve as the pivot of all my operations, and to enable 
me to act at pleasure upon either side of the Elbe. 

Instructions to Macdonald.— I left Macdonald in Silesia 
with eighty thousand men, and with the remaining sixty 
thousand took the road to Lusace ; and, after marching one 
hundred and twenty leagues with my best troops, returned 
to the place from which I started, without having accom- 
plished any object. I had given Macdonald detailed instruc- 
tions which should have avoided the disasters which he ex- 
perienced. On the twenty-third of August, at my departure 
from Lowenberg, I directed Berthier to write to him : 
" That in the present state of our troops we could do noth- 


ing better than to march against the enemy, as soon as he 
should take the offensive ; in that case, the allies would un- 
doubtedly move on several points at the same time ; that Mac- 
donald, on the contrary, should concentrate his force on a 
single point, so as to debouch against them and immediately 
take the initiative. He was informed of my project of de- 
bouching from Zittau on Prague, in case the enemy did not 
seriously threaten the intrenched camp of Dresden, or of 
debouching by that camp, if the enemy presented himself 
before it with the mass of his forces. In case he should be 
attacked by superior numbers, to fall back behind the Quiess, 
hold Goerlitz, and keep open his communications with me, 
so as to form a junction in case of need. If he should be 
pressed, and I in full operation, he would, at the worst, re- 
tire on the intrenched camp of Dresden, while my first care 
would be to keep up our communications with him." 

Never did I take more wise precautions, and never were 
they worse understood or worse executed. Having returned 
to my army, on the twenty-fourth of August, between Goer- 
litz and Zittau, I hesitated whether or not I should debouch 
on Prague ; but the fears manifested by St. Cyr for the fate 
of Dresden decided me : I directed myself on Stolpe, the 
twenty-fifth, and very soon had cause to applaud this resolu- 
tion, when I learned that Oudinot had been beaten, on the 
twenty-third, in a partial engagement at Gross-Beeren near 
Berlin. Having decided to operate on the communications 
of the grand allied army, I left Poniatowski alone to guard 
the defiles of Gabel, and assembled my masses between Stolpe 
and Lohman ; but before relating these operations let us look 
for a moment at what the enemy was doing. 

The Command of the allied Forces. — The allied sovereigns, 
at the head of their grand army, had, on the twenty-first, 
crossed the mountains which separate Bohemia from Saxony, 
and advanced on Dresden. This movement, very well con- 

Oh. XX.J A U T U M N C A M PAIGN OF 18 13. 14") 

ceived, was very badly executed. The information which I 
had received proved to me the advantage which I possessed 
over my adversaries in the unity of command and combina- 
tions. Never had an army so many chiefs. Lonis XIV. 
had conducted war with his ministers, his courtiers, and the 
envoys of his allies ; but in fact Louvois and Turenne had 
directed everything. The Emperor Alexander seemed the 
natural chief of the new league ; king more distant from 
France than the others, he seemed the most disinterested of 
the monarchs. It is said that the chief command was offered 
to him, but that, distrusting his own abilities, he had 
modestly declined it, and that it was then decided to confer 
the command on one of the secondary generals, directed by 
the council of sovereigns. Alexander had even the generosity 
to divide his own army, and to distribute his troops among 
those of Bernadotte, Blucher, and Schwartzenberg. 

It is said, that afterwards, stimulated by Moreau and Jo- 
mini, the emperor of Eussia offered to charge himself with 
the responsibility which he had at first declined, but that the 
emperor of Austria, appreciating the advantage which that 
commaud would give him, refused his assent. The Prince 
of Schwartzenberg was, therefore, invested with the title of 
generalissimo. This brave soldier was not a man capable of 
directing so complicated a machine ; on the other hand, he 
was of a modest, yielding character, in a word, more fitted 
to obey than to command. Thus the appointment would 
not have been so objectionable, if they had given him a 
skillful major-general (chief of staff) and a couple of aides- 
major-generals (subordinate officers of staff) capable of form- 
ing under him good plans of operation ; but this they 
neglected to do. General Eadetski was a good lieutenant- 
general, and young Count Latour an officer of great promise; 
but neither had the experience necessary for such a com- 
mand. To these were added General Languenau, a Saxon 

vol. iv. — 10. 


officer who owed to me his advancement, and who, at the 
epoch of the battle of Lutzen, had rejoined the Austrian 
array. He had never done anything to justify my confidence. 
He had more talent for intrigue than military ability ; some 
verbose memoirs secured for him the favor of Prince Met- 

It must not be inferred, however, from this whimsical 
selection of officers, that Austria had no good ones, or that 
her army was bad because it had been often defeated. That 
her troops should be imperfect, after twenty years of reverses, 
was natural, and that her generals should lose their confi- 
dence, was still more natural ; however, both exhibited great 
firmness in their reverses, and the good qualities of Wurra- 
ser's soldiers proved what was to be expected of an Austrian 
army when ably commanded. The staff was well-instructed 
in all the accessary branches, as topography, fortification, 
tactics of detail, &c. But the habit of the Aulic Council of 
directing everything themselves, and of selecting court- 
favorites for commands, caused many misfortunes. Why 
was it that in a country that producvd Prince Charles, Kray, 
Laudon, and Lichtenstein, more competent persons could not 
be found to direct their military operations, than those 
charged with those important duties in 1813 ? Why was it 
that Metternich could not find some more skillful person to 
direct his armies, or at least more able staff-officers as ad- 
visers to the Prince of Schwartzenberg ? 

As it was, the Aulic committee of the campaign had the 
important task of preparing and issuing all orders, after first 
submitting them to the sovereigns who formed a kind of 
council of revision. The Emperor Alexander, the King of 
Prussia, Lord Cathcart (the English Ambassador), Lowen- 
hielm (the Swedish Ambassador), Prince Wolkonsky, Gen- 
erals Moreau, Barclay, Diebitsch, Toll, Jomini, and Knese- 
beck, discussed the projected operations. As they had to 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 147 

give their opinions on the crude plans cf the others, this 
council led to interminable debates. Either because Schwart- 
zenberg wished to free himself from such leading strings, or 
because he found it impossible to wait for these long discus- 
sions before combining his operations, his orders were often 
sent to the different corps without being first submitted to 
the sovereigns for their approval ; and it was soon found 
that the formation of plans of operation for the army was left 
to men who were jitterly ignorant of the duty. Several gen- 
erals who were capable of appreciating the sad results of such 
a state of things, now urged the league to choose an Aga- 
memnon, and intrust to him their destinies. There being 
no monarch suited for this office, they proposed the Arch- 
duke Charles, who had given proof of his capacity : but 
private interests defeated this object. It was therefore ne- 
cessary that the Emperor Alexander should act as a kind of 
mediator, and by his moderation and address have the 
indirect control of affairs, and, at least, avoid great evils, if 
he could not accomplish great objects. 

March of the Allies on Dresden. — My march on Silesia 
had been made almost in musket-shot of the Austrian fron- 
tier, which was well-guarded by custom-house officers, game- 
keepers, forest-guards, &c., yet, strange to say, Schwartzen- 
berg knew nothing of it. He descended on Marienberg and 
Pirna by a slow march, supposing me still at Dresden, when 
I was at the distance of sixty leagues. St. Cyr threw him- 
self into that city with the resolution to defend it to the 
uttermost, so that I might have time to come to his assist- 
ance. The allies seconded his plans admirably by the slow- 
ness of their march. They passed, the mountains on the 
twenty-first of August, but it was not till the evening of the 
twenty-fifth that their right under Barclay appeared before 
Dresden, after beating Clapai-ède at Pirna, and leaving 
Ostermann in observation near Konigstein. The Austrians, 


who were amusing themselves at a grand review in the plains 
of Laun, and pushing their left to the environs of Egra, 
combined their movements so badly that they could not 
arrive till two days after the Russo-Prussian army, which 
had debouched from the mountains of Glatz. 

On learning at Gabel, on the seventeenth, this movement 
of the allies on the Elbe, I foresaw this attempt against 
Dresden, but was not at all embarrassed by it, for I knew 
that the place could not well be carried by an assault, and 
that I was more advantageously situated than they were, for 
manoeuvring on their communications. Their first plan had 
been to march on Leipsic, where Bernadotte would join 
them, by passing the Elbe at Dessau. If they had followed 
this project, and I had gained a great battle, their destruc- 
tion would have been almost certain. By drawing to mc 
the army of Oudinot, I should have had two hundred thou- 
sand men ; and by passing the Elbe at Dresden on their 
rear, I should have got possession of their magazines, and 
their line of operations on Bohemia ; I Avould have attacked 
them at Leipsic with the advantage of having in my power 
all the fortified debouches of the Elbe ; I would also have 
held the issues of that river, of the Oder, arid of Bohemia, 
so that the allies, if beaten, would have been thrown back 
on the Baltic, without the ability of regaining Austria. 

The king of Saxony, under an exaggerated idea of the 
inconvenience of living in a fortified capital, had, since 181<>. 
begun to demolish the defenses of the old city. But during 
the armistice I had employed numerous workmen in rebuild- 
ing them : the dismantled fronts had been made sufficiently 
strong to resist an assault, and the rich exterior faubourgs 
were covered by an enceinte of thirteen redoubts, of which 
eight were on the right, and five on the left bank of the 
Elbe. These were not strong enough to resist a siege, 
nor even an assault, if defended by only an ordinary gar- 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 18 13. 149 

rison ; but defended by au entire army, the post was ini- 

The allies had two courses to pursue :'lst, to debouch by 
Peters walde, Altenberg, and Marienberg ; to occupy the 
heights of Dippodiswalde with their right reën forced towards 
Gieshubel, and to there await my attack ; 2d, to march 
rapidly against Dresden with several thousand fascines and 
scaling-ladders, and, if I was not found there with the mass 
of my forces, to attempt against the faubourgs and old town 
what Bernadotte and Soult had done at Lubeck : they 
might have been repelled with the loss of several thousand 
men ; but as the result of the campaign depended upon the 
success of this operation, it was well worth the attempt. 
As soon as my presence at Dresden announced that the mass 
of my forces was opposed to them, the question was changed, 
and the allies ought then to have held themselves in the 
imposing position between Gieshubel and Dippodiswalde. 
This place would have been to me what Taroutina was in 
1812. Placed on my line of operation, they might have 
continually inundated it with partisans, and nothing but a 
decisive battle could have rid me of such troublesome neigh- 
bors. If beaten, the allies could have escaped behind the 
Eger ; if conquerors, they would have driven me back into 
Dresden, where, under such circumstances, my position 
would have been far from secure. I should have been 
obliged to adopt the course which I pursued in October, — 
to file on Leipsic. But the Austrians, who were ignorant 
of my being on the Katzbach, the twenty-first of August, 
did not yet know, on the twenty-fifth, that I had returned 
to Stolpe. In fact they had received only a few hours before 
the dispatches of Blucher, saying that I was hotly pressing 
him near Goldberg. How then was it possible that I could 
be on the Elbe the next day with the same troops ! 

At ten o'clock on the morning of the twenty-fifth the 


allied sovereigns had assembled on the heights of Roeknitz 
before Dresden, to decide upon the disposition of their 
forces. Two divisions of St. Cyr were in advance of the 
city, deployed between the Gros-Garten and the road to 
Dippodiswalde, with their rear supported on the intrenched 
camp. A Russian general proposed to attack, citing in sup- 
port of this opinion our operation against Blucher at Lubeck. 
A vigorous coup-dc-main might have decided the campaign. 
by rendering the allies masters of my base of operations. 

All the allies who had passed through Dresden some 
months before, knew that this old town had been partly dis- 
mantled, and that I had only been able to secure the place 
by field-works. On the supposition that I was still in Silesia, 
there was no reason to hesitate : they must either risk an 
attack, or form in battle-array between Gieshubel and Dip- 
podiswalde. They determined upon the former : the attempt 
could cost nothing, and never was there a project with more 
powerful motives for its adoption. But Schwartzenberg 
wished to wait for the arrival of his Austrians, who were 
marching from Marienberg by horrible roads, instead of 
taking the great road, or at least that which runs directly 
from Sayda to Dresden. He therefore postponed the attack 
till four o'clock P. M. on the twenty-sixth. This was a 
great error, because the hundred thousand Russians and 
Prussians under Barclay were sufficient for a coup-de^main 
against three divisions. Numbers here were of no conse- 
quence, but time was everything. It was not in contending 
with me that they could lose thirty hours with impunity. 

Their singular Dispositions for Attack.— To this mistake 
they added another still greater in their manner of attack. 
The plan prepared by Schwartzenberg fell into my hands 
among the baggage which was captured. It was a chef- 
d'œuvre of its kind ; it ran thus : a general reconnaissance 
will be attempted on the place of Dresden ; the army will 

On. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPA1X OF 1813. 151 

advance in five columns which will endeavor to carry the 
works, and to penetrate into the city ! Can any- 
thing more incoherent be imagined ! lie either wished to 
reconnoitre, or to make an assault ; in the first case, why 
place one hundred and eighty thousand men in mass around 
a place, and make them fight ? If, instead of a simple recon- 
noissance, he designed an assault, why not prescribe the pre- 
cautions and preparations for such an attempt ? Mack 
has been greatly decried, but he never imagined anything 
like this 1 

Project to cut off the Allies at Koenigstein.— As has al-' 
ready been said, I had returned to Stolpe, on the twenty- 
fifth, by a remarkable forced march. My project was at first 
to debouch with one hundred thousand men by Koenigstein 
and Pima on the enemy's rear ; I informed the Duke of 
Bassano of this at Dresden, by the following letter which I 
addressed to him from Goerlitz, on the twenty -fourth of 
August : 

" It is my intention to march to Stolpe. My army will 
be assembled there to-morrow ; I shall pass the twenty-sixth 
there, in making preparations, and in rallying my columns. 
Ou the night of the twenty-sixth, I shall move my columns 
by Koenigstein, and at day-break on the twenty-seventh, I 
will establish myself in the camp of Pirna with one hundred 
thousand men. By seven o'clock in the morning, I will 
commence an attack on Hollendorf, and by noon will ta 
master of the place. I will then put myself in a command- 
ing position on that communication. I will make myself 
master of Pirna, and have pontoons ready to establish two 
bridges at that place, if necessary. If the enemy has taken 
for his line of operation the road from Peterswalde to Dres- 
den, I will be found on his rear with all my army united 
against his, which he cannot rally in less than four or five 
hours. If he has taken his line of operations by the road to 


Komotaw, Dresden will be relieved ; I shall then be in Bo- 
hemia, nearer Prague than the enemy, and will march there. 
Marshal St. Cyr will follow the enemy as soon as he appears 

" 1 will mask my movement by covering the bank of the 
Elbe with thirty thousand cavalry and light artillery, so that 
the enemy, seeing all the shore occupied, will think my army 
about Dresden ! Such is my project. It may, however, be 
modified by the operations of the enemy. I suppose that 
when I shall undertake my attack, Dresden will not be so 
assailed that she can not hold out for twenty-four hours. 

" You may impart to the King of Saxony alone my pro- 
jects, and say to him that if the enemy press Dresden, it may 
be more convenient for him to take a country house on the 
right bank. Send none but very vague news to Paris, giving 
it to be understood that they will hear at the same time my 
victory over the army of Silesia, the capture of Berlin, and 
of other even Is still more important. Write to Erfurth, 
Munich, and Wurtzbourg in cypher. The letter to Wurtz- 
bourg will be imparted to the Duke of Castiglione. Write 
to General Margaron that if he is pressed at Leij>sic, he 
ought to retire on Torgau. See the director of the estafette, 
and have it pass through Leipsic and Torgau. 

" If Marshal St. Cyr has sufficient force to defend Dres- 
den, and should not be pressed, let him send out to meet 
General Yandammc, so that the latter may take position 
with his divisions at Xeustadt, seeing that any retrograde 
movement may be disadvantageous." 

The success of this enterprise would have produced im- 
mense results. I should have cut off the allies' line of re- 
treat ; and, in case of reverse, I could have taken refuge 
under the fort of Koenigstein and the camp of Pirna, where 
I could recross the Elbe in security ; these têtes-de-pemt were 
of incalculable importance to me. But information which I 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 153 

received from St. Cyr made mc fear that a strong attempt 
might be made to carry Dresden, and as the force of the 
enemy was rumored to be two hundred thousand men, I sent 
Gourgaud to reconnoitre St. Cyr's position ; he returned in 
haste, and assured me that the enemy were strong enough to 
carry the city, if they attacked it with vigor. I, therefore, 
concluded my projected manoeuvre would be too adventurous, 
and preferred to march directly on Dresden so as to deboucli 
from there, throwing Vandamme on the decisive point of 
the road to Peterswalde. Under the circumstances I did not 
repent having formed this resolution ; but God alone knows 
what would have been the result, if I had executed the plan 
which I dictated at Stolpe on the twenty-fifth. I could 
have drawn Poniatowski toward me, and have placed one 
hundred and 'thirty thousand men on the only communica- 
tion of the allies ! On the other hand, my troops were 
young and without experience, and I had but few old cavalry. 
The allies had a more numerous force, were better organized, 
and numbered at least forty thousand experienced cavalry. 
Moreover, time was wanting to rally the armies of Mac- 
donald and Oudinot, from which I would have been separa- 
ted, had I been defeated. The last of these two marshals 
had just experienced a check at Gros-Beeren, of little im- 
portance in itself, but calculated to effect the morale of the 
contending forces. All these motives combined to induce me 
to ehange my project, and to march on Dresden the morning 
of the twenty-seventh. 

Battle of Dresden, August 26th and 27th.— I thought 
that at the sight of my columns which descended the Elbe 
and commanded the right of Wittgenstein, the allies would 
renounce their project of attacking the city. The head of 
my columns entered the town at two o'clock, and to my 
great astonishment, at precisely four o'clock, one hundred 
and twenty thousand men assailed the works. I have since 


learned that this assault was made through an inconceivable 
misunderstanding. The Emperor Alexander, learning my 
return from the reports of my cannon, nu\v pronounced it 
ridiculous to make the projected attack ; all agreed in this 
opinion, and Schwartzenberg started to revoke the orders. 
It was now one o'clock, and there was plenty of time to give 
the counter-order. It required no new dispositions, merely 
a verbal direction to the principal officers countermanding 
the attack ; but no direction was given. It is not pretended 
that it was forgotten, but that the objections of Radetzki 
and Languerau prevented its being sent. The responsibility 
of this neglect is to be divided between the generalissimo and 
those who composed his staff. 

The enemy's columns assaulted the works with great im- 
petuosity ; those of Colloredo and Lichtenstein penetrated 
into the city. The Russians and Prussians formed a lodg- 
ment in Gros-Garten and Strieseu ; at the left, Bianchi got 
possession of Lobela and the houses near the gate of Frey- 
berg ; Giulay and Metzko pushed on nearly to Friedrichstadt. 
St. Cyr had taken care to draw in the divisions which had 
been deployed on the twenty-fifth ; so that columns of at- 
tack were ready to debouch as soon as the fire of the in- 
trenchments had staggered the enemy. He was everywhere 
repulsed. Ney debouched at the head of two divisions of 
the Young Guard and drove back the left of the Austrians 
on Lobela ; two other divisions made a sortie by the gate of 
Pinar and repulsed Kleist ; St. Cyr, at the centre, drove back 
Chasteller and Colloredo. During the night I was rejoined 
by the remainder of my troops from Silesia, and now found 
myself at the head of one hundred and ten thousand men, 
independent of the corps of Vandamme ; but the allies had 
one hundred and eighty thousand men besides those against 
Vandamme. Nevertheless, I did not hesitate to attack them ; 
I required a complete victory to clear my communications. 

Ch. XX.] A U T U M N CAMPAIGN OF 181 3 . 155 

On the morning of the twenty-seventh, wc debouched from 
Dresden, while Vandamme took the enemy in reverse by 
Koenigstein. The allied army, drawn up in a semi-circle 
before Dresden, supported its right on the Elbe, its centre on 
the heights of Roekniz ; but its left was paralyzed by being 
placed beyond the defile of Tharandt, which it could not 
cross. Under the pretext of facilitating its junction, 
Schwartzenberg had insisted, against all advice, in placing 
three Austrian divisions beyond this precipice. This exposed 
them without necessity. It is true that it was advantageous 
to seize it ; but Klenau was there already ; there was no 
objection to his remaining at a distance, and it would even 
have been better if he had been left at Freyberg, instead of 
drawing him to Dresden, since the first of these points was 
two days' march nearer my base of operations, and from it 
he could have anticipated me if I had decided to regain the 

In profiting by this error, I accomplished the double object 
of overthrowing their isolated divisions, and opening my own 
communication. I therefore threw the King of Naples 
against them with the cavalry of Latour-Maubourg and the 
corj)s of Belluno. A very warm combat was engaged be- 
tween Lobela and Corbitz. The weather was frightful, tor- 
rents of rain had been falling since midnight ; the few Aus- 
trian cavalry could not resist our cuirassiers ; and the 
infantry, soaked with rain and not being able to fire their 
pieces, were broken at the centre near Corbitz. Giulay hav- 
ing been driven into the defile of Tharandt near Potschapel, 
Murat attacked the three brigades of the extreme right under 
Metzko, which, being isolated, turned, and defeated, laid 
down their arms, after useless efforts to escape. More than 
ten thousand prisoners were the fruit of this brilliant feat of 
arms. In the mean time the left of Belluno established 
itself in the village of Plauen, which constitutes the key of 


the defile of Tharandt, and the only point by which it was 
possible to succor the three comproniitted divisions. 

Marmont and St. Cyr, supporting themselves on the in- 
trenched camp, had limited their operations to cannonading 
the enemy and repelling the charges of the Austrians and 
Prussians ; the latter had made a lodgment in the Gros- 
Garten and rested on the village of Strehlen, which Kleist 
had at first been ordered to evacuate, and which he had 
afterward vainly attempted to recapture. The enormous 
masses of the allies at the centre on the heights of Roeknitz, 
did not allow us to undertake any thing on that point. I, 
however, caused it to be cannonaded by the artillery of the 
guard and that of the Duke of Ragusa. It was here that 
Moreau had his legs carried away by a French ball. This 
general, who had been deemed, by my enemies, capable of 
balancing my fortune, had returned from America to enter 
the Russian service. He soon perceived his error ; for the 
Austrians allowed him no part in the command. He died 
the next day at Laun, worthy perhaps of a better fate.* 

On our left, Ney, having united four divisions of the 
Young Guard between Gros-Garten and the Elbe, debouched 
from Gruna against Wittgenstein. It was now the more 
easy to push on to Reich, as the allies had determined during 
the night to concentrate on the heights of Leubnitz, and to 

* The following remarks are copied from Thiers : 

'■Whilst these events were taking place on the allies' left, a strange accident 
occurred'at the centre, where Napoleon was exchanging a vigorous cannonade 
with the Austrians, and where he himself directed the operations of his bat- 
teries in the very thickest of the fire. At the same time, the emperor was at a 
23oint exactly opposite, at Rackwltz, accompanied by General Moreau, who see- 
ing the danger of his position, advised him to withdraw somewhat further 
back. This advice had barely been given, and was on the very point of being 
executed, when a bullet from the batteries of which Napoleon was personally 
directing the fire, struck the general on his legs, and hurled him and his horse 
to the ground. A strange stroke of fortune, this ! which made the instrument 
of his death, a ball from a French cannon, fired, as it were, by Napoleon's own 

Cit. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. J 57 

abandon the valley of the Elbe so as to fall on our flank it' 
we ventured to engage ourselves there. The Russian general, 
Roth, nevertheless, made a glorious defense of the villages 
of Seidnitz and G-ros-Dobritz, and regained in good order 
the right of Wittgenstein behind Reich. 

In the meantime Kleist, Miloradowitch, the reserve of the 
Grand-duke Constantine, Colloredo, and the reserve of the 
Prince of Hesse-Homburg, had scarcely been engaged. The 
half of their masses accumulated on the centre might have 
attacked Ney hy Strehlen, and have defeated him while ex- 
tended too much to the left so as to form a line parallel to 
the Elbe. The project was approved hy the Emperor Alex- 
ander, and the masses of Kleist and Miloradowitch were 
actually disposed for the purpose of striking this hlow. 
Barclay was at the same time to descend from Leubnitz with 
the reserve and Gortschakof s corps ; but lie failed to give 
the signal for the others to act, and the thing was not at- 
tempted. If the movement had been executed with vigor 
and ensemble, it might have balanced the defeat of Giulay 
on the left. 

The Austrians have only to attribute to their own chiefs 
this bloody defeat. Not satisfied with recommending to 
their left to hold all the space between Plauen and Priesnitz 
even to the Elbe, which was absurd, they attached to it only 
one division of cavalry, while the reserve of the Prince of 
Hesse-Homburg was concentrated on the centre and uselessly 
exposed to the fire of our artillery, from which it suffered as 
great losses as if it had been engaged. The ground here was 
unfavorable for the manoeuvring of cavalry, and the Russian 
and Prussian horse would have been abundantly sufficient 
for the object in view, whereas three divisions of the Austrian 
cuirassiers on the left flank, might have decided the battle 
and saved their infantry. 

The Allies determine to retreat,— It was now five o'clock, 


and beginning to grow dark ; the rain wag increasing, and 
the troops on both sides were drenched. The allies, or rather 
a majority of them, informed at the same time of the disas- 
ter of their left and of the passage of Vandamme at Koe- 
nigstein, were inclined to retreat. The Emperor of Russia 
was not pleased with the plan, and the King of Prussia was 
unwilling to hear it spoken of ; but the Austrians declared 
that they had brought with them only half-supplies for their 
artillery, and had but a few more rounds to fire ; that their 
parks of provisions had been unable to follow them through the 
narrow roads of the mountains ; in a word, that it was neces- 
sary to regain Bohemia in order to prevent the dissolution 
of their army. Notwithstanding the constant opposition of 
the King of Prussia, they decided upon a retreat ; two gen- 
erals charged with drawing up the order of it, soon returned 
with a burlesque disposition for a retreat behind the Eger in 
five columns, each of which had its daily march marked out 
in regular stages as in time of peace and without any refer- 
ence to what might occur to the other columns ! Such com- 
binations excited the ire of the enlightened critics, but time 
was pressing, and if they were to retire that night, not a 
moment was to be lost. The plan was, therefore, assented 
to through disgust rather than conviction. As a chef -oV ouvre 
of absurdity in this disposition, they feared to take, at the 
right, the good road to Pirna, because Vandamme occupied 
it with twenty-five thousand men, although there was no 
river or other obstacle to cross ; Barclay, Kleist, and the 
Russian reserve might have taken this road without any 
great inconvenience. Vandamme, hemmed in between them 
and Ostermann's corps would have been happy to effect his 
own escape. They directed Barclay and Kleist by Dohna 
on G-ieshubel ; Klenau by Freyberg and Marienberg ; the 
Austrians by Altenberg and Zinwald. This ill-planned 
order was still farther aggravated by Barclay, who, fearing 

' 'h. XX.] A U ï U MX C A M P A I G N OF 18 1 3 . 159 

to find the passage barred at Peterswalde or Dohna, threw 
himself with the Russians on the road to Dippodiswalde and 
Altenberg, where they became frightfully jammed in with the 
Austrians. This resolution was the more to be regretted as 
Ostermann, although left alone, succeeded in effecting a pas- 
sage ; and Barclay with fifty thousand men more could have 
found very little difficulty in doing the same thing. 

The enemy lost much of their artillery and thirty thousand 
men hors-dc-combat, including the ten thousand Austrians 
of the left wing who were taken prisoners. The trophies 
gained in the pursuit were scarcely less : we captured in the 
defiles two hundred pieces of artillery and caissons, a thou- 
sand waggons, and a multitude of wounded and stragglers. 
This was one of the most glorious victories I ever gained. 
We were but one to their two, nevertheless the victory was 
not for a moment doubtful at the points where I struck. It 
was the only battle where I operated at the same time on 
both wings; the position of Dresden at the centre enabled 
me to do so without danger. This circumstance was the 
more fortunate for me, as the principal communications of 
the allies were on the wings, and by getting possession of 
these I forced them to retreat in disorder through the defiles 
of the mountains. 

Operations of Yandainmc near Koenigstein. — The same 
day on which we gained these important successes, Van- 
damme, crossing the Elbe at Koenigstein with thirty thou- 
sand men, forced Count Ostermann, who masked this fort 
with the division of the old Russian guards and the corps of 
Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg, to retire, which he did by 
taking the road to Pirna, either because his right was turned 
or because he had been ordered to fall back in that direction. 
On the twenty-eighth of August he was forced, by the retro- 
grade movement of the allies, to take the road to Peters- 
walde. Vandamme, having already turned him, cut the 


road, first at Griesbubel, and then at Hôellendorf. The 
Russian general was compelled to cut his way out, and our 
young soldiers, being obliged to defend too long a line, and 
assailed by veterans of the old guard, were driven back. 
Ostermann bivouacked at Peterswalde where he rallied his 
forces, and the next day defended the ground, foot by foot, 
with exemplary firmness as far as Culm : even one of his 
brigades which bad been cut off succeeded in rejoining him. 
I had foreseen the advantage which was to be derived from 
Vandamme's position iu case we were victorious at Dresden. 
I had ordered him to descend from the mountains, and push 
rapidly on Toeplitz, with the promise of his being sustained. 
If this movement had succeeded, it would have destroyed the 
greater part of the allies who were still engaged in retreat iu 
the defiles of Altenberg. But fortune decided otherwise. 

Disaster of Vandaiume at Culm. — Ostermann and his 
troops also seeing the importance of the point of Toeplitz, 
fought on the twenty-ninth with an intrepidity above all 
praise, and finally succeeded in maintaining themselves be- 
hind Culm, notwithstanding the reiterated efforts of our 
troops. Towards evening they began to receive reënforce- 
ments which restored the equilibrium of the contending 
forces : the Grand-Duke Cmstantine carried there a part of 
the Russian reserve. This first contrariety was followed by 
a circumstance much more deplorable, which caused the 
ruin of Vandamme. No sooner was victory declared in our 
favor in the plains of Colditz and Dresden, than I devised 
the means of profiting by it. The king of Naples and Bel- 
luuo followed the enemy on Sayda ; Ragusa had taken the 
road to Altenberg ; St. Cyr debouched on Dohna, Maxen, 
and Liebenau ; Mortier, with the Young Guard, took the 
road to Pirna ; and, on the morning of the twenty-eighth, I 
started with my head-quarters for that city. I was to leave 
there on the twenty-ninth to follow Vandamme : but a 

CH. XX.] A U T U M X CAMPAIGN OF 1813 1G1 

fatality which seemed to attach itself to all my enterprises, 
did not permit me to complete the movement. Having been 
exposed for fifteen hours on the twenty-seventh to a violent 
rain, I was seized the next day during my march to Pirna 
with so violent a fever as to compel me to return abruptly to 
Dresden. I had the project of joining the army of Oudinot 
with fifty thousand men, and taking possession of Berlin ; 
this motive caused me to renounce the movement on Bohe- 
mia. I, at first, had reason to applaud this resolution ; for, 
on returning to Dresden, I heard of Macdonald's bloody de- 
feat on the Katzbach. The reënforcements intended to sus- 
tain Yandamme were then stopt at Pirna : but unfortunately 
he was not informed of this. Berthier probably neglected to 
take the proper means to communicate the information to 
him, The circumstances have never been explained.* 

The allies descended with one hundred thousand men into 
the valley on the morning of the thirtieth, convinced that 
their safety depended upon the overthrow of Yandamme. A 
man less audacious would not have waited the attack, but 
would have effected his escape during the night or at break 
of day. But expecting my arrival he resolved to maintain 
his position. Although turned on the right and left, and 
assailed in front, he still refused to retreat, it being an- 
nounced that a column was finally seen debouching on the 
mountains towards Hollendorf. But the joy caused by this 
news was of short duration ; it was soon found that this 
column, instead of being one of mine, was the Prussian 
corps of Kleist, which the Emperor Alexander had ordered 
to descend on the flank of the French towards Kraupen, and 

* Jomini, in a long note, contradicts the assertion of Fain that Yandamme 
descended from the mountains without orders. It appears that this order 
was given, and that Napoleon at first made his dispositions to sustain him ; 
but when his illness forced him to return to Dresden, ho either forgot to 
give counter-directions to Vandamme, or Berthier neglected to send the 

VOL. IV. — 11. 


which had taken the main road, instead of the path by the 
old castle, then encumbered with equipages. The cavalry 
of Vandamme threw itself on the first troops of Kleist and 
cut their way through : twelve thousand infantry had the 
good fortune to follow them, and to regain the army through 
the woods. All the others, and Yandamme himself, being 
surrounded, fought with desperation, but were taken in arms. 
This combat cost us at least fifteen thousand men and sixty 
pieces of artillery. 

This defeat, so unexpected, was a double misfortune, for 
it might be imputed to a manifest forgetfulness of the prin- 
ciples of war. These principles required a hot pursuit of a 
beaten and broken army. On this depended the success of 
the war ; all else was only accessory. If I had left Pirna to 
succor Macdonald, the resolution would have been excusable; 
but I did not then know of his defeat. If I had returned to 
Dresden for no other object than to prepare to march on 
Berlin, it would undoubtedly have been one of the gravest 
faults of my life. It is true that the consequences would 
have been less serious if Berthier had recalled Vandamme. 
Although this accident was not the result of my own in- 
tended dispositions, nevertheless, it not only prevented me 
from profiting by my victory, but also became the first cause 
of the defeat of my lieutenant.* 

* The following is Thiers' account of this battle : 

'• Such was the unfortunate affair at Culm, which cost us five or six thou- 
sand meu killed or wounded, seven thousand prisoners, forty-eight pieces of 
cannon, and two generals, and which, whilst costing the allies some six 
thousand men, relieved them from their position of defeat, reinspired them 
with the hope of victory, and effaced from their minds the remembrance of 
the disasters they had suffered on the twenty-sixth and twenty -seventh of 

" Where can we look for the cause of this singular catastrophe ? Shall we 
attribute it to Yandamme, saying that he ventured too much ? Or to Mortier 
and St. Cyr, complaining that they failed to afford him timely succor? or to 
Napoleon, on the ground that he trusted too much to the favorable progress 

in. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 18 13. 1G3 

Oudinot defeated at Gross-Beeren.— It was the more to 
be regretted as it tended to encourage the allied army at the 
moment of our misfortunes in Silesia and Brandenburg. I 

of affairs ? or shall we rather regard it as the legitimate consequence of the 
military skill displayed by the generals of the allied armies? 

•• The facta above narrated almost of themselves sufficiently answer these 
questions, and account for one of the greatest reverses of fortune of which 
the pages of history retain any record. 

"Vandamme, whose many faults were counterbalanced by many fino qual- 
ities, is certainly not blâmable for the unfortunate results of these days; for if, 
after having wisely established himself at Culm, it was General Kleist instead 
of Marshal Mortier who appeared in his rear, this was an extraordinary acci- 
dent, to hold him responsible for which would be a crying injustice. During 
the catastrophe which followed, Vandamme preserved all his presence of mind, 
and took the only resolution which offered a chance of escape, namely, that of 
retracing his steps, and passing through the midst of the Prussian troops. 

" He is not fairly open to reproach, and the supposition that he lost himself, 
in a too eager pursuit of that marshal's baton which, far more than others, he 
deserve I for military services already performed, is a calumny upon a man 
whose misfortunes render him an object for pity rather than blame. 

"If it be admitted, however, that Vandamme is not to bo blamed, having 
been unfortunate only in the fact that a Prussian corps appeared m Ins rear in- 
stead of the French one which he expected, what are we to say of the French 
generals who might havo supported him, and more particularly of Marshals 
Mortier and St. Cyr, the only ones posted within reach of Culm? Marshal 
Morti ir, established at Pirna, liable to be dispatched thence either to Dresden, 
on the one hand, or to Toeplitz on the other, might certainly, had he acted 
with more self-relianco and vigilance, have hastened up to Vandamme's aid ; 
but it was, at the same time, perfectly natural that, in the strict fulfilment of 
the orders he had received, he should await in complete immobility the ex- 
pression of Napoleon's will ; and with respect to the precise order given to him 
to aid Vandamme with two divisions, it is sufficient to state that this order 
did not reach him until the catastrophe had already taken place. 

" It would be well if we could say as much with respect to Marshal St. Cyr ; 
but the fact is that, that directed as he was to keep constantly on the track of 
K '>rps, he should never havo lost sight of him for an instant, and had 

he fulfilled this positive duty the necessary result would have been, that 
when Kleist's corps fell upon Vandamme, it would itself have been attacked 
by a French corps in the rear, and would probably have been itself broken and 
routed instead of helping to break and rout the army of Vandamme. 

'■Bat unfortunately Marshal St. Cyr, never zealous for the success of any 
operations but those with the execution of which he was himself directly 
charged, and ever inclined rather to seek difficulties than to seek to overcome 
them, employed the twenty-eighth in moving to Maxen, and on the following 
day, the twenty-ninth, only advanced to Reinhard's Grimme, thus making a 
movement of no more than a league and a half on the very day when it was 


have already said that Oudinot was left to fight at Gross- 
Beeren ; this marshal who commanded about sixty-five 
thousand men, had received orders to take the initiative 

important that the enemy should be pursued with the utmost vigor, and 
allowed Kleist to disappear from before him, and fall upon Vandamme's rear, 
whilst he employed himself in inquiring of the staff whether he should not fol- 
low Marmont on the Altenberg route. 

" On the following day, the thirtieth, when he received the order directing 
him to endeavor to effect a junction with Yandamme by the lateral route, he 
at length aroused himself, and by the road which led Kleist upon Vandamme's 
rear, and which should have conducted himself upon Kleist's rear, arrived just 
in time to hear the cannon which announced our disaster. As for Marshal 
Marmont. he pushed the enemy as vigorously as he could, and engaged in 
several skirmishes which resulted to his advantage, but he was too far from 
Vandamme to be able to move up to his support. Posted decidedly on the 
right, he could not attempt to cross the mountains in advance of St. Oyr with- 
out exposing himself to falling alone amidst a crowd of enemies; and the cata- 
strophe is not therefore, to be attributed to any error of his. 

'• With respect to Murat, it is sufficient to say that it was impossible that he 
should have had any share in the deplorable event, which took place at Culm, 
since he and his squadrons were traversing at the time the great Freyburg 

"Of the persons who may be considered the responsible actors in this 
catastrophe, it remains, finally, to speak of Xapoleon himself, who, by sedu- 
lously following his lieutenants, might have made them converge towards a 
common point, and by his presence would certainly have obtained what he 
hoped and expected. But he was turned aside, on the twenty-eighth, from this 
duty, by the news which reached him from the neighborhood of Lowenberg 
and Berlin, and also, it must be added, by the confidence he felt that the 
orders he had given were of themselves sufficient to secure the results he 
desired. Ever recurring to past experiences, Xapoleon believed that he 
had done sufficient to render him certain of obtaining the most splendid 

"But unfortunately times were changed, and to have accomplished the 
destruction of the grand army of Bohemia would have required, at least, Xapo- 
leon's incessant superintendence of the execution of his designs. But now. 
distracted as he was by the passionate desire of obtaining all results at once, 
Berlin and Dantzic were as much means of leading him into error as Moscow 
had been during the previous year. Indeed, that he might strike a serious 
blow at Prussia and Germany, at Berlin, and be able to boast that his power 
extended from the Gulf of Tarentum to the Vistula, he had entertained the 
idea from the very commencement of this campaign of sending one of his corps 
to the Prussian capital, and keeping a garrison at Dantzic ; and for the sake of 
these objects he had. as we have seen, allowed an error to creep into the finely 
conceived plan he had formed for the conduct of the campaign, giving an ex- 
cessive extent to the circle of operations, the central point of which was to be 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 165 

against Bernadotte, to seek to beat him, and get possession 
of Berlin. In order to second him in this enterprise General 
Gerard had organized a flying corps of the best troops from 

at Dresden, placing Macdonald at Lowenberg, instead of at Bautzen, and 
sending Oudinot against Berlin instead of establishing him at Wittenberg. 
And as the same cause continued to produce the same effects, he was anxious, 
on learning the misfortune which had happened to Macdonald, to succor him 
as soon as possible ; and being also anxious to lead in person Oudinot's army 
to Berlin, he turned from Pirna and Culm, where he ought to have been with 
his guard, and neglected to achieve victories, the consequences of which would 
have been of the utmost advantage to him, for the purpose of running after 
others, and thus exposed himself to the danger of losing everything from an 
over-anxiety to obtain everything at once. 

"But for this catastrophe at Culm alone must he be blamed, for in the de- 
tails of the several manoeuvres he had committed no fault. And at the same 
time it must be observed that the actual results were but little due to the 
merits of his enemies ; a sentiment of despair rather than calculation having 
led them to carry into execution a combination which had the most unexpected 
and important consequences, and which was certainly due, not to the skill of 
the Emperor Alexander, to whom its merit has been attributed, but to the 
determination of the Prussian troops either to cut their way out of their 
perilous position or perish in the attempt. 

" "We must look, then, not so much to the military skill of the allies, al- 
though they were far from being deficient in this, as to the passionate spirit of 
patriotism which inspired them, and which rendered them comparatively indif- 
ferent to defeat, for the cause of their seizing with such promptitude the op- 
portunity offered them at Culm. 

" Another important moral lesson to be drawn from these great events is, 
that care should ever be taken not to drive men to despair, since to do this is 
to endow them with a supernatural strength which may enable them to over- 
throw the best calculations, and to frustrate the plans of the most consummate 
skill. The allies who, when they abandoned the battle-field of Dresden, re- 
garded themselves as completely vanquished, and sadly questioned whether, in 
attempting to vanquish Napoleon, they had not undertaken an enterprise 
against destiny itself, suddenly, at the spectacle of the defeat and capture of 
Vandamme, regarded themselves as being once more in an excellent posi- 
tion, and believed that the balance of fortune between themselves and Napo- 
leon was at least in equilibrium. 

" It is true that the two days' fighting at Dresden, and the pursuit during 
the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth, had cost them in killed, wounded, or 
prisoners, some forty thousand men, whilst the defeat of Vandamme had, at 
the most, cost us no more than twelve thousand. 

" But, nevertheless, the result was that a feeling of confidence had re-entered 
their hearts, and they resolved to close with Napoleon at every opportunity, 
and leave him not a moment in repose. For the allies, not to be vanquished 
was almost to be victorious ; whilst for Napoleon, on the contrary, to have 


the garrisons of Magdebourg and Wittenberg. He was to 
debouch from the first of these places with six thousand men 
under General Lanusse, to act, in concert with Dornbrowski's 
division from Wittenberg, on the right flank of the allies. 
Davoust on his side had received orders to ascend the Elbe 
and the Havel. This union ^f one hundred thousand men 
in the environs of Berlin seemed well calculated to secure to 
us immense results, both in a military and political point of 
view. I supposed that Bernadotte had but eighty thousand 
men, including Walmoden's corps,, which was opposed to 
Davoust towards Hamburg. There remained, therefore, 
according to my calculation, only about fifty thousand com- 
batants with Bernadotte ; and Oudinot, superior in numbers, 
had only to gain one battle to accomplish his task. Unfor- 
tunately the enemy was much stronger than we supposed. 
Oudinot, after making some detachments of flankers and 
escorts, advanced with sixty thousand men on Trebbin and 
Berlin. Bernadotte, after making a feint of manoeuvring 
against his left flank, took the position of Kuhlsdorf with 
ninety thousand men (of which twenty thousand were good 
cavalry), without counting the light corps of Generals Hirsch- 
feld near Brandenburg, and that of Wobeser near Baruth. 
The left of the army under Tauenzien, was supported 
on the lake of Rangsdorf ; the centre under Bulow, held 
the road to Berlin ; the Bussians and Swedes were on the 

On the twenty-second of August, Oudinot passed the 
defile of Thyrow, after a warm combat against the advanced 
guard of Bulow. On the twenty-third, our army advanced 
in three columns ; Bertrand and the fourth corps at the right 
on Johnsdorf ; Beynier, with the Saxons, at the centre, by 

failed to annihilate his adversaries was to have done nothing-. On such 
extreme and almost impossible conditions had he based bis hopes, of 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 167 

the great road ; Oudinot and the twelfth corps, by the road 
to Trebbin on Ahrensdorf. It would be difficult to say what 
the marshal intended by thus engaging his forces on ground 
cut up by woods and marshes, and without a single cross- 
road by which he could unite his columns ; he himself 
marching in rear of his left ? No preparations were made 
for a battle, and undoubtedly Oudinot did not expect one. 
Bertrand, at six o'clock in the morning, first encountered 
near Blankenfelde the corps of Tauenzien, who made a good 
defense of the debouch from the woods by means of that 
village. The combat was an obstinate one, and without 
result. It was already terminated when Key nier, at three 
o'clock in the afternoon, attacked, near Gross- Beeren, the 
advanced guard of Bulow which he dislodged. He was pre- 
paring to establish his bivouacs there, without thinking of 
the possibility of an attack, when Bulow fell upon him at 
the head of thirty-five thousand Prussians with one hundred 
pieces of artillery. Notwitstanding all that could be done by 
the Saxons and Durutte's division, they were forced to yield 
to so great a superiority ; they effected their escape by favor 
of the w 7 oods, with the loss of three thousand men hors-de- 
combat. At the sound of the cannon, Generals Guilleminot 
and Fournier, who formed the head of the column of the 
twelfth corps, marched in all haste toward Neu-Beeren ; they 
arrived at nightfall in time to j)rotect the retreat, but too 
late to reestablish the battle. The cavalry of General Four- 
nier, in deploying at the left of this hamlet, was charged in 
flank by the enemy whom they had hardly perceived. A 
part of our squadrons, driving before them the Prussian 
platoons, advanced into the \Asan in sight of Hennersdorf 
when the enemy pursued them and drove them back more 
rapidly than they had advanced ; they were very fortunate 
in effecting their escape. 

Oudinot, on arriving at Wittskof, learned the defeat of his 


centre and ordered a retreat on Wittenberg. Bernadotte 
committed the fault of allowing him to quietly take up his 
position, when his own vast superiority in number, and his 
formidable cavalry, gave him an opportunity to seriously cut 
him up during his retreat. 

The first consequence of this check was the loss of Gerard's 
division which made a sortie from Magdebourg, and, while 
advancing alone in the midst of an army of one hundred 
thousand men, fell a certain prey to the enemy. General 
Hirschfeld, with the Cossacks of Czermischef, attacked him 
in front of Belzig, and forced him to retire again into Mag- 
debourg with a loss of one thousand two hundred prisoners ; 
it was fortunate that his whole command was not taken. 
Gerard himself was seriously wounded. 

Although these two checks were unfortunate, there was 
nothing in them alarming ; their worst result was to en- 
courage the newly levied Prussian militia. But to the faults 
committed in the battle, Oudinot added that of falling back 
on Wittenberg and thus increased his distance from Luckau 
and Bautzen, which was the only suitable direction for act- 
ing in concert with me. I, therefore, sent Marshal Ney to 
take command of this army, informing him that I would 
immediately follow him at the head of my guard, two corps- 
d' armée, and my reserve of cavalry. I hoped, by means of 
these powerful reënforcements, to push Bernadotte hard, and 
to get possession of Berlin, which would have produced a 
powerful influence on the public opinion of Germany and of 
all Europe. As I hoped that Macdonald would, on his side, 
push Blucher on Breslau, my two secondary armies would 
thus find themselves in a good situation, my base would be 
enlarged, and I might return to strike a mortal blow at the 
grand allied army in Bohemia. But the sad disaster to my 
army in Silesia three days after, decided it otherwise. 

Macdonald's Disaster at the Katzbach.— Itwillberemem- 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 169 

bered that I gave minute instructions to Macdonald on leav- 
ing Loewenberg. He was to profit by our joint superiority 
over Blucher, but it was recommended to him to allow the 
latter to come to him, then to take the initiative and fall on 
Blucher with all his corps united on a single point. Instead 
of waiting for the Prussian general to manifest his projects, 
Macdonald imagined, from false reports which he had re- 
ceived, that he had only to present himself to induce the 
enemy to retreat, and to gather the laurels of victory. He 
was severely punished for his excess of confidence. As the 
first of a series of unfortunate events, I had ordered Ney to 
follow me to Dresden, and the marshal, supposing that he 
was to march with the third corps, had conducted it to 
Bunzlau ; but learning here that I only wanted him per- 
sonally and not his troops, he sent them back to the Katz- 
bach, fatigued and worn out by this long and harassing 
march. Macdonald, still persuaded that he had only to ad- 
vance to make Blucher fly before him, ordered, for the 
twenty-sixth of August, the passage of the Katzbach and 
the Wuthcnde-Neisse, then directed his three corps-d'armée 
in five columns from Schoenau to Liegnitz, on a front of 
from eight to ten leagues ; — a strange manner of applying 
the principles which I had marked out for him in my instruc- 
tions ! In vain did Sebastiani represent to him the impru- 
dence of engaging himself in the coupe-gorge of Grain, with- 
out first reconnoitering the enemy, who was reported to be 
concentrated on the opposite plateau. The marshal obstin- 
ately persisted in believing that Blucher was in full retreat 
on Breslau ; Lauriston directed, by his order, one division by 
Schoenau in the mountains, while the other two moved to 
the right against Langeron toward Hennesdorf. Macdonald 
himself advanced toward the mouth of the Wuthende-Neisse, 
and debouched on Weinberg at the head of the eleventh 
corps, while that of Sebastiani was to arrive by Crain on the 


same point. Souham, on the contrary, had instructions to 
direct himself on the left by Liegnitz at the distance of three 
leagues, to pass the Katzbach and fall on the enemy's right ; 
a movement too extended, and which was to deprive him, 
during the whole battle, of the cooperation of that corps ; it 
was the more to be regretted as there was an excellent ford 
at Schmoechwitz, very near the field of battle. 

By a new fatality, Blucher, who had broken his line in 
order to cross the river and resume the offensive, now learned, 
on reaching the heights of Trebelwitz and Betzhof, that our 
troops were making the passage ; his columns were already 
formed for an attack ; from the plateau of Weinberg he dis- 
covered all that passed in our ranks and counted our bat- 
talions and squadrons as they debouched. In order to «en- 
gage them to better advantage, he directed the advanced 
guard of York which formed his centre, to fall back. Thus 
every circumstance corresponded with the nature of the 
ground and combined to secure to Blucher immense advan- 
tages. As soon as the favorable moment had arrived, the 
signal was given. Hardly had the columns of the eleventh 
corps crowned the heights between Janowitz and Weinberg, 
and the light cavalry of Sebastiani formed toward Eichholz, 
when the enemy fell upon them from every direction. Our 
right rested on the deep ravine of the Neisse, but the left 
was without support ; it was here that the Russians directed 
their efforts. Their cavalry under Wassiltschekof, assails 
and turns ours between Kleintintz and Eichholz. Sacken 
debouches from this last village with his infantry. The 
Prussians under York, who have drawn us forward, now face 
about and fall upon our line, which is soon driven back upon 
the deep ravine intended to cover its right. Our cavalry, 
attacked by superior numbers, falls back on the infantry or 
disperses to the left ; all are now driven pell-mell into the 
gulf of the Wuthende-Neisse, a dangerous torrent which, in 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 171 

time of flood, becomes, as its name indicates, truly furious.* 
The disorder is so great that Sebastiani, not being able to 
regain Kroitsch where he has left his cuirassiers, descends this 
torrent to its junction with the Katzbach where the remount 
of his squadrons are saved as if by miracle. To increase 
the evil, Souham, hearing the cannonade, renounces his 
march on Liegnitz and falls back with the third corps on 
Kroitsch, too soon for the combat. The cuirassiers, which 
Sebastiani has left there in reserve, in ascending to the plateau 
encumber the passage which is now completely obstructed by 
the flying soldiers and the trains. On any other ground, 
this concentric manoeuvre of Souham would have repaired 
everything, but in such a gulf it only tended to increase 
the confusion. Every effort to ascend this steep hill, crowned 
as it is by a superior and victorious enemy, proves disastrous. 
General Tarayre proposes to conduct two divisions by 
Schmoechwitz to attack the enemy in flank ; they cross the 
Katzbach at night-fall ; but Sacken and Wassiltschekof, 
having already rid themselves of Macdonald, march to meet 
them and drive them back to the left bank ; this tardy move- 
ment only serves to compromise them. 

During this horrible mêlée Lauriston fights, with doubtful 
success, the corps of Langeron about the village of Henners- 
dorf ; the enemy, superior in numbers, is near making him 
experience the same fate as the centre ; for, in addition to 
his inferiority, Lauriston is deprived of one of his divisions 
by extending it too far in the mountains toward Schoenau. 
For us the decisive point of battle was at Hennersdorf ; here 
the ground rose in an insensible glacis to the plateau of 
Weinberg. If Macdonald, faithful to my instructions, had 
directed the cavalry of Sebastiani and the eleventh corps to 
sustain Lauriston, and had left Souham the care of debouch- 

* Wuthende, signifies furious. 


ing by Nieder-Crain or Schrnoechwitz, the battle would pro- 
bably have been won by bringing two-thirds of our force 
upon the decisive point. Blucher, cut off from Bohemia, 
would have been driven back on Breslau. 

Every thing seemed to conspire against us in this unfor- 
tunate battle. The flood-gates of the heavens seemed 
opened, and it rained in perfect torrents, flooding the streams 
which flow from the mountains of Riesengebirg. The Neisse 
carried away all its bridges, and the affluents of the Bober so 
increased that stream as to render it a formidable obstacle. 
Macdonald, being forced to hasten his retreat, now saw that all 
the elements had combined to render it disastrous. Lauriston 
had difficulty in reaching Goldberg, hotly pursued by the corps 
of Langeron. He did not even venture to remain in this 
city long enough to rally the division of Puthod, which he 
had left compromitted in the mountains. The floods had 
only spared the bridge of Benzlow on the Bober ; it was 
necessary to reach this in all haste, abandoning to the con- 
queror eighty pieces of artillery, the baggage, and several 
thousand prisoners. To increase our misfortune, Puthod's 
division, which had taken the right slope of the mountains, 
now found itself so engaged that it had not time to reach the 
main body, and the bridges in their rear were carried away 
by the flood. Not being able to pass at Hirschberg they 
descended again opposite Loewenberg, but were no more for- 
tunate here. These delays enabled Langeron to surround 
them with twenty-five thousand men. They now saw no 
means of safety but in cutting a passage, sword in hand, on 
Bunzlau ; but being soon surrounded on the heights of Plag- 
witz and forced back upon the torrent, they laid down their 
arms, after losing a large number killed in the battle or 
drowned in attempting to cross the Bober, which can ordin- 
arily be passed without difficulty. 

Macdonald returned behind the Queiss after having lost 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 173 

twenty thousand men, the half of his artillery and a large 
part of his train. His troops, greatly discouraged and inca- 
pable of resistance, called loudly for reënforcements and for 
my presence to avenge their defeat. The marshal himself, 
not knowing what to do, begged that I would come in person 
to his assistance. I had hoped that he would hold out for 
some days at Goerlitz ; but on the third of September, I 
learned that he had fallen back on Bautzen in frightful 

Napoleon marches to Macdonald's Assistance.— It was, 
therefore, necessary that I should renounce going to sustain 
Ney against Berlin, and hasten to Macdonald's assistance. 
On the third of September, I left Dresden with the corps 
which I had brought with me from Silesia, and the next day 
I joined, at Hochkirch, the army of Macdonald, who was 
preparing to continue the retreat on Bautzen. I faced it 
about and immediately made it advance ; but Blucher had 
the prudence to avoid an engagement and repassed the Neisse 
and the Queiss. I did not deem it proper to pursue him ; as 
I stilL intended to march to the north in order to assist Ney. 
I, therefore, contented myself with restoring order and 
courage to Macdonald's army, and reënforcing it with the 
corps of Poniatowski, which was in observation in the en- 
virons of Zittau. I directed Marmont's corps on Hoyers- 
werda, and, on the sixth, returned in person to Dresden. 
The advanced guards of the grand allied army had crossed 
the mountains and now threatened to march on Pirna and 
Dresden. I deemed it necessary, in preference to everything 
else, to profit by the present occasion to wash out the affront 
of Culm and to bring down the presumption of that army. 
The sixty thousand men which I had left on the left of the 
Elbe being united in the camp of Dohna, I rejoined them 
there on the eighth, with my guards. The enemy fought in 
retreat ; we pursued him to the mountains and occupied 


their summits. But, on the other side, Blucher had resumed 
the offensive and advanced to Bautzen, and Ney had suffered 
a bloody defeat at Dennewitz. 

Key's Defeat at Dennewitz.— It is an inconvenience inher- 
ent to vast theatres of war, that the general-in-chief can not 
be present every where ; my lieutenants, very good under 
my own eyes, were wanting in judgment and self-confidence 
when left to themselves. I experienced a sad proof of this 
during the present campaign ; all those whom I placed at 
the head of our secondary armies, proved themselves unequal 
to their command. 

On the second of September, my instructions to Ney from 
Dresden were as follows : " We have just received news of 
the Duke of Reggio, who has deemed it proper to place him- 
self beyond Wittenberg. The result of this untimely move- 
ment is that the corps of General Tauenzien and a strong 
body of Cossacks have gone in the direction of Luckau and 
Bautzen, and threaten the communications of the Duke of 
of Tarentum. It is truly difficult for any one to have less 
head than the Duke of Reggio. 

" All here are in motion for Hoyerswerda, where the em- 
peror will have his head-quarters on the fourth. It is neces- 
sary for you to march on the fourth, to be at Baruth on the 
sixth. The emperor will have, on the sixth, a corps at 
Luckau to form a junction. At Baruth you will be only 
three days' march from Berlin. Your communication with 
the emperor will be established, and the attack of Berlin 
may take place on the ninth or tenth. All this cloud of 
Cossacks and this mass of poor infantry of the landwehr 
will fall back on Berlin from every direction, as soon as your 
march becomes decided. You will see the necessity of ma- 
noeuvring rapidly in order to profit by the disorder of the 
grand army in Bohemia, which may otherwise make some 
movements when it learns the departure of the emperor. 

Ch. XX.] AUTU M N C A M PAKiN OF 1813. 175 

" The Duke of Reggio did not know how to attack the 
enemy ; and he had the simplicity to expose one of his corps 
separately. If he had attacked the enemy properly he would 
have been every where victorious. 

" Give us positive information of your march." 
These instructions are perhaps a little too absolute, and 
less wise than those given to Macdonald : it is, however, al- 
ways understood that an order addressed to a commanding 
general of an army at a distance is to be taken in its spirit, 
and not literally ; it must bo subordinate to the position of 
the enemy. The slight advantage which the allies had gained 
over Oudinot confirmed my opinion of their inferiority, and 
induced me to believe that the defeat of the seventh corps at 
Gross-Beeren resulted from neglecting the rules of war. I 
also attached too little importance to the Kussian militia, 
for I did not know their numbers. I had directed Ney to 
advance on Baruth, and this marshal, proud of our recent 
victory at Dresden, did not take suitable precautions to avoid 
a battle, or at least to be prepared for it. As I intended to 
sustain him in marching by Grossenhain on Luckau with 
fifty thousand men, in order to turn the army of Bornadotte, 
and throw it on the Elbe and Magdebourg, it was essential 
for Ney to base himself by Dahme on Torgau, without 
troubling himself about the road to Wittenberg. After 
having driven back the advanced guard of Tauenzien at 
Zahne and Seyda, he directed himself on Juterbogk. The 
fourth corps at the left advanced to Naundorf, the seventh 
at the centre to Tolmsdorf, the twelfth at the right to 

They were to break their line on the sixth at eight o'clock 
in the morning to pass Juterbogk. From the dispositions 
of Ney it would be impossible to imagine the object which 
he proposed to attain. He himself marched with the fourth 
corps by Dennewitz, where he arrived at ten o'clock in the 


morning, and encountered the corps of Tauenzien. Reynier, 
with the centre, advanced by the road to Rohrbeck ; Oudinot 
and the twelfth corps had orders to march on Oehna, and 
wait till the seventh had filed past. Ney pretends that he 
wished to refuse his left ; but there is nothing in his disposi- 
tions to indicate this, for he made it his turning and acting 
wing. He ought to have known that Bernadotte was on the 
great road from Wittenberg to Berlin by Potsdam, and that 
in this movement he would expose his left flank : no 
measures, however, were taken to prepare for an attack in 
that direction. If Ney was ignorant of the enemy's posi- 
tion, it was an inexcusable fault, for he had occupied it 
ever since the combat of Gross-Beeren, that is, for the last 
twelve days. 

The marshal, debouching at ten o'clock from Dennewitz, 
engaged the fifteen thousand Prussians of Tauenzien : the 
fourth corps succeeded in getting possession of the first 
heights in rear of the wind-mill ; but Tauenzien having been 
ree'nforced by the left of Bulow, Morand's division was 
turned, and the corps forced to refuse its left in order to 
pivot on Rohrbeck. Reynier, leaving later than he ought, 
finally arrived at Dennewitz ; they could think no longer of 
the disposition of the morning, but were obliged to sustain 
the left of the fourth corps, threatened as it was by a superior 
enemy. It was now noon, and the twelfth corps had not 
even reached Oehna. The allied army, profiting by the in- 
formation of the night before, made a natural movement to 
close up to the left; Bulow, placed with thirty-eight thousand 
Prussians near Kaltenborn, advanced to the assistance of 
Tauenzien as soon as he heard the sound of the cannon. 
Bernadotte, placed at Rabenstein, a distance of eight leagues, 
with seventy battalions and eighty squadrons of Russians 
and Swedes, united them first at Lobessen, and then ad- 
vanced in second line towards Eckmonsdorf and Talichau ; 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 177 

he arrived there at three o'clock. It has been shown that 
Ney defiled with the fourth corps before the front of the 
Prussian army without knowing it, or suspecting the threaten- 
ing storm that was about to fall on his left flank. Reynier 
was to carry, in all haste, Durutte's division in the direction 
of Nieder-Gersdorf to support Morand's division ; as the 
enemy showed himself in force towards Gehlsdorf, the Saxons 
were obliged to form a crochet in order to face in that direc- 
tion. General Thuinen assailed Durutte's division at Gers- 
dorf ; Bulow turned upon the Saxons, and a serious contest 
took place on this point. 

Oudinot, at the head of the twelfth corps, which was then 
marching towards Oehna at our extreme right, received or- 
ders to approach Dennewitz. Hearing the violent cannonade 
in the direction of Gehlsdorf, he marched towards that point. 
The enemy had already driven the Saxons from that village, 
when Guilleminot's division fortunately debouched, and 
restored our affairs. These two corps now vigorously re- 
pelled the attack of Bulow, and recaptured Gehlsdorf ; the 
victory was doubtful, and, although Bernadotte had not yet 
engaged his Russians and Swedes, it might still be decided 
in our favor, or at least remain undecided. But Durutte's 
division, assailed at Nieder-Gersdorf by thirteen thousand 
Prussians of Bulow's corps, was driven back beyond Denne- 
witz, notwithstanding the most obstinate resistance. Ney, 
threatened by this attack on his left at the same time that 
Tauenzien forced Morand at the wind-mil], now drew back 
the fourth corps towards Rohrbeck. Durutte's retreat leav- 
ing the centre unsupported, and Bertrand exposed beyond 
the marshy ravine of Agerbach, Ney, who had not failed to 
perceive the danger of this state of things, reiterated his 
order to Oudinot to come and second him between Denne- 
witz and Rohrbeck. This movement, if it had been punc- 
tually executed, would have accelerated his destruction ; for 
vol. iv. — 12. 


at the moment when he was stripping his left of its means 
of defense, Bernadotte was advancing at the head of forty- 
thousand Russians and Swedes to assist Bulow on the same 
ground which Oudinot was ordered to leave. Guilleminot's 
left was threatened at the same instant by BorsteFs brigade 
and four thousand horse, which turned the army hy See- 
hausen. The Saxons, being left exposed to the blows of 
Bulow, were broken in their turn and driven back on Oehna. 
Guilleminot's division, being forced to engage itself, required 
support, and all the tenth corps thus entered into action 
without being able to reach its destination. The Prussians, 
who had driven back Durutte, now passed the stream be- 
tween Dennewitz and Rohrbeck, and thus completed the 
defeat of the centre, at the same time that the cavalry pressed 
in the left. Ney vainly attempted to reestablish his affairs 
by throwing the cavalry of Arrighi in the gap left by the 
enemy. Clouds of dust, driven by the wind into our faces, 
prevented us from making any dispositions, and for a time 
completely concealed the enemy from our view ; besides, the 
allies had superior squadrons to oppose to his centre, and 
more than four thousand horse turned his right. As Oudi- 
not found it impossible to assist the fourth corps, all the 
points were forced to yield. Key could now do no better 
than to take the road to Dahme ; Oudinot took the road to 
Schweidnitz and Annabourg ; a part of the seventh corps 
accompanied the twelfth, and the remainder took the road 
to Hertzberg. 

Here, as at Gross-Beeren, Bulow deserved all the honor of 
the victory. The only thing done by Bernadotte was to draw 
up a pompous bulletin complimenting those who, like him- 
self, had been idle spectators of the event. 

Remarks on this Battle.— The causes of this defeat have 
been much discussed ; each one attributed them to others, 
whereas all were in some measure involved. Ney was here 

Cir. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 179 

attacked while on the march, and when he least expected it ; 
as was the case with Oudinot at Gross-Beeren. His right 
wing fought on the left and his left wing on the right — dis- 
positions which plainly prove that the battle was entirely 
unexpected. There is a merit in gaining an unexpected bat- 
tle ; but here nothing was done to accomplish that result. 
Every thing goes to show that Ney mistook the secondary 
for the principal, in attaching himself exclusively to Tauen- 
zien's corps which covered Juterbogk. His own report, in- 
stead of throwing light on his combinations, renders them 
still more incomprehensible ; he wished, he said, to refuse 
his left, and yet he inarched at its head and made it his 
advanced guard. He wished to manoeuvre ; and yet every 
thing indicates that he knew nothing of the enemy's posi- 
tions. Ney's intellect shone only in the midst of a battle, 
when the balls were flying round him ; there, his coup-d'œil, 
his coolness, and his vigor, were incomparable ; but he was 
unable to combine his operations in the silence of the cabinet, 
while studying his maps. At the time when armies were 
encamped in each other's presence, Ney would have been the 
greatest fighting general of his age, for he could then always 
see his enemy before him ; but in our times, when complica- 
ted movements are prepared in the cabinet, he was liable to 
fail, and he gave a sad proof of this at Dennewitz. The 
'instructions which I gave him were not the best I must con- 
fess, but then he was on the spot and should have remedied 
any defects. His army returned in frightful disorder under 
the guns of Torgau ; it had lost fifteen thousand men killed, 
wounded, prisoners and stragglers. This defeat was a fit 
companion to that of the Katzbach. 

To defend the glory of this valiant warrior, some have 
pretended that Oudinot and Beynier did not obey him with 
zeal and the necessary punctuality. It is true that there was 
delay and a want of unity in the movements ; but his orders 


were far from clear. Oudinot arrived too late, because lie 
had been directed to wait till the seventh corps had filed past 
him. Admitting that he had arrived sooner, it proves noth- 
ing, for if Ney had beaten Tauenzien at Dennewitz, still the 
left would have been none the less exposed to all the efforts 
of Bulow and the Eusso- Swedish corps. When Gruilleminot 
was engaged at Gehlsdorf, Key sent reiterated orders to 
Oudinot to fly to the support of Bertrand ; if he had liter- 
ally obeyed these orders, there would have been no doubt of 
the cause of the defeat, for the decisive point of the action 
was precisely that from which Ney called the twelfth corps. 
This order was one of the most unfortunate circumstances 
of the day, and, joined to the want of unity in the attacks 
made between ten and two o'clock, caused the loss of a battle 
which could only have been gained by well-combined manoeu- 
vres, and a concert of action in their execution. It has been 
insinuated that the Saxons failed in their duty ; it is true 
that their disorder was complete ; but without the assistance 
of the twelfth corps, how was it possible for them to hold 
out against at least fifteen thousand men in the first line and 
as many more in the second ? The circumstance which 
compelled me to suspend my march on Luckau was certainly 
very unfortunate ; but it had no influence whatever on Ney's 
reverses. I had immediately sent an officer to inform him 
of it, on the evening of the third, promising, nevertheless, 
that I would come to join him as soon as I could get rid of 
Blucher. Even if he had not received this message in time, 
it would have made no difference ; for I could not have 
reached Dahme till the seventh, and he would, nevertheless, 
have been beaten on the sixth, from the very nature of the 
dispositions which he made. 

Remarks on Napoleon's Plan of Campaign.— I have des- 
cribed at considerable length these three disasters of Gross- 
Beeren, the Katzbach, and Dennewitz, because they had a 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 181 

notable influence on the results of the campaign. These 
multiplied checks have induced some to doubt the wisdom 
of my plan and the solidity of the principles on •which it 
was based. Nothing is more unjust. If I had had troops 
more warlike and more accustomed to the fatigues of a cam- 
paign, and a greater number of good cavalry, I should have 
succeeded. A plan based on the alternate employment of a 
superior mass on the decisive point, requires that the second- 
ary armies which remain on the defensive should be so or- 
ganized as to fight in retreat and prevent the enemy from 
cutting them up ; but to do this requires good cavalry, espe- 
cially if your infantry is inexperienced. To judge whether 
the system of central lines is defective, it is important to 
establish a parity of means, that is to know what I could 
have done between the Elbe and the Katzbach with the 
veteran armies and the eighty thousand horses of the allies. 

I do not deny, however, that the system of central lines 
may be more advantageous with one hundred thousand men 
against three corps of thirty-three thousand each, than with 
a mass of four hundred thousand against three armies of 
one hundred and thirty thousand each. In the first place, 
it is so difficult to subsist a large force when concentrated in 
a narrow space ; then again it is easier to manœuvre against 
fractions of thirty thousand men, and to give them mortal 
blows, than it is against one hundred and thirty thousand 
combatants. The greater the masses the more the efforts of 
genius are subjected to the caprice of accident, and the 
greater the reaction of secondary events. Nevertheless, in 
this case it was not the system that failed, but the measures 
for its execution. Could I anticipate that Macdonald would 
expose himself to so sanguinary a reverse, by acting contrary 
to my instructions ? It would perhaps have been better if 
I had caused him to retire behind the Queiss, till after the 
result of the battle of Dresden. The same may be remarked 


of the operations of Oudinot and Ney against Bernadotte. 
I had no reason to anticipate their disasters. It, however, 
would have been better, if, while striking on the decisive 
point with the troops under my own command, I had merely- 
placed my secondary armies in observation on the defensive. 
If I deviated from these maxims it was with the hope of 
diminishing the unfavorable chances which resulted from my 
inferiority in numbers, by everywhere taking the initiative ; 
and the ill-success of the campaign probably resulted from 
an excess of confidence in the application of a rule so incon- 
testable. The result would have been different if I could 
have been everywhere myself, for I could easily have remedied, 
by good manoeuvres, any local and temporary inferiority. 
Frederic triumphed at Leuthen against triple numbers ; and 
why could not Macdonald, at the Katzbach, with eighty 
thousand men, have contended with ninety-five thousand ? 
In fact, what was mainly wanting to me in this campaign 
was two good lieutenants, who understood strategic war : I 
was certain of nothing where I could not be in person. If I 
ever had reason to feel the faulty system of my staff organiza- 
tion, it was in these memorable operations. I, of course, 
could not expect of my lieutenants all that I myself could 
have done : that was impossible. Arbiter of the reputations 
of my officers as a great captain, and master of their fortunes 
as a sovereign, I held in my hands the two most powerful 
motives which influence the actions of men ; as soon as I 
appeared on any point, confidence, enthusiasm, ambition, 
fear, — all the passions were united around me, and I acted 
on my subordinates, making them perform prodigies. My 
lieutenants, on the contrary, everywhere encountered rival- 
ries and distrust ; with equal talent, they, therefore, could 
not have equaled me in their operations ; and, for a still 
stronger reason, when the disparity of character and genius 
was greater than that of the means of action. Nevertheless, 


if the commanders of my secondary armies had understood 
strategic wax, the campaign would certainly have taken a 
very different turn. Their faults rendered my position more 
critical every day. My armies were visibly melting away. I 
foresaw the time when it would be impossible to any longer 
sustain my defensive position. My marches on the Elbe, 
fatiguing as they were to our troops, produced no result, 
except to favor our enemies who were interested in tem- 
porizing, inasmuch as they were expecting considerable re- 
enforcements. General Benningsen, who had organized at 
Warsaw an army of sixty thousand Russians, was rapidly 
approaching the theatre of war. 

Demonstrations on Bohemia.— Under these circumstances 
it was necessary to change the line of operations, drawing 
myself from the centre in order to operate on the extreme 
left of the allies ; but the theatre of war, admirably suited for 
my first system, became more advantageous to my enemies 
as soon as I left the Elbe to approach the Saale. It only 
remained for me to try the offensive, at least to attempt to 
impose on the enemy. The vanguard of the grand army of 
the allies had again passed the mountains, and debouched 
in the plain of Pirna ; I marched, against it with forty thou- 
sand men. On the fifteenth of September we reoccupied 
Peterswalde, and the next day we dislodged the enemy from 
Hollendorf. On the seventeenth I made a feint of descend- 
ing into the valley of Toeplitz ; but my advanced guard, 
which had marched on Culm, being assailed in front and 
flank by forces infinitely superior, was driven back with con- 
siderable loss. Seeing that the enemy was prepared to 
receive us, I renounced my enterprise, and returned on 

Third Attempt against Blneher,— Not being able to do 
anything against the grand army, I hoped to take my revenge 
on Blucher, whom I knew to be weakened by a large body 


detached on Camentz. On the twenty-second I repaired to 
the army of Macdonald, and pushed it forward on Bautzen. 
After having crossed the forest of Goedau, we found our- 
selves, on the twenty-third of September, in the presence of 
Blucher's army, which occupied the position of Bautzen, 
while the corps which had been directed on Camentz, being 
now on its return, threatened our left and our communica- 
tions with Dresden. A battle under such circumstances and 
against superior forces might produce the most disagreeable 
results. Being obliged to renounce all offensive projects, I 
felt the necessity of contracting the circle of my defense. I 
returned with the army of Macdonald into the position of 
Weissig, within two leagues of Dresden. 

New Plans of the Allies. — While I was thus seeking to 
find an opportunity to strike some important blow, the 
sovereigns and the grand army remained at Toeplitz, waiting 
the arrival of Benningsen who had now crossed the Oder. 
Those who understood military operations, and appreciated 
the geographical jjosition of Bohemia, advised that this new 
army be left to cover Silesia, and that Blucher should file 
by his left on Bohemia, so as to join the grand army, and, 
supporting his right wing near Koenigstein, debouch again 
on my communications with three hundred thousand men. 
The sovereigns approved this plan, and the order was issued. 
But Blucher was unwilling to act under Schwartzenberg, 
and preferred remaining on the opposite side to unite with 
Barnadotte. His pretext was that if the latter should be 
left alone before Berlin, that capital would be compromised ; 
he thought it better to send Benningsen into Bohemia. 
This arrangement amounted to about the same thing; it 
was of little consequence whether Blucher or Benningsen was 
sent into Bohemia ; the essential thing was to reënforce the 
decisive point against Dresden. The sovereigns approved 
this movement, leaving an open field for the ardor of Blucher, 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 185 

his staff and his army. From this time forward all the 
chances of the campaign turned against me ; I had no op- 
portunities to apply my system of war, for there was no 
longer any proportion between our means. 

They assume the Offensive.— Benningsen arrived at Toep- 
litz near the end of September. The allies were merely 
waiting for his arrival to assume the offensive. Blucher 
filed by his right and marched by Elsterwerda and Hirtz- 
berg on Elster where they passed the Elbe the thirtieth of 
October, after having defeated General Bertrand, who, with 
eighteen thousand men, opposed the irruption of the allies on 
the left of the river. In the mean time the Prince Royal of 
Sweden (Bernadotte) also crossed the Elbe at Acken and 
Roslau ; and the grand army of the allies, which Benning- 
sen had replaced in the valley of Toeplitz debouched by 
Sebastiansberg on Chemnitz. 

Napoleon marches against Blucher and Bernadotte. — It 
was now evidently the intention of the allies to establish 
themselves in mass on my rear in order to cut off my retreat. 
My only chance was to throw myself between their armies 
and endeavor to fight them in detail. I first resolved to 
march against Blucher. As I still hoped to preserve the line 
of the Elbe I left St. Cyr at Dresden with twenty-seven 
thousand men, and detached the King of Naples to Frey- 
burg with fifty thousand ; these two corps were to hold the 
enemy in check on the side toward Bohemia. With the 
remainder of my forces I marched on Eilenbourg, where, on 
the ninth, I rallied Ney's army, which increased my force to 
one hundred and twenty-five thousand combatants.* I sup- 

* Napoleon's army had at this time received a new organization in conse- 
quence of the losses sustained by several of his corps. The twelfth corps, 
(Oudinot) had been incorporated with the fourth. The third, (Ney's old corps, 
afterward Souham's) had been reduced to three divisions ; Albert's division had 
reenforced MacdonakTs corps (the eleventh) after the battle of the Katzbach, 
and Marchand's division had reënforced Reynier's corps (the seventh) after the 
disaster of Dennewitz. 


posed Blucber at Duben, and the Prince of Sweden at Zoer- 
big ; I learned too late that Sacken, who was at Mockrena, 
bad been separated from the army of Silesia. Had I known 
this in time I would have pursued and destroyed him. But 
be again joined Blucber by a rapid march, which did him 
great credit. All my attention was turned in (he direction 
of Dessau and Duben ; if I had gained a decisive battle by 
destroying the bridge of Eoslau and seizing that of Wurtem- 
bonrg, I would have destroyed that army. The first condi- 
tion of success was that Murât should be ready to join me 
without allowing himself to be cut up by the enemy. I 
recommended to the Prince of Neufchatel, at four o'clock 
P. M., of the tenth of October, to communicate to him my 
project, addressing to the former the following instructions : 
" You will write to the King of Naples that I have received 
bis letter ; that I have raised the blockade of Wittenberg ; 
that I have separated Sacken's corps from the corps of Lan- 
gcron and York ; that I have ordered the Duke of Padua to 
send every thing that can embarrass his movements to Eulen- 
bourg and to Wittenberg ; that the Duke of Castiglione is 
at Lutzen or Leipsic this evening ; that the Duke of Padua, 
having got rid of all that he can send away, will have at least 
fifteen thousand men, which, united with the Duke of Cas- 
tiglione, will be to the king a reënforcement of thirty thou- 
sand ; that one of the two following events will happen ; 
that I will attack the enemy to-morrow and beat him ; or 
that, if he retires, I will burn his bridges, by marching on 
the right bank. Therefore the King of Naples ought to ma- 
nœuvre to preserve Leipsic, and give me time to fight the army 
of Silesia ; but if he is obliged to leave Leipsic he ought to 
direct every thing on the Mulde ; that the bridges of Eulen- 
bourg and Duben are guarded ; that my instruction in this 
case is to pass to the right of the Elbe and manoeuvre 
between Magdebourg and Dresden, debouching by one of my 

Cil. XX.] A U I U M N CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 187 

four places to surprise the enemy. The King of Naples 
ought to manœuvre accordingly, etc." 

It was important that St. Cyr should ho informed at Dres- 
den of the new direction which I intended giving to my oper- 
ations. Berthier received orders to write to him in cypher, 
" that I was at Wittenberg, of which place I had raised the 
blockade ; that the army of Silesia was retreating in all 
directions, on the left hank ; that to-morrow I should oblige 
him to give battle, or to lose the bridges of Dessau and 
War ten burg ; that perhaps I should then decide to pass to 
the right bank with all my army ; that it was by the right 
bank that I should move on Dresden." 

I founded great hopes on the success of this plan, which 
might improve our affairs. I, in consequence, ordered Ney 
to push one corps from Wittenberg on both sides of the Elbe 
to Roslau, and another from Duben in the direction of Des- 
sau, in the hopes of beating the enemy at the moment that 
I carried the bridge. But Blucher, being informed of his 
danger, agreed with Bernadette to renounce his line of oper- 
ations, to throw himself behind the Saale, and filed rapidly 
to the right on Zoerbig where the two armies effected a junc- 
tion. On the eleventh, they combined their flank movement 
by the right and gained Halle, where they passed to the left 
bank of the Saale. This timely movement destroyed the 
finest opportunity that I had during the campaign ; my best 
combined projects failed ; my star was falling. 

Project of nianœuTring ou the Rigîit of the Elbe.— See- 
ing my operation fail from unforeseen accidents, I now formed 
one of the boldest projects of my whole life. Blucher and 
Bernadotte having escaped me, it was probable that the 
grand allied army would extend itself to the left to connect 
with them. By remaining between these masses, I no longer 
had sufficient space for operating, nor the means for striking 
decisive blows. I should run the risk of a sanguinary reverse ; 


on the contrary, the places of the Elbe and the Oder would 
permit me to make myself master of the country which the 
allies had left to throw themselves into Saxony. I would be 
established between the Elbe and the Oder, while they would 
concentrate in the plains of Leipsic. I would get possession 
of Berlin, and destroy the corps which they had left before 
Magdebourg, Torgau, Dresden, Glogau, Custrin and Stettin. 
Having no more bridges on the Elbe, they could do nothing 
against me, except by a forced passage of the river. I would 
make Prussia support the weight of the war, and thus pro- 
long the contest. 

The strategic theatre of the war on which we were now to 
decide the destinies of Europe was nearly a square : the 
Elbe and the Oder formed two sides of which I was master. 
The Baltic which corresponds to the third side, was alike an 
obstacle to both ; by manoeuvring so as to get possession of 
the fourth side, I would place the enemy between two lines 
of fortifications, the sea, and my army ; I would have no 
further need of secondary armies : a single victory like that 
of Dresden would be sufficient to annihilate the enemy ; and 
at the head of two hundred and fifty thousand men I felt 
certain of gaining it. 

This plan appeared too adventurous to my marshals, who 
desired to fall back behind the Rhine ; they, therefore, 
pressed me to renounce it. I hesitated all the day of the 
twenty-second. I confess that this plan required more ex- 
perienced soldiers than those which I then had, and above 
all more cavalry. I required abundant supplies for my gar- 
risons, and it was important to have allies in Westphalia 
and Bavaria, upon whom I could depend. If Germany had 
been as well disposed towards me as Poland, the chances of 
success would have been more favorable. But with five 
hundred thousand allies between me and the Rhine, and 
Germany insurgent, the chances were complicated. 1 might, 


however, have opened a road on the left of the Elbe, or if 
the allies pursued me on Berlin, I might rally on me the 
garrisons of the fortifications, and throw myself into Bohe- 
mia. With my old soldiers of Areola, of Rivoli, and of 
Austerlitz, I should not have hesitated to adopt this plan. 
But now my situation was different. As an emperor I 
feared to undertake what as a general I should have unhesi- 
tatingly adopted. 

The Defection of Bavaria renders it impracticable. — 
The news of the defection of Bavaria, which we received the 
same day, contributed not a little to shake my resolution. 
Since the commencement of the campaign this country had 
been acted upon by the suggestions of the Tugendbund and 
Austria. The king was sincerely attached to France, in 
whose service he had passed a part of his youth ; he was full 
of loyalty and gratitude for what I had done for him ; but 
he was too good-natured, and too easily influenced. A 
strong party pretended that Bavaria had lost in independence 
what she had gained in territory, and that the elector was 
more a king in 1804, than Maximilian Joseph, first sovereign 
of the Confederation of the Rhine. They painted me to him 
as insatiable of blood and power. They offered, on the one 
side, to guarantee to Bavaria the preservation of her terri- 
tory, and the establishment of her independence, if she would 
pronounce against me ; on the other hand, they threatened 
her with invasion and the partition of her territory, if 
she took up arms against the coalition. Wrede, the ambi- 
tious "Wrede, permitted himself to be seduced by this party, 
and soon became its principal leader. The presence of 
Augereau's little army towards Wurtzbourg, my first success, 
and the openly manifested sentiments of the king, had, for a 
time, imposed on che partisans of Austria. Maximilian had 
not left me ignorant of the intrigues of this party in his 
kingdom, nor of his own desire to remain faithful ; and after 


what he had written to the Prince of N.eufchatel in July, I 
could not anticipate the possibility of his disaffection. His 
letter was dated Nymphenbourg, July 26th, 1813 ; it runs 
as follows : 

" I profit, my dear Prince, by M. de Fonteville to inform 
you of my return ; I received yesterday, by two different con- 
veyances, the news that seven thousand Austrians have arrived 
at Elferdingen ; that they are fortifying themselves ; that 
twenty-five thousand men are to arrive at Lintz ; and that 
in all there will be seventy thousand men between Wels and 
my frontiers. I immediately sent one of my aids-de-camp 
to learn exactly the state of things. As soon as I receive 
his report I will send it to you by an estafette. This ought, 
however, to show you how much I need troops to guard my 
frontiers, and to prevent in time of war the Tyrolese and the 
Voralberg from penetrating to the heart of my states , . . . 
I have not yet seen M. de Fonteville ; I expect him here in 
half an hour. I will give him all the information he may 
desire. My attachment for the Emperor and for the cause 
of France has never varied for an instant. You may, 
therefore, be certain that I will do all in my power to satisfy 
the desires of his imperial majesty. I only ask that he will 
not lose sight of the interests of my kingdom, and that ho 
will come to my assistance in case of a war with Austria. 
However great the efforts "which I may make, it will not be 
possible for me alone to resist for a long time, if the enemy 
attempt, with a corps of sixty thousand men, the passage of 
the Inn, I not being able to count on the Tyrol. Wrede is 
indefatigable. His corps-d' armée does wonders. I expect 
to review them in a few days ; would that it were twice as 
strong ! .... Be so kind as to present my homage to the 
Emperor : tell him that I am more attached to him than 
ever, and that if I do not make great efforts, it is because 
the moral and physical means are wanting. Old Bavaria is 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 191 

sound ; also the circle of the upper Danube ; a part of the 
circle of the Hier, the country of Anspach, and the greater 
part of Salzbourg. The Tyrol and the Bamberg, where 
there are many members of the old noblesse, Passau and 
Bayreuth, are partly unsound. It might be well that they 
should leave, and that I should countenance their departure. 
The entire loss of trade, and the wants that are the natural 
result of Avar, are the causes of this state of feeling. You 
see, my dear friend, that I have nothing to conceal from you, 
I am sure you will not abuse my confidence. I have just 
been in Baden, and have crossed Wurtemberg ; the general 
cry is peace. If it is made, all will be well, and I promise 
that in less than two years the general feeling will become 
as favorable as can be desired, and that it will remain so. I 
am long and prosy, my dear nephew ; but it is a month 
since I wrote to you. Adieu, I embrace you. 

"Max. Joseph." 

The defeats of the Katzbach and Dennewitz had forced 
me to call Augereau's corps into Saxony, and it was impos- 
sible fur the king and his minister, Montgelas, to resist the 
torrent ; the leaders of the party carried their point even in 
opposition to the wishes of the king. A treaty of alliance 
was signed with Austria at Ried, and Bavaria acceded to the 
coalition. As the loss of so necessary an ally greatly dimin- 
ished my chances of success, I renounced my project of 
manoeuvring between the Elbe and the Oder, the success of 
which depended upon my being able to throw myself in mass 
by Magdebourg on Westphalia, or by Dresden into Bohemia, 
basing myself on Bavaria. Having no longer this alternative 
left, it would have been absurd to lead a French army be- 
tween the Elbe and the Oder, leaving in its rear an army 
already double its numbers, and which the defection of Ba- 


varia would infallibly increase by all the population to the 

March on Leipsic— After renouncing this project it was 
dangerous to remain at Duben, and I was soon recalled in the 
direction of Leipsic, which place the grand army of the allies 
was approaching, notwithstanding the efforts of Murat to 
retard its march. In operating against Blucher I had hoped 
to conceal my movements for some days so as to have time 
to defeat and drive him into the Elbe and then return upon 
the grand army. If this army itself had not had the inten- 
tion of taking the offensive my calculation would have been 
crowned with success ; unfortunately, the allies, being 
stronger than I supposed, had resolved to debouch into 
Saxony even before knowing what course I intended to pur- 
sue. This incident and Blucher's march on Halle, deranged 
every thing. The advanced guards of the allies had already 
reached Borna and Pegau. I saw that all the forces of the 
allies were to unite on my rear. But it gave me no uneasi- 
ness ; I hoped that the movement of Reynier on Roslau, 
and of Ney on Dessau, inspiring Bernadotte and Blucher 
with serious fears for Berlin, would decide them to return in 
all haste by Balbi on the right bank of the Elbe, which 
would have again separated them from the grand army. In 
fact the news of these movements alarmed the Prince of 
Sweden, who, on the thirteenth, fell back to Coethen ; but 
Blucher held firm at Halle, and did not leave that place till 
he moved on Leipsic, after hearing of my return toward that 
city. It must be said in favor of the Prussians and Russians 
that they manoeuvred well during this autumn campaign. 
The country people and the Cossacks informed them of all 
my movements, and they acted with promptitude. 

The grand allied army was now nearly under the walls of 
Leipsic. It was very important for me not to be anticipated 
in my movements on this centre of all the communications 

Cil. XX.J AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1 S 1 3 . 193 

of the country. I resolved to unite all my forces ; knowing 
that some decisive blows were to be given here, I neglected no 
means of augmenting my strength by drawing in my detach- 
ments. I had already drawn to Leipsic fifteen thousand men 
of the little army assembled under the orders of Augereau at 
Wurtzbourg ; they arrived there on the thirteenth of October, 
with a division of dragoons from Spain. In the present state 
of affairs, I could have desired to draw my troops from Dres- 
den and Hambourg, for I felt that if I was not victorious, 
their loss would be inevitable, unless St. Cyr and Davoust 
should get timely notice and be skillful enough to effect their 
junction with Lemarrois and Narbonne, so as, in concert, to 
open a passage. I sent them orders to that effect, but they 
were intercepted. 

The Allies concentrate about Leipsic. — I left Duben on 
the fourteenth, and arrived at Leipsic on the fifteenth ; it 
was well that I did so ; for Murât, n >t being able to contend 
against such a mass, had fallen back in good order on Leip- 
sic ; but he had terminated this honorable retreat by a grave 
fault. He was in position on the twelfth, in rear of the 
defile of Magdeborn (the Gozelbach), the right toward Cros- 
tewitz and the left at Stormthal. He there received my let- 
ter from Duben which informed him of the change in my 
plan of operations and of my immediate return to Leipsic. 
He assured me that he would hold Lt ipsic and a position in 
advance till the fourteenth, and threw up some intrench- 
ments to cover the position which he occupied. Marmont had 
received orders to join him and ought to have been at Leipsic 
on the thirteenth. Murat was still further reënforced by Au- 
gereau's two divisions and some fine cavalry. He thus had 
with him five corps-d'armée and a numerous cavalry. Never- 
theless, fearing to compromise so considerable a part of my 
army in a general engagement, and being full of the idea 
that I would first strike at the north of Leipsic against the 
vol. iv. — 13. 


combined armies, lie suddenly determined to cross the Partha 
and to hold Leipsic only as a tête-de-pont ; the order which 
I had already sent to Marmont to turn back and observe the 
road to Halle at Spenditz, confirmed the King of Naples in 
this idea. His retreat was already begun on the thirteenth, 
when one of my officers informed him that I would be at 
Leipsic the next day ; he arrested his movement near Liebert- 
Wolkowitz, after having yielded to the allies the important 
defiles of Groebern and Goehren ; a circumstance which pro- 
duced the most vexatious consequences. 

Menaced on the fourteenth by the allies, Murat felt the 
necessity of repairing his fault. Encouraged still further by 
the information that I would arrive in the course of the day, 
he made a vigorous stand at Liebert-Wolkowitz, and threw 
himself between Wachau and Magdeborn on the numerous 
cavalry of Barclay who was closely pressing him. Our dra- 
goons, who had just returned from Spain, burning to distin- 
guish themselves, performed wonders. Notwithstanding the 
talents and bravery of Pahlen, and the charges of a part of 
the Eussian reserves, we Avere on the point of gaining the 
victory, when a charge of Prussian cuirassiers on our scat- 
tered and harassed soldiers restored the combat in the enemy's 

It being urgent to scatter the tempest which was gather- 
ing against us from all points of the horizon, I had accelera- 
ted, as much as was in my power, the return of the force 
engaged between Duben and Dessau. It would have been 
advantageous to give battle on the fifteenth ; but the thing 
was physically impossible ; the mass of my forces were still 
too far off. Bertrand and the Young Guard arrived in the 
night of the fourteenth, toward Euterisch ; Macdonald 
passed Duben ; Souham, with the third corps, did not arrive 
till midnight ; he was obliged the next day to take the road 
to Eulenbourg in order to avoid the blocking up of the road. 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1313. 195 

Seeing here that the bridge was burned, he ascended the 
Mulde to find a passage, and on the night of the fifteenth, 
only reached Rothenhalm on the road to Leipsic. Key- 
nier'fl corps which had descended the Elbe to Roslau, at- 
tempted to reestablish the batteau-bridge of Bernadotte, so 
as to return directly, but the difficulty and slowness of the 
operation forced him to fall back on Wittenberg which re- 
tarded him by two days' march. All these incidents forced 
me to defer my attack till the sixteenth. 

The sovereigns, on their side, being informed of my return 
to Leipsic, and fearing that I might overthrow Blucher, de- 
termined to attack me the same day. Proud of their success 
on the fourteenth, they deemed it advisable not to wait the 
arrival of Benningsen and Colloredo who could not enter the 
line before the seventeenth, for fear that I might have leisure 
in the interval to strike at the army of Silesia. It was, 
therefore, resolved to attack me on the sixteenth, not so 
much with the hope of gaining a decisive victory as to gain 
time for the arrival of all the forces of the coalition on the 
field of battle where was to be decided the fate of the civil- 
ized world. 

Singular Project ©f Schwartzenberg.— Schwartzenberg at 
first had the singular idea of throwing his reserve and the 
mass of his army into the cul-de-sac between the Pleisse and 
the Elster, from which he could debouch only by a narrow 
bridge in the middle of my army ; while, the right, under the 
orders of Barclay, composed of the corps of Kleist, Witt- 
genstein, and Klenau, would advance between Liebert- 
Wolkowitz, and the Pleisse. If this arrangement had been 
followed the total defeat of the grand allied army would 
have been certain. But the Emperor Alexander, after hav- 
ing vainly demonstrated to Schwartzenberg the foolishness 
of his project, positively declared that his troops and those 
of the King of Prussia should remain on the right of the 


Pleisse. Thus the grenadiers, the guards, and the reserves, 
— thirty-five thousand men of the elite, were retained at the 
decisive point by the firmness of the Emperor Alexander. 
The Austrian generalissimo persisted, on his side, in carrying 
his own forces into the cul-de-sac of Connewitz. Griulay's 
corps was still detached by Zwenkau to turn Leipsic and get 
possession of the great road to Lindenau. This position of 
the allies was too extended ; Blucher and Bernadette being 
then at Halle, it would perhaps have been better for the 
grand army to direct itself on Zeitz, so as to establish two 
hundred and fifty thousand men on my communications. 
Benningsen should have been directed from Coldiz on Alten- 
bourg, to cover the road to Bohemia during this movement. 
Nevertheless, it is just to agree, that, as the march of Blu- 
cher and Bernadotte on the Saale was not the consequence of 
a plan concerted with the sovereigns, and as the latter had 
at Altenbourg only a vague notion of what the two armies 
of the north were doing, they could not form any plan of 
operations on such data. It was, therefore, natural that 
they should adopt the plan of marching directly against me, 
at the same time seeking to trouble my line of retreat. For 
this purpose it was agreed that the grand army of Bohemia 
should advance on Leipsic by the right bank of the Pleisse, 
carrying on my communications only the force necessary to 
get possession of the defiles and arrest the heads of my 
columns in retreat. Griulay's corps was sufficient for this ; 
but it would have been well to give it three or four thousand 
more horse, for the allies had plenty of cavalry. The re- 
mainder of the allied troops should then have followed the 
main army, throwing only a light division into the space 
between Botha and Zwenkau, in order to keep up the com- 
municaîion with Giulay ; to place forty thousand men in 
this funnel was a ridiculous idea. 
First Day of Leipsic, October 16th.— I did not at first per- 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813 197 

ceive the exact bearing of the allies' movement ; but I felt 
that whatever course they might take, a vigorous effort on 
Wachau could alone gain me the victory. I had given to 
Ney the command of all the forces north of Leipsic, i. e., the 
corps of Bertrand, Marmont, Souham. There was every 
reason to suppose that Blucher, filing from Halle by his 
right, would come to attack us by the road to Mersebourg, 
in order the better to connect himself with the grand army. 
Nevertheless it was possible that he would carry his right on. 
Leipsic by Skeuditz, and it, therefore, became necessary for 
me to prepare for either case. My first project had been to 
draw to me two of Ney's corps near Wachau, in order there 
to strike the necessary blow for restoring our affairs ; the 
third corps, arriving from Duben, would relieve Marmont 
toward Moeckern, where he had observed a position very 
favorable for resisting a superior force, and where he had 
thrown up some intrenchments to strengthen it. If this first 
disposition had been executed I should have had forty thou- 
sand more men at Wachau, and the army of Bohemia would 
have been exposed to a defeat the more complete as Schwart- 
zenberg accumulated fault upon fault. But while the allies 
were preparing to attack me only partially, fortune opposed 
me by a series of accidents which deranged all my plans. 

I had expected that the duke of Padua would be suffi- 
cient with seven or eight thousand men for the defense of 
Leipsic : on the approach of Griulay's entire corps, threaten- 
ing the passage of Lindenau (the only one which remained in 
case of retreat), Ney thought he ought to direct Bertrand 
there ; and at six o'clock this general was already in motion 
on Liebert-Wolkwitz. Marmont, on his side, had not yet 
been relieved by the third corps, when, being delayed, as has 
been said, at the passage of the Mulde, he was informed of 
the approach of Blucher's advanced guard. His situation 
was critical : to retire without fiditins would draw the 


enemy on Leipsic, and prevent Marmont from assisting me 
at Wachau. He prepared to hold on between Moeckern and 
Euterisch, so as not to lose Leipsic. Ney, thinking that this 
marshal was already acquainted with the localities, and that 
it would be as well to leave him on this point, resolved to 
replace him towards Wachau by the three divisions of 
the third corps which were to arrive at two o'clock. The 
result of these different contrarieties was that the forty thou- 
sand which I expected to reënforce me in order to assail th> 
army of Bohemia, did not arrive. 

If the victory had been certain, Ney might have thrown 
only one division of Bertrand at Lindenau, and the other on 
the northern faubourg of Leipsic, while Marmont and the 
third corps marched to Wachau ; it is probable that Giulay 
and Blucher would not have been ready to make a serious 
attack on Leipsic on the sixteenth. Reënforced in time by 
Marmont and Souham, I might have turned the right of the 
allies, and have thrown Barclay into the Pleisse, while 
Schwartzenberg so foolishly shut himself up in the cul-de-sac 
of Connewitz ; I would have collected immense trophies,, 
and, pursuing the enemy to Zeitz, I would have opened a 
new line of retreat on Naumbourg, without troubling myself 
about Blucher's temporary occupation of Leipsic. But in 
truth this disposition would only have given me another 
victory, without, however, destroying or disabling my enemy; 
for Blucher and Bernadette united could have followed in 
my rear, while Schwartzeuberg, reënforced by Benningsen 
and Colloredo with sixty thousand men, would still have had 
one hundred and fifty thousand combatants to oppose me. 
I should still have been in the midst of two hundred and 
forty thousand enemies. The parks of my army, united at 
Eulenbourg, as well as Bevnier's corps which was on the 
march to that city, would have been cut off, and forced to 
throw themselves on Torgau. It would be difficult to decide 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1 8 1 3 . 199 

what change in the respective situation of the parties a more 
complete victory at Wachau would have produced. "What 
combinations could affect an enemy who in a single day 
received reinforcements of one hundred thousand men? It 
was the disorganization which such a defeat would have j>ro- 
duced at the head-quarters of Schwartzenberg which alone 
could rescue me, and prove whether the abandonment of 
Leipsic by Marmont had been a prudent measure. In the 
uncertainty of the event, it would have been playing a 
hazardous game. 

The battle began on the sixteenth of October, at nine 
o'clock in the morning, that is, two hours sooner than I 
desired. I had intended to take the initiative, but the enemy 
first attacked us. Klenau on the right debouched in force 
by the woods of the university on Liebert-Wolkwitz and the 
Kohlberg. Wittgenstein moved on Wachau, and Kleist on 
Mark-Kleeberg. This first effort was sustained by Murat's 
forces. Lauriston vigorously defended Liebert-Wolkwitz ; 
Belluno repulsed the enemy's attempts on Wachau ; but 
Poniatowski had to abandon Mark-Kleeberg for a moment 
to the Prussians. I had just arrived from Keudnitz, near 
Liebert-Wolkwitz ; the Young and Old Guards followed me; 
but they had not yet debouched on my right. The move- 
ment of the enemy made it necessary for me to change my 
dispositions. I sent Augereau from my left to the right, to 
sustain Poniatowski. Two divisions of the Young Guard, 
under Mortier, manoeuvred at the left of Lauriston against 
the right of Klenau ; the other two, under Oudinot, marched 
to the support of Belluno at Wachau. A line mass of 
cavalry established itself as a third line in rear of the centre ; 
and my reserve of artillery, placed, along the front, opened 
its fire upon the enemy. A heavy cannonade followed along 
the line, and the combat continued till near noon, with 
varied success. Klenau was repulsed by Mortier and Lau- 


riston. Poniatowski, sustained by Augereau, recaptured 
Mark-Kleeberg. At the centre Oudinot and Belluno drove 
back Wittgenstein on Stoermthal and Gossa. 

In the meantime Schwartzenberg presented himself in 
person with the main body of the Austrians at the defiles of 
Connewitz and Doelitz, where he could not debouch. Lefol's 
division defended the first, and Sémélé's division from Au- 
gereau's corps covered the second. 

Standing on the heights of Meysdorf I was still full of 
hope ; every thing authorized me to expect a decisive victory; 
for Macdonald was finally debouching from Halzhausen, 
while Key informed me from Euterisch, at half past ten 
o'clock, that Marmont was about marching to join me, and 
that even the third corps might follow him if Blucher should 
not appear in force on the road to Halle ; finally, Bertrand's 
corps, which had bivouacked between Euterisch and Leipsic, 
would be sufficient to guard the town, and drive Giulay from 
Lindenau. I immediately make dispositions to act more 
vigorously on the offensive, and to strike a decisive blow. I 
order Latour-Maubourg to carry the positions of the Russian 
corps at the right and left of Gossa, and direct Victor and 
Lauriston to sustain him. The most brilliant success crowns 
this double charge, although Latour-Maubourg lias his leg 
carried away by a ball, and a part of his corps somewhat 
thrown into confusion by this accident. Nevertheless Borde- 
soult's division of cuirassiers supplies its place; they throw 
themselves on the left of Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg, 
carry a battery, charge upon the battalions, overthrow the 
division of light cavalry of the guard which makes a flank- 
movement against them, and push on to the Emperor Alex- 
ander. This prince immediately engages the Cossacks of the 
elite, who served him as an escort. In a moment the batte- 
ries of the reserve of the guard are unmasked, Barclay's 
cavalry hastens to the threatened point, and as the wound 


of Latour-Maubourg prevents him from making suitable 
arrangements for sustaining the charge of our cuirassiers, it 
does not produce the result which I expected : the enemy 
even resumes the offensive on Gossa, and our squadrons re- 
form in rear, at the moment when our infantry is advancing 
to occupy the conquered ground. 

Schwartzenberg, deaf, until ten o'clock, to all the repre- 
sentations of the Kussian officers, had finally become con- 
vinced of the exposed condition of his right and that it was 
necessary to return to its assistance. All the efforts of Mer- 
feldt to debouch from Doelitz having been unsuccessful, the 
prince then decided to return by Baschewitz on the right 
bank of the Pleisse, which, for his own glory, he should 
never have left ; he brought back with him two divisions of 
cuirassiers and two divisions of grenadiers of the Prince of 
Hesse-Hombourg. This resolution, although very tardy, 
had its effect. The divisions of Austrian cuirassiers passed 
the Pleisse at a ford, and debouched from Groebern, at the 
moment when Ivleist was warmly pressed. They fell be- 
tween Augereau's corps and the cavalry, overthrew the lat- 
ter, and pushed on to the Young Guard, at the very moment 
when Latour-Maubourg was effecting so much against the 
guard of the sovereigns on the heights of Gossa. 

This charge of the enemy, which penetrated almost to me, 
gave me some uneasiness ; on the other side the sound of 
cannon was heard at the north of Ljipsic ; Marmont, so far 
from being able to second me, was himself strongly engaged. 
The divisions of Russian grenadiers had just given renewed 
strength to the centre of the allies ; the earth seemed to be 
covered with enemy's battalions, in proportion as we ex- 
tended our horizon. I did not venture to sustain the gap 
between Latour-Maubourg and Belluno with my Old Guard, 
and all the remainder of my forces was already engaged. 
Macdonald was engaged with Klenau whom he had driven 


far enough. The fine cavalry from Spain which sustained 
him had been paralyzed by the wound of General Pajol who 
commanded it. This state of things left me slight hopes of 
gaining a decisive victoiy. The Russians, rallied at Gossa, 
held there with savage obstinacy ; the arrival of the guards 
and Austrian grenadiers who debouched on the right of the 
Pleissc, in returning toward Crostewitz, had changed the 
chances of victory. Our first success was glorious, but it 
had not changed the situation of affairs. It was important 
to obtain other results before the close of the day. This 
motive induced me to attempt toward six o'clock a final 
effort. I was jireparing for a decisive attack on Stoermthal 
and Groebern, when my attention was drawn to the rear 
of my right where the enemy had just passed the Pleissc. 
Schwartzenberg, not wishing to give up his project of passing 
at Doelitz, and thinking that the arrival of the Austrian 
grenadiers at Mark-Kleeberg would facilitate the passage of 
Merfeldt, had directed him to renew his attempts. Five or 
six Austrian battalions, having gained possession of Doe- 
litz, now sought to debouch, followed by the whole corps- 
d'armêe. Sémélé's exhausted division could no longer resist 
them. I threw against them the Old Guard under General 
Curial, the only troops which remained disposable. Ponia- 
towski also sent there his reserve ; in an instant the head of 
Merfeldt's column was surrounded and captured ; he himself 
was made prisoner with: a thousand men ; the remainder 
were driven into the Pleisse. The arrival of Brayer's divi- 
sion of the third corps completed the security of this point. 
However, the concentration of so many forces between Klu- 
berg and the farm of Auenheim enabled the enemy to take 
Oudinot obliquely ; and our centre instead of continuing its 
progress, deemed itself fortunate in maintaining its position 
against the masses which were opposed to it. Night scarcely 
terminated the protracted carnage. 

Cn. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 203 

Our affairs at the north of Leipsic had not been so success- 
ful. Maruaont had just received orders to join me, when 
Blucher, anxious only for a fight, appeared in pursuit and 
forced him into an engagement ; although this prevented him 
from arriving on the point where I expected to decide the 
combat, it would not have been so important if the divisions 
of the third corps, which were to relieve him had arrived in 
time ; they could either have taken his place, or have fought 
at his side. They, however, did not make their appearance, 
till very late, toward Schoenfeld, and Ney, who wished to 
leave the defense of Lindenthal to Marmont, carried the 
third corps to the right and left of Wachau when the battle 
was about terminated. Marmont, left to himself, had too 
strong a party against him. To increase the misfortune, 
Delmas's division, which was returning by the road from 
Duben with the artillery of the third corps, would have been 
compromised if the enemy had known how to profit by his 
superiority. Dombrowski's division which was to hold Wet- 
teritz until his arrival, sustained the efforts of Langeron's 
corps, but could not preserve the village. Fortunately, the 
enemy's patrols mistook Delmas's long column for a consider- 
able corps, and were thus imposed upon. This general arrived 
at Wetteritz in the night, greatly harassed but without any 
important losses. Ney, on being informed of Marmont's 
check and of the danger of Delmas, was obliged to fall back 
in order to favor the retreat of Delmas, as well as that of 
the sixth corps. If the seven divisions of Ney, Marmont, 
and Dombrowski had been united, Blucher would no doubt 
have been beaten ; but as the third corps lost the whole day 
in marches and countermarches, it was impossible for Mar- 
mont's twenty thousand men to contend with sixty thousand. 
His troops, nevertheless, defended with rare valor the village 
of Moeckern, where our soldiers of the marine covered them- 
selves with glory. They were driven back on Eutritsch and 


Gohlis with the loss of twenty pieces of artillery and four 
thousand men hors-de-combat. An additional park of thirty 
pieces was captured in the night bivouac by the Cossacks. 

This check was the more unfortunate for us, as it was 
important to preserve the possession of Taucha on account 
of Reynier's corps, which was returning from Wittenberg by 
Eulenbourg. The fine defense of the sixth corps, and the 
return of the divisions of the third corps during the night, 
enabled us to accomplish this object. 

Napoleon proposes an Armistice, which is refused.— 
It was truly unfortunate for us that we had not gained a 
decisive victory on the sixteenth. Although the last reports 
from St. Cyr made me doubt the near arrival of Benningsen, 
I knew that the Prince of Sweden would soon join Blucher. 
I would then be obliged to evacuate Leipsic, or to fight a 
new battle with all the chances against me. I was well 
aware that the loss of this city would render our position 
very precarious ; with the few men that remained I could 
only hope to defend, foot by foot, the space that separated 
me from the Rhine ; and as the loss of a battle could pro- 
duce no other consequence, I determined to accept it. I, 
however, hesitated whether I should receive it before Leipsic 
or behind the Saale : my bad fortune prevailed. Neverthe- 
less, before coming to blows again, I resolved to attempt to 
open negotiations. On the seventeenth I sent to the allies 
General Merfeldt who had been taken prisoner the day 
before, with proposals for an armistice, and the evacuation 
of all the places of the Vistula, and the Oder ; and even 
those of the Elbe. Under the pretext of referring the matter 
to the emperor of Austria, Schwartzenberg did not reply ; 
and the allies, being reënforced in the evening by more than 
one hundred thousand men, resolved to crush me on the 
morning of the eighteenth. I, however, did not sleep in the 
hope of a favorable answer ; I waited for Eeynier's corps and 


my bead-quarters which were to join me from Eulenbourg 
on the evening of the seventeenth. If I should receive no 
satisfactory answer to Merfeldt's mission during the day, it 
was my intention to draw in my lines towards Leipsic during 
the night so as to retreat on the eighteenth. This delay was 
the more unfortunate as Giulay had just fallen back on 
Zwenkau, and nothing opposed my commencing the re- 
treat on the seventeenth, immediately after the arrival of 

In fact, Sell war tzenberg, like all pusillanimous generals, 
continually went from one extreme to another. Not content 
with being reënforced by two entire armies, he thought to 
draw Giulay into the narrow space between the Pleisse and 
the Elbe, in order to replace there the Austrian troops which 
had been withdrawn on the sixteenth to reënforce the centre 
at Wachau ; this measure, which opened to me the road to 
Erfurt, was without justification ; for after the arrival of a 
reinforcement of one hundred thousand men, it would have 
been much better to reënforce Giulay's corps, which was 
admirably placed for operating on our communications. I 
thus permitted to escape the only occasion which offered for 
effecting a safe retreat. I was influenced by the fear that 
this premature retreat might prevent the conclusion of the 
proposed armistice, and by the good augury for Merfeldt's 
mission which I derived from the absolute calm which 
reigned in the allied army. I was deceived : the allies were 
only waiting for the arrival of all their forces for a general 

The Allies re-enforced by Bernadotte, Benningsen, and 
Collorcdo. — Bernadotte approached by the road to Lands- 
berg ; Benningsen, after leaving twenty thousand men before 
Dresden, marched with forty thousand men by Colditz on 
Leipsic ; finally, Colloredo also rejoined the grand army with 
two Austrian divisions ; all these corps arrived on the even- 


ing of the seventeenth. This gave the allies an additional 
force of near one hundred and twenty thousand men. Seeing 
on the night of the seventeenth and eighteenth, that Mer- 
feldt did not return, I began to feel uneasy, and made pre- 
liminary dispositions for the evacuation of Leipsic ; but the 
material was so considerable, and the defiles so long and 
numerous, that it required twenty-four hours to effect it 
with order in the presence of the enemy. However, as I had, 
at Wagram, in twelve hours in the night, constructed six 
bridges, and deployed an army on the Marchfeld, I hoped to 
succeed here. I, therefore, resolved to maintain a firm 
attitude on the eighteenth, in order to approach Leipsic in 
the evening : but the enemy did not give me time. 

Second Day of Leipsic, October 18th,— The great battle 
which was to decide the fate of Europe took place on the 
eighteenth of October. While still waiting for Merfeldt's 
reply, I was informed of the approach of the enemy's columns 
on all sides. I had but one hundred and fifty thousand men 
to oppose three hundred thousand. To avoid being turned 
I placed my army in a semi-civcular position with the wings 
resting on the Pleisse and the Partha. Bertrand's corps 
remained at the left of the Elster to defend the road to 
Naumbourg. The enemy attacked us on all the points of 
this semi-circle. The first positions of Holzhausen and 
Wachau were disputed only to give time to take a definitive 
position towards Probsthayde and Stoetteritz. Here was 
fought the real battle of the giants. 

This second battle of Leipsic, although the most important 
of the age in its results, offers but little of interest in its 
relation to the military art. Three hundred thousand allies, 
crowded in a semi -circle of three or four leagues, offered no 
weak point ; however much I might manœuvre, I was cer- 
tain to find an impenetrable line, equally strong throughout. 
The battles of Fleurus, Friedland, and Essling are the only 

Cir. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 207 

battles in our lust wars that bear any resemblance to it. In 
all three, it was an army attacked by concentric columns, 
with a river in its rear. In the first, Jourdan was placed 
like myself in a semi-circle, with the Sambre behind him ; 
but he was attacked with equal forces, and Cobourg occupied 
a line of ten leagues with less than eighty thousand men, so 
that it was not difficult to make a successful effort against 
any point of this too extended line. At Friedland the Rus- 
sians, too much concentrated around the city, with the Allé 
behind them, were assailed by my four corps-d' armée in a 
circular and well-sustained line : their front being separated 
by a stream and a lake, enabled me to break their left separ- 
ately, which exposed their right to inevitable destruction. 
But I had none of these favorable chances in the second 
battle of Leipsic. The only hope of victory which remained, 
was in the isolation of Blucher and Bernadotte on the right 
of the Partha, which enabled me to paralyze them the whole 
clay by a weak corps of observation. But even this hope 
was not of long duration. These ninety thousand men, leav- 
ing Sacken's corps to attack the gate of Halle, passed the 
river in the morning between Taucha and Schoenfeld, and 
assailed Key. There was now no means of supplying by 
good combinations my inferiority in numbers and material : 
it had become a butchery with no other object than to await 
the approach of night, in order to commence our retreat. 

Notwithstanding our extreme inferiority in numbers, and 
the defection of the Saxon and Wurtemberg troops, who in 
the middle of the battle turned their arms against us, my 
army sustained itself admirably. I was myself surprised at 
the bravery and devotion of my young soldiers ; a thousand 
pieces of cannon carried death into their ranks without 
breaking them ; yet these were the same soldiers who had 
fought at the Katzbach and Dennewitz ! Why this 
difference ? 


At break of day we begin our movement of concentration, 
at the moment when the enemy's masses are preparing to 
assail us on all sides. Belluno and Lauriston leave Wachau 
to take position, the first to the west of Probsthayde, and 
the second to the left of that village in the direction of 
Stoetteritz. They are followed foot by foot by the enemy, 
who assails their rear-guard, but without cutting it up. 
Poniatowski places himself to their right ; Augereau closes 
the line between Loessnig and Connewitz. Oudinot, with 
two divisions of the Young Guard, serves as a reserve to this 
right wing. I place myself at the centre behind Belluno at 
a quarter of a league from Probsthayde, with Mortier's 
Young Guard, the Old Guard of Curial, and the reserve of 
cavalry. Macdonald, who has yielded Holzhausen to the 
masses of Klenau and Benningsen, draws in the eleventh 
corps and Sebastiani's cavalry from Stoetteritz and Molkan, 
to connect with Lauriston. Ney commanded the left, which 
extended from Paunsdorf to Schoenfeld. Our line formed a 
kind of obtuse angle with the vertex at Probsthayde. 

Blucher, leaving Sacken to assail the faubourg of Leipsic 
on the side of Gohlis and the intrenchments of the gate of 
Halle, attacks Schoenfeld with the Bussian corps of Lan- 
geron and St. Priest. Bernadotte assails Sellerhausen with 
Bulow and the Swedes. General Benningsen attacks Pauns- 
dorf by his right and Zweinaundorf by his left, seconded 
by Klenau's corps. Kleist and Wittgenstein's corps, fol- 
lowed by the reserves, advance from Wachau on Probsthayde. 
The Austrians of Colloredo and Bianchi close the line to the 
Pleisse toward Connewitz. The interval between these two 
rivers was at this time abandoned to a light division ; and 
Giulay receives orders, although too late, to carry himself 
again on Zwenkau so as to threaten the great road to Lutzen. 

The enemy's masses employed a part of the morning in 
taking their positions. Toward noon the engagement 


Ch. XX] AUTUMN C'A MT Al ON OF 1 S 1 ?, . 209 

becomes general ; Colloredo, Bianchi, and the Prince of 
Hesse-Hoinbourg attack our right along the Pleisse. The 
weak divisions of Augereau and Poniatowski heroically 
defend the approaches to Loessnig and Connewitz. At the 
point of } T ielding to an overwhelming superiority, they are 
sustained by Oudinot's two divisions of the Young Guard, 
which restores the combat and enables them to maintain 
themselves with great firmness in these two villages and the 
broken ground that separates them from the Pleisse. At 
the centre the allied sovereigns seem to wish to strike a deci- 
sive blow on the salient point of our line at Probsthayde ; 
on this point the army of Bohemia directs its efforts. Witt- 
genstein and Kleist, sustained by the Russian reserves, throw 
themselves with audacity on this village. Fortunately I had 
foreseen this ; in addition to the corps of Belluno and Lau- 
riston, I had assembled on this point the Old Guard, Mor- 
tier' s Young Guard, and two corps of cavalry under the 
King of Naples. I also brought into line Drouet's artillery 
of reserve. The enemy advanced in very deep columns 
because the space becomes narrower as they apjoroach, and 
there is no room to deploy. The movement is effected with 
such rapidity that only a part of the artillery can follow. 
Prince Augustus of Prussia forms the head of Kleist's 
column : Prince Gortschakof sustains him, and also the rest 
of Wittgenstein's corps. Their first battalions have already 
reached Probsthayde, when the second and third corps charge 
them with vigor and drive them back. Exposed to the fire 
of the sharp-shooters who occupy the gardens and the village, 
and the one hundred pieces of cannon which pour grape into 
their ranks, and menaced by our columns, they halt in the 
space which separates the lines, and reply with a murderous 
cannonade which is continued till dark. Further to the left, 
Kleist and Benningsen concentrate their march on Holzhau- 
sen and Zweinaundorf, from which they afterward debouch 
vol. iv. — 14. 


against the heights of Stoetteritz and Molkau, defended by 
Macdonàld and the cavalry of Sébastian! ; these troops 
maintain themselves in their position with the same success 
as on the right. 

My left wing, under the orders of Ney, was not so for- 
tunate as the centre. Blucher and Bernadotte, having passed 
the Partha at Taucha with ninety thousand men, directed 
themselves on Schoenfeld and Paunsdorf, where they con- 
nected with the corps of Benningsen. This last village was 
occupied by the Saxons under Reynier. Marmont guarded 
the space from there to Schoenfeld ; Souham, with the third 
corps, served as a reserve. Marmont defends with much 
vigor the approaches and the village of Schoenfeld against 
Langeron. Reynier, menaced by Bubna at the right and by 
Bulow at the left, retires on Sellerhausen. Ney, who sees all 
the danger of a retrograde movement, runs to the threatened 
places and brings Durutte's division on Paunsdorf. The 
Saxons, being left to themselves, advance toward the enemy ; 
this movement is at first attributed to an excess of audacity ; 
but all at once their artillery is turned against us, and our 
brave and astonished troops witness the most odious defec- 
tion ever recorded in the pages of history. Reynier, being 
now reduced to only the single division of Durutte, threat- 
ened on the right by Bubna and on the left by Bulow, is for- 
tunate in finding a refuge at Sellerhausen. Marshal Nêy 
sustains him with Delrnas's division ; Marmont draws in his 
right to maintain himself in line, and continues to defend 
Schoenfeld with his left. The combat is continued with ani- 
mosity on this part of the line ; and it is not difficult for 
Bulow's corps, seconded by Bubna, the Saxons, and the 
Swedes, to penetrate to Sellerhausen, notwithstanding the 
defense of the handful of brave men under Durutte and 
Del mas. Ney's right is thus forced back in the direction of 
Reudnitz. Being informed at Probsthayde of the defection 


of my allies and the retreat of the seventh corps, and fully ap- 
preciating the evil results of permitting the enemy to penetrate 
to the faubourg of Leipsic, I fly with the cuirassiers of Nan- 
souty on the threatened point, I find Ney occupied in ral- 
lying his right near Strassenhoeuser. He throws himself on 
Bulow, whom I attack in flank with the cuirassiers of Nan- 
souty from the direction of Moelkou, and drive back the 
head of his column on Sellerhauscn. Being now more safe 
on this point, I return to my centre, which requires all my 
care. The combat near Strassenhoeuser degenerates into a 
murderous cannonade, as at Probsthayde. Bernadotte brings 
on this point the Saxon and Swedish artillery, and the En- 
glish rocket batteries, with wdiich he overwhelms the brave 
soldiers of Delmas and Durutte ; the first of these two 
generals, the intrepid and republican Delmas, falls under 
this murderous fire ; his troops, again forced to yield to an 
overwhelming superiority, return to Strassenhoeuser. 

But if the enemy's artillery had a superiority over that 
of Delmas, ours had an equal advantage at Probsthayde over 
the deep masses of the enemy, who obstinately refused to 
retire. In vain did some of the Russian generals, certain 
that we would be obliged to retreat on the nineteenth, pro- 
pose to stop this useless carnage, and to carry the reserves of 
cavalry and Giulay's corps on the road to Lutzen. This 
advice shared the fate of most other advice of the same 
character, and was not followed. The allies, like Kutusof 
at Krasnoe, were satisfied with a half success which rendered 
certain our retreat beyond the Rhine. They, however, with- 
drew some of their masses, after leaving them for a loivj time 
uselessly exposed to our fire. 

Blucher and Langeron had not encountered less obstacles 
in attacking Schoenfeld, which was defended with great valor 
by Lagrange, Campans and Frederick ; it was many times 
lost and retaken. These troops of Marmont, weakened by 


the battle of the sixteenth, and by this bloody contest, were 
on the point of yielding, in spite of the most glorious efforts. 
Carnpans was wounded ; Frederick killed ; Marmont saw his 
chief of staff and his aids-de-carnp fall by his side ; a few 
moments longer and the sixth corps would have been des- 
stroyed, when Ney threw upon the enemy the two divisions 
of the third corps, which had remained in reserve. Schoen- 
feld, lost and taken for the seventh time, remained in our 
possession, when the retrograde movements of the right and 
the approach of Langeron's reserve induced Ney to retire his 
left to within pistol shot of that village. 

At the north of Leipsic, the corps of Sacken and York 
had made an unsuccessful attempt to carry the faubourg of 
Halle, which had been secured from a coup-de-main, and 
defended by Dombrowski's division and the cavalry of the 
Duke of Padua. In the direction of Lindenau, Bertrand, 
having received reënforcements, easily drove away Lichten- 
stein's division of Giulay's corps and opened the road to 

It will be seen by this narrative that we lost very little 
ground on the left, while the rest of the line maintained its 
position, and none of our corps were broken, thanks to the 
little use which the enemy made of his cavalry. This was 
much for glory ; but it could have no influence on the success 
of the campaign ; for, in the desperate situation of our 
affairs, a half-success was equivalent to a defeat. 

Third Day of Leipsic, October 19ih.— The battle, being 
continued till after dark, and the troops being worn out with 
fatigue and hunger, it was very difficult to effect a retreat in 
the night. To accomplish this with convenience required 
seventeen secondary bridges on the Pleisse and the Elster. 
The equipages should have filed on the eighteenth, under the 
protection of Ber fraud's corps : on the contrary they were 
left heaped up between the army and Leipsic ; not only had 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 213 

Berthier done nothing himself to prepare for this retreat, 
but he had countermanded all the prudent measures taken 
by his staff officers, lest the preparations for retreat might 
discourage our troops. Nor had the chief of engineers sup- 
plied the necessary means for bridges ; his park, it is true, 
had been left with the heavy equipages of the head-quarters 
at Eulenbourg ; but there were sappers in the second corps^ 
d'armée, and tools and carpenters in the city of Leipsic. I 
had ordered three supplementary bridges to be thrown across 
the Pleisse ; but this order, given in haste and a little too 
late, was not well executed. The bridges were badly con- 
structed and gave way. In fact, every thing in the army 
now seemed to depend on me alone ; it was necessary for me 
to attend to every thing. 

We had crossed the Danube in eight hours at Wagram 
at night with one hundred and fifty thousand men ; but it 
was on six fine bridges, where each corps had its debouch 
arranged beforehand, and where the baggage did not pass 
till long after the army. In retreat, through the streets of a 
city, by a single narrow bridge, the operation is very dif- 
ferent ; and there necessarily resulted great confusion and 
crowding : the cowardly always push first, and two or three 
broken wagons are sufficient to stop everything in such a 
narrow defile. All these evils happened to us. 

The break of day on the nineteenth found us in all the 
frightful embarrassments of a retreat. We were obliged to 
receive still another battle in order to effect it. The troops 
were ranged around the enceinte of the faubourgs which had 
previously been barricaded ; they might easily be defended 
for twenty-four hours, if our troops should fight as at Dres- 
den. We would thus gain time for the withdrawal of our 
forces, each corps passing successively from the combat into 
the line of retreat. Tactically speaking, our position was 
not bad, fur Leipsic might be considered as a tête-de-pont 


covering the defile. There, however, was a lack of bridges 
to accelerate the retreat, and prevent accidents. There were 
required two bridges above, and two below the main road, 
covered with redans, connecting with the passage of Lin- 
denau ; and roads to these bridges should have been opened 
through the gardens. But we had returned from Duben 
only on the fifteenth ; we had hoped to gain a battle on the 
sixteenth ; and on the seventeenth had counted on an 
armistice ; so that the necessary precautions for accelerating 
and securing a retreat had been neglected. The blame of 
this must rest on my major-general and the chief of engi- 
neers, rather than on me. I had passed the night in dictat- 
ing such orders as were rendered necessary by our retreat 
upon the frontiers of France ; I wrote to the council of the 
Eegency, to Mayence, to Strasbourg, and to the whole line 
of the Rhine ; to the lower Elbe, to Italy, to Spain, to 
Dantzic, to the Oder, to Dresden, to Torgau. I thought of 
all the great combinations which would be required in 
future : it was for Berthier, my chief of staff, to attend to 
the remainder. As soon as it was day, I went to see the 
kino 1 of Saxony, to advise him to trust his fate to the generos- 
ity of the kings who had recognized him, but reminding him 
that France had always been a better ally to the house of 
Saxony than either Austria or Prussia. 

On leaving the king, I saw the horrible jam in all the 
streets of Leipsic, and moved towards the defile. The battle 
was continued along the whole circumference at any attempt 
made by the corps-d'armée to retire on the faubourgs of 
Leipsic. At the north, Sacken and Langeron attacked 
Pfaffendorf which was defended by Durutte ; Woronzof and 
Bulow attacked the gates of Grimma and Hinterthor which 
were defended by Marmont and Ricard. At the south, 
Schwartzenberg pressed the Poles along the Pleisse ; Barclay 
pushed Macdonald and Lauriston coming from Probsthayde 

Cu. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 215 

by Strassenlioeuser. It was impossible for me to direct any 
movement. At nine o'clock I went to the gate of Ranstedt 
where the crowd and jam were frightful ; I returned by the 
boulevards to gain the bridge. Belluno and Mortier had 
passed the defile ; Souham and Marmont followed. Lau- 
riston had formed his troops to pass in his turn. 

But the successive evacuation weakened our lines, in pro- 
portion as the enemy's columns became more animated, and 
approached nearer to the city of Leipsic. They had already 
forced an entrance into the faubourgs, and had gained the 
western part of the boulevard which separates them from the 
old enceinte : the Badois had abandoned to them the gate of 
St. Peter, thus opening an access to the city, through which 
several columns of the allies precipitated themselves. The 
three cor ps-d' armée which had remained for its defense had 
no other course than to gain in haste the great road, and to 
defend themselves on the right and left by means of the 
houses of the faubourg of Ranstedt. 

They succeeded in throwing themselves into this space ; 
but the immense parks and equipages blocked up all the pas- 
sages. Nevertheless the mass would have been gradually 
retired, had not the officer who was designated to destroy 
the bridges after the passage confided the important charge 
of blowing up the bridge of the mill on the great arm of the 
Els ter, to a simple corporal of sappers. Langeron, following 
the boulevards from the north, extended himself in a parallel 
line to the west, and in order to gain our lines of retreat, his 
tirailleurs, being deployed in the gardens, succeeded in pene- 
trating to the bridge. The corporal, on seeing the approach 
of the enemy, and thinking that only a few of our troops 
remained behind, put fire to the mines, and blew up the only 
means of retreat left to our rear-guard. These troops were 
now without hope. The boldest threw themselves into the 
Elster, and attempted to swim across ; Macdonald saved 


himself, but Poniatowslu was drowned.* A few thousand 
effected their escape ; hut near fifteen thousand, hemmed 
in by the enemy's masses, were obliged to lay down their 

* The terrible losses sustained by the French in this evacuation of Leipsic 
shows the immense importance of having with such large armies a sufficient 
number of properly instructed engineer officers and engineer troops for the 
management of mines and pontoon bridges. The Russian campaign had de- 
stroyed the best part of this corps, and there had not been time to instruct 
others. The following is Thiers' account of this catastrophe : 

"But whilst this terrible evacuation of Leipsic was thus taking place, a sud- 
den catastrophe which might have been but too clearly foreseen, spread despair 
among the ranks of those who for the common safety had been intrusted with 
the defense of the Leipsic faubourgs. Colonel Montfort. of the engineers, had 
been ordered to prepare a mine under the first arch of the bridge, along which 
our troops were now effecting their retreat, and he had, accordingly, done so, 
and had posted at the spot some sappers with a corporal, who awaited, match 
in hand, the signal to fire the train. In the meantime, Colonel Montfort, in a 
state of the most anxious doubt as to what ho ought to do, expecting every 
moment to see the enemy debouch pêle-mêle with our soldiers, and unable to 
obtain any accurate information with respect to the several corps still in the 
rear, determined to proceed to Lindenau, for the purpose of receiving further 
instructions from Napoleon's own mouth, and set out towards the other end of 
the bridge, having first directed the co.-poral of sappers to fire the mine only in 
case he should see the enemy approaching. 

'• Whilst Colonel Montfort was struggling in the midst of the mass which 
encumbered the bridge, unable either to advance or recede, some of Blucher's 
troops, in pursuit of the remnant of Reynier's corps, appearing close to the 
bridge pêle-mêle with the soldiers of the seventh corps, occasioned cries of 
' Fire the mine ! fire the mine I' and the corporal, believing that the right mo- 
ment had come, applied the match, and thus iu a moment condemned twenty 
thousand of our troops, who were still in the Leipsic faubourgs, either to per- 
ish, or to become the prisoners of an enemy whom the feelings of exasperation 
with which this war was conducted, had rendered inhuman. 

" Believing that they had been betrayed, these men uttered shouts of indig- 
nation, and, swayed by the impulses of despair, now rushed upon the enemy, 
and now threw themselves into the Pleisse and the Elster, and endeavored to 
cross them by swimming. 

" Poniatowski, who had been raised to the rank of marshal by Napoleon on 
the preceding evening, plunged with his horse into the Elster, and reached the 
other sid r -, but there, weakened by many wounds, and unable to climb the 
steep bank, disappeared beneath the waters, buried in bis glory beneath the 
ruins of our country and his own. 

" Macdonald, making a similar attempt, was saved, but Reynier and Lau- 
riston. surrounded by the enemy's troops before they had time to escape, were 
taken and carried before the allied sovereigns, when the Emperor Alexander, 
recognizing Lauriston as the wise embassador who had endeavored to prevent 


arms, and surrender at discretion. Lauriston, Reynier, 
Prince Emile of Hesse, and some twenty other general offi- 
cers were taken prisoners ; and the enemy captured an im- 
mense booty in baggage, military stores, etc. 

I was with the guard behind the last bridge of Lindenau 
when the bridge of the Elster was blown up ; I formed it in 
line of battle, and stationed its batteries. We now found 
ourselves charged with protecting the retreat of the wrecks 
of the army to the Saale ; and we fortunately succeeded in 
our object, although hemmed in by York on the side of Frey- 
burg, and by Giulay on the side of Kosen. The most 
admirable order reigned in the entire passage of Weissenfels, 
where the staff-officers had redoubled their precautions, as if 
to repair their unpardonable neglect at Leipsic. 

Remarks on this Battle.— The disaster of the bridge of 
Elster and the disorder in the retreat of the nineteenth of 
October, have been adduced by my detractors, w r ith the 
retreat from Eussia and the disasters of Waterloo, to prove 
that I lost my judgment in reverses ; they have even pre- 
tended that I myself remained at the bridge with the match 
in hand ! 

I have but two things with which to reproach myself at 

the war of 1812, took him by the hand, and had both him and his companion 
treated with the utmost courtesy ; — a courtesy which he was far from display- 
ing towards the unfortunate king of Saxony, who thrice during the morning 
sent officers to request an interview, which was refused, the only reply to his 
solicitations being, that he, the king of Saxony, had been taken with arms in 
his hands, and was, therefore, a prisoner of war ; that the allied sovereigns 
would decide upon his fate, and would inform him of their decision. 

'•In the meantime, the broken ranks of the French army were continuing 
their retreat across the numerous arms of the Pleisse and the Elster, leaving 
twenty thousand of their soldiers either prisoners, or dying in the streets of 
Leipsic, or drowned in the blood-stained waters of the Pleisse and the Elster. 

" This last of the four disastrous days of Leipsic raised the loss of the French 
army in killed, wounded, or prisoners, to the number of sixty thousand men. 

" The enemy had lost an equal number in action, but their wounded had 
received all the grateful care that German patriotism could lavish on them, 
whilst ours had met with, alas ! how different a treatment." 


Leipsic. The first, in not having sent all our parks to Lin- 
denau on the night of the seventeenth, and combined iny 
battle on the eighteenth, so as to retreat during the night. 
The reason was that I still had some hopes of gaining the 
battle, and did not wish to precipitate the measures of evacu- 
ation. The second, in not having given a better organization 
to my staff, so as to provide, without express orders, for all 
such details. But this fault goes further back, and, as has 
already been remarked, resulted from a defective organization 
of my army. 

It must, however, be confessed that when I renounced at 
Duben my march on Berlin to return to the plains of Leip- 
sic, I ought to have regarded that place as our only anchor 
of safety. I should have said to myself, if I gain the great 
battle between the Pleisse and the Partha, I have no need 
of defensive measures ; but if I lose it, it is necessary to 
provide for securing my retreat against the attacks of a 
superior force. Engineers, sappers and pontoniers, should 
have been employed from the fifteenth, in constructing a sys- 
tem of field-works connecting Lindenau with the faubourgs 
of Eaustedt, and covering three or four bridges on which 
all the troops, the parks and the baggage could have passed 
without difficulty at any hour of the day or night. 

IVapoleon retreats on Erfurth,— We continued our re- 
treat without delay to Erfurth, where we arrived on the 
twenty-third of October. The combats of Leipsic had cost 
me fifty thousand men, including the unfortunate loss of our 
rear-guard. With my remaining forces it was impossible to 
sustain myself beyond the Bhine. I, therefore, on the 
twenty-fifth resumed my march to pass that river. 

Pursuit of the Allies.— The allies, satisfied with a victory 
far surpassing their hopes, remained two or three days at 
Leipsic to determine upon their future plan of operations. 
Klenau was detached on Dresden ; Bernadotte and Benning- 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 219 

sen on Hamburg ; Blucher was to pursue me, turning Er- 
furth to the north and to redescend on Gotha ; Bubna fol- 
lowed me in rear by Naumbourg. The grand army of the 
sovereigns threw itself to the south in the forest of Thurin- 
gen, to take a parallel Hue of march. A cloud of partisans 
annoyed our retreat on all sides. It was, however, effected 
at first without any remarkable event except the combat of 
Kosen where General Giulay was sharply repulsed by the 
fourth corps. 

Departure of the King of Naples.— Murat left me at Er- 
furth to return to Naples. He had received overtures from 
Austria, promising to interest herself in the preservation of 
his throne, if, like Bernadotte, he would join the coalition. 
Metternich, by a refinement of revenge, applied all his 
address in sowing defection even in the ranks of my own 
family. The insinuation which failed with the virtuous 
King of Saxony, succeeded with Joachim. He made a mys- 
tery of these propositions, and excused his return to Naples 
on the pretended necessity of preparations for the defense 
of his kingdom. I, nevertheless, saw his object, for he had 
excited my distrust ever since his departure from Posen. I 
could easily have detained him, but I feared it might enable 
the English to effect the restoration of Ferdinand. Certain 
of the influence of my sister over her husband, I first repre- 
sented to him the inevitable fall of his throne, if I should 
be compelled to yield, and then took my leave of him with 
deep emotion. I felt a sad presentiment of the fate which 
awaited him. 

Threatening March of the Bavarians.— I learned at Er- 
furth that the Bavarians, having united with the Austrians, 
were already in full march on Wurtzbourg to intercept our 
retreat. Although I had known for the last ten days the 
treaty of alliance concluded at Ried, I did not expect so 
prompt an aggression on their part. But as soon as the 


alliance was ratified, the Austrian and Bavarian armies min- 
gled their ranks, and marched against me. Perhaps I might 
have retained Bavaria by sending the divisions of Augereau 
to Ratisbon and Straubing ; the king would then have been 
obliged to unite his army with mine ; and these eight divi- 
sions of infantry, forming with the cavalry near sixty thou- 
sand men, might have invaded Bohemia at the moment of 
the victory of Dresden ; this powerful diversion would have 
decided me to manœuvre on Prague by the right of Schwart- 
zenberg, instead of uselessly marching, first on the Bober, 
then on Duben, and then in the mountains of Toeplitz. 

By this union of the Bavarians and Austrians, the coali- 
tion had gained a new army of fifty-eight thousand men, of 
which Wrede took the command. On the fifteenth of Oc- 
tober, he left Braunau, passed the Danube at Donawerth on 
the nineteenth, and reached Wurtzbourg on the twenty- 
fourth. On the twenty-seventh, he encamped at Aschaffen- 
bourg, where he detached ten thousand Bavarians on Frank- 
fort, and with the remainder of his army established himself at 
Hanau on the twenty-ninth, barring to us the passage of the 
Mayne ; it was a parody of the Beresina. 

I was sensibly affected by this defection ; it was the most 
unjust of all ; for I had heaped benefits on Bavaria. The 
Protectorate of the Confederation of the Rhine was no more 
an imposition than her vassalage to the Austrian Empire ; 
and if she deemed it odious, she had only to substitute for it 
a simple defensive alliance. Her alliance with France was a 
natural one, and had existed ages before. In remembering 
the enthusiasm of the Bavarians in 1805 and at Abensberg, 
and the devotion which they showed in the glorious campaign 
of 1809, my heart swelled with emotion. . . . And were 
these the same men ! I did not accuse the army, but the 
intrigues of courtiers, the facile and debonair character of 
the king, and the ambition of Wrede. In fact, the Bava- 


rians had sacrificed me for their own preservation ; Maurice 
of Saxony did still worse toward Charles V. ; but there 
was something more noble in his opposing a victorious 
monarch. I should have said nothing, if Wrede had simply 
joined the enemy without thinking to cut off my retreat. I 
expected that he would annoy my flank and rear ; but I did 
not suppose he would have the presumption to put me in 
irons ! 

We followed without obstruction the road from Erfurth 
by Gotha, Fulda, and Schluchtern. At this last place I first 
heard of Wrede's audacious manœuvre. We had no time to 
hesitate. It was necessary to cut our way through these new 
enemies before the arrival of those in our rear. Blucher, 
leaving the road to Eisenach, had gone north by Hersefeld 
towards the sources of the Nidda to fall on my left flank ; 
Bubna followed me in rear, and the grand army was gaining 
my right by the mountains of Franconia. Eaising myself to 
a level with the threatened danger, I was far from losing 
courage ; I inarched briskly on Hanau. 

Their Defeat at llanau.— We had still eighty thousand 
disposable men, exclusive of twenty-five thousand wounded 
and stragglers ; but they formed a long procession extending 
to Fulda : I had but twenty thousand in hand. Wrede 
numbered fifty thousand. He placed himself audaciously, 
or rather imprudently, at the debouch of the forest of Lamboi, 
resting on the Kinzig. We attacked him on the thirtieth. 
While my tirailleurs, deployed in the forest, held in check 
the enemy's right and centre, my cavalry pierced their left 
and threw it partly into the Kinzig. With the assistance 
of the Cossacks who preceded Blucher's march towards 
Bergen, half of this broken wing regained Hanover, the rest 
were drowned or taken prisoners. Wrede, seeing the danger 
of his position, manoeuvred by his right to change his front, 
and secure his retreat on AschafFenbourg. My Old Guard 


under Friant drove him back. If I had had the corps of Ber- 
trand, Ney, and Marmont about me, the Bavarian army- 
would have been completely destroyed ; I would have thrown 
it into the Mayne, by cutting off that road. But we had no 
time to lose ; it was necessary to file on Frankfort im- 
mediately, for Blucher and Schwartzenberg might arrive at 
any moment. Our columns marched all night in order to 
reach that city. 

But as my rear-guard of fourteen thousand men had not 
yet arrived at the height of Hanau, I left Marmont to hold 
this point, advising him to take the offensive in order to be 
more certain of his object. He accordingly attacked and 
carried the city of Hanau on the morning of the thirty-first, 
forced the bridge of Lamboi on the Kinzig, and drove back 
the enemy's right, thus gaining time for the arrival of the 
rear-guard. Now retreating in his turn, he left Bertrand to 
guard Hanau till all had passed. Wrede, wishing to wash 
out his defeat, again took the offensive, and penetrated into 
Hanau, where he was repulsed and seriously wounded. The 
Bavarian corps occupying Frankfort did not venture to await 
our arrival, but recrossed the Mayne, and destroyed the 

The French retire behind the Rhine.— On the second of 
November 1 arrived at Mayence, and my army there crossed 
the Bhine. Guilleminot who brought up the rear, attempted 
to hold the heights of Hochheim, and was attacked by the 
Austrians with quadruple forces ; but he had the good for- 
tune to reach Cassel without suffering as much loss as might 
have been expected 

Our long retreat from Leipsic was not without disorder : 
fatigue and hunger carried off many of our troops, who also 
suffered much from a nervous epidemic fever. To old France 
this retreat was scarcely less fatal than that from Russia. 
Our losses for the last two years had been so great that the 

Cil. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813 223 

nation was in consternation ; and if the allies had pursued 
their march, they might have entered Paris with our rear- 
guard. But the aspect of the military frontiers of France 
intimidated them. They wished to raise militia to blockade 
these fortresses before again engaging on a soil rich with the 
blood of the soldiers of the first coalition. 

Capitulation of Dresden. — Before attempting anything 
further, the allies first occupied themselves in collecting the 
fruit of their great victory. The most important of all was 
the capitulation of Dresden, where I had unfortunately left 
twenty-five thousand men under St. Cyr. This great detach- 
ment has been the subject of much criticism. Certainly, if 
I had had no other object than the defense of- Dresden, it 
would have been exceedingly foolish. But the object was to 
assist Murat in keeping the field as long as possible, in order 
to occupy the army of Bohemia, while I marched on Duben 
to crush Blucher. I expected to return by the right bank 
of the Elbe, after having captured Berlin. I have already 
shown what combination of circumstances forced me to re- 
nounce this project. I then, on the fourteenth of October, 
sent officers to St. Cyr directing him to descend the Elbe, 
and unite with the greater part of the garrisons of Torgau 
and Magdebourg. But none of them reached their destina- 
tion. After the loss of Leipsic his fate was fixed. I hoped, 
however, that he would himself file on Torgau, draw to him 
some reënforcements from Wittenberg and Magdebourg, and 
unite with Davoust. The allies had left before Dresden only 
one good division and the Russian militia of Count Tolstoy. 
He would undoubtedly have succeeded if he had undertaken 
it in time. But after the battle of Leipsic, the allies sent 
Klenau at the head of twenty-five thousand Austrians to re- 
enforce the blockading corps. 

As his magazines were getting low, and our affairs seemed 
lost in Germany, St. Cyr agreed with the enemy to surrender 


the place on condition of a free passage for the garrison, which 
was afterward to be exchanged. The capitulation was agreed 
upon, and the troops had left the place, when the allied sov- 
ereigns disapproved of the arrangement and ordered his 
columns to return. But in the mean time the enemy had 
occupied the place and ascertained all its means of sustain- 
ing a siege. He, therefore, preferred to surrender as prisoners 
of war and throw upon the allies the odium of a violated 
capitulation. In this he was wrong. He should have re- 
mained in the place and required Klenau to furnish him with 
provisions till the return of the courier with the approbation 
of the allied sovereigns. 

Operations before Hamburg.— On the other side the army 
of Bernadotte was broken up ; Tauenzein's corps was block- 
ading Wittenberg ; Bulow was detached into Westphalia 
and the confines of Holland ; and a part of the Russian 
troops under Wintzingerode took the same direction. Ber- 
nadotte united his Swedes with Benningsen's corps, and 
marched on the Lower Elbe to join Walmoden, detach Den- 
mark, and capture Hamburg. Davoust, in concert with ten 
thousand Danes had kept the field in this vicinity with suc- 
cess. The Danes soon signed a peace ; but that brave nation 
who had gathered nothing but thorns from our alliance, did 
not imitate the example of those who had reaped all the 
advantages ; they limited themselves to a wise and honorable 
neutrality. Davoust, being left alone, prepared for a vigor- 
ous defense. The duties of a valiant governor who prefers 
to bury himself under the ruins of a city intrusted to his 
sword, rather than to surrender it, do not accord with the 
interests of the citizens ; Davoust has left at Hamburg a 
name abhorred ; and the extent of this hatred may be re- 
garded as the measure of the praise actually due to him. 
To blockade and besiege a city like Hamburg, with Haar- 
bourg and the islands, when it is defended by twenty-five 

Ch. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 225 

thousand brave men and well provisioned, is no small task. 
Bernadotte and Benningsen spent five months without mak- 
ing much progress. Davoust defended the approaches with 
activity, and fought on the outside as long as he could. The 
place held out till after my abdication at Fontainebleau. 

Capitulation of Dantzic— Eapp was not quite so fortun- 
ate ; he braved there for a year the attacks of the Duke of 
Wurtemberg. The means of the besiegers were not in pro- 
portion to the importance of the place and the strength of 
the garrison. The whole force there was twenty-five thou- 
sand men, of which five or six thousand were not capable of 
doing service ; three or four thousand were equivocal Nea- 
politans ; the Polish division of Granjean and that of Heu- 
delet. After a blockade of six months, they attempted a 
siege, which would have been a long one, if the garrison had 
not capitulated for want of munitions and medicines. Kapp 
had the same fate as St. Cyr. He at first obtained a free 
sortie, which was not sanctioned. They, however, had re- 
served this sanction. Kapp had no other course than to sur- 
render himself a prisoner of war. 

Siege and Blockade of the other Places.— The Eussians 
blockaded Wittenberg where General Lapoype made a very 
fine defense till 1814. Tauenzein's corps, with the Saxons 
who had joined the Eussians, blockaded Torgau. This was 
followed by a simulacrum of a siege and a bombardment. 
The garrison was embarrassed with a mass of wounded men 
and equipages, which had taken refuge there at the battle of 
Leipsic ; moreover, the troops had suffered greatly from the 
ravages of an epidemic fever. Narbonne who commanded 
the place was killed by a fall from his horse. He was suc- 
ceeded by General Dutailles, having under him Brun de 
Villeret. The garrison, reduced to half its numbers and 
destitute of provisions, capitulated. Stettin, Modlin, Za- 
mosc, and the citadel of Erfurth, also surrendered during the 

VOL. IV. — 15. 


month of December, after having accomplished all that 
could be hoped from resignation and devotion. Glogau held 
out till the end of the war. Magdebourg, being defended by 
a strong garrison, was only blockaded, at first by Benningsen 
and then by the Russian militia. Custrin, defended by Fornier- 
d'Albe, was only invested ; its position on an island of the 
Oder, rendered it as difficult of attack as it was easy of 
blockade. Moreover, the Prussians did not wish to destroy 
their places, being certain that intime they would be reduced 
by famine. For this reason the siege of Glogau was changed 
to a blockade, and the two places held out beyond all expec- 
tation, the first to the seventh of March, and the second to 
the tenth of April. This was the more honorable for Glogau, 
as of the five thousand men which formed its garrison, the 
governor was obliged to dismiss one-half, which was com- 
posed of German, Spanish and Illyrian troops, and he had 
to guard, with the few that remained, an enciente on both 
banks of the Oder. 

Operations of Eugene in Italy.— In Italy there was noth- 
ing of a decisive character. The viceroy, who had been sent 
there after the battle of Lutzen, organized an army of forty- 
five thousand French and Italians. I hoped at one time to 
send Augereau to the valley of the Danube to act with the 
Bavarian army and Eugene against the gates of Vienna. 
This union of one hundred and twenty thousand men would 
have greatly embarrassed Austria. But the intrigues which 
paralyzed Bavaria from the commencement of the campaign, 
forced me to renounce this project. The Austrians, being 
thus relieved from danger from the Inn and the Tyrol, sent 
General Hiller against Eugene with a superior force, which 
was assisted by the violent inhabitants of the Tyrol and the 
Illyrian Croats. The viceroy occupied with the main body 
of his forces the famous passes of Tarvis and Laybach, while 
a detachment guarded the vallev of the Adi^e to Prunecken. 

Cn. XX.] AUTUMN CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 227 

Hiller, repulsed at Villach and Kraimbourg, had some suc- 
cess near Fiurne ; but the viceroy having carried there Pino's 
division, General Nugent was beaten like his chief. On 
being reënfôrced, Hiller passed the Drave on the nineteenth 
of September, and gained some advantages over the divisions 
of Verdier and Gratien. The viceroy maintained himself at 
Tarvis. The middle of October the Austrian general, cer- 
tain of the accession of Bavaria, ascended the Drave with 
his main body on Prunecken to join his right in the valley 
of the Adige and carry the theatre of war by Trente on 
Verona ; the left alone remained in the Friol. This move- 
ment was well conceived. The viceroy, being no longer able 
to hold in the mountains, fell back at first behind the Isonzo, 
then on the right bank of the Brenta, of which he destroyed 
the bridges. 

Eugene might have fallen with all his forces on the left of 
the Austrians, and gained their rear by the Drave, as I had 
done against Wurmser by the gorges of the Brenta ; he had 
the additional advantage of possessing Mantua. But to 
attempt such enterprises required an impetuous character 
and reliable troops, which Eugene had not. Weakened by 
the garrisons of Mantua and Venice, and the defection of Ba- 
varia having opened the Tyrol to our enemies, he deemed it 
more wise to fall back on the Adige about Verona. 

Hiller, not daring to debouch on his rear by forcing Rivoli, 
filed by the gorges of the Brenta, in order to join his left 
and to advance toward Vicenza. New contests took place in 
the so often disputed position of Caldiero. It was carried 
by the Austrians, for all the advantages of this celebrated 
post are against Verona and in favor of troops debouching 
from Vicenza. General Nugent blockaded Venice in concert 
with an English division, and got possession by water of the 
port of Ferrara. Istria, Dalmatia, Illyria, the Tyrol, and 
the States of Venice, fell into the power of the enemy in 


consequence of the battle of Leipsic and the unfortunate 
resolution of the court of Munich. The cabinet of Vienna, 
having decided upon the reconquest of Italy, sent there 
Marshal Bellegarde with a reënforcement of twenty-five 
thousand men under Klenau. Immediately after the fall of 
Dresden, this corps filed by Bavaria and the Tyrol on the 
Adige. "We will describe their operations hereafter. 

Soult's Operations in Spain. — In Spain our affairs were 
not more favorable. In order to give vigor to the army of 
Joseph, I had determined to recall him to Paris and give the 
general command to Soult, I ought to have done this in 
1811. But although this resolution was rather too late, I 
still hoped that the marshal would be able at least to check 
the success of the British arms on the Pyrenees. He im- 
mediately resolved to advance to the assistance of Pampe- 
luna. The project was well imagined ; but the difficulty 
of the country and the situation of the respective parties 
rendered its success very difficult, if not problematical. 

Soult descended from the Pyrenees by his left with forty 
thousand men in two columns, by Boncevaux and Maya. 
He himself marched by the first of these roads on Pampe- 
luna, hoping to deliver the place and then turn against the 
centre of the allies. This manœuvre was good ; but the 
asperity of the mountains, the length of the march, and the 
obstinate defense of the English right under General Picton, 
gave time for Wellington to approach with the main body. 
Keënforced by the Spanish troops from the siege of Pampe- 
luna, he held Soult in check, while two English divisions 
under Hill and Dalhousie turned his right at the foot of the 
Col-d'Arrais, and threatened his communications by Lanz. 
Soult supported himself in his turn near Ostitz to rally on 
Drouet. This manœuvre has been the subject of ridiculous 
criticism. If he had permitted his right to be forced and 
turned between Ostitz and Lanz, he would have suffered the 

Ch. XX.] À U T U M N CAMPAIGN OF 1813. 229 

same fate as Joseph at Vittoria. He thought it prudent not 
to risk a general battle in a country so difficult, where, in 
fact, he had every thing to lose and little to gain. The ene- 
mies of the national glory of France have reproached me for 
having been too audacious, and attempt to criminate Soult 
for not having been more so ! In fact, his movement, con- 
ceived on excellent principles, would have been more success- 
ful, if the road from Roncevaux had been better, and his 
first marches had been conducted with more activity, preci- 
sion, and vigor ; but as soon as the enemy had time to col- 
lect superior forces, w r ith the advantage of ground and roads, 
the chances were against him. It must also be observed that, 
by turning the English right, he would have thrown Welling- 
ton back upon the sea : what w T ould have caused the destruc- 
tion of a continental army, would on the contrary have been a 
means of security to him. Soult returned to his positions 
after three successful combats, in which the enemy lost six or 
seven thousand men, while his own loss was much less. 

The English general now warmly pushed the siege of St. 
Sebastian, which place had already been unsuccessfully as- 
saulted by General Graham. The regular attack was re- 
newed the twenty-eighth of August, with forty-five pieces 
of ordnance, a part of which were sixty-eight pound car- 
ronades : the breach was made practicable, and a second 
assault given on the thirty-first ; it was more bloody than 
the first, and would also have failed, had not an explosion 
inside forced the garrison to retire to the castle. Welling- 
ton lost his two highest officers of engineers and three thou- 
sand men, and the English soiled their laurels by the excesses 
committed upon a friendly and allied city. 

Soult made some efforts to succor this place, and passed 
the Bidassoa near the mountain of Haya and opposite St. 
Martial ; but he found the enemy too strongly posted. The 
Spaniards especially distinguished themselves in the defense 


of St. Martial, where they rivaled the best English troops ; — 
the miraculous effect of the influence on the valor of an 
army of a single chief who merits the full confidence of the 
soldier ! After an engagement of some hours the three 
French columns recrossed the Bidassoa. The castle of St. 
Sebastian, being bombarded with heavy mortar batteries on 
the ninth of September, capitulated. The allies found here 
one thousand two hundred men and five hundred wounded ; 
the siege had cost them four thousand. 

Wellington, reënforced by his siege corps and a number of 
Spanish troops, resolved to possess himself of the central 
and salient position of the Rhune, which took in reverse all 
the upper valley of the Nivelle and the great road from St. 
Jean-de-Luz to Bayonne ; its possession was calculated to 
secure from all surprise his right, which was posted at the 
Col-de-Maya, and could descend at will on Bayonne ; he 
caused this post to be attacked by three strong Spanish 
columns and an English division. Soult, being greatly 
weakened by detachments, made but little defense of this 
advanced post, and concentrated his forces behind the Ni- 
velle. Pampeluna fell a few days after, for want of pro- 

Nothing remarkable occurred in the east of Spain. Su- 
chet continued to maintain his position in advance of Bar- 
celona, without being seriously troubled by the enemy. He 
was waiting with impatience for orders to resume the offen- 
sive, and disengage the twenty thousand men whom he had 
unfortunately left to garrison the places in the interior. But 
the battle of Leipsic and the retreat behind the Rhine de- 
stroyed these vain hopes, and soon forced me to ask from him 
reënforcements for the defense of the Rhone. 




General State of France — Change of the French Ministry — Propositions of 
the Allies — Dissolution of the Chamber — Preparations for Defense — Nego- 
tiations for the Restoration of Ferdinand — Situation of Affairs in Italy — 
Extraordinary Efforts of the Coalition — They resolve to invade France — 
Their Motives of Action — They pass the Rhine — Xapoleon marches against 
them — He attacks Blucher — First Combat of Brienne — Battle of Brienne — 
Congress of Chatillon — Faults of Blucher — Position of the two Armies — 
Combat of Champ- Aubert — Combat of Montmirail — Affair of Chateau- 
Thierry — Defeat of Blucher at Vauchamps and Etoges — He rallies his 
Army at Chalons — Movement of the Allies on Nogent — Napoleon flies to 
the Seine — Slow March of Schwartzenberg — Combat of Nangis — Combat 
ofMontereau — Schwartzenberg evacuates Troj*es — Operations of Eugene 
and Augereau — Proposal of an Armistice — New Disposition of the Allied 
Forces — Blucher marches on Meaux — Operations of Mortier and Marmont — 
Napoleon marches against Blucher — Blucher repasses the Aisne — Battle of 
Craone — Ultimatum of Chatillon rejected — Battle of Laon — Affair of Reims 
— Schwartzenberg on the Aube — His Vanguard crosses the Seine — The Em- 
press and Regency retire to Blois — Napoleon moves against the grand 
Allied Army — Battle of Arcis — Remarks on Napoleon's Position — Success 
of the Allies in the South— New Project of Manoeuvring on the Enemy's 
Rear — Operations of Blucher — The Marshals are separated from Napoleon — 
Alexander decides to march on Paris — Efforts of Napoleon to communicate 
with his Marshals— The latter retire on Paris — Difficulties of Napoleon's 
Situation— He flies to the Defense of the Capital— Battle of Paris— Situation 
of France — Want of Public Spirit in Paris — Conduct of the Emperor of 
Russia — Intrigues of the Factions — Abdication of Fontainebleau— Battle 
of Toulouse — Napoleon retires to Elba — Evacuation of Italy — Concluding 

General State of France. — Notwithstanding our disasters 
on the Pyrenees, on the Adige, and on the Rhine, I still 
hoped to be able to defend, for a long time, the French soil. 
It is true that efforts to maintain ourselves on the Elbe, after 


the battle of Bautzen, had drawn from the interior of France 
every one capable of carrying a musket. I therefore had but 
few resources left. It was necessary to garrison our frontier 
places, but this was not a time when citizens, making it a 
point of honor and of duty to defend their ramparts, require 
only a good leader and a few soldiers to assist them. Un- 
fortunately, our troops, in returning to France, had .brought 
with them a fatal typhus fever which made cruel ravages in 
our ranks. Mayence was filled with the sick, and the con- 
tagion had ( xtended even to Strasburg, and the people on 
both sides of the river were affected ; and even the soldiers 
who escaped the fever, suffered a lassitude and loss of 
strength. This army presented a very different spectacle 
from that which passed the Rhine in 1805 to oppose Mack. 

But what troubled me most was the general lukewarmness 
of public spirit in the interior. If I found France firm and 
resigned on my return from Moscow, I found her equally 
wavering and distrustful on my return from Leipsic. The 
reverses of Vittoria and Leipsic, and the approach of the 
masses of the coalition, had intimidated some, and revived 
the treasonable hopes of others. Intriguers, ever active in 
times of public danger, were exerting every means to over- 
throw my power, while others, who had lost their fortunes 
and privileges in the Revolution, forgot that they owed to me 
the preservation of their lives, and the restitution of a part 
of their property. They desired the triumph of the coalition, 
in hopes of regaining some ruined castles and portions of 
unalienated forests, or of living more at their ease in the 
restoration of feudal domination. Royalist committees were 
formed throughout the west of France and at Bordeaux. 
Perfidy and treason to the interests of France, were organized 
in the very salons of the capital, and spread from there in 
Landes and in the Boccage. 

Change of Ministry.— Measuring the extent of the danger, 

Cil. XXT.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 233 

I had convoked the legislative body, in the hope that it 
would assist me with all the power of the laws. Being in- 
formed that Talleyrand's party had incited public opinion 
against the Duke of Bassano, whom they accused of being 
one of the principal instigators of the war, I determined to 
sacrifice my own affections, and remove this faithful servant 
from the portfolio of foreign affairs, and put Caulaincourt in 
his place. In this choice I was influenced by several mo- 
tives : in the first place the Duke of Yicenza had always 
opposed the war with Russia ; and, on account of the esteem 
in which he was held by the Emperor Alexander, he might 
now facilitate negotiations. No one knew better than I did, 
the unfounded character of the reports made against Maret, 
and I could not have given a stronger proof of my desire for 
peace than in displacing him from office. Caulaincourt was 
at the same time made minister of foreign relations and 

Propositions of the Allies.— The coalition had just made 
some overtures by M. de St. Aignan, my envoy to Weymar, 
who, in passing at Frankfort, had had a conference with 
Metternich, Nesselrocle, and Aberdeen. The first offered to 
treat, leaving us the line of the Rhine, the Alps, and the 
Pyrenees. I was ready to accept these conditions for myself 
and for France, but I wished at least to discuss what was to 
be done with Italy and Holland, which were still in our pos- 
session. To an empire like France, it was imposing on her 
the lowest of humiliations to refuse to treat with her respect- 
ing the fate of her nearest neighbors and allies. 

Dissolution of the Chamber.— The legislative body did not 
answer my expectations. Instead of feeling that, in the face 
of three hundred thousand allies, it was the first duty of 
every patriot to assist, with every means in his power, in the 
defense of his threatened soil, they sought to discuss com- 
plaints against me, and to organize an untimely opposition. 


At the opening of the chamber I had sent them a frank and 
unreserved communication on the state of affairs ; presenting 
to them a sincere exposition of our dangers, and of the hopes 
which still remained of peace. I had even laid before a joint 
committee of the senate and legislative body, all my diplo- 
matic correspondence, showing what I had offered the allied 
powers in order to obtain peace. Instead of responding to 
this confidence by providing the means of carrying on the 
negotiations, or of sustaining the national dignity and inde- 
pendence, the deputies charged with presenting to me the 
address of the chamber, spoke only of future guarantees of 
the public liberty, and the exercise of political rights! 
These words would have been honorable when I was vic- 
torious, but now, when all were bound to unite to save the 
state, they were of a factious character, tending to excite a 
schism in the government. I had but one of two courses to 
pursue : to yield to the factions, or to dissolve the legislative 
body. If I yielded, my throne was overthrown, my author- 
ity disputed, and France lost. The legislative body was dis- 
solved, and I had recourse to the senate to give legality to 
the measures necessary for the safety of all. This was un- 
fortunate, as it gave to my enemies a pretext for representing 
me to France as a despot, who no longer disguised his tyranny 
under rich harvests of laurels, and who was bringing all 
Europe upon France by the cruelty of his ambition. Those 
who thus excited discord under such circumstances are already 
judged. They connived with the conspirators who sought 
the restoration of the Bourbons. These fervent apostles of 
liberty were more desirous of power than of the welfare of 
the state. 

Preparations for Defense. — Notwithstanding these con- 
trarieties, I applied all my activity in reorganizing my little 
army. For the last twenty years our fortresses had neither 
been armed nor repaired, for they had not been threatened, 

Cn. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 235 

and it now required the greatest efforts to place tliem in a 
state of defense. Neglecting all places of a secondary char- 
acter, I directed ray attention to the most important points. 
All our resources had been employed in reorganizing our 
array at Lutzen ; and we now required one hundred millions 
of francs, and two hundred thousand men to render our 
frontiers secure. If I had had a more provident ministry, 
and the nation had not been already impoverished, there 
would have been time enough to provide for the public secur- 
ity after the declaration of Austria. But the ministry could 
not venture upon such a measure after my disapproval of the 
levy of Fouché in 1809, and, moreover, France was not dis- 
posed for a levy en masse. I confess, nevertheless, that I 
ought to have organized the national guards immediately 
after the armistice of July ; this would have given me the 
means of garrisoning our fortresses, and, in case of reverse, 
would have enabled my army to keep the field. This organi- 
zation had been decreed in 1805, and had partially been 
made on two occasions since ; but as the war had always 
been carried on beyond the frontiers of France, this measure 
had not received the extension of which it was suscepti- 
ble. I remembered the thirteenth Vendémiaire, and desired 
to postpone the arming of the multitude as long as 

Some writers have asserted that the only remaining means 
of saving France, was a grand national movement ; but 
that the loss of public liberty rendered the French indif- 
ferent to my fate. History will decide upon the truth of 
these assertions ; it will ask of these great apostles of ideal 
liberty, whether the people ought not to regard the indepen- 
dence of their soil as the first of their liberties ; and if, in 
order to permit the declaimers of the tribune to censure the 
acts of the administration, it was necessary to admit foreign 
phalanxes into the heart of the state ; and to receive the 


laws of the Pandours, in order to have the pleasure of dictat- 
ing to their own government ! Woe to the people who 
become the dupes of such aberrations ! Deceived by the 
results of the grand movement of 1793, of which they under- 
stood neither the cause nor the effects, these gentlemen sup- 
pose a tribune and public journals the only requisite to make 
a nation rise en masse against the enemy ! Let them exam- 
ine the archives of the war-office, and then say how many 
volunteers went to the frontier, from the flight of Dumouriez 
in April, 1792, to the taking of Valenciennes at the end of 
July? . . . Not one ! The law of the requisition furnished 
only between eighty and ninety thousand men, instead of 
three hundred thousand ; and it required the law of the 
fifth of September, that is, terror, the guillotine, and all the 
attirail of the revolutionary army, to raise five hundred 
thousand men, ill-armed and ill-equipped. Perhaps it may 
be asked, what was the liberty which these brave men were 
asked to defend ? 

With wise people, public liberty consists of equality before 
the law, freedom of the press, the right to vote on taxes and 
military levies, and individual freedom, where this does not 
tend to the overthrow of public order. All these rights 
were respected by the institutions which I created and by the 
acts of my administration. A committee of the Senate was 
directed to see that no arbitrary arrests were made by the 
police ; and if this committee neglected their duty, it was 
their own fault, for that was the object for which it was in- 
stituted. I caused the arrest of some fifty bad characters, 
mostly military demagogues, who wished to play the part of 
Brutus, by boasting in public that they would treat me like 
Cœsar ! I shut up in the state prisons some fifty turbulent 
characters of different parties, who were attempting to raise 
insurrections, and some twenty priests who sought to subject 
France to the ultramontane yoke. With the exception of 

Ch. XXL CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 237 

these individuals, not a Frenchman who respected the laws 
was deprived of the enjoyment of his liberty. 

I had preferred having the laws before the legislative body 
discussed by known and distinguished orators, in order to 
save France from the dangers of the tribune, after the com- 
motions which had divided the French people into two 
nations. In doing this I rendered a service to the state ; 
they have since seen the evils caused by a tribune occupied 
by unworthy or unknown orators. The vote by black and 
white balls, after the exposition of the motives of the pro- 
posed laws, was the most suitable mode of avoiding the re- 
turn of anarchy or a dictatorship. In times of public tran- 
quillity I should have been charmed at opening a field for the 
oratorical talent which distinguishes the French magistracy. 

Negotiations for the Restoration of Ferdinand.— I have 
been reproached with too much indecision in my course to- 
ward Spain. It is certain that if I had sent back Ferdinand 
immediately after my return from Leipsic, and at the same 
time had recalled Suchet into Languedoc, I would have had 
disposable on the Rhone thirty or forty thousand men of the 
old bands by the middle of February, instead of leaving 
them to be invested in the fortifications of Catalonia. The 
propitious moment for effecting this restoration had passed ; 
I have already remarked that I had refused to do it, at the 
beginning of 1813, on my return from Russia and previous 
to the battle of Vittoria, on account of the excess of my 
confidence in my resources, and from the fear of drawing 
Europe upon me by unveiling my weakness. But I ought 
certainly to have done it as soon as the rupture of the nego- 
tiations of Prague, the defeat of Joseph, and the defection 
of Austria, placed the grand question of the empire of the 
civilized world in the fields of Saxony and the mountains of 
Bohemia. Suchet might then have withdrawn all his garri- 
sons which were uselessly compromitted in the fortifications 


of Spain and have appeared on the Ehine with forty thou- 
sand old troops. The half of Soult's army would have been 
sufficient to guard the chain of the Pyrenees. 

On my return from Leipsic, I no longer hesitated on the 
course to be pursued ; negotiations were immediately begun 
with the Duke of San Carlos, and a treaty signed at Valen- 
çay on the eleventh of December. But it would not do to 
restore Ferdinand, except; upon conditions which would be 
recognized by Spain, and would be calculated to maté him 
my friend. Even Francis I. could not force the fulfillment 
of the treaty signed with Charles V. at Madrid ; and there 
was nothing to prove that Ferdinand would not act in the 
same way toward me. I would have accepted, whatever he 
desired, if I had been assured that the Spaniards would cease 
their hostilities and separate from the English ; but if Wel- 
lington remained in arms on the Pyrenees, this return of the 
king would only add strength to my enemies, by placing Fer- 
dinand at the side of the Duke d'Àngoulême at the English 
head-quarters. The party which conspired against me, and 
especially Talleyrand, resorted to a thousand intrigues to 
retard this restoration and to intervene in the ratification 
of the treaty, in order to destroy the prestige of my supe- 
riority. Caulaincourt himself was a dupe to these intrigues. 
Too much accustomed to persevere in my enterprises, I the 
more easily gave an ear to these perfidious insinuations, and 
thus postponed a measure which I adopted when too late. I 
merely asked of Soult two divisions from his army, to be 
directed on the Seine, and ten thousand men of Suchet to 
be directed toward Lyons. 

Situation of Affairs in Italy.— I had less hesitation in my 
course with Italy. I ordered Eugene to purchase, at the 
expense of Osoppo and Palma-Nova, an armistice of some 
days with Bellegarde, and to profit by it to echelon his army 
on Cremona and Milan, and then file by the Alps on Geneva. 

Ch. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 239 

I calculated that, being master of Alessandria and Mantua, 
I could in a few days plant my eagles on the Adige, if we 
obtained a decisive success in France. But to this success 
the cooperation of Eugene was necessary. In order to give 
more efficacy to this plan, Augereau was to form a corps of 
twenty-five thousand men at Lyons, of which the ten thou- 
sand soldiers of the élite from the army of Catalonia would 
form the nucleus. The union of these forces and Eugene, 
would enable me to recapture Switzerland, and thus throw 
sixty thousand men on the communications of the enemy, 
and to operate in concert with this mass, augmented by all 
the insurgent population of the Franche-Comté, Alsace, and 
Lorraine. I hoped that Bellegarde, blinded by the tempo- 
rary conquest of Lombardy, would have sufficient occupation 
in investing Mantua and Alessandria, without thinking of 
following Eugene beyond the Alps. But nothing of all this 
was done ; some have attempted to attribute this to Eugene 
and his wife ; the accusation is false. Reflecting afterwards 
that even the French regiments of his army were recruited 
from the Piedmontese, Tuscan, and Roman conscripts, who 
would abandon their colors in crossing the Alps, I left it 
optional with him to remain in Italy, if he could maintain 
himself on the Mincio, or if he feared to draw after him an- 
other victorious army on France. He preferred to remain 
and fight it out on the Adige, which he did with glory, 
honor, and loyalty. 

It will be seen from these dispositions that I appreciated 
the immensity of the task which I had to perform, but that 
I was not intimidated by the responsibility. If I had fortifi- 
cations to guard, the allies had also to blockade Hamburg, 
Magdebourg, Stettin, Torgau, Wittenberg, Custrin, and 
Glogau ; if they passed the Rhine they would be obliged to 
invest Mavence and Strasbourg, which alone required an 
army. Making deductions of so many detachments, I cal- 


culated that the enemy would not have one hundred and 
fifty thousand men to advance to the Moselle. Here Metz 
and Thionville would require new corps for blockades. Not 
more than one hundred thousand allies could reach the 
Marne. I hoped in the course of a month to organize as 
large a force. But one hundred thousand Frenchmen fight- 
ing for their altars and firesides, under my direction, ought 
in a short time to clear the country ; and if the viceroy had 
debouched by Geneva, the coalition would have paid dearly 
for their temerity in invading France. 

Extraordinary Efforts of the Coalition.— But Europe had 
learned from us, from Spain, and from Eussia, not to spare 
any sacrifice. The Confederation of the Khine turned against 
me all the energy which I had impressed on it. Its contin- 
gent of troops of the line was fixed at one hundred and forty- 
five thousand men, including the Bavarians and Wurtem- 
bergers already in the army ; and as many landwehrs. If 
we deduct from these the forty-eight thousand Bavarians and 
Wurtembergxrs, already with the enemy, there will be left 
more than two hundred thousand enemies which I had not 

The militia were left to blockade our garrisons, while the 
armed masses of Europe penetrated into France ; they were 
more numerous than I supposed. If to the eight hundred 
and ten thousand men which we have before enumerated we 
add the two hundred thousand Germans, and the fifty thou- 
sand Bussiaiis of Lubanof, we have a total of One million, 
one hundred and fifty -two thousand men thrown against me, 
between August and September ! 

The Allies resolve to invade France. — In the meantime 
the overtures of the coalition made through St. Aignan had 
not produced the immediate result which I had hoped. To 
choose a new minister, and to arrange his instructions respect- 
ing Italy and Holland, had occasioned a delay of some fifteen 

Cil. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 241 

du\ \s, during which the allies changed their resolution, and 
pre pared to invade France, without waiting for a final an- 
swer to their propositions. 

Their Motives of Action.— But this was not strange, if 
we reflect upon their divergence of interests on approaching 
our frontiers. For whom and for what were they now to fight? 
Could Austria's wishes be the same as those of Russia ? or 
could Russia consent to all that England desired ? The em- 
peror of Austria wished to offer me the line of the Rhine ; hut 
as soon as the question of Italy was discussed, the cabinet 
of Vienna feared they might lose their coveted prey. The 
allies had agreed not to treat s parately. England had shown 
that Belgium and Antwerp interested her more than a con- 
tinental monarchy ; her plenipotentiaries protested against 
the offer made to St. Aignan ; and the minister Castlereagh 
immediately departed from London to assist in the dissection 
of my empire. The Emperor of Russia wished to come to 
Paris to return my visit to Moscow, and to aid in the con- 
quest of Antwerp, in order to obtain Warsaw. Austria 
espoused the maritime interests of England, because the pre- 
servation of my maritime establishments was of little im- 
portance to her , she consented to conquer Antwerp in order 
to be certain of regaining Milan and of retaining Venice ! 

The invasion, however, had some opponents who feared 
the infku ,ue ot < ir fortifications and our national energy, 
and who saw the divergence in the political interests of the 
allies. The question was decided in the affirmative through 
the iufluence of a committee of intriguers in France, who 
encouraged the ruin of their country in order to satisfy per- 
sonal ambition, and who sent secret agents to Frankfort to 
inform the allies of the facility of pushing on to Paris. In 
the mean time another committee of Bernese oligarchs came 
to offer the Swiss territory to serve as a bridge over the 
Rhine ; for the Austrians, as usual, sought a distant passage 

VOL. IV. — 16. 


when they could have made one almost anywhere. The 
invasion was the» resolved upon.* 

The Allies pass the Rhine.— Being aware that my Con- 
tinental System had incited the opposition of the merchants 
of Amsterdam, and that many of our fortresses in Holland 
were deprived of all means of defense, the allies detached the 
corps of Bulow and Benkcndorf against Holland. They 
took possession of all the country to the Waal without oppo- 
sition, and Nimeguen and even Grave opened their gates, 
without making any defense. 

Blucher passed the Rhine near Mayence, and leaving a 
corps at that place advanced on Nancy. Wittgenstein passed 
at Brisach and crossed the Vosge mountains ; but they 
were met on the way by a crowd of armed country people 
who were prepared to dispute the invasion of their soil. In 
vain did the enemy pronounce death upon all villagers taken 
in arms, and burn to ashes every French village which at- 
tempted resistance : the plains of Alsace and the valleys of 
the Vosges threw out bands of laborers who made the isola- 
ted detachments of the armies of Prussia and Austria pay 
dearly for the excesses which they committed. They alone 
for a time suspended the march of the enemy. The inhabi- 
tants of Champagne and Franche-Comte followed their ex- 
ample ; the people of Burgundy rose in their turn, and for 
some days I ventured to hope that love of country would do, 
in 1814, as much as the system of terror in 1793. 

* Jomini denies the charge made against him of having advised the inva- 
sion of his own country — Switzerland. He says he used every means in his 
power to prevent that invasion, by obtaining a promise from the Emperor of 
Russia to respect the neutrality of that country ; but that this promise was 
broken by Austria on the solicitations of the Bernese oligarchs. Jomini also 
advised against the invasion of France in 1813, as contrary to the future in- 
terest of Russia, inasmuch as it would give to the English too great a prepon- 
derance, by depriving France of the means of opposing them. If the march 
on Paris was a memorable triumph, its fruits, he says, have been far from satis- 
factory. His opinions are fully sustained by reliable authorities. 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 243 

Schwartzenberg had invaded Switzerland, pushing three 
columns on Geneva, in order to seize the road of Siinplon 
and decide the evacuation of Italy. The grand allied army 
profited by the violation of the Swiss territory to cross Bale, 
and advance on Bêfort and Vesoul. In conformity to my 
orders, our corps yielded to the enormous superiority of the 
enemy, to concentrate toward Chalons. The first engagement 
took place at Langres, where my Old Guard sustained a com- 
bat in order to give us a few days' repose. 

Now began that ever memorable campaign which gives 
immortality to the handful of brave men who did not des- 
pair of their country. Their confidence animated mine ; 
witnessing their patriotism, their devotion to my person, 
their valor, was I culpable in supposing that nothing was 
impossible for such soldiers ? 

Napoleon takes the Field against them. — The enemy was 
now within a few leagues of Paris. Notwithstanding the 
insufficiency of my means, it was necessary to do every thing 
in my power to prevent their arrival. On the twenty-fifth 
of January, after having assembled the chiefs of the National 
Guard of Paris, and received from them the oath of fidelity, 
I left the capital for Chalons. I had again confided the 
regency to the Empress Maria Louisa, and given the title of 
Lieutenant of the Empire to my brother Joseph, who was to 
preside in the council. On my departure I bid adieu to my 
w r ife and son. . . . My heart was bursting with emotion. 
. . . A sad presentiment agitated me. ... I was 
bidding them an eternal farewell ! 

The allied sovereigns, with their grand army of one hundred 
and twenty thousand men, were advancing from Langres on 
Chaumont ; Blucher with about fifty thousand men, had passed 
Nancy and directed his march towards Joinville and St. 
Dizier on the Marne. I had, to oppose these masses, only 
about seventy thousand men still scattered along an exten- 


sive line. Mortier, with fifteen thousand men, formed the 
right at Troyes ; at the centre between Chalons and Vitry, 
Ney, Victor, and Marmont, had collected about forty-five 
thousand men ; finally, Macdonald with nine thousand men 
coming from Namur, had passed Mézières and was approach- 
ing Bethel. 

He attacks Blucher.— I knew that the allies were ad- 
vancing imprudently in separate corps ; but as this usually 
happens in war, I had no exact data as to the precise posi- 
tions of these corps or their strength. I knew, however, that 
by pushing rapidly with my centre from Vitry by St. Dizier 
and Joinville, en Chaumont, I would succeed in placing my- 
self between the army of Blucher and the grand allied army, 
and attack them before they could unite their forces On 
the twenty-seventh of January we marched on St. Dizier. 
This city was occupied by the Russian cavalry of Blucher's 
army, which was readily withdrawn. I here learned that 
Blucher with twenty-six thousand Russians had passed the 
Marne at Joinville, and already filed on Brienne, directing 
himself towards Troyes ; but that General York with 
twenty thousand Prussians was still at St. Mihiel on the 
Meuse. We had thus cut in two the army of Silesia. I 
resolved to profit immediately by this circumstance to fall on 
Blucher before he could be joined by the grand allied army, 
which was in march from Chaumont on Bar-sur-Aube. 

First Combat of Brienne. — On the twenty-eighth we 
reached Montierender ; the twenty-ninth we marched on 
Brienne. Blucher was preparing to leave this city, to march 
on Troyes, and General Sacken with a corps of eighteen 
thousand men, already occupied Lesmont. Unfortunately 
an officer whom I had sent to Mortier with orders to approach 
me, was taken by a party of the enemy ; from his dispatches 
Blucher learned that I was about to debouch on his rear ; 
he recalled Sacken's corps in all haste. My infantry whose 

OH. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 245 

march was greatly retarded by the bad condition of the roads 
which are here almost impracticable in the winter, did not 
arrive before Brienne till about four o'clock in the afternoon. 
Blucher, reënforced by the Russian cavalry of the grand 
army, had collected there about twenty-eight thousand men. 
We attacked him, The Russians defended themselves at 
Brienne with obstinacy in order to cover the movement of 
their park on Lesmont. We carried the citadel, but the 
enemy held the city. This combat cost each party about 
three thousand men, without leading to any result. In the 
night Blucher retired, not by the road by which he came, 
but in the direction of Bar-sur-Aube, through which the 
grand army of the allies was to pass. 

On the thirtieth I moved in advance. The enemy's cavalry 
covered the retreat of the army of Silesia, which occupied 
the position of Trannes. I established mine in that of 
Rothicre. Prince Schwartzenberg, who commanded the 
grand army, transferred his head-quarters to Bar-sur-Aube. 
The greater part of his army concentrated on that place ; 
but the corps of Wittgenstein and Wrede, making about 
forty thousand men, were thrown on Joinville, in order to 
secure the communication with York's corps, which arrived 
the same day at St. Dizier. 

Battle of Brienne.— Being informed that Blucher was 
already in a position to be sustained by the grand army of 
the sovereigns, I did not venture to attack him at Trannes, 
for fear of encountering very superior forces. On the other 
side, it was important to unite with Mortier, so as to cover 
the road to Paris ; and as the bridge of Lesmont had been 
destroyed, it was necessary to hold for twenty-four hours at 
Brienne in order to restore it. This was the only road 
which we could take, inasmuch as there was no direct road 
from Lesmont to Arcis, by the right bank of the Aube. It 
was therefore necessary at any price to gain one day, to march 


to Troyes, rally there Mortier and Macdonald, and wait to 
see more clearly the projects of the enemy. I hoped that 
they would jjass the following day in uniting their forces, 
and combining an attack which would have given us time to 
effect my projects. I thought that, with the desire to profit 
by then- superiority, they would make wide movements on 
my flanks, and enable me to fight them in detail. But un- 
fortunately they had resolved at Chaumont to concentrate 
their masses, and give me battle, on the first of February. 

The attack was begun at noon ; my army sustained it 
admirably. On the right Gérard heroically disputed the 
bridge of Dienville with the Austrians of Giulay ; at the 
centre, Sacken threw himself with impetuosity on Rothière 
which was defended by the Young Guard under Duhesme ; 
our cavalry under Colbert, Pire, and Guyot, charged most 
admirably upon the masses of the Russian infantry ; it was 
on the point of breaking them, when Wassiltschikoff attacked 
and drove it back. Vainly did Nansouty and Grouchy pre- 
sent themselves on their flanks ; it was too late i Sacken's 
infantry, emboldened by the success of the cavalry, attacked 
and carried Rothière. A good part of Duhesme's division 
and twenty-four pieces of artillery fell into the hands of the 

But, notwithstanding this check, I should still have had 
hopes of victory, if Wrede had not debouched at the same 
instant from the woods of Soudaine, at the head of twenty- 
five thousand Austro-Bavarians, who threatened to crush our 
left. I went in person with a brigade of cavalry, one of 
infantry, and a battery, but this feeble reenfoicement did 
not prevent Marmont's being driven from the heights of 
Marvilliers. I now resolved upon a retreat, but as it was 
necessary to gain time,, I threw Oudinot, with a division of 
the Young Guard on Rothière, and charged Grouchy to 
second Belluno on the heights of La Giberie. Unfortunately 

Ch. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 247 

the enemy was too strong ; General Rotherbourg, penetrating 
to the middle of Rothière, was received there by Sacken and 
Blucher in person, who repelled him while the Russian gre- 
nadiers were near surrounding him. On the other side the 
Prince of Wurtemberg, also reënforced by two Russian divi- 
sions, had just carried the heights of La Giberie, driven back 
Belluno beyond Petit-Mesnil, and effected his junction with 
Wrede. Our danger was imminent ; but night rescued us 
from embarrassment : the order for a retreat was given at 
eight o'clock, and executed in good order by means of the 
artillery of the guard which burned Rothière. We fell back 
on Brienno and Lesmont, abandoning fifty-four pieces of 
cannon, and three thousand prisoners ; we lost, besides, four 
thousand killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy was 
not less than six thousand men. 

This check at the beginning of operations in France, was 
the more to be regretted as it discouraged our own troops and 
raised the hopes of our foreign and domestic enemies. I, 
however, could not reproach myself for it, as the loss of the 
bridge of Lesmont and the want of a road from Brienne on 
Arcis left me no option but to fight. The next day I crossed 
the Aube at Lesmont and continued my retreat on Troyes. 
The Duke of Ragusa, left on the opposite bank of the river 
to favor our retreat, soon found himself surrounded by 
twenty-five thousand Bavarians. It required extraordinary 
coolness and intrepidity to effect his escape ; but this mar- 
shal was equal to his task. At the head of his division he 
threw himself on the enemy, repulsed them, and, conqueror 
of the Bavarians, crossed the village of Rusnay, which 
opened to him a road to Arcis by the right bank of the Aube. 
Broken by this check, the enemy no longer thought of pur- 
suit, which might easily have been continued as on the very 
night of the battle they had a heavy corps on the left of the 
river. On the third, we reached Troyes without loss. Never- 


theless our affairs appeared desperate, since in engaging the 
greater part of my disposable forces I had not been able to 
gain a victory over a half of the allied army ; for a stronger 
reason, could I hope for any greater success when they should 
unite all their forces ? I, however, felt it our duty to defend 
the territory of France, foot by foot, and to the last drop of 
our blood. In such a disadvantageous contest, it was neces- 
sary, like Francis I., to resign ourselves to the loss of every 
thing save honor. But I still had great hopes on the arrival 
of Eugene's army at Geneva, the levy of the National 
Guards, and the troops of the elite from the army of Spain. 
Congress of ( hatillon. — The overtures made to St. Aignan 
finally led to a congress at Chatillon on the Seine. Lord 
Castlereagh landed in Holland, and, having first assisted 
in reënstalling the Prince of Orange, joined the head- 
quarters of the allied sovereigns at Langres. He there im- 
mediately made known the pretensions of England, and on 
his complaints the allies withdrew their offer of the limits 
of the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, in which Ant- 
werp was included. The representatives of the four great 
powers figured in this congress. Stadion represented Aus- 
tria, and Count Razumousky represented Russia. Both were 
my sworn enemies. The latter, for a long time disconnected 
from public affairs, hated me with the most bitter animosity. 
Having taken part in producing the coalition of 1805, he 
had been severely handled in the articles of the Moniteur, 
which had excited his rancor. Moreover, he regarded me 
only as the conqueror of Friedland and Austerlitz, whom it 
was now necessary to humiliate. The interest of the Rus- 
sian Empire was not his only motive of action. It is unfor- 
tunate Avhen the destinies of nations are intrusted to men 
of violent personal animosities ; however great their merit, 
their judgment is false. Russia only wished the Duchy of 
Warsaw. Prussia, her old possessions, or an equivalent of 

Ch. XXI] 

CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 249 

five millions of inhabitants ; Austria desired Italy. I could 
agree to these sacrifices ; it was also necessary to satisfy 
England ; but without Antwerp she regarded peace as dis- 
advantageous to her. I had then to resign the provinces 
which I had received from the Directory and dishonor my 
reign, or resolve to conquer or die. 

The first overture to Caulaincourt, who represented me at 
Chatillon, was that it was necessary for me to return to the 
limits of 1792. This entirely changed the negotiation, for 
my instructions to him had been based on the propositions 
of Frankfort. The battle of Brienne and the arrival of the 
English minister had thus overthrown every thing. My 
minister asked for new instructions. He also asked of the 
allies to know what division was to be made of my spoils. 

These new pretensions showed that I had nothing to hope 
from a congress which seemed more disposed to judge me, 
than to negotiate with me. I had, therefore, to trust only 
in my sword, and my affairs were daily becoming worse. In 
Italy Murat had thrown off the mask and decided against 
me, thus endangering the position of the viceroy. In Bel- 
gium, where General Maison had taken the command of a 
small corps of ten or twelve thousand men, Billow's corps 
and Graham's English division had made preparations for the 
siege of Antwerp ; Carnot commanded there, and the means 
at his disposal made me confident of a good defense. But 
the allied forces were accumulating with frightful rapidity. 
The Duke of Weymar was marching toward Belgium with 
anew corps of twenty-six thousand German confederates; 
this would enable the allies to withdraw Billow's corps to 
reenforce the army of Blucher. There was not a moment 
to be lost ; Europe in arms was pressing on me with all her 
force. Nevertheless, as I was expecting two divisions of 
good troops from the army of Spain, and some hastily 
° mnized battalions of National Guards, I determined to 



gain time. I communicated to my council the humiliating 
conditions of the allies. All, with the exception of Count 
Cessac (Lacuée), were of opinion that I should them 
in order to save France. The history of Carthage ought to 
have taught these pusillanimous councillors that a state is 
not to be saved by humiliating itself before implacable con- 
querors. I gave Caulaincourt carte-blanche to subscribe to 
all the sacrifices. I recommended to him to separate the 
question of Belgium from that of the left bank of the Rhine. 
In authorizing him to yield Belgium first, it was evident 
that on the first European war this province would return to 
us in a few days. At the worst, if they insisted on this 
double sacrifice, he could sign it, and as the power of con- 
firming the treaty rested in me, I could refuse its ratification, 
or elude its execution ; for I could never consent to save 
my throne at the expense of honor. 

Faults of Bluclicr. — In the mean time, having united with 
Mortier, I resolved to profit by the nature of the country 
behind Troyes to arrest, at least for a few days, the progress 
of the allies ; but a report received from Macdonald opened 
a new field for my hopes, and induced me to adopt other 

After the battle of Rothière, if the allies had followed in 
mass the road to Paris by Troyes, they might have reached 
the gates of the capital. This was the opinion of the Em- 
peror Alexander ; but the allied generals wished to ma- 
nœuvre : Schwartzenberg with the grand army crossed the 
Aube, and marched with slow and uncertain steps on Troyes, 
to act in the basin of the Seine. Blucher was to operate in 
the valley of the Marne by Epernay, Dormons, Chateau- 
Thierry, and La Ferté-sous-Jouarre ; and the glory of pre- 
ceding his colleague to Paris, drew him into a series of false 
movements. I received this information on the evening of 
the fifth, and immediately resolved to take advantage of 

Cil. XXL] « A M F A I G N OF 18 14. 251 

these faults. I retired to Nogent where I could fall upon 
the left flank of Blucher, if he continued to march alone on 

Position of the two Armies. — I left Troyes on the sixth, 
and passed the Seine at Nogent on the seventh. Blucher 
continued to extend himself along the Marne, threatening 
Meaux. I saw that the moment had arrived to attack him : 
I left twenty thousand men with Oudinot and Victor to de- 
fend the course of the Seine, and the reads from Troyes to 
Paris, against the enterprises of the grand allied army, and 
with the remaining twenty-live thousand marched, on the 
ninth, from Nogent to Sezanne ; on the tenth, I advanced 
on Champ-Aubert. Blucher had the gallantry to second my 
designs, by dividing his forces. Sacken with fifteen thousand 
Russians had already reached La Ferté-sous-Jouarre ; York 
with twenty-thousand Prussians was in march on Chateau- 
Thierry ; Champ-Aubert was occupied by the Bussian divi- 
sion of Olsowzief, composed of five thousand infantry ; 
finally the Prussian marshal himself was yet at Frère- 
Champenoise with the Prussian corps of Kleist, and the 
Kussian corps of Kapzewicz, who had just joined his army, 
forming here a total of twenty thousand men. Thus this 
army of sixty thousand combatants could oppose to my blows 
only isolated divisions. 

Combat ©f Champ-Aubert. — General Olsowzief was the 
first attaeked ; the combat commenced about nine o'clock in 
the morning. The Russians, although destitute of cavalry, 
defended their position for the whole day with valor ; but, 
being overwhelmed by superior numbers and surrounded, 
they were entirely destroyed. Olsowzief himself was captured, 
with three thousand men and twenty pieces of artillery. 
Fifteen hundred Russians were killed. This affair, although 
important in itself as our first success, became still more so 
in its consequences. Our position at Champ-Aubert cut the 


army of Silesia in two, and Sacken's corps was greatly com- 
promised. Not wishing to give him time to escape, I im- 
mediately marched against him. Leaving Marmont at 
Etoges to hold Blucher in check with eight or nine thousand 
men, I moved on the eleventh with the remainder of my 
forces from Champ-Aubert to Montmirail. 

Combat of Montmirail.— I arrived here at ten o'clock in 
the morning. Blucher, seeing, when too late, the necessity 
of concentration, had ordered Sacken and York to fall back 
on Montmirail. These two generals deemed it their duty to 
execute this order ; but Sacken had hardly reached Vieux- 
Maisons when he learned that we had anticipated him at 
Montmirail. On the other side, York informed him that, 
being delayed by the bad state of the roads, he could not 
reach that place before the close of the day. It would have 
now been prudent for the Russian general to file by his left 
to fall back on Chateau-Thierry, where the Prussians had 
guarded a bridge over the Marne ; but Sacken deemed it his 
duty to obey the orders of his general, and to cut his way 
sword in hand by attacking us in the position which we oc- 
cupied in advance of the city, a little above the branching of 
the streets to Chateau-Thierry and La Ferté. The affair 
was warm, and our victory complete. Night alone prevented 
the entire destruction of the enemy. As it was he lost 
twenty-six pieces of cannon, and four thousand men killed, 
wounded, and prisoners. 

Affair of Chateau-Thierry. — The next day, reënforced by 
fifteen hundred horse, we pursued him to Chateau-Thierry, 
where he repassed the Marne in great disorder. The rear- 
guard of York, which was partly deployed on the road to this 
city, was pierced by the cavalry of Nansouty and thrown 
into the Marne. This affair cost the allies at least three 
thousand men. On the thirteenth, we passed the Marne at 
Chateau-Thierry. The enemy had continued their retreat on 

Cil XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 253 

the road to Soissons. Mortier pursued them with a corps of 
four or five thousand men on Kocourt. 
Defeat of Bluchcr at Vaux-Champs and Etoges. — To 

complete the defeat of the army of Silesia, I now had only 
to crush the corps of Kleist and Kapzewicz. Blucher ad- 
mirably seconded my plans. The Prussian marshal, distin- 
guished for his operations in Silesia and Saxony, seemed 
blinded by hatred and presumption. Not comprehending my 
manœuvre, he had remained for forty-eighty hours with his 
arms folded at Vertus, where he had gone from Frère-Cham- 
penoise on the morning of the eleventh. On the thirteenth, 
he marched in the direction of Montmirail. Marmont, being 
too weak to seriously engage him, fell back to Vaux-Champs. 
I saw with pleasure Blucher running blindly into my snare. 
Leaving Mortier at Kocourt to observe the remains of Sacken 
and York, I left Chateau-Thierry, with the remainder of my 
guard and the cavalry of Grouchy, for Montmirail, where I 
arrived at eight o'clock on the morning of the fourteenth. I 
here met Martnont and immediately ordered him to take the 
offensive against the enemy who had advanced to Vaux- 
Champs. We carried this village. Blucher, seeing himself 
attacked when he thought himself in pursuit, ordered a re- 
treat ; it was honorable but disastrous for the enemy. His 
columns, warmly pressed in rear and turned by the cavalry 
of Grouchy, experienced immense losses on their retrograde 
inarch on Etoges. This battle cost him an additional loss 
of ten colors, fifteen pieces of artillery, and about eight thou- 
sand men hors-de-combat or prisoners. 

He rallies his Army on Chalons.— Blucher retired on 
Chalons, where he was joined by the corps of Sacken and 
York, who made a long detour by Rheims. The army of 
Silesia found itself weakened by the loss of twenty thousand 
men ; but a reënforcement which it received at Chalons again 
increased its numbers to forty-five thousand combatants. 


On the other side, the arrival of Wintzingerode's corps, which 
had finally got possession of Soissons by a coup-de-main, 
was calculated to lend him powerful aid. Notwithstand- 
ing this, the disorder was so great in his army when it reached 
Chalons that, if I had pushed it warmly, I should have an- 
nihilated it. But the danger of the capital called me in 
another direction. This was unfortunate, for in war as in 
smithery, it is necessary to strike while the iron is hot. 

Movement of the Allies on IVogent.— While I was thus 
occupied on the Marne, Paris was threatened on the side of 
the Seine. The marshals whom I had left on the roads from 
Troyes to Paris were too weak to arrest the grand army 
of the allies, if it acted together and with vigor ; hut 
Schwartzenberg was tied down by the instructions of his 
cabinet which had ordered him not to pass the Seine. My 
father-in-law pretended to wish to spare the territory of his 
son-in-law, and to be willing to preserve for him the monarchy 
of Louis XIV., minus Lorraine and Alsace. All military 
dispositions were made subordinate to the political ther- 
mometer of the congress of Chatillon. The enemy had oc- 
cupied Troyes on the seventh ; he did not leave there till 
the tenth, and then advanced eccentrically on Nogent, Sens, 
and Auxerre. The Wurtembergers got possession of Sens on 
the eleventh. G-enerals Wittgenstein and Wrede were less 
fortunate before Nogent ; the detachment left in this city 
by Marshal Victor, defended it with intrepidity. Despairing 
of being able to force this post, the enemy's generals deter- 
mined to turn it. On the twelfth, Wittgenstein remained 
before Nogent while Wrede pushed on to Bray, which place 
he carried without opposition, the National Guards who were 
stationed there having fled without firing a shot ! The loss 
of Bray forced Bourmont to evacuate Nogent, Oudinot and 
Victor attempted to oppose the progress of the allies across 
the Seine, but seeing it impossible, they fell back by Nangis 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 255 

ou Guignes behind the Teres, where they were reënforced, on 
the fifteenth, by some detachments from the army of Spain 
and by the corps of Macdonald, which the victory of Mont- 
mirail had rendered disposable. 

Napoleon flies to the Seine to save Paris.— Paris in the 
mean time was in alarm ; they sent me courier after courier 
pressing me to come to their assistance. I was now ready to 
do so, as the army of Silesia, thrown back on Chalons gave 
me no more inquietude. I left Marmont with ten thou- 
sand men at Etoges to observe Blucher, and Grouchy with 
three thousand horse at Ferté-sous-Jouarre to serve as a re- 
serve to Marmont and Mortier. With the remainder of my 
guard I left Montmirail on the fifteenth, and directed myself 
by Meaux on Guignes. The cavalry marched night and day 
and the infantry traveled en-poste. In this way we made 
three leagues in thirty-six hours and reached Guignes on the 
sixteenth, where we found the army of the marshals, which 
again gave me a force of thirty thousand combatants. I 
should have had less distance to march, if I had fallen by 
Sezanne on Nogent or Provins, supporting the marshals on 
this city in order to gain the right flank of Schwartzenberg 
and throw his line on Montereau, instead of establishing 
myself on his front ; but the difficulty was to secure a junc- 
tion with the three corps established behind the Yères, (Vic- 
tor, Macdonald and Oudinot) ; and, bringing with me only 
the guard under the orders of Ney, it was necessary to begin 
by securing the means of attacking a superior army without 
compromising my troops in an isolated movement. 

Slow March of Schwartzenberg.— Prince Schwartzenberg, 
hearing of Blucher's multiplied defeats, did not deem it his 
duty to cross the Seine with all his for^s ; he was content 
to throw on the right of the river the corps of the Prince of 
Wurtemberg, of Wrede, and of Wittgenstein, which estab- 
lished themselves at Montereau, Donemarie, and Provins. 


Count Pahlen, with the vanguard of Wittgenstein, pushed 
on to Mormant. 

Combat of \angis. — Convinced that it was only by extreme 
activity that I could compensate for my inferiority in num- 
bers, I took the offensive on the seventeenth, directing all 
my forces on Mormant. The advanced guard of Pahlen, 
being unexpectedly attacked, was almost all captured ; the 
allies put themselves in retreat. Oudinot pursued them on 
Provins, Macdonald on Donemarie. Victor, being charged 
with gaining Montereau, encountered on the road a Bavarian 
division which he defeated ; but this prevented him from 
reaching Montereau the same day. The enemy lost three 
thousand men, and fourteen pieces of cannon. This eccentric 
pursuit was a fault ; I ought to have thrown all my forces 
on Provins or on Bray. 

Combat of 3Iontorcau. — On the eighteenth we continued 
to advance to the Seine. Wittgenstein repassed the river at 
Nogent, and Wrede at Bray ; but the Prince of Wurtem- 
berg, fettered by the ill-conceived instructions of Schwartzen- 
berg, had the temerity to accept an engagement before 
Montereau with the second corps. The position, covered by 
a numerous artillery, was good so long as they remained firm, 
but passing a coup-gorge in the rear, it was really a danger- 
ous one. Victor attacked it first without success ; but Gen- 
eral Gérard carried himself there with his reserve which was 
composed of peasants ; I gave him the command, and he 
threw all into' the defile : I hastened to the place with some 
squadrons which completed the victory. Montereau and the 
bridge were 1 carried by a charge, and the Wurtembergers 
driven to Marolles with the loss of six thousand killed, 
wounded, and prisoners. AVe lost .two thousand and five 
hundred men, and the brave General Chateau, an officer of 
great hope ; he was the son-in-law of the Duke of Belluno, 
and his chief of staff. 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 18 14. 257 

Schwartzenberg evacuates Troyes.— These checks dis- 
couraged the allies, and Schwartzenberg retired on Troyes, 
soliciting Blucher to fly to his assistance. I passed the Seine 
on the nineteenth at Montereau, and the following days 
marched on Troyes. On the twenty-second we arrived before 
that city. The grand army of the allies, concentrated at 
Troyes, occupied both banks of the Seine. Blucher coming 
from Chalons by Arcis, was at Méry, and in immediate con- 
nection with Schwartzenberg. This junction is the best 
proof that I had lost a part of my advantage in .throwing 
myself on the left of the grand army. I should have pro- 
duced greater results, and at least have had less ground to 
march over to turn and break its right : an operation which 
would have prevented any junction with Blucher. Be that 
as it may, I expected that the allies would profit by the 
union of such large forces to offer me a decisive battle. I 
was resolved to accept it, for we could not retreat without 
drawing the enemy on the capital ; but to my great astonish- 
ment they did nothing, and continued their retreat. The 
events which had taken place in the south had redoubled the 
fears of Schwartzenberg, as they singularly opposed the 
views of his master on Italy. 

These successes had revived my hopes, less by their posi- 
tive results, than by the expectation that they would electrify 
France, and that a national movement Avould lead to the 
expulsion of the enemy from our territory. I only required 
fifty thousand National Guards to assist me in forcing the 
allies back into Germany ; but these fifty thousand men 
were not raised ! In my present victorious attitude the 
propositions made to Caulaincourt could not be accepted. 
I feared that he might use the unlimited powers which I had 
given him at the instance of my counselors, to accept these 
propositions ; but fortunately he was in no haste to consum- 
mate my humiliation. These j)owers were now withdrawn. 

vol. iv. — 17. 


Some men, very little versed in the diplomatic affairs of 
Europe, have accused him of having neglected these ten days, 
during which he had a carte-blanche : nothing can he more 
unjust. In doing this he might have saved my crown, hut 
France would have gained nothing ; instead of a brilliant 
monarchy she would have heen only an ahased empire. I 
felt grateful to him for sparing my glory hy declining to sign 
any such propositions. At the moment when I withdrew 
his powers, he was required hy the allies to submit a counter 
project, if he did not accept that which was presented to 
him as the Bine qua non of the coalition. This gave place to 
new delays, at which I was not displeased ; for I hoped 
everything from time, not thinking that every day would 
draw closer the "bonds of an alliance justly regarded as mon- 
strous. But before stating what took place at the diplomatic 
head-quarters of the sovereigns, I will briefly describe the 
events which had occurred in the south. 

Operations of Eugene and Augcrcau. — The defection of 
Murat for a moment exalted the hopes of the cabinet of 
Vienna ; but the slowness of his advance on the Po to 
operate in concert with Marshal Bellegarde, the mystery 
which covered his march, the relations maintained with the 
viceroy, made them suspect the fidelity of this new ally. On 
the other side, it was evident that the king of Naples delayed 
only to declare in favor of the successful party ; and on the 
news of my first reverse in France Eugene would be assailed 
on all sides. The Austrians had already pushed detachments 
from Geneva on the communication of the Simplon. A 
storm was threatening Piedmont and Upper Italy. The 
English were preparing for a descent at Leghorn to join 
Murat. The viceroy, though surrounded by enemies, did not 
lose his courage : his first care was to evacuate the line of 
the Adige in order to concentrate his defense on the Mincio, 
with Mantua as his point of support. Bellegarde, attributing 

Cn. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 259 

this retreat to fears inspired by Mu rat's approach to his com- 
munications, thought to profit by the circumstance to fall 
upon the viceroy, and made every preparation to pass the 
Mincio near Pozzolo on the seventh of February. Eugene, 
anticipating this manœuvre, had reénforced his right at 
Goito, and carried his guard, reserve, and head-quarters to 
Mantua, from which he debouched skillfully on the left flank 
of the Austrians, and drove it back to Valeggio. His numer- 
ical weakness prevented him from taking full advantage of 
this victory ; but he so imposed on Bellegarde that that 
marshal, forced to return to the left bank of the Mincio, 
only made a feeble attempt to pass it, when he knew that 
one-third of the viceroy's army had been detached to Parma 
against Murat. The Austrian general, repulsed in this 
attempt, and in his ill-combined manoeuvre by the mountains 
of Gavardo, remained on the defensive. 

At this epoch, although rather late to effect the diversion 
which I had ordered on Geneva, it was still possible to obtain 
important results. Augereau had organized at Lyons a 
corps, composed principally of the veterans drawn from Ca- 
talonia. He was to advance on Geneva, raise Switzerland, 
reestablish the communication of the Simplon, join the divi- 
sions which Eugene was to bring from Italy, and advance 
with that prince toward the upper Jura, in order to act in 
Burgundy in concert with me. Augereau did in part march 
on Geneva, but in detachments, and occupied himself for 
ten days with mere accessories ; and the defection of Murat 
having prevented the army of Italy from joining him, the 
allied sovereigns had time to detach against him considerable 
forces. With one half of the energy and activity which he 
had shown at Castiglione, he might have overthrown Bubna, 
and organized our partisans in Switzerland ; and God only 
knows what would have been the result. 

Negotiations at Lusigny.— These events had caused no lit- 


tie sensation at the Austrian head-quarters, which were 
already considerably shaken by my success on the Seine. 
The allies, now become more yielding, had proposed to me 
an armistice which was negotiated at Lusigny. It was quite 
natural that my father-in-law should seek to direct the nego- 
tiations at Chatillon. By depriving me of Italy and secur- 
ing to himself my influence in Germany, he would have no 
more points of difficulty with me, and could make a display 
of his generosity. In order the better to accomplish his pur- 
poses, Metternich exposed in a council the equivocal situa- 
tion in which the allies were placed by these reverses on the 
Marne and the Seine, by the spirit manifested in the pro- 
vinces which they occupied, and by the unexpected appear- 
ance of Augereau's corps toward Geneva. His object was 
too evident to be mistaken. The Emperor Alexander, dis- 
gusted at the manner in which they carried on the war, hesi- 
tated whether he should not unite his guards and Wittgen- 
stein's corps to Blucher's army, and carry on his operations 
in a more military manner. As I have already said, this 
prince was anxious to go to Paris in order to return my visit 
to Moscow ; he was excited against me, and had sworn my 
destruction. The choice which he made of Count Eazu- 
mowsky, to represent him at Chatillon, was the best possible 
proof that he had no intention of treating with me. 

On the other hand it appeared to him just that the acquis- 
ition of the Duchy of Warsaw should indemnify his empire 
for the great efforts which it had made ; and to obtain this 
it was necessary to give Italy to Austria, a suitable indem- 
nity to Prussia, and Antwerp to the English ; but to accom- 
plish this object it was necessary to reduce me to the last 
extremity. It was only the fear that the Austrians would 
formally separate from the coalition that prevented Alexander 
from uniting with Blucher and marching on Paris. But to 
remedy all the past evils, it was decided that the grand army 

CH. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 261 

should remain on the defensive at the centre, and carry the 
Austrian reserve and the new corps-d'armée of the Germanic 
Confederation on the Rhine, while Blucher, reënforced by 
the corps of Wiutzingerode and Bulow, should operate with 
one hundred thousand men in the valley of the Marne. 
They flattered themselves by this mezzo-termino to neutralize 
the influence that state policy had had on the direction of 
military operations, and to strike decisive blows with Blu- 
cher's army, which would be under the more immediate direc- 
tion of the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia. 
The conditions proposed at the armistice of Lusigny not 
being acceptable, it was necessary to resort again to the 

New Disposition of the Allied Forces. — In accordance with 
the system agreed upon at Vandceuvre, the grand army fell 
back to Chaumont ; and Blucher prepared to advance on 
Meaux. We have just seen that he was to be reënforced by 
the troops of the old army of Bernadotte. Wintzingerode 
had just been joined by Woronzof's corps ; and Bnlow had 
been relieved in Belgium by the twenty-five thousand newly 
organized troops of the Germanic Confederation, under the 
orders of the Duke of Weymar. Finally, Count St. Priest 
was in march from the Rhine toward the Ardennes. 

Blucher marches on Meaux. — Without waiting for all 
his reinforcements the Prussian marshal put himself in mo- 
tion to march a second time on Meaux, with the hope of 
driving Marmont to the Marne, and of advancing on Paris 
by the right bank of that river. On the twenty-fourth of 
February, he passed the Aube at Baudemont and advanced 
on Sezanne where Marmont was encamped. The latter, in 
order not to expose himself to be cut up, retreated on Ferté- 
sous-Jouarre, where, on the twenty-sixth, he united with 
Mortier who had maintained his position between Soissons 
and Chateau-Thierry, against the new corps of the allies 


■which had invaded France from the north. That of Wint- 
zingerode was in the environs of Reims, and Bulow had just 
arrived at Laon. 

Operations of Mortier and IHarnionL— The marshals at 
Ferté-sous-Jouarre, weakened by the garrison which they 
had been obliged to throw into Soissons, had not over twelve 
thousand combatants of all arms. Hoping to destroy this 
handful of men, Blucher pushed from Eebais on Ferté-sous- 
Jouarre the corps of York and Kleist to occupy Marmont 
and Mortier, while the Russian corps belonging to his army 
marched on Meaux so as to turn their right and cut them off 
from Paris. Fortunately, the marshals saw the projects of 
the enemy. On the twenty-seventh, they moved from Ferté- 
sous-Jouarre to Meaux. They arrived there very apropos; 
Sacken's advanced guard was already in possession of the 
faubourg at the left of the Marne, and was about to pene- 
trate into the city. The presence of our troops defeated his 
projects. Blucher, seeing himself anticipated at Meaux, re- 
solved to operate by the left bank of the Marne. He with- 
drew the Russian corps to Ferté-sous-Jouarre where he 
passed the Marne with the mass of his army and directed his 
march on Lizy, leaving only York's corps on the left bank to 
cover his rear. The marshals, again divining his projects, 
prolonged their forces by their left to bar the passage, bor- 
dering the right bank of the Ourcq. On the twenty-eighth, 
they marched from Meaux on Lizy. The corps of Kleist, 
forming Blucher's advanced guard, was already beyond the 
Ourcq ; but as the other corps of the army of Silesia were 
not in position to sustain him, he did not venture to engage 
alone, and fell back on Fullaines, after destroying the bridge 
of Lizy. Thus Blucher saw all his projects foiled ; while on 
the other side, I was preparing to force him to give up the 
offensive and to think only of his own security. 

Napoleon marches against Blncher.— I reentered Troyes 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 263 

on the twenty-fourth ; the grand army of the allies retired 
with so much precipitation that I could not pursue them 
without compromising the capital which was now seriously 
threatened by Blucher. I, therefore, only sent Marshal 
Macdonald in pursuit with thirty-five thousand men, while, 
with the remaining twenty-five thousand, I resolved to give 
the Prussian marshal another lesson of prudence by ma- 
noeuvring on his rear. I left Troyes the twenty-seventh, 
and passing the Aube at Arcis, arrived at Herbisse. The 
next day I continued my march by Frère-Champenoise and 
Sezanne to Esternay. Blucher, checked in front by Marmont 
and Mortier, and threatened in rear by my army whose num- 
bers were greatly exaggerated, found himself very much em- 
barrassed. Thinking, however, to profit by the first day of 
March to defeat the marshals, he ordered Sacken to make 
demonstrations towards Lizy, while the corps of York and 
Kaptsewicz passed the Ourcy at Crouy to turn their left ; 
but the bridge of Crouy being destroyed in time, the whole 
ended in an attempt by the Eussians to force a passage at 
Gèvres, which was easily defeated by Marmont. The same 
day, towards evening, I arrived at Ferté-sous-Jouarre with 
the head of my column. We immediately commenced the 
construction of a bridge across the Marne. During the night 
the marshals were reënforced by six thousand men sent by 
my brother from Paris. 

He forces Blucher to repass the Aisne.— Blucher now 
saw the necessity of a retreat : but this was no easy matter. 
I was in position to intercept the roads to Chalons and 
Eeims. The only one which remained open was that to 
Soissons ; but that city, abandoned by Wintzingerode in 
consequence of my success at Montmirail, had been again 
occupied by our troops, and placed in a better state of 
defense. However, there whs no alternative. On the second 
of March, the army of Silesia marched on Soissons, where 


Blucher had directed Bulow and Wintzingerode to unite 
with liis army. Marmont and Mortier pursued him on the 
road to Soissons, hotly pressing his rear-guard ; while I 
manoeuvred on his left to prevent him from throwing him- 
self on Keims. 

On the third I passed the Marne, and on the fourth ar- 
rived at Fismes. I had now strong hopes of destroying the 
army of Silesia, which having no permanent bridge on the 
Aisne, would be thrown upon that river, and exposed to in- 
fallible ruin. Unfortunately Soissons was commanded by 
General Moreau, an imbecile ; not appreciating the impor- 
tance of his post which was surrounded by Bulow and Wint- 
zingerode, he thought he was doing wonders in obtaining the 
liberty of his garrison, and consented to capitulate on the 
third, without having exhausted his means of defense, and at 
the very moment when a distant cannonade announced to 
him the importance of holding out. Blucher, fortunate in 
escaping such imminent peril, passed the Aisne in the night 
of the third and fourth, and established himself on the right 
bank of this river, between Soissons and Craone. On the 
fifth, Mortier and Marmont attacked Soissons ; but that 
city, defended by a garrison of eight thousand Bussians, re- 
sisted with success. The loss of Soissons deranged my plan : 
I nevertheless determined to continue to manoeuvre against 
the enemy's left, with the hope of cutting him off from Laon, 
and of throwing him into the angle formed by the Aisne and 
the Oise. On the sixth, we moved in mass on Berry-au- 
Bac, where I crossed the Aisne, and pushed on to Corbeny. 

Battle of Craone. — I had thus succeeded in gaining the 
left of the enemy. It was now important to attack him 
before he could change his position. I resolved to make the 
attack instantly, although I had not yet been joined by Mar- 
in on t'-'s corps, which constituted my rear-guard. Accord- 
ing on the seventh we debouched from Craone against the 

( 'ii. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 265 

position which the enemy occupied in rear of this town 
between Ailles and Yassognes. I had with me only twenty- 
eight or thirty thousand men, while Blucher had three times 
as many ; but he had engaged the greater part of his forces 
in a wide and ill-combined movement to the left of the 
Lette, with the intention of turning my right. It resulted 
from this that we had only to deal with the Russian corps 
of Sacken and Woronzof, which the Prussian marshal had 
left between th3 Aisne and the Lette to serve as a pivot for 
the movement of his army. Moreover the infantry of Sacken 
had received orders to retire, and the cavalry alone remained 
to protect the retreat of Woronzof. The latter, holding the 
most secure point of the plateau, chose to fight in a post 
where we could neither manoeuvre nor bring our forces into 
action, and accordingly awaited us under the protection of a 
formidable artillery. His corps showed much tenacity in the 
defense of the strong position which he occupied. The com- 
bat was terrible. As "Woronzof had his flanks protected by 
deep ravines, we could attack him only in front. He was 
on the point of being pierced, when Sacken's cavalry, thrown 
forward at the opportune moment, restored the equilibrium. 
It was only by redoubling their efforts, like Ney, that our 
young soldiers (who had been organized only fifteen days) 
succeeded in forcing the Russians to fall back on Chavignon 
where they were rejoined by the garrison of Soissons. We 
pursued them to Filain ; the victory was ours ; but our loss 
made it a clear one. On both sides there was a loss of more 
than six thousand men hors-de-combat. This was little for 
the allies, but much for us. Victor and Grouchy were 
seriously wounded. 

Ultimatum of Chatillon rejected.— It was in the midst of 
the bloody and useless trophies of this battle that I received 
the news of the unfavorable issue of the negotiations of 
Chatillon. Instead of being disunited by my success, the 


allies had drawn closer the bonds of their union by a treaty 
signed at Chaumont, on the first of March. They bound 
themselves not to treat separately, and to redouble their 
efforts to carry on the war. In order to provide for the ex- 
penses of this war they issued in common a paper circulation 
under the guarantee of England. Thus, Europe lavished 
not only iron, soldiers, and gold, but all the resources of her 
credit, to crush that France who opposed to her only my 
genius, my activity, and the heroic devotion of a handful 
of brave men. The nation pressed down under the weight 
of my reverses, succumbed to the efforts of enemies to whom 
they had previously given an example of energy, devotion 
and patriotism. 

Strengthened by this new alliance, the sovereigns had 
maintained their original pretensions without being troubled 
by my successes. They knew that victory would finally de- 
stroy my feeble resources, and that I must succumb sooner 
or later. But I could not believe that they would not 
eventually abate their demands. The attitude which they 
hael assumed in consequence of my last victories, their de- 
inanel for an armistice which they had several times before 
refused, the expected arrival of Augereau in Switzerland, — 
all these circumstances militated in my favor. I had already 
seen them, in consequence of my first victory, retreat on the 
Khine, accusing each other of being the cause of the reverses 
which resulted only from the bad direction given to their 
masses by a tortuous policy. After this, how coulel I accept 
what the allies improperly called the limits of 1792 ? I 
would have asked nothing more, if they had given me the 
monarchy of Louis XVI. ; for, as I have already had occa- 
sion to say, at no epoch of my greatest power was my rela- 
tive situation as advantageous as that of France at the end 
of the American war. It was to deceive France and Europe, 
to publish that I refused the same territory which excited 

Cil. XXI.] C A M l'AION OF 18 14. 2C7 

the pride of Louis XVI., and the envy of the civilized 
world. All was changed since 1792 ; and if these conditions 
had appeared to me intolerable in 1805, when Spain and 
Holland were yet in our alliance, under what aspect ought I 
to regard them when these countries, in the hands of our 
enemies, were to augment with all their strength and re- 
sources, the fearful preponderance of England ? The France 
of 1792, without the family alliance of Austria, Naples,- and 
Spain, without the alliance of Tippo-Saeb, without its navy 
and its colonies, was to the England of 1814, not one-quarter 
what the France of Louis XVI., was to the England of 1792. 
It was not the same on the continent ; for France had lost 
all her ancient allies ; Poland, who had formally sought her 
kings in the family of ours, was partitioned out, and her 
weight now cast into the balance of our new enemies. Isolated 
in the midst of Europe and hemmed in on all sides, France 
would be but the shadow of her former greatness. It was 
evident to those most blind, that, even with the limits of the 
Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, she would be not only 
below the relative state of Campo-Formio, but still much 
below her relative grandeur after the sad termination of the 
Seven Years War. Indignant at such harsh conditions, I 
ordered Caulaincourt to reply by a counter project equally 
exaggerated. Thenceforth, there was not the least hope of 
an understanding. In order to cut the Grordian knot, I de- 
termined to again attack Blucher. 

Battle of Laon. — On the eighth of March, the Prussian 
marshal had assembled all his army at Laon ; it numbered 
about one hundred thousand men. I had but thirty-five 
thousand combatants, even including Marmont's corps. But 
we were in a situation not to count our enemies. If I did 
not attack, the allies would take the initiative ; it was better 
to profit by the temporary moral effect of our victory at 
Craone, in attacking the enemy, than to lose that effect by 


allowing him to attack us. I advanced toward Laon by the 
road to Soissons ; Marmont directed himself by that of 
Bery-au-Bac. On the ninth, I attacked the enemy's posi- 
tion : the combat continued all day without any thing deci- 
sive. The allies preserved their position ; and we maintained 
ours in the villages before their front. Blucher, having had 
time to reconnoitre the state of our forces, determined to 
make a night attack upon Marmont, who had not yet effected 
his junction with me. The corps of York and Kleist de- 
bouched from Athies and marched against him. The mar- 
shal's troops thinking only of repose, were completely sur- 
prised ; they fled to Bery-au-Bac, leaving in the hands of 
the enemy two thousand five hundred prisoners and forty 
pieces of artillery. Being deprived by this disaster of the 
cooperation of Marmont, I had only twenty thousand men 
left ; I nevertheless determined to make the most of a bad 
game. I calculated that the enemy, in order to secure the 
defeat of Marmont, had probably moved the mass of his 
forces on his left leaving Laon but feebly secured. He had 
in fact directed toward Bery-au-Bac about sixty thousand 
men, but near forty thousand yet remained at Laon, a suffi- 
cient force to repel our reiterated efforts, on the tenth, to 
force their position. However, we thereby gained time for 
Marmont to secure his retreat, for Blucher, alarmed at our 
obstinacy, ordered back on Laon the corps which had filed 
on Bery-au-Bac. This new concentration of all the enemy's 
forces, left us not the least chance of success. By attempt- 
ing any longer, with my little army, to resist the quadruple 
forces of the allies, I would risk being enveloped. On the 
eleventh, I fell back on Soissons where I repassed the Aisne ; 
Marmont fell back from Bery-au-Bac to Fismes. Some re- 
enforcements received from the depots again increased the 
total force of my army to thirty-five thousand men.* 

* The following comments ou Marinont's conduct on this occasion are copied 
from Thiers : 

CH. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 269 

Affair of Reims. — Success was now absolutely necessary 
to remove the bad impression of my retreat from Laon. 
Fortune, or rather the fault of the Russian general, soon 

"Marmont, unprotected at the village of Athies, in the midst of the plain, 
awaited Napoleon's instructions, which he had sent Colonel Fabrier, at the 
head of five hundred men, to learn. Was it well of Marmont to remain sta- 
tionary, or ought he not rather, after having during the day caught a sight of 
the immense masses of the enemy's cavalry, to have taken up a position for the 
night in the rear, towards Festieux for example, a kind of little hillock by 
which he had debouched into the plain, and where he would have been in per- 
fect safety. But the mistaken fear of abandoning the spot he had conquered 
in the afternoon, restrained him, and deterred him from making the retrograde 
movement that prudence would have suggested. What was still less excu- 
sable, as he did remain amidst hordes of enemies, was the not multiplying 
precautions against a night attack. 

'• With a characteristic thoughtlessness that detracted from his good qual- 
ities, Marmont deputed to his lieutenants the duty of providing for the common 
safety. The latter allowed the young tired soldiers to scatter themselves in 
the neighboring farms ; they did not even think of protecting the battery of 
forty pieces that had cannonaded Athies with so much success. Tt was young 
marine-gunners, little accustomed to land service, that tended these cannon, 
and they had not taken the precaution to limber up their guns, so that they 
might be able to remove them at the first appearance of danger. 

" Everybody, commander and officers, trusted to the darkness of night, 
of which they ought, on the contrary, to have entertained the deepest dis- 

"There were, alas! only too many reasons for distrusting this fatal night, 
for Blucher, as soon as he heard Marmont's cannon, believed that the attack 
by the Reims route was the true attack, and that the other, which had occu- 
pied the day on the Soissons route, was only a feint. He consequently decided 
to bring down the mass of his army on the Reims route. He immediately put 
into motion Sacken and Langeron, who had remained in reserve behind Laon. 
They had orders to make a circuitous march round the city, and join Kleist 
and York; Blucher, besides, sent part of his cavalry, which on that side 
could not fail to be useful. 

"The day was far advanced when this movement was terminated; still the 
Prussian general was not willing to bind himself to preparatory arrangements, 
and conceived the design of profiting by the darkness to effect a night surprise 
by leading on his cavalry en masse. 

" Towards midnight in fact, when Marmont's soldiers least expected it, a 
mass of horsemen dashed upon them, uttering terrific cries. Old soldiers ac- 
customed to the vicissitudes of war would have been less surprised, and sooner 
rallied : but a sudden panic spread through the ranks of this young infantry, 
that took flight in every direction. The artillerymen, who had not thought of 
arranging their pieces so that they might be easily removed, fled without 
thinking of them. The enemy, amid the darkness, become mixed with us, 


furnished me an occasion. Count St. Priest, who com- 
manded a new corps of twelve thousand men belonging to 
the army of Silesia, had arrived at Chalons, from whence he 

and make part of the tumult; while their horsed artillery pursue us, firing 
grape, at the risk of killing Prussians as well as French. 

" All hurry on in indescribable disorder, not knowing what to do, and Mar- 
mont is carried away at the same pace as the rest. Fortunately the sixth 
corps, which formed the nucleus of Marmont's troops, recover a little of their 
sang-froid, and stop at the heights of Festieux, where it would have been so 
easy to find a secure position during the night. The enemy, not daring to 
advance farther, suspend the pursuit, and our soldiers, delivered from their 
presence, rally at length from their disorder. 

" This accident, one of the most vexatious that could befall a general, parti- 
cularly on account of the consequences it involved, cost us materially only 
some pieces of cannon, two or three hundred men put liors-de-combat, and about 
a thousand prisoners ; the greater number of whom returned next day ; but 
our enterprise, already so difficult and complicated, was defeated. On learning 
during the night this deplorable skirmish, Napoleon gave way to the most 
violent anger against Marshal Marmont ; but giving away to anger would not 
repair the mischief, and he immediately began to think what was best to be 
done. To give up the attack and retire would be to commence a retreat that 
must lead to the ruin of France and his own. 

" To attack, when the movement confided to Marmont was no longer pos- 
sible, and when he could be confronted by masses of the enemy assembled 
between Laon and the Soissons chaussée, to attack under such circumstances 
would have been rash. Either coursa seemed to lead to destruction. 

"Listening only to the promptings of his own energetic soul, Napoleon 
determined to make a desperate attempt on Laon, and see whether chance, so 
fruitful of events of war, might not do for him what the most skillfully-laid 
plans had not been able to effect. 

"Napoleon was about to throw himself on Laon when Blucher anticipated 
him. The latter had first thought of sending half his army against Marmont, 
believing his to be our principal column. 

" But in his staff numerous voices were raised against this project, and it 
was proved to him that, above all things, he ought to oppose Napoleon in front 
of the city of Laon. Blucher, who was ill that day, and more inclined than 
usual to yield to the advice of his lieutenants, had, therefore, suspended the 
prescribed movement, and determined to direct his efforts straight before 
him, that is to say, on Clacy, whence Napoleon threatened to turn his 

" At the very moment that Napoleon was putting his troops in motion to 
renew the attack, three divisions of Woronzofs infantry, advancing on our 
left, deplo\-ed around the village of Clacy, intending to carry the place. Gen- 
eral Charpentier, who had replaced Victor, was at Clacy with his own division 
of the Young Guard and that of General Boyer, but very much reduced in 
number by the late engagements. Ney had on his side advauced to the left to 

OH. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1 S 1 4 . 271 

moved on Reims, which was carried without difficulty, the 
little garrison having no great means of defense. After this 
exploit, St. Priest remained at Reims intermediary between 

support General Charpentier ; he placed his artillery a little in the rear and 
diagonally, so that he could take the Russian masses en tcharpe that were 
about to fall on Clacy. At nine in the morning an obstinate engagement com- 
menced around this unfortunate village, whose site, happily for us, was slightly 
elevated. General Charpentier, who during the past days had displayed as 
much energy as skill, allowed tho Russian infantry to advance within musket 
shot, and then received them with a terrible fusillade. The officers and sub- 
officers exposed themselves incessantly, seeking to compensate for the want 
of training in their young soldiers, who in every respect, exhibited an unex- 
ampled devotedness. Tho first Russian division was received with so destruc- 
tive a fire that it was driven back to tho foot of the position, and imme- 
diately replaced by another that received like treatment. The assailing troops 
were exposed, not only to the fire from Clacy, but to that of Marshal Ney's 
artillery, which, happily posted as we have just related, committed fearful 
ravages in the enemy's ranks. In truth, some of the projectiles from this 
artillery knocked off some of our soldiers at Clacy, but in the enthusiasm that 
prevailed we only thought of checking tho enemy, and destroying them, no 
matter at what price. 

" The samo attack, renewed five times by the Russians, failed five times 
through the heroism of General Charpentier and his soldiers. The Russians, 
repulsed, fell back on Laon. Napoleon, again conceiving some slight hopes, 
and flattering himself with having, perhaps, tired out the tenacity of Blucher, 
ordered Ney's two divisions (Meunier and Curial) to advance straight on Laon, 
through the Pemilly suburb, which we had not evacuated. Our young soldiers, 
led by Ney to the hillock, overturned everything before them, ascended one 
side of tho triangular peak of Laon, and taking advantage of the conformation 
of the land, which here was hollowed and receding, they succeeded in attaining 
the walls of the city. But Bulow's infantry stopped them at tho foot of tho 
ramparts, then pouring forth showers of grape, forced them to redescend this 
fatal height, before which our good fortune deserted us. Napoleon, however, 
who did not yet abandon the hope of driving Blucher from his position, sent 
Drouot at the head of a detachment to a great distance on our left, to try 
whether it would not be possible to advance along the routo of La F< ; re, and 
annoy the enemy sufficiently to make him let go his hold. 

''Drouot, whose sincerity was never called in question, having after a daring 
reconnoissance, pronounced this last attempt impracticable, Napoleon was 
obliged to admit the belief that Blucher's position was impregnable. 

"The position of each had been so during the last twenty-four hours; 
Blucher had been as powerless against Clacy and Semilly as Napoleon against 
Laon. But Napoleon's position would not continue impregnable twenty-four 
hours longer, should Blucher execute his project of marching en masse by the 
route from Laon to Reims, to drive Marmont back on Berry-au-Bac, and cross 
the Aisue on our right. It was therefore impossible for Napoleon to remain 


the grand army of the allies and that of Blue her I saw that 
it would be easy to defeat this corps alone ; and, on the thir- 
teenth, put myself in march on Reims, leaving Mortier at 
Soissons with twelve thousand men. At four o'clock in the 
afternoon we arrived before that city ; the enemy, surprised 
at our abrupt appearance, had scarcely time to take position 
in front of that city on the road to Fismes. We attacked 
him, and threw him beyond the Vesle. Count St. Priest 
was mortally wounded ; his troops were thrown into dis- 
order. While their rear-guard defended themselves in 
Keims, I turned the city by forcing the passage of the Vesle 
at St. Brice. The rout of the enemy v.\l i decided ; the mass 
of his corps gained Bery-au-Bac ; tiie troops of the rear- 
guard scattered, and directed their flight by the roads to 
Neufchatel, Rethel, and Chalons. The enemy lost eleven 
pieces of cannon, two thousand and five hundred prisoners, 
one thousand and five hundred wounded, and seven hundred 
killed ; we lost less than a thousand men hors-dc-combat. 
I remained three days at Reims to give some repose to my 
troops before carrying them on the Aube and Seine, where 
the grand army of the allies had taken the offensive. 

where he was ; he was obliged to retrace his steps, and fall back on Soissons. 
However painful this determination might be, still, as it was indispensable, 
Napoleon made up his mind without hesitation, and the next morning, the 
eleventh of March, he repassed the defile of Chivy and Estouvelles, to fall back 
on Soissons, whilst Marmont, posted on the bridge of Berry-au-Bac, defended 
the Aisne above him. 

" The enemy took especial care not to pursue this angry lion, the thought 
of whose return made even a victorious enemy tremble. Napoleon could 
therefore return to Soissons without disquietude. 

" These three terrible days — the seventh at Craonne, the ninth and tenth at 
Laon — had cost Napoleon about twelve thousand men ; and if they cost the 
enemy fifteen thousaud, that was a poor consolation, because our adversaries 
had still ninety thousand soldiers, whilst we had little more than forty thou- 
sand, including even the small division of the Duke of Padua, who had come 
to reënforce Marshal Marmont. 

•'But the worst of all was, not the numerical, but the moral loss, and the 
military consequences of the last opt rations." 

Cil. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 273 

Operations of Schwartzenocrg on tne Aubc. — After the 
evacuation of Troyes, Prince Scliwartzenberg had continuée] 
his retreat to Chaumont, where he established his general 
head-quarters and his reserves. The other corps of his army 
still remained on the right bank of the Aube, having before 
them Marshals Macdonald, and Oudinot, the former occupy- 
ing Ferté-sur-Aube and the second Bar-sur-Aube. Having 
learned that I had turned my efforts against Blucher, the 
allies, after consultation, took the initiative. On the twenty- 
seventh of February, Wittgenstein and Wrede attacked 
Oudinot and dislodged him from Bar-sur-Aube, after an 
obstinate combat which cost about three thousand men on 
each side. The next day the Prince of Wurtemberg and 
Giulay forced Macdonald to abandon Ferté-sur-Aube. The 
following day the allies slowly advanced on Troyes, where 
Macdonald had concentrated his army ; but as this arm}', 
weakened by detachments, did not amount to more than 
twenty-five thousand men, Macdonald did not dare run the 
chance of a battle ; he evacuated Troyes on the fourth of 
March, and retreated to Nogent where he repassed to the 
right bank of the Seine. 

His Vanguard passes the Seine at Pont.— Prince Scliwartz- 
enberg, satisfied with his return to Troyes, remained there 
ten days with his arms folded, waiting with patience for 
news from Blucher. On the evening of the fourteenth, he 
learned that I had been repulsed before Laon. This good 
news excited his ardor and determined him to resume the 
offensive ; nevertheless, this was done with the greatest cau- 
tion, and only the corps of Wrede and Wittgenstein crossed 
the Seine at Pont. On the sixteenth, the latter attacked the 
left of Macdonald, who evacuated Provins and established 
himself near Maison-Rouge, on the road from Provins to 
Nangis ; the allies did not advance anv further. At the 
report of my return, Scliwartzenberg gave himself up again 

VOL IV. — 18. 


to his habitual perplexities ; fearing to be taken in flank or 
rear by my handful of men, he resolved to fall back on 
Brienne in order to cover his communications and the ground 
between the Aube and the Marne. On the seventeenth, the 
different corps of the grand army put themselves in retreat, 
ascending the Aube and the Seine. The same day I began 
lay operations in the direction of Troyes. 

The Empress and Regency remove to Blois. — As Paris 
continued to be the objective point of the enemy, I deemed 
it best to provide for the safety of my family. Joseph had 
received orders to remove with the council of ministers to 
the Loire, as soon as the danger became pressing. It would 
have been better, without doubt, in the month of February, 
when the capital was threatened, to send the regency, the 
senate, and administrative authorities to Nevers or Clermont. 
Then probably affairs would have taken a different turn, and 
the occupation of Paris by the Kussians and Prussians would 
not have had the same importance, as in that case there would 
have been no legal authorities there to betray my interests 
and those of France. But I feared at that epoch to alarm 
the capital, and I had then but little confidence in the 
National Guards ; it was, however, the senate and high 
functionaries whom I ought to have distrusted. 

Operations of Napoleon against the Grand Allied Army. 
— Being forced to leave Marin ont and Mortier on the Aisne 
with twenty thousand men to hold the army of Blucher in 
check, I could, therefore, take with me only eighteen thou- 
sand, notwithstanding the several reënforcements received 
from Keims ; but I expected to be joined on the Aube by 
the army of Macdonald and by six thousand men whom 
General Lefebvre-Desnouettes was to bring me from Paris. 
Moreover, I had already seen what terror was inspired by my 
name alone at the head-quarters of Schwartzenberg. My 
first march was from Keims to Epernay. On the eighteenth, 

Cil. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 18 14. 275 

I arrived at Frère-Champenoise, and on the nineteenth, at 
Plancy. My light cavalry passed the Anbe and advanced on 
one side to Bessy and on the other to Méry. The allies were 
in full retreat in the direction of Troyes and Lesmont. If I 
had supposed that they would give me battle between the 
Seine and the Aube I would have waited at Plancy for 
Lefebvre-Desnouettes and Macdonald, without risking my 
feeble corps in the midst of their army ; but as nothing on 
their part indicated such a resolution, I determined to push 
them warmly with what troops I had in hand, without giv- 
ing them time to reconnoitre. 

Battle ©f Arris.— On the twentieth, I marched from Plancy 
on Arcis ; my cavalry ascended the left bank of the Aube, 
and the infantry the right bank. We found Arcis evacuated, 
and established ourselves in front of that city on the roads 
to Troyes and Lesmont. The cavalry formed the right, and 
the half of the infantry, which had already passed the Aube, 
established itself on the left. The remainder of this arm 
was still on the march from Plancy to Arcis. I had regarded 
this place only as a point of departure for the pursuit of the 
enemy ; on the contrary, we were obliged to sustain here a 
decisive combat. 

The Emperor Alexander began to be wearied with the in- 
decisive movements which political policy had assigned to 
the allied armies ; it seemed to him disgraceful that the most 
formidable armies of Europe, commanded by their soveieigns 
in person, should be continually repulsed by a mere handful 
of men. He had at last declared in a council that they must 
unite with Blucher and act in a single mass on Paris to dic- 
tate there a peace which they could not impose on me at 
Chatillon. In accordance with the deliberations of this 
council, the allied army concentrated its forces on Arcis ; 
Wrede's corps, which was nearest to this city, received orders 
to reoccupy it. At two o'clock P. M. the Bavarian general 


commenced his attack ; my infantry maintained its position 
and defended with success the village of Graud-Torcy ; but 
my cavalry was defeated by that of the allies. The strag- 
glers threw themselves on the bridges of Arcis ; the moment 
was critical. If the enemy should carry these bridges, my 
left, deprived of all means of retreat, would be destroyed. 
Seeing the importance of the moment, I made every effort to 
rally my right, and succeeded only by placing myself at their 
head, sword in hand ; the bridges were preserved and my in- 
fantry took advantage of them to pass to the left of the 
Aube. The combat was continued till midnight : We ex- 
perienced sensible losses, but kept our position. Thinking 
that Schwartzenberg had fought only to cover his retreat, I 
determined to pursue the enemy with my troops now con- 
siderably reënforced. On the night of the twentieth, I had 
been joined by the corps of Lefebvre-Desnouttes, and on the 
morning of the twenty-first, by twelve thousand men from 
the army of Macdonald. The remainder of Macdonald's 
troops had not yet passed Plancy. But the enemy, instead 
of retiring, had united all his army, and was preparing to 
give battle. My advanced guard discovered this army drawn 
up in several lines from Chaudrey-sur-Aube to the rivulet of 
Barbuisse. The enemy had near one hundred thousand men, 
and 1 not thirty-five thousand. To accept a battle with so 
great a disparity of forces, in a vast j)lain with a miry 
river behind me, would expose my last resources to infallible 
ruin. Imperious necessity imposed a retreat, and I resigned 
myself to it. 

This retreat, executed in the presence of the enemy, might 
have been disastrous ; but fortunately, Schwartzenberg, pre- 
occupied with the idea of our attacking him, did not think 
to pursue us till two o'clock P. M. The greater part of my 
army had already passed the Aube. Oudinot's corps alone 
remained on the left bank in the city of Arcis to cover my 

Cil. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 277 

march. This rear-guard was rudely assaulted ; the allies 
penetrated into the city nnd obliged Oudinot to recross the 

Remarks on Napoleon's Position, — My situation was now 
eminently perilous. On the very day of the battle of Arcis, 
the congress of Chatillon had dissolved. The allied sove- 
reigns, having determined to overthrow my throne, were about 
to give free play to their military force ; and my father-in- 
law, wearied with the course which he had adopted, less from 
his attachments for me than for the interests of his daughter, 
promised to offer no obstacles to this plan. Count d'Artois 
was at Vesoul, and the Duke d'Angoulême at Bordeaux ; 
La Vendée was rising. Hemmed in by the enemy's two 
masses on the Aisne and Aube, the weakest of which was 
incomparably stronger than all my disposable forces on the 
theatre of war, it was now impossible for me to undertake 
anything serious against either of them. I had yet a small 
army in Italy, and strong garrisons in the north. I had 
finally sent back Ferdinand into Spain, and directed Suchet 
to restore to him the places which we still occupied on the 
Ebro ; but it had become impossible for the armies of Spain 
to come to my assistance, for they were now strongly engaged 
against Wellington who, the middle of February, had re- 
sumed the offensive and invaded Gascony. 

Success of the Allies in the South. — On the arrival of the 
Duke d'Angoulême, who gave him hopes of a point-d' appui 
in the provinces in the south, and hearing of the departure 
of two of Soult's divisions, Wellington resolved to pass the 
Adour and the Gaves, as soon as the roads became practica- 
ble. Soult, having only forty thousand men, and half of 
these conscripts, with which to oppose seventy-five thousand 
combatants, and being turned by his left, was obliged to re- 
treat. He wisely resolved not to direct himself on the in- 
terior of France, but in a line parallel to the frontier of the 


Pyrenees ; he reached Orthès, where he decided to give bat- 
tle. This actiun in which the English gained nothing but 
the field of battle, nevertheless obliged Soult to continue his 
movement on Toulouse. Wellington, solicited by the royal- 
ists to detach a corps on Bordeaux had sent Beresford to 
that place. This city, once so celebrated for its patriotism, 
received the English as the Romans received their trium- 
phant legions, and France had the misfortune to see her own 
citizens the first to welcome the invaders. 

Bold Project of Xapoleon. — It will be seen from this brief 
review of my situation, that I Avas now obliged to resort to 
the most desperate means, as nothing less than extreme 
measures could afford me any chance of safety. The fate of 
France now depended on me alone ; and no place was of im- 
portance except made so by my presence. As ten victories 
in Champagne had not softened the hatred of the enemy, it 
was necessary to remove the theatre of operations on a point 
where my success would obtain more important results. To 
make peace and save the Empire, it was necessary to replant 
our eagles on the banks of the Rhine. This object could 
not be accomplished by combats. We were too weak for 
that. I had no other resource than to manœuvre on the 
enemy's communications, at the risk of losing my own. I 
do not deny that the chance was hazardous, but it was the 
only hope of safety left. 

I resolved to run this chance, throwing myself in mass by 
St. Dizier toward the Upper Meuse ; I there expected strong 
reënforcements drawn from the garrisons of Lorraine and 
Alsace ; and by raising the departments which had been 
overrun by the enemy, I would threaten the line of operations 
of the grand army, which would be seriously compromised. 
By thus compelling the enemy to retrace his steps, I would 
have the advantage of drawing him on ground singularly 
favorable for my strategic operations. A partial victory 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 279 

might destroy the armed force of the enemy, while, in case 
of a check, I could have time to recruit under the protection 
of our fortresses. I would leave Paris exposed ; but this 
was of little importance for me whose capital was at my own 
head-quarters. As this plan of operations has not been jus- 
tified by success, there are not wanting critics who regard it 
as absurd ; for parlor generals, like the vulgar, judge every 
thing by the results. These same critics would have praised 
my combinations to the skies, if Schwartzenberg had fallen 
back on Bale, as there was every reason to suppose he would. 
But what better could I do ? I had no option. It was 
necessary to attempt this operation which, I confess, acceler- 
ated my fall before it was carried into execution, or to re- 
main between the Seine and the Marne before the immense 
superiority of the enemy, and exposed to a more slow but 
more certain destruction. What impartial man will venture 
to blame my decision ? If I had attempted it immediately 
after the victory of Montereau, and at the same time recalled 
Suchet to Lyons, who will say that I could not have obtained 
important results ? 

On the evening of the twenty-first of March, I pushed my 
advanced guard to Sommepuis ; the remainder of my army 
echeloned from this town to the Aube. On the twenty- 
second, I passed the Marne at the ford of Frignicourt, and 
marched on Faremont. Macdonald came to Dosnon. The 
allies had thrown a garrison into Vitry ; I summoned the 
place to surrender ; it refused. It not being my intention 
to amuse myself with a siege, I passed on and reached St. 
Dizier on the twenty-third ; Macdonald passed the Marne 
at Frignicourt, and arrived at Villotte. On the twenty- 
third I reached Doulevent. 

The news of my retreat from Arcis had not produced the 
effect on the enemy which I had hoped. Schwartzenberj;, 
stimulated by the Emperor Alexander, and by the partial 


success gained over my rear-guard at Arcis, and ignorant of 
my projects upon his communications, did not fall back on 
Chaumont as I bad hoped. On the contrary, he had passed 
the Aube to follow me towards Vitry, as much to watch my 
movements as to protect his line of operations, and connect 
himself with Blucher. On the twenty-second, the grand 
army passed the Aube at Ramerupt, Songy, and Lesmont, 
pushing forwards parties as far as Vitry. 

Operations of Blucher. — Blucher, on his side, unable to 
believe that he had gained a victory at Laon, intimidated by 
the defeat of St. Priest's corps, and remembering the rude 
blows which I had given him the month before, had remained 
inactive for ten entire days behind the Aisne. However, 
when he learned that I had left Reims, he prepared to cross 
that river, and resolved to detach Wintzingerode with eight 
thousand horse to restore his communications with Schwart- 
zenberg. For this purpose a heavy body of Russian cavalry 
passed the Aisne on the right of Marmont, and threatened 
to cut off his retreat. This marshal who, with nine thousand 
men, found himself exposed to eighty thousand, had reason 
to fear being surrounded at Bery-au-Bac ; he decided to 
blow up the bridge, and fall back on Fismes, where Mortier 
joined him after having evacuated Reims, which Wintzinge- 
rode occupied on the twentieth without opposition. The 
concentration of the two marshals at Fismes was very well, 
on the supposition that my enterprise on Arcis had been 
crowned with success ; but was unfortunate for the execution 
of my new project. I could not blame them as they could 
not have known my present plan, and heretofore it had been 
their task to cover my communications with Paris. 

Freed from the presence of Marmont at Bery-au-Bac, 
Blucher threw bridges over the Aisne, and sent the corps of 
Kleist and York in pursuit of our columns, while Wintzinge- 
rode took the road to Reims for the object already mentioned. 

Cil. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 281 

Everything seemed to combine, as if by enchantment to 
destroy my project ; for, at the moment when Schwartzen- 
bcrg approached the north, leaving the road to Obaumont 
exposed, Blucher, who before had resolved to inarch direct 
to Paris, took, by chance, the resolution to move to the south 
towards the army of Bohemia. Thus, the two grand armies 
of the enemy, instead of pursuing diverging lines, concen- 
trated their forces towards a sincjle line, at the very moment 
that my two little masses separated from each other. 

Marniont and Mortier arc separated frooi Napoleon.— 
The order to join me at Vitry, it is said, did not reach the 
marshals till the evening of the twenty-first, after their 
arrival at Fère-en-Tardenois. On this point must rest the 
judgment that will be given of their march. In addition to 
this unfortunate delay in receiving my orders, a still greater 
contre-temps now occurred. The Cossacks, on the twenty- 
second, captured a courier with my letter to the Empress 
communicating my project. Blucher immediately resolved 
to push the corps of Sacken and Langeron on Eeims and 
Chalons, in order to connect himself with Schwartzenberg 
who, he learned, had marched in the direction of Vitry. This 
circumstance rendered the situation of the two marshals very 
critical. From Fère-en-Tardenois they could no longer 
return to Keims, as that city was in the possession of the 
enemy, and the corps of York and Kleist had followed them 
on Fismes. They could not expect to reach Chalons by 
Epernay, for Wintzingerode was already master of that road. 
They therefore resolved to march on Chateau-Thierry, in 
order to gain the road to Montmirail, and thus reach Vatry, 
an intermediate point between Chalons and Vitry. This 
circumspection, very natural for a corps of seventeen thou- 
sand men before two large armies, destroyed all my hopes. 

Many writers have imputed blame to my lieutenants : but 
I confess that it was difficult for them to act otherwise than 


they did. Blucber marched on the twenty- third to Reims, 
and on the twenty-fourth to Chalons. If Marmont had 
received my order at Fistnes, as has been said by some, it is 
certain that he might have forced his passage on the twenty- 
second through the cavalry of Wintzingerode, which could 
not have disputed Reims. But if that marshal received the 
order only at Fere-en-Tardenois, he is blameless ; it was 
difficult to precede Blucher at Chalons. By marching on 
the twenty-second from Fère on Epernay, it was not 
physically impossible to reach Chalons on the twenty- third, 
but Wintzingerode was already there, and, being certain to 
be sustained by Blucher, he would not have abandoned the 
city. Moreover the road from Fere-en-Tardenois to Epernay 
is very difficult, and it would have required two hard days' 
march to reach Chalons. 

The Emperor Alexander decides to march ou Paris.— 
At the very moment when mere chance had given a concentric 
direction to the enemy's masses, the Emperor Alexander, 
having learned my project by an intercepted letter, and cer- 
tain of the approach of Blucher, assembled at Sommepuis 
those of his generals in whom he had most confidence, and 
proposed to them the question^ whether it was most advis- 
able to advance on Paris, toithout troubling himself about 
my movement on Lorraine, or ivhether he shoidd fall bach 
on the Rhine. All agreed with him that the first was the 
preferable course. Even Schwartzenberg, who had been left 
free by my new project, in separating from the cabinet of the 
emperor of Austria who had retired from Bar-sur-Aube to 
Dijon, decided for this bold march. The information was 
immediately communicated to Blucher, and as soon as the 
allied sovereigns were certain that the junction of their armies 
was fully consummated, they prepared to march on Paris by 
the roads from Yitry to Sezanne, and from Chalons to Mont- 
mirail. General Wintzingerode with eight thousand horse 

Cir. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 283 

and more than forty pieces of cannon, marched from Vitry 
on St. Dizier to cover their movements, and make us believe 
he was followed by the whole army. On the twenty-fifth, 
he occupied St. Dizier, and pushed his advanced guard to 
Eclaron on the left of the Marne. 

This determination of the sovereigns was without doubt 
the best which they could have adopted. But I had no 
reason to expect so fundamental a change in the principles 
upon which they had acted for the last two months. 

Efforts of Napoleon to communicate with Mortier and 
Marmont.— I had been joined at St. Dizier by Caulaincourt, 
but I could receive no news of Marmont and Mortier. The 
return of my negotiator had redoubled the audacity of the 
malcontents at my headquarters : seeing my fall approach- 
ing, they began to ask themselves whether it was necessary 
for them to share my fate by exposing themselves to the 
same chances. It seemed that the honor and the indepen- 
dence of France were of no account in this conflict where 
each thought only of his own preservation. 

The army alone manifested true devotion. 

In the mean time, to profit by my new situation, I pushed 
Oudinot to Bar-sur-Ornain. This was his native country, 
and he was to raise Lorraine. My light cavalry threw itself 
by Joinville on Chaumont, from which the Emperor of 
Austria was obliged to decamp in all haste on Dijon. I had 
been at Doulevent for twenty-four hours in a painful state 
of uncertainty, when, on the twenty-sixth, a considerable 
force of the enemy was discovered approaching from the 
direction of St. Dizier. I could not doubt its being the 
army of Schwartzenberg, and that its unexpected appearance 
had alone caused the delay of my marshals. How could I 
imagine that it was the army of Blucher, which I had left 
at Soissons behind the Aisne, separated by the corps of 
Marmont and Mortier. I had no time to hesitate, and 


marched against the enemy to defeat him, and open the road 
to Chalons, thinking that I was at last to join my marshals. 
Sehastiani and Milhaud drove back the squadrons of Wint- 
zingerode to Bar and St. Mihiel, and inflicted on them a 
loss of twelve hundred men hors-dc -combat. What was my 
astonishment when I learned from the prisoners that it was 
the army of Silesia that I had before me ! They even spoke 
of the march of two armies on Paris : but I could not credit 
such a complication of unfortunate circumstances. I stopped 
at St. Dizier, and, the twenty-seventh, made a forced recon- 
noissance on Vitry. Here all my misfortunes were con- 
firmed. The junction of the enemy's armies had been 
effected on the twenty-third, and the report of their march 
on Paris was but too well founded. A powerful party in 
the capital had invited them there ; besides, they had just 
gained a victory at Frère-Champenoise. Notwithstanding 
this thunderbolt, I still hesitated to renounce my plan. But 
to execute it with any hope of success required the assistance 
of the twenty-five thousand men which Marmont, Mortier, 
and Pacthod were to bring me. But instead of adding to 
the force of my army which was to decide the fate of the 
Empire, they were likely to be surrounded and compromised 
in the midst of two powerful armies of the enemy. More- 
over, all my generals exclaimed against the imprudence of 
abandoning Paris. For a time I resisted all their clamors. 
I feared less for my own fate, than that of my old com- 
panions in arms, and finally yielded to these importunate and 
pusillanimous representations. But before speaking of my 
return to the capital, let me describe the operations of the 

These Marshals retire on Paris.— Marmont and Mortier, 
on leaving Chateau- Thierry had taken two different roads. 
The first arrived, on the evening of the twenty-fourth, at 
Sommesous and soon perceived that it was now impossible 

Cn. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 285 

to join me, for his reconnoitring parties discovered the pre- 
sence of an immense army on the plains between Chalons 
and Vitry, and the approach of the numerous columns that 
marched against me. He was obliged to wait the junction 
of Mortier, who had taken the road from Villeseneux and 
Chaintrix, ignorant of the vicinity of a formidable army. 
Marmont, however, began his retreat on Frère-Champenoise 
where he waited for Mortier's columns. 

The allies, having received information of the presence of 
these two corps, commenced their movement, on the twenty- 
fifth, to crush them, — Blucher from the road from Montrni- 
rail, and Susanne, and the grand army by that from Vitry 
to Frère-Champenoise. The last brigade of Mortier's corps, 
retarded in its march, was overtaken at Frère-Champenoise 
by the cavalry of the allies ; and after having received in 
square several charges sustained by artillery, it left the re- 
mains of six battalions in the hands of the enemy. 

The corps of eight thousand National Guards which left 
Montmirail with a grand convoy of artillery, had just arrived 
on the Soude, without the marshals having received timely 
notice of their march, the orders for which were issued di- 
rectly from my staff. Being attacked near Frécon by the 
Russian cavalry of the army of Silesia under the orders of 
"Wassitsckof, it reached Frère-Champenoise in the hope of 
here joining the marshals. But, it was now attacked by the 
Emperor Alexander who had pushed the rear guard of Mar- 
mont at the head of the reserve of the Grand-duke Con- 
stantine. Our squares repulsed repeated charges of the 
enemy ; but in resuming the march they fell into disorder. 
Two squares were separated and broken ; the three others 
reduced to a single mass, and exposed to the fire of sixty 
pieces of artillery, were pierced and captured, notwithstand- 
ing a resistance very honorable for militia, who, perhaps, 
were here under fire for the first time. 


This unfortunate check not only cost me ten thousand 
men and eighty pieces of cannon, so maladroitly sacrificed, 
but, deprived me of twenty-five thousand combatants upon 
whom I had counted to reënforce the army which was to 
deliver Alsace and Lorraine. 

The marshals had no other course but to retire on Paris in 
all haste, and it was very far from certain that they could 
even reach there, for the Prussian corps of Kleist and York, 
at Chateau-Thierry, might easily prevent them. Fortunately, 
these Prussians had pushed forward only their infantry on 
Ferté-Goucher, having sent their cavalry in the direction of 
Sezanne to communicate with Blucher. The embarrassment 
of the marshals was, nevertheless, very great, when on their 
arrival at Ferté-Goucher, on the twenty-sixth, they found 
that city in the hands of the Prussians, who barred to them 
the great road from Sezanne to Paris. Being too weak to 
force a passage, sword in hand, they turned off to Provins 
where they arrived on the twenty-seventh ; the next day 
Mortier marched on Guignes, and Marmont to Melun. The 
same day the allies entered Meaux, and their advanced guard 
pushed on to Ville-Parisis. These events, so disastrous in 
themselves, became still more so by the consternation which 
they caused in the capital. The dispatches which I received 
proved that the approach of danger, instead of electrifying 
all minds, seemed to completely discourage them. 

Difficulties of Napoleon's Situation.— This news plunged 
me into new perplexities ; wherever I cast my eyes all was 
disaster. I first thought to fall on the rear of the allies' 
columns ; I might undoubtedly turn Vitry by the ford of 
Frignicourt ; but further information proved that we could 
scarcely reach them before they passed the Marne at Meaux 
or Lagny ; they were sufficiently strong to dispute with me 
the passage of this river with a part of their forces, while 
the remainder attacked Paris. There seemed then no means 

CH. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 18 14. 287 

of saving the capital. It was possible, however, that by 
directing my march on the left of the Seine, Paris would 
hold out till I could arrive. To increase my misfortune, my 
small army was now scattered. The main body was with 
me at Vitry ; a considerable corps had pursued Wintzin- 
gerode to Bâr-le-Duc. All my light cavalry had been pushed 
on Chaumont, to intercept the enemy's line of operations. 
The Emperor of Austria, who was there with his diplomatic 
and administrative head-quarters, saved himself in all haste 
at Dijon, hotly pursued by our partisans. I designated 
Troyes as the point of concentration for all my corps. I 
myself returned to St. Dizier, on the evening of the twenty- 
seventh, and on the twenty-eighth, went to Montierender. 

He flies to Defend the Capital.— I had not yet lost all 
hope ; I thought that the sight of the Cossacks at the foot 
of Montmartre would move all hearts, and that the Parisians, 
forgetting for the moment their ill-founded distrust, would 
make it a point of honor to repulse the enemy and defend, 
to the last extremity, the walls of the capital. This popu- 
lous city might easily put on foot twenty thousand National 
Guards, who, with the depot of the troops of the line in 
the place, could form an army of forty thousand men to 
defend the strong position which covered Paris on the right 
of the Seine ; positions for the establishment of batteries 
had been marked out, and with proper activity they might 
have been armed with two hundred guns. The occupation 
of the capital being, therefore, not an affair of a day, I flat- 
tered myself that I might yet arrive in time to revive its 
defense by my presence and the troops who followed me. I 
took the post, and traveling all night, reached La Cour-de- 
France. What was my surprise at here meeting General Bel- 
liard with Mortier's cavalry ! The army of the marshals 
was following near by ; Paris then had fallen ! 

Battle of Paris.— During the day of the twenty-ninth, the 


allies had continued their march on Paris oy the left bank 
of the Marne, leaving the corps of Sacken and Wrede at 
Meaux to cover their rear. The same night Mortier and 
Marmont had reached Charenton, and, on the morning of 
the thirtieth, occupied the heights which command Paris 
from the north. Beënforced by all the recruits of the depots 
of the guard, they had twenty thousand men under arms ; 
but the National Guards furnished only five thousand men 
to sustain the troops of the line, and they jmt in battery 
only a small part of the disposable garrison-artillery ; with 
this exception, they employed all the resources of the place. 
The brilliant youth of the Polytechnic School and of the 
Veterinary School of Alfort, the hope of an entire generation, 
volunteered to serve the artillery, which had only mutilated 
invalids to point the guns. If we compare this conduct with 
that of the inhabitants of Vienna and Berlin when we en- 
tered these cities, we shall find that Paris exhibited still more 
patriotism than they. The allies had one hundred and 
twenty thousand men ; their grand army attacked the 
heights of Belleville, while Blucher assailed Montmartre. 
The combat began with the day ; my troops, notwithstand- 
ing their extreme inferiority in number, justified their ancient 
fame ; they firmly disputed their last battle-field. Campans 
covered himself with glory at Eomainville ; old Marshal 
Moncey bravely fought at the head of the National Guard 
which assisted Mortier in the defense from Montmartre to 
the Seine. It was not till four o'clock P. M., that the enemy 
succeeded in crowning the heights of Belleville and Mont- 
martre, from which they threw their projectiles on the fau- 
bourgs. There was now no resource but to defend foot by 
foot the streets ; but this could not be done without the 
hearty cooperation of the inhabitants, and the marshals were 
doubtful whether they w r ere disposed to make this effort. 
Moreover there was no one amonjj these chiefs of sufficient 

Ch. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 289 

head to conceive and execute such energetic measures. My 
brother Joseph, to whom I had given the cominand-iu-chief, 
at Paris, was the first to leave. The marshals, with his 
authorization, entered into a treaty with the enemy. The 
capital opened its gates, and the troops of the line who had 
defended the approaches profited by the night to fall back 
on Essonne. 

Situation of France.— I returned to Fontainebleau, my 
soul weighed down to death. By rallying all my troops, I 
could yet dispose of fifty thousand men ; but this force, 
which would have been sufficient to prevent the entrance of 
the allies into Paris, was not sufficient to drive them out. 
The news from the south was far from favorable ; the En- 
glish were in possession of Bordeaux, and the Austrians of 
Lyons. The Anglo-Sicilian army of Bentinck, disposable in 
Catalonia, came to attack Genoa ; my empire was falling on 
all sides. No human force could retard its overthrow, after 
France refused to unite her fate with mine. The French 
people had not displayed the energy which I expected in the 
defense of their soil ; the small number of men who took up 
arms covered themselves with glory ; the rest well merited 
the fate which befell them. 

Want of Public Spirit in Paris. — I must confess that 
twenty years of war, the conscription, anticipated for two 
years, the cohorts of the bans levied in 1812, had exhausted 
the class which furnishes the best soldiers. Since the year 
1800, the word Patrie was no longer heard in the streets, nor 
in the salons of Paris. Nevertheless, the word honor, which 
made to vibrate every heart in France, supplied its place. The 
remembrance of the grand movement of 1793, was still fresh 
in my memory ; the independence of France was so closely 
connected with the integrity of the soil that I was unable to 
conceive the apathy of the nation at such a decisive crisis. 

The orators of the tribune seized the moment of peril to 

vol. iv. — 19. 


declaim and excite discord, when all resentments should 
have been stifled. Public scribblers with whom Paris 
swarmed and whom I had subjected to salutary restraint, 
now applied their pens to compose political pamphlets. The 
salons, filled with fops and old women who wished to guide 
the state, opened upon me their noisy batteries. In a word, 
the same nation, which in 1793 had condemned to death the 
young girls who went to Verdun to compliment the King of 
Prussia, in 1814, represented the defenders of their country 
as freebooters, and the soldiers of the coalition as heroes ! 
They did not blush to deck themselves in bonnets à la Blu- 
cher eight days before his cannon thundered on Paris. The 
brave men who covered themselves with glory in defending 
the capital against a force ten times their own, exhausted 
with hunger, found no merited succor in traversing the city ; 
but the shops, which had been closed to them, were thrown 
open to the Pandours ! All heads were turned. Bordeaux 
even excelled Paris, and the English were there received as 
liberators ! Lyons alone went into mourning at the appear- 
ance of the Austrians ! * 

* After describing the sudden change of opinion in Paris against Napoleon, 
Thiers says: 

" Such was the fierce explosion of anger to which, by a terrible reaction in 
sublunary things, Napoleon was exposed ; he who during twenty years had 
been so servilely flattered, he whose deeds had excited the admiration of the 
astonished world. 

" But he was too great not to remain unmoved by such indignities, whilst he 
was at the same time conscious that his own acts had produced this revulsion 
of public feeling. And the flatteries lavished at the same time on the allied 
sovereigns made the picture of humanity still more pitiable. 

" Alexander, undoubtedly, by his own conduct and the example he gave his 
allies, deserved the thanks of the French people. But if ingratitude can not be 
sanctioned under any circumstances, gratitude ought to be measured in expres- 
sion when addressed to the conqerors of our native land. Yet it was not so, 
and the Royalists went so far as to say that the allied sovereigns, who had 
suffered so much from the French, displayed great magnanimity, in taking so 
gentle a vengeance. The flames of Moscow were every day recalled, not by 
Russian but by French writers. They were not content with praising Marshal 
Blucher and General Sacken, brave men, whose praise was natural and well- 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 291 

Conduct of the Emperor of Russia in Paris.— But I will 
render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's : and I must 
confess that the sojourn of Alexander at Paris contrasted 
with my treatment of Moscow and of Smolensko at my de- 
parture from these places ; his conduct was noble and gen- 
erous : it is true that it was for his interest to seek to gain 
the good will of the Parisians, and that France has paid dear 
for that generosity. But as it sprung from the heart, it is 
none the less worthy of eulogy. His entrance into Paris was 
more like that of Henry IV., than that of a conqueror who 
came to avenge the explosion of the Kremlin, and the ravage 
of his empire. An immense crowd saluted him with accla- 
mation, and crowded to see him pass. They believed that, 
satisfied with my fall, he would not enrich himself with the 
spoils of the empire. 

Intrigues of the Factions.— My reign had been no field for 
the intrigues of women. With the exception of the wives 
and families of my army whom I loaded with favors, they 
loved me not : mothers reproached me with the conscription, 
as though that had been my work ; women of gallantry 
reproached my severity ; dowagers of the faubourg St. Ger- 
main treated me as a parvenu soldier, and they never could 
pardon me for eclipsing the old régime. They received the 
allies with acclamations, and waved their handkerchiefs from 

deserved from Prussian and Russian lips, but these writers sought out a 
French emigrant, General Langeron, who served in the army of the Czar, and 
related with complacency how he had distinguished himself in the attack on 
Montmartre, and with what well-merited reward he had been loaded by the 
Russian monarch. Thus, amongst the many changes of our great and terrible 
revolution, patriotism, like liberty, were doomed to reverses ; and just as lib- 
erty, the idol of every heart in 1789, became in 1793, the object of universal 
execration, in like manner patriotism had now fallen into such disrepute, that 
the act of bearing arms against the natal soil, an act condemned in every age, 
now met laudation. Weary days of reaction, when the public mind, losing its 
primary notions of right and wrong, rejects what it had adored and adores 
what it had rejected, and esteems the most shameful contradictions a happy 
reconversion to truth." 


all the windows of the boulevards through which the cortège 
passed. Intriguers presented this fortuitous circumstance as 
a manifestation of public opinion. To believe them, France 
was sighing for the princes which the same generation had 
refused to recognize : they pretended that these handkerchiefs 
were the oriflamme of the Valois, the flag of Philip Au- 
gustus ! ! ! It was a fine theme for the poetic heads of 
demagogues, and for the machinations of the Talleyrands, 
the Dalbergs, the Fouches, the Duponts, the Vitrolles, &c. 
The club of these gentlemen, directed by the ex-bishop of 
Autun, after having moved heaven and earth to bring the 
allies from Frankfort and Chaumont to Paris, easily acquired 
credit with the sovereigns ; it persuaded them that the 
nation wished me no longer ; and, certain of finding support 
among the old men of the senate, with whose conduct I had 
not always been satisfied, they hastened to obtain from this 
mutilated body a vote conformable to their designs. The 
second of April, the senate, which I had created and loaded 
with benefits, declared me dethroned, and instituted a pro- 
visional government. It must, however, be remarked that 
this resolution was passed by a factious minority ; for of the 
one hundred and forty members composing that body only 
sixty-six took part in it, and these were not the men for 
whom I had done the least. They were presided over by 
Talleyrand, whose name will pass to posterity as the syno- 
nym of an apostate and a sycophant.* 

* The following is Thiers' account of some of Talleyrand's intrigues at this 
epoch : 

"The man destined soon to fill this void — M. de Talleyrand, whom by a 
secret instinct Napoleon had foreseen as the author of his fall, and whom the 
public, by an instinct as correct, looked upon as the necessary author of an 
approaching revolution, — M. de Talleyrand found himself at this moment in a 
state of extreme perplexity. In virtue of his rank as Grand Dignitary, he 
ought to follow the Regent ; but by leaving, he rejected the great part that 
awaited his acceptance ; and by not leaving, he exposed himself to be taken 
in an overt act of treason, which might involve serious consequences, if Napo- 

Ch. XXI.] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 293 

Abdication of Fontainebleau.— The troops who surrounded 
me at Fontainebleau, although few in number, were so 
devoted, and capable of so much heroism that I might still 

leon, by a sudden stroke of good fortune — always possible in his case — should 
re-appear as conqueror before the gates of the capital. To extricate himself 
from this embarrassment, he sought an interview with the Duke of Rovigo to 
obtain permission to remain at Paris, saying, that in the absence of the entire 
government, he would be able to render important services. 

"The Duke of Rovigo, suspecting that these services would be rendered to 
some other than to Napoleon, refused the desired permission, which, in fact, he 
had not power to accord. M. de Talleyrand sought the prefects, but could not 
obtain what he desired ; and not knowing how to cover with a specious pre- 
text his prolonged stay at Paris, he took the resolution of stepping into a car- 
riage, and affect at least a willingness to follow the Regent. Towards the 
close of the day, as the battle ceased to rage, he presented himself, without 
passport and with great traveling pomp, at the barrier leading to the Orleans 

" The barrier was occupied by the National Guards, highly irritated against 
those who, during the past two days, had deserted the city. A kind of tumult 
was raised about M. de Talleyrand's carriage ; some contemporaries regard 
this as a national outburst, others believe it to have been pre-arranged. 

"His passport was demanded; he had none; a murmur was raised against 
this neglect of an essential formality; and then, with an affected deference to 
the opinion of the brave defenders of Paris, he retraced his steps and returned 
to his mansion. 

" The greater part of those who contributed to detain him, and who were 
not desirous of a revolution, little suspected they had detained the man who 
was about to effect one. 

" Not being fully satisfied as to the formality of his conduct, M. de Talley- 
rand repassed to the house of Marshal Marmont, who, the battle now over, had 
hastened to his dwelling, situate in the faubourg Poissonnière. People of 
every class flocked thither, seeking, on some side, a government, and crowding 
round the man who, at this moment, seemed to represent one, since he was 
head of the only force existing in the capital. Marshal Mortier was subordi- 
nate to him on all important occasions. 

" The two prefects, a portion of the municipal body, and several distinguished 
personages were present. Every one spoke of the late events with emotion, 
and according to his individual sentiments. Seeing the marshal, whose face 
was blackened with powder, and his coat rent by balls, the assembly felicitated 
him on his courageous defense of Paris, and then proceeded to talk of the 
situation of affairs. 

" There was a species of unanimity in condemning what they called the 
cowardly desertion of those that Napoleon had left in the capital to defend it, 
and against Napoleon himself, whose mad policy had brought the armies of 
Europe to the foot of Montmartre. The royalists — and there was a consider- 
able number present — did not hesitate to say that the French ought to throw 


have attempted some feat of arms. I, at first, thought of 
doing this, as, in the impossibility of conquering, every com- 
bat, whatever its issue, would at least add to the eclat of my 

off an insupportable yoke, and boldly named the Bourbons. Two influential 
bankers, M. M. Peregaux and Lafitte, the one connected by the ties of blood, 
the other by those of friendship, with the Duke of Ragusa, attracted attention 
by the vivacity of their language. The second especially, whose secular suc- 
cess had just commenced, and whose versatile and brilliant talents had 
attracted general attention, spoke strongly, and went as far as to exclaim, on 
hearing the name of the Bourbous pronounced : ' Well, be it so, give us the 
Bourbons, if you wish, but with a Constitution that will guarantee us against 
a fearful despotism, and with peace, of which we have been so long deprived. ' 
This unanimity of feeling against the imperial despotism, carried so far as to 
make the upper bourgeoisie consider the Bourbons, with whom they had never 
come in contact, very acceptable, produced an extraordinary impression on all 

" It was suggested in the assembly that they ought not to think exclusively 
of the army, that the capital, too, ought to engage their attention. Marshal 
Marmont replied that he was not empowered to treat for the capital ; it was 
therefore thought proper that the prefects, with a deputation from the Muni- 
cipal Council and the National Guards, should be deputed to wait on the allied 
sovereigns, and demand from them that treatment to which Paris had a right 
from civilized princes, who, since the passage of the Rhine, had announced 
themselves as the liberators, and not the conquerors of France. 

" Whilst these discussions were at the height, M. de Talleyrand arrived. He 
had a private conversation with Marshal Marmont. He wished at first to ob- 
tain something resembling an authorization of his stay at Paris, the which no 
person was less in a position to grant than the marshal, but he began to selt 
less value on this permission when he saw what was passing around him. 

" He instantly conceived the idea of making this visit facilitate a denouement 
which he now began to regard as inevitable, and which should, of necessity, 
be accomplished by him. No man was more open to flattery than Marshal 
Marmont, and none knew better than M. de Talleyrand how to administer the 
draught. The marshal had, during this campaign, committed serious errors, 
but discoverable only by military men, whilst he had, at the same time, dis- 
played heroic bravery. On this very day especially, the thirtieth of March, he 
had acquired lasting claims on the gratitude of his country. His face, his 
hands, his dress, bore testimony to what he had done. M. de Talleyrand 
praised his courage, his talents, and especially his understanding, very much 
superior, as he affirmed, to that of other marshals. The Duke of Ragusa, as 
usual, became very much elated when told that he was endowed with high 
intelligence, in which his fellow-commanders were deficient, and it must be 
acknowledged, that in this respect, he possessed what they could lay no 
claim to. 

"He listened, consequently, with a sentiment of profound satisfaction to 
what the arch-tempter, who was preparing his ruin, told him. M. de Talley- 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 18 14. 295 

fall. Besides who knows what would have been the result 
of a retrograde step of the allies ? If we could not drive the 
enemy from Paris, it was easy to fall back behind the Loire, 
to rally Soult, Suchet, and Augereau, forming together a 
mass of one hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty 
thousand men, throw them into our frontier line of fortresses, 
and fight as the Romans did in Spain when Hannibal was 
threatening the heart of the republic. The marshals, wearied 

rand took some trouble to point out the serious position of affairs, and the ne- 
cessity of extricating France from the hands that had destroyed her; he gave 
the marshal to understand that under existing circumstances, a soldier who 
had defended Paris so gloriously, and who had still under his command the 
men at whose head he had fought, possessed the means of saving his country, 
which had now no master. M. de Talleyrand went no farther, for he knew 
that no person is seduced at the first attempt He took his departure, and 
left the unfortunate Marmont intoxicated with vanity ; and now, amid the 
disasters of France he sketched for himself, in imagination, the most brilliant 
destiny, whilst the simple-minded and upright soldier, who had been his col- 
league, on this same thirtieth March, Mortier, whose face, too, was blackened 
with powder,' devoured his grief iu the loneliness to which his modesty and 
uprightness consigned him." 

* Thiers thus speaks of the conduct of Xapnleon to his officers at this time : 

" He thought it very natural that people should quit him, for these officers, 
who had always obeyed his commands, except on the last day, were naturally 
anxious to rally round the Bourbons, in order to preserve the rank which was 
the just reward of the labors of their life. 

" He only wished they had been a little more frank, and to encourage, he 
addressed them in the following noble language: — 'Serve the Bourbons,' he 
said to them, 'serve them fiithfully; no other course remains to you. It' they 
act wisely, France, under their rule, may be happy and respected. I resisted 
M. de Caulaincourt's earnest entreaties to make me accept the peace of Chatil- 
lon. I was right. For me these conditions were humiliating; they are not so 
for the Bourbons. They find France as they left her, and may accept her an- 
cient limits without compromising their dignity. Such as she is, France will 
still be powerful , and though geographically diminished, she will be still as 
morally great as before, by her courage, her arts, and her intellectual influence 
over the rest of the world. If her territorial extent is diminished, her glory is 
not. The memories of our victories will remain to her as a monument of im- 
perishable greatness, and which will always have immense weight in the coun- 
cils of Europe. 

Serve France under the princes who bring back at this moment fortune, so 
fickle in times of revolution. Serve France under them as you have done under 
me. Do not make the task too difficult for them, and leave me, but give me a 
place in your memory.' 


with the war, thought differently ; they demanded to know 
what were my hopes; my resources, and the term of their 
sacrifices. They spoke to me of abdication as the means of 

Napoleon told M. de Caulaincourt how much he was pleased with the con- 
duct of Marshal Macdonald, who, though so long antagonistic to him, acted in 
this trying moment like a devoted friend; he took an indulgent view of Marshal 
Ney's nobility, and speaking of the conduct of his lieutenants with a slightly dis- 
dainful gentleness, said to M. de Caulaincourt : -'Ah! Caulaincourt, men, men 1 

" ' My marshals would blush to act as Marmont has done, for they express 
the strongest indignation at his conduct, but they are very sorry that he has so 
far outstripped them on the road to fortune. 

" ' They would be very glad, without dishonoring themselves, to do as he 
has done, to acquire the same rights to the favor of the Bourbons.' 

"He afterward spoke of Marmont with vexation, but without bitterness. 
' I treated him,' he said, ; as if he were my own child. I have often had to 
defend him against his colleagues, who did not appreciate his intellectual ad- 
vantages, and who, judging him only by what he appears on the field of battle, 
made no account of his military talents. 

" ' I created him marshal and duke through personal affection and regard for 
the recollections of childhood, and, I may well say, that I reckoned on his 
fidelity. He is, perhaps, the only man whose desertion I was not prepared 
for ; but vanity, weakness of mind, and ambition have misled him. The un- 
happy man does not know what awaits him ; his name will be forever dishon- 
ored. Believe me, I have no longer a thought about myself— my career is fin- 
ished, or, very nearly so. Besides, what desire could I now have to reign over 
hearts that have grown weary of me, and are eager to offer their allegiance to 
another? I think only of France, which it is frightful to leave in this state — 
clipped, crippled, after having had frontiers so vast 1 Oh, Caulaincourt, that is 
the most poignant of the many humiliations heaped on my head ! Oh, if these 
dolts had not abandoned me, I would have rebuilt the fabric of her greatness ; 
for, be assured, the allies, maintaining their actual position, having Paris behind 
them and me in front, would have been destroyed. Had they left Paris to es- 
cape the danger, they should never have entered it again. The very fact of 
their leaving the city, at my approach, would be in itself a signal defeat. That 
unfortunate Marmont has frustrated this glorious result. Ah, Caulaincourt, 
what joy it would have been to restore the greatness of France in a few hours ! 
Now, what is to be done? I would have about one hundred and fifty thousand 
men, with those I have here, and the troops Eugene, Augereau, Suchet, and 
Soult could bring ; but I would be obliged to retire behind the Loire, entice 
the enemy to follow, and thus extend indefinitely the ravages to which France 
has been so long exposed, and try the fidelity of many. who. perhaps, would 
not bear the test better than Marmont, — and I should make all these efforts to 
prolong a reign, which, I clearly see, is drawing to a close. I do not feel suffi- 
cient energy to make such efforts. 

" ' Undoubtedly, in prolonging the war, we should find means of improving 
our position. 

Ch. XXL] 

CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 297 

saving France ; I felt that I owed to my country this sacri- 
fice of self-love, and was resigned to the measure. I, how- 
ever did not deceive myself as to the results of this abdica- 
tion ; but as this form might some day be of use to my son, 
I no longer hesitated. A numerous party was in favor of 
placing this child on the throne, as the means of preserving 
the revolution with my dynasty ; I for a moment parti- 
cipated in this hope, and charged Caukincourt and Ney to 
offer to the Emperor Alexander to treat on this basis. This 
prince hesitated : he had had time to see that the mad 
acclamations of a population of women, and of a few thou- 
sand malcontents of all colors, were at least very equivocal 
signs of the national spirit. Many parties besieged him with 
their fears and their hopes. He judged that if the army 
received reinforcements from the National Guards, and pro- 
nounced strongly in my favor, the position of the allies in 
Paris would become precarious. He was deliberating what 
course to pursue, when it was announced to him that Mar- 
mont and his corps- d'armée had abandoned me. This inci- 
dent determined his course ; he thought my cause had now 
become desperate in the eyes even of the army. He did that 

•"I am informed, on all sides, that the peasants of Lorraine, Champagne, 
and Burgundy, cut down isolated parties of the enemy. Within a short time 
the people will conceive a horror of the enemy ; the Parisians will tire of 
Alexander's magnanimity. This prince is gracious in his manner.-he pleases 
women • but so much graciousness in a conqueror soon becomes revolting to 
the national pride of the conquered. Moreover, the Bourbons are coming, and 
who can foresee the consequences. 

" ' To-day they reconcile France with Europe; but to-morrow m what state 
will she be in relation to herself? They represent external peace, but internal 
war You will see what they will have done with the country m a year 
They will not keep Talleyrand six months. There would be many chances of 
success in a prolonged struggle,-chances both political and mihtary,-but at 
the price of fearful calamities. Besides, at this moment, something more is 
needed than myself. My name, my statue, my sword, ^ ^J^ J 
must vield. I am going to recall the marshals, and you will see their dehgH 
when I extricate them from their difficulties, and authorize them to do as Mar 

mont has done, without compromising 

their honor.' ' 


army injustice. The brave men who composed it were 
attached to me for life or death. Their hearts told them 
that after my fall, there would be no glory, or prosperity, or 
integrity of territory, for France. I was in their eyes the 
tutelary angel of their country. They had never seen it so 
beautiful and flourishing as daring my reign. If, at other 
epochs, I had delivered it from the furies of anarchy, and 
the odious presence of foreign troops, why might I not 
eventually come out victorious from this new contest ? The 
hope of saving France inflamed their noble courage. They 
counted for nothing the fatigues and dangers which I had 
shared with them, and whose reward should be an immortal 
glory. But intriguers and royalists, compromised by their 
first steps towards the conquerors, hastened to present the 
dishonorable act of two ungrateful generals as the opinion of 
the army; but so far were the troops from participating in this 
defection, that it was necessary to employ a ruse to get them 
to Versailles, where they rose up against the treason of their 
own generals. But whatever weight was thrown into the 
scale in favor of my dynasty by the energetic protestations of 
Marmont's corps, the senate destroyed all by recalling to the 
throne the brother of Louis XVI. All was now lost for my 
son as well as for myself. Not deeming the crown worth the 
consequences of a civil war, as a sequel to the existing foreign 
war, I now signed an unreserved abdication. 

It has been pretended that the allies had no choice, and 
that they would have been greatly embarrassed at repelling 

* The following is the formal abdication of Napoleon at Fontainebleau, dated 
April, 6th, 1814: 

" The allied powers having declared that the Emperor Napoleon is the sole 
obstacle to the reestablishment of peace in Europe, the Emperor, faithful to his 
oath, declares that he renounces, for himself and his heirs, the thrones of 
France and Italy, and that there is no personal sacrifice, not even that of life 
itself, which he is not willing to make for the interests of France. 

"Napoleon.' - 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 299 

the lieutenant of the kingdom who had already arrived at 
Nancy, by trampling under foot the principles for which they 
had been fighting for the last twenty years. Such arguments 
are too absurd ; if Russia, Austria, and Prussia, had con- 
sented to treat of my abdication on condition of recognizing 
my dynasty, and of discussing the conditions of a definitive 
peace with a council of regency, the motichoirs blancs Avould 
certainly not have prevented their doing so. They yielded 
less to necessity and the intrigues of some personages, than 
to their own views of convenience and of a durable peace. 

In taking the crown I had sheltered thrones from the 
people ; in restoring it to the Bourbons they thought to 
secure them from successful soldiers. The impartial states- 
man will say that in the universal shipwreck of France, the 
return of the Bourbons seemed favorable for the country. 
Without that return, the kingdom, abandoned to the gov- 
ernment of a regency, would have been exposed to the horrors 
of civil war, and the country placed in a situation, perhaps, 
still more delicate than on my return from Egypt. The 
recall of the legitimate princes seemed calculated to save 
France from anarchy. It was to be supposed that twenty 
years of misfortune had taught these princes some salutary 
lessons ; that they had forgotten much and learned much ; 
they were better situated than any one else to reconcile old 
France with new France ; they required only the head and 
heart of Henry IV. 

I felt, when too late, that I had committed an error in not 
putting a difference of religion between my dynasty and that 
of the Bourbons. It was not the mediocrity of talent, nor 
the political faults of James and of Charles II. which a 
second time hurled the race of the Stuarts from the throne 
of England, but the opposition of religious opinion. If, at 
the epoch of the concordat, I had embraced the reformed 
religion with all the men attached to the public administra- 


tion, all France would have imitated my example, and my 
son would probably have succeeded me on the throne. 

Kussia was not inclined to favor my dynasty : in the first 
place, personal animosity had succeeded to the sentiments 
which Alexander had entertained for me in 1807 ; in the 
second place, he reflected that my son, as a minor, with. 
Maria-Louisa as regent, would be under the influence of 
Metternich, and thus add to the power of Austria. England, 
flattering herself that she would be able to exercise an ascen- 
dency over the Bourbon refugees, and wishing to give a 
triumph to the principles which Pitt had always alleged as 
a pretext for all his wars, was the more interested in the 
overthrow of my family, not from affection for ihe princes 
whose restoration she had more than once opposed, but be- 
cause, by their return now, she could accomplish her own 

A general peace followed the recall of the Bourbons ; but 
its results were hard; France lost everything. It was a 
treaty in which each one demanded ample indemnifications 
for his sacrifices and his expenses; but Louis XVIII. had 
expended nothing, and could not ask, with a good grace, for 
anything in the partition of my spoils. Carnot has re- 
proached the Bourbons for having so easily yielded Belgium; 
but this was a sine qua non, without which England would 
not treat with them ; and their return without a maritime 
peace, would have led to a war still worse than that to which 
they were putting an end. Moreover, what means had they 
left to refuse this cession ? The battle of Toulouse had just 
completed the ruin of our affairs. 

Battle of Toulouse. — Soult was making every preparation 
to defend this city, when Wellington presented himself to 
attack it, six days after my abdication. A confused report 
of the events which had occurred at Paris was not sufficient 
to deter this marshal from defending a French city when it 

Ch. XXI.J CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 301 

was attacked by the English ; but party spirit, always ready 
to misrepresent circumstances and pronounce men guilty, has 
not failed to accuse Soult of crime in making this defense. 
They have compared him to the celebrated William of 
Orange, who fought the battle of Mons after a treaty of 
peace had been signed, and out of pure animosity to Louis 
XIV. The comparison is unjust ; fur the Prince of Orange 
knew that peace was signed ; whereas Soult had received 
only vague rumors of the entrance of the allies into Paris ; 
there was still a state of war, and he repelled a hostile aggres- 
sion."* He was beaten. It is true that his left and centre 

* Napier says : 

" Marshal Soult and General Thouvenot have been accused of fighting with 
a full knowledge of Napoleon's abdication. This charge circulated originally 
by the Bourbon party is utterly unfounded. The extent of the information 
conveyed to Thouvenot through the advanced posts has been already noticed ; 
it was not sufficiently authentic to induce Sir John Hope to make a formal 
communication, and the governor could only treat it as an idle story to insult 
or to deceive him. and baffle his defense by retarding his counter-operations 
while the works for the siege were advancing. 

" For, how unlikely, nay impossible, must it not have appeared, that the 
Emperor Napoleon, whose victories at Montmirail and Champ-Aubert were 
known before the close investment of Bayonne, should have been deprived of 
his crown in the space of a few weeks, and the stupendous event be only hinted 
at the outposts without any relaxation in the preparations for the siege. 

" As false and unsubstantial is the charge against Soult. 

'•The acute remarks of an English military writer, that if the Duke of Dal- 
matia hid known of the peace before he fought, he would certainly have an- 
nounced it after the battle, were it only to maintain himself in that city, and 
claim a victor}', is unanswerable ; but there are direct proofs of the falsehood 
of the accusation. How was the intelligence to reach him ? It was not until 
the seventh that the provisional government wrote to him from Paris, and the 
bearer could not have reached Toulouse under three days, even by the most 
direct way, which was through Montauban. Now the allies were in possession 
of that road on the fourth, and on the ninth the French army was actually in- 
vested. The intelligence from Paris must therefore have reached the allies 
first, as in fact it did, and it was not Soult, it was Lord Wellington who com- 
menced the battle. 

" The charge would therefore bear more against the English general, who 
would yet have been the most insane as well as the wickedest of men to have 
risked his army and his fame in a battle where so many obstacles seemed to 
deny success. He also was the person of all others, called upon by honor, 


had repelled all the attacks of the enemy on Toulouse. His 
right, resting on the rivulet of Ers was turned by Beresford 
at the head of the divisions of Cole and Clinton. This gen- 
eral had marched with the first of these between the rivulet 
and our redoubts in a parallel, and, to say the least, an auda- 

gratitude, justice, and patriotism, to avenge the useless slaughter of his soldiers 
to proclaim the infamy and seek the punishment of his inhuman adversary. 

" Did he ever, by word or deed, countenance the calumny ? 

" Lord Aberdeen, after the passing of the English Reform bill, repeated the 
accusation in the House of Lords, and reviled the minister for being on amica- 
ble terms with a man capable of such a crime. Lord Wellington rose on the 
instant, and emphatically declared that Marshal Soult did not know, and that 
it was impossible he could know of the emperor's abdication when he fought 
the battle. The detestable distinction of sporting with men's lives by whole- 
sale attaches to no general on the records of history save the Orange "William, 
the murderer of Glencoe, 

" And though Marshal Soult had known of the emperor's abdication, he 
could not, for that, have been justly placed beside that cold-blooded prince 
who fought at St. Denis with the peace of Nimeguen in his pocket, because he 
'•would not deny himself a safe lesson in his trade." 

" The French marshal was at the head of a brave army, and it was impossible 
to know whether Napoleon had abdicated voluntarily or been constrained. The 
authority of such men as Talleyrand, Fouché, and other intriguers, forming a 
provisional government, self-instituted, and under the protection of foreign bay- 
onets, demanded no respect from Soult. He had even the right of denying the 
emperor's legal power to abdicate. 

"He had the right, if he thought himself strong enough, to declare that he 
would not suffer the throne to become the plaything of foreign invaders, and 
that he would rescue France even though Napoleon yielded the crown. In 
fine, it was a question of patriotism and of calculation, a national question 
which the general of an army had a right to decide for himself having refer- 
ence, always, to the real will and desire of the people at large. 

1; It was in this light that Soult viewed the matter, even after the battle, and 
when he had seen Colonel St. Simon. 

"Writing to Talleyrand on the 22nd, he says, ' The circumstances which pre- 
ceded my act of adhesion are so extraordinary as to create astonishment. The 
7th, the provisional government informed me of the events which had happened 
since the 1st of April. The 6th and 7th. Count Dupont wrote to me on the 
same subject. On the 8th the duke of Feltre, in his quality of war minister, 
gave me notice that, having left the military cypher at Paris, he would imme- 
diately forward to me another. The 9th the prince Berthier, vice-constable and 
major-general, wrote to me from Fontainebleau, transmitting the copy of a 
convention and armistice which had been arranged at Paris with the allied 
powers ; he demanded, at the same time, a state of the force and condition of 
my army ; but neither the prince nor the duke of Feltre mentioned events ; we 



cious movement, Soult, who bad watched this movement, 
threw upon them the reserve under Taupin, in two columns. 
Imitating my example at Rivoli when Lusignan prolonged 
himself on my rear, he cried out to his soldiers : These Eng- 
lish are ours, I give them to you ; hut fortune cruelly 
deceived his expectation, and turned against him the ma- 
nœuvre on which he founded his hopes of victory. Taupin 
leads his troops to the charge by battalion ; he is killed ; his 
troops hesitate : they are exposed to a murderous fire, and 
suffer terrible losses without inflicting any injury on the 
enemy ; finally, they recoil and retire in disorder. Soult, 
frustrated by the result of an attack which he thought infal- 
lible, hastened to leave Toulousa in order to save his line of 
retreat. The events at the capital rendered these movements 
superfluous, and this battle, lost by one of my lieutenants, 
reconciled me in some degree to my abdication. 

Napoleon retires to Elba.— Either out of respect for an 
old warrior, or to make a parade of their generosity, the 
allies allowed me to select my place of retreat ; I chose Elba, 
as being near Corsica, where I was born, and touching Italy, 
the first theatre of my glory. They accorded to me the title 
which afterward seemed to give them so much offense."* 
Finally they permitted me to take with me a small number 
of my old soldiers with whom I had run so many hazards,— 
men whom misfortune had not discouraged. Little did they 
think that one year later, the emperor of the Island of Elba, 
with this mere handful of brave men, would again make the 
conquest of France ! 

had then only knowledge of a proclamation of the empress, dated the 3d, which 
forbade us to recognize anything coming from Paris. 

" -The 10th I was attacked near Toulouse by the whole allied army under 
the orders of Lord "Wellington. This vigorous action, where the French army, 
the weakest by half, shewed all its worth, cost the allies from eight to ten thou- 
sand men. Lord Wellington might, perhaps, have dispensed with it.' " 

* The conduct of England in 1815, on this subject, exhibited a petty- 
meanness unworthy of a great nation. 


I set out accompanied by the commissioners of the allied 
powers. In crossing France in order to reach my place of 
exile, I had occasion to observe the difference of opinion re- 
specting me. If I was cherished and regretted in the envi- 
rons of Paris and in the East, I was equally hated in the 
South. They did not even respect my misfurtune, and it was 
necessary to put myself under foreign protection to preserve 
my life against the very people who had so often been intox- 
icated with my triumphs. A year afterward I compared 
myself to Themistocles ; and I believe I shall not be accused 
of wanting in modesty, in putting myself on a parallel with 
that illustrious Athenian. 

Evacuation of Italy.— While en route, I received news 
which it was natural to expect ; the Kingdom of Italy could 
not survive the empire. Threatened by the defection of 
Murat, and by his march 'on the Po ; by the appearance of 
the English at Genoa, and of Bubna on the Simplon, Eugene 
still kept up his courage. A fanatical revolution excited at 
Milan by partisans of Austria, and still worse, by the news 
of my fall, finally induced him to conclude an arrangement 
for the evacuation of Italy by the handful of French who 
remained with him. In political commotions there is always 
a class of men who suffer ; those who had had the confidence 
of Austria before 1796 and during the reaction of 1799, 
did not possess mine, and they now aspired to a change 
which would restore their influence. Making a pretext of 
the heavy taxes imposed, they excited the populace of Milan 
to rise against the minister of finances, Pirna, whom they 
inhumanely massacred. This movement gave me great pain. 
Italy owed every thing to me, and I had conceived, for her 
future, projects the most generous; her ingratitude revolted 
me, although I had already had plenty of occasions to know 
the human heart. 

Concluding Remarks,— However great my fall, it does not 

Ch. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 305 

destroy all my works. I leave it for connoisseurs to judge of 
my campaign of 1814; if they are honest, they will regard 
it, with those of 1805 and 1809, as the most memorable and 
the most scientific of modern times. Even making proper 
deductions for the influence of state policy on the operations 
of the allies, they will not deny that my movements are 
models of activity, energy, and strategic coup-d'œil. With 
seventy thousand men in the field, I held my way against 
more than three hundred thousand, and was oftenest vic- 
torious. The devotion of my brave soldiers in these alter- 
nate marches against Blucher and Schwartzenberg, where 
we had every day to march ten leagues, and every day to 
fight new masses of fresh troops, confident and proud of 
their victories ; this devotion, I say, is not less worthy of 
attention. The present generation 'has attempted to tarnish 
their laurels ; posterity will avenge them ; already it begins 
to render them justice, for their worst enemies no longer dare 
to separate their glory from that of France. Manes of the 
brave men of Montmirail, of Champ-Aubert, of Montereau, — 
repose in peace 1 Your glory is unfading ; your exploits 
will incite the enthusiasm and respect of ages the most 

I must, however, say that the demoralization had, at 
Brienne, begun to reach my head-quarters. Berthier and 
his hangers-on seemed no longer able to conceal their fatigue 
and disgust. Instead of submitting without murmur to the 
sacrifices imposed on their rank, they were continually dis- 
cussing, in my antechambers, the words peace and repose ; 
as though these had been appropriate words when France 
was inundated with enemies, and when we owed to the na- 
tion the example of enthusiasm and the most absolute devo- 
tion. The conduct of my marshals at Fontainebleau was 
not the result of a spontaneous despair, but the natural con- 
sequence of the lamentations with which they had eontiuu- 
vol. iv. — 20. 


ally beseiged me after the battle of Dresden. I had put 
them, it is true, to severe tests, after the fatal passage of the 
Niémen in 1812 ; but from that time there was not a mo- 
ment in which I had power to arrest, as has been pretended, 
the course of events. The Emperor of Russia had resolved 
not to treat with me without receiving guarantees which had 
been for me so many humiliations. If at Prague the media- 
tion of Austria had been in my favor, that prince would have 
retired behind the Vistula, but would not have concluded 
peace, or would have inserted such conditions that I could 
not have accepted it. Nor did England then desire peace ; 
for she even demanded of me Antwerp, when I still held 
Dantzic and Hamburg. Austria made a semblance of pro- 
posing peace, because she well knew that after being driven 
behind the Rhine, I could no longer defend Italy, and she 
coveted Lombardy. The contest between Europe and myself 
could only be decided by my fall, or by victories which would 
enable me to dictate peace to Germany. 

The detractors of my glory have not hesitated to compare 
my defense of France with that of Henry II. against Charles 
V., and of Louis XIV. against Eugene and Marlborough, 
and to give me all the disadvantage of this ridiculous paral- 
lel. Charles V. attacked Metz with fifty thousand men ; 
the place was defended by fifteen thousand under Guise-le- 
Balafré ; the peasants of Champagne were sufficient to save 
it. Louis XIV. saw the power of the emperor and of Eng- 
land waste itself, for six months, before Lille, and three 
more before the little fort of Landrecies ; it was not an army 
of seventy thousand men that could subjugate an empire like 
France, with such a system of operations. It is absurd to 
compare such events with the invasion of a million and a 
half of men, with all Europe to sustain them. This inva- 
sion, executed with rapidity and in a few weeks' time, at an 
epoch when no active army could be raised in France to op- 

On. XXL] CAMPAIGN OF 1814. 307 

pose them, was, nevertheless, several times on the point of 
failing from the astonishing activity of our defense. It 
would, in fact, have utterly failed, if, instead of intrigues 
and intestine divisions, we had opposed to the enemy, union, 
patriotism, and devotion. 




Napoleon at Elba — Division of Parties in France — Course pursued by Louis 
XVIII. — Different Forms of Government — Defects of the Charter of 
Louis XVIII. — Errors in its Administration — Napoleon's Reasons for re- 
turning to France — His Departure from Elba — His Reception m France 
and March on Lyons — The Bourbons prepare for Defense — Decrees of 
Lyons — Ney declares for the Emperor — Napoleon resumes his Authority 
as Emperor — Composition of his Ministry — His Position towards Europe — 
General Coalition against him — Declaration of the Congress of Vienna — 
Operations of the Duke d'AngoulJme in the South of France — Troubles in 
La Vendee — Affairs of Naples — Preparations to repel Aggression upon 
France — Motives of Napoleon's defensive Attitude — He refuses to adopt 
revolutionary Measures — The Champ de Mai — Opening of the Chambers — 
Their Addresses — Dogmatic Controversies of the Deputies — Napoleon's 
Reply — Military Preparations of Napoleon — Preparations of the Allies — 
Napoleon's general Plan of Campaign — He joins his Army — Plan of Opera- 
tions — Opening of the Campaign — Passage of the Sambre. June 15th — 
Measures of the Allies — Decisive Movement prescribed to Ney — He delays 
its Execution — His Delay in marching on Quatre-Bras — Reconnoissance of 
the Position of the Prussians — Dispositions for forcing their Position — Battle 
of Ligny — Ney repulsed at Quatre-Bras — Position of Affairs on the Morning 
of the Seventeenth — Grouchy sent in Pursuit of the Prussians — The Reserves 
and Left "Wing march against the English — Commencement of the Battle of 
"Waterloo — First Appearance of the Prussians — Napoleon hastens the Attack 
on the English — Ney's first Attack on the Centre — Attack of the Left on 
Hougomont — Ney's second Attack — Bulow debouches on Planchenois — 
General Charge of the French Cavalry — Arrival of Blucher and Bulow — 
Wellington's Dispositions — Defeat of the French Right — Last Efforts and 
Rout of the French Army — Operations of Grouchy — Manœuvres of the Allies 
The French retreat on Avesnes — Napoleon's Return to Paris — Military Re- 
sources of France — Conspiracies of Napoleon's Adversaries — Dispositions of 
the Populace — Napoleon's second Abdication — He retires from France — He 
is exiled to St. Helena — His Death. 

Napoleon at Elba.— Europe, familiar for the last, twenty- 
years, with uiy victories and gigantic enterprises, was quite 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 300 

astounded at the rapid foil of my empire, and unable to con- 
ceive that six months could be sufficient to bring the allies 
from the Elbe to the banks of the Seine, and to enable them 
to dictate to France the disgraceful treaty of Paris. The 
Congress of Vienna endeavored to reconcile the numerous 
claims, urged on all sides, for a share of the spoils of that 
bold conqueror, who, two years before, had dared to put one 
foot upon Cadiz, and the other upon Moscow. The task 
was a difficult one ; for this congress was expected to re- 
establish the political equilibrium so strongly shaken, and to 
regulate the international relations of Europe, so completely 
overthrown by the storms of the French Revolution. Fallen 
from the throne of the most powerful empire to the petty 
sovereignty of the island of Elba, in consequence of my abdi- 
cation of Fontainebleau, and separated from my wife and 
son in a manner disgraceful to the house of Austria, and for 
which history will one day justly reproach my enemies, I 
retired in a kind of exile, to Porto-Ferrajo, like Scipio in his 
asylum at Linternum, more displeased with the desertion of 
friends than with the persecution of enemies. Although 
condemned to be but a passive spectator of the great events 
of the world which I had directed for fifteen years by the 
superiority of my genius, I, nevertheless, felt a presentiment 
that sooner or later, I should be called to re-appear upon the 
stage ; I understood men and the times too well to be de- 
ceived as to the extent of the embarrassment in which the 
Bourbons would be involved when they resumed the govern- 
ment of a country so much changed since they had left it, 
and so deeply humiliated by the disastrous circumstances 
attending their restoration to power. I was therefore con- 
fident that, so soon as the first intoxication occasioned by 
the general peace had partially subsided, the most energetic 
portion of the French nation, so deeply humiliated by the 
conditions of the restoration, would regret my abdication, 


and desire my return. But the uncertainty of the time 
when this would take place, and my utter inability to control 
events, prevented me from forming any definite plans. In 
the meantime I found some consolation in projecting a his- 
tory of my life, and in animating the drooping hopes of my 
partisans. But important events followed each other in such 
rapid succession, that I was drawn from my retirement much 
sooner than I had anticipated. 

Division of Parties in France .— Independently of the 
private information which I received from Queen Hortense 
and others of my faithful friends, the newspapers furnished 
me sufficient information concerning the general state of 
affairs ; fur, notwithstanding the strict censorship of the 
press, and in spite of the falsehoods usually circulated in the 
public journals, the different passions, of which they were the 
interpreters, were apparent to the least observing, and the 
excitement which raged in the kingdom was made known to 
the world. 

It seemed that Louis XVIII. had at first fully appreciated 
the spirit of the age, and persuaded himself that the majority 
of France desired to consolidate the results of the revolu- 
tion. This prince judged, after twenty years of experience, 
that his party was too weak to resist the wishes of the great 
mass of the middle classes, who, in a country stripped of 
aristocratic institutions, finish always by dictating law to the 
nation. To maintain himself upon the throne, he felt it 
necessary to reign with this majority, that is, in compliance 
with the principles of the Revolution : Henry IV. had said 
that Paris was well worth a mass ; Louis XVIII. thought 
the crown of France well toorth a constitution. It was evi- 
dent that he could not govern by the ancient magistracies of 
the kingdom ; — no vestige of them remained ; nor could he 
hope to rule the France of 1814 by the defunct états of 
Brittany, Languedoc, or Burgundy. It was necessary, 

Cu. XX11.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 311 

therefore, to reconstruct the government on an entirely new 
basis, and, if he did not submit to the revolutionary prin- 
ciple, he must take the alternative of doing over again the 
work of the revolution by virtue of the divine right upon 
which he founded his claim to the throne. Pie decreed a 
charter. Many have blamed Louis XVIII. for this measure; 
and, judging of the act by its effects, we are compelled to 
admit that it imperfectly accomplished its object. If it had 
been possible to seize the supreme power with a vigorous 
hand, and to govern by means of royal ordinances, it is in- 
contestable that, for him, it would have been the safest 
course ; but this being impracticable, it was left for the 
king to decide what form of government should be substi- 
tuted for the one which had just been overthrown by the 
combined European powers. To revive the parlements or 
provincial états, was utterly impossible. To substitute for 
my glorious and energetic empire the absolute power of a 
camarilla d'tmigrts, was the dream of some wiseacres ; — 
if this course had been adopted the restoration would not 
have continued six months. A lady, exhibiting a superiority 
of genius and penetration when discoursing on any subject 
other than politics, has asserted that the Bourbons could 
have taken the empire just as they found it. " The bed was 
so well made," said she, " that it was only necessary to lie 
down in it." This saying of Madame de Staël, which re- 
ceived so much applause in the salons of Paris, was mere 
nonsense. How could the brother and successor of Louis 
XVI. acknowledge a senate which had betrayed its owu 
founder, and had twice disposed of the throne in less than 
ten years ! X legislative body which had raised its voice 
only when the country was invaded by a million of foreign 
enemies, and had become a turbulent arena of party passions, 
at a time when all patriots should have rallied around the 
head of the government, no matter what its character, was 


utterly unworthy of public confidence, and its reëstablish- 
ment could not have been acceptable to the French people. 
Moreover, the imperial institutions were so little pleasing- to 
the visionary advocates of liberalism that these factious 
leaders of the senate, who had overthrown my empire were 
eager to force upon the Bourbons a charter of their own ; 
but Louis XVIII., having decided to reject this illegal act, 
owed it to the ruling opinions to grant another which would 
guarantee the threatened interests of community. 

Course to be pursued by the iiing.— The king had only 
to choose between two courses of action ; the first, to grant a 
charter, as he actually did ; the second, to govern pro vision- 
ally as dictator, and to convoke a constituent assembly to 
form, in concert with his ministers, a national compact which, 
being sanctioned by the notables of France, should become 
irrevocable, and thus offer the double advantage of securing 
the interests of the throne as well as those of the nation. 
The first plan appeared to him the more prudent, as it was 
a voluntary concession and implied no acknowledgement of 
the principles of national sovereignty — principles specious in 
theory, but readily degenerating into an elective monarchy. 
Moreover, it was doubtful, to say the least, whether any 
complete, strong and well-matured system of government 
could emanate from a French constituent assembly, no mat- 
ter how restricted in numbers. If, instead of an elective 
assembly, a commission of some forty or fifty members had 
been selected by the provisional government, to draw up and 
decide upon the terms of the national compact, as was 
done after the eighteenth Brumaire, what guarantee would 
such authority have presented, or what force could such a 
charter have had ? A king has always a right to give laws 
where none exist, but what right has an assembly of fifty 
lawyers, stripped of all legitimate authority, to impose a con- 
tract upon (he king, on the one side, and upon the entire 


nation, on the other, without submitting it to the vote of the 
primary assemblies, or, at least, to notables especially ap- 
pointed for that purpose by the nation? But these two 
means were both inconsistent with the principles of the Bour- 
bon monarchy and the interests of the crown. Holding all 
my power from popular election, I could not establish my 
government upon any other basis ; but the case of the Bour- 
bons was entirely different* 

Different Forms of Ciovernment.-When, in the course oi 
events, the government of a country is destroyed, and a new 
one is' to be substituted in its place, we are at liberty to 
select either of the following : first, an hereditary absolute 
monarchy, second, an hereditary monarchy of limited powers, 
third, an elective monarchy, fourth, an aristocratic or oligar- 
chic republic, and fifth, a democratic republic. Much may 
be said both for and against each of these forms in the ab- 
stract, but in truth their advantages and disadvantages result 
rather from the particular circumstances of their application 
than from any thing belonging intrinsically to the forms 
themselves. A government suited to America, or to the petty 
Swiss cantons, would be utterly absurd for one of the large 
European States. 

Defects of the Charter of Louis XVIII.- We have shown 
that, a new form of government being necessary, Louis 
XVIII oranted a charter to the nation in order to prevent 
their forming one for themselves. This charter should have 
been a kind of indissoluble compact, connecting the interests 
of the throne and the interests of the nation, forming, in 
short a kind of brief declaration of rights. Unfortunately, 
it was so framed as to satisfy neither party. The royalists, 

* The author explains, in a later edition of this ehapter, that his political 
remarks have reference solely to monarchal governments of limited powers, 
like that of France, and that they are entirely inapplicable to repubhean gov, 
ernments like that of the United States of America, or to despotisms hke those 
of Russia and Austria. 


like the Spanish priests, wished a new master who would per- 
mit them to govern the country according to their own 
pleasure. The returned émigrés could see in the restoration 
of the Bourbons only the means of recovering their lost pro- 
perty and privileges. The clergy hoped to recover the an- 
cient wealth and influence of the Church. The noblesse had 
been created anew, hut it had no prerogatives or power ; it 
was too exclusive to he democratic, and too pusillanimous to 
be aristocratic ; highly offensive to the nation in its. charac- 
ter, without even the means of self-defense. All these par- 
ties were ready to tear in pieces the charter at the earliest 
opportunity, because some of its clauses were favorable to 
the nation. On the other hand, the stipulations for a na- 
tional legislative power were accompanied with so many re- 
strictions as to afford good grounds for doubting the sincerity 
of the new government on this and other points connected 
with popular rights. If Louis had not too much feared the 
establishment of bad precedents in admitting dogmas looking; 
toward an elective system, he could have increased the 
strength of his new edifice by giving it the sanction, if not 
of the whole country, at least of the new chambers. For- 
tius purpose it would have been sufficient for the king to 
arrange a royal séance,, declaring the compact binding upon 
himself and his descendants, and upon the nation and its. 
deputies ; all swearing to maintain in its integrity the char- 
ter which ever afterward was to be equally obligatory upon 
the monarchy and its subjects, and to form a basis of public 
rights entirely new. 

Errors in its Administration.— But instead of acting in 
this frank and open manner, the king let it be plainly seen 
that he was merely yielding to present necessity, and that an 
opportunity only was wanting to impose a more despotic 
rule. Surrounded by twenty thousand émigrés, who were 
clamorous for office, old imperial employees, who wished to 

Ch. XXII.] 

CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 315 

retain office, Jacobins, equally avaricious of the spoils of 
place, doctrinaires, who believed themselves the only men in 
France capable of conducting the affairs of state, old royal- 
ists and high clergy, who opposed both the constitution and 
those holding office under it ; — under such circumstances the 
only safety for Louis XVIII. was to pursue a firm and 
straightforward course, regardless of party influences. But 
this the king was incapable of doing. He intrusted the ad- 
ministration of affairs to a ministry which was without 
credit and entirely influenced by the coteries of the Tuileries. 
There was nothing but contradictions and inconsistencies in 
the system of government ; words and deeds were without 
correspondence, for at heart the government was far from 
wishing to carry out the measures it had promised in writing. 
The émigrés demanded back their sequestered property, and 
to calm their importunities they were promised ultimate 
satisfaction, though in utter violation of the charter. In- 
stead of putting down new pretensions and confirming the 
existing state of affairs, they pursued directly the opposite 
course. The purchasers of the national property were 
threatened with projects of restitution ; brochures, attributed 
to Chancellor Dambray, opposed the legality of these sales 
and demonstrated the justice of restitution. The factious 
leaders of parties, — the men who had surrendered Toulon to 
the English, and those who had recovered it, the defenders 
of the divine rights of the throne, and those who had led 
Louis XVI. to the scaffold — were soon involved in the most 
virulent disputes. Fearing the consequence of such discus- 
sions, the government abolished the liberty of the press and 
of the tribune. In order to quiet public feeling and to soften 
down the violent party spirit springing from the excesses of 
the revolution, I had established a public censorship. This 
was not done through any interest of personal power, but 
for the good of the country. The evils resulting from it 


were due to its bad administration, rather than to its prin- 
ciple, for, on account of the deadly feuds engendered by the 
revolution, a limited censorship will be necessary for a time 
in order to harmonize contending factions. But the govern- 
ment of Louis XVIII., instead of confining it to the factious 
partisan newspapers of the day, made the restriction far too 
general ; and as this censorship seemed contrary to the pro- 
mises of the declaration of Saint Ouen, and to the spirit of 
the modified charter, the liberals, republicans, and doctri- 
naires raised incessant clamors and cried out despotism and 
deception ! To other causes of agitation is to be added the 
dissatisfaction produced by the onerous treaties with foreign 
powers. Every one truly French at heart, and who retained 
a particle of national pride and patriotism, was indignant 
at the readiness with which Count d'Artois, even before 
having stipulated any of the conditions of peace, signed an 
order to surrender to the allies a hundred fortresses still oc- 
cupied by French troops. The treaties of Paris, made by 
the point of the sword with a rigor justifiable, perhaps, in 
certain cases, were in this instance too severe even for the 
interests of the powers imposing them, for they implanted 
the seeds of bitterness in the hearts of all friends of the em- 
pire and of the revolution. All believed, whether with rea- 
son or not, that the Bourbons might have preserved at least 
a part of Belgium, Savoy, and the line of the Khine as far 
as Coblentz, if they had not been too eager to get possession 
of the Tuileries. 

The minister Ferrand, in a discourse from the tribune, 
classed all Frenchmen in two categories : — those who had 
pursued the right line, that is, who had fought with the 
émigrés, and in La Vendée ; and those who had pursued the 
curved line, that is, who had admitted the Revolution and 
the Empire : a strange apostrophe to a whole nation, a sin- 
gular means of supporting a law for restoring the unsold 

Cir. XXII] CAMPAIGN OF 1815 317 

property of the emigres .' The government had retained the 
soldiers of the empire, because it feared them, and had no 
others to oppose to their influence ; and, in passing them in 
review, heightened the glory of their enemies ; crowds of 
emigre and Vendéan officers demanded the confirmation of 
their rank in the very army which they had opposed, thus 
encumbering the cadres of the army and staff, to the detri- 
ment of the veterans of a hundred battles. Thus military 
dissatisfaction was added to civil discontent. No one could 
confide in the existing state of affairs, for all things seemed 
unstable ; there was no security of party interests, for all 
seemed compromised ; nor of opinions, for they were stifled ; 
nor was there any refuge in the strength of government, for 
it was without head, or arm, or will. A new contest seemed 
inevitable, and in the clash of interests and shock of fac- 
tions, I again might become the arbiter of the destinies of 

Napoleon's Reason for returning to France, — The state 
of affairs in France inspired me with the desire and hope of 
returning there, and the information which I received of the 
proceedings at the congress of Vienna was greatly calculated 
to strengthen this feeling. The congress had much difficulty 
in effecting a satisfactory division of the spoils ; Austria, 
France, and England had agreed in the eventual treaties to 
guarantee Saxony against the pretensions of Prussia ; Russia 
supported these pretensions, and the dissatisfied sovereigns 
of these last two countries already spoke of returning to their 
own capitals ; even the day of their departure was said to be 
fixed. In return for the support promised by the Bourbons 
to Austria and England, they demanded the expulsion of 
Murat from the throne of Naples, and the restoration of that 
branch of their own family This demand was supported by 
the personal interest of the venal Talleyrand, because the 
restoration of the legitimate government of the Two-Sicilies 


would secure to him the incomes of the rich principality of 
Benevento. Moreover, I learned that the ministers of Louis 
XVIII. had proposed to the congress to remove me from the 
Isle of Elba, and to exile me to St. Helena. This was a 
gratuitous violation of the treaty ôf Fontainebleau, for I had 
then done nothing to expose me to the wrath of these sover- 
eigns.* My feeble means of defense were not sufficient to 
resist the execution of this scheme, and resolving not to await 
their attack, I conceived the audacious project of re-ascend- 
ing the throne of France. Small as was the number of my 
forces, they were stronger than those of the Bourbons, be- 
cause they were allied to the honor of their country, and 
although that honor may sometimes slumber, it never dies 
in the hearts of Frenchmen. Fully trusting to the strength 
of this support, I passed in review the little army which was 
to second me in this great and hazardous enterprise. These 
soldiers were ill-clad and ill-supplied, for I had not the 
means even of equipping them. Our preparations were brief, 
for we carried only our swords. 

His Departure from Elba.— Favored by the fortuitous 
absence of the English commissioner and the English fleet 
stationed to watch the Isle of Elba, our little flotilla set sail 
and, experiencing no accident, accomplished the voyage in 
five days. On the first of March I again saw the coast of 
France at Cannes, near the same beach of Frejus where I 
had landed fifteen years before on my return from Egypt. 
Fortune seemed again to smile upon me, as I returned a 
second time to my country, to raise again its fallen colors, 
and to restore its independence. In again touching the 

* Joraini says that the French government did not pay the two millions 
stipulated to be annually paid by the treaty of Fontainebleau, but made the 
exile of Napoleon from Europe a condition for its fulfillment. Napoleon was 
informed of these facts by the Empress Maria-Louisa, and this circumstance, 
together with the false information which he received of the dissolution of the 
congress of Vienna, decided him to return immediately to France. 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 319 

French soil I could not but experience the most lively emo- 
tions. I saluted it as the parent of heroism, and the home 
of genius. We debarked without obstacle. I had as yet 
formed no definite plans, for I had not sufficient information 
of the actual state of the southern departments upon which 
to base them. I was, therefore, to be guided by circum- 
stances. But it was necessary to act promptly, and to 
secure at the outset some strong point of support. Grenoble 
was the nearest fortified town of importance, and one well 
suited to my purpose ; I therefore marched as rapidly as 
possible in that direction, for I well knew that my ultimate 
success depended very much upon the possession of this 
fortress. At length my little army reached this point of 
destination, having marched eighty-four leagues in six days ! 
Reception in France and March upon Lyons.— My recep- 
tion on the way answered my most sanguine hopes, and 
seemed to double the chances of my ultimate success, by 
giving me the assurance that the mass of the people, uncor- 
rupted by passion or interest, had still preserved their pristine 
character, though wounded by the national humiliation. On 
the sixth of March I discovered at Vizille the first troops 
sent out to oppose me : they refused to parley with my offi- 
cers. Certain that everything depended upon this first ren- 
contre, and accustomed to take a prompt and decided part, 
I advanced fearlessly in front of these troops, and laid bare 
my breast to receive their fire. This act of rash confidence 
strongly moved the feelings of these old soldiers ; far from 
seeing in me the audacious rebel and exciter of civil wars, as 
had been represented by the royalists, they could only dis- 
tinguish their emperor marching at the head of his old war- 
riors who had so often traced the road to victory. They did 
not long hesitate. This detachment of the fifth regiment of 
infantry was soon followed by the entire seventh, commanded 
by Labédoyère, who voluntarily ran forward to meet me. 


The people and soldiers now welcomed rne with shouts of 
joy ; Grenoble opened its gates, and I advanced towards 
Lyons with five thousand men. 

The Bourbons prepare for Defense.— At the first news 
of my debarkation the Bourbons were struck with astonish- 
ment ; nevertheless, they hoped to intercept my progress ; 
they offered a reward for my head, and proceeded against me 
as against a rebellious subject in arms against the state. 
The Count d'Artois and Macdonald set out immediately for 
Lyons ; the Duke d'Angoulême left Bordeaux to establish 
a centre of royal authority at Toulouse ; Ney, recalled to 
Paris, was sent into the east ; and finally the chambers were 
hastily convoked in extraordinary session. It is even said 
that the most fiery of the ministers of the restoration (M. de 
Blacas), wishing to employ against me means more certain 
than the sword, hired a man named B * * * to assassinate 
me. This individual has since published an account of his 
exploits, but I prefer to believe it untrue, or at least greatly 
exaggerated.* Certain of having glory and France on my 
side, I felt confident of success. No sooner were the royal 
troops brought in presence of my own, than they ran to- 
gether, and embraced each other with cries of Vive l'em- 
pereur! Macdonald escaped with difficulty, and the Count 
d'Artois had barely time to take post and return to Paris. 
The Lyonnaise received me with even greater enthusiasm 
than on my return from Marengo. This reception very 
much affected my feelings, and redoubled my courage and 
confidence in the future. 

Celebrated Decrees of Lyons. — At Lyons I issued several 
decrees calculated to affect public opinion. Much complaint 
had been made by the tiers-état against the restriction of the 

* See the brochure published by Moronval, Quai des Augustins, in 1816, 
which contains an account of this project, and the causes of its failure. 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 321 

press and the privileges of the nobility. The condition of the 
country immediately after a revolution unexampled in his- 
tory rendered this restriction necessary for public repose. I 
knew well the benefits of a free press, and I appreciated the 
advantages of the tribune ; and I also knew the evils result- 
ing from these same sources. But I hoped that the present 
circumstances were such as to enable France to profit by 
their advantages, and to avoid their evils. At any rate, I 
determined to make the experiment. I therefore proclaimed 
the abolition of all privileged noblesse, the freedom of the 
press,* and the sovereignty of the nation. 

IVey declares for the Emperor. — Preceded by these memo- 
rable decrees, I continued to advance upon Chalons, where I 
was joined by the troops which Ney had assembled for the 
purpose of opposing me. This marshal was no statesman, 
and all his political religion consisted in avoiding civil war 
created for private interests. This was his motive at Fon- 
tainebleau when he contributed to provoke my first abdica- 
tion. " Tout pour France, rien pour un homme;' was his 
motto ; a dogma very respectable in appearance, but which, 
when carried too far, may cause great faults, and induce one 
to forget the most sacred duties. At the first news of my 
return Ney thought only of the scenes at Fontainebleau, and 
the dangers of civil war ; he, therefore, accepted in good 
faith the appointment to repel me by force of arms, and so 
far forgot himself as to utter imprudent and unsuitable 
menaces against his ancient chief. But he was soon con- 
vinced, by his journey in Burgundy and in Franche-Comté, 
of the unanimity of popular sentiment in my favor ; his own 

* Jomini thinks that the reëstablishment of the unrestricted liberty of the 
daily press is a fault, and one of which Napoleon was the first victim. The 
periodical press and books, he says, ought generally to be exempt from the 
censure, but the daily press, he thinks, cannot be so in France without danger, 
at least in times of great political excitement. 

VOL. IV. — 21. 


soldiers unfurled the national colors in his presence ; two 
officers sent secretly to him assured him of my wish to forget 
the past. Placed in the same alternative as Marlborough 
between James II. and William, he did not hesitate to throw 
himself into the ranks rendered illustrious by his many bril- 
liant feats of arms. Yielding to a single dominant idea, he 
acted with impetuous haste, without reflecting that he might 
thereby violate other sacred duties, from which he might so 
easily have relieved himself by retiring to Besançon till after 
my entrance into the capital. The striking contrast between 
his proclamation at Sous-le-Saulnier, and his promises to 
Louis XVIII., will remain as an unfortunate blot in the 
history of his glorious career, because it gives a false idea of 
his character by having all the appearance of premeditated 
treason, — a crime of which he was utterly incapable. 

Nothing could now arrest my progress, as I pursued my 
triumphal march at the head of ten thousand men. My 
adversaries had no other resource than the camp hastily 
assembled at Melun ; but the soldiers of this camp, brothers 
of those of Grenoble, Lyons, and Chalons, were more dis- 
posed to rejoin their eagles than to fight against them. 
Astonished at the rapidity of my progress, the Bourbons 
knew not what course to take. It is impossible to describe 
the agitation and confusion which now reigned in Paris, and 
particularly in the palace of the Tuileries. Louis XVIII. 
preserved his usual calmness and resignation ; but yielding 
to the advice of those around him he allowed himself to be 
drawn into resolutions the most opposite, and measures the 
most contradictory. Ou the one side he threw himself into 
the arms of the doctrinaires, and intrusted Benjamin Con- 
stant to draw up royal proclamations that should gain for 
him the confidence and love of the French ! Placing him- 
self under the aegis of the National Guards and revolutionary 
partisans, he made an appeal to all loyal royalists, and to the 

Cn. XXIT] CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 323 

army which he had so ill-treated ! Even Fouché* was on the 
point of being ordered to the palace to bo consulted, when it 
was decided to arrest him ; but the wily sycophant made a 
timely escape from his hotel, and reached through a garden 
the house of Queen Hortense, where he found a refuge. 
Then followed a partial change of ministers ; the police was 
confided to Bourrienne, formerly my private secretary and 
the friend of my youth, and now my calumniator and declared 
enemy ; all received in turn caresses and promises ; the 
National Guard and Royal Volunteers were appealed to ; 
such were the measures resorted to by MM. Blacas, Ferrand, 
and Dambray, to repel or capture the conqueror of so many 
people ! The chambers which had been convoked in so 
much haste, met in time to exhibit to the world the utter 
worthlessness of public assemblies deliberating in the presence 
of real danger, and to prove to Europe that the time had 
passed for ever when senators awaited death in their curule 
chairs. This meeting of the chambers had no other result 
than to give some speakers an opportunity of repeating the 
declamations against the imperial despotism inserted by 
Benjamin Constant in the Journal des Débats, and to give 
the king an occasion to present himself in state to the cham- 
bers, with his brother and nephews, to take there to the 
charter an oath of fidelity which would have been much more 
appropriate at the time of its promulgation ; — an oath which, 
on the part of Count d'Artois, was generally suspected to be 
insincere. — Two days after this sentimental but tardy homily, 
the troops of the camp of Melun came over to join mine en 
masse, and the next day, March 20th, I entered the Tuileries. 
The Bourbons had barely time to escape to Belgium ; the 
Duke d'Angouleme alone kept up a contest for some days in 
the south. 

Napoleon reascends the Throne. — Thus was this astonish- 
ing revolution terminated in twenty days, without having 


cost a single drop of blood. France had now changed her 
aspect ; the nation restored to itself had resumed its ancient 
bearing. It was free from the yoke imposed by the foreigner, 
for it had just performed the highest act of free will of which 
any people can be capable. The grandeur of my enterprise 
effaced the recollection of my reverses ; it restored to me the 
confidence of the French people ; I was again the man of 
their choice. 

Composition of the new Ministry.— While awaiting the 
formation of definitive institutions of government, it was 
necessary to organize a temporary administration, by placing 
men at the head of the several ministerial departments. The 
war department was confided to Davoust, the marine to 
Decrès, the finances to Gaudin, foreign affairs to Caulain- 
court, whose pacific views were well known to the allies, the 
seals to Cambacérès, the interior to Carnot, and the police to 
Fouché. The selection of these last two — old adepts in 
Jacobinism — was a sufficient pledge to the mass of the people 
against all cries of despotism. Carnot I knew well. This 
stern old republican had refused me the empire in 1815. 
His mind was stamped with a probity that no circumstances 
could change, but to this honest and energetic will there was 
added a love of . opposition and of Utopian theories. His 
military arrangements in 1793 and 1794, had given him a 
reputation for talent in military defense, and his republican 
notions and stern integrity made him another Cato in the 
eyes of the multitude. It was now necessary to animate the 
courage of the people for self-defense, and no one was better 
calculated than Carnot to accomplish this object. Fouché 
had a most decided character for intrigue ; he mistook craft 
and roguery for great talent for business. He was an Uto- 
pian demagogue, and yet he knew the shallowness of such 
theories. He wished a strong government, and yet opposed 
every measure calculated to give it strength. He was popu- 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 325 

lar with a certain class, and I hoped to turn that popularity 
to account. I knew his character well, and was perfectly 
aware that he was unworthy of confidence. But I knew also 
that he would not remain a silent spectator of coming events. 
I must, therefore, either use or destroy him. If I locked 
him up at Vincennes or exiled him without judgment, there 
would have been good grounds for suspecting me of des- 
potism. I, therefore, determined to run the risk of using 
him, and to counteract his intrigues by keeping him under 
the strictest watch. My leniency cost me dear. The clients 
of these old ex-conventionals, and those that ranged them- 
selves under the Utopian banners of the Lafayettes, Lanjui- 
nais, and the Benjamin Constants, proved more dangerous as 
friends than as enemies. 

Napoleon's Position toward Europe. — Having thus at- 
tended to the formation of my council, I felt how urgent it 
was to look at the aspect of foreign affairs. I had refused 
the peace offered me at Chatillon with the limits of 1792, 
because I was then on the throne of France, and the condi- 
tions were too humiliating ; but now there was nothing to 
prevent me from abiding by the conditions imposed on the 
Bourbons ; returning from the Isle of Elba, I could not be 
responsible, either in the eyes of France or of posterity, for 
what had been done by others in my absence. In informing 
Murat of my departure, I had charged him to send a courier 
to Vienna to carry there my engagement to abide by the 
treaties of Paris, and to occupy myself only with the in- 
terior of France. Unfortunately, I then had no suitable 
person to send to the Emperor Alexander to demonstrate to 
this prince how much the rivalry of England would one day 
annoy him, and how important it was for Russia that France 
should have a government strong, national, and opposed to 
the interests of England. As I could no longer occupy my- 
self with my former projects on the Vistula, and as France 


and Knssia could no longer be rivals, it is difficult to say 
what effect such a mission might have produced on the mind 
of the Russian monarch ; but it is unfortunate that the trial 
was not made. At any rate it is very natural to suppose 
that the positive assurances given by me to the sovereigns of 
Europe would have had some influence : for Europe, aston- 
ished at my return and at the energy of the French people, 
must have expected a repetition of the scenes of the revolu- 
tion, if this people were again provoked to employ all their 
resources in propagandism. Success would have been quite 
certain if the congress had been dissolved, as I was errone- 
ously informed, so that I could have, treated with the 
cabinets separately.* 

General Coalition against Him.— But the sovereigns being 
still assembled, they felt their self-love irritated \ their in- 
terests had so clashed since the fall of my empire that they 
had found it difficult to continue negotiations ; but the fear 
of losing all these rich spoils, again united the disputants, 
and all my efforts to preserve peace were unavailing. It was 
in vain that I protested my adhesion to the treaties ; they 
refused to believe me. They dreaded the influence which 
the example of the French people might have upon their 
own subjects, and therefore were inclined to treat my return 
merely as a military revolt. Moreover, Austria, trembling 
lest I might dispute Italy with her, entirely forgot the con- 
nections which the events of 1814 had already broken. Rus- 
sia, thinking that she could preserve Warsaw only by allying 
herself to her natural rivals, sacrificed every thing to secure 
this result. Prussia had been soliciting; Austria to allow her 

* The conduct of the European powers toward France in 1830, would seem 
to confirm the correctness of this assertion. Napoleon had left Elba on the 
faith of articles written from Vienna by Latour-Dupin, and inserted in the 
Journal-des- Débats. This paper announced the departure of the King of Prus- 
sia and of the Emperor Alexander as certain. 

Ch. XXII. j CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 327 

to extend her territory at the expense of Saxony, but she 
now eagerly accepted what had been offered her in lieu of 
this, lest she might lose all. England, governed at this time 
by mediocre men, thought she again saw my imperial eagles 
hovering over Boulogne, Antwerp and Egypt, and made 
lavish of her subsidies in order to sustain herself against an 
imaginary danger. 

The Congress puts Napoleon under the Ban of Nations. 
— Thus all the interests of these sovereigns seemed opposed 
to my existence. The declaration of the thirteenth of March, 
declaring me an outlaw, sufficiently proves the fears inspired 
by my name. If we add to these motives the fear felt by 
Talleyrand lest my return might cause the sequestration of 
the ten millions of Bernese stocks held by him in England 
and lest his fortune in France might be compromitted by his 
banishment, it will be easy to understand the violence of that 
famous declaration which has generally been attributed to 
his pen. To quiet these powers it was necessary for me to 
assure Russia of Warsaw, and Austria of Italy ; this I 
could have done if the negotiations had been conducted 
separately at St. Petersburg and at Vienna. But the declar- 
ation of the thirteenth of March, left little chance of success. 
Nevertheless, I at first hoped that this declaration was 
mainly intended to second the resistance of the Bourbons 
and to deter me from any ulterior projects against Europe. 
Nothing was more natural than that the powers who had 
placed Louis XVIII. on the throne of France, should wish 
to maintain him there ; but since this prince had been so 
easily forced to a second emigration, the nice of the question 
was entirely changed, and I had good reason to hope that 
the cabinets would be disposed to retrace their steps when 
they learned the rapidity of my triumph and the unheard-of 
success of my enterprise, and also of my pacific intentions. 
Unfortunately, the treaties of alliance, offensive and defen- 


sive, signed the twenty-fifth of March, between the great 
powers, soon destroyed this illusion. 

Operations of the Duke d'Angoulcme.— But exterior em- 
barrassments, resulting from the proceedings of the congress 
of Vienna, were not the only ones I now encountered. The 
Duke d'Angoulème, appointed by Louis XVIII. his lieuten- 
ant in the south, had organized the royal government at Tou- 
louse, and, in concert with M. de Vitrolles and the Count 
Damas, had prepared to resist my empire. The mercantile 
population of Marseilles, whose love of lucre exceeded their 
love of liberty, and the fanatic inhabitants of Languedoc, 
whose religious dissensions were closely connected with their 
political quarrels, were easily induced to side with the royal- 
ists. The duke, with their aid and that of some regiments 
which yet remained faithful, formed three columns with 
which to ascend the Khone and retake Lyons and Grenoble. 
But the greater part of his forces soon declared for my cause. 
Dauphiny declared against the Bourbons, and the tricolored 
flag again floated at Toulouse and at Montpellier, and the 
duke, surrounded on all sides, signed, on the ninth of April, 
at Pont-Saint-Esprit, a convention agreeing to evacuate 
France. Grouchy at first refused to ratify it, but I hastened 
to give it my sanction. 

Troubles in La Vendee. — At the same time troubles broke 
out in La Vendée, and I Avas forced to send there fifteen 
thousand old soldiers. The skill and activity of Generals 
Lamarque and Fravot soon smothered the flames of civil 
war. Larochejacquelin was slain at the combat of Mathes, 
and signal victories were gained at Saint Gilles and Roche- 
Servières ; but, on account of the peculiar localities and the 
obstinate character of the inhabitants, hostilities did not 
entirely cease for a long time. 

Affairs in Naples. — While those events were taking place 
in France and at the congress of Vienna, Murat rendered my 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 329 

affairs still more complicated by his untimely commencement 
of hostilities in Italy — an enterprise worthy of his whimsical 
and adventurous character. Hearing of the negotiations 
between France and Austria for dethroning him, he de- 
manded of the latter power a free passage through Italy, to 
take vengeance for the menaces of the minister of Louis 
XVIII. ; of course this was refused. Hearing of my de- 
barkation, he flattered himself that he could suddenly repair, 
in my eyes, his defection of 1814. He thought the moment 
had arrived when he was to play a great part, and, by pro- 
mising the people of Italy a national insurrection, was to 
become the arbiter of great events. He debouches, on the 
twenty-second of March, from Ancona with forty thousand 
men, drives the Austrians from Cesena, and, favored by the 
population of Bologna and Modena, rapidly invades the 
country of the Po as far as Placentia, while another column 
invades the Roman states and Tuscany. He everywhere 
scatters proclamations, announcing that he comes to unite 
all Italy under the same flag ; and takes formal possession 
of the provinces which he crosses ; he even meditates the 
invasion of Lombardy across Piedmont, when he is arrested 
by the declaration of the English minister with threats of 
war. The Austrians soon assemble and throw against him 
General Bianchi, with twenty-five or thirty thousand men. 
Leaving Florence with the mass of his forces, this general 
marches by Foligno in order to cut off Murat's retreat, at 
the same time that Neipperg is to threaten him by the route 
of Ancona. The King of Naples, to avoid such a result, is 
obliged to retire in all haste ; a decisive rencontre takes place 
at Tolentino on the second of May ; the Neapolitan army is 
defeated and dispersed in all directions. Murat reaches his 
capital with only a small escort ; he is now deserted by his 
warmest partisans, and compelled to fly from Naples to seek 
refuge in France ; he debarks at Toulon. A convention 


signed at Capua, on the twentieth of May, restores Ferdi- 
nand IV. to the throne of the Two-Sicilies. Never was any 
thing more untimely than this operation of Murat. If Aus- 
tria had had the least inclination to recede from the declara- 
tion of the thirteenth of March, this was to render the thing 
impossible ; and even supposing that the cabinet of Vienna 
had resolved to persist in it, every thing should have been 
avoided that was calculated to strengthen the bonds of the 
coalition. In a military point of view, it was taking the 
initiative prematurely, for he commenced even before know- 
ing whether or not I could second his operations. As a 
diversion, the King of Naples could have been of much avail ; 
but in attempting to act the principal part in the war, he 
committed a great absurdity. Thus twice did Murat com- 
promit the empire ; the first time, (in 1814), by declaring 
for its enemies ; the second, (in 1815), by taking arms mal- 
à-propos in its favor. He expiated, by a chivalric death, two 
faults that precipitated him from his throne ; his memory as 
a soldier will ever be glorious. 

Preparations to repel Aggression. — But the fatal result 
of this premature opening of hostilities by the King of 
Naples, the success of the Austrians, the reports which 
reached France of what was passing at Vienna and in the 
rest of Europe ; — all these were of a nature to inspire a just 
fear in the least discerning. A formidable war was again 
about to threaten the national existence, and all hope of 
dissipating the storm was now gone ; I had to decide either 
to brave it, or to fly from it like a coward ; in such a 
dilemma could I hesitate ? If personal honor had alone 
been at stake, I could have sacrificed it for the future welfare 
of France ; but the honor of the nation was more involved 
than my own. A people of thirty millions, which had just 
raised one of its citizens to the highest power, could it, on a 
diplomatic declaration of a foreign congress, drive away this 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 331 

adopted chief, and submit to the yoke which these foreigners 
wished to impose ! ! ! Some have reproached me for con- 
tinuing to occupy the throne after the reception of the de- 
claration of Vienna. In their opinion I ought to have 
frankly exposed to France the position in which she would 
be placed toward Europe, alarmed and rushing to arms 
against myself, and then to have proposed to the nation to 
decide on one of the three following propositions : 

1st. To submit without delay to the clemency of Louis 

2d. To proclaim for Napoleon II., with a regency, or 
some other form ; 

3d. To declare the nullity of the abdication of Fon- 
tainebleau, and recognize anew the empire of Napoleon 
himself : 

That, if the nation had adopted this last part, then the 
fate of France had been irrevocably connected with my own, 
and all desertions from me would have been cowardice or 
felony ! 

The fervent and unreflecting apostles of national sover- 
eignty may find something specious in these ideas, but really 
they are without sagacity : in the first place, I did not de- 
spair of recalling Austria, and perhaps Bussia, to sentiments 
more favorable to my cause ; I many times renewed the 
attempt, and even sent General Flahaut to Vienna with this 
intention : but if such hope had not existed, could I think 
of flying for ever from France, to which Louis XVIII. would 
have immediately returned with the allies, and all the men 
who had devoted themselves to my cause would have been 
given up to the fury of the reactionnaires ? Such a course 
would have been humiliating to the smallest prince in Eu- 
rope ; how then could I submit to such a proscription ? 
Moreover, by abdicating in the early part of April, I should 
have left Fiance without a government, at a moment when 


eight hundred thousand men were ready to fall upon her ! 
There was no choice : it was necessary to fly, and to recall 
Louis XVIII., or to fight ! This alternative was a hard 
one, and the chances were frightful, hut there were no others. 
In adopting this alternative I felt certain that, if properly 
seconded, I should triumph over these enemies of myself and 
of France. 

Other critics on my course at this time have been as rash 
as the above were weak : — these pretend that, instead of 
yielding to the approaching storm, I should have anticipated 
it, and profited by the first rising of the people to show, by 
invading Belgium, and proclaiming liberty throughout 
Europe, how redoubtable was the popular power ; whereas 
my pacific attitude stifled the popular enthusiasm ! Pitiful 
declamation ! To throw a people in working blouses, and 
armed with pikes upon the warlike legions of all Europe ! 
A large army was requisite, and to obtain this it was neces- 
sary to preserve, with all care, the precious nucleus then 
existing, and to form around this the people which were then 
being levied and organized. 

The pacific attitude with which I have been reproached, 
consisted in working sixteen hours a day for three months to 
create this army. I increased the cadres of the regiments of 
the line from two to five battalions, and reënforced those of 
the cavalry by two squadrons. I organized two hundred 
battalions of movable National Guards, forty battalions of 
Old and Young Guards, twenty regiments of marines. The 
old disbanded soldiers were recalled to their colors ; the 
conscriptions of 1814 and '15 were levied ; even the old retired 
officers and soldiers were induced to return to the line. On 
the first of June, i. e., in two months, the effective force of 
the French army had been increased from two hundred 
thousand to four hundred and fourteen thousand ; by the 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 333 

month of September it would have numbered seven hundred 
thousand men ; but for this time was wanting.* 

Motives for Napoleon's defensive Attitude. — It would 
have been absurd, in the midst of these preparations, for me 
to think of invading Belgium in order to secure the line of 
the Khine. This question was discussed immediately after 
my arrival in Paris, but more than one obstacle opposed it. 
At first I had in hand only forty thousand men, La Vendée 
was in i nsurrecti on, the Duke d'Angoulême was marching 
on Lyons, and the Marseillais on Grenoble. It is necessary 
to be master of one's own house, before attempting to rule in 
others. A still stronger reason opposed this invasion. How 
could I take such a step after writing the letter in which I 
had offered the sovereigns a sincere and lasting peace. It 
might have been rash to hope for the good will of the others, 
but there were still motives for trusting to that of my father- 
in-law. In 1814 the Emperor of Austria had sought to 
prevent my dethronement ; at the moment of my return, the 
discussion was becoming warm with Kussia on the partition 
of Galicia and the fate of Saxony. There was then every 
reason to hope that the cabinet of Vienna would consent, in 
1815, to what its negotiator had proposed in 1814 : to main- 
tain me on the throne, if I would consent to relinquish Italy. 
I proposed this, and in spite of the famous declaration of the 
thirteenth of March, I might still flatter myself that I should 
yet see the father of Maria-Louisa return to his former senti- 
ments. Moreover, the French had blamed in me a too great 
'penchant for war ; public opinion was in favor of peace, if 
it were possible, and would not have sanctioned a declaration 
of war, so long as there was any chance of maintaining peace. 
Even admitting that it was easy to foresee that these pacific 
measures would not prevent a war, there was but slight 

* These details differ in some respects from those given by Napoleon in his 
St. Helena dictations. 


chance of gaining anything by marching upon Brussels, 
guarded as it then was by the Germanic Confederation with 
an army of occupation ; the fortresses of Luxembourg and 
Mayence no longer belonged to France, but, together with 
the places of Holland, secured to the allies several debouches 
on the left of the Rhine ; under these circumstances it is not 
very certain that an invasion of Belgium would have been 
advantageous ; it might have transferred the first battle-field 
from the Sambre to the Meuse or the Moselle, but it would 
have done nothing more. Supposing that Luxembourg and 
Antwerp could have been gained without a siege — a suppo- 
sition altogether improbable — it would have been necessary 
to garrison them, and this the French were not then in a 
condition to do ; if, on the contrary, these fortresses had 
remained in the enemy's hands, of what use would Brussels 
have been to us, surrounded as it was by Maestricht, Luxem- 
bourg, Berg-op-Zoom, and Antwerp ? Was it not, under 
these circumstances, more wise to retain the old regiments, 
and so incorporate them into the new organization as to 
double its effective power, rather than to scatter them in 
Belgium ? 

Napoleon refuses to resort to revolutionary Means of 
Defense^ — Some deemed it necessary to commence a new 
revolution in order to profit by the passions and blind devo- 
tion it might produce. Fouché advised this, and also Car- 
not, who still remained a Jacobin under the mantle of a 
count of the empire. I knew too well the difficulty of 
restraining popular storms within proper bounds, to again 
destroy the fabric of social order. To unchain the revolu- 
tionary tiger, is to drench the country with fraternal blood, 
and anarchy is far from infallible as a means of saving a 
nation ; it succeeded in 1793, but it was by a combination 
of circumstances unexampled in history, and which probably 
may never again recur. In the coming contest I wished no 

CH. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 335 

other than legitimate passions, — the enthusiasm and energy 
naturally resulting from a popular conviction that my success 
was inseparably connected with the glory and honor of 
France. This point the nation itself was to decide, through 
its electors, at the Champ-de-Mai. If they should decide in 
favor of the new political organization and institutions, my 
own fate and that of France would become inseparable. 

The (hamp-dc-Mai.— At length the so much desired first 
of June arrived ; the ceremony took place with great pomp 
in the Champ-de-Mars. Clothed with the imperial mantle, 
surrounded by my dethroned brothers and the doctrinaire 
Lucien, the great state functionaries, marshals and prelates, 
I was seated on a superb throne, erected near the Ecole Mili- 
taire. Just around me were assembled twenty thousand 
electors seated in amphitheatre form ; beyond these were the 
deputies of the armies ; still further on, were fifty thousand 
men en grande tenue ; and then an immense concourse of 
spectators, giving a magnificent aspect to this political 
solemnity. It was begun by divine service, after which M. 
Dubois d'Angers pronounced a fine discourse in the name of 
the electors of France, and proclaimed the acceptation of 
the additional act. I replied to this discourse in the follow- 
ing words : 

' ' Gentlemen, electors of colleges, and of departments ! 
Gentlemen, deputies from the army and navy to the Champ- 
de-Mai ! 

" Emperor, consul, soldier, I owe every thing to the French 
people. In prosperity, in adversity, in the field of battle, in 
the council, on the throne, in exile, France has been the only 
and constant object of all my thoughts and actions. Like 
the King of Athens, I sacrificed myself at Fontainebleau for 
the people, in the hope of seeing realized the promise of 
thereby securing to France her natural frontiers, her honors, 
and her rights. Indignation at beholding those sacred rights, 


the fruit of twenty-five years of victory, disregarded or for- 
ever lost ; the cry of withered honor, the wishes of the na- 
tion, have brought me back to a throne which is dear to me, 
because it is the palladium of the independence, of the rights, 
and of the honor of the French people. 

" Frenchmen ! in traversing, amid the public rejoicing, 
the different provinces of the empire, I trusted that I could 
reckon on a long peace, for nations are bound by the treaties 
made by their governments, whatever they may be. My 
whole thoughts were then turned to the means of securing 
our liberty by a constitution resting on the wishes and in- 
terests of the people ; and for this object have I called the 
assembly of the Champ-de-Mai. I soon learned, however, 
that the sovereigns, w T ho resist all popular rights and disre- 
gard the wishes and interests of so rnauy nations, were 
resolved on Avar. They intend to extend the kingdom of the 
Low Countries, by giving it for a barrier all our fortified places 
in the north, and to reconcile all differences by sharing 
among themselves Lorraine and Alsace. We must, there- 
fore, prepare for war. 

" Before personally exposing myself to the risks of the 
battle-field, I have made it my first care to establish the 
constitution of the nation. The people have accepted the 
act which I presented to them. When we shall have re- 
pelled these unjust aggressions ; and Europe shall be con- 
vinced of what is due to the rights and independence of 
twenty-eight millions of Frenchmen, a solemn law, enacted 
according to the forms presciibed by the constitutional act, 
shall combine the different provisions of our constitutions, 
which are now scattered, into one body. 

" Frenchmen 1 you are now about to return to your 
departments ; tell your fellow-citizens that the times are 
perilous : — but that with union, energy, and perseverance, 
we shall emerge victorious out of this struggle of a great 

Ou. XXTT.J CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 337 

people against its oppressors ; tell them that future genera- 
tions will severely scrutinize our conduct ; and that a nation 
has lost every thing, when it has lost its independence. Tell 
them that the foreign kings, whom I have raised to their 
thrones, or who are indebted to me for their crowns, and who 
in the days of my prosperity courted my alliance and the 
protection of the French people, are now aiming their blows 
at my person. Did I not know that it was really against 
our country that these blows are aimed, I would sacrifice 
myself to their hatred. But tell your fellow-citizens, also, 
that while they retain for me the sentiments of love, of 
which they give me so many proofs, this rage of our enemies 
will be impotent. 

" Frenchmen ! my will is that of the people ; my rights 
are their rights ; my honor, my glory, my happiness, can 
never be distinct from the honor, the glory, and the happi- 
ness of France." 

These words were pronounced with a firm and energetic 
voice, and produced the most lively enthusiasm. At their 
conclusion, I took the oath of fidelity to the charter, and 
Cambacérès, in the name of the electors, swore, in the name 
of France, the fidelity of the French people to the new 
government. This oath was repeated sjjontaneously by all 
the electors and deputies, and by the great majority of the 
spectators ; then followed the distribution of colors to the 
deputations of the army, to the troops present and to the 
National Guard. A few days after, the electors set out for 
their departments, having proclaimed the acceptation of the 
act additional, and appointed deputies for the new assembly. 

Opening of the Chambers.— On the seventh of June, I 
opened the two chambers with the following discourse : 

" Messieurs of the Chamber of Peers, and Messieurs of the 
Chamber of Representatives ! — For the three months past, 
circumstances and the confidence of the people have invested 


me with unlimited power. At this moment the most anxious 
wish of my heart is accomplished ; I have just commenced a 
constitutional monarchy. Men are too weak to secure the 
future; legal institutions alone can fix the destinies of na- 
tions. A monarchy is necessary to France, in order to secure 
the liberty, the independence, and the rights of the people. 
Our constitutions are scattered ; one of our most important 
occupations will be to consolidate them into one body, and 
arrange them into one simple system. This labor will re- 
commend the present epoch to the gratitude of future gener- 
ations. It is my ambition to see France enjoy all possible 
liberty ; I say possible, for unrestricted liberty leads to 
anarchy, and anarchy always resolves itself into absolute 

" A formidable coalition of kings threatens our indepen- 
dence ; their armies are approaching our frontiers. The 
English have attacked and taken one of our frigates in the 
Mediterranean. Blood has been shed in time of peace. Our 
enemies rely upon our internal divisions. They incite and 
foment civil war. * * * Legislative provisions are ne- 
cessary to prevent this. I place unreserved confidence in 
your wisdom, your patriotism, and your attachment. The 
liberty of the press is inherent in the existing constitution, 
and no change in that respect can be made without changing 
all our political system ; but it is necessary for the public 
good that there be some restrictions, especially at the pres- 
ent crisis. I recommend this subject to your special atten- 

" The first duty of a prince may soon call me at the head 
of the children of the nation to fight for our country. The 
army and myself will do our duty ; and you, Peers and Re- 
presentatives, give to the nation the example of confidence, 
energy, and patriotism. Like the senate of the great people 
of antiquity, resolve to die rather than survive the dégrada- 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 339 

tion and dishonor of France. The sacred cause of the coun- 
try shall bo triumphant." 

Addresses of the Chambers.— The chambers voted different 
addresses, both dwelt upon the necessity of submitting the 
absolute power to constitutional forms and rules. They pro- 
mised, in case of reverses, to show perseverance and to re- 
double their attachment to the imperial cause, now become 
the cause of France. The peers assured Europe that with 
the new institutions, the seductions of victory could never 
draw the chief of the state beyond the bounds of prudence. 
To this recrimination on the past I replied : — "The contest 
in which we are now engaged is a serious one, the seduction 
of prosperity is not the danger that now threatens us : it is 
under the Caudine Forks that the foreigner would make us 
pass. The justice of our cause, the public spirit of the na- 
tion, and the courage of the army, are powerful reasons to 
hope for success. But should we experience reverses, then 
shall I expect to find in the Chamber of Peers proofs of at- 
tachment to the country and its chief. It is in difficult 
times that great nations, like great men, display all the 
energy of their character, and become objects of admiration 
to posterity." 

Posterity will agree, in reading this discourse, that I, at 
least, foresaw all the dangers to which France was exposed, 
and neglected nothing calculated to prepare her for the con- 
test. My answer to the Chamber of Deputies was still more 

The Chamber of Deputies threatens to engage in dog- 
matic Controversies. — This chamber did not hesitate to 
exhibit its impatience to rush into the arena of constitutional 
debates. " Faithful," it said, " to its mission, it will fulfill 
the task devolving upon it in this noble work ; it asks, in 
order to satisfy the public will, that the national deliberation 
shall rectify as soon as possible, the defects in our institu- 


tions resulting from the urgency of our situation. And 
while your majesty shall oppose to a most unjust aggression 
the honor of the national arms, and the force of genius, the 
Chamber of Representatives ivill endeavor to attain the same 
object by immediately drawing up a pact whose perfection 
shall cement still closer the union of the throne and the 
people, and fortify in the eyes of Europe the guarantee of our 
engagements for the amelioration of our institutions." 

This was a clear annunciation that they intended to profit 
by the absence of the emperor to establish public contro- 
versies upon a constitution, without waiting for the initiation 
of the government, which still formed the fundamental basis 
of the existing legislation. This assumption of authority by 
the chamber was like that of the constituent assembly of 
1789, but under circumstances still more dangerous ; in a 
word, it was a revolutionary act, changing the entire face of 
the government. This address of the chamber indicated 
plainly enough that its main object would be to hamper the 
new government, and to reduce its sphere of action to a mere 
nullity : — an absurd and dangerous course of conduct, always 
indicating either national decay or approaching anarchy. 

Napoleon's rcmarkaMc Reply.— I appreciated this address 
of the chamber at its full value, but preferred to show mode- 
ration in applauding the intentions of the doctrinaires, and 
at the same time calling their attention to the danger result- 
ing from these untimely discussions. " In these grave cir- 
cumstances," I replied, " my thoughts are absorbed by the 
impending war, on the success of which depend the indepen- 
dence and honor of France. I shall set out to-night to place 
myself at the head of my armies * * * During my ab- 
sence I shall be pleased to hoar that a committee appointed 
by each house maturely consider our institutions ; the con- 
stitution is our rallying point, and it should be our polar-star 
in these moments of danger. But all public discussions 

Cn. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 341 

tending to diminish directly or indirectly the confidence that 
should be reposed in the government and its dispositions, 
will be a national evil ; it will be placing the ship of state 
in the midst of rocks, without helm or compass. The 
present crisis is all-important ; let us not imitate the ex- 
ample of the Lower Empire which, surrounded on all sides 
by barbarians, became the jest of posterity by engaging in 
abstract discussions at the moment when the enemy's batter- 
ing-ram was thundering at the gates of the capital." 

I was truly grieved at the course pursued by the chamber, 
for I well knew that, instead of satisfying public opinion, 
these measures would tend to fatal results ; phrases being 
substituted for things, stormy debates for calm and firm 
administration, the arrogant assumption of authority by the 
chambers could lead to no other end than a division in the 
state. Factionists seized upon this error of the chambers to 
incite public opinion against the government, at the moment 
when it was absorbed in devising means to repel the invaders. 
Pamphlets of all descriptions, drawn up both by the Bour- 
bonists and demagogues attacked every measure of gov- 
ernment at the moment when all should have united in 
sustaining these measures ; this was not the moment to 
remedy political evils, whatever may have been their nature. 
To such an excess was the license of the press carried, that 
publications were issued promising apotheosis to those who 
should deliver France by what means soever from the yoke 
of Napoleon, and that no jury could be found to condemn 
them ! 

Military Preparations. — But notwithstanding the opposi- 
sition of the factions, the public excitement led to beneficial 
results. The National Guards were readily levied, and 
means were found to arm the inhabitants of the principal 
cities. Paris alone furnished twenty battalions of tirailleurs- 
fédérés, a force of little value in the open field, but which 


might supply the place of regulars in garrisoning the fortifi- 
cations, aid the government in executing its measures, and 
assist in the defense of the cities. My thoughts were made 
sad at the unfortunate state of the political interior, but I 
hoped that the nation would appreciate its position, and 
exert all its energy to maintain its independence, and I 
redoubled my exertions in stimulating the ardor for military 
preparations. The armories, abandoned by my predecessor, 
resumed such an activity as to produce four thousand fire- 
arms per day ; the movable National Guards were organized 
in all parts of the empire, at the same time that the con- 
scription was levied. I have already said that the army of 
the line had been doubled in two months (from the first of 
April to the first of June), and that a vast system of defense 
secured its increase to seven hundred thousand by the first 
of September. 

Preparations of the Allies. — The fate of French indepen- 
dence, therefore, depended in a great degree upon the possi- 
bility of postponing hostilities till the beginning of August. 
Far from allowing me this time, the allies, profiting by the 
lessons I had already taught them, marched post-haste to- 
wards the Khine and the Meuse. The English and Prus- 
sians exhibited an unusual activity in their preparations, and 
the Russians marched in two months from Poland to the 
banks of the Rhine. The allies, who were disputing about 
Saxony and Cracovia, were still in arms, and with their 
numbers equal to the war complement ; they had the match 
already lighted, and it did not require twenty minutes to 
dispatch from Vienna, on the same day, four orders of march, 
putting all Europe in motion. France had not retained the 
same formidable attitude as the rest of Europe : every thing 
tending to a national defense had been abandoned ; on my 
arrival there were neither soldiers nor arms. Some have 
attempted to draw a parallel between the efforts of 1793 and 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 343 

1815. In much less time I should have accomplished as 
much as the "committee of public safety" without having 
recourse to a "Revolutionary army," or to the twelve guillo- 
tines by which it was attended ; but the allies of 1815 acted 
very differently from those of the first invasion ; they did 
not, like Mack and Cobourg, pass three months before 
Valenciennes : the times had in all respects changed. The 
sea was everywhere covered with British convoys, bringing 
troops and siege-equipages. The wealth of India, seconded 
by the great progress of manufactures, had transformed 
England into an immense arsenal which forged, with won- 
derful activity, artillery, military munitions, and trains ne- 
cessary for the allied armies. There was nothing like this 
in 1793. 

At the end of May, Wellington and Blucher had united two 
hundred and twenty thousand English, Prussians, Belgians, 
Hanoverians and Brunswickers, between Liege and Courtray. 
The Bavarians, Wurtembergers, and Badois, assembled in 
the Black Forest and the Palatinate. The Austrians has- 
tened to join them ; their Italian army united with the Sar- 
dinians on the Alps. The Eussians, by forced marches, had 
already crossed Franconia and Saxony. In fine, a million 
of men were ready to fall upon France ; it might almost 
have been said of this coalition, that it had found the secret 
of Cadmus, to raise up men from the bosom of the earth. 

Works for the Defense of Paris and Lyons.— However 
great my activity in organizing the army and frontier defenses, 
I still feared that the allied armies would be more numerous 
than my own, if hostilities should commence before August ; 
in that case the destinies of the empire would be decided 
under the walls of Paris and Lyons. More than once had 
I thought of fortifying the heights of Paris ; but the multi- 
plicity of other engagements, and fear of exciting popular 
alarm, had prevented its execution. There were two modes 


of fortifying this capital ; the first, by a system of detached 
forts connected by field works, and strengthened by properly 
manoeuvring the waters of the Seine ; the second, by an 
enciente of field-works strong enough to resist a coup-de- 
main. The last was adopted because it required less time 
than the other. The capital of a country contains the elite 
of the nation ; it is the centre of public opinion, and the 
depot of all its wealth and strength ; to leave such an im- 
portant point without defenses is national folly. In times 
of national misfortunes and great national calamities, states 
have often been in want of armies, but never of men capable 
of defending their walls. Fifty thousand National Guards 
with two or three thousand cannoneers, might defend a for- 
tified capital against an army of two hundred thousand men. 
But these same fifty thousand undisciplined men commanded 
by inexperienced officers, would, in the open field, Ik' put to 
rout by a mere handful of regular cavalry. Paris has many 
times owed its safety to its walls ; if, in 1814, it had been 
capable of resisting only eight days, what a change might it 
not have produced in the affairs of the world ! If, in 1805, 
Vienna had been well armed and better defended, the battle 
of Ulm would not have decided the war, — the battle of Aus- 
terlitz would never have taken place. If, in 1806, Berlin 
had been fortified, the army beaten at Jena would have ral- 
lied there, and have been rejoined by the Russian army. If, 
in 1808, Madrid had been fortified, the French armies, after 
the victories of Espinosa, Tudela, Burgos, and Sommo- 
Sierra, would never have ventured to march on that capital, 
with the English and Spanish armies at Salamanca and Val- 
ladolid. In fine, the fortifications of Vienna twice saved 
Europe from the Mussulman sabre. 

I directed General Haxo to fortify Paris. This able engi- 
neer intrenched the heights at the north from Montmartre to 
Charonne, completed the canal of Ourcq, so as to cover the 

Ch. XXII] CAMPAIGN OF 18 1 5., C 15 

plain between Villette and Saint Denis. This city was to 
be intrenched and covered by the inundations of the Rouil- 
lon and the Crou. From the western base of Montmartre 
there was a line of intrenchments resting on the Seine above 
Clichy ; at the eastern extremity the park of Bercy, the 
spaces between Vincennes and Charonne were also covered. 
These works were armed with seven hundred pieces of cannon. 
On the south, the faubourgs between the Upper Seine and 
the Bièvre, and from the Bièvre to the Lower Seine, were 
also to have been defended ; the enciente here had already 
been marked out when the enemy appeared before Paris. 

General Léry was charged with the defensive works at 
Lyons ; they were pushed on with vigor ; four hundred and 
fifty ii'on pieces of heavy calibre, brought from Toulon, and 
two hundred and fifty brass pieces, armed the ramparts, or 
formed the reserve. Every thing seemed to promise that 
the patriotic and brave inhabitants of this city, sustained 
by a corps-d'armte, would make a noble resistance to the 

Besides these works I prepared to fortify Laon, Soissons, 
and the passes of the mountains, and had ordered immense 
works for placing the long neglected frontier fortresses in a 
state of defense. At the beginning of June these works 
were all in progress, but still very incomplete, and although 
the effective force had been increased, as has already been 
said, from two hundred to four hundred thousand men, a 
large number were still in the regimental depots and in the 
frontier fortresses, so that I now had only one hundred and 
eighty thousand ready for the field ; by the middle of July 
this number would amount to three hundred thousand and 
the fortresses be garrisoned by National Guards and a few 
good regulars. 

Napoleon decides to fall upon the Anglo-Prussians.— All 
attempts to prolong the negotiations proved vain, and I had 


now only two courses to pursue : the one, to march against 
the Anglo-Prussians at Brussels or Namur by the middle of 
June ; the other, to- await the allies under the walls of Paris 
and Lyons. The latter had the inconvenience of exposing 
the half of France to the ravages of the enemy ; but it offered 
the advantage of gaining till the month of August to com- 
plete the levies, and finish the preparations, so as to fight, 
with united means, the allied armies when enfeebled by sev- 
eral corps detached for observation. On the contrary, by 
removing the theatre of war to Belgium, I might perhaps 
entirely save France from invasion ; but I might also thus 
draw on the allies by the first of July, six weeks sooner than 
they would come of their own accord. The army of the elite, 
broken by reverses, was no longer capable of sustaining a too 
unequal combat, and the levies were incomplete. On the 
other hand, this course offered the hope of surprising the 
enemy, and was more conformable to the spirit of the French 
people. One c;m act the Fabius, like the Emperor of Kussia, 
with a boundless empire, or like Wellington, on another's 
territory. But in a country like France with its capital at 
seventy leagues from the frontier, the case is very different. 
If there had been no political factions in France, and the 
entire nation had been ready to rally around its chief, and 
conquer with him, it would have been better to await the 
enemy at the foot of Montmartre. But when interests and 
opinions were divided, and political passions ran high, and a 
factious legislative body was exciting divisions and animosi- 
ties in the capital, it would have been dangerous to there 
await an invasion. A victory beyond the frontiers would 
procure me time, and silence my political enemies in the 
interior. All things considered, it seemed advisable to attack 
Wellington and Blucher separately, and to endeavor to 
destroy successively the enemy's masses ; and the courageous 
energy of the soldiers seemed to promise a certain victory ; 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 347 

moreover, «it the beginning of the campaign a decisive blow- 
might dissolve the coalition. To accomplish so desirable an 
object, it was important to collect a strong force, but I could 
not strip the other points of the frontier of all defense ; 
small corps were necessary at Bordeaux, at Toulouse, on the 
Var, in Savoy, at Béfort, and at Strasbourg. These corps, 
though feeble in themselves, were important to check the 
enemy's advance, and to secure points of vast importance for 
levying the National Guards, and organizing other means of 
defense. Unfortunately La Vendée still remained in insur- 
rection, in spite of the success of the movable columns. 
Civil war is a political cancer which must be extifpated in 
the germ, or the safety of the state is compromitted. I was, 
therefore, obliged to detach even a part of my Young Guard 
to reënforce the corps of General Lamarque. These several 
detachments, reduced to one hundred and twenty thousand 
combatants the force of the principal army which was to 
assemble between the Meuse and the Sambre, from Philippe- 
ville to Maubeurge. Although the enemy had at least two 
hundred thousand men in Belgium, I did not hesitate to 
attack them, for it was now necessary to act promptly, lest I 
should have all the allied armies on my hands at the same 

Napoleon joins his Army and re-organizes it.— I left 
Paris on the twelfth of June, the next day I inspected the 
armament of Soissons and Laon, and on the fourteenth took 
up my head-quarters at Beaumont ! The organization of 
the army was much modified ; I gave the command of corps- 
d'armée to young generals who, having their marshal's bâtons 
to gain on the battle-field, would show more ardor for the 
triumph of my cause. This bâton was bestowed on Grouchy, 
who had shown talent and vigor in the campaign of 1814, 
and in the expedition against the Duke d'Angoulème. Soult 
was appointed major-general in the place of Berthier, who 


had abandoned his colors to follow the Bourbons, and who 
precipitated himself from the window of the palace of Bam- 
berg, ashamed, it is said, to see himself in the midst of the 
enemy's columns, which were defiling below him to attack 
his country !* Davoust remained minister of war. Mortier 
was to have commanded the Guard, but he did not recover 
his health in time. Ney and Grouchy were to command the 
wings of the principal army, as my lieutenants. Suchet 
commanded the army of Italy ; Rapp on the Rhine ; Brune 
on the Var ; Clausel and Decaen observed the Pyrenees. 

Plan of Operations, — I had four lines of operations from 
which to select. I could unite my masses to the left towards 
Valenciennes, march by Mons on Brussels, fall upon the 
English army, and drive it back on Antwerp. At the centre 
I could march by Maubeurge on Charleroi, between the 
Sambre and Meuse, so as to strike the point of junction of 
the two armies of Blucher and "Wellington. More to the 
right I might descend the Meuse towards Namur, fall upon 
the left of the Prussians, and cut them off from Coblentz and 
Cologne. Finally it was possible to descend between the 
Meuse and the Moselle, or between the Meuse and the Rhine, 
to fall upon the corps of Kleist, who covered the Ardennes 
and the communication of the Prussians with the Rhine. 

This last operation would lead to nothing but menaces, 
and against a general like Blucher, it could produce no 
decided results ; moreover, it led too far from the proposed 
object. An attack on the Meuse would have been more wise, 
but that would have thrown Blucher on Wellington, and 
effected a junction which it was important to prevent. The 
inverse manoeuvre, by Mons, against Wellington, would have 

* This is the generally received account of the death of Berthier. Some, 
however, have said that he fell by the hand of a personal enemy. His fate 
will serve as a warning to those who, led astray by political feeling, may bo 
tempted to oppose their country's cause in time of war. 

Ch. XXI I.J CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 349 

produced the same result in a different way, throwing the 
right of the allies upon their left. I therefore chose the 
centre where I could surprise Blucher en flagrant délit, and 
defeat him before Wellington could come to his rescue. To 
appreciate the nature of this plan, it must be remembered 
that I was not to attack a single army, under a single chief, 
and with a common interest, but, on the contrary, two 
armies, independent of each other, having two separate and 
divergent bases of operation ; that of the English being on 
Ostend or Antwerp, and that of the Prussians on the Rhine 
and Cologne ; — a decisive circumstance, greatly increasing 
the chances of success for a central operation which would 
divide them so that they could be fought separately. 

Beginning of the Campaign.— The plan and commence- 
ment of this campaign form one of the most remarkable 
operations of my life. Nine corps of infantry or cavalry 
cantoned from Lille to Metz, by marches most skillfully 
concealed, concentrated before Charleroi, at the very instant 
that the guard arrived there from Paris ! These movements 
were combined with so much precision that one hundred and 
twenty thousand men found themselves assembled, the four- 
teenth of June, on the Sambre, as if by enchantment. Well- 
ington, occupied in giving fetes at Brussels, thought me at 
Paris at the moment my columns presented themselves, on 
the morning of the fifteenth, to cross the river Sambre. My 
troops occupied, the night before, the following positions : 
the right of sixteen thousand men, under Count Gérard, at 
Philippeville ; the centre, of about sixty thousand, under my 
own direction, near Beaumont ; the left, of forty-five thou- 
sand men, at Ham-sur-Eur and Solre-sur-Sambre. So little 
idea had my enemies of these movements that their armies 
were not even assembled. Blucher had the first of his corps 
at Charleroi, the second at Namur, the third at Dinant, 
the fourth, under Bulow, at Liege, and the fifth, under 



[Ch. xxn. 

Kleist, covered Luxembourg. When I reached the army, 
I learned that Bourmont had just deserted, (on the four- 
teenth), from Philippeville to join Louis XVIII. and the 
allies. Blâmable as was such a step, it is believed he did not 
aggravate it by divulging my plans of operation ; on this 
subject even a common soldier, in such a case, should keep 
silence. Nevertheless, under the circumstances, the simple 
information of my arrival was an important matter, for it 
destroyed in part the effects of the surprise, Blucher having 
immediately ordered the concentration of his forces.* Well- 
ington's forces were still in their cantonments between Oude- 
narde and Nivelle on the Scheldt, ready to move at the first 
signal. I did not know the precise composition and position 
of all the enemy's corps, but I was certain that the mass of 
the Prussians were cantoned between Charleroi and Liege, 
and that the Anglo-Belgians were between Ath and Brussels, 
with advanced guards towards Mons and Tournay. The 
road running from Charleroi to Brussels was, therefore, the 
point of junction of the two armies, and to this point I 
directed my operations, in order to scatter the enemy's forces, 
and fight them separately.-)* 

* It has been said that a drummer, who deserted from the Old Guard, gave 
Blucher the first information of Napoleon's approach. 

f The following table given by Jomini in his last work exhibits the strength 
and position of the hostile forces at the beginning of the campaign. 

1. — Prussians under Blucher. 


( 4 divisions of infantry ; Steinmetz, \ 

1st corpa, 3 pjrch 2d> Jagow and Henkel f 32 800 

Ziethen. ( Cavalry of Rodev ^ 3900 j 

2d corps \ 4 division3 of infantry : Tippels- \ 

Pirch, ) Kircû ' Krafft r Brause, and Langen. [■ 31,800 
( Cavalry of Jurgas, 4,000 . . . ) 


On the Sambre 
between Thuin 
and Auveloy. 

about Namur. 

Ch. XXIL] 



June 15th, Passage of the Samhre. — Success depending 
on celerity, the French army passed the frontier on the fif- 
teenth at break of day, and directed their march on Charleroi. 


3d corps, ( 4 divisions of infantry : Borcke, ) . About Ciney 

Thielmann. ] Kempfen, Luck and Stulpnagel... Y 24,000 \ an d Dinant 

' Cavalry of Hobe, 2,500 J 

f 4 divisions of infantry; Haacke, ] 

4th corps, J Ryssel, Lostvn. and Hiller ! „„ „„ j „ T ., 

Bulow. ] cavalry of Prince William of Prus- f 30 > 300 \ ^ Lieg6 ' 

I sia, 3,000 j 

5th corps, j j ( Luxembourg, 

*feiW.| about | 30 > 000 \ andBasto|ne. 

Total, not including Kleist, 136 batta- 
lions, 135 squadrons, 320 cannon 118,900 combatants. 

-Anglo- Netherlander s under Wellington. 

1st corps, 
Prince of 

2 English divisions, Guards and 


Anglo-Belgians, Indian Brigade, 
Divisions Stedman, Perponcher 

and Chassé 

Cavalry of Collaert 

5 Anglo-Hanoverians, divisions Clin- 
2d corps, J ton, Coleville, Picton, Lambert and 

Genl. HillA Decken 

[_ Cavalry of Lord Uxbridge 





j About Eghein 
( and Subise. 
\ From Oudeuar- 
( de to Nivelle- 

[■ 34,600 \ 

Braine-le -Comte- 
denarde, Leuze 
and Brussels. 
From Ghent to 

Corps of Brunswick — Infantry and cavahy. 
Contingent of Nassau 


Brussels, Mech- 
Brussels, Ge- 
Artillery 6,000 Scattered. 

Total 123 battalions, 114 squadrons, 240 can- 
non 99, 900 Combatants. 

3. — Other troops of the Allies. 
The grand Austro-Russian army under Barclay de Tolly and Swartz- 

enberg, more than 350,000 

The Austro-Sardinian army in Italy 100,000 

To these must be added the Swiss, Spaniards and small German Contingents, 
making in all but little less than a million of men in arms against France. 



[Ch. XXII. 

The corps of General Rielle at Ham-sur-Eur, being nearest 
the enemy was to pass the Sambre at Marchiennes, and direct 
itself on Gosselies ; that of Erlon, being more in rear, at 


1st corps. 

2d corps, 

3d corps, 

Vandam me. 

4th corps, 

5 th corps, 


1. — Active Army in Belgium. 


4 divisions of infantry : Guyot, Don- \ 

zelot, Marcognet, and Durutte. . . v 20,600 

1 division of cavalry, Jaquenot ) 

4 divisions of infantry: Bachelu, 

Foy, Jerome Bonaparte and Girard. \ 22,800 

1 divison of cavalry, Pire , 

3 divisions of infantry : Ilabert 

Berthezène and Lefol 

1 division of cavalry, Morin 

3. divisions of infantry: Vichey, 

Pecheux and Hulot 

1 division of cavalry, Molin 

3 divisions of infantry : Simmer, 

Jeannin and Teste 

Guards. < 

2 divisions of the Old Guards, ' 
Friant and Morand 8,000 

1 division of Young Guard, Du- 
hesme 4.000 

Cavalry of the Guard, 1 9 squadrons 
of light, and 13 of heavy.. 4,000 

Engineers and artillery 2,400 


. At Solre-sur- 
~i Sambre. 

] Ham-sur-Eur. 
16,000 i Beaumont. 




18,400 1 Beaumont. 

2. — Reserves of Cavalry. 

Divisions of hussars and chasseurs, i 

Soult and Subervic j 

Divisions of dragoons, Spraley and i 

Chastel j 

Divisions of cuirassiers, "Wotier \ 

and Delort ) 

4th corps, I Divisions of cuirassiers, Sheritier i 
Kellerman- { and Roussel \ 

1st corps, 

2d corps, 
3d corps, 



This gives for the active French army in Belgium and the reserves of cavalry, 
a total of 167 incomplete battalions, 166 squadrons, 346 cannon, and 120,300 

3. — Other French corps in Garrison or Observation, 

Rapp commanded the army of the Rhine. 
Beliard " a corps at Metz. 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 353 

Solre-sur-Sambre, was to follow in the same direction. The 
centre or corps of battle, with the reserves of cavalry under 
the orders of Grouchy,* marched from Beaumont on Char- 
leroi, and the light from Philippeville on Catelet, where it 
was to cross the Sambreand prevent the Prussian division at 
Cbarleroi from retreating on Namur. 

These movements, although unknown to the enemy, did 
not entirely accomplish their object. The corps of Reille 
crossed the Sambre with success and reached the road to 
Gosselies, preceded by the light cavalry of the guard ; but 
that of Gérard, leaving Philippeville and having a longer 
march by the worst possible roads, arrived too late at Catelet, 
to reach the road to Gilly in time to accomplish its object. 
The centre also had very bad roads to travel over from Beau- 
mont to Charleroi, and Vandamme, who was to form the 
head of this column, left his camp a little too late.f The 
Prussian generals whose divisions were scattered along the 
line, had on this account much more leisure than 1 intended, 
to collect their forces and abandon Charleroi ; two or three 
battalions only were overthrown in partial combats. The 
first division of the corps of Ziethen wishing to retire from 

Lecourbe commanded a small corps of observation at Belfort. 

Suchet " the army of Italy in Savoy. 

Brune " the corps of observation on the Yar. 

Decaen and Clausel commanded the corps of observation of the Pyrenees. 

Lamarque commanded the corps of La Vendée. 

It has already been shown in the text that these were mere skeletons of 
corps, possessing little strength in themselves, but available for observation, for 
assembling or organizing the new levies, and for securing important strategic 

* Grouchy at first commanded all the cavalry, but when the army was com- 
pletely organized, he took command of the right wing. 

f Jomini thinks the delay of Vandamme caused by an error in the transmis- 
sion of orders, for he was not a man likely to be tardy, and, indeed, at this 
time his ardor, excited by personal jealousy, needed restraint rather than 

vol. in. — 23. 


Piéton by Gosselies, and finding this point already occupied 
by the advanced guard of Reille, sought to reach Heppignies. 
The second division re-united at Gilly on the road to Nanmr. 
The corps of Reille, having driven the Prussian division from 
Gosselies and seeing it direct its retreat by Heppignies on 
Fleurus, detached the division of Girard in pursuit, and with 
the other three divisions continued its march on Frasne. 
The light cavalry of the guard, which preceded it, drove from 
this town the advanced guard of the Prince of Weimar who 
now concentrated his brigade on Quatre- Bras. The light 
cavalry of Grouchy, having debouched from Charleroi on 
Gilly, fuund there the two divisions of Ziethen, and had to 
await the infantry of Vandamme, who was debouching with 
difficulty by the bridge of that city, which was greatly en- 
cumbered. In this position the two parties exchanged some . 
cannon shot. While my columns were thus debouching from 
the bridges of the Sambre in search of the enemy, I estab- 
lished myself in advance of Charleroi at the branching of 
the roads to Gosselies and Fleurus, where I waited to receive 
the reports of my officers, and to determine upon the move- 
ments to be given to the masses which had been so suddenly 
and skillfully assembled. 

Measures of the Allies. — It may be well, before going fur- 
ther, to briefly review the measures taken by the allies against 
the storm which was about to fall upon them. If their 
generals had allowed themselves to be surprised, it must be 
confessed that they made their preparations with skill. The 
Anglo-Prussians were to take the offensive on the first of 
July, and, in the mean time, every precaution was taken to 
prevent this plan from being counteracted. All partial and 
general rallying points were well indicated. To prevent me 
from manoeuvring to separate their armies, Blucher was to 
rally his army on its right, in rear of Ligny, while Welling- 
ton was to rally his on its left, on Quatre-Bras ; but, wise 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 355 

as were these dispositions, the celerity and impetuosity of 
my movements might, nevertheless, defeat them. In rjur- 
suance of the plan agreed upon by the allies, Blucher dis- 
patched an order, on the fourteenth at midnight, to Ziethen 
to fall back, fighting, on Fleurus, and directed at the same 
instant the corps of Pirch to assemble at Sombref ; he or- 
dered Thielman to come in all haste from Dinant to Namur ; 
■while Bulow was to assemble at Hanut. These movements 
were evidently based on information received from deserters, 
but Blucher had not counted on my abrupt passage of the 
Sambre and on a decisive battle for the next day. 

Decisive Movement prescribed to IVey.— I did not at this 
time know all the circumstances of the allies, or the de- 
tails of their positions and movements ; but I knew suffi- 
ciently well that Blucher Would seek to collect his forces 
somewhere between Namur and the road from Charleroi* to 
Brussels so as to form a junction with the English. To 
anticipate this, I determined to seize upon Sombref on the 
one side, and the central point of Quatre-Bras on the other ; 
master of these two points I could act, as occasion might 
require, upon either of the two hostile armies, and prevent 
their junction. I therefore gave to Grouchy a verbal order 
to push on the same evening as far as Sombref, if possible ; 
Marshal Ney, who had just come from Paris by post, re- 
ceived orders to take command of the left wing formed of 
the corps of Eeille and Erlon, and to march without delay 
on the road to Brussels in the direction of Quatre-Bras,f 

* Those who now visit Charleroi may be surprised that so strong a place 
should be so readily abandoned by the allies, and so easily passed by Napo- 
leon; but it must be remembered that in 1815 it was not defensible. The 
strong works that now partially surround this city have been built since the 
peace, and, it is said, with English money and under the direction of Well- 

f Quatre-Bras is a small village named from the meeting of four roads ; from 
Naniur, Charleroi, Brussels, and Nivelles. 


and to push forward his advanced guards on the three roads 
brandling from that place, in order to collect correct infor- 
mation of the enemy. Having learned at the same moment 
that the cavalry of Grouchy had been checked near Gilly by 
a part of the corps of Ziethen, I hastened there to order an 
attack ; the enemy, seeing the infantry of Vandamme arrive, 
retired fighting, and, at the end of a pretty warm cannonade, 
Excelmans and Vandamme dislodged him from the woods 
of Soleilmont and Lambusart, where the third division of 
Ziethen had collected. 

Ncy delays its Execution.— In the interval while this was 
passing on the right, Marshal Ney, having arrived between 
Gosselies and Frasne, and hearing the cannon thundering in 
the direction of Gilly, where Yandamme and Grouchy were 
attacking the second division of Ziethen, thought this com- 
bat might modify my projects, and, instead of pushing on 
rapidly as far as Quatre-Bras, established himself in front 
of Gosselies. I was a little vexed at this, but as night came 
on without the right wing having attained its object, I 
regarded the delay of the left the less objectionable as 
Quatre-Bras might be reached in time on the following 
morning. The troops of the corj)s of battle and the cavalry, 
bivouacked between the woods of Lambusart and the village 
of Heppignies, which was occupied by the division of Girard 
and the corps of Reille ; the Guard and the corps of Lobau 
were in reserve about Charleroi ; the forces of Count Gérard'"' 
remained near Châtelet ; and the corps of Erlon had not 
passed Jumet. At ten o'clock in the evening I returned to 
Charleroi, where I was occupied with the vexatious news of 
the operations of the chambers and Jacobins at Paris, the 
organization of my army and the direction of movements 

* This general should not be confounded with General Girard; the first 
commanded the fourth corps, and the other the fourth division of the second 

Ch. XXII..1 CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 357 

based on the further information gained of the enemy. The 
right wing of my army under Grouchy was composed of the 
corps of Vandamme and Gérard, and the cavalry of Pajol, 
Excelmans, and Milhaud ; the left wing, under Ney, of the 
corps of Reille and Erlon, with the cavalry of Val my and 
Lefèbre-Desnouettes ; the reserve of about twenty-eight 
thousand men was formed of the corps of Lobau and the 
Guard. I myself was occupied at head-quarters early in the 
morning and left my lieutenants, Ney and Grouchy, to com- 
plete at sunrise the operations left incomplete on the night 
before, — to occupy Sombref and Quatre-Bras. To make 
more certain of these operations, I sent my aid-de-camp 
Flahaut to Marshal Ney at eight o'clock in the morning, 
with a written order to march rapidly on Quatre-Bras, to 
establish himself there strongly, to make an examination of 
the three roads, and then detach a good division of infantry 
with the light cavalry of the Guard upon Marbais, in order 
to connect himself with the right wing, which was about to 
establish itself at Sombref. This dispatch was to be pre- 
ceded by a similar one given by the major-general. These 
orders reached Gosselies near eleven o'clock, but Ney had 
left to join the advanced guard of Reille near Frasne, so that 
he did not immediately receive them. 

While these things were taking place at my head-quarters, 
the troops of Grouchy drove back the rear-guards of Ziethen 
from Fleurus ; they retired upon the corps of battle, formed 
on the heights between Ligny and St. Amand, in the presence 
of which the French troops found themselves near eleven 

Ney again delays his March on Quatre-Bras.— I had just 
arrived near Ligny, and was about to observe the enemy's 
position, when I learned that Ney had again thought best, 
for several reasons, to delay his march on Quatre-Bras, and 
to wait where he was till he should learn my decision on the 


new information sent to me. Thwarted by this deplorable 
incident, 1 reiterated the order for Ney to push rapidly on 
to Quatre-Bras, it being understood that he was to detach 
the eight thousand men upon Marbais, as had already been 
directed through General Flahaut. I at the same time 
repeated, that Grouchy was about to occupy Sombref, and 
that he would certainly have to contend only against the 
troops coming from Brussels. Walewski, a Polish officer, 
was the bearer of this letter. 

Reconnoissance of the Prussian Position. — While this 
officer was galloping on the road to Gosselies, I ascended 
the mill of Fleurus, to examine the Prussian corps. The 
position was a difficult one in front, covering the little 
stream of Ligny ; the left extended to the environs of Som- 
bref and Tongrines ; the centre was near Ligtiy ; the right 
behind St, Amand. This great town formed of three dis- 
tinct villages (which were called St. Amand le Château, 
St. Amand la Haie, and St. Amand le Hameau), protected 
the right wing, the flank of which rested on Wagnèlc. The 
second line and reserves were between Sombref and Bry. 
Thus six great villages, four of which were difficult to be 
taken, on .account of the stream in front, covered like so 
many bastions, the enemy's line ; his reserves and second 
line, placed in columns of attack by battalions between Som- 
bref and Bry, could sustain it at all points.* 

Dispositions for forcinsf this Position.— Having finished 
this reconnoissance, I had to chose between three plans of 
operation : 1st, to stop immediately the march of Ney's 
columns ; order the cavalry of Kellerman to take position at 

* The four divisions of Zietheu's corps formed the first line; those of Pirch's 
corps the second at Bry and Sombref. The left under Thielnian, which arrived 
only at nine A. M., was near Tongrines. Gourgaud says this reconnoissance 
was made at about ten o'clock, but Jomini seems tp think it was later. There 
is still some doubt respecting the details of these operations of the sixteenth, 
The main facts, however, are as related in the text. 

On. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 359 

Frasne so as to cover the line of retreat on Charleroi ; then 
throw the seven divisions of Reille and Erlon, by the old 
Roman road, on Marbais, in order to turn Blucher and take 
him in reverse, while I attacked him in front. 2d. To pre- 
scribe this movement to the corps of Erlon only, leaving that 
of Reille with the cavalry of Kellerman defensively in the 
direction of Frasne and Quatrc-Bras, in order to observe the 
enemy, and cover the road to Charleroi. 3d. To prescribe to 
Key to fall with impetuosity on the enemy found at Quatrc- 
Bras, and drive him on Genappe in the direction of Brussels, 
then fall back on Bry in the direction of Nam ur to cooperate 
in the attack upon Blucher. 

Under ordinary circumstances, perhaps, the first project 
would have been most conformable to the rules of the art 
but now it might endanger our natural line of retreat on 
Charleroi. Thinking that in all probability Ney, receiving 
the orders dispatched in the morning by Flahaut, had by 
this time rendered himself master of Quatrc-Bras, and might, 
after having beaten the Anglo-Belgians, assist in the defeat 
of Blucher, I determined to adopt the second plan* 

Battle of Lnrny.— I now made my dispositions to attack 
the Prussians. The corps of Count Lobau, left at first near 
Charleroi, was ordered to march in all haste to Fleuras. 
The left of the corps of battle under Vandamme presented 

* In pursuance of this plan, it would seem, the following order was dis- 
patched to Ney : 

" Is Bivouac befoue Flftecs, 2 o'clock P. M. 

•' M. le Marshal. — The Emperor directs me to inform you that the enemy 
have united a body of troops between Sombref and Bry, and, that at half past 
two, Marshal Grouchy, with the third and fourth corps, will attack him. 

" It is the intention of His Majesty that you also attack whatever is before 
you; that of it r having pushed the enemy vigorously, you fallback to assist in 
enveloping the corps just mentioned. If this corps were first beaten His 
Majesty would then manœuvre in your direction to facilitate equally your ope- 
rations. Inform the Emperor immediately of your dispositions, and of what- 
ever shall take place on your front." 


[Cn. XXII. 

itself before the village of St. Amand ; the centre, under 
Count Gérard, presented itself before Ligny ; the Guard 
placed itself in rear of these two attacks ; the cavalry of 
Grouchy deployed on the right to keep in check the left of 
the Prussians, just reënforced by the arrival of the entire 
corps of Thielman. The attack began between two and 
three o'clock at St. Amand, of which Vandamnie got posses- 
sion in spite of a vigorous resistance ; but the Prussians, 
favored by the village of La Haie, and the heights command- 
ing it, advanced their second line and retook it. Count 
Gérard experienced the same opposition at Ligny, of which 
he could occupy only a part. I knew from this opposition 
that the enemy was in stronger force than I had at first sup- 
posed, which rendered it still more important to manœuvre 
so as to turn his right flank, and prevent his falling back in 
that direction. I therefore dispatched another formal order 
to Ney,' ::: " directing him to manoeuvre with his forces on Bry 
and St. Amand. I supposed that ere this he had occupied 
Quatre-Bras, and would be now on his way towards the 
flank of Blucher, so that the order Avould reach him in time ; 
fearing, however, that, from the recent and unaccountable 
delays of the left Aving in executing my orders, this also 
might be in some way thwarted, and knowing that the corps 

* This order dispatched at a quarter past three o'clock, was as follows : 

'• In Bivouac iîefoke Fleuris, from a quarter to half past 3, P. M. 
"M. Marshal Ney. — I wrote to you an hour since that the Emperor would 
attack the enemy in the position he had taken between the village of St. 
Amand and Bry ; at this moment the forces are sharply engaged: His Majesty 
directs me to say that you are to manœuvre immediately so as to envelop the 
enemy's right, and to fall by main strength on his rear; his army is lost if you 
only act vigorously. The fate of France is in your hands ; therefore do not 
hesitate a moment to make the movement ordered by the Emperor, and direct 
yourself on the heights of Bry and St. Amand to assist in a victory perhaps 
decisive : the enemy is taken en flagrant délit at the moment when he seeks to 
unite with the English. 

"Duc de Dalmatœ." 

Ch. XXII. ] CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 361 

of Erlon had not yet passed Frasne, I sent General Labe- 
doyère to communicate to Count d'Erlon the order given to 
Marshal Ney, and to direct him to commence its execution. 

In the meantime the battle was continued throughout the 
line with great fury. A second attack of Vandamme on St. 
Amand, favored by the division of Girard which had crossed 
the ravine, and turned the enemy, put us in possession of 
this village ; but the brave Girard purchased with his life a 
success which was of short duration ; for Blucher having 
carried there a part of his reserves, the village of St. Amand 
was retaken and disputed with great fury. They fought still 
more fiercely at Ligny, which place Gerard had several times 
carried without being able to retain it ; forced to leave the 
division of Hulot in observation on his right, and thus 
reduced to ten thousand combatants, he maintained himself 
with a most brilliant valor against more than twenty-five 
thousand Prussians, in the lower part of the village where 
the little stream cuts it in two. The Guard placed in rear 
of these two attacks disposed itself to sustain either as occa- 
sion might require. At the extreme right, Excelmans 
manoeuvred skillfully to prevent the left of the Prussians 
from debouching from Tongrenelle, while Pajol observed 
Soignée, and the cuirassiers of Milhaud sustained the right 
of Gerard. This was the state of the battle at half past 
five, and I was becoming impatient at hearing nothing 
of the movements prescribed to Xey, nor of his operations at 
Quatre- Bras (for the noise of a violent cannonade and the 
direction of the wind had prevented me from hearing his 
attack), and I was preparing to dispose of the Guard when 
Vandamme informed me that a strong column had appeared 
in the direction of Wagnèle, and that the division of Girard, 
deprived of its general, and at the same time attacked by 
superior forces, was obliged to retire towards St. Amand le 
Hameau. General Vandamme announced that he had at 


fiist taken this column for a detachment which Ney was to 
direct on Marbais ; but us it was much longer, and as his 
scouts had reported it to belong to the enemy, he should fall 
back in retreat unless promptly sustained. Although I 
could not comprehend how a column could thus slip between 
me and Ney, nevertheless it was barely possible that it might 
be a reinforcement sent from Quatre-Bras to Blucher, or a 
corps of his own army sent around by the old Roman road 
beyond Wagnole to turn the left of Vaudamme ; it was 
therefore necessary to ascertain definitely the state of the 
case, and accordingly I sent one of my aids-de-camp to 
reconnoitre. This officer reported in about an hour that it 
was the corps of Erlon, which, instead of marching to the 
north towards Bry or Marbais, had inclined too much to the 
south in the direction of Villers-Peruin, drawn there without 
doubt by the noise of two or three hundred pieces of cannon 
which were thundering in the direction of St. Amand. My main 
attack had already been too long delayed, but the appearance 
of the corps of Erlon was a sufficient indication that Ney 
himself could not be far off, and would now direct this por- 
tion of the left wing as had been ordered, and I therefore 
commenced the march on Ligny, for it being now half past 
six, no further time was to be lost. By this impetuous 
debouch from that village with a division of the Guard, the 
infantry, and the cuirassiers of Milhaud, the enemy's centre 
was pierced and a part of it thrown on Bry, and a part of it 
on So m bref. 

The Prussians fought well during the whole day, and the 
battle was undecided when I advanced with a reserve ; 
Blucher seeing the departure of the Guard from the environs 
of St. Amand, and thinking this movement the commence- 
ment of a retreat, attacked himself what remained on St. 
Amand, in the hope of pursuing the French. Being soon 
undeceived, he headed a charge with the few cavalry he could 


collect. But of what use was the courage of a general-in- 
chief iu such a meUe ? His horse having been shot under 
hiin ; he fell to the ground,* and for some ten minutes was 
in the hands of the French cuirassiers without its being 
known, and at last, through the presence of mind of his 
aid-de-camp, Nostitz, ho regained Bry on the horse of a 
lancer. At night-fall our victory was complete. But before 
noticing its results, let us follow the operations of Ney on 
the left, 

Key repulsed at Quatre-Bras. — Ney, from the delays al- 
ready mentioned, did not reach his position till two o'clock, 
with three incomplete divisions of Reille's corps, Pirch's 
division of light cavalry and a brigade of Kellerman's cuiras- 
siers, and for the first hour engaged the enemy in skirmishes; 
but at three o'clock, hearing the cannonade at St. Amand he 
took the resolution to make a serious attack upon the allies. 
But things had here very much changed since morning. 
General Perponcher, seeing how important it was, for rally- 
ing the army of Wellington and effecting its junction with 
Blucher, to hold this place, took position here with his divi- 
sion and the brigade of the Prince of Weimar, in all nine 
thousand men. These forces, commanded by the Prince of 
Orange, might easily have been routed, had they been at- 
tacked with two corps-d'armée in the morning. At eleven 
o'clock Wellington had withdrawn to this place the advance 
posts from near Frasne, and, at the moment Ney brought 
the divisions of Reille to the attack, the enemy was reënforced 
by the English division of Picton from Brussels, and the 
division of the Duke of Brunswick. Nevertheless Ney 
fought with his usual vigor. The division of Foy on the 
left marched on Quatre-Bras and Germioncourt, while that 
of Bachelu attacked the village of Piermont. That of 

* It is said that while Blucher was thus entangled with his horse, he was 
actually ridden over by two regiments of cavalry. 


Prince Jerome attacked, a little later, the wood of Bossut 
on the extreme left. Everywhere the French troops pushed 
the enemy with vigor. "Wellington, certain of being soon 
reënforced, received these attacks with his usual sang-froid ; 
nevertheless the troops of the Prince of Orange and Picton 
were driven from these posts with considerable loss. The 
arrival of Brunswick's corps restored the equilibrium, and 
the field was disputed with great fury ; Brunswick himself 
fell pierced with balls. Ney now received the order of the 
major-general and heard, at the same time, that Erlon's 
corps was directed on Bry. He had no reserve of infantry, 
and most of his cuirassiers had been left with Erlon near 
Frasne. Kunning to Kellerman, he said to him : " My dear 
general, the fate of France is here involved, and we must 
make an extraordinary effort ; take your cavalry, and plunge 
into the middle of the English army ; I will sustain you 
with Pire." At these words Kellerman unhesitatingly 
charged at the head of his brigade of brave men, overthrew 
the sixty-ninth regiment, carried the batteries, and, piercing 
through two lines, reached even to the farm of Quatre-Bras, 
where the reserve of English, Hanoverian, and Belgian in- 
fantry received him with so murderous a fire that his soldiers 
were forced to retreat. Kellerman's horse being slain under 
him, he remained dismounted in the midst of the English, 
and had great difficulty in escaping again to his own army. 
The French infantry, incited by so fine a charge, renewed 
its efforts on Quatre-Bras and the wood of Bossut, the 
greater part of which was occupied by the division of Prince 
Jerome. But at this critical moment, the division of English 
Guards and the division of General Alten, coming into line 
after a forced march, gave Wellington so great a superiority 
that Ney could have no further hope. He had sent to Erlon 
an imperative order to come to his assistance, instead of 
taking position on Bry, but this corps was now too far off to 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 365 

arrive in time, so that the marshal was obliged to fall back 
on Frasne, with a loss of four thousand men hors-de-combcub y 
the allies, entering only successively into action, had lost 
five thousand. Wellington pursued Ney at first with some 
vigor, hut Koussel's division of cuirassiers protected his 
retreat. Erlon, imperatively recalled by Ney when already 
beyond Villers-Peruin, marched to rejoin him with three 
divisions and the light cavalry of the Guard, leaving the 
division of Durutte between Villers-Peruin and St. Amand, 
to cooperate if necessary on Bry. This division remained 
here all night inactive on the flank of the rear-guard that 
had been left by Blucher in this village, which it occupied 
till one o'clock in the morning, while the corps of Ziethen 
retired, by favor of the darkness, on Grilly, that of Pirch on 
Gentinne, and the left, under Thielman, took the direction 
of Gemblaux. 

A fatality seemed to have presided over all the operations 
of my left wing. If it had moved, as I directed, on Quatre- 
Bras, on the evening of the fifteenth, or the morning of the 
sixteenth, it could very easily have beaten the isolated divi- 
sion of Perponcher, have occupied the position, and detached 
two divisions on Marbais and Bry, to complete the overthrow 
of Blucher. But when Ney received the order in the after- 
noon to march on Bry, the thing was impossible, for he had 
just engaged a superior force at Quatre-Bras. As it was, he 
had better have remained at Frasnes, for no advantage was 
gained at Quatre-Bras, and his recall of Count Erlon ren- 
dered this corps utterly useless, at a time when it might 
have had an important influence on the fate of Blucher's 
army. Our victory at Ligny was a glorious one, for, with 
sixty thousand men, we had beaten ninety thousand. In 
two days the enemy had lost from eighteen to twenty thou- 
sand killed, wounded, and prisoners, and forty pieces of 
cannon. My army was full of enthusiasm and confidence, 


ready to fly to new victories. Under any other circumstances 
the battle of Ligny would have been decisive. But, for 
reasons already given, all my plans for the cooperation of 
my left wing failed. Nor did I know that Durntte passed 
the night on the flank of the Prussian line of retreat, so near 
that his advanced guards heard distinctly the noise caused 
by the march of their trains, and the confusion of their 
columns. Had I known this I should have pushed these 
troops forward to harass the retreat, and, in spite of the 
darkness of the night, and the failure of the intended coope- 
ration, I might have gained much by a well-regulated night 

At break of day the rear-guard of Blucher had disappeared 
from Bry ; that of Thielman was seen on the road from 
Sombref to Corroy-le-Chateau in the direction of Gemblaux 
intermediary between the road to Namur and that to Brus- 
sels by Wavre. Blucher had committed a great fault in 
accepting battle, and he now thought it necessary to remedy, 
as promptly as possible, the influence which this defeat would 
have upon his army ; unable to reach Bousseval directly, 
he resolved to rally on Bulow, and seek to gain communica- 
tion with the English by Wavre. Consequently Thielman 
was directed on Gemblaux, and Ziethen and Pirch fell back 
by Mont-St.-Guibert on Bierge and Aisemont ; and the 
Prussian marshal dispatched his chief of staff to concert with 
Wellington some plan for forming a junction either in front 
or in rear of the forest of Soignies. 

The Morning of the 17th.— On the morning of the seven- 
teenth, I waited with equal anxiety for Ney's report of the 
operations on Quatre-Bras, and the news from Paris of the 
political operations of the chambers and the Jacobins. In 
the mean time I ordered the cavalry of Pajol to follow the 
Prussians on the road to Namur, which was their natural 
line of operations, Excelmans on the road to Gemblaux, and 

CH. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 367 

Monthion in the direction of Tilly and Mont-St.-Guibert. I 
also regulated my affairs of administration and visited the 
field of battle to succor the wounded of Loth parties ; this 
care was the more necessary as the moving hospitals {ambu- 
lances) had been unable to follow the armies in their forced 

Grouchy sent in Pursuit of the Prussians.— I at length 
received, by my aid-de-camp, Flahaut, the details of the 
unfortunate affair of Quatre-Bras, at the same time that 
Pajol announced the capture of some Prussian cannon at 
Mazy, on the road to Namur. I now resolved to turn against 
the Euglish with my reserve and left wing, and sent Grouchy 
with his seven divisions of infantry and two corps of cavalry 
in close pursuit of the Prussians. 

The Reserve and Left Wing march against the English. 
— My advanced guard marched for Quatre-Bras near ten 
o'clock, and the Guard at eleven. The weather Avas terrible ; 
it rained as though the flood-gates of heaven were open ; 
-nevertheless, my troops showed themselves no less eager in 
the pursuit. 

The English retreat.— On arriving at Genappe, I found 
only the English rear-guard. Wellington, hearing accidentally 
of Blucher's defeat at eight o'clock in the morning, (the offi- 
cer sent with the dispatch lost his way and was killed), 
abandoned Quatre-Bras and hastened to put his impedimenta 
in retreat on the road to Brussels, covering it with the 
cavalry of Lord Uxbridge. The French followed in close 
pursuit as far as Maison-du-Roi and the heights of Plan- 
chenois, where the army arrived at nightfall. The enemy mani- 
fested an intention to maintain himself in front of the forest 
of Soignies, but we thought it was only the rear-guard cover- 
ing the retreat of the army through the forest ; however as 
it was too late to begin an attack that night, our different 
corps bivouacked near Planchenois. The rain continued to 


fall in torrents all night. At three o'clock in the morning, I 
went the rounds of the posts and assured myself that the 
enemy had not moved ; Wellington had therefore resolved to 
fight ; this was exactly what I wished ; to meet and attack 
the two armies separate]}' was the main point considered in 
the plan of campaign. Blucher had already been defeated 
and forced to retreat on a line diverging from the other army, 
and I had detached after him a sufficient force to increase the 
distance of separation and effectually prevent a junction. 
The other army was now in the toils, and my only appre- 
hension was that it would refuse battle. 

Grouchy ordered to occupy the Defile of St. Lambert. — 
Nevertheless, to profit with security by this happy chance it 
was best to entirely prevent the junction of the allied armies. 
I, therefore, dispatched a courier, in the early part of the 
night of the sixteenth, to Grouchy at Wavre with an order 
to occupy without delay the defile of St. Lambert, so that if 
he did not take an active part in the coming battle by falling 
on the left of the English, he could at least give them some 
trouble, and at the same time cover my flank. But at mid- 
night I received Grouchy's report, saying that he hadarrrived 
at Gembloux at five o'clock in the evening and was passing 
the night there, having marched only two leagues ! ! This 
delay was exceedingly vexatious, as he might well have 
reached Wavre about the same time that I had La-Belle- 
Alliance, as the distance was but little greater. But as he 
could not have received the order which I had sent to Wavre, 
another was immediately despatched to Gembloux hoping 
that he would receive it in time. 

Reasons for attacking the English.— My army had been 
much harrassed by rains, bad roads, and forced marches. 
Under ordinary circumstances it would have been best to 
allow it some repose, and afterward to dislodge Wellington by 
manœuvres. But other armies were about to invade France, 

Ou. XXII] CAMPAIGN OF 1815 369 

and my presence would soon be needed elsewhere. Moreover, 
Blncher would soon rally, and, with reinforcements, again 
attempt to force a junction with the right of the allies ; it 
was, therefore, necessary to end with the English as soon as 

Position of the Allied Army. — They occupied in front of 
Mont-St.-Jean, a fine plateau, the slope from which, like the 
glacis of a fort, was favorable for their fire and offered them 
a good view of our operations. The right extended to the 
rear of Braine-la-Leud, and a corps of Netherlanders of fif- 
teen thousand men was still detached as far as Halle to cover 
the road from Mons to Brussels. The position in itself had 
great defensive advantages, the villages of Braine and Mer- 
bes, the chateau of Hougomont, La-Haie-Sainte, La-Haie, 
and Frichemont forming, as it were, advanced bastions which 
flanked and secured the whole line ; but it was just on the 
brink of the vast forest of Soignies,* with no possible outlet 
for a great army, with its immense material and numerous 

Plan of Attack. — As the enemy had decided to await bat- 
tle, it became necessary to determine the plan of attack. To 
manoeuvre by the left to turn the enemy's right might cut 
off his retreat on that side of the forest, but it would sepa- 
rate me from the centre of operations, and throw Wellington 
in the direction of Blucher ; moreover this wing was secured 
by the farm of Hougomont (now converted into a strong 
field-work) and the great bourgs of Braine-la-Leud and 
Merbe-Braine. To attack with the right to crush the 
enemy's left was preferable, inasmuch as it maintained a 
direct relation on an interior line with Grouchy. But as the 
ground in this direction was unfavorable, I, therefore, deter- 

* The traveler will now find this forest much changed, and far more acces- 
sible for an army than it was in 1815. Much of the timber has been removed 
within the last few years. 
vol. iv. — 24. 


mined to assail the left and pierce the centre. To attack 
the centre only, as at Montenotte, Eivoli, and Austerlitz, 
can be done when this point is left unsecured, which very 
seldom happens. In the present case the manœuvre of Wa- 
gram and Moskwa was preferable. The mass of my forces 
was directed on the centre ; the extreme left was to be as- 
sailed only by the division forming the right of the corps of 
Erlon, which was to attack Papelotte and La-Haie ; :;: Ney 
was to conduct the three other divisions to the right of La- 
Haie-Sainte ;* the corps of Reille was to support this move- 
ment at the left of the road to Mont-St.-Jean ; the divisions 
of Bachelu and Foy, between this road and the farm of 
Hougomont ; that of Prince Jerome, conducted by Guille- 
minot, was to attack this farm which constituted the salient 
point of the enemy's line. Wellington had formed loop- 
holes in the walls of the chateau and garden, and secured the 
enclosure of the park, occupying the whole with the English 
Guards.f Count Lobau, with the sixth corps and a mass of 
cavalry, followed as a third and a fourth line to the centre, 
on the right and left of the road, so as to support Ney's at- 
tack upon La-Haie-Sainte ; finally twenty-four battalions 
of the Guard and cuirassiers of the Duke of Val my, forming 
the fifth and sixth lines, were ready to bear upon the deci- 
sive point4 I had purposed to begin the attack early in the 
morning, but the torrents of rain which had fallen during 
the night and previous day had so softened the ground that 

* These two places must not be confounded ; the first was at the left wing 
of the allies, and the other at the centre. 

+ The thick walls of the house, chapel, and garden, pierced with loop-holes 
and arranged for a double tier of fire, were almost impregnable ; exterior to 
these was a ditch with a good embankment covered with a thick hedge ; and 
the whole was surrounded by a thick woods, which have since been removed. 
The whole formed an excellent field fortification, which from its position pro- 
duced a marked effect upon the operations of the battle. 

% Jomiai says that Napoleon may offer ihis plan of battle as a model to the 
masters of the art, for nothing can be better. 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 371 

it would have been hardly possible for the artillery and 
cavalry to manoeuvre. As the weather began to clear up, 
the attack was delayed in order that the ground might 
become more firm ; in the meantime the several corps were 
placed in position. 

Commencement of the Battle of La Belle-Alliance, or 
Waterloo,— At eleven o'clock the attack commenced with 
artillery and musketry against the farm of Hougomont, 
which Jerome endeavored to carry ; a few moments after, 
Ney presented himself near Frichemont at the opposite ex- 
tremity of the line. A few cannon-shot were exchanged, 
when it was ascertained that the stream, although narrow 
and shallow, was so very muddy, that it was necessary to 
turn to the west of Smouhen, it being difficult to pass lower 
down in face of the enemy's batteries. Ney, obliged thus to 
withdraw a part of his right to the centre, at length succeeded 
in forming these four divisions of the corps of Erlon, and it 
was only by herculean efforts that he could form his artillery 
in the soft ground where the carriages sunk to their hubs in 
the mud. 

First Appearance of the Prussians. — The marshal soon 
began a violent cannonade against the enemy's left, merely 
waiting for my signal to fall upon it. I was about giving 
this signal a little after twelve o'clock, when strong columns 
were discovered on the right in the direction of Lasne and 
St. Lambert ; these I supposed to be the detachment asked 
of Grouchy, though after his report received the night before 
from Gembloux, I had hardly expected him so soon ; never- 
theless, by setting out very early in the morning he might 
have reached here by noon. To promptly ascertain the true 
state of things in this direction, I dispatched General Ho- 
mond with three thousand horse towards Pajeau, where they 
could either cover our flank, or open a communication with 
Grouchy, as the circumstances might require. They soon 


after brought in a Prussian hussar with an intercepted let- 
ter, announcing the approach of Bulow with a force estimated 
at thirty thousand men. 

Napoleon determines to hasten the Attack upon the 
English. — Notwithstanding this vexatious contre-temps, my 
affairs were still far from desperate ; if Grouchy had per- 
mitted Bulow to penetrate between us, he certainly must be 
near at hand in pursuit, and if so, the chances of the battle 
were still unchanged. I therefore ordered Ney to begin the 
attack, and, to secure the threatened flank, I moved the two 
divisions of Count Lobau in the direction of Planchenois 
where they could serve as a reserve to Ney or oppose Bulow, 
as the circumstances might require. The Prussian corps, if 
followed up by Grouchy as I had every reason to believe it 
was, would thus find itself between two fires in a coup-gorge, 
and would become an additional trophy to the conqueror. 
Nearly a hundred cannon were now thundering against the 
enemy's centre to the right and left of La-Haie-Sainte ; it 
was here that the principal effort was to be made ; and if 
Ney, seconded by Lobau and the Guard, should succeed in 
penetrating here as he did at Friedland, I would command 
the road through the forest of Soignes, which constituted 
the enemy's only chance of retreat. 

Key's first Attack on the Centre. — Near one o'clock, Ney 
threw himself at the head of the corps of Erlon, which 
deployed in columns by division in order to cross more 
rapidly the space between it and the enemy. This move- 
ment, executed with close and deep masses under a murder- 
ous fire, and in a horrible mud, caused a slight undulation in 
his columns ; a part of his artillery remained behind, and 
continued a distant fire upon the enemy's batteries, while 
the infantry was passing the ravine. The extreme right 
division of this corps moved in the direction of Smouhen in 
concert with the light cavalry of Jaquinot. A brigade of 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 373 

the left attacked the farm-house of La-Haie-Sainte, where it 
met a strong resistance, and experienced considerable losses. 
The remainder of this corps, having all the difficulties of the 
deep mud and the formidable fire of the enemy's artillery, 
reached the part of the first line formed of the Belgian bri- 
gade of Bylant (division of Perponcher) and pierced it by a 
vigorous charge. But they were now suddenly assailed by the 
English division of Picton, placed in the second line, and 
lying hid behind a rise of ground favorable for their conceal- 
ment. The combat now becomes furious ; the English in- 
fantry are deployed and envelope, with their concentric fire, 
the compact corps of Ney. Picton falls dead ; but his 
troops hold firm, and the French column, arrested by this 
murderous fire, begins to waver. At this instant Lord Ux- 
bridge advances the English cavalry of General Ponsonby to 
charge it in flank : emboldened by success, they charge in 
the interval between the second and third columns, and pre- 
cipitate themselves on Ney's reserve of artillery, a part of 
which remains in rear, on account of the mud ; they sabre 
the soldiers of the train and the cannoneers, and carry away 
the horses, thus depriving the infantry of a part of its cannon. 
Seeing the operations of these horsemen, I throw out against 
them the cuirassiers of Milhaud and a brigade of lancers ; in 
a few minutes they are completely destroyed, and Ponsonby 
is slain ; but the French infantry has been broken, and a 
part of its cannon have been rendered immovable. 

The Left attacks Ilougomont.— While these things were 
taking place against the left and left centre of the allies, 
Jerome, seconded by Foy, had, with difficulty, dislodged the 
enemy from the park of Hougomont, but all efforts were 
vain against the embattled walls and chateau, where Well- 
ington himself conducted the reinforcements to the English 
Guards who defended this important post with the most 
admirable valor. Wellington was waiting for the promised 


aid of Blucher, and he sought every means to prolong the 
contest. For him there was no hope of retreat ; he must 
conquer or die. Seeing my efforts directed towards the 
centre he hastened to close his line, calling from Braine-la- 
Leud and Merbes twenty battalions of Belgians and Bruns- 
wickers, and placing them successively in reserve behind the 
right and centre. He himself then repaired to the defense 
of Hougomont. General Foy, on his side, wishing to second 
the attacks made on the chateau by the division of Jerome 
(conducted by Guilleminot), sought to pass this post, and 
fell upon the line of Lord Hill and the Brunswickers, who 
were formed in rear of a cross-road which ran along in front 
of the enemy's line from the Nivelle road to near Papelotte. 
But being wounded in the shoulder by a ball, and seeing his 
troops cut down by a murderous fire without hope of dis- 
lodging the enemy, Foy renounced his project, and the com- 
bat on this point degenerated into a cannonade and skirmishes 
without advantages to either side. 

Key's second Attack. — In this interval Ney applied all 
his energy and force of character to repair the check which 
he had received in his first attacks ; his right, in possession 
of Smouhen, debouched on Papelotte, and the marshal him- 
self directed a new attack on La-Haie-Sainte. The division 
of Donzelot, sustained on the left of the road by a brigade 
of Valmy's cuirassiers, and on the right by a brigade of 
Quinot's infantry, at last succeeded in routing the Scotch and 
Hanoverian battalions ; and at four o'clock his troops, after 
the most glorious efforts, remained masters of these two 
points. During this contest I passed along the lines of Ney 
and Milhaud amid a shower of bullets ; General Devaux, 
commandant of the artillery of the Guard and reserve, was 
killed at my side, — an irreparable loss at the moment when 
I was directing him to renew the decisive manoeuvres of 

Ch. XXIL] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 375 

Bulow debouches on Planchenois.— At four o'clock the 
possession of La-Haie-Sainte and Papelotte gave us a decided 
superiority, and all the chances were in our favor, but at 
this moment I learned that Bulow had debouched from the 
wood of Frichemont, and attacked Count Lobau. I now 
feared that Grouchy had not followed this Prussian corps, 
and that I should be obliged, unassisted, to fight both armies. 
But Bulow was unsustained, and from my central position 
and the advantages already gained, I still felt confident of 
success, and resolved to fight them successively. Bulow had 
now advanced so far that his bullets reached the Charleroi 
road in rear of my centre ; it was therefore necessary to 
force him to retreat. Accordingly, at five o'clock, I directed 
against him the Young Guard under the brave Duhesme, 
sustained by General Morand with a part of the Old Guard, 
intending afterwards to fall upon Wellington with the united 
reserves ; in the meantime Ney was merely to sustain him- 
self in possession of La-Haie-Sainte and Papelotte. 

Grand ( hargc of the French Cavalry.— At this time, the 
marshal, finding himself too much isolated by the attack of 
the corps of Reille about the chateau of Hougomont, urgently 
asked for reinforcements. Having then no infantry at my 
disposal, I assigned to him the cuirassiers of Milhaud. 
Wellington, on his side, encouraged by the attack of Bulow, 
and reënforced by the troops of his extreme right, conceived 
the hope of regaining possession of the park of Hougomont 
and the farm-house of La-Haie-Sainte. For this purpose 
the «Hanoverians were directed, at five o'clock, on the latter 
post, and at the same time the English under Lord Hill on 
the former. At this moment, Ney, whose troops were suffer- 
ing terribly from the enemy's fire, seeing the light cavalry of 
his right forced by the English horse, sought to get possession 
at all hazards of the plateau of Mont-St.-Jean, and threw 
his brave cuirassiers on the centre of the allies. Unfortun- 


ately his infantry was not in condition to give it more than 
a feeble assistance. Nevertheless, these squadrons, encoun- 
tering the Hanoverians in march on La-Haie-Sainte, fall 
upon them, sabre a regiment, capture the enemy's artillery, 
force the German legion which had formed in square, and 
even charge upon others ; the enemy forms his troops in 
squares by regiments, rescues his cannoneers and artillery 
horses, and, by a well sustained fire, repels the efforts of this 
heroic cavalry*, which, charged in its turn by the English 
cavalry of Lord Somerset, rallied and resumed the attack 
even under the fire of the enemy's line. 

This was a glorious operation, most heroically executed ; 
but it was ill-timed ; it should have been executed sooner, 
in concert with the first attack of Erlon, or have been deferred 
until the return of the Young Guard, so as to form a 
combined effort of the three arms united. But the plateau 
was crowned ; and it was now necessary to sustain Ney 
where he was, or to allow his troops to be cut off. I there- 
fore ordered Kellerman, after six o'clock, to advance with his 
cuirassiers to the left of the road to La-Haie-Sainte, and to 
overthrow everything before him. Unfortunately, and con- 
trary to my intention, the heavy cavalry of the Guard fol- 
lowed this movement. Milhaud, seeing these recnforcements 
renews his attacks. These ten thousand horse cause great 
havoc in the enemy's line, capture sixty pieces of artillery, 
force two squares, and their progress is checked only by the 
infantry of the second line ; the combined English, Belgian, 
Hanoverian, and Brunswick cavalry, under Lord Uxbridge, 
now charge upon the French ; but these rally again at a 
little distance, and drive back the allies' horse upon their 
infantry. The repeated efforts of this cavalry are glorious 

* Wellington himself assured the author, at the congress of Vienna, that he 
never saw anything more admirable than the ten or twelve reiterated charges 
of the French cuirassiers against troops of all arms. 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 377 

beyond description, and the impassible perseverance of their 
adversaries is also deserving of the highest praise. But dis- 
order now begins in the combined army, and the alarm even 
reaches Brussels, where we are every moment expected to 
appear. Bulow, attacked by Lobau, Duhesme, and a de- 
tachment of the Old Guard under Morand, is driven back on 
the road to Pajeau ; finally Grouchy's cannon are now heard 
on the Dyle, and, in spite of all the contre-temps, victory 
seems certain. To give it the finishing stroke, I order, at 
half past seven, all the Guard to unite, and carry the posi- 
tion of Mont-St.-Jean. This effort must certainly incline 
the balance most decidedly in our favor. 

Blucher debouches on Siuoulien, and Pirch and Bulow 
on Planchenois. — But this illusion was of short duration ; 
the French cavalry had hardly rallied its victorious squad- 
rons, when new columns of the enemy were discovered from 
the plateau, coming from Chain : it was Blucher himself, 
who had arrived with the corps of Ziethen in the direction 
of Papelotte. At the same time, the corps of Pirch, having 
debouched from Lasne, was already in action to second Bu- 
low at Planchenois. I could not know the strength of these 
forces, but I feared that their arrival would snatch from me 
the victory. Nevertheless, I thought it possible to restore 
the equilibrium, and, perhaps, to force back the English, by 
refusing my right, which was now threatened by greatly 
superior numbers, and direct my principal efforts by my left 
on Hougomont and Mont-St.-Jean ; this was a bold, and by 
some considered a rash measure, inasmuch as it changed my 
line of retreat from Charleroi to the causeway of Nivelle, 
and endangered my communication with Grouchy ; but its 
character cannot be properly judged of, as- circumstances at 
the time prevented its execution. Disorder began to reach 
the cavalry, and the division of Durutte was threatened by 
triple forces on the plateau between Smouhen and the 


chaussée ; it was important to sustain Erlon without even 
waiting the return of the Guard commanded by Morand, and 
some other detachments. I put myself at the head of the 
division of Friant, which were the only troops disposable, and 
conducted it to La-Haie-Sainte, at the same time that I 
ordered Keille to make a new effort in the direction of 
Hougomont. This attack, led on by myself, restored cour- 
age to the French cavalry and to the remains of the corps 
of Erlon ; if the whole division of Morand had been present, 
there would still have been some chances of success ; but, 
forced to keep some battalions in hand towards Belle- 
Alliance, I could unite only four on the summit of the pla- 
teau in advance of La-Haie-Sainte. Ney, sword in hand, 
led them against the enemy. 

Wellington's Dispositions.— In the mean time Wellington, 
certain of the near approach of Blucher on his left, thought 
to regain the park of Hougomont and La-Haie-Sainte ; he 
threw the division of Brunswick and a Belgian brigade on 
the latter of these points at the moment that the few heroes 
of the guard charged bayonet upon the line of Anglo-Hano- 
verians. The Prince of Orange, seeing the importance of 
this movement, attacked them lively at the head of a regi- 
ment of Nassau, while the division of Brunswick attacked 
them on the other side ; but the prince fell from a shot, 
while showing his men the road to victory. The brave 
soldiers of the Old Guard at first sustained the shock, but 
being unsupported in the midst of enemies who had just 
been reënforced by the Belgian brigade dc-chasse, and ex- 
posed on all sides to a murderous fire, they fell back to the 
foot of the plateau which already had cost so much blood. In 
the mean time I succeeded in uniting six other battalions of 
the Old Guard which had been detached to different points, 
and I was making dispositions to second the efforts on Mont- 
Saint-Jean, when the disorder, which began to show itself 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 379 

on the right of the corps of Ellon, compelled nie to form 
these battalions in squares to the right of La-Haie-Sainte. 

Defeat of the French Right.— While these things were 
passing on the front of the French army, between the hours 
of eight and nine, the Young Guard and Lobau were fight- 
iug with rare bravery against the continually increasing forces 
of the Prussians. Seconded by the arrival of the corps of 
Pirch, Bulow succeeded in driving back these brave men who 
had been weakened by the withdrawal of the Old Guard, 
and were now overpowered by the double opposition of Blu- 
cher and Ziethen on their left flank. On the arrival of the 
latter, the cavalry of Wellington's left wing (brigades of 
Vivian and Vandeleur), which had suffered least during the 
combat, flew to the centre to second his efforts there. Zie- 
then, who had debouched at eight o'clock at the summit of 
the angle formed by the French line toward Frichemont, 
easily crushed Durutte, at the same time that he turned the 
left of the crochet formed by Lobau and the Young Guard. 
Pirch turned Planchenois and Bulow attacked it in front. 
All this part of the imperial army, broken and pierced by 
forces quadruple their own numbers, took refuge in flight. 
Duhesme and Barrois were severely wounded ; Lobau was 
taken prisoner in the act of rallying his soldiers ; Pelet forced 
his way with a handful of brave men which he drew about 
him. The heroic defense of these twelve or fifteen thousand 
French, against sixty thousand Prussians, who were favored 
by the nature of the ground, has drawn a tribute of admira- 
tion even from their enemies.'* 

Last Efforts and Rout of the French.— Wellington, see- 
ing that the attack of Blucher is giving the decisive blow, 
colleets his best troops, regains the park of Hougomont, and, 
at about nine o'clock, falls upon the Old Guard with an 

* Vide report of General Gneisenau. 


overwhelming superiority. The combat is most furious ; 
General Friant and Michel are severely wounded ; the 
remnant of the cuirassiers and the cavalry of the Guard do 
wonders ; hut all is in vain. Assailed by sixty thousand 
Prussians assembled on the left of Wellington, the entire 
French right is driven back in disorder on La-Belle- Alliance : 
the Guard is obliged to fight both to the front and rear ; the 
cavalry of Wellington profits by this disorder and charges 
between the corps of Eeille and the Guard which is formed in 
squares, at the same time that Blucher takes the line in 
reverse. These masses render it impossible to rally the 
troops of Count D'Erlon and Eeille. The Prussian artillery 
have so far advanced as to reach with their fire the chaussée 
to Charleroi far in rear of the line ; this contributes not a 
little to the disorder, and the darkness of the night finishes 
our overthrow. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery take pell- 
mell, the road to Genappe, some even seeking to gain the 
road to Nivelle, that to Charleroi now being occupied. I 
remain with a few brave men under Cambronne, on a piece 
of rising ground, endeavoring to stem the torrent of the 
enemy, and at last am obliged to effect my retreat across the 
fields, accompanied only by my staff, not having left even a 
battalion with which to check the enemy. 

Operations of Grouchy.— Having related the fatal results 
of the appearance of the Prussians upon the field of Water- 
loo, it may be well to notice the circumstances under which 
this junction, so fortunate for the allies, was effected. 

Grouchy, as has already been said, left Gembloux on the 
seventeenth at noon. It must also be remembered that the 
corps of Thielman had retired from Sombref in the same 
direction for the jmrpose, undoubtedly, of forming a junction 
with Bulow, who had just arrived there after a forced march 
of twelve leagues, while Blucher's right, composed of the 
corps of Ziethen and Pirch, had retired by Mont-Saint-Gui- 

On. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 381 

bert on Bierge and Aisemont. Grouchy, on his arrival at 
Gembloux, learned, in the evening, that Bulow and Thiel- 
man had united there in the morning and had afterward 
marched in the direction of Wavre, forming together a mass 
of fifty- two thousand men. The corps of Gérard, on account 
of the violent storm which had drenched the troops and ren- 
dered the roads almost impassable, did not reach Gembloux 
till eleven o'clock in the evening, and Grouchy resolved to 
set out for Wavre at six o'clock the next morning, with the 
corps of Yandamme, leaving Gérard till eight o'clock to rest 
his troops. 

Here was Grouchy 's great fault. As soon as Blucher had 
renounced his natural base on the Meuse, it was evident that 
his object was to form a junction with Wellington, assume 
the offensive, and revenge himself for the defeat he had just 
sustained. Even admitting that my order to Grouchy was 
to follow on the heels of the Prussians, and that I had 
directed the pursuit on Namur (as has by some been alleged) 
the order had evidently become impossible of execution, and 
the marshal was now master of his own course of action. 
But the order afterwards transmitted by General Bertrand 
to march on Gembloux, sufficiently indicated the object 
which I wished him to accomplish. It was, most certainly, 
his duty to pursue the Prussians, but to do this, it was not 
necessary to follow in the trail of the retreating columns. 
To harass the enemy's rear-guards with light troops, while 
the main force is directed on the flank of the retreating 
columns, — or a lateral pursuit, as it is called, — was the 
method followed by the Kussians in 1812 at Wiasma, Kras- 
noi, and on the Beresina. The same method has been 
adopted with similar success in other instances ; but never 
have there been more favorable circumstances for such an 
operation than in the case of Grouchy. His principal object 
evidently was to keep the Prussians away from the left wing 


of our army ; to harass them in their retreat was only a 
secondary object. By marching his infantry parallel to the 
Prussian columns, and at the same time harassing their rear 
with his light cavalry, he would have attained the double 
object of preventing any junction with the English, and have 
avoided the danger of fighting in defiles. He had the choice 
of three principal routes : that of the right by Sart-a-Walhain 
which Blucher had followed ; that of the left by Mont-St.- 
Guibert, and along theDyle to Wavre ; or, by passing this 
river at Moustier, and reaching Wavre by the left, thus 
avoiding the defiles of the right bank. All these three routes 
were nearly of the same length, but the left brought Grouchy 
three leagues nearer the other wing of the French army, 
while the route on the right carried him three leagues in the 
other direction. The first, therefore, had the advantage of 
nearly an entire march, and in addition placed Grouchy 
between the two allied armies. There was no reason, then, 
why Grouchy should hesitate to march, on the eighteenth, 
at the break of day, in all haste, on Moustier with Excel- 
mans, Vandamme, and Gérard, directing the cavalry of 
Pajol and the division of Teste on Wavre, in the pursuit of 
the enemy's rear-guard. He could reach Moustier by ten 
o'clock, and could then direct his infantry on Wavre by 
Limale, and the dragoons of Excelmans on Saint-Lambert, or 
march upon Lasne itself, when he heard the heavy cannonade 
of Waterloo. Instead of taking this wise resolution, Grouchy 
directed his forces on Sart-a-Walhain. The marshal was, ap- 
parently, induced to pursue this course through an obstinate 
desire to follow literally in the trail of the Prussians, and 
through ignorance that half of the Prussian army had passed 
by Gentines and Mont-St.-Guibert. To this fault is to be 
added that of a tardy departure in the morning, so that 
Vandamme did not pass Sart-a-Walhain, nor the head of 
Gerard's columns reach that village, till near noon. Grouchy 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 383 

had just been joined by this last general when the sound of 
a heavy and distant cannonade gave the signal of a serious 
battle : Gérard recommended to Grouchy to march imme- 
diately in (he direction of the battle, persuaded that in 
marching to the cannon, as Xey had done at Eylau, he 
might decide the victory. " If Blucher," said he, "has 
effected a junction with Wellington, we will find him on the 
field of battle, and your order will be executed to the letter. 
If he should not be there, our arrival will decide the battle. 
In two hours we can take part in the engagement ; and if 
we destroy the English, what will Blucher, already beaten, 
be able to do ?" 

This certainly was wise counsel, and, had it been followed, 
might have produced a decided influence on the event of the 
battle ; but it must be confessed that it could not promise 
the same advantages as if this movement had been made at 
break of day from Gembloux. Considering the frightful 
state of the roads, the bad condition of the bridges, and the 
marshy defile of the Dyle, and above all, the presence of 
Thielman's corps extending from the heights of Bierge on 
Limale to oppose this passage, it may perhaps, at that hour 
of the day, have become impossible for Grouchy to reach 
Lasne or St.-Lambert before seven or eight o'clock in the 
evening. But even in that case, had he arrived too late to 
save the battle, he certainly could have made the defeat less 
disastrous. It is now impossible to say what course Blucher 
and his counselors would have pursued, if Grouchy had 
appeared in the direction of Moustier ; but it is certain that 
this operation would have greatly embarrassed the Prussian 
genera], and no one can decide what would have been the 
ultimate results of that embarrassment. But whatever may 
have been the result of the battle, no one can say that 
Grouchy would have run any risk in following the advice of 
Gérard ; it was one of those operations that might have 


had a very beneficial influence, and could hardly have pro- 
duced any evil results. 

Manœuvres of the Allies. — While the army of Grouchy 
was committing these fatal errors, their adversaries executed 
a manœuvre both skillful and bold. The Prussian marshal, 
who bivouacked on the evening of the seventeenth about 
Wavre, sent his chief of staff, Gneisenau, to Wellington, to 
combine their ulterior operations. It was agreed that if the 
French should attack the English in front of the forest of 
Soignies, Blucher, favored by the Dyle and the direction of 
its course, would fall upon the French right ; and if, on the 
contrary, the attack should be directed upon the Prussians at 
Wavre, Wellington would march to their assistance, falling 
upon the French left. Blucher seeing the false direction of 
Grouchy's march, and learning from his scouts that the main 
attack was directed against the English, determined to fly to 
their assistance. This he could now do without fear, Grou- 
chy's error having left his operations in this direction un- 
checked. He, therefore, dispatched the corps of Bulow and 
Pirch, at four o'clock on the morning of the eighteenth, for 
Saint-Lambert, and marched himself with that of Ziethen on 
Ohain, in order to form a junction with the left of the 
English. Thielman was left with twenîy-ïïvj thousand men 
at Wavre to defend the Dyle, with orders to follow the ot.ier 
corps if Grouchy should not appear. This plan was well 
conceived, and great praise is due to the allied generals who 
so skillfully took advantage of the error of my lieutenant. 

In accordance with these wise dispositions Bulow was 
traversing Wavre between seven and eight o'clock in the 
morning when a violent fire broke out in the principal street 
which was the only passage through the town. The ad- 
vanced guard having already passed this burning defile, con- 
tinued its route ; but the artillery could not immediately 
follow, the column being detained for a time to extinguish 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 385 

the fire. Towards twelve o'clock the advanced guard, formed 
at Saint-Lambert, awaited the arrival of the corps which 
debouched between three and four o'clock from the environs 
of Pijeau ; the corps of Pirch had passed Lasne between five 
and six o'clock ; Blucher with the corps of Ziethen, being 
delayed by counter-marches, did not reach Ohain before 
seven o'clock in the evening. The part taken in the battle 
by these sixty-five thousand Prussians has already been 
noticed ; at the same time the corps of Thielman, stationed 
on the heights of Bierge which command the valley of the 
Dyle, was watching for the approach of Grouchy. This 
marshal arrived at Wavre at four o'clock, and disposed his 
forces to attack the enemy's troops left there to dispute the 
passage of the Dyle. At five o'clock P. M. he received the 
order which had been sent to him at Gembloux in the 
morning ; he now directed Pajol with eight thousand men on 
Limale, and with the remainder of his forces attacked the 
detachment of Thielman. In this combat, which continued 
from Wavre to the Bierge mill, Gérard was wounded. The 
battle was very creditable to our arms, but what was passing 
at Mont-Saint-Jean rendered the success more injurious than 
> useful. 

Tre French Array retreats on Avesnes.— The wreck of 
my army reached Genappe in great disorder ; in vain did the 
staff-officers attempt to rally and form some of the corps ; 
all was pell-mell. It would be unjust for this to censure my 
brave troops ; never had they fought with greater valor ; 
but crossed by adverse circumstances and overwhelmed by a 
vast superiority of numbers, they yielded only when their 
strength and munitions were entirely exhausted. Owing to 
the darkness of the night, and the rapid pursuit of Blucher's 
able chief of staff, Gneisenau, it became impossible to make 
a successful stand for covering the retreat ; and the troops, 
being checked and confused in the barricaded avenues of the 
vol. iv. — 25. 


defile of Genappe, were subjected to heavy losses. In this 
way the disastrous retreat was continued till the fugitives 
were rallied under the cannon of Avesnes. From Quatre- 
Bras I dispatched several officers with orders for Grouchy to 
retreat upon Namur ; I then went to Charleroi, directed the 
scattered troops, defiling through this place, upon Avesnes, 
and afterward repaired to Philippe ville, in order to he in 
more direct communication with Grouchy, Kapp, and the 
forces on the Rhine. Grouchy with his remaining thirty-five 
thousand men fell back upon Namur in order to take the 
road of Givet and Meziers ; Prince Jerome had rallied 
twenty-five thousand men with two hundred pieces of can- 
non behind Avesnes ; he received orders to march them on 
Laon. It was also determined to direct upon the same point, 
the forces of Grouchy, and all that could be drawn from the 
interior, from Metz, and from the corps of Rapp, leaving in 
Lorraine and Alsace merely enough to garrison the fortifica- 

We had, indeed, sustained severe losses, including the pris- 
oners taken in the retreat, but still these losses were less than 
those sustained by the enemy. The imperial cause was 
'shaken, but not yet lost. There was still every reason to 
hope, if all Frenchmen would unite in hurling back the in- 
vading armies of Europe with the same courage as the Spar- 
tans of Leonidas, the same energy as the Russians in 1812, 
or the Spaniards of Palafox. But, as unfortunately for them 
as for me, internal dissensions distracted their minds and 
blunted their patriotism. 

Napoleon's Return to Paris.— While my forces were col- 
lecting at Laon, there was time enough for me to repair to 
Paris and there organize the means of national defense. 
The council of war, called at this time were divided in opin- 
ion on the policy of this step. The majority, however, of 
the members advised it, and accordingly I set out on the 

OH. XXIL] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 387 

night of the twenty-first with the intention of being back 
by the twenty-fifth. In six days I could organize things in 
the capital for the great national crisis, complete the de- 
fenses of Paris, and collect the reserves that could be ob- 
tained from the depots and the provinces. This return, so 
natural, to Paris, was misinterpreted by my enemies; they 
pretended to regard my departure from the army as an act 
of cowardice. I had shown at Arcole, at Eylau, at Ratis- 
bon, at Arcis, and at Waterloo even, that a cannon ball had 
no terrors for me ; and if I had despaired of the resources 
of France, I could have died at the head of the wreck of my 
army. If I had now left this army, it was only after it had 
retreated beyond the reach of the enemy, into positions from 
which the lowest general of the rear-guard could conduct 
them to Laon as safely as I could ; but who could supply 
my place at the helm of state, which at this moment, un- 
fortunately, was not at my head-quarters, but at the Tuil- 
eries ! 

Military Resources still left to France.— In eight or ten 
days, I hoped to return to Laon at the head of one hundred 
thousand men, and four hundred pieces of cannon, to punish the 
Anglo-Prussians for invading the soil of France. This force 
of course, would not enable me to disperse the armies which 
the allied sovereigns were leading toward the defiles of the 
Vosges, but it would give me time; and, with the three 
hundred thousand men to be assembled on the Loire in 
July, France might still conquer her independence and save 
her glory, for other nations have rescued, themselves from 
still greater dangers. After the battle of Waterloo her con- 
dition was critical, but it was not desperate. All arrange- 
ments had been made on a supposition of a defeat in Belgium. 
The forces assembled between Laon and Paris, the troops 
of the depots, and the twenty-five thousand select men un- 
der Rapp, might all be concentrated around Paris early in 


July ; by that time the artillery would be repaired and 
greatly increased. Independent of this, the capital had for 
its defense thirty-six thousand National Guards, thirty thou- 
sand riflemen, six thousand gunners, six hundred cannon in 
battery ; it was formidably intrenched on the right bank of 
the Seine, and in a few days the engineers would render de- 
fensible the works on the left bank. The English and Prus- 
sian armies, weakened by their great losses, would cross the 
Somme with very reduced forces, and would be compelled to 
wait there for the cooperation of the Austrian and Russian 
armies which could not reach the Marne before the middle 
of July. Paris had, therefore, twenty days to prepare for 
defense, to complete her armaments, her supplies, her pro- 
visions, her fortifications, and to collect troops from all parts 
of France. Lyons also was well armed, provisioned and in- 
trenched. The defense of all the fortified places was secured. 
They were commanded by select officers, and garrisoned by 
faithful troops. Every thing might be retrieved ; but it re- 
quired character, energy and firmness on the part of the offi- 
cers, the government, the chambers, and the whole nation ; 
it required them to be animated by sentiments of honor, of 
glory, and of national* independence — to take, as a model, 
Eome after the battle of Cannae, and not Carthage after 
that of Zama. Should France assume this lofty tone, she 
would be invincible ; her population was more military than 
that of any other nation. The means of carrying on the war 
were abundant, and fit for every purpose. 

Without recurring to the ages of the Scipios, there are 
sufficient examples in modern history, such as Sj>ain in 
1808, and Russia in 1812. Some will say that the circum- 
stances of France were different from Spain and Russia, and 
that she was too much exhausted in men and resources to 
hope for a similar result. Such reasons merit no answer : 
pusillanimous minds never want pretexts for submission, in 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 389 

preference to incurring the obligation of " victory or death." 
It is not given to all to think like Spartans. 

Conspiracies of Napoleon's Adversaries.— Notwithstand- 
ing these unfounded fears of the faint-hearted, the army and 
the revolutionary party were in favor of resistance, without 
stopping to count the sacrifices it might require. But the 
factious leaders of radicalism sought to turn this feeling to 
their own account, and to separate the cause of France from 
that of her constituted rulers. Every thing was to he sacri- 
ficed to the selfish views and Utopian doctrines of these men. 
They thought to resist armed Europe with decrees ! Even 
Lafayette had the credulity to believe that Europe was 
fighting only against my ambition, and that the allied sove- 
reigns would lay down their arms before his Gallo-American 
doctrines ; but he found, when too late, that it was precisely 
against these same doctrines that the sovereigns had de- 
clared war. 

Great disasters, like volcanoes, are announced by a com- 
motion in the subterranean elements. On the twentieth of 
June Paris was agitated by the most alarming reports. 
Fouché dispatched his secret agents through the capital to 
promulgate the opinion that my abdication was the only 
thing that could save the country, and at the same time 
assembled at his house his friends of the chambers, — Lafa- 
yette, Manuel, Dupont de l'Eure, Flauguergues, Dupin, and 
Henri Lacoste, — for the purpose of devising means to secure 
this abdication. Fearing lest the dissolution of the chambers 
might put an end to their own usurped authority, it was 
agreed in this conclave that Lafayette should propose the 
next day to the chamber to declare itself permanent, and to 
pronounce him a traitor to the country who should order its 
dissolution. As a reward for this the grand citoyen who had 
accompanied the people from Paris to Versailles in 1779, 


was anew to be decorated with his favorite title of com- 
mandant of the National Guards of the kingdom ! 

While the infamous Fouchc and his friends were thus 
secretly planning my overthrow, and the usurpation of the 
reins of government by themselves, I arrived, at four o'clock 
in the morning, at the palace Elysée-Bourbon, where Cau- 
laincourt was waiting for me with great impatience. Instead 
of speaking of dissolution, the first words spoken by me were 
to announce the project of convening the two chambers in 
extraordinary session, in order to lay before them the true 
state of the disasters of Waterloo, and to ask of them the 
means necessary to save France, after which I would hasten 
to rejoin the army. The ministers were immediately called 
together to deliberate on the measures to be taken to save 
the country. I expressed to them frankly my own views of 
the resources of the French, of their ability to repel the 
invaders, and of the necessity, in the present crisis, of estab- 
lishing a dictatorial power. This power might be established 
either by the emperor or by the chambers. A majority of 
the ministers thought the latter the most efficacious and 
legal method of proceeding. But was there any confidence 
to be placed in this factious assembly, led on by traitors, 
demagogues, and men of Utopian and impracticable theories? 
Caulaincourt feared that the dissolution of the chambers 
would lead to the same frightful results as in 1814. Fouché, 
steeped in dissimulation and treason, based all his schemes 
of mischief and personal aggrandizement on the influence of 
his party in these assemblies. Decrès, on the contrary, 
reposed no confidence in them. Kegnault de Saint-Jean 
d'Angely himself, that obsequious and complaisant orator, 
dared to suggest that the chambers would undoubtedly re- 
quire a new abdication, and even insinuated that if it was 
not voluntarily given, they would demand it. Lucien, re- 
membering the eighteenth Brumaire, was of opinion that the 

Ch. XXII. J CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 391 

emperor should dissolve the assembly, and himself save 
France. Carnot, the old republican leader, best understood 
the nature of the crisis, and the means necessary for a des- 
perate national defense. In his opiuion the French soil was, 
at any price, to be freed from foreign invaders, and the best 
means of accomplishing this object, was to constitute a dicta- 
torial power with all the energy of the committee of public 
safety in 1793. If Carnot was no great statesman, he at 
least possessed the energy of a real old Roman, and let it 
ever be remembered in his praise that in the darkest hour of 
French history he shook off the shackles of party prejudice, 
and thought only of his country's honor and glory. 

While these grave questions were discussed at the palace 
of Elysée-Bourbon, and while every exertion was made to 
preserve harmony with the chambers, as the only plank of pub- 
lic safety, the partisans of Fouché were hatching their plots 
of revolution and treason in the assemblies. Burners of dis- 
solution were perfidiously circulated among the members, and 
in a moment of exeitement, the deputies, influenced by jeal- 
ousy or cowardice, voted the decree denouncing as a traitor 
whoever should dare to pronounce a dissolution ! The disso- 
lution of the chambers was one of the rights secured to the 
emperor by the constitution which these very men had 
adopted, and yet these pretended apostles of law and order, 
assumed a power over the constitution to condemn me in an- 
ticipation for the execution of this very law ! To reach me, 
they did not hesitate to trample under foot the constitution 
and laws of their country, and to sacrifice to their own am- 
bition the glory and honor of France. 

This decree, in itself utterly illegal and revolutionary, 
directed the ministers to appear before the assembly ; Lucien 
accompanied the ministers and demanded, in the name of the 
emperor, the appointment of a committee to take into con- 
sideration measures necessary to secure the public safety ; a 


committee was appointed, it is true, but it was composed of 
my bitterest enemies, men of petty ambition, mediocre talent, 
and Utopian views, — Lanjuinais, Lafayette, Grenier, Flau- 
guergues, and Dupont de l'Eure ; this committee, instead 
of seeking to secure the national independence and save the 
national honor, talked of foreign treaties and republican 
principles, and, Nero-like, fiddled the tune of natural and 
constitutional rights, while the enemy was approaching the 
gates of the capital ! ! 

The People side with Napoleon.— In the mean time the 
lower classes of the people, distrusting the factious and trai- 
torous leaders of the chambers, assembled around the palace 
of Elysée-Bourbon, rending the air with cries of "Vive- 
1'Empereur !" and demanding arms. Lucien endeavored to 
persuade me to profit by this enthusiasm, and make another 
eighteenth Brumaire, much more legal than the first, by or- 
dering a dissolution of the chambers in the legal forms, and, 
if necessary, compelling its execution. The idea of saving 
the country by arming the lower classes of the people against 
the first magistrates, was revolting to my mind. I was no 
admirer of insurrectionary movements. Moreover, this mea- 
sure, more like that of the thirty-first of May, 1793, than 
the eighteenth Brumaire, would tend rather to divide than 
to unite public feeling. The crisis demanded a union of all 
classes, and this alone could save the country. It would not 
have been difficult for me to crush the opposition and destroy 
the weak and traitorous men who had conspired to overturn 
my throne. But in doing this, could I save France ? While 
striving Avith internal enemies, could I oppose sufficient 
strength to check the million of armed men who were strik- 
ing at the independence of my country? could I consent to 
overthrow the whole social fabric of France, to satisfy my 
own military vanity ? The foolish and factious leaders of 
the chambers were insane enough to imagine that Europe 

Cil. XX I I.J C A M PAIGK OF 18 14. 39-'3 

would hasten to lay down its arms before their puny decrees ; 
they thought to give a triumph to their Utopian doctrines by 
sacrificing the only man capable of guiding the nation glo- 
riously through the gigantic contest ; these men, and these 
alone, are responsible for the humiliations they prepared for 
their country. 

His second Abdication. — Seeing that these men had deter- 
mined either to rule or ruin France, I had but one course to 
pursue — to resign ; I, therefore, dictated, to my brother 
Lucien the following abdication in favor of my son : 

" Frenchmen ! In commencing the war to sustain the 
national independence, I counted on the union of all efforts, 
of all wills, and of all the national authorities ; I had good 
reason to hope for success, and I braved all the declarations 
of foreign powers against me. The circumstances seem 
changed, and I now offer myself as a sacrifice to the hatred 
of the enemies of France. May they be sincere in their 
declarations, and direct their hostilities only against my per- 
son. My political life is ended ; and I proclaim my son, 
under the title of Napoleon II., Emperor of the French. 
The existing ministers will form the council of government. 
The interest which I feel in my son induces me to invite the 

* There is no more painful picture in the history of nations than that of a 
people, in times of great public danger, governed by mediocre men, by Utopian 
theorists, and factious, selfish and profligate politicians. When great men are 
stricken down by party jealousies and party intrigues, and when good men 
shrink from office rather than come in contact with the rottenness with which it 
is too often surrounded, or expose themselves to the partisan abuse, increased 
and intensified by the license of the press, which is poured upon them if they 
repel this corruption, there is little hope for the nation. If it finally becomes 
virtuous and independent, it is only after long abasement and severe suffering. 

France in 1814 and 1815, is not the only example in history. The fall of 
Home is the most striking of all. This republic and empire was undermined 
and destroyed by factious intriguing politicians, who debauched the people for 
their votes, corrupted public virtue in pursuit of office, and drove into the re- 
tirement of private life all who were capable or willing to save the country. 
France, after great suffering, reconquered her independence, but Rome was 
utterly destroyed by the corruption of her own political rulers. 


chambers to organize without delay the regency by law. Let 
all unite for the public safety, and the maintenance of the 
national independence ! !" 

Determined to exile myself from Europe and go to 
America, I hoped that the allies would be satisfied with the 
hostage I had just placed at their discretion, and that they 
would leave the crown on the head of the son of Maria 
Louisa. This stipulation had been made on an understand- 
ing with the leaders of the chambers ; and I believed it the 
best means of fusing the old and new interests, and of pre- 
venting civil war. The republican leaders were utterly inca- 
pable of governing France ; the Bourbons, if again restored 
by foreign bayonets, would sooner or later be again hurled 
from their thrones, for this dynasty had become odious to 
the French people. To avoid a repetition of the scenes en- 
acted between 1789 and 1804, it was necessary to avoid the 
extremes of ultra democracy, on the one hand, and old legiti- 
macy on the other. No government that did not fuse to- 
gether these separate interests could be of long duration. 

Whatever may have been the views of the allied sovereigns 
on this point; all action on the subject was dispensed with 
by the singular course pursued by the leaders of the cham- 
bers, who still flattered themselves that they could dictate 
laws to France, and force Europe to observe them. Un- 
willing to acknowledge Napoleon II., or to establish a 
regency, they hastened to form a provisional government, 
in the hope of seizing upon the reins of state, treating for 
their existence with the allied sovereigns, and of receiving the 
Bourbon government only on such conditions as the cham- 
bers should impose ; an absurd dream, for could it be sup- 
posed that Louis XVIII. or the allied sovereigns, armed for 
the support of legitimate thrones, would consent to prin- 
ciples that struck at the root of the old dynasties ? But let 
us return to the military operations of the allies. 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 18 15. 395 

Informed by the traitor Fouché of my abdication, and of 
the anarchy existing at Paris, the Anglo-Prussians advanced 
upon the capital with a rapidity and carelessness that might 
readily have led to their own destruction. In seeking to 
turn the fortifications erected on the north of Paris, the 
Prussians passed the Seine alone near Pecq, while Welling- 
ton remained on the fight bank, unable to sustain them. 
The French army, then commanded by Davoust, and en- 
camped iu the vicinity, might easily have fallen on them 
with seventy thousand men, and, driving them into the 
Seine, have utterly annihilated them. I proposed to the 
provisional government to take the command of the army, 
and to resign it when I had conquered ; but base intrigues 
prevented me from washing out the stain of Waterloo, and 
of taking leave of France by a victory which would have 
enabled her to treat honorably with the allied sovereigns, 
instead of surrendering at discretion, as was done by the 
provisional government, to a British general and a Prussian 
marshal. Instead of accepting my offer, Fouchc, who was 
in active correspondence with Wellington, resolved to secure 
my person, and in fact I was placed in a kind of captivity 
under the guard of General Becker, lest I might of my own 
accord place myself at the head of the army. Nevertheless, 
the enthusiasm of the troops-was so great, that this miserable 
government had the greatest difficulty in suspending hostil- 
ities, and General Excelmans destroyed an entire brigade 
near Ville-d'Avray, at the moment that the authorities were 
exerting themselves to restrain the patriotism and courage 
of his comrades. 

He retires from France.— I immediately afterwards de- 
parted for Rochefort. The minister, Decrès, proposed that 
I should repair to Havre where there was an American vessel 
ready to sail. But the position of this port on the English 
Channel was objectionable, and, moreover, it was now too 


late to reach the vessel in time. I purposed sailing from 
Bordeaux in a vessel belonging to my brother Joseph. I was 
deterred by my legal advisers from embarking in a commer- 
cial port, and Joseph, sailing without me, reached America 
in safety. It has been positively affirmed that Fouché in- 
formed Wellington of my place of embarkation, and organ- 
ized the means of capturing me. Immediately on leaving 
Eochefort I was pursued by an English cruiser, and seeing 
that it would be difficult to escape, I made directly for the 
vessel, placing myself under the safeguard of British honor 
and British laws. I wrote to the Prince Regent the follow- 
ing letter, which I sent to the commander of the cruiser, and 
the next day embarked on board the Bellerophon, being 
received by Captain Maitland Avith a general's salute : 

"Your Boyal Highness, — 

" Exposed to the factions which divide my country, and 
to the hostility of the great powers of Europe, I have ter- 
minated my political career. I come, like Themistocles, to 
seat myself at the hearth of the British people. I put my- 
self under the protection of their laws, and I claim it from 
Your Boyal Highness, as from the most powerful, the most 
constant, and the most generous of my enemies." 

And is exiled to St. Helena. — On reaching the shores of 
England I found, to my disappointment, that I had made 
an erroneous estimate of British hospitality ; I was received 
as a criminal, and sentenced to be imprisoned for life upon a 
lonely and desolate island. To this barbarous treatment I 
entered the following formal protest : 

"I protest solemnly, in the face of heaven and of men, 
against the violation of my most sacred rights, by the forcible 
disposal of my person and of my liberty. I came freely on 
board the Bellerophon. I am not the prisoner ; I am the 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 397 

guest of England. Once on board the Bellerophon, I was 
immediately entitled to the hospitality of the British people. 
If the government, by giving orders to the captain of the 
Bellerophon to receive me and my suite, intended merely to 
lay a snare for me, it has forfeited its honor, and sullied its 
flag. If this act be consummated, it will be in vain that the 
English will boast to Europe of their loyalty, of their laws, 
of their liberty. British faith will have been lost in the 
hospitality of the Bellerophon. I appeal therefore to his- 
tory. It will say that an enemy who made war fur twenty 
years on the people of England, came freely, in his mis- 
fortune, to seek an asylum tinder their laws. What more 
striking proof could he give of his esteem and of his con- 
fidence ? But how did they answer it in England ? They 
pretended to hold out an hospitable hand to this enemy, and 
when he had surrendered himself to them in good faith, they 
sacrificed him !" 

His Death. — Posterity will decide upon the character of 
this act, and I leave to its judgment the treatment which I 
received from the English. 

A prisoner upon another hemisphere, I had no other occu- 
pation than to defend my reputation against the many slan- 
ders which the malignity of party spirit invented against me, 
and to prepare for his lory the memoirs of my life. Death 

* Lord Holland and the Duke of Sussex both protested against the bill for 
detaining Napoleon. The following is the protest of the former : 

"Because, without reference to the character or previous conduct of the per- 
son who is the object of the present bill, I disapprove of the measure which it 
sanctions and continues. 

"To consign to distant exile and imprisonment a foreign and captive chief, 
who, after the abdication of his authority, relying on British generosity, had 
surrendered himself to us in preference to his other enemies, is unworthy of 
the maguauimity of a great country; and the treaties by which after his cap- 
tivity, we have bound ourselves to detain him in custody, ac the will of sove- 
reigns, to whom he had never surrendered himself, appear to me repugnant to 
the principles of equity, and utterly uncalled for by expediency or necessity. 

(tinned) " Holland." 


surprised me while thus engaged, and the work was neces- 
sarily left incomplete.* Nevertheless I am satisfied ; I can 
now rest in pieace ; pigmies may rise up against me, hut they 

* Most readers are familiar with the history of Napoleon's exile in St. He- 
lena, and the petty annoyances which he suffered from the governor, — a treat- 
ment as disgraceful to Sir Hudson Lowe personally as it was unworthy of the 
great nation which he represented. 

The following narrative of Napoleon's death, by Thiers, is brief and inter- 
esting : 

" The year 1821 came at last, that year that was to terminate the wondrous 
career of Napoleon. At the commencement of January his health improved, 
but only for a few days. ' It is a respite, ' he said, ' of a week or two, and 
then the disease will resume its course.' He then dictated a few pages touch- 
ing Caasar to Marchand ; they were the last he wrote. About the same time, 
he saw the death of his sister Eliza announced in the papers. It pained him 
deeply. She was the first person of his family that had died since he had at- 
tained the use of reason. 'She has shown me the way,' he said, 'I must fol- 
low.' The symptoms of his disease returned now with greater violence than 
ever. Napoleon's complexion became livid, his glance was expressive of as 
much power as ever, but his eyes were sunken, his legs swelled, his extrem- 
ities became cold, and his stomach rejected every species of food, and these 
ejections were accompanied by a discharge of blackish matter. February 
brought no other change than an increased intensity of the symptoms. Not 
being able to digest any food, the august invalid became weaker every day. 
He was tormented by intense thirst, and his pulse, once so slow, beat with 
feverish rapidity. He wished for air, though he could not endure it when 
admitted. The light pained him, and he now never left the rooms in which 
were his two camp-beds, being removed occasionally from one to the other. 
He did not dictate any more, but had Homer read to him, and the account of 
Hannibal's war in Livy. not having been able to procure Polybius. 

" His health became still worse in March, and on the seventeenth, thinking 
that during a short drive he could breathe more freely, he was put into a car- 
riage, but when brought into the air, he very nearly fainted, and was borne 
back to the bed in which he was to die. ' lam no longer.' he said, 'that 
proud Napoleon whom the world has so often seen on horseback. The 
mo.iarchs who persecute me may set their minds at rest, I shall soon remove 
every cause of fear.' Napoleon's faithful servants never left him. Montholon 
and Marchand remained day and night by his bedside, an attention for which 
he showed himself profoundly grateful. The grand-marshal told him that 
neither he nor his wife would leave, and Napoleon thanked him warmly. The_ 
grand-marshal asked permission fir his wife to visit him. ' I am not fit to be- 
seen,' he said; ' I shall receive Madame Bertrand when I am better. Tell her 
I thank her for the devotion that has kept her for six years in this desert.' 

" Napoleon devoted several days to making these arrangements, and com- 
mitting them to writing. His labor suffered frequent interruptions from pain 

Cil. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1315. 399 

can never obscure my glory ; I have gained in the victories 
of Montenotte, Castiglione, Rivoli, the Pyramids, Marengo, 
Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, Frieclland, Abensberg, Ratisbon, 

and weariness. All was arranged at length, and with his usual love of order 
he had a legal document drawn up of the transfer of his will, and all that he 
possessed, to his testamentary executors, that there might be no cause of dis- 
pute after his death. He desired that the rites of the Catholic faith should be 
observed at his burial, and that the dining-room in which he was accustomed 
to hear mass, shoul 1 bo converted into a chapelle ardente. Dr. Antomarchi 
could not help smiling as lie heard these orders given to the Abbé Vignale. 
Napoleon considered this as a want of respect to his authority, his genius, and 
his death. ' Young man.' he said in a severe tone, ' perhaps you are too clever 
to believe in Go 1 ; I am not in that position, a man can not become an atheist 
merely by wishing iV This severe lesson, spoken in terms worthy of a great 
man at the point of death, overwhelmed the young doctor with confusion ; he 
made a thousand excuses, and made profession of the most satisfactory moral 

" These preparations for death weakened Napoleon, and perhaps, hastened 
his end. Still it was both a moral and physical relief to him to have arranged 
his affairs, and secured, as far as he could, the fate of his companions. Meeting 
death with a smile as dignified as it was grateful, he said to Montholon and 
Marchand who never left him : ' It would be a great pity not to die, now that 
I have arranged all my affairs so well.' 

" The end of April had arrived, and every moment increased his danger and 
suffering. He had no relief from the spasms, vomitings, fever and burning 
thirst. Napoleon was relieved by occasionally drinking some drops of fresh 
water brought from the foot of the peak of Diana, the spot where he had 
wished to have a dwelling erected. 'I wish,' he said, 'if it is possible, that I 
should be buried on the banks of the Seine, or at Ajaccio in my family domain, 
or should my body be fated to continue a prisoner, at the foot of the fountain, 
whose waters have afforded me some relief.' This his friends promised with 
tears, for they no longer concealed from him a state ho so well understood 
himself. ' You will return bearing with you the reflection of my glory, with 
the honor of your own fidelity. You will be esteemed and happy. I go to 
meet Kleber, Desaix, Lannes, Massena, Bessières, Duroc, Ney I They will 
come to meet me. They will experience onco more the intoxication of human 
glory. We shall speak of what we have done. We shall talk of our profession 
with Frederick, Turenne, Condé, Caesar, and Hannibil.' Then pausing. Napo- 
leon added with a peculiar smile, ' Unless there should be as great an objection 
in the upper spheres, as there is here below to see a number of soldiers 
together.' This badinage, alternating with the most solemn discourse, produced 
a profound effect upon those present. On the first of May the agony seemed 
to commence, and he was in constant torture. On the second and third, Na- 
poleon was in high fever, and suffered continual spasms. Whenever his suf- 
ferings abated his mind wa3 as radiant as ever, and lie spoke with clearness 
and serenity. During one of these intervals, he dictated under the title of first 


Wagram, Dresden, Champ- Aubert, Montmirail, Ligny, glory 
enough to efface the disaster of Waterloo ; my Five Codes, 
worthy of the approbation of the seven sages of Greece, will 
remain a monument to posterity not less creditable to my 
geuius than are my military feats ; the great works of im- 
provement and of art which I have constructed in France 
and in Italy, will attest my greatness to the remotest ages. 
To the reproach of ambition, I will say with Mahomet : 

Je fus ambitieux * * * 

Mais jamais roi, pontife, ou chef ou citoyen 

Ne conçut un projet aussi grand que le mien."* 

and second revery, two notes on the defenso of France in case of an invasion. 
On the third he became delirious, and amid his ravings these words were dis- 
tinguishable : ' My son. The arm}-. Desaix.' It would seem as though he 
had a last vision of the battle of Marengo recovered by Desaix. The agony 
continued during the entire day of the fourth, and the noble countenance of the 
hero was terribly distorted. The weather was terrible, it was the bad season 
at St. Helena. Sudden gusts of wind tore up some of the planted trees. On 
the fifth of May there was no doubt but that the last day of his extraordinary 
life had dawned. All his servants kneeling round his bed watched the, last 
fliekerings of the vital flame. These were unfortunately attended with bitter 
sufferings. The English officers assembled outside, listened with respectful 
interest to the accounts the servants gave of his agony. Towards the decline 
of day, his life and sufferings decreased together; the cold extending from the 
extremities became general, and death seemed about to seize his glorious vic- 
tim. The weather had become calm and serene. About twenty minutes past 
five, when the sun was setting in waves of light, and the English cannon gave 
the signal for retiring, tlnse around the bed perceived that the patient did not 
breathe, and cried out that he was dead. They covered his hands with kisses, 
and Marchand who had brought to Saint-Helena the cloak the First Consul had 
worn at Marengo, laid it over his body. leavinT only his noble head uncovered. 

" The convulsions of the death agony, always so painful to witness, were 
succeeded by a majestic tranquillity of expression. That face so wondrously 
beautiful, now restored tc the slenderness of youth, and the figure clad in the 
mantle of Marengo, seemed to present again to the witnesses of that touching 
scene, General Bonapan ; in the meridian of his glory." 

* Alison thus describes the removal of Napoleon's remains from St. Helena 
to France : 

" Time rolled on, and brought its usual changes on its wings. The dynasty 
of the Restoration proved unequal to the arduous task of coercing the desires 
of the Revolution, weakened, but not extinguished, by the overthrow of Na- 
poleon: a new generation arose, teeming with passions and forgetful of the 
sufferings of former times ; and the revolt of the barricades restored the tri- 

Ch. XXII.] CAMPAIGN OF 1815. 401 


No sooner head Napoleon ended his recital, than his illus- 
trious auditors declared, with unanimous voice, that, although 
he had failed in the execution of his vast projects he sur- 
passed them all in his force of genius and greatness of soul. 

color flag, and established a semi-revolutionary dynasty on the French 

" England shared in the renewed convulsion consequent on these momentous 
events ; a great organic change in the constitution placed the popular party for 
a course of years in power; a temporary alliance, founded on political passion, 
not national interest, for a time united its government with that of France ; 
.and under the auspices of M. Thiers' administration, a request was made to the 
British to restore the remains of their Great Emperor to the French people. 

"This request, received in a worthy spirit by the English administration, was 
immediately complied with, in the hope, as it was eloquently, though falla- 
ciously said at the time, ' that these two great nations would hencelbrth bury 
their discord in the tomb of Napoleon.' 

"The solitary grave in St. Helena was disturbed; the lonely willow no 
longer wept over the remains of the emperor ; the sepulchre was opened in 
presence of all the officers of the island, and many of his faithful followers ; 
and the winding-sheet, rolled back with pious care, revealed to the entranced 
spectators the well-known features of the immortal hero, serene, undecayed, iu 
his now canonized military dress, as when he stood on the fields of Austerlitz 
or Jena. The body was re.noved from its resting place with the highest mili- 
tary honors; the British army and navy in the island, with generous sympathy, 
vied with each other in doing honor to their great antagonist ; and when it was 
lowered amidst the thunder of artillery into the French frigate, England felt 
that she had voluntarily, but in a right spirit, relinquished the proudest trophy 
of her national glory. 

"The remains of the emperor were conveyed in safety to Europe on board 
the Belle Poule frigate, and landed, with appropriate honors, at Havre de Grace. 
From thence they were removed to Paris, with a view to their being interred, 
with the other illustrious warriors of France, in the Church of the Invalides. 
The re-interment, which awakened the deepest interest in France and over 
Europe, took place on the sixth of December, 1849. 

"The day was fine, though piercingly cold; but such was the interest ex- 
cited, that six hundred thousand persons were assembled to witness the cere- 
mony. The procession approached Paris by the road from St Cloud, so often 
tnvrsed by the emperor in the days of his glory; it passed through the now 
finished and stupendous arch erected to the Grand Army at the barrier of 
VOL. IV. — 2 P. 

402 life or NAroLEox. [cn. xxir. l 

Each in particular eulogized those traits which most re- 
sembled his own : — Alexander praised Napoleon for his gen- 
erosity to his conquered foes ; Caesar admired his having 
built up an empire out of the scattered fragments of public 
liberty, and established his power with legions destined to 
defend that liberty ; Frederick applauded his spirit of order 
and economy, and was particularly pleased at seeing his own. 
system of Avar receive such new and extensive developments. 

From that moment the four heroes became inseparable, 
and their conversations form an inexhaustible source of poli- 
tical and military instruction, and constitutes the principal 
charm and delight of the illustrious shades who inhabit the 
fields of Elysium. 

Neuilly ; and slowly moving through the Elysian Fields, reached the Invalides 
by the bridge of La Concorde. 

" Louis Philippe and all his court officiated at the august ceremony, which 
was performed with extraordinary pomp in the splendid church of the edifice ; 
but nothing awakened such deep feeling as a band of the mutilated veterans 
of the Old Guard, who with mournful visages, but yet a military air, attended 
the remains of their beloved chief to his last resting place. 

"An aged charger, once rode by the emperor on his fields of fame, survived 
to follow the colossal hearse to the grave. The place of interment was worthy 
of the hero who was now placed beneath its roof: it contained the remains of 
Turenne and Vauban, and the paladins of France ; enchanting music thrilled 
every heart as the coffin was lowered into the tomb ; the thunders of the ar- 
tillery, so often vocal to his triumphs, now gave him the last honors of mor- 
tality ; the genius of Marochatti was selected to erect a fitting monument to 
bis memory ; and the bones of Napoleon finally reposed on the banks of the 
Seine, amidst the ' people whom he had loved so well.' 

" Yet will future ages perhaps regret the ocean-girt isle, the solitary stone, 
the willow tree. Napoleon will live when Paris is in ruins ; his deeds will 
survive the dome of the Invalides; — no man can show the tomb of 
Alexander 1" 







Abdication of Napoleon, at Fontainebleau, in 1814 . . .iv. 293 

" " at the Palace Elysée-Bourbon, in 1815 iv. 393 

Abensberg, battle of. iii- 36 

Aboukir, battle of. i. 221-233 

Abrantes, duke of, vide Junot 

Abruzzos, occupied by St. Cyr ii. 22 

Adige, passage of. ii. 107 

Agra, fall of ii. 25 

Ajaccio, birth place of Napoleon i. 36 

Alba de Tormes, battle of iii. 178 

Albuera, battle of iii. 280 

Albufera, duke of, vide Suchet 

Alexander, Emperor of Russia, ambition of ii. 44 

" causes of his coolness towards Napoleon ii. 45 

" refuses to recognize the empire ii. 46 

" forms an alliance with England ii. 67 

" sends an ambassador to Napoleon ii. 75 

" goes himself to Berlin to treat with the King ii. 105 

" refuses to ratify the treaty made by D'Oubril ii. 195 

" his reasons for doing this ii. 196 

" reorganizes his army after the campaign of Austerlitz ii. 250 

" intends to act only as an auxilliary to Prussia ii. 251 

" his interview with Napoleon at Tilsit ii. 313 

" " " " " " Erfurth ii. 415 

" his reception of the treaty of Vienna iii. 137 

" operations of his armies in Sweden and Turkey iii. 195 

" favors Napoleon's proposals of marriage to his sister iii. 202 

" receives Napoleon's pacific proposals iii. 330 

" distrusts their sincerity iii. 330 

" sends his ultimatum to Napoleon iii. 332 

" sends Balaschof to Napoleon at Wilna iii. 349 

" his terms probably exaggerated by Balaschof iii. 351 

" retires from Dnssa to Moscow and St. Petersburg iii. 357 

" goes to Fiuland to confer with Bernadotte iii. 365 



Alexander confers the supreme command on Kutusof iii. 383 

" returns to bis army iv. 47 

" declines Napoleon's overtures to become ibe arbiter of peace, .iv. 106 

" negotiates with Austria at Reicbenbach i v . no 

" declines tbe command of the allied army [y. 145 

" acts as mediator between tbe allied generals iv. 147 

" opposes the attack on Dresden iv. 154 

" refuses to act on Sehwartzenberg's plan at Leipsic iv. 195 

" bis motives for invading France iv. 241 

" determines to go to Paris iv. 260 

" advocates tins movement in a council of war iv. 275 

" his plan finally adopted iv. 282 

" his entrance into Paris iv 291 

" his reception by the Parisians iv. 291 

Alexandria (in Egypt), Napoleon's arrival at i. 216 

" landing of the French army at i. 217 

" is captured by Napoleon 1. 217 

" (in Italy) convention of i. 337 

" fortifications of li. 69 

Almaraz, bridge of, destroyed iv. 55 

Almeida, siege of iii. 224 

Almonacid, battle of iii. 172 

Alviuzi, endeavors to succor Mantua i. 138 

his operations at Areola : . . i. 141 

bis new attempt to save "Wurmser i. 152 

defeated at Rivoli i. 155 

his loss in the campaign , i. 158 

Amarante, battle of iii. 152 

Antwerp, expedition against iii. 127 

Aragon, insurrection of iL 389 

Aranjuez, revolution in ii. 369 

Arcis, battle of iv, 275 

Areola, battle of i. 141 

Aristocracy of France, character of ii. 37 

Armistice, with Parma and Modena i. 96 

" with Naples i. Ill 

" of Leoben i. 171 

" of Steyer i. 352 

" of Treviso i. 354 

" of Foligno i. 357 

" witb Austria ii. 142 

" with the Saxons ii. 234 

" with Prussia iL 239 

" with Austria iii 116 

" of Neumark iv. 108 

" proposed by Napoleon at Leipac iv. 204 

Arzobispo, battle of iii. 1 69 

Assey, battle of ii. 25 



Auerstedt, battle of ii. 212 

" duke of, vide Davoust 

Augereau, sketch of his life j. 53 

" distinguished at Castiglione j, n>j 

" " " Areola j. \±\ 

" made a Marshal in 1804 ii. 53 

" commands the 7th corps in campaign of 1805 ii. 82 

" at the battle of Jena ii. 210 

" at the battle of Eylau ii. 2C6 

* supersedes St. Cyr in Spain 111. 191 

" does not justify the choice iii. 192 

" his operations in Catalonia in. 238 

" is incapable of profiting by his successes iii. 238 

" is replaced by Macdonald .... iii. 239 

" commands the 9th corps in 1813 iv. 136 

" commands at Lyons in 1814 iv. 259 

Austerlitz, battle of ii. 135, 143 

Austria, invades France i. 45 

<: appoints Beaulieu to command in Italy ! i. 86 

" sends Wurmser with a new army against Napoleon i. 114 

" places the Archduke Charles in chief command i. 163 

" agrees to peace at Campo-Formio i. 188 

" views of, in 1799 1. 240 

" chances in her favor i. 243 

" her alliance with Russia i. 243 

" Councils of Salis call on her for assistance i. 247 

" sends the Archduke Charles against Jourdan i. 257 

" blockades Massena in Genoa i. 317 

" «nters into the convention of Alexandria i. 337 

" sends St. Julien to negotiate i 339 

" disapproves his acts i. 340 

' recognizes the French Empire ii. 46 

" accedes to the new coalition ii. 74 

" sends her army into Bavaria ii. 79 

" is deceived by Napoleon's preparations at Boulogne ii. 80 

" takes the initiative too soon ii. 84 

" effect upon, of Napoleon's remarks at Ulm ii. 99 

" asks an armistice ii. Ill 

" treats with Napoleon at Presbourg ii. 145 

" discussions with, for Cattaro and "Wurtzbourg ii. 171 

" the Empire of, declared . ii. 179 

" offers her intervention for peace ii. 276 

" her military preparations in 1808 ii. 411 

" incites insurrection in Germany hi. 18 

" takes the initiative in the campaign iii 25 

" her plan of operations ni. 26 

" composition of her army iii. 27 

" the dilatory advance of her troops iii. 30 



Austria, her army under tbe Archduke Charles returns in Bohemia iii. 41 

" is forced by defeat at Wagram to propose an armistice iii. 116 

" her motives for ratifying this armistice iii. 118 

" concludes to make peace iii. 134 

" Napoleon's family alliance with iii. 204 

" forms an offensive and defensive alliance with Napoleon iii. 329 

" assurances made by her to Napoleon on his return from Russia, .iv. GG 

" her amicable protestations through Mettermch iv. G 7 

" her good faith is distrusted iv. G9 

" while pretending peace she encourages the war iv. 75 

" declares an armed mediation iv. 77 

" her representations through Schwartzenberg iv. 91 

41 " " " Bubna iv. 92 

" her negotiations with the allies iv. 94 

" sends Bubna to Napoleon a third time iv. 109 

" her negotiations at Reichenbach iv. 110 

" sends Metternich to Napoleon iv. 1 1 1 

" her demands at Prague iv. 1 1G 

" her want of good faith iv. 121 

" her forces in the field, September, 1813 iv. 1 34 

" secures the command of the allied army for Prince Schwartzen- 
berg iv. 145 

" invades Switzerland iv. 241 

" her course at Chatillon and Lusigny iv. 260 

Avesnes, Napoleon's retreat on, in 1815 iv. 385 


Baccioccht, vide Eliza Bonaparte , 

Badajos, siege of iii. 265, 279, 308 

Bagration, sketch of ii. 112 

Bank of France, crisis of ii. 157 

Bard, Fort, difficulty of passing i. 321 

Baraguey d'Hilhers, sketch of. ii. HO 

Barras, sketch of ii. 72 

Bartenstein, treaty of ii 287 

Bassano, battle of i. 124 

" duke of, vide Maret 

Battle of Ouissant i. 63 

" of Dego i. 88 

" of Fombio i. 97 

" of Lodi i. 99 

" of Lonato i. 116 

" of Castiglione i. 116, 118 

" of Mori, Roveredo, and Cahano i. 123 

" of Bassano i. 124 

" of Caldiero i. 140 

" of Areola i. 141 


Battle of Rivoli i- 155 

of Tarvis i. 170 

of Cape St. Vincent i- 181 

of Gbehreiss i. 219 

of the Pyramids i. 219 

of Aboukir (naval) i. 221 

of Mont-Tabor i- 229 

of Aboukir i- 233 

of Stockach i. 258 

of Trebia. i. 270 

of Novi i- 279 

of Zurich i. 285 

of Chiusella i. 324 

of Montebello i- 321 

of Marengo i- 328 

of Copenhagen i- 360 

of Cape Fiuisterre ii. 72 

of Haslach h. 88 

of Elchingen ii- 91 

of Ulm ii. 93, 94 

of Langueuau ii. 96 

of Caldiero ii- 107 

of Diernstein ii. 114 

of Hollabrunn ii. 122 

of Austerlitz.. ii. 135 

of Trafalgar ii- 151 

of Jena ii. 209 

of Auerstedt ii. 212 

of Halle ii. 221 

of Prenzlow ii. 232 

of Lubeck. .». 235 

of Pultusk ii. 255 

of Bergfricd ii. 264 

of Landsberg ii. 264 

of Liebstadt ii. 265 

of Eylau ii. 265 

of Heilsburg ii. 304 

of Friedland ii. 306 

of Evora il. 405 

of Vimiera ii. 406 

of Espinosa ii. 422 

of Tudela ii. 423 

of Sommo-Sierra ii. 426 

of Coruna ii. 434 

of Ucles ii. 439 

of Molino del Rey ii. 442 

of Capellados ii. 443 

of Walseb ii. 444 



Battu> of Thann iii. 34 

" of Abensberg iii. 36 

" of Landshut iii. 38 

" of Eckmubl iii. 40 

" of Essling iii 61 

" of Piavé iii. 76 

" of Raab iii 91 

" of Gratz iii. 96 

" of "Wagram iii. 105 

" of Znaim iii. 115 

" of Chaves and Braga ni. 143 

» of Medellin Hi. 146 

" of Ciudad-Real iii 146 

" of Amarante in. 152 

" of Talavera »i. 164 

" of Arzobispo ni. 169 

" of Almonacid "i. 17 2 

" of Tamames iii 178 

" of Alba-de-Tormes ni. 178 

" of Ocana iii 179 

" of Belchite iii 188 

" of Busaco iii 226 

" of Fuente di Honore iii. 274 

" of Margalef Hi. 237 

" of Albuera iii. 280 

" of Saguntum m 303 

" of Ostrowno iii 359 

" of Smolensko iii. 366 

" of Valoutina iii 375 

" of Gorodeczno - iii. 378 

" of Polotsk iii. 378 

" of Borodino or Moscowa iii. 387 

" of Malojaroslawetz iv. 18 

" of Wiasma iv. 21 

" of Krasnoi iv. 28 

" of the Beresina iv. 33 

" of Wilna iv. 46 

" of the Xiemen iv. 47 

" of Leutzen iv. 84 

" of Weissig and Konigswartha iv. 99 

" of Bautzen iv. 101 

" of Luekau iv. 109 

" of Vittoria iv. 157 

" of Yecla and Castalla iv, 129 

" of Dresden iv. 153 

" of Culm iv. 160 

" of Gross-Beeren iv. 163 

" of Katzbach iv. 168 



Battle of Dennewitz iv. 174 

" of Leipsic iv. 196 

" of Hanau iv. 221 

" of Brieune iv. 245 

" of Champ- Aubert iv. 251 

" of Mo.itmirail iv 252 

,; of Chateau- Thierry iv. 252 

" of Vaux-Champs iv. 253 

" of Etoges iv. 253 

" of Nantis iv 256 

" of Montcreau iv. 256 

" of Craone iv. 204 

" of Laon iv. 2G7 

" of Reims iv. 2G9 

" of Arcis iv. 275 

" of Orthes iv. 278 

" of Paris iv. 287 

" of Toulouse iv. 300 

" of Ligny iv. 359 

" of Quatre-Bras iv. 363 

" of Waterloo iv. 371 

" of Wavrc i v. 384 

Bautzen, battle of iv. 101 

Baylen, capitulation of. ii. 391 

" " " conditions of, violated ii. 399 

Beauharnais, General, sketch of i. 53 

Beauharnais, Eugene, vide Eugene , 

Belchitc, battle of iii. 18S 

Belgium, invaded by Dumouriez i. 47 

" conquest of, by the French i. 63 

Belle-Allianc^, or AVaterloo, battle of iv. 371 

Belluno, duke of, vide Victor 

Bonevento, prince ofj vide Talleyrand 

Benningsen, sketch of, ii. 260 

Beresford, sketch of ii. 448 

Beresina, passage of iv. 33 

Berg, grand-duke of, vide Murat 

Berlin, negotiations at i. 239 

" Napoleon's entrance into ii. 224 

" " decree of ii. 237 

Bornadotte, joins Napoleon's army in Italy i. 167 

" is sent in pursuit of the Austrians on Laybach i. 170 

" character of ii. 52 

" commands 1st corps in campaign of 1S05 ii. 82 

" at battle of Austerlitz ii. 135-1SÏ 

" his bad conduct at Jena ii. 210 

" neglect of duty at Auerstadt ii. 217 

" captures Halle ii. 221 



Bernadotte, is reprimanded at Wagram iii. 1 1 2 

" is elected Crown Prince of Sweden iii. 243 

remarks on his subsequent invasion of France iii. 245 

" his pompous bulletin at Dennewitz iv. 1T8 

Berthier, serves with Xapoleon in 1796 i. S4 

" proclaims tlie Roman Republic i. 199 

" escorts the Pope from Rome i. 200 

,; made Minister of War i. 308 

" is placed in nominal command of the army in 1800 i. 318 

" is made a marshal in 1 804 ii. 54 

" sent to rally the grand army in 1809 iii. 30 

" commits serious errors iii. 31 

" bis faulty orders at Wagram iii. 101 

" left in Russia as Murat's chief-of-stuff iv. 45 

his treatment of Jomini iv. 141 

•' death of, in 1815 iv. 348 

Bertrand, sketch of iii. 1 1 

" commands the 4th corps in campaign of 1813 iv. 136 

Bessières, made a marshal in 1804 ii. 54 

1; has command of cavalry guards in 1 805 ii. S2 

'•■ supersedes Bernadotte in command of Dept. of the North. ... .iii. 131 

■' charge of, at Austerlitz, ii. 140 

" " at Wagram iii. 107 

death of iv. 82 

" remarks on iv. 82 

Blucher, after battle of Auerstadt, retires on Mecklenburg ii. 233 

escapes from Lubeck ii. 235 

" is forced to capitulate ii. 236 

•■' enters Saxony in 1313 iv. 75 

[t is cut up on the Mulde ■ . . . iv. 89 

" refuses battle on the Bober iv. 143 

" defeats Maedonald at the Katzbach iv. 169 

operations of Xapoleon against iv. 183-185 

at battle of Brienne , iv. 245 

faults of his plans iv. 250 

" is defeated at Yaux-Champs and Etoges iv. 253 

marches on Meaux iv. 261 

at battle of Laou iv. 267 

" at Reims iv. 271 

" at battle of Ligny iv. 359 

" his arrival at Waterloo iv. 377 

Balascbof, mission of from Alexander to Xapoleon iii. 349 

Bon, sketch of i. 218 

Bonaparte family, sketch of i. 395 

Bonaparte Charles, father of Xapoleon " i. 395 

" Maria Letitia, mother of Xapoleon i. 396 

" Joseph, vide Joseph Bonaparte 

Xapoleon, vide Xapoleon 



Bonaparte, Lucien, vide Jerome Bonaparte 

" Louis, " Louis Bonaparte 

" Eliza, " Eliza Bonaparte 

" Pauline " Pauline Bonaparte 

'• Caroline " Caroline Bonaparte 

" Jerome " Jerome Bonaparte 

Borghese, Prince of i . 404 

" Princess of, vide Pauline Bonaparte 

Borodino, battle of iii. 387 

Borowsk, retreat of Napoleon on iv. 16 

Boyer, captures Diamond Rock ii. 61 

Boulogne, camp of ii. 27 

Bousmard, conducts siege of Dantzic ii. 295 

Braga, battle of iii. 143 


Cadore, duke of, vide Champagny 

Cairo, Napoleon's entrance into i # 220 

" revolt of i. 225 

" Napoleon's return to i. 232 

Calabria, operations in ii. ng 

Caldiero, battle of, in 1796 i. 140 

il 1805 ii. 107 

Cambacérès, made second Consul 1. 307 

Campo-Formio, peace cf. i. 1 88 

" its results L 190 

Cape Finisterre, battle of ii. 72 

Cape St. Vincent, battle of i. 181 

Capitulation of Baylen, remarks on ii. 395 

Carnot, sketch of his life i. 71 

" made Minister of War by Napoleon in 1800 i. 318 

" made Minister of the Interior in 1815 i v . 324 

" his conduct after the disaster of Waterloo iv. 391 

Caroline Bonaparte, sketch of lier life i. 405 

" made Queen of Naples in 18C8 j. 405 

" died in 1839.. ; 405 

Castanos, defeated at Tudela jj # 423 

Castiglione, battle of 1. \]Q 

" duke of, vide Augereau 

Catharine II., of Russia, sketch of j # 45 

Cattaro, difficulties with Austria respecting ,j, 1 71 

Caulaincourt, duko of Yicenza 

opposes the war with Russia iii. 319 

" propositions of, to Alexander in 1813 iv. 95 

" envoy of Napoleon at the congress of Prague iv. 114 

" made Minister of Foreign Relations iv. 233 

" represents Napoleon in the congress of Chatillon iv. 249 



Caulaincourt, the younger, death of. ui. 394 

Cerrachi, conspiracy cf . . i. 344 

Champagny, supersedes Talleyrand as Minister of Foreign Affairs ii. 358 

Champ- Aubert, buttle of iv. 251 

Champ-de-Mai, ceremonies of iv. 335 

Championnet, sketch of i. 252 

" takes possession of Naples i. 254 

" efforts to save Coni i. 293 

Charles, Archduke of Austria, sketch of i. 163 

" takes command of Austrian army i. 163 

" his operations on the Piave i- 169 

" is reënforced from the Rhine i. Ill 

" retreats on Vienna i- If 1 

" marches against Jourdan i- 257 

" defeats Soult at Stockach i- 258 

" fails to take advantage of his success i. 262 

" marches against Massena in Switzerland i. 267 

" is paralyzed by the Aulic Council i. 268 

" his plan of operations i- 281 

" fails to establish his bridges across the Aar i. 282 

" marches on Manheim i- 284 

" disagrees with Suwarrow i- 290 

" commands in Italy in 1805 ii- 106 

" operations of, against Massena ii- 100 

" is defeated at Caldiero ii- 108 

" is forced to retreat ii- 109 

" finally reaches Laybach ii- HO 

" generalissimo of the Austrian army in 1809 iii. 27 

" organization and numbers of his army iii. 29 

" his operations toward Ratisbon iii. 32 

" his faulty dispositions iii- 34 

" is forced to return into Bohemia iii. 44 

" his tardy operations to save Vienna i-i- 47 

" attacks the forces of Davoust iii- 59 

" turns his attack on Essling iii- 00 

" his orders disobeyed by his brother iii. 94 

" disposition of his forces at Wagram iii. 103 

is defeated iii. HO 

" his retreat iii- HI 

Chasloup de Lobat, chief engineer at Dantzic ii. 295 

" at Stralsund ii. 339 

Chastelcr, operations cf, in the Tyrol iii. 24 

Chatham, commands the "Walcheren expedition iii. 127 

Chatillon, congress of iv. 243 

1; the ultimatum cf. rejected by Napoleon iv. 205 

Chaves, battle of iii- I 43 

Chebreiss, battle of '• 210 

Cherasco, armistice of '• 9-1 


r \'.r. 

Chiusella, battle of i. 324 

Crauford, mardi of iii. 1G5 

Cisalpine Republic, account of i. 378 

Ciudad-Real, battle of iii. 146 

Liudad-Rodrigo, siege of iii. 223 

" " iii. 308 

Clarke, duke of Feltre, sketch of i. 186 

Coalition, against France, organized i. 44 

" " " headed by England i. 50 

" " " in 1805 ii. 63 

" " li efforts of, in 1S13 iv. 133 

Cobentzel, negotiations of ii. 78 

Colli, operations against, in 1796 i. 90 

Committee of Public Safety established i. 49 

Concordat, character of i. 307 

objections to i. 368 

" is officially promulgated i. 389 

Confederation of the Rhine, organized. ii. 177 

" " " Presidency of. .. . ii. 181 

Copenhagen, naval expedition against, in 1S01 i. 359 

" naval battle of i. 360 

" expedition against, in 1807 ii. 336 

" character of the attack upon ii. 337 

" capture of ii. 338 

Conscription, French law of . i. 247 

Conspiracy of Mallet and Lahorie iv. 22 

Constantinople, mission of Sebastiani to ii. 197 

threatened by the English ii. 276 

conduct of Sebastiani at ii. 278 

revolution at ii. 318 

Consular government organized i. 307 

;< " members of i. 307 

" " character cf i. 308 

Consulate, for life i. 387 

Continental system, its origin and character ii. 327 

Cornegliano, duke of, vide Moncey 

Coronation of Napoleon, at Paris ii. 49 

" " " at Milan ii. 70 

Corsica, birth-place of Napoleon i. 36 

" hostility of, to the English i. 136 

" Napoleon prepares an expedition for its relief i. 137 

" the English evacuate the island ... i. 138 

Coruna, battle of t ii. 434 

Craone, battle of iv. 264 

Culm, battle of i . 160 

Custine, sketch of i. 53 

Custrin, capitulation of ii. 233 

Czeruitscheff, mission of iii. 328 




Dalmatia, duke of, vide Soult 

Dantzic, siege of, in 1807 jj. 294 

" capitulation of, in 1813 iv. 225 

" duke of. vide Lefebvre 

Danube, passage of, at battle of Essling i.i. 57 

" new passage of, at battle of Wagram id. 98 

Dardanelles, passage of, by British fleet ii. 277 

Davonst, made a marshal in 1804 ii. 52 

" commands the 3d corps in 1805 ii. 82 

" his march on Vienna ii. 112 

" at battle of Austerlitz ii. 133 

" at battle of Auerstedt , ii. 212 

" made duke of Auerstedt .- . . . .ii. 2 13 

" at battle of Eylau ii. 2G5 

" at battle of Friedland ii. 306 

" at Eckmuhl hi. 40 

" at Essling il Gl 

" at Wagram iii. 105 

" commands the 1st corps in campaign of 1842 iii. 344 

" at Yaloutina iii. 375 

" at battle of Borodino iii. 387 

" at battle of "Wiasma. . . iv. 21 

" at battle of Krasnoi i.-. 23 

,: commands at Hamburg in ICI I' v. 224 

" made Minister of War in 1815 iv. 324 

Decaen, sent to the Isle of France ii. 25 

Dego, battle of i. 83 

Delhi, fall of i : . 25 

Dennewitz, battle of iv. 174 

Desaix, sketch of his life i. 217 

" his death at Marengo i. 332 

" his operations in that battle i. 334 

Dessolles, sketch of i. 253 

Diamond Rock, capture of ii. Gl 

Diernstein, battle of ii. 114 

" Napoleon's visit to castle of i.i. 45 

Donawerth, Na; oleon's march on, in 1805 ii. 83 

D'Oubril, treaty of, rejected by Alexander ii. 195 

" remarks on his conduct i'. 200 

Dresden, battle of iv. 153 

Drissa, camp of iii. 35G 

Duekforth, passes the Dardanelles and threatens Constantinople ii. 277 

" his retreat ii. 280 

" his losses and danger ii. 23 L 

Duke d'Enghein, arrest of. ii. 31 

" his trial ii. 32 

" his execution ii. 33 



Dumosnil, at St. Jean d'Acre and Yiuceunes i. 230 

Dumouriez, driven from Belgium , i. 48 

•' treats with the Austriaus i. 49 

Duphot, murder of, at Rome L 199 

Dupont, capitulates at Baylen ii. 391 

trial of »• 397 

Duroc, death and character of iv. 10G 

East India Company, policy pursued towards the native princes i. 208 

" " " pretext for assailing the Sultan of Mysore L 211 

" " " condition of, at the time Napoleon invaded Egypt..!. 212 

Echmuhl, battle of i". 40 

" prince of. vide Davoust 

Egypt. Napoleon's expedition into i. 213 

" hia returu from i. 294 

" Kleber's proposal to evacuate i. 341 

'■ English expodition to ii. 293 

Elba, Napoleon exiled to iv. 3o3 

" Napoleon at iv. 308 

" Napoleon's departure from iv. 3 1 8 

Elchingen, occupied by the Austrians ii. 90 

" battle of ii. 91 

" duke of, vide Ney 

Eliza Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon, sketch of. i. 403 

" " ii. 71 

" " marries Bacciochi i. 403 

" " made Princess of Lucca, &c ii. 174 

" " death of i. 403 

Empire of France, established ii. 39 

" " protested against by Louis XYIII ii. 43 

" " recognized by Austria ii. 46 

" " Russia refuses to recognize ii. 46 

England, conduct of, during the French Revolution i. 48 

" heads the coalition i. 50 

" occupies Porto Ferrajo i. 137 

" abandons Corsica i. 137 

" affairs of, in 1797 i. 180 

" mutiny in her fleets i. 1 82 

'• state of her forces in India i. 212 

" her naval forces at St. Jean d'Acre i. 230 

" forms a secret convention with Naples i. 242 

'' tries to form a new coalition against France i. 249 

" her conduct towards neutrals i. 343 

" sends a naval expedition against Copenhagen i. 359 

'• directs a descent upon Egypt i. 301 

" négociâtes with France i. 370 



England, agrees to preliminaries of a peace i. 373 

" makes the treaty of Amiens i. 382 

" causes new difficulties with France ii. 17 

" conduct of, respecting treaty of Amiens ii. 22 

" her successes in India ii. 24 

" refuses Napoleon's offers of peace ii. 26 

" " ■' " " ii. 50 

" proposed descent upon ii. 50 

" maritime strength of, in 1805 ii. 158 

" Napoleon negotiates with ii. 192 

" . sends an expedition to Egypt ii. 265 

" threatens Constantinople ii. 276 

" her fleet passes the Dardanelles ii. 277 

" retreat and disaster to her fleet ii. 280 

" offered mediation of Russia with ii. 355 

" sends an expedition against Denmark ii. 336 

" captures Copenhagen and the Danish fleet ii. 338 

" her army under "Wellington lands in Portugal ii. 406 

" her maritime expeditions iii. 125 

" her operations against Naples and Antwerp iii. 127 

" war with the United States iv 325 

" her forces in Belgium in 1815 351 

" exiles Napoleon to St. Helena iv. 396 

" her disgraceful treatment of Napoleon iv. 398 

Essling, battle of iii. 61 

" prince of, vide Massena 

Este, house of i. 128 

Eugene Beauharnais, sketch of his life ii. 70 

" " made Viceroy of Italy ii. 70 

" " marries a princess of Bavaria ii. 155 

" " operations in Italy in 1809 iii. 75 

" " at battle of the Piave iii. 76 

" " pursues the Austrians hi. 77 

" " joins Napoleon with his army iii. 80 

" " at battle of Raab iii. 91 

" " commands the 4th corps in Russia iii. 344 

" " fights the battle of Malojaroslawetz iv. 18 

" " succeeds Murat in the general command iv. 49 

" " finally takes refuge behind the Elbe iv. 51 

" " is joined by Napoleon in 1813 iv. 81 

" " is sent to organize an army in Italy iv. 91 

" " operations of, in 1813, in Italy iv. 226 

i: " " il in 1814, " iv. 258 

" " evacuates Italy iv. 304 

Eylau, battle of ii. 265 

Exile of Napoleon to Elba iv. 303 

" " to St. Helena iv. 396 

ii " protest against. . iv. 396 




Federate States, system of, adopted by Napoleon ii. l G3 

Feltre, duke of, vide Clarke 

Finkeustein, negotiations at ii. 284 

Foligno, armistice of. j. 357 

Fombio, battle of i. 97 

Fortifications, of Alexandria in 1805 ii. 69 

" of Spain, capture of ii, 360 

of Lyons and Paris in 1815 iv. 343 

" remarks of Napoleon on their importance iv. 344 

Fouché, duke of Otranto, appointed Minister of Police in 1800 i. 308 

" " " again made Minister in 1815i iv. 324 

" character of i v . 395 

" intrigues of, after Napoleon's return from Waterloo iv. 389 

France, before the Revolution i. 38 

" condition of, in 1801 i. 363 

" 1802-3 ii. ]3 

" public credit in 1806 ii. 185 

" her internal improvements ii. 186 

" her military and maritime works ii. 187 

" general condition of, in 1814 iv. 241 

" invasion of, by the allies iv. 240 

" military resources of, after Waterloo iv. 387 

" Napoleon's final departure from iv. 395 

French army, organization of, in 1805 ii. 82 

" '■ " " 1806 ii. 204 

" 1809 iii. 21 

" " in Spain in 1810 iii.211 

" " in campaign of 1812 , iii. 344 

" " in spring campaign of 1813 iv. 80 

" " in autumn " "1813 iv. 136 

" " in campaign of 1815 , iv. 352 

Fuente di Honore, battle of iii. 274 


Gaeta, siege of ii. 176 

Gandia, reduction of iii. 305 

Gantheaume, admiral, blockaded in Brest ii. 45 

Gavardo. affair of i. 117 

Genoa, Napoleon's negotiations with i. 135 

" Revolution of, in 1797 i. 176 

" constitution of, changed i. 178 

" a provisional government for, appointed i. 178 

" Massena blockaded in i. 317 

" his surrender of i. 325 

George III. of Great Britain, hostile declaration of ii. 20 

' : " " " reviews his troops daily at Lover ii. 28 

VOL. IV. — 27 



Georges, conspiracy of ii. 30 

Germanic confederation. ii. 172 

ji. 177 

Germany, empire of, abolished ii. 179 

" secret societies in iii. 189 

Gerona, siege of iii. 189 

Girondists, fall of i. 50 

Giulay, operations of, in 1 809 iii. 96 

Glatz, siege of ii. 297 

Godoy, sketch of his life ii. 275 

" intrigues of, against Ferdinand ii. 366 

Gorodeczno, battle of iii. 378 

Gratz, battle of. iii. 96 

Grisons, the, call on Austria for assistance i. 246 

seized by Massena i. 257 

Massena is driven from i. 266 

Grouchy, at battle of Ligny iv. 360 

" pursues the Prussians iv. 367 

" errors of iv. 380 

" at battle of "Wavre iv. 384 

Gustavus III. of Sweden, hostile to France i. 44 

Gustavus IV. of Sweden, conduct in 1804 ii. 45 

" character of ii. 46 


Hallabrdn, battle of. ii. 122 

Halle, battle of ii. 221 

Hamburg, defence of, by Davoust .iv. 224 

Hanau, battle of. iv. 221 

Hanover, invaded by Mortier ii. 22 

" operations of allies in ii. 146 

Hardenberg, sketch of his life .ii. 170 

Hartzfeld, trial of ii. 225 

" remarks on his case ii. 226 

Haslack, battle of : ii. 88 

Haugwitz, negotiations of .ii. 129 

" " " ii. 168 

" sketch of his life ii. 169 

Heilsberg, battle of ii. 304 

Heliopolis, battle of i. 342 

Helvetic Constitution i. 195 

Hindustan, description of i. 207 

" conquest of ii. 25 

Hoche, defeats the allies i. C9 

" commands expedition against Ireland i. 149 

Hofer leads insurrection in Switzerland .i^i. 25 

Hohenlohe, character of ii. 205 



fîohenlohe, operations of ii. 226 

capitulates at Prenzlaw ii. 232 

Holland, conquest ol, by the French i. 63 

•' i\ev olutiou in i. 244 

" descent ol' the English on i. 290 

" Louis Bonaparte declared king of ii. 174 

" reunion of, with France iii. 245 

" Napoleon's tour in iii. 250 

Hougomont, attack on, at battle of "Waterloo iv. 373 


India, successes of the English in ii. 25 

Infernal machine, account of i. 355 

Insurrection in Verona suppressed by Victor i. 173 

" of Aranjuez ii. 369 

" of the 2d of May, at Madrid ii. 381 

" general, in Spain ii. 384 

Interview of Napoleon and his brother Lucien ii. 359 

" with the Spanish court at Bayonne ii. 375 

" of the Emperors at Tilsit ii. 313 

" " " at Erfurth ii. 415 

Ireland, descent of the French on i. 148 

Iron Crown, assumed by Napoleon ii. 65 

Italian Republic, constituted a Kingdom ii. 65 

Italy, Napoleon's plan for the invasion of i. 73 

" army of, when Napoleon took command i. 77 

" state of, at beginning of campaign of 1796 i. 77 

" new republics formed in i. 128 

" political state of i. 130 

" reëuforcements from the Rhine sent to i. 151 

" Joubert's operations in, in 1799 i. 278 

" plan of campaign of 1800 in i. 317 

" Napoleon establishes fortifications and camps in ii. 69 

" Eugene made Viceroy of ii. 70 

" Massena's operations in, in 1805 ii. 105 

" Napoleon's design for improving ii. 363 

" operations of 1809 in iii. 75 

" Eugene organizes an army in, in 1813 iv. 91 

" military operations of 1813 in iv. 226 

" " " of 1814 in iv. 258 

" evacuated by Eugene iv. 304 


Jacobins, organize clubs i. 43 

" organize a committee of Public Safety i. 49 

Jaffa, capture of , i. 226 

" treatment of prisoners at i. 227 



Jaffa, reported poisoning of the sick at i. 231 

Janissaries, revolt ui' j; g -, g 

" depose the iSultan 1L 3 , 9 

" corps oi] abolished jj 39 q 

Jena, battle of. - 9()g 

Jerome Bonaparte, sketch of his life i J{i - 

" " enters the naval service i 4f) - 

" " marries in Baltimore , j ^g 

" "' second marriage _ j 40 g 

" " made King of Westphalia j 40 6 

" " is superseded in command in 1812 by Davoust iii. 355 

" " operations of, at Waterloo i v 371 

" " family of i. 407 

Joseph Bonaparte, sketch of his life i. 397 

" '' declared King of Naples ii. 173 

" " military operations of ii. 175 

" " made King of Spain ii. 390 

" " enters Madrid ii. 391 

" " is forced to retreat ii. 400 

" " is recognized by Russia ii. 413 

•' " joins Napoleon at Vittoria ii. 418 

" " is left in command in Spain ii. 419 

•' " his ignorance of war ii. 449 

" " remarks on his operations iii. 1 74 

" " Soult is made chief of his staff iii. 177 

•' " fatal delay of in 1810 îiî. 212 

" " returns to Madrid iii. 214 

" " dissensions with Napoleon's generals iii. 263 

" is forced to leave Madrid iv. 58 

" " retires from the capital with his court iv. 63 

" " made lieutenant-general of the empire iv. 243 

" " authorizes the marshals to treat with the enemy .iv. 289 

" " retires to the United States L 399 

Josephine, sketch of her life i. 73 

" marries Xapoleon i. T2 

" is divorced iii. 200 

Joubert, commands a division i. 153 

" at Rivoli i. 153 

" i. 155 

" operations of, in the Tyrol i. 171 

" seizes Piedmont and occupies Tuscany i. 253 

" commands the army in Italy i. 278 

" at battle of Novi i. 279 

death of i. 280 

'■ Napoleon's opinion of i. 260 

Jourdan, sketch of his life i. 147 

" commands the army of the Danube in 1799 i. 256 

" retreats behind the Rhine i. 260 



Jourdan. resigns the command i. 260 

" character of ii. 54 

" made chief of King Joseph's staflf ii. -±-19 

Junot, sketch of his life ii- 356 

'• occupies Portugal ii. 356 

" position of, in Portugal ii. 401 

" insurrection against ii. 404 

" is defeated at Vimiera ii. 406 

" commands the 8th corps in 1812 iii. 344 

" at battle of Valoutina iii. 377 

" mental alienation of iii. 377 


Katzbacu, battle of iv. 168 

Kellerman, the elder, sketch of i. 85 

" « commands army of reserve in the Alps in 1796 i. 35 

" " confounded with his son i. 85 

" " made marshal in 1804 i. 85 

" the younger, cavalry charge of, at Marengo i. 332 

" " confounded with his father i. 332 

" " made general of division i. 333 

" " is given a larger command i. 333 

" " commands the 4th cavalry corps in 1815 iv. 352 

" " charge of, at Quatre Bras iv. 364 

" " charge of. at Waterloo iv. 376 

Kilmaine, sketch of his life i. 127 

Kleber,' sketch of his life i. 217 

" at battle of the Pyramids. . i. 219 

" at battle of Mont Tabor i. 229 

" is left in command in Egypt i. 234 

" proposes to evacuate Egypt i. 341 

" is forced to conquer at Ileliopolis i. 342 

" his death i. 342 

Kosciusko, sketch of his life i. 65 

" refuses to assist in revolutionizing Poland ii. 246 

" intended by Napoleon as King of Poland ii. 246 

Krasnoi, battle of iv. 28 

Kutusof, sketch of his life ii_ 114 

" on the Danube in 1805 ii. 114 

" at battle of Diernstein ii. 115 

" negotiates with Murat ii. 121 

" at battle of Austerlitz ii. 135 

" made generalissimo of the Russian army iii. 383 

" at battle of Borodino iii. 387 

" flank march of. on Elnia iv. 24 

" plan of, to cut off Napo' eon's retreat , iv. 26 

" dispositions of, at Krasnoi iv. 28 

" at passage of the Beresina iv. 33 




La Costc, sketch of his life ii. 447 

La Fayette, at the head of the National Assembly i. 42 

" Utopian views of, in 1815 iv. 389 

" conduct of, in the Assembly iv. 392 

Laharpe, sketch of his life i. 83 

death of i. 98 

Lake, operations of, in India ii. 25 

Lallemont, supersedes Missiessy ii. 59 

La Modeste, capture of, at Genoa i. 84 

Landshut, battle of iii. 38 

Lannes, at battle of Dego i. 90 

sketch of his life i. 96 

at battle of Fombio i. 98 

crosses the Great St. Bernard i. 319 

passes Fort Bard i. 321 

defeats the enemy at Chiusella i. 324 

at battle of Montebello i. 327 

at battle of Marengo i. 328 

made a marshal ii. 52 

commands the 5th corps in 1805 ii. 82 

at battle of Austerlitz ii. 137 

at battle of Jena. ii. 209 

at battle of Friedland ii. 306 

at Tudela ii. 424 

at siege of Saragossa ii. 445 

at battle of Eckmuhl iii. 40 

at Essling iii. 61 

death of iii. 08 

La Valteline, revolution in i. 191 

Le Courbe, services and character of ii. 55 

Lefebvre, character of ii. 54 

" made a marshal ii. 54 

" at siege of Dantzic ii. 295 

" Napoleon's letter to, at Dantzic ii. 295 

" operations of, against Blake in 1808 ii. 421 

" operations of, on the Tagus ii. 438 

" commands the Bavarians in 1809. iii. 28 

" at battle of Abensbnrg iii. 36 

" at battle of Eckmuhl iii. 40 

" operations of, in the Tyrol iii- 83 

" commands the Old Guard in 1812 iii- 344 

Leghorn, occupation of, by the French i- H3 

Leipsic, battle of, first day iv. 196 

" " second day *V- 206 

tbirdday iv. 212 

" retreat from iv - 21 8 

Lerido, siege of ui - 237 



Ligny, battle of iv. 359 

Lille, negotiations of i. 182 

Linois, capture of ii. \q\ 

Lintz, attacked by Kalowroth hi. 57 

Lisbon, treaty of, in 1803 ii. 24 

Lobau. island of, occupied by Napoleon iii. 69 

Lodi, battle of i. 99 

Loison, at battle of Evora ii. 405 

" at Leipsic iv. 208 

•Lombardy, revolt in i. 103 

" iron crown of, assumed by Napoleon ii. 65 

Lonato, battle of i. 116 

Louis Bonaparte, sketch of his life i. 401 

" " made king of Holland ii. 174 

<; " writings of i. 402 

" " death of i. 403 

Louis XVI., death of. i. 47 

Louis XYIIL, leaves Venice j. 80 

" " protests against the French Empire ii, 43 

" " is recalled to the throne iv. 298 

" " course of, as king iv. 312 

" " defects of his charter iv. 313 

" " errors of his administration iv. 314 

" " Ins flight from Paris in 1815 iv. 323 

Louisiana, ceded by Spain to France i. 375 

" " by France to the United States ii. 24 

Lubec, siege and fall of i'. 235 

Lucca, given to Napoleon's sister ii. 71 

Lucien Bonaparte, sketch of his life i. 399 

" " first marriage of i. 399 

" " second marriage of i. 400 

" " " " " ii. 359 

" " daughter of intended as Queen of Spain ii. 359 

" " interview with Napoleon in Italy ii. 360 

" " conduct at the 18th Brumaire i. 301 

" made Prince of Canino i. 400 

" " a prisoner in England i. 400 

" " advice to Napoleon after Waterloo iv. 391 

" " writings of i. 401 

" " death of. i. 400 

Luneville, peace of L 357 

Lusigny, negotiations at iv. 259 


Mack, sketch of his life i. 252 

" awaits the French on the Danube in 1805 ii. 84 

" Napoleon turns his right ii. 84 

" retreat of, cut off • ii. 85 



Mack, confusion of. ii. 

" invested in Ulm ii. 

" conditional capitulation of ii. 

" surrenders ii. 

" fate of the wreck of his army ii. 

Macdonald, sketch of his life i. 

evacuates Naples i. 

returns on Modena i. 

defeated at the Trebia i. 

passes the Splugen i. 

effect of his junction with Brune i. 

anticipates Moncey at Trent i. 

at the battle of the Piave in 1809 iii. 

pursues the Austrians iii. 

at battle of Raab iii. 

" " "Wagram iii. 

is made a marshal iii. 

' Napoleon's order respecting „ iii 

1 commands on the Ebro iii. 

' commands the 10th corps in 1812 iii. 

' at battle of Bautzen iv. 

' commands in Silesia iv. 

' defeat of, at the Katzbach iv. 

' is succored by Napoleon iv. 

' at battle of Leipsic iv. 

difficulties respecting i. 

" capture of, by Napoleon L 

Mantua, investment of, by Napoleon i. 

" Serrurier charged with the siege i. 


" succored by Alvinzi i. 

" capitulation of i. 

Marcoff, Russian Minister, retires from Paris ii. 

Marengo, battle of i. 

Maret, Duke of Bassano, sketch of his life i. 

" made Secretary of State of the Consular Government i. 

Margalef, battle of iii. 

Maria Antoinette, death of i. 

Maria Louisa, marriage of, with Napoleon iii. 

" " character of iii. 

Marmont, at Lodi i. 

at Castiglione i. 

at Marengo i. 

made a marshal in 1809 .iii. 

commanded 2d corps in 1805 ii. 

operations in Dalmatia ii. 

relieves Massena in Portugal iii. 

operations near Cuidad-Rodrigo iii. 






Marmout, raises the siege of Ciudad-Rodrigo iii. 308 

" again falls back iii. 311 

" fails to save the bridge of Almaraz iv. 55 

" falls back ou the Douio iv. 56 

" operations at Salamanca » iv. 56 

" is wounded and superseded iv. 58 

" at Bautzen iv. 103 

" at Dresden iv. 155 

:; operations with Mortier at Meaux iv. 262 

,: is separated from Napolerm iv. 281 

" retires on P iru iv. 284 

" treats with the enemy iv. 288 

Massena, sketch of his life i. 83 

" Napoleon's opinion of i. 83 

" at battle of Areola , i. 141 

at Rivoli i. 153 

" " i. 155 

" seizes the Grisons i. 257 

" is driven from the Grisons i. 266 

" evacuates Zurich i. 268 

" retakes the smaller cantons i. 281 

" is blockaded in Genoa i. 317 

" surrenders Genoa i. 325 

" made a marshal in 1804 ii. 53 

" commands in Italy in 1805 ii. 81 

" operations of, in Italy ii- 105 

" operations of, in Naples ii. 174 

" reduces Gaeta ii. 176 

" sent to Portugal with three corps iii. 223 

" operation? of. hi- 225 

" at battle of Busaeo iii. 226 

" turns Wellington's p jsition iii. 227 

" embarrassing position of iii. 229 

" asks for reënforcements iii. 23 1 

" sufferings of his army iii. 234 

" his critical position before Torres Vedras iii. 264 

" evacuates Portugal iii. 27 1 

" at battle of Fuente di Honore iii. 274 

" retires on Salamanca m - 277 

" remarks on his retreat m - 278 

Mayence, siege of i- 50 

Melzi, President of the Italian Republic iL 65 

Menou, sketch of his life i. 218 

" succeeds Kleber in Egypt i. 218 

Mequinenza, siege of. U1 - 238 

Mincio, the first passage of. i- 105 

" " second passage of L 1 1 9 

Mirabeau, in the Assembly *■ 41 



Missitssy, admiral, operat.OL.s 01 , # ; 59 

Moncey, duke ol Uoruegliano, Coar<tuter of ii. 54 

" detached trow the army of the Rhine i. 319 

" joiua iSapoleou from the St. Gothard i. 319 

" made a marshal m 1804 ij, 54 

besieges Saragossa with 3d corps in 1808 ii. 444 

" succeeded by Junot ii. 445 

Montebello, battle of i. 327 

" duke of, vide Lannes 

Mont-Tabor, battle of i. 229 

Moreau, commands the army of the Rhine in 1796 i. 147 

" operations of, on the Rhine in 1800 i. 350 

" at Hohenhnden i. 350 

" banished from France ii. 30 

" death of iv. 156 

Mortier, at the battle of Zurich i. 285 

" made a marshal in 1804 ii. 54 

" commands the Guards in the beginning of 1805 ii. 82 

" afterwards commands a new corps ii. 82 

" at Friedland ii. 308 

" in Spain i ; . 445 

" at battle of Ocana Si. 179 

" commands the Young Guard in 1812. i; ; . 344 

" blows up the Kremlin iv. 16 

" at battle of Bautzen iv. 103 

" at Leipsic iv. 106 

" operates with Marmont in 1814 V. 262 

" is separated from Napoleon iv. 281 

" retires to Paris iv. 284 

" treats with the enemy iv. 288 

Moscow, taken by the French . - ni. 400 

" the burning of iii. 402 

" evacuated by the French i v. 14 

Moscowa, battle of iii. 387 

'' prince of, vide Ney -. 

Murat, at battle of Mont Tabor i. 229 

" in revolution of 18th Brumaire i. 305 

" commands expedition to Naples i. 356 

" made a marshal in 1804 ii. 55 

" commands the cavalry in 1805 ii. 82 

" errors of ii. 87 

" marches against Werueck ii- 94 

<: pursues the enemy ii- 1 12 

" seizes the bridges of the Danube ii- H9 

" is deceived by Kutusof ii- 121 

" at battle of Austerlitz ii- I 37 

" made Grand Duke of Berg "• 1'* 

" sent in pursuit of the Prussians ii- 23 1 


Murat, captures Prenzlow u - 232 

" Stettin >'• 232 

» at Eylau "-285 

" at Eriedlaud it. 307 

" enters Madrid |j- 3 ™ 

" instructions to, by Napoleon "■ 3 ?1 

" operations of, at Madrid iL 381 

" suppress .'3 tue insurrection of xuay 2d "• 381 

« commands the cavalry in .1812 i». 3-16 

" at battle of Ostrowno ul - 3 ° a 

" pursues the liassions iroui &uioii.n a ko id. 373 

" at baub of Valoatiua m - 3 ' 5 

" quarrels with Davoust '"• 38i 

" at battle of Borodino U1 - 387 

" lea by Napolaoii iu command of the army i v. 40 

" remarks of Napoleon on his pursuit of the enemy iv. 43 

" conduets the retreat lv - 4o 

" gives up the command to Eugene 1V - 49 

« at Dresden | v - 153 

<; retreat of, on Leipsic iv. 193 

" operations at Leipsic iv. 196 

" leaves Napoleon iv. 219 

" remarks on his conduct • • .' v - 219 

" marches on the Po against Eugene iv. 304 

" declares against the allies in 1814 iv. 328 

" isdefeated at Tolentino iv. 329 

" is dethroned iv. 330 

" death of iv. 330 


Naples, armistice with 

•' treaty with 

" declares war in 1799 

" occupied by Ohampionnet 

" evacuated by Championnet 

" occupied by St. Cyr i 

" Joseph Bonaparte declared king of i 

" Masscna's operations in i 

Napoleon, ancestors of 

" birth of 

" family of 

" education of 

" first appointment to the army 

" proposes to write a history of Corsica 

" made a chef-de-batallion 

" his political opinions 

" at the sie^e of Toulon 




















Napoleon, made a general of artillery i. 62 

" attached to the army of La Vendee i. G7 

" in the affair of the 13th Vendémiaire i. 69 

" appearance of, in 1795 i. 70 

" marries Josephine i. 72 

" is appointed general-in-chief of the army of Italy i. 75 

" his plan 01 operations j. 81 

" attack upon ilia Pieuinoutese. „ j. §8 

" proclamation to his soldiers j. q\ 

" enters into an armistice at Cherasco j. 94 

" marches against Eeaulieu , i. 95 

" enters into an armistice with the Dukes of Parma and Modena.i. 96 

" at the battle of Lodi i. 99 

" euters Milan i. 100 

" resigns his command i. 101 

" addresses his army i. loi 

" treats with Piedmont i. 104 

" passes the Mincio i. 105 

" invests Mantua i. 110 

enters into an armistice with Naples i. 112 

occupies Leghorn i. .113 

" at Louato and Castiglioue i. 110-118 

" attack on his head-quarters i. 118 

" at battle of Areola i. 141 

" besieges Wurmser in Mantua i. 147 

" at battle of Rivoli i. 155 

" terminates the campaign i. 158 

" prepares for a new campaign i. 162 

" takes the initiative i. 166 

" his plan of operations i. 167 

" forms armistice of Leobeu i. 171 

" goes to Milan i. 176 

" appoints a Provisional Government for Genoa i. 1 79 

" resigns his command i. 186 

" disputes with the Directory i. 187 

" negotiates the treaty of Campo-Formio i. 188 

" returns to Paris i. 200 

" inspects the port of Antwerp , .i. 214 

" departs for Egypt i. 216 

" captures Malta i. 216 

" debarks at Alexandria i. 216 

" marches on Cairo i. 218 

" at battle of the Pyramids j. 219 

" enters Cairo j_ 220 

" goes to Syria i. 225 

" captures Jaffa j. 226 

" besieges St. Jean d'Acre j, 227 

" returns to Cairo i. 232 



Napoleon, leaves Egypt for Paris i. 295 

his reception in France i. 295 

effect of his return i. 299 

effects the Revolution of the 18th Brumaire i. 301 

made First Consul i. 301 

proposes peace to England i. 310 

pian of campaign i. 315 

crosses the Alps i. 319 

at Fort Bard . . . i. 321 

marches ou Milan i. 324 

at battle of Marengo i. 327 

negotiates with St. Julien i. 339 

repairs to Paris i. 342 

forms a convention with the United States i. 342 

escapes the conspiracy of Cerrachi i. 344 

escapes the Infernal Machine i. 355 

arranges the concordat !• 367 

makes peace with Russia and the Porte i. 374 

acquires Louisiana from Spain i. 375 

agrees to the treaty of Amiens i. 382 

eliminates the tribune i. 386 

is made consul for life i. 387 

summary of his works ii. 14 

his difficulties with England ii. 17 

his conference with Lord Whit worth ii. 19 

occupies Naples ii. 22 

invades Hanover ii. 22 

prepares for a descent upon England ii. 27 

extraordinary plots against him .ii. 28 

causes the execution of the Duke d'Enghein ,ii. 30 

establishes the French empire ii. 39 

his difficulties with Russia ii. 44 

Russia refuses to recognize him as Emperor ii. 46 

is recognized by Austria ii. 46 

invites the Pope to his coronation ii. 48 

his letter to the Pope ii. 48 

offers peace to England ii. 49 

organizes his grand army ii. 50 

prepares to embark for England ii. 55 

concerts movements of French fleets ii. 58 

assumes the Iron Crown of Italy ii. 65 

is crowned at Milan ii. 70 

marches from Boulogne for the Danube ii. 80 

passes the Rhine ii. 82 

marches on Donawerth ii. 83 

invests Ulin ii. 93 

directs his forces on the Inn ii. 101 

passes the Inn, the Salza, and the Traun ii. 102 



Napoleon, marches on Vienna ii. 103 

at Lintz ii. no 

receives from Austria propositions for an armistice ii. Ill 

enters Vienna. ii. 117 

surprises the great bridges on the Danube ii. 119 

reprimands Mural for negotiating with Kutusof ii. 121 

measure taken by him at Schcenbrunu ii. 123 

sends Savary to the Emperor Alexander ii. 123 

dispositions for the reception of the Russians ii. 132 

defeats the Austrians at Austerlitz ii. 137 

returns to Vienna ii. 144 

treats with Prussia and Austria ii. 145 

dethrones the dynasty of Naples ii. 147 

his direction of naval operations ii. 148 

returns to France ii. 155 

his reception at Kehl ii. 156 

his reception at Paris ii. 156 

investigates affairs of the bank ii. 157 

punishes Ouvrard and his partners ii. 158 

has difficulty in forming alliances ii. 162 

adopts a system of Federate Stales ii. 163 

causes of his additions to the empire ii. 163 

has new difficulties with Prussia ii. 166 

offers reparation for violation of her territory „ ii. 167 

enters into a new treaty with Prussia ii. 170 

has difficulties with Austria ii. 171 

makes Joseph King of Naples ii. 173 

" Louis King of Holland ii. 174 

" Eugene Viceroy of Italy .ii. 174 

" Murat Grand Duke of Berg ii. 174 

" Pauline Princess of Guastalla ii. 174 

" Eliza Princess of Lucca, etc ii. 174 

forms the Confederation of the Rhine ii. 178 

mechanism of his government ii. 183 

restores public credit ii. 185 

regulates the conscription ii. 185 

erects public monuments ii. 185 

makes internal improvements ii. 186 

constructs military and maritime works ii. 187 

negotiates with England ii. 192 

treats with Russia ii. 195 

is vexed at Alexander's refusal to ratify it ii. 195 

sends Sebastiani to Constantinople ii. 198 

receives the extraordinary ultimatum of Prussia ii. 202 

assembles his armies for war with Prussia ii. 202 

his plan of operations ii. 204 

seizes the enemy's communications ii. 207 

his movements in Saxony ii. 207 



Napoleon, his decisive manœuvre at Géra ii. 208 

defeats the Prussians at Jena. ii. 209 

,: " " at Auerstedt ii. 212 

marches on Potsdam and Berlin i. 222 

visits the Cabinet of Frederick the Great ii. 222 

enters Berlin ii. 224 

his reception there ii. 225 

pardons Prince llatzfeld ii. 226 

dispositions to destroy Hohenlohe ii. 230 

measures for securing his conquests ii. 233 

forms an armistice with the Saxons ii. 234 

issues the Berlin Decree ii. 237 

advances to the Vistula ii. 241 

plans the reestablishment of Poland ii. 245 

sends for Kosciusko, who declines to act ii. 246 

reception at Posen and Warsaw ii. 246 

is disappointed in the action of the Poles ii. 247 

takes measures for securing his rear ii. 248 

position of his army ii. 252 

takes the offensive against the Russians ii. 253 

attacks Pultusk and Golymin ii. 255 

his army go into winter-quarters ii. 257 

Benningsen attacks his left ii. 261 

re-opens the campaign ^ ii. 2G3 

direction for movements of his army ii. 263 

defeats them at Eylau ii. 265 

returns into winter-quarters ii. 272 

difficulties of his position ii. 273 

is menaced by Spain ii. 274 

negotiates with Austria ii. 279 

negotiates at Finkenstein ii. 284 

instructions to Mortier in Sweden ii. 290 

directs the siege of Dantzic ii. 294 

reproves Lefebvre ii. 295 

renews hostilities ii. 298 

marches to the assistance of Ney ii. 301 

defeats the Russians at Friedland i. 306 

meets Alexander at Tilsit ii. 313 

concludes a treaty of peace ii. 314 

establishes the Continental system ii. 327 

sends Brune to assist the Danes ii. 339 

distributes new titles of nobility ii. 344 

his object in this ii. 345 

suppresses the Tribunat )'. 348 

difficulties with Portugal .ii. 353 

decides to occupy that kingdom ii. 355 

treats at Foutainbleau with Spain ii. 355 

sends Junot into Portugal ii. 356 



Napoleon, goes to Italy ii- 359 

" b;is an interview with Lucien at Mantua ii. 359 

" issues the Milan Decree ii. 360 

" Las new difficulties with the Pope ii. 361 

" his vast designs for improving Italy ii. 363 

" transfers the Pope to Paris ii. 364 

" occupies Pome ii. 365 

" annexes Tuscany to France ii. 365 

" renounces the alliance with Ferdinand ii. 366 

" occupies the Spanish ibrtitications ii. 366 

" his instructions to Murat ii. 371 

" meets the Spanish court at Bayonne ii. 375 

" determines to remove the present dynasty ii. 376 

" ' places Joseph on the throne of Spain ii. 390 

" difficulties of his position ii. 412 

" his chances of success ii. 413 

" confers with Alexander at Erfurth ii. 415 

" sets out for Spain ii. 416 

" joins Joseph at Vittoria ii. 418 

" position of Ins forces ii. 418 

" decides upon his system of warfare in Spain ii. 419 

'• intends to indemnify the people ii. 420 

" his plan of operations h. 421 

" at battle of Burgos ii- 422 

" defeats Blake at Espiuosa ii. 422 

" " Castanos and Palafox at Tudela ii. 423 

" " the Spanish reserve at Sommo-Sierra ii. 426 

" enters Madrid ii. 426 

" addresses a deputation of notables ii. 429 

" marches against the English ii. 433 

" directs the operations of bis generals ii. 434 

" battle of Gorunna ii. 434 

" difficulties with Austria recall him to France ii. 449 

" leaves Joseph in command with Jourdan for adviser ii. 449 

" condition of Spain at his departure ii. 450 

" returns to France ii. 450 

" reproves Talleyrand for bis intrigues ii. 451 

" preparations of Austria against hi- 17 

" secret societies organized in Germany against in. 1 9 

" bitter animosities of Chasteler hi- 24 

" Austria takes the initiative against iii. 25 

" organizes his army iii- 27 

" " « " iii. 29 

" rejects the application of the King of Bavaria to place his son 

in command iii- 29 

" sends Berthier to assemble bis forces 'ii- 30 

" instructions to Berthier iii- 31 

" arrives at In^olstadt m - 32 



Napoleon, gives orders to repair the faults of Berthier iiL 32 

battle of Thann . iii. 34 

moves against iIk- Austrian centre iii. 35 

battle of Abensoerg iiL 36 

" ofLandshut iii. 38 

sends Bessières in pursuit of Ililler iii. 40 

battle of Eekmuhl iii. 40 

forces the Archduke to retreat into Bohemia iii. 41 

marches ou Vienna iii. 43 

visit to the castle of Diernsteiu iii. 45 

entrance into Vienna iii. 49 

makes dispositions for the passage of the Danube iii. 51 

punishes a surgeon iii. 51 

passes the Danube iii. 57 

battle of Essling iii. 61 

calls a council of war iii. 66 

at the death of Lannes iii. 6S 

withdraws his troops to the island of Lobau iii. CQ 

opens communication with his army in Italy iii. 75 

is reënforced by Eugene's army iiL 80 

unites Rome and the States of the Church to the Empire iii. 88 

is excommunicated by the Pope iii. 88 

transfers the Pope to Savona iii. 88 

his measures to repair the check at Essling. iii. 89 

prepares to again pass the Danube iii. 98 

arrangement of the Archduke to oppose the passage iii. 99 

prepares the bridges iii. 101 

battle of Wagram iii. 105 

reproves Bernadotte iii. 112 

pursues the Austrians iii. 1 14 

forms an armistice iii. 116 

prepares for a renewal of hostilities .iii. 12'2 

invites Russia to take part in negotiations with Austria hi. 121 

Stabs' attempt to assassinate iii. 133 

treats with Austria iii. 1 34 

destroys the fortifications of Vienna iii. 138 

sends an expedition against the Tyrol iii. 139 

desires to consolidate his empire iii. 199 

is divorced from Josephine iii. 200 

negotiates a marriage with the Princess Anne of Russia iii. 200 

advantages of an alliance with Austria iii. 202 

decides on the latter iii- 203 

negotiates with Schwartzonberg iii. 204 

marriage fetes in Paris iii- 205 

character of Maria Louisa iii. 205 

offers peace to England hi. 206 

prepares for a new campaign in Spain iii. 203 

his reasons for not going there in person iii. 209 

^OL. iv. — 28. 



Napoleon, his plan of campaign iii. 210 

bis chances of success iii. 222 

his action on Bernadotte's election as Crown Prince of Sweden . iii 244 

complaints of the Dutch against his Continental system i,i. 246 

makes a new effort to negotiate with England iii. 247 

punishes Fouché's intrigues . iii. :48 

annexes the mouths of the Ems, etc., to the Empire iii. 249 

makes a tour in Holland iii. 250 

incorporates Rome into the Empire iii. 251 

assembles a council of bishops iii. 253 

his relations with other nations iii. 257 

Prussia, an alliance with '.ii. 259 

new difficulties with Russia iii. 260 

his advice to Joseph on affairs in Spain iii. 26 5 

makes Suchet a marshal of France iii. 30 L 

confers on him the title of Duke of Albufera iii. 30G 

negotiates with Russia ii:. 315 

reason's of, for not postponing the war in the north iii. 317 

opinions of his counsellors iii. 319 

his chances of success iii. 322 

his opinion of the Russian army iii. 322 

forms an alliance with Prussia iii. 327 

efforts to arrange difficulties with Russia. . . . s . . . ,. iii. .328 

forms an alliance with Austria. iii. 329 

proposes peace to England iii. 330 

receives the ultimatum of Russia iii. 332 

repairs to Dresden iii. 334 

sends the Abbe de Pradt to Warsaw iii. 336 

difficulties with Bernadotte iii. 339 

prepares to open the campaign against Russia iii. 339 

organization of his army iii. 343 

determines to pierce the enemy's centre iii. 344 

passes the Niémen iii. 346 

enters Wilna iii. 349 

his delay at Wilna iii. 349 

replies to the mission of Balaschof. iii. 350 

replies to the Polish Deputation iii. 351 

is dissatisfied with the operations of Jerome. . , iii. 355 

advances on Polotsk iii. 356 

reaches the D wina iii. 358 

battle of Ostrowno iii. 359 

halts at Witepsk iii. 362 

calls a council of war iii. 365 

marches on Smolensko iii. 366 

'defeats the Russians in battle of Smolensko iii. 368 

his interview with a Russian Priest , iii. 369 

determines to march on Moscow iii. 372 

battle of Ya'ontina .iii. 375 



Napoleon, battle of Gorodeczno hi. 378 

'•' ofPalotsk iii. 378 

" " of Borodino iii. 387 

" enters Moscow iii. 400 

" occupies the Kremlin iii. 401 

" attempts to prevent the burning of the city iii. 402 

" projects a march on St. Petersburg iii. 406 

" attempts to open negotiations iii. 409 

" embarrassments of his position iii. 410 

" awaits an answer from St. Petersburg iii. 413 

" decides to retreat from Russia iv. 13 

" leaves Moscow . . . ,i v. 14 

" his immense train of followers iv. 15 

" leaves Mortier to blow up the Kremlin iv. 16 

" retreats on Borowsk iv. 16 

" battle of Malojaroslawetz iv. 19 

" position of the respective armies iv. 20 

" has but one road of retreat iv. 20 

" defeats the Russians at Wiasma iv. 21 

" condition of his army iv. 22 

" hears of conspiracy of Mallet and Lahorie iv. 22 

" arrives at Smolensko iv. 25 

" attempts of the enemy to cut off his retreat iv. 26 

" retreats on Krasnoi iv. 27 

" terrible condition of his army iv. 30 

" difficulties of crossing the Beresina iv. 33 

" dispositions for the passage iv. 34 

" terrible loss of life iv. 37 

" continues the retreat iv. 39 

" turns over the command to Murat and starts for Paris. . iv. 39 

" his motives for this measure iv. 40 

" causes of his failure in this campaign iv. 40 

" returns to Paris iv. 64 

" negotiat ss with Austria iv. 66 

" prepares for a new campaign iv. 70 

" remarks on his military position iv. 71 

" Prussia declares against him iv. 73 

" returns to his army iv. 78 

" advances on the Saale iv. 79 

" organization of his army iv. 80 

" effects a junction with Eugene iv. 81 

" directs his forces on Leipsic iv. ' 82 

" visits the monument of Gustavus Adolphus iv. 83 

" battle of Lutzen iv. 84 

" pursues the allies on Dresden iv. '84 

" sends Eugene to organize an army in Italy iv. 91 

" accepts proposition for a congress i v. 94 

" sends Caulaincourl to Russia iv. 95 



Napoleon, goes to Bautzen iv. 96 

directs Ney's movements to turn the enemy's position iv. 98 

battle of Bautzen iv. 101 

at Duroc's death i v. 106 

accepts armistice of Neumark iv. 108 

treats with Denmark iv. 109 

receives a third mission of Bubua iv. 109 

his interview with Metternich iv. 112 

his envoys to the Congress of Prague iv. 114 

his interview with the Empress at Mayence iv. 114 

his negotiations at Prague iv. 116 

efforts of the coalition to crush him iv. 133 

organization of his army in autumn of 1813 iv. 136 

position of his forces iv. 136 

combinations from which he had to choose iv. 137 

his preliminary movements iv. 141 

his plan of operations iv. 142 

marches against Blucher iv. 143 

his instructions to Macdonald iv. 143 

his position at Dresden iv. 148 

his project to cut off the enemy at Koenigstein iv. 151 

battle of Dresden iv. 153 

battle of Koenigstein iv. 159 

disaster of Culm iv. 160 

" of Gross Beeren iv. 163 

marches to Macdonald's assistance iv. 173 

defeat at Dennewitz iv. 174 

remarks on his plan of campaign iv. 180 

makes a demonstration on Bohemia iv. 183 

his third attempt against Blucher iv. 183 

marches against Blucher and Bernadotte iv. 185 

profit of manceuvering iv. 187 

his plan made impracticable by defection of Bavaria iv. 189 

marches on Leipsic iv. 192 

operations of first day of Leipsic iv. 196 

proposes an armistice, which is refused iv. 204 

operations of second day of Leipsic iv. 206 

determines to retreat on third day iv. 212 

neglect in preparation of bridges iv. 213 

fatal destruction of the bridge of Elster iv. 216 

his exertions to repair the disasters of this loss iv. 217 

retreats on Erfurth iv. 218 

is pursued by the allies iv. 218 

is deserted by Murat iv. 219 

the Bavarians turn against him iv. 219 

Wrede's attempt to intercept his retreat iv. 221 

defeats the Bavarians at Hanau iv. 221 

retires behind the Rhine iv. 222 


Napoleon, condition in -which he finds France iv. 231 

" changes his ministry to satisfy public opinion iv. 232 

" his communication to the legislative body iv. 233 

" dissolves that body .', iv. 234 

" prepares for defense iv. 234 

" negotiates for the restoration of Ferdinand iv. 237 

" his instructions to Eugene iv. 238 

" appoints Joseph Lieutenant of the Empire iv. 2 13 

" takes the field to repel the invaders iv. 243 

" numbers of the opposing forces iv. 243 

" attacks Blucher iv. 244 

" battle of Brienne iv. 245 

" sends Gaulaincourt to Congress of Chatillon iv. 249 

" falls on Blucher's left flank iv. 250 

" battle of Champ- Aubert iv. 251 

" " of Montmirail Iv. 252 

" " of Chateau-Thierry iv. 252 

" '' cf Vaux-Champs iv. 253 

" is obliged to go to the defence of Paris iv. 255 

" resumes the offensive iv. 256 

" battle of Xangis iv. 256 

" " of Montercau >v. 256 

" forces Schwartzenberg to evacuate Troyes iv. 257 

" negotiates with the allies at Lusigny iv. 259 

" marches against Blucher ' v. 262 

" forces him to repass the Aisne iv. 263 

" battle of Craone iv - 264 

" rejects the ultimatum of Chatillon iv. 265 

" battle of Laon iv - 267 

« of Reims iv. 269 

" directs the Empress and Regency to remove to Blois iv. 274 

" moves against the grand allied army iv. 274 

battle of Arcis iv. 275 

" his perilous position 1V - 2 ' " 

" proposes to operate on the enemy's rear iv. 278 

" is separated from Marmont and Mortier iv. 281 

" his efforts to communicate with them »v. 283 

" he flies to defend the capital | v - 287 

battle of Paris iv - 288 

" returns to Fontainbleau iv. 289 

" intrigues of the factions against him IV - 291 

" abdicates at Fontainbleau 1V - 293 

" conduct of his marshals ir - 298 

" is exiled to Elba iv. 303 

" his journey through the south of France |V. 304 

" his life at Elba | v - 308 

" his reasons for returning to France ,v - 317 

" his departure from Elba ,v - 318 



Napoleon, lands at Cannes iv. 318 

reception in France iv. 319 

marches on Lyons iv. 319 

his reception there iv. 320 

his celebrated Decrees of Lyons iv. 320 

meets Ney at Chalons iv. 321 

is joined by the troops of the camp of Melun iv. 322 

enters the Tuileries, March 20th i v. 323 

reascends the throne iv. 323 

organizes his ministry iv. 324 

his position towards Europe iv. 325 

coalition against him iv. 326 

the Congress of Vienna declares him an outlaw iv. 327 

the troops in southwest declare for him iv. 328 

represses civil war in La Vendée iv. 328 

his plans frustrated by premature operations of Murat iv. 330 

prepares to repel the aggression of the allies iv. 330 

motives, for these preparations iv. 333 

refuses to resort to revolutionary means iv. 334 

his address at the Champ-de-Mai iv. 335 

takes the oath of fidelity to the charter iv. 337 

discourse at the opening of the Chambers iv. 337 

their addresses to him iv. 339 

his remarkable reply iv. 340 

his military preparations iv. 341 

fortifies Paris and Lyons iv. 343 

" other points iv. 345 

decides to fall upon the Anglo-Prussians iv. 345 

joins his army at Beaumont iv. 347 

reorganizes his army iv. 347 

his plan of operations iv. 348 

movements of bis troops iv. 349 

disposition of his forces iv. 352 

occupies Charleroy iv. 553 

his orders to Ney in regard to Quatre-Bras iv. 355 

reconnoitres the position of the Prussians iv. 353 

battle of Ligny , iv. 359 

new orders sent to Ney iv. 359 

waits for his operations on Quatre-Bras iv. 366 

sends Grouchy in pursuit of the Prussians iv. 367 

marches on Quatre-Bras iv. 367 

pursues the English to the field of Waterloo iv. 307 

orders Grouchy to occupy the defile of St. Lambert iv. 368 

his reasons for attacking Wellington iv. 368 

his plan of attack iv. 369 

begins the battle of Waterloo iv. 37 1 

discovers the Prussians on his right iv. 371 

first attack on the centre iv. 372 



Napoleon, attacks the right at Hougomont iv. 373 

" his second attack on the centre iv. 374 

" grand charge of his cavalry iv. 375 

" Blucher, Pircli, and Bulow advance on his right iv. 377 

" defeat of his right iv. 379 

" his last efforts and rout iv. 379 

" retreats on Avesnes iv. 385 

" returns to Paris iv. 386 

" conspiracies in Paris against him .iv. 389 

" arrives at the Palace Elysée-Bourbon iv. 390 

" consults with his miuisters and friends iv. 390 

" his second abdication iv. 393 

" Pouché seeks to secure his person iv. 395 

" retires from France iv. 395 

" embarks at Rochefort iv. 396 

" takes refuge on the British ship Bellerophon iv. 396 

" his letter to the Prince Regent iv. 396 

" is exiled to St. Helena iv. 396 

" his protest against this barbarous treatment iv. 396 

" protest of Lord Holland and the Duke of Sussex against his 

imprisonment and exile iv. 397 

" his occupation at St. Helena iv. 397 

" his death iv. 398 

'• removal of his remains to Paris iv. 400 

Naval tactics, remarks on ii. 181 

Nelson, at battle of Cape St. Yincent i. 181 

" at battle of Aboukir i. 221 

1! at battle of Copenhagen i. 3G0 

sails again for Egypt ii. 60 

" returns to England ii. 61 

" before Cadiz ii. 150 

" at battle of Trafalgar ii. 151 

" death of ii. 152 

'• sketch of his life ii. 151 

Neiss, siege of ii. 297 

Ney, character of ii. 53 

made a marshal ii. 53 

commands the corps in the campaign of 1805 ii. 82 

repairs the faults of Murat at Elchingen ii. 91 

conduct of, at the battle of Elchingen ii. 91 

invests Ulm , ii. 93 

attacks Ulm ii. 94 

at battle of Jena ii. 209 

at battle of Eylau ii. 270 

at battle of Friedland ii. 307 

operations of, in the Asturias iii. 157 

quarrels with Soult iii. 158 

defeats Wilson - il 174 



Ney, accompanies Massena into Portugal iii. 224 

" at battle of Busaco iii. 226 

" commands 3d corps in campaign of 1812 iii. 344 

" at battle of Smolensko iii. 367 

" his pursuit of the Russians iii. 373 

" at battle of Valoutina iii. 375 

" at battle of Moscow.*. iii. 388 

" at battle of Krasnoi iv. 29 

" at the passage of the Beresina iv. 35 

" at the crossing of the Niémen , iv. 48 

" his reply to General Dumas iv. 48 

" at battle of Lutzen iv. 85 

" loss of, at Lutzen iv. 88 

" attempts to turn the enemy's position iv. 98 

" arrives at Klix iv. 100 

" at battle of Bautzen iv. 101 

" at battle of Dresden iv. 156 

" is defeated at Dennewitz iv. 174 

" at battle of Leipsic iv. 198 

" declares for Napoleon in 1815 iv. 321 

" ordered against Quatre-Bras iv. 355 

" his delay iv. 356 

" at battle of Quatre-Bras iv. 363 

" at Waterloo iv. 37 1 


Ocana, battle of iii. 179 

Oporto, assault of iii. 144 

Order of the Trois Toisons, instituted ii. 345 

" " " " objections to. .... - il 345 

Orleans Family, account of i. 66 

Ostrolenka, battle of ii. 273 

Ostrowno, battle of iii. 359 

Oudinot, Duke of Reggio, sketch of i. 258 

" repulse of, at Felkirch i. 258 

" at battle of Zurich i. 285 

" belonged to Lannes' corps in 1805 ii. 82 

" at Austerlitz ii. 140 

" at Ostrolenka ii. 273 

" at siege of Dantzic ii. 295 

" at Friedland ii. 306 

" commands reserve at Frankfort iii. 28 

" joins 2d corps iii. 29 

" at Essling iii. 61 

" at Wagram iii. 105 

" made a marshal iii. 112 

" commands 2d corps in 1812 iii. 344 


Oudinot, operations of, on the Drissa iii. 363 

" at battle of Polotsk iii. 378 

" at battle of the Beresina iv. 34 

" commands 12th corps in 1813 iv. 80 

" at Bautzen iv. 101 

" defeated at Gros-Beeren iv. 1G3 

" at Brienne iv. 246 

" at Champ- Aubert iv. 251 

" at Nangis iv. 256 

Ouissant, battle of i. 63 


Paoli, rejects Napoleon's plan of a history of Corsica i. 37 

Parthenopean Republic, established i. 255 

Passage, of the Po in 1796 i. 95 

" " " 1800 i. 326 

of the Piave i. 169 

of the Ticino .i. 324 

" of the Great St. Bernard in 1800 i. 319 

" of the Splugen i. 352 

" of the Rhine in 1805 ii. 82 

1: of the Inn, Salza, and Traun ii. 102 

" of the Adige in 1805 ii. 107 

" of the Danube, before Wagram iii. 51 

" of the Niémen in 1812 iii. 346 

" of the Beresina iv. 33 

" of the Niémen in the retreat from Russia iv. 47 

Pauline Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon, sketch of her life i. 403 

" " marries General Le Clerc i. 403 

" second marriage with Prince Borghese i. 404 

" " death of i. 405 

Philippeaux, at St. Jean d'Acre i. 229 

" sketch of his life i. 229 

Piave, passage of i. 169 

" battle of iii. 76 

Pichegru, plots of ii. 28 

" death of ii. 34 

Piedmont, condition of, in 1796 i. 134 

" provisionally annexed to France i. 378 

Pitt, sketch of his life ii. 165 

•' opposition to France in 1805 ii. 63 

" death of ii. 164 

Poland, affairs of, during French Revolution i. 52 

" insurrection of i. 64 

" condition of, in 1807 ii. 245 

" Austrian invasion of, in 1809 iii. 84 

" operations in, in 1812 iii. 353 



Poland, De Pradts mission to iii. 336 

" reestablishment of, proclaimed iii. 351 

Polotsk, battle of iii. 378 

Pomerania, occupied by the French iii. 323 

Poniatowski, operations of, in 1809 iii. 81 

" at battle of Smolensko iii. 366 

" " " Porodino iii. 387 

" commands the 8th corps in 1813 iv. 80" 

" at battle of Leipsic. iv. 215 

" made a marshal iv. 216 

" death of iv. 216 

Pope the, demonstrations against, in 1796 L 111 

" makes an armistice, i. 112 

" discussions with i. 131 

" abdicates i. 200 

" Napoleon's letter to ii. 48 

" at Paris ii. 48 

" quarrels with Napoleon ii. 361 

" under English influence ii. 362 

" object of his transfer to France ii. 364 

" bull of, against Napoleon iii. 88 

" transferred to Savona iii. 88 

Porto- Ferrajo, occupied by the English i. 137 

Portugal, purchases her neutrality in 1807 ii. 351 

'• Napoleon's reasons for occupying ii. 353 

" Junot's occupation of. ii. 356 

" Junot's critical position in ii. 402 

" general interest of ii. 402 

" sacrifices imposed on ii. 403 

". general insurrection of ii. 404 

" ten ible results of insurrection in ii. 405 

" landing of Wellington in ii. 406 

" Junot evacuates ii. 407 

" advance of the English from ii. 432 

" Soult sent to ii. 447 

" new descent of "Wellington into iii. 153 

" Massena's expedition into iii. 223 

" third invasion of iii. 225 

" Wellington's fortified position in iii. 228 

" Massena's position in iii. 230 

" sufferings of the French army in iii. 234 

" evacuation of, by Massena iii. 277 

" Wellington forced to retreat to iii. 2S6 

Pradt, Abbe de, sketch of his life and character iii. 337 

" mission of, to Poland iii. 336 

" treatment of, by Caulaiucourt, in 1814 iii. 338 

Prenzlow, battle of ii. 232 

Presburg, treaty of ii. 145 



Presburg, bombardment of iii. 94 

Prussia, invades Franco i. 46 

treats with France i. 66 

embarrassments of, in 1799 i. 239 

threatens to join tbo coalition in 1805. ii. 100 

treats with Napoleon at Vienna in 1805 - . . .ii. 145 

perverts the terms of that treaty ii. 167 

makes a new treaty ii 171 

condition of, in 180G ii. 190 

declares war against France ii. 201 

generals of ii. 205 

armistice of Napoleon with ii. 239 

refuses to ratify this armistice ii. 249 

treatment of, at Tilsit ii. 315 

condition of, in 1809 iii. 21 

Napoleon's faulty relations with i.i. 258 

secret societies in iii. 259 

offers an offensive and defensive alliance iii. 259 

the offer postponed iii. 200 

people of, hostile to Napoleon iii. 260 

treaty of alliance with, concluded iii. 327 

declares war against Napoleon, in 1813 iv. 73 

incites a levec-en-masse iv. 80 

Pultusk, battle of ii. 255 

Pyramids, battle of i. 219 

Qttasdaxowicii, on lake Garda and the Mincio i. 115 

" surprised at Gavardo i. 117 

" at battle of I3assano i. 1 25 

Quiberon, expedition i. 68 


Raaiî, battle of iii. 91 

Rampou, defends fort near Savona i. 87 

Rastadt, negotiations of. i. 192 

" " continued i. 249 

" French ambassadors murdered at i. 261 

Regency of Maria Louisa in 1814 retires to Blois iv. 274 

Reggio, Duke of, vide Oudinot 

Republic, of France proclaimed i. 46 

'• " Cisalpine proclaimed i. 129 

" " Cispadane proclaimed i. 129 

" " Trauspadane proclaimed i. 129 

" " Rome i. 199 

" " Tarthenopean i. 255 



Revolution in France, summary of . * i. 38 

" of Lombardy i. 1U3 

" in Rome i. 198 

" of the 18th Brumaire i. 301 

" of Aranjuez ii. 369 

Rewbel, sketch of his life i. 72 

Rhine, passage of, in 1805 ii. 82 

" Confederation of, established ii. 178 

" " Presidency of ii. 181 

Riveras, définition and description of i. 86 

Rivoli, battle of i. 155 

Rogniat, sketch of his life ii. 445 

" at second siege of Saragossa ii. 445 

" criticism of, on the battle of Essling iii. 70 

Romagna, expedition into i. 159 

Romana, escape of, from Denmark ii. 401 

,: sketch of his life ii. 410 

" operations of, during Moore's retreat on Corunna ii. 434 

" ' controversy of, with the Junta of Seville iii. 184 

; ' character of iii. 184 

Rome, demonstration against i. Ill 

" armistice with i. 112 

" discussions with i. 131 

" " " i. 166 

" revolution in i. 198 

" republic of, declared i. 199 

" departure of the Pope from i. 200 

" occupied by Napoleon in 1808 ii. 365 

Rugen, capture of by Brune ii. 339 

Russia, conduct of, during the French Revolution i. 45 

" int ïrêst of, in the state of Europe L 239 

" forms an alliance with Austria i. 243 

" interest of, in Malta i. 251 

" sends her army into Italy i. 256 

" her army on the Trebia i. 270 

" friendly relations with France i. 391 

" difficulties with France ii. 44 

" refuses to recognize the French Empire ii. 46 

" negotiations of, with Napoleon ii. 65 

" alliance of, with England ii. 67 

" proposes to negotiate ii. 75 

" army of, under Kutusof passes the Danube.". ii. 114 

" " is defeated at Austerlitz ii. 140 

" rejects treaty signed by D'Oubril ii. 195 

" army of, in 1807 ii. 250 

" defeated at Eylau ii. 265 

" defeated at Friedland ii. 306 

" the peace of Tilsit ii. 314 



Russia, takes offense at the treaty of Vienna iii. 1^7 

war ot, with Sweden hi. 195 

" " Turkey iii. 196 

" " iii. 254 

hi. 312 

successful campaign of, against Persia iii. 313 

war of 1812 with France, causes of iii. 314 

military chances of Napoleon against iii. 322 

ultimatum of sent to Napoleon. iii. 332 

army of, how organized iii. 342 

Napoleon's army crosses the Niémen into iii. 346 

French losses in tins war iv. 51 

losses of, in this war : iv. 52 

Emperor of, vide Alexander 

Saguntttm, siege of hi. 302 

battle of. iii. 303 

St. Cyr, (Gouvion), at battle of Ilohenlinden i. 350 

" at battle of Novi i. 279 

" at Eylau . , . . h. 265 

" at Friedland ii. 30G 

" operations of, in Catalonia in 1808 ii. 440 

" captures Rosas u'. 441 

" succors Barcelona ii. 441 

" at battle of Cardedeu ii. 442 

" at Molino del Rey ii. 442 

" at Capeladas and Walsch ii. 443 

" operations of, in Catalonia, in 1809 iii. 188 

" at siege of Gerona iii. 189 

" is replaced by Augereau iii. 191 

" commands the 6th corps in 1812 iii. 344 

« at battle of Polotsk iii. 378 

" madeamarshal iii. 380 

" at battle of Dresden iv. 153 

" capitulates at Dresden iv. 223 

St. Cyr, (Cara), at battle of Essling iii. 61 

" at battle of "Wagram iii. 105 

St. Jean d'Acre, siege of i. 263 

St. Julien, negotiations and powers of i. 339 

Salamanca, Massena retires on iii. 277 

u capture of iv. 56 

Sardinia, sues for peace i- 92 

Savary. at battle of Marengo i. 334 

" appointed on Napoleon's staff i. 334 

Schill, exposure of iii- 81 

" condemnation of hi. 82 



Schcenbrun, Napoleon's residence at ii. 123 

" occupation of Napoleon at, in 1805 ii. 123 

" 1809 iii. 133 

" Stabs' attempt to assassinate Napoleon at jij. 133 

Sebastiani, mission of, to Constantinople ,j 197 

" character of ii. 193 

" dismissal of, demanded ii. 277 

" rouses the Turks to defend Constantinople ii. 278 

" at battle of AlmonaciJ iii. 172 

" at Ocana iii. 179 

" commands 4th corps in 1810 iii. 211 

" takes Grenada and Malaga iii. 213 

Serrurier, sketch of his life i. 82 

" made a marshal ii. 54 

Seville, capture of iii. 213 

Sièyes, project of, a change of government in 1800 i. 297 

" at the Revolution of the 18th Brumaire i. 302 

" project of, to establish a Grand Elector i. 307 

Sicilian Vespers i. 104 

Siege, of Mayence and Valenciennes i. 50 

" of Toulon i. 61 

" of Mantua, i. 114 

" of St. Jean d'Acre i. 263 

" of Phillipsburg i. 292 

" of Genoa i. 317 

" of Dantzic. , ii. 295 

" of Saragossa, beginning of ii. 399 

" second, of Saragossa ii. 444 

" of Gerona iii. 189 

" of Ciudad- Rodrigo iii. 223 

" of Almeida iii. 224 

" of Lerida iii. 237 

" of Mequinenza iii. 238 

" of Tortosa iii. 239 

" of Badajos : iii. 265 

" " " iii. 279 

" iii. 285 

" " " iii 308 

" of Burgos iv. 60 

" of Cadiz, attempt to raise iii. 269 

" of Tarragona iiL 297 

" of Saguntum iii. 302 

" of Valencia iii. 304 

" of Hamburg iv. 224 

" of Dantzic iv. 225 

" of other places in 1813-1814 iv. 225 

Smolensko, battle of iii. 367 

Soult, character of ii. 02 


Soult, is made a marshal il 52 

commands the 4th corps iu 1805 ii. 82 

at the battle of Austerlitz ii. 133 

his answer to Xapok-on ii. 135 

splendid attack of, on the heights of Pratzen ii. 137 

at Jena, ii. 211 

at Pultusk ii. 256 

at Bergfried ii. 264 

at Eylau ii- 265 

at Heilsberg ii- 304 

at Coruua ii- 434 

is Bent to Portugal ii 4-47 

attempt of, to pass the Minho iii. H3 

at the battle of Chaves and Braga iii. 143 

assaults Oporto iii. 144 

takes the left bank of the Minho iii. 116 

reported intrigues of, to be made king iii. 148 

alleged cruelty of iii. 150 

difficulties of his position on the Minho iii. 154 

is attacked at Oporto .iii. 1 55 

is forced to retreat iii. 155 

misunderstanding of, with Ney iii. 157 

attempts to cut off "Wellington's retreat iii. 167 

made chief of Joseph's staff iii. 177 

his plan of campaign iii. 210 

fails to take Badajos iii. 217 

invests Cadiz iii. 218 

occupies Andalusia iii. 220 

marches on Badajos and Olivenza iii. 265 

besieges Badajos iii. 265 

operations of, remarks on iii. 267 

marches to the support of Victor iii. 271 

compels Beresford to raise the siege of Badajos iii. 280 

at battle of Albuera iii. 280 

directed to form a junction with Marmont iii. 284 

defeats the Spaniards in Andalusia iii. 286 

operations of, in the South , iii. 306 

fails to save the bridge of Almaraz iv. 55 

recalled from Andalusia iv. 59 

drives Wellington from Madrid iv. 61 

joins Napoleon at Bautzen iv. 124 

is given the general command in Spain iv. 228 

efforts of, to succor St. Sebastian iv. 229 

at battle of Toulouse iv. 300 

is major-general of the army in 1S15 iv. 347 

Spain, treats with France i. 66 

alliance of, with France i. 120 

intermission of, in 1799 i. 251 



Spain, relations of, with France, in 18C3 h. 23 

declares war against France li. 24 

threatens Napoleon ii. 274 

course oij under Godoy ii, 35U 

Napoleun's 2>lans respecting ii. 351 

dissensions of the royal family of ii. 357 

general insurrection in .ii. 3^4 

Joseph Bonaparte proclaimed king of ii. 390 

French reverses in ii. 41 1 

Napoleon goes to ii. 416 

character of the war in ii. 418 

Napoleon's plan of operations in il 421. 

the English advance from Portugal into iL 432 

Napoleon leaves for Paris ii. 449 

state of affairs of, in 1809 hi. 142 

operations of Suchet in iii. 186 

preparations for a new campaign in iii. 208 

organization of French army in iii. 2 1 1 

internal dissensions in iii. 2 1 5 

general state of affairs in, at end of 1811 iii. 311 

summary of campaign of 1812 in iv. 124 

Soult returns to, as general-in-chief. iv. 22S 

summary cf operations in 181 3 iv. 230 

Spandau, fall of ii. 230 

Splugen, Macdonald's passage of i. 352 

Stabs, attempt of, to assassinate Napoleon iii. 133 

Stadion, sent on a mission to Napoleon ii. 1 28 

" sketch of his life ii. 128 

Stael, Madame de, sketch of ii. 18G 

Stettin, capture of ii. 232 

Steyer, armistice of , i. 352 

Stockach, battle of, i. 258 

Stralsund, capture of, by Brune ii. 339 

Stuart, General, occupies Alexandria ii. 17 

Suchet, pierces Melas' centre in 1800. i. 325 

marches to the succor of Genoa i. 325 

commands a division under Lanues in 1805 ii. 82 

at battle of Ostrolenka ii. 273 

supersedes Junot at Saragossa iii. 186 

shoots the authors of a panic iii. 187 

at battle of Santa Maria iii. 187 

at battle of Belchite hi. 183 

brilliant success of, in Catalonia iii. 236 

at combat of Margalef iii. 237 

besieges Lerida iii. 237 

" Mequinenza iii. 238 

" Tortosa iii. 239 

operations of, on the Ebro , iii. 291 



Sucbet, prepares to attack Tarragona iii. 295 

besieges Tarragoua iii. 297 

" is made a marshal iii. 301 

besieged Saguntum iii. 302 

" invests and besieges Valencia iii. 303 

" redacts i'euiscola and Gandia iii. 305 

" is made Duke of Albiifera iii. 306 

" operations ofj in 1812 iv. 62 

•' operations of, in 1813 iv. 129 

" is ordered to retire towards France iv. 130 

Saltan of Mysore, projects of i. 211 

Suwarrow, sketch of i. 263 

" advance into Loinbardy i. 263 

" enters Turin i. 266 

" on the Trebia i. 270 

" his plau of operations i. 284 

" passes the St. Gothard i. 286 

" difficult retreat of i- 288 

" retires to Bavaria i- 290 

Sweden, negotiations with ii- 289 

" Bemadotte elected Crown-Prince of iii. 243 

Switzerland, revolution in L 193 

" neutrality of i. 196 

affairs of. i- 245 

" operations of the Archduke Charles in i. 267 

" counter-revolution in i- 391 


Tactics, of battles, discussion of 1U - ï2 

Talavera, battle of "j- ]64 

Talleyrand, sketch of his life *• 185 

" made minister of foreign affairs i. 185 

" is superseded as minister of foreign affairs ii. 276 

" speculations in stocks 1 - "86 

" course of. in regard to the war with Spain n. 358 

" intrigues of, in 1814 iv - - 92 

Tamames, battle of ih ; J 78 

Tarragona, siege of uu " 

Tarvis, battle of i. 170 

Tennis-court, assembly of the ; '• 

Thann, battle of "j- 34 

Thugut, character as minister 1- 

" resigns his office '• 

Tilsit, the emperors meet at »• 313 

" peace of ii. 31 4-320 

Tippo-Saeb, fall of »■ 312 

deathof «■ 25 

vol. iv. — 29. 



Torres- Vedras, camp of iii. 183 

" lines of iii. 228 

" fortifications of, described iii. 229 

Tortosa, siege of iii. 239 

Toulon, siege of i. 61 

Toulouse, battle of iv. 300 

Trafalgar, battle of ii. 151 

Treaty, of Vienna in 1805 ii. 145 

» " in 1809 iii. 134 

" of Amiens. i. 382 

" of Presburg ii. 145 

" of Bartenstcin ii. 287 

" of Tilsit ii. 314 

" of Fontainebleau « ii. 355 

Trebia, battle of i. 270 

" consternation produced by battle of i. 274 

Treviso, armistice of i. 354 

" Duke of, vide Mortier 

Tribunat, elimination of i. 386 

" suppression of ii. 348 

" account of. ii. 348 

Trois-Toisons, order of ii. 345 

Turkey, makes peace with France i. 374 

" hesitates to acknowledge the empire ii. 47 

" war with Russia ii. 258 

" French officers sent to ii. 260 

" the English threaten ii. 277 

" demands of, by the English ii. 277 

" Sebastiani urges the defense of ii. 278 

" government of, changed ii. 318 

" projects of France and Russia on ii. 320 

" negotiations respecting ii. 341 

" war with Russia hi. 196 

" " " " continued iii. 254 

" " " " iii. 312 

° expected diversion by, in 1812 iii. 339 

" makes peace with Russia iii. 364 

Tuscany, annexed to France ii. 365 

Tyrol, operations of Joubert in i. 171 

" operations in, by Ney and Augereau, 1805 h. 12G 

" insurrectionary state of iii- 24 

" affairs of iii- 83 

" subjugation of iii- 139 


TJlm, investment of ii. 93 

11 capitulation of ii. -6 



United States of America, form a convention with France i. 342 

" 1: purchase Louisiana from Napoleon i. 375 

" " declare war against Great Britain iii- 352 

" " Berlin and Milan decrees modified respecting iii. 353 

United Merchants, embarrass the French finances ii- 158 

" " how dealt with by Napoleon ■ ii- 158 


Valoutina, battle of iii- 375 

Vandamme, Count of Unebourg, sketch of ii- 122 

" at Austerlitz ii. 137 

" commands Wurtemburg troops in 1809 iii. 29 

" at Lintz iii- 52 

" commands the 1st corps in 1813 iv. 80 

" operations of, near Koenigstein iv. 159 

" defeat of, at Culm iv. 160 

Vaudois, the, invade Beme i- 194 

Voudemaire, 13th, affair of i- 69 

Venice, situation and policy in 1796 i- 107 

" i. 164 

" overthrow of the Republic of i. 174 

Verdier, sketch of ii- 108 

Veronese Vespers '• 172 

Victor, Duke of Belluno, sent into Roinagua with a division i. 159 

" life and character of i- 167 

" operations in Venice i. 174 

" at battle of Montebello i- 327 

" " " of Marengo i. 328 

,, u u ofFriedland ii. 306 

" defeats Blake at Espinosa ii. 422 

" at Sommo-Sierra ii- 426 

" defeats Infantado at Ucles ii- 439 

" defeats the Spaniards at MedeUiu LI 147 

" at Talavera iii- 164 

" at Ocana iii- 180 

" before Cadiz iiL 269 

" at battle of Chiclaua iii. 269 

" is supported by Soult iii- 271 

" commands the 9th corps in Russia iii- 344 

" at the passage of the Beresiua iv. 33 

" commands the 2d corps in 1313 iv. 136 

" at battle of Dresden iv. 153 

" at Leipsic iv. 196 

" at Bricnne iv. 245 

" at Nogent iv. 254 

Vienna, Napoleon's march on, in 1005 . . .ii. 103 

" occupation of, by the French ii- 117 



Vienna, fortifications of, in 1805 ii. 118 

treaty of, in 1805 ii. 14-, 

Napoleon's march on, in 1809 iii. 43 

second occupation by the French iii. 49 

treaty of, in 1809 iii_ 134 

destruction of the fortifications iij_ 133 

Villeneuve, Admiral, goes to the Antilles ii. 53 

" attacks Diamond Rock ii. ci 

" errors of ii. 74 

" ordered to return to Toulon ii, 148 

" defeated at Trafalgar iL 151 

" commits suicide ii. 152 

" sketch of his life ii. 152 

Vittoria, battle of iv. 127 

Vuillaumez, admiral, loses his squadron il 161 


Wagram, battle of. iii. 105 

" criticism on iii. 112 

"Walcheren, expedition .iii. 127 

Waterloo, battle of. iv. 371 

retreat from iv. 380 

"Wellington, receives a military education in France i. 36 

operations in India ii. 25 

" at Copenhagen ii. 336 

lands his army in Portugal iL 406 

defeats Junot ii. 406 

his second descent into Portugal iii. 153 

attacks Soult at Oporto iii. 155 

advances on Madrid iii. 160 

his system of battles iii. 164 

retreats after the battle of, Talavera iii. 167 

his inaction „ iii. 181 

camp of, at Torres- Vedras iii. 183 

fortifies Torres- Vedras iii. 228 

forces Massena to evacuate Portugal iii. 277 

renews the siege of Badajos iii. 285 

is again forced to retire into Portugal iii. 286 

his winter campaign in Estremadura iii. 307 

captures Ciudad-Rodrigo, and Badajos iii. 308 

enters Madrid iv. 58 

besieges Burgos iv. 60 

retires into Portugal iv. 61 

his operations in spring of 1813 iv. 124 

defeats the French at Vittoria iv. 127 

defeats Soult at Toulouse i v . 300 

position of his army in Belgium iv. 343 



■Wellington, composition of Lis army iv. 351 

" his plan of opérations iv. 354 

" his operatiousat Waterloo iv. 371 

Weruecii, lus operations on the Danube ii. 94 

u ■« " " " ii. 90 

Westphalia, created a kingdom ■ i. 406 

" impositions on, by the French iii. 21 

" insurrection iu m. 81 

Weyrother, proposes operations at Austerlitz ii. 135 

Whitworth, mission of "■ 18 

" interview with Napoleon ii. 19 

Wiasma, battle of iv. 21 

Winzingerode, mission to Vienna ii- M 

" sketch of u. 121 

"Wurmser, advances from the Rhine i. 114 

" retreats into the Tyrol i- 1 19 

resumes the offensive on the Brenta i. 120 

" marches on Mantua i. 121 

" efforts of Alvinzi to succor i. 138 

" besieged at Mantua. i- 14=7 

" Alvinzi again attempts to save i. 152 

" capitulates at Mantua i. 159 

Yecla, battle of. iv. 129 

Zr/Bicii, battle of i. 285 


' 1 Oj 




1 ^JUJ**"